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[5e] What's the state of the art for buffing classes?

Mengtzu

Another Kill Team...
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I've been invited to play in a 5E game at work, and since the group are nice people I want to know better, I'm joining the game rather than launching into a diatribe about my *preferred* editions on the company Slack ^_^

I'm looking for a class that will turn their (so far leaning mostly martial, melee types) characters into rockstars, somewhat in the vein of a 4E Bard or Warlord. Bonus points if my character can *also* chip in with respectable damage and a good dose of utility. From a cursory look around I was thinking about a Divine Soul sorcerer - metamagic + divine buffs + Cha primary - but I'm not really au fait with the options available.

Probably starting at level 1.

Any suggestions, D20 Open?
 

DocShoveller

Godwin's Lawman
Validated User
The obvious choices are Rogue (Mastermind) and the Bard (Valor). The Valor Bard is a pretty competent fighter, but you'll need to prioritise Charisma to get as many Bardic Inspiration dice as you can. Mastermind is a bit more fiddly and not as effective.

Divine Soul/Valor Bard would give you a lot of options and it would all be coming off Charisma...
 

Unka Josh

Social Justice Chimera
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Bear in mind that Concentration will limit some of your efforts. Bards have those nifty Inspiration Dice, so that might be a good pick, but each one is one-use, so it's a brief buff. Divine Soul is a pretty good choice for ongoing, as you can use Twinned Spell on Haste, or Extend Spell on Bless if you think it's going to be a really long fight.

Paladins are also good for buffing, with that Aura, but you have to have some fairly serious level investment in the class to get the full benefits.
 

Phantomcrossing

Divorced but games w/ ex
Validated User
Gonna provide the breakdown.

Means of Buffing!
Spells: Usually good for helping a bunch of allies, but a majority of persistent effects require concentration and that is kept in check by the fact that you can only maintain one concentration spell at a time.
Class Features: Neat, depending the actions used to activate or potentially maintain. Generally more reliable but less reaching than spells.

Let's talk class.
Bard: The versatile and with class features built around having buffing spells and throwing around Bardic Inspiration dice during combat. Good action economy and depending your subclass (Glamor getting mileage out of providing Temp HP to allies) you can mix things up and focus on others or yourself. Lore Bard shines at being able to pick up the buffiest spells from other lists.
Rogue: The Rogue, a team player?! Why yes, if rather than any of your usual solitary or flanking rogues are instead of the Mastermind Archetype! Use your cunning action left right and center to provide allies with advantage on specific rolls or actions. Be the team player and the man with a plan in the thick of it.
Cleric: Based on your Domain, you may be a buffing ally indeed. War to provide martial aclarity, Order (in UA playtest) to do more of the same but a more dedicated theme toward leading the fray, or Healing to keep spirits up.
Fighter: Hear me out. Battle Master. Purple Dragon Knight (sword coast adventurers guide) is useless. Sure you don't get flashy flashy spells...but you buff by breaking the action economy. Commanders Strike from a BM to a Rogue, Barbarian, Ranger, or even another fighter grants them another attack off of their turn and let's them double up on effect riders from their own attacks that only work once per turn. Rally to grant some temp hp to who needs it. Its a bit more personal spotlight heavy, but those resources refresh on a short rest and work well.
Paladins: Persistent effects from auras that don't rely on actions to start up. Plenty of team buffing spells and taking hits for your allies. Shining Knights who shine on like a crazy diamond. Kind of rec for Oath of Ancients for best buff tanking and protecting allies from spells.

That said, Mearls is working on a Warlord Fighter archetype on his Happy Fun Time Hour show on twitch. The same stream show also lead to the Order Domain Cleric. So Warlord in a compiled form will be coming to UA...soon-ish?

Divine Soul is good to get a mix of Cleric and Wizard buff spells, but again you are hampered by Concentration and, for Sorcerer specifically, a constricted list of available spells. Metamagic isn't as outright amazing in this circumstance as you might think, at least for what you want to do, but it provides the Sorc with some but not all of it's needed versatility.
 

Particle_Man

White Knight
Validated User
Wolf-Totem Barbarian might deserve a mention. You often have means of giving your nearby allies advantages, including, well, advantage.
 

Siphonaptera

up to no good
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Wolf-Totem Barbarian might deserve a mention. You often have means of giving your nearby allies advantages, including, well, advantage.
I am surprised that wolf gets less attention than bear totem, since a wolf barb and champion fighter duo are a solid melee pairing that can dish out and take a lot of damage
 

Malckuss

Game Design Hobbyist
Validated User
I would suggest a multiclass (eventually) of Paladin (to start) then Bard, slipping back and forth between the two after each Ability boost. You would have access to a boosted amount of spell slots, auras and Inspiration dice, better armor and weapon selection, and can pick the College and Oath that best completes the build. College of Lore would assist with skills and let you parse a few spells from any other spellcaster list. Spend one Ability boost to take Magic Initiate for Cleric or Druid to grab a few Divine Cantrips and a once per long rest 1st level spell you don't have.
 

Particle_Man

White Knight
Validated User
I am surprised that wolf gets less attention than bear totem since a wolf barb and champion fighter duo is a solid melee pairing that can dish out and take a lot of damage
It might a case of buffers not looking at barbarians (because historically that is not where buffing was found in previous editions) and people wanting to play barbarians not being too interested in buffing roles ("if I wanted to buff I would be a bard! I wanna break some heads and have swords and fireballs bounce off my skin!"). But even in 3rd ed there was some "combat buffing" in the Tome of Battle: Book of Nine Swords if one played a Crusader or War Blade that invested heavily in the White Raven maneuvers.
 

Save-vs-DM

Knight of Stumptown
RPGnet Member
Validated User
So, one thing about the mastermind Rogue - the best buffing benefit comes at 3rd level. And since you’re not after damage as much, you can ditch the class after level 3. From there you could slip into battlemaster Fighter to pick up the cool leadier maneuvers. To me this came the closest to a 4e warlord for me. Attack with maneuver to grant one sort of effect, then bonus action help another character.
 

Mengtzu

Another Kill Team...
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Thanks for the good tips already everyone (especially that thorough breakdown [MENTION=39295]Phantomcrossing[/MENTION]!)

If I'm looking at a party of Barbarian/Rogue/Paladin, which of these options are likely to fit in well? I'm assuming Cha, Int and Wis are going to be relatively unrepresented, is it important to have a good attribute spread in the party? Is all melee all the time OK or should there really be ranged backup?

Is there a meta build charop folks prefer? I might not take it but I'd like to know what it is for comparison at least :)
 
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