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Kurald Galain
2011-03-08, 08:23 AM
Having read through the book, I stand by my earlier assessment that Heroes Of Shadow offers some nice new options if your campaign is only using HOFL and HOFK, but that if you're running a campaign with all books allowed, HOS has very little to offer. Sure, there are some bits of nice fluff, and a wizard, cleric, or warlock may want to take two or three new powers from the book, but that's it. It seems to me that it was written for HOFL/HOFK players, with little regard as to whether it would be useful for people using all books starting from PHB1.

At least by 4.0 standards, the assassin and vampire are weak strikers, the binder warlock is actually a worse controller than the PHB1 warlock, the necromancer is not very impressive, and the shade is inferior to the thematically similar shadar-kai. There are no magic items, and no feats worth using except for the two expertises.

On the other hand, the nethermancer is good and synergizes well with an illusionist (useful since a mage gets to pick two schools anyway), the vorlika is a useful and versatile race (if lacking in feat support), and the blackguard appears to be a reasonably effective striker.

Overall in my opinion, there is some good material in here, but the majority is lacklustre. I would not, personally, recommend buying this book. We'll just have to see what the next book (Heroes of the Feywild, planned for November) has to offer.


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The new D&D book Heroes of Shadow is coming out in approximately one month. In some ways it's the PHB3 for 4.4, after the other two Heroes books; in some other ways it's a Foo Power expansion book. It mainly focuses on two new classes (assassin and vampire) and new options for the paladin, cleric, mage, and warlock.

Aside from that, the content of the cancelled Sword And Spell book is going to appear in Dragon magazine over the next four months. This gives us a 4.4 build for the Warlord, as well as information on how to adapt PHB1 builds to a 4.4 game. There is no news yet about the content of the similarly-cancelled Mordenkainen's Emporium, nor about Champions of the Heroic Tier.

Finally, WOTC has promised to deliver small errata at the end of every month, and big errata twice per year in June and December.

New classes in HOS:

Assassin (already available in Dragon magazine)
Vampire


New builds for existing classes:

Blackguard paladin
Binder warlock


New domains or schools for existing classes:

Warpriest death domain
Hexblade gloom pact
Mage school of necromancy
Mage school of nethermancy


New races

Revenant (already available in Dragon magazine)
Shade (not to be confused with shadar-kai)
Vriloka (vampire)


And of course a bunch of feats, paragon paths, and epic destinies. There do not appear to be any items in there.

Kurald Galain
2011-03-10, 11:37 AM
And a bit more news, Champions of the Heroic Tier was going to contain character themes just like those in the Dark Sun book (only, you know, not specific to Athas) and these will also be put in Dragon magazine in the next two months. Looks like WOTC is keeping their promise of getting the content of their cancelled books to us by other means.

On the other hand, WOTC seems to shy away from adding much more options (their exact words are that they want to be "getting the most from what's already in the game rather than loading more onto it") so this means that anyone who wants greater support for e.g. a str-build Cleric, Seeker, or Gnoll is probably out of luck.

Kerrin
2011-03-10, 11:58 AM
Aside from that, the content of the cancelled Sword And Spell book is going to appear in Dragon magazine over the next four months.
Yuck. Magazines - I do not want.

I guess Wizards of the Coast won't be getting money from me for this game information and I won't be getting the game information. C'est la vie!

Tiki Snakes
2011-03-10, 12:12 PM
Wait, vampire as a class? I did not see that coming.

Reverent-One
2011-03-10, 12:16 PM
I've said this before, and I'll probably need to say it again, could you please throw some links to announcements and the like when you talk about them? People like reading the whole article in addition to getting a summary.



On the other hand, WOTC seems to shy away from adding much more options (their exact words are that they want to be "getting the most from what's already in the game rather than loading more onto it") so this means that anyone who wants greater support for e.g. a str-build Cleric, Seeker, or Gnoll is probably out of luck.

That doesn't logically follow. If they're doing more with what's already in the game rather than adding more to it, then they're spending their time and energy on things that already exist in game, like a str-build Cleric, Seeker, or Gnoll does, rather than totally new things, like for example a Cha-build Cleric or a new race. So it means the exact opposite of what you said. Also consider one question from one of the recent "Rule of three" articles:


3. Will we see more support for classes that use the standard at-will, encounter, daily, and utility power progression from Player’s Handbook?

Yes. We’ll continue to support those classes with new builds, and as we consider creating new classes we will use that progression when it is appropriate. Using data we cull from the Character Builder, we can determine the most and least popular classes. Obviously, we will provide support for classes that receive the most play. For less popular options, we’ll look to see what we can do to make those choices more appealing via new builds, new powers, and other new options. From our data, the Player’s Handbook classes are quite popular and will receive continuing support in the future

So yeah, more material for such things is likely to keep coming.

The Glyphstone
2011-03-10, 12:16 PM
And a race. Will Vriolka Vampire have the best possible class/race synergy ever?

RTGoodman
2011-03-10, 12:19 PM
Yuck. Magazines - I do not want.

Is there a reason you don't want the magazines? Like it or not, Dungeon and Dragon 'zines are a major part of the 4E product selection. It's not like the old Paizo/3.x days where you could never be sure of the quality or balance; the current ones are made in-house by the same people who write your normal physical books.

If it's the idea of a subscription you don't like, well, the best solution is to buy a one-month subscription once every 6-12 months and download everything you don't have up to that point. That's less good now that the Character Builder and Adventure Tools are online instead of a downloadable thing, but it's still worth it for the material.



Wait, vampire as a class? I did not see that coming.

I've been thinking the same thing. I'm wondering if maybe it's not a class to play a vampire CREATURE, but a Shadow class that focuses on doing vampirey things.

Reverent-One
2011-03-10, 12:20 PM
And a race. Will Vriolka Vampire have the best possible class/race synergy ever?

And there's a bloodline feat to make you a dampyr. How vampire-y can you get? :smallwink:

Darth Stabber
2011-03-10, 12:24 PM
So if I Dual-class vampire/x, am I a daywalker?

The Glyphstone
2011-03-10, 12:24 PM
And there's a bloodline feat to make you a dampyr. How vampire-y can you get? :smallwink:

Have we found the Bearington Bearman of 4E?:smallcool:

Quick, someone scour the Adventurer's Vaults to see if there is a Vampiric ability on weapons - probably would give temp HP or something.

RTGoodman
2011-03-10, 12:31 PM
Have we found the Bearington Bearman of 4E?:smallcool:

Let's see... Vriolka Vampire/Bloodstalker(Dr371)/[Some Epic Destiny] with Vampire Heritage line of feats (Dr371/DrComp), wielding a vampiric weapon (AV) and vampiric gauntlets (AV).

Fox Box Socks
2011-03-10, 01:39 PM
I'm excited to see what happens with Vampire as a class. Dhampyr is neat, but it's not very viable until at least Paragon.

Kerrin
2011-03-10, 03:27 PM
Is there a reason you don't want the magazines?
I think it has to do with the splat-y-ness of most things from the magazines, plus that folks in our playing group have never all have the magazines nor can keep up with all the new material being put out in them. None of us gernally likes chasing bits and pieces spread throughout magazines.

I generally perfer RPG rules materials in book form (having things collected into books is handy) and legal PDF book form (for better portability of said books). I've never really gotten into the splatter of new rules materials in magazines - just my personal preference.

The Glyphstone
2011-03-10, 03:30 PM
Heck, Dragon Magazine isn't even a physical product anymore, it's purely online.

Kurald Galain
2011-03-10, 05:26 PM
And a race. Will Vriolka Vampire have the best possible class/race synergy ever?

Probably not: you'd need to be a Revenant Vrolka Vampire with the Dhampyr Bloodline multiclass feat.

Maxios
2011-03-10, 06:46 PM
I don't think Vampire should be it's own class, personally. But I'll have to look into getting this book :smallcool:

TroubleBrewing
2011-03-10, 06:52 PM
I've been hearing about these races I can't find in any of the books; Gnoll, Shadar-Kai, etc. Are these available in Dragon magazine or something?

mobdrazhar
2011-03-10, 07:18 PM
Gnoll is in MM1 i believe and Shadar-Ki is in Dragon Mag Annual

TroubleBrewing
2011-03-10, 07:21 PM
I know Gnoll is in MM1, but does it provide rules for them as characters?

mobdrazhar
2011-03-10, 07:31 PM
at the back of the MM are the rules for them as PC's

Reluctance
2011-03-10, 07:42 PM
Gnoll and Shadar-Kai both got fuller writeups in Dragon somewhere. Outside of those articles and the occasional nod when a feat seems particularly apt for them, there's not much support.

MeeposFire
2011-03-10, 08:05 PM
I am still wanting to see a kobold write up.

I am very cursious about the vampire class. From the descriptions given it sounds like there will be a controller build and a striker build though it is just conjecture at this point.

Kurald Galain
2011-03-11, 05:01 AM
I don't think Vampire should be it's own class, personally. But I'll have to look into getting this book :smallcool:
Well, the "stalker vampire" is a melee Striker based on dex and cha. And yes, these are actual vampires, including the fight-against-your-inner-beast fluff. They are not harmed by the sun as long as they wear a cloak, but do not in fact sparkle. Predictably, they count as undead, and get darkvision, regeneration, resist necro, and vuln radiant.

Their striker feature is the same as the sorcerer's (add one ability mod to all your damage rolls). Like the other 4.4 strikers, they don't get encounter powers, but instead have a power that boosts damage on a hit (like the slayer's power strike). This power also gives them a healing surge, and allies can lose surges to heal them. Finally, they do get daily attacks, although they don't get to choose them from a list like warpriests do.

The vampire's stats do match with the vrolika's stat bonuses, but otherwise they're not a particularly stellar match. The vrolika's racial power allows them to hide as a standard action, which doesn't really match well with any class (since any class that needs stealth has easier ways of hiding).

The blackguard is a shadow paladin based on "vices" instead of "virtues". The executioner is an assassin we've already seen in Dragon magazine. Both of these are also strikers; 4.4 seems to really enjoy striker classes. However, the binder warlock is a controller, and apparently the "beguiler vampire" is also a controller. There's two new warlock pacts, i.e. gloom and star.

Nu
2011-03-11, 10:31 AM
Ya'know, with the downsides in addition to bonuses (radiant vuln, necrotic resist), and having most of your powers apparently selected for you (including 2 out of the 3 heroic tier utility powers), the Vampire feels relatively more like a melee class from 3rd edition.

Still, the mechanics seem interesting enough. I wonder if it'll have a low surge count/HP and berserker-ish powers to compliment its surge-regaining, ally-draining abilities (swarm of shadows seems cool flavor-wise, though I'm unsure of it mechanically, area damage is typically not a good role for strikers).

MeeposFire
2011-03-11, 02:48 PM
Wasn't it the shade that had the standard action invisibility racial power?

Kurald Galain
2011-03-14, 04:12 AM
Whoops.

WOTC has officially stated that the new common/uncommon/rare system for treasures doesn't work, and that people should continue using the old parcel system instead.

This is ironic because WOTC has mandated that LFR use the rarity system despite many complaints from the players. They haven't rescinded this mandate yet.

Kurald Galain
2011-03-14, 06:26 AM
Aaaand we have information about the virloka.

The highlights are: +cha, +dex or str. Speed 7. Necro resist, counts as both living and undead. Once per encounter, if you bloody or kill someone, you get an attack bonus for one turn, or a free shift, or some temp HP.

Most importantly, like the shade, the virloka gets racial utility powers that can be taken instead of regular ones. These seem to overlap with classic "vampire" abilities; for example, the virloka can turn into a wolf, whereas the vampire class can turn into a bat.

(edit) oh yeah, and while bloodied, they get a -2 penalty to their Surge value. The WOTC boards is up in arms about this, for how dare WOTC print a race that has any kind of penalty?

Gralamin
2011-03-17, 12:46 PM
(edit) oh yeah, and while bloodied, they get a -2 penalty to their Surge value. The WOTC boards is up in arms about this, for how dare WOTC print a race that has any kind of penalty?

I have no problem with this type of penalty. It is small, and relates to, at max a loss of 6 hp between battles (Start at -5, heal from 0 with no bonus: Gain HS -2 hp. Spend another HS, now at 2xHS - 4 HP. Still bloodied, so spend another HS: 3xHS - 6HP).

In battle it's a bit more of a problem but still very very small.

Nu
2011-03-17, 01:44 PM
I have no problem with this type of penalty. It is small, and relates to, at max a loss of 6 hp between battles (Start at -5, heal from 0 with no bonus: Gain HS -2 hp. Spend another HS, now at 2xHS - 4 HP. Still bloodied, so spend another HS: 3xHS - 6HP).

In battle it's a bit more of a problem but still very very small.

It depends. At low heroic tier, I'd really never want that kind of penalty unless I was playing a backline character that I was confident would not receive many attacks. As I approach paragon, however, as long as I have no mechanics that rely too much on my surge value (like a Sentinel's animal companion), then I probably won't really notice it.

Then again, the final version might scale.

Surrealistik
2011-03-17, 01:53 PM
Lol @ Vampire as a class. Really? What's next, Mindflayers?

Looking forward to pretty much everything else.

Also, I do not like the penalty element from a design standpoint, though it technically already exists in the form of speed nerfs to certain races.

tbarrie
2011-03-17, 02:09 PM
at the back of the MM are the rules for them as PC's
NPCs, actually. I don't think Gnolls have been written up as a PC race.

MeeposFire
2011-03-17, 03:13 PM
NPCs, actually. I don't think Gnolls have been written up as a PC race.

Gnolls were written up as a player race in Dragon by Keith Baker I believe.

WitchSlayer
2011-03-17, 05:08 PM
I still stand by the fact that vampires make sense as a class, as you can have any race that's a vampire and vampires are pretty powerful.

MeeposFire
2011-03-17, 05:51 PM
I still stand by the fact that vampires make sense as a class, as you can have any race that's a vampire and vampires are pretty powerful.

I agree with you. Vampires as a class is a good example and its not like it is completely unheard of in D&D as they tried it in savage species, though this will certainly be more balanced than that (monster classes tended to be weak in 3e). I would not be against a vampire theme as well. That way you can be a vampire, vampire, vampire, vampire:smalltongue:.

Surrealistik
2011-03-17, 06:03 PM
I just think the whole concept of a Vampire class is silly; it's not a class, it's a damned template!

OracleofWuffing
2011-03-17, 07:06 PM
Most importantly, like the shade, the virloka gets racial utility powers that can be taken instead of regular ones. These seem to overlap with classic "vampire" abilities; for example, the virloka can turn into a wolf....
Thank you for pointing this out to me. No, really, you don't understand why I'm bolding that. There's this guy in my group that has been railing on 4E and how it doesn't have werewolf-lycanthropes as playable classes, because that's the only thing he played in 2E and he doesn't want to play anything but a werewolf ever and I really don't know what is up with the guy, but it's just that important to him. At least I can tell him about this now.

:smallfrown: Too bad it apparently doesn't kick in until level 6.

mobdrazhar
2011-03-17, 07:37 PM
Thank you for pointing this out to me. No, really, you don't understand why I'm bolding that. There's this guy in my group that has been railing on 4E and how it doesn't have werewolf-lycanthropes as playable classes, because that's the only thing he played in 2E and he doesn't want to play anything but a werewolf ever and I really don't know what is up with the guy, but it's just that important to him. At least I can tell him about this now.

:smallfrown: Too bad it apparently doesn't kick in until level 6.

why not tell him to play a shiftyer and take the PP for shifters

OracleofWuffing
2011-03-17, 07:48 PM
why not tell him to play a shiftyer and take the PP for shifters
Yeah, Shifter was around the first things I suggested, but he "Doesn't want to play a Shifter, [he wants] to play a Lycanthrope." Like I said, I don't know what's up with this, but it's apparently that important that he literally has a Human form and a beast form and some means to change between the two at will, preferably with an in-between form and the ability to infect things. The thing about taking the PP, though... Well, if we rarely play to level 6, we're pretty much never going to get into Paragon Paths.

mobdrazhar
2011-03-17, 08:08 PM
fair enough. if he's not going to go by that then the virloka may bring him around.

Kurald Galain
2011-03-17, 08:21 PM
NPCs, actually. I don't think Gnolls have been written up as a PC race.
They're in Dragon magazine. They're quite good, if a bit lacking in feat support.


Thank you for pointing this out to me. No, really, you don't understand why I'm bolding that. There's this guy in my group that has been railing on 4E and how it doesn't have werewolf-lycanthropes as playable classes,
You're welcome. He could try playing a druid, though. The vorlika has the odd property of being unable to attack in wolf form. I do agree with him that shifters don't really feel like lycanthropes.

Lord Raziere
2011-03-21, 06:08 PM
I just think the whole concept of a Vampire class is silly; it's not a class, it's a damned template!

I agree. It doesn't prevent from wanting to buy Heroes of shadow, but it doesn't really prevent me from just not looking at it.

I mean how could you possibly pull it off as a class, the concept seems too limited to me to make 30 levels of powers out of it, I say its better off as a generic theme or something.

Zaq
2011-03-21, 06:45 PM
Yes, it's a template . . . or it would be, if templates existed in 4e. Which they don't. Pretty much the only way to put scaling, character-defining abilities in the players' hands in 4e is to make them into a class, whether a base class or prestige class (OK, "paragon path." It's a prestige class). There were attempts to turn things like this into feat chains (Spellscars, anyone?), but that kind of fell flat, so far as I can tell.

A vampire class would make no sense in 3.5, but it makes sense to me in 4e. Well, except for multiclassing. But whatever.

I'm still not sure about whether I care enough to try to get my hands on the book, but while I initially rebelled against it, the concept of a vampire class doesn't seem that bad to me.

Surrealistik
2011-03-21, 06:48 PM
Templates exist in 4E; see the Vampire Lord and Lich templates in the DMG.

Kurald Galain
2011-03-21, 06:52 PM
Yes, it's a template . . . or it would be, if templates existed in 4e. Which they don't.
Yes they do. They're called "bloodlines", and a vampiric bloodline has been printed in Dragon magazine about two years ago.

mobdrazhar
2011-03-21, 06:55 PM
Yes they do. They're called "bloodlines", and a vampiric bloodline has been printed in Dragon magazine about two years ago.

it was reprinted in Dragon Annual as well

Zaq
2011-03-21, 07:26 PM
Yes they do. They're called "bloodlines", and a vampiric bloodline has been printed in Dragon magazine about two years ago.

Do tell. How does it work? Are we back in the land of level adjustment? Sounds like that would break 4e's all-important balance (note: although this sounds snarky, I quite respect the all-important balance, such as it is).

MeeposFire
2011-03-21, 07:43 PM
Yes, it's a template . . . or it would be, if templates existed in 4e. Which they don't. Pretty much the only way to put scaling, character-defining abilities in the players' hands in 4e is to make them into a class, whether a base class or prestige class (OK, "paragon path." It's a prestige class). There were attempts to turn things like this into feat chains (Spellscars, anyone?), but that kind of fell flat, so far as I can tell.

A vampire class would make no sense in 3.5, but it makes sense to me in 4e. Well, except for multiclassing. But whatever.

I'm still not sure about whether I care enough to try to get my hands on the book, but while I initially rebelled against it, the concept of a vampire class doesn't seem that bad to me.

Savage species monster progressions are essentially monster classes so it seems it has been done beore.

Mando Knight
2011-03-21, 07:58 PM
Do tell. How does it work? Are we back in the land of level adjustment? Sounds like that would break 4e's all-important balance (note: although this sounds snarky, I quite respect the all-important balance, such as it is).
Bloodlines are feats. They behave exactly like feats, and how far you advance the bloodline ability depends on how many of the feats you take.

Interesting fact about Vryloka: they're the only race introduced after the original core set to be able to boost both Strength and Charisma.

Zaq
2011-03-21, 08:07 PM
Bloodlines are feats. They behave exactly like feats, and how far you advance the bloodline ability depends on how many of the feats you take.

Interesting fact about Vryloka: they're the only race introduced after the original core set to be able to boost both Strength and Charisma.

Ah. So they're not actually templates, then. They're just feat chains like any other, possibly with some kind of exclusivity clause, yes? Yeah, I stand by my statement that templates as we know them don't really exist in 4e. This isn't a bad thing, of course. It's just a thing.

mobdrazhar
2011-03-21, 08:25 PM
just a quick question with regards to HoS... is it part of the Essentials line or not?

Mando Knight
2011-03-21, 08:53 PM
It's not part of the Essentials line, but it will be presented and published in a similar manner to the Essentials books, much the same way that Martial Power is not a Player's Handbook, but nonetheless has some similar qualities.

Nerocite
2011-03-21, 08:57 PM
Gnolls were written up as a player race in Dragon by Keith Baker I believe.

Here (http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/drfe/20080924) it is.

Weren't Necromancers and Hexblades getting a full class write up?

mobdrazhar
2011-03-21, 08:59 PM
It's not part of the Essentials line, but it will be presented and published in a similar manner to the Essentials books, much the same way that Martial Power is not a Player's Handbook, but nonetheless has some similar qualities.

That's what i thought but wasn't sure. My GM was quizing me about this.

thanks for the clarification

Mando Knight
2011-03-21, 09:16 PM
Weren't Necromancers and Hexblades getting a full class write up?

Hexblades are melee Warlocks. You can find the basic info in Heroes of Forgotten Kingdoms, and a few additional Hexblade pacts in Dragon magazine since then. They'll also have a pact included in Heroes of Shadow alongside the Binder, as far as I can tell.

Necromancy is a school of magic for the Mage variant of the Wizard. An Implement Master wizard can learn the Necromancy powers, but the Mage wizard will have Necromancy as an available specialist school for their class features.

Erom
2011-03-21, 09:18 PM
I got a chance to play in a game with this new material at Pax East (Our pre-gen characters included a Shade wizard (possibly nethermancer), and a Vriloka... fighter maybe?) I only got to look in depth at my character sheet (Death Domain Warpriest). It was an interesting game but I doubt I learned much of anything that hasn't already been mentioned in the thread.

Kurald Galain
2011-03-23, 06:52 AM
Based on previews, the book appears to contain quite a number of new wizard spells. Several of them are actually mage spells, in that a 4.0 wizard is unable to take them. Predictably, necromancy and nethermancy focus on shadows, debuffs, necrotic damage, and summoning undead; and they have a way to negate necro resist, just like how pyromancers can bypass fire resist.

There's the return of several classic spells, such as Energy Drain (an epic level daily that stuns a target and gives it an attack penalty afterwards) and Finger Of Death (another epic daily that deals approx 45 damage to one target, half on a miss).

Surrealistik
2011-03-23, 11:16 AM
Based on previews, the book appears to contain quite a number of new wizard spells. Several of them are actually mage spells, in that a 4.0 wizard is unable to take them. Predictably, necromancy and nethermancy focus on shadows, debuffs, necrotic damage, and summoning undead; and they have a way to negate necro resist, just like how pyromancers can bypass fire resist.

There's the return of several classic spells, such as Energy Drain (an epic level daily that stuns a target and gives it an attack penalty afterwards) and Finger Of Death (another epic daily that deals approx 45 damage to one target, half on a miss).

Lol, 45 damage to a target, half on a miss? For an epic Mage/Wizard daily, it better have a lot more to offer than that.

Reverent-One
2011-03-23, 11:39 AM
Lol, 45 damage to a target, half on a miss? For an epic Mage/Wizard daily, it better have a lot more to offer than that.

Specifically, it does 10d6 damage + int mod on a hit, plus an extra 20 damage if the attack bloodied the enemy. If the monster ends up with less than 20 health remaining, it then drops straight to 0. Still seems weak for an epic level power.

Surrealistik
2011-03-23, 11:53 AM
Specifically, it does 10d6 damage + int mod on a hit, plus an extra 20 damage if the attack bloodied the enemy. If the monster ends up with less than 20 health remaining, it then drops straight to 0. Still seems weak for an epic level power.

Horrible.

I would have thought it'd do a bunch of direct damage and instantly kill the target/do a truly staggering amount of damage after so many failed saves.

Daftendirekt
2011-03-23, 12:45 PM
Me? I'm just looking forward to a playable Assassin. The existing one is so much garbage.

Shadow_Elf
2011-03-23, 03:22 PM
Me? I'm just looking forward to a playable Assassin. The existing one is so much garbage.

I find the non-4.4 Assassin (hereafter, the "Assassin") a compelling class, and I certainly like it better than some other classes, personally. I do like the 4.4 Assassin (hereafter, the "Executioner") better, but I think the original is an excellent class as well. I DM a game where one of the players is an Assassin|Rogue who lays Shrouds while Sneak Attacking and then uses minor action powers to get both of them in a round - effectively, it means he always gets Sneak Attack AND Shrouds every round. Now, obviously, this is a very specific combo, I still think the Assassin by itself is playable. Could someone explain to me why everyone seems to hate it?

Nu
2011-03-23, 03:56 PM
I find the non-4.4 Assassin (hereafter, the "Assassin") a compelling class, and I certainly like it better than some other classes, personally. I do like the 4.4 Assassin (hereafter, the "Executioner") better, but I think the original is an excellent class as well. I DM a game where one of the players is an Assassin|Rogue who lays Shrouds while Sneak Attacking and then uses minor action powers to get both of them in a round - effectively, it means he always gets Sneak Attack AND Shrouds every round. Now, obviously, this is a very specific combo, I still think the Assassin by itself is playable. Could someone explain to me why everyone seems to hate it?

Lowest damage output (apparently by a good margin) of all the strikers in the game, as I hear it.

Surrealistik
2011-03-23, 04:49 PM
Lowest damage output, greatest fragility, weakest striking mechanic, worst support, worst power selection.

Granted, I love the flavour and playstyle of the 4.0 Assassin, it's just that the execution and support was horrid, and the class grossly underpowered.

I've come up with my own fix to the class here:

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=191818

And its anemic power selection here:

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=191786

Would appreciate some feedback in their respective threads.


Still, I wish WotC would release an official fix; it really is one of the most entertaining and flavourful classes despite its glaring weakness.

Reis Tahlen
2011-03-23, 05:00 PM
Lowest damage output, greatest fragility, weakest striking mechanic, worst support, worst power selection.

What, even worse than the Avenger?

Surrealistik
2011-03-23, 05:02 PM
Crit-fishing avengers are capable of insane DPR due to their twin attack rolls (two chances to hit a target is an incredible benefit). They also have excellent defenses for a Striker, and adequate HP. While their power selection may not be the best, it is certainly workable.

Vknight
2011-03-23, 09:07 PM
They are epic because 2attack rolls makes a great difference.
Combine with Unarmored Agility and a Avenger should have 18-19AC.
Along with the +1 to every defense means there Will, Reflex, and Fortitude are better then average.

Also. Multi Class Monk

The Assassin can be really fun if you apply some changes.
I removed a limitation to the 'Shadow Step' (Drawing Blank actual name)
increasing its range by 1 among other things

Nu
2011-03-23, 09:59 PM
Ah, yes, I forgot that the Assassin was also straddled with controller-level HP. At least the Executioner did better.

As for the Avenger, it has almost defender-level HP and solid defenses, along with a great striker mechanic (accuracy is good). It takes some work, but it can keep up.

Fox Box Socks
2011-03-23, 11:00 PM
What, even worse than the Avenger?
Avengers pick up tons of steam in Paragon with Painful Oath, which gives them a sizable Striker damage boost that isn't dependent on secondary stats and the enemy playing ball.

technoextreme
2011-03-24, 10:38 AM
Gnoll and Shadar-Kai both got fuller writeups in Dragon somewhere. Outside of those articles and the occasional nod when a feat seems particularly apt for them, there's not much support.
That is because some of them are actually broken. In one of the more recent rules of three they said that they have contemplated actually giving them full write ups but would have to rebalance the powers.

Fox Box Socks
2011-03-24, 11:33 AM
A good chunk of them are either way too strong or way too weak. Duergar and Bullywug are on the weak side, Kobolds are way too good, there's little incentive to play Githyanki now that Genasi and Warforged can go Con/Int, and the only thing Bugbears have going for them is Oversized, which is way overpowered and is sure to get the axe when they get a full write-up.

Daftendirekt
2011-03-29, 04:03 PM
The only thing Bugbears have going for them is Oversized, which is way overpowered and is sure to get the axe when they get a full write-up.

What? What's broken about a bugbear barbarian using a large-sized mordenkrad? You're only doing 4d6 + str mod at will in paragon. :smallbiggrin:

Yakk
2011-03-29, 04:49 PM
What, even worse than the Avenger?
Avengers are top-tier strikers with reasonable optimization, because their mechanic scales with optimization, while other striker mechanics don't. (PHB1 style Rangers are another possible exception, if you consider their striker mechanic to be "twin strike".)

Hence the half-elven avenger with an at-will twin strike can be considered the strongest striker in game -- it has two scaling striker mechanics that compound with each other.

An easy way to make this ridiculous is to then grab the epic destiny that lets you pick encounter/daily powers from any class, and grab (say) the barbarian 4-swing level 27 encounter power.

Then tack on some mild static damage / crit optimization. The crit op is leveraged 8 fold over a standard character, and the static damage boosts 4 fold over a single-hit character.

---

Now, while this is overkill, the point is that boosting your character in 4e is more effective with the avenger striker mechanic, or twin strike, or other things that increase the rate at which otherwise linear boosts impact your character.

Addition, like hunter's quarry or backstab, is relatively tame. The DPR of a feat-backed feature like that is on the order of 3 per tier (HQ type), up to ~6 per tier for Rogue backstab.

The assassin lacked the leverage of the ranger/avenger, basically. Plus because it lacked feat/paragon path support, it languished compared to other classes.

Surrealistik
2011-03-29, 04:56 PM
Avengers are top-tier strikers with reasonable optimization, because their mechanic scales with optimization, while other striker mechanics don't. (PHB1 style Rangers are another possible exception, if you consider their striker mechanic to be "twin strike".)

Yes it is; let no one tell you otherwise.

Vknight
2011-03-29, 08:44 PM
What? What's broken about a bugbear barbarian using a large-sized mordenkrad? You're only doing 4d6 + str mod at will in paragon. :smallbiggrin:

Ah the 4d6build.
A Dm hates me for that, he made a feat which effectively let me apply sneak attack to it.
Combine with a few other things.

+15(+17Combat Advantage)
4d6+2d6(With Combat Advantage)+7(+11 With Combat Advantage)(+16if Prone)

Reis Tahlen
2011-03-30, 01:52 AM
@Surrealistik, Fox Box Stocks and Yak: Thank you, I indeed realized what I said was silly. Should have read the classe more carefuly. Seems I'm not good at optimization :p

Sotharsyl
2011-03-30, 06:49 AM
The new D&D book Heroes of Shadow is coming out in approximately one month. In some ways it's the PHB3 for 4.4, after the other two Heroes books; in some other ways it's a Foo Power expansion book. It mainly focuses on two new classes (assassin and vampire) and new options for the paladin, cleric, mage, and warlock.

Aside from that, the content of the cancelled Sword And Spell book is going to appear in Dragon magazine over the next four months. This gives us a 4.4 build for the Warlord, as well as information on how to adapt PHB1 builds to a 4.4 game. There is no news yet about the content of the similarly-cancelled Mordenkainen's Emporium, nor about Champions of the Heroic Tier.

Finally, WOTC has promised to deliver small errata at the end of every month, and big errata twice per year in June and December.

New classes in HOS:

Assassin (already available in Dragon magazine)
Vampire


New builds for existing classes:

Blackguard paladin
Binder warlock



Sorry I don't understand something they're giving the PHB1 Warlock a new build named Binder,because I think they already printed one in the Arcane Power....(can't remember the full name) or is it a Binder build for the 4.4 Warlock?

Also I really liked the idea of a Power Source Shadow book,and I'm thinking of ordering Heroes of Shadow,which I admit is a snapier name,but out of the previews what percent of the book would I be able to use without the Essentials line?

Kurald Galain
2011-03-30, 06:59 AM
they're giving the PHB1 Warlock a new build named Binder,because I think they already printed one in the Arcane Power....(can't remember the full name) or is it a Binder build for the 4.4 Warlock?
The latter. The one from Arcane Power is called the Vestige Pact.


what percent of the book would I be able to use without the Essentials line?
That's a difficult question because it depends on what you mean by "use", and what you mean by "without". It would seem, at least, that you're not the target audience.

I would tentatively say that you can use both new classes (although they are, of course, 4.4 classes); none of the six new builds and schools; all three of the new races (although you should already have two of them); some but not all of the new powers; and all of the paragon paths and epic destinies (although so far they look rather underwhelming, so I'm not sure if you'd want to). Does that help?

Sotharsyl
2011-03-30, 07:03 AM
Thanks,you've answered all of my question and with haste at that.

Kurald Galain
2011-03-30, 07:14 AM
Aaaaand the 4.4 warlord is now available (http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/dra/201103warlord) on the WOTC website. It's called "marshal", and as near as I can tell, it is completely identical to the warlord in the PHB1, except that they changed the layout and made some minor typographical changes.

Well, this explains why they cancelled Heroes Of Sword And Spell; people wouldn't want to pay for this as there's not enough new material.

Reverent-One
2011-03-30, 07:32 AM
Well, this explains why they cancelled Heroes Of Sword And Spell; people wouldn't want to pay for this as there's not enough new material.

Well, I know there's been at least some desire expressed for a re-printed PHB I with the errata, so if they stuck most of the PHB I class material along with a bit of new stuff, you'd think that might sell decently. New players who started with the essentials could just pick up this book instead on one that would have material they don't need (like combat rules) and older players could get the printed version of the errata.

This "class" also means your "4.4" tag is pretty pointless, as all that anyone knows for sure when you say something is a "4.4 class" is which type of formatting it's written in.

Shyftir
2011-03-30, 05:34 PM
I was very scared of essentials, but upon seeing that it runs with other builds in the party compatibly. (If not always truly evenly) I stopped being worried and now think its great stuff. More books just encourages me honestly.

Erom
2011-03-30, 08:28 PM
I was very scared of essentials, but upon seeing that it runs with other builds in the party compatibly. (If not always truly evenly) I stopped being worried and now think its great stuff.
I agree with this, though it's absence from any sort of character builder except the online one means it has very poor uptake with the groups I run with.

Shyftir
2011-03-30, 08:43 PM
Yeah, you see my favorite character builder is my mind, the books and a digital character sheet.

So it's getting a hold on the books that matters for me.

Kurald Galain
2011-04-08, 05:27 AM
Okay, the book is on sale now and various bits of information are leaking through the internet.

New classes

Binder is a cha-based controller warlock, who can pick gloom pact or star pact, and has the regular set of encounter and daily powers (except for a fixed summon at L9 and L25). They get shadow walk but no prime shot, and like the hexblade, no warlock's curse.
Blackguard is a striker paladin, who has low damage for a striker but good survivability (including full plate) and some defending powers. They get a damage bonus with CA, and another by damaging themselves. Most of your powers come pre-selected.
The vampire has low damage for a striker but good control. It is heavy on the polymorph powers, and has many powers that have extra effects if they spend a healing surge. However, they have only 2 surges per day so they need to get more from draining people. They do not get to pick powers as you level up, it's all fixed except for the utility at level 2 and 22. Finally, they use ki focuses and holy symbols.
The assassin has already been printed in Dragon magazine.
And in case it wasn't obvious, yes, these are all 4.4 classes.


New options for existing classes

The gloom pact hexblade gets a reach weapon that slides and rattles on a hit, and gains insubstantial and phasing as a pact boon.
The necromancer gains THP when using necromancer powers; unfortunately none of the earlier powers have that keyword. They ignore necrotic resistance at level 10, and can summon an army of minions at level 20.
The nethermancer grants concealment when hitting with a nethermancer power, and by level 10 gain automatic CA when concealed. Neither 'mancer requires a secondary ability score.
The death domain cleric gets necro resist, grants THP, reduce enemy damage rolls, and can do healing word as an immediate reaction by level 5. Their daily is an autohit touch attack, Inflict Wounds.
About 3 new powers for each level for the wizard, warlock, cleric, and paladin, most of which can also be taken by 4.0 classes. These do tend towards necrotic damage, which is commonly resisted. There are no new str-based cleric powers or con-based warlock powers, nor summons with "intrinsic" attacks, nor invocation/enchantment spells.


Feat and item support

The races are pretty underwhelming; their utility powers tend to be lacklustre, they get racial penalties, and there are no new racial feats.
Also, the feats are pretty underwhelming, except for holy symbol and ki focus expertise. Lots of new powers deal with necrotic damage, but there is no real feat support for that. Several feats work only against undead, or only while you're standing in shadows (which should at least cut down on the sunrod cliche)
As expected, there are no multiclass or hybrid options. Also, only a handful of "normal" equipment and no magical items.

Loren
2011-04-08, 08:18 AM
that's too bad about the lack of hybridiblity. It seems to me that hybriding the vampire class would have been one way to mix a variety of races and classes with vampireness.

Tiki Snakes
2011-04-08, 10:25 AM
The Vampire sounds borderline daft, at this point. :smallconfused:
Will have to have a closer look once it makes its way to the online builder.

Mando Knight
2011-04-08, 10:35 AM
The Vampire sounds borderline daft, at this point. :smallconfused:
Will have to have a closer look once it makes its way to the online builder.

If you read the designer interview, it was meant to be a railroad class. We might see some expansion in Dragon, but according to the interview, the class gives everything that you'd expect a vampire to have.

Tiki Snakes
2011-04-08, 10:38 AM
If you read the designer interview, it was meant to be a railroad class. We might see some expansion in Dragon, but according to the interview, the class gives everything that you'd expect a vampire to have.

I very much doubt it gives everything I expect a vampire to have.
I shall probably stick to the vampire bloodline feat for my blood-sucker needs, if my suspicions are true.

Expansion via dragon would be nice, though.

Kurald Galain
2011-04-08, 10:39 AM
The Vampire sounds borderline daft, at this point. :smallconfused:
Hilariously, the Charop boards are already taking it apart to proclaim it underpowered. It does comparable damage to a sorcerer, except that the sorcerer does it from range and to an area, whereas the vamp does it in melee to a single target.

Reverent-One
2011-04-08, 10:44 AM
Hilariously, the Charop boards are already taking it apart to proclaim it underpowered.

Hilariously? Since the class doesn't allow nearly as much opportunity for min-maxing as classes that offer a fair number of options to choose from, it's most likely to either be underpowered or overpowered, and given the rest of 4e material, I would assume that it would be underpowered from an optimization standpoint. Nothing unusual here.

Tiki Snakes
2011-04-08, 11:51 AM
Hilariously, the Charop boards are already taking it apart to proclaim it underpowered. It does comparable damage to a sorcerer, except that the sorcerer does it from range and to an area, whereas the vamp does it in melee to a single target.

I wonder if you could build a better version of it using the bloodline feat and the druid class? Because from what little i've heard, it sounds like there's some cross-over. :smallsmile:

Kurald Galain
2011-04-08, 11:59 AM
I wonder if you could build a better version of it using the bloodline feat and the druid class? Because from what little i've heard, it sounds like there's some cross-over. :smallsmile:
Certainly. Or play a revenant warlock, or something like that. All the "iconic" vampire abilities that the class-vamp has already exist somewhere else as well, generally in more effective form. For example, a class-vamp cannot attack while transformed into a wolf, whereas a druid can.

Renchard
2011-04-08, 04:07 PM
Hilariously? Since the class doesn't allow nearly as much opportunity for min-maxing as classes that offer a fair number of options to choose from, it's most likely to either be underpowered or overpowered, and given the rest of 4e material, I would assume that it would be underpowered from an optimization standpoint. Nothing unusual here.

Exactly. The better question is if it's balanced in a pure D&D Encounters environment.

Kurald Galain
2011-04-08, 04:15 PM
Exactly. The better question is if it's balanced in a pure D&D Encounters environment.
You're missing the point: it's hilarious because the book isn't even out yet in most parts of the world. It's like that day when they used a paragon character to one-shot the toughest epic enemy in the Monster Manual, the week before the game's release. That's just funny.

Anyway, the class-vamp also seems to fall short as a striker when compared to Slayers, Thieves, and Blackguards in a 4.4-only game. But then, both HOFK and the PHB3 also contained a class that didn't work as intended and required quick errata (scout and b'mind, respectively), so it's not like that's new.

Reverent-One
2011-04-08, 05:20 PM
You're missing the point: it's hilarious because the book isn't even out yet in most parts of the world. It's like that day when they used a paragon character to one-shot the toughest epic enemy in the Monster Manual, the week before the game's release. That's just funny.

Not especially. Since, as I'm sure you're aware, we do posses this wonderful thing known as the internet, so if the information is available pretty much anywhere, it's effectively available everywhere. At which point it's not hard for a group of dozens(?) of people to analyze that information. Especially when those people are nerds.

Delusion
2011-04-09, 09:04 AM
You're missing the point: it's hilarious because the book isn't even out yet in most parts of the world. It's like that day when they used a paragon character to one-shot the toughest epic enemy in the Monster Manual, the week before the game's release. That's just funny.



The ranger build that one shotted Orcus was level 30, not paragon

Vknight
2011-04-09, 05:30 PM
Still did it though.

Yakk
2011-04-10, 08:58 AM
I like its existence, because it is even simpler than the essentials classes. This gives me a better clue how 4e designers intended for 4e to be balanced, which gives me a better idea how to fix it with homebrew.

Tiki Snakes
2011-04-10, 10:46 AM
I like its existence, because it is even simpler than the essentials classes. This gives me a better clue how 4e designers intended for 4e to be balanced, which gives me a better idea how to fix it with homebrew.

I'm not sure how valid the past tense is, here. Were any of the people working on Heroes of Shadow even employed by Wizards when 4e released?

Jack_Banzai
2011-04-11, 01:30 AM
I'm not sure how valid the past tense is, here. Were any of the people working on Heroes of Shadow even employed by Wizards when 4e released?

Better question: did any of the people who designed 4.0 work on Heroes of Shadow?

Vknight
2011-04-11, 01:44 AM
Don't know. Someone check there probably is a person or 2

tbarrie
2011-04-14, 08:39 AM
Better question: did any of the people who designed 4.0 work on Heroes of Shadow?

Not sure if this is a serious question, but there are eleven people listed with design or development credits in Heroes of Shadow; seven of them also had design or development credits on both the PHB and the DMG.

Daftendirekt
2011-04-14, 10:35 AM
I really want to play a Blackguard now. Preferably a Half-Elf or Tiefling. Especially a Tiefling.

WitchSlayer
2011-04-16, 12:03 AM
Been seeing some of the heroes of shadow stuff in image form.

I have no complaints. It seems like a genuinely good book. The races in particular are given some cool flavor stuff.

Reis Tahlen
2011-04-16, 01:58 AM
And in case it wasn't obvious, yes, these are all 4.4 classes.


Oh boy, I missed that, and already pre-ordered it :smalleek:

Will there be a problem using what will be in that book in a 4.0 campaign?

MeeposFire
2011-04-16, 02:25 AM
Oh boy, I missed that, and already pre-ordered it :smalleek:

Will there be a problem using what will be in that book in a 4.0 campaign?

None. In fact you can use most of it directly. Your old clerics, wizards, and warlocks are all getting powers they can use.

This is why I think the term "4.4' that gets batted around here is not very accurate and is fairly misleading as you can use essentials stuff with the rest of 4e. Not everything you get from essentials will be useful with your old stuff and not all your all your old stuff is useful to essentials but they run together side by side fine overall.

If you want to know the break down majesticmoose did the work for you.

Gerneral Fluff: 18 pages
Other fluff and art work (full page pieces):17
Pages with class powers usable by AEDU classes (not counting Executioner assasin utilities): 49
Essentials only material: 12 pages + 18 pages executioner + 13 pages vampire
races: 14 pages
Paragon Paths (all AEDU usable): 11 pages
Epic Desitinies: 4 pages
feats: 2 pages
equipment: 1 page

As you can see you can use most of it even without the essentials books. Further all of the executioner and vampire stuff is found within so you don't need the essentials books to use those (they are self contained). So you will be unable to effectively use about 12 pages (which is a similar situation to arcane power if you lack the forgotten realms book and thus lack the swordmage class).

Kurald Galain
2011-04-16, 04:58 AM
Will there be a problem using what will be in that book in a 4.0 campaign?
There is no reason why you couldn't use it, but there also isn't much added value. For example: the book has rules for playing an assassin - but pretty much everything the assassin does, a 4.0 rogue can already do, and the latter is generally more effective. Likewise, there's very little a vampire can do that you couldn't already do with a dhampyr warlock, or something similar.

If your campaign runs from HOFK/HOFL, then HOS is going to add numerous interesting new options; if your campaign runs from PHB1-3 and Foo Power books, then HOS is not going to give you much that you didn't have already, albeit by another name.

So unless you have players that find the standard class structure too complex to play, or players who really want a character with a class named "assassin", as opposed to a character who assassinates people, then I don't think the book is going to see much use. The party cleric and wizard will be able to use the book for some new spells, of course.

Malisteen
2011-04-16, 10:58 AM
Some more opinions:

Executioner: very similar to the last version we saw in dragon. It's not strong, it's pretty weak for a striker, but it still more or less keeps up. You'll still feel like you're doing your job in paragon and epic levels, unlike the orriginal ddi shadow assassin (or 'ossassin', as it's called on the charop boards). It feels more like a rogue subclass then an ossassin subclass - most of the shadowy stuff is restricted to the utility powers, and kept entirely out of the features and attack powers. The daily poisons is an interesting way to do daily powers for an e-martial class, I wish the other e-martials had something similar. All in all, I'm not excited about it, and it isn't great, but it isn't terrible, and it's gimmicks (poison use, situational weapon powers, stacking all its encounter attack damage into a single blow) are pretty neat.


Blackguard: this is shaping up to be the big winner in the book. While it looks like a striker that trades slightly lower damage for slightly higher defenses, it actually hits pretty hard once you look at it. The blackguard uses strength to hit with its attacks, but stacks cha multiple times in damage. If you want to deal more damage then, it's pretty easy to switch over to cha for attacks (any blackguard can nab cha based dailies from the paladin, humans can grab a cha based at will as well, while half elves and revenant half elves can nab eldritch strike from warlocks, and tieflings have a paladin feat for full powered cha-based basic attacks, and all of those races can get a racial bonus to cha), letting you get a lot of mileadge out of repeating the same stat to damage several times in a single attack. Picking up paladin powers also lets you serve as a very convincing jr. defender.

Even without such tricks, a good str/cha blackguard can turn out a fair amount of damage, particularly if they pick up on some charging optimization, and perhaps mount up on a poached 'summon celestial steed' from the cavalier at level 6.

End of the day - there's definitely some room to optimize for those who enjoy doing so, and even without it the blackguard should hit hard and do so with style. I was very much primed to hate this class on principle, because I really wanted a shadow dedicated dark warrior class not tied to any pre-existing, non-shadow class. I also wanted evil cavalier options that were still defenders. But still, this subclass has won me over.


Binder: I'll be honest, I haven't delved into this one too deeply yet. From a cursory glance, the star-pact binder looks alright, but the gloom-pact binder looks just sorta terrible, it's primary gimmick being low damage, single target powers with rider effects that punish enemies who end their turn adjacent to the primary target, and that just doesn't strike me as a very good gimmick.


Vampire: Where to even begin. Their damage is low, comparing it to a melee range, single target sorcerer is about accurate, and may even be somewhat generous at later levels. They're somewhat fragile at first level, but quickly become desceptively resiliant, basically turning surges into an encounter resource and boasting passive regeneration while bloodied and severl non-action consuming means of gaining temp hp. The blackguard looks at first glance like a striker who traded offense for defence, but that's desceptive, as you delve into them you realize that they can strike perfectly well. The vampire's the class that actually made this trade, and it isn't a good deal.

The vampire's abilities are neat and gimmicky, but they don't fill its party role. Further, there's almost nothing in the way of customization or choice in the class. It's powers are leveled, so you can multiclass into something else, but its striker feature and various abilities are all tied to specific vampire powers, making it very non-synergistic to do so. About the only viable vampire's I've seen are a Kulkor build that has you acting nothing like a vampire (and honestly, a wizard can be a functional melee weapon striker with kulkor), and a build that uses paragon multiclassing to steal the scout's striker feature, which relies on a highly dubious rules interpretation almost guaranteed to vanish in an errata sooner or later.

It's a very frustrating class. Neat ideas with poor execution in both damage output and class design. It's going to sink like a stone and be quickly forgotten, much like the ossassin.


There's also some extra builds for existing stuff:

Necromancy/Nethermancy Mage Schools: pretty much all the powers are usable by any wizard (exceptions being paragon path powers and the level 5 daily summon). Kinda meh-ish at first glance, but I haven't delved deeply into them. The necromancy mage school features eventually deal with necrotic resistance if its your primary school, while the nethermancy primary school bonus is pretty nice in its own right.

Gloom Pact Hexblade: interesting pact weapon - a flail with reach. Unfortunately, the at-will's necrotic, with nothing in the power to compensate for the terribleness of that damage type, so its even more damage-swap dependant then the hellblade. Otherwise, not terrible, but definitely leaning towards the least good of the various hexblade pact options printed so far. Certainly nowhere near as good as either feyblade, and even those are only middling on the scale of striker competence. Still, stylish, and not terrible. Kinda like the executioner. There's also a section of daily (and utility I think?) spells usable by any warlock that I haven't really gotten into yet.

Death Domain Warpriest: Haven't delved into it too deeply yet, but it does have an abusable-to-the-point-of-broken daily power that permanantly dominates any monster slain under its effects. Interestingly, it's also largely implement based, unlike other warpriests. There's also a section of daily and utility prayers usable by any cleric that I haven't really gotten into yet.


Races:

Revenants: there are some key changes, like the new flex stat (Dex, Con/Cha), and some revised mechanics: dropping below zero now dazes you, rather then the previous restriction to a single action. This opens up options like superiour will to drop the daze entirely, and nobody knows how the previous options that added actions while below zero work with it right now. There's also a new generic past soul feat that grants one of the past soul's racial powers in place of the revenant's power. Unsure yet whether the prior past soul powers will get removed by errata or stay around (notably, if they're removed then revenant's will no longer have access to half elve dilletante). Still a very tough race.

Vryloka: a marginally annoying arbitrary penalty early on that doesn't scale and thus becomes meaningless by paragon levels. In exchange you get a pretty decent racial power and speed seven. Not a bad race at all, pretty equivalent to elves, mechanically. Kinda neat. A far better place to look for vampyric characters then the actual vampire class. Notably, no racial feats, although they do have access to some thematic (though not overwhelmingly impressive) racial utility powers which can be selected in place of class powers.

Shades: ugh. Just ugh. I mean, we're talking original assassin level fails, but in race form: a cool idea undone by terrible mechanics. They've got an at-will racial power to enable hiding that's nowhere near as good as the designers seem to have thought. Think 'changeling disguise' here, in terms of being neat and thematic, but not doing much that matters. Changelings at least still get an actual racial encounter power for combat as well. Instead of that, shades lose a healing surge. Augh. Like Vryloka, they have no racial feats, but can select from a few interesting, but not overwhelmingly impressive racial utility powers.


Paragon Paths: There are a selection of shadow paths for charactes in general. The shadowthief for arcane characters is pretty nice. A lot of them are pretty meh, though.

Epic Destinies: Meh's all round. They all have abilities dependant on the party picking the same epic destiny, but even if the entire party takes the same destiny, the abilities still aren't as good as what you would have otherwise gotten, and the thematic value isn't really that solid for epic destinies, either. Basically, it's a wasted chapter.

Feats: Very very few, and fewer still of note. Holy Symbol and Ki Focus expertise in particular, but no flail expertise, and most of the rest fall under the 'thematic but mechanically meh' trap category of feats. No multiclassing feats for the new builds or class in the book.

Gear: very little. A poisoners kit (which arbitrarily went up in cost to 25 gold), some base weapon stats for some of the assassin weapons, some interesting generic stuff. Notably: essentials players of executioners who want to use this book better have access to DDI or pre-essentials books. Otherwise, there's blowgun stats for you, but no darts to shoot from them, and there's the rules for ki Focuses (focii?), but no actual Ki Focus in the book. Given that the executioner is pretty dependent on having a magical ki focus as it levels, and that the book is supposed to be usable with just the essentials 'hero's of' books, that's a pretty big mistake.


All in all, better then I expected, but still far worse then I had originally envisioned when theis book was first announced so many months ago. Arbitrary Rating System Go!

production quality: 1/2 star out of a possible one (not enough art, too much of what's there was reused)

Fluff: one star out of a possible one (the fluffs pretty fun)

Mechanical Content: 1.5 out of a possible three (one whole star for the blackguard, half a star for some of the other stuff that's fun and functional, if not impressive, lost points for the vampire and the shade especially, and for a lot of the rest being kinda meh) - this might get revised as chew through more of the Warlock, Cleric, & paragon path stuff.

Total (tentative) rating: three out of five stars

technoextreme
2011-04-16, 11:48 AM
Oh boy, I missed that, and already pre-ordered it :smalleek:

Will there be a problem using what will be in that book in a 4.0 campaign?
Every single class outside of the vampire, class specific abilities, and the assassin are usable by their corresponding classes.

The party cleric and wizard will be able to use the book for some new spells, of course.
Blackguards are Paladins. Blackguard powers are classified as Paladin powers ergo any power that is a Blackguard power can also be taken as a Paladin. Its weird because they explicitly state that for the Warpriest in this book but the same thing applies to the Blackguard.

Shades: ugh. Just ugh. I mean, we're talking original assassin level fails, but in race form: a cool idea undone by terrible mechanics. They've got an at-will racial power to enable hiding that's nowhere near as good as the designers seem to have thought. Think 'changeling disguise' here, in terms of being neat and thematic, but not doing much that matters. Changelings at least still get an actual racial encounter power for combat as well. Instead of that, shades lose a healing surge. Augh. Like Vryloka, they have no racial feats, but can select from a few interesting, but not overwhelmingly impressive racial utility powers.
Mechanically I can see the Shades interacting with the different classes in the HoS in weird and interesting ways.

DeltaEmil
2011-04-16, 12:07 PM
Oh boy, I missed that, and already pre-ordered it :smalleek:

Will there be a problem using what will be in that book in a 4.0 campaign?Just to make it clear, Essentials is not a new half-edition, it's a basic supplement exactly as Tome of Battle, Tome of Magic, the Complete x-series and the miniature handbook in 3.5 edition was, where you could still play a fighter, rogue, wizard and barbarian together with a warblade, warlock, shaman, hexblade and so on. The only person in the entire internet to call Essentials 4.4 is Kurald Galain.

Blackfang108
2011-04-16, 04:50 PM
Just to make it clear, Essentials is not a new half-edition, it's a basic supplement exactly as Tome of Battle, Tome of Magic, the Complete x-series and the miniature handbook in 3.5 edition was, where you could still play a fighter, rogue, wizard and barbarian together with a warblade, warlock, shaman, hexblade and so on. The only person in the entire internet to call Essentials 4.4 is Kurald Galain.

To be fair, I call it 4e.e.

Yakk
2011-04-17, 10:12 AM
To be fair, I call it 4e.e.
I call it Bob.

Kurald Galain
2011-04-18, 03:27 AM
So anyway, here's some good news for people who want to use 4.4 classes in a 4.0 campaign or vice versa. WOTC is printing new multiclass and power swap feats for HOFL in this month's Dragon magazine, and for HOFK and HOS next month. They'll also release hybrid options for those classes who don't have it yet, which should mean that you can play that half-vampire you always wanted.

OracleofWuffing
2011-04-18, 09:53 PM
So anyway, here's some good news for people who want to use 4.4 classes in a 4.0 campaign or vice versa. WOTC is printing new multiclass and power swap feats for HOFL in this month's Dragon magazine, and for HOFK and HOS next month. They'll also release hybrid options for those classes who don't have it yet, which should mean that you can play that half-vampire you always wanted.
Excellent! I can play a vampiric half-vampire vampire, and be adventuring to figure out exactly what percentage of me is vampire. The other part is a miserable pile of secrets, naturally.

Kurald Galain
2011-04-19, 04:44 AM
So anyway, here's some good news for people who want to use 4.4 classes in a 4.0 campaign or vice versa. WOTC is printing new multiclass and power swap feats for HOFL in this month's Dragon magazine,
And they're out now. A thief, knight, or slayer can spend a feat to replace one use of their backstab or power strike by an actual encounter attack power. This is a very good deal and a significant boost to the effectivity of any of these.

Conversely, a 4.0 fighter, wizard, cleric, or rogue can spend one or more feats to replace an encounter power, implement mastery, or healer's lore by some 4.4 class feature; this is a pretty bad tradeoff, except for a strength-based cleric.

Also, the 4.0 fighter has been reprinted in Dragon magazine as the "weaponmaster", as part of the cancelled Class Compendium book. Like the "marshal" warlord printed last month, this is exactly identical to the fighter from the PHB1, except with the 4.4 formatting and extra fluff blocks, some minor errata, and a nerf to the L7 power Come And Get It.

Overall it's good that they're releasing this, and also obvious that this would have been a bad idea to release it as a new book. Wizard, rogue, and cleric are coming up the next months, as are "power swap" feats for HOFK classes, and hybrid options.

Emongnome777
2011-04-19, 07:58 AM
Regarding the Ki Focus Expertise, what does the feat give outside of the +1/+2/+3 feat bonus to hit?

LOTRfan
2011-04-19, 12:58 PM
I have the book. The fluff is pretty interesting; I especially like the Vrylokas. Shades are meh. There are a couple of items at the end, but most seem more fluff than mechanics. Buy sprinkling consecrated dirt on graves, for example, you cannot be raised as undead.

iltharanos
2011-04-19, 06:23 PM
Regarding the Ki Focus Expertise, what does the feat give outside of the +1/+2/+3 feat bonus to hit?

You get a bonus to damage against bloodied enemies, increasing by tier.

Reis Tahlen
2011-04-20, 04:35 AM
I received the book today, find it pretty cool so far.

I come back to my 4.0/4.4 query; how do you manage to mix them up? Because it seems 4.4 classes have less encounter/daily powers. As far as I'm concerned, I don't see the problem of using the two systems in the same game (that is, one player leveling as a standart 4.0 character, and the other player leveling as described in Heroes of Shadow), but is this a good idea?

Kurald Galain
2011-04-20, 04:48 AM
I don't see the problem of using the two systems in the same game (that is, one player leveling as a standart 4.0 character, and the other player leveling as described in Heroes of Shadow), but is this a good idea?
There shouldn't be a problem per se. There are two things to watch out for. First, if your players are really not into optimizing, then 4.4 characters may feel overpowered by comparison; on the other hand, if your players are good at finding good character combos, then 4.0 characters may appear overpowered by comparison.
Second, lots of little rules are subtly different, so a player who read the PHB1/DMG1 will have a different understanding of the rules than a player who instead read the RulCom. Not all of this is found in the errata, either. This is, of course, easily fixed by giving either book precedence over the other one. You'll have to make some decisions like whether you want to hand out treasure by 4.0 parcels, or 4.4 randomly distribution.

Overall, it's not so much an issue with compatibility, but with divergent player expectations.

Malisteen
2011-04-20, 08:23 AM
I'd recommend giving the compendium precedence, even in 4.0 games that don't otherwise use essentials. It's mostly errata that already exists, and is more positive then negative in terms of gameplay, but can be difficult to manage with just errata print-outs shoved into various pages of your books.

The big exception is item rarity and random treasure alotment. Ignore that stuff, it's poison. Even if you do want to restrict items in your game or go with non-standard distribution, any arbitrary system you come up with on your own will be better then what was printed.

Also, use MM3 / Monster Vault instead of any prior monster books where possible, again even in 4.0 games. Earlier monsters were insufficiently threatening, but excessively durable, turning many fights into boring slogs.


More thoughts on heroes of shadow: the death priest is neat and cool and effective. A couple of fun powers for PHB wis/implement clerics to poach as well.

The binder's cool, but hardly impressive as a controller. Far from wizard leagues, the binder won't be hassling invokers, either. That said, they're still alright. It's not like we're talking vampire or original ddi assassin here. More like executioner assassin levels of competence: not exactly great, but good enough that they can claim to be doing their job, and pretty fun to play.

The necromancy school's largely dissapointing. Most of the powers are somewhat lacking on a control front, and the school bonus only negates the penalty that specializing in necrotic comes with, it doesn't actually make it good to do so. It's not aweful, but it's definitely on the low end of mage schools.

Nethermancy, on the other hand, has some good powers, some decent school bonuses, and some synergy with illusion (there are several powers that are both illusion and nethermancy). It's not a bad option at all.

A couple of the destinies are better then my first impression, particularly one that lets you change your origin every rest, with different benefits for different origins, ranging from elemental damage resistance to regeneration, to making your attacks radiant.

Lord Ascapelion
2011-04-20, 10:40 AM
All I know is that it has some really cool Warlock utilities!

Level 6 gives you Mirror Darkly, which provides defense, positioning, a teleport and awesome flavor all in one.

Level 10 gives a daily- Shadow Armor, which provides an encounter-long bonus to defense and stealth checks, which can be cancelled to provide a 5-square teleport plus invisibility for a turn.

Level 16 is bonkers, though, especially for a CON-lock (infernal is best.) For the low price of damage equal to your level, you can reroll any attack, skill OR damage roll- AS AN ENCOUNTER POWER! As awesome as Infuriating Elusiveness is, I absolutely MUST pick this one up for my Hell-lock! Just too good. With the other two powers to provide defense/mobility, though, I think I'll be well rounded in that regard. THis is much better than Dark One's Own Luck. :D

Yakk
2011-04-20, 10:58 AM
Drop Mirror Darkly somewhere "safe", and you have insubstantial for a turn (or until someone kills it).

When I first read it, I missed "until end of your next turn".

tbarrie
2011-04-20, 11:41 AM
I come back to my 4.0/4.4 query; how do you manage to mix them up? Because it seems 4.4 classes have less encounter/daily powers. As far as I'm concerned, I don't see the problem of using the two systems in the same game (that is, one player leveling as a standart 4.0 character, and the other player leveling as described in Heroes of Shadow), but is this a good idea?

Just like the PHB3, the "Heroes of..." books have some classes that use the exact same Daily/Encounter/At-Will/Utility power setup as the PHB1 and PHB2 classes, and some that do something new. They're all Fourth Edition classes and are designed to work together, and I don't recall hearing any reports that this doesn't work out in practice.

Kurald Galain
2011-04-22, 04:29 AM
Having read through the book, I stand by my earlier assessment that Heroes Of Shadow offers some nice new options if your campaign is only using HOFL and HOFK, but that if you're running a campaign with all books allowed, HOS has very little to offer. Sure, there are some bits of nice fluff, and a wizard, cleric, or warlock may want to take two or three new powers from the book, but that's it. It seems to me that it was written for HOFL/HOFK players, with little regard as to whether it would be useful for people using all books starting from PHB1.

At least by 4.0 standards, the assassin and vampire are weak strikers, the binder warlock is actually a worse controller than the PHB1 warlock, the necromancer is not very impressive, and the shade is inferior to the thematically similar shadar-kai. There are no magic items, and no feats worth using except for the two expertises.

On the other hand, the nethermancer is good and synergizes well with an illusionist (useful since a mage gets to pick two schools anyway), the vorlika is a useful and versatile race, and the blackguard appears to be a reasonably effective striker.

Overall in my opinion, there is some good material in here, but the majority is lacklustre. I would not, personally, recommend buying this book. We'll just have to see what the next book (Heroes of the Feywild, planned for November) has to offer.

surfarcher
2011-04-22, 06:18 PM
In a heroic tier game the Vampire actually has a pretty decent DPR, so I wouldn't call it ineffective. Does that hold into Paragon? I haven't had a chance to dope it out yet.

MeeposFire
2011-04-22, 06:34 PM
Heroic isn't much of a problem even for the Oassasson. One epic vampire build just barely hit the striker numbers needed via charging (90DPR it hit 90.2). Paragon I have yet to see anything as of yet. What so far is known is that it is very tough.

surfarcher
2011-04-22, 09:11 PM
Well Epic I don't know :) I'll let you know what I come up with for Paragon... Gimme a few days.

MeeposFire
2011-04-22, 10:12 PM
Charging is a common way of getting your damage up so if you feel weak that is a way to go. If you want if you tell me your damage and attack bonus I can tell you your DPR (unless you already know how to do that then feel free to do it yourself).

Zaq
2011-04-23, 03:55 AM
Isn't there a build floating around on the WotC boards of a charging Wizard pumping out above-average striker-level damage? Charging's just a strategy in itself, if I understand correctly.

MeeposFire
2011-04-23, 04:14 AM
Isn't there a build floating around on the WotC boards of a charging Wizard pumping out above-average striker-level damage? Charging's just a strategy in itself, if I understand correctly.

Yes but that is more based off of the Kulkor paragon path. When he broke down the damage it broke down to about this

Charging was about 20 points of DPR.
His normal DPR is 40
Kulkor would let him get a second attack so another 40.
His total DPR was about 100

So charging was about 20% of DPR.

Kulkor is about 40% of DPR

So charging is powerful but the big offender (as in twice as bad as the charging itself) is kulkor. The point of that thread is to show that anything can be made into a striker by just taking that path. I still want to see that magic missile based kulkor and how damaging it could be.

Malisteen
2011-04-23, 08:22 AM
Revising my opinion of Binder:

It's a warlock that voluntarily gives up a bunch of damage for basically nothing. Seriously, a regular warlock is a better controller. A hexblade can be a better controller. And both regular warlocks and hexblades are striker primary.

The binder's just . . . nothing.

In a way, it's even worse then the vampire. Sure, the vampire is a terrible striker, but it's still an effective vampire. There isn't a class that's a better vampire than it is.

But the Binder - the binder's just a warlock. A regular warlock is exactly as much of a binder as the binder is, only the regular warlock will be better at controlling while also being a functional striker. There's really no reason to ever play a binder.

Lord Ascapelion
2011-04-23, 08:50 AM
Really? I browsed through HoS and some of the powers seemed pretty strong. If you were to take them with the regular Warlock you might be able to stack on some extra damage. Maybe I just can't gauge power that well... or that quickly, at any rate.

But like I said before, the utilities are top-notch and can be grabbed by any Warlock. Offering of Blood in particular is a prime Warlock utility and more suited for a striker anyway.

MeeposFire
2011-04-23, 09:01 AM
I was slightly incorrect on the charge numbers. The OP of that thread used those numbers but was only using a damage of 100. His numbers went all the way up to 275 DPR or so. Considering the value of the charge stuff remained mostly constant you can say that charging was far less than 20% of the damage. It is a drop in the bucket.

Malisteen
2011-04-23, 12:06 PM
A couple of the binder dailies are alright, but any warlock can get them for the same effect plus curse damage. Laughably, hexblades are also better at them, since they get their bonus damage on all warlock attacks. Binders don't get anything extra with these powers, they don't even have binder riders, so they're just worse at them then their warlock or hexblade siblings.

The encounter powers are mostly just meh. A couple ok ones, particularly for the star binder, but several that are downright terrible, especially in terms of control. A regular warlock picking powers for control will get as good or better, and the binder doesn't even have the option of grabbing those powers when they're better then binde powers, short of reserve maneuver. There are even a couple hexblade pacts with built in encounters that are more effective forms of control then most binder encounters.

The at wills are . . . alright. Far behind wizard, but not super terrible, and at least other warlocks can't poach them and do them better. Even so, they're not significantly better then what other warlocks are doing in terms of control options, and they certainly aren't enough to salvage the subclass on their own.

Kurald Galain
2011-04-23, 12:07 PM
Isn't there a build floating around on the WotC boards of a charging Wizard pumping out above-average striker-level damage? Charging's just a strategy in itself, if I understand correctly.

Precisely.

It doesn't matter that the Vampire passes some arbitrary benchmark; it matters that it's substantially weaker than most strikers.

MeeposFire
2011-04-23, 12:09 PM
Though the biggest problem is that we can compare it so easily to the standard warlock. If the standard warlock did not exist (or the hexblade) it still would not be a strong controller but at least it would not look so bad.

DragonBaneDM
2011-04-23, 06:09 PM
Been homebrewing a way to mix up Paladin and Blackguard class features, since I have campaigns that both feature Paladins of the Raven Queen. Here's what I came up with, let me know if it's fair:

Divine Challenge = Dark Menace

I figure it's trading role, the marking ability for the damage ability.
Dread Smite and Shroud of Shadow are Channel Divinities, unless you’re pure Blackguard.

They both looked sorta like Channel Divinities to me. Does that seem fair?
Lay On Hands/Ardent Vow/Virtue’s Touch = Spirit of Vice

This was a mix of "it's left over" and "it sort of determines what type of Pala/Guard you want to be". Is that good logic?

Blackfang108
2011-04-24, 01:05 PM
Though the biggest problem is that we can compare it so easily to the standard warlock. If the standard warlock did not exist (or the hexblade) it still would not be a strong controller but at least it would not look so bad.

Sure it would.

It's an Arcane controller.

Wizard/Mage exists.

Haberdashery
2011-04-24, 03:38 PM
Does it strike anyone else that the Binder is basically the 3.5 Shadowcaster? Shadow-themed, tries to do what the wizard does, but either fails miserably or is simply too "Eh" to matter?

MeeposFire
2011-04-24, 05:27 PM
Sure it would.

It's an Arcane controller.

Wizard/Mage exists.

Wizards look good due to years of near constant support. If you recall the wizard from the start of the game was barely considered a controller since WotC did not have a good handle on the controller role. It was only after a lot of support that the wizard got where it is. Also unlike other roles controllers are governed primarily by their powers rather than class features. All they would need to do is create some powers that are good and the situation is resolved. This is much easier than say the assassin which needs better powers and a revamped class feature.

Kurald Galain
2011-04-24, 06:01 PM
Wizards look good due to years of near constant support. If you recall the wizard from the start of the game was barely considered a controller since WotC did not have a good handle on the controller role.
That is incorrect. It was considered barely a controller since many players did not have a good handle on the controller role.

It took about a year for the internet at large to clue in that people who complained about the wizard being weak had simply never seen one played effectively. Indeed, even from just the PHB1-as-printed, a well-played wizard is a nightmare for the DM. The key phrase here is "well-played", because a poorly-played wizard is one of the weaker classes in the game.

Yes, wizards have excellent support, but they don't require this support to be effective. Certain other classes either do require a splatbook to be effective, or might become effective if they ever get a splatbook.

MeeposFire
2011-04-25, 05:52 AM
If you want to switch the problem to the players that is fine too since I still have a point. If you look at the unupdated wizard powers from the PHB you will notice that only thunderwave is considered a blue or above option (with an exception for scorching burst if you absolutely need a fire at will which is rated that way due to being fire rather than being a good spell) and there are only a few encounter powers that are considered blue or higher. All the rest are black or worse. If the wizard is so strong now it is a testament of the later made powers more than anything (especially since it isn't class features that makes them better controllers on the whole).

Giving binders some exceptional powers (that other warlocks could not poach) would solve the problems nicely (especially if you made sure to design the power so that other warlocks got a nice power as well by giving them a different bonus with the power).

Kurald Galain
2011-04-25, 06:09 AM
If you look at the unupdated wizard powers from the PHB you will notice that only thunderwave is considered a blue or above option
Sorry, but you're simply wrong here. Blue or skyblue options from the PHB1 include Flaming Sphere, Sleep, Jump, Shield, Color Spray, Fire Shroud, Icy Rays, Stinking Cloud, Web, Levitate, Ice Storm, Wall of Fire, and Arcane Gate. That's quite enough to make a highly effective character, and several of these spells are good enough to decide an encounter all by itself.

In other words, many of the best wizard spells are from their very first book, and they were a top-tier class right from the start.

MeeposFire
2011-04-25, 07:16 AM
Sorry, but you're simply wrong here. Blue or skyblue options from the PHB1 include Flaming Sphere, Sleep, Jump, Shield, Color Spray, Fire Shroud, Icy Rays, Stinking Cloud, Web, Levitate, Ice Storm, Wall of Fire, and Arcane Gate. That's quite enough to make a highly effective character, and several of these spells are good enough to decide an encounter all by itself.

In other words, many of the best wizard spells are from their very first book, and they were a top-tier class right from the start.

Sorry I was intending to write at will and encounter attack powers. Utilities and dailies were always strong.

Yakk
2011-04-25, 10:52 AM
WotC has something against giving controllers controller mechanics as class features or something.

Ie:
Words of Binding:
A Binder may place a Binder's Chains effect on a the closest enemy they can see as a minor action. When they hit an enemy, they can slide any one creature under their Binder's Chains 1 square. The creature slid need not be the creature hit.

For the purpose of paragon paths and feats, creatures with the Binder's Chains effects count as under the Binder's Warlock's Curse, Brinder's Chains has no damage dice, so feats and features that refer to damage dice do not apply.

...

That gives you a feature that is pretty decent control. You could even do away with the minor-action starvation by making it a free action triggered when you hit a target. When you hit a target, you have the choice to either slide a creature subject to your chains 1 square, or apply the chains to the current target...

The "this acts like warlock's curse" clause is an attempt to back-date in instant feat support.

...

I don't get why they continued the Warlock tradition of "single target daily powers with no effect on a miss". Maybe they have a Warlock feat/feature planned? Maybe they are fools who did copy/pasta?

Jaidu
2011-04-25, 11:37 AM
I'm pretty happy with Blackguards. They have the capability of being decent strikers in terms of DPR as well as being quite durable. Through a couple feats and powers (Call of Challenge, Knightly Intercession, Draconic Challenge for dragonborn) they can fill in the defender role quite well. Also, since Dread Smite tacks on ongoing cold and necrotic damage and they benefit from CA so much, the normal Wintertouched/Lasting Frost combo gets very strong, since you're getting the vulnerable damage twice, once on the hit, once on the ongoing.

I agree that Binders are pretty lackluster.

Daftendirekt
2011-04-25, 12:07 PM
Going to start playing a Dragonborn Fury Blackguard soon, should be fun. I'll try and keep all posted on how it goes.

MeeposFire
2011-04-25, 12:32 PM
WotC has something against giving controllers controller mechanics as class features or something.

Ie:
Words of Binding:
A Binder may place a Binder's Chains effect on a the closest enemy they can see as a minor action. When they hit an enemy, they can slide any one creature under their Binder's Chains 1 square. The creature slid need not be the creature hit.

For the purpose of paragon paths and feats, creatures with the Binder's Chains effects count as under the Binder's Warlock's Curse, Brinder's Chains has no damage dice, so feats and features that refer to damage dice do not apply.

...

That gives you a feature that is pretty decent control. You could even do away with the minor-action starvation by making it a free action triggered when you hit a target. When you hit a target, you have the choice to either slide a creature subject to your chains 1 square, or apply the chains to the current target...

The "this acts like warlock's curse" clause is an attempt to back-date in instant feat support.

...

I don't get why they continued the Warlock tradition of "single target daily powers with no effect on a miss". Maybe they have a Warlock feat/feature planned? Maybe they are fools who did copy/pasta?

I always found it strange that controllers rarely ever have class features that do actual control. Defenders mark, strikers get a bonus damage feature (most of the time), leaders get a healing feature, and controllers get a random assortment of cool and interesting stuff that rarely helps their controller role directly.

tbarrie
2011-04-26, 08:32 AM
WotC has something against giving controllers controller mechanics as class features or something.

Ie:
Words of Binding:
A Binder may place a Binder's Chains effect on a the closest enemy they can see as a minor action. When they hit an enemy, they can slide any one creature under their Binder's Chains 1 square. The creature slid need not be the creature hit.

For the purpose of paragon paths and feats, creatures with the Binder's Chains effects count as under the Binder's Warlock's Curse, Brinder's Chains has no damage dice, so feats and features that refer to damage dice do not apply.

...

That gives you a feature that is pretty decent control. You could even do away with the minor-action starvation by making it a free action triggered when you hit a target.


Well, Gloom Pact Binders already get a class feature to slide a creature whenever they drop an enemy. That's not as good as triggering whenever they hit an enemy, but it's also 3 squares and can be used on allies as well.



I don't get why they continued the Warlock tradition of "single target daily powers with no effect on a miss".

Is that a tradition? I thought the only dailies in the game that could be completely wasted on a miss were Ranger multi-attack powers, where presumably they felt the upside was good enough to justify it. And the only such Warlock power in Heroes of Shadow I noticed was the 1st level "Hateful Shade", which sticks out badly enough that I wonder whether a "Miss: The power is not expended." got dropped accidentally.

Kurald Galain
2011-04-26, 08:35 AM
Well, both the Binder and Vampire handbooks on the WOTC forums are shaping up to be three words, "don't play one".


Well, Gloom Pact Binders already get a class feature to slide a creature whenever they drop an enemy.
The problem is that, given their low damage, they are unlikely to be the one that drops an enemy.


And the only such Warlock power in Heroes of Shadow I noticed was the 1st level "Hateful Shade", which sticks out badly enough that I wonder whether a "Miss: The power is not expended." got dropped accidentally.
Given the action economy, reliable powers aren't that good a deal.

Yakk
2011-04-26, 04:27 PM
Well, Gloom Pact Binders already get a class feature to slide a creature whenever they drop an enemy. That's not as good as triggering whenever they hit an enemy, but it's also 3 squares and can be used on allies as well.
Non-striker damage features that trigger when you drop an enemy are ... slightly counter-productive. And depend heavily on minion density. :)

Is that a tradition? I thought the only dailies in the game that could be completely wasted on a miss were Ranger multi-attack powers, where presumably they felt the upside was good enough to justify it. And the only such Warlock power in Heroes of Shadow I noticed was the 1st level "Hateful Shade", which sticks out badly enough that I wonder whether a "Miss: The power is not expended." got dropped accidentally.
Warlocks where one of the first classes made. I'm aware of next to zero daily powers that are (1) single attack and (2) single target (3) non-Reliable (4) Lack a miss or effect line and (5) are not Warlock powers.

Meanwhile, there are multiple such warlock powers.

surfarcher
2011-04-27, 12:13 AM
In a heroic tier game the Vampire actually has a pretty decent DPR, so I wouldn't call it ineffective. Does that hold into Paragon? I haven't had a chance to dope it out yet.

OK Heroic is, of course, fine.

I can confirm that the build does indeed fall apart in Paragon. Even with some M/C spice, heapings of frost cheese and more it's still a B Grade build IRT to DPR. At-Will DPR is close, in Paragon anyway, but it just doesn't seem to have the nova or multi-target capabilities it would need to be viable in the upper tiers.

At level 11 it's Nova DPR is in the 80-100 range. At the bottom end of that range, to boot. At the same level Damage Inc is over 125 and The Most Annoying Rogue Build Ever is pushing well past 180.

Unless WotC gives it some much needed Paragon (and probably Epic) love via Dragon mag supplements it's pretty much a lost cause.

And we all know the probability of it receiving that love any time soon.

At-Will DPR, on the other hand, is about midway between Damage Inc and The Most Annoying Rogue Build Ever at level 11. That could change in Epic, but it doesn't look like it would.

Well that was an interesting diversion, while it lasted...

MeeposFire
2011-04-27, 12:20 AM
Is that at will DPR or nova DPR. At will DPR of 80 would be above the striker baseline at 11.

surfarcher
2011-04-27, 06:30 AM
Sorry Meepos :) I made a clarifying edit.

If they'd give it something like Knockout and and a decent Paragon Path it'd be a lot better in Paragon. Hell just something like Knockout would go a long way.

But you can't even feat-swap for Knockout if you spend three feats. There isn't a daily that's eligible at level 11, although I didn't try higher level... And it seems counter-productive.

MeeposFire
2011-04-28, 03:46 AM
It is cool I was hoping you found a good way to get paragon at will striking benchmarks.

I know the striker benchmarks are based on how much damage it takes to knock out a standard monster in 4 rounds but was this changed for the new monsters that have less HP now?

Yakk
2011-04-28, 10:24 AM
New monster's don't have less HP.

MeeposFire
2011-04-28, 05:58 PM
I thought post MM3 monster design included higher damage and lower HP than previous monsters is that not the case?

Sir_Mopalot
2011-04-28, 06:57 PM
I thought post MM3 monster design included higher damage and lower HP than previous monsters is that not the case?

That's definitely true. It speeds up combat and is great. Can you clarify what you're saying, Yakk?

surfarcher
2011-04-28, 09:24 PM
It is cool I was hoping you found a good way to get paragon at will striking benchmarks.

I know the striker benchmarks are based on how much damage it takes to knock out a standard monster in 4 rounds but was this changed for the new monsters that have less HP now?
Maybe, but I don't think so. The rebalance of hp was supposed to be offset by higher damage, in order to reduce grind. To then go and reduce striker output will merely reintroduce grind. IMHO.


New monster's don't have less HP.
They have less than the pre-MM3 errata. But the essentials line revisions don't have less HP than the monster building errata released just before MM3.

DeltaEmil
2011-04-28, 10:19 PM
Dungeon Master's Guide 2 proposed the change towards Elite- and Solo-monster hp. In the old system with Monster Manual 1 and the Dungeon Master's Guide 1, you added double the constitution score (not the bonus, mind you, the score) for elites. Depending on the constitution score of the higher level monsters, that was easily 40-50 extra hit points. Solos got five times the calculated value if they were above level 11. The really high level solos in Monster Manual 1 might have up to 100 (very rarely 200) hit points more than their 'updated' counterparts.

MeeposFire
2011-04-28, 11:58 PM
Maybe, but I don't think so. The rebalance of hp was supposed to be offset by higher damage, in order to reduce grind. To then go and reduce striker output will merely reintroduce grind. IMHO.


They have less than the pre-MM3 errata. But the essentials line revisions don't have less HP than the monster building errata released just before MM3.

If what I understand is true (that the benchmarks are supposed to be the damage it takes to knock out a standard creature in 4 attacks) then all I am saying is that the numbers don't need to be as high to do the same as before. 4 attacks is not a lot of attacks (especially since this is at will for one character). These numbers were considered the way to not grind so if the HP was reduced then the damage needed to hit this benchmark should be reduced. I am just not sure whether this has been done or not.

surfarcher
2011-04-29, 12:08 AM
If what I understand is true (that the benchmarks are supposed to be the damage it takes to knock out a standard creature in 4 attacks) then all I am saying is that the numbers don't need to be as high to do the same as before. 4 attacks is not a lot of attacks (especially since this is at will for one character). These numbers were considered the way to not grind so if the HP was reduced then the damage needed to hit this benchmark should be reduced. I am just not sure whether this has been done or not.

Like I said, maybe. I'm certainly no expert.

To make my point here's a rhetorical question - When do they errata the hell out of the Barbarian, Ranger and Rogue? :D Especially since Knockout amounts to a one shot against most same-level creatures.

MeeposFire
2011-04-29, 12:32 AM
Like I said, maybe. I'm certainly no expert.

To make my point here's a rhetorical question - When do they errata the hell out of the Barbarian, Ranger and Rogue? :D Especially since Knockout amounts to a one shot against most same-level creatures.

What do you want to update on the barbarian, ranger, and rogue?

surfarcher
2011-04-29, 01:14 AM
What do you want to update on the barbarian, ranger, and rogue?

Th enova damage... That's the problem. At-will damage is in the ballpark, although for those three it's still higher than the vampire. Tell me how many fights you go into where you play the whole fight out with at-wills?

Here's a hint - those where you do a re B.O.R.I.N.G. :) Spell grind :) Slugging it out with at-wills is just no fun. It's encounter and daily powers (normally the former) that take care of most of a fight. Once you get down to the at-wills it all gets pretty ho-hum.

And it's the nova damage where the vampire is seriously bad in Paragon+

MeeposFire
2011-04-29, 01:21 AM
Th enova damage... That's the problem. At-will damage is in the ballpark, although for those three it's still higher than the vampire. Tell me how many fights you go into where you play the whole fight out with at-wills?

Here's a hint - those where you do a re B.O.R.I.N.G. :) Spell grind :) Slugging it out with at-wills is just no fun. It's encounter and daily powers (normally the former) that take care of most of a fight. Once you get down to the at-wills it all gets pretty ho-hum.

And it's the nova damage where the vampire is seriously bad in Paragon+

I don't think I understand. You want to update those original classes but you find the vampire too weak in nova damage. I would have thought you would have wanted to update the vampire for a better nova rather than weakening the other classes.

Gralamin
2011-04-29, 02:44 AM
Well, both the Binder and Vampire handbooks on the WOTC forums are shaping up to be three words, "don't play one"
Not surprised. I have to say, Heroes of Shadow didn't really add anything to the game for me. I also very much dislike calling the Warlock Build "Binder", because there is nothing binder-like to them, whether in literal terms, or relating to the Tome of Magic terms.

surfarcher
2011-04-30, 02:39 AM
I don't think I understand. You want to update those original classes but you find the vampire too weak in nova damage. I would have thought you would have wanted to update the vampire for a better nova rather than weakening the other classes.

I'm saying if the new strikers have damage stats reduced to bring them in line with the new monsters its pointless if they don't errata the hell out of the big three.

I think they should either reign the big three in or fix the new strikers by upping their nova damage. As a perma-DM-who's-never-a-player (but enjoys playing with charop) I vote for the latter. A couple of well thought through Dragon articles would do the trick. And I can't see that happening.

Yakk
2011-05-04, 06:00 PM
Maybe, but I don't think so. The rebalance of hp was supposed to be offset by higher damage, in order to reduce grind. To then go and reduce striker output will merely reintroduce grind. IMHO.
The only change to monster HP was MM2 (and later) solos at the paragon and epic tier, which have 20% less HP than MM1 solos.

This was (A) not a MM3 change, and (B) far from broad-based.

They have less than the pre-MM3 errata.
No, they don't. While there might be MM2 era updates to some paragon/epic tier solos that have less HP, that is restricted to solos that are paragon/epic.

That's definitely true. It speeds up combat and is great. Can you clarify what you're saying, Yakk?
That MM3 (and essentials) did not change monster HP one iota.

I thought post MM3 monster design included higher damage and lower HP than previous monsters is that not the case?
MM3 monsters have higher damage output, and accuracy was tweaked. Also, defences where lowered (this might have been a MM2 change actually -- the lower defences) on elites/solos.

The cumulative post-DMG1/MM1 era changes total to:
Damage increased in general (level 1 it wasn't changed much actually).
Brute accuracy increased.
Soldier accuracy ... decreased in some cases.
Possibly some other accuracy tweaks.
Elite/Solo defences lowered.
Paragon/Epic tier solos HP lowered 20%. No other HP changes occurred.
Elites/Solos given "status effect defence" type abilities (ie, clear daze, etc) more often.
Solos given "extra damage output" when bloodied.

...

Now, as a side effect of a level X encounter being tougher, you don't have to use a level X+4 encounter to challenge your players. So for the same challenge, the monster HP totals have dropped -- this, in play, assuming a DM that tailors encounter difficulty to party ability, results in lower HP per encounter.

Nu
2011-05-04, 06:00 PM
I thought post MM3 monster design included higher damage and lower HP than previous monsters is that not the case?

I believe paragon and epic tier solos had their HP reduced (and defensive/healing bonuses were greatly discouraged), but most monsters still follow the HP guidelines used in the first MM.

surfarcher
2011-05-05, 10:40 PM
The only change to monster HP was MM2 (and later) solos at the paragon and epic tier, which have 20% less HP than MM1 solos.

This was (A) not a MM3 change, and (B) far from broad-based.

No, they don't. While there might be MM2 era updates to some paragon/epic tier solos that have less HP, that is restricted to solos that are paragon/epic.

That MM3 (and essentials) did not change monster HP one iota.

MM3 monsters have higher damage output, and accuracy was tweaked. Also, defences where lowered (this might have been a MM2 change actually -- the lower defences) on elites/solos.

The cumulative post-DMG1/MM1 era changes total to:
Damage increased in general (level 1 it wasn't changed much actually).
Brute accuracy increased.
Soldier accuracy ... decreased in some cases.
Possibly some other accuracy tweaks.
Elite/Solo defences lowered.
Paragon/Epic tier solos HP lowered 20%. No other HP changes occurred.
Elites/Solos given "status effect defence" type abilities (ie, clear daze, etc) more often.
Solos given "extra damage output" when bloodied.

...

Now, as a side effect of a level X encounter being tougher, you don't have to use a level X+4 encounter to challenge your players. So for the same challenge, the monster HP totals have dropped -- this, in play, assuming a DM that tailors encounter difficulty to party ability, results in lower HP per encounter.

Yeesh! OK! OK! So make it "as per accumulated changes and errata when MM3 came out".

That's a pretty mouthful and why folks tend to call them "MM3 style monsters".

It amounts to the same tho. Monster hp were reduced and their damage output increased, primarily to reduce grind. To then go and reduce striker output then simply brings grind back.

Besides which, if they are going to do this they would have to errata the older strikers... Which they haven't. And I don't think they will. But I have been wrong before.

MeeposFire
2011-05-05, 10:52 PM
Well this conversation started because of me asking whether the at will DPR benchmarks should be changed. Since those benchmarks are based off of standard monster HP (not solos) it would appear they are fine. I was kind of hoping that hp in gneral was lowered since that would lower the benchmarks which would make more striker classes fit them.

surfarcher
2011-05-05, 11:08 PM
Unfortunately most of the new strikers don't meet the benchmarks...

While I've said I don't think they'll change the alpha strikers, I could well be wrong.

Last I checked they were still...

Baseline: 2*level+6 (4 round striker)
Great: 4*level+12 (2 round striker)
Errata magnet: 8*level+24 (1 round striker)

MeeposFire
2011-05-06, 12:12 AM
Well I am not sure they are doing that bad on benchmarks...
Old stuff

1) Assassin-No (at least from what I hear)
2) Avenger-yes
3) Barb-yes
4) monk-not sure on single target. Nobody is complaining so they might but perhaps they just found their niche and so nobody minds lower single target DPR.
5) Ranger-yes very
6) rogue-yes
7) sorcerer-not sure on single target
8) Warlock-yes (barely and it took a long time to get there)

New Stuff

1) blackguard-I think so (I hear good things)
2) executioner-yes (barely but yes)
3) hexblade-no (but at will wise is close if the rules go their way)
4) scout-yes
5) slayer-yes
6) thief-yes
7) vampire-no (found some at heroic and epic that can but paragon seems to be a problem thus far)

So new is 5/7 on hitting benchmarks while old stuff is between 5/8-7/8 depending on the monk and sorc (which have a different role than other strikers since they are much better hitting many targets). Given time some of these classes could make up ground. The area where the new strikers tend to fail is nova power. When rating these I of course omit stuff like kulkor that makes a mockery of the benchmarks.

Kurald Galain
2011-05-06, 03:35 AM
So new is 5/7 on hitting benchmarks
Last time I checked, the scout, slayer, and thief weren't actually in the Heroes of Shadow book.

So for the new classes here, it's really one out of four (i.e. the blackguard is ok, but the assassin, vampire, and binder fail).


Given time some of these classes could make up ground.
Given that class-specific feats no longer exist - how?

MeeposFire
2011-05-06, 04:02 AM
Last time I checked, the scout, slayer, and thief weren't actually in the Heroes of Shadow book.

So for the new classes here, it's really one out of four (i.e. the blackguard is ok, but the assassin, vampire, and binder fail).


Given that class-specific feats no longer exist - how?

1) I thought he was possibly talking about more than just HoS if not sorry about adding the extra striker classes in there. Also I was going on the conversation about strikers not the other roles.

2) Blackguard has been getting some nice press in OP and the executioner is not a failed class. It hits the striker benchmarks and is considered acceptable, very middle of the striker pack. Vampires are interesting but have many challenges. There have been builds getting to the benchmarks in heroic and epic though as I said paragon is lacking and the nova damage could certainly use a boost. On the plus side they are much more durable than they would appear. However it is true that they would not be a complete success since they could really use a further boost in damage. Binders are about as much fail as there could be and would require an extensive power rewrite at best.

3) As far as I can tell they are still making class feats http://www.wizards.com/dnd/files/CC_Feats.pdf. Are they the last? I personally doubt it. They may want to tone down the number of class feats and perhaps make these feats more applicable to more classes (l;ike the power strike swap feats) but there will be options to take that modify the class directly. Further even without feats what some of these classes need is better powers which they could do if they want to. I don't know if they will but if they decide to put forth that effort then they can improve these classes lots in life.

evirus
2011-05-10, 11:32 AM
Quick question to those who have read the HoS book.

Going through it, I'm not certain if the "new" Star pact is equivalent to the "old" PHB1 star pact. Specificaly related to the riders on the new powers.

Would a PHB1 Star Pact warlock gain the rider bonuses on the new HoS powers related to the "new" Star Pact?

Blackfang108
2011-05-10, 11:54 AM
Quick question to those who have read the HoS book.

Going through it, I'm not certain if the "new" Star pact is equivalent to the "old" PHB1 star pact. Specificaly related to the riders on the new powers.

Would a PHB1 Star Pact warlock gain the rider bonuses on the new HoS powers related to the "new" Star Pact?

IIRC, nope, because the new powers specify Binder.

evirus
2011-05-10, 12:02 PM
IIRC, nope, because the new powers specify Binder.

I thought the "(Binder)" tag was to avoid the binder from gaining the benefits from PHB1 Star-locks, not the other way around...

Blackfang108
2011-05-10, 12:05 PM
I thought the "(Binder)" tag was to avoid the binder from gaining the benefits from PHB1 Star-locks, not the other way around...

I don't see how that would work. Binder can't chose their Encounter powers.

Edit: Warlocks can. If any star-pact could gain the rider, it would just say Star Pact

darkdragoon
2011-05-10, 12:32 PM
1) I thought he was possibly talking about more than just HoS if not sorry about adding the extra striker classes in there. Also I was going on the conversation about strikers not the other roles.

2) Blackguard has been getting some nice press in OP and the executioner is not a failed class. It hits the striker benchmarks and is considered acceptable, very middle of the striker pack. Vampires are interesting but have many challenges. There have been builds getting to the benchmarks in heroic and epic though as I said paragon is lacking and the nova damage could certainly use a boost. On the plus side they are much more durable than they would appear. However it is true that they would not be a complete success since they could really use a further boost in damage. Binders are about as much fail as there could be and would require an extensive power rewrite at best.

3) As far as I can tell they are still making class feats http://www.wizards.com/dnd/files/CC_Feats.pdf. Are they the last? I personally doubt it. They may want to tone down the number of class feats and perhaps make these feats more applicable to more classes (l;ike the power strike swap feats) but there will be options to take that modify the class directly. Further even without feats what some of these classes need is better powers which they could do if they want to. I don't know if they will but if they decide to put forth that effort then they can improve these classes lots in life.

1. E-Fighters and E-Rangers run on basic attacks, which have many ways to boost beyond their features. The others are more limited, which not only sticks out here, but in comparison to previous versions. I mean, if you were doing a Warlock over you'd probably not leave them locked into powers like Eldritch Blast and make the powers more robust, right? Well, that hasn't really happened with either the Hexblade or the Binder.

2. Blackguard seems to greatly depend on which Vice you take, and a lot of their punch comes from charging (which at this point has enough support to make practically anyone do nice damage.)

3. Class feats as in Painful Oath, Deadly Rage, Improved Dark's One Blessing and the like. Some of those certainly were too specialized (like an Eladrin Fighter one for longswords). So the E-classes will benefit from generic stuff available to every class, but there's no plans for anything that boosts a particular class or feature. Hence the dearth of feats in the Heroes books.

Kurald Galain
2011-05-10, 06:13 PM
Would a PHB1 Star Pact warlock gain the rider bonuses on the new HoS powers related to the "new" Star Pact?
Nope.

Conversely, if a binder (somehow) ends up with a PHB1 warlock power, he would be able to use the rider.



2. Blackguard seems to greatly depend on which Vice you take, and a lot of their punch comes from charging (which at this point has enough support to make practically anyone do nice damage.)
Well, yes. Even a wizard can be made to do striker-level damage through charging and melee basic attacks. I suppose this does not speak well for the Blackguard as a whole.

Yakk
2011-05-11, 02:53 PM
On the other hand, Eladrin Fighter feats for Longsword don't show up in the character builder unless you are an Eladrin Fighter.

Ie: "feat clutter" as it applies to the character builder is a problem with generic feats, moreso than narrow feats.