The chivalrous knight is a staple of the fantasy genre and no Fighter subclass captures this theme like the Purple Dragon Knight Fighter in D&D 5e.
These warriors pledge themselves to defend the crown, stand against evil, and inspire greatness in those around them.
Whether within their nation’s borders or beyond, they take a stand against the forces of evil. Guided by a strict code of chivalry, their judgment and bravery are legendary.
Are you prepared to swear yourself to king, country, and the fight against the evils of the world?
Now is your time!
This is the full guide to the Purple Dragon Knight Fighter in D&D 5e!
What is the Purple Dragon Knight Fighter in D&D 5e?
Purple Dragon Knights are noble warriors from the Kingdom of Cormyr in the Forgotten Realms setting.
However, this subclass is also known as the Banneret. This name is more accurately used in settings outside of the Forgotten Realms.
But would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?
Whatever you call them, these are knights who wander the land on a quest to root out evil wherever it may hide. They are guided by their code and recognized bravery on this quest.
As both fierce warriors and gracious diplomats, Purple Dragon Knights and Bannerets have quite the reputation!
Though these knights may be known for their grace in matters requiring a diplomatic touch, they still hold deeds in higher regard than words. When it is time to act, they are always prepared to lead the charge and inspire those around them to follow!
The Purple Dragon Knight appears in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide.
Purple Dragon Knight or Banneret?
It’s also worth mentioning that this is one of the few subclasses in 5e that comes with an extra restriction.
However, it’s a little bit of a “tomato, tomahto” situation.
The name “Purple Dragon Knight” is exclusively reserved for a specific order of the Cormyrean knighthood. Unless you are a member of that specific order, the proper name for this subclass would instead be “Banneret.”
It’s kind of like how champagne is only really champagne if it comes from the Champagne region of France. Otherwise, it’s a sparkling wine.
That said, I’m reasonably positive that the D&D police aren’t going to kick in your door if you want to be a Purple Dragon Knight in a non-Forgotten Realms setting. It can lead to some fun potential for you to do some worldbuilding with your DM!
Though we’ll talk about that in more detail towards the end of this guide.
Role in the Party
True to the Fighter class, the Purple Dragon Knight is strongly geared toward combat. However, their features are also meant to provide extra support to their allies as well.
This pretty firmly puts the Purple Dragon Knight Fighter in a type of “combat support” role.
While they still rely heavily on the features they gain from the core Fighter class, they are now able to extend some of those benefits to nearby allies.
However, the Purple Dragon Knight is also encouraged to invest more in their Charisma than most other Fighters.
This combined with their Royal Envoy feature means that the Purple Dragon Knight Fighter can also function as a “Face” for the party when necessary.
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Purple Dragon Knight Fighter Features 5e
As a support-oriented Fighter subclass, the Purple Dragon Knight’s features rely heavily on bolstering their allies.
This generally takes the form of passing on certain benefits of their core Fighter features to nearby allies at key moments.
After all, inspiring those around them is a key part of what Purple Dragon Knights do!
So let’s look at the features that you gain from this subclass.
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Rallying Cry (Level 3)
When a fight is going harder than expected, the Purple Dragon Knight is able to dig deep within themselves.
Recovering hit points to continue pushing against the enemy, they inspire that same resolve within those close to them with a Rallying Cry!
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.
60 feet is a respectable range. It’s unlikely you’ll be in situations where you don’t have at least three allies in range that can benefit from this.
Not to mention, it can be a great way to get allies that have dropped to zero hit points back on their feet! (Remember, the Unconscious condition doesn’t deafen creatures.)
Sure, this isn’t a spectacular amount of healing. But even just a handful of hit points can make all the difference when things get dire!
Royal Envoy (Level 7)
In addition to their bravery and martial prowess, Purple Dragon Knights are also famed for their diplomacy.
After all, when you’re directly representing such a famed order of knights (not to mention the king!), it’s important to act with grace and diplomatic tact!
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.
It’s always wise to mind your manners!
When it comes to social skills, Persuasion is the most important. Proficiency in it is nice but being able to double that proficiency bonus is even better!
I also like that you get a handy assortment of other options with this feature if you’ve already gained Persuasion proficiency from something else.
Charisma is a common dump stat for most Fighters, but you’ll want to have at least a reasonably good score in it. Constitution and either your Strength or Dexterity (depending on your build) are still the most important, but it’s not a bad idea to make Charisma your third priority.
The bonus to your Persuasion from this feature should serve you well even without maxxing out your Charisma score.
Depending on the situation, you might find yourself as the most qualified speaker for the party. (Especially if it sees your party speaking before a king or other audience that would take special interest in the words of a Royal Envoy.)
So be ready and choose your words carefully!
Inspiring Surge (Level 10)
Action Surge is an awesome feature from the core Fighter class. Now you can share the benefit by inspiring one of your nearby allies!
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 level 18, you can choose two allies within 60 feet of you, rather than one.
There are a ton of tactical applications for this feature.
Just take note that your ally’s attack has to be a weapon attack (so no spells, grapples, etc) and is a SINGLE attack (no multiattack).
That means you want to give this to an ally that can hit hard with a single attack.
A Paladin who can land a Divine Smite or (perhaps, especially) a Rogue that’s lined up for an additional Sneak Attack are prime candidates for this.
(Remember: Rogues can Sneak Attack once per TURN, not per ROUND. Helping them get another Sneak Attack in is a great way to become BFFs with your party’s Rogue!)
Alternatively, granting this to a Monk who can use their Stunning Strike to stun the enemy can be incredibly useful. The enemy will be helpless while your party dogpiles them!
Bulwark (Level 15)
Spells and effects that require mental saves can be absolutely devastating. This is especially true in the higher levels of play!
Not only can you stand against enemies’ mind games, but now you can help an ally do the same!
When you use your Indomitable feature to reroll an Intelligence, Wisdom, or 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.
What’s not to like about rerolling a saving throw?
Sure, you and your ally have to use the new result, but that’s a small risk in most cases.
When the chips are down and you and a friend are about to get mind-controlled or removed from the fight altogether, you’ll be glad you have this!
As it just so happens, your ally will be glad too!
This is a straightforward capstone feature that continues the Purple Dragon Knight’s theme of adding shared value to core Fighter features.
It’s easy to knock this feature until you’re trying not to fall under the control of a Rakshasa or other powerful enemy with a love of enchantments and mind manipulation!
In a Forgotten Realms setting, the Purple Dragon Knights of Cormyr are a legendary order. To stand among their ranks is a high honor.
As such, these knights’ reputation tends to precede them on their travels.
Even a single Purple Dragon Knight in a small village is enough to bring peace to the people who live there and ward off many would-be attackers or bandits.
While they aren’t Paladins, their strict adherence to a code of chivalry, honor, and bravery is no less vital to who they are. As champions of good, you can always count on a Purple Dragon Knight to do what is right and honorable.
Outside of the Forgotten Realms setting, Purple Dragon Knights are more properly known as Bannerets. (Though it stands to reason that a force of Bannerets could also exist within the Forgotten Realms setting but outside of Cormyr.)
What matters most when connecting a Purple Dragon Knight or Banneret Fighter into an adventure and party is their code and their quest.
As wandering knights in search of evil creatures to vanish, adventuring is kind of their whole thing.
While they may not particularly care about the potential riches involved with braving an ancient tomb, they could be easily motivated if such a tomb is the lair of vicious undead that threaten the safety of those nearby.
Likewise, such a character would especially be drawn to certain connections within the party.
Those who hold similar values of bravery and honor (particularly Paladins and Monks) would likely be quick to earn the respect of a Purple Dragon Knight or Banneret.
Is the Purple Dragon Knight Fighter Good?
I really (and I mean REALLY) want to like the Purple Dragon Knight Fighter.
Seriously. The theme is excellent and the characterization of a wandering knight helping the common folk and standing against evil does a lot to capture the imagination.
Heck, even each of the features is pretty awesome when taking them on their own!
Unfortunately, the trouble comes with putting all of these features together. Especially compared to the other Fighter subclasses, the Purple Dragon Knight lacks the synergy and focus of its peers.
Fighters already need to focus heavily on their Constitution and Strength/Dexterity. This subclass then requires you to focus more on your Charisma as well.
What results is a character that is a “kind of good” Party Face and a “kind of good” warrior.
I won’t say that this is a useless subclass. However, it’s definitely a more difficult one to play that doesn’t provide many opportunities to feel truly epic.
In a quick campaign that’s only taking place within the lower levels of the game, it could still be fun to play.
But if you’re looking at a larger, sweeping campaign, you can do better.
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Conclusion – Purple Dragon Knight Fighter in D&D 5e
I hate to see the wasted potential of the Purple Dragon Knight, but I think it’s something that could be fixed.
The struggle for me really comes down to a question of “how interesting is this?” I love the theme, but the subclass’s mechanics and role just aren’t as dynamic as the theme and lore would make you expect.
But what are your thoughts on the Purple Dragon Knight Fighter? Do you agree that it can be fixed? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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