I saw Vampire is now a class in Heroes of Shadow and I'm interested in the Shadowfell material for a Ravenloft-esque gothic D&D game but I've heard Vampire as a class is very limited.
Is Vampire as a class gimped? Can you tell me its strengths and weaknesses and how it stack up to other classes please?
My personal experience is no, the vampire class isn't gimped. Timmy power players have done a good job in breaking it down to sucktitude but in casual games it's a fun class. I've reached 14th level on my Vampire (I started at 7th though, Gloomwraught delve and all) and the class truly opens up a bit in the paragon stretch.
My Shade Vampire is my fav char to play atm. Surprisingly accurate and durable.
It actually plays better than it looks on paper.
You're not a top-tier CharOp striker, forget that, you'll dish reasonnable amounts of damage, with an average higher than most other non-striker classes.
Don't let the 2 surges scare you, you'll be extremely resilient (be careful at heroic though).
You might depend a bit on others for healing surges outside combat (but the leader can practically ignore you in combat, unless you get badly critted).
There is a flagrant lack of choices though, your features and powers will be chosen for you for your the entire career.
Try it out is the best advice I can give.
Depends what you mean by "gimped"
It's certainly functional, and won't just vanish in a puff of smoke when a minion sneezes in its general direction.
It is, however, low on the totem pole as far as striker damage. They're tough little buggers, but being hard to kill and nonthreatening doesn't make for a good combination. It means you'll be the last to die.
Combine that with the near inability to optimize even to minor degrees, and you've got a problematic character.
Individual players being able to make it work doesn't change the fact that it's an uphill battle compared to nearly every other class in the game.
Vampire + Foe Stone = Very accurate striker. Not as accurate as an Avenger, but due to the ability to target the lowest defense, they are basically more accurate than all the other strikers.
Just to echo everyone else. It's not a great as a "striker", but it's a fine as a "class".
They do moderate damage, have moderate toughness, and contribute moderate control.
I've been looking at it.
Main limitation I see is that HoS only provides one set of options for the class. That whole thing of Essentials 'making it easier by eliminating the burden of having to decide between powers' concept. So, until D&D Insider or whatever provides more option/tools for HoS classes, you have few real choices beyond maybe which feats to choose. Hopefully there will be some nice expansion some time soon.
I think another pass of editing HoS could have made it a lot easier for those still only using 4E (and not Essentials). Would not have taken much effort, and would have prevented a lot of WTF, Huh?, and other confusion.
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