The goal of this build is to make a control focused shaman that punishes enemies when they destroy the spirit companion, but where it is hard to impossible to get away for the enemy to get away from the companion through a combination of slowing, immobilization, proning, dazing, restraining, and forced movement.
With changes to monster damage in monster manual 3 an occasional question comes up about whether shamans work now that many monsters can destroy the spirit companion so easily. A quick run down on what it takes to destroy the spirit companion: it must be a single ranged or melee attack (no close or area attacks) that does at least 10 + 1/2 level of the shaman in damage. Older same level monsters usually had a hard time with this, but about half the time they would destroy it excepting things like minions. Newer monsters stop having this trouble by paragon and though sometimes they won't destroy it, they most often will be able to.
A lot of people are fine with this since it makes the spirit companion an attractive target: a monster that is attacking the spirit companion isn't attacking an ally, if it hits its doing less damage than if it was attacking you (5 + 1/2 level), no one is suffering any conditions, its eating up the monsters standard action, and you can always resummon it first thing next round.
But there are ways to make it even more attractive from the shaman players perspective to get monsters to attack the spirit. Both the phrenic master and storm caller punish enemies for attacking the companion, stormcaller with lightning damage when the spirit is attacked and with more lighting damage and dazing if the spirit is destroyed. And phrenic master with dazing if the spirit is detroyed. Spirit's rebuke slows enemies that destory the spirit. Retributive spirit feat lowers the enemies defenses by 2 so that is another option.
So this build is focused on making the spirit very sticky and then punishing them when they attack the spirit since it is the only available target. That way it can lock down melee focused enemies away from the party or help keep skirmishers locked down near your defender and melee striker.
Powers Voice of Battle Claws of the Eagle Grasping shards
Bramble Ally Spirit of the Healing Flood Engaging Pursuit Steadfast Mountain Guardian Shrieking Wind Spirits Light of the Crimson Sun Hammer of the Grasping Tides Ancient Warlord’s Inspiration (Spirit Control also works) Primal Gust
Storm of War Guardian of the primal copse Faces of the Fallen Thorn Ally Tendril’s of the Fate weaver
Medicines of Many Forms Spirit of the Vengeful Mountain Spirit of Destruction Conquering Storm Spirit Heart of Bedlam
Feats Chain Proficiency Mc Invoker Staff Expertise Intollerable Command Accurate Staff Proficiency World Serpent’s Grasp
Nimble spirit Spirit’s Rebuke Viscious Advantage Retributive Spirit Superior Will Improved Defenses
I start with elf for the race, since we want a wisdom bonus and elven accuracy. Dwarf or half elf would work too and human would be nice for the extra feat. Satyr works for the racial utiltiy giving you some extra forced movement, but you will need a 13 13 10 8 18 10 starting array if you start in heroic. We add in feats that boost accuracy and intollerable command so that worldspeaker's command slows. World Serpents Grasp is a must since you will be slowing and immobilizing and prone enemies have a harder time escaping.
I didn't worry too much about AC, since you are not discouraging enemies from attacking the spirit and this is a back line character. MC Invoker gives us staff implements and AoE slow that you can drop on top of the companion and religion as a skill.
Claws of the Eagle is the other at will since it doesn't have the int to make spirit infusion worth it and you don't want the spirit to disappear. Bramble ally immobizes and steadfast mountain ally is a decent pushing power to get the enemy away from allies. Shrieking wind has a decent dazing attack, but you like it since it lets you slide enemies with an OA. You can't use it and worldspeaker's command on the same target in the same round, but it can still be some decent forced movement. Hammer of the grasping tides is a good mutlitarget slowing power.
I took engaging pursuit instead of protective roots since you need the companion to be sticky. Primal gust gives you some automatic forced movement to use against an enemy or ally. By the end of heroic you have a sticky spirit and it is about this point where enemies will stop having trouble destroying it if they target it.
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ====== Don't Come Around, level 1 Elf, Shaman Companion Spirit Option: World Speaker Spirit Moonstruck Hunter (+2 to Perception) Theme: Knight Hospitaler
FINAL ABILITY SCORES STR 13, CON 16, DEX 13, INT 10, WIS 18, CHA 8
STARTING ABILITY SCORES STR 13, CON 16, DEX 11, INT 10, WIS 16, CHA 8
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ====== Don't Come Around, level 10 Elf, Shaman Companion Spirit Option: World Speaker Spirit Moonstruck Hunter (+2 to Perception) Theme: Knight Hospitaler
FINAL ABILITY SCORES STR 13, CON 18, DEX 13, INT 10, WIS 20, CHA 8
STARTING ABILITY SCORES STR 13, CON 16, DEX 11, INT 10, WIS 16, CHA 8
In paragon you should go phrenic master or stormcaller for your paragon path. Stormcaller has better punishment for enemies attacking the spirit, but Phrenic Master is a better path overall. The action point feature is solid for what you are trying to do, the enounter power is a close blast 5 daze with some sliding as an effect, and the daily power is a dominate (save ends) where you can slide the target around some.
For feats you get spirits rebuke which slows enemies that destroy your spirit companion and retributive spirit, which gives them a -2 penalty to their defenses when they destroy your spirit on top of the dazed from phrenic master. You get viscious advantage as well so you shouldn't have much trouble getting CA after round 1.
For powers you have a CA granting encounter power with storm of war, a defense lowering power with guardian of the primal copse, thorn ally restrains enemies that start their turn next to your SC, and tendrils of the fate weaver slows (save ends) along with giving one ally an automatic immobilizing defense for the encounter.
The utility is a tough choice, but I went with faces of the fallen since that makes it impossible to get away from the spirit, while making it very hard to destroy the spirit 1/day. Spirit binding is another good choice, as is spirit's regeneration.
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ====== Don't Come Around, level 17 Elf, Shaman, Phrenic Master Companion Spirit Option: World Speaker Spirit Moonstruck Hunter (+2 to Perception) Theme: Knight Hospitaler
FINAL ABILITY SCORES STR 14, CON 20, DEX 14, INT 11, WIS 22, CHA 9
STARTING ABILITY SCORES STR 13, CON 16, DEX 11, INT 10, WIS 16, CHA 8
ITEMS Adventurer's Kit Earthroot Staff +4 x1 Deathsteel Crysteel Armor +4 x1 Amulet of Protection +4 x1 Helm of Able Defense (paragon tier) x1 Couters of Second Chances (heroic tier) x1 Belt of Vim (heroic tier) x1 Rushing Cleats (heroic tier) x1 Gloves of the Healer (paragon tier) x1 Tattoo of Bloodied Chains (heroic tier) x1 Bag of Holding (heroic tier) Restful Bedroll (heroic tier) ====== End ====== [/block]
The feats here are mainly those that make the shaman more effective, nothing specific to further the build. Stone heart spirit makes the spirit provide cover so that makes it harder for enemies to use ranged attacks against your allies while stuck next to the spirit. Here are the feats I wanted to include, but couldn't find room for: WorldSpeaker adept, Psychic lock, Cyclone Spirit, Scale Proficiency, and Mark of Healing.
The powers keep the theme up: spirit of the vengeful mountain restrains and stops teleports in a close burst, with spirit of destruction your spirit becomes harder to destroy and you can push/prone enemies, and conquering storm spirit discourages enemies from attacking or getting near your allies.
ITEMS Adventurer's Kit Earthroot Accurate staff +5 x1 Soulwarding Weavemail Armor +5 x1 Eldritch Medallion +5 x1 Circlet of Indomitability (paragon tier) x1 Belt of Vim (paragon tier) x1 Boots of Dancing (paragon tier) x1 Ring of the Dragonborn Emperor (paragon tier) x1 Couters of Second Chances (heroic tier) x1 Gloves of the Healer (paragon tier) x1 Eager Hero's Tattoo (heroic tier) x1 Bag of Holding (heroic tier) Solitaire (Quartz Lens) (heroic tier) Ring of Protection (paragon tier) ====== End ======
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way. Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken. Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken. King Fisher Does an excellent job at keeping an enemy disabled in a few ways. Strong. Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading. Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered. Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square. Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong. Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked. Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic. Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation. Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses. Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat. Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent. Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof. Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it. Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways. Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful. The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken. Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken Unnamed Avenger|Runepriest/Hammer of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered. Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5. Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong. Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight, only far more broken. Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken. Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.
Great build. Have you considered using Wood Elf racial variant Sense Threat instead of Elven Accuracy? Rerolls are fantastic, but you don't have any room in your build for initiative improving feats, which are pretty important for a control-focused build. Sense Threat would give a massive increase to your initiative and a bonus to your allies who don't have as good initiative as you now do.
I'm messing around with a hybrid Cleric/Shaman variation just to see how it works. The main benefit comes from poaching Battle Cleric's Lore, of course, which gives you better AC and saves you the trouble of putting points into Strength. Unfortunately, this doesn't actually save you a feat, since you have to use Hybrid Talent to get your spirit companion OA back. Additionally, I don't like the World Speaker encounter powers from levels 3 to 13, so being able to poach Cleric powers instead is pretty nice. As an extra bonus, the Phrenic Master level 16 feature also works for your Cleric powers, correcting their often abysmal range. Sadly, this combo doesn't add any useful implement proficiencies (unless your party is optimizing radiant damage), so you still need that Invoker MC to get Staff proficiency (I'm hoping the upcoming weapliment article might change this landscape a bit). The major drawback to this variant is that hybriding Shaman and taking the Worldspeaker feature cuts you off from all the Shaman basic attack granting powers, so you lose that aspect of the build.
Speaking of implements, what kind of staff would you prefer for this build?
I thought about that, but the reroll was the main reason I wanted elf, besides the wisdom bonus. I think I would rather move battlewise up to heroic and maybe put off getting an accurate staff for a while.
The main implement I like is earthroot. Feyswarm and staff of portals are other possibilities. Earthshaker would be ok for 1-9 before world serpent's grasp kicks in. Aversion staff could be interesting too since that would make both the shaman and the spirit harder to hit. The main reasons I went with staff is because of the condition enhancing enchantments and since there is no totem expertise feat yet staff expertise boosts to hit a little more some levels.
Four possible mods to consider for cost/benefit analysis - all but the first of these probably involve giving up Superior Will to free a feat, and therefore should swap Ioun's Flame for a Circlet of Arkhosia. My preference would be combining 1 and 3 for a Deva Hybrid Battle Cleric / Shaman MC: Arcane Prodigy.
1. Different Multiclass Variant - Sorcerer: Soul of Sorcery (for handy resistance) or Arcane Prodigy (for dropping Strength if you're following Nelyo's hybrid Battle Cleric model) instead of Acolyte of Divine Secrets would allow you to wield a Feyslaughter dagger as an offhand implement. (Or is there something here already to stuff teleports that I'm missing?)
2. Different Race Variant - Half-Elf: As you mention above, you could shift to half-elf and either grab:
Direct the Strike - for Battle Cleric hybrid model if you were sad about missing out on Claws of the Eagle. Direct the Strike + Twin Souled Projection is Claws of the Eagle on steroids.
Grasping Shards - if you were missing it from dropping MC Invoker.
3. Different Race Variant - Deva:For use with Battle Cleric Hybrid, best as a radiant mafia member. Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes is roughly equivalent to Elven Accuracy in battle, and in conjunction with Speak with the Spirits means you're flat-out amazing in skill challenges. Battle Intuition is simply a better Battlewise and is very valuable in getting your SC placed asap (so definitely kick it up to heroic in place of superior implement). Sun Disk of Pelor + Radiant Recovery will help mitigate the damage caused by the death of your SC. You can also use the Charisma bonus on Deva to qualify for Soul of Sorcery with less MAD suffering, if that's your wish (12 16 8 12 18 12 postracial gives you stats for Soul of Sorcery by 11). You do lose the at-will MBA grant, but Sacred Flame is probably about as valuable, albeit in a totally different capacity.
4. Different Hybrid Variant - Warlord: Lazy Warlord instead of Battle Cleric. This lets you keep and enhance your MBA granting powers (and, if Half-Elf, also grab Versatile Master Grasping Shards). While it's not as good as Combat Leader, Battlefront Leader will grant you Heavy Shield proficiency for free, and Battlefront Shift isn't terrible. Fight On keeps you at healing parity with a pure Leader.
Deva is a very good choice and would boost initiative a little more with battle intution, add some resistances, and let me do soul of the world for an ED, which is a little better than destined scion if I take elf as the first racial choice. The con would be a bit lower, but int would be higher. Maybe dwarf or mul for the second race since that would add some toughness for a build that should be taking some damage.
Half-elf works fine and is by default one of the best races for shamans, but I am going for accuracy boosts when possible.
Hybrid cleric or invoker would work fine for this build too, but I wanted to build a good pure shaman. The main thing hybrid cleric would do is let me dump strength and push wisdom to a starting 20, assuming battle cleric's lore survives this months errata in its present form.
At this point with totem expertise pubilished I could stick with a totem and maybe offhand a totemic spear. The build wants high accuracy and totem expertise actually helps with that. Maybe totem of the severed eye, winter's scorn, earthfall, or totem of the woodlands.
Sorcerer/Swordmage: I recognize this varies with campaign and level of DM vindictiveness, but for my own peace of mind, I definitely want the option to run Feyslaughter dagger as an implement in this build. Tom Petty's whole character concept (which I love) is based on making your SC super-sticky, and for me that creates a huge pressure against leaving teleportation as an achilles heel. While Totem Expertise has its benefit, I see Twin-Souled Projection as usually providing similar outcomes.
However, with a 20 postracial character points are pretty tight. Probably can run either MC: Swordmage for the same effect, allowing you to drop Cha to 8 and raise Intelligence and Dex to 12 / 10 postracial. +1 reflex all game is worth more than resist 5/one element in epic. (This would also work better for the Hybrid with Warlord.)
Soul of the World: For 2nd choice - for toughness, Dwarf is probably best for minor action second wind, which is going to add up to quite a few killed SCs (hopefully you're controlling the battlefield so most of the damage is coming through the SC not directly at you). There's also always human for Heroic Effort, which along with Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes and Elven Accuracy would provide you with silly stackable accuracy boosts and rerolls. Mul's Incredible Toughness is solid, and Spirit of Courage is nice if you hang with a dwarf.
Hybrid Cleric: As you mention with the 20 Wisdom for Battle Cleric, a Deva could run 11 14 8 10 20 12 postracial. This would let you snag Arcane Prodigy in Paragon and retrain to Soul of Sorcery in Epic for another resistance (which gives you a pretty fair number, especially if you also squeeze in the "resistance-lite" of Heavenly Heritage). The lowered Con would eat into the power of Radiant Recovery a bit... might still be worth taking in Heroic, where it offsets a higher percentage of your SC death punishment and also is a very nice combo with Stream of Life, and retrain out later if needs be.
I think Battle Cleric is probably, from a strict optimization standpoint, slightly stronger than pure shaman (accepting your errata caveat). You could run level -1 Feyslaughter Dagger (which with 20 starting Wisdom will be at full expected level accuracy), level = Holy Symbol of your choice (again, Sun Disk = win in radiant mafia), and, once it's chump change, a +2 Totem of the Severed Eye.
Outside of the Radiant Mafia, you could run dual dagger with Dagger of Evil Undone +2 (which you're only running for the property + Ascendant Lineage for whiff-cheeze) and a Feyslaughter Dagger of full level.