‘It’s exactly as you said: I’m a Schnee. I have a legacy of honor to uphold. Once I realized I was capable of fighting, there was no longer a question of what I would do with my life. It was my duty.’
December is here, and with it comes Winter’s (literal) little sister, Weiss! Hi Buildies, and thanks again for dropping by! It’s chilly outside, so close that door, get a fire roarin’, and settle in with some hot cocoa while we create the Schnee Dust Company’s finest huntress in D&D.
Weiss Schnee hails from the world of Remnant, much like our previous Building Character guest, her team leader Ruby Rose. Heiress to a large corporate empire that oversees the mining and refining of Dust, the setting’s version of elemental magic crystals, she bears the burden of her name with poise and confidence. Though she started a bit chilly to her teammates, she’s warmed up over time, and serves as Team RWBY’s resident Dust specialist.
Minor spoilers may abound for RWBY, which I would recommend you go check out if you’re a fan of fast-paced, anime-influenced future fantasy. They’re not paying me to say that, I genuinely like the show (with the noted exception of volume 5, but we back on track now baby!)
That said, let’s analyze Weiss and see what makes the pride of Atlas tick!
If RWBY were a typical fantasy setting, like Dungeons & Dragons, it would have more than a couple of races for us to play around with. Unfortunately, Remnant’s sentient beings are divided firmly between Humans and Faunus, humanoids who possess darkvision and a bestial trait (like cat ears, or bear claws, etc.) So Weiss is a pretty straightforward Variant Human, and you can absolutely build her that way if you don’t want to stray from the source material too much.
…Buuuuuuuut like some of our previous builds, a race can be too thematic to ignore for a character. If you look at Weiss, her elegance, bearing, noble heritage, and fantastic racism all paint a picture that fantasy geeks can see clear as day: She’s an elf!
A High Elf, to be precise. The white hair and pale skin are akin to a moon elf, so we can blend her into a setting like the Forgotten Realms with some ease. Let’s take a look at what her elven heritage would net Weiss:
- Ability Score Increase: All elves gain a +2 to DEX, which will be very useful for Weiss. Best Girl is a fencer, utilizing a fighting style that seems more like an elaborate ballet than a brawl. As a High Elf, she gets a +1 to her INT, which makes sense. As the most formally educated member of team RWBY, she’s often the source of political and historical information for the group. It also comes in handy when using magic- I mean, uh, Dust.
- Darkvision: While she’s not able to see extreme distances in the dark like a Faunus, Weiss has experienced combat in lots of cramped, dark environments. Tunnels, ruins, and creepy basements are fairly devoid of light, but with experience comes expertise. Weiss should be able to fight competently, even in places that aren’t her favored environments.
- Keen Senses: Perception is a must-have skill in many campaigns, and Weiss is often the first to notice when something’s not right. Definitely a good racial trait!
- Fey Ancestry: Weiss is disciplined, and used to having the rich and powerful try to sweet talk her. This is reflected well in this feature, which makes her immune to being put to sleep, and gives her advantage against being Charmed.
- Trance: Like I said before, Weiss is disciplined. An elf doesn’t need to sleep a full 8 hours, but instead meditates for 4.
- Elven Weapons Training: While Weiss won’t be swinging around a longsword or firing a bow, it is useful to know that she’s had the best training since she was a child. If she’s ever separated from Myrtenaster, her Multi-Action Dust Rapier, then she can pick up another weapon and keep fighting.
- Cantrip: Using Dust is as natural to Weiss at this point as breathing. I chose to give her the Prestidigitation cantrip, as we’ve seen her use Dust in minor ways like lighting candles with a pinch of Burn.
- Extra Language: Being of a high social class, giving Weiss a language like Celestial seems appropriate.
Weiss is a huntress in training, so she’s not a superhero, nor is she perfect. Yet. (Adult language warning)But she’s still leagues above a normal, untrained human. Let’s see how we can best represent her with the standard 27 point build:
- STR: 8 Weiss is slender, short, and fights with precision rather than her brawn. That would be her teammate Yang’s department.
- DEX: 14(+2) Starting with a 16 represents Weiss’ skill at precisely and effortlessly weaving between her opponents. Boost this when possible!
- CON: 8 While it’s a bit sad, Weiss is definitely the least hardy of Team RWBY. She’ll need to rely on keeping a high AC, as well as high mobility to save her when she gets hit. A definite glass cannon, Weiss will need to either attack fast and get out or sling elemental might from a distance. If you can get some magic item to help with this, take it!
- INT: 15(+1) This is much more to Weiss’ strengths. Formally educated, tactical, and knowledgeable, it’s also her primary casting stat. Boost this along with DEX, buuuuuut I’d boost DEX first to help her Armor Class.
- WIS: 14 While I wouldn’t call her the strong silent type, Weiss takes instruction well, and has done a lot of soul searching over the course of the series. More than any of her teammates, I’d say that she can see the heart of an issue and overcome her initial perceptions the fastest.
- CHA: 12 While eye-catching and trained in etiquette, Weiss can be a bit presumptuous and haughty. She occasionally sticks her foot in her mouth, but people mostly have a good first impression of the Ice Queen. Better than average, but nothing to write home about.
Raised amongst the most elite of Atlesian aristocracy, Weiss is over-qualified for the Noble background. Privileged doesn’t even describe little miss heiress, but she admirably refuses to lean on her name as a shield, choosing instead tobe a shield for her family’s name and honor.
- Skill Proficiency: Persuasion is obvious for someone who has been giving the right answers and blase pleasantries at high society functions her whole life. History proficiency comes with being well-educated, as well as having her family be a major part of her kingdom’s history.
- Tool Proficiency: I’d give Weiss proficiency with Chess, as it seems like a very aristocratic game to play.
- Position of Privilege: While recent events have taken her out of favor with the upper echelon of Atlas, Weiss still has her family name and reputation backing her. She’s at least worth kidnapping, maybe!
Weiss is a perfect blend of duelist and mage. So, we’re going with Fighter 10/Wizard 10. There are archetypes that would let her get away with a single class, but the archetypes for each just suit her too well.
On the Fighter side, we’ll be making Weiss a Battle Master. Able to use her precision to put enemies in incredibly unfavorable situations, it’s an iconic archetype for a fencer. On the Wizard side of things, Weiss will take a subclass from the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide: The Bladesinger!
Bladesong will make Weiss an absolute threat at close range, adding onto her Battle Master levels to make her too fast, too furious. Spellcasting adds to her versatility, and represents her glyph-based fighting style. I recommend taking 1 level of Fighter to start, then 3 levels of Wizard. Alternate the rest as you see fit!
- Starting Proficiency- Like we saw last time, Fighters get quite the buffet of starting proficiency choices. We’ll be wearing Light Armor (ahem, combat skirt) to take advantage of our high DEX, and wielding a rapier.Strength saving throws are rare, but Constitution saving throws are pretty nasty at higher levels. With Weiss’ poor CON score, she’ll need proficiency in this save to even her out.For skills, Acrobatics is a great place to start. Taking advantage of her high DEX once again, tumbling through an enemy’s space or making a well-balanced maneuver on a tightrope shouldn’t be a problem. I’d go with Insight for her other option, as I explained in the section above about her WIS score.
- Fighting Style- What sort of fencer doesn’t take the Dueling fighting style? This will give her rapier a nastier bite.
- Second Wind- A true Schnee never gives up!
- Action Surge- Imagine using this after Bladesingingand casting Haste on yourself. Imagine the possibilities!
- Student of War- There’s not really a thematic choice here in terms of an artisan tool, but I went with glassblowing because it’s the closest thing to refining Dust into crystals.
- Combat Superiority- The bread and butter of our subclass. While you can really go with any maneuvers, I went with the following because I’ve seen her use similar techniques in combat: Parry, Evasive Footwork, Riposte, Maneuvering Attack, Lunging Attack, Precision Attack, Trip Attack.
- Extra Attack- Speedy cuts with her blade are the name of the game, and you’ll be putting more steel downrange with this feature.
- Know Your Enemy- Weiss is the other member of Team RWBY who showed some leadership potential, and tactical foresight. Studying an opponent, researching their techniques and looking for flaws is very… Schnee.
- Indomitable- Being a huntress means looking at overwhelming odds, knowing there’s a high chance of failure, and fighting anyway. Weiss has survived the Fall of Beacon, an airship crash, a kidnapping, and beingstraight up impaled. She’s indomitable.
- Improved Combat Superiority- This makes all of Weiss’ maneuvers deadlier. Bigger die means bigger damage!
- Spellcasting- We’ll be looking at some example spells in the Spellcasting section.
- Arcane Recovery- On a short rest, Weiss can “reload some Dust”, or regain some of her spell slots. Very thematic.
- Training in War and Song- We’re already martial weapons proficient, but if you wanted to go straight 20 levels of Bladesinger Wizard, you could still be viable this way.
- Bladesong- Hallelujah, it’s what we’re here for! This feature gives us a boost to AC equal to our INT, making us harder and harder to hit. If we start with a 16 in DEX & INT, and buy some studded leather armor, I believe that starting AC while Bladesinging for Weiss would be around 18. That’s as good as full plate, at level 1!If that wasn’t good enough, your walking speed increases by 10 feet (thematic with her glyphs), gain Advantage on Acrobatics checks, and add your INT modifier to concentration checks. This makes up for our poor CON! What an absolutely based feature for Best Girl!
- Extra Attack- Unfortunately, the way multiclassing works means this is superfluous, but the more spellcasting levels we take, the better a mage we become.
- Song of Defense- One more way to make up for that suffering health pool. Weiss has almost as many defensive options as offensive.
If possible, boost your DEX, INT, and CON with magic items. If you have the room for some feats, here’s some that will make Weiss more thematic and deadly:
- Defensive Duelist- Adding proficiency to your AC when you get hit might just make the difference between a horrible injury and a near-miss. Think of this as a cantrip version of Shield: infinite, but not as good.
- War Caster- Between this and Blade Song, you shouldn’t be dropping that buff spell any time soon.
- Mobile- ‘Nuff said.
- Elemental Adept: Cold- Weiss is nice when she’s casting Ice.
- Elven Accuracy- Thiiiiis is kinda cheating. It’s a racial feat for elves, but it’s incredibly overpowered, In My Opinion. Increase your INT by 1, and whenever you have advantage on one of your primary attacks, you can re-roll one of the dice. So, if you can give yourself Advantage, you can give yourselfdouble advantage. Nothing else in the game does this sort of thing, but if your GM lets you get away with it, it can be absolutely devastating.
Here’s some spells with relevant GIFs that I could find that represent the breadth of Weiss’ spellcasting abilities. For inspiration beyond this, elemental attacks are her go-to. In no particular order:
- Hold Person
- Ice Storm
- Steel Wind Strike
- Scorching Ray
- Fire Ball
- Snowball Swarm (if your snowballs are jagged ice spikes lol)
- Far Step
- Conjure Elemental
- Magic Weapon
- Arcane Lock
I hope that this huntress plays nice with the other party members at your table! ClickHEREfor the D&D Beyond character sheet, and let me know what you think. Tune in next time where we’ll be building…
Wait… what’s that sound…