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Thread: Guidance in 4e

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    Default Guidance in 4e

    There seems to be an increase in people getting ready to shift over, and I've seen some really good advice on this site, in some random locations. I thought it might be helpful to collect the bits of advice into one location, and welcome anyone adding anything new. I'll edit in any content that people link to that gives good guidance.

    This means that, if you give me a hunk of text, I will use the quote feature to give you credit. However, I may edit it some, most likely to make it fit with the rest of the material. If you dislike the editing I do, or if I removed something you saw as key, please tell me and I'll correct it.

    First off, this is a great source for detailed information. I will work to link each of my the overviews here to the class handbook.

    Themes Overview:
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    As there are sooo many themes, I can't even begin to do an overview of them all. However, I've found a pair of good ones here, and here. They both cover a number themes and which ones may be the most helpful. Themes are wonderful. Use them for free bonus mechanics, and a great way to get a good hook for roleplaying.


    Defender Overview:
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeeposFire View Post
    Battlemind-Effective and deadly though they require several things to work. Firstly you need to give yourself a decent MBA by hook or crook. Then you need to take a immediate action power like lightning rush which is your primary use of power points. Mind spike is there but is not really important. Blurred step is good but be sure to use the update so that it works (this allows you to follow enemies and with the update you can use an opportunity attack if they try to charge away). You are very tough being con based and offensively you can be awesome using brutal barrage.

    Cavalier-Not quite as good as a standard paladin in most ways though it has a few decent parts. It can get an awesome mount but it is difficult to make one that is better than decent. Some like to use their defender mechanic as a way to deal more damage rather than defend. These are the advantages the cavalier possesses from the OP guide. You discourage enemy movement better than other Paladins, You constantly threaten multiple enemies with punishment, by default, You don't have to mark (which is nice since you can have other players push targets next to you and they are subject to your punishment), and You are still a master of mounted combat.

    Knight-This is very good. It can be damaging and controlling. It also gets the awesome fighter power support (utility wise and up to two if using reserve maneuver and the feat that trades one use of power strike). It also does not mark which is good and bad. It can punish more targets since they use opportunity action. Almost as awesome as a straight fighter (which is quite the boast) and is great in nearly any party.

    Fighter-Among the best (if not the best) defender in the game. Can be high damaging (near striker levels), fairly tough, great at ignoring status effects (at least until they run out of utility powers), and are very sticky. They also have so many different types of play style (grabbing/shield/two weapon/two handed/one handed/any weapon at any time/berserker). This is a fan favorite.

    Paladin-Great at marking many targets and actually affecting them. Can really help a leader due to all the healing it can give. Not sticky but its punishment can be nasty (such as weakening violators). Has great AC as well.

    Swordmage-Defends by marking one target and going of to another target. Shielding is the best by far at defending. They can use their mark punishment at the same time as many of their encounter powers and have great powers otherwise. They can easily have tremendous defenses and some good utility powers. Assault isn't very good at defending but can be made into a pseudo striker (better as a hybrid though). Ensnarement is bad though and I know of no way of redeeming it.

    Warden-Tough and great at making saves. It can get good damage and has some nice powers going in a nature theme. They are effective and are well liked.

    Berserker-Very damaging and can deal excellent damage while defending. They can't defend for long (as they will go striker as soon as they use their powerful primal powers) but while they do they are damaging. What is nice is that once defending isn't needed they can switch to striker. Great as a 5th man.


    As you can see defenders are actually overall really well designed. The fighter is considered the best of the bunch overall tough the rest are good too. The berserker seems better for a 5t man but can do the job well enough that you shouldn't feel bad using it. The cavalier is the weakest that work. The assault swordmage is better at striking than defending in most opinions and ensnarement is the only true failure.
    Quote Originally Posted by tcrudisi View Post
    Fighters aren't the best. The Defender role is probably the most well-balanced. Which one is the best? Well, all of the pre-essentials ones are fairly equal. It becomes dependent on the rest of your party as to which one is the best. The Battlemind, Paladin and Warden are all the equal to the Fighter, just in different ways. Heck, even the Shielding Swordmage is close. The Fighter has the most support but even with that, I wouldn't call it any better than the others.


    Striker Overview:
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeeposFire View Post
    Slayer-easy to use and hard to take down. If you want to go higher OP it will easily with multiattacks and high accuracy charges.

    Hexblade-has more power diversity. At high OP they can get really high damage on a single attack but lack ways to effectively nova so that hurts them in that regard.

    Thief-Really accurate and mobile. At high OP you can get a decent nova going and charging is easy and effective. Only issue is picking a decent paragon path.

    Scout-Also accurate and mobile. Can pack a wallop as well however it takes more feats to do so on the high OP scale. Compared to a scout it mostly is a flavor choice.

    Most utility is the thief in terms of skills. Heck take jack of all trades as your PP and you can have almost every skill trained with excellent checks to boot.

    Most damage would likely go to a high OP slayer. High charging damage combined with a nasty nova sequence (charge+power strike+trip up+rain of blows is an early paragon level nova than can devastate enemies) and they are accurate and high damage.

    The hexblade has the most power diversity but is usually considered the weakest of the bunch overall since it lacks an effective nova (and in high OP that is important). Still it is a fully functional class so if you want power diversity you can still make a good striker using it (or even striker controller if you use the gloom pact).

    On a personal note I really like slayers and thieves since I don't derive my fun from having a few more choices in mechanically different attack powers (mostly in the form of daily powers though slayers/thieves actually have more at will choices and nearly even encounters if they want). This is due to my experience playing other versions of D&D where this is the norm and I really like the idea of using powers to modify my typical attacks. This is why I try to be clear and use the term "power diversity" when describing classes with more various power choices.
    Quote Originally Posted by MeeposFire View Post
    Rangers-probably the overall most damaging striker by mid heroic onward. It gets great damage from twin strike (its real striker feature as hunters quarry is barely worth mentioning in the long run). It also possess the best nova of all the classes.

    Warlocks-Not as damaging as most it packs a lot of status effects (near controller level in fact some groups use them as controllers) and its curse has awesome feat support. It is often used as part of a hybrid (like paladin|warlock).

    Assassins-Tricky. They tend towards lowish damage by paragon onward (they do alright in heroic) and are glass cannons (though this can be alleviated a bit by use of their class features and powers). They also tend towards late damage since the class wants you to put their feature on a target over the course of several rounds and it hard later (while during this time your target could be dead before you use it).

    Executioner Assassin-If you want to be an assassin choose this one. This one primarilly uses basic attacks supplemented by a few special at will powers. It has one massive encounter power and uses daily poisons rather than daily powers. It is considered pretty good though not as nasty as some. This class also has decent skills and lots of out of combat utility. In fact you can use your poisons before a fight (by poisoning food and the like) and that can do special attacks on your target and they have utilities that interesting and useful.

    Avenger-Double roll is the striker feature which means it is more accurate and more likely to crit than any other class. It also has enough support to get a decent nova and so is one of the better strikers. It is also very tough. One issue is that its feature requires you to not get surrounded by enemies as it only works with a single enemy next to you.

    Barbarian-Does alright damage at will (can be made pretty good if you charge). It also has brutal multiattack encounter powers and the daily rages are nice as well. Barbs are masters of breaking encounters wide open due to rampage on a crit. This is awesome but also unreliable since you generally do not control it. Ragebloods are the best strikers of the group (str primary dex secondary con is not as important as dex) and can explode on an encounter with their class encounter power (charge as a free action after killing somebody).

    Berserker-Can be made about as nasty as a non-rageblood barbarian and might be better for a certain type of flavor (such as an unarmed desert nomad barbarian). The rageblood barbarian is slightly better pound for pound (only due to the charging encounter power).

    Blackguard-Very nice. You don't get a daily at level 1 but you get it eventually at level 5. They can have good damage if they build to charge and can get a decent nova going. They also have great AC and durability (Plate+heavy shield and defender HP) so it makes them among the toughest strikers. Good choice if you want a dark, brutal, and tough guy.

    Monk-Among the most mobile. They can deal decent damage on one target but not great. They also lack a good nova BUT they are among the best at spreading damage around. They also get two powers for every power they choose (one for an attack and another is a move type). Best idea for them is to build to be mobile and take powers that allow them to hit lots of targets while having really high defenses (such as five storms for a close burst 1 and taking feats to give better than defender AC). From a lot of feedback they are considered a lot of fun due to their mobility and ability to spread the pain.

    Rogue-Deals more damage than a warlock but is also very good at controlling (not quite as good as a warlock though). The warlock, ranger and rogue is the trifecta of damage versus control with warlock as high control and relatively low damage and the ranger is higher damage with less control (rogue is in the middle). They can deal high base damage especially using things like riposte strike and can get a nova going with their minor action attacks. Lots of skills and some good utilities keep them versatile.

    Sorcerer-Can be made to deal pretty good damage on one target and can possess a decent nova which is available early. They are more dangerous used as a ranged group destroyer as their striker feature works on area attacks. They can be mostly covered by a genasi wizard (the difference being that the wizard would have better daily powers but the sorc can get a better encounter nova). Sorcs also get some nice defensive utilities that make them tougher than they appear.

    Vampire-Highly thematic (and probably the first time in D&D that they made a balanced and usable vampire). It works well for what it is but you get nearly no class based choices (which is fine once but you are not likely going to be building a bunch of different vampires in the long run). They have some decent daily powers and blood drain is nice as an encounter. In order to get a nova you need to multiclass out (even if the power may not get the vampire bonus damage). It is also harder to optimize since it is a shadow class using implements (both are supported less than their counterparts). The class is tough to kill due to regeneration and can actually make the party last longer (since if they are low in HP and you have more surges than they started with in the day you automatically go to full health and if needed you can suck a surge from your friend which you would choose the friend with the most surges thus sharing the wealth and allowing the group to go farther). vampires also get a nice skill list and their utility pwoers are fantastic out of combat (they can use a gaze that prevents enemies from making opportunity attacks but OOC will charm and give you a bonus to bluffing and diplomacy or turn into a bat to get to a high up place) and many are encounter utilities. Low choices and relatively low damage but lots of utility. In some circles many think of this almost as a solo class and less a striker (heals itself, has controlling powers, can have excellent defenses and can take some heat, and has an official striker feature that makes for decent damage).

    (Honorable mention) Bladesinger-I mention it since it is easier to build this as a striker than a controller. If you build it as Str primary and Dex secondary and multiclass fighter you can be nasty. You take a power swap for rain of blows and take the PP shock trooper which also gives you a 3 attack power. On standard turns your striker feature are your blade spells along with the standard charge and MBA boosters. When you nova youuse your bladesinging power and unleash shocking twister and rain of blows. Your damage that set of turns will be massive. On other turns you will use wizard dialies that don't care much if you hit and then make minor action mbas. It will work as a striker in most groups.

    (Honorable mention) Wizard-A Genasi Wizard or Tiefling Fire Blaster can be built to do striker level damage, using the support for the races and the wizard class.


    Leader Overview:
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeeposFire View Post
    Ardent-Effective and can make great intimidancers. They are versatile and effective but they are masters of none of the basic leader abilities (healing, enabling, buffing, positioning, etc).

    Artificer-They can get more out of items and have some great powers. They are among the best at buffing. Their healing power is among the best since their first uses in the day cost nobody surges and you can have anybody in the party give surges to recharge powers which allows for better party durability over the day. Combine them with a vampire for potentially hilarious results.

    Bard/skald-Bards are weak at healing but are strong in every other way. They are masters of positioning enemies and allies (and when they slide friends and they have the right feat that makes for extra attacks). They have tremendous powers that often lead and have awesome control properties. They can also buff effectively and enable (not a well as the warlord but they are 2nd in that regard). They are also fantastic with skills (trained and untrained with bard of all trades) and among the best in skill challenges. Skalds are neat since they can be made to use any ability score as their primary ability score and still be effective.
    Quote Originally Posted by tcrudisi View Post
    I don't think Bards are weak leaders, though. Just the opposite: using Cha instead of 1d6 is a bonus in their favor, +Cha in temp hps is nice, and they have a level 6 utility which lets someone spend a healing surge to heal AND get their healing surge in temporary hit points.
    Quote Originally Posted by MeeposFire View Post
    Cleric/war priest-The best at healing. They can be good at buffing as well. Not great at enabling though. War priests are tougher but are limited in their encounter powers.

    Also note that the Battle Cleric build of the Cleric, thanks to the Battle Cleric Lore feature in Dragon #400, trades Healer's Lore for fantastic AC (+2 always-active shield bonus and scale armor proficiency) and free attack bonuses to allies that they heal. As a Battle Cleric, it drops your healing power a bit, but lets you hand out bonuses more frequently.
    Quote Originally Posted by tcrudisi View Post
    Rune Priests - Rune Priests are complex in an entirely different way than all the other classes in the game. While they have seen basically no support since their release in the PHB3, the few powers they have are perhaps the most versatile in the entire game. Each power offers multiple choices in how they operate. Each power also changes which Rune State you go into, meaning that each decision is more complex than other classes. Rune Priests excel in buffing (maybe being the best though artificers are great too), especially for multiple bonuses of different types at once. Their buffs also work for themselves, a unique trait among leaders. It would behoove anybody playing one to make cards with the bonuses on them to remind your party all the stuff they are getting.
    Quote Originally Posted by MeeposFire View Post
    Sentinel-Weakest at being a leader since it lacks the type of powers that leaders tend to have. They can heal enough though to be your leader. There is only one build that makes them tick at a high level which is thankfully thematic which is to go "wall of fur". By taking your multiclass, themes, and your own critter you can have 3 or more people under your control at a time on the table. This offers a lot of potential and is their signature build. If you want to build a beast master this is what you want.

    Shaman-Heal is great at spreading surgeless healing but not so good at single target healing. They have some special advantages relating to their spirit companion such as control and even some striking. They also can be gerat in skill challenges by speaking to the spirits. They can spread the love around.

    Warlord-Best leader class in most minds. They are the best at enabling others to attack. they are also great at moving allies. They can buff effectively as well. They can heal more often than others with a feat though they tend to be weak on the amount healed. In an offensive based game these are your best leader.
    Quote Originally Posted by tcrudisi View Post
    (Honorable Mention) Paladin-Considering how highly regarded Virtue is for pallies (spend a healing surge to get your surge value in temp hps), this thing is amazing. With just that one encounter power utility, they become very solid healers.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeeposFire View Post
    Warlord is the best but all are great leaders. The sentinel is the weakest of the group and is the least like a leader but if made in the right way (wall of fur and similar) even they are valuable in a party.


    Controller Overview:
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeeposFire View Post
    Controllers are difficult to judge as they really depend on your tactics, party tactics, and power selection more than anything.

    Druid/protector druid- The controller type druids are versatile. They can be ranged or melee depnding on desire. If you use wildshape you can also be highly damaging even up to striker level damage (though you will not have a striker nova). They have a good range of status effects and are a real boon to the party. Protectors get cantrips, summons, and a special control encounter power instead of wild shape, an extra at will, daily choice, and rituals (do note that protectors can get daily choices, wild shape, and ritual casting though feats).

    Hunter-Nice damage and accuracy with proper building can be a boon to a party. They lack the stronger control effects and large AOE though. Makes a great supplement to your other controller and their nice damage can be a nice addition. Their best control is if you build them to hand out giant attack penalties (using a seeker at will, marking, psychic lock, and a mind iron Xbow). You can make hunters that won't miss except on a one.

    Psion-Has great low level at wills and decent dailies. You use most of your power points on your 1st level powers which you will likely never trade so if you want a variety of powers to use this is not your class. Not as strong as a wizard (but what is?) but still good.

    Invoker-The divine wizard and nearly as good. It has great powers of all types. If you don't want to play a wizard but want similar power and style the invoker is the best bet.

    Seeker-Can be made with decent damage. Very similar to the hunter and the two go together often. Between the two I think the Hunter has better at will usage, better encounter power for the most part, and can do more damage. The seeker has the better at will powers (in grappling spirits and the one that gives attack penalties but note that half elf hunters can get the best of both worlds), better if you do miss (which is not often) due to your inevitable arrow, and has access to dailies (not great dailies but you have them).

    Wizard/mage/witch-Among the best encounter, at wills, and definitely the best dailies in the game. Best control over a wide area. Daily powers can make your DM cry.

    Bladesingers- As a controller weak. Their at wills deal mostly damage and weak status effects in melee. As a striker they can be very good. Build them with str/dex focus and take fighter multiclass and the storm trooper PP and you will be a damage force. This is another class that is less a standard controller and more a combo class in this case striker (I think it is called controller only since it lacks any single class feature to be called anything else). It can be effective in a party but don't use it as a primary controller as it lacks the ability to do that in any significant way.

    Binder-Tends towards soft control and is not the strongest in effects. It can control however and it surprised some in the OP trials but it has a MAJOR FLAW. That is anything it can do the original warlock can do and deal more damage. So in other words if you want to play a binder you play as a standard warlock and take the powers for the binder which makes you just as good at controlling but more damaging and you can use the awesome curse support (which can help you control even more). If you want a binder at will play a human warlock and use your human bonus at will to take your favorite power.

    Wizard is best followed by the invoker. Druids are versatile and are the only likely melee controller. Hunters and seekers are more single target and thus unusual as controllers and tend towards more soft control (this leads to some calls of sucking but looking at them and their best OP experts and actual play they work fine they just are different from some expectations). Bladesingers on the other hand are at best secondary controllers that can be made into strikers. Binders are one of the few (if only) true failure in 4e as a class, not because they can't control (they do alright and the tests bore this out on the OP boards though it is mostly soft control) but that the same could be done just as well with more damage with a standard warlock (they can take the same exact powers and binders have no class features that make them better controllers).


    Leveling Guide for numbers:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mando Knight View Post
    Your defenses are fairly simple, starting at level 1, going very roughly:
    Paladin-grade AC (the best without synergy from various stacking bonuses) is 19 + level (Plate and Heavy Shield, monster average against it is 30% accuracy)
    Normal Defender AC is about 18 + level (just scale, or chain and light shield, etc., 45% monster accuracy)
    High non-Defender AC is about 16 + level (scale, or hide and +4 bonus), same as many Defenders.
    Moderate non-Defender AC is 15 + level (hide and +2 bonus, leather and +3 bonus)
    Low non-Defender AC is 13 + level (cloth and +4 bonus, leather and +2, hide and +1, 60% monster accuracy)

    Your NADs (Non-AC Defenses) generally fall under good, average, and bad scores. Most Defenders have NADs similar to their non-Defender buddies. Class and other miscellaneous bonuses may even out these NADs, or make one disproportionate to the others.
    Your "Wait, a bonus to my attack stat's NAD? Really?" score can be 16 + level... or higher with a racial bonus. At this point, the DM just looks to attack you from a different angle.
    Your good score is the one depending on your primary stat and is roughly 13 + level. Most monsters hit this on an 11, for 50% accuracy.
    Your average score uses your secondary stat and is roughly 12 + level.
    Your bad score uses whatever is left, and is roughly 10 + level... monsters get 60% accuracy.

    Attack bonuses are divided into Implement and Weapon bonuses:
    Very High weapon attack bonuses are +7 + level (hits average Soldier AC on an 9 for 60% accuracy, 70% against most others, 80% against Brutes)
    High weapon attack bonuses are +6 + level (hits Soldier AC on a 10, 55% accuracy)
    Standard weapon attack is +4 + level (hits Soldier AC on an 12, 45% accuracy)

    Good implement attack bonuses are +3 + level (you're gunning for NADs, so you'll hit on an 9 for 60% accuracy on average)
    Standard implement attack bonuses are +2 + level (55% accuracy)
    Low implement attack bonuses are +1 + level (Many optimizers will question why you're even using an implement attack with this low of a bonus...)

    To stay in these ranges, take one scaling feat (i.e. Weapon Expertise) each for your attack and NADs (there's a collective NAD-booster feat, so this should only cost you two feats), but their bonuses aren't as noticeable before level 11, so you have time to budget them in unless your numbers are chronically low otherwise. For your AC, take Masterwork armor when possible and boost your AC stat (Dex or Int, usually) also whenever possible if you're not using heavy armor. Note that a shield provides a bonus to your Reflex and AC, so if you need to boost both, they're a good place to start. For weapons, just pick one you like. You can trade some accuracy for damage if you wish.

    Try to get the Big Three magic items (neck, armor, weapon/implement) to be at least within your enchantment bracket (+1 for 5 or lower, and an additional +1 at 6, 11, 16, etc.). If you're a double-dipper for your attacks (weapon and implement, two weapons, or you took Dual Implement Spellcaster and want to maximize your damage), pick a main item to keep at the normal pace, and boost your second item whenever you can without draining too many of your other resources.

    As said above, you're fine if your numbers are off by a few from the averages given.

    Most of these numbers go off of some assumptions for your ability scores at level 1:
    Primary: 18 (20 is ridiculous and only recommended for classes that can cover their AC and don't have much use for any other stat. 16 is fine, and usually results from not picking a race with a boost to your primary... not recommended, but usually at least feasible.)
    Secondary: 14-16 (dual 18s is great, but basically requires total mediocrity in the other scores. Which you usually don't need anyway. 18/16 usually results from having full racial synergy, such as a Dragonborn Dragon Magic Sorcerer or a Genasi Swordmage. If you don't use your secondary stat much, a 13 or lower is fine.)
    Tertiary: 14 at best (usually results from a 16/14/14 spread), 13 otherwise (since although 13 is an odd number, it may qualify you for some attractive feats)
    Everything Else: 13 if you really want it, 10 or 12 if not, and 8 if you need to dump something (I hate dump stats, personally)

    Average monster defenses and attacks are as follows:
    Soldier AC: 16 + level
    Average AC: 14 + level
    Low AC: 12 + level
    NADs: 12 + level
    Attack vs AC: +5 + level
    Attack vs NADs: +3 + level

    Skill bonuses are harder to keep at X + level, though they start higher than attack bonuses. You'll usually have a few specializations, but here's how I see it (approximately, before any skill-boosting magic items you might find.):

    +11 + level +1/tier or more: You're exceptional at the skill, a prodigy. Eladrin Wizards and Arcana, Halfling Rogues and Thievery... you're almost synonymous with the skill.
    +9 + level +1/tier: You're very good at the skill... a specialist. You'll complete most tasks fairly easily.
    +7 + level +1/tier: You're good at the skill. You might defer to a specialist to complete hard tasks, but you're sufficiently competent for most applications.
    +5 + level, +1/tier: You're competent. You can usually complete most tasks, but you'll usually avoid harder ones unless necessary or failure isn't dangerous... you'll complete those maybe half the time.
    +2 + level +1/tier: You're not trained, and you should usually think twice before trying a difficult task, but you're decent enough to try if needed.
    +0 + level, +1 @ Epic: You're not good at this skill... not trained and not naturally good, either. You'll complete easy tasks often enough, but defer to someone better if possible for everything else.
    -1 at 1st level: You dumped this stat. Do you really think you should try this?


    Hybrid or Multiclass
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcrudisi View Post
    Hybrid: If you are new to 4e, creating a hybrid character is the last thing you want to do. Accept that this is here only for more advanced players and even they often screw it up. Simply put, save yourself the headache and just pretend that this option does not exist until you have played 4th edition for at least a few months.

    For more advanced players, ask yourself these questions: Why do I need to hybrid? Can multiclassing accomplish my objectives? If so, that is almost always the best bet. If not, make sure that what you are getting from being a hybrid character is equal to or greater than what you are giving up (this is usually not the case).

    (There are some basic rules to hybriding, a lot of which is covered in the miscibility table on the 4e forums.)
    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    This, a thousand times over. One of the great things about 4e is that while there are certainly more powerful builds, it's hard to really gimp yourself if you make decisions that make any sense whatsoever. A novice thrown at the system, making decisions that "make sense," will likely create a character that can contribute reasonably well.

    Hybrids are the exception to that rule. The only advice on hybrids in a guide for new players for 4e should be "don't."
    If this doesn't throw you off, then there are a few things you need to consider about your character. Does the character need to be a hybrid? Do the mechanics of another class do what you want, and just need refluffing? Or can this be solved with a multiclass feat or two, or a theme?

    If you really want to use the mechanics of two separate classes, consider the following.
    Where are you getting your AC?
    What are you holding in your hands?
    What exactly do you want your character to do, mechanically?
    Is there any synergy between the Primary and Secondary Stats?
    Are your NADs covered?

    If you can't answer these questions, then you need to stop and go back and try again. Remember that hybrids get the worst of the combined armor proficiencies. Stats are easy to see, but consider how important certain classes' riders are. Does one class want a weapon in each hand, a single big one, some kind of implement or two? Weapliments are a hybrid's friend.

    If you don't have a clear guide in mind, then the sheer number of options available to you will be overwhelming. You will have to choose between two entire classes worth of options, and if you don't actually know how they work, then maybe it isn't time to make a hybrid yet. Play at least one of the classes straight, and once you have a good handle on the game, have your current character get drunk and stay at the tavern, and introduce your new hybrid.

    Here is a chart of hybrids that have potential.


    Guide of Gishes
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    I'm defining a Gish as someone proficient with a melee weapon, implement, heavy armor, and is able to fight either at range casting or in a melee hacking. I am including a few that can act as melee casters but do not wear heavy armor, because they often have the right feel. This will be expanded greatly, hopefully including links to sample builds.

    Pure classes: Hexblade, Bard
    Refluffed classes: Paladin, Cleric
    Multiclass: Fighter/Wizard, Warlord/Warlock
    Hybrid: Paladin|Warlock, Paladin|Sorcercer, Fighter|Cleric, Warlord|Sorcerer
    Honorable mention: Swordmage, Bladesinger, Avenger, Swordmage|Warlock
    Last edited by Tegu8788; 2013-01-31 at 11:33 AM.

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    Default Re: Guidance in 4e

    Quote Originally Posted by Tegu8788 View Post
    Leveling Guide for numbers:
    Please note that I updated the figures... I forgot to factor in the first level.

    Also note that the Battle Cleric build of the Cleric, thanks to the Battle Cleric Lore feature in Dragon #400, trades Healer's Lore for fantastic AC (+2 always-active shield bonus and scale armor proficiency) and free attack bonuses to allies that they heal. As a Battle Cleric, it drops your healing power a bit, but lets you hand out bonuses more frequently.
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    Default Re: Guidance in 4e

    So noted. I'm also looking to add a section on the dos and don'ts of making a 4E Gish, but I'm going to have to write all of that myself I believe. My hope is, by making the guides I will get a better understanding of the mechanics, new players will have an easier place to find things that are a bit more extensive then the RAW thread allows, and help new players find you more experienced lot, and feel less pressure about asking for help then a PM.

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    Default Re: Guidance in 4e

    Quote Originally Posted by Tegu8788 View Post
    So noted. I'm also looking to add a section on the dos and don'ts of making a 4E Gish,
    Play a Hexblade or Swordmage. Done.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mando Knight View Post
    Play a Hexblade or Swordmage. Done.
    Or a ::shudder:: Bladesinger.

    There is also the Knight variant specifically for Eladrins (in Dragon 395, I believe) that lets them abuse teleports to enforce their mark very similarly to an Assault Swordmage. It's quite fun.
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    Default Re: Guidance in 4e

    I disagree with the overall conclusion on the Defenders. Fighters aren't the best. The Defender role is probably the most well-balanced. Which one is the best? Well, all of the pre-essentials ones are fairly equal. It becomes dependent on the rest of your party as to which one is the best. The Battlemind, Paladin and Warden are all the equal to the Fighter, just in different ways. Heck, even the Shielding Swordmage is close. The Fighter has the most support but even with that, I wouldn't call it any better than the others.

    In the striker section, you mention genasi wizards very briefly. I would make a separate category for Wizards. There is also the Tiefling fire blaster which can do striker-level damage.

    In the leader section, I mostly agree with what was said. I don't think Bards are weak leaders, though. Just the opposite: using Cha instead of 1d6 is a bonus in their favor, +Cha in temp hps is nice, and they have a level 6 utility which lets someone spend a healing surge to heal AND get their healing surge in temporary hit points. Considering how highly regarded Virtue is for pallies (spend a healing surge to get your surge value in temp hps), this thing is amazing. With just that one encounter power utility, they become very solid healers. Also, I was saddened to see that the Runepriest didn't get as much love as I had hoped. While they don't have as many powers to choose from, each power is extremely versatile.

    Invokers have the great encounter powers while Wizards have the great dailies. That's really what it boils down to between those two. This section was spot-on and I have no disagreements with anything.
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    Default Re: Guidance in 4e

    tcrudisi, if you want love for the rune priest, give me a little description and I'll gladly throw it in there. As for the defenders and Tiefling fire blaster, I'll add that to the commentary.

    Mando Knight and Sorcerer Bob, those three are certainly on my list as "pure class" gishes, but I'm also looking to have some multiclass and hybrids listed, to help give some advice for how, and when to make a hybrid, when to multiclass, and when to just refluff things.

    The other thing, that is a challenge larger than myself that I want to try and throw in is a summary of themes. There are just so many.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tegu8788 View Post
    tcrudisi, if you want love for the rune priest, give me a little description and I'll gladly throw it in there. As for the defenders and Tiefling fire blaster, I'll add that to the commentary.

    Mando Knight and Sorcerer Bob, those three are certainly on my list as "pure class" gishes, but I'm also looking to have some multiclass and hybrids listed, to help give some advice for how, and when to make a hybrid, when to multiclass, and when to just refluff things.

    The other thing, that is a challenge larger than myself that I want to try and throw in is a summary of themes. There are just so many.
    I can see a discussion on when to Hybrid, if ever, being very helpful to a new player. Hybrids, as much as I love them though, can be something of a nasty trap to new players as well, so again, I think this could be very helpful.

    As far as theme summary goes... You are right, that's one heck of a challenge. You might just be wise to link to the theme handbooks on the WotC site. If the work has already been done, no sense in doing more!

    Edit: A basic theme summary (as of Nov 2011) can be found here, as well as a nice backgrounds summary, if that interests you.

    Heck, this entire thread has links to just about everything you need to know. Defender theory, Races, etc.
    Last edited by Sorcerer Blob; 2012-01-26 at 11:02 AM.
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    Default Re: Guidance in 4e

    Quote Originally Posted by Tegu8788 View Post
    tcrudisi, if you want love for the rune priest, give me a little description and I'll gladly throw it in there. As for the defenders and Tiefling fire blaster, I'll add that to the commentary.
    Absolutely! I'm about to walk out the door but I'll try to get around to doing this tomorrow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sorcerer Blob View Post
    I can see a discussion on when to Hybrid, if ever, being very helpful to a new player. Hybrids, as much as I love them though, can be something of a nasty trap to new players as well, so again, I think this could be very helpful.
    For hybrids, I'm a fan of saying something to this effect:

    Hybrid: If you are new to 4e, creating a hybrid character is the last thing you want to do. Accept that this is here only for more advanced players and even they often screw it up. Simply put, save yourself the headache and just pretend that this option does not exist until you have played 4th edition for at least a few months.

    For more advanced players, ask yourself these questions: Why do I need to hybrid? Can multiclassing accomplish my objectives? If so, that is almost always the best bet. If not, make sure that what you are getting from being a hybrid character is equal to or greater than what you are giving up (this is usually not the case).

    (There are some basic rules to hybriding, a lot of which is covered in the miscibility table on the 4e forums.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcrudisi View Post
    Hybrid: If you are new to 4e, creating a hybrid character is the last thing you want to do. Accept that this is here only for more advanced players and even they often screw it up. Simply put, save yourself the headache and just pretend that this option does not exist until you have played 4th edition for at least a few months.
    This, a thousand times over. One of the great things about 4e is that while there are certainly more powerful builds, it's hard to really gimp yourself if you make decisions that make any sense whatsoever. A novice thrown at the system, making decisions that "make sense," will likely create a character that can contribute reasonably well.

    Hybrids are the exception to that rule. The only advice on hybrids in a guide for new players for 4e should be "don't."

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    Default Re: Guidance in 4e

    I agree, there needs to be heavy warnings about hybrids, and I don't intend it to be a "hey everyone, make hybrids!" I love the idea behind hybrids, it makes me feel like I've really got a unique character, but also a way to say, "You want to hybrid barbarian|beastmaster ranger because you want to play a primal warrior with an animal companion? Try a Barbarian with a Fey Beast Tamer theme or Shaman MC and refluff." Hybrids may look like the only way to get a concept done, but there are many other ways that are easier. I intend to be honest with the hybrid guide, that it's much more complicated, the only way to really screw up. But if the concept is valid, I want to help find a way to get it done, be it through themes, multiclassing, or even hybriding. Being high op isn't my goal, but playable without DM handicapping is.

    If we say, no new players can hybrid, then they will make hybrids without asking for advise, and are likely to make mistakes and make the poor hybrids we all fear. But with some guidance, they will either realize they don't need to hybrid, or learn how to make a good one, and thus learn a lot more about 4E mechanics quickly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tegu8788 View Post
    tcrudisi, if you want love for the rune priest, give me a little description and I'll gladly throw it in there.
    Rune Priests - Rune Priests are complex in an entirely different way than all the other classes in the game. While they have seen basically no support since their release in the PHB3, the few powers they have are perhaps the most versatile in the entire game. Each power offers multiple choices in how they operate. Each power also changes which Rune State you go into, meaning that each decision is more complex than other classes. Rune Priests excel in buffing (maybe being the best though artificers are great too), especially for multiple bonuses of different types at once. Their buffs also work for themselves, a unique trait among leaders. It would behoove anybody playing one to make cards with the bonuses on them to remind your party all the stuff they are getting.
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    Default Re: Guidance in 4e

    Thank you very much. I'm also editing in the very beginning of my Gish guide now.

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    Even if they wear cloth, Avengers are pretty gishy. Between their Armor of Faith feature, being usually dual-primaried in an AC stat, and the Unarmored Agility feat, their AC can easily approach defender levels. They like big weapons, but do have a large (if usually ignored) array of implement powers, and a huge number of their powers offer strong control riders.

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    But how do they handle at range? If someone has a better definition of a Gish I'd be happy to alter mine and reevaluate where things fall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tegu8788 View Post
    But how do they handle at range? If someone has a better definition of a Gish I'd be happy to alter mine and reevaluate where things fall.
    At range 5-10, they play like a single target invoker. 90% of Avenger players will ignore the implement powers and happily take only the weapon ones, but the implement ones aren't all bad. They do not (generally, though a great deal of them explicitly break this rule) get double rolls on your oath target, and they (generally) do inferior damage to same-level weapon attacks (assuming you're using a superior weapon), which is two severe downsides as striker power choices. But they do exist, and can provide strong single target control effects (including dominate).
    Last edited by Sol; 2012-01-28 at 02:24 AM.

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    Default Re: Guidance in 4e

    Hey Tegu, would you care to edit my section on the Rune Priest? When writing it, I attempted to include the best points the MeeposFire made while adding in new material. As it is now, I repeated some things that he initially said. Simply deleting those couple of sentences should suffice. Thanks!
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    Default Re: Guidance in 4e

    Thank you both, I did my last edit on my phone, so it was just a matter of pasting it in. Also, thanks for the Avenger info, when I expand them more, hopefully with some details like the pure classes have, I'll certainly include that.

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