Polearm Master is a popular feat in D&D 5e that allows characters to become highly proficient in the use of polearms such as the halberd, glaive, or pike.
This feat provides several benefits, including an extra attack with your polearm as a bonus action, the ability to stop approaching enemies with an opportunity attack, and improved damage against targets that are within your reach.
This guide aims to provide a complete outline of how to create and play a Polearm Master character, with tips and tactics to maximize your effectiveness in combat.
We will explore the benefits of the Polearm Master feat and discuss its prerequisites. We will also provide guidance on selecting the right race, class, and equipment for your character.
In addition to character creation, this guide will explore the combat tactics that are most effective for Polearm Masters. You’ll learn how to utilize the Polearm Master feat to its fullest potential and advanced tactics for more experienced players.
We’ll also discuss how to advance your character as you progress through higher levels, including feat and ability score choices, multi-classing options, and magical items that can enhance your abilities.
What is Polearm Master 5e?
Polearm Master 5e is a feat in D&D that enhances a character’s abilities when using polearms, which are long weapons with a blade or point at the end, typically wielded with both hands. The feat provides several benefits that make characters more proficient with polearms and increase their effectiveness in combat.
Opportunity Attacks: With the Polearm Master feat, you can make an opportunity attack against any enemy that enters your reach. This means that you can attack an enemy who tries to move past you, even if it’s not their turn. This makes you a formidable obstacle for enemies to navigate around and can help protect your allies.
A Bonus Action: When you take the Attack action with a glaive, halberd, or quarterstaff, you can use a bonus action to make a melee attack with the opposite end of the weapon. This allows you to deal additional damage or potentially hit another enemy, giving you more versatility in combat.
Improved Samage: When you use a glaive, halberd, or quarterstaff with the Polearm Master feat, you can roll a d4 in addition to the weapon’s damage dice. This extra damage applies to both the initial attack and the bonus action attack. Additionally, when you score a critical hit with the weapon, you can roll the extra damage dice again.
Overall, the Polearm Master feat provides characters with increased flexibility, damage potential, and battlefield control. It’s a great choice for characters who want to specialize in using polearms and can be especially effective for characters who want to protect their allies and control the battlefield.
Polearm Master 5e feat in Action
The Polearm Master feat is a powerful option for melee characters who use polearms, such as halberds, glaives, and spears. Here’s an example of how it might be used in combat:
Let’s say our character is a human fighter with the Polearm Master feat, wielding a halberd. They are facing off against a group of goblins who have ambushed them in a forest clearing.
On their turn, our fighter takes the Attack action, swinging their halberd at the nearest goblin. Thanks to the Polearm Master feat, they can use a bonus action to make an additional attack with the opposite end of the halberd, using its blunt end to strike the goblin if their initial attack missed or didn’t kill it.
Assuming both attacks hit, the goblin is now bloodied but still standing. Our fighter then uses their Action Surge feature to take an additional Attack action, swinging their halberd again and finishing off the wounded goblin.
As a result of the Polearm Master feat, our fighter has dealt significant damage to the goblin group and has also managed to keep them at a distance thanks to the reach of the halberd.
Additionally, the feat’s opportunity attack ability can allow the fighter to strike back at any goblin who tries to approach them, making them a formidable opponent in melee combat.
Races can Use a Polearm Master
In most Dungeons & Dragons editions, any race that can choose to be a fighter, paladin, or ranger can take the Polearm Master feat, provided they meet the prerequisites. The prerequisites for taking the Polearm Master feat vary slightly depending on the edition, but typically include proficiency with a polearm weapon and a minimum level in the chosen class.
Here are some examples of races that are commonly chosen to play as fighters, paladins, or rangers and can therefore take the Polearm Master feat:
Humans are a versatile race that can excel in any class, making them a popular choice for players who want to play as a polearm-wielding character.
Half-elves have a bonus to their Charisma score, which can be useful for classes like paladin that rely on Charisma for their abilities. They also can choose two skills, making them versatile characters.
Dwarves have a bonus to their Constitution score, making them hardy characters who can withstand much punishment. They also have proficiency with certain types of weapons, such as the Warhammer, that can complement a polearm.
Goliaths are a race of large, powerful humanoids that have a bonus to their Strength score. This makes them a good choice for characters that want to wield a heavy, two-handed polearm like a halberd.
Tieflings have a bonus to their Charisma score, which can be useful for paladins or warlocks. They also have a unique demonic appearance and backstory, which can add flavor to a polearm-wielding character.
Elves have a bonus to their Dexterity score, which can make them more nimble and better able to avoid attacks. They also have proficiency with longbows and short words, which can be useful for ranged attacks or backup weapons if needed.
Half-orcs have a bonus to their Strength score and are known for their physical toughness, making them well-suited for classes like fighter or barbarian. They also have the ability to deal extra damage when they land a critical hit, which can be devastating when combined with a polearm’s high damage output.
Dragonborn is a race of humanoid dragons that have a bonus to their Strength score and can breathe a destructive element such as fire or acid. They can make fearsome polearm-wielding characters that strike fear into their enemies.
Halflings have a bonus to their Dexterity score, making them quick and agile characters that are hard to hit. They also have the Lucky trait, which allows them to reroll certain rolls, making them more survivable.
Gnomes have a bonus to their Intelligence score, making them smart and resourceful characters. They also have the ability to hide behind larger creatures, which can be useful for avoiding attacks while still being able to strike with a polearm.
These are just a few examples of races that can make great polearm-wielding characters. Ultimately, the choice of race will depend on the player’s preferences, their chosen class, and the campaign setting they are playing in.
How to Get the Most out of a Polearm Fighter
Here are some tips on how to get the most out of a Polearm Fighter in Dungeons & Dragons:
Choose the Right Polearm
There are several types of polearms in Dungeons & Dragons, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, a halberd is a heavy weapon that deals great damage but is slower and more cumbersome than a glaive or a spear. Consider your character’s abilities and playstyle when choosing your weapon.
Take the Polearm Master feat
This feat is essential for any Polearm Fighter, as it allows you to make an extra attack with the butt end of your polearm as a bonus action. It also gives you the ability to make opportunity attacks when enemies enter your reach, making you a formidable defender.
Maximize Your Reach
Polearms have a longer reach than most other weapons, so make sure to take advantage of this by positioning yourself strategically on the battlefield. Stay in the backline and keep enemies at bay, or use your reach to attack from behind cover.
If you’re playing a fighter, consider multiclassing into another class that complements your abilities, such as Paladin or Warlock. This can give you access to additional spells and abilities that can enhance your damage output and survivability.
Use Your Action Surge Wisely
Fighters can use their action surge to take additional action in combat. Use this ability strategically to deal a devastating amount of damage, or to take out multiple enemies at once.
Take Advantage of Feats and Abilities
Several feats and abilities can enhance a Polearm Fighter’s damage output, such as Great Weapon Master, which allows you to take a -5 penalty to your attack roll in exchange for dealing an extra 10 damage. Make sure to take advantage of these whenever possible.
Invest in your defenses: While Polearm Fighters can deal a lot of damage, they can also be vulnerable to attacks from ranged or spellcasting enemies. Consider investing in your defenses, such as taking the Shield Master feat or wearing heavy armor, to make yourself harder to hit.
By following these tips, you can become a formidable Polearm Fighter in Dungeons & Dragons, able to deal massive amounts of damage while defending your allies from harm.
Best Polearms for Polearm Master
Several polearms can be effective for a character with the Polearm Master feat in Dungeons & Dragons. Here are a few options to consider:
- Glaive: The glaive is a versatile weapon that deals slashing damage and has a range of 10 feet. Its high damage output and ability to make opportunity attacks make it a popular choice for Polearm Masters.
- Halberd: The halberd is a heavy weapon that deals slashing and piercing damage and has a range of 10 feet. It requires two hands to wield, but its high damage output and reach make it a formidable weapon.
- Pike: The pike is a long, spear-like polearm that deals piercing damage and has a range of 10 feet. It is especially effective against mounted enemies and can be used to create a wall of spears to defend against a charge.
- Spear: The spear is a simple weapon with piercing damage and a range of 6 feet. It is an effective choice for characters who want a more lightweight, agile weapon.
- Quarterstaff: The quarterstaff is a simple weapon that can be used as a two-handed polearm or as a versatile weapon that can be wielded with one hand. Its low damage output is offset by its ability to be used in a variety of situations.
Ultimately, the best polearm for a Polearm Master will depend on the character’s abilities and playstyle. Consider your character’s strengths and weaknesses when choosing your weapon, and choose a polearm that complements your build.
Building a Polearm Master 5e character in Dungeons & Dragons involves making several key decisions about your character’s race, class, and abilities. Here are some steps to follow when building a Polearm Master character:
Choose Your Race
As mentioned earlier, several races are well-suited for Polearm Master characters, including Humans, Half-Elves, and Dragonborn. Consider which race best fits your character’s backstory and abilities.
Choose Your Class
The Fighter class is a natural choice for a Polearm Master character, as it provides access to a wide variety of combat abilities and extra attacks. However, other classes like Paladin, Ranger, and Warlock can also be effective depending on your playstyle.
Choose Your Background
Your character’s background can provide additional skills and abilities that complement your Polearm Master build. Consider backgrounds like Soldier or Knight for additional combat proficiencies.
Allocate Your Ability Scores
The key ability scores for a Polearm Master are Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution. Strength is important for dealing damage, while Dexterity and Constitution are important for survivability. Consider allocating your ability scores to maximize your character’s strengths.
Choose Your Equipment
As a Polearm Master, your choice of weapon is crucial. Consider the different types of polearms available and choose one that fits your playstyle. You may also want to invest in heavy armor and a shield to improve your defenses.
Choose Your Feats
The Polearm Master feat is a must-have for any Polearm Master character, as it provides several key abilities like an extra attack and the ability to make opportunity attacks when enemies enter your reach. Other feats like Great Weapon Master or Sentinel can also be effective depending on your playstyle.
Choose Your Fighting Style
If you’re a Fighter, you can choose a fighting style that complements your Polearm Master build. The Defense style can improve your armor class, while the Great Weapon Fighting style can help you deal more damage.
Choose Your Subclass
If you’re a Fighter, you can choose a subclass that provides additional abilities and options for your character. The Battle Master subclass can provide additional maneuvers and options in combat, while the Eldritch Knight subclass allows you to cast spells in addition to your martial abilities.
Allocate Your Skills
As a Polearm Master, you’ll want to invest in skills like Athletics and Perception to improve your combat abilities and situational awareness.
Consider Your Role in the Party
As a Polearm Master, your role in the party will likely be that of a frontline combatant. Consider how you can work with other party members to maximize your effectiveness in combat.
Overall, building a Polearm Master character requires careful consideration of your race, class, abilities, and equipment. By making smart choices and investing in key abilities and feats, you can create a powerful and effective character that excels in combat.
Disadvantages of a Polearm Master 5e built-in
While there are certainly advantages to building a Polearm Master character in Dungeons & Dragons 5e, there are also a few potential disadvantages to keep in mind:
- Limited range: While polearms have an extended reach compared to many other melee weapons, they still have a limited range of 5-10 feet. This means that if enemies manage to get inside your reach, you may have difficulty defending yourself.
- Restricted movement: Because polearms require two hands to wield, you may have limited options for movement during combat. You may need to use your action to switch to a different weapon or to drop your polearm to perform certain actions.
- Vulnerability to ranged attacks: Because you are focused on close-range combat, you may be vulnerable to attacks from ranged enemies. You’ll need to be careful to position yourself in a way that minimizes this vulnerability.
- Lack of versatility: While polearms are powerful weapons, they are not well-suited for all situations. You may need to switch to a different weapon or rely on other abilities to deal with certain enemies or environments.
- Potential for friendly fire: Because polearms have a wide range of attacks, you may accidentally hit allies who are standing near your enemies. You’ll need to be careful to avoid hitting your allies during combat.
While a Polearm Master character can be a powerful and effective combatant, there are potential disadvantages to consider as well. By understanding these limitations and working to mitigate them, you can create a well-rounded character that excels in combat.
What is the best polearm for Polearm Master in 5e?
The Glaive or the Halberd.
What are the best maneuvers for Polearm Master in 5e?
The Polearm Master feat does not grant maneuvers.
What is the best weapon for Polearm Master?
The Glaive or the Halberd.
Do you add strength to Polearm Master in 5e?
Yes, you add your Strength modifier to the damage of polearm attacks.