Annie Oakley, Crossbow Entertainer Extraordinaire

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"Keep your eye on the high mark and you will hit it. Not the first time nor the second and maybe not the third, but if you keep on aiming and keep on trying, you'll hit the bull's eye of success."

Summary: a full-fledged Striker build that rivals some of the best Archer Ranger builds out there - yet is also a leader who can turn the party invisible and greatly boost defenses on an encounter basis.

[sblock=level 30]
Race: Drow
Class: Ranger|Bard
Hybrid Talent: Prime Shot (PHB)
Multiclass: Rogue (PHB)
Paragon Path: Cloaked Sniper (MP)
Epic Destiny: Destined Scion (HotFK)

Ability Scores, with racial adjustments:
Strength 12 (+1)
Constitution 13 (+1)
Dexterity 28 (+9)
Intelligence 10
Wisdom 17 (+3)
Charisma 26 (+8)

 
At-Will Attack Powers:
L1 - Jinx Shot (PHB)
L1 - Twin Strike (PHB)

Encounter Attack Powers:
L3 - Rhyme of the Bloodseeking Blade
L7 - Snap Shot (MP)
L11 - Sudden Bolt (MP)
L17 - Pounding Barrage (MP)

Daily Attack Powers:
L1 - Arrow of Warning
L19 - Surprising Arrow Stance (D 383)
L20 - Bolt from Nowhere (PHB)
L29 - Five-Missile Dance (MP)

Utility Powers:
L2 - Invigorating Stride (MP 2)
L6 - Tumbling Dodge (PHB)
L10 - Mantle of Unity
L12 - Unseen Shot
L16 - Musical Chairs
L22 - Invisible Troupe
L26 - Epic Recovery (HotFK)

Skills:
Acrobatics (+29) 
Bluff (+28) 
Diplomacy (+28) 
Perception (+29) 
Stealth (+30)
Thievery (+30)

Feats:
L1 - Weapon Proficiency (Superior Crossbow) (PHB)
L2 - Weapon Focus (Crossbow) (PHB)
L4 - Crossbow Expertise (HotFL)
L6 - Sneak of Shadows (PHB)
L8 - Hybrid Talent(Prime Shot)
L11 - Lasting Frost (PHB)
L11 - Wintertouched (PHB)
L14 - Called Shot
L16 - Improved Defenses
L21 - Bow Mastery (PHB 2)
L21 - Improved Prime Shot (MP)
L22 - Quickened Spellcasting
L22 - Multiclass Mastery(Novice Power(Snapshot) and Twilight Adept))
L23 - Superior Initiative
L24 - Martial Mastery
L26 - Bard of All Trades
L28 - Lethal Hunter
L30 - Epic Fortitude (PHB 2)

Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000):
L30 (3,125,000 gp): +6 Torc of Power Preservation (AV)

L29 (2,625,000 gp): Ring of Free Time (AV 2)
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Frost Greatbow (PHB)
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Predator's Elderhide Armor (AV 2)

L26 (1,125,000 gp): Bracers of Archery (Epic Tier) (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Violet Solitaire (AV)

L24 (525,000 gp): Zephyr Boots (AV)
L23 (425,000 gp): Eye of Awareness (AV)
L22 (325,000 gp):
 Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (Epic Tier) (EPG)
 L21 (225,000 gp): Gloves of Ice (Epic Tier) (AV 2)
L20 (125,000 gp): Diamond Cincture (Paragon Tier) (AV 2)
L13 (17,000 gp): Ring of Giants (D 378)
L11 (9,000 gp): Dice of Auspicious Fortune (D 381)
L9 (4,200 gp): Backlash Tattoo (AV 2)

L9 (4,200 gp): Endless Quiver (AV 2)

TOTAL: 13,909,400 gp[sblock]
Basically, this is what the build typically does:
One additional encounter minor attack action per tier - so 3 minor attacks at Epic.
Rhyme of the Bloodseeking Blade and Arrow of Warning as interrupts

In many ways, this build duplicates a lot of the heart of the LDB Battlefield Archer(and would not be possible without what he did) while providing additional skill and leader capabilities to the party.

Things to detail:
Nova Encounter Round at 16

Minor Action – Hunter's Quarry 
Minor Action – Sudden Bolt (+25 vs. Reflex with CA)
  = (.85)*(41)+(0.05)*(63.5) = 38
•    2d10+30 cold damage

Standard Action – Pinning Strike (+25 vs. AC with CA)
 = (2)*(.75)*(35.5)+(2)*(0.05)*(53.5) = 58.6
•    1d10+30 cold damage

•    1d10+30 cold damage
ACTION POINT
Standard Action – Twin Strike (+25 vs. AC with CA)
 = (2)*(.75)*(29.5)+(2)*(0.05)*(47.5) = 49
•    1d10+24 cold damage
•    1d10+24 cold damage
Hunter's Quarry
•    2d6 cold damage

((.82-(.25^4))*7+(.18)*12 =7.9

Total Damage: 6d10+2d6+138 cold damage (153.5 average damage)



Damage Bonus Sources:
+6 (Dexterity)
+5 (Called Shot)
+5 (Lasting Frost)
+4 item (Bracers of Archery)
+3 enhancement (+3 weapon)
+3 (Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold)
+2 feat (Weapon Focus)
+2 (Gloves of Ice)
Note: Still has Snapshot+Twin Strike for the next round



Nova Encounter Round at 30

Turn 1 (Setup):
Minor Action – Hunter's Quarry



Turn 2 (Action):
Standard Action – Twin Strike (+41 vs. AC with CA)

•    2d10+34 cold damage
(0.8*45+0.1*93=45.2 on average)
•    2d10+34 cold damage
Minor Action – Sudden Bolt (+41 vs. Reflex with CA)

•    2d10+43 cold damage
(0.85*54+0.1*102 = 56.1)
ACTION POINT (recover Sudden Bolt via Martial Mastery)
Standard Action – Pounding Barrage (+41 vs. AC with CA)

•    1d10+43 cold damage(0.8*48.5+0.1*96.5 =48.45)
•    1d10+1d6+43 cold damage(0.8*52+0.1*100=51.6)
•    1d10+43 cold damage(0.8*48.5+0.1*96.5 =48.45)
Minor Action – Sudden Bolt (+41 vs. Reflex with CA)

•    2d10+43 cold damage
(0.85*54+0.1*102 = 56.1)
Hunter's Quarry
•    3d8 cold damage

=364.8 damage on average 


Damage Bonus Sources:
+9 (Dexterity)
+6 enhancement (+6 weapon)
+6 item (Bracers of Archery)
+5 (Called Shot)
+5 (Lasting Frost)
+5 (Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold)
+4 (Gloves of Ice)
+3 feat (Weapon Focus)




Note this means the build still can do the following on the next round(assuming a passed milestone)

Minor Action – Snap Shot (+41 vs AC with CA)

Minor Action – Jinx Shot(+40 vs AC with CA)

Standard Action – Twin Strike (+41 vs. AC with CA)

•    2d10+34 cold damage

•    2d10+34 cold damage



and still have a move action left...


Nova Daily Round

(more details later)
Annie Oakley

Note: You can download the dnd4e file available from this link and then upload it to your own CB. It has a couple of issues due to how retraining works. You get rid of one of the Rogue MC feats and exchange it for Novice Power when you pick up Multiclass Mastery - that's what gets you the 3rd minor action attack in Epic.

There's a bug in Retraining which tries to substitute whatever you retrained Novice Power into at 21st and puts it into Multiclass Mastery.
As a drow built to take numerous attacks with a crossbow, you might want to consider hand crossbow and rogue mc for two fisted shooter. take the drow hand crossbow package and win. I haven't gone through the full build so this is a first impression.
As a drow built to take numerous attacks with a crossbow, you might want to consider hand crossbow and rogue mc for two fisted shooter. take the drow hand crossbow package and win. I haven't gone through the full build so this is a first impression.



That is an option - but it isn't that great of an option given the cost for an extra feat - as Cloaked Sniper means no load time for the Superior Crossbow.
As a drow built to take numerous attacks with a crossbow, you might want to consider hand crossbow and rogue mc for two fisted shooter. take the drow hand crossbow package and win. I haven't gone through the full build so this is a first impression.



That is an option - but it isn't that great of an option given the cost for an extra feat - as Cloaked Sniper means no load time for the Superior Crossbow.

I wondered if this was worth it (Drow handbow vs Superior Crossbow).

Both cost a feat, one is +2/1d8/High Crit, the other is +3/1d10.

Is High Crit worth +1/1d2? 
Curious as to why you chose Cloaked Sniper.

Why (besides its a ranged weapon attack) did you take Jinx Shot?
That power kinda blows unless you have means to make them miss. I would go with another ranged bard power like Staggering Note or the one that pulls. They might be useful at some point.
Curious as to why you chose Cloaked Sniper.

Why (besides its a ranged weapon attack) did you take Jinx Shot?
That power kinda blows unless you have means to make them miss. I would go with another ranged bard power like Staggering Note or the one that pulls. They might be useful at some point.



Because then you're shoe-horned into using song-bows or ki-foci.

As a drow built to take numerous attacks with a crossbow, you might want to consider hand crossbow and rogue mc for two fisted shooter. take the drow hand crossbow package and win. I haven't gone through the full build so this is a first impression.



That is an option - but it isn't that great of an option given the cost for an extra feat - as Cloaked Sniper means no load time for the Superior Crossbow.

I wondered if this was worth it (Drow handbow vs Superior Crossbow).

Both cost a feat, one is +2/1d8/High Crit, the other is +3/1d10.

Is High Crit worth +1/1d2? 



With this build, not so much. When you do a lot of damage on a non-crit, a +1 to hit tends to become extremely valuable. The build does 45 hp of damage on average with a non-crit from Twin Strike at 30th. From just weapon damage, there's an average of 11 vs 9 on every non-crit. And on a crit, while the high crit weapon does get another 5d8, it only does 16 vs 20.

i.e. let's say this build hits a target on a 6 with a Superior x-bow and a 7 with a Hand x-bow - out of 20 shots:
4 both miss.
1, the superior x-bow does 45 damage.
13, they both hit, where the x-bow does +2 damage per hit, for a total of 26.
2, they both crit, where the x-bow does 20 and the high crit weapon does 38.5

45+26+40 = 111
0+0+77 = 77
Curious as to why you chose Cloaked Sniper.

Why (besides its a ranged weapon attack) did you take Jinx Shot?
That power kinda blows unless you have means to make them miss. I would go with another ranged bard power like Staggering Note or the one that pulls. They might be useful at some point.



At higher levels especially, it starts to become really critical to use an implement that you've got expertise in. Even if I had a +6 wand, it would mean needing to spend minor actions to draw and then I suffer a -3 penalty to hit due to the lack of expertise.

Jinx Shot might not be that useful, but spending a feat for a 2w minor encounter attack? Not so bad, even without the special effect. 
And, of course, Jinx-shot is always handy when you have an artful dodger in the party.
Curious as to why you chose Cloaked Sniper.

Why (besides its a ranged weapon attack) did you take Jinx Shot?
That power kinda blows unless you have means to make them miss. I would go with another ranged bard power like Staggering Note or the one that pulls. They might be useful at some point.



At higher levels especially, it starts to become really critical to use an implement that you've got expertise in. Even if I had a +6 wand, it would mean needing to spend minor actions to draw and then I suffer a -3 penalty to hit due to the lack of expertise.

Jinx Shot might not be that useful, but spending a feat for a 2w minor encounter attack? Not so bad, even without the special effect. 



My bad... Totally missed that Sudden Bolt was a minor action and I missed that you had Quickened Spellcasting to use on Jinx Shot.

As a drow player I both approve of and endorse this build =) Looks fantastic Mwao
Blah blah blah
As a drow player I both approve of and endorse this build =) Looks fantastic Mwao



Thanks! Edited the Encounter Nova:
153.5 avg damage at 16th while still having Snapshot available for another round.
364.8 avg damage at 30th while still having Snapshot and Quickened Jinx Shot available for other rounds
Last night I wasted a lot of time trying to do pretty much the same thing you did but using Ranger|Rogue w/MC Bard with a 1/2 elf. Dilettanting the Jinx Shot.

Looking back at it now I shouldn't worry about Versatile Master at all because we will probably only be using Jinx Shot w/Quickened Spellcasting 1/encounter. Unless, it has to be an at-will pwr in order to Quicken?

The only stuff I think I am missing out on is extra uses of Majestic Word, some skills, hide armor prof and some Bard utilities. I got the main powers like Rhyme of somesuch, Arrow of Warning etc... from Bard through Adept/Novice Power feats. I think I am missing out on a few feats as well like Imp. Prime Shot.

What were your starting scores? I also have taken Sly Flourish for the rogue power but might get rid of it
Looking back at it now I shouldn't worry about Versatile Master at all because we will probably only be using Jinx Shot w/Quickened Spellcasting 1/encounter. Unless, it has to be an at-will pwr in order to Quicken?

The only stuff I think I am missing out on is extra uses of Majestic Word, some skills, hide armor prof and some Bard utilities. I got the main powers like Rhyme of somesuch, Arrow of Warning etc... from Bard through Adept/Novice Power feats. I think I am missing out on a few feats as well like Imp. Prime Shot.

What were your starting scores? I also have taken Sly Flourish for the rogue power but might get rid of it



That sounds really overly complex, especially with the half-elf part.

Most of the information about what the build looked like in the beginning can be loaded up from iplay4e - you can download the dnd4e file and put it onto your CB and all the info will be there for you. But it is a typical 16/16/13/11 array.
Thanks.

I was trying to get the 5d6 or 5d8 (backstabber feat) sneak attack dice, which is why I went Rogue|Ranger instead.

I figured if Snap Shot & Sudden Bolt were used a lot each round, that I would go for the extra damage too. Went 1/2 Elf just so I could grab Jinx Shot as well to get the 1/encounter minor action with it.

Thanks.

I was trying to get the 5d6 or 5d8 (backstabber feat) sneak attack dice, which is why I went Rogue|Ranger instead.

I figured if Snap Shot & Sudden Bolt were used a lot each round, that I would go for the extra damage too. Went 1/2 Elf just so I could grab Jinx Shot as well to get the 1/encounter minor action with it.



Keep in mind you will need to change your weapon (can't sneak attack with a Sup Xbow since Essentials removed that option).

Speaking of that, for the OP build, is Twilight Adept better than Sneak of Shadows? You don't get Thievery, but it grants Stealth and you can get a decent hide for moving.

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Thanks.

I was trying to get the 5d6 or 5d8 (backstabber feat) sneak attack dice, which is why I went Rogue|Ranger instead.

I figured if Snap Shot & Sudden Bolt were used a lot each round, that I would go for the extra damage too. Went 1/2 Elf just so I could grab Jinx Shot as well to get the 1/encounter minor action with it.



Keep in mind you will need to change your weapon (can't sneak attack with a Sup Xbow since Essentials removed that option).

Speaking of that, for the OP build, is Twilight Adept better than Sneak of Shadows? You don't get Thievery, but it grants Stealth and you can get a decent hide for moving.



Oh crap. Yeah I remember hearing about that now that you mention it.
Thanks.

I was trying to get the 5d6 or 5d8 (backstabber feat) sneak attack dice, which is why I went Rogue|Ranger instead.

I figured if Snap Shot & Sudden Bolt were used a lot each round, that I would go for the extra damage too. Went 1/2 Elf just so I could grab Jinx Shot as well to get the 1/encounter minor action with it.



Keep in mind you will need to change your weapon (can't sneak attack with a Sup Xbow since Essentials removed that option).

Speaking of that, for the OP build, is Twilight Adept better than Sneak of Shadows? You don't get Thievery, but it grants Stealth and you can get a decent hide for moving.



It actually depends on whether or not the build pushes up Bard of All Trades. The one skill which the build cannot take without additional game elements is Thievery. Every other skill is a possible trained skill and the build starts off with 5 of them.

In a 'real' game, I'd put Bard of All Trades in Heroic as it frees up all kinds of interesting things. I'd take Twilight Adept in Heroic as well for Stealth instead of Sneak of Shadows, too. I'd probably wouldn't take Sneak of Shadows at all, in fact, but rather the one that lets me add +Cha to AC vs. Opportunity Attacks once per encounter.

I'm not really taking Sneak of Shadows into account for possible damage - I could make this happen for this build, too. The only problem being that this build should be the party trap disarmer and potentially won't be if I'm doing the 'pure' damage build.
Can't you get thievery from a background like "Young cutthroat"?
Can't you get thievery from a background like "Young cutthroat"?



Sure, but two issues:
Once I get Bard of All Trades, the need for Young Cutthroat is somewhat irrelevant as I'll be nearly as good. In a real for play build, I get BoAT in heroic.

I'd rather use the background for a defensive use, such as hit point = dex instead of con.