The Warforged Ancestral Protector: Soulguard

Interesting character ideas constantly pop into my head, especially when reading books like Xanathar's Guide to Everything and Volo's Guide to Monsters. While perusing the former, this interesting idea stormed into my brain and won't stop stomping around, so I thought I'd share it with all of you in a quick article. Enter the Warforged Ancestral Protector, who we'll call Soulguard from now on.

This article explores Soulguard's concept and brief mechanical abilities. Enjoy!

The Concept

Most Path of the Ancestral Protector barbarians are flesh and blood individuals. They have ancestors who walked the world before them. These ancestors likely gave birth to them, whether they were mammals like humans and dwarves (in most worlds) or reptilians or cold-blooded creatures such as lizardfolk and kobolds.

Spinning that around: what if our barbarian character didn't have true forbearers? What if they were an engineered a warforged?

Say hello to Soulguard.

Soulguard is an atypical Path of Ancestral Protector barbarian. He does not channel his ancestors because he doesn't have any. Instead, he channels one of three sets of souls to power his spiritual rage:

  1. The soul of his deceased creator, who meant quite a bit to him.
  2. The souls of those he slays, who try to escape from his unearthly body.
  3. The souls of wandering spirits, who he captures and uses.

Regardless of which set Soulguard draws from for his rage, he grapples with souls swirling around or inside him.

He is an outlander, a tribal nomad now without a home. Surprisingly, he feels more comfortable with beasts than other people and he can see the souls of the fallen. Remnants of his creator's will remain in his being, and he feels he must earn glory in battle for himself and his creator. This is his primary driving force to adventure. His creator gone, his only bond is the strange vision that keeps repeating in his mind, haunting his resting periods and wild being while foreshadows an incoming disaster that he seeks to stop. He also remembers every slight against himself and his creator, and will do all he can to get revenge.

Soulguard carries a necklace made from the teeth of a dire wolf and his metallic form is painted with the visage of a great wolf as well. He wears these teeth to protect himself from spellcasters, who he is deeply frightened of.

The Mechanics

I enjoy pure builds, so Soulguard is going to be pure warforged barbarian with the outlander background. He holds all the special abilities of those two professions!

He'll begin with 12 + Constitution modifier hit points, proficiency in light armor, medium armor, shields, simple weapons, martial weapons, the banjo, Strength, Constitution, Athletics, Survival, and Perception.

In his inventory, he'll hold a maul, an explorer's pack, four javelins, a staff, a hunting trap, the teeth of a dire wolf, a set of traveler's clothes to blend in with fleshy folk, and a fur pouch containing ten gold pieces from his creator.

Soulguard speaks Common and Dwarvish.

After that, the build is simple: take Path of the Ancestral Protector at third level and continue from there, off he goes! Play Soulguard as a tanky frontliner who wields the souls of some set of people in battle. Look out for anything that increases his tankiness and Strength during the adventure. That's where Soulguard shall shine.

Warforged Barbarian, 2019 gastonicker

Actionable Advice

  • Odd combinations lead to interesting stories.
  • Let your mind flow freely while reading and nurture the ideas that hit your head.
  • Over time, these ideas will grow and become awesome characters to play or insert into your campaign.

Until the next encounter, stay creative!

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Art in Order of Appearance

  • The Last of the Warforged, 2019 captdiablo
  • Warforged Barbarian, 2019 gastonicker


  1. Love the Warforged concept blend of modern technology and mystical arcane, still remember my Warforged back in the day ASIC! Nice read keep the content coming always appreciate your insight.

    1. Thank you! I might do a few more of these character concepts soon.