Why have one off-hand benefit when you can have many?
Through Juggling you can obtain the benefit of many items that are traditionally used in the off-hand slot. For instance you can switch an off-hand item in response to attack to give you +2 to all defenses(aversion staff). There are many options - defensive, offensive, and misc bonuses.
Bob a level 11 wizard or psion with a Rakshasa Claw familiar. Bob has 59 HP, 22 AC, 16 fort, 22 ref, 22 will. Bob have sets of items that he can freely switch around to accomodate for certain circumstances: Initiative Items: Orb of Nimble Thoughts (+Int to initiative) and Quicksilver blade(+1 to initiative) Offensive Items: Main Implement and Staff of the war mage Defensive Items: Aversion Staff and Orb of Mental Constitution
So Bob walks around with his initiative items. Once his turn starts he switches his items to his offensive items. And at the end of his turn or at the beginning of an enemies turn Bob switches to his defensive items. Lets Assume bob went first (very likely if you optimize for it) and was able to cast Dishearten or Winged Horde on a group of 4 enemies. At the end of his turn bob switches to his defensive items and now has +2 all defenses vs all 4 enemies(24 ac, 18 fort, 24 ref, 24 will). And if any enemy attacks his fortitude or AC he can swap in his Will as the defense. Now for any enemy that was not hit Bob does not have a bonus to defenses. If bob misses most enemies it might be wise to switch out aversion staff for rhythm blade or staff of defense. Bob is also able to have other items that can benefit him. For instance he carries a staff of resilience that allows him to gain tHP.
Methods of Drawing and Stowing as a free action:
I assume Arcane Familiar is taken as it is the only true, at-will, unlimited item swapping in the game. Other options exist below for less flexability, but still able to do the trick other optionsShow
Arcane Familiar (AP): Requires an arcane class. The disembodied hand familiar (and it's paragon upgrade, the Rakshasa Claw) offer the only true, at-will, unlimited item swapping in the game. At any time, as often as you want, draw or stow an item, implement, or weapon (arguably not weapon), enabling scenarios like this one: Clever Tail (PHB:T): Requires tiefling. Once per round, draw or stow an item weighing up to one pound. The once per round limit allows quick access to one-shot items (which can be dropped as a free action to free up your hand. If you can't pick them up again after combat, you're dead anyway.) But the one pound restriction limits you to drawing daggers, wands and tomes. Quick Draw (PHB): Requires DEX 13. No limit to how often you can use this, but it's restricted to drawing items "as part of the same action in which you use them." That means items with passive properties are out, but it also means it's incredibly useful for off-turn powers, as you can draw an item as part of the immediate action required to activate it. Nice alternative for non-arcane classes.
Fast Hands (PHB3): Requires training in Thievery. You can pick it up as your level 2 utility, or through the Skill Power feat. Lets you draw or stow anything as a free action, but it's limited to once a round. Some careful planning can mitigate this, but it makes it difficult to use items with passive properties. Mage Hand (PHB): Wizard cantrip. Allows swapping of an item in hand with a stowed one as a minor action. Can be useful if you've got your hands full. Palming Strike (Dr389): This Rogue at-will lets you draw an item as a free action when you hit with the otherwise unremarkable standard action attack. I can't imagine any Rogue that would burn one of their at-will choices on this. Quick-Draw Trick(MP): The level 12 utility of the Avalanche Hurler paragon path for Rangers. Allows unlimited, at-will drawing and stowing of weapons only. Nice power, but who would burn a paragon path on this? I don't know if paragon paths count as classes, but it would be interesting poach bait for a paragon tiefling with Secrets of Belial.
Prison of Salzacas (2, AV2, Wondrous Item): Once per encounter, cast Mage Hand. Cheap and slotless, but not always useful. Battle Harness (4+, Dr368, cloth, leather, hide): Unlimited drawing of weapons or items. Tossing them aside as a free action when you're done with them seems thematic. Also a useful boost to initiative, though it doesn't stack with a Warlord. Hedge Wizard's Gloves (4, AV1, hands): At-will Mage Hand, but it takes up your hand slot. Deep-Pocket Cloak (7+, AV2, neck): Draw or stow as a free action once per round. Takes up your neck slot and doesn't offer much else. Bracers of Speed (13, Dr386, arms): Draw or stow once a round. Takes up the coveted arms slot. Dantrag's Bracers (18, Dr386, arms or feet): You'll have to ask your DM for these unique Bracers of Speed. They're expensive, but you can wear them on your arms or feet, The feet power is very nice, especially coupled with a Staff of the Traveler. The arms power is great for E-classes and MBA-focused characters.
Who is this guide for?
This guide is primarily designed for arcane casters, but can be used by a wide array of characters. Choices desgined for weapon uses and leaders will have their own section.
This Handbook will use the following system for ratings:
Red- Garbage, or completely overshadowed by another option. Purple - Situationally useful, but overall pretty meh. Black - OK. You could do worse than pick this. Blue - Good stuff. You probably want this. Sky Blue - You want this. Period. Gold - Why haven't you taken this yet? A defining choice for a build, or even the whole class.
Current implements "complete":
Weapons need not be proficient. To use the powers and the properties of a magic implement, you must be able to wield that implement. phb2 pg220, phb3 pg219 See Also: Rules Compendium 274: "Unlike Weapons, an implement doesn't grant a proficiency bonus. Instead, an adventurer must have proficiency with an implement to use it at all. In the hands of a nonproficient user, an implement- magical or nonmagical- is effectively a bauble."
RC 283: "Because an adventurer must have proficiency with an implement to use it, an adventurer cannot gain an implement's enhancement bonus or benefit from any of the implement's other characteristics (such as properties, powers, and critical hit effects) unless he or she has proficiency with the implement."
Most players play with the original rules of item rarity. The new rules would probably prevent you from getting any of these items so this guide assumes you use the original system like 95% of CharOp. Due to this you are limited to 1 daily item usage/day in heroic, 2 in paragon, and 3 in epic. I have labeled each item to reflect this. It will say 1/enc if it has an encounter power or 1/day if it has a daily item power.
Free Action Limitations
Based on the rule on Free Actions PHB pg267 this is RAW: You can take as many free actions as you want during your or another combatant’s turn "More Free Action Limitation discussion"Show
More of this discussion can be had from page 3-6.
Free actions take almost no time or effort. You can take as many free actions as you want during your or another combatant’s turn. There is an exception to that rule: A creature can take a free action to use an attack power only once per turn. Creatures don’t normally have attack powers that can be used as free actions, but some powers and other effects grant the ability to use an attack power (usually a basic attack) as a free action. For example, a character might have two different abilities that let him or her make a melee basic attack as a free action when their respective triggers occur. If both abilities are triggered on the same turn, the character can make only one of the melee basic attacks during that turn. In certain circumstances, the DM might decide to limit the use of free actions further. For instance, if an adventurer has already used free actions during a particular turn to talk, drop things, and use a class feature, the DM might rule that the adventurer can use no more free actions during that turn.
They say at 16:35 "The only powers in the game that can mess around with timing are powers with triggers, and the triggers basically tell you when you get to break a rule....because it doesn't say that (referring to the daily power of Dwarven Armor) you have to use this as a discreet action not interrupting other actions."
"So it can't take place in the middle of another action"
I would argue Mearls' grasp of the rules is below many of the CharOp regulars. And in the podcast when discussing just this topic, I felt they were musing, not talking about rules. Podcasts are at BEST RAI and not RAW. The only time I would use is when they are clarifying the post on the compendium about Divine Oracle, and that was an electronic error, not a rules publication.
There is an argument that drawing an item does not allow you to draw a weapon. Yet dropping an Item is not specific between weapon/item. Because of this I am of the understanding that Retrieve/Stow an Item can get any item other than shields(including weapons). Draw/Sheathe a weapon can get only weapons. Any further debate is welcome, but that is seemingly the easiest way to read it, and will be the stance of this thread for now. "game rules from Rules Compendium"Show
Draw or Sheathe a Weapon:
Action: Minor Action.
Requires Free Hand to Draw: The creature must have a hand free to draw a weapon.
Ready for Use: A creature can take a sheathed or otherwise slung weapon and make it ready for use by taking this action
Sheathed: A sheathed weapon in a sheath at the creature's belt or on its back, or otherwise slun out of the way so that the creature's hands are free to hold or manipulate objects
Drop a Held Item
Action: Free Action.
In the Creature's Space: A creature can use this action to drop an item it is holding. The Item lands in the creature's space. (text about where it drops..)
Retrieve or Stow an Item
Action: Minor Action.
Easily Accessible: A creature can use this action to retrieve an item from someplace on its own person, most commonly in a belt pouch or a backpack, or to stow an item in such a location.
Interpreting that RAW has 2 options: Option #1: All shields and weapons are items, use the higher most action for any conflict (IE: Shields are a standard to equip/stow, weapons are a minor, but can be drawn as items - the same way they can be dropped as items). Result: Retrieve/Stow an Item can get any item other than shields. Draw/Sheathe a weapon can get only weapons.
Option #2: All shields and weapons are items, so the shield and weapon rules are specific exceptions to the general item rules. So you can retrieve or stow an item as a minor unless it's a weapon or shield. If it is a weapon or shield, you follow the rules for weapons and shields. Result: Retrieve/Stow an Item can get any item other than weapons and shields. Draw/Sheathe a weapon can get only weapons.
Option 1 makes more sense to me. If it is RAW questionable here is a good argument for RAI Option #1:
The reason sheaths and thongs exist is because warriors needed a way to quickly access these weapons in a dangerous situation. In a fantasy milieu, wands and totems have the same need. I would absolutely houserule that anything that allows you to draw a weapon as a free action should be allowed to draw an implement as well.
In the end it's not definitive, but imo clear enough - at least by RAI if not RAW. Good enough for me.
LDB for being awesome. Alcestis for commonly posting smart things in threads I browse. Nausicaa for her Wizard guide (items). Belile for his Psion guide (items). Malkonnen for his Warlock guide (items). GelatinousOctahedron for his Shamn guide (items). Lazy Ninja for his Bag of Blades guide. I discovered it after making this thread. Sorry for semi-stealing your thunder!
Aegis Blade (2, AV2): Close burst 3 mark 1/day. Even better for swordmages. Architect's Staff (5, AV): Increase zones by 1. Battlecrazed Weapon (4, AV): Quick way to bloody yourself 1/day I guess - maybe some build uses it. Blood Fury Weapon (4, AV2): Consider yourself bloodied until EoNT 1/enc. Could be very useful. Medic's Weapon (4, AV): Requires Channel Divinity. Ally regains Cha mod +1 on Channel divinity use. Mnemonic Staff (2, AV): +2 monster knowledge. Swap powers for spellbook 1/day as minor. Orb of Indefatigable Concentration (13, AV): Free sustain minors for a single power for several rounds 1/day, which scales with enhancement bonus. That's a minimum of three rounds, so higher-level versions likely aren't worth the extra cost. Orb of Judicious Conjuration (3, AV): Sustain minor as a free action 1/enc. Orb of Karmic Resonsance (13, AV): 1/day force a failed save or end a condition on you or an ally. You also fail a save. Indispensable if you're packing Sleep or Slumber of the Winter Court. Orb of Nimble Thoughts (3, PHB3):NERFED in june. Enhancement to init. Shift = int mod as a move 1/enc. Orb of Temporal Dissonance (13, Dr365): Whole party rolls initiative twice 1/day. Quicksilver Blade (2, AV2): Bonus to Initiative. Much better options. Staff of Tongues (2, PHB3): Read/write/speak Supernal Staff of Sleep and Charm (3, AV2): +1 to hit with charm powers. Works in the Off-hand!!!!!!!!! Staff of Unparalleled Vision (4, AV): Increase the range of ranged or area arcane powers. Totem of the Night (12, AV2): Gain Low-Light/Darkvision. Great, but expensive.
Mage's Weapon (2, AV): Swap Arcane enc power to regain usage of a martial enc power 1/enc. Parrying Weapon (2, AV): If you have strong MBAs this can be used powerfully to block melee attacks 1/day. Weapon of Great Opportunity (5, AV2): Deal extra damage when you hit with an opportunity attack 1/enc.
Incisive Dagger (9, AV2): Increase teleport distance by enhancement. Minor action tele 1/day. Mithrendain Steel Weapon (8, Dr366): Increase teleport distance by 1. Teleport a creature when you hit 1/day. Works on all teleports. Rod of Malign Conveyance (3+, AV1): 1/day teleport yourself, an ally, and an enemy 1 square as a move action. Distance scales with level. Not bad if you're in a tight space. Usefulness of higher-level versions will vary with your build. If you just want to be able to teleport yourself and an ally, take a look at the Rubicant Blade instead. Rubicant Blade (8, Dr385): Increase teleport power distance by 1. Teleport yourself + ally 1/day. Incisive is much better. Staff of the Traveler (5, PHB3): Teleport in place of every shift. Could be really good for teleport builds. Was told to also mention Evermeet Warlock (possibly kobolds, mark of passage, and Planestrider Boots). Shadowrift Blade (12, AV2): Teleport on hit w/ CA. At-will.
Communal Weapon (4): Ally missed by 1? Fix it. At-will. (limited to Enchancement # per day) Harmonic Songblade (2, AV2): Grant an ally a bonus to attack 1/day - useful for novas. Holy Healer's Weapon (2, AV): Minor action to allow ally to use a surge and gain an additional 5+wis 1/day. Also nice for clerics. Weapon of Shared Wrath (2, PHB3): Grant an ally a MBA when you are bloodied 1/day. Overall this guide is meant for characters who do not get bloodied too much.
Racial Specific Bonuses
Arkhosian Scepter (12+, PHB:D): Scaling bonus to attack and damage rolls of dragon breath. Once a day, make your dragon breath an area burst. The property works even if you're not proficient with rods. If you use dragon breath, there's no reason not to have one.
Controller's Orb/Rod/Staff/Tome/Totem/Wand/Holy Symbol/Ki Focus (13, Revenge of the Giants): Attacks weaken targets. Minor action to activate 1/day. Gossamer Tome (8, AV2): Really helps the Wizard's Web power. Luckblade (3, HotFK): Not Useful in the off-hand. Orb of Fickle Fate (4, AV): Reduce a mob's chance of saving and increases yours/an allies 1/day. Orb of Impenetrable Escape (6, AV): Make a monster reroll a save 1/day. Orb of Indisputable Gravity (7, PHB): Bring flying monsters down to the ground 1/day. Orb of Inexplicable Contention (8, Dr365): Make an enemy attack one of its adjacent allies 1/day. Higher-level versions make the attack slightly more likely to hit but aren't worth the cost. Monster basic attacks often have nasty riders. Orb of Reversed Polarities (9, PHB): Treat all resistances as vuln 5 for one turn as a minor action 1/day. Orb of Spatial Contortion (7, AV): Change a blast into a burst as a free 1/day. Orb of Unintended Solitude (18, AV): Turn any pull, push, slide, or teleport into a completely remove a mob from the fight for 1 round 1/day. Expensive. Rod of Divine Retribution (9, Dr381): Free action daily stun when you hit a target that has previously attacked you 1/day. Quickening Staff (14, AV): Use at-will as free action when hit w/ daily 1/day. Staff of Expansion (2, Dr365): Errata'd to only work with spells cast through the implement. Staff of Insightful Detection (2, PHB3): Enemies doesn't get concealment/total conceal as a minor action. 1/enc. Staff of Transposition (14, AV): Teleport allies out of close/area attacks 1/day. Staff of the Sunburst (14, PHB2): Knock all enemies within 5 prone and deal 5 damage when being hit 1/day. Staff of the War Mage (3, PHB): Increase a blast/burst size by 1 as a free action 1/day. Staff of Wind (5, AV2): Minor action to close blast 5 each creature - push and prone. 1/day Tempest Staff (14, AV2): When you hit do a good amount of lightning dmg to attacker and potentially other enemies as an immediate reaction 1/day.
Aversion Staff (2, PHB3): +2 def vs targets w/ effects imposed by you. Defensive Staff (2, AV): +1 NADs/(ac). Only applies to AC if you are a wizard with staff of defense class feature. Overall Rhythm blade is better as most attacks will target your AC. Orb of Mental Constitution (3, PHB3): Use will instead of fort/AC def 1/enc Orb of Resilient Tenacity (2, AV2): +1 to a save as a minor action 1/day Rhythm Blade (3, AV2):Increases shield AC/Ref by 1. Stacks with Aversion/Defensive if you're able to get a shield bonus! Staff of Resilience (3, AV2): tHP = 2x healing surve value as a minor 1/day. Staff of the Adaptable Mind (4, PHB3): +1 Percep. Resistance to all damage til start of next turn 1/day. Staff of the Evader (2, PHB3): Bonus to saves vs slow and immobalize. Power to end immobalization and teleport 1/day.
Pact Blade (3, PHB): Autokills cursed minions that attack you in melee. No reason to get higher level versions. Rod of Avernus (3, Dr286): Each time you gain your pact boon, slide all cursed enemies. Note that this effect is in addition to, not in place of your boon. Also, 1/day, gain a damaging aura 1 for the entire encounter. It's a bit harder to use than Armor of Agathys, but much cheaper. Higher-level versions scale the damage but aren't worthwhile. Rod of Brutality (9+, AV1): Makes your Warlock's Curse brutal. Brutal value increases by tier, so only the level 9, 19 and 29 versions are worthwhile. Rod of Corruption (3, PHB): Move warlock's curse when pact boon is triggered. Rod of Cursed Honor (2, AV1): +1 to NADs for two rounds every time you use your Warlock's Curse. Rod of Dark Reward (2, PHB): +1 to AC for a round every time you use your Warlock's Curse. Rod of Draconic Fury (4+, Dr365): 1/day, forgo your pact boon and burn an immediate action to gain a bonus on your next attack roll. The bonus scales by tier, so only the level 4, 14 and 24 versions are worthwhile. Rod of Office (2, DSCS): 1/enc, regain your fell might. Rod of Reaving (5, PHB): Curse deals damage when placed. Rod of the Feywild (9, AV): Increases the distance of your Misty Step, which scales with level. 1/enc, emulate Fey Step. Rod of the Infernal (8, AV): More tHPs from pact boon. Gain a good amount of temp HP 1/day. Rod of the Ulban (25, AV2): Warlock's Curse = Vulnerability to psychic.
Ki Weapon (3, PHB): Flurry of blows does 2 extra damage.
Manifester Weapon (2, PHB3): Regain 1 pp 1/day. Orb of Psionic Recovery (4, PHB3): Regain 2 pp when an ally misses with an augmented attack 1/day.