Berserker Tips Please

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Well - tips other than 'play something else' I suppose.


I will be playing a Trikreen in a Dark Sun setting, and as this is a revival of a short 'intro' game played much long time ago, there is already some character history that defines my character - a poor drug addled bug who has been used as a slave and a gladiator and generally a bit messed up even by thri-kreen standards.


Anyway - he wants to defend his new clutch mates, but due to a little too much reliance on chemicals to keep his brain sane, he can go off the deep end.

Which seemed to me to be perfectly represented by the Berserker class.

So, noting that the berserker class guide seemd only half finished, and the half that was there seems to suffer from formatting issues that make it partly unreadable, I am keen for some ideas and advice on a few things.

Firstly - should I push for 20 STR 16 DEX, or prop up my defences a little more with 18/18.

It seems that the benefit of cloth + feat + heartland feature for +5AC +2 REF and the benefit of hide + feat for heavy shield is still +5AC +2 REF, however the trade off of 2h weapon vrs 1h weapon +2 damage is less obvious - any thoughts?

Are there any important tricks beyond World Serpent's Grasp for improving my defendering to consider?

The choice between a +3 prof weapon and a +2 harder hitting weapon

Any powers that I would be mad to miss out on?

I am not so worried about 'the basics' like charge spam or frost cheese - I can keep those options in the back of my mind but I don't think the party will have lots of hyper optimization, but I definitely want there to be a notable difference in how the character performs in tank mode vrs drug crazed loonie mode.

Normally when I play a Defender, I'd expect a lot more than what the berserker appears able to do - so I guess I am after some advice as to how to kick up the defendery abilities and survival abilities - the party appears to be light on for melee characters so I need to be able to tough through the early bit of the fight.

Now finally - if there really is a different class that can capture the sane and stoic defender that looses it and goes crayzee, I am not blinkered to the ideas, with the caveat that the DM is leery of hybrids, and of course dark sun lacks the divine classes (So totally would have been a fury blackguard :P)

Cheers            
What level are you starting at and do you know what PP to go for or anything like that? 
Lvl 4 - and PP is open for consideration.  I am hoping that the campaign will extend for some time over many levels.  I'd have really liked to take warpriest as a PP, but no divine !
I would suggest using cahulaks as your weapon, or an ahulak and a shield.  Proning should be your goal and nothing does it faster than a flail.

There is a daily you can take at L9, eye of the maelstrom.  Extends your defender aura out to 2 so a reach weapon would really help.  Add in lashing flail to your mark enforcement at paragon and you have a big 25 square area of control and if you take repel charge, then they can't even charge you without you getting an attack/prone/slide out of reach. 
I'd make yourself an arid desert Berserker.  There should be a Half-Orc Version of it on the first or second page of char op.  That will do the basics and be easy to play.  In that thread you can also see some different build options suggested by the community.

If you go arid desert 18/18 is superior (unless you are not starting at 1). 
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
I'd make yourself an arid desert Berserker.  There should be a Half-Orc Version of it on the first or second page of char op.  That will do the basics and be easy to play.  In that thread you can also see some different build options suggested by the community.

If you go arid desert 18/18 is superior (unless you are not starting at 1). 

Arid Desert Berserker in a Dark Sun game.  Amazingly (or is that amusingly?) appropriate.

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Normally when I play a Defender, I'd expect a lot more than what the berserker appears able to do - so I guess I am after some advice as to how to kick up the defendery abilities and survival abilities - the party appears to be light on for melee characters so I need to be able to tough through the early bit of the fight.

Now finally - if there really is a different class that can capture the sane and stoic defender that looses it and goes crayzee, I am not blinkered to the ideas, with the caveat that the DM is leery of hybrids, and of course dark sun lacks the divine classes (So totally would have been a fury blackguard :P)

Cheers            



Honestly? The Berserker just doesn't work as presented in Feywild, man. I like it and it's nice that they tried something truly new, but it doesn't fly with no ability to go back to defending once it strikes. If you want to play one, convince your DM to add a 'Mode Shifter' feature that lets you switch back to defender mode at the cost of a move action. That should make it reasonably competent. Otherwise...eh, I explained this once before. Suffice is to say, if you put your mind to it you can move any mountain.
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).
While I appreciate the post, it didn't really help me go forward with the character.

I guess I'll just blame DnD Next and try to come up with some other options.  Cheers all. 
I'd make yourself an arid desert Berserker.  There should be a Half-Orc Version of it on the first or second page of char op.  That will do the basics and be easy to play.  In that thread you can also see some different build options suggested by the community.

If you go arid desert 18/18 is superior (unless you are not starting at 1). 



OK - I found that other post, and it largely follows what I had in mind, but I do like the ideas about the weapon choices - especially as they are dark sun weapons to boot

TY.
While I appreciate the post, it didn't really help me go forward with the character.

I guess I'll just blame DnD Next and try to come up with some other options.  Cheers all. 



The thing is, you're gonna play a chracter that doesn't qutie do what you want him to do, I feel. See, most of the Berserker defender powers are garbage. They don't actually help you protect your allies. This is a problem, because you want to use your actually good powers (the strikery ones) but don't want to leave your allies naked against enemy attacks. That's why I suggest just asking your DM for a houserule. The system is fighting against letting you realize the concept you want, and it is easy to change that.
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).
While I appreciate the post, it didn't really help me go forward with the character.

I guess I'll just blame DnD Next and try to come up with some other options.  Cheers all. 



The thing is, you're gonna play a chracter that doesn't qutie do what you want him to do, I feel. See, most of the Berserker defender powers are garbage. They don't actually help you protect your allies. This is a problem, because you want to use your actually good powers (the strikery ones) but don't want to leave your allies naked against enemy attacks. That's why I suggest just asking your DM for a houserule. The system is fighting against letting you realize the concept you want, and it is easy to change that.


Or you could accept how the Berserker works, and not view it as a major injustice that it doesn't let you switch back into defender mode.

It's not meant to be a hybrid, it's meant to have a clear progression from defender to striker as the fight goes on.  It's a good niche, a unique one that no other class can replicate.  Berating the OP for wanting to actually use this mechanic as it was intended is not helpful.

If you don't like its design, then fine.  You don't have to play it.  But to suggest that everyone implement a houserule that completely guts that design?  No.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I can also see how the "no switch back" would fit a mentally unstable drug addict.
He gets mad and forgets to protect his clutch mates because he want's to kill the threat to his clutch mates.
The sea looks at the stabillity of the mountian and sighs. The mountian watches the freedom of the sea and cries.
if there were an interesting way to get him to stop his berserker fury with a houserule I could see it being worthwhile

an ally performing a heal check to dose him
an ally performing a nature check to calm him

something that fits the character concept

otherwise theres no problem with functioning as the mechanics have laid out, particularly since his character concept melds with it so well
My experience with the bersker is it's a lot of fun and generally effective at what it attempts to do - build a dual role class.  However, it's never going to be an optimal class because you're forced to either ignore one of the two roles to improve the other or divide your resources and be less effective than a pure role class.

If you're looking to be more of a defender, multiclassing fighter is nearly manditory.  It broadens your paragon path choices, and Eternal Defender is a nice, solid epic destiny.  Plus powerswapping for a fighter power can solve the weaker martial powers issue.

I never saw the permanent shift from defender to striker as an issue or even a detriment to the class.  It forces you to play and strategize differently than the other classes, and IMHO that's a good thing.  It's a nice break from the overall "sameness" of the AEDU classes.

So, really, it's a choice between Arid and a polearm or Temperate and an alhuak.  The alhuak will make you a better defender because of the issues caused with the flail support feats.  You create the catch 22 of, "If you shift, I whack you, pull you back, and knock you prone.  If you walk away, I whack you, pull you back, and knock you prone.  If you go after my ally, I whack you, pull you out of range to negate your attack, and knock you prone."  Arid makes you a better striker.  Then you just need to decide between gouge + charge kit or longspear for the ability to target Ref later.
I have one main problem with berserker. Why not be a fighter, which is both a better defender and a better striker? Fluff is fluff... You can say your Rain of Steel is your Raging Flurry of Doom, and your Rain of Blows is the Primal Wrath of the Warshovel... whatever. Build a str/dex gouge fighter, call it a berserker, done.
Primal Wrath of the Warshovel


I am stealing this.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Just a small note on the houseruling.  I have my Berserker in one of the games I DM roll a saving throw if she uses a primal power and doesn't want to enter a rage.  She can't get out of it once she is in, but it is a small change that she really likes.

Other than that, I hope my build was useful.

Cheers. 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
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
Again thank you to all for contribuiting.

Just to clarify - the sentiment that 'the post didnt move my character forward' was meant in the sense that - the post offered (good) reasons why the class isnt really functional, but it did not offer alternatives to achieve the goal.  So in a very real sense, it merely pushed the concept backwards to the 'resubmit' phase, rathe than helping it advance to the 'done, now lets play stage'.  So thats the sort of help I am after, ideas that will move the character concept forward into a playable and (hopefully) fun state.

I am quite OK with the idea of simply using fluff to express concepts.  The DM wants to limit themes to the ones from the dark sun book - originally I think I had used the Alchemist theme to generate a mechanic of this bug playing with chemicals, with the bonus side effect of producing 'interesting' compounds with a real mechanical effect.  However with the reboot of the campaign, and the limits on themes, I am more than happy to simply 'roleplay' the 'chemically experimentitative' part.  And same goes for anything else.

I had considered if to use a barbarian or fighter, and multiclass back to the other, or even use a warden and multiclass to one of the first 2.  The wacky efects of the guardian forms could well be refluffed into some extremely unusual chemical side effect.

I really like the idea of using the Aluhuak.  Longsword stats but with flail type - and a 'dark sun' weapon to boot.  Awesome - and 'upgrading' to a triple flail doesnt cause any of the build to need retooling.  There are also options in flaildom for a 2h hard hitter ala heavy flail, or reach with the chalhuak (if thats thr right one I am thinking of - wierd names the lot of them) or spiked chain.  This was the kind of help I was after - something I hadnt thought of that adds a lot to the idea.  Cheers !

The fighter multiclass where you can take the 1/enc punishment seems perfect (well - unless I change the build to be based off fighter main class) and that neatly answers the question re 18/14 or 16/16 pre racial str/dex, as only the latter spares enough points for the WIS requirement.       
While I appreciate the post, it didn't really help me go forward with the character.

I guess I'll just blame DnD Next and try to come up with some other options.  Cheers all. 



The thing is, you're gonna play a chracter that doesn't qutie do what you want him to do, I feel. See, most of the Berserker defender powers are garbage. They don't actually help you protect your allies. This is a problem, because you want to use your actually good powers (the strikery ones) but don't want to leave your allies naked against enemy attacks. That's why I suggest just asking your DM for a houserule. The system is fighting against letting you realize the concept you want, and it is easy to change that.


Or you could accept how the Berserker works, and not view it as a major injustice that it doesn't let you switch back into defender mode.

It's not meant to be a hybrid, it's meant to have a clear progression from defender to striker as the fight goes on.  It's a good niche, a unique one that no other class can replicate.  Berating the OP for wanting to actually use this mechanic as it was intended is not helpful.

If you don't like its design, then fine.  You don't have to play it.  But to suggest that everyone implement a houserule that completely guts that design?  No.



The 3.5 wizard was designed to 'do magic'. This was a bad design and people who wanted it to stay were bad people. Same thing for the Berserker. If you wanted to do it with a defender-to-striker switch, you would need a considerably stronger incentive to not smash right into Striker mode, or an ability to defend properly without entering striker mode. It's not hard to rebuild the Berserker to work as intended. I mean, I did a Bladesinger remake, and this would take a fiftieth of the effort of that. The key is that I'm not saying 'you're wrong and dumb for wanting to play a berserker'. Rather, I'm saying 'you really shouldn't be playing a berserker if you want to actually do justice to the concept because it is not up to snuff'.
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).
It's really not that bad. The non-primal berserker powers are, at the very least, better than power strike, which puts the berserker ahead of the knight in terms of innate power selection.

Given power swap feats for fighter powers, a PP with non-primal powers (Dreadnaught helps with defenderiness too, or a full defender berserker could consider PMC fighter), and eventually eternal seeker, you're not stuck with the bad martial powers forever.

It will never be the best of the best, but CO is at it's most annoying when the response to, "how do you optimize X," is, "by making a Y instead." It's perfectly possible (and not even difficult) to build a berserker as a competent defender and only pick one primal power which you may or may not use in any given encounter. Such a build will suffice at any but the most optimized tables, and there's really no reason to try and convince him otherwise.

Sure, there's less ways to make a berserker work as a defender than there are ways to build a fighter, but that's not an issue here.
Here is a build summary of Lvl 4 as a Berserker.  I must say I am intrigued by the idea of paragon multiclassing too - Grabbing combat agility via a feat might be interesting, because its trigger is an enemy provoking an OA, not provoking an OA from me.  I dunno if anyone else in the party would be able to work with me on that, but it might be interesting.  It would be killer in a team with a warpriest - ahh curse you dark sun and your no divine!


Aaarrg - the character summary comes out as a big phat blob of unformated text in a blob.  Ideas on how to make ?


I also made an interesting arena fighter - a scaling freebie bonus to AC and potentially exotic weapon proficiencies off the bat?  Nice.  Tell me this - if I have "uber cool weapon" as one of my arena weapons, and staff as the other, and I have staff expertise - does that mean my uber weapon has extended reach for attacks?  I was unclear if feats that have a feat bonus to attack or damage have that feat apply to the other weapon, or if feats that have a feat bonus to attack or damage apply the feat bonus to attack or damage to the other weapon.  Gut says the latter as otherwise the staff thing seems a bit cool.

All up I like the way the berserker with paragon multiclassing as a fighter shapes up.  The berserker's ability to punish as an opportunity action is actually kind of neat, and when charged up with flail goodies, is a solid enough deterent.  And even when you drop into striker mode, you still have a couple of fighter tricks left over to do a little more defending.

The last thing I'd like to do is wring out a little more AC.  

  
if you paste the builder summary into word, then copy it from there, it will paste correctly here. yes, that's silly.

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======



Kas, level 4



Thri-Kreen, Barbarian (Berserker)



Heartland Option: Temperate Land



Dark Sun, Inherent Bonuses



Last of the Clutch (+2 to Insight)



Theme: Gladiator





FINAL ABILITY SCORES



STR 19, CON 11, DEX 19, INT 10, WIS 13, CHA 8





STARTING ABILITY SCORES



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







AC: 21 Fort: 19 Ref: 18 Will: 14



HP: 44 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 11





TRAINED SKILLS



Acrobatics +10, Athletics +12, Nature +10, Perception +8





UNTRAINED SKILLS



Arcana +2, Bluff +1, Diplomacy +1, Dungeoneering +3, Endurance +1, Heal +3, History +2, Insight +5, Intimidate +1, Religion +2, Stealth +5, Streetwise +1, Thievery +5





POWERS



Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack



Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack



Gladiator Feature: Disrupting Advance



Thri-Kreen Racial Power: Thri-kreen Claws



Multiple Class Utility: Defender Aura



Barbarian Attack: Vengeful Guardian



Barbarian Attack 1: Run Down



Barbarian Attack 1: Jarring Smash



Barbarian Attack 1: Batter Down



Barbarian Attack 1: Macetail's Rage



Barbarian Utility 2: Shrug It Off



Fighter Attack 3: Rain of Blows





FEATS



Level 1: Battle Awareness



Level 2: Berserk Vitality



Level 4: Novice Power





ITEMS



Alhulak x1



Hide Armor x1



Light Shield x1



Adventurer's Kit



====== End ======



OMG It works ! 

It's really not that bad. The non-primal berserker powers are, at the very least, better than power strike, which puts the berserker ahead of the knight in terms of innate power selection.



Stopping you right here because the rest of the argument hinges on this technically-true-but-totally-stupid-regardless argument. C'mon now man. Saying 'I suck less than am industrial vacuum cleaner!' does not mean you can go ahead and take out the part that says 'I suck'. The problem isn't that the Berserker is not top tier. I mean, Barbarians, Rogues, Warlocks and most other classes are not top tier. The thing is, all those classes bring something interesting and compelling to the table, something nobody else can do. The Berserker has a mechanic that nobody else does, indeed, do...but as far as mechanical execution of the concept behind it goes, a Barbarian|Warden or Fighter will always show it up. Always. And that's the thing that kills it for me: as written the niche it wants to occupy is already taken and done better. If houseruled to be a proper hybrid instead of a '50-50 of striker and defender, and 100-100 of suck' type of deal, then I would totally suggest playing a Berserker. And whaddaya know, that is exactly what I've been doing in this thread! But as it is written, the Berserker in the books ain't worth it. And that's a fact.
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 wonder if we may put aside this particular argument for now.  For the first time, Armisael has at least hinted on what he considers is an option to do the concept better, the Barbarian|Warden or Fighter just mentioned.  However, as this thread is an exercise in practical op rather than theory op, and Hybrids are only going to be shot down (as are house rules and class rewrites), the debate is basically not helping the original issue.  While I am sure it is a classic highlight of a significant issue worthy of discussion, it just doesnt matter in this situation.

If I was going to start a character from scratch, it would be a swordmage or a battlemind (with a race that matches the stat needs).  Instead it is a retooling of a wacky fighter|ranger//alchemist former slave thrikreen who was controlled by addiction, in a dysfunctional party who's greatest concern was that the mayor of the town offered the cannibal hafling warlock 'all he could eat for a year'.  So I am here looking for neato tricks that can do the job within the limits of the home game - and where else is there a pool of knowledge large enough to cover the massive amount of material available than here.

Battle Awareness and the Flail stuff were great ideas - again thank you all for helping me out with my original queries. 
Questions about these things:

1) Starting with odd primary stats.  If you are starting with the bump from 4 in play you might want to get a little more wis so you can qualify for Sup Will sooner.

2)  Why that background?  Reason you can't take Auspicious / Born under?

3) Why that theme?  If you need to be a darksun theme, thats ok, but why not go Gaurdian for the 2nd double punish / punishment if it is outside your aura?
 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
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
But as it is written, the Berserker in the books ain't worth it. And that's a fact.



I'd beg to differ, simply from my experience in watching my wife play her Shadar-Kai Berserker (currently level 8) though most of the Thunderspire Labyrinth adventure. As an arid desert Berserker, she has an impressive AC of 27 while in Defender mode. Further, all it takes on her part is patience and a really impressive punishment for ignoring her (she uses a double-sword with the old d8 stats) and has items that make her OAs better (+1 to attacks, +1d6 on all OA's) and I don't think she ever gets dropped below bloodied more than once every few encounters. She uses Run Down + Takedown Strike + World Serpent's Grasp to prone people all the time. 

But I get where you coming from. This is the Character Optimization boards and they tend to tell it how it is from a mechanical perspective. So in that regards, your absolutely right in that any number of combinations can achieve the same "thematic concept" as a Berserker but do it better and probably have more options out the door. I got the similiar response when I had requested help for a Hybrid Ossassin|Rogue and was, well, just told to play something else (BTW, the guy is awesome to play despite suggestions to play something else). I guess the thing is, there are times when Optimization will become very necessary. I don't know how the Berserker handles in higher-level play or how the math will somehow catch up to it when the monsters become ever difficult. It could be that the Berserker is really only good (or practical) in Heroic Tier and suffers greatly in Epic Tier.


As for help, I'd definitly go with the Arid Desert Heartland Option (the bonus to AC is better and it's thematic to the desolate place that is Dark Sun). For the Theme, I understand why you chose Gladiator but as Matyr states, Guardian can help with more defending.       
I played a Gnoll Berserker for 6 levels before the campaign fell apart.  Even with having to buy an 18 in Strength, he was both a lot of fun and hit respectably hard in defender mode.  I was in a party with three strikers so I definitely leaned more toward boosting my defender side, saving my fury for late encounter or when we went up against a solo.  Well, that any when someone killed his young owlbear companion (for purely roleplaying reasons of course.  "YOU KILLED MR. SCRUFFY!")

I was playing a temperate berserker so my feats went Heavy Shield Proficiency, Iron Will, Student of the Sword (I didn't have enough points left over to buy the Wisdom for Battle Awareness), Encouraging Shield.  I think you can see the common theme here - my Will was terrible.

Stalk and Strike is a great power.  Kind of surprised not to see it show up.  A free shift 2 before the attack opens up a lot of positioning and ways to move to have as many mobs in your aura as possible.

As far as the rest of your stuff, yeah, Batter Down is meh but so are most of the primal attack powers for you at 1st level.  I wasn't doing power swaps, so I picked up Brutal Slam at 3rd level for my fury trigger.  I took Sweeping Cut as my level 1 daily.  I can't remember if at 5th I took Silver Phoenix Rage for the regen or went back and picked up Thunder Hooves Rage to turn Stalk and Strike into a [2]W + 1d8 + Str mod at-will...
Mercenary and iron wolf warrior are good options also. If noone mentioned them?
Mercenary and iron wolf warrior are good options also. If noone mentioned them?



Not as good as double punishment or pretending you are an avenger for an attack.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
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
Mercenary and iron wolf warrior are good options also. If noone mentioned them?



Not as good as double punishment or pretending you are an avenger for an attack.


Mercenary can be a decent set-up for headsman's chop if adding that to the arsenal but you are correct that Iron Wrought or Guardian is superior.
I wonder if we may put aside this particular argument for now.  For the first time, Armisael has at least hinted on what he considers is an option to do the concept better, the Barbarian|Warden or Fighter just mentioned.  However, as this thread is an exercise in practical op rather than theory op, and Hybrids are only going to be shot down (as are house rules and class rewrites), the debate is basically not helping the original issue.  While I am sure it is a classic highlight of a significant issue worthy of discussion, it just doesnt matter in this situation.

If I was going to start a character from scratch, it would be a swordmage or a battlemind (with a race that matches the stat needs).  Instead it is a retooling of a wacky fighter|ranger//alchemist former slave thrikreen who was controlled by addiction, in a dysfunctional party who's greatest concern was that the mayor of the town offered the cannibal hafling warlock 'all he could eat for a year'.  So I am here looking for neato tricks that can do the job within the limits of the home game - and where else is there a pool of knowledge large enough to cover the massive amount of material available than here.

Battle Awareness and the Flail stuff were great ideas - again thank you all for helping me out with my original queries. 



Didja miss the link I posted before? Just asking because this ain't in fact the first time I made an alternative recommendation. >_>

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).
Questions about these things:

1) Starting with odd primary stats.  If you are starting with the bump from 4 in play you might want to get a little more wis so you can qualify for Sup Will sooner.

2)  Why that background?  Reason you can't take Auspicious / Born under?

3) Why that theme?  If you need to be a darksun theme, thats ok, but why not go Gaurdian for the 2nd double punish / punishment if it is outside your aura?
 



The 13 in WIS was to qualify for the Battle Awareness, and the last point that wasnt sunk into 18/18 STR DEX post racial I put into CON because it wasnt enough to buy more WIS, so an extra HP was the next best thing.

Yah themes have been limited to the ones in the Dark Sun book.  Primal guardian has the problem of turning on frenzy, there were a couple of possibly neat tricks the dune trader could have done, but Gladiator seemed to be the most useful of the bunch.  Otherwise Guardian would have been a fine choice.

Same with backgrounds, although in truth I didnt look very hard at backgrounds, as with 'obvious' ones like auspicious excluded, I was basically looking at a +2 to a skill.  I should at least shop around for a skill that might be important I guess :P   


Didja miss the link I posted before? Just asking because this ain't in fact the first time I made an alternative recommendation. >_>




Yes I did miss the link.  Actually it took me another solid effort to notice that the last little bit of your paragraph actually was a link.  It does look like you are talking about a hybrid fighter barbarian there, which I wont be able to get away with, but the powers highlighted were very helpful - the berserker guide has formatting errors or something that mean that sort of information was lost.

I like the general idea though, with the emphasis on the multi-attack powers more than the charge spam that is the 'default'.

I found the comment about the rage powers being 'mostly a waste of a turn in exchange for a crappy buff' to be interesting, and I find myself agreeing - I know I have looked over the barbarian daily lists on many an occasion and never really been enthused by any of them.

Still on the fence about a cloth armour great weapon user, or a hide/shield armour 1h weapon /w/ +2 damage user.  My general understanding is going from 1h to 2h in an otherwise comparable weapon is typically worth +1 average per [w].  So if I am making attacks that tend to favour many small [w] hits rather than few big [w] hits, the latter should work out better.

I should get off my behind and actually stat the character up to 30 :P         
It does look like you are talking about a hybrid fighter barbarian there, which I wont be able to get away with


What does that mean?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Presumably his DM doesn't allow hybrids.
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
That link about basic attacks was mucho interesting too - nice.
It does look like you are talking about a hybrid fighter barbarian there, which I wont be able to get away with


What does that mean?



His DM is an asshat.  Basically the DM is playing in 2009 and forcing everyone else to play with him.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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The problem with all this "defender mode" talk is that it doesn't exist. That label's a lie. (And don't whine about flails, usual suspects, these people are discussing heroic characters who don't have that feat set.)


My actual play experience would beg to differ.

In heroic tier, the threat of a free, high damage swat on an accurate PC with good defenses/hps is usually good enough to deter creatures.  Unless your DM is a total rat bastard, of course (which the OP's DM may be, I don't know them).  Yes, by paragon you had better have some tricks or ignoring you becomes the best choice for team monster.  And that's where all the flail talk comes from.  It's a (relatively) cheap way to buff your punishment.

Nobody is arguing the 'zerk is a better defender than a Weaponmaster Fighter.  That would be madness.  And wrong.  Good enough for game where everyone isn't opped out the wazoo?  Yes.  Fun?  Yes.  Different?  Yes.  God forbid you play something for characterization reasons.

(Aside: I'm a rat bastard DM.  I helped nudge a barbarian PC in one campaign toward the charge kit.  Then rather than just let him bounce around like a rubber nuke I flogged his pitiful Will with slow/immobilize critters until he finally recognized that was a weakness and took steps to fix it.  To this day he insists I was "picking on him."  I prefer to say "challenging.")
Well - I have messed about with a couple of straight fighter builds, of various flavours, Opting for high damage or high defendering and so on.  With the limitations applied for this game, the playing field seems a lot more level - although I did not bother working up epic level variants of everything I looked at so no doubt it changes.

The group I play with is a ton of fun, and we're just wrapping up a pathfinder campaign hence we're gearing up for the next game.  (I hate the pathfinder/3.5 system after having played 4th ed, but props to the group for making the sessions fun and entertaining all the same).  A couple of the guys are unfamiliar with 4th ed - so the biggest driver with the restrictions is to keep things a bit simple.  One of the guys probably wont actuallly make his own character at all :P  Conversely, the DM is great at actually making the world feel alive, and making actions feel meaningful - there will be lots of great story and adventure, not just the action on the battle grid.  He is absolutly not an 'asshat' thank you very much.  Out of the people in the group, most would point the finger at me as the 'power gamer munchkin lawyer' as it is.  They'd point to my pathfinder character as proof of that (and it isnt even a wizard - heck it is a monk/paladin!).  I'd say I put a lot more thought into who and what my character is than most of the rest, and then optimize the heck out of what ever space is left after the concept has nailed in the boundaries.  But what ever.

So I am going to play the berserker, and I think it will be just right for the game.  If it is truely horrible - I'll be able to change.  Might even be able to sneak in that minotaur battlemind I've always wanted to play in a Dark Sun setting.  Opportunity gore becomes quite good when Inherent Bonuses are in play.  The DM wants to limit races to whats in the setting, but minotaurs are right there, in a tiny paragraph on page 30 :P

As far as the berserker goes - I still want to look at dune trader as a possible theme compared to gladiator, and am still on the fence re: arid v temperate heartland.  I need to have a look at what attack powers I am likely to be using down the line - I prefer the idea of the multi-attacks.  I also need to convince the warlord to build for basic attack giveaways :P
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