Variation on Themes: A Theme Handbook

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How to Use this Handbook


This handbook is an organizational theme handbook plus my viewpoint on the general effectiveness of themes. The idea is to direct players to themes that serve specific goals. I looked at each theme and placed them into the following five categories:
Defender: Either provide immediate action attacks that resemble marks in behavior or they have adjacent range attacks that apply status effects that complicate the monster's next turn.
Striker: Do extra damage or do consistently more damage
Leader: Enable, buff, or heal without using up your immediate actions
Controller: Apply control effects from a distance
Non-standard: Doesn't really fit any of the above categories

I used the standard Gold/Sky Blue/Dark Blue/Black/Purple/Red color scheme.

Powers that were available as either alternate Utility or Encounter powers I only took into consideration if there was some fantastic element about them. Usually, any given class is going to have some better choices unless they're at a minimum Sky Blue or Gold(see Iron Wolf Warrior encounter attack powers or Sidhe Lord's Utility 2)

How should you pick themes on this basis? There are three basic ways:
If you want to enhance your general overall power, look at the themes rated Gold, Sky Blue, or possibly Dark Blue. Anything I've rated Gold or Sky Blue is likely going to be very useful, even if that's not your role.
If you want to enhance a particular role that your character does, look at the themes in that role. If you're a Defender who feels that they need to be a better Defender, pick a Defender theme. I'd recommend looking at anything Black or better. Be careful - if you're already really good at your role, you might want to consider something outside your role. If no one ever attacks a nearby ally, picking up a theme that relies on a nearby ally getting attacked isn't going to be Sky Blue even if I rated it such.
If you want to enhance your utility, look at the non-Standard themes - they often don't directly enhance a specific role, but rather give options, either in or out of combat.
Also, each theme lists whether or not weapon attacks are melee, close burst, or ranged, and whether or not the theme uses an implement.

I want to emphasize here - I think Color is generally more important than Role. A Sky Blue theme outside your role in many cases might make you more important to your party than a Dark Blue theme in your role.

It owes a lot to Who am I Really: A Theme Handbook by ls612.

Defender Themes

 

 

  • Immediate Actions that punished an attacker for not attacking the theme's owner

  • and/or the theme's power had a significant melee range control, but no extra damage

  •  
Bloodsworn: Decent Encounter power for bloodied builds, decent option for 2nd wind builds(which is a bit in opposition to each other), but I think this compares very poorly for the most part against Ironwrought
Earth Forger

Very solid weapon close burst attack power, particularly with the level 5 feature. Decent level 10.
Elemental Initiate
Solid off-action melee weapon power, access to Ki Focus, new skill, and bonus to Will. Great for high-defense melee types. +1 Rain of Hammers Ki Focus gives out almost free daily minor action attack and does a bit of damage for dropping opponents - if you're not using it for a specific Ki Focus, this is gravy. Ghost Strike Ki Focus, a common item, is good, too - if you have CA against a melee opponent, you ignore Insubstantial!
Gloomwrought Emissary:

Attack power uses your weapon power and weakens a target, which is very nice. The rest of it isn't that great, but the Utility 6+the Attack power can give a build a lot of staying power.
Guardian:
Guardian's Counter is amazing, allowing a lot of flexibility. This can often do crazy damage as you swap in for the actual Defender, who then gets to trigger their mark and you get off a basic attack. Many melee characters will love this.
Knight Hospitaler:
Shield of Devotion can turn a dropped ally into a conscious one, scales, and provides a bonus to attack rolls. And it is an immediate action? And eventually, you can use this twice a combat? Awesome. Many non-Defenders will love this.
Melee-Magthere Champion
There's a lot to like here. Slow on OAs, focus fire disruption, and free action smack as a level 10. The utility 2 is a solid Leader effect which goes well with mass attackers - particularly as a stance. And the level 10 is in essence a Daily Attack power masquerading as a utility that can be triggered by Lurking Spider.
Misshapen
Dread Carapace is an awesome Daily Utility option assuming the DM doesn't decide to take 'up to' as potentially meaning 0. And the extra 1 square of forced movement for melee attacks is helpful, too. But the rest of Misshapen isn't especially all that great, particularly in the context of a grappling attack with a +2/4/6 attack that prevents Dread Carapace from working.

Sentinel Marshal:
Very strong encounter power, solid bonus to skills, level 10 ability is very situational. Kicks up to Sky Blue for Fighter hybrids who don't want to use Fighter powers, but rather the powers from the other class. Red for LFR as it is setting specific.
Trapsmith: Attack doesn't advance fast enough. Still, the possibility of proning or dazing as a reaction is useful.
 

 

 

Chevalier:
Nothing horrible wrong with it, Valiant Charge stacks with a Charge and bonuses to saves never hurt. Just doens't stand out. Also has some metagaming issues where not attacking a stunned foe or coup de grace are dishonorable. That won't stop a lot of players, but given the better choices, why pick Chevalier unless you want that fluff text? Sub-zero builds might be able to take advantage of the bonus to saves. Sentinel Marshal is nearly strictly better for many builds.
Gladiator(DS)
You're taking this because you specifically want to be a Gladiator Champion, an excellent Defender paragon path and Disrupting Advance is a good melee weapon power. No level 5/10 abilities is where it goes wrong as all Dark Sun themes do. LFR

Vigilante
A somewhat weaker version of Sentinel Marshal. The big disadvantage that it has is that it wastes a precious minor action to do something that doesn't even mark a target, but only on a hit - where most Fighter hybrids have obvious ways to mass-mark with either Kirre's Roar, Rain of Blows, and/or Come and Get It. It would be Purple, but it has the level 10+rather good utility powers. Minor action to try to save against an effect or a 1 time boost to a bad initiative check to get a bundle of decent effects.

Janissary
Relatively weak encounter power is the feature of the class - just do your standard charge package. Other stuff extremely situational.
Primal Guardian(DS)
A couple of decent power swaps and the melee weapon attack power is okay. Dark Sun = no 5/10 abiltiies. LFR
Bregan D'Aerhte

Close to worthless compared to any of the auto-CA themes. This is only Purple because some lockdown builds might be able to exploit Uncertain Loyalties. There's some value in the Utilities, but I wouldn't take it unless you're in love with the fluff. 

 

 

Striker Themes

 

  • do extra damage on a hit

  • have a reroll on an attack

  • involve skirmisher or lurker style-movement

  • and/or getting CA somehow

 

Firecrafter
Minor action shift, do damage with aura feature. Power bonus to attack after second winding. Weak Dark Blue.

Ghost of the Past
Double rolls for one attack, skill training, double roll on that skill training, benefit on an AP attack. All awesome. Oh, hey, and how about that utility 10 that no one should ever use as intended, but rather after the 1st combat to ensure an extra AP...

Infernal Prince
+1 to hit with Fire Attacks is easy to exploit and so is the damage. Limited to Fire, though, and that's what really makes it Dark Blue vs. Sky Blue. Attack power works with any attack to damage one opponent and apply some light control. Red for LFR.

Iron Wolf Warrior
A combination of very solid features, melee weapon attack, and amazing no action encounter power swaps.
Ironwrought
Powerful attack power that works with any melee weapon attack, then get a +1 power bonus until EoNT. And resist when bloodied? Wow. Only downside, if it could be called that, is that it doesn't give any non-combat benefits.
Mercenary
Takedown Strike is very solid, working against adjacent enemies as is the bonus to defenses when bloodied.

Outlaw
Very good with Charge and Shift 1 builds, as the target often can't then attack you the next round due to being dazed. This is a weak Dark Blue. You likely want Son of Alagondar over this from a pure mechanical standpoint.

Reaver
Good solid Theme with potential for distributed damage with its melee weapon attack power. Well, except for the BoVD issue in many campaigns, particularly LFR

Sarifal Feywarden(any fey race but Drow)
Sarifal's Blessing is a very powerful feature for nova attacks and/or close bursts via aura. This gets very strong Sky Blue for such builds.

Skulker of Vhaeraun
Drow-only and you need to do some poison optimization, but if you can pierce poison resist, say via MC'ing into Assassin, taking the feat Venom Hand Master and picking up a Spiderkissed Weapon or Mordant Weapon, you can do some serious damage with a nova. Only issue is that you might need to end up with a thrown weapon, such as Cahulaks in order to go Spiderkissed and do Twin Strike. Still, +12 damage per shot in your Nova round can leave a mark.
Sohei
Sohei Flurry is a minor action melee weapon attack. Other options aren't bad and some of the swaps are very solid.
Son of Alagondar
Strong Dark Blue theme - very solid features for a stealthy type with a touch of Leader thrown in - almost a strict upgrade over Outlaw in many respects.
Werebear/Werewolf/Wererat
This is almost all about the interaction between the level 10 feature and Claw Gloves. A nearly free +1d10 damage for CA is stupid awesome. The level 2 utility that allows encounter long regeneration + a little extra isn't bad either. Wererat is Purple if you're a Melee Striker, only Sky Blue if you started out Small in the first place or someone who makes implement-based attacks or uses light off-hand weapons or would like to be small-sized, so to ride a |Sentinel Pet. But Rat-Blooded gives a climb speed and that+defensive bonus is what I think makes it the best for those choices. The MBA is bad, because it is +3/6/9, but those are the numbers for when you attack an NAD, not AC. Not to mention, no magical benefits from weapon/implement choice. If you're medium-sized, speed is harder to come by, so that's why I would take Werewolf slightly over Werebear. 
Wilder(DS)
The reason you're here is for the expanded crit range of implement-based Psychic Surge, Enhanced Psychic Surge the feat, or Resurgent Wilder and you intend to thoroughly optimize them. Otherwise, avoidthough that's not a choice in LFR

 

Cultist
Attack power is reasonably effective and works with any attack, though doesn't scale very well. Better if you can ensure two attack rolls or something similar. BoVD, so Red for LFR
Guttersnipe
Solid theme with some unusual elements. Running Slash gives some Skirmisher qualities with a melee weapon.

River Rat
Not completely horrible? Basically, you get a reliable 3w/4w/6w attack - but as your damage mod goes up, it can really hurt you if you miss. +2 to defenses when you grant CA is what gets the theme to black. Does some interesting things with multi-tap single target powers

Samurai
Iaijutsu good for avoiding box of doom. And if you're a high init build, 18-20 crits with melee weapon attacks on round 1 can be fantastic - think Avenger or Ranger here.
Spellscarred Harbinger
All about the Invisibilty per encounter...
Spy
Decent move and hide power for encounter option, very solid skills.
Stormraider Striker
Could be useful for a character who wants to charge an opponent, has boots that allow one to shift back a square, and then charge again. Boosts initiative and potentially damage if you're a very high initiative melee type, and easier access to flanking. Nothing great in the utility section though the Utility 6 is potentially decent.

 
Animal Master
Take Fey Beast Tamer

Dead Rat Deserter(human, half-elf, or halfling)
Might be useful in the right campaign that has a lot of exploration where being a rat lets you get away with a lot. Has a bite which is likely at a very poor to-hit roll given it is usually +4 in Paragon/+6 in Epic and targets AC of all things.
Demon Spawn
Essentially a kind of variable resistance and an upgrade to a melee attack that is best used by single target strikers. Unfriendly OA option could be useful in weird circumstances, but likely not.

Explorer
Could be useful in the right campaign, particularly ones that demand lots of Endurance checks for the group and timed travel.
Pack Outcast
With update, not worth it unless you have some oddball adjacent effects. Has a bite based on your primary weapon, but not explicitly defined as being in the same group as your melee weapon...

Uthgardt Barbarian
Thunder Stomp has some nice aspects if you want to bypass the soldier and go after the controller in the back where the soldier is too close and the controller farther than your charge speed away.
Wasteland Nomad(DS)
The weapon attack power is barely better than an at-will if you have CA. You could spend a feat to make it worth something, but why? Illegal for LFR.

Leader Themes




  • Enabling allies with a bonus to hit, free attack, movement, or healing, on the owner of theme's turn

  • Enabling allies with a bonus to hit or save as an immediate or no action option. 



Noble Adept(DS)
For a Dark Sun theme, still has a lot of kick to it due to the free psionic power point and ability to add either 1 or 1d4+1 to any roll. Similar to Harper Agent in many ways. LFR
Disgraced Noble(BoVD)
Effective setting up for MBA specialist. Bonus to saves doesn't hurt either. LFR
Halaster's Clone: The starting feature is flat out awful as it is basically fluff in most games. From levels 1-4 this is pure Red. Alter Time as the level 5 is really, really strong - it isn't Reorient the Axis, but it is reasonably close. If you're an initiative-based build(and with the level 10 feature, you ought to be), you have your group form up in a group, you go first and don't move anywhere - then they all move their speed. The U2 might have interesting applications, but the loss of a healing surge makes it extraordinarily expensive mechanically - not wanting to ever lose an action might compensate the player even if the PC loses out. Note that you lack specific Halaster information for LFR
Iliyanbruen Guardian
Very good mobility at the start of combats. Limited to Eladrin.

Neverwinter Noble
Good for taking the focus fire target of Team Monster and making them regret their choice. Solid level 5 feature and the level 10 is very campaign dependent.
Noble
Useful for starting up things. Level 5 feature is crazy good at 5th, but is almost worthless by Paragon. 




Ordained Priest
Nothing horrible. Attack power choices are solid, one implement, one melee weapon, nothing to write home about though either.


Callidyrr Dragoon(human or halfling)
Just not very good at all unless you want to spend a feat on something it gives you.
Dune Trader(DS)
Has some similarities to Warlord with the power swaps and Quick Formation isn't a bad weapon attack power. You might like Sly Gambit enough to disrgard the lack of level 5/10 abilities. LFR
Chaosmade
Decent skills at 5th, but ranged non-implement encounter power is wacky, even with an eventual 2 uses per encounter. Ranged use = OAs, so unlikely that a melee character is really going to want this. Warp the World is a good utility 10.

Elemental Priest(DS)
Spirit of Athas is a very solid implement attack power against one enemy. Desperate enough for the Leader Paragon Path Rainbringer to give up your level 5/10 abilities? LFR
Seer
Purple here reflects just how situational Cast Fortune acts at the table. I've been at tables where no player wanted to have it cast on them, simply because they didn't like the metagamey feel. "A 1, huh, I jump 2 squares as part of my movement." If you can get your party to go along with you, much better, maybe even Dark Blue.
Templar(DS)
Decent implement attack power, some good power swaps(Fettering Glare, Imperious Gaze) LFR
 

Controller Themes

 
 

  • Theme power has control or adds control to an existing power

  • Theme power makes it easier to land control or keep control working

  •  

Beguiler
This is a sky blue theme for many controllers. Slide a target outside your area of effect into it.
Blackstaff Apprentice

This is a strong Dark Blue, potentially a weak Sky Blue in the right party. Magic Missile as a power is useful for free and a minor action attack is strong. Extra cantrips are good. The level 10 Feature is also very good as you basically get Dispel Magic as an alternate encounter power to potentially use multiple times a combat. Wizard with spellbook only, so very restricted, though a Swordmage could spend a feat to get a spellbook and a feat to MC into Wizard and a feat to do a power swap. Useful for regular Wizards in particular. Note that some fluff aspects have been changed for LFR

Ghost of the Past
(Breaking the normal rule - more of a Striker theme by my definitions, but this is one of, if not the top-tier theme for Controllers...) Double rolls for one attack, skill training, double roll on that skill training, benefit on an AP attack. All awesome. Oh, hey, and how about that utility 10 that no one should ever use as intended, but rather after the 1st combat to ensure an extra AP...

Ooze Adept
Minor action control power, get to roll twice for a skill, and some decent acid resistance. Nothing spectacular, but solid.
Order Adept
Very strong Controller option - Argent Rain does some leveling, solid bonus to a defense, and access to Wizard utility powers. If only it worked properly in OCB, it might compete for Sky Blue given some of the very powerful Wizard Utilities out there.
Primordial Adept
A bit of a damage booster and solid implement attack powers.
Sorcere Adept 
Was gold, now just Dark Blue. The level 9 Daily is quite nasty - until you have a Stun power, though, this is just Purple
 
 
 
Infernal Slave
Hellfire touch seems not so great at first, but you can get resistance items that protect against fire/necrotic relatively easily. At which point, it is +damage and a relatively big slide. That 2nd part is where the value is. And it works with any attack. This could range from Blue to Sky Blue if you have powers that damage when entering a square or starting a turn in a particular square. Say Sorcerers with Flame Spiral. Still, be really careful with this theme - when the road ahead starts having road signs indicating TPK, this one pushes the gas pedal. BoVD, so Red for LFR.
Moteborn
Flame Zephyr is basically a Fire version of Freezing Burst that doesn't use an implement, so no bonus to damage. On the other hand, it is a damage boost that moves around reasonably quickly. This could easily be Purple in a campaign where the expectation is more than 3 combats a day.
Vile Scholar
Dark Speech is solid implement controller power. Level 5 option doesn't make a lot of sense, but assuming it is just +2 power bonus to knowledge checks, that's quite a good skill booster. BoVD, so Red for LFR.
Wizard's Apprentice
Implement-based Color Orb is black. The level 5 ability is crazy good at 5th, almost worthless at Paragon. Order Adept, due to its +1 to Will and +4 to Arcana instead of +3, is almost strictly superior to Wizard's Apprentice once you hit Paragon.
Windlord
Big slide via weapon attack power with lots of potential movement for you.
 
 
Athasian Minstrel(DS)
Decent weapon attack power with some control, but that's all it really gets. Power swaps might not be bad for certain classes, such as Avengers. LFR
Cormyrian Battle Mage
Not horrible if you're not a Staff Wizard or Sorcerer. Still though, not a strong path - no base attack power, just a utility that competes with Staff Expertise.
Occultist
Just plain weird. The standard action is a very weak power that might still be poor if the OA part triggered as part of the standard. The level 2 utility is the kind that's only good in games where you're not being challenged anyway. The skills and binding elements aren't horrible?
Renegade Red Wizard

I think this is one of the themes that seems better than it actually is. You lose your 2nd school of magic, the 1st level ability is marginal - how often do Mages become Hidden, particularly at 1st level, and the 10th level ability is very situational and campaign dependent. No base attack power. Now there is that -2 to first save, but if you want to penalize saves, why aren't you an Orb of Imposition Arcanist? Arcanist + Beguiler should be much better.
Veiled Alliance(DS)
Decent implement attack power, but as usual, nothing else due to being Dark Sun. LFR
Watershaper
Doesn't use implement for attack power, so this makes the attack power very lackluster
Widow of Arach-Tinilith
Ridiculous restrictions. And for what? This one isn't particularly good, just some poor quality stuff. There might be some way to take advantage of the immobilize/slow feature of the spiderling. Or put your familiar into active mode as far away as possible for the +1 to all defenses and hope it doesn't die in an area attack.
 

Non-Standard Themes

 
 

  • are extremely difficult to place

  • have situational value

  • and/or value is mostly out of combat 

  •  
Devil's Pawn
Hellfire and Brimstone is a very strong minor action do a little damage debuff power, particularly for melee types that use close burst powers.
Escaped Thrall: Would be almost strictly worse than Noble Adept. If you have access to Noble Adept, this drops to Purple

Fey Beast Tamer
Companion allows either CA or blocking, depending on how you want to use it. Even a damage boost, too. Very solid.

Harper Agent
+1d6 to a roll or reroll a failed save? Pretty good, but nothing pushing it to Sky Blue, particularly as it only happens once per encounter.
Purple Dragon
Decent stance. The alignment prereq is restrictive. Works really well if you don't use stances, but do use MBAs a lot. Particularly charge happy builds that want to bounce back one square after a charge without using up their feet slot.
Sensate
Has very strong toughness and skill features. Missing the encounter power is why it lacks a Sky Blue rating. Well except for Breathers for whom it is almost Gold, particularly if their party either lacks a good leader or you personally can't consistently expect a good Leader to show up, such as LFR. Good to look for options that involve taking small amounts of damage in exchange for a big payoff. Such as Ravenous Blessing.
Sidhe Lord
Sidhe Lord's rating is all about the Utility 2, having a crazy good Action Point capability(ex: Flame of Hope, Warchanter), and hopefully being able to use more than one action point in a combat. Have that and a willing party, and it is arguably Gold.
Underdark Outcast: 
This seems to be a relatively easy to trigger strong encounter power. Move, minor, do your thing. Only trick is in a confined space or combat scenario. If you can consistently get space, it goes up to Sky Blue.

 

Bregan D'Aerthe
Very useful in Heroic for ranged attackers. Starts to lose value in Paragon where more things can fly and there's a larger expectation that PCs might be able to fly. Once the Brooms of Flying appear? Not so good. Drow-only

Cipher
Interesting theme. In some ways, this is an ideal theme for someone who wants to lose(by just a touch) initative. On the other hand, the theme doesn't really give much past the level 1 and you don't get an encounter. Could be extremely interesting for the right Battlemind builds - move Cha+3, move speed again or move speed then pull Cha and mark before the 1st opponent has time to go.
Elderboy
Really nice level 1 feature, even if it isn't an attack - good for super-high damage striker builds who expect to get crushed. Shift Blame is awesome for Knights - interrupt to force the opponent to attack someone else, then OA them to push them away from their target. Beg Lolth's Favor is very good, also.
Fate Dancer
Cards are decent and having 2 is better. Nothing broken though and difficult at tables without Fate Cards
Masked Lord: Free magic armor and a small item bonus to saves. Fluff option for the level 5, which might be valuable or not valuable at all depending on campaign. Not bad at all, but there are likely better options to pick from. Must have campaign documentation for LFR
Scholar
Nothing wrong here, lots of useful out of combat options. Need to be careful with the encounter attack power, though.
Seeker of Illefarn(eladrin, elf, or half-elf)
The reroll on a 1 is actually very solid(note post 17 where I break down how this really works), almost the benefit of a +1 to hit for all your attacks until it triggers for the encounter. +2 to all defenses for 1st round and no surprise? That's very good as well. The lack of an actual encounter power of any kind is what prevents it from being Dark Blue.
Tuathan
Bonus to death saves, ability to remove concealment/cover at the cost of 2nd Wind, and Heroic Recovery aren't horrible. It might even be better than that for a sub-zero build, but Chevalier/Hordelands Nomad are competitive there even for those builds. The thing that saves it from Purple death? The level 2 and to a lesser extent the level 10 utilities. I'd really only go here if you expect to use the utilities and/or are a sub-zero build.
Xaositect
The features aren't that good and the encounter is likely worthless unless you can apply save penalties. Probably ought to be Purple, but...that said, the level 6 and 10 utilties are fantastic.
Yakuza
Very strong, very situational theme. Needing to reliably bloody an enemy while having a strong intimidate while having your DM agree on what the definition of 'Surrender' means is where this theme goes south. Good for Cha-types who want to make OAs and have CA a lot.

 



Alchemist
Alchemist doesn't really have enough alchemical item support to be better than Purple
Black-Hearted Knave
Bluff features are solid - a Bluff Specialist can take advantage of the features. Attack at least is a 2w. Not horrible.
Brazen Ambassador
Very DM dependent - if your DM never throws at-level creatures at you, well, because you're optimized, then the encounter power doesn't do anything. And it is usually difficult to tell the actual creature level in a combat unless it shifted tier. The level 5 capability is campaign specific. And the level 10 makes the encounter power more consistent. Blazing Reprisal, the utility 10, is decent, and so is Cinderspeech utility 2. Maybe worth a look if you can expect your DM to send at-level creatures who only use melee or ranged attacks or you're in a very heavy social game and have a good arcana score, but poor social skills.

Courtier
Powerhouse skill monkey, but probably not all that crazy useful in most games unless it is too useful. Ultimately, Spy is probably better at doing what you'd want to do with it, assuming you had no intent to violate Wheaton's Law. Then it is great until your DM gets a clue and kicks you out of your group or makes all the encounters Courtier proof. Again, Spy better once all is said and done.

Deep Delver: We're here for the level 10 power or if you want to be the world's best at the skill of Dungeoneering.
Haunted Blade 
We're here for the level 10 feature. Good if you want to dump Dex, have a good Cha, and you're not a Tiefling...before that a pile of Red
Heir of Delzoun(dwarf)
Okay features. Resist to poison, extra healing surge. Nothing special and more importantly, boring.

Hordelands Nomad
Might be useful for a Nature character who wants to make Arcana checks. Bonus to saves doesn't hurt, particularly for sub-zero builds.
House Priestess
Ridiculously overspecific prerequisites. The level 10 is very solid and Devious Strike is good for setting up a Nova. But needing to be a divine drow, let alone a female divine drow means even the Drizz't wannabes aren't taking this theme. If you're into playing female divine drows with strong fluff text that you might worship Lolth, it could be Dark Blue

Inquisitive
Very DM dependent on ultimate effect. And the main time that Perception/Intuition tend to be useful is on passive checks, which usually don't need a double roll. Some builds, such as Elves who roll Perception for init may benefit, however.

Mariner
Very ship specific to the point of silliness. The level 5 feature isn't horrible. The level 6 is decent. A theme waiting for a re-write.
Oghma's Faithful
I think Scholar is almost strictly better than this choice from a pure playability standpoint. That said, not horrible out of combat.

Oracle of the Evil Eye
Mainly about the Darkvision for characters that already have Low-Light. Urge of Destiny is not horrible if you know you're going to be with a multi-attacker. Gaze of the Evil Eye might not be completely horrible for an aura-based Defender.
Secret Apostate
Nothing particularly interesting here. Some weird situational benefits are what make it not red.

Scion of Shadow
Mainly that you can potentially control your healing surge value - an extra +4 never hurts, particularly if you're a Shade. Blindsight as a Daily for 2 rounds isn't strictly useless either.

Student of Evard
Better than it seems. Take Shadow powers and make sure to have resist Necrotic for your upgrade an attack against an adjacent foe and it is decent. Still Purple though.
Treasure Hunter: Really? Treasure Sense? Stick & Move is a good set up utility for a Charge+Charge attack, though. And Pay Attention is a very strong leader power if you don't have a Warlord in the party.

Underdark Envoy: Insidious Commentary allows a little extra damage with a bad attack roll and no scaling. Practiced Herald is a relatively solid leader power if you have a party of 4-6, though.
Unseelie Agent
Useful at levels where you don't yet have a weapon of that level.
Wild Hunt Rider
Just what I wanted. No need to worry about Partial Concealment. As if that shows up a lot...
 

 

Themes for Everyone


These are the themes that are so strong or useful, that you should consider them either because they're that good or because you have elements that might be easy to optimize. Every Half-Elf or Fey Warchanter 16+ should be looking at Sidhe Lord's utility 2 and drooling over it as an example. Every Fire Blaster Wizard who uses Fire should consider Infernal Prince. Etc...
 

Ghost of the Past
Double rolls for one attack, skill training, double roll on that skill training, benefit on an AP attack. All awesome. Oh, hey, and how about that utility 10 that no one should ever use as intended, but rather after the 1st combat to ensure an extra AP...this is perhaps the best, "I don't know what theme I want, but I want it to be useful" theme out there.

Elemental Initiate
Solid off-action melee weapon power is great for Strikers who expect to be attacked anyway.

Guardian:
Guardian's Counter is amazing, allowing a lot of flexibility. This can often do crazy damage as you swap in for the actual Defender, who then gets to trigger their mark and you get off a basic attack. Many melee characters will love this.
Knight Hospitaler:
Shield of Devotion can turn a dropped ally into a conscious one, scales, and provides a bonus to attack rolls. And it is an immediate action? And eventually, you can use this twice a combat? Awesome. Many non-Defenders will love this.
Sentinel Marshal:
Fighter hybrids who want to use the powers of their other class, this is the theme for you.
Halaster's Clone: If you're a Striker concerned about killing your party, the Utility 2 ability to completely ignore Dominate as an interrupt is potentially really valuable. Ditto if you're the kind of player who absolutely hates doing nothing. That Utility is costing you a surge, so if you're the kind of Striker who regularly gets pounded on and has surge issues to begin with, it might not be a good idea. +4 to Initiative is also very good in any case.
Infernal Prince
+1 to hit with Fire Attacks is easy to exploit and so is the damage. Limited to Fire, though, and that's what really makes it Dark Blue vs. Sky Blue. Attack power works with any attack to damage one opponent and apply some light control.

Iron Wolf Warrior
A combination of very solid features, melee weapon attack, and amazing no action encounter power swaps. Good for any melee character.
Ironwrought
Powerful attack power that works with any melee weapon attack, then get a +1 power bonus until EoNT makes it easy for many Defenders and Leaders to land that extra-special attack.
Sarifal Feywarden(any fey race but Drow)
Sarifal's Blessing is a very powerful feature for nova attacks and/or close bursts via aura. Particularly when you get to Paragon or Epic, this can swamp more typical 'Vulnerability 5' options.

Sohei
Sohei Flurry is a minor action melee weapon attack. Other options aren't bad and some of the swaps are very solid. Any melee weapon user should consider this. Dead is the ultimate control.
Wilder(DS)
The reason you're here is for the expanded crit range of implement-based Psychic Surge, Enhanced Psychic Surge the feat, or Resurgent Wilder and you intend to thoroughly optimize them. Otherwise, avoid - though that's not a choice in LFR

Noble Adept(DS)
For a Dark Sun theme, still has a lot of kick to it due to the free psionic power point and ability to add either 1 or 1d4+1 to any roll. Similar to Harper Agent in many ways. LFR

Iliyanbruen Guardian
Very good mobility at the start of combats. Limited to Eladrin. Good for those wanting to bring someone along with them - the Striker who'd like his Defender nearby him as an example.
Order Adept
Very strong Controller option - Argent Rain does some leveling, solid bonus to a defense, and access to Wizard utility powers. If only it worked properly in OCB, it might compete for Sky Blue given some of the very powerful Wizard Utilities out there. Shield, Illusory Wall, etc...are crazy good utility powers for all kinds of characters.
Bregan D'aerthe
Very useful in Heroic for ranged attackers. Starts to lose value in Paragon where more things can fly and there's a larger expectation that PCs might be able to fly. Once the Brooms of Flying appear? Not so good. Drow-only.
Devil's Pawn
Hellfire and Brimstone is a very strong minor action do a little damage auto-debuff power, particularly for melee types that use close burst powers.
Fey Beast Tamer
Companion allows either CA or blocking, depending on how you want to use it. Even a damage boost, too. Very solid.

Purple Dragon
Decent stance. The alignment prereq is restrictive. Works really well if you don't use stances, but do use MBAs a lot, which is many of the Essential classes or classes exploiting a particular at-will which can be counted as an MBA: Righteous Brand with Power of Skill, Eldritch Strike, etc...
Sidhe Lord
Sidhe Lord's rating is all about the Utility 2, having a crazy good Action Point capability(ex: Flame of Hope, Warchanter), and hopefully being able to use more than one action point in a combat. Have that and a willing party, and it is arguably Gold.
Underdark Outcast

If you think you can get space away from your allies, particularly anyone who likes multi-attacking and/or drawing attention to themselves, the encounter power is awesome, kicking this up to Sky Blue

Okay to post
The Purple Dragon theme from the recent Dragon issue is a pretty solid blue for strikers.  +1 power bonus on MBAs as a stance is a great boost for certain classes who don't normally spend time in a stance (Hexblades, Eldritch Strike warlocks, Swordmages early on, etc.).  It offers some versatility in choosing the benefit you get from the stance.

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?
Yakuza needs some love. That theme is exceedingly nasty when used as part of an attack debuffing engine.

Renegade Red Wizard is rated too low. It's a source of (save ends) penalties, which can be absolutely godlike. Between it, Spell Focus and a Phrenic Crown, you can force Solos to save like they're Standards, for instance.

Seeker of Illefarn needs red. It has a feature that only kicks in once per twenty attack rolls. Way, way too situational, especially given the existence of the Ironwrought and Noble Adept.

Neverwinter Noble is much weaker than Disgraced Noble, by a mile. What Disgraced Noble gives you is enabling, which some Leaders desperately need. Neverwinter Noble can't provide that, or indeed, anything unique. Son of Alagondar is a better Leader theme if you ask me.

Outlaw is rated too high. Compare it to its company and it doesn't stand up.

Seer is getting grossly underrated. In practice, foreknowledge of your rolls is probably stronger than even Sohei. It just needs to be used smartly.

Those are about the only things I can see that are off about the guide at first glance. Here's to hoping it'll end up as good as it promises to be!
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).
In my experence Guardian is better for a striker. A good defender can have trouble useing it if he is good at getting enemies near him to attack him. A striker can just hang around a defender and will almost always be able to get it to triger, plus triggering any mark punishment.
In my experence Guardian is better for a striker. A good defender can have trouble useing it if he is good at getting enemies near him to attack him. A striker can just hang around a defender and will almost always be able to get it to triger, plus triggering any mark punishment.



The listing isn't based on the role that wants to take it - it is based on what role the theme most closely emulates. 
Seeker of Illefarn needs red. It has a feature that only kicks in once per twenty attack rolls. Way, way too situational, especially given the existence of the Ironwrought and Noble Adept.

Those are about the only things I can see that are off about the guide at first glance. Here's to hoping it'll end up as good as it promises to be!



A lot of those ratings are based on how situational they are. Seer as an example can be disturbingly bad if you can't get your party members to take it - it feels very metagamey in actual play as you deliberately try to blow bad rolls on relatively meaningless checks. Outlaw is Dark Blue simply because you can charge and daze targets with say Howling Strike, then pop back 1 square with the usual charge package items.

Seeker of Illefarn on the other hand is not red. The encounter option is basically a +1 to hit for many CharOp style builds until it triggers. You can't be surprised, which is nice for low perception builds. You get +2 to all defenses on round 1. It isn't Sky Blue or Dark Blue, but I think it is a very solid Black.
Seeker of Illefarn needs red. It has a feature that only kicks in once per twenty attack rolls. Way, way too situational, especially given the existence of the Ironwrought and Noble Adept.

Those are about the only things I can see that are off about the guide at first glance. Here's to hoping it'll end up as good as it promises to be!



A lot of those ratings are based on how situational they are. Seer as an example can be disturbingly bad if you can't get your party members to take it - it feels very metagamey in actual play as you deliberately try to blow bad rolls on relatively meaningless checks. Outlaw is Dark Blue simply because you can charge and daze targets with say Howling Strike, then pop back 1 square with the usual charge package items.

Seeker of Illefarn on the other hand is not red. The encounter option is basically a +1 to hit for many CharOp style builds until it triggers. You can't be surprised, which is nice for low perception builds. You get +2 to all defenses on round 1. It isn't Sky Blue or Dark Blue, but I think it is a very solid Black.



The problem is that if you want +1 to hit, you can have it far more reliably. It just isn't worth it to take what is '+1 to hit, except it kicks in even less of the time, and it doesn't combo with anything else, and it involves not having an encounter power'. You can't Dice of Auspicious Fortune a hit with that +1 unless you happen to roll a 1 on the dice. You can't play with that +1 by gaining CA or debuffing defenses to get you to the hit threshold you need. It's a feature that stands alone, unaffected by anything less, and thus, less valuable.

As for Outlaw, my issue is...at that point, why not just take Son of Alagondar or Mercenary, if you want status effects? They both have better features and they work just as well.

The Seer point I can understand, though - but I think it deserves a Green in that case. Not a low rating.
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).
It is always nice to see two handbooks on the same topic, It greatly increases the Charop discussion and contributes to a healthy debate.

That said, in my handbook I eventually decided against saying what theme worked best with what role/class/race, because that is a very subjective matter. Example; Many would look at the Guardian and say it is a great theme for defenders, and they would be right. However, a melee striker could find just as much use from it, as they too like free attacks, and some defenders would rather be an Outlaw or a Mercenary, which are known as 'striker' themes, because dazing and proning are two very good things to make a defender sticky. One of the deserved exceptions to this was the Devil's Pawn theme, which is explicitly geared toward Hellocks.

I look forward to this guide's completion.
It's not a matter of Right vs. Left, it's a matter of right vs. wrong My Charop Works Who Am I Really? The Theme Handbook I'm an
D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium
It is always nice to see two handbooks on the same topic, It greatly increases the Charop discussion and contributes to a healthy debate.

That said, in my handbook I eventually decided against saying what theme worked best with what role/class/race, because that is a very subjective matter. Example; Many would look at the Guardian and say it is a great theme for defenders, and they would be right. However, a melee striker could find just as much use from it, as they too like free attacks, and some defenders would rather be an Outlaw or a Mercenary, which are known as 'striker' themes, because dazing and proning are two very good things to make a defender sticky. One of the deserved exceptions to this was the Devil's Pawn theme, which is explicitly geared toward Hellocks.

I look forward to this guide's completion.



Thanks!

Just to be clear, I'm not at all saying where the themes work best for which role/class/race. 

Guardian is a theme which mimics a Defender. If your character wants to add some Defender capability, that's a great theme to take. There are other themes that also have that same kind of capability, so there's a natural grouping there. That doesn't however mean that a Defender is the best choice for the theme, simply that it boosts the ability to function as a Defender by that character.

I think tough melee Strikers and Leaders get more out of it, particularly when there's a lockdown Defender in the party.
Seeker of Illefarn on the other hand is not red. The encounter option is basically a +1 to hit for many CharOp style builds until it triggers. You can't be surprised, which is nice for low perception builds. You get +2 to all defenses on round 1. It isn't Sky Blue or Dark Blue, but I think it is a very solid Black.



The problem is that if you want +1 to hit, you can have it far more reliably. It just isn't worth it to take what is '+1 to hit, except it kicks in even less of the time, and it doesn't combo with anything else, and it involves not having an encounter power'. You can't Dice of Auspicious Fortune a hit with that +1 unless you happen to roll a 1 on the dice. You can't play with that +1 by gaining CA or debuffing defenses to get you to the hit threshold you need. It's a feature that stands alone, unaffected by anything less, and thus, less valuable.



You can have it far more reliably, but not from your theme...

It doesn't stand alone any more than any other option. Emotionally, it might feel as if it doesn't come into play all that often, but the same can be said for a +1 to hit. There will be entire combats where a +1 to hit is meaningless - no one argues against taking a +1 to hit feat on that basis, the same should apply here.

If you have a 65% chance of hitting, in effect, the following happens on every attack you make until it triggers:
5% of the time, you crit. Let's count crits as 2 hits to keep things simple.
60% of the time, you hit.
30% of the time, you miss.
5% of the time, you reroll. Of which, 5% of the time, you crit, 60% of the time you hit, and 35% of the time you miss.

So 280 hits out of 400 attacks without the reroll.

With the reroll, 12 of those misses turn into hits and 1 of them into a crit. Or effectively 294 hits out 400 instead of 280 hits. That's not quite the benefit of a +1 to hit, but it is really close. The higher your to-hit chance, the bigger your chance of critting, the more valuable it becomes - with certain builds, it actually exceeds the benefit of a +1 to hit - Daggermaster Rogues as an example who hit on a 3 as an example.

An extra 14 hits out of 400 might not seem all that special, but that's in effect an extra 5% hits per swing(as opposed to an extra 7% hits from a +1)
Okay, so I put comments to each of my ratings. Feel free to tear them apart ;) 
Seeker of Illefarn on the other hand is not red. The encounter option is basically a +1 to hit for many CharOp style builds until it triggers. You can't be surprised, which is nice for low perception builds. You get +2 to all defenses on round 1. It isn't Sky Blue or Dark Blue, but I think it is a very solid Black.



The problem is that if you want +1 to hit, you can have it far more reliably. It just isn't worth it to take what is '+1 to hit, except it kicks in even less of the time, and it doesn't combo with anything else, and it involves not having an encounter power'. You can't Dice of Auspicious Fortune a hit with that +1 unless you happen to roll a 1 on the dice. You can't play with that +1 by gaining CA or debuffing defenses to get you to the hit threshold you need. It's a feature that stands alone, unaffected by anything less, and thus, less valuable.



You can have it far more reliably, but not from your theme...

It doesn't stand alone any more than any other option. Emotionally, it might feel as if it doesn't come into play all that often, but the same can be said for a +1 to hit. There will be entire combats where a +1 to hit is meaningless - no one argues against taking a +1 to hit feat on that basis, the same should apply here.

If you have a 65% chance of hitting, in effect, the following happens on every attack you make until it triggers:
5% of the time, you crit. Let's count crits as 2 hits to keep things simple.
60% of the time, you hit.
30% of the time, you miss.
5% of the time, you reroll. Of which, 5% of the time, you crit, 60% of the time you hit, and 35% of the time you miss.

So 280 hits out of 400 attacks without the reroll.

With the reroll, 12 of those misses turn into hits and 1 of them into a crit. Or effectively 294 hits out 400 instead of 280 hits. That's not quite the benefit of a +1 to hit, but it is really close. The higher your to-hit chance, the bigger your chance of critting, the more valuable it becomes - with certain builds, it actually exceeds the benefit of a +1 to hit - Daggermaster Rogues as an example who hit on a 3 as an example.

An extra 14 hits out of 400 might not seem all that special, but that's in effect an extra 5% hits per swing(as opposed to an extra 7% hits from a +1)



Right, but allow me to point out one thing: where there's a player, there's a party. This is why I think it's really, really important to point out that Seeker of Illefarn doesn't work in tandem with absolutely anything. If your Seer roll is a 4, you can work around it by delaying and letting an ally set you up. The value of that roll turns from 0 (miss) to 1 (hit), and it's basically at your command, and it has the really good side effect of letting you know that if you get your setup, you can unload with your best shot and have it be failproof. If your dice of Auspicious Fortune roll is a 2, you can sub it in *precisely* when you know you can hit on a 2, and eliminate the chance of failure from the roll utterly while at the same time disposing of a mostly useless roll. That's what makes Seeker of Illefarn less valuable than say, the +1 option of the Purple Knight - with the Knight, you can communicate with your party and accurately gauge just how much force your Leader has to apply (or if you're the Leader, what buff to dispense) to make the +1 count. One option increases your control over your fate, the other one doesn't.

And further, there's also that ugly truth we don't acknowledge often, but that absolutely matters: +1 to hit is often not as valuable as +1 to hit. A +1 to hit with Sly Flourish isn't worth as much as +1 to hit with Knockout, not by a long shot. Seeker of Illefarn has very good odds of coming up on a roll that is, in the grand scheme of things, irrelevant. You're going to make more at-will attack rolls than encounter and daily power rolls over your character's life. Thus, with an uncontrollable reroll, the odds are skewed in favor of you wasting it on a weak power instead of great one. Seeker of Illefarn is just not that good, the lack of control over when it kicks in hurts it too much to be worthwhile. For that same price, a simple +1 to attack rolls once per encounter, triggered on command, will be far more valuable. Don't you agree?
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).
And further, there's also that ugly truth we don't acknowledge often, but that absolutely matters: +1 to hit is often not as valuable as +1 to hit. A +1 to hit with Sly Flourish isn't worth as much as +1 to hit with Knockout, not by a long shot. Seeker of Illefarn has very good odds of coming up on a roll that is, in the grand scheme of things, irrelevant. You're going to make more at-will attack rolls than encounter and daily power rolls over your character's life. Thus, with an uncontrollable reroll, the odds are skewed in favor of you wasting it on a weak power instead of great one. Seeker of Illefarn is just not that good, the lack of control hurts it too much.



As I noted, there's edge case options where Seeker is actually more valuable than a +1 to hit because to-hit and crit chance is very high. Such as a Daggermaster Rogue using Knockout.

And the odds are actually skewed towards better powers - the powers you use first are the ones more likely to be used on the roll, and typically, those are the daily/encounter powers, not the at-wills for the most part - simply because if you use it, you can't use it thereafter.

Also, let's be clear about what we're talking about here - the value of something that comes close to a +1 to hit, no surprise, +2 to all defenses for round 1 of combat, and a +2 bonus to one of the most important skills.  Honestly, that's at least Black for me.
And further, there's also that ugly truth we don't acknowledge often, but that absolutely matters: +1 to hit is often not as valuable as +1 to hit. A +1 to hit with Sly Flourish isn't worth as much as +1 to hit with Knockout, not by a long shot. Seeker of Illefarn has very good odds of coming up on a roll that is, in the grand scheme of things, irrelevant. You're going to make more at-will attack rolls than encounter and daily power rolls over your character's life. Thus, with an uncontrollable reroll, the odds are skewed in favor of you wasting it on a weak power instead of great one. Seeker of Illefarn is just not that good, the lack of control hurts it too much.



As I noted, there's edge case options where Seeker is actually more valuable than a +1 to hit because to-hit and crit chance is very high. Such as a Daggermaster Rogue using Knockout.

And the odds are actually skewed towards better powers - the powers you use first are the ones more likely to be used on the roll, and typically, those are the daily/encounter powers, not the at-wills for the most part - simply because if you use it, you can't use it thereafter.

Also, let's be clear about what we're talking about here - the value of something that comes close to a +1 to hit, no surprise, +2 to all defenses for round 1 of combat, and a +2 bonus to one of the most important skills.  Honestly, that's at least Black for me.



Alright, let's put it into perspective: how well do you think Seeker of Illefarn compares to a power point, a +1 to a roll, and a potential 1d4+1 to a roll?
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).
And further, there's also that ugly truth we don't acknowledge often, but that absolutely matters: +1 to hit is often not as valuable as +1 to hit. A +1 to hit with Sly Flourish isn't worth as much as +1 to hit with Knockout, not by a long shot. Seeker of Illefarn has very good odds of coming up on a roll that is, in the grand scheme of things, irrelevant. You're going to make more at-will attack rolls than encounter and daily power rolls over your character's life. Thus, with an uncontrollable reroll, the odds are skewed in favor of you wasting it on a weak power instead of great one. Seeker of Illefarn is just not that good, the lack of control hurts it too much.



As I noted, there's edge case options where Seeker is actually more valuable than a +1 to hit because to-hit and crit chance is very high. Such as a Daggermaster Rogue using Knockout.

And the odds are actually skewed towards better powers - the powers you use first are the ones more likely to be used on the roll, and typically, those are the daily/encounter powers, not the at-wills for the most part - simply because if you use it, you can't use it thereafter.

Also, let's be clear about what we're talking about here - the value of something that comes close to a +1 to hit, no surprise, +2 to all defenses for round 1 of combat, and a +2 bonus to one of the most important skills.  Honestly, that's at least Black for me.



Alright, let's put it into perspective: how well do you think Seeker of Illefarn compares to a power point, a +1 to a roll, and a potential 1d4+1 to a roll?



Reasonably well. That's all Noble Adept really gives and Seeker also gives the no surprise and +2 to all defenses for round 1. I'm not rating the Dark Sun themes yet, but I'd rate Noble Adept similar to what I rated Harper Agent, i.e. Dark Blue.

Purely a format critique here:


With such short descriptions, I find the sblocks extremely irritating. Going down the list row by row and clicking to open up descriptions of 1-2 short sentences each just feels rather needless.

And further, there's also that ugly truth we don't acknowledge often, but that absolutely matters: +1 to hit is often not as valuable as +1 to hit. A +1 to hit with Sly Flourish isn't worth as much as +1 to hit with Knockout, not by a long shot. Seeker of Illefarn has very good odds of coming up on a roll that is, in the grand scheme of things, irrelevant. You're going to make more at-will attack rolls than encounter and daily power rolls over your character's life. Thus, with an uncontrollable reroll, the odds are skewed in favor of you wasting it on a weak power instead of great one. Seeker of Illefarn is just not that good, the lack of control hurts it too much.



As I noted, there's edge case options where Seeker is actually more valuable than a +1 to hit because to-hit and crit chance is very high. Such as a Daggermaster Rogue using Knockout.

And the odds are actually skewed towards better powers - the powers you use first are the ones more likely to be used on the roll, and typically, those are the daily/encounter powers, not the at-wills for the most part - simply because if you use it, you can't use it thereafter.

Also, let's be clear about what we're talking about here - the value of something that comes close to a +1 to hit, no surprise, +2 to all defenses for round 1 of combat, and a +2 bonus to one of the most important skills.  Honestly, that's at least Black for me.



Alright, let's put it into perspective: how well do you think Seeker of Illefarn compares to a power point, a +1 to a roll, and a potential 1d4+1 to a roll?



Reasonably well. That's all Noble Adept really gives and Seeker also gives the no surprise and +2 to all defenses for round 1. I'm not rating the Dark Sun themes yet, but I'd rate Noble Adept similar to what I rated Harper Agent, i.e. Dark Blue.



Right, but no surprise isn't worth anything. Wolfen Weapons exist for that, so it's really +2 to defenses on Round 1 vs what Noble Adept gives plus the Defiling trick if you need it. That's actually quite a bit of stuff. To me, a Theme has to do something I couldn't get elsewhere, or at least, something I couldn't get cheaply enough. Dodging surprise isn't that, which cheapens the value of bonus Perception slightly, particularly because on the characters who can take Seeker of Illefarn, it's a bit overkill already (likely to have good WIS from the get go plus training, though not always).

---

On an entirely unrelated note, I feel like Infernal Slave might be underrated. Ragdolling an enemy a good ten squares or so with a smalltime power is really good at all levels, since it practically puts the enemy out of charge-move range, and it's easy to arrange. Something to consider, IMO - it has downsides, but when it works it works.
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).
Yakuza does wonders for a perma-stealth build.  Dex/Cha pixie cunning rogue...  attack and hide, dare them to move.  Add apathy(?) gloves to prevent shifts and your golden.  (or a few other OA builds).

That's fully in addition to any "surrender"-ing.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Yakuza does wonders for a perma-stealth build.  

Dex/Cha pixie cunning rogue...  attack and hide, dare them to move.

Add apathy(?) gloves to prevent shifts and your golden.



It's also godlike for Battleminds past level 5. Half of your reasons to get Melee Training disappear if you're a Yakuza (and are CHA oriented, but CHA superiority or bust IMO ). It really probably deserves a blue, and a good one. You don't need high intimidate to apply the attack bonus penalty IIRC, and ht's all you want out of it: forced surrenders are just a neat bonus.
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).
Yakuza does wonders for a perma-stealth build.  

Dex/Cha pixie cunning rogue...  attack and hide, dare them to move.

Add apathy(?) gloves to prevent shifts and your golden.



It's also godlike for Battleminds past level 5. Half of your reasons to get Melee Training disappear if you're a Yakuza (and are CHA oriented, but CHA superiority or bust IMO ). It really probably deserves a blue, and a good one. You don't need high intimidate to apply the attack bonus penalty IIRC, and ht's all you want out of it: forced surrenders are just a neat bonus.



Hmm. I think that's a bit on the overstating the case side. You need CA, and Battleminds won't always have it.

It is useful for the weird completely hidden Rogue builds, but on the other hand, that means they're investing in Charisma, which isn't going to be larger than +4 until 14th level. Which is just for OAs. Don't get me wrong, nice to have a big bonus for OAs, but unless you're getting an OA a round, that's still highly situational. 
Great handbook! We really needed a solid theme HB, and you've certainly provided.

In the Yakuza's defense, it's definitely an odd theme. It's amazing for, say, a Cold-Cheese Battlemind and great for any other defender, even those without much Cha. Just a stacking +2 to all defenses (potentially for an entire encounter) off a common trigger can really tip the balance in your favor.
Great handbook! We really needed a solid theme HB, and you've certainly provided.

In the Yakuza's defense, it's definitely an odd theme. It's amazing for, say, a Cold-Cheese Battlemind and great for any other defender, even those without much Cha. Just a stacking +2 to all defenses (potentially for an entire encounter) off a common trigger can really tip the balance in your favor.



Yeah, it's an odd duck, but a really good one. It's not as easy to use as say, Sohei, and that costs it points, but it does some serious work.

(Also, the Battlemind case is actually really easy to arrange. Cunning Stalker, Mark of Storm + Deadly Draw, Permafrost...there's sooooo many choices to get CA as a Battlemind it's pretty scary. This goes double if you're a Brutal Barrager, because those guys kill for CA and are good at manufacturing it.)
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).
Don't forget to add this to the theme handbook handbook.
Right, but no surprise isn't worth anything. Wolfen Weapons exist for that, so it's really +2 to defenses on Round 1 vs what Noble Adept gives plus the Defiling trick if you need it. That's actually quite a bit of stuff. To me, a Theme has to do something I couldn't get elsewhere, or at least, something I couldn't get cheaply enough. Dodging surprise isn't that, which cheapens the value of bonus Perception slightly, particularly because on the characters who can take Seeker of Illefarn, it's a bit overkill already (likely to have good WIS from the get go plus training, though not always).




Getting surprised clearly does happen.  And you really expect everyone to be buying Wolfen weapons?  What happens if they don't have easy access or use commonality rules? I know this is the charop forums, but guides are not made for theoretical optimization or to make dramatic assumptions on what is or is not available.  Plus, Noble Adept isn't even the same setting, and defiling can easily get you eaten in Dark Sun. 

MWAO is clearly right, it's a solid black.   At early heroic, if you have chargers in the party or are a charger, that level 2 utility is very nice.  Everything is useful on that theme. 

Yakuza does wonders for a perma-stealth build.  Dex/Cha pixie cunning rogue...  attack and hide, dare them to move.  Add apathy(?) gloves to prevent shifts and your golden.  (or a few other OA builds).

That's fully in addition to any "surrender"-ing.


Yakuza is great for defensive builds.  I've got it on one of my monks. 

Yakusa is also great for some strikers and defenders.  My invisible pixie blackguard pirate is a unholy terror with that theme.
Added in Heroes of the Elemental Chaos(have the book, don't expect me to expand further until it is out) 
Right, but no surprise isn't worth anything. Wolfen Weapons exist for that, so it's really +2 to defenses on Round 1 vs what Noble Adept gives plus the Defiling trick if you need it. That's actually quite a bit of stuff. To me, a Theme has to do something I couldn't get elsewhere, or at least, something I couldn't get cheaply enough. Dodging surprise isn't that, which cheapens the value of bonus Perception slightly, particularly because on the characters who can take Seeker of Illefarn, it's a bit overkill already (likely to have good WIS from the get go plus training, though not always).




Getting surprised clearly does happen.  And you really expect everyone to be buying Wolfen weapons?  What happens if they don't have easy access or use commonality rules? I know this is the charop forums, but guides are not made for theoretical optimization or to make dramatic assumptions on what is or is not available.  Plus, Noble Adept isn't even the same setting, and defiling can easily get you eaten in Dark Sun. 

MWAO is clearly right, it's a solid black.   At early heroic, if you have chargers in the party or are a charger, that level 2 utility is very nice.  Everything is useful on that theme. 

Yakuza does wonders for a perma-stealth build.  Dex/Cha pixie cunning rogue...  attack and hide, dare them to move.  Add apathy(?) gloves to prevent shifts and your golden.  (or a few other OA builds).

That's fully in addition to any "surrender"-ing.


Yakuza is great for defensive builds.  I've got it on one of my monks. 

Yakusa is also great for some strikers and defenders.  My invisible pixie blackguard pirate is a unholy terror with that theme.



Everybody? God no. Just one person. I don't know about you, but I don't expect to be jumped more than once every few days of adventuring. More than that means the DM is out for blood, and at that point you need things way bigger than themes or weapons.

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 really like how you organized this.  I agree with the ratings for the most part too and think seeker should be about black.

One thing of note, I am not sure where to add this, is that warpriests often like the darksun themes for the power swaps since encounter powers are often their weak spot.  Its unfortunate that they didn't do more encounter power swaps.
Just FYI, the version of Order Adept that's in the compendium & character builder is incorrect.  The Level 5 Feature allows for gaining/retraining any wizard utility (not just 2nd level) and the level 10 will bonus got errata-ed down to +1.  I'm not exactly sure where the compendium version comes from, as it nether fits the original version of the class as printed or the current errata-ed version.
Okay, added in Dark Sun themes. Most of them hover around Purple and Red, but Gladiator, Noble Adept, and Wilder still have some life to them. Noble Adept in a general kind of way, Gladiator and Wilder if you plan to do some specific optimization.

I think Warpriests who are looking for Power Swaps likely are drooling over Iron Wolf Warrior. Hard to beat all those no action powers, skills are Wisdom-based and Warpriests have MBA options so as to be able to charge effectively. 
I agree with that.  Its good for storm warpriests and couple of the other ones.

Unfortunately the warpriest build that needs power swaps the most is usually the death domain, which is better off with an implement and normally won't get much out of iron wolf charge unless you are doing a human or half elf build with an at will charge option. 

Edit: I would also mention under elemental priest that it has a pretty decent generic leaderish path associated with it with rainbringer.  Getting that path is the only reason I would take the theme.
Knight Hospitaler:
Level 1 freebie power: ally healing
Level 2 power: ally saving throw and buff
Level 6 power: go stand by an ally who needs healing
Level 10 power: ally healing and saving throw

This looks like a Leader to me. Why is it in the Defender group? 
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
Okay, added in Dark Sun themes. Most of them hover around Purple and Red, but Gladiator, Noble Adept, and Wilder still have some life to them. Noble Adept in a general kind of way, Gladiator and Wilder if you plan to do some specific optimization.

I think Warpriests who are looking for Power Swaps likely are drooling over Iron Wolf Warrior. Hard to beat all those no action powers, skills are Wisdom-based and Warpriests have MBA options so as to be able to charge effectively. 



Elemental Priest, Dune Trader, and Primal Guardian are getting way underrated. Tell me Storm of Debris, Sly Gambit, and most of the Priest powers are not competitive with the cream of the crop of class powers and I'll tell you you're not looking at them too closely. To put this in perspective, I consider Sly Gambit to be a power a Warlord would want and not swap out until level 27, if it helps any. It's that good. They deserve at least blacks, if not blues.
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).
Okay, added in Dark Sun themes. Most of them hover around Purple and Red, but Gladiator, Noble Adept, and Wilder still have some life to them. Noble Adept in a general kind of way, Gladiator and Wilder if you plan to do some specific optimization.

I think Warpriests who are looking for Power Swaps likely are drooling over Iron Wolf Warrior. Hard to beat all those no action powers, skills are Wisdom-based and Warpriests have MBA options so as to be able to charge effectively. 



Elemental Priest, Dune Trader, and Primal Guardian are getting way underrated. Tell me Storm of Debris, Sly Gambit, and most of the Priest powers are not competitive with the cream of the crop of class powers and I'll tell you you're not looking at them too closely. To put this in perspective, I consider Sly Gambit to be a power a Warlord would want and not swap out until level 27, if it helps any. It's that good. They deserve at least blacks, if not blues.



They're not competitive enough to overwhelm the generally poor quality of what you get from the theme if you're not planning on taking the power swaps.

Sly Gambit as an example - it doesn't trigger the OAs when it does the melee basic. So you're hoping it decides to attack someone in the right scenario instead of delaying until just after your turn or having some way of forcing it to attack someone. And it usually needs to be next to a creature to do the melee basic, which requires some careful positioning.
Knight Hospitaler:
Level 1 freebie power: ally healing
Level 2 power: ally saving throw and buff
Level 6 power: go stand by an ally who needs healing
Level 10 power: ally healing and saving throw

This looks like a Leader to me. Why is it in the Defender group? 



The closest equivalent assuming you don't take the power swaps is Shielding Swordmage - leaders don't typically use reactive healing, they use healing on demand. Knight Hospitaler on the other hand has a 'Hit me or I'll not only reduce the damage done, but I'll also hit you harder in the next round as a consequence.'

That sounds very similar to what the effect of a mark is, even if it isn't actually called that.