Slayer build sillyness

Perun

Mushroom
I don't know whether this has been covered before, and if it has, I appologise. I just had to share :)

A player in our group has made a Slayer to replace his shaman character in our Dark Sun game, now at 2nd level.

In short, he made a human slayer (with a gladiator theme, but that's more or less irrelevant), he made Dex his highest stat (20, after racial modifier), and took Melee Training (Dex) and Master at Arms as his 1st-level feats (Surprising Charge [Martial Power] is his 2nd-lvl choice).

His attack is now +11 vs. AC, and he deals 2d6+8 damage (brutal 1) on a regular, unmodified melee basic attack. Which is better than any Str/Dex combination could achieve.

Even better, at 8th level, when his Dex increases to 22, his damage automatically increases by 2 points. He also has a good AC (unsurprisingly) and a decent number of hp (Con 14). About the only area where this character "suffers" is his Athletics check.

A character with Str 18 and Dex 16 ends up worse in the attack & damage department -- at 2nd level, such a character would attack at +10, and his damage would be identical to the all-Dex slayer. A Str 20/Dex 14 character could gain the same attack & damage values as the all-Dex slayer, but would have lower hp and AC.

I find it interesting that a single feat (Melee Training [Dex]) can have so great influence on a character class. I wouldn't call this slayer overpowered, but the fact that a character so modified can out-perform the basic, original version of the class (or, in this case, a build) clearly suggests that it wasn't a planned result.
 

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twilsemail

First Post
Was this build made accounting for the update to Melee training? Where is the sum of the +8 coming from? +6 from misc. sources seems pretty hefty at 2nd level. Then again I'm AFB and forget all of the Slayers cookies.
 


S

Sunseeker

Guest
IMO, that's because the Fighter was never really designed for fighting. It was designed for defending with the ability to fight as a secondary. Even though just about every other class that could be a defender was better at it, fighters never(IMO) got enough offensive-oritented skills to compete with other damage dealers.

Compare the Slayer to any of the other melee striker classes, TWF rangers, avengers, rogues, barbarians ect... All of these classes do equitable damage, particularly when paired with a Brutal weapon. Not to mention all of them have AC buffing abilities, a lvl1 Avenger comes out with something like a 17-18 AC(assumingthey stack dex/int), and they don't even get scale.

IMO, I think it's good to see the Slayer out-perform the "base" fighter so much, because that really brings it up to par with other striker classes. Which the fighter should have been able to do from the get-go.
 

Perun

Mushroom
Was this build made accounting for the update to Melee training? Where is the sum of the +8 coming from? +6 from misc. sources seems pretty hefty at 2nd level. Then again I'm AFB and forget all of the Slayers cookies.

Does that include the fact that Melee Training now only allows for 1/2 of the non-STR stat in bonus damage?

Yes, it does. And that's the brilliant bit.

Attack bonus breakdown: +5 Dex, +2 proficiency, +1 untyped (slayer bonus), +1 feat, +1 level, +1 enhancement, for a total of +11.

Damage breakdown: +2 one-half Dex modifier (Melee Training [Dex]), +5 Dex (Heroic Slayer class feature), +1 enhancement; total of +8.
 

Perun

Mushroom
IMO, I think it's good to see the Slayer out-perform the "base" fighter so much, because that really brings it up to par with other striker classes. Which the fighter should have been able to do from the get-go.

It seems you misunderstood. It's not that the slayer outdamages the base fighter, it's that a slayer "build" based on a single feat (Melee Training, which has been "nerfed" since its original appearance in PH2) outperforms the "standard" slayer.
 

FadedC

First Post
It's definitely an interesting idea. I think the fairest thing is to compare it to the 20 strength/14 dex slayer. The damage of the 20 strength slayer scales a little better, though the difference is marginal and doesn't come into play until paragon. He has fewer hp but he has an extra feat so I'd say the advantage is with him on that. But then his AC is 1 point lower as you say which is significant. So yeah I might say that the dex slayer is a little better. Though without the books in front of me, I'd wonder if tanking his strength would limit some of his feat choices too much. But maybe not. The dex slayer could also pull out a bow very effectively.

I suspect that many will play a str/dex race with the slayer though, either a current race of some alternate version of a race with the new rules. 20 strength/16 dex would definitely be superior in damage, though you could still make an argument for 20 dex giving enough utility to still be better.
 

S

Sunseeker

Guest
It seems you misunderstood. It's not that the slayer outdamages the base fighter, it's that a slayer "build" based on a single feat (Melee Training, which has been "nerfed" since its original appearance in PH2) outperforms the "standard" slayer.

Haven't we been aware that this "Melee training" feat makes any martial-using class perform much better? So this shouldn't be a surprise at all?
 

Mezzer

First Post
Since it's my character Perun is talking about, I might as well chime in on this. One detail he got wrong is the attack bonus, which is actually +9 on an MBA, since I'm not actually proficient with the Gouge.

You'd have to lose either Suprising Charge (which would give you that +11) or ditch Master at Arms (for a +10). That said, those are both really good feats, and it's debatable if it would be worth it to give them up.

Particularly Master at Arms, since my RBA with a longbow is +11 vs AC, d10+11, which is definitely better than what most slayers can put together. Couple it with Unfettered Fury if you want more damage, or Mobile Blade if you to move around, and you have a very well rounded melee and ranged toolkit, so to speak.
 

fanboy2000

Adventurer
Since it's my character Perun is talking about, I might as well chime in on this. One detail he got wrong is the attack bonus, which is actually +9 on an MBA, since I'm not actually proficient with the Gouge.
Out of curiosity, do you plan becoming proficient with the Gouge?

I gotta say, I think the essentials melee classes that have been released so far do a good of being compatible with Dark Sun.

Anyways, Melee Training has been discussed to death here when the essential fighter builds were first previewed. And the effect, even after the nerf, is amazing. While it bothers some people, now that I'm getting reports from actual play, it still doesn't bother me.
 

Pseudonym

Ivan Alias
I did pretty much the same with an elf slayer. Still only 1st level, but having fun so far. The bonus to going all-in on Dex is that your armor class in hide is better than scale, and you have full movement.
 

IMO, that's because the Fighter was never really designed for fighting. It was designed for defending with the ability to fight as a secondary. Even though just about every other class that could be a defender was better at it, fighters never(IMO) got enough offensive-oritented skills to compete with other damage dealers.

Compare the Slayer to any of the other melee striker classes, TWF rangers, avengers, rogues, barbarians ect... All of these classes do equitable damage, particularly when paired with a Brutal weapon. Not to mention all of them have AC buffing abilities, a lvl1 Avenger comes out with something like a 17-18 AC(assumingthey stack dex/int), and they don't even get scale.

IMO, I think it's good to see the Slayer out-perform the "base" fighter so much, because that really brings it up to par with other striker classes. Which the fighter should have been able to do from the get-go.

Huh?

The fighter is a defender, so why would it be unusual for a striker to do more damage than a defender? Not only that but you're dead wrong about the fighter being less capable as a damage dealer than other defenders, that's nonsense. The baseline PHB1 fighter is VERY close to striker level damage already, AND has the best defending mechanics in the game (well arguably the Knight may now be better, but the jury is still out on that). In any situation where the Fighter can draw mark punishment/OAs he will QUICKLY surpass pretty much any other class in damage output too, including Slayers, Bow Rangers, etc. Build a good punishing GWT fighter and grab fullblade, you're LETHAL and anyone who defies your mark is a fool. Of course you won't do the damage of a Slayer or a Bow Ranger BASELINE and you shouldn't.

I just can't really understand why anyone would think fighters should be doing striker level damage if they have defender mechanics. Slayer really isn't a good point of comparison with the fighter overall. They are built for different things.
 

Saeviomagy

Adventurer
First, you spend a feat getting this ability. It's effectively trading a feat for a flat damage bonus that's based on how you arrange your stats.

If that's more than 2, you're better off with melee training than another feat. If it's less, you could have taken something else to end up in the same place. If we built the same character with strength instead of dex as prime, we'd be able to take proficiency in gouge for instance, which would significantly increase his ability to hit things and in turn increase the amount of damage he deals.

It's certainly a good build, and it's cool that you can do it, but it's far from broken.
 

Mezzer

First Post
Out of curiosity, do you plan becoming proficient with the Gouge?
I'd say that's the most likely choice for 4th level, yea. It's obviously a huge boost, and it would allow me to use Unfettered Fury more often (at least, more comfortably).

It's certainly a good build, and it's cool that you can do it, but it's far from broken.
Yea, that's kind of what I thought of it; something cool I can do with the Slayer, that gives him a bit of variety and still allows him to perform well.
 

BobTheNob

First Post
The other thing to consider in all of this is that to really max out the dex hit, the player needed to start with a Stat of 20 (after racial). Assuming you are using point allocation (and not random rolling) that is a big sacrifice in its own, making this character (at a guess) High Dex, Moderate something else and completely naf the rest.

Its a "one dimensional whacking machine". It might have great numbers in combat, but where are his skills at? What about NAD's? What are his options for feat picks outside of Dex?

So it had to give up well rounded stats AND a feat pick to get to this point. Maybe the thing to do is consider that comparing characters is more than just comparing basic attacks. (Though I will concede...a slayer is a whacking machine)

It works, but I have been playing this game for a long time and I stopped playing one hit wonders a long time ago. For my tastes, I like well rounded characters.
 

Dice4Hire

First Post
It works, but I have been playing this game for a long time and I stopped playing one hit wonders a long time ago. For my tastes, I like well rounded characters.

I really agree. In my group, making all characters roll equallyfor skill challenges nuked a lot of this kind of stuff. When one or two guys could win skill challenges with good rolls while the others jsut stood back, there was less reason to generalize. Now, everyone tries to have some abilities with everything possible.

Whenever I see a 20 at first level, I just cringe.
 

Mezzer

First Post
Well, as a Slayer your skill choices are fairly limited as it is, so having a high Dex, along with an appropriate background, actually gives you access to a set of (potentially) more useful skills that you would have otherwise.
 

The Little Raven

First Post
You can start out with higher damage and widen the gap at higher levels by being a Str/Dex Slayer and picking Half-Orc. The Melee Training slayer isn't the best damage output if that's what you're interested it.
 

Perun

Mushroom
Since it's my character Perun is talking about, I might as well chime in on this. One detail he got wrong is the attack bonus, which is actually +9 on an MBA, since I'm not actually proficient with the Gouge.

Gah. I missed that bit, but (in my defence) only because I kind-of assumed the gladiator theme gave the free proficiency, when it's in fact the arena fighter build that does that.

You'd have to lose either Suprising Charge (which would give you that +11) or ditch Master at Arms (for a +10). That said, those are both really good feats, and it's debatable if it would be worth it to give them up.

I'd go with proficiency and Melee Training at level 1, and then take Master at Arms at 2nd level (which would mean a three-point jump in attack bonus in one level :D )
 

Lord Ernie

First Post
Check out the Charop boards if you wanna know if this is broken or not. In fact, there already is a Slayer optimization guide being made right here.

Short answer: single stat dependency is nice, but loses out in the long run, what with feats that depend on stats (in the gouge's case, there's Deadly Axe, either critical boost feat (Spear Mastery: Str 19, Dex 19; Axe Mastery: Str 21, Con 17), etc.

Further, a Half-Orc with 18's in Str and Dex can achieve the same thing, taking Weapon Proficiency(Gouge) at first and Master of Arms at 2nd level gets:
+4 str +2 prof +1 level + 1 enhancement +1 feat +1 slayer = +10 vs AC, and damage (no stances) is 2d6 (brutal 1) + 8.

What's more, while it costs him 2 more points at character creation, he will have a much better fortitude defense, and can actually qualify for those critical feats at higher levels.

Also, at heroic level, the 1/2 dex modifier does not really matter that much for damage output. Once the full stat modifier starts hitting +7/+8 ranges, however, he will start to fall behind.

Now, all of this might not be relevant to your campaign - in fact, if I was gonna play in a campaign that didn't go beyond heroic levels, I would probably go for single-stat focus too. But if you're at all planning to reach higher levels, it is decidedly not overpowered and even somewhat suboptimal.
 

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