Sproing! A Leaping, Charging Bullywug Iron Soul Monk

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It's something of a hobby of mine to take unpopular and generally useless races and try to do something useful with them. This usually involves trying to make them do something they are probably supposed to be good at - like a kenku flying, or in this case, a bullywug leaping. After digging around for a while, I found out that for a few specific investments, you can have a build be surprisingly good at jumping.

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Sproing, level 16
Bullywug, Monk, Soaring Blade
Build: Iron Soul Monk
Monastic Tradition Option: Iron Soul
Airspur (Airspur Benefit)
Theme: Iron Wolf Warrior
 
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 11, CON 20, DEX 24, INT 11, WIS 12, CHA 9
 
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 14, DEX 18, INT 10, WIS 11, CHA 8
 
 
AC: 36 Fort: 30 Ref: 33 Will: 27
HP: 107 Surges: 12 Surge Value: 26
 
TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +30, Athletics +17, Perception +16, Stealth +20
 
UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +8, Bluff +7, Diplomacy +9, Dungeoneering +9, Endurance +13, Heal +9, History +8, Insight +9, Intimidate +7, Nature +11, Religion +8, Streetwise +7, Thievery +15
 
POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Iron Wolf Warrior Attack: Iron Wolf Charge
Monk Feature: Iron Soul Flurry of Blows
Monk Attack 1: Crane's Wings
Monk Attack 1: Fallen Needle
Acrobatics Utility 2: Agile Recovery
Iron Wolf Warrior Attack 3: Wolf's Rend
Monk Attack 5: Water Gives Way
Athletics Utility 6: Kord's Force
Iron Wolf Warrior Attack 7: Wolf's Bound
Monk Attack 9: Crane Dance
Iron Wolf Warrior Utility 10: Savage Resurgence
Soaring Blade Attack 11: Sword Fall Leap
Soaring Blade Utility 12: Charge the Clouds
Monk Attack 13: Furious Bull
Monk Attack 15: Dancer on the Sea of Battle
Monk Utility 16: Stance of the Still Sword
 
FEATS
Level 1: Melee Training (Dexterity)
Level 2: Ki Focus Expertise
Level 4: Wintertouched
Level 6: Superior Implement Training (Accurate ki focus)
Level 8: Unarmored Agility
Level 10: Improved Defenses
Level 11: Lasting Frost
Level 12: Starblade Flurry
Level 14: Skill Focus (Acrobatics)
Level 16: Whirling Iron Defense
 
ITEMS
Monk unarmed strike
Badge of the Berserker +4 x1
Tumbler's Shoes x1
Gloves of Ice (paragon tier) x1
Iron Armbands of Power (paragon tier) x1
Dynamic Belt (heroic tier) x1
Rhythm Blade Dagger +1 x1
Blurred Strike Accurate ki focus +3 x1
Ki Longsword +1 x1
Polyglot Gem
Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (paragon tier)
Syllable of Grace
Charger's Headdress x1
Bloodthread Githweave Armor +3 x1
The Fading One - Ghostfoot
====== End ======


This build can, at-will, leap 9 squares horizontally and clear 10 feet vertically. Since the rules specify vertical clearance but not at what point in your jump you clear that height, mechanically it is as if he moves two squares up, 9 squares forward and two squares down. As long as he's not adjacent to an enemy when he takes off (minor action shift, iron soul flurry will help prevent OAs from the launch pad) or when he lands, he soars right over the heads of Medium sized enemies without worrying about OAs. He can also do this even while slowed thanks to Crane's Wings. He uses Polyglot Gem and Syllables of Grace to make sure his speed keeps up with his leaping abilities.

The fun part, though, is doing this on a charge - leaping 8 squares right past enemies (short ones only, unfortunately - only 9 feet clearance) to attack the one you want, all without incurring OAs, and then smashing down on top of your target with a good damage, high accuracy MBA. Between Iron Wolf and preventing shifts with Iron Soul Flurry, he should get a few more hits in in the average round than just the one, and any multi-attacks he makes on his turn lets him flurry twice thanks to Blurred Strike Ki Focus. He also slaps on some frostcheese with his Soaring Blade PP adding Con mod typed damage to his melee attacks. He keeps his accuracy on his none-MBA attacks with an accurate ki focus, and his defenses are fair for an Iron Soul Monk and get better if he's bloodied.

The bullywug makes a solid Iron Soul Monk, and with a good MBA and Iron Wolf he gets some pretty decent damage in. Having ludicrous 17-square no-OA leap-charge turns is the cherry on top. Sure, you can make this a lot better with another race, and leap even further with the right armor and feats, but for taking a bullywug and trying to make a thematically and mechanically sound character (and something I'd have fun playing) I think this works quite nicely. Here's some math:

8hl + 7dex + 3prof + 3enh + 2CA + 1charge + 1headdress + 2exp = +27 vs. AC on a charge (90% accuracy)
1d8 + 3half dex + 3enh + 4armbands + 3shard +5con + 2gloves + 5vuln = 1d8+25 damage

Damage .85(4.5+25)+.05(8+25+10.5)+.9(3x9) = 25.075 + 2.175 + 24.3 = 51.55 DPR or 35.35 single target DPR. Not bad, actually, and that's not including any of the Iron Wolf attacks or extra MBAs from OAs. And he still has crazy mobility, good defenses and avoids most OAs himself. Overall, I think it's settled into a pretty neat build!

EDIT: Updated build with Melee Training instead of Internalize the Basic Kata, removed the extra ki weapon, added in the boon that made the standing jump possible on charges. Thank you all for your feedback! DPR is worse, but not significantly so, and it still looks awfully fun to play.
EDIT: Updated build with better math and some interaction corrections. I think it's done! And it's good, too!


EDIT: Check out the Thief version. Snazzy!
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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Sprang, level 16
Bullywug, Rogue (Thief), Kulkor Arms Master
Tymanther (Tymanther Benefit)
Theme: Iron Wolf Warrior
 
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 18, CON 13, DEX 24, INT 11, WIS 9, CHA 12
 
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 14, CON 10, DEX 18, INT 10, WIS 8, CHA 11
 
 
AC: 30 Fort: 28 Ref: 34 Will: 25
HP: 100 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 25
 
TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +22, Athletics +25, Endurance +14, Insight +12, Intimidate +14, Perception +14, Stealth +20, Thievery +20
 
UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +8, Bluff +9, Diplomacy +9, Dungeoneering +7, Heal +7, History +8, Nature +9, Religion +8, Streetwise +9
 
POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Iron Wolf Warrior Attack: Iron Wolf Charge
Rogue Utility: Backstab
Rogue Utility: Tactical Trick
Rogue Utility: Acrobat's Trick
Rogue Utility: Unbalancing Trick
Rogue Utility: Cunning Escape
Rogue Utility: Escape Artist's Trick
Rogue Utility 2: Sneak in the Attack
Athletics Utility 6: Kord's Force
Rogue Utility 10: Counter-Step
Kulkor Arms Master Attack 11: Arms Master Challenge
Kulkor Arms Master Utility 12: Tempered in Blood
Rogue Utility 16: Slip from the Grasp
 
FEATS
Level 1: Light Blade Expertise
Level 2: Nimble Blade
Level 6: Brawling Warrior
Level 8: Weapon Proficiency (Warhammer)
Level 10: Kulkor Battlearm Student
Level 11: Deft Blade
Level 11: Lasting Frost
Level 12: Wintertouched
Level 14: Silvery Glow
Level 16: Improved Defenses
 
ITEMS
Badge of the Berserker +4 x1
Feytouched Drowmesh +3 x1
Dynamic Belt (heroic tier) x1
Tumbler's Shoes x1
Gloves of Ice (paragon tier) x1
Polyglot Gem
The Fading One - Ghostfoot
Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (paragon tier)
Syllable of Grace
Horned Helm (paragon tier) x1
Frost Dagger +3 x1
Bracers of Mighty Striking (paragon tier) x1
====== End ======

This build is a standard charging thief build with Bullywug flavor and ludicrous jumps on top. Similar mobility, with 9-square leaps and leap-charges. Still uses frostcheese, but this one trades in multi-target flurry and OA damage for obscene amounts of single-target damage. He could lose Kulkor, regain two feats and a PP to grab a Hawk's Talon Ki Focus for another square of leapage, but there's not much point after 9 squares and 10 foot clearance.

8hl + 7dex + 3prof + 3enh + 2CA + 1charge +1nimble + 2exp + 1weapon talent  = +28 vs. AC or Reflex on a charge (95% accuracy)
1d6 + 2d6helm + 2d6sneak +7dex + 3enh + 4armbands + 3shard + 2gloves + 5vuln + 4finesse + 3silvery = 5d6 + 31 damage
(and prone with unbalancing trick)
Kulkor Arms Master:
1d6 + 7dex + 3enh + 4armbands + 3shard + 2gloves + 5vuln + 4finesse + 3silvery = 1d6 + 31 damage

DPR would be .9(17.5+31)+.05(30+31+10.5)+.95(.9(3.5+31)+.05(6+31+10.5)) = 78.97 DPR

... whoah. Sorry, I'm not used to working with kulkor thieves, that's ridiculous. And that's trading some feats/background for leaping, otherwise most of those d6s would be d8s... So we've got a 79 DPR thief that can leap-charge from 18 squares away and miss only on a 1. DPR is slightly lower if you haven't hit them yet... but only slightly. Heck yeah bullywug! Leapfrog of death!
seems like it would be better with a class that was good at charging, like a thief, that multiclassed into monk for the pp. But I guess if you wanted it optimized you would do it with a thri-kreen.
You don't have a viable MBA with your heavy blade.  You also have 2 arms slots items.
I feel like I'm missing something. I don't see how you can do a leaping charge for 9 squares.

I see that with Crane's Wings, you can do an Athletics +5 roll for a jump, considered to have a running start. Tumbler's Shoes let you take 10, and your PP lets you use Acrobatics instead. So that's 30+5+10 = 45. Multiply this by 2, then divide by 10 to get 9 squares.

However, with a charge from a standing start you don't get to use the Crane's Wings movement technique, do you? So it's just 40 acrobatics for a 4-square jump.
Godsdamnit, I didn't realize Internalize the Basic Kata only worked for your MUS. Melee Training it is - even with that and removing the extra ki weapon arms slot, the damage is still ok, and that's not including the extra no-action and off-turn attacks.

I might take another shot at this guy as a thief, but really I just wanted to give the guy something that used both his racial stats and fit well thematically.

As for the standing start Ogg-Mosh, you're right, I'd accidentally left off the Ghostfoot boon that gave the extra +5 and running start. Pretty ridiculous boon, that one, but it takes the place of the power bonus from Crane's Wings for charging to give you a full 45 acrobatics 9-square jump. Technically that stacks with Crane's Wings to give him an at-will jump 10, thank you! His charge is still 9, but that's enough to clear Large creatures between him and his target. 
That makes more sense!

I'm curious about the interactions between these though -

Ghostfoot boon says "When you make an Athletics check to jump, you gain a +5 bonus and are considered to have a running start."
Tumbler's Shoes say: "You can take 10 on Acrobatics and Athletics checks, even if threats or distractions would normally prevent you from doing so."
Soaring blade says: "Soaring Blade Style (11th level): You gain a +3 bonus to Acrobatics checks. In addition, when you would make an Athletics check to climb or jump, you can make an Acrobatics check instead."
Crane's Wings says: "You make an Athletics check to jump with a +5 power bonus. You are considered to have a running start, and the distance of the jump isn’t limited by your speed."

It looks to me like the Soaring Blade benefit doesn't stack with Ghostfoot, as it specifies that it only works when you make an Athletics check to jump. Soaring Blade says that WHEN you would make an athletics check, you can make an Acrobatics check instead - that's an awesome benefit, but by my reading it doesn't satisfy the trigger for Ghostfoot. If the wording was "When you WOULD make an Athletics check..." it would work, but that's not my reading of it.

It does seem like Soaring Blade stacks with Crane's Wings though, as it says that when you would do the Crane's Wings Athletics check, make an Acrobatics check instead.  


I didn't say this before, but I think this is an excellent idea! It's a nice, thematic, mechanically sound build (with a few kinks to work out) that makes a Bullywug do what one would expect a Bullywug to do! I always appreciate your efforts to optimise slightly unusual things
Another question triggered by your initial idea of two Ki Weapons - do they stack? If you are wielding two Ki Weapons, and each one has a "once per turn" effect, do you add +2 to FoB once per turn, or +2 to FoB once per turn per item on different targets, or +4 to FoB once per turn?
Grrrr... This build keeps frustrating me. I solve one problem and another pops up. Worst case scenario, it's only jump 8 for charges. Means you can't leap over Large creatures, but it'll still let you leap over Medium creatures no problem, and as you said Crane's Wings would still be leap 10 to avoid OAs that way. It works, but not as well as I'd hope. Back to the original 18-square leap-charge turn, actually.

Glad you like it. It's a hack now, trying to get everything to fit and work well together, but it still seems like it'd be fun to play.

As for Ki Weapons, I've heard in a couple different places that they do stack. Namely because the only part of the RC that mentions stacking named game elements isn't allowed specifically says bonuses, while Ki Weapons don't provide a bonus to damage rolls, they add extra damage. So it'd be +4 to all of your FoB targets if you had a pair.
You avoid OAs by using Badge of the Berserker on a charge, and by using Crane's Wings when not charging, so no problem there.

Seems like you might have forgotten the +1 to charge attacks from Charger's Headdress too, so that would be +23(MBA) +2(CA) +1(charge) +1(headdress) = +27, not +26 as you have listed?

For MBA damage, I get 1d8 +3(half-dex) + 3(enhancement) +4(IAoP)+ 3(Shard) +5 (Ki Blade, PP) = 1d8+18 damage (+5 from Lasting Frost on followup hits), not +26 that you have listed. Were you still using full dex mod from Internalize the Basic Kata?

So that'd be +27 (90% hit) for 4.5+23 + 9x3 = 51.75 DPR on 3 targets or 33.75 on 1 target (assuming cold vuln included, which is not realistic for every round)
You can only be "attuned" to one Ki Focus at a time.(aka, can only get the bonus from one Ki Focus, no matter how many you have at the time)
You can only be "attuned" to one Ki Focus at a time.(aka, can only get the bonus from one Ki Focus, no matter how many you have at the time)


I thought the same thing when I read it but they are talking about the ki weapon not a ki focus
Seems like you might have forgotten the +1 to charge attacks from Charger's Headdress too, so that would be +23(MBA) +2(CA) +1(charge) +1(headdress) = +27, not +26 as you have listed?

8hl+7dex+3prof+3enh+2CA+1charge+1headdress+2exp = hey what do you know, +27. Nice!

For MBA damage, I get 1d8 +3(half-dex) + 3(enhancement) +4(IAoP)+ 3(Shard) +5 (Ki Blade, PP) = 1d8+18 damage (+5 from Lasting Frost on followup hits), not +26 that you have listed. Were you still using full dex mod from Internalize the Basic Kata?

You forgot the gloves for another +2 damage, and I thought you always rounded up for damage? If not:

DPR would be .85(4.5+25)+.05(8+25+10.5)+.9(3x9) = 25.075 + 2.175 + 24.3 = 51.55 DPR or 35.35 single target DPR. Not bad, actually. And he still has crazy mobility, good defenses and avoids most OAs. Overall, I think it's settled into a pretty neat build!

I've also put together a slightly less thematically awesome but still really cool Thief version in the original post. It's cheesy as heck but it's still got it's ludicrous jumps for that delicious bullywug flavor.

EDIT: Posted. Thief has 79DPR with leap/charge 9. Sweet :D
You can only be "attuned" to one Ki Focus at a time.(aka, can only get the bonus from one Ki Focus, no matter how many you have at the time)


I thought the same thing when I read it but they are talking about the ki weapon not a ki focus



Ah, my bad. I just saw Ki and the weapon part didn't really register.
You're right, I'd completely missed the +2 damage from gloves. And wow, my DPR calcs were way off, not taking into account crits or that FoB only worked on a hit!

I'm not normally a fan of always-charging builds, as effective as they are, cos i find that they're rather limited in tactical opportunities. But I'd play a leapfrog! That's a VERY effective DPR you've got going on your KAM thief for something that started as a thematic build!

I think I still prefer the flavour of the monk rather than thief OR KAM, but I appreciate your optimisation work on the thief!
I've had to teach myself how to do DPR calculations from watching the giants at work. I still have no idea how to do area DPR/KPR/RPK, as you can see in my Mini Blender build, but I'm still learning. And I agree with you on the perma-charging thing, at-will optimization is great and I enjoy doing it but it makes playing less fun. With all the Iron Wolf powers though, I think the monk would be a blast, especially with the leapfrogging :D

And don't be too impressed with the thief! I pulled him straight off the DPR Kings thread, actually making him weaker because I claimed the background and two feats to add the leaping. Otherwise you can push 100DPR at that level. Nuts, right?