Ranger/Warden Hybrid

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Our group just finished our last campaign and is starting a new one from level 1.  I was all set to go with my human two blade ranger when suddenly: disaster!  No defenders in the group and no one was comfortable playing one.  We have a druid, a wizard, a cleric, a rogue and an archer ranger.  I responded my changing my character at the last second to a ranger/warden hybrid.  I have the DM's permission to retool him for the next game if I need to since this was so sudden.   Here's what I have so far:

STR 18
CON 11
DEX 16
INT 10
WIS 13
CHA 8

Trained in Endurance, Athletics, Stealth, Nature and Perception.
Feats are Hybrid Weapon Talent (Two Weapon option from ranger) and Heavy Blade Expertise
Equipment of note is hide armor, two longswords and a longbow.

AC 16, Fort 15, Ref 15, Will 13

At Wills:
Twin Strike
Warden's Lunge
(No third at will; I took heroic effort instead.)

Encounter:
Offhand Blow

Daily:
Jaws of the Wolf

I know Warden's Lunge gets a bad rap but this allows me to actually do real multimarking every turn if necessary since hybrid wardens only mark a single adjacent enemy each turn.  My basic strategy is to get in early and mark two enemies, and if there is a high value, low defense target use offhand blow and an AP for twin strike or jaws of the wolf to either cripple or kill them outright then keep the marking up and have the two controllers in the party work to keep things near me while the strikers (both ranged) stay at a distance.  

My plans for building him up are as follows:

1) Make use of sudden roots/heavy blade opportunity/twin strike/grasp of the world serpent to knock prone on his OA
2) Keep at least one warden encounter that makes it difficult to get away, like Roots of Stone, Grasping Wind, etc, one of which will be retrained to at level three when I pick up ruffling sting, at least one minor attack power and one damage/buff/debuff power like leaves.  Similar structure for dailies, keeping at least one warden form I can use to manage difficult encounters and at least one nasty ranger attack (blade cascade, etc) I can use to murder high threat targets early.
3) Take the Adroit Explorer paragon path to allow an extra encounter power from my list, giving me the chance to pick up two defendery encounter powers and two strikery encounter powers, as well as an extra action point each day which will help me perform two roles at once.
4) Take the avenger multiclass feat for double rolls, heavy blade mastery if we make it to epic and as much as possible to take advantage of crits since I will be rolling so many d20s on my turns.
5) Use utility powers to activate ranger's quarry as a free action to alleviate the action starved nature of rangers.
6) Use any remaining feats to increase initiative and survivability.

I really want to keep ranger in here if at all possible; I love playing rangers but have not yet had the chance to in 4e, which is disappointing since they got such a huge buff from d20.  Here's what I'm looking for from the community:

1) Is this going to be viable while keeping ranger?  Warden is negotiable; I can do a ranger/fighter or something else instead.  Keep in mind that while this should not be an incredibly high threat game I want to be able to do a good job as the defender and still play my ranger.
2) Is there anything mechanically wrong with what I've proposed?
3) Are there any places I have messed up strategically? 
Do Half-Orc Ranger|Fighter 18/18 Str/Dex. Take Hybrid Talent Tempest Technique. MC Monk via Master of the First and equip two non-magical spiked gauntlets to avoid any ambiguity about Monk Unarmed Strike. Take Improved Monk Unarmed Strike+use a Ki Focus. At 11, take Shock Trooper as your PP.

That gives you the benefits of Tempest Technique (+1 to hit, +damage) on a +3/1d12 weapon in both hands.

Twin Strike+Doesn't matter for At-wills
Off-hand Strike+Rain of Blows+Come and Get it for encounters
Invigorating Strike+Kirrie's Roar for utilites
Dailies are debateable imo.
The Half-Orc Ranger/Fighter is an excellent suggestion.  I play an 18 Str and Dex Brutal Scoundrel and it feels like cheating.  Toss in Auspicious Birth to round out your hit points and you've got a great PC.
Do Half-Orc Ranger|Fighter 18/18 Str/Dex. Take Hybrid Talent Tempest Technique. MC Monk via Master of the First and equip two non-magical spiked gauntlets to avoid any ambiguity about Monk Unarmed Strike. Take Improved Monk Unarmed Strike+use a Ki Focus. At 11, take Shock Trooper as your PP.

That gives you the benefits of Tempest Technique (+1 to hit, +damage) on a +3/1d12 weapon in both hands.

Twin Strike+Doesn't matter for At-wills
Off-hand Strike+Rain of Blows+Come and Get it for encounters
Invigorating Strike+Kirrie's Roar for utilites
Dailies are debateable imo.



Fists of lightning for level 10 utility?  Excellent use for it (one of the few other than brawler).
Fists of lightning for level 10 utility?  Excellent use for it (one of the few other than brawler).

Yeah, +dex damage per attack for one encounter per day is stellar.
That's pretty crazy for damage, but aside from come and get it and a random fighter at will (probably dual strike so I can hit and mark two people if I want to spread the loving around) what makes it work for stickiness? 
Do you really need to be super sticky when you beat that much ass on a per round basis?
Well played, sir... well played indeed.
You need to keep in mind that part of being a defender is also being tough.  Your defenses aren't going to be any better than anyone else in the party, so all multimarking is going to do is convince the monsters to focus fire on you.  And with your low surges and hp you can't take that for long.

A mark is only worthwhile if attacking you is actually a bad idea for team monster.  You will probably be better off doing something like ranger|cleric for better defenses and just get in the monsters' way and do lots of damage to convince them to attack you.
I kind of agree with scatterbrained and would do a str/wis ranger cleric.  I think you might be better off with a tough striker or a full defender that is good at damage.  A sticky striker who can mark isn't going to be much use if it gets killed easily.

I think the fighter/ranger idea works fine too, but I would't try to play it like I would a normal fighter most of the time.
That's pretty crazy for damage, but aside from come and get it and a random fighter at will (probably dual strike so I can hit and mark two people if I want to spread the loving around) what makes it work for stickiness? 

You have three rounds of multi-marking. Kirrie's Roar+Ranger standard. CaGI. Minor Action ranger attack+Fighter standard. If you wanted to, you could get Ki Focus proficiency via a theme, change your MC to Warden for another multi-mark, and use Shortswords. Also opens up Rhythm Blade, for another +1 AC/+1 Ref, since you already have a shield bonus from TWD.

Not sure what Scatterbrained is thinking. Between Auspicious Birth, class features, defensive interrupts, etc., you have more than enough HP/surges to take being focused. Particularly as you are contributing so much damage that monsters will get one less turn then if you were a pure fighter, which is one attack the party isn't taking. You will have a low Will, which sucks, but having played this build multiple times the surges have never been an issue. Throughout Heroic the build is actually just ridiculous, because you do more damage than a standard Heroic Ranger and are still a Fighter. It falls behind in Paragon because of the Prime Shot feat support Rangers get that you don't have access to.
Ranger Cleric hybrid.
Battle Cleric's Lore, big 2 hander OR 2 weapons.
Mighty Hew as your E1 for an out of turn 2[W] attack, and it reduces damage to an ally.  It's an insanely easy trigger to get, and you shouldn't go a fight without being able to use it.

At-Will MBA with some riders option from the cleric side, or Brand of the Sun for same save granting.  Icon of Fear might also be worth consideration for repositioning allies, and it's a weapon vs NAD that does full weapon+stat damage.

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?
Ranger/Cleric could also consider Fell Strike for when charging is his best option.  Fell strike prones and that will make him at least a little bit sticky if he really needs it.
Not sure what Scatterbrained is thinking. Between Auspicious Birth, class features, defensive interrupts, etc., you have more than enough HP/surges to take being focused. Particularly as you are contributing so much damage that monsters will get one less turn then if you were a pure fighter, which is one attack the party isn't taking.

Why bother being a defender at all then?  I'm not disagreeing with the best defense being a good offense, I'm just asking why mark at all when you're no more defensively built than anyone else in the party?  Surely just by being a high-damage striker he would be targeted enough to use his immediates.

My main point is that if you're going to simply focus on damage, stop pretending to be a defender and just be a striker.  I've played a Fighter|Ranger and I loved it, but I didn't call myself a defender.

And he's starting with 7 surges at level 1.  If everything's focusing on him, that's going to be a pretty short day.  There's just no reason why damage shouldn't be more spread around in a party like this.
Because you are a defender....? And, again, having played it, the surges are just not an issue. Things don't live that long so you take less damage. You do get focused, but that also makes you surge efficient because you get the healing from your leader. And your defenses are slightly better than an average striker. Actually if you go the Short swords route, you have full defender level AC. 7 surges is more than enough for the three encounter work day that is Heroic. And actually it should be 8, 12 Wis/Con.

Plus, and apparently you missed this part, a hybrid Fighter|Ranger with Tempest does more damage then a straight Ranger throughout Heroic. So "Why not play a Striker?" is a silly question, you are a striker. And, as it happens, you are also rather a good defender.
A few things...

1) I don't have my books in front of me, what does Kirrie's roar do and where is it located?
2) Is it worth the extra feat expenditure to go with a heavy blade main hand and light offhand to use a rhythm blade but still be able to HBO people with the likes of twin strike, knockdown assault or dual strike on an OA be worthwhile?
3) Doesn't this only provide two rounds of multimarking?  I can only mark with fighter powers; my ranger minor action attack will not mark.
4) Does the combination of prime shot and tempest technique make it more worthwhile to just do PMC to get hybrid talent twice?
1. The DR on Kirrie's is specifically equal to your Dex. So Resist 4/5 All after a minor action mass mark.
2. No. If you go with the blades and not fists, you are either using short swords or a double-sword. Period. Light blades just have better damage support.
3. Ranger minor for damage+quarry. Fighter standard for the mark. Even if you just use Dual Strike, that is two creatures marked.
4. You mean Paragon Hybrid and no, no it doesn't.
Plus, and apparently you missed this part, a hybrid Fighter|Ranger with Tempest does more damage then a straight Ranger throughout Heroic. So "Why not play a Striker?" is a silly question, you are a striker. And, as it happens, you are also rather a good defender.

I'm addressing the disconnect between the general advice given and the posts by the OP.  He keeps asking about marking as many things as he can.  Much of the advice given is how he should up his damage.  You've already dismissed the idea that this character will be much more than a tough striker role-wise, but I'm not sure the OP is on the same page.

I'm not saying, "play another class."  I'm saying, you're a striker.  Worry more about killing stuff and less about multimarking every round.  If he wants to play the build you're suggesting, he'd do well to shift his mindset somewhat.

As for his defenses, I'm addressing the build he posted.  Level +15 AC, two heavy blades, and 11 CON.  I still don't see the benefit of enemies focusing on him when half the party may have better defenses and more surges.
Ranger|Warden is a great build. ...For going full STR/WIS, having buff dailies, and qualifying for Son of Mercy.

If that's not what he's trying to do here then I don't understand the build goal.



For that specifically, it's not terrible, but in general I don't like warden hybrids.  They lose a ton, as opposed to say, battleminds, warlocks, clerics, or fighters.

Plus, and apparently you missed this part, a hybrid Fighter|Ranger with Tempest does more damage then a straight Ranger throughout Heroic. So "Why not play a Striker?" is a silly question, you are a striker. And, as it happens, you are also rather a good defender.

I'm addressing the disconnect between the general advice given and the posts by the OP.  He keeps asking about marking as many things as he can.  Much of the advice given is how he should up his damage.  You've already dismissed the idea that this character will be much more than a tough striker role-wise, but I'm not sure the OP is on the same page.

I'm not saying, "play another class."  I'm saying, you're a striker.  Worry more about killing stuff and less about multimarking every round.  If he wants to play the build you're suggesting, he'd do well to shift his mindset somewhat.

As for his defenses, I'm addressing the build he posted.  Level +15 AC, two heavy blades, and 11 CON.  I still don't see the benefit of enemies focusing on him when half the party may have better defenses and more surges.

Again, having played the build, it defends quite well. You're the one who doesn't seem to be grasping this. Yes, it does a lot of damage, that is part of how it defends. Because dead things attack less, decreasing the number of average surges and other resources spent per fight. At least one of the mass marks comes with built-in resist all. It is a great defender if built and played properly. Part of what makes it stellar is the early mass marking.

....You're looking at his Ranger|Warden and assuming it has any thing to do with the discussion about a Ranger|Fighter? Uh-huh. Are you actually reading the thread, by any chance?
Ranger|Fighter makes a great Defender for the reasons Alcestis lists. You're the Defender who drops a standard and then gets hard to hurt while mass-marking. That dropped Standard is what makes the build not need to worry so much.
As an example:
Round 1: move, X, AP: Twin Strike. Depending on what happens, use minor for Off-Hand Strike, Kirre's Roar.

Where X = Rain of Blows or Come and Get It. If X is Rain of Blows and you use Off-hand Strike, that's 6 attacks.
As an example: Round 1: move, X, AP: Twin Strike. Depending on what happens, use minor for Off-Hand Strike, Kirre's Roar. Where X = Rain of Blows or Come and Get It. If X is Rain of Blows and you use Off-hand Strike, that's 6 attacks.



Wouldn't the build only get 2 attacks with RoB, seeing how you aren't using a flail, light blade, or spear?
As an example: Round 1: move, X, AP: Twin Strike. Depending on what happens, use minor for Off-Hand Strike, Kirre's Roar. Where X = Rain of Blows or Come and Get It. If X is Rain of Blows and you use Off-hand Strike, that's 6 attacks.



Wouldn't the build only get 2 attacks with RoB, seeing how you aren't using a flail, light blade, or spear?


Haven't been reading the whole thread but i would assume at this point in the conversation that the said Fighter|Ranger would be using two short swords.
This build outside of the mark mechanic does not have whole lot going for it in the way of defending outside of the damage it is doing. The build has no way to stop shift charge at all. I guess you could MC spiked chain and go pole-arm master for your paragon path or gladiator champion to get your defender goodies but thats not until later in your career.
It has exactly the same ability to stop a shift+Charge as a standard fighter in heroic (i.e., they get attacked for the shift). Fighters are considered strong defenders. So... yeah, that doesn't seem like a valid critcism, somehow. Actually outside of the fact that it doesn't stop movement with OAs, it is a fighter that does more damage. Now there are things you can do to up the punishment if you want to in Paragon. Something that is true of most defenders.
It has exactly the same ability to stop a shift+Charge as a standard fighter in heroic (i.e., they get attacked for the shift). Fighters are considered strong defenders. So... yeah, that doesn't seem like a valid critcism, somehow. Actually outside of the fact that it doesn't stop movement with OAs, it is a fighter that does more damage. Now there are things you can do to up the punishment if you want to in Paragon. Something that is true of most defenders.


Yes but i was thinking more along the lines of losing out on combat superiority, and i still get those two confused so just shoot me now, which you would need to spend your Hybrid talent feat on thus losing Tempest technique.
 
Fighter cannot stop a shift. It can only use Combat Challenge to attack on a marked enemies shift which Hybrid Fighter also gets.

Superiority stops movement when you make an opportunity attack.
Let's continue the fighter|ranger/monk conversation in it's own thread, might even add to it.
It has exactly the same ability to stop a shift+Charge as a standard fighter in heroic (i.e., they get attacked for the shift). Fighters are considered strong defenders. So... yeah, that doesn't seem like a valid critcism, somehow. Actually outside of the fact that it doesn't stop movement with OAs, it is a fighter that does more damage. Now there are things you can do to up the punishment if you want to in Paragon. Something that is true of most defenders.



Not just get attacked for the shift - get attacked for the charge too if you took Mobile Challenge.
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).
I almost always played my Fighter|Ranger as a high-mobility striker, but on the rare occasion where I played him as a defender he did just fine. His defenses were a bit lower than those of the other defenders in the group, but he laid out so much damage it didn't matter.

(Really, as a striker he was an excellent defender. He defended our front-line troops from the enemy's back line. By moving to that back line and knocking them down.)
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
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