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D&D 4E Eladrin Swordmage Advance shenanigans

Joshua Randall

Adventurer
(Why I am posting a 4e character optimization thread here in 2021? Because I was going through some old files, came across this, and felt the desire to share. Enjoy!)

Eladrin Swordmage Advance (ESA) is a feat that allows you to make an MBA as a free action against an enemy you teleport adjacent to with Fey Step. Which is a fun and reasonably optimized ways to get some extra damage on the swordmage -- effectively this lets you make an attack as (part of) a Move Action in addition to your normal Standard Action attack.

ESA is particularly good on a Swordmage with Aegis of Assault, who functions as somewhat of a Striker in addition to his official Defender role designation.

A while back I was noodling with a character and started to wonder how many different times I could use ESA in one encounter. Effectively this turns into "how many different times can I re-use Fey Step (and thus trigger ESA)".

There are a variety of feats that allow you recharge Fey Step (below).

Ubiquitous Step
Heroic Tier
Prerequisite: Eladrin, fey step racial power, Psionic Augmentation class feature
Benefit: The first time you drop to 0 power points during an encounter, you regain the use of your fey step.
Published in Psionic Power, page(s) 135.

Renewed by Blood
Prerequisite: Eladrin, warlock
Benefit: Once per encounter, when you reduce an enemy under your warlock’s curse to 0 hit points, you can regain the use of your fey step racial power if you have already used it that encounter instead of gaining your normal pact boon.
Published in Dragon Magazine 390.

Feral Fey Step
Heroic Tier
Prerequisite: Eladrin, any primal class
Benefit: The first time you are bloodied during an encounter, you can use your fey step racial power as an immediate reaction, even if you have already used it during this encounter.
Published in Primal Power, page(s) 137.

Ubiquitous Step and Renewed By Blood have triggers that are within our control: drop to 0 Power Points, and kill an enemy under Warlock's Curse. Let's come back to Feral Fey Step later, and start with this realizations:

We need to have both the Psionic Augmentation class feature and count as a Warlock to take both of these feats.

Now, Swordmage + Warlock = SwordLock is a well established Hybrid combination. Swordmage is one of those classes that loses very little by Hybriding, and Warlock brings a ton of amazing powers to the table. Warlock also brings Eldrich Strike to use as our MBA, which alleviates the need for Intelligent Blademaster or some other workaround to get a good MBA.

So that's easy enough: we'll be a SwordLock and thus gain access to the Renewed By Blood feat.

To obtain the Psionic Augmentation (PsiAug) class feature, we can take the multiclass feat Awakened Potential, which specifically states that we gain PsiAug:

Awakened Potential [Multiclass Ardent, Battlemind, or Psion]​

Prerequisite: Int 15, trained in Arcana
Benefit: You gain the Psionic Augmentation class feature and 1 power point. You can spend this power point to augment powers, feats, or magic items that are augmentable. Once you spend this power point, you do not regain the power point until you take an extended rest. You also qualify for feats that require the Psionic Augmentation class feature. You gain 1 additional power point at 21st level.
Special: Choose ardent, battlemind, or psion when you take this feat. This feat counts as a multiclass feat for that class.

Published in Psionic Power, page(s) 141.

And in case there was any confusion, the feat even calls out that we explicitly qualify for other feats that require the PsiAug class feature. Great!

We just need to pick which of [Ardent | Battlemind | Psion] we want to count as. After a lot of noodling, we pick Ardent because it gives us an easy way to spent 1 Power Point (PP) on something useful.

So now we're a SwordLock MC (multiclass) Ardent.

We can already use ESA 3x per Encounter:
  • once with our normal use of Fey Step
  • once when we drop to 0 PP, with Ubiquitous Step
  • and once when we kill a warlock's cursed enemy, with Renewed by Blood
As to how we can control when we drop to 0 PP, there are a couple of ways. One is to own a magic item that takes a single PP to do something useful -- for example, Dancer's Slippers or something like that.

Dancer's Slippers Level 7 Uncommon​

Your feet glide across the ground, letting you reposition yourself when an enemy's attack goes wide.

Feet Slot 2,600 gp

Power (Augmentable)
x.gif
Daily (Free Action)​

Trigger: An enemy misses you with an attack.

Effect: You shift 1 square.

Augment 1: You regain the use of this power but cannot augment it again during this encounter.


Published in Psionic Power, page(s) 158.

The other way to spend a PP is, of course, to augment a psionic power. As alluded to above, in my opinion Ardent has the power that is easiest to use and actually pretty good, namely Ire Strike. However, Ire Strike is really only useful when we can Augment 2 it so that the ally to whom we grant an attack can be anywhere within 5, rather than adjacent to both you and the enemy being targeted.

Ire Strike​

You feel anger rising within you, and you empower a nearby ally to strike.

At-Will
bullet.gif
Augmentable, Psionic
Standard Action
Melee 1

Target: One enemy

Effect: One ally adjacent to you can make a melee basic attack against the target as a free action. If the attack hits, the target has vulnerable 2 to all damage until the end of your next turn.

Augment 1
Effect
: As above, but the vulnerability is only to psychic damage and equals 1 + your Charisma modifier.

Augment 2
Effect
: One ally within 5 squares of you can use a free action to shift to a square adjacent to the target and then make a melee basic attack against it. If the attack hits, it deals 1d8 extra damage to the target, and the target has vulnerability to all damage equal to 1 + your Charisma modifier until the end of your next turn.


Published in Player's Handbook 3, page(s) 25.

So far we only have 1 PP as a MC Ardent (from the Awakened Potential feat). But we can easily pick up another PP with 4e's gift to power gamers everywhere, Themes. Specifically the Noble Adept from Dark Sun Campaign Setting, which gives us 1 PP at 1st level.

Now we have 2 PP and we can Augment 2 our Ire Strike.

Of course to even have Ire Strike we need to take the feat Psionic Dabbler, which lets us swap an encounter power for an augmentable at-will power of the same level or lower.

For a long time, this is as far as I took my ESA shenanigans: SwordLock MC Ardent. Sadly with no way to also be a Primal class to pick up Feral Fey Step.

Or so I thought.

Because I had played Living Forgotten Realms (LFR) for so long, I overlooked an entire swathe of feats that are not legal in LFR, but are perfectly legal in a home campaign. Specifically, Eberron provides the Paragon Path that enables overly complicated builds: Traveler's Harlequin.

Traveler's Harlequin

Prerequisite:
Trained in Bluff, must have more than one class, must worship the Traveler

TRAVELER'S HARLEQUIN PATH FEATURES​

Master of Many Paths (11th level): You can choose class-specific multiclass feats from more than one class. You gain one additional feat, which must be a class-specific multiclass feat.

Just by worshipping a particular Eberron deity, we can take this Paragon Path that lets us multiclass to our heart's content. And with this breakthrough, we can now be both MC Ardent and MC... some Primal class.

As it turns out, our best Primal class to MC into is Barbarian. Its MC entry feat gives us back skill training (to compensate for needing Bluff to get into Traveler's Harlequin) as well as a once per day damage boost.

Berserker's Fury [Multiclass Barbarian]​

Prerequisite: Str 13, Con 13
Benefit: You gain training in one skill from the barbarian’s class skills list.
Once per day as a free action, you can gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls until the end of the encounter.

Published in Player's Handbook 2, page(s) 196.

And with that, our journey to the cheesy side of ESA is complete. We can now use ESA 4x per encounter:
  • once with our normal use of Fey Step
  • once when we drop to 0 PP, with Ubiquitous Step
  • once when we kill a warlock's cursed enemy, with Renewed by Blood
  • and once when we drop to bloodied, with Feral Fey Step
We do need to remember to open the encounter with a use of Fey Step, so that it is expended and we can "regain" the use of it with Ubiquitous Step and Renewed by Blood.

Also: because we're going to be teleporting all over the play with Fey Step, Aegis of Assault, and various Warlock powers, we may as well also pick up teleport gear to increase our teleport distance and gain various other bonuses. Take a look at 'Bamf - A Teleporter's Guidebook' for some ideas.

Here's the character at level 11.

Psi-SwordLock Harlequin, level 11
Eladrin, Swordmage/Warlock, Traveler's Harlequin
Swordmage Aegis (Hybrid) Option: Aegis of Assault
Eldritch Pact (Hybrid) Option: Infernal Pact (Hybrid)
Eldritch Strike Option: Eldritch Strike Charisma --> this is our MBA
Hybrid Warlock Option: Hybrid Warlock Will
Hybrid Talent Option: Swordmage Warding
Theme: Noble Adept --> pick up another 1 Power Point

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 13, CON 13, DEX 11, INT 21, WIS 9, CHA 21

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 12, CON 12, DEX 10, INT 16, WIS 8, CHA 16
Str and Con will both bump to 13 at 11th level, just in time to MC barbarian


AC: 26 Fort: 18 Ref: 22 Will: 25
HP: 76 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 19

TRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +17, Athletics +11, Bluff +16, Insight +9, Perception +9
need Bluff training for Traveler's Harlequin

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +5, Diplomacy +10, Dungeoneering +4, Endurance +9, Heal +4, History +12, Intimidate +11, Nature +4, Religion +10, Stealth +5, Streetwise +10, Thievery +5

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Noble Adept Feature: Adept's Insight
Eladrin Racial Power: Fey Step
Swordmage Feature: Aegis of Assault
Warlock's Curse Power: Warlock's Curse
Swordmage Attack 1: Sword Burst
Warlock Attack 1: Eldritch Strike --> this functions as her MBA and is based on Cha, so no need for Intelligent Blademaster
Swordmage Attack 1: Vanishing Blade
Ardent Attack 1: Ire Strike --> picked up via power-swap feat, this gives a per-Encounter way to spend Power Points; it's also a pretty decent power in its own right
Warlock Utility 2: Ethereal Stride
Swordmage Attack 3: Dual Lightning Strike
Warlock Attack 5: Tyrannical Threat
Swordmage Utility 6: Swordmage's Decree
Warlock Attack 7: Far Realm Phantasm
Warlock Attack 9: Infectious Curse
Warlock Utility 10: Ethereal Sidestep --> at-will teleport 1 square as Move action; with the proper teleport gear, can be buffed to >>>1 square, and each time she teleports she'll gain various bonuses
Traveler's Harlequin Attack 11: Traveler's Mummery

FEATS
Awakened Potential (Ardent)
Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Level 2: Eladrin Swordmage Advance
Level 4: Renewed by Blood
Level 8: Ubiquitous Step
Level 10: Psionic Dabbler
Level 11: Feral Fey Step
Level 11: Berserker's Fury
these are listed out of order for some reason... Berserker's Fury (MC barbarian) was unlocked with the Paragon Path (which grants an extra MC feat), and then she took Feral Fey Step as her normal 11th level feat

At level 12 we can take Expertise or some other normal optimizer feat. Or we can throw optimization to the wind and take Feywild Protection to make our defenses even more ridiculous when we Fey Step, which we will be doing 3-4 times per encounter.

Feywild Protection
Paragon Tier
Prerequisite: 11th level, Eladrin, fey step racial power
Benefit: When you use the fey step power, you gain a +2 bonus to all defenses until the end of your next turn.

And there you have it! Eladrin Swordmage Advance shenanigans. :)

In case you're wondering, I have played various versions of this character and while she is never going to be mistaken for an extremely optimized build, 'porting all over the board whacking people is great fun.

I hope you've enjoyed this trip down 4e memory lane.
 

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StrixVaria99

Villager
Thank you for sharing this guide. My first character was Eladrin Swordmage and Eladrin is by far my favorite elf class. I've enjoyed tinkering around with the teleportation powers and your guide opened up options I've never considered before.

For those interested, Fey Charge is another feat you can use if you MC Fighter. Basically, you are able use your Fey Step as part of your charge, and if you hit, you don't expend the power. Very useful for closing the gap, especially with teleportation increasing items.

I'm still actively playing 4e, so regardless of the year, it's relevant to me ;)
 

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