Darth Vader, Swordmage|Defenderlock

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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?


11,500,000g is what that should give you. However that basically rips you off vs actually leveling a character, where the total would be 18,435,539g for a 5 person party. Basically you lose money using the character creation guidelines starting at level 4 and it gets worse from there. When I let people create chracters at higher level they get the flat gold amount they would have had if they'd been adventuring the whole time and just let them buy things.

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...
Don't your characters ever spend money? Over the course of 29 levels they surely must've disenchanted stuff, used rituals, alchemical items, etc, etc?
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Don't your characters ever spend money? Over the course of 29 levels they surely must've disenchanted stuff, used rituals, alchemical items, etc, etc?

Not enough to equal 7 million gold, no. Due to the way the value of things scales you just don't lose that much from disenchanting in regular play if you look at the total wealth curve. And consumables are worthless for the most part, for almost precisely this reason. All the good rituals are basically free to cast. So, sure, you might lose about 4 million of that (and indeed I believe the reason that is the common estimate is someone went through and did the math).

In LFR: Also no, for different reasons.

I don't know about LFR. 7 million does sound like a lot, but I can imagine it differing from game to game. Think it depends on the person and the party as well, I've only known my own and they burn through a lot of rituals and consumables (though arguably they're only level 7 so far) and I think they might get pretty close to that amount.

They probably err'd on the side of caution to avoid people getting their characters killed off so they could return with phatter lootz. 
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I retired my Darth Vader build at a few hundred xp from 3rd lvl because we needed a controller. We also gained 2 other characters who started at 3rd level. When we made the characters using the CB and letting it give us gear/magic items and starting cash, just 1 new character had more money/magic then our entire previous party of 4 had gained so far. This was using WotC adventures too.

We still haven't been to a city or village yet!

The last original character has been shooting letter openers from his eyes (he isn't that SHARP lol) at the DM whenever we mention our cash amount or use a magic item power.

So yeah if our characters die, it doesn't seem to hurt as bad, knowing you can make the same type or a different one w/lots of gold and magic items too. The rest of the party will gather up our platinum/gold and be like the Kool-Aid Man.

Very cool build you have here, I like both the classes but never realized how well they can work together and probably wouldn't have thought of the PP you chose.
I am interested in using this build for a game I may have coming up and I have a question that I hope you can help me with.

If I'm starting at 1st or 2nd level would it be beneficial to take Arcane Implement Proficiency: Heavy Blades and retrain it after getting the Avernian Knight PP? 
Very cool build you have here, I like both the classes but never realized how well they can work together and probably wouldn't have thought of the PP you chose.
I am interested in using this build for a game I may have coming up and I have a question that I hope you can help me with.

If I'm starting at 1st or 2nd level would it be beneficial to take Arcane Implement Proficiency: Heavy Blades and retrain it after getting the Avernian Knight PP? 


As a hybrid, all implements with which you are proficient apply to both your classes.  You are a swordmage, so you are proficient with light blades for both warlock and swordmage powers.


Which is quite academic, because essentials changed it anyway.  Now you can use any of your implements with any of your powers. 
Hey, Alpha

I noticed that rod of corruption was removed from the build, with Eyes of the Vestige?

Also, I see that you have retraining in the feats but: Level 1: White Lotus Riposte (retrained to Shared Pact at Level 19) isn't possible is it?

I understood that you could only retrain feats to those obtainable at that lv.
Hey, Alpha

I noticed that rod of corruption was removed from the build, with Eyes of the Vestige?

Also, I see that you have retraining in the feats but: Level 1: White Lotus Riposte (retrained to Shared Pact at Level 19) isn't possible is it?

I understood that you could only retrain feats to those obtainable at that lv.


You can retrain to any feat available at the level you do the retraining.  For example, it's pretty much standard procedure for swordmages to take Double Aegis in paragon, then retrain that to Total Aegis in epic.


Having a rod of corruption around could still be useful, but I didn't know when I'd ever have it in hand to use, and I got rid of most of my swap shenanigans.  With Eyes around, it's not as big a deal anymore, yeah.
Hey, Alpha

I noticed that rod of corruption was removed from the build, with Eyes of the Vestige?

Also, I see that you have retraining in the feats but: Level 1: White Lotus Riposte (retrained to Shared Pact at Level 19) isn't possible is it?

I understood that you could only retrain feats to those obtainable at that lv.


You can retrain to any feat available at the level you do the retraining.  For example, it's pretty much standard procedure for swordmages to take Double Aegis in paragon, then retrain that to Total Aegis in epic.


Having a rod of corruption around could still be useful, but I didn't know when I'd ever have it in hand to use, and I got rid of most of my swap shenanigans.  With Eyes around, it's not as big a deal anymore, yeah.



Ah, I see now, thank you.

I see that you have : Infernal Pact: Hellish Rebuke as an at-will
I'm still using the old builder, but before you updated the build, It showed hybrid warlocks didn't gain their original boon.

Also, do you have any suggestions of useful magic items for the lower tiers, like P1, P2 or H3?
Edit: I see that Trick of knowledge in tha CB gives +2 to all def, was that a recent change?


I see that you have : Infernal Pact: Hellish Rebuke as an at-will
I'm still using the old builder, but before you updated the build, It showed hybrid warlocks didn't gain their original boon.

Also, do you have any suggestions of useful magic items for the lower tiers, like P1, P2 or H3?
Edit: I see that Trick of knowledge in tha CB gives +2 to all def, was that a recent change?


At-wills:
Swordmage: Swordburst or Booming Blade.
Warlock: Eldritch Strike
Human: Eyes of the Vestige
Twofold Pact: Hellish Rebuke
So his primary pact is now Vestige, his twofold is Infernal.

I'm not really sure what items I would prefer in heroic.  In paragon, priority number 1 is getting a Githyanki Silver Sword.  Switch out for a Sorrowsong Blade if/when it becomes available in epic.
Beyond that...
-Armor of Dark Majesty is your armor of choice from the moment you can afford it.
Bracers of Mental Might are a Big Deal when you hit paragon.  Without these, your PP encounter power is useless (and it's a good power).
-Far-Step Amulet is nice to have once you hit lvl10, as this is when you get at-will teleport via -Ethereal Sidestep.  Teleport 1 at-will isn't good enough, so the Amulet gives you the oomph you need to make it a good movement option when you need to avoid OAs in combat.  An Eladrin Ring of Passage is also a bonus in this direction.
-Headband of Intellect, once you have a Gith Silver Sword.  A nice accuracy boost that you'll keep until you replace it with the Opal Ring of Remembrance in mid epic.
-Initiative boosters.  Vader NEEDS his initiative bonus.  The Eye of Awareness is the perfect item for it, but sub-epic you'll want to keep an eye out for alternatives. 
-Foe-Caller gauntlets are beautiful.  Just beautiful.  If I wasn't using Zehir's for the arcana set bonus, I'd have them on level 30 Vader. 


Trick of Knowledge has always given +2 to all defenses, given the right roll.  However, Mark of Warding increases that bonus to +3.  So in any setting that denies dragonmarks, Vader will be at -1 on his defenses until he replaces that feat.
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I see that you have : Infernal Pact: Hellish Rebuke as an at-will
I'm still using the old builder, but before you updated the build, It showed hybrid warlocks didn't gain their original boon.

Also, do you have any suggestions of useful magic items for the lower tiers, like P1, P2 or H3?
Edit: I see that Trick of knowledge in tha CB gives +2 to all def, was that a recent change?


The Boon he doesn't get is the Vestige Boon which is no real loss, I assume the Vestige Mastery is to gain Immobilize on all Eyes of the Vestige attacks, which is your goto at-will (with AC 55 are you really worried about OAs?).

Playing a lower level version of this (albeit a Sigil Carver) I've obviously found a Staggering Weapon very useful.  Far-Step amulet is a level 29 item, so you have to 'settle' for a Cloak of Translocation (+2 AC/Ref and recharging Dimensional Vortex 1/day is still amazing).
I personally have gone with a Belt of Vim for the Untyped Fort Bonus, the THP from Infernal's Boon is pretty much equal to what you Shield (I also have Bloodied Boon in place of Hestavar since Erathis isn't LFR Legal).  Totemic Belt is also a nice alternative, boosting accuracy and damage on your warlock powers for one encounter.
"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.
The Boon he doesn't get is the Vestige Boon which is no real loss, I assume the Vestige Mastery is to gain Immobilize on all Eyes of the Vestige attacks, which is your goto at-will (with AC 55 are you really worried about OAs?).


I'm a fan of either the immobilize(Leraje) OR the -2 to hit (Imleth).  I really wish I could have both of them active all day, so I could just pick and choose depending on the situation.  But yeah.

Also, Avernian Knight means he doesn't provoke with his ranged attacks.  So yeah, that problem disappears after heroic.

Playing a lower level version of this (albeit a Sigil Carver) I've obviously found a Staggering Weapon very useful.  Far-Step amulet is a level 29 item, so you have to 'settle' for a Cloak of Translocation (+2 AC/Ref and recharging Dimensional Vortex 1/day is still amazing).
I personally have gone with a Belt of Vim for the Untyped Fort Bonus, the THP from Infernal's Boon is pretty much equal to what you Shield (I also have Bloodied Boon in place of Hestavar since Erathis isn't LFR Legal).  Totemic Belt is also a nice alternative, boosting accuracy and damage on your warlock powers for one encounter.


Good catch on the Far-Step.  I wasn't sure which of my items were epic grabs, so I just tried to go by memory, obviously I missed that one.
I didn't realize the Belt of Vim is untyped, that indeed makes it a great grab before you pick up the Baldric of Shielding at level 18 (assuming you did).  One reason I prefer the Baldric for thp in epic instead of Infernal temps is that I tend to like the Vestige boons.  Ymmv, of course.
Nice to see someone else is playing this build in LFR.
I love vader for it's vasly complex interactions but sometimes fall down when forgetting all of them personally.

I haven't had the opportunity to use eldritch strike tactically or as an OA yet, but I can see how staggering weapon would make it very powerful.

I'm also going to retrain to bloodied boon for a good generation of temps and the cloak and belts are wonderful additions. Also, does Headband of Intellect + Githyanki silver sword = +1 to all attacks?
Do the bracers of mental might also change the damage on the Avernian encounter power?

Thank you to  Alpha for this wonderful build again and Zathris for the brilliant additions a the lower tiers.
Level 23 encounter power seems to be missing from the build summary
Level 23 encounter power seems to be missing from the build summary

I think that's because one is not taken at that level, the earlier Encounter Powers being preferred.

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Level 23 encounter power seems to be missing from the build summary

I think that's because one is not taken at that level, the earlier Encounter Powers being preferred.



This.

It's a travesty that the best swordmage defender encounter powers appear at level 3.  Not that the powers are too powerful, but that the swordmage power list is so destitute that there isn't a decent replacement until late epic.
I am playing a warlock|swordmage at level 13 and ran into an interesting problem, my character was eaten by a behir so he only had line of effect to the behir, couldnt port out.  He was grabbed taking damage and most of his encounters are reactions.  However, eldritch strike plus staggering longsword makes it possible to hit and slide the behir around teh battlefield.  I had never driven a monster before but this was quite amusing.
I am playing a warlock|swordmage at level 13 and ran into an interesting problem, my character was eaten by a behir so he only had line of effect to the behir, couldnt port out.  He was grabbed taking damage and most of his encounters are reactions.  However, eldritch strike plus staggering longsword makes it possible to hit and slide the behir around teh battlefield.  I had never driven a monster before but this was quite amusing.



Wouldn't happen to be playing Revenge of the Giants would you? We had an encounter where the party paladin Divine Challenged a behir and then got eaten. Behir couldn't attack him and had to eat his DC damage the whole encounter. Most damage the paladin has ever managed.
Thats the one, unfortunately i couldnt trigger my mark on him so all i could do was drive him around the map.

Playing a lower level version of this (albeit a Sigil Carver) I've obviously found a Staggering Weapon very useful.  Far-Step amulet is a level 29 item, so you have to 'settle' for a Cloak of Translocation (+2 AC/Ref and recharging Dimensional Vortex 1/day is still amazing).
I personally have gone with a Belt of Vim for the Untyped Fort Bonus, the THP from Infernal's Boon is pretty much equal to what you Shield (I also have Bloodied Boon in place of Hestavar since Erathis isn't LFR Legal).  Totemic Belt is also a nice alternative, boosting accuracy and damage on your warlock powers for one encounter.


Good catch on the Far-Step.  I wasn't sure which of my items were epic grabs, so I just tried to go by memory, obviously I missed that one.
I didn't realize the Belt of Vim is untyped, that indeed makes it a great grab before you pick up the Baldric of Shielding at level 18 (assuming you did).  One reason I prefer the Baldric for thp in epic instead of Infernal temps is that I tend to like the Vestige boons.  Ymmv, of course.


You don't get any Vestige Boon because you're a Hybrid and spent Hybrid Talent on Swordmage Warding.  Twofold Pact doesn't give you the boon of your primary pact anymore.
"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.
You don't get any Vestige Boon because you're a Hybrid and spent Hybrid Talent on Swordmage Warding.  Twofold Pact doesn't give you the boon of your primary pact anymore.

What, did they nerf all the hybrids? Man, the things they chose to "fix" sometimes, and the means they use to fix them. . .

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You don't get any Vestige Boon because you're a Hybrid and spent Hybrid Talent on Swordmage Warding.  Twofold Pact doesn't give you the boon of your primary pact anymore.

What, did they nerf all the hybrids? Man, the things they chose to "fix" sometimes, and the means they use to fix them. . .



To be fair, one feat giving two pacts boons, an extra at-will, and access to all the feats and perks of two warlock pacts is a lot. This one feat made Hybrid Warlock basically better than its own class. Don't get me wrong, I love the original version, but I understand why they nerfed it. Sometimes they do errata right, not often, but it does happen.
Vestige pact powers specifically grant you access to the boon in question, so I've been going off that interpretation.  Since I have the Vestige Eldritch Pact, the powers work for me normally.
Yes, this is a workaround of the apparent intention(that hybrids have to pay for their boons), but I don't really care.  They're the ones that made Vestige as wonky as it is.


If I'm gonna be using them to augment my Eyes of the Vestige in epic, I might as well use the boon if it's good enough (iirc, one of Imleth/Leraje is good enough, the other is not).
If it's allowed at your tables that's fine, I just wanted to point out that the RAI is clear and RAW is at best questionable.

Vestige Pact Boon - "You have a pact boon associated with your active vestige." without the feature "Vestige Pact Boon" you can't use the boon of your active vestige much the same way that Eyes of the Vestige - Zutwa does nothing if you don't have the Prime Shot feature.
"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.
Does this build require you to be Human? Or could it work with an Eladrin?
If it's allowed at your tables that's fine, I just wanted to point out that the RAI is clear and RAW is at best questionable.

Vestige Pact Boon - "You have a pact boon associated with your active vestige." without the feature "Vestige Pact Boon" you can't use the boon of your active vestige much the same way that Eyes of the Vestige - Zutwa does nothing if you don't have the Prime Shot feature.


You have a good point.
And I have no problem with choosing a different belt item.  I like the baldric because I feel like it will front me some temps before I get any infernal temps.


Does this build require you to be Human? Or could it work with an Eladrin?


Just go in with both eyes open:

The Bad:
--Human is the current means of getting Eyes of the Vestige in heroic.  So you'll either need to go without Eldritch Strike and accept your OAs suck, or just live without Eyes of the Vestige.
--Vader is very tight on feats, so Eladrin will always feel like you don't have enough feats.


The Good:
--Fey Step is handy.
--Int/dex will help your initiative a little.
--With a strong dex, it might be worth boosting your dex instead of Wis.  You'll lose some will defense, but you'll qualify for Heavy Blade Opportunity in paragon.  HBO+Booming Blade will grant you a decent OA to replace eldritch strike, so at least you can have Eyes of the Vestige in paragon.  Again, that's making the feat-crunch worse, but it would be worthwhile.


Keep in mind that the build was originally not vestige at all.  You can do decently by just sticking with star pact in heroic and infernal in paragon (or vice versa.  Dire Radiance + Ulban's Flare is pretty sweet).
The addition of Con to genasi and Int to warforged has opened the opportunity for some intriguing variants to Vader.

Warforged, in particular, means that now you can play a Darth who is "more machine now, than man" and not feel like you are totally gimping yourself!

Unfortunately, human is currently at the heart of our heroic strategy (Eyes of the Vestige for curse propagation), so it'll take some serious reworking to turn out a warforged variant.  He'll also be even more feat-starved than usual.

Still, he'll come out really tough, and that extra point of con you get over human is strong.  And it's really hard to beat that flavor.  The fluff in the racial attribute article even calls out the possibility of "int" warforged having a black body!
Added the new warforged variant of Vader.

Very similar, but tighter on feats til epic.  No Eyes of the Vestige in heroic, so he uses Booming Blade instead of Swordburst to supplement his defending while he spends minors on curse propagation, retraining to swordburst when the sweet stuff hits in paragon.

I've left the power selection unfinished.
Power selection will otherwise be much the same, except that he won't take any Vestige dailies.  Pick a suitable control or nova daily power.  Hybrid pact is now Star, as the few con-based star powers are pretty sweet, and worth considering.
Shouldn't the Warforged variant be this guy:
 

With that many weapons, though, his Swordmage Warding may go into negatives.
 
Has anyone tried a Darth Maul variation?
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Darth Maul reduced his Warding by using a double weapon and got himself killed, so, no.
I've toyed around with an Elf Swordmage what wields a double scimitar.  Valenar Weapon Warding + defensive property = normal Warding bonus.  It's not too great from a mechanical/optimisation standpoint.  But easily qualifying for Arcane Reach is nice, so in paragon you can Sword Burst w/in 2 squares and flavor it as throwing your double scimitar.  Again it's not great, but it's cool.
Darth Maul reduced his Warding by using a double weapon and got himself killed, so, no.

On the plus side, his dual implement spellcaster gave him +6 damage, so he took one of them with him...

Heck, if he hadn't been outnumbered and Obi Wan made a save against hazardous terrain, he'd have won entirely.

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For an LFR game, since you can't take the Mark of Warding, how is taking Arcane Familiar and grabbing a gallant hawk?

Edit: as an additional question, why are you trained in thievery if you don't take fast hands?
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For an LFR game, since you can't take the Mark of Warding, how is taking Arcane Familiar and grabbing a gallant hawk?

Edit: as an additional question, why are you trained in thievery if you don't take fast hands?


Gallant Hawk only works against adjacent targets, which really isn't good enough.  As a swordmage, standard marking procedure is to get away from my marked targets.  
There are plenty of other more desirable feats.
What do you suggest for the level 6 and 8 feats (in LFR), since you technically can't take Shield of Hestavar either (Erathis isn't a Forgotten Realms Diety).

And is thievery just for fluff? (I can take history or religion w/o any issues?)
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
Erathis is Gond in LFR, so Shield of Hestavar may be taken if you follow Gond.  Reflavor Feat as Shield of the Smith.
"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.
And is thievery just for fluff? (I can take history or religion w/o any issues?)


Sorry, I missed that in your earlier post.

Thievery is largely a relic of the times when I had Fast Hands, yes.

I left it in because it's also a very useful RP skill, and because it allows easy retraining into Fast Hands if you need it for whatever reason.

So no, I don't suspect you'll have troubles with history or religion.


@Erathis:  what Zathris said.  LFR diety equivalents are in the LFR rules, I believe.
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