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Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 09:45 PM #1
Holy Riders: The Cavalier's Guide (By Litigation)Holy Riders:
The Cavalier's Guide
So you're looking to be a Cavalier? You like riding around on a white horse wearing that shiny armor? You'll have to work at it. This is a profession that requires not only a strong arm and skilled blade, but also a virtuous heart. The only way you'll get to that point is through rote and lash. Only after this will you be ready to defend your allies in battle and deliver holy vengeance on those who threaten the land. And, yes, call a horse from the heavens.
So why play a Cavalier?
With your other defender counterparts enjoying the benefits of feat support and refined optimization exercises, what does the Cavalier bring to the table? Why forsake the faithful, mass-punishing but aura-less Paladin in exchange for this new variant?
* You discourage enemy movement better than other Paladins. Sure, other Paladins do a bang-up job of making the act of attacking their allies a bad idea for enemies, but they aren't exactly who you turn to when you want to keep foes rooted to a certain place. You, on the other hand, can make it sting when some knave doesn't want to stay near your weapon's reach.
* You constantly threaten multiple enemies with punishment, by default. Other Paladins have to select several encounter and daily powers to keep multiple foes threatened with punishment reliably. You, on the other hand, come straight out of the knighting ceremony a constant, walking threat to multiple foes, regardless of what powers you select later in your career.
* You don't have to mark. As long as you're in position, i.e. right next to your enemies, and your aura is active, you are a threat. No spending a minor action and having to keep a target engaged with a challenge. This means you're more ready to act than other defenders who use marks.
* You are still a master of mounted combat. In fact, Paladins in general owe their mastery of riding into battle to your example. And while other Paladins have to spend one of their utility power selections on getting that level-scaling mount, you get it as one of your class features in addition to the typical 4e power progression. And, of course, you can upgrade your mount later on into things like celestial tigers, pegasi and silver dragons.
[b]/b]: A trap, obsoleted by something else, or just plain crap.
Purple: Situational at best. Substandard in most cases.
Black: Not bad. You could do worse.
Blue: Definitely consider it, at least.
Sky Blue: A gift from the Astral Sea itself. Cherish it.
Gold: Mandatory. Not just the best. Mandatory. A very rare rating.
This Handbook covers the following sources:
PHB - Player's Handbook
PHB2 - Player's Handbook 2
PHB3 - Player's Handbook 3
DP - Divine Power
E:HFL - Essentials: Heroes of the Fallen Lands
E:HFK - Essentials: Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms
FRPG - Forgotten Realms Player's Guide
MM - Monster Manual
MM2 - Monster Manual 2
AV - Adventurer's Vault
AV2 - Adventurer's Vault 2
D XXX - Dragon Magazine, issue XXX
DA XX - Dragon Annual, year XX
MOTP - Manual of the Planes
PHBH - Player's Handbook Heroes
MP - Martial Power
MP2 - Martial Power 2
AP - Arcane Power
PP - Primal Power
EPG - Eberron Player's Guide
DSCS - Dark Sun Campaign Setting
PHR - Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn
PHR:T - Player's Handbook Races: Tieflings
HoS - Heroes of Shadow
AoE - Area of effect, often denotes a burst or blast attack.
AP - Action Point
BBEG - Big Bad Evil Guy (typically a Solo or an Elite)
DPR - Damage per round
DS - Divine Sanction. A type of mark attached to many of the old Paladin's powers that deals automatic radiant damage at no action cost if it's violated. Cavaliers have access to some of these old Paladin powers to complement their Defender Aura.
ED - Epic destiny
MAD - Multiple-attribute dependency. Otherwise known as stretching your ability scores too thin. Typically a designator for a build needing three or more ability scores to function.
MBA - Melee basic attack
NAD - Non-AC Defense (Fortitude, Reflex or Will).
OA - Opportunity attack
O-Paladin - The original 4e Paladin, which will get referenced a few times here.
PP - Paragon path
Punishment stacking - Using multiple action types for punishment against the same triggering attack. Cavaliers can do this to some extent, although they're not quite as consistent or good at it as the O-Paladin. Abilities and powers that Cavaliers can use for punishment stacking will be referred to as punishment stackers.
Radiant Mafioso (or Radiant Soldier) - A character built around creating vulnerability to Radiant damage, greatly increasing not only his own damage, but in many cases his allies' as well. All Divine characters, Cavaliers included, have a capacity to become this type of character, thanks to things like at-will powers with the Radiant keyword, Radiant weapons, the Power of the Sun domain feat and the Morninglord paragon path. A full party of this type of character makes up the Radiant Mafia (or Radiant Army).
THP - Temporary hit points.
Pillars of Faith (and Facestabs): The Paladin's Handbook(x) by me
Everyone who posts and helps out.
RuinsFate for the awesome title pic.
Last edited by Veep; Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015 at 09:53 PM.
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 09:46 PM #2Expectations for the Ride:
Power source and Role
Like your parent class, the Paladin, you are a Divine Defender, and like your parent class you deal your punishment with unavoidable radiant damage rather than a sword to the face, preferring a sure sting over something less reliable (but potentially a lot more painful). You complement that punishment with some healing abilities and, in some cases, a dutiful propensity for directly taking damage in place of your squishier allies. Compared to the original Paladin, you focus more on constant threat to multiple foes and more of an emphasis on punishing enemy movement.
Battlefield Control - You have some daily powers that inflict some rather crippling status effects, which makes you decent at this. Your encounter attack buff, Holy Smite, dazes your enemies, although since it works off your weapon-based at-wills that's mostly single target fare.
Damage - Dependent on your build, although you're generally decent at this. Charging, especially in mounted combat, is where you tend to be at your best in this category.
Mobility - Your movement on foot will leave a lot to be desired. Of course, if you're on a mount, which you can easily access after Lv. 4, this all of a sudden becomes your strong suit.
Stickiness - A measure of how likely enemies are to attack you, as well as how well you control the enemy's ability to move when you're near them. You have the the theoretical edge over the O-Paladin in terms of controlling enemy movement, because your Defender Aura punishment triggers when enemies shift away from you. However, the radiant damage you inflict isn't quite as scary as what a Knight is capable of with his Battle Guardian. As for getting enemies to attack you, you have certain abilities and synergies with the likes of Holy Smite and Righteous Shield that sometimes compensate for your rather weak punishment damage, and you can take some O-Paladin Divine Sanction powers and their feat support to round you out in that part.
Survivability - You can wear plate mail from the start and you start with a lot of healing surges by default. That alone makes you quite solid in this category. Some of your feats and paragon path options also do things like give you bonuses to saves or conditional bonuses to defenses.
Secondary role effectiveness
Controller - A few AoE daily powers, an encounter buff that dazes and a defender mechanic that can auto-kill minions makes you decent here.
Leader - Access to O-Paladin utilities at most levels, as well as a few of your dailies, let you ably pitch in the healing and buffing role.
Striker - If mounted, Cavaliers can actually become quite competent and consistent in this role.
Basics of the Ride: Baseline mechanics
Hit Points: 15 + CON score at Lv. 1, and 6 for every level after. Standard defender hit points, which you can't complain about.
Healing Surges: 10 + CON mod, which is the highest of all classes.
Defenses: +1 to all NADs, which is as good as it gets.
Proficiencies: Even better than O-Paladins. Unlike them, you start out with proficiency in military ranged weapons, on top of the expected proficency in all military melee weapons. You can go plate and heavy shield from the start, which is awesome. And to top it off, you get implement proficiency for the holy symbol, which is the only implement type other than the ki focus that doesn't take up a weapon or shield slot.
Defender Aura (E:HFK): Just like the Knight's, any enemy caught within this aura 1 takes a -2 penalty to all attack rolls that don't include either you or an ally who also has this aura active. This aura doesn't affect marked enemies, and since some of you will want to swipe a few Divine Sanction powers, your aura not affecting those can work out to be a good thing. The downside to the Defender Aura is that your ability to defend is affected more by forced movement than a defender who uses marks, but if you have forced movement, mobility enhancement or DS powers on hand you can alleviate this negative.
Holy Smite (E:HFK): Your canned Essentials encounter attack booster. Unfortunately, it has one snag in that it's a free action to activate, which can conflict with any additional attacks your Leader or some effect might grant you. Still, this one does have a lot going for it. The radiant damage, your CHA-modifier + a level-scaling amount, happens regardless of whether you hit or miss with the triggering attack, and if your attack hits, the target is also dazed. As you gain levels you get more uses of this power, so you can potentially keep an enemy locked in a daze for multiple rounds if you find a way to land sure hits (the at-will power Valiant Strike is good for this). Also important to note: This power works on any at-will weapon attack power, not just Paladin powers. It even works with melee basic attacks. And OAs, which can deny the enemy a standard for its turn if a move triggered it. And anything a Half-Elf picks up with Dilletante, which should definitely get some ideas rolling.
Righteous Radiance (E:HFK): This is how a Cavalier punishes enemies in his Defender Aura. It works whenever an enemy violates the attack conditions while within the aura, or if the enemy shifts. The radiant damage it deals is the same scaling amount + CHA modifier as the O-Paladin's Divine Challenge, but unlike Divine Challenge this damage costs an opportunity action to deliver, so getting dazed disables this feature. Also, there's no ignoring the fact that the damage, while functional, pales in comparison to the Knight's Battle Guardian. It does auto-kill minions who violate your aura, but that's hardly a niche to be proud of. This feature would be a lot better if either the punishment cost no action or if it simply did more damage, or both. Sadly, it kind of stands as the Cavalier's one shortcoming.
Righteous Shield (E:HFK): However tepid Righteous Radiance's damage is, the Cavalier redeems himself as a defender with this excellent encounter feature, a martyr-style power done right. An immediate interrupt with a close burst 3 range, this lets you take all the damage the ally would have taken from an enemy's attack, and you get a +2 power bonus to attack rolls until the end of your next turn (perfect time to go for a Holy Smite). It also gets some neat upgrades later in your career.
Valiant Strike (PHB/E:HFK): The fixed at-will power that every Cavalier gets, one you'll be familiar with if you played a STR-based O-Paladin. Too bad it's a fixed class feature, but at least it's a good one. +1 bonus to hit for each enemy next to you. In a crowd, this one strikes true quite often, and unless you use a reach weapon, you're always going to get at least a +1 bonus to hit out of this. This is a good one to use when you want to increase your chances of hitting with Holy Smite. And this power does get very good domain support, which is more likely to work its effects thanks to this power's enhanced hitting chances.
Associated Domains: Civilization, Hope, Protection, Skill, Storm, Wilderness
Spirit of Virtue
This is your fundamental build choice. Your choice of Virtue to follow here will determine several of your future gains, such as fixed powers (including one of your at-wills), the types of improvements to your Righteous Shield and the features you get from the Valiant Cavalier PP, if you take it.
Spirit of Sacrifice (E:HFK): Must be lawful good at the start to take this. An extra healing surge right off the bat is nice, but the best part of this one is the ability to use your second wind to heal an ally within 5 squares instead of yourself. If you use it this way it's a minor action. Essentially, this ability works like a ranged version of the O-Paladin's Lay on Hands.
Spirit of Valor (E:HFK): As long as you're not evil, you qualify. Don't underestimate the effect a +4 untyped bonus to initiative can have on your ability to defend. Defenders love to act before the enemy does, and with just a little extra feat support and perhaps some Dexterity you will rarely be beaten to the punch. You also get +2 to your healing surge value, which can really add up in favor of your survivability over the course of a day.
Your other at-will power besides Valiant Strike is fixed based on which Virtue you selected.
Strike of Hope (E:HFK): Sacrifice Cavaliers get this one. A fine power, granting extra protection to allies by tossing around THPs, even more if they're bloodied. It also has the Radiant keyword.
Associated Domains: None
Vengeful Strike (E:HFK): Valor Cavaliers get this one. A solid, Radiant-keyworded power with the real possibility of doing nice damage. The extra CHA-mod damage only happens when an ally nearby is bloodied, but that's probably going to happen quite a bit despite your best efforts. And if you miss with this power at any time, you get a nice little damage boost on your next damage roll to make amends.
Associated Domains: None
Restore Vitality (E:HFK): Your fixed utility power at this level. A minor-action surgeless heal, worth your healing surge value for all uses, at melee range, with a saving throw attached. Too bad it's fixed, but it's a pretty decent little healing spell, and it's reminiscent of the AD&D Paladin's Lay on Hands.
Pace of the Virtuous Charger (E:HFK): A +2 bonus to party mount speed, but only when you're out of combat. Surely you're not taking this weaksauce garbage ...
Summoned Steed (D 393): This is what you meant to take. Nothing like getting a level-scaling mount on command. Mounts aren't suitable in all situations, but when they are feasible they are a HUGE asset. And just having the ability to call a mount for such situations, even if they don't turn up as often as you'd like, sure beats a bonus to non-combat mount speed any day. The power, Call Celestial Steed, can be cast twice a day, so you have some leeway on how you handle situations that come up during the day when a mount is or isn't feasible. The default mount is a celestial warhorse, which comes with a speed of 8, a +5 bonus to your charge damage with the Mounted Combat feat and a solid Trample encounter power against Medium or smaller targets. A good starter mount, and you can take feats later to claim an even better one.
*NOTE: It's actually possible to take the Pace of the Virtuous Charger feature at Lv. 4, and then two levels later take Call Celestial Steed as your utility power at Lv. 6 (since that power has a Paladin level). However, in this case involving two Lv. 6 Cavaliers with mounts, this essentially means that one Cavalier is stuck with a bonus to non-combat mount speed while the other has his mount and a free choice of a Lv. 6 utility power. The utility power, obviously, is better, so taking Pace of the Virtuous Charger and then the mount 2 levels later is a trap.
Improved Righteous Shield
Virtue of Sacrifice (E:HFK): Reduce the damage you take from absorbing the enemy's attack by 10, and at Lv. 23, by 20. Hence resulting in a nice net decrease to damage taken by the party. Awesome.
Virtue of Valor (E:HFK): A good amount of extra damage (2 + CHA mod, 5 + CHA mod at Lv. 23) on your next roll after you use Righteous Shield. Fair enough.
Spirit of the Virtuous Charger (E:HFK): A daily utility that gives you extra speed on a charge and CHA-modifier power bonus to charge damage for a whole encounter. Good start, but it's at Lv. 18 when this power really begins to shine, giving you encounter-long flight. At Lv. 28 this power affects all your allies within 2 squares of you as well.
Encouraging Presence (E:HFK): Essentially works out to a CHA-modifier bonus to adjacent allies' healing surge usage (in the form of THPs). A neat benefit, although you won't be adjacent to your allies all the time. Probably better in melee-heavy groups.
Your Lv. 22 utility power is fixed, and which one you get depends on which Virtue you took.
Shared Sacrifice (E:HFK): The effect of this daily is certainly a good thing: Free exchange of healing surges among you and all allies within your aura 5. However, a Cleric at this level should have the Shared Healing feat, which accomplishes much the same thing, so if you're led by one, this power's value diminishes drastically.
Shared Valor (E:HFK): How do you like starting one fight per day with yourself and your allies in perfect attack formation, all of you buffed with a solid amount of THPs? This is a fantastic positioning enabler for a party with multiple melee units, one that a Bard would envy.
Righteous Rescue (E:HFK): On paper, this teleportation feature looks like an excellent boost to your Righteous Shield power, not to mention your overall mobility. And if you're not mounted, it is. But if you are mounted, you will never use this, as it's highly unlikely you will ever want to teleport off your mount.
Divine Grace (E:HFK): Resist 20 to both necrotic and poison is pretty nice.
Avatar of Virtue (E:HFK): This capstone daily power is a fixed deal, unfortunately, and it replaces your Lv. 15 power whether you want it to or not. It's not a spectacular capstone, but at least it's serviceable. This STR-based weapon attack does 5[W] hit with half-damage on miss, and regardless of hit or miss a mass-surge trigger, followed by CHA-mod power bonus to your damage and some free healing to throw around on all your turns after.
The Ride Need Not Be Violent: Skills
You can pick four out of your list, and unlike the O-Paladin, you're not tied to Religion by default. And you do have a solid list, indeed. A strong mix of survivability and conversation skills.
Athletics: Yes, this is on your list, unlike for the O-Paladin. And yes, you definitely want it. It's great for moving around and escaping grabs. With STR being your highest score you'll make great use of this one.
Diplomacy: With a high CHA, you're likely to be the party face.
Endurance: Resist diseases and generally survive in a lot of adverse conditions. A great choice.
Heal: You probably won't have the WIS to put it to the best use, but it can still come in handy.
History: Don't know much about it. Unless you need it trained as a prerequisite for something, leave this knowledge skill to those who aren't so slow in the head.
Insight: Counters Bluff, which can help prevent an ambush. Generally a nice skill, although you won't be the greatest at it considering it's WIS-based.
Intimidate: You'll have the CHA to be very effective with this skill. Useful in many skill challenges, and even has an arguably broken combat application.
Religion: Be glad this isn't a fixed skill for you like it is for the O-Paladin. To be fair, it does have some nice skill powers, but I'm not sure that's enough of a sell.
Other skills of interest
Bluff: You'll have the CHA to put this one to good use in skill challenges.
Perception: Even if your WIS isn't the greatest, this is still a vital skill that you should get if you can (typically via multiclassing feats). Acting in a surprise round against sneaky enemies is very, very, very nice.
Streetwise: Good for gathering information, and with a high CHA you'll be great at it.
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 09:47 PM #3Mind and Body for the Ride: Ability Scores
Strength is always the Cavalier's most important ability. He makes his most fundamental attacks with it. It should be your highest score and boosted every chance you get. (Recommended start: 16-18, before racial adjustments)
Charisma is a close second in importance. It determines the power of your Righteous Radiance punishment, your Divine Sanction punishment if you choose to take such powers, how much damage you do with Holy Smite and most of your powers' secondary effects. Some of you may even want to poach O-Paladin powers that use Charisma as an attack stat, in which case you'll want it as high, or at worst one modfiier behind, your Strength at all times. (Recommended start: 14-16, before racial adjustments)
Constitution is probably your third most important stat, although how important it is for you will vary. If you're trying to master the use of an axe or hammer you'll want to pay it some special attention. Others can get by with only moderate focus. Do note that to get the most out of your plate mail, you'll want to hit 15 in this score by Paragon Tier. (Recommended start: 12-14, before racial adjustments)
Dexterity is a consideration for Cavaliers looking to specialize in the heavy blade. If you're looking to master the use of that weapon, you need some investment here (must hit 17 by Epic Tier). It also helps your Reflex defense and your initiative, which is always welcome on a defender. If you prefer an axe or hammer you can get away with just an average score here. (Recommended start: 10-14, before racial adjustments)
Wisdom isn't really that vital for Cavaliers, which is a key difference from the O-Paladin. That said, a little bit of Wisdom can increase your survivability options. Even something as small as a +2 modifier on a feat like Virtuous Recovery can go a long way toward keeping you upright. Also, a few of your class skills use Wisdom, so you don't want to poo-poo it, entirely. (Recommended start: 10-14, before racial adjustments).
Intelligence does nothing for you. You're still a Paladunce, when all is reckoned. Dump it, and dump it hard. (Recommended start: 8).
Born to Ride: Races
Races that can get a bonus to Strength are going to make the best Cavaliers. Dragonborn are really special, as they get a bonus to Strength and Charisma, the Cavalier's two most important stats. Some races that get a bonus to Charisma and either Constitution or Dexterity can still make decent or good Cavaliers, since they can afford to buy a natural 18 in Strength without having completely gimped secondary and tertiary stats.
Dragonborn (PHB/E:HFK): The only race that can get bonuses to both Strength and Charisma, Dragonborn make arguably the best Cavaliers in the business. It's hands-down the best choice if you're looking to poach Charisma-based attack powers from the O-Paladin's arsenal. Even if you're not doing that, you get very nice things like CON-modifier bonus to your healing surge value (perfect for Val-Cavaliers) and bonus to attacks when you're bloodied. And to top it off, the racial feat Draconic Challenge makes your breath a mass-DS power.
Dwarf (PHB/E:HFL): You'll want some Strength to go along with your Constitution. With minor-action second wind, resistance to forced movement and a ton of amazing feat support, you're easily another top-tier Cavalier race.
Eladrin (PHB/E:HFL): Ehh, not really recommended. Although you can be charismatic, which helps some, your smarts do nothing for you. Meaning there's no way you'll have an 18 STR along with good enough supporting stats. At least you get Trance and Fey Step, though.
Elf (PHB/E:HFL): Bonuses to two marginally relevant stats, at best, make for a poor Cavalier. Yes, Elven Accuracy is great, but that's only once per encounter. Fights last longer than for the round you'll use that power.
Half-Elf (PHB/E:HFK): No Strength bonus, but bonuses to Charisma and Constitution are the next best thing and easily allow you to start with a natural 18 in Strength without really gimping yourself. Knack for Success is a neat Leader-esque racial power, but you'll probably prefer to take advantage of Dilletante, which lets you poach any other class' at-will power. In Paragon Tier the feat Versatile Master lets you use that power as a true at-will, making for some esoteric build possibilities.
Recommended Dilletante powers
Howling Strike (Barbarian) (PHB2): If charging is your thing and you don't mind using a two-hander, this is the at-will you take to optimize damage done with charging.
Twin Strike (Ranger) (PHB): The standard-bearer in damage dealing if you dual-wield. What's really sexy about this one for a Cavalier, in particular, is the fact that Holy Smite works with it. At least one of those attacks is bound to hit ...
Halfling (PHB/E:HFL): You can be quick and personable, which means you can make it work. Your racial power is a great defensive power, and you get some nice racial feats, too. Unfortunately, small size limits your weapon options.
Human (PHB/E:HFL): Just remember that your main attribute is Strength. Once that's taken care of, you'll find that you're one of the best Cavaliers. +1 to all NADs, bonus skill and bonus feat are all great. But best of all is the choice between a huge per-encounter attack or save boost, or possibly better yet, a bonus at-will power from the Paladin archetype, which opens up your build flexibility immensely.
Tiefling (PHB/E:HFK): Like the Half-Elf, you can go with Charisma and Constitution to make buying a natural 18 in Strength a realistic proposition. Once you do that, you'll find that this race has a lot going for it. Namely the excellent feat support such as Imperious Majesty and Dispater's Iron Discipline. Moreover, Wrath of the Crimson Legion gives you the option of an amazing mass-DS encounter power to take the place of Infernal Wrath.
Deva (PHB2): A fair Cavalier if you plan on putting his inherent Wisdom bonus to use with feats like Virtuous Recovery, then choose to be charismatic (about freaking time) in addition. Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes is a terrific racial power, and free necrotic and radiant resistance and extra defense against bloodied creatures are also very nice. Remember to buy that natural 18 in Strength. Weapon mastery is pretty much out of the question, though.
Gnome (PHB2): Much like a charismatic Eladrin, the compulsory smarts really sink what hope you have to excel as a Cavalier. Plus being small doesn't help.
Goliath (PHB2): Strong by nature and hardy by choice, which are both wonderful things to be as a Cavalier. Stone's Endurance makes you even sturdier. Maybe not quite as amazing as a Dwarf, but not far enough behind to consider this anything less than a top-tier Cavalier race.
Half-Orc (PHB2/E:HFK): You'll want to be strong and quick, and from there it's all good. Hard-hitting and fast on a charge, and you'll find mastering the use of a heavy blade rather easy thanks to your Dexterity bonus. A great Cavalier option with some pretty nice feat support, too.
Shifter, Longtooth (PHB2): Strong and wise, and you have an excellent racial power. Very solid Cavalier.
Shifter, Razorclaw (PHB2): Marginal stat bonuses, at best, make this Shifter variant a no-go.
Githzerai (PHB3): Bad for the same reason that the Elf is bad. Its racial power is a nice defensive power, but again, it hardly makes the race worth entering the path of the Cavalier.
Minotaur (PHB3): Go with Strength and Constitution. Feat support like Bloodied Ferocity is great, although this race does have its faults, such as a racial power that can't really hit anything. Can definitely be an effective Cavalier, but it's probably a step below the Dwarf and even the Goliath on the pecking order.
Shardmind (PHB3): Charisma bonus, good. Intelligence bonus, bad. Not really a good choice, although being a Living Construct is nice.
Wilden (PHB3): The best stat bonuses you can take are Constitution and Wisdom, but that only makes you slightly better than the lowest of the low candidates for Cavaliers. Nature's Aspect can be pretty nice, though.
Changeling/Doppelganger (EPG): You'll want the quickness to go along with your natural appeal. An interesting choice if you're looking to take advantage of the Fickle Servant feat, which lets you pick any domain feats for your at-will powers that you want.
Drow (FRPG/E:HFK): Add some personality to your natural agility and you'll be a decent Cavalier (remember to buy the natural 18 in Strength). Darkvision and Trance are excellent adventuring benefits, and the Lolthtouched powers can come in quite handy.
Genasi (FRPG): Being strong is always good, although the smarts aren't much help. The racial powers and manifestations are nice benefits, though. Overall, you'll be solid.
Gnoll (D 367): Decent racial power, but CON and DEX aren't the best racial bonuses.
Kalashtar (EPG): Much like the Deva, choose to be both charismatic and wise and you'll be viable at this class. Bastion of Mental Clarity is a nice racial power, and saving against daze and dominate at the start of your turn is also great.
Mul (DSCS): Same stat options as a Dwarf, an option to poach the Dwarf's excellent feats and an excellent racial recovery power in Incredible Toughness. An amazing Cavalier option (assuming you're not in Dark Sun, of course).
Revenant (D 376): Good racial feats, but the stat bonuses aren't the best.
Shadar-Kai (D 372): Quick and smart, exactly what you didn't need to be. Shadow Jaunt is a solid encounter power, but that's not enough of a selling point to bring this race out of the cellar.
Shade (HoS): Losing a healing surge is an automatic disqualification from the Defender role (or hell, really anything for that matter). It's that bad. Then add a racial power that's utterly useless in combat to the mix and training in a skill that you'll never be good at, and you have a complete failure of a race. Oh, you have a Charisma bonus, you say? Sorry, you still fail.
Thri-Kreen (DSCS): Members of this race who wander outside the Dark Sun setting want to be strong to complement their natural quickness. They'll make solid Cavaliers who have an easy time mastering heavy blades. Having a minor-action racial attack power is quite nice.
Vryloka (HoS): The penalty to healing surge value when bloodied is pretty damn annoying early in Heroic, especially for a Defender, but in later levels it's almost inconsequential, making for a weird power curve. If you're starting a campaign past lower Heroic, you'll actually find a lot to like. You can have the Strength and Charisma bonuses to be a perfect match for the Cavalier, a la the Dragonborn. Your extra speed really helps you get into ideal defending positions, you have some sweet resistance to a common enemy damage type in necrotic, and you have a potent and versatile per-encounter racial utility that can give you an awesome free shift of up to your speed, a nice THP buffer or a bonus to your attacks as you see fit.
Warforged (EPG): Strong and sturdy like a Dwarf can be, backed up with nice things like Living Construct and the Trance-like ability in Unsleeping Watcher. Warforged Resilience means you're just not going to die very often. Nice feat support tops it off. A top-tier Cavalier.
Monsters (at DM discretion)
Bladeling (MOTP): DEX and WIS bonuses, and a racial power you won't put to very good use. No.
Bugbear (MM): Geared toward Cavaliers who might want to master use of a heavy blade. Use of oversized weapons is a big plus.
Bullywug (MM2): No.
Duergar (MM2): Marginal stats and crappy racial power. Pass.
Githyanki (MM): Aaaaah, no.
Goblin (MM): Goblin Tactics is awesome, and you've also got some personality and quickness. You can do serviceably. Only small size really holds you back.
Hobgoblin (MM): Just like a Half-Elf and Tiefling, you can win friends and you're durable, the nest best thing to a Strength bonus. You don't have the racial feat support of either one of those, though.
Kenku (MM2): Charisma bonus, but little else.
Kobold (MM): At-will minor-action shifting is awesome. Small size and the racial bonuses (CON, DEX) aren't.
Orc (MM): You're not bad, but you're clearly Half-Orc-lite at this point.
Riding in Style: Weapon Groups
Axe: The two-handed variety comes with the high crit property and does a lot of damage on hit. The one-handed variety can be given the high crit property eventually. Not the most accurate weapon, but of all the Cavalier's options, this is the easiest one for him to get mastery in (CON 17 by Epic Tier).
Flail: The triple-headed flail and the spiked chain are the best of this bunch with a +3 proficiency bonus. Pretty much a niche choice, but it can work out.
Hammer: Requires more efforts toward CON than most Cavaliers would be comfortable paying, but it gets points for being the weapon that can open up some nice build options involving things like dazing at-will. And the hammer is also a common option for implement usage.
Heavy Blade: The +3 accuracy bonuses most weapons in this group carry make this arguably the most popular choice for Cavaliers. Cavaliers looking to use Paladin implement powers will also find that weapon/implement combos are common among this type. The only slight drawback is that mastery of this weapon requires some DEX investment.
Light Blade: Halflings will look at these. No one else really will. Mastery requires a 21 DEX, which is pretty much out of the question.
: You can use hammers. Why the hell would you use a mace?
: Not much support for this one.
Polearm: Cavaliers actually don't do so well with polearms. Defender Aura and its punishment only affects foes next to you, and Polearm Gamble, the feat that makes this option go in Paragon Tier, not only requires more investment in WIS than you'll probably be comfortable with, but also isn't really synergistic with your Aura.
Spear: Javelins are your only reason for caring about this group.
Staff: Put that stick down, please.
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 09:47 PM #4For Human Riders Only: Lv. 1 At-Will Powers
Both of a Cavalier's usual at-will powers are fixed, but Human Cavaliers who opt to take a bonus at-will power instead of Heroic Effort get a free choice of another at-will power from the Paladin archetype, even an at-will from another Cavalier Virtue besides their own, if desired.
The powers Valiant Strike, Strike of Hope and Vengeful Strike have already been discussed in the class features section. Other options will be discussed here. Some of those options use Charisma as an attack stat, so these powers will be split into separate categories based on attack stat, for your convenience.
Strength OR Charisma, Weapon
Ardent Strike (DP): You hit with it, you put Divine Sanction on your foe. You can charge with it, too. Having an at-will DS power can be a pretty great asset to your defending, particularly because of the fine feat support DS gets. A note on the domains: They're all typically attached to evil deities, so you probably won't take advantage of those much.
Associated Domains: Darkness, Destruction, Strife, Torment
Challenging Strike (PHBH): For all intents and purposes, this one is obsoleted by Ardent Strike.
Associated Domains: None
Dominator's Strike (HoS): This Blackguard of Domination at-will is basically a STR primary/CHA secondary copy of Bolstering Strike, minus the domain support. Which certainly isn't bad, mind you, just not the best you can do.
Associated Domains: None
Ferocious Strike (HoS): Blackguards of Fury don't have a choice about this one, but you do, and the correct choice is to stay as far the hell away from it as possible. Combat advantage is easy enough to get when you need it the most that you should never need this.
Associated Domains: None
Forbidding Strike (PHBH): When someone next to you just needs protecting in a pinch, throw this out. When it hits, the ally gets tier-scaling damage resistance (2/5/10) until the end of your next turn. You won't use it all the time, but it's very handy when you do need it. No domain support, but this one really doesn't need it.
Associated Domains: None
Holy Strike (PHB): This at-will is bred to do damage. But without a consistent mark and without a high Wisdom, you won't do the damage this at-will power is intended to do. Cavaliers should never take this one.
Associated Domains: Fate, Freedom, Luck, Strength, Vengeance
Vengeance Strike (HoS): The Blackguard's default power. There is no reason to ever use this over your default Valiant Strike. Valiant Strike is hands-down better in the exact same situations.
Associated Domains: None
Bolstering Strike (PHB): Most Human Cavaliers should pretend this one doesn't exist. You don't have the Wisdom to make the THP granting work for you. Lone exception: Retrain your at-will power into this in Epic Tier, multiclass into Fighter, take the Earth domain feat and Overwhelming Impact and, armed with a hammer, you'll have yourself an at-will dazing power.
Associated Domains: Change, Creation, Earth, Life, War
Enfeebling Strike (PHB): Amazing for the O-Paladin, but worthless to you. Without a consistent, reliable, at-will way to mark you're just not going to get much use out of this one.
Associated Domains: Death, Madness, Moon, Poison, Trickery, Tyranny, Undeath, Winter
Virtuous Strike (DP): At-will Radiant keyword, gives you a +2 bonus to saves if it hits. It also counts as an MBA, opening up the possibility of some more esoteric, strictly CHA-based Cavalier builds, especially when you consider that this power gets support from some of the best domains. Such builds will have two dead-weight at-will powers, but depending on how you play it and your domain choice, it just might be worth it.
Associated Domains: Arcana, Justice, Knowledge, Love, Sea, Sun
Riding around the Domain: Deities and Domains
You can only apply the benefits of one domain power feat per usage of an at-will. They're optional, just like all feats, but it is recommended you at least consider them, as many of them do provide fairly significant extra bonuses on your at-will powers. Since Cavaliers are more likely to spam their at-will powers than O-Paladins are, domains are of particular interest to them. And consequently, some domains that the O-Paladin wouldn't give the light of day are actually of interest to Cavaliers.
For your convenience, the deities to whom these domains apply and the domain feats that alter Valiant Strike and any recommended at-wills for Human Cavaliers will be listed here.
Deities and Associated Domains
Avandra: Change, Freedom, Luck
Bahamut: Hope, Justice, Protection
Corellon: Arcana, Skill, Wilderness
Erathis: Civilization, Creation, Justice
Ioun: Fate, Knowledge, Skill
Kord: Storm, Strength, War
Melora: Life, Sea, Wilderness
Moradin: Creation, Earth, Protection
Pelor: Hope, Life, Sun
The Raven Queen: Death, Fate, Winter
Sehanine: Love, Moon, Trickery
Asmodeus: Civilization, Tyranny
Bane: Skill, War
Gruumsh: Destruction, Strength
Lolth: Darkness, Trickery
Tharizdun: Destruction, Madness
Tiamat: Strife, Vengeance
Torog: Earth, Torment
Vecna: Knowledge, Undeath
Zehir: Darkness, Poison
Forgotten Realms (D 378)
Amaunator: Civilization, Justice, Sun
Angharradh: Hope, Protection
Bahamut: Justice, Strength
Berronar Truesilver: Life, Protection
Chauntea: Earth, Hope, Life
Corellon: Arcana, Skill, Wilderness
Garl Glittergold: Creation, Trickery
Gond: Creation, Knowledge
Ilmater: Freedom, Hope
Kelemvor: Death, Fate, Justice
Mielikki: Freedom, Wilderness
Moradin: Creation, Earth, Protection
Oghma: Knowledge, Skill, Trickery
Selûne: Arcana, Change, Moon
Sheela Peryroyl: Love, Wilderness
Silvanus: Life, Storm, Wilderness
Sune: Love, Skill, Trickery
Tempus: Protection, Strength, War
Torm: Civilization, Justice, Protection
Tymora: Change, Luck
Waukeen: Civilization, Knowledge
Asmodeus: Knowledge, Torment, Tyranny
Auril: Storm, Winter
Bane: Civilization, Tyranny, War
Beshaba: Fate, Trickery
Cyric: Madness, Strife, Trickery
Ghaunadaur: Destruction, Earth, Madness
Gruumsh: Destruction, Storm, Strength
Lolth: Darkness, Poison, Strife
Loviatar: Torment, Vengeance
Luthic: Earth, Protection
Shar: Darkness, Knowledge, Undeath
Sseth: Arcana, Darkness
Talona: Destruction, Poison
Tiamat: Tyranny, Vengeance
Umberlee: Sea, Storm
Zehir: Darkness, Poison
Eberron (D 378)
The Silver Flame: Hope, Justice, Protection
The Sovereign Host: Civilization, Fate, Knowledge
Arawai: Life, Storm, Wilderness
Aureon: Arcana, Justice, Knowledge
Balinor: Earth, Strength, Wilderness
Boldrei: Civilization, Justice, Protection
Dol Arrah: Hope, Sun, War
Dol Dorn: Skill, Strength, War
Kol Korran: Civilization, Skill, Trickery
Olladra: Change, Freedom, Luck
Onatar: Civilization, Creation, Strength
The Traveler: Change, Creation, Trickery
The Blood of Vol: Death, Undeath
The Path of Light: Freedom, Skill, Sun
The Spirits of the Past: Protection, Vengeance, War
The Undying Court: Fate, Knowledge, Undeath
The Dark Six: Destruction, Wilderness
The Devourer: Destruction, Sea, Storm
The Fury: Madness, Vengeance
The Keeper: Death, Torment
The Mockery: Trickery, War
The Shadow: Arcana, Darkness
Cults of the Dragon Below: Darkness, Madness
Domain power feats
Power of Civilization (DP): +1 damage bonus per enemy next to you. This one is of a lot more interest to Cavaliers than to O-Paladins. With your higher rate of at-will usage this can make Valiant Strike a solid go-to option for damage.
Power of Hope (DP): Grant a +1 power bonus to attack to an ally up to 5 squares away when you hit. Solid power that allows you to show a little leadership.
Power of Protection (DP): A hit gives an ally up to 5 squares away +1 power bonus to all defenses. This one's nice. You'll be in position to grant this a lot.
Power of Skill (DP): Turns Valiant Strike into a deadly accurate melee basic attack. If you qualify for this domain, you're taking this, period.
Power of the Storm (DP): Gives Valiant Strike the Thunder keyword, along with the +2/3/4 damage bonus. This one is actually really nice. The Thunder keyword gets great support from feats and other features (Echoes of Thunder, Oncoming Storm). A Stormsoul Genasi will love this one. And if you're in Eberron and have the Mark of Storm Dragonmark, even better.
Power of the Wilderness (DP): On a hit, you and adjacent allies ignore difficult terrain. Not bad.
Power of Darkness (DP): Concealment against the next attack when you hit. This one's pretty good.
Power of Destruction (DP): Tier-scaling damage boost that only works against unbloodied enemies. Meh.
Power of Strife (DP): Tier-scaling damage bonus, but this one's a lot better than the others of that type. +1/2/3 bonus for each enemy within 3 squares of the target, which means in some cases you could really pile on the damage with this one. You should still pick up the general damage feats first, but this one's actually worth a look.
Power of Torment (DP): A hit with Ardent Strike sets up combat advantage for your ally's next attack. Decent.
Power of Earth (DP): This is the ONLY reason Cavaliers should even consider Bolstering Strike at all. Only take Bolstering Strike, and this feat, as you're approaching Epic Tier, already multiclassed into Fighter, using a hammer and having taken Overwhelming Impact to get your at-will daze.
Power of Arcana (AP): Makes your Virtuous Strike an Arcane power when you use it, which opens it up for synergies with certain feats you can get via Arcane multiclassing, such as the White Lotus line. Master Riposte actually works with your Righteous Radiance and Defender Aura, for starters ...
Power of Justice (DP): A hit grants a +1 power bonus to attack for all bloodied allies within 10 squares. Situational, but it comes up often enough to warrant a look.
Power of Knowledge (DP): A hit gives you a +1 power bonus to all defenses. Solid.
Power of Love (DP): THPs at the expense of all your damage done with Virtuous Strike is NEVER a good deal. Shun this like the Spellplague.
Power of the Sea (DP): A hit either allows you to make a save or slaps a -2 penalty on the enemy's save. Solid choice, and very versatile. It can save you or help prolong an enemy's misery from a save-ends status power. And when you get Hero's Poise in Paragon Tier, this one really takes off.
Power of the Sun (DP): Cause tier-scaling Radiant vulnerability (3/5/8) when you hit. This one's actually really good, and not just for the extra damage on follow-up Radiant attacks from you or anyone else until the end of your next turn. It also makes violating your Defender Aura and DS marks hurt a lot more. It also makes your Holy Smites deal more pain. And certain powers (such as Bless Weapon) can really punish Radiant vulnerability.
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 09:48 PM #5Spikes in the Ride: Daily Powers
For your convenience, powers will be separated into Strength-based and Charisma-based attacks and whether they use a weapon or implement (or are other things like stances, etc.). Remember that your Lv. 29 daily is fixed and replaces your Lv. 15 power.
Lv. 1 Daily (at Lv. 5)
Although you do not get to choose a Lv. 1 daily power at Lv. 1, these powers are options for you at Lv. 5, when you do get your first daily power selection. And there are some nice choices here, particularly for those with a high enough Charisma to attack. Frost of Letherna and Radiant Delirium are quite nice.
Blood of the Mighty (DP): A 4[W] Reliable attack, which can be devastating if you happen to use a superior two-handed weapon. You take 5 damage whenever you use it, but that's not too bad.
Blazing Brand (DP): Attacks Fortitude and is also Reliable. Deals ongoing fire damage and makes the enemy give up combat advantage, save ends. Decent.
Driving Blades (D 383): When you hit, the save-ends effect deals untyped ongoing damage and lets you push and follow the target as long as that lasts. Solid when you hit, no doubt, but unfortunately the miss effect is quite feeble, so its Reliable competitor, Blazing Brand, probably still holds the edge.
Paladin's Judgment (PHB): Allows an ally to spend a healing surge, hit or miss, but deals no damage on a miss. Not bad, but you can do better.
Glorious Charge (DP): Good healing effect if you have the Wisdom, but the 2-square range of the healing makes this one less appealing, and more situational, than it would've been otherwise.
Majestic Halo (DP): You spread Divine Sanctions around for a whole encounter after the attack. Not really necessary for you, since Righteous Radiance accomplishes a similar purpose all the time and controls enemy movement as well. It does gain some power as you arrive upon Divine Sanction's better feat support, though, so you may want to keep this one in mind.
Frost of Letherna (D 381): Slows your enemies, which is quite nice for keeping enemies within walking distance of your Defender Aura.
On Pain of Death (PHB): Attacks Will and makes the target take damage whenever it attacks, until it saves. Complements your Righteous Radiance and Divine Sanctions nicely.
Radiant Delirium (PHB): Attacks Reflex and dazes whether it hits or misses. That's great. If it hits, it imposes a -2 penalty to AC until the enemy saves. Even better. Great power.
Lv. 5 Daily
Arc of Vengeance, Frenzying Smite and Chilling Smite are solid Strength-based attacks. If you opt to use your holy symbol for a Charisma-based attack, Name of Might is a nice slowing power.
Arc of Vengeance (DP): A solidly damaging close burst 1 whirlwind that, hit or miss, applies Divine Sanction until the end of your next turn.
Chilling Smite (E:HFK): Cold-based attack that reduces the enemy's damage by -5 until they save. Even if you miss, the effect lasts a round. Pretty good.
Dark Majesty (HoS): Attacks Will, so at least it hits often. The damage is pretty mediocre on hit, though, and the splash damage isn't exactly going to make its recipient cry, either. Can be a bit better if you have ways to take advantage of sliding your enemies.
Fiery Smite (E:HFK): A garden-variety, fire-based Brute Strike ability that also pops minions next to the target. Meh, whatever.
Frenzying Smite (HoS): Another 4[W] attack in Heroic, this time dealing half-damage on miss and coming packed with a nice push-and-follow effect. You give up CA, but who cares?
Martyr's Retribution (PHB): This 4[W] damage power is strictly worse than Blood of the Mighty at the exact same purpose. It's not Reliable, for one, so it's not nearly as good for the coup-de-grace situations. Plus spending a full healing surge with no healing is a lot more costly than taking only 5 damage. It's also decidedly inferior to Frenzying Smite at this same level. Stay away from this one, whatever you do.
Shadow's Apathy (D 381): Reliable attack that save-ends slows and weakens on hit. A good power that would be even better if it weren't Necrotic.
Unrelenting Punishment (DP): Hit or miss, causes 5 ongoing damage (save-ends) and heals you WIS-mod HPs every time the enemy takes the damage. The attack itself does no miss damage, though, which hurts it a bit.
Unyielding Faith (DP): Imposes Divine Sanction for the whole encounter, but only if it hits. Does do half damage on a miss. Decent.
Hallowed Circle (PHB): Attack vs. Reflex followed by a slightly upgraded Sacred Circle. At least the bonus is to all defenses, but an unmovable zone with an effect like this is still rather situational.
Name of Might (DP): Close blast attack vs. Fortitude that save-ends slows if it hits and still slows until the end of the enemies' next turns if it misses. Does decent AoE damage, and slow is a good sticky effect. This one's pretty solid.
Sign of Vulnerability (PHB): Ranged attack vs. Fortitude that imposes Radiant vulnerability if it hits. If you have the Sun domain you don't need this at all. Everyone else might want to give it a look though, especially if you have Bless Weapon.
Strength/Weapon AND Charisma/Implement
Prayer of Two Paths (DP): Pretty unimpressive on the whole.
Lv. 9 Daily
A solid level. Strength-attacks are well served with Death Angel, Spirit Harrow, Knightly Intercession or Shadow Blades of Shared Doom, or even Whirling Radiance for you Radiant Mafiosi. Good Charisma-based attacks are Crown of Glory or the punishment stacker Ray of Reprisal.
Strength OR Charisma, Weapon
Reaper's Harvest (D 380): Just plain terrible.
Death Angel (HoS): This attack vs. Will is positively nasty if you have other melee allies surrounding the target of this one. You force any one enemy in the close blast 3, if you hit, to choose between running away from you and eating your allies' OAs for a quick death, or standing there save-ends dazed. You also get to teleport anywhere in the blast regardless of hit or miss.
Final Rebuke (DP): Attack Fortitude, push the enemy far and add some extra damage if you push the enemy into something solid. Not too bad. It's Reliable, too.
Holy Outrage (D 383): No miss damage, and the effect that happens regardless of hit or miss requires a combination of some serendipitous positioning and a source of plenty of extra attacks in a round to be worthwhile. Not particularly appealing, and the effect isn't really worth spending the minor action to sustain, either.
Knightly Intercession (DP): An immediate interrupt, which can stack with your Righteous Radiance or any DS mark you may have. You take the hit for an ally under attack, then pull the offender to you and attack him. If it hits, the enemy is Sanctioned for the rest of the encounter. The only weakness is that the attack does nothing on a miss, but you can't complain too much about this one.
Shadow Blades of Shared Doom (D 381): You've got a pretty strong possibility to DS an entire cluster of enemies if you hit with the initial attack, since the secondary attack triggered on hit is still weapon-based versus Will. You Sanction the initial target for a round hit or miss. Good one; would be even better if it wasn't Necrotic.
Spirit Harrow (HoS): Close burst 1 Psychic attack vs. everyone around you, and if you hit the enemies can't shift or make OAs until they save. A very fine Defender power, especially considering it originated from your morally bankrupt Striker counterpart. It even stuns enemies if they are near death.
Thundering Smite (E:HFK): Thunder-based attack that knocks all enemies within 2 squares of the target (but not the target itself) prone. Eh, fair enough.
Whirling Radiance (E:HFK): Close-burst attack vs. Reflex, so this radiant attack will hit often and invoke the save-ends ongoing 5 radiant damage. If you can create radiant vulnerability the damage from this can add up quickly.
Shout of Condemnation (DP): One of the rare STR-based implement powers. It's actually a fairly solid power. Attacks Will, save-ends DS on hit, half damage and a one-round DS on a miss, Thunder keyword, and nice blast area.
Shackles of Justice (DP): The save-ends condition, moderate radiant damage for damaging an ally, happens hit or miss, but unfortunately a miss does no damage. At this level, it doesn't really add up.
Crown of Glory (PHB): Close burst 1 attack vs. Will, followed, hit or miss, by you slowing enemies who start their turns next to you. This can be sustained with minor actions. A very good sticky power.
One Stands Alone (PHB): Close burst 1 vs. Will, save-ends weakens regardless of hit or miss. With proper coordination you can get in position to be able to use this one when you need it. Solid enough effect.
Radiant Pulse (PHB): This one is just plain bad. You have to hit to do anything of worth with this power, and even then, the other powers at this level are better. A simple push just isn't as good as slowing or weakening.
Ray of Reprisal (DP): An immediate interrupt, and thus a punishment stacker. This Radiant attack vs. Fortitude deals half damage on a miss, and regardless of hit or miss, the damage the ally takes from the triggering attack is cut in half. Quite nice.
Lv. 15 Daily
Avatar of Righteous Nobility is easily your best STR-based option, and really one of your best options period. Great Charisma options include the likes of True Nemesis and Knight's Defiance.
Divine Vengeance (DP): You won't have the Wisdom to make this one effective.
Avatar of Righteous Nobility (E:HFK): A solid half-damage-miss attack followed by a range of 3 on your Defender Aura and Righteous Radiance for a whole encounter. A huge boost to your battlefield control for a fight a day.
Avatar of Slaughter (HoS): Hit or miss, gain a nice power bonus to damage and the ability to splash necrotic damage on a second enemy next to you. Decent enough.
Avatar of Subjugation (HoS): Hot or miss, gain a bonus to attack rolls, THPs at the start of all your turns and even let an ally take some damage in exchange for twice the THPs in return. Not bad.
Avatar of Undaunted Bravery (E:HFK): Regardless of hit or the half-damage miss, you get to pull one enemy at the start of every single one of your turns a couple squares as a free action. Pretty decent, all things considered, although I'd rather have the extra range on my Defender Aura and Righteous Radiance.
Bloodied Retribution (PHB): Hit hard when bloodied and use a healing surge. Basic enough.
Flames of Devotion (DP): Hit or miss, your attacks deal 2d6 extra fire damage for as long as you sustain the effect with minor actions. A little too costly for the effect, especially compared to something like Bless Weapon. Lack of miss damage hurts, too.
Pyre of Judgment (DP): Reliable attack that causes ongoing 10 fire damage and damages surrounding enemies by a fair amount until a save. Decent.
Wayfinder's Charge (D 375): Get enemies in the way out of the way and make them pay for taking OAs, then hit the marked target for decent damage, halved on miss. Not bad.
Knight's Defiance (DP): Pull all enemies within 5 squares to you, save-end Sanction all of them, then attack one of them in melee. Solid crowd-control power.
Tower of Faith (DP): Attack deals half on a miss, and hit or miss you get some pretty good bonuses to saves. Fair.
Break the Wall (PHB): Debuff all of an enemy's defenses, -2 if you hit, -1 if you miss. Decent.
Darkness Unleashed (D 381): This Necrotic close burst 1 power is actually not bad for Dwarves and anyone else whose second winds are minor-action or better. In their employ it can amount to an AoE attack above and beyond their standard action. If your second wind is a standard action you're better off looking elsewhere.
True Nemesis (PHB): Whether you hit or miss with the initial attack, this power lets you make all the punishment-stacking immediate-reaction attacks against the target you could possibly want for the rest of the encounter. These happen if the enemy attacks you, as well, so it creates a rather vicious Catch-22 situation. Solo control at its finest.
Lv. 19 Daily
Very robust level here. Deathguide's Sanction is probably the best of the bunch, and Smite of the Flame Cage, Smite the Soul and Smite of Winter's Grip are also solid choices. If you want a CHA-based option, Corona of Blinding Radiance is as good as it gets.
Plundering Smite (HoS): Tacked on to an at-will attack, this adds necrotic damage on the spot and additional ongoing necrotic, and gives you a little self-healing each time the target takes the ongoing damage. Fair enough. You'll probably appreciate it a little more than Blackguards do.
Ruinous Smite (HoS): Tacked on to an at-will attack, this adds some nice extra damage and makes the enemy yell, "I'm fallen and I can't get up!" when you're standing over him until he saves. This one's pretty nice for locking down one foe. You give up CA, but that's a pretty small price to pay.
Strength OR Charisma, Implement
Visage of Sorrow (D 380): Close burst 2 mass sanction for a turn and hit or miss a debuff to attacks against yourself. Not that impressive, and unless you have a more lasting mass-Sanction power to follow up with, it's counterintuitive.
Crusader's Boon (PHB): Simply inadequate.
Deathguide's Sanction (D 381): This one does solid damage, it's Reliable, it's Radiant, and when it hits, it save-ends Sanctions the target while also turning it into a fencing dummy of free healing (5 + CHA mod) every round for all your allies who hit it while the Sanction lasts. Awesome stuff.
Overwhelming Fervor (DP): Solid damage on hit, halved on miss. You want to hit with it so you can impose Divine Sanction on the target for the rest of the encounter.
Smite of the Flame Cage (E:HFK): Use this when a cadre of foes are within two squares of you and you'll enforce a nice full round of stickiness and control. 15 automatic fire damage for escaping or attacking an ally outside the zone is no joke, especially if it stacks with your Righteous Radiance.
Smite of Winter's Grip (E:HFK): A good status effect -- restraining -- hit or miss with this cold-based attack (save-ends if you hit) and also some ongoing cold damage on hit. Pretty solid.
Smite the Soul (DP): Save-end stuns on hit, with a dazing aftereffect. A little low on the damage for a daily of this level, but a worthy pick nonetheless, especially if you can put a penalty on the save.
Wheel of Fate (DP): A solidly-damaging close burst 1 attack with a free surge's worth of healing if you hit at least two enemies. However, your WIS isn't that of a typical STR-based O-Paladin, so the regeneration when bloodied isn't quite as useful for you. It's still not a bad option, even then.
Corona of Blinding Radiance (PHB): Close burst 1 vs. Reflex, Radiant, and is just plain devastating even if it misses (which it won't too often). Save-end blinds on hit, and even on miss, half damage and blinds until the end of your next turn. Second to none for melee control.
Righteous Resolve (DP): O-Paladins don't even like it, and without a high WIS it's even less useful for you.
Name of Potency (DP): Close burst 2, mass save-ends immobilization if it hits, save-ends slow if it misses. Solid sticky power that can keep enemies near your Defender Aura.
Righteous Inferno (PHB): Not that impressive. The zone it creates is small, making the use of this power situational at best.
Lv. 25 Daily
Discipline the Unruly flat-out owns this level if your Charisma is attack caliber. If it's not, Exalted Retribution is still good for its Catch-22 and its extra attacks.
Strength OR Charisma, Weapon
World in Winter (D 380): It's important to note that the difficult terrain and light obscurity effects are NOT party friendly. That is a HUGE blow to what would've been a fantastic control power.
Exalted Retribution (PHB): Hit or miss with this one, you set up a Catch-22 with a souped-up OA. While the punishment for the enemy attacking your ally can't stack with Righteous Radiance (since they're both opportunity actions), the attack is still superior in that case. And punishing an attack against yourself as well, that's just sweet. (Note that this CAN still stack with Divine Sanction.) Too bad it's save-ends, but even just the one probable extra attack from this (especially if set up right) is worth its weight in damage.
Mark of Weakness (DP): Save-end weakens and Sanctions on hit, half damage and weaken for one turn on miss. Fair.
Radiant Storm (E:HFK): Close burst vs. Reflex for good hitting, half-damage on miss, and creates a zone for a whole encounter in which the enemy gets zapped for 10 radiant damage if he enters or ends his turn in it. This one is basically meant to force a Catch-22 on enemies between your Defender Aura and the world outside it. A Radiant Mafioso can actually put this one to pretty nice effect.
Ravenous Shadows (HoS): Creates a wall that can slide nearby enemies into it upon conjuration and the minor-action sustains, immobilize them and make them eat some combined cold/necrotic damage. Actually better in your hands than in those of the Blackguard for whom it originated, and a fair control spell.
Roaring Thunder (E:HFK): Pretty much Thundering Smite, Mark II, this time with a daze on the target and an extra square's distance on the mass-prone effect. Can't say I'm impressed.
Spurn the Unworthy (DP): The attack itself isn't that good for this level, and all you get are an extra weapon die's worth of damage on your melee basic attack. Not impressive.
Venomous Infection (HoS): Attack that deals a fairly hefty amount of ongoing acid and poison damage and comes with a minor spray damage effect when the target is bloodied or killed. Cool enough flavor, but in practice it doesn't exactly inspire.
Discipline the Unruly (DP): If your CHA is attack-caliber, there's no reason to take anything else. Enemies within 5 squares of you, marked or not, that attack any ally automatically suffer a solid amount of radiant damage and are blinded for a round. You can sustain this with minor actions, and you will most definitely want to do that. A fantastic power for both primary and off-defenders, this one allows for some incredible punishment-stacking combos.
Harsh Verdict (DP): No reason for this power.
To the Nine Hells with You (PHB): To the Nine Hells with this power, you mean. Generic marks suck, and the fire damage is hardly impressive.
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 09:49 PM #6Aides to the Ride: Utility Powers
Remember that your Lv. 2 and Lv. 22 utilities are fixed.
Lv. 2 Utility (at Lv. 6)
Although you don't have a free selection from this list at Lv. 2, you do at Lv. 6. And Bless Weapon, Call of Challenge and Virtue are all just as great at Lv. 6 as they are at Lv. 2.
Astral Speech (PHB): In low-combat campaigns this might actually see some use, since the role of party face often falls on you. But you're probably better off looking elsewhere.
Bless Weapon (DP): This daily Radiant-keyword weapon buff is very good anytime, excellent against undead or other radiant-vulnerable monsters, and downright godly if you can consistently create radiant vulnerability (such as the Sun domain or the Morninglord paragon path).
Call of Challenge (DP): A no-fail, minor action, mass-Sanction encounter power. Perfect for picking up some DS-ing capacity.
Divine Counter (DP): Half the damage and impose DS as a per-encounter immediate interrupt for an enemy attacking one of your NADs. Not bad, but other options are better.
Kord's Strength (D 383): Per-encounter boost to an Athletics or Endurance check in combat, followed by +2 power bonus to melee damage and Sanctioning enemies on your attacks for a round. Not wholly terrible, but you're not going to roll one of those skills every combat. Situational.
Martyr's Blessing (PHB): O-Paladins never liked it, and it's beyond worthless for you considering you can do what this daily power does, except better, every single encounter.
Sacred Circle (PHB): Think of just about everything wrong that a daily utility power can possibly do. That's this abortion in a nutshell.
Touch of Grace (DP): Not a bad encounter power, particularly if you get some save bonuses.
Vice's Reward (HoS): A tier-scaling amount of THPs, a saving throw and a +2 power bonus to all defenses for a minor action every encounter. Pretty solid, all in all. However, it's important to note that this power is strictly Shadow and is NOT Divine, a common trait among utilities originating from the Blackguard. One sample consequence is that this one can't be recovered by Divine Mastery in Epic Tier.
Virtue (DP): You can expect to burn through at least one healing surge every encounter. This encounter utility lets you be proactive about it, and your leader/healer will love you for that. If you have abilities that work when bloodied (for example, you're a Dragonborn or Shifter), you have a second application for this power: pop it when you're bloodied and buy a couple of "safe" bloodied rounds to take advantage of your abilities.
Lv. 6 Utility
A robust level, highlighted by the excellent Shield of Discipline. Wrath of the Gods and Pure Devotion are also quite solid. Or you can just take a Lv. 2 power.
Aspect of Domination (HoS): This daily Shadow utility lets you push your CHA-mod with all your at-will attacks for the whole fight. Some might be able to take advantage of that.
Aspect of Ferocity (HoS): An extra 1[W] on all your attacks when you're next to anyone who is bloodied (ally or enemy) is pretty good. Note that this daily is pure Shadow.
Bond of Protection (E:HFK): Single-ally protection spell. I'm not the biggest fan of those, but this daily's not bad. +2 power bonus to the ally's defenses and you can choose to reduce any damage that ally takes by 5 at the cost of 5 of your own HP. Basically Divine Bodyguard done right, with a solid measure of control and a defensive bonus.
Divine Bodyguard (PHB): If you must take a single-ally protection spell, stick with either Bond of Protection or Shield the Virtuous.
Fear Not (DP): Per-encounter, grant an adjacent ally a saving throw which gets a bonus if it's a fear effect. You can't really have too many powers that grant saving throws. You can use this on yourself, too.
Flare of Divine Vengeance (PHBH): No way in the hells is this one-round attack buff and surge use worth a daily. Not at all.
Fury of the Battle God (D 383): The only way this power is ever going to be worthwhile is if you miss most of your targets with an AoE encounter or daily power. Translation: Picking this is planning for failure and being a failure. Seriously, go back to the Lv. 2 arsenal and take Call of Challenge if you want mass Sanctioning. If you already had that one, well, pick something else.
One Heart, One Mind (PHB): Not bad, especially if you're looking for both in-combat and out-of-combat utility.
Pure Devotion (DP): A +4 power bonus to Fortitude and Will per encounter as an immediate interrupt if an enemy attacks you. Pretty good.
Shield of Discipline (DP): An excellent encounter power for survivability. Pop this at the start of a turn when you've been under an enemy's focused efforts and cut their DPR against you down for that round.
Shield the Virtuous (DP): The damage from this single-ally protection spell stacks with your Righteous Radiance and DS, essentially doubling their punishment power when they attack that one particular ally. So as far as such spells go, this daily's pretty good.
Valiant Rush (DP): Double your speed on a move action one round per encounter. Not bad.
Winter's Fated Stance (D 381): This stance is certainly good against enemies that deal Cold and Necrotic damage. But unless you're fighting those enemies every day, this isn't the wisest choice.
Wrath of the Gods (PHB/E:HFK): Now it's CHA-mod power bonus to your and your allies' damage, which is still pretty good as a Leader-style fill-in. A weakness is its area of effect is only close burst 1, but in most cases, that's not too much of an issue with good planning.
Class Skill Powers
Stirring Speech (PHB3): Use this daily during a short rest and give your allies +1 untyped bonus to attack rolls and saves for the next encounter as long as they're not bloodied. Not bad.
Physician's Care (PHB3): I mentioned it just to ridicule it. Why anyone would take this instead of Swift Recovery is a mystery.
Swift Recovery (PHB3): Grant an ally a no-action second wind every encounter, using just your minor action. This one's good.
Deliverance of Faith (D 385): Hello, Virtue, good to see you again.
Non-class Skill Powers
Guided Shot (PHB3): Per-encounter, let an ally attack Reflex if he missed the attack against AC. Neat little Leader-type benefit there.
Lv. 10 Utility
After the fantastic powers at Lv. 2 and Lv. 6, this level seems like a letdown. But there are some solid options here, including Benediction and Cleansing Spirit. If none of those tickle your fancy, there's nothing wrong with dipping back into the Lv. 2 or Lv. 6 pool.
Beacon of Nobility (E:HFK): For a whole encounter, this daily lets you use a minor action to hand out 5 THPs to an ally, as well as a skill check bonus. Decent little booster power.
Beacon of Penance (E:HFK): For a whole encounter, this daily lets you use a minor action to effectively transfer 10 hit points from you to an ally, in the form of healing. The reactive counterpart to Beacon of Nobility that essentially serves as retroactive defending. Fair pick.
Benediction (DP): Per-encounter utility that rewards an ally who hits with either a use of a healing surge or potentially some extra damage. The former application is a solid backup healer ability, and the latter is great when the ally used an attack that involves several large dice to roll for the damage.
Cleansing Spirit (PHB): Invoke a saving throw with a +2 bonus, either for an ally or for yourself. Solid encounter power.
Deathguide's Stance (D 381): This stance is similar to getting the Bard's Virtue of Valor once per day (except doling out actual healing, rather than temp HPs). Which makes it decent in 5-standard fights, but not so good against Elites and Solos. It's also useless against minions.
Deathly Aura (HoS): This pure Shadow daily can pile some nice damage on enemies in the aura 1 pretty nicely (assuming they don't resist necrotic, of course), but you have to be bloodied for this to happen. I'm not sure how long you want to stay bloodied for this.
Font of Healing (DP): Basically an enhanced, Lay on Hands-style power healing both you and an ally. Not too bad..
Guiding Verse (DP): You probably won't have the Wisdom to make this any better, numbers-wise, than Cleansing Spirit. And this one only works on yourself.
Noble Shield (PHB): This daily is extremely situational. It's only useful at all for AoE attacks from an enemy.
Righteous Indignation (DP): This one fails. If it affected more than one attack, or were an encounter power, it might have been worth it.
Turn of the Dark Tide (HoS): This pure Shadow daily is similar to the existing Turn the Tide, but even worse, since it forces your party members to take damage in the process. Still uses up your standard action, too. Avoid it.
Turn the Tide (PHB): Unless your party somehow finds itself loaded with multiple save-ends status effects all at once, this one is not going to see much use. Worse, it's a standard action, so you give up attacking.
Vengeful Vigilance (D 375): You don't have Divine Challenge, so you'll get no use out of this one.
Winter's Arrival (D 381): A stronger choice for O-Paladins than for you, but if you have end-of-next-turn or save-ends DS powers to throw around, you might appreciate a per-encounter teleport that will help you close distance on enemies marked by those powers. The difficult terrain you create can rob the enemy of a few movement options.
Class Skill Powers
Cry for Mercy (PHB3): Grant a bloodied ally (or yourself) a huge bonus to all defenses and movement unthreatened by OAs every encounter. Only costs a minor action, too, and works at a solid range. A good deal.
Noble Sacrifice (PHB3): A per-encounter martyr-type power, very fitting your your role. The range and application are a bit limited, though.
Reactive Surge (PHB3): Immediate-reaction spending of a healing surge when you get bloodied. Pretty good to have around. Valor Cavaliers, in particular, with their healing surge values, can get some nice mileage out of this one.
Time Out (PHB3): An extra second wind for one ally per encounter, granted with your minor action. Nice to have for helping any allies who have good reasons to use their second winds.
Lessons of History (D 385): Well, well, a reason to actually consider training History. Letting all your allies recover an encounter utility in one fight per day is quite handy.
Assurance of Prophecy (D 385): Tag on a pretty decent amount of extra healing every encounter. Solid choice.
Non-class Skill Powers
Spot Weakness (PHB3): Free damage buff per encounter. Can't ignore that.
Navigate Crowds (PHB3): Shift your speed through enemy squares once per encounter. That can be handy.
Lv. 16 Utility
Among your class powers, Divine Aegis wins this level quite handily. If you're trained in Insight, a class skill for you, this level isn't a bad time to take a skill power, namely Insightful Riposte.
Angelic Intercession (PHB): This daily is a fancier Martyr's Blessing. And it still sucks.
Call from the Brink (E:HFK): Immediate reaction healing surge trigger to an ally getting KO-ed, with a +2 power bonus to his attack rolls for the round after. This daily's a pretty decent recovery spell.
Death Ward (PHB): The healing is actually a better deal than Call from the Brink: Use one healing surge to heal your dying ally by two healing surges + CHA mod. However, the fact that this daily is a standard action and melee 1 range make it less useful than Call from the Brink, overall.
Devotion (DP): Boost the whole party's Fortitude and Will by +4 power bonus, but only until the end of your next turn. At this point, you should expect more from a daily utility.
Divine Aegis (DP): Daily stance giving a +2 untyped bonus to all defenses for you and anyone up to 2 squares away. Straightforward, but very effective, since it stacks with every other defense bonus out there.
Higher Cause (DP): This daily stance gives untyped save bonuses and regeneration when bloodied. Pretty good, especially with Hero's Poise.
Liberation (DP): Per-encounter move action that lets you pull an ally away from a tough spot and trigger their healing surge. Decent.
Pragmatic Sacrifice (HoS): Certainly interesting and flavorful (if against type for Cavaliers), but in practice this self-death rescue daily just isn't really worth the slot.
Prayer for the Valiant (DP): This daily is used when multiple allies are under save-ends effects. A handy emergency power, and after Hero's Poise triggers you'll practically guarantee success with it.
Shadow Healing (HoS): This pure Shadow daily is definitely best used immediately after combat is over. Your bloodied value's worth of surgeless self-healing is very nice, no doubt, but the prohibition on spending your healing surges until after your next short rest makes this unwise to use in the heat of a battle.
Stave off Winter (D 386): Sort of an immediate-interrupt, ranged Lay on Hands-type power, followed by some situational benefits at the cost of additional healing surges. Not really worth it.
Class Skill Powers
Insightful Riposte (PHB3): If ever there was a reason for you to train Insight, this encounter utility is it. A +3 untyped bonus as a free action to correct a failed attack roll. Incredible. This power is a great investment of the Skill Power feat to nab as an extra.
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 09:50 PM #7Extra Training for the Ride: Feats
Note on the general, class, racial, and divine power source feats: Not all of those will be listed. Only the consequential ones (many of those will be rated blue or sky blue). Traps among those will be noted. This saves space, plus since feats have become a more precious resource thanks to simply the increasing number of them in 4e, narrowing them down to the meaningful choices is justified.
As for what you should prioritize when selecting feats:
1. Attack accuracy. Hitting enemies is the most important thing any character does in 4e combat, and you are no exception.
2. Aura/mark potency/frequency. This is how you ensure that enemies will want to attack you, rather than that Wizard in the back. Feats that give you opportunities to lay down DS are in this category, as well as feats that enhance the effects of DS. If any feats come along that improve the effects of your Defender Aura and Righteous Radiance, they will be here, too.
3. Defense/survivability. As a Defender, you need to make sure that you can take the extra heat. Doing this will turn foes' situations into more of a lose-lose, which is exactly what you want. Note that this category can also include ways to hurt the foe for attacking you, as well. In your particular case, you also like feats that increase your hit points and healing surges, since you do have an encounter feature power that makes you absorb hits for your allies, after all.
4. Initiative. Just like all other Defenders, you want your enemies put on notice before they ever get to act. Since you're not likely to have a high Dexterity, feats are your best way of hiking your initiative and making sure you beat your enemies to the punch more often than not. Some of you like to buff your allies, too, which makes this even more important.
5. Power recovery. If you come upon feats that let you recover your encounter powers, take them. They can impact the battle in a big way.
6. Healing/buffing OR damage. Going for either one of these is how you round out your Cavalier's abilities.
Class/Power Source feats
Commanding Vow (D 388): Sounds nice in general, but in practice this DS-related feat is pretty niche. However, it should be considered for certain combos involving Ardent Strike, such as with Deadly Draw for the constant combat advantage.
Light of Order (D 381): Gives you a free at-will spell, Shining Light of Order, that shines bright light, which negates concealment in dark places. Useful if you do a lot of dungeon-crawling or night fighting. The feat also grants you the option to replace a utility power with Punitive Radiance, although with the great utilities your class gets you probably won't want to exercise that option.
Mercy's Reward (D 388): If you're the type of Cavalier who wasn't going for DPR, then the surge-triggering sacrifice of critical damage can come in handy.
Protector's Commitment (DP): CHA 15 required. Take the Expertise feats first, but this is worth a look after those. You or an enemy next to a bloodied ally is a fairly common situation (particularly the latter case, since that happens with a simple flank) that will give you the +1 untyped bonus to attacks.
Shared Vitality (D 385): Val-Cavaliers who worship Moradin might find it worthwhile to do an impression of the Sac-Cavalier's ally-healing second wind ability. Although this one's still a standard action unless you do something special with your second wind's action type.
Symbol of the Sonnlinor (D 385): Must worship Moradin, and this is a great option if you plan on wielding an axe or hammer in his name. Not only does it reduce multiple-item dependency, but it opens up a lot of interesting combinations for implement use. Like the classic Lasting Frost synergy. Or how about following up a close-burst implement crit with a Rending attack? Bloodiron's sure looking fine. The possibilities are endless.
Virtuous Recovery (DP): While your WIS won't be so high as to make you nigh-invincible with this feat, even a modifier as small as +2 can go a long way toward increasing your survivability. Works on any way you spend a surge, including second wind and utility powers like Virtue.
Chosen Defender (D 381): The penalty you put down on enemies' OAs just for being next to them comes in quite handy for giving your allies a better chance of moving around (or away from) those foes unscathed. You become a better point-man for flanks.
Hero's Poise (D 388): In combination with feats and abilities that boost your own saving throws (e.g. Focused Mind, Superior Will, the Valiant Cavalier feature Virtuous Health), this feat can make your entire party nigh-immune to save-ends effects. Which, last I checked, is kinda awesome. You're taking this, and that's final.
Honored Foe (DP): If you have at least two mass-DS powers per encounter and a +2 WIS modifier, this feat will help your survivability quite a bit.
Pervasive Light (DP): This one is aimed at those of you who primarily like to attack with other damage types besides Radiant, but still want to take advantage of Radiant vulnerability. If you're hanging out with a full-fledged Radiant Mafia, this can be an outright amazing choice, allowing you to stack the Radiant vulnerability your allies create with the extra damage or nasty tricks from your own preferred attack type (such as from Cold, Psychic or Thunder).
Champion's Countenance (D 388): Doesn't look that appealing on first reading, until you take into account powers like Virtue and Deliverance of Faith that allow you to start every fight with nice THP cushions. With such a THP cushion, you're looking at effortlessly giving your whole party +2 to all NADs for the first round or two. In conjunction with your Aura and DS, enemies who love attacking NADs (which would describe a ton of Epic Tier foes) will quickly find it a losing proposition and try to beat those THPs off of you, instead. Which is exactly what you wanted all along.
Divine Mastery (DP): Regain a divine encounter power when you spend an action point. This can recover things like Holy Smite and Righteous Shield. A necessity, and you want to get it as early in Epic Tier as possible.
Echoes of Letherna (D 380): Must worship the Raven Queen. Actually not a bad deal, since the Necrotic keyword and damage are added to the Radiant powers, rather than replacing the Radiant qualities. Dual damage types and keywords on a power work wonders to cover up one that may be commonly resisted.
Promise of Judgment (D 388): It's a fact of life and math in this game: You will miss attacks every now and then. The free DS from missing with a Paladin attack power is a fine consolation prize. A finer point: Ardent Strike becomes a guaranteed DS with this feat.
Punishing Radiance (DP): Radiant vulnerability 10 (or the increasing of it by 10) until the end of your next turn on a radiant divine power's crit. Fantastic, especially if you had built yourself to take full advantage of radiant vulnerability. Also note the synergy with Font of Radiance.
Axe Expertise (E:HFL): Gives you the necessary tier-scaling feat bonus to attack rolls with axes, and also lets you reroll those pesky 1s on a damage die. Nice extra perk there.
Blindfighting Warrior (E:HFK): Ignoring concealment of all sorts can come in handy for melee types.
Bludgeon Expertise (E:HFL): Tier-scaling feat bonus to attacks with hammers and maces, and its perk of an extra square of forced movement on an attack can be very nice if you can find at-will ways of creating forced movement. (Mark of Storm is an obvious one.) NOTE: This does not work with Ardent Strike and Commanding Vow, though, since it's the Sanction, not the attack, that slides.
Deadly Draw (PHB3): If you have means of sliding your enemy in any way at-will (e.g. Ardent Strike + Commanding Vow, or Mark of Storm, or Half-Elf with Eldritch Strike) this can net you constant combat advantage. Great fun.
Disciple of Freedom (E:HFL): Slowing, immobilizing and restraining are pretty nasty conditions for you, considering that positioning is key to the Cavalier's ability to defend. The ability to save at the start of your turn against those is almost vital to have. Plus, there's the fact that in Paragon Tier, this feat is going to have some beautiful synergy with Hero's Poise. Requires CHA 13.
Disciple of Justice (E:HFL): Val-Cavaliers with a minor-action or less second wind (Dwarves, Questing Knights) will look at this one to swipe a Spirit of Sacrifice imitation. Said imitation only works on an adjacent ally, but unlike the Spirit of Sacrifice, this actually heals the ally using your surge value, which from a Val-Cavalier can be very nice. Requires CHA 13.
Disciple of Light (E:HFL): Tier-scaling THPs to all allies within 5 squares of you when you use a healing surge (this can even include a power such as Virtue) is a very nice deal. Requires WIS 13.
Disciple of Stone (E:HFL): Tier-scaling THPs for you when you use a healing surge. Good one, assuming you're not already taking encounter powers that grant THPs on surge use (e.g. Virtue). Requires CON 13.
Disciple of Strength (E:HFL): If your second wind is minor-action or better (Dwarf, Questing Knight) this one's good for the extra sting on your next hit.
Durable (PHB): Two extra surges are nice to have, particularly for Sac-Cavaliers.
Echoes of Thunder (PHB2): Extra tier-scaling damage when you hit with Thunder powers. If you're using the Storm domain on your Valiant Strike, this should be next on the radar after Weapon Focus, as it really lends potency to your preferred keyword.
Focused Mind (PHB3): +4 feat bonus against two of the more crippling conditions, dazing and stunning. Good now, even better later. Especially when you take Hero's Poise in Paragon Tier.
Heavy Armor Agility (E:HFL): If you have the STR or CON 15 to qualify, this is a good investment for your mobility in plate.
Heavy Blade Expertise (E:HFL): The tier-scaling feat bonus to attacks with heavy blades you're looking for, and the +2 bonus to defenses against OAs you get in addition can make you a little more confident about barging through other enemies to get in an ideal position.
Holy Symbol Expertise (HoS): Only Cavaliers who take implement-based dailies, or anyone who takes a PP with implement powers, are likely to care, but this is the implement-based Expertise feat you take if you like your weapon-based Expertise feat's perk too much. Canceling CA against you in many situations is pretty nice, indeed.
Implement Focus (E:HFL): Finally, a general tier-scaling feat bonus to implement damage. It's probably not that high a priority for you, though.
Improved Defenses (E:HFL): It's not a matter of if you're taking this tier-scaling feat bonus to NADs, but when. This one is absolutely necessary for all Defenders (that means you). NADs don't scale right as your levels increase, and this feat helps corrects that. Note: This feat obsoletes Paragon Defenses (PHB2) and Robust Defenses (PHB2).
Improved Initiative (PHB): Acting before the enemy does is huge for a Defender, and since your Dexterity isn't likely to be very high, I consider this mandatory (racial initiative feats notwithstanding). A Val-Cavalier who takes this is pretty much going first all the time.
Resilient Focus (E:HFL): Flat +2 feat bonus to all saves. Certainly nice, but some of you will have better options in this department. Might actually be better than Focused Mind depending on which PP and ED you take.
Skill Power (PHB3): Gives you an extra skill power for the cost of this feat. If you use it to pick up the right power, this one can actually be a very good choice.
Superior Will (E:HFL): If you don't have the CHA 15 to get this at Lv. 1, you will soon after. Your Will defense increases an extra point over what Improved Defenses gets you, but by far the most important part of this is saving against daze or stun at the start of your turn, even if a save normally wouldn't end those conditions. (If it is a save-ends condition you still get a save at the end of your turn as well.) No way you're passing this up. Ever. And with Hero's Poise and some more save bonuses in play, you can potentially make your entire party all but immune to daze and stun by Paragon Tier. Amazing stuff.
Swift Recovery (E:HFL): Tier-scaling feat bonus to your healing surge value, available to you if you trained Endurance. As far as the HP-related feats go, this one should be top priority. It has the greatest effect on your daily hit point totals, factoring in surge use, even more so than Toughness has. Val-Cavaliers, in particular, will get some ridiculous surge values with this one.
Toughness (PHB): Tier-scaling increase of your maximum hit points value. This is actually not as good as Swift Recovery for your survivability over the course of a day (especially in Heroic and Paragon Tiers), but it's still worthy of your attention in case you can fit both feats in your build. In Epic Tier, the comparison between this and Swift Recovery becomes more of a wash.
Versatile Expertise (PHB3): There's still something to be said about the Expertise family member that grants you the necessary tier-scaling attack bonus to one weapon and one implement of your choice. Mostly, just Cavaliers with a CHA high enough to legitimately attack will care, but if your weapon-specific Expertise feat's perk doesn't really help your build, and you plan to use implement powers, this one's waiting for you.
Vicious Advantage (PHB3): Combat advantage against any slowed or immobilized opponent. Some builds, notably those taking advantage of the Earth Domain or the Son of Mercy PP, could put this one to use.
Weapon Focus (PHB): Your feat bonus to damage. Important if DPR is a primary concern for your build. Still nice to have otherwise. Note that Dwarves and Goliaths have their own racial options for weapon damage that are superior to this.
Weapon Proficiency (one superior weapon) (PHB): Typically, a superior weapon will give you an average of 1 extra damage over its military counterparts (and sometimes a little more). Should be a priority. Dwarves, again, don't need to look at this one; they have their own racial feats that provide the equivalent of this and Weapon Focus. Goliaths might forego this for their racial feat as well, at least for a while.
Wintertouched (PHB): The first half of the Lasting Frost synergy. Obviously, you don't need to take until Paragon Tier.
Agile Opportunist (PHB2): This one depends on party composition. If your Leader is someone who has a lot of features or powers that can slide you, such as a Cunning Bard, you DEFINITELY want this; they'll thank you for it. Especially since, unlike other defender classes, you don't even use your immediate action for your default punishment. And rolling more attacks is always fun.
Armor Specialization (PHB): Your feat bonus to AC. Most likely, you'll be picking this one for plate (CON 15 needed).
Danger Sense (PHB): Roll twice for initiative and take the better result. Good for guarding against bad initiative rolls.
Fleet-Footed (PHB): Extra speed is never a bad thing.
Hammer Rhythm (PHB): You probably won't have the CON to put this to the best of use, but it'll still help your hammer DPR.
Heavy Blade Opportunity (PHB): DEX 15 needed. This one can be pretty effective with the right at-will. Valiant Strike for a more accurate OA, Ardent Strike for a DS to discourage any attacks after the enemy moves away, Strike of Hope to give an ally some cheap THPs with your OA, etc.
Lasting Frost (PHB): Synergistic with Wintertouched to set up combat advantage on every hit with a Cold-keyword attack.
Repel Charge (PHB3): If you have enough DS powers to make a difference, and the feat support to make them potent, enemies might want to charge at you. This feat lets you make them pay for that with an MBA. Best taken with other melee support (which makes the enemy shift away from them to not draw an OA before charging at you), or with a strong Controller packing daze spells.
Reserve Maneuver (PHB2): Don't like your paragon path's encounter power? Trade it out for something else after you rest. You can even poach an O-Paladin encounter power if you want.
Recommended encounter powers with Reserve Maneuver
Valorous Smite (Lv. 1, CHA weapon attack, DP): If your CHA is attack-caliber, you've got yourself an awesome mass-DS power.
Strength from Valor (Lv. 3, STR weapon attack, DP): Close-burst that can net you a solid amount of THPs.
Winter's Edge (Lv. 3, STR weapon attack, D 381): A close-burst with the Cold keyword. This is especially awesome to pull on a group you marked with a mass-DS power, in which case you immobilize your foes if you hit. If they weren't marked, they're still slowed.
Solid Sound (PHB): +2 untyped bonus to a NAD for a round when you hit with the Thunder or Force keyword. This one is good for those with the Storm domain or those using a Force Weapon.
Uncanny Dodge (PHB): Canceling enemy bonuses to combat advantage is nice.
Vexing Flanker (PHB2): All your allies get combat advantage against an enemy you're flanking. Pretty useful.
Axe/Bludgeon/Heavy Blade Mastery (PHB): Takes a conscious effort with your ability scores to qualify for the expanded crit range from this family of feats, but it's worth it, no doubt.
Blind-Fight (PHB): Thwart invisibility and concealment (but not total concealment) on adjacent creatures. Not bad.
Epic Fortitude/Reflexes/Will (PHB2): +4 to the NAD in question. Stacks with Improved Defenses (at least for now). You would do well to go for at least one of these. Can make your highest defense extremely hard to hit, a medium defense from a secondary stat in the high teens-low 20s solid, and even your lowest defense at least passable.
Epic Resurgence (PHB): Not as high priority as Divine Mastery, but still worth a look after, especially if you expanded your crit range.
Font of Radiance (PHB): On a radiant crit, inflict a save-ends condition that involves bright light and a healthy amount of free radiant damage per round on the enemy and its adjacent lackeys. Very nice. Note the synergy with Punishing Radiance; if you're going for DPR, these two feats together are your answer to things like the Fighter's Reckless Attacker.
Long Step (PHB3): If you're charge-oriented, you'll want to give this a look.
Rapid Regeneration (PHB3): If you have any substantial sources of regeneration and an even appreciable CON modifier, you should look at it.
Strength Through Challenge (D 387): Resist 5 just for having two enemies marked is pretty nice. Take it if you have at least two mass-DS powers on hand per encounter.
Superior Initiative (PHB3): Likely, you'll be retraining Improved Initiative for this vital feat, since it's just a higher feat bonus.
Triumphant Attack (PHB): Attack roll and defense debuff for a full encounter whenever you crit in melee. Very good.
Unfettered Stride (PHB): Ignore difficult terrain. Good if you've somehow trained yourself in Acrobatics.
Expert Trample (D 393): This feat helps ensure that your mount's Trample is done with a higher degree of impunity. Fair enough.
Improved Steed (Celestial Battle Tiger) (D 393): A nice upgrade beyond the standard warhorse at Heroic Tier. The Tiger has a speed of 9, +1 advantage to all defenses, a Bite, and an at-will immediate reaction attack against an enemy who enters a square next to it.
Mounted Combat (PHB): This feat is pretty much a necessity to get the most out of your time mounted. You can get some really awesome benefits from your mount.
Holy Steed (D 388): Requires the Mounted Combat feat, but you should have that anyway. +2 to all your mount's defenses is obviously awesome, and extra CHA-mod bonus to all your mount's damage rolls actually makes your mount a somewhat credible damage threat.
Improved Steed (Celestial Behemoth) (D 393): Slower than most other mounts (speed 7), but made up for with the mount's high defenses, the knockdown property on your charge attacks (and a nice damage boost), a solid Gore attack and a Trample that works on enemies of all sizes. Pretty impressive.
Improved Steed (Celestial Pegasus) (D 393): Deadly accurate charges and flight are terrific. Really tough call between this and the Behemoth. The Behemoth gives you more potent ground offense, but the benefits of opening up the z-axis for movement -- especially as early as Lv. 11 -- can't be understated.
Improved Steed (Silver Dragon) (D 393): A suitably epic mount that's almost like an amalgamation of the best awesomeness of every previous mount and then some. Great defenses (yours +2), a fly speed of 10, a +1 to all of your own attacks while mounted, a per-encounter surgeless heal equal to your surge value for the mount, and an at-will immediate reaction attack to an enemy getting next to it that happens to knock prone. Doesn't get much better.
Fickle Servant (DP): Lets you pick any Domain Feat you want. This one is a curious case, though, considering you actually are allowed to worship multiple deities as long as they're the same alignment as you. If you're trying to cherry-pick domains from a deity not of your alignment, then it becomes quite valuable.
Bolstering Breath (PHR): Your breath becomes party-friendly. Something to consider for Heroic Tier, while it can still hit something.
Draconic Challenge (DP): Turns your breath into that mass-DS power you covet. This should be one of the first feats any Dragonborn Cavalier takes.
Enlarged Dragon Breath (PHB): The larger your breath area, the more enemies you can Sanction with it. That's a good thing.
Hurl Breath (PHR): Combined with Draconic Challenge, allows you to Sanction a group of enemies in a burst 2 up to 10 squares away. Good one.
Radiant Breath (D 378): Those with Sun domain access will want to consider taking this early on (while your breath can still hit things). Adds the Radiant keyword and damage in addition to your element of choice.
Draconic Restoration (PHR): Get another use of your breath when you use second wind. If you can get your second wind to a minor-action or less, somehow, this one's value goes up exponentially. Restoring your breath weapon means more Sanctioning.
Draconic Triumph (PHR): Another way to regain use of your breath, this time by killing enemies. Not reliable enough to be an absolute must-take, but it is a solid option.
Brilliant Darkfire (DP): CHA-mod radiant vulnerability after hitting with Darkfire. Nice.
Master of Fire and Darkness (FRPG): Now your two Lolthtouched powers are separate encounter powers. Nice.
Merciless Killer (FRPG): +5 damage to a bloodied enemy when you have combat advantage, killing him faster. Either of your Lolthtouched powers can set that up nicely.
Dwarven Weapon Training (PHB): You get proficiency in all axes and hammers, including the superior versions, and on top of that, the equivalent of Paragon Tier Weapon Focus with those weapons. Automatic pick, for sure.
Dwarven Durability (PHB): Two extra healing surges and you get to steal the Dragonborn's healing surge value benefit. No Dwarf should ever go without this.
Extra Manifestation (FRPG): Some extra versatility never hurt.
Shocking Flame (FRPG): Extra fire or lightning damage on all melee attacks with the right manifestation. Solid.
Stormrider (FRPG): Strictly better than Fleet-Footed with the right manifestations.
Double Manifestation (FRPG): Manifest two elements at once. Yes, this is awesome.
Goliath Greatweapon Prowess (PHB2): This one's a good deal for Heroic and Paragon Tier. You essentially get the damage benefits of Weapon Focus and Superior Weapon Proficiency together in this feat. It does fall behind that combination a little bit in Epic Tier, however.
Kord's Resilience (DP): Give all allies next to you your Stone's Endurance damage resistance. Good.
Markings of the Victor (PHB2): Reroll your first attack of every encounter and take the better result, which makes sure that you start the fight off right.
Unyielding Stone (PHB2): A high amount of temp HPs when you use Stone's Endurance, in addition to the damage resistance. Now you're even tougher to bring down.
Ancient Stone (PHB2): Extends your Stone's Endurance another round with a slight drop-off in power, essentially. That's still really good.
Group Defense (DP): A good pick if you have at least two mass-DS powers per encounter, making those even more effective.
Versatile Master (PHB2): You took Dilletante for a reason. Make that thing a true at-will.
Lost in the Crowd (PHB): Plenty of things are bigger than you. A +2 untyped bonus to AC in this case is great.
Underfoot (PHB): If you're trained in Acrobatics somehow, this one is worth a look for the beneficial movement option. You'll fight plenty of Large things.
Divine Assault (DP): A serious damage buff for all an ally's attacks until your next turn when you use your racial power. Very, very nice, especially if you've got, say, a Ranger in the party. Or a leader who likes enabling extra attacks.
Thirst for Battle (PHB2): +3 feat bonus to initiative (only 1 less than Improved Initiative) and an extra healing surge to boot make this a great feat for you in Heroic and Paragon Tier.
Strength from Pain (PHB2): +5 extra damage until the end of your next turn after you're bloodied is nothing to sneeze at. Especially if you have a close burst attack or, somehow, a focus-fire multi-attack ready.
Ferocious Critical (PHB2): A huge bonus to attack and damage until the end of your next turn when you score a crit. Awesome.
Action Surge (PHB): Still a good choice, make no mistake, but not nearly as crucial as it was earlier in 4e's lifespan. Versatile Expertise is far more important. You don't need to care about this one nearly as much as Leaders and multi-attacking Strikers do.
Sunspray Heritage (D 386): +2 feat bonus to Endurance and the encounter power that absorbs fire and radiant damage for healing is fair enough, but the real prize is the next branch of this feat tree.
Sunspray Warrior (D 386): This is the reason you're even taking Sunspray Heritage. The at-will attack from this feat, which replaces any one of your at-will powers, is a Radiant beauty with an attack debuff on an enemy hit by this that lasts until the start of your next turn. Sort of like the O-Paladin's Enfeebling Strike, but without the mark requirement (so it stacks with your Defender Aura), and allows you to use your best ability modifier. And, as mentioned, is Radiant, so Morninglords get to have even more fun. And to top it off, this feat also gives you a +1 to melee and ranged attacks while mounted, which you should be if possible.
Clarity of Spirit (DP): Bastion of Mental Clarity triggers a healing surge in you or an ally. Nice.
Dual Mind Strength (D 385): Strictly better than Weapon Focus if you're using a Githyanki Silver Sword.
Quori Desperation (EPG): Buy yourself a round to heal and/or act when you would've been knocked out. Nice.
Bloodied Ferocity (PHB3): A free melee basic the first time you're bloodied every fight, a trigger that's pretty much always going to happen if you let it. Never pass up the opportunity for free attacks. And who cares if you give up combat advantage?
Beast Within (PHB3): Steal from the Dragonborn's arsenal and then some with this feat. +1 to hit and damage when you're bloodied. Great.
Mythic Senses (PHB3): If you're trained in Perception somehow, take this one for sure.
Blessed Shifter (DP): Take the more general damage feats first, but with a good secondary Wisdom score, this one can set up some nice burst damage when using your Shifting power.
Beasthide Shifting (PHB2): Resist all 2 when you use your Shifting power. Nice.
Imperious Majesty (D 381): Charisma determines initiative instead of DEX. Take it. That is all.
Wrath of the Crimson Legion (D 381): Replaces Infernal Wrath with Paladin's Wrath, which is a close burst 5 mass-DS power. Definitely take this one. As an aside, it also lets you use CHA for your MBAs (damage included), which opens up some interesting build possibilities.
Dispater's Iron Discipline (PHR:T): CHA-modifier bonus to your personal saves against the three heavy hitters (daze, stun, dominate). Without question, an auto-pick. And the synergy with the Hero's Poise/Superior Will combo is absolutely delicious.
Warforged Tactics (EPG): Good to consider after the Expertise feats. An extra +1 to attack an enemy next to an ally in melee.
Eberron Dragonmark feats
Mark of Storm (EPG): Slide an enemy a square every time you hit with a Thunder or Lightning power. A Lightning Weapon or Power of the Storm is going to make this one sing, plus your class itself has some encounter and daily powers with those keywords.
Mark of Warding (EPG): If you have at least two mass-DS powers per encounter, this is a great feat, with the penalty on your marks going to -3. This feat also gives your powers that grant defense bonuses an extra +1 on those.
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 09:50 PM #8Riding Higher: Paragon Paths
Many of the O-Paladin's best PPs, which number as some of the best in the game, aren't compatible with the Cavalier. Still, don't cry for the Cavalier. Valiant Cavalier is a very solid exclusive option for the class, and Cavaliers can still get great use out of PPs like Questing Knight, Morninglord and Gray Guard. Racial PPs are another option, particularly for Dragonborn and Human Cavaliers.
Astral Weapon (PHB): The only sell this PP has is Astral Judgment, a -2 defense debuff for violating your marks. But it relies on your power selection to be even remotely worth it. Skip this; there's much better choices out there.
Champion of Corellon (DP): The features look nice on paper (and for certain O-Paladins they are), but Cavaliers have to spread their stats too thin to put them to use. The powers use Charisma for attacks and the key feature, Superior Defense, needs a substantial Dexterity investment to be worth it.
Champion of Order (PHB): Without a consistent at-will sustainable mark like the O-Paladin's Divine Challenge, the heart and soul of this PP, Certain Justice, is of no use to you. And In Defense of Order, the other key feature, also only works with DC. A non-option for you.
Demonslayer (DP): Just feeble all around.
Dragonslayer (DP): Dragonslayer's Challenge, the hallmark of this PP, is only really worth it with the O-Paladin's Divine Challenge. The powers are actually pretty good, but not enough to salvage it for Cavaliers.
Faithful Shield (DP): An average path for O-Paladins, and one of its features requires a power you don't have (Lay on Hands). Everything else isn't bad, but overall, pass on this.
Fortune Blessed (D 384): Requires you to worship Avandra. An interesting, and pretty solid path, with its luck tokens mechanic that can boost bad rolls or even let you reroll d20s and keep your better result. The encounter power is an immediate reaction counter when an enemy attacks you and gives you a luck token for free if you don't have any. The per-encounter utlity is HUGE damage reduction, even before you add any luck token effects, and the daily is also a solid debilitator.
Gray Guard (DP): Gray Guard Vigilance is very handy if you're going to fight a lot at night or in dark places (have some mass-DS powers handy), and also trains you in the all-important Perception skill. Debilitating Smite is a solid daze and slow encounter power. An encounter you didn't use the utility Relentless Justice is an encounter where Debilitating Smite hit its mark. You can't really do much with the daily power since you don't have Lay on Hands or its variants, but this is still a very solid option for more aggressive Cavaliers.
Hammer of Moradin (DP): Hammer-wielders who worship Moradin might look at this one. Hammer Bond is a permanent +1 to attack with hammers, which is great. The powers are flavorful and decent, but not eyecatching.
Holy Conqueror (DP): Requires Ardent Vow, which you don't have.
Hospitaler (PHB): The Cavalier can't make any use of it. Let the weeping and gnashing of teeth ensue.
Justiciar (PHB): Fair party protection features, and the encounter power Just Radiance is a very nice punisher of a crowd of marked enemies, perfect to pull out after a mass-DS power like Call of Challenge. Attack powers are CHA-based. A decent PP that's actually better for you than for the O-Paladin, since you're more likely to stay close to your allies. Not quite on the level of Questing Knight and Valiant Cavalier, though.
Knight of Celestia (MOTP): O-Paladins want nothing to do with this one. And you can't even use it to its fullest. That's all you need to know.
Knight of the Chalice (DP): Not impressive for O-Paladins, and since it works off Channel Divinity and marks, it's even less so for you.
Questing Knight (DP): Just as appropriately flavorful as it is effective in play for Cavaliers who keep their Charisma at attack caliber. Strength of Ten, the encounter power, is the best mass-Sanction attack power you will find, even giving you some extra mobility and enemy positioning control to boot. At Lv. 16, you get the other highlight of this PP: free-action second wind when you're bloodied. This is awesome for obvious reasons. The +2 bonus to Will against the more common anti-Will attack types you get at Lv. 11 doesn't hurt, either. To round it off, Quester's Discipline is a handy get-out-of-jail card, and Virtuous Wrath is a Reliable, anti-Will weakening attack.
Sainted General (D 390): Must multiclass (or hybrid) Warlord, but you can't put this one to any real use at all, so that's moot.
Scion of Sacrifice (DP): Requires Ardent Vow, which you don't have.
Slayer of the Dead (DP): Overly-specialized path. Just about all of it is only good at all against undead.
Son of Mercy (D 370): Not an optimal option for most Cavaliers, since most won't have the Wisdom to deal the damage Lawbreaker's Doom is capable of, nor an at-will way to apply a mark to use Lawbreaker's Doom. However, a Human Cavalier with Ardent Strike can pull this one off. Lawbreaker's Doom still slows, which means World Serpent's Grasp and in Epic Tier, if you multiclass Fighter and take Overwhelming Impact, at-will dazing with a hammer.
Valiant Cavalier (E:HFK): The PP tailor-made for the Cavalier, and thankfully it's quite good. Virtuous Health is clearly meant to hearken back to the AD&D Paladin with its +2 to saves and immunity to diseases of your level or lower. And it's a solid start as a Lv. 11 feature, especially when Hero's Poise, Superior Will and some extra bonuses from save-boosting feats are involved. At Lv. 16 you get your CHA-mod bonus to your healing surge value, which is also great for your survivability and stacks with nice things like Spirit of Valor or the Dragonborn's surge value bonus. Your action point feature and powers depend on which Virtue you took.
Sacrifice (E:HFK): The encounter power lets you sacrifice 10 of your HPs to give everyone near you resist 10 all, which is an excellent trade. The action point feature can be a very cost-effective use of your healing surge against AoE-happy enemies. The daily is a (potentially) mass-Spirit of Sacrifice type effect along with a 5[W] attack that also gives you damage resistance, a nice emergency button. The utility isn't that impressive, but that's about it.
Valor (E:HFK): The encounter power is a close burst that immobilizes on hit, which is awesome on a defender, and hit or miss allies next to you get an attack bonus. The action point feature is a full-round attack bonus, which is solid. The utility power is better than Sacrifice's overall, essentially allowing you to act as Leader support as you hand out attack and defense bonuses like candy for a fight a day. And the daily is great against a solo or elite, effective at forcing him to attack only you, with a lovely attack bonus against him. Nothing from Valor's benefits are wasted. A great package.
Forgotten Realms PPs
Doomguide (FRPG): Must worship Kelemvor, and it's best if your Charisma is attack-caliber as well. It's features and powers are very effective against undead, but even when undead aren't involved, they're at least decent, and the daily power in particular, Kelemvor's Sword, is quite good. You wish more of the "specialized" paths were like this one. Not a bad choice in any case.
Eartheart Defender (FRPG): For Dwarves, and it's pretty solid. Heart of Earth is an attack bonus after using that minor-action second wind. Gain Heart is a good power to pull out when bloodied, healing you significantly. And the daily, Earthsurge, is an excellent sticky power, a good-sized zone that moves with you and slows enemies in it.
Heartwarder (FRPG): A great pick for Sac-Cavaliers who worship Sune and have attack-caliber Charisma and an implement,. Sune's Touch is fantastic healing; it works when you spend a healing surge. In any way. Including Spirit of Sacrifice, which means it stacks its benefits for the ally. Great stuff. Also great stuff are the powers. Siren Voice is domination every encounter, which is awesome. Sune's Shield is essentially a Divine Bodyguard that doesn't suck; it can't screw you over since you can choose on a hit-by-hit basis whether to take the damage for the ally, and it lasts for the whole encounter no matter what happens. And the daily, Sune's Kiss, is perfect on an elite or solo; it can force ridiculous lose-lose situations with your Defender Aura or DS.
Morninglord (FRPG): Must worship Amaunator, and it's just as good for you as it is for pretty much every other Divine class. The Lv. 16 feature Burning Radiance is the heart of this path and makes it capable of incredible damage. If you had the Sun domain feat, you can retrain that out now. The radiant vulnerability 10 is greater than the Sun domain is capable of and is caused by any Radiant power. Radiant vulnerability also makes your Righteous Radiance and DS a lot more threatening. Everything else in this path is just extras by comparison (not bad ones, either, mind you). The attack powers use your highest mental stat, so you'll want your Charisma attack-caliber if you want to make the most out of this path. But Burning Radiance is so good that this is a great choice for all Cavaliers.
Purple Dragon Knight (FRPG): Vanilla features, but the powers are pretty decent, in particular the daily.
Silverstar (FRPG): Moonfire, the daily, is a decent healing attack if it hits, and it uses your best mental stat. The rest of the path, on the other hand, is pretty underwhelming, and the encounter power is a waste.
Steelsky Liberator (FRPG): For Dragonborn, Genasi, Half-Orcs and Humans, and it's geared toward fighting dragons. It's not very good otherwise, though.
Kundarak Ghorad'din (EPG): Uh, what? Mark of Warding is such an awesome Dragonmark, but the associated path had to be completely incompatible.
Lyrandar Wind-Rider (EPG): For those with Mark of Storm. If you have the Storm domain or a Lightning Weapon and a high Charisma, you can take advantage of what this path has to offer, which is quite a bit, actually. Storm Adept is a +1 to attack rolls with Thunder and Lightning powers, which is great. Feather's Touch can come in handy, and the CHA-based (or CON, but that's not likely for you) powers are decent control effects. Not too bad.
Mithral Arm (D 385): Basically the Dragonborn version of the Human's Adroit Explorer, which has simply impressive potential. The per-encounter utility is also a nice survivability boost, and the daily is also great, letting you use an encounter power twice in a fight. See the feat entry for Reserve Maneuver above for recommendations on which encounter powers to swipe. At Epic Tier, you can trade that power out for a Lv. 13 power, and I greatly recommend Castigating Strike (Lv. 13, STR or CHA weapon, DP), which is a mass-DS power.
Platinum Templar (PHR): Polar Breath is pretty nice, and Misty Breath is a good daily. The rest you could take or leave.
Scion of Arkhosia (PHB2): If you like the idea of growing wings and flying everywhere this one's for you. The attack powers, variations of your breath, aren't anything special, though.
Firstborn of Moradin (PHB2): Decent, not great, features. The encounter power Receive the Charge is quite good, but the other powers are only average.
Stoneblessed (PHB2): Unusual Reach is awesome, and the utility Summit Advantage even lets you take proper advantage of it for a round every encounter. The rest is pretty solid, too.
Bloodfury Savage (PHB2): Savage Resilience is nice, and the powers are geared toward doing more and more damage. Not too bad, but not all that special.
Lightning Blitzer (D 386): Armored Swiftness is nice to eliminate the speed penalty for heavy armor. The daily is a nice blinder, too, but the rest of it is pretty avarage.
Adroit Explorer (PHB2): A Lv. 7 or lower O-Paladin encounter power of your choice (see the Reserve Maneuver feat entry above for recommendations), a great action point ability, start the day with two action points, and an immediate reaction daily using your encounter power of choice. Awesome. Again, in Epic Tier you can retrain your encounter power into a Lv. 13; make it Castigating Strike.
Warforged Juggernaut (EPG): You might like this if you're particularly charge-oriented. The daily stance is very good, sort of a Fighter's Unyielding Avalanche with resistance to forced movement.
Riding to the Summit: Epic Destinies
NOTE: The Cavalier can't take any of the Avatar EDs from Divine Power (not without multiclassing, anyway), since those require Divinity feats (and, by extension, Channel Divinity). So those won't be listed in this section.
Bahamut's Vessel (D 378): Starts off with +2 to STR, WIS or CHA (your choice) and a lot of free healing whenever you use an action point. The Lv. 24 feature is pretty nice if you have some per-encounter divine heals in stock. The capstone is pretty mediocre, but this ED isn't bad, overall.
Ceaseless Guardian (D 387): You will greatly appreciate the ability to take immediate and opportunity actions while dazed or stunned. A free +2 to a stat of your choice and some extra speed round out this ED. The capstone, Never Again, is a Lay on Hands-type effect you can use when you or an ally dies, which in your case, since you don't have Lay on Hands, is handy when stuff happens.
Dead God Avatar (D 390): Interesting option if worshipping a dead deity, and pretty solid all around. Immunity to charm and bonus to Wisdom and Charisma are decent, and the capstone Sacrifice to recover a daily power or encounter power is also appealing.
Deadly Trickster (PHB): If you got Bluff training somehow, you might go for this. Solid features, albeit somewhat limited in use. Epic Trick is an awesome utility, though.
Demigod/Chosen (PHB/FRPG/DP): Divine Miracle, that infamous capstone, finally got toned down so that now it only recovers one encounter power in a fight. That's still pretty good, though, especially combined with all the other ways to recover encounter powers. And the +2 to two stats of your choice, a solid near-death recovery mechanic and access to some great utilities still make this one great. Just no longer overpowering. The default Demigod's Divine Regeneration is an insane regeneration spell. The Chosen variants, tied to specific deities, differ from the Demigod via the utility power.
Core Chosen Utility Powers
Freedom is Life (Avandra) (DP): +10 to saves for the party for a turn. Rather situational.
Sheltering Wings (Bahamut) (DP): Basically a Cure Serious Wounds for you and an ally. Not bad.
High Arcana (Corellon) (DP): Everyone in the party, including you, can choose +2 power bonus with implement attacks or +4 bonus to NADs at the start of every turn for the whole encounter. Very solid. Note for Forgotten Realms: This is Corellon's second attempt at his Chosen power, and this version is hands-down the better one.
Anthem of Progress (Erathis) (DP): 16-20 crits on at-will attacks for the whole party. Nice. Even better if you have some crit fishermen aboard.
Unerring Foreknowledge (Ioun) (DP): Grant allies extra standard actions, using your minor action, every round until you've cycled through all your allies. Very, very nice.
Test of Strength (Kord) (DP): Work on your DPR and you can do some special things with this one.
Wild Surge (Melora) (DP): 18-20 crits on daily attacks. Very underwhelming, especially compared to what Erathis offers.
Forge of Creation (Moradin) (FRPG/DP): You and any allies who hit in the next round restore second winds, a healing surge and a daily item power. Solid. Note for Forgotten Realms: The FRPG and DP versions of this power are identical.
Celestial Balance (Pelor) (DP): Pretty underwhelming.
Death is Nigh (Raven Queen) (DP): +2 untyped bonus to attacks if someone has failed a death save in the encounter. Not a bad one to keep around.
Horns of the Moon (Sehanine) (DP): Buff any ally's attack and strip any enemy's defenses every turn for the whole encounter. This one is awesome.
Forgotten Realms Chosen Utility Powers (FRPG)
Renewing Dawn (Amaunator): Fairly hefty free radiant damage against a nearby foe when you or an ally use a healing surge in any way. Turns things you wouldn't even dream of (Virtue, etc.) into damage dealers. Sustain this effect with minor actions. If you worship Amaunator, odds are you're a Morninglord, and this utility can really help take advantage of the vulnerability that paragon path creates.
Horn of Life (Chauntea): Healing surge trigger, followed by 20 regeneration on the ally who needs it most any given round. The regeneration switches targets based on need at the start of your turns. A fantastic party heal.
True Death (Kelemvor): Anti-undead power, so it's situational. Good for that type of fight, at least.
Supreme Knowledge (Oghma): You're likely not good enough at knowledge skills to use this effectively.
Waxing Fortune (Selune): The chance of the situation that would make the bonus to attacks actually worth a damn happening is slim to none.
Divine Regeneration (Silvanus): Well, this looks familiar. No complaints, though, obviously.
Sune's Censure (Sune): Spread vulnerabilities from one enemy to another. This one can even make normally temporary vulnerabilities last the whole encounter. Or, if all else fails, force vulnerability 5 all. This one's nice.
Tempus's Glare (Tempus): This one can really mess with a Challenged or Sanctioned enemy.
Battle Judgment (Torm): Unless you killed a foe with a high-damage single-hit daily, this one's not going to heal much more, if not less, than a healing surge. Just awful.
Destined Scion (E:HFK): +2 to two stats of your choice, an extra +1 to attack rolls on top of that and a +2 untyped bonus to saves (which stacks with both Resilient Focus and the Valiant Cavalier's Virtuous Health, hint, hint). A good, solid, no-nonsense ED. The utilities won't dazzle you, but they're handy.
Eternal Seeker (PHB): This one has come a long way, and it has infinite room to grow. It's about as good as you can get without crossing the line into abuse.
Exalted Angel (DP): Flavorful destiny, and good overall if you like a lot of flying. However, the Lv. 24 death-triggered feature is not worth it; save-ends blinding may be good by itself normally, but NOT when it removes you from the fight.
Harbinger of Doom (PHB2): Shield of Ill Fortune is about the only remotely attractive thing in this destiny.
Indomitable Champion (E:HFL): +2 to two stats of your choice, extra hit points and extra NADs are as good a package as it gets. The utilities aren't completely earth-shattering, but they're handy when stuff happens. Another extremely solid, no-nonsense ED.
Keybearer (D 372): Traveler's Tricks is nice, as is the capstone that gives you phasing. Reality Distortion, on the other hand, kills this one. It would be pretty awesome if it weren't for the fact that it affects your allies as well as your enemies.
Legendary Sovereign (MP2): You get a +2 to Charisma to start off. If you picked the right paragon path, Sword of Kings, the capstone that lets you spam a weapon-based encounter power as long as you keep scoring at least one hit with it, will be very effective. Questing Knight's Strength of Ten and either of the Valiant Cavalier's encounter powers are great for this, being AoE attacks. Great Captain is devastating when a crit happens, and the utility, Sword of the Sovereign, rounds it off by providing insane bonuses to attack rolls for allies' at-will and basic attacks (equal to your CHA-mod). This is Not My Fate is also a better recovery ability than Divine Recovery.
Planeshaper (D 372): Using an encounter power twice is great, as is removing an enemy from the fight for a turn on a crit. Shape Reality, the capstone, adds a whole lot of Controller to your arsenal. Can't go wrong with this one.
Punisher of the Gods (D 372/DA 09): Seems to have stabilized, but its current form, while good against one foe per encounter, is still a shadow of its former selves. Yes, that plural was intentional.
Raven Knight (D 380): Bonused to speed and going insubstantial and phasing on a charge are pretty good. The ability bonuses and the Necrotic utility aren't the best, though, but overall, you could do worse.
Revered One (PHB2): Its one redeeming feature only works with Channel Divinity, which you don't have.
Saint (DP): Yes, you want to be in that number. +2 to all NADs, hefty necrotic resistance, immune to domination, let your healing spells grant saves and save-inducing powers trigger healing surges, capstone increases your healing efficiency greatly with any divine healing powers you have, and Sanctified Revival is about as good as a resurrection spell can get. Full of win without being abusive.
Storm Sovereign (D 372): Pretty underwhelming.
Unyielding Sentinel (D 388): Good bonuses to Constitution and one other ability, and Unbreakable plays nice with Hero's Poise. The capstone of free healing caps it off. Can't complain about this one.
Avatar of Io (PHR): Bonuses to both STR and CHA, the Cavalier's two most important stats, a fully versatile breath weapon, and the ability to fly with hover. Pretty decent, even if the capstone isn't the best.
Forgotten Realms EDs
Harper of Legend (D 367): An extra encounter power (from the O-Paladin's arsenal or even a multiclass if applicable) and extra action points. Not bad at all. Spectral Harpist is interesting and a decent death-triggered capstone. Tymora Smiles is pretty weak, though.
Champion of Prophecy (EPG): +2 to a physical and a mental stat of your choice, great capstone that lets you recover dailies per milestone instead of action points, and Prophetic Certainty is a solid per-encounter utility.
Dispossessed Champion (EPG): Solid utility power (resist 10 to nearby allies), but the rest is pretty mediocre.
Mourning Savior (EPG): Very setting specific here, but the benefits in that respect are huge. Memory of Cyre is a great save-ends debuff whenever you use an action point. And speaking of action points, the capstone Cyran Vengeance opens up some nice abuse with those. Awesome.
Sublime Flame (EPG): You can't say no to an extra daily per day for worshiping the Silver Flame. The rest is pretty solid, too.
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 09:52 PM #9Learning How Others Ride: Multiclassing
A note: If you see powers corresponding to fixed utility and daily levels for the Cavalier, it's OK. Power swapping at those levels is apparently still legal, as it's not the same as retraining.
General Power Source Options
Arcane Implement Proficiency (AP): This feat has a newfound purpose in a post-Essentials world, giving you the ability to use your sword for all your implement attacks. That's a huge asset. And since most of you are too dumb to enter Swordmage multiclassing (not that it's your best option, anyway), you take this.
White Lotus Enervation (D 374): -1 debuff to a defense targeted by an arcane at-will. Pretty neat bonus to your favorite arcane at-will if you got one, including an Arcana Virtuous Strike.
White Lotus Hindrance (D 374): Hit them with your Arcana Virtuous Strike or another arcane at-will you borrowed, and you create difficult terrain in all squares next to you. Not bad in itself, since it can help cut off charging lanes for enemies who shift away from you, but the bigger prize lies in Paragon Tier.
White Lotus Riposte (D 374): The automatic damage from this feat when an enemy you hit with an Arcana Virtuous Strike or an Arcane Dilletante power decides to attack you is nothing to sneeze at. It also opens up something even better in Paragon Tier.
Arcane Admixture (AP): Add another type of damage keyword to an Arcane power, which opens up a whole new world of feat synergies. Best spent on an at-will, making this most useful for Half-Elves with an Arcane Dilletante.
White Lotus Master Hindrance (D 374): This is why you took Hindrance. Now when you hit with an arcane at-will, you create the difficult terrain around all your allies as well, making them more difficult for melee enemies to approach. And it also makes flanks VERY easy to maintain.
White Lotus Master Riposte (D 374): This feat works perfectly with your Defender Aura (but not your DS marks, if any) to force a Catch-22 between a repeat of your arcane at-will (including Arcana Virtuous Strike) and eating your Aura punishment.
Quickened Spellcasting (AP): Arcane Dilletante Half-Elves get a minor-action use of their at-will per encounter, allowing for a decent mini-nova on that turn.
Key epic destinies
Sage of Ages (AP): Keeper's Prescience at Lv. 24 is incredible, basically allowing you to cover for a possible d20 failure every turn. That one makes for one of the best Seeking Destiny capstones for an Eternal Seeker there is. You won't likely make good use of this destiny's other key benefit, the utility, though.
Divine classes (others)
Divine Channeler (DP): Requires WIS 13 and training in Religion. This gives you the Channel Divinity class feature and a power from the class you chose to enter with this feat. You can only use it once a day, but of more importance is that this can open up Avatar EDs for you, and some of those are pretty good.
Key Avatar epic destinies (require Divine Channeler)
Avatar of Hope (DP): Requires Hope Remains. Decent ED overall with solid, but not eye-popping features. A bonus to Charisma and also to Wisdom, which you may find use for.
Avatar of Life (DP): Requires Pulse of Life. +2 to CON and WIS, and the capstone, which greatly enhances your and nearby allies' second winds, is quite nice. Font of Life is a solid party heal spell. Can't go wrong with this one, especially Sac-Cavaliers.
Avatar of Storm (DP): Geared toward those with the Storm domain or a Lightning Weapon. Requires Storm Sacrifice, and you get +2 bonuses to STR and CON, both important Cavalier stats. Stormhand is pretty nice, giving you the benefits of both Lightning and Thunder with all such attacks, and the capstone gives you flight. Solid and flavorful.
Avatar of War (DP): Requires Path of War. +2 to STR and CHA, the Cavalier's two most important stats, is a great start. Master of the Battlefield at Lv. 21 means you never give up combat advantage. And the utility, Rouse Conflict, adds some party enabling to your arsenal with a devastating minor-action nova trigger. The Lv. 24 feature related to the Path of War divinity power is only going to see play once per day, though, but the rest of this ED is so solid that it's still worth consideration.
Resilience of Stone (MP2): For Dwarves to use their second wind as an immediate interrupt. Good deal.
Deft Blade (MP2): Hey, this actually makes light blades worth a look. You can attack Reflex with basic attacks, melee or ranged. Good for Halflings, in particular, who are more likely to use light blades.
Hammer Shock (MP2): Give your melee basic attacks with a hammer the Rattling keyword. Must be trained in Intimidate. Good one for hammer-users, particularly those with the Skill domain.
Epic Recovery (MP): CON 19 required. If you have that and have a minor-action or less second wind, you definitely want this one. Sac-Cavaliers should also take this one if they do have a CON that high.
Martial Resolve (MP): Saves at both the start and end of your turns against some of the more debilitating conditions, including some Superior Will doesn't cover. Very nice, especially in conjunction with Hero's Poise. Must have WIS 15.
Epic Tier, Dragonborn
Dragon Warrior (MP): Must have CON 17. Gives you an extra use of Dragon Breath after you get bloodied. Which you definitely want, since it gives you a second use of what should be a mass-Sanction tool.
Epic Tier, Dwarf
Stoneheart Warrior (MP): Must have CON 17. Makes your second wind a free action, which is awesome.
Key epic destinies
Adamantine Soldier (MP): Damage resistance and ignoring speed and check penalties in plate are the highlights of this solid destiny. Must multiclass into Fighter or Warlord.
Longtooth Spirit Shifter (PP): Extra regen on your Longtooth Shifting power? Awesome.
Key epic destinies
Reincarnate Champion (PP): Well, well, well, this one's a lot of fun. Accessing nice things like Fey Step, Elven Accuracy and Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes no matter what race you are is lovely indeed.
The entry feats are the most attractive part of this multiclassing option, giving you some attack rerolls.
Disciple of Divine Wrath (PHB2): Trains Religion, and this Oath of Enmity last for two rounds' worth of attacks. Requires WIS 13.
Hero of Faith (DP): You probably won't have thee WIS 15 to qualify, and aside from that it's inferior to Disciple of Divine Wrath.
Some of the Rages are worth swiping with Adept Power.
Berserker's Fury (PHB2): Training in any one of the Barbarian's class skills (go for Perception or Athletics). Also gives you a daily free action damage buff that lasts a whole encounter. Requires STR 13 and CON 13, easily done.
Lv. 15 Daily
Thunderfury Rage (PHB2): Punish attacks against you with an immediate reaction. Forces serious lose-lose situations in conjunction with your Aura and DS.
Excellent synergy that helps you expand your secondary Leader role, particularly in the utility powers.
Bardic Dilletante (PHB2): Training in any skill on the Bard's extensive list (go for Perception). Also comes with a daily use of Majestic Word; you won't be using it too often, but it's there. If your multiclassing plans are limited to taking advantage of the Arcana domain, this is hands-down the arcane entry feat of choice. Requires CHA 13.
Bardic Ritualist (AP): You just won't be smart enough for it.
Lv. 10 Utility
Illusory Erasure (PHB2): Per-encounter make an ally invisible. Nice.
Mantle of Unity (AP): Pool everyone's highest defenses together in the party for a round every fight. Really awesome.
Key class feats
Multiclass Mastery (AP): Grants you the benefits of two multiclass feats. Note that this does NOT allow you to take entry feats for more than one class. Only a real Bard can do that. What this does allow is getting the benefits of two power swap feats for the price of one, so if you currently have more than one power swap feat, you can retrain one of them out for something else.
Some of the Cleric's class feats have incredible synergy with what you already do as a Cavalier.
Divine Healer (DP): The WIS 15 requirement is way too steep for a feature you may not even be able to use.
Initiate of the Faith (PHB): Training in Religion and a daily use of Healing Word. Fair enough. Requires WIS 13.
Key class feats
Beatific Healer (DP): More, more, more healing via your CHA-modifier. It affects all divine healing powers, including the Cavalier's own, that trigger allies' healing surges. So if you took a few of those, and perhaps poached one from the Cleric class, you should consider this one.
Radiant Advantage (DP): Make an enemy surrender combat advantage when you deal radiant damage to it. You can make some great use of this one. It even works with your Aura and DS.
Shared Healing (DP): Free exchange of healing surges among allies (including yourself) when you use any one of your surge-triggering powers. Very good.
One entry feat in particular is flat-out incredible (hint, you're picking up a punishment stacker). And the class feats here are awesome as well. You might even want to swap for a daily power here.
Battle Awareness (MP): The per-encounter immediate interrupt attack still stacks with your Righteous Radiance, since that's a different action type. And so this one is still as awesome for you as it ever was. You also get training in any Fighter skill. Without question the Fighter entry feat of choice. Requires STR 13 and WIS 13, which shouldn't be much of a stretch.
Brawling Warrior (MP2): Not for you.
Cyclone Warrior (MP2): Not for you, either.
Student of the Sword (PHB): The original. And pretty inadequate these days, but if you can't afford the WIS for Battle Awareness, this is about your only other recourse.
Wrathful Warrior (MP2): You won't likely have the CON to make this work.
Lv. 5 Daily
Rain of Steel (PHB): Great battlefield control with this stance. Easy choice for Adept Power at this point.
Lv. 15 Daily
Unyielding Avalanche (PHB): Incredible battlefield control stance with CON-mod regeneration.
Key paragon paths
Gladiator Champion (DSCS): The Dark Sun theme isn't required if you MC Fighter, so you're good to go in any setting for this awesome PP that enhances your stickiness and hard control greatly. Especially its Lv. 16 feature, which prohibits enemies from shifting away from you, outright.
Kensei (PHB): +1 to attack and +4 to damage with your chosen weapon. Boring, but effective feature for damage maximization if that's the route you're going. The powers aren't too hot, though. But this is easily the go-to for pure DPR.
Key class feats
Striking Resurgence (MP2): Makes second wind usage on yourself a much better thing to do for the 95% of you who can only do it as a standard action. Dwarves and Questing Knights have no use for it.
Overwhelming Impact (MP2): Can potentially give you at-will dazing if you use a hammer. That alone makes this feat amazing. You get this either by taking Earth domain with Bolstering Strike (must be a Human), or the Son of Mercy PP.
Some solid entry feats, including one that lets you dual-wield one-handed weapons straight up. And, yes, Blade Cascade.
Two-Blade Warrior (MP): If you dual-wield, you'll want this one if your DEX is high enough (13). Also trains a Ranger skill (go Perception).
Warrior of the Wild (PHB): Training in a Ranger skill (go Perception), and a Hunter's Quarry that can last two rounds. Go with this one if you don't dual-wield, or don't have the DEX to qualify for Two-Blade Warrior.
Lv. 15 Daily, Dual-Wield
Blade Cascade (PHB): Needs no introduction. Just make sure you're set up for nigh-guaranteed success before using it.
Lv. 19 Daily, Dual-Wield
Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB): 3 attacks with a +2 bonus each to hit and can inflict a cocktail of status effects. If you just can't be bothered to wait and maneuver for proper Blade Cascade setup, you might prefer this one as your Adept Power, instead.
One entry feat is pretty good, and you might see some utilities you like.
Arcane Prodigy (PHB2): Just plain inferior to Soul of Sorcery.
Soul of Sorcery (AP): The preferred entry feat. Permanent resistance 5 to an element is a solid perk. Need STR 13 and CHA 13.
You have a lot to love here if you want to expand your Leader capabilities, including some great utilities. And one entry feat in particular is quite amazing.
Bravura Leader (MP2): Typically, you should instead go with Resourceful Leader, which gives allies a damage bonus almost as good as this one, but doesn't make the ally give up combat advantage for it. Of course, you could always take this along with Resourceful Leader, and they do stack ...
Insightful Leader (MP2): Requires STR 13 or WIS 13, gives training in a Warlord skill and a +1 to all defenses for an ally who uses an action point, any time that happens. Not too impressive.
Inspiring Leader (MP): Obsolete now. The temp HPs that result are more than those an ally can get from Resourceful Leader, but they only happen to one ally per encounter, and Resourceful Leader is just much better offensively. We've moved on to multiple times-per-encounter benefits with our Warlord MC feats. Get with the times, people.
Resourceful Leader (MP2): The Warlord multiclass feat to rule them all. Requires either CHA 13 or INT 13. Skill training from the Warlord list, plus an ally that spends an action point either gets a nice damage bonus if he hits with his attack, or a solid amount of temp HPs if he misses. Like the other Warlord MC feats from Martial Power 2, these benefits aren't limited to once per encounter. Simply impressive.
Skirmishing Leader (MP2): Warlord skill training plus give an ally a free 1-square shift when they use an action point. The least impressive of the new Warlord MC feats, which isn't a surprise when it's derived from perhaps the least impressive of the new Warlord Presences.
Student of Battle (PHB): The original Warlord multiclass feat has been completely left in the dust.
Lv. 1 Daily
Lamb to the Slaughter (D 381): A beatdown power. Awesome if your party is melee-heavy.
Lv. 10 Utility
Instant Planning (MP): Likely, you'll want to use this when your allies are in position to tee off on one enemy. A high Charisma will grant a huge power bonus to the whole party's attack rolls to set up certain mayhem that round.
Lv. 15 Daily
War Master's Assault (MP): A high CHA with this power leads to a near-certain full-party beatdown of an unfortunate foe.
Lv. 25 Daily
Relentless Assault (PHB): Warlords love it, and you will, too. The important part of this happens hit or miss; a full-party beatdown once per any given round if anyone scores a crit. True story: Before errata the beatdown happened on every single crit.
Key epic destinies
Warmaster (MP): An awesome Leader destiny that grants extra party actions with your action points, and the capstone lets you spend as many as you want. Spring the Trap is the ultimate beatdown utility.
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 09:52 PM #10Equipped to Ride: Items
Just remember that your top priority in every 5-level interval should be to keep your armor, weapon (and implement if you use one) and neck item up to date. Plan it right and you'll still have plenty of room for other nice things.
Dwarven (PHB): Bonus to Endurance as a property, and a free surge-value heal per day. Good value.
Martyr's (AV): The at-will gives up a point of your AC to give to adjacent allies. Can be useful sometimes.
Screaming (AV): Bonus to Intimidate as a property, along with a per-encounter attack debuff from range. Nice.
Veteran's (AV): Property gives you +1 to attack and all defenses on action point use. This one used to be a lot more powerful, but even now it's still pretty solid.
Heartening (AV): Dwarves, Sac-Cavaliers and anyone else who gets a minor-action or less second wind will look at this one for its property granting a healthy amount of THPs.
Lifegiving (AV): Necrotic resistance with a daily last-resort healing power. Not bad.
Meliorating (AV): Better defense every time you reach a milestone in the day. Awesome, especially if you don't have the Dexterity to take full advantage of Agile Armor. And this is in a lower pricing bracket than that one.
Versatile (AV): At-will lets you sacrifice a point of AC to remove speed and skill penalties. Can be handy, at least until you get access to plate that lets you ignore such penalties at no cost.
Armor of Durability (AV): Property grants bonus to personal healing surge use. Good one.
Black Iron (PHB): Resistance properties against two of the more common damage types used by enemies (fire and necrotic). Solid.
Reinforcing (AV): Property grants an +1 item bonus to all defenses when you get hit in melee for the round after. The potential isn't as high as Meliorating, but it's more consistent. Another good choice if you can't take full advantage of Agile.
Salubrious (AV): This one is outstanding if you get enough sources of regeneration at some point in your career. Late Paragon and Epic are where this one is likely to really shine. Yet another good one for those who can't use Agile to its fullest.
Verve (AV): The property means you don't die as easily. Solid.
Agile (AV): A trap ... until you close in on Lv. 30, then it becomes awesome if you have any sort of DEX modifier. At that point there are no other masterwork armors a level or two above to grab your immediate attention.
Battleforged (PHB): Stronger second wind when bloodied. Not bad for a Dwarf or anyone else with a minor-action or less second wind.
Shared Suffering (AV): Encounter power makes an enemy pay for inflicting you with ongoing damage. Not bad.
Bloodiron (AV): +2 item bonus to AC against a target you thump for a round. Nice.
Dragonrider (D 365): When you get your Dragon mount in Epic Tier, all of a sudden this scale armor becomes amazing. Have your Dragon wear Impenetrable Barding and some huge resistance to all damage for you is there for the taking.
Coral (AV): Worth a look if your campaign involves a lot of water travel.
Spectral Plate (AV2): Ignore speed and check penalties in this plate, along with a daily move action power where you're insubstantial and phasing. Very solid.
Soulwarding (AV): Resist two common enemy damage types (necrotic and psychic) and protection against attacks that make you lose healing surges. Nice.
Defensive (E:HFL): Sac-Cavaliers who are liable to use their second winds, or Dwarves, or Questing Knights will appreciate this one for the extra defense. Being a common item helps, too, if that matters.
Vicious (PHB): The basic d12 per plus crit weapon. Decent.
Frost (PHB): This weapon really earns its stripes in Paragon Tier, when you can use Wintertouched and Lasting Frost together to set up combat advantage whenever you hit with it.
Inescapable (AV): Stacks bonuses to hit with every miss until you hit the enemy. Solid.
Vanguard (AV): Good for chargers.
Battlecrazed (AV): Good damage bonus when bloodied.
Rending (AV): Axe only; follow up a crit with a melee basic attack. Solid.
Sunblade (AV): A heavy blade with an at-will Radiant keyword and damage option. It can also shed a lot of light to negate concealment in dark places. Your first lightsaber, and a solid option.
Vigilant Blade (D 381):The first of several weapons that serve as a combination of weapon and implement, which reduces your item dependency (and thus saves money). This heavy blade (or, curiously, light blade) lets you shed bright light at-will for dark places and night scenarios, and the per-encounter power that lets you switch places with an ally being attacked and set up combat advantage against the assailant is also nice.
Lightning (PHB): A flavorful, and finally viable option, thanks to nice things like Storm Sacrifice and (if you're in Eberron) Mark of Storm. Unlike Flaming, this one can be worth the cost.
Cunning (AV): If you're into dealing save-ends effects with weapons, you'll want to consider this weapon for the penalty to the first save against it inflicts. Good even after the errata.
Disrupting (DA 09): Can be a flail or hammer (or a mace, but you don't use those). Serves as a weapon/implement combo and is more effective against undead. Fair enough, but Crusader's is better.
Unforgettable Cudgel (AV2): What did I just say about Cavaliers and maces ... oh wait, this one may actually be an exception. The 19-20 crit range on all divine powers brings the DPR into competitive standing with a warhammer. And you can choose to save-ends daze an enemy on a crit instead of deal the extra damage. Not a bad option for late Heroic on up through Paragon if you're looking for a combo weapon/implement, especially if you have extra things to trigger with crits. It does lose its luster going into Epic, though.
Crusader's (AV): A hammer that serves as a weapon/implement combo. Half of the damage is radiant, which makes it very good for those who abuse radiant vulnerability.
Githyanki Silver (MOTP): Heavy blade only, and boy is this one nasty. Take the Psychic Lock feat and have fun.
Lullaby (AV): One of the very few daily-power-only weapons worth a look. In this case, it's because the daily is a Sleep power. Comes in hammer or flail.
Blackshroud (AV): Concealment when you off an enemy. Comes in axe or heavy blade. Not bad.
Weapon of Evil Undone (AV2): A weapon/divine implement combo that comes in any weapon a Paladin will think to use. This one is particularly special because it works with all divine powers that can be cast with a holy symbol. That's important for some Half-Elves.
Jagged (AV): Crit deals heavy save-ends ongoing damage instead of extra damage die, and it crits on 19-20. Comes in axe or heavy blade. Nice.
Bloodiron (AV): Essentially doubles the crit damage dealt, and the d10 per plus figures makes that quite worthwhile.
Desiccating (AV): Cumulative weakening of Fortitude (save-ends) with every hit. Not bad against Brutes.
Farslayer (AV): At-will power lets you melee basic attack from 5 squares away. Can come in handy.
Withering (AV): Cumulative debuff of AC (save-ends) with every hit. This one is more all-purpose than Desiccating.
Radiant (AV): At-will Radiant keyword switch, just like the Sunblade. When the switch is on, it also deals an extra item bonus to damage, which by itself makes it superior to its far more flavorful counterpart. However, if you're wearing the Iron Armbands of Power, you can stick with the Sunblade, as item bonuses don't stack.
Blade of Bahamut (AV): If you worship Bahamut, this heavy blade is a weapon/implement combo and helps reduce your item dependency. Solid crits, d10 per plus, along with a CHA-based blast 5 attack power that heals your allies a bit.
Moradin's (AV): If you worship Moradin, this hammer is a weapon/implement combo and helps reduce your item dependency. It deals great crits, too, d12 per plus.
Brilliant Energy (AV): Like the Sunblade, a far more interesting and flavorful lightsaber than the technically superior Radiant Weapon. If you're wearing Iron Armbands of Power then the disparity disappears, and you get solid crit damage of d10s per plus and a very nice encounter power that lets you attack Reflex with an attack that would normally target AC.
Holy Avenger (PHB): This weapon, which can also be used as an implement, is great for giving your Radiant at-will powers a ton of extra bite. The bonus damage on Radiant powers applies to both weapon and implement usage. The daily is a +5 to all NADs for potentially the whole party for a turn when you need it. Comes in axe, hammer, or heavy blade. Keep in mind it's a rare item, though, if that matters.
Sorrowsong Blade (E2 KotG): This heavy blade is like Githyanki Silver but even better, as all attacks with it deal half psychic damage, permanently. And now that damage types and keywords have been clarified, what this means is that not only does it work with Psychic Lock, but attacks with this weapon don't lose their original damage type, either. Major win.
Symbol of Power (PHB): -2 penalty to the enemy's first saving throw against a save-ends effect. Since those are mostly daily powers, and since that's mostly what you'll use a holy symbol for, this one's good.
Symbol of the Champion's Code (AV2): If you have enough mass-DS powers per encounter to be a threat with those marks, this is a great symbol to take. Even if you never make any attacks with it, the bonus to DS damage is quite valuable. Even if your symbol is a plus or two below attack-caliber for your level, it will make a difference.
Amulet of Mental Resolve (AV): +2 item bonus to saves against charm, illusion and sleep. Good early on.
Amulet of Physical Resolve (AV): +2 item bonus to saves against weakening, slowing and immobilizing. Also good early.
Cloak of Distortion (AV): Not really worth it in Heroic Tier, anymore. It does get a lot better later, though.
Healer's Brooch (AV): Extra hit points on all of your own healing powers. Good one for Sac-Cavaliers, in particular.
Amulet of Life (D 381): Encounter power lets you spend an additional healing surge on top of any power that lets you use one. Pretty good, if rather pricey. Val-Cavaliers who take the Valiant Cavalier PP make the best use of this one thanks to their amazingly high surge values.
Periapt of Recovery (AV): +2 bonus to death saves. Nice.
Brooch of Vitalty (AV): Increase your max HPs. Simple, and awesome.
Life Charm (AV): Also known as: You (almost) never die.
Iron Armbands of Power (AV): If you don't have an item bonus to damage from anywhere else, this is your default arms slot item. Period.
Counterstrike Guards (AV): If you got your item bonus to damage from somewhere else (such as a Radiant Weapon), this is a great item to take in place of the Iron Armbands, making your Defender Catch-22 ever deadlier with its MBA payback from an enemy's miss.
Recoil Shield (AV): Per-encounter knocking prone of an enemy who hits you in melee. Nice.
Shield of Fellowship (AV2): Lets you transfer THPs you gain to an ally next to you. Think of the possibilities in conjunction with things like Virtue.
Acrobat Boots (PHB): Minor action to stand up from being prone. Good one early.
Boots of Adept Charging (AV): Shift after a charge. Nice.
Catstep Boots (AV): Half-damage, land on your feet from a fall. Good for this tier.
Boots of the Fencing Master (AV): +1 item bonus to AC and Reflex whenever you shift, and you get to shift 2 squares every encounter. Good one.
Boots of Quickness (AV): Untyped bonus to your Reflex defense. There's a version of it at each tier. Reflex is likely to be your weakest defense; you may or may not care about it.
Boots of Eagerness (AV): Extra move action per encounter. Nice.
Battlestrider Greaves (PHB): Essentially negates the speed penalty for plate. Not bad.
Dragonborn Greaves (AV): Extra defense and speed when bloodied. Nice.
Winged Boots (PHB): Your first item that prevents fall damage completely. Also comes with a daily flight power.
Oceanstrider Boots (AV): +1 item bonus to speed and you can walk and stand on water and other non-hazardous liquid surfaces. Very nice.
Dimensional Stride Boots (AV): +1 untyped bonus to Reflex, with a per-encounter teleportation power. Good.
Phantom Chaussures (AV): Concealment for moving 3 or more squares. Awesome.
Airstriders (AV): You get to fly. Along with taking no damage from falls. Great.
Sandals of Avandra (AV): +2 item bonus to speed, and shift half your speed at-will. Awesome.
Boots of Teleportation (AV): At-will teleportation. That should say it all.
Breaching Gauntlets (AV): Reduce some resistance against your attacks. Good for this point.
Gloves of Storing (AV): Interesting, and handy at times.
Strikebacks (AV): Per-encounter immediate reaction attack against an enemy who hit you, creating a sick Catch-22 vis a vis your defender punishments.
Gloves of Ice (AV2): Practically a must if you're playing with the Lasting Frost synergy.
Gloves of the Healer (AV): And this is one for the more healing-oriented. A bonus on all your healing spells. Good for Sac-Cavaliers in particular.
Gauntlets of Destruction (PHB): Makes all your attacks brutal 1. Good option if you're not already using a brutal weapon.
Many-Fingered Gloves (AV2): Wear an extra ring. Very beneficial.
Foe Caller Gauntlets (D 381): Pull 'em over, cancel their attack, and strike a punishment-stacking MBA once every fight. Very nice.
Casque of Tactics (AV): Until you can comfortably afford a Helm of Battle, this will do.
Helm of Opportunity (AV): More accurate OAs = better front-line defender.
Horned Helm (PHB): If you charge a lot this is good for the extra damage.
Phrenic Crown (AV): If you have any save-ends attacks at all against Will, the penalty to enemies' first saves against the effect helps ensure another round of misery. Used to be even more powerful, but it's still good.
Circlet of Indomitability (AV): Untyped bonus to Will, and a version comes at each tier. As good as anything.
Coif of Mindiron (AV): Per-encounter prevention of daze if Will is attacked. Gets even better in later tiers, when it also prevents stuns and eventually domination.
Helm of Battle (PHB): Item bonus to initiative for you and nearby allies. Nice.
Goggles of Night (PHB): Darkvision is nice if you don't have it already.
Helm of Able Defense (AV2): +1 item bonus to Will and an extra +2 to all defenses until your first turn at minimum. Quite good.
Essence of the Wisp (AV2): +2 item bonus to Will, and an at-will power that pulls enemies who dare use ranged attacks against you a couple squares as an immediate action. Can help you lock down enemies who prefer to stay at range.
Eye of Discernment (AV): Practical immunity to blinding is the main draw here, and that's pretty major.
Helm of Ghostly Defense (PHB): Necrotic resistance and per-encounter insubstantial. Nice.
Eye of Awareness (AV): +2 to Will and +5 to initiative. Very good.
Ring of Giants (D 378): Stronger crits, which is good if you're damage-focused. The daily power is only for Primal powers, but that's not the important part.
Ring of Aquatic Ability (AV): A ring slot is where you're most likely to put swim speed/underwater breathing properties.
Ring of the Dragonborn Emperor (AV): Item bonus to damage on all close attacks. Including close bursts and blasts with your weapon. Note this is not redundant with Iron Armbands of Power since that item applies only to powers designated "melee."
War Ring (AV): Stronger crits. Good if you're going for damage.
Ring of the Radiant Storm (AV2): If your main damage type is either Lightning or Radiant, you'll want to take a good look at this one. Rerolling damage and keeping the better result is a nice boost.
Ring of Tenacious Will (AV): Uses Charisma to determine number of healing surges instead of Constitution. Practically a must.
Luminary Ring (AV): Increase the range of powers that heal or give bonuses, nice things like Wrath of the Gods. Apparently this includes attack powers that do those things as well, not just utilities, which makes this even more amazing.
Ring of Regeneration (PHB): Item bonus to healing surge value as a property, and the daily, after a milestone, gives you regeneration 10 and gives you back a healing surge. Good.
Gargoyle Ring (AV): Save against petrification, even when you are petrified. Nice.
Ring of the Phoenix (AV): Solid fire resistance property, and a very nice self-resurrection daily power.
Shadow Band (AV): Concealment all the time. Great fun.
Ring of Free Time (AV2): Resist 5 all constantly is awesome enough. Then there's the one extra minor action per encounter from this ring ... which turns into an extra minor action every single round after the first milestone. Incredible, since you tend to use your minor actions a lot. For certain builds, particularly those with sustain-minor powers, this could even be essential.
Belt of Vigor (PHB): Item bonus to healing surge value. Solid start.
Cincture of the Dragon Spirit (AV): If you're allowed liberal use of the Intimidate skill in combat this could be handy.
Belt of Sacrifice (PHB): Item bonus to nearby allies' healing surge value. Great property. Ignore the daily.
Rope of Slave Fighting (AV): Attack normally when prone. Nice. The Paragon Tier version cancels combat advantage when prone as well.
Belt of Vim (AV): Untyped Fortitude bonus. Comes in a version at each tier. Just a great all-purpose benefit.
Diamond Cincture (AV2): Item bonus to Fortitude with the opportunity to spend more healing surges if you need to. Good one, for sure, but since you can easily pick up ways to use your own healing surges every encounter, it's not the be-all, end-all like it is for some other classes.
Baldric of Valor (AV): Bonuses to attack, saves and defenses for action point usage. Nice.
Belt of Vitality (AV): +2 untyped bonus to Fortitude, and once per day get back up when you make a death save. Very nice.
Impenetrable Barding (AV): Sweet, sweet damage resistance for your mount if you equip it with this. Lv. 11 and 21 versions available for more resistance, too.
Jade Horse (D 393): Doesn't hurt to have a backup mount handy in case your summoned steed goes under for the day. The ability to charge without drawing OAs and a Trample that works on enemies of all sizes make this a solid backup, indeed.
Dragonshard Augments (Eberron)
Eberron Shard of Lightning (EPG): The shard of choice for those who use Lightning Weapons, as well as Avatars of Storm.
Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (EPG): Lasting Frost users go straight for this one.
Siberys Shard of Radiance (EPG): Untyped bonus to Radiant damage rolls. You want this as soon as possible. Paragon and Epic Tier versions available, too.
By Nibelung in forum Character Builds & OptimizationReplies: 15Last Post: Saturday, 23rd January, 2016, 04:14 PM