If Bladespells worked off-turn...

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I have a player using an 11th level Bladesinger.  He is lobbying for me to allow bladespells to trigger off his turn on stuff like OA's or granted attacks.

What do the char-opers think about that?  Would this do anything drastic?  I'm not worried about DPR as the other strikers get their striker features off-turn as well.  I'm more unsure about stuff like slide 3 and the fact that it can target someone other than the person hit with the MBA.

Your thoughts are appreciated!
^That.
I agree that they stink and indeed, I told him so from the very beginning.  He vehemently disagreed and now he is realizing they are lacking and asking me to make it all better.

So you don't think the slides and extra control won't be too much on OA's and such?
My immediate knee-jerks would be to address the "two-bad NADs" problem before trying to address the off-turn performance.

And then perhaps letting them have real dailies instead of fake ones.

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

I agree that they stink and indeed, I told him so from the very beginning.  He vehemently disagreed and now he is realizing they are lacking and asking me to make it all better.

So you don't think the slides and extra control won't be too much on OA's and such?

Actually I'd just kill the character and let him reroll. Houseruling something that is non-functional when there are plenty of builds that actually work and fit the fluff is just pointless.
Ugh, you guys are hilarious.  I realize the class stinks and I realize the encounter/daily problem is really the biggest flaw and the int/dex part of bad too.  However, the player, despite my protests wants to play this class.  That's just not going to change because he is set on it.  He is requesting this fix. 

To clarify, my question is "Will making the bladespells trigger off-turn be too powerful outright or when paired with other feats or abilities?"

And it seems the answer so far has been "No".

Keep in mind this means its not too powerful by CO standards, what it will actually do in your game would depend on the level of optimization the rest of the party is running with. If he is feeling bad enough that he is asking for boosts, your probably pretty safe mechanically, but you also run the risk of bad feelings if he starts getting too many gifts from the DM.
Try to find out *why* he wants to play the class.  Warlocks make respectable melee strikers, and the pact can be refluffed easily enough.

Bladesingers should have been a Swordmage subclass, not a Wizard one, so punt that idea at him as well, though they have a harder time being strikers.

Possibly look up the Darth Vader build as well. 
That's just not going to change because he is set on it.  He is requesting this fix. 

And I'm saying you shouldn't give it to him. If he wants to play a sword wielding magical striker, tell him that one of the cornerstones of 4e is refluffing. There are many, many ways to build the fluff of a Bladesinger with functional crunch.

It is vastly better to refluff in 4e, something that is encouraged by the books, then it is to houserule, which isn't. For a variety of reasons. If he is coming to you out of frustration you should just fix the actual problem, he is playing a Bladesinger, and be done. Because inevitably some other issue is going to come up.
Lemme try and put it this way: This is what I would do to try and house rule the bladesinger into something functional and thematic.


  • Bladespells powered by Int.  MBA powered by Dex

  • "Extradorinary Grace: You may use your Dex modifier to determine your Fort defense instead of your Str or Con modifiers"

  • Daily powers: Wizard daily powers.

  • Steely Retort: Yanked.  Wizard encounter power instead.  Retrain at 17 and 27

  • Bladespell Burst: 1/enc, and possibly moved down to heroic tier as a feature.


That's kinda  a long list.  There's gotta be something else that's a little easier to balance.

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

This will not cause problems.  It will allow the Bladesinger to come just a little closer to being even a bad controller.  Go for it.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.



  • Bladespells powered by Int.  MBA powered by Dex

  • Daily powers: Wizard daily powers.




Then you're forcing the Bladesinger to choose a DEX/INT race. His MBA attack roll and his daily powers attack rolls shouldn't be based on diffrerent attributes.

Better to simply let the Bladesinger use Wizard daily powers as usual and give the class a scaling bonus to Will - +1/+2/+3.

Cattle die, kindred die, every man is mortal. But the good name never dies of one who has done well. Cattle die, kindred die, every man is mortal. But I know one thing that never dies: the glory of the great dead. - [i]Hávamál[/i] D&D 4th Edition Bard builds: The Dashing Swordsman, The Master of Sound and Illusions, The Warrior Skald Captain Morality! (No point in not having fun with it. )
Ugh, you guys are hilarious.  I realize the class stinks and I realize the encounter/daily problem is really the biggest flaw and the int/dex part of bad too.  However, the player, despite my protests wants to play this class.  That's just not going to change because he is set on it.  He is requesting this fix.


My question is why he's so stuck on this one class.  What makes it so different from the Swordmage, the Warlock, or the Hexblade?  What about the Bladesinger screams "COOL!!" to him?
Ugh, you guys are hilarious.  I realize the class stinks and I realize the encounter/daily problem is really the biggest flaw and the int/dex part of bad too.  However, the player, despite my protests wants to play this class.  That's just not going to change because he is set on it.  He is requesting this fix.


My question is why he's so stuck on this one class.  What makes it so different from the Swordmage, the Warlock, or the Hexblade?  What about the Bladesinger screams "COOL!!" to him?

He has cantrips!!! Seriously, my swordmage would kill to be able to cast cantrips (of his own power, not cheap tricks like the gloves that allow some cantrips). Finally he could actually do magic tricks to delight children and prove that he is a real mage without having to bring out the big guns

Swordmages can conjour their bonded swords though, which is pretty cool.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
What is it that screams cool to him?

Two things: The fluff and the Bladespells

Why not refluff?

I have urged him to do this many times. I used to play a Druid as an arcane polymorpher. I enjoy refluffing. However, this player does not get refluffing. He finds it appalling. Why? I don't know. I just don't get him. But as a DM trying to help all of the players have fun, I would rather not continue arguing with him about this and just try to help him enjoy the class he wants to play, however bad it is.

SpaceInvader: Thanks for the straight forward answer. That seems to be the consensus.
What is it that screams cool to him? Two things: The fluff and the Bladespells Why not refluff? I have urged him to do this many times. I used to play a Druid as an arcane polymorpher. I enjoy refluffing. However, this player does not get refluffing. He finds it appalling. Why? I don't know. I just don't get him. But as a DM trying to help all of the players have fun, I would rather not continue arguing with him about this and just try to help him enjoy the class he wants to play, however bad it is. SpaceInvader: Thanks for the straight forward answer. That seems to be the consensus.



If I can make you a suggestion, don't give him bladespells on an OA - give him bladespells with 1d6 damage and the Implement keyword (if they don't have it already, haven't looked at the bladesinger in forever). Bam! Suddenly, the player IS contributing to the combat! You might not even need to allow him to pick wizard dailies instead of encounters for his daily list, too, as he can finally, finally strike competently so the control becomes a neat bonus! The player wins because he's useful, and you win because you give him the Christmas present to end all Christmas presents so you look like a god. Seriously consider this idea - the Bladesinger isn't going to be overpowered thanks to it, but he'll be good at last.
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).
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Then you're forcing the Bladesinger to choose a DEX/INT race. His MBA attack roll and his daily powers attack rolls shouldn't be based on diffrerent attributes.

Given the ease of rebasing your MBA, I'm opening up the number of races that can work well.  Yes, I'm moving away from starting pre-racial 18s, which may hurt in the longer run... but the MBA will be accurate enough from Deft Blade that it shouldn't be a huge problem
Better to simply let the Bladesinger use Wizard daily powers as usual and give the class a scaling bonus to Will - +1/+2/+3.

The falloff is closer to 3/5/7.  As a bonus that could be used to boost a strong defense, that's too high, so I have to limit its use to shoring up a weak defense.


"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

Swordmages can conjour their bonded swords though, which is pretty cool.

It's nice, but how cool is it to walk into your dark study and with a snip of your fingers light all candles and the hearth? Or in crowded tavern snatch an ale from the waitress tablet from across the room. A feat to get prestidigitation and mage hand (or a feat for each) on my swordmage and I would be so happy

Swordmages can conjour their bonded swords though, which is pretty cool.

It's nice, but how cool is it to walk into your dark study and with a snip of your fingers light all candles and the hearth? Or in crowded tavern snatch an ale from the waitress tablet from across the room. A feat to get prestidigitation and mage hand (or a feat for each) on my swordmage and I would be so happy



Fey Cantrip.  It's one one though.
Swordmages can conjour their bonded swords though, which is pretty cool.

It's nice, but how cool is it to walk into your dark study and with a snip of your fingers light all candles and the hearth? Or in crowded tavern snatch an ale from the waitress tablet from across the room. A feat to get prestidigitation and mage hand (or a feat for each) on my swordmage and I would be so happy



Fey Cantrip.  It's one one though.

Nice, my next two featslots have just been reassigned (fey bond and fey cnatrip which unfortunately doesn't say that it can be taken more than once) Thanks, I totally missed these feats
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Likewise. :-)

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The falloff is closer to 3/5/7.  As a bonus that could be used to boost a strong defense, that's too high, so I have to limit its use to shoring up a weak defense.




Ah, I see now what was my mistake. I was treating Will as the Bladesinger's worst NAD, but the Bladesinger has two "worst NADs", not only one. Still, it's hardly the only build to suffer from that - the problem is that it doesn't receive anything in return for this weakness. So maybe give it a +1/+2/+3 bonus to both Fortitude and Will and then turn his dailies into real ones.
Or perhaps it would be best to make the Bladesinger as SAD as the Skald - turn his dailies into real ones and let the Bladespells work off Intelligence instead of Dexterity.
Cattle die, kindred die, every man is mortal. But the good name never dies of one who has done well. Cattle die, kindred die, every man is mortal. But I know one thing that never dies: the glory of the great dead. - [i]Hávamál[/i] D&D 4th Edition Bard builds: The Dashing Swordsman, The Master of Sound and Illusions, The Warrior Skald Captain Morality! (No point in not having fun with it. )
I like options. Options are interesting. To that end, I believe they should have made bladespells key off your choice of 1 of 3 builds: Con, Dex, Cha. Each flavor would get a smattering of style feats to help define their styles. Con negating attacks, cha plays chess, and dex focuses on dpr. Possibly give dex an extra bladespell boost with early access to double up to make up for the two weak NADs, like dex+2 with a feat to increase by +dex again.

Plus, overhauling their dailies.
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Or perhaps it would be best to make the Bladesinger as SAD as the Skald - turn his dailies into real ones and let the Bladespells work off Intelligence instead of Dexterity.

Yeah, that's basically where I was heading, after charging a feat tax for the flexiblity.  Prepaying the tax wouldn't kill anything[/sblock]

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

I played a blade singer in early heroic, then from mid-paragon to end epic. With some help from help from these boards I was the most accurate, and best striker in the party. There are enough defensive wizard utilities that the low Fort, while scary at times, was not that big a deal. Warp in the weave was especially useful. Each tier should let the blade singer add 10 and 18 damage (paragon and epic) to each MBA with the right feat and epic destiny choices.

Would the bladesinger benefit from getting to add their blade spell  to OAs? Yes. Does it need to? No. I think of a bladesinger as a slayer that trades the striker bonus to OA's for versatility

Even if your bladesinger doesn't go for low striker damage with frost cheese and Radiant One, they can still be incredibly dodgy. Be a spellscarred Eladrin, eladrin boots, and ring of passage, combined with translocating armor and wintertouched mean that whenever anything happens, the bladesinger can teleport across the map, or on one turn, stab an enemy then teleport up to 24 squares away. (Not bladesinger specific I know, but very thematic, while still being useful.)
"Extradorinary Grace: You may use your Dex modifier to determine your Fort defense instead of your Str or Con modifiers"

If you're going to do something like this, then I'd actually go the other way:
"Brilliant Mind: You many add your INT modifier to your Will defense, in place of your WIS or CHA modifier, instead of your Reflex defense."
Makes much more thematic sense, in my opinion, and improved a much more critical defense. Either way, I don't think that one ability score should be able to add to more than one NAD.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
The issue with adding one ability mod to two NADs is it opens up the builds that go for a 20 and get +5 to two defenses, which is awesome but may be slightly unbalanced as it would make them more SAD than any other class.  I do think a fix is needed for bladesinger NADs though, so just a slight adjustment.

To take inspiration from the 3.5 Factotum:

Cunning Defense - Choose Fortitude or Will defense.  You may use the lower of your Dexterity or Intelligence modifier in place of the normal ability scores for calculating the value of that defense.

Basically, if you have 18 Int/16 Dex, you use the +3 mod from Dex for either Fort or Will.  If you have 18/18, you get +4 to either of them.
I played a blade singer in early heroic, then from mid-paragon to end epic. With some help from help from these boards I was the most accurate, and best striker in the party. There are enough defensive wizard utilities that the low Fort, while scary at times, was not that big a deal. Warp in the weave was especially useful. Each tier should let the blade singer add 10 and 18 damage (paragon and epic) to each MBA with the right feat and epic destiny choices.

Would the bladesinger benefit from getting to add their blade spell  to OAs? Yes. Does it need to? No. I think of a bladesinger as a slayer that trades the striker bonus to OA's for versatility

Even if your bladesinger doesn't go for low striker damage with frost cheese and Radiant One, they can still be incredibly dodgy. Be a spellscarred Eladrin, eladrin boots, and ring of passage, combined with translocating armor and wintertouched mean that whenever anything happens, the bladesinger can teleport across the map, or on one turn, stab an enemy then teleport up to 24 squares away. (Not bladesinger specific I know, but very thematic, while still being useful.)


For slightly less damage a Swordmage, Hexblade, or Hybrid Swordmage|Warlock can do all these things and still offer more utility as a Controller (via Defender) and Striker. Teleporting across maps is something nearly any Eladrin can do, and something Swordmages and Warlocks excel at anyways. Also if your Bladesinger was the most accurate and best striker in the party that's great for you but just means the real strikers in the party weren't doing their job well.
For slightly less damage a Swordmage, Hexblade, or Hybrid Swordmage|Warlock can do all these things and still offer more utility as a Controller (via Defender) and Striker. Teleporting across maps is something nearly any Eladrin can do, and something Swordmages and Warlocks excel at anyways. Also if your Bladesinger was the most accurate and best striker in the party that's great for you but just means the real strikers in the party weren't doing their job well.


Yes, that's why they're different classes. That doesn't make the Bladesinger a bad class by default. For example, I recently posted a Bladesinger that can take out any non-brute in one round at paragon. He prones and slides while he does it, so there's your control. 

A Bladesinger's accuracy can be pumped up to hit on 3s and 4s with Bladesong active. If other strikers were accurate enough to hit on 5s and 6s, I wouldn't call them out on it. 

I don't think you should dismiss the Bladesinger so easy, is what I'm saying. 
A standard Wizard with the charge package and KAM can do over 100 DPR. That doesn't prove anything.
A standard Wizard with the charge package and KAM can do over 100 DPR. That doesn't prove anything.


That has nothing to do with being a wizard. That's just a generic package any build can benefit from, if  they so choose. My point is that bladesingers can be a good controller while still achieving striker-level accuracy and damage. 
Anybody can do a lot of damage charging with an MBA, is my point. And Bladesingers bring less control than most other classes. I mean, Druids completely blow them out of the water for control and have native MBAs as well.
1. no more encounters as dailies, allow him to choose from the wizards full daily list
2. allow him to take a normal wizard at will in place of magic missile
3. allow bladespells to key off of CON or CHA to cover one of the bad NADs, most classes have a bad one anyway 

if you do these things i think the class becomes MUCH better 
I'm not really familiar with druids, I assume you're talking about Grasping Claws/Savage Rend/Pounce? They kinda have the same effect as bladespells, minus the extra damage, range and versatility in choosing targets. Druids compensate for this with real encounter powers and more powerful dailies (at least, I assume), but with Bladesong and the "extra attack" of bladespells (to trigger frostcheese, for example), the bladesinger comes out ahead in damage. 

So we come back to the original point: if you want to play a controller who deals low striker damage, you're better off playing a druid, swordlock or hexblade. But if you want to play a single target striker with some control, the bladesinger is a more than reasonable choice.
I don't see allowing Bladespells to trigger off-turn as being overly problematic or mechanically unbalancing.  How often are you provoking OAs from this player anyway?

If it does become an actual issue, they could be houseruled as an Immediate Reaction triggered off making an OA, that way he would only get 1 off-turn, and then the Bladespell on his turn.

Bargle wrote:
This is CharOp. We not only assume block-of-tofu monsters, but also block-of-tofu DMs.
 

Zelink wrote:
You're already refluffing, why not refluff to something that doesn't suck?
If you want to play a single target striker with more DPR and as much if not more control as a Bladesinger play.....
A permahidden lockutioner.
A ranged ranger, trading quarry for slow and prone.
Just about any rogue/thief build (riposte lockdown, spicked chain proning, knockdown trick thief, any stealth variant, etc)
A knight.
1. no more encounters as dailies, allow him to choose from the wizards full daily list
2. allow him to take a normal wizard at will in place of magic missile
3. allow bladespells to key off of CON or CHA to cover one of the bad NADs, most classes have a bad one anyway 

if you do these things i think the class becomes MUCH better 



I personally like the Con / Cha option. Another option would be to give a boost to Fort and Will as part of the class features, but I'd prefer to have an option of Cha and Con instead of Dex. Dex just doesn't make sense for a secondary that is Int primary, and Cha still allows it to work with Eladrin.

I don't see allowing Bladespells to trigger off-turn as being overly problematic or mechanically unbalancing.  How often are you provoking OAs from this player anyway?

If it does become an actual issue, they could be houseruled as an Immediate Reaction triggered off making an OA, that way he would only get 1 off-turn, and then the Bladespell on his turn.




I'd say it'd be fine as a free action, or a no action that is limited to once a turn.

Really, the whole close should have been built as a striker with a secondary role of controller instead of what it is.
This just occured to me: everyone is saying the Bladesinger should get proper Wizard dailies, but does no one remember the Arcane Strike class feature? Getting a minor action MBA on top of your daily power is already very, very good. If you would combine that with a real daily power, wouldn't that be pushing the boundaries of broken? 
1: I don't think everyone IS saying that.  A wide range of Bladesinger fixes have been proposed; that is only one of them.

2: No.  It would amount to 3 extra MBAs as minors per day.  This is not overpowered.

Better fixes are things which make bladespells bursts, making the pseudo-dailies into actual dailies with useful Bladesinger-specific riders, and actually making Bladesong into a controller feature rather than a striker one.  It's the first issue (Bladespells being basically Flurry of Blows) and the third (Bladesong being a ludicrous nova striker feature that Rangers would kill for, and controllers generally wouldn't care about except for the attack roll boost) that are the largest problems with the class, though stupid pseudo-dailies come in a close 3rd IMO.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
1: I don't think everyone IS saying that.  A wide range of Bladesinger fixes have been proposed; that is only one of them.


Fair enough, although it's one if the fixes I've about read the most. 

2: No.  It would amount to 3 extra MBAs as minors per day.  This is not overpowered.


You're looking at this the wrong way. Besides Bladesong, Bladesingers have no use for their minor actions, so the MBA might as well be a free action. If you add the extra MBA (and bladespell) to the daily power, the daily power as a whole becomes a LOT stronger. 

Maybe this is a better description: for a standard and a minor, you get 2 standard actions. If one of those is a full-blown wizard daily, the Arcane Strike feature becomes insanely powerful. Now imagine you spend an action point. 2 wizard dailies and 2 bladesinger MBA's while under the effects of Bladesong? (which you used the previous turn) Congratulations, you just took out the entire battlefield. That's why I think there's nothing wrong with encounters-as-dailies. 

Better fixes are things which make bladespells bursts, making the pseudo-dailies into actual dailies with useful Bladesinger-specific riders, and actually making Bladesong into a controller feature rather than a striker one.  It's the first issue (Bladespells being basically Flurry of Blows) and the third (Bladesong being a ludicrous nova striker feature that Rangers would kill for, and controllers generally wouldn't care about except for the attack roll boost) that are the largest problems with the class, though stupid pseudo-dailies come in a close 3rd IMO.


This is the biggest issue, isn't it? The fact that WotC labelled bladesingers as controllers instead of strikers. If you just ignore this point of view and accept the fact that they are arcane melee strikers, the class starts to make sense. 

Although I do agree that the whole Dex/Int thing is really stupid.

Maybe this is a better description: for a standard and a minor, you get 2 standard actions. If one of those is a full-blown wizard daily, the Arcane Strike feature becomes insanely powerful. Now imagine you spend an action point. 2 wizard dailies and 2 bladesinger MBA's while under the effects of Bladesong? (which you used the previous turn) Congratulations, you just took out the entire battlefield. That's why I think there's nothing wrong with encounters-as-dailies.  



Point of contention, you just blew your only encounter power, 2 dailies, and an action point. Assuming you did actually blow up the entire battlefield (which is a big assumption considering the Bladesinger), that should entirely be what you would be expecting for pretty much wasting all of your resources for the rest of the day.