Let's Play...A D&D Jedi
Since this week is Star Wars week, we thought we'd take a break from our typical D&D content to show you how to build a Jedi-style character for your next D&D one shot. It's a fun little build, allowing you to play out most of what you like about the Jedi, but in a medieval fantasy universe.
There are many ways to do this, and a lot of people online have given various ways to do it. This build will involve some multiclassing, so if your DM doesn't allow for that we will give some thoughts on how to get past this, but in our estimation multiclass building is the way to go to make a Jedi. So that will be our primary build.
We will start by looking at the high concept of the Jedi so that we know what should be integrated into a complete build, and then we will go into the specifics of how to build out the character.
I. High Concept: Jedi as Warrior Sage
Jedi are peacekeeper warrior monks, devoted to protecting the galaxy and bringing justice. They have some martial prowess (some more than others), combined this with access to magical powers through the Living Force.
This means that on the whole, you'll probably want the Extra Attack feature, and access to at least some spells. How you do this is up to debate, as you will see below.
The big thing is that your magical abilities are pretty narrowly defined: moving things, lifting people, protecting people from danger (parrying blows, etc.), and no real area-based damage spells. In fact, beyond lifting people and the Force Push, there isn't a lot of crowd control magic for Jedi at all, so keep that in mind.
From a martial perspective, the biggest thing to remember is that Jedi don't use heavy armor (even in Clone Wars we see some plate armor but not full plate armor) and they don't use shields (which makes zero sense to me).
So with this in mind, you should start by asking, "What kind of Jedi is my character going to be?" Are you more of a martial Jedi like Obi-Wan, Anakin, or Mace Windu, or are you more of a Force-centric Jedi like Yoda or Luminara Unduli? Decide who you want to be, as that will determine the number of levels you take in each class.
II. The Build: Wizard Fighter
So it's worth noting that I went back and forth between wizard and cleric for the magic, but I landed on the wizard primarily for its cantrips and other spell selections.
We will start at 1st level with Wizard because spellbooks are expensive, and we don't want to have to buy that later, :P If you are not allowed to multiclass, take Fighter and use the Wizard Initiate feat alongside Eldritch Knight to get your spells. If your DM doesn't allow you to use feats...then ugh, go Paladin (as you get the best of many worlds), but ugh, this DM of yours is becoming frustrating right out of the gate.
You'll want a good Intelligence stat, followed by a good Dexterity stat, followed by a good Constitution stat. The rest is eh - if you happen to roll high for stats put the next highest one in Wisdom just for Perception, but the big two you need are Intelligence and Dexterity (as we will not be using a lot of Concentration spells for this build, so while hit points are useful, the actual stat will not be as important).
Since you get to pick your subclass at 2nd level, there are several that jump out as being really good; Divination is fantastic as is Abjuration, but other good options include War Mage from Xanathar's and Bladesinger from Tasha's Cauldron, though I haven't seen them played so I'm not sold on their durability yet.
Your 1st level spells and cantrips actually give you really good options for Force abilities. For cantrips you have access to Gust (Force Push Lite), Booming Blade or Green-Flame Blade (to make your "Lightsaber," aka Rapier, feel more Lightsaber-y), Mage Hand (for opening doors with the Force, picking things up, etc.), and Friends (for a low-end Jedi Mind Trick in case you don't want to go with Charm Person).
For your 1st level spells, I recommend Absorb Elements (like Kylo Ren does in Ep7, Obi-Wan does in Ep2, etc.), Catapult (for telekinetic throwing of things), Charm Person (in case you want to Jedi Mind Trick without making people automatically hostile to you), Feather Fall (so you can jump from a high height), Longstrider (in case you want that Force Quickness), Jump (same reason), Shield (for your blocking of "blaster bolts" and "lightsabers"), and if you're cool with taking a spell that is horrendous (as we mentioned in a past post here), I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Witch Bolt as your "Sith lightning" option.
Your goal is to survive to Level 2 so that you can boost your resilience and fighting abilities like crazy, :P
2nd - 4th level: We take 3 levels of Fighter, and select the Battle Master subclass if you are allowed to multi-class into Fighter. Whatever subclass you choose, you gain proficiency with martial weapons, so go ahead and spend gold to get a rapier (if you plan to just use DEX), longsword, or great sword (if you plan to use STR). This will be your "lightsaber."
The jump into Fighter gives us Second Wind (so that we can fight for longer, as we see Qui-Gon do in The Phantom Menace), Action Surge for more killing power or casting power, and the features of our subclass which will make playing a martial class more fun. It also gives us a fighting stance (I recommend Defense, Duelist, or Great Weapon Master depending on what's important to you) and access to Light and Medium Armor, so plunk down some cash to get some armor.
5 - 6th level: We take Wizard to 3rd level so we get our 2nd level spell slots and get spells from our school of magic for cheaper (unless you play one of those subclasses that doesn't get cheaper spells in which case you get other fun toys).
Truthfully, 2nd level doesn't give us a lot of spell options, but there are a few that are worth looking at. Gust of Wind is a far better "Force Push" than the Gust cantrip, Knock lets us open doors that would otherwise be locked/closed, Levitate is our fancy "lift them off the ground" spell, but perhaps the biggest winner is Hold Person. Not only does it hold someone like we see in Clone Wars and Ep7, but it also tees up a person for our melee attacks: hold them up, then cut them down.
If you really want another option you can always take Magic Weapon to boost your lightsaber, but it doesn't do much for what you spend. But if you plan to play a more martial Jedi, it might be helpful. If you're playing more of a sage you can also take Clairvoyance, which is also a divination spell if you're a divination wizard.
7 - 8th level: We're going to take two more levels of Fighter so we get our ASI and Extra Attack. If you don't want to be as martial focused of a Jedi, this is where you can end it, as your 6th level Fighter abilities are not that great, and it takes a while to get to the other good stuff (most notably 3 attacks at 11th level).
This means you get 2 attacks when you are not casting a spell as an action, and it means you get to take advantage of your bonus action cantrips that boost your next melee attack. That is really sweet, and will make you feel a lot like a Jedi. The best use of the ASI is boosting your DEX if you are a martial Jedi, INT if you are a Force Jedi, or a useful feat like Medium Armor Master if you have a 16 DEX, or Great Weapon Master if you are using a sword two-handed.
9 - 10th: We're going to take 2 more levels of Wizard, giving you another ASI and access to 3rd level spells. If you don't want a Force-focused Jedi this is probably the best place to end it, as 4th level spells are good but not that great, and you really want those 3 attacks per action at 11th level Fighter as soon as possible.
The ASI will boost whatever stat you need assistance with, or it can take another feat if that would be better for the build. For spell choices, 3rd level is typically huge for a wizard, but we don't want spells like Fireball as they are outside of the theme. Spells like Counterspell and Dispel Magic can still work as we see Jedi freeing people from the power of others, and Haste is a useful spell for feeling like you are chopping through your enemies (so many attacks per turn, plus Action Surge!). And of course if you're good with using Force Lightning you can pick up Lightning Bolt which is very powerful.
But honestly, while 3rd level spells are among the best spells in the game, not many really fit a Jedi. Maybe Remove Curse or Sending, but there really aren't a lot of Jedi themed spells at this level.
11th and Beyond: Now if you don't care that much about d10 superiority dice (at 15th level Battle Master), you could just take 11 levels of Fighter (to get the 3 attacks) and 9 levels of wizard, in which case you get access to 5th level spells alongside 3 attacks per action, which is pretty sweet considering how many spells are on the wizard list that can be cast as bonus actions and reactions.
But ideally that's where the build ends: you want at least 11 levels of Fighter to give you really good offensive power and a good pool of hit dice, and at least 5 levels of Wizard for good magic spells to augment your martial capabilities.
There are lots of ways to do this, and none of them are wrong. I've mostly seen people take the wizard and mix it with a martial character, but you could potentially do it with a cleric or even bard as well (if you want to do some of that battle meditation Force stuff with your Inspiration Die).
The big thing is to enjoy the flavor and theme of the build while still contributing meaningfully to the party: no use playing a Jedi if you come across as lame. So branch out, trying out some things, and enjoy!
Until next time,