Slammin Sammy - A defender build (Ftr|SM)

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I've seen many people complain that their group doesn't like using some aspect of a CO build, due to Radiant/Frost, or Forgotten Realms/Eberron, or even that it was just TOO optimized and would overwhelm a playing table.  That inspired me to build this.  I present to you a strong defender with super-high defenses, strong mobility to chase down those who try to evade you, and who can beat you down with his baseball bat like a redneck beating his kids...

Slammin Sammy Sosa

The Batting Order

1 - Assault Swordmage, for superior base running speed
2 - Fighter, high on-base percentage to advance the runner
3 - Wandering Swordmage, high versatility
4 - Sage of Ages, strong clean-up hitter, hits it out of the park
5 - Low Equipment Reliability, nice strong hitter, also a well-rounded player (the build listed below still has 5,075,000 gp available)
6 - High NADs, strong but doesn't hit for a high average, buried in the middle of the order
7 - Mark Punishment, solid Mendoza line hitter, but enables another person to take an at-bat as well
8 - Platemail, weak hitter, strong defense up the middle however
9 - Aversion Staff, your pitching staff is always 9th..needs trade to American League, but pitching wins games

Career Advancement

Little Leagues:
Early heroic is basic and boring, typical of all characters.  Start out with Burst powers on the fighter side and mobility/burst powers on the swordmage side, so you can piss off/mark several creatures.  Remember that your Combat Challenge only triggers on fighter powers.  Advise using a fighter burst to mark a bunch then using your Minor to hit a target further away with your Aegis of Assault.

Junior Varsity:
Late heroic is characterized by the strong addition of Come and Get It (Fighter 7) as well as defensive benefits from the Aversion Staff and Hafted Defense/Staff Fighting.

Early paragon is great.  Nothing beats an all-expenses paid scholarship to Wandering Swordmage University.  The ability to mark two enemies in a burst 4 provides greater enhancement to your mobility, and ensures that you can pull a large number of opponents onto yourself while still helping your ranged allies.

Minor Leagues:
Later paragon is more of the same, your defenses are starting to lag a bit behind, as is your mark punishment.  This is the time of struggles.  Do you have what it takes to get over the hump and make it to the big leagues?  Better be prepared, just in case.  Pick up Skill Focus (Arcana) and Arcane Familiar (any with a + to Arcana).

Major League Baseball:
Congratulations, you've made it.  Time to start shoring up your weak spots, as major-league hitters don't care how strong you are, they went to knock you out every time.  Time to pick up some key pieces of equipment.  To celebrate your new contract, pick up the requisite car, house, house for your parents, and a Moonstone Sphere for a bonus to Arcana.  A Ring of Wizardry will tide you over until you can afford an Iron of Spite, possibly as a bonus once you make the All-Star team.  The additions of Total Aegis and Allied Opportunity will ensure that the opposing team respects you.  Assuming that Rapid Aegis Reaction and Strength Through Challenge aren't put on the banned substance list (hey, Sammy's never admitted to using Performance Enhancing Drugs, why should you?), make sure you get those early.

Perennial All-Star:
It's late epic, time to think about retirement.  By this point you have all those important tools in your bag and you've got a tricked out motorhome full of electronics.  Think about how you want to enjoy your retirement, maybe spend some time with your kids.  There's very little about baseball you don't know anymore, thanks to Trick of Knowledge.  Like the cagey veteran you are, you've learned how to roam the field better, your Aegis of Assault now covers a Close Burst 5.

Career Statistics

At level 30 your base defenses are 48 AC, 46 Fortitude, 45 Reflex, 41 Will
Your Aversion Staff adds +2 to all defenses against creatures suffering effects caused by you (like being marked)
Daunting Challenge improves your marks to a -3 penalty to enemy attacks against your allies
Trick of Knowledge, assuming a roll of 51 or higher, will add another 2 to all defenses.

With a 48 Arcana modifier, you have an 85% chance of getting 51+, which grants the +3 to all defenses, as well as the one reroll granted by your Prescient Knowledge class feature.  This equates to a slim 2.25% chance of failure.
If you're lucky enough to be able to pick up a Forgotten Realms background, you can switch to the High Imaskar background, which grants you yet another reroll, at the cost of dropping your success per roll down to 75%.  The net result of this change is that your chance of failure is now a mere 1.56%...truly a Hall of Fame ERA.

As a result, your defenses (against marks) is an expected 52a, 50f, 49r, 45w.  Strong defenses.

Detailed Career


====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Slammin Sammy, level 30
Genasi, Fighter|Swordmage, Wandering Swordmage, Sage of Ages
Swordmage Aegis (Hybrid): Aegis of Assault
Hybrid Talent: Fighter Armor Proficiency
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Staff)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Elemental Manifestation: Plaguesoul
Background: Genasi - Academic Exhibit (+2 to Arcana)

Str 26, Con 15, Dex 12, Int 24, Wis 16, Cha 10.

Str 16, Con 13, Dex 10, Int 15, Wis 13, Cha 8.

AC: 48 Fort: 46 Reflex: 45 Will: 41
HP: 204 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 51

Intimidate +26, Arcana +48, Insight +23

Acrobatics +14, Bluff +15, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +24, Endurance +17, Heal +18, History +31, Nature +26, Perception +23, Religion +28, Stealth +14, Streetwise +15, Thievery +14, Athletics +21

Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Level 2: Genasi Fire Affinity (retrained to Armor Proficiency (Plate) at Level 22)
Level 4: Marked Fury (retrained to Allied Opportunity at Level 24)
Level 6: Versatile Expertise
Level 8: Hafted Defense
Level 10: Staff Fighting
Level 11: Aegis Accuracy
Level 12: Shocking Flame (retrained to Armor Specialization (Plate) at Level 23)
Level 14: Double Aegis (retrained to Total Aegis at Level 21)
Level 16: Daunting Challenge
Level 18: Arcane Familiar
Level 20: Skill Focus (Arcana)
Level 21: Rapid Aegis Reaction
Level 22: Strength through Challenge
Level 24: Epic Fortitude
Level 26: Epic Will
Level 28: Epic Reflexes
Level 30: Robust Defenses

Hybrid at-will 1: Threatening Rush
Hybrid at-will 1: Booming Blade
Hybrid encounter 1: Sword of Sigils
Hybrid daily 1: Sweeping Frostblade
Hybrid utility 2: Host of Shields
Hybrid encounter 3: Sweeping Slash
Hybrid daily 5: Nimble Bladestorm
Hybrid utility 6: Rock Steady
Hybrid encounter 7: Come and Get It
Hybrid daily 9: One Against Many
Hybrid utility 10: Menacing Stance
Hybrid encounter 13: Binding Light (replaces Sword of Sigils)
Hybrid daily 15: Free the Storm Within (replaces Sweeping Frostblade)
Hybrid utility 16: Ironskin
Hybrid encounter 17: Lunging Dervish (replaces Sweeping Slash)
Hybrid daily 19: Whirling Threat (replaces Nimble Bladestorm)
Hybrid utility 22: Giant's Might
Hybrid encounter 23: Warrior's Urging (replaces Come and Get It)
Hybrid daily 25: Storm's Fury Strike (replaces Free the Storm Within)
Hybrid encounter 27: Maelstrom Blade (replaces Binding Light)
Hybrid daily 29: Transdimensional Invasion (Dr385) (replaces One Against Many)

Amulet of Protection +6, Aversion Staff +6, Iron of Spite (epic tier), Moonstone Sphere (epic tier), Summoned Godplate Armor +6
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Every great major leaguer's career has some turmoil.  What follows are ways to deal with the turmoil, or even how to turn it to your advantage.

Corking Your Bat (aka Gear)

  • Salubrious Armor (AV; Scale/Plate) provides an AC bonus when you heal

  • Crown of Eyes (AV; Helm) prevents enemy flankers from gaining CA against you

  • Ring of Personal Gravity (AV; Ring) messes with your marks as a Daily

  • Dauntless Champion's Ring (AV2; Ring) returns random encounter/daily powers

  • Gauntlets of Arcane Might (AV2; Hands) grants THP when you hit marks with arcane powers

Becoming a 5-Tool Player (aka Feats)

  • Mark of Warding (EPG, Heroic) changes your marks to -3, among other things (like improving Trick of Knowledge up to a +3 defense bonus)

  • Eyes in the Back of Your Head (PHB3, Paragon) prevents enemy flankers from gaining CA against you

  • Marked Scourge (MP, Paragon Fighter) deals +WIS to marked targets

  • Against All Odds (Dr364, Heroic) increases hit/damage if multiple adjacent enemies

  • Slashing Storm (MP2, Epic Fighter) deals WIS damage to adjacent with melee attacks

  • The Two-Weapon Line of feats can replace Hafted Defense and provide extra offense

Getting Traded to Another Team (aka Multiclassing)

Obviously, the primary candidates for Multiclassing are Warden, Paladin and Battlemind.  The Paladin MC feat that grants marking ability doesn't work well with standard marks, sadly, as the augmenting feats are all specific to your Divine Challenge.  The same limitation plagues the Battlemind option for MCing.  There are some niche variations that could benefit from one of these two options, but as a general rule, the options are subpar.

On the other hand, due to the Warden mark not having a special name, it works remarkably well with this Hybrid, and if you wanted to pick up a multiclass for more options, this is the one to take.  Not only can you AE mark adjacent enemies for one round, but the additional support options are rather strong.  If you go this route, consider the following:

Power Swap Options
  • Gale Strike (PrP; Warden Encounter 1) - Semi-weak, as CON isn't one of your primary stats with this build, but reasonable

  • Form of Mountain`s Thunder (PrP; Warden Daily 1) - the damage output available when you have multiple marks running is rather impressive

  • Form of the Walking Conflagration (Dr383, Warden Daily 1) – marks gain fire vuln, which can situationally be useful

  • Snowy Grasp (PrP; Warden Encounter 23) – marks are slowed

  • Lightning Explosion (PrP; Warden Encounter 27) – messes with 3 marks

  • Form of the Imperious Phoenix (PrP; Warden Daily 29) 2[W] fire/radiant to all marks and enemies in burst 3

  • Form of the Lightning Lord (Dr379; Warden Daily 29) – deals STR to adjacent marks

Feat Options
  • Courage of the Lone Stag (Dr379; Heroic Warden) - bonus damage when multiple creatures are marked

  • Limitless Wrath (Dr379; Epic Warden) – Free action to mark when marked enemy drops

  • Dr383 also has a few Genasi Warden feats worth considering

Retiring With a Title Contender (aka other ED options)

Several other options are available to Sammy.  While none of them offer the amount of defensive bonuses, they also free up your gear (helm, moonstone) and feat (Skill Focus, Arcane Familiar) options somewhat, allowing for more variations.  I'm not going to cover all of the options here, but I will touch on some of the more intriguing options
  • Archlich (AP) - Bump to Int and a damage aura are strong when combined with the Fighter Come And Get It line of powers and mass-marking

  • Avatar of Justice (DP) - High entry requirement for this build, but favorable stat bumps and strong improvements for your punishment to enemys that ignore you

  • Avatar of War (DP) - Again, high entry requirements, but great stat bumps and the ability to never grant CA, highly beneficial with all the enemies you plan to mark

  • Demigod/Chosen (PHB/FRPG+DP) - Sadly, there's no build that is horrible with this ED, given the stat bumps, it's just so boring

  • Eternal Seeker (PHB) - No stat bumps, but the flexibility allows for interesting combinations

  • Fury of the Wild (PrP) - The stat bump options are friendly, as is the 24 punishment on crit, but this build isn't geared towards criticals, but it has some potential

  • Glorious Spirit (PHB2) - This has potential with both increased damage and increased manueverability

  • Magister (AP) - Favorable stat bump option as well as defensive bonuses when hitting with arcane enc/daily powers, but rather weak options after 21st

  • Perfect Guardian (PrP) - The Level 30 capstone is amazing when combined with Swordmage Aegis, but I wouldn't pick an ED just for the capstone

  • Primal Avatar (PHB2) - This option helps to shore up your lower attack modifiers that result from needing 3 stats to power the build

And that completes the build, comments welcome.
I like it  

Deserves a good bump. 
Strong defender. Great toolbox. Love the multi-marking ability!
Build survives July Errata intact.

The only effect is that the bonus from the Aversion Staff is now typed as an Item bonus, but since I intentionally made this build with almost zero magic items, there's no conflicts.
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