SORCADIN: Dassem Ultor Build AL10

I am trying to build a character along the lines of Dassem Ultor from malazan saga. Summarizing the character for those lucky enough to haven’t read the saga yet:

  • formidable swordsman
  • commander with unparalleled charisma  (He led from the front of every battle and soldiers shoved each other aside just for the chance to fight near him.)    
  • at one point in his career he entered into some pact with a god of death

The idea is to create an untouchable swordsman who immobilizes his enemies by terrorizing them with his fame.

Therefore conquest paladin who at some point in his career enters into a pact with some goddess of death (divine sorcerer)

We come to the build:

The idea is to give up a little bit of power in the first levels to get optimized later.

Variant Human (dex-cha): str 13 – dex 14 – con 12- int 8 – wis 12 – cha 16

1st feat: Defensive Duelist or Inspiring Leader

The plan is to take a level in hexblade soon to use CHA as attack modifier.

STR 13 serves me to multiclass and is enough to wear the first armors (dex +2 also gives me great options if I find medium armor worthy of note).  I’ll start with rapier and shield then I’ll give up only a +1 up until the hexblade level, then we switch to using CHA.  

CON is the only big leak but with an excellent armor class (20 if we count the possibility of using the defense duelist feat, 21 with defense fighting style) and all the protections of the paladin class, the PG could work until I’ll find or trade an amulet of health, as well as a belt or gauntlet for STR in order to use an end game armor. (I hate wasting an item over a good ability score)

The progression should be:

1st feat: defensive duelist or inspiring leader

4pal-1hex: ASI +2 CHA

8pal-1hex: ASI +2 CHA

8pal-1hex-4sor(Divine): ASI +2CON if haven’t find amulet or the other feat named in 1st lv

8pal-1hex-8sor: ASI +2CON or Shield Master feat

I really like the 3 feats option without increasing CON

what do you think? particular regard to:   the choice of the fighting style: imho defense > dueling cos AC scales very little while 2 damage becomes negligible going forward and it helps with the CON leak of the build

alternative feat:  Defense duelist seems to me very good for the 1st levels but later against more numerous opponents (the reaction is only one) and with more options to use the reaction it seems to me also forces me to use a rapier when I might decide to vary in a STR sword once I have found a good belt.

alternative level progression, knowing that i can’t wait to see Dassen immobilize opponents with aura of conquest while guardian spirits tear them to shreds.

As a GM, how do I encourage PCs to share and play out their backstories?

My players have trouble creating deep backstories for the characters. I have decided to go with that but provide opportunities in-game for filling out the gaps. I’m considering introducing some flashbacks, which I have never done and have no idea how to do. I would also want those stories to have real impact on the game (so that the players feel the story is important).

How do I go about stimulating the players to tell and expand and play out the back stories of the characters?

Does movement speed add damage or attack power to weapons?

I have a character who has managed to get herself a movement speed of 100′. She is a centaur, and as such specializes in lance based combat and charges. Now in the real world a lance moving faster would have more power behind it. With this centaur moving at 56 MPH and putting her 1473 pounds behind that lance it is striking with a force of 16,726.39 Newtons concentrated down onto the lance tip, which is something rather tiny like a hundred thousandth of an inch. This results in the lance point having 95,510,148 PSI when it strikes a target. This is enough force to pierce up to 8 inches of modern ultra-high carbon steels (assuming no loss of power by friction). In other words that lance is going into and through just about anything that gets in its path.

Now is this knowledge just a fun bit of coolness to know or does D&D reflect physics and give a damage boost for speed of a handheld piercing weapon?

How can you tell the distances by road between the settlements of Ten Towns in Icewind Dale?

I’ve read through Chapter 1 of Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden and have not found any guidance on how to judge distances and travel times between the settlements of Ten Towns.

Other than a good old fashion ruler compared to the map scale, is there a quick way to determine the distances between the settlements of Ten Towns?

What tier are Path of War classes?

I know what class tiers are, and I know what tier most Pathfinder classes are. However, I have recently discovered Path of War, an alternative rule system published by Dreamscarred Press. It introduces many new classes to the game, and I don’t think I know the system well enough to judge every one of them without witnessing them in play, which I haven’t done yet.

On the other hand, I want to know which of those classes are actually good and which are not.

So, which tiers do Path of War classes belong to?

Can a wereraven shadow monk cast darkness in raven form?

In my ongoing Curse of Strahd game,

The question has arisen about what spells a wood elf Way of the Shadow Monk would have access to in the various wereraven forms.

In the humanoid (wood elf) form, all spell casting would be available as normal.

In the hybrid form, most spell casting would still be available, as the hybrid has hands (S), voice (V), and Ki (M). She would just need to remember to bring her fleece after all her gear drops to the ground when changing forms in order to cast minor illusion.

In the raven form, however, most spellcasting would be lost, as the bird does not have hands (S). However, one possible spell retained is darkness, which does not have a Somatic component and which instead is just V, M. The Material components are replaced with Ki, as described in the subclass’ abilities. But can the wereraven’s ability to Mimic serve as the Verbal component?

Mimicry. The wereraven can mimic simple sounds it has heard, such as a person whispering, a baby crying, or an animal chittering. A creature that hears the sounds can tell they are imitations with a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Insight) check.

Is this mimicry close enough to actual sounds that it could serve as the verbal component of the spell? Or is it just imitation sound, not actual ‘sounds of power, and insufficient?

Note that the ‘verbal’ component of spells derives its power not from the words themselves but because the words sound like powerful magical sounds

Most spells require the chanting of mystic words. The words themselves aren’t the source of the spell’s power; rather, the particular combination of sounds, with specific pitch and resonance, sets the threads of magic in motion.

This related question asks whether a wild shaped druid can speak in raven form. On the one hand, actual speaking would require far more verbal repertoire than casting a single action spell. On the other hand, perhaps the ‘sounds of power’ in a spell need to actually really spoken rather than just imitation sounds.

This related question concludes that Kenku can cast spells with verbal components, but it is primarily supported by a Crawford tweet that says "Kenku speak" and ravens seem more limited to me. At the level of mechanics, raven mimicry is detected by a DC-limited Insight check, while Kenku mimicry is detected by a contested Insight vs. Deception check, hinting that the Kenku is more personally in control of their ‘speech’ and some are better than others.

How do the Death Ward spell and the half-orc’s Relentless Endurance racial trait interact?

What happens when you cast Death Ward on a half-orc? Do the effects of the spell and the half-orc’s Relentless Endurance racial trait stack?

If so, and you get reduced to 0 HP more than once, can you go back up to 1 HP a second time? Or does only one of them take effect and you can only be brought back to 1 HP once?

My DM thinks the latter.

If you’re unconscious and making death saving throws, and an attack from within 5 feet of you hits you, does it cause 2 failed death saves?

In the PHB, it says that three death saving throw failures means you die; taking any damage causes 1 failure, and a critical hit causes 2 failures. But the unconscious condition says that attacks against an unconscious character have advantage and auto-crit if they’re within 5 feet.

That seems really tough — it almost guarantees that you’ll die if hit twice if one is melee, and on top of that if you’re hit once and not stabilized on your next turn you have a 45% chance of getting your third failure from the saving throw.

Am I correctly reading the rules? If you’re unconscious and making death saving throws, and an attack from within 5 feet of you hits you, does it cause 2 failed death saves?