Amongst Fighters are those with a stalwart heart. These Purple Knights, or Bannerets, were introduced in Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. Rather than honing the arts of the Fighter beyond that of the core rulebooks, the Banneret tries to spread the love. They are an inspiring aspect of the battlefield, the first into a fight to show how important a war group is. Even armed with toothpicks and string, a militia with a Banneret is a force to be reckoned with. So, a Banneret must be good when aligned with the incredible skill of an adventuring party, right? Let’s find out, through our Banneret 5e Guide.
Aid Your Allies: Banneret Fighter 5E
The Banneret is designed as a support Fighter role. As such, they can handle melee or ranged roles, but with one strict difference; you need to have a heavy-hitter in your party. Preferably a rogue, barbarian, or occasionally Paladin. That’s because, later on, you need some synergy to be as effective as possible. You’ll also be a rather effective face; consider this build in a party without a significant Charisma caster.
To begin, you get increased incentive to use Second Wind, even if you aren’t too damaged.
When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you learn how to inspire your allies to fight on past their injuries.
When you use your Second Wind feature, you can choose up to three creatures within 60 feet of you that are allied with you. Each one regains hit points equal to your fighter level, provided that the creature can see or hear you.
On average, “three creatures within 60 feet of you” means your entire party. You heal your entire party for an amount equal to your Fighter level.
That’s… actually quite good.
In some cases, your Cleric or Bard gets K.O.’d before they can heal themselves or another important target. When that happens, you either need to roll Medicine checks or pray they don’t crit fail yet another death save. That’s the worst, especially as a Fighter that can’t really get Medicine well.
Now, you can do a Cleric’s job for them.
AoE healing for 3 health might not sound too good, but bringing people back to consciousness is infinitely useful. You probably can’t heal the target above a single hit with a medicine check anyways, right? Might as well just barely make them recover!
This lets your Cleric focus on spells to keep the combat from getting out-of-hand while you spend a Bonus action picking everyone up. Then, you can keep fighting with multiple attacks using your Action.
This is super powerful! Make sure you save your Second Winds until either you need it, or you’ve got an unconscious party member. Then, try to get a short rest ASAP so you and your party can recover. You can usually get between 1-3 short rests per day, so that’s up to 4 second winds. That’s almost equal to 4 Mass Healing Words in a day… at level 3! Really good stuff!
After 4 levels of some actually pretty decent healing abilities, the Banneret gets an out-of-combat feature. Hope you weren’t expecting to hit too hard!
At 7th level, you gain proficiency in the Persuasion skill. If you are already proficient in it, you gain proficiency in one of the following skills of your choice: Animal Handling, Insight, Intimidation, or Performance.
Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses Persuasion. You receive this benefit regardless of the skill proficiency you gain from this feature.
Persuasion is a fairly common skill check, so you would probably want that as soon as possible. Probably from a background or a racial skill.
If you can’t get Persuasion before now, then this is a good time to get it. Otherwise, you’ve got a bit of a schmorgish board. Animal Handling is extremely situational. If you can get a mount or an animal to aid you, then you’ve got a few things to do. But, you’re going to be in an awkward place otherwise.
Insight is much more useful. If you’re the conversationalist of the group, having a chance to know when someone is lying will help. Also, if your GM uses Insight to transmit some information, then you can be the leader that gets word from the gods. Nice!
Intimidation is the other Fighter-Face skill, since Deception normally doesn’t make too much sense. You can get through most situations by either talking calmly or loudly. Intimidation is also more effective on people who hate you, or don’t listen to reason.
Finally, Performance… Performance can be useful if your GM is exceptionally open to creative solutions. Maybe you can dance or sing to distract guards, or play a drum to keep a dragon from hurting you. But, in most cases, Performance is a skill only useful for generating small amounts of copper.
Now, getting Expertise for Persuasion? That’s value! It’s extremely hard to double your proficiency outside of Bard or Rogue. You currently only get +6 from this (“only,” he says). That’ll eventually bump up to +12, meaning that you outdo most Charisma-heavy casters, even if your Charisma is 0. If your party doesn’t mind having a low-power Face for the first few levels, you can now outdo everyone except Bards.
If you do have a Bard, see if they don’t mind taking Deception and Intimidation with Expertise, or other useful skills, instead. No reason to have people fighting over who should talk!
I do hope you take my advice and coordinate with your party early on, because this ability can be insane.
Starting at 10th level, when you use your Action Surge feature, you can choose one creature within 60 feet of you that is allied with you. That creature can make one melee or ranged weapon attack with its reaction, provided that it can see or hear you.
Starting at 18th level, you can choose two allies within 60 feet of you, rather than one.
Once again, this has a similar problem with Rallying Cry; you’re super limited to Short Rests. Action Surge maximizes at 2 per rest at level 17, which isn’t much. However, Action Surge is where most of the Fighter’s damage comes from. Dealing a full additional action’s worth of damage is crazy.
Now, it’s crazier.
This class is most useful with a Sneak Attack class. An additional attack isn’t much, but another Sneak Attack? That’s spectacular. Remember that rogues are only limited on sneak attacks per turn, not per round. They can sneak attack off-turn… and thus absolutely decimate the battlefield if they can attack in between turns. Try and make sure you have a Rogue in your party, or at least a Paladin dedicated to Smite.
At level 18, you have two characters attack. That means that on your two action surges per rest, you get a total of four attacks out-of-turn. That’s really strong… if your party has the correct comp. Otherwise, it’ll not be extremely potent. And since you’ll likely want two casters in your party, the level 18 upgrade actually might be somewhat underwhelming.
Still, it’s additional damage if you have at least two weapon users in your party. That alone is good. But have a rogue in your party to make this really shine.
Keeping with the themes of “grant your party Fighter features,” here’s another Fighter feature granted to your allies.
Beginning at 15th level, you can extend the benefit of your Indomitable feature to an ally. When you decide to use Indomitable to reroll an Intelligence, a Wisdom, or a Charisma saving throw and you aren’t incapacitated, you can choose one ally within 60 feet of you that also failed its saving throw against the same effect. If that creature can see or hear you, it can reroll its saving throw and must use the new roll.
This isn’t actually that rare of a situation, but it’s not going to come up as often as you want.
The bad side is twofold; you can’t be incapacitated, and the ally must have been hit by the same effect. If you’re using Indomitable against something like Hold Person, you’re out of luck. That makes you incapacitated. You also can’t use this to help someone that was controlled by a different spell than affected you. So if you were Dominated and an ally was Paralyzed, you can’t help them out.
Please, please use Indomitable to keep yourself safe first. You shouldn’t save Indomitable just to help your allies. If you were targeted by a Dominate or Petrify, make sure you save yourself first. You’re a Fighter, after all, and your damage is important.
Now, when this does come into play, it’s insanely useful. There are a lot of effects that are incredibly effective crowd control and don’t incapacitate you. Being able to roll twice on a mental save can pull your Cleric out of it, and then the Cleric can Dispel. Or you can save the Wizard and have them blast the threat out of existence. So many options, if your allies fail the save as well.
This makes Indomitable super helpful in the late game, where a lot of mental effects start to target multiple allies simultaneously. Despite my complaints, you will use this ability often; probably with 2 out of 3 Indomitables.
Best Race for Banneret Fighters
Banneret Fighters can realistically handle any role. If you need a frontliner, Strength is great. Otherwise, Dexterity works fine… and you can still be a Dexterity Fighter in melee! Constitution is important if you plan on being a frontliner, or otherwise. Finally, Charisma can be useful if you want to be the face of the party.
Looking for a ranged build? This Fighter race has you covered. +2 Dexterity, +1 Charisma is better for ranged Bannerets, but can work fine for melee. Darkvision is always great, and Cat’s Claws grants you some weird utility in the early game. Cat’s Talent gives you two fantastic proficiencies – doubling what Fighter gives you. Feline Agility is a completely busted ability, allowing you to really position yourself on any given turn of combat. Really good option, especially if you’re going for a weird jungle theme.
Goliaths are free with the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion. And wow, are they effective! If you want someone just tanky enough to be inspiring by themselves, these are for you! +2 Strength, +1 Constitution is perfect for wading into melee. Natural Athlete gives you a free proficiency, and Stone’s Endurance can negate critical hits early on. Powerful Build will make you look cool, but Mountain Born might not come in handy too often. Still, what a powerful race!
Another Volo’s Guide entry, the Tritons are pretty spectacular additions to any party. +1 to Strength, Constitution, and Charisma? That’s insane! In addition, you can breath underwater, talk with simple fish, and resist cold damage (a pretty common damage type!). If that wasn’t enough, you gain some okay utility spells with Control Air and Water. A great spread of utility, and essential for any waterborne campaign.
Conclusion – Our Take on the Banneret 5E
The Banneret’s a weird fighter archetype. They get healing, defense, offense, and utility, but nothing too great. They’re also extremely dependent on Short Rests to be effective. However, with a few short rests, they become actually competent healers, decent tanks, and even potent damage dealers. You’ll need to make a good team comp around them, but a good team comp will go a long way. If you can make a party with a rogue, a Cleric, and some kind of additional weapon-using caster, then you’ve got yourself a Banneret. And of course, the more people that can fill roles, the better a Banneret’s options get.