Strong Out of the Gate: A Guide to Optimizing for Levels 11-15

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The purpose of this guide is to help with creating optimal characters for the low paragon levels.  To that end, I will discuss some of the following issues:



  • Which feats should be taken first in paragon tier.

  • The best paragon paths for each role.

  • Paragon Multiclassing and Paragon Hybrid builds.

  • The best 13th level encounter powers for each class.

  • Sample builds which work well from 11th to 15th level.


The heart of this guide is evaluating paragon paths for how well they work at the low paragon levels.  Thus, paragon paths whose optimal functionality depends on their 16th level features will be discounted.  In low paragon, the 16th level feature might as well not exist.

As a baseline, I will assume that something like the LFR creation rules are in effect.

This is my first attempt at a guide.  Feedback welcome.
Feats

There are a lot of great and good paragon feats, but at 11th level, you can have only two: your 11th level feat, and one heroic feat retrained into a paragon feat.  At 12th level, you can have at most four paragon feats.  When building a character for low paragon, you need to be ruthless about setting priorities in your feat selection.  So many things you could do, so little featspace.  In view of that, the criteria will be: how likely is it that you'd want to take them as your first two to four feats in paragon?  The feats in this section will be organized by role.

paths: controller
paths: defender
paths: leader
paths: striker
paths: multi-role/miscellaneous
paragon multiclassing/paragon hybrid
e13 powers
sample builds
OK, that should be enough space.  Fire away.
Also:

Prime Punisher (to unlock Called Shot asap)
Icy Heart
Also:

Prime Punisher (to unlock Called Shot asap)
Icy Heart



Icy Heart isn't unique- that's really Burning Vapors/Fiery Blood/Icy Heart/Lightning Soul/Thunder's Rumble.  They're good, but they may well be retrainings- throw out Weapon/Implement Focus from Heroic and toss these in.

Also, I'm not sure if you're sticking to only LFR legal, but if not, Lyrandar Wind-Rider as a PP is absolutely ridiculous from level 11 onwards- the +1 to attack rolls is nice; the +CON to lightning/thunder damage (not just rolls) should be criminal.
Versatile Master also seems like a potential game-changer.
Also, I'm not sure if you're sticking to only LFR legal, but if not, Lyrandar Wind-Rider is absolutely ridiculous from level 11 onwards- the +1 to attack rolls is nice; the +CON to lightning/thunder damage (not just rolls) should be criminal.


I'll include non-LFR content but with an extra note.
Arcane Admixture.
Dizzying Mace.
Hindering Shield.
Spell Focus.
Polearm Momentum.

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?
Some Paragon feats I never go without are Two-Weapon Opening, Repel Charge, White Lotus Master Riposte, Expert Sneak, Twofold Curse, Grazing Shot, Hammer Rhythm, and Deadly Axe.

As far as Paragon Paths go, here's the obligatory Morninglord, Adroit Explorer, Kensei, Voice of Thunder, Evermeet Warlock, and Student of Caiphon mention. I'm also quite fond of Shadow Assassin, Guild Executioner, and Turathi Highborn.

Wednesday Character:

Dredge, Level 2 Revenant!Githzerai Night Stalker Assassin

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Dredge, level 2
Revenant, Assassin
Build: Night Stalker Assassin
Guild Training: Night Stalker
Assassin: Black Flame Form
Choose your Race in Life: Githzerai
Background: Silent Hunter (Silent Hunter Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 15, Dex 20, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 18.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 15, Dex 18, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 16.


AC: 18 Fort: 14 Reflex: 16 Will: 16
HP: 29 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 7

TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +12, Thievery +11, Bluff +10, Acrobatics +11, Perception +8

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +2, Diplomacy +5, Dungeoneering +2, Endurance +5, Heal +2, History +2, Insight +2, Intimidate +7, Nature +2, Religion +2, Streetwise +5, Athletics

FEATS
Level 1: Githzerai Blade Master
Level 2: Ki Focus Expertise

POWERS
Assassin at-will 1: Shadow Storm
Assassin at-will 1: Executioner's Noose
Assassin encounter 1: Nightmare Shades
Assassin daily 1: Targeted for Death
Assassin utility 2: Agile Recovery

ITEMS
Leather Armor, Bastard sword, Light Shield, Flensing Fullblade +1, Helm of Seven Deaths, Magic Ki Focus +1
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Friday Character:

Snow, Level 3 Razorclaw Shifter Flashing Blade Scout

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Snow, level 3
Razorclaw Shifter, Scout
Two-Weapon Style: Flashing Blade Mastery
Ranger Wilderness Knacks: Ambush Expertise
Ranger Wilderness Knacks: Watchful Rest
Background: River Smuggler (River Smuggler Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 15, Dex 20, Int 12, Wis 18, Cha 13.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 15, Dex 18, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 13.


AC: 18 Fort: 15 Reflex: 18 Will: 16
HP: 37 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 9

TRAINED SKILLS
Nature +10, Perception +10, Streetwise +8, Acrobatics +13, Stealth +13

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +2, Bluff +2, Diplomacy +2, Dungeoneering +5, Endurance +3, Heal +5, History +2, Insight +5, Intimidate +2, Religion +2, Thievery +6, Athletics +1

FEATS
Feat User Choice: Spiked Chain Training
Level 1: Light Blade Expertise
Level 2: Improved Defenses

POWERS
Scout aspect of the wild (scout) 1: Aspect of the Charging Ram
Scout aspect of the wild (scout) 1: Aspect of the Dancing Serpent
Level 2 Scout Utility Power: Invigorating Stride

ITEMS
Leather Armor, Adventurer's Kit, Climber's Kit, Sack (8), Relentless Spiked chain +1, Dagger, Quickhit Braces (heroic tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Saturday Characters:

Vorgh, Level 15 Human Storm Sorcerer|Blizzard Mage

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Vorgh, level 15
Human, Sorcerer, Blizzard Mage
Build: Storm Sorcerer
Spell Source: Storm Magic
Eldritch Strike: Eldritch Strike Charisma
Arcane Admixture Damage Type: Arcane Admixture Cold
Human Power Selection: Heroic Effort
Windrise Ports Benefit: Windrise Ports (Acrobatics)
Arcane Admixture Power: Flame Spiral
Background: Windrise Ports (Windrise Ports Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 9, Con 16, Dex 20, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 24.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 15, Dex 16, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 18.


AC: 28 Fort: 26 Reflex: 29 Will: 33
HP: 98 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 24

TRAINED SKILLS
Diplomacy +21, Arcana +15, Acrobatics +19, Bluff +21, Insight +16

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Dungeoneering +13, Endurance +14, Heal +13, History +12, Intimidate +18, Nature +13, Perception +13, Religion +12, Stealth +16, Streetwise +18, Thievery +16, Athletics +10

FEATS
Human: Staff Expertise
Level 1: Improved Defenses
Level 2: Dual Implement Spellcaster
Level 4: Implement Focus (Staff)
Level 6: Grounding Shot
Level 8: Unarmored Agility
Level 10: Against All Odds (retrained to Repel Charge at Level 11)
Level 11: War Wizardry
Level 12: Jack of All Trades
Level 14: Arcane Admixture

POWERS
Power User Choice: Eldritch Strike
Primordial Adept Starting Feature: Solkara's Wave
Ring of Borrowed Spells: Ice Dragon's Teeth
Ring of Borrowed Spells: Earthquake Strike
Sorcerer at-will 1: Blazing Starfall
Sorcerer at-will 1: Dragonfrost
Sorcerer encounter 1: Thundering Roar
Sorcerer daily 1: Ice Javelins
Sorcerer utility 2: Dragonflame Mantle
Sorcerer encounter 3: Flame Spiral
Sorcerer daily 5: Palest Flames
Sorcerer utility 6: Sudden Scales
Sorcerer encounter 7: Rimestorm
Sorcerer daily 9: Howling Hurricane
Sorcerer utility 10: Narrow Escape
Sorcerer encounter 13: Thunder Breath (replaces Thundering Roar)
Sorcerer daily 15: Lightning Daggers (replaces Ice Javelins)

ITEMS
Acrobat Boots (heroic tier), Viper Belt (heroic tier), Helm of Seven Deaths, Rhythm Blade Dagger +2, Ioun's Revelation (level 3), Executioner's Bracers (heroic tier), Backlash Tattoo (heroic tier), Ring of Fury (paragon tier), Raven Cloak +3, Staff of Ruin +3, Robe of Defying Flames Githweave Armor +3, Gloves of Ice (paragon tier), Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds, Ring of Borrowed Spells, Fundamental Ice (heroic tier) (5), Foe Stone (paragon tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Sheska, Level 15 Human Brawler Fighter|Shock Trooper

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Sheska, level 15
Human, Fighter, Shock Trooper
Build: Guardian Fighter
Fighter: Combat Superiority
Fighter Talents: Brawler Style
Human Power Selection: Heroic Effort
Background: Former Gladiator (Former Gladiator Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 24, Con 13, Dex 16, Int 14, Wis 20, Cha 9.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 18, Con 12, Dex 15, Int 13, Wis 16, Cha 8.


AC: 32 Fort: 34 Reflex: 27 Will: 29
HP: 112 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 29

TRAINED SKILLS
Intimidate +13, Endurance +15, Heal +19, Athletics +21, History +16

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +12, Arcana +11, Bluff +8, Diplomacy +8, Dungeoneering +14, Insight +14, Nature +14, Perception +14, Religion +11, Stealth +12, Streetwise +8, Thievery +12

FEATS
Human: Master at Arms
Level 1: Improved Defenses
Level 2: Weapon Focus (Unarmed)
Level 4: Brawler Guard
Level 6: Inescapable Hold
Level 8: Focused Superiority (retrained to Striking Resurgence at Level 11)
Level 10: Brutal Brawler
Level 11: Deft Hurler Style
Level 12: Armor Specialization (Scale)
Level 14: Marked Scourge

POWERS
Fighter at-will 1: Grappling Strike
Fighter at-will 1: Cleave
Power User Choice: Direct the Strike
Fighter encounter 1: Steel Serpent Strike
Fighter daily 1: Driving Attack
Fighter utility 2: Pass Forward
Fighter encounter 3: Rain of Blows
Fighter daily 5: Rain of Steel
Fighter utility 6: Glowering Threat
Fighter encounter 7: Come and Get It
Fighter daily 9: Pitiless Grapple
Fighter utility 10: Clearheaded
Fighter encounter 13: Stranglehold (replaces Steel Serpent Strike)
Fighter daily 15: Dust Storm Assault (replaces Driving Attack)

ITEMS
Power Jewel (heroic tier), Battle-Scarred Champion (heroic tier), Iron Armbands of Power (heroic tier), Davros Elden's Hasty Resurgence (heroic tier), Ioun's Revelation (level 3), Frozen Wyvernscale Armor +3, Spiked gauntlet of Great Opportunity +2, Pileus Helm (Level 6), Rope of Slave Fighting (heroic tier), Battlestrider Greaves (paragon tier), Lightning Javelin +3, Amulet of False Life +3, Backlash Tattoo (heroic tier), Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Mari, Level 15 Human Archery Ranger|Battlefield Archer

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Mari, level 15
Human, Ranger, Battlefield Archer
Build: Archer Ranger
Fighting Style: Archer Fighting Style
Ranger: Prime Shot
Human Power Selection: Heroic Effort
Background: Fugitive from a Vengeful Rival (Fugitive from a Vengeful Rival Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 9, Con 16, Dex 24, Int 13, Wis 20, Cha 14.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 15, Dex 18, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 13.


AC: 32 Fort: 28 Reflex: 31 Will: 28
HP: 98 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 24

TRAINED SKILLS
Bluff +19, Nature +19, Stealth +22, Dungeoneering +19, Acrobatics +21, Perception +21

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +10, Diplomacy +11, Endurance +12, Heal +14, History +10, Insight +14, Intimidate +11, Religion +10, Streetwise +11, Thievery +16, Athletics +8

FEATS
Human: Weapon Proficiency (Superior crossbow)
Level 1: Crossbow Expertise
Level 2: Improved Defenses
Level 4: Predatory Action
Level 6: Weapon Focus (Crossbow)
Level 8: Lethal Hunter
Level 10: Grounding Shot
Level 11: Steady Shooter
Level 12: Armor Specialization (Hide)
Level 14: Shadow of the Wild

POWERS
Power User Choice: Rapid Shot
Ranger at-will 1: Nimble Strike
Ranger at-will 1: Twin Strike
Ranger encounter 1: Two-Fanged Strike
Ranger daily 1: Sure Shot
Ranger utility 2: Invigorating Stride
Ranger encounter 3: Disruptive Strike
Ranger daily 5: Spitting-Cobra Stance
Ranger utility 6: Healing Lore
Ranger encounter 7: Biting Volley
Ranger daily 9: Attacks on the Run
Ranger utility 10: Defensive Volley
Ranger encounter 13: Pinning Strike (replaces Two-Fanged Strike)
Ranger daily 15: Confounding Arrows (replaces Sure Shot)

ITEMS
Swiftshot Superior crossbow +3, Feytouched Earthhide Armor +3, Cloak of Distortion +3, Bracers of Archery (heroic tier), Acrobat Boots (heroic tier), Gauntlets of Blood (heroic tier), Ioun's Revelation (level 3), Crimson Determination (heroic tier), Eagle Eye Goggles (heroic tier), Tattoo of Bloodied Chains (heroic tier), Elven Chain Shirt (heroic tier), Viper Belt (heroic tier), Endless Quiver, Lightning Arrow +2 (4), Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds, Stone of Wind (paragon tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Sunday Character:

Bowen, Level 1 Half-Elf Euphoric Ardent

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Bowen, level 1
Half-Elf, Ardent
Build: Euphoric Ardent
Ardent Mantle: Mantle of Elation
Half-Elf Power Selection: Knack for Success
Background: Trained from Birth for a Specific Prophecy (Trained from Birth for a Specific Prophecy Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 18, Dex 14, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 20.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 16, Dex 14, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 18.


AC: 15 Fort: 15 Reflex: 12 Will: 16
HP: 30 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 7

TRAINED SKILLS
Streetwise +10, Endurance +8, Diplomacy +12, Insight +9

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +1, Arcana +1, Bluff +5, Dungeoneering +2, Heal +2, History +1, Intimidate +5, Nature +2, Perception +2, Religion +1, Stealth +1, Thievery +1, Athletics -2

FEATS
Level 1: Valenar Weapon Training

POWERS
Ardent at-will 1: Intent Laid Bare
Ardent at-will 1: Energizing Strike
Ardent daily 1: Battleborn Acuity

ITEMS
Falchion, Hide Armor
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Arcane Admixture.
Dizzying Mace.
Hindering Shield.
Spell Focus.
Polearm Momentum.



Polearm Momentum is heroic.
You should include a mention of BB as an at will at L13.
PPs that are strong at the relevant levels:
Lyrandar Wind-Rider
Adroit Explorer
Evermeet Warlock
Shock Trooper
Son of Mercy
War Chanter
Flame of Hope
Divine Oracle
Academy Master
Long Night Scion
Hospitaler
Battlefield Archer
Battle Engineer

EDIT: Add Mithral Arm, Ninefold Master, and Honorable Blade to that. 
Wasn't claiming to be exhaustive, just went through classes in my head and listed things that came to mind.
Some Paragon feats I never go without are Two-Weapon Opening, Repel Charge, White Lotus Master Riposte, Expert Sneak, Twofold Curse, Grazing Shot, Hammer Rhythm, and Deadly Axe.



5/8 of those should never appear on any character. The remaining 3 are extremely niche or late-paragon picks at best.


Two-Weapon Opening: More damage, hell yeah.
Repel Charge: More damage, hell yeah.
White Lotus Master Riposte: More damage, hell yeah.
Expert Sneak: More combat advantage = more damage, hell yeah.
Twofold Curse: Armor of Dark Majesty, anyone? Cursebite/Cursegrind? More defenses and damage, hell yeah.
Grazing Shot: Some damage if you miss, which means it's more damage overall. Hell yeah.
Hammer Rhythm: See above.
Deadly Axe: And now my Gauntlet Axes/Carrikals/Greataxe/Gouge deal(s) more damage. Hell yeah.

I'm not really seeing the downside to any of these...

Wednesday Character:

Dredge, Level 2 Revenant!Githzerai Night Stalker Assassin

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Dredge, level 2
Revenant, Assassin
Build: Night Stalker Assassin
Guild Training: Night Stalker
Assassin: Black Flame Form
Choose your Race in Life: Githzerai
Background: Silent Hunter (Silent Hunter Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 15, Dex 20, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 18.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 15, Dex 18, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 16.


AC: 18 Fort: 14 Reflex: 16 Will: 16
HP: 29 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 7

TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +12, Thievery +11, Bluff +10, Acrobatics +11, Perception +8

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +2, Diplomacy +5, Dungeoneering +2, Endurance +5, Heal +2, History +2, Insight +2, Intimidate +7, Nature +2, Religion +2, Streetwise +5, Athletics

FEATS
Level 1: Githzerai Blade Master
Level 2: Ki Focus Expertise

POWERS
Assassin at-will 1: Shadow Storm
Assassin at-will 1: Executioner's Noose
Assassin encounter 1: Nightmare Shades
Assassin daily 1: Targeted for Death
Assassin utility 2: Agile Recovery

ITEMS
Leather Armor, Bastard sword, Light Shield, Flensing Fullblade +1, Helm of Seven Deaths, Magic Ki Focus +1
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Friday Character:

Snow, Level 3 Razorclaw Shifter Flashing Blade Scout

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Snow, level 3
Razorclaw Shifter, Scout
Two-Weapon Style: Flashing Blade Mastery
Ranger Wilderness Knacks: Ambush Expertise
Ranger Wilderness Knacks: Watchful Rest
Background: River Smuggler (River Smuggler Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 15, Dex 20, Int 12, Wis 18, Cha 13.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 15, Dex 18, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 13.


AC: 18 Fort: 15 Reflex: 18 Will: 16
HP: 37 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 9

TRAINED SKILLS
Nature +10, Perception +10, Streetwise +8, Acrobatics +13, Stealth +13

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +2, Bluff +2, Diplomacy +2, Dungeoneering +5, Endurance +3, Heal +5, History +2, Insight +5, Intimidate +2, Religion +2, Thievery +6, Athletics +1

FEATS
Feat User Choice: Spiked Chain Training
Level 1: Light Blade Expertise
Level 2: Improved Defenses

POWERS
Scout aspect of the wild (scout) 1: Aspect of the Charging Ram
Scout aspect of the wild (scout) 1: Aspect of the Dancing Serpent
Level 2 Scout Utility Power: Invigorating Stride

ITEMS
Leather Armor, Adventurer's Kit, Climber's Kit, Sack (8), Relentless Spiked chain +1, Dagger, Quickhit Braces (heroic tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Saturday Characters:

Vorgh, Level 15 Human Storm Sorcerer|Blizzard Mage

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Vorgh, level 15
Human, Sorcerer, Blizzard Mage
Build: Storm Sorcerer
Spell Source: Storm Magic
Eldritch Strike: Eldritch Strike Charisma
Arcane Admixture Damage Type: Arcane Admixture Cold
Human Power Selection: Heroic Effort
Windrise Ports Benefit: Windrise Ports (Acrobatics)
Arcane Admixture Power: Flame Spiral
Background: Windrise Ports (Windrise Ports Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 9, Con 16, Dex 20, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 24.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 15, Dex 16, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 18.


AC: 28 Fort: 26 Reflex: 29 Will: 33
HP: 98 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 24

TRAINED SKILLS
Diplomacy +21, Arcana +15, Acrobatics +19, Bluff +21, Insight +16

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Dungeoneering +13, Endurance +14, Heal +13, History +12, Intimidate +18, Nature +13, Perception +13, Religion +12, Stealth +16, Streetwise +18, Thievery +16, Athletics +10

FEATS
Human: Staff Expertise
Level 1: Improved Defenses
Level 2: Dual Implement Spellcaster
Level 4: Implement Focus (Staff)
Level 6: Grounding Shot
Level 8: Unarmored Agility
Level 10: Against All Odds (retrained to Repel Charge at Level 11)
Level 11: War Wizardry
Level 12: Jack of All Trades
Level 14: Arcane Admixture

POWERS
Power User Choice: Eldritch Strike
Primordial Adept Starting Feature: Solkara's Wave
Ring of Borrowed Spells: Ice Dragon's Teeth
Ring of Borrowed Spells: Earthquake Strike
Sorcerer at-will 1: Blazing Starfall
Sorcerer at-will 1: Dragonfrost
Sorcerer encounter 1: Thundering Roar
Sorcerer daily 1: Ice Javelins
Sorcerer utility 2: Dragonflame Mantle
Sorcerer encounter 3: Flame Spiral
Sorcerer daily 5: Palest Flames
Sorcerer utility 6: Sudden Scales
Sorcerer encounter 7: Rimestorm
Sorcerer daily 9: Howling Hurricane
Sorcerer utility 10: Narrow Escape
Sorcerer encounter 13: Thunder Breath (replaces Thundering Roar)
Sorcerer daily 15: Lightning Daggers (replaces Ice Javelins)

ITEMS
Acrobat Boots (heroic tier), Viper Belt (heroic tier), Helm of Seven Deaths, Rhythm Blade Dagger +2, Ioun's Revelation (level 3), Executioner's Bracers (heroic tier), Backlash Tattoo (heroic tier), Ring of Fury (paragon tier), Raven Cloak +3, Staff of Ruin +3, Robe of Defying Flames Githweave Armor +3, Gloves of Ice (paragon tier), Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds, Ring of Borrowed Spells, Fundamental Ice (heroic tier) (5), Foe Stone (paragon tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Sheska, Level 15 Human Brawler Fighter|Shock Trooper

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Sheska, level 15
Human, Fighter, Shock Trooper
Build: Guardian Fighter
Fighter: Combat Superiority
Fighter Talents: Brawler Style
Human Power Selection: Heroic Effort
Background: Former Gladiator (Former Gladiator Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 24, Con 13, Dex 16, Int 14, Wis 20, Cha 9.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 18, Con 12, Dex 15, Int 13, Wis 16, Cha 8.


AC: 32 Fort: 34 Reflex: 27 Will: 29
HP: 112 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 29

TRAINED SKILLS
Intimidate +13, Endurance +15, Heal +19, Athletics +21, History +16

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +12, Arcana +11, Bluff +8, Diplomacy +8, Dungeoneering +14, Insight +14, Nature +14, Perception +14, Religion +11, Stealth +12, Streetwise +8, Thievery +12

FEATS
Human: Master at Arms
Level 1: Improved Defenses
Level 2: Weapon Focus (Unarmed)
Level 4: Brawler Guard
Level 6: Inescapable Hold
Level 8: Focused Superiority (retrained to Striking Resurgence at Level 11)
Level 10: Brutal Brawler
Level 11: Deft Hurler Style
Level 12: Armor Specialization (Scale)
Level 14: Marked Scourge

POWERS
Fighter at-will 1: Grappling Strike
Fighter at-will 1: Cleave
Power User Choice: Direct the Strike
Fighter encounter 1: Steel Serpent Strike
Fighter daily 1: Driving Attack
Fighter utility 2: Pass Forward
Fighter encounter 3: Rain of Blows
Fighter daily 5: Rain of Steel
Fighter utility 6: Glowering Threat
Fighter encounter 7: Come and Get It
Fighter daily 9: Pitiless Grapple
Fighter utility 10: Clearheaded
Fighter encounter 13: Stranglehold (replaces Steel Serpent Strike)
Fighter daily 15: Dust Storm Assault (replaces Driving Attack)

ITEMS
Power Jewel (heroic tier), Battle-Scarred Champion (heroic tier), Iron Armbands of Power (heroic tier), Davros Elden's Hasty Resurgence (heroic tier), Ioun's Revelation (level 3), Frozen Wyvernscale Armor +3, Spiked gauntlet of Great Opportunity +2, Pileus Helm (Level 6), Rope of Slave Fighting (heroic tier), Battlestrider Greaves (paragon tier), Lightning Javelin +3, Amulet of False Life +3, Backlash Tattoo (heroic tier), Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Mari, Level 15 Human Archery Ranger|Battlefield Archer

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Mari, level 15
Human, Ranger, Battlefield Archer
Build: Archer Ranger
Fighting Style: Archer Fighting Style
Ranger: Prime Shot
Human Power Selection: Heroic Effort
Background: Fugitive from a Vengeful Rival (Fugitive from a Vengeful Rival Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 9, Con 16, Dex 24, Int 13, Wis 20, Cha 14.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 15, Dex 18, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 13.


AC: 32 Fort: 28 Reflex: 31 Will: 28
HP: 98 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 24

TRAINED SKILLS
Bluff +19, Nature +19, Stealth +22, Dungeoneering +19, Acrobatics +21, Perception +21

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +10, Diplomacy +11, Endurance +12, Heal +14, History +10, Insight +14, Intimidate +11, Religion +10, Streetwise +11, Thievery +16, Athletics +8

FEATS
Human: Weapon Proficiency (Superior crossbow)
Level 1: Crossbow Expertise
Level 2: Improved Defenses
Level 4: Predatory Action
Level 6: Weapon Focus (Crossbow)
Level 8: Lethal Hunter
Level 10: Grounding Shot
Level 11: Steady Shooter
Level 12: Armor Specialization (Hide)
Level 14: Shadow of the Wild

POWERS
Power User Choice: Rapid Shot
Ranger at-will 1: Nimble Strike
Ranger at-will 1: Twin Strike
Ranger encounter 1: Two-Fanged Strike
Ranger daily 1: Sure Shot
Ranger utility 2: Invigorating Stride
Ranger encounter 3: Disruptive Strike
Ranger daily 5: Spitting-Cobra Stance
Ranger utility 6: Healing Lore
Ranger encounter 7: Biting Volley
Ranger daily 9: Attacks on the Run
Ranger utility 10: Defensive Volley
Ranger encounter 13: Pinning Strike (replaces Two-Fanged Strike)
Ranger daily 15: Confounding Arrows (replaces Sure Shot)

ITEMS
Swiftshot Superior crossbow +3, Feytouched Earthhide Armor +3, Cloak of Distortion +3, Bracers of Archery (heroic tier), Acrobat Boots (heroic tier), Gauntlets of Blood (heroic tier), Ioun's Revelation (level 3), Crimson Determination (heroic tier), Eagle Eye Goggles (heroic tier), Tattoo of Bloodied Chains (heroic tier), Elven Chain Shirt (heroic tier), Viper Belt (heroic tier), Endless Quiver, Lightning Arrow +2 (4), Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds, Stone of Wind (paragon tier)
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Sunday Character:

Bowen, Level 1 Half-Elf Euphoric Ardent

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Bowen, level 1
Half-Elf, Ardent
Build: Euphoric Ardent
Ardent Mantle: Mantle of Elation
Half-Elf Power Selection: Knack for Success
Background: Trained from Birth for a Specific Prophecy (Trained from Birth for a Specific Prophecy Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 18, Dex 14, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 20.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 16, Dex 14, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 18.


AC: 15 Fort: 15 Reflex: 12 Will: 16
HP: 30 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 7

TRAINED SKILLS
Streetwise +10, Endurance +8, Diplomacy +12, Insight +9

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +1, Arcana +1, Bluff +5, Dungeoneering +2, Heal +2, History +1, Intimidate +5, Nature +2, Perception +2, Religion +1, Stealth +1, Thievery +1, Athletics -2

FEATS
Level 1: Valenar Weapon Training

POWERS
Ardent at-will 1: Intent Laid Bare
Ardent at-will 1: Energizing Strike
Ardent daily 1: Battleborn Acuity

ITEMS
Falchion, Hide Armor
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Some Paragon feats I never go without are Two-Weapon Opening, Repel Charge, White Lotus Master Riposte, Expert Sneak, Twofold Curse, Grazing Shot, Hammer Rhythm, and Deadly Axe.

As far as Paragon Paths go, here's the obligatory Morninglord

The downside is that there are generally better feats to take instead.

And as for Morninglord, the whole point of this thread is to basically weed out those PPs that are largely rated for their level 16 feature.
Some Paragon feats I never go without are Two-Weapon Opening, Repel Charge, White Lotus Master Riposte, Expert Sneak, Twofold Curse, Grazing Shot, Hammer Rhythm, and Deadly Axe.



5/8 of those should never appear on any character. The remaining 3 are extremely niche or late-paragon picks at best.


Two-Weapon Opening: More damage, hell yeah.
Repel Charge: More damage, hell yeah.
White Lotus Master Riposte: More damage, hell yeah.
Expert Sneak: More combat advantage = more damage, hell yeah.
Twofold Curse: Armor of Dark Majesty, anyone? Cursebite/Cursegrind? More defenses and damage, hell yeah.
Grazing Shot: Some damage if you miss, which means it's more damage overall. Hell yeah.
Hammer Rhythm: See above.
Deadly Axe: And now my Gauntlet Axes/Carrikals/Greataxe/Gouge deal(s) more damage. Hell yeah.

I'm not really seeing the downside to any of these...



Two-Weapon Opening:  Only reason to take TWF.
Repel Charge:  No.
White Lotus Master Riposte:  Late Paragon.
Expert Sneak:  Cunning Sneak in Heroic.  No.
Twofold Curse:  ...Eh.
Grazing Shot:  NEVER assume missing.
Hammer Rhythm:  NEVER assume missing.
Deadly Axe:  Late Paragon.

...Did I guess right, era? 
Polearm Gamble, rather.

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?
You inexplicably forgot Champion of Order. Academy Master is rather overrated. Dragon Marshall, Paragon of Victory, Huntmaster, and Elemental Tempest go on the list. Likewise for Demonskin Adept.

I'm with you on most of these, but what's the big appeal for Elemental Tempest?

And for Dragon Marshal, am I correct that it's pretty much just about the e11? If the u12 can be applied after seeing the roll then it's basically "turn one 19 into a crit, every encounter" which is pretty neat, but I'm not sure if that's the standard interpretation.
Elemental Tempest gives you the benefits of Dual Manifestation 10 levels before the Epic feat.  Pair that with Shocking Flame, and well...

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?
Some Paragon feats I never go without are Two-Weapon Opening, Repel Charge, White Lotus Master Riposte, Expert Sneak, Twofold Curse, Grazing Shot, Hammer Rhythm, and Deadly Axe.



5/8 of those should never appear on any character. The remaining 3 are extremely niche or late-paragon picks at best.


Two-Weapon Opening: More damage, hell yeah.
Repel Charge: More damage, hell yeah.
White Lotus Master Riposte: More damage, hell yeah.
Expert Sneak: More combat advantage = more damage, hell yeah.
Twofold Curse: Armor of Dark Majesty, anyone? Cursebite/Cursegrind? More defenses and damage, hell yeah.
Grazing Shot: Some damage if you miss, which means it's more damage overall. Hell yeah.
Hammer Rhythm: See above.
Deadly Axe: And now my Gauntlet Axes/Carrikals/Greataxe/Gouge deal(s) more damage. Hell yeah.

I'm not really seeing the downside to any of these...



"More damage, hell yeah." goes for so many feats that wouldn't and shouldn't find their way in any build anyway. Just because your resources (feat slots) are limited and there are so much better options.

Two-Weapon Opening: Eats your 1 damaging free action/turn and needs you to pick an entry feat. Crit feats make only sense on builds that totally focus on them for a good reason, Mia being the best example.

Repel Charge: Makes only sense on a build that pushes/slides and prones without pseudo-stunning (= pushing/sliding prone 2 squares away, unable to charge next turn) which is not even a good trade if you take the effort to go the push/slide/prone route. That build would have to find a way to guarantee that he is the one that gets charged afterwards. Otherwise this feat is a total waste.

WLMR: Needs entry feat and eats your IA, which is really bad for many builds. Can be good on some builds, tho. But there's nearly no up to date optimized build that uses it for a reason.

Expert Sneak: Dude, this needs a status effect already being up, how do you call this easy accessable? There are boatloads of better ways to gain CA.

Twofold Curse: How about just abusing Rakshasa Claw and Rod of Corruption instead? It's way more effective and costs less resources, since RC does so many other good things to you.

Grazing Shot: Optimizing around missing is stupid cause you shouldn't miss anyway, if you're optimized. There are some odd exceptions, but i bet you didn't have them in mind.

Hammer Rhythm: See above.

Deadly Axe: Same as TWO, but much worse.




Dude, if you don't realize that wasting your precious feat slots with all this **** will cripple your build  into oblivion, there is no help for you.





Should we just all lay our penises on the table and be done?
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!
Elemental Tempest gives you Promise Of Storm and Firewind 10 levels early.

Ahh, right, I wasn't thinking about Firewind Blade. Without that (and just the 2 extra Shocking Flame damage) it was pretty lame.

More feats:
Agile Opportunist
Resounding Thunder
Psychic Lock
Hero's Poise
Honored Foe
Called Shot
Protective Hex
Improved Defenses, since it basically comes "online" at 11
Danger Sense, while possible retraining material for Imp Init, is still nice if you want to go first
Draconic Arrogance
Secrets of Belial

As for paragon paths, Traveler's Harlequin is interesting if you want to MC multiple times. 
Daggermaster, Student of Caiphon, Sword of Assault should probably get mentions.

Expert Sneak is something you retrain into from Vicious Advantage if you took it in heroic, but its hardly game-changing, and you're sure as hell not going to to do it on level 11 or 12.

That aside, bravo for the guide! This is certainly an underexplored niche in char-op that deserves more analysis.
Draeven Marauder

19-20 crit range with a gouge.  When attacking 3 or more times, i.e. Storm of Blades(barbaran e13) or Rain of Blows(fighter e3) it becomes even better.
More feats:
Agile Opportunist
Resounding Thunder
Psychic Lock
Hero's Poise
Honored Foe
Called Shot
Protective Hex


Of those, I'd estimate only Called Shot is relevant to this thread.


I second Psychic Lock. Controllers that do psychic damage (i.e. psions) and defenders with a Githyanki Silver Sword want this at 11-12. 

While Resounding Thunder is often accompanied by Arcane Admixture, I see no reason not to include both of those feats in the guide. 

Agile Opportunist if you have a Cunning Bard in the party, otherwise not so much.

And I didn't say it yet, but awesome idea for a guide, good luck, and thanks for starting it! 
Psychic Lock is pretty much reserved for Nethermancers, Psions, and really weird Warlocks, with Flail/Firewind/Staggering builds just outright trumping every other weapon choice. That's not a large list.

I wouldn't put Admixture in, but Resounding Thunder is deserving on Sorc merit alone.

Level 11-14 Paragon Picks on characters I play that haven't been mentioned yet:
Enhanced Resistive Formula
Rapid Infusion
Walk among the Fey
Dual Implement Spellcaster (it's a heroic feat, but it should really only be picked in Paragon)
War Wizardry
Improved tome of Readiness
Lashing Flail
Impaling Spear
Deft Blade (Really, the Fighter Weapon feats that don't suck are typically "makes the build what it is")
Draconic Arrogance
tempted to say Phantasmal Destruction but that's probably more of a level 16 with DO/LS?
And of course Distant Swordbond
"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 do have a question about the scope of the guide: will it be like a class guide for the 11-15 range, or will it transcend the classes and focus mostly on the most powerful options within the different roles? 

If the guide is not really about classes, then the feat list will be a lot shorter. 
I do have a question about the scope of the guide: will it be like a class guide for the 11-15 range, or will it transcend the classes and focus mostly on the most powerful options within the different roles? 

If the guide is not really about classes, then the feat list will be a lot shorter. 


My thinking is that the guide would more focused on roles than classes, because you can multiclass to get access to the feats and paragon paths that best fit your role.
My thinking is that the guide would more focused on roles than classes, because you can multiclass to get access to the feats and paragon paths that best fit your role.


So nothing then that requires class-specific prerequisites, or only works with class powers? That would rule out stuff like Student of Caiphon and Daggermaster. Makes sense too, since those are already rated highly in their respective class guides.

EDIT: erachima's comment implies that it is about classes, not roles. Could you maybe give a couple of examples of things that clearly belong in the guide, and some things that clearly don't? (aside from PPs that come online at 16)
If you're focusing on 11-15, I would suggest Anarch of Shyr for damage-oriented Swordmages. It gets little love (understandably, as Swordmage guides will focus on defender traits) but its best features are definitely front loaded (free MBA when using action points at 11, +2 to hit when punishing Aegis targets, -2 to hit +1d12 elemental damage encounter stance that is amply exploitable with keywords at 12).

It loses momentum at 16 as its feature is nothing special if not fairly terrible, and losing accuracy is bad (even if you can offset it easily on swordmage), but I think it may qualify as a good pick for a front loaded Paragon Path.


Edit: I don't think it's possible to have a role-based guide. Too many excellent PPs are class specific, and even generic ones can often be better for one class and worse for another.
For the melee STR-WIS Cleric|Ranger crowd, I challenge anyone to show me a paragon path significantly stronger than Paragon of Victory for the 11 to 15 level range given that your Hybrid Training is locking into Prime Shot for the Prime Punisher tree of feats in paragon.
While Paragon of Victory probably does deserve to be on this list, your "given" is stupid. A hybrid Ranger|Cleric cannot take 3 feats to have called shot in early paragon, and should not take 3 feats to have called shot ever.



Your last comment is stupid. A Cleric|Ranger can have called shot and prime punisher as early as level 11. I'm not sure which other feats trump those options if your goal is to optimize damage per hit. There's even room for frostcheese on top of it all.