The Frozen Bolt: Ranger/Pit Fighter/Demigod

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Most of the ranger guides out there push one thing: go for the Greatbow. Even though it has a damage bonus over its cousin the Great Crossbow, the Great Crossbow has a much more important proficiency bonus. The biggest problem, however, is that the Great Crossbow has that really pesky load minor time. While rogues can get around it, it becomes a persistent pain in the neck for rangers whose quarry action is also a minor action so tends to lose out to the Greatbow.

But the Player's Handbook 2 has been released and it gives our crossbow person the things they need to succeed; an improved crit range for bows and crossbows, a flat bonus to attack, and a feat that changes our load time to a free action. Score! So I thought that a guide on how to do a crossbow ranger was in order.

Note on the Equipment: I assumed that this character, in exchange for having the chance to snag higher-level gear, always opts for selecting an item their level or lower. Occasionally they will grab an extra set of gear, but I make sure that they've been banking up the gold to get the extra bit of equipment and on 'off' levels.

Key:
[AV] = Adventurer's Vault
[MP] = Martial Power
[PHB2] = Player's Handbook 2

Level 1

Class: Ranger
Stats: STR(13) DEX(18) CON(11) WIS(18) INT(10) CHA(8)
Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, Leather, Hide
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple Melee, Military Melee, Simple Ranged, Military Ranged
Bonus to Defense: +1 Fortitude, +1 Reflex
HP: 28
AC: 17 FORT: 11 REF: 15 WILL: 14
Attack Bonus: +7
Healing Surges: 6
Racial Skill Bonuses: +2 Nature, +2 Perception
Racial Traits: Elven Weapon Proficiency, Fey Origin, Group Awareness, Wild Step
Class Features: Hunter's Quarry, Prime Shot, Two-Blade Fighting Style
Skills: Acrobatics (+9), Dungeoneering (+9), Nature (+11), Perception (+11), Stealth (+9)
At-Will Powers: Twin Strike, Nimble Strike
Encounter Power: Elven Accuracy (RACIAL), Two-Fanged Strike (1)
Daily Power: Split the Tree (1)
Feat: Weapon Proficiency (Great Crossbow)
Equipment: Great Crossbow, Hide Armor, Adventurer's Kit
Twin Strike Damage: <2> 1d10
Basic Ranged Attack: 1d10+4

The character starts off innocuously enough. Damage is actually pretty low at first level, like all rangers, but a very promising career in striker-dom awaits those willing to stick with it.


Level 2

2nd Level Utility Power: Yield Ground
Feat: Weapon Expertise (Crossbows) [PHB2]
+1 BAB, BDB and checks
+5 hit points
Equipment: +1 Great Crossbow (2)

The character's attack bonus goes up a lot this level and starts to regularly start hitting with both attacks of their Twin strike--average AC for this level is 16 and this character has a +10 bonus to attack.


Level 3

3rd Level Encounter Power: Disruptive Strike
+5 hit points
Equipment: +1 Dwarven Armor (2)

Dwarven Armor is very good low-level armor, since PCs don't have many ways to activate healing surges in the middle of combat at this level. They also gain the staple power Disruptive Strike, which will become very crucial in saving allies' lives for the rest of their career. This power gets retrained in paragon tier, but only to put it on permanent rotation with Reserve Manuever.



Level 4

Ability Scores: +1 to Dexterity, +1 to Wisdom
Stats: STR(13) DEX(19) CON(11) WIS(19) INT(10) CHA(8)
4th Level Feat: Lethal Hunter
+1 BAB, BDB and checks
+5 hit points
Equipment: +1 Cloak of Distortion (4) [AV]

Lethal Hunter is a nice damage boost that gets appreciated more as the character gains levels. The Cloak of Distortion also becomes a staple magic item in the character's arsenal. It's just beastly on ranged characters; it makes you extremely hard to hit by ranged artillery.


Level 5

5th Level Daily Power: Spitting Cobra Stance [MP]
+5 hit points
Equipment: Nothing, take the 1,000 gp cash prize.

Ah, Spitting Cobra Stance how I love thee. Your damage really starts to take a huge jump on novas at this level, but you will have to coordinate with your party members to get the most use out of it. You unfortunately won't get a lot of practice with this power so work out something ahead of time.


Level 6

6th Level Utility Power: Weave Through the Fray
6th Level Feat: Weapon Focus (Crossbow)
+1 BAB, BDB and checks
+5 hit points
Equipment: Level 6 Bracers of Archery (6) [AV]

Very important level for your striker career. You get a damage bonus of +3 on all of your attacks, which means that you're doing damage that makes the monsters really sit up and take notice.


Level 6 Snapshot

Stats: STR(13) DEX(19) CON(11) WIS(19) INT(10) CHA(8)
Class: Ranger
Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, Leather, Hide
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple Melee, Military Melee, Simple Ranged, Military Ranged
HP: 53
AC: 21 FORT: 16 REF: 19 WILL: 18
Healing Surges: 6
Racial Traits: Elven Weapon Proficiency, Fey Origin, Group Awareness, Wild Step
Class Features: Hunter's Quarry, Prime Shot, Two-Blade Fighting Style
Skills: Acrobatics (+12), Dungeoneering (+12), Nature (+14), Perception (+14), Stealth (+12)
At-Will Powers: Twin Strike, Nimble Strike
Encounter Powers: Elven Accuracy (RACIAL), Two-Fanged Strike (1), Disruptive Strike (3)
Utility Powers: Yield Ground (2), Weave Through the Fray (6)
Daily Powers: Split the Tree (1), Spitting Cobra Stance (5) [MP]
Feats: Lethal Hunter, Weapon Expertise (Crossbows) [PHB2], Weapon Focus (Crossbow), Weapon Proficiency (Great Crossbow)
Equipment: +1 Great Crossbow (1), +1 Dwarven Hide Armor (2), +1 Cloak of Distortion (4) [AV], Bracers of Archery (6) [AV], Adventurer's Kit


Level 7

7th Level Encounter Power: Biting Volley [MP]
+5 hit points
Equipment: +2 Dwarven Hide Armor (7)


Level 8

Ability Scores: +1 to Dexterity, +1 to Wisdom
Stats: STR(13) DEX(20) CON(11) WIS(20) INT(10) CHA(8)
8th Level Feat: Speed Loader
+1 BAB, BDB and checks
+5 hit points
Equipment: +2 Frost Great Crossbow (8)

This character snags a Frost Crossbow ahead of time, since even though they can't use it right now they will be getting the Lasting Frost and Wintertouched feats ASAP and don't need to be running around trying to find a Frost weapon in the meantime. Speed Loader is a huge help, but unfortunately it'll end up being the first feat on the chopping block when it's time to retrain.


Level 9

9th Level Daily Power: Attacks on the Run
+5 hit points
Equipment: Boots of Quickness (8) [AV]
Equipment: Belt of Vim (8) [AV]

I picked Attacks on the Run over Jarring Salvo. While it's true that eventually Jarring Salvo would dish out more damage, Jarring Salvo would need to overcome a 32 damage deficit to make it deal more damage than Attacks on the Run. By the time we get to that point, however, Attacks on the Run will already have been replaced by a three-attack daily.


Level 10

10th Level Utility Power: Open the Range
[b]10th Level Feat: Battle Awareness (Heal) [MP]
+1 BAB, BDB and checks
+5 hit points
Equipment: +2 Cloak of Distortion (9) [AV]
Equipment: Circlet of Indomitability (8) [AV]

Why Battle Awareness over Student of the Sword? Not really much of a reason. In the very very long run this character will eventually get a chance to strike in melee in extremely desperate situations and Battle Awareness will work out better. This feat was put off until level 10 to minimize the amount of time the character was spent dealing with a 'dead level'.


Level 11

Ability Scores: +1 to all
Stats: STR(14) DEX(21) CON(12) WIS(21) INT(11) CHA(9)
Paragon Path: Pit Fighter
11th Level Paragon Path Feature: Armor Optimization, +1 to AC
11th Level Paragon Path Feature: Extra Damage Action
11th Level Paragon Path Encounter Power: All Bets Are Off
11th Level Feat: Lasting Frost
Retrain Speed Loader to Wintertouched
+1 to damage rolls from Weapon Focus feat
+11 hit points
Equipment: +3 Dwarven Earthhide Armor (11) [AV]

Huge level for our ranger, probably the best one they get; they're in the top five of DPS now thanks to Lasting Frost and Wintertouched and even enjoy an edge over their bloodclaw/reckless abusing melee buddies since Lasting Frost + constant CA does almost the same damage without the disadvantage. Weapon Focus and Lethal hunter give us another +2 boost to damage and Extra Damage Action makes our novas something to fear. Position-agnostic CA is an okay but not exciting ability for most melee strikers, but for you it becomes your bread and butter and is one of the few ways you can keep up with the attack roll arms race.


Level 11 Snapshot

Stats: STR(14) DEX(21) CON(12) WIS(21) INT(11) CHA(9)
Class: Ranger
Paragon Path: Pit Fighter
Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, Leather, Hide
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple Melee, Military Melee, Simple Ranged, Military Ranged
HP: 84
AC: 26 FORT: 21 REF: 24 WILL: 23
Healing Surges: 7
Racial Traits: Elven Weapon Proficiency, Fey Origin, Group Awareness, Wild Step
Class Features: Hunter's Quarry, Prime Shot, Two-Blade Fighting Style
Paragon Path Features: Armor Optimization, Extra Damage Action
Skills: Acrobatics (+15), Dungeoneering (+15), Heal (+15), Nature (+17), Perception (+17), Stealth (+15)
At-Will Powers: Twin Strike, Nimble Strike
Encounter Powers: Elven Accuracy (RACIAL), Two-Fanged Strike (1), Disruptive Strike (3), Biting Volley (7) [MP], All Bets Are Off (11)
Utility Powers: Yield Ground (2), Weave Through the Fray (6), Open the Range (10)
Daily Powers: Split the Tree (1), Spitting Cobra Stance (5) [MP], Attacks on the Run (9)
Feats: Battle Awareness (Heal) [MP], Lasting Frost, Lethal Hunter, Weapon Expertise (Crossbows) [PHB2], Weapon Focus (Crossbow), Weapon Proficiency (Great Crossbow), Wintertouched
Equipment: +2 Frost Great Crossbow (8), +3 Dwarven Earthide Armor (11) [AV], +2 Cloak of Distortion (9) [AV], Belt of Vim (8) [AV], Boots of Quickness (8) [AV], Bracers of Archery (6) [AV], Circlet of Indomitability (8) [AV], Adventurer's Kit


Level 12

12th Level Paragon Path Utility Power: Deadly Payback
Retrain 3rd Level Encounter Power Disruptive Strike to 3rd Level Encounter Power Cut and Run
12th Level Feat: Reserve Manuever (Disruptive Strike) [PHB2]
+1 BAB, BDB and checks
+5 hit points
Equipment: Salve of Power (10) [AV]

Disruptive Strike now permanently replaces the crummy Pit Fighter power you have and you take Cut and Run instead. That's not a particularly exciting power in of itself, but don't worry, it gets better. You also pick up a salve of healing for better Spitting Cobra Stance abuse.


Level 13

Replace 1st Level Encounter Power Two-Fanged Strike with 13th Level Encounter Power Pinning Strike
+5 hit points
Equipment: +3 Frost Great Crossbow (13)
Equipment: Salve of Power (10) [AV]

Pinning Strike is a humble but important power. Immobilization is an extremely nice status effect to inflict on enemies at range; when you do this to melee-only monsters it's like stunning them for a round. It gets replaced later but will stay with us for a very long time.


Level 14

Ability Scores: +1 to Dexterity and Wisdom
Stats: STR(14) DEX(22) CON(12) WIS(22) INT(11) CHA(9)
14th Level Feat: Speed Loader
+1 BAB, BDB and checks
+5 hit points
Equipment: +3 Earthhide Displacer Armor (14) [AV]
Equipment: Salve of Power (10) [AV]

Displacer Armor is just beastly. When used with your Cloak of Distortion, you are not getting hit at ranged. Ever. Even the occasions when the enemies slip through the frontline and start swarming you aren't going to be so bad, because you have a higher-than-average AC and this power. You also pick up your final Salve of Power at this level, meaning that you can spam Spitting Cobra Stance to your hearts' content. And you know you want to. Also, hello again, Speed Loader! I've missed you.


Level 15

Replace 1st Level Daily Power Split the Tree with 15th Level Daily Power Confounding Arrows
+1 to attack rolls from Weapon Expertise Feat
+5 hit points
Equipment: +3 Cloak of Distortion (14) [AV]

This is your first 'triple up' power and it's a doozy. Lots of damage and if you're especially lucky, it stuns the enemy, too. Fortunately for you, your Weapon Expertise feat just kicked in and has your back.


Level 16

16th Level Paragon Path Feature: Dirty Fighting
16th Level Utility Power: Evade the Blow
16th Level Feat: Great Fortitude
+1 BAB, BDB and checks
+5 hit points
Equipment: Level 16 Bracers of Archery (16) [AV]

This is an OMG huge bonus level to damage. +8 bonus to damage rolls, even bigger than when you got the Lasting Frost combo. Further, this scales rather magnificently, too. The character will never be hurting for damage ever again, but since is the CharOp boards, we will be trying to tune up our character for maximum efficiency anyway.


Level 16 Snapshot

Stats: STR(14) DEX(22) CON(12) WIS(22) INT(11) CHA(9)
Class: Ranger
Paragon Path: Pit Fighter
Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, Leather, Hide
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple Melee, Military Melee, Simple Ranged, Military Ranged
HP: 109
AC: 31 FORT: 28 REF: 29 WILL: 28
Healing Surges: 7
Racial Traits: Elven Weapon Proficiency, Fey Origin, Group Awareness, Wild Step
Class Features: Hunter's Quarry, Prime Shot, Two-Blade Fighting Style
Paragon Path Features: Armor Optimization, Extra Damage Action, Dirty Fighting
Skills: Acrobatics (+19), Dungeoneering (+19), Heal (+19), Nature (+21), Perception (+21), Stealth (+19)
At-Will Powers: Twin Strike, Nimble Strike
Encounter Powers: Elven Accuracy (RACIAL), Disruptive Strike (3), Cut and Run (3), Biting Volley (7) [MP], Pinning Strike (13)
Utility Powers: Yield Ground (2), Weave Through the Fray (6), Open the Range (10), Deadly Payback (12), Evade the Blow (16)
Daily Powers: Spitting Cobra Stance (5) [MP], Attacks on the Run (9), Confounding Arrows (15)
Feats: Battle Awareness (Heal) [MP], Iron Will, Lasting Frost, Lethal Hunter, Reserve Manuever (Disruptive Strike) [PHB2], Speed Loader [PHB2], Weapon Expertise (Crossbows) [PHB2], Weapon Focus (Crossbows), Weapon Proficiency (Great Crossbow), Wintertouched
Equipment: +2 Frost Great Crossbow (8), +3 Displacer Earthide Armor (11) [AV], +2 Cloak of Distortion (9) [AV], Belt of Vim (8) [AV], Boots of Quickness (8) [AV], Bracers of Archery (6) [AV], Circlet of Indomitability (8) [AV], <4> Salves of Power (10) [AV], Adventurer's Kit


Level 17

Replace 3rd Level Encounter Power Cut and Run with 17th Level Encounter Power Pounding Barrage [MP]
+5 hit points
Equipment: Aquamarine Solitaire (16) [AV]

The Aquamarine Solitaire is just the kind of thing you need; it gives you an extra attack, once per encounter, when you score a critical hit. And just to accentuate that, you gain Pounding Barrage, a triple-up power too. This is about the time you start regularly getting critical hits in a fight so the Solitaire is a big help.


Level 18

Ability Scores: +1 to Dexterity and Wisdom
Stats: STR(14) DEX(23) CON(12) WIS(23) INT(11) CHA(9)
18th Level Feat: Iron Will
+1 BAB, BDB and checks
+5 hit points
Equipment: +4 Frost Great Crossbow (18)
Equipment: Iron Ring of the Dwarf Lords (14)

You know what's the 'worst' thing of spamming Spitting Cobra Stance? The healing surge drain. Iron Rings of the Dwarf Lords will help with this.


Level 19

Replace 9th level Daily Power Attacks on the Run with 15th Level Daily Power Bleeding Wounds
+5 hit points
Equipment: +4 Displacer Feyhide Armor (19) [AV]
Equipment: Iron Ring of the Dwarf Lords (14)

Congratulations, Attacks on the Run, you have served us very well but you have finally been outclassed on your sickening amount of damage. Farewell, sweet prince and blah blah blah gimme the damagez.


Level 20

20th Level Paragon Power Daily Power: Lion of Battle
20th Level Feat: Lightning Reflexes
+1 BAB, BDB and checks
+5 hit points
Equipment: +4 Cloak of Distortion (19)
Equipment: Boots of Quickness (18) [AV]


Level 21

Ability Scores: +1 to all
Stats: STR(15) DEX(24) CON(13) WIS(24) INT(12) CHA(10)
Epic Destiny: Demigod
21st Level Epic Destiny Feature: Divine Spark- +2 to Dexterity and Wisdom
Stats: STR(15) DEX(26) CON(13) WIS(26) INT(12) CHA(10)
Retrain 20th Level Feat Lightning Reflexes to Martial Mastery [MP]
21st Level Feat: Bow Mastery [PHB2]
+1 bonus to weapon damage from Weapon Focus feat
+11 hit points
Equipment: Belt of Vim (18) [AV]
Equipment: Circlet of Indomitability (18) [AV]

Really exciting a level for you, but not quite as exciting as levels 11 or 16, in the same way that four scoops of ice cream isn't as good as five. But you do get Bow Mastery [PHB2], probably the best feat you'll ever get. You also see the largest spike in damage and attacks you will ever get. +2 to attacks, +16 to damage on basic attacks and your at-Wills: but you're getting to the point where you don't need to use your At-Wills that often and they do slightly less damage than your 'real' encounter powers. You get access to the nearly-as-awesome Martial Mastery [MP] feat. This feat will really cause your novas to skyrocket. 6 attacks at 1d10+42? Heck yes!


Level 21 Snapshot

Stats: STR(15) DEX(26) CON(13) WIS(26) INT(12) CHA(10)
Class: Ranger
Paragon Path: Pit Fighter
Epic Destiny: Demigod
Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, Leather, Hide
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple Melee, Military Melee, Simple Ranged, Military Ranged
HP: 140
AC: 36 FORT: 33 REF: 35 WILL: 36
Attack Bonus: +27
Healing Surges: 9
Racial Traits: Elven Weapon Proficiency, Fey Origin, Group Awareness, Wild Step
Class Features: Hunter's Quarry, Prime Shot, Two-Blade Fighting Style
Paragon Path Features: Armor Optimization, Extra Damage Action, Dirty Fighting
Epic Destiny Features: Divine Spark (Dexterity and Wisdom)
Skills: Acrobatics (+23), Dungeoneering (+23), Heal (+23), Nature (+25), Perception (+25), Stealth (+23)
At-Will Powers: Twin Strike, Nimble Strike
Encounter Powers: Elven Accuracy (RACIAL), Disruptive Strike (3), Biting Volley (7) [MP], Pinning Strike (13), Pounding Barrage (17) [MP]
Utility Powers: Yield Ground (2), Weave Through the Fray (6), Open the Range (10), Deadly Payback (12), Evade the Blow (16)
Daily Powers: Spitting Cobra Stance (5) [MP], Bleeding Wounds (19), Confounding Arrows (15), Lion of Battle (20)
Feats: Battle Awareness (Heal) [MP], Bow Mastery [PHB2], Iron Will, Great Fortitude, Lasting Frost, Lethal Hunter, Martial Mastery [MP], Reserve Manuever (Disruptive Strike), Speed Loader [PHB2], Weapon Proficiency (Great Crossbow), Weapon Expertise (Crossbows) [PHB2], Weapon Focus (Crossbows), Wintertouched
Equipment: +4 Frost Great Crossbow (18), +4 Displacer Feyhide Armor (19) [AV], +4 Cloak of Distortion (19) [AV], Aquamarine Solitaire (16) [AV], Belt of Vim (18) [AV], (10) Boots of Quickness (18) [AV], Bracers of Archery (16) [AV], Circlet of Indomitability (18) [AV], <2> Iron Rings of the Dwarf Lords (14), <4> Salves of Power, Adventurer's Kit
Twin Strike Damage: <2> 2d10+24
Basic Ranged Attack: 2d10+32


Level 22

22nd Level Utility Power: Master of the Hunt
Retrain 18th Level Feat Great Fortitude to Epic Resurgence
22nd Level Feat: Hawkeye Warrior [MP]
+1 BAB, BDB and checks
+5 hit points

And those novas keep skyrocketing. Your burst damage is getting to the point where you can reliably kill all but the baddest of bads in one or two rounds, with Master of the Hunter here to have your back. You can 'only' kill normal enemies without a real expenditure of anything (including action points) in two rounds. Hawkeye Warrior [MP] becomes a staple of your arsenal, especially when foes start pulling away in AC. This feat has your back. Epic Resurgence is another one of those 'this is a must have' feat that really helps people who dish out a lot of attacks with an expanded crit range. You are one of those people.


Level 23

Replace 7th Level Encounter Power Biting Volley with Manticore's Volley
+5 hit points
Equipment: +5 Frost Great Crossbow (23)

Another triple-attack power. Always freakishly helpful.


Level 24

Ability Scores: +1 to Dexterity and Wisdom
Stats: STR(15) DEX(27) CON(13) WIS(27) INT(12) CHA(10)
24th Level Epic Destiny Feature: Divine Recovery
24th Level Feat: Epic Fortitude [PHB2]
+1 BAB, BDB and checks
+5 hit points
Equipment: +5 Displacer Stalkerhide Armor (24) [AV]

Really? There's not a lot of must-have feats for our crossbow ranger after the first few levels. So I have decided to dedicate these levels to boosting up their weak NADs. It does get a little silly later on, as the ranger will have a reflex and will save greater than their AC and their weakest NAD is only three points away from their AC. Craziness.


Level 25

Do not replace any Ranger Daily Powers
Retrain 16th Level Feat Iron Will to Epic Will [PHB2]
+1 bonus to attack rolls from Weapon Expertise feat
+5 hit points
Equipment: +5 Cloak of Distortion (24) [AV]

That's right. All of the level 25 ranger daily powers SUCK. Tiger's Reflex would be an acceptable, if pathetic power if we weren't packing a better and more replenishable stance already... and frankly, we're starting to get a bit swoll on stances. If it wasn't for the attack bonus from Weapon Expertise this would probably be the most boring level in the game. But you're really starting to feel the pushback from enemies on the attack arms race so, you know.


Level 26

26th Level Epic Destiny Utility Power: Divine Regeneration
26th Level Feat: Epic Reflexes [PHB2]
+1 BAB, BDB and checks
+5 hit points
Equipment: Violet Solitaire (26) [AV]

Ah, Divine Regeneration. It's like pushing the 'I win' button. But would could beat a power that lets you say 'screw you' to the monsters you hate? Why, the humble Violet Solitaire of course. The Aquamarine Solitaire has really served you well up until now, but in conjunction with Bow Mastery [PHB2], it's the dawn of a new era. An era of regularly getting 3 to 4 attacks per turn. An era where you can start and end combat using nothing but the triple-attack powers. It's a glorious era, yes?


Level 26 Snapshot

Stats: STR(15) DEX(27) CON(13) WIS(27) INT(12) CHA(10)
Class: Ranger
Paragon Path: Pit Fighter
Epic Destiny: Demigod
Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, Leather, Hide
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple Melee, Military Melee, Simple Ranged, Military Ranged
HP: 165
AC: 41 FORT: 38 REF: 43 WILL: 42
Attack Bonus: +32
Healing Surges: 9
Racial Traits: Elven Weapon Proficiency, Fey Origin, Group Awareness, Wild Step
Class Features: Hunter's Quarry, Prime Shot, Two-Blade Fighting Style
Paragon Path Features: Armor Optimization, Extra Damage Action, Dirty Fighting
Epic Destiny Features: Divine Spark (Dexterity and Wisdom), Divine Recovery
Skills: Acrobatics (+26), Dungeoneering (+26), Heal (+26), Nature (+28), Perception (+28), Stealth (+26)
At-Will Powers: Twin Strike, Nimble Strike
Encounter Powers: Elven Accuracy (RACIAL), Disruptive Strike (3), Pinning Strike (13), Pounding Barrage (17) [MP], Manticore's Volley (23)
Utility Powers: Yield Ground (2), Weave Through the Fray (6), Open the Range (10), Deadly Payback (12), Evade the Blow (16), Master of the Hunt (22), Divine Regeneration (26)
Daily Powers: Spitting Cobra Stance (5) [MP], Bleeding Wounds (19), Confounding Arrows (15), Lion of Battle (20)
Feats: Battle Awareness (Heal), Bow Mastery [PHB2], Epic Fortitude [PHB2], Epic Reflexes [PHB2], Epic Resurgence, Hawkeye Warrior [MP], Lasting Frost [MP], Lethal Hunter, Martial Mastery, Reserve Manuever (Disruptive Strike) [PHB2], Speed Loader [PHB2], Weapon Expertise (Crossbows) [PHB2], Weapon Proficiency (Great Crossbow), Weapon Focus (Crossbows), Wintertouched
Equipment: +5 Frost Great Crossbow (23), +5 Displacer Stalkerhide Armor (24) [AV], +5 Cloak of Distortion (24) [AV], Boots of Quickness (18) [AV], Belt of Vim (18) [AV], Bracers of Archery (16) [AV], Circlet of Indomitability (18) [AV], <2> Iron Rings of the Dwarf Lords (14), <4> Salves of Power (10) [AV], Violet Solitaire (26) [AV], Adventurer's Kit
Twin Strike Damage: <2> 2d10+25
Basic Ranged Attack: 2d10+33


Level 27

Replace 13th Level Encounter Power Pinning Strike with Triple Shot
Retrain 22nd Level Utility Power Master of the Hunt to Forest Ghost
+5 hit points
Equipment: Shadow Band (27) [AV]

And finally, we replace all of our encounter powers with triple-up attacks. Arrow of Vengeance finally gets picked, to help out with the issue of first strikes. Triple Shot would do a tiny bit more damage but the opportunity to use Manticore's Volley + Spitting Cobra Stance + Arrow of Vengeance in the first round is awesome. You also pick up the Shadow Band at this level and retrain for Forest Ghost. Shadow Band gives you always-on concealment, which is like a +2 bonus to all defenses. Forest Ghost gives you invisibility as long as you have concealment or cover, which is like having instant win.

Why Forest Ghost? Even though Master of the Hunt is a very nice stance to have, the sad fact of the matter is that it dishes out less damage than the level 5 daily, Spitting Cobra Stance. It shines a little bit in first-strike mega-novas, but I value the ability to be practically unhittable once a day more. It also really comes in handy for those rare occasions when you meet an enemy that's frost-immune. Frost is not a common resistance in the MM, but it does happen.


Level 28

Ability Scores: +1 to Dexterity and Wisdom
Stats: STR(15) DEX(28) CON(13) WIS(28) INT(12) CHA(10)
28th Level Feat: Epic Will [PHB2]
+1 BAB, BDB and checks
+5 hit points
Equipment: +6 Frost Great Crossbow (28)
Equipment: Bracers of Archery (26) [AV]

We pick up our final defense-booster at this level and it also comes with a consolation prize of +2 bonus to attack and a +3 bonus to damage.


Level 29

Replace 15th Level Daily Power Bleeding Wounds with 29th level Daily Power Five Missile Dance
+5 hit points
Equipment: +6 Displacer Voidhide Armor (29) [AV]

Five Missile Dance! It's a must-have power, don't get me wrong, but we've been spamming so many attacks up to this point that it's not as OMG AWESOME as you would think. Certainly not as dramatic as grabbing Blade Cascade for the first time, but when you spend an Action Point, activate your Violet Solitaire, and also trigger your Spitting Cobra Stance you dish out 12 attacks on a nova.


Level 30

30th Level Epic Destiny Feature: Divine Miracle
30th Level Feat: Peerless Hunter [MP]
+1 BAB, BDB and checks
+5 hit points
Equipment: +6 Cloak of Distortion (29) [AV]
Equipment: Boots of Teleportation (28) [AV]

Really, this is just our victory lap level. You don't abuse Divine Miracle anywhere near as badly as anyone else, though getting a free reroll on everything else. Instant and constant teleportation is always a goody, but who really cares?


Level 30 Snapshot

Stats: STR(15) DEX(28) CON(13) WIS(28) INT(12) CHA(10)
Class: Ranger
Paragon Path: Pit Fighter
Epic Destiny: Demigod
Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, Leather, Hide
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple Melee, Military Melee, Simple Ranged, Military Ranged
HP: 185
AC: 45 FORT: 42 REF: 45 WILL: 46
Attack Bonus: +36
Healing Surges: 8
Racial Traits: Elven Weapon Proficiency, Fey Origin, Group Awareness, Wild Step
Class Features: Hunter's Quarry, Prime Shot, Two-Blade Fighting Style
Paragon Path Features: Armor Optimization, Extra Damage Action, Dirty Fighting
Epic Destiny Features: Divine Spark (Dexterity and Wisdom), Divine Recovery, Divine Miracle
Skills: Acrobatics (+29), Dungeoneering (+29), Heal (+29), Nature (+31), Perception (+31), Stealth (+29)
At-Will Powers: Twin Strike, Nimble Strike
Encounter Powers: Elven Accuracy (RACIAL), Disruptive Strike (3), Triple Shot (17), Pounding Barrage (17) [MP], Manticore's Volley (23)
Utility Powers: Yield Ground (2), Weave Through the Fray (6), Open the Range (10), Deadly Payback (12), Evade the Blow (16), Forest Ghost (22), Divine Regeneration (26)
Daily Powers: Spitting Cobra Stance (5) [MP], Confounding Arrows (15), Lion of Battle (20), Five Missile Dance (29)
Feats: Battle Awareness (Heal), Bow Mastery [PHB2], Epic Fortitude [PHB2], Epic Reflexes [PHB2], Epic Resurgence, Epic Will [PHB2], Hawkeye Warrior [MP], Lasting Frost, Lethal Hunter, Martial Mastery [MP], Peerless Hunter [MP], Reserve Manuever (Disruptive Strike) [PHB2], Speed Loader [PHB2], Weapon Expertise (Crossbows) [PHB2], Weapon Proficiency (Great Crossbow), Weapon Focus (Crossbows), Wintertouched
Equipment: +6 Frost Great Crossbow (28), +6 Displacer Voidhide Armor (29) [AV], +6 Cloak of Distortion (29) [AV], Belt of Vim (18) [AV], Boots of Teleportation (28) [AV], Bracers of Archery (26) [AV], Circlet of Indomitability (18) [AV], <2> Iron Rings of the Dwarf Lords (14), <4> Salves of Power (10) [AV], Shadow Band (27) [AV], Violet Solitaire (26) [AV], Adventurer's Kit
Twin Strike Damage: <2> 2d10+29
Basic Ranged Attack: 2d10+38

It's been a really long journey for our crossbow ranger, but in the end they ended up ascending and can now with all seriousness call themselves the God(dess) of Archery. This character doesn't end up as broken or as awesome as a Ranger/Pit Fighter/Demigod who abuses the ever-loving crap out of Follow-Up Blow and Trip-Up, but really, what you have is one of the top-five non-nova damagers who can attack from any angle, is insanely hard to hit, and is a beast in skill challenges. I'd definitely say that this character was worth it. I refuse to acknowledge the existence of Divine Miracle and I'm not retooling the character to work around an obviously broken power. If your DM for some reason loses their brain and lets you use it, then make adjustments accordingly.

Just so you know, the average AC for a monster at this level is 44. With the combat advantage from Wintertouched, this character hits monsters of their level on a 6 or greater on the d20 roll, or hits monsters 70% of the time without any assistance. So not bad, eh fellas?
Gah! Beat me to the punch, I was working on a very similar build ever since seeing Reserve Maneuver and Bow Mastery. Looks good, though.

I'm away from my books now, but do Bracers of Archery apply to crossbow attacks? For some reason I'd thought they didn't, which was one of my biggest qualms with multi-attacking crossbow builds.
Gah! Beat me to the punch, I was working on a very similar build ever since seeing Reserve Maneuver and Bow Mastery. Looks good, though.

I'm away from my books now, but do Bracers of Archery apply to crossbow attacks? For some reason I'd thought they didn't, which was one of my biggest qualms with multi-attacking crossbow builds.

They do. If they didn't, though, it wouldn't be particularly hard to rewrite things to support a bow.

I like crossbows better because of the +1 to attack. That bonus is very, very important once you start regularly shooting out three or more arrows in a round.
Wow! Build choices aside, that was a really well-written and formatted build.

I really appreciate this & am now going to have to look over my Ranger notes...

One question: Why Two-Weapon Build & not Archery or Beastmaster?

Also, if you're not going to MC Rogue, then the crossbow is just increasing your to-hit, correct? So, the tradeoff is:
X-Bow: +1 to hit vs. one feat (Speed Loader). (Assuming Steady Shooter ~ Sly Hunter)... I guess I don't get what kind of advantages the crossbow offers.
I like crossbows better because of the +1 to attack. That bonus is very, very important once you start regularly shooting out three or more arrows in a round.

3+ arrows... I assume from the Salves of Power + Spitting Cobra Stance?

I found it interesting that a level 3 encounter power and a level 15 daily power were still used by the level 30 version of this PC.

It really helps to show how the powers don't scale very well according to their supposed level ranking.
Wow! Build choices aside, that was a really well-written and formatted build.

I really appreciate this & am now going to have to look over my Ranger notes...

One question: Why Two-Weapon Build & not Archery or Beastmaster?

The Archery ranger hands out a rather mediocre feat, even to the person who needs it the most. The beastmaster build is generally unusable except for that epic-level power that lets your beast take an attack as a minor action. And that's just too cheesy for me to want to use. The Two-Weapon build hands out Toughness as a bonus feat, which gives an important hit point boost when I'm feeling the feat crunch.

Also, if you're not going to MC Rogue, then the crossbow is just increasing your to-hit, correct? So, the tradeoff is:
X-Bow: +1 to hit vs. one feat (Speed Loader). (Assuming Steady Shooter ~ Sly Hunter)... I guess I don't get what kind of advantages the crossbow offers.

It's strictly the to-hit chance. That +1 to attack is well worth the drop in damage and extra feat over a Greatbow. Especially at higher levels, bonuses to attack up your damage a lot more than an equivalent bonus to damage. Until you shove a monster off of the RNG, every +1 to attack effectively multiplies your damage by 1.05.

I found it interesting that a level 3 encounter power and a level 15 daily power were still used by the level 30 version of this PC.

It really helps to show how the powers don't scale very well according to their supposed level ranking.

It's epidemic to nearly everyone. I think that the most blatant example would have to be a Tempest Fighter/Ranger/Son of Mercy. Their power set is Off-Hand Strike (1), Rain of Blows (3), Parry and Riposte (3), and Trip-Up (7), with any of those stuck into Reserve Manuever. That is completely out of control.

But I mean, really, how many Rangers do you know that trade out Blade Cascade? How many Fighters do you know give up Unyielding Avalanche? How many rogues do you know give up Stunning Strike? Paladins for True Nemesis? Tactical Warlords for Lead the Attack? Though I admit that the last example isn't at all true anymore, for all of the wrong reasons.
If someone could show me how to do a table I could insert a summary of the character's level-by-level stats like hp, attack bonus, so on. I was going to include it initially but... didn't work so hot.
I really like the build.

It's also nice to see both... this is what I took the level of a snap shot, along with here's the snap shot for a given level.

A lot of the builds out there, you have to search through the snapshot to figure out what they took that level.

Very nice build and presented very well too.
Good to see the Pit Fighter option for Archer getting a little love.

The only problem I see in the post is that you might want to go over your level 30 snapshot a little more carefully, there's a couple errors like not having Five-Missile Dance even though you got it at 29 and not changing your number of surges even though you have two Iron Rings of the Dwarf Lord.

Pit Fighters are always good for a nova, mind showing what an Archer would be able to pull off during one?
The beastmaster build is generally unusable

Well, if you went Beastmaster: Raptor, you'd be trading 15hp for the Borderland Marshall's 16th lv ability to mark any quarry, not just the nearest one.

As long as we're not relying on the Prime Shot line of abilities/feats, I really think having an extra ally to help other PCs w/ Flanking, as well as the ability to Mark a not-closest target, are at least worth considering.

(I actually think starting wolf & retraining to Raptor when the Wolf starts dying too much is the way to go)
If to-hit is your focus, why put Str at 13 for Battle Awareness? The melee basic attack isn't much use to you, and you can easily take Skill Training: Heal if you really want it. Since you're not going for Armor Spec: Hide, you can start with 10 11 20 10 16 8. That'd give you an extra +1 to attack, and damage for many powers.

Oh, duh, you're going for Pit Fighter.

Pit Fighter has some interesting synergy with an archer. +1 AC, +15 damage at 30 for your attacks after an AP (which might make Martial Mastery worth keeping), and Dirty Fighting for an extra +9 damage. The powers are mostly meh, except for Deadly Payback (get hit by the BBEG, step back, make 2+ attacks with +2 hit/dam)

As said, you're already down -1 to-hit for the Str. Compared to Battlefield Archer, you miss out on the +1 from Battlefield Experience to your quarry (which, incidentally, CS has ruled applies to everyone in your party). Quarry's Bane is definitely better than Lion of Battle, and you're also missing out on an extra AP every second encounter.

Power choices seem good. With all that wisdom, giving up Master of the Hunt seems to be missing out on a lot. Forest Ghost is just -5 to be hit. Survival vs damage.

If you like the reaction attacks, why Triple Shot over Arrow of Vengeance? Bleeding Wounds is an odd choice, especially over Five Missile Dance. Edit: was only looking at snapshots, looks like you are taking FMD.

Epic Resurgence is inferior to Martial Mastery. Both should generally be trained out by 30 (redundant with Divine Miracle, unless you want to repeat a power before expending others).

The epic defense feats definitely help survival, but you're giving up some damage potential. You're skipping the Prime Shot related feats (Prime Quarry/Imp. Prime Shot, Called Shot). With all that CA, Hunter's Advantage would be a good choice.

Oh, you need 15 Con for Steady Shooter.

Interesting build. I can see the value of Pit Fighter, but it seems like a pretty even tradeoff with Battlefield Archer.
Pit Fighter has some interesting synergy with an archer. +1 AC, +15 damage at 30 for your attacks after an AP (which might make Martial Mastery worth keeping), and Dirty Fighting for an extra +9 damage. The powers are mostly meh, except for Deadly Payback (get hit by the BBEG, step back, make 2+ attacks with +2 hit/dam)

I use the feat Reserve Manuever to replace the useless level 11 encounter attack power with the much more useful Disruptive Strike.

As said, you're already down -1 to-hit for the Str.

Hm?

Compared to Battlefield Archer, you miss out on the +1 from Battlefield Experience to your quarry. Quarry's Bane is definitely better than Lion of Battle, and you're also missing out on an extra AP every second encounter.

Quarry's Bane is a terrible power; I wouldn't pick that over an at-will.

The loss of Archer's Glory really, really hurts, though. There's no getting around that. You miss out on an extra free-action Triple Shot/Manticore's/etc. when you don't have that. Though I still believe that Pit Fighter does more damage on a nova and also over time.

Power choices seem good. With all that wisdom, giving up Master of the Hunt seems to be missing out on a lot. Forest Ghost is just -5 to be hit. Survival vs damage.

Over the course of a battle, Spitting Cobra Stance does more damage than Master of the Hunt except for really high-level novas. The +WIS to attacks, even when you're doing three of them, pales in comparison to a ton of basic attacks as an opportunity action. Master of the Hunt does shine for those first-strike novas when you throw out six or more attacks in a round, but 95% of the time I'd rather have SCS.

If you like the reaction attacks, why Triple Shot over Arrow of Vengeance?

Triple Shot does a tiny bit more damage than Twin Strike + Arrow of Vengeance which is why I originally chose it, but when I think about it I'd like Arrow of Vengeance more since it can also be used when you use Manticore's Volley or one of your dailies. So I'll change it.

Epic Resurgence is inferior to Martial Mastery. Both should generally be trained out by 30 (redundant with Divine Miracle, unless you want to repeat a power before expending others).

I don't believe in Divine Miracle. That feature is completely broken and I'm just going to pretend that it doesn't exist and build my character like I normally would.

Epic Resurgence isn't inferior to Martial Mastery. You want both. Aside from the matter that you won't always have an action point on this character, the biggest deal is that Epic Resurgence triggers on a critical hit and you can't control it. Martial Mastery happens when you spend an action point, which you CAN control.

So your basic strategy is always to open with the encounter power you want most, in case you score a critical hit. If you do, put off using your action point for a round (unless the enemy needs to go down RIGHT NOW). Next round, use the power again and then spend the action point you have, either from your Violet Solitaire going off or if you don't have one yet your regular action point. If your Violet Solitaire did go off, after you use the power spend your 'regular' action point. Voila, you have used the power four times in one encounter.

The epic defense feats definitely help survival, but you're giving up some damage potential. You're skipping the Prime Shot related feats (Prime Quarry/Imp. Prime Shot, Called Shot). With all that CA, Hunter's Advantage would be a good choice.

I'm definitely going to snag Hunter's Advantage now that it's been pointed out, though it's not as critical as, say, Weapon Focus since it doesn't add as much damage.

I'm not a fan of any of the powers that require Prime Shot. If you have a melee person in your party, it's generally useless since they'll always be further up the front line than you. It does have some value if you find yourself surrounded but it's way too situational for me to care about.

Oh, you need 15 Con for Steady Shooter.

Whoops, I thought it was 15 strength. Change'd.

Interesting build. I can see the value of Pit Fighter, but it seems like a pretty even tradeoff with Battlefield Archer.

Pit Fighter Rangers and Battlefield Archer rangers share a weird spectrum. For novas and for protracted battles, the Pit Fighter does better but the Battlefield Archer does better in the first 2-4 rounds.
As said, you're already down -1 to-hit for the Str.

Hm?

You're giving up 2 dex (+1 to hit) to get Pit Fighter in the first place (for the necessary Str), then another +1 to your quarry (and everyone else against that quarry) from Battlefield Experience.

Quarry's Bane is a terrible power; I wouldn't pick that over an at-will.

It would not be unreasonable to quarry 5 enemies over 5 rounds in an encounter. Quarry's Bane then gives you 5 x (3W + static bonuses) damage on one attack (at +1 to hit each target), and still prones them if you miss.

Better than Lion of Battle anyway.

Not knocking your build; just not a tradeoff I personally find appealing.

Over the course of a battle, Spitting Cobra Stance does more damage than Master of the Hunt except for really high-level novas. The +WIS to attacks, even when you're doing three of them, pales in comparison to a ton of basic attacks as an opportunity action. Master of the Hunt does shine for those first-strike novas when you throw out six or more attacks in a round, but 95% of the time I'd rather have SCS.

Have you played with SCS? It's pretty situational. A smart DM isn't just going to let you kite everywhere; they'll either break off & attack other targets, or try to surround/slow/prone you.

I don't believe in Divine Miracle. That feature is completely broken and I'm just going to pretend that it doesn't exist and build my character like I normally would.

Heh.

Epic Resurgence isn't inferior to Martial Mastery. You want both. Aside from the matter that you won't always have an action point on this character, the biggest deal is that Epic Resurgence triggers on a critical hit and you can't control it. Martial Mastery happens when you spend an action point, which you CAN control.

When you're ignoring Divine Miracle, then it has value. For a Battlefield Archer, compared to MM, ER is pretty weak as any attack only has a 10% chance of giving you the effect. Also, by a strict reading of the rules, if you score a crit on anything but the FIRST attack of Twin Strike or Triple Shot or whatever, then you've invalidated ER for that encounter.

I'm definitely going to snag Hunter's Advantage now that it's been pointed out, though it's not as critical as, say, Weapon Focus since it doesn't add as much damage.

Nope, but a flat +2 is nice.

I'm not a fan of any of the powers that require Prime Shot. If you have a melee person in your party, it's generally useless since they'll always be further up the front line than you. It does have some value if you find yourself surrounded but it's way too situational for me to care about.

LordDuskblade's contribution to the discussion of ranger tactics has been to show that the ranger really isn't built to sit in the back with the wizard and plink away. We're meant to be mobile, and not be afraid of position in the front line, eating the OAs we get from doing so (which is why we get Defensive Advantage), and enjoying +2 to hit and +5 damage (Imp. Prime Shot and Called Shot).

Certainly, we can still be effective being a long-range attacker, but there's an incentive to either get up close, or single out a target in the enemy's back line.
You're giving up 2 dex (+1 to hit) to get Pit Fighter in the first place (for the necessary Str), then another +1 to your quarry (and everyone else against that quarry) from Battlefield Experience.

Well, it's not like it's an inherent feature of qualifying for Pit Fighter. The character could've just as easily gone with an 18/13/13/10/10/8 array and just have settled on losing +2 to damage and a -1 on will saves and wis checks in return for a +1 to attacks. Having odd stats is a pet peeve of mine so I didn't, though I see that I could have just raised strength instead and had an extra +1 bonus to fortitude.

As far as Battlefield Archer goes, trading a +1 to hit for a +6 to +9 to damage is definitely worth it. Other classes would hesitate about a trade like this, but archer rangers don't have a lot of rider effects; they can just look at the DPR factor and realize that they end up doing more damage.

It would not be unreasonable to quarry 5 enemies over 5 rounds in an encounter. Quarry's Bane then gives you 5 x (3W + static bonuses) damage on one attack (at +1 to hit each target), and still prones them if you miss.

Better than Lion of Battle anyway.

I'm discounting the +1 to attack because you could still do that with Twin Strike.

Anyway, in 4E, spreading out your damage is a fool's game. Stick to single-target elimination, especially at higher levels. Quarry's Bane is a fool's game; a standard action daily that does [3W] in a burst that only targets foes? If that power was selectable as one of the dailies then no one would pick that; I have a hard time seeing people wanting to use that even if it was an encounter power.

If you don't like Lion of Battle, don't use it. There's no secret pact out there saying that every power has to be used or even that there's a time and place for them. Tempest Fighters for example don't have many powers that they would like to use for heroic tier over Dual Strike.

Have you played with SCS? It's pretty situational. A smart DM isn't just going to let you kite everywhere; they'll either break off & attack other targets,

Which would trigger the SCS.

or try to surround/slow/prone you.

Which would also trigger the SCS.

When you're ignoring Divine Miracle, then it has value. For a Battlefield Archer, compared to MM, ER is pretty weak as any attack only has a 10% chance of giving you the effect. Also, by a strict reading of the rules, if you score a crit on anything but the FIRST attack of Twin Strike or Triple Shot or whatever, then you've invalidated ER for that encounter.

You get an expended encounter power back when you crit on the first attack of anything. Even if you don't get it back right away there's always the chance that you score a lucky critical hit and get your power back.

LordDuskblade's contribution to the discussion of ranger tactics has been to show that the ranger really isn't built to sit in the back with the wizard and plink away. We're meant to be mobile, and not be afraid of position in the front line, eating the OAs we get from doing so (which is why we get Defensive Advantage), and enjoying +2 to hit and +5 damage (Imp. Prime Shot and Called Shot).

Rangers that abuse Salves of Power + Spitting Cobra Stance are going to be really hurting on healing surges. Seriously, if you arrange things so that you can have it all of the time for a four encounter workday, you've only got 3 healing surges to play with the entire day. You end up doing more damage if you stay in the back and don't get in the way of the other party members, because it reduces the chance of you causing the workday to end early.

Certainly, we can still be effective being a long-range attacker, but there's an incentive to either get up close, or single out a target in the enemy's back line.

Not if you're using Spitting Cobra Stance. If you're trading durability for offense, it's your duty to minimize the amount of danger you're in. If you're intentionally exposing yourself to danger in such a state to grab a +2 to attack/+5 to damage then you're going to cause the workday to end early.
I'm discounting the +1 to attack because you could still do that with Twin Strike.

What do you mean?

Stick to single-target elimination, especially at higher levels.

In general, yes, but the arguments for QB are the same as those for Hail of Arrows, which I also like. You're not the only person in your party who's going to be hitting more than one target; and while you will in general over the course of those first 4 rounds be focus-firing with the other strikers, cleaves, OAs, area of effect attacks etc. will be hitting other foes as well. So this just adds on to that, helping soften them up or finish them off.

Which would trigger the SCS.

Only if they're moving toward you. Or are you anticipating your whole group kiting all the targets?

I like SCS too, and have it in my build to 30. But it shouldn't be overestimated. Having another daily stance that adds damage is a good thing.


You get an expended encounter power back when you crit on the first attack of anything. Even if you don't get it back right away there's always the chance that you score a lucky critical hit and get your power back.

Are you reading Epic Resurgence right? It only triggers on the *first* crit of an encounter, and then only if it's the *first* attack roll in a multi-attack power. Like I said, a lenient DM might let you use it after having got a crit on a non-first attack, then later get one that is the first attack roll. But strictly read, you're out of luck if you crit on anything but the first attack roll of a power.
What do you mean?



In general, yes, but the arguments for QB are the same as those for Hail of Arrows, which I also like. You're not the only person in your party who's going to be hitting more than one target; and while you will in general over the course of those first 4 rounds be focus-firing with the other strikers, cleaves, OAs, area of effect attacks etc. will be hitting other foes as well. So this just adds on to that, helping soften them up or finish them off.

But you could've used that time to fire off one of those triple-shot attacks + SCS + Disruptive Strike at five or more targets.

I'm not saying that QB is useless or anything, it's just not a selling point for me. I would definitely only use it after I used up all of the standard action powers I budgeted it for. And since it's a daily with a situational use, it's not much in for it. Yes, it's definitely better than Lion of Battle, but if they replaced the level 20 daily with a blank space I don't think many people would be dissuaded from going BA.

Only if they're moving toward you. Or are you anticipating your whole group kiting all the targets?

That's why you need some coordination with your party. You should have your mates be constantly shifting around. The only requirement is for the enemy to move closer to you, which means that it can be done at a variety of angles without breaking engagement.

I like SCS too, and have it in my build to 30. But it shouldn't be overestimated. Having another daily stance that adds damage is a good thing.

It is, Master of the Hunt is a great stance for multiclassers or for people who don't have their stance slot occupied and for people wanting to nova. It's why I picked that power for levels 22-27 over the others. But since this character really lacks durability, once the Shadow Band became available I picked Forest Ghost for a lot of defensive and offensive versatility. I mean, it's the power to use for those times when your DM drops a cold-resistant monster on you. You'll lose the damage bonus, but you'll still get the Combat Advantage.

Are you reading Epic Resurgence right? It only triggers on the *first* crit of an encounter, and then only if it's the *first* attack roll in a multi-attack power. Like I said, a lenient DM might let you use it after having got a crit on a non-first attack, then later get one that is the first attack roll. But strictly read, you're out of luck if you crit on anything but the first attack roll of a power.

Epic Resurgence
Benefit: The firt time you score a critical hit during an encounter, you regain the use of one encounter attack power of your choice. If you use an attack that targets multiple blah de blah blah.
Interesting build. Seems like an archer that just stands in the back though. Not my cup of tea personally.... I prefer to be moving around the battlefield and optimizing my attack on a single target. This build is good, but it definitely misses out on anything prime shot related. Missing +2 to attack at epic, +5 damage from called shot.

I agree that Quarry's Bane is lame. Even the first first time I read that power before playing 4E I was a annoyed. Why would I want an enemy to go prone if I'm an archer? No half damage on a miss? Then when CS said that battlefield experience only lets you quarry one guy per turn rather than all, it really hurt quarry's bane more.

Nonetheless, I'm with Ziana on the SCS debate you two are having. I've used SCS many times, and it most definitely is over hyped by people that probably have never even used it before. My DM uses great tactics all the time (unless the enemy is a low intelligent being). There are many counters against SCS.
But you could've used that time to fire off one of those triple-shot attacks + SCS + Disruptive Strike at five or more targets.

You can do QB, SCS, and DS in the same round.

I would definitely only use it after I used up all of the standard action powers I budgeted it for.

Sure, and since you need to warm it up by quarrying multiple quarries (with a minor action each), you won't really want to use it until 4+ rounds into combat anyway, when you've used up your other encounter powers and a daily or two.

But since this character really lacks durability, once the Shadow Band became available I picked Forest Ghost for a lot of defensive and offensive versatility.

I'm really not seeing the advantage you are. You're talking two rounds of being -5 to hit. Nice, if you're really trying to avoid being hit, but that shouldn't be terribly frequent anyway.

And I've read Epic Resurgence. You didn't reply to my comment; are you disagreeing with my understanding of how it works?
Nonetheless, I'm with Ziana on the SCS debate you two are having. I've used SCS many times, and it most definitely is over hyped by people that probably have never even used it before. My DM uses great tactics all the time (unless the enemy is a low intelligent being). There are many counters against SCS.

It is extremely important to have to be constantly moving if you abuse Spitting Cobra stance and it's also very important for you to get the cooperation of your buddies. You can't just stand around and fire continually like a dumbdumb.

If you're only exploiting one direction, you're doin it rong. If your frontliners aren't helping you shift the battlefield back, you're doin it rong. You need to constantly stay the best you can at a relative diagonal to an enemy to make it harder for monstahs to move laterally.

And really, it's an opportunity attack. Even if you don't get the enemy that you're targetting, you'll get any enemy that moves closer. It's worth it just for that.
SCS makes a nice combo with a Forceful Bow, Gauntlets of the Ram, and two Rings of Ramming. 4 squares knockback with every hit.
Though, you know what?

I can totally understand people dissing the hell out of SCS, not because it's useful, but because it's too much of an attention hog. If you're facing a pack of 6 fire wolves rushing at you, it slows down combat way too damn much to roll 6 attack rolls, even if you're only doing it once.

I should probably write up an alternate power list selection that ignores the power. It does make a few choices marginally harder, but not by much. We grab some lame 5th level Ranger Daily and swap it out for Bleeding Wounds. The power selection looks a bit different and we hold onto Attacks on the Run for a bit longer.

However, if we're going to do that then with the Iron Rings it makes the character a lot more able to go near melee. We'll have to nix some of the feats to take advantage of prime shot and whatnot. And then we'll have to grab something besides a Displacer Cloak. Probably that +hp cloak.

It's quite a bit of work but I think it'll be worth it.
Oh I wouldn't ignore SCS, I really do think it's great. I just think you're overestimating it, which is why I ask if you've playtested it as you describe using it.

From my experience, getting your whole party to shift every round so you can get bonus damage is an uphill battle.

My only point in questioning it, is that I see Master of the Hunt being useful in different situations.
So, I think (as above) that Beastmaster > TWF for this build, but I see why you might want the HP & just not want to bother with having a pet.

However, I really do think you should consider the Eternal Wanderer ED instead of Demigod. First, when you spend an AP to nova, you get 2 rounds of Nova. Second, it gets around the whole "Nothing good at lv. 25" problem.
22 U - I don't think we're going to do better than what we have.

Lv 23E [Rogue] Crack Shot (MP) - Burst 1 w/in 10. (That's 9 squares. You're not likely to get to make 9 attacks, but you may very well be able to get more than 3).

Lv 25D [Barbarian] Stone Tempest Rage - Crit on an 18. Lasts the encounter.

Lv 26 - a Lv 22 U from another ED. Good candidate: Call The Dead [Shaman]. Amazing Candidate: [Avenger] Twin Step. Teleport 8 squares at the beginning *and end* of your activation.

27 E - Nothing looks better than Triple Shot.

29 E - I'm tempted to grab Assassin's Point from [Rogue], but I think we're better off with Five Missile Dance.

Then at 30th, you get the 24th Lv power from an ED. It's 30th lv, so it's going to be silly. You could be reasonable, and wield an oversized weapon, or else just go ahead and pick one of those "Once per day when you die..." powers.
I use the feat Reserve Manuever to replace the useless level 11 encounter attack power with the much more useful Disruptive Strike.

Is this definitely legal? Do the PP encounter attack powers count as class attack powers? I wouldn't have thought so, except for the fact that as far as I can tell, this is the *only* possible use of the feat, as you can have lower level encounter powers in higher level slots anyway.
Nice build, Gelarshie. I'm not sure on the Reserve Maneuver shenanigans, but I'm open to convincing.

BTW, this is going on the Handbook's reference list.
And I've read Epic Resurgence. You didn't reply to my comment; are you disagreeing with my understanding of how it works?

Yes. It does not say the first critical hit on the first attack roll of an encounter. It's the first critical hit, period, which means that as long as you score a critical hit sometime in the encounter and haven't popped this feat yet, you get an encounter power back. That's crazy good.

Is this definitely legal? Do the PP encounter attack powers count as class attack powers? I wouldn't have thought so, except for the fact that as far as I can tell, this is the *only* possible use of the feat, as you can have lower level encounter powers in higher level slots anyway.

Yes. No. The working on the reserve manuever feat says that you have to ready a class encounter power at the level you want to replace or higher, but it says that you prepare that power instead of the encounter attack power. Which is generic to both classes and PPs.

So, I think (as above) that Beastmaster > TWF for this build, but I see why you might want the HP & just not want to bother with having a pet.

I think that feat that lets your pet attack as a minor action is completely cheesy and that's the only reason you would pick up a Beastmaster ranger on this character. Otherwise you just have a dumb animal you sometimes move around the battlefield hoping that you get a tiny OA, flank sometimes, or get an OA.

However, I really do think you should consieder the Eternal Wanderer ED instead of Demigod. First, when you spend an AP to nova, you get 2 rounds of Nova. Second, it gets around the whole "Nothing good at lv. 25" problem.

The two rounds of Nova is really good, especially with the Violet Solitaire. The problem is that most of the other class abilities are pretty unusuable. If I was going Battlefield Archer then it would pretty much be a shoo-in. But it's not.

Lv 23E [Rogue] Crack Shot (MP) - Burst 1 w/in 10. (That's 9 squares. You're not likely to get to make 9 attacks, but you may very well be able to get more than 3).

If I wanted a burst attack as a ranger (which I don't), I would just pick Hail of Arrows. It's higher level but has a much wider range and also looks badass.

Lv 25D [Barbarian] Stone Tempest Rage - Crit on an 18. Lasts the encounter.

Rages take a standard action to activate, so I doubt that the utility of gaining an extra crit range makes up for the action you lose and the ability to use Confounding Arrows (which stuns).

Lv 26 - a Lv 22 U from another ED. Good candidate: Call The Dead [Shaman]. Amazing Candidate: [Avenger] Twin Step. Teleport 8 squares at the beginning *and end* of your activation.

Call The Dead sucks as a power. You don't want it; not even a real leader would use it.

Twin Step is a pretty okay power, but it's not a killer app by any means. It's a great power on a melee character trying to get to the back lines and nova the son-of-a-gun, but for rangers its utility is mostly just trying to get out of trouble. And you have some less resource-intensive options if you want that.

29 E - I'm tempted to grab Assassin's Point from [Rogue], but I think we're better off with Five Missile Dance.

Assassin's Point really, really bites if you don't have sneak attack or a way to reliably crit and even then it's not as good at a level 15 daily that lets you shoot three arrows. Assassin's Point honestly will do less damage for this character than an At-Will.
Yes. No. The working on the reserve manuever feat says that you have to ready a class encounter power at the level you want to replace or higher, but it says that you prepare that power instead of the encounter attack power. Which is generic to both classes and PPs.

And I read it so carefully before asking... Thank you.
Level 5

Equipment: Nothing, take the 1,000 gp cash prize.

Just because you get SCS awesomeness here, don't forget about the Power Jewel, a level 5 item in AV. After you've reached a milestone, you can regain the use of Disrupting Strike to use a second time in an encounter, which is useful forever.

Power (Daily): Minor Action. This power allows you to regain the use of an encounter power of 1st or 3rd level.
Special: You must have reached at least one milestone today to activate this item.

You may want to take note, Gelarshie, your armor is invalid until displacer. Dwarven can't apply to hide, only chainmail, scale, and plate. You also might want to fix the fact that you lost a dwarven ring for the shadowband, so you don't have two dwarven rings equipped.

Edit: Also, can you post a damage breakdown, I built your epic level ranger in the char builder, but it says twin shot is only 2d10+10 dmg, although it seems to want to only add +1 for wisdom from pitfighter.

Edit 2: My bad, I can get 2d10 + (6 - Superior Crossbow) + (3 - Weapon Focus) + (9 - Wis Mod.) + (6 - Bracers of Archery) + (5 - Lasting Frost). The character builder hates me...

If someone can show me how to do the spoiler block (I'm half retarded when it comes to forum formatting) I can show a party that I've played in at level 16 for a weekend long fight that shows how ridiculously strong SCS is when a party optimizes around it.


I love the power and when your party works with it it can add TONS of damage to an encounter although it does make take alot of time in between PC turns.


 


Edit: HA! I necro'd this thread! Win.

Holy thread resurrection, Kuoh.

Isn't the discussion on SCS more appropriate for the Ranger's Handbook? (hint, hint)

Also, this is the code for sblocks, substituting these () for these [], of course:

(sblock=Whatever Title You Want)
(/sblock)

lol. I guess you're probably right, LDB. (Not that I'm suprpised seeing as how often you're right when it comes to everything char op related.)


I'll put it in the ranger handbook as well i just thought after rereading this thread earlier today that Gelarshie and Z might be interested to see how this party played out. (Also I think this thread deserved a bump.)

Adran rogue

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Adran, level 16
Elf, Rogue, Daggermaster
Build: Brawny Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Brutal Scoundrel
Background: Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 18, Con 11, Dex 24, Int 9, Wis 14, Cha 11.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 14, Con 10, Dex 18, Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 10.


AC: 31 Fort: 26 Reflex: 32 Will: 24
HP: 111 Surges: 6 Surge Value: 27

TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +22, Thievery +23, Athletics +19, Dungeoneering +15, Acrobatics +22, Perception +17, Nature +17

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +7, Bluff +8, Diplomacy +8, Endurance +8, Heal +10, History +7, Insight +10, Intimidate +8, Religion +7, Streetwise +8

FEATS
Level 1: Backstabber
Level 2: Warrior of the Wild
Level 4: Weapon Focus (Light Blade)
Level 6: Weapon Expertise (Light Blade)
Level 8: Two-Weapon Fighting
Level 10: Adept Power
Level 11: Two-Weapon Opening
Level 12: Two-Weapon Defense
Level 14: Rogue Weapon Mastery
Level 16: Melee Training (Dexterity)

POWERS
Rogue at-will 1: Piercing Strike
Rogue at-will 1: Deft Strike
Rogue encounter 1: Sly Lunge
Rogue daily 1: Blinding Barrage
Rogue utility 2: Fleeting Ghost
Rogue encounter 3: Low Slash
Rogue daily 5: Driving Assault (retrained to Spitting-Cobra Stance at Adept Power)
Rogue utility 6: Ignoble Escape
Rogue encounter 7: Imperiling Strike
Rogue daily 9: Knockout
Rogue utility 10: Combat Tumbleset
Rogue encounter 13: Stunning Strike (replaces Sly Lunge)
Rogue daily 15: Garrote Grip (replaces Blinding Barrage)
Rogue utility 16: Denying Stance

ITEMS
Magic Dagger +3, Shadowdance Drowmesh +3, Torc of Power Preservation +3, Iron Armbands of Power (heroic tier), Rogue's Gloves (paragon tier), Sandals of Precise Stepping (heroic tier), Circlet of Indomitability (heroic tier), Diamond Cincture (heroic tier), Vicious Dagger +4
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Enna ranger

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Enna, level 16
Elf, Ranger, Sharpshooter
Build: Beastmaster Ranger
Fighting Style: Beast Mastery
Beast Companion Type: Wolf
Background: Impiltur (Impiltur Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 14, Con 12, Dex 22, Int 11, Wis 22, Cha 9.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 11, Dex 16, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 8.


AC: 31 Fort: 27 Reflex: 28 Will: 27
HP: 109 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 27

TRAINED SKILLS
Nature +21, Athletics +16, Acrobatics +20, Perception +21, Stealth +20

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +8, Bluff +7, Diplomacy +7, Dungeoneering +14, Endurance +8, Heal +14, History +8, Insight +14, Intimidate +7, Religion +8, Streetwise +7, Thievery +13

FEATS
Level 1: Lethal Hunter
Level 2: Beast Protector
Level 4: Weapon Proficiency (Greatbow)
Level 6: Weapon Focus (Bow)
Level 8: Weapon Expertise (Bow)
Level 10: Distant Advantage
Level 11: Distant Shot
Level 12: Fleet-Footed
Level 14: Running Shot
Level 16: Sturdy Beast

POWERS
Ranger at-will 1: Twin Strike
Ranger at-will 1: Nimble Strike
Ranger encounter 1: Two-Fanged Strike
Ranger daily 1: Hunter's Bear Trap
Ranger utility 2: Yield Ground
Ranger encounter 3: Disruptive Strike
Ranger daily 5: Spitting-Cobra Stance
Ranger utility 6: Weave Through the Fray
Ranger encounter 7: Biting Volley
Ranger daily 9: Attacks on the Run
Ranger utility 10: Blood of the Fallen
Ranger encounter 13: Pinning Strike (replaces Two-Fanged Strike)
Ranger daily 15: Confounding Arrows (replaces Hunter's Bear Trap)
Ranger utility 16: Evade the Blow

ITEMS
Forceful Greatbow +4, Feytouched Feyhide Armor +4, Torc of Power Preservation +3, Bracers of Archery (heroic tier), Sandals of Precise Stepping (heroic tier), Gauntlets of the Ram (heroic tier), Eagle Eye Goggles (paragon tier), Diamond Cincture (heroic tier)
RITUALS
Raise Beast Companion
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Lucan fighter

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Lucan, level 16
Elf, Fighter, Shock Trooper
Build: Guardian Fighter
Fighter Talents: Tempest Technique
Background: Impiltur (Impiltur Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 20, Con 12, Dex 22, Int 11, Wis 16, Cha 9.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 11, Dex 16, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 8.


AC: 31 Fort: 29 Reflex: 28 Will: 24
HP: 121 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 30

TRAINED SKILLS
Endurance +15, Heal +16, Athletics +20, Stealth +21

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +13, Arcana +8, Bluff +7, Diplomacy +7, Dungeoneering +11, History +8, Insight +11, Intimidate +7, Nature +13, Perception +13, Religion +8, Streetwise +7, Thievery +13

FEATS
Level 1: Warrior of the Wild
Level 2: Weapon Proficiency (Drow Long Knife)
Level 4: Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Level 6: Weapon Focus (Heavy Blade)
Level 8: Two-Weapon Fighting
Level 10: Adept Power
Level 11: Agile Superiority
Level 12: Two-Weapon Opening
Level 14: Reckless Attacker
Level 16: Heavy Blade Opportunity

POWERS
Fighter at-will 1: Dual Strike
Fighter at-will 1: Footwork Lure
Fighter encounter 1: Passing Attack
Fighter daily 1: Tempest Dance
Fighter utility 2: Pass Forward
Fighter encounter 3: Hesitation Slash
Fighter daily 5: Rain of Steel
Fighter utility 6: Settling the Score
Fighter encounter 7: Hampering Flurry
Fighter daily 9: Jackal Strike (retrained to Spitting-Cobra Stance at Adept Power)
Fighter utility 10: Menacing Stance
Fighter encounter 13: Storm of Blows (replaces Passing Attack)
Fighter daily 15: Serpent Dance Strike (replaces Tempest Dance)
Fighter utility 16: Regnant Shout

ITEMS
Jagged Drow Long Knife +4, Master's Blade Drow Long Knife +3, Sylvan Earthhide Armor +3, Torc of Power Preservation +3, Iron Armbands of Power (heroic tier), Boots of Sand and Sea (heroic tier), Belt of Endurance (heroic tier), Shadowdancer's Gloves (paragon tier), Eagle Eye Goggles (paragon tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======



Rolen seeker

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Rolen, level 16
Elf, Seeker, Twilight Guardian
Build: Vengeful Seeker
Seeker's Bond: Bloodbond

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 12, Con 14, Dex 22, Int 9, Wis 22, Cha 11.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 11, Con 13, Dex 16, Int 8, Wis 16, Cha 10.


AC: 29 Fort: 23 Reflex: 29 Will: 28
HP: 101 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 25

TRAINED SKILLS
Nature +21, Stealth +19, Perception +26, Acrobatics +21, Athletics +16

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +7, Bluff +8, Diplomacy +8, Dungeoneering +14, Endurance +10, Heal +14, History +7, Insight +14, Intimidate +8, Religion +7, Streetwise +8, Thievery +14

FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Greatbow)
Level 2: Warrior of the Wild
Level 4: Weapon Focus (Bow)
Level 6: Weapon Expertise (Bow)
Level 8: Eyes of the Spirits
Level 10: Adept Power
Level 11: Inevitable Volley
Level 12: Fleet-Footed
Level 14: Running Shot
Level 16: Distant Shot

POWERS
Seeker at-will 1: Stinging Swarm
Seeker at-will 1: Thorn Cloud Shot
Seeker encounter 1: Flickering Arrow
Seeker daily 1: Storm of Spirit Shards
Seeker utility 2: Nature Sense
Seeker encounter 3: Winter Spirit
Seeker daily 5: Ensnaring Shot (retrained to Spitting-Cobra Stance at Adept Power)
Seeker utility 6: Earthbond Gift
Seeker encounter 7: Wasp Sting Shot
Seeker daily 9: Binding Shot
Seeker utility 10: Sheltering Underbrush
Seeker encounter 13: Swarming Spirits (replaces Flickering Arrow)
Seeker daily 15: Wave of Sleep (replaces Storm of Spirit Shards)
Seeker utility 16: Sure Sight

ITEMS
Forceful Greatbow +4, Bracers of Archery (heroic tier), Gauntlets of the Ram (heroic tier), Boots of Striding (heroic tier), Headband of Perception (paragon tier), Salve of Power (heroic tier) (2), Shadowdance Drowmesh +3, Torc of Power Preservation +3, Dynamic Belt (heroic tier), Endless Quiver - Kamestiri Uniform (heroic tier), Watcher's Horn (heroic tier), Power Jewel (heroic tier), Pouch of Platinum (heroic tier), Bag of Holding (heroic tier), Demonskin Tattoo (heroic tier), Adventurer's Kit, Camouflaged Clothing, Chain (10 ft.), Climber's Kit, Flint and Steel, Hunter's Kit, Inquisitive's Kit, Lyre, Identification Papers with Portrait, Glass Cutter
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======


Shava cleric

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Shava, level 16
Elf, Cleric, Seldarine Dedicate
Build: Devoted Cleric
Background: Impiltur (Impiltur Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 9, Con 12, Dex 22, Int 11, Wis 22, Cha 14.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 11, Dex 16, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 13.


AC: 31 Fort: 24 Reflex: 27 Will: 29
HP: 109 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 27

TRAINED SKILLS
Religion +13, Diplomacy +15, Insight +19, Heal +19, Stealth +18

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +13, Arcana +8, Bluff +10, Dungeoneering +14, Endurance +8, History +8, Intimidate +10, Nature +16, Perception +16, Streetwise +10, Thievery +13, Athletics +6

FEATS
Cleric: Ritual Caster
Level 1: Warrior of the Wild
Level 2: Divine Rage
Level 4: Focused Expertise (Longbow)
Level 6: Weapon Focus (Bow)
Level 8: Healer's Implement
Level 10: Adept Power
Level 11: Coordinated Explosion
Level 12: Defensive Healing Word
Level 14: Shielding Word
Level 16: Gambler's Word

POWERS
Channel Divinity: Turn Undead
Cleric at-will 1: Sacred Flame
Cleric at-will 1: Astral Seal
Cleric encounter 1: Divine Glow
Cleric daily 1: Beacon of Hope
Cleric utility 2: Return from Death's Door
Cleric encounter 3: Command
Cleric daily 5: Iron to Glass (retrained to Spitting-Cobra Stance at Adept Power)
Cleric utility 6: Spirit of Healing
Cleric encounter 7: Searing Light
Cleric daily 9: Blade Barrier
Cleric utility 10: Reverent Mettle
Cleric encounter 13: Mantle of Glory (replaces Divine Glow)
Cleric daily 15: Tree of Creation (replaces Beacon of Hope)
Cleric utility 16: Cloak of Courage

ITEMS
Ritual Book, Forceful Longbow +4, Feytouched Feyhide Armor +4, Torc of Power Preservation +3, Bracers of Archery (heroic tier), Boots of the Fencing Master (heroic tier), Gloves of the Healer (paragon tier), Resplendent Circlet (heroic tier), Salve of Power (heroic tier)
RITUALS
Gentle Repose
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Ok so the basic idea is EVERYONE gets their hands on Spitting Cobra Stance. We started at 16 and only played for a single weekend but it's been one of the most fun run's I've had. Two 8 hour sessions got in a lot of play time. These aren't 100% optimized but we were also trying to keep with a theme which you'll probably pick up on right away. Everyone played an elf and we all tried to get a fairly high stealth. We were to be a commando squad assigned to take out key targets through stealth and ambush. It worked out really well primarily because of how epic a lose/lose situation you can set up with lots of SCS.


Unfortunately the three bow wielders didn't get to add extra crit dice due to thier weapons being forceful however each one pushed with every attack. When we came up against melee only or melee heavy encounters we almost always got the drop on them (only once did we not get a surprise round. :D) and would set up in advance of them before having everyone adopt SCS. The melee members would try their best to come to grips with us but each one would be taking 3-5 SCS attacks for moving into range. The bow users did the highest damage while pushing them back out of our little circle o' death. With some careful positioning we were mostly able to keep them away from our firing line and if they did manage to make it to the line the Fighter and rogue would pounce (and the stupid wolf i couldn't talk our ranger out of.) on the nearest enemy and maul it to pieces in one or two rounds. Everyone had at least a 10 range and while the fighter and rogue couldn't get in a "gun fight" with any ranged enemies and hope to come out on top they could concentrate on those melee enemies approaching while the ranged characters shot the enemy artillery into pieces.


This was a really fun and effective group mostly because we all worked together and had the same gameplan revolving around SCS. The few times the party wasn't able to set up this firing line and use/abuse it for fun and profit we were still able to work as a fairly decent party given that we each fulfilled our rolls individually as well. The rogue and fighter were definately built melee focused so they +that dumb wolf were able to do great damage and keep the front lines busy while the cleric, ranger, and I (i played Rolen the Seeker) offered healing when it was needed, huge ranged single-target damage, and decent control (respectively) from a distance. It was my first time playing a seeker so it may not be optimized to the LDB standards but i think the ability to use the seeker's at-will attacks with SCS was a huge boost and some of their powers i thought were pretty awesome. Definately a big fan of the class. I don't usually (as in never before) play controllers but I'm definately looking forward to this class being fully released.

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