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 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview

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Chris24601
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PostSubject: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Thu May 08, 2014 10:37 am

So, with the second issue of 4E Forever still a month or so out, I thought I might start previewing my article for it here. The final piece ended up being nearly 23,000 words (I added a number of additional stretch goal concepts to the piece) and here's something of a table of contents to get things started.

Essential Options - New Options for Essentials classes
Part I: Fallen Lands

Knight: Knight of the Lance
-Level 1: Mounted Knight
-Level 7: Fearsome Charge
-Level 12: Overwhelming Charge


Knight: The Knight Skirmisher
-Level 1: Skirmishing Knight
-Level 1: Poised Defender
-Level 7: Offhand Strike
-Level 12: Offhand Riposte


Mage: The Hedge Mage
-Level 1: Hedge Magic
-Level 1: Arcane Strike
-Level 1: Minor Magic
-Level 1: At-Will Attack Spells
-Master Hedge Mage (Paragon Path)
-Mage: Summoning School
-Mage: Transmutation School


Slayer: The Archery Slayer
-Level 7: Piercing Bow
-Level 12: Fearsome Shot
-Level 19: Light Armor Mobility


Slayer: The Primal Slayer
-Level 1: Primal Initiation
-Level 7: Rage Strike


Thief: The Brutal Thief

Warpriest: The Chaplain

Part II: Forgotten Kingdoms

Cavalier: The Virtue of Truth

Cavalier: The Virtue of Humility

Cavalier: Improved Radiance

Hexblade: Greater Pact Boons

Hunter: The Hurling Hunter
-Level 1: Thrown Expertise
-Level 13: Pinning Throw


Hunter: The Sling Hunter
Level 1: Sling Expertise
Level 13: Pummeling Stone


Hunter: The Martial Hunter

Sentinel: Druid of Autumn

Sentinel: Druid of Winter

Sentinel: Sentinel’s Aura

Scout: The Sneaky Scout

Scout: The Martial Scout

Part III: Shadow, Elemental & Fey
Executioner: Martial Utility Powers

Artificer: The Gadgeteer
-Level 1: Gadgeteer’s Arsenal
-Level 1: Augment Attack
-Level 1: Deploy Gadgets
-Genius Gadgeteer (Paragon Path)


Bladesinger: The Spellblade
-Level 1: Spellblade
-Level 1: Spellblade Aegis
-Level 1: Aegis Strike
-Level 7: Spellblade Recovery
-Level 23: Spellblade Burst
-Shielding Spellblade (Paragon Path)


Avenger: The Inquisitor
-Level 1: Inquisitor’s Strike
-Level 1: Improved Channeling


Cleric: The Priest
-Level 1: Armor of Faith
-Level 1: Domain Mastery
-Level 1: Improved Channeling


Invoker: The Theurge
-Level 1: Invoke Covenant
-Level 1: Improved Channeling


Monk: Tradition Master

Protector: Primal Protector
-Level 1: Primal Strike
-Level 1: Summon Aspect


Psionics: Improved Augmentation

Skald: The Enabling Skald
-Level 1: Seize Opening
-Level 1: Lend Assistance


Skald: The War Skald
-Level 1: Inspiring Strike
-Level 1: Master of Melodies
-Level 1: Warlord’s Tactics


Warden: The Guardian Warden

I'll begin posting excerpts from the piece starting tomorrow.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Fri May 09, 2014 7:18 am

Okay, let's start this preview by looking at the 'Primal Slayer' and one its key features. To me the slayer always felt a bit like a simple version of the barbarian. So when the opportunity came to create new optional builds for different classes, this was an obvious choice for me. Because its AC will fall slightly behind a typical slayer, I gave it a means to reliably generate temporary hit points to help soak up those hits.

The key design element in this is one that first developed as part of the War Skald and carried over into several other new builds; the concept of changing which class a build pulls powers and feats from in order to better fit a specific build. Another class feature grants the primal slayer the ability to enter a raging state for purposes of feats and other power interactions. The result is a simple E-style barbarian.

---------------

Slayer: The Primal Slayer
The primal slayer is warrior that has been initiated into the secrets of the primal power source and draws their strength as much from those primal magics as from martial prowess.

You can choose the Primal Initiation option when create a slayer and the Rage Strike option for your Weapon Specialization class feature at 7th level. Taking the Light Armor Mobility feature (see the Archery Slayer build above) at 19th level is also recommended.

Level 1: Primal Initiation
You have undergone a period of testing and been found worthy of initiation into the primal rites of your people and allow you to channel your rage.

Benefit: You gain the following benefits;
• Your class gains the Primal power source.
• You do not gain proficiency in chainmail or scale armor.
• You add Nature and Perception to your class skills.
• You select a Wilderness Knack from the scout list at 1st, 4th and 8th level.
• When you deal damage with a two-handed melee weapon you gain 3 temporary hit points. This increases to 5 at 11th level and to 10 at 21st level. You must be wearing light armor or no armor to gain this benefit.
• When you select utility powers, you select them from the barbarian class instead of the fighter class. You count as a barbarian for purposes of feats.

-----------------

Saturday, we'll take a look at the Hedge Mage's Minor Magic class feature which replaces its daily attack powers.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Fri May 09, 2014 9:50 pm

A question, Chris; does the Archery Slayer get a level 1 replacement for the Power Strike class feature? As it is, Power Strike only works with a melee basic, not a ranged basic.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Sat May 10, 2014 12:08 am

Actually, it does not get the power strike replacement until level 7 because prior to that it simply doesn't need it. The damage output that results from consolidating ability scores in the early levels is more than sufficient to keep pace with a melee slayer without even having to use power strike.

Basically, power strike only adds 1[W] damage to an attack, so that's, on average 5.5 to 6.5 extra damage once or twice per encounter.

Meanwhile the archery slayer no longer needs ANY Strength and so can actually afford a 20 Dexterity and then gets to double stack it on their ranged basic attacks thanks to their heroic slayer feature applying to ALL weapon attacks.

That's going to add about 2-3 extra points of damage per hit when compared to a melee slayer. Over the course of a 5 round fight that will add about 6-9 extra damage over the course of the encounter (presuming a 60% hit rate) which is more or less in line with where it needs to be to match power strike's performance.

That said, by 7th level the lack of a power strike starts to actually hinder the build relative to its melee cousin, so that's when the feature to let it use power strike with ranged basic attacks comes into play as an alternate choice for its Weapon Specialization feature.

The build actually came out of an ongoing campaign I'm playing in. It started as a human slayer with a 20 Dexterity (and managed a 14 Con). At 1st level it had AC 18, 29 hit points (11 surges) and its ranged basic attack was +9 vs. AC for 1d12+10 damage with its great bow (+1 if the target is isolated).

By comparison, if they had attempted a melee build they would have only been able to afford an 18 Strength and 16 Dexterity (and a 13 Con). At 1st level it could only manage a 17 AC, 28 hit points (10 surges) and its melee basic attack would be +9 vs. AC for 1d12+7 damage with a full blade.

For additional comparison, if they had also swapped out human for a Str/Dex race like the half-orc it could manage an 18 Strength and Dexterity, which would bump its damage bonus, but it would also lose a feat and so would either only be able to manage a greatsword (i.e. +9 vs. AC for 1d10+8 damage).

Either way, the archery slayer managed to edge out the melee slayer builds we looked at by an average of about 3 points of damage per hit or about 9 extra points of damage per encounter (i.e. slightly below the average damage added by two power strikes) while managing better defenses and hit points/surges as well.

In play, the archery slayer felt like a beast as it bloodied standard low-level targets with one shot. In the first session it wiped out a 24 hit point kobold just by rolling max damage. Being able to take shots from up to 25 squares away meant it never took significant damage (nor did slows, dazes or immobilizes have any significant impact on its effectiveness). As it was leveled up, it actually increased its hit points/surges edge over the melee slayer by being able to improve their Constitution score instead of their Strength and turned themselves into a valuable source of healing surges for our party's artificer.

That's why, by my analysis, the archery slayer didn't actually need a 'power strike' replacement until 7th level or so.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Sat May 10, 2014 10:26 pm

In today's installment we're going to be looking at a bit of the hedge mage's design. One of the main goals for the hedge mage was to create a simple controller on par with the complexity of the E-martial classes. Replacing the encounter attacks with a repeatable attack was reasonably simple, but the real trick was coming up with a simple feature to replace the daily attack powers.

What I ended up hitting on as inspiration was one my favorite wizard daily spells; Wizard's Fury. For those who don't have access to a builder or to Dragon magazine, Wizard's Fury was a first level daily attack spell that let you use magic missile once/round as a minor action. My thinking was that concept could be expanded beyond damage to various types of minor control.

In the end, I decided to create several effects for each school of magic and tie which ones you could learn to which schools you'd selected. This allowed each hedge mage to play very different from each other (an important part of the concept of a self-taught wizard) while keeping the same underlying structure.

Here's the core of what I ended up with and two of the schools that powers could be chosen from (the other schools are Enchantment, Illusion, Necromancy, Nethermancy, Pyromancy and Summoning);

-------------
Level 1: Minor Magic
You have learned to create simple effects to help you control the battlefield.
Benefit: You gain the minor magic power and two effects selected from the school you chose for your apprentice benefit. At 5th level, 15th level and 25th level you gain an additional effect from any of the schools you know.

Minor Magic - Wizard Utility
You make use of a quick incantation to impair an enemy with a magical effect.
At-Will * Arcane, Implement, Varies
Minor Action     Ranged 10
Target:
One creature or square (two at 9th level, three at 19th level)
Effect: The target is subjected to one of the minor magic effects that you know;
Special: This power gains the keywords for the school you select the effect from and for any type of damage it deals.

Minor Evocation Effects
Force Missile – The target takes 3 + your Intelligence modifier force damage. At 9th level the damage is reduced to your Intelligence modifier per missile, but you may target the same creature with this effect more than once if desired.
Unseen Grip – You slide the target a number of squares equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1).
Force Restraints – The target is slowed until the end of your next turn.

Minor Transmutation Effects
Instant Cover – You fill one square within range with blocking terrain until the end of your next turn. This terrain is destroyed if it takes damage greater than your Wisdom modifier + ½ your level from a single attack.
Softened Defenses – The target takes a –2 penalty to their defenses until the end of your next turn.
Weakened Grip – The target takes a penalty to damage rolls equal to your Wisdom modifier until the end of your next turn. This penalty increases to 2 + your Wisdom modifier at 11th level and to 4 + your Wisdom modifier at 21st level.

-------------

On Monday I'll be sharing a bit of the 'Chaplain's Mantle' feature for the Warpriest.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Sun May 11, 2014 2:00 pm

I'm interested in seeing your take on the other Druid 'seasons'. I was thinking that the possible animal companions might be Boar for Autumn and Snow Leopard (or some other big cat) for Winter.
The Cat's aura might buff movement, reflex and initiative. I was thinking that the Boar's aura might buff the allies' power and damage rolls. The Boar itself might have some sort of improved Charge attack.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Sun May 11, 2014 2:45 pm

I ended up going a bit more with traditional myths and legends when it came to the animal associations and the boar is very much associated with summer (moreso than the bear really) whereas the most traditional animal of autumn is the Stag. Likewise, for winter as a time of scavenging and death the logical choice for the winter companion was an unkindness of ravens (I debated with whether or not to just call them a flock for clarity's sake, but the coolness of the term 'unkindness' won out).

I'll make some of the stuff associated with the Sentinel the next update after the Chaplain's Mantle build tomorrow.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Sun May 11, 2014 4:48 pm

Yep, I thought of the Stag as well, but then I was trying to keep to carnivores, or at least 'dangerous game' like Boars.

If I had to take iconic animals - the Wolf might be the match for Winter. Bears - well they're hibernating in winter, so they might fit for Autumn, certainly not spring really. That would leave Summer for the Boar and perhaps the Puma or Leopard for Spring.

I was trying to stay away from the Stag because it's not really a 'pet' type animal (not that any of the other are... but the Herbivores have a very different behavior pattern). In general, Stags are not particularly aggressive toward humans either... whereas all of the others would be.
I had not considered Ravens, because they don't have the same sort of threat value that the others I mentioned have.

One of the other things that I would have liked to see, had they continued with 4e Essentials, was other options for 'Pact Weapons' even within the scope of the existing Fey and Infernal pacts. Perhaps some sort of Spear as an option for the Infernal Pact, and certainly a Bow would be an iconic Fey Pact weapon (or perhaps a dart or javelin, as that also is a common concept for Fey creatures.)

I'm a pretty big fan of 4e in general, and like both 'flavors' - Essentials and Standard.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Sun May 11, 2014 5:57 pm

Stags can be pretty territorial, especially in the fall and are associated with Cerrenos the horned god of the hunt. The White Stag is often attributed supernatural traits related to protection and are a herald of change and adventure (some even state that it can cause its antlers to ignite rather like a flaming sword).

As to the ravens, bear in mind that your companion is not A raven, but an entire FLOCK of ravens sufficient to fill a square to the point enemies cannot pass through it and provide cover to allies in adjacent squares. They'll peck your eyes out. :-D
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Tue May 13, 2014 10:08 am

Sorry for the late update. Stuff (i.e. life) happens.

----------

Like the hedge mage, the Chaplain build for the warpriest was an attempt to create a simple E-martial style class for the fourth iconic D&D class. I was tempted to give it a repeated use encounter attack like the others, but the fact that every last encounter attack for the warpriest is determined by your choice of domain meant that the spirit of only offering simple options was mostly intact with no need for extra work on my part.

I chose the name chaplain specifically because of what the daily power replacement feature turned into. Chaplain is an ancient term that means ‘cloak bearer’. It refers to a priest who carried a holy relic, originally the cloak of St. Martin of Tours, into battle to aid his allies.

Thus, when my design work turned towards an aura as the best option to replace the daily attack powers, it became obvious to me that the aura should be called a mantle (i.e. a type of cloak) and that the build should be called the Chaplain (or ‘cloak bearer’).

Each of the Mantles follows a similar pattern. The first benefit is resistance to certain types of damage (radiant being a near universal one) that increases by tier. The second benefit comes at 9th level and is a buff to an ally that is triggered whenever they use an encounter or daily power inside the aura. This allowed me create a benefit that was a bit more potent than a constant benefit while avoiding the need for specific tracking to keep it from getting too complex. The third benefit comes at 19th level and is a buff to a specific attack that triggers when an ally in the aura uses an encounter or daily attack power.

What follows are the basics of the Chaplain's Mantle power and the effects for the Domain of Storm. The other domains are Feywild (i.e. Corellon), Death, Domination, Earth, Justice (i.e. Torm), Knowledge (i.e. Oghma), Moon (Selune), and Sun.

--------------

Warpriest: The Chaplain

While all warpriests are trained to serve in combat, the chaplain has dedicated themselves to protecting his allies in the field of battle over the invocation of mighty prayers that directly turn the tide of battle.

You can choose the Chaplain’s Mantle feature when you create a warpriest.

Level 1: Chaplain’s Mantle
You have sacrificed your ability to wield mighty prayers to instead grant your allies the protective mantle of your god.

Benefit: You no longer select daily attack powers for your class. Instead, you gain the chaplain’s mantle power with the benefits of your chosen domain. In addition, you gain a +1 bonus to damage rolls for powers with the divine keyword at 5th level, 15th level and at 25th level.

Chaplain’s Mantle - Cleric Utility
Your prayers for divine aid grant you and your allies the protection of your deity.
At-Will * Aura, Divine
Minor Action Personal
Effect:
You activate an aura 5 that lasts until you end it as a minor action or you fall unconscious. The effects of this aura depend upon which domain you have chosen.

Mantle of Storm
• Allies within you chaplain’s mantle gain Resist 5 to lightning and thunder damage. This resistance increases to 10 at 11th level and to 15 at 21st level.
• At 9th level, when an ally within your chaplain’s mantle uses an encounter or daily power they deal extra lightning damage with their attacks equal to your Wisdom modifier until the end of their next turn.
• At 19th level, when an ally within your chaplain’s mantle uses an encounter or daily attack power any enemies hit by the attack are also pushed 2 squares and knocked prone.

-----------

The next update will be a preview of what's coming the Sentinel's way.

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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Tue May 13, 2014 1:00 pm

Love both Stags and Raven's by the way... a part of me wants a flock of ravens to be able to spread out there aide... harassing in an area

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Tue May 13, 2014 1:30 pm

Do we have an awesome spear user?

It occurred to me I have started picturing the exotic use of spears from the Celtic/Irish martial arts and acrobatic use of spears like they were pole vaulting implements and similar things as something missing.

Perhaps a dash of Balsa in there (though she is actually more realistic CuhCulaine )

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Wed May 14, 2014 7:35 am

Primal Slayers get their benefits with any two-handed weapon so it would cover spears. Knights of the Lance benefits apply to the spear category (as the super-set for lances). Hurling hunters have an option for spears (javelins) and get a benefit that lets them use Dex in place of Str for melee basic attacks with weapons that have the thrown property. One option for the war skald grants them proficiency with all military weapons (which gets you the spear with reach). Obviously, any of the simple builds for other melee classes could obviously use a spear if their parent class could.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Wed May 14, 2014 10:13 pm

Chris24601 wrote:
Primal Slayers get their benefits with any two-handed weapon so it would cover spears. Knights of the Lance benefits apply to the spear category (as the super-set for lances). Hurling hunters have an option for spears (javelins) and get a benefit that lets them use Dex in place of Str for melee basic attacks with weapons that have the thrown property. One option for the war skald grants them proficiency with all military weapons (which gets you the spear with reach). Obviously, any of the simple builds for other melee classes could obviously use a spear if their parent class could.
I think there are Warlord builds that exploit the reach weapons to allow them to be enabling without being accessible by enemies.

I am thinking mobility and control oriented effects. Hurling hunters? hmmm.

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Wed May 14, 2014 10:44 pm

Slings are classic cheap ranged weapon (but like the bow - not particularly easy) = cool.

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Thu May 15, 2014 5:43 pm

I wish that we could get our hands on the Character Builder as a customizable database. That way we could really build our own characters.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Fri May 16, 2014 6:57 am

Kazadvorn wrote:
I wish that we could get our hands on the Character Builder as a customizable database. That way we could really build our own characters.
Do a search for "cbloader"....
I wouldn't call it easy, but it is certainly possible if you have a copy of the old offline character builder.
TjD
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Sat May 17, 2014 9:37 am

How up to date is the cbloader? I'm using the builder over at WotC now..
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Sat May 17, 2014 10:02 am

I like Cbloader primarily because it can let you put your own content in ... but I am fairly certain people have made the XML that covers most of the 4th editions mechanical elements.

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Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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Chris24601
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Tue May 20, 2014 10:09 am

Sorry for the delays. Sometimes life gets in the way. Anyway, time for a new preview. This time covering the rest of the seasons for the Sentinel.

After deciding that I needed to create a non-daily version of the Sentinel akin to my chaplain build for the warpriest, I immediately decided that I had to develop the other two seasons first, so I wouldn’t have to go back and design two more options for my simple version in a separate article later. Having it all in one place makes everyone’s life easier since its no longer possible to make presumptions about what supplemental material a player might have available to them.

The hardest part of the whole thing was actually figuring out which animal companion to use. Fortunately the advice of others led me to the stag for autumn (despite it not being predatory like the bear and wolf, it's still quite territorial during mating season and is quite iconic in Celtic myths) and to an unkindness of ravens (the fancy term for a flock of them) for winter and everything else pretty much flowed from there.

Here are the initial benefits for each season;

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Sentinel: Druid of Autumn
You draw your strength from the fall, a time of gathering the harvest and preparation for the long winter soon to come. While terrors may lie ahead, like the natural world you are at the peak of your strength ready to face the challenges ahead. Your chosen weapons are the spear of the hunter, the sickle of harvest and the flail that separates the wheat from the chaff.

Benefit: You gain the following benefits;
• Your animal companion is a stag (medium natural beast).
• You gain proficiency with flails.
• You gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls with spears, sickles, and fails.
• You gain a +2 bonus to Nature checks.

Sentinel: Druid of Winter
You draw your strength from the winter, the harrowing time of darkness where the weak are culled so that the strong may have room to grow come the spring. Like the winter you are cold and dispassionate as you cut down those who threaten the nature order. Your chosen weapon is obviously the scythe and your companion is a flock of ravens; carrion birds who pick clean those not strong enough to survive.

Benefit: You gain the following benefits;
• Your animal companion is an unkindness of ravens (medium natural swarm).
• When you wield a scythe, you use a d12 for its weapon damage and can treat it as part of the polearm weapon group.
• You gain a +2 bonus to Thievery checks.

----------------

Tomorrow I'll have a preview of the Spellblade build for the Bladesinger... one designed to be useful for non-elves/eladrin.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Tue May 20, 2014 8:27 pm

looks like we got ourselves a thread jumper.... here   What a Face  clown 

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Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Wed May 21, 2014 7:40 am

Given that this is the thread where I started posting previews of the Essentials options that will be in 4E Forever #2 I fail to see how posting the next preview would be thread jumping.

Anyway, the next preview will be going up after I get back from breakfast and the Spellbade build is one of the ones that really shows off how to push a build into a very different direction than its parent class.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Thu May 22, 2014 9:22 pm

Chris24601 wrote:
Given that this is the thread where I started posting previews of the Essentials options that will be in 4E Forever #2 I fail to see how posting the next preview would be thread jumping.
You are of course right my brain seems to be in a flighty mood of its own and adjacent threads having topic overlap did twists to it (cbloader in this thread is actually the topic jump).

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Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Fri May 23, 2014 6:54 pm

Garthanos wrote:
Chris24601 wrote:
Given that this is the thread where I started posting previews of the Essentials options that will be in 4E Forever #2 I fail to see how posting the next preview would be thread jumping.
You are of course right my brain seems to be in a flighty mood of its own and adjacent threads having topic overlap did twists to it (cbloader in this thread is actually the topic jump).

That was my fault, I was fantasizing about being able to take Chris's ideas and incorporate them into a customizable character builder.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Tue May 27, 2014 9:51 am

I can sympathize with the desire to use the options in character builder. My biggest issue is that actual coding isn't my specialty so it takes a whole lot of free time for very little return. Especially as my own table is starting to move away from even the cbloader towards a custom built spreadsheet for the math and just referencing books/pdfs for the text since we've never used the actual character sheets the builder produces... we always built our own in a format where any class that didn't have the spellbook feature could actually fit onto a single sheet of paper.

If someone else wants to code them up though they're more than welcome to.

Anyway, on to the update... and because it was my birthday this weekend I'm going to actually provide something a little more substantial for this update... here's the entirety of the Spellblade.

-------------------------------

The spellblade is an option that ended up in a place very different than where it started. The initial concept was pretty much to put some of the house rules one our tables had come up with to make the Bladesigner more playable as intended for races that weren’t elves or eladrin (because a decent gish builds shouldn’t be limited to the fey).

What quickly happened though was that, in trading out the bladesong for being able to actually use wizard encounter spells as encounters instead of dailies, was that half the other class features no longer worked because they’d been keyed to work with bladesong.

What also happened during this stage was that I had keyed on the concept of using the bladesinger in a manner similar to how I’d used the skald class as the framework to create a sort of Essentials-style version of the warlord.

Originally, this was just going to be an alternate defender-style build for the spellblade option, but as the problems with removing bladesong mounted the alternate build and its bladespell aegis and aegis strike ended up becoming the ideal replacement for all the features gutted by removing bladesong.

Changing the source of utility powers from wizard to swordmage completed the transformation of the spellblade from a controller into an Essentials-style arcane defender.

---------------

Bladesinger: The Spellblade

While the art of the bladesong and bladespell may have begun among the elves and eladrin, they are far from the only race to have realized the advantages of mixing arcane magic with the art of the blade and have either adapted the bladesinger’s arts to their own culture or invented their own blending of arcane and martial prowess from whole cloth.

The Spellblade is a clear example of this process of adaptation into a style better suited to hardier and less agile races than the elves and eladrin. This style trades the grace of the bladesong and feywild enchantments for the fortitude of more mortal races and to abjurations that protect one’s allies.

You can choose the Spellblade feature when you create a bladesinger.

Level 1: Spellblade
Your focus on bladespells is one of protective abjurations and endurance rather than grace and arcane control.
Benefit: Your role changes from controller to defender and you gain the Spellblade Aegis and Aegis Strike class features. You also gain the following benefits;
• Your starting hit points increase by three and you gain an extra hit point each time you gain a level.
• Your healing surges per day increase by one.
• The shield bonus from your Guarded Flourish class feature increases by 1.
• You can use your Constitution modifier in place of your Dexterity modifier with bladespells.
• When you select utility powers you select them from the swordmage class instead of the wizard class.
• At 5th level, 15th level and 25th level you gain a +1 bonus to damage with your bladespells.
• At 7th level you gain the Spellblade Recovery feature and at 23rd level you gain the Spellblade Burst feature.
• At 11th level you can select the Shielding Spellblade paragon path.
• You count as a swordmage for purposes of qualifying for feats and paragon paths and can take the Shielding Spellblade paragon path at 11th level.
Special: If you select this option you no longer gain the Bladesong, Arcane Strike, Steely Retort, Unerring Bladespell and Bladespell Burst class feature nor do you gain the ability use daily attack powers or add them to your spellbook.

Level 1: Spellblade Aegis
While a traditional bladesinger learns to use their bladespells to attack, you have learned to also use them to deter enemies from attacking your allies.
Benefit: You gain the spellblade aegis and aegis attack powers.

Spellblade Aegis (Spellblade Utility)
You weave your bladespells into a protective shell of arcane power.
At-Will * Arcane, Aura
Minor Action     Personal
Effect:
You activate an aura 1 that lasts until you end it as a minor action or you fall unconscious. Enemies are marked while they are in the aura.

Aegis Attack (Spellblade Utility)
Your protective aegis lashes out at those who attack your allies.
At-Will * Arcane, Aura
Opportunity Action     Personal
Trigger:
An enemy marked by you uses an attack power that does not target you.
Effect: You use a bladespell on the triggering creature after its attack has resolved. The triggered bladespell deals 2 extra damage to the target (4 extra damage at 9th level and 6 extra damage at 19th level).

Level 1: Aegis Strike
You have learned to focus the effect of your aegis beyond the range you can usually reach.
Benefit: You gain the aegis strike power. At 3rd level and 13th level you gain an additional use of aegis strike, but can use it only once per turn.

Aegis Strike (Spellblade Utility)
You transform a bladespell into a painful and lasting mark upon your enemy.
Encounter * Arcane, Implement
No Action     Personal
Trigger:
You target a creature with a bladespell.
Effect: The target takes 5 extra damage and is marked by you until the end of the encounter. The extra damage increases to 10 at 17th level and to 15 at 27th level.

Level 7: Spellblade Recovery
With a moment of focus you use arcane magic to slow time for an instant, allowing you another chance to attack.
Benefit: Once per encounter, when you miss with a basic attack, you can make another basic attack as a minor action.

Level 23: Spellblade Burst
You have now learned to slow time to a crawl, allowing you to lash out at every foe surrounding you.
Benefit: Once per encounter, you can make a melee basic attack against each adjacent enemy.

-------------

Shielding Spellblade (Paragon Path)
Requirement:
You must be a bladesinger with the Spellblade class feature.

As you enter paragon tier, you continue to hone your ability to use bladespells to protect your allies from harm.

Level 11: Bladespell Ward
You can turn your bladespells into defensive wards for your allies.
Benefit: You gain the Bladespell Ward power.

Bladespell Ward (Shielding Spellblade Utility)
You transform the energy of your bladespell into a protective ward on one of your allies.
At-Will * Arcane, Aura
No Action     Ranged 10
Trigger:
You would use a bladespell.
Target: one ally within range
Effect: Select one of the bladespells you know. Until the end of your next turn, the first creature to target your ally with an attack is subjected to that bladespell.

Level 11: Improved Aegis Strike
Your study of the arcane grants you another use of your signature attack.
Benefit: You gain an additional use of the aegis strike power per encounter, but can still only use it once per turn.

Level 11: Punishing Action
You make sure each of your opponents suffers when push to the limits.
Benefit: When you spend an action point to take an extra action, you can also use one of your bladespells against each enemy marked by you.

Level 12: Expanded Aegis
You focus yourself and extend your protective aegis over more of your foes.
Benefit: Once per encounter you can expand your Bladespell Aegis to an Aura 3 until the end of your next turn.

Level 16: Improved Bladespell
You have trained to be able to cast bladespells even when you miss with your blade.
Benefit: When you make a melee basic attack, you can use a bladespell whether you hit or miss with the attack.

Level 20: Expanded Aegis Strike
You transform your aegis strike into an area of effect.
Benefit: Once per encounter, when you use an aegis strike, it also affects each enemy adjacent to your target.

-------------

The next preview will be for the Primal Protector Druid, a build for a simple primal controller.
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