How to Build a Black Hole 4e Style

57 posts / 0 new
Last post
The Black Hole

Drow Fighter / Curseborn / Demigod


dec07_1_10.gif


". . . a region of space from which nothing, including light, can escape." - Wikipedia



Credits
I optimize in the shadow of others more optimally-mided than I. The intial inspiration for the Black Hole came from SongNSilence's "Inescapable Fisherman" and Netarious's revamp. Also, I have to give a nod to JJ_Rhodes and NeoVid, whose dabbling with optimizing Curseborn ninja'd my idea by four months. Also, Veleria has built a decent Ranger|Fighter Hybrid of this concept as well. I had not been aware of it previously, but it's very much worth taking a look. And finally, my old DM deserves credit for putting the image in my mind of a black hole in the middle of a battlefield at the center of which is an inescapable defender.

Meet the Black Hole.


His name is Hawking. His friends call him Steve-O


Hawking is a secondary defender who feels most at home with a slide-happy party. Like real black holes, Hawking does not move much at all compared to everything else around him, but if allies can slide enemies his way, enemies tend to not escape.


And he's nigh unhittable (Level 30: AC55 F54 R51 W50).


From level 11 onward: Hawking stands In the middle of his burst 2 Cloud of Darkness that lasts as long as he sustains it. Any enemy adjacent to Hawking will stay adjacent to him. Everyone inside the Cloud except Hawking is blinded and nobody outside the Cloud can see into the Cloud; the CLoud is difficult terrain. Each turn, all enemies in a burst 3 are slowed and pulled 2 squares toward him. If enemies try to retreat, Hawking interrupts them and knocks them prone. If enemies try to remove the source that slows and pulls them, Hawking interrupts them, pushes them a square, and knocks them prone. If enemies try to attack him, they must fight blind while they try to surmount Hawking's awesome defenses while taking steady damage from Hawking's immediate actions and attack stances. He has one sustainable use of Cloud of Darkness like this every encounter (two per encounter with an action point).


Character Builder Summary for the Black Hole at level 11

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Hawking, level 11
Drow, Fighter, Curseborn
Build: Guardian Fighter
Fighter: Combat Superiority
Fighter Talents: One-handed Weapon Talent
Darkfire: Darkfire Wisdom
Background: Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 19, Con 12, Dex 16, Int 11, Wis 19, Cha 11.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 11, Dex 13, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 8.


AC: 27 Fort: 23 Reflex: 22 Will: 21
HP: 94 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 23

TRAINED SKILLS
Endurance +9, Athletics +12, Streetwise +10

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +6, Arcana +5, Bluff +5, Diplomacy +5, Dungeoneering +9, Heal +9, History +5, Insight +9, Intimidate +7, Nature +9, Perception +9, Religion +5, Stealth +8, Thievery +6

FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Level 2: Forceful Opportunist
Level 4: Blade Opportunist
Level 6: Combat Reflexes
Level 8: Clutch of Darkness
Level 10: Toughness (retrained to Heavy Blade Opportunity at Level 11)
Level 11: Darkness Reign

POWERS
Fighter at-will 1: Knockdown Assault
Fighter at-will 1: Cleave
Fighter encounter 1: Shield Riposte
Fighter daily 1: Unstoppable Advance
Fighter utility 2: Defensive Stance
Fighter encounter 3: Parry and Riposte
Fighter daily 5: Rain of Steel
Fighter utility 6: Unbreakable
Fighter encounter 7: Come and Get It
Fighter daily 9: Thicket of Blades
Fighter utility 10: Navigate Crowds

ITEMS
Adventurer's Kit, Agile Drakescale Armor +2, Battle Standard of the Hungry Blade (heroic tier) (2), Pincer Shield Heavy Shield (heroic tier), Longsword of Great Opportunity +2, Potion of Resistance (heroic tier) (8), Potion of Regeneration (heroic tier) (8), Grayflower Perfume (heroic tier) (5), Sustaining Cloak +2, Strikebacks (heroic tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Level 11 Defenses in Cloud of Darkness
AC: 35 = 10(base)+5(lvl)+8(Scale)+2(enh)+2(shield)+3(AgileDex)+5(cloud)
Fort: 28 = 10(base)+5(lvl)+4(Str)+2(class)+2(cloak)+5(cloud)
Ref: 27 = 10(base)+5(lvl)+3(Dex)+2(shield)+2(cloak)+5(cloud)
Will: 26 = 10(base)+5(lvl)+4(Wis)+2(cloak)+5(cloud)

Level 11 OAs to hit with both at-wills and basic attacks = +27
4(Str)+5(lvl)+3(prof)+2(enh)+1(talent)+1(expt)+2(CA)+4(Wis)+1(gloves)+1(ArmsofWar)+2(BladeOpp)+1(CombatRef)
Knockdown Assault vs. Fort damage = +4(Str)
Cleave vs. AC damage to primary target = 10.5 = 4.5(sword)+4(str)+2(enh)
Cleave auto damage to adjacent target = 4

From level 12 onward: Hawking only knocks prone those who try to remove the source that slows and pulls them. Any enemy that tries to retreat gets swatted with an OA Cleave (that also damages every enemy in his Cloud). Enemies thus hit can only move one more space before they are pulled back into the maelstrom.


From level 20 onward: Every encounter, Hawking conjures his own mini constellation in the form of three Alluring Lights that float around the battlefield. These lights reliably immobilize each enemy they rest next to and slide clumps of enemies into the Black Hole.


At level 30, Hawking is absolutely incredible.
Character Builder Summary for the Black Hole at level 30

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Hawking, level 30
Drow, Fighter, Curseborn, Demigod
Build: Guardian Fighter
Fighter: Combat Superiority
Fighter Talents: One-handed Weapon Talent
Divine Spark: Divine Spark Strength
Divine Spark: Divine Spark Wisdom
Darkfire: Darkfire Wisdom
Background: Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 26, Con 13, Dex 17, Int 12, Wis 26, Cha 12.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 11, Dex 13, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 8.


AC: 47 Fort: 49 Reflex: 44 Will: 45
HP: 215 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 53

TRAINED SKILLS
Endurance +19, Athletics +26, Streetwise +21

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +16, Arcana +16, Bluff +16, Diplomacy +16, Dungeoneering +23, Heal +23, History +16, Insight +23, Intimidate +18, Nature +23, Perception +23, Religion +16, Stealth +18, Thievery +16

FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Level 2: Forceful Opportunist
Level 4: Blade Opportunist
Level 6: Combat Reflexes
Level 8: Clutch of Darkness
Level 10: Toughness (retrained to Heavy Blade Opportunity at Level 11)
Level 11: Darkness Reign
Level 12: Lolthdark Style
Level 14: Armor Specialization (Scale)
Level 16: Paragon Defenses (retrained to Robust Defenses at Level 21)
Level 18: Shield of Shadows
Level 20: Knife in the Dark
Level 21: Heavy Blade Mastery
Level 22: Epic Resurgence
Level 24: Martial Mastery
Level 26: Epic Reflexes
Level 28: Epic Will
Level 30: Epic Fortitude

POWERS
Fighter at-will 1: Knockdown Assault
Fighter at-will 1: Cleave
Fighter encounter 1: Shield Riposte
Fighter daily 1: Comeback Strike
Fighter utility 2: Defensive Stance
Fighter encounter 3: Parry and Riposte
Fighter daily 5: Rain of Steel
Fighter utility 6: Unbreakable
Fighter encounter 7: Come and Get It
Fighter daily 9: Thicket of Blades
Fighter utility 10: Navigate Crowds
Fighter encounter 13: Shield Bearer's Vendetta (replaces Shield Riposte)
Fighter daily 15: Unyielding Avalanche (replaces Comeback Strike)
Fighter utility 16: Defiant Shield
Fighter encounter 17: Revel in Pain (replaces Come and Get It)
Fighter daily 19: Pugilist's Resolve (replaces Thicket of Blades)
Fighter utility 22: Martial Supremacy
Fighter encounter 23: Punishing Shield Block (replaces Parry and Riposte)
Fighter daily 25: Reaper's Stance (replaces Rain of Steel)
Fighter daily 29: Force the Battle (replaces Unyielding Avalanche)

ITEMS
Adventurer's Kit, Battle Standard of the Hungry Blade (heroic tier) (6), Pincer Shield Heavy Shield (heroic tier), Grayflower Perfume (heroic tier) (10), Longsword of Great Opportunity +6, Helm of Opportunity (epic tier), Strikebacks (heroic tier), Belt of Vim (paragon tier), Boots of Quickness (paragon tier), Iron Ring of the Dwarf Lords (paragon tier), Handy Haversack (heroic tier), Potion of Recovery (epic tier) (4), Potion of Regeneration (paragon tier) (10), Elixir of Flying (epic tier) (4), Agile Elderscale Armor +6, Bracers of Tactical Blows (epic tier), Demonskin Tattoo (paragon tier), Potion of Resistance (paragon tier) (8), Sustaining Cloak +6, Shadow Band (epic tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Level 30 Defenses inside the Cloud of Darkness
AC: 55 = 10(base)+15(lvl)+13(Scale)+6(enh)+1(ArmrSpec)+2(Shield)+3(AgileDex)+5(Cloud)
Fort: 54 = 10(base)+15(lvl)+8(Str)+2(Class)+2(Robust)+4(Epic)+6(Cloak)+2(Belt)+5(Cloud)
Ref: 51 = 10(base)+15(lvl)+3(Dex)+2(Robust)+4(Epic)+6(Cloak)+2(Boots)+2(Shield)+2(S.of Shadows)+5(Cloud)
Will: 50 = 10(base)+15(lvl)+8(Wis)+2(RObust)+4(Epic)+6(Cloak)+5(Cloud)

Level 30 Defenses outside the Cloud as above, but -5(cloud)+2(ring)
AC: 53
Fort: 51
Ref: 48
Will: 47

Level 30 OAs to hit with both at-wills and basic attacks = +55
+15(lvl)+8(Str)+3(prof)+6(enh)+1(Talent)+3(expt)+2(CA)+8(Wis)+3(Helm)+1(ArmsofWar)+2(BladeOpp)+1(CombatRef)
Knockdown Assault vs. Fort damage = +8(Str)
Cleave vs. AC damage to primary target = 49.5 = 9(sword)+8(str)+6(enh)+6(KnifeDark)+10.5(bracers)
Cleave auto damage to all targets in Cloud = 8

The Event Horizon
Hawking relies heavily on his drow racial encounter power Cloud of Darkness. He expands the Cloud to a burst 2 using Clutch of Darkness, and makes it difficult terrain via his level 11 Curseborn feature Clinging Shadows. And thanks to Curseborn Action (another level 11 feature), Hawking gets a second use of Cloud of Darkness every other encounter (which comes in handy if Hawking ever wants to move around). Finally, Hawking sustains it every round with a standard action via the feat Darkness Reign. Because the Cloud of Darkness is difficult terrain, adjacent enemies cannot shift, so if they want to leave they provoke an OA (for which Hawking uses Knockdown Assault or Cleave via Heavy Blade Opportunity).

The Pull of Gravity
Hawking uses a Battle Standard of the Hungry Blade to pull his targets toward the center of the black hole. The battle Standard creates a burst 3 zone that slows all enemies in the zone and pulls all enemies in the zone 2 squares toward the center at the beginning of each of Hawking's turns. The difficult terrain of the cloud and the slow effect of the Battle Standard results in a max enemy speed of 1 square per move action. If an adjacent enemy tries to remove the Battle Standard, it provokes an OA for which Hawking uses Knockdown Assault to interrupt the action, push the target 1 square (via Forceful Opportunist), and knocks the target prone. Though the target is now 1 square away, it can only use its left over move action to stand up. Then at the beginning of Hawking's turn, the target is pull back next to him.

The Singularity
At the center of the black hole is a singularity: Hawking himself. If enemies want to attack Hawking, that's just dandy. First of all, Hawking's defenses are almost unreachable (made especially so by enemies being BLIND and having no line of sight thanks to Cloud of Darkness). Secondly, Hawking is stocked with a battery of immediate encounter attack powers and item encounter powers that react to or interrupt enemies' attacks. Thirdly, by mid paragon, his daily attack powers are all stances that deal auto damage or immediate attacks to adjacent enemies.

The Constellation
The stars which orbit Hawking every encounter come from his level 20 paragon path power Alluring Lights. Hawking conjures three lights near enemies, and makes OAs against every enemy adjacent to a light at the beginning of the enemies' turns.
To Hit at Level 30: +40 vs. Will = 15(lvl)+8(Wis)+4(pwr)+8(Superiority)+3(Helm)+1(CombatRef)+1(ArmsofWar)
Hit: Immobilize (save ends)
By itself, this power is okay, but when a Wis-based fighter like Hawking uses it, it absolutely shines.
Alluring Lights RAW

. . . the attack is an OPPORTUNITY attack
. . . it can key off of WISDOM
. . . it benefits from Combat Superiority and other applicable boosts to OAs
. . . the attacks happen at the BEGINNING of each target's turn, so even if a target saves at the END of its turn, you get to attack and immobilize that target again at the beginning of its next turn.
. . . you can move each light as a move action and any immobilized targets next to each light slides with it. Move from one enemy to another, dragging the immobilized targets with the light, and steadily acquire a larger and larger clump of enemies around each light.
. . . and finally, this is an ENCOUNTER power. I verified it with Cust Serv in Aug 2010.
My Query to Cust Serv
In Dragon 367 and in the current Compendium, Alluring Lights (Curseborn Attack level 20) is listed as an encounter power, and it is colored in red like all other encounter powers. I have not found any mention of this power in any rules updates. However, all other level 20 powers that I am aware of are daily powers - not encounter powers. Please verify that Alluring Lights is accurately listed as an encounter power and not a daily power. Thanks in advance,

Response from Chase at Cust Serv
Currently the compendium is correct in that Alluring Lights is an encounter power. If you would I can send this up as feed back for you.


Equipping the Black Hole

Battle Standard of the Hungry Blade (level 9) - carry at least two starting at level 11. Pick up a handful more as your wealth permits. The realities of battle will most likely not allow you to stay in one place for the whole battle, so having the ability to set up subsequent "gravity wells" will come in very handy.
Pincer Shield (Heavy Shield level 8) - the property is situationally useful for this build, but this is one item from the "Arms of War" item set. If you carry two items from this set, you get an untyped +1 to OAs.
Longsword of Great Opportunity (levels 5/10/15/20/25/30) - The other item from the Arms of War set, plus its encounter power deals the weapon's extra crit damage on a successful OA (very nice)
Agile Scale Armor (levels 5/10/15/20/25/30) - Adds your Dex mod to your AC. I can't think of a better quality for the armor slot.
Sustaining Cloak (levels 2/7/12/17/22/27) - this cloak's encounter power allows you to sustain your Cloud as a free action for a round. You will use this every encounter.
Strikebacks (level 10) - +1 item bonus to OAs (which will be redundant once you get a paragon Helm of Opportunity), but the encounter power lets you MBA an adjacent enemy hits you. Never get rid of these.
Helm of Opportunity (levels 4/14/24) - adds +2 item bonus to OAs at paragon, +3 at epic
Grayflower Perfume - For when you're fighting enemies with blindsight, or when your cloud runs out. Get a handful, but only rely on them as a backup
Belt of Vim (levels 8/18/28) - this yields a +1/+2/+3 bump to Fort. The way you spend at epid, though, probably means you can only afford the paragon variety
Boots of Quickness (levels 8/18/28) - same as Belt of Vim but for Reflex
Shadowband (level 27) - get when you can afford it. Constant concealment means +2 to all defenses when you're not in the Black Hole (just note that Concealment does not stack with Blind)
Iron Ring of the Dwarf Lords (level 14) - gain an extra healing surge
Handy Haversack (level 10) - for carrying around all those Battle STandards you're lugging around
Potion of Recovery (level 25) - handy for making saves and regaining HP once you can afford it
Potion of Regeneration (level 9/19/29) - spend a healing surge and gain regeneration 5/10/15 until the end of the encounter. IMHO, the paragon variety works just fine for a fraction of the epic cost. Much better than healing potions, plus it keeps you above your bloodied value, which means you keep your Agile Armor Dex bonus.
Elixir of Flying (level 21) - Situational, I know, but so many enemies fly the higher levels you get. Bring the fight to them.
Bracers of Tactical Blows (levels 6/16/26) - add 1d6/2d6/3d6 extra damage to OAs. You better believe you're buying these ASAP.
Demonskin Tattoo (levels 3/13/23) - when you use an action point you get resist 5/10/15 of a damage type of your choice until the end of the encounter. Any reason not to get it?
Potion of Resistance (levels 4/14/24) - The paragon variety is probably the better bang for your gp. Get one of each of the eight damage types and down the appropriate one in an encounter that seems to have a lot of a certain kind of damage.


Notable Tempting Options that I Didn't Take

Classes

Hybrid Ranger|Fighter - you could be a Black Hole as a Ranger|Fighter. Your defenses would not be as high, but your damage output would be a lot higher. Look for the drow ranger feat support. You might go Paragon Hybrid instead of curseborn to get both Combat Superiority and Two Blade Style through the two Hybrid Talent feats. Arm up with a couple bastard swords and go to town.

Hybrid Bard|Warlock / Fighter MC - Make two of these guys exactly the same - PC1 and PC2 (twin borthers - I dunno). Both take Virtue of Cunning via Hybrid Talent, Eldritch Strike as an at-will. Both wield Staggering Glaives with Polearm Momentum, Polearm Gamble, Agile Opportunist, White Lotus Riposte, and White Lotus Master Riposte. Then set up their Clouds of Darkness right next to each other, move to the inside edges of their clouds, plant their Battle Standards in each other's squares, and fight back to back. Each can see in their own Cloud of Darkness. Event 1: each Battle Standard pulls enemies toward a PC during the other PC's turn (use Polearm Gamble and Eldritch Strike to OA, slide, and prone the enemy at twin ally's feet). Event 2: An enemy misses PC1, PC2 slides PC1 into PC2's square and back to PC1's original square (via Virtue of Cunning); PC1 uses Agile Opportunist to immediate MBA an enemy with Eldritch Strike and slide the enemy adjacent to PC2 who uses Polearm Gamble to MBA incoming enemy. Event 3: Repeat Event 2 but for PC2 instead. Event 4: PC 1 gets hit, uses White Lotus to immediate riposte with Eldritch Strike, slides the enemy adjacent to twin ally who uses Polearm Gamble, etc. etc. etc. Event 5: Repeat Event 4 but for PC2 instead. If you get FOUR of these guys identical to each other, with adjacent Clouds of Darkness, with them all fighting back to back in the adjacent connecting corner squares of their respective Clouds. . . Holy Tiamat!

Heroic Feats
Mark of Warding - the boost to marks and defense powers would be nice
Mark of Storm - combine this with a lightning weapon slide enemies around a bit to make room for new enemies arriving in the black hole

Paragon Feats
Marked Scourge: add Wis to 1 attack/round
Cloud of Poison: Cloud of Darkness deals 5 auto poison (but so many creatures resist or are immune to poison)
Merciless Killer: +5 untyped damage boost against bloodied enemies

Epic Destinies
Planeshaper: The bump to int is meh, but getting an additional use of cloud of darkness each encounter starting at level 21 is very tempting. Plus the level 26 utility lets you recharge it again. Finally, the capstone feature creates all the difficult terrain you need as an at-will minor action. Very tempting.

Ceaseless Guardian: Only bumping one stat (either str or wis) and a boost to speed are both okay, but the level 24 benefit allows you to take immediate and opportunity actions while you're dazed or stunned. Also, the level 26 utility makes sure you get in place where you need to first. And the capstone feature is probably one of the best I'm-not-gonna-die-now features in the game. All this makes Ceaseless Guardian a very tempting ED.


As always, helpful feedback very welcome.
I cannot, for the life of me, get that image to center. I format the image and select "middle" - doesn't work. I click on the image, click on center alignment, it moves over in the edit box, but goes back left when I save it. Any ideas?
V
I've been there. Try copy-pasting another image, then substituting your own in the Image URL bar. It's not a guarantee, but it works some of the time.

I like the idea behind this build. It'll take me a while to scrounge up the free time to give it a fair analysis, though.
Center then add the image works for me.

Also Awesome Build.
where does the +Wisdom to attack come from? Want.
Center then add the image works for me.

Also Awesome Build.


It worked just like you said! Thanks, dude!

I've been there. Try copy-pasting another image, then substituting your own in the Image URL bar. It's not a guarantee, but it works some of the time.

I like the idea behind this build. It'll take me a while to scrounge up the free time to give it a fair analysis, though.


Thanks, LDB! I'll look forward to your feedback.
where does the +Wisdom to attack come from? Want.


The fighter class feature Combat Superiority allows you to add your Wis mod to OAs. Since most of thisguy's attacks are going to be OAs, it only made sense to find some synergy with Wisdom.
I am currently playing a version of this build that is a hybrid fighter ranger. I went ranger because twin strike lets the cloud follow me in case I need to move. I use a twin strike on an OA with heavy blade opportunity then I can reposition the cloud if my current location doesn't work for me anymore. It's a lot of fun and using Tempest technique until paragon then retraining to combat superiority makes the character a very capable striker.

You might want to train stealth skill since you have total concealment inside the cloud you can use that to force more OAs since your opponent doesn't know what square you are in and it helps protect you against bursts.

A summoned mount is a good idea as it will increase the size of the cloud and since a conjured creature does not contact the ground you can trump Tremorsense. 
I agree, that would be a fun build. I considered going Ranger|Fighter myself, but went for higher defenses instead. What do you use as your main/off-hand weapons?

I use Drow Long Knives since I wanted the character who takes Curseborn to be as Drow as I could be. 

Here is my version 
community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

I have been using the Battle Standard of the Hungry blade but it really pisses off some DMs so I havent been using it lately in order to keep the peace.

Agile superiority might be worth considering as a feat as it plays  upon your racial strengths.
Just added your build to my list of credits. Can't believe I missed it when I was doing my searches before I built the Black Hole. I bet your DPR is pretty high with that build. Have you figured out yet what your DPR is?

 That is funny about the Battle Standard. It is much better to have fun playing than to "beat" the DM.

I seriously considered Agile Superiority, but then the Paragon Path level 11 and 20 powers would be nigh-useless (especially the amazing Alluring Lights).
I use Drow Long Knives since I wanted the character who takes Curseborn to be as Drow as I could be. 

Here is my version 
community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

I have been using the Battle Standard of the Hungry blade but it really pisses off some DMs so I havent been using it lately in order to keep the peace.

Agile superiority might be worth considering as a feat as it plays  upon your racial strengths.




This build inspired me to build a strait ranger one. or ranger that mcs fighter or something along those lines.. (away from my CB). to bad darkjumper is a rogue feat would be nice for dropping darkness a ways out then teleporting to it.


How does the round-to-round action work itself out? Position yourself (move), activate the cloud (minor), then hit something (standard).

Subsequent turns: Standard (maintain the cloud), move, minor? I understand the need to stay near the standard.

Also, what do you do about area attacks?

--S
Area attacks are best dealt with by stealth. with a mount the cloud is a 6x6 square and if you move and stealth frequently you can keep the area burst 1 attacks guessing your location. unfortunately you leave the battle standard more vulnerable if you do this. Otherwise you just have to deal with the area attacks
[edit: ninja'd by Veleria]

Round 1
On turn actions: Move toward enemies (move), plant Battle Standard in your square (standard), draw longsword (minor), pull any enemies in a burst 3 toward you (free)
Off-turn actions: OA any enemies that try to get away or try to remove the Battle Standard, immediate attack (via encounter powers or gloves) any that hit you.

Round 2
On turn actions: Use Cloud of Darkness (minor); Conjure Alluring Lights (standard - not this will probably provoke OAs but you're sturdy, don't worry); use a daily fighter stance or down a potion of regeneration (minor)
Off Turn actions: Deal auto daily stance damage (if you activated it), OA enemies beside Alluring Lights at the beginning of their turns immobilizing them, OA any enemies that try to get away or try to remove the Battle Standard, immediate attack (via encounter powers or gloves) any that hit you.

Round 3
On turn actions: sustain Alluring Lights (minor); sustain Cloud of Darkness (standard); move an Alluring Light next to another set of enemies or toward the Black Hole dragging previous immobilized enemies with it (move)
Off turn actions: Deal auto daily stance damage (if you activated it), OA enemies beside Alluring Lights at the beginning of their turns immobilizing them, OA any enemies that try to get away or try to remove the Battle Standard, immediate attack (via encounter powers or gloves) any that hit you.

Round 4 and up
Repeat Round 3 and gather up as many enemies as possible with your Alluring Lights.

If you want to condense these actions a bit, you can sustain the Cloud with a free action instead of a standard on one turn (Sustaining Cloak encounter power) or use an action point (which nets you a second use of your CLoud this encounter).

I'd be inclined to take my time and use the Sustaining Cloak and action point when I had eight enemies around me. Two Cleaves as "on turn" actions will be very annoying to the enemies adjacent to me.

As for AOEs, the Black Hole's defenses (at level 30) without Shadowband and the Cloud are still very high (AC50 F49 R46 W45). Plus, his level 16 utility can make him immune to forced movement.
Well done, this makes me actually consider playing a Drow, and I tend to hate Drow. Maybe a Revenant....
Area attacks are best dealt with by stealth. with a mount the cloud is a 6x6 square and if you move and stealth frequently you can keep the area burst 1 attacks guessing your location. unfortunately you leave the battle standard more vulnerable if you do this. Otherwise you just have to deal with the area attacks



Actually, they changed the way mounts interact with close powers.  Now, you have to pick one square of the mount which is the origin of the close power (presumably, the one square you are in on the mount.)  This means that your mount *can be targetted* by close bursts (and blasts if you aren't carefuly) that include a square of the mount outside of the center of the burst or blast.  Also, it means that burst and blasts no longer get extra radius from being used with a mount.

I think this was in the May 2010 update.
[edit: ninja'd by Undrhil]

This would work with Revenant. In fact, I had it as a Revenant until I gave up on plate armor. The Revenant boost to Con makes getting plate armor possible. You give up some of the frill feats (due to space on your feat list not availability), but the basic core build would be the same and would be just that much more tougher with plate armor.
Love what you did to create a new encounter based form of winter substitute, and the whole style of the build is priceless of course ! Also love alluring lights, letting the stars do enemy transportation is just incredibly fun to even think about.

Its also very versatile btw: you could just as well create a battlemind version for HBO brutal barrages and minor action brillant recovery attacks, abusing some spark slippers with both your mark of storm slide OAs and the alluring lights effect (immobilized targets can be slide-moved with the sphere).

Also, the new thief (rogue essentials) can sneak attack once per turn (as opposed to the rogues 1/round). So if that wasn't a mistake, you can sneak OA everyone trying to move. You can also take the rogue feat to teleport into your cloud of darkness that way.

Another option might be to go for reincarnate champion in epic for some other racial tricks, like tiefling + reactive OA teleports + hellfire teleport etc.

A great addon would be any additional minor/free at-will effect that allows a slide towards the black hole, maybe forceful challenge or something similar for other marking/cursing etc abilities, but i don't see an easy way atm. 

Anyway, congrats on a great build !
Good stuff.

If Steve-O Hawking needs a slightly pimped out chair ...
the Artifact-ish throne in (iirc) Forgotten Realms
that's guarded by a level 30 Naga thingy, would work.

Party needs to Sweet Talk skill challenge the naga away.
Then go get a reasonable acolyte to be ... lets call him "The Physicist".
Restrain and stick him on the chair.
Perform the ridiculously expensive rituals.
The Physicist can then carry the throne around for you.
{ ... might want some other stuff, too ... }

Here comes your 19th forums breakdown ... ohh who's to blame, it ain't 5E driving you insane.

 

Steve-O Hawking can get a few scrolls of Tensor's Floating Disk.  He can ride it but he'll be considered prone and can't shift.  But who cares?  If he's in his cloud, everything granting him CA so that cancels out the penalty for prone and they can't see him so he can just move if he needs to.  He just needs to make sure that he keeps the cloud up... 
Love what you did to create a new encounter based form of winter substitute, and the whole style of the build is priceless of course ! Also love alluring lights, letting the stars do enemy transportation is just incredibly fun to even think about.


Thanks. I'm glad you like it. It owes a lot of inspiration to your Inescapable Fisherman.
Its also very versatile btw: you could just as well create a battlemind version for HBO brutal barrages and minor action brillant recovery attacks, abusing some spark slippers with both your mark of storm slide OAs and the alluring lights effect (immobilized targets can be slide-moved with the sphere).


Didn't even think of that. I will definitely look into it.
Also, the new thief (rogue essentials) can sneak attack once per turn (as opposed to the rogues 1/round). So if that wasn't a mistake, you can sneak OA everyone trying to move. You can also take the rogue feat to teleport into your cloud of darkness that way.


Wait, do you mean that rogue essentials will allow a rogue to SA on an OA or an immediate? Whoa. . .
Another option might be to go for reincarnate champion in epic for some other racial tricks, like tiefling + reactive OA teleports + hellfire teleport etc.


I had never even heard of that ED before. It really does open up some intriguing possibilities.
A great addon would be any additional minor/free at-will effect that allows a slide towards the black hole, maybe forceful challenge or something similar for other marking/cursing etc abilities, but i don't see an easy way atm.  Anyway, congrats on a great build !


I have forceful challenge. I'm always open to other way to slide with minors/free. Thanks for your feedback!
I really like this build man.  great flavor!  I credited you in my new Gorgeous George build FYI. 
Have you Considered a feyslaughter weapon? Any enemy you hit can't teleport out of the cloud or does the cloud block line of sight preventing them from teleporting out?
Great idea !
Best you pick up some resistances or the like, so your allies can start nuking The Hole with AoEs, as ranged atacks are blocked for them as well.

But aside from a few corner cases mobs (+AC vs OAs, Blindsight / Termoresense, ...) I see one major issue...
The moment you start to pull your trick and create a Jacky Chan vs The Ninjas situation, all it takes them is to hold their actions until one of them commands "Now!", when they either all remove the Battle Standard at the same time, or simply all run out at the time (remember: only one OA / turn).
Do you have any contingency against that ?

And minor nitpick: Agile Armor only gives you +1 at L11 - to get the full +3 while not bloodied you need a +5 or +6 one.
Glad someone remembers the fisherman! I liked the concept a lot more than my feycharger, but high DPR is so much easier to sell...

Wait, do you mean that rogue essentials will allow a rogue to SA on an OA or an immediate? Whoa. . .


Yes ^^. Might be an error, but based on some dev forum posts by mike it's no typo but intentional... Oh, and two weapon flurry might also be an interesting option for your original build - your to-hit is so sky high, you won't even notice the -5 to hit for the second MBA. I'm currently working on a threatening reach thief with a spiked chain abusing those two things, however i unfortunately couldn't find a good way to use difficult terrain (needs specific PP for 5/day threatening reach). I think i'll still post it tonight.


But aside from a few corner cases mobs (+AC vs OAs, Blindsight / Termoresense, ...) I see one major issue...
The moment you start to pull you trick and create a Jacky Chan vs The Ninja situation, all it takes them is to hold their actions until one of them commands "Now!", when they either all remove the Battle Standard at the same time, or simply all run out at the time (remember: only one OA / turn).

Do you have any contingency against that ?


Well, if they hold their actions, thats probably delay, so they still have to take their turns (same initiative rules apply), so he can use all his OAs. If you talk about "Ready an Action" - well thats a big can of worms anyway, i guess most ignore its implications (e.g. it allows enemies to ready a charge for the fighters turn - and since the charge now happens on his turns, he cannot use his usual OAs and interrupts etc -> completely screws all defenders)



Well, if they hold their actions, thats probably delay, so they still have to take their turns (same initiative rules apply), so he can use all his OAs. If you talk about "Ready an Action" - well thats a big can of worms anyway, i guess most ignore its implications (e.g. it allows enemies to ready a charge for the fighters turn - and since the charge now happens on his turns, he cannot use his usual OAs and interrupts etc -> completely screws all defenders)



Speaking from the position of being a DM more often than not here...
It doesn't screw all Defender - it hurts Fighters, it stings Wardens and Battleminds, and Paladins and Swordmages are annoyed but can get over it. But in fact even a Fighter get's his "usual" one extra attack out of it, he'd normally get with his CC when facing shift & charge. And at last those tactics do limit what the mobs can do, so there's a cost.
That said, I usually wouldn't use that tactic, except for situations where the mobs are in fact forced to do it to contribute meaningful to a combat. A narrow corridor + Fighter + ranged allies vs melee mobs might be one. The above* would definately be another - and it still would have cost the mobs a round if not two to get out of that trick, which is already a significant gain for the PCs.

* The Battle Standard is also a particular item that has issues IMHO, so most likely I'd just talk to the player beforehand and warn him that I'd have less scuple to let the mobs coordinate and fight tactically.

It doesn't screw all Defender - it hurts Fighters, it stings Wardens and Battleminds, and Paladins and Swordmages are annoyed but can get over it. But in fact even a Fighter get's his "usual" one extra attack out of it, he'd normally get with his CC when facing shift & charge. And at last those tactics do limit what the mobs can do, so there's a cost.


How so ? You cannot take immediate actions (thus interrupts) during your own turn, fighters wont get their CC attacks. Paladins don't get their Divine Challenge, since it only works before the start of their turn etc.

Other than that, Rule 0 always applies. If something creates boring, non-challenging fights, change/remove it
Oh, I think we misunderstood us.
The point is not to delay into the Fighter's Turn, because there is hardly a justification for that (because Turn is purely a meta-game concept).
The point instead is for all say four mobs to run away at the same time during the round, on the turn of the last of those fours, when it shouts "Go!" (because acting in coordination is definately an in-world concept). Thus the Fighter get's one OA, but he won't get four - which would be the Jacky Chan vs The Ninjas situation I mentioned initially.
Oh, I think we misunderstood us.
The point is not to delay into the Fighter's Turn, because there is hardly a justification for that (because Turn is purely a meta-game concept).
The point instead is for all say four mobs to run away at the same time during the round, on the turn of the last of those fours, when it shouts "Go!" (because acting in coordination is definately an in-world concept). Thus the Fighter get's one OA, but he won't get four - which would be the Jacky Chan vs The Ninjas situation I mentioned initially.



Ah ok got it, that reasonable coordination, and also has the opportunity cost of standard-to-move action conversion...
Hmm, there must be a way to pull this pair off:
Ranger for Quarry
Darkhunter

By RAW, it seems that all your enemies in the Cloud are considered Quarried as it explicitly ignores the normal limit of one quarry...
Hmm, there must be a way to pull this pair off:
Ranger for Quarry
Darkhunter

By RAW, it seems that all your enemies in the Cloud are considered Quarried as it explicitly ignores the normal limit of one quarry...



Even better, you can use warrior of the wild, since darkhunter overrides the usual restrictions -> hunter's quarry damage + SA damage with every attack. Add sneaky opportunity and bracers of tactical blows, and we are talking about adding 8d8+5d6 damage to each opportunity attack...
Hmm, there must be a way to pull this pair off:
Ranger for Quarry
Darkhunter

By RAW, it seems that all your enemies in the Cloud are considered Quarried as it explicitly ignores the normal limit of one quarry...



Even better, you can use warrior of the wild, since darkhunter overrides the usual restrictions -> hunter's quarry damage + SA damage with every attack. Add sneaky opportunity and bracers of tactical blows, and we are talking about adding 8d8+5d6 damage to each opportunity attack...



Yup, that's what I was trying to say - not sure where the feats are for it before Epic without examining the build closely.
Man, all the great feedback!
Okay, so what I hear is. . .
. . . figure out a way to mitigate mass readied actions (langeweile)
. . . figure out a way to mitigate teleporting enemies (Taenia)
. . . figure out a way to max out DPOA - damage per opportunity attack (Mommy_was_an_Orc and SongnSilence)

That's quite a list, but I think we can figure something out for all of them that fits in the build.

Anything else?

Props to everyone giving feedback!

You don't need to mitigate teleportation as long as you have your cloud - teleportation needs line of sight. ;)

And to be honest I'd be surprised if you'd find a way around multiple mobs readying (as much as two to remove the Standard is enough, btw).
It was more a suggestion to broaden the build a bit for the time after he has used his favourite trick. It's still a very good one, that can easily cost 2-5 mobs up to three rounds, so no problem in broadning his area of expertise a bit.

Hey Valenkosh - thanks for the credit (not sure I really deserved it!).

You took it to eleven.

Awesome build. 
This build has been added to The Hall of Heroes thread.
This build has been added to The Hall of Heroes thread.



And now, sadly, this build has been removed from the Hall of Heroes thread.
Meh.  Harsh IMO.

One doesn't always have to play the ultimate control tactic.  A lot of the time you'll be moving around acting as a very capable defender with some decent control.  If you get into trouble or if you need the extra control you can go into lockdown mode.  Giving up your standard actions is a small price to pay for ultimate lockdown (usually after running out of your encounters and dailies).  Especially as you effectively take the role of both defender and controller and free up a party slot for an extra striker.

I am currently playing a similar (non-drow) build to this albeit a hybrid fighter|warden version (currently level 19).  The warden gives me extra grabbing attacks (warden's lure, form of crushing mountain), extra options for difficult terrain (winter's herald,  form of crushing mountain, treacherous ice) and a near auto-save (cleansing earth) which I reserve for when I get stunned or dazed.

At epic I plan to take Ceaseless Guardian which will allow me to maintain my OAs when dazed or stunned.
I have built a similar character, inspired entirely by discovering Lolthdark Style and trying to basically max it out. I stumbled onto this thread while doing some research, and it will probably improve my build, so thanks!

My version is a Fighter/Ranger, but it's basically quite similar.

The trouble I'm having is with trying to prevent the baddies from yanking the Battle Standard. Instead of using Knockdown Assault, I'm simply using any old Fighter at-will, Combat Superiority, the Mark of Storm feat, and a Lightning Drow Long Knife.

So... when a monster retreats, I use Twin Strike, but when it goes for the Battle Standard, I need to push it back so I use the combination mentioned above. This works since they are pushed back one square by Mark of Storm/Lightning Weapon and they have to stop moving by Combat Superiority. But here's the rub: I can't KNOW what the monster is going to do, and the DM certainly doesn't have to tell me and/or he/she can change their mind.

So if the monster is adjacent, it can attempt to (or fake attempting to) retreat. In which case I would Twin Strike it. But then it can change its mind and just sit there instead, and use a remaining Standard Action to grab the Battle Standard. Of course, I've already used my OA and can't hit it again.

I can't figure out anyway around this dilemma, which basically would mean that I can't use Twin Strike since I always have to assume that the monster might change its mind and try to yank the Battle Standard (with the exception being monster turns where the Standard Action has already been spent, but it won't take any DM very long to figure this out and play intelligent monsters accordingly).

Don't you have the same problem when you use Cleave? Am I missing something? Is there a way around this problem? 
I was reading through this build, I like the concet except now I think Knockdown asault must have changed because it can no longer be used as an OA. Is this the case? Right now the only thing I can find in the build to do OA's with is an MBA and then you can ony do one OA per round correct? I really like this concept but you would need to be able to stop people from moving away and if you can only do one OA per round then you can only stop one person. Can we please discuss this as I am afraid that I might be looking at it wrong or missing something.
Sign In to post comments