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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Sucrose's Avatar

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    Default Help with a Fighter (shieldless, and not a Battlerager)

    This is probably a fairly straightforward issue: my Longtooth Shifter Fighter's defenses seem to be insufficient when dealing with several enemies in my present campaign. At level 3, his AC is 21 (by merit of +2 Drakescale), his Fortitude is 18, his Reflex 14, and his Will 15. His other defensive item is a +1 Brooch of Shielding, which has saved his bacon on more than one occasion.

    I built him around the Polearm Momentum feat, as it would provide the opportunity to knock any opponent to the ground via liberal application of Footwork Lure. His other at-will, generally only used against enemies that either are going to hit him anyway, or will go down if the attack hits, is Brash Strike.

    Even though he's gotten armor well beyond the normal wealth guidelines, he's still seeming to get hit quite a bit. I'm planning on taking Hafted Defense, but was curious about whether there were any further options available. Please note that there is a Paladin in the party, so taking up Plate Mail isn't ideal, as that would just leave us fighting over treasure on occasion.
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    ghost_warlock's Avatar

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    Default Re: Help with a Fighter (shieldless, and not a Battlerager)

    This is one of the issues I have with polearms, I find that AC tends to suffer for using them. Hafted defense is the only solution that comes to mind for me in this case. If your Dex was a bit higher (I'm assuming it's at about a 14-15), I'd drop the scale and grab hide armor instead. This wouldn't help AC immediately, but you'd them be able to use an elven chain shirt (+1 item to AC; lvl 9 wondrous) later on.

    Currently, I'm really liking the kusari-gama. It's a +2 prof, d10 damage exotic weapon with the defensive (+1 AC) and reach traits. It's not a polearm so you can't use Polearm Momentum with it, nor Heavy Blade Opportunity. However, it is a flail so you can still knock enemies prone with Footwork Lure just by grabbing Flail Expertise as early as level 1 so you can avoid having to stretch your stats for polearm momentum.

    Also, the Rending Chains Student feat adds a slide to Reaping Strike, which Flail Expertise can then change into a prone. You can further trick Reaping Strike out with Ironstar Student; when you hit enemies granting CA they take a -2 to attack rolls. If you still want the slide, you can grab the heroic feat Dragging Flail (req 15 Dex).

    Rending Chains Student and Ironstar Student also open up a couple other feats for fighters - Rending Chains Grappler (when you hit an enemy, they take auto damage if they shift and adds a slow to certain powers) and Ironstar Crusher (push 1 when you crit and certain powers can be used in place of a MBA when you make your Combat Challenge attack).

    In Paragon tier you have the options of Lashing Flail and Sweeping Flail. Lashing adds a slide to your MBA. Sweeping gives you a +2 to hit enemies using shields (probably only worth it if you're fighting a lot of humanoids).

    Edit: My gf will be playing a kusari-gama fighter in our upcoming Spelljammer game. I'm looking forward to seeing how it works out. Despite wearing chain, her AC looks like it'll stay competitive with the grappler fighter in our group courtesy of a defensive weapon and freebie Two-Weapon Defense. Here's the build she'll be using (note that the defenses don't take into account any magical gear).

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    ====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
    Georgia "George" Lass, level 12
    Human, Fighter (Weaponmaster), Pit Fighter
    Fighter Option: Combat Superiority
    Fighter Talents Option: Tempest Technique
    Human Power Selection Option: Heroic Effort
    Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)
    Theme: Sohei

    FINAL ABILITY SCORES
    STR 21, CON 12, DEX 16, INT 11, WIS 17, CHA 9

    STARTING ABILITY SCORES
    STR 16, CON 11, DEX 15, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 8


    AC: 26 Fort: 26 Ref: 23 Will: 23
    HP: 102 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 25

    TRAINED SKILLS
    Athletics +16, Endurance +12, Heal +14, Intimidate +12

    UNTRAINED SKILLS
    Acrobatics +9, Arcana +6, Bluff +5, Diplomacy +5, Dungeoneering +9, History +6, Insight +13, Nature +9, Perception +13, Religion +6, Stealth +9, Streetwise +5, Thievery +9

    POWERS
    Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
    Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
    Sohei Attack: Sohei Flurry
    Human Racial Power: Heroic Effort
    Fighter Attack: Combat Challenge
    Fighter Attack 1: Dual Strike
    Fighter Attack 1: Reaping Strike
    Fighter Attack 1: Funneling Flurry
    Fighter Attack 1: Villain's Menace
    Fighter Utility 2: Glowering Threat
    Fighter Attack 3: Rain of Blows
    Fighter Attack 5: Dancing Defense
    Fighter Attack 5: Rain of Steel
    Endurance Utility 6: Third Wind
    Fighter Attack 7: Come and Get It
    Endurance Utility 10: Reactive Surge
    Pit Fighter Attack 11: All Bets Are Off
    Pit Fighter Utility 12: Deadly Payback

    FEATS
    Two-Weapon Defense
    Level 1: Flail Expertise
    Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Kusari-gama)
    Level 2: Rending Chains Student
    Level 4: Dragging Flail
    Level 6: Improved Defenses
    Level 8: Superior Will
    Level 10: Improved Initiative
    Level 11: Lashing Flail
    Level 12: Armor Specialization (Chainmail)

    ITEMS
    Kusari-gama x1
    Chainmail x1
    Javelin
    Adventurer's Kit
    Alchemist's Frost (level 1)
    ====== End ======
    Last edited by ghost_warlock; 2012-09-18 at 01:09 AM.

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    Default Re: Help with a Fighter (shieldless, and not a Battlerager)

    If every monster (or most monsters) are attacking the fighter, then expect it to get hit a lot and go down. It's okay, it's part of what defenders do. And no, spending a feat on +1 defense isn't going to alleviate that.

    You could discuss party tactics and note that the 'squishies' are quite capable of taking a few hits for the team without dropping. Regardless, some DMs always attack a defender, or always have marked enemies attack the mark-er. No character in 4E can withstand that.
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    Adoendithas's Avatar

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    Default Re: Help with a Fighter (shieldless, and not a Battlerager)

    What other characters are there? In my group the Warlock often uses his "signature move" to save the Warden if she's trapped: Fey Switch, then Otherwind Stride.

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    Default Re: Help with a Fighter (shieldless, and not a Battlerager)

    Quote Originally Posted by Adoendithas View Post
    What other characters are there? In my group the Warlock often uses his "signature move" to save the Warden if she's trapped: Fey Switch, then Otherwind Stride.
    The other characters include a greatsword-wielding Paladin with Strength and Charisma balanced, leading to an extremely powerful Divine Sanction, a Shaman who uses Stalker Spirit, a Monk, who also tends to get attacked a fair bit, and has defenses in my character's range, and a Shardmind Psion. His demoralizing at-will helps with the enemies' accuracy a bit, but he can only affect one at a time without burning his power points.

    Kurald, a lot of marked foes do attack the Fighter, but it's more of the proportion of those that hit. I was under the impression that defender AC is supposed to generally be fairly good, but it just doesn't seem to play out that way. Enemies seem to have better than 50% odds of hitting. Are shields just mandatory for any non-battlerager?
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Help with a Fighter (shieldless, and not a Battlerager)

    Defenders' AC should be pretty good, but yours doesn't seem too out of line with what a defender should have. I generally try to keep about 17-19 + level, on average, and your character fits about that range. Too much higher than that, and (smarter) enemies will begin to wonder if attacking the brick wall is even worth it, and they'll go after squishier allies, since the -2 isn't a big enough deterrent. What might be the case is that it seems that your party is not only optimized, but more defensively optimized than most parties. The monk, for example, I assume to be an Iron Soul monk, since Iron Soul monks tend to act as off-tanks, and are the ones who focus more on defenses.

    So you have two defenders, and an off-tank, which means that the DM will probably be throwing a few more powerful monsters at you, or at least ones who have higher attack bonuses. That's one of the flaws of having too many defenders. If the DM keeps monsters the same, then there's no challenge, since if the monsters only hit 35% of the time, they're not going to be much of a threat. But contrasting with that, if he ups the attack bonuses of the monsters, then the fighters don't get to shrug off attacks like they're supposed to, and they feel weaker.

    Or maybe the dice gods just hate you. Happens to everybody.

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    Default Re: Help with a Fighter (shieldless, and not a Battlerager)

    I agree, your AC is fine for level 3. Seems like your Reflex and Will could use some help, though. Do you know around what percentage of the attacks are targeting your AC?
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    Nu's Avatar

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    Default Re: Help with a Fighter (shieldless, and not a Battlerager)

    Wait, +2 drakescale at level 3? That's crazy good. You usually don't get +2 items until around level 6.

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    Hal's Avatar

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    Default Re: Help with a Fighter (shieldless, and not a Battlerager)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sucrose View Post
    Kurald, a lot of marked foes do attack the Fighter, but it's more of the proportion of those that hit. I was under the impression that defender AC is supposed to generally be fairly good, but it just doesn't seem to play out that way. Enemies seem to have better than 50% odds of hitting. Are shields just mandatory for any non-battlerager?
    At level three, most enemies in your general range have attack values in the 7-12 range. Your AC is 21, which is about where it would be were you wearing plate and/or shield instead of your +2 armor. This puts the enemy chance of hitting you in the 30-55% range. For a character that isn't using every trick available to boost his AC, that's normal, even for a defender. Heck, that 30% value probably frustrates your GM; it's hard to challenge players if you can't land a hit, and some of us have perpetually unlucky dice.

    Bear in mind, though, that defenders generally have a variety of features that make them "tougher" than other roles:

    -More HP and more Surges to fuel that HP
    -More powers and features that provide a defensive edge
    -More options for boosting defenses

    You're focusing too much on that third one. You've already chosen not to optimize around it; focus on the things you can do and maximize your survival on the other features.
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    Default Re: Help with a Fighter (shieldless, and not a Battlerager)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nu View Post
    Wait, +2 drakescale at level 3? That's crazy good. You usually don't get +2 items until around level 6.
    Yes, I'm aware. That's why I'm a little concerned about how often enemies hit him, since it's spectacularly unlikely that his AC will improve much faster than 1/2 levels for a long, long time, unless he picks up Hafted Defense, which is, frankly, only a stopgap measure.

    KobaldMinion, it is quite possible that enemies are more likely to have high attack bonuses with a party like ours, now that I think about it. I hope that has something to do with it.

    Dimers, aside from fairly obviously magical attacks, I'm fairly sure that most enemies have been targetting AC. I know that none have yet been targetting Will. I'm a bit concerned that you say my Will is low, though; I've put a 16 in there, after racial bonuses. What measures should I take to improve it further?

    Hal, that's a good point. I guess I'll just try to pick up more defensive powers (damage mitigation, self-healing, and so on) as I continue to level up. Hopefully, I'll be able to survive until I get the opportunity.
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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Help with a Fighter (shieldless, and not a Battlerager)

    Or the GM is fibbing rolls.

    Your defenses seem adequate and in the AC department above board.
    Your build reminds me of the Elf Fighter I made using a Glaive and Polearm Momentum. If I recall I had decent str, dex and wis so I had decent bonuses to Defenses.

    Not much you can do, imo, either the GM is having enemies attacking you NAD or they are rolling exceptionally (and statistically significantly) higher than average.

    Do you know which Defenses are actually being hit against? There are feats to boost NAD and I guess you could always train out of them. I know my build pissed my DM off a lot despite me pointing out how much not using a shield and not min maxing stats made a difference. Maybe your DM just doesn't like the idea of your build.

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    Default Re: Help with a Fighter (shieldless, and not a Battlerager)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sucrose View Post
    I know that none have yet been targetting Will. I'm a bit concerned that you say my Will is low, though; I've put a 16 in there, after racial bonuses. What measures should I take to improve it further?
    If nothing has targeted Will yet, don't lose any sleep over it. Um, until your DM announces the campaign is switching over to a three-way struggle between mind flayers, liches and aboleths. Then you might want to retrain a feat. Or pick another class. It's definitely easier to hit than your AC, but if you DM mostly focuses on physical attacks, it shouldn't be a stumbling block.

    Superior Will is the best feat to improve Will directly, of course, if you have Wis or Cha at 15+. But a lot of items help with saves, specific NADs, redirecting attacks (give the Will saves to the eggheads!) or rerolling hits.
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