(Art by Jason Engle)
Lords, ladies, lads, and lasses, I am Vinni the Troll and welcome back to my lair. With Halloween fast approaching and my unfortunate altitis affliction I bring you this concept piece D&D build.
This poor soul is the lone survivor of his thieves’ guild. The trauma he saw and the friends he lost has left scars upon him both physical and mental, so we begin as a Barbarian with a criminal background. He was an enforcer, a leg breaker, and obviously a survivor, so we start with a focus on Strength, Charisma, and Constitution. Barbarian rage requires STR attacks to get the rage damage, and this is how he expresses his issues. CHA is here for his use of Intimidation to coerce people to pay the “tax,” or stop skimming off the top, or even to interrogate people with valuable information.
Then we dip into Rogue for some skill boost, perhaps another social skill like deception, and an expertise on Intimidation. This man wields his very presence as a weapon. The sneak attack can be used with his STR, oddly enough, by simply wielding a finesse weapon. RAW you only need to use a finesse weapon; you don’t need to use DEX when you use it. STR can punch with a rapier or short sword just as easily as DEX can. We’re going to continue the rogue path for now up to level three, where we see his rogue subclass reveal itself: The Phantom. The death of his comrades haunts him to this day. When he uses his sneak attack he can throw a little necrotic damage at another target within 30 feet. Following third level you could hit level four to grab Piercer feat for some extra-tasty critical damage, or go back to Barbarian and continue rebuilding his guild.
So back to Barbarian we go, continuing through two more levels to see Barbarian level three, and we take Ancestral Guardian. Now we have his old guildies bolstering his new allies as ancestral spirits. Now when he rages and shouts “GET ‘EM BOYS!” his target is marked and will be harassed into ignoring other targets, offering up disadvantage to hit, and damage resistance if they do.
This simple start, with as little of investment as six levels your creepy little rage boi can use the dead to help his friends, hurt his enemies, and enshroud himself in much dark edginess. Ancestral Guardian is a nice sticky tank subclass, and the flavor of the Phantom just adds to the whole thing.
If you wanted to be less creepy, be a badass Swashbuckler who simply makes his targets flinch and not attack him in reprisal. This alternative lends itself to a sticky tank that kites their target, giving them a more difficult choice of who to chase.
I would focus more on Barbarian at this point to increase your rage damage, get a second attack, and start mitigating damage to your allies, eventually reflecting damage back on the attackers.
With your increased speed and cunning action you should be able to move anywhere on the battlefield to attend to the lives of your living allies all while being the creepy, edgy, haunted guy in the corner.