Not getting hit is, unsurprisingly, just a good idea in general. That’ll keep you in the game, and while your Tank and Off-Tank are generally decent damage dealers, the quicker your enemies die, the less exposed they’ll be to the trials of RNG, which is suspiciously good at pulling out those 18+ rolls enemies often need to hit your tanks. Two is company, three’s a crowd, and since we probably don’t need a third tank, we opt for something more capable of dealing damage than avoiding it.
The Two-Handed Melee DPS is not a tank. They’re not meant to be targeted. They’ve got a good amount of Hit Points, sure, but their Armor Class will likely not stand up to scrutiny, so if they’re targeted, expect them to shed Hit Points at a prodigious rate. Two things help with that: first, this warrior will add another animal companion to the mix, which is always welcome, and second, the whole “two-handed” part of their name. Ideally this will allow them to take up position behind your tanks and attack without fear of reprisal. Of course, there are complications. Some enemies are rather large, can meet or exceed your reach. Some enemies also have the temerity to, you know, move, which can shatter your carefully laid plans.
Acceptable counters to these problems include casting Enlarge Person or Legendary Proportions on your Two-Handed Melee DPS and filling the area with enough bodies to make it unlikely that your Two-Handed Melee DPS will be targeted. If your Tank is your protagonist, they enemy will be extra keen on attacking them, providing extra cover for your Two-Handed Melee DPS.
Other than durability concerns, this is a fairly simple build: get a big weapon, stay behind your tanks and pets, and smash enemies from a safe distance. Numerous classes contribute to this build’s overall efficacy, but at the end of the day we’re either boosting pets or the damage we deal with two-handed weapons.
|The Two-Handed Melee DPS - Starting Stats||Barbarian (Mad Dog)|
|Race||Human, Half-Orc, Aasimar, Tiefling|
|Skills||Athletics, Mobility, Lore (Nature), Perception, Persuasion|
|Feats||Weapon Focus, Power Attack|
Barbarian (Mad Dog): Mad Dog is our base class and the one we’ll be leveling up the most. The reasons why are pretty obvious at a glance: it has just about everything we could want. High Base Attack Bonus, Hit Points, Rage (which will boost damage somewhat) and, of course, a pet.
You can take this class as high as level 14 for “Throat Cutter”, which will give your Mad Dog Attacks of Opportunity against opponents hit by their pet’s Trip, Overrun and Bull Rush attempts. This of course depends on you actually having a pet that can perform these combat maneuvers, although “Ferocious Fetch” should guarantee this if you bother to use it.
Inquisitor (Sacred Huntmaster): Another no-brainer addition for this build, dipping three levels will get you “Hunter Tactics”, which will give your pet some useful buffs. While this class won’t keep your Base Attack Bonus as high as it could be, it won’t neuter your pet, and the ability to give your pet your teamwork feats (Outflank and Seize the Moment being the long-term goals here) is just too good to pass up. You’ll also get some Inquisitor spells, but they’re not much of a factor for this build.
Fighter (Two-Handed Fighter): Just like Sacred Huntmaster, we take three levels in this class solely for “Overhand Chop” which will double the Strength bonus we get to apply to our damage rolls. Not bad at all. This will hinder your pet’s advancement a bit, but you can always grab the “Boon Companion” perk to make up lost levels.
Ability Scores: Should be no surprise that a class designed to hit things with two-handed weapons will want a lot of Strength, and that attribute is the driving focus of this build. Since no other stats matter nearly as much, we keep our Intelligence and Wisdom at passable levels for skills and spells, and boost our Dexterity and Constitution for Initiative rolls and Hit Points. It’s really all about Strength, though.
Race: Any race that gets a bonus to Strength works for this build, but Human is probably the best option due to their bonus feat and skill points.
Alignment: Any Chaotic will do. We went with Chaotic Good just because our protagonist was good-aligned.
Skills: The Mad Dog has five class skills: Athletics, Mobility, Lore (Nature), Perception and Persuasion. A Human Mad Dog will get four skill points per level. If you want to make use of Dazzling Display and Dreadful Carnage, you’ll want to boost Persuasion, despite your low Charisma score. Athletics is something of a no-brainer for a high-Strength character, while Mobility might come in handy from time to time. Can also be your Lore (Nature) character, too. Honestly there’s a lot of overlap with other builds, so aside from Persuasion (which you should really boost), you can toss your skill points wherever you need them to take the burden off of your Bard.
Feats: Start out with Weapon Focus in your weapon of choice (if you want to copy Amiri and go with bastard swords you’ll need Exotic Weapon Proficiency, as well). Any two-handed weapon will suffice. After that, staples like Power Attack, Dazzling Display and Outflank are no-brainers. Given the nature of this build, Combat Reflexes will allow you to capitalize on the Attacks of Opportunity your pet will provoke, and Reckless Stance will boost your Attack bonus at the expense of Armor Class - the latter of which you hopefully don’t need, because you won’t be targeted.