D&D 4E Like Some thoughts on my Wizard/Swordmage hybrid + a few questions.

I havent' had a chance to play 4E yet, but I do love making characters for it. This is a build that I've been tinkering with for years. I'd like a few eyes on it to make sure I'm not making any big mistakes, but my aim here isn't to be strictly optimal. I've also just started looking into Dragon magazine's options, so if there is something in those that you think will work well with this character I'd love to hear it. Gameplay wise this character is all about tactical positioning and just plain messing with his opponents. Heavy emphasis on teleports and de-buffs. I'm purposefully not increasing my damage, going for control and defense over killing efficiently. Likewise, rather than using my melee abilities to hit things I'm using it as another means to assert control over enemies through limiting movement and setting up flanking opportunities. My build will be at the end of this post. I'm going to ask some questions first.

Lore wise I'm keeping it vague so that I can integrate it into any campaign. I see the character as a very talented magic prodigy that comes from a well off, but not quite rich, family. Sent to an academy for magic, or apprenticed under a known mage at a young age. He doesn't fit in with the stuffy focus of his teachers, and spends a lot of time goofing off or training with some local monks. He's always thought about the big questions in the campaign world, and wants to go exploring the world as an adventurer. Eventually his teacher(s) get fed up with him and kick him out. He doesn't want to go back home a failure, but doesn't have any support in the city he's in. So he turns to odd jobs and mercenary work. Eventually hearing about a group (his eventual adventuring party) that's going on an expedition and looking for partners. This gives him a little drama in his backstory without it being a big deal, and can work with a variety of settings.

Here are a few small homebrew things I'd want a DM to o.k. Nothing here is build defining, other than maybe the ability bonus thing, so it doesn't really affect the build. Just a few things I'd like.

Ability bonus change - I think the newer 5E and baldur's gate 3 methods of applying species bonuses are long overdue and I'd like something like it in 4E. My take is to give each species a +2 to one of two ability scores, and another +2 to any ability score of their choice. So the Dwarf species would be: + 2 to either Constitution or Wisdom, and an additional +2 to an ability score of their choice. The two choices can't be for the same ability score. This gives you one species granted bonus that still has a little wiggle room with a floating bonus to put in your main stat or further customize your character.

Swordmage bond works with other weapons - Pretty straight forward. I don't even really know why the designers limited the choice to begin with. Just let Swordmages be axe mages if they want. In this character's case a staffmage.

A Tabaxi species - I'm a furry, so this one would be a big one for me. Stats would be: +2 to either Strength or Dexterity,+2 to one other of your choice, +2 to Initiative, +2 to Athletics and Stealth, species power - Encounter, move action, move your speed+2. I'm going for + to initiative instead of a NAD bonus. Tons of species have a NAD bonus, and the + to initiative just feels more feline to me anyways. I'm not attached to any of this however, I'd be willing to play this species reduced down to the ability bonus alone. I'm also aiming for underpowered so that it has a better chance of being o.k.ed.

Armor situation - This character is using the feats leather armor proficiency, hide armor proficiency, hide armor specialization, but I'd like to flavor the + to AC to come from a swordmage warding ability instead. Meaning that I'd want my character to wear cloth armor in game. More of a monk/swordmage training instead of armor. It would be equivalent to unarmored agility, swordmage warding, improved swordmage warding.

Question time, I'd like your RAW interpretation as well as any thoughts you might personally have on it.

1 - How does bonus speed effect special movement modes? Arcane Wayfarer's lv.16 ability give you teleport 2 as a special movement mode. If I take the fluid motion feat and get +2 to speed, does that effect all of my movement modes or just my land speed? The rules seem to not have this spelled out, only stating that if a character has a special movement mode they can use it for the walk action, charge action and the like, as well as use that movement mode for shifting (siting flying as an example in the rules). This also seems to indicate that you could use a special movement mode when using a power that grants movement as well, and if a power can use a special movement mode, it seems like a feat should modify it as well. It would also make sense for the fairy species, their special fly speed is really their real movement mode. If fluid motion doesn't effect movement modes other than land speed, that would nerf the fairy monk pretty directly. So RAW seems to be that this would work, Does anyone agree with my assesment? Now for the personal touch, this does seem to be a little powerful. Do you feel that this shouldn't work in this specific case because of that? If I combined this with the magic items Eladrin boots and Ring of dimensional escape I can push this teleport to 7 spaces at will. It takes one feat, two magic items, one ring slot, and my boot slot to pull off, so there is a price for it, but is that enough of a price to justify it?

2 - How would the magic item Cloak of Translocation work with some of my powers, and when is something considered to be a power? At first this seemed to be a straightforward question, an ability is considered a power if it's in the power format, but then there's a wrinkle that confuses things a lot. More on that later.
2A - For now, using the above definition when would the bonus to defenses trigger when using the power Staffstrike Shock. When you use the power to attack, or when you use the teleport bonus when you use the staff of defense feature?
2B - So when using the character builder that I just got, I noticed that the staff of defense ability was written up as a power. This makes sense from a usablility point of view, it would be how I'd write it up on my character sheet, but does that mean that staff of defense is now a power that would work with abilities that key off using a power? I checked the errata for the PH and staff of defense wasn't updated there, and it's not a feature of the essentials mage either. So I really don't know where this staff of defense is now officially a power thing is coming from. This raises all kinds of questions about when something should be considered a power. For example, the Magister's lv.24 cheat death ability is not written out as a power, but just like staff of defense it totally could be. Would the Cloak of Translocation trigger when I use this ability?

3 - This isn't a question about RAW, I'm clear on that. I'm just looking for advice about using the immediate actions of my character efficiently. I've got five of them, and they're all pretty important to the build. They are Dimensional Vortex, Staff of Defense, Disciplined Counter, Aegis of Shielding, and wayfarer's evasion. It seems that after the MM3 monster health changes that most fights last around 4 rounds, that doesn't leave me much time to get these in for most fights. Aegis of Shielding will be situational, as I'm not built as a main tank, but Dimensional Vortex is huge. With all these options to try to fit in, should I fire off Demensional Vortex round 1 or wait for the perfect attack to foil? If I hold it, that means I can't use my other abilities without cutting off Dimensional Vortex for that round. Like I said, it's a tight fit for the action economy, and there's tons of magic items that have immediate actions a well that I'll have to avoid like the plague so that I don't make matters worse.

The build - I'm not factoring in magic items yet, they're not critical to the build. I'll go through the magic item list more thoroughly if I ever get to play.

Hybrid Swordmage/Wizard
species Tabaxi (or Human if I can't be tabaxi)
Abilities - Tabaxi -str12, dex13, con14, int18, wis14, cha8. Human - str12, dex13, con14, int18, wis13, cha8
Leveled Ability bonuses - all to Intelligence and Constitution
trained skills - Arcana, Athletics, History. lv.5 - Nature lv.# heal
Theme - Elemental Initiate
Paragon Path - Arcane Wayfarer
Epic Destiny - Magister

1 - leather armor proficiency
2 - ritual caster
4 - staff expertise
6 - hybrid talent (staff of defense)
8 - Improved defenses
10 - hafted defense
11 - hide armor proficiency
12 - hide armor specialization
14 - improved staff of defense
16 - monastic disciple ( heal, ironsoul flurry of blows)
18 - Intelligent blademaster
20 - fluid motion
21 - spell accuracy
22 - wizard implement specialization (staves)
24 - superior will
26 - quickened spellcasting ( luring strike )
28 - superior initiative
30 - skill focus (arcana)

powers: aw-at will, e-encounter, d-daily

class and feat powers
1aw - ghost sound
1aw - light
1aw - mage hand
1aw - prestidigitation
1e - hybrid aegis of shielding
1e - disciplined counter
6e - staff of defense
16e - iron soul flurry of blows
26e - quickened luring strike

at will attacks
1 - freezing burst
1 - luring strike

encounter attacks
1 - ray of enfeeblement
3 - dimensional vortex
7 - lightning bolt
11 - hammerfall step
13 - prismatic burst
17 - dimensional vortex
23 - staffstrike shock
27 - soul fire

daily attacks
1 - rolling thunder
5- enervating slash
9 - ice storm
15 - wall of ice
19 - planar shock
20 - terrifying journey
25 - prismatic spray
29 - prismatic wall

2d - guardian blades
6e - armathor's step
10d - dimension door
12d - wayfarer's evasion
16d - experienced arcana
22d - wall of force
26d - magister's key

Most fights will start out with me firing off a ranged area attack, either enounter or daily, then close in to melee and start effing with the monster's tactics. All but one of my encounter powers are party friendly throughout the levels, and at lv.21 spell accuracy will make even those friendly in most instances.

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Honestly, that's pretty terrible all around. You have terrible damage output and little control. It's just kind of a senseless mess.

Don't mess with the armor feats, take Swordmage Warding as your hybrid talent and save some feats with better effect.

You'll also want Intelligent Blademaster much earlier.

The staff doesn't really add much, so I wouldn't mess with it.

Honestly, that's pretty terrible all around. You have terrible damage output and little control. It's just kind of a senseless mess.

Don't mess with the armor feats, take Swordmage Warding as your hybrid talent and save some feats with better effect.

You'll also want Intelligent Blademaster much earlier.

The staff doesn't really add much, so I wouldn't mess with it.

Thanks for the advice. I double posted this to discord and got similar feedback. I'm not currently playing so I'm in no hurry to twique my build, but when I do there are a few ways I can take it. Just got to wait until I feel the need to break out my 4th books again, the feeling usually hits every 4 months or so.

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