The Lightning Rod (An alternate take on Dragonbreathing)

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I am aware that Dragonbreathing builds have been explored in the past, but practically all of them rely on Dragonbreath itself to be the main source of damage. There are also problems in terms of efficiency (damage outputted vs self-damage taken to recharge DB). This build is an alternate route that will hopefully improve on that efficiency.

[As of now, especially with the healing disabled, this build is nowhere near viable]

The cornerstone of this build is the interaction of Nusemnee's Atonement and Lightning Soul.
Here are the wordings:
Nusemnee's Atonement
You gain a +2 feat bonus to saving throws against charm effects.
Whenever an attack you make would damage an ally, you can choose to take the damage instead. You have resist 5 to damage taken this way. You can choose to take the damage even when you are dominated. This resistance increases to 10 at 11th level and 15 at 21st level.


Lightning Soul
 
You gain a +3 feat bonus to lightning damage rolls. This bonus increases to +4 at 21st level.
In addition, whenever you take lightning damage from an attack, one enemy within 5 squares of you takes 10 lightning damage. This damage increases to 15 at 21st level.



I can't find any solid rulings on the interaction, so I guess it depends on the DM.
If you or your DM do not agree that Atonement triggers Lightning Soul, this build is useless, you can probably stop reading now.
But as far as I can see, it should work by RAW.
Dragonbreath attack targets ally, you choose to take the damage (source is still the attack), you gain resistance to the taken damage (DB would pierce your own resistance otherwise).

As stated above, this build is not viable due to lack efficiency, especially since the healing doesn't work.
This particular build is retired indefinitely, until I can overhaul it.
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On to the build:
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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
level 16
Dragonborn, Sorcerer|Cleric, Breach Warden
Fey Beast Tamer Starting Feature: Fey Beast Tamer Companion (Young Owlbear)
Sorcerous Power: Sorcerous Power Dexterity
Hybrid Cleric: Battle Cleric's Lore
Hybrid Talent: Soul of the Sorcerer
Soul of the Sorcerer: Dragon Soul
Dragon Soul: Dragon Soul Lightning
Dragonborn Racial Power: Dragon Breath
Dragon Breath Key Ability: Dragon Breath Constitution
Dragon Breath Damage Type: Dragon Breath Lightning


FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 14, Con 24, Dex 12, Int 11, Wis 11, Cha 16.


STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 18, Dex 11, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10.



AC: 34 Fort: 29 Reflex: 23 Will: 27
HP: 111 Surges: 13 Surge Value: 34


TRAINED SKILLS
Diplomacy +16, Endurance +20, Intimidate +18, Perception +13


UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +9, Arcana +8, Bluff +11, Dungeoneering +8, Heal +8, History +10, Insight +8, Nature +8, Religion +8, Stealth +9, Streetwise +11, Thievery +9, Athletics +10


FEATS
Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Level 2: Ancient Soul
Level 4: Nusemnee's Atonement
Level 6: Draconic Spellcaster
Level 8: Daunting Breath
Level 10: Defender of the Wild
Level 11: Lightning Soul
Level 12: Enlarged Dragon Breath
Level 14: Radiant Breath
Level 16: Thundering Breath


POWERS
Hybrid daily 1: Beacon of Hope
Hybrid utility 10: Steeled Against It


ITEMS
Arkhosian Scepter Accurate rod +4, Solar Wyrmscale Armor +4, Healer's Brooch +4



I left out a lot of items and powers from the build, because I haven't finalized what's best for it.
Only items/powers I've confirmed as useful are included.
I ran out of slots for Resounding Thunder, consider it the next feat for lvl18 (or Oncoming Storm). 
Some explanations on the build choices:

1) Why Hybrid Cleric?
a) Because a pure Sorcerer would boost the DB damage further with Draconic power with Str, which we need for the PP.
This is bad, because we want to minimize actual Dragonbreath damage so we don't kill ourselves.

b) Because it gives you access to 2 defensive features/feats: Battle Cleric's Lore and  Radiant Breath.
Battle Cleric's Lore is just great as a hybrid pick-me-up: Scale proficiency and  +2 shield bonus.
Radiant Breath allows us to take radiant self-damage, which will trigger Solar Armor, allowing us to use a surge as IR (so only once per turn).
Without this option, this build will kill itself pretty fast.

Update: IR can't be taken on a player's own turn, stupid of me. Will have to find a better way to heal/mitigate.

2) Why Fey Beast Tamer?
Because the more allies hit by Dragonbreath, the better. The theme allows for a free ally, and I picked Young Owlbear. This is because it has the lowest Reflex score out of the choices, the only one that allows us to hit it on a roll of 2. A damage boost against enemies (only) also helps.

3) Why Breach Warden?
Why take the trouble of MCing Warden, when the Str requirement can boost DB damage (which is bad for us)?
Because of the Elemental Breach feature:
After each of your extended rests, choose a damage type from the following: acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder. The choice remains until you take your next extended rest, at which point you can choose the same damage type or replace it with another.
Whenever you take damage of the type you chose or you score a critical hit using a warden attack power, each enemy marked by you takes damage of the chosen type equal to your Constitution modifier.



The mark will come from the Daunting Breath feat, just be sure to attack the enemy target FIRST.

Here's a summary of what happens if you use Dragonbreath (at level 16, using listed build):

Assuming you are within 5sq of the enemy target and your Fey Beast companion is within DB blast range:

Dragonbreath +25 vs. Reflex (as minor)
2d6+14 lightning, radiant, thunder damage (ave. 21 dmg to enemy, Young Owlbear +2 dmg roll aura is not included in calculations)
You mark the enemy.

You take 6-12 damage through the Young Owlbear, allowing surge usage, marking all allies hit (yes, they get -2 to attack rolls that don't include you).
You zap the enemy for 17 damage (Lightning soul 10 + Elemental Breach 7)

So it's an average of 38 damage to the enemy, and 9 damage to yourself.

For each additional ally hit, add another 17 damage to the enemy, and 9 damage to yourself.

Assuming 4 allies hit (3 PCs + Young Owlbear): 89 enemy damage, 36 self damage.
Assuming 7 allies hit, because your party went FULL OWLBEARS (3 PCs + 4 Young Owlbears): 140 enemy damage,  63 self-damage.
All this for 1 minor, which recharges itself (Ancient Soul), so you can blast 3 times a turn.

But the central point to all DB builds is: is the damage to the enemy worth the self-damage I'm taking? NO, NOWHERE IT YET.
The surge/turn granted by Solar armor mitigates the self-damage somewhat, healing 37 HP per use (Healer's Brooch), 42 with Beacon of Hope.
=HEAL ON IR DOES NOT WORK=
So yes, if you limit your targets (as if 7 allies hit/breath is a likely scenario), you can easily heal or at least minimize all self-damage done.
Using Steeled Against it (Endurance daily 10) reduces self damage by 5 (it stacks with Nusemnee's Atonement resistance).

But there are still drawbacks:
a) Your build revolves around Dragonbreath, making your other attack powers mediocre and inaccurate
b) You're marking your allies. -2 penalty to hit is never, ever a good thing.

The first can be mitigated by choosing powers that have an Effect line, so you'll get the benefit whether you hit or not.
The second is there to stay, unless you choose an alternative Paragon Path.
Frankly, I haven't explored all PPs, so if anyone can suggest alternate ones, go ahead.

Fiery Blood (+Arcane Admixture) is a possible expansion, but I don't like it because it only damages adjacent enemies (for only 5 dmg), which severely limits your Close Blast targetting. Using Hurl Breath instead often involves you hitting yourself, which is not good in my book (you pierce your own resists).
Oncoming Storm is good, as your Dragonbreath becomes more accurate as it hits more targets, but needs Thundering Breath.

Weaknesses: Resist lightning will kill this build pretty bad as it depends on multiple plinks of lightning damage. Consider investing in Gloves of Piercing.
 
Invest in a new item as well as sacrifice a feat for resistance and add a little pride in the character's personality that emphasized love to be recklessness but as it now, a little too much extremity adapted just to produce more damage and obviously a more loonie one with madcap laughter than the hero type. 

Who/What Am I?
"I might have been a hmmm... eh-eh well, y'kno but, instead" I'm a fighter... --
peacekeepermedc.gif -- ...not a lover. This signature concept is from "http://www.pathguy.com/index2.htm"
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What I Doing Here?
@MTG Forums. Contestant: A Contest Like No Other hosted by Fakeartist. An Angelic Aspect In The Wild, Wild World Of The Mata Hari's Agency. @DnD Forums. Digital Artist In Training: What Do YOU Think MY Character Looks Like's Thread - @4e Character Development forum. Player (Osborn) - Bounty Hunter (Fighter DnDNext): DnD presents The Walking Dead @Play By Post Forum. Player (Shana Zorus) - Professional Bodyguard/Adventurer (Hybrid Warden/Paladin 4e): The Unhallowed Gate @Play By Post Haven Forum (DM by ffShadow) Player (Krist Breeze) - Twiceborn War Mage/Imbuer (Hybrid Warlord/Wizard 4e): Castle Greyhawk - @Real Adventures (DM by Icanus) Player (Blyne Munro) - Happy-Go-Lucky Scout/Explorer (Warlock 4e) Domain of Shadows-Darkness Falls - Play By Post Haven (DM by WhisperMagellan) Player (Ansmril) - Vistani Blessed Psalmist (Bard/Shaman 4e) The Dragon Below Can't Have It This Good - (And I'm The DM) DM - The Young Mercenaries/Ps'V-GoodShip Drow Diplomacy. DM - The Unlikely Diplomats/Ps'V- GoodShip Drow Diplomacy. DM - The Dragon Below Can't Have It This Good/Ps'V GoodShip Diplomacy. Referee - People Of Oz @Dorothy's Kansas Games(inactive). Oz League: The Ardent Lord w/People Of Oz @Dorothy's Kansas Games(inactive). Ps'V = The Players' Vault Forum Group In Which I'm The Owner Of.



ahahaHAHAHAHAHAHA (he even looks a bit like a half-lizard) AHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA!!
Actually, the real drawback is that you're taking over a surge worth of damage (assuming you can target enough people) every turn that you have no way of immediately healing. Solar Armor's healing power is an Immediate Reaction, you can't do it on your turn. Regardless, Burning a surge a turn, even as Con secondary is a laughably bad idea when a single Elite can deal your Bloodied Value in one round, especially considering your NADs are atrocious. The damage you are taking isn't worth the damage you are dealing nor the resources you've spent to deal it.

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/29081267/Machine_Gun_Breathing_-_The_Dragonbreath_Sorcerer
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
Yep, that's pretty much the problem of almost all DB builds: it's just a fun gimmick that spends a lot of resources and feats for mediocre (striker-wise) damage.

I only presented an alternate path through Lightning Soul, which gives the option of minimizing DB damage.
I'm sure DB will remain a sub-optimal choice for pure DPR/resources, but steps towards efficiency is never a bad thing.

Thanks for the link, I should've included it in the opening post, since I did consult it beforehand. 
If you had actually gone through that post (admittedly, he doesn't put everything together) You'd see that you can deal more damage, take less, expend fewer resources doing it, and not be reliant on your party being a circus...
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
Alright, alright, I admit that I skimmed most of it, searching for "Lightning Soul" specifically.
I did get the main point of the thread though, and that is efficiency.
I don't claim mine better, just that it's a different path (I didn't see any builds focusing on it, just a mention of the vagueness of the interaction of Nusemnee and Lightning Soul). 

And who doesn't want to play in a circus party?

Edit: Now that I HAVE read it thoroughly, it doesn't really offer anything past a list of relevant feats, PPs, and EDs.
There were a bunch of builds listed, but not linked (I can't find them).
While helpful, it's not ANYWHERE specific.
The discussion was good, but hampered by baiting.
That said, kudos to Matyr for such a compilation.

Again, this build is far from optimized, all I'm asserting is that the Lightning Soul route is viable. That's it.
Except its not all that viable. DB sorcs take less than 10 damage per breath, and typically deal upwards of 60 damage in an Area Burst 2 as a minor action. This isn't really in the same zipcode.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
monkey.

I know I haven't worked on the thread in a really long time, but if you think it is just a gimmick build you are in for a rude awakening.  The point of the dragonbreather build is to be an effective sorcerer while also using your minor actions to amazing effect.

As far as damage is concerned.... it does a lot of damage.  At 13 it is doing about 35 damage (plus however many lightning soul attacks you get) to a burst 2 in 10 as a minor action with minimal investment.  Then you take your standard action to be a sorcerer.  While you are expending a lot of resources to improve your minor actions, your standard action is still almost always using a sorcerer power to be a competent sorcerer and not to spam dragons breath.  To be clear Dbreath is not the main source of damage in a dbreath build, it is just a really good option.

Yes, I know I need to work on the post and update it.  Yes I know it is something I keep saying I will do and never get around to doing.  I'll get around to it, I promise.

Specifically on the build:

Radiant Breath doesn't work as you are hoping it does.
You have to make a very good excuse for not MCing into Fighter when you are plugging that many feats into Dbreath.
Unless you are in melee a lot more than you really need to be, you want hurl breath over enlarged breath.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Hello Matyr, great to hear from you.

Yes, the standard Dragonbreather builds discussed in that thread use it to boost Sorc damage, not be the main source of damage.

But I guess I should have been clear on this particular build:
As it aims to abuse Lightning Soul, Dragonbreath *will* be the "main" source of damage.

That is just a particular feature of this route, and does not apply to regular DB builds.
Aka this build IS a gimmicky one, and playing around with it and making it actually feasible will be fun for me. 

Yes I realized Radiant + solar armor doesn't work, I spotted it earlier and made edits in the main post.
As to Enlarge Breath, Lightning Soul has a range of 5 squares, you NEED to be in almost melee range.

Again, something that is particular to this build.
As for the MC, Warden is required for Breach Warden.
I'm still looking for alternate PPs (that uses the Lightning Soul route).

Thanks for the feedback, I look forward to the updates on your thread (especially the listed builds, there were a LOT of them).

@zelink: Yes I realize the output to damage taken ratio is nowhere near feasible yet, especially since the healing doesn't work.
I'll have to overhaul this build. As for the numbers, It's hard for me to compare with the "standard" DB builds because there aren't any guides/build compilations out there, making it hard for me to know what IS standard.
The problem I'm having is I don't see why this isn't a normal breather build with lightning soul in it. Every breather build that uses lightning should have lightning soul.

I will make a point to revisit my build handbook tonight.  You can make Dbreath almost your primary source of damage, or almost as good as your standard, but it can't really reach your standard action powers until Epic.  It can get close at paragon, but its still a better plan to take your standard as a sorc power.

Breach Warden isn't worth it.  Not compared to a non-redirected double strength mod to damage.  Also, Ninefold Master is what you are going to want to use except for theory builds.

As far as the range is concerned, you can basically use it almost like melee (be near, just not in melee) as hurl breath (Burst 2 and blast 5 are the same size).  Having options to hit a very far distance is also nice.  If you have 1 enemy within 5 but a whole cluster 8 squares away you can hit the whole group you want while focusing the damage on the one close target.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Looking forward to it, I really need some baseline as to what numbers are "acceptable".
I do agree with your points, Hurl is a lot more versatile than Enlarged.
Back to square one with this build! 
The problem I'm having is I don't see why this isn't a normal breather build with lightning soul in it. Every breather build that uses lightning should have lightning soul.

I will make a point to revisit my build handbook tonight.  You can make Dbreath almost your primary source of damage, or almost as good as your standard, but it can't really reach your standard action powers until Epic.  It can get close at paragon, but its still a better plan to take your standard as a sorc power.

Breach Warden isn't worth it.  Not compared to a non-redirected double strength mod to damage.  Also, Ninefold Master is what you are going to want to use except for theory builds.

As far as the range is concerned, you can basically use it almost like melee (be near, just not in melee) as hurl breath (Burst 2 and blast 5 are the same size).  Having options to hit a very far distance is also nice.  If you have 1 enemy within 5 but a whole cluster 8 squares away you can hit the whole group you want while focusing the damage on the one close target.



Flame Spiral, Explosive Pyre, and some others are going to be better, but you can always ONLY use 2 DBs on your turn :P
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
This is my build of a Dragonbreather that breathes 3x/turn. It is in DPR Kings 3.0
the basic idea is to take Ninefold master to make your DB an arcane power of every one of your classes.
MC to Swordmage and take Arcane Sword ED. The level 30 power is
Spellsword Perfection (30th level): Choose one swordmage encounter attack power that you know. You can now use that power as an at-will power rather than an encounter power.
Since DB is an arcane swordmage encounter power, it qualifies, now you can do DB as an at-will, and no need to find strange ways to recharge it.

It does +39 vs reflex at 3d6+64 and pushes8 twice, slows, immobolizes, dazes, prones, and gives -10/-8 to hit in a friendly 5x5 area at 10 square range..... all as a minor action. Before you get to level 30, you have only 1 use of it, and so the build really only shines at level 30.

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...


Lathaen
Yes, and no one outside the little clique actually cares about builds inside the DPR, KPR, SBPR, DTPR, HPR, or whatever threads; especially builds that use level 30 features and don't do infinite damage.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
The problem I'm having is I don't see why this isn't a normal breather build with lightning soul in it. Every breather build that uses lightning should have lightning soul.

I will make a point to revisit my build handbook tonight.  You can make Dbreath almost your primary source of damage, or almost as good as your standard, but it can't really reach your standard action powers until Epic.  It can get close at paragon, but its still a better plan to take your standard as a sorc power.

Breach Warden isn't worth it.  Not compared to a non-redirected double strength mod to damage.  Also, Ninefold Master is what you are going to want to use except for theory builds.

As far as the range is concerned, you can basically use it almost like melee (be near, just not in melee) as hurl breath (Burst 2 and blast 5 are the same size).  Having options to hit a very far distance is also nice.  If you have 1 enemy within 5 but a whole cluster 8 squares away you can hit the whole group you want while focusing the damage on the one close target.



Flame Spiral, Explosive Pyre, and some others are going to be better, but you can always ONLY use 2 DBs on your turn :P



Unless you are action pointing in paragon, then you can use three.

Unless you are action pointing in low epic, then you use five.

Unless you have extra minor actions (Ring of Free time etc etc).

But, yes, generally you only want to breathe twice per turn (unless you want a crazy amount of different resistances through your amulet via your ED). In heroic you generally only breathe once per turn. 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Which is why I said two.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!