What are the worst classes to play in D&D Encounters?

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I'm wanting to make the next season of D&D Encounters more challenging so I'm going to propose that my group play the worst classes in the game. I'd like to give them some variety so 2 -3 classes per role would be nice. The only requirement is that they suck at low level. In D&D Encounters you start at level 1 and end at level 3 or 4 and you usually get 1 random magic item per session so this would be considered a low level/magic game. So far I have...

Striker
1. Vampire


Leader



Controller
1. Seeker
2. Warlock (Binder)

Defender


I'm not putting any restrictions in other then class.
Actually a sad recurring theme is several of the current splatbook choices are usually suboptimal for the Encounter tie-in.
With HoS I played a binder in that Enc season, facing many foes that were resistant to my powers.
Then with HotF, kept running into fey-bane type foes/powers.

I am sure with the current season any elemental-themed toon will probably suffer a disadvantage.  
I made an elementalist (sorcerer) so now I am betting on elemental-resist heavy foes.

Maybe I have had just a run of bad luck though, perhaps this season will be different.

I'd choose the essentials bard or sentinel for leader.
And warden for defender.

 
Essential bard is better than the sentinel IMO.  I would go with Sentinel, Vampire, Binder and Cavalier.  Death domain warpriest has some problems if you don't have access to power swaps and I think corellon needs some too, but I am still working on that one in my warpriest guide.

What classes are you allowed?  Are you allowed any power swaps?

A lot of the badness of some classes doesn't become that noticable until higher levels when they start to fall behind the others in their roll.  A first level vampire is not going to be that bad for a casual party, but a level 30 level one in a high op party won't contribute much from what I know of the class.
Would you consider odd combinations of hybrids to further inhibit your players? The options are near limitless if you are willing to do so. Also try to find race/class options that are not synergistic. Maybe all your players can not have a race with a primary stat boost to the class of choosing.

Gnome Battlemind
Shardmind Fighter
Goliath Wizard
Tiefling Seeker
Warforged Bard
Eladrin Shaman
Minotaur Vampire
Halfling Barbarian

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Yer crazy if you think warden is the worst defender. They can take punishment like no one else. The right power selection is important though, more so than other defenders.
You know Encounters only allows Essentials classes/races plus whatever book is released with that encounters adventure (and only that one...not allowed in further encounters).  Thus, you are never supposed to see a warlord or a warden, etc.  You only see a Skald Bard in "Beyond the Crystal Caves" and no others, etc etc.

Those fights are entirely written with the beginner in mind.  A sub-optimal character does just fine.  Running them, I felt that if i wanted to add challenge, I would just raise the monster defences by 2.  Crap characters with a 16 primary stat and no expertise hitting on an 8 was not tough enough.


@ Rerednaw I agree with Jugulator007, Wardens do not suck.

@ GelatinousOctahedron
I'm not familiar with Power Swaps. But anything legal per the Home Game tab of the builder is fine with our GM not counting the optional stuff like spellscars.

@ kabooki369 I wont force them to play hybrids or bad race combos. This will be a tough sell as it is.
I wont force them to play hybrids or bad race combos. This will be a tough sell as it is.



Why not give them a choice of bad race combo, bad hybrid, or bad class? There really isn't a bad Leader class as an example(Magic Stones alone makes Sentinel extremely competitive for Encounters), but there are bad races for particular leader classes.
Eladrin make good animist shamans.  Any race that can get 18 int/16 wis is fine for that particular build if you load up on lazy powers and get an accurate implement for your non-lazy ones.

And I missed wardens being mentioned as bad defenders.  They have to be built right more than a lot of other defenders, but they are plenty effective if built right.  My favorite defender class at higher levels once you get multiple daily forms to pick from.  Worst defender is probably cavalier, followed by the weaker non-hybrid swordmage builds.
I'm mostly doing this because Encounters has been too easy and we are not using very good strategy. A bad race combo just makes them miss more often. While that does indirectly force us to play better it would be to easy to just blame it on bad rolls or bad stats. I'm hoping we play the bad classes that don't normally get played and learn to play as a team.
With few exceptions, Essentialsized classes are way worse than their counterparts. Cavaliers are terrible defenders. Bladesingers are miserable controllers. Vampires are uninspiring strikers. Sentinels are better than the other three I mentioned, but they're far behind real leaders.
Bladesingers are miserable controllers



They hold up surprisingly well in Encounters, being that 1. they're better than Binders by a mile and 2. They're completely servicable strikers. Bladesong lasts you 2 rounds, which is about the typical length of a standard D&D Encounters fight if you play with reasonable people.
Bladesingers are miserable controllers



They hold up surprisingly well in Encounters, being that 1. they're better than Binders by a mile and 2. They're completely servicable strikers. Bladesong lasts you 2 rounds, which is about the typical length of a standard D&D Encounters fight if you play with reasonable people.



Cavaliers and Sentinels aren't bad either. 7 hp of damage is miniscule at 7th, but nasty at 1st-3rd. Sentinels have Magic Stones, which is a very, very nice controller power.

Vampires are a bit on the fragile side at that point unless you spend a feat or two. 
Encounters is limited enough. Custom upgrade each encounter, or just give the monsters +4 init and damage (+2 for minions), call it a day. Do it on the encounter/monster side, not the PC side, basically.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
Encounters is limited enough. Custom upgrade each encounter, or just give the monsters +4 init and damage (+2 for minions), call it a day. Do it on the encounter/monster side, not the PC side, basically.



Funny enough, that'll bring up monster damage this season to within the bounds of one-shotting a PC completely with a good damage roll.

My table plays by doing no-healer-runs, if you're willing to challenge yourself that way.
Encounters is limited enough. Custom upgrade each encounter, or just give the monsters +4 init and damage (+2 for minions), call it a day. Do it on the encounter/monster side, not the PC side, basically.



Funny enough, that'll bring up monster damage this season to within the bounds of one-shotting a PC completely with a good damage roll.

My table plays by doing no-healer-runs, if you're willing to challenge yourself that way.


By the numbers.  My toon.  +11 vs. AC. (ok for level 1, right?)  Miss, Action point, miss.  Second round, miss.
Next combat: Round 1, one hit, dying.  Toon died before anyone could help. 

Sounds reasonably challenging to me. 
I missed the days when a +6 to hit vs AC was the norm. Man, were those 20 (22) - AC Hobgoblin soldiers ever scary.
I missed the days when a +6 to hit vs AC was the norm. Man, were those 20 (22) - AC Hobgoblin soldiers ever scary.


That's right.  Make everyone use the starting party from Keep on the Shadowfell.  It is what the game designers considered to be the benchmark party, so they should work out fine, right? :D
O-ssassin.  (vampire isn't THAT bad).
Swarm Druid.  (AC fail).
Binder.

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.

Actually a sad recurring theme is several of the current splatbook choices are usually suboptimal for the Encounter tie-in.
With HoS I played a binder in that Enc season, facing many foes that were resistant to my powers.
Then with HotF, kept running into fey-bane type foes/powers.

I am sure with the current season any elemental-themed toon will probably suffer a disadvantage.  
I made an elementalist (sorcerer) so now I am betting on elemental-resist heavy foes.

Maybe I have had just a run of bad luck though, perhaps this season will be different.

I'd choose the essentials bard or sentinel for leader.
And warden for defender.

 



And the lack of DR piercing makes it even more frustrating.
O-ssassin.  (vampire isn't THAT bad).
Swarm Druid.  (AC fail).
Binder.



A ranged O-ssassin puts out 1d8+1d6+dex+cha in damage, and has at-will teleport capabilities. Taking Cruel Shroud at level 1 also gets you perma-CA. You're also up at least a daily compared to an essentials class. That's not entirely bad. I'd play that over a Slayer, if only because not having real powers would bore me to tears.

Swarm Druids in Hide, 18 Con and 12 Dex have 14 AC and virtual resist 4 at level 1. Having resist 4 on at all times at level 1 is pretty serviceable.

The thing about D&D Encounters is that its only level 1-3, and nearly any class is at least nominally capable of being a baseline classless amorphous tofu block that does 1d8+stat or better, with some bells and whistles. No matter how poorly some of those features scale  (Swarm Druid, Bladesinger), the benefits those classes get out of the box at level 1 are at least sufficient to make them shine for 3 levels.

The Binder, on the other hand, has flaw in that it literally is a amorphous, classless blob capable of only dealing 1d8+stat damage a turn. It's a bad class in that out of the box, it has no useful bells and whistles that matter, or even worth mentioning.
If you are looking for a challenging defender to play,

Any Defender with Vampire MC (2 healing surges).

 
O-ssassin.  (vampire isn't THAT bad).
Swarm Druid.  (AC fail).
Binder.

A ranged O-ssassin puts out 1d8+1d6+dex+cha in damage, and has at-will teleport capabilities. Taking Cruel Shroud at level 1 also gets you perma-CA. You're also up at least a daily compared to an essentials class. That's not entirely bad. I'd play that over a Slayer, if only because not having real powers would bore me to tears.

I'm not sure the +Cha is reliable enough to really count...  even if it was (16, 12 without), i'd still take a vampire.  They do have high mobility though.

Vamps get 1d10+2+Dex+Cha = 15.5, with significant regen, THP/push/pull, with and can attack any NAD.  IMO, their one of the top (at low level).

Rogues get 1d4+2d6+Dex+Cha = 17.5, as well as +1 to hit.  CA requirements can be a bit rough at level 1 though.

Rangers, do 1d8+1d8+(1d6 * 1.5) = 15.25....

Avenger's will do (1d12+Wis) * 1.5 = 17.25.  An occaisional +6, good AC, and a touch of control.

Monk's do 1d8+Dex+(Wis/Con/Str) = 12.5.  But all of their stuff comes with a strong secondary effect, including some AOE's (so probably closer to 16 damage).  They also have high defenses (especially the Con one), and massive mobility.

Executioners are 1d8+Dex+1d8 = 14.  With some minor control.

Sorcerer's are 1d10+Dex+2+Cha = 15.5, but good targeting capacity and minor control.

So i guess i'd rate them as...

Vamps.
Rogues.
Avengers.
Monks.
Sorcerer's
Rangers.
Executioners.
O-ssassins.

Swarm Druids in Hide, 18 Con and 12 Dex have 14 AC and virtual resist 4 at level 1. Having resist 4 on at all times at level 1 is pretty serviceable.

True.  Swarm druids are actually very good at level 1-2, good at levels 3-4, ok at level 5-6, poor at levels 7-8, and then suck for the rest of the game.

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.

At level 1-4 most any class can be servicable. For example, vampires are fine at that level.  Competent play and not making stupid build choices (for example, a warden/vampire or a shade vampire) is what makes the difference at that level. Of course, there are some builds that stand out as good, but that is different from just asking about what works. 
I think I might pick death or corellon warpriest for your leader then.  They start out a little weak as leaders, but can get a lot better quickly as they level.  By level 3 or so they have caught up if built right since they are really not that far behind.  They mainly don't have good leadery level 1 encounter powers and corellon only has one real leadery at will.

For a real challenge you should probably go leaderless since there are no really bad leaders.
Well....

the worst would probably be a swarm druid, who focuses on human form... 

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.

I played a sentinel for 1.3 seasons (started in ch3 of one season).  I had no trouble keeping a party of 3-7 healthy and we has CA all the time from the animal companion.   The heal was very much proactive from using tending strike all the time.  It hands out temps hit or miss.


I using a bladesinger now, gnome, and its interesting.  I'm having fun with the character, but not sure how it will hold up as a controller.  I think the hunter I played a couple of seasons ago was probably better - and it was mostly single creature control - but at least had an at-will burst attack.


If you want to challenge them, I think leaderless is the way to go.  Force them to use potions and second wind.  


Encounters is not really designed to challenge.  It's more intro.  If you read the field reports, there are plenty of tables with TPK's but its mostly party role inbalance and bad team work.  If your table has good teamwork they will win every encounter.  Where I play, we have regulars who have gotten like this.  We discuss party balance for upcoming season and when we come in every reacts well to each others actions.  And we focus fire really well.  We particular enjoy hitting bosses and solos.  The best was back in the neverwinter season, we took the dragon in session 2 (all 1st level character) in 2 rounds.


As other have suggested you could up the defense, initiative, hp, or damage of bad guys.  But I think the result will be slugfest and just drag things out.  Which is not really fun.  You might try having some enemies  come in in round 2 or 3 and come in from the flank or back where they get a shot at squishies.  Give the enemies a reason to focus fire on the pc's.  Maybe they don't like healers, or wizards, for some reason.  Or from some roleplay before the battle the pick a pc that was particularly agitating.  Maybe give the monsters a reactionary power - like when bloodied they get +2 hit/dmg and -1 AC/Ref or make an mba against the first enemy to hit them.


Adding terrain effects or traps might work well too.  There is really no reason you have to hold to the encounters as published.


TjD

It's very much like low level lfr. Playing with missing roles and unbalanced parties is some of the fun I have.
Competent play and not making stupid build choices (for example, a warden/vampire or a shade vampire) is what makes the difference at that level.

This. The level 1 examples you guys are comparing are pretty much optimized. It seems silly to intentionally pick the worst class and then try to optimize the hell out of it, when instead you can just pick any class you like and take powers feats that aren't strong but you find funny/ridiculous/flavorful.  Hell, even a Fighter can be bad if you give him a crappy STR. I'd say that route is more fun in the end, if you're just looking for a challenge.
Any class or any race with STR 8 DEX 10 (or vice versa) will be AC-incompetent for the life of the character.

Pick a class that lacks MBA or RBA, whichever it needs to do its job.

Deliberately sabotage your CON (and therefore HP) to make your character fragile.

Will that be challenge enough?

(If not, try hard to be a dysfunctional "group".)

Best complements I have yet received:

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Making it up as I go along:

{BRJN} If I was writing the Tome of Lore, I would let Auppenser sleep. But I also would have him dream. In his dreaming he re-activates the innate powers of (some) mortal minds. Or his dreaming changes the nature of reality - currently very malleable thanks to Spellplague &c. Or whatever really cool flavor text and pseudo-science explanation people react positively to.

{Lord_Karsus} You know, I like that better than the explanations for the Spellplague.

 

Prepped ahead of time:

I started the thread "1001 Failed Interrogation Results" (which seems to have faded into that great electronic goodnight, alas)

{ADHadh} These are all good and make sense! I just can't come up with something that's not covered here and is not completely ridiculous.

 

My 4e characters:

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Active:

LFR Half-elf StarLock8 Gondolin Nightstar

AoA Dwarf Guardian Druid8 Narvik from House Wavir

Character Ready-to-go:

Neverwinter Dwarven Invoker / Heir of Delzoun, worships Silvanus (!) "Truenamer" - speaks Words of Creation

Concepts I'm kicking around:

"Buggy" Wizard - insect flavor on everything.  His DMPC version is going to become a Lamia.  Becauae lichdom is so cliche.

Halfling Tempest Fighter - just because nobody else is doing it

Shifter Beast-o-phile Druid - for Nentir Vale campaign

Bend roles.

Vampire - for any role except striker
Binder - for any role except controller
Seeker - for any role except controller
Sentinel - for any role except controller or leader

Get the idea?

"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
Make this fun. Just tell your players to come up with an unusual concept for a character and then try to express that concept through the build. For example, a former dwarven fighter who decided that he wanted to be a wizard instead - leading him to abandon his warrior training, so now he goes around with a Strength of 16 and an intelligence of 16 as a pure wizard (not hybrid).

Or the smoothtalking rogue who prefers to con you instead of stabbing you, putting his time and attention into Charisma more than Dexterity.

 Take a character concept and try to illustrate it. It'll be interesting because it breaks stereotypes and therefore suboptimal but highly memorable. Pick powers based on what the character WOULD have, not what an optimizer thinks they SHOULD have.

When I DM, I encourage my players to do this (though not to the extent of making bad stat choices) and it always leads to very memorable characters.

... Of course, when I play I optimize the hell out of everything - so that's a bit hypocritical. But I also spend a lot of time crafting a cool story for my optimized character. Today will be the maiden voyage of my super-optimized ranger who can take down a solo dragon by himself in a round... But just so happens to be an underconfident, diffident cowardly fellow whose first impulse upon seeing a group of 4 goblins on the road is to scout around to make extra, extra sure there aren't any more.