The Greatsword is a popular weapon among martial classes in 5e DnD. It is a giant weapon that a creature must wield with two hands. Due it the weapon’s size, it can deal massive damage in a single blow. The Greatsword’s base damage is 2d6. If a character lands a critical hit with a Greatsword, they can deal up to 24 points of damage.
The Greatsword is a two-handed weapon. A creature cannot use it with a shield. The Greatsword is an excellent choice if your character isn’t too worried about taking a few hits. The consistent damage of the Greatsword makes up for the missing AC buff.
Greatsword 5e Stats
|Modifiers||Melee Attacks +3, Melee Damage +3|
Proficiency with a Greatsword allows you to add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll for any attack you make with it.
What is a Greatsword 5e DnD?
A Greatsword is a heavy martial melee weapon. This means you use a Greatsword with your hands in close range, within 5ft. The term “martial” implies a level of specialized training. Because a Greatsword is a martial weapon, the wielder must have combat training to use a Greatsword.
The opposite of a martial weapon is a simple weapon. Most characters can use simple weapons, like a club, hand axe, or spear. Warriors select martial weapons to aid them with particular training and fighting styles. Wielders of the Greatsword in 5e DnD sword have to be strong with a high constitution. They also tend to be a little unstable. Greatswords are often found in the hands of Half-Orc Barbarians. The big dudes who like to make a big impact in a fight.
Who can use a Greatsword in 5e?
Theoretically, any character can grab a Greatsword and attempt to use it. However, if the user is not proficient in martial weapons, they would not add their proficiency bonus (+2 at level 1) to their attack.
Classes proficient in martial weapons, like Fighters, Barbarians, Paladins, and Rangers, can add their proficiency bonus when using martial weapons from the beginning. Players can also choose a feat that allows their character to gain proficiency in martial weapons.
The Weapon Master feat allows the character to add +1 to either STR or DEX. It also allows the character to gain proficiency in 4 weapons. These weapons can be simple or martial. Classes like Fighter are already proficient in simple and martial weapons, but this feat could work for classes that are not weapon specialists.
Multiclassing is another way to gain Martial Weapon proficiency. For example, a player could place one level into Ranger and some of the benefits, like martial weapon proficiency.
Besides proficiency, other factors limit a character’s ability to use a Greatsword. The Player’s Handbook says Greatswords weigh about 8 lbs. and are classified as heavy. Heavy implies that small creatures cannot use the weapon.
However, the Handbook does not give an STR requirement. If the character is proficient in martial weapons, the DM could allow the character to wield a Greatsword regardless of their size. A player could create a battle Halfling with a Greatsword and a Napoleon complex.
Proficiency in martial weapons is helpful if you want to optimize your character’s use of the Greatsword. There are many ways to achieve that proficiency. Additionally, the DM can make allowances if using a Greatsword is critical to a character’s development. A Wizard may carry a Greatsword that belonged to their family before tragedy struck. The DM could grant proficiency for that specific weapon.
How to use a Greatsword 5e DnD
The Greatsword is one of the largest martial weapons in 5e DnD. Using this two-handed weapon means that that player must be large enough to hold it and may not have a shield or spell. Beyond that, there may be other reasons a player might not want to use a Greatsword.
Paladins are proficient in martial weapons but may work better with a shield and a one-handed sword. Paladins are a martial class but have class features better suited to a smaller weapon and a shield.
Depending on their fighting style, a sword, and shield make more sense for some Paladins. However, many classes would be ideally suited to wielding a Greatsword. There are a few things to consider when building a character that uses a Greatsword.
To best use a Greatsword in a 5e campaign, a character should have proficiency in martial weapons or proficiency in the Greatsword specifically. They must also be physically able to hold the Greatsword. Small creatures would not typically be able to lift and use a Greatsword. Barbarians and Fighters of medium or large size, and those trained in the use of martial weapons are the most likely to use the Greatsword in a 5e DnD campaign.
Best Builds with Greatsword 5e
If a player wants to use a Greatsword in their 5e DnD campaign, they should consider which attributes, race, class, and feats best suit their character.
Every player should look at how best to optimize the equipment and skills of their character. There are a few feats that anyone who wants to wield a Greatsword should take on.
Great Weapon Master Feat
The Great Weapon Master feat is excellent for players that want to use a Greatsword. This feat is for characters that trust their heavy weapons to carry them through battle. If the character crits or reduces a target to 0 hp, they can make another melee weapon attack as a bonus action. In one turn, a character could do 36 damage with a Greatsword.
Additionally, with the Great Weapon Master feat, a player can choose to take -5 on their attack roll before making a melee attack. In return, they would do an extra +10 damage on a hit. The Great Weapon Master feat is incredible for a character that uses a Greatsword. The Greatsword can already do a lot of damage per turn with its 2d6. Add on Great Weapon Master feat and maximize those damage points.
Another feat for the Greatsword wielder is Savage Attacker. This feat allows the player on a hit to re-roll damage. If the player is unsatisfied with their damage roll, they can roll again and pick which roll they prefer. This feat gives the player a lot more freedom with their damage rolls. With the Savage Attacker feat paired with the 2d6 of damage of the Greatsword, a player could be deadly every turn.
Once the player has an idea of the type of Greatsword-wielding character they want to create, they can explore classes and subclasses. DnD 5e is amazingly versatile. It allows players to develop the characters of their dreams.
Pact of the Blade Hexblade Warlock
Hexblades are a subclass of Warlock. These magic users can create weapons instilled with the power of the mysterious entity in Shadowfell. Usually, Hexblades only make one-handed weapons. If Warlock chooses Path of the Blade, they can create a magical weapon pact with any weapon they choose. This could include a Greatsword.
Typically, magic users are not the strongest or toughest characters in 5e DnD. Warlocks are CHA casters. However, with the right magic, Pact of the Blade Hexblade Warlocks can successfully wield a Greatsword. They can wield their Pact weapon with their CHA.
This build allows a player to use the Greatsword without putting everything into STR. The Path of the Blade Warlock Hexblade is just one way to make a complex character within the cannon of DnD.
Barbarian Path of the Berserker
Barbarians are all about Rage. A Barbarian Raging with a Greatsword in hand is terrifying. But it doesn’t have to stop there. At level 3, Barbarians can choose their Path at level 3 and gain specific abilities. With Path of the Berserker, the Barbarian gets the class feature Frenzy. When a Barbarian enters Rage, they can also choose to enter a Frenzy. The Frenzy lasts until the end of the Rage and lets Barbarian make a melee attack as a bonus attack every turn.
In a Frenzy Rage, Barbarians get bonuses to damage on their attack, and they get to make another attack as a bonus action. If they have Savage Attacker feat, they can re-roll damage. Imagine a Greatsword Barbarian absolutely losing it on the battlefield, completely obliterating a target in one turn.
Dragonborn Echo Knight
What’s scarier than one Dragonborn Fighter wielding a Greatsword? Two Dragonborn Fighters wielding Greatswords! Fighters get two attacks at the second level. If the Fighter chooses the Echo Knight Fighter subclass at level 3, they can also make a copy of themself. When the Echo Knight makes an attack action, their Echo also gets to make one attack action.
The Echo Knight Fighter can make three attacks at level 3. The Fighter makes two, and the Echo makes one. The Knight and the Echo only have to be within 30ft of each other. Equipped with Greatswords, they would be able to dominate the battlefield.
The classic Fighter Champion build is perfect for wielding a Greatsword. Champions are all about physical power. They can crit at a 19 or 20. If the Fighter Champion crits with their Greatsword, they would have a great chance to incapacitate their target, especially with Great Weapon Master and/or Savage Attacker feats.
Greatsword vs. Sword and Shield in 5e
Pick a weapon that matches your play style and character’s background. The biggest question is if you want higher AC over damage? A two-handed weapon like a Greatsword delivers significant damage but no defense. If your character is at a lower level and lacks medium or heavy armor and HP, it might be better to add a shield. A typical shield will provide +2 to AC. This bonus is excellent for squishy characters at lower levels.
If players can wear medium and heavy armor, level up, and are able to take a few hits, they might want to deal more damage. A two-handed weapon like a Greatsword might become a more appealing option.
Some martial classes actually have specific benefits when using a shield. Shield Master feat for Paladin incentivizes using a shield over a two-handed weapon. This feat is powerful. This feat allows the Paladin to use their shield to shove their opponent after an attack. It also enables the Paladin to add their shield’s AC to the DEX saving throw. The feat also allows the Paladin to avoid taking damage on a successful DEX save.
The Shield Master feat for Paladin is probably the best reason to forgo the Greatsword for a sword and board. However, classes like Fighter and Barbarian have class features that are perfect for a Greatsword. It depends on the kind of character the player wants to make.
Remember that you can change weapons and armor as the campaign progresses. Greatswords are reasonably common in the 5e DnD universe. A player can switch to a Greatsword at almost any point in the game.
Where can you get a Greatsword in DnD 5e?
Players can buy Greatswords at most armories. Greatswords are not rare items in 5e DnD. Many classes are already proficient in heavy martial weapons like the Greatsword, so it can be a character’s starting weapon. A Greatsword costs 50gp, which most players will acquire quickly during the campaign. Characters can also find the Greatsword in most towns with a basic armory. Or you can loot one off the dead body of a conquered foe.
Greatsword 5e FAQs
What is the best class for a Greatsword 5e DnD?
Fighter is the best class for a Greatsword in 5e DnD. They are automatically proficient in martial weapons such as Greatswords. They also get an extra attack at level 2, allowing them to maximize the damage dealt with a Greatsword early on.
Can a Gnome use a Greatsword in 5e DnD?
Greatswords in 5e DnD are heavy, meaning small characters like gnomes will have difficulty wielding them.
What is the difference between a Greatsword and a Greataxe in 5e DnD?
A Greataxe does 1d12 damage, and a Greatsword does 2d6. They may seem like the same thing, but there is an essential principle in the damage. The Greatsword will do more damage consistently. In contrast, the Greataxe has a greater chance of reaching the minimum or the maximum. This difference mainly affects play style. Does your character swing consistently and often with a Greatsword or harder and more recklessly with a Greataxe?
What is the price of a Greatsword in 5e DnD?
A Greatsword costs 50gp in 5e DnD.
Jillian started learning Dungeons & Dragons in 2014. After being encouraged by a friend to make a character, she became fully involved in character creation and later became an awesome Dungeon Master. Jillian strives to use her creativity to spread her knowledge of DnD and interpret the ruleset.