Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rules for Critical Failure on Skills

I saw that some people on the WotC forums were making posts regarding to adjudicating critical failures on skill checks. The rules below how we roll critical failures in skill checks in our games.

How to Determine a Critical Failures on Skill Checks

Whenever a character rolls a natural 1 on a skill check, that individual has done so poorly that something bad must befall him. If the character is trained in the skill to which he was using when he rolled a natural 1, roll another d20 and if the result is anything but a 1, that player is considered to have failed that skill check, but no abnormally poor result come about from it. If that player rolls a 1 on the second d20 roll, the skill check is a critical failure.

For players who are untrained in the skill to which they rolled a critical failure and if the player's race grants the player a skill bonus to the skill then, roll another d20 and make a save against bad luck (a roll of 11 or higher is a success).

If the player's race nor the player's training grants him no bonus in the skill, then the first roll of a 1 is considered a critical failure without any second roll.

What happens in cases of Critical Failures on Skill Checks
If you roll a critical failure as part of an extended skill check, the failure is considered to count as two rather than one failures. If you roll the critical failure as part of a standard skill use then any damage that would be taken as part of the fail is automatically considered maximized. If the skill is a knowledge skill being used in combat, then the result causes the individual to recall misguided information. If the result is for things in the case of stealth or thievery, the player believes that he has succeeded whereas the target knows that he has failed and thus gets the jump on the player. From this direction other skill checks can then be adjudicated as necessary.

Exception
You cannot roll a critical failure on knowledge based skill checks outside of combat.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Guide to the Khopesh: The Versatile Crit Master

Guide to the Khopesh: The Versatile Crit Master



--Taken from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/38/Khopesh.jpg

History, Description, and Use of the Khopesh
“A typical khopesh is 50-60cm in length (though smaller examples also exist) and is composed of three main parts: the hilt, a straight and unsharpened section of blade finishing in a curved crescent shape with the sharpened edge. The khopesh evolved from the epsilon or similar crescent shaped axes that were used in warfare. This makes the khopesh not a true sword (which evolved from daggers), but a specialized battle-axe. However, unlike an axe, the khopesh did not make push-cuts, but rather slashes. The khopesh went out of use around 1300BC.

The khopesh was initially used against the Egyptians in war, but as the kingdom of Egypt improved trade relations with other kingdoms, eventually it adopted the khopesh. It seemed to have been most popular during the New Kingdom under the united Egypt.[citation needed] Various pharaohs are depicted with a khopesh, and some have been found in royal graves, such as the two examples found with Tutankhamun.

Although some examples are clearly sharpened, many examples have dull edges which apparently were never intended to be sharp. It may therefore be possible that some khopeshes found in high status graves were ceremonial variants.

Later the Khopesh was slowly developed into what is known as the Falcata. This variant was adopted by Alexander the Great for its effectiveness.”
--Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khopesh



I’ve spent the last month playing around with the fighter and the various builds that you can do with him as well as browsing through the character optimization forums through different guides; I have decided to write one of my own. Also, after looking over the various weapon builds are out there: polearm builds, axe builds, heavy blade builds, flail builds, etc., I really haven’t found any builds out there for the khopesh, a weapon I think deserves much more attention.

First, lets take a look at the Khopesh in D&D terms:

Well, first, it’s a military weapon and therefore the fighter comes proficient with it to begin with and thus frees up a feat slot for things other than a weapon proficiency feat. The weapon only gives you a +2 prof bonus, but that’s just fine. The damage on the khopesh also isn’t that great, only 1d8, the same damage as the longsword. But, the fun part comes when you look at the abilities on this thing. It is a versatile weapon, probably putting it among some of the least damage dealing of all the versatile weapons out there. It is a brutal 1 weapon giving it an ability reserved for most hammers. But, the real prize of the khopesh is the fact that it is both an axe and a heavy blade. The fact that it is a one handed weapon that has two different weapon classifications, both of which are extremely powerful, but are never joined except in this one weapon.

Getting the Most out of your Khopesh:

Build Options
Although the khopesh is a versatile weapon and therefore can be used two-handed, its really not that great for that. There are definitely better two handed weapons out there, the mordenkrand comes to mind. The strength of the khopesh is in allowing you to dual wield these suckers and stack the attacks and damage on critical hits.

Because the khopesh is both an axe and a heavy blade, it is viable for both the one handed weapon talent, battlerager, and tempest builds. The weapon allows you to play it in several ways, more of an axe, more of a sword, or a lot of both. The feats you take with the weapon will be virtually all the same save for the few build or race specific feats that you take to fill out the feat progression. The major difference in how you play the weapon comes in whether you want to put more points into constitution or into wisdom. With the battlerager you get more constitution and the temporary hit points to stay on the front line longer and take lots of damage. With the tempest wisdom build, you get increased damage and lots more OA’s.

As far as Paragon Paths go, the +THP granted with the ability to roll more attacks from the ravager makes it an ideal choice. If you go with the increased wisdom and focus on number of attacks, than the Blade Dancer is the way to go, access to which is granted through your ranger multiclass.

The two Epic Destinies that work with this build are the Punisher of the Gods and the Demigod. The Punisher of the Gods, which works well in many builds is absolutely at home with this build. The immortal curse ability allows you to deal max damage on all crits and get an action point every time you crit the target of your immortal curse. This makes this Epic Destiny perfect for both of the builds I describe in this guide. The Demigod is also a fantastic choice for both of these builds (if not a little bit bland since so many builds from every class use this one over all the others); the Demigod helps fill in to the stats that you need to take advantage of in a build where you have to spread your points thin and Divine Recover and Divine Miracle are awesome as well. If you do take Demigod under the Battlerager build then it is worth looking at the invigorating exploit at level 30 to take with cruel reaper and then use it every round.

Feat Choices

Heroic Tier
The first thing you have to do in order to make this build viable is to multiclass Two-Blade Warrior so that you can wield one in each hand. The following is your feat progression for the critical parts of this build.

2 Weapon Expertise (Axe or Heavy Blade doesn’t matter which)
4 Weapon Focus (Axe of Heavy Blade doesn’t matter which)
6 Two Weapon Fighting (since you’re wielding two weapons why not)
8 Two Weapon Defense (to make up for not wearing a shield if you go battlerager) / Blade Opportunist (since you already have Two Weapon Defense), or a racial feat (Anger Unleashed, Markings of the Victor, Action Surge etc.)
10 Two Weapon Threat (Bonus Damage on OA’s is great)

Paragon Tier
11 Reckless Attacker (One of the main points of this build)
12 Two Weapon Opening (One of the other main points of this build)
14 Heavy Blade Opportunity (A critical part of this build)
16 Deadly Axe (Now the khopesh is brutal, high crit and versatile as well as being both a heavy blade and an axe)
18 Devastating Critical (As this is a crit build, best to deal more damage when you get one)
20 Mighty Battlerage / Agile Tempest / Racial Paragon Feat (Strength from Pain, Unyielding Stone

Epic Tier
21 Axe Mastery or Heavy Blade Mastery
22 Two Weapon Flurry (More attacks means more crits)
24 Knockback Swing (Lets you push the opponent when you attack), Epic Resurgence or Ferocious Assault if you’re a half-orc (and then taking Epic Resurgence at level 30)
26 Mobile Warrior (lets you move into the space of the guy you just pushed to push him across the battlefield and follow him along)
28 Rending Tempest (More damage on extra action attacks and on opportunity attacks)
30 Channeled Battlerage or Invigorating Exploit (taken with cruel reaper if you go with Demi-god epic destiny over Punisher of the Gods so that every round you only use this power) , Epic Resurgence

Power Choices

At first level you’re going to take dual strike and then either brash strike or crushing surge based on whether you want to go with a tempest or battlerager build. Funneling flurry should be your first encounter power allowing you to stay mobile and mark more targets as well as get off more attacks and thus hopefully more crits. At second level and beyond you want to maximize the amount of either hit points that you get back on non dual strike attacks or you want to maximize the number of attacks you can get by taking encounter and daily powers with either the invigorating keyword or that grand you lots of attacks.

Gear Choices

The most obvious choice of gear you’re making in these builds is your weapon…dum dum, da, dum… the KHOPESH! In terms of magic enhancements for it, the obvious one and the one you will be using for the entirety of your khopesh wielding character’s life is rending. Rending is without a doubt the best thing for these as it allows you to make another attack whenever you roll a critical hit which is a big part of this build, the compounding critical hits. As far as other magic items and armor are considered, you will be wearing chain mail in both of the builds that I have provided below. I have provided below a wish list of items that you may or may not want and that provide direct benefits for this build in granting more attacks, increasing the effectiveness of either your hits or your crits, or increasing mobility and defenses

Arm Slot
Heroic Tier

Level 2 – Bracers of Mighty Striking
Level 3 – Flame Bracers
Level 4 – Countersrike Guards
Level 5 – Quickhit Braces


Paragon Tier
Level 12 – Bracers of Mighty Striking
Level 13 – Flame Bracers
Level 14 – Counterstrike Guards
Level 15 – Quickhit Bracers, Couters of Second Chances, Rapidstrike Bracers

Epic Tier
Level 22 – Bracers of Mighty Striking
Level 23 – Flame Bracers
Level 24 – Counterstrike Guards
Level 25 – Quickhit Bracers, Couters of Second Chances,


Feet Slot
Heroic Tier
Level 6 – Boots of Free Movement
Level 8 – Quickling Boots
Level 9 – Boots of Eagerness, Boots of Furious Speed

Paragon Tier
Level 12 – Assault Boots (Awesome for more crit power)

Epic Tier
Level 22 – Boots of Speed
Level 25 – Sandals of Avandra
Level 28 – Boots of Teleportation


Hands Slot
Heroic Tier
Level 3 – Gloves of Piercing
Level 5 – Gauntlets of Ogre Power
Level 6 – Breaching Gauntlets, Lucklender Gloves
Level 9 – Gloves of Storing
Level 10 – Strikebacks, Dwarven Throwers

Paragon Tier
Level 11 – Gauntlets of Blinding Strikes
Level 16 – Breaching Gauntlets
Level 19 – Lightning Reflex Gloves

Epic Tier
Level 26 – Breaching Gauntlets

Head Slot
Heroic Tier
Level 4 – Helm of Opportunity
Level 6 – Horned Helm
Level 9 – Helm of Battle

Paragon Tier
Level 14 – Helm of Opportunity
Level 16 – Crown of Eyes (So that when you get in the mix you’re not getting pounded as badly), Horned Helm
Level 18 – Helm of Swift Punishment (Awesome, viable for this build until 30)
Level 19 – Helm of Battle

Epic Tier
Level 24 – Helm of Opportunity
Level 26 – Horned Helm
Level 28 – Ioun Stone of True Sight
Level 29 – Helm of Battle

Neck Slot
Heroic Tier
Level 5 – Cape of the Mountebank
Level 9 – Amulet of False Life, Cloak of the Walking Wounded
Level 10 – Cape of the Mountebank

Paragon Tier
Level 12 – Cloak of Resistance
Level 14 – Amulet of False Life, Amulet of Attenuation, Cloak of Distortion
Level 15 – Cape of the Mountebank
Level 20 – Amulet of Aranea

Epic Tier
Level 22 – Cloak of Resistance
Level 23 – Amulet of Scales
Level 24 – Amulet of False Life, Cloak of the Walking Wounded
Level 25 – Cape of the Mountebank, Life Charm, Amulet of Aranea
Level 27 – Cloak of Resistance
Level 28 – Amulet of Scales
Level 29 – Amulet of False Life, Amulet of Attenuation, Cloak of Distortion, Amulet of the Unbroken
Level 30 – Cloak of the Phoenix, Scarab of Invulnerability

Rings
Paragon Tier
Level 14 - Ring of Fury x2
Level 16 – War Ring


Epic Tier
Level 24 – Ring of Regeneration
Level 25 – Sorrowsworn Ring
Level 27 – Ring of the Phoenix
Level 30 – Nullifying Ring

Waist Slot
Heroic Tier
Level 6 – Stalwart Belt, Cincture of the Dragon Spirit
Level 8 – Belt of Lucky Strikes

Paragon Tier
Level 15 – Belt of Giant Strength
Level 16 – Stalwart Belt


Epic Tier
Level 25 – Belt of Titan Strength
Level 26 – Stalwart Belt

Wondrous Items
Heroic Tier
Level 3 – Battle Standard of Healing
Level 4 – Battle Standard of Might
Level 5 – Ruby Scabard
Level 6 – Solitaire Cinnabar
Level 7 – Long Battle Tattoo, Tattoo of the Wolverine
Level 9 – Backlash Tattoo

Paragon Tier
Level 15 – Sapphire Scabbard
Level 16 – Solitaire Aquamarine
Level 17 – Tattoo of the Wolverine
Level 18 – Battle Standard of the Stalwart
Level 20 – Battle Standard of the Vanguard

Epic Tier
Level 21 – Solitaire Cerulean
Level 25 – Diamond Scabbard
Level 27 – Tattoo of the Wolverine
Level 28 – Charm of Abundant Action
Basic Tactics and Math:

This build makes use of the axe to get rending and deadly axe and the sword to get heavy blade opportunity so that you can use them both in conjunction to get a massive quantity of attacks.

At Level 30 you will be wielding:

+6 Rending Khopesh x2
Prof +2
Damage 1d8 (1d10 if they are large)
Versatile, Brutal 1, High Crit
Axe, Heavy Blade
+6 on attacks and damage
+1d6 on critical hit and make another basic attack roll

What happens when you crit:

As this build is a crit build, it might be hard to keep track of what happens when you actually do crit. If you’re in Epic Tier, you’re going to hit on a 19-20 not just a 20 increasing your percent chance to get a crit by 5%. When you crit, which you will, the following is what pops:

Always Gained:
Max Weapon Damage on the Attack to which you rolled the critical, 8 damage (10 for large) per W
1d10 for Devastating Critical
1d6 for Magical Weapon Property
3d8 for High Crit (3d10 if weapon is large) from Deadly Axe
Make one basic attack as a free action, but take -2 to AC for the turn from Reckless Attacker

Build or Target Dependant:
If the critical hit was with your main hand, make an attack with your off-hand at the same target from Two Weapon Opening.
Gain 1 special action point for the turn if the target is marked by your immortal curse from the Punisher of the Gods Epic Destiny.
Gain back one encounter power if you took Swordmaster PP
Gain back one encounter power if it’s the first time you rolled a critical hit this encounter.
+4 attack and damage till the end of your next turn from Ferocious Critical

The Following are Item Dependant:
Stalwart Belt - Gain 3 times your constitution modifier as THP
Assault Boots - The opponent is knocked prone.
Bracers of Flame - 2d6 fire damage

Solitairs:
1 solitaire /encounter – Solitaire: Aquamarine: 1/ encounter gain 1 extra basic attack on same target
1 solitaire /encounter – Solitaire: Cinnabar: 1/ encounter roll a saving throw on something you can make a saving throw on
1 solitaire /encounter – Solitaire: Citrine: 1/ encounter spend a healing surge
1 solitaire /encounter – Solitaire: Aquamarine: 1/ encounter roll a save on every thing that you can make a save against
1 solitaire /encounter – Solitaire: Violet: 1/ encounter gain 1 action point that you must spend by the end of the turn and can be used in addition to other action points that you can spend this turn.




The entire problem with getting the critical hits you need is that you can only get them on a roll of a 20, which means that you are only going to be getting a critical hit 5% of the time until you get the mastery feat and can double this percentage to 10% chances. So, in order to get more critical hits, you are going to need a greater quantity of attacks. The following sources grant you extra attacks as well as opportunity attacks.


Bonus Attacks:
Ravager Stuff:
Ravager’s Action – Spend an action point to make an attack against every adjacent enemy with +con to damage.
Marauding Fury – 1/round when you miss with an attack while bloodied, make a melee base attack.
Blade Dancer:
Dual Blade Action – Spend 1 AP gain 1 main and 1 off hand attack with +wis damage

Opportunity Attacks:
Heavy Blade Opportunity – Make Every Opportunity Attack using dual strike rather than your normal base attack.
Two Weapon Flurry – When you make OA with you main hand, you get another with your off hand at -5 penalty. This may or may not allow you to make another dual strike attack starting with your off hand, or it may simply let you make a third attack at a -5 penalty.


Item Dependant:
Ring of Fury – When you are first bloodied make 2 melee basic attacks (4 total if wearing two rings)
Helm of Swift Punishment – Lets you make 2 melee basic attacks instead of 1; compounding this with heavy blade opportunity it lets you do dual strike twice and then with the possibility of Two Weapon Flurry allows you to make between 5 and 6 opportunity attacks for every opportunity attack you make.
Strikebacks - When an opponent hits you, make a melee basic attack against him,
Quickhit Braces – 1/day When you hit with both weapons make a melee basic attack with your off-hand weapon.



You can do a lot of the math yourself, if you really need to. Just from looking at the above tables, one should get a pretty good idea of the massive damage this beast can dish out. The second table is also in addition to the extra attacks granted from the previous table when you get a critical hit.
Sample Khopesh Fighter Builds
Below are two of the builds which I have built using the guide that I have set up above. Snapshots are given for them at 1st, 11th, 21st, and 30th levels.

Vox Bugbear Battlerager / Ravager / Punisher of the Gods

Vox was raised in captivity. He grew up fighting in the pits as a gladiator. As he began to excel, his lust to inflict the greatest damage possible on his enemies drove him to craft a pair of Khopesh, which he saw being worn by the legionairs, using the primitive facilities that availed him as a simple gladiator; but, his skill on the anvil combined with his skill in the arena earned him a growing fandom. Eventually Vox left the arena as a free beast after winning his 500th match. Now, Vox rises to challenge Kord and nothing will stand in his way.

Level 1 Snapshot
Race: Bugbear
Class: Fighter

Stats (with racial bonuses):
Strength 18
Constitution 16
Dexterity 15
Intelligence 10
Wisdom 11
Charisma 8

Initiative +3
Hit Points 30 Bloodied 15 Surge Value 7 Surges 1`
Defenses:
AC 16 Fort 16 Ref 13 Will 10
Speed 5
Passive Insight 10 Passive Perception 10

Khopesh Basic Attack +6 vs AC 1d10+4 damage

Feats:
Two Blade Warrior, Two Weapon Defense
Powers:
At-Will: Crushing Surge, Dual Strike
Encounter: Furious Assault, Funneling Fury
Daily: Tempest Dance

Skill Training: Acrobatics, Athletics, Endurance, Intimidate

Gear: Large Khopesh x2, ChainmailLevel 11 Snapshot
Race: Bugbear
Class: Fighter
Paragon Path: Ravager

Stats (with racial bonuses):
Strength 21
Constitution 17
Dexterity 18
Intelligence 11
Wisdom 12
Charisma 9

Initiative +9
Hit Points 92 Bloodied 46 Surge Value 23 Surges 12
Defenses:
AC 25 Fort 24 Ref 22 Will 18
Speed 5
Passive Insight 16 Passive Perception 16

Khopesh Basic Attack +15 vs AC 1d10+10 damage

Feats:
Two Blade Warrior, Two Weapon Defense, Weapon Expertise (Axe), Weapon Expertise (Axe), Two-Weapon Fighting, Two Weapon Threat, Reckless Attacker
Powers:
At-Will: Brash Strike, Dual Strike
Encounter: Predatory Eye, Funneling Fury, Blinding Smash, Savage Parry, Driven Before You
Daily: Tempest Dance, Bedeviling Assault, Terrifying Impact
Utility: Boundless Endurance, Unbreakable, Into the Fray

Skill Training: Acrobatics, Athletics, Endurance, Intimidate

Gear: Agile Finemail +2, Quickhit Braces, Boots of Furious Speed, Strikebacks, Helm of Opportunity, Cape of the Mountebank +2, Large Rending Khopesh +2, Belt of Lucky Strikes


Level 21 Snapshot
Race: Bugbear
Class: Fighter
Paragon Path: Ravager
Epic Destiny: Punisher of the Gods

Stats (with racial bonuses):
Strength 24
Constitution 20
Dexterity 19
Intelligence 12
Wisdom 13
Charisma 10

Initiative +14
Hit Points 155 Bloodied 77 Surge Value 38 Surges 14
Defenses:
AC 34 Fort 33 Ref 29 Will 25
Speed 5
Passive Insight 21 Passive Perception 21

Khopesh Basic Attack +25 vs AC 2d10+15 damage

Feats:
Two Blade Warrior, Two Weapon Defense, Weapon Expertise (Axe), Weapon Expertise (Axe), Two-Weapon Fighting, Two Weapon Threat, Reckless Attacker, Two Blade Opening, Heavy Blade Opportunity, Deadly Axe, Devastating Critical, Mighty Battlerage, Axe Mastery
Powers:
At-Will: Crushing Surge, Dual Strike
Encounter: Predatory Eye, Funneling Flurry, Driven Before You, Crumpling Slam, Vorpal Tornado, Immortals Curse
Daily: Terrifying Impact, Marked Savagery, Dragon’s Fangs, Devastation’s Wake
Utility: Boundless Endurance, Unbreakable, Into the Fray, Blood Soaked Fury, Regnant Shout

Skill Training: Acrobatics, Athletics, Endurance, Intimidate

Gear: Agile Forgemail Armor +4, Quickhit Braces, Assault Boots, Strikebacks, Helm of Swift Punishment, Cape of the Mountebank +3, Rending Khopesh +4, Belt of Lucky Strikes, Ring of Fury x2
Level 30 Snapshot
Race: Bugbear
Class: Fighter
Paragon Path: Ravager
Epic Destiny: Punisher of the Gods

Stats (with racial bonuses):
Strength 26
Constitution 22
Dexterity 19
Intelligence 12
Wisdom 13
Charisma 10

Initiative +19
Hit Points 211 Bloodied 105 Surge Value 52 Surges 15
Defenses:
AC 43 Fort 41 Ref 36 Will 34
Speed 5
Passive Insight 30 Passive Perception 30

Khopesh Basic Attack +34 vs AC 2d10+18 damage

Feats:
Two Blade Warrior, Two Weapon Defense, Weapon Expertise (Axe), Weapon Expertise (Axe), Two-Weapon Fighting, Two Weapon Threat, Reckless Attacker, Two Blade Opening, Heavy Blade Opportunity, Deadly Axe, Devastating Critical, Mighty Battlerage, Axe Mastery, Knock-Back Swing, Mobile Warrior, Two Weapon Flurry, Rending Tempest, Channeled Battlerage
Powers:
Powers:
At-Will: Crushing Surge, Dual Strike
Encounter: Predatory Eye, Vorpal Tornado, Driven Before You, Cruel Reaper, Warior’s Urging, Immortals Curse
Daily: Earthquake Smash, Marked Savagery, Force the Battle, Devastation’s Wake
Utility: Boundless Endurance, Unbreakable, Into the Fray, Blood Soaked Fury, Regnant Shout, Repel Legions, Howl of Defiance

Skill Training: Acrobatics, Athletics, Endurance, Intimidate

Gear: Agile Forgemail Armor +6, Quickhit Braces, Assault Boots, Strikebacks, Helm of Swift Punishment, Cape of the Mountebank +6, Rending Khopesh +6, Belt of Lucky Strikes, Ring of Fury x2



Targus Half-Orc Tempest Fighter / Blade Dancer / Punisher of the Gods

At an early age, Targus joined the ranks of the Mummy Guard, a group of individuals sworn to protect the mummies of the ancient dessert inside their massive tomb-castles. Tagus’s skill with the Mummy Guard’s traditional weapon, the Khopesh allowed him to move quickly up within the ranks of the Mummy Guard before gaining the highest favor of the mummy lords he served After Targus took over the Mummy Guard’s care, he single handedly fought off the Undead Dragon Army that sought to overthrow the Mummy Lords from power; his feats of bravery reached the ears of the gods and he ascended into their ranks where he continued to seek out and destroy anything that might challenge the power of his or the power of his mummy lords’ powers.

Level 1 Snapshot
Race: Half-Orc
Class: Fighter

Stats (with racial bonuses):
Strength 18
Constitution 13
Dexterity 16
Intelligence 10
Wisdom 14
Charisma 8

Initiative +3
Hit Points 28 Bloodied 14 Surge Value 7 Surges 10
Defenses:
AC 13 Fort 16 Ref 13 Will 12
Speed 6
Passive Insight 12 Passive Perception 12

Khopesh Basic Attack +6 vs AC 1d8+5 damage

Feats:
Two Blade Warrior, Two Weapon Defense
Powers:
At-Will: Brash Strike, Dual Strike
Encounter: Furious Assault, Funneling Fury
Daily: Tempest Dance

Skill Training: Acrobatics, Athletics, Endurance, Intimidate

Gear: Khopesh x2, ChainmailLevel 11 Snapshot
Race: Half-Orc
Class: Fighter
Paragon Path: Blade Dancer

Stats (with racial bonuses):
Strength 21
Constitution 14
Dexterity 18
Intelligence 11
Wisdom 16
Charisma 9

Initiative +9
Hit Points 89 Bloodied 44 Surge Value 22 Surges 11
Defenses:
AC 19 Fort 22 Ref 19 Will 18
Speed 5
Passive Insight 18 Passive Perception 18

Khopesh Basic Attack +15 vs AC 1d8+9 damage

Feats:
Two Blade Warrior, Two Weapon Defense, Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blade), Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blade), Two-Weapon Fighting, Anger Unleashed, Two Weapon Threat, Reckless Attacker
Powers:
At-Will: Brash Strike, Dual Strike
Encounter: Furious Assault, Funneling Fury, Dance of Steel, Savage Parry, Cross Body Parry,
Daily: Tempest Dance, Bedeviling Assault, Stop Thrust
Utility: Pass Forward, Agile Approach, Into the Fray

Skill Training: Acrobatics, Athletics, Endurance, Intimidate

Gear: Agile Drakescale Armor +2, Quickhit Braces, Boots of Furious Speed, Strikebacks, Helm of Opportunity, Cape of the Mountebank +2, Rending Khopesh +2, Belt of Lucky Strikes


Level 21 Snapshot
Race: Half-Orc
Class: Fighter
Paragon Path: Blade Dancer
Epic Destiny: Punisher of the Gods

Stats (with racial bonuses):
Strength 24
Constitution 15
Dexterity 19
Intelligence 12
Wisdom 19
Charisma 10

Initiative +14
Hit Points 150 Bloodied 75 Surge Value 37 Surges 11
Defenses:
AC 35 Fort 32 Ref 28 Will 27
Speed 5
Passive Insight 24 Passive Perception 24

Khopesh Basic Attack +25 vs AC 2d8+18 damage

Feats:
Two Blade Warrior, Two Weapon Defense, Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blade), Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blade), Two-Weapon Fighting, Anger Unleashed, Two Weapon Threat, Reckless Attacker, Two Blade Opening, Heavy Blade Opportunity, Deadly Axe, Devastating Critical, Agile Tempest, Heavy Blade Mastery
Powers:
At-Will: Brash Strike, Dual Strike
Encounter: Furious Assault, Funneling Fury, Dance of Blades, Vorpal Tornado, Cross Body Parry, Immortal Curse
Daily: Blade Dance, Dragon’s Fangs, Stop Thrust, Devastation’s Wake
Utility: Pass Forward, Agile Approach, Into the Fray, Misleading Bladework, Regnant Shout

Skill Training: Acrobatics, Athletics, Endurance, Intimidate

Gear: Agile Forgemail Armor +4, Quickhit Braces, Assault Boots, Strikebacks, Helm of Swift Punishment, Cape of the Mountebank +3, Rending Khopesh +4, Belt of Lucky Strikes, Ring of Fury x2
Level 30 Snapshot
Race: Half-Orc
Class: Fighter
Paragon Path: Blade Dancer
Epic Destiny: Punisher of the Gods

Stats (with racial bonuses):
Strength 26
Constitution 15
Dexterity 20
Intelligence 12
Wisdom 20
Charisma 10

Initiative +20
Hit Points 204 Bloodied 102 Surge Value 51 Surges 11
Defenses:
AC 44 Fort 41 Ref 37 Will 38
Speed 5
Passive Insight 30 Passive Perception 30

Khopesh Basic Attack +34 vs AC 2d8+21 damage

Feats:
Two Blade Warrior, Two Weapon Defense, Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blade), Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blade), Two-Weapon Fighting, Anger Unleashed, Two Weapon Threat, Reckless Attacker, Two Blade Opening, Heavy Blade Opportunity, Deadly Axe, Devastating Critical, Agile Tempest, Heavy Blade Mastery, Epic Resurgence, Ferocious Critical, Two Weapon Flurry, Rending Tempest, Mobile Warrior
Powers:
At-Will: Brash Strike, Dual Strike
Encounter: Furious Assault, Funneling Fury, Dance of Blades, Vorpal Tornado, Cross Body Parry, Immortal Curse, Warrior’s Urging, Cruel Reaper
Daily: Blade Dance, Earthquake Smash, Force the Battle, Devastation’s Wake
Utility: Pass Forward, Agile Approach, Into the Fray, Misleading Bladework, Regnant Shout, Repel Legions, Howl of Defiance

Skill Training: Acrobatics, Athletics, Endurance, Intimidate

Gear: Agile Forgemail Armor +6, Quickhit Braces, Assault Boots, Strikebacks, Helm of Swift Punishment, Cape of the Mountebank +6, Rending Khopesh +6, Belt of Lucky Strikes, Ring of Fury x2
Wrapping Up

That about covers it for this guide. It’s my first time trying to write one when it comes to min / maxing, but I hope that I did a good and comprehensive job. I’d appreciate all the feedback that you can giving me regarding this guide and how to best improve it if I missed something.

I’d like to thank:



Also, if anyone decides to play one of these builds, post your results. I’d love to hear about exactly how far you can get in terms of the longest set of critical chain rolls. Enjoy, Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Going out of Town for a bit...

Well, the wizards forums are down, so the character builder competition thing i put up will have to wait for monday since i'm leaving for a few days to go traveling. Well... i hope it all doesn't fall apart while i'm gone. Doing some campaign work while i'm on the road, those 6 hour bus rides are a killer...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Some more Vox incarnations

So, i got bored because i couldn't get onto the wizards forum so i started experimenting with the fighter a little bit more to make sure i understood all of his powers. The one thing i'm noticing is that a lot of the powers that you take when you get to higher level are virtually exactly the same regardless of what build you're doing. Although boring, it makes leveling a bit easier... lol.



Well, here they are for your viewing pleasure.

Vox Board and Sword Build
http://www.mediafire.com/?dyrhxuzjnvm

Vox Spear/Greatspear and Net Build
http://www.mediafire.com/?mjjeyninz2z

Vox Double Whip Build (Particularly amusing)
http://www.mediafire.com/?mjjeyninz2z

Hope you enjoy checking them out. If you think there is something that i could do better for an optimized build let me know. I'm trying to opt these ones so that when i make others that have a bit more...how should i say this, unconventional builds, that they are still effective.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Apparently I am an...

So, I was bored this morning and i decided to take the "What class are you?" test on the wizards website. I guess the results are pretty valid to be honest, although ironically, i've never played the avenger as the PHB II isn't out yet, but from what i hear from the podcasts, it sounds like its a pretty cool class.


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

Vox the Bugbear Fighter

Now that i have a faster computer to tow around with things on, i've been doing a lot of experimenting with different builds for monsters. Right now, i've been playing with the fighter as it is the class that i play the most often (not that its my favorite, but bards don't look like they are any fun under the new 4th edition rules....) and being the power gamer that i am i like to try and optimize, so i've been following the guide book set out by lordduskblade on the wizards character optimization forum found here http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1080296.

So far, i've come up with three differnt builds for him (so far, i'm sure more are on their way). The first i made was the dual wielding version utilizing the large double sword. The second i made is a small variation of this one which has swapped out his powers relating to the double sword in favor of using the double flail. The thrid version i made uses a totally different build around the execution axe. I love this as a double weapon and it dishes out some seriously wild damage, especially in the large brutal one which rolls 2d6 and thus has more potential for optimizing the use of the brutal feature. I rolled him out all the way to level 30 in each of these builds, but it wouldn't be hard to back track him in order to actually use him for play. I'm putting the character files for the Character Builder that wizards of the coast uses so that people can download him if they wish. They will be up there later.

Vox Double Sword Build
http://www.mediafire.com/?yznemfgkntt
Vox Double Flail Build
http://www.mediafire.com/?ndowwzyq4yz
Vox Execution Axe Build
http://www.mediafire.com/?nojzdztdjmy

Here is a little back story that i rolled up for him as well.
Vox was captured at a young age by a group of traveling mercanaries. He was sold off to the first black market traders that he could find. The traders past him on to a wealthy noble who took great pleasure in watching the fights at the arena. This noble trained Vox to be a brutal and merciless killer. Vox had his first fight in the pit at the age of 12. He won a perfect victory. From here on, Vox's potential was never left unfulfilled. He grew to become, what some would say, the greatest pit fighter in the history of the worlds. Finally, vox was offered a position in the army and a release from the pit. The nobles saw that his capability as a dealer of death could be put to better use against enemies of the country. He served willingly and without complaint, as long as he was challenged he cared not for whom he fought or for the motives behind it. When finally there was no warrior in the vast armies of the world that could match him, Vox left to go it alone, seeking out dragons and beasts of the underworld to do battle with. Vox was never one for comrades, they only got in the way. Finally, Vox began his ascent into the ranks of the gods as a servant of Kord, at whos side he finally took his place, swearing loyalty to the only man who ever defeated him in one on one combat.

The War of the Twin Stone Gods

I just posted my entry in the 8th Expert Dungeon Master Competition. I have learned from the runners of the competitions that i can't post my entry anywhere else until the competition is over, so i'll post it when the competition is all finished. Wish me luck, i'm shooting for a good score. I'm hoping that i'll do ok. Its my first entry into the competition, but maybe i'll have some beginners luck. Until then, i'll try to post some of the fiction series i'm working on about the Eladrin vampire family that is in play in my adventure path right now.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Expert Dungeon Master Competition 8

Well, last night i was reading around the forums and i immediately found one that struck my interest.... so now, i'm working heavily on an adventure that i've been stewing over for a while. It involves a pair of rogue eidolons in a war for influence and how it has caused a city to divide. I'll have it done hopefully within two days. I'm almost done with several of the major elements and now i'm working out all the encounters. It should have just about enough encounters to get the characters from level 8 to level 9 or so. With that, i depart to hit the writing bench.

Laterz

Gaming Group in Saitama

I think i may have found a Dungeons and Dragons group in Saitama near where my girlfriend lives. I'm hoping that i can get in with them for a weekly game; maybe i'll meet some new people and make some new friends.

I also got the character generator up and running on my alternate computer. It is much faster and i am now pumping out NPC's at an alarming rate. I'm looking forward to new updates and i'm strongly considering a year long subscription to the service. I love what they have done with D&DI.

My fiction and adventures are coming along nicely, but not quite ready to start posting any of it yet. I've decided to take the Blizzard model for this and only post it when its ready.

Well, that is all for now, Laterz

Monday, March 9, 2009

We're expanding!

Charisma 4 is just too big an idea for one person to really work at by himself, so we are expanding. My german friend, Frank, is working on the blog in germany and will be e-mailing me posts to put up sooner or later; also, my friend Scott will be joining in on the blog as we work on getting our web comic up and running. We really aren't shooting for anything big, however, we are planning it to be pretty funny, filled with all the wild antics that we get out of each of our games.

In other news, i'm getting a care package from the states... filled with DICE! yes, you heard me, dice! finally i'll have more than one set to actually get some Dungeons and Dragons games here going. Wooot! Thank you mom!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Down the Beholder goes...

Well, today was the last day of our current adventure. Our party technically has 5 people in it, but with 2 of them never coming to the games, it has meant that we have been 3 manning the dungeons, which has been chalenging and fun, but also limited what we could go up against. The guy we have been playing with from Germany is leaving the day after tomorrow; tomorrow is a big party day, so no chance for any roleplaying action, so we wanted to go out with a bang.

The current adventure path we are running set the PC's into an underground goblin castle only to find that nothing was what it seems. The first time around, we had encounters with every single goblin from the Monster Manual, but also had a fight with a ochre jelly, an enraged cave bear, a pack on angry crocodiles, a prison full of hobgoblins, 2 cambions caught in the act of bdsm, 3 hilarious, but stupid gargoyles, and to top it all of an Oni-Mage. The Players went into the castle at level one, came out at level 6. There were other more mundane encounters in between to boost there levels and allow them a chance at defeating the oni mage, which i found was truly fun to play. His tactics are especially hard to deal with when you fail all your knowledge checks and then insult him by calling him an ogre... so he got pissed and whiped the floor with them before they finally burnt all of their action points and used all their dailies to taking him down figuring out that he was basically the boss monster.

Because of the way the new system works, we wanted to play a little with the paragon tier, so we sent them back to the dungeon, five game years and five levels later, to wrangle with the new dungeon inhabitants. We found that at level 11 things get busted really fast. The attack scores are pretty high and because of the significant ammount of damage they are dishing out, low level encounters mean almost nothing to them. My fighter, the one that should be taking damage and burning healing surges didn't take damage the entire adventure accept from an ongoing damage trap which neither needed to roll to hit or to deal damage (5 damage every turn from a Chain devil torture chamber trap which worked as long as one of the kytons was alive); his armor class was simply to high. He's sporting a defensive longsword +3 and some decent armor, so his AC hit 29 before i decide to take total defense and then it pops way up, so the enemies, which should be going for him now find that he's to tough to deal with....

Tonight, we really wanted to fight a beholder, so i sent the party of three level 11 martial characters into the fight against an Eye of Flame; this was a good idea in theory, until i made the mistake of saying, "i wonder if you can kill the beholder before he even gets an attack off." Sure enough, he rolled last on initiative and they started outside of his aura of eye beam attacks. It had been getting late and they guessed that i wouldn't send anything else against them tonight, and as it was really the last night of play, they busted out all of their action points in one round. This wouldn't have been terrible had we not just went through 6 previous combats and were on the verge of death, but the cost of losing all the action points and wasting our dailies was too great to go ahead and rest, so we fought the beholder with no healing surges on the ranger, one on the rogue and the tank, thanfully near max. However, it didn't really matter. The ranger used hail of arrows, spent 4 action points and did 210 damage to the beholder. The rogue then charged in popping behind it, spent his 4 action points and used four daily attacks and his sly flourish (which has now become somewhat of a character defining attack {we insist that as the rogue has never succeeded on a stealth check that mattered as well as the fact that his main attack is flashy riposte with a sly flourish backup, that in fact this vampiric eladrin is so loudly gay that his opponents can see his fabulousness coming from a mile away... pardon being politically incorrect}) busted out 137 damage. Now, with this ammount, the beholder has taken 347 damage, over 100 points more than his maximum, from two characters which are 2 levels lower than his is, just because they plowed through several encounters of flunkies without going to bed for the day. The fighter didn't even get to act, out of frustration he sauntered over to the beholder and ripped its eye out of its skull, which turned out to be easy considering how mutilated the corpse had become.

What i have taken from this:
  1. Never let them know who the boss is. If they know which one is the boss, they are going to burn everything all at once to get rid of him.
  2. Make the flunkies nearly as awesome as the boss is so they don't quite know if this is the big finale.
  3. Make the encounters longer and put more in them so the action points don't build up. Alternatively limit the number of action points that can be spent in a round. I may have gotten this wrong in hindsight and that might be already a rule, but hell, i don't know i've been dming 4th edition for like a week. If it is, that rule needs to be in Bold Font on Every CHARACTER SHEET!
  4. Make sure your dm at least knows the rules. Right now, i'm learning 4th edition for the first time and my computer is too slow to look up rules with any ammount of speed that matters. My friends usually are using my books and stopping to make them look a rule up for me kind of kills the sense of suprise if i'm trying to look it up before a fight and borrowing the books from them slows down gameplay.
  5. Never let a beholder fight a ranger one on one. The ranger always wins. With increased attack range from a feat, the ranger can literally outrange the beholder and never take a hit. If they fight solo and in a moderately open environment, the beholder loses every time.
That's all for now. I'll be keeping in touch with more to come, including the web coming we're working on as well as a few fiction pieces and adventures to kick start that portion of our blog.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dungeons and Dragons 4th

Where to begin...

Counter to some, i'll start with the present and work backwards. I just recently picked up all the 4th edition rule books by a course of sweet luck and fate. I'm living in Japan right now, so gamers are scarce, but there is a hobby shop in the neighboring town which has a little bit of a roleplaying selection, so i walked in and managed to find at least one copy of each of the 4th edition rule books. I quickly bought them and ran back to my dorm (well, rode the train / bus ) in order to read them all from cover to cover.

My first thoughts on the game after reading how everything works were: I LOVE POWERS! It really makes the game play out more like an MMO than a roleplaying game to me. Everyone gets crazy stuff that they can do with attacks not just the mage characters. I have been a player of DnD on numerous occassions, but mostly i play the DM and role an NPC of my own as a member of the party. This really helps me get into the characters heads a little bit more than my players think i am and it is a lot of fun. I usually end of fulfilling some role that the party doesn't want to do themselves, such as the shield wielding fighter...

Not to be a spoil sport, but in earlier editions of the game, playing this type of fighter was just not any fun (at least i felt that way). I watched as other fighters who were wielding the BFA (Big Fucking Axe [or BFS {Big Fucking Sword}]) would bust out crazy ammounts of damage and kill lots of people, but i was more or less playing the mages line of defense in the back. Now, since i was virtually always DMing, i didn't really have a problem with this, because i was getting to do all kinds of other cool stuff too, but i did imagine how other people in similar roles must have felt if they were running the same character.

Now... 4th edition loves the shield wearing fighter. You get to do all kinds of cool stuff. I'm particulary partial to knocking people over, (in one of my first games i got killed hard from an attack when i was laying on the ground, so since them i've always liked doing that to other people), stabbing them repeatedly and keeping them on the floor. Right now i'm playing an 11th level dragonborn fighter in the paragon path of Knight Protector in a game that i'm running with a few of my friends from school. I love to use my tide of iron to knock someone over, breath fire at them while their down, and then beat the tar out of them with my heavy blade. Really good times.

I've only run a couple of adventures now in fourth edition, but from what i can tell everthing seems to be better. I was pissed at first that they got rid of the gnome and the bard, essentially winking my main character (Fiblin the Fantastic / Fabulous [depending on what day you caught him on]) out of existance, but now he's back in PHB2, so nothing to serious or detrimental. I'm eagerly looking forward to roll up my bard again and see what inspirational / tricky stuff i get to be able to bust out on my enemies now.

So, all in all, Kudos. Good job, Bravo. All the work that was put into on 4th edition paid off in spaids. I can't wait to throw the new version of the atropol at my players and watch them squirm and make dead baby jokes while they are all killed to death (yes, i just said killed to death).