Exemplars of the Hunt: The Ranger's Build Handbook

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Exemplars of the Hunt: The Ranger's Build Handbook






The relationship between hunter and hunted knows nothing of alliances. -Dogged Hunter, Odyssey


So... you guys think you're are all good at hacking and slashing, huh? Well, let me tell you, you haven't seen anything yet! When I'm done with you, enemies will tremble in fear before you, because they know whoever crosses you doesn't stick around too long. You'll be able to take enemies down more easily than what you ever thought was possible, to the point that you'll be positively destroying them. That said, don't think this will be a cakewalk! Only the toughest and the best make it through, so anyone who wants out better speak up now! ...None of you are leaving? Good! Let's get started...

NOTE: This build handbook is intended to be a companion to the Ranger's Handbook. Here, I'll be evaluating choices as they apply to a given build rather than the more general approach taken by the main Handbook.


This Handbook will use the following system for ratings:


Red - Garbage, or completely overshadowed by another option.
Purple - Situationally useful, but overall pretty meh.
Black - OK. You could do worse than pick this.
Blue - Good stuff. You probably want this.
Sky Blue - You want this. Period.
Gold - Why haven't you taken this yet? A defining choice for a build, or even the whole class.


This Handbook covers the following sources:


AP - Arcane Power
AV - Adventurer's Vault
AV 2 - Adventurer's Vault 2
D XXX - Dragon Magazine, issue XXX
DMA 2009 - Dragon Magazine Annual 2009
DP - Divine Power
DSCS - Dark Sun Campaign Setting
FRPG - Forgotten Realms Player's Guide
HotFK - Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms
HotFL - Heroes of the Fallen Lands
MM - Monster Manual
MM 2 - Monster Manual 2
MOTP - Manual of the Planes
MP - Martial Power
MP 2 - Martial Power 2
PHB - Player's Handbook
PHB 2 - Player's Handbook 2
PHB 3 - Player's Handbook 3
PHR: DB - Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn
PHR: TF - Player's Handbook Races: Tieflings
PHH 1 - Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 1
PHH 2 - Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 2
PrP - Primal Power
PsP - Psionic Power
SAC - Seekers of the Ashen Crown Adventure Module

Glossary

AP - Action point.

BBEG - Big bad evil guy.

Burst/Nova/Spike Damage - Generally understood to mean the highest amount of damage a character can inflict in the space of a single round. Usually, calculations for this allow 1 round of setup before the actual damage.

CA - Combat advantage.

DPR - Damage per round, which is generally meant to mean the character's expected damage value using At-Will powers against a standard enemy of the same level (eloquently described by Adslahnit as the Official CharOp Inanimate Block of TofuTM).

ED - Epic destiny.

HP - Hit points.

HQ - Hunter's Quarry.

LX - Level X.

MAD - Multiple attribute dependency, which is defined as needing 3 or more ability scores for a given build.

MBA - Melee basic attack.

MC - Multiclass or multiclassing.

NAD - Non-AC defense.

OA - Opportunity attack.
 
PP - Paragon path.

RBA - Ranged basic attack.

SAD - Single attribute dependency, which is defined as a build that really only needs 1 ability score.

THP - Temporary hit points.



Props to:


Everyone posting
Discussion of Build Goals and Assumptions


This post will be exposing some basic information you should know in order to take the builds presented here in the proper context. I suggest you at least browse through it if you haven't done so already, so you know how certain things are being managed.

Build Goals



Given that this is a build handbook, I think that it really is a good idea that we sit down and discuss where we're going with this. This is a quick synopsis of the goals that any given build that is on this thread looks to accomplish:

1. Play to the Ranger's strengths.



Given that this is a thread on Character Optimization, we will naturally be looking to make these characters the best they can be. In the case of the Ranger, that will involve taking advantage of his strengths, with a high damage output being foremost among these. Every build here will strive to be a heavy hitter on both the burst damage and DPR fronts, though they will usually favor one over the other.

2. Minimize the Ranger's weaknesses.



As with all classes, there are some things that a Ranger must consciously work on in order to be good at them (usually, this involves getting your Hunter's Quarry and Prime Shot bonuses against the target that you want to get them against, as well as keeping your defenses up). Builds here will take steps to ensure that they will at least be competent enough in those areas to not be a liability.

3. Have a unique "shtick".



There would be no point to making a whole thread of builds if every build was exactly the same as the last. Therefore, each build here will strive to bring something new and interesting to the table apart from what is already expected of a Ranger, whether it be toughness, mobility, control options, or other things. However, the builds will not sacrifice effectiveness for the purpose of originality; but having that one distinct thing that sets it apart from other Ranger builds is certainly a bonus.

4. Be effective over as wide a level range as possible.



A build that is using and abusing a specific combo to awesome result is all well and good, but it kind of sucks if you have to wait a tier or more of play to even be at par with other members of your class. As such, builds on this thread will strive to be good examples of what the Ranger class can do throughout their careers. While they will be planning for the long haul, they will attempt to do so with as little sacrifice to their level-by-level competence as possible.

Assumptions



In order to provide a starting point or measuring stick for discussion, builds on this handbook will be making the following assumptions:

1. The build will be made to be a primary Striker.



If you're looking for "do-it-all" 5th man concepts, you probably won't find them here: all the builds in this thread are meant to serve the role of primary Striker. While some, if not most, will be able to branch out and do other things fairly well, the thing to keep in mind is that they were made to be Strikers first and foremost.

2. The build will look to engage in the combat style that enables it to be as effective as possible.



Pretty much an off-shoot of the first assumption, the builds will be made with a specific combat style in mind. In the case of Melee Rangers, this usually involves going toe-to-toe with an enemy, with no adjacent allies. Some Ranged Rangers may also look to be near a target in order to maximize their potential damage output. As such, these builds will be equipped to deal with the hazards of such a strategy.

3. The build will attempt to be as ally-independent as possible.



In order to maximize the build's utility to any given party (and thus its utility to anyone looking through the thread for ideas on how to build a Ranger), choices will be made to allow you to operate independently as much as you can, so that any party synergy comes in as a nice-to-have bonus instead of something truly mandatory to how the build functions.
Adroit Explorer


Hey, kid, quit looking in the cupboards, there's nothing hidden in there! And come back in line with the rest of the group! Don't you know that going off on your own is gonna get you killed? *sigh* You know what, I'd better teach you to use all that energy you have to fight, because if not, you may be the death of us yet... Get your head out of that hole and take these swords, it's time for you to learn...

Build Goal:
The idea here is to produce an explosive Melee Ranger that tosses out tons of attack rolls, and can drop enemies by the virtue of sheer damage capacity, in addition to the typical isolationist Melee Ranger strategy.

Race - Human (PHB) - The only race that can take the Paragon Path at all.

Fighting Style - Two-Blade Style (PHB) - Wielding huge weapons for the win (free Toughness doesn't hurt its stock, either).

Bonus Feature - Prime Shot (PHB) - While it may not be all that useful during Heroic tier, neither is Running Attack, and at least this one gets a heck of a lot more useful after that.

Multiclass - Monk (PHB 3) - This multiclass feat will add a neat extra bit of extra damage, and open up access to the Epic Destiny feature you actually want.

Epic Destiny - Eternal Seeker (PHB) - The ability to grab powers from other classes is amazing, and almost single-handedly earns this ED its spot. Throw in Eternal Action's insane action advantage and the chance to grab another ED's feature L30 and you have a winner.

Seeking Destiny choice

Bountiful Seconds (Master of Moments, PsP) - An extra minor action takes a huge amount of pressure off the typically action-starved Melee Ranger, and it allows for nova turns to be even bigger than usual.


Gear

Weapons - The build will be wielding a Bastard Sword (PHB) in each hand for most of its career (though it starts life using a Broadsword (AV) instead).

Armor - After a few levels spent in Chain (PHB), you switch to the much more awesome Scale (PHB) for the rest of your career.


Ability Scores

Starting Array (after racial modifiers):
Strength 20 - This is your everything when it comes to offense. Start it high and keep boosting it.
Dexterity 13 - Quite a few feats you want are going to require you invest in this.
Constitution 13 - A decent starting score here will do.
Wisdom 10 - Though it starts off low, it will get a lot of love in the form of ability score boosts.
Intelligence/Charisma 10/8 - You can arrange these two however you like; just remember not to invest in them any further.

Ability Score Bonuses:
Level 4 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 8 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 11 - +1 to all scores
Level 14 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 18 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 21 - +1 to all scores
Level 24 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 28 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom

Final Array:
Strength 28
Constitution 15
Dexterity 17
Intelligence 12
Wisdom 16
Charisma 10


Adroit Explorer Paragon Path Features

L11 - Ambitious Effort (PHB 2) - More powers from my class? Oh joy!

L11 - Bloody Determination (PHB 2) - A BIG bonus to hit against an enemy that bloodied you (too bad it's only on one attack roll - otherwise it would be amazing).

L11 - Heroic Action (PHB 2) - A bit of resist all when you AP. Could be worse.

L16 - Champion of Humanity (PHB 2) - Starting your day with 2 AP's can help you sustain bursts along a longer workday, or produce some legendary fireworks if you have to blow them all at once.


Skills

L1 - Athletics - It keys off your highest stat. All you really need to know.
L1 - Dungeoneering/Nature - One of these is literally mandatory due to the Ranger list, the other is simply an excellent choice given the way you're set up. I'd take them both.
L1 - Endurance - Do YOU want to die of disease or suffocate or fall over from exhaustion? Neither do I.
L1 - Heal - Though rather redundant with Endurance for yourself, it helps your allies, so it's worth considering.
L1 - Perception - Pretty much the most useful skill in the game, and something you wouldn't be caught dead without.
L30 - Insight - While not strictly necessary, you get it for free, so why not take it?


Powers

L1, At-Will - Careful Attack (PHB) - A basic extra-accuracy MBA. Hardly bad, but not exactly flashy.

L1, At-Will - Twin Strike (PHB) - The base upon which the class is built. Don't leave home without it.

L1, Encounter - Off-Hand Strike (MP) - The more attacks you can make, the merrier.

L1, Daily - Jaws of the Wolf (PHB) - This Daily packs a wallop when you get it, probably enough to KO a Standard all by itself. Doesn't scale too well, though.

L2, Utility - Invigorating Stride (MP 2) - A shift equal to your Wisdom modifier isn't worth much right now, but using your second wind as a move is very good (and you will have more Wisdom later).

L3, Encounter - Ruffling Sting (MP) - With all due respect to Disruptive Strike, this is the choice for you if you care about novas, and this build certainly does.

L5, Daily - Frenzied Skirmish (PHB) - Gets you where you need to go, and packs a debuff while you're there, too.

L6, Utility - Death Threat (D 377) - While this power may not seem all that impressive on its own, combining it with your next Utility power results in a heck of a smooth transition from one target to the next.

L7, Encounter - Lashing Leaves (D 377) - A damage bonus after a two-swing power enables some possible extra fireworks, but you don't really have the Wisdom to milk this for what it's really worth.

L9, Daily - Attacks on the Run (PHB) - As a Melee Ranger, there is no real reason to NOT pick this power. It solves many situations for the Ranger and comes in for some hefty damage too.

L10, Utility - Resume the Hunt (MP 2) - This combined with Death Threat will get you from target 1 to target 2 with virtually no prep time (not to mention with a offensive and defensive boost), and that does count for a heck of a lot.

L11, Encounter - Ruffling Sting (MP) - The only thing better than getting this power is getting it twice.

L12, Utility - Destined for Greatness (PHB 2) - A do-over for a save is good. Toss in some healing and it's real good. Throw in the fact that you can use it without action consumption (as well as every encounter) and it's looking amazing.

L13, Encounter - Off-Hand Diversion (MP) (replaces Off-Hand Strike) - A simple upgrade over the basic minor action attack, by attaching a CA effect on it. I'd take that deal.

L15, Daily - Blade Cascade (PHB) (replaces Jaws of the Wolf) - Absolutely savage damage, even for a Ranger power. This is your signature power: enjoy it.

L16, Utility - Ranger's Parry (MP 2) - A defensive Utility power is pretty welcome on a Ranger that plans on going at it pretty much on his own.

L17, Encounter - Untamed Outburst (MP) (replaces Lashing Leaves) - A native bonus to hit, as well as some solid damage and a daze attached make this one heck of a power.

L19, Daily - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB) (replaces Frenzied Skirmish) - Three attacks with a native bonus to hit, and can pack a stun. That's amazing on this build, or on any build for that matter.

L20, Daily - Bloodied Greatness (PHB 2) - Using your prized encounter power as a reaction to getting Bloodied (without even expending it) is pretty darn good.

L21, Encounter - Off-Hand Diversion (MP) (replaces Ruffling Sting) - A nice upgrade to your Ambitious Effort power.

L22, Utility - Adamant Recovery (MP) - A sweet emergency button to keep you up and at 'em.

L23, Encounter - Nonchalant Collapse (MP) (replaces Ruffling Sting) - Bigger damage than the other minor action attacks at your disposal, hits a NAD, and knocs prone. Beautiful.

L25, Daily - Circling Cascade (MP 2) (replaces Attacks on the Run) - 3 attacks, with dazing and shifting thrown in? I can work with that.

L26, Utility - Rune of the Hero's Resolve (PHB 3) - In a word, wow. Massive action advantage, and your entire HP value in temps as icing. This power is amazing on the Ranger chassis.

L27, Encounter - Hurricane of Blades (PHB 2) (replaces Untamed Outburst) - Four attacks is some horrendous damage dealing capacity when combined with a Ranger's minor action attacks. Likely the reason you're in this Epic Destiny in the first place.

L29, Daily - Ultimate Confrontation (MP 2) (replaces Circling Cascade) - While it does require an essentially wasted turn on a Ranged attack and only affects your Quarry, this buff enhances your damage to an enormous extent.


Feats

L1 - Armor Proficiency (Chain) (PHB) - About as un-glamorous a first feat as you can take, but your Dexterity will not be buffed enough to maintain a viable AC in Hide, so you need it.

L1 - Armor Proficiency (Scale) (PHB) - Again, a rather non-flashy armor feat, but at least this suit has plenty more upside than Chain.

L2 - Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) (PHB) - This has some mighty nice stats for a one-hander, so it's a nice pickup to marry the Broadsword's damage with the Longsword's acuracy.

L4 - Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades) (PHB) - Damage bonuses are what you're hunting for, so this one is welcome to join your feat list.

L6 - Heavy Blade Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to attack rolls is nothing short of amazing, and a bonus to all defenses against OA's isn't half bad, either.

L8 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB) - A bit of extra damage never hurts, and this opens up other nice feats.

L10 - Two-Weapon Defense (PHB) - Some extra defenses never hurt.

L11 - Prime Punisher (D 373) - Now Prime Shot applies in Melee! The beginning of your definition as an isolationist combatant.

L12 - Called Shot (D 368) - This big damage bonus is a hefty incentive for you to take on enemies solo, and well worth the risk if you ask me.

L14 - Armor Specialization (Scale) (PHB) - Getting rid of Scale's speed penalty and netting +1 AC out of the deal is pretty darn good for a Ranger.

L16 - Two-Weapon Opening (PHB 2) - The ability to squeeze off another attack on a critical is certainly nice to have.

L18 - Improved Defenses (HotFL) - Patches up your NADs in a big-time way.

L20 - Power Attack (PHB) - Risky, but it does provide quality extra punch.

L21 - Rending Tempest (MP) - Extra damage on your subsequent attacks when you use a dual-wielder power. Extra nice on nova turns.

L22 - Heavy Blade Mastery (PHB) - Rangers make more attacks than most. An improved critical rate feat thus makes a heck of an impact.

L23 - Headsman's Chop (PHB 3) (replaces Power Attack) - Given that there is a power in your repertoire that knocks prone, this is a nice and healthy nova boost.

L24 - Martial Mastery (MP) - Power-recovery shenanigans make this build more dangerous when it comes to bringing the pain against a dangerous opponent.

L26 - Prime Quarry (MP) - Making your Prime Shot bonus even bigger is a great choice for a Ranger.

L28 - Quick Draw (PHB) - Helps you manage the bit of item-juggling you'll have to do to truly put out the fearsome novas.

L30 - Monastic Disciple (Insight) (PHB 3) - A necessary piece to steal the final Epic Destiny feature, and a decent feat in and of itself.


Magic Items

Armor - Dwarven Armor (PHB) - Cheap, buffs a useful skill in Endurance, and has one heck of an Item Daily power.

Weapon - Battlecrazed (AV) - Takes advantage of the Bloodied condition to put out some very hefty damage.

Arms - Iron Armbands of Power (AV) - No reason to not get on this damage bonus gravy train.

Feet - Planestrider Boots (MOTP) - Get nice and close to your target, every single fight. A pair of Boots of Eagerness (AV) will have to do until you can afford them, though.

Hands - Gauntlets of Destruction (AV) - Rerolling the 1's on all damage rolls, all the time is great to have. The Strikebacks (AV) can also serve you well while you're waiting for the Gauntlets to become available to you.

Head - Eye of Awareness (AV) - A bonus to Will defense is always nice, and a hefty bonus to initiative seals the deal. Before you can afford this, a Casque of Tactics (AV) isn't flashy, but it gets the job done.

Neck - Torc of Power Preservation (AV) - On-the-spot power recovery - need I say more? A Cloak of Resistance (PHB) will make for a respectable intermediary until this is available.

Ring - Ring of Giants (D 378) - A very respectable bonus to critical hit damage is very nice to have, especially at this price.

Waist - Belt of Titan Strength (PHB) - Carries a nice bonus to Athletics checks, and a big time bonus to nova damage. A Belt of Breaching (AV 2) can also be a very useful substitute.

Tattoo - Backlash Tattoo (AV 2) - Lashing out when you get bloodied is awesome to have.


Sample Character

The Time Bomb would be what you're looking for here.

Battlefield Archer

So the other recruits tell me you're a good shot. Well, let me tell you, punk, you've got a long way to go! If you were the real deal, you'd be so good you'd make other people better by telling them WHERE to shoot! So get back to the shooting range and let me know when you can get the other greenhorns to hit the target, and then we'll talk! What? You're saying that's my job? That's not the attitude a master archer is supposed to have! Get on out there and show me what you've got!

Build Goal:
Here, we're trying to make an Archer that can put out some very good punch, especially on the burst damage front. Since this usually involves getting a little closer than what most Archers are comfortable with, we'll also be keeping an eye on survivability as well.

Race - Elf (PHB) - The perfect ability scores get the ball rolling, and a bonus to speed along with some good racial powers and feat only sweeten the deal. There's a crowded field of good Archer races, but in my opinion this one does enough to stand above the rest.

Fighting Style - Archery Style (PHB) - No surprise here, since you literally can't take the Path without it.

Bonus Feature - Prime Shot (PHB) - A bonus to hit if you stick your neck out a bit, and it's supported pretty well for you.

Multiclass - Rogue (PHB) - This multiclass adds a bit of extra damage come nova time and provides the Archer with a minor action attack it would otherwise lack, so it's a pretty good MC for you.

Epic Destiny - Destined Scion (HotFK) - It's all about the additional ability score bonuses; since this build relies more heavily on its ability scores for defense, those ability scores will win out, especially with the extra bonus to hit this ED provides.

Gear

Weapons - The build will be wielding a Greatbow (PHB) all career long.

Armor - No reason to ever leave your beloved Hide (PHB).


Ability Scores

Starting Array (after racial modifiers):
Dexterity 20 - Few builds get as much out of Dexterity as an Archer.
Wisdom 15 - Important for feats, Will defense, and power riders.
Constitution 13 - A solid score for feats and surges.
Strength 10 - Carrying capacity and Athletics are somewhat important, so don't trash this score.
Intelligence/Charisma 8/10 - Who gets the 8 is up to you, but the point is to not waste any points here.

Ability Score Bonuses:
Level 4 - +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom
Level 8 - +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom
Level 11 - +1 to all scores
Level 14 - +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom
Level 18 - +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom
Level 21 - +1 to all scores
Level 21 - +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom
Level 24 - +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom
Level 28 - +1 Constitution, +1 Dexterity

Final Array:
Strength 12
Constitution 16
Dexterity 30
Intelligence 12
Wisdom 24
Charisma 10


Battlefield Archer Paragon Path Features

L11 - Archer's Action (PHB) - An action point for a reroll. Could be useful in some sort of emergency, but not really a flagship feature.

L11 - Battlefield Experience (PHB) - A downright amazing ability, this not only expands your ability to target, it also provides you and your party with an accuracy buff. Super sweet.

L16 - Battle Surge (PHB) - A sizable, encounter-long bonus to AC against OA's after an AP can make shooting someone in the face less risky than it sounds.


Skills

L1 - Acrobatics - Keys off a very important stat, and is quite useful to you.
L1 - Dungeoneering/Nature - One of these is literally mandatory due to the Ranger list, so pick it and be on your way.
L1 - Heal - The ability to treat diseases and the like certainly comes in handy.
L1 - Perception - Pretty much the most useful skill in the game, and something you wouldn't be caught dead without.
L1 - Stealth - A sweet skill to have, especially when you're as good as you are at it.
L6 - Thievery - Another skill you're real good at, and it enhances your overall package as a scout.


Powers

L1, At-Will - Nimble Strike (MP 2) - A nice backup option, this gives you the ability to disengage most Melee enemies without having to stick your neck out for an OA.

L1, At-Will - Twin Strike (PHB) - The base upon which the class is built. Don't leave home without it.

L1, Encounter - Two-Fanged Strike (PHB) - Two attacks with some decent kick, plus a bit more if both hit.

L1, Daily - Sure Shot (MP 2) - Rerolling the attack and damage rolls make this power nice and reliable.

L2, Utility - Invigorating Stride (MP 2) - The shift helps get you out of places you don't want to be in, and you get to second wind to boot. Highly recommended.

L3, Encounter - Disruptive Strike (MP) - A great power that can potentially negate an opponent's attack while letting you lay down some damage of your own instead.

L5, Daily - Spitting-Cobra Stance (MP 2) - Punishing enemies for approaching you can result in extra offense or a healthy dose of control. Either is appreciated.

L6, Utility - Weave Through the Fray (PHB) - The ability to get out of the way when someone comes near is a useful skill to have on an Archer.

L7, Encounter - Biting Volley (MP) - Hits Reflex on two attacks, and has a great critical rate. An easy pick.

L7, Encounter - Snap Shot (MP) (replaces Biting Volley) - The ability to attack as a minor action is a great boon for a Ranger.

L9, Daily - Attacks on the Run (PHB) - As a Ranged Ranger, this offers a free move action to help put some distance between you and a pesky Melee opponent, while handing out heavy damage as a parting gift. Amazing.

L10, Utility - Defensive Volley (D 383) - The ability to shave some damage off an attack on an Encounter basis might just save someone's skin.

L11, Encounter - Combined Fire (PHB) - The ability to trigger an opportunistic extra shot every fight is a great boon to have.

L12, Utility - Archer's Glory (PHB) - Action ponts on a kill? Don't mind if I do...

L13, Encounter - Pinning Strike (PHB) (replaces Two-Fanged Strike) - The ability to immobilize is certainly an upgrade on your capabilities.

L15, Daily - Confounding Arrows (PHB) (replaces Sure Shot) - 3 solid shots with a stun at the end will help you out a-plenty.

L16, Utility - Wary Shooter (MP 2) - The ability to avoid attacks altogether when you decide to fire off a Ranged attack in a Melee is pretty good to have.

L17, Encounter - Pounding Barrage (MP) (replaces Pinning Strike) - Hitting three times in a single action is great. The ability to immobilize along with that is amazingly good.

L19, Daily - Surprising Arrow Stance (D 383) (replaces Spitting-Cobra Stance) - A nice power to replace your beloved Stance, the ability to stop movement is quite the upgrade.

L20, Daily - Quarry's Bane (PHB) - A close burst attack that knocks prone on a miss. Average.

L22, Utility - Master of the Hunt (PHB) - Extra damage is always welcome on a Ranger.

L26, Utility - Epic Recovery (HotFK) - A power that makes you a hell of a lot harder to keep down.

L29, Daily - Five-Missile Dance (MP) (replaces Attacks on the Run) - This power brings some savage damage potential with it, and as such it is a key component in this Archer's arsenal.


Feats

L1 - Weapon Proficiency (Greatbow) (PHB) - The most damaging ranged weapon you can get.

L2 - Weapon Focus (Bows) (PHB) - This adds some extra pop to your Bow attacks.

L4 - Bow Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to attack rolls is amazing, and a little extra damage against isolated enemies doesn't hurt either.

L6 - Sneak of Shadows (PHB) - The ability to pop in a Sneak Atack once per fight can result in a solid damage increase.

L8 - Treetop Sniper (PHB) - Gives you the ability to use Rogue stuff with that huge bow of yours.

L10 - Distant Advantage (PHB 2) - CA is hard to come by for an Archer, so any way to get it is appreciated.

L11 - Lasting Frost (PHB) - The muscle behind the Permafrost combo, this provides a hefty effective damage bonus to everything you do.

L11 - Wintertouched (PHB) (replace Distant Advantage) - An easier way to get CA for you, given that you took Lasting Frost.

L12 - Novice Power (Snap Shot) (PHB) - Gives you access to a minor action attack.

L14 - Called Shot (D 368) - This big damage bonus is a hefty incentive for you to get up close and personal, and well worth the risk if you ask me.

L16 - Prime Quarry (MP) - Puts a bit of extra awesome behind getting your Prime Shot bonuses.

L18 - Prime Slayer (MP) - Even more incentive to get up close and shoot.

L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL) - Patches up your NADs in a big-time way.

L21 - Bow Mastery (PHB) - Rangers make more attacks than most. An improved critical rate feat thus makes a heck of an impact.

L21 - Improved Prime Shot (MP) (replaces Prime Quarry) - Making your Prime Shot bonus less conditional is sweet.

L22 - Martial Mastery (MP) - Power-recovery shenanigans make this build more effective when it comes to bringing the pain against a dangerous opponent.

L24 - Lethal Hunter (PHB) - A bit of extra damage on your Quarry is good to have.

L26 - Hawkeye Warrior (MP) - An accuracy buff all fight long for using your racial power? Sure.

L28 - Armor Specialization (Hide) (PHB) - Extra AC never hurt anybody.

L30 - Epic Fortitude (PHB 2) - A hefty bonus to your weakest NAD.


Magic Items

Armor - Predator's Hide (AV 2) - The ability to impose what amounts to a hefty penalty to hit against your Quarry's attacks against you is an extremely strong ability, and worth keeping.

Weapon - Frost (PHB) - One of the main sources of damage you'll have across your career.

Arms - Bracers of Archery (AV) - No reason to not get on this damage bonus gravy train.

Feet - Zephyr Boots (AV) - You can fly: need I say more? A pair of Boots of Eagerness (AV) will have to do until you can afford them, though.

Hands - Gloves of Ice (AV 2) - A nice bonus to damage that's one all the time, and the ability to crack resistances if needed.

Head - Eye of Awareness (AV) - A bonus to Will defense is always nice, and a hefty bonus to initiative seals the deal. Before you can afford this, a Casque of Tactics (AV) isn't flashy, but it gets the job done.

Neck - Torc of Power Preservation (AV) - The ability to give your powers anoter go is amazing. A Cloak of Resistance (PHB) will make for a respectable intermediary until this is available.

Ring - Ring of Free Time (AV) - This item gives you a very handy additional minor action you can invoke to extend nova chains. If money is tight, a Shadow Band (AV) or a Ring of Greater Invisibility (AV 2) make perfectly reasonable and significantly cheaper substitutes.

Ring - Ring of Giants (D 378) - A very respectable bonus to critical hit damage is very nice to have, especially at this price.

Waist - Diamond Cincture (AV 2) - The ability to access self-healing is great on a Striker, especially when it patches up the weaker NAD. A Belt of Breaching (AV 2) can also be a very useful substitute.

Tattoo - Backlash Tattoo (AV 2) - Lashing out when you get bloodied is awesome to have.


Sample Character

Shoot to Thrill provides a good example of what you'd be looking for.

Blade Dancer

Hey, you! Sit still, I'm trying to tell you something. No, really, I'm serious, stop moving. It's really distracting. I said stop! ...Huh, on second thought, it should be mighty hard to hit you while you're doing the cha-cha-cha with those swords. Spin on, my friend, spin on...

Build Goal:
The idea here is to make a mobile Melee Ranger that can stack easily achievable conditional bonuses to defenses in order to make himself very hard to hit, along with still meeting with damage expectations.

Race - Half-Orc (PHB 2) - The ability scores are in the right places, and the other racial abilities (THP when bloodied, an extra [W] per encounter) aren't bad, either.

Fighting Style - Two-Blade Style (PHB) - Oversized dual-wielding and Toughness for the win.

Bonus Feature - Prime Shot (PHB) - While it may not be all that useful during Heroic tier, neither is Running Attack, and at least this one gets a heck of a lot more useful after that.

Multiclass - Fighter (PHB) - The conditional extra attack opportunity comes off as very useful for this character, as it ensures ignoring you has a consequence.

Epic Destiny - Destined Scion (HotFK) - It's all about the additional ability score bonuses; since this build relies more heavily on its ability scores for defense, those ability scores will win out, especially with the extra bonus to hit this ED provides.

Gear

Weapons - The build will be wielding a Bastard Sword (PHB) through most of its career, with a Broadsword (AV) at the more novice levels.

Armor - No reason to ever leave your beloved Hide (PHB).


Ability Scores

Starting Array (after racial modifiers):
Strength 18 - This is your everything when it comes to offense. Start it high and keep boosting it.
Dexterity 18 - It's all about the defenses and secondary effects here, so it's just as important as Strength.
Wisdom 13 - Just enough to get all your feats.
Constitution 11 - Pretty much the only thing you have left over.
Intelligence/Charisma 8/10 - Who gets the 8 is up to you, but the point is to not waste any points here.

Ability Score Bonuses:
Level 4 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 8 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 11 - +1 to all scores
Level 14 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 18 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 21 - +1 to all scores
Level 21 - +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity
Level 24 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 28 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity

Final Array:
Strength 28
Constitution 13
Dexterity 28
Intelligence 10
Wisdom 15
Charisma 12


Blade Dancer Paragon Path Features

L11 - Dancing Defense (MP) - Though you do have to hit twice, +2 to AC and Reflex is a sweet defensive buff.

L11 - Dual-Blade Action (MP) - Some slightly above-average MBA's instead of your AP. It can be decent in the right circumstance, but don't expect it to replace your traditional AP novas if Dailies are involved.

L16 - Cutting Steps (MP) - A bonus to AC and to melee damage? You'd better believe I want that.


Skills

L1 - Acrobatics - Keys off a very important stat, and is quite useful to you.
L1 - Athletics - It keys off what is tied for your highest stat. All you really need to know.
L1 - Dungeoneering/Nature - One of these is literally mandatory due to the Ranger list, so pick one and be on your way.
L1 - Perception - Pretty much the most useful skill in the game, and something you wouldn't be caught dead without.
L1 - Stealth - A sweet skill to have, especially when you're as good as you are at it.
L10 - Endurance - Not flashy, but a tough-guy skill is always useful, especially when you have a racial bonus for it.


Powers

L1, At-Will - Throw and Stab (MP 2) - A nice backup option, this gives you the ability to engage at Range, as well as some extra mobility.

L1, At-Will - Twin Strike (PHB) - The base upon which the class is built. Don't leave home without it.

L1, Encounter - Off-Hand Strike (MP) - The more attacks you can make, the merrier.

L1, Daily - Jaws of the Wolf (PHB) - This Daily packs a wallop when you get it, probably enough to KO a Standard all by itself. Doesn't scale too well, though.

L2, Utility - Invigorating Stride (MP 2) - Though the shift is likely not worth much to you, the ability to second wind as a move certainly is. Highly recommended.

L3, Encounter - Ruffling Sting (MP) - With all due respect to Disruptive Strike, this is the choice for you if you care about novas, and this build certainly does.

L5, Daily - Frenzied Skirmish (PHB) - Gets you where you need to go, and packs a debuff while you're there, too.

L6, Utility - Death Threat (D 377) - While this power may not seem all that impressive on its own, combining it with your next Utility power results in a heck of a smooth transition from one target to the next.

L7, Encounter - Lashing Leaves (D 377) - While the extra damage from this power might not have you thinking offensive fireworks, the fact that your party can benefit from it raises its stock.

L9, Daily - Attacks on the Run (PHB) - As a Melee Ranger, there is no real reason to NOT pick this power. It solves many situations for the Ranger and comes in for some hefty damage too.

L10, Utility - Resume the Hunt (MP 2) - This combined with Death Threat will get you from target 1 to target 2 with virtually no prep time (not to mention with a offensive and defensive boost), and that does count for a heck of a lot.

L11, Encounter - Cross-Body Parry (MP) - ...Whoa. Two attacks outside your turn, hitting Reflex, and slapping on a weaken? Quite possibly one of the best Striker Paragon Path powers ever.

L12, Utility - Misleading Bladework (MP) - A shift that slaps on -2 to hit left and right soundsfairly good to me.

L13, Encounter - Off-Hand Diversion (MP) (replaces Off-Hand Strike) - A simple upgrade over the basic minor action attack, by attaching a CA effect on it. I'd take that deal.

L15, Daily - Blade Cascade (PHB) (replaces Jaws of the Wolf) - Absolutely savage damage, even for a Ranger power. This is your signature power: enjoy it.

L16, Utility - Ranger's Parry (MP 2) - A defensive Utility power is more than welcome on this sort of Ranger.

L17, Encounter - Untamed Outburst (MP) (replaces Lashing Leaves) - A native bonus to hit, as well as some solid damage and a daze attached make this one heck of a power.

L19, Daily - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB) (replaces Frenzied Skirmish) - Three attacks with a native bonus to hit, and can pack a stun. That's amazing on this build, or on any build for that matter.

L20, Daily - Blade Dance (MP) - An OK attack against 3 targets, with some shifts in between. Very average.

L22, Utility - Adamant Recovery (MP) - An excellent emergency button to have in your back pocket.

L23, Encounter - Nonchalant Collapse (MP) (replaces Ruffling Sting) - Bigger damage than the other minor action attacks at your disposal, hits a NAD, and knocs prone. Beautiful.

L25, Daily - Circling Cascade (MP 2) (replaces Attacks on the Run) - 3 attacks, with dazing and shifting thrown in? I can work with that.

L26, Utility - Epic Recovery (HotFK) - A power that makes you a hell of a lot harder to keep down.

L27, Encounter - Death Rend (PHB) (replaces Untamed Outburst) - The ability to stun is an oh-so-sweet expansion of your capabilities. An excellent choice to be had.


Feats

L1 - Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades) (PHB) - Damage bonuses are what you're hunting for, so this one is welcome to join your feat list.

L2 - Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) (PHB) - This allows you to wield what is nicer weapon for you overall.

L4 - Heavy Blade Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to attack rolls is amazing, and a little bonus to defenses when taking OA's doesn't hurt either.

L6 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB) - While this feat isn't bad at all by itself, its true value lies in the other feats it opens up access to.

L8 - Two-Weapon Defense (PHB) - Packing on a bit of extra defense certainly doesn't hurt you right now.

L10 - Battle Awareness (Endurance) (MP) - A free conditional attack, and a free skill, too.

L11 - Prime Punisher (D 373) - Now Prime Shot applies in Melee! The beginning of your definition as an isolationist combatant.

L12 - Called Shot (D 368) - This big damage bonus is a hefty incentive for you to take on enemies solo, and well worth the risk if you ask me.

L14 - Lethal Hunter (PHB) - Some extra damage on Quarry is certainly appreciated.

L16 - Improved Defenses (HotFL) - Patches up your NADs in a big-time way.

L18 - Iron Will (PHB) - Not flashy, but your Will defense is bad, so you need this.

L20 - Durable (PHB) - A couple of extra surges is a solid patch for you.

L21 - Prime Quarry (MP) - Making your Prime Shot bonus even bigger is a great choice for a Ranger.

L21 - Rending Tempest (MP) (replaces Durable) - Extra damage on your subsequent attacks when you use a dual-wielder power. Extra nice on nova turns.

L22 - Epic Will (PHB 2) - Lots of reinforcement for your bad defense.

L22 - Heavy Blade Mastery (PHB) (replaces Iron Will) - Rangers make more attacks than most. An improved critical rate feat thus makes a heck of an impact.

L24 - Martial Mastery (MP) - Power-recovery shenanigans make this build more dangerous when it comes to bringing the pain against a dangerous opponent.

L26 - Ferocious Critical (PHB 2) - Gives you a very nice boost to hit and damage when you get lucky.

L28 - Superior Will (HotFL) - Patches up your bad defense a bit more, and gives you a side benefit, too.

L30 - Superior Fortitude (HotFL) - Even more reinforcement for your NADs.

L30 - Superior Reflexes (HotFL) (replaces Improved Defenses) - Now that you have the other 2 Superior NAD feats, a retrain for the third is definitely in order.


Magic Items

Armor - Predator's Hide (AV 2) - The ability to impose what amounts to a hefty penalty to hit against your Quarry's attacks against you is an extremely strong ability, and worth keeping.

Weapon - Harmony Blade (AV 2) - The ability to impose a defensive penalty should you hit the same target with both weapons, along with free hits on a critical make this a heck of a weapon to have.

Weapon - Farbond Spellblade (AV 2) - Cheap, and the ability to be thrown makes it a nice emergency option, too.

Arms - Iron Armbands of Power (AV) - No reason to not get on this damage bonus gravy train.

Feet - Zephyr Boots (AV) - You can fly: need I say more? A pair of Boots of Eagerness (AV) will have to do until you can afford them, though.

Hands - Gauntlets of Destruction (PHB) - Making your damage bonuses more reliable is great. Until you can afford them, the Strikebacks (AV) make for a perfectly good substitute.

Head - Eye of Awareness (AV) - A bonus to Will defense is always nice, and a hefty bonus to initiative seals the deal. Before you can afford this, a Casque of Tactics (AV) isn't flashy, but it gets the job done.

Neck - Steadfast Amulet (AV) - The ability to save your way out of conditions before they significantly impair you is excellent. A Cloak of Resistance (PHB) or a Baffling Cape (AV 2) will make for a respectable intermediary until this is available.

Ring - Shadow Band (AV) - This item provides a static bonus to defenses against certain modes of attack, which is awesome. Should you find yourself unable to afford it, a Ring of Greater Invisibility (AV 2) makes for a perfectly reasonable and significantly cheaper substitute.

Ring - Ring of Giants (D 378) - A very respectable bonus to critical hit damage is very nice to have, especially at this price.

Waist - Belt of Titan Strength (PHB) - Carries a nice bonus to Athletics checks, and a big time bonus to nova damage. A Belt of Breaching (AV 2) can also be a very useful substitute.

Tattoo - Backlash Tattoo (AV 2) - Lashing out when you get bloodied is awesome to have.


Sample Character

Slash & Dash provides a good example of what you'd be looking for.

Bloodfury Hunter


Hey, you! Yeah, you, the angry one! What's got you in such a foul mood, son? Your armor too tight? Listen, kid, if you don't harness that anger, it's not going to do a whole lot for you. You don't have to be angry at me or your mom or whoever dragged your pointy-toothed arse here. You have to focus on the enemy, and on the pain he's dealing; if you hate your enemy enough, there's no one you can't beat! Now quit staring at me like that, you're freaking me out...

Build Goal:
The idea here is to produce a Ranger that not only benefits from being bloodied - he thrives on it. To that end, the racial features and powers are geared toward producing huge amounts of damage when your HP total dips below half.

Race - Longtooth Shifter (PHB 2) - You have to be a Shifter in order to take this Path, and this is the one that gets the Strength bonus you so crave as a Melee Ranger.

Fighting Style - Two-Blade Style (PHB) - Wielding huge weapons for the win (free Toughness doesn't hurt its stock, either).

Bonus Feature - Prime Shot (PHB) - While it may not be all that useful during Heroic tier, neither is Running Attack, and at least this one gets a heck of a lot more useful after that.

Multiclass - Monk (PHB 3) - This multiclass feat will add a neat extra bit of extra damage, and open up access to the Epic Destiny feature you actually want.

Epic Destiny - Eternal Seeker (PHB) - The ability to grab powers from other classes is amazing, and almost single-handedly earns this ED its spot. Throw in Eternal Action's insane action advantage and the chance to grab another ED's feature L30 and you have a winner.

Seeking Destiny choice

Bountiful Seconds (Master of Moments, PsP) - An extra minor action takes a huge amount of pressure off the typically action-starved Melee Ranger, and it allows for nova turns to be even bigger than usual.


Gear

Weapons - The build will be wielding a Bastard Sword (PHB) in each hand for most of its career (though it starts life using a Broadsword (AV) instead).

Armor - After a few levels spent in Chain (PHB), you switch to the much more awesome Scale (PHB) for the rest of your career.


Ability Scores

Starting Array (after racial modifiers):
Strength 18 - This is your everything when it comes to offense. Start it high and keep boosting it.
Wisdom 16 - You depend on this quite a bit for damage bonuses, so you should give it plenty of love.
Dexterity 14 - Quite a few feats you want are going to require you invest in this.
Constitution 13 - A decent starting score here will do.
Intelligence/Charisma 10/8 - You can arrange these two however you like; just remember not to invest in them any further.

Ability Score Bonuses:
Level 4 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 8 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 11 - +1 to all scores
Level 14 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 18 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 21 - +1 to all scores
Level 24 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 28 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity

Final Array:
Strength 26
Constitution 15
Dexterity 18
Intelligence 12
Wisdom 22
Charisma 10


Bloodfury Hunter Paragon Path Features

L11 - Dynamic Transformation (MP 2) - A decent bit of repositioning when you use your racial power.

L11 - Shifter's Action (MP 2) - A turn-long bonus to damage when you blow an AP, which is pretty good stuff.

L16 - Bestial Accuracy (MP 2) - An excellent bonus to hit when you're under the effects of your shifting power, which is amazing across the course of a combat.


Skills

L1 - Athletics - It keys off your highest stat. All you really need to know.
L1 - Dungeoneering/Nature - One of these is literally mandatory due to the Ranger list, the other is simply an excellent choice given the way you're set up. I'd take them both.
L1 - Endurance - Do YOU want to die of disease or suffocate or fall over from exhaustion? Neither do I.
L1 - Perception - Pretty much the most useful skill in the game, and something you wouldn't be caught dead without.
L30 - Insight - While not strictly necessary, you get it for free, so why not take it?


Powers

L1, At-Will - Marauder's Rush (MP 2) - More damage than your typical MBA, and it's charge-friendly. Not a bad backup to have.

L1, At-Will - Twin Strike (PHB) - The base upon which the class is built. Don't leave home without it.

L1, Encounter - Off-Hand Strike (MP) - The more attacks you can make, the merrier.

L1, Daily - Jaws of the Wolf (PHB) - This Daily packs a wallop when you get it, probably enough to KO a Standard all by itself. Doesn't scale too well, though.

L2, Utility - Invigorating Stride (MP 2) - A shift equal to your Wisdom modifier can do you some good, and using your second wind as a move is very good.

L3, Encounter - Ruffling Sting (MP) - With all due respect to Disruptive Strike, this is the choice for you if you care about novas, and this build certainly does.

L5, Daily - Frenzied Skirmish (PHB) - Gets you where you need to go, and packs a debuff while you're there, too.

L6, Utility - Death Threat (D 377) - While this power may not seem all that impressive on its own, combining it with your next Utility power results in a heck of a smooth transition from one target to the next.

L7, Encounter - Lashing Leaves (D 377) - A damage bonus after a two-swing power enables some possible extra fireworks, especially with your Wisdom score.

L9, Daily - Attacks on the Run (PHB) - As a Melee Ranger, there is no real reason to NOT pick this power. It solves many situations for the Ranger and comes in for some hefty damage too.

L10, Utility - Resume the Hunt (MP 2) - This combined with Death Threat will get you from target 1 to target 2 with virtually no prep time (not to mention with a offensive and defensive boost), and that does count for a heck of a lot.

L11, Encounter - Blood for Blood (MP 2) - While attacking once will probably be out-paced by multiattacks, the ability to knock prone once per encounter is a very solid power to have.

L12, Utility - Unleash the Beast (PHB 2) - While this power does present some risk (bloodied + granting CA = tempting target), adding a stat to damage again can allow you to do some very awesome things.

L13, Encounter - Off-Hand Diversion (MP) (replaces Off-Hand Strike) - A simple upgrade over the basic minor action attack, by attaching a CA effect on it. I'd take that deal.

L15, Daily - Blade Cascade (PHB) (replaces Jaws of the Wolf) - Absolutely savage damage, even for a Ranger power. This is your signature power: enjoy it.

L16, Utility - Ranger's Parry (MP 2) - A defensive Utility power is pretty welcome on a Ranger that plans on going at it pretty much on his own.

L17, Encounter - Untamed Outburst (MP) (replaces Lashing Leaves) - A native bonus to hit, as well as some solid damage and a daze attached make this one heck of a power.

L19, Daily - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB) (replaces Frenzied Skirmish) - Three attacks with a native bonus to hit, and can pack a stun. That's amazing on this build, or on any build for that matter.

L20, Daily - Bloodfury Rampage (MP 2) - It's an attack that splits its damage between two targets, and the only thing it really gets is the ability to hit one of three defenses. Meh.

L22, Utility - Master of the Hunt (PHB) - A Stance for your ability modifer to damage - again.

L23, Encounter - Nonchalant Collapse (MP) (replaces Ruffling Sting) - Bigger damage than the other minor action attacks at your disposal, hits a NAD, and knocs prone. Beautiful.

L25, Daily - Circling Cascade (MP 2) (replaces Attacks on the Run) - 3 attacks, with dazing and shifting thrown in? I can work with that.

L26, Utility - Rune of the Hero's Resolve (PHB 3) - In a word, wow. Massive action advantage, and your entire HP value in temps as icing. This power is amazing on the Ranger chassis.

L27, Encounter - Hurricane of Blades (PHB 2) (replaces Untamed Outburst) - Four attacks is some horrendous damage dealing capacity when combined with a Ranger's minor action attacks. Likely the reason you're in this Epic Destiny in the first place.

L29, Daily - Ultimate Confrontation (MP 2) (replaces Circling Cascade) - While it does require an essentially wasted turn on a Ranged attack and only affects your Quarry, this buff enhances your damage to an enormous extent.


Feats

L1 - Armor Proficiency (Chain) (PHB) - About as un-glamorous a first feat as you can take, but your Dexterity will not be buffed enough to maintain a viable AC in Hide, so you need it.

L2 - Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) (PHB) - This has some mighty nice stats for a one-hander, so it's a nice pickup to marry the Broadsword's damage with the Longsword's acuracy.

L4 - Armor Proficiency (Scale) (PHB) - Again, a rather non-flashy armor feat, but at least this suit has plenty more upside than Chain.

L6 - Heavy Blade Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to attack rolls is nothing short of amazing, and a bonus to all defenses vs. OA's is pretty respectable as well.

L8 - Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades) (PHB) - Damage bonuses are what you're hunting for, so this one is welcome to join your feat list.

L10 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB) - A bit of extra damage never hurts, and this opens up other nice feats.

L11 - Prime Punisher (D 373) - Now Prime Shot applies in Melee! The beginning of your definition as an isolationist combatant.

L12 - Called Shot (D 368) - This big damage bonus is a hefty incentive for you to take on enemies solo, and well worth the risk if you ask me.

L14 - Prime Quarry (MP) - Making your Prime Shot bonus even bigger is a great choice for a Ranger.

L16 - Armor Specialization (Scale) (PHB) - Getting rid of Scale's speed penalty and netting +1 AC out of the deal is pretty darn good for a Ranger.

L18 - Two-Weapon Defense (PHB) - Some extra defenses never hurt.

L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL) - Patches up your NADs in a big-time way.

L21 - Improved Prime Shot (MP) - Taking the conditionality out of your Prime Shot bonuses can only be a good thing.

L21 - Rending Tempest (MP) (replaces Prime Quarry) - Extra damage on your subsequent attacks when you use a dual-wielder power. Extra nice on nova turns.

L22 - Heavy Blade Mastery (PHB) - Rangers make more attacks than most. An improved critical rate feat thus makes a heck of an impact.

L24 - Vistani Heritage (D 380) - While this feat is not all that useful to you right now, it does open up a feat that is much more useful to you.

L26 - Vistani Foresight (D 380) - An additional action point is really what makes you tick as far as nova damage is concerned.

L28 - Quick Draw (PHB) - Helps you manage the bit of item-juggling you'll have to do to truly put out the fearsome novas.

L30 - Monastic Disciple (Insight) (PHB 3) - A necessary piece to steal the final Epic Destiny feature, and a decent feat in and of itself.


Magic Items

Armor - Dwarven Armor (PHB) - Cheap, buffs a useful skill in Endurance, and has one heck of an Item Daily power.

Weapon - Battlecrazed (AV) - Takes advantage of the Bloodied condition to put out some very hefty damage.

Arms - Iron Armbands of Power (AV) - No reason to not get on this damage bonus gravy train.

Feet - Boots of Quickness (AV) - A defensive bonus that will serve you well. A pair of Boots of Eagerness (AV) will have to do until you can afford them, though.

Hands - Gauntlets of Destruction (AV) - Rerolling the 1's on all damage rolls, all the time is great to have. The Strikebacks (AV) can also serve you well while you're waiting for the Gauntlets to become available to you.

Head - Eye of Awareness (AV) - A bonus to Will defense is always nice, and a hefty bonus to initiative seals the deal. Before you can afford this, a Casque of Tactics (AV) isn't flashy, but it gets the job done.

Neck - Torc of Power Preservation (AV) - On-the-spot power recovery - need I say more? A Cloak of Resistance (PHB) will make for a respectable intermediary until this is available.

Ring - Ring of Giants (D 378) - A very respectable bonus to critical hit damage is very nice to have, especially at this price.

Waist - Belt of Titan Strength (PHB) - Carries a nice bonus to Athletics checks, and a big time bonus to nova damage. A Belt of Breaching (AV 2) can also be a very useful substitute.

Tattoo - Backlash Tattoo (AV 2) - Lashing out when you get bloodied is awesome to have.


Sample Character

Race: Longtooth Shifter (PHB 2)
Class: Ranger (PHB)
Bonus Feature: Prime Shot (PHB)
Fighting Style: Two-Blade Style (PHB)
Multiclass: Monk (PHB 3)
Paragon Path: Bloodfury Hunter (MP 2)
Epic Destiny: Eternal Seeker (PHB)
Seeking Destiny: Bountiful Seconds (PsP)
Background: Auspicious Birth (D 366)
Theme: Noble Adept (DSCS)

Ability Scores, with racial adjustments:
Strength 26 (+8)
Constitution 15 (+2)
Dexterity 18 (+4)
Intelligence 12 (+1)
Wisdom 22 (+6)
Charisma 10 (+0)

HP: 198 --> 12 base, +26 Strength, +145 levels, +15 Toughness
Bloodied: 99 HP or less
Healing Surges: 8 --> 6 base, +2 Constitution
Healing Surge Value: 49 HP

AC: 46 --> 10 base, +13 armor, +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +1 feat, +1 shield
Fortitude: 43 --> 10 base, +8 ability (Strength), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +3 feat, +1 class
Reflex: 42 --> 10 base, +4 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +3 feat, +2 item, +1 class, +1 shield
Will: 42 --> 10 base, +6 ability (Wisdom), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +3 feat, +2 item

Initiative: +26 --> +4 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +5 item, +2 feat

Speed: 6 --> 6 base

Racial Powers:
Longtooth Shifting (PHB 2)

Theme Powers:
Adept's Insight (DSCS)

At-Will Attack Powers:
L1 - Marauder's Rush (MP 2)
L1 - Twin Strike (PHB)

Encounter Attack Powers:
L11 - Blood for Blood (MP 2)
L13 - Off-Hand Diversion (MP)
L23 - Nonchalant Collapse (MP)
L27 - Hurricane of Blades (PHB 2)

Daily Attack Powers:
L15 - Blade Cascade (PHB)
L19 - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB)
L20 - Bloodfury Rampage (MP 2)
L29 - Ultimate Confrontation (MP 2)

Utility Powers:
L2 - Invigorating Stride (MP 2)
L6 - Death Threat (D 377)
L10 - Resume the Hunt (MP 2)
L12 - Unleash the Beast (MP 2)
L16 - Ranger's Parry (MP 2)
L22 - Master of the Hunt (MP)
L26 - Rune of the Hero's Resolve (PHB 3)

Skills:
Athletics (+33) --> +8 ability (Strength), +5 trained, +15 levels, +3 item, +2 racial
Dungeoneering (+26) --> +6 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Endurance (+30) --> +2 ability (Constitution), +5 trained, +15 levels, +6 item, +2 racial
Insight (+26) --> +6 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Nature (+26) --> +6 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Perception (+26) --> +6 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels

Feats:
L1 - Armor Proficiency (Chainmail) (PHB)
L1 - Toughness (Ranger Bonus Feat) (PHB)
L2 - Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) (PHB)
L4 - Armor Proficiency (Scale) (PHB)
L6 - Heavy Blade Expertise (HotFL)
L8 - Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades) (PHB)
L10 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB)
L11 - Prime Punisher (D 373)
L12 - Called Shot (D 368)
L16 - Armor Specialization (Scale) (PHB)
L18 - Two-Weapon Defense (PHB)
L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL)
L21 - Rending Tempest (MP)
L21 - Improved Prime Shot (MP)
L22 - Heavy Blade Mastery (PHB)
L24 - Vistani Heritage (D 380)
L26 - Vistani Foresight (D 380)
L28 - Quick Draw (PHB)
L30 - Monastic Disciple (Insight) (PHB 3)

Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000):
L30 (3,125,000 gp): +6 Torc of Power Preservation (AV)
L29 (2,625,000 gp): +6 Battlecrazed Bastard Sword (AV)

L29 (2,625,000 gp): +6 Battlecrazed Bastard Sword (AV)

L28 (2,125,000 gp): Charm of Abundant Action (AV)

L27 (1,625,000 gp): +6 Dwarven Elderscale Armor (PHB)

L26 (1,125,000 gp): Iron Armbands of Power (Epic Tier) (AV)

L25 (625,000 gp): Belt of Titan Strength (PHB)
L23 (425,000 gp): Eye of Awareness (AV)
L18 (85,000 gp): Boots of Quickness (Paragon Tier) (AV)
L18 (85,000 gp): Gauntlets of Destruction (PHB)
L16 (45,000 gp): War Ring (AV)
L15 (25,000 gp): Sapphire Scabbard (AV)
L15 (25,000 gp): Sapphire Scabbard (AV)

L13 (17,000 gp): Ring of Giants (D 378)
L12 (13,000 gp): Stone of Earth (AV)

L11 (9,000 gp): Dice of Auspicious Fortune (D 381)
L9 (4,200 gp): Backlash Tattoo (AV 2)
L3 (680 gp): +1 Blood Fury Drow Long Knife (AV 2)

TOTAL: 14,608,880 gp


Kensei


What have you got in your hand there, boy? Is that an axe? Put that thing down, son, you're not a lumberjack! ...You've beaten every other member of the team using it? Let me see you make a couple of moves with that thing. Now, boy! ...Hm, not bad. Tell you what: you seem to be good at using that unwieldy thing, so we'll send you up to the 'jacks to train, see how that goes for you. Yes, you'll have to chop down trees - deal with it! Now get out there and hack something in half!

Build Goal:
This build's goal is to make a build who uses an unorthodox weapon type for a Ranger (the Axe), and actually being very effective while doing so.

Race - Longtooth Shifter (PHB 2) - The racial bumps are where they should be, and getting banged up only makes you more effective.

Fighting Style - Two-Blade Style (PHB) - Hard to say no to oversized dual-wielding and free Toughness as well.

Bonus Feature - Prime Shot (PHB) - While it may not be all that useful during Heroic tier, neither is Running Attack, and at least this one gets a heck of a lot more useful after that.

Multiclass - Fighter (PHB) - No surprises here - you can't take the Paragon Path without this MC feat.

Epic Destiny - Destined Scion (HotFK) - It's all about the additional ability score bonuses; this build likes having those extra two ability score bumps, especially with an much-needed additional bonus to hit on the house.

Gear

Weapons - The build will be wielding a Waraxe (AV) in each hand throughout most of its career, though he will start life rocking a Battleaxe (PHB) in each hand instead.

Armor - You'll start life in Chain (PHB) for a while, but then you'll switch to some quality armor in Scale (PHB).


Ability Scores

Starting Array (after racial modifiers):
Strength 20 - This is your everything when it comes to offense. Start it high and keep boosting it.
Dexterity 13 - Quite a few feats you want are going to require you invest in this.
Constitution 13 - A decent starting score here will do.
Wisdom 12 - While you won't put any points in this at the start of your career, you will as time goes on.
Intelligence/Charisma 10/8 - Who gets the 8 is up to you, but the point is to not waste any points here.

Ability Score Bonuses:
Level 4 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 8 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 11 - +1 to all scores
Level 14 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 18 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 21 - +1 to all scores
Level 21 - +2 Strength, +2 Constitution
Level 24 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 28 - +1 Strength, +1 Constitution

Final Array:
Strength 30
Constitution 18
Dexterity 18
Intelligence 10
Wisdom 16
Charisma 12


Kensei Paragon Path Features

L11 - Kensei Control Action (PHB) - A mulligan on an attack, for the cost of an action point. Occasionally useful, but not a flagship feature by any means.

L11 - Kensei Focus (PHB) - A sweet, no-strings-attached bonus to hit, which will certainly get good mileage on a Striker.

L16 - Kensei Mastery (PHB) - While this feature has a couple of strings attached to it, a damage bonus like this is murderous on a Ranger.


Skills

L1 - Athletics - It keys off your highest stat. All you really need to know.
L1 - Dungeoneering/Nature - One of these is literally mandatory due to the Ranger list, the other is simply an excellent choice given the way you're set up. I'd take them both.
L1 - Heal - A decent skill that gives you a good bit of party utility.
L1 - Perception - Pretty much the most useful skill in the game, and something you wouldn't be caught dead without.
L10 - Endurance - You get a racial bonus to it, it's a skill that comes up in big situations, and your preferred armor property boosts it further. A nice choice for your backup skill, as it were.


Powers

L1, At-Will - Throw and Stab (MP 2) - A nice change-of-pace option for your offensive output when some extra mobility (or some minion-munching) is called for.

L1, At-Will - Twin Strike (PHB) - The base upon which the class is built. Don't leave home without it.

L1, Encounter - Off-Hand Strike (MP) - The more attacks you can make, the merrier.

L1, Daily - Jaws of the Wolf (PHB) - This Daily packs a wallop when you get it, probably enough to KO a Standard all by itself. Doesn't scale too well, though.

L2, Utility - Invigorating Stride (MP 2) - A shift equal to your Wisdom modifier is good. Using your second wind as a move is very good. Put them together on the same power, and behold the beauty.

L3, Encounter - Ruffling Sting (MP) - With all due respect to Disruptive Strike, this is the choice for you if you care about novas, and this build certainly does.

L5, Daily - Frenzied Skirmish (PHB) - Gets you where you need to go, and packs a debuff while you're there, too.

L6, Utility - Death Threat (D 377) - While this power may not seem all that impressive on its own, combining it with your next Utility power results in a heck of a smooth transition from one target to the next.

L7, Encounter - Lashing Leaves (D 377) - A solid damage bonus after a two-swing power can make for some extra offensive fireworks from you.

L9, Daily - Attacks on the Run (PHB) - As a Melee Ranger, there is no real reason to NOT pick this power. It solves many situations for the Ranger and comes in for some hefty damage too.

L10, Utility - Resume the Hunt (MP 2) - This combined with Death Threat will get you from target 1 to target 2 with virtually no prep time (not to mention with a offensive and defensive boost), and that does count for a heck of a lot.

L11, Encounter - Masterstroke (PHB) - A rather flat power, to be honest with you. It's a single hitter that doesn't offer anything other than a bonus to hit. I wouldn't use this a whole lot, if at all.

L12, Utility - Ultimate Parry (PHB) - A good, solid damage prevention piece that might save your skin from time to time.

L13, Encounter - Off-Hand Diversion (MP) (replaces Off-Hand Strike) - A simple upgrade over the basic minor action attack, by attaching a CA effect on it. I'd take that deal.

L15, Daily - Blade Cascade (PHB) (replaces Jaws of the Wolf) - Absolutely savage damage, even for a Ranger power. This is your signature power: enjoy it.

L16, Utility - Ranger's Parry (MP 2) - A defensive Utility power is more than welcome on this sort of Ranger.

L17, Encounter - Untamed Outburst (MP) (replaces Lashing Leaves) - A native bonus to hit, as well as some solid damage and a daze attached make this one heck of a power.

L19, Daily - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB) (replaces Frenzied Skirmish) - Three attacks with a native bonus to hit, and can pack a stun. That's amazing on this build, or on any build for that matter.

L20, Daily - Weaponsoul Dance (PHB) - While not exactly a waste of a power, the whole "attacking multiple targets" bit kind of goes against the goal of a focus-fire expert. That said, immobilizing and knocking prone is pretty nice.

L22, Utility - Adamant Recovery (MP) - Gets you up when you're down, which is an excellent ability to have.

L23, Encounter - Nonchalant Collapse (MP) (replaces Ruffling Sting) - Bigger damage than the other minor action attacks at your disposal, hits a NAD, and knocs prone. Beautiful.

L25, Daily - Circling Cascade (MP 2) (replaces Attacks on the Run) - 3 attacks, with dazing and shifting thrown in? I can work with that.

L26, Utility - Epic Recovery (PHB 3) - The ability to pick yourself up when you're down is certainly useful.

L27, Encounter - Death Rend (PHB) (replaces Untamed Outburst) - The ability to stun on a per-encounter basis attached to a multiattack is almost too good to be true.


Feats

L1 - Armor Proficiency (Chain) (PHB) - About as un-glamorous a first feat as you can take, but your Dexterity will not be buffed enough to maintain a viable AC in Hide, so you need it.

L2 - Weapon Proficiency (Waraxe) (PHB) - This has some mighty nice stats for a one-hander, so it's definitely a good pickup.

L4 - Armor Proficiency (Scale) (PHB) - Again, a rather non-flashy armor feat, but at least this suit has plenty more upside than Chain.

L6 - Axe Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to attack rolls is nothing short of amazing, and a do-over on one of your damage rolls is pretty sweet, too.

L8 - Weapon Focus (Axes) (PHB) - Damage bonuses are what you're hunting for, so this one is welcome to join your feat list.

L10 - Battle Awareness (Endurance) (PHB) - An excellent extra attack opportunity, and it qualifies you for your Paragon Path.

L11 - Prime Punisher (D 373) - Now Prime Shot applies in Melee! The beginning of your definition as an isolationist combatant.

L12 - Called Shot (D 368) - This big damage bonus is a hefty incentive for you to take on enemies solo, and well worth the risk if you ask me.

L14 - Prime Quarry (MP) - Making your Prime Shot bonus even bigger is a great choice for a Ranger.

L16 - Armor Specialization (Scale) (PHB) - Getting rid of Scale's speed penalty and netting +1 AC out of the deal is pretty darn good for a Ranger.

L18 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB) - A nice damage bonus that opens up other nice feats.

L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL) - Patches up your NADs in a big-time way.

L21 - Rending Tempest (MP) - Extra damage on your subsequent attacks when you use a dual-wielder power. Extra nice on nova turns.

L22 - Axe Mastery (PHB) - Rangers make more attacks than most. An improved critical rate feat thus makes a heck of an impact.

L24 - Martial Mastery (MP) - Power-recovery shenanigans make this build more dangerous when it comes to bringing the pain against a dangerous opponent.

L26 - Deadly Axe (PHB) - High crit is a useful property to add to weapons like Axes, thanks to their big damage dice.

L28 - Two-Weapon Defense (PHB) - Some extra defenses never hurt.

L30 - Epic Will (HotFL) - A big bonus to what would otherwise be your weakest defense.


Magic Items

Armor - Dwarven Armor (PHB) - Cheap, buffs a useful skill in Endurance, and has one heck of an Item Daily power.

Weapon - Rending (AV) - Free hits on a critical make this weapon a sweet choice.

Weapon - Dwarven Thrower (D 385) - Cheap, and the ability to be thrown makes it a nice emergency option.

Arms - Iron Armbands of Power (AV) - No reason to not get on this damage bonus gravy train.

Feet - Boots of Caiphon (AV 2) - Insane movement ability, and a defensive bonus as the cherry on top. A pair of Boots of Eagerness (AV) will have to do until you can afford them, though.

Hands - Gauntlets of Destruction (AV) - Rerolling the 1's on all damage rolls, all the time is great to have. The Strikebacks (AV) can also serve you well while you're waiting for the Gauntlets to become available to you.

Head - Eye of Awareness (AV) - A bonus to Will defense is always nice, and a hefty bonus to initiative seals the deal. Before you can afford this, a Casque of Tactics (AV) isn't flashy, but it gets the job done.

Neck - Steadfast Amulet (AV) - The ability to save your way out of conditions before they significantly impair you is excellent. A Cloak of Resistance (PHB) will make for a respectable intermediary until this is available.

Ring - Shadow Band (AV) - This item provides a static bonus to defenses against certain modes of attack, which is awesome. Should you find yourself unable to afford it, a Ring of Greater Invisibility (AV 2) makes for a perfectly reasonable and significantly cheaper substitute.

Ring - Ring of Giants (D 378) - A very respectable bonus to critical hit damage is very nice to have, especially at this price.

Waist - Belt of Titan Strength (PHB) - Carries a nice bonus to Athletics checks, and a big time bonus to nova damage. A Belt of Breaching (AV 2) can also be a very useful substitute.

Tattoo - Backlash Tattoo (AV 2) - Lashing out when you get bloodied is awesome to have.


Sample Character

Race: Longtooth Shifter (PHB 2)
Class: Ranger (PHB)
Bonus Feature: Prime Shot (PHB)
Fighting Style: Two-Blade Style (PHB)
Multiclass: Fighter (PHB)
Paragon Path: Kensei (PHB)
Epic Destiny: Destined Scion (HotFK)
Background: Auspicious Birth (D 366)
Theme: Noble Adept (DSCS)

Ability Scores, with racial adjustments:
Strength 30 (+10)
Constitution 18 (+4)
Dexterity 18 (+4)
Intelligence 10 (+0)
Wisdom 16 (+3)
Charisma 12 (+1)

HP: 202 --> 12 base, +30 Strength, +145 levels, +15 Toughness
Bloodied: 101 HP or less
Healing Surges: 10 --> 6 base, +4 Constitution
Healing Surge Value: 50 HP

AC: 46 --> 10 base, +13 armor, +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +1 feat, +1 shield
Fortitude: 45 --> 10 base, +10 ability (Strength), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +3 feat, +1 class
Reflex: 42 --> 10 base, +4 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +3 feat, +2 item, +1 class, +1 shield
Will: 43 --> 10 base, +3 ability (Wisdom), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +4 Epic Will, +3 feat, +2 item

Initiative: +24 --> +4 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +5 item

Speed: 6 --> 6 base

Racial Powers:
Longtooth Shifting (PHB 2)

Theme Powers:
Adept's Insight (DSCS)

At-Will Attack Powers:
L1 - Throw and Stab (MP 2)
L1 - Twin Strike (PHB)

Encounter Attack Powers:
L11 - Masterstroke (PHB)
L13 - Off-Hand Diversion (MP)
L23 - Nonchalant Collapse (MP)
L27 - Death Rend (PHB)

Daily Attack Powers:
L15 - Blade Cascade (PHB)
L19 - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB)
L20 - Weaponsoul Dance (PHB)
L25 - Circling Cascade (MP 2)

Utility Powers:
L2 - Invigorating Stride (MP 2)
L6 - Death Threat (D 377)
L10 - Resume the Hunt (MP 2)
L12 - Ultimate Parry (PHB)
L16 - Ranger's Parry (MP 2)
L22 - Adamant Recovery (MP)
L26 - Epic Recovery (HotFK)

Skills:
Athletics (+35) --> +10 ability (Strength), +5 trained, +15 levels, +3 item, +2 racial
Dungeoneering (+23) --> +3 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Endurance (+32) --> +4 ability (Constitution), +5 trained, +15 levels, +6 item, +2 racial
Heal (+23) --> +3 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Nature (+23) --> +3 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Perception (+23) --> +3 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels

Feats:
L1 - Armor Proficiency (Chain) (PHB)
L1 - Toughness (Ranger Bonus Feat) (PHB)
L2 - Weapon Proficiency (Waraxe) (PHB)
L4 - Armor Proficiency (Scale) (PHB)
L6 - Axe Expertise (HotFL)
L8 - Weapon Focus (Axes) (PHB)
L10 - Battle Awareness (Endurance) (MP)
L11 - Prime Punisher (D 373)
L12 - Called Shot (D 368)
L14 - Prime Quarry (MP)
L16 - Armor Specialization (Scale) (PHB)
L18 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB)
L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL)
L21 - Rending Tempest (MP)
L22 - Axe Mastery (PHB)
L24 - Martial Mastery (MP)
L26 - Deadly Axe (PHB)
L28 - Two-Weapon Defense (PHB)
L30 - Epic Will (PHB 2)

Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000):
L29 (2,625,000 gp): +6 Rending Waraxe (AV)

L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Steadfast Amulet (AV)

L27 (1,625,000 gp): +6 Dwarven Elderscale Armor (PHB)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): +6 Dwarven Thrower Waraxe (D 385)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): Shadow Band (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Iron Armbands of Power (Epic Tier) (AV)

L25 (625,000 gp): Belt of Titan Strength (PHB)
L24 (525,000 gp): Boots of Caiphon (AV 2)
L23 (425,000 gp): Eye of Awareness (AV)
L18 (85,000 gp): Gauntlets of Destruction (PHB)
L13 (17,000 gp): Ring of Giants (D 378)
L12 (13,000 gp): Stone of Earth (AV)

L11 (9,000 gp): Dice of Auspicious Fortune (D 381)
L9 (4,200 gp): Backlash Tattoo (AV 2)
L3 (680 gp): +1 Blood Fury Handaxe (AV 2)

TOTAL: 12,453,880 gp
Kulkor Arms Master

So, I hear from the other recruits that you've been hitting people while they're down, trying to show them who's boss! No, I'm not going to punish you for that, don't be silly! You're not supposed to show mercy to anyone! Now, let me see what you're doing - no, that's not how you do it, silly! I'm going to send you to the army - while they may be a bunch of stooges, they do know how to bring people down and keep them there! Now, repeat after me: hup-two, hup-two, hup-two...

Build Goal:
This build's goal is to mix a dose of control in the typical Melee Ranger package by knocking prone, but still producing plenty of offense by having the chance of generating a third attack.

Race - Half-Orc (PHB 2) - The ability scores are in the right places, and the other racial abilities (THP when bloodied, an extra [W] per encounter) aren't bad, either.

Fighting Style - Two-Blade Style (PHB) - Hard to say no to oversized dual-wielding and free Toughness as well.

Bonus Feature - Prime Shot (PHB) - While it may not be all that useful during Heroic tier, neither is Running Attack, and at least this one gets a heck of a lot more useful after that.

Multiclass - Fighter (PHB) - No surprises here - you can't take the Paragon Path without this MC feat.

Epic Destiny - Destined Scion (HotFK) - It's all about the additional ability score bonuses; since this build leans rather heavily on its ability scores for defense, those ability scores will win out, especially with an extra bonus to hit on the house.

Gear

Weapons - The build will be wielding a Bastard Sword (PHB) in each hand throughout most of its career, though he will start life rocking a Broadsword (AV) in each hand instead.

Armor - No reason to ever leave your beloved Hide (PHB).


Ability Scores

Starting Array (after racial modifiers):
Strength 18 - This is your everything when it comes to offense. Start it high and keep boosting it.
Dexterity 18 - It's all about the defenses and secondary effects here, so it's just as important as Strength.
Wisdom 13 - Just enough to get all your feats.
Constitution 11 - Pretty much the only thing you have left over.
Intelligence/Charisma 8/10 - Who gets the 8 is up to you, but the point is to not waste any points here.

Ability Score Bonuses:
Level 4 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 8 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 11 - +1 to all scores
Level 14 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 18 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 21 - +1 to all scores
Level 21 - +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity
Level 24 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 28 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity

Final Array:
Strength 28
Constitution 13
Dexterity 28
Intelligence 10
Wisdom 15
Charisma 12


Kulkor Arms Master Paragon Path Features

L11 - Kulkor Master (MP 2) - A very nice feature, actually. It's just that using the weapon type it likes is just not a good idea for you.

L11 - Kulkor Persistence (MP 2) - Again, a sweet feature, just using the wrong weapon type.

L16 - Smite the Fallen (MP 2) - And this is the main reason why you're taking a PP with 2 features you can't even use. The ability to reliably generate an additional attack is murderous on the Ranger chassis.


Skills

L1 - Acrobatics - Keys off a very important stat, and is quite useful to you.
L1 - Athletics - It keys off what is tied for your highest stat. All you really need to know.
L1 - Dungeoneering/Nature - One of these is literally mandatory due to the Ranger list, so pick one and be on your way.
L1 - Perception - Pretty much the most useful skill in the game, and something you wouldn't be caught dead without.
L1 - Stealth - A sweet skill to have, especially when you're as good as you are at it.
L8 - Endurance - A decent tough-guy skill that will probably be of some use for you.


Powers

L1, At-Will - Fading Strike (MP 2) - A nice backup, this gives you the ability to disengage and then get the heck out of a fight you may not want to be in.

L1, At-Will - Twin Strike (PHB) - The base upon which the class is built. Don't leave home without it.

L1, Encounter - Off-Hand Strike (MP) - The more attacks you can make, the merrier.

L1, Daily - Jaws of the Wolf (PHB) - This Daily packs a wallop when you get it, probably enough to KO a Standard all by itself. Doesn't scale too well, though.

L2, Utility - Invigorating Stride (MP 2) - Though the shift is likely not worth much to you, the ability to second wind as a move certainly is. Highly recommended.

L3, Encounter - Ruffling Sting (MP) - With all due respect to Disruptive Strike, this is the choice for you if you care about novas, and this build certainly does.

L5, Daily - Frenzied Skirmish (PHB) - Gets you where you need to go, and packs a debuff while you're there, too.

L6, Utility - Death Threat (D 377) - While this power may not seem all that impressive on its own, combining it with your next Utility power results in a heck of a smooth transition from one target to the next.

L7, Encounter - Lashing Leaves (D 377) - While the extra damage from this power might not have you thinking offensive fireworks, the fact that your party can benefit from it raises its stock.

L9, Daily - Attacks on the Run (PHB) - As a Melee Ranger, there is no real reason to NOT pick this power. It solves many situations for the Ranger and comes in for some hefty damage too.

L10, Utility - Resume the Hunt (MP 2) - This combined with Death Threat will get you from target 1 to target 2 with virtually no prep time (not to mention with a offensive and defensive boost), and that does count for a heck of a lot.

L11, Encounter - Arms Master Challenge (MP 2) - Spreading out the damage is not exactly the way you want to get things done.

L12, Utility - Tempered in Blood (PHB) - Another sweet Utility power that lets you use your second wind without interrupting your attack routine.

L13, Encounter - Off-Hand Diversion (MP) (replaces Off-Hand Strike) - A simple upgrade over the basic minor action attack, by attaching a CA effect on it. I'd take that deal.

L15, Daily - Blade Cascade (PHB) (replaces Jaws of the Wolf) - Absolutely savage damage, even for a Ranger power. This is your signature power: enjoy it.

L16, Utility - Ranger's Parry (MP 2) - A defensive Utility power is more than welcome on this sort of Ranger.

L17, Encounter - Untamed Outburst (MP) (replaces Lashing Leaves) - A native bonus to hit, as well as some solid damage and a daze attached make this one heck of a power.

L19, Daily - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB) (replaces Frenzied Skirmish) - Three attacks with a native bonus to hit, and can pack a stun. That's amazing on this build, or on any build for that matter.

L20, Daily - Subjugation of Steel (PHB) - A close burst attack (meh), but at least you get your Smite the Fallen attack off and it's Reliable. Decent.

L22, Utility - Adamant Recovery (MP) - An excellent emergency button to have in your back pocket.

L23, Encounter - Nonchalant Collapse (MP) (replaces Ruffling Sting) - Bigger damage than the other minor action attacks at your disposal, hits a NAD, and knocs prone. Beautiful.

L25, Daily - Circling Cascade (MP 2) (replaces Attacks on the Run) - 3 attacks, with dazing and shifting thrown in? I can work with that.

L26, Utility - Epic Recovery (HotFK) - A power that makes you a hell of a lot harder to bring down.

L27, Encounter - Death Rend (PHB) (replaces Untamed Outburst) - The ability to stun is an oh-so-sweet expansion of your capabilities. An excellent choice to be had.


Feats

L1 - Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades) (PHB) - A damage bonus is good stuff for a Ranger.

L2 - Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) (PHB) - Getting bigger swords certainly sounds like a good idea to me.

L4 - Heavy Blade Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to attack rolls is amazing, and a bonus to all defenses against OA's isn't too shabby either.

L6 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB) - While this feat isn't bad at all by itself, its true value lies in the other feats it opens up access to.

L8 - Battle Awareness (Endurance) (MP) - A free attack opportunity that's pretty easy to pull off, and access to the Fighter's list of cool stuff.

L10 - Kulkor Battlearm Student (MP 2) - A pre-requisite feat, mostly (though it does get you a bonus to Athletics).

L11 - Prime Punisher (D 373) - Prime Shot applies to Melee attacks now, which gives you some sweet bonuses for an isolationist combat style.

L12 - Called Shot (D 368) - A sweet damage bonus for flying solo as far as combat is concerned.

L14 - Hobbling Strike (MP 2) - Giving up a die of Quarry damage in order to slow can help you out tactically, and it is a harbinger of things to come regarding your combat tricks.

L16 - World Serpent's Grasp (HotFK) - This feat combines with Hobbling Strike and Twin Strike to knock your Quarry prone if both attacks hit. Add Smite the Fallen, and you have the potential for some fireworks.

L18 - Vicious Advantage (PHB 3) - A feat that will help you land attacks on slowed and immobilized targets, which will help you pull your Smite the Fallen trick off.

L20 - Improved Defenses (PHB) - Patches up your NADs in a big-time way.

L21 - Rending Tempest (MP) - Extra damage on your subsequent attacks when you use a dual-wielder power. Extra nice on nova turns.

L22 - Heavy Blade Mastery (PHB) - Rangers make more attacks than most. An improved critical rate feat thus makes a heck of an impact.

L24 - Martial Mastery (MP) - Power-recovery shenanigans make this build more dangerous when it comes to bringing the pain against a dangerous opponent.

L26 - Prime Quarry (MP) - A bonus to hit against opponents you're fighting solo is good stuff.

L28 - Two-Weapon Defense (HotFL) - A couple of sweet defensive bonuses for you.

L30 - Epic Will (PHB 2) - Goes a long way toward fixing the bad NAD.


Magic Items

Armor - Predator's Hide (AV 2) - The ability to impose what amounts to a hefty penalty to hit against your Quarry's attacks against you is an extremely strong ability, and worth keeping.

Weapon - Battlecrazed (PHB) - A sweet property that will boost your nova damage significantly when your HP total dips below half.

Arms - Iron Armbands of Power (AV) - No reason to not get on this damage bonus gravy train.

Feet - Zephyr Boots (AV) - You can fly: need I say more? A pair of Boots of Eagerness (AV) will have to do until you can afford them, though.

Hands - Gauntlets of Destruction (PHB) - Rerolling 1's all the time will help keep your damage consistent. You'll probably be rocking some Strikebacks (AV) until these show up.

Head - Eye of Awareness (AV) - A bonus to Will defense is always nice, and a hefty bonus to initiative seals the deal. Before you can afford this, a Casque of Tactics (AV) isn't flashy, but it gets the job done.

Neck - Timeless Locket (AV) - A nice bonus to inititative, as well as some action advantage should you need it.

Ring - Shadow Band (AV) - This item provides a static bonus to defenses against certain modes of attack, which is awesome. Should you find yourself unable to afford it, a Ring of Greater Invisibility (AV 2) makes for a perfectly reasonable and significantly cheaper substitute.

Ring - Ring of Giants (D 378) - A very respectable bonus to critical hit damage is very nice to have, especially at this price.

Waist - Belt of Titan Strength (PHB) - Carries a nice bonus to Athletics checks, and a big time bonus to nova damage. A Belt of Breaching (AV 2) can also be a very useful substitute.

Tattoo - Backlash Tattoo (AV 2) - Lashing out when you get bloodied is awesome to have.


Sample Character

Race: Half-Orc (PHB 2)
Class: Ranger (PHB)
Bonus Feature: Prime Shot (PHB)
Fighting Style: Two-Blade Style (PHB)
Multiclass: Fighter (PHB)
Paragon Path: Kulkor Arms Master (MP 2)
Epic Destiny: Destined Scion (HotFK)
Background: Auspicious Birth (D 366)
Theme: Noble Adept (DSCS)

Ability Scores, with racial adjustments:
Strength 28 (+9)
Constitution 13 (+1)
Dexterity 28 (+9)
Intelligence 10 (+0)
Wisdom 15 (+2)
Charisma 12 (+1)

HP: 200 --> 12 base, +28 Strength, +145 levels, +15 Toughness
Bloodied: 100 HP or less
Healing Surges: 7 --> 6 base, +1 Constitution
Healing Surge Value: 50 HP

AC: 46 --> 10 base, +13 armor, +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +1 feat, +1 shield
Fortitude: 44 --> 10 base, +9 ability (Strength), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +3 feat, +1 class
Reflex: 45 --> 10 base, +9 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +3 feat, +1 class, +1 shield
Will: 42 --> 10 base, +2 ability (Wisdom), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +4 Epic Will, +3 feat, +2 item

Initiative: +29 --> +9 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +5 item

Speed: 6 --> 6 base

Racial Powers:
Furious Assault (PHB 2)

Theme Powers:
Adept's Insight (DSCS)

At-Will Attack Powers:
L1 - Fading Strike (MP 2)
L1 - Twin Strike (PHB)

Encounter Attack Powers:
L11 - Arms Master Challenge (MP 2)
L13 - Off-Hand Diversion (MP)
L23 - Nonchalant Collapse (MP)
L27 - Death Rend (PHB)

Daily Attack Powers:
L15 - Blade Cascade (PHB)
L19 - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB)
L20 - Subjugation of Steel (MP 2)
L25 - Circling Cascade (MP 2)

Utility Powers:
L2 - Invigorating Stride (MP 2)
L6 - Death Threat (D 377)
L10 - Resume the Hunt (MP 2)
L12 - Tempered in Blood (MP 2)
L16 - Ranger's Parry (MP 2)
L22 - Adamant Recovery (MP)
L26 - Epic Recovery (HotFK)

Skills:
Acrobatics (+28) --> +9 ability (Dexterity), +5 trained, +15 levels, -1 armor
Athletics (+33) --> +9 ability (Strength), +5 trained, +15 levels, +3 item, +2 feat, -1 armor
Endurance (+23) --> +2 ability (Constitution), +5 trained, +15 levels, +2 racial, -1 armor
Nature (+22) --> +2 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Perception (+22) --> +2 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Stealth (+28) --> +9 ability (Dexterity), +5 trained, +15 levels, -1 armor

Feats:
L1 - Toughness (Ranger Bonus Feat) (PHB)
L1 - Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades) (PHB)
L2 - Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) (PHB)
L4 - Heavy Blade Expertise (HotFL)
L6 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB)
L8 - Battle Awareness (Endurance) (MP)
L10 - Kulkor Battlearm Student (MP 2)
L11 - Prime Punisher (D 373)
L12 - Called Shot (D 368)
L14 - Hobbling Strike (MP 2)
L16 - World Serpent's Grasp (HotFK)
L18 - Vicious Advantage (PHB 3)
L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL)
L21 - Rending Tempest (MP)
L22 - Heavy Blade Mastery (PHB)
L24 - Martial Mastery (MP)
L26 - Prime Quarry (MP)
L28 - Two-Weapon Defense (PHB)
L30 - Epic Will (PHB 2)

Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000):
L29 (2,625,000 gp): +6 Battlecrazed Bastard Sword (AV)

L29 (2,625,000 gp): +6 Battlecrazed Bastard Sword (AV)

L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Predator's Elderhide Armor (AV 2)
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Steadfast Amulet (AV)

L27 (1,625,000 gp): Shadow Band (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Iron Armbands of Power (Epic Tier) (AV)

L25 (625,000 gp): Belt of Titan Strength (PHB)
L24 (525,000 gp): Zephyr Boots (AV)
L23 (425,000 gp): Eye of Awareness (AV)
L18 (85,000 gp): Gauntlets of Destruction (PHB)
L15 (25,000 gp): Sapphire Scabbard (AV)
L15 (25,000 gp): Sapphire Scabbard (AV)

L13 (17,000 gp): Ring of Giants (D 378)
L12 (13,000 gp): Stone of Earth (AV)

L11 (9,000 gp): Dice of Auspicious Fortune (D 381)
L9 (4,200 gp): Backlash Tattoo (AV 2)
L3 (680 gp): +1 Blood Fury Drow Long Knife (AV 2)

TOTAL: 14,003,880 gp
Lone Wolf

Hey, you! Yeah, you, the one in the corner! Get over here and mingle with the rest! ...Hm, you don't seem to like other people, do you? Fine then, let's work something out here. You can stay by yourself, but you're going to have to learn to fight alone. No backup, you got that? Hey, don't look so excited about that, this is supposed to be hard! Get going, you sociopath, and you'd better be able to take 2 of the normal recruits with no rest when you come back!

Build Goal:
The idea here is to produce an isolation specialist Melee Ranger whose combat style is extremely hard for the enemy to deny. To that end, forced movement effects (along with some extra damage from racial goodies) will be employed, along with additional mobility goodies. Also, the isolationist combat style will come with benefits above and beyond those enjoyed by the typical Ranger.

Race - Dragonborn (PHB) - Two words explain the rationale behind this choice: Draconic Arrogance. Those combine with the Lone Wolf's ability to push on every hit for a heck of a lot of extra damage.

Racial Power Choice

Dragon Breath (PHB) - You'll be able to generate your own combat advantage, so a bit of AoE damage as a minor action might come in handy.


Fighting Style - Two-Blade Style (PHB) - Wielding huge weapons for the win (free Toughness doesn't hurt its stock, either).

Bonus Feature - Prime Shot (PHB) - While it may not be all that useful during Heroic tier, neither is Running Attack, and at least this one gets a heck of a lot more useful after that.

Multiclass - Fighter (PHB) - This multiclass feat will add a neat extra attack, and open up access to the aforementioned Draconic Arrogance feat, along with other goodies.

Epic Destiny - Destined Scion (HotFK) - You need as many bonuses to your ability scores as you can get, and this one delivers in a big way, along with some extra accuracy on the side.

Gear

Weapons - The build will be wielding a Bastard Sword (PHB) in each hand throughout its career, though it will start life favoring the Broadsword (AV).

Armor - After a brief stint in Chain (PHB), the build will be upgrading to Scale (PHB), and staying there.


Ability Scores

Starting Array (after racial modifiers):
Strength 20 - This is your everything when it comes to offense. Start it high and keep boosting it.
Charisma 14 - Unlike most other Rangers, you won't be using Wisdom for much, and you do have a racial bump to this ability score, so you might as well work on it.
Constitution 13 - A decent starting score here will do to get you some feats and toughness.
Dexterity 11 - While it's not getting a lot of love right now, it will as you level up.
Wisdom 10 - You don't want to dump this all the way down - some of your skills use it.
Intelligence 8 - In a word, unnecesary.

Ability Score Bonuses:
Level 4 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 8 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 11 - +1 to all scores
Level 14 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 18 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 21 - +1 to all scores
Level 21 - +2 Strength, +2 Charisma
Level 24 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 28 - +1 Strength, +1 Constitution

Final Array:
Strength 30
Constitution 16
Dexterity 18
Intelligence 10
Wisdom 12
Charisma 18


Lone Wolf Paragon Path Features

L11 - Focused Hunter (MP 2) - +2 to hit for maintaining isolation (something a lot of Melee Rangers were planning on doing anyway)? Sign me up!

L11 - Overwhelming Action (MP 2) - Imposes a condition when you AP. Could be worse, I guess.

L16 - Vanquishing Chase (MP 2) - A pretty sweet feature for ensuring you maintain the conditions for the Prime Shot feats as well as for Focused Hunter, it synergizes with Draconic Arrogance to become a source of damage in and of itself.


Skills

L1 - Acrobatics - Your Dexterity modifier is a work in progress, but this is the best choice in a bad list for you.
L1 - Athletics
- It keys off your highest stat. All you really need to know.
L1 - Dungeoneering/Nature - One of these is literally mandatory due to the Ranger list, so just pick one and be on your way.
L1 - Endurance - Do YOU want to die of disease or suffocate or fall over from exhaustion? Neither do I.
L1 - Perception - Pretty much the most useful skill in the game, and something you wouldn't be caught dead without.
L10 - Intimidate - While not strictly necessary, you get it for free (plus you have a racial disposition for it), so why not take it?


Powers

L1, At-Will - Throw and Stab (MP 2) - A neat mobility option.

L1, At-Will - Twin Strike (PHB) - The base upon which the class is built. Don't leave home without it.

L1, Encounter - Off-Hand Strike (MP) - The more attacks you can make, the merrier.

L1, Daily - Jaws of the Wolf (PHB) - This Daily packs a wallop when you get it, probably enough to KO a Standard all by itself. Doesn't scale too well, though.

L2, Utility - Invigorating Stride (MP 2) - Though the shift won't do much for you, the ability to use your second wind as a minor action is fantastic.

L3, Encounter - Ruffling Sting (MP) - With all due respect to Disruptive Strike, this is the choice for you if you care about novas, and this build certainly does.

L5, Daily - Frenzied Skirmish (PHB) - Gets you where you need to go, and packs a debuff while you're there, too.

L6, Utility - Death Threat (D 377) - While this power may not seem all that impressive on its own, combining it with your next Utility power results in a heck of a smooth transition from one target to the next.

L7, Encounter - Claws of the Griffon (PHB) - While these are just two plain jane attacks, they do deal a ton of damage, so it's a good power to have.

L9, Daily - Attacks on the Run (PHB) - As a Melee Ranger, there is no real reason to NOT pick this power. It solves many situations for the Ranger and comes in for some hefty damage too.

L10, Utility - Resume the Hunt (MP 2) - This combined with Death Threat will get you from target 1 to target 2 with virtually no prep time (not to mention with a offensive and defensive boost), and that does count for a heck of a lot.

L11, Encounter - Single Combat Assault (MP 2) - Requires a thrown weapon, and it's a single attack. At least it dazes and pulls the enemy to you...

L12, Utility - Escape the Trap (MP 2) - Sure, it has a condition, but an At-Will minor action shift you can use to shuffle around and evade enemies who would deny you the conditions required by your combat style has got to be worth something.

L13, Encounter - Off-Hand Diversion (MP) (replaces Off-Hand Strike) - A simple upgrade over the basic minor action attack, by attaching a CA effect on it. I'd take that deal.

L15, Daily - Blade Cascade (PHB) (replaces Jaws of the Wolf) - Absolutely savage damage, even for a Ranger power. This is your signature power: enjoy it.

L16, Utility - Ranger's Parry (MP 2) - A defensive Utility power is pretty welcome on a Ranger that plans on going at it pretty much on his own.

L17, Encounter - Untamed Outburst (MP) (replaces Claws of the Griffon) - A native bonus to hit, as well as some solid damage and a daze attached make this one heck of a power.

L19, Daily - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB) (replaces Frenzied Skirmish) - Three attacks with a native bonus to hit, and can pack a stun. That's amazing on this build, or on any build for that matter.

L20, Daily - Disperse the Horde (MP 2) - I'm not a fan of close burst attacks on Rangers, but the fact that this one pushes everyone involved and knocks everyone who isn't your Quarry prone (which will trigger Draconic Arrogance twice) makes it respectable.

L22, Utility - Adamant Recovery (MP) - A sweet emergency button to keep you up and at 'em.

L23, Encounter - Nonchalant Collapse (MP) (replaces Ruffling Sting) - Bigger damage than the other minor action attacks at your disposal, hits a NAD, and knocs prone. Beautiful.

L25, Daily - Circling Cascade (MP 2) (replaces Attacks on the Run) - 3 attacks, with dazing and shifting thrown in? I can work with that.

L26, Utility - Epic Recovery (HotFK)
- Another "wake me up" button can be useful to you.

L27, Encounter - Death Rend (PHB) (replaces Untamed Outburst) - Having the ability to stun on an encounter basis is an absolutely amazing addition to the Ranger's already impressive arsenal.


Feats

L1 - Armor Proficiency (Chain) (PHB) - Not exactly a flashy feat, but it's necessary to keep you in the Melee-worthy AC range.

L2 - Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) (PHB) - This gives you access to a big-boy weapon.

L4 - Armor Proficiency (Scale) (PHB) - Provides you with a decent damage bump, and opens up other feats.

L6 - Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades) (PHB) - Damage bonuses help you more than most.

L8 - Heavy Blade Expertise (HotFL) - The scaling bonus to hit is why you're here, but the bonus to defenses against OA's helps too.

L10 - Student of the Sword (Intimidate, One-Handed Weapons) (PHB) - Not the most awesome feat out there, but it helps you meet the requisites.

L11 - Prime Punisher (D 373) - Now Prime Shot applies in Melee! The beginning of your definition as an isolationist combatant.

L12 - Called Shot (D 368) - This big damage bonus is a hefty incentive for you to take on enemies solo, and well worth the risk if you ask me.

L14 - Cunning Stalker (HotFK) - Even more fuel for the isolation fighting fire, this one makes sure you'll always have combat advantage when you're in a one-on-one.

L16 - Draconic Arrogance (MP) - Quite simply the reason we chose the race we did. An additional source of your best ability score to damage is a HUGE boost.

L18 - Armor Specialization (Scale) (PHB) - A nice AC bump, as well as elimination of that pesky speed penalty.

L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL) - Patches up your NADs in a big-time way.

L21 - Rending Tempest (MP) - Extra damage on your subsequent attacks when you use a dual-wielder power. Extra nice on nova turns.

L22 - Heavy Blade Mastery (PHB) - Rangers make more attacks than most. An improved critical rate feat thus makes a heck of an impact.

L24 - Martial Mastery (MP) - Power-recovery shenanigans make this build more dangerous when it comes to bringing the pain against a dangerous opponent.

L26 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB) - A nice damage bump never hurts.

L28 - Two-Weapon Defense (PHB) - Having more defenses never hurt anybody.

L30 - Epic Will (PHB 2) - This feat helps patch up what is the worst NAD on this build.


Magic Items

Armor - Dwarven (PHB) - Free action healing without spending a surge? Sure.

Weapon - Harmony Blade (AV 2) - It hands out free attacks on a critical, and it also slaps on penalties to hit on your target. Excellent.

Weapon - Farbond Spellblade (AV 2) - Gives you a quality Ranged option to fall back on.

Arms - Iron Armbands of Power (AV) - No reason to not get on this damage bonus gravy train.

Feet - Boots of Caiphon (AV 2) - A bonus to Reflex, and a minor action At-Will shift for a huge distance? Sign me up! A pair of Boots of Eagerness (AV) will have to do until you can afford them, though.

Hands - Gauntlets of Destruction (AV) - Rerolling the 1's on all damage rolls, all the time is great to have. The Strikebacks (AV) can also serve you well while you're waiting for the Gauntlets to become available to you.

Head - Eye of Awareness (AV) - A bonus to Will defense is always nice, and a hefty bonus to initiative seals the deal. Before you can afford this, a Casque of Tactics (AV) isn't flashy, but it gets the job done.

Neck - Steadfast Amulet (AV) - Gets you out of daze and stun, which is cool. A Cloak of Resistance (PHB) or a Baffling Cape (AV 2) will make for a respectable intermediary until this is available.

Ring - Shadow Band (AV) - This item provides a static bonus to defenses against certain modes of attack, which is awesome. Should you find yourself unable to afford it, a Ring of Greater Invisibility (AV 2) makes for a perfectly reasonable and significantly cheaper substitute.

Ring - Ring of Giants (D 378) - A very respectable bonus to critical hit damage is very nice to have, especially at this price.

Waist - Belt of Titan Strength (PHB) - Carries a nice bonus to Athletics checks, and a big time bonus to nova damage. A Belt of Breaching (AV 2) can also be a very useful substitute.

Tattoo - Backlash Tattoo (AV 2) - Lashing out when you get bloodied is awesome to have.


Sample Character

Race: Dragonborn (PHB)
Class: Ranger (PHB)
Bonus Feature: Prime Shot (PHB)
Fighting Style: Two-Blade Style (PHB)
Multiclass: Fighter (PHB)
Paragon Path: Lone Wolf (MP 2)
Epic Destiny: Destined Scion (HotFK)
Background: Auspicious Birth (D 366)
Theme: Noble Adept (DSCS)

Ability Scores, with racial adjustments:
Strength 30 (+10)
Constitution 16 (+3)
Dexterity 18 (+4)
Intelligence 10 (+0)
Wisdom 12 (+1)
Charisma 18 (+4)

HP: 202 --> 12 base, +30 Strength, +145 levels, +15 Toughness
Bloodied: 101 HP or less
Healing Surges: 9 --> 6 base, +3 Constitution
Healing Surge Value: 53 HP

AC: 46 --> 10 base, +13 armor, +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +1 feat, +1 shield
Fortitude: 45 --> 10 base, +10 ability (Strength), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +3 feat, +1 class
Reflex: 42 --> 10 base, +4 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +3 feat, +2 item, +1 class, +1 shield
Will: 44 --> 10 base, +4 ability (Charisma), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +4 Epic Will, +3 feat, +2 item

Initiative: +24 --> +4 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +5 item

Speed: 6 --> 6 base

Racial Powers:
Dragon Breath (Fire) (PHB)

Theme Powers:
Adept's Insight (DSCS)

At-Will Attack Powers:
L1 - Throw and Stab (MP 2)
L1 - Twin Strike (PHB)

Encounter Attack Powers:
L11 - Single Combat Assault (MP 2)
L13 - Off-Hand Diversion (MP)
L23 - Nonchalant Collapse (MP)
L27 - Death Rend (PHB)

Daily Attack Powers:
L15 - Blade Cascade (PHB)
L19 - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB)
L20 - Disperse the Horde (MP 2)
L25 - Circling Cascade (MP 2)

Utility Powers:
L2 - Invigorating Stride (MP 2)
L6 - Death Threat (D 377)
L10 - Resume the Hunt (MP 2)
L12 - Escape the Trap (MP 2)
L16 - Ranger's Parry (MP 2)
L22 - Adamant Recovery (MP)
L26 - Epic Recovery (HotFK)

Skills:
Acrobatics (+24) --> +4 ability (Dexterity), +5 trained, +15 levels
Athletics (+33) --> +10 ability (Strength), +5 trained, +15 levels, +3 item
Endurance (+29) --> +3 ability (Constitution), +5 trained, +15 levels, +6 item
Intimidate (+26) --> +4 ability (Charisma), +5 trained, +15 levels, +2 racial
Nature (+21) --> +1 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Perception (+21) --> +1 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels

Feats:
L1 – Armor Proficiency (Chain) (PHB)
L2 – Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) (PHB)
L4 – Armor Proficiency (Scale) (PHB)
L6 – Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades) (PHB)
L8 – Heavy Blade Expertise (HotFL)
L10 – Student of the Sword (Intimidate, One-Handed Weapons) (PHB)
L11 – Prime Punisher (D 373)
L12 – Called Shot (D 368)
L14 – Cunning Stalker (HotFK)
L16 – Draconic Arrogance (MP)
L18 – Armor Specialization (Scale) (PHB)
L20 – Improved Defenses (HotFL)
L21 – Rending Tempest (MP)
L22 – Heavy Blade Mastery (PHB)
L24 – Martial Mastery (MP)
L26 – Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB)
L28 – Two-Weapon Defense (PHB)
L30 – Epic Will (PHB 2)

Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000):
L29 (2,625,000 gp):
+6 Harmony Blade Bastard Sword (AV 2)
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Steadfast Amulet (AV)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): +6 Dwarven Elderscale Armor (AV)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): +6 Farbond Spellblade Bastard Sword (AV 2)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): Shadow Band (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Iron Armbands of Power (Epic Tier) (AV)

L25 (625,000 gp): Belt of Titan Strength (PHB)
L24 (525,000 gp): Boots of Caiphon (AV 2)
L23 (425,000 gp): Eye of Awareness (AV)
L18 (85,000 gp): Gauntlets of Destruction (PHB)
L15 (25,000 gp): Sapphire Scabbard (AV)
L15 (25,000 gp): Sapphire Scabbard (AV)

L13 (17,000 gp): Ring of Giants (D 378)
L12 (13,000 gp): Stone of Earth (AV)

L11 (9,000 gp): Dice of Auspicious Fortune (D 381)
L9 (4,200 gp): Backlash Tattoo (AV 2)
L3 (680 gp): +1 Blood Fury Drow Long Knife (AV 2)

TOTAL: 10,878,880 gp
Lyrandar Wind-Rider

Your bunkmates tell me that you've been setting up wind-traps in the barracks, maggot! Care to explain yourself? ...Hey, how'd you get up there? *zap* Ow! Get back down here! *zap* Hm, you seem to be in tune with this whole lightning thing. I think there's someplace you can go to learn about that sort of stuff... *zap* ...but you're going to have to stop doing that first!

Build Goal:
Here, we're trying to make an Archer that can put out good damage, as well as be very sturdy and abuse the Lightning damage element.

Race - Revenant (D 376) - An unorthodox Archer build demands an unorthodox race, and while you probably won't be using the racial tricks this has to offer to their fullest extent, it does bring what you're looking for as far as ability scores go.

Past Life Race

Elf (PHB) - I prefer this option because of the strength of its racial support for what you want to do.


Fighting Style - Hunter Style (PHB) - A sweet bonus to AC against OA's, and the ability to draw or stow at-will also helps.

Bonus Feature - Prime Shot (PHB) - A bonus to hit if you stick your neck out a bit, and it's supported pretty well for you.

Multiclass - Rogue (PHB) - This multiclass adds a bit of extra damage come nova time and provides the Archer with a minor action attack it would otherwise lack, so it's a pretty good MC for you.

Epic Destiny - Destined Scion (HotFK) - It's all about the additional ability score bonuses; since this build relies more heavily on its ability scores for defense, those ability scores will win out, especially with the extra bonus to hit this ED provides.

Gear

Weapons - The build will be wielding a Greatbow (PHB) all career long.

Armor - No reason to ever leave your beloved Hide (PHB).


Ability Scores

Starting Array (after racial modifiers):
Dexterity 20 - Few builds get as much out of Dexterity as an Archer.
Constitution 15 - Important for surges, Fortitude defense, and your money PP feature.
Wisdom 13 - A solid score for feats and Will defense.
Strength 10 - Carrying capacity and Athletics are somewhat important, so don't trash this score.
Intelligence/Charisma 8/10 - Who gets the 8 is up to you, but the point is to not waste any points here.

Ability Score Bonuses:
Level 4 - +1 Constitution, +1 Dexterity
Level 8 - +1 Constitution, +1 Dexterity
Level 11 - +1 to all scores
Level 14 - +1 Constitution, +1 Dexterity
Level 18 - +1 Constitution, +1 Dexterity
Level 21 - +1 to all scores
Level 21 - +2 Constitution, +2 Dexterity
Level 24 - +1 Constitution, +1 Dexterity
Level 28 - +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom

Final Array:
Strength 12
Constitution 24
Dexterity 30
Intelligence 12
Wisdom 16
Charisma 10


Lyrandar Wind-Rider Paragon Path Features

L11 - Storm Adept (EPG) - To be blunt, the reason why you're here. A bonus to accuracy and damage when using a certain type of element is pretty damn awesome if you ask me.

L11 - Wind-Rider Action (EPG) - The ability to fly can get you places, even if it is temporary.

L16 - Feather's Touch (EPG) - A rather conditional Utility power. It could be of some use in a pinch, though.


Skills

L1 - Acrobatics - Keys off a very important stat, and is quite useful to you.
L1 - Dungeoneering/Nature - One of these is literally mandatory due to the Ranger list, so pick it and be on your way.
L1 - Endurance - The ability to tough things out certainly comes in handy.
L1 - Perception - Pretty much the most useful skill in the game, and something you wouldn't be caught dead without.
L1 - Stealth - A sweet skill to have, especially when you're as good as you are at it.
L6 - Thievery - Another skill you're real good at, and it enhances your overall package as a scout.


Powers

L1, At-Will - Nimble Strike (MP 2) - A nice backup option, this gives you the ability to disengage most Melee enemies without having to stick your neck out for an OA.

L1, At-Will - Twin Strike (PHB) - The base upon which the class is built. Don't leave home without it.

L1, Encounter - Two-Fanged Strike (PHB) - Two attacks with some decent kick, plus a bit more if both hit.

L1, Daily - Sure Shot (MP 2) - Rerolling the attack and damage rolls make this nice and reliable.

L2, Utility - Invigorating Stride (MP 2) - The shift helps get you out of places you don't want to be in, and you get to second wind to boot. Highly recommended.

L3, Encounter - Disruptive Strike (MP) - A great power that can potentially negate an opponent's attack while letting you lay down some damage of your own instead.

L5, Daily - Spitting-Cobra Stance (MP 2) - Punishing enemies for approaching you can result in extra offense or a healthy dose of control. Either is appreciated.

L6, Utility - Healing Lore (HotFK) - Having a heal in your back pocket is good stuff.

L7, Encounter - Biting Volley (MP) - Hits Reflex on two attacks, and has a great critical rate. An easy pick.

L7, Encounter - Snap Shot (MP) (replaces Biting Volley) - The ability to attack as a minor action is a great boon for a Ranger.

L9, Daily - Attacks on the Run (PHB) - As a Ranged Ranger, this offers a free move action to help put some distance between you and a pesky Melee opponent, while handing out heavy damage as a parting gift. Amazing.

L10, Utility - Defensive Volley (D 383) - The ability to shave some damage off an attack on an Encounter basis might just save someone's skin.

L11, Encounter - Wind Burst (EPG) - This power's focus doesn't really align with your own, it only attacks using a secondary ability score, and it's an Implement power to boot. Not really useful to you.

L12, Utility - Zephyr Wings (EPG) - The ability to fly for a whole encounter can be pretty useful until your Zephyr Boots come online (rather useless after that, though).

L13, Encounter - Pinning Strike (PHB) (replaces Two-Fanged Strike) - The ability to immobilize is certainly an upgrade on your capabilities.

L15, Daily - Confounding Arrows (PHB) (replaces Sure Shot) - 3 solid shots with a stun at the end will help you out a-plenty.

L16, Utility - Wary Shooter (MP 2) - The ability to avoid attacks altogether when you decide to fire off a Ranged attack in a Melee.

L17, Encounter - Pounding Barrage (MP) (replaces Pinning Strike) - Hitting three times in a single action is great. The ability to immobilize along with that is amazingly good.

L19, Daily - Surprising Arrow Stance (D 383) (replaces Spitting-Cobra Stance) - A nice power to replace your beloved Stance, the ability to stop movement is quite the upgrade.

L20, Daily - Unruly Cyclone (PHB) - This faces the same issues as Wind Burst does for you, and has the added disadvantage of not getting the damage done right away.

L22, Utility - Adamant Recovery (MP) - Picking yourself up when you go down is nice and useful.

L26, Utility - Epic Recovery (HotFK) - A power that makes you a hell of a lot harder to keep down.

L29, Daily - Five-Missile Dance (MP) (replaces Attacks on the Run) - This power brings some savage damage potential with it, and as such it is a key component in this Archer's arsenal.


Feats

L1 - Weapon Proficiency (Greatbow) (PHB) - The most damaging ranged weapon you can get.

L2 - Weapon Focus (Bows) (PHB) - This adds some extra pop to your Bow attacks.

L4 - Bow Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to attack rolls is amazing, and a little extra damage against isolated enemies doesn't hurt either.

L6 - Sneak of Shadows (PHB) - The ability to pop in a Sneak Atack once per fight can result in a solid damage increase.

L8 - Treetop Sniper (PHB) - Gives you the ability to use Rogue stuff with that huge bow of yours.

L10 - Mark of Storm (EPG) - Adds a slide to everything that you do, and has the additional perk of working with your focus on Lightning weapons. It's also required for your PP.

L11 - Distant Advantage (PHB 2) - CA is hard to come by for an Archer, so any way to get it is appreciated.

L12 - Novice Power (Snap Shot) (PHB) - Gives you access to a minor action attack.

L14 - Called Shot (D 368) - This big damage bonus is a hefty incentive for you to get up close and personal, and well worth the risk if you ask me.

L16 - Prime Slayer (MP) - Even more incentive to get up close and shoot.

L18 - Lethal Hunter (PHB) - A bit of extra damage on your Quarry is good to have.

L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL) - Patches up your NADs in a big-time way.

L21 - Bow Mastery (PHB) - Rangers make more attacks than most. An improved critical rate feat thus makes a heck of an impact.

L22 - Prime Quarry (MP) - Puts a bit of extra awesome behind getting your Prime Shot bonuses.

L24 - Martial Mastery (MP) - Power-recovery shenanigans make this build more dangerous when it comes to bringing the pain against a dangerous opponent.

L26 - Epic Will (PHB 2) - A hefty bonus to your weakest NAD.

L28 - Superior Will (HotFL) - Shaking off conditions is nice, and a little extra Will defense also helps.

L30 - Armor Specialization (Hide) (PHB) - Extra AC never hurt anybody.


Magic Items

Armor - Predator's Hide (AV 2) - The ability to impose what amounts to a hefty penalty to hit against your Quarry's attacks against you is an extremely strong ability, and worth keeping.

Weapon - Thunderbolt (AV) - One of your more important pieces of gear, this will let you deal your favored type of elemental damage. A Lightning (PHB) weapon will have to do until it's available.

Arms - Bracers of Archery (AV) - No reason to not get on this damage bonus gravy train.

Feet - Zephyr Boots (AV) - You can fly: need I say more? A pair of Boots of Eagerness (AV) will have to do until you can afford them, though.

Hands - Gauntlets of Blood (AV 2) - Extra damage against bloodied targets helps put wounded targets away faster.

Head - Eye of Awareness (AV) - A bonus to Will defense is always nice, and a hefty bonus to initiative seals the deal. Before you can afford this, a Casque of Tactics (AV) isn't flashy, but it gets the job done.

Neck - Torc of Power Preservation (AV) - The ability to give your powers another go is amazing. A Cloak of Resistance (PHB) will make for a respectable intermediary until this is available.

Ring - Ring of Free Time (AV) - This item gives you a very handy additional minor action you can invoke to extend nova chains. If money is tight, a Shadow Band (AV) or a Ring of Greater Invisibility (AV 2) make perfectly reasonable and significantly cheaper substitutes.

Ring - Ring of Giants (D 378) - A very respectable bonus to critical hit damage is very nice to have, especially at this price.

Waist - Diamond Cincture (AV 2) - The ability to access self-healing is great on a Striker, especially when it carries a NAD bonus. A Belt of Breaching (AV 2) can also be a very useful substitute.

Tattoo - Backlash Tattoo (AV 2) - Lashing out when you get bloodied is awesome to have.


Sample Character

Race: Revenant (D 376)
Past Life Race: Elf (PHB)
Class: Ranger (PHB)
Bonus Feature: Prime Shot (PHB)
Fighting Style: Archery Style (PHB)
Multiclass: Rogue (PHB)
Paragon Path: Lyrandar Wind-Rider (EPG)
Epic Destiny: Destined Scion (HotFK)

Ability Scores, with racial adjustments:
Strength 12 (+1)
Constitution 24 (+7)
Dexterity 30 (+10)
Intelligence 12 (+1)
Wisdom 16 (+3)
Charisma 10 (+0)

HP: 187 --> 12 base, +30 Dexterity, +145 levels
Bloodied: 93 HP or less
Healing Surges: 13 --> 6 base, +7 Constitution
Healing Surge Value: 46 HP

AC: 47 --> 10 base, +10 ability (Dexterity), +5 armor, +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +1 feat
Fortitude: 44 --> 10 base, +7 ability (Constitution), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +1 class, +3 feat, +2 item
Reflex: 45 --> 10 base, +10 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +1 class, +3 feat
Will: 44 --> 10 base, +3 ability (Wisdom), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +4 Epic Will, +4 feat, +2 item

Initiative: +30 --> +10 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +5 item

Speed: 6 --> 6 base

Racial Powers:
Dark Reaping (D 376)

Theme Powers:
Adept's Insight (DSCS)

At-Will Attack Powers:
L1 - Nimble Strike (PHB)
L1 - Twin Strike (PHB)

Encounter Attack Powers:
L3 - Disruptive Strike (PHB)
L7 - Snap Shot (MP)
L11 - Wind Burst (EPG)
L17 - Pounding Barrage (MP)

Daily Attack Powers:
L15 - Confounding Arrows (PHB)
L19 - Surprising Arrow Stance (D 383)
L20 - Unruly Cyclone (EPG)
L29 - Five-Missile Dance (MP)

Utility Powers:
L2 - Invigorating Stride (MP 2)
L6 - Healing Lore (HotFK)
L10 - Defensive Volley (D 383)
L12 - Zephyr Wings (EPG)
L16 - Wary Shooter (MP)
L22 - Adamant Recovery (MP)
L26 - Epic Recovery (HotFK)

Skills:
Acrobatics (+30) --> +10 ability (Dexterity), +5 trained, +15 levels
Endurance (+29) --> +7 ability (Constitution), +5 trained, +15 levels, +2 racial
Nature (+23) --> +3 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Perception (+23) --> +3 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Stealth (+30) --> +10 ability (Dexterity), +5 trained, +15 levels
Thievery (+30) --> +10 ability (Dexterity), +5 trained, +15 levels

Feats:
L1 - Quick Draw (Ranger Bonus Feat) (PHB)
L1 - Weapon Proficiency (Greatbow) (PHB)
L2 - Weapon Focus (Bows) (PHB)
L4 - Bow Expertise (HotFL)
L6 - Sneak of Shadows (PHB)
L8 - Treetop Sniper (MP 2)
L10 - Mark of Storm (EPG)
L11 - Distant Advantage (PHB 2)
L12 - Novice Power (Snap Shot) (PHB)
L14 - Called Shot (D 368)
L16 - Prime Slayer (MP)
L18 - Lethal Hunter (PHB)
L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL)
L21 - Bow Mastery (PHB 2)
L22 - Prime Quarry (MP)
L24 - Martial Mastery (MP)
L26 - Hawkeye Warrior (MP)
L28 - Armor Specialization (Hide) (PHB)
L30 - Epic Will (PHB 2)

Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000):
L30 (3,125,000 gp): +6 Torc of Power Preservation (AV)

L29 (2,625,000 gp): Ring of Free Time (AV 2)
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Thunderbolt Greatbow (AV)
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Predator's Elderhide Armor (AV 2)

L26 (1,125,000 gp): Bracers of Archery (Epic Tier) (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Violet Solitaire (AV)

L24 (525,000 gp): Gauntlets of Blood (Epic Tier) (AV 2)
L24 (525,000 gp): Zephyr Boots (AV)
L23 (425,000 gp): Eye of Awareness (AV)
L22 (325,000 gp): Eberron Shard of Lightning (Epic Tier) (EPG)
L20 (125,000 gp): Diamond Cincture (Paragon Tier) (AV 2)
L13 (17,000 gp):
Ring of Giants (D 378)
L12 (13,000 gp): Stone of Wind (AV 2)
L11 (9,000 gp):
Dice of Auspicious Fortune (D 381)
L9 (4,200 gp): Backlash Tattoo (AV 2)

L9 (4,200 gp): Endless Quiver (AV 2)

TOTAL: 14,222,400 gp

Morninglord

So I've heard you've been preaching to the other recruits about the glories of the sun god, boy! Listen, son, this is a secular environment - if you want to preach, you can go somewhere else! ...You can channel the sun's light, you say? Well, let's see it! ...Hm, not bad. Tell you what - I'm going to send you to the clergy so you can train up a bit, and you'll be the unit chaplain. Got it? Good. Now point some of your fancy rays this way - it's cold out here...

Build Goal:
The idea here is to make a Melee Ranger who dishes out some good pain, but has a couple of emergency buttons in case things go south. It also looks to use and abuse the Radiant damage element.

Race - Half-Orc (PHB 2) - The ability scores are in the right places, and the other racial abilities (THP when bloodied, an extra [W] per encounter) aren't bad, either.

Fighting Style - Two-Blade Style (PHB) - Oversized dual-wielding is useful, as is free Toughness.

Bonus Feature - Prime Shot (PHB) - While it may not be all that useful during Heroic tier, neither is Running Attack, and at least this one gets a heck of a lot more useful after that.

Multiclass - Cleric (PHB) - While any Divine Multiclass feat will qualify you for this Paragon Path, I am of the opinion that Cleric has the most to bring to the table.

Epic Destiny - Destined Scion (HotFK) - It's all about the additional ability score bonuses; since this build relies more heavily on its ability scores for defense, those ability scores will win out, especially with an extra bonus to hit on the house.

Gear

Weapons - The build will be wielding a Rapier (PHB) in each hand throughout its career, with a Dagger (PHB) for an emergency Ranged option if need be.

Armor - No reason to ever leave your beloved Hide (PHB).


Ability Scores

Starting Array (after racial modifiers):
Strength 18 - This is your everything when it comes to offense. Start it high and keep boosting it.
Dexterity 18 - It's all about the defenses and secondary effects here, so it's just as important as Strength.
Wisdom 13 - Just enough to get all your feats.
Constitution 11 - Pretty much the only thing you have left over.
Intelligence/Charisma 8/10 - Who gets the 8 is up to you, but the point is to not waste any points here.

Ability Score Bonuses:
Level 4 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 8 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 11 - +1 to all scores
Level 14 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 18 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 21 - +1 to all scores
Level 21 - +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity
Level 24 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 28 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity

Final Array:
Strength 28
Constitution 13
Dexterity 28
Intelligence 10
Wisdom 15
Charisma 12


Morninglord Paragon Path Features

L11 - Militant Dawn (FRPG) - A cute feature... but you can't use it.

L11 - Unflagging Energy (FRPG) - Increasing the critical rate on a Ranger's money powers (Blade Cascade, Cruel Cage of Steel, Attacks on the Run, etc.) is bound to make good things happen for you.

L16 - Burning Radiance (FRPG) - Oh, yeah! An effective +10 to damage when you use Radiant weapons is insanely good for you.


Skills

L1 - Acrobatics - Keys off a very important stat, and is quite useful to you.
L1 - Athletics - It keys off what is tied for your highest stat. All you really need to know.
L1 - Dungeoneering/Nature - One of these is literally mandatory due to the Ranger list, so pick one and be on your way.
L1 - Perception - Pretty much the most useful skill in the game, and something you wouldn't be caught dead without.
L1 - Stealth - A sweet skill to have, especially when you're as good as you are at it.
L10 - Religion - Not really tailored to your strengths, but hey, you got it for free.


Powers

L1, At-Will - Fading Strike (MP 2) - A nice backup, this gives you the ability to disengage and then get the heck out of a fight you may not want to be in.

L1, At-Will - Twin Strike (PHB) - The base upon which the class is built. Don't leave home without it.

L1, Encounter - Off-Hand Strike (MP) - The more attacks you can make, the merrier.

L1, Daily - Jaws of the Wolf (PHB) - This Daily packs a wallop when you get it, probably enough to KO a Standard all by itself. Doesn't scale too well, though.

L2, Utility - Invigorating Stride (MP 2) - Though the shift is likely not worth much to you, the ability to second wind as a move certainly is. Highly recommended.

L3, Encounter - Ruffling Sting (MP) - With all due respect to Disruptive Strike, this is the choice for you if you care about novas, and this build certainly does.

L5, Daily - Frenzied Skirmish (PHB) - Gets you where you need to go, and packs a debuff while you're there, too.

L6, Utility - Death Threat (D 377) - While this power may not seem all that impressive on its own, combining it with your next Utility power results in a heck of a smooth transition from one target to the next.

L7, Encounter - Lashing Leaves (D 377) - While the extra damage from this power might not have you thinking offensive fireworks, the fact that your party can benefit from it raises its stock.

L9, Daily - Attacks on the Run (PHB) - As a Melee Ranger, there is no real reason to NOT pick this power. It solves many situations for the Ranger and comes in for some hefty damage too.

L10, Utility - Resume the Hunt (MP 2) - This combined with Death Threat will get you from target 1 to target 2 with virtually no prep time (not to mention with a offensive and defensive boost), and that does count for a heck of a lot.

L11, Encounter - Pure Glow (FRPG) - A close burst Implement power. Undoubtedly sweet for others, but not all that useful to you.

L12, Utility - Rising Sun (FRPG) - Another power that would rock some socks off on another character, but just doesn't get much mileage out of your chassis, especially because the Sustain impedes you from doing other stuff.

L13, Encounter - Off-Hand Diversion (MP) (replaces Off-Hand Strike) - A simple upgrade over the basic minor action attack, by attaching a CA effect on it. I'd take that deal.

L15, Daily - Blade Cascade (PHB) (replaces Jaws of the Wolf) - Absolutely savage damage, even for a Ranger power. This is your signature power: enjoy it.

L16, Utility - Ranger's Parry (MP 2) - A defensive Utility power is more than welcome on this sort of Ranger.

L17, Encounter - Untamed Outburst (MP) (replaces Lashing Leaves) - A native bonus to hit, as well as some solid damage and a daze attached make this one heck of a power.

L19, Daily - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB) (replaces Frenzied Skirmish) - Three attacks with a native bonus to hit, and can pack a stun. That's amazing on this build, or on any build for that matter.

L20, Daily - Lance of Dawn (FRPG) - Even discounting the fact that it's an Implement power, it has a few too many if's for me to really think of it as a good addition to your capabilties.

L22, Utility - Adamant Recovery (MP) - An excellent emergency button to have in your back pocket.

L23, Encounter - Nonchalant Collapse (MP) (replaces Ruffling Sting) - Bigger damage than the other minor action attacks at your disposal, hits a NAD, and knocs prone. Beautiful.

L25, Daily - Circling Cascade (MP 2) (replaces Attacks on the Run) - 3 attacks, with dazing and shifting thrown in? I can work with that.

L26, Utility - Epic Recovery (HotFK) - A power that makes you a hell of a lot harder to bring down.

L27, Encounter - Death Rend (PHB) (replaces Untamed Outburst) - The ability to stun is an oh-so-sweet expansion of your capabilities. An excellent choice to be had.


Feats

L1 - Light Blade Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to attack rolls is amazing. Throw in some extra damage with CA and you have yourself a must-have feat for this build.

L2 - Weapon Focus (Light Blades) (PHB) - Damage bonuses are what you're hunting for, so this one is welcome to join your feat list.

L4 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB) - While this feat isn't bad at all by itself, its true value lies in the other feats it opens up access to.

L6 - Swift Blade Style (HotFL) - The possibility of adding an ability modifier as high as your Dexterity to Twin Strike damage is well worth a feat.

L8 - Two-Weapon Defense (PHB) - A bit of extra AC and Reflex can serve this build well.

L10 - Initiate of the Faith (PHB) - A Daily self-healing power is nice, but we're mostly here for the pre-requisites.

L11 - Prime Punisher (D 373) - Now Prime Shot applies in Melee! The beginning of your definition as an isolationist combatant.

L12 - Called Shot (D 368) - This big damage bonus is a hefty incentive for you to take on enemies solo, and well worth the risk if you ask me.

L14 - Nimble Blade (PHB) - An extra +1 to hit, essentially for doing what you do. Great to have around.

L16 - Two-Weapon Opening (PHB) - An extra attack on a critical is an excellent ability to have for this build.

L18 - Improved Defenses (HotFL) - Patches up your NADs in a big-time way.

L20 - Durable (PHB) - A rather useful placeholder feat, though we won't be hanging onto it for very long.

L21 - Radiant Advantage (DP) - An amazing feat for both your personal damage and the ability to collaborate with your allies, by giving everyone free CA against your target.

L21 - Rending Tempest (MP) (replaces Durable) - Extra damage on your subsequent attacks when you use a dual-wielder power. Extra nice on nova turns.

L22 - Light Blade Mastery (PHB) - Rangers make more attacks than most. An improved critical rate feat thus makes a heck of an impact.

L24 - Martial Mastery (MP) - Power-recovery shenanigans make this build more dangerous when it comes to bringing the pain against a dangerous opponent.

L26 - Prime Quarry (MP) - Making your Prime Shot bonus even bigger is a great choice for a Ranger.

L28 - Ferocious Critical (PHB 2) - A sizable boost to attack and damage rolls, should you get lucky.

L30 - Epic Will (PHB 2) - Goes a long way toward fixing the bad NAD.


Magic Items

Armor - Predator's Hide (AV 2) - The ability to impose what amounts to a hefty penalty to hit against your Quarry's attacks against you is an extremely strong ability, and worth keeping.

Weapon - Radiant (AV) - The lynchpin of pretty much the whole build. Don't leave home without it. Until you can afford this, Subtle (AV) makes for a respectable substitute.

Arms - Counterstrike Guards (AV) - A free swing against your target every fight can certainly come in handy.

Feet - Zephyr Boots (AV) - You can fly: need I say more? A pair of Boots of Eagerness (AV) will have to do until you can afford them, though.

Hands - Gauntlets of Destruction (PHB) - A very nice effective damage boost by making your dice rolls more reliable. Until these come online, I recommend the Strikebacks (AV).

Head - Eye of Awareness (AV) - A bonus to Will defense is always nice, and a hefty bonus to initiative seals the deal. Before you can afford this, a Casque of Tactics (AV) isn't flashy, but it gets the job done.

Neck - Steadfast Amulet (AV) - A nice emergency button to keep annoying conditions off of you. A Cloak of Resistance (PHB) will get the job done 'till this shows up.

Ring - Ring of Greater Invisibility (AV 2) - It's cheap, and has some sweet powers (yay for invisibility every encounter!). Should you find yourself with a surplus of cash, a Shadow Band (AV) makes for a sweet item to fill this slot with, too.

Ring - Ring of Giants (D 378) - A very respectable bonus to critical hit damage is very nice to have, especially at this price.

Waist - Belt of Titan Strength (PHB) - Carries a nice bonus to Athletics checks, and a big time bonus to nova damage. A Belt of Breaching (AV 2) can also be a very useful substitute.

Tattoo - Backlash Tattoo (AV 2) - Lashing out when you get bloodied is awesome to have.


Sample Character

Race: Half-Orc (PHB 2)
Class: Ranger (PHB)
Bonus Feature: Prime Shot (PHB)
Fighting Style: Two-Blade Style (PHB)
Multiclass: Cleric (PHB)
Paragon Path: Morninglord (FRPG)
Epic Destiny: Destined Scion (HotFK)
Background: Auspicious Birth (D 366)
Theme: Noble Adept (DSCS)

Ability Scores, with racial adjustments:
Strength 28 (+9)
Constitution 13 (+1)
Dexterity 28 (+9)
Intelligence 10 (+0)
Wisdom 15 (+2)
Charisma 12 (+1)

HP: 200 --> 12 base, +28 Strength, +145 levels, +15 Toughness
Bloodied: 100 HP or less
Healing Surges: 7 --> 6 base, +1 Constitution
Healing Surge Value: 50 HP

AC: 46 --> 10 base, +13 armor, +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +1 feat, +1 shield
Fortitude: 44 --> 10 base, +9 ability (Strength), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +3 feat, +1 class
Reflex: 45 --> 10 base, +9 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +3 feat, +1 class, +1 shield
Will: 42 --> 10 base, +2 ability (Wisdom), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +4 Epic Will, +3 feat, +2 item

Initiative: +29 --> +9 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +5 item

Speed: 6 --> 6 base

Racial Powers:
Furious Assault (PHB 2)

Theme Powers:
Adept's Insight (DSCS)

At-Will Attack Powers:
L1 - Fading Strike (MP 2)
L1 - Twin Strike (PHB)

Encounter Attack Powers:
L11 - Pure Glow (FRPG)
L13 - Off-Hand Diversion (MP)
L23 - Nonchalant Collapse (MP)
L27 - Death Rend (PHB)

Daily Attack Powers:
L15 - Blade Cascade (PHB)
L19 - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB)
L20 - Lance of Dawn (FRPG)
L25 - Circling Cascade (MP 2)

Utility Powers:
L2 - Invigorating Stride (MP 2)
L6 - Death Threat (D 377)
L10 - Resume the Hunt (MP 2)
L12 - Rising Sun (FRPG)
L16 - Ranger's Parry (MP 2)
L22 - Adamant Recovery (MP)
L26 - Epic Recovery (HotFK)

Skills:
Acrobatics (+28) --> +9 ability (Dexterity), +5 trained, +15 levels, -1 armor
Athletics (+33) --> +9 ability (Strength), +5 trained, +15 levels, +3 item, +2 feat, -1 armor
Nature (+22) --> +2 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Religion (+20) --> +0 ability (Intelligence), +5 trained, +15 levels
Perception (+22) --> +2 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Stealth (+28) --> +9 ability (Dexterity), +5 trained, +15 levels, -1 armor

Feats:
L1 - Light Blade Expertise (HotFL)
L1 - Toughness (Ranger Bonus Feat) (PHB)
L2 - Weapon Focus (Light Blades) (PHB)
L4 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB)
L6 - Swift Blade Style (D 368)
L8 - Two-Weapon Defense (PHB)
L10 - Initiate of the Faith (PHB)
L11 - Prime Punisher (D 373)
L12 - Called Shot (D 368)
L14 - Nimble Blade (PHB)
L16 - Two-Weapon Opening (PHB 2)
L18 - Improved Defenses (HotFL)
L21 - Radiant Advantage (DP)
L21 - Rending Tempest (MP)
L22 - Light Blade Mastery (PHB)
L24 - Martial Mastery (MP)
L26 - Prime Quarry (MP)
L28 - Ferocious Critical (PHB 2)
L30 - Epic Will (PHB 2)

Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000):
L30 (3,125,000 gp): +6 Radiant Rapier (AV)

L30 (3,125,000 gp): +6 Radiant Rapier (AV)

L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Predator's Elderhide Armor (AV 2)
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Steadfast Amulet (AV)

L25 (625,000 gp): +5 Radiant Dagger (AV)
L25 (625,000 gp): Belt of Titan Strength (PHB)
L24 (525,000 gp): Zephyr Boots (AV)
L23 (425,000 gp): Eye of Awareness (AV)
L23 (425,000 gp): Ring of Greater Invisibility (AV 2)
L23 (425,000 gp): Siberys Shard of Radiance (Epic Tier) (EPG)
L23 (425,000 gp): Siberys Shard of Radiance (Epic Tier) (EPG)
L23 (425,000 gp): Siberys Shard of Radiance (Epic Tier) (EPG)
L18 (85,000 gp): Gauntlets of Destruction (PHB)
L15 (25,000 gp): Sapphire Scabbard (AV)
L15 (25,000 gp): Sapphire Scabbard (AV)

L14 (21,000 gp): Counterstrike Guards (Paragon Tier) (AV)
L13 (17,000 gp): Ring of Giants (D 378)
L12 (13,000 gp): Stone of Earth (AV)

L11 (9,000 gp): Dice of Auspicious Fortune (D 381)
L9 (4,200 gp): Backlash Tattoo (AV 2)
TOTAL: 14,599,200 gp
Pathfinder

Hey you, front and center! So, you think you're soooo tough, huh? Well, let's see how you deal with this! ...Huh, you're still standing. I guess you really ARE tough. I'll tell you what, go do some rounds in the forest on your own and see how that goes. If you make it back in one piece, I'll teach you something special. No, you don't get to take food, you're supposed to be a tough guy! Now get out there and work your way back!

Build Goal:
The idea here is to enhance a Melee Ranger's prodigal damage prowess chassis with the ability to withstand plenty of punishment, and thus make a character more able to hold his own, while on his own.

Race - Longtooth Shifter (PHB 2) - Nothing like a racial ability to regenerate and deal extra damage simultaneously to bring across what you're trying to do with this build. My personal favorite.

Fighting Style - Two-Blade Style (PHB) - No surprises here. You literally can't take the Paragon Path without this feature.

Bonus Feature - Prime Shot (PHB) - While it may not be all that useful during Heroic tier, neither is Running Attack, and at least this one gets a heck of a lot more useful after that.

Background - Born Under a Bad Sign (D 366) - Patches your HP progression quite nicely.

Theme - Sohei (D 404) - It provides a minor action attack. Need I say more?

Multiclass - Cleric (PHB) - This choice will be absolutely critical for the build's defensive prowess.

Lore Choice

Battle Cleric's Lore (D 400) - Scale and a +2 shield bonus to AC? For a feat? Where do I sign up?


Epic Destiny - Destined Scion (HotFK) - It's all about the ability score bonuses here, though a bonus to hit on top of that certainly doesn't hurt its stock.

Gear

Weapons - The build will be wielding a Bastard Sword (PHB) in each hand for most of its career (though it starts life using a Broadsword (AV) instead).

Armor - After a few levels spent in Chain (PHB), you switch to the much more awesome Scale (PHB) for the rest of your career.


Ability Scores

Starting Array (after racial modifiers):
Strength 18 - This is your everything when it comes to offense. Start it high and keep boosting it.
Wisdom 16 - Drives quite a few of your secondary effects, and as such is a prized possession.
Dexterity 14 - Quite a few feats you want are going to require you invest in this.
Constitution 13 - A decent starting score here will do.
Intelligence/Charisma 10/8 - Who gets the 8 is up to you, but the point is to not waste any points here.

Ability Score Bonuses:
Level 4 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 8 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 11 - +1 to all scores
Level 14 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 18 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 21 - +1 to all scores
Level 21 - +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity
Level 24 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 28 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom

Final Array:
Strength 28
Constitution 15
Dexterity 18
Intelligence 12
Wisdom 24
Charisma 10


Pathfinder Paragon Path Features

L11 - Battlehoned (PHB) - +2 healing surges won't wow anyone, but it's not exactly a bad thing for a Ranger looking to be sturdier.

L11 - Pathfinder's Action (PHB) - An extra move action on every action point can help you get in position as well as help you lay on some additional hurt with a minor action attack. This kind of action advantage is huge for the typically action-starved Melee Ranger.

L16 - Cruel Recovery (PHB) - And now we come to the reason we're really here for. This is a huge batch of temporary HP you can essentially access at-will, which makes you a hell of a lot harder to bring down.


Skills

L1 - Athletics - It keys off your highest stat. All you really need to know.
L1 - Dungeoneering/Nature - One of these is literally mandatory due to the Ranger list, the other is simply an excellent choice given the way you're set up. I'd take them both.
L1 - Endurance - You get a racial bonus to it, it's a skill that comes up in big situations, and your preferred armor property boosts it further. A nice choice.
L1 - Heal - Not much a choice here, you get it as part of your MC. That said, it's actually pretty useful for you.
L1 - Perception - Pretty much the most useful skill in the game, and something you wouldn't be caught dead without.


Powers

L1, At-Will - Throw and Stab (MP 2) - A nice change-of-pace option for your offensive output when some extra mobility (or some minion-munching) is called for.

L1, At-Will - Twin Strike (PHB) - The base upon which the class is built. Don't leave home without it.

L1, Encounter - Off-Hand Strike (MP) - The more attacks you can make, the merrier.

L1, Daily - Jaws of the Wolf (PHB) - This Daily packs a wallop when you get it, probably enough to KO a Standard all by itself. Doesn't scale too well, though.

L2, Utility - Invigorating Stride (MP 2) - A shift equal to your Wisdom modifier is good. Using your second wind as a move is very good. Put them together on the same power, and behold the beauty.

L3, Encounter - Ruffling Sting (MP) - With all due respect to Disruptive Strike, this is the choice for you if you care about novas, and this build certainly does.

L5, Daily - Frenzied Skirmish (PHB) - Gets you where you need to go, and packs a debuff while you're there, too.

L6, Utility - Death Threat (D 377) - While this power may not seem all that impressive on its own, combining it with your next Utility power results in a heck of a smooth transition from one target to the next.

L7, Encounter - Lashing Leaves (D 377) - A powerful damage bonus after a two-swing power enables plenty more offensive fireworks from you.

L9, Daily - Attacks on the Run (PHB) - As a Melee Ranger, there is no real reason to NOT pick this power. It solves many situations for the Ranger and comes in for some hefty damage too.

L10, Utility - Resume the Hunt (MP 2) - This combined with Death Threat will get you from target 1 to target 2 with virtually no prep time (not to mention with a offensive and defensive boost), and that does count for a heck of a lot.

L11, Encounter - Wrong Step (PHB) - A great way to an enemy stays adjacent, the ability to immobilize when your opponent attempts to move or shift lets you play Defender for a turn, and it helps toward the total damage dealt, too.

L12, Utility - Act Together (PHB) - Though it requires a bit of party coordination (and since the AP counts toward the 1/encounter llimit, a workday where you otherwise wouldn't have an AP is also needed to feel its effects), it certainly has plenty of potential.

L13, Encounter - Off-Hand Diversion (MP) (replaces Off-Hand Strike) - A simple upgrade over the basic minor action attack, by attaching a CA effect on it. I'd take that deal.

L15, Daily - Blade Cascade (PHB) (replaces Jaws of the Wolf) - Absolutely savage damage, even for a Ranger power. This is your signature power: enjoy it.

L16, Utility - Ranger's Parry (MP 2) - A defensive Utility power is more than welcome on this sort of Ranger.

L17, Encounter - Untamed Outburst (MP) (replaces Lashing Leaves) - A native bonus to hit, as well as some solid damage and a daze attached make this one heck of a power.

L19, Daily - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB) (replaces Frenzied Skirmish) - Three attacks with a native bonus to hit, and can pack a stun. That's amazing on this build, or on any build for that matter.

L20, Daily - Slasher's Mark (PHB) - While not exactly a waste of a power, the whole "attacking multiple targets" bit kind of goes against the goal of a focus-fire expert. Slapping on an encounter-long mark can go a ways toward helping out in the frontline, though.

L22, Utility - Master of the Hunt (PHB) - A big damage bonus for a whole encounter. Amazing on a Ranger.

L23, Encounter - Nonchalant Collapse (MP) (replaces Ruffling Sting) - Bigger damage than the other minor action attacks at your disposal, hits a NAD, and knocs prone. Beautiful.

L25, Daily - Circling Cascade (MP 2) (replaces Attacks on the Run) - 3 attacks, with dazing and shifting thrown in? I can work with that.

L26, Utility - Epic Recovery (PHB 3) - The ability to pick yourself up when you're down is certainly useful.

L27, Encounter - Death Rend (PHB) (replaces Untamed Outburst) - The ability to stun on a per-encounter basis attached to a multiattack is almost too good to be true.


Feats

L1 - Divine Healer (DP) - At first glance, this feat doesn't seem to do much. However, access to Healer's Lore means access to Battle Cleric's Lore, and that alone sells it.

L2 - Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) (PHB) - This has some mighty nice stats for a one-hander, so it's a nice pickup to marry the Broadsword's damage with the Longsword's acuracy.

L4 - Heavy Blade Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to attack rolls is nothing short of amazing, and a bonus to all defenses against opportunity attacks comes in handy.

L6 - Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades) (PHB) - Damage bonuses are what you're hunting for, so this one is welcome to join your feat list.

L8 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB) - A bit of extra damage never hurts, and this opens up other nice feats.

L10 - Improved Defenses (HotFL) - Patches up your NADs in a big-time way.

L11 - Prime Punisher (D 373) - Now Prime Shot applies in Melee! The beginning of your definition as an isolationist combatant.

L12 - Called Shot (D 368) - This big damage bonus is a hefty incentive for you to take on enemies solo, and well worth the risk if you ask me.

L14 - Prime Quarry (MP) - Making your Prime Shot bonus even bigger is a great choice for a Ranger.

L16 - Lethal Hunter (PHB) - A great way to make Cruel Recovery even better, and get a bit of extra damage while you're at it.

L18 - Armor Specialization (Scale) (PHB) - Getting rid of Scale's speed penalty and netting +1 AC out of the deal is pretty darn good for a Ranger.

L20 - Two-Weapon Opening (PHB 2) - Free hits on a critical? Sure, why not?

L21 - Improved Prime Shot (MP) - Essentially the same thing as Prime Quarry, minus the condition of Quarry. A nice use of your retraining feature.

L21 - Rending Tempest (MP) - Extra damage on your subsequent attacks when you use a dual-wielder power. Extra nice on nova turns.

L22 - Heavy Blade Mastery (PHB) - Rangers make more attacks than most. An improved critical rate feat thus makes a heck of an impact.

L24 - Martial Mastery (MP) - Power-recovery shenanigans make this build more dangerous when it comes to bringing the pain against a dangerous opponent.

L26 - Slashing Storm (MP 2) - Autodamage all around for hitting with a Melee attack? Sure.

L28 - Superior Will (HotFL) - A bit of Will defense, but the condition-shaking effect is what you're here for.

L30 - Epic Reflexes (PHB 2) - Patches the bad NAD.


Magic Items

Armor - Dwarven Armor (PHB) - Cheap, buffs a useful skill in Endurance, and has one heck of an Item Daily power.

Weapon - Harmony Blade (AV 2) - The ability to impose a defensive penalty should you hit the same target with both weapons, along with free hits on a critical make this a heck of a weapon to have.

Weapon - Farbond Spellblade (AV 2) - Cheap, and the ability to be thrown makes it a nice emergency option.

Arms - Iron Armbands of Power (AV) - No reason to not get on this damage bonus gravy train.

Feet - Boots of Caiphon (AV 2) - Insane movement ability, and a defensive bonus as the cherry on top. A pair of Boots of Eagerness (AV) will have to do until you can afford them, though.

Hands - Gauntlets of Destruction (AV) - Rerolling the 1's on all damage rolls, all the time is great to have. The Strikebacks (AV) can also serve you well while you're waiting for the Gauntlets to become available to you.

Head - Eye of Awareness (AV) - A bonus to Will defense is always nice, and a hefty bonus to initiative seals the deal. Before you can afford this, a Casque of Tactics (AV) isn't flashy, but it gets the job done.

Neck - Steadfast Amulet (AV) - The ability to save your way out of conditions before they significantly impair you is excellent. A Cloak of Resistance (PHB) or a Baffling Cape (AV 2) will make for a respectable intermediary until this is available.

Ring - Ring of Free Time (AV 2) - The resist all is nice, but the real reason you're here is for the extra minor actions. In the meantime, you can employ a list of substitutes from the War Ring (AV) to the Ring of Greater Invisibility (AV 2).

Ring - Ring of Giants (D 378) - A very respectable bonus to critical hit damage is very nice to have, especially at this price.

Waist - Belt of Titan Strength (PHB) - Carries a nice bonus to Athletics checks, and a big time bonus to nova damage. A Belt of Breaching (AV 2) can also be a very useful substitute.

Tattoo - Backlash Tattoo (AV 2) - Lashing out when you get bloodied is awesome to have.


Sample Character

My Trailblazer build fits this archetype to a tee.
Sharpshooter

So I heard from the other greenhorns that you found yourself a pet in the forest! Well I'll have you know that this here's no pet shop, and that you can't keep him! ...He can fight, you say? Hm. On second thought, let's see that pet of yours in action. Maybe he'll be able to make your life easier as an archer. Yeah, I said archer, now go work on your shot!

Build Goal:
Here, we're trying to make a Beastmaster Ranger that can compete with the damage numbers put up by more stereotypical Archers, with the added benefits of having an extra body to absorb hits and get into precarious situations for you to get your Hunter's Quarry, even against otherwise hard-to-reach foes.

Race - Elf (PHB) - The perfect ability scores get the ball rolling, and a bonus to speed along with some good racial powers and feat only sweeten the deal. There's a crowded field of good Archer races, but in my opinion this one does enough to stand above the rest.

Fighting Style - Beast Mastery (MP) - While any build of Ranged Ranger can do this and do it well, the Beast Master adds another body to the table, which will combine with some feats to give you a potential source of free attacks.

Companion - Raptor (MP) - Though damage and HP are on the low side for this companion, it ably makes up for that with its ability to fly and its solid (for a companion) defenses.

Multiclass - Rogue (PHB) - This multiclass adds a bit of extra damage come nova time and provides the Archer with a minor action attack it would otherwise lack, so it's a pretty good MC for you.

Epic Destiny - Destined Scion (HotFK) - It's all about the additional ability score bonuses; since this build relies more heavily on its ability scores for defense, those ability scores will win out, especially with the extra bonus to hit this ED provides.

Gear

Weapons - The build will be wielding a Greatbow (PHB) all career long.

Armor - No reason to ever leave your beloved Hide (PHB).


Ability Scores

Starting Array (after racial modifiers):
Dexterity 20 - Few builds get as much out of Dexterity as an Archer.
Wisdom 15 - Important for feats, Will defense, and power riders.
Constitution 13 - A solid score for feats and surges.
Strength 10 - Carrying capacity and Athletics are somewhat important, so don't trash this score.
Intelligence/Charisma 8/10 - Who gets the 8 is up to you, but the point is to not waste any points here.

Ability Score Bonuses:
Level 4 - +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom
Level 8 - +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom
Level 11 - +1 to all scores
Level 14 - +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom
Level 18 - +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom
Level 21 - +1 to all scores
Level 21 - +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom
Level 24 - +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom
Level 28 - +1 Constitution, +1 Dexterity

Final Array:
Strength 12
Constitution 16
Dexterity 30
Intelligence 12
Wisdom 24
Charisma 10


Sharpshooter Paragon Path Features

L11 - Opportunity Fire (MP) - The ability to respond to an OA with an arrow or bolt sounds OK by itself, but the way it interacts with Beast Protector is basically the reason we're here.

L11 - Rapid-Fire Action (MP) - A free-action RBA as part of a nova turn is sweet.

L16 - Seeking Arrow (MP) - Ignoring cover and concealment against your Quarry is an alright feature.


Skills

L1 - Acrobatics - Keys off a very important stat, and is quite useful to you.
L1 - Dungeoneering/Nature - One of these is literally mandatory due to the Ranger list, so pick it and be on your way.
L1 - Heal - The ability to treat diseases and the like certainly comes in handy.
L1 - Perception - Pretty much the most useful skill in the game, and something you wouldn't be caught dead without.
L1 - Stealth - A sweet skill to have, especially when you're as good as you are at it.
L6 - Thievery - Another skill you're real good at, and it enhances your overall package as a scout.


Powers

L1, At-Will - Nimble Strike (MP 2) - A nice backup option, this gives you the ability to disengage most Melee enemies without having to stick your neck out for an OA.

L1, At-Will - Twin Strike (PHB) - The base upon which the class is built. Don't leave home without it.

L1, Encounter - Two-Fanged Strike (PHB) - Two attacks with some decent kick, plus a bit more if both hit.

L1, Daily - Sure Shot (MP 2) - Rerolling the attack and damage rolls make this nice and reliable.

L2, Utility - Invigorating Stride (MP 2) - The shift helps get you out of places you don't want to be in, and you get to second wind to boot. Highly recommended.

L3, Encounter - Disruptive Strike (MP) - A great power that can potentially negate an opponent's attack while letting you lay down some damage of your own instead.

L5, Daily - Spitting-Cobra Stance (MP 2) - Punishing enemies for approaching you can result in extra offense or a healthy dose of control. Either is appreciated.

L6, Utility - Healing Lore (HotFK) - While its usage is limited, it's pretty nice to have a healing power in the back pocket.

L7, Encounter - Biting Volley (MP) - Hits Reflex on two attacks, and has a great critical rate. An easy pick.

L7, Encounter - Snap Shot (MP) (replaces Biting Volley) - The ability to attack as a minor action is a great boon for a Ranger.

L9, Daily - Attacks on the Run (PHB) - As a Ranged Ranger, this offers a free move action to help put some distance between you and a pesky Melee opponent, while handing out heavy damage as a parting gift. Amazing.

L10, Utility - Defensive Volley (D 383) - The ability to shave some damage off an attack on an Encounter basis might just save someone's skin.

L11, Encounter - Stab and Shoot (MP) - While you do lose some focus-fire ability, the ability to deal with an enemy getting too close by damaging him and landing an effect that negates OAs while you shoot someone else sounds like it has potential.

L12, Utility - Perfect Aim (MP) - While this does have its limitations, the fact of the matter is that it's a self-buff you can use every fight, and that's good to have.

L13, Encounter - Pinning Strike (PHB) (replaces Two-Fanged Strike) - The ability to immobilize is certainly an upgrade on your capabilities.

L15, Daily - Confounding Arrows (PHB) (replaces Sure Shot) - 3 solid shots with a stun at the en will help you out a-plenty..

L16, Utility - Howling Winds (HotFK) - Being able to move people around pretty much wherever you want for one fight a day is certainly something powerful.

L17, Encounter - Pounding Barrage (MP) (replaces Pinning Strike) - Hitting three times in a single action is great. The ability to immobilize along with that is amazingly good.

L19, Daily - Surprising Arrow Stance (D 383) (replaces Spitting-Cobra Stance) - A nice power to replace your beloved Stance, the ability to stop movement is quite the upgrade.

L20, Daily - Escalating Barrage (MP) - Three attacks, which go from weakest to strongest in the order you make them. Could be worse.

L22, Utility - Master of the Hunt (PHB) - Extra damage is always welcome on a Ranger.

L26, Utility - Epic Recovery (HotFK) - A power that makes you a hell of a lot harder to keep down.

L29, Daily - Five-Missile Dance (MP) (replaces Attacks on the Run) - This power brings some savage damage potential with it, and as such it is a key component in this Archer's arsenal.


Feats

L1 - Weapon Proficiency (Greatbow) (PHB) - The most damaging ranged weapon you can get.

L2 - Weapon Focus (Bows) (PHB) - This adds some extra pop to your Bow attacks.

L4 - Bow Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to attack rolls is amazing, and a little extra damage against isolated enemies doesn't hurt either.

L6 - Sneak of Shadows (PHB) - The ability to pop in a Sneak Atack once per fight can result in a solid damage increase.

L8 - Treetop Sniper (PHB) - Gives you the ability to use Rogue stuff with that huge bow of yours.

L10 - Distant Advantage (PHB 2) - CA is hard to come by for an Archer, so any way to get it is appreciated.

L11 - Lasting Frost (PHB) - The muscle behind the Permafrost combo, this provides a hefty effective damage bonus to everything you do.

L11 - Wintertouched (PHB) (replace Distant Advantage) - An easier way to get CA for you, given that you took Lasting Frost.

L12 - Beast Protector (MP) - The key piece of the combo, this combines with Opportunity Fire to give you a reprisal attack any time anyone thinks of touching your Beast companion.

L14 - Novice Power (Snap Shot) (PHB) - Gives you access to a minor action attack.

L16 - Lethal Hunter (PHB) - Extra Quarry damage sure comes in handy.

L18 - Slaying Action (MP) - Dealing Sneak Attack damage twice per nova is good stuff.

L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL) - Patches up your NADs in a big-time way.

L21 - Bow Mastery (PHB) - Rangers make more attacks than most. An improved critical rate feat thus makes a heck of an impact.

L22 - Quick Beast Command (MP) - Beast attacks may not have much steam behind them, but dishing them out as a minor is a great thing to have.

L24 - Martial Mastery (MP) - Power-recovery shenanigans make this build more dangerous when it comes to bringing the pain against a dangerous opponent.

L26 - Hawkeye Warrior (MP) - An accuracy buff all fight long for using your racial power? Sure.

L28 - Armor Specialization (Hide) (PHB) - Extra AC never hurt anybody.

L30 - Epic Fortitude (PHB 2) - A hefty bonus to your weakest NAD.


Magic Items

Armor - Predator's Hide (AV 2) - The ability to impose what amounts to a hefty penalty to hit against your Quarry's attacks against you is an extremely strong ability, and worth keeping.

Weapon - Frost (PHB) - One of the main sources of damage you'll have across your career.

Arms - Bracers of Archery (AV) - No reason to not get on this damage bonus gravy train.

Feet - Zephyr Boots (AV) - You can fly: need I say more? A pair of Boots of Eagerness (AV) will have to do until you can afford them, though.

Hands - Gloves of Ice (AV) - A nice bonus to damage that's one all the time, and the ability to crack resistances if needed.

Head - Eye of Awareness (AV) - A bonus to Will defense is always nice, and a hefty bonus to initiative seals the deal. Before you can afford this, a Casque of Tactics (AV) isn't flashy, but it gets the job done.

Neck - Torc of Power Preservation (AV) - The ability to give your powers anoter go is amazing. A Cloak of Resistance (PHB) will make for a respectable intermediary until this is available.

Ring - Ring of Free Time (AV) - This item gives you a very handy additional minor action you can invoke to extend nova chains. If money is tight, a Shadow Band (AV) or a Ring of Greater Invisibility (AV 2) make perfectly reasonable and significantly cheaper substitutes.

Ring - Ring of Giants (D 378) - A very respectable bonus to critical hit damage is very nice to have, especially at this price.

Waist - Diamond Cincture (AV 2) - The ability to access self-healing is great on a Striker, especially when it patches up the weaker NAD. A Belt of Breaching (AV 2) can also be a very useful substitute.

Tattoo - Backlash Tattoo (AV 2) - Lashing out when you get bloodied is awesome to have.


Sample Character

Race: Elf (PHB)
Class: Ranger (PHB)
Fighting Style: Beast Mastery (MP)
Beast Companion: Raptor (PHB)
Multiclass: Rogue (PHB)
Paragon Path: Sharpshooter (MP)
Epic Destiny: Destined Scion (HotFK)
Background: Auspicious Birth (D 366)
Theme: Noble Adept (DSCS)

Ability Scores, with racial adjustments:
Strength 12 (+1)
Constitution 16 (+3)
Dexterity 30 (+10)
Intelligence 12 (+1)
Wisdom 24 (+7)
Charisma 10 (+0)

HP: 187 --> 12 base, +30 Dexterity, +145 levels
Bloodied: 93 HP or less
Healing Surges: 9 --> 6 base, +3 Constitution
Healing Surge Value: 46 HP

AC: 47 --> 10 base, +10 ability (Dexterity), +5 armor, +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +1 feat
Fortitude: 44 --> 10 base, +3 ability (Constitution), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +1 class, +4 Epic Fortitude, +3 feat, +2 item
Reflex: 45 --> 10 base, +10 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +1 class, +3 feat
Will: 43 --> 10 base, +7 ability (Wisdom), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +3 feat, +2 item

Initiative: +30 --> +10 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +5 item

Speed: 7 --> 7 base

Racial Powers:
Elven Accuracy (PHB)

Theme Powers:
Adept's Insight (DSCS)

At-Will Attack Powers:
L1 - Nimble Strike (PHB)
L1 - Twin Strike (PHB)

Encounter Attack Powers:
L3 - Disruptive Strike (PHB)
L7 - Snap Shot (MP)
L11 - Stab and Shot (MP)
L17 - Pounding Barrage (MP)

Daily Attack Powers:
L15 - Confounding Arrows (PHB)
L19 - Surprising Arrow Stance (D 383)
L20 - Escalating Barrage (MP)
L29 - Five-Missile Dance (MP)

Utility Powers:
L2 - Invigorating Stride (MP 2)
L6 - Healing Lore (HotFK)
L10 - Defensive Volley (D 383)
L12 - Perfect Aim (MP)
L16 - Howling Winds (HotFK)
L22 - Master of the Hunt (PHB)
L26 - Epic Recovery (HotFK)

Skills:
Acrobatics (+30) --> +10 ability (Dexterity), +5 trained, +15 levels
Heal (+27) --> +7 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Nature (+29) --> +7 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels, +2 racial
Perception (+29) --> +7 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels, +2 racial
Stealth (+30) --> +10 ability (Dexterity), +5 trained, +15 levels
Thievery (+30) --> +10 ability (Dexterity), +5 trained, +15 levels

Feats:
L1 - Weapon Proficiency (Greatbow) (PHB)
L2 - Weapon Focus (Bows) (PHB)
L4 - Bow Expertise (HotFL)
L6 - Sneak of Shadows (PHB)
L8 - Treetop Sniper (MP 2)
L11 - Lasting Frost (PHB)
L11 - Wintertouched (PHB)
L12 - Beast Protector (MP)
L14 - Novice Power (Snap Shot) (PHB)
L16 - Lethal Hunter (PHB)
L18 - Slaying Action (MP)
L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL)
L21 - Bow Mastery (PHB 2)
L22 - Quick Beast Command (MP)
L24 - Martial Mastery (MP)
L26 - Hawkeye Warrior (MP)
L28 - Armor Specialization (Hide) (PHB)
L30 - Epic Fortitude (PHB 2)

Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000):
L30 (3,125,000 gp): +6 Torc of Power Preservation (AV)

L29 (2,625,000 gp): Ring of Free Time (AV 2)
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Frost Greatbow (PHB)
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Predator's Elderhide Armor (AV 2)

L26 (1,125,000 gp): Bracers of Archery (Epic Tier) (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Violet Solitaire (AV)

L24 (525,000 gp): Zephyr Boots (AV)
L23 (425,000 gp): Eye of Awareness (AV)
L22 (325,000 gp): Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (Epic Tier) (EPG)
L21 (225,000 gp): Gloves of Ice (Epic Tier) (AV 2)
L20 (125,000 gp): Diamond Cincture (Paragon Tier) (AV 2)
L13 (17,000 gp): Ring of Giants (D 378)
L12 (13,000 gp): Stone of Wind (AV 2)
L11 (9,000 gp):
Dice of Auspicious Fortune (D 381)
L9 (4,200 gp): Backlash Tattoo (AV 2)

L9 (4,200 gp): Endless Quiver (AV 2)

TOTAL: 13,922,400 gp


Raptor:



Ability Scores:
Strength 14
Constitution 14
Dexterity 26
Intelligence 8
Wisdom 20
Charisma 8

HP: 192 --> 12 base, +180 levels
Bloodied: 96 HP or less
Healing Surges: 2 --> 2 base
Healing Surge Value: 48 HP

AC: 44 --> 14 base, +30 levels
Fortitude: 40 --> 10 base, +30 levels
Reflex: 44 --> 14 base, +30 levels
Will: 42 --> 12 base, +30 levels

Speed: 2, fly 7 (hover)

Skills:
Perception (+25) --> +5 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels

Shock Trooper


Hey, you, new guy! What's that you've got in your hands? You call that a weapon, boy? That's barely bigger than a tootpick. ...Whoa, watch where you're aiming those, they're sharp! ...Now that I think of it, you seem to be better at wielding those letter openers than you are with proper swords. We'll send you to our jungle boys, see if they can teach you a thing or two... especially how to keep the pointy bits the heck away from me!

Build Goal:
The idea here is to make a Melee Ranger who doesn't go for the tried-and-true Two-Blade Style and focuses purely on Melee, yet still ends up being an effective Melee combatant.

Race - Half-Orc (PHB 2) - The ability scores are in the right places, and the other racial abilities (THP when bloodied, an extra [W] per encounter) aren't bad, either.

Fighting Style - Marauder Style (MP 2) - +1 to speed is great for maneuverability, and getting Two-Weapon Defense on the house doesn't suck, either.

Bonus Feature - Prime Shot (PHB) - While it may not be all that useful during Heroic tier, neither is Running Attack, and at least this one gets a heck of a lot more useful after that.

Multiclass - Fighter (PHB) - It's not like we have a choice, here - we need this to get the Paragon Path.

Epic Destiny - Destined Scion (HotFK) - It's all about the additional ability score bonuses; since this build relies more heavily on its ability scores for defense, those ability scores will win out, especially with an extra bonus to hit on the house.

Gear

Weapons - The build will likely be rocking a Rapier (PHB) in the main hand and a Short Sword (PHB) throughout Heroic, and then making the switch to twin Short Swords in Paragon. A Dagger (PHB) will be our main Ranged option here.

Armor - No reason to ever leave your beloved Hide (PHB).


Ability Scores

Starting Array (after racial modifiers):
Strength 18 - This is your everything when it comes to offense. Start it high and keep boosting it.
Dexterity 18 - It's all about the defenses and secondary effects here, so it's just as important as Strength.
Wisdom 13 - Just enough to get all your feats.
Constitution 11 - Pretty much the only thing you have left over.
Intelligence/Charisma 8/10 - Who gets the 8 is up to you, but the point is to not waste any points here.

Ability Score Bonuses:
Level 4 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 8 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 11 - +1 to all scores
Level 14 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 18 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 21 - +1 to all scores
Level 21 - +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity
Level 24 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 28 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity

Final Array:
Strength 28
Constitution 13
Dexterity 28
Intelligence 10
Wisdom 15
Charisma 12


Shock Trooper Paragon Path Features

L11 - Deadly Soldier (MP) - A pretty nice extra damage feature.

L11 - Footwork Action (MP) - A defensive boost when you AP. Nice, but extra offense would definitely have been more useful.

L16 - Quicker Death (MP) - Now this is the money feature we're here for! Applying what amounts to your highest ability score to damage when you have CA is a sweet way to enhance the damage you deal.


Skills

L1 - Acrobatics - Keys off a very important stat, and is quite useful to you.
L1 - Athletics - It keys off what is tied for your highest stat. All you really need to know.
L1 - Dungeoneering/Nature - One of these is literally mandatory due to the Ranger list, so pick one and be on your way.
L1 - Perception - Pretty much the most useful skill in the game, and something you wouldn't be caught dead without.
L1 - Stealth - A sweet skill to have, especially when you're as good as you are at it.
L8 - Endurance - A decent tough-guy skill that can be useful to have around.


Powers

L1, At-Will - Fading Strike (MP 2) - A nice backup, this gives you the ability to disengage and then get the heck out of a fight you may not want to be in.

L1, At-Will - Twin Strike (PHB) - The base upon which the class is built. Don't leave home without it.

L1, Encounter - Off-Hand Strike (MP) - The more attacks you can make, the merrier.

L1, Daily - Jaws of the Wolf (PHB) - This Daily packs a wallop when you get it, probably enough to KO a Standard all by itself. Doesn't scale too well, though.

L2, Utility - Invigorating Stride (MP 2) - Though the shift is likely not worth much to you, the ability to second wind as a move certainly is. Highly recommended.

L3, Encounter - Ruffling Sting (MP) - With all due respect to Disruptive Strike, this is the choice for you if you care about novas, and this build certainly does.

L5, Daily - Frenzied Skirmish (PHB) - Gets you where you need to go, and packs a debuff while you're there, too.

L6, Utility - Death Threat (D 377) - While this power may not seem all that impressive on its own, combining it with your next Utility power results in a heck of a smooth transition from one target to the next.

L7, Encounter - Lashing Leaves (D 377) - While the extra damage from this power might not have you thinking offensive fireworks, the fact that your party can benefit from it raises its stock.

L9, Daily - Attacks on the Run (PHB) - As a Melee Ranger, there is no real reason to NOT pick this power. It solves many situations for the Ranger and comes in for some hefty damage too.

L10, Utility - Resume the Hunt (MP 2) - This combined with Death Threat will get you from target 1 to target 2 with virtually no prep time (not to mention with a offensive and defensive boost), and that does count for a heck of a lot.

L11, Encounter - Shocking Twister (MP) - ...Holy cow. A triple-hitter that can daze?! This is amazing for you.

L12, Utility - Assault Footwork (MP) - An OK Stance that gives you a choice of consolation benefits when you miss. Could be worse, I guess.

L13, Encounter - Off-Hand Diversion (MP) (replaces Off-Hand Strike) - A simple upgrade over the basic minor action attack, by attaching a CA effect on it. I'd take that deal.

L15, Daily - Blade Cascade (PHB) (replaces Jaws of the Wolf) - Absolutely savage damage, even for a Ranger power. This is your signature power: enjoy it.

L16, Utility - Ranger's Parry (MP 2) - A defensive Utility power is more than welcome on this sort of Ranger.

L17, Encounter - Untamed Outburst (MP) (replaces Lashing Leaves) - A native bonus to hit, as well as some solid damage and a daze attached make this one heck of a power.

L19, Daily - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB) (replaces Frenzied Skirmish) - Three attacks with a native bonus to hit, and can pack a stun. That's amazing on this build, or on any build for that matter.

L20, Daily - Shocking Skewer (MP) - A nice change-of-pace option (since you are fairly well suited to holding someone down with a grab), but this really isn't your thing as a Ranger.

L22, Utility - Adamant Recovery (MP) - An excellent emergency button to have in your back pocket.

L23, Encounter - Nonchalant Collapse (MP) (replaces Ruffling Sting) - Bigger damage than the other minor action attacks at your disposal, hits a NAD, and knocs prone. Beautiful.

L25, Daily - Circling Cascade (MP 2) (replaces Attacks on the Run) - 3 attacks, with dazing and shifting thrown in? I can work with that.

L26, Utility - Epic Recovery (HotFK) - A power that makes you a hell of a lot harder to bring down.

L27, Encounter - Death Rend (PHB) (replaces Untamed Outburst) - The ability to stun is an oh-so-sweet expansion of your capabilities. An excellent choice to be had.


Feats

L1 - Light Blade Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to attack rolls is amazing. Throw in some extra damage with CA and you have yourself a must-have feat for this build.

L2 - Weapon Focus (Light Blades) (PHB) - Damage bonuses are what you're hunting for, so this one is welcome to join your feat list.

L4 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB) - While this feat isn't bad at all by itself, its true value lies in the other feats it opens up access to.

L6 - Swift Blade Style (HotFL) - The possibility of adding an ability modifier as high as your Dexterity to Twin Strike damage is well worth a feat.

L8 - Battle Awareness (Endurance) (MP) - The Fighter MC you need to get your Paragon Path, and it has an extra attack opportunity, too.

L10 - Wintertouched (PHB) - A feat that won't be useful now, but will do a lot for you later on.

L11 - Lasting Frost (PHB) - Absolutely huge bonuses when combined with Wintertouched and a Frost weapon. A great boon for a Ranger.

L12 - Prime Punisher (D 373) - Now Prime Shot applies in Melee! The beginning of your definition as an isolationist combatant.

L14 - Called Shot (D 368) - This big damage bonus is a hefty incentive for you to take on enemies solo, and well worth the risk if you ask me.

L16 - Nimble Blade (PHB) - An extra +1 to hit, essentially for doing what you do. Great to have around.

L18 - Two-Weapon Opening (PHB) - An extra attack on a critical is an excellent ability to have for this build.

L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL) - Patches up your NADs in a big-time way.

L21 - Rending Tempest (MP) - Extra damage on your subsequent attacks when you use a dual-wielder power. Extra nice on nova turns.

L22 - Light Blade Mastery (PHB) - Rangers make more attacks than most. An improved critical rate feat thus makes a heck of an impact.

L24 - Martial Mastery (MP) - Power-recovery shenanigans make this build more dangerous when it comes to bringing the pain against a dangerous opponent.

L26 - Prime Quarry (MP) - A bonus to hit against opponents you've got Prime Shot against is nice.

L28 - Ferocious Critical (PHB 2) - A sizable boost to attack and damage rolls, should you get lucky.

L30 - Epic Will (PHB 2) - Goes a long way toward fixing the bad NAD.


Magic Items

Armor - Predator's Hide (AV 2) - The ability to impose what amounts to a hefty penalty to hit against your Quarry's attacks against you is an extremely strong ability, and worth keeping.

Weapon - Frost (PHB) - An excellent weapon enchantment for you, especially when you've put in the necessary investment to really make it shine.

Arms - Iron Armbands of Power (AV) - No reason to not get on this damage bonus gravy train.

Feet - Zephyr Boots (AV) - You can fly: need I say more? A pair of Boots of Eagerness (AV) will have to do until you can afford them, though.

Hands - Gloves of Ice (AV 2) - An item with the ability to either punch through cold resistance, or deal extra damage to those who aren't resistant. Either way, it's excellent for you.

Head - Eye of Awareness (AV) - A bonus to Will defense is always nice, and a hefty bonus to initiative seals the deal. Before you can afford this, a Casque of Tactics (AV) isn't flashy, but it gets the job done.

Neck - Steadfast Amulet (AV) - A nice emergency button to keep annoying conditions off of you. A Cloak of Resistance (PHB) will get the job done 'till this shows up.

Ring - Shadow Band (AV) - This item provides a static bonus to defenses against certain modes of attack, which is awesome. Should you find yourself unable to afford it, a Ring of Greater Invisibility (AV 2) makes for a perfectly reasonable and significantly cheaper substitute.

Ring - Ring of Giants (D 378) - A very respectable bonus to critical hit damage is very nice to have, especially at this price.

Waist - Belt of Titan Strength (PHB) - Carries a nice bonus to Athletics checks, and a big time bonus to nova damage. A Belt of Breaching (AV 2) can also be a very useful substitute.

Tattoo - Backlash Tattoo (AV 2) - Lashing out when you get bloodied is awesome to have.


Sample Character

Race: Half-Orc (PHB 2)
Class: Ranger (PHB)
Bonus Feature: Prime Shot (PHB)
Fighting Style: Marauder Style (MP 2)
Multiclass: Fighter (PHB)
Paragon Path: Shock Trooper (MP)
Epic Destiny: Destined Scion (HotFK)
Background: Auspicious Birth (D 366)
Theme: Noble Adept (DSCS)

Ability Scores, with racial adjustments:
Strength 28 (+9)
Constitution 13 (+1)
Dexterity 28 (+9)
Intelligence 10 (+0)
Wisdom 15 (+2)
Charisma 12 (+1)

HP: 185 --> 12 base, +28 Strength, +145 levels
Bloodied: 92 HP or less
Healing Surges: 7 --> 6 base, +1 Constitution
Healing Surge Value: 46 HP

AC: 46 --> 10 base, +13 armor, +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +1 feat, +1 shield
Fortitude: 44 --> 10 base, +9 ability (Strength), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +3 feat, +1 class
Reflex: 45 --> 10 base, +9 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +3 feat, +1 class, +1 shield
Will: 42 --> 10 base, +2 ability (Wisdom), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +4 Epic Will, +3 feat, +2 item

Initiative: +29 --> +9 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +5 item

Speed: 7 --> 6 base, +1 Marauder Style

Racial Powers:
Furious Assault (PHB 2)

Theme Powers:
Adept's Insight (DSCS)

At-Will Attack Powers:
L1 - Fading Strike (MP 2)
L1 - Twin Strike (PHB)

Encounter Attack Powers:
L11 - Shocking Twister (MP)
L13 - Off-Hand Diversion (MP)
L23 - Nonchalant Collapse (MP)
L27 - Death Rend (PHB)

Daily Attack Powers:
L15 - Blade Cascade (PHB)
L19 - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB)
L20 - Shocking Skewer (MP)
L25 - Circling Cascade (MP 2)

Utility Powers:
L2 - Invigorating Stride (MP 2)
L6 - Death Threat (D 377)
L10 - Resume the Hunt (MP 2)
L12 - Assault Footwork (MP)
L16 - Ranger's Parry (MP 2)
L22 - Adamant Recovery (MP)
L26 - Epic Recovery (HotFK)

Skills:
Acrobatics (+28) --> +9 ability (Dexterity), +5 trained, +15 levels, -1 armor
Athletics (+33) --> +9 ability (Strength), +5 trained, +15 levels, +3 item, +2 feat, -1 armor
Endurance (+23) --> +2 ability (Constitution), +5 trained, +15 levels, +2 racial, -1 armor
Nature (+22) --> +2 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Perception (+22) --> +2 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Stealth (+28) --> +9 ability (Dexterity), +5 trained, +15 levels, -1 armor

Feats:
L1 - Light Blade Expertise (HotFL)
L1 - Two-Weapon Defense (Ranger Bonus Feat) (PHB)
L2 - Weapon Focus (Light Blades) (PHB)
L4 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB)
L6 - Swift Blade Style (D 368)
L8 - Battle Awareness (Endurance) (MP)
L10 - Wintertouched (PHB)
L11 - Lasting Frost (PHB)
L12 - Prime Punisher (D 373)
L14 - Called Shot (D 368)
L16 - Nimble Blade (PHB)
L18 - Two-Weapon Opening (PHB 2)
L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL)
L21 - Rending Tempest (MP)
L22 - Light Blade Mastery (PHB)
L24 - Martial Mastery (MP)
L26 - Prime Quarry (MP)
L28 - Ferocious Critical (PHB 2)
L30 - Epic Will (PHB 2)

Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000):
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Frost Short Sword (PHB)

L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Frost Short Sword (PHB)

L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Predator's Elderhide Armor (AV 2)
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Steadfast Amulet (AV)

L27 (1,625,000 gp): Shadow Band (AV)
L25 (625,000 gp): Belt of Titan Strength (PHB)
L24 (525,000 gp): Zephyr Boots (AV)
L23 (425,000 gp): +5 Frost Dagger (PHB)
L23 (425,000 gp): Eye of Awareness (AV)
L22 (325,000 gp): Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (Epic Tier) (EPG)
L22 (325,000 gp): Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (Epic Tier) (EPG)
L22 (325,000 gp): Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (Epic Tier) (EPG)
L21 (225,000 gp): Gloves of Ice (Epic Tier) (AV 2)
L15 (25,000 gp): Sapphire Scabbard (AV)
L15 (25,000 gp): Sapphire Scabbard (AV)

L13 (17,000 gp): Ring of Giants (D 378)
L12 (13,000 gp): Stone of Earth (AV)

L11 (9,000 gp): Dice of Auspicious Fortune (D 381)
L9 (4,200 gp): Backlash Tattoo (AV 2)
TOTAL: 13,418,200 gp
Stormwarden

Hey, fairy boy! Yeah, you, I see you talking to those pixies back there! Get your dome back in the Material Plane and pay some attention! ...Hm, talking to those pixies seems to have rubbed off on you - there's a little storm cloud following you around. Seems like you've just volunteered for our Feywild Outreach Program! Don't give me that look, you brought this on yourself. Now get in the portal.

Build Goal:
The idea here is to push consistent damage (also known as DPR) as high up as it can go, while not sacrificing the ability to field a solid character.

Race - Half-Orc (PHB 2) - The ability scores are in the right places, and the other racial abilities (THP when bloodied, an extra [W] per encounter) aren't bad, either.

Fighting Style - Two-Blade Style (PHB) - Can't take the Paragon Path without this.

Bonus Feature - Prime Shot (PHB) - While it may not be all that useful during Heroic tier, neither is Running Attack, and at least this one gets a heck of a lot more useful after that.

Multiclass - Spiked Chain (D 372) - This gets us a nice and awesome weapon to wield.

Epic Destiny - Destined Scion (HotFK) - It's all about the additional ability score bonuses; since this build relies more heavily on its ability scores for defense, those ability scores will win out, especially with an extra bonus to hit on the house.

Gear

Weapons - The build will be swinging a Spiked Chain (PHB) about in Melee, with a Dagger (PHB) as a long-distance backup.

Armor - No reason to ever leave your beloved Hide (PHB).


Ability Scores

Starting Array (after racial modifiers):
Strength 18 - This is your everything when it comes to offense. Start it high and keep boosting it.
Dexterity 18 - It's all about the defenses and secondary effects here, so it's just as important as Strength.
Wisdom 13 - Just enough to get all your feats.
Constitution 11 - Pretty much the only thing you have left over.
Intelligence/Charisma 8/10 - Who gets the 8 is up to you, but the point is to not waste any points here.

Ability Score Bonuses:
Level 4 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 8 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 11 - +1 to all scores
Level 14 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 18 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 21 - +1 to all scores
Level 21 - +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity
Level 24 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 28 - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity

Final Array:
Strength 28
Constitution 13
Dexterity 28
Intelligence 10
Wisdom 15
Charisma 12


Stormwarden Paragon Path Features

L11 - Blade Storm (PHB) - Hooray for autodamage!

L11 - Stormstep Action (PHB) - While it's not the flashiest thing out there, the ability to reposition on an AP can be of some use.

L16 - Twin-Blade Storm (MP) - Even more autodamage, and this one has an elemental type, too!


Skills

L1 - Athletics - It keys off what is tied for your highest stat. All you really need to know.
L1 - Dungeoneering/Nature - One of these is literally mandatory due to the Ranger list, so pick one and be on your way.
L1 - Endurance - Do you want to die of mummy rot or choke in a swamp? Neither do I.
L1 - Perception - Pretty much the most useful skill in the game, and something you wouldn't be caught dead without.
L1 - Stealth - A sweet skill to have, especially when you're as good as you are at it.


Powers

L1, At-Will - Fading Strike (MP 2) - A nice backup, this gives you the ability to disengage and then get the heck out of a fight you may not want to be in.

L1, At-Will - Twin Strike (PHB) - The base upon which the class is built. Don't leave home without it.

L1, Encounter - Off-Hand Strike (MP) - The more attacks you can make, the merrier.

L1, Daily - Jaws of the Wolf (PHB) - This Daily packs a wallop when you get it, probably enough to KO a Standard all by itself. Doesn't scale too well, though.

L2, Utility - Invigorating Stride (MP 2) - Though the shift is likely not worth much to you, the ability to second wind as a move certainly is. Highly recommended.

L3, Encounter - Ruffling Sting (MP) - With all due respect to Disruptive Strike, this is the choice for you if you care about novas, and this build certainly does.

L5, Daily - Frenzied Skirmish (PHB) - Gets you where you need to go, and packs a debuff while you're there, too.

L6, Utility - Death Threat (D 377) - While this power may not seem all that impressive on its own, combining it with your next Utility power results in a heck of a smooth transition from one target to the next.

L7, Encounter - Lashing Leaves (D 377) - While the extra damage from this power might not have you thinking offensive fireworks, the fact that your party can benefit from it raises its stock.

L9, Daily - Attacks on the Run (PHB) - As a Melee Ranger, there is no real reason to NOT pick this power. It solves many situations for the Ranger and comes in for some hefty damage too.

L10, Utility - Resume the Hunt (MP 2) - This combined with Death Threat will get you from target 1 to target 2 with virtually no prep time (not to mention with a offensive and defensive boost), and that does count for a heck of a lot.

L11, Encounter - Clearing the Ground (PHB) - A close burst that pushes is certainly not the way you like to get things done.

L12, Utility - Throw Caution to the Wind (PHB) - Now here's a nice one! If you're having trouble hitting, this will fix that for you in a jiffy, plus it has some of the best flavor text ever.

L13, Encounter - Off-Hand Diversion (MP) (replaces Off-Hand Strike) - A simple upgrade over the basic minor action attack, by attaching a CA effect on it. I'd take that deal.

L15, Daily - Blade Cascade (PHB) (replaces Jaws of the Wolf) - Absolutely savage damage, even for a Ranger power. This is your signature power: enjoy it.

L16, Utility - Ranger's Parry (MP 2) - A defensive Utility power is more than welcome on this sort of Ranger.

L17, Encounter - Untamed Outburst (MP) (replaces Lashing Leaves) - A native bonus to hit, as well as some solid damage and a daze attached make this one heck of a power.

L19, Daily - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB) (replaces Frenzied Skirmish) - Three attacks with a native bonus to hit, and can pack a stun. That's amazing on this build, or on any build for that matter.

L20, Daily - Cold Steel Hurricane (PHB) - While it is a close burst (which is usually a bad thing for a Ranger), it does recover your second wind, and it does let you swing twice against each target, so you might actually use this power every now and then.

L22, Utility - Adamant Recovery (MP) - An excellent emergency button to have in your back pocket.

L23, Encounter - Nonchalant Collapse (MP) (replaces Ruffling Sting) - Bigger damage than the other minor action attacks at your disposal, hits a NAD, and knocs prone. Beautiful.

L25, Daily - Circling Cascade (MP 2) (replaces Attacks on the Run) - 3 attacks, with dazing and shifting thrown in? I can work with that.

L26, Utility - Epic Recovery (HotFK) - A power that makes you a hell of a lot harder to bring down.

L27, Encounter - Death Rend (PHB) (replaces Untamed Outburst) - The ability to stun is an oh-so-sweet expansion of your capabilities. An excellent choice to be had.


Feats

L1 - Spiked Chain Training (D 372) - This feat gets you your precious weapon of choice.

L2 - Light Blade Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to attack rolls is amazing. Throw in some extra damage with CA and you have yourself a must-have feat for this build.

L4 - Weapon Focus (Light Blades) (PHB) - Damage bonuses are what you're hunting for, so this one is welcome to join your feat list.

L6 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB) - While this feat isn't bad at all by itself, its true value lies in the other feats it opens up access to.

L8 - Swift Blade Style (HotFL) - The possibility of adding an ability modifier as high as your Dexterity to Twin Strike damage is well worth a feat.

L10 - Wintertouched (PHB) - A feat that won't be useful now, but will do a lot for you later on.

L11 - Lasting Frost (PHB) - Absolutely huge bonuses when combined with Wintertouched and a Frost weapon. A great boon for a Ranger.

L12 - Prime Punisher (D 373) - Now Prime Shot applies in Melee! The beginning of your definition as an isolationist combatant.

L14 - Called Shot (D 368) - This big damage bonus is a hefty incentive for you to take on enemies solo, and well worth the risk if you ask me.

L16 - Nimble Blade (PHB) - An extra +1 to hit, essentially for doing what you do. Great to have around.

L18 - Two-Weapon Opening (PHB) - An extra attack on a critical is an excellent ability to have for this build.

L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL) - Patches up your NADs in a big-time way.

L21 - Rending Tempest (MP) - Extra damage on your subsequent attacks when you use a dual-wielder power. Extra nice on nova turns.

L22 - Light Blade Mastery (PHB) - Rangers make more attacks than most. An improved critical rate feat thus makes a heck of an impact.

L24 - Martial Mastery (MP) - Power-recovery shenanigans make this build more dangerous when it comes to bringing the pain against a dangerous opponent.

L26 - Rending Tempest (MP) - Extra damage on your second attacks. Useful, especially when it's time to lay down the nova.

L28 - Ferocious Critical (PHB 2) - A sizable boost to attack and damage rolls, should you get lucky.

L30 - Epic Will (PHB 2) - Goes a long way toward fixing the bad NAD.


Magic Items

Armor - Predator's Hide (AV 2) - The ability to impose what amounts to a hefty penalty to hit against your Quarry's attacks against you is an extremely strong ability, and worth keeping.

Weapon - Frost (PHB) - An excellent weapon enchantment for you, especially when you've put in the necessary investment to really make it shine.

Arms - Iron Armbands of Power (AV) - No reason to not get on this damage bonus gravy train.

Feet - Zephyr Boots (AV) - You can fly: need I say more? A pair of Boots of Eagerness (AV) will have to do until you can afford them, though.

Hands - Gloves of Ice (AV 2) - An item with the ability to either punch through cold resistance, or deal extra damage to those who aren't resistant. Either way, it's excellent for you.

Head - Eye of Awareness (AV) - A bonus to Will defense is always nice, and a hefty bonus to initiative seals the deal. Before you can afford this, a Casque of Tactics (AV) isn't flashy, but it gets the job done.

Neck - Steadfast Amulet (AV) - A nice emergency button to keep annoying conditions off of you. A Cloak of Resistance (PHB) will get the job done 'till this shows up.

Ring - Shadow Band (AV) - This item provides a static bonus to defenses against certain modes of attack, which is awesome. Should you find yourself unable to afford it, a Ring of Greater Invisibility (AV 2) makes for a perfectly reasonable and significantly cheaper substitute.

Ring - Ring of Giants (D 378) - A very respectable bonus to critical hit damage is very nice to have, especially at this price.

Waist - Belt of Titan Strength (PHB) - Carries a nice bonus to Athletics checks, and a big time bonus to nova damage. A Belt of Breaching (AV 2) can also be a very useful substitute.

Tattoo - Backlash Tattoo (AV 2) - Lashing out when you get bloodied is awesome to have.


Sample Character

The Hurricane build is what you'd be looking for here.
Tactical Warpriest

So, I've heard that you're sticking up for the weaker guys on your platoon! Listen, kid, I appreciate the sentiment, but you're just going to waste your time trying to stand up for people you can't really protect. Now, get out of the way. I said, get out of the way! Hm, you're a stubborn one. Tell you what: I'll send you over to the warrior priests, they'll teach you how to protect your friends. Now, let go of my leg.

Build Goal:
The goal for this build is to inject some Defender into your Ranger with a mark mechanic that's easy to apply, as well as some other nice durability-oriented benefits.

Race - Longtooth Shifter (PHB 2) - Nothing like a racial ability to regenerate and deal extra damage simultaneously to bring across what you're trying to do with this build. My personal favorite.

Fighting Style - Two-Blade Style (PHB) - Oversized dual-wielding rocks, as does getting Toughness for free.

Bonus Feature - Prime Shot (PHB) - While it may not be all that useful during Heroic tier, neither is Running Attack, and at least this one gets a heck of a lot more useful after that.

Multiclass - Cleric (PHB) - You need this to qualify for the Path in the first place.

Epic Destiny - Destined Scion (HotFK) - It's all about the ability score bonuses here, though a bonus to hit on top of that certainly doesn't hurt its stock.

Gear

Weapons - The build will be wielding a Bastard Sword (PHB) in each hand for most of its career (though it starts life using a Broadsword (AV) instead).

Armor - After a few levels spent in Chain (PHB), you switch to the much more awesome Scale (PHB) for the rest of your career.


Ability Scores

Starting Array (after racial modifiers):
Strength 18 - This is your everything when it comes to offense. Start it high and keep boosting it.
Wisdom 16 - Drives quite a few of your secondary effects, and as such is a prized possession.
Dexterity 14 - Quite a few feats you want are going to require you invest in this.
Constitution 13 - A decent starting score here will do.
Intelligence/Charisma 10/8 - Who gets the 8 is up to you, but the point is to not waste any points here.

Ability Score Bonuses:
Level 4 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 8 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 11 - +1 to all scores
Level 14 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 18 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 21 - +1 to all scores
Level 21 - +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity
Level 24 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
Level 28 - +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom

Final Array:
Strength 28
Constitution 15
Dexterity 18
Intelligence 12
Wisdom 24
Charisma 10


Pathfinder Paragon Path Features

L11 - Extra Damage Action (PHB) - You won't get many nova buffs better than this one.

L11 - Warpriest's Strategy (PHB) - Not a flagship feature by any means, but you effectively got this for free, so it's quite nice.

L11 - Warpriest's Training (PHB) - An AC bump in heavy armor is nice to have for you.

L16 - Warpriest's Challenge (PHB) - An encounter-long mark can help expand your abilities, even if your ability to enforce it is limited.


Skills

L1 - Athletics - It keys off your highest stat. All you really need to know.
L1 - Dungeoneering/Nature - One of these is literally mandatory due to the Ranger list, the other is simply an excellent choice given the way you're set up. I'd take them both.
L1 - Endurance - You get a racial bonus to it, it's a skill that comes up in big situations, and your preferred armor property boosts it further. A nice choice.
L1 - Perception - Pretty much the most useful skill in the game, and something you wouldn't be caught dead without.
L10 - Religion - Not really tailored to your strengths, but hey, you get it for free.


Powers

L1, At-Will - Throw and Stab (MP 2) - A nice change-of-pace option for your offensive output when some extra mobility (or some minion-munching) is called for.

L1, At-Will - Twin Strike (PHB) - The base upon which the class is built. Don't leave home without it.

L1, Encounter - Off-Hand Strike (MP) - The more attacks you can make, the merrier.

L1, Daily - Jaws of the Wolf (PHB) - This Daily packs a wallop when you get it, probably enough to KO a Standard all by itself. Doesn't scale too well, though.

L2, Utility - Invigorating Stride (MP 2) - A shift equal to your Wisdom modifier is good. Using your second wind as a move is very good. Put them together on the same power, and behold the beauty.

L3, Encounter - Ruffling Sting (MP) - With all due respect to Disruptive Strike, this is the choice for you if you care about novas, and this build certainly does.

L5, Daily - Frenzied Skirmish (PHB) - Gets you where you need to go, and packs a debuff while you're there, too.

L6, Utility - Death Threat (D 377) - While this power may not seem all that impressive on its own, combining it with your next Utility power results in a heck of a smooth transition from one target to the next.

L7, Encounter - Lashing Leaves (D 377) - A powerful damage bonus after a two-swing power enables plenty more offensive fireworks from you.

L9, Daily - Attacks on the Run (PHB) - As a Melee Ranger, there is no real reason to NOT pick this power. It solves many situations for the Ranger and comes in for some hefty damage too.

L10, Utility - Resume the Hunt (MP 2) - This combined with Death Threat will get you from target 1 to target 2 with virtually no prep time (not to mention with a offensive and defensive boost), and that does count for a heck of a lot.

L11, Encounter - Battle Cry (PHB) - While it is a close burst attack, it does hit a NAD (which is kind of negated by the fact that it uses Wisdom to hit), and it has a heal for you and any bloodied allies attached. That's worth something.

L12, Utility - Battle Favor (PHB) - You're bound to crit at some point, and healing up to half your maximum HP or recovering one of your (rather devastating) Daily powers is a very good deal.

L13, Encounter - Off-Hand Diversion (MP) (replaces Off-Hand Strike) - A simple upgrade over the basic minor action attack, by attaching a CA effect on it. I'd take that deal.

L15, Daily - Blade Cascade (PHB) (replaces Jaws of the Wolf) - Absolutely savage damage, even for a Ranger power. This is your signature power: enjoy it.

L16, Utility - Ranger's Parry (MP 2) - A defensive Utility power is more than welcome on this sort of Ranger.

L17, Encounter - Untamed Outburst (MP) (replaces Lashing Leaves) - A native bonus to hit, as well as some solid damage and a daze attached make this one heck of a power.

L19, Daily - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB) (replaces Frenzied Skirmish) - Three attacks with a native bonus to hit, and can pack a stun. That's amazing on this build, or on any build for that matter.

L20, Daily - Battle Pyres (PHB) - A big area attack (but it doesn't do much damage initially), and the secondary effect is rather unreliable (but big out-of-turn damage). Not terrible, mind you, but it's not something I'd put gold on.

L22, Utility - Master of the Hunt (PHB) - A big damage bonus for a whole encounter. Amazing on a Ranger.

L23, Encounter - Nonchalant Collapse (MP) (replaces Ruffling Sting) - Bigger damage than the other minor action attacks at your disposal, hits a NAD, and knocs prone. Beautiful.

L25, Daily - Circling Cascade (MP 2) (replaces Attacks on the Run) - 3 attacks, with dazing and shifting thrown in? I can work with that.

L26, Utility - Epic Recovery (PHB 3) - The ability to pick yourself up when you're down is certainly useful.

L27, Encounter - Death Rend (PHB) (replaces Untamed Outburst) - The ability to stun on a per-encounter basis attached to a multiattack is almost too good to be true.


Feats

L1 - Armor Proficiency (Chain) (PHB) - About as un-glamorous a first feat as you can take, but your Dexterity will not be buffed enough to maintain a viable AC in Hide, so you need it.

L2 - Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) (PHB) - This has some mighty nice stats for a one-hander, so it's a nice pickup to marry the Broadsword's damage with the Longsword's acuracy.

L4 - Armor Proficiency (Scale) (PHB) - Again, a rather non-flashy armor feat, but at least this suit has plenty more upside than Chain.

L6 - Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades) (PHB) - Damage bonuses are what you're hunting for, so this one is welcome to join your feat list.

L8 - Heavy Blade Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to attack rolls is nothing short of amazing, and a bonus to all defenses against opportunity attacks comes in handy.

L10 - Initiate of the Faith (PHB) - An emergency heal is hardly a bad thing to have.

L11 - Prime Punisher (D 373) - Now Prime Shot applies in Melee! The beginning of your definition as an isolationist combatant.

L12 - Called Shot (D 368) - This big damage bonus is a hefty incentive for you to take on enemies solo, and well worth the risk if you ask me.

L14 - Prime Quarry (MP) - Making your Prime Shot bonus even bigger is a great choice for a Ranger.

L16 - Armor Specialization (Scale) (PHB) - Getting rid of Scale's speed penalty and netting +1 AC out of the deal is pretty darn good for a Ranger.

L18 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB) - A bit of extra damage never hurts, and this opens up other nice feats.

L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL) - Patches up your NADs in a big-time way.

L21 - Improved Prime Shot (MP) - Essentially the same thing as Prime Quarry, minus the condition of Quarry. A nice use of your retraining feature.

L21 - Rending Tempest (MP) (replace Prime Quarry) - Extra damage on your subsequent attacks when you use a dual-wielder power. Extra nice on nova turns.

L22 - Heavy Blade Mastery (PHB) - Rangers make more attacks than most. An improved critical rate feat thus makes a heck of an impact.

L24 - Martial Mastery (MP) - Power-recovery shenanigans make this build more dangerous when it comes to bringing the pain against a dangerous opponent.

L26 - Slashing Storm (MP 2) - Autodamage all around for hitting with a Melee attack? Sure.

L28 - Superior Will (PHB) - The Will bump is OK, but the condition-shaking effect is what you're here for.

L30 - Two-Weapon Defense (PHB) - Bonuses to defenses never hurt.


Magic Items

Armor - Dwarven Armor (PHB) - Cheap, buffs a useful skill in Endurance, and has one heck of an Item Daily power.

Weapon - Harmony Blade (AV 2) - The ability to impose a defensive penalty should you hit the same target with both weapons, along with free hits on a critical make this a heck of a weapon to have.

Weapon - Farbond Spellblade (AV 2) - Cheap, and the ability to be thrown makes it a nice emergency option.

Arms - Iron Armbands of Power (AV) - No reason to not get on this damage bonus gravy train.

Feet - Boots of Caiphon (AV 2) - Insane movement ability, and a defensive bonus as the cherry on top. A pair of Boots of Eagerness (AV) will have to do until you can afford them, though.

Hands - Gauntlets of Destruction (AV) - Rerolling the 1's on all damage rolls, all the time is great to have. The Strikebacks (AV) can also serve you well while you're waiting for the Gauntlets to become available to you.

Head - Eye of Awareness (AV) - A bonus to Will defense is always nice, and a hefty bonus to initiative seals the deal. Before you can afford this, a Casque of Tactics (AV) isn't flashy, but it gets the job done.

Neck - Steadfast Amulet (AV) - The ability to save your way out of conditions before they significantly impair you is excellent. A Cloak of Resistance (PHB) or a Baffling Cape (AV 2) will make for a respectable intermediary until this is available.

Ring - Shadow Band (AV) - This item provides a static bonus to defenses against certain modes of attack, which is awesome. Should you find yourself unable to afford it, a Ring of Greater Invisibility (AV 2) makes for a perfectly reasonable and significantly cheaper substitute.

Ring - Ring of Giants (D 378) - A very respectable bonus to critical hit damage is very nice to have, especially at this price.

Waist - Belt of Titan Strength (PHB) - Carries a nice bonus to Athletics checks, and a big time bonus to nova damage. A Belt of Breaching (AV 2) can also be a very useful substitute.

Tattoo - Backlash Tattoo (AV 2) - Lashing out when you get bloodied is awesome to have.


Sample Character

Race: Longtooth Shifter (PHB 2)
Class: Ranger (PHB)
Bonus Feature: Prime Shot (PHB)
Fighting Style: Two-Blade Style (PHB)
Multiclass: Cleric (PHB)
Paragon Path: Warpriest (PHB)
Epic Destiny: Destined Scion (HotFK)
Background: Auspicious Birth (D 366)
Theme: Noble Adept (DSCS)

Ability Scores, with racial adjustments:
Strength 28 (+9)
Constitution 15 (+2)
Dexterity 18 (+4)
Intelligence 12 (+1)
Wisdom 24 (+7)
Charisma 10 (+0)

HP: 200 --> 12 base, +28 Strength, +145 levels, +15 Toughness
Bloodied: 100 HP or less
Healing Surges: 8 --> 6 base, +2 Constitution
Healing Surge Value: 50 HP

AC: 47 --> 10 base, +13 armor, +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +1 feat, +1 shield, +1 Warpriest's Training
Fortitude: 44 --> 10 base, +9 ability (Strength), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +3 feat, +1 class
Reflex: 42 --> 10 base, +4 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +3 feat, +2 item, +1 class, +1 shield
Will: 44 --> 10 base, +7 ability (Wisdom), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +4 feat, +2 item

Initiative: +24 --> +4 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +5 item

Speed: 6 --> 6 base

Racial Powers:
Longtooth Shifting (PHB 2)

Theme Powers:
Adept's Insight (DSCS)

At-Will Attack Powers:
L1 - Throw and Stab (MP 2)
L1 - Twin Strike (PHB)

Encounter Attack Powers:
L11 - Battle Cry (PHB)
L13 - Off-Hand Diversion (MP)
L23 - Nonchalant Collapse (MP)
L27 - Death Rend (PHB)

Daily Attack Powers:
L15 - Blade Cascade (PHB)
L19 - Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB)
L20 - Bloodfury Rampage (MP 2)
L25 - Circling Cascade (MP 2)

Utility Powers:
L2 - Invigorating Stride (MP 2)
L6 - Death Threat (D 377)
L10 - Resume the Hunt (MP 2)
L12 - Battle Favor (PHB)
L16 - Ranger's Parry (MP 2)
L22 - Master of the Hunt (MP)
L26 - Epic Recovery (HotFK)

Skills:
Athletics (+34) --> +9 ability (Strength), +5 trained, +15 levels, +3 item, +2 racial
Dungeoneering (+27) --> +7 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Endurance (+30) --> +2 ability (Constitution), +5 trained, +15 levels, +6 item, +2 racial
Nature (+27) --> +7 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Perception (+27) --> +7 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Religion (+21) --> +1 ability (Intelligence), +5 trained, +15 levels

Feats:
L1 - Armor Proficiency (Chainmail) (PHB)
L1 - Toughness (Ranger Bonus Feat) (PHB)
L2 - Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) (PHB)
L4 - Armor Proficiency (Scale) (PHB)
L6 - Heavy Blade Expertise (HotFL)
L8 - Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades) (PHB)
L10 - Initiate of the Faith (PHB)
L11 - Prime Punisher (D 373)
L12 - Called Shot (D 368)
L16 - Armor Specialization (Scale) (PHB)
L18 - Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB)
L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL)
L21 - Improved Prime Shot (MP)
L21 - Rending Tempest (MP)
L22 - Heavy Blade Mastery (PHB)
L24 - Martial Mastery (MP)
L26 - Slashing Storm (MP 2)
L28 - Superior Will (HotFL)
L30 - Two-Weapon Defense (PHB)

Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000):
L29 (2,625,000 gp): +6 Harmony Blade Bastard Sword (AV 2)
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Steadfast Amulet (AV)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): +6 Dwarven Elderscale Armor (PHB)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): +6 Farbond Spellblade Bastard Sword (AV 2)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): Shadow Band (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Iron Armbands of Power (Epic Tier) (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Violet Solitaire (AV)
L25 (625,000 gp): Belt of Titan Strength (PHB)
L24 (525,000 gp): Boots of Caiphon (AV 2)
L23 (425,000 gp): Eye of Awareness (AV)
L18 (85,000 gp): Gauntlets of Destruction (PHB)
L15 (25,000 gp): Sapphire Scabbard (AV)
L15 (25,000 gp): Sapphire Scabbard (AV)
L13 (17,000 gp): Ring of Giants (D 378)
L12 (13,000 gp): Stone of Earth (AV 2)
L11 (9,000 gp): Dice of Auspicious Fortune (D 381)
L9 (4,200 gp): Backlash Tattoo (AV 2)
L3 (680 gp): +1 Blood Fury Drow Long Knife (AV 2)
TOTAL: 13,626,880 gp

Another handbook? You like having a lot on your plate, don't you? Still, coming from you, it should at least be an interesting read. :3
A Beginners Primer to CharOp. Archmage's Ascension - The Wizard's Handbook. Let the Hammer Fall: Dwarf Warpriest/Tactical Warpriest/Indomitable Champion, a Defending Leader. Requiem for Dissent: Cleric/Fighter/Paragon of Victory Melee Leader Ko te manu e kai i te miro, nona te ngahere. Ko te manu e kai i te matauranga e, nano te ao katoa. It's the proliferation of people who think the rules are more important than what the rules are meant to accomplish. - Dedekine
If only this reservation had a casino.
Another handbook? You like having a lot on your plate, don't you? Still, coming from you, it should at least be an interesting read. :3



Not really a Handbook as much as it is a collection for builds that I've made. It's too much of a workload to make a full summary for them as I typically do, but I still want to get them out there for some feedback.
I'm assuming that this is the successor to your previous Ranger Build Collection?
Overdue, IMO.
@Lord_Ventnor: That would be correct, good sir.

@Auspex7: I know, I know. I just wanted to cobble together enough full builds (instead of the half-baked concoctions that typically do rounds in my mind) before I did it.
Just curious as to why you would take improved initiative over thirst for battle with the blade dancer build?
Good question, and the answer is that I shouldn't. I'll fix that.
What would you think about using a harmony blade as your main hand weapon and a githyanki silvered weapon as your offhand weapon with the psychic lock feat. I was just thinking that if you could hit your quarry with both attacks as a blade dancer, you basically have +8 to your AC.

+2 to AC and Ref from blade dancer PP
+2 to AC from Predators hide
-2 to enemies attack from harmony blade
-2 to enemies attack from psychic damage w/ githyanki silver weapon & psychic lock

I just am not sure what feat psychic lock would take the place of. I guess lethal hunter...?
I'm looking forward to some awesome archer type rangers that I can use in encounters...I've been playing the pre gen rouge but I can't wait to see what type of archer ranger I can bring to the table...there will be a encounters legal archer build...won't there?
Yes, but the Archer that will be usable in Essentials will be pretty different from the guys that will do rounds in this Build Handbook, since the Essentials Archer is a Controller.
Yeah...I've never really played without a pre-gen character before so I hope I can sink my teeth into that book that is comming out next week and make something that is all mine...but I will be checking this and the other ranger handbook for ideas...thanks for the handbook man
Is there a good build for and Essentials Scout? I was thinking Drow.
This build Handbook is not made with the Scout in mind, though I guess I could incorporate it into here given some time. I like Human for the frontloading, and because you really only need Dexterity.
I am curious LDB which build you would use for a Warforged?  I am playing in an Eberron game coming up starting at level 6 and I am having a tough time figuring out a way to go with him.

I like the idea of using the Stromwarden chassis or the blade dancer.  The party has 2 leaders but the defender is a grab fighter.
The Warforged works really well for most of my heavy armor Ranger builds, as does any Str/Con, Str/Dex, or Str/Wis race. I'd recommend the Pathfinder chassis, personally.

And that reminds me, I'll try to get more material in this guide soon, now that I have a bit of free time on my hands.
*gazes wistfully at the empty Blood Fury Hunter section*
I'm getting to it, I'm getting to it. I'll be drawing some material from your build, that's for sure.
A quick question doesn't master at arms quick draw ability only work for weapons. I could be wrong I don't have my books in front of me. If it only works for that do you find yourself changing weapons a lot?

If that is true why pick that feat over heavy blade expertise(which gives a +2 ac bonus on OAs)
A quick question doesn't master at arms quick draw ability only work for weapons. I could be wrong I don't have my books in front of me. If it only works for that do you find yourself changing weapons a lot?

If that is true why pick that feat over heavy blade expertise(which gives a +2 ac bonus on OAs)



I think part of it is the fact you don't have to spend an action at the beginning of combat drawing you weapon(s).  Everyone seems to forget that you don't walk around with your weapons out at all times.  Even if it doesn't come up that often, how often are you provoking OAs as a melee ranger anyhow.  My guess is not very often at all.
The ability scores for Pathfinder are off.  You don't seem to have included the ED bonus to str in the final stats.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Thanks, I'll fix that right now.
A quick question doesn't master at arms quick draw ability only work for weapons. I could be wrong I don't have my books in front of me. If it only works for that do you find yourself changing weapons a lot?

If that is true why pick that feat over heavy blade expertise(which gives a +2 ac bonus on OAs)



I think part of it is the fact you don't have to spend an action at the beginning of combat drawing you weapon(s).  Everyone seems to forget that you don't walk around with your weapons out at all times.  Even if it doesn't come up that often, how often are you provoking OAs as a melee ranger anyhow.  My guess is not very often at all.



it's one minor action vs multiple times you provoke.  Any PC has to provoke at many times during his career.  Trying to get into flanking, trying to run.  Also as you get higher in levels you start running into threatening reach.

In dungeons I image the PCs keep the weapons out so you don't lose that minor action
I'm agreeing with you, Rian. I've replaced Master at Arms with Heavy Blade Expertise.
Did I miss something somewhere, I thought you could not use Sneak Attack with a Great Bow?



Lyrandar Wind-Rider


Your bunkmates tell me that you've been setting up wind-traps in the barracks, maggot! Care to explain yourself? ...Hey, how'd you get up there? *zap* Ow! Get back down here! *zap* Hm, you seem to be in tune with this whole lightning thing. I think there's someplace you can go to learn about that sort of stuff... *zap* ...but you're going to have to stop doing that first!

Build Goal:
Here, we're trying to make an Archer that can put out good damage, as well as be very sturdy and abuse the Lightning damage element.

Race - Revenant (D 376) - An unorthodox Archer build demands an unorthodox race, and while you probably won't be using the racial tricks this has to offer to their fullest extent, it does bring what you're looking for as far as ability scores go.

Past Life Race

Elf (PHB) - I prefer this option because of the strength of its racial support for what you want to do.


Fighting Style - Hunter Style (PHB) - A sweet bonus to AC against OA's, and the ability to draw or stow at-will also helps.

Bonus Feature - Prime Shot (PHB) - A bonus to hit if you stick your neck out a bit, and it's supported pretty well for you.

Multiclass - Rogue (PHB) - This multiclass adds a bit of extra damage come nova time and provides the Archer with a minor action attack it would otherwise lack, so it's a pretty good MC for you.

Epic Destiny - Destined Scion (HotFK) - It's all about the additional ability score bonuses; since this build relies more heavily on its ability scores for defense, those ability scores will win out, especially with the extra bonus to hit this ED provides.

Gear

Weapons - The build will be wielding a Greatbow (PHB) all career long.

Armor - No reason to ever leave your beloved Hide (PHB).


Ability Scores

Starting Array (after racial modifiers):
Dexterity 20 - Few builds get as much out of Dexterity as an Archer.
Constitution 15 - Important for surges, Fortitude defense, and your money PP feature.
Wisdom 13 - A solid score for feats and Will defense.
Strength 10 - Carrying capacity and Athletics are somewhat important, so don't trash this score.
Intelligence/Charisma 8/10 - Who gets the 8 is up to you, but the point is to not waste any points here.

Ability Score Bonuses:
Level 4 - +1 Constitution, +1 Dexterity
Level 8 - +1 Constitution, +1 Dexterity
Level 11 - +1 to all scores
Level 14 - +1 Constitution, +1 Dexterity
Level 18 - +1 Constitution, +1 Dexterity
Level 21 - +1 to all scores
Level 21 - +2 Constitution, +2 Dexterity
Level 24 - +1 Constitution, +1 Dexterity
Level 28 - +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom

Final Array:
Strength 12
Constitution 24
Dexterity 30
Intelligence 12
Wisdom 16
Charisma 10


Lyrandar Wind-Rider Paragon Path Features

L11 - Storm Adept (EPG) - To be blunt, the reason why you're here. A bonus to accuracy and damage when using a certain type of element is pretty damn awesome if you ask me.

L11 - Wind-Rider Action (EPG) - The ability to fly can get you places, even if it is temporary.

L16 - Feather's Touch (EPG) - A rather conditional Utility power, it could be of some use in a pinch, though.


Skills

L1 - Acrobatics - Keys off a very important stat, and is quite useful to you.
L1 - Dungeoneering/Nature - One of these is literally mandatory due to the Ranger list, so pick it and be on your way.
L1 - Endurance - The ability to tough things out certainly comes in handy.
L1 - Perception - Pretty much the most useful skill in the game, and something you wouldn't be caught dead without.
L1 - Stealth - A sweet skill to have, especially when you're as good as you are at it.
L6 - Thievery - Another skill you're real good at, and it enhances your overall package as a scout.


Powers

L1, At-Will - Nimble Strike (MP 2) - A nice backup option, this gives you the ability to disengage most Melee enemies without having to stick your neck out for an OA.

L1, At-Will - Twin Strike (PHB) - The base upon which the class is built. Don't leave home without it.

L1, Encounter - Two-Fanged Strike (PHB) - Two attacks with some decent kick, plus a bit more if both hit.

L1, Daily - Sure Shot (MP 2) - Rerolling the attack and damage rolls make this nice and reliable.

L2, Utility - Invigorating Stride (MP 2) - The shift helps get you out of places you don't want to be in, and you get to second wind to boot. Highly recommended.

L3, Encounter - Disruptive Strike (MP) - A great power that can potentially negate an opponent's attack while letting you lay down some damage of your own instead.

L5, Daily - Spitting-Cobra Stance (MP 2) - Punishing enemies for approaching you can result in extra offense or a healthy dose of control. Either is appreciated.

L6, Utility - Healing Lore (HotFK) - Having a heal in your back pocket is good stuff.

L7, Encounter - Biting Volley (MP) - Hits Reflex on two attacks, and has a great critical rate. An easy pick.

L7, Encounter - Snap Shot (MP) (replaces Biting Volley) - The ability to attack as a minor action is a great boon for a Ranger.

L9, Daily - Attacks on the Run (PHB) - As a Ranged Ranger, this offers a free move action to help put some distance between you and a pesky Melee opponent, while handing out heavy damage as a parting gift. Amazing.

L10, Utility - Defensive Volley (D 383) - The ability to shave some damage off an attack on an Encounter basis might just save someone's skin.

L11, Encounter - Wind Burst (EPG) - This power's focus doesn't really align with your own, it only attacks using a secondary ability score, and it's an Implement power to boot. Not really useful to you.

L12, Utility - Zephyr Wings (EPG) - The ability to fly for a whole encounter can be pretty useful until your Zephyr Boots come online (rather useless after that, though).

L13, Encounter - Pinning Strike (PHB) (replaces Two-Fanged Strike) - The ability to immobilize is certainly an upgrade on your capabilities.

L15, Daily - Confounding Arrows (PHB) (replaces Sure Shot) - 3 solid shots with a stun at the end will help you out a-plenty.

L16, Utility - Wary Shooter (MP 2) - The ability to avoid attacks altogether when you decide to fire off a Ranged attack in a Melee.

L17, Encounter - Pounding Barrage (MP) (replaces Pinning Strike) - Hitting three times in a single action is great. The ability to immobilize along with that is amazingly good.

L19, Daily - Surprising Arrow Stance (D 383) (replaces Spitting-Cobra Stance) - A nice power to replace your beloved Stance, the ability to stop movement is quite the upgrade.

L20, Daily - Unruly Cyclone (PHB) - This faces the same issues as Wind Burst does for you, and has the added disadvantage of not getting the damage done right away.

L22, Utility - Adamant Recovery (PHB) - Picking yourself up when you go down is nice and useful.

L26, Utility - Epic Recovery (HotFK) - A power that makes you a hell of a lot harder to keep down.

L29, Daily - Five-Missile Dance (MP) (replaces Attacks on the Run) - This power brings some savage damage potential with it, and as such it is a key component in this Archer's arsenal.


Feats

L1 - Weapon Proficiency (Greatbow) (PHB) - The most damaging ranged weapon you can get.

L2 - Weapon Focus (Bows) (PHB) - This adds some extra pop to your Bow attacks.

L4 - Bow Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to attack rolls is amazing, and a little extra damage against isolated enemies doesn't hurt either.

L6 - Sneak of Shadows (PHB) - The ability to pop in a Sneak Atack once per fight can result in a solid damage increase.

L8 - Treetop Sniper (PHB) - Gives you the ability to use Rogue stuff with that huge bow of yours.

L10 - Mark of Storm (EPG) - Adds a slide to everything that you do, and has the additional perk of working with your focus on Lightning weapons. It's also required for your PP.

L11 - Distant Advantage (PHB 2) - CA is hard to come by for an Archer, so any way to get it is appreciated.

L12 - Novice Power (Snap Shot) (PHB) - Gives you access to a minor action attack.

L14 - Called Shot (D 368) - This big damage bonus is a hefty incentive for you to get up close and personal, and well worth the risk if you ask me.

L16 - Prime Slayer (MP) - Even more incentive to get up close and shoot.

L18 - Lethal Hunter (PHB) - A bit of extra damage on your Quarry is good to have.

L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL) - Patches up your NADs in a big-time way.

L21 - Bow Mastery (PHB) - Rangers make more attacks than most. An improved critical rate feat thus makes a heck of an impact.

L22 - Prime Quarry (MP) - Puts a bit of extra awesome behind getting your Prime Shot bonuses.

L24 - Martial Mastery (MP) - Power-recovery shenanigans make this build more dangerous when it comes to bringing the pain against a dangerous opponent.

L26 - Hawkeye Warrior (MP) - An accuracy buff all fight long for using your racial power? Sure.

L28 - Armor Specialization (Hide) (PHB) - Extra AC never hurt anybody.

L30 - Epic Will (PHB 2) - A hefty bonus to your weakest NAD.


Magic Items

Armor - Predator's Hide (AV 2) - The ability to impose what amounts to a hefty penalty to hit against your Quarry's attacks against you is an extremely strong ability, and worth keeping.

Weapon - Thunderbolt (AV) - One of your more important pieces of gear, this will let you deal your favored type of elemental damage. A Lightning (PHB) weapon will have to do until it's available.

Arms - Bracers of Archery (AV) - No reason to not get on this damage bonus gravy train.

Feet - Zephyr Boots (AV) - You can fly: need I say more? A pair of Boots of Eagerness (AV) will have to do until you can afford them, though.

Hands - Gauntlets of Blood (AV 2) - Extra damage against bloodied targets helps put wounded targets away faster.

Head - Eye of Awareness (AV) - A bonus to Will defense is always nice, and a hefty bonus to initiative seals the deal. Before you can afford this, a Casque of Tactics (AV) isn't flashy, but it gets the job done.

Neck - Torc of Power Preservation (AV) - The ability to give your powers another go is amazing. A Cloak of Resistance (PHB) will make for a respectable intermediary until this is available.

Ring - Ring of Free Time (AV) - This item gives you a very handy additional minor action you can invoke to extend nova chains. If money is tight, a Shadow Band (AV) or a Ring of Greater Invisibility (AV 2) make perfectly reasonable and significantly cheaper substitutes.

Ring - Ring of Giants (D 378) - A very respectable bonus to critical hit damage is very nice to have, especially at this price.

Waist - Diamond Cincture (AV 2) - The ability to access self-healing is great on a Striker, especially when it carries a NAD bonus. A Belt of Breaching (AV 2) can also be a very useful substitute.

Tattoo - Backlash Tattoo (AV 2) - Lashing out when you get bloodied is awesome to have.


Sample Character

Race: Revenant (D 376)
Past Life Race: Elf (PHB)
Class: Ranger (PHB)
Bonus Feature: Prime Shot (PHB)
Fighting Style: Archery Style (PHB)
Multiclass: Rogue (PHB)
Paragon Path: Lyrandar Wind-Rider (EPG)
Epic Destiny: Destined Scion (HotFK)

Ability Scores, with racial adjustments:
Strength 12 (+1)
Constitution 24 (+7)
Dexterity 30 (+10)
Intelligence 12 (+1)
Wisdom 16 (+3)
Charisma 10 (+0)

HP: 187 --> 12 base, +30 Dexterity, +145 levels
Bloodied: 93 HP or less
Healing Surges: 13 --> 6 base, +7 Constitution
Healing Surge Value: 46 HP

AC: 47 --> 10 base, +10 ability (Dexterity), +5 armor, +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +1 feat
Fortitude: 44 --> 10 base, +7 ability (Constitution), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +1 class, +3 feat, +2 item
Reflex: 45 --> 10 base, +10 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +1 class, +3 feat
Will: 43 --> 10 base, +3 ability (Wisdom), +15 levels, +6 enhancement, +4 Epic Will, +3 feat, +2 item

Initiative: +30 --> +10 ability (Dexterity), +15 levels, +5 item

Speed: 6 --> 6 base

Racial Powers:
Dark Reaping (D 376)

Theme Powers:
Adept's Insight (DSCS)

At-Will Attack Powers:
L1 - Nimble Strike (PHB)
L1 - Twin Strike (PHB)

Encounter Attack Powers:
L3 - Disruptive Strike (PHB)
L7 - Snap Shot (MP)
L11 - Wind Burst (EPG)
L17 - Pounding Barrage (MP)

Daily Attack Powers:
L15 - Confounding Arrows (PHB)
L19 - Surprising Arrow Stance (D 383)
L20 - Unruly Cyclone (EPG)
L29 - Five-Missile Dance (MP)

Utility Powers:
L2 - Invigorating Stride (MP 2)
L6 - Healing Lore (HotFK)
L10 - Defensive Volley (D 383)
L12 - Zephyr Wings (EPG)
L16 - Wary Shooter (MP)
L22 - Adamant Recovery (MP)
L26 - Epic Recovery (HotFK)

Skills:
Acrobatics (+30) --> +10 ability (Dexterity), +5 trained, +15 levels
Endurance (+29) --> +7 ability (Constitution), +5 trained, +15 levels, +2 racial
Nature (+23) --> +3 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Perception (+23) --> +3 ability (Wisdom), +5 trained, +15 levels
Stealth (+30) --> +10 ability (Dexterity), +5 trained, +15 levels
Thievery (+30) --> +10 ability (Dexterity), +5 trained, +15 levels

Feats:
L1 - Quick Draw (Ranger Bonus Feat) (PHB)
L1 - Weapon Proficiency (Greatbow) (PHB)
L2 - Weapon Focus (Bows) (PHB)
L4 - Bow Expertise (HotFL)
L6 - Sneak of Shadows (PHB)
L8 - Treetop Sniper (MP 2)
L10 - Mark of Storm (EPG)
L11 - Distant Advantage (PHB 2)
L12 - Novice Power (Snap Shot) (PHB)
L14 - Called Shot (D 368)
L16 - Prime Slayer (MP)
L18 - Lethal Hunter (PHB)
L20 - Improved Defenses (HotFL)
L21 - Bow Mastery (PHB 2)
L22 - Prime Quarry (MP)
L24
- Martial Mastery (MP)
L26 - Hawkeye Warrior (MP)
L28 - Armor Specialization (Hide) (PHB)
L30 - Epic Will (PHB 2)

Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000):
L30 (3,125,000 gp): +6 Torc of Power Preservation (AV)

L29 (2,625,000 gp): Ring of Free Time (AV 2)
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Thunderbolt Greatbow (AV)
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Predator's Elderhide Armor (AV 2)

L26 (1,125,000 gp): Bracers of Archery (Epic Tier) (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Violet Solitaire (AV)

L24 (525,000 gp): Gauntlets of Blood (Epic Tier) (AV 2)
L24 (525,000 gp):
Zephyr Boots (AV)
L23 (425,000 gp): Eye of Awareness (AV)
L22 (325,000 gp): Eberron Shard of Lightning (Epic Tier) (EPG)
L20 (125,000 gp): Diamond Cincture (Paragon Tier) (AV 2)
L13 (17,000 gp): Ring of Giants (D 378)
L11 (9,000 gp): Dice of Auspicious Fortune (D 381)
L9 (4,200 gp): Backlash Tattoo (AV 2)

L9 (4,200 gp): Endless Quiver (AV 2)

TOTAL: 14,209,400 gp




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