Question Regarding General CharOp

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I've read many times on the forums something along these lines "If your striker is not taking down a standard monster of equal level once a round (on average), he/she is not good at being a striker".

I simply do not see how this is mathematically possible.  I run a group with a few strikers, who are not "tweeked" but are built well, and they aren't anywhere close to this (being able to take down a standard monster of equal level once per round). They do well and I'm not having any problems in having them successfully complete encounters, but reading statements like the above has me perplexed.


So how is this possible?  If you want to give me build examples, let's aim it for level 15-16 (my group is 16 right now), and use classes from the PHB1 (Rouge or Ranger best, since my group has a Rogue and a Ranger).


Thanks in advance!       
1 kill per round is unrealistic. You should be able to drop, or at least badly damage a standard with your encounter nova, however.

certainly nothing comprehensive, but here's some quick links:

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

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

edit: it can be done, but it's gamebreaking and having a character like that isn't usually the purpose of char op.
An encounter nova should be able to drop a standard, no questions asked. Having DPR > 1 standard is pretty high end Op, and you'll be fine without it. The DPR candidates is a stupid thread, and no one should ever consult that for intelligently designed PCs
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
I've read many times on the forums something along these lines "If your striker is not taking down a standard monster of equal level once a round (on average), he/she is not good at being a striker".



Novas can definitely push you into that range. But the more accepted numbers of 'average damage' are generally between 20/40/60 on the low end and 30/60/90 on the high end.
If you're a striker, and don't have a daily nova capable of taking out a standard monster of equal level: you're not a good striker.  That is, IMHO, part of being a striker.  When that monster right there needs to die Right Fragging Now, you're the guy who's job it is to make that happen.

I also suggest at-will KPR between 1/3 and 1/2, depending on the optimization level of the party... ways of handing immobilized and grabbed, and daily rescue-buttons. But At-Will damage that takes out a standard monster a round is grotesque overkill in most campaigns.

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

Thanks for everyone's replies so far.

I don't know what a "nova" is, but it seems like averaging damage that's = or > standard monster of equal level is very high end Op, and not normal.

Our PCs certainly build wisely, but they are not tweeked by any means. Their stats are well-rounded overall, mainly for role-play purposes. And I am fairly stingy with magical gear, so they are definitely not stacked full of good gear (I keep them a little bit behind what might be normal for their level, though not enough to make encounters unbalanced against them).
To Nova is to expend every resource you can to deal as much damage as possible in a single round (or as few rounds as possible, at least).
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
To expand on that, there are:

Daily Novas:  All utility, items, and attack powers are on the table.  If you're using 2+ dailies as a striker in a single round, something should be dead or You're Doing It Wrong.

Encounter Novas:  Same idea as above, but only using Encounter resources.  You can do this again next encounter.  This should kill or severely maim a standard creature.

A useful nova should include some (or all) of the following:  Multi Attack powers (Rain of Blows, etc.), Minor Action attacks (Ruffling Sting, Sohei Flair, etc), personal damage boosters (Promise of Storm, etc.), action economy [usually involving movement baked into an attack] (Fury's Advance, Tumbling Strike), vulnerability taps (Morninglord, Sarifal's Blessing), and free action add-ons (Swift Charge).

The "secret" to real ultimate power is to stack lots of static modifiers and/or on-demand damage boosters/vulnerability, and combine it with lots and lots of attacks.  Things die.

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?
See my sig for my opinion on how much of a standard monster's HP a "good" striker should be cutting through each round.  This should vary based on the party.  I am very much in favor of party balance.
DPR king candidates has a very specific purpose, preserving builds from passing optimizers, and providing a place that pure DPR focused builds can be ranked.  I should be more up-front with how the resource should be used. 
Know that if you employ any of the KPR 1/2+ builds there, you will most likely create a great power divergence in your party.  Any monster the DM pulls out either is a peice of cake for you or outright kills the party if you can't do your job for 1-2 rounds. 

The best way to use the DPR king candidates thread is purely for inspiration on some combinations of game elements to better tune your build, or use as a platform and tone it down to your taste.  The build simply shows what's possible, and it is scary, and should not be employed at the table.
DPR King Candidates 3.0
How much damage should I shoot for?
You're fired : 1 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .2 KPR Fair Striker : 2 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .4 KPR Highly Optimized : 3 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .6 KPR Nerfbat please : 4 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .8 KPR It's OVER 9000!!!!!: 5 Kills Per 5 Rounds = 1+ KPR
DPR? KPR? KP4R? Bless you
DPR = Damage Per round ~= Chance to hit * damage on a hit KPR = Kills Per Round. 1 Kill = 8*Level+24 damage = DPR/(8*level+24) KPNR = Kills Per N Rounds. How many standards can you kill in N rounds?
You can optimize a character on paper all you want, but it requires tactical optimization as well to really shine.

I've known players that can put together some solid builds, but still don't actually realize the benefit of front-loading your damage to be really explosive in the first couple rounds. This is often what makes the difference between a decent striker and a great striker, even without high optimization.

But realize that these values are all ultimately arbitrary. As the DM, you control the difficulty of encounters and the optimization level required to win them. CharOp is making the most of characters while making very broad and basic assumptions about what a DM will throw at them. But a low op party can do just fine if the DM compensates for it.
Thanks for everyone's replies so far. I don't know what a "nova" is, but it seems like averaging damage that's = or > standard monster of equal level is very high end Op, and not normal. Our PCs certainly build wisely, but they are not tweeked by any means. Their stats are well-rounded overall, mainly for role-play purposes. And I am fairly stingy with magical gear, so they are definitely not stacked full of good gear (I keep them a little bit behind what might be normal for their level, though not enough to make encounters unbalanced against them).

No, you're thinking of at-will damage. Novas involve resources that, once you use them, you can't use them again that encounter or possibly that day. Encounter powers, daily powers, action points, etc. A good striker will remove a Standard from the board on round one, and bloody another on round 2, and then he is probably down to At-Wills for the most part. At-will damage should be 1/3-1/2 of an evel level Standard monster's HP for an optimized striker. 1/4 is barely maintaining the minimum damage a striker should do, any less and you're not a striker in terms of 4e's math. That would be the developer's math, not CharOps, we just reverse engineered it into nice packages based on stated design intentions. If your at-will KPR is 1+ (that is, you drop a Standard every round) you're basically broken. Though I will say I have DMed for parties like that (Feycharges and etc) and the only real way to do is it get rid of XP. Now you can design encounters that are challenging without having to worry about the fact that said encounters will give you a level worth of XP (not an exaggeration).

Other good examples are multiple AE-er parties. If you have five people are who 1/5 KPR per target, but are doing it in a 7x7 or a 3x3 and one of them can group everything up, guess what that means? They are one-rounding encounters. Party synergy is where you really break the game, there are very few things left that a single character can do by themselves to be really broken.
A good striker will remove a Standard from the board on round one, and bloody another on round 2, and then he is probably down to At-Wills for the most part. At-will damage should be 1/3-1/2 of an evel level Standard monster's HP for an optimized striker. 1/4 is barely maintaining the minimum damage a striker should do, any less and you're not a striker in terms of 4e's math.



Okay, let's examine this math.  I'm doing this for my own understanding, not aruging with you (I posted here to learn, after all!)

Here's the basics for our Rogue.
Human, Rouge (Brutal Rogue), Shadow Assassin, Level 16
STR 19, CON 14, DEX 22, INT 11, WIS 12, CHA 11
 FEATS: Improv Init, Armor Prof: Lt Shields, Backstabber, Superior Melee WP: Lt Scimitar (we made up "Light scimitar" since his backstory is that of a desert culture; but functionally it's a rapier, including it's exlusion from any scimitar-type feats or uses; it works exactly like a rapier in every way, it just looks like a small-ish scimitar); Nimble Blade, Defensive Mobility, Agile Athlete, Defensive Advantage, Light Blade Expertise, Durable
 AT-WILLS: Piercing Strike, Riposte Strike
ENCOUNTERS: Topple Over, Imperiling Strike, Killer's Eye, Stunning Strike
DAILIES: Clever Riposte, Knockout, Slaying Strike
UTILITIES: Tumble, Chameleon, Shadow Stride, Bad Idea Friend, Leaping Dodge
GEAR: +3 light blade (no need to go into more details, since we're focusing on damage)

So here's a "nova" I have in mind:
He runs up, Action Points.
Attack 1: attacks with Knockout.  Does 2d8+11 (approx 19 damage).  He'll not use Sneak Attack yet.
Attack 2: attacks with Slaying Strike. Hit is crit, since the target is unconcious/helpless.  That's 3d8+11, plus Sneak Attack 3d8+4.  All maximized: 63.  His magic sword add s ognoing 10 poison on a crit, so that ups it to 73.
So in that round, he did 92.  That's a butt-load of damage, but the standard level 16 monster has approximately 150 hit points, so he's not close to killing him.

Here's the average at-will (with CA):
Piercing Strike: 1d8+11, plus 3d8+4 for Sneak Attack.  Average damage: 31-33.  This is nowhere near 1/3 of 150 hit points.

I know he doesn't have Weapon Focus yet; he'll get that as soon as he can.  His damage has been good enough so I've gotten other things for him (such as Durable, since he's squishy and gets picked on a lot, and runs out of surges quickly; since getting Durable it's not a problem for him).  But even if he had Weapon Focus, that'd give him another +4 on his nova (+2 for his at-will), so it's still nowhere near killing the guy in 1 round (or taking his at-will to 1/3 a standard's hit points).

What am I doing wrong?

He's lacking minor action attacks. He's spent feats to lower his average damage(rapier proficiency). He hasn't done any real damage optimization, such as the frost package - a +3 frost dagger with a dragonshard of cold paragon + lasting frost + icy heart + gloves of ice = +12 damage per hit over what he currently does.

So look at the possible options for your character:
Move up
Low Slash(minor)
AP: Knockout
Standard: Circling Predator

That's 4 attacks instead of 2. And he's doing an extra 48 hp of bonus damage just from the damage optimization. That dead monster isn't attacking back, so he won't need durable to absorb its damage...
I jsut wanna say i'm not the best optimizer here, i'm mainly a lurker. So i'm sure the regulars will have much more insight than i do...
But let me first explain that one of the hardest things for me to grasp initially (mainly cuz i'm a former 3.x player) is how all the little +1's and +2's really add up in this edition. Tiny little things that don't look like much can get pretty explosive when everything is put together 'just perfectly', and that that effect gets multiplied over the course of multiple actions within a turn.


There's a few things you could do, first up as you mentioned his stats are far from optimal, the 22 dex is basically fine, although it probably could have been a 24 (which would give him the same AC/reflex as the light shiled, only without the check penalty, and with a +1 hit/dmg/init instead).
With your current basic configuration, I  also recommend getting that str to a 20 (it would probably only mean that int or cha started at 8).

Also you can refluff a rapier into whatever you want, but it's still just a rapier and not a superior weapon. He can get proficiency with it for free from the Gritty Sargent background. That opens a feat. Even better still, refluff a dagger into a light scimitar. Now he not only gets an extra +1 on attack rolls, but he can spend his background on Born under a bad sign, which will give him 8 more HP (and reduce the frequency he uses healing surges).
Again light shield prof can go, get a +3 rhythm blade dagger and hold it in his off hand. Again, same Ac/reflex, but opens another feat.
Defensive Mobility is redundant with tumble most of the time, and it the controller/defender is keeping the enemies locked down (dazed?) you won't have to really worry. Further, if you do provoke from the defenders mark, then the defender gets to whack him. That's ok. :D
Defensive Advantage is also out, again the understanding is that they wont be attacking back, or if they do, the defender whacks them.
Agile Athlete can go, i get that it's prolly for RP purposes, but its far too easy to get skill bonuses from items.
 
Even keeping Durable, that opens up 5 feats. 
Plop in Slaying Action, Focus, two weapon fighting, and two weapon opening. For the 5th, maybe Two Weapon Defense or Improved defenses.
Trade Slaying Strike for Arterial Slice. Ditch one of the encounters for Low Slash.
Also, stop being stingy with the gear. We'll assume he still has a +3 weapon, but also has a level 16 item: Iron Armbands of Power. 

Basic mod damage looks like this now: 6 (dex) + 5 (str) + 2 (focus) + 3 (enh) + 2 (LB expertise with CA) + 4 (item) + 1 (TWF) =23

At Will:
[d8]+23+3d8 = 41 average. This is a little low, but still slightly over 25% of a mob's hp. If you actually calculated crit/miss chance it could vary a few more points... getting another 5-10 points with consumables/leader buffs really isn't that hard and will bring you right up to 1/3.


Nova Attack Sequence:
Move (i'm assuming you'll have CA somehow, because it's the first round of combat, or whatever) 
Minor: Low Slash [w]+ 28 (notice you get your st twice) + 3d8 (sneak)
Standard: Knockout 2[w]+23
AP/Coup: Arterial Slice 24+23+24 (sneak from slaying action).
Free action (Two weapon opening triggers): [w]+17 

So basically you are looking at 3[w] + 3d8 + 122 (159 av) and ongoing 24 dmg - and that's BEFORE the free attack. Basically if the the 159 (178?) doesn't kill him right out, the ongoing 24 will. 

Edit - Semi ninja'd!
But let's say we drop Durable for Lasting Frost, switch Focus to Icy Heart, and get the Frost Dagger And Dargonshard Augment in the main hand. This will add 5 damage to Low Slash, and 10 damage to the following 2 steps, but you'll lose 2 from TWF Trigger - the total boost is 23.
Damage becomes 201, and the first tick of ongoing brings the total to 225. That's about 75% of an elite's HP at this level, and potentially before he even goes.
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
Iron Armbands of Power, a Frozen Whetstone and someone with the Lasting Frost feat would add 4, 2 and 5 damage (11) to his At-Will DPR rather cheaply. And those are just some low-hanging fruit.

I would suggest looking at the Rogue handbook for more suggestions.
Yeah power selection will go a long way towards helping. Mainly, getting a minor action attack and getting something that can better capitalize off Knockout (I prefer Bloodbath because it hits twice). Doing a lot of damage in this game is usually about hitting as many times as you can in one turn.

A lot of people aren't comfortable with adding frost because it feels cheesy, especially perhaps on a guy coming from the desert (although you can think up an RP explanation of anything - some deserts are very cold). But as shown above, you don't even really need frostcheese to get to 150ish damage.
Some would argue that the best place to use cold attacks/frost vuln is in a desert.

But yeah, my basic point was you could do all of that basically independantly from gear. Assuming that a level 15 pc has a simple +3 Magic Weapon and some armbands really isn't a stretch (you could even use the heroic tier armbands, lose 2 points per hit, and still average 151 before the TWO trigger).
And this still is independant of any buffs your leader may have given you...
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
Thanks to everyone's replies!

I have an aversion to Frost Cheese, but that's just a personal preference.  We have a wizard in our party who has all the Frost Cheese stuff, but he role-plays a cold-specialized wizard extremely well, and when we're talking about ice/frost/cold spells instead of frost weapons, it just feels like less cheese to me (again, personal preference).

But some other excellent ideas are posted here.  It seems properly optimizing (and by that I don't mean maximized, just properly/appropriately optimized) means scouring the extra material and sourcebooks.  This feels a little cheesy to me, since it's sometimes about finding loopholes or combinations that are over-powered simply because the more extra stuff the dev's make, the more difficult it is for them to see all the possible over-powered-combinations (and therefore avoid them). However, I understand this is what optimization is about, and this is the CharOp forum, so I'm not saying it's bad, just something I usually try to avoid.  I say 'usually' because finding a few little 'extra goodies' to optimize my character is not something I see as bad, just something I try to keep to a few little cookies. Smile

So why am I posting here? Lol.  Good question!  I guess it's so I could understand how this works mathematically, and thanks to your excellent reponses I now do!  =) Plus I do like having one or two extra goodies, as explained above. Laughing
Thanks all!
Making good choices in power selection isn't cheesy.
And you don't really need to scour books, if you have the DDI Subscription, the builder lists pretty much everything. Builder + 10 minutes reading a handbook will get you most of the way there (although some handbooks do a better job of teaching combos and tactics than others...).

Just keep in mind that the basic goal (for single target strikers) is to get your static mods to about a 1/4-1/3 of a mob's hp and then figure out a way to hit 3-4 times in a single round: Minor Action Attacks, Multi-hitters, Free attack triggers, Action points, whatever it takes. Once you get used to looking for those the rest sorta falls into place.
 
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
The Permafrost package isn't cheese, it's one of a small handful of options that are required for all but 1 class to deal the amount of damage they need to be dealing as a Striker. Avoiding things like this is bad gaming, not "avoiding loopholes"; loopholes are things like the few damage-on-entry powers that didn't get changed to be 1/turn when they intended to change all of them, or the Theme that briefly allowed you to cast Enchant for free.

Especially if you're going to DM, you need to understand that in order to maintain the benchmark of a 4-5 round combat, Striker PC's need to be dealing well over double the damage of their allies and 95% of the possibile ways to build a character simply cannot do this
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
The Permafrost package isn't cheese, it's one of a small handful of options that are required for all but 1 class to deal the amount of damage they need to be dealing as a Striker. Avoiding things like this is bad gaming, not "avoiding loopholes"; loopholes are things like the few damage-on-entry powers that didn't get changed to be 1/turn when they intended to change all of them, or the Theme that briefly allowed you to cast Enchant for free.

Especially if you're going to DM, you need to understand that in order to maintain the benchmark of a 4-5 round combat, Striker PC's need to be dealing well over double the damage of their allies and 95% of the possibile ways to build a character simply cannot do this


While i won't go out on a limb and call it bad gaming, i will agree that all players should be looking to maximize the usefulness at the table, no matter the role. 
As Zathris has pointed out to me on numerous occasions, "re-flavor to taste" will work wonders. Don't like "frost-cheese" on your PC just use those mechanics and call it something else. There is no reason you shouldn't try to be as bad-ass as possible while still having any flavor of PC you like.
Permafrost was specifically and intentionally built into the game by the designers to give PCS a relatively easy way to up damage.  Same thing with items like iron armbands of power. 

Unless you are significantly lowering monster HP the game needs these damage boosts or it drags.  The first party I played in when 4E came out using just PHB and Adventurers vault didn't have a striker and we didn't have access to many of the common damage tricks we have now.  Combat was slower (and not in a fun way) than in all of my later parties where we have always had at least one optimized striker in the group.
As was said, you don't really need to scour anything if you have the builder, and although there are probably a few interactions the devs didn't intend, the vast majority of them have been caught and fixed in errata.

Additionally, published monsters have become much more difficult as character options have grown. MM1 monsters can be a pushover now, but many MM3 monsters can stomp even a well-built party.

That being said, you can easily manipulate things from the DM side to have fun and challenging combats at any level of optimization. So rather than demanding your strikers hit benchmarks, you can just play with monster hp and defenses until you get to that sweet spot of 3-5 round combats.

Personally, my group is low-to-mid op. I beef up MM1 monsters a little, tone down MM3 monsters a little, lower hp from 10-25%, handwave mop-up rounds with surrendering/running away/seppuku/etc. and add other skill- or terrain-based combat options to keep encounters on track. I also pretty much toss xp out the window and just give them a level every 10 encounters. We can't really assume these kinds of things in CharOp, but they're often a much easier way to keep things moving rather than force your players to optimize better. One of the best things about D&D is just how extremely flexible it can be.
In a low-to-mid optimization homegame, or with players who prefer to focus on roleplaying over combat, I'll usually offer a free non-combat feat twice per tier.  Skill focus/training, languages, something tailored to the specific character that will help enhance roleplay but offer no combat bonuses.  We also run with free math fixes (Expertise at 1, Improved Defenses at 11), so that frees up two more for people.  You might want to consider offering your players free Expertise and Improved Defenses, as they DO fix math errors in the basic game math.

I feel this helps bridge the gap between wanting a nicely fleshed out character with a backstory that is supported by skills, and being effective in combat.  Feats are a very, very precious commodity in 4e.

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?
I can second that. I offer Versatile Expertise and Improved Defenses for free at level 5. They are so boring that no "roleplay" character will ever take them, but the game math expects you to have them.
The main subject having been adressed, I will also comment on the Frost Cheese and your aversion to it, because I feel the same way, even though I almost always integrate it into my characters, there is nothing comparable.

What bothers me is that it is restricted to one specific style / damage type. Sure, you can play with fire, thunder or lightning and do some cool tricks (OK, more fun to be had with lightning and thunder), but nothing at the level of Frost Cheese damage. There is no surprise anymore, almost all strikers have a Frost Weapon, Syberis Shard, Ice Gauntlets, Icy Heart, etc.

I guess I'm just overexposed to Frost Cheese, all of the strikers I see nowadays have frostbitten fingers.
However, it IS that good, and you NEED it. Else, you better use a combo with nice effects (polearm/flails, I'm looking at you) because you won't find any comparison damage-wise.



Oh, there's plenty of things that are comparable, actually. Fire, Lightning, Radiant, and Thunder have significant support that brings them within neglegable distance of Frost, and if you choose the right Race/PPs can easily surpass Frost. Fire/Lightning/Radiant is the real cheese right now with Genasi (or Revenant Genasi) practically being "the one true race" for all Striker classes thanks to the ability to combine Gifts for the Queen, Firewind Blade, and Radiant Cheese (which really surpasses Frost on it's own), you can turn a stock Paladin into a passable Striker with that set.
"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.
"frostcheese" really only ever consisted of two feats, one that applied cold vuln, and the other that gave CA on top of it.

And it was never cheese - more like the single most glaringly obvious feat combo in the entire PHB.  Yes yes, there are a few incidentals since then that make it stronger (gloves of ice, dragonshard), but people were calling it "frostcheese" when it was just those two feats.  It was an exaggeration even then to call it cheese, and it's an even worse exaggeration to call it that now given what else is available.  I mean, perma-CA used to be a Big Deal, now you can get it with a single feat for nearly all characters starting in heroic, let alone paragon.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
"frostcheese" really only ever consisted of two feats, one that applied cold vuln, and the other that gave CA on top of it.

And it was never cheese - more like the single most glaringly obvious feat combo in the entire PHB.  Yes yes, there are a few incidentals since then that make it stronger (gloves of ice, dragonshard), but people were calling it "frostcheese" when it was just those two feats.  It was an exaggeration even then to call it cheese, and it's an even worse exaggeration to call it that now given what else is available.

For one thing, it's disingenuous to say that it's just the two feats when the "incidentals" add up to more damage than the vuln grants. Regardless of history, frost cheese as it's used now is defintely including the shard and gloves, and usually icy heart as well.

As for it's "cheesiness" that's more about how you define cheese. Some people may think it's "too much" damage, but the real block for most people is that it has a very strong and specific flavor attached to it that may or may not match the flavor of the character.

As the OP says, he's fine with a wizard using it when his backstory is that he's some master of cold and ice. But when Johnny Rogue from down the street suddenly starts doing ice damage on every hit from out of nowhere, it feels cheesy in the respect that it's tacked on to his character for no other reason than to do more damage. To CharOp, the answer to this is, "well... yeah. so what?" But for some types of players it just doesn't sit well, and all the explanations of math or refluff suggestions in the world aren't really going to change that. They play a different game than what's assumed here.
Good points by mostly everyone, mainly on using frost cheese but changing the mechanics of it.

Though I still find it pretty ridiculous that this has to be done.  We're all reasonable people here, so I think we can see this was an "opps".  The game is full of all sorts of different powers and characteristics of powers; from every element, to radiant and necrotic energies, to force and thunder, to a myriad of other things.  Do you really think the designers thought "Hey, let's design the game so you have to be a frost-specialist to be effective at dealing damage!" Of course not, that's utterly ridiculous.  So I reject the notion that avoiding frost cheese is a "You're Preference is Wrong" (which is a silly statement anyway, given the nature of preference).  It's a flaw in the system (if frost cheese is indeed required).

As I said in my first post, the party (level 16s) are doing just fine.  I made this thread to learn how statements regarding KPR made sense.  Now I know, and I thank you all for your input.  But thus far I find avoiding frost cheese to be perfectly effectively for our game (and I use MM3 monsters regularly).
While the comments about changing frost cheese's mechanics are good ideas to help keep the game versatile (i.e. not all the strikers have frostbite, as one poster said!), I'll probably avoid it altogether and see how it goes.  If it does get to a point where it's too slow of a hit-point grind, I'd prefer to decrease monster hit-points and increase their damage rather than force strikers to suddenly and miraculously be Frosty the Snowmen. 
I actually do know, not think, the designers went "Hey, strikers aren't keeping up with the math. Can we add in some easy options for more damage in Paragon?" Parts of the initial system were rushed out the door and there were odd power struggles that I won't get into.

These days there are actually enough options that not every striker has to be Permafrost to keep up. Though I'd sooner let a sub-optimal party die then fiddle with indidivual monster HP, one of 4e's strengths is how nicely the math is laid out for encounter creation.
For Rogues, say it's a poison. If you're not willing to go that route, well, just admit you're going to suck.


Or, admit that you can't roleplay and explain why Johnny Rogue from down the street is "Wintertouched."
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I actually do know, not think, the designers went "Hey, strikers aren't keeping up with the math. Can we add in some easy options for more damage in Paragon?" Parts of the initial system were rushed out the door and there were odd power struggles that I won't get into.


Further evidence:  across-the-board reduction of monster hitpoints in the MM3 math revision.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Why mess with frost, when they could just say "add +X to your special striker damage (Sneak Attack, Quarry, etc)"?

Sure, anyone can take Frost Cheese mechanics and change it to poison.  Or they can just add damage to strikers that's proportional to tier.  But why build a system that requires this?  Or just Errata striker builds.  It doesn't make sense.

Also, as a genuine question: if Frost Cheese is such a requirement, why do I see "non-frost cheese" versions of striker builds in CharOp forums? Shouldn't they always have it, or else be totally ineffective?  
They didn't mess with Frost.  They added other things that are just as good, if not better than Frost. 

Frostcheese isn't a requirement.  It's not even overpowered at this point - that's why it's not cheese.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Um, radiant Mafia much?  There are LOTS of non-frost strikers out there.  They just all have other stunts that conflict with frost, but for their builds work better.

Radiant Mafia is a strong set there. 

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

Part of the problem is the name "frost cheese"  You say it, and automatically things take on a sinister light, as if there is something /wrong/ with taking it.

Radiant comes to my mind instantly, but the real charop people can (and likely will) correct me.  A morninglord's level 16 paragon path power deals out 10 radiant vulnerability (instead of the 5 for the frost package), then you get everyone in the group to synergize with radiant weapons, and pick up feats to add radiant damage.  The math does itself.  Frost just comes online easier and earlier than radiant does.  There are plenty of other methods of raising damage which are more effective then the frost package.  The frost package is just an /easy/ and fairly thoughtless, straight forward way for a single individual to pump his damage a bit.
Radiant actually outstrips frost in epic due to things like Punishing Radiance (And it gets obscene with a crit Opped Invoker). Also, frost only applies to a single target, so I'm unsure how the Op's wizard intends to use it. Morninglord applies to everything.
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Radiant actually outstrips frost in epic due to things like Punishing Radiance (And it gets obscene with a crit Opped Invoker). Also, frost only applies to a single target, so I'm unsure how the Op's wizard intends to use it. Morninglord applies to everything.



Only if you're going for Lasting Frost.  Arcane Fire works just fine for multi-targeting, but only works for your attacks and only if you keep hitting (because it's only on the next attack you do against that target before the end of your next turn- works fine until you miss).
Thanks guys, this thread has showed me how and why CharOp can be quite helpful in game mechanics! Laughing


What's "silly" is your subscription to the idea that all people have equivalently valuable judgment.



There is no correct judgement in preferences.  Whether you "judge" chocolate or vanilla to be the best flavor, it's still just your preference, and due to it's inherently subjective nature, it cannot be "the wrong preference".

My preference is not to use Frost Cheese because of it's feel and style.  The value in this context is based purely on subjective value.  If I was arguing about Frost Cheese's mathematical/mechanical usefulness, than my judgement would be based on objective value, and can therefore be wrong; but this is obviously not what I was saying.  You either didn't understand my comments, or have no understanding of subjective preference.

So, yes, your idea of "Your Preference is Wrong" is silly.  Just as silly as if we were talking about chocolate vs. vanilla ice-cream.