Shank Sinatra - Rogue/Gladiator Champion/Raven Knight Catch-22

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Shank Sinatra - Rogue/Gladiator Champion/Raven Knight Catch-22 extroadinare

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Introduction:
The roar of the crowd echoes across the arena. The first gate creaks open, and a Minotaur comes storming out. The crowd goes nuts. They've all heard what this beast can do. Yet no one really knows what lies behind the second gate. The gate rises slowly, and the Minotaur lets out a blood-curttling scream which energizes the crowd. Suddenly, a thin Githzerai with nothing but simple robes, a sword and a shield, strolls out of the gate. The crowd boos, not appreciating the pedestrian appearence of this newcomer. The Githzerai, not troubled by the sounds of the crowd, lets out a yawn. The Minotaur, enraged, draws his greataxe and charges the Githzerai. The Githzerai's expression turns into a smirk: in a flash, the Githzerai is 5 feet behind the Minotaur. All the Minotaur could think before he dropped to his knees was "I could have sworn I hit him. He was right there. How the..." and the Minotaur falls, his head sliding from his shoulders as his body collapses. The crowd roars in disbelief, and the Githzerai quitely walks out of the stadium: the same smirk remaining on his face.

Level 1 Snapshot

Race: Githzerai
Class: Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Brutal Scoundrel
Weapon Style: Rogue Weapon Talent
Background: Auspicious Birth
Theme: Gladiator

Ability Scores, with racial adjustments:
Strength 16 (+3)
Constitution 12 (+1)
Dexterity 18 (+4)
Intelligence 8 (-1)
Wisdom 14 (+2)
Charisma 10 (+0)

HP: 30--> 12 base, +18 Dexterity
Bloodied: 15 HP or less
Healing Surges: 7--> 6 base, +1 Constitution
Surge Value: 7 HP

AC: 16--> 10 base, +2 armor, +4 Dexterity
Fortitude: 13--> 10 base, +3 Strength
Reflex: 16--> 10 base, +4 Dexterity, +2 class
Will: 12--> 10 base, +2 Wisdom

Initiative: +4--> +4 Dexterity

Speed: 6--> 6 base

At-Will Attack Powers:
L1:
Riposte Strike
L1: Disheartening Strike

Encounter Attack Powers:
L1:
Dazing Strike

Daily Attack Powers:
L1: Duelist's Prowess

Feats:
L1: Versatile Duelist

Gear (Expected GP=100)
Leather Armor (25 gp)
Standard Adventurer's Kit (15 gp)
Dagger (1 gp)
Longsword (15 gp)
44 gp

Discussion:
We start off in a bit of a hole. We want heavy blades, especially for later in our career, but we just don't have the feat space to wield them right now. So we stick with a Longsword for a level until we get our Bastard Sword.

I feel sort of bad for using Auspicious Birth, but hey, this is CharOp, and there isn't much that's as optimal as that. It gives us a solid HP total throughout our whole career, which is essential since we'll be taking some heat from our excellent target lockdown.

With the new SA rules, Riposte Strike becomes the Rogue's #1 undisputed at-will. Using it, we can apply that 2d6 sneak attack damage twice in 1 round, which can add up huge, and is also a large part of our catch-22. Disheartening Strike is there if you don't want that enemy to hit anything.

Dazing Strike is a great power. Dazing at level 1 is incredibly strong, so we'll take that any day. Duelist's Prowess can be incredible for round after round interrupts from enemy attacks instead of being forced to use Riposte Strike turn after turn. This lets us spam Disheartening Strike to our heart's content.


Level 2

Changes:
+5 HP
+1 to attacks/defenses/checks
New Feat: Githzerai Blade Master
New Utility Power: Tumble

Magic Items (Expected GP=1,920):
L4 (840): +1 Flowform Leather Armor
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Dagger

Discussion:
Githzerai Blade Master makes us more damaging and gives us access to the Bastard Sword, Tumble makes us more mobile, Flowform armor lets us ignore some status conditions, and the Rhythm Blade gives us more defense. Sounds like a solid level to start things off.


Level 3

Changes:
+5 HP
New Encounter Power: Low Slash

Magic Items (Expected GP=2,560):
L4 (840): +1 Flowform Leather Armor
L4 (840): +1 Opportunistic Bastard Sword
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Dagger

Discussion:
Low Slash is a nice way to use our minor action, and an Opportunistic DLK gives us a chance to double up on OAs.


Level 4

Changes:
+5 HP
+1 to attacks/defenses/checks
Ability Score Boosts: +1 Dexterity (19), +1 Strength (17)
New Feat: Heavy Blade Expertise

Magic Items (Expected GP=3,200):
L4 (840): +1 Flowform Leather Armor
L4 (840): +1 Opportunistic Bastard Sword
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Dagger

Discussion:
Not much here, we just get more accurate with Heavy Blade Expertise and we upgrade our Dex and Str (hint: we'll be doing that at every ability score boost).


Level 5

Changes:
+5 HP
New Daily Power: Clever Riposte

Magic Items (Expected GP=4,480):
L6 (1,800): Iron Armbands of Power (heroic)
L4 (840):
+1 Flowform Leather Armor
L4 (840): +1 Opportunistic Bastard Sword
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Dagger

Discussion:
Iron Armbands are a must for any melee striker, and we're no different. More damage=faster kills, so we'll take that any day. Clever Riposte is an amazing power in this build, and we keep it for the rest of our career.


Level 6

Changes:
+5 HP
+1 to attacks/defenses/checks
New Feat: Vigilant Justice Style
New Utility Power: Swift Parry

Magic Items (Expected GP=6,400):
L6 (1,800): Iron Armbands of Power (heroic)
L4 (840):
+1 Flowform Leather Armor
L4 (840): +1 Opportunistic Bastard Sword
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Dagger

Discussion:
Vigilant Justice Style is a must in this build, since the best way for us to gain CA is flanking and we don't want enemies attacking our allies without some reprocussion. Swift Parry gives us an emergency block, so we pick it up.


Level 7

Changes:
+5 HP
New Encounter Power: Sand in the Eyes

Magic Items (Expected GP=9,600):
L8 (3,400): +2 Flowform Leather Armor
L7 (2,600): Boots of the Fencing Master
L6 (1,800):
Iron Armbands of Power (heroic)
L4 (840): +1 Opportunistic Bastard Sword
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Dagger

Discussion:
Sand in the Eyes is a nice power, as blind is a powerful status condition. An upgrade in our armor makes us harder to hit as well, and Boots of the Fencing Master give us a nice boost to AC when we shift.


Level 8

Changes:
+5 HP
+1 to attacks/defenses/checks
Ability Score Boosts: +1 Dexterity (20), +1 Strength (18)
New Feat:
Shield Proficiency (Light)

Magic Items (Expected GP=12,800):
L8 (3,400): +2 Steadfast Amulet
L8 (3,400):
+2 Flowform Leather Armor
L7 (2,600): Boots of the Fencing Master
L6 (1,800):
Iron Armbands of Power (heroic)
L4 (840): +1 Opportunistic Bastard Sword
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Grabbing a Shield means more defense, and a Spiked Shield can be enchanted with the Rhythm Blade enchantment. The Steadfast Amulet gives us another way to shrug off status conditions, and as such is a welcome addition.


Level 9

Changes:
+5 HP
New Daily Power: Knockout

Magic Items (Expected GP=16,000):
L8 (3,400): +2 Steadfast Amulet
L8 (3,400):
+2 Flowform Leather Armor
L7 (2,600): Boots of the Fencing Master
L6 (1,800):
Iron Armbands of Power (heroic)
L4 (840): +1 Opportunistic Bastard Sword
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Knockout is a very solid power, especially when you can Coup de Grace on the enemy a single time. That's it for us at this level.


Level 10

Changes:
+5 HP
+1 to attacks/defenses/checks
New Feat: Blade and Buckler Duelist
New Utility Power: Executioner's Mien

Magic Items (Expected GP=22,400):
L10 (5,000): Headband of Intellect (heroic)
L9 (4,200):
+2 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L8 (3,400):
+2 Steadfast Amulet
L8 (3,400):
+2 Flowform Leather Armor
L7 (2,600): Boots of the Fencing Master
L6 (1,800):
Iron Armbands of Power (heroic)
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Dagger

Discussion:
A very strong level, the Githyanki Silver enchantment + Headband of Intellect makes us more accurate, and Blade and Buckler Duelist is crucial for more AC. Executioner's Mien makes all of our attacks rattling: combined with high defenses + Riposte Strike, enemies won't be hitting you very often, and taking punishment for attacking.


Level 11 Snapshot

Race: Githzerai
Class: Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Brutal Scoundrel
Weapon Style: Rogue Weapon Talent
Background: Auspicious Birth
Paragon Path: Gladiator Champion

Ability Scores, with racial adjustments:
Strength 19 (+4)
Constitution 13 (+1)
Dexterity 21 (+5)
Intelligence 9 (-1)
Wisdom 15 (+2)
Charisma 11 (+0)

HP: 83--> 12 base, +21 Dexterity, +50 levels
Bloodied: 41 HP or less
Healing Surges: 7--> 6 base, +1 Constitution
Surge Value: 20 HP

AC: 27--> 10 base, +5 levels, +2 armor, +5 Dexterity, +2 enhancement, +3 shield
Fortitude: 22--> 10 base, +5 levels, +4 Strength, +2 enhancement, +1 DC
Reflex: 27--> 10 base, +5 levels, +5 Dexterity, +2 class, +2 enhancement, +3 shield
Will: 19--> 10 base, +5 levels, +2 Charisma, +2 enhancement

Initiative: +10--> +5 Dexterity, +5 levels

Speed: 6--> 6 base

At-Will Attack Powers:
L1:
Riposte Strike
L1: Disheartening Strike

Encounter Attack Powers:
L1:
Dazing Strike
L1: Disrupting Advance
L3: Low Slash
L7: Sand in the Eyes
L11: Opening Ploy

Daily Attack Powers:
L1: Duelist's Prowess
L5: Clever Riposte
L9: Knockout

Utility Powers:
L2: Tumble
L6: Swift Parry
L10: Executioner's Mien

Feats:
L1: Versatile Duelist
L2: Githzerai Blade Master
L4: Heavy Blade Expertise
L6: Vigilant Justice Style
L8: Shield Proficiency (Light)
L10: Blade and Buckler Duelist
L11: Heavy Blade Opportunity

Magic Items (Expected GP=32,000):
L10 (5,000): Diamond Cincture (heroic)
L10 (5,000):
Headband of Intellect (heroic tier)
L9 (4,200): +2 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L9 (4,200): +2 Flowform Leather Armor
L8 (3,400): +2 Steadfast Amulet
L7 (2,600): Boots of the Fencing Master
L6 (1,800): Iron Armbands of Power (heroic)
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Gladiator Champion marks a very large boost in our lockdown capabilities. We deal damage to every adjacent enemy when we bloody a creature besides the one we attack, which discourages enemies to come near us, and rolling twice while bloodied with an AP is a nice feature. However, we mainly came here for the level 16 feature, which makes us incredibly hard to escape.

Heavy Blade Opportunity lets us use either at-will when enemies move away from us, which combines extremely well with both at-wills to give an even stronger incentive to attack us.

The Diamond Cincture adds a bit to our Fort defense as well as some emergency healing.


Level 12

Changes:
+5 HP
+1 to attacks/defenses/checks
New Feat: Opportunistic Sneak Attack
New Utility Power: Fail to Disappoint

Magic Items (Expected GP=48,000):
L14 (21,000): +3 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L10 (5,000):
Diamond Cincture (heroic)
L10 (5,000):
Headband of Intellect (heroic tier)
L9 (4,200): +2 Flowform Leather Armor
L8 (3,400): +2 Steadfast Amulet
L7 (2,600): Boots of the Fencing Master
L6 (1,800): Iron Armbands of Power (heroic)
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Opportunistic Sneak Attack is lovely for this build. Slowing on our OAs usually means the enemy can't get to any other ally, and that usually ends up in that enemy taking a Riposte. Fail to Disappoint is an easy way to get CA when we're bloodied (that is, if the enemy can hit), and an upgrade to our weapon means more accuracy and damage.


Level 13

Changes:
+5 HP
New Encounter Power: Stunning Strike (replaces Dazing Strike)

Magic Items (Expected GP=64,000):
L14 (21,000): +3 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L14 (21,000): +3 Flowform Drowmesh Armor
L10 (5,000):
Diamond Cincture (heroic)
L10 (5,000):
Headband of Intellect (heroic tier)
L8 (3,400): +2 Steadfast Amulet
L7 (2,600): Boots of the Fencing Master
L6 (1,800): Iron Armbands of Power (heroic)
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
We get an upgrade to Dazing Strike at this level with Stunning Strike, and an armor upgrade makes us a bit harder to hit.


Level 14

Changes:
+5 HP
+1 to attacks/defenses/checks
Ability Score Boosts: +1 Dexterity (22), +1 Strength (20)
New Feat:
Psychic Lock

Magic Items (Expected GP=80,000):
L14 (21,000): +3 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L14 (21,000): +3 Flowform Drowmesh Armor
L13 (17,000):
+3 Steadfast Amulet
L10 (5,000):
Diamond Cincture (heroic)
L10 (5,000):
Headband of Intellect (heroic tier)
L7 (2,600): Boots of the Fencing Master
L6 (1,800): Iron Armbands of Power (heroic)
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Here's where we get even harder to hit. An upgrade to our neck slot means better NADs, and more Dex/Str means more AC/Ref/Fort. The real star here is Psychic Lock. Now, enemies will almost always take at least a -2 to attack you, which goes a long way in making the enemy have no good choices. Either attack you, probably miss and trigger Riposte, or move away and eat an OA (that slows if we deal SA damage). That's some hefty catch-22.


Level 15

Changes:
+5 HP
New Daily Power: Bloody Path (replaces Knockout)

Magic Items (Expected GP=112,000):
L14 (21,000): +3 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L14 (21,000): +3 Flowform Drowmesh Armor
L13 (17,000):
+3 Steadfast Amulet
L10 (5,000):
Diamond Cincture (heroic)
L10 (5,000):
Headband of Intellect (heroic tier)
L7 (2,600): Boots of the Fencing Master
L6 (1,800): Iron Armbands of Power (heroic)
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Bloody Path is a nice mobility option, and it allows us to deal damage to multiple enemies while not needing to attack. We don't upgrade any items at this level.


Level 16

Changes:
+5 HP
+1 to attacks/defenses/checks
New Feat: Backstabber
New Utility Power: Anticipate Attack

Magic Items (Expected GP=160,000):
L16 (45,000): Iron Armbands of Power (paragon)
L14 (21,000):
+3 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L14 (21,000): +3 Flowform Drowmesh Armor
L13 (17,000):
+3 Steadfast Amulet
L10 (5,000):
Diamond Cincture (heroic)
L10 (5,000):
Headband of Intellect (heroic tier)
L7 (2,600): Boots of the Fencing Master
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Backstabber means more damage for our SAs, and an upgrade to our Iron Armbands means a bit more damage. Anticipate Attack is there just in case an enemy gets that lucky roll on us, we have a way to negate it (usually enemies just barely hit, so a +4 will most likely negate it).


Level 17

Changes:
+5 HP
New Encounter Power: Tumbling Strike (replaces Sand in the Eyes)

Magic Items (Expected GP=240,000):
L19 (105,000): +4 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L16 (45,000):
Iron Armbands of Power (paragon)
L14 (21,000): +3 Flowform Drowmesh Armor
L13 (17,000):
+3 Steadfast Amulet
L10 (5,000):
Diamond Cincture (heroic)
L10 (5,000):
Headband of Intellect (heroic tier)
L7 (2,600): Boots of the Fencing Master
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Tumbling Strike gives us everything we want: mobility, damage, and action economy. We'll take that at any level. An upgrade to our weapon takes place here as well.


Level 18

Changes:
+5 HP
+1 to attacks/defenses/checks
Ability Score Boosts: +1 Dexterity (23), +1 Strength (21)
New Feat:
Disheartening Ambush

Magic Items (Expected GP=320,000):
L19 (105,000): +4 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L18 (85,000):
+4 Steadfast Amulet
L16 (45,000):
Iron Armbands of Power (paragon)
L14 (21,000): +3 Flowform Drowmesh Armor
L10 (5,000):
Diamond Cincture (heroic)
L10 (5,000):
Headband of Intellect (heroic tier)
L7 (2,600): Boots of the Fencing Master
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Disheartening Ambush gives us the option to make any power rattling as long as we deal SA damage by taking 1 die out of it. That's a -2 to hit for the cost of, on average, 3.5 damage. We'll take that most of the time, especially on OAs, when we don't want our target to hit our allies. Getting that feat means we can train out Disheartening Strike, although I chose to keep it just in case we don't have CA. We upgrade our amulet here as well.


Level 19

Changes:
+5 HP
New Daily Power: Maiming Strike (replaces Bloody Path)

Magic Items (Expected GP=400,000):
L19 (105,000): +4 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L18 (85,000):
+4 Steadfast Amulet
L18 (85,000):
Gauntlets of Destruction
L16 (45,000):
Iron Armbands of Power (paragon)
L14 (21,000): +3 Flowform Drowmesh Armor
L10 (5,000):
Diamond Cincture (heroic)
L10 (5,000):
Headband of Intellect (heroic tier)
L7 (2,600): Boots of the Fencing Master
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Bloody Path wasn't a power that fit in our concept, so we retrain that out already to grab Maiming Strike, which combines some very deadly conditions to make the enemy useless. Gauntlets of Destruction basically give us Brutal 1 on all our attacks, so we take those as well.


Level 20

Changes:
+5 HP
+1 to attacks/defenses/checks
New Feat: Armor Proficiency (Hide)
New Daily Power: Finishing Strike

Magic Items (Expected GP=400,000):
L20 (125,000): +4 Lifeblood Darkhide Armor
L19 (105,000):
+4 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L18 (85,000):
+4 Steadfast Amulet
L18 (85,000):
Gauntlets of Destruction
L16 (45,000):
Iron Armbands of Power (paragon)
L10 (5,000):
Diamond Cincture (heroic)
L10 (5,000):
Headband of Intellect (heroic tier)
L7 (2,600): Boots of the Fencing Master
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Hint: don't use Finishing Strike. The stance does exactly what we don't want. Immobilizing enemies around us means we're going to take too much heat. However, that's the only real flaw of the Gladiator Champion, and that's fine by me. Grabbing Hide armor makes us harder to hit, and Lifeblood means we start encounters with a fair amount of temps.


Level 21 Snapshot

Race: Githzerai
Class: Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Brutal Scoundrel
Weapon Style: Rogue Weapon Talent
Background: Auspicious Birth
Paragon Path: Gladiator Champion
Epic Destiny: Raven Knight

Ability Scores, with racial adjustments:
Strength 22 (+6)
Constitution 16 (+3)
Dexterity 26 (+8)
Intelligence 10 (+0)
Wisdom 16 (+3)
Charisma 12 (+1)

HP: 138--> 12 base, +26 Dexterity, +100 levels
Bloodied: 69 HP or less
Healing Surges: 9--> 6 base, +3 Constitution
Surge Value: 29 HP

AC: 39--> 10 base, +10 levels, +4 armor, +8 Dexterity, +4 enhancement, +3 shield
Fortitude: 31--> 10 base, +10 levels, +6 Strength, +4 enhancement, +2 DC
Reflex: 37--> 10 base, +10 levels, +8 Dexterity, +2 class, +4 enhancement, +3 shield
Will: 27--> 10 base, +10 levels, +3 Charisma, +4 enhancement

Initiative: +18--> +8 Dexterity, +10 levels

Speed: 8--> 6 base, +2 Raven Knight

At-Will Attack Powers:
L1:
Riposte Strike
L1: Disheartening Strike

Encounter Attack Powers:
L1: Disrupting Advance
L3: Low Slash
L11: Opening Ploy
L13: Stunning Strike
L17: Tumbling Strike

Daily Attack Powers:
L1: Duelist's Prowess
L5: Clever Riposte
L19: Hilt Slam
L20: Finishing Strike

Utility Powers:
L2: Tumble
L6: Swift Parry
L10: Executioner's Mien
L12: Fail to Disappoint
L16: Anticipate Attack

Feats:
L1: Versatile Duelist
L2: Githzerai Blade Master
L4: Heavy Blade Expertise
L6: Vigilant Justice Style
L8: Shield Proficiency (Light)
L10: Blade and Buckler Duelist
L11: Heavy Blade Opportunity
L12: Opportunistic Sneak Attack
L14: Psychic Lock
L16: Backstabber
L18: Disheartening Ambush
L20: Armor Proficiency Hide
L21: Heavy Blade Mastery

Magic Items (Expected GP=800,000):
L20 (125,000): +4 Lifeblood Darkhide armor
L20 (125,000): Diamond Cincture (paragon)
L19 (105,000): +4 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L18 (85,000): +4 Steadfast Amulet
L18 (85,000): Gauntlets of Destruction
L16 (45,000): Iron Armbands of Power (paragon)
L10 (5,000): Headband of Intellect
L7 (3,400): Boots of the Fencing Master
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Oh, how much I love you Raven Knight. A completely underrated ED, it gives us everything we could want and more. A Dex boost is fantastic, Con gives us more surges, and any enemy adjacent to us takes a -2 penalty to attacks. That basically means we aren't getting hit on any normal roll. You can't ask for a better ED than that.

At this point, our defenses are all solid except Will, but we can't have it all. We have a strong + to hit, and we can deal respectable damage to any target.


Level 22

Changes:
+5 HP
+1 to attacks/defenses/checks
New Feat: Brutal Advantage
New Utility Power:
Indomitable Agility

Magic Items (Expected GP=1,200,000):
L23 (425,000): +5 Steadfast Amulet
L21 (225,000):
Ring of Heroic Insight
L20 (125,000): +4 Lifeblood Darkhide armor
L20 (125,000): Diamond Cincture (paragon)
L19 (105,000): +4 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L18 (85,000): Gauntlets of Destruction
L16 (45,000): Iron Armbands of Power (paragon)
L10 (5,000): Headband of Intellect
L7 (3,400): Boots of the Fencing Master
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Brutal Advantage is a nice way to deal some extra damage when you can't use your SA, and Indomitable Agility is about as nice a utility as we can find.

The Ring of Heroic Insight is nice to give us a boost against a particular enemy, so that makes it's way into the build. An upgrade to our neck slot means we are harder to hit as well.


Level 23

Changes:
+5 HP
New Encounter Power: Shimmering Blade (replaces Low Slash)

Magic Items (Expected GP=1,600,000):
L24 (525,000): +5 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L23 (425,000):
+5 Steadfast Amulet
L21 (225,000):
Ring of Heroic Insight
L20 (125,000): +4 Lifeblood Darkhide armor
L20 (125,000): Diamond Cincture (paragon)
L18 (85,000): Gauntlets of Destruction
L16 (45,000): Iron Armbands of Power (paragon)
L10 (5,000): Headband of Intellect
L7 (3,400): Boots of the Fencing Master
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Shimmering Blade is nice to punish enemies for basically any action they take, even starting their turn adjacent to you. We also upgrade our weapon at this level.


Level 24

Changes:
+5 HP
+1 to attacks/defenses/checks
Ability Score Boosts: +1 Dexterity (27), +1 Strength (23)
New Feat: Expert Sneak

Magic Items (Expected GP=2,100,000):
L25 (625,000): +5 Stalkerhide Lifeblood Armor
L24 (525,000):
+5 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L23 (425,000):
+5 Steadfast Amulet
L21 (225,000):
Ring of Heroic Insight
L20 (125,000): Diamond Cincture (paragon)
L18 (85,000): Gauntlets of Destruction
L16 (45,000): Iron Armbands of Power (paragon)
L10 (5,000): Headband of Intellect
L7 (3,400): Boots of the Fencing Master
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
We upgrade Dex and Str here (what a surprise!), grab Expert Sneak to be able to gain CA a bit more easily, and upgrade our armor.


Level 25

Changes:
+5 HP
New Daily Power: Visceral Strike (replaces Duelist's Prowess)

Magic Items (Expected GP=2,800,000):
L25 (625,000): +5 Stalkerhide Lifeblood Armor
L24 (525,000):
+5 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L23 (425,000):
+5 Steadfast Amulet
L21 (225,000):
Ring of Heroic Insight
L20 (125,000): Diamond Cincture (paragon)
L18 (85,000): Gauntlets of Destruction
L16 (45,000): Iron Armbands of Power (paragon)
L10 (5,000): Headband of Intellect
L7 (3,400): Boots of the Fencing Master
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
We just grab Visceral Strike at this level, but a save ends stun is a powerful thing. Not too exciting, but we'll take it.


Level 26

Changes:
+5 HP
+1 to attacks/defenses/checks
New Feat: Improved Defenses
New Utility Power: Dark Scythe

Magic Items (Expected GP=4,000,000):
L27 (1,625,000): Shadow Band
L25 (625,000):
+5 Stalkerhide Lifeblood Armor
L24 (525,000):
+5 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L23 (425,000):
+5 Steadfast Amulet
L21 (225,000):
Ring of Heroic Insight
L20 (125,000): Diamond Cincture (paragon)
L18 (85,000): Gauntlets of Destruction
L16 (45,000): Iron Armbands of Power (paragon)
L10 (5,000): Headband of Intellect
L7 (3,400): Boots of the Fencing Master
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Improved Defenses + Shadow Band basically ups our NADs by 5 and our AC by 2, which is a huge boon for us. Dark Scythe is a nice utility power as well, upping our damage by quite a bit when we need it.


Level 27

Changes:
+5 HP
New Encounter Power: Perfect Strike (replaces Stunning Strike)

Magic Items (Expected GP=6,000,000):
L29 (2,625,000): +6 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L27 (1,625,000):
Shadow Band
L25 (625,000):
+5 Stalkerhide Lifeblood Armor
L23 (425,000):
+5 Steadfast Amulet
L21 (225,000):
Ring of Heroic Insight
L20 (125,000): Diamond Cincture (paragon)
L18 (85,000): Gauntlets of Destruction
L16 (45,000): Iron Armbands of Power (paragon)
L10 (5,000): Headband of Intellect
L7 (3,400): Boots of the Fencing Master
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Perfect Strike is right. With how accurate we are at this time (and with an upgrade to our weapon) it won't be uncommon to hit all 3 NADs, so that's a lot of damage and a nice stun. A solid pickup.


Level 28

Changes:
+5 HP
+1 to attacks/defenses/checks
Ability Score Boosts: +1 Dexterity (28), +1 Strength (24)
New Feat: Epic Will

Magic Items (Expected GP=8,000,000):
L29 (2,625,000): +6 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L28 (2,125,000):
+6 Steadfast Amulet
L27 (1,625,000):
Shadow Band
L25 (625,000):
+5 Stalkerhide Lifeblood Armor
L21 (225,000):
Ring of Heroic Insight
L20 (125,000): Diamond Cincture (paragon)
L18 (85,000): Gauntlets of Destruction
L16 (45,000): Iron Armbands of Power (paragon)
L10 (5,000): Headband of Intellect
L7 (3,400): Boots of the Fencing Master
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
We upgrade our attributes for the final time, grab Epic Will to shore up our weakest defense, and upgrade our neck slot to increase our NADs.


Level 29

Changes:
+5 HP
New Daily Power: Cagey Killer (replaces Maiming Strike)

Magic Items (Expected GP=10,000,000):
L30 (3,125,000): +6 Elderhide Lifeblood Armor
L29 (2,625,000):
+6 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L28 (2,125,000):
+6 Steadfast Amulet
L27 (1,625,000):
Shadow Band
L21 (225,000):
Ring of Heroic Insight
L20 (125,000): Diamond Cincture (paragon)
L18 (85,000): Gauntlets of Destruction
L16 (45,000): Iron Armbands of Power (paragon)
L10 (5,000): Headband of Intellect
L7 (3,400): Boots of the Fencing Master
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Cagey Killer is fantastic, as a stun with a daze aftereffect is about as good as it gets. We upgrade our armor for the final time as well.


Level 30 Snapshot

Race: Githzerai
Class: Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Brutal Scoundrel
Weapon Style: Rogue Weapon Talent
Background: Auspicious Birth
Paragon Path: Gladiator Champion
Epic Destiny: Raven Knight

Ability Scores, with racial adjustments:
Strength 24 (+7)
Constitution 16 (+3)
Dexterity 28 (+9)
Intelligence 10 (+0)
Wisdom 16 (+3)
Charisma 12 (+1)

HP: 185--> 12 base, +28 Dexterity, +145 levels
Bloodied: 92 HP or less
Healing Surges: 9--> 6 base, +3 Constitution
Surge Value: 46 HP

AC: 48--> 10 base, +15 levels, +5 armor, +9 Dexterity, +6 enhancement, +3 shield
Fortitude: 44--> 10 base, +15 levels, +7 Strength, +6 enhancement, +3 DC, +3 feat
Reflex: 48--> 10 base, +15 levels, +8 Dexterity, +2 class, +6 enhancement, +3 shield, +3 feat
Will: 41--> 10 base, +15 levels, +3 Charisma, +6 enhancement, +3 feat

Initiative: +18--> +9 Dexterity, +15 levels, +8 Superior Initiative

Speed: 8--> 6 base, +2 Raven Knight

At-Will Attack Powers:
L1:
Riposte Strike
L1: Disheartening Strike

Encounter Attack Powers:
L1: Disrupting Advance
L11: Opening Ploy
L17: Tumbling Strike
L23: Shimmering Blade
L27: Perfect Strike

Daily Attack Powers:
L5: Clever Riposte
L20: Finishing Strike
L25: Visceral Strike
L29: Cagey Killer

Utility Powers:
L2: Tumble
L6: Swift Parry
L10: Executioner's Mien
L12: Fail to Disappoint
L16: Anticipate Attack
L22: Indomitable Agility
L26: Dark Scythe

Feats:
L1: Versatile Duelist
L2: Githzerai Blade Master
L4: Heavy Blade Expertise
L6: Vigilant Justice Style
L8: Shield Proficiency (Light)
L10: Blade and Buckler Duelist
L11: Heavy Blade Opportunity
L12: Opportunistic Sneak Attack
L14: Psychic Lock
L16: Backstabber
L18: Disheartening Ambush
L20: Armor Proficiency Hide
L21: Heavy Blade Mastery
L22: Brutal Advantage
L24: Expert Sneak
L26: Improved Defenses
L28: Epic Will
L30: Superior Initiative

Magic Items (Expected GP=14,625,000):
L30 (3,125,000): +6 Lifeblood Elderhide Armor
L30 (3,125,000): Diamond Cincture (epic)
L29 (2,625,000): +6 Githyanki Silver Bastard Sword
L28 (2,125,000): +6 Steadfast Amulet
L27 (1,625,000): Shadow Band
L26 (1,125,000): Iron Armbands of Power (epic)
L21 (225,000): Ring of Heroic Insight
L18 (85,000): Gauntlets of Destruction
L10 (5,000): Headband of Intellect
L7 (3,400): Boots of the Fencing Master
L3 (680): +1 Rhythm Blade Spiked Shield

Discussion:
Well, this is it: level 30. It's been real, and it's been fun, it's even been real fun, but all good things must come to an end. We upgrade our Will defense at this level and pick up the epic versions of the Diamond Cincture and Iron Armbands. Now go take your rightful place at the Raven Queen's side: you've earned it.


Special Thanks To:
LDB/obtusehobbit:
for the formatting
The Community, for the fantastic people and resources

The Breakdown

The Core Concept:

Rogues have always been high damage strikers. With the new SA rules, they really went to the next level, almost to Ranger status. But of course, we can't take advantage of that if we only attack once per round. That's where Riposte Strike comes in. A good at-will before the rules change, it became the staple rogue at-will after essentials came out. So how do we take advantage of such a powerful combination? By forcing the enemy to attack us. We do this by making attacking us the "best" option he has: the enemy can't shift away, and if it moves away it's going to take a Disheartening Strike and put it at a -4 penalty with Psychic Lock. It can attack our allies, but that triggers the Riposte thanks to Vigilant Justice Style. So what we end up with is a high damage Rogue that can truly lock down a single target for as long as he likes, and move on to a different target whenever he pleases, thanks to his powers not being the source of the lock down.

Your Role on the Battlefield:

This is an important aspect to discuss about this build. Our role is to remove pesky enemies/lock them down to allow our other enemies to succeed. In a sense, we combine a bit of Defender with our high damage from being a Striker to put out solid DPR numbers and help keep our allies safe. After all, the best condition to put on an enemy is the dead condition, and we can do that to a single target better than some Rangers even. Where a Rogue lacks in Nova compared to something like the Ranger, we make up for it in lock down capability and debuffs. Once we get an enemy in our sights, we don't quit until that enemy falls.

Part 1 - Single Target Damage:

This is how we kill our targets. And boy, are we good at that. Weapon Expertise, Weapon Focus, SA twice a round if we are attacked, double Riposte and Brutal Advantage all make this build extremely lethal to play. Our powers are deadly in their own right: if we can get both attacks from Riposte Strike to go off round after round, we reach some pretty solid DPR numbers. Visceral Strike gives us a save-ends stun, and Cagey Killer is absolutely lethal since we get CA against stunned targets. Our last daily power, Clever Riposte, is kept all the way from level 5 until 30, mainly because it's an encounter-long effect of extra damage when a target attacks you, which goes a long way in making you deal more damage. For encounter powers, Perfect Strike is beautiful when you hit all 3 defenses, Shimmering Blade is another avenue for out of turn attacks, and Tumbling Strike is a nice way to start the encounter off (and is a minor action).

Part 2 - Catch-22 Situation:

This is our means of helping the team succeed. Got a pesky enemy you want taken care of? Then send Shank Sinatra in and watch as the enemy is trapped and forced to eat attack after attack. Riposte Strike is one part of it: being able to attack an enemy for attacking you OR an ally goes a long way in giving the enemy poor choices. The main problem with the build before hand was stuffing shift + charge scenarios. With Gladiator Champion, we solve that and force the enemy to move away if it wants to attack our allies, triggering Heavy Blade Opportunity, which in turn will slow the enemy if you have CA and debuff with Disheartening Strike. Trying to hit you is futile: Raven Knight + Psychic Lock + Second Chance + Shadow Band makes that nearly impossible, and if you really don't want to be hit, throw in Disheartening Strike for good measure. Your primary setup should look like this:

xxx
xEx
xRDx

where R is you, D is your Defender, and E is the enemy. Now they eat 2 AoO for moving away, and eat a Riposte if they attack you or the Defender. That's some pretty heavy Catch-22.

Part 3 - Debuff/Durability:

I hate myself for it, but boy do I love Auspicious Birth. Using our Dex to determine our HP is outstanding. Coupled with Lifeblood armor, we start off battle with the equivalent of 200 HP, as much as a lot of Defenders, so that helps our overall survivability. Next we have debuffs. And we have a lot of them. Disheartening Strike is there right away for a -2 to hit, already making you harder to hit, and Psychic Lock comes later for another -2. We round it off with Raven Knight, making it a -6 to hit us if we use Disheartening Strike, and a -4 if we don't. If that weren't enough, the enemy is going to take an attack for attacking us, so that adds insult to injury. We also have a load of stunning powers to aid us: Cagey Killer, Perfect Strike, and Visceral Strike all stun, with 2 of the 3 being save ends. This is obviously strong for any character, but for a lock down build, this becomes crazy.

Part 4 - Item Independence:

More and more important with the new Essentials rules, this build is extremely item independent. The only item we really need for the current build is the Githyank Silver Bastard Sword, but if we were to take our Psychic Lock, even that isn't required. Basically any magic items work here, these are merely the (in my opinion) best choices.

Important Numbers

Riposte Strike Stats:

Level 1

Riposte Strike: +7 vs. AC
Hit: 1d8 +4 damage
With CA: +9 vs. AC, 1d8 +4 +2d6 +3

Riposte: +6 vs. AC
Hit: 1d8 +3 damage
With CA: +8 vs. AC, 1d8 +3 +2d6 +3


Level 11

Riposte Strike: +18 vs. AC
Hit: 1d10 +13 damage
With CA: +20 vs. AC, 1d10 +13 +3d6 +4

Riposte: +17 vs. AC
Hit: 1d10 +12 damage
With CA: +19 vs. AC, 1d10 +12 +3d6 +4


Level 21

Riposte Strike: +29 vs. AC
Hit: 2d10 +21 damage, reroll 1s
With CA: +31 vs. AC, 2d10 +21 +5d8 +6, reroll 1s

Riposte: +27 vs. AC
Hit: 2d10 +19 damage, reroll 1s
With CA: +29 vs. AC, 2d10 +19 +5d8 +6, reroll 1s


[sblock=Level 30]
Riposte Strike: +37 vs. AC
Hit: 2d10 +26 damage, reroll 1s
With CA: +39 vs. AC, 2d10 +26 +5d8 +7, reroll 1s

Riposte: +35 vs. AC
Hit: 2d10 +24 damage, reroll 1s
With CA: +37 vs. AC, 2d10 +24 +5d8 +7, reroll 1s

Tactics

Lock 'em Down:

One of the major tactics this build employs, we love making targets attack us. No, we don't dominate the target or anything like that, but we make sure that the target has no good choices, and would rather attack us and not have to move than to move and try to attack an ally. The first lockdown mechanic we get is Vigilant Justice Style. It eliminates one of the better choices enemies had: attacking our allies. Now the enemy will take the same damage for attacking our ally than he would have for attacking us. Next we get Opportunistic Sneak Attack, so if an enemy tries to move away, they are slowed as long as we deal SA damage. That goes a long way in protecting our allies, but it really kicks off at level 16, when we get the ability to completely stuff shift attempts. Now the enemy has a couple of choices, all of which are bad:

Move Away and Attack an Ally/Charge: they draw an OA from us, which will usually be Disheartening Strike to really debuff the enemies attack. Our Disheartening Strike is also a bit more damaging than the second Riposte, so that isn't a good option.

Attack Us: With Raven Knight, Psychic Lock, Shadow Band and Disheartening Ambush, they're looking at a -8 to hit us, which will almost always result in a miss, and trigger the Riposte. Another poor choice.

Attack an Adjacent Ally: Maybe the best option, but typically the ally adjacent to you would be your Defender, so they likely either won't hit (Psychic Lock + Disheartening Ambush), or will hit and not do too much damage to our durable defender. Sometimes this isn't even an option for the enemy, so really there isn't a lot the enemy can do.

Debuff the Target:

The second part to our defense, we can debuff a target so they won't be hitting anything, and we can do it round after round. Psychic Lock is our #1 method of this, as a -2 to hit basically all the time can be extremely helpful in any situation. Disheartening Ambush can make our attacks Rattling, so another -2 there, so the enemy sits at -4 almost constantly. If the enemy attacks us, we have the Shadow Band and the Raven Knight's feature to make that a total of -8, which basically means they aren't going to hit.

Another aspect of our debuffing comes from our powers. A good portion of our powers stun (2 out of 3 for our Dailies, as well as Perfect Strike), and Dark Scythe can provide some weakening for a strong solo. Lastly, Disheartening Strike is there for some emergency Rattling just in case we can't get Disheartening Ambush off.

Damage Dealing:

We ARE still a Striker after all, so we need to be able to efficiently take out our target. That's where things like Weapon Expertise, Githzerai Blade Master, and Heavy Blade Mastery come in. Githzerai Blade Master gives us access to the Bastard Sword (which we can use thanks to Versatile Duelist), and bigger weapons = more damage. It also grants us more damage than Weapon Focus.

However, a lot of our damage dealing comes from our out-of-turn attacks. Getting the two attacks off from Riposte Strike already increases our DPR by a hefty margin, and other powers like Clever Riposte and Shimmering Blade allow us to deal very respectable damage out of turn. If your DM insists on never triggering an out of turn attack from you, your DPR might feel a little low, but that also means the enemy is basically useless to him.

Possible Variants:
MC Paladin, Artful Dodger, grab Weakening Challenge, Shadow Assassin PP.

Hybrid Rogue|Shielding Swordmage, Sigil Carver + Vigilant Justice Style

Awesome you finished it!  I love the name, made me spit mik out my nose.  Cant wait to see all the important nerdy numbers.
Looks interesting can't wait to see it finished.
I gotta say I love the name of this build. I'm curious as to why this is a halfling an not a half-orc or revenant. Githzerai would also be a great option just for GBM.
Build updated with a Breakdown section.

@MC/obtuse: yeah, I was rushing to get it posted, I'll be finishing it quickly now that I have time for the next 2 days.

@awesome: Mainly because Second Chance is a fantastic racial ability. However, I can see where Half-Orc would be nice, mainly being able to wield something bigger than a Drow Long Knife (bastard sword comes to mind). I might switch it, might not. Depends on what others think about it.

EDIT: build updated with 2-10, will work on 12-20 a little later on.
Love the build (I have a couple Riposte Rogues floating around in my head as well), but one thing I wanted to make sure you realized is VJS doesn't trigger unless the ally is adjacent to you. Doesn't cripple THAT much, but make sure you are nice and close to a defender after you've made your initial attack.

"Riposte Strike (rogue): If you hit with this exploit, you can riposte if the target attacks you or any ally adjacent to you before the start of your next turn."
Thanks for the clarification Rathyr.

I'm mainly looking for a way to grant myself CA. I have Fortune's Warrior but I'm not a fan of it personally. There is Expert Sneak to get CA against targets I slow with my OAs, but I need CA for those attacks as well. Hmm..
I love the build btw.  Its nice to see some good halfling rogues running around.  One thing that I have found in my experience playing pretty optimized characters is that you will have a huge target on your head with such an effective build.   As you play this character, you will have to decide if you need more defenses or not depending on how the monsters treat you.  From my play experience I have needed every buff to defense that I can get, with my annoying Halfling, granted my wife is a pretty brutal gm.

My question is why not use a Spiked Shield instead of the Parrying Dagger?  I don't see the small +1 to damage that Two Weapon Fighting gives to be worth the feat, while the Spiked Shield gives you a plus to (already high already I know) reflex as well.  It also opens up a few more feats for more defenses if you want to that direction.

Edit-Love the Raven Knight Epic Destiny for this character so awesome and flavorful, it really does address some of the defensive issues, but you have a wait awhile to get it, and you might need to up the defenses before then depending on the group and campaign.

@awesome: Mainly because Second Chance is a fantastic racial ability. However, I can see where Half-Orc would be nice, mainly being able to wield something bigger than a Drow Long Knife (bastard sword comes to mind). I might switch it, might not. Depends on what others think about it.


Second Chance is nice, but its also purely reactionary. The more I look at this the more half-orc I like. Don't forget that Rapiers no longer cost a feat so there's not much of a need to upgrade to bastard swords, at least not until you pick up HBO. 
@Philip: glad you like it. I think with Psychic Lock, Shadow Band and my already high defenses I should be fine. Anyone who would want to play the build could easily switch a feat or 2 for more defensive ones.

Spiked Shield would be nice. Assuming Blade and Buckler Duelist, my defenses would be the same, although my reflex would be 1 higher. It also saves me a feat. I'll make the switch.

@awesome: I see both being affective. The Half-Orc gives up 1 point of Will to deal 1 extra point of damage on SA/be more accurate with Riposte, which might swing it that way.

If I'm going to be picking up Expertise early I want a weapon that uses it, instead of using the Rapier. I could theoretically take light blade expertise, retraining at paragon to heavy blade. I'll take a look.
@Philip: glad you like it. I think with Psychic Lock, Shadow Band and my already high defenses I should be fine. Anyone who would want to play the build could easily switch a feat or 2 for more defensive ones.

Spiked Shield would be nice. Assuming Blade and Buckler Duelist, my defenses would be the same, although my reflex would be 1 higher. It also saves me a feat. I'll make the switch.

@awesome: I see both being affective. The Half-Orc gives up 1 point of Will to deal 1 extra point of damage on SA/be more accurate with Riposte, which might swing it that way.

If I'm going to be picking up Expertise early I want a weapon that uses it, instead of using the Rapier. I could theoretically take light blade expertise, retraining at paragon to heavy blade. I'll take a look.

Defenses are always a tricky thing with optimization.  I just like to people to be aware that when these optimization monsters actually see play in a regular campaign, they may need to switch a few feats around (or a lot of feats around in some cases), just to stay on their feet.  Also in some cases the party will have a another character with an even bigger bullseye on its head and defensive feats and items can be switched out for more offenses. 

In my case I found I needed to keep feeding the defensive feats to match my playstyle, the group makeup and a brutal GM (my wife thinks a good encounter involves one or more of the players losing consciousness, and you can probably tell this by my builds)
Yeah, my brother was our DM, and since I was the barbarian, he always liked knocking me out an making the "you've been knocked unconcious so many times you're illiterate" since back in 3.5 Barbs had to be illiterate. However my personal encounters haven't been anything that this build couldn't handle from a glance, so I believe it will be fine. Some tweaking would have to be done if you had a harder/easier DM but I feel this build balances well.

EDIT: for some reason the CB doesn't register that the Spiked Shield counts as a Light Shield. Is this true or is it a CB flaw?

EDIT2: Githzerai seems like an amazing option, particularly for spending 1 feat to grab both Bastard Sword and a better feat bonus than Weapon Focus. I will be making the switch now.

EDIT3: added a very flavorful introduction paragraph. I changed the race to Githzerai and switched around some feats. Now we have the option to slow whenever we can use SA by giving up 1 die, and thus gaining CA by Expert Sneak.
Updated with 12-20. Just need to do 22-29 and start work on other parts of the build.
Yes it is a known flaw that the character builder does not recognize the spiked shield as a light shield.  It has problems with things that are both weapons and armor.

Good to know. So let's look at what I gain from each:

TWF-TWD-Parrying Dagger:
+1 AC/Reflex (TWD) and +1 AC (parrying dagger).
+1 damage (TWF)

vs.

Spiked Shield-Blade and Buckler:
+1 AC/Reflex (spiked shield) and +1 AC/Reflex (B+B)
1 extra feat

I like blade and buckler. I'll be making the switch.

Level-by-level analysis complete, as well as the tactics section. Will start on the important numbers section now.
If you wanted to using a shield will allow you to use that extra feat to improve your fort or will defenses.  Plus you can use rhythm blade enhancement to raise all of this another +1.  I also love the name as I was thinking about Shankapotomous and this is better.
I'm low on time right now, but I'll make the change.

Yeah, pretty proud of the name Laughing

Friendly bump. No one has anything else?

I really like the concept of riposte striking rogues, but I'm confused as to why you haven't fit backstabber in there, as the main concept is out of turn sneak attacks. Otherwise I really like this build (I'm also a Red Cloak fan since the martial power 2 came out ).
I honestly had no feat space. Maybe Expert Sneak could go, but what I'm planning on doing is going Spiked Shield Prof. and Blade and Buckler Duelist, which spares a feat to go with Backstabber. Yeah, that sounds good.
Ok, I made the switch to Blade and Buckler. Any other suggestions?
Actually, you don't get Spiked Shield Proficiency, you just get Shield Proficiency (Light).  Proficiency only gives you the proficiency bonus to attack rolls and you won't be making them with the shield, and you only need Shield Proficiency to get the shield bonus from the Spiked Shield which is also a light shield  The Spiked Shield just allows you to get the Rhythm Blade Enchant on it, since it can get weapon enchants.
Some alternative feats that you might be interested in:
Improved defenses (instead of robust) it is slightly better than robust. (+1 to fort, ref, will per tier).

Superior Will - +2/+3/+4 feat bonus to Will defense, requires 15 wis or cha. And gives you the ability to save against Dazed and Stunned conditions at the start of your turn instead of the end (also can save at the end if you fail). Ends these conditions even if they normally would not be ended by saves.

Blade and Buckler Duelist will give you a +2 bonus from your spiked shield to AC and Reflex. Meaning you end up with +3 if you enchant it with Rhythm Blade.

A variant might make use of light blades instead while utilizing rapiers. Background change would be nedded to get rapiers without spending a feat and a +1 bonus to init. As Rapiers are concidered military martial weapons now.

Light blade expertise +1 feat bonus to Attacks (increases at 11 and 21) and an additional +1 bonus damage (untyped which increases with tier as well) when wielding light blades with combat advantage.

This version could make use of Nimble blade to make your attacks a little more accurate if you can find a way to get constant combat advantage.
@philip: man, they really messed up spiked shields in the CB. Thanks for the tip.

@Nyteloki: I unfortunately don't have essentials yet, but I'll add it in.

I added Blade and Buckler very shortly after you commented.

A Light Blade variant could be strong. I'll probably work one up and throw it in the variants section.

Can you give me the wording on Heavy blade expertise as I don't have essentials yet? I'd appreciate it.
you basically get the same tier stack as well as +2 AC vs OA's.
Updated with Blade and Buckler Duelist and some new Essentials feats replacing their older counterparts.
Ok, I made the switch to Blade and Buckler. Any other suggestions?



Too bad. I preferred the 2 weapon version as I still find this whole Rhythm Blade Spike Shield deal questionable. Hopefully one day it will get cleared up.

However, since you made the change you should update your flavor introduction.
you basically get the same tier stack as well as +2 AC vs OA's.


This is pretty close to correct.

Exact text is:

You gain a +1 feat bonus to weapon attack rolls that you can make with a heavy blade. This bonus increases +2 at 11th and +3 at 21st level.
In addition, while wielding a heavy blade, you gain a +2 bonus to all defenses against opportunity attacks.

Thanks for clarification.


Any other suggestions? I feel as of right now the build is looking very solid. Maybe a feat to get that accuracy up by 1 or something?

Doesn't shield with enchantment takes up the arms slot? If so you cannot wear IAoP.
Doesn't shield with enchantment takes up the arms slot? If so you cannot wear IAoP.


Depends if the spided shield is enchanted as a weapon or an armslot.  If the spiked shield is enchanted with a shield (arm) enchantment, you cannot wear the IAoP, but if it is enchanted as a weapon, it takes up the offhand weapon enchantment slot.

The following quote from Adventure's Vault explains it:

Spiked Shield: This light shield is constructed
with a sharpened spike at its center. A spiked shield
can be enchanted as a magic shield or a magic
weapon, but not both. A spiked shield enchanted as
a magic weapon does not occupy a character’s magic
item arms slot. Although a character cannot use
two shields at the same time, a character wielding
a spiked shield enchanted as a weapon can employ
arms slot items such as bracers.
Yeah, the Rhythm Blade is a Weapon enchantment, so it still works.
Hi Grey_Warden really fun and interesting build you have here. I have a few questions about the build, I was wondering how well will this build run on a drow compared to a Githzerai or any other rogue-able class, also i was wondering how does the debuffing stack since i read somewhere that conditions dont stack unless they are different types? but if they do then can someone point me to which book its located in? sorry im really new to this game.

thanks guys.
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