Looking for improvements to my Dwarf ES Warden...

9 posts / 0 new
Last post

Our regular group is working on a couple of one-shot high-level encounters, just to test some high-level mechanics that we haven't experienced much of previously.  I've created plenty of high level guys and never had a chance to use them, so I'm attempting to fine-tune some.

One in particular that I'm interested in is my Dwarf Earthstrength warden.  Our DM tends to respect marks fairly regularly, so I was attempting to make a fairly resilient character, and well, that's sort of what wardens are for.  I am trying to decide on how best to improve him - character summary posted below.

Some of the benefits are - 3 second winds per encounter, with two daily powers to recover second wind again, with +9 to defenses and DR/8 afterwards.  Somewhat decent damage bumps from Crushing Guardian and Crippling Crush/Sudden Roots/Maw of the Guardian.  The weaknesses are awfully low reflex and will defenses.

As I said, I don't have much practical experience at high level play.  Should I trade out some offense feats (sudden roots probably?) for epic reflexes/will?  Will I be ok with 2 relatively low defenses considering the 20 73-hp surges per day?

Any suggestions as far as gear goes, also?  I could go for the Cloak of the Walking Wounded, but would have to pick a 30th level enchantment for the craghammer and get rid of Maw of the Guardian.  Any suggestions for practical usages would be appreciated.  Have I gone overboard and made him too resilient?

I've perused most of the defender handbooks and the Warden one in particular, and tried to apply much of what I learned there, but I'm certainly looking for more help if it can be provided...




Character Builder Summary

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======

Dwarf Earthstrength Warden, level 29

Dwarf, Warden, Earthfast Brigadier, Unyielding Sentinel

Guardian Might Option: Earthstrength

Stalwart Guardian Option: Strength



STR 28, CON 28, DEX 14, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 12



STR 16, CON 16, DEX 12, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 10



AC: 48 Fort: 45 Ref: 37 Will: 38

HP: 256 Surges: 20 Surge Value: 73



Athletics +26, Endurance +28, Heal +21, Nature +21, Perception +21



Acrobatics +14, Arcana +14, Bluff +15, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +18, History +14, Insight +16, Intimidate +15, Religion +14, Stealth +14, Streetwise +15, Thievery +14



Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack

Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack

Dwarf Racial Power: Dwarven Resilience

Warden Feature: Warden's Fury

Warden Feature: Warden's Grasp

Warden Attack 1: Weight of Earth

Warden Attack 1: Thorn Strike

Endurance Utility 2: Inspiring Fortitude

Warden Utility 6: Bear's Endurance

Warden Attack 7: Mountain Hammer

Warden Attack 9: Form of the Oak Sentinel

Warden Utility 10: Spiritual Rejuvenation

Earthfast Brigadier Attack 11: Earthfast Assault

Earthfast Brigadier Utility 12: Press the Advantage (Earthfast Brigadier)

Warden Attack 15: Form of the Crushing Mountain

Warden Utility 16: Cleansing Earth

Warden Attack 17: Eager Vine Strike

Earthfast Brigadier Attack 20: Stonechannel Strike

Warden Utility 22: Renewal

Unyielding Sentinel Utility 26: Undying Vanguard

Warden Attack 27: Glacial Hammer

Warden Attack 29: Form of the Imperious Phoenix



Level 1: Dwarven Weapon Training

Level 2: Bravura Leader

Level 4: Improved Defenses

Level 6: Bludgeon Expertise

Level 8: Crippling Crush

Level 10: Sudden Roots

Level 11: Dwarven Durability

Level 12: Earthstrength Resilience

Level 14: Crushing Guardian

Level 16: Toughness

Level 18: Earthstrength Defenses

Level 20: Shield Mastery

Level 21: Second Skin

Level 22: Epic Recovery

Level 24: Primal Resurgence

Level 26: Bludgeon Mastery

Level 28: Epic Resurgence



Roc Hide Armor of Enduring Health +6 x1

Maw of the Guardian Craghammer +6 x1

Gorget of Reciprocity x1

Iron Armbands of Power (paragon tier) x1

Shield of Deflection Heavy Shield (epic tier) x1

Eye of Awareness x1

Airstriders x1

Ring of Feather Fall x1

Belt of Mountain Endurance x1

Golden Ring of Teros x1

Gauntlets of Blood (paragon tier) x1

====== End ======

The Hairhelmet
Parry gauntlets for extra 2nd wind defenses.  Cloak of the walking wounded is AWESOME if your DM respects your mark like you say.  I would also look into a head/neck slot to mitigate stuns/dazes.

I also looked at EB for my PP, but ultimately settled on icewrought sentinel. 
I'm not an expert but I have made a dwarven ES warden myself up to level 30, so I can give you my opinion. Overall you've got a pretty good build. I'm not sure what you're going for except toughness. My build was also trying to be sticky so enemies couldn't get past me, so that might bias some of my thoughts here. Suggestions that I have:

Your reflex and will saves need to be upped, which you already know. After AC, reflex is the most attacked defense; that particularly needs to be raised to at least 13 above whatever your level is as a good rule of thumb, preferably 15 above. I'll talk a bit more about improving this later.

Powers: I think you've made good choices. I prefer the skill power Endure Pain at lvl 2. I replaced my lvl 7 encounter for lvl 23 Nature's Ally, which I think is great for control and damage. I replaced lvl 9 daily with Form of Crushing Mountain, which was replaced with Form of Entangling Spider at lvl 25. That form is nice, as is Night Hunter, Autumn Reaper and Jungle Lord depending on what you want him to do. Either way I think oak sentinel is underpowered at epic. Your lvl 27 is good, my favorite is Screaming Wind Strike. At level 29, to my mind Imperious Phoenix is pure awesomeness...Soul Serpent is good but it does nothing against fliers. In epic you're going to have fliers.

Feats: I'm not exactly clear on why you took Bravura Leader. It can be helpful to your party members I guess. I'd definitely recommend taking Epic Reflexes, that will help and Epic Will would be good too. If you want you can take Armor Spec: Hide then just retrain it for Second Skin, that will save you a feat slot.

Equipment: You might wanna go to Shield of Ultimate Defense if you wanna pump up all of your defenses as well. 

That's all I've got right now, good build though!

Shield of the barrier sentinels is also nice when you are mobbed and have mark respecting monsters, at paragon you break even on AC and ref for the mobs having CA, and at epic you come out ahead.  Ooh and don't forget the elven chain shirt! Free +1/2/3 AC, though it's at the 9's so it comes kind of late in the tier.
@Jug - hm, both the shield and elven shirt seem pretty handy... I never seem to look at the wondrous items so the shift slipped past me...  I do have unyielding sentinel for my ED so I roll all saves twice, counting on that and the font to help get rid of dazes and stuns...

icewrought looks pretty nice for keeping people from getting away from you...

@Jasonite - I'd heard/read somewhere on all the op boards (I've lurked for years, but don't participate much... my op-fu is weak...) that a good defender should be level+18 for AC and level+15 or +16 for NADs... just don't know how to get them that high with certain builds... I'd crafted a battlemind that was close (49/48/44/44) but that had a lot of help from Blackstone Guardian and Topaz Crusader...  so I'll definitely swap something out for Epic Reflexes...

for powers, I was debating between Inspiring Fortitude and Endure Pain...  nature's ally is pretty nice but I like how mountain hammer is basically a 'you're not gonna hit me for a round' type of power with -9 to all attack rolls...  so what dailies would you go with, Imperious Phoenix, Night Hunter, and Crushing Mountain?  I like that for Oak Sentinel any enemy that his me with a melee attack is taking 18 damage, that seems pretty handy...

I've got second skin in there already... bravura leader is multiclass warlord so I can snag the sweet Earthfast Brigadier PP...  for a con-based dwarf tough to pass up Earthfast Recovery (when you or ally uses second wind (which I get at least 3/encounter) I or the ally within 5 squares using 2nd wind will regain additional 23 hp), Dwarven Payback (when an enemy misses me, choose an ally as a free action, ally gets my con bonus (+9) to damage rolls vs the enemy that missed till the end of that ally's next turn, nice nova boost for the striker), both attack powers do extra con modifier damage if I'm wielding a hammer, and then Stonechannel Strike (4[W] and me and all allies who can see me regain second wind)... I figure that's a PREMIER paragon path for con-based hammer wielders...

definitely need to up my defenses though... any other suggestions, other than epic reflexes/will?  good items for reflex, other than some boots?  I do like the airstriders, so that I only have to have one flying form...

thanks for all the feedback thus far, all...


The Hairhelmet
Endure pain is AMAZING btw.  I never finish a day without using it.
Thanks for explaining the Bravura Leader, I should've put that together. Bludgeon Expertise is more of a striker feat, it isn't exactly a high priority for you as a defender, that's swappable IMO. I feel the same way about Dwarven Wpn Training, the chief reason you took it was to increase damage. I totally forgot about Rapid Wild Defense, that's a great epic feat. Also, if you take Spec. Armor: Hide in paragon, you'll still take Second Skin as soon as you hit level 21 but it won't take up a feat slot, which is ideal.

As for dailies, for me my highest level dailies were Imperious Phoenix, Entangling Spider and Howl of Wrath. Remember though, they synergize with the kind of warden I wanted to build which may be different than yours.

Let me share a resource with you:   www.enworld.org/forum/d-d-4th-edition-di...
This discusses and statistically analyses the kinds of attacks that monsters do per tier. Specifically the attack bonus per tier, per defense. Take a look and tell me what you think?

Don't know if anyone told you, but MC Druid opens up Vital Form, which lets you regain second wind one more time, once per encounter!
@abk - I did an exhaustive search of the compendium for additional sources of second wind, and came across vital form.  But I didn't really feel like investing in any wild-shape feats (pretty feat-starved as it is) and earthfast brigadier offers a lot of good benefits.  But it was considered... thanks...

@Jas - I'll take a look at the link you provided, probably later tonight after I take my son to the playground.   Rapid Wild Defense is definitely solid, but my DM tends to respect marks fairly highly - I don't think my paladin (level 11 in our standard campaign) has inflicted DC damage more than like 3 or 4 times through 11 levels...  second skin stil takes up a feat slot, I'd just be replacing hide specialization taken earlier which means I'd have to find somewhere else to take my other feats - since we're starting at 29 I'm less concerned about the actual progression...

I do want to maintain some decent damage capability, that's why DWT, bludgeon expertise/mastery, and CC/crushing guardian are there...  but that's really only 5 of 17 feats for offense, the rest for defense or power recovery...

I'll get back to you after I've checked out that link...

The Hairhelmet