Dual Role Defender/Striker

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Hi CharOP,

I started a new campaign recently (Level 1) and wanted to build a champion who excels at both defending and striking. I've read through the handbooks, but due to limitation on time and the complexity that 4e has become, I'm at a loss of how to begin. I'm looking for a defender who does good damage, has good tactical options to control monster aggression (be it field control, marking or otherwise), and has good defenses to be the fronliner for his team. I would like to avoid essentials Knight class (as powerful as it is, it is tactically boring). Thanks.

-Blitz 
Half-Orc Str 18/Dex 18/Con 12/Wis 12
Theme: Elemental Initiate - react when missed + opens up Ki Focus
Background Auspicious Birth(use Str for hit points)
Fighter|Ranger
1: Hybrid Talent: Tempest Fighter(+1 to hit/+2 damage, use two short swords)
2: Light Blade Expertise
4: Cunning Stalker
6: Sneak of Shadows

Powers:
1: Dual Strike, Twin Strike, Off-Hand Strike, Jaws of the Wolf
2: Invigorating Stride
3: Rain of Blows
5: Rain of Steel
6: Kirre's Roar
7: Come And Get It

That should keep do it until then.
O.O interesting.  This figher|ranger rely on leather then?
O.O interesting.  This figher|ranger rely on leather then?



Actually, unless there's a Leather-specific enchantment, you could go with Hide. Hide + DEX gives the same AC as Scale (which you get from the Fighter half), but there's no speed penalty.
O.O interesting.  This figher|ranger rely on leather then?



Actually, unless there's a Leather-specific enchantment, you could go with Hide. Hide + DEX gives the same AC as Scale (which you get from the Fighter half), but there's no speed penalty.



One better actually as Tempest gives you Two Weapon Defense for free. Pick up a Rhythm Blade Short Sword at some point and then you have Scale+Heavy Shield AC.
O.O interesting.  This figher|ranger rely on leather then?



Actually, unless there's a Leather-specific enchantment, you could go with Hide. Hide + DEX gives the same AC as Scale (which you get from the Fighter half), but there's no speed penalty.



One better actually as Tempest gives you Two Weapon Defense for free. Pick up a Rhythm Blade Short Sword at some point and then you have Scale+Heavy Shield AC.



That's right. I haven't looked at the Fighter in a while, so I forgot about the Two Weapon Defense bonus.
Pursuit Avengers can get very defender-y. I haven't seen one tricked out in Defender mode for a while though. Likewise, Warlocks can be very defender-y with Protective Hex and a few other supporting components. There will be some threads on Defenderlocks out there.

For defenders that deal damage, fighters can get pretty scary.
Here's a character summary for a possible 8th level character - I haven't tried to get too complicated in terms of magic items.

Show

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Strikefender, level 8
Half-Orc, Fighter/Ranger
Hybrid Ranger Option: Hybrid Ranger Fortitude
Hybrid Talent Option: Fighter Combat Talent
Fighter Combat Talent Option: Tempest Technique (Hybrid)
Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)
Theme: Elemental Initiate

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 20, CON 12, DEX 20, INT 10, WIS 12, CHA 8

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 16, CON 12, DEX 16, INT 10, WIS 12, CHA 8


AC: 26 Fort: 24 Ref: 24 Will: 18
HP: 68 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 17

TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +13, Athletics +13, Nature +10, Perception +10, Stealth +13, Thievery +13

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +4, Bluff +3, Diplomacy +3, Dungeoneering +5, Endurance +6, Heal +5, History +4, Insight +5, Intimidate +5, Religion +4, Streetwise +3

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Elemental Initiate Attack: Disciplined Counter
Half-Orc Racial Power: Furious Assault
Fighter Attack: Combat Challenge
Hunter's Quarry Power: Hunter's Quarry
Ranger Attack 1: Twin Strike
Fighter Attack 1: Dual Strike
Ranger Attack 1: Off-Hand Strike
Ranger Attack 1: Jaws of the Wolf
Ranger Utility 2: Invigorating Stride
Fighter Attack 3: Rain of Blows
Fighter Attack 5: Rain of Steel
Fighter Utility 6: Kirre's Roar
Fighter Attack 7: Come and Get It

FEATS
Two-Weapon Defense
Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Level 2: Light Blade Expertise
Level 4: Cunning Stalker
Level 6: Sneak of Shadows
Level 8: Improved Defenses

ITEMS
Rhythm Blade Short sword +1 x1
Magic Ki Focus +2 x1
Magic Hide Armor +2 x1
Amulet of Protection +2 x1
Iron Armbands of Power (heroic tier) x1
Farbond Spellblade Short sword +1 x1
====== End ======


 
Thats a great setup. Do you think its necessary to stick Mobile Challenge in there somewhere. and do you expect any marking issues with this setup (seems to me only reliable mark mechanic is dual strike, if you use ranger powers then you have to forgo marking)
Thats a great setup. Do you think its necessary to stick Mobile Challenge in there somewhere. and do you expect any marking issues with this setup (seems to me only reliable mark mechanic is dual strike, if you use ranger powers then you have to forgo marking)



Mobile Challenge might be nice eventually, but you have lots of feat wants. Marking shouldn't be an issue in most combats. i.e.

Round 1: Rain of Blows
Round 2: Come And Get It
Round 3: Kirre's Roar

Switch as needed. Once you get to 7th, if you're using Dual Strike, that's because you needed to mark after 3 rounds of combat where marking was necessary. You could also multiclass into Warden early on at 2nd level, then retrain into Rogue at 6th - that lets you encounter mark as a free action from levels 2-6th.
This may seem like a totally stupid question but why the Sneak of Shadows MC and Why the Elemental Initiate Theme? What would this build be looking to gain from the rogue aside from the sneak attack/thievery skill and what are you looking to get from the Ki Implement.

I like this build as a 5th man Striker/second Defender but was thinking perhaps MC Spiked Chain Training.Where does this fall behind your original build or is this viable for this build?
This may seem like a totally stupid question but why the Sneak of Shadows MC and Why the Elemental Initiate Theme? What would this build be looking to gain from the rogue aside from the sneak attack/thievery skill and what are you looking to get from the Ki Implement.

I like this build as a 5th man Striker/second Defender but was thinking perhaps MC Spiked Chain Training.Where does this fall behind your original build or is this viable for this build?



No problem:
Sneak of Shadows gets a high dex character training in thievery and 2d6/3d6/5d6 of frontloaded damage for your nova round. Nothing crazy special here. Weapon Focus could easily be put here instead, but on non-AP combats, it won't quite frontload as fast.

Elemental Initiate theme - this is an awesome theme - you've typically marked your nova target if it hasn't died. So when it attacks you, you get to swing back if it misses. Ki Focus is nice because you don't have to pay 2* for magic weapons, instead just once - and you get to pick a Ki Focus with a specific property in real game while picking two weapons for properties. And finally, it gets you trained in Nature - 6 trained skills on a hybrid is pretty good as far as things go.

Spiked Chain primary end doesn't have the off-hand property, which means it doesn't work all that well with Tempest.
Thanks for all the great inputs. Here's what I was working on with a weaponmaster.
Jenks



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



  2. Jenks, level 6



  3. Thri-Kreen, Fighter (Weaponmaster)



  4. Build: Tempest Fighter



  5. Fighter Option: Combat Superiority



  6. Fighter Talents Option: Tempest Technique



  7. Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)



  8. Theme: Elemental Initiate



  9.  



  10. FINAL ABILITY SCORES



  11. STR 19, CON 12, DEX 19, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 10



  12.  



  13. STARTING ABILITY SCORES



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



  15.  



  16.  



  17. AC: 21 Fort: 19 Ref: 18 Will: 14



  18. HP: 64 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 16



  19.  



  20. TRAINED SKILLS



  21. Athletics +13, Endurance +8, Intimidate +8, Nature +11



  22.  



  23. UNTRAINED SKILLS



  24. Acrobatics +6, Arcana +2, Bluff +3, Diplomacy +3, Dungeoneering +4, Heal +4, History +2, Insight +4, Perception +4, Religion +2, Stealth +6, Streetwise +3, Thievery +6



  25.  



  26. POWERS



  27. Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack



  28. Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack



  29. Elemental Initiate Attack: Disciplined Counter



  30. Thri-Kreen Racial Power: Thri-kreen Claws



  31. Fighter Attack: Combat Challenge



  32. Fighter Attack 1: Dual Strike



  33. Fighter Attack 1: Footwork Lure



  34. Fighter Attack 1: Tempest Dance



  35. Fighter Attack 1: Funneling Flurry



  36. Fighter Utility 2: Glowering Threat



  37. Fighter Attack 3: Rain of Blows



  38. Fighter Attack 5: Dancing Defense



  39. Fighter Utility 6: Kirre's Roar



  40.  



  41. FEATS



  42. Two-Weapon Defense



  43. Level 1: Light Blade Expertise



  44. Level 2: Mobile Challenge



  45. Level 4: Improved Initiative



  46. Level 6: Blade Opportunist



  47.  



  48. ITEMS



  49. Adventurer's Kit



  50. Short sword x2



  51. Hide Armor x1



  52. ====== End ======


 


Compared to the fighter|ranger he has less minor action attacks but better marking potential. Its still up for debate though.  This fighter's feats could use some work as well.

 Guardian vs Elemental Initiate?
The only striker option you really have is Rain of Blows...there's nothing wrong with your build, but he's not a Striker, though you don't need Blade Opportunist.

Look at the action point sequence:
1: Quarry, Move, Rain of Blows, Twin Strike
2: Offhand Strike, Twin Strike

That's 8 attacks in 2 rounds against a single target.

Your build:
1: Move, Rain of Blows, Footwork Lure
2: Footwork Lure

That's 5 attacks. Maybe you get off some extra attacks against someone else via Funneling Flurry or Dual Strike, but the point of Strikers is to take targets down. Dead targets don't need to be marked...and also, if you do enough damage, that can be incentive in and of itself to have you be attacked.
This may seem like a totally stupid question but why the Sneak of Shadows MC and Why the Elemental Initiate Theme? What would this build be looking to gain from the rogue aside from the sneak attack/thievery skill and what are you looking to get from the Ki Implement.

I like this build as a 5th man Striker/second Defender but was thinking perhaps MC Spiked Chain Training.Where does this fall behind your original build or is this viable for this build?



No problem:
Sneak of Shadows gets a high dex character training in thievery and 2d6/3d6/5d6 of frontloaded damage for your nova round. Nothing crazy special here. Weapon Focus could easily be put here instead, but on non-AP combats, it won't quite frontload as fast.

Elemental Initiate theme - this is an awesome theme - you've typically marked your nova target if it hasn't died. So when it attacks you, you get to swing back if it misses. Ki Focus is nice because you don't have to pay 2* for magic weapons, instead just once - and you get to pick a Ki Focus with a specific property in real game while picking two weapons for properties. And finally, it gets you trained in Nature - 6 trained skills on a hybrid is pretty good as far as things go.

Spiked Chain primary end doesn't have the off-hand property, which means it doesn't work all that well with Tempest.


Thanks for the clarification.
Thats what i was figuring with the MC Rogue and Elemental Initiate Theme and yeah thats a ton of skills. Something i always like on my characters is skill versatility.  I completly forgot about the Spiked Chain not having the off-hand property on both ends. Boo.

What sort of Ki focus would you use on a build like this or would you stick with the simple magic version. I am not all that familiar with Ki Implements and how they interact with weapons.

Iron Body Ki Focus is generally useful for melee attackers, gives some DR against things you hit.

Thanks for the clarification.
Thats what i was figuring with the MC Rogue and Elemental Initiate Theme and yeah thats a ton of skills. Something i always like on my characters is skill versatility.  I completly forgot about the Spiked Chain not having the off-hand property on both ends. Boo.

What sort of Ki focus would you use on a build like this or would you stick with the simple magic version. I am not all that familiar with Ki Implements and how they interact with weapons.




It depends on how the DM hands out treasure, but I'd look for the following options:
Rain of Hammers - decent property + minor action at-will as a daily

Body of Fire - all damage = fire, so you can Shard your weapons for when they do fire damage and look at fire-bonus related routes. When you do 5 attacks and then 3 more attacks in 2 rounds, Deep Gnomes who are Sarifal Feywardens might be worth giving up the extra 2 Dex points as you'll lose 1d6 of quarry, but gain +40 damage in that time period via the aura vulnerability. And then you MC monk or assassin for the ki focus option.
Iron Body Ki Focus is generally useful for melee attackers, gives some DR against things you hit.



Iron Body tends to be relatively expensive for the benefit - you're gaining a bit of DR against your target(s), yet at the same time, you're just 1 level away from the +X+1 implement instead of the +X Iron Body.

Thanks for the clarification.
Thats what i was figuring with the MC Rogue and Elemental Initiate Theme and yeah thats a ton of skills. Something i always like on my characters is skill versatility.  I completly forgot about the Spiked Chain not having the off-hand property on both ends. Boo.

What sort of Ki focus would you use on a build like this or would you stick with the simple magic version. I am not all that familiar with Ki Implements and how they interact with weapons.




It depends on how the DM hands out treasure, but I'd look for the following options:
Rain of Hammers - decent property + minor action at-will as a daily

Body of Fire - all damage = fire, so you can Shard your weapons for when they do fire damage and look at fire-bonus related routes. When you do 5 attacks and then 3 more attacks in 2 rounds, Deep Gnomes who are Sarifal Feywardens might be worth giving up the extra 2 Dex points as you'll lose 1d6 of quarry, but gain +40 damage in that time period via the aura vulnerability. And then you MC monk or assassin for the ki focus option.


Thanks for the help.
I'm generally not a fan of thread jacking but this subject fit my needs a bit. I'm starting a new PC in my home group and wanted to make a striker. I have a thread dedicated to that build but i was looking for a role that could cover the striker|defender or striker|leader. 
'm generally not a fan of thread jacking but this subject fit my needs a bit. I'm starting a new PC in my home group and wanted to make a striker. I have a thread dedicated to that build but i was looking for a role that could cover the striker|defender or striker|leader. 



Ranger|Clerics(with Battle Cleric's Lore) are amazing. You have the hybrid feat for AC able to be put on Prime Shot instead, so as to eventually get Called Shot. In the case of Ranger|Fighter, you get Tempest, which adds +1 to hit/+2 damage(albeit no Rapier for primary hand) and TWD, which is impressive at the cost of a feat.
MwaO, do you think your hybrid ranger|fighter can handle being a main defender? My party has a artificer so I really like Tempest style, Twin Strike, and all those minor action attacks. (Sohei looks very tempting)
Fighter|Ranger is a solid pick for sure.

If you're wanting a bit more damage output, you could also do Dragonborn Paladin|Sorcerer and use Draconic Breath Shenanigans (Ancient Soul + Hybrid Talent + Nusemnee's Atonement = regaining draconic breath every time you use it). The major drawback is that you're extremely feat starved.

Off the top of my head you'll probably want the following by level 11:
MC Fighter
Novice Power (For Come and Get It)
Ancient Soul
Hybrid Talent (Dragon Soul)
Nusemnee's Atonement
Armor Prof (Leather)
Armor Prof (Hide) 

The best bet is probably to start with Hybrid Talent (Paladin Armor Prof) at first level, then the fighter MC and Novice Power by level 7 and retrain into hide and the draconic beath combo as you approach paragon.

The reason you want Come and Get It is for it's crazy good interaction with Explosive Pyre. Between that and Draconic Breath you'll get in a silly amount of attacks in a AP Nova round.

Under completely optimal conditions (probably never, but still) and you get surrounded after Come and Get It you'll make Come and Get It (8 attacks), Explosive Pyre (1 attack vs. primary), Explosive Pyre (8 attacks vs. secondaries), Draconic Breath (3 attacks) = 20 attacks total. If not optimal conditions you might be able to shift and catch more of them with your breath attack.

Your Paragon Path pretty much has to be Ninefold Master, but then when you hit level 11 your damage potential skyrockets.

Elemental Initiate also has a +1 Will bonus at 10.  Extra Will is good.  It's a pretty great package overall.

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?
Fighter|Ranger is a solid pick for sure.

If you're wanting a bit more damage output, you could also do Dragonborn Paladin|Sorcerer and use Draconic Breath Shenanigans (Ancient Soul + Hybrid Talent + Nusemnee's Atonement = regaining draconic breath every time you use it). The major drawback is that you're extremely feat starved.

Off the top of my head you'll probably want the following by level 11:
MC Fighter
Novice Power (For Come and Get It)
Ancient Soul
Hybrid Talent (Dragon Soul)
Nusemnee's Atonement
Armor Prof (Leather)
Armor Prof (Hide) 

The best bet is probably to start with Hybrid Talent (Paladin Armor Prof) at first level, then the fighter MC and Novice Power by level 7 and retrain into hide and the draconic beath combo as you approach paragon.

The reason you want Come and Get It is for it's crazy good interaction with Explosive Pyre. Between that and Draconic Breath you'll get in a silly amount of attacks in a AP Nova round.

Under completely optimal conditions (probably never, but still) and you get surrounded after Come and Get It you'll make Come and Get It (8 attacks), Explosive Pyre (1 attack vs. primary), Explosive Pyre (8 attacks vs. secondaries), Draconic Breath (3 attacks) = 20 attacks total. If not optimal conditions you might be able to shift and catch more of them with your breath attack.

Your Paragon Path pretty much has to be Ninefold Master, but then when you hit level 11 your damage potential skyrockets.


Interesting. Do you consider going Hybrid Cavalier|Dragonborn Sorc to be a better option?
Fighter|Ranger is a solid pick for sure.

If you're wanting a bit more damage output, you could also do Dragonborn Paladin|Sorcerer and use Draconic Breath Shenanigans (Ancient Soul + Hybrid Talent + Nusemnee's Atonement = regaining draconic breath every time you use it). The major drawback is that you're extremely feat starved.

Off the top of my head you'll probably want the following by level 11:
MC Fighter
Novice Power (For Come and Get It)
Ancient Soul
Hybrid Talent (Dragon Soul)
Nusemnee's Atonement
Armor Prof (Leather)
Armor Prof (Hide) 

The best bet is probably to start with Hybrid Talent (Paladin Armor Prof) at first level, then the fighter MC and Novice Power by level 7 and retrain into hide and the draconic beath combo as you approach paragon.

The reason you want Come and Get It is for it's crazy good interaction with Explosive Pyre. Between that and Draconic Breath you'll get in a silly amount of attacks in a AP Nova round.

Under completely optimal conditions (probably never, but still) and you get surrounded after Come and Get It you'll make Come and Get It (8 attacks), Explosive Pyre (1 attack vs. primary), Explosive Pyre (8 attacks vs. secondaries), Draconic Breath (3 attacks) = 20 attacks total. If not optimal conditions you might be able to shift and catch more of them with your breath attack.

Your Paragon Path pretty much has to be Ninefold Master, but then when you hit level 11 your damage potential skyrockets.


Interesting. Do you consider going Hybrid Cavalier|Dragonborn Sorc to be a better option?



I would be very careful with that option. It is very much so in bag of rats territory.
'm generally not a fan of thread jacking but this subject fit my needs a bit. I'm starting a new PC in my home group and wanted to make a striker. I have a thread dedicated to that build but i was looking for a role that could cover the striker|defender or striker|leader. 



Ranger|Clerics(with Battle Cleric's Lore) are amazing. You have the hybrid feat for AC able to be put on Prime Shot instead, so as to eventually get Called Shot. In the case of Ranger|Fighter, you get Tempest, which adds +1 to hit/+2 damage(albeit no Rapier for primary hand) and TWD, which is impressive at the cost of a feat.

You can get Rapier through a theme, though that means giving up something like Sohei or Ironwrought.
'm generally not a fan of thread jacking but this subject fit my needs a bit. I'm starting a new PC in my home group and wanted to make a striker. I have a thread dedicated to that build but i was looking for a role that could cover the striker|defender or striker|leader. 



Ranger|Clerics(with Battle Cleric's Lore) are amazing. You have the hybrid feat for AC able to be put on Prime Shot instead, so as to eventually get Called Shot. In the case of Ranger|Fighter, you get Tempest, which adds +1 to hit/+2 damage(albeit no Rapier for primary hand) and TWD, which is impressive at the cost of a feat.

You can get Rapier through a theme, though that means giving up something like Sohei or Ironwrought.



Rapier isn't an off-hand weapon, so you only get +0 to hit/+1 damage. Not worth it.
Fighter|Ranger is a solid pick for sure.

If you're wanting a bit more damage output, you could also do Dragonborn Paladin|Sorcerer and use Draconic Breath Shenanigans (Ancient Soul + Hybrid Talent + Nusemnee's Atonement = regaining draconic breath every time you use it). The major drawback is that you're extremely feat starved.




 A Stormsoul Genasi Swrodmage|Warlock is also a very good combo but is also very feat starved.   



I would be very careful with that option. It is very much so in bag of rats territory.



As in close to cheese?

I like it as a mental exercise to see if its viable (most likely not). This is the first time I ran into that particular build (and sorcerers in general).

The most problem I see with the build is feat starvation + lack of defenses though the abusability is crazy. 
Cavalier is so-so. The damage on a shift is nice, but requires an OA to use so it's much worse than divine challenge's free action. Also, you can't use divine sanction with it. I suppose once you get to the point where you're using divine sanction for everything you can just ignore the defender aura, but it's pretty much going to be wasted. The Valor/Virtue options are both solid. If I had to pick for this build I'd give a slight edge to Cavalier with the understanding that you're not really going to ever use the defender aura.

As for the cheesiness, the build isn't going anywhere. Ever since Ancient Soul was published there's been ways to abuse it. Nusemnee's Atonement is just the latest piece in the puzzle. Before that people just took hurl breath and used temp hit point generation to recharge it while mostly mitigating the damage.

Defenses aren't really a problem for the build (Remember Sorcerers add Strength to AC in light armor). Sorcerers and paladin's both have access to really nice defense buffing powers.

By the way, here's another kinda crazy interaction once you have the draconic breath train going: Draconic Challenge allows you to make each target of your breath subject to divine sanction. All those paladin once per encounter mass sanction powers just got obsolete. Retrain them to defensive ones.



I would be very careful with that option. It is very much so in bag of rats territory.

 

As in close to cheese?

I like it as a mental exercise to see if its viable (most likely not). This is the first time I ran into that particular build (and sorcerers in general).

The most problem I see with the build is feat starvation + lack of defenses though the abusability is crazy. 



I am required by law to make a comment here.

1) The build listed is a terrible terrible version of a breather build.  Don't do that.

2) If you want to go a breather build that is annoyingly defenderesque you go Fighter|Sorc MC Assassin.  Your breath marks everything, you are invisible to people you breath on and you can use your breath as a punishment (also your breath pushes people, so if you punish a melee attack with a breath it can cancel the attack if they lack reach).  You can also go straight Sorc and MC fighter and build around the sillier aspects of your breath if you are starting from higher level to mark and push/slide/etc etc to defend by controlling while you are mass marking and dealing lots of damage.

3) Breathers should not be approached without DM consent.  Ever.  Also breathers should not be taken into a party with no leader/ not adjusted for lack of leader as it is one of the few builds where killing yourself is entirely possible if you play/build it wrong.

4) While you don't have amazing defenses at low levels , your defenses will be solid with either breather build that marks and will become nigh-untouchable with certain other powers (See Adamantine Echo or, later, Breath of Potency).

5) The better defender breather builds do not function well until about level 6, they do not function very well until 8 and are still not as great as being a straight up defender until low paragon.  It isn't until they are moving the entire battlefield around, marking anyone and everyone they want and (possibly) being completely invisible as a defender that the build truly comes into focus.  You mentioned you were starting at level 1.  A breather might not be the right way to look if you want this to function form the ground up.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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I would be very careful with that option. It is very much so in bag of rats territory.



As in close to cheese?

I like it as a mental exercise to see if its viable (most likely not). This is the first time I ran into that particular build (and sorcerers in general).

The most problem I see with the build is feat starvation + lack of defenses though the abusability is crazy. 



It definitely has cheese going on, but Bag of Rats refers to a 'I attack a target which isn't a threat to gain a benefit.' - so people would carry a bag of rats, do a whirlwind attack in 3x, and have great cleave - so they'd kill 50 or so rats and then make 50 or so cleave attacks against the actual target.

This works roughly the same way - you're attacking an ally so as to do some damage to yourself. You and your ally are not threats and you're gaining a benefit by attacking(recharging dragon breath)


I would be very careful with that option. It is very much so in bag of rats territory.



As in close to cheese?

I like it as a mental exercise to see if its viable (most likely not). This is the first time I ran into that particular build (and sorcerers in general).

The most problem I see with the build is feat starvation + lack of defenses though the abusability is crazy. 



It definitely has cheese going on, but Bag of Rats refers to a 'I attack a target which isn't a threat to gain a benefit.' - so people would carry a bag of rats, do a whirlwind attack in 3x, and have great cleave - so they'd kill 50 or so rats and then make 50 or so cleave attacks against the actual target.

This works roughly the same way - you're attacking an ally so as to do some damage to yourself. You and your ally are not threats and you're gaining a benefit by attacking(recharging dragon breath)


This is not applicable to Bag of Rats in the slightest.  Fireball always targets your allies, period.  Doesn't matter if you're getting a benefit from it or not, they're taking the full damage because the rules say they do.  Same situation applies to Nusemnee.  You're blasting your ally, they're taking damage, you're taking part of it.  That it provides some benefit does not mean that Bag of Rats applies.  I mean, there are some feats that are directly designed to provide you a benefit by attacking your allies, like Coordinated Explosion.  Is that just outright disallowed, because it's Bag of Rats?  Your claim of Bag of Rats just because there's some benefit, despite following all of the rules, is a slippery slope, and completely unsupportable.

Now, if you were breathing on a noncombatant, to redirect damage to you, and then calling it recharged, then it would be bag of rats.  But there really is no option other than to follow the rules precisely as they are laid out if you're breathing on an ally.  If they're a valid target to punish you for being indiscriminate with your "target: each creature in burst/blast" attacks, then you cannot claim that just because you get a benefit that you're prevented from using it.

Bottom line:  Nusemnee's breather builds do not have any Bag of Rats issues. 

D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition


I would be very careful with that option. It is very much so in bag of rats territory.

 

As in close to cheese?

I like it as a mental exercise to see if its viable (most likely not). This is the first time I ran into that particular build (and sorcerers in general).

The most problem I see with the build is feat starvation + lack of defenses though the abusability is crazy. 



I am required by law to make a comment here.

1) The build listed is a terrible terrible version of a breather build.  Don't do that.

2) If you want to go a breather build that is annoyingly defenderesque you go Fighter|Sorc MC Assassin.  Your breath marks everything, you are invisible to people you breath on and you can use your breath as a punishment (also your breath pushes people, so if you punish a melee attack with a breath it can cancel the attack if they lack reach).  You can also go straight Sorc and MC fighter and build around the sillier aspects of your breath if you are starting from higher level to mark and push/slide/etc etc to defend by controlling while you are mass marking and dealing lots of damage.

3) Breathers should not be approached without DM consent.  Ever.  Also breathers should not be taken into a party with no leader/ not adjusted for lack of leader as it is one of the few builds where killing yourself is entirely possible if you play/build it wrong.

4) While you don't have amazing defenses at low levels , your defenses will be solid with either breather build that marks and will become nigh-untouchable with certain other powers (See Adamantine Echo or, later, Breath of Potency).

5) The better defender breather builds do not function well until about level 6, they do not function very well until 8 and are still not as great as being a straight up defender until low paragon.  It isn't until they are moving the entire battlefield around, marking anyone and everyone they want and (possibly) being completely invisible as a defender that the build truly comes into focus.  You mentioned you were starting at level 1.  A breather might not be the right way to look if you want this to function form the ground up.



1) How so? I think Paladin and Sorcerer (you can take any paladin or sorcerer power without issue) has a lot more synergy than Fighter and Sorcerer (several fighter powers require con, dex or a certain weapon group).

2) I know about those tricks (except the breath punishment on violation of mark, how are you doing that?), but that build is much more of a striker build than a defender build. What's the point of being invisible as a defender? You're supposed to be the one getting hit. Yes, you're dealing more damage, but your party is taking the damage. 

3) I guess. In as much as most char op stronger options should be discussed with your DM. I think a fully optimized Draconic Breath build would be much more overpowered. The build I've posted isn't overpowered,  and I wouldn't work on fully optimizing it, again defending shouldn't take a backseat to striking. You'll need the expertise feats and the defense feats as well as other defenderesque options. Paladin has a ton of temp hp generating (and even straight up healing) powers that keep you alive.

4) As a Paladin|Sorcerer, you'll have no issues playing from level 1. And since you can always retrain out of it, you can take Hybrid Talent (Paladin Armor Prof) and have good defenses through heroic.

5) A Paladin|Sorcerer won't scale as poorly as a Fighter|Sorcerer because you can cherry pick from all of the paladin powers and sorcerer powers. You also get access to plenty of mass marking powers throughtout heroic and can actually punish all of them. The extra breathing is a side benefit of the build, the main focus is the fact you're pretty much a fully functioning Paladin|Sorcerer.


 
That it provides some benefit does not mean that Bag of Rats applies.  I mean, there are some feats that are directly designed to provide you a benefit by attacking your allies, like Coordinated Explosion.  Is that just outright disallowed, because it's Bag of Rats?  Your claim of Bag of Rats just because there's some benefit, despite following all of the rules, is a slippery slope, and completely unsupportable.



Glossary(page 310 Rules Compendium): "Effect: The result of a game element's use."

Is gaining a recharge on a hit the result of a game element's use? Yes.
Is having a penalty to hit a target the result of a game element's use? No. It is something that happens before the result.

Now, if you were breathing on a noncombatant, to redirect damage to you, and then calling it recharged, then it would be bag of rats.



You do realize that you just admitted you're wrong? If noncombatants would make this bag of rats, so would it make allies. Because neither is a meaningful threat to you in a combat and that's what determines if something is bag of rats as per page 108 of Rules Compendium.
That's not what Coordinated Explosion does.  You're thinking of War Wizardry.


Coordinated Explosion
Heroic Tier
Benefit: When you use any implement power that creates a burst or a blast, you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls against the power’s targets if at least one ally is within the burst or the blast.

By your argument, this feat is nonfunctional, because it's Bag of Rats.  You can't be correct.  Oh, and if you're going to claim that the benefit of Coordinated Explosion isn't an effect, then you're going to be wrong if you try to claim that the attack is the game element, since the "result of a game element's use" can have "feat" as a game element. 

There is a meaningful difference between a "Creature" and a noncombatant.  Things on creatures work.  Things on noncombatants don't.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition


I would be very careful with that option. It is very much so in bag of rats territory.

 

As in close to cheese?

I like it as a mental exercise to see if its viable (most likely not). This is the first time I ran into that particular build (and sorcerers in general).

The most problem I see with the build is feat starvation + lack of defenses though the abusability is crazy. 

 

I am required by law to make a comment here.

1) The build listed is a terrible terrible version of a breather build.  Don't do that.

2) If you want to go a breather build that is annoyingly defenderesque you go Fighter|Sorc MC Assassin.  Your breath marks everything, you are invisible to people you breath on and you can use your breath as a punishment (also your breath pushes people, so if you punish a melee attack with a breath it can cancel the attack if they lack reach).  You can also go straight Sorc and MC fighter and build around the sillier aspects of your breath if you are starting from higher level to mark and push/slide/etc etc to defend by controlling while you are mass marking and dealing lots of damage.

3) Breathers should not be approached without DM consent.  Ever.  Also breathers should not be taken into a party with no leader/ not adjusted for lack of leader as it is one of the few builds where killing yourself is entirely possible if you play/build it wrong.

4) While you don't have amazing defenses at low levels , your defenses will be solid with either breather build that marks and will become nigh-untouchable with certain other powers (See Adamantine Echo or, later, Breath of Potency).

5) The better defender breather builds do not function well until about level 6, they do not function very well until 8 and are still not as great as being a straight up defender until low paragon.  It isn't until they are moving the entire battlefield around, marking anyone and everyone they want and (possibly) being completely invisible as a defender that the build truly comes into focus.  You mentioned you were starting at level 1.  A breather might not be the right way to look if you want this to function form the ground up.

 

1) How so? I think Paladin and Sorcerer (you can take any paladin or sorcerer power without issue) has a lot more synergy than Fighter and Sorcerer (several fighter powers require con, dex or a certain weapon group).

2) I know about those tricks (except the breath punishment on violation of mark, how are you doing that?), but that build is much more of a striker build than a defender build. What's the point of being invisible as a defender? You're supposed to be the one getting hit. Yes, you're dealing more damage, but your party is taking the damage. 

3) I guess. In as much as most char op stronger options should be discussed with your DM. I think a fully optimized Draconic Breath build would be much more overpowered. The build I've posted isn't overpowered,  and I wouldn't work on fully optimizing it, again defending shouldn't take a backseat to striking. You'll need the expertise feats and the defense feats as well as other defenderesque options. Paladin has a ton of temp hp generating (and even straight up healing) powers that keep you alive.

4) As a Paladin|Sorcerer, you'll have no issues playing from level 1. And since you can always retrain out of it, you can take Hybrid Talent (Paladin Armor Prof) and have good defenses through heroic.

5) A Paladin|Sorcerer won't scale as poorly as a Fighter|Sorcerer because you can cherry pick from all of the paladin powers and sorcerer powers. You also get access to plenty of mass marking powers throughtout heroic and can actually punish all of them. The extra breathing is a side benefit of the build, the main focus is the fact you're pretty much a fully functioning Paladin|Sorcerer.


 



1) If you take the hybrid talent to get plate prof you aren't taking the hybrid talent to get dragon soul from sorc.  Or you are vastly increasing the feat tax on already taxed build.  Keep in mind you need to not only be a dragonborn sorc, but have the dragon magic class feature that you have to pick up through the hybrid talent if you go hybrid.  Strength is the primary stat for Fighters, and as a breather its your primary stat as well.  While you won't get a lot of the nice riders you would also miss out on some fun riders for having low wisdom as a paladin (although you would get the cha ones).  Also being a hybrid fighter, should you choose to, you can pick up ways to make everything mark all at once.  Train in intimidate for psudeo-mark burstiness as well!

2) What is the point of being an invisible defender that punishes people by pushing people in a burst away from people who provoke?  No idea, I can't possibly think of a reason that might be a good plan <3.

3) Have you ever played as, or played with a breather?  DMs tend to hate them.  Most DMs dont tend to hate them for power reasons (as not to many people realize how their damage adds up quite quickly over time).  
Reasons DMs tend to hate/disallow breather builds:
a. The fact that you are doing a big burst/blast every round hitting as many people as you can as a minor action in addition to your sorc powers (which you should be using) doing bursts/blasts all the time.  An inexperienced player is going to take long turns a lot, an experienced player is going to fly through what looks like an intimidating number of dice very quickly.
b. They think it is cheese.  Regardless of how you explain it, most DMs who are exposed to breathers at a table with no warning assume that you are not playing by RAW or if you are not playing by what they want from RAI and just disallow it out of hand. 
c. It can straight up delete some encounters in rather scary ways.  Having access to something that can wipe out an entire room of evenly spaced out minions anywhere on the map basically at will and if there is any hazardous terrain having, if you really want it, at least 3 push/slides to force something to saving throw over and over or take lots of damage is really crippling to some DM's ability to make a good fight.  Granted it is their problem, but when you get told that you aren't allowed to do the thing your character is built around because your DM thinks it is ruining the game it quickly becomes your problem.

4) Playable yes, amazing no.  I never said the pally version suffered from low defenses.  Just that it was not the optimal approach and especially not the right way to go if you don't get dragonmagic (as that makes it not work) or if you train in multiple feats like you first suggested to get higher types of armor.

5) Fighter|Sorc scales poorly how exactly?  As contrasted to the Paladin.  A breather build, almost no matter what, wants to go into fighter in some way or another at some point for daunting breath etc.  That Paladin build of yours makes you use your MC for it, mine puts it in the base.  If you don't think having an extra x2 strength mod applied to your breath (and only your breath as it applies to enemies so that damage doesnt get redirected to you), then yes don't worry about fighter.  Personally I want to be doing triple str on my breath weapon if I plan to use it for much of anything. 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Fair enough, I have actually DMed a game where a player had a similar combo (this was before Nusemnee's, so he took hurl breath and just hit himself with it), but most of the party was similiarly optimized and he wasn't that much of a standout (this was low paragon, he probably didn't have all his tricks yet).

How are you using draconic breath as your mark punishment?


By your argument, this feat is nonfunctional, because it's Bag of Rats.  You can't be correct.  Oh, and if you're going to claim that the benefit of Coordinated Explosion isn't an effect, then you're going to be wrong if you try to claim that the attack is the game element, since the "result of a game element's use" can have "feat" as a game element.



The benefit of Coordinated Explosion is not based on you targeting your ally. It is a consequence of your ally being in the burst or blast.

There is a meaningful difference between a "Creature" and a noncombatant.  Things on creatures work.  Things on noncombatants don't.



Please read page 108 of Rules Compendium before arguing about things that aren't mentioned in it. The criteria is legitimate threat. Allies and non-combatants are not legitimate threats to you in a combat. And the only effects that are considered are ones that trigger on a hit, a miss, or ones that otherwise affect the target. Not things that affect your ability to target them, such as a bonus or penalty to hit.
Your party members most certainly are legitimate threats to you, though.  If an allied wizard casts a fireball that includes you, then that burns you just like it does everyone else.  As long as you're evaluating the entirety of the attack and its results, you have no choice but to evaluate all of the results on all targets, positive or negative.

The difference between an ally and a rat in a bag I don't think needs explanation, but for your sake I'll try again.

The purpose of the Bag of Rats rule is to prevent a PC from inventing targets in order to gain a benefit that goes beyond what the game element intends.  It's an intentionally subjective, wishy-washy, qualitative judgment call.  Bag of Rats is not a rule that can be evaluated like the rest of the rules in the game, because it inherently involves the Munchkin fallacy - that there is no rule to say that my Bag of Rats shouldn't work, therefore we need a rule that says that I'm being lame and need to stop.

But attacking allies is completely different.  You cannot have a coherent justification that both allows a fireball or any other "target creatures" attack both function as written and also adhere to your incorrectly-broad interpretation of Bag of Rats. 
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
It's also possible to use Scourge with a Fighter|Ranger, it's the only off-hand 1d8 weapon that I know of and is also a flail so you get the feat support for that as well, although you drop a +1 attack roll as it's only a +2 prof weapon.
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