Barbarian|Sorcerer Troubles

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Most of the games around here seem to stick to the Heroic levels for a while and eventually into Paragon, so I figured a Barb|Sorc build could be pretty fun.  Swinging around a Fullblade for single-target and close Blasts or Bursts for AoE looks like it would lend itself well to versatility.  I like the higher defenses and added durability of the hybrid's power options and at first it seemed like the differences were pretty small.

However, as I start building it, between the feat taxes and not quite having all the bonuses a pure class would have it lags behind a Dragon or Storm Sorcerer by a significant amount.  Full Soul benefit, DIS, Superior Implements, etc really help out the Sorcerer's damage and reliability but does not help out that Fullblade in the slightest.

Things that seem like they could help bring different issues.  I can take the Elemental Initiate theme for free Ki Focus proficiency, saving the AIP feat and gaining access to a stronger Expertise feat and Ki Focus enchantments.  However, then if I want a Focus feat for damage boost I would need to take two as each feat will only apply to Implement or Weapon powers, not both.  The split in Focus feat bonus seems to apply to whether I'm casting via Ki Focus or Fullblade, so while it is still a net gain of one open feat it's still very costly.

Once we hit Paragon then I could take Draconic Arrogance with Mark of Storm to help shore up Fullblade damage, but I have to delegate my ki focus's enchantment to Forked Lightning and it doesn't apply to arcane powers.  A Lightning Fullblade would, but then I'm back to taking the Arcane Implement Proficiency feat and I could instead apply Draconic Arrogance to my arcane powers.

Is there a way to make a fullblade wielder as mechanically viable as the pure Dragon Sorc, or is it simply not going to happen?
Arrogance and MoS don't work together... slides are not pushes.

A damage type+typed Focus feat. Applies to both. MC Fighter, take Honorable Blade as your PP. By RAW elemental weapons still work when using a Ki Focus. The rules say you can't get properties, but elemental weapon conversions are a power of the magic item that say the damage done by the weapon is converted, a Ki Focusized weapon is still doing the damage according to the Ki Focus rules. A fair number of people believe that isn't RAI. But that'd only apply to the Barbarian side, so the usefulness is mitigated anyway. 

There is a dual wielding Barbarian build and powers. Staff+Staff Fighting. Definitely a compromise option, as you end up with a +2/1d8 weapon which isn't stellar. But you do get reach on your melee attacks, which is pretty sweet.

Personally I prefer Sorc|Fighter. I'd rather play a pure Sorc over a Sorc|Barb.
Doh, totally overlooked the slides are not pushes part.  Well at least it was a bad idea to begin with.

Huh, it definitely looks like you're right as far as RAW goes on the elemental weapon conversion + ki focus.  Doesn't make Mark of Storm work any better, but still good to know.  I wonder how often that really comes up though...

I think I'm going to just wind up making a Dragon Sorcerer, but that changes my question to how to pull off the Flame Spiral round as well as I could as a Storm Sorc with MoS.  Infernal Slave theme attack I guess, just have to hope DMs ok it as some aren't fans of "evil" themes.  Relying on others for forced movement into my zone seems iffy at best.
Not sure what the difference between Storm Sorc vs Dragon Sorc re: Flame Spiral. Either way you need to add Lightning or Thunder to trigger MoS.

Also: Storm Sorcs are bad. Easily the weakest of the four Sorc builds.
You're joking, Storm is the strongest or second strongest. Nothing's competing with Lightning Field except maybe Dragonbreath spam combos. Cosmic and Wild are just weaker.

Barbarian | Sorcerer is a fun build but you kind of need Dragonfoe Ragespell to make them mesh adequately. Weapons are issues. Maybe Bastard Sword and offhand dagger would be better than mainhand fullblade? That's just a guess.
You're joking, Storm is the strongest or second strongest. Nothing's competing with Lightning Field except maybe Dragonbreath spam combos. Cosmic and Wild are just weaker.


The problem is that a lot of the goody-goodness of the Storm Sorcerer comes online at Paragon. The Heroic Storm Sorcerer does not have Resounding Thunder or Lightning Field or a lot of its prized attacks (though it does have a weak At-Will dedicated to its Soul), and nothing really helps it take advantage of helping it deal stellar Lightning or Thunder damage.
Heroic Stormers still get lancing dagger, mark of storm, tempest magic, and wiz utility Shield whenever lightning resist/piercing isn't more valuable.  Yes Storm Magic has a weak at-will associated with it, but nobody uses it anyway.

The Lightning Lancing Dagger really opens it up.  LLD + MoS gives easy synergy to Flame Spiral and other zones for max potential damage (hit damage, zone damage on slide, zone damage on start of turn) and gives you a MBA that slides all while giving added crit and static damage with every attack.  Not too shabby.

I'll flesh out a Dragon sorc to see how it compares.  The minor Breath attack certainly helps I'm sure, but I wonder about the rest.
I agree that Storm needs Lightning Fury to get its best stuff and isn't that good at heroic, as I discovered myself. I still wouldn't say it's the weakest without any qualification.
Why do you feel Storms aren't effective pre-Lightning Fury and Resounding Thunder?  Those are certainly fantastic, but the rest of their abilities certainly seem pretty solid for heroic and the front half of Paragon.  What does a Dragon sorcerer offer that is such an advantage?  The powers with nice Dragon riders?
MC Swordmage, this way your weapon becomes the implement.
Isn't that basically what Arcane Implement Proficiency already does, but without the 13 INT requirement for Blade Initiate.  I couldn't make use of Swordmage Warding with a fullblade, so that's out the window, and the other multiclass feat requires 13 INT and 13 CON which there aren't enough points for.

Edit:  Back on the Storm vs Dragon discussion, these lowbie Dragon magic powers are just crazy.  There's just so much reactive damage going on it's silly.  Toss in White Lotus Riposte just for the fun of it and you're getting full attack damage on enemy turns by being a pinata.
I don't know if it really counts too much as a strength, but it is amusing to note that dragon sorcerers have both some of the best and some of the worst AC in the game. The actual number on the sheet will be pretty bad, but with so many ways to add strength to AC at higher levels they can get absolutely ridiculous, which helps greatly with their close blast and melee feeling for maximum damage.
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Why do you feel Storms aren't effective pre-Lightning Fury and Resounding Thunder?  Those are certainly fantastic, but the rest of their abilities certainly seem pretty solid for heroic and the front half of Paragon.  What does a Dragon sorcerer offer that is such an advantage?  The powers with nice Dragon riders?


As 90% of Dragon Sorcerers are going to be Dragonborn, we're going to compare it on their terms. And the support they have is LUDICROUS - Ancient Soul is a great feat, even without Nusemnee's to prop it up, and if you give yourself Rod proficiency via Elemential Initiate and use a Rod of the Dragonborn, you'll be very well off in terms of consolidating your attack and damage feat bonuses. With both of those in play, you have access to a wonderful little Minor Action AOE that carries plenty of feat support.

They also tend to have the best riders at Heroic, both on their normal powers and on their Utilities (especially the latter).

Dragon is going to clearly beat other Sorcs because of the Rebreather, but calling Storm the worst is just false considering Cosmic is the Star Pact of Sorcerers.
"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.
Dragon is going to clearly beat other Sorcs because of the Rebreather, but calling Storm the worst is just false considering Cosmic is the Star Pact of Sorcerers.



Lies. Cosmic is not the best spell source, not by a long damn shot. You meant to say Cosmic is the Dark Pact of Sorcerers there, I think.

EDIT: Also, Duelist, if we're doing Rebreathers at Heroic, I have only two words for you: Storm. Talon. That's when that familiar is most powerful, and it's hella stupid. You're not gonna convince me that a stormsorc who hits super often is not competitive with a Dragonsorc at Heroic. Weaker? Sure. But then Paragon tier comes in and the Stormsorc just explodes and it's never even remotely debatable again, so it comes out winning in the end.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
You're joking, Storm is the strongest or second strongest. Nothing's competing with Lightning Field except maybe Dragonbreath spam combos. Cosmic and Wild are just weaker.

Barbarian | Sorcerer is a fun build but you kind of need Dragonfoe Ragespell to make them mesh adequately. Weapons are issues. Maybe Bastard Sword and offhand dagger would be better than mainhand fullblade? That's just a guess.

I actually meant Cosmic. Not sure how it came out as Storm.
As 90% of Dragon Sorcerers are going to be Dragonborn, we're going to compare it on their terms. And the support they have is LUDICROUS - Ancient Soul is a great feat, even without Nusemnee's to prop it up, and if you give yourself Rod proficiency via Elemential Initiate and use a Rod of the Dragonborn, you'll be very well off in terms of consolidating your attack and damage feat bonuses. With both of those in play, you have access to a wonderful little Minor Action AOE that carries plenty of feat support.


Ancient Soul looks decent but isn't it very dependent on the monsters the DM throws your way if not using Nusemnee's Rebreather?

I am confused on the Rod of the Dragonborn, at least as far as why it's a helpful item.  If you are using it for elemental support like Fire and Lightning feats, wouldn't you be better of with elemental conversions on Superior Dagger Implements?  Though the shield bonuses with Rod Expertise are pretty nice, it seems like the dagger implements would be stronger overall.  Rod Expertise wouldn't apply to Ensorcelled Blade and AoEs wouldn't be as friendly without War Wizard's Expertise.
I have played a Dragonborn Barb/Sorc levels 1-8 and it was a blast. The thing that made it fun was that I always had a backup plan. Utilities to teleport into/out of the fray (Spatial Trip), rage that allowed me to recover and and run out of the fight and continue to get temporary HP (Stormwalk + Macetail Rage). Even while hitting with Sorcerer powers I was able to gain the temporary HP. Along with defender AC, I was a force to be reckoned with.

I would hope you consider playing a Barb/Sorc as long as the rest of your group is not super optimized.

EDIT: I realized fun has little to do with optimizing boards.

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Fun certainly has a very large role in optimizing, at least for me.  That said, it's not much fun to look at the options I have and see how locked-in my feats would need to be, and how much stronger the Sorcerer side gets compared to the Barbarian side.  I think I read somewhere that it's those first levels you get the full "feel" of the crazy sword toting barb|sorc, and the full sorc doesn't completely outstrip it until later Heroic.
As 90% of Dragon Sorcerers are going to be Dragonborn, we're going to compare it on their terms. And the support they have is LUDICROUS - Ancient Soul is a great feat, even without Nusemnee's to prop it up, and if you give yourself Rod proficiency via Elemential Initiate and use a Rod of the Dragonborn, you'll be very well off in terms of consolidating your attack and damage feat bonuses. With both of those in play, you have access to a wonderful little Minor Action AOE that carries plenty of feat support.


Ancient Soul looks decent but isn't it very dependent on the monsters the DM throws your way if not using Nusemnee's Rebreather?

I am confused on the Rod of the Dragonborn, at least as far as why it's a helpful item.  If you are using it for elemental support like Fire and Lightning feats, wouldn't you be better of with elemental conversions on Superior Dagger Implements?  Though the shield bonuses with Rod Expertise are pretty nice, it seems like the dagger implements would be stronger overall.  Rod Expertise wouldn't apply to Ensorcelled Blade and AoEs wouldn't be as friendly without War Wizard's Expertise.

Ancient Soul makes DB count as an Arcane Power. As a pure-class Sorc you get +Str to all arcane power damage damage rolls. That amps the damage quite a bit and gives you an actual nova. But I believe he was thinking of Scepter of Arkhosia, which adds +enhance to the atttack and damage of DB. Note: it already gets a scaling 2/4/6 bonus, so you just made it super accurate. With Draconic Spellcaster it even gets accuracy (and you save a feat, though at this point you have to houserule it to scale at 11/21 like all the other expertise feats now do).

I usually prefer off-handing the Scepter of Arkosia and using a dagger MH so I can have Lightning Cuts. That is three attacks (DB, LC, w/e you pick for your standard). Which is actually a pretty good nova.
The thing with Cosmic is that by taking it via Hybrid Talent you get the big full-featured... feature. While doing the same with either Dragon or Storm only gives you a part of it. So as a hybrid, you might feel you get more by taking Cosmic. Powers not withstanding, I mean.

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Huh. I'd never realized that I don't actually have Storm's Embrace. Luckily it's never actually mattered in play except for style points. That's a bit unfortunate for a Barbarian | Dragon Magic Sorcerer, though.


Ancient Soul makes DB count as an Arcane Power. As a pure-class Sorc you get +Str to all arcane power damage damage rolls. That amps the damage quite a bit and gives you an actual nova. But I believe he was thinking of Scepter of Arkhosia, which adds +enhance to the atttack and damage of DB. Note: it already gets a scaling 2/4/6 bonus, so you just made it super accurate. With Draconic Spellcaster it even gets accuracy (and you save a feat, though at this point you have to houserule it to scale at 11/21 like all the other expertise feats now do).

I usually prefer off-handing the Scepter of Arkosia and using a dagger MH so I can have Lightning Cuts. That is three attacks (DB, LC, w/e you pick for your standard). Which is actually a pretty good nova.


Not sure how I overlooked the Arcane keyword giving aspect of Ancient Soul!  It still seems a little underwhelming, 1d6+4, but being a minor action and AoE it's pretty cool.

I think he may have been referring to Draconic Spellcaster, +1 attack and damage with any arcane spell using the same damage type as your breath, which with that rod you could make that whatever you choose.  I overlooked it earlier, but it is a decent feat that tosses Focus in with Expertise but it bumps at 15th and 25th as opposed to at the tiers.  During Heroic it's all the same, and DM might houserule it to match the other expertises.  I think I'd still rather go with an elemental conversion superior implement, Incendiary most likely for the bonus to accuracy vs Reflex which so many of our powers has.
It's going to be a heck of a lot more damage than 1d6+4 if you go the full Breather route.
As LDB states, 1d6 for now but it quickly goes to 2d6 at paragon and a feat can jump it from d6s to d10s.  Add in all the other elemental feats and watch the damage soar.
" I have only two words for you: Storm. Talon. That's when that familiar is most powerful, and it's hella stupid." - Armisael

Snipped the relevant part.

What exactly do you mean by that ?  I'm trying to find a familiar by the name storm talon or talon or storm and I am not finding it.  I did see dragonmark reflection, did you mark of storm and that ?  I'm not familiar with sorcs so if you or anyone could explain that to me, i'd appreciate it.
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It's an elemental companion from Heroes of the Elemental Chaos. You have a +2 on lightning/thunder attack rolls against enemies in its aura.
However, it requires two feats to get that bonus (Born of the Elements and Elemental Companion) for the same benefit as the Primordial Adept theme. I know which one I like better.
However, it requires two feats to get that bonus (Born of the Elements and Elemental Companion) for the same benefit as the Primordial Adept theme. I know which one I like better.



Haha !
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

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However, it requires two feats to get that bonus (Born of the Elements and Elemental Companion) for the same benefit as the Primordial Adept theme. I know which one I like better.



Er... no. Primordial Adept is +damage, Storm Talon is +attack. That's a little bit different.
However, it requires two feats to get that bonus (Born of the Elements and Elemental Companion) for the same benefit as the Primordial Adept theme. I know which one I like better.



Er... no. Primordial Adept is +damage, Storm Talon is +attack. That's a little bit different.

Ah, I apologize. I misread its aura. I'm used to seeing "attack rolls with the lightning or thunder keyword" and "lightning or thunder damage rolls". I still think that it's not nearly as good as it's being made out to be. If you're using it at range, you may not get it into position, and it's as fragile as a familiar would be. I'd rather spend the feats getting some source of perma-CA and Nimble Blade.
I agree that a 2 feat tax for a +2 to hit as unsteady as described is..  well I'll say that it's not everyone who is willing to do that kind of trade.  Not saying it's not good, but it's still 2 feats that could go somewhere else IMHO.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

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I agree that a 2 feat tax for a +2 to hit as unsteady as described is..  well I'll say that it's not everyone who is willing to do that kind of trade.  Not saying it's not good, but it's still 2 feats that could go somewhere else IMHO.



Where? Few feats are as good as '+10% hitchance', even if you have to burn two feats for it.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
towards any other strat you might be going for, for example.  Some builds are feat intensive and 2 feats for +2 to hit is not always possible or even attractive.  I haven't seen a single storm sorc build so far that pick up these feats for example.  Maybe I just missed it, but none of the ones I've seen do.  To be honest I'm pretty sure in heroic there's almost always something else that either is a real feat tax or is important towards whatever build you might be going for, and so is more attractive.  On top of that from what Herid_Fel describes, it seems iffy ?
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

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Not really. You haven't seen it because it's recent and practical, AKA not interesting enough to feature in TheoryOp. Nobody cranks out 'platonic ideal' builds, but a stormtalon would feature in a stormsorc's platonic ideal without fail. And Herid is down on it because he isn't considering its plusses.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
hmm, well next new campaign I was thinking of playing a storm sorc, I'll test it out for myself and see.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

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towards any other strat you might be going for, for example.  Some builds are feat intensive and 2 feats for +2 to hit is not always possible or even attractive.  I haven't seen a single storm sorc build so far that pick up these feats for example.  Maybe I just missed it, but none of the ones I've seen do.  To be honest I'm pretty sure in heroic there's almost always something else that either is a real feat tax or is important towards whatever build you might be going for, and so is more attractive.  On top of that from what Herid_Fel describes, it seems iffy ?



There are issues. I used it for a bit in my own Storm Sorc game but I became dissatisfied with trying to protect it from autodamage auras and the like. As long as you can block that, though, it's quite valuable. Wouldn't call it an autopick unless you're confident the DM won't just kill it all the time.
The thing with Cosmic is that by taking it via Hybrid Talent you get the big full-featured... feature. While doing the same with either Dragon or Storm only gives you a part of it. So as a hybrid, you might feel you get more by taking Cosmic. Powers not withstanding, I mean.




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The thing with Cosmic is that by taking it via Hybrid Talent you get the big full-featured... feature. While doing the same with either Dragon or Storm only gives you a part of it. So as a hybrid, you might feel you get more by taking Cosmic. Powers not withstanding, I mean.



I guess I don't understand why a Barb/Sorc doesn't go with HT: Barbarian Agility to have fantastic AC right at level 1. Makes your striker/striker have defender AC. Seems pretty darn good to me to make you a little more durable.

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The thing with Cosmic is that by taking it via Hybrid Talent you get the big full-featured... feature. While doing the same with either Dragon or Storm only gives you a part of it. So as a hybrid, you might feel you get more by taking Cosmic. Powers not withstanding, I mean.



I guess I don't understand why a Barb/Sorc doesn't go with HT: Barbarian Agility to have fantastic AC right at level 1. Makes your striker/striker have defender AC. Seems pretty darn good to me to make you a little more durable.



Because you need the full feature to take Lightning Soul. And anything else except for Morninglord flatly does not compare to it. AC is for schmucks who don't have access to Storm's Embrace, anyway.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
Lightning Soul certainly has the excellent PP associated with it, but can't you simply retrain the AC feat at the later levels?  
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