Darth Vader, Swordmage|Defenderlock

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RPGA lets you retrain everything everytime you level? Wow, wish our DM would do that.
The only things you have to keep are your race and class. So I can be a human with a Cha bonus, eyebite, and star pact to play like a skirmisher/controller from 1-10, then wipe the slate clean, switch to a Con bonus and play Vader from 11 onward (when Alpha the Dark Lord of the Sith will hopefully have finished contemplating the mysteries of Vestiges).

I've even considered, at some level, taking Safe Haven out for a spin, since it, too, is a hybrid Warlock/Swordmage. Obviously, I wouldn't be able to be a Dwarf, but Human has some great defensive racial feats of its own, and the class/PP matters more than the race.

You're only stuck with a poor decision for one level at a time.

EDIT: ER, to stay more on-topic... does anyone know why the OP took Skill Focus: Arcana at such an early level? I don't see it paying off for anything except Sage of Ages.

And if we in fact are taking focus for the purpose of Sage of Ages, Arcane Familiar could give us a familiar that gives untyped +2 to Arcana in addition to other benefits (various), or lets you roll your Arcana check twice and take the better result. (Muse Sprite)

EDIT2: Bad news. July 2010 rules update:

Dragon 366 Twofold Pact, page 20
In the second sentence, replace “both pacts” with “that pact.” This change ensures that a warlock hybrid isn’t using this feat to gain the at-will power and pact boon of both his or her original pact and the new pact. 
This build looks great - great enough for me to bump it after nearly a month, since I just discovered it and others may not have seen it, either.

Just so you know, there are eager eyes waiting in case you do update. Wink   Whether you do or not, my hat is off to you.
EDIT: ER, to stay more on-topic... does anyone know why the OP took Skill Focus: Arcana at such an early level? I don't see it paying off for anything except Sage of Ages.

And if we in fact are taking focus for the purpose of Sage of Ages, Arcane Familiar could give us a familiar that gives untyped +2 to Arcana in addition to other benefits (various), or lets you roll your Arcana check twice and take the better result. (Muse Sprite)

EDIT2: Bad news. July 2010 rules update:

Dragon 366 Twofold Pact, page 20
In the second sentence, replace “both pacts” with “that pact.” This change ensures that a warlock hybrid isn’t using this feat to gain the at-will power and pact boon of both his or her original pact and the new pact. 


-Early skill focus is pure bookkeeping.  Desirable heroic feats are far more scarce than desirable paragon/epic feats.  A level-by-level version of Vader would do a lot more retraining, and not get Skill Focus until early epic.
-I may take a look at that familiar, it sounds like it fits the bill perfectly.
- The change in twofold pact doesn't mean anything for Vader.  The old wording technically meant Twofold Pact gave you both the original at-will/pact boon AND the new at-will/pact boon.  I never treated it that way, and I know of no DMs who allowed that reading anyway.  The new wording means you only get those for the second pact.  Just sealing up the hole.


Thanks, Tiresias. 
Im eagerly anticipating your update.

Thanks!
darthvadero.jpg


"No.  Leave them to me.  I will deal with them myself."




Darth Vader


Darth Vader is, in fact, a hybrid Swordmage|Defenderlock.  He uses the dark side of the force to curse and then control his enemies.  He is tough and strikes from both range and close up.
He is a superior defender for any troops he leads into battle.
He is of course human, and is an Infernal Pact to represent the evil that dwells within, and Star Pact to represent...well...Star Wars.
All of this is beside the point, however.

Taking into account his Armor of Dark Majesty, Warding Curse, concealment from his Phantom Chausseurs, Trick of Knowledge and Mark of Warding, his defenses sit at roughly 55ac/51f/52r/50w.  Baldric of Shielding and Aegis Vitality will do a lot to generate THP for us, and White Lotus Riposte/Master Riposte will make us painful to attack.  He also has resist 5 all from his ring of free time.


The sticky:
1. He gets the Swordmage's massive mark with Total Aegis, which hits his enemies for -3 to hit his allies.  Protective Hex throws down another -2, setting his marked/cursed enemies at -5 to attack his allies.  
2. He is a shielding swordmage with TWO uses of his aegis each turn thanks to the latest defender article.
3. All marked enemies take 5+conmod fire damage when they try to attack his allies.
4. All his attacks deal half psychic damage, which triggers psychic lock, throwing a -2 debuff on his target's next attack.  Swordburst makes that an area debuff.
5. Dire Radiance throws down an additional -2 debuff until eont on his target, for a total of -9 to attack his allies.
6. He is loaded with nasty debuffing and controlling powers, which will ruin his enemies' day.  He is truly a master of the Force.


He is tough, he is powerful, he controls the battlefield and he ensures that the only one killing his troops...is himself.
[sblock=Darth Vader]====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
level 30
Human, Warlock|Swordmage, Avernian Knight, Sage of Ages
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Light Blade)
Eldritch Pact (Hybrid): Infernal Pact (Hybrid)
Eldritch Strike: Eldritch Strike Constitution
Hybrid Warlock: Hybrid Warlock Will
Swordmage Aegis (Hybrid): Aegis of Shielding
Hybrid Talent: Swordmage Warding
Twofold Pact: Star Pact
Background: High Imaskar (High Imaskar Benefit)
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 14, Con 26, Dex 13, Int 24, Wis 13, Cha 10.
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 12, Con 16, Dex 11, Int 16, Wis 11, Cha 8.

AC: 46 Fort: 42 Reflex: 43 Will: 41HP: 184 Surges: 15 Surge Value: 46
TRAINED SKILLS
Athletics +22, Insight +21, Endurance +28, Arcana +44, Intimidate +26
UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +16, Bluff +15, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +22, Heal +16, History +30, Nature +22, Perception +16, Religion +30, Stealth +16, Streetwise +15, Thievery +16
FEATS
Human: Versatile Expertise
Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Level 2: White Lotus Riposte
Level 4: Arcane Reserves (retrained to Ulban's Flare at Level 12)
Level 6: Mark of Warding
Level 8: Skill Focus (Arcana)
Level 10: Wrathful Warrior
Level 11: Twofold Pact
Level 12: Protective Hex
Level 14: Greater Swordmage Warding
Level 16: White Lotus Master Riposte
Level 18: Psychic Lock
Level 20: Aegis Vitality
Level 21: Total Aegis
Level 22: Warding Curse
Level 24: Epic Will
Level 26: Rapid Aegis Reaction
Level 28: Twofold Curse
Level 30: Mind-Numbing Curse
POWERS
Bonus At-Will Power: Frigid Blade
Hybrid at-will 1: Sword Burst
Hybrid at-will 1: Eldritch Strike
Hybrid encounter 1: Vampiric Embrace
Hybrid daily 1: Armor of Agathys
Hybrid utility 2: Mythal Recovery
Hybrid encounter 3: Dimensional Vortex
Hybrid daily 5: Swordmage Shielding Fire
Hybrid utility 6: Dark One's Own Luck
Hybrid encounter 7: Infernal Moon Curse
Hybrid daily 9: Infectious Curse
Hybrid utility 10: Ethereal Sidestep
Hybrid encounter 13: Soul Flaying (replaces Vampiric Embrace)
Hybrid daily 15: Blasphemous Utterance (replaces Armor of Agathys)
Hybrid utility 16: Bolstering Warding
Hybrid encounter 17: Despair of Zhudun (replaces Infernal Moon Curse)
Hybrid daily 19: Ward of Scales (replaces Swordmage Shielding Fire)
Hybrid utility 22: Shackled Warding
Hybrid encounter 23: Radiant Shield (replaces Soul Flaying)
Hybrid daily 25: Quicksilver Blade (replaces Ward of Scales)
Hybrid encounter 27: Circle of Devastation (replaces Dimensional Vortex)
Hybrid daily 29: Hurl Through Hell (replaces Infectious Curse)
ITEMS
Phantom Chaussures (paragon tier) - for concealment
Baldric of Shielding (paragon tier) - for thp
Ring of Free Time (epic tier) - for resist all and minor actions
Deep-Pocket Cloak +6 - for cool
Bracers of Mental Might (heroic tier) - to use Avernian Knight's powers
Iron of Spite (epic tier) - for arcana and defender balance
Siberys Shard of the Mage (epic tier) - for damage
Sorrowsong Blade Longsword +6 - for psychic awesome
Zehir's Gloves (epic tier) - set bonus and misc cool
Avandra's Ring (epic tier) - set bonus and misc cool
Accurate rod of Corruption +1 - curse stuffs
Swordwing Armor of Dark Majesty +6 - defenses
random items
Hedge Wizard's Gloves (heroic tier), Arcane Signet Ring, Alchemical Reagents (Arcana), Adventurer's Kit, Candle (2), Climber's Kit, Crowbar, Everburning Torch, Fine Clothing, Flask (empty) (2), Flute, Identification Papers with Portrait, Journeybreads (10), Letter of Marque, Mystic Salves (Heal), Oil (1 pint) (2), Residuum (Any), Sunrod (2), Torch, Travel Papers, Eternal Chalk (heroic tier), Sun Globe (heroic tier), Aldron's Firebox (heroic tier), Everlasting Provisions (heroic tier), Bag of Holding (heroic tier), Deepfarer's Pouch (heroic tier), Pouch of Platinum (heroic tier), Ruby Scabbard (heroic tier), Polyglot Gem (heroic tier), Horn of Summons (heroic tier), Whistle of Warning (heroic tier), Endless Canteen (heroic tier), Map of Orienteering (heroic tier), Handy Haversack (heroic tier), Rope of Climbing (heroic tier), Spymaster's Quill (heroic tier), Solitaire (Citrine) (paragon tier), Sending Stones (pair) (paragon tier), Immovable Shaft (paragon tier), Map of Unseen Lands (heroic tier), Flying Carpet (paragon tier), Portable Hole (paragon tier), Gem of Auditory Recollection (paragon tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======


As a variant, you can swap out psychic lock and the sorrowsong blade for a radiant weapon and some form of radiant support, so that Vader will be wielding an actual lightsaber.

That is a very clever workup.  I'm tempted to try this out next time I play on the other side of the screen.


Maybe you should multiclass some barbarian in there to represent his whiny kid years when he kills the sand people.  He had some rage there. 




10thLevelWizard's home.

Is there any way to sneak in psion in there so that he can crush the windpipes of admirals who have failed him for the last time?
Pelor don't want me for a sunbeam. No sunbeams aren't made out of me...
Updated at last!!

Changed a bunch of stuff that needed changing,
made him more viable at all levels (including extensive retraining),
and switched him over to infernal/vestige for greater control ability.

Edit: it's worth noting that there are a lot of ways you could tweak this build to your personal preferences.   An easy one is picking Vestige of Luraje instead of Vestige of Imleth.  Imleth is a -2 debuff on your Eyes of the Vestige, while Luraje immobilizes your Eyes target.  I picked Imleth out of a preference for debuffing, and because Imleth's pact boon is superior.  But you could just as easily decide you value at-will immobilize more.  Which you pick will shape your combat style, and I think they're close enough that I couldn't tell you which is better without extensive playtesting. 
A bunch of things "needed changing"? What things? WTB designer changelog!
Okay, I updated him again.  I changed his base pact to Vestige, since hybrid still lets me use the Eyes of the Vestige augments.  It should be a pure improvement to heroic play, as we weren't getting any benefits from infernal beyond riders anyway, and now we have access to the Infernal temp hp goodness.
I also revamped the power selection a bit.  Now we have both Transposing Lunge and Dimensional Vortex throughout the life of the character.

A bunch of things "needed changing"? What things? WTB designer changelog!


Not sure where to start, really.  I'd say he's different enough that it's worth rereading the whole build.  But I'll list what I can remember off the top of my head.


*Changed pact from Star/Infernal to Vestige/Infernal
*Totally redid the feat order, so that it would work effectively at all levels.  That includes retraining.
*Redid the feats according to the vestige switch.
*Grabbed improved/superior initiative to minimize the dangers of getting caught without my curses up.
*Grabbed Superior Will from essentials for protection against dazes/stuns.
*Shook up his items a little bit:
   -Ring of Free Time-->Opal Ring of Remembrance (for accuracy on swordmage attacks, and an arcana bonus to let me swap out the Iron of Spite)
       -Strength through Challenge makes up for the loss of resist all
   -Iron of Spite-->Eye of Awareness (initiative, will bonus)
   -Deep-Pocket Cloak-->Farstep Amulet (mobility with Ethereal Sidestep)

All I will say about powers, is that the list wasn't terribly robust before.  Now it is.

edit: just retrained White Lotus Riposte to Shared Pact at lvl19(which is about when the Baldric of Shielding shows up).  With the Baldric picking up his personal thp generation, he is now free to share his abundant infernal temp hp with his allies.  If I can find room for bloodied boon, it'll be even more useful now.
I am playing an almost level 3 version of this build. I rolled my scores though so I have a 18 con & 19 Int after human racial. This allowed me to get rid of the Versatile Expertise feat and for feats now I have White Lotus Riposte, Hybrid Talent (armor thingy) and Rose King's Shield. I went for Assault Swordmage as well instead of Shielding.

Powers are the same except for Booming Blade (to use with Rose King feat) and Charm of Hearts.

With Armor of Agathys on and White Lotus Riposte I end up doing extra damage on every turn and not just on my attack rounds. Have a Shaman & sometimes a Warlord or sometimes a Killswitch in our group too. Get lots of freebie attacks w/Eldritch Strike and got lucky getting those MBA boosting bracers of striking on random loot treasure roll too.

Booming Blade works great on the mobs we have been running into a lot lately. Those buggers shift after attacking you and get a free attack most of the time on another target they shift to. Booming Blade helps out there with the trigger damage. Also I tend to try and use it every other round to pick up some THP when I run low/out.

Charm of Hearts is really, really good in conjunction with Booming Blade. With it on I hit a target w/Booming Blade and move to/move closer to another target w/o provoking OAs and get 10THP.
Hey, so the build now lists Superior Will at level 18, but doesn't that feat require a Wisdom or Charisma score of 15, which it never achieves?
Hey, so the build now lists Superior Will at level 18, but doesn't that feat require a Wisdom or Charisma score of 15, which it never achieves?


That's a great catch.  I don't have the compendium, so I was just going off memory, and forgot the preq.
Substituting in Improved Defenses, for now. 
I might replace it with Bloodied Boon later, so I can get more thp handed out to my allies. 
I'm not sure how much you value being able to use Eyes of the Vestige (when I've played a swordlock I've found myself almost always wanting to cast Hellish Rebuke for the sweet sweet extra damage) but if you were willing to switch to any race with a bonus to con/int and str/wis, you could get 15 wis by epic tier for Martial Resolve (I like dwarf/mul for the feat selection, but warforged might be thematically appropriate, with Vader being as much machine as man) while still picking up Greater Warding in paragon. I tend to prioritize daze/stun protection on defenders since either basically shuts off your ability to do your job for a turn, though I guess on an Avernian Knight it's not -that- bad since you can still threaten with a little damage.
Updated at last!!

Changed a bunch of stuff that needed changing,
made him more viable at all levels (including extensive retraining),
and switched him over to infernal/vestige for greater control ability.

Edit: it's worth noting that there are a lot of ways you could tweak this build to your personal preferences.   An easy one is picking Vestige of Luraje instead of Vestige of Imleth.  Imleth is a -2 debuff on your Eyes of the Vestige, while Luraje immobilizes your Eyes target.  I picked Imleth out of a preference for debuffing, and because Imleth's pact boon is superior.  But you could just as easily decide you value at-will immobilize more.  Which you pick will shape your combat style, and I think they're close enough that I couldn't tell you which is better without extensive playtesting. 



As per the Hybrid Warlock rules, you don't get the Pact Boon from your first Pact (Vestige Pact), only from the pact you select with Twofold Pact, so Vestige Mastery is only going to give you the Eyes of the Vestige augment, not the pact boon.  The only way to get the Vestige Pact Boon is to spend your Hybrid Talent on it, and I'm sure you'd rather have Swordmage Warding.


"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
Can you post a breakdown of those excellent defenses? How much of it is conditonal?
As per the Hybrid Warlock rules, you don't get the Pact Boon from your first Pact (Vestige Pact), only from the pact you select with Twofold Pact, so Vestige Mastery is only going to give you the Eyes of the Vestige augment, not the pact boon.  The only way to get the Vestige Pact Boon is to spend your Hybrid Talent on it, and I'm sure you'd rather have Swordmage Warding.


If you'll notice, in the post afterward I noted that I was changing the pacts from infernal/vestige to vestige/infernal.  The statement you are quoting applies to the previous version, which had the full vestige boon from Twofold Pact.  Since he no longer has access to the vestige boons, Leraje becomes the easy choice(it's the better augment, and no longer suffers from a weak boon since we're now using the infernal boon instead).


@WEC:
Of the defenses listed, these are the conditionals:
2/2/2/2 against cursed targets from Armor of Dark Majesty
2/2/2/2 against cursed targets from Warding Curse
3/3/3/3 from Trick of Knowledge(Sage of Ages encounter utility)
2/2/2/2 from concealment

-Eyes of the Vestige is important to getting curse spread around, twofold curse comes in before Warding Curse, etc.  This is the biggest deal.
-Trick of Knowledge is a minor action on your turn, so yeah you have to activate it.  The probability of getting the features you need is pretty good, 93.6-97.7% depending on how much of a hurry you're in.
-Phantom Chaussures are the primary source of concealment.  With Ethereal Stride and Farstep Amulet, you should be able to get a teleport in every turn, but obviously this is the most unstable source of defenses for Vader.


So yes, that's a significant portion of Vader's defenses that are not active when the encounter starts.  That's part of the reason I added in Improved/Superior Initiative and grabbed an Eye of Awareness for his head slot, so we can get started quickly on building up those defenses.  A number of his utilities and items are devoted to defensive stuff, so that'll help.
I may have missed it, but why is there versatile expertise for heavy blade and light blade? It does not specifically say what the sorrowsong blade is but I assume it is a longsword since it has to be a heavy blade.
I may have missed it, but why is there versatile expertise for heavy blade and light blade? It does not specifically say what the sorrowsong blade is but I assume it is a longsword since it has to be a heavy blade.


Because the old CB makes you pick 2 different categories, and swordmages are proficient with heavy and light blades, exactly.  So I picked heavy and light blades :P
You can't use Bracers of Mental Might to use strength based powers.  They are not strength checks.
I don't see the purpose of Avernian knight other than supporting your mark a little and getting the ability to cast ranged attacks in melee.  Don't they have a cloak for that.  You'd lose your teleport extension, but gain a more powerful PP.  I don't know which PP is better, but I feel there's something else out there.  Replace the amulet with a eladrin ring of passage.  Let me check for that cloak.  Perhaps it only comes in the form of armor, which you really can't replace your armor.
DPR King Candidates 3.0
How much damage should I shoot for?
You're fired : 1 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .2 KPR Fair Striker : 2 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .4 KPR Highly Optimized : 3 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .6 KPR Nerfbat please : 4 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .8 KPR It's OVER 9000!!!!!: 5 Kills Per 5 Rounds = 1+ KPR
DPR? KPR? KP4R? Bless you
DPR = Damage Per round ~= Chance to hit * damage on a hit KPR = Kills Per Round. 1 Kill = 8*Level+24 damage = DPR/(8*level+24) KPNR = Kills Per N Rounds. How many standards can you kill in N rounds?
You can't use Bracers of Mental Might to use strength based powers.  They are not strength checks.
I don't see the purpose of Avernian knight other than supporting your mark a little and getting the ability to cast ranged attacks in melee.  Don't they have a cloak for that.  You'd lose your teleport extension, but gain a more powerful PP.  I don't know which PP is better, but I feel there's something else out there.  Replace the amulet with a eladrin ring of passage.  Let me check for that cloak.  Perhaps it only comes in the form of armor, which you really can't replace your armor.


I was wrong, there is no neck slot that prevents the provocation of OAs.
DPR King Candidates 3.0
How much damage should I shoot for?
You're fired : 1 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .2 KPR Fair Striker : 2 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .4 KPR Highly Optimized : 3 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .6 KPR Nerfbat please : 4 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .8 KPR It's OVER 9000!!!!!: 5 Kills Per 5 Rounds = 1+ KPR
DPR? KPR? KP4R? Bless you
DPR = Damage Per round ~= Chance to hit * damage on a hit KPR = Kills Per Round. 1 Kill = 8*Level+24 damage = DPR/(8*level+24) KPNR = Kills Per N Rounds. How many standards can you kill in N rounds?
Bracers of Mental Might: Power (Encounter): Free Action. Use this power when making a Strength attack, Strength check, or Strength-based skill check. Use your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma modifier in place of your Strength modifier to determine the result of the roll.

I must have been blind.  Thank you for showing me the light.
DPR King Candidates 3.0
How much damage should I shoot for?
You're fired : 1 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .2 KPR Fair Striker : 2 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .4 KPR Highly Optimized : 3 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .6 KPR Nerfbat please : 4 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .8 KPR It's OVER 9000!!!!!: 5 Kills Per 5 Rounds = 1+ KPR
DPR? KPR? KP4R? Bless you
DPR = Damage Per round ~= Chance to hit * damage on a hit KPR = Kills Per Round. 1 Kill = 8*Level+24 damage = DPR/(8*level+24) KPNR = Kills Per N Rounds. How many standards can you kill in N rounds?
Wouldn't High Imaskar be a better background, seeing you're in forgotten realms?
DPR King Candidates 3.0
How much damage should I shoot for?
You're fired : 1 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .2 KPR Fair Striker : 2 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .4 KPR Highly Optimized : 3 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .6 KPR Nerfbat please : 4 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .8 KPR It's OVER 9000!!!!!: 5 Kills Per 5 Rounds = 1+ KPR
DPR? KPR? KP4R? Bless you
DPR = Damage Per round ~= Chance to hit * damage on a hit KPR = Kills Per Round. 1 Kill = 8*Level+24 damage = DPR/(8*level+24) KPNR = Kills Per N Rounds. How many standards can you kill in N rounds?
I must have been blind.  Thank you for showing me the light.


ANY TIME.

Also, High Imaskar's benefit gives almost the exact same average Arcana check, but with a slightly greater trend toward outliers.
How's the level brakedown of all the tricks you listed under defending your minions ?
Because aside from the usual limitations like Protective Hex being limited by how much stuff you can hit each round, it seems to like the things you listed there are tricks from somewhere through Epic. During Heroic you seem to pick up mostly basic feats to make the build work, and hence largely rely on your single Aegis trigger to defend, and then starting to pick up the good pieces slowly through Paragon.
Hence I wonder how much of Vader is in him during the earlier part of his career ?

PS: You mention WLR together with Baldric of Shielding, but you in fact never have both together because you train out of WLR to get Shared Pact once you get access to the Baldric. Probably a snippet left from an earlier revision.
I don't see the purpose of Avernian knight other than supporting your mark a little and getting the ability to cast ranged attacks in melee.  Don't they have a cloak for that.  You'd lose your teleport extension, but gain a more powerful PP.  I don't know which PP is better, but I feel there's something else out there.  Replace the amulet with a eladrin ring of passage.  Let me check for that cloak.  Perhaps it only comes in the form of armor, which you really can't replace your armor.


As you noted, there's no neck slot.  Also, rings are kind of a hot commodity, I really wouldn't waste one on an eladrin ring of passage any later than early epic.
It really is a pretty big deal.
Also, don't underestimate the effect of the Avernian Knight's mark.  In practice, Vader was pumping out a fair bit of damage with it.  It was especially nice given that there were a lot of dazes in one of those encounters.  Until I can find a suitable replacement for Superior Will, having a mark punishment not vulnerable to action restriction is wonderful.

Wouldn't High Imaskar be a better background, seeing you're in forgotten realms?


As WEContact said, the numbers are really very close.  We did a bunch of math the other night and with proper strategy it came out almost exactly even, except that +2 arcana had a considerably higher chance of picking 4 than picking 3 on trick of knowledge, while High Imaskar had a higher chance of picking 3 than picking 4.  That is to say, they are almost exactly the same for getting the desired defenses, but +2 arcana has a higher chance of hitting a jackpot.

How's the level breakdown of all the tricks you listed under defending your minions ?


Getting pretty busy here for a while, but if I can find the time to write that up I will.

Because aside from the usual limitations like Protective Hex being limited by how much stuff you can hit each round, it seems to like the things you listed there are tricks from somewhere through Epic. During Heroic you seem to pick up mostly basic feats to make the build work, and hence largely rely on your single Aegis trigger to defend, and then starting to pick up the good pieces slowly through Paragon.
Hence I wonder how much of Vader is in him during the earlier part of his career ?


Keep in mind that this is true of all build concepts that do more than charge or twin strike every round.  They all just add more as levels go on because in DnD, characters get more stuff as they level.
In heroic, any well-optimized defender in heroic will probably perform about the same as Vader, because that's just the nature of heroic: there isn't much to differentiate characters.  And there isn't much need.  One of the big discussions back when we were debating Ultimate Defenders in IRC was that in heroic, Ultimate Defenders tend to look like other defenders.  Sure, there are a few that stand out as different(Dr. No, for example), but most are fairly standard.

But as to what you really want to know, Darth Vader is a Swordmage|Warlock.  Half his powers are warlock powers.  He does a little more damage than your average swordmage, has less hit points, is more feat-crunched, and has maybe a little more control(a larger power list to choose from helps a lot) ability.  The fact that he actually HAS decent ranged options is a big deal right there.  No, he won't stand out as much from other defenders in heroic, but as I said...he doesn't really need to.

I have received several reports that he is very fun and effective in heroic, so you have that.

PS: You mention WLR together with Baldric of Shielding, but you in fact never have both together because you train out of WLR to get Shared Pact once you get access to the Baldric. Probably a snippet left from an earlier revision.


I guess that was a little confusing, I've rewritten it to make more sense.
As AtG said, I've played the Vader build from level 1 to 13, and he's always been capable enough on the defender front. Double Aegis helps things considerably of course, but his swordmage and warlock tricks in play like Armor of Agathys and Dimensioal Vortex have the power to change battles (don't underestimate the power of eldritch strike either, that slide ruined many days of Team Monster).
Thanks for the detailed response.

But as to what you really want to know, Darth Vader is a Swordmage|Warlock.  Half his powers are warlock powers.  He does a little more damage than your average swordmage, has less hit points, is more feat-crunched, and has maybe a little more control(a larger power list to choose from helps a lot) ability.  The fact that he actually HAS decent ranged options is a big deal right there.  No, he won't stand out as much from other defenders in heroic, but as I said...he doesn't really need to.

I have received several reports that he is very fun and effective in heroic, so you have that.



That's a good point - I was mainly looking at him from a Defender POV.
Though I have the feeling that you could probably improve in that regard by using some retrains, to squeeze out some extra damage / control (by your choice). As one example instead of Improved Initiative you could, until L10, take MC Wizard or Psion to get access to an Orb of Nimble Thoughts and pick up one of those juicy control powers for encounter use.

Keep in mind that this is true of all build concepts that do more than charge or twin strike every round.  They all just add more as levels go on because in DnD, characters get more stuff as they level.
In heroic, any well-optimized defender in heroic will probably perform about the same as Vader, because that's just the nature of heroic: there isn't much to differentiate characters.  And there isn't much need.  One of the big discussions back when we were debating Ultimate Defenders in IRC was that in heroic, Ultimate Defenders tend to look like other defenders.  Sure, there are a few that stand out as different(Dr. No, for example), but most are fairly standard.



Leaving aside my disagreements about "Ultimate Defenders", that's the one point I don't buy, namely that it is impossible to create true standout characters even in Heroic (except for a few rare cases).
I always strife to do it, and even if I mainly run a Paragon concept (like Oracle of Death) I take care to give the build something special during Heroic. But that OTOH is probably the hardest part when nailing down the actual build.
I was wondering if I could get an opinion on my take on the build. I've played this version a bit in paragon and really enjoyed it.


Mul, Swordmage|Warlock, Avernian Knight, Unyielding Sentinel

FEATS
Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Level 2: Versatile Expertise
Level 4: Improved Defenses (retrained to
Greater Swordmage Warding at Level 12)
Level 6: Toughness
Level 8: Weapon Focus (retrained to Twofold Pact at Level 11)
Level 10: Brawling Warrior
Level 11: Double Aegis (retrained to Total Aegis at Level 21)
Level 12: Twofold Curse
Level 14: Dwarven Durability
Level 16: Dwarven Weapon Training
Level 18: Resilience of Stone (retrained to Stoneheart Warrior at Level 22)
Level 20: Improved Initiative (retrained to Superior Initiative at Level 24)
Level 21: Martial Resolve
Level 22: Rapid Aegis Reaction
Level 24: Warding Curse
Level 26: Strength Through Challenge
Level 28: Epic Recovery
Level 30: Epic Will

POWERS
Hybrid at-will 1: Eldritch Strike
Hybrid at-will 1: Sword Burst
Infernal Pact: Hellish Rebuke
Hybrid encounter 1: Sword of Sigils
Hybrid daily 1: Armor of Agathys
Hybrid utility 2: Ethereal Stride
Hybrid encounter 3: Clarion Call
Hybrid daily 5: Swordmage Shielding Fire
Hybrid utility 6: Swordmage's Decree (retrained to Quickling Stride at Level 20)
Hybrid encounter 7: Rejuvenating Strike
Hybrid daily 9: Tyrannical Threat
Hybrid utility 10: Reactive Surge
Hybrid encounter 13: Ensnaring Bolts (replaces Sword of Sigils)
Hybrid daily 15: Armor of Agathys (replaces Armor of Agathys)
Hybrid utility 16: Aegis of Lost Souls (retrained to Painful Transference at Level 23)
Hybrid encounter 17: Sea Tyrant's Fury (replaces Clarion Call)
Hybrid daily 19: Free the Storm Within (replaces Swordmage Shielding Fire)
Hybrid utility 22: Ghost Walk
Hybrid encounter 23: Radiant Shield (replaces Rejuvenating Strike)
Hybrid daily 25: Quicksilver Blade (replaces Free the Storm Within)
Hybrid encounter 27: Zutwa's Incandescence (replaces Ensnaring Bolts)
Hybrid daily 29: Forbiddance of the Ninth (replaces Tyrannical Threat)


Edit: Using a khopesh in the mainhand works with both Swordmage Warding and Dwarven Weapon Training.

FEATS
Human: Hybrid Talent
Level 1: White Lotus Riposte (retrained to Shared Pact at Level 19)
Level 2: Versatile Expertise
Level 4: Improved Initiative (retrained to Superior Initiative at Level 22)
Level 6: Mark of Warding
Level 8: Shield of Hestavar (retrained to Double Aegis at Level 11)
Level 10: Wrathful Warrior (retrained to Battle Awareness at Level 12)
Level 11: Twofold Pact
Level 12: Greater Swordmage Warding
Level 14: Psychic Lock
Level 16: Protective Hex
Level 18: Improved Defenses
Level 20: Twofold Curse
Level 21: Vestige Mastery
Level 22: Warding Curse
Level 24: Rapid Aegis Reaction
Level 26: Epic Will
Level 28: Skill Focus (Arcana)
Level 30: Strength Through Challenge

POWERS
Bonus At-Will Power: Eldritch Strike
Hybrid at-will 1: Eyes of the Vestige
Hybrid at-will 1: Sword Burst
Infernal Pact: Hellish Rebuke
Hybrid encounter 1: Clarion Call
Hybrid daily 1: Armor of Agathys
Hybrid utility 2: Channeling Shield (retrained to Charm of Hearts at Level 6)
Hybrid encounter 3: Dimensional Vortex
Hybrid daily 5: Swordmage Shielding Fire
Hybrid utility 6: Swordmage's Decree
Hybrid encounter 7: Transposing Lunge
Hybrid daily 9: Vestige of Ilmeth
Hybrid utility 10: Ethereal Sidestep
Hybrid encounter 13: Soul Flaying (replaces Clarion Call)
Hybrid daily 15: Vestige of Leraje (replaces Armor of Agathys)
Hybrid utility 16: Painful Transference
Hybrid encounter 17: Sea Tyrant's Fury (replaces Soul Flaying)
Hybrid daily 19: Ward of Scales (replaces Vestige of Ilmeth)
Hybrid utility 22: Shackled Warding
Hybrid daily 25: Quicksilver Blade (replaces Ward of Scales)
Hybrid encounter 27: Zutwa's Incandescence (replaces Sea Tyrant's Fury)
Hybrid daily 29: Waves of Languor (replaces Swordmage Shielding Fire)
What are you spending your Hybrid Talent on?

EDIT: Nevermind, I see that you take Greater Swordmage Warding, which implies that you spent your Hybrid Talent on the Swordmage Warding feature.

Swordmage Warding only functions if you have a heavy or light blade in your mainhand. Also, using a Rod in your off-hand will reduce the Warding bonus from +3 to +1, which the Rod Expertise feat only partially patches.

If you are using a heavy or light blade to make the Warding function, you might as well use it as your implement and leave your off-hand free. Rods have some useful enchants, but none of them are worth losing 2 AC or 1 AC and a feat slot.
Hmm, I must have read the feat wrong the first time, I thought the AC bonus from Rod Expertise scaled along with the attack bonus.

But yeah, you're right, none of the rod properties are really worth a point of AC, so scratch that.
My DM gives out Expertise for free, so what are your thoughts on Sacrifice to Caiphon instead. It makes sense from a thematic POV, giving up your essence to the Dark Side to gain more power... not sure though as it's only useful on 1/2 of your encounter powers.
What about attack bonus? I was trimming up my version of your build and it looks like, without Trick of Knowledge and Opal Ring of Remembrance, which don't come online until late epic, we only have +35 to hit with warlock powers and +34 to hit with swordmage powers. That doesn't look great against level 30 tofu.

At level 10, I've got +16 to hit with eldritch strike, +13 with warlock implement attacks, and +12 with swordmage implement attacks. Against level 10 tofu, I need to roll 8, 9, or 10 to connect with a hit, respectively, prior to charge or CA bonuses. Expertise won't help me out til level 15, though I'll probably receive a +3 weapon at 11 or 12.

Unless I'm miscalculating, I'm thinking it might be wise to take Superior Implement (Dagger) instead of psychic lock, which only works when you manage to hit. If you roll between 2 and 6 on Sage of Ages, you're stuck with saving throws at start of turn and unable to gain +2 attack.
Just curious how this build gets 5 trained skills? The Hybrid gets 3, MC gives 1, where does the last come from?
Just curious how this build gets 5 trained skills? The Hybrid gets 3, MC gives 1, where does the last come from?


He's human.

Even if he is more machine now, than man. 
Now I feel stupid
Even if he is more machine now, than man. 

I lawled!

I just tried loading Darth Vader into the new Character Builder and I came up with a number of discrepancies one quibble.  Forgive me if I am mistaken, but...

1)
I get AC/Fort/Reflex/Will of 43/39/41/45, while you report 46/43/44/45 (before conditional bonuses).  Improved Defenses and Greater Swordmage Warding don't stack, for one.  Could you describe how you came up with those defenses?

[EDIT:  WHOOPS  I forgot leveling bonuses...  I now get 46/43/44/45]  Completely ignore this one...

2)
You have completely blown out (what is my understanding of) the item budget of 3 items + 29-item gold.  For one thing, you have 4 level 29 items.  Even if you remove the
Opal Ring of Remembrance, you still don't have enough gold to purchase the rest of the listed items.  What budget should level 30 Char-Op characters use?

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

I just tried loading Darth Vader into the new Character Builder and I came up with a number of discrepancies one quibble.  Forgive me if I am mistaken, but...

1)
I get AC/Fort/Reflex/Will of 43/39/41/45, while you report 46/43/44/45 (before conditional bonuses).  Improved Defenses and Greater Swordmage Warding don't stack, for one.  Could you describe how you came up with those defenses?

[EDIT:  WHOOPS  I forgot leveling bonuses...  I now get 46/43/44/45]  Completely ignore this one...

2)
You have completely blown out (what is my understanding of) the item budget of 3 items + 29-item gold.  For one thing, you have 4 level 29 items.  Even if you remove the
Opal Ring of Remembrance, you still don't have enough gold to purchase the rest of the listed items.  What budget should level 30 Char-Op characters use?



14 mil is the standard estimate I've heard.  If I'm above that, blame item rarity, which makes it much harder to make sure you're under budget.