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Kol Korran
2010-04-05, 03:12 PM
some time from now, i will be DMing a small campaign for my current roleplaying group (currently a player).
my players allready started to assign roles for themselves however, and one of them said he wants to play a duskblade.
now, i don't have the PHB2, so i know very little of him- capable fighter, semi sorcerer, quite good at buffing himself and taking out single tough monsters (or so a friend of mine told me. he DMed with a group who's duskblade ruined every major challange)
i want to let this player play the class, but i want to be prepared to any possible power trips, and i also want to know how to challange him. i'll get the [email protected] in the next few days, so i'll be a bit wiser.

any tactics i should be wary of? spell/ attack combos? and so on?

(oh, we'll be starting at level 2)

Eldonauran
2010-04-05, 03:28 PM
Duskblades are literally just pre-made gishes. They are pretty straight forward and predictable.

They can channel ANY touch (Range: Touch) spell they know through their weapon, even if that spell is from a different class list, provided they have have access to it (ie, multi-classing).

Around level 5, when they get the quick cast ability (1/day), be prepared to see a true strike quick cast + spell channeled attack. If its witha 2 handed weapon, that -5 attack (still, +15) and +10 damage.

reptilecobra13
2010-04-05, 03:29 PM
One of the biggest things that you'll have to watch out for is once a duskblade hits level 5. The quickcast ability will let a duskblade combo a truestrike with a blade of blood, sacrificing some HP for a single massive hit.

At lower levels, their limit of spells and the time it takes for them to be cast isn't even that much of a restriction, since they still get a full BAB progression and two good saves (Fort. and Will).

Edit: Ninja'd.

Tinydwarfman
2010-04-05, 03:33 PM
Duskblades are like arcane barbarians. They are very good at dealing lots of damage, but not too much else. They actually can't buff themselves very well, as they have a pretty bad spell list. Expect him to take knowledge devotion, power attack, and arcane strike as soon as possible if he is an optimizer. Good counters are what you'd normally use to counter powerful offensive melee (miss chance, not readily available targets, etc.)

Should add, I played a lvl 5 duskblade that would consistently hit 50 damage per hit if I was trying to nova, and could two shot pretty much anything, if not one shot. Low stamina though. Dropped down to 35 per hit after blade of blood, quick true strike and the like were expended.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-04-05, 03:37 PM
Pritty much they are realy good at picking a target and unloading a butt load of dmg.

Some other nice perks here and there. Expect alot of dmg from them.

level 5 Like was said before typicaly (on the bbeg) quickend truestrike followed by a Power attacked (-5) channeled shocking grasp.
Assuming a greatsword thats:

+20+str attack rating
2d6(base weapon)+10 damage+5d6+str dmg.

They have a few other tricks here and there. but you can look at the class and spell list in this pdf (http://www.crystalkeep.com/d20/rules/DnD3.5Index-Classes-Base.pdf) its crystalkeep btw.

Kol Korran
2010-04-05, 03:53 PM
Pritty much they are realy good at picking a target and unloading a butt load of dmg.

Some other nice perks here and there. Expect alot of dmg from them.

level 5 Like was said before typicaly (on the bbeg) quickend truestrike followed by a Power attacked (-5) channeled shocking grasp.
Assuming a greatsword thats:

+20+str attack rating
2d6(base weapon)+10 damage+5d6+str dmg.

They have a few other tricks here and there. but you can look at the class and spell list in this pdf (http://www.crystalkeep.com/d20/rules/DnD3.5Index-Classes-Base.pdf) its crystalkeep btw.

thanks for the detailed explenation. and the link. that would come in handy!

Godskook
2010-04-05, 04:45 PM
Want to 'challenge' a Duskblade?
-They have spell slots, and rely on them. Upping the encounters per day, but designing them to focus more attention on the Duskblade drains his resources, or forces him to be less shiny if he wants to save his resources for boss-slaying.
-They're melee brutes, so walls, alternate movement modes, and just plain avoiding them does a lot.
-They lack spot/listen as class skills. Abuse to taste.

The Big Dice
2010-04-05, 05:03 PM
Want to 'challenge' a Duskblade?
-They have spell slots, and rely on them. Upping the encounters per day, but designing them to focus more attention on the Duskblade drains his resources, or forces him to be less shiny if he wants to save his resources for boss-slaying.
-They're melee brutes, so walls, alternate movement modes, and just plain avoiding them does a lot.
-They lack spot/listen as class skills. Abuse to taste.

And weirdly, it's possible to start with more 0 Level spells known than they have spells to pick on their list.

TheCountAlucard
2010-04-05, 05:10 PM
And weirdly, it's possible to start with more 0 Level spells known than they have spells to pick on their list....possible? It's not even hard. :smallamused:

Heck, when I was building a low-level NPC Duskblade the other day, that bugged me so much that I just gave her an INT of 12 so I wouldn't have to think about it any more. :smallannoyed:

RagnaroksChosen
2010-04-05, 05:16 PM
thanks for the detailed explenation. and the link. that would come in handy!

No problem.. I enjoy duskblades they make me happy when i toss around alot of dice.

Ranger Mattos
2010-04-05, 05:48 PM
Pritty much they are realy good at picking a target and unloading a butt load of dmg.

Some other nice perks here and there. Expect alot of dmg from them.

level 5 Like was said before typicaly (on the bbeg) quickend truestrike followed by a Power attacked (-5) channeled shocking grasp.
Assuming a greatsword thats:

+20+str attack rating
2d6(base weapon)+10 damage+5d6+str dmg.

They have a few other tricks here and there. but you can look at the class and spell list in this pdf (http://www.crystalkeep.com/d20/rules/DnD3.5Index-Classes-Base.pdf) its crystalkeep btw.

I saw a build that needed to be a Maenad, and some special items (like a deep crystal greatsword), but that could do 20d6+12 damage at level 3 :smallamused: Novaing is fun.

Godskook
2010-04-05, 05:58 PM
And weirdly, it's possible to start with more 0 Level spells known than they have spells to pick on their list.

Umm.....how is that relevant to what I was saying?

(I really don't see it)

Amphetryon
2010-04-05, 06:00 PM
Requisite Handbook Linkage (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=525.0).

Eldonauran
2010-04-05, 06:01 PM
Oh, I forgot to mention. Watch out for rings of wizardry. Doubling the duskblades already plentiful spells per day is quite an event.

TheCountAlucard
2010-04-05, 06:01 PM
Umm.....how is that relevant to what I was saying?Who said it needed to be? Most likely, what you were saying reminded The Big Dice of that little factoid, and since the subject of this thread is Duskblades, felt it was relevant enough to post.

AslanCross
2010-04-05, 06:10 PM
Duskblades aren't gishes in the classic sense (they're not self-buffers). They're something like melee blasters, tacking magic damage onto their melee attacks. They can't tank much either, due to their d8 hit dice and lighter armor. They're more strikers than anything.

Arcane Strike + Spell Channelling + Power Attack can make a Duskblade deal lots of damage even when using level 1 spells like Shocking Grasp.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-04-05, 07:54 PM
I saw a build that needed to be a Maenad, and some special items (like a deep crystal greatsword), but that could do 20d6+12 damage at level 3 :smallamused: Novaing is fun.

Yes a crystal blade can pump psionic points or something into it to do extra dmg however there is a cap. though most people ignore it or don't understand how it works.

graeylin
2010-04-05, 08:38 PM
you got some good advice... extend the adventure day, make the DB choose to use wisely his spells and damages.

at this lower level, hitting him with multiple choices of foes works (not so great at higher levels, where he can use his extra attacks and channel one spell multiple times). BBEG's should have minions, or summoned monsters, or mirror image in play.

Don't be afraid to buff up some hitpoints on BBEG's, if you find your DB is making small work of them. Or, give them something that they just don't want to get too close too... undead with negative touch attacks, ghouls with paralyzing stench, oozes, rust monsters, etc.. make the DB think twice about jumping into melee and hacking away. Spell resistance can be helpful too, just to take a bit of the DB edge off.

Remember that a DB is very melee oriented (mostly), so a bit of puzzles and traps, negotiations, role play can help round out his PC, and give him chances to use other skills than "channel and kill". Make him work a bit for his knowledge skills, and give him a place to use them other than increasing his to hit number.

EpicEvokerElf
2010-04-05, 08:38 PM
As has been mentioned, they can deal more damage that you can shake the crispy carcasses of their foes at. However, they can't really buff worth anything. Consequently, you're better off counterspelling than dispelling if you've got a choice. However, swarming him might also work well, as (though he does have AoE spells) he's best against single foes. Antimagic field always works, as do ranged attackers (preferably with a terrain advantage).

The Big Dice
2010-04-05, 09:22 PM
The onlyfour 0 level spells thing was indeed a random aside. And the lack of an expanded spell list for Duskblades is a minor pet peeve of mine that I'm way too lazy to fix with a bit of homebrew and a couple hours poring over the Spell Compendium.

Duskblades just beg for starting out with a Spiked Chain EWP and Combat Expertise. Season with Battle Caster when you get the chance then aim for Improved Trip and Whirlwind Attack. By 13th level, your GM will hate you. Large amounts of AoO action, reach and Heavy Armour. Use Vampiric Touch to recoup some lost hp and watch out for casters in robes, anyone with a ranged weapon and Ubercharging Barbarians.

The biggest problem for Duskblades is simply the choice of good metamagic vs combat related feats. And that they don't get spells past 5th level. Against a moderately optimised Wizard, they have problems. But who doesn't? In a lot of ways, Duskblades are a classic Glass Cannon class. They can dish out the punishment, but they can't cope against someone who can dish it out and give it back.

Just_Ice
2010-04-05, 09:30 PM
They get full BAB, wear light armour without spell failure (and medium/heavy, later), two good saves, can cast colour spray and ray of enfeeblement for the first few levels until they can channel, then it's shocking grasp for an extra 3d6 at level 3 (with +2 to hit if the enemy is wearing metal).

There's a feat that allows them to expend multiple cantrips to cast spells which allows them to overcome their small spell pool, somewhat. A chain and anything that gives them reach will make them really dangerous.

Basically they easily put all melee classes to shame and will absolutely dominate for quite a bit of the early game given good stats. Expect roleplay to be nonexistant. Later they will be surpassed by pretty much every class, and certainly spellcasters.

I think they might get d10 hp, too.

Like all of the classes in PHB 2, you should ask your player if they REALLY want to play them before they do.

They'll also probably really want a ring of sorcery. It's a good way to power them up, but they'll likely be out-doing everyone because there are a lot more classes in tier 4/5 than there are in 1/2

Overall duskblades aren't any more unmanagable than the next class, but they're strictly better than most melee classes. I had a bad experience with one that had a really high total mod who rolled twenties a third of the time and acted like he owned the campaign, so a crocodile bit off one of his arms.

Pretty hard to x4 crit with a scythe if you can't hold it.

I think the problem with this class is it is a fighting style and not a job or focus; the same could be same about hexblade, but at least it focuses on curses. I personally think it's better as a prestige class, but that's just me. Hope this helps, your player has fun with it and you have a good campaign.

The Big Dice
2010-04-05, 09:37 PM
Basically they easily put all melee classes to shame and will absolutely dominate for quite a bit of the early game given good stats. Expect roleplay to be nonexistant. Later they will be surpassed by pretty much every class, and certainly spellcasters.

They are a front loaded class. But I do think they make for a great Fighter Gestalt if you want to play a melee heavy gish. Like most gish classes, though, they suffer with MAD. BUt they do have more options than a straight melee character.

Eldariel
2010-04-05, 09:40 PM
They are a front loaded class. But I do think they make for a great Fighter Gestalt if you want to play a melee heavy gish. Like most gish classes, though, they suffer with MAD. BUt they do have more options than a straight melee character.

1) They aren't really Gishes, as stated before. By default, Gish enhances his combat prowess with magic. Duskblade blasts with a sword.
2) Generally, gestalt gish is far superior for using a caster class on one side and melee class on the other; indeed, taking Fighter/Wizard and Fighter as your two classes is going to make you much worse than being Fighter on one side and Wizard on the other. This way, you actually get something more than feats out of your Fighter-levels and actually get full casting advancement as Gestalt is designed to provide.

Master_Rahl22
2010-04-05, 09:46 PM
I'm currently playing a level 4 Duskblade, and we started at level 2. It's been a blast so far. We have a Scout, a Swashbuckler/Fighter, and a Cleric in our group. Duskblades lack a bit, especially as the only arcane caster, but man do I make up for it in combat. Reach weapon + tripping, True Strike + Power Attack, lots of fun stuff. Also, somebody commented on Knowledge Devotion, which was spot on. That feat actually prompted the character's personality. He's very much a bookworm, and carries a modest collection of his favorite scrolls and books wherever he goes, in case he has time for some light reading. The Knowledge checks have saved our party several times when he was able to identify key abilities or weaknesses of something as the fight started.

Also, the ways to challenge a Duskblade are spot on. I've had trouble with flying enemies, and fighting in close quarters where it's tough to use my reach weapon to full effect. Oh, and swarms, I friggin hate the damn weapon immune swarms, which I of course critted to find that out. :smallannoyed:

krossbow
2010-04-05, 09:47 PM
Expect roleplay to be nonexistant.


the same could be same about hexblade, but at least it focuses on curses.


stormwind fallacy.

Just_Ice
2010-04-05, 10:14 PM
stormwind fallacy.

You may write that, but I suspect you understand where I'm coming from anyways. In my experience, at least, the kinds of people who play "magic-using swordsmen" are generally the kinds of people that like seeing big numbers on their dice and not the kinds of people that like to tell a story.

Besides Knight and maybe beguiler, none of the classes in PHB2 have flavour text that really lend themselves to reasonable backstories... and I don't think that's an unfair notice, even if I did word it a little ham-fistedly.

sofawall
2010-04-05, 10:30 PM
In my experience, at least, the kinds of people who play "magic-using swordsmen" are generally the kinds of people that like seeing big numbers on their dice and not the kinds of people that like to tell a story.

My experience tells the exact opposite. Therefore what you are saying is obviously completely wrong and has no merit. Duskblades are full of flavour, and only people people who want flavour over power would use one. I mean, it doesn't even get a familiar!

Snark aside, that would be the person, not the class. People can roleplay a Duskblade well, and a Paladin poorly.

Also, isn't "magic-using swordsmen" one of the more common fantasy tropes?

Runestar
2010-04-05, 10:41 PM
Whatever fluff you used to play a fighter/wizard/eldritch knight beforehand, or even a swordmage in 4e, you can easily use on a duskblade. I don't see what makes it so special that makes it so hard to rp effectively.

Just_Ice
2010-04-05, 10:44 PM
My experience tells the exact opposite. Therefore what you are saying is obviously completely wrong and has no merit. Duskblades are full of flavour, and only people people who want flavour over power would use one. I mean, it doesn't even get a familiar!

Snark aside, that would be the person, not the class. People can roleplay a Duskblade well, and a Paladin poorly.

Also, isn't "magic-using swordsmen" one of the more common fantasy tropes?

I'd rather not derail this topic any further; I'll say that I have semi-convincingly roleplayed a door before and basically anything is possible... but some classes are universally worse for roleplaying than others, similar to how some car designs can be universally worse from an aesthetic viewpoint to others.

I would say that with its cliche baggage from other media and the lack of helpful flavour text to give it meaning outside of "wizard who picked up a sword one day and thought it was sweet" doesn't help it out, whereas most of that stuff for a knight or paladin would.

The people I feel pick Duskblade are those who wish to have all of the abilities, but don't want to "waste time" building their character up into them. You're welcome to PM me arguments if you disagree, but this topic should probably continue as it was; there's probably more to say on the matter.

AslanCross
2010-04-05, 10:48 PM
You may write that, but I suspect you understand where I'm coming from anyways. In my experience, at least, the kinds of people who play "magic-using swordsmen" are generally the kinds of people that like seeing big numbers on their dice and not the kinds of people that like to tell a story.

Besides Knight and maybe beguiler, none of the classes in PHB2 have flavour text that really lend themselves to reasonable backstories... and I don't think that's an unfair notice, even if I did word it a little ham-fistedly.

If a player bases his character's backstory on sourcebook flavor text, I doubt he's really roleplaying properly at all. If I wanted to make a character who is a member of Aundair's Order of Knights Arcane, a specialized commando who makes stuff explode by using his sword, is it wrong if I use a Duskblade just because the art of arcane swordplay, by PHB2's flavor text, is Elven and invented by Corellon (who doesn't exist in Eberron anyway)?

krossbow
2010-04-05, 10:49 PM
anyone who needs a book to tell them how to roleplay their character instead of creating it themself is the roleplaying problem imo, not the class.

T.G. Oskar
2010-04-06, 04:02 AM
If a player bases his character's backstory on sourcebook flavor text, I doubt he's really roleplaying properly at all. If I wanted to make a character who is a member of Aundair's Order of Knights Arcane, a specialized commando who makes stuff explode by using his sword, is it wrong if I use a Duskblade just because the art of arcane swordplay, by PHB2's flavor text, is Elven and invented by Corellon (who doesn't exist in Eberron anyway)?

Doesn't Player's Guide to Eberron essentially rewrites that idea?

At least it's not as hard to justify having Warblades and Swordsages on Dragonlance during the time the gods were absent... Boy that was complex.

Racist elf Silvanesti for the win.

Not much to mention about how to deal with a Duskblade. Their spell list defines their way of combat. You may recommend him PrCing out, since usually what they get for PrCing doesn't counter what they get from remaining on the class in most cases. I'd worry about a few spells mostly (Disintegrate, Polar Ray, Vampiric Touch, True Strike, Slashing Dispel); the rest can be reliably resisted or granted immunities against.

Kol Korran
2010-04-06, 04:46 AM
hhmmmm, quite a little discussion since this started. most of my threads don't last long at all. two questions:
1) what is arcane strike? (still haven't gotten the PHB2, and the crystal keep pdf doesn't include it)
2) as Aslan Cross began with, i am probably going to place the cmapaign in Eberron, simply because i like it quite a bit. however, none of my players have ever played, or read Eberron. how and where would you have a duskblade fit? i have a few ideas:
- the elves of Aerenal have long since developed the arts of the duskblades, as special guardian and commando forces. the art was transfered later to Khorvaire by migrating elves, though kept secretly. it's main protectors and trainers are the two houses of shadow, that view it is an art form, but also a very useable and unpredictable weapon.
- as Aslan Cross suggested, i also see Aundair as a natural place where the duskblades might have originated in. they love sword play and arcane magic- why not combine the two. i exspect only highborn or extremley talented individuals were taught it's magic.
- a bit of a different approach, usefull if my player chooses a more out of the way race, is that the Ancient empire of Dhakkan held the secrets of the duskblades, and have passed it over generations. at times, the secrets were even leaked to outsiders (blasphemy!), but mostly it was hobgoblins that took on this role.
- an even more out of the way idea, but that can lend itself to almost any role: the duskblades magic is different magic. most arcane users don't learn or use most of the spells. it comes from a different traditions, a tradition of The Choosing by the dusk hags- through their power these hags noticed the instruments of fate, and have chosen to strengthen on such instrument by teaching an ancient lore, known to them and to them alone. these become the hags weapons in the coming conflicts and turmoils of destiny, most times unknowingly, not even knowing the true identity of their teachers...

so, what do you think? the exact decision will be made depending on the character concept of the player, but these are basic drafts. what do you say? any other ideas of your own?

oh, and please don't foget my question about the arcane strike..
thanks! :smallwink:

Dhavaer
2010-04-06, 06:08 AM
1) what is arcane strike? (still haven't gotten the PHB2, and the crystal keep pdf doesn't include it)

A feat from Complete Warrior. Sacrifice spell slots to get bonus to hit and damage.

Runestar
2010-04-06, 06:25 AM
One of the biggest things that you'll have to watch out for is once a duskblade hits level 5. The quickcast ability will let a duskblade combo a truestrike with a blade of blood, sacrificing some HP for a single massive hit.

At lower levels, their limit of spells and the time it takes for them to be cast isn't even that much of a restriction, since they still get a full BAB progression and two good saves (Fort. and Will).

Edit: Ninja'd.

It just means that once in a long long while, they get to shine and take centrestage. Which is fine by me. It is not as though they can manage this every encounter (or even every round).

Seen that once - player went quickened true-strike + PA for 5 (adding 10 damage) and channeling shocking grasp, for 2d6+15+5d6. Trust me - the damage isn't all it is hyped up to be.

On a completely unrelated note, my warblade5 can do 7d6+7 at least 1/encounter (greatsword+bonecrusher+punishing stance). :smallamused: