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 Essentials Options Article

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Chris24601
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PostSubject: Essentials Options Article   Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:34 pm

As many of you recall, I produced an "Essentials Options" article for Frothsof's E-zine and had some previews here. But I held off because I believed publication was immanent. But it's been two months since the announcement that it was nearly ready for publication and one month since Froth's even updated his blog and I think you've waited long enough.

Here's a Link to my 'Essentials Options' article in its original format.

Have fun and reviews and errata are cheerfully accepted.
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Honorbound
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PostSubject: Re: Essentials Options Article   Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:39 am

I would have killed to see some of these in 4e's character builder. The Hedge Mage and Gadgeteer look like a lot of fun to play with in particular, and the Chaplain looks like he'd be very welcome in any party. I'd sooner play a Hedge Mage than any official wizard.

I love your Daily power replacement options for the Essentials classes that still had dailies - I've never cared for dailies, even on classes that traditionally used Vancian magic. About the only exception to that rule was the Warden's guardian forms. Speaking of which, I like how you had each Guardian Form daily power act as the class's unique repeatable encounter power. It's a little more natural, in my opinion, than a Warden that has multiple Guardian forms.

Finally, your alterations to the Bladesinger were badly needed, and the end result is nothing short of impressive. The punishment effect is insanely versatile thanks to being able to pick the Bladespell that's triggered when you activate Aegis Attack as opposed to being stuck in the stance you were in at the end of your turn. I can see the Blade Spell Dancing Fire (the one that makes the target grant combat advantage) serving a very useful purpose here.

The Spellblade's level 7 and level 23 features are just nasty, and combined with the fact that with the fact that regular Bladesingers hit like a truck when they stack their melee basic attack and Bladespells, and you have an arcane chainsaw on your hands, and the monsters are the slasher villain's victims. By the way, would a human Bladesinger who took the Spellblade feature still qualify as a wizard for the purposes of their third at-will, or are they a Swordmage sub-class entirely?
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Chris24601
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PostSubject: Re: Essentials Options Article   Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:58 am

Thanks for the praise.

As to your question... As written, I'd have to say you'd still pick from the wizard list, but realistically I'd say you could pick from either. There's really only one swordmage power most people would be looking at (swordburst) while the wizard at-wills would just give you a better ranged option than magic missile. None of those options though would allow you to use the spellblade's main class features though since they only trigger off MBA's and bladespells. As such, I don't think it'd be too unbalanced to pick from both.

Regardless, I'll have to make that more clear. Thanks for the input.
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PostSubject: Re: Essentials Options Article   Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:20 pm

Yeah, aside from Swordburst, Frigid Blade, and Booming Blade, the Swordmage's at-wills are average at best.

One other thing I noticed was that if you make a half-elf Bladesinger, you could dump Intelligence altogether by grabbing Eldritch Strike as your melee basic. From levels 1-10, you'd have the Melee Training feat (which still aggravates me that they errataed it), then at level 11, you'd retrain it for versatile master, getting Eldritch Strike as a pure at-will and double up on Constitution.


Last edited by Honorbound on Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Essentials Options Article   Sat Sep 06, 2014 4:01 pm

Given that you already get the Con added in as a bladespell, its not so bad... besides, if you dump your Int you're going to either have to pick up Dex or burn tons of proficiencies on heavy armor or you'll never hit your AC/NAD targets for a defender... neither of which is any more optimal for a half-elf than having a good Intelligence score to begin with.

The entire point of shifting the Spellblade from Dex secondary to Con was so that it could apply good scores to two different NAD's... which means that for the Spellblade there's far less NEED to look for alternate solutions to get a viable build like there were with the bladesinger... you get a solid AC/Reflex from Int and class features, a solid Fort from your Con secondary, and a decent will from the classes' +2 bonus to Will.

As to Versatile Mastery and Melee Training, personally, we've always just house-ruled away the level requirement for Versatile Mastery and had Melee Training deal full damage if its a non-Essentials class. I've yet to come across anything so game-breaking about any given 1st level at-will attack that paying a feat to use it as an at-will during heroic tier would be out of line.

Most often it was used to get a viable MBA for a class that did not have one or to pick up an AoE of some type (burning spray from the Sorcerer seeming to be a preferred choice) when a class did not normally have one.
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PostSubject: Re: Essentials Options Article   Sun Sep 07, 2014 12:00 am

They could dump Int and go with Dex to get a strong initiative, but at this point, it's academic, as you demonstrated.

For Versatile Master/Melee Training, it still grinds my gears that they did that, and for what, so that the Knight or Slayer couldn't double-dip Con or Dex (respectively)? That just means that they failed in class design and needed to go back to the drawing board.
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PostSubject: Re: Essentials Options Article   Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:12 am

I could see the slayer's double dipping being a bit of an issue, but mostly I think it was because they had a 'try to appeal to past editions' mentality going and so wanted martial-type classes to be centered around basic attacks going forward (see the executioner, skald and bladesinger as later examples) and needed to downplay the ability to use 'non-traditional' stats for making those attacks as part of appealing to a certain subset of the players they were trying to reach.

Basically, Strength and Dexterity (through finesse) were the only stats you could make non-magical attacks with in previous editions so anything else needed to be inferior for it to match that mindset.

That said, my archer slayer build does indeed take advantage of the double-dipping prospect and its potent enough that it can actually meet expected striker damage numbers without needing power strike until fairly deep into heroic tier (honestly, while I may have unlocked it for them at 7th it doesn't actually fall significantly behind until paragon when the slayer gets its 3rd and 4th power strikes)... so I do somewhat applaud them for noticing the potential issue, even if I think the actual solution they chose was a bit rubbish.
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