If there’s one thing I love about D&D, it’s that the system is so versatile you can build practically any kind of character.
In fact, one of my favorite creative exercises is to stat up my favorite characters from anime, comic books, manga and video games in D&D, and to see how well those builds measure up against typical cookie cutter builds you might find on social media.
So awhile ago, I watched The King’s Avatar. It’s an anime based on a web novel about esports personalities and their characters in a video game world called Glory.
The main character’s toon, Lord Grim, was Unspecialized. He had foundational skills from every class, unparalleled flexibility, and could swap out weapons and tactics on the fly.
This reminded me of the Super Novice from Ragnarok Online (probably the first MMORPG to introduce such an archetype), and while I don’t usually advocate spreading your resources too thin, I can see the merits of such a character.
It’d be gimmicky, but it’d be decent as a frontline bruiser and Skill Monkey. It’s also easy enough to put together for organized play.
This #ALlegal build uses the Player’s Handbook and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything as sources, and can contribute fairly well both in- and out- of combat.
Just bear in mind that this build is not for the faint of heart.
It can take a fair bit of time, magic item support and resources before it goes online (basically you’re going to need to grind, just like in an MMO).
1. The Basics
Taking a level in each class is just plain stupid and I cannot stress this enough. Some classes just don’t synergize well, and trying to shoehorn them in just isn’t worth the effort.
We’ll play around with six to eight classes, using the Paladin and it’s ability to crank out competitive melee damage across every Tier of play with Divine Smite as the linchpin.
Other classes in the mix will be Charisma, Dexterity and Wisdom based.
Starting Ability Scores & Race
Since this build is #ALlegal, we’ll be using 27 point-buy and aiming to hit a minimum of 13 in Strength, Dexterity and Charisma to cover most bases. We’ll also need 13 in Wisdom if we want to potentially squeeze Ranger and Cleric into the mix.
Int and Con are going to be your lowest priority, so feel free to dump those if you’re going the whole 8-course.
For this build, it is also recommended that you choose either Variant Human or the basic Half-Elf. The Half-Orc is a tankier but less optimal pick, and while you can certainly make other races work, they are generally not recommended.
A sample spread (and racial bonuses) might look something like this:
|Human with 8 Classes*||13||15 +1||8||8||12 +1||15 +1|
|Half-Elf with 8 Classes||13||15 +1||8||8||12 +1||15 +2|
|Half-Orc with 8 Classes**||11 +2||15||9 +1||8||13||15|
*In the case of Human, a feat that improves Dexterity, Wisdom or Charisma can be chosen to bump one of those scores up to a decent number or to help you hit a multiclassing goal. Resilient can also help with a weak save, making it a solid pick.
**Having to invest additional ASIs to balance out your Dexterity and Charisma can be a drain on an already limited resource. You’ll also need to build the character in a specific way and commit ALL your ASIs to hit 20 Charisma. Being able to shrug off a fatal blow at any level can be a boon though, and it’s up to you to decide if that is worth it.
Low Constitution & You
Dumping Constitution is a perfectly legitimate strategy. As long as you’re playing it smart, you shouldn’t be getting hit. Even if you do, you should have plenty of ways to mitigate damage, recover hit points, or otherwise survive.
And if all else fails, you can always pick up an Amulet of Health to boost your Constitution to 19 (there are multiple ways in Adventurers League to acquire one).
It takes up an attunement slot, but hey, you don’t really need all that many attunement based items anyway and this investment will last you till endgame.
b. Early Game Classes and Feats
I would go Paladin for early game survivability. Paladin starting gear is decent, and you can’t go wrong with a Rapier and Shield combo till you can take your first Hexblade level (usually at 3rd) and start using Charisma for your weapon attack rolls.
Also, since AL gives you Unlimited Respec Works up till Level 5, feel free to respec during early game whenever you need to.
You can generally make it through Levels 1 to 4 as a Paladin primary, maybe dipping 1 into Warlock or Sorcerer for extra spell slots to Smite with and an emergency Shield.
It’s from Tier 2 and up that the build gets really interesting.
2. Quickbuild Guide
This build cherry picks from a number of classes, and I’ve included critical level breakpoints in the table below.
If you’re decently familiar with the rules and basic optimization principles, some things might already be apparent to you. Otherwise, read on.
|Class||Levels||Class Option & Notes|
|Bard||3, 5 or 6*||Lore – Extra Skills, Magical Secrets
Swords – Fighting Style, Flourishes
Whispers – Psychic Blades damage rider
|Cleric||1 or 2||Knowledge Domain – Extra Skills|
|Fighter||2 or 6||Battlemaster – Action Surge, Maneuvers
Eldritch Knight – Action Surge, extra spells
|Paladin||2 or 6||Oath of Devotion – Channel adds +Charisma mod to-hit
Vengeance – Channel grants advantage on one foe
|Ranger||1||Extra Skill, Favored Enemy, Terrain|
|Rogue||1||Extra Skill, Thieves’ Tools Proficiency, Sneak Attack|
|Sorcerer||2, 3 or 5||Divine Soul – Bonus on failed roll, selected Cleric spells
Shadow – Survivability and other magical effects
|Warlock||1, 2, 5 or 6**||Hexblade – Use Charisma to-hit, Hexblade’s Curse|
*There’s generally no reason to take Bard 6 unless you picked Lore and thus have access to Magical Secrets. This can be an incredibly powerful option for the Skill Monkey variant.
**It’s entirely possible to make Hexblade a viable primary in this build, but more on that later.
Some classes in the mix are more useful than others, and hitting that sweet spot will require that you prioritize to minimize wasted levels and class feature overlaps.
If you want six levels in Fighter, for example, you might have to give up those extra levels in Paladin or Warlock and vice versa. The same goes for Bard and Sorcerer in this build, though Font of Inspiration from Bard may be more valuable if you’re a team player.
It all comes down to your play style.
3. Being a Skill Monkey, and the Level 5 Dilemma
The aim of this build is to remain competitive despite having a whole slew of classes, a hodgepodge of low level spells, and zero access to end game abilities (except through the use of consumables). That means finding your niche at the table, and making sure you’re damned good at it.
While you certainly won’t be top DPS (though you’ll still be decent), your crazy assortment of classes actually sets you up to fill in as a Skill Monkey.
You’ll be maxing Charisma, have decent Dexterity, and middling Wisdom, so play this to your advantage.
Additionally, taking your free Respec before your first game at Level 5 so you start your career in Rogue will net you four Skills (with Expertise in two of them), but it’s not a hard and fast rule. You’ll still get one Skill from multiclassing Rogue later anyway (though you’ll miss out on the Expertise) and still be proficient in the ones that really matter by the time you hit end game.
This means that you generally have two routes:
a. Starting Rogue 1
Benefit: More Skills, Expertise, Dexterity and Intelligence saving throws
You’ll be a level behind when all your friends get their second attack, fireball, and additional class abilities, but you’re still capable of dishing out the hurt. The Sneak Attack die compensates a little, and ditching your shield for two-weapon fighting means you’re still swinging twice for Divine Smite procs. I’d go for this since I enjoy the versatility.
b. All-in Melee
Benefit: Second attack, better Armor and Weapon Proficiencies, Con and/or Wisdom saving throws
Whether you’re Fighter primary (for Action Surge and one additional ASI later) or Paladin primary (for Divine Smite and Aura of Protection later), hitting Level 5 means big damage by way of extra attack (or extra extra attack with two-weapon fighting). If Skills isn’t really your thing and you’re in it for the blood, guts and violence, pick this option.
Ultimately, your end goal in this tier is to graduate with an extra attack, your second ASI, and a healthy number of spell slots to keep up with the Divine Smite spam. That means it’s mandatory to either be Fighter or Paladin 6, and have a couple, if not more, levels in either Bard or Sorcerer by the time you hit Tier 3.
The Case for Hexblade 5: An Alternate Style of Play
A Hexblade Warlock with Pact of the Blade and the Thirsting Blade invocation can be fairly competitive in terms of damage, and Eldritch Smite can be a powerful nova option.
Hexblade 2/Sorcerer 3 is also the chassis for an effective ranged attacker focusing on Eldritch Blast, Agonizing Blast and Repelling Blast (it’s Lord Grim with his machinegun) and that’s perfectly fine as well. With Fighter 2 in the mix granting you Action Surge, you can fire off three casts in a round easy.
Since Eldritch Blast scales pretty well, this keeps you competitive and relevant in all tiers of play.
4. Higher Level Play and Sample Builds
By the time you hit 11, you’re functionally sound and should be able to take on most Tier appropriate challenges.
I’ve included a few Unspecialized builds here, but D&D is all about being able to play it your way.
Draw inspiration from these builds if you must, but don’t ever let them cramp your style.
a. Paladin Primary
Such builds utilize six levels in Paladin, and rely on synergies with Hexblade to improve the accuracy of your melee attacks.
You’ll be better at protecting the party thanks to your Aura of Protection, and will likely have enough spell slots to Divine Smite multiple times. You’re likely to have one fewer ASI than the Fighter Primary version, and depending on your race your Dex may be slightly lower than expected, but that’s okay.
Example: A Thematically Appropriate Paladin Primary
Variant Human Paladin (Devotion) 6/Sorcerer (Divine Soul) 5/Warlock (Hexblade) 1/Fighter 2/Bard (Swords or Whispers) 3/Cleric 1/Ranger 1/Rogue 1 with the Polearm Master feat (for the bonus action filler) and both ASIs gained from leveling up invested into Charisma.
You’ll get Action Surge, 3rd level spells (also two 5th level slots), as well as a conditional damage rider from Swords or Whispers. Favored by the Gods is also an excellent panic button. The Sneak Attack die from Rogue is a bit wasted if you’re using the Polearm though, since it lacks the Finesse property.
You’ll have about a handful of extra Skills and some Expertise as well, which isn’t all that bad a deal.
b. Fighter Primary
If being all shiny and protective isn’t your shtick, going Eldritch Knight is a great other choice.
The extra ASI can smooth over odd stats and save lives, and depending on how you build it, this permutation might also be better at dealing damage.
Example: A Utility Oriented Fighter Primary
Half-Orc Fighter (Eldritch Knight) 6/Sorcerer (Shadow) 2/Warlock (Hexblade) 1/Paladin 2/Bard (Lore) 6/Cleric 1/Ranger 1/Rogue 1.
Your three ASIs are going into Dexterity (16) and Charisma (20). With the classic sword and board combination, you’ll have somewhat decent AC, some versatility in 3rd level spell picks thanks to Magical Secrets, but most importantly, you’ll get to come back from the brink if you take a fatal blow.
Font of Inspiration means you can use Cutting Words liberally on enemy initiatives and attack rolls, and since you’ll likely be using a Finesse weapon (typically a rapier paired with Shadow Blade), you get to use your token Sneak Attack die too.
The most important thing about this spec though is the sheer number of Skills and Expertise you’ll acquire.
If you decide to go Half-Elf (instead of Half-Orc), picking up Elven Accuracy and Prodigy can be beneficial.
In fact, taking the Skilled feat with this build can potentially grant you proficiency in all 18 Skills, and while you’re not a Rogue with Reliable Talent, a clever cast of Enhance Ability will make you quite reliable.
c. Ranged DPS pl0x?
Sometimes, you just don’t want to get into melee. Sometimes, you just want to hang back and riddle people with magic blasts and plenty of arrows, and that’s okay.
With a bit of clever rejigging, it’s entirely possible to create a variant that excels at range using the Hexblade/Sorcerer chassis we talked about a little earlier.
If you were so inclined, you could even ditch Paladin from the mix, shift the 13 in Strength to Intelligence, and pick up a handful of Wizard levels (Divination is great). Portents can be game-changing, and having access to Find Familiar means you’ll never be lack for scouting and advantage generation.
The only problem I can see with this is that you’ll only ever be a middling caster at best, which is kinda sad (and thus not recommended).
Example: The Melee Machinegun Option
Half-Elf Warlock (Hexblade) 5/Sorcerer (Shadow) 5/Fighter 2/Paladin 2/Bard (Swords) 3/Cleric (Knowledge) 1/Rogue 1/Ranger 1
Elven Accuracy is of course a must, and because you only ever get two ASI, it’s likely you’ll want to max out Charisma with your second. Agonizing Blast is a great invocation for this, and Thirsting Blade paired with Eldritch Smite can let you sneak some intense melee action in or even knock someone down a peg at range with a longbow.
You’ll be using a mix of weapon attacks and Eldritch Blast as the situation dictates. Damage ramps up pretty quickly if you close in melee, dropped some Smites, and follow up by Quickening Eldritch Blast to bowl your foes backwards.
The Sneak Attack die can squeeze a little bit more out of your hits, and Pushing the opponent back with the Swords Bard Flourish after mashing all your melee buttons will cancel any Disadvantage you might have for firing all your Eldritch Blasts into their face.
This is also the closest you’ll ever get to replicating Lord Grim’s play style in 5E, so fans of The King’s Avatar, take note.
As a bonus, you won’t be shabby in the Skills and Expertise department either.
d. CanIhaz Support?
The answer is yes.
A Variant Human Bard (Lore) 3/Sorcerer (Divine Soul) 5/Wizard (Divination) 2/Cleric (Grave) 2/Fighter (Battlemaster) 3/Rogue (Mastermind) 3/Warlock (Hexblade) 2 can be decent as a support oriented setup.
It is chock full of party friendly options and can reliably hold it’s own as a damage dealer thanks to the Hexblade/Sorcerer chassis. This build does suffer a little from Bonus Action/Reaction bloat, but hey, it’s always better to have more things to do, right?
Inspiring Leader can really help such a build, and keeping Bless up is a matter of course. Crusader’s Mantle is a great choice if you’re comfortable wading into the mid line, and Battlemaster maneuvers that disrupt enemies will always be welcome.
You’ll also have a fair number of Skills and Expertise to work with, so rejoice.
5. Spell Picks
You’ll have access to at least 10, if not more Cantrips, and it is imperative that you pick the best ones of the lot. You generally can’t go wrong with Guidance and Resistance, and Eldritch Blast, Sacred Flame and Vicious Mockery are lovely.
You’ll also have access to leveled spells from multiple classes, and inevitably, there will be some overlaps.
The trick, of course, is to focus on self-buffs, party buffs, and quite possibly rituals in classes with a lower casting stat, while taking the more offensive options in classes that utilize your highest casting stat, which is likely to be Charisma.
Beneficial spells that don’t require Concentration like Mirror Image and See Invisibility and the almighty 3rd level duo of Dispel Magic and Counterspell are great. Haste is viable, as is Fly if you don’t have items that grant an alternate movement mode, and Enhance Ability is a sleeper.
You’re not an offensive caster, so don’t focus too much on damage dealing spells (though you can get your Fireball fix once you acquire a decent magic staff later).
6. Items for the Unspecialized
Anything that increases your Ability Scores is a snap pick because you’ll be lacking in ASIs.
An Amulet of Health or Belt of Dwarvenkind is a must if your Constitution score is abysmal.
You don’t want to pass up any Manuals (Bodily Health especially) and Tomes (Leadership & Influence especially) that you find either.
You’ll benefit from a vanilla magic Shield +X (or a Sentinel Shield) if you want an AC boost and are in melee often enough, as well as non-attunement items that grant movement abilities like the Broom of Flying and the Cape of the Mountebank.
Be sure to hunt down a Staff of Power and a Robe of the Archmagi for the endgame too. The Staff is a great weapon that also widens your spell repertoire, and the Robe trumps most other types of armor because of the additional perks.
An added benefit of playing so many classes is that you can almost always access and use scrolls, so be sure to hoard some.
7. Parting Shot
Playing an Unspecialized character at an #ALLegal table can be a refreshing experience, especially if you ascribe to the philosophy that “you are not your class” and the DM is willing to work with you to keep the full extent of what you can do a secret.
It can also be incredibly rewarding to level a character with such diverse skills and talents to 20, especially if you’re playing the more utility oriented variants.
If you liked this article, do help us share it! And if you decide to make an Unspecialized character, be sure to let us know.
We’d love to hear all about your adventures!