The darkness strikes back.

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I just wanted to share a Drow Ranger/fighter hybrid build I have been playing with and I really enjoy.

The goal of the character is to stay in the Drow darkness the entire encounter and use the darkness to punish my enemies as much as possible. I use Heavy blade opportunity to enable my attacks by making it as unpleasant to stay in the darkness as possible. Most enemies will have to provoke opportunity attacks due to difficult terrain to escape the darkness and then I can either Twin strike them or Cleave them depending on which power is most advantageous at the time.

The darkness has the following traits.
Close burst 2.
Difficult terrain for anyone except me.
When I use cleave within the darkness the extra damage hits everyone inside it.
When I use Twin strike inside the darkness, The darkness will follow me.
Sustain Standard.
When I spend an action point to take an extra action I regain the use of Darkness.
Next level All creatures that start their turn inside the darkness will take 5 poison damage

The build:


level 11
Drow, Fighter|Ranger, Curseborn
Hybrid Ranger: Hybrid Ranger Reflex
Hybrid Talent: Fighter Combat Talent
Fighter Combat Talent: Tempest Technique (Hybrid)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Light Blade)
Darkfire: Darkfire Charisma


FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 18, Con 12, Dex 22, Int 9, Wis 12, Cha 14.


STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 15, Con 11, Dex 17, Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 11.



AC: 27 Fort: 22 Reflex: 25 Will: 19
HP: 85 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 21


TRAINED SKILLS
Perception +11, Stealth +17, Intimidate +14, Athletics +13


UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +11, Arcana +4, Bluff +7, Diplomacy +7, Dungeoneering +6, Endurance +7, Heal +6, History +4, Insight +6, Nature +6, Religion +4, Streetwise +7, Thievery +10


FEATS
Level 1: Xen'drik Weapon Training
Level 2: Hybrid Talent
Level 4: Lolthdark Style
Level 6: Clutch of Darkness
Level 8: Versatile Expertise
Level 10: Toughness (retrained to Heavy Blade Opportunity at Level 11)
Level 11: Darkness Reign


POWERS
Hybrid at-will 1: Twin Strike
Hybrid at-will 1: Cleave
Hybrid encounter 1: Two-Fanged Strike
Hybrid daily 1: Skirmishing Stance
Hybrid utility 2: Battle Fury Stance
Hybrid encounter 3: Sweeping Blow
Hybrid daily 5: Rain of Steel
Hybrid utility 6: Begin the Hunt
Hybrid encounter 7: Come and Get It
Hybrid daily 9: Dervish's Challenge
Hybrid utility 10: Unbreakable


ITEMS
Prime Shot Drow Long Knife +3, Cloak of Survival +2, Challenge-Seeking Drow Long Knife +3, Predator's Hide Hide Armor +2, Acrobat Boots (heroic tier), Quickhit Braces (heroic tier)


Sadly with the change to magic missile, it is easier to hit the darkness now 8(

Oh and I forgot to mention, the character makes a decent Defender if you change the Hybrid Talent feat to Combat Superiority.
I didn't have a clue about all those enhancements to Cloud of Darkness, very good!

But with all that Dex and relying a bit on OAs, don't you think Fading Strike (+ needed Hybrid Talent) would be more accurate and appropriate than Twin Strike? Sure, you loose Tempest Technique, but try and do the math, and take into account the extra mobility granted by Fading Strike...

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Campaigns and Characters:
Zendikar: Covenant of The Forgotten Relics
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Nature's Allies
- Carwyn Sihderfein: Half-Elf (Tuathan) Blackguard of Domination / Binder of Gloom --> Sheet, Fluff, Blogs (1, 2)

I use twin strike ranged for the OA since I won't provoke opportunity attacks. Also I will almost always have combat advantage because they cannot see me.

Also Twin Strike is a must with Lolthdark style to enable me to move the cloud around the map.
I use twin strike ranged for the OA since I won't provoke opportunity attacks. Also I will almost always have combat advantage because they cannot see me.

Also Twin Strike is a must with Lolthdark style to enable me to move the cloud around the map.



I think one of us may be missing something here, what in your build enables you to use Twin Strike for OAs? It's not a basic attack, so is there a feat that enables that use?

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Campaigns and Characters:
Zendikar: Covenant of The Forgotten Relics
- Cylonea: Merfolk (Elemental Priest) Shaman(World Speaker)/Artificer --> Sheet, Obsidian Portal's, Fluff
- Vurokk Dahvre: Shade (Escaped Slave) Blackguard of Fury --> Sheet, Obsidian Portal's, Fluff, Blogs (1, 2)
Nature's Allies
- Carwyn Sihderfein: Half-Elf (Tuathan) Blackguard of Domination / Binder of Gloom --> Sheet, Fluff, Blogs (1, 2)

Heavy Blade Opportunity
Heavy Blade Opportunity



Hah! I always miss retrained feats while reading for some reason... Nifty trick!! Drow long knives are among the best weapons...

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Campaigns and Characters:
Zendikar: Covenant of The Forgotten Relics
- Cylonea: Merfolk (Elemental Priest) Shaman(World Speaker)/Artificer --> Sheet, Obsidian Portal's, Fluff
- Vurokk Dahvre: Shade (Escaped Slave) Blackguard of Fury --> Sheet, Obsidian Portal's, Fluff, Blogs (1, 2)
Nature's Allies
- Carwyn Sihderfein: Half-Elf (Tuathan) Blackguard of Domination / Binder of Gloom --> Sheet, Fluff, Blogs (1, 2)

So...what happens when the monster you have caught in the Darkness stops trying to move and instead just swings at you with his -5 to attack? You are using a standard action to sustain the darkness, correct? This leaves you with a minor and a move acion. As usually there is more monsters in an encounter than players (well, depending on the level of the mobs to the encounter level) the trade off of one monster to one player is in the favor of the monsters usually.

Seems like a fun trick on a medium sized solo though. Even more so if you have a Wizard in the group with magic missle who can shoot into the darkness lol.

So...what happens when the monster you have caught in the Darkness stops trying to move and instead just swings at you with his -5 to attack? You are using a standard action to sustain the darkness, correct? This leaves you with a minor and a move acion. As usually there is more monsters in an encounter than players (well, depending on the level of the mobs to the encounter level) the trade off of one monster to one player is in the favor of the monsters usually.

Seems like a fun trick on a medium sized solo though. Even more so if you have a Wizard in the group with magic missle who can shoot into the darkness lol.




I belive he is under the impression that if you make an AO and twin strike the next round when you move it will follow you. Which with the way the style is worded I would kinda agree with him.

However he has no protection regarding some one just sitting there beating on him.

I would recomend dropping the fighter all together.  and just go strait ranger.
Pick up snarling wolf stance which will allow you to move the cloud alot more for a single fight.
why do you have versitile expertise? I would drop that for eather knife in the dark or darkhunter.
With a move action I can hide in the darkness so if the enemy stays on me I can move around it and hide with total concealment then it has to guess where I am.

If the enemy stays near me I can activate Rain of Steel to make it a bit less desirable to stay near me or up my damage to eliminate the threat all together.

If things get heavy I can leave and create another cloud elsewhere.

If I want I can skip the cloud and just focus on striking as a fully functional ranger.

When in the cloud I can use my ranged attacks without provoking OA so I can attack outside the cloud and use it to provide CA for 2 rounds of attacks.

I picked Expertise over Knife in the dark because I like accuracy and Knife in the Dark is a feat bonus which doesn't stack with Xendrik weapon so I lose half the benefit. Darkhunter is on the list but I am not in a hurry to get it, there are better feats I can take before then.

The character does have flaws but I can deal with most of them always falling back on the fact that being a ranger isn't bad at all and being a ranger with sneaky tricks is far more fun. I like the flexibility of being viable in melee and ranged combat and being able to act as a defender in a pinch with decent survivability thanks to the penalty to hit me. when in the darkness my defenses are effectively AC: 32 Fort: 27 Reflex: 30 Will: 24 vs melee and ranged attacks if they can see past my stealth check in the first place.

o crap is it a bonus i thought they stacked.. my bad.
You may also want to consider deft hurler style to give you the option to throw one of your long knives on a cleave.
yeah I like deft hurler, I will probably try to fit it in but I need to take paragon to solidify the character as I am a bit lacking in some basics like focus and my defenses. I think my feats at 14, 16 and 18 should be some of the basics like paragon defenses, weapon focus and armor specialization just to remain viable since I play in LFR I need to be well rounded.
yeah I like deft hurler, I will probably try to fit it in but I need to take paragon to solidify the character as I am a bit lacking in some basics like focus and my defenses. I think my feats at 14, 16 and 18 should be some of the basics like paragon defenses, weapon focus and armor specialization just to remain viable since I play in LFR I need to be well rounded.


How is this build working out for you?? Are you still using it?  And if so, can you update us...I have something I am doing very similar, but am only level 9 right now...I would like to know how it plays out, especially in paragon since I only play LFR right now too.
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