Rogue Crossbow Sniper: Revived

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Build: Brutal Scoundrel/Hand Crossbow/Sharpshooter/Deadly Trickster


Synopsis: Constant combat advantage, multiple ranged attacks per round in addition to stacked modifiers, and resulting in very good DPR, rivaling that of melee focused builds, while providing limited/no exposure to enemy attacks. 

Note: I have changed this thread alot and removed a good deal from it. Changes with other books make it harder to make comparitive math, however it seems to me with the addition of critical increases from the PHB2, the hand crossbow rogue is something to be feared. Also note that if you do not intend to play until epic levels, at character creation you can opt for a higher strength vs constitution modifier since we only get that for the 'steady shooter' feat. if you DO go to epic levels, consider keeping it as it will turn out to be a solid +3 damage for little investment.



“Welcome to my Parlor” said the Spider to the Fly
pzo9013drowdb2.jpg




~By Faytte 


 


Stat Overview: 
Race: Drow
Class: Rogue
Option: Brutal Scoundrel 
22 PT Buy


 


  • STR: 13(13)

  • DEX: 20(18)

  • CON: 13(13)

  • INT: 8(8)

  • CHA: 10(8)

  • WIS: 10(10) 

Attribute Overview at levels 11, 21 and 30:


Level 11
16 STR (+3 Mod)(+1 level 4, +1 level 8)
14 CON (+2 Mod)
23 DEX (+6 Mod)(+1 level 4, +1 level 8)
9 INT (-1 Mod)
13 CHA (+1 Mod)
11 WIS (+0 Mod)

Level 21
19 STR(+4 Mod)(+1 level 14, +1 level 18)
15 CON(+2 Mod)
26 DEX(+8 Mod)(+1 level 14, +1 level 18)
10 INT(+0 Mod)
14 CHA(+2 Mod)
12 WIS(+1 Mod)

Level 30
20 STR(+5 Mod)(+1 level 24)
16 CON(+2 Mod)(+1 level 28) 
28 DEX(+9 Mod)(+1 level 24, +1 level 28) 
10 INT(+0 Mod)
14 CHA(+2 Mod)
12 WIS(+1 Mod) 


FEATS
~Heroic~
1) Weapon Expertise: Hand crossbow
2) Distant Advantage (retrain to Weapon Focus at 16th once you receive hide in plain sight)
4) Ruthless Hunter
6) MC Feat: Warrior of the Wild
8) Backstaber
10) Novice Power (Scattering Volley)

~Paragon~
11) Danger Sense(steady shooter if optimized for paragon, push rest back, kill bleeding backstab). 
12) Merciless Killer
14) Two Fisted Shooter
16) Adept Power (Attacks on the Run)
18) Slaying Action 
20) Bleeding Backstab (retrain to Crossbow Mastery at level 21)

~Epic~
21) Brutal Advantage
22) Steady Shot
24) Martial Mastery
26) Whirling Sneak Attack (Crack Shot)
28) Brutal Wound
30) Rattling Exploit (Crack Shot)


Skills: Stealth, Thievery, Intimidate, Acrobatics, Perception, + any other. 


 


Powers
At Will: Deft Strike, Disheartening Strike

Encounter Powers:
1. Unbalancing Shot
3. Enforced Threat
7. Cloud of Steel
10. Acolyte Power: Scattering Volley (Replaces Enforced Threat)
11. Stab and Shoot 
13. Tornado Strike (Replaces Unbalancing Shot)
16. Power Swap: Snap Shot (replaced Cloud of Steep)
17. Triple Shot (replaces Scattering Volley)
23. Crack Shot (replaces Snap Shot)
27. Safe Bet (replaces Tornado Strike)

End: Triple Shot, Safe Bet, Crack Shot, Stab and Shoot

Daily Powers: 
1. Blinding Barrage
5. Walking Wound
9. Burst Fire
15. Slaying Strike (replaces Walking Wound)
16. Adept Power: Attacks on the Run (replaces Slaying Strike)
19. Daunting Barrage (replaces Blinding Barrage)
20. Escalating Barrage
25. Magnetic Shot (replaces Burst Fire)
29. Adept Power: Five Missle Dance (replaces Attacks on the Run)

End: Five Missle Dance, Magnetic Shot, Daunting Barrage, Escalating Barrage

Utility Powers: (W=At Will. E=Encounter. D=Daily)
2. Fleeting Ghost (W) 
6. Chameleon (W) (Can be power swapped after 16th for Ferret out Fraility (E)
10. Executioner's Mien (D)
12. Perfect Aim (E)
16. Hide in Plain Sight (E)
22. Raise the Stakes (D)


Equipment
Still under some development.

Level 30:
Main Hand: +6 Subtle dagger
Off Hand: +6 Mind Iron Hand Crossbow


Armor: +6 Displacers Leather (If it looks like the dm will try to push you out of invisibility, pop this!)
Arm: +6 Bracers of Archery
Head: +1 Headband Of Intellect 
Neck: + 6 Cloak of Displacement (this should further make it impossible to move you from invisibility).
Ring: Shadow Band or Nullyfing Ring (if your DM is out to get you out of invisibility, choose the later).
Hand: Level 26 Caustic Gauntlets (6 extra acid damage per ranged attack, not shabby. Also hits adjacent creatures for 3d6 damage)
Feet: Zephir Boots (Light Step Slippers at lower levels) 
Waist: Baldric of Valor (item bonus to attack wont stack with our headband, but theres not much in belts we want). Misc: Violet Solitaire (gain AP on crit, spend this turn)

Consumables: 
Potion of Clarity +1 (pop this early in a fight, use it to reroll your higher W attacks)
Caustic Whetstones + 2 (cheap)
Black Dragon Bile (cheap!)
Surprise Bullets (For before level 16. At 30 gold a pop they are a cheap way to get combat advantage).



Heroic

At Will: Deft Strike, Disheartening Strike(second choice can be anything really. 

Level 1--Encounter: Unbalancing Shot (1E)

Level 1--Daily: Blinding Barrage (1D)

Level 2--Utility: Fleeting Ghost. This will let us be a scout and sneak around at more or less full speed without taking penalties. 

Level 3--Encounter: Enforced Threat (2E) (Current: Unbalancing Shot, Enforced Threat)

Level 5--Daily: Walking Wound (2D) (Current: Blinding Barrage, Walking Wound)

Level 6--Utility:
 Chameleon. Chameleon is nicer that the later version, as it lets you stealth in the open without cover until 'the end of your next turn'.This is going to be useful if you use party members 'as cover' to remain in hiding. This will allow them to move and you to stay in hiding until the end of your next turn. 

Level 7--Encounter: Cloud of Steel or Snap Shot (if your ST is more into BBEGS than mass minions, Snap Shot, otherwise stick with cloud of steel. Later with whirl wind sneak attack, combining it with cloud of darkness can mean alot of sneak attacks)
(3E) (Current: Unbalancing Shot, Enforced Threat, Cloud of Steel)

Level 9--Daily: Burst Fire (nice burst, hits enemies only, misses for half. Targets Reflex). Alternate: Vexing Sting. Being reliable is nice. Also targets reflex.
(3D) (Current: Blinding Barrage, Walking Wound, Burst Fire)

Level 10--Utility: Executioner's Mien--Yes your not ruthless, but making every attack give a -2 to attacks is nice and will make your party love you. At this level you should be getting into the swing of not being attacked very often, so combat tumble set doesn't look at desirable. Alternate: Gap in the Armor.

At this level we use our Acolyte power to swap out Enforced Threat for Scattering Volley (two attacks for 1W+Dex + Slides the target 1 Square).

(3E) (Current: Unbalancing Shot, Scattering Volley, Cloud of Steel)

Paragon

Level 11--Encounter: Stab and Shoot (PP). Melee attack that then triggers a ranged attack. This is used on the first round of combat (dash in, use it, then next round move out, and cloud of darkness per normal). 

(4E) (Current: Unbalancing Shot, Scattering Volley, Cloud of Steel, Stab and Shoot(PP))

Level 12--Utility: Perfect Aim(PP). A +1 to hit and damage before using a daily. Not bad.

Level 13--Encounter: Tornado Strike. Beats out skip shot because its two attack rolls for 2W+dex vs Skips vs ref for 2W + Dex and flat Dex vs another target. Being brutal vs artful provides no benefit (shift 2 vs shift 1+1, same deal).
(4E---Unbalancing Shot) (Current: Scattering Volley, Tornado Strike, Cloud of Steel, Stab and Shoot(PP))

Level 15--Daily: Slaying Strike. A strength attack that works with ranged! Wait till their bloodies and youll wallop them from cloud of shadows. 5W+Dex+2x STr with combat advantage! and half on a miss built in. Not bad!
(3D--Replace Walking Wound) (Current: Blinding Barrage, Slaying Strike, Burst Fire)

Level 16--Utility: Hide in Plain Sight; This will make your DM cry. Its best to still get things like rings of invisibility and the like to back this up. Eventually your DM will try to break you out of hiding if you use this every fight (which you will be doing!).

At this level we receive the Adept Power Feat and promptly exchange Slaying Strike (5w+dex+str 18-20 crit, half miss) for Shot on the Run (two attacks, 3W+dex, half on miss, and no range restrictions. We want to keep burst fire because, as long as it hits 2 targets, its going to be very competitive with damage vs slaying strikes output. Of course we wont use the 'one the run' option unless you want to open with this attack. 

We swap Cloud of Steel for Snap Shot. Once we have hide in plain sight, we want to keep our distance from the fight as much as possible, so close blasts stop being ideal. 

(Current: Scattering Volley, Tornado Strike, Snap Shot, Stab and Shoot(PP))

(3D--slaying Strike) (Current: Attacks on the Run, Blinding Barrage, Burst Fire)

Level 17--Encounter: Triple Shot! Three 1W+Dex attacks is a no brainier here. Pounding Barrage passives are not nice enough to negate the inability to attack multiple foes. Because we can only have one ranger encounter at a time from multi classing, we replace Scattering Volley. Remember the key here is keeping CA, and we will be going into Hide in Plain Sight fast, so close blasts arnt that great o
(4E---Scattering Volley) (Current: Triple Shot, Tornado Strike, Snap Shot, Stab and Shooter(PP))

Level 19---Daily: Daunting Barrage. Close Blast 5, hits for half, so its an great minion killer. Hits reasonably hard, even vs Marked Beatting its only 2W less and it hits a much larger area. Has the rattling keyword and target is dazed until save? The biggest reason we take this is more attacks. More attacks=more chances to crit, more times we apply our damage modifiers. Infact when you compare this to Marked Beating, its pretty favorable even in its single target damage. Assuming you can get 3 people in your close blast 5's (not that hard) then you are making out like a bandit on this.
(3D--Blinding Barrage) (Current: Daunting Barrage, Attacks on the Run, Burst Fire)

Level 20-- Daily: Escalating Barrage(PP). Another triple hitting attack! First hit is basically a ranged basic but after that, you keep gaining accuracy and damage on every other attack. The only downside is each attack as to be on a new target, however unlike some other powers, you dont need to hit to enjoy the cummulative bonuses on attacks. Sexy!

(4D)(Current: Daunting Barrage, Burst Fire, Attacks on the Run, Escalating Barrage (PP))

Epic

Level 22--Utility: Raise the Stakes. For two rounds a day you can increase your crit change to 17-20. Use this along with your multi attack powers and action points. Since were invisible, the down side does not truely hurt us.

Level 23--Encounter: Crack Shot.  While Manticores Volley, its not that much better than Triple Shot (another 5 or 10 damage if all attacks hit), and we would need to replace triple shot if we did that, and that best option there is Geurilla blitz (2W + dex+strength, not that great). The decision is Crack Shot vs Blindside. Blind Side: It hits fairly hard, but because we will be in hiding, its another method of dazing a foe and helping our party. Snap Shot loses its luster at this level. Crack Shot is a better overall but the limit of 10 squares can make it limiting. For a pure 'sniper', keep blind side. However the limit of 10 squares is not that bad; use it early in the encounter, preferably on round two after you already used stab and shoot and enter your cloud of darkness. Later we will apply whirling sneak attack to this. 

(4E--Snap Shot) (Current: Triple Shot, Tornado Strike, Crack Shot, Stab and Shooter(PP))

Level 25--Daily. Magnetic Shot. Not much choice here. Hits harder than slaying, targets ref, still half misses, does not crit as much though. Rogues Resurgence is an option and it does get us back an encounter power OR hits for 8W, which is nice but the fact there is no half damage on a miss makes it unpallatable for me.
(4D--Replaces Burst Fire)(Current: Magnetic Shot, Attacks On the Run, Daunting Barrage, Escalating Barrage(PP))

Level 27--Encounter: Safe Bet. Safe Bet is 4W +Dex and another attack for 2W+Dex (basics at this level)). You could take hail of arrows (and be the official minion killer of at this level) but if you have any other characters with bursts/blasts, i think you should stay with Safe Bet. 
(4E--Replaces Tornado Strike) (Current: Triple Shot, Safe Bet, Crack Shot, Stab and Shoot(PP))


Level 29-- Daily:
 Five Missile Dance. Yes....no Assassins Point. 5 attacks at 2W a peice + modifiers. So thats a total of 10W + 5x your modifiers vs 7W + 1x your modifiers + 2x sneak attack. Since we have brutal advantage, after your first sneak attack, each next hit (remember your invisible) is going to deal additional damage equal to your strength. On top of that you get some control on the creature via pushes and knock prones, but this is really just garnish to the HUGE damage. We ditch Attacks on the Run.

(4D--Replaces Attacks on the Run (GASP))(Current: Five-Missile Dance, Magnetic, Daunting Barrage, Escalating Barrage(PP)).

Review:

Encounters: Triple Shot(3 attacks), Safe Bet(2 attacks), Crack Shot(At least one extra attack with any amount of aiming), Stab and Shoot(PP)(1 extra attack))

Daily: Five-Missile Dance(insanity)(5 attacks), Magnetic (hard hit, accurate), Daunting Barrage (close blast 5 with debuffing), Escalating Barrage(3 attacks, escalating damage and accuracy). 




Early game 1-10
Start with unbalancing shot on something you beat in initiative. After that going into cloud of darkness. Some melee might need to be done beyond round 3 but hopefully deft strike keeps you ranged. Ask your DM if there are bushes, as you can probably claim them as superior concealment and hide behind them, overwise look for other places of total concealment (this generally is not an issue in a dungeon, plenty of doorways and the like). Distant Advantage should allow you and your party to work together to keep your combat advantage going. 


Mid Game
In this level range you come into your own. You will start combats landing stab and shoot (unless you plan to use blinding barrage, then use stab and shoot on round 2 and delay everything else to round 3) and then moving back, entering your cloud of darkness and continuing. Once you hit 16th youll step into hide in plain sight. Positioning on round 2 for your cloud of darkness is critical and will be something you need to practice. Position yourself close enough to ensure you can land all your attacks can be used, but far enough behind your tanks so that reaching you is not easy for any bull rush attempts. Be careful of creatures with tremorsense. These guys can see through invisibility...if your close enough. Most creatures with tremorsense only have a range of 5 or 10 on this ability, so just stay outside range and you'll be ok. 

End Game
Many sources of added attacks. You are dealing very good DPR, and brutal advantage is ensuring that those extra attacks are each dealing + STR mod damage. Triple Shot, Safe Bet, Crack Shot and Stab and Shoot are great sources of damage. Dailies are used on big bad guys, with Five-Missile Dance being utterly insane. Escalating Barrage seems ideal when fighting groups of elites (save your last shot for the biggest bad in the group!). Use your swift shot crossbow on round one. Quick Draw out your mind iron and go from there. The +1 to attacks and being able to make your daily attacks focus on Will is a huge benefit to your offense. The load 'minor' is nothing really; once in invisibility we will never really use our minors. If it becomes an issue, quick draw back to swift shot.

Defense is never really an issue unless your DM targets you. In these cases remember this. The only way to end Hide In Plain Sight is to be MOVED. This reduces what creatures are even able to get you out of this effect. Your cloak will give you a +2 to ac/ref. At the end of every turn, make a stealth check; monsters need to guess what square your in. Boots give you a +6 bonus. If the DM is hell bent on getting you, pop your armors (Displacement) daily ability; they will need to roll twice to hit you and use the lower of the two! This on top of the -5 penalty for not seeing you and +2 provided by your cloak, as well as any penalties from being marked/etc should be enough to ensure that only a crit (5%) is going to get you out of invisibility. If that happens, use your shadow bands daily power to gain full concealment for the encounter, and use your move actions to hide in the open. 


20% of your attacks(crits) will explode into another attack(which can inturn, explode again), as well as land the high crit property. Nothing to laugh at with your 8 die damage for weapon attacks. Accuracy should not be an issue with weapon expertise, combat advantage and your mind iron bows. 



Unless your DM is gunning for you, you should not face a situation like this that often, and with the built in defenses with this build, you should be fine 


Extra Attacks Per Encounter:
Triple Shot: 2
Safe Bet: 1
Stab and Shoot: 1
Swift Shot Weapon: 1
Crack Shot : 2+ 
Action Point generated free attack: 1 (when AP is used)

Deadly Trickster Benefits and Synergies
Epic Destiny:

Deadly Trickster:
--We use our 3 rerolls on Magnetic Shot, Safe Bet, etc or other attacks which hit for 4W or harder and trigger other effects.
--15% of our encounter or dailies wont be expended. When teamed up with epic trick and a long fight, this can mean an extra daily or encounter power. Teamed up with the rerolls above, the chances increase.
--Our level 30 power isnt going to effect us much, so its being ignored.
--Epic Trick is well...epic. We wont take much damage with this build, however recovering all of our powers is utterly amazing, and lets us keep up the offense. 


 



Damage at 30th (ranged basic attack)


2W(9.5) + Dex(9) + STR(5) + Weapon Ench (6) + Steady Shot (3) + Merciless Killer (2.5) + Weapon Focus (3) + Bracers of Archery (6) + Subtle Dagger (6)  = 50 damage


Sneak Attack Adds 22.5 Damage


So our first ranged basic attack each round deals 72.5 damage.


Subsiquent attacks will deal 50.


One encounter per day add 6 damage to the above plus 3d6 splash from Caustic Gloves but for now, lets ignore that.


10% crit rate adjusts these figures as following (including high crit and magic damage).


Base Damage = 59.5
Sneak Attack= 40
Weapon Enchancement = 21 (6d6)
High Crit = 10.5
Lets apply a 20% miss rate (meaning a 4 or less misses which sounds good).
This will proc an offhand attack for free. For simplicity I will assume the offhand free attack does NOT crit itself (although it could).

This means out of every 20 attack rolls (assuming a large enough base of rolls here, statistics vs probability and all) i will crit twice, miss 4 times, hit 16. My crits will yeild 2 more attacks which have a 80% chance of landing each. Ignoring that those attacks can crit as well.


First Attack 84.8125 damage on average on our first standard 2W attack per turn.
Subsequent Attacks: 66.375


So there are builds that do more damage sure but when you look at it, many of our attacks are hitting many times in a turn. In fact we rarely got through any encounter without hitting at least twice in a turn, meaning on 'average' we are putting out about 151.1875 damage in a turn if we attack twice. The numbers go up as you would imagine. Crack shotting 3 creatures pushes you into 200 damage out put, as do your encounters and the such. Our dailies are pushing out insane damage to a single target (5 missle dance is able to put out 350.3125).


Poping your Caustic gloves will further increase this damage (about 5.4 damage per hit + the 3d6 splash damage).


Now again, other builds can do stuff to but the keys here are as follows:


A) you are relatively safe. There are few creatures that can see you in invisibility, and those situations are going to be rare. If your DM is breaking this out on you every fight, then your DM hates you. Roll a cleric or something. On the plus side in any standard game, you are not taking up healing or other focus from your party.


B) You are able to take out multiple targets in a given round. Save for other ranger builds, 'insane' damage builds generally can only do the damage to a single creature. While they excell vs solos and elites, strategically its nicer to be able and divide up your damage across multiple enemies.


C) Like sorcerers, your adding your secondary stat to all targets in a round thanks to brutal advantage. Unlike sorcerers you dont have to fear hitting your party. That does not make your a sorcerer replacement as they have many more aoes, but it makes you competitive in their own department. Meanwhile you have the single target damage per round of a ranger (or better unless they are using an abused build).

Very nice, its nice to see this build up and running again.  Its so flavorful too; a drow with a crossbow.  Quick question, how did you figure out expected gold.


Make sure to edit the wiki too.  Its still linking the old thread.

Updated: Gold has not been settled yet.


 


Thank you for the comment. This build is actually kinda viscious. While its so so as heroic, it kicks alot of ass in paragon. Effectivly you can hit anything on a standard board from one location, deal significant striker damage, attack multiple times and take out enemy casters, annoying minions, and when it comes to solos you really shine, stacking all those damage modifiers


 


Its been a while since i 'reviewed' it however so please, critique.

Among many other tempting items you may want to check out Sehanine's Mark of the Dark Moon from the DMG2. Half damage when an enemy cannot see you, no damage on a miss.

That's about all the input I feel confident in providing. Thanks for the build. It's been fun working toward its Paragon level.

I have a drow crossbow specialist in LFR, and though he is still low level, he is extremely effective. I went with the superior crossbow, rather than the hand crossbow. My stats are slightly different, as I am responsible for more than just DPR in the group.


Your original build was a thread I bookmarked for the excellent inspiration, and it has worked out very well for me. (I learned the Deft Strike techinique from you, thanks!)


A note for anyone wanting to take items from the DMG2 for LFR play, it is NOT a legal resource for players, so you can't purchase items from it (though they could be found in published adventures if the authors included them). Ditto for things from the DMG.

Where is the Mind Iron Hand Crossbow from?


 

Mind Iron= AV 1



Makes your attacks have the pyschic keyword


 


Combos with the head band which gives you a +1 bonus to attacks with the pyschic keyword. Basically an easy 5% hit increase

I notice that you have gone back to the Hand Crossbows, over the Superior Crossbow. What changed your mind?

Why not take Drow Fighting Style during heroic?  That way you can flank to get CA when the terrain doesn't support getting total concealment and won't have to ever worry about provoking?


And why have two of the same weapon?  Why have two crossbows at all?  With two-fisted shooter, your hand crossbow can go in your off-hand.  Something else can go in your main hand, like... a comparatively low-level reckless dagger, or something more creative.

The various skill utilities can be worth considering. Fast Hands can let us swap xbows, which can be useful if you pick up several over your career. Stepping away from damage optimization, with Traps now being a more reasonable and important mechanic, Quick Fingers is actually useful. I mention this because Chameleon just never comes up for me. It could be useful, but it really hasn't come into play very often. Things seldom come looking for me, though with a Superior Xbow I am often targetting things at a long enough range that they don't want to come look for me and spend so much time moving through my allies.


Black Arrow Style can be interesting. I am not a huge fan, but it does let you Deft Strike, seemingly with any type of cover. That could include allies, meaning you could always get CA and sneak.


Ammo should be included in your items. At heroic, you can use +1 Surprise Bullets and be at the same + to hit (due to CA) as if you were attacking with a +3 weapon without CA, so they remain competitive through late Heroic play and maybe into early Paragon, depending on when you get a +4 item. They are ridiculously cheap for granting you sneak on encounter powers! Lightning Arrows are also useful, especially as a way to prolong CA when you have it. If you have CA, such as due to Distant Advantage, you can use a +1 Lightning Arrow to daze the foe, giving you (and allies) CA for an AP and next round.


I still like Bravo as a multiclass option, though ranger is likely stronger. If making a higher level PC, or if you don't mind the penalty, you can start with Insight and get Intimidate from Bravo.

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Issue with the feat progression - At level 11 you have "Danger Sense(steady shooter if optimized for paragon, push rest back, kill bleeding backstab)" and at level 21, you're retraining bleeding backstab out anyway.  Assuming you have a campaign who's going from, say, level 10 to level 22 (or for whatever other reason want to optimize for paragon but will likely see at least some epic play) what should you be retraining out at that point?


I notice that you have gone back to the Hand Crossbows, over the Superior Crossbow. What changed your mind?




 


The introduction of bow mastery in PHBII. Without it, hand crossbows were very close in damage to our superior crossbow but not enough in my opinion to warrant the extra feats. With the increase crit range, it makes a very significant impact to the math and hand crossbows pull out ahead significantly leading to 10% extra attacks (which can become recursive) and high crit property which outweighs the increase in the damage die from d8 to d10 and the +1 to hit. The +1 to hit is also made a bit less important with the introduction of 'expertise' feats.


Issue with the feat progression - At level 11 you have "Danger Sense(steady shooter if optimized for paragon, push rest back, kill bleeding backstab)" and at level 21, you're retraining bleeding backstab out anyway.  Assuming you have a campaign who's going from, say, level 10 to level 22 (or for whatever other reason want to optimize for paragon but will likely see at least some epic play) what should you be retraining out at that point?





Harder one. Id say slaying action can be axed. Its effect is not extreme by the time you get to epic.


Why not take Drow Fighting Style during heroic?  That way you can flank to get CA when the terrain doesn't support getting total concealment and won't have to ever worry about provoking?


And why have two of the same weapon?  Why have two crossbows at all?  With two-fisted shooter, your hand crossbow can go in your off-hand.  Something else can go in your main hand, like... a comparatively low-level reckless dagger, or something more creative.




I tempted drow fighting style but to be honest, using distant advantage negates the need for it in any competant party. At low level play, you reserve your cloud of darkness for 2 turns when you cant get CA. If your party has 2 melee, you should be working together to ensure CA (they should be flanking mobs as it is just to benefit eachother). So overall I did not see the advantage to spend a feat on something to combat a situation issue when overall our build attempts to negate those situations. In a standard 7 round combat (low level combats dont tend to go on much further minus a fight with a solo) you get CA round 1 by beating something in initiative (assuming your ST is rollign per mob, this shouldnt be hard to ensure. If your st rolls once for a set of mobs, well then that is different, but generally you should beat something!), after that you will rely on distant advantage, using terrain and cloud of darkness as needed. Cloud ensures 2 more rounds of CA. If you hide on your last turn within cloud following your attack and move, you should be able to get a third round out of it once you have fleeting ghost. Safely, you can assure 4 rounds of CA before hide in plain sight. If your party cant get you the other 3 rounds by flanking something..well they stink


 


Per weapons, yeah you could do that, and it would be smarter. I'm not aware of a nice melee or other weapon that we can simply hold that would give us much of a benefit. I believe reckless only works on melee attacks?


 


 


The various skill utilities can be worth considering. Fast Hands can let us swap xbows, which can be useful if you pick up several over your career. Stepping away from damage optimization, with Traps now being a more reasonable and important mechanic, Quick Fingers is actually useful. I mention this because Chameleon just never comes up for me. It could be useful, but it really hasn't come into play very often. Things seldom come looking for me, though with a Superior Xbow I am often targetting things at a long enough range that they don't want to come look for me and spend so much time moving through my allies.


Black Arrow Style can be interesting. I am not a huge fan, but it does let you Deft Strike, seemingly with any type of cover. That could include allies, meaning you could always get CA and sneak.


Ammo should be included in your items. At heroic, you can use +1 Surprise Bullets and be at the same + to hit (due to CA) as if you were attacking with a +3 weapon without CA, so they remain competitive through late Heroic play and maybe into early Paragon, depending on when you get a +4 item. They are ridiculously cheap for granting you sneak on encounter powers! Lightning Arrows are also useful, especially as a way to prolong CA when you have it. If you have CA, such as due to Distant Advantage, you can use a +1 Lightning Arrow to daze the foe, giving you (and allies) CA for an AP and next round.


I still like Bravo as a multiclass option, though ranger is likely stronger. If making a higher level PC, or if you don't mind the penalty, you can start with Insight and get Intimidate from Bravo.




All very good points. I've been hit with chamleon a few times, but i admit its not the best utility.

Ammo is something i have to flesh out soon i agree. Black arrow style is interesting, and might be useful in leui of another heroic feat if your st is a douche with his encounters or you lack sufficient melee support, or your melee do not understand how to flank.


 


 


Black arrow style is interesting, and might be useful in leui of another heroic feat if your st is a douche with his encounters or you lack sufficient melee support, or your melee do not understand how to flank.




Where Black Arrow Style shines is the open area with no cover, before HiPS, when you will just not have cover other than with Distant Advantage. And, while flanking is usually in every melee PC's playbook, what often happens is that a defender wants to go after one group and lock them down, but the other melee might be more of a striker and decide to go after a rear-rank foe. I see that more and more. They have legitimate tactical reasons to attack different things. I am seeing this more and more often. And, there are enough melee PCs that have ways to get CA that they can often not need a flank (an Assassin, for example, but other classes as well). That is where Black Arrow Style can be worth considering, though especially for non-drow. For drow I think it isn't so critical, though you could swap it for Distant Adv in some parties. My own ranged sup Xbow dwarf doesn't use it, primarily because Bravo gives me more ways to get CA with Deft Strike and I'm not really looking for more ways to use Deft Strike. I'm looking for more ways to sneak with encounter powers. But, I've played with a ranged rogue that seemed to use it fairly often in wilderness encounters.

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Per weapons, yeah you could do that, and it would be smarter. I'm not aware of a nice melee or other weapon that we can simply hold that would give us much of a benefit. I believe reckless only works on melee attacks?




You're right about the reckless enchantment.


Instead a Wraithblade, Vengeful dagger or Battlemaster dagger might be useful.

Per weapons, yeah you could do that, and it would be smarter. I'm not aware of a nice melee or other weapon that we can simply hold that would give us much of a benefit. I believe reckless only works on melee attacks?


Subtle is nice

Upon review, marked beating (daily 27 i believe) is likely to be swapped out for the daily from MP that is a close blast 5. While im not fond of close blasts at that level, its likely to be used in round one with this build following CA from initiative. While it doesnt hit has hard nor as accurate (vs ac instead of vs ref) im not in love with marked beatings effect since its save ends, more over since we are using hand crossbows now, every extra attack is a chance to crit (10% of the time at this level) for another extra attack vs...anyone.  Im also considering swapping swaping an encounter power over to binding barrage. Its another close blast 5 and an encounter. This could potentially lead to the following combo. 


Round One: use stab and shoot (because its first attack requires melee range). 


Round Two move into position, cloud of darkness, use binding barrage. 


Round Three, still under cloud, use any other close blasts you want (daily if needed) or other attack. Move action to shift to a different square in your cloud and hide as the move action. Minor to hide in plain sight.


Continue the rest of the encounter as is.


At first I was afraid being so close would somehow make us vulnerable to being smacked out of HIPS but after seeing the amount of gear we can get to negate hits and moves, very few things will actually cause us to break HIPS. Meanwhile we are laying down some rather sick damage Binding Barrage and Crack Shot combo every encounter more or less makes us a mini controller.


 


I will look over the weapons suggested for the main hand dagger. 


Per weapons, yeah you could do that, and it would be smarter. I'm not aware of a nice melee or other weapon that we can simply hold that would give us much of a benefit. I believe reckless only works on melee attacks?


Subtle is nice





Mmm..would this work with our crossbow. The wording is:

 


Property: Deal extra damage equal to this weapons enchantment bonus when attacking with combat advantage.


If thats correct, we just added another +6 damage at max level to each of our attacks, a very significant damage boost considering we work heavily on multi attack powers;)


 


 


 

Subtle is melee only, however. Am I missing something?

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Subtle dagger in the main hand, Mind Iron hand crossbow in the offhand.

Don't you have to attack with the dagger to gain the benefit? I'm not getting when the build would use the dagger, such that subtle would trigger.

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"Property: Deal extra damage equal to this weapon’s enhancement bonus when attacking with combat advantage."


It doesn't say anything about having to use the subtle weapon to make the attack.


"Property: Deal extra damage equal to this weapon’s enhancement bonus when attacking with combat advantage."


It doesn't say anything about having to use the subtle weapon to make the attack.




"Unless specified otherwise, a property affects only the weapon to which it's attached."


"... You couldn't hold the weapon in your off-hand and gain the benefit of the property on powers delivered using a main weapon."


 


AV1 page 56, Weapon Properties

Damn. And I just posted a bunch of math with subtle included  I'll edit it back tomorrow


 


 


Le sigh.



"Property: Deal extra damage equal to this weapon’s enhancement bonus when attacking with combat advantage."


It doesn't say anything about having to use the subtle weapon to make the attack.




"Unless specified otherwise, a property affects only the weapon to which it's attached."


"... You couldn't hold the weapon in your off-hand and gain the benefit of the property on powers delivered using a main weapon."


 


AV1 page 56, Weapon Properties




Ah, so Reckless weapons get around this by using a power instead of a property?


 


 


Ah, so Reckless weapons get around this by using a power instead of a property?




Yes, a weapon power that doesn't mention "with this weapon" could be used to help other attacks. For Reckless, this is likely poor wording, as you are using the enchantment on the weapon, but strict interpretation would allow the bonus on any melee attack, regardless of weapon used.

Also, the AV text is specific to weapons (it seems to be a smart attempt to somewhat control 2-Wpn users from lathering on two properties). However, implements are not limited by this. With a hand crossbow, you could try to find an implement that helps... Sadly, Wand of Psychic Ravaging reads "this wand" and "implement power", so you can't use that to bolster the damage. Still, there could be other implements that would help.

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Alright, well before I make any more adjustments, the goal now is to get a list of 'optimal gear'. Here is the current list.


 


Main Hand: ?????
Off Hand: +6 Mind Iron Hand Crossbow


Armor: +6 Displacers Leather (
                 ----Can we get something else here to boost damage?
Arm: +6 Bracers of Archery
Head: +1 Headband Of Intellect 
Neck: + 6 Cloak of Displacement (this should further make it impossible to move you from invisibility).
Ring: Shadow Band or Nullyfing Ring (if your DM is out to get you out of invisibility, choose the later).


Hand: Level 26 Caustic Gauntlets (6 extra acid damage per ranged attack, not shabby. Also hits adjacent creatures for 3d6 damage)
Feet: Zephir Boots (Light Step Slippers at lower levels) 
Waist: Baldric of Valor (item bonus to attack wont stack with our headband, but theres not much in belts we want). Misc: Violet Solitaire (gain AP on crit, spend this turn)

Consumables: 
Potion of Clarity +1 (pop this early in a fight, use it to reroll your higher W attacks)
Caustic Whetstones + 2 (cheap)
Black Dragon Bile (cheap!)
Surprise Bullets (For before level 16. At 30 gold a pop they are a cheap way to get combat advantage).


 


 

My Dwarf is a little less worried about losing HiPS. She is considering Boots of Eagerness, because the free action to take a move action can let us move (hide must be done at the end of a move) or reload.


For waist, I hadn't noted that Baldric of Valor's bonus doesn't stack. Hmmm. Others I noted of interest:
Backbone Belt (11th, Prop: Second Wind provides +4 bonus to defenses) (good for my dwarf)
Shielding Girdle (10th, Daily interrupt to gain +4 AC  until end of next turn)
Dynamic Belt (9th, +2 Acrobat/Athletic, Daily to reroll acrob/athlet check)
Belt of Mountain Endurance (DR365, 8th, healing surge increased by STR, daily on AP for +2 to defenses)


For rings:
Chameleon Ring (16th, +2 stealth, +4 if moved since start of last turn; Daily minor to not require cover/conceal to make stealth, lasts until EoE if reached milestone)
Ring of Draconic Zeal (DR 365; +2 acrobatics, daily to make basic attack as free action)
Ring of Invis (18th/23rd; +2/+5 item bonus to stealth, daily to be invis (minor action if reached milestone)
Preemonition Ring (15th, +2 initiative and PP; Daily to not be surprised and if milestone gain move 3 and minor)


Misc:
Unfettered Thieves' Tools (11, Power (Daily): As part of the action required to make a Thievery check, you can make the check on an object up to 5 squares away. You must have line of sight to the object.)


 

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Good items.


 


Bit sad we cant stack any more modifiers to our damage. Looks like I'll need to revise my napkin math a bit. 


...I've shamelessly cribbed the entire "chassis" of this build for my next LFR (Living Forgotten Realms) character. The only thing I think I might be worried about is the cost of equipment (you have "free magic item" slots, one/level, for treasure rewards - a slot used is marked off permanently), as I'm assuming that campaign will be cash poor. On the bright side virtually all WOTC published material is open to the game, no matter how ridiculous (unless overruled or "nerfed" by the campaign itself, as some bits of cheese-insanity are).


I realize that char-op threads primarily focus on battlefield survivability, but I'm curious was skills and other non-combat equipment folks are going with for their rogue crossbowmen.




LFR has advantages and disadvantages. Compared to other PCs, you will be far in the rear ranks and often behind superior cover. Thus, you take little damage and have little need for spending your magic item bundle slots on armor, neck items, or similar defensive picks. Instead, buy a +1 Xbow, then later pick or buy a +2. Get an item or two that helps what you do, such as ammo and around 6th level you can be in position to buy Bracers of Archery. You can also eventually get a cloak of distortion or similar, but you can generally delay it to almost paragon.


You have little other need for picks. However, there are many fun utility picks when it comes to items. Depending on who you play with and how you play, they can be worth getting and spendign bundles to aquire.


LFR used to be (like 4E) dominated by traps that weren't worth the rogue's time. It was better to kill everything else than to spend several rounds making thievery checks. But, that is changing, with most newer mods having traps that can be turned off with one check, and that are well worth your time to do so. Thus, Unfettered Thieves' Tools (11th) are worth considering. Trickster's Mask and Rogue's Gloves are worth considering, even though they replace other items important to the build. (The gloves can be used before/after Caustic, but the +1 to hit from Headband of Intellect is tough).  Boots of Eagerness are cool for moving around. There are several armors that have fun utilitarian things, such as Battle Harness. Battle Harness opens up a lot of tactical options if you want to later buy several weapons. For example, switching to a Transposing Weapon (teleports target, you and they switch locations) can be huge if you do something like deliberately enter a damaging area, then switch, or switch them amidst your melee friends, or just to get the rear rank guy out, or to get to an area that will offer superior cover).

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Your stats are illegal for a standard 22 point buy. You have two stats at 8 before racial. Thats a no-no.


 


EDIT: OK, it looks like its just a typo. You list your base CHA as 10(8) but then show it as 13(+1 mod) at level 11, so I guess it is suposed to read 12(10).

The introduction of bow mastery in PHBII. Without it, hand crossbows were very close in damage to our superior crossbow but not enough in my opinion to warrant the extra feats. With the increase crit range, it makes a very significant impact to the math and hand crossbows pull out ahead significantly leading to 10% extra attacks (which can become recursive) and high crit property which outweighs the increase in the damage die from d8 to d10 and the +1 to hit. The +1 to hit is also made a bit less important with the introduction of 'expertise' feats.


This is sort of confusing (d8? hand crossbows are d6; normal crossbows are d8). Also, I'm sure it's right under my nose, but where does the extra critting from the hand crossbow come in again? It's not a high-crit weapon, and nothing in the front section of Rogue indicates special goodness.


Since I primarily play low-level campaigns, I'll probably optimize with Superior + Expertise, and worry about retraining later.


The introduction of bow mastery in PHBII. Without it, hand crossbows were very close in damage to our superior crossbow but not enough in my opinion to warrant the extra feats. With the increase crit range, it makes a very significant impact to the math and hand crossbows pull out ahead significantly leading to 10% extra attacks (which can become recursive) and high crit property which outweighs the increase in the damage die from d8 to d10 and the +1 to hit. The +1 to hit is also made a bit less important with the introduction of 'expertise' feats.


This is sort of confusing (d8? hand crossbows are d6; normal crossbows are d8). Also, I'm sure it's right under my nose, but where does the extra critting from the hand crossbow come in again? It's not a high-crit weapon, and nothing in the front section of Rogue indicates special goodness.


Since I primarily play low-level campaigns, I'll probably optimize with Superior + Expertise, and worry about retraining later.




There is a drow racial feat, Ruthless hunter I believe off the top of my head that turns hand crossbow to d8 and high crit.

Blah blah blah

Request: Could all listed feats in the build be given their exact name (i.e., where's "Crossbow Mastery"?), and also sourcebook? It would be helpful to us semi-noobs who don't have it all memorized....yet. Tongue out


-----


Potential "cheese overruled" problems with "Two Fisted Shooter"


(PHB, P267) Free Action: Free actions take almost no time or
effort. You can take as many free actions as you
want during your or another combatant’s turn. The
DM can restrict the number of free actions in a turn.
Examples: speaking a few sentences, dropping a held
item, letting go of a grabbed enemy.


....this obviously presents problems for the critmeister, especially if he's already driving the DM crazy due to neigh invulnerability.


Two-Fisted Shooter....Prerequisite: Rogue
Benefit: You can treat the hand crossbow as an
off-hand weapon, and you can reload it one-handed
as a free action. When you score a critical hit and
have a hand crossbow in your off hand, you can make
a ranged basic attack with that weapon.


While not directly worded so, a DM could reasonably parse the text to imply that the "triggering" crit must be from a weapon in the main hand -- and thus you'd need to be holding two hand crossbows to perform multiple ranged attacks. (Obviously a problem if you'd rather not fight with two crossbows).


But let's say you do have two hand crossbows. You fire the "main" one, and crit. Awesome, take your free shot with the off hand. Get another crit. Fantastic! Think you get another one? "Now wait just a minute," says your cheese-minded DM; "you scored that crit with your off-hand, so now you're done with this infinite recursion funny business."

Maximum Firepower at Low-Level Build


These first four feats are, of course, the first feats listed in the old Superior Crossbow build.


1) Weapon Proficiency: Superior Crossbow
2) Distant Advantage (retrain to ?????? at 16th once you receive Hide in Plain Sight)


...the only reason we don't take Distant Advantage right away at first is because we eventually intend to retrain it, and there may be a weapon-specific feat which requires a previous feat as a prerequisite (and so we need a weapon feat at first level).


(I put ?????? instead of Weapon Focus because I think Weapon Focus is a pretty tepid choice at 16th...if you've been living that long without an extra +1 damage, you probably don't need it at that point.)


4) Weapon Expertise : Superior Crossbow
6) MC Feat: Warrior of the Wild


Superior/Expertise enjoys +1/+1* attack/damage vs. Ruthless Hunter/Two Fisted Shooter/Expertise over virtually the entire life of the character. Prior to Two Fisted Shooter (taken in paragon level in the current build), the hand crossbow is a damage underperformer, and requires an extra feat slot for Two Fisted Shooter. (*Every 20th roll, the Two Fisted Shooter hand crossbow earns an extra d8, or ~4.5dmg, from High Crit. However, the +3 prof Superior crossbow probalistically will have realized one additional attack success during the same 20 rolls due to the +1 to hit.)


 


It's also a tactile pleasure to roll a bunch of these bad boys several times a round:



dice17.jpg

I love this build.
First few sessions, my GM was speechless and maybe a bit annoyed that I took no damage, because of my hit and hide routine. Awesome power in that superior crossbow!!!!

Now, he has wised up and decided this is not going to happen anymore (he stated that it was not fair that I take no damage while everyone else does)....I got enemy rogues that do the same snipe and hide stuff to me and the party, and a recurring villian that has mega-perception and mega-stealth abilities that hates rogues.

Essentially, my teeth has been pulled out and combat advantage is no longer available since I am always seen and cannot see them.  

Enough of my rant.
Good job, Faytte, on this great build...I love it no matter what.
I love this build.
First few sessions, my GM was speechless and maybe a bit annoyed that I took no damage, because of my hit and hide routine. Awesome power in that superior crossbow!!!!

Now, he has wised up and decided this is not going to happen anymore (he stated that it was not fair that I take no damage while everyone else does)....I got enemy rogues that do the same snipe and hide stuff to me and the party, and a recurring villian that has mega-perception and mega-stealth abilities that hates rogues.

Essentially, my teeth has been pulled out and combat advantage is no longer available since I am always seen and cannot see them.  

Enough of my rant.
Good job, Faytte, on this great build...I love it no matter what.



That sucks. There is nothing quite like it when a DM ruins the game for you.

Usually my response to being intentionally thrwarted to the point that my character doesn't even play like I'd like it to is to get bored and lose interest in the campaign. Sure it's DM's job to make things challenging...

It isn't like you not getting hit is making the game easier on your party, damage that would have been shared by the whole party is now being taken by Party-1  PCs, which means they're running out of surges faster than they otherwise would. If your DM wanted to play up the consequences of your character, he'd just put time limits on your quests and push your whole party to the point of running out of surges. When they look at you and you're not missing any while they're crying for an Extended rest, then you'll take some heat from those at the table which is a much more suitable way to manipulate player actions.

I'm sorry your DM took the easy way out.
Assassin Diaries Blog Thread
In my first LFR mod with the 1st-level character, I had three mooks rush my darkness and just fan around inside at -5. I got hit. (My darkness was also a safe place for them to hide from the party's minotaur barbarian -- how's that for irony!)

Smart enemy tactics can also stymie you. For instance, a smart opponant aware of where you came from last time can simply ready an attack to be triggered the moment you emerge from your place of concealment (a sound strategy until you have Hide in Plain Sight). A magic-user can simply cast an area spell over your darkness zone, such as Stinking Cloud or Hager's Hunger Cube.
Taking a little damage is ok. Even if they hit you, -5 will generally see you through. And, because it is until the end of your next turn, you can on your next turn attack them without provoking (seeing them just fine, no OAs since they are blind), tell your friends where they are at any time), and you can move away before the cloud ends, no OAs. Move behind a defender to minimize follow-up damage, or behind a wall to truly disappear.

Your palls can move and ready for your darkness to end, then drop a serious round of attacks on them.

This should be in your party's favor any and every time, unless they have attacks that ignore darkness (blindsight, blasts).

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