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ranmyaku262
2013-06-10, 03:05 PM
So I've been looking into the vampire class and after much research and even use in a campaign I've actually come to the conclusion it's not that bad of a class. I've actually had decent success at using the class but that said i feel a few details could've been better.

Firstly save time and possible debate, see below comments, the class survivability is fine, but the damage is horrid and it needs some fixing. Examples after this post.

Vampirism[Multiclass Vampire]:
I feel this is kind of the essential template you can easily slap onto players for the vampire flavor and allowing players to gain the blood drinker power along with the arcane,martial,primal,psionic, and monistic vampire feats.

That said the feat is very limiting on who can pick it up due to the regeneration feature working on charisma which is a dump stat for many classes. Instead this feat should grant the child of the night class features and such with the eratta.
"Regeneration granted is based off your second highest stat." This will allow other classes to benefit from the regeneration aspect as their healing surge count was just severely cut. This will allow players to more easily slap vampire flavor onto their existing class.

Possibly consider merging thirst for blood into this feat. Keep as a power swap but a 2 feat tax for vampirism as blood drinker is crucial to your survivability and the first feat already takes away your surges without the way to replenish them. An option for those who don't want to swap is give the option of swapping with an existing encounter power or getting it as a daily as an extra power ( may not be powerful but it gives the option and makes the merge easier)

Hybrid Vampire:
Now this approach is similar to the multiclass talent. Basically i felt the hybrid was much more limiting in what they could work with as this seems to be the only class that is 100% reliant on both stats. This is because the class is tied down to charisma for their striker and survivability feature.

Effectively the this will also make the regeneration and hidden might trigger off of your second highest stat. This will still make the class only work with classes that can mix with a dex based class but allows more combinations.

Vampire class:
A possible idea is to apply this same idea for regen/hidden might to the base class also to allow multiclassing to occur.

All:

1. Striker Feature Boosts
A) A possible option is to leave hidden might and at mid-heroic or paragon tier add in an additional striker feature. if the enemy is bloodied you can deal an additional 1d6 extra damage. Increasing to 2d6 and so on at later tiers.

B) A new idea but hard to implement is something to allow spending of surges for extra damage. This might impact survivability which could be hard to balance.

2. New Abilities

A) An extra At-will option for a multi-hit attack such as an attack like twin strike that deals 1d8 damage each hit.

EX:
The following as a twin-strike like attack using an implement to help boost damage per round. Hidden might(because its a vampire attack), enchantment, and other static bonuses will still apply.
Vampire Alacritous Strike: At-Will Standard Action
Melee: 1, Target: One or Two creatures
Keywords: Implement, Shadow
Attack Dexterity vs. Reflex (Two attacks)
Hit: 1d8 damage per attack,
Increase damage to 2d8 at 21st level.

B)Additional Off-Action attacks. An example of this is a feat to allow vampires to use an at-will power of their choice 1/encounter as a minor action.
Another option is to allow Blood drinker to no longer be additional damage but to count as a new instance of damage allowing enchantment, static bonuses from feats, and hidden might damage to be added to the blood drinker power. This is to potentially make blood drinker a more powerful ability as it currently stands it is the best the class has to an off-action ability, which is only extra damage currently.

C)Additional Feats. Some what gone over in the previous but in general more support for the shadow power source, specifically vampires as the overall class has less feat support than the assassin.'

EX:
A power to benefit damage based on how many healing surges you can steal which can range depending on your build/items.
Blood Power: Prerequisite: Vampire
You gain a bonus to damage for every healing surge you have over your default daily amount.

D)More Encounter/Daily powers.

Miscellaneous An idea for the main class and possibly as hybrid talent feature is to give the born under a bad sign/auspicious birth benefit to the class by default. This is for added flexibility because you're going to take this otherwise no questions asked because this is needed to really give enough of a buffer of health for regeneration to go from helpful to making you much less likely to use surges.

In addition to needing support to help boost the usefulness of the Ki-focus and holy symbol implements a possible addition is to allow the vampire to wield any item as an implement that they have proficiency with, like the monk. This allows for further options and enchantments than the ki-focus, and gives the flavor of a vampire being able to use a melee weapon without much effort with their added strength/speed and boosts the synergy of hybrids or multiclass options..


Any comments/suggesstions to help improve upon any of this are welcome.

vasharanpaladin
2013-06-10, 05:10 PM
Vampiric Heritage exists. Ignore the class and everything connected to it. Done. :smallyuk:

ranmyaku262
2013-06-10, 10:10 PM
Vampiric Heritage exists. Ignore the class and everything connected to it. Done. :smallyuk:

I've heard this time and time again but i don't think the heritage is all that good or fun. The powers are somewhat t terrible until paragon when you don't have to waste your time doing grabs.

They also lack the flavor of the main class and requires even deeper feat investment then vampires already do if you want to get into more vampire-like abilities

vasharanpaladin
2013-06-10, 10:40 PM
I've heard this time and time again but i don't think the heritage is all that good or fun. The powers are somewhat t terrible until paragon when you don't have to waste your time doing grabs.

They also lack the flavor of the main class and requires even deeper feat investment then vampires already do if you want to get into more vampire-like abilities

Martial Power 2, Brawler Style. :smallsigh:

As far as "flavor" goes, this is 4e. Fluff text means absolutely nothing. You want the "flavor" of a vampire? Describe your character as pale-skinned with noticeable fangs, he wears dark clothes and a big hat and is visibly uncomfortable in daylight. Scratch out the word "rogue" on your character sheet and write "vampire" next to it. Flavor is a non-argument. :smallfurious:

And at this point, I should probably apologize for wasting both your time and my own, because I flatly refuse to be helpful in this unless your "flavor" doesn't come chained to mechanics that force you to be a parasite on your own party. :smallyuk:

ranmyaku262
2013-06-11, 10:45 AM
Martial Power 2, Brawler Style. :smallsigh:

As far as "flavor" goes, this is 4e. Fluff text means absolutely nothing. You want the "flavor" of a vampire? Describe your character as pale-skinned with noticeable fangs, he wears dark clothes and a big hat and is visibly uncomfortable in daylight. Scratch out the word "rogue" on your character sheet and write "vampire" next to it. Flavor is a non-argument. :smallfurious:

And at this point, I should probably apologize for wasting both your time and my own, because I flatly refuse to be helpful in this unless your "flavor" doesn't come chained to mechanics that force you to be a parasite on your own party. :smallyuk:

Really you've just decided it's bad without a second thought. It's not your style and it's fine but i posted this for balancing suggestions for tweaks to the class so if you're not a fan of it i don't see the point in bashing homebrew improvements.

As for being a leech the class really isn't. I assume you refer to the power to take blood from party members. Honestly when i played the class i only ever used it once over many sessions.

As a hybrid vampire rogue human i had alot of options. Between the option to put temp hp on myself nearly every turn, regeneration while bloodied, and high defenses all around minus fortitude I wasn't in danger very much. Also at level 1i was stealing 2 surges from the enemy a encounter with blood drinker, a martial encounter power from my theme with the martial vampire feat, and the free surge when first bloodied from that feat also, i was easily able to end encounters with a surplus of surges to heal to full and the number i could steal only increased at later levels which if i played it right the 3 extra over the 2 base every encounter was enough to keep me easily alive and healthy every encounter.

So survivability really isn't an issue and as such you're really not a drain on the party.

The issue is the class needs a better striker mechanic because as the class stands it needs to hybrid to keep up in damage at paragon/epic tier Because the DPR is good/decent up until paragon when suddenly the scaling doesn't keep up.

Durazno
2013-06-11, 02:13 PM
If you're really able to drink up so many surges, perhaps their mechanic could have to do with spending surges for additional damage? (I suppose they'd need more if that were the case, but it seems sort of fitting.)

ranmyaku262
2013-06-11, 03:07 PM
If you're really able to drink up so many surges, perhaps their mechanic could have to do with spending surges for additional damage? (I suppose they'd need more if that were the case, but it seems sort of fitting.)

There exists an encounter power that deals an extra die of damage at such a cost, a utility power for mega strength checks, and some feats like arcane vampire allow you to do the same to add your charisma modifier to the damage.

Obviously the last one is fairly weak of a feature.

The idea isn't bad but obviously trades survivability for damage. It might not be too horrible at paragon/epic tier but like you said the mechanic requires you to increase how many they get but then it would potentially make it too easy to stay stocked on surges. The opposite side would be a nasty encounter could gimp your damage hard.

I like the idea i just don't know how to implement it in a balanced manner. Obviously the damage would have to be proportional to how often you can expend a surge.

vasharanpaladin
2013-06-11, 03:43 PM
So survivability really isn't an issue and as such you're really not a drain on the party.

The issue is the class needs a better striker mechanic because as the class stands it needs to hybrid to keep up in damage at paragon/epic tier Because the DPR is good/decent up until paragon when suddenly the scaling doesn't keep up.

You get two healing surges to go throughout the day, which, I'll remind you, you are painfully restricted as to adventuring hours, to the tune of "burst into flames if you set foot in sunlight, no save."

Your damage mechanic is, surprisingly, fine, but painfully limited. You are, effectively, locked completely into using your own class powers. Class powers that are, in addition, completely locked into your advancement and do not include off-action or multitap powers that Strikers require to operate, and you are further screwed by using implements in your powers, not weapons.

In short? You have zero nova ability, zero spike ability, and because you get very little +Striker support (combo of using IMPLEMENT attacks, a dead power source and being an Essentials supplement in all but name) you have pathetically weak DPR as well. You have some staying power, yes, and mobility... but all that avails you is playing keep-away. One of the major complaints about this system is that combat takes too long, and that's with four completely balls-out optimized Strikers and a Leader to make them go. Vampires are at the shallow end of the damage pool; for a comparison, the original assassin class is improved solely because the vampire exists.

This is also not taking into account the massive penalties you take just for being one. Only two surges per day. Vulnerable to radiant damage. Automatically take radiant damage in sunlight... with a story-based countermeasure, which is BAD.

You want to improve the vampire, more power to you. But don't make the mistake of thinking it'll be as easy as "oh, slap a few extra dice of damage in there somewhere, done." The vampire is an albatross around the party's collective neck, able to take plenty of damage before being brought low but unable to effectively deal it back out. As the class is currently written, we are looking not at a Striker, but at an Anti-Leader... someone who brings others low to improve his own ability.

You want to fix it, then fix it. I might even help with that. But, as I've noted, I will scoff at the idea that a "tweak" might cover all of those issues.

ranmyaku262
2013-06-11, 04:58 PM
You get two healing surges to go throughout the day, which, I'll remind you, you are painfully restricted as to adventuring hours, to the tune of "burst into flames if you set foot in sunlight, no save."

In rules themselves it mentions a cloak or heavy clothing getting around the sunlight issue(also divine vampire feat). So unless you're caught without that you'd have a problem but otherwise it's not really a problem. Also like i said you can steal surges through an increasing number of ways every encounter from enemies.



Your damage mechanic is, surprisingly, fine, but painfully limited. You are, effectively, locked completely into using your own class powers. Class powers that are, in addition, completely locked into your advancement and do not include off-action or multitap powers that Strikers require to operate, and you are further screwed by using implements in your powers, not weapons.

This fix is also targeting multiclass and hybrid. Hybrid helps fix the limited options problem and honestly i would always suggest multiclassing if you play the main class because the vampire feats for stealing extra surges help alot. Once again helps that problem.

Honestly yes the damage isn't good which is why I'm looking at the tweak and yes my solutions add other classes, but honestly the class seems made to work with other stuff. If you fix the damage then with what i have seen from experience to be improved survivability it's not a problem if it works with other things.



you have pathetically weak DPR as well.

Just before you said the damage mechanic was fine, if the DPR is bad then generally that would suggest something needs a damage boost somewhere, which would be the damage mechanic because that applies across everything.

I saw you mention the mechanics also only affect your abilities, obviously not including hybrid because that never affects both classes, you could add in a change that hidden might affects all abilities, not just vampire ones, suddenly multiclass on the main class just got alot stronger. You also made a point about how the class only kinda works with itself, thats part of some of my changes though, firstly is to somewhat remove the class's reliance on charisma because if it focuses on Dex (besides a few different powers that use charisma) suddenly this class is playing alot nicer with other classes for multiclass and hybrid.


This is also not taking into account the massive penalties you take just for being one. Only two surges per day. Vulnerable to radiant damage. Automatically take radiant damage in sunlight... with a story-based countermeasure, which is BAD.

Noted in a previous post and above


The vampire is an albatross around the party's collective neck, able to take plenty of damage before being brought low but unable to effectively deal it back out.

You honestly make it sound like you hand out party debuffs and steal every last surge from them only. Between the amount i steal an encounter and being able to last alot longer without needing to burn one I've only had to take two surges from a party member over the course of a campaign.

Honestly i see every point you make, i really do, i've seen just about every possible complaint people have brought up with the class when trying to do research on how to optimize it, but between alot of research i've done, playing around with builds, and just personal experience the class doesn't run as badly as people think. I'll agree on the damage being bad which is why multiclass and hybrid are incredibly necessary to make the class hold up. But being a leech on the party and the focus on the 2 healing surges thing it really doesn't work out that way in practice, there's just alot of different bits to take into account when deciding if this class is going to just fall over dead.

The reason also I'm doing a tweak and not a full overhaul/new class is because honestly from what I've seen the class doesn't have as horrible of a base to work with as previously thought, it just needs some help, and i feel a tweak would an easier thing to implement into people's campaigns than a full brand new class, with a few changes in place, and from what I've seen its less fun for the DM to have to manage big homebrew changes like a full new class instead of existing class + tweaks.

ranmyaku262
2013-06-13, 03:31 PM
So just to update on this im not trying to start a debate on the class, i just want ideas for what can be added to fix the class's dpr, like a quarry or sneak attack feature or something.

Also I'll keep updating the original post with ideas and stuff people come up with and balance suggestions.

vasharanpaladin
2013-06-13, 04:02 PM
So just to update on this im not trying to start a debate on the class, i just want ideas for what can be added to fix the class's dpr, like a quarry or sneak attack feature or something.


It has this, Hidden Might. What it needs are:

1) Multiattack powers. Do please note that all Strikers as well as the fighter get at least one. A more physically-inclined vampire might replace dark beckoning with, say, strigoi claws, which targets Ref with two attacks for 1d8 each, a la Twin Strike. This alone would noticeably improve the vampire's DPR at higher levels.

2) Off-action attacks. Again, all Strikers get them... except for the assassin, whose lamentable position was, again, improved by the vampire's existence. In this case, though, I'd make it a feat a la Quickened Spellcasting... pick an at-will, use it as a minor action 1/encounter. Following this suggestion...

3) FEAT SUPPORT. Shadow is the most woefully undersupported power source. Of the two fully-Shadow classes, only the assassin can use the Implement Focus Plus feat. In addition, the vampire uses implements, which are, again, completely inferior to weapons... an "optimal" vampire, should one exist, would much rather multiclass sorcerer and pick up a knife than use her native ki focus or holy symbol.

4) Options. As written, the vampire is currently locked into every power it gets except for two utility levels. It also has only one paragon path to work with, two if you're a dragonborn or a human. One could easily imagine a PP for each of the power source (and monk) combinations; Vampire Noble is fine as-is, if just attached to a rather pathetic class.

TL;DR version: Durability and mobility are fine; just focus on improving DPR and spike output. Multiattack and off-action attack powers are the primary means to this end. The vampire could also do with feat support that doesn't require you to multiclass. Above all, the most painful thing about the vampire is that it's a straitjacket... you only get two opportunities to choose powers as written.

ranmyaku262
2013-06-13, 06:24 PM
Durability and mobility are fine; just focus on improving DPR and spike output.
I'll agree with this, as once you get past the whole 2 surges thing and the fact that the class has ways around it its mostly that the class is just lacking in DPR, especially at later levels.

I really like these ideas, i thought of them but honestly was trying to somewhat avoid them due to trying not to get too complicated but you're probably right lemme just comment upon this further one point at a time.


It has this, Hidden Might. What it needs are:

1) Multiattack powers. Do please note that all Strikers as well as the fighter get at least one. A more physically-inclined vampire might replace dark beckoning with, say, strigoi claws, which targets Ref with two attacks for 1d8 each, a la Twin Strike. This alone would noticeably improve the vampire's DPR at higher levels.

With this i was just trying to avoid this and improve upon hidden might because other classes had such features but yet this class it still fell behind which is the only reason i was looking into possibly a better striker feature, but this is probably the easiest fix.



2) Off-action attacks. Again, all Strikers get them... except for the assassin, whose lamentable position was, again, improved by the vampire's existence. In this case, though, I'd make it a feat a la Quickened Spellcasting... pick an at-will, use it as a minor action 1/encounter.

This would help the class, obviously when i ran the class i fixed this by multiclassing/hybrid to add extra stuff to fix this. The class does psuedo have off-action stuff in blood drinker being a no-action boost to the 1st attack, so lower possible damage but its triggered damage increase so it can't exactly miss either, and at later levels you get a 2nd use of it, and a 3rd per encounter with the paragon path.



3) FEAT SUPPORT. Shadow is the most woefully undersupported power source. Of the two fully-Shadow classes, only the assassin can use the Implement Focus Plus feat. In addition, the vampire uses implements, which are, again, completely inferior to weapons... an "optimal" vampire, should one exist, would much rather multiclass sorcerer and pick up a knife than use her native ki focus or holy symbol.


I agree with this but this could probably be its own homebrew guide just for generic shadow feats. I'd say the only issue right now is vampires do have their 1st 3-4 feats kinda set in stone, but of course after that in the paragon/epic tier you have a bit more room to work with, but not much to work with past that.

Though i do have to ask what the great weakness of implements compared to weapons. I ask as i know implement based attacks generally don't target AC which is generally the higher stats on things so weapons get a proficiency bonus, implements on the other hand generally attack NAD. So i'm mostly curious what the benefit of a dagger is to a ki-focus.

If its enchantments i'll agree there because only recently in a dragon magazine update did Wizards add in a Ki Focus that allows you to gain 2 surges as a daily power after killing a target, and another that boosts the damage die on blood drinker from 1d10 to 1d12, but that's about it. Otherwise Holy Symbols seem to benefit clerics and such more, and Ki-focuses more affect monks, all around to the enchantments seem to be too class-specific.



4) Options. As written, the vampire is currently locked into every power it gets except for two utility levels. It also has only one paragon path to work with, two if you're a dragonborn or a human. One could easily imagine a PP for each of the power source (and monk) combinations; Vampire Noble is fine as-is, if just attached to a rather pathetic class.


Yeah this is the bane of essentials type classes like the scout also where choice doesn't exist, luckly unlike scout you can hybrid it, but it still leaves the base class woefully lacking.

As for the PP the only thing i could see changing is to maybe do something to compliment hybrid/multiclass more as if you're a Ranger and you do a powerswap your quarry still works (unlike hybrid which specifies only ranger abilities), on the other hand hidden might is vampire only abilities in the main class and hybrid so trying to mix in anything else is a waste of time.

The paragon class isn't too bad but i know if you go with Stalker Bloodline its vampire-only damage increase while beguiler isn't as specific but works only against creatures granting combat advantage which beguiler is what you would chose now if you want to benefit something other than vampire and stalker for static damage. But i just bring this up as most other paragon paths seem to be less specific on what they boost.

I'll add this all to the top part and try to organize is so we have a base set of ideas to expand upon.

vasharanpaladin
2013-06-13, 06:47 PM
Mostly, it's that dragonshards exist and you can't stick them on an implement unless that implement is a weapon (i.e. staff or dagger). Vampires only get ki focus and holy symbols, so they have to multiclass to make use of dragonshards.

The reliance on implements also means vampires can't colorchange their attacks very easily. There's very little in the way of "change damage type to X plus Y effect" ki focuses, and even fewer such holy symbols. Not to mention that in the latter case, I don't think the vampire has any specifically tailored to it.

...As for blood drinker, no. Look at the wording of the power; it says "extra" damage. It adds to the triggering attack without creating a separate damage instance. The key factor being that your static bonus to damage only applies once. Easiest fix is to change the Effect line to "1d10 damage, and you gain a healing surge." Remove the word "extra" from the remaining lines. It now creates a second damage instance from the same attack roll, that adds your static bonus to damage rolls again.

For feats, you really mostly just need support for the vampire's native implements (which doesn't even have to be vampire-specific). Then something like Vampiric Potence for a bonus to damage rolls (possibly related to how many surges you've stolen?) and Vampiric Celerity to make an at-will as a minor action 1/encounter, and you'll have it's "Striker" abilities mostly fixed (and without touching Hidden Might, even). :smallamused:

ranmyaku262
2013-06-13, 07:11 PM
Mostly, it's that dragonshards exist and you can't stick them on an implement unless that implement is a weapon (i.e. staff or dagger). Vampires only get ki focus and holy symbols, so they have to multiclass to make use of dragonshards.

The reliance on implements also means vampires can't colorchange their attacks very easily. There's very little in the way of "change damage type to X plus Y effect" ki focuses, and even fewer such holy symbols. Not to mention that in the latter case, I don't think the vampire has any specifically tailored to it.

Ok, i wasn't quite sure what the issue was but that makes sense.

As for specifically tailored Ki-focuses dragon magazine added in 4 items 3-5 months ago that were supposed to be for vampires. One gave a bonus while at 0 surges for NAD, another gave a bonus to blood drinker to increase the damage die, and one allowed you to take 2 surges when killing a target as a daily. The last wasn't a ki focus it was just a belt that gave a bonus to your regen equal to the enchantment bonus.


...As for blood drinker, no. Look at the wording of the power; it says "extra" damage. It adds to the triggering attack without creating a separate damage instance. The key factor being that your static bonus to damage only applies once. Easiest fix is to change the Effect line to "1d10 damage, and you gain a healing surge." Remove the word "extra" from the remaining lines. It now creates a second damage instance from the same attack roll, that adds your static bonus to damage rolls again.

I guess i didn't word it right, i mostly meant that is pseudo what the class has going for it right now for extra stuff, but i meant it was extra damage so it had the benefit that it couldn't miss. I do agree to remove that allowing hidden might and other static bonuses to apply again.


For feats, you really mostly just need support for the vampire's native implements (which doesn't even have to be vampire-specific). Then something like Vampiric Potence for a bonus to damage rolls (possibly related to how many surges you've stolen?) and Vampiric Celerity to make an at-will as a minor action 1/encounter, and you'll have it's "Striker" abilities mostly fixed (and without touching Hidden Might, even). :smallamused:

We could also take a monk/swordmage approach and just kinda treat whatever as an implement. I say this because you kinda get the monk effect where it doesn't really matter what you're swinging around, your powers will support it and benefit from it, this way we get the flavor of the vampire being able to just kinda swing whatever around yet still being powerful and the utility of getting around ki-focuses.

Or do both so we're giving ki-focuses proper support also.