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View Full Version : The Zhaffy Build: A Rogue Warchanter



skraus1
08-30-2007, 01:26 PM
This is basically a handbook to making a good two-handed fighting warchanter tank/rogue.

This style of build is a fun combination that can do a little of everything. However, it is first and foremost a melee fighter that can handle, if played well, being a main frontliner against everything, including the Abbott and in elite quests in the Vale.

This is a buffing, dps, saves and utility build, and is NOT made to ever cast a spell that requires a save.

There are two ways of doing this build
Dwarven Rogue 2/Barbarian 1-4/Bard 10-13
Feats:
WF: slashing
Toughness
IC: Slashing
Power Attack
Extend
Free (Insightful reflexes)

Or

Dwarven Rogue 2/Fighter 1-4/Bard 10-13
Feats
WF: Slashing
Toughness
IC: slashing
Power Attack
Extend
THF (or SF disable)
ITHF (or SF search)
GTHF (or insightful reflexes)
If going fighter 4: Weapon Spec or some other skill boost feat

I recommend going Rogue 2/Fighter 2/Bard 12 and taking the entire THF chain

The barbarian version is has 4-8 more hp, 4-8 more skill points, and with rage will be better against end bosses and hard battles, but a little less effective against normal mobs than the second build as you will not be able, like a normal barb, to have perma barb rage. The fighter variant has the flexibility to take skill focus feats if they are wanting to lessen their dps some and the strength enhancement of fighter 2 allows for a slightly higher standing strength. The Barb however has a bit better saves due to the freedom to take insightful reflexes and rage providing fort and will save bonuses (that stack with everything else).

32 pt Stats:
Str: 18
Dex: 8
Con 16
Wis: 8
Int 14
Cha 10

28 pt stats I would recommend
Str: 17 Or Str: 18
Dex: 8 Or Dex: 8
Con 15 Or Con 14
Wis: 8 Or Wis: 8
Int 14 Or Int 12
Cha 10 Or Cha 10

Dumping int for con or cha means you will be unable to keep your rogue skills up to par, so I don't recommend if you want to use your rogue skills. However, if you only want disable and search, you can drop as low as a 9 (+1tome at level 1) and still keep perform, disable, search and umd up to par. Remember that you only need enough perform to sing you highest level song, so perform does NOT need to be maxed out.

Your survivability is also based on your dps, so I would not drop your str lower than a 17

At level 16, your to hit with axes will enough to keep power attack on against most elite mobs.

Damage will be around 1d12+25, before power attack.

HP: 300-425 unbuffed depending on your item and con enhancements, but dwarven toughness is a must. Mine at level 16 is at about 387 unbuffed, and gets 403-435 with spell rage and barb rage going + whatever temp hitpoint you want

Saves at level 16:
As a Barb2/Rogue2/Bard12, with good equipment I got
Fort: around +25 depending on items and enhancements
Reflex: around +27 depending on items and enhancements
Will: around + 22 depending on items and enhancements
This is without the racial +2 bonus to saves or the dwarven spell resistance enhancements, which can provide up to +5 additional on saves. Saves are good enough to not get hit much, especially by spells but are not save pally great.

Spells: You will have on perma rage, haste, and displacement.
Your songs should provide +7 to hit and +6 damage, and, for end battles, 5dr- to the entire party. This is better than a non-warchanter bard 16.

Rogue skills, with +2 boost, focusing chant, +6 int item, the +1 enhancements, +13-15 skill items and dwarven racial bonuses, your search and disable skills will be enough to for all but a few traps in the game. I can image a variant going fighter 2-4 thats takes 2-3 rogue skill boost feats, instead of dps feats, to get their bonuses even higher.

Ditching AC completely, this build can focus on saves and dps totally with their items, so my bard is wearing: +6 int goggles, backstabber/rabbit gloves, +5 wisdom ring, +6 con neck, greater false life belt, fearsome of axeblock, +6 str bracers, popx/ karadins eye, Minos legion helm.

Advantages:
Good saves, good dps, good songs, evasion, decent hp, self-healing, self-buffing, perma displacement, respectable rogue skills, and a respectable umd.

This is one of the closest builds I've seen to a true bard tank, which is how I play mine.

Downsides:
Relying completely on dps and displacement gives you more protection that most thfing builds, however you have NO ac, so any putzy mob will hit you half the time. You will also, especially fighter variants with the THFing feats, being drawing a lot of aggro. Also, anything with true seeing will eat you alive, so this is NOT a pvp build. This effect gives you a strange damage profile, where you take more damage than a normal fighter from an easy fight and take the same or less damage from a hard fight. However, evasion + good saves this build eats mob casters and bosses alive, with very little damage taken in the process. Also it's good against beholders, especially the barb variant.

You also will not get displacement until levels 9-13 depending on your build, so early on you will need to rely on you substantial dps and buffing the party as a whole with your impressive songs.

You also won't have a lot of mana, my 12 bard version with a 14 cha (10 starting) and a popx only has 465 sp, which can make it hard to keep your buffs up as extended displacements or haste cost 30sp each. I.e., you only can cast around 14 spells between shrines, so you need to make them count. So if people ask you to do things like blur the party, make sure to tell them, sure thing...if you get the hastes.

Also, your spell DCs will SUCK, so only take buffing spells. Use scrolls to cast CC spells, if you need or want to, because you're cha will suck so bad nothing will fail a save except on a 1 anyway.

You also have no room for spot unless you make some serious sacrifices.

skraus1
10-04-2007, 01:58 PM
How to level a Rogue/warchanter

Rule 1: Start as a rogue- you need the skill points.
Rule 2: You need displacement ASAP, so you need bard 7 ASAP
Rule 3: If going as a fighter, remember to take a fighter level that gives a feat after you have BAB 6 or 8 so you can get ITHF and improved critical in a timely fashion.
Rule 4: Space out your rogue levels so you can get maximum use out of your rogue class skills

A Dwarven Rogue 2/Fighter 2/Bard 12 THFing build might be leveled as:

1 Rogue 1- Toughness
2 Fighter1- Weapon focus
3 Bard 1- Extend
4 Bard 2
5 Bard 3
6 Bard 4- Power Attack
7 Bard 5
8 Bard 6- (gets warchanter enhancement)
9 Bard 7- THF (get displacement and 2nd attack)
10 Rogue 2- (evasion)
11 Fighter1- Improved crit
12 Bard 8- ITHF (improved song)
13 Bard 9
14 Bard 10 (gets 3rd attack)
15 Bard 11- GTHF
16 Bard 12

This should lead to a good playable character at most levels, though level 6-8 aren't the best for this build, which gets a large advancement in power between levels 9 to 12 and continues to grow in power all the way to level cap.

Of course, the 10-12 level progression can be moved around a little but I generally prefer evasion first, then improved crit, then song enhancements.

One other debatable feat choice is taking extend at level 3. As you're a primarily melee character, focusing chant is a pretty good buff at low levels, and extend allows you to keep it up longer. Extended rage and blur at Bard 4 is also nice to have.

jkm
10-04-2007, 08:09 PM
i've been working slowly on a human version of this 2R/2 barb/10 bard (currently 5th level). you can get rogue skills if you sacrifice the 18 str for 16 but since so few people actually wait for you to rogue, i just decided to skip them for balance, umd, and other general skills. since that only left backstab and evasion as my reasons for taking the rogue levels, i tried to get my reflex save as high as possible.

starting stats were 18/13/14/8/8/13

feats were Toughness, Power Attack, WF:Slash, Extend, Lightning Reflexes , IC:Slash

saves should be 25/29/23 raging [GH, R4, L2] (assuming i find a spot for a wisdom item) with the ability to HV boost up into the 30's :rolleyes: .

skraus1
12-19-2007, 12:33 PM
I have been playing around with this build versus the Abott for some time and it does very well beating him down and living to tell the tale, same for the dragon on elite. Then again, evasion, saves and hp are really highlighted in those raids.

A_Sheep
12-19-2007, 12:43 PM
I tell you, I really love this. Any bard who can replace a 'normal' party roll is worth a ton to a party.

I just can't bring myself to roll one. I have lain awak many nights thinking about a high-HP evasion bard, but I always have to sacrifice something that I want to get it. I know that's how it goes, but I haven't been able to bring myself to build when I already have Taal. If the 5th attack animation stays the way it is, I'll probably be adding evasion to Taalisyn to try to avoid BAB +15!

lostinjapan
12-19-2007, 05:43 PM
I've run with Zhaffy a bunch (we are in the same guild...just a very large guild) and I can tell you his build is an impressive one. Very few builds will get that sort of comment from me.

skraus1
01-30-2008, 12:40 PM
Well, if anyone is wondering what I did with my level 15 feat, as Zhaffy has a higher int (by 6 points) than dex I decided insightful reflexes would be useful as it frees an inventory slot and gives me a +3 to 6 bonus to reflex saves. With evasion this should really rock

I was torn between that and mental toughness because of the spellpoint shortage and because none of the other combat feats seemed feasible.

If I was building zhaffy today though I would go fighter 2/rogue 2/bard 12 and take the thf chain all the way up.

I've got Zhaffy flagged for the new raid, and I've had to tank most of the quests in the Vale and this build held up great. No complaints.

A_Sheep
02-01-2008, 08:48 AM
Well, if anyone is wondering what I did with my level 15 feat, as Zhaffy has a higher int (by 6 points) than dex I decided insightful reflexes would be useful as it frees an inventory slot and gives me a +3 to 6 bonus to reflex saves. With evasion this should really rock

I was torn between that and mental toughness because of the spellpoint shortage and because none of the other combat feats seemed feasible.

If I was building zhaffy today though I would go fighter 2/rogue 2/bard 12 and take the thf chain all the way up.

Sounds like a decent choice to me. In the long run (next cap), you may still prefer the barbarian speed advantage over the bonus feats. *shrug*

skraus1
02-06-2008, 01:50 AM
Well, I am pleased to annouce that I've done almost everything in the vale on elite with Zhaffy and truely love this build. It holds up very well and is very survivable. I currently have 387 base hp, with 403 as I normally fight and 435 with rage so Zhaffy can really take a beating. With rage I can hit a 36 str, so I can give quite a beating as well. I also find myself main tanking from time to time, which this build can do in the vale, even on elite.

Of course, other non-bard builds are better tanks, but this build can satisfy the role because it has the hp, gets hit just about as much as most of the fighters using towers, and has good saves and evasion.

skraus1
02-12-2008, 01:12 PM
Added leveling instructions (posted above) in response to questions

karnalsyn
02-13-2008, 01:10 PM
I'm just getting into this game still, only about 2 weeks old. So abbreviations like BAB, I'm not sure what those even mean yet heh.


But anyway, One of you opening statements claim the following:
"This is a buffing, dps, saves and utility build"

Buffing I can see, dps I can see, and utility I can see. But saves has left me scratching my head.

Dex: 8
Wis: 8

2 of your 3 save roll ability scores down the tubes. Please clarify to me how this build becomes a 'saves' build? Cause this really had me at a loss.

Just trying to understand is all, I'm hoping to make my next character some variant bard and it's builds like these that I enjoy reading and trying to understand their potential.

skraus1
02-13-2008, 06:29 PM
But saves has left me scratching my head.

Dex: 8
Wis: 8

2 of your 3 save roll ability scores down the tubes. Please clarify to me how this build becomes a 'saves' build? Cause this really had me at a loss.

Np, I really didn't expect it to happen until I realized I was time and again the only non-pally not bowing to the enemy clerics and not taking damage against the mages.

1) Reflex and will are a bard's primary saves, and 2 rogue levels give an additional +3 to reflex saves along with evasion.
2) Will saves are almost always spells, so they benefit from the dwarven +5 saves bonus versus spells
3) A bard's weakest saves are typically fort saves, which is countered by being a 26 con dwarf fighter or barb multiclass

The Barbarian version, which is what my Zhaffy is:
4) Uses Int (via the feat insightful reflexes) instead of dex for reflex saves, so reflex is my highest save.
5) Rage provides an additional +2 to will and fort saves.

Basically this means that, with my equipment, my reflex and hp are high enough to survive most of the bad traps on elite.
I really don't worry about spells because my +5 dwarven spell save bonus kicks in and all my saves are approaching or surpass 30 via spells.

This build has as good or better saves than most other builds short of paladin builds, which bards cannot take because of alignment restrictions. For example, dex based pure rangers and rogues will probably have a bit higher reflex than my Zhaffy, but will probably have worse fort and/or will saves.

Bards tend to have decent saves though, which this build capitalizes on.

You could make a true max saves dwarf build by incorporating both insightful reflexes and the cha to will save feat, but that would require a better cha (and less dps) than the Zhaffy build.

Obitus
02-13-2008, 06:45 PM
I'm just getting into this game still, only about 2 weeks old. So abbreviations like BAB, I'm not sure what those even mean yet heh.

Base Attack Bonus. :)



Buffing I can see, dps I can see, and utility I can see. But saves has left me scratching my head.

Dex: 8
Wis: 8

2 of your 3 save roll ability scores down the tubes. Please clarify to me how this build becomes a 'saves' build? Cause this really had me at a loss.

Well, DDO is largely about equipment. In theory, you could have as much as +7 in saves bonuses from equipment alone (+5 resistance boots and a +2 luck item), and that's without taking +stat item bonuses into account. Additionally, any Dwarf starts with a +2 bonus to all saves against spells, and can use enhancements to boost that bonus to +5.

Bards also have high base Will and Reflex saves, whereas a lot of classes (Fighters, Paladins, Barbarians, Rogues, Sorcerers, Wizards) only have high base scores in one save. In other words, just by rolling a Bard (or a Ranger, or a Cleric), you're a little ahead of the game, relatively speaking. And since Zhaffy takes Barb or Fighter levels, he gets a small boost to the Bard's one weak save (Fortitude).

If we're discussing the Barbarian-splash variant of Zhaffy's build, then we also must consider that Rage gives bonuses to Will and Fortitude, albeit temporarily. The Bard spell of the same name does likewise.

Finally, a Bard has very easy access to Greater Heroism; Zhaffy can't actually cast the spell, but he gets a big discount on his required UMD score to use GH scrolls because he has 12 levels in Bard.

All of that said, I wouldn't necessarily call Zhaffy a particularly high-save build, either; I think one of the strongest parts of this build is that it can achieve very good saves (and a good Reflex is especially potent when coupled with Evasion) without making any appreciable concessions. You likely won't be impressed by the build's saves early on, but if you hang around long enough, they almost fall into your lap.

skraus1
02-13-2008, 07:22 PM
All of that said, I wouldn't necessarily call Zhaffy a particularly high-save build, either; I think one of the strongest parts of this build is that it can achieve very good saves (and a good Reflex is especially potent when coupled with Evasion) without making any appreciable concessions. You likely won't be impressed by the build's saves early on, but if you hang around long enough, they almost fall into your lap.

Exactly, Zhaffy is not an uber save build, which typically rely on getting paladin save bonuses and cha to all 3 saves in addition to the normal wis, dex, and con. However, Zhaffy has good enough saves to rarely take damage from AOE damage spells, and to resist a very large amount of the other required fort, reflex and will saves. Thus Zhaffy is a respectable save build, without really having to work much at being a save build, other than investing in items that give good save bonuses.

Zhaffy is not the best at anything: DPS, buffing, hp, rogue skills, or saves. It's the combination of being respectable at everything that makes the build a good one.

skraus1
03-03-2008, 02:43 AM
Finally got off my sorc and ran Zhaffy through the Shroud on normal. It was a ton of fun and Zhaffy did well. I really enjoyed lighting up the pit fiend in melee doing around 60 points of a damage each and every swing. Bards with 200 hp really should plan on taking a bow or using heal scrolls on themselves during melee because he cleaves and will hit anyone around him even if they don't get aggro. The group also really appreciated my songs, so it was good all around.

Did it again tonight, but I didn't get the kill this time :( Still did well though