best 5th man ritual caster/skill monkey?

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What do you guys think would be a good 5th man character who is a ritual caster and has some decent knowledge skills (for skill challenges and whatnot)?  Also needs to be LFR legal.  The party I'm in now is: Knight, Cavalier, Warpriest, Rogue (hand-crossbow wielding drow), Monk, Avenger.  Most of them are not particularly optimized.

Right now I was thinking of going with a Pixie version of this Bard/Evermeet Warlock build:  community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

Any other ideas?  Oh yeah, I don't really want to play a wizard either, already played one through to epic...
Definitely Bard.

Bard/Resourceful Magician might be a good way to go, or if you want to boost your allies skills and increase your accuracy, Lifesinger is a good paragon path.
Bard is an obvious choice.

Animist or panther shaman can work with speak with spirits to give you a good boost 1/encounter.

Oghma warpriest is also a good option, if your group doesn't mind having a second warpriest in the party.  They use wis for int based skill checks and have some encounter utilities that boost skill checks.

Invoker works if you want a non-wizard pure controller, but he probably won't be as good as the leader options mentioned above and plays kind fo similar to a wizard.
2nd-ing Oghma.

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Bard all the way.  Fills a lot of holes in the party, partiulcarly as you could use a decent face.
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Yeah, the Cha and knowledge skills are both an area of concern for the party.  That's why I'm switching from my bastard-sword wielding Ranger|BCL Cleric to something else.

I think I might stick with the Bard idea, but I am intriguied by the Oghma warpriest idea too.  They don't get ritual casting for free though do they?  I hate to waste a feat on that unless it also opens up some good PP options.  Also, would it play significantly differently than an Earth Warpriest?  I think that's what the other Warpriest is and I don't really want to steal his thunder.

BTW GelatinousOctehedron, your Warpriest Guide isn't in your sig, in case you want to add it.
I think I did add it, but it disappeared at some point.  I will try adding it again.

Warpriests don't get ritual casting.  Oghma focus on dazing and debuffing psychic powers and take off in paragon with devout warpriest path.  They get an at will immobilize at 11 and at 16 become basic attack granting machines.  They also get a lot of debuffing through dizzying mace in paragon.

Earth domain focuses more on pushing, proning and damage resistance.  They are really good at toughening up a party.
I don't like leaders as a 5th man - too much healing.
Human/Eladrin Thieves get a ton of skill checks, baked in bonuses to skills, and they have no secondary stat. A Thief multiclassed into Bard gets ritual casting and access to a few great Bard feats for skill support.
 

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There are six other members in the party, the character he's dropping out is a hybrid cleric, and their only other leader is a warpriest. I'd say that he should definitely go with another leader, and for what he wants to do, Bard is the clear choice.
I don't like leaders as a 5th man - too much healing.
Human/Eladrin Thieves get a ton of skill checks, baked in bonuses to skills, and they have no secondary stat. A Thief multiclassed into Bard gets ritual casting and access to a few great Bard feats for skill support.
 


Neat idea, even more if you invest a bit on Int, going Cunning Sneak. Although starting with more than 15 Int is a bad idea, they basically need just a +2 for their feature.

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Major skill monkey for arcana, religion, dungeoneering, nature checks (plus having high training in the other wisdom skills) . Plus you are being the controller in the 5th slot....
I think I might look at some specific things given the 6 characters already known:
There's possibly 1 area attacker - the Monk
There's 1 ranged character - the Rogue
There's 1 leader - the Warpriest
There's no controller.
There's no ranged area attacker.
There's no ritual caster.

That's a lot of missing elements for a party of 7 and ritual caster would not be on the top of my list of 'this needs to be fixed right now!'

I'd likely go for a Bard|Psion with an Int/Cha basis. It has the following good elements:
With one feat(Bard of All Trades) and one skill selection(Arcana), you are effectively trained in all the Int and Cha-based skills.
With another feat(Learned Spellcaster), you MC into Wizard and gain Ritual Casting.
You have area attacks via Psion
You're set up to go into either Lifesinger or Dreamwalker, both of which are excellent Paragon Paths.
There are a number of very good Int/Cha races available, Tiefling, Eladrin, Gnome, Pixie 
I think I might look at some specific things given the 6 characters already known:
There's possibly 1 area attacker - the Monk
There's 1 ranged character - the Rogue
There's 1 leader - the Warpriest
There's no controller.
There's no ranged area attacker.
There's no ritual caster.

That's a lot of missing elements for a party of 7 and ritual caster would not be on the top of my list of 'this needs to be fixed right now!'

I'd likely go for a Bard|Psion with an Int/Cha basis. It has the following good elements:
With one feat(Bard of All Trades) and one skill selection(Arcana), you are effectively trained in all the Int and Cha-based skills.
With another feat(Learned Spellcaster), you MC into Wizard and gain Ritual Casting.
You have area attacks via Psion
You're set up to go into either Lifesinger or Dreamwalker, both of which are excellent Paragon Paths.
There are a number of very good Int/Cha races available, Tiefling, Eladrin, Gnome, Pixie 


+1 to this. A Gnome Bard/Psion MC Wizard should about cover your criteria.

"Something, something, something, Darkside. Utini."

I think a straight up Bard/Wizard will have the skills you need plus allow you to do plenty of good in the way of control, which I agree with Orc is missing. I would suggest throwing your hybrid talent toward armor or not using it at all. Pick up Ritual Casting if you feel it necessary.

I would consider multiclassing into Sorcerer for even more thunder support. I feel there are some options for the thunder magic user in all three classes, but I don't have my books so it is up to you to make it amazing.

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I think a straight up Bard/Wizard will have the skills you need plus allow you to do plenty of good in the way of control, which I agree with Orc is missing. I would suggest throwing your hybrid talent toward armor or not using it at all. Pick up Ritual Casting if you feel it necessary.

I would consider multiclassing into Sorcerer for even more thunder support. I feel there are some options for the thunder magic user in all three classes, but I don't have my books so it is up to you to make it amazing.



The three reasons I didn't mention Bard|Wizard are:
He just played a Wizard to Epic and most of the encounter/daily attack choices should be Wizard(or Psion) first.
If he's a Bard|Wizard, there isn't such an easy choice such as Learned Spellcaster to pick up Ritual Casting. Dreamwalker is an extraordinarily effective and fun controller path.
Plus, I would have thought a Bard MC wizard / Resourceful Magician would accomplish that better that Bard/Wizard Hybrid
Thanks for all the feedback guys.  I like the Bard|Psion MC Wizard idea, let me take a look at what I can do in the CB.  I have no idea how the hybrid Psion works so I'll have to read up on that.

EDIT: Yeah, are the power point rules for the hybrid described in the Compendium?  I can't find it.
Plus, I would have thought a Bard MC wizard / Resourceful Magician would accomplish that better that Bard/Wizard Hybrid



If you're about 17-19th level or so. If you're starting at 1st level, that's a lot of levels to wait to becoming a full-blown controller if the campaign even gets that far. Paragon paths that really kick in at 16th have two big downsides:
You need to wait until 16th.
Once you get to 16th, your DM might have a problem with the jump in power. 
Thanks for all the feedback guys.  I like the Bard|Psion MC Wizard idea, let me take a look at what I can do in the CB.  I have no idea how the hybrid Psion works so I'll have to read up on that.

EDIT: Yeah, are the power point rules for the hybrid described in the Compendium?  I can't find it.



Basically, if you're a hybrid psionic character, you have Power Points = number of at-wills*max PP usage + points granted by paragon path(if any)

So if you had Dishearten(2) and Dual Hallucination(4) and were a Dreamwalker(2), you'd have 8 PP.

Also, in CB, be careful of the bug - it will try to offer you an extra at-will at 3rd which doesn't really exist. 
Thanks for explaining the power points, and for the heads up on the CB bug, MWAO.

How do you post a character builder summary?  I was going to post what I have so far for the Pixie Bard|Psion/Dreamwalker.  He's primarilly a controller with leader tendencies, and obviously the ritual casting and skills thrown in for good measure.

I started with Cha and Int 18 after racials, and Wis 13 for Learned Spellcaster (I know rituals aren't the most important thing in the world, but they tend to be heavily relied upon in our campaign).

Here are the feats I was planning to take:

1   Orb Expertise
2   Learned Spellcaster
4   Hybrid Talent (Bard Armor Proficiency)
6   Improved Initiative
8   Bard of All Trades
10 Improved Defenses
11 Psychic Lock
12 Superior Will
14 Superior Implement Training (Accurate Orb)
16 Danger Sense

I'm actually starting at level 3, so that's the plan for the relatively near future.

Was thinking of Knight Hospitaler theme.  Took Dishearten and Staggering Note as my at-wills.
Thanks for explaining the power points, and for the heads up on the CB bug, MWAO.

How do you post a character builder summary?  I was going to post what I have so far for the Pixie Bard|Psion/Dreamwalker.  He's primarilly a controller with leader tendencies, and obviously the ritual casting and skills thrown in for good measure.

I started with Cha and Int 18 after racials, and Wis 13 for Learned Spellcaster (I know rituals aren't the most important thing in the world, but they tend to be heavily relied upon in our campaign).

Here are the feats I was planning to take:

1   Orb Expertise
2   Learned Spellcaster
4   Hybrid Talent (Bard Armor Proficiency)
6   Improved Initiative
8   Bard of All Trades
10 Improved Defenses
11 Psychic Lock
12 Superior Will
14 Superior Implement Training (Accurate Orb)
16 Danger Sense

I'm actually starting at level 3, so that's the plan for the relatively near future.

Was thinking of Knight Hospitaler theme.  Took Dishearten and Staggering Note as my at-wills.



Go to display character sheet in CB. Pick character summary instead of whatever sheet you're on. There's a button labeled clipboard. Click that. Make a post, then do paste.

It seems to work okay now for me, but sometimes it strips all the returns out of it, which is annoying.

Is there a reason you're doing Orb over Staff? I'd probably push up Bard Armor proficiency to 2nd(or even 1st in a practical game) - that's a bump to AC of +4, which makes you really hard to hit, particularly in a party with so many Defenders.

In general, I either do one of the following:
Take Improved Defenses or
Take 2 Superior Fort/Ref/Will feats(in your case, Superior Ref/Will) - one of your defenses is always going to be reasonably easy to hit and +2 to the defense in Paragon isn't going to change anything. But getting free CA on round 1 and +3 to Ref is worth more in my book than +2 to Fort/Ref.
Thanks for the help, below is the full summary now.

I went with Orb just to use one like Orb of Fickle Fate that gives a safe debuff, plus I thought the bonus to forced movement from orb expertise might be nice with Staggering Note (or any other bard powers with slides) as well.  Basically since we have two essentials defenders I figure I'll be using forced movement to get more enemies into their auras.

I moved the Hybrid Talent feat up as you suggested.  And I see what you're saying about Superior Ref/Will being better than Imp Def in this case, so I swapped for that as well.  Never played a character with such a low NAD, heh...

The items below I pretty much just threw in there to get reasonable enhancement bonuses.  Like I said I'm really starting at 3 so I don't start with very much.


====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Canto, level 16
Pixie, Bard/Psion, Dreamwalker
Hybrid Bard Option: Hybrid Bard Will
Discipline Focus (Hybrid) Option: Telepathy Focus (Hybrid)
Psionic Augmentation (Hybrid) Option: Hybrid Power Point Option
Hybrid Talent Option: Bard Armor Proficiency
Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)
Theme: Knight Hospitaler
 
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 9, CON 11, DEX 12, INT 22, WIS 14, CHA 22
 
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 8, CON 10, DEX 11, INT 16, WIS 13, CHA 16
 
 
AC: 31 Fort: 21 Ref: 31 Will: 32
HP: 94 Surges: 6 Surge Value: 23
 
TRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +19, Bluff +19, Diplomacy +19, Nature +17, Perception +15
 
UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +12, Athletics +10, Dungeoneering +14, Endurance +11, Heal +14, History +18, Insight +14, Intimidate +18, Religion +18, Stealth +14, Streetwise +18, Thievery +12
 
POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Knight Hospitaler Utility: Shield of Devotion
Pixie Utility: Pixie Dust
Pixie Utility: Shrink
Bard Feature: Majestic Word
Psion Feature: Send Thoughts
Dreamwalker Feature: Manifest Dream Form
Bard Attack 1: Staggering Note
Psion Attack 1: Dishearten
Psion Utility 2: Intellect Fortress
Bard Attack 3: Impelling Force
Bard Attack 5: Song of Discord
Bard Utility 6: Revitalizing Incantation
Psion Attack 9: Mind Blast
Psion Utility 10: Mind over Flesh
Dreamwalker Attack 11: Dream Blade
Dreamwalker Utility 12: Dream Stride
Psion Attack 13: Dual Hallucination
Psion Attack 15: Living Barrage
Psion Utility 16: Mind Blank
 
FEATS
Level 1: Orb Expertise
Level 2: Hybrid Talent
Level 4: Learned Spellcaster
Level 4: Ritual Caster
Level 6: Improved Initiative
Level 8: Bard of All Trades
Level 10: Superior Reflexes
Level 11: Psychic Lock
Level 12: Superior Implement Training (Accurate orb)
Level 14: Superior Will
Level 16: Danger Sense
 
ITEMS
Light Shield x1
Battle Harness Hide Armor +3 x1
Orb of Fickle Fate +3 x1
Amulet of Elegy +3 x1
====== End ======

Looks generally good. I'd still swap out Staff Expertise for Orb, even with your general movement capabilities. I'd have Superior Reflexes be Improved Defenses until you hit level 14, at which point you retrain it into Superior Reflexes. Mantle of Unity is a crazy good utility for level 10.

I'd switch Impelling Force to Blunder. I'd strongly consider Drums of the Wild Hunt to retrain into at Paragon - with Dreamwalker, you can do the following Action Point maneuver:
Standard: Dishearten area burst 1 on enemies with your conjuration either on top of them or in the middle of them.
AP: Drums of the Wild Hunt on them from your conjuration, thereby being able to teleport your allies 10 on a hit next to these enemies.

Your Knight ought to like that...

Reserve Maneuver is a feat I'd look at also - that could let you pick up both Blunder and Drums of the Wild Hunt to use. 
Great points, I switched the feats around like you mentioned, and went with Impelling Force and Mantle of Unity too.  I didn't look back at the level 1 encounter powers to spot Blunder.

What is it you see about the Staff that makes it so appealing to you?  Is it the provoking benefit?  Because I figured as a pixie for anything medium I can always just shift straight up above them to get out of their threatened area, which renders that benefit form Staff Expertise a little less valuable.

I'm actually starting to lean towards the other PP recommendation, Life Singer.  The re-roll against Will just seems awesome for Psion blasts, and the level 11 power looks like it can totally gimp a solo for a round.

In epic I was thinknig of retraining Learned Spellcaster for Multiclass Mastery to re-pick Learned Spellcaster and a Druid MC, then powerswap for Eagle's Splendor, but the CB doesn't seem to work for that retraining for some reason (it lets me pick Learned Spellcaster again, but the 2nd multiclass feat is only letting me pick other Wizard stuff like Acolyte Power, etc).
You can only MC into one class unless you are pure Bard.
You can only MC into one class unless you are pure Bard.



Not to mention, if you try to retrain into a power that you used to have, you trigger a CB bug.
Hybrid Bard should be able to take Multiclass Mastery, right?

If the CB bug prevents me from doing the retraining I can always just un-pick the feat I need to replace it when I get to that point, that should work.
Hybrid Bard should be able to take Multiclass Mastery, right?

If the CB bug prevents me from doing the retraining I can always just un-pick the feat I need to replace it when I get to that point, that should work.

Yes, but all it allows you to do is take two MC feats for the price of one. It doesn't override the restriction that you can only MC Into one class. Acolyte/Novice/Adept power are still MC feats, which is why you can pick one for Multiclass Mastery.
Yes, but all it allows you to do is take two MC feats for the price of one. It doesn't override the restriction that you can only MC Into one class. Acolyte/Novice/Adept power are still MC feats, which is why you can pick one for Multiclass Mastery.



Ahh ok I see, thanks for the clarification.  So much for that idea.  Well at least I can double up on power swaps if I want, there could still be some value there I suppose.
Yes, but all it allows you to do is take two MC feats for the price of one. It doesn't override the restriction that you can only MC Into one class. Acolyte/Novice/Adept power are still MC feats, which is why you can pick one for Multiclass Mastery.



Ahh ok I see, thanks for the clarification.  So much for that idea.  Well at least I can double up on power swaps if I want, there could still be some value there I suppose.



You can also take Learned Spellcaster and Arcane Initiate.
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