Super unique stat arrays, away. Optimize this Warforged|Swordmage with 4 Int

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So we're rebooting a failed villains campaign that ended at level 15 next semester. We're going to start over with the same players as a group of orphans (and their robot butler/guard/thing) in Eberron that end up on a quest to save the world. Age-wise, besides myself, we range from 8 to 17 in character.

Anyway, since its more or less a joke campaign, we used a unique method to determine stats. We rolled a d20, rerolling a 1 or a 2, with a result of a 19 or a 20 adding a floating +1 or +2 to any stat of your choice. We also got to reroll one die roll of our choice.

So this is what we ended up with.
Male Elf Druid (8)

Str:       10
Con:     16
Dex:     10
Int:       15
Wis:     20
Cha:     14

Female Human Paladin (17)

Str:       18
Con:     6
Dex:     9
Int:       14
Wis:     18
Cha:     20

Warforged Warden|Swordmage (??)

Str:       19
Con:     20
Dex:     4
Int:       3
Wis:     18
Cha:     6

Male Halfling Monk (14)

Str:       7
Con:     8
Dex:     20
Int:       17
Wis:     18
Cha:     10

Male Goliath Runepriest (16)

Str:       20
Con:     8
Dex:     11
Int:       16
Wis:     16
Cha:     4

I'm the lucky guy who ended up with the stat array of the Warforged.

My biggest problem is going to be mitigating my Reflex defense. This is what I look like starting out:

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Bash, level 1
Warforged, Warden|Swordmage
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Polearm)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Hammer)
Hybrid Warden: Hybrid Warden Will
Swordmage Aegis (Hybrid): Aegis of Shielding
Hybrid Talent: Warden's Armored Might
Guardian Might: Earthstrength
Background: Pivotal Event - Murder (+2 to Perception)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 19, Con 20, Dex 4, Int 3, Wis 18, Cha 6.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 17, Con 18, Dex 4, Int 3, Wis 18, Cha 6.


AC: 20 Fort: 15 Reflex: 9 Will: 17
HP: 36 Surges: 13 Surge Value: 9

TRAINED SKILLS
Athletics +6, Endurance +9, Perception +11

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics -6, Arcana -4, Bluff -2, Diplomacy -2, Dungeoneering +4, Heal +4, History -4, Insight +4, Intimidate, Nature +4, Religion -4, Stealth -6, Streetwise -2, Thievery -6

FEATS
Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Feat User Choice: Versatile Expertise

POWERS
Hybrid at-will 1: Strength of Stone
Hybrid at-will 1: Frigid Blade
Hybrid encounter 1: Thunder Ram Assault
Hybrid daily 1: Form of Winter's Herald

ITEMS
Heavy Shield, Hide Armor, Halberd, Battleaxe, Warhammer
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

I'm accepting any tips and build suggestions you may have. Thematically, he's a magically infused Warforged designed to win wars by stopping any harm from coming to his allies in combat. Thus the Swordmage hybrid, which, frankly, should not be nearly as effective of a choice considering my Int is 4. Anyway, I'm mostly unsure of what weapon to specialize in throughout this campaign, as I have the stats for many of them.

So yeah. Hit me.
A swordmage of any kind with an Int of 4 will fail, and fail hard.  Convince your DM to let you replace Int with Con on any swordmage stuff, or pick another class.

By alternative, you can easily reflavor warden to the style you want, and just go straight warden(a good choice with your stats). 
I'd have to agree. All of your swordmage attacks are going to miss a majority of the time. It just won't work.

A list of CharOp Handbooks I'm currently updating:

Heart of the Dragon: A Dragonborn's Handbook

Infernal Wrath: A Tiefling's Handbook

What the hell?  Wait, were you guys forced to pick classes/races before you rolled stats?  That is the only possible explanation for why you'd do Swordmage at all and not just stick to Warden.  As a Swordmage, you totally fail.  I don't care that you clearly wanted the Shielding Aegis.  Half your powers are completely worthless.  This is a horrible, horrible idea.

Here's what I really don't understand, though.  You must have been forced to roll straight down or else you wouldn't put your worst score in your second Primary. 

But then, that doesn't add up for me, because every single other character has a 20 in their primary stat and a 16-18 in their secondary.  Actually, all but the Runepriest has a 16-18 in both of their secondaries. 

This leads me to believe that you guys had some kind of choice.  I just don't believe that things could line up so well for four other people.  Either you chose horrible stats for what you wanted to do, or you chose a horrible hybrid class for your stats.  But in either case, you made a horrible choice.

Ditch the Swordmage or waste half your character.
Heroes Don't Need Special Gear to Be Heroic - A guide to removing magic item dependency and smoothing out advancement. Reinventing the Workday: A Shift Towards Encounter-Based Resources - A guide to abandoning daily resources
Alternately, you guys could totally consider playing D&D.  Great game, has fantastic mechanical balance built right into the rules.  You'd be able to avoid this kind of ridiculous scenario altogether.

Seriously, though, advice in the CharOp forum assumes operation within the bounds of the rules.  Use legal arrays for your stats.  Roleplay all the non-legal stuff.  Problem solved.
Are you guys complaining about a post someone made asking for help? Cuz i have this username for a reason. 

Also you're fail for thinking you need half a swordmage. You need 1 power of each type, so he'll only have one crappy at-will and the rest of his powers can be used for utility.

Something like

Surprising Transposition Swordmage Attack 17


no int needed

or


Quicksilver Blade Swordmage Attack 25

or


Giant’s Might Swordmage Utility 22


He now has one of each and no int needed. 

And you're terrible char oppers if you can only optimize within the bounds of 16,14,13,12,11,10,

There are plenty of twinstriking avenger builds around and you know this thing:

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...


 is pretty useful for optimizing within the system. Go be unhelpful somewhere else plz


 
My forum good deeds. Fortunately, left unpunished:
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"Incidentally, everytime you post in of these (mine or anyone else's) you have really great advice." -Tigerguy786 "Thanks Stop-Whining, your suggestions have been gold." -RedRollinS "You are probably the best person who has explained a certain concept to me so far, thank you VERY much for the information, it helps me out a ton. I can't wait to play this deck and use some cards for a deck of my own. Cheers!" -SpaceLincoln "In short, you good sir, are made of win advice. And I am actually going to be taking pretty much all of it." -jeremyc13
Thank you, stop-whining.

The primary reason I picked Hybrid swordmage was that, A) it's an amazing hybrid, and B) I can focus purely Str/Con and still be very effective. My aegis will reduce something like 30 damage per round in epic tier, and I don't need any Int for that to work, and C) Any other character with a 3 in Dex and a 4 in Int would basically result in a mentally-challenged guy in a wheelchair. With a Warforged, I can flavor it that he got damaged in the war, and as such, has rusted and short-circuited. Makes sense that he used to be way, WAY better at his job before he got regulated to guarding an orphanage.

Originally my guy was gonna be a big-old idiot who just ran in front of enemies and tried to reduce damage everywhere, so anything that gives resistance to damage would be nice in general.

I had already determined the 3 and 5 encounter powers for Swordmage that wouldn't really worry about Int, but it's good to know that some retrains exist later on. Thanks.
lol I love these posts. People come in here with a few conditions:
  • Really stupid DM forced them to do something and they need to make it playable

  • Rolled stats and are terribad in something that is essential to their class

  • Any other form of making something really bad decently playable.


I always love the results.
Or just ask your DM to get rid of the 50/50 rule, but agreeing that you will pick some Swordmage powers in cases where there is one you can actually use. If you're playing this kind of game, it would seem you are mature and sensible enough for such gentlemen's agreements.

I know this is not technically CharOp advice, but to be very honest, I just wouldn't play a (hybrid) Swordmage by the RAW with those stats. If you do, you will have at least some dead levels. And personally, I hate dead levels. But that is just oppinion, of course.
Are you guys complaining about a post someone made asking for help? Cuz i have this username for a reason. 

 is pretty useful for optimizing within the system. Go be unhelpful somewhere else plz



 



So you...suggest powers over a dozen levels away from where the character's at and then insult everyone. Right, you have no idea what you're talking about. Shoo~ your attempts to 'help' are so far off the mark it isn't even funny.

As to the character itself, at the moment it's fine - because it only has warden powers. Things will start to get more difficult as you hit level 3 and up and there's very little we can do to mitigate an effective -6 or -7 compared to the norm. You'll need to pick powers with miss and effect lines that you like; ignoring the hit lines almost entirely. Encounter powers are trickier...swordmages don't have a suite of lazylord-style powers (and no acceptable options for you at levels 1 and 3 for instance).

The best suggestion in this thread so far has been just to go straight Warden. They're great defenders - channeling the powers of the world itself to protect your allies. Lots of HP and surges, font of life is absolutely wonderful, etc. I'd look into them imo.
Apparently I was mistaken in thinking you guys, excluding the marginal exception, had some imagination. Truth be told, we're all D&D vets in this campaign, we're currently running two other campaigns we play weekly on-campus, and all of our other parties are very optimized. I routinely throw +3 and +4 encounters at them all day, and aside from the Tiefling Avenger who has died once, during the epic climax of level 10, they do fine.

Our villain campaign had myself as a Storm Sorc, before the errata, and a Genesi Swordmage, pre-Sage of Ages errata.

The original intent of this was for us to be using interesting, unique, 3.5 style stat arrays that would lead to more unique characters, because nobody is THAT good at that much in the real world. We were going into this with the assumption that, in real life, you have no control over your stats, so it'd be fun to try a campaign where you had to work with your strengths.

The easiest way to turn a weakness into a strength is to completely mitigate it.

Therefore:

Level 3 - Transposing Lunge, I lose nothing by taking it and gain an occasional hit

Level 5 - Con mod in damage for the encounter.

There. No dead levels. My that was hard.

And yeah, I could go straight Warden, but then I lose a lot of versatility in marking mechanics, and I become a hell of a lot more boring. If your only suggestions are to become boring, what's the point of playing the game?

Anyway, this has gotten a tad off the mark.

The real issues I'm having are deciding whether to specialize in Axes, Polearms, or Hammers.

Hammers are the most synergetic with Wardens in general, but I'm probably the only Str/Con Warden in history that can easily qualify for all the Polearm feats as well (At least the non-Dex ones) and that would give me a huge advantage in controlling. I like axes themetically, but they just don't sync that well with the Warden or Swordmage stuff, unless I'm missing something.

In addition, I'm curious if there are any other items or multiclass powers that would greatly boost my potential to reduce monster damage all day.

I appreciate any feedback you all may be able to provide in these two areas.
I can't understand why an axe shouldn't "sync thematically" with warden powers. Technically is obvious that for a ES warden hammer is better, but for a Wildblood one a good axe is often a nice answer, expecially since 1h superior axes don't have high crit.

Edit to add a little thing: i don't see why wardens, again, should be more boring to play than swordmages.

Chauntea/Lathander/Torm Cleric since 1995 My husband married a DM - καλὸς καὶ ἀγαθός

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/14.jpg)

You're going to be hurting real bad for things to do on your turn through heroic levels, due to functionally having one less at-will then other characters at level 1.  None of the current swordmage at-wills do anything at all on a miss, and they're all int based attacks, so you're going to miss with them.

The dailies aren't a problem - at level one you can pick up lashing asp, which is pretty nice for you, being a con-based stance with an effect that triggers on melee attacks.  Swordmage also has dailies you can use at level 15 (free the storm within) and level 25 (quicksilver stance).  Conveniently, level 15 is the first level where you have to trade away one o fthe daily attacks you already have, so you won't ever have to carry around a useless daily power.  All of these are stances, but you only need to have one daily swordmage attack at a time, and the warden forms aren't stances, so that's fine.

For encounter powers, start with a warden power at level one, then re-train it for a swordmage power at level 3 so you can pick a higher level warden power.  From levels three to six you'll be functionally down one encounter power.  At level 7 you can pick up flame wall strike as an encounter (and retrain your level 1 encounter back to a warden power).  It's not exactly good, but it's better then not having your full complement of encounter attacks, especially considering that you'll be working with only one at will power.

Past level seven there are a couple powers that have a decent effect whether or not you hit with the primary attack (push and prone, nearby allies are insubstantial for a round, that sort of thing), but generally they won't be worth burning standard actions on, or trading out flamewall strike.  It's sad, but you'll be using that one round three square wall until the day you retire, and long before that you'll be back to feeling like you just have one less encounter power then everybody else.


So in the end, you're down an at-will power and an encounter power, along with some warden features, and in exchange you get the swordmage mark.  The posters who told you that this isn't a good trade were telling you the truth.  It's really not.  You really would be much better off as a straight warden, particularly at low levels when you're stuck spamming your at-will attacks after the first round or two of most combats.  Only having one at-will to use in those situations will get a bit monotonous.  Still, it's not quite as unworkable as they may have made it sound.
We were going into this with the assumption that, in real life, you have no control over your stats, so it'd be fun to try a campaign where you had to work with your strengths.



Wait wait wait, hold on. In real life, you decide what you want to do based on your strengths. If you have trouble with abstract thought but you're fast and strong and coordinated, you play football. If you're knocked over by a stiff breeze but you think algebra is fun, you study to be a mathematician.

The point I'm trying to make is that it isn't realistic to force a 4 INT Warforged to be a swordmage of any kind. Also, straight Wardens, and especially Warforged Wardens, are really cool and not at all boring to play.

I could write more, but instead you should just read malisteen's post three more times.
I really like the concept, and I really want the extra mark. My guy is a guardian of the children so it makes sense.

Being short one encounter is whatever, I always optimize my at-wills anyway so I only use encounters for utility and situational purposes. I feel that's when characters operate best. All of my characters have been built around the best possible at-wills, and I don't see this one being any different. One at-will is enough, honestly, and heroic levels are the levels I could use it to the most advantage, before the increases from the stats would factor into it.

I think I'm gonna go with making the entire party invincible. That sounds like the most fun.
Well, if you are convinced...

Chauntea/Lathander/Torm Cleric since 1995 My husband married a DM - καλὸς καὶ ἀγαθός

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/14.jpg)

You'll do fine, then, so long as you don't mind the repetition of using the same at-will over and over again.  I personally don't like that style of play (learned the hard way from playing an artificer that pumped magic weapon until it was better then most of his daily powers, too), but that's just a personal preference issue.

either way, I did go through the encounter and daily powers for swordmages, and listed the ones I thought might be of interest for you.  If you're looking for a weapon type, I like hammers for your high con, but really any good melee weapon will work fine for you.  Flamewall strike will get some extra damage if you use a heavy or light blade, but that still isn't a reason to take them over anything else, and none of the other swordmage stuff you can use even cares what weapons you use - the rest of it all being stances.

If you like axes, go with them.  There's some decent feats - extra damage for prone, high crit, etc.  All decent stuff, you'll do well with them.

I'm not sure I'd bother with polearms, unless you have a pushing at-will power.  If you do, a multiclass into fighter for for polearm momentum could work, though I forget the stat pre-reqs, so it might not be viable for you.

Still, you can't go wrong with hammers or axes.
Being short one encounter is whatever, I always optimize my at-wills anyway so I only use encounters for utility and situational purposes.

If this is the case:

1) The Warden at-wills are not optimized, so why are you not a Fighter/Swordmage Hybrid with Brash Strike?  Or Tide of Iron?  Or Footwork Lure?

2) If you really want to be a Warden, in what way is Strength of Earth optimized?  There are definitely better choices.  I would say both of the Primal Power at-wills are better, for example.  In fact, Tempest Assault even makes more sense thematically for a broken down robot concept.

And if you're a Warden, I think there's no question that you'd go for a Reach weapon.  Definitely polearm--Greatspear if you can spare the feat.

Heroes Don't Need Special Gear to Be Heroic - A guide to removing magic item dependency and smoothing out advancement. Reinventing the Workday: A Shift Towards Encounter-Based Resources - A guide to abandoning daily resources
OP:

Take a polearm (Greatspear?), the feats for it, and use your one warden at-will and melee basic attacks.  You are down an encounter, an at-will, and some useful Warden features, which really is a bad trade; at least with a polearm you can force the enemy into a bad choice using only the hybrid mark the polearm gamble.
Are you guys complaining about a post someone made asking for help? Cuz i have this username for a reason. 

 is pretty useful for optimizing within the system. Go be unhelpful somewhere else plz




 




So you...suggest powers over a dozen levels away from where the character's at and then insult everyone. Right, you have no idea what you're talking about. Shoo~ your attempts to 'help' are so far off the mark it isn't even funny.

As to the character itself, at the moment it's fine - because it only has warden powers. Things will start to get more difficult as you hit level 3 and up and there's very little we can do to mitigate an effective -6 or -7 compared to the norm. You'll need to pick powers with miss and effect lines that you like; ignoring the hit lines almost entirely. Encounter powers are trickier...swordmages don't have a suite of lazylord-style powers (and no acceptable options for you at levels 1 and 3 for instance).

The best suggestion in this thread so far has been just to go straight Warden. They're great defenders - channeling the powers of the world itself to protect your allies. Lots of HP and surges, font of life is absolutely wonderful, etc. I'd look into them imo.



You are exactly right . However, by lumping charoppers into one category and insinuating that they are incapable of solving this puzzle seems to have generated more responses. People love a challenge.

And as for the powers chosen i went backwards through a swordmage guide and used powers I saw that I knew to be non int :P 
My forum good deeds. Fortunately, left unpunished:
Show
"Incidentally, everytime you post in of these (mine or anyone else's) you have really great advice." -Tigerguy786 "Thanks Stop-Whining, your suggestions have been gold." -RedRollinS "You are probably the best person who has explained a certain concept to me so far, thank you VERY much for the information, it helps me out a ton. I can't wait to play this deck and use some cards for a deck of my own. Cheers!" -SpaceLincoln "In short, you good sir, are made of win advice. And I am actually going to be taking pretty much all of it." -jeremyc13
If you're after a more durable multi-mark, Battlemind|Warden might be more your speed with those stats.

Con primary and a strong mark that synergizes excellently with Warden.  It's a concept we've been working on a little in ##4e, and I think you'd have some fun with it.

Reflavoring Battlemind to be magical is trivial, imo.
If you're after a more durable multi-mark, Battlemind|Warden might be more your speed with those stats.

Con primary and a strong mark that synergizes excellently with Warden.  It's a concept we've been working on a little in ##4e, and I think you'd have some fun with it.

Reflavoring Battlemind to be magical is trivial, imo.



You get different kinds of synergy problems, and the battlemind mark punishment is pretty terrible.  Frankly if I were in his shoes, I'd hybrid Fighter/Warden; the Warden's mark makes applying the Fighter's combat challenge easy, and there are some really good con riders re: battlerager etc.
Didnt you guys know? the only way to get a CharOp group to optimize an inherently unoptimizable character is to challenge their integrity directly.

Infernis
Low Int Swordmages work plenty fine.  My Feycharger-to-be has Polearm Momentum in Heroic and still has a 20 Con to hit with tasty Eldritch Strike.  Sub 16 Int really isn't that terrible a thing when the main purpose of your Swordmage powers is crazy teleporting (which, btw, is the best part of the swordmage!)  You end up with 1 useless Encounter Power, and 1 useless At-Will, boo-hoo.
"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.
Is this a troll? Because I think it's a troll.

Also, marbles.

marbles.jpg
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
Those marbles are awesome - I think he could play a warforged marble, I heard their powers are not INT based.
Biggest reason I went Warden instead of Fighter from the start was I wanted to be a transformer/beast war. I become a polar bear for the level 1 daily. The concept of using the Swordmage hybrid came after the fact, when we discovered how effective it could be with a massive Con.

Great suggestions all around, though. I think I've ironed out my plan of attack quite a bit due to some well-placed advice. Excellent work.
to the OP:

I like the idea
"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 6:23
Warforged are now Con and Int OR Str.
www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/d...

Have back at it folks!


Warforged are now Con and Int OR Str.
www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/d...

Have back at it folks!


1.  Int 4 can now be int 6.   That...doesn't change anything at all.

2.  This thread was to help someone starting a new campaign...last summer.  Unless the OP's campaign has been delayed by nearly a year, this is an obsolete thread.