Guide to the Utility Belt Wizard: Batman 4E-style

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The Utility Belt Wizard: Batman 4E-style

The power of Batman is that he is always prepared. Whenever a dangerous situation occurs, Batman can calmly draw the appropriate tool from his Bat Utility Belt, and use that to resolve the problem. A well-built 4E wizard can have the same ability. Let the strikers and defenders go for raw power; Batman will instead take the ability to deal with the unexpected.

While all classes get the same amount of powers, it is nevertheless possible to capitalize on versatility in 4E. To accomplish this, aside from his primary implement, Batman carries a large amount of staves, wands and other items. These are taken out when needed for their secondary effects, giving him unmatched adaptability. Through clearing out obstacles, Batman is an excellent team player; of course, he's not going to be facing dungeons alone.

Batman's Utility Belt is based on the principle of magical item pricing. While level-appropriate items are relatively expensive, items of lower levels are much cheaper. For the price of a level-10 item, you can buy half a dozen items of level 1 through 4. However, just because they're cheap doesn't mean they're not useful. The goal here is to carry as many utility items as possible. This includes items you won't use very often; you'll never know when you'll need them.

This ability primarily applies to wizards; however, the philosophy can be applied to any class, particularly when taking the Arcane Initiate feat to use the implements you need.

The most famous Utility Belt.

Levels and limitations

This concept starts paying off at the high heroic levels, because you do need some starting cash to stock your Utility Belt with. Before that, it simply plays like a regular wizard. Also, a newly generated high-level probably starts with enough cash to fill his arsenal. Even if not, based on the suggested treasure from the DMG, just a few adventures will net you enough money to stock your Utility Belt with all kinds of practical tools.

The primary limit to Batman's power is that a character can only use a few item daily powers each day. Assuming not every encounter is going to be difficult, that is often enough to make a difference. It does mean that he should complement his Utility Belt with items that grant per-encounter abilities, any number of which can be used in one encounter if needed.

The secondary limit is actions. Batman uses a lot of actions to take items from his Utility Belt, and to replace them. This normally requires minor actions, but several ways exist to change it to free actions. The most obvious one is the Quick Draw feat, which lets you draw anything for free in the same action that you're using it, although putting it back still requires a minor action. Two other options from Dragon Magazine are battle harness armor (#368) which does the same, and the disembodied hand familiar (#374) which makes even stowing items a free action.

The term "Utility Belt" is used for flavor; while a Bag of Holding on your belt looks really sweet, a regular backpack will suffice as well.

Stocking your Belt

Many implements have highly useful powers, which is why a wizard is the most suitable class for Batman. You should carry one primary implement for the best attack bonus with your class powers, and a number of other implements in your Utility Belt that are simply +1. This isn't a problem because the utility implements don't rely on hitting anything. For instance, you could carry a Wand of Icy Terrain to create difficult terrain; if it also knocks your enemies prone, that's a nice plus, but it's not a necessity.

However, note the difference in wording between e.g. Symbol of Radiance, which is quite explicit that its power only works when "using this symbol to attack with a power", and Staff of Winter, which lacks that limitation. This means that you can carry a Staff of Winter +1, and use its effect while you attack with your Magic Orb +5, or even with a martial power. But, the Staff remains useful even if your DM disallows this combo.

The Enchant Item ritual may be useful in obtaining these items, because not every DM is going to let you buy anything you need at the Magic Shoppe. So far, this guide contains heroic items only, since it relies on buying items several levels below your level. I plan on adding Paragon items in the near future.

The Player's Handbook 2 contains surprisingly few useful utility items (or, for that matter, rituals or wands). Batman can safely skip this book, except perhaps for the classes therein.

Player's Handbook:
  • Orb of Indisputable Gravity, against flying creatures. Note that this effect applies to all your allies' attacks, not just yours.
  • Staff of Storms, automatically kills all minions nearby.
  • Staff of Winter, automatically immobilizes all nearby enemies.
  • Staff of the War Mage, increases a burst size by one.
  • Thunderwave Staff, turns your thunderwave into a high-damage attack that throws enemies prone.

Adventurer's Vault:
  • Architect's staff. An excellent tool if you're using walls a lot.
  • Cold Iron staff. Immobilizes on a hit, once per day.
  • Communal dagger. Whenever you're not using anything else in your off-hand, this weapon allows you to boost an ally's roll by +1 once per day, and doesn't count as a daily item usage.
  • Gloves of the Hedge Mage. If you're basing Batman on another class than Wizard, you'll want this to gain access to cantrips.
  • Green thumbs. Lets you conjure a wall once per day, in case you didn't pick any wall powers yet.
  • Lullaby staff. Unconscious on a hit, eventually, once per day.
  • Master's Wand. ssentially, grab one for whichever at-will powers you don't have, and you can use them once per encounter (with a nice bonus, particularly for Magic Missile). You can even get the warlock's at-wills for good measure, even though they're probably inferior without warlock's curse.
  • Mnemonic staff. Very useful, but needs to be high level in order to do much. There are a few utility powers in particular that are only situationally useful (e.g. Dispel Magic), so you can prepare a more general spell and use this staff if you need a swap.
  • Orb of Inescapable Consequences. Essentially an automatic hit, once per day. Useful on any boss monster.
  • Orb of Insurmountable Force. Useful since it's an encounter ability, and cheap. You never know when something needs pushing.
  • Orb of Judicious Conjuration. Saves you a minor action, a useful choice for your primary implement.
  • Resounding staff. Dazes on a hit, once per day.
  • Salve of Power. This lets you cast Sleep a second time per day, which incidentally is one of the best wizard spells.
  • Staff of Light. Wipes out undead minions of any level.
  • Staff of Spectral Hands. Surely you'll find a use for a second hand at some point.
  • Swiftshot crossbow. Not applicable any more since the errata.
  • Transference staff. Transfer a condition from yourself to an enemy.
  • Utility staff. Adds an extra square when you need it.
  • Vengeful dagger. The rules technically allow you to use this dagger's encounter to-hit bonus on an arcane attack; although your DM likely won't.

And if you're a warlock (or multiclassing to one), you have the following extra options:
  • Rod of Malign Conveyance. Moving things around is always fun.
  • Rod of the Feywild. Duplicates Fey Step, which is even useful if you're already an Eladrin.
  • Rod of the Infernal. Not applicable any more since the errata.

Player's Handbook 2 has just a few totems that may be interesting if you take the right multiclass feat.
  • Pure Spirit Totem. Without requiring a healing surge, it brings an unconscious ally back. Situationally useful.
  • Summer Growth Totem. Creates a boatload of difficult terrain that doesn't affect your allies.

The Wand you Want
The Player's Handbook explains that you can put any Wizard, Warlock, Bard, or Artificer encounter power, or per-encounter utility power, in a wand. A wizard could even buy a wand with a warlock power, and use it without multiclassing. They do get rather expensive, since it requires a level-8 wand to hold a level-2 power, and they do cost daily item usages to activate. Nevertheless, since many of these don't require attack rolls, it is useful to pick up a few. Additionally, when you get to the levels where you swap encounter powers for higher-level powers, there's little reason not to buy a wand of the ten-level-lower power, just in case.
  • Ethereal Stride (or Otherwind Stride), especially if you're not an Eladrin. But note that the Rod of the Feywild is better, if you can use that.
  • Fey Switch
  • Fire Shroud, since it's one of the few enemies-only powers that can be put in a wand.
  • Icy Terrain, or Dragon magazine's Grasping Shadows.
  • Inspire Competence. Only rarely useful, since the entire group should need repeated checks on one skill.
  • Jump
  • Shield is technically legal, but I suspect many DMs won't let you get away with drawing and using a wand as an immediate interrupt action, regardless of how fast you can draw it.
  • Devil's Trade from Arcane Power, for when you really absolutely need to pass a saving throw.
  • I'm not listing Artificer powers here until that class is finalized.

Armor and clothing
Since most of your daily item usages will probably go to these implements, it helps to pick out the rest of your equipment based on their passive abilities, like resistance or skill bonuses. Nevertheless, there are a number of items with per-encounter abilities that may prove useful. Note that you can swap items out when you might need them; you could wear a helmet in combat, then later switch them for Reading Spectacles from your Utility Belt when you need to decipher something.

Player's Handbook
  • Bag of Holding. Thematically very appropriate, but you'd have to discuss with your DM how it interacts with drawing items as a free action. If your DM enforces encumbrance rules, you might need this eventually to be able to lift your arsenal.
  • Boots of Striding. Speed bonus.
  • Burglar's Gloves. Thievery bonus, which you probably won't be using in combat anyways.
  • Circlet of Authority. Diplomacy bonus.
  • Diadem of Acuity. Insight bonus.
  • Elven Battle armor. Speed bonus.
  • Everlasting Provisions. Surely Batman wouldn't be caught hungry.
  • Gauntlets of the Ram. Excellent choice if you use Thunderwave.
  • Gloves of Piercing. Now you're prepared for most enemies with resistance, if you weren't already.
  • Wavestrider Boots. Very useful in certain environments.

Adventurer's Vault
  • Arcanist Glasses. Arcana bonus.
  • Bloodcut armor. Pretty much the only way of getting a big resistance without using a daily item usage.
  • Boots of Equilibrium. Again, useful in certain environments.
  • Boots of Free Movement. Free saving throws are always nice.
  • Boots of the Fencing Master. Excellent per-encounter power, probably one of the better boots for anyone.
  • Cap of Waterbreathing. Again for certain environments, but much better than the ritual.
  • Darkskull. Exotic, but putting out lights is sure to come in handy at some point.
  • Dust of Disenchantment. Lets you bypass many wards and even zones in combat.
  • Eternal Chalk. A bit silly, but it lasts forever and is cheap-ish.
  • Floating Shield. Like Wavestriders, only better (and cheaper). The rules are unclear on whether you need shield proficiency in order to use a shield power, but a Genasi wizard could easily have strength 13, and water walking for a Shield Training feat is not a bad tradeoff.
  • Gem of Colloquy. Diplomacy bonus, and free language.
  • Goggles of Aura Sight. Learning monster status can be useful, plus Batman tends to know such things.
  • Hat of Disguise. Sure, the potion is cheaper, but doing it permanently makes infiltration almost too easy.
  • Horn of Summons. One of the very few abilities with really long range.
  • Pouch of Frozen Passage. A situational item that can get the party across rivers or lakes.
  • Reading Spectacles. Like the Comprehend Languages ritual, only better.
  • Recoil Shield. The encounter ability is just too funny.
  • Shadowflow Shield. This may be useful if there's a rogue in the party.
  • Veteran's armor, by the official errata, doesn't do anything useful any more. Don't take it.
  • Wallwalkers. Permanent spider climb ability? I know it's the wrong superhero, but I'll take it!

Dragon Magazine

I'm not going to list everything from all Dragon magazines here, but the one thing that bears mentioning is Battle Harness Armor. Available from level 4 in both cloth and leather, it lets you draw items as a free action. That said, unless you are really short on feat slots, I recommend taking Quick Draw or Arcane Familiar instead, and use your armor slot for something that gives you good resistances.

It pays off to carry a lot of utility items.

Consumables are generally not worth your money, as for the price of a medium level consumable you can simply buy a lower level item that works permanently. This includes Alchemy, which is also very expensive to use, tends to duplicate wizard spells anyway, and (worst of all) scales its cost with your level. If your wizard doesn't have, say, Ray of Frost, you can either keep buying level-appropriate alchemical concoctions forever, at a huge resource drain, or you can buy a level-1 Master Wand and be done with it.

That said, it's worthwhile to carry a small stash of potions around, in particular the following:
  • Healing potion. Everybody should carry this as an emergency measure, unless they're multiclassing to a leader class.
  • Potion of clarity. Did you notice how Elven Accuracy is an excellent ability? Now, it is conveniently available in tonic form! Drink one for every boss fight and you're golden; don't use it on easy fights or you'll run out of healing surges. Note that the higher level versions are irrelevant; the +6 bonus isn't necessary, it's the reroll you want.
  • Potion of mimicry. If you're not a doppelganger and have picked a more useful level-6 utility than Change Self, this potion lets you do the same when really needed, and it much cheaper than a Hat of Disguise.
  • Potion of regeneration. Only slightly more expensive, and much more effective, than a healing potion.
  • Potion of resistance. Once you can afford them, I'd suggest carrying one of each (8 potions, for a total of 320 gold). When in a dangerous encounter featuring a particular element, quaff the one you need and replenish later. This is much cheaper than getting a full set of resistance gear (see below), and assuming the defenders are doing their job you shouldn't be hit overly much.

Piece de Resistance
The following set of equipment should net you resistance 5 to everything except acid and radiant (which are only resisted on heavy armor), and untyped damage. Incidentally that protects you against most ongoing effects as well. Since you're using your Daily Item Usage for other things, these are among the best armors available.
  • Cloak of Survival (cold, fire); there's also the Stormwalker Cloak (lightning, thunder), but fire and cold are more common attacks
  • Deathcut Armor (necrotic, poison); at higher levels, Armor of Resistance (necrotic) + Viper Belt (poison)
  • Storm Shield (lightning, thunder)
  • Brooch of Shielding (force, uses the same slot as the above cloak, and force damage is rather rare anyway)
Race ya
The primary thing to look for when picking a race for the Batman wizard is a useful active power. This gives you additional options on your turn (even if they are inherent rather than in your Utility Belt). Reactive powers (like Second Chance) do not add versatility. As a secondary criterion, an intelligence bonus is always good.

As usual, color indicates poor, average, good, and excellent.

  • Doppelganger: arguably the best race for Batman, because its shapeshift ability gives it unmatched utility in social situations. You can look like whoever you want, whenever you want. Also, the charisma bonus lets you take Spell Focus easily.
  • Dragonborn: no int bonus, and dragonbreath ability is redundant with wizard powers.
  • Deva: it's a bit like an elf, but instead of movement bonuses you won't need much as a wizard, you get two resistances and an intelligence bonus. Pretty good, no?
  • Drow: gaining two additional encounter powers gives you extra tactical options. The Shadowslip feat from Dragon 367 adds a free shift to that. However, you don't get a bonus to intelligence.
  • Dwarf: no int bonus, and resilience ability is only reactive. However, good fluff for carrying so many gadgets around.
  • Eladrin: teleportation is exceedingly useful. It can get you out of a tight spot, into the right position for an attack, across rivers and chasms, and it can substitute for climb and jump skills in a pinch. Plus, you get a free skill, such as stealth or perception.
  • Elf: no int bonus. Elven accuracy is very good, but is reactive so does not give you more options, and it's available in potion form. While elves make good wizards, they don't synergize well with Batman. However, if you want a character with the best Bat-Orb, an elf would be useful.
  • Genasi: several of their encounter abilities are good, and they eventually get a feat that lets you use two. In particular, Swiftcurrent and Windwalker are like teleportation, and Earthsoul provides a tactical knockdown effect. As an added bonus, you get elemental resistance.
  • Githyanki: telekinetic leap is almost as good as Fey Step (but it provokes), and can also be used to move your allies around when needed. It is, however, duplicated by the second level utility spell, Jump.
  • Gnome: if you see him as a tinker gnome, you have a nice bit of fluff why you're carrying so many gadgets around. Plus, he's got the int bonus, the charisma for Spell Focus, useful skill bonuses, and while his vanishing ability is only reactive, it's a good ability.
  • Goliath and Half-orc: er, let's not go there.
  • Half-elf: you gain an additional at-will attack as an encounter power, but there are surprisingly few useful and fitting choices for that. I'd recommend the Swordmage's Lightning Lure, because moving enemies around is always practical. The half-elf lacks an int bonus, though.
  • Halfling: no int bonus, and second chance ability is purely reactive.
  • Human: always a solid choice for race, although the third at-will becomes progressively less useful as you gain more powers (and Batman will gain a lot of powers). Also, humans arguably have the best racial feats.
  • Shadar-Kai: another race with a good teleport ability, with insubstantiality to boot; also, being all black and shadowy is certainly fitting fluff for Batman. And to top it off, an int bonus.
  • Shifter: the abilities you get don't really synergize well with wizards.
  • Tiefling: he's got the intelligence bonus, but the racial ability isn't very fitting for a versatile wizard. Plus, is Batman really that emo?

This is not to say that other races shouldn't be used, of course. You can play any combination, so if you want to play e.g. an Orc Wizard, nothing is stopping you. Just remember to put some points in int.

As stated above, this guide is primarily intended for wizards. However, given the nature of 4E, it also works with other classes as needed. Particularly the equipment list can be useful for any character that takes Arcane Initiate for the ability to use implements.
  • Artificer would probably be a good pick, but I'm not going to base a guide on playtest information. Check back when the relevant book is released.
  • Bard. The leader variant, and the bard is quite the trickster in his own right, allowing you to mess with your enemies at will. And taking the wizard multiclass feat doesn't even bar the bard from taking other multiclasses.
  • Invoker plays much like a wizard, if in a different way. You retain access to the excellent staff implements, but substitute orbs by rods. An invoker could pull off Batman without multiclassing, but some feat to be able to use orbs and master wands is still recommended.
  • Sorcerer, while a solid class in its own right, doesn't really synergize well with the concept of Batman. It plays more like a straightforward blaster, and has less tricks up his sleeve.
  • Swordmage. A more tank-y variation, you already have the int bonus required to use wizard attack powers well, and you should have one free hand anyway thanks to Swordmage Warding.
  • Warlock. You can do all of the above plus do better single-target damage as a striker. However, many abilities here require minor actions, which may interfere with your cursing ability. Although warlocks get fewer true utility powers, picking up wizard wands as a warlock is a much better deal than the other way around, and since many good wizard powers are either area effects, or utilities with no attack roll, you can get away with having a lower level wand.
  • Wizard. As above. The company is called "Wizards of the Coast" for a reason, you know. Since most of the utility effects above appear on staves, it would make sense to take the staff as your implement of choice. Furthermore, since we don't really care about damage, your best main implement is probably the earthroot, feyswarm, or force staff from the AV. On a critical hit, these staves add a debuff effect rather than damage.

Since several Wizard guides already exist on the web, I'm not going to discuss powers here. However, the Batman wizard works best with powers that rely on versatility or secondary effects, rather than pure damage. This means that anything that creates a zone or conjuration, or does a stun or moves enemies around, is preferable over something that just does X damage in an Y radius. Essentially, you're not a blaster wizard; leave that to the strikers on your team.
Furthermore, proactive powers are a better fit than reactive powers (remember, more options are great). This means that to Batman, Jump as a level-2 utility is preferable to Shield. Moving your allies around has numerous tactical options, and defending yourself, well, that's the defender's job.

It has been pointed out before, but nearly every 4E ritual sucks to the point of uselessness. They take too long to cast, cost way too much, simply don't do much to begin with, and in many cases, all of the above. Batman draws a tool from his Utility Belt; he doesn't spend ten minutes chanting in some obscure language.
That said, you get rituals for free as a wizard, and just a handful of them are cheap enough to be worth keeping around just in case they become useful.
  • Amanuensis. Copying official documents can be useful at times.
  • Animal messenger. Rarely practical, but doesn't really cost anything either.
  • Duplicate. As with Amanuensis.
  • Enchant / Disenchant Item. Possibly required to get the items you want.
  • Hallucinatory item. Useful for creating hiding places, by making an illusory wall.
  • Knock. This actually can open things that the Thievery skill cannot.
  • Magic mouth. Also useful for sending messages, although the Sending ritual is better.
  • Make whole, since craft skills no longer exist.
  • Remove condition, technically the cleric's job but too good not to list.
  • Sending, if you really need to get a message across.
  • Tenser's Floating Disc, without doubt the best low level ritual.

And for heroic tier, that's pretty much it. Anything else is all too easily duplicated with physical tools (e.g. Excavate) or too easy to ignore (Arcane Lock, for one) or much too limited to be of actual use (e.g. Water Walk). Your money is better invested elsewhere.
Note, however, that many DMs tend to handwave the many restrictions on rituals and lets them work by their fluff text, rather than their rules (e.g. let Commune With Nature actually find something rather than give you three yes-or-no answers). In this case, they may become useful in your campaign.

Heroic Feats
  • Action surge and Human perseverance: as said, humans have the best racial feats. They're not top priority, but good to have.
  • Armor proficiency, leather: aside from looking darn stylish (Batman in cloth? Pleaaase...), a +2 AC bonus for the cost of one feat is not something you'll regret.
  • Astral fire, burning blizzard, and so forth: don't take them. The goal here is versatility, not damage. And, +1 damage for a feat isn't such a good deal anyway.
  • Durable and Toughness: although many people recommend them for the squishy wizard, in my experience they aren't a priority - I've yet to use more than half my healing surges on any day. As long as you stay in the back and the Defenders do their job, you can get by many combats without getting hit. Note that several character backgrounds give you the equivalent of a free Toughness feat (Impiltur and Thay in the Forgotten Realsm, Auspicious Birth or Bad Sign otherwise).
  • Elven precision: in a word, don't. If you do the math on it, the bonus is too small and doesn't come up often enough to make a difference.
  • Expanded spellbook: although thematically appropriate, this feat is surprisingly pointless most of the time. This is because you generally won't know what you'll be facing anyway, and on many levels there aren't enough useful powers to warrant picking three.
  • Improved iniative: always a good choice, unless you're using Quick Draw to take items from your belt.
  • Jack of all Trades: thematically appropriate, and very versatile. But since Arcane Power there are so many good feats for wizards that you may not have room for this one.
  • Linguist: depending on your campaign, this may range from highly useful to the utterly worthless. Consult your DM. But whenever you meet other races in a non-combat situation, it is highly appropriate for the well-prepared Batman to be able to speak to them.
  • Quick draw: this lets you react to any situation by drawing the proper tool from your Utility Belt, and gives an initiative bonus to boot. Not all that great at level 1, but take it as soon as your arsenal is reasonably stocked. Remember that it requires 13 dexterity.
  • Ritual caster: you get it for free, and it's definitely better than the alternative, alchemy. Plus you may need Enchant Item to get the items you want.
  • Sacrifice to Caiphon: if you're a warlock (or multiclass to it) this feat allows you to re-use any encounter power until it hits, at the cost of a bit of damage to yourself. Very good for lower level powers; but note that if you'll be using a lot of area effect powers (as wizards tend to do) you won't get a lot of use out of this.
  • Skill focus: your job is to do everything, not to specialize in one skill. You should have run out of feats long before this one.
  • Skill training: there are arguably two skills that you want that aren't on the wizard list, and can't be obtained by a useful multiclass feat either. These are stealth and perception. Not a priority, but not a bad idea either. Of course, if you're Eladrin, you essentially get this for free.
  • Wintertouched: the classic combo with Lasting Frost. It's a cliche by now, but it works.

Arcane Power feats
  • Arcane Fire, Arcane Reserves, Darkfire Implement, Destructive Wizardry, Dual Implement, Elemental Empowerment, Fanged Magic, Mountain Hammer Spellcasting, Wrathful Magic: need I reiterate that your goal is utility, not damage?
  • Aggressive Familiar and the other familiar-boosting feats: do too little to be worth it.
  • Arcane Familiar: this is the best way of keeping free access to your Utility Belt, by taking the disembodied hand from Dragon magazine. If you really want another familiar, this feat remains worthwhile; in that case, or if your DM doesn't allow Dragon magazine, I recommend taking the Quick Draw feat instead.
  • Arcane Implement Proficiency: surprisingly pointless, as taking a multiclass feat for the implement you want gives you more options.
  • Careful Summoner: too small a bonus, and most wizard summon spells aren't too good to begin with. I'd pass on this one, even if you do use the occasional summon spell.
  • Combat Virtuoso: if you're a bard with lots of multiclass powers, this may well be worth it.
  • Draconic Spellcaster, Elemental Echo: pretty decent, but a Batman wizard will probably tend towards the psychic spells rather than the elemental ones.
  • Eladrin Sword Wizardry: Batman doesn't wield a sword. Not needed except if you want a cunning blade for stunlock cheese.
  • Elven Arcane Precision: Since you'll be casting a lot of area spells, this is a nice choice.
  • Enlarge Spell: Take it as soon as possible, and use it on every opportunity. A minor drop in damage to almost double the amount of squares affected is nothing less than awesome.
  • Feyborn Charm, Gnome Phantasmist, or Phantom Echoes: If you keep this in mind with your power choice, it's very good and it stacks with Implement Expertise.
  • Magic of the Ages: Do the math, again. Elven Precision is rather awful, and this one is worse.
  • Magic of the Mists: Staying hidden is very good, but unfortunately the gnome fading power only lasts one turn.
  • Nimble Spellcaster: You should have enough close attacks or shift powers that you needn't bother with this feat.
  • Predatory Magic: It's not bad or anything, it's just too low your list of priorities.
  • Remembered Wizardry: As useless as Expanded Spellbook, for exactly the same reasons. An utter waste of a feat.
  • Rune-Scribed Soul: Assuming you're using your second wind often (as opposed to being healed by the party leader), this is a quite decent bonus.
  • Twist the Arcane Fabric: It sounds pretty good, but it's generally not worth spending both a feat and your Fey Step usage for. By the time you have room for this, you should be nearly at paragon levels anyway, which have better feats for the same purpose.

Multiclass feats
  • Initiate of the Faith: an extra source of healing in the party is always useful, even if it's only once per day. That alone makes it worth picking up, but you also get a free skill and synergy with some good paragon paths.
  • Pact initiate: it is a nice idea to grab an extra power from here, but the warlock's at-wills focus on dealing damage and use the wrong ability score (unless you're a staff wizard). However, the feat does give you the ability to use rods, adding them to your Utility Belt. And there are a few good rods about.
  • Invoker multiclass: on the other hand, if you really want rods, going Invoker is much more like it. It gives you a number of good abilities, and access to powers such as a level-2 power that boosts party initiative by your intelligence...
  • Druid or shaman multiclass: the ability to use totems, on the other hand, really isn't worth it for Batman, given how few totems there are. Wait until Adventurer's Vault 2 for this one.
Great races
Doppelganger: arguably the best race for Batman, because its shapeshift ability gives it unmatched utility in social situations. You can look like whoever you want, whenever you want. Also, the charisma bonus lets you take Spell Focus easily.

I really like the dobbelganger, but it isn´t the end-all/be-all social character which this thread discussed.
I also think Gnome is a great race for Batman. Reactive Stealth lets you start off a fight invisible (until Batman chooses to reveal himself) and if hit, allows him to disappear into the shadows (Fade Away). +2 Int is great for any wizard and, like the Doppleganger, +2 Cha is good for Spell Focus. Skills are thematically appropriate (+2 Arcana and Stealth), which allows Batman to be a know-it-all (old school batman) and hide well.

Also, as of now, you can't put any Swordmage powers onto Wands. You can only make Wand powers if that class can use a Wand (PhB 242).... although this does open up Artificer powers. And gadgets are VERY Batman! Wand of Thundering armor is good for Ranged push (esp with Gauntlets of the Ram) as an Encounter. Darn, just realized most of their nifty powers are dailies. Guess we'll have to wait for the full build.

Illusionist spells are nice (Dragon Mag 364) and Grasping Shadows makes a 'zone' of Slow (level 1). Maze of Mirrors Immobilizes (but that's a level 3 spell... level 8 Wand).
I dig it!

You might want to include Veteran's Armor for digging up more dailys. It may be counterproductive for the batman style though, but it is certainly versatile.

Also, batman MAY get a boost when the next series of errata comes out. Right now there is a big question about gaining properties from a held implement.

The 4e faq says a warlock can hold 2 rods, 1 in each hand. He gets the attack/enhancement/properties of the main one used for casting, AND the PROPERTIES of the second rod.

It also says you can use enhancement/attack/properties for multiple implements with the same power.

I have argued that if they use a power with the first rod, they get the 2nd rod property as long as it doesn't get applied to that power. If the 2nd rod says "if cursed enemy dies, do X". That is all well and good. But, if it said, "Power gains X" then that seems wrong since it was not even used to cast the power.

Others have argued that there is no real rule basis for that limitation. I agree...I 'derived' that rule based on existing rulings. If there IS no limitation, imagine the possibilities: So a wizard that wants to cast magic missile can use his Staff of Ruin for big damage, AND bust out his master's wand of magic missiles +1. This grants a push effect to the spell.

Gonna scorching burst? Mine as well carry that wand of flame +1 for an extra point of damage.

Cast sleep or slow? Yank out the Staff of Grasping Goodness or whatever its called.

You get the idea.
My Sorc Guide Link: My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link:
The primary limit to Batman's power is that a character can only use a few item daily powers each day.

True, of course, but you're going to be carrying a lot of 'just in case' items, that might not come up in any given day.

The secondary limit is actions. Batman uses a lot of actions to take items from his Utility Belt, and to replace them. This means you'll have to watch your minor actions carefully. The Quick Draw feat is a big aid in mitigating this; it means that as long as you have a hand free, you can take any item from your Utility Belt in the same action that you use to invoke it.

Wizards also get Mage Hand, which lets you put away one item and draw a new one in a single minor action - the same as putting away an item, then quickdrawing one. Of course, wizards often need thier minor actions, so it's still an issue, and if you are willing to drop rather than sheath an item, quickdraw nets you no action cost at all.

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5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

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Wouldnt Artificers make a better Batman?
They would also be better to multiclass into since I think there are a lot of good rods now that the AV has come out. Plus it says under wands that if you have a power from the same power source you can use the power in a wand, but there are not all that many good wizard powers that do not need an attack roll and thus decrease the number of useful wands.
I think you're a little harsher on consumables than they really deserve. A wizard who lacks either Scorching Burst or Ray of Frost could definitely benefit from the ability to mimic their function when needed.
Thanks for the feedback! I'll update the guide based upon comments (and a more thorough reading of the AV) later this week.

I really like the dobbelganger, but it isn´t the end-all/be-all social character which this thread discussed.

True enough. It's still very cool, though. Why yes, I am wearing an uniform of the Waterdhavian City Guard...

I also think Gnome is a great race for Batman.

I agree, he deserves to be added.

Also, as of now, you can't put any Swordmage powers onto Wands.

Good catch.

Also, batman MAY get a boost when the next series of errata comes out. Right now there is a big question about gaining properties from a held implement.

I'm afraid particulars are still up to the DM involved, but by my reading of the rules-as-written, you can hold, say, an orb +4 in your left hand and a staff of the warmage in your right, then apply the latter's boost effect while attacking with the former.

Note the difference in wording between e.g. Symbol of Radiance, which is quite explicit that its power only works when "using this symbol to attack with a power"; and Staff of Winter, which lacks that limitation.

Yes, this means you'll be switching your secondary item a lot, which is what quick draw is for. Heck, I tend to switch to dagger occasionally to make opportunity attacks (and yes, by RAW you can quickdraw-and-attack as an opportunity action).

Wizards also get Mage Hand, which lets you put away one item and draw a new one in a single minor action

Also a good catch. However, this means that (unlike with Quick Draw) you need two actions for, say, staff of the warmage: one to have mage hand draw it, one to activate it.

Wouldnt Artificers make a better Batman?

Quite possibly. I'm waiting for that until the Eberron book is out, though; I wouldn't want to base a guide on a preview article. It would seem that the Bard is also a prime candidate. I'm hoping for Master Wands for both, in the AV2.

They would also be better to multiclass into since I think there are a lot of good rods now that the AV has come out.

Yes. There's one that gives you a large amount of temp hp as a minor encounter, and one that lets you Fey Step.

there are not all that many good wizard powers that do not need an attack roll and thus decrease the number of useful wands.

True, but since many good wizard powers are area effects, you can get away with having a lower level wand.

A wizard who lacks either Scorching Burst or Ray of Frost could definitely benefit from the ability to mimic their function when needed.

In that case, I suggest you grab two Master Wands, which are cheaper in the long run and do add your half-a-level bonus to attack.
And... updated first post!
The healer's sash from adventurer's vault is probably a good choice for anyone who doesn't get hit often. I've been playing a staff wizard at tabletop and notice that I rarely use even half of my healing surges every day.
[list][*]Healing potion. Everybody should carry these as emergency. If an ally is down, rather than making a heal check as a standard action, you can use the potion as a minor and still attack. Perhaps not needed if you're multiclassing to a Leader class.

Administering a potion to an unconscious creature is a standard action, actually. PH p255.

Also a good catch. However, this means that (unlike with Quick Draw) you need two actions for, say, staff of the warmage: one to have mage hand draw it, one to activate it.

... I suddenly wonder if this is true by RAW.
Mage Hand: If you are holding the object when you use this power, the hand can move the object into a pack, a pouch, a sheath, or a similar container and simultaneously move any one object carried or worn anywhere on your body into your hand.
Quick Draw: You can draw a weapon (or an object stored in a belt pouch, bandolier, or similar container, such as a potion) as part of the same action used to attack with the weapon or use the object.
The normal minor action used is to draw a weapon. Using Mage Hand to put away one item and draw another is a single minor action. Having Quick Draw makes drawing the weapon/item part of the same action as using it. I kind of doubt this is RAI, but it seems that by RAW you could use Mage Hand to swap weapons/implement/items as part of the action to use the new item.

Now that is freakin' Batman.

Many thanks to you for this thread, btw. I really like it.
Eternal Chalk but no Exodus Knife? Lunacy, sir! Every good wizard should have their own portable Batcave.
You'll probably want to pull the Veteran's Armor, since the errata, I mean update, removed the daily power from it.

And Bard, at least, is now out in the "final" version, as well as the PC version of gnome.
First of all, AWESOME concept thread. I'm totally making a rogue/wizard Batman now!

Second, check out the armor below from Dragon 368, p. 64. Better than the quickdraw feat plus POWER bonus to initiative (meaning this stacks with FEAT bonuses like Improved Initiative and it stacks with ITEM initiative bonuses from items like Casque of Tactics or Clockwork Cowl or Eye of Awareness). Seems pretty Batman to me. What do you think?

Battle Harness Level 4+
Attack first, have your weapons ready, keep your vitals safe—this armor does it all.
Lvl 4 +1 840 gp
Lvl 9 +2 4,200 gp
Lvl 14 +3 21,000 gp
Lvl 19 +4 105,000 gp
Lvl 24 +5 525,000 gp
Lvl 29 +6 2,625,000 gp
Armor: Cloth, Leather, Hide
Enhancement: AC
Property: As a free action, you can draw a sheathed weapon or retrieve a stowed item.
Property: You gain a power bonus to initiative equal to the item’s enhancement bonus.

Edit: This may just be cheeseball antic, but is there anything preventing this batman build from tying his wands to his vest with rawhide or such? Dropping the item just means it dangles at your side...
Found another item:

Earthroot Staff, AV 104, "Property: Against your attacks that impose immobilized, petrified, restrained, or slowed conditions, enemies take a saving throw penalty equal to this staff ’s enhancement bonus."

This would boost Ray of Frost, a handful of encounter powers, and a LOT of wizard dailies. PLUS, its property is not limited to wizard powers. Anyone who multiclasses into wizard could use this for any of their powers that immobilize, petrify, restrain, or slow. Pure win.

On a different note: you may want to pull Swiftshot Crossbow. The errata changed its encounter to a daily. Not nearly as useful as it had been.
Demicache (MOTP, p.150) allows you to have an extra little storage space in your pocket. Not as good as a bag of holding, but hey, who couldn't use really deep pockets?
Transfer Enchantment (AV, p.198) Another great one for the party.
With the advent of PHB2 and AP, I thought it'd be a good idea to update this guide. See above.
First of all, AWESOME concept thread. I'm totally making a rogue/wizard Batman now!


I've also added the Battle Harness, although I prefer a +resist armor.

is there anything preventing this batman build from tying his wands to his vest with rawhide or such?

I suppose not. Technically the rules don't allow you to tie anything to a wand (4E default is that if the rules don't explicitly say that you can, then you can't) and also it's a bit cheesy. How about using a Disembodied Hand familiar instead? Problem solved.

Earthroot Staff, AV 104, "Property: Against your attacks that impose immobilized, petrified, restrained, or slowed conditions, enemies take a saving throw penalty equal to this staff ’s enhancement bonus."

I think it's a great staff because it does nasty things on a crit, and have added it as such.

On a different note: you may want to pull Swiftshot Crossbow. The errata changed its encounter to a daily.

They did? Ouch. Removed it.

Demicache (MOTP, p.150) allows you to have an extra little storage space in your pocket.

Thanks. It's cute in concept but doesn't really seem to do anything. I try to avoid things that have cool fluff but don't really work in terms of rules.
No input, just wanted to say this guide's both hilarious and useful. Thanks for updating it, man.
Found another fantabulous item, this one from Dragon Magazine 375: a Wailing Tome. It has two properties and a daily power. The second property and the daily are so-so, but the FIRST property. . . oh, baby! At-will hit point regeneration without using healing surges!

Wailing Tome
Level: 5
Price: 1000 gp
Implement (Tome)
Enhancement: +1 attack rolls and damage rolls
Critical: +1d6 damage
Property: When you use a wizard psychic or teleportation power, you gain a number of temporary hit points equal to the tome’s enhancement bonus. When this occurs, you can instead elect to be dazed until the end of your next turn. If you do so, you regain a number of hit points equal to the tome’s enhancement bonus plus your choice of your Charisma, Intelligence, or Wisdom modifier.
Property: This tome contains two wizard daily psychic or teleportation powers. Both powers must be of a level equal to or lower than that of the tome. Choose these powers when you acquire the tome; they cannot be changed later. You can add these powers to your spellbook.
(Daily • Arcane, Implement, Psychic or Teleportation): Free Action. Choose a power contained in this tome and expend an unused wizard daily attack or utility power of an equal or higher level. You gain the use of the chosen power during this encounter. The power is lost if you do not use it before the end of the encounter.

Forget the second property and the daily power. The first property allows a wizard with the Illusory Ambush or Phantom Bolt at-will power (both have the "psychic" keyword) to regain hit points without using healing surges. The tome's property does not stipulate "in combat" or "out of combat." In combat, this could be useful if you want to sacrifice a couple of actions and combat advantage, but out of combat, just shoot off a handful of Illusory Ambushes and you're back to full hit points without using healing surges. And it's only a level 5 item. At 1000 gp, it's around the price of a lot of other items on the utility belt.

It does something. It basically makes a floating Bag of Holding that follows you around and lasts for some length of time based on the Arcana check.

That said, it costs 1000 gp to cast. For that same 1000gp, you could make/buy an actual Bag of holding, which holds almost as much stuff and lasts forever.