Charging Barbarian, critique.

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Hey guys, this is my first attempt at creating a charging barbarian. I am looking for some critique on this build. Suggestions are welcome. My goal is to produce good striker damage, along with great mobility and support as a 2nd defender.

Korgul, level 11
Half-Orc, Barbarian, Bear Warrior
Build: Rageblood Barbarian
Feral Might: Rageblood Vigor
Background: Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 21, Con 17, Dex 17, Int 9, Wis 13, Cha 12.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 14, Dex 14, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 11.


AC: 23 Fort: 22 Reflex: 20 Will: 16
HP: 96 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 24

TRAINED SKILLS
Nature +13, Intimidate +13, Athletics +14

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +7, Arcana +4, Bluff +6, Diplomacy +6, Dungeoneering +6, Endurance +9, Heal +6, History +4, Insight +6, Perception +8, Religion +4, Stealth +7, Streetwise +6, Thievery +7

FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Execution axe)
Level 2: Axe Expertise
Level 4: Reckless Charge
Level 6: Powerful Charge
Level 8: Deadly Rage
Level 10: Weapon Focus (Axe)
Level 11: Charging Rampage

POWERS
Barbarian at-will 1: Pressing Strike
Barbarian at-will 1: Howling Strike
Barbarian encounter 1: Desperate Fury
Barbarian daily 1: Swift Panther Rage
Barbarian utility 2: Combat Sprint
Barbarian encounter 3: Wolf's Rend
Barbarian daily 5: Rage of the Crimson Hurricane
Barbarian utility 6: Revitalizing Charge
Barbarian encounter 7: Crushing Charge
Barbarian daily 9: Oak Hammer Rage
Barbarian utility 10: Savage Resurgence

ITEMS
Hide Armor, Adventurer's Kit, Handaxe, Execution axe, Dagger



Let me know what you think.
No magic items?

Gouge+Spear Expertise > Exe Axe+Axe Expertise.
I'd switch stats around a bit, starting with 16/13/14/8/14/10, and bump str/dex at every opportunity.

Gouge+Spear Expertise is better. But if you really want Execution Axe, pick up Two-Handed Weapon Expertise. Axe Expertise is a waste.

I'm not too fond of Reckless Charge. I'd ditch that for something else, probably Battle Awareness.

Instead of Charging Rampage (which I think is a pretty weak feat), I'd pick up something else, maybe Superior Will or Improved Defenses.

At level 7, there are no powers other than Curtain of Steel.
Powerful Charge for bonus damage on a charge.  If you feel charge needs more.
I didn't add any magic items as of yet, but I will likely pick up the chargers package.

I thought that axe expertise complemented brutal two pretty good because it was usable on regular damage die, such as the 1d6 from howling strike, whereas brutal only counts for [W] dice? I will look into two weapon expertise however.

I never noticed gouge before so I will take a look. What spear would the best bet? And would I MC into fighter to pick up surprising charge?

And I did pick up powerful charge.
I didn't add any magic items as of yet, but I will likely pick up the chargers package.

I thought that axe expertise complemented brutal two pretty good because it was usable on regular damage die, such as the 1d6 from howling strike, whereas brutal only counts for [W] dice? I will look into two weapon expertise however.

I never noticed gouge before so I will take a look. What spear would the best bet? And would I MC into fighter to pick up surprising charge?

And I did pick up powerful charge.



Gouge is a spear as well as an axe.
Powerful Charge for bonus damage on a charge.  If you feel charge needs more.



Its not a great feat, but he has it regardless.
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Anyone got a picture of a gouge? I am having a hard time finding a discription of one, and all I can picture is a halbred.
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I do not say this very often, but have you thought about what'll happen when you get hit? Particularly, how will you overcome effects against Will ?

I would recommend some sort of boost there, as well as picking up, at the very least, Shrug it off.

I thought that axe expertise complemented brutal two pretty good because it was usable on regular damage die, such as the 1d6 from howling strike, whereas brutal only counts for [W] dice? I will look into two weapon expertise however.


Okay, maybe it's not a complete waste, but +1/2/3 damage on a charge with two handed weapon expertise or Spear Expertise is simply going to pay off more, and on demand.

If you go with Gouge, after you pick up Battle Awareness, Surprising Charge is quite good, particularly if you pick up Superior Reflexes too, and have some cooperation from your party for later rounds (which isn't too hard with all tools available for CA).
ok lots of great advice here.

What else would you recommend to help with my defences Baldhermit aside from shrug it off?

Also the stat array you recommended earlier Mengu74, would that be sufficient con for this build? I assumed that Rageblood Barbarians benifited more from a higher con due to Rageblood Vigor?

Also what are thoughts on the Bear Warrior PP?
In my opinion, the bonus for the rageblood type, what makes them so good, is not the THP, but the extra attack. So I would drop Con, drop Wis, and start with 16/11/16/8/10/13,

ABout your chosen feats, you are so very much focused on charging, what will you do when the DM throws some terrain challenges in the mix ?

At level 2, as said, my pick is Shrug it off, and at level 6 probably Wilderness Step.

I also would pick up Battle Awareness, since, with the gouge, that will allow you to pick up the Draeven Marauder "let's crit on 19" Paragon Path.
I thought that axe expertise complemented brutal two pretty good because it was usable on regular damage die, such as the 1d6 from howling strike, whereas brutal only counts for [W] dice? I will look into two weapon expertise however.


Okay, maybe it's not a complete waste, but +1/2/3 damage on a charge with two handed weapon expertise or Spear Expertise is simply going to pay off more, and on demand.

If you go with Gouge, after you pick up Battle Awareness, Surprising Charge is quite good, particularly if you pick up Superior Reflexes too, and have some cooperation from your party for later rounds (which isn't too hard with all tools available for CA).

It is pretty close to a complete waste. Brutal is +.5 per brutal. Axe Expertise is kind of sort of brutal 1, except you only get to reroll once. Which is difficult to model, but it is less than half the untyped bonus you get in Heroic from either of the other expertises. Granted they only apply to a charge, but, um, you should always be charging if you're going to optimized around it, so.

@OP: Have you read the Barbarian handbook?
I have read the handbook by Lord Duskblade. I took alot of his advice for feats and powers. Although it may be a little outdated, you guys are helping me fill in the gaps left by the handbook.
I have read the handbook by Lord Duskblade. I took alot of his advice for feats and powers. Although it may be a little outdated, you guys are helping me fill in the gaps left by the handbook.

Then I refer you to post #3 in the Barbarian handbook, discussing stat allocation, to answer your question. Also post #15 has a sample build of a Half-Orc Rageblood.
I have read the handbook by Lord Duskblade. I took alot of his advice for feats and powers. Although it may be a little outdated, you guys are helping me fill in the gaps left by the handbook.

Then I refer you to post #3 in the Barbarian handbook, discussing stat allocation, to answer your question. Also post #15 has a sample build of a Half-Orc Rageblood.



I think I am looking at a different handbook then you? Could you post the one you are referencing? Post #15 in Lord Duskblades is a comment about a picture.
In my opinion, the bonus for the rageblood type, what makes them so good, is not the THP, but the extra attack. So I would drop Con, drop Wis, and start with 16/11/16/8/10/13,

ABout your chosen feats, you are so very much focused on charging, what will you do when the DM throws some terrain challenges in the mix ?

At level 2, as said, my pick is Shrug it off, and at level 6 probably Wilderness Step.

I also would pick up Battle Awareness, since, with the gouge, that will allow you to pick up the Draeven Marauder "let's crit on 19" Paragon Path.



I am going to assume you ment to add the 13 to Wisdom instead of Charisma to qualify for Battle Awareness?
Also the stat array you recommended earlier Mengu74, would that be sufficient con for this build? I assumed that Rageblood Barbarians benifited more from a higher con due to Rageblood Vigor?

High Con is not all that necessary. Dexterity is more valuable for defense. I like better wisdom for higher will, and to pick up Superior Will at Paragon, so I prefer 16/13/14/8/14/10, but 16/11/16/8/13/10 also works. I feel safer with an extra healing surge too, but that's more game/group/DM dependent.


Also what are thoughts on the Bear Warrior PP?

It's an okay choice, but not a striker choice (not that any barbarian PP is a significant striker choice). Once you MC fighter, that opens some better options, both offensive and defensive ones. So I'd comb through those to see if anything jumps out at you. Also since you're half-orc, Bloodfury Savage is worth a look.
Fighter Multiclassing allows the Draeven Marauder and Kensei PPs. Both are very good striker PPs and better than any Barbarian PP. Another good PP choice would be the Half-Orc path Bloodfury Savage.

When you specialize on charging, Draeven Marauder combined with a Gouge will probably get you most. You don't need a Jagged Weapon to get your expanded crit range and can use your Vanguard Weapon further. In case you have a good option to get temporary HP besides your Rageblood Feat, you might be better of with a Battlecrazed Weapon. Half-Orcs also have some nice feats to expand the bloodied cheese.

Also, you should seriously consider taking the Improved Defenses feat.
Thanks guys, I am going to go back to the drawing board and make afew tweaks. You all have been very helpful. I may post my new build for inspection.
Also the stat array you recommended earlier Mengu74, would that be sufficient con for this build? I assumed that Rageblood Barbarians benifited more from a higher con due to Rageblood Vigor?

High Con is not all that necessary. Dexterity is more valuable for defense. I like better wisdom for higher will, and to pick up Superior Will at Paragon, so I prefer 16/13/14/8/14/10, but 16/11/16/8/13/10 also works. I feel safer with an extra healing surge too, but that's more game/group/DM dependent.


Also what are thoughts on the Bear Warrior PP?

It's an okay choice, but not a striker choice (not that any barbarian PP is a significant striker choice). Once you MC fighter, that opens some better options, both offensive and defensive ones. So I'd comb through those to see if anything jumps out at you. Also since you're half-orc, Bloodfury Savage is worth a look.



What do you guys think of a 16/12/16/8/12/10 stat array for this build? That gets me Battle Awareness at lvl 11, and gives me abit more Con.

That's a good choice. However, you might want to think about raising CON later and compensate for the loss of AC with Hide Armor Expertise (CON 15) / Second Skin (L21, CON 17) if you feel you need the extra surges.
Hmm, ok. So if I put points into Str/Con at lvl 14 & 18, and the rest into Str/Dex that will give me 26 Str 24 Dex and only 16 Con at lvl 30, if I pump Con to 17 for Second Skin then that leaves me with only 23 Dex.

What would be the best way to go about pumping my stats as I level if I was to start with 16/12/16/8/12/10?
Hmm, ok. So if I put points into Str/Con at lvl 14 & 18, and the rest into Str/Dex that will give me 26 Str 24 Dex and only 16 Con at lvl 30, if I pump Con to 17 for Second Skin then that leaves me with only 23 Dex.

What would be the best way to go about pumping my stats as I level if I was to start with 16/12/16/8/12/10?

Bumps are more valuable then initial points. But if getting to second skin costs you a point of Dex... you didn't come out ahead, or anything. Aim for 16 con at Epic, which is 15 during Paragon, which is 14 during creation. Hide Armor Spec is fine. 16 str, pre-racial. The only question is if you want 14 Wis, so you can qualify for Superior Will, or 14 Dex. I'd go with 14 Wis. At Paragon+ that gives you Battle Awareness, Superior Will, Hide Armor Spec, and you can boost Dex/Str with every boost. If you don't want superior will, 12 in Wis, and you qualify for Battle Awareness with the +1 to all boosts at 11.
Hmm, ok. So if I put points into Str/Con at lvl 14 & 18, and the rest into Str/Dex that will give me 26 Str 24 Dex and only 16 Con at lvl 30, if I pump Con to 17 for Second Skin then that leaves me with only 23 Dex.

What would be the best way to go about pumping my stats as I level if I was to start with 16/12/16/8/12/10?

Bumps are more valuable then initial points. But if getting to second skin costs you a point of Dex... you didn't come out ahead, or anything. Aim for 16 con at Epic, which is 15 during Paragon, which is 14 during creation. Hide Armor Spec is fine. 16 str, pre-racial. The only question is if you want 14 Wis, so you can qualify for Superior Will, or 14 Dex. I'd go with 14 Wis. At Paragon+ that gives you Battle Awareness, Superior Will, Hide Armor Spec, and you can boost Dex/Str with every boost. If you don't want superior will, 12 in Wis, and you qualify for Battle Awareness with the +1 to all boosts at 11.



Ok I am almost finished, I took your advice and went for 14 Con at the start, I wanted to go Dex instead of Wis so I put 14 into Dex as well so my array looks like this

16/14/14/8/12/10 with one point left over. Should it go into Wis? That will allow me to qualify for battle awareness in heroic and bump me to 14 at lvl 11.

Hmm, ok. So if I put points into Str/Con at lvl 14 & 18, and the rest into Str/Dex that will give me 26 Str 24 Dex and only 16 Con at lvl 30, if I pump Con to 17 for Second Skin then that leaves me with only 23 Dex.

What would be the best way to go about pumping my stats as I level if I was to start with 16/12/16/8/12/10?

Bumps are more valuable then initial points.


No they're not, not in a direct tradeoff.  If you're planning on having a stat be lower with the aim of bumping it later, versus having it start higher and choosing not to bump, the priority should be on what costs the least amount in the point buy.  You can shave off a few extra points in secondaries and tertiaries in exchange for nothing if you do it haphazardly.
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@Mand: You'll find that, in every situation, starting with your stats in such a way that you auto-qualify for the things you want that are not related to the stats you are bumping (either naturally or via the univseral bumps) means setting them up to do so and then never bumping them, vs bumping them. There is no situation where it is not better to set it up that way and then always bump two primary stats (with the exception of classes who have no secondary, certain Fighter builds etc., or you're playing in a specific level range, 17 Dex for Surprising Charge for Lair Assault comes to mind).

Bumps are more valuable than initial points. In 99% of cases, you should pick two stats and always bump them. Any advice to the contrary is so build specific that you'll know enough to do it better.

@OP: Sure. That'll qualify you for Superior Will in Epic, as well. 
Thanks Alcestis, I now have my stats in order.

I have another question regarding Spear Expertise VS Two-Handed Weapon Expertise. Which do you recommend (Using a gouge).
They both give the same bonuses, i.e. +1/2/3 hit and +1/2/3 damage on a charge.  That being said, if you take them both, you will end up with only +1/2/3 hit but +2/4/6 damage because the while the +hit is a feat bonus and therefore they do not stack, the +damage bonus is untyped and therefore they do stack.  But either one is good.
If you're using a Gouge, take Spear Expertise. Especially if you plan on getting Rage of the Crimson Hurricane at level 5 as recommended in LDB's handbook. I don't know if the CB is broken in regards to this, but you do not get the bonus to hit for RotCH from Two-Handed Expertise since the power is a burst.
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There is one barbarian path worth looking at - Winter Fury. It allows you to use permafrost without eating your weapon enchantment.
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Why not take Surprising Charge, if you are taking the MC Fighter anyway.


Surprising Charge

Heroic Tier
Prerequisite: Dex 17, fighter or rogue
Benefit: When you make a charge attack against a target that is granting combat advantage to you, the attack deals 1[W] extra damage if you hit with a light blade or a spear.


Published in Martial Power, page(s) 139.


 
Why not take Surprising Charge, if you are taking the MC Fighter anyway.


Surprising Charge

Heroic Tier
Prerequisite: Dex 17, fighter or rogue
Benefit: When you make a charge attack against a target that is granting combat advantage to you, the attack deals 1[W] extra damage if you hit with a light blade or a spear.


Published in Martial Power, page(s) 139.


 



Well my original build was focused on Axes instead of the Gouge so I did not qualify. I have since taken Surprising Charge.
Since you took fighter, you should look at the paragon path "Blood-Crazed Berserker".  It's like charge heaven.  requires fighter in some form and evil alignment (lol).
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Ohhhh I overlooked that one. I was gonna switch from Bear Warrior to Bloodfury Savage, but I will give Blood-Crazed Berserker a look.

Another question. I am thinking of dropping the gouge (I know it is superior) in favor of the Executioners Axe. Gouge with Surprising Charge is almost too powerful / cheese, and kind of pigeon holes you into JUST charging. Also this will free up two feats (Battle Awareness & Surprising Charge) to help me better round out my character.

My question is this; if I am going to skip surprising charge is there any reason to MC into fighter? This is assuming I take the Bloodfury Savage PP. I understand that fighters unlock some killer PPs but I am speaking featwise.
Battle Awareness gives you an off-turn attack with an easy trigger. That's worth a feat to me.

Cry Havoc!  And let slip the hogs of war!

Gouge + Draeven Maruader can make dms cry.  Crit on a 19-20 while charging or simply standing there and attacking is all around bad for team monster.
Gouge + Draeven Maruader can make dms cry.  Crit on a 19-20 while charging or simply standing there and attacking is all around bad for team monster.



Not to mention the fact that it takes away any incentive to do much of anything else. I would rather have a balanced character I enjoy playing even if that means my DPR may suffer a little bit.

I do still plan on having a strong emphesis on charging, just not putting all my eggs in one basket. I will post my plan for my new build soon and see what type of feedback I get.

Here's the thing, even if you don't charge every round the gouge is still better than the executioner's axe. It has a higher minimum damage and a higher average damage (the only thing it lacks is hi-crit). Stick with the gouge even if you don't take Surprising Charge. 

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