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ravenkith
2008-06-27, 11:14 AM
I didn't see a thread like this one, so I thought I'd chip my two cents in.

It seems like WOTC is deliberately trying to make sure that there is a good race/class combo for everyone, this time around (and spelling it out for sheep).

While this is a good idea in principle, unfortunately, some classes have subtypes...and these subtypes are often not compatible with one another.

Look at the ranger - where you can either go TWF or Archer. Then Compare it to the Fighter, who is a melee specialist, but has the capacity to spec out in different weapon styles.

With either of these characters, there is no way to be good at everything that they could possibly do. For the ranger, you need a completely different statline, depending on which path you take. For the fighter, there just aren't enough feats to be great with every weapon type.

..so, in short, specialization is still the word of the day.

With that in mind, I thought I'd start a listing of the best Race/Class combos with an eye towards specializations, and a brief rationale for the recommendation.

I DO NOT CURRENTLY HAVE ACCESS TO THE DMG OR MM.
Best:

PHB
Dragonborn - Paladin {Think: Superman}
With STR & CHA, this one's a no-brainer. One of the few race/class combos that might be able to 'do-it-all'. The racial AOE makes for a nice bonus, especially in mook-heavy combat. The Paladin can dish it out, but is not a striker or a fighter, which means focusing only on STR-based powers would probably be a mistake. Do not think twice about taking Bolstering Strike: it's the rough equivalent of a free vampiric weapon.

Dwarf - Cleric (Healer)
CON & WIS might not be a natural choice, but the resistance to pushing will help keep this guy 'in the pocket', and being able to use his healing surges as a minor action means he can heal himself and others on the same turn. Contrary to popular opinion, the cleric's primary function has got to be healing, unless there is more than one cleric in the party. It's what he does that no one else can do.

Eladrin - Wizard (INT) {Think: Green Lantern}
With a bonus to INT and the built in anti-squishy technology (Fey Step), the Eladrin is a must have for PHB wizards. Every power is INT based, in terms of hitting. In 4E, hitting is the biggest concern - dropping that encounter power or daily power and losing it because you missed just plain hurts. Kick in the Wand implement to help avoid this problem. The orb is nice, but if you never hit in the first place, who cares if their save is harder to make? The staff is an Akbar. Spend feats to get hide armor instead.

Elf - Ranger (Archer) {Think: Green Arrow}
Dex AND wisdom? Yes please. With many secondary effects based off of WIS, and a horde of ranged powers based off of dex, combined with the elven reroll racial feature? We have a winnah!

Halfling - Rogue (Daggers) {Think: Batman}
The way it is, the way it was, the way it will be: say it with me now: Halfling Rogue. Ah beloved dex-based fighter...armor & attack all in one package. Oh, and hey, daggers don't suck so hard no more.

Human - Fighter {Think: Hulk}
Fighter is a single stat class. Human is a single stat race. But that's not all: Human get that extra feat, which can be used for either getting Plate or Human Perseverance (your regular feat should be used for scale), making you one of the toughest damn SOBs on the game board. Add in the extra at will, go sword and board, and you're talking a tough nut to crack with a lot of early options.

Half-Elf - Warlord {Think: Captain America}
Wait, I know what you're thinking...(WTH?) But really, it's half elf FTW here. The Warlord is NOT a primary melee specialist. He is a leader/buffer. Get that + to CHA, and remember to focus on powers that make the rest of the group better in combat, or give your tank an extra attack, or move your party around when it isn't their turn. Make sure to take Diplomacy as a trained skill, and always have the party aid you with that +1 you give them so that you can be 'Super-effective'.

Half Elf - Warlock (Infernal)
CON + CHA makes this a reasonable choice.

Tiefling - Warlock (Infernal) {Think: Cyclops}
Um, yeah, Warlocks got screwed this ed <shrug>. Three seperate paths to choose from, and all of them require a different combination of stats. A striker, going for straight-up damage may be your best option here.


OTHER (Combinations I've heard about)
Githyanki - Wizard
Gnome - Rogue


Worst:

Dwarf - Rogue
Slow movement and no really useful stats boosted makes them pretty bad. If you want to be a Dwarven Trapfinder, better to be a Ranger and multiclass Rogue for Thievery. At least then, you get to use your Wisdom as an Archer.

Human - Cleric
Terrible clerics. The Cleric powers are so batty that you'll not want to take the third At-Will even if you got it for free (plus, Priest's Shield is <<< Righteous Smite).



Thoughts/Comments?

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-27, 11:22 AM
Tieflings actually make exciting Paladins.

With their extra-kill powers and natural Charisma, they can play a Charisma Paladin and use the spare INT for Religion, if they feel like it.

Half-Elves make excellent Infernal Warlocks, BTW - CON and CHA? They're as natural as Eladrin Wizards!

But worst? Humans make terrible clerics. The Cleric powers are so batty that you'll not want to take the third At-Will even if you got it for free (plus, Priest's Shield is <<< Righteous Smite). They're not so hot as Paladins either, to be honest.

Dwarven Rogues are probably not so good either - the slow movement and no really useful stats boosted makes them pretty bad. If you want to be a Dwarven Trapfinder, better to be a Ranger and multiclass Rogue for Thievery. At least then, you get to use your Wisdom as an Archer.

skywalker
2008-06-27, 11:51 AM
Half-Elf warlords kick ass!

Altho, I think WOTC specifically planned it that way, so it would probably be just horrible if they didn't.

Also, how can you compare a half-elf to Captain America? Captain America is specifically awesome because he's 100% human, just to the highest power.

[/offtopic]

SamTheCleric
2008-06-27, 11:56 AM
I like playing the "out of archtype" combos...

So far I have an Elven Warrior... thinking that I may do a Halfling Paladin, possibly a Dwarf Rogue... Tiefling Cleric....

ravenkith
2008-06-27, 12:02 PM
Please keep in mind that we're talking about the best combinations and the worst combinations here, in terms of statistical/play through advantage.

Anything I agree with will be added to my initial post 'for the record'.

If I don't agree with it, I'll try to explain why, and if I feel I have enough reasons to disagree, I'll leave it off.


Tieflings actually make exciting Paladins.

With their extra-kill powers and natural Charisma, they can play a Charisma Paladin and use the spare INT for Religion, if they feel like it.


I'm not sure I agree here. I mean, with only one of the two stats needed (possibly required) by the class in question, you've got to admit that they come out behind the Dragoborn, even with the added damage for bloodied foes (+1 = meh, IMHO). Plus, if you're taking the Tiefling in order to make a damage paladin, you're falling into a double-trap.



Half-Elves make excellent Infernal Warlocks, BTW - CON and CHA? They're as natural as Eladrin Wizards!

Well, I wouldn't go so far as excellent - but they are equally as good as the Tiefling, depending on which at will you pick up, I guess. They might even be better than Tieflings, given their ability to take Human and Elven feats. (Perseverance is one of the best out there). Ok, it goes on the list!



But worst? Humans make terrible clerics. The Cleric powers are so batty that you'll not want to take the third At-Will even if you got it for free (plus, Priest's Shield is <<< Righteous Smite).


I have to agree with this sentiment - Human Cleric would probably be a poor choice compared to some others. I don't think it's the worst though - Tiefling gets that honor, with no beneficial stats, and an emphasis on dealing damage. It's still pretty bad though, so it goes on the list.



They're not so hot as Paladins either, to be honest.


I don't think they're bad, per se. I mean, yeah, you only get the one stat bump, but you pick which one. CHA for the win. The added bonus feat can also be used to get you additional defenses, which is huge. I can't see putting them on the bad list.



Dwarven Rogues are probably not so good either - the slow movement and no really useful stats boosted makes them pretty bad. If you want to be a Dwarven Trapfinder, better to be a Ranger and multiclass Rogue for Thievery. At least then, you get to use your Wisdom as an Archer.

Total agreement. Dwarves are not a rogue-ish race.


Also:

When you think Warlord, you should think of Captain America (Pre-civil war 616, not Ultimate). Someone who's really polite, gets a lot of respect from those in power, kind of dangerous in a fight, and generally not someone you want to mess with if you're a normal human (read: mook). His real value, however, isn't seen until he's on a team with other heroes (such as the Avengers), when he steps up to the plate to make everyone else better at their jobs than they otherwise could be. In most combats, the the Warlord (Captain America) won't throw the deadliest punches, or take the bad guy down with one shot, but he'll get the bad guy into position for someone else to finish him off.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-27, 12:03 PM
I like playing the "out of archtype" combos...

So far I have an Elven Warrior... thinking that I may do a Halfling Paladin, possibly a Dwarf Rogue... Tiefling Cleric....

I have an excellent Elven Swordmaster (Fighter). He wears Scale Mail, has a greatsword, and has the Hit-and-Run attack to allow him to run through the ranks of the enemy (6 move in Heavy Armor!), slaying them in his wake.

To be honest though, I've been going to town with the Eladrin. It's hard to resist playing a snooty semi-aristocratic rogue who can teleport onto the stool next to the lovely lady at the bar and chat her up.

Also entertaining is the Eladrin Ranger who plans to get a lot of skill training so that he can use the LV 2 Ranger Utility to show that He Knows Best. :smallbiggrin:

SamTheCleric
2008-06-27, 12:06 PM
Only 6 move? Why didnt you take Scale Armor Optimization... +1 AC and ignore the movement penalties.... :smallbiggrin:

That's one of the main reasons I went with Elf.. (that and there's a whole backstory I wrote and posted today... that no one has responded to... :P)

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-27, 12:11 PM
Only 6 move? Why didnt you take Scale Armor Optimization... +1 AC and ignore the movement penalties.... :smallbiggrin:

That's one of the main reasons I went with Elf.. (that and there's a whole backstory I wrote and posted today... that no one has responded to... :P)

Heroic Tier still.

Now, I also made a Swordwind Ranger (Elven Two-Blade) who, with the charge feat, gets to move 7 and then charge 9 :smalltongue:

My one problem is that I can't really figure out what to do with the Two-Blades - they don't get their strength bonus as at-wills, and they only get to apply their Quarry once per round. Considering elves already get Accuracy, doing the two-for-one approach doesn't make much sense.

I'm thinking that Dragonborn probably make good Two-Sworders, or Eladrin, since they can TP behind the Big Bad and start laying in with their Double-Blade Daily and Encounter power. Nasty :smallamused:

THAC0
2008-06-27, 12:17 PM
Gnomes make excellent Warlocks, especially fey-pact.

Dwarves make good Strength paladins.

As mentioned, humans are not so hot for Cleric and Paladin.

ravenkith
2008-06-27, 12:19 PM
I think the MM and DMG have races for the other subtypes, actually: the gnome is clearly a sneak attack specialist, from what I've heard, stealthing in and out of battle with ease for CA.

What about Bugbear? don't they get DEX & STR in 4E? (armor & attack, respectively)

AKA_Bait
2008-06-27, 12:53 PM
I've found Eladrin Fey Pact warlocks to be a barrel of fun. They are so teleportation mobile it's friggin scary. Curse a mook, kill a mook, bamf. Repeat.


Also, how can you compare a half-elf to Captain America? Captain America is specifically awesome because he's 100% human, just to the highest power.

[/offtopic]

Well, you know, except for the roids... I mean serum.

Ned the undead
2008-06-27, 12:59 PM
You for got Dragonborn Rouge. They get bonuses to the Rouge's key stats and can do both Brutal Scoundral and Artful Dodger very well.

mikeejimbo
2008-06-27, 01:12 PM
For some reason, Dwarf Rogue sounds silly to me anyway. I can't think of any other good or bad combos right now.

Oh! Idea idea. I'll list all the combos! (From PHB)

Dragonborn Cleric
Dragonborn Fighter
Dragonborn Paladin
Dragonborn Ranger
Dragonborn Rogue
Dragonborn Warlock
Dragonborn Warlord
Dragonborn Wizard

Dwarf Cleric
Dwarf Fighter
Dwarf Paladin
Dwarf Ranger
Dwarf Rogue
Dwarf Warlock
Dwarf Warlord
Dwarf Wizard

Eladrin Cleric
Eladrin Fighter
Eladrin Paladin
Eladrin Ranger
Eladrin Rogue
Eladrin Warlock
Eladrin Warlord
Eladrin Wizard

Elf Cleric
Elf Fighter
Elf Paladin
Elf Ranger
Elf Rogue
Elf Warlock
Elf Warlord
Elf Wizard

Half-Elf Cleric
Half-Elf Fighter
Half-Elf Paladin
Half-Elf Ranger
Half-Elf Rogue
Half-Elf Warlock
Half-Elf Warlord
Half-Elf Wizard

Halfing Cleric
Halfing Fighter
Halfing Paladin
Halfing Ranger
Halfing Rogue
Halfing Warlock
Halfing Warlord
Halfing Wizard

Human Cleric
Human Fighter
Human Paladin
Human Ranger
Human Rogue
Human Warlock
Human Warlord
Human Wizard

Tiefling Cleric
Tiefling Fighter
Tiefling Paladin
Tiefling Ranger
Tiefling Rogue
Tiefling Warlock
Tiefling Warlord
Tiefling Wizard

ravenkith
2008-06-27, 01:33 PM
Actually, it might be a good idea to rate them using a star system or something...



*****: Five Stars - Best
**** : Four Stars - Good
*** : Three Stars - Average
** : Two Stars - Poor.
* : One Star - Execrable.


Complete listing:

Dragonborn:

Dragonborn Cleric *
Dragonborn Fighter ***
Dragonborn Paladin *****
Dragonborn Ranger ***
Dragonborn Rogue **
Dragonborn Warlock *
Dragonborn Warlord ****
Dragonborn Wizard *

Dwarf:

Dwarf Cleric ****
Dwarf Fighter **
Dwarf Paladin ***
Dwarf Ranger ***
Dwarf Rogue *
Dwarf Warlock *
Dwarf Warlord *
Dwarf Wizard *

Eladrin:

Eladrin Cleric *
Eladrin Fighter *
Eladrin Paladin *
Eladrin Ranger ****
Eladrin Rogue ***
Eladrin Warlock *
Eladrin Warlord *
Eladrin Wizard *****

Elf:

Elf Cleric ****
Elf Fighter **
Elf Paladin ***
Elf Ranger *****
Elf Rogue ****
Elf Warlock **
Elf Warlord **
Elf Wizard **

Half-Elf

Half-Elf Cleric **
Half-Elf Fighter **
Half-Elf Paladin ***
Half-Elf Ranger *
Half-Elf Rogue **
Half-Elf Warlock ****
Half-Elf Warlord ****
Half-Elf Wizard *

Halfling:

Halfing Cleric ***
Halfing Fighter *
Halfing Paladin ***
Halfing Ranger ***
Halfing Rogue *****
Halfing Warlock ****
Halfing Warlord **
Halfing Wizard *

Human:

Human Cleric **
Human Fighter *****
Human Paladin **
Human Ranger ***
Human Rogue ***
Human Warlock ***
Human Warlord ***
Human Wizard ****

Tiefling:

Tiefling Cleric **
Tiefling Fighter *
Tiefling Paladin ***
Tiefling Ranger *
Tiefling Rogue **
Tiefling Warlock ****
Tiefling Warlord ***
Tiefling Wizard ****

Antacid
2008-06-27, 01:49 PM
Eladrin - Wizard (INT) {Think: Green Lantern}
With a bonus to INT and the built in anti-squishy technology (Fey Step), the Eladrin is a must have for PHB wizards. Every power is INT based, in terms of hitting. In 4E, hitting is the biggest concern - dropping that encounter power or daily power and losing it because you missed just plain hurts. Kick in the Wand implement to help avoid this problem. The orb is nice, but if you never hit in the first place, who cares if their save is harder to make? The staff is an Akbar. Spend feats to get hide armor instead.

Have to disagree with you about the Staff of Defence. The Wand will give you your Dex bonus to hit once per encounter, yes, but otherwise the points you're putting into Dex are wasted, as you already get your Int bonus to AC anyway. Your Int is going to be maxed, so with leather armour you've already got an AC of 17 at first level, the same as a 2HW Fighter in scale armour.

Plus, Hide armour proficiency requires a Constitution AND a Strength of 13. There's absolutely no mechanical reason for a wizard to get Strength 13.

Re. the need to hit, yes, obviously. But there are a million ways to get situational hit bonuses in 4e, not least of which involve cooperating with the party. If you're a human, you can also get Action Surge for +3 by spending an Action Point to cast your Daily Power, giving you the same advantage as a wand caster with a Dex of 16.

The Staff doesn't just give a +1 AC. It also does this:


In addition, once per encounter as an immediate interrupt, you gain a bonus to defence against one attack equal to your Constitution modifier. You can declare the bonus after the Dungeon Master has already told you the damage total.
In other words, after you're hit for X damage, you can decide to completely ignore the attack if the roll + attack bonus was lower than your defence + your Con modifier. Even if the DM is rolling behind the screen, you still have a decent chance of stopping most level-appropriate attacks as long as your Constitution is reasonably high (14+); and you'll have more HP and surges to keep going if the attack still hits.

The Staff of Defence is probably why you've heard about the Githyanki Wizard (+2 Int, +2 Con, use Telekinesis to hurl yourself or an ally 6 squares) that is IMHO already better than the Eladrin. But Human Wizard should also be on your list: the extra power alone is worth losing +2 to a second stat because the wizard's at-wills are so well-balanced and functional,

EDIT ...and because they play off each other so well. With 3 At-Wills you can afford to get both Thunder Wave and Scorching burst - then you can push enemies into a clump and burn them on the same round by spending an Action point. By ravenkith's rating system, Human Wizard should be 5 stars.

Townopolis
2008-06-27, 02:28 PM
Gnome specials are definitely geared toward rogues, reactive stealth and fade away both being easy ways to get CA. Their stats, however, (same as Tiefling) seem better geared towards an arcane class or warlord.

Fade away then retains some of its utility as an anti-squish mechanic. Not a lot to be done about reactive stealth though, unless you multiclass into ranger and use it for early positioning purposes.

On the other hand, a gnome rogue could just make int his 8 stat and use cha for the defensive option.

ravenkith
2008-06-27, 02:30 PM
I already have the human wizard rated at a 4. There is only room for one 'best' rated class for each race, and while you make some valid points, I'm not convinced that Human Wizard > Human Fighter.


Have to disagree with you about the Staff of Defence. The Wand will give you your Dex bonus to hit once per encounter, yes, but otherwise the points you're putting into Dex are wasted, as you already get your Int bonus to AC anyway. Your Int is going to be maxed, so with leather armour you've already got an AC of 17 at first level, the same as a 2HW Fighter in scale armour.


1. The enemy can't hit you if he's dead. With the wizard's daily powers, if they are successful, if the bad guy isn't deat after you cast it, he soon will be.

2. The enemy can't hurt you if he can't hit you. While this would seem to be a point in favor of the staff, it's actually not: the best way to avoid getting hit is to stay out of melee in the first place!



Plus, Hide armour proficiency requires a Constitution AND a Strength of 13. There's absolutely no good reason for a wizard to get Strength 13.


1. Well yeah, actually, there is - +3 to AC and magical armor benefits. With the limitations to the number of powers available per day, as compared to previous wizard versions, using a spell for an armor buff is going to prove a poor choice in most cases. Remember AC is ALWAYS on.

2. With the devaluation of feats, spending 2 on a +3 to AC is a negligible cost.

3. Spending three points to go from ten to 13 is significant, but not overly expensive. Remember that STR also adds to your FORT defense, so upping STR is also useful in that arena.



Re. the need to hit, yes, obviously. But there are a million ways to get situational hit bonuses in 4e, not least of which involve cooperating with the party. If you're a human, you can also get Action Surge for +3 by spending an Action Point to cast your Daily Power, giving you the same advantage as a wand caster with a Dex of 16.


Or you can Spend the action surge and the wand and get a net +6, virtually guaranteeing a hit.



In other words, after you're hit for X damage, you can decide to completely ignore the attack as long as the roll + attack modifier was lower than your defence + your Con bonus. Even if the DM is rolling behind the screen, you still have a decent chance of stopping most level-appropriate attacks as long as your Constitution is reasonably high (14+); and you'll have more HP and surges to keep going if the attack still hits.

The Staff of Defence is probably why you've heard about the Githyanki Wizard (+2 Int, +2 Con, use Telekinesis to hurl yourself or an ally 6 squares) that is IMHO already better than the Eladrin.


The problem with the staff is that you use it and it's gone, and it does you next to no good while you aren't using it.

A quick person would point out that the wand is the same way. Unfortunately that doesn't take into account the fact that the CON bonus to HP and the Staff power actually only ever come into play if you have already been hit, by nature being a last ditch defense.

The added AC, and FORT save associated with going the armor route are always on, and will help protect you from multiple attacks/battle as opposed to just one.



But Human Wizard should also be on your list: the extra power alone is worth losing +2 to a second stat because the wizard's at-wills are so well-balanced and functional,

EDIT ...and because they play off each other so well. With 3 At-Wills you can afford to get both Thunder Wave and Scorching burst - then you can push enemies into a clump and burn them on the same round by spending an Action point. By ravenkith's rating system, Human Wizard should be 5 stars.

I really like Human Wizard, I do. But....Fighter is a one-stat class, while wizard is a two stat (depending on which implement you take). This means that you can afford to pay for that base 18 before your racial bonus everytime out of the gate with fighter, while with wizrd you have to spread your points around more in order to be effective.

In terms of ease of use and concentrated power, the fighter is the best class for humans. Wizard is a close second.

Vortling
2008-06-27, 02:43 PM
As mentioned, humans are not so hot for Cleric and Paladin.

That's rather sad, given that humans are described as 'pious' in their race write up.

Chronicled
2008-06-27, 02:43 PM
I really like Human Wizard, I do. But....Fighter is a one-stat class, while wizard is a two stat (depending on which implement you take). This means that you can afford to pay for that base 18 before your racial bonus everytime out of the gate with fighter, while with wizrd you have to spread your points around more in order to be effective.

:confused:

Antacid
2008-06-27, 03:05 PM
I already have the human wizard rated at a 4. There is only room for one 'best' rated class for each race, and while you make some valid points, I'm not convinced that Human Wizard > Human Fighter.

I'm not going to argue with the official rating system :smallcool:


1. The enemy can't hit you if he's dead. With the wizard's daily powers, if they are successful, if the bad guy isn't death after you cast it, he soon will be.

The wizard can't hit anything if he's unconscious. And few dailies will take down a solo or an elite in one hit, so a guaranteed hit in one round doesn't guarantee that you're out of trouble in the next.


2. The enemy can't hurt you if he can't hit you. While this would seem to be a point in favor of the staff, it's actually not: the best way to avoid getting hit is to stay out of melee in the first place!

Well, there's ranged attacks. Depending the terrain and the monsters you're fighting, the DM might even legitimately use a "rush the wizard" approach - the wizard, after all, is the guy hurling the magical fire that's taking out ranks of minions. On an open battlefield it's actually pretty difficult to completely avoid the threat of melee while still using your range 10 at-wills, because at that distance you're in range of a double-move. If a monster can get adjacent to you, you have to shift to cast a spell if you want to avoid triggering an AoO, which puts you just 1 square away if the enemy is still alive by the next round.


1. Well yeah, actually, there is - +3 to AC and magical armor benefits. With the limitations to the number of powers available per day, as compared to previous wizard versions, using a spell for an armor buff is going to prove a poor choice in most cases. Remember AC is ALWAYS on.

2. With the devaluation of feats, spending 2 on a +3 to AC is a negligible cost.

I can still get leather armour, allowing the same buffs with identical AC thanks to the Staff's +1 AC bonus. That way I use 1 less feat and have 5 more points to spend on ability scores (because I dump Strength to 8).


3. Spending three points to go from ten to 13 is significant, but not overly expensive. Remember that STR also adds to your FORT defense, so upping STR is also useful in that arena.

Strength only adds to your FORT defence if your Constitution score is lower. You only use the largest bonus, not both.


Or you can Spend the action surge and the wand and get a net +6, virtually guaranteeing a hit.

Oh, absolutely. But bear in mind that a lot of Wizard Dailies and Encounter powers are AOE. You can generally be sure of hitting something if you're rolling several attack rolls. The Wizard actually has a relatively low proportion of hit-or-suck powers compared to most classes.


the CON bonus to HP and the Staff power actually only ever come into play if you have already been hit, by nature being a last ditch defence.

It's more like the Halfling ability to force a re-roll when hit. It works less often, but on the other hand you know whether it's worth using because you know exactly how much damage you'll be negating.


I really like Human Wizard, I do. But....Fighter is a one-stat class, while wizard is a two stat (depending on which implement you take). This means that you can afford to pay for that base 18 before your racial bonus everytime out of the gate with fighter, while with wizrd you have to spread your points around more in order to be effective.

I don't agree with this point. Wizards have absolutely as much of a reason to max to 20, if not more, because a Wizard's effectiveness is entirely dependant on hitting and doing damage, and hitting with At-Wills throughout an encounter (you can't just rely on Dailies). A Fighter is doing 50% of his job just by marking enemies and absorbing damage.

Tsadrin
2008-06-27, 03:06 PM
Human - Fighter {Think: Hulk}
Fighter is a single stat class. Human is a single stat race. But that's not all: Human get that extra feat, which can be used for either getting Plate or Human Perseverance (your regular feat should be used for scale), making you one of the toughest damn SOBs on the game board. Add in the extra at will, go sword and board, and you're talking a tough nut to crack with a lot of early options.

Did I miss something? Last time I checked fighters started with Scale Armor proficiency.

Xyk
2008-06-27, 03:11 PM
Dragonborn can make good enough warlocks with their charisma bonus and breath weapon.

ravenkith
2008-06-27, 03:14 PM
:confused:

Really? Confused?

Seems pretty straightforward to me:
1. 90%+ of the Fighter classes features & powers are strength-based. If you put an 18 in strength and a ten in everything else, you'd still be ok as a fighter. You automatically get proficiency in armor & shields. A lot of your high-end 1-shot powers are reliable, meaning that even if you miss, you will still get to try again with the power - it isn't wasted. This in turn means that you can afford to put a 16 in STR instead of an 18, if you really wanted to, because it won't necessarily screw you in the end.

2. With the wizard, INT must be eighteen. Your powers are what will turn the course of a battle: one screwed up spell and it may well be TPK time. At least one other stat is going to have to be 14+ (for your implement), in order for you to be competent at your job. Given the low number of hit points associated with the class, probably con too. Not to mention any feats required for armor, etc., etc.

The fighter is just a better package deal. <shrug>

ashmanonar
2008-06-27, 03:47 PM
I think the MM and DMG have races for the other subtypes, actually: the gnome is clearly a sneak attack specialist, from what I've heard, stealthing in and out of battle with ease for CA.

What about Bugbear? don't they get DEX & STR in 4E? (armor & attack, respectively)

Oh, yes. Gnomes are definitely good Rogues, despite their stat bumps. They also make great Warlocks/Wizards.

JaxGaret
2008-06-27, 04:53 PM
I wish I had the time to break down all the playable MM races for what classes they work well with by the 5-star system, but I don't. I will say that when I first looked at them, they seemed underpowered when compared to the PHB races; now that I am more familiar with the system, they seem pretty comparably balanced, with some perhaps a shade weaker.

Here's a quick run-through:

Bugbears make excellent TWF Rangers and Brutal Scoundrels.

Doppelgangers make amazing Facelocks, and their racial power can be used by pretty much any class.

Drow are awesome Rogues.

Githyanki are excellent Wizards.

Githzerai make pretty sweet Archery Rangers.

Gnolls make okay Brutal Scoundrels.

Gnomes are stealth master Artful Dodgers.

Goblins are also stealthy defensive Artful Dodgers, but with a different twist.

Hobgoblins make nice Warlocks and Paladins. Their racial power is good for anyone.

Kobolds do their shifty Kobold thing, good at being trapstoppers, obviously.

Minotaurs make great TWF Rangers and Fighters.

Orcs pretty much suck.

Shadar-Kai also are not very good.

Longtooth and Razorclaw Shifters make very solid TWF and Archery Rangers, respectively.

Warforged are simply Fighters who will not go down. Robots ftw!

Jerthanis
2008-06-27, 05:29 PM
Orcs pretty much suck.


The Orc racial power seems pretty good to me, though I could be wrong here. They seem like they'd make pretty good hammer-fighters if nothing else. Spending a healing surge can sometimes turn the tide of a battle.

I'd like to throw out that while Tiefling Fighters are pretty much the worst combination, it's still an entirely playable choice. Starting with a 16 strength instead of 18 isn't an unreachable gap. Fire Resistance can also be great with a pyro wizard in the party*, but that's about as far as synergy goes. Even the worst choices are entirely playable out of the box though, which is nice.

*: When your party pyromaniac wizard is indecisive as to where to put his Scorching Burst or his burning hands, being able to ecourage him to center it on you is actually kind of humorous. "Hit me! Go ahead, I'll be fine!"

Starbuck_II
2008-06-27, 06:35 PM
Bugbears make excellent TWF Rangers and Brutal Scoundrels.

Totally agree. The bugbear Ranger in my game is scimitar/short sword (he likes both since light blades have better hit chance and feats at heroic, but scimitar dance is good paragon choice). Str 19 after racials at 1st.


Warforged are simply Fighters who will not go down. Robots ftw!
They make decent Melee Clerics. After all, it can be bad if the healer goes down.


Tsadrin:
I think the OP meant Toughness (+5 hp/tier is nice, basically equals a level in 4th).

THAC0
2008-06-27, 06:39 PM
That's rather sad, given that humans are described as 'pious' in their race write up.

I know. It makes me cry. :smallfrown:

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-27, 06:41 PM
I'd like to throw out that while Tiefling Fighters are pretty much the worst combination, it's still an entirely playable choice. Starting with a 16 strength instead of 18 isn't an unreachable gap. Fire Resistance can also be great with a pyro wizard in the party*, but that's about as far as synergy goes. Even the worst choices are entirely playable out of the box though, which is nice.

Nah.

Remember that they get +1 to hit Bloodied Opponents, and get an Encounter Damage Booster as well. Plus you can boost their Rebuke to have some knockback as well, and you can use Intimidate to force enemies to surrender.

I'd say Human Warlocks are probably worse, since Warlocks are inherently MAD (all require either CHA and CON to hit things, but they also need INT to provide AC). Plus, getting an extra Pact at-will generally makes life worse, since they don't have great synergies.

But... the charts disagree? Is it because Fighters already get enough to-hit bonuses, and don't need to do more damage? Am I missing something with the Human Warlock?

EDIT: Yeah, I think it was accidental that humans made bad clerics and paladins. If only the Divine Feats were better, then the extra Feat would really make up for the worthless spare At-Will.

TheEmerged
2008-06-27, 07:13 PM
Kobolds do their shifty Kobold thing, good at being trapstoppers, obviously.

If by "trapstoppers" you mean Rogue instead of "only good for taking damage for the other characters", then yes. If you don't need your minor action for something else, this gives them the ability to shift 2 squares per turn -- or to move 7. And you haven't seen Hong Kong D&D until you've seen kobolds charge every turn...

RE: Dragonborn Warlord. I'm curious as to the reasoning for them being a 4-star instead of 5-star. The Dragonborn Warlord in my theorycrafting efforts came out looking like one of the best characters.

RE: Fighters being one-stat. Interesting. It looked to me like they'd done a better job than ever of giving them a reason to have the other stats. I'll give it a second once over (I've already discovered one major mistake regarding HP at first level I was making, for example).

Enlong
2008-06-27, 07:40 PM
Tieflings actually make awesome Warlords. They get bonus to INT and CHA, whic are the important stats for the Warlord's tactical and inspiring moves.

mikeejimbo
2008-06-27, 08:54 PM
Gnomes don't make awesome Clerics. Cha isn't extremely important to the class, just a bit.

Helgraf
2008-06-28, 01:35 AM
Human Cleric.
Yeah, I've heard the downside.

There's a method to my madness.

Humans. Extra feat, extra skill, extra at-will.

Multiclass.

With an extra feat, you can take a multiclass feat and another feat you also wanted at level 1. Have your cake and eat it too.

Yeah, you'll still have three at-wills in cleric to start. Hit your stride at level 11 and swap that third at-will for an at-will from your multiclass. Thus, you keep the two at-wills you want from cleric, and get access to an at-will that sucks less.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-28, 01:46 AM
Human Cleric.
Yeah, I've heard the downside.

There's a method to my madness.

I grant you the Order of Humanity for trying so hard to make Human Clerics not terrible.

But yes, if you multiclass, then they start looking less terrible in Paragon Stage... but what multiclass would you do? Fighter? I guess that works OK, though just making a Paladin might be the better choice there. Warlock? Ranger? I just don't see it.

Now, that's not to say Human Clerics are worthless (that extra feat is fun!) but it is probably one of their least-optimal classes, since it essentially wastes their ingrown power. I don't think any other class/race selection does it quite as completely though... huh, that's a first. :smalltongue:

Blackdrop
2008-06-28, 03:38 AM
If you want to talk about sub-optimal cleric builds, lets look at the tiefling cleric.

The Cha bonus barely helps and the rest of their abilities don't contribute to aiding the cleric class.

TheOOB
2008-06-28, 03:55 AM
To be fair, a race with no bonuses would be able to play any class well, some races just do it better.

That said, the human isn't a bad cleric, the other at wills can be useful, it's entirely possible to have a high wisdom and strength, the only real problem is that clerics lack an implement weapon(why do warlocks get one and clerics don't) but thats an easy fix.

namo
2008-06-28, 06:33 AM
So much I disagree with... Oh well, I'll focus on Dwarves.
Dwarf Fighter 3* or 4* - the Ds are tough [email protected]: both the Con bonus + the racial feat scream "you can't kill me". The decreased forced movement is very defenderish. Fighters use both Con (maul !) and Wis. And you'll be wearing Scale or Plate anyway.

Dwarf Rogue * - that I agree with.

Dwarf Warlock * - Infernal Warlocks -> 2*

Dwarf Wizard * - Wisdom is pretty good for wizards, and you'll be a lot less squishy. 2*

Mc. Lovin'
2008-06-28, 06:46 AM
Human Cleric = Worst? D:

Wish I read this before, I just made a human cleric for my group.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-28, 10:47 AM
I might be missing something, but why are the Cleric at-Wills considered so barmy?

THAC0
2008-06-28, 12:26 PM
I might be missing something, but why are the Cleric at-Wills considered so barmy?

I don't think the issue is that they're barmy, it's because out of the four cleric at-wills, there are two that are wisdom based and two that are strength based. If you're playing a wisdom cleric, you probably don't have the stats to get a decent bonus in strength (especially as a human) and vice-versa though not quite so bad.

Which means that the extra at-will power a human gains is going to be one that he's not at all likely to hit with, thus making it effectively useless.

CarpeGuitarrem
2008-06-28, 12:29 PM
Am I the only one who immediately thought of :durkon: and :belkar: after reading a couple of entries off that list?

JaxGaret
2008-06-28, 12:57 PM
Just a couple of things about Human Clerics:

Don't forget that we only have Core right now. With the release of the Divine Power splatbook (whenever that is), there may be additional At-Will powers for the Cleric to choose from that will make that particular race/class combo less weak.

Also, as to the Human Cleric multiclassing - one of the better multiclasses is being a Str Cleric and going into Warlord.

It synergizes well, and doesn't lose its focus as a Leader - in fact, it improves upon it.

Townopolis
2008-06-28, 02:53 PM
When worrying about clerics and implements, remember that holy symbols need only be worn. You can wield a weapon and a shield and still get your implement bonuses. I'm guessing they added holy avengers for paladins out of sheer iconic-ness.

I'm also expecting a splatbook to come out eventually that fixes the problem with cleric and paladin at-wills for humans. However, for the time being, those two race/class combos do suck. Unless you multiclass.

Helgraf
2008-06-29, 02:57 AM
I don't think the issue is that they're barmy, it's because out of the four cleric at-wills, there are two that are wisdom based and two that are strength based. If you're playing a wisdom cleric, you probably don't have the stats to get a decent bonus in strength (especially as a human) and vice-versa though not quite so bad.

Which means that the extra at-will power a human gains is going to be one that he's not at all likely to hit with, thus making it effectively useless.

And I'm not seeing the problem with building a human cleric with good str & wis. 22 pts. 15, 15, 13, 13, 12, 08 (or 10, 10, as you like)

Str 15, Wis 15, Cha 13, Dex or Int 13 (to taste), Con 12, Other of Dex/Int 08
or
Str 15, Wis 15, Cha 13, Dex or Int 13 (other 10), Con 10
or
Str 15, Wis 15, Cha 13, Dex & Int 10, Con 12 (Presuming use of chainmail)

Then add your +2 human kicker to Str or Wis, whichever you're focused more on. At level 4, raise your Str & Wis one point each. Bam! Str 16 Wis 18 or Str 18 Wis 16. Both your primes are covered. Alternately, if you're alright with leaving your highest stat at 17, raise the other one and raise charisma for the supplimentary benefits, thus putting you at either:

Str 17 Wis 16 Cha 14 (Con 12, Dex 10, Int 10)
Str 16 Wis 17 Cha 14 (Con 12, Dex 10, Int 10)
Or any other extrapolation from above.

Frankly, since _both_ the Wisdom at-wills target Reflex defense, going with Strength 17, Wis 15 out the gate should be fine since most monsters at low levels are going to have lower Reflex defense than AC anyway, thus making them just as hittable in that regard.

Helgraf
2008-06-29, 03:27 AM
I grant you the Order of Humanity for trying so hard to make Human Clerics not terrible.

But yes, if you multiclass, then they start looking less terrible in Paragon Stage... but what multiclass would you do? Fighter? I guess that works OK, though just making a Paladin might be the better choice there. Warlock? Ranger? I just don't see it.

Now, that's not to say Human Clerics are worthless (that extra feat is fun!) but it is probably one of their least-optimal classes, since it essentially wastes their ingrown power. I don't think any other class/race selection does it quite as completely though... huh, that's a first. :smalltongue:

I'd multiclass to something that emphasized one of my power stats; preferably whichever was higher, though there does seem to be a lack of non-cleric powers that use Wisdom to hit. A lot of classes have powers that use Wisdom for secondary effects though.

So something either Str or Cha based. Warlord and Paladin both work very well; Warlord being the other 'leader' role and Paladin being a defender with leader tendancies. Both classes run their powers along the Str or Cha flagpole, so you can pick the ones that work with your attribute mix when you do power swaps. Or you could do something more exotic for flavour.

Fighter: Tide of Iron from the fighter list is Strength vs. AC; and a damage + push at will can be damn handy in a pinch. It does require a shield, but if you're a cleric and you're not running heavy armor + shield ... well then perhaps something really exotic would suit you best. Fighter is pretty much totally Strength vs Defense, so if you're a Str cleric, or even a Wis cleric with Str as your second best score, fighter offers a lot of versatility via power swap multiclassing. Also, the per encounter auto +1 to hit (one handed or two, depending on how you built) helps gives you that little edge for making sure that daily or encounter isn't wasted on a miss.

Paladin: Divine Challenge 1x/day is useful for drawing attention; you already have a holy symbol, an implement that's useful for both classes' implement-keyword powers, so that's a small economic savings right there. Shielding smite as an encounter swap-out when you gain Novice Power at level 4 gives you an attack that _regardless of hit or miss_ grants a nearby ally a power bonus to AC equal to your Wisdom modifier. Alternately, swap a level 3 for Staggering or Invigorating Smite; Staggering is Str v AC and pushes the target Wisdom mod spaces. Invigorating is Cha vs. Will (so likely easier to hit than vs AC), and if you or any allies within 5 squares are bloodied, each person who qualifies immediately heals 5 + Wis mod HP - a nice freebee. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Ranger: Okay, this is a less desirable pairup unless you're wielding two weapons for some reason. Synergy here is pretty horrid as a multiclass for cleric.

Rogue: See ranger - unless your cleric is playing with a sling and wants to expand their missile power options, this is probably a bad mix.

Warlock: Bit of an odd bird, but if you stick to the mostly charisma based powers, you can add some interesting striker potential to your build; if you're willing to go Str/Cha and leave Wis in third place, or even Cha/Str/Wis, it becomes more effective.

Warlord: Almost as good as Paladin (matching on Str & Cha for favored stats, but uses Int instead of the Paladin's Wisdom) - but careful power selection lets you avoid this problem. As another leader type, power selection is a good match for those of the cleric; alternately you could focus more on the warlord's mobility powers for himself and allies and use your cleric powers to focus on the mainline healing for an interesting twist. Paladin beats it out for best choice, but only by hairs.

Wizard: Okay, this makes an interesting theory, but if you didn't buff your Intelligence, don't bother. The secondary wisdom benefits for the wizard's powers won't matter much if they never hit, unless the effect occurs automatically (ala Cloud of Daggers) or regardless of hit/miss status. An interesting choice, but probably third tier.

Multiclassing efficency for clerics:
1st Tier: Paladin, Warlord
2nd Tier: Fighter
3rd Tier: Warlock, Wizard
4th Tier: Ranger, Rogue

Highly twonky builds may adjust these rankings, but for typical clerical builds...

Blackdrop
2008-06-29, 07:35 AM
I disagree with the Tiefling Paladin having ***. I just ran a few test fights between and a Tiefling Protecter and a Dragonborn Avenger and the tiefling won all three.

The first fight was a massacre, with the tiefling losing only 3 hit points. The Tiefling won with a serious of excellent rolls (The first enfeebling stike with a crit? SCORE!), compared to his opponents horrible rolls.

The second fight was closer, with the Dragonborn gaining an early lead. He ultimately lost from a successful On Pain of Death Prayer for 21 points of damage by the tiefling.

The third was a little repetitive, with each getting hit-after-hit. The tiefling one that fight just by getting last in the initiative order.

All-an-all, in my opinion, the Tiefling's racials lend themselves to the Paladin more then the Racial Features of the Dragonborn. Actually, the Dragonborn's racials lend them towards an Avenging Paladin, while the Tiefling's lend themselves toward the Protecting Paladin.

Tiefling
The Infernal Wrath power seems to be directed at a Charisma based frontliner (Hint). Combine that power with the Martyr's Blessing prayer and you got yourself a nice little combo.

The Fire Resistance is also very useful for a Tank. Okay, maybe not that much, but it has its uses. Having a walking, fighting oven glove around is going to be helpful eventually.

Bloodhunt, not so much. Useful only during the latter half of the boss fights so you can start laying on heavy damage and effect with Prayers like Pain of Death or Radiant Delirium.

Dragonborn
Granted, the Dragonborn's stat bonuses make them a poster boy for the Paladin class, but having bonuses to both of a classes' build's primary stats don't help ya' much, unless you get really lucky on your stat rolls (or your playing under my DM, who gave us an 18, 16, 16, 15, 13, and 10 for our starting stats. Don't ask why, I don't know, but I love him for it.)

The Dragonborn Fury power isn't really conducive with playing a Paladin. I mean, as a Paladin with your high defenses, how often is it going to get used. And as a class who defends people, how much longer are you going to be around to defend the helpless if your HP is cut in half?

Draconic Heritage is the Dragonborn's single most useful Racial ability. The shear joy you get from watching the enemy try to whittle down your HP, only to watch in desperation as it jumps right back up from a surge, is too much to imagine. :smallsmile:

Dragonbreath is an iffy-topic. It looks great on the ol' character sheet, but their are a few problems with it. The damage is low compared to other Paladin power from the all three tiers, and the minor ability for CC is not going to help much, especially if you've got a Wizard running around. All and all a so-so power


Dragonborn pally's should be bumped down to a **** rating, while the Tiefling counterpart should be bumped up to **** rating also.

Antacid
2008-06-29, 08:11 AM
Dragonbreath...
It works well if used near the beginning of a combat as soon as you get swarmed. AOE attacks don't have to do much damage per hit to have an effect.

Isomenes
2008-06-29, 08:13 AM
Human Cleric = Worst? D:

Wish I read this before, I just made a human cleric for my group.

Tell me about it. I went with the two Wisdom-based at-wills, and then added Priest's Shield despite having no Str bonus. I figure if he's lucky enough to hit, the AC boost will help a little bit. (He's not the excessively violent type, so despite being suboptimal, Righteous Brand wasn't in consideration.)

But it's fairly possible to go straight Wis attacks otherwise, and the extra skill/feat/language all help in the campaign I'm in. Melora's Tide is a very nice Channel Divinity use, and Skill Focus lets me use Heal almost without needing to roll. (By level 2, I won't need to at all except for Diseases.)

THAC0
2008-06-29, 12:52 PM
And I'm not seeing the problem with building a human cleric with good str & wis. 22 pts. 15, 15, 13, 13, 12, 08 (or 10, 10, as you like)

Str 15, Wis 15, Cha 13, Dex or Int 13 (to taste), Con 12, Other of Dex/Int 08
or
Str 15, Wis 15, Cha 13, Dex or Int 13 (other 10), Con 10
or
Str 15, Wis 15, Cha 13, Dex & Int 10, Con 12 (Presuming use of chainmail)

Then add your +2 human kicker to Str or Wis, whichever you're focused more on. At level 4, raise your Str & Wis one point each. Bam! Str 16 Wis 18 or Str 18 Wis 16. Both your primes are covered. Alternately, if you're alright with leaving your highest stat at 17, raise the other one and raise charisma for the supplimentary benefits, thus putting you at either:

Str 17 Wis 16 Cha 14 (Con 12, Dex 10, Int 10)
Str 16 Wis 17 Cha 14 (Con 12, Dex 10, Int 10)
Or any other extrapolation from above.

Frankly, since _both_ the Wisdom at-wills target Reflex defense, going with Strength 17, Wis 15 out the gate should be fine since most monsters at low levels are going to have lower Reflex defense than AC anyway, thus making them just as hittable in that regard.

But consider that with this build you won't be able to upgrade your armor proficiency until paragon level, and probably never to plate. As a character frequently in melee (if you plan on using those str based powers at all) this could be a problem.

Additionally, if you plan on continuing to cherry-pick from both paths you're now looking at keeping a weapon and an implement upgraded - quite expensive!

I'm not saying its not a viable option, I'm saying it's sub-par compared to certain other builds.

mikeejimbo
2008-06-29, 08:22 PM
I really want to find a way to make Dwarf Wizard viable. I did try a bit with Dwarf Rogue and couldn't think of anything.

Reijura
2008-06-30, 12:12 AM
Here's a thought.

Dragonborn cleric. specifically melee cleric sounds fun.

Str. bonus and you can make wis a decent stat if you use your highest stat for a nice balance.

breath is decent rangish since you'll be near melee, and the surge helps for survivability. Multiclass into a fighter/paladin for extra melee goodness and you have one face smashing albeit not as good as others cleric.

Helgraf
2008-06-30, 12:46 AM
But consider that with this build you won't be able to upgrade your armor proficiency until paragon level, and probably never to plate. As a character frequently in melee (if you plan on using those str based powers at all) this could be a problem.

Additionally, if you plan on continuing to cherry-pick from both paths you're now looking at keeping a weapon and an implement upgraded - quite expensive!

I'm not saying its not a viable option, I'm saying it's sub-par compared to certain other builds.

Mmm, the way people are talking they're making it sound like it is subpar (below average), not just non-optimal (below best). And I disagree with that assessment. If you really want into that scale mail asap, swap out Cha and Con. Make Con 13 and Cha 12 right out the gate, then you can snag AP: Scale as either a 1st level feat, a human bonus feat, or your second level feat. Now, yes, you are 'missing out' on the ability to easily get into plate mail - this is a given. As for expensive, yes - the same problem paladins have with the implement / weapon issue (unless they get a holy avenger, of course. Versatility is more expensive than specialization; that's a given.

Helgraf
2008-06-30, 01:02 AM
I really want to find a way to make Dwarf Wizard viable. I did try a bit with Dwarf Rogue and couldn't think of anything.

Dwarven Rogue build thoughts

Dwarf Rogue/Cat Burglar is interesting; Cat Burglar prestige class ability stacks with racial ability to reduce forced movement by 2 squares (if you choose). In short, it'll take a lot of the sting and risk out of being manipulated by pulls, pushes and shifts.

Recognize in this build you're not likely to be able to play both sides of the rogue field (Dex powers and Cha powers). So pick whether you want to go artful or brutal and focus your stat build and power selection accordingly. Dex is a must-have. If you go artful, work your Cha, brutal Str. Use your racial bonuses to save points you can put into other stats. It's not a bad idea to make your Wisdom an 9, which your race bonus will then kick up to a non-penalty 11. Eventually this will up to a 12 (at level 11 if nothing else). Consider taking your Con up to 13 - the race kicker will make it a 15, "saving" you 4 character points.

Brutal Scoundrel: (9+3+9+0+1+0 = 22)
Str 16 Con 13 (15) Dex 16 Int 10 Wis 09 (11) Cha 10

Artful Dodger: (0+3+9+0+0+9)
Str 10 Con 13 (15) Dex 16 Int 10 Wis 09 (11) Cha 16


Having seen this, the Dwarven Wizard is just another extension of the same concept, except that for the Wizard, Wis is useful as a secondary status effector.

Dwarven Wizard ruminations build thoughts

The big decision here is whether to go Wand Mastery (for the extra to hit bonus if you inflate your Dex) or Orb Mastery (which is great if you select Ray of Frost and Cloud of Daggers as your at-wills and effects that have save ends as part of their description, since you can penalize their saves and make them unlikely to work with a Wisdom bonus as small as +2 (eg a Wisdom of 14). Should you actually focus on your Wisdom equally with your intelligence, you can come out of the can with a 16 in each, thus making the Orb penalty -3 right at 1st level, and reducing them to needing a 13+ to save ends effects that you generate. A number of the cold spells do this; be careful to select a few other damage types to keep from being eliminated in usefulness against a cold immune critter.

Dwarven Wizard (Orb Implement Mastery) ((0 + 3 + 5 + 9 + 5 + 0))
Str 08 Con 13 (15) Dex 14 Int 16 Wis 14 (16) Cha 10

Dwarven Wizard (Wand Implement Mastery) ((0 + 2 + 9 + 9 + 2 + 0))
Str 08 Con 12 (14) Dex 16 Int 16 Wis 12 (14) Cha 10

skywalker
2008-06-30, 01:05 AM
Hey, are there any classes Shadar-Kai work with?

Unlike most, I actually think the fluff is really cool(especially with a couple of tweaks that happened automatically in my mind).

Anybody else given Shadar-Kai much thought?

MammonAzrael
2008-06-30, 03:01 AM
I haven't read the whole thread, so sorry if this has already been covered.

I'd like to through in Human Wizard. You get a +2 to INT, which is the only stat you really care about, letting you pop an 18 in there to start (if you're using the 22 point buy, the 14 will probably go to WIS), starting you off with an awesome 20.

The extra feat can be spent on Leather Armor proficiency, which is just so great for Wizards.

The extra skill is nice, but not a super-huge bonus, though it can give you even more versatility.

The big seller though is that extra At-Will. With 5 at wills to choose from, Wizards really benefit from that extra At-Will. And since they're a controller, giving them more options is just terrific. You can grab an AOE for Minions, and long range (Magic Missile or Ray of Frost) for singular opponents, and then another to cover any gaps.

Also, the Human feats and bonus to all three defenses are great.

JaxGaret
2008-06-30, 04:33 AM
Hey, are there any classes Shadar-Kai work with?

No single class in core, no. Their racial features are overall quite lackluster. They get bonuses in paired stats, for one. Their only racial feature is +1 Fort, which is alright, but nothing special. Their racial encounter power is the best thing they have going, but it's no show stopper. There's nothing that really makes them good at anything.

There's the obvious comparison to Eladrin. Here is the breakdown on Shadar-Kai vs. Eladrin:

Same stat bonuses
Same vision
Same speed
+1 Fort vs. +1 Will
+2 Acrobatics/Stealth vs. +2 History/Arcana
Shadow Jaunt vs. Fey Step (3 move + Insubstantial vs. 5 move, arguably slightly in favor of the Shadar-Kai)
Additionally, Eladrin get an extra trained skill, +5 to saves vs. Charm effects, Longsword proficiency, Trance, Fey origin, and can speak Elven.

So they have an arguably slightly better encounter power, but the Eladrin gets a laundry list of benefits that the Shadar-Kai does not.

So, what class would benefit most from being a Shadar-Kai? A Wand Wizard could obviously benefit a bit, but there is another type of character that can benefit even more from being a Shadar-Kai: a sneaky Arcane Trickster type. Yes, the multiclass Artful Dodger Rogue or Archery Ranger/Wizard actually works quite well as a Shadar-Kai, since it utilizes both stat bonuses, the bonuses to skills improve its sneakiness and mobility, as does the encounter power, and the +Fort helps because both Con and Str are probably going to be low.

erikun
2008-06-30, 08:44 AM
Well, I suppose that Shadar-kai would be good at anything Eladrin are, unless wielding a longsword or the bonus skill of the Eladrin are necessary to make the class viable. I suppose you could try to convince your DM to give your Shadar-kai a 'Spiked Chain Proficiency' if you really wanted it, especially if the DM was familiar with the 3e fluff. And I suppose the Shadar-kai really should have a 'Shadow Origin' ability too, just to make sense. (They are listed as shadow humanoids in the MM, after all.)

Right now, I'm working on a Skadar-kai Tactical Warlord. INT bonuses help with most of the powers. I've managed to get DEX to work for me too: start with 12 DEX, add the racial +2 and I can pick up scale armor at level 1. Just wait for the +1 to all stats at level 10, and I'll be picking up scale specialization at level 11. :smallbiggrin:

ravenkith
2008-06-30, 09:30 AM
Ok, so I got a look at the MM over the weekend, and I've got some thoughts:

1. In terms of stat bumps, these are best race/class combinations available, period:

Cleric (Healer) - Dwarf
(Reasons given previously)

Fighter (Damage) - Minotaur
Minotaur is a STR/CON race with a natural attack which knocks prone - an early advantage, especially with a rogue in the group. In addition, a Maul-a-tor can can also take advantage of oversized weapons, which is always nice.

Fighter (Sticky) - Bugbear
STR/DEX race, with over sized weapons, allows for a sword & boarder type (or flail & boarder, whatever) that also has predatory eye.

Paladin - Dragonborn
Paladins are powered by STR and CHA. Dragonborn give both STR & CHA. Paladins also benefit a great deal from a balanced power list.

Ranger (TWF) - Shifter, Longtooth
Hey, look, STR + DEX and extra damage all in one package. MMMmmm.

Ranger (Archer) - Elf
Yeah, the elf is just better than the razorclaw IMHO - that reroll is HUGE for your dailies.

Rogue (Damage) - Bugbear
STR + DEX. Over sized Weapons. Dagger mastery here we come!

Rogue (Finesse) - Drow
DEX + CHA, and neat racial abilities that basically add up to 'oh look, I have combat advantage! -SKEWER-'.

Warlord - Doppleganger
INT + CHA. All those funky warlord powers are good to go. Add into that the shapechanging power, and you've got a character who's going to make an awesome facelord.

Warlock (Star Pact) - Hobgoblin
CON + CHA... mmm, that stat goodness. Add in the init bonus, and things are looking up. Alternatively, Half Elf. <shrug>.

Wizard - Githyanki
This one's a no-brainer. Just better than the Eladrin all around, what with a 'teleport' action that works on either you OR your allies, a bonus to two SEPERATE save stats as opposed to two in the SAME save...just plain better.

2. In terms of abilities, there are some race/class combinations that could prove highly effective:

Cleric - Shifter, Longtooth (+2 to STR & WIS)
Rogue - Gnome (racial powers seem tailor-made for rogue)
Rogue - Kobold (racial power seems tactically strong)

Thoughts, comments...?

SamTheCleric
2008-06-30, 09:32 AM
I'd just like to say that a Human Paladin works very well... Paladins are probably one of the two classes that benefit from the extra at-will (Wizard being the other)...

Charity
2008-06-30, 09:53 AM
Humans are tip top Wizards, that extra at will is great news for a controller.

I'm in two mind whether elves or dwarves make the better cleric.

Dragonborn make suprisingly good warlocks, as their racials all benifit from a good con, and they get a bonus to cha, it's not all about the stat bonuses.

Githyanki and Dopplegangers both make better warlocks than wizards, two prime stats covered for each (int is the 2nd stat for 2/3's of the pacts... the 2/3's that isn't MAD in every sense of the word)

Bugbears make pretty fruity TWF rangers as well, as do minotaurs the large weapon bonus is a big plus, and if they invest in scale armour they can afford to ignore their dex.

Draz74
2008-06-30, 10:18 AM
I'm surprised at the low number of *'s for Elf Wizard. Over on ENWorld, there's a group that argues that Elf is even better than Eladrin for Wizard.

Lokithwe
2008-06-30, 10:31 AM
On top of the extra At-Will power, feat, and skill, the big equalizer for the human wizard is the sheer awesomeness of Action Surge.

marjan
2008-06-30, 10:32 AM
I'm surprised at the low number of *'s for Elf Wizard. Over on ENWorld, there's a group that argues that Elf is even better than Eladrin for Wizard.

You have same situation at gleemax. That is because those people believe that save ends spells and orb wizard are the only way to go.

Townopolis
2008-06-30, 05:12 PM
I'd just like to say that a Human Paladin works very well... Paladins are probably one of the two classes that benefit from the extra at-will (Wizard being the other)...

As many people have mentioned. A paladin with 3 at-wills is going to need to buff both attack stats. A paladin with only 2 can focus entirely on either strength or charisma, and can, in fact, let the other one drop to 10 without worrying about a thing. A Charisma paladin wants Constitution for HP and healing surges, and a Strength paladin wants Wisdom for Lay on Hands and the credit it gets from plenty of powers, such as Holy Strike.

A defensive Charisma paladin would probably be best for a human, since you could use Valiant Strike any time you're surrounded and don't need to worry much about damage (minions). You're also defensively focused, so more likely to have more evenly spread out stats in the first place. It would be acceptable to switch decent Constitution out for decent Strength. The fewer HP and surges would hurt, but then you have lots of surges to begin with, and with a high Charisma you're less likely to buff your Wisdom as high and get those extra Lay on Hands uses that suck up surges.

[Edit]: A Strength based human paladin, on the other hand, would work better for multiclassing, which has been mentioned above as one way to improve human Strength clerics. Since you already get plate, you don't need to worry about buying armor proficiency. You can focus on Strength and multiclass into any other Strength-based class. Cleric, fighter, or warlord would be my favorites. Taking paragon multiclassing, you would replace one of your at-wills with something like Cleave, Tide of Iron, or Wolf Pack Tactics.

SadisticFishing
2008-06-30, 05:20 PM
Best race/classes in the game: (all 5 star)

Dragonborn Inspiring Warlord. You win.
Bugbear Brutal Rogue (Daggermaster, especially). You still win.
Minotaur Fighter. More win.
Elf Ranged Ranger.
Longtooth Shifter: Paladin, Melee Ranger
Drow Artful Rogue
Halfling Artful Rogue
Razorclaw Shifter: Ranged Ranger.
Gnome Fey Warlock
Tiefling Fey Warlock
Githyanki Infernal Warlock
Doppleganger Fey Warlock
Human Anything (Wizard, Tactical Warlord, and Fighter stick out)

Those are the absolute most powerful race/class combinations in the game, I believe. I don't think I'm missing anything, but I probably am. Anything that adds to your +hit stat and your secondary stat is made of win.

mikeejimbo
2008-06-30, 07:40 PM
Dwarven Rogue build thoughts

Dwarf Rogue/Cat Burglar is interesting; Cat Burglar prestige class ability stacks with racial ability to reduce forced movement by 2 squares (if you choose). In short, it'll take a lot of the sting and risk out of being manipulated by pulls, pushes and shifts.

Recognize in this build you're not likely to be able to play both sides of the rogue field (Dex powers and Cha powers). So pick whether you want to go artful or brutal and focus your stat build and power selection accordingly. Dex is a must-have. If you go artful, work your Cha, brutal Str. Use your racial bonuses to save points you can put into other stats. It's not a bad idea to make your Wisdom an 9, which your race bonus will then kick up to a non-penalty 11. Eventually this will up to a 12 (at level 11 if nothing else). Consider taking your Con up to 13 - the race kicker will make it a 15, "saving" you 4 character points.

Brutal Scoundrel: (9+3+9+0+1+0 = 22)
Str 16 Con 13 (15) Dex 16 Int 10 Wis 09 (11) Cha 10

Artful Dodger: (0+3+9+0+0+9)
Str 10 Con 13 (15) Dex 16 Int 10 Wis 09 (11) Cha 16


Having seen this, the Dwarven Wizard is just another extension of the same concept, except that for the Wizard, Wis is useful as a secondary status effector.

Dwarven Wizard ruminations build thoughts

The big decision here is whether to go Wand Mastery (for the extra to hit bonus if you inflate your Dex) or Orb Mastery (which is great if you select Ray of Frost and Cloud of Daggers as your at-wills and effects that have save ends as part of their description, since you can penalize their saves and make them unlikely to work with a Wisdom bonus as small as +2 (eg a Wisdom of 14). Should you actually focus on your Wisdom equally with your intelligence, you can come out of the can with a 16 in each, thus making the Orb penalty -3 right at 1st level, and reducing them to needing a 13+ to save ends effects that you generate. A number of the cold spells do this; be careful to select a few other damage types to keep from being eliminated in usefulness against a cold immune critter.

Dwarven Wizard (Orb Implement Mastery) ((0 + 3 + 5 + 9 + 5 + 0))
Str 08 Con 13 (15) Dex 14 Int 16 Wis 14 (16) Cha 10

Dwarven Wizard (Wand Implement Mastery) ((0 + 2 + 9 + 9 + 2 + 0))
Str 08 Con 12 (14) Dex 16 Int 16 Wis 12 (14) Cha 10


Nice, that's some good advice.

EndlessWrath
2008-06-30, 07:43 PM
I find Eladrin Battle Wizards are very good. Bonus to dex is good ac while bonus to int for better spell attacks.
I also find that Hobgoblin infernal pact warlocks tend to be fun due to the bonus to con and charisma.

JaxGaret
2008-06-30, 08:04 PM
I find Eladrin Battle Wizards are very good. Bonus to dex is good ac while bonus to int for better spell attacks.

You get the higher of Dex or Int to your AC, when wearing Light or no armor. So unless your Dex is higher than your Int, it's not helping your AC at all.

Starsinger
2008-06-30, 08:08 PM
You get the higher of Dex or Int to your AC, when wearing Light or no armor. So unless your Dex is higher than your Int, it's not helping your AC at all.

And if you're a wizard with higher dex than Int, I think you're doing it wrong.

Helgraf
2008-06-30, 11:17 PM
And if you're a wizard with higher dex than Int, I think you're doing it wrong.

Have to agree here - since Wand Implement is per encounter, higher Int benefits you with every power. Having a Dex higher than your Int only pays off 1/encounter, since you can't recharge the class ability.

Keeping Dex and Int equal or within 2 points of one another (with Int in the lead) is good _if_ you really love Wand Implement for making one of your dailys per encounter hit home.

Personally, I'll freely admit, I prefer Orb Implement, since Wis is the secondary effect generator stat for wizards, and the Orb effect is also based off wisdom, I can tell Dexterity where to shove it, reduce my stat neccesity to Int & Wis, and put some extra into Con for survivability (and, incidentally, Fort save), or some Str if I want to play around in Hide armor instead of Leather.

Digression - Wizards, Light Armor, and AC.
Hide + Light Shield Proficiency + Hide Specialization (at Paragon) = +5 AC (+4 armor, +1 shield), +1 Reflex (+1 shield), and no check penalties. And this is assuming no magical items to further boost your defenses.

Four feats (three base, 1 paragon), sure - but frankly, aside from Expanded Spellbook, there's not (to my mind) a lot of love for wizards in the heroic feat trees. Going AP (Leather), AP (Hide), Expanded Spellbook, AP (Light Shield), Toughness (cause it's useful for everyone) still leaves you an undecided feat at level 10 (level 8 and 10 if you're human).

skywalker
2008-07-01, 12:59 AM
Nobody's got any love for the staff implement, I see... Is the staff the redheaded step-child I thought it was when I read the implement description?

BloodyAngel
2008-07-01, 04:49 AM
I have nothing against staff implement. In fact, I made a character who was a "melee-mage" of sorts... a human mage with both his starting feats to give him hide armor... 18 Int, 14 strength, and staff mastery. He wades in and uses close bursts like burning hands and Thunderwave.

Of course, he's also an old man with a charisma of 8, a horned hat... and a loud, abrasive Scottish accent who blows things up just because he can. So he was never really intended to be a serious character, he's fun and quite playable. Have you guessed his name yet? There are some who call him... Tim.

Blackfang108
2008-07-01, 09:09 AM
Eladrin Warlord *

One star, really?

No. At least, not for a Tactical Leader.

Granted, the Dex increase isn't that useful, as most will be wearing heavy armor and relying on INT for reflex, but it helps for one simple thing: Scale Specialization.

Requiring DEX of 15, it enables me to toss out the speed penalty, and get a +1 bonus to AC.

Another Paragon feat Requiring DEX 15: Heavy Blade Opportunity: use an At-will power with the weapon descriptor for opportunity attacks. Use Viper Strike or Wolf-Pack Tactics to my liking, along with a high-crit Heavy Blade (Scimitar or Falchion). Then, set up the rest of my allies to take care of everything else.

IIRC, Evasion also has a DEX requirement of 15. That will always come in handy, especially coupled with Mettle.

I'm trying to see this as a one star, but, I can't agree. this is at least a three star Race Combo, four if played right.

EDIT: Also, do you get your INT -> AC if wearing Heavy Armor?

EDIT2: Nevermind. (Blast, that'd bring my AC to 20 at first level...)

EndlessWrath
2008-07-01, 10:27 AM
You get the higher of Dex or Int to your AC, when wearing Light or no armor. So unless your Dex is higher than your Int, it's not helping your AC at all.

I definitely didn't know that when i built the wizard (as he was the first character I made 4E). Thanks for the help.

Although I will fight for my wizard as he had Fey Step which in a battle with lots of gaps and wholes in the floor....and all the nice monsters positioned just right for a firewall... came in handy.

definitely didn't know about int -> ac bonus.

Grynning
2008-07-01, 10:59 AM
I really disagree with the ratings as laid out now. First of all, it seems like more of a rating of the racial abilities in general rather than an actual comparison of how good each class is for that race (re: Elves). Second, I think that any combination in which the race grants a +2 to a key stat should have at least two stars. Even if a racial encounter power is really good, constant +1 to attack and/or damage from a higher stat is at least equal to that. If you want this to be a useful guide for people wanting to play a particular race, please try and remove your own preferences for each race and break it down from the perspective of, for THIS race, what is the best (5*) and worst (1*) class, and break down the others in between those.

And on the topic of Eladrin Warlords, I am playing one right now. It's certainly not "execrable" as the rating breakdown would suggest. The encounter teleport is useful for the positioning yourself as many powers require you to be adjacent to a particular foe or ally. And while I dumped Dex (ended up a 13 after the +2 racial) that +1 still helps...as a certain Kobold skewered by a javelin against a tree can attest.

Actually, according to this, almost our entire PARTY consists of "one-star" race/class combinations (of course some people were doing it deliberately, like our Dragonborn Warlock). As many have stated previously, they all work just fine.

Edit: Oh, and Fighters are definitely not a one-stat pony anymore.

Blackfang108
2008-07-01, 11:34 AM
Are you doing a Tactical leader or the other one?

I had to Dump both DEX(12) and WIS(9). (Not that I needed WIS Anyway, hence the dump). But, I *do* have a 17 INT.

And I don't think that Kobold will be attesting anything without a "Speak with the Dead" ritual...

I'm Sure that when my campaign starts, I'll help add to the ranks of those slaughtered by the Elandrin Warlords and their cronies.

For the Glory of the Raven Queen!

Grynning
2008-07-01, 05:35 PM
Tactical, of course...I wouldn't suggest attempting an Inspiring Warlord with an Eladrin. I used the standard array since it's the first game and I wanted to keep it as simple as possible, so I ended up with Str 16, Con 12, Dex 13 (11), Int 16 (14), Cha 13, and Wis 10.

Anyways, as far as Tactical Warlords go, Eladrin, Human, and Tiefling are your best bets in the PHB. Githyanki from the MM would probably be the "best."

Antacid
2008-07-01, 06:24 PM
Personally, I'll freely admit, I prefer Orb Implement, since Wis is the secondary effect generator stat for wizards, and the Orb effect is also based off wisdom, I can tell Dexterity where to shove it, reduce my stat neccesity to Int & Wis, and put some extra into Con for survivability (and, incidentally, Fort save), or some Str if I want to play around in Hide armor instead of Leather.

I don't get all the love for the Wizard's Orbs. There are four things that Wisdom helps Wizards with, and only two are powers: Thunderwave and Confusion (which is 27th level!) The others are unique to the Spellstorm Mage Paragon path. Wizards get +2 to will anyway, so it's not like they urgently need high Wisdom for defences. Constitution, on the other hand, is a benefit all the time; and by making the Wizard less squishy frees up the defenders to wade in and smack monsters around.

Perhaps you know why people treat Staff of Defence as a the ostracised freak of Wizard Implements. +1 AC gives a Wizard with Intelligence 20 and leather a better AC than a Fighter in scale armour. Plus, you get a chance of dodging one attack that hits you per round, after you know how much damage it did.

I can see why the Orb appeals to the save-or-suck crowd, who've failed to understand that the Wizard's role has changed in 4e, but why the Wand is apparently the only alternative min-maxers even discuss is beyond me. :smallconfused:

Helgraf
2008-07-01, 11:05 PM
I don't get all the love for the Wizard's Orbs. There are four things that Wisdom helps Wizards with, and only two are powers: Thunderwave and Confusion (which is 27th level!) The others are unique to the Spellstorm Mage Paragon path. Wizards get +2 to will anyway, so it's not like they urgently need high Wisdom for defences. Constitution, on the other hand, is a benefit all the time; and by making the Wizard less squishy frees up the defenders to wade in and smack monsters around.

Alright, I'll hit your strongest argument first, since all I'm countering with on that one is a nitpick.

Wizard Powers that benefit from Wisdom:
At-Will: Cloud of Daggers, Thunderwave
Encounter: Confusion
Daily: Maze (indirect - target uses Intelligence vs. your Will defense which is bolstered by Wis)

So technically that's four powers all in the wizard class.

Now, as to the orb, _my_ reasoning for liking it is two-fold and simple.

A) It lets me get more mileage out of my at-wills. I can keep an opponent slowed longer, or I can keep up a cloud of daggers barrier longer.

and more importantly
B) I can use it to make it a lot harder (with good wisdom modifier) for an enemy to shake off a status anomaly my character has inflicted on him via a great many of his or her powers' secondary effects. There are a great many wizard powers with save ends effects, and the orb benefit ensures I can pick one per encounter and make it a lot more likely to 'stick' than the default 45% chance.

As for Constitution:
A higher Constitution means an extra ... what? Maybe 4 to 6 more hit points. Once. You don't add your Constitution modifier to your level up hit points any more, so the "less squishy" it adds is significantly less than it used to be. You get more mileage out of taking the Toughness feat in terms of reducing squishy by adding hp than you do by raising your Con from 10 to 14. And since you get Toughness benefits again at 11th and 21st level, as soon as you hit Paragon you've gained more anti-squishy from Toughness than from raising your Con to anything less than an 18 _from an 8_.


Perhaps you know why people treat Staff of Defence as a the ostracised freak of Wizard Implements. +1 AC gives a Wizard with Intelligence 20 and leather a better AC than a Fighter in scale armour. Plus, you get a chance of dodging one attack that hits you per round, after you know how much damage it did.

I can see why the Orb appeals to the save-or-suck crowd, who've failed to understand that the Wizard's role has changed in 4e, but why the Wand is apparently the only alternative min-maxers even discuss is beyond me. :smallconfused:

Right, just because SoS no longer is an insta-win button doesn't mean that aspects of the strategy are no longer valid. Anything I can do to make my enemies easier to defeat for the rest of my party _on top of damage dealt_ increases the party's survivability in every case where a single damage power would not have been sufficent to kill the enemy outright. And the Orb benefits that.

Frankly, I'm not terribly fond of the Wand Implement. Yeah, it's handy for ensuring your daily power doesn't get wasted on a miss.

Also, with the vast majority of builds I've put together, I never sink that much of my 22 character points into a single stat. It leaves way too many other weak areas. In most cases I won't start with a stat higher than 16 _after_ racial bonuses; the only exception to the rule thus far was an elf ranger archery build, whom I put 18 of my 22 points into Dex and Wisdom, and then popped them up to 18s with the race bonuses, putting 3 of the four remaining into Con (13), and the last one into Intelligence (09), leaving a Str 10, Con 13, Int 09, Dex 16 (18), Wis 16 (18), Cha 10, build.

For most builds I prefer to shoot for 3 16s; two in racial stats relevant to the class, the other purchased at full cost; I find this allows me to draw pretty much from the full slate of class powers without worrying about choosing 'gimp powers' that I'll 'never hit with'

Also, Scale Mail provides +7 armor out the gate. A heavy shield is another +2. So that's AC 19. Your Staff / Leather / Int 20 gets you an AC of 18. So if I'm playing one-handed fighter, I'm step up on you, AC wise, and frankly there's plenty of fighter goodness to be had with one-handed weapons; two-handed is no longer the true and only optimal path. Sure, Plate proficiency requires Str 15 Con 15 - but frankly, unless the fighter is doing weird Heavy Blade/Scimitar tricks, it don't much need Dex anyway. So pop for the feat, and bam. Now the fighter is AC 20. And while your leather can gain up to two more base points (Starleather), my scale or plate gains up six more base points (as it goes from Wrymscale -> Elderscale or Warplate -> Godplate). There's no Leather Specialization Feat at Paragon either, I note. You'd best be ready to ride up your Con to 15 if you want to specialize in Hide Armor, but if you do, that's +2 ac in your favour (+1 from upgrading to hide, +1 from specialization). Of course, Scale or Plate spec give the fighter the same advantage, so it's largely a wash.

In short, you have to ultraspecialize your stats in order to remain within a point or 2 of a fighter or paladin who can do it while maintaining a more balanced stat array.

Staff Implement is interesting - it combos nicely with Spiral Tower when you can replace the two-handed staff with a one-handed sword, and then acquire a shield. But it still feels like a trap to me.

Antacid
2008-07-02, 03:20 PM
Just to explain, I'm not trying to prove Staff is the best. I'm just surprised that (by my perception) it generally isn't seriously considered an equal option with the other two. Personally I find the three implements to be very well-balanced. So I'm not making the case to you for any dogmatic reason; it's because you seem to know what you're talking about and will hopefully catch me out if I've missed anything obvious.

Case in point: I can't believe I missed Cloud of Daggers. :smallredface: I'm not sure that four powers constitutes a secondary attribute, but okay...



Now, as to the orb, _my_ reasoning for liking it is two-fold and simple.

A) It lets me get more mileage out of my at-wills. I can keep an opponent slowed longer, or I can keep up a cloud of daggers barrier longer.

Mmm, that's good. But you could always just cast the spell again on your next turn. For Ray of Frost you'll have to roll to hit again, but for CoD there's really no disadvantage because a monster will probably move from the square affected by the original spell on its turn anyway. Unless you've already immobilised it with something else, or you're using the spell to block a 5' passage I don't see much here.


B) I can use it to make it a lot harder (with good wisdom modifier) for an enemy to shake off a status anomaly my character has inflicted on him via a great many of his or her powers' secondary effects. There are a great many wizard powers with save ends effects, and the orb benefit ensures I can pick one per encounter and make it a lot more likely to 'stick' than the default 45% chance.

Absolutely. It's good. Specifically, there are lot of Dailies that require saves. But the save penalty only affects one enemy per encounter. It seems to me like a bonus adapted to fighting Solos, which generally isn't what Wizards are aimed at. And you still have to have hit with a power dealing a save-ends effect before you can use the Orb to penalise the save (also an argument against sacrificing Intelligence to boost Wisdom). My point is, it's not clearly superior in it's utility.


As for Constitution:
A higher Constitution means an extra ... what?

A decent Fort save? Reflex is already taken care of by high Int. Will gets a +2 bonus for being a Wizard. Fortitude is the weakness of a Wizard's defences.

A few extra Heal surges? They're not useless by any means. I agree about Toughness, incidentally. It's even better if you have more Con to start with because the extra surges are all worth a little bit more. Whether extra surges are useful depends on play style. If the DM is going to let you rest a lot, or if your party has two leaders, there's probably no reason to worry about extra surges.


Anything I can do to make my enemies easier to defeat for the rest of my party _on top of damage dealt_ increases the party's survivability in every case where a single damage power would not have been sufficent to kill the enemy outright. And the Orb benefits that.

Agreed. But avoiding being reduced to 0 HP is also helpful to the party as a whole. I like the reliability of being able to avoid an attack over the increased probability of an enemy failing a saving throw.


Frankly, I'm not terribly fond of the Wand Implement. Yeah, it's handy for ensuring your daily power doesn't get wasted on a miss.

Wand only affects a single attack roll as well. I think of Wizards more as crowd control, so my strategy for avoiding wasted dailies is to pick sustainable Conjurations that can give multiple attack rolls, or use the AoE dailies on large numbers of enemies to increase the chance the spell scores some hits.

That way a maxed Intelligence pays off despite the resultant shortage of bonuses in other stats. Your approach of trying to ensure a +10 total bonus across all attributes is very interesting, though.


In short, you have to ultraspecialize your stats in order to remain within a point or 2 of a fighter or paladin who can do it while maintaining a more balanced stat array.
I wasn't arguing that a Wizard can or should compete with a Fighter's AC. A Wizard shouldn't usually need as high an AC as a Fighter anyway. I was just using it as a comparison to highlight how high an AC you can get with Intelligence 20 + leather + Staff even in a supposedly squishy class. A high AC and maxed Reflex is arguably useful more of the time than a good Will save IMHO. Whether one outweighs the other in practise probably depends on the kind of encounters the DM uses.


Staff Implement is interesting - it combos nicely with Spiral Tower when you can replace the two-handed staff with a one-handed sword, and then acquire a shield. But it still feels like a trap to me.
The Wizard Paragon paths are all associated with an attribute. Battle Mage is Dex, Spellstorm Mage is Wisdom, Bloodmage is Constitution and Wizard of the Spiral Tower is Charisma. They all get pretty similar advantages if a Wizard 'invested' the appropriate stat.

To get a shield by any method, you'd have to have to go the Strength Mage route because the Shield proficiency feats require Strengths of 13 and 15. That seems more of a prohibitive limitation than needing to pick Staff. Weirdly, going by that route means that you could theoretically have a Human Wizard with a Shield in one hand and an orb or wand in the other, even at level 1. Don't know that would be a worthwhile build using your approach of spreading points around the ability scores. :smallconfused:

Helgraf
2008-07-03, 01:26 AM
Just to explain, I'm not trying to prove Staff is the best. I'm just surprised that (by my perception) it generally isn't seriously considered an equal option with the other two. Personally I find the three implements to be very well-balanced. So I'm not making the case to you for any dogmatic reason; it's because you seem to know what you're talking about and will hopefully catch me out if I've missed anything obvious.

Case in point: I can't believe I missed Cloud of Daggers. :smallredface: I'm not sure that four powers constitutes a secondary attribute, but okay...


It's a smaller pool than most, true. I did say that was your strongest point. Also, Maze though not using Wisdom directly, does rely on your Will defense, which is bolstered by your Wisdom to determine if the target 'escapes'. Expanded Spellbook requires a minimum Wisdom of 13, and if you use enough cold/acid powers, Burning Blizzard does as well. Dark Fury requires Wis 13 (and Con 13), though there are admittedly far fewer necrotic and psychic damage powers in the wizard's selection. Uncanny Dodge, at Paragon Tier, requires Wis 15, but shutting down combat advantage can be a useful defense in its own right. More relevant is Spell Mastery, whereby you can omit squares from your close and area powers, up to your Wisdom modifier. Yes, it's epic. It's still damn useful to an artillery piece, which is what a controller pretty much is.


Mmm, that's good. But you could always just cast the spell again on your next turn. For Ray of Frost you'll have to roll to hit again, but for CoD there's really no disadvantage because a monster will probably move from the square affected by the original spell on its turn anyway. Unless you've already immobilised it with something else, or you're using the spell to block a 5' passage I don't see much here.

Absolutely. It's good. Specifically, there are lot of Dailies that require saves. But the save penalty only affects one enemy per encounter. It seems to me like a bonus adapted to fighting Solos, which generally isn't what Wizards are aimed at. And you still have to have hit with a power dealing a save-ends effect before you can use the Orb to penalise the save (also an argument against sacrificing Intelligence to boost Wisdom). My point is, it's not clearly superior in it's utility.

All the implements are per encounter excepting the +1 AC for the staff; and that, I feel was a tradeoff because the staff is a twohanded weapon and they wanted to give wizards more reasons beyond "it's always been that way" to use a staff, and not, say, the mechanically more beneficial (without the Implement mastery) dagger and shield (with Str 13; which is not hard to get these days).

The fact that they then made a Paragon path that lets you replace said implement with a longsword, well ... then you can have your cake and eat it too, if you really have to have that extra +1 AC as an armoured wizard.



A decent Fort save? Reflex is already taken care of by high Int. Will gets a +2 bonus for being a Wizard. Fortitude is the weakness of a Wizard's defences.

A few extra Heal surges? They're not useless by any means. I agree about Toughness, incidentally. It's even better if you have more Con to start with because the extra surges are all worth a little bit more. Whether extra surges are useful depends on play style. If the DM is going to let you rest a lot, or if your party has two leaders, there's probably no reason to worry about extra surges.

Agreed. But avoiding being reduced to 0 HP is also helpful to the party as a whole. I like the reliability of being able to avoid an attack over the increased probability of an enemy failing a saving throw.

Yeah, the staff has a small advantage in getting to go after the fact, as it were. But is the DM required to tell you how much he hit by? If not, then the probability issue is identical, just expressed in terms of defense instead of offense.

The surge ratio never increases; it's always 25% (unless you have a racial feature or feat that changes it) - toughness increases your hit points, you just get 25% of the new value - you can't compare your new healing surge value as if you still had your old hit point total, because you don't. Yes, this is a nitpick.

Also, the extra healing surges are most useful when you have a means to use them; so either you're banking on the cleric/warlord/paladin or on healing potions (ugh). If the party distribution is generous, then yes, you'll actually get to use those extra healing surges. If not, and you're not the only one injured, then you may very well never use more than your base allotment for class, depending on the party's need to determine who gets the extra surge use. And going into another encounter just to get to use another second wind is ... pretty damn risky if you're already beat up.

I'll cede that the Fortitude defense boost can be handy, especially since the old "saves" feats are now defense boosters in Paragon Tier.



Wand only affects a single attack roll as well. I think of Wizards more as crowd control, so my strategy for avoiding wasted dailies is to pick sustainable Conjurations that can give multiple attack rolls, or use the AoE dailies on large numbers of enemies to increase the chance the spell scores some hits.

That way a maxed Intelligence pays off despite the resultant shortage of bonuses in other stats. Your approach of trying to ensure a +10 total bonus across all attributes is very interesting, though.

I wasn't arguing that a Wizard can or should compete with a Fighter's AC. A Wizard shouldn't usually need as high an AC as a Fighter anyway. I was just using it as a comparison to highlight how high an AC you can get with Intelligence 20 + leather + Staff even in a supposedly squishy class. A high AC and maxed Reflex is arguably useful more of the time than a good Will save IMHO. Whether one outweighs the other in practise probably depends on the kind of encounters the DM uses.


Whereas my argument was you needed to ultraspec your stat pool to get that Int 20. The extra +2 to hit / damage is not, to my mind, actually crucial. I'd rather have the extra 7 to 11 character points for increasing other stats - for instance, Strength and Con if I want to go the armor suppliment route (and incidentally get an even better Fort defense, important since I don't have a +2 stat kicker there, as you noted above); or, if I want to play Wand-magi, or angle for astral fire or raging storm, then I need to kick Dex and a secondary up. There's all sorts of potential builds in 4th ed; the differences are more subtle in some cases, but again, digression.



The Wizard Paragon paths are all associated with an attribute. Battle Mage is Dex, Spellstorm Mage is Wisdom, Bloodmage is Constitution and Wizard of the Spiral Tower is Charisma. They all get pretty similar advantages if a Wizard 'invested' the appropriate stat.

Ehh, the "Constitution" based Bloodmage did not impress me, honestly. Though a Dragonborn Bloodmage might make an interesting build; between the dragonbreath and its enhancer feats (Con based), the bloodmage abilities, and the appropriate damage kicker feats... but I digress.




To get a shield by any method, you'd have to have to go the Strength Mage route because the Shield proficiency feats require Strengths of 13 and 15. That seems more of a prohibitive limitation than needing to pick Staff. Weirdly, going by that route means that you could theoretically have a Human Wizard with a Shield in one hand and an orb or wand in the other, even at level 1. Don't know that would be a worthwhile build using your approach of spreading points around the ability scores. :smallconfused:

Sure, Str 15 is a bit impractical. That said, the build below gets there at level 21. Though I'm unlikely to use an epic tier feat for a heroic tier feat, I could. However, Str 13 out the gate is not that difficult to acquire. I built a mage with Str 13 and Orb spec. Lemme dig up the link..
Here we go (http://ironhand.livejournal.com/80553.html). The comments section details him out to level 12, sans equipment upgrades other than getting a basic suit of hide armor and a light shield.

Details of note

At level 1, not _so_ great ...
Defenses
15 : [AC] Armor Class (+2 Armor, +0 Shield, +0 LC, +3 Intelligence)
12 : [Fort] Fortitude (+0 LC, +2 Constitution)
13 : [Ref] Reflex (+0 Shield, +0 LC, +3 Intelligence)
16 : [Will] Will (+0 LC, +3 Wis, +1 Eladrin, +2 Wizard)

Ability Scores (3 + 5 + 0 + 5 + 9 + 0 = 22)
13 (+01) Strength
14 (+02) Constitution
10 (+10) Dexterity
16 (+03) Intelligence
16 (+03) Wisdom
10 (+00) Charisma

AP (Leather) as 1st level feat;

but the gravy comes as you advance.

Projected Feat Selection through level 12
Level 02: Armor Proficiency (Hide)
Level 04: Expanded Spellbook
Level 06: Shield Proficiency (Light)
Level 08: Defensive Mobility
Level 10: Toughness
Level 11: Armor Specialization (Hide)
Level 12: Feywild Protection
Level 14: Spell Focus (saves vs. wizard powers take -2 penalty)
Level 16: Resounding Thunder (add 1 to size of blast/burst with thunder keyword)
Level 18: Combat Anticipation (+1 feat bonus to defenses vs ranged, area & close attacks)
Level 20: Solid Sound (+2 to choice of F/R/W after using thunder/force power, chosen when power used.)
Level 21: Spell Accuracy (may omit up to Wis mod squares from area/close powers)

As early as level 6, I can wield an implement, a light shield and hide armor. At level 11, the armor bonus increases another point and I lose the skill check penalty.


I'm sure that, with Int 20, you'll be happy to plug along to level 28, and having invested in Int at every level, you'll have a nice shiny Int 28 to play with, for an impressive +9 stat modifier. And I'll be content with my +8 stat modifier, and slightly higher secondary characteristics.

Antacid
2008-07-03, 05:35 AM
That's a good build. Thanks for the explanation. I think it's pretty clear that WotC did a good job balancing the Wizard's character progression.

I'm biased against shield-using wizards purely for aesthetic reasons, even if they do get to be Gish by level 11; and also against high-level optimization - simply because most of the campaigns I've played in haven't gotten to epic. But it's obvious that the choices are there.

wodan46
2008-07-03, 08:20 AM
You can always use extra healing surges by taking 5 minute rests. Clerics/Warlords/Paladins are simply granting the privelege of using them during combat, for free, with bonus HP. Even outside of combat, Clerics can keep granting healing surges with bonus HP every 2.5 minutes. However, those extra surges are always available.

As for implements, I like the balance between them. The Wand I like to call the Daily caster, the Orb the super disable, and the Staff the per encounter avoid being knocked unconscious by a lucky shot coupon.

The Staff makes the most sense for a Wizard used to traveling by himself or with a small party, and doesn't always have a meatshield handy to mark enemies. The Orb works best with Wizards who wish to control the battlefield, while Wands work well with a blaster Wizard. In short, Staff gives you bonus defender-ish role abilities, the Wand bonus Striker abilities, adn the Orb bonus Controller abilities, a sort of subrole.

Townopolis
2008-07-03, 01:31 PM
Dark Fury requires Wis 13 (and Con 13), though there are admittedly far fewer necrotic and psychic damage powers in the wizard's selection.

Fun fact: they added a number of psychic powers, including a psychic at-will in the new Dragon issue.