Rise of the Dark Lord: Darth Vader as Blackguard|Barbarian

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I find your lack of faith disturbing.



As much as I adore AlphatheGreat's Swordmage|Defenderlock build of the Dark Lord, it's not really Vaderly. Where's the anger? Where's the passion? Where's the terror-inducing charge? No. As much as Swordmage fits the fluff, Defenderlock fails it. Also, the attributes are way off. Insert the Blackguard|Barbarian.

What this is...

This build is a charger with options. This is primarily a Barbarian build, with some cherry picking of Paladin/Blackguard abilities to enhance the character's ability to do damage when charging isn't possible as well as significantly buff up the Barbarian's AC. It makes heavy use of temporary hitpoints as a means of either deterring attackers or dealing with attackers. It's also, in my opinion, very flavorfully similar to Vader, an angry old warrior that spends a lot of time rushing into fights and smacking people down efficiently. Rather than discouraging people from attacking him, he makes a big show and then lacks the intelligence to back down (Vader loses an arm, an arm and two legs, and a hand in 3 seperate fights.) Smart? No. Tough as nails... Certainly. Scary? Ask the younglings.

What this isn't...

This build is not an off-tank, an off-leader, an off-controller. He can't go all day long singing the same song, after the first two encounters of the day, the oomph of the guy really gets sucked out of him.

Lord Vader the Jedi Terminator


====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Lord Vader, level 30
Warforged, Barbarian/Paladin (Blackguard), Warforged Juggernaut, Legendary Sovereign
Vice: Vice of Domination
Hybrid Paladin (Blackguard) Option: Hybrid Blackguard Reflex
Hybrid Talent Option: Paladin Armor Proficiency
Birth - Prophecy (+2 to Religion)
Theme: Sohei

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 26, CON 15, DEX 17, INT 12, WIS 10, CHA 24

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 16, CON 11, DEX 13, INT 10, WIS 8, CHA 16


AC: 43 Fort: 43 Ref: 39 Will: 43
HP: 204 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 55

TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +23, Endurance +26, Intimidate +29

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +16, Athletics +23, Bluff +22, Diplomacy +22, Dungeoneering +15, Heal +15, History +16, Insight +17, Nature +15, Perception +17, Religion +18, Stealth +18, Streetwise +22, Thievery +18

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Sohei Attack: Sohei Flurry
Warforged Racial Power: Warforged Resolve
Paladin Attack: Dread Smite
Barbarian Attack 1: Howling Strike
Paladin Attack 1: Dominator's Strike
Paladin Utility 2: Vice's Reward
Barbarian Utility 6: Cull Weakness
Barbarian Utility 10: Heart Strike
Warforged Juggernaut Attack 11: Ruinous Onslaught
Warforged Juggernaut Utility 12: Inexorable Momentum
Paladin Attack 15: Avatar of Subjugation
Barbarian Utility 16: Battle Lust
Warforged Juggernaut Attack 20: Crag of Steel
Paladin Utility 22: Rampaging Bloodlust
Sohei Attack 23: Sohei Supremacy
Barbarian Attack 25: Ash Hammer Rage
Legendary Sovereign Utility 26: Sword of the Sovereign
Barbarian Attack 27: Hurricane of Blades
Barbarian Attack 29: Ancient Forebears' Rage

FEATS
Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Level 2: Two-Handed Weapon Expertise
Level 4: Deadly Rage
Level 6: Reckless Charge
Level 8: Powerful Charge
Level 10: Improved Warforged Resolve
Level 11: Charging Rampage
Level 12: Thirsty Blade
Level 14: Immutability
Level 16: Rising Fury
Level 18: Superior Reflexes
Level 20: Superior Will
Level 21: Heavy Blade Mastery
Level 22: Overpowering Charge
Level 24: Primal Resurgence
Level 26: Divine Mastery
Level 28: Headsman's Chop
Level 30: Weapon Focus (Heavy Blade)

ITEMS
Vorpal Falchion x1
Mithral Plating Braxat Lord Shell Armor +6 x1
Iron Armbands of Power (epic tier) x1
Sandals of Avandra x1
Gauntlets of Destruction x1
Horned Helm (epic tier) x1
Badge of the Berserker +6 x1
Dauntless Champion's Ring x1
Ring of the Phoenix x1
Diamond Cincture (epic tier) x1
Tattoo of Vengeance (epic tier) x1
====== End ======


DPR during the Big Encounter

During this encounter Ancient Forebear’s Rage and Avatar of Subjugation, Crag of Steel, and Rampaging Bloodlust are all activated granting some nice encounter long DPR bonuses. The Best of these (Ancient Forebear’s is usable twice a day assuming you get bloodied).  If your GM does not rule that AFR  trigger’s Vorpal you probably want to grab some Radiant or Frost-cheese. Exploding d4s average to 15 damage per die under AFR according to this thread, the exploding d12’s from crits average to 11, the d6’s from charging bonuses and the like are averaged as 5 (remember they’re not vorpal): community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...


So… let’s look at Hurricane of Blades assuming one target is present in the Aura 2.


To hit =  +8 Strength +15 Half-level + 6 Weapon Enhancement +3 Proficiency + 2 CA + 2 Avatar of Sub. Bonus + 3 Feat proficiency  = +39 (Hits AC of 44 on 5, so 14/20 times = .7, Crit 2/20 =.1)


Hurricane of Blades


4x[(2W=30+8 Strength+6 Enhancement+3 Deadly Rage +6  Iron Armbands of Power+1 Aura of Bloodlust+3 Weapon Focus)(.7)+(5W=75+8+6+3+6+1+3+6d12s<66>)(.1)]= 224.4


Since this attack is your chosen ability for Sword of Kings, unless you miss all four attacks, you don’t lose it. In KPR you’re looking at .8484… Also, this DPR does not include Rampaging.


Let’s look at Howling Strike, our charging at-will of choice:


To hit = +8 Strength +15 Half-level + 6 Weapon Enhancement +3 Proficiency + 2 CA + 2 Avatar of Sub. Bonus + 3 Feat proficiency  +1 Charging + 1 Reckless Charge = +41 (Hits AC of 44 on a 3, so 16/20=.8, Crits 2/20=.1)


Adjusted Damage: (2W=30+ 3d6 <15>+8 Strength+6 Enhancement+3 Deadly Rage +6  Iron Armbands of Power+1 Aura of Bloodlust+3 Weapon Focus +3 Two-Hand Expertise+2 Powerful Charging+ 2d6 <10> Charging Strike + 3d6 <15> Horned Helm )*(.8)+( 5W=75+3d6<18>+8+6+3+6+1+3+6d12s<66>+3+2+2d6<10>+3d6<15>)*(.1)= 102.4


So, even late in the game during this encounter its completely possible if your ping-ponging between two mobs to be doing 300 DPR a round when your crit, which will happen a lot with 4 attack rolls as a standard action. Oh and add 1[W] damage to any enemy that starts its turn adjacent to you. Add in some Sohei-action and some Dread Smite (Only useable on non-charging At-Wills except when you charge the round of an action point, which also gets you a second use of Dread Smite) and the whole thing bounces around for about 350ish DPR in rounds 3 and 4 (your using Ancient Forebears and Avatar of Subjugation to get things going earlier), before dropping to the above Hurricane of Blades fest.



A note on items, this build (feat selection and power selection) is pretty much item dependent except for the final power chosen.  If your GM interprets Ancient Forebears' Rage to proc the Vorpal power as I do, than a Vorpal Falchion's the way to go. If not... the level 30 DPR would still be adequate, but you'd be better off speccing towards Radiant abuse or Frostcheese.

My Last Word on AFR
 the exact wording for AFR is "Until the rage ends, whenever you roll 1 or 2 on a damage die for a primal attack, the roll changes to the die’s maximum value." So, I would let my player's use it with Vorpal, and my two GMs agree that it triggers Vorpal. If you don't great... I see how you can interpret it either way. Sometimes RAW allows for more than one intepretation. And that's okay, because I'm probably not your GM.


I expect that the build can be upgraded, so feel free to add suggestions, especially regarding feat selection. Try to avoid changing the feel of the build (heavy blades and anger-based powers).
 
The original Darth Vader: community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758... 
The math thread: community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

The problem appears to be that you're trying to build Vader based on how Fluff fits his personality, except that Fluff and Personality are entirely roleplay decisions that need 0 mechanical backup. What you want to do is build Vader based on how you think Vader fights and make your choices to fit that; this is what the Swordmage|Warlock Vader does. Personally if I were building Vader, I'd make him some variant of a Pursuit Avenger, possibly going with the Avenger|Artificer critfisher build.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
Yeah uh, this build kinda sucks. There are ways to build a paper striker that does work (see the Fenix build). This isn't one of them, not with such antisynergistic classes. Vader would also never be a Blackguard.
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).
I'm honestly flabbergasted here. I don't know where to start. Virtually every decision you've made here is a bad one. Over half your feat list is made up of feats that should never be taken at all. At level+9 AC, there are paper bags more durable than this build. You're using a single, single-handed weapon as a barbarian and no shield. You're not taking a superior weapon as a Barbarian. You passed over Hurricane of Blades, one of the best striker powers ever printed, for Crippling Assault, a power that would barely be good in Paragon, much less epic.

In short, please start over.



Having playtested a build that functioned very similar to the first build in paragon, I have to say that it's not that bad, although its certainly not the greatest. The second build really functions about as well as most barbarians I've seen with better survivability. Um, weapon choice is right for the level a superior weapon would do less damage: community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...Feat choice, I know could be better, I'm clueless regarding multi-class options. Hurricane of blades is probably better... I'd have to playtest with a group to see which gets more out of it, 9 extra damage to every thing that hits or ticks on a solo or an elite for a round adds up fast.

The problem appears to be that you're trying to build Vader based on how Fluff fits his personality, except that Fluff and Personality are entirely roleplay decisions that need 0 mechanical backup. What you want to do is build Vader based on how you think Vader fights and make your choices to fit that; this is what the Swordmage|Warlock Vader does. Personally if I were building Vader, I'd make him some variant of a Pursuit Avenger, possibly going with the Avenger|Artificer critfisher build.



Saying that fluff and personality have no influence on rules is kind of a CharOp trope, but that's not how everyone plays, so I was trying to make a character that fits the fluff a bit better. I also disagree pretty strongly that the warlock/swordmage actually fits what Vader does, Vader's concern for his allies seems pretty minimal. I'll look into the pursuit avenger though. That may be more viable.

Yeah uh, this build kinda sucks. There are ways to build a paper striker that does work (see the Fenix build). This isn't one of them, not with such antisynergistic classes. Vader would also never be a Blackguard.

I assume this is directed at the first build. It's not the best, hence the reason I'm asking for help. As for Vader as a Blackguard, I guess you'd have to explain, because to me (and my tabletop group) Jedi=Paladin so Sith=Blackguard.

Saying that fluff and personality have no influence on rules is kind of a CharOp trope



wut

It's not a CharOp trope, it's a highlighted factor of 4th Edition D&D.  The creators of the edition made it very clear that you can mold, shape, and fit your power selection to whatever flavor you pleased.  Fluff and personality literally have zero influence on the rules of the game, and are manifested as the player pleases.

The Darth Vader build as a Swordmage|Warlock fits perfectly, and (honestly) quite well as a Blackguard|Barbarian, fluffwise.  You can argue semantics, but Vader had characteristics befitting both hybrids and did not need exact power cards to "justify" the fluff in either case.
I'm not arguing that fluff can be changed, I'm just saying that this build is not interested in doing that. The saving allies part of the other Vader build (which you can't really fluff otherwise) doesn't fit Vader just like making him a healer doesn't really doesn't fit. 
I'm honestly flabbergasted here. I don't know where to start. Virtually every decision you've made here is a bad one. Over half your feat list is made up of feats that should never be taken at all. At level+9 AC, there are paper bags more durable than this build. You're using a single, single-handed weapon as a barbarian and no shield. You're not taking a superior weapon as a Barbarian. You passed over Hurricane of Blades, one of the best striker powers ever printed, for Crippling Assault, a power that would barely be good in Paragon, much less epic.

In short, please start over.



Having playtested a build that functioned very similar to the first build in paragon, I have to say that it's not that bad, although its certainly not the greatest. The second build really functions about as well as most barbarians I've seen with better survivability. Um, weapon choice is right for the level a superior weapon would do less damage: community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...Feat choice, I know could be better, I'm clueless regarding multi-class options. Hurricane of blades is probably better... I'd have to playtest with a group to see which gets more out of it, 9 extra damage to every thing that hits or ticks on a solo or an elite for a round adds up fast.

The problem appears to be that you're trying to build Vader based on how Fluff fits his personality, except that Fluff and Personality are entirely roleplay decisions that need 0 mechanical backup. What you want to do is build Vader based on how you think Vader fights and make your choices to fit that; this is what the Swordmage|Warlock Vader does. Personally if I were building Vader, I'd make him some variant of a Pursuit Avenger, possibly going with the Avenger|Artificer critfisher build.



Saying that fluff and personality have no influence on rules is kind of a CharOp trope, but that's not how everyone plays, so I was trying to make a character that fits the fluff a bit better. I also disagree pretty strongly that the warlock/swordmage actually fits what Vader does, Vader's concern for his allies seems pretty minimal. I'll look into the pursuit avenger though. That may be more viable.

Yeah uh, this build kinda sucks. There are ways to build a paper striker that does work (see the Fenix build). This isn't one of them, not with such antisynergistic classes. Vader would also never be a Blackguard.

I assume this is directed at the first build. It's not the best, hence the reason I'm asking for help. As for Vader as a Blackguard, I guess you'd have to explain, because to me (and my tabletop group) Jedi=Paladin so Sith=Blackguard.




Does a Blackguard have Force Pulls and Pushes? Force Lightning? Force Choke?

No, it doesn't. Hence, Blackguard is bad regardless of the name. Hell, a Sorcerer is closer to doing what a Sith does.
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).
Pulls and pushes work fine. Vader doesn't use lightning. Force Choke, yeah, that's iconic what class has that?
Pulls and pushes work fine. Vader doesn't use lightning. Force Choke, yeah, that's iconic what class has that?



Bunches. Lock, Wizard, Sorc...
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).
The asthamtic gets all the love, where are the Sidious builds? I should try one, although my optmization skills aren't as good as they should be.


 What does a force choke do mechanically? Stun a single target from a distance while doing ongoing damage (preferably untyped). I'll see if I can work one into the build.

After re-reading Sword of Kings, Hurricane of Blades is the clear choice for 27.
Still looking for a way to get force choke in that doesn't wreck the build, but I updated the first post to feature only the Warforged version and explained tactics a bit.

Before responding, Yes I know that there is debate over Ancient Forebear's Rage and its interaction with Vorpal. Also, I'm looking for a good feat to replace Superior Fortitude with, I know that one's wasted.

*EDIT: Weapon Focus Obviously. Changed it. 
Shouldn't Vader be a self-forged? I mean, he may be more machine than man, now, but he's still part man!

Before responding, Yes I know that there is debate over Ancient Forebear's Rage and its interaction with Vorpal. Also, I'm looking for a good feat to replace Superior Fortitude with, I know that one's wasted.


What debate?  You didn't roll maximum - you rolled a 1 that became maximum.  Rolled a 1 being the key phrase here.
Shouldn't Vader be a self-forged? I mean, he may be more machine than man, now, but he's still part man!



You could make a build that used self-forged, but this one isn't it. It just doesn't work in here. All of its attacks would be wasted. Oh and although Anakin was certainly a handy-man, he didn't make the mechanical improvements himself...

Before responding, Yes I know that there is debate over Ancient Forebear's Rage and its interaction with Vorpal. Also, I'm looking for a good feat to replace Superior Fortitude with, I know that one's wasted.


What debate?  You didn't roll maximum - you rolled a 1 that became maximum.  Rolled a 1 being the key phrase here.



What debate?  You rolled a 1, that "changes to" maximum, so the roll is now maximum, so you rolled maximum.  Changes to maximum being the key phrase here.
For the Force chock there is the Warlock daily Star Shackle who lets you Force choke everyone in a burst1 area, and you can maintain the choke.

But would'nt the build function as a Blackguard/Warlock or Blackguard/Swordmage and then MC'd into barbarian?
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