Category Archives: Characters

New Hero Kids Pets Expansion!

chamroshTransparentBGI’ve developed a new set of pets for your Hero Kids game!

Pets are consistently a favorite among the young kids who play Hero Kids, and I thought it was a shame that they only had 11 to choose from. I also thought that some mythological animals could be included, since Hero Kids is a fantasy game. You can add these creatures to your heroes’ choices of pets right away, or you could design a special adventure where they find one of these creatures. (Imagine an adventure where they have to fight a bunch of goblins that ride on giant beetles!) It’s totally up to you. I hope your kids have as much fun with them as I had designing them!

Here are the 11 new pets in this expansion: Continue reading

New D&D Class: Giantkin

Giant KinIan from the Going Last podcast, and a one-time guest on our podcast, has put together a new class for 4th Edition D&D. It functions something like Vampire – it’s a class that acts more like a “modifier” to your base race.
While I know that lots of people are super excited about D&D Next, I also know that there is still a lot to love about 4e. And that there are still people playing it. So, in case you fall into that category, here’s a new option for your table.

Continue reading

Gamma World Point Buy System

I’ve been interested lately in giving players the option of a less random method of character generation for Gamma World. Let me say first off though, I do understand the appeal of the random character generation, and I do believe that it adds to the game’s charm and fun. I think it’s a great mechanic, and if you want to keep it you should.

On the other hand, if you’re planning on a longer campaign for Gamma World, you want the players invested in their characters. One way to do that is to allow players to spend time designing their character, and making it their own rather than simply letting the dice make all the decisions as to what their character will look like. And of course, you’ll always have people who are turned off by Gamma World solely for its random character generation. This is for them, too. Continue reading

New Gamma World Mounts, Pt. 2: Drawing From Other Sources

Like this. Only much, MUCH bigger

Last week, when we explored Gamma World mounts, we looked at the mounts that already exist in the game (only 3) and added three new ones out of the existing pool of Gamma World monsters. Today, I’d like to look beyond the Gamma World monsters, and see if we can find some appropriate mounts in in the compendium of D&D monsters (I’m pretty sure we can). But first, I’d like to present a new Gamma World monster that I designed specifically to be a mount.

I can’t say that the idea for this creature as a mount is my own. In fact, it comes from a semi-canonical source: the Gamma World novel Red Sails in the Fallout. Set in Australia, the main character rides a giant budgie as a mount. In that spirit, I’ve statted out this giant, semi-flightless bird* for your players to use in your Gamma World game: Continue reading

New Gamma World Mounts

Mounted Podog

When I was doing the Gamma World Monster Index, I was surprised to find that there are only three “official” mounts in the game. When I say official, I mean creatures that include rules for being mounted. Those three are the Brutorz, Podog, and Jackalope. If you’re playing with the optional Vocation rules (Legion of Gold expansion), then you may want more options for players who choose the Beast Rider vocation. Today, I’m going to present three options from the official Gamma World monsters along with additions to their stat blocks. Next week I’ll revisit the topic by looking beyond the Gamma World monsters as well as fully statting out a new mount straight out of the Gamma World novel Red Sails in the Fallout. Let’s get started, shall we? Continue reading

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Giving Wizards Access to Higher Level Powers

Many thanks to Wesley Hall for the idea for this article, as well as the article art! By the way, here is what happened last time Wes and I teamed up. Also, you should follow him on Twitter. Hilarity will ensue.

Artwork by Wesley Hall (click for big)

In the classic Disney movie “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” Mickey plays an aspiring wizard who, after being left unattended with the master’s spellbook, wreaks havoc when he tries to cast a spell he is not practiced at. Without looking too far for deeper meaning, this is a great example of what might happen in a D&D setting if a wizard were to cast a spell higher than their level. After all, we might assume that, especially if a character went to “Wizarding School,” they know about higher level spells, even if they’re not sure exactly how to cast them. Continue reading

Radiant Mafia: Maximizing Radiant Damage With Your Party

Today’s post is written by guest blogger Ian from the Going Last gaming podcast. Check out their podcast for tons of tabletop gaming news, miniatures news, and D&D discussion.  I know I do.  This article is a followup on character concepts discussed in episode 20 of our podcast.

Character optimization is a fun and useful exercise, but for some players having an expertly crafted PC just isn’t enough. These players need something more, and party optimization can fulfill that role. Party optimization can be even trickier and more complicated than character optimization, but it can be more useful and more rewarding. Arguably the most common and most rewarding party optimization theme is something called the “Radiant Mafia.” Continue reading

Doing High Damage With Warlocks

Recently I went with some friends down to a Living Forgotten Realms battle interactive, where I knew we would be facing some challenging combats.  My warlock had just leveled to 18, so I had the opportunity to do some retraining.  Here were my goals for reworking the warlock:

  • I wanted to feel like a real striker doing real striker damage.  Warlocks are known for being more “controllery”, so I considered focusing on those kinds of powers. But then I decided that if you’re looking to impose status effects, “dead” is the best one…
  • Since the last time I played my warlock, Wizards updated the class by making it so that you can apply curse damage once per turn, rather than once per round (this is analogous to the change to rogues).  I tried looking for as many out-of-turn attacks as I could, but the Con warlock doesn’t have many.  Charisma has a few nice dailies that have the potential to give you out-of-turn attacks for the whole encounter, but I chose to stick with Con.
  • The only out-of-turn attack I ended up with was Killing Flames, which is an encounter Immediate Reaction triggered when an enemy within 10 becomes bloodied, and you attack it for 3d8+Con damage.  Add another 3d8 from curse dice, and that’s a pretty good hit.
  • We also had a warlord at the table, and since I had a melee basic attack (Eldritch Strike), I got some free attacks from that as well.

All in all, I was pretty impressed with the damage output.  I went Academy Master for my paragon path, which gives you +3 damage on at-wills, and gives you an encounter power to use an at-will and gain 2 extra damage dice.  Since I am sorcerer-king pact, that means that on the first turn I can use my encounter power to attack a target for 7d8+30 (+35 if I have prime shot).  I crit with that once… it was awesome.

How to get awesome damage (mostly from feats):

  • Blood Pact of Cania (+2/3/4 damage with Con powers)
  • Dual Implement Spellcaster (adds your off-hand implement bonus to damage rolls)
  • Called Shot (+5 damage with prime shot)
  • Killing Curse (d8’s for curse dice)
  • Implement Focus (+1/2/3 damage)
  • Mindbite Scorn (extra die of curse dice)
  • Siberys Shard of the Mage (+3 damage when using a weapon as an implement)
  • Staff of Ruin (always awesome)
  • Gauntlets of Blood (+4 damage vs. bloodied targets)

So with all of this, I used a +4 Staff of Ruin with +4 off-hand Wrist Razors to get +27 damage on most powers:

+7 (constitution) +4 (enhancement) +4 (staff of ruin) +4 (dual implement) +3 (siberys shard) +3 (blood pact of cania) +2 (implement focus)

This goes up to +30 with an at-will (from Academy Master), and can get up to +39 with an at-will when I have Prime Shot vs. a bloodied target.  Even better, I have +2 to hit bloodied targets with Prime Shot since I’m a tiefling.  So I didn’t miss much, and if I did, I have a couple of daily rerolls, and the U12 from Academy Master keeps me from expending an encounter power if I miss all targets with it.

Do you have any other tips or suggestions for doing lots of damage with warlocks?  Leave them in the comments below!

New Cleric Options

This article is related to the new Strength Cleric options posted on the D&D website last month.  We discussed these options in a recent podcast episode.

Related article: Battle Cleric Options

Related podcast: Episode 14

There was a great article that came out while I was on vacation detailing some new options for Strength-based clerics.  This is a build type that has been in need of some love for a while, so it’s nice to see they finally got it.

Class Features

Battle Cleric’s Lore (replaces Healer’s Lore, which lets you add Wis to your surge-heals): Gives you a +2 shield bonus to AC (leaving you free to use 2-handers), proficiency with scale (clerics normally only get chain), and when you surge-heal someone, they get a +2 unnamed bonus to attack rolls until the end of your next turn.

On a scale of 1 to amazing, this gets an amazing.

Channel Divinity Powers

Normally, clerics get two channel divinity powers: divine fortune (which gives you a +1 to the next attack roll or saving throw you make before the end of your turn; pretty worthless) and turn undead (only useful versus undead, obviously).

In Divine Power, clerics got healer’s mercy, which is a standard action AOE heal that weakens you for a turn.  Not optimal for Strength clerics since you’re trying to do damage, but still better than turn undead in most situations.

In this new article, Strength clerics get a Strength-based anti-undead power as an alternative to turn undead.  Most clerics will stick with healer’s mercy, but if you’re in an undead-heavy campaign, you might consider this alternative.

The real star here is an alternative to divine fortune: favor of the gods.  This is a minor action that lets you choose an ally within 3 squares and let that ally reroll the attack roll the next time they miss before the end of your next turn.  This is good to pop off on someone you know is going to be using a big daily or AOE effect, so even though it’s not a reactive reroll, it’s still way better than divine fortune.

Attack Powers

There are two styles of attack powers in the article: powers that require you to use simple weapons, and powers that give you a bonus if you use a simple weapon.

So which weapons are simple?  Normally a Strength cleric would be using a big two-hander like fullblade (+3, d12, high crit), mordenkrad (+2, 2d6 brutal 1), or execution axe (+2, d12 brutal 2, high crit).  Let’s compare these to your options for a 2-handed simple weapon, keeping in mind that using a simple weapon also saves you a feat:

  • Morningstar (+2, d10)
  • Greatclub (+2, 2d4)
  • Quarterstaff (+2, d8)
  • Scythe (+2, 2d4)

Of these, the highest damage option (though not by much) would be the morningstar.  You might consider the quarterstaff if only because the Staff Expertise feat gives you +1 reach with melee attacks.

To give you an idea of why using simple weapons with the new powers might not be so bad, let’s take a look at the at-wills.  We’ll assume we’re using a quarterstaff, just to see how the damage stacks up.

Battle Cleric’s Weapon Mastery
At-Will * Divine, Weapon
Standard Action, Melee weapon
Requirement: You must use this power with a simple weapon.
Target: One creature
Attack: Strength + 1 vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + 2 + Strength modifier damage.
Level 21: 2[W] + 4 + Strength modifier damage.
Weapon: If you’re wielding your weapon with both hands, you gain a +2 bonus to the damage roll.

Compare this to a basic attack with a fullblade: same attack bonus, and d12+Str versus d8+4+Str.  In this case, this power is strictly better in terms of damage.  Compared to, say, execution axe, the difference is d12+Str (brutal 2) versus d8+4+Str, and this power is still slightly ahead (and more accurate!).

The downside is that this power doesn’t do anything else.  Let’s look at the other new at-will:

Weapon of Divine Protection
At-Will * Divine, Weapon
Standard Action, Melee weapon
Target: One creature
Attack: Strength vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Strength modifier damage.
Level 21: 2[W] + Strength modifier damage.
Weapon: If you’re wielding a simple weapon, the attack deals 1d6 extra damage.
Effect: Until the end of your next turn, your allies gain a +2 power bonus to all defenses while adjacent to you.

With this power, we lose the extra accuracy, and trade 4 bonus damage for a d6 of bonus damage (which is approximately the same), and gain an effect that is sort of mediocre in my book.  I don’t really see a reason to use this power over Battle Cleric’s Weapon Mastery.

The article also has several encounter powers that are very similar to these at-wills: either you must use a simple weapon, but you get more accuracy and higher damage, or you can use whatever weapon you want (which is nice for people who are attached to their mordenkrads), but you get a damage bonus if you happen to be using a simple weapon.

The encounter powers have some nice effects to them, but rather than listing them all out, here are my favorites:

  • Effect: Until the end of your next turn, you and each ally within 3 squares of you can make attacks against the target’s lowest defense, instead of the defense normally targeted by that attack.  [Comment: This is a really nice bonus to the team, and could translate into a pretty high attack bonus depending on the target.]
  • Target: One or two creatures within melee range, Hit: 1[W]+Strength and dazed until the end of your next turn.  [Comment: This is huge.  On my level 21 cleric, I was still using a level 3 encounter power that dazed one target!  Also, this is one of the ones usable with any kind of weapon, and does +1d6 with a simple.]
  • Effect: Until the end of your next turn, you and your allies gain a +1 power bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls against the target. In addition, whenever you or one of your allies within 3 squares of you is hit or missed by an enemy’s attack, this bonus increases by 1, to a maximum bonus of +5.  [Comment: Depending on the fight, this could add up to be a pretty big bonus.  Also, you probably want to delay in the initiative order until right before the monsters so as to crank this up as much as possible.]

So in conclusion, Strength cleric got a lot more cool options and flexibility.  Hooray!

Grab Fighters

After our last podcast, we decided that articles would be the best way to give detail on the character builds we discuss.  This frees us up from having to read off every single power and feat choice during the podcast, and talk more about concepts and general choices.  We hope you enjoy these new supplements to our podcast!

Related Podcast: Episode 13

Martial Power 2 introduced an interesting new build for fighters: the Brawler.  Instead of the normal weapon talent (+1 to hit with one- or two-handed weapons), you get the following benefits:

  • While wielding a one-handed weapon in your main hand, and your off-hand is free or grabbing a creature, you get +1 AC and +2 Fortitude
  • In addition, you get a +2 enhancement bonus to unarmed attack rolls, and a +2 bonus to grab attacks and attacks to move a creature you are grabbing (increases to +4 and +6 at paragon/epic)

These combo well with a new at-will, Grappling Strike, where you make a standard Strength vs. AC attack against your target, and on a hit, you grab the target until the end of your next turn.  This is a great way to grab monsters without making the standard “grab” attack, which doesn’t include modifiers from your weapon and doesn’t do damage.  Fighters also got several good encounter and daily powers that work when your off-hand is free or grabbing a target.

To maximize the effectiveness of your grabs, here are some more tools you can use:

  • Inescapable Hold is a feat that makes enemies trying to escape your grab have to roll against your Fortitude instead of Reflex, even if they use Acrobatics
  • Forceful Drag is an encounter U2 power move action where, if you have a creature grabbed, you can move up to your speed, dragging the creature with you, and then knock it prone.  Which combos nicely with…
  • Pin Down, a feat that says that any prone creature that you have grabbed can’t stand until you end the grab or it escapes
  • World Serpent’s Grasp is a feat that says whenever you hit a slowed or immobilized target with an attack, you can knock it prone

With these abilities, you grab an enemy, use Forceful Drag to knock it prone, and then keep regrabbing it every turn, keeping it prone (hopefully) for a long time.  Alternatively, once you have an enemy grabbed, it is immobilized, so hitting it again will knock it prone.  Making the enemy roll against your Fortitude is especially good since you already have a high Fort from being a fighter, and you get an extra +2 from being a Brawler.  You might even toss on the Superior Fortitude feat for an extra +2 to your Fort defense (+3/+4 at paragon/epic) to make it that much harder for the enemy to escape.