Beyond Bodily Brutality: the Basics of Building Battleminds

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Battlemind/Warden/Son of Mercy, does WIS build, uses Crippling Crush, Headsman's Chop, and World Serpent's Grasp for BB shenanigans. That takes care of all the side requirements. As for a great defender, just build the battlemind as normal. It's thankfully really easy to op battleminds for striking and defending.


Grab Eldritch Strike via Dillettante for your MBA. If you want more control and less damage you can also MC Fighter (Battle Awareness is an amazing feat by itself) for stuff like Battering Shield/Hindering Shield, and Overwhelming Impact in epic. This will let you slide, slow and daze things on your OA, which is fantastic. If you go CON/CHA and use a mace (Singing Stick is even a Dark Sun weapon) you can pick up the Dizzying Mace feat and combine it with Intellect Snap at L13 to daze and inflict -CHA mod to hit At-Will.

Not much of a challenge, though. "Build a non-hybrid Battlemind, but you have to take one of the best Battlemind races and you can only take one of the two best MC feats. Oh and it must be item-independent." Hope we were helpful!
Grab Eldritch Strike via Dillettante for your MBA. If you want more control and less damage you can also MC Fighter (Battle Awareness is an amazing feat by itself) for stuff like Battering Shield/Hindering Shield, and Overwhelming Impact in epic. This will let you slide, slow and daze things on your OA, which is fantastic. If you go CON/CHA and use a mace (Singing Stick is even a Dark Sun weapon) you can pick up the Dizzying Mace feat and combine it with Intellect Snap at L13 to daze and inflict -CHA mod to hit At-Will.


Dizzying Mace relies on Con, not Cha.  So you can go Con/Wis or Con/Cha.
To add to the above, there's basically two ways to beef up your damage, and both make you less of what I would consider a "great defender":

- Optimize for BB. You give up several feats and your paragon path but do lots of damage. Really, it's a ton of damage. 
- Wield a gouge or mordenkrad. Can go Gladiator theme for the class feature or Noble Adept for the power points, and focus on attacks that give 2[W] or 3[W] and feats that give power points. By level 10, it isn't hard to spend 4 or so rounds a fight doing 4d6 brutal damage + CON mod for your standard.

If you don't want either of those options, the next best would take a nice one-handed weapon like a craighammer/waraxe and shield. To be a "great defender" I'd say a shield and improved defenses are almost a requirement, as well as maximizing your paragon path (i.e. getting 2 power points and able to use most of the features.) This does make it harder to do good damage.

I'd probably do something like this:

Half-elf Battlemind Gladiator

Half-Elf, Battlemind, Talaric Ironjack
Build: Harrier Battlemind
Psionic Study: Persistent Harrier
Half elf Power Selection: Dilettante
Eldritch Strike: Eldritch Strike Constitution
Background: Forest Ridge - Acclimated Trader (Perception class skill)
Theme: Gladiator

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 14, Con 25, Dex 11, Int 9, Wis 11, Cha 20.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 18, Dex 10, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 13.

TRAINED SKILLS
Perception +15, Athletics +15, Endurance +20
UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +8, Arcana +9, Bluff +15, Diplomacy +17, Dungeoneering +10, Heal +10, History +9, Insight +12, Intimidate +15, Nature +10, Religion +9, Stealth +8, Streetwise +15, Thievery +8

FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Waraxe)
Level 2: Melee Training (Constitution) (retrained to Versatile Master at Level 11)
Level 4: Axe Expertise
Level 6: Improved Defenses
Level 8: Wrathful Warrior
Level 10: Savage Axe
Level 11: Hindering Shield
Level 12: Harrying Step
Level 14: Harried Recovery
Level 16: Human Ingenuity
Level 18: Psionic Rush

POWERS
Battlemind at-will 1: Conductive Defense
Battlemind at-will 1: Twisted Eye (retrained to Concussive Spike at Level 2)
Dilettante: Eldritch Strike
Battlemind daily 1: Steel Unity Strike
Battlemind utility 2: Inspiring Fortitude
Battlemind at-will 3: Lodestone Lure
Battlemind daily 5: Empathic Feedback
Battlemind utility 6: Mental Triumph
Battlemind at-will 7: Forceful Reversal (replaces Twisted Eye)
Battlemind daily 9: Shattered Time
Battlemind utility 10: Subjective Gravity
Battlemind at-will 13: Intellect Snap (replaces Lodestone Lure)
Battlemind daily 15: Mind Blade (replaces Steel Unity Strike)
Battlemind utility 16: Shield of the Iron Mind
Battlemind at-will 17: Cloud of Dancing Blades (replaces Conductive Defense)
Battlemind daily 19: Indomitable Presence (replaces Empathic Feedback)

 


Pretty strong OA, lots of attacks through Persistent Harrier, lots of power points, pretty damaging theme and paragon attack powers. You won't be doing striker damage, but you'll be a great defender and have decent damage.

The Intimident: Ridiculous Intimidate on a Dragonborn Ardent
Wild Mindreaver: A Dark Sun Brutal Barrage Crit-Fishing Battlemind
Empathic Elements: Making It Rain Healing with an Ardent in Athas

To add to the above, there's basically two ways to beef up your damage, and both make you less of what I would consider a "great defender"



This couldn't be more wrong if you said the sky was red and green, Satan is a good guy, and Oprah is impopular. Your inbuilt punishment features are crap. You rely on scary off-turn and on-turn attacks to be threatening, particularly 1-2 PP on-turns so you can Lightning Rush at your leisure. Both of the things you mention are so good for boosting your defending prowess, you'd be stupid not to take at least one. Seriously. Shields are a load of bollocks for a battlemind who isn't ultra-CC focused and loooooooooooooooves being a lame four-shot augment class.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
If I want to do Polearm Momentum tricks, does it make a great difference whether I choose an at-will that pushes or an at-will that slides?  I would assume that sliding is better, in order to stay adjacent.  Is that correct?
Look, I'm not saying BB is bad. I am saying I consider a shield to be basically required for someone wanting to make a great defender in a Dark Sun game. The monsters simply hit too hard. Lightning Rush is useless if you kill yourself eating OAs and the attack itself.

If you want to post a build that meets his criteria and uses BB, great! About the only paragon path option you have is Son of Mercy, which I wouldn't pick if my primary objective was being a great defender and the secondary concern was doing decent damage.

Could always do this build, drop Grim Promise, take Fallen Needle for your Dilettante, and it'd work pretty well. Going half-elf doesn't really do much for you though.

The Intimident: Ridiculous Intimidate on a Dragonborn Ardent
Wild Mindreaver: A Dark Sun Brutal Barrage Crit-Fishing Battlemind
Empathic Elements: Making It Rain Healing with an Ardent in Athas

About the only paragon path option you have is Son of Mercy



-Soaring Blade
-Morninglord
-SoM

I could go on, but right there you have three. Make it two if you consider Morninglord to be setting specific, which I don't. You were saying?

Let's make something clear: if you use a shield, as a battlemind, and do not take a heavy blade, your damage is trash. Not "mediocre": a sorcerer or Warlock hitting a single target can probably outperform you with an MBA before factoring in damage boosting trickery (which will cost you two feats minimum, likely more). This is bad. Why is this bad? I've gone over this in a previous post, but a defender who has a super terrible inbuilt punishment method needs to compensate for it. To compensate for it, he needs to discourage monsters, and that requires CC or good damage. You pay through the nose for out-of-turn CC (Need HBO, PPs, and the blessing of the RNG so you don't miss...or Son of Mercy, funnily enough. Life's weird, isn't it?), so damage is necessary. Thus, you will get a two-hander. Monsters hit too hard? Gee, that's what overheal tactics are there for, combined with your bug-frak massive HP pool, big enough to probably outshine that of your two squishiest party members combined. You very nearly can't run through your HS stock in a single day, and you can get HP back like a champ. You should not be afraid to take damage, because of all people, you're probably the best equipped for it, short of a tricked out hellock. You need to be scary, you need to keep those heavy-hitting monsters off your party. Thus, having super good defenses is irrelevant: a big unhittable sack of HP that tickles monsters will not get attacked, ever. A big sack of HP that hurts like a mother, though, will draw the wrath of the monsters, which is exactly what you want.


EDIT: Forgot to reply to this.

If I want to do Polearm Momentum tricks, does it make a great difference whether I choose an at-will that pushes or an at-will that slides?  I would assume that sliding is better, in order to stay adjacent.  Is that correct?



Obviously, sliding's better. You don't lose much from going with pushes, but slides have more options all-around.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
Obviously, sliding's better. You don't lose much from going with pushes, but slides have more options all-around.


Plus, certain crowded battlefields may leave you without a viable way to push a foe 2+ squares, which means Polearm Momentum won't trigger.  Slides are more reliable.

About the only paragon path option you have is Son of Mercy



-Soaring Blade
-Morninglord
-SoM

I could go on, but right there you have three. Make it two if you consider Morninglord to be setting specific, which I don't. You were saying?

 

Morninglord <> Dark Sun. No divine classes.

Let's make something clear: if you use a shield, as a battlemind, and do not take a heavy blade, your damage is trash. Not "mediocre": a sorcerer or Warlock hitting a single target can probably outperform you with an MBA before factoring in damage boosting trickery (which will cost you two feats minimum, likely more). This is bad. Why is this bad? I've gone over this in a previous post, but a defender who has a super terrible inbuilt punishment method needs to compensate for it. To compensate for it, he needs to discourage monsters, and that requires CC or good damage. You pay through the nose for out-of-turn CC (Need HBO, PPs, and the blessing of the RNG so you don't miss...or Son of Mercy, funnily enough. Life's weird, isn't it?), so damage is necessary. Thus, you will get a two-hander.



This is extraordinarily DM dependent. The thing about Lightning Rush is that it does 3 things:
It makes Battleminds sticky as they get a free OA, a 2w attack, and potentially their target is forced to attack them anyway if their mark gets violated. This is great because the Battlemind takes just 1 attack from the 1 opponent.

If they don't break the mark, then the Battlemind has the option of doing Lightning Rush anyway. But then they're going to provoke from their mark, they're taking the attack from their mark, and they're taking the attack from their opponent. Or 3 attacks from 2 opponents.

Finally, he's now adjacent to a likely unmarked enemy who is adjacent to his ally. Which means if the enemy shifts, the 2 are now in burst 1 formation.

Here's the problem - a larger weapon makes #2 more likely and the lower defenses make it more likely that the Battlemind potentially gets hit 3 times. They may have more hit points/healing surges than a typical character, but Dark Sun creatures all have MM3 damage expressions. That means the Battlemind is going to get hurt. If there's a monster with an area burst 1, he's going to be less happy.

And then, given his lower defenses, he's now a valid focus fire target.

Again, it depends on DM, their level of tactical expertise, and how they favor breaking(or not breaking marks) 
About the only paragon path option you have is Son of Mercy

-Soaring Blade
-Morninglord
-SoM

- He said he wanted to MC either fighter or warden
- There's no divine power source in Dark Sun
- Yes, SoM


To compensate for it, he needs to discourage monsters, and that requires CC or good damage. You pay through the nose for out-of-turn CC (Need HBO, PPs, and the blessing of the RNG so you don't miss...or Son of Mercy, funnily enough. Life's weird, isn't it?), so damage is necessary. Thus, you will get a two-hander.
...
Thus, having super good defenses is irrelevant: a big unhittable sack of HP that tickles monsters will not get attacked, ever. A big sack of HP that hurts like a mother, though, will draw the wrath of the monsters, which is exactly what you want.

That build I posted does out-of-turn CC and damage. It's got Eldritch Strike as a MBA plus Savage Axe and Hindering Shield. An OA at level 11 is doing:

1d12 (reroll a 1) + 6 CON + 6 Savage + slide 1 square + slow

If you're a "big sack of HP that hurts like a mother", you'll spend a lot of time eating the effects of attacks that will prevent you from being a great defender.

It is possible to make a SoM BB build that uses a shield. Something like this would work:

Half-elf Hammer SoM BB

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 15, Con 25, Dex 11, Int 9, Wis 19, Cha 11.
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 18, Dex 10, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 10.

FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Craghammer)
Level 2: Melee Training (Constitution) (retrained to Versatile Master at Level 11)
Level 4: Bludgeon Expertise
Level 6: Improved Defenses
Level 8: Defender of the Wild
Level 10: Sudden Roots
Level 11: Crippling Crush
Level 12: Harrying Step
Level 14: Hammer Rhythm
Level 16: Armor Proficiency: Plate
Level 18: Armor Specialization (Plate)
  

You're giving up multi-target CC (Concussive Spike + Hindering Shield) and the Talaric Ironjack features, power points, and powers for single target CC and damage. It is a lot of single target CC and damage though, and still has a respectable OA on non-Doom targets with Eldritch Strike + Sudden Roots + Crippling Crush.

By the way, I love how you're being critical without offering any viable builds yourself.

The Intimident: Ridiculous Intimidate on a Dragonborn Ardent
Wild Mindreaver: A Dark Sun Brutal Barrage Crit-Fishing Battlemind
Empathic Elements: Making It Rain Healing with an Ardent in Athas

- He said he wanted to MC either fighter or warden
-No Divine Power in Dark sun



A) Irrelevant. We're not talking about a specific build but how the Battlemind functions.
B) Was interplanar travel blocked? If not, Astral Sea = gods there = Morninglord.

That build I posted does out-of-turn CC and damage. It's got Eldritch Strike as a MBA plus Savage Axe and Hindering Shield. An OA at level 11 is doing:

1d12 (reroll a 1) + 6 CON + 6 Savage + slide 1 square + slow

If you're a "big sack of HP that hurts like a mother", you'll spend a lot of time eating the effects of attacks that will prevent you from being a great defender.



Oh? Name them. I'd love to see all those reflex effects that gimp you so hard. Your Will and Fort will be stellar regardless of what you do.

It is possible to make a SoM BB build that uses a shield. Something like this would work:

Half-elf Hammer SoM BB

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 15, Con 25, Dex 11, Int 9, Wis 19, Cha 11.
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 18, Dex 10, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 10.

FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Craghammer)
Level 2: Melee Training (Constitution) (retrained to Versatile Master at Level 11)
Level 4: Bludgeon Expertise
Level 6: Improved Defenses
Level 8: Defender of the Wild
Level 10: Sudden Roots
Level 11: Crippling Crush
Level 12: Harrying Step
Level 14: Hammer Rhythm
Level 16: Armor Proficiency: Plate
Level 18: Armor Specialization (Plate)
  

You're giving up multi-target CC (Concussive Spike + Hindering Shield) and the Talaric Ironjack features, power points, and powers for single target CC and damage. It is a lot of single target CC and damage though, and still has a respectable OA on non-Doom targets with Eldritch Strike + Sudden Roots + Crippling Crush.

By the way, I love how you're being critical without offering any viable builds yourself.



And you're giving your party as a whole a damage bonus, supercharging your partywide damage. Which means you're going to rip the enemies to pieces. Which is even better than CC, because 'dead' is the hardest CC you can inflict. You seem to be under the impression the tradeoffs are for nothing, which means you'd be sorely mistaken.

As for builds, maybe you should go back and read through the thread? I have no need to outline every last detail for you. You're a smart guy. You can put the pieces together yourself. At low levels, most every battlemind is equal - the differences are tiny because of the amount of feat taxes you must take (three minimum, likely more). Once you get out of heroic, the dvergences are obvious. Unless you want me to outline every power combo and such? I don't really see it as a good use of my time, when it is clear we both know what we're debating and our disagreement stems from how we use the resources available to us. If necessary, I can grab the Dark Sun monster guide and show you how deterrence is necessary, and how it is best achieved for the average battlemind.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).

A) Irrelevant. We're not talking about a specific build but how the Battlemind functions.
B) Was interplanar travel blocked? If not, Astral Sea = gods there = Morninglord.

I was responding to chocbywdr who was looking for a specific build. All of my comments have been with these comments below in mind:
I have an interesting challenge.  I am looking for a build for a half elf battlemind that does not hybrid, Can multi classes into warden or fighter just a little bit But that makes a great defender and doles out decent damage.  This is going to be for a dark sun game so metal and magic items will be fairly difficult to come by, no eberron marks or Tattos either.  Therefore the build should not be too item dependent.  Can someone help me out?

I've never played a DS campaign that allowed a divine class or MC. And frankly, I wouldn't care to.

Oh? Name them. I'd love to see all those reflex effects that gimp you so hard. Your Will and Fort will be stellar regardless of what you do.

Here's two from the Sand Raiders adventure in the DS Campaign Setting book for level 1 characters:
- Encounter #2. Toxic Spikes: attack vs AC, on hit target is slowed (save ends)
- Encounter #3. Psionic Detonation: attack vs Reflex, on hit creates difficult terrain zone until end of encounter

I think you're getting way too defensive about all of this. I'm currently playing a Mul BM with a mordenkrad that I'm considering using with SoM and BB (see avatar pic). It's still in heroic, and he dishes out a ton of damage, about as much as the barbarian in the party. It's a lot of fun.  He's not a great defender though. Incredible Toughness helps, but he gets hit way too often and uses up too many of the leader's heals to be considered a great defender. And chocbywdr said he is specifically looking for a great defender. If he said he was looking for a build that makes a "great damage dealer and decent defender" I would have made completely different suggestions.

The Intimident: Ridiculous Intimidate on a Dragonborn Ardent
Wild Mindreaver: A Dark Sun Brutal Barrage Crit-Fishing Battlemind
Empathic Elements: Making It Rain Healing with an Ardent in Athas

...A slow is considered a gimp? Seriously? >_>

Yeah, I get why you prefer shields now. Carry on. *Shakes head*
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
It seems really disingenuous to take it as a given that Morninglord is available in Dark Sun.  I'm sure some DM's will allow it, but DS Encounters doesn't, and I read the DSCS as strongly discouraging the inclusion of divine classes in home use of the setting.

So for heavy blade Battleminds are you recommending shields?  Because even if I were spending a feat on Weapon Prof, the tradeoff from bastard sword to fullblade would be +1 damage per [W] (and I'm almost always in 1[W], and never ever more than 2 in heroic) in exchange for -2AC -2Reflex.  High Crit seems unlikely to factor into monster decisions to attack me or not, since intelligent ones (and my DM) will recognize it as a lucky damage spike that's unlikely to repeat.  All in all, that tradeoff sounds pretty... awful.

But even if I look at my original build with a warhammer, but give him weapon prof either way for craghammer vs. mordenkrad... craghammer average damage is 6.5, mordenkrad is 8.  So the OA looks like this given the level 6 stats in front of me (again, pre-nerf melee training skews the percentages, so tell me if that's what's making this look weird):
craghammer: +11 to hit, 14.5 average damage, defenses 23/18/18/19
mordenkrad: +11 to hit, 16 average damage, defenses 21/18/16/19

Percentage-wise, it doesn't seem to be enough extra damage on a 1[W] to contribute that meaningfully to deterrence that it's worth tanking my defenses like that.

Again, reasons why my situations is special and probably skewing my viewpoint:
-pre-nerf Melee Training is giving me the same damage with a longsword MBA that I'd get with a fullblade MBA using post-nerf (of course, this is only until 11 anyway, woot)
-I'm in heroic still, and you seem to mostly be talking about paragon and epic damage output, where it would be a lot easier to spam 2[W] powers.
-I'm usually running in a 3 person party with a Wizard and a Barbarian, so I have no healer backing me up.  This means I need to make sure I don't take more damage than I can patch up on my own (psionic vigor, cloak of the walking wounded, dwarven scale daily, dragonborn surge con bonus).
-Since the barbarian is using a reach weapon, Lodestone Lure is my go-to sticky attack for a single target.
-My DM leans a little bit toward respecting marks, but that's probably as much due to my usually having Conductive Defense or Lodestone Lure up on one mob as anything else.

I do notice shields are rated sky blue in Langwelle's guide, so clearly there's a body of disagreement with Armisael on this.  Can anyone illuminate this at all? 
...A slow is considered a gimp? Seriously? >_>

Yes, a slow is a "gimp."  Lightning Rush lets you move your speed, so getting your speed cut down to 2 is a major hindrance on its use.  Slow is worse if you're a no-LR, adjacent-only battlemind.

Which is why hit points are no substitute for defences.  If you're taken out of play, via forced movement or status effects, then you're not doing your job, regardless of whether you lost a tenth or a quarter of your hit points.  The best way to deal with that possibility is to not get hit at all.  Defence isn't the be-all and end-all, but a defender that doesn't meet the baselines I mention in the strategy section is going to need very good compensation to be taken seriously, and that almost always means having a shield.

(And frankly, Mommy_was_an_Orc's analysis in my opinion is a serious underestimation of the number of attacks a Lightning Rush user can take, because it ignores OAs from anything other than the pre- and post-adjacent enemies.  The higher the defences, the more chances you can take, which means more mobility, which in turn means your DM needs to be cautious with more of his monsters.)

As far as damage goes, I'm assuming when you say that battleminds have bad damage that you're talking very specifically about MBAs.  Which is true as far as it goes, but I think it misses the point.  MBAs for battleminds only matter in the context of OAs, which in turn only matter in the context of stickiness, which is fundamentally about control, not damage.  The point is to keep the enemy within range of your mark punishment (which does not mean Mind Spike).  Damage via OAs is certainly one way to exert the desired control, but it's not the only way (otherwise, we wouldn't be so eager to praise HBO+Lodestone Lure or Intellect Snap). Lightning Rush itself is a solution to stickiness, for that matter.

Mommy_was_an _Orc said exactly the critical point here when he said that this is all DM dependent.  Designing a defender is a matter of spending exactly no more character resources on any one of the three pillars of defending (mark punishment, defences, and stickiness) than is absolutely required.  What determines the amount required is fundamentally down to the psychology of your DM.  Playing with a very tactical DM demands a different build than one with a "marking==aggro" mindset.

Also, as a side note: RAW, as it requires that you worship a deity that does not exist outside FR, Morninglord is very much setting-specific.  If your DM likes to houserule otherwise, that's commendable.
It seems really disingenuous to take it as a given that Morninglord is available in Dark Sun.  I'm sure some DM's will allow it, but DS Encounters doesn't, and I read the DSCS as strongly discouraging the inclusion of divine classes in home use of the setting.

So for heavy blade Battleminds are you recommending shields?  Because even if I were spending a feat on Weapon Prof, the tradeoff from bastard sword to fullblade would be +1 damage per [W] (and I'm almost always in 1[W], and never ever more than 2 in heroic) in exchange for -2AC -2Reflex.  High Crit seems unlikely to factor into monster decisions to attack me or not, since intelligent ones (and my DM) will recognize it as a lucky damage spike that's unlikely to repeat.  All in all, that tradeoff sounds pretty... awful.

But even if I look at my original build with a warhammer, but give him weapon prof either way for craghammer vs. mordenkrad... craghammer average damage is 6.5, mordenkrad is 8.  So the OA looks like this given the level 6 stats in front of me (again, pre-nerf melee training skews the percentages, so tell me if that's what's making this look weird):
craghammer: +11 to hit, 14.5 average damage, defenses 23/18/18/19
mordenkrad: +11 to hit, 16 average damage, defenses 21/18/16/19

Percentage-wise, it doesn't seem to be enough extra damage on a 1[W] to contribute that meaningfully to deterrence that it's worth tanking my defenses like that.

Again, reasons why my situations is special and probably skewing my viewpoint:
-pre-nerf Melee Training is giving me the same damage with a longsword MBA that I'd get with a fullblade MBA using post-nerf (of course, this is only until 11 anyway, woot)
-I'm in heroic still, and you seem to mostly be talking about paragon and epic damage output, where it would be a lot easier to spam 2[W] powers.
-I'm usually running in a 3 person party with a Wizard and a Barbarian, so I have no healer backing me up.  This means I need to make sure I don't take more damage than I can patch up on my own (psionic vigor, cloak of the walking wounded, dwarven scale daily, dragonborn surge con bonus).
-Since the barbarian is using a reach weapon, Lodestone Lure is my go-to sticky attack for a single target.
-My DM leans a little bit toward respecting marks, but that's probably as much due to my usually having Conductive Defense or Lodestone Lure up on one mob as anything else.

I do notice shields are rated sky blue in Langwelle's guide, so clearly there's a body of disagreement with Armisael on this.  Can anyone illuminate this at all? 



Heavy Bladers can do either two-handers or shields and come out decently well-off, though I far prefer two-handers because HB's self-protect you when Lightning Rushing and my parties tend to be super heavy on attack granting so extra damage stacks up. The good thing about the way they pay through the nose to get their awesome trick is that said trick really shores up a lot of weaknesses.

PS: Also, you're missing the +2 to NADs/Masterworks there. Looks a fair bit less impressive when you take the mastworks into account as your AC stays competitive.

Yes, a slow is a "gimp."  Lightning Rush lets you move your speed, so getting your speed cut down to 2 is a major hindrance on its use.  Slow is worse if you're a no-LR, adjacent-only battlemind.



I honestly don't see the gimpyness of slows, personally. Once you enter the fray, getting away from you is absolutely hell: if a controller tries to bail from you, he's out of luck barring stuns, forced movement or some funky mobility tricks. They're annoying as hell if they hit you while out of position, but that won't be often for a Battlemind.

PPS: Obviously when I say bad damage I'm mostly talking about OAs and maybe standards in Heroic. Later on their damage is better.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
[edit: I'm an idiot and forgot about drakescale, fixed that on my character sheet for free AC, yay!]

I can see that since AC will scale up in other ways the shield becomes less important as a percentage of overall AC competitiveness, but it's still a +1 damage vs. +2AC/+2Ref question.  Any any time I use Lodestone Lure under the 2pA (or Brutal Barrage), any investment in my weapon size is wasted.
Uh, actually, +2 Scale does get a masterwork bump. You can either find it in the Adventurer's Vault (Drakescale), or in either HotFL or HotFK.
Uh, actually, +2 Scale does get a masterwork bump. You can either find it in the Adventurer's Vault (Drakescale), or in either HotFL or HotFK.



Well boy, is my face red.  That's what I get for not reading at all and then sounding all confident.  Thanks for the correction, LDB.  I've been playing too many characters in leather and hide, so I've been thinking of masterwork boosts as starting in paragon.

I honestly don't see the gimpyness of slows, personally. Once you enter the fray, getting away from you is absolutely hell: if a controller tries to bail from you, he's out of luck barring stuns, forced movement or some funky mobility tricks. They're annoying as hell if they hit you while out of position, but that won't be often for a Battlemind.



Pre-Lightning Rush (it was a level 4 monster that PaulO mentioned), slows are a major penalty because outside having your first three feats be Harrying Step+Defender of the Wild+Sudden Roots, battleminds just can't be sticky at that level.  

Post-Lightning Rush, slows play against one of the major strengths of the power.  With LR, battleminds switch from mark-based defending like every other defender but one to zone-based defending like the knight.  All monsters you can reach within five squares are valid targets of LR, which means considered from the individual perspective of any single enemy, the safest course of action for them until you have used LR is to attack you. This lack of designated targets gives you immense tactical leverage.  Slows, however, reduce the number of creatures threatened by LR and hence by you.

Incidentally, this is one of the reasons I'm not a fan of Son of Mercy (and to a lesser extend Frostcheese and Morninglord) outside BB exploitation.  Strategies that reward you for focussing on a single creature diminish the usefulness of LR's zone-based defending. 
B) Was interplanar travel blocked? If not, Astral Sea = gods there = Morninglord.

I run a DS game and I agree with most of your points on how to make yourself feel relevant as a defender (being unhittable is not the solution). Being scary and hitting hard is more important in making a monster pay attention to you than being harder to hit (which in my case, will mean I ignore you more. Especially if your damage sucks). On this point, which is about the fluff of Dark Sun you are dead wrong. In Dark Sun, there *is* no divine not because they aren't contactable - but because the god's got their ass kicked so hard in the dawn war they are all dead. The astral sea no longer exists at all, instead it's basically a dead broken space with horrific abominations crawling all over it. The few who have gone there didn't find gods, they found things far worse than that as the entire place is crawling with the former weapons of the dawn war.

In effect with the Dark Sun Campaign Setting basically stating there is no divine source, unless your DM permits it and the fluff of the setting being the gods were utterly exterminated: Convincing many DMs to allow divine is an uphill battle. In my own DS game, no divine classes or anything are permitted full stop (People do worship elements though, but those put them more in line with primal classes than divine).

But your logic basically doesn't apply to Dark Sun at all as it is often run. Divine source stuff just won't be accessible in a good amount of home games and IIRC, isn't legal for the Dark Sun Encounters Season stuff (or at least wasn't legal).

This does nothing to all your other points that I agree with though. More defenses doesn't help unless you can hit hard enough to make yourself relevant.
More defenses doesn't help unless you can hit hard enough to make yourself relevant.

Let's all be careful not to unintentionally strawman positions here.  No one has been arguing for sinking tons of resources into pumping up your defences sky-high.  The problem with dropping your shield (ie, failing to take advantage of a pre-purchased resource) is that you immediately drop below the recommended AC for a defender.  That effectively makes you the squishiest thing on the front-line, and that's a bad thing. What this class is really good at it is making sure that your immediate action gets used every round.  Dropping defences makes you more vulnerable to attack riders, and attack riders make it a lot more likely you'll lose your opportunity and immediate actions.

And again, relevance is about control, not about damage.  An OA with Lodestone Lure or Intellect Snap is very much relevant.  Lightning Rush Aug 2 is relevant even with small damage, because if you hit the monster might have targeted you from the get-go and saved himself even that small amount of damage.  Damage is important and an effective way to obtain the required control, but it's not the only solution.

Getting back to ThaneRogar's example/question, the point is that in going with a two-handed weapon instead of a one-handed weapon, you're giving monsters a flat 10% accuracy boost against you in return for what will boil down to, in the standard pre-epic circumstances of a 1[W] standard attack, Aug 2 Lightning Rush, and a 1[W] OA following that, a total of 4 points of damage per round for heavy blades and 6 points for hammers before accuracy.  And as Mommy_was_an_Orc pointed out, you're going to be on the receiving end of a lot of attacks.  Overall, unless you're a goliath or are burning powers to use high [W] powers on your standard, I don't think the tradeoff is really beneficial to Team Hero.
"Lightning Rush (PHB3): Unaugmented, this powers lets you attack an enemy (marked or not) for targeting an ally, double-punishing with an OA if the attack was an area or ranged power."

this is incorrect. you can only use one immediate action per round, and the OA would make two.

this is incorrect. you can only use one immediate action per round, and the OA would make two.

OAs are opportunity actions (which are once per turn not yours), not immediates (once per round).  You can have both on a single turn.

Let's all be careful not to unintentionally strawman positions here.

Sorry I wasn't really clear, I am not really engaging in that argument (I am leaving that part to Armisael) merely commenting on the Dark Sun divine issue.
B) Was interplanar travel blocked? If not, Astral Sea = gods there = Morninglord.

I run a DS game and I agree with most of your points on how to make yourself feel relevant as a defender (being unhittable is not the solution). Being scary and hitting hard is more important in making a monster pay attention to you than being harder to hit (which in my case, will mean I ignore you more. Especially if your damage sucks). On this point, which is about the fluff of Dark Sun you are dead wrong. In Dark Sun, there *is* no divine not because they aren't contactable - but because the god's got their ass kicked so hard in the dawn war they are all dead. The astral sea no longer exists at all, instead it's basically a dead broken space with horrific abominations crawling all over it. The few who have gone there didn't find gods, they found things far worse than that as the entire place is crawling with the former weapons of the dawn war.

In effect with the Dark Sun Campaign Setting basically stating there is no divine source, unless your DM permits it and the fluff of the setting being the gods were utterly exterminated: Convincing many DMs to allow divine is an uphill battle. In my own DS game, no divine classes or anything are permitted full stop (People do worship elements though, but those put them more in line with primal classes than divine).

But your logic basically doesn't apply to Dark Sun at all as it is often run. Divine source stuff just won't be accessible in a good amount of home games and IIRC, isn't legal for the Dark Sun Encounters Season stuff (or at least wasn't legal).

This does nothing to all your other points that I agree with though. More defenses doesn't help unless you can hit hard enough to make yourself relevant.



Ah, gotcha. My exposure to DS (besides the book) involves getting chucked to it courtesy of a Spelljammer crew, so I wasn't quite sure about that. Thanks for explaining!

Re: Big Sticks: LIke I mentioned, I tend to need those because I get lots of free attacks in my parties. Obviously if you don't get that many a force multiplier isn't as good.

Bastard Swords/Craghammers should still be like your third or fourth feat including the taxes though. :P
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
Let's all be careful not to unintentionally strawman positions here.

Sorry I wasn't really clear, I am not really engaging in that argument (I am leaving that part to Armisael) merely commenting on the Dark Sun divine issue.

My apologies to you in turn.  I didn't meant to accuse you of anything, yours was just a convenient quote to try to clarify the sides with.

Certainly, if you're going to be getting a lot of free attacks, the story changes a bit.  You then want a good MBA, which is not the same as a good OA, and your options for improving those are a lot more limited.  On the whole, though, if the best candidate in your party for granted free attacks is a battlemind, your leader might want to be looking at doing more productive things!

And yeah, superior weapons are up there on the good feat list.  I don't know if I'd rate it quite as highly as third or fourth, but that's more a build-dependent issue than anything else.

More defenses doesn't help unless you can hit hard enough to make yourself relevant.

Let's all be careful not to unintentionally strawman positions here.  No one has been arguing for sinking tons of resources into pumping up your defences sky-high.  The problem with dropping your shield (ie, failing to take advantage of a pre-purchased resource) is that you immediately drop below the recommended AC for a defender.  That effectively makes you the squishiest thing on the front-line, and that's a bad thing.

Getting back to ThaneRogar's example/question, the point is that in going with a two-handed weapon instead of a one-handed weapon, you're giving monsters a flat 10% accuracy boost against you in return for what will boil down to, in the standard pre-epic circumstances of a 1[W] standard attack, Aug 2 Lightning Rush, and a 1[W] OA following that, a total of 4 points of damage per round for heavy blades and 6 points for hammers before accuracy.  And as Mommy_was_an_Orc pointed out, you're going to be on the receiving end of a lot of attacks.  Overall, unless you're a goliath or are burning powers to use high [W] powers on your standard, I don't think the tradeoff is really beneficial to Team Hero.



A BM with just scale and a shield will be hit on a 14 or better (35% of the time) by a same level monster attacking AC.  Dropping the shield means you will be hit 45% of the time by a same level monster attacking AC.  This means that dropping a shield for a BM means their getting hit 29% more from attacks versus AC by a same level monster attacking AC.  That is a huge increase in hits taken. 

At least in heroic tier, dropping a shield simply isn't worth it (relative to a BS) if you're attacking creatures that attack your AC or reflex, which most do.  This is especially true if you are primarily using no weapon (such as Lodestone Lure or BB) or 1W powers.  

this is incorrect. you can only use one immediate action per round, and the OA would make two.

OAs are opportunity actions (which are once per turn not yours), not immediates (once per round).  You can have both on a single turn.




i see. carry on then
thanks
I have Heroes of Shadow, and will update the handbook with that material by the end of the month.  The delay should not concern you overmuch, as there's not much in here worth noting.

Also, I've added more discussion of the OA stance dailies to the Strategy section.  They've actually got a use now in dealing with those monsters that have movement powers that are not supposed to provoke opportunity attacks, because with only a few rare exceptions the phrasing of those monster abilities don't prevent the OA stance attacks from triggering.  It's still quite situational (basically it helps you with about 60-70 skirmishers out of monsters of all levels), but it's another corner case you can cover.
An interesting combo I found the other day.  MC Psion (hardly optimal I know) and grab the paragon feat Predictive Defense.  It gives you +2 to all defenses until EoNT when you hit w/ an unAug psionic at-will.  Combine with Talaric Ironjack, whose level 11 feature does the same thing (albeit with a power bonus).  Now you have +4 to all defenses until EoNT.  Foes can swing at you (poor choice) or go after an ally (poor choice, b/c you Lightning Rush and make them target you anyway).

Another optional piece is Precise Mind, a Psion heroic feat. A hit w/ an Aug2 or greater gives you +1 to hit w/ unAugs until EoNT, making it more likely for you to land a hit on your turn to trigger the above combo.  Since you will be attacking with unAugs for the most part on your turns and Aug2s (LR) off turn it flows seemlessly.

Not the best combo, due to crappy MC feat, but +4 to all defenses is beefy.  At-wills should be Lightning Rush (obviously) and then Brutal Barrage and/or Psionic Speed (lots of attack rolls = better chances of hitting on your turn.  Pick up HBO to use w/ brutal barrage and you are quite sticky.

Any Con/Int or Con/Wis or Con/Cha race can start with 14 Str, 18 Con, 14 Dex, 13 Int, 12 Wis or Cha and meet all prerequisites.  Persistant Harrier is probably the way to go, due to low secondary scores.
An interesting combo I found the other day.  MC Psion (hardly optimal I know) and grab the paragon feat Predictive Defense.  It gives you +2 to all defenses until EoNT when you hit w/ an unAug psionic at-will.  Combine with Talaric Ironjack, whose level 11 feature does the same thing (albeit with a power bonus).  Now you have +4 to all defenses until EoNT. 



Not quite, as Predictive defense is only against melee attacks. Still a good combo, though.

Forgot about that.  I do still like it, since in my experience most attacks are melee or ranged, and the battlemind has great ways to deal with ranged attacks anyway (BS and LR).
It's definitely an interesting combo, d20danko, and I've added it to the handbook.  I've also added some things from HoS: the races, the Dark Watcher and Shadow Dancer PPs, and the epic destinies.  Sadly, I think this is all that really bears mentioning from the book.
I know your hands are full with the class itself, but the DSCS Theme Primal Guradian Daily 5 Storm of Debris might bear some special mention.  It competes with Nightmare Vortex, but compares favorably in my opinion.  You sacrifice one square of range for the effect but add autodamage (goodbye, minions!).  Add in Mark of Storm and you get the slide back (the autodamage is Thunder).  Even more potent if you're going the Lyrandar Wind-Rider route.  
I know your hands are full with the class itself, but the DSCS Theme Primal Guradian Daily 5 Storm of Debris might bear some special mention.  It competes with Nightmare Vortex, but compares favorably in my opinion.  You sacrifice one square of range for the effect but add autodamage (goodbye, minions!).  Add in Mark of Storm and you get the slide back (the autodamage is Thunder).  Even more potent if you're going the Lyrandar Wind-Rider route.  

I've added a note about Storm of Debris to the theme rating.  It's definitely good, but I think I'd rather keep discussions of theme powers with the themes, just to keep the power selections from overwhelming.

Yeah, that's what I was trying to suggest but didn't make it clear.  I agree that the theme power shouldn't be with the main class powers.  Not everyone has access to or is interested in DSCS themes.

Thanks!
Wrenching Claw (DSCS): Like Cast the Net, there's just no reason to take this instead of Lodestone Lure.  You get more damage, and a slide rather than the pull, but less reach and no lockdown.


I'm a bit surprised that the rating for this is so low.  I don't think the relevant comparison should be to Lodestone Lure, but to the other 1st and 3rd level push powers.  I think the main reason to use Wrenching Claw is if you're doing Polearm Momentum tricks, and you'd rather be sliding than pushing.  Two reasons favor sliding: 1) you keep your marked target adjacent to you (for mark punishment) instead of pushing the target away from you; 2) you can take advantage of the Deadly Draw feat.  Obviously you'll want to upgrade this to Dizzying Strike at 13th, and then probably Entangling Strike at 17th (assuming you keep with the proning trick).

I'm a bit surprised that the rating for this is so low.  I don't think the relevant comparison should be to Lodestone Lure, but to the other 1st and 3rd level push powers.

In the general case, I'm not sure I agree, but you're right that I definitely overlooked the implications for Polearm Momentum builds.  I've changed the rating.

I was looking for suggestions for my 3rd at-will.  I'd like to build around taking advantage of Forceful Reversal, which necessitates keeping my enemy adjacent.  Lodestone Lure was my 2nd at-will choice for that reason.  During heroic tier, I though a mult-marking/burst power like Vicious Cobra Strike would complement those two.

It's really once I get to paragon, and 13th level, that I'm not sure which way to go.  I plan on picking up Heavy Blade Opportunity, so that I can use Lodestone Lure as an opportunity attack.  I feel as if this would free me up from having to use LL as my standard attack, since in most cases I can remain adjacent if the enemy tries to move (via Blurred Step or LL as an OA).  So I'm wondering what I might take at 13th (either a 13th or 7th level at-will) that would combo well with FR as my immediate, and LL as my OA.  In some respects, I'm hoping the enemy tries to move away, so I get the chance to hit them again with an OA.  Any suggestions?
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