Strongman (Strength) (5A)

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This is an original Exemplar subclass for 5A.

The giant is standing on the grillwork ceiling of the pit, the only exit, watching his pet wolves fight our heroes below. "Pitiful tiny ones, this pit will be your doom!". The giant laughs at his own wordplay. "Not so fast, you are not as strong as you think!" says the big guy in a leotard, incredibly lifting the trapdoor and giant together, causing the huge creature to fall over.

An Exemplar subclass. A strongman (male or female) is a master of strength and leverage, able to lift the heaviest loads and wrestle the mightiest of creatures. Breaching doors and even walls, tossing opponents about, and carrying their friends to safety on their shoulders.

A strongman might be known as a smith, lumberjack, carnie, bruiser, doorman, or footman. Famous strongmen from legend and fiction include Chewbacca, Heracles, Prince Lothar, Samson, and Thor.

1st Level: Focus Ability

Your Focus Ability is Strength. You are proficient with Strength and Constitution saving throws.

1st Level: Strongman Proficiencies

You gain proficiency and expertise (double Proficiency Bonus) in Athletics. If you already know Athletics, you select another skill to learn.

1st Level: Feats of Strength

When you make a Strength check, add your exemplar level to the result of that check. Also add your Exemplar level to your Strength when calculating encumbrance.

Very High Strength Checks

A high level strongman can make Strength checks up to the 50 range. Expect them to routinely win armwrestling matches with giants.

DC 20 Anything just barely possible to a human
DC 25 can bash through a log wall or iron door or pull a chain out of a wall.
DC 30 can break half a foot of brick or stone or half an inch of iron.
DC 35 can break a foot of masonry or an inch of metal.
DC 40 can break through 5 feet of stone of half a foot of metal.
DC 45 can break through 10 feet of stone or a foot of metal.
DC 50 can do ridiculous things, such as toppling a stone building or pull a boulder out of solid stone.

As a DM you may let a feat of strength have some effect, even if it doesn't match the DC to do everything the player wants. A failed attempt to break a hole in a stone wall may cause stones to fall out of the wall, allowing vision. An failed attempt to break manacles might leave it in place, but break the connection between hands, allowing free movement.

2nd Level: Strongman Tricks

You can choose these tricks only available to Strongmen.

  • Blitz. You make one Shove as a free action on your turn.
  • Casual Strength. Use this when you move. Until the end of your current turn you can make Strength and Strength (Athletics) checks and Strength saving throws to affect the environment as free actions. This allows you to bash open doors and barriers, escape from webs, and similar Strength feats by simply walking through them. You must still make checks as usual, but you do not need to take any action to do so. A failed Strength check costs 5 feet of movement and means you cannot use Casual Strength against this barrier again until the end of your current turn.
  • Fastball Special. Use this trick against an ally within 5 feet of your own size or smaller. You throw the target 30 feet. This movement does not trigger attacks of opportunity, does not inflict any damage, and your ally lands on their feet even if they started their turn prone. If the ally lands within reach of an enemy, they can take a reaction to make a melee weapon attack and and can add your Exemplar Die to both the attack roll and to damage if the attack is a hit. This does not consume any of your exemplar dice. At 5th level the thrown ally can be Medium in size even if you are Small . At 11th level the ally can be Large in size and can be thrown up to 40 feet. At 14th level the thrown ally can be Huge and can be thrown up to 50 feet. At 17th level the thrown ally can be of any size and can be thrown up to 60 feet.
  • Make Way! Use this trick when moving. You can move into the space of other creatures, and creatures do not count as difficult ground to you. An enemy whose space you move into must make a Strength saving throw against your trick DC. If they succeed, your movement stops, you failed to move into their space and expend 5 feet of movement failing to do so. You can try to move into their space again if you have sufficient movement remaining. If they fail, you push them 5 feet away and can continue moving. If there is not sufficient space for them to be moved, they fall prone instead. A creature that you could not grapple or shove has advantage on this saving throw.

3rd Level: Master Grappler

Your grappling improves in several ways, and continues to improve as you advance in level.

  • Creatures you grapple are restrained instead of grappled.
  • The first creature you grapple with does not require a free hand. If you simultaneously grapple more than one creature, each creature after the first does require a free hand.
  • At the end of your turn, you can toss one or more of the creatures you grapple up to 10 feet into an empty space, where they land prone.
  • At 6th level a creature you Grapple or Shove takes bludgeoning damage equal to your Exemplar Dice + your Strength bonus.
  • At 14th level you can Grapple or Shove a creature up to two size categories larger than you.
  • At 17th level you can Grapple or Shove a creature of any size.

6th Level: Strongman Dice

You learn to use Exemplar Dice to in new and interesting ways.

  • When you hit with a melee or thrown weapon attack you can roll an exemplar die and add to the damage inflicted. This includes unarmed attacks and attacks made with improvised weapons.
  • When you succeed at a grapple or shove maneuver you can spend an exemplar die and do bludgeoning damage equal to the result of the die plus your Strength modifier.
  • When you throw a weapon, creature, or object, you can roll an Exemplar Die, multiply the result by 5 feet, and add this distance to the range of the thrown weapon and twice this distance to the maximum range of the throw.
  • When handling a heavy weight, you can roll an Exemplar Die and multiply the weight you can handle by the result of the die. On a die roll of 1, you still double your capacity.

10th Level: Monster Hammer

When grappling an enemy, you can use that enemy as a weapon as a bonus action. The grappled creature takes bludgeoning damage equal to your Exemplar Die + your Strength bonus and continues to be grappled. Select a space equal to the grappled creature's space adjacent to you. Any creature in the space must make a Strength or Dexterity saving throw (their choice) against your trick save DC. Those who fail fall prone and take bludgeoning damage equal to your Exemplar Dice + your Strength bonus. Your allies and creatures of a larger size than the grappled creature have advantage on this saving throw.

14th Level: Monster Toss

When grappling an enemy, you can throw that enemy up to 30 feet as a bonus action. There can be other creatures in the space where the creature lands. The grapple ends and the tossed creature lands prone and takes bludgeoning damage equal to your Exemplar Die + your Strength bonus. Any creature in the space where the grappled creature lands suffers the effect of Monster Hammer and is then moved to the nearest empty space outside the area.