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View Full Version : Rolling a Duskblade, have some questions



Hawk7915
2009-01-20, 04:40 PM
So, I am turning over DM reigns to my roommate and rolling a new character. ECL 6. I decided to go for Duskblade since our party could use a "tank" and I really want to try out my new PH2 characters (been living off core only for a year, got PH2 for Christmas :smallbiggrin: ). I have a few questions that are bugging me, though...

1: Spell List - how does this look for a 6th level, 18 Int elf duskblade:

0:
Acid Splash
Ray of Frost
Touch of Fatigue
Disrupt Undead

1:
Swift Expeditious Retreat
Shocking Grasp
Minor Deflection
Kelgore's Firebolt
Blade of Blood

2:
Swift Fly
Ghoul Touch


2: I'm a little confused about Arcane Channeling...can I deliver Ranged Touch Attack spells (Acid Splash, Rays) with it, or just touches like Ghoul Touch or Shocking Grasp?

3: Since my strength and BAB are so good, why would I even bother with Arcane Channeling against most foes when I can just make an insta-hit touch attack?

4: {Please don't link there}Reinforced Armor. Found this while shopping for my gear...am I missing anything here, or is it basically the best investment ever at mid-levels since it effectively can give you +2 armor for only 1800 GP? I am currently spending a chunk of my budget on a +1 Reinforced Mithral Breastplate...but this enhancement reeks of cheese. Have I misinterpreted it? Should my DM ban it?

5: Any general tips on Duskblade? This is only my 4th serious character, and the Duskblade seems like a unique, tough class to play.

Thanks in advance, guys! :smallsmile:

Keld Denar
2009-01-20, 04:54 PM
Duskblades are more glass cannons than tanks. They are pretty amazing at doing damage. Think about it, channeling a +5d6 shocking grasp in your weapon is like being a 9th level rogue at level 5, except you don't even have to flank.

The reason you Arcane Channel is so you get weapon damage (with Power Attack) on top of your spell. Yea, you could just cast the spell, or you could just attack, but Duskblade lets you do both at once. And no, no ranged touch spells channeled. Sadly.

For your spells, I'd swap out Minor Deflection for Ray of Enfeeblement. Its really really reallly good.

For 2nd level, Touch of Idiocy is great, especially channeled. Your 2 spells look pretty solid though.

For feats, you can't go wrong with Power Attack and Arcane Strike. You have a TON of spells/level, might as well get a little extra oomph out of them. A really neat weapon upgrade to get by level 13 is Whirling from MIC. Its a 3/day Whirlwind attack, which combines really well with Multi Channel. WW Attack isn't good enough on its own to justify 4 feats on it, but the enhancement is nice when you do find yourself in a situation to use it.

I'd also suggest a reach weapon. Default would be a Glaive, but if you wanted to spend a feat, you can't go wrong with a Spiked Chain. Just an all around good weapon, and well worth the feat IMO. A Glaive is still pretty good, as most of the time you can just take a 5' step back, if someone gets all up in your grill.

Temp.
2009-01-20, 05:23 PM
If you're only using Core and PHB2, you'll probably want the standard battlefield stuff (Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Combat Reflexes, Chain Proficiency) and Power Attack. Those will cover most of your tanking and damage. If you keep playing to higher levels, Robilar's Gambit is also pretty great.

Outside those sources, Versatile Spellcaster (RotD) gives you a bit more flexability with your casting, Knowledge Devotion lets you turn your Intelligence bonus and skills into free attack and damage bonuses and Arcane Strike (CW) is almost a requirement for level 9.

And if you ever have feats to blow and no better options, Initiative and UMD are always worth boosting.

Starbuck_II
2009-01-20, 05:28 PM
Too bad you don't have Races of the Stone:
Earthsilk Jersey gives you DR 1/slashing or Blunt for only 150 gp.

Drawback, this mundane gear is broken and needs to be repaired if a Piercing weapon Crits you.
But till they do, you have okay DR versus piercing weapons.


Question:
Why Swift Expendious Retreat? It lasts so less long.
Wouldn't Expendious Retreat be useful?
It lasts a couple minutes so you could possible get 2 encounters with it (unless you guys slow walkers or stop for long periods of time).
I grant that it cast as a swift action so you waste no turns getting to where you want to go.

Saph
2009-01-20, 05:41 PM
Question:
Why Swift Expendious Retreat? It lasts so less long.
Wouldn't Expendious Retreat be useful?
It lasts a couple minutes so you could possible get 2 encounters with it (unless you guys slow walkers or stop for long periods of time).
I grant that it cast as a swift action so you waste no turns getting to where you want to go.

Duskblades don't get Expeditious Retreat, only the Swift version. Ditto Fly and Invisibility.

On the subject, I'd recommend Swift Invisibility over Ghoul Touch. As mentioned, Duskblades are more glass cannons than tanks, and being able to do a full attack or an Arcane Channel and then go invisible immediately afterwards does wonders for your survivability.


5: Any general tips on Duskblade? This is only my 4th serious character, and the Duskblade seems like a unique, tough class to play.

Thanks in advance, guys! :smallsmile:

Duskblades can be a lot of fun to play. They're one of my favourite classes - balanced, well scaled, and with plenty of options.

Some advice:

ē You hit hard but you're not tough. Try to avoid going toe to toe with monsters if you can avoid it; full attacks will squish you pretty fast.

ē You have a decent amount of skill points, so make use of them. I highly recommend getting Tumble cross-class (and 5 ranks in Jump for the synergy bonus). This lets you deliver an Arcane Channelling attack, then tumble away.

ē Your Quick Cast ability is your 1/day nova power. The best way to use it is to take True Strike and Shocking Grasp as spells, take Power Attack, have a two-handed weapon, then do a Quick-Cast Arcane Channelled Shocking Grasp with full Power Attack. At level 6, this does 5d6 damage (Shocking Grasp) + 12 damage (full Power Attack) + your normal weapon damage, which should add up to 40 points or so. Not bad for a standard action. Later on, you can pump it up further with other spells and Arcane Strike.

I'd also recommend swapping out one of your damage spells for Resist Energy. Duskblades are one of the few classes that get Resist Energy as a level 1 spell, and it's very useful - used carefully, it can do a lot to make up for your squishiness.

- Saph

The Glyphstone
2009-01-20, 05:49 PM
4: Reinforced Armor {Link Removed}. Found this while shopping for my gear...am I missing anything here, or is it basically the best investment ever at mid-levels since it effectively can give you +2 armor for only 1800 GP? I am currently spending a chunk of my budget on a +1 Reinforced Mithral Breastplate...but this enhancement reeks of cheese. Have I misinterpreted it? Should my DM ban it?



Confused - how do you get the +2? It specifically only going on armor, so you can't Reinforce a shield, and Armor bonuses don't stack.

Andras
2009-01-26, 07:04 PM
4: Reinforced Armor. Found this while shopping for my gear...am I missing anything here, or is it basically the best investment ever at mid-levels since it effectively can give you +2 armor for only 1800 GP? I am currently spending a chunk of my budget on a +1 Reinforced Mithral Breastplate...but this enhancement reeks of cheese. Have I misinterpreted it? Should my DM ban it?

I wouldn't allow it, personally. It's far, far better than the normal AC bonus progression, especially considering it's static and not scaling, and the "drawback" is such a pittance it's almost insulting.

MammonAzrael
2009-01-26, 07:26 PM
Others have covered most of the points, but I too am confused by your interpretation of the Reinforced armor quality. Where are you getting the +2? Are you referring to the +1 armor increase from Reinforced and the +1 Enhancement bonus to get the plus 2? I wouldn't call +1 AC for 800 GP terribly cheesy, especially since you had to pay 4,000 GP to get the Breastplate in Mithral first. I also have to wonder what the source for the ability is (I didn't see the source on the site you linked.

Overall, I'd say that the extra +1 you'd get from Reinforced would rarely come into play. I wouldn't worry about it too much, whichever way you go with it.

Enjoy your nova machine. :smallbiggrin:

tyckspoon
2009-01-26, 07:42 PM
I wouldn't allow it, personally. It's far, far better than the normal AC bonus progression, especially considering it's static and not scaling, and the "drawback" is such a pittance it's almost insulting.

I'd be fine with it, with maybe the caveat that you can't apply it to full plate (being A: the marker for where cheap armor AC should stop, and B: fluffwise, the stuff is already reinforced) For almost anything below full plate, a Reinforced armor still only sums up to +9 AC between the armor bonus and the Dex limit. A Reinforced Breastplate is cheaper than full plate, but it's only by 300 gp, which is a fairly trivial sum past around level 4.

Person_Man
2009-01-27, 11:00 AM
Tanking as a Duskblade is hard, especially if your books are limited. You're much better off as a Knight, which was built specifically to tank and control the battlefield.

However, it's still doable:

Battlefield Control: reach weapon + armor spikes + Combat Reflexes + Standstill. If you can't use Stand Still, then Combat Expertise + Improved Trip works ok, but not as efficiently. Alternatively, you can pick up Combat Reflexes + Karmic Strike + Robilar's Gambit and a Keen Bodyfeeder (www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Bodyfeeder) Falchion, but that's far more dangerous.

Combat Focus + Combat Vitality + Combat Stability: This will give you +4 to your Will Save, +8 to resist special attacks (trip, grapple, etc), and Fast Healing 4.

Vampiric Touch: This is your most important spell. Use it a lot.

Wands: Even at 1st level, you can use any wand that is on your spell list without a UMD check. So you don't have to wait until 9th level to cast Vampiric Touch, or 17th level to cast Disintegrate.

Armor: Remember that you can lower Spell Failure with Mithril and Twilight. You can also buy an Animated shield (www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Animated) and still use a weapon two handed.

Buffs: Don't be afraid to ask your friends for help. In particular, things like Protection from Evil, Barkskin, Protection from Arrows, and Entropic Shield can go a long way to keeping a low level tank alive.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-01-27, 01:39 PM
And no, no ranged touch spells channeled. Sadly.


where does it say that... all I see/ know is that it says touch attacks doesn't say whether there melee or ranged touch attacks.

If there was erratta on it then i appologise but RAW(by the book, well crystal keep right now cuz im away from my books) just says touch attacks, which would include ranged ones.

Nerd-o-rama
2009-01-27, 02:01 PM
There's no such thing as a "melee touch attack". There are touch attacks, and there are ranged touch attacks - two different things, only the former of which can be put into an Arcane Channeling attack.

Alternatively, the PHB2 errata clarifies that yes, it's only touch-range touch attacks that Arcane Channeling can use. Sorry, I know it sucks.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-01-27, 02:55 PM
There's no such thing as a "melee touch attack". There are touch attacks, and there are ranged touch attacks - two different things, only the former of which can be put into an Arcane Channeling attack.

Alternatively, the PHB2 errata clarifies that yes, it's only touch-range touch attacks that Arcane Channeling can use. Sorry, I know it sucks.

Dis-regarding the errata... it says channel touch spells.
Which according to the SRD
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#touchSpellsinCombat

they are the same thing it is just weather they are ranged or melee. they are both however touch attacks. and there for under RAW would quilifiy for arcane channel...

Though this is disregarding the errata.

MammonAzrael
2009-01-27, 03:30 PM
The ability is referring to the range of the spell. If you check out the spell entries, you'll notice that nowhere are ranged touch attack spells classified as touch spells. They're rays. The only time a touch attack is mentioned is in the spell description. The only spells that are Touch spells are those with a range of Touch.


Range
A spellís range indicates how far from you it can reach, as defined in the Range entry of the spell description. A spellís range is the maximum distance from you that the spellís effect can occur, as well as the maximum distance at which you can designate the spellís point of origin. If any portion of the spellís area would extend beyond this range, that area is wasted. Standard ranges include the following.

Personal
The spell affects only you.

Touch
You must touch a creature or object to affect it. A touch spell that deals damage can score a critical hit just as a weapon can. A touch spell threatens a critical hit on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a successful critical hit. Some touch spells allow you to touch multiple targets. You can touch as many willing targets as you can reach as part of the casting, but all targets of the spell must be touched in the same round that you finish casting the spell.

Close
The spell reaches as far as 25 feet away from you. The maximum range increases by 5 feet for every two full caster levels.

Medium
The spell reaches as far as 100 feet + 10 feet per caster level.

Long
The spell reaches as far as 400 feet + 40 feet per caster level.

Unlimited
The spell reaches anywhere on the same plane of existence.

Range Expressed in Feet
Some spells have no standard range category, just a range expressed in feet.
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicOverview/spellDescriptions.htm#range

Notice how the Touch category doesn't mention a ranged touch attack at all?

Keld Denar
2009-01-27, 03:35 PM
Not all ranged touch spells are rays though. Orbs are ranged touch spells that are decidedly NOT rays. Same with spells like Viscid Glob.

Just sayin...

Also, the difference between ranged touch and touch are what ability it keys off of. Touch spells key off str, unless you have weapon finesse. Ranged touch spells key of dex.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-01-27, 03:40 PM
Not all ranged touch spells are rays though. Orbs are ranged touch spells that are decidedly NOT rays. Same with spells like Viscid Glob.

Just sayin...

Also, the difference between ranged touch and touch are what ability it keys off of. Touch spells key off str, unless you have weapon finesse. Ranged touch spells key of dex.

Right which is why I belive that Range touch spells and melee touch spells are the same. I know thats why they issued the errata specificaly to quell these debates, but not every one uses the errata.. and by the word of the ability it just says touch spells... which would be Ranged as well as melee.

Hawk7915
2009-01-27, 03:58 PM
Wow, thanks for all the help everyone! I'm surprised my thread got a 'rez after so much time had passed :smallbiggrin:.

On Reinforced Armor...I didn't even ask my DM, I just decided it was cheese. I took the liberty of "shopping" for the rest of the party and when everyone was wearing +1 Reinforced armor for only 1/6 of their starting wealth, something seemed wrong. As far as I can see, the armor bonus from Reinforcement is untyped and would stack...but would at least probably only work once (you couldn't pay 1600 for +2 AC on a Chain Shirt, just like you can't buy Shadowed Shadowed armor for +20 hide).


For your spells, I'd swap out Minor Deflection for Ray of Enfeeblement. Its really really reallly good.

Done; also swapped Kelgore's Firebolt for Resist Energy. My DM had never seen Ray of Enfeeblement before (every wizard or sorcerer she's grouped with as a player banned necromancy :smallredface: ) and ended up ruling that multiple Rays don't stack after I opened our second encounter with Quickened Ray, Ray. Good choice though: as a "tank" duskblade this spell is always -2 attack and damage, and often much more.

I think I'll forgo tanking, however, now that a Cleric is joining the party next session and with his gear he will have an equal AC but 10 more HP than me. Since the character is done and I'm stuck with Shield Spec: Small I'll be Sword and Board which I know isn't super-optimized, but it's fun and feels more in character. Might think about going for Spiked Chain at level 12 though (level 9 will be Arcane Strike). Current feats are Improved Initiative, Shield Spec, and Combat Expertise if you were curious.

One final question: All the 3rd level spells seem groovy (current ones in my sight are Swift Invisibility, Scorching Ray, Touch of Idiocy, and Bull's Strength)...but I really, really want True Strike now. Is it worth only knowing 3 3rd level spells to grab True Strike? And which other spell should I take? I'm leaning towards Idiocy for now, since we have a beguiler and cleric to Strength and Invis me at will, and I spent a lot of money on a Masterwork Composite Darkwood Longbow to start the game with. Thoughts?

Thanks again everyone, I really appreciate it!

Keld Denar
2009-01-27, 04:22 PM
Also, depending on how strong the monster is, Ray of Enfeeblement is really nasty if you can drop their Str to lower than 13. 13 is the minimum str required to use Power Attack. If their str gets reduced below 13, they lose the ability to use PA, as well as any PA related feats. This knocks out Cleave, Great Cleave, Imp Sunder, Imp Bullrush, Divine Might, SHOCKTROOPER, and a number of other good feats.

And your DM was right. 2x Rays of Enfeeblement don't stack, only the stronger of the 2 takes preference because its a penalty, rather than actual str damage. Thems in the rules.

I'd suggest Touch of Idiocity as your 3rd level spell. Its really good in that it nerfs all casters equally. It essentially gives your whole party a +1-3 bonus on all saving throws AND reduces the number of spells the baddy can know. Touch of Idiocity is NOT a penalty, but actual damage. So, you could walk up to a guy and Arcane Channel ToI, then Swift Cast another and make a touch attack as part of the casting. 2d6 damage to all mental stats is pretty serious, and on top of nerfing spell casting, could actually knock out the caster. Say...a wizard with an 18 Int and an 8 Wis. You hit with the ToI and your 2d6 Int damage is 5, reducing him to a 13. He loses some spells, and can only cast 3rd level spells tops. Now, your wisdom damage is 8, reducing his Wis down to 0. Instant comatose, good as dead.

ToI is also really good for disposing of animals. Polar bears have a dozen or more HD, but only a 1-2 Int. One ToI later, you have a polar bear that doesn't know which direction up is, and can't seem to lift itself off the ground to fight back. Encounter won, xp gained, and you can claim the new fur coat at your leasure.

Tehnar
2009-01-27, 04:41 PM
Ray of enfeeblements dont stack, as it provides a penalty. They overlap. Also it is not possible to bring someone to 0 strenght using ray of E in any way, like Ive seen some do in their builds (by RAW).

Keld Denar
2009-01-27, 05:06 PM
Ray of enfeeblements dont stack, as it provides a penalty. They overlap. Also it is not possible to bring someone to 0 strenght using ray of E in any way, like Ive seen some do in their builds (by RAW).

Well, you can introduce other factors that give str penalties that don't have the 1 or lower clause, such as from being Exhausted (Ray of Exhaustion) or anything else that does str damage or causes a str penalty.

Tehnar
2009-01-27, 05:39 PM
I think its a question what applies first. I think somewhere I read the order of importance of ability damage/penalty (can't remember now), but this is what I rule in my games:

Bob with 10 STR gets Ray of Enf for -5 to strenght. Then he gets hit with 5 points of ability damage. The -5 penalty to strenght applies to his current strenght score (5). Thus the effect of Ray of Enf reduces his strength to a effective 1.

What Ive been able to dig up on penalties:


Penalties arenít usually typed, but identical types of
penalties donít stack. In this latter case, the worst penalty
applies.

Meaning that Ray of Enf stacks with exhausted (etc..), however the question is in which order they would be applied.

Keld Denar
2009-01-27, 05:54 PM
Things usually stack in the order of application, or in the order most perfered by the affected character in the case of simultaneous effects. Or, at least thats what the Sage ruled in the FAQ. Other than that, I'm not sure.

Draz74
2009-01-27, 06:02 PM
I'd suggest Touch of Idiocity as your 3rd level spell. Its really good in that it nerfs all casters equally. It essentially gives your whole party a +1-3 bonus on all saving throws AND reduces the number of spells the baddy can know. Touch of Idiocity is NOT a penalty, but actual damage. So, you could walk up to a guy and Arcane Channel ToI, then Swift Cast another and make a touch attack as part of the casting. 2d6 damage to all mental stats is pretty serious, and on top of nerfing spell casting, could actually knock out the caster. Say...a wizard with an 18 Int and an 8 Wis. You hit with the ToI and your 2d6 Int damage is 5, reducing him to a 13. He loses some spells, and can only cast 3rd level spells tops. Now, your wisdom damage is 8, reducing his Wis down to 0. Instant comatose, good as dead.

ToI is also really good for disposing of animals. Polar bears have a dozen or more HD, but only a 1-2 Int. One ToI later, you have a polar bear that doesn't know which direction up is, and can't seem to lift itself off the ground to fight back. Encounter won, xp gained, and you can claim the new fur coat at your leasure.

Touch of Idiocy is decent, but I think you're partially mixing it up with that broken splatbook atrocity, Ray of Stupidity. (From Spell Compendium; also PHBII? or CArc?) Unlike Ray of Stupidity, Touch of Idiocy is indeed a penalty, not damage, and has a "minimum = 1" limit to it.

Ray of Stupidity on the other hand affects only INT, not WIS or CHA. 'Course, that's all you need to make it the ultimate animal-killer.

Keld Denar
2009-01-27, 06:48 PM
Touch of Idiocy is decent, but I think you're partially mixing it up with that broken splatbook atrocity, Ray of Stupidity.

I know about both...but...but...*double checks* IT IS A PENALTY!!! Who changed all the books when I wasn't looking? Seriously.

Regardless, its still a good one to channel. Get a Lesser Rod of Empower to go with it, and you can get some pretty impressive numbers. Rod only costs about 8k gold, IIRC, and is a good purchase anyway to combine with Ray of Enfeeblement.

Dhavaer
2009-01-28, 05:11 AM
I know about both...but...but...*double checks* IT IS A PENALTY!!! Who changed all the books when I wasn't looking? Seriously.

You might have been confused by the short spell description in the spell list, which says it's damage for some reason.