Monday, January 30, 2012

Theory Machine!

It's time to run through the theory machine again! This time we base a hypothesis around the idea of maximizing damage on one singular spectacular attack. Instead of looking at focusing on individual characters, most advanced players recognize that group synergy is a beautiful thing indeed. For example, not long ago I saw a half-orc "rattling" rogue, accompanied by a tactical warlord that never actually attacked. Instead, the TacLord would imbue his fancy roguish friend with something along the lines of +5 to hit, and +5 or +7 damage on a basic melee attack (adding in those beautiful back-stab dice for real oomph). The result was that this fantastic rogue was attacking for outstanding damage every turn in a party of two, and usually forced targets to save against instant death.

Last week one of my fellow players/DMs introduced me to a half-developed class he discovered in PDF format, called a "Scribe": it looks like the grandfather of the Artificer class, and seems to not have made it through the play-tests. However, we're a liberal crew and anything that will make the game more fun is invited. One of the at-will attacks of the Scribe is as follows: you add +D12 to one ally's next attack damage.
This may not seem like much, but in a world where things like Magic Missile exist, this is quite a freaking thing. Suddenly the Wizard is auto-smashing targets with striker-level damage, possibly pushing them back with the properties of his/her Master's Wand of Missiles.

This is peanuts compared to what I have in mind. I have been experimenting with builds, focusing on party synergy, and am thinking that something along the lines of the following experiment might be in order. Without bothering to REALLY calculate this out, I'm just going to throw it all out there like a cheap idea-salad, but you should get the concept.

We'll assume these characters are around fifth or sixth level.
• 1 Rattling Half-Orc "Ruthless Ruffial" Rogue: uses a mace @ +D6 (daily powers do triple weapon damage)
 - Basic damage of +7 (dexterity) + 3 (strength)
 - Theme: "Mercenary" = Encounter power; on hit, adds modifier used in strike to damage (+7)
 - Racial power adds +D8 to an attack once per encounter
 - takes feat to amp his Back-stab to 2D8's
 - multiclass feat Assassin for +D8 per encounter, and adds standard modifier of Damage.
SUMMARY: This rogue can make, in one turn, 3D6+10+7+D8+2D8+D8 = From 24 to 67 damage in one spectacular turn, possibly forcing rolls to save against instant-death in targets with up to 134 starting hit points.

That's not ENOUGH!

Let us add to this mélange an assortment of boosting characters. Friends with benefits, if you will.
• Tactical warlord focuses everything into his Intelligence stat. Boosts the Rogue's to-hit by about 6. Daily power adds this amount to damage, too.

• Scribe adds +D12 to the Rogue's attacks every round at first level as an at-will.

• A Warlock takes the Theme: Oracle of the Evil Eye, and adds +D6 psychic damage to the Rogue until the end of the encounter. Uses 5th-level daily spell, "Hellsworn Blessing": now the rogue does +2D6 fire damage per round, until the end of the encounter.

Now your rogue has added +6 + D12 + 3D6 to his damage, for a total range of 34 - 97 damage, not including a possible additional 2D6 (for making a critical hit with a +2 weapon, which would max this range at 109), and is hitting with an attack bonus of around +20 total, at level 5.

This is four characters maximizing their potential by forcing instant-death on some of the toughest creatures the game has to offer in level-appropriate combat. Sure, my math is sloppy, but it's not half as sloppy as the corpses you are about to make if you try this party build.