The Blade Dragoon (Level 14): Riding atop a flying, hovering, oversized sword.

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The following build was inspired by a particular post that had cropped up on another board the day before this one. The foundation of this build involves the Familiar Mount ritual being used to transform a Floating Weapon familiar into a Large-sized mount, thereby enabling the possibility of chicanery involving riding atop a hovering, oversized sword. Feats such as Spellseer Familiar, which grants a +1 bonus to attack rolls against arcane powers against targets adjacent to your familiar, and Shardbound Familiar (Khyber), which causes an enemy you bloody with an arcane power to take ongoing 10 acid, cold, fire, lightning, necrotic, or thunder damage (save ends), render this setup highly synergistic. Whenever you hit an enemy adjacent to your familiar with a weapon power, you can shift 1 square, making your Davros Elden's Defensive Step augment you with a +1 item bonus to AC and Reflex until the end of your next turn. Thanks to the Defensive Stance active benefit of your Floating Weapon, your familiar feats, and your Familiar's Baldric, your flying sword is graced with tremendously high defenses (which you can share with you and your allies with your Mantle of Unity level 10 encounter utility power); an enemy seeking to destroy it shall have to contend with damage resistance 10 from its Impenetrable Barding and would have to inflict at least 12 points of damage due to the resilience offered by the Familiar Mount ritual. The remainder of build is standard fare for a paragon-tier half-elf Virtue of Valor bard.

[sblock]
Level: 14
Race: Half-Elf, Player's Handbook, pages 42-43
Class: Bard, Player's Handbook 2, pages 66-68
Bardic Virtue: Virtue of Valor, Player's Handbook 2, page 67
Paragon Path: War Chanter, Player's Handbook 2, page 81

Ability Scores:

Level 1: Strength 12, Constitution 16+2, Dexterity 10, Intelligence 12, Wisdom 8, Charisma 16+2
Level 4: Strength 12, Constitution 17+2, Dexterity 10, Intelligence 12, Wisdom 8, Charisma 17+2
Level 8: Strength 12, Constitution 18+2, Dexterity 10, Intelligence 12, Wisdom 8, Charisma 18+2
Level 11: Strength 13, Constitution 19+2, Dexterity 11, Intelligence 13, Wisdom 9, Charisma 19+2
Level 14: Strength 13, Constitution 20+2, Dexterity 11, Intelligence 13, Wisdom 9, Charisma 20+2


Feats:

Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Fullblade), Player's Handbook, page 201
Level 2: Improved Majestic Word, Player's Handbook 2, page 186
Level 4: Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blades), Player's Handbook 2, page 190
Level 6: Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades), Player's Handbook, page 201
Level 8: Arcane Familiar (Floating Weapon), Arcane Power, page 139
Level 10: Spellseer Familiar, Arcane Power, page 139
Level 11: Shardbound Familiar (Khyber), Dragon Magazine #377, page 35
Level 12: Armor Proficiency (Scale), Player's Handbook, page 193
Level 14: Versatile Master (Eldritch Strike), Player's Handbook 2, page 193


At-Will Attack Powers:

Level 1: Guiding Strike, Player's Handbook 2, page 68
Level 1: War Song Strike, Player's Handbook 2, page 69
Level 14: Eldritch Strike, Player's Handbook Heroes, Series One


Encounter Attack Powers:

Level 1: Inspiring Refrain, Player's Handbook 2, page 69
Level 3: Charger's Call, Player's Handbook 2, page 70
Level 7: Scorpion's Claw Strike, Player's Handbook 2, page 72
Level 11: Victorious Smite, Player's Handbook 2, page 81
Level 13 (replaces Inspiring Refrain): Couplet of Deceptive Weakness, Arcane Power, page 12


Daily Attack Powers:

Level 1: Slayer's Song, Player's Handbook 2, page 69
Level 5: Word of Mystic Warding, Player's Handbook 2, page 71
Level 9: Hymn of the Daring Rescue, Player's Handbook 2, page 72


Utility Powers:

Level 2: Battle Feint, Dragon Magazine #379, page 8
Level 6: Chord of Resilience, Arcane Power, page 9
Level 10: Mantle of Unity, Arcane Power, page 11
Level 10 (replaces Chord of Resilience): Spellseer Familiar, Arcane Power, page 139
Level 12: Battle Chant, Player's Handbook 2, page 81


Equipment:

Main Hand: Radiant Fullblade +3 (Level 15, Free), Adventurer's Vault, page 76
Main Shard: Siberys Shard of Radiance +3 (Level 13, Free), Eberron Player's Guide, page 112
Armor: Demonwyvernscale +3 (Level 14, Free), Adventurer's Vault 2, page 8
Neck: Amulet of Protection +3 (Level 11, 9,000 gp), Player's Handbook, page 249
Feet: Acrobat Boots (Level 2, 520 gp), Player's Handbook, page 246
Wondrous: Fochlucan Bandore (Level 3, 680 gp), Player's Handbook 2, page 210
Grandmaster Training: Davros Elden's Defensive Step (Level 9, 2,600 gp), Dungeon Master's Guide 2, page 145
Ritual Scroll: Anthem of Unity (Level 8, 680 gp), Arcane Power, page 153
Ritual Scroll: Brew Potion (Level 1, 75 gp), Player's Handbook, page 301
Ritual Scroll: Call of Friendship (Level 4, 215 gp), Arcane Power, page 154
Ritual Scroll: Disenchant Magic Item (Level 4, 360 gp), Player's Handbook, page 304
Ritual Scroll: Enchant Magic Item (Level 4, 175 gp), Player's Handbook, page 304
Ritual Scroll: Familiar Mount (Level 4, 175 gp), Dragon Magazine #382, Familiar Power
Ritual Scroll: Raise Dead (Level 8, 680 gp), Player's Handbook, page 311
Ritual Scroll: Transfer Enchantment (Level 4, 175 gp), Adventurer's Vault, page 199
Loose Change: 625 gp


Equipment (Floating Sword):

Familiar: Familiar's Baldric (Level 3, 680 gp), Dragon Magazine #377, page 36
Mount: Impenetrable Light Barding (Level 1, 360 gp), Adventurer's Vault, page 123


Derived Statistics:

Initiative: +7 (half level)
Size: Medium
Speed: 5 squares (wyvernscale), fly 6 squares (hover) while on familiar mount
Vision: Low-light
Passive Insight: 18 (10 base + 7 half level - 1 Wisdom modifier + 2 racial)
Passive Perception: 16 (10 base + 7 half level - 1 Wisdom modifier)
Trained Skills: Arcana, Bluff (+2 familiar), Diplomacy (+2 racial), History, Intimidate (+2 familiar)
Languages: Common, Elven, choice of one other
Special (Acrobat Boots): You can stand up from prone as a minor action.

Hit Points: 99 (77 bard + 22 Constitution score)
Bloodied: 49
Healing Surge Value: 24
Healing Surges per Day: 13 (7 bard + 6 Constitution modifier)
Special (Song of Rest): When you play an instrument or sing during a short rest, you and each ally who can hear you are affected by your Song of Rest. When an affected character spends healing surges at the end of the rest, that character regains 6 additional hit points. A character can be affected by only one Song of Rest at a time.

AC: 29 (10 base + 7 half level + 3 enhancement + 9 wyvernscale)
Fortitude: 26 (10 base + 7 half level + 3 enhancement + 6 Constitution modifier)
Reflex: 22 (10 base + 7 half level + 3 enhancement + 1 Intelligence modifier + 1 class)
Will: 27 (10 base + 7 half level + 3 enhancement + 6 Charisma modifier + 1 class)
Special (Davros Elden's Defensive Step): When you shift, you gain a +1 item bonus to AC and Reflex until the end of your next turn.

Familiar AC: 35 (29 base + 2 Defensive Stance + 2 familiar feats + 1 Familiar's Baldric + 1 light barding)
Familiar Fortitude: 31 (26 base + 2 Defensive Stance + 2 familiar feats + 1 Familiar's Baldric)
Familiar Reflex: 27 (22 base + 2 Defensive Stance + 2 familiar feats + 1 Familiar's Baldric)
Familiar Will: 32 (27 base + 2 Defensive Stance + 2 familiar feats + 1 Familiar's Baldric)
Special (Davros Elden's Defensive Step): When you shift, your familiar gains a +1 item bonus to AC and Reflex until the end of your next turn.

Attack Bonus (Weapon): +20 (7 half level + 3 enhancement + 6 Charisma modifier + 1 Weapon Expertise + 3 proficiency)
Damage Bonus (Weapon): +17 (3 enhancement + 6 Charisma modifier + 2 Weapon Focus + 3 Radiant Fullblade + 3 Siberys Shard of Radiance)
Critical Extra Damage: +2d12+3d6 (2d12 High Crit + 3d6 Radiant Fullblade)
Special (Offensive Partner): When you hit an enemy adjacent to the Floating Weapon with a weapon attack, you can shift 1 square.
Special (Spellseer Familiar): While your familiar is in its active state, you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls with arcane powers against targets adjacent to your familiar.
Special (Shardbound Familiar [Khyber]): Whenever you bloody an enemy adjacent to your active familiar with an arcane power, that enemy also takes ongoing 10 acid, cold, fire, lightning, necrotic, or thunder damage (save ends).
Special (Virtue of Valor): Once per round, when any ally within 5 squares of you reduces an enemy to 0 hit points or bloodies an enemy, you can grant 9 temporary hit points to that ally as a free action.
Special (Inspire by Word): When an ally gains temporary hit points from your Virtue of Valor, you gain the same number of temporary hit points. In addition, when you reduce an enemy to 0 hit points or bloody an enemy, one ally within 10 squares of you gains 11 temporary hit points.
Special (Inspire by Example): When you spend an action point to take an extra action, each ally within 5 squares of you gains a +6 bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls until the end of your next turn.

Bump, etc. I had expected a build involving riding a giant sword to garner more of a response.
You might want to squeeze two feats for Vistani heritage that let you ignore the exploration ritual cost so that you could do it for 12 hours everyday...

Also Light Barding is about 40lb, and I'm not sure if a bag of holding would be enough for a large one.
First mental image: the Silver Surfer.
Note of disadvantages - you do have to pay for the ritual (and take time for the ritual) every day, or the combo doesn't work.  Depending on how the ritual is worded, you may have to pay that cost every time your familiar gets bamphed as well.  At higher levels this isn't going to matter much, but it'll be at least something of a drain even in early paragon, and it delays the point where you can practically start doing this.  Your mount is large, and will thus be strongly inconvenienced by tight spaces.  Your mount can be bamphed in combat with reasonable effort by the foe, and after he is, everything you have invested in your mount powers goes away until EoE, and you'd probably have to make a check to avoid falling prone.  Forced movement can push you off of your mount without too much trouble.

This is not to say that it's an awful builds - just that it has a number of fairly easily exploitable holes.  Your cool factor is largely at the DM's discretion here.

Edit: yes, the Vistani Heritage idea sounds like a good one, if you can find the space.  I'd not heard of this thing.  Where would one find it?  Are there similar versions for other ritual types?
I believe it's in Dragon Magazine somewhere. Some of the feats allows you to ignore the cost of certain rituals once per day like, say, raise dead.
Note of disadvantages - you do have to pay for the ritual (and take time for the ritual) every day, or the combo doesn't work. Depending on how the ritual is worded, you may have to pay that cost every time your familiar gets bamphed as well. At higher levels this isn't going to matter much, but it'll be at least something of a drain even in early paragon, and it delays the point where you can practically start doing this.



625 gp offers twenty-five uses of Familiar Mount, which I feel is enough to be able to carry you from level 14 to level 15 and onwards. Before then, you can forgo the luxuries of non-key items.


Your mount is large, and will thus be strongly inconvenienced by tight spaces. Your mount can be bamphed in combat with reasonable effort by the foe, and after he is, everything you have invested in your mount powers goes away until EoE, and you'd probably have to make a check to avoid falling prone. Forced movement can push you off of your mount without too much trouble.



Your points regarding the mount's Large size and forced movement are indeed correct, though my reasoning with regards to the fact that the mount can be destroyed is that if the opposition goes out of its way to punch through the high defenses and virtual damage resistance of the familiar, then you are playing defender. Better to sacrifice an expendable familiar than the hit points and healing surges of you and your allies.
Vistani Heritage feats were in Dragon 380, I think, and should thus be available in the CB.
I know that the Fullblade is all that and a bag  of beans, but when riding a Large creature a Greatspear could be much more useful.  
It can be hard to reliably move around the battlefield when you occupy a 3*3*3 cube.

Also Eldritch Strike is fine, but Magic Weapon could be fantastic as a Dilettante power with this build because of your Con. When you're riding a Large weapon (and therefore occupying its space) you can be adjacent to most of your team.  It won't be that accurate unless you spend a feat for Combat Virtuoso, but is completely worth the risk in the right situations.
I know that the Fullblade is all that and a bag of beans, but when riding a Large creature a Greatspear could be much more useful.



Spellseer Familiar requires you to attack a creature adjacent to your familiar, hence why I had chosen the fullblade.

It can be hard to reliably move around the battlefield when you occupy a 3*3*3 cube.



A Large creature would occupy a 2×2×2 cube, actually.

Also Eldritch Strike is fine, but Magic Weapon could be fantastic as a Dilettante power with this build because of your Con. When you're riding a Large weapon (and therefore occupying its space) you can be adjacent to most of your team. It won't be that accurate unless you spend a feat for Combat Virtuoso, but still completely worth it in the right situations.



Eldritch Strike offers a melee basic attack. Magic Weapon would mandate the expenditure of two more feats, one for Melee Training and the other for Combat Virtuoso, and it would also bear a lesser damage bonus than the former power. War Song Strike is the at-will that the build relies upon anyway.

Whoops, don't know why I was envisioning a Huge creature.