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Tyrus Character Building Help
Topic Started: Dec 22 2011, 12:44 AM (144 Views)
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Who you calling Chocobo Head...
Hello everyone,
In this thread I hope to address a few issues players have in combat, and ways to reduce those problems by things like attribute placement and feat selection.

Firstly, oh dear sweet Pelor I can't attack it!, Not hitting very often.
To help this problem we already give out a free feat bonuses to attack rolls, however, there is more you can do. Look at your attributes. Generally if you are using an attribute to attack with, at level 1 after racial modifiers it should be sitting at 18. If you playing a class with two attack attributes, a 16 after racial modifiers in one of the attributes will be adequate, but if at all possible both should be 18. If you are a Cleric, Ranger, Paladin, Warlock or another class that has two attack attributes, think long and hard before you try to be good at both. This is not to say such a character will not be effective, but, it requires an absolute dedication to your two attack attributes, and can cause you to miss out on other important options. At each level you get an attribute boost, any attributes you use to attack with should be boosted. This ensures that you will hit with your powers regularly, and as an added bonus increase your damage. If you wish to change your attributes to improve your character, see me at the games day and I'll help you rearrange them.

Another way to boost how often you hit is with your weapon selection. Unless you are picking an Axe or Hammer, or another weapon group with only a +2 proficiency bonus because of your powers, attributes, and/or feats (for example your character has a high constitution), you should almost always use a +3 proficiency weapon. Most Blades have a +3 proficiency bonus. If you are using an implement you can join in on the fun now with the release of PHB3. If you use an implement take Superior Implement Training (PHB3) and pick an accurate one, giving you +1 to hit. (The same as having a +3 proficiency bonus, NADs are 2 lower then AC.)

Then there are also feats. Some races or weapon groups have feats provide attack bonuses under certain circumstances. If you can meet these circumstances even somewhat regularly, these feats are generally well worthwhile. Remember to check the latest update released by Wizards to see if they provide a feat bonus or an unnamed bonus, remembering that a feat bonus won't stack with the +2 feat bonus we give out for free.

Finally power selection. While some powers clearly give bonuses to attack rolls, some might but not as clearly. Remember having combat advantage over the enemy, or giving them -2 to all defences (or even just the one you target), is the same as having +2 to attack rolls.

Secondly, it refuses to die!, Not dealing enough damage.
Damage is more easily boosted by items, but there a few things you can do to boost damage with good character building. As above, having good attributes allows you to deal more damage.

With feats, if you are a striker, strongly consider a Superior Weapon, and the feat Weapon Focus. Both provide small, but constant bonuses to damage, that really add up over time. Power Attack may seem like a good idea, but is normally a trap, unless you have a way to guarantee you will be very accurate when you use it, it is almost always better to attack without the penalty to the attack roll. Many Strikers have a damage mechanic, like Sneak Attack, and feats that improve that mechanic. Obviously if you use the mechanic even somewhat regularly, boosting its damage will boost how much damage you do.

With power selection, sometimes the biggest damaging power it not the best option. Ongoing damage can be particularly brutal, especially if combined with ways to affect the enemies saving throws. Powers that give vulnerabilities can be effective too. If you can exploit a vulnerability 10 you gave the enemy, that's the same as having +10 damage.

Thirdly, oh god I'm dying! or, my defences are too low.
Defences are primarily increased by magic items, however, there are some things you can do in character building to improve your defences. Your attributes for defence are not as important as they are for attacks, though keep in mind that each defence has two attributes and you only use the best one. If you have a low dexterity AND intelligence, you should use heavy armour. If you are not proficient in such armour, it is almost always worth feats to wear such armour. Remember that if you are using magic armour, you should be using the best masterwork armour you can.

Several other feats can improve your defence. If you use a shield, Shield Mastery (PHB3) is a very good way to boost your defences. Most armour also have a feat that improves it. Don't wear armour or only use cloth? Take unarmoured Agility. (PHB3)

Now power selection. Some powers clearly increase defence, some might not. Remember that giving the enemy -2 to attack rolls is the same as having +2 defences. Mobility powers can also increase your survivability. You can't get hit in melee if you are never there.

Finally, it may be due to party composition. 4ed assumes that each party has a leader. In fact, it is the only role, from a party size of 1+ that cannot be replaced. Having a defender is also generally assumed. If your party is missing a defender, expect to take more damage than normal. Even if you have good defences, if you get attacked a lot you will take damage. If you are missing a leader, or your leader is only focusing on one aspect of leading, you will be missing buffs that increase your defences/mobility that keep you alive. Even if you have a leader, if he only focuses on one thing, you will quickly burn though your healing. If you don't have a leader, have as many ways to heal yourself as possible.
"I pity you. You just don't get it at all...there's not a thing I don't cherish!"
Cloud Strife, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children

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