Tiax the Gnomequeror: Optimizing a Gnome Barbarian

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Ever since watching the 'Demogorgon and the Gnome' interview on youtube, I've been fascinated by the idea of optimizing what has to be one of the least optimal race/class combos possible: the gnome barbarian.

Here's what I've come up with so far. Please critique and let me know where he can be improved Please note, I use Versatile Expertise and Paragon/Robust defenses because the games I play in do not use Dark Sun or Essentials content.

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Tiax the Gnomequeror, level 30
Gnome, Barbarian, Captain of Fortune, Legendary Sovereign
Build: Thaneborn Barbarian
Feral Might: Thaneborn Triumph
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Hammer)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Pick)
Sword of Kings: Hurricane of Blades

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 26, Con 12, Dex 12, Int 22, Wis 10, Cha 20.

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


AC: 45 Fort: 47 Reflex: 46 Will: 42
HP: 216 Surges: 15 Surge Value: 54

TRAINED SKILLS
Intimidate +25, Endurance +20, Athletics +27, Diplomacy +25

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +15, Arcana +23, Bluff +20, Dungeoneering +15, Heal +15, History +21, Insight +15, Nature +15, Perception +15, Religion +21, Stealth +17, Streetwise +20, Thievery +15

FEATS
Level 1: Versatile Expertise
Level 2: Resourceful Leader
Level 4: Gnome Weapon Training
Level 6: Scrappy
Level 8: Deadly Rage
Level 10: Durable
Level 11: Paragon Defenses (retrained to Robust Defenses at Level 21)
Level 12: Toughness
Level 14: Charging Rampage
Level 16: Impetuous Charger
Level 18: Powerful Charge
Level 20: Improved Initiative (retrained to Superior Initiative at Level 22)
Level 21: Primal Resurgence
Level 22: Acolyte Power
Level 24: Novice Power
Level 26: Epic Will
Level 28: Epic Reflexes
Level 30: Epic Fortitude

POWERS
Barbarian at-will 1: Howling Strike
Barbarian at-will 1: Pressing Strike
Barbarian encounter 1: Escalating Violence
Barbarian daily 1: Thunder Hooves Rage
Barbarian utility 2: Shrug It Off
Barbarian encounter 3: Shatterbone Strike
Barbarian daily 5: Rage of the Crimson Hurricane
Barbarian utility 6: Snarling Defiance
Barbarian encounter 7: Curtain of Steel
Barbarian daily 9: Tiger's Claw Rage
Barbarian utility 10: Reactive Surge
Barbarian encounter 13: Storm of Blades (replaces Escalating Violence)
Barbarian daily 15: Rage of the War Bringer (replaces Tiger's Claw Rage)
Barbarian utility 16: Kill Them All
Barbarian encounter 17: Devastating Blow (replaces Shatterbone Strike)
Barbarian daily 19: Desert Wind Rage (replaces Rage of the Crimson Hurricane)
Barbarian utility 22: Unexpected Clarity (retrained to Rush of Battle at Acolyte Power)
Barbarian encounter 23: Berserker's Shout (retrained to Hold that Thought at Novice Power) (replaces Curtain of Steel)
Barbarian daily 25: Stone Tempest Rage (replaces Thunder Hooves Rage)
Barbarian encounter 27: Hurricane of Blades (replaces Storm of Blades)
Barbarian daily 29: World Serpent Rage (replaces Rage of the War Bringer)

ITEMS
Adventurer's Kit, Marauder's Elderhide Armor +6, Thundergod Warhammer +6, Iron Armbands of Power (epic tier), Boots of the Mighty Charge (heroic tier), Gauntlets of Blood (paragon tier), Horned Helm (paragon tier), Badge of the Berserker +6, Ring of Giants (paragon tier), Ring of Tenacious Will (epic tier), Belt of Mountain Endurance (paragon tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Solid build, only one comment. The feat list looks outdated to me.

The feat list looks outdated to me.




I know, its because the games I play in don't use Dark Sun/Essentials content, as I mentioned.

My main concern is accuracy. My ideal goal for the build is to actually be effective against Demogorgon (to play up the Gnome Vs Demogorgon theme), and he has an AC of 48. To hit him, Tiax would need to roll a 14 or higher. Sure, I could open with a Devastating Strike and then AP into Hurricane of Blades, but that's only a one-round solution (and Devastating Strike would need to hit).

Thoughts?
The feat list looks outdated to me.

I know, its because the games I play in don't use Dark Sun/Essentials content, as I mentioned.

Oops, sorry.

As far as accuracy goes, how married are you to a hammer and gnome weapon training ? A proficiency in a +3 weapon would improve your accuracy, and I'm pretty sure also your overall damage output, even though you're giving up a gnome weapon master.
A Bastard Sword for example is also versatile.


As far as accuracy goes, how married are you to a hammer and gnome weapon training ? A proficiency in a +3 weapon would improve your accuracy, and I'm pretty sure also your overall damage output, even though you're giving up a gnome weapon master.
A Bastard Sword for example is also versatile.



You're probably right, the extra +1 to hit is worth more than +1 damage/tier over weapon focus, but it would cost an extra feat. The updated feat progression during heroic would probably go:

1: Weapon Proficiency: Bastard Sword
2: Versatile Expertise
4: Weapon Focus (Heavy Blade)
6: Scrappy
8: Deadly Rage
10: Resourceful Leader

Kensei would also add accuracy, but at the cost of Captain of Fortune's leadery benefits and double-AP feature.
I do not think weapon focus and scrappy stack, but not 100% sure.


For all the things (and that list is getting long) that your DM won't allow, I hope he does modernise on his end.
I do not think weapon focus and scrappy stack, but not 100% sure.


For all the things (and that list is getting long) that your DM won't allow, I hope he does modernise on his end.



They do. Scrappy is an untyped bonus:

Benefit: When wielding a one-handed versatile weapon in two hands, you gain a +1 bonus to damage rolls. This bonus increases to +2 at 11th level and +3 at 21st level.



My DM no longer has a D&Di subscription, and none of the other players do, so they're all still using the offline version of the character builder and the old books.

Updating the build is easy though: switch Versatile Expertise with Bludgeon (or Heavy Blade) Expertise, and switch Paragon Defenses with Improved Defenses.


Here's a revised build for Tiax using a bastard sword for greater accuracy:

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Tiax the Gnomequeror, level 30
Gnome, Barbarian, Captain of Fortune, Legendary Sovereign
Build: Thaneborn Barbarian
Feral Might: Thaneborn Triumph
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Spear)
Sword of Kings: Hurricane of Blades

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 26, Con 12, Dex 12, Int 22, Wis 10, Cha 20.

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


AC: 45 Fort: 47 Reflex: 46 Will: 42
HP: 216 Surges: 13 Surge Value: 54

TRAINED SKILLS
Intimidate +25, Endurance +20, Athletics +27, Diplomacy +25

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +15, Arcana +23, Bluff +20, Dungeoneering +15, Heal +15, History +21, Insight +15, Nature +15, Perception +15, Religion +21, Stealth +17, Streetwise +20, Thievery +15

FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Bastard sword)
Level 2: Versatile Expertise
Level 4: Weapon Focus (Heavy Blade)
Level 6: Scrappy
Level 8: Deadly Rage
Level 10: Resourceful Leader
Level 11: Paragon Defenses (retrained to Robust Defenses at Level 21)
Level 12: Toughness
Level 14: Charging Rampage
Level 16: Impetuous Charger
Level 18: Powerful Charge
Level 20: Improved Initiative (retrained to Superior Initiative at Level 22)
Level 21: Primal Resurgence
Level 22: Acolyte Power
Level 24: Novice Power
Level 26: Epic Will
Level 28: Epic Reflexes
Level 30: Epic Fortitude

POWERS
Barbarian at-will 1: Howling Strike
Barbarian at-will 1: Pressing Strike
Barbarian encounter 1: Escalating Violence
Barbarian daily 1: Thunder Hooves Rage
Barbarian utility 2: Shrug It Off
Barbarian encounter 3: Shatterbone Strike
Barbarian daily 5: Rage of the Crimson Hurricane
Barbarian utility 6: Snarling Defiance
Barbarian encounter 7: Curtain of Steel
Barbarian daily 9: Stoneroot Rage
Barbarian utility 10: Reactive Surge
Barbarian encounter 13: Storm of Blades (replaces Escalating Violence)
Barbarian daily 15: Rage of the War Bringer (replaces Thunder Hooves Rage)
Barbarian utility 16: Kill Them All
Barbarian encounter 17: Devastating Blow (replaces Shatterbone Strike)
Barbarian daily 19: Desert Wind Rage (replaces Rage of the Crimson Hurricane)
Barbarian utility 22: Unexpected Clarity (retrained to Rush of Battle at Acolyte Power)
Barbarian encounter 23: Berserker's Shout (retrained to Hold that Thought at Novice Power) (replaces Curtain of Steel)
Barbarian daily 25: Ash Hammer Rage (replaces Stoneroot Rage)
Barbarian encounter 27: Hurricane of Blades (replaces Storm of Blades)
Barbarian daily 29: World Serpent Rage (replaces Rage of the War Bringer)

ITEMS
Adventurer's Kit, Marauder's Elderhide Armor +6, Jagged Bastard sword +6, Badge of the Berserker +6, Farbond Spellblade Bastard sword +6, Iron Armbands of Power (epic tier), Boots of the Mighty Charge (heroic tier), Strikebacks (heroic tier), Horned Helm (epic tier), Ring of Giants (paragon tier), Ring of Tenacious Will (epic tier), Belt of Mountain Endurance (paragon tier), Backlash Tattoo (heroic tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

I've changed the daily power selection to be a bit more versatile in handling a variety of situations. In each tier, Tiax now has:
One rage for focus fire damage (Thunder Hooves, War Bringer, World Serpent)
One rage for AoE damage (Crimson Hurricane, Desert Wind)
One rage for durability/toughness (Stoneroot, Ash Hammer)

To make up for the loss of Stone Tempest's crit-range expansion, a Jagged weapon is taken over the previous Thundergod. This also makes the build's constant Hurricane of Blades spam deadlier. Total gold spent on equipment in this build is 9,091,200gp, well under the expected wealth ceiling.
Any input on the revised build? I'm considering bumping Acolyte Power back to early Paragon to take Instant Planning instead of Rush of Battle, and using the L22 feat slot for Long Step.

Also, how about a Talenta Sharrash for the main weapon? I would lose Scrappy, but I'd be able to replace it with Hafted Defense for more AC and Reflex. Thoughts?