Gear (Expected GP = 100): Staff (AV) (5gp) Hide Armor (PHB) (30gp) Standard Adventurer's kit (PHB) (15gp) Total: 50gp
Who you are:
Here you are at the beginning of career, just a fresh druid out of school sent out into the big bad world on a mission to protect nature. Luckily it seems you had good teachers as you are well equipped to handle the rigors of adventuring. While other controllers may be fragile little things that need protecting you are able to stand toe to toe with most creatures and come out on top. Meanwhile your extensive training with the staff has helped you to avoid being hit while casting you nature magic and made you more accurate then most.
Magic Items (Expected GP = 32,000): L10 (5,000gp): Diamond Cincture (Heroic Tier) (AV) L10 (5,000gp): +2 Lifeblood Hide Armor (PHB 2) L7 (4,200gp): +2 Cloak of Distortion (AV) L7 (2,600gp): +2 Accurate Summoner’s Staff (AV 2) L6 (1,800gp): Iron Armbands of Power (Heroic Tier) (AV) L4 (840gp): Casque of Tactics (Heroic Tier) (AV) TOTAL: 19,440gp
Who you are:
It has been several years since you first walked out into the world as a new protector of the land and you have learned more in that time period then you ever did back at school. After years of practice you have begun to master the art of summoning the spirits of nature to aid you in battle. While these spirits are powerful they you have not neglected you own personal power remain ever the stalwart guardian and powerful spell caster. Meanwhile through your travels you have picked up many items to aid you in your fight against the unnatural forces of the world ranging from the mundane shield you now carry to the powerful Summoner’s Staff you wield.
Magic Items (Expected GP = 800,000): L20 (125,000gp): +4 Lifeblood Armor (Phb 2) L20 (125,000gp): Diamond Cincture (Paragon Tier) (AV 2) L19 (105,000gp): +4 Cloak of Distortion (AV) L17 (65,000gp): +4 Accurate Summoner’s Staff (AV 2) L16 (45,000gp): Iron Armbands of Power (Paragon Tier) (AV) L14 (21.000gp): Casque of Tactics (Paragon Tier) (AV) TOTAL: 486,000
Who you are:
It has been a long road and many have fallen in the defense of the land but you remain standing. A hero among heroes you, but your journey through this world is not over. There are many trials left many wrongs that must be righted and you are prepared. You are now a truly powerful Summoner able to direct you creatures with the ease of years of practice meanwhile you have continued to embrace your natural toughness. A mountain in the sea of chaos you stand against all comers trusting in the spirits of nature to protect you, and see you through to the next day.
Changes: +5 HP +1 to attacks, defenses, and checks New Feat: Epic Will (PHB 2)
Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000): L30 (3,125,000gp): +6 Lifeblood Elderhide Armor (PHB 2) L29 (2,625,000gp): +6 Cloak of Distortion (AV) L27 (1,625,000gp): +6 Accurate Summoner’s Staff (AV 2) L26 (1,125,000gp): Iron Armbands of Power (Epic Tier) (AV) L24 (525,000gp): Boots of Caiphon (AV 2) L23 (425,000gp): Eye of Awareness (AV) L20 (125,000gp): Diamond Cincture (Paragon Tier) (AV 2) TOTAL: 9,575,000gp Who you are:
It has been a good life, and your time is coming to a close. One last adventure is waiting for you, the final journey you must take. You legacy is written into the history of the land and few in the world can match you power and fame. Woe to all those who would dare defile the land for you are the oncoming storm sent to destroy them and none shall deter you from your mission.
Special Thanks: Koval: For helping me develop the concept MC Drowbane: For pushing me to make a controller
The core concept here is to use the powerful druid summons and their instinctive actions to have them fight for you with out eating up your own actions. To that end you spend a lot of time actually buffing yourself up so that the summons you create are as powerful as can be. This also has the added effect of turning you into a tank in your own right making you one of the toughest controllers out there and freeing up party resources that would normally be spent on protecting you. Now we will look at some of the key parts of the build in more detail.
Part 1 - Summoning
This is your primary avenue for control. All of your summons throughout your career have the ability to really be a thorn in your enemy’s side whether it is by debuffing, lockdown, or ally buffing all of them make your enemies job of killing you and your allies much harder. Thanks to Paragon Path’s level 16 feature you are easily able to position the summons where they can do the most damage with out actually needing to spend any action to do so. Once in position their powerful Instinctive Actions go to work and mess with your enemies plans. Also on a side note here by epic your are sporting 4 summons with the ability to recharge one meaning that all together you can expect to have 5 summons to use per day.
Part 2 - Active Control
With your summons using their Instinctive Action to hinder your enemy you are free to spend your action to control in a more traditional way. You pick up an array of implement powers that allow you to actively control your enemies and to be the go to minion popper. Generally your control effects are about forced movement and status effects such as prone, daze and stun. While these effects are not as powerful as those of some other controllers when you combine them with the control provided by your summons and your natural toughness you get a powerful combination of active and passive control.
Part 3 - Durability
Thanks to your race and your various class features and feats you end up with some very strong durability. Now the primary reason for this is to make your summons tougher as their durability is based on your own, but it does have some other uses besides helping to make your summons more powerful. One of the best uses is as human shield for your allies much like a defender engages enemies in melee and attempts to draw their fire you can do the same and with Staff Expertise you can do so while continuing to blast away with your ranged powers. This creates a powerful combo where you can tie up some enemies in melee while keeping pressure on the enemies back row with your implement attacks and thanks to your staff and melee training still have accurate OA attacks to use against you enemies.
Part 4 - Item Independence
Now while there are some items out there that are really good for the build and several of them are included in the above build you don’t need any of them to be effective. You basic ability to do your job does not require anything more then basic a basic magical staff, armor, and neck slot item. This allows for you to adapt the basic build through items as you desire and be a powerful and effective character throughout all tiers of play.
Now the other side of the Item Independence is that you can drasticly increase the power of the build via Item Optimization. You can switch some feats around and easily push things to another level, but the basics will be the same just enhanced by powerful item combos.
Giant Toad Attack: +17 vs. Reflex, Reach 3 Hit: 1d8+9 damage, and the Target is Pulled 2 squares Critical: 2d10+17 damage, and the Target is Pulled 2 squares
Shadow Ape Attack: +17 vs. Reflex Hit: 1d8+9 damage, and all creatures have concealment verse the targets attacks until the end of your next turn Critical: 2d10+17 damage, and all creatures have concealment verse the targets attacks until the end of your next turn
Crocodile Attack: +17 vs. Reflex Hit: 1d8+9 damage, and the target is grabbed taking a -3 to escape attempts verses the grab Critical: 2d10+17 damage, and the target is grabbed taking a -3 to escape attempts verses the grab.
Giant Toad Attack: +27 vs. Reflex, Reach 3 Hit: 1d8+19 damage, and the Target is Pulled 2 squares Critical: 4d10+27 damage, and the Target is Pulled 2 squares
Crocodile Attack: +27 vs. Reflex Hit: 1d8+19 damage, and the target is grabbed taking a -3 to escape attempts verses the grab Critical: 4d10+27 damage, and the target is grabbed taking a -3 to escape attempts verses the grab
Crocodile Attack: +37 vs. Reflex Hit: 1d8+24 damage, and the target is grabbed taking a -3 to escape attempts verses the grab Critical: 6d10+32 damage, and the target is grabbed taking a -3 to escape attempts verses the grab
Medium Primal Slayer Attack: +37 vs. AC, Reach 2, two targets Hit: 2d12+24 damage Critical: 4d10+48 damage, Large Primal Slayer Attack: +37 vs. Reflex Hit: 3d10+24 damage Critical: 6d10+54 damage
Elder Pack Wolf Attack: +37/+36 vs. Reflex Hit: 2d10+24 damage, and Knock the Target Prone Critical: 6d10+44 damage, and Knock the Target Prone Elder Pack Wolf OA Attack: +36 vs. Reflex Trigger: An Adjacent creature stands up from prone Hit: 2d10+24 damage, the target is unable to stand up until the start of its next turn Critical: 6d10+44 damage, the target is unable to stand up until the start of its next turn
One of the things this build incorporates is toughness comparable to some of the toughest defenders out there. This in itself is a tool you can use. Being able to position yourself where you can hinder enemy’s movement much like you would a wall. This gets even better when used in tandem with your summons give you two bodies to move and block and hinder enemy movement. You can also use this with your allies to enable them with CA and to help your defender keep enemies close by being a second line of defense.
This also combines well with your ability to use ranged spells in melee with out provoking OA attacks. This allows you to engage enemies in melee by putting yourself in their way, meanwhile you can use your ranged spell to hit whatever enemies you want. This can allow you to hinder a group of enemies by closing with them in melee and then hitting another group with your powers to either hinder of to focus fire with your allies. The key with this is your toughness is a versatile tool in your bag of tricks.
Use your Summons Wisely:
Your summons aren’t just attacks they are creatures in their own right able to act independently or in tandem with your allies. It is important to know when to have your summons isolate enemies or have them work in tandem. Obviously the big question here is how many enemies you are facing. When you are facing just a few tough enemies then you want to use your summons to focus fire on a single target, however if you are facing multiple powerful enemies if you can position your summons to delay one or two powerful enemies that can be a big shift in the combat reducing your enemies ability to focus fire.
The battlefield also plays a big difference here if you have a large open space to play with you can more easily isolate some enemies with combining your summons abilities and your forced movement effects, on the other hand the ability to use your summons and yourself as a wall is reduced. Meanwhile in a more closed off battlefield the ability to isolate enemies is reduced but you can much more easily position yourself and summons to drastically reduce enemy’s ability to move around. Basically it is key with this build to adapt the tactics you use with your summons to the fight at hand as if you don’t you will find yourself lacking effectiveness.
The final thing is to use the right summon for the job. Each of your summons does something different. Some are more mobile, some can lockdown a single target, while others do more damage. When you start the combat you need to make a gut call as to which of your summons will be the most effective in this situation. Now even if you pick a summon that is not quite right for the combat there is still a lot you can do will all you summons in nearly every situation you just have to adapt which is what summons I find are best at.
Action Advantage is made of Win:
In any game if you can do more in the same period of time as your enemies then you have an advantage. With your summons instinctive action and your ability to throw down your own powers you have this advantage. You are effectively getting 2 standard action attacks each round. It is important that you capitalize on this ability by maximizing the impact of these actions as it is by far you biggest advantage over other builds. This is especially true in long combats where you can get multiple turns of action advantage.
Now the question is how to use your action advantage there are two main ways to use this. The first is to focus fire and try to lockdown and take out and single or group of enemies quickly which for many combat will be a strong tactic. On the other hand you can also use this ability to hinder multiple groups of enemies at once. Since your summons are creatures in their own right as such you can have them engage one group of enemies while you close and engage another group. You can even combine this multi target hindrance with your ability to use ranged powers in melee to hinder up to three groups of enemies at the same. The key here is much like with the summons you need to adapt to the situation which with your bag of tricks shouldn’t be to hard.
Versatility is Key
The key here is that you a more versatile controller then others due to your ability to mix things up at ranged and melee to your durability and ability to gain action and numbers advantage. You are not a clear cut controller who lays down a single powerful effect to hinder your enemies then uses smaller effects to keep them hindered. You use multiple small effects at the same time to add up to a powerful effect then keep these small effects coming to keep the more powerful effect going. It is not just about one basic tactic it is about a variety of tactics that when used together and at the right time allow you to help turn the tide of battle.
Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000): L30 (3,125,000gp): +6 Lifeblood Elderhide Armor (PHB 2) L29 (2,625,000gp): +6 Cloak of Distortion (AV) L27 (1,625,000gp): +6 Accurate Summoner’s Staff (AV 2) L26 (1,125,000gp): Iron Armbands of Power (Epic Tier) (AV) L24 (525,000gp): Boots of Caiphon (AV 2) L23 (425,000gp): Eye of Awareness (AV) L20 (125,000gp): Diamond Cincture (Paragon Tier) (AV 2) TOTAL: 9,575,000gp
What has Changed
This variant is designed trades out some of the primary builds durability for access to some of the stronger control powers of the invoker. Since the build is no longer relying on instinctive action it does not have the action advantage as much action advantage as the primary build. If you want a more traditional controller then this variant of the build can go along way towards that. You can easily switch out some of the powers for others of you choice and not loss much overall.
I've been playing a build incredibly similiar to this in a game for the past three months or so. We've gotten to 11th just last weekend, so I'm only just coming into my own but it really does work rather well. I disagree with some of your choices in the at-will and encounter departments, but otherwise I'm glad to see someone besides me is trying to make a caster type druid. Thanks for the validation and the smile. ^^
I would love to get your thoughts on powers selection. I tried to stear clear of wildshape powers becuse with the build they actually act as a debuff to your defense since you can't get the hafted defense bonus while in wild shape. You also can't direct your Summons while in wildshape and while generally you will leave them on auto pilot sometimes you may want to take direct control.
Also I tried to pick ranged powers as a means to be able to tie up multiple enemies at once in combination with the builds. I am always looking to improve my builds so if you have any suggestion feel free to post them.
Hybrid Wrathvoker, raise con and wise, and the nice thing is you'll have powers like Rain of Blood to boost both your allies and your summons. Besides, Invoker gets some nice Minor Action Summons too, and some strong controlish power to compensate for Druid's lack of hard control.
Chilling wind and Thorn Whip are really really weak, compared to Grasping Tide. And since many summons lack opportunity attack and most summons tend to attack only one enemy, moving them beside your summon generally is less reliable than dropping the summons around your defenders.
That said, I'm not overall a fan of druidic summons. Their distinctive action usually is to soft control only one target, which is really not the main job for a controller, who would always aim to hard control multiple targets, especially with their precious daily. In fact the wizard might even have more powerful summons that would really draw the attention of the enemies thus function more well to be damage sink at least.