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  1. #1
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    Default The Illusory Lyricist

    When Ravenloft came out, I started tinkering with various Bard builds. Below is what ended up being my favorite of them: an Int-based Deep Gnome Illusionist build that combines decent defenses (Evasion, Stalwart Defensive stance, Displacement, 25% Incorporeality) with decent offense (Vistani SWF) and solid control (Color Spray, Phantasmal Killer, Otto's Irresistible Dance) with retaining trapping skills. With the improvement to Shadowdancer melee power in cores, it becomes even stronger.

    The "new player rating" for this build is "not likely". It absolutely requires one of two non-base races (Gnome or Deep Gnome). It is significantly weakened by the absence of two non-base trees (Vistani Knife Fighter and Harper). While not strictly necessary, I do use tomes to permit taking Precision with an otherwise disqualifying Dexterity. It requires Charisma gear to even cast the Bard spells. On the plus side, it can be done fairly easily with a 28-pt. build since it only really uses three stats (Intelligence, Constitution, Wisdom).

    For past lives, none are essential. Both Drow and Gnome racial past lives provide +Intelligence and any number of racial AP can be easily spent in effective ways - this is a build so short on AP that it doesn't go to T4 in any tree. Deep Gnome past lives provide up to +3 Illusion DC. The build, as written, presumes epic completionist (for the fifth twist), but it can easily be skipped. Heroic past lives can be useful, but none of them do more than slightly increase melee damage/defense.

    Gearing can be done mostly from Ravenloft with a few stray oddities (Paramnesial Lenses/Pansophic Circlet, Deep Demise can all come in handy). However, balancing out the many different features required (offensive DC casting, defensive stats and melee) generally requires Slavelord's Crafting at the very least. In most cases, DC casting should have priority - you have to land the Color Spray, you want to do 5% more damage with your gear choices. In theory, Cutting Jibes could make Color Spray even more likely to land, but it's tricky to use.

    Most of the basic concepts should be familiar:
    1. Color Spray/Phantasmal Killer. Color Spray is arguably the best CC in the game - not subject to SR, costs 2 SP (with free metamagic), 8 sec cooldown, AE Stun/Blind/Silence. Phantasmal Killer isn't a particularly strong instant kill - it is subject to Spell Resistance (this build ignores Spell Penetration, so it's not useful against SR enemies) and requires two saves based on two of the most common immunity categories (Mind-Affecting, Fear). However, being able to instantly render a room of enemies helpless is incredibly useful and this build can cast it at level 6 with +4 DC from Spellsinger.

    2. Shield Mastery + SWF Swashbuckling + Stalwart Defensive Stance. These synergize nicely into an offensive/defensive package - so much so that they're a nearly universal feature of modern Bard builds.

    3. Vistani Knife Fighter (Fan of Knives). At higher levels, Fan of Knives will often do as much damage once every 15 seconds as you would Cleave/Great Cleave for that entire duration. The basic SWF dagger abilities are also incredibly strong compared to other options. Note: If you're constantly running into situations where you need to switch to throwing daggers (oozes, annoyingly unreachable enemies, bosses that you can't close to melee with), Harper Strategic Combat II becomes a better choice than Two Steps Ahead.

    4. Charisma-less Fascinate. Using Fascinate on enemies normally subject to mind-affecting spells requires heavy investment in Charisma. However, the Spellsinger core extensions generally don't because (oozes, undead, constructs, vermin) have such abysmal Will saves that they can't beat your Perform DC anyway. The build could be done by only investing in Intelligence, Constitution and Wisdom. However, I choose to favor Charisma (a little bit) for the possibility of using Suggestion - the spell is unworkable without a heavy focus into Charisma, but the song is still a possibility.

    The below is primarily a solo build. For a group build, scaling back the offense (dropping to as low as 3 in VKF for Rapid Slash) and scaling up the CC/Support (20+ in Spellsinger for Sustaining Song/Arcane Might/Song of the Makers) probably makes more sense - your friend the Monk is far better at chewing through crowds of enemies than you are, so your values lies more in your ability to stop them in their tracks than being able to personally kill them as fast as possible.

    The level of Rogue can also easily be a level of Ranger. With a single AP in DWS, you get the die of Sneak Attack back, you gain access to the Heal skill (and some positive spellpower from that point in DWS), you gain another Favored Enemy (in theory, between VKF, Deep Gnome and Harper, you could have 4 Favored Enemies with a single level of Ranger; in practice it's more of a "gee, that's nice" bonus) and you gain +1 BAB. However, this would eliminate the trap skills.

    Twists can be rearranged as desired. Legendary Shield Mastery is almost always going to be a choice. However, an option such as replacing Reign with Sense Weakness is entirely reasonable. The Shadowdancer tree has little to recommend it beyond the cores and a few stray abilities at the top. A more trap-centric build would probably take Technician + Skill Mastery rather than the physical skills.

    The heroic feats are largely set-in-stone. The Epic feats are a bit more flexible, depending on need. Scion of the Feywild and Scion of Air are roughly similar in terms of their value - there's no "Scion of Illusion" (at least not one that increases Illusion DC) and the build has no non-Illusion DC-based spellcasting.

    Code:
    Illusory Lyricist
    16/3/1 Bard/Fighter/Rogue
    True Neutral Deep Gnome
    
    
    Level Order
    
    1. Rogue . . . . . 6. Bard. . . . . .11. Fighter. . . . 16. Bard
    2. Bard . . . . . .7. Bard . . . . . 12. Bard . . . . . 17. Bard
    3. Bard . . . . . .8. Bard . . . . . 13. Bard . . . . . 18. Bard
    4. Bard . . . . . .9. Fighter . . . .14. Bard. . . . . .19. Bard
    5. Bard . . . . . 10. Bard . . . . . 15. Fighter . . . .20. Bard
    
    
    Stats
    . . . . . . . .28pt . . 32pt. . .34pt . . 36pt. . .Tome. . .Level Up
    . . . . . . . .---- . . ----. . .---- . . ----. . .---- . . --------
    Strength. . . . .6. . . . 6 . . . .6. . . . 6 . . . +7 . . . 4: INT
    Dexterity . . . .8. . . . 8 . . . .8. . . . 8 . . . +7 . . . 8: INT
    Constitution. . 14. . . .16 . . . 16. . . .16 . . . +7 . . .12: INT
    Intelligence. . 20. . . .20 . . . 20. . . .20 . . . +7 . . .16: INT
    Wisdom. . . . . 16. . . .16 . . . 17. . . .18 . . . +7 . . .20: INT
    Charisma. . . . .6. . . . 6 . . . .6. . . . 6 . . . +7 . . .24: INT
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28: INT
    
    Skills
    . . . . . R .B .B .B .B .B .B .B .F. B. F .B .B .B .F. B. B. B. B. B
    . . . . . 1 .2 .3 .4 .5 .6 .7 .8 .9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
    . . . . .------------------------------------------------------------
    Perform . . .5 .1 .1 .1 .1 .1 .1 . . 2. . .2 .1 .1 . . 2. 1. 1. 1. 1. 23
    Spellcr . . .4 .2 .1 .1 .1 .1 .1 . . 2. . .2 .1 .1 . . 2. 1. 1. 1. 1. 23
    Disable . 4 . . 1. 2. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1 .1 .1. 1. 1. 1. 1 .1 .1 .1 .1 .1 .23
    Open Lo . 4 . . . .1 .2½ 1½ 1 .1 .1. 1. 1 .1 .1 .1 .1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 23
    Search. . 4 . . 2. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1 .1 .1. 1. 1. 1. 1 .1 .1 .1 .1 .1 .23
    UMD . . . 4 .1 .1 .1 .1 .1 .1 .1 . . 2. . .2 .1 .1 . . 2. 1. 1. 1. 1. 23
    Balance . 4 .1 .1 .1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
    Jump. . . 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
    Swim. . . 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
    Tumble. . 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
    . . . . .------------------------------------------------------------
    . . . . .32 11 11 12 12 10. 9. 9. 6 12. 6 12. 9. 9. 6 12. 9. 9. 9. 9
    . . . . .52 11 11 12 12 12 12 13. 9 13. 9 14 14 14 10 15 15 15 15 16
    
    
    Feats
    
    .1. . . . : Single Weapon Fighting
    .3. . . . : Insightful Reflexes
    .6. . . . : Shield Mastery
    .9. . . . : Quicken Spell
    .9 Fighter: Improved Single Weapon Fighting
    11 Fighter: Improved Critical: Piercing
    12. . . . : Improved Shield Mastery
    15. . . . : Greater Single Weapon Fighting
    18. . . . : Heighten Spell
    21 Epic . : Spell Focus: Illusion
    24 Epic . : Inspire Excellence
    26 Destiny: Perfect Single Weapon Fighting
    27 Epic . : Embolden Spell
    28 Destiny: Perfect Two Weapon Fighting
    29 Destiny: Dire Charge
    30 Epic . : Precision
    30 Legend : Scion of: Feywild
    
    
    Spells
    
    Bard
    1. Expeditious Retreat, Detect Secret Doors, Focusing Chant, Feather Fall, Grease
    2. Blur, Invisibility, Hypnotic Pattern, Rage
    3. Haste, Displacement, Cure Serious Wounds, Remove Curse
    4. Dimension Door, Freedom of Movement, Neutralize Poison, Cure Critical Wounds
    5. Greater Heroism, Shadow Walk, Mass Cure Light Wounds, Greater Dispel Magic
    6. Otto's Irresistible Dance, Heroes' Feast
    Enhancements (80 AP) Deep Gnome (16 AP)
    • Wariness, Intelligence, Wariness II, Intelligence, Retain Scroll Essence
      1. (none)
      2. Color Spray III
      3. Nimble Reaction II, Illusion Focus III
      4. Phantasmal Killer I
    Swashbuckler (15 AP)
    • Confidence, Swashbuckling, Uncanny Dodge
      1. On Your Toes III, Limber Up I
      2. En Pointe III, Fast Movement
      3. Skirmisher, Two Steps Ahead
    Vistani Knife Fighter (14 AP)
    • Knife Expertise, Knife Juggler, Knife Specialist
      1. Vistani Knife Training, Undead Hunter, Rapid Attack
      2. Bleeding Cuts, Haste Boost
      3. Fan of Knives
    Spellsinger (13 AP)
    • Spellsinger, Music of the Sewers, Music of the Dead
      1. Studies: Magical III, Lingering Songs III
      2. Marigold Crown: Blue
      3. Spell Song Trance
    Stalwart Defender (13 AP)
    • Toughness, Stalwart Defense
      1. Durable Defense III, Stalwart Defensive Mastery II
      2. Resilient Defense III
      3. Tenacious Defense III
    Harper Agent (8 AP)
    • Agent of Good I
      1. Harper Enchantment, Strategic Combat
      2. Know the Angles III
    Warchanter (1 AP)
    • Skaldic: Constitution
    Destiny (24 AP) Shadowdancer
    1. Acrobatic II, Intelligence
    2. Lithe II, Intelligence
    3. Shrouding Strike I, Grim Precision III, Intelligence
    4. Improved Invisibility I, Intelligence
    5. Untouchable, Sealed Soul, Intelligence
    6. Shadow Form
    Twists of Fate (28 fate points)
    1. Reign (Tier 3 Fatesinger)
    2. School Specialist: Illusion (Tier 2 Magister)
    3. Unearthly Reactions (Tier 1 Magister)
    4. Legendary Shield Mastery (Tier 2 Sentinel)
    5. Draconic Presence (Tier 1 Draconic)

  2. #2
    Community Member Thoden's Avatar
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    Default Looks cool

    I like the looks of this. Would you (and how might you) tweak the build if they ever fix the VKF+SWF+Skirmisher bug (T4 Single Dagger MP bonus only working with nothing or runearm in the offhand)?
    Balladeer Blackcloud (don't step on my Blue Slaad shoes!), Phantom Company (now you see us, now you don't).
    My Alts on Sarlona include Archi Medes, Pythagoras (Knows the Angles!), Techmech, Deepshade, and Doctrine.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoden View Post
    I like the looks of this. Would you (and how might you) tweak the build if they ever fix the VKF+SWF+Skirmisher bug (T4 Single Dagger MP bonus only working with nothing or runearm in the offhand)?
    Currently, I don't generally run that deep into the tree. With the potential for both Celerity and Single Dagger, it becomes far more tempting.

    Obviously, if you've got 12 racial AP, you can simply take those abilities (and other nice features - there's plenty of nice stuff only a few AP away).

    Assuming you don't have 12 racial AP, I'd argue you end up in a DC vs. damage balancing game. In my mind, DC is more important - the benefit of being able to render enemies helpless/blinded reliably is far more important than improving damage by a small amount. However, if you're running in a scenario where you're confident in your DC, you can easily sacrifice AP from Spellsinger. Just pop back to town and re-arrange your AP from damage to DC as needed.

    Skaldic Constitution can also be easily re-allocated - +1 Constitution for 1 AP is nice, but it can be easily sacrificed without really affecting the build.

    Losing Phantasmal Killer and Nimble Reactions from Deep Gnome is also a possibility. While I like having Phantasmal Killer, it's somewhat narrowly useful.

    Potentially 2 points can be lost from Swashbuckler - one point from T2 (most like running En Pointe II rather than En Pointe III) and one point from Uncanny Dodge (although this is questionable since that 1 point provides a strong set of bonuses itself).

  4. #4
    Community Member DarkSable's Avatar
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    Heya!

    This is pretty similar to a build that I've been working on, only I've approached it from a different direction. For a long time, my main has been a 15 paladin, 5 monk, which focused around getting 100% doublestrike while SWF with a longsword. Using Perfect SWF, a lot of on-vorpal effects, and twisting Reign, the build was actually pretty impressive. However, it had an issue: Reign only resets its charges on rest if you have songs naturally - in other words, have levels of bard. That meant that I had 19 charges, and would have to run to the fatesinger every single time I ran out.

    So... with the changes to the EDs, and the introduction of Vistani, I was very excited to see that I could achieve 100% doublestrike as a bard, so that I wouldn't have to keep running back to that darn fatesinger.

    Like you, I chose to eschew tier 5 abilities, but I also decided to avoid fighter levels; it was simply too heavy of an investment to invest in using a buckler, and I felt that the doublestrike I could pick up from swashbuckler by using SWF open-handed, combined with the melee power from Vistani, would make up for the loss.

    I would recommend at least investigating a Gnome 17 Bard / 2 Rogue / 1 Barbarian in Shadowdancer. (You could drop the barbarian and one rogue level, but since your AP are spread out so thin, there's no reason to.)

    The build uses INT to attack and for KtA, but CHA to damage from swashbuckler. It picks up Celerity and Single Dagger from Vistani, Frozen Fury and Reckless Chant from Warchanter, and just barely goes up to Slap in the Face from swashbuckler... leaving you with color spray and two of the best single-target CC abilities in the game. It also can pick up Insightful Reflexes and Force of Personality, so it's entirely based on CHA / CON / INT. I think the biggest difference from your current build is that I ignore spellsinger except to pick up Lingering Songs, since I have enough CHA to have a useful fascinate.

    This is some good stuff, though - I suspect with a little hammering out, this build can become just as viable as the Icebreaker.

    Edit: Also, if nothing else, get Elegant Footwork from Swashbuckler. With displacement, Shadow Form, and a high dodge, it makes up for the comparative lack of AoE by letting you focus on keeping the high priority threats CCed while the trash isn't threatening you.
    Last edited by DarkSable; 04-20-2018 at 08:04 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkSable View Post
    Like you, I chose to eschew tier 5 abilities, but I also decided to avoid fighter levels; it was simply too heavy of an investment to invest in using a buckler, and I felt that the doublestrike I could pick up from swashbuckler by using SWF open-handed, combined with the melee power from Vistani, would make up for the loss.
    Losing the buckler means:
    -15% doublestrike
    -20% hit points
    -65 PRR
    -45 MRR
    -Guardbreaking
    -20% Dodge

    Going with SWF, I'd gain back:
    +10% Doublestrike
    +6 attack damage

    Single Dagger only works with rune-arms (unless they've fixed it, in which case it probably works the same with either style).

    The build uses INT to attack and for KtA, but CHA to damage from swashbuckler. It picks up Celerity and Single Dagger from Vistani, Frozen Fury and Reckless Chant from Warchanter, and just barely goes up to Slap in the Face from swashbuckler... leaving you with color spray and two of the best single-target CC abilities in the game. It also can pick up Insightful Reflexes and Force of Personality, so it's entirely based on CHA / CON / INT. I think the biggest difference from your current build is that I ignore spellsinger except to pick up Lingering Songs, since I have enough CHA to have a useful fascinate.
    I can't realistically run two different DC stats and be good at both of them.

    Given the choice, Color Spray is the generally stronger option. Slap in the Face is almost directly inferior to Color Spray (shorter duration, longer cooldown, only affects one target). Frozen Fury does provide for rendering almost any non-Red/Purple corporeal enemy helpless, but it's easier to save against, requires melee range and only affects a single target.

    Fascinate isn't a major issue in my mind. The DC for Fascinate and Color Spray is roughly equivalent (Fascinate is more random, but easier to gear for), but Color Spray casts instantly while Fascinate takes 5 secs and Fascinate breaks on damage rather than rendering enemies helpless/blinded. About the only enemies I'd really consider Fascinating are the ones provided by Spellsinger cores/Spider Queen - and those enemies generally have atrocious Will saves (because they're not normally subject to Will saves). In any case, even against those enemies, blind works about as well as Fascinate - Blinded enemies tend to wander aimlessly and it's easy enough to avoid them.

    Against targets with some sort of truly outrageous Will save, I can always use OID (as long as they don't have Spell Resistance). However, I can't think of any examples off-hand.

    The big issue is the lack of Suggestion for Reaper.

    Edit: Also, if nothing else, get Elegant Footwork from Swashbuckler. With displacement, Shadow Form, and a high dodge, it makes up for the comparative lack of AoE by letting you focus on keeping the high priority threats CCed while the trash isn't threatening you.
    Fan of Knives is actually quite effective burst AE in epic levels, especially coupled with being able to reliably render the entire room helpless. The major obstacle is the cooldown - however, Bards don't exactly have good AE options and Fan of Knives is one the best options they do have.

    I skipped Elegant Footwork because it just wasn't very useful. I'd need to find single, tough enemies that weren't subject to Color Spray/PK but were subject to Trip while also being too tough to tank. This is an extraordinarily narrow set of opponents and I can simply use Fan of Knives/Throwing Daggers to kite them easily enough - it's slow, but it gets the job done.

  6. #6
    Community Member DarkSable's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hjarki View Post
    Losing the buckler means:
    -15% doublestrike
    -20% hit points
    -65 PRR
    -45 MRR
    -Guardbreaking
    -20% Dodge

    Going with SWF, I'd gain back:
    +10% Doublestrike
    +6 attack damage

    Single Dagger only works with rune-arms (unless they've fixed it, in which case it probably works the same with either style).
    ...where are you getting that information from? Single Dagger works only when you have nothing in your off hand - at which point, it works just fine.

    The only thing that I can find about Single Dagger and Rune Arms is a single, unverified post on the thread talking about how it only works with an empty off-hand:
    Quote Originally Posted by Dunklerlindwurm View Post
    I used the Single Dagger enhancement together with a rune-arm and I remember it working correctly. This was well over a month ago.
    As for the rest of it, give me a break; you're completely discounting all the AP that you can spend elsewhere by not investing in stalwart defender. You can't compare an entire tree, a twist, and three feats with one ability.

    You're right. By not investing in fighter, you lose 15% doublestrike and the defensive benefits - +20% HP being the biggest among them. (Though for the life of me, I can't figure out where the extra 10% dodge is coming from - Skirmisher only gives 10%.) You also don't pick up evasion, which I'd argue at least offsets the loss of MRR.

    In return for that, you're gaining +20 melee power, +6 to your attacks, 10% doublestrike from swashbuckler, 5% from Celerity, 6% from Reckless Chant, a small handful of PRR/MRR, and two stuns.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hjarki View Post
    I can't realistically run two different DC stats and be good at both of them.

    Given the choice, Color Spray is the generally stronger option. Slap in the Face is almost directly inferior to Color Spray (shorter duration, longer cooldown, only affects one target). Frozen Fury does provide for rendering almost any non-Red/Purple corporeal enemy helpless, but it's easier to save against, requires melee range and only affects a single target.
    But here's the thing, they aren't both casting DC stats. If you had to put the same amount of investment into the DCs for the melee CC as you did for color spray? Yeah, that would be untenable.

    But you don't. You're already taking Know the Angles - which is a HUGE bonus to both The Frozen Fury and Slap in the Face. Then you have stunning items; that's another 15-22 DC relatively easily. Slap in the Face has a DC based off of perform, (in fact, the same as fascinate, but way easier to boost), so that's almost a given. The Frozen Fury requires a little bit more investment, yes, but it can stunlock reapers. That alone makes it worth having alongside Color Spray.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hjarki View Post
    Fan of Knives is actually quite effective burst AE in epic levels, especially coupled with being able to reliably render the entire room helpless. The major obstacle is the cooldown - however, Bards don't exactly have good AE options and Fan of Knives is one the best options they do have.

    I skipped Elegant Footwork because it just wasn't very useful. I'd need to find single, tough enemies that weren't subject to Color Spray/PK but were subject to Trip while also being too tough to tank. This is an extraordinarily narrow set of opponents and I can simply use Fan of Knives/Throwing Daggers to kite them easily enough - it's slow, but it gets the job done.
    Fan of Knives is awesome. Nobody is going to debate that. It's one of the biggest things that makes these builds appealing. It's still, as you said, not the same sort of AoE that other builds have available. So, the question becomes what you do in-between FoK.

    I think this is where our build philosophy divides. I've done the kiting thing with throwing weapons - I had a CC focused shuriken thrower - and while it can be fun, and certainly doesn't take much damage, I personally find it slow and not terribly interesting. I'd rather run into combat, ignore the trash, and keep the big threats locked down. The combination of color spray as an opener, plus elegant footwork and a less-than-.30% chance for a mob to even roll an attack and not be knocked down does fine for me.

    Anyways, I'm certainly willing to bet that both builds are plenty effective. I likely edge out DPS on reapers and challengers, while you can stand toe-to-toe with red names more effectively.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by DarkSable; 04-21-2018 at 02:15 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkSable View Post
    ...where are you getting that information from? Single Dagger works only when you have nothing in your off hand - at which point, it works just fine.
    I haven't tried it since U38, but prior to u38 Single Dagger wasn't working with anything except rune-arms (I didn't actually try it with Rune-arms - but I know it wasn't working with empty off-hand, shield or orb).

    As for the rest of it, give me a break; you're completely discounting all the AP that you can spend elsewhere by not investing in stalwart defender. You can't compare an entire tree, a twist, and three feats with one ability.

    You're right. By not investing in fighter, you lose 15% doublestrike and the defensive benefits - +20% HP being the biggest among them. (Though for the life of me, I can't figure out where the extra 10% dodge is coming from - Skirmisher only gives 10%.) You also don't pick up evasion, which I'd argue at least offsets the loss of MRR.
    The extra dodge is from Kobold Admiral's Tiller. Shadowdancer provides Evasion, which is why there's only one level of Rogue.

    In return for that, you're gaining +20 melee power, +6 to your attacks, 10% doublestrike from swashbuckler, 5% from Celerity, 6% from Reckless Chant, a small handful of PRR/MRR, and two stuns.
    One of those two stuns (Slap in the Face) is weak (3 sec on 12 sec cooldown). The other is nice, but somewhat unnecessary because you've already got the ability to stun/blind the entire room on roughly the same cooldown. You're also comparing a 13 point AP investment to an investment of 40+ AP.

    But you don't. You're already taking Know the Angles - which is a HUGE bonus to both The Frozen Fury and Slap in the Face. Then you have stunning items; that's another 15-22 DC relatively easily. Slap in the Face has a DC based off of perform, (in fact, the same as fascinate, but way easier to boost), so that's almost a given. The Frozen Fury requires a little bit more investment, yes, but it can stunlock reapers. That alone makes it worth having alongside Color Spray.
    Slap in the Face is a pure Perform check - it doesn't benefit from tactics.

    Know the Angles isn't that huge. On a Charisma-focused build, you're unlikely to have much more than 50 Intelligence, which translates to +10 tactics.

    Fully kitted out, the above build is looking at 55 + Intelligence Will DC (probably lower if you make gear compromises - most people wouldn't use Legendary Deep Demise for melee damage unless it was absolutely necessary for the DC). With LD twist, you're looking at ~56 + Charisma Fortitude DC for Frozen Fury - in a game where Fortitude saves are routinely 20+ points higher than Will saves. Certainly, there are ways to pump it even higher, but not with this class/race/stat mix. You also have to close to melee range to use Frozen Fury, where you can use Color Spray from a safe distance.

    You have to pick either Intelligence or Charisma. If you pick one, you can't expect DC abilities keyed off the other to land reliably.

    I think this is where our build philosophy divides. I've done the kiting thing with throwing weapons - I had a CC focused shuriken thrower - and while it can be fun, and certainly doesn't take much damage, I personally find it slow and not terribly interesting. I'd rather run into combat, ignore the trash, and keep the big threats locked down. The combination of color spray as an opener, plus elegant footwork and a less-than-.30% chance for a mob to even roll an attack and not be knocked down does fine for me.
    I'm not claiming that kiting is a significant part of the playstyle - I'm pointing out that it's a possibility in the rare-to-the-point-of-nonexistence situation where Elegant Footwork is useful. If it can't be blinded or stunned and I can't tank it, then it's a good bet that it's immune to trip anyway.

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