Dragon 387 - Class Acts: Avenger

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DnDi_Large.png       Dragon 387
Class Acts: Avenger
The Unbroken Circle

By Jeff Morgenroth

Today's Dragon article details an organisation of Avengers dedicated to Erathis left over from the days of Nerath, and includes a Paragon Path for their greatest champions.

As a member of the Unbroken Circle, you must operate in secret because Irion’s actions are still assumed to have started the dark years of oppression following the empire’s collapse. Even the Erathian temple views you as a self-righteous heretic and vigilante. When you appear, death follows, and your “lawlessness” is cursed in the name of the same god you and the Circle serve. People don’t realize that you’re their most dedicated protector, hunting only those unseen and insidious forces that corrupt others.


Talk about this article here.
387-ca-avenger.jpg

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

IMAGE(http://images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com/user/marandahir/thumb/9ac5d970f3a59330212c73baffe4c556.png?v=90000)

A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

News Flash - The Avenger is a Striker not a Leader. They should be handing out damage not saving throws. Oh well another entry on the failed Avenger PP list. I suppose there is defender PP's we can MC into to get better Stiker PP's from. I wonder what the next monkey is going to come up with?

I also wasn't that impressed. Though, frankly, I'm not a fan of articles that just have paragon paths, since they're a lot more likely to be useless to the majority of players (not every DM would allow you to retrain a PP after all). I like powers and feats better, since even if they're niche (like ranged weapon powers for a Paladin) at least more people can use them if they feel like it.
Major disappointment on this article. Granted there have been a couple of amazing class acts for the Avenger previous to this so I don't mind. At least its not the garbage that keeps getting thrown down the barbs throat.

The level 11 encounter power (which needs its title bar recoloured) is missing a duration for the penalty to attack rolls it bestows.


That said, I like the artwork, and while it's not the most spectacular of PPs out there I do think it fits the flavour of at least some Unity avengers well enough, so it's not completely terrible in my eyes. :D Overall it is quite short unfortunately though.

In fairness, while the Avenger is not a Leader, Leader-y type things are something that all divine characters do as a secondary. 

Plus, the Unity Unbroken feature is kind of backhand striker-y, because it hands out 5 damage every time an ally rolls for damage, so, assuming others are attacking your oath of enmity target (you're not going to be playing the Avenger that isolates enemies away from the main fight), you're going to do extra damage, just from other sources.  Now, if the enemy is being flanked by more than just yourself and another ally, the damage can pile on.

Also, the extra damage is added to damage rolls, so it's essentially adding damage of whatever type your ally is using.  That can add versatility to the feature if you're fooling around with damage types (say with a radiant party that includes a Morninglord).
I really like the Unbroken Circle flavor, and could see myself building a character around it (especially for a party that needs help with the Leader role).

What really caught my attention, however, is the art.  Consider me dazzled... that may be the best bit of art I've yet seen in Dragon, and puts some art in the books to shame.  Really A+ work from Craig Spearing.

Another hope for an at-will counting as an MBA shortly bloomed upon reading the Content Calendar, only to be once again snuffed out.


However it's a nice organization, yet what's more important: The deities are obviously able to take away your access to the divine power source.

It nice to get some flavor, but honestly this is really just not a great Class Act. It does nothing for the majority of those interested in play an avenger, and targets only one specific sub-group providing a single new paragon path for a single god.  

Nothing wrong with a little update but if you want to just issue cool short stories just do that. I'd be happy with it. But issue a story and then tagging a paragon path on the end and calling it class act just doesn't make sense.

GL!
Nothing wrong with a little update but if you want to just issue cool short stories just do that. I'd be happy with it. But issue a story and then tagging a paragon path on the end and calling it class act just doesn't make sense.

Let's be clear here.  Issuing short stories should be cool, and adding mechanical relevance even if it's only a single paragon path should also be cool.  The problem is that such an article should not be labeled as Class Acts, as articles in that series should have a wider appeal to a variety of different characters of the featured class.

A better heading for this article might have been something like Organizations of Intrigue, though if such an article is to include mechanics it should include options for multiple classes (especial as CLASS =/= JOB).  Come to think of it, a more diverse set of descriptive article headings might be very desirable.  I can't speak for everyone else, but I've kind of grown sick of seeing multiples of the same article series in a single issue.
I just hope  the guy who wrote this does not write another Avenger related article ever again.

I just hope  the guy who wrote this does not write another Avenger related article ever again.

I think that's too hard. The backstory was decent, it's just that it was too little of both: not enough story to stand as an article about an organization and not enough rule crunch to stand as a class act.

If the author would write more of either fluff or crunch both would certainly make a good article.

It's not the volume of material in the article that is the problem, he wrote a Leader PP for a Striker class which as of yet has no real decent Striker (or any other if you ask me) PP. It seems that Wotc is completely useless and lacking abilty to create a decent Avenger, Battle Cleric or Sorcerer PP that does what is required by that classes role and flavour. People (you know - the ones who give you money for product) having been crying out for these for a while now.
Avenger does have one decent +striker PP: Ardent Champion.  Two if you include Zealous Assassin (ignore the +1d6 thing, just take Power of Skill, Surprising Charge, and the newish "target Ref with MBAs with a spear" feat).  It just doesn't have any for the other two censures.

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

1 that is a great strike rate, if I had that level of failure in my job I would loose it. Don't get me wrong I love the Avenger and by the looks of it far more than anyone at WoTC does.
It's not the volume of material in the article that is the problem, he wrote a Leader PP for a Striker class which as of yet has no real decent Striker (or any other if you ask me) PP. It seems that Wotc is completely useless and lacking abilty to create a decent Avenger, Battle Cleric or Sorcerer PP that does what is required by that classes role and flavour. People (you know - the ones who give you money for product) having been crying out for these for a while now.



All divine classes have elements of the leader role - that is part of their theme.

I mean, the article didn't exactly wow me, but I think the requirements you have are a bit beyond any reasonable expectations. There are perfectly cromulent Avenger and Sorcerer Paragon Paths, and stating that people should be losing their job because there isn't one option that blows everything else out of its shoes is just silly.
I am not after one option that blows everything away. What I am after is several fair choices of PP revolving around the main job of the Avenger class which is Striker, as it is the ones we have so far deal with differant roles or are so situational as to be impractical. I am in no way after a PP that outshines all others but it is embarresing when defenders have PP which are more strikerish than what an Avenger can currently have.

You might be missing some of the point of Paragon Paths.  True, many PPs are based on making the job you already do easier, but a great many of them also work around the idea of exploring secondary roles that the class can tend toward.

Avengers have Leader-y qualities simply for the fact that they are Divine.  All Divine characters dabble in Leader.  Some Avengers also put a pretty heavy emphasis on Controller abilities, so adding to the Leader side of things is not a bad idea.  you should also note, Avengers by themselves nova pretty hard.  Between crit fishing, oath bonuses, and others, you're in no deficit for Striker abilities.  Adding stuff from other roles is fine, AFAIC.

Generally speaking, I thought the article was a touch underwhelming.  One could have made an entire character progression based on this secret sect, with feats, backgrounds, the mentioned paragon path, alternate powers, etc.  One paragon path isn't really enough.

Reminds me of the Changeling Winning Races article that only offered a feat.

I beg to differ that Avengers Nova hard, they hardly nova. They are a consistant damage class with small crit spikes.
Do you play an Avenger?  I assume not, based on what you're saying.

1)  Leader-type ability:  Divine Guidance.  For all your complaining that Avengers aren't Leaders, here's proof that they can be.  Not only that, if you find you're using Divine Guidance often, this PP offers bonuses that are pushing hard to deal extra damage when your allies hit.  Now, if they are attacking your Oath target in melee, chances are you can manage a flank, and if they miss, you give them a free re-roll.  Which means another opportunity to crit (something Avengers like).  Avenger powers help melee allies all the time, by virtue of the fact that they depend on them so much.  So, in a way they need to be Leader-y at times to boost their own damage output.

2) Oath:  You can use your Oath of Enmity in concert with Overwhelming Strike to get free rerolls for yourself, which increases your odds to hit and/or crit, upping base DPR.  Also, the wording very specifically says that you can reroll and choose either result until the target dies, and then you pick a new one.

3) Censure of Unity:  You gain a +1 to damage for every ally adjacent to the Oath of Enmity target.  Assuming you have a Defender adjacent to the target, plus maybe a Warlord or some other melee-based Striker, that's a guaranteed +2 to every hit. 

4) The Avenger nova is designed around attacking as many times as possible.  My Avenger has a 2 turn nova that uses Strength of Many for +6 (assuming 2 adjacent allies), regardless of whether I hit or not (which my Oath makes likely), then the next turn, I use Overwhelming Strike to move my Oath Target away from adjacent allies, and burn my action point to use Twin Strike (Half-Elf Dilettante).  With all possible attacks, I use my Oath power to get rerolls, shooting for crits.  When  I do this, at level 1 mind you, I'm looking at a range of 6-39 damage on the first attack, a range of 10-19 for Overwhelming Strike, and 14-34 damage for the for Twin Strike.  Over two turns, that's a maximum of 92 damag  over two turns.

If you can look at that, and tell me that Avengers don't (or hardly) nova, then turn in your Holy Symbol.

Sorry to rant, but I play an Avenger, and I crank damage when I need to, and I rely on helping allies, so really, it's ok to say that this article was less than impressive, as far as available options go, but make sure you get your facts straight when you're talking about the abilities of the Avenger.
in my opinion avengers would need some close burst attack powers. (even if you don't get oath reroll for these).
I find that in most fights, there is a least.. at the VERY least, 1 time when attacking 3+ targets is an absolute win situation.
I would go as far as to say something like "dual strike" and or "vault the fallen" would be good..
sometimes, you need to unleash the monk in you.. it is for the good of the party.
There is nothing more frustrating than seeing your team rampaging tons of beasties while you are stuck on doing slightly above dmg to only 1 enemy.

For that reason, Ardent Champion lvl 11 enc power is actually good. but in heroic you have.. none.
and most PP offers you... none.
And I think it is a must (either that or an area range burst, blast, or whatever else to attack multi-targets)

aside from that, the avenger is ok in my book only when you hit paragon.
Avenger is no good compared to most classes in heroic. (barb, pally, fighter, rogue, ranger.. completely outshine him).
but once you hit lvl 11 with ardent champion + painful oath. I kind of start to believe.