In Dungeons & Dragons, you and your friends create a group of powerful (or not) adventurers. Some become powerful protectors. Some become masters of magic. And some prefer to be close and personal in order to make their enemies suffer. Known as Martials, these are characters whose job it is to deal non-magical damage (although your magic gear may say otherwise), sometimes up close, sometimes from a distance, depending on your build.
There are plenty of feats to help you make your character even better at this job. Here we have some examples of how to improve in the melee department, to ensure that you and your friends will be the only ones left standing.
ten Master of Medium or Heavy Armor (Player’s Handbook)
Starting with two feats rather than one this time. Since you’re a melee fighter, chances are you’ll be wearing medium or heavy armor (don’t worry Monks and Barbarians, there are feats for you here too). Mastering in medium armor will negate the drawbacks to stealth checks that medium armor tends to give you, and you can add up to three points of your Dexterity modifier to your AC.
As for heavyweights, your strength ability score increases by one and each non-magical attack you receive decreases by three hit points. Both of these feats will help keep you alive, making them excellent choices.
9 Sentinel (Player’s Handbook)
The worst part about focusing on melee damage is that your ranged enemies will do everything in their power to stay away from you. It’s the best situation for them after all. Although you still have to reach them, Sentinel will make sure they don’t escape so easily.
First, with an enemy within 5 feet of you attacking someone who isn’t you, you can use your reaction to hit them. Second, disengaging will not save your enemies from your attacks of opportunity. Third, when you hit someone with an attack of opportunity, their movement drops to zero. So if someone tries to run away from you, you can hit them and abandon their move.
It also stacks quite well with other feats on this list, as well as combat master fighters who can stun enemies with their attacks.
8 Polearm Master (Player’s Handbook)
Speaking of good exploit combos, you have Polearm Master, which is pretty good on its own, and even better when combined with Sentinel. To use this one, polearms are required. It gives you the ability to attack with your bonus action using the other tip of the weapon.
It also allows you to give Opportunity Attacks when someone enters your range instead of only when they exit (a range of 10 feet thanks to polearm range). By combining with Sentinel which suppresses the movement of enemies with attacks of opportunity, you can prevent them from reaching you, then on your turn you can do all your attacks and just step back, so the attack of opportunity will trigger again on their turn.
seven Mage Slayer (Player’s Handbook)
A very important thing for every martial character is to demonstrate their superiority over the puny spellcasters you find along the way. And this exploit will help you accomplish that.
If you are within 5 feet of a spellcaster, you gain advantage on any saving throw caused by one of their spells. If he casts a spell, regardless of its target, you also get an attack of opportunity to hit him, and if he has a focus spell, his focus saving throw will be disadvantaged. This can also be combined with the Sentinel feat to reduce the movement of spellcasters to zero and prevent them from running away from you as well.
These two feats combined also work great for combat master fighters, who can knock enemies down with their maneuvers and, with no movement speed, prevent the enemy from getting back up (speaking from experience here).
6 Grandmaster of Arms (Player’s Handbook)
To become a true beast on the battlefield, two-handed weapons are the way to go. And that feat makes them even wilder than they can already be. The first thing it does is allow you to attack as a bonus action whenever you roll a natural 20 or whenever you drop someone’s health to zero (that part, by the way) passing, works on any melee weapon, not just two-handed ones), so you can quickly switch between enemies once they’re down.
You can also accept a -5 penalty on your attack rolls in order to receive a +10 on your damage. It will be harder to hit someone, but if you do, it will be a disaster. For your enemy, that is.
5 Mobile (Player’s Handbook)
To continue with the whole “ranged enemies will try to stay away from you”, mobile is a good way to prevent this from happening. You increase your overall movement by 10 feet, and it will also allow you to ignore difficult terrain when using the Dash action.
If that wasn’t enough, in case you attack someone, they won’t be able to use attacks of opportunity against you until the next turn, and the coolest thing is that you don’t even have to hit your attack for this effect to apply. Did you miss? Carefree. You can also do a nice combo of feats here…
4 Charger (Player’s Handbook)
The problem with the Dash action, whether you have Mobile or not, is that it consumes your action and not everyone can attack with its bonus action. Well, fear no more. Whenever you use Dash, the Charge feat allows you to use your bonus action to attack someone or knock them back 5 feet away from you.
However, if you move 10 feet or more in a straight line to hit your target, it gets better. If you choose to attack, your damage will be increased by five. If you choose to push, your target will be pushed 10 feet away from you instead. While this exploit and Mobile are more situational, they can both work well together and are equally good on their own.
3 Orcish Fury (Xanathar’s Guide to Everything)
Half-Orcs, it’s your turn to shine. This underrated feat will give one point in strength or constitution. But don’t worry, that’s not all. Once per rest, you may add an extra weapon die to one of your attacks. Essentially, it’s like a mini-natural 20 that you can trigger yourself, even though it’s only one die you can add. However, if you actually roll a natural 20, that die will also double, so you can cause even more damage.
Additionally, each time you use the Relentless Endurance racial trait, you get a free attack with your reaction. A good opportunity to retaliate against the one who tried to eliminate you.
2 Crusher, Piercer or Slasher (Tasha’s cauldron of everything)
Three neat feats that work pretty similarly, where you can choose based on the type of weapon you’re using (Crusher for bludgeoning, Piercer for, well, piercing, and Slasher for, you guessed it, slashing). Crusher will give you 1 ability score to put it in strength or dexterity. Once per turn, when you hit another creature, you can also move 5 feet, and if you hit someone with a natural 20, all attacks made against that creature will have advantage until your next round.
The other two work the same way. Piercer and Slasher will both give you a point to add in Strength or Dexterity. Piercer lets you reroll a damage die and take the new value once per turn, and you can roll an extra die when you hit someone with a 20. Slasher can reduce the movement of a creature you hit by 10 feet, and they get disadvantage on all their attacks until your next turn if you hit them with a natural 20.
1 Double Carrier (Player’s Handbook)
Last but not least, Dual Wielder is an often overlooked exploit, but it’s good for giving extra attacks. This one allows you to fight with two weapons without requiring one of them to be light. The second weapon also grants you an additional AC point (like a half shield). Combined with the two-weapon fighting style, you can have fun with this achievement, being able to attack with your actual bonus without receiving damage penalties from the second weapon.
NEXT: Best Achievements For Support Characters