Interested in Char Op's perspective on Berserker

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Hey everyone I'm working on a homebrewed class and I have a few questions for Char Op.
I'm using the model of Barbarian (Berserker) to make my new defender class.  What I mean by that is it will have the following traits:

  1. Complete Access to it's parent class for powers and feats.  And the parent class will get all of the powers of the new class to chose from.

  2. A new set of features to replace the class features of the parent class

  3. An aura that punishes mark violation with an OA

  4. 2 "modes" that you switch between.  Like the Defender Aura and the Berserker Fury.

  5. I'm aiming for roughly the same amount of information as was released with the Barbarian (Berserker).  That means 4 new At-Wills, 2 Encounter, Daily and Utility powers of each level. 1 Paragon Path and 1 Epic Destiny.  2 class Feats and 1 multiclass feat.

Now, the parent class is Rogue.  So think of the idea is to be a lot like The Most Annoying Rogue Ever, only to also be able to have a psuedo-mark.
What I'm asking from Char-Op.

  1. Some help judging the power of the powers and feats.  I especially don't want to give something to the parent class that is broken.

  2. Discussion on what a defender, in general needs.  Attack Penalties, Defensive boosts, ways to punish and some limited target control are the base I'm working with.

  3. Pointers on what this type of defender needs.  Since Berserkers are not well loved here, I am hoping to get discussion on what that class did wrong and see if there is a way to fix it.

Thanks in advance.  Special mention goes to RuinsFate and Kilpatds for already giving me a good amount of constructive criticism on the project.
The project can be found here:
community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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CharOp really doesn't like the Berserker (well, most of us, I like mine, but the power selection definitely suffers after 17th if you want to keep defending).  A lot of the issues would be fixed if the transition between defending and striking wasn't one-way unless you take Battle Awareness, and even then...

You can make one a viable defender (REALLY must post the build) through heroic, decent to OK up to about 17th, but less useful beyond that point.
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So... What of this feedback can I use for making the build?  That the character needs to have relevant defending options past heroic?  I'll note that.

I'm going to be focusing primarily on heroic at first (because you have to start somewhere) and then I'll mess around with it, make a couple builds and see what people think the weaknesses are and try to design paragon around that.
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
Are you going to have trouble with Riposte Strike + Vigilante Justice Style?

Riposte Strike with Sneak Attack, Flourish

     Attack adjacent ally: Fencing Mastery, Feint, Riposte with Sneak Attack

     Attack you: Riposte Strike, Feint


It basically guarantees an off-turn attack, makes what's probably the most damaging defender mechanic in the game, and allows you to start every turn with Sneak Attack available.  It's also a probably-too-solid Catch-22 available at level 1.

I happen to like Defender Auras a lot more than the consensus on this board, and I'd play this in a heartbeat. 
What is the drawback of playing this Shield Dancer, over a Rogue? You still get sneak attack, you still get rogue powers, you still basically get artful dodger, you get better MBA, more flexible version of weapon talent, better hit points, more surges, better defenses, more power choices through being able to use Cha in place of Str.
The mode system totally fails. You want to be striker first, then defender, not the opposite. Its also far more effective to focus on one than try to bridge the gap. Also modeling a class off an e-class is a bad idea.
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Are you going to have trouble with Riposte Strike + Vigilante Justice Style?

Riposte Strike with Sneak Attack, Flourish

     Attack adjacent ally: Fencing Mastery, Feint, Riposte with Sneak Attack

     Attack you: Riposte Strike, Feint


It basically guarantees an off-turn attack, makes what's probably the most damaging defender mechanic in the game, and allows you to start every turn with Sneak Attack available.  It's also a probably-too-solid Catch-22 available at level 1.

I happen to like Defender Auras a lot more than the consensus on this board, and I'd play this in a heartbeat. 


I agree you either need to find a way around the Riposte Strike problem, or base it off a different class. If you want to stick with a dex-based defender, how about a Monk? They've already got a lot of good defendery stuff. Add a defender aura and a dex-based MBA, and you're practically done.
I'd take out Charismatic Defender and leave this class as an A class like the regular rogue. It just seems like too much with the other class features.

I think auras in general have problems past heroic. Things with reach, forced movement, larger sized enemies, slow/immobilize/etc just really make it problematic. In heroic though, I love them. Just expanding the aura might be too strong, but maybe you could add one square onto your 9x9 area or something in paragon, then just aura 2 at epic, giving your OA a shift. So you kind of have threatening reach, but punishing might mean moving your aura off another guy. I dunno, I'd want to playtest it some, but it definitely needs a fix for paragon+.

Edit - another idea would be aura 2 at paragon, aura 3 at epic and some kind of free action shift power that you can use to enforce it vs non-adjacents. The power could start off with a fairly limited shift (like 1/round) and get better at higher levels through feature upgrades or feats. It would also fit the flavor of the class quite well.
I'd take out Charismatic Defender and leave this class as an A class like the regular rogue. It just seems like too much with the other class features.


Seconded. Why else even bother playing a regular Rogue? (unless you wanna go stealth)

Or, while the aura is active, any enemy willingly leaving your aura takes Dex mod damage and a -2 attack until the end of their turn but you do not get Sneak Attack damage while the aura is active and you can switch it on/off as a minor action. That way if you're in a single spot you want to be you can de-activate your aura, make your attack, and then re-activate your aura only losing out on minor action attacks.

Or maybere-do a power like Riposte Strike if that enemy attacks someone else other than you, you can shift up to your Dex Mod (or speed, or whatever)  and make that attack.


 








The mode system totally fails. You want to be striker first, then defender, not the opposite. Its also far more effective to focus on one than try to bridge the gap. Also modeling a class off an e-class is a bad idea.



You know what would elegantly fix this issue? A feat that allows you to switch modes on your next attack if you used an action point. You get your full nova in, then become a defender.

Another feat at epic tier that allows you to switch modes whenever you make any attack would also be both necessary and awesome. 

Edit: this is in relation to the homebrew rogue. I'm pretty sure I posted this in the wrong place, but oh well.

So yes, Riposte Strike is basically the way to go on this by default. Even if you're cha-based, you can take full advantage of this by going Nerathi Vanguard Student or Midnight Blade Student with Mark of Warding for stupidly high defenses just by spamming Riposte. Spiked Chain Training + Disheartening Strike is also an option. There's another Style feat that adds a slide to it, which gets you at-will prone. And finally, a Dex-Cha build always has access to Sly Flourish, which after adding another Style feat, makes it also Rattling.

Not allowing Sneak Attack features with defender aura is honestly kind of wierd for me, since Sneak Attack can be modded into a major attack-debuffer. It would be wonderful if if the Aura punishment mechanic's extra damage dice had a line that said something to the effect of "anything that can be used to modify sneak attack can also be used to modify dice damage here". Might be too complicated though.
Something to remember is that the Berserker fails first and foremost because of its mode shift, but the other thing that causes it to fail super hard later on is that monsters start packing oodles of forced movement in the same way PC teams do. So it doesn't matter how good a defender you are, because if you're facing the 'wrong' monsters (AKA, most monsters), you're gonna get bounced off the grid and be unable to do anything. This isn't so much of a problem for normal defenders because they're either nigh impossible to keep away (Wildblood Wardens will just shift right back to the spot they were occupying, paladins don't care about distance, swordmages can block you from afar) or have such great control that you don't get a chance to really make them ineffective (Fighters can place some really mean status effects on people, or just generally diminish the ability to impact the fight of most if not all monsters). The mode shifter needs to have a way around this, either in being able to spam Rogue attack penalties (which might be too much, but maybe not), or in being able to 'tag' at least one enemy at a time and take advantage of that DEX ability to make an RBA at them to keep them honest. The key to remember when building this kind of stuff is that the character can't be a 50-50 split between defender and striker - if you spread your focus evenly, you will suck, because you only have the actions to be a 50% power defender or a 50% power striker. It needs to either be both at the same time, or be closer to being 80/90% powered on both ends, since the difference between 'best' and 'worst' at the role must be minimal for the worst to be considered for the position. Hope this big wall of text helps a bit!
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Something to remember is that the Berserker fails first and foremost because of its mode shift, but the other thing that causes it to fail super hard later on is that monsters start packing oodles of forced movement in the same way PC teams do. So it doesn't matter how good a defender you are, because if you're facing the 'wrong' monsters (AKA, most monsters), you're gonna get bounced off the grid and be unable to do anything. This isn't so much of a problem for normal defenders because they're either nigh impossible to keep away (Wildblood Wardens will just shift right back to the spot they were occupying, paladins don't care about distance, swordmages can block you from afar) or have such great control that you don't get a chance to really make them ineffective (Fighters can place some really mean status effects on people, or just generally diminish the ability to impact the fight of most if not all monsters). The mode shifter needs to have a way around this, either in being able to spam Rogue attack penalties (which might be too much, but maybe not), or in being able to 'tag' at least one enemy at a time and take advantage of that DEX ability to make an RBA at them to keep them honest. The key to remember when building this kind of stuff is that the character can't be a 50-50 split between defender and striker - if you spread your focus evenly, you will suck, because you only have the actions to be a 50% power defender or a 50% power striker. It needs to either be both at the same time, or be closer to being 80/90% powered on both ends, since the difference between 'best' and 'worst' at the role must be minimal for the worst to be considered for the position. Hope this big wall of text helps a bit!

Is this an issue with the berserker specifically (and by extension this homebrew rogue), or E-defenders in general?

Lots of stuff to go over here, so lets see what I can do about addressing any/all of it.
Are you going to have trouble with Riposte Strike + Vigilante Justice Style?
It basically guarantees an off-turn attack, makes what's probably the most damaging defender mechanic in the game, and allows you to start every turn with Sneak Attack available.  It's also a probably-too-solid Catch-22 available at level 1.

I happen to like Defender Auras a lot more than the consensus on this board, and I'd play this in a heartbeat. 



Yes that is sort of the goal.  Putting a built in catch-22 for most builds would be nice.  The issue is, for the moment, that it does too much damage.  The goal is to get a good number of attacks, but I'm not sure what the best way to fix it is at the moment.  I think once I have a better grip on how I want the aura to work, and on what powers I'm giving them to work on, I can adjust this.  Toning down the damage should be fairly easy and I agree it needs to be done.

One of the options I was looking at was making their version of SA only an on-turn thing.  Meaning you still have a similar opening but a less painful OA. (Start Feinting, go up and Riposte with SA then flourish.  Then offturn attack (OA) and switch back to Feinting, then you get your Riposte with no SA.  Not sure how this would balance out but it seems like a decent option at least. 

What is the drawback of playing this Shield Dancer, over a Rogue? You still get sneak attack, you still get rogue powers, you still basically get artful dodger, you get better MBA, more flexible version of weapon talent, better hit points, more surges, better defenses, more power choices through being able to use Cha in place of Str.



At the moment there isn't one in the base class.  But you get none of the riders from any of the styles and, really, you shouldn't get the artful dodger esque ability in Charismatic Defender.  I'm probably going to take that off.  Not sure If I'll replace it with anything, but we shall see.  Maybe take off the 1d6 from the aura and have your punishment deal extra damage equal to your Cha?

The other thing that I had initially was that you must use Cha instead of Str for those powers, not a choice.  I will see about rewording it to make that the case / make that more clear.

For the moment I'm erring on the side of making the class too powerful and then once I have a lot of powers and such I'll scale back.  Its generally pretty easy to see what is brokenly strong but its a bit harder to see what is too weak.  Hopefully I can find out during playtesting.

The mode system totally fails. You want to be striker first, then defender, not the opposite. Its also far more effective to focus on one than try to bridge the gap. Also modeling a class off an e-class is a bad idea.



1) There is nothing in this build that prevents you from being a striker first and then defender.  Really, there is nothing in this build that prevents you from being a striker or defender at all times.

2) I agree.  I also imagine most Shield Dancers will focus more on one or the other.  But remaining balanced shouldn't be impossible.

3) Berserker isn't really an Eclass like the Hexblade or something.  Its a different set of options to shift a class's mechanics over to a different role.  For the Barbarian defender really didn't work out well, especially as implemented.  For the rogue it seems to work almost too well for the first part of playtesting.

I'd take out Charismatic Defender and leave this class as an A class like the regular rogue. It just seems like too much with the other class features.



I'm going to take out the bonus to AC.

I think auras in general have problems past heroic. Things with reach, forced movement, larger sized enemies, slow/immobilize/etc just really make it problematic. In heroic though, I love them. Just expanding the aura might be too strong, but maybe you could add one square onto your 9x9 area or something in paragon, then just aura 2 at epic, giving your OA a shift.


Agreed on all lines.  Auras have problems because they are too limited generally.  Things with reach screw them up and I'm attempting to help that (bigger aura and built in shift), forced movement should be helped by utilities like "Go with the Flow".  And being crippled by slow/immobilize/etc is a problem for really every melee if they can't avoid it.

As far as expanding the aura, I really don't think it will be too strong.  I've been doing a good bit of playing at paragon and I think that having an Aura 2 with no good way to reach beyond that isn't going to be game breaking.  My Paladin|Fighter generally marks either the entire feild, or most of the field from the get-go and has a lot of different ways to punish that are going to be basically as bad as this guy.  I will, however, keep it in mind and see how it goes in playtesting.


So you kind of have threatening reach, but punishing might mean moving your aura off another guy. I dunno, I'd want to playtest it some, but it definitely needs a fix for paragon+.

Edit - another idea would be aura 2 at paragon, aura 3 at epic and some kind of free action shift power that you can use to enforce it vs non-adjacents. The power could start off with a fairly limited shift (like 1/round) and get better at higher levels through feature upgrades or feats. It would also fit the flavor of the class quite well.



If you look at the power, that is exactly what it does at level 14 and 24.

Or, while the aura is active, any enemy willingly leaving your aura takes Dex mod damage and a -2 attack until the end of their turn but you do not get Sneak Attack damage while the aura is active and you can switch it on/off as a minor action. That way if you're in a single spot you want to be you can de-activate your aura, make your attack, and then re-activate your aura only losing out on minor action attacks.



A few things.  The "dex mod damage and -2 attack rolls" part sounds like a bit too much for a base feature.  The -2 attack rolls sounds like a really good idea for a class feat though.

As far as switching on and off.  I would much prefer, at least for now, to see the aura bound tightly to the mechanic of Feinting and Flourishing.  And it is making you have a choice of which you use.  The idea of double minoring to be able to SA isn't terrible, but I feel like it would be frustrating in actual play.  But I'll keep it in the notes.


Or maybere-do a power like Riposte Strike if that enemy attacks someone else other than you, you can shift up to your Dex Mod (or speed, or whatever)  and make that attack.


The aura already does something similar, and there are also rogue powers that let you move in and hit.


You know what would elegantly fix this issue? A feat that allows you to switch modes on your next attack if you used an action point. You get your full nova in, then become a defender.



Sounds like a good feat.  Not sure how I would word it though.  I see exactly what you mean (and agree) just not sure how to put the pieces together.  I'll see what I can do.


Another feat at epic tier that allows you to switch modes whenever you make any attack would also be both necessary and awesome. 



Lifting the 1/turn restriction sounds like something to do in epic.

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />So yes, Riposte Strike is basically the way to go on this by default. Even if you're cha-based, you can take full advantage of this by going Nerathi Vanguard Student or Midnight Blade Student with Mark of Warding for stupidly high defenses just by spamming Riposte. Spiked Chain Training + Disheartening Strike is also an option. There's another Style feat that adds a slide to it, which gets you at-will prone. And finally, a Dex-Cha build always has access to Sly Flourish, which after adding another Style feat, makes it also Rattling.



You only get 1 style feat to modify a power iirc.  So you can't just stack a ton of effects on a single ability.

Also I need to make some part of the shield dancer need to use... a shield.  I hadn't decided exactly how I wanted to go about it yet so its not in there.  Likely it will be part of the mark punishment (which means no spiked chain).  And really if we are adding dragonmarks you should want to go Vigilante Justice Style with a lightning weapon and mark of storm.  So you can giggle if your riposte strike target tries to do anything ever in melee.


Not allowing Sneak Attack features with defender aura is honestly kind of wierd for me, since Sneak Attack can be modded into a major attack-debuffer. It would be wonderful if if the Aura punishment mechanic's extra damage dice had a line that said something to the effect of "anything that can be used to modify sneak attack can also be used to modify dice damage here". Might be too complicated though.



Well the issue isn't complexity it is power.  You should have to give something up in order to use your aura and SA just seems like the obvious answer.  Honestly I'm thinking about lowering the damage of the mark violation, not raising it.

Something to remember is that the Berserker fails first and foremost because of its mode shift, but the other thing that causes it to fail super hard later on is that monsters start packing oodles of forced movement in the same way PC teams do.



Also one of the design goals for the build.  Have a way to do something about forced movement.  Likely this is going to be dealing with those sorts of things through utilities like fighters have ways of dealing with daze/stun/dominate through utilities.

 So it doesn't matter how good a defender you are, because if you're facing the 'wrong' monsters (AKA, most monsters), you're gonna get bounced off the grid and be unable to do anything. This isn't so much of a problem for normal defenders because they're either nigh impossible to keep away (Wildblood Wardens will just shift right back to the spot they were occupying, paladins don't care about distance, swordmages can block you from afar) or have such great control that you don't get a chance to really make them ineffective (Fighters can place some really mean status effects on people, or just generally diminish the ability to impact the fight of most if not all monsters). The mode shifter needs to have a way around this, either in being able to spam Rogue attack penalties (which might be too much, but maybe not), or in being able to 'tag' at least one enemy at a time and take advantage of that DEX ability to make an RBA at them to keep them honest.



Atm I'd like to see a way to do a ranged penalty build, but I'm not sure its in the design space for what I'm doing right now.  It might end up being another "build option" to the build (which I would probably rename something other than Shield Dancer since they likely wouldn't have a shield).  The other way we could go about this is by having powers that specifically mark people outside their aura.  This would work well if the wording change to the aura actually worked as I'm thinking it might.


 The key to remember when building this kind of stuff is that the character can't be a 50-50 split between defender and striker - if you spread your focus evenly, you will suck, because you only have the actions to be a 50% power defender or a 50% power striker. It needs to either be both at the same time, or be closer to being 80/90% powered on both ends, since the difference between 'best' and 'worst' at the role must be minimal for the worst to be considered for the position. Hope this big wall of text helps a bit!



It did help.  The idea is to make the character a slightly worse striker than a rogue as far as nova potential.  Right now it isn't (because you can just feint all day and basically be a rogue) but that is the end goal.  But the tradeoff should be that you will be much more durable and have more offturn attacks.  In essence the goal is to build a striker/defender that just attacks all the time.  Most of the high-op damage builds have immediates they use to do things off turn and many of them have wet dreams about getting OAs.  This build would be designed around a similar mentality.  Right now it works too good.  Once we have some powers and an idea of how the aura is going to work it should be easier to play with the "power level bar" and put it in the right place.

Thanks everyone for all the feedback.  I'm actually surprised to see this get so much traction so quickly.  I will do what I can to make this good for anyone who wants to test it out .

All that being said I'm heading to bed.  Tomorrow is the first day of Winter Fantasy so I'll be out of touch for a bit.  I will come back to work on this (Seriously, this is all I've been thinking about for 2 days), but if you don't see me post until Monday or possibly tuesday it isn't because I've forgotten.  Its because I'm busy running games.  I'm running 2 Battle Interactives basically back to back, so I might need to go into a vegetative state come Monday...
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
If you look at the power, that is exactly what it does at level 14 and 24.

Huh, guess I missed it the first time. Great minds think alike
Lots of stuff to go over here, so lets see what I can do about addressing any/all of it.
Are you going to have trouble with Riposte Strike + Vigilante Justice Style?
It basically guarantees an off-turn attack, makes what's probably the most damaging defender mechanic in the game, and allows you to start every turn with Sneak Attack available.  It's also a probably-too-solid Catch-22 available at level 1.

I happen to like Defender Auras a lot more than the consensus on this board, and I'd play this in a heartbeat. 



Yes that is sort of the goal.  Putting a built in catch-22 for most builds would be nice.  The issue is, for the moment, that it does too much damage.  The goal is to get a good number of attacks, but I'm not sure what the best way to fix it is at the moment.  I think once I have a better grip on how I want the aura to work, and on what powers I'm giving them to work on, I can adjust this.  Toning down the damage should be fairly easy and I agree it needs to be done.

One of the options I was looking at was making their version of SA only an on-turn thing.  Meaning you still have a similar opening but a less painful OA. (Start Feinting, go up and Riposte with SA then flourish.  Then offturn attack (OA) and switch back to Feinting, then you get your Riposte with no SA.  Not sure how this would balance out but it seems like a decent option at least. 

What is the drawback of playing this Shield Dancer, over a Rogue? You still get sneak attack, you still get rogue powers, you still basically get artful dodger, you get better MBA, more flexible version of weapon talent, better hit points, more surges, better defenses, more power choices through being able to use Cha in place of Str.



At the moment there isn't one in the base class.  But you get none of the riders from any of the styles and, really, you shouldn't get the artful dodger esque ability in Charismatic Defender.  I'm probably going to take that off.  Not sure If I'll replace it with anything, but we shall see.  Maybe take off the 1d6 from the aura and have your punishment deal extra damage equal to your Cha?

The other thing that I had initially was that you must use Cha instead of Str for those powers, not a choice.  I will see about rewording it to make that the case / make that more clear.

For the moment I'm erring on the side of making the class too powerful and then once I have a lot of powers and such I'll scale back.  Its generally pretty easy to see what is brokenly strong but its a bit harder to see what is too weak.  Hopefully I can find out during playtesting.

The mode system totally fails. You want to be striker first, then defender, not the opposite. Its also far more effective to focus on one than try to bridge the gap. Also modeling a class off an e-class is a bad idea.



1) There is nothing in this build that prevents you from being a striker first and then defender.  Really, there is nothing in this build that prevents you from being a striker or defender at all times.

2) I agree.  I also imagine most Shield Dancers will focus more on one or the other.  But remaining balanced shouldn't be impossible.

3) Berserker isn't really an Eclass like the Hexblade or something.  Its a different set of options to shift a class's mechanics over to a different role.  For the Barbarian defender really didn't work out well, especially as implemented.  For the rogue it seems to work almost too well for the first part of playtesting.

I'd take out Charismatic Defender and leave this class as an A class like the regular rogue. It just seems like too much with the other class features.



I'm going to take out the bonus to AC.

I think auras in general have problems past heroic. Things with reach, forced movement, larger sized enemies, slow/immobilize/etc just really make it problematic. In heroic though, I love them. Just expanding the aura might be too strong, but maybe you could add one square onto your 9x9 area or something in paragon, then just aura 2 at epic, giving your OA a shift.


Agreed on all lines.  Auras have problems because they are too limited generally.  Things with reach screw them up and I'm attempting to help that (bigger aura and built in shift), forced movement should be helped by utilities like "Go with the Flow".  And being crippled by slow/immobilize/etc is a problem for really every melee if they can't avoid it.

As far as expanding the aura, I really don't think it will be too strong.  I've been doing a good bit of playing at paragon and I think that having an Aura 2 with no good way to reach beyond that isn't going to be game breaking.  My Paladin|Fighter generally marks either the entire feild, or most of the field from the get-go and has a lot of different ways to punish that are going to be basically as bad as this guy.  I will, however, keep it in mind and see how it goes in playtesting.


So you kind of have threatening reach, but punishing might mean moving your aura off another guy. I dunno, I'd want to playtest it some, but it definitely needs a fix for paragon+.

Edit - another idea would be aura 2 at paragon, aura 3 at epic and some kind of free action shift power that you can use to enforce it vs non-adjacents. The power could start off with a fairly limited shift (like 1/round) and get better at higher levels through feature upgrades or feats. It would also fit the flavor of the class quite well.



If you look at the power, that is exactly what it does at level 14 and 24.

Or, while the aura is active, any enemy willingly leaving your aura takes Dex mod damage and a -2 attack until the end of their turn but you do not get Sneak Attack damage while the aura is active and you can switch it on/off as a minor action. That way if you're in a single spot you want to be you can de-activate your aura, make your attack, and then re-activate your aura only losing out on minor action attacks.



A few things.  The "dex mod damage and -2 attack rolls" part sounds like a bit too much for a base feature.  The -2 attack rolls sounds like a really good idea for a class feat though.

As far as switching on and off.  I would much prefer, at least for now, to see the aura bound tightly to the mechanic of Feinting and Flourishing.  And it is making you have a choice of which you use.  The idea of double minoring to be able to SA isn't terrible, but I feel like it would be frustrating in actual play.  But I'll keep it in the notes.


Or maybere-do a power like Riposte Strike if that enemy attacks someone else other than you, you can shift up to your Dex Mod (or speed, or whatever)  and make that attack.


The aura already does something similar, and there are also rogue powers that let you move in and hit.


You know what would elegantly fix this issue? A feat that allows you to switch modes on your next attack if you used an action point. You get your full nova in, then become a defender.



Sounds like a good feat.  Not sure how I would word it though.  I see exactly what you mean (and agree) just not sure how to put the pieces together.  I'll see what I can do.


Another feat at epic tier that allows you to switch modes whenever you make any attack would also be both necessary and awesome. 



Lifting the 1/turn restriction sounds like something to do in epic.

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />So yes, Riposte Strike is basically the way to go on this by default. Even if you're cha-based, you can take full advantage of this by going Nerathi Vanguard Student or Midnight Blade Student with Mark of Warding for stupidly high defenses just by spamming Riposte. Spiked Chain Training + Disheartening Strike is also an option. There's another Style feat that adds a slide to it, which gets you at-will prone. And finally, a Dex-Cha build always has access to Sly Flourish, which after adding another Style feat, makes it also Rattling.



You only get 1 style feat to modify a power iirc.  So you can't just stack a ton of effects on a single ability.

Also I need to make some part of the shield dancer need to use... a shield.  I hadn't decided exactly how I wanted to go about it yet so its not in there.  Likely it will be part of the mark punishment (which means no spiked chain).  And really if we are adding dragonmarks you should want to go Vigilante Justice Style with a lightning weapon and mark of storm.  So you can giggle if your riposte strike target tries to do anything ever in melee.


Not allowing Sneak Attack features with defender aura is honestly kind of wierd for me, since Sneak Attack can be modded into a major attack-debuffer. It would be wonderful if if the Aura punishment mechanic's extra damage dice had a line that said something to the effect of "anything that can be used to modify sneak attack can also be used to modify dice damage here". Might be too complicated though.



Well the issue isn't complexity it is power.  You should have to give something up in order to use your aura and SA just seems like the obvious answer.  Honestly I'm thinking about lowering the damage of the mark violation, not raising it.

Something to remember is that the Berserker fails first and foremost because of its mode shift, but the other thing that causes it to fail super hard later on is that monsters start packing oodles of forced movement in the same way PC teams do.



Also one of the design goals for the build.  Have a way to do something about forced movement.  Likely this is going to be dealing with those sorts of things through utilities like fighters have ways of dealing with daze/stun/dominate through utilities.

 So it doesn't matter how good a defender you are, because if you're facing the 'wrong' monsters (AKA, most monsters), you're gonna get bounced off the grid and be unable to do anything. This isn't so much of a problem for normal defenders because they're either nigh impossible to keep away (Wildblood Wardens will just shift right back to the spot they were occupying, paladins don't care about distance, swordmages can block you from afar) or have such great control that you don't get a chance to really make them ineffective (Fighters can place some really mean status effects on people, or just generally diminish the ability to impact the fight of most if not all monsters). The mode shifter needs to have a way around this, either in being able to spam Rogue attack penalties (which might be too much, but maybe not), or in being able to 'tag' at least one enemy at a time and take advantage of that DEX ability to make an RBA at them to keep them honest.



Atm I'd like to see a way to do a ranged penalty build, but I'm not sure its in the design space for what I'm doing right now.  It might end up being another "build option" to the build (which I would probably rename something other than Shield Dancer since they likely wouldn't have a shield).  The other way we could go about this is by having powers that specifically mark people outside their aura.  This would work well if the wording change to the aura actually worked as I'm thinking it might.


 The key to remember when building this kind of stuff is that the character can't be a 50-50 split between defender and striker - if you spread your focus evenly, you will suck, because you only have the actions to be a 50% power defender or a 50% power striker. It needs to either be both at the same time, or be closer to being 80/90% powered on both ends, since the difference between 'best' and 'worst' at the role must be minimal for the worst to be considered for the position. Hope this big wall of text helps a bit!



It did help.  The idea is to make the character a slightly worse striker than a rogue as far as nova potential.  Right now it isn't (because you can just feint all day and basically be a rogue) but that is the end goal.  But the tradeoff should be that you will be much more durable and have more offturn attacks.  In essence the goal is to build a striker/defender that just attacks all the time.  Most of the high-op damage builds have immediates they use to do things off turn and many of them have wet dreams about getting OAs.  This build would be designed around a similar mentality.  Right now it works too good.  Once we have some powers and an idea of how the aura is going to work it should be easier to play with the "power level bar" and put it in the right place.

Thanks everyone for all the feedback.  I'm actually surprised to see this get so much traction so quickly.  I will do what I can to make this good for anyone who wants to test it out .

All that being said I'm heading to bed.  Tomorrow is the first day of Winter Fantasy so I'll be out of touch for a bit.  I will come back to work on this (Seriously, this is all I've been thinking about for 2 days), but if you don't see me post until Monday or possibly tuesday it isn't because I've forgotten.  Its because I'm busy running games.  I'm running 2 Battle Interactives basically back to back, so I might need to go into a vegetative state come Monday...


Thanks Alien.
"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.
I realized going back through this that I never addressed the monk question.

Here are the reasons I'm not going with monk:


  1. I don't like monks and I really wouldn't want to work for long periods of time modifying a class I dislike

  2. Psionics in general are not very well received.  Now I realize that monk is mostly only Psionics in name, but their features kind of annoy me anyway, so I'd prefer not go go with them.

  3. At some point I'm going to be adding things that state you must have a shield to use a lot of these powers.  That will not effect a rogue too terribly much, but from my understanding of monk it would be rather annoying.

  4. Monk is an implement class, I want this to be a weapon class.

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
Not working with a class you dislike is a good enough reason. If you ever want to check out a defender monk, check out Master Pai Mei in my sig. I still love how that build comes together to actually do some decent defending.
I might try to do various stances where depending which stance you're in, there are different effects from the aura. And the stances have a lesser effect if you used Sneak Attack since the start of your last round. Then the Defender aura is 1/2/3 based on tier, but shrinks by 1 each time that you've gotten Sneak Attack since the start of your last round.

Berserker likely ought to work in a similar way - using a primal power or being under the effect of a primal power turns off the aura until start of next turn.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Berserker likely ought to work in a similar way - using a primal power or being under the effect of a primal power turns off the aura until start of next turn.



Yeah, but then Berserker Vitality would be gold .

I don't really like the idea of linking the character to a stance for major things.  Stances, in my opinion, should come from powers and not class features.  Especially since there are some stances in the rogue class already and I would like to make the two classes as compatable as possible.

I don't really understand where you are going with the aura thing.  Sounds a little overly complicated for a base class feature.
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
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Berserker likely ought to work in a similar way - using a primal power or being under the effect of a primal power turns off the aura until start of next turn.



Yeah, but then Berserker Vitality would be gold .

I don't really like the idea of linking the character to a stance for major things.  Stances, in my opinion, should come from powers and not class features.  Especially since there are some stances in the rogue class already and I would like to make the two classes as compatable as possible.

I don't really understand where you are going with the aura thing.  Sounds a little overly complicated for a base class feature.



i.e. the more you use Sneak Attack, the more your ability to be a Defender is compromised. The reason for the stances is that I see there being several interesting possibilities for a Rogue Defender based on style. One Rogue Defender might want to trip people up, throw sand in eyes, etc...another one might slash at people as they move away from him. And you might want to switch in the middle of combat.

Similar to the Hunter control method - you could choose to prone a target and stat damage, do 1w+slow, or 1w+stat. Stance turns off when you use sneak attack and needs a minor to reactivate.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Berserker likely ought to work in a similar way - using a primal power or being under the effect of a primal power turns off the aura until start of next turn.



Yeah, but then Berserker Vitality would be gold .

I don't really like the idea of linking the character to a stance for major things.  Stances, in my opinion, should come from powers and not class features.  Especially since there are some stances in the rogue class already and I would like to make the two classes as compatable as possible.

I don't really understand where you are going with the aura thing.  Sounds a little overly complicated for a base class feature.



i.e. the more you use Sneak Attack, the more your ability to be a Defender is compromised. The reason for the stances is that I see there being several interesting possibilities for a Rogue Defender based on style. One Rogue Defender might want to trip people up, throw sand in eyes, etc...another one might slash at people as they move away from him. And you might want to switch in the middle of combat.

Similar to the Hunter control method - you could choose to prone a target and stat damage, do 1w+slow, or 1w+stat. Stance turns off when you use sneak attack and needs a minor to reactivate.



Have you seen how the class works now with flourishing and feinting?  Your method seems like a really poor and inelegant substitute.  It also allows you to SA while defending (which I don't think is a good way to take the class).

And there really is nothing that says you can't do all the things you just mentioned without stances.  You want to slow every hit for an encounter?  Pop Nip at the Ankles.
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 was a little dissapointed that this thread wasn't really much about the berserker at all, and instead is a homebrew thingie.  Still - there were some insightful comments that I can learn from for my next character.
I was a little dissapointed that this thread wasn't really much about the berserker at all, and instead is a homebrew thingie.  Still - there were some insightful comments that I can learn from for my next character.



Except that it is about the Berserker.  It is about why the berserker is bad and how that can be changed.  What the roots of the badness of that class is and if we can pin point it, how we can better explain to people why they should shy away from taking one to a mid or high op paragon table.
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
Basically, we don't just make things good within the ruleset in charop. We also fix the ruleset period - Matyr's work on the Shield Dancer, my stuff for the Bladesinger and Ossassin, it goes on and on.
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).
Oh wow I didnt realise that.  When will this stuff be in the Character Builder so I can use it?
Oh wow I didnt realise that.  When will this stuff be in the Character Builder so I can use it?



When you add it in through manual editing.
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).
Wait we can add stuff to the builder manually now?

But just because I can add it, that doesnt make it official though - so is this stuff just all homebrew?  I somehow thought it was actually usable in some sort of officially sanctioned manner.
Wait we can add stuff to the builder manually now?

But just because I can add it, that doesnt make it official though - so is this stuff just all homebrew?  I somehow thought it was actually usable in some sort of officially sanctioned manner.



Yes, it is homebrew, at last you are getting it. This doesn't make it worse, though - need I remind you that the vampire is an official work and is awful? The answer here is not 'I can't use it in an official manner? TURRIBLE'. It's 'I can't use it in a official manner? Hey guys, change of plans, let me explain why the official manner sucks and we are doing it the good way.'.
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).
Wait we can add stuff to the builder manually now?

The off-line builder, yes.  The project's name is banned here[1], because it could be used for a community to distribute up-to-date copies of the rules elements WotC wants to keep behind a paywall[2].  But YES, there is a project out there on the interwebs SPECIFICALLY designed to let you add homebrew content to the builder.

Edit: Proficiency with XML required.

[1] Hint, it's a tool to let you "Load" data into the "Character Builder".  A Character Builder Loader, so to speak.
[2] I'm avoiding the word "piracy", because I'm not sure that pure rules content enjoys copyright protection.  Any fluff text that came with rules element should though.

"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

OK I see.  Just from the way things were stated I got the impression that this was somehow development that would become official content.


 


I am sure the stuff is very good, but it is still home brew - unofficial, and not useful to me.  Gotta say CharOp has sure changed since I was last playing.


 


So the thread title had me thinking this was going to be discourse on the berserker, but it is actually about not-berserker, to use a sort of logical statement in an awkward manner.  So when I thought I'd check it out to get ideas on playing a berserker, you can understand why I found discussion about a home-brew shield dancer not particularly useful, and the reasons not tp play a berserker counter-productive.

The stuff about manually adding to the builder also threw me for a loop.  Anyway I both suck at XML and am not interested in skirting legalities so I'll leave that well alone.

Caio.

You're correct, this thread has very little to deal with CharOp and if it weren't one of the regulars starting it, we probably would have filled the first 10 posts with "You're posting this in the wrong forum, get out"
"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.
Also, Aranador, if you got to see a detailed reason "why not to play the berserker" then this thread really worked for you.  Because past heroic you really should never play one for the reasons stated.  Yes its odd to use a homebrew class to help fix some of the problems with a "real" class, but by the same token if someone made an assassin homebrew it wouldn't be out of line to start something says "Ok CharOp, you all hate assassins, so what did they do wrong?".

That being said, hopefully I can get back to working on this after I finish reading my book and preparing for games tonight, tomorrow and Saturday.
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
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