+ Log in or register to post
Results 1 to 10 of 12
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 11:37 PM #1
The Art of the Covenant: A Guide to Invokers (By Cazzeo)The Art of the CovenantA Guide to Invokers
So you’ve forged your pact with the gods, you’ve survived your initiation, and now you’re ready to venture out into the world. As a direct conduit of your god’s (or goddess’s) power, how will you do his (or her) will? Will you speak the primal words of malediction? Will you nurture and protect your allies? Or will you focus on smiting your enemies with all your god’s fury?
So what’s good about playing an invoker?
Invokers are controllers, and can probably best be thought of as a divine version of wizard. Like wizards, many of their powers are debuffing blasts and bursts (and, like all controllers, lots of their powers hit their allies). Below are but a few of the reasons to play an invoker instead of another controller class (such as wizard).
Powerful Debuffs: Although invokers are not as strong as wizards here, they do have quite a few control powers that wizards lack, such as an encounter close blast dominate at 27, a close blast stun daily at level 1, etc.
Enabling/Leader Powers/Feats: One selling point of playing an invoker is that they have quite a few strong enabling powers. Wrathvokers get Lightning’s Revelation and Rain of Blood, both of which are very powerful. Preservokers can grant an extra basic attack at epic (and there are many Intelligence-based healing-type effects also). Malvokers can debuff monster damage substantially for a turn.
Multi-target Ranged At-Wills: Invokers have quite strong targeted at-wills, meaning they don’t have to worry about hitting allies. These at-wills (Divine Bolts and Hand of Radiance) are also highly optimizable using domain feats; this is one of the primary advantages of divine classes.
Lots of Radiant Powers: Another thing divine classes have going for them is a lot of radiant powers. These can be highly optimized compared to other damage types.
Channel Divinity/Covenant Manifestation: These class features are quite decent and have good feat support. Access to Channel Divinity also opens up other feat options that are unavailable to non-divine classes.
Armor Proficiency/Defenses: Invokers can wear chain out of the box, which is a nice feature in conjunction with cleric hybrid, etc. Access to Con as a secondary stat grants more healing surges, and the Invoker Defense feat can give +2 AC on demand.This handbook will use the following system for ratings:
Red: Useless. There is no reason to take this.
Purple: Situationally useful, but mostly subpar.
Black: An average ability for this level.
Blue: Better than average. A useful, good option.
SkyBlue: Substantially better than most other options.
Gold: Every invoker should take this.
This handbook covers the following sources:
AP - Arcane Power
AV - Adventurer's Vault
AV 2 - Adventurer's Vault 2
D XXX - Dragon Magazine, issue XXX
DMA 2009 - Dragon Magazine Annual 2009
DP - Divine Power
DSCS - Dark Sun Campaign Setting
EPG - Eberron Player’s Guide
FRPG - Forgotten Realms Player's Guide
HotEC - Heroes of the Elemental Chaos
HotFK - Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms
HotFL - Heroes of the Fallen Lands
HotFW - Heroes of the Feywild
HoS - Heroes of Shadow
MM - Monster Manual
MM 2 - Monster Manual 2
MOTP - Manual of the Planes
MP - Martial Power
MP 2 - Martial Power 2
NW - Neverwinter
PHB - Player's Handbook
PHB 2 - Player's Handbook 2
PHB 3 - Player's Handbook 3
PHH 1 - Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 1
PHH 2 - Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 2
PHR: DB - Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn
PHR: TF - Player's Handbook Races: Tieflings
PrP - Primal Power
PsP - Psionic Power
Zelink: For tons of helpful additions and suggestions.
Lordduskblade: His guides are like guides to writing guides.
The CO IRC folks: For pointing out when I'm being stupid.
Kerrus: For providing the angel picture.
Man in Black: For writing the old guide.
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 11:38 PM #2
Core Class Mechanics
Invokers are an “A-class”, meaning they use a single stat as their primary stat, while their secondary stat changes based on which build they choose. Like most controllers, their hit points and base surges are weak, although Constitution as a viable secondary stat helps this somewhat.
Choosing Your Covenant
The first and most important decision you must make as an invoker is which covenant to pursue. Your covenant determines three things about your character: the riders on your powers, your Channel Divinity encounter power, and your Covenant Manifestation (which you can use whenever you use a divine encounter/daily attack power). Hybrids do not get the covenant power or the covenant riders, but they do get the manifestation. This has a large impact on power selection for hybrids, as some of the best powers are only so because of their riders.
Covenant of Wrath is generally the best option pre-epic due to strong riders, while Covenant of Malediction is the best choice at epic due to the rider on the level 23. Covenant of Preservation is really only competitive if your party has strikers (particularly Essentials strikers) who can make heavy use of Agile Opportunist.
The Three Covenants
Channel Divinity Powers
Each invoker gets Rebuke Undead plus one other Channel Divinity power. In this section, I will discuss the merits (and show feat support) of each of the Channel Divinity options.
Invoker Channel Divinity Options
Each of the three covenants gets a Covenant Manifestation, which can be performed whenever the invoker uses a daily or encounter invoker attack power. In addition, there are some feats that effectively give an invoker an “extra” manifestation; these will be discussed below. Note that hybrids DO get the Covenant Manifestation; however, the best feat Avandra's Covenant is not available to them because they do not technically have the "Divine Covenant" class feature. Your DM may allow this on a hybrid, though; if so, it's very worth it.
Covenant Manifestations and Feat Support
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 11:39 PM #3
Strength: Usually this or Charisma is your ideal dump stat, although, if you’re going for heavier armor than chain, Strength 13 is necessary.
Recommended Score: 8-13, before racial adjustments
Constitution: Wrathvokers will generally set this to 16, and some Malvokers as well. Con grants more hit points and surges and is an important part of many riders, especially Wrath riders. Also relevant to Lyrandar Windrider. Even for Int-based invokers, this should probably be their third highest stat.
Recommended Score: 10-16, before racial adjustments
Dexterity: You don’t want a negative initiative modifier, but, other than that, there’s no reason to bump Dexterity (you’ll almost always be taking Battlewise). Dexterity could conceivably be used as a secondary stat in some weird builds. If you take Battlewise very early, this could conceivably now be a dump stat for some builds.
Recommended Score: 8-13, before racial adjustments
Intelligence: The secondary stat for most Preservation invokers and many Malediction invokers. Intelligence factors in the riders of many Preservation and defensive powers. It is also quite important if you want to be smart and skilled (driving Arcana, History, and Religion checks). If you wear light armor, Intelligence is also critical for your AC. Also relevant for Devoted Orator, as well as MC’ing wizard to use an Orb of Nimble Thoughts for Int to initiative. Again, most Int-vokers will place this at a 16 pre-racial-mods.
Recommended Score: 10-16, before racial adjustments
Wisdom: The primary stat of invokers. All your attacks are based on this skill, as well as your Insight skill, and your initiative (via Battlewise).
Recommended Score: 16-18, before racial adjustments
Charisma: The other possibility for a dump stat. Sometimes you might keep this up a bit if you’re making use of Intimidate/Diplomacy or wanting to use Morninglord riders.
Recommended Score: 8-14, before racial adjustments
A quick glance at races reveals Deva, Githzerai, and Shardmind as the Wis/Int choices, and Dwarf, Duergar, Mul, Half-Elf, and Wilden as the Wis/Con choices. Shadar-Kai also make excellent invokers due to the Doom of Jiksidur feat. The remaining Wis-boosting races are examined below.
Backgrounds and Character Themes
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 11:40 PM #4
Most invokers will choose one of either Hand of Radiance or Divine Bolts. The remaining at-will choice really depends on the build, but most invokers will take Sun Strike just to have an RBA. A thunder/lightning specialist might go with Vanguard’s Lightning instead, since Divine Bolts is their RBA. A Malediction invoker or close blaster (Devoted Orator) might go with Visions of Blood. Like most controllers, they simply won't use their at-wills very often past level 7, so optimizing around at-wills is frowned upon.
Domain Feat Warning: Remember that you can only apply a single domain feat to a given power. One of the most common misconceptions is that you can stack a bunch of these feats onto a single power, but this is *not* legal.
Ranged Attack Powers
Hand of Radiance (DP): The best invoker at-will, mainly due to hitting the most targets and exploiting radiant vulnerability. At epic, it hits twice as many targets as Divine Bolts (as well as making use of excellent radiant feat support), creating a gap that is hard for current optimization to close. With Staff Expertise, you never have to worry about standing next to monsters.
Divine Bolts (PHB2): It is hard to consider this as powerful as Hand of Radiance. The one exception would be if you took Power of Skill AND also had a basic attack granter granting you basic attacks. If Mark of Storm and Eagle Eye Goggles are both in your game, then Power of Skill Divine Bolts are only a little behind Hand of Radiance (moreso if HoR has Morninglord support) at heroic/paragon.
Sun Strike (PHB2): Radiant damage, and it’s a ranged basic attack with decent damage and a slide. Nothing amazing, but usually the second choice of most invokers. Since at-wills are largely pointless for controllers, this one makes the cut by virtue of being a ranged basic attack (which might be useful with basic attack granters in the party).
Mantle of the Infidel (DP): Radiant damage and a very long range make this a decent enough choice, but it’s usually just going to be worse than Sun Strike. The rider just isn’t that great, as it isn’t even a constant -2 (since they can always just attack the defender).
Avenging Light (PHB2): A subpar cousin to Sun Strike. Not terrible, but the Sun Strike slide is better than a conditional Con to damage.
Area Attack Powers
Visions of Blood (DP): Ironically, this is probably the best invoker power to use against a single creature (assuming Psychic Lock at paragon) for non-radiant builds. As for blasting multiple bad guys, it usually won’t compete with Hand of Radiance or Divine Bolts, but the psychic lock + defense debuff can prove effective if you can hit multiple targets (plus Power of Earth can add a slow).
Vanguard’s Lightning (PHB2): Despite the fact this power can be buffed to a giant burst/blast (Power of Storm + Resounding Thunder + Invoked Devastation), it just remains too difficult to use without hitting allies. Even if you could go first and drop an area burst 3 VL, you’d usually be wanting to use an encounter/daily then anyway. Nonetheless, once this expands to area burst 2 at paragon, this at-will must be considered better.
Grasping Shards (PHB2): The major problem with this power is the lack of a damage roll. Even with World Serpent’s Grasp and proning possibilities, it probably isn’t enough to bring this power up to the level of Visions of Blood or Vanguard’s Lightning. Without World Serpent’s Grasp, it becomes a situational encounter power.
Astral Wind (PHH 2): This isn’t a horrible power, but it was never supported with any feats. Visions of Blood just works out to be much better.
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 11:40 PM #5
Heroic Tier Powers: Student of the Covenant
Throughout this guide, I will show the ratings of a power with all its Covenant riders first, then give a rating for all other invokers in the text description of the power. So, for example, Lightning’s Revelation will be listed first as sky blue, then I’ll give its rating for non-Wrath invokers in my comments. Powers will be listed in roughly descending order of power (from best to worst).
Level 1, Encounter
An extremely strong level compared to other classes. Thunder of Judgment is incredibly good, and will be the choice of most non-Wrath builds. Wrath-vokers might take Lightning’s Revelation. Preservers might prefer Astral Terror.
Level 1 Encounter List
Level 1, Daily
It is hard to argue with any invoker taking Silent Malediction, although I think Brilliant Beacon is serious competition (if a more leader-ish focus). Binding Invocation of Chains can really wreck some fights on turn 1 also.
Level 1 Daily List
Level 2, Utility
Once you have any encounter-level ally-unfriendly attacks, Divine Call becomes an extremely good option. Stay Back! is phenomenal if you get Dungeoneering as a class skill. Miraculous Fortune and Wall of Light are also good choices.
Level 2 Utility List
Level 3, Encounter
This is a weak level for invokers. The best option for Wrathvokers is to take Lightning’s Revelation or Thunder of Judgment from Level 1, while other invokers will likely take Word of Ruin or Astral Terror/Thunder of Judgment from Level 1. This is a good level for power swaps via multiclass or theme.
Level 3 Encounter List
Level 5, Daily
Although you could consider going back to one of the top two choices from level 1, level 5 does have a very nice option in Searing Orb.
Level 5 Daily List
Level 6, Utility
Practically every invoker will pick up Demand Justice or Deliverance of Faith here, although Ooze Masters might power swap for Celerity Jelly. Invokers with Nature might consider Natural Terrain Understanding. The other options are really lackluster.
Level 6 Utility List
Level 7, Encounter
Wrath-vokers will take Rain of Blood, while most others will opt for Tide of the First Storm.
Level 7 Encounter List
There is no clear winner at this level. Cerulean Flames, Malediction of Rigidity, Summon Blade Angel, and Fourfold Invocation of Doom are all excellent options.
Level 9 Daily List
Level 10, Utility
This is a fairly weak level for invokers. Word of Urgency is a nice choice for Int-vokers to grant a free shift and spare an ally from your blasts/bursts. Other invokers might opt for Angelic Messenger, due to its large out-of-combat healing. But if you’re a Con-voker in a party that never really runs out of surges (and surgeless healing is irrelevant in your game), the decision becomes more difficult (perhaps Enter the Crucible is a good choice then).
Level 10 Utility List
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 11:41 PM #6Paragon Tier Powers: Priest of the Covenant
Two factors are relevant in this tier: Resounding Thunder, which expands the size of all your thunder blasts/bursts, and Morninglord, which adds vulnerable 10 radiant to all your radiant powers. In addition, because you’ll have even the level 13 powers until level 27, we consider the impact of Invoked Devastation (increasing the size of blasts/bursts by 1) on all of these powers at epic.
Level 13, Encounter
Deadly Doubt is the power of choice for Wrathvokers. Brilliant Revelation is the likely choice for everyone else, although Malvokers might consider Word of Blindness. Winds of Celestia might see some play if sliding is relevant, or Seal of the Heretic in save-penalty-imposing builds.
Level 13 Encounter List
Level 15, Daily
The dailies at this level are a significant upgrade from level 9, with lots of excellent persistent effects. Vile Plague and Storm of Punishment are the best of them, providing nice control. Wall of Blades isn't bad with Morninglord, but the standard action tax is a bit much.
Level 15 Daily List
Level 16, Utility
Level 16 is a very good level for invoker utilities, with Word of Refuge and Shield of Justice both excellent encounter power choices, and Walls of Hestavar and Pennant of Heaven’s Armies serving as effective dailies. Insightful Riposte is excellent; even for Divine Oracles, it works on Thunder of Judgment.
Level 16 Utility List
Level 17, Encounter
This is a fairly weak level for invokers until level 21. Glyph of Radiance is definitely the best, but doesn’t get really good unless you’re Morninglord-enabled or until it can be expanded to a burst 2 blind at epic (at which point it becomes the power of choice). Curse of Haemnathuun is a solid enough control choice for any build and up there with the other powers. Word of Pain is decent for Malvokers but again suffers from being ally-unfriendly. Others might go back to 13 for one of the powers there.
Level 17 Encounter List
Level 19, Daily
Level 19 is rather weak compared to level 15. Any invoker not returning to level 15 for one of the top four powers there is probably taking Summon Angel of Light.
Level 19 Daily List
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 11:41 PM #7
Epic Tier Powers: Master of the Covenant
Invoked Devastation influences epic power ratings heavily, as it improves bursts twice as much as blasts. Notable also at this tier is a lack of thunder/lightning powers compared to previous levels, as well as excellent feat support for radiant powers at epic (which improves the ratings of radiant powers).
Level 22, Utility
This level has several decent but not amazing options. Most invokers will either take Invoke Heroism or return to one of the excellent level 16 powers. Malvokers might take Covenant of Vengeance or Invoke Angelic Form for personal defense.
Level 22 Utility List
Level 23, Encounter
Level 23 has an excellent option for controllers in Word of Bewilderment and also for blasters in Storm of Celestia. Some other invokers might opt for the control-from-a-distance of Age’s Infirmity.
Level 23 Encounter List
Level 25, Daily
Level 25 has no clear winner. Morninglords will like Anthem of the First Dawn. For melee-heavy parties, Racking Invocation of Pain is a solid choice here. For parties with multiple divine characters, Invoke the Fallen might see some play. The best choice is probably to go back to 19 for the angel or the dominate, though.
Level 25 Daily List
Level 27, Encounter
There really aren’t any invoker encounter powers that even come close to a close blast dominate. Pretty much every invoker will take Compel Action (the only thing that saves this level from being really bad for invokers). It's worth pointing out that Wrathvokers should do anything they can to get the cleric encounter power Valorous Charge. which is even better than Compel Action. With the Con bonus to defenses AND a huge nova, Valorous Charge is easily the best encounter power in all of 4e.
Level 27 Encounter List
Level 29, Daily
Like at level 27, an area effect dominate is just substantially better than your other options. Most invokers will take Word of the Gods.
Level 29 Daily List
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 11:42 PM #8Recommended Feats
Some feats have already been reviewed. For invoker class feats affecting your Channel Divinity power or your Covenant Manifestation, see the section on those abilities. For domain feats, see the section on at-will powers.
When evaluating feats, you generally want to look for:
1. Additional targets: Anything that enlarges/expands your spells or adds more targets is a giant increase.
2. Accuracy: Much of the strength of your powers lies in their control effects and riders. You want to make sure your powers land.
3. Initiative: Like all controllers, you want to make sure you go first so that you can land a powerful control effect as soon as possible.
4. Damage type riders/At-will optimization: Anything that enhances one of your existing at-wills, or enhances a damage type you commonly use, is great.
5. Damage: You care about damage a bit more than other controllers, because it’s one of the ways to justify your multitarget at-wills.
6. Power Recovery: Anything that gets you your encounter/daily powers back is great, especially once you hit 27 with Word of the Gods.
Multiclass Feats and Feats from Other Classes
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 11:43 PM #9Paragon Paths
The best four paragon paths for invokers are Divine Oracle (controllers), Devoted Orator (close blasters), Morninglord (radiant blasters), and Flame of Hope (preservers/enablers). Others have made the sky-blue cut, but the above four are a notch above the rest.
Malediction Invokers will probably choose Divine Oracle, although Devoted Orator is also strong to enlarge close blasts. Overall, I think Divine Oracle edges out Devoted Orator because the malvoker close blasts are ally-unfriendly. For this reason, I think double rolls on smaller blasts adds a greater benefit than single rolls on a larger blast.
Wrathvokers will likely choose Morninglord, although Lyrandar Wind-Rider is solid for a thunder/lightning focus. Speaker of Xaos is also interesting. In general, many of the best paragon paths are Int-based, so Wrathvokers suffer a bit here if they can’t take Morninglord or LWR. Keeper of the Nine, despite the Int riders, can be pretty good also, as can be Adept of Whispers, Hammer of Vengeance, and Divine Hand.
Preservation invokers will likely choose Flame of Hope or Morninglord, although Keeper of the Nine can be made to work for them also. Shardmind preservers should look closely at Gatekeeper, as it can add immobilized conditions to all their sliding powers.
Invoker Paragon Paths
Other Paragon Paths
Most invokers will choose an epic destiny that raises their two best stats. For radiant specialists, that would be Avangion. For Malediction invokers, it might be Destined Scion for the hit bonus. Devas will undoubtedly choose Soul of the World. And Chosen and Demigod are always good. Power recovery epic destinies like Archmage and Planeshaper might also see some play, as might Radiant One for the damage bonus.
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 11:43 PM #10Items
In this section, I will discuss items of interest to invokers. It is far too arduous a task to go through everything, so I have likely missed many items. If there’s something you don’t see on this list that should be, then please post and I’ll add it here.
Superior Implement Types
By lightful in forum Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, and OSR GamingReplies: 10Last Post: Sunday, 6th May, 2012, 09:09 PM
By -Avalon- in forum Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, and OSR GamingReplies: 28Last Post: Thursday, 10th September, 2009, 09:40 PM
By Inigo Carmine in forum Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, and OSR GamingReplies: 6Last Post: Thursday, 27th August, 2009, 05:40 PM
By That One Guy in forum Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, and OSR GamingReplies: 2Last Post: Friday, 13th June, 2008, 08:53 PM
By Edena_of_Neith in forum Miscellaneous Geek Talk & Media LoungeReplies: 2Last Post: Wednesday, 17th November, 2004, 05:24 PM