VOLDEMONTE AND NIGIRI
The release of the revenant race a while back allowed the Ranger-Lich
idea to be reborn again, which I originally posted here
Essentially, revenants allow us to 1) Actually be undead and 2) Able to operate indefinitely when at negative hit points. So it's actually worth posting a full build now, both for flavor and game mechanic reasons.
The build is simple:
Revenant Ranger (Beastmaster) / Avenging Haunt / BeastlordKey concept
: She stays at 0 hit points all the time, does not ever fall unconscious due to Avenging Haunt, and does not ever die due to Beastlord, no matter how negative she goes. Depending on how cheesy she wants to be with his companion, she can become entirely immune to death and cannot be targeted by any powers. For this reason, Voldemonte is even more powerful than infinite damage loops Demigods, since she can actually take infinite damage.
In a nutshell:
1) Normal Play
. In heroic and paragon, she plays like any other ranged beastmaster character. I'd start with a 18 Dex / 16 Con / 14 Wis (or some variation thereof) and a greatbow. She shoots his bow and does stuff. Between multistriking with the greatbow, hunter's quarry, and the reaping combo (see next point), which builds up over time as she levels, she has a very nice damage output.
The cheese really kicks in at 24th level, but even if you don't want to take advantage of the gross abusability of this build, it's actually still a fun and effective character to play across all levels.
2) Demi-encounter novas with The Reaping Combo
. Hunter's Quarry + Reaper's Strike
+ Dark Reaping
+ Reaper's Quarry
+ Cull the Weak
+ Double Reaping
+ Dark Feasting
= nice damage (and nice temp hp too).
Trigger: Anyone becomes bloodied or drops below 0 hp (from Cull the Weak). Can trigger twice per combat (from Reaping Renewal).
Result: Voldemonte fires off a multihit barrage at our quarry.
Lets assume an average AC of 44 for 30th level monsters, which is about right for the level according to the Compendium.
Let's say our quarry that we're fighting just knocked us below 0 (we never heal above 0, so all we need to do is take a point of damage from him), so we're going to pop off our demi-encounter alpha strike (which means no dailies or item powers, just encounters and an action point). If we'd like we can provoke OAs from the target to get them to damage us, so that our Death's Reprisal and Dark Reaping can both trigger. (Damage doesn't matter much to us anyway, but we are always insubstantial, so we take half from the attack.)Demi-encounter nova:
We'll trigger dark reaping (free action), activate Bravo (minor), follow it up with a Manticore's Volley (standard), followed by an action point Pounding Barrage (standard), followed by three beast attacks (minor, minor, and encounter free), a Lightning Shot (immediate reaction) during an ally's turn, and then finally to finish off the combo, a twin shot (standard) and three beast attacks (minor, minor, minor) in the next round. We'll also assume our allies hit the target about 5 times in the meantime too. The range on this could be anywhere from 2 squares to 50 as long as we're getting hit, or within 10 if we want to trigger off someone else getting bloodied.Damage Analysis
: Calculating the conditional probability of all the attacks would be a lot of effort for not a lot of accuracy gain, but the percentages should be pretty close to accurate, and the odds of all attacks missing (for hunter's quarry, etc.) is well below 1%, so we'll just assume we always get at least one hit off.
To hit bonus:
+2 Death's Reprisal
+6 Enhancement Bonus (Radiant Greatbow)
+3 Weapon Expertise
+2 Combat Advantage (almost always on from Dire Wolf mount or Shadow Band)
+2 on first attack from Reaper's Strike.
Attacks ignore cover and concealment (Gloves of Accuracy) and have no range penalty (Longshot Gloves) by spending minor actions.
+6 Enhancement Bonus
+6 Radiant Damage (property of Radiant Greatbow)
+3 Weapon Focus
+6 Bracers of Archery
Alternative: We could use a frost weapon to get a +2 bonus to hit for four rounds of combat (via Reaping Synergy
and Chill of the Grave
) as well as benefiting from frostcheese, but, frankly, I've made enough builds with lasting frost, etc. It would cost four more feats (which we have room for, honestly - we could drop Dark Feasting, Dark Blessing, etc., without losing very much), but would be pretty much superior to the radiant greatbow.
Crit Chance: 10% (19-20 crit range via Bow Mastery)
Crit Damage: 12x[W]+31+6d6 = 1[W]: 63. 2[W]: 75. 3[W]: 87.
Manticore's Volley: +42/+40/+40 vs AC, for 1d12+31 damage per hit + 1d12 if two hit (roughly 35% chance) + 2d12 if three hit (40% chance). DPR = .3 * 63 (crit chances) + 2.2 * 37.5 (normal attacks) + .35 * 6.5 + .4 * 13 (bonus dice) ~= 109 DPR
Pounding Barrage: +40/+40/+40 for 1d12+31 per hit, +1d6 if two or more hit (75% chance), +immobilizing if all three hit (52% chance) ~= 105 DPR.
Lightning Shot (assuming target is bloodied): +40 for 3d12+31 damage = .1 * 87 + .7 * 50.5 ~= 44 DPR.
Beast Attacks (using a wolf): +34/+34/+34 for 1d8+13 damage. .3 * 21 + 1.2 * 17.5 ~= 27DPR (Anyone want to optimize this further? This damage is very anemic.)
Plus one-time damages:
+3d8 (hunter's quarry) = 13.5 DPR
+1d8+11 (dark reaping) + 1d8+11 (to adjacent foe from Double Reaping) + 5 x (the number of hits everyone gets on the target until the end of next turn from Reaper's Quarry, estimated at 20) = 80 DPR (65.5 single target) and 80 temp hp (just because it's cool - we don't really need temps).
=394 damage for the first round's efforts.
(Not bad for not using any stances, dailies, or item powers, eh?)
Twin Strike: +40/+40 for 2d12+23 = .2 * 75 + 1.4 * 36 = 65DPR
Beast Attacks: 27 DPR
One-time damages (just hunter's quarry now): 13.5 DPR
Sustained DPR will be about 10% less (~90 DPR) due to Bravo wearing off. However, we can
Dark Reaping a second time in this combat, for another ~60DPR boost.
But we're getting pretty far afield. The damage analysis just is to show that she's no slouch when it comes to DPR - she could have next to no DPR and still be able to kill anything, because she can't die
. If you want to boost the nova even further, switch the radiant greatbow to frostcheese, as described above. But I've been sort of on a radiant kick, recently, what with all the undead we've been fighting.The "She Can't Die" Analysis
There's four ever-increasing levels of cheese that you can use with this build. How far you want to go is entirely up to you and your DM. They're all perfectly rules legal, but most sensible DMs will have their head explode if you try to go too far with this.Cheese Factor 1: No optimization
. By default, here's how she works:
1) She never goes unconscious
from being in negatives from level 16 onward. From 11th to 15th you can take a feat (Fierce Vitality) which will prevent you from going unconscious until you fail
two death saves - and there are ways to powergame your death save so you never fail, so you can mess with that in that level range. If you don't want to be an Avenging Haunt at all, you can use Fierce Vitality + Life Charm to never go unconscious.
2) The Yo-Yo
. In heroic, she can take a standard action while unconscious. In paragon, a standard and a minor. In epic, a standard, two minors, and a move, AND is insubstantial (via Ghostly Vitality). Pre-level 16, it's probably best to use your actions to drink a potion or something (Quick Draw is nice for this) so you can keep running. At level 21+, though, there's almost no reason not to stay at 0 hit points all the time. Since you're permanently insubstantial, a monster would have to deal your full hit points in damage before you take even a single point of healing (Battle Standards of Healing are your best friend), and even if they do somehow manage that, you can use things like Adamant Recovery to immediate-interrupt pop your hit points back into the positives. You can play the hit point Yo-yo all day long, and consume next to no party resources to heal yourself to "full" (i.e. 1 hp) any time you dip dangerously low.
The only reason I even bothered with Dark Feasting was for people wanting to Yo-Yo - temp hp don't actually cause you to go positive, so you get all the benefits of being in negatives (such as insubstantial) while rocking the 80 temps or so you get from Dark Feasting.
It's here I should mention the possible cheese with the Shroud of Protection
. Essentially, you apply it to a "dying" creature to gain resist 20 to all damage. =) =) No reasonable DM would let it work, though, since it stops working when a creature "regains" consciousness - but if you never lost consciousness, how can you regain it?
The non-cheesy way of doing this is with a Belt of Sonnlinor Righteousness
- it provides 10/20/30 resist all when at <= 0 hit points.
3) Enter the Beastlord
. The 24th level Beastlord ability allows you to redirect all effects directed at you to 1) Yourself, 2) Your Pet, or 3) Both. (It's also not an action to do so.) This means nearly any time a monster shoots you, you can redirect the attack to your pet as long as it is within 20 squares of you and visible. (On the latter topic, I'd recommend picking up darkvision somehow, and ideally tremorsense or other sight - you don't want a darkness to kill you). Orcus whacks you with a touch of death? Redirect it to your pet. You and your pet get fireballed? Sorry, just your pet gets fireballed. You're chaotic evil, and your pet is too, so it is okay with the punishment - besides, you give it immortality, too. The only things you need to watch out for are forced movement/teleportation effects that take your pet out of range (there's not many that can move a target 20 squares though) and maybe domination effects (though you'll have Quick Recovery, which means your pet gets immediate saving throws every time they're hit by something). But even if your pet gets dominated, all you have to do is stay within 20 squares of him - it can't even attack you without you able to reflect it back to him. =)
On this topic, the first build I made for Voldemonte was actually a Ranger/Wizard with a snake companion (hence the name, if you were wondering). The Planeshifter PP has an ability that blocks all teleportation within 5 squares, so it was a solution to the teleport problem. But I don't think it's serious enough to worry about.
Some people try to argue that being targeted by an enemy attack requires a 'target' line in the power block, but I've convincingly demonstrated this isn't true. Just being attacked by a power makes you a target of the power, so it's eligible to be redirected to the pet. (Seriously - don't try to argue this. Just read through the original thread on the Ranger Lich, from the first hyperlink on the top of this article.)
So, essentially, when you hit 24th level, there's almost nothing in the game that can kill you, except maybe lava or diseases or something. You're almost there...
4) Enter Immortality
. Most Epic Destinies have a "Immortality" line for how your character becomes immortal after the game is over. For the Beastlord, immortality comes at level 30 instead. You literally cannot die (and neither can your pet) unless both of you drop negative. Even if you're playing this character with the minimum of cheese, this is pretty powerful stuff. Suddenly your character can run around at negative infinite hit points, and can't die, and won't fall unconscious either. You just have to keep your pet alive, and when they have 250hp or so, plus whatever kind of barding or damage resistance you can give them, monsters can waste a lot of time trying to kill - and let us use the right terminology here - your phylactery
. And if they are getting close to killing your pet, you pop off a heal on yourself, and now your pet can't die. They can keep beating on that
dead horse as long as they want - it won't go down. =)
As you can see, even with the absolute minimum of cheese, this is incredibly powerful. Now - let's optimize
.Cheese Factor 2: The Sequestered Pet
Leave your pet somewhere safe - in the home plane of your god (or maybe a Good god, if your's isn't so nice, what with you being a lich and all), or in your castle, or hidden via a Sequester spell (conveniently enough also available via the Planeshifter PP) which the pet chooses to fail his saves on constantly, or in an extradimensional space, like a Bag of Holding. It doesn't matter.
What matters is that with Baloo safely hidden back at home, or in the jungle, or hanging out with Pelor in his not-lawful-anymore heaven, he's not in combat
. Which means you can be hit for a couple trillion points of damage in a round, and be okay. Because Baloo's still keeping it real out there
Since you stay conscious and act freely at negative hit points, you are immortal. You're like the highlander, but without that annoying vulnerability to swords.
In fact, if you take both Death's Quickening and Ghostly Vitality, you end up with an extra minor action a round, so it's better to stay negative whenever you can. It's worth a free extra attack with your pet, if nothing else. Also, when you stay at zero, it means you get +2 to attack for two rounds whenever an enemy damages you, and lets you use your Dark Reaping whenever you want.Cheese Factor 3: The Pocket Monster
You keep your pet in an extradimensional space where you can see it, but monsters cannot. You are free to use your creativity, but I'd recommend just sticking Mr. Wolf in your bag of holding, and then taping it over one of your eyes. (Hi Mr. Wolf!)
Thereafter, whenever an enemy attacks you, you redirect the attack to your pet inside of the bag. It might go negative (or severely negative) but it can't die, since you're still alive. You're golden, since monsters can't hit you with anything. They can't even bull rush your pet out of the way, since it is in the bag of holding. Arguably they can't teleport it either, but worst case scenario, you just let them teleport you instead of redirecting it to your pet.Cheese Level 4!: The Incredible Edible Pet
The ultimate level of cheese: Disintegrate or otherwise reduce your pet down to its component parts. It is still alive, even when pulverized to a fine dust. You eat it, or embed a hair of it (the last living bit of it, so the hair is
the beast) inside your arm or something. From then on, you have complete immortality, since they'll never be able to get your pet away from you. Go ahead and redirect everything to your pet - your own body will block line of sight for teleporting, and you certainly don't need to worry about your pet being dominated any more.
For some reason (and I think it's from people who haven't played earlier roleplaying games) think that the rules prohibit you from pulverizing your beast companion, but 4th edition only has restrictive rules when it comes to the combat system. For stuff outside of combat, like making fences, or sailing ships or eating your pet so you can become the ultimate ranger lich, 4th Edition just assumes you can
Here's a not-especially-optimized build (especially when it comes to the feats) to demonstrate how everything fits together..."Sample Build"
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Voldemonte 2, level 30
Revenant, Ranger, Avenging Haunt, Beastlord
Build: Beastmaster Ranger
Fighting Style: Beast Mastery
Choose your Race in Life: Eladrin
Beast Companion Type: Wolf
Background: Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 12, Con 20, Dex 26, Int 15, Wis 20, Cha 10.
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 14, Dex 16, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 8.
AC: 43 Fort: 41 Reflex: 40 Will: 36
HP: 183 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 45
Nature +25, Acrobatics +27, Endurance +26, Perception +31, Stealth +27, Intimidate +26
Arcana +17, Bluff +15, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +20, Heal +20, History +17, Insight +20, Religion +17, Streetwise +15, Thievery +22, Athletics +15
Level 1: Lethal Hunter
Level 2: Death's Blessing
Level 4: Mark of Handling
Level 6: Bravo
Level 8: Weapon Proficiency (Greatbow)
Level 10: Melee Training (Dexterity)
Level 11: Death's Quickening (retrained to Ghostly Vitality at Level 22)
Level 12: Dark Feasting
Level 14: Reaper's Resistance
Level 16: Thin the Herd
Level 18: Weapon Expertise (Bow)
Level 20: Reaper's Quarry
Level 21: Reaper's Strike
Level 22: Quick Beast Command
Level 24: Bow Mastery
Level 26: Martial Resolve
Level 28: Weapon Focus (Bow)
Level 30: Reaping Renewal
Ranger at-will 1: Predator Strike
Ranger at-will 1: Twin Strike
Ranger encounter 1: Two-Fanged Strike
Ranger daily 1: Partnered Savaging
Ranger utility 2: Yield Ground
Ranger encounter 3: Thundertusk Boar Strike
Ranger daily 5: Spitting-Cobra Stance
Ranger utility 6: Serpentine Dodge
Ranger encounter 7: Spikes of the Manticore
Ranger daily 9: Attacks on the Run
Ranger utility 10: Quick Recovery
Ranger encounter 13: Pinning Strike (replaces Spikes of the Manticore)
Ranger daily 15: Scent of Fear (replaces Partnered Savaging)
Ranger utility 16: Shared Healing
Ranger encounter 17: Pounding Barrage (replaces Two-Fanged Strike)
Ranger daily 19: Spitting-Cobra Stance (replaces Spitting-Cobra Stance)
Ranger utility 22: Adamant Recovery
Ranger encounter 23: Manticore's Volley (replaces Thundertusk Boar Strike)
Ranger daily 25: Tiger's Reflex (replaces Scent of Fear)
Ranger encounter 27: Lightning Shot (replaces Pinning Strike)
Ranger daily 29: Five-Missile Dance (replaces Attacks on the Run)
Impenetrable Barding (epic tier) (2), Dire Wolf, Radiant Greatbow +6, Feral Voidhide +6, Life Charm +6, Eyes of the Dragon (epic tier), Bracers of Archery (epic tier), Earthreaver Stompers (epic tier), Longshot Gloves (epic tier), Gloves of Accuracy (paragon tier), Belt of Vitality (epic tier), Shadow Band (epic tier), Sorrowsworn Ring (epic tier)
Raise Beast Companion, Planar Portal
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