Tired of the goody-twoshoes, preaching of the virtuous lifestyle hogwash that permeates Paladin orders everywhere? Ever felt the urge to shove a sword up a Cavalier's (self-)righteous arse? Then you've come to the right place, lowlives. Here we don't deal in timid morality. Stuff like sacrifice and tempering valor with mercy is for sissies. We Blackguards let those base emotions empower us to stroll around the battlefield and slaughter everything in our paths. Or maybe imprison them into doing our bidding. Whatever works. Maybe we're just a bit mean-spirited. Or maybe we're just evil. No matter, we're here to show what Paladinhood is really all about: Stabbing people in the face! At least we're honest about it.
So why play a Blackguard?
With so many Striker classes in existence, how do you, a variant of an established Defender class, set yourself apart?
* You are the most durable Striker around. You use Paladin figures for hit points, healing surges, defense boosts, and armor proficiencies, which are all tops in the game. You wear plate mail from the start, something no other Striker does. And on top of that, you have several ways to load yourself with temporary hit points. Combine all that, and you'll have no problem living to kill even when the fight gets thick.
* You have some flexibility for an E-class. Bored by the relative lack of options available to Essentials Martial classes? If you're a Blackguard you get some flexibility and upward mobility, thanks to the fact that you still have daily powers. Just having those opens up a whole new world you can exploit to make you the best engine of destruction you can be.
* You can bring the pain right as it's needed. With one of the best E-Encounter attack boosters in the game, one that happens to be even further upgradeable by some common feats, it's very easy to add that nice little extra spike of damage at moment's notice, even outside what could be called a "nova round." You'll find that you're pretty easy to rely on, at least where hurting things is concerned.
Red: A trap, obsoleted by something else, or just plain crap.
Purple: Situational at best. Substandard in most cases.
Black: Not bad. You could do worse.
Blue: Consider it, at least.
Sky Blue: One of your best options, period.
Gold: Mandatory. Not just the best. Mandatory. A very rare rating.
This Handbook covers the following sources:
PHB - Player's Handbook
PHB2 - Player's Handbook 2
PHB3 - Player's Handbook 3
HoS - Heroes of Shadow
DP - Divine Power
E:HFL - Essentials: Heroes of the Fallen Lands
E:HFK - Essentials: Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms
FRPG - Forgotten Realms Player's Guide
MM - Monster Manual
MM2 - Monster Manual 2
AV - Adventurer's Vault
AV2 - Adventurer's Vault 2
D XXX - Dragon Magazine, issue XXX
DA XX - Dragon Annual, year XX
MOTP - Manual of the Planes
PHBH - Player's Handbook Heroes
MP - Martial Power
MP2 - Martial Power 2
AP - Arcane Power
PP - Primal Power
EPG - Eberron Player's Guide
DSCS - Dark Sun Campaign Setting
PHR:D - Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn
PHR:T - Player's Handbook Races: Tieflings
MME - Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium
HotF - Heroes of the Feywild
AoE - Area of effect, often denotes a burst or blast attack.
AP - Action Point
BBEG - Big Bad Evil Guy (typically a Solo or an Elite)
DPR - Damage per round
DS - Divine Sanction. A type of mark attached to many of the old Paladin's powers that deals automatic radiant damage at no action cost if it's violated. Blackguards can still access some of the powers with this type of mark, thus allowing them to be very strong secondary Defenders if the mood should strike them.
ED - Epic destiny
Lucifer - "Lightbringer," one of many names given to what is considered the source of all evil in Christianity, Satan. The fact that the "Lightbringer" epithet is attached to a mythical being of supreme evil in real life is justification enough for Blackguards to fittingly throw around Radiant damage if they want to, whether it be via Divine Sanction or directly with their attacks. A Blackguard who picks up means of Radiant damage may occasionally be described as "going Lucifer."
MAD - Multiple-attribute dependency. Otherwise known as stretching your ability scores too thin. Typically a designator for a build needing three or more ability scores to function.
MBA - Melee basic attack
NAD - Non-AC Defense (Fortitude, Reflex or Will).
OA - Opportunity attack
O-Paladin - The original 4e Paladin, which will get referenced a few times here.
Permafrost - The Paragon Tier combination of the feat Lasting Frost for cold vulnerability on demand, a reliable way to deal cold damage, such as a Frost Weapon, and the feat Wintertouched for eternal combat advantage. One of the top damage-boosting options in 4e to this day. Blackguards are especially encouraged to take advantage of this, thanks to a particular class feature.
PP - Paragon path
Radiant Mafioso (or Radiant Soldier) - A character built around creating vulnerability to Radiant damage, greatly increasing not only his own damage, but in many cases his allies' as well. All Divine characters, yes, even Blackguards, have a capacity to become this type of character, thanks to things like at-will powers with the Radiant keyword, Radiant weapons, the Power of the Sun domain feat and the Morninglord paragon path. A full party of this type of character makes up the Radiant Mafia (or Radiant Army).
THP - Temporary hit points.
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