Champion of Darkness: Drow Tempest Fighter Build

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Champion of Darkness: A Drow Tempest Fighter Build

Melee-Magthere Champion / Gladiator Champion / Indomitable Champion



"Oh, you think darkness is your ally.
But you merely adopted the dark; I was born in it, moulded by it.
I didn't see the light until I was already a man,
by then it was nothing to me but BLINDING!"


Motivation:
While looking through some of the new and interesting Dragon Magazine Themes designed for Drow Characters in the Builder, I started to become really enamored with the idea of making a Melee-Magthere Champion. Although I realize that Drow do not usually make the best Defenders, I decided to take a shot at designing a half-decent one for pure fluff and narrative purposes. What I have accidentally stumbled upon, however, might actually be a surprisingly potent Character that also has a lot of Drow-specific thematic goodness!

The name Champion of Darkness came forth due to the fact that his Theme, Paragon Path, and Epic Destiny all use the term “Champion”, and the strategy involved with the build relies heavily on keen use of the “Cloud of Darkness” Racial Power.

Build Explanation:
As previously stated, your effectiveness with this character revolves entirely around the optimal use of Cloud of Darkness. Because of this, your pre-disposition toward the Striker-Defender Role becomes outweighed by decidedly Controller-esque behavior. You will sacrifice overall DPR, but you’re ability to lockdown a group of key enemies (especially Solos) will increase exponentially!

Not only do you become ridiculously sticky, but you also become frustratingly difficult to hit. Tricks like Cloud of Darkness and Cloak of Distortion help you elude only the most adamant... or fortunate... of foes. Fair warning; this might severely annoy your Dungeon Master (but hey, you’re a Drow. Since when did you care for Mercy?).

IMPORTANT NOTE: I am brand new to the concept of serious optimization, especially theoretical High-Level optimization such as this. As such, there are a few areas that were left Blank (---) or Open-Ended (???) because I am not sure what the best choice would be for the build. I’m hoping more experienced Optimizers can help me in selecting more appropriate or effective choices to really get the most out of it. I also built this character as if the campaign or adventure initiated at Level 30, so a natural or logical progression of Feats is absent... I’ve simply cherry-picked the Feats I would want/need, without worrying about retraining or Tier-by-Tier effectiveness.

I'm also an HTML Noob, so sorry if this looks awkward. 

Level 30 Snapshot:

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Champion of Darkness, Level 30
Drow, Fighter (Weaponmaster), Gladiator Champion, Indomitable Champion
Build: Arena Fighter
Fighter Option: Combat Superiority
Fighter Talents Option: Tempest Technique
Epic Heroism Option: Strength
Epic Heroism Option: Dexterity
Backround: Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)
Theme: Melee-Magthere Champion

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 28, CON 12, DEX 26, INT 10, WIS 15, CHA 12

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 18, CON 10, DEX 14, INT 8, WIS 11, CHA 10

AC: 48 Fort: 48 Ref: 44 Will: 41 HP: 237 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 59 

TRAINED SKILLS
Athletics +28, Endurance +20, Intimidate +23

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +22, Arcana +15, Bluff +17, Diplomacy +16,
Dungeoneering +17, Endurance +15, Heal +17, History +15,
Insight +17, Nature +17, Perception +17,
Religion +15, Stealth +24, Streetwise +16, Thievery +22

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Melee-Magthere Champion Utility: Lurking Spider
Drow Racial Power: Cloud of Darkness
Fighter Attack: Combat Challenge
Fighter Attack 1: Footwork Lure
Fighter Attack 1: Knockdown Assault
Fighter Utility 2: Glowering Threat
Fighter Attack 3: Parry and Riposte
Fighter Attack 5: Rain of Steel
Fighter Attack 7: Come and Get It
Fighter Attack 9: Jackal Strike
Utility 6 (---)
Melee-Magthere Champion Utility 10: Black Widow's Bite
Gladiator Champion Attack 11: Opening Ploy
Gladiator Champion Utility 12: Fail to Disappoint
Fighter Attack 15: Unyielding Avalanche
Fighter Utility 16: Tangle Up
Fighter Attack 17: Revel in Pain
Fighter Attack 19: Masterful Parry
Gladiator Champion Attack 20: Finishing Strike
Fighter Utility 22: Martial Supremacy Fighter
Attack 23: Warrior's Urging
Fighter Attack 25: Reaper's Stance
Indomitable Champion Utility 26: Epic Tenacity
Fighter Attack 27: Cruel Reaper
Fighter Attack 29: Force the Battle
Indomitable Champion Utility 30: Unmatched Defense

FEATS
Two-Weapon Defense
Level 1: Xen'drik Weapon Training
Level 2: Heavy Blade Expertise 
Level 4: Two-Weapon Fighting
Level 6: Agile Superiority
Level 8: Clutch of Darkness
Level 10: Knife in the Dark
Level 11: Web Spinner (???)
Level 12: Darkness Reign
Level 14: Cloud of Poison
Level 16: Blade Opportunist
Level 18: Heavy Blade Opportunity
Level 20: Improved Defenses
Level 21: Heavy Blade Mastery
Level 22: Lolth Blessed
Level 24: Fist of Night (???)
Level 26: Rapid Combat Challenge (???)
Level 28: Mobile Warrior
Level 30: Slashing Storm (???)

ITEMS
Master's Blade Drow long knife +6 x1
Drow long knife +6 x1 (---)
Elderhide Armor of Dark Deeds +6 x1 (???)
Elven Chain Shirt (epic tier)
Iron Armbands of Power (epic tier)
x1 Cloak of Distortion +6 x1
Eye of Awareness x1
Strikebacks x1
Diamond Cincture (paragon tier) x1
Rushing Cleats x1 Shadow Band x1
Ring of Guarded Will x1
Backlash Tattoo x1
====== End ======



Combat Strategy:


  • Get Surrounded: Although your AC is not High-End Optimized (18+Level rather than 20+Level, though Shadow Band helps), the core of your effectiveness is directly proportional to the amount of enemies you have adjacent to you. Give in to your suicidal tendencies and aggravate as many bad guys as you can, so they all want to get in your face. Results are best when you snag tough-guy Elite types or even Solos that are high value threats to your team. Most of the powers selected for this character are ones that allow you to either pull enemies toward you in Burst AoEs, or attack multiple targets. This will aid you greatly in getting swarmed.



  • Enter the Darkness: This is where things get good. Once you believe you have enough enemy attention and you have a few monsters adjacent to you, pop your Cloud of Darkness Racial Ability as a Minor Action. Because of your Clutch of Darkness feat, you should be able to have captured everyone adjacent to you, plus any stragglers who might be a square away. When this happens, all enemies will be Blinded and you will be Totally Obscured, which is a massive defense buff and a real incentive for enemies to try and escape the Cloud. But here’s a problem; if they are adjacent to you, they cannot shift to a square that is not Adjacent to you thanks to the Gladiator Champion “Whirlwind of Destruction” feature. This gives them two options, either:

    A. Try and take a crack at you with a large penalty to the attack roll versus your respectable defenses, or...

    B. Move away from you with a Standard Move Action, since shifting is denied. This will provoke an Opportunity Attack (Side Note: Some would argue that an enemy could Teleport from the Zone, which is true. But because Cloud of Darkness eliminates Line-of-Sight, the monster would specifically need a power that allows them to Teleport without it).

    With Agile Superiority, you have a +8 bonus to OA’s, with another +2 from Blade Opportunist and additional +1 from Strikebacks. Thats a +11 Bonus on top of your base +37 to hit, making a whopping +48. With the Combat Advantage your enemies yield to you for being Blinded, that is essentially +50 to hit. It’s highly unlikely you’ll miss (although there are a few Stance Powers and Utility Powers built in to the character to reverse that Possibility, should you happen to do so). Your accuracy with OA’s is important because once your Cloud of Darkness is up, you’ll be using EVERY STANDARD ACTION to sustain the Zone with “Darkness Reign”. This is where your DPR gets dramatically lowered, barring the use of an Action Point... which is convienently counter-balanced by the fact that on the use of an AP, you also regenerate a use of Cloud of Darkness, meaning you can start these shenanigans once again later on in the battle. The big upside is, however, with Heavy Blade Opportunity you can use an At-Will attack to substitute a Basic Melee Attack. This brings us to..


  • Bind Your Foes: As soon as an enemy tries to move away from you, OA with Knockdown Assault. Yes, yes, the damage is pitiful... but you’re not looking for damage. Your looking for the Prone. Because Knockdown Assault counts as an Opportunity Attack, your Level 5 Melee-Magthere Champion feature allows you to slow them until the end of their turn. With Combat Superiority, they also have their move action interrupted. Now not only has their movement been stopped, but they are Proned, AND Slowed. This puts them in an awkward position. They either move while Proned & Slowed (resulting in only a 1 Space movement for most monsters, as Crawling lets you only move half your speed, and Slowed reduces your base Land Speed to 2 squares), or they choose to use their new Move Action to stand up. Either way, the Monster is still trapped within the zone of your Cloud of Darkness, and susceptible to all it’s effects (more on that covered later).
     
    If your enemies happen to stray too far away from you and seem as if they might make an escape on one of their future turns, you can instead shift or simply move about (since the enemies have a -7 penalty to OA's against you) to use Footwork Lure. Using Rushing Cleats will allow your Slide to place them in a square more towards the center of the Zone. After you enter their square with the shift granted by Footwork Lure, you can use Mobile Warrior to slink back to the center of the Madness to further entrap your victims. The Gladiator Champion at-will “Fail to Disappoint” feature also aids you in this regard.
     
    There are also several avenues to Slow, Prone and Immobilize enemies with other powers and features in the build. Lurking Spider will help you spread Slows out on Immediate Reactions, and Black Widow’s Bite can Immobilize on a Trigger. Tangle Up can also Prone enemies with whom you are striking with Footwork Lure, allowing you to slide and prone in one big movement. Finally, the “Webspinner” feat in combination with your Frequent use of OAs and increased critical hit threat range (19-20) will net you some lucky Immobilization+Prone combos, which can be absolutely
    crippling.
     

  • Bleed ‘Em Slow: The main drawback to this style of play is the greatly reduced amount of Standard Action attacks, but there are ways around this. Firstly, enemies within your Cloud of Darkness are taking 5 Poison Damage per round, which is decent enough (unless they have poison resistance). Slashing Storm provides a moderate bonus of +2, making it +7 Damage to adjacent enemies per Round. However, should you Bloody any of these adjacent enemies, the Gladiator Champions “Halo of Destruction” feature would trigger; adding an ADDITIONAL +9 damage, which could also set off some painful AoE Bloody-damage Domino Effects.

    The real heavy-hitting combo available here is using Stance Powers in combination with your Master's Blade Long Knife to generate a large amount of aura damage. For example, take a look at "Reaper's Stance", which generates an additional +8 Damage on all your OAs, as well as 1[W] to all adjacent targets an inflicts Ongoing 10 (Save Ends). Mix this with "Force the Battle", and now all your OAs do an additional 1[W], and you can make Free Action At-Will attacks (with the aforementioned +8 bonus) to enemies who remain adjacent to you. Throw in Burst attack powers (especially on Action Points) for best results. If you have a multitude of adjacent targets, thats a lot of stacking damage being spread around.

    In addition to auto-damaging and stances, you also have access to some Immediate Reaction-style attacks that trigger when your hapless prey strikes back at you. Abilities like Masterful Parry and Revel in Pain ensure that you will still be generating enviable damage even while your Standard Actions are pre-occupied sustaining your Darkness zone.
     

  • Evasive Maneuvers: Despite wearing Hide Armor and not packing a Shield, your Defenses are pretty decent given your healthy Dexterity score and Item Selection. You also have a few ways of increasing your ability to dodge damage or improving damage resistance through Powers. Obviously, staying within the zone of your Cloud of Darkness is a huge boon against attackers in and of itself. But another interesting note is that ranged Artillery attackers will also be relatively useless against your assault on their close-quarters teammates. Cloak of Distortion grants a -6 Penalty to enemy ranged attack rolls, not counting the -5 for being totally obscured. With -11 to hit, Artillery may as well be shooting straight up into the sky.


Teamwork:
Other than the infrequency of standard action attacks, this is probably the builds second most prevalent weakness. You do not play very nicely with others. Because your Cloud of Darkness totally obscures the affected zone and blinds all CREATURES inside, you apply a hefty debuff to both friendly Ranged and Melee attacks aimed at the enemies caught within. The bottom tagline “You are immune to these effects” also means that other allied Drow or comrades with Darkvision are also susceptible to the negative attributes of the Cloud. Basically; you have to handle all combat situations like a lone wolf, separating yourself from the group quickly to agitate and imprison important targets while your teammates clean up whatever other threats might be present. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however. You are still denying creatures within your Cloud of Darkness the ability to effectively engage or damage your teammates, so you are (for all intents and purposes) completing your Defender objective quite adequately... and to a degree, ensnaring key mobs and thinning the enemy herd is a rather effective strategy.

The main problem arises when battling enemies with massive health pools. Because of your lower damage output, it’s unlikely that you alone will be able to finish off a Solo or even meaty Elite. Your constant pestering and pummeling of a larger target while your friends conquer the lesser enemies will tend to draw fights out (especially since they cannot effectively help you gang up on the solo due to your debuffs). More often than not, you will be distracting and sticking down a primary adversary long enough that it is the only creature left on the field, where you will then allow your Cloud of Darkness to dissipate so the entire party can finish the Boss off. As long as your Dungeon Master or fellow party members aren’t driven insane by this methodical approach, you’re in the clear... but I could see where it might wear away the patience of more aggressive teammates, or with groups where combat tends to run faster.

Ending Notes:
Basically, I’m just looking to see what people think, gain some feedback/perspective, and acquire some advice or opinions on how to better improve the character. I think that as it stands, the build does a great job of fulfilling a very niche market for Drow who would like to tackle the Defender role, and it satisfies a lot of character-driven tropes built around Dark Elf fighters in general (which was the original intention).

I need help with a few things in the Item Department (mainly, what would make a suitable Off-Hand enchantment, and what would be the best for Armor), as well as a few Feats. For example, how necessary is Rapid Combat Challenge seeing as allies aren’t likely to be adjacent to enemies in your Cloud of Darkness? Is Fist of Night necessary? Would Two-Weapon Opening/Threat/Flurry be more viable? That sort of thing. There's also still a large portion of GP Available for Wondrous Items or Consummables that would be tactically beneficial.

In closing, thank you for everyone who sat and read this whole thing, hope you enjoyed it; and I can’t wait to hear what people have to say!

[RESERVED FOR POSTS I MAY NEED IN THE FUTURE]

[RESERVED FOR POSTS I MAY NEED IN THE FUTURE]

Few things.

1) Welcome to making builds.  A Valiant first effort.

2) Generally speaking you need to make cases for not using the following.  Please do so:

Superior Will
Improved Defenses (before level 20)
Auspicious Birth / Born under a Bad Sign
Not taking a multiclass.  In most defender cases a reason why you didn't take Battle Awareness, as a fighter you have to justify why you didn't take one at all.  I might have missed the multiclass because I honestly don't know a lot of the feats you took off the top of my head.

3) Also, for build purposes, please make a listing of what you took at what levels and what you retrained what with instead of just the final product.  Very few people play at 30 and even fewer start there.  We want to be able to see how your build develops.  Normally this is by making a few snapshots of different levels (1, 11, 16, 21, 30 at minimum in my opinion) but you can do it with the final build if you break it up a little more.

I'll try to comment more later.
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Maytr, he didn't take Battle Awareness because Weaponmaster Fighters can't MC Fighter. Your right about Superior Will. I think he want's help on the building up process.

I like the concept at least, don't know how it would work out in execution and I imagine leveling up would be a pain. TWF/TWO would probably be a good idea as I believe it would work on his OAs. Did he have Weapon Mastery in there? He should qualify.
Few things. 2) Generally speaking you need to make cases for not using the following.  Please do so:

Superior Will
Improved Defenses (before level 20)
Auspicious Birth / Born under a Bad Sign
Not taking a multiclass.  In most defender cases a reason why you didn't take Battle Awareness.  I might have missed the multiclass because I honestly don't know a lot of the feats you took off the top of my head.



Well, like I said. The original intention was never to have a SUPER-OPTIMIZED character, I kind of just found an interesting combo of abilities and decided to do a write-up of it. That being said,

I didn't take Auspicious Birth merely because I wanted Stealth Training (for Flavor reasons, really), and the additional Hit Points weren't the largest concern for me. If someone would rather have the +15 HP, they could make the change with little to no detriment to the overall effectiveness of the character.

Once again, I stated earlier I didn't do a full write-up of the build Level-by-Level because I'm a little inexperienced and unsure of the best progression. You could easily take Improved Defenses whenever you'd like in the build earlier than 20, probably swap it with Web Spinner if you really needed it. I was just playing with the feat section for best combinations of powers.

In regards to a Multiclass, the build is very Feat-Intensive as it is, and the character doesn't really need any class features or skills from another class to be effective. Also, "Battle Awareness" is a Fighter multiclass Feat and the base Class is a Fighter, so I can't take it.

Superior Will? I guess it would be a good move to jam it in there. Like I said, there are some feats in the initial selection I'm not sure if I'm keeping. I could swap it in. But the character is already receiving a +4-5 bonus to Will purely from Items, if I'm not mistaken.

3) Also, for build purposes, please make a listing of what you took at what levels and what you retrained what with instead of just the final product.  Very few people play at 30 and even fewer start there.  We want to be able to see how your build develops.  Normally this is by making a few snapshots of different levels (1, 11, 16, 21, 30 at minimum in my opinion) but you can do it with the final build if you break it up a little more.

I'll try to comment more later.



Like I said, I will eventually alter it for level-by-level progression, I just wasn't sure of what it is yet.

I don't think this plan is very wise. Standard actions to sustain is going to frustrate the **** out of every party member you have. If you're not attacking with your standard actions, you're just not contributing sufficiently to the fight, regardless of how sticky you are. And you'll have to move to get to new enemies, otherwise you're defending against one or two things you're next to, and since your darkness doesn't move with you, your trick is done. Some enemies can also punt you out of your darkness. And if you're drowning enemies in darkness that your allies can't see, they're not going to be able to kill them all that easily.

Drow tempest fighter is a workable build, but not this way.

In most defender cases a reason why you didn't take Battle Awareness.

Maybe because fighters can't multiclass fighter?


I like the concept at least, don't know how it would work out in execution and I imagine leveling up would be a pain. TWF/TWO would probably be a good idea as I believe it would work on his OAs. Did he have Weapon Mastery in there? He should qualify.



He does have Two-Weapon Fighting and Weapon Mastery, yes. He doesn't have Two-Weapon Flurry or Opening, which are things I would like for him to obtain. Just wondering what could be taken out of the original Feat List. Same thing for Superior Will.
@ The section on your attacks.  If you pick a better supported set of weapons / tricks you can add prones/slides much much easier.  If you are going to slow them, World Serpent's Grasp can be a good addition since it turns your slows into prones.

@Bleed 'Em Slow section "Slow and steady" does not win the race in 4e.  Murdering them by throwing a Ranger shaped ICBM through their chest wins the race.  Your damage will mean that while you might lock things down your contribution to ending the encounter is going to be rather pitiful.  5 Poison damage per round isn't respectable its negligible.  Ongoing 10 at 30 is also negligible

Also, while I may indeed have missed it (I'm still reading through and going to look up the feats in a minute) everything you locked down is in your cloud which effects your allies as well.  That seems a little... counterproductive. I see you mention it but that it is just something to deal with instead of a deal-breaker.  Also Cloud of Darkness cannot be seen through by creatures with darkvision.  The fact that it blocks your allies from having Line of Sight is also a pretty big problem assuming you want to be healed or get bonuses from several of the "can see and hear you" effects of leaders.

@Evasive Maneuvers.  Artillery and Ranged will never shoot you.  They will shoot your squishy team mate instead.
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You don't need a level-by-level progression RCNovak.

Assuming the enemies are blinded within the cloud Mengu, how often do you think they will push him away?

RCNovak, you should consider switching your dailies over to all stances. Something like Force the Battle, Reaper's Stance, Unyielding Avalanche at level 30. Having burst powers doesn't make much sense if you're using your standard actions to sustain the Cloud.

I imagine something like Warrior's Urging and then popping the Cloud and popping a stance (depending on if you had to move into position before Urging). That way, you get them into position, blind them, keep them close, and deal auto-damage.

I'll try to go over the feat selection in a minute.
I don't think this plan is very wise. Standard actions to sustain is going to frustrate the **** out of every party member you have. If you're not attacking with your standard actions, you're just not contributing sufficiently to the fight, regardless of how sticky you are. And you'll have to move to get to new enemies, otherwise you're defending against one or two things you're next to, and since your darkness doesn't move with you, your trick is done. Some enemies can also punt you out of your darkness. And if you're drowning enemies in darkness that your allies can't see, they're not going to be able to kill them all that easily. 



Yeah, these are all concerns I brought up in the Teamwork Section. Sustaining the Zone does cause damage, however (as stated above), just not an immense level of damage. You are doing a lot of damage out-of-turn with OAs, though (unless the DM chooses to never Provoke, but then he's just standing around in the Darkness taking residual damage being useless).

Having an enemy knock him out of the darkness is something I knew might be a problem, but couldn't think of a reasonable work-around (other than mass AOE Blinding). Then again, he can negate at least two attacks and can use Cloud of Darkness twice per encounter (given an Action Point).

Like I said, most of this was just conceptual in nature. But I wanted to explore it anyway.


In most defender cases a reason why you didn't take Battle Awareness.

Maybe because fighters can't multiclass fighter?



Sorry I wrote and rewrote that sentence like 3 times.  What I meant is "Most defenders have to say why they don't take Battle Awareness, you have to make some justification why you don't take one at all".  My B.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Why would every build need a multiclass feat?
Why would every build need a multiclass feat?


Because, in general, they tend to be quite strong for a single feat.  And most classes can find a way to poach support for their primary class.  Especially at 30.
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

In regards to a Multiclass, the build is very Feat-Intensive as it is, and the character doesn't really need any class features or skills from another class to be effective.



Even for just the entry thing you could MC rogue and that gets you the stealth training plus qualification for other things.  Rogue might not be the best MC, but its better than not having one, especially if it lets you take the background of more health.


Superior Will? I guess it would be a good move to jam it in there. Like I said, there are some feats in the initial selection I'm not sure if I'm keeping. I could swap it in. But the character is already receiving a +4-5 bonus to Will purely from Items, if I'm not mistaken.



+Will defense is nice.  It is also not the main reason to take Superior Will.  Typically people take it for the saving throws at the start of your turn.


Like I said, I will eventually alter it for level-by-level progression, I just wasn't sure of what it is yet.



Fair enough.  I'm not saying it is required, but you formatted like one of the builds from the complete list.  If you are just using this for your own game there is certainly no need to, but if you are trying to share this with the community it would be nice to go back and do once all was said and done.
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

RCNovak, you should consider switching your dailies over to all stances. Something like Force the Battle, Reaper's Stance, Unyielding Avalanche at level 30. Having burst powers doesn't make much sense if you're using your standard actions to sustain the Cloud.

I imagine something like Warrior's Urging and then popping the Cloud and popping a stance (depending on if you had to move into position before Urging). That way, you get them into position, blind them, keep them close, and deal auto-damage.



Stance Powers are something I do definitely want to explore. Reaper's Stance is the one I wrote about and would absolutely take as well as Martial Supremacy (especially when conjoined with Master's blade), but others like Tyrian Battle Stance are some I've thought about but weren't holy convinced of. I'll have to look into the ones you've mentioned.
Also, aside from Warrior's Urging, I would look to Immediate Action and Minor Action powers for your Encounter power slots. This will let you attack the enemies in your Cloud while Sustaining it, which keeps your damage up (along with auto-damage stances) and lets you Mark them. (Which is helpful with Keep Them Close and World Serpent's Grasp. Slow them on a Mark, knock them down on an OA. It's an alternative to Heavy Blades+Heavy Blade Opportunity, depending on level of play.)
Thoughts on making one of those +6 Drow Long Knives a Jagged (free up the Heavy Blade mastery feat slot)? a +1 Rhythm Blade dagger (or short sword) for AC (I think it has to be a light blade)? For minor action attacks, would he be looking in Ranger (for strength based, I'm not an expert on minor attacks, I generally am using MC Rogue and low slash for Dex based characters).

*Edit* might Silent Hunter be a better Background for what he wants?
BIG EDIT:

 
Some major changes to the build. Decided to give up on my love for Stealth Training to go for the more optimized Born Under a Bad Sign route, giving him an extra +15 HP (totalling 237).

Without Stealth, I trained him in Endurance which gives him access to powers such as Revel in Pain (which is an Immediate Reaction attack). I also trained him in Masterful Parry (a Level 15 power) at Level 19, to grant him another off-turn strike. I also added Force the Battle and Unyielding Avalance to his Stance repetoire.

Question; the Fighter Op guide by LDD says that Coward's Reward is an awful power... but I'm wondering if it might find a use on this character. After all, I'll only be tossing the Long Knife at adjacent enemies (meaning the weapon will fall into a square adjacent to me), as well Immobilize the target. Not to mention it is an Immediate Interrupt and will allow me to Sustain the Zone will striking.

Also, if the Drow Long Knife is Heavy Thrown and Off-Hand, wouldn't making a Ranged Attack through it have it automatically return to my hand anyway (via the enchanted thrown weapons rule), completely deactivating the negative aspect of the power?

DOUBLE EDIT:

Lack of Stealth training makes Vanish from View a less viable power choice. Any suggestions for a decent Level 6 Utility Power? Kirre's Roar, perhaps?
First off: I find this build awesome, so here's a  

I don't think this build really messes up a team strategy, it just changes it to: get all enemies except one or two in the cloud. The rest of the party finishes those off one by one. When there are only a couple of enemies left, you simply turn off the cloud. 
Your melee allies could also take the Blindfighting Warrior feat to synergize with your tactics.

I would also like to see a more complete power progression. I was surprised that Come and Get It wasn't there, for example, until I noticed that you only posted the powers that were present at 30. 

The major weaknesses of this build that I can see are:

1. Getting caught in close bursts and blasts, which your cloud doesn't protect you from. The easiest way to get around this is the level 6 Arcana skill power Warp in the Weave. Requires training in Arcana though. 

2. Becoming stunned, dominated, petrified or removed from play so you can't sustain your cloud anymore. This could probably be solved by utility powers and items that grant you instant saving throws, not to mention Superior Will. 

3. Huge and larger enemies. Although you will still be invisible, they won't be blinded by your cloud and are free to, at the very least, use ranged attacks on your allies. This also won't trigger your mark since you probably won't have one on them (see next point). 

4. Not marking enemies. Sustain standard for your cloud is nice and all, but it means you can't attack enemies during your turn to mark them. This leaves them free to use attacks against your allies. If those attacks are close attacks, they won't even be penalized for them. 

5. The lack of Stealth. You already mention this, but seriously, just take Twilight Adept as your MC. Hiding in your own cloud of darkness every turn is really awesome. 
To further clarify: enemies can't see you, and if your Stealth is good enough they also won't be able to detect you with Perception checks. That means they can only detect you by walking into you, which you prevent with Combat Superiority. 

I think this character would be at its best at high paragon when the level 16 feature kicks in, but before you face giant enemies every encounter.
I think its better start with 13 DEX 13 WIS, you can pick Superior Will in heroic/paragon, and you OAs and will are higher.

A paladin or a Knight is not a better chasis for this build? Because of the stats and the mark puishment are opportunity actions or no actions. Just asking
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First off: I find this build awesome, so here's a 



Thanks, man! Glad to see you're feelin' it. :D 

I would also like to see a more complete power progression. I was surprised that Come and Get It wasn't there, for example, until I noticed that you only posted the powers that were present at 30.



Considering the attention the build is generating, I will do a full write-up of the Power Selection soon. Luckily I'm getting a lot of good feedback to help me see which powers are best in the first place.

The major weaknesses of this build that I can see are:
1. Getting caught in close bursts and blasts, which your cloud doesn't protect you from. The easiest way to get around this is the level 6 Arcana skill power Warp in the Weave. Requires training in Arcana though.



I was looking for a new Utility 6, and that does sound sweet. I have no idea how I'd cram Arcana Training in, though. 

2. Becoming stunned, dominated, petrified or removed from play so you can't sustain your cloud anymore. This could probably be solved by utility powers and items that grant you instant saving throws, not to mention Superior Will.



Superior Will is definitely going in there. The feats section is a little work-in-progress, trying to see what I can give up.

3. Huge and larger enemies. Although you will still be invisible, they won't be blinded by your cloud and are free to, at the very least, use ranged attacks on your allies. This also won't trigger your mark since you probably won't have one on them (see next point).

4. Not marking enemies. Sustain standard for your cloud is nice and all, but it means you can't attack enemies during your turn to mark them. This leaves them free to use attacks against your allies. If those attacks are close attacks, they won't even be penalized for them.



Yeah, Huge enemies would be a detriment to the Cloud. However, would I not mark enemies with my OAs? Eventually a huge monster would trigger one, either from attempting to move or by Ranged Attacking my allies. After that I could exploit Combat Challenge, correct?

5. The lack of Stealth. You already mention this, but seriously, just take Twilight Adept as your MC. Hiding in your own cloud of darkness every turn is really awesome.



I know. The sheer concept of stealthing in the cloud is so tasty. Once again, need to figure out what feats I can loose to make up for it.

A thought: Curseborn seems a decent alternative paragon path for you if your game remains in heroic and early paragon. Close burst 2 difficult terrain is almost the same as not being able to shift away from you, and recharging your cloud on an action point is sweet. The E11 power stinks, but that's what Reserve Maneuver is for. The U12 is okay, and the E20 (encounter!!) is cool because the alluring lights make opportunity attacks, which you get huge bonuses to. The only bad thing is the F16, but if you were playing for that then you should have taken Gladiator Champion. 

Regarding Stealth and Arcana training: your MC should give you Stealth, and your background could give you Arcana training. Too bad about the HP background, but you should get hit a lot less than regular defenders anyway. 

These are the required feats for the build IMO:

Heroic: 
- Heavy Blade Expertise
- Agile Superiority
- Clutch of Darkness
- Improved Defenses
- Superior Will
- Twilight Adept
- Blade Opportunist

Paragon (getting both at level 11):
- Darkness Reign
- Heavy Blade Opportunity

Epic:
- Lolth Blessed 

The rest could be used to pump your damage, but stuff like Resilient Focus, Superior Reflexes and Fortitude (one of them over Imp. Def.) and Stout & Encouraging Shield (switching to a heavy shield and One-Handed Weapon Talent) is awesome for keeping yourself alive even more.

Why did you build it as a Tempest fighter anyway? 
 Why did you build it as a Tempest fighter anyway? 



Well, at the time I thought that the bonuses from Tempest Technique, Two-Weapon Fighting, and Two-Weapon Defense opened a better range of damage and defense with his high Dexterity score (plus, I didn't know if I was going to make use of Two-Weapon Opening or Two-Weapon Flurry). But a Heavy Shield could be a better choice, I havent crunched the numbers.


Or get to 15 Wisdom (which you'll need for Superior Will), MC Cleric via Divine Healer, and swap Healer's Lore for Battle Cleric's Lore (which the builder doesn't allow, but it's RAW legal). You'll get a +2 shield bonus to AC for a single feat, and you can keep dual-wielding. Looks like a good trade to me.
Would starting your stats @ 17/13/15(Str/Dex/Wis) be doable? Pump Strength/Dex throughout the life of this PC and you still qualify for Superior will in heroic. Puts you behind some in your attack stat but if you're sustaining your cloud and using auto damage stances that shouldn't kill you too much.
Has anyone mentioned the Black Hole build that was put out about 2 years ago?

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

This was awesome back in the day. A lot of notes you can probably crib from there. 
MC Cleric via Divine Healer, and swap Healer's Lore for Battle Cleric's Lore (which the builder doesn't allow, but it's RAW legal)



For someone working on their first build I really wouldn't recommend this. Yes it is RAW legal, but there is a lot of argument over this issue.  He might want to keep all of his parts inside the ride for the first build or so...
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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MC Cleric via Divine Healer, and swap Healer's Lore for Battle Cleric's Lore (which the builder doesn't allow, but it's RAW legal)



For someone working on their first build I really wouldn't recommend this. Yes it is RAW legal, but there is a lot of argument over this issue.  He might want to keep all of his parts inside the ride for the first build or so...



An argument I really don't understand, to be fair. The wording on BCL is perfectly clear, as long as you have Healer's Lore the swap can happen. The only ground people still hold is its inability to function in the Builder, which we should all know by now is not a rule source.
There are a lot of shadier things in CharOP than this one.
The argument is that the BCL feature says that "clerics may switch..." but a multiclass cleric is only a cleric for the purposes of feat and paragonpath prerequisites.
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The argument is that the BCL feature says that "clerics may switch..." but a multiclass cleric is only a cleric for the purposes of feat and paragonpath prerequisites.

False. The PHB3 updated the wording to:

CLASS-SPECIfIC FEATS Ifyou take a class-specific multiclass feat, you count as a member ofthat class for the purpose of meeting prerequisites.

Full stop. If the only requirement is that you be a member of the class to qualify, an MC feat does it.
The "argument" is that it's frickin' broken and almost certainly an unintended byproduct of the original Battle Cleric article. Consequently many DMs frown upon this. That's the argument for not using it in your build, especially if it's your first serious attempt at CharOp.
Broken? Let's be serious shall we?
I concede BCL can be used to build otherwise impossible things, but in this case? It's a +1AC over Two-Weapon Defense at the same cost, for a character that already has Scale proficiency. Any DM frowning upon BCL for a Fighter may as well ban stuff like Gythzerai Blade Master, it's the same size of benefits over a regular feat.
Broken? Let's be serious shall we?
I concede BCL can be used to build otherwise impossible things, but in this case? It's a +1AC over Two-Weapon Defense at the same cost, for a character that already has Scale proficiency. Any DM frowning upon BCL for a Fighter may as well ban stuff like Gythzerai Blade Master, it's the same size of benefits over a regular feat.



Don't use stuff, regardless if it makes your character worse, if it is going to 1) not work in the character builder 2) require a very specific reading of the rules 3) going to get stopped by many DMs.  I'm not saying it is wrong, that is not an argument I feel is worth having. I'm saying it is in enough of a gray area to just leave it be.
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
The argument is that the BCL feature says that "clerics may switch..." but a multiclass cleric is only a cleric for the purposes of feat and paragonpath prerequisites.

False. The PHB3 updated the wording to:

CLASS-SPECIfIC FEATS Ifyou take a class-specific multiclass feat, you count as a member ofthat class for the purpose of meeting prerequisites.

Full stop. If the only requirement is that you be a member of the class to qualify, an MC feat does it.



Then we have to argue on whether that just means an 'feature' (I use the term loosely) that states "Prerequisite: x" or any requirement.

P.s. Matyr, you're clearly here, so get on the irc, I'm bored.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
Take the argument somewhere else. He doesn't even have the feat, so it's completely irrelevant.
Nothing like Khan to get pissy on someone elses behalf...
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I'm not pissy. But it's kind of silly for someone to say "I don't even get why there's an argument. It's so clear." and then for everyone to start arguing about it. And it's really not relevant to the build.

But don't let me get in the way of your useless and self-serving one-liners. Carry on .
Hey now, Zelink's one-liners aren't useless, I mean, why else are we here if not for his witty comments and personality? Cool

Lol!

On a serious note, cool build, seems like a fun concept. Glad to see those Drow themes put to use for once.
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The standard d4 is somewhat (SOMEWHAT) rounded on the top, the older models are even flat. The Lego is shaped in such a way that in an emergency, you can use one as a makeshift surgical knife.
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63797881 wrote:
82733368 wrote:
28.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character (Monk or otherwise) does not require my character to be completely shitfaced, no matter what the name (and fun interpretation) implies.
29.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character does not require ME to be completely tanked, no matter how "in-character" I want to be..
When it comes to the argument of MCing Cleric for Battle Cleric's Lore... yeah, I get where that would be a powerful option. But the +1 AC isn't the largest concern for me, at least enough to justify not taking an MC for Stealth Training (such as Rogue) to Stealth within the Cloud.

For the Off-Hand Enhancement, I'm thinking of either downgrading to a Shortsword for a Rhythm Blade, or grab a Weapon of Great Opportunity (got this from the "Black Hole" character page). An Encounter Power which adds 6d8's to one of my OA's is just vicious.

What's the consensus of Two-Weapon Flurry? The -5 to hit is very discerning, but I do have constant CA, which really makes it a -3 on a base accuracy of +37. Is the trade-off worth it? This could easily replace Fist of Night.
On a serious note, cool build, seems like a fun concept. Glad to see those Drow themes put to use for once.


Yeah, about that... Although you mentioned it led you to the build, what does Melee-Magthere Champion actually do for you anyway? The slow on OA is irrelevant since your OA's also flat-out stop their movement, and the rest of the theme is just... eh. 

There are some variants of this build. Did you consider a Flail Knight? Knight, Flail Expertise and Lashing Flail makes for an incredibly sticky defender. Having an aura also solves the problem of not being able to mark enemies while sustaining the cloud, and it frees up your paragon path since enemies that shift away from you also take an MBA that prones. 

Plus, you get to call it the Dark Knight  
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