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ghost_warlock
2008-08-27, 02:50 PM
Although I don't really want to see this forum flooded with build advice threads, I nonetheless would like some assistance with a character. (I can't help but wonder if GitP could support a forum just for optimization, so these kinds of threads don't distract too much from the usual gaming banter we all enjoy here...)

This weekend I'll be starting a KotS game, my first 4e game. My character idea hinges around a githyanki warlock MC wizard who's come to believe that the Lich Queen is actually a disguised alhoon. He's subsequently fled to the Middle World with the hopes of snagging some power, and hopefully an army, and eventually returning to the Astral Sea and staging a coup. :smallbiggrin:

Anyway, I'm having some difficulty deciding what'd be the best way to go about this so I thought I'd ask my compatriats here in the playground.

I'm undecided, foremost, as to whether it'd be best to go with star or infernal pact. I understand that generally star > infernal for the pact boon, but since I plan on dropping a lot of health into the blood mage specials and possibly Sacrifice to Caiphon, the extra temporary hit points from the infernal pact may be nice. Also, it might be nice to have hellish rebuke since it synergies in an interesting way with bolstering blood... Because this build is Con-exclusive and won't be picking up any of the Cha-based warlock powers, it may be better to go infernal the effects on his encounter powers (of which many will be infernal). Still, since it is a Con-centered build, I'm not sure the extra hp from Dark One's Blessing will be strictly necessary. :confused:

Any and all help would be much appreciated!

Stats w/ racial mods:
Str 8
Con 18
Dex 11
Int 18
Wis 13
Cha 10

Possible feat progression:

1st-level feat: Arcane Initiate (thunderwave)
2nd - Improved Initiative
4th - Novice Power (swap vampiric embrace for force orb[wiz1])
6th - Improved Fate of the Void/Improved Dark One's Blessing
8th - Sacrifice to Caiphon
10th - Acolyte Power (swap shielding shadows for blur[wiz10])
*Blood Mage*
11th - Twofold Curse
12th - Toughness (starting to drop 1d10-2d10 hp regularly boosting damage)
14th - Adept Power (swap hunger of hadar for stinking cloud[wiz5])
16th - Iron Will??
18th - Danger Sense??
20th - Great Fortitude??
*Radiant One*
21st - Student of Athanaeum
22nd - Arcane Mastery
24th - Epic Resurgence
26th - Lightning Reflexes??
28th - Solid Sound??
30th - Devastating Critical??

Possible power progression:

1st - vampiric embrace, flames of phlegethos; dire radiance/hellish rebuke based on pact choice
2nd - ethereal stride
3rd - frigid darkness
4th - swap vampiric embrace for force orb (wiz1)
5th - hunger of hadar
6th - dark one's own luck
7th - infernal moon curse
9th - iron spike of dis
10th - take shielding shadows but swap out for blur(wiz10)
*Blood Mage*
11th - blood pulse(blm11)
12th - soul burn(blm12)
13th - swap diabolic grasp for coldfire vortex; swap infernal moon curse for winter's wrath(wiz7)
14th - swap hunger of hadar for stinking cloud(wiz5)
15th - swap flames of phlegethos for tendrils of thuban
16th - eye of the warlock
17th - swap frigid darkness for warlock's bargain; swap warlock's bargain for force volley(wiz17)
19th - swap hunger of hadar for minions of malbolge; swap minions of malbolge for evard's black tentacles(wiz19)
20th - destructive salutation(blm20)
*Radiant One*
22nd - entropic ward
23rd - swap infernal moon curse for spiteful darts
25th - swap iron spike of dis for thirteen baleful stars
26th - star flesh (rad26)
27th - swap coldfire vortex for hellfire curse
29th - swap tendrils of thuban for doom of delban


Ability boosts throughout will go to Con & Int.

Since this character will be played from 1st level on up (probably through the KotS line of modules and then who-knows-where from there), he'll need to be viable at each level of play.

mangosta71
2008-08-27, 02:59 PM
I haven't played a warlock in 4e yet, but from what I've read I think I prefer the infernal pact. From a RP standpoint for your character, the ability to summon and commune with demons could be a potential source of allies when you return to the Gith world for your coup.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-08-27, 03:05 PM
I would go with Infernal. Note that most of those Powers you've picked out have Infernal-Only INT bonus features, and with 18 INT, you'll want to go with those.

You should MC Wizard at 2, and get Improved Dark One's Blessing at 1. Those extra 3 temp HP are going to do you more good than a Push 1 Thunderwave.

Power-wise, I'd consider taking Diabolic Grasp instead of Vampire. Temp HP don't stack (ever!) and you'll already have tons of Temp HP just from your Pact Power. Plus, Diabolic Grasp will give you a Shift 5 single-target Encounter Power - that's always good.

Aside from Blood Mage, what do you want to get out of your Wizard Powers? Force Orb is a weird choice.

TwystidMynd
2008-08-27, 03:09 PM
Your concept, at least, is similar to one that I had just a few days ago. I didn't fully flesh it out, but I liked the idea of an Infernal Pact warlock who took Blood Mage and then dealt damage to himself in the form of ritual scarring to make his powers more potent. I believe that, in the most recent Star Pact article in Dragon, there're some feats or powers that do that, as well.

The main impetus for this was that, in the campaign I play in, we have a Star Pact Warlock who never takes any HP damage. Someone who takes damage to increase their potency would get more use out of their healing surges, I'd think.

Corvus
2008-08-27, 03:11 PM
Looks like you've seen the Dragon article on starlocks - remember that that isn't official yet until it actually gets printed and some things are likely to change going on previous articles.

Also the Twofold Pact you have listed is Tiefling only. (Yeah, not only is it a broken feat, its the only feat that only a single race/class combo can use)

Mando Knight
2008-08-27, 05:24 PM
Infernal Warlock is definitely your best choice, what with the high Int and Con, but no Cha bonus.

You may also want to consider starting Wizard and MC Warlock: you won't get Warlock's Curse as often, but you'll be able to use that Con bonus for Staff of Defense's power... (you can't take Second Implement Mastery if you don't start out a Wizard)


Looks like you've seen the Dragon article on starlocks - remember that that isn't official yet until it actually gets printed and some things are likely to change going on previous articles.

IIRC, the Dragon article actually is official: the Dungeon and Dragon magazines are online only now.


Also the Twofold Pact you have listed is Tiefling only. (Yeah, not only is it a broken feat, its the only feat that only a single race/class combo can use)

He's not using Twofold Pact. He's got Twofold Curse, which is a PHB feat that allows a Warlock to curse two enemies with one action.

Dhavaer
2008-08-27, 06:57 PM
You may also want to consider starting Wizard and MC Warlock: you won't get Warlock's Curse as often

He won't get Warlock's Curse at all, Pact Initiate doesn't give it.

Corvus
2008-08-27, 07:30 PM
IIRC, the Dragon article actually is official: the Dungeon and Dragon magazines are online only now.



The article is only a preview currently until the magazine comes out - previous previews of articles like this have changed between the preview coming out and the actual magazine coming out. This article is liable to do the same given some of the proofreading that obviously needs doing still.

Colmarr
2008-08-27, 07:41 PM
To clarify Corvus' post: the magazine "comes out" when the articles are released in a compiled pdf.

Specifically, the editorial for Dragon 365 notes that there were some changes to some of the articles between the time they were posted on DDI and the time that the compiled pdf was released.

The compiled pdf is the official source.

Blackdrop
2008-08-27, 07:46 PM
I starting to hate that article for the ridiculous Tiefling hate people. The feats are fairly balanced, let it drop.

*sigh*

Anyway, the build looks pretty good. However, I also question Force Orb for Vamp. Embrace. You don't gain anything damage wise (other then the area secondary attack), but you lose Temporary HP.

If you absolutely have to lose Vamp Embrace, I'd go with Ray of Enfeeblement, so you can weaken enemies (and when hp is that low at those levels, cutting even 8 or 10 damage in half is a very useful asset), or Chill Strike, which is pretty useful against lone enemies.

ghost_warlock
2008-08-28, 01:26 AM
Wow, this is more of a response than I expected. :smalleek: Thanks for all the help everyone! :smallbiggrin:


I haven't played a warlock in 4e yet, but from what I've read I think I prefer the infernal pact. From a RP standpoint for your character, the ability to summon and commune with demons could be a potential source of allies when you return to the Gith world for your coup.

From an RP standpoint, I vastly prefer the star pact fluff, but it could really go either way for this character. Itíd pretty much just come down to whether the character would want demons or tentacle-covered aberrations serving him. Unfortunately, summons arenít really something either warlocks or 4e are famous for so this isn't likely to really come up in any case.


I would go with Infernal. Note that most of those Powers you've picked out have Infernal-Only INT bonus features, and with 18 INT, you'll want to go with those.

You should MC Wizard at 2, and get Improved Dark One's Blessing at 1. Those extra 3 temp HP are going to do you more good than a Push 1 Thunderwave.

Power-wise, I'd consider taking Diabolic Grasp instead of Vampire. Temp HP don't stack (ever!) and you'll already have tons of Temp HP just from your Pact Power. Plus, Diabolic Grasp will give you a Shift 5 single-target Encounter Power - that's always good.

Aside from Blood Mage, what do you want to get out of your Wizard Powers? Force Orb is a weird choice.

A lot of the warlock powers do decent damage, but also have very useful controller-type status effects, such as immobilization and some sustainable zones. The wizard powers are meant to reinforce the controller aspects of the warlock class and also expand the ability to strike multiple foes with a single casting (e.g., force volley). Essentially, I want a good mix of single-target and area spells. Also, the ability to drop both tendrils of Thuban and Evard's black tentacles will be awesome! :smallbiggrin:

I guess I could swap Arcane Initiate for another feat at first...though Iíd be losing an encounter power and a trained skill (Arcana).

I was originally planning on diabolic grasp but switched to vampiric embrace when I started flip-flopping between infernal and star. Also, vampiric embrace is nice because it does the same damage as diabolic grasp, but targets Will Ė meaning that the character will have the option to target every relevant defense.

Force orb was chosen because it does the same damage to the primary target as either diabolic grasp or vampiric embrace, but it also deals some damage to adjacent targets, which is more valuable to me than either a few temporary hp or a small slide effect.


To clarify Corvus' post: the magazine "comes out" when the articles are released in a compiled pdf.

Specifically, the editorial for Dragon 365 notes that there were some changes to some of the articles between the time they were posted on DDI and the time that the compiled pdf was released.

The compiled pdf is the official source.

Exactly, Iím intentionally holding off on selecting any content (esp. Sacrifice to Caiphon) from the article until the official version is released this weekend/Monday.


I starting to hate that article for the ridiculous Tiefling hate people. The feats are fairly balanced, let it drop.

*sigh*

Anyway, the build looks pretty good. However, I also question Force Orb for Vamp. Embrace. You don't gain anything damage wise (other then the area secondary attack), but you lose Temporary HP.

If you absolutely have to lose Vamp Embrace, I'd go with Ray of Enfeeblement, so you can weaken enemies (and when hp is that low at those levels, cutting even 8 or 10 damage in half is a very useful asset), or Chill Strike, which is pretty useful against lone enemies.

Re: vampiric embrace/diabolic grasp vs. force orb Ė if I end up going infernal pact (which Iím definitely leaning towards), Iím not really going to lose out on many temporary hit points anyway as Iíll be getting some from my pact boon + imp. dark oneís blessing anyway.

Not that itís likely to really be an issue, but force orb also has a longer range. :smallwink:

Edea
2008-08-28, 01:32 AM
I'm surprised you didn't grab Disintegrate at 19th instead of Evard's, especially considering you're in the Blood Mage paragon path. Disintegrate is a devastating Striker power; the only reason Wizards get it is out of respect for previous editions, IMO.

ghost_warlock
2008-08-28, 02:01 AM
I'm surprised you didn't grab Disintegrate at 19th instead of Evard's, especially considering you're in the Blood Mage paragon path. Disintegrate is a devastating Striker power; the only reason Wizards get it is out of respect for previous editions, IMO.

Well, this is really more of a controller-with-some-striking-capability character. But, yeah, many of the high-level powers are more striker-type (chosen around the idea of a direct confrontation with the Lich Queen herself :smallwink:).

Really, I ended up going with Evard's because I simply couldn't resist "Tentacles from above! Tentacles from below! Bwa ha ha ha ha ha!" :smallbiggrin: