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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Blackguard creation for a new player

    Hey y'all, this is my first time venturing into the 4E side of things (being a 3.5-exclusive player previously) and I've just had my first session playing a Blackguard. It was a kind of thrown-together effort (my first time making a 4E character and I only spend half an hour on it) and so while it was effective I know there's a hell of a lot more I could do. The DM said I can rebuild the character to my heart's content for the next session now that I know a bit more about what I'm looking for, so I'm turning to you guys for your expertise. It's necessary that this guy be as effective as is feasibly possible because the DM rolls like an angry god; seriously, he went a whole encounter without rolling less than 10, while constantly changing dice.

    Having done some research I'm pretty sure I want to continue to play a Blackguard and so I'm looking for help on building one. All books are open, as is Dragon Magazine if I know which one it's in. We're currently at third level, but we seem to be advancing fairly slowly so I'd like something that I won't have to wait till Paragon to mature. Loot is fairly low, so I can't really rely on having the magic item I want. I'm looking for a fair mix between sustained and nova damage.

    Onto specifics:

    Ability score-wise, I'm thinking I might want to go a clean mix between Charisma and Strength. There doesn't seem to be the degree of stat-boosting that went on in 3.5, so it seems like I'd be better off with going for two pretty high stats that I can get bonuses off both than keying everything off one stat and shoehorning SAD into there. However, you're the experts, so I'm open to suggestions.

    As far as race goes, I'm thinking Human as the Ardent Strike/Commanding Vow/Deadly Draw combo for constant Combat Advantage sounds like the best way to go, especially considering the amount of Blackguard stuff that's based on CA. There seem to be some nice arguments for Tiefling; I like the idea of continuing on the Cold damage route that Dread Smite starts and Icy Grasp of Stygia helps.

    Weapon choice is a mystery to me. I've read that the Gouge is really awesome but I'm not sure how to get the mileage out of it. None of the Exotic weapons seem very good, even the Mordenkrau which looked appealing (average damage only comes out to 1 more than a greataxe). I went with a Falchion in-game for old times' sake but that was really just a placeholder.

    Got some advice for a re-newbie?
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    Hmmm, I like the way you think.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: Blackguard creation for a new player

    I'd love to help you, but I wanna ask a few questions first. So;

    What are you wanting to build or do with your character? Are you set on playing a Blackguard? Are you set on being a striker? What is your party like/makeup? Are you looking for ease-of-use, or ease-of-awesome?
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Blackguard creation for a new player

    The party consists of a Chaladin, Bard, Rogue, and Sorcerer. We're lacking a Controller but the others aren't too concerned about filling party roles and they've told me just to play what I want.

    I am pretty set on making a Blackguard. The only other class that interests me at this point is the Slayer, and the Blackguard looked a lot more mechanically interesting. I primarily chose the Blackguard because I like the idea of a Striker who's tough enough to fend for themselves and the 'guard seems to have a lot of interesting mechanics. I'm looking to be a battlefield bully, who's rough, tough and will push around and pick on anybody he wants; this is one good reason for me to go for a Deadly Draw combo.
    On creating medieval thermobaric detonations:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    *strokes chin*
    Hmmm, I like the way you think.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Blackguard creation for a new player

    Quote Originally Posted by kardar233 View Post
    The party consists of a Chaladin, Bard, Rogue, and Sorcerer. We're lacking a Controller but the others aren't too concerned about filling party roles and they've told me just to play what I want.

    I am pretty set on making a Blackguard. The only other class that interests me at this point is the Slayer, and the Blackguard looked a lot more mechanically interesting. I primarily chose the Blackguard because I like the idea of a Striker who's tough enough to fend for themselves and the 'guard seems to have a lot of interesting mechanics. I'm looking to be a battlefield bully, who's rough, tough and will push around and pick on anybody he wants; this is one good reason for me to go for a Deadly Draw combo.
    Honestly, the Blackguard isn't that good a bully by 4e standards. A good bully has forced movement all over the place, driving the enemy before them. Blackguards are more like rocks - tough, strong, and dangerous. But they aren't bullies in the way (PHB) fighters, barbarians, and avengers are. Your concept is, to me, saying PHB fighter in scale armour - and the damage output is probably about the same due to multiattacking.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Blackguard creation for a new player

    Quote Originally Posted by neonchameleon View Post
    Honestly, the Blackguard isn't that good a bully by 4e standards. A good bully has forced movement all over the place, driving the enemy before them. Blackguards are more like rocks - tough, strong, and dangerous. But they aren't bullies in the way (PHB) fighters, barbarians, and avengers are. Your concept is, to me, saying PHB fighter in scale armour - and the damage output is probably about the same due to multiattacking.
    That's all well and good but I'm pretty set on Blackguard.
    On creating medieval thermobaric detonations:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    *strokes chin*
    Hmmm, I like the way you think.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Blackguard creation for a new player

    In 4E, you get 2 good stats and the rest are basically left behind. Str is the most important for a Blackguard, Cha closely behind. I've been enjoying playing around with Blackguards, and a great strategy is for you and the Rogue to flank thinks until they die. Flanking gives each of you CA, triggering both your striker features. Your Bard may be able to help in that regard as well. Cunning Stalker is a good feat for granting permeant CA as long as your enemies don't stand next to each other.

    You have a very charismatic group there, so trying to be the party face isn't something you need to worry about. I'd consider dropping a feat to get a waraxe (+2, 1d12, axe, versatile) or some other big weapon, because you aren't going to have too many implement powers. Deciding if +2 AC/Reflex is worth a 2-handed weapon is up to you.

    Humans and Tieflings have great feat support. Human's extra at-will is often used to get Ardent Strike to make you an off-tank, but with a Chaladin he likely already has it. You've already started on some fun frost-cheese. Charging is a great way to boost your damage, and as a striker you are all about damage.

    You are a Paladin sub-class, so you're also very tough, but killing things is your job. The Rogue and Sorcerer should also focus on killing things. The Bard, and to some extend, the Sorcerer, can act as Controllers, and you can dabble in Defending if the Paladin is busy.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Blackguard creation for a new player

    Quote Originally Posted by Tegu8788 View Post
    In 4E, you get 2 good stats and the rest are basically left behind. Str is the most important for a Blackguard, Cha closely behind. I've been enjoying playing around with Blackguards, and a great strategy is for you and the Rogue to flank thinks until they die. Flanking gives each of you CA, triggering both your striker features. Your Bard may be able to help in that regard as well. Cunning Stalker is a good feat for granting permeant CA as long as your enemies don't stand next to each other.

    You have a very charismatic group there, so trying to be the party face isn't something you need to worry about. I'd consider dropping a feat to get a waraxe (+2, 1d12, axe, versatile) or some other big weapon, because you aren't going to have too many implement powers. Deciding if +2 AC/Reflex is worth a 2-handed weapon is up to you.

    Humans and Tieflings have great feat support. Human's extra at-will is often used to get Ardent Strike to make you an off-tank, but with a Chaladin he likely already has it. You've already started on some fun frost-cheese. Charging is a great way to boost your damage, and as a striker you are all about damage.

    You are a Paladin sub-class, so you're also very tough, but killing things is your job. The Rogue and Sorcerer should also focus on killing things. The Bard, and to some extend, the Sorcerer, can act as Controllers, and you can dabble in Defending if the Paladin is busy.
    You're going to have to explain a lot of this; I've read a couple of guides and so I know just enough to name things but I have no idea what they entail.

    Frost-cheese: I vaguely remember something about frost weapons, Lasting Frost and Permafrost for constant Combat Advantage. Seeing as Dread Smite's cold effect won't last (based on DM's dice luck) I'm not really seeing the feasibility here.

    Charging: You say this is a great way to boost damage, but all I see is a small to-hit bonus and being forced not to use my at-will strikes. Is there some kind of feat support like 3.5's Shock Trooper that I can use to make this nice, because I'm not seeing it.

    Based on what I've seen of 4E's movement mechanics and the style of our DM, I'm not sure flanking will be all that viable of a strategy; definitely not something to rely on. Cunning Stalker is also not going to be very viable.

    I'll do a little math to see what weapons have the nicest damage output, but what's probably going to be more important is whatever support there is for the different weapons. Again, I've heard the Gouge is ridiculously good but I'm not sure why.
    On creating medieval thermobaric detonations:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    *strokes chin*
    Hmmm, I like the way you think.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Blackguard creation for a new player

    Charging is good because it has fantastic feat and item support. Avalanche Maces/Hammers deal +1[W] on a charge. Vanguard Weapons (any melee) deal +1d8 on a charge. Horned Helm adds +1d6/tier on a charge. The 17 dex/fighter/rogue feat Surprising Charge adds +1[W] if you charge with a light blade or a spear. The gouge is much beloved because it benefits from both spear and axe support (like the feats that make all axes high crit and add +5 damage vs prone targets).

    These can all be stacked together to net 5d6+1d8+mods on a charge in mid heroic. That said, a blackguard is exceedingly unlikely to meet the stat requirement for Surprising Charge until epic unless you sacrifice a lot for it, which simultaneously makes the gouge less impressive.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Sorcerer Blob's Avatar

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    Default Re: Blackguard creation for a new player

    I've currently been toying around with Blackguards recently as well.

    Personally, I went the Human route for the boost to defenses and the extra feat at level 1.

    What type of Blackguard are you planning on using? Personally, I think that the Fury build is better, but again, that's just my opinion. It is predicated on having Combat Advantage, but with a good leader and squad (which it looks like you have) getting CA isn't too difficult, especially with the Blackguard at-will that grants you CA vs the next target you hit.

    For feats, I would definitely suggest either Master-At-Arms for a straight +1 to hit with weapon attacks (can be found in the Heroes of... books) or Heavy Blade expertise for a +1 to hit and a +2 vs Opportunity Attacks. I'd go with the later personally.

    If your setting is magic item light, it is important to note that having accuracy is key to setting off your Blackguard goodies. As such, if themes are allowed, I'd hit up the Unseelie Agent theme from Heroes of the Feywild. It allows you to create a shadow blade that gives you a scaling bonus to hit and damage rolls for a specific shadow weapon. For weapon selection, you cannot go wrong with a Great Sword.

    Lastly, if you go Human, I have a fun little suggestion that isn't vital to your build. I used my extra feat to MC into Binder and picked up the Star Pact. The reason for doing so is that I get a free ranged attack 1/encounter. The odds of hitting with it are not great, BUT I have it if I need it. The real reason I picked up the MC is for the secondary Binder Pact power, Hidden Lore. If you drop an enemy to 0 HP or an adjacent enemy drops to 0 HP you can go Invisible until the end of your next turn as an Immediate Reaction. Having some free Combat Advantage and Invisibility once an Encounter is a nice trick to have up your sleeve.

    Good luck! Blackguards are a lot of fun to play!
    Sloth the Worst Rogue Ever and his pal the Gelatinous Cube Avatar by Sorcerer Blob

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Tegu8788's Avatar

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    Default Re: Blackguard creation for a new player

    I second the Binder MC, I am using it with my Bardgaurd hybrid, and since mine is pure Cha it works well for me, but a normal Blackguard still has use of high Cha, so Binder attack should hit most of the time. It's implement instead of weapon which can diverge you quite a bit if you don't get any implement support. You'd only need it if you take O-Paladin powers.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Blackguard creation for a new player

    Out of curiosity what is it about the Blackguard mechanics you like? Because to me they are one of the blandest classes in 4e.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Blackguard creation for a new player

    Quote Originally Posted by neonchameleon View Post
    Out of curiosity what is it about the Blackguard mechanics you like? Because to me they are one of the blandest classes in 4e.
    I think for me, I really like the baked in fluff. A fallen Paladin? Cool. Now, that isn't to say that I cannot play this concept with another class, such as a straight up Paladin or Fighter, or or or. But what is nice here is the baked in mechanics to allow such play. I don't have to spend feats to get the fallen Pally with shadow magic that I want, it just is.

    Now, it can be a pain to be heavily focused on Combat Advantage, but in 4e CA is readily accessible (and not really a squabble as the Rogue has to fight for it, too.)

    The Blackguard isn't hi-OP by any means and doesn't pretend to be so, it just is. Is it a fun class to play? Sure! And that's all that matters.
    Sloth the Worst Rogue Ever and his pal the Gelatinous Cube Avatar by Sorcerer Blob

    Games I Play: D&D 4e, 3.X D&D/Pathfinder, Swords & Wizardry, OSRIC, D&D Next Playtest, Star Wars RPG (d20, SE, EotE,) Burning Wheel, Mouse Guard, AFMBE, and many more! Basically if it looks fun, I'm game!

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