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    Default How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    I'm currently building an epic tier character with spirit lion totem barbarian (for pounce), frenzied berserker 10 (for Supreme Power Attack), and dervish 10 (for dervish dance and movement during a full attack, so I can get the most out of cleave and great cleave, plus double that amount 1/day). Problem is, as a barbarian, with armor restrictions and whatnot, I'm gonna have low AC even before I employ the tactic of jumping over enemies' heads and using battle jump, shock trooper, leap attack, etc., for 6d4+462 damage per hit. And I have a pretty decent to-hit bonus (+53 when jumping from overhead on the first attack) as well as a 15-20 critical threat range, so hopefully I won't be wanting for damage (though I'm not sure how I could get by effects that allow immunity to HP damage, save for hopefully having my sorcerer cohort successfully toss Mordenkainen's Disjunction at enemies who rely too much on magic for their own good).

    Does this even look like a good build (Spirit Lion Totem Barbarian 2/Fighter 4/Dervish 10/Frenzied Berserker 10)? I haven't played epic tier before, so I dunno what to expect.
    Last edited by Everest; 2011-07-26 at 12:08 AM.

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    If Epic Spellcasting is allowed, then you'll be totally useless.

    If Epic Spellcasting is not allowed, then you'll have the same problem chargers have pre-epic - anything you can hit dies, but there's lots of ways for them to keep you from hitting them.

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    If there are any full casters in the group, you're going to feel less than useless... :-/

    If you're dead-set on this build, try to get some size increases and take the War Hulk class (Miniatures Handbook). It gives static Strength increases, +20 over 10 levels.
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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    He's going to get all of the pounded.

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Quote Originally Posted by kharmakazy View Post
    He's going to get all of the pounded.
    Unless somebody builds a Paladin. They'll get all of the pounded, too.

    They'll both get all of the pounded. How does this work?

    Epic Spellcasting, that's how.
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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey McBannert View Post
    If there are any full casters in the group, you're going to feel less than useless... :-/

    If you're dead-set on this build, try to get some size increases and take the War Hulk class (Miniatures Handbook). It gives static Strength increases, +20 over 10 levels.
    And is more decent at epic since past 20 you stop gaining BAB anyway, so the downside of no BAB progression while being in the class is nulified.



    But yeah, for an epic campaign I'd advocate a Gish build. If Epic Spell shenanigans are allowed, you'll be able to take advantage of them for all sorts of crazy stuff. If they're not, you still have all the regular gish goodies. It only takes a few feats to get a decent enough charge damage to splatter most things.

    Also if you want a really high mobility character, consider making the physical part of your gish include a dip into swordsage, possibly into JPM, for the teleport maneuvers. If you're playing high enough epic level (which it sounds like you are if you have 2 full prestige classes maxed out in your current build), you can end at level 20 with near full BAB (all 4 iteratives at least) and 9th level casting, then use those epic levels on one of the classes that grants shadow pounce, so you can be teleporting around getting 3+ full attacks per round.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey McBannert View Post
    If there are any full casters in the group, you're going to feel less than useless... :-/
    Before I joined the game, almost everyone was a caster. But I had the idea for this build before seeing it. It looked like it would be the perfect setting, if not for the casters. But one of the DMs told me that I should feel free to use this character anyway.

    And I'm going to be traveling with a smaller group that focuses on more melee type stuff (see: Dramiscius in the shield to ac for monks thread. Except his armor class is gonna be multiple times higher than mine, once I've done what I wanted to do).

    I considered going as a caster instead, but I wanted to be different. And I have a caster cohort who can hopefully be useful in specifically combating mages. So, I dunno. I know that melee's gonna be sub-optimal no matter what I do, but I figured that if I could actually get this to work, it'd be pretty cool.

    EDIT: For the record, the first thing I was going to level into at level 27 was either going to be Swordsage or Warblade. Though War Hulk looks like another good option. Thanks.
    Last edited by Everest; 2011-07-26 at 12:33 AM.

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Looking at CR 26 threats, I see a guy that drains 10 from all physical stats each round as touch attacks, teleports your brain out of your head and has no-save stun. Oh, and free Quickened Dim Door. Are you better than this guy? Because you need to be.
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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Ah, yes, the Brain Collector.

    Well, I dunno. I don't want to play such a comparatively-useless character, but at the same time I didn't want to be just another caster (and still don't) and had nifty ideas in mind for getting lots of damage, sub-optimal as those ideas may be.

    But if it's between playing a caster with insane power and being a hindrance who'll get killed off in one turn, I might just bow out.
    Last edited by Everest; 2011-07-26 at 12:54 AM.

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Maybe a Gish character of some sort?
    I'm sure there's a way to get swiftblade 10 AND 9th level casting.

    After that, some Abjurant Champion, and just take your leap attacking shock trooper combat brute feats at normal levels. Perhaps the martial wizard ACF for fighter feats instead of wizard bonus feats.
    I know you don't want to play another caster, but I think it would suck having skip a game just because your barbarian build won't work. Perhaps the other casters are low-med op, and don't abuse epic spellcasting, preferring instead heightened maximized twin quickened fireballs for their higher level spell slots.

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Quote Originally Posted by herrhauptmann View Post
    Maybe a Gish character of some sort?
    I'm sure there's a way to get swiftblade 10 AND 9th level casting.
    White Dragonspawn Kobolds, possibly few others if you have access to Eldritch Master.
    That thing is no more terrible then I.

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    He's playing at level 26, he can take Swiftblade 10 and still have 4-5 caster levels to spare.

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    If you don't want to be a caster, Epic Binders actually have some really cool vestiges that might help.

    JaronK

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Quote Originally Posted by Divide by Zero View Post
    He's playing at level 26, he can take Swiftblade 10 and still have 4-5 caster levels to spare.
    Ah yes, finish Swiftblade while in epic levels?
    I mentioned it because I'm sure you need to have 9th levels before level 20 to take Improved Spell Capacity and Epic Spellcasting. But I might be wrong on that assumption...

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    If Epic Spellcasting hasn't made your game into a philosophical debate, you could actually be a lot more useful than one would think. Despite the lousy AC, you have the rather large advantage of Deathless Frenzy making you all but immune to damage, and can try to play that up to be tanky. You also are not entirely dependent on magic to function (and indeed, you are not dependent on magic to be nearly immune to damage), and so can deal with Antimagic Fields, which are a typical bane of high level high OP parties, ESPECIALLY in close quarters & cramped conditions.

    My advice is to get a lot of gear, and convince your allies to get you a lot of buffs, to emphasize your Indomitability and improve your Mobility. Raise up your saves high with feats like Steadfast Determination, make sure you have a fast Fly speed, get Mind Blank cast on yourself, and if you cant pick up Mettle and Evasion as class features (strongly preferred) get magic gear to simulate them (Ring of Evasion/Tabard of Mettle).

    Rocket Tag in these sorts of levels is often based around having a specific set of things your defenses are set up to counter and a specific set of things your offenses are set up to get past. Often this metagame is centralized around magic users, which means that you can get a lot of bang for your buck with well placed brute force. Playing this sort of a character in a party of high level spellcasters, you're an insurance policy against Antimagic/Disjunction ambushes and a tactical missile which they can use to kill things in CQC that need killing.

    This all said, you can only really make these types of contributions if your party frequently finds itself on raid-type excursions in enemy territory with poor support. You have next to zero long range combat potential (Buy a composite Forcebow though, since at least you can pick off mooks from a half mile off for no cost) and nothing on the utility side. If your party constantly has the DM on the backfoot and only goes anywhere with a giant army at its back, you won't really contribute much.

    In short, being two or three tiers lower than the rest of the party doesn't necessarily mean you are useless, if you are specialized to be useful in situations the party would otherwise have trouble with.
    Last edited by DeAnno; 2011-07-26 at 01:40 AM.

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Quote Originally Posted by Divide by Zero View Post
    If Epic Spellcasting is allowed, then you'll be totally useless.

    If Epic Spellcasting is not allowed, then you'll have the same problem chargers have pre-epic - anything you can hit dies, but there's lots of ways for them to keep you from hitting them.
    I might consider going Rune-Scarred Berserker (Unapproachable East), they get access to anti-magic field as a rune-scar.

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Quote Originally Posted by Popertop View Post
    I might consider going Rune-Scarred Berserker (Unapproachable East), they get access to anti-magic field as a rune-scar.
    While that class is one of the few "melee gets nice things" classes in pre-epic levels, after 20th, antimagic fields sort of lose all meaning. IIRC, epic spells bypass antimagic fields entirely.
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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Ask for an epic anti-magic field?

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey McBannert View Post
    While that class is one of the few "melee gets nice things" classes in pre-epic levels, after 20th, antimagic fields sort of lose all meaning. IIRC, epic spells bypass antimagic fields entirely.
    Not quite.

    Quote Originally Posted by d20 SRD, Dispelling, Epic Spells and Antimagic Fields
    Antimagic field does not automatically suppress epic spells as it does standard spells. Instead, each time an epic spell is subject to an antimagic field, make a dispel check as a 20th-level caster (1d20 + 20). The epic spell has a DC of 11 + the epic spellís spellcaster level. If the suppression check is successful, the epic spell is suppressed like any other spell. If the dispel check is unsuccessful, the epic spell functions normally.
    So, it's still useful in early Epic but it starts to lose steam at CL 30+.

    Also, you only get a handful of epic spells per day, since it's based on skill ranks. Unless a 10 minute work day is some how enforced (plane shift to your Genesis'd pocket dimension of choice), I don't think that'll be the end of everything. And really, if he can get his defenses to a good level, there's plenty of epic threats that his particular flavor of threat reduction can be effective against. Everything still has an hit point total and will die if you reduce it to -10 or lower, earlier for constructs and undead, contingencies notwithstanding.

    So, basically, if you want to be an unstoppable force of destruction, you can, just build carefully. 3.5 comes apart at the seams in Epic, so discretion is the way to survive. If nothing else, see if you can pursue some of the 3.5 Epic Destinies, Blade of Ragnarok in particular, could work fairly well for making things taste your steel and not come back for seconds. Legendary Dreadnaught can be a fun little dip as well, though I wouldn't necessarily focus on it.
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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    I think a lot of people here haven't actually played in many epic level games.

    Epic spellcasting will not make you useless, unless your DM is allowing cheese. The tricks that work to make wizards the be-all-end-all in earlier levels will be less reliable, and hit point damage actually becomes a viable method of taking down enemies.

    Bear in mind, you can wear Mithral Full Plate, so your AC doesn't need to be in the tank, and if you're stuck with light armor, the mihtral chain shirt is your friend. Don't forget an animated shield. If you have a sorcerer cohort, if you build him with the ability to counterspell, this will do wonders to keep your barbarian from getting hit with effects that can neutralize him in one-shot. Sorcerers can be built to reliably counterspell just about anything on the fly.
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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    I think a lot of people here haven't actually played in many epic level games.

    Epic spellcasting will not make you useless, unless your DM is allowing cheese. The tricks that work to make wizards the be-all-end-all in earlier levels will be less reliable, and hit point damage actually becomes a viable method of taking down enemies.

    Bear in mind, you can wear Mithral Full Plate, so your AC doesn't need to be in the tank, and if you're stuck with light armor, the mihtral chain shirt is your friend. Don't forget an animated shield. If you have a sorcerer cohort, if you build him with the ability to counterspell, this will do wonders to keep your barbarian from getting hit with effects that can neutralize him in one-shot. Sorcerers can be built to reliably counterspell just about anything on the fly.
    Sound advice. Beyond AC, looking into alternate defenses, like miss chance, can serve you well, as attack bonuses are pretty high, which makes pumping AC have diminishing returns rather rapidly. Goodly amounts of DR, temp hp and fast healing can make a good amount of difference in making sure you're not a grease stain.
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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    I think a lot of people here haven't actually played in many epic level games.
    To be fair, I haven't either. >_>

    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    Epic spellcasting will not make you useless, unless your DM is allowing cheese. The tricks that work to make wizards the be-all-end-all in earlier levels will be less reliable, and hit point damage actually becomes a viable method of taking down enemies.
    That's reassuring to hear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    Bear in mind, you can wear Mithral Full Plate, so your AC doesn't need to be in the tank, and if you're stuck with light armor, the mihtral chain shirt is your friend. Don't forget an animated shield. If you have a sorcerer cohort, if you build him with the ability to counterspell, this will do wonders to keep your barbarian from getting hit with effects that can neutralize him in one-shot. Sorcerers can be built to reliably counterspell just about anything on the fly.
    Well, the +5 mithral chain shirt and animated shield have been factored in, and I still have an AC of 42 before Shock Trooper, so miss chance seems like a much better choice.

    And I was going to be building the sorcerer for the express purpose of neutralizing other spellcasters, which I think some people overlooked. So that should help.

    Although, looking at swiftblade and possibly abjurant champion, I might just try again with a wizard 10/abjurant champion 5/swiftblade 10/swordsage 1. Either that, or drop the campaign altogether since I also have a meatspace game to prepare for, a play-by-post game elsewhere that I think starts today, and a campaign in that same place to begin setting up for.

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Quote Originally Posted by Everest View Post
    Does this even look like a good build (Spirit Lion Totem Barbarian 2/Fighter 4/Dervish 10/Frenzied Berserker 10)? I haven't played epic tier before, so I dunno what to expect.
    The problem with your build is that it's completely geared towards attack. Now this is fine for low level games (since killing an opponent before he kills you works just fine at those levels) but when you're epic you need to be able to take a hit.

    Right now, just about any CR adequate creature you meet would kill you (or at least disable you) in 1 round.

    Now it's not impossible to have a decent epic warrior build but you want something that can achieve the following:

    -insanely high Fort and Will saves (you can usually ignore Reflex as most of the time it just does more damage).
    -As many immunities as you can possibly get
    -High touch AC (if you can't then focus on high hitpoints instead)
    -flying and teleportation

    I don't recommend SR as most epic spellcasters tend to bypass it altogether but it's nice if you get it somehow. There's always epic level magic items for those though.

    The saint template is especially poweful for epic characters. You get immunity to every element except fire and Electricity which you can get from 2 epic rings of energy immunity (240 000 each).

    Saint also gives you your Wisdom bonus to AC (even in armor with shield). And don't forget you can have an animated shield protecting you as you yield a 2 handed weapon.

    Dipping 1 level of swordsage gives you 3 teleportation maneuvers since your initiator level = 1/2 your class levels +your swordsage level. (this way you get shadow jaunt, shadow move and shadow blink).

    As for flying there are plenty of magic items for that.

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soranar View Post
    The problem with your build is that it's completely geared towards attack. Now this is fine for low level games (since killing an opponent before he kills you works just fine at those levels) but when you're epic you need to be able to take a hit.

    Right now, just about any CR adequate creature you meet would kill you (or at least disable you) in 1 round.

    Now it's not impossible to have a decent epic warrior build but you want something that can achieve the following:

    -insanely high Fort and Will saves (you can usually ignore Reflex as most of the time it just does more damage).
    -As many immunities as you can possibly get
    -High touch AC (if you can't then focus on high hitpoints instead)
    -flying and teleportation

    I don't recommend SR as most epic spellcasters tend to bypass it altogether but it's nice if you get it somehow. There's always epic level magic items for those though.

    The saint template is especially poweful for epic characters. You get immunity to every element except fire and Electricity which you can get from 2 epic rings of energy immunity (240 000 each).

    Saint also gives you your Wisdom bonus to AC (even in armor with shield). And don't forget you can have an animated shield protecting you as you yield a 2 handed weapon.

    Dipping 1 level of swordsage gives you 3 teleportation maneuvers since your initiator level = 1/2 your class levels +your swordsage level. (this way you get shadow jaunt, shadow move and shadow blink).

    As for flying there are plenty of magic items for that.
    Well, my Fort save is +31, but the others are +20 and +22, so I'm kinda screwed there. I have 384 HP, but crappy defenses, though I'll have a counterspeller on the sidelines to help the whole group. Fire immunity and 10 cold resistance, but I haven't looked into getting other resistances because I don't know how many enemies are going to have those kinds of attacks (and I forgot to mention that this is an evil campaign, so anything saintly is right out). Lastly, I have flight, but no teleportation of my own. And I was eventually going to dip into Swordsage and Warblade. Assuming I keep this build.
    Last edited by Everest; 2011-07-26 at 01:49 PM.

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Quote Originally Posted by Everest View Post
    Well, the +5 mithral chain shirt and animated shield have been factored in, and I still have an AC of 42 before Shock Trooper, so miss chance seems like a much better choice.

    And I was going to be building the sorcerer for the express purpose of neutralizing other spellcasters, which I think some people overlooked. So that should help.

    Although, looking at swiftblade and possibly abjurant champion, I might just try again with a wizard 10/abjurant champion 5/swiftblade 10/swordsage 1. Either that, or drop the campaign altogether since I also have a meatspace game to prepare for, a play-by-post game elsewhere that I think starts today, and a campaign in that same place to begin setting up for.
    Easiest way to get miss chance: Smoking weapons. Lords of darkness I believe. Only a +1 Cost. But they have a few restrictions. Such as only affecting a single 5x5ft square. So if you get to Large size, you'll need smoking shield spikes, armor spikes, spiked gauntlet, and primary weapon to fully cover yourself.
    Or get a ring of blinking, and the mageslayer line of feats.
    Also, pierce magical protection, SHOULD nerf even an epic spell that protects someone from getting hit. But some people don't like how the underpowered melee characters get the ability to just bypass the strongest abjurations in the game.

    Does the DM allow changing the specific items shown in the DMG?
    If so, upgrade the celestial armor:
    Winged shield and celestial chain have the same flight effect at the same caster level. With WS being just a +3 shield, you know how much it costs to generate that fly effect (8000 gold), so you could upgrade the celestial armor with additional fly uses at 8k a pop.
    Usually I use those rules to buy celestial chain WITHOUT fly, but going in the other direction can work too. You can then argue that the metal for celestial armor costs 5k for medium armor, allowing you to make a celestial breastplate for a few more points of AC. Or increase cost of material by say 50 to 100%, and make yourself celestial fullplate. Though that last part requires a bit more leniency out of the DM.


    edit:
    Evil Saints perhaps? Unholy is just 'holy' but for the evil guys. So it makes sense they'd have their own saints as well.
    Last edited by herrhauptmann; 2011-07-26 at 02:16 PM.

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Quote Originally Posted by herrhauptmann View Post
    Easiest way to get miss chance: Smoking weapons. Lords of darkness I believe. Only a +1 Cost. But they have a few restrictions. Such as only affecting a single 5x5ft square. So if you get to Large size, you'll need smoking shield spikes, armor spikes, spiked gauntlet, and primary weapon to fully cover yourself.
    Or get a ring of blinking, and the mageslayer line of feats.
    Also, pierce magical protection, SHOULD nerf even an epic spell that protects someone from getting hit. But some people don't like how the underpowered melee characters get the ability to just bypass the strongest abjurations in the game.

    Does the DM allow changing the specific items shown in the DMG?
    If so, upgrade the celestial armor:
    Winged shield and celestial chain have the same flight effect at the same caster level. With WS being just a +3 shield, you know how much it costs to generate that fly effect (8000 gold), so you could upgrade the celestial armor with additional fly uses at 8k a pop.
    Usually I use those rules to buy celestial chain WITHOUT fly, but going in the other direction can work too. You can then argue that the metal for celestial armor costs 5k for medium armor, allowing you to make a celestial breastplate for a few more points of AC. Or increase cost of material by say 50 to 100%, and make yourself celestial fullplate. Though that last part requires a bit more leniency out of the DM.


    edit:
    Evil Saints perhaps? Unholy is just 'holy' but for the evil guys. So it makes sense they'd have their own saints as well.
    Greater Blurring gives you all the miss chance you could possibly want, split up as you want without having to worry about 3.0 sources.

    Also, I think Evil Saints are called Arch Fiends.
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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Isn't greater blurring only like 5 or 10 rounds a day?
    That's why I don't like it. I'd prefer that my defensive enchantments are always active, rather than choosing when I'd like to be protected.

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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    AC at epic is mostly there to prevent you from being power attacked into oblivion, so don't worry if it doesn't seem like it will prevent any hits. :)
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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Quote Originally Posted by Everest View Post
    I have 384 HP, but crappy defenses...
    If you have 384 HP at epic levels, on a BARBARIAN build, you are doing something wrong, sir. You should easily be able to hit 500.
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    Default Re: How much is a shock trooper barbarian/dervish gonna get pounded on in Epic tier?

    Quote Originally Posted by SamBurke View Post
    If you have 384 HP at epic levels, on a BARBARIAN build, you are doing something wrong, sir. You should easily be able to hit 500.
    >_> I kinda figured my HP was subpar, too. I dunno; I grabbed a +6 enhancement item, +5 inherent bonus, a bought-off half-dragon template for +2, and had 14 at the start, so . . . well, I dunno all the other ways to enhance my ability scores. And I haven't put too much thought into magic that could be used for that purpose.

    And raging/frenzying wasn't going to be my focus, though rage would nab me an extra 52 HP upon use.

    But I'm probably going to quit the campaign anyway. Either that, or make a completely different character. I'm liking the sound of wizard 6/swiftblade 2/abjurant champion 5/swiftblade +8/teflammar shadowlord 4/swordsage 1.
    Last edited by Everest; 2011-07-26 at 03:51 PM.

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