Vampiricus Maximus: A vampiric brawler that stuffs shift+charge from L1, without Mobile Challenge

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I've always been iffy about the interpretation that Mobile Challenge lets you shift after the triggering opponent does, "following" him as it were. So I built this Brawler partly as a different way to stuff shift+charge escapes from L1, as well as to be a cool, flavourful lockdown defender. (no DSCS or HOFL content used).

Vampiricus Maximus

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Vampiricus Maximus, level 30
Human, Fighter, Bloodknight, Undying Warrior
Build: Brawling Fighter
Fighter: Combat Superiority
Fighter Talents: Brawler Style
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Spear)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Unarmed)
Human Power Selection: Bonus At-Will Power
Blood Drain: Blood Drain Strength
Background: Restless Dead (Perception class skill)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 26, Con 21, Dex 16, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 10.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 13, Dex 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8.


AC: 35 Fort: 44 Reflex: 32 Will: 31
HP: 225 Surges: 14 Surge Value: 56

TRAINED SKILLS
Heal +23, Perception +23, Endurance +25, Athletics +28

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +18, Arcana +16, Bluff +15, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +18, History +16, Insight +18, Intimidate +15, Nature +18, Religion +16, Stealth +18, Streetwise +15, Thievery +18

FEATS
Human: Vampiric Heritage
Level 1: Versatile Expertise
Level 2: Inescapable Hold
Level 4: Brawler Guard
Level 6: Pin Down
Level 8: Improved Initiative (retrained to Superior Initiative at Level 22)
Level 10: Improved Grab
Level 11: Armor Specialization (Scale)
Level 12: Persistent Threat
Level 14: Paragon Defenses (retrained to Robust Defenses at Level 21)
Level 16: Impaling Spear
Level 18: Uncanny Dodge
Level 20: Toughness
Level 21: Epic Fortitude
Level 22: Dual Challenge
Level 24: Rapid Combat Challenge
Level 26: Crushing Grab
Level 28: Martial Mastery
Level 30: Slashing Storm

POWERS
Bonus At-Will Power: Grappling Strike
Fighter at-will 1: Weapon Master's Strike
Fighter at-will 1: Dual Strike
Fighter encounter 1: Takedown Attack
Fighter daily 1: Seize and Stab
Fighter utility 2: Forceful Drag
Fighter encounter 3: Parry and Riposte
Fighter daily 5: Rain of Steel
Fighter utility 6: Makeshift Shield
Fighter encounter 7: Trip Up
Fighter daily 9: Stop Thrust
Fighter utility 10: Body Shield (Fighter)
Fighter encounter 13: Stranglehold (replaces Takedown Attack)
Fighter daily 15: Unyielding Avalanche (replaces Seize and Stab)
Fighter utility 16: Tangle Up
Fighter encounter 17: Vicious Uppercut (replaces Parry and Riposte)
Fighter daily 19: Persistence of Blades (replaces Stop Thrust)
Fighter utility 22: Instant Getaway
Fighter encounter 23: Trollclaw Grip (replaces Trip Up)
Fighter daily 25: Reaper's Stance (replaces Rain of Steel)
Fighter encounter 27: Warrior's Urging (replaces Stranglehold)
Fighter daily 29: Force the Battle (replaces Persistence of Blades)

ITEMS
Adventurer's Kit, Scale Armor, Spear, Spiked gauntlet, Javelin (5)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======


Note as well that I haven't kitted him out with magic equipment.

His main shtick during Heroic when proper grabs are hard to come by is Weapon Master's Strike with a spear. It allows him to make an OA as well as a CC attack when his target shifts... and the OA he will make is Grappling Strike.

So if an enemy tries to shift away, he takes 2 attacks and is grabbed, ending his movement.

Trip Up (and later Tangle Up) provide an easy means of establishing a Pin Down when an enemy tries to violate his mark. Now an enemy that tries to shift away finds himself eating 3 retaliation attacks, being proned and pinned.

The Undying Warrior ED, as well as being flavourful, also provides him a way of recharging his surges, which he will be spending multiple times per encounter with his rechargeable Blood Drain.

Comments and criticism welcome.
Um, what is their to be iffy about? Mobile Challenge goes off as a reaction (in terms of timing) to the II that is Combat Challenge, meaning it goes off before the actual shift resolves. Is that a popular interpretation? I've never even seen that question asked....
Neat. See sig =).
Um, what is their to be iffy about? Mobile Challenge goes off as a reaction (in terms of timing) to the II that is Combat Challenge, meaning it goes off before the actual shift resolves. Is that a popular interpretation? I've never even seen that question asked....


I'd agree entirely on this count...I guess there'd be no debate, then?  Hell, you could even stop the shift entirely by shifting to the space he's trying to shift to.  Probably take some doing to get it to a shift 2, as I assume he's shifting away, but that's not all that difficult.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Um, what is their to be iffy about? Mobile Challenge goes off as a reaction (in terms of timing) to the II that is Combat Challenge, meaning it goes off before the actual shift resolves. Is that a popular interpretation? I've never even seen that question asked....



If I'm reading you right, I agree with you? What I'm objecting is the interpretation that you can "chase" an enemy with Mobile Challenge.

Mobile Challenge states:
"After you hit an enemy with a melee basic attack granted by your Combat Challenge class feature, you can shift 1 square."

There's nothing there to say that the triggering shift occurs first. The way I'd interpret the order is:

Enemy decides to shift
Combat Challenge (interrupt) goes off
Mobile Challenge (specifically states it happens after Combat Challenge) goes off, and you shift
Enemy shifts

But besides interpretations of Mobile Challenge's wording, what do people think of my brawler?
That'd be the correct order. My point is, at least here (and in Rules Q&A), there is no debate and never has been. So I'm just kind of confused. ^.^

Build, right.

Improved Defenses, Paragon and Robust are out-dated.

Your don't really need Epic Fort (with a +item bonus to Fort very few enemies will be able to escape, monsters don't tend to have high ath/acro checks).

You'll be dominated/dazed on like a 4. Your NADs except Fort are awful (I'm accounting for the +7 you'd get from switch to Imp. Defenses and a neck item).
Well, I think it's been done before (Bob, the Bloody Brawler in my sig has the same class, race, PP, ED, most of the same powers) almost exactly, barring a few minor differences. It's a powerful build.

For advice:
As a Brawler, your Fort should be nearly unbeatable. That means typically taking an 18 in Str, moreso if you plan to use a +2 prof weapon.

Decide if Dex or Wis is your secondary, and pump only that (don't touch Con). The Fort feat is nice in heroic (which you dont have), but I'd drop it for Improved Defenses (lose one fort, gain Will and Reflex? Sold). Epic Fort in Epic is interesting, I usually take it, depends how often mobs break free.

I don't think Improved Grab is worth it (only works on standard action grab attacks and Body Shield), moreso if you use a Spear (Grasping Weapon is *amazing*).

His NADs are bad because he is missing the proper feat/item/stats bonus. With Improved Defenses, item bonus, proper stat allocation and maybe Epic Reflex/Will, its looking a bit better.

So yea, take a 18/14/11 array (Str/Wis/Dex), pump ONLY Str and Wis, take some better feats and items. Power selection is solid.
Actually, there has been debate regarding Mobile Challenge. It is commonly stated to hinder a monster's shift+charge option because the fighter can 'chase' the monster with Mobile Challenge and stop the charge with Combat Superiority.

I'm not saying it's correct, but it has definitely been discussed and I think enough people still interpret the fighter's shift to resolve after the monster's shift.
  
Actually, there has been debate regarding Mobile Challenge. It is commonly stated to hinder a monster's shift+charge option because the fighter can 'chase' the monster with Mobile Challenge and stop the charge with Combat Superiority.

...That works anyway. You shift adjacent to where the monster was going to shift. Now it shifts. Still adjacent. If it charges, you can hit it with an OA. It hinders Shift+Charge when used correctly and, apparently, when used incorrectly so that can't possibly be the reason.

@Rathyr: I accounted for everything but an item bonus. Still low (two NADs under 40 low).
Including having a proper array? Looks like he was raising Con instead of either Dex or Wis.

@Alcestis: If I remember correctly, the argument was that the DM might not make it known to the player where the monster was going to shift, only that it was going to shift.


@Alcestis: If I remember correctly, the argument was that the DM might not make it known to the player where the monster was going to shift, only that it was going to shift.


Doesn't work. It isn't explicitly stated in the rules but many game elements don't function unless movement is declared on a square-by-square basis. The thread was beastly but I think all the disagreeable nit pickers in Rules Q&A (including me, obviously) actually agreed on this point at the end of it. The issue was invalidating movement in that case.

That argument is bizarre either way though. Definately a

@Rathyr: Ah, missed that... would still have one poor NAD. Guess that is inevitable though (and actually if he raises Str to 20 it'll make it worse even if he switchs his stats around).
That is the price of a 20 and Human =p. One bad nad is fairly standard, and no class can boast a Fort defense like a Brawler.

16/16/13 is fine too (I actually prefer the 16/16/13 in actual games, even on Dex classes). Ultimately, all that matters is that the initial array is straightened and that Str/Wis (or Dex) gets all the attention.



Improved Defenses, Paragon and Robust are out-dated.

You'll be dominated/dazed on like a 4. Your NADs except Fort are awful (I'm accounting for the +7 you'd get from switch to Imp. Defenses and a neck item).



I'm not using any Dark Sun or Essentials content, as I stated in my first post. Most of the games I play in don't include it.

Dazed I'm not so worried about, if I'm interpreting Persistent Threat correctly (can still take opportunity attacks = grab is still maintainted). Stunned and Dominated are different kettles of fish though, and you're right I need to raise my Will at least.

Well, I think it's been done before (Bob, the Bloody Brawler in my sig has the same class, race, PP, ED, most of the same powers) almost exactly, barring a few minor differences. It's a powerful build.

For advice:
As a Brawler, your Fort should be nearly unbeatable. That means typically taking an 18 in Str, moreso if you plan to use a +2 prof weapon.

Decide if Dex or Wis is your secondary, and pump only that (don't touch Con). The Fort feat is nice in heroic (which you dont have), but I'd drop it for Improved Defenses (lose one fort, gain Will and Reflex? Sold). Epic Fort in Epic is interesting, I usually take it, depends how often mobs break free.

I don't think Improved Grab is worth it (only works on standard action grab attacks and Body Shield), moreso if you use a Spear (Grasping Weapon is *amazing*).



Sorry if my build seems to copy Bob. Imitation is the highest form of flattery?

I was hoping that the additional accuracy on OA's from Combat Superiority and the accuracy on CC's from Impaling Spear would make up for an 18 str/+2 proficiency weapon combo. Going for a 20 Str really neuters the other stats ><

I did indeed boost Con, with the logic that it increased my pool of surges and buffed Blood Drain damage. Which would be the preferable secondary, Dex or Wis?

Improved Grab was pretty much just taken for Body Shield, which a Grasping Weapon would indeed fix. But could I then make Grappling Strike OA's with an offhand Feyslaughter gauntlet against teleporting enemies? Can you choose which weapon to attack with on powers that don't specify main hand or offhand?

Actually, there has been debate regarding Mobile Challenge. It is commonly stated to hinder a monster's shift+charge option because the fighter can 'chase' the monster with Mobile Challenge and stop the charge with Combat Superiority.

I'm not saying it's correct, but it has definitely been discussed and I think enough people still interpret the fighter's shift to resolve after the monster's shift.
  



That was the assumption I had heard, yep. I'd also considered the alternative (shift adjacent to the square the enemy is shifting to), but problems arise from that (the DM might not tell you beforehand, and the adjacent square might be blocked by other enemies or terrain).

I just thought the ability to frontload up to 3 attacks to punish a shift, ending in a prone, grabbed, pinned enemy, was pretty cool. Sure, you could just open with a grab... but this way the enemy doesn't know what's coming. :P


@Alcestis: If I remember correctly, the argument was that the DM might not make it known to the player where the monster was going to shift, only that it was going to shift.



Well yeah, if your DM is houseruling on the fly then our conclusions on how the rules work won't be relevant. indeed.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Dazed I'm not so worried about, if I'm interpreting Persistent Threat correctly (can still take opportunity attacks = grab is still maintainted). Stunned and Dominated are different kettles of fish though, and you're right I need to raise my Will at least.

Are you not using the RC either? Being unable to take OAs no longer ends a grab.
Hm, Compendium hasn't been updated with that.  What's the new rule?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Hm, Compendium hasn't been updated with that.  What's the new rule?

You must be "unable to take actions." There was some debate about that wording, then it was FAQed (still the only RC FAQ I believe). Only counts if you can't take any actions. So Stunned/Dominated is about it.
I remember my jaw dropping when I read that ruling...

Yea, don't mind the 20. I've seen 20's in practice, and honestly, they can cause problems at a casual table (rogues that only miss on a 1, Monks that are way above the defender, etc). 16/16/13 is party and DM friendly, and still fairly optimized.

As for Dex vs Wis, most will tell you Wis. +hit on OAs, Marked Scourge, Will defense, good Will feats and so on. Keep in mind that you will no longer be able to qualify for Scale Specialization with a lower Dex, and some cool riders require a high Dex (Rain of Blows comes to mind), as do weapon masteries in Epic.

Dex is valid (I use it on a few of my Brawlers and take Combat Agility for an additional option), but simply not as popular. 
Regarding Dex/Wis, I like to use 16/14/14/13 for Str/Wis/Dex/Con.  Secondary won't be as high, but your scores are balanced, you can pick up armor spec (scale) in paragon.  Though I like Minotaurs and Longtooth Shifters for Brawlers, so the Wis bonus helps a lot.

I like Wis for all the reasons Rathyr described.  Marked Scourge, Combat Superiority, Will to prevent dominates (and some stuns), Superior Will, etc.  All very nice reasons for Fighters to have good Wis
Here is an amended build, using a 16/16/13 array and boosting Wis as secondary. I've included about half an epic budget of items (7mil worth), covering all the basics.

Vampiricus Maximus, revised

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Vampiricus Maximus, level 30
Human, Fighter, Bloodknight, Undying Warrior
Build: Brawling Fighter
Fighter: Combat Superiority
Fighter Talents: Brawler Style
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Spear)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Unarmed)
Blood Drain: Blood Drain Strength
Human Power Selection: Bonus At-Will Power
Background: Restless Dead (Perception class skill)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 26, Con 13, Dex 15, Int 12, Wis 24, Cha 10.

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


AC: 46 Fort: 54 Reflex: 43 Will: 47
HP: 217 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 54

TRAINED SKILLS
Heal +27, Perception +29, Endurance +27, Athletics +28

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +17, Arcana +16, Bluff +15, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +22, History +16, Insight +24, Intimidate +15, Nature +22, Religion +16, Stealth +17, Streetwise +15, Thievery +17

FEATS
Human: Vampiric Heritage
Level 1: Versatile Expertise
Level 2: Inescapable Hold
Level 4: Brawler Guard
Level 6: Pin Down
Level 8: Wary Fighter
Level 10: Toughness
Level 11: Persistent Threat
Level 12: Paragon Defenses (retrained to Robust Defenses at Level 21)
Level 14: Uncanny Dodge
Level 16: Impaling Spear
Level 18: Marked Scourge
Level 20: Improved Initiative (retrained to Superior Initiative at Level 22)
Level 21: Armor Specialization (Scale)
Level 22: Crushing Grab
Level 24: Slashing Storm
Level 26: Epic Fortitude
Level 28: Epic Will
Level 30: Epic Reflexes

POWERS
Bonus At-Will Power: Grappling Strike
Fighter at-will 1: Dual Strike
Fighter at-will 1: Weapon Master's Strike
Fighter encounter 1: Takedown Attack
Fighter daily 1: Seize and Stab
Fighter utility 2: Forceful Drag
Fighter encounter 3: Parry and Riposte
Fighter daily 5: Rain of Steel
Fighter utility 6: Makeshift Shield
Fighter encounter 7: Trip Up
Fighter daily 9: Stop Thrust
Fighter utility 10: Body Shield (Fighter)
Fighter encounter 13: Stranglehold (replaces Takedown Attack)
Fighter daily 15: Unyielding Avalanche (replaces Seize and Stab)
Fighter utility 16: Tangle Up
Fighter encounter 17: Vicious Uppercut (replaces Parry and Riposte)
Fighter daily 19: Persistence of Blades (replaces Stop Thrust)
Fighter utility 22: Instant Getaway
Fighter encounter 23: Trollclaw Grip (replaces Trip Up)
Fighter daily 25: Reaper's Stance (replaces Rain of Steel)
Fighter encounter 27: Warrior's Urging (replaces Stranglehold)
Fighter daily 29: Force the Battle (replaces Persistence of Blades)

ITEMS
Adventurer's Kit, Dwarven Titanscale Armor +6, Grasping Spear +6, Feyslaughter Spiked gauntlet +5, Periapt of Cascading Health +6, Boots of Caiphon (epic tier), Iron Armbands of Power (paragon tier), Diamond Cincture (paragon tier), Eye of Awareness (epic tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======


Note that I added a +5 Feyslaughter gauntlet purely to deal with teleporters. A +2 version would do, as the Brawler fighting style provides a scaling enhancement bonus to "unarmed" attacks anyway, but the +5 version is cheap by L30 standards and provides more damage.

I sacrificed a point of AC in using Titanscale armor rather than Elderscale, for the Fortitude bonus.