Build of the Week – The Condition Track Killer (Part 1 of 2)

Sorry for the lack of updates. It’s been a trying couple of weeks and I just haven’t had the chance to get around to doing this. However, this time around I’m going to hit you up with a two for one deal at first: the Condition Track Killer, both melee and ranged, and to add to the challenge a bit, I’ll only be using the Core Rulebook for this build.

Star Wars Saga Edition introduced to the concept of the Condition Track, which made it possible for even a high level character to be taken down in a number of rounds without having to call in an airstrike. In fact, a properly built character stands a good chance of dropping a powerful opponent in a round or two through dropping an opponent multiple steps on the condition track in a single attack, whcih at higher levels, becomes a much more economical way to take down a target than just through dealing hit point damage.

I’ve decided to present my builds a little bit differently. I’m going to show you my build, talents and feat choices, species and stats and all that good stuff. Then I’m going to tell you why. At the end, I’ll discuss other good options someone exploring this build might consider. This way, someone will have a complete build already presented to them that they can use in their own games if they like it, and easy ways to modify it.

The Melee Condition Track Killer

Species: Wookiee.

I went with the Wookiee because the species easily fits the motif of the build. He’s got the highest Strength bonus of all the species in the Core Rulebook and has the devastating Rage ability that makes him even more ferocious in combat. His ability to shrug off even the most debilitating wounds more quickly than any other species also helps them to get back into the fight more quickly, and his bonus to Constitution gives him a little extra staying power in the middle of a knock-down, drag out fight. Wookiees do take three ability score penalties, but two of the three stats don’t have a bearing on this build. The other one is a hit to Dexterity, which does bring down our Reflex Defense a little bit, but nothing that can’t be compensated for later on.

Stats –

At 1st level

Strength -18 (+4)

Dexterity -13 (+1)

Constitution – 16 (+3)

Intelligence – 11 (+0)

Wisdom -6 (-2)

Charisma -8 (-1)

When budgeting points, Strength and Constitution are your two primary stats, in that order. Strength not only allows you to deal more damage to break an opponent’s damage threshold, but also allows you to hit more often, Strength being your prime combat stat. A high Constitution not only allows your character to take more damage through more hit points, but also helps to drive up your Fortitude Defense, which helps you avoid being the victim of the same tactics that you yourself use. Dexterity is nice, but a super high one isn’t essential at 1st level. You can easily pick up a suit of armor to keep yourself ahead of the curve at lower levels, either trading out for your character level at higher levels or picking up a couple of key soldier talents to let you keep another possible source of a Fortitude Defense bonus. When looking to spend your points every four levels, Strength and Constitution are always solid choices. Putting a few points into Dexterity isn’t a bad idea, though I’d recommend putting your first one into Intelligence to pick up another trained skill, but I’ll discuss that more a little later.

Level Spread

Levels 1-2 – Soldier

Level 3 – Scoundrel

Level 4-8 – Soldier

Level 9-18 – Elite Trooper

Level 19-20 – Soldier

You’re largely going to want to stick with the soldier class. It starts you off with some great armor proficiencies, plus it has the highest hit die of the basic classes not to mention the highest base attack bonus.  However, a level dip into Scoundrel for Dastardly Strike is highly worth it in my opinion, plus it allows you to train in Deception as a trained skill in order to more fully utilize the Dastardly Strike, and lets you pick up the (worthless to you) Point Blank Shot feat for free in order to qualify for the Elite Trooper class (since we’re doing Core Rulebook only for this build, you don’t have access to the Flurry feat that can be substituted).

Level 1 –

Feat – Weapon Proficiency (advanced melee weapons) – This class of weapons gets you access to the melee weapons with the highest damage output, plain and simple.

Talent – Devastating Attack (advanced melee weapons) -This starts you off on the track of breaking a foes damage threshold more often by allowing you to treat it lower.

Level 2

Soldier Bonus Feat – Power Attack – This gives you a huge trade-off for taking a penalty on your attack rolls to add to your damage rolls, at a double rate if you’re using the weapon two handed (which you should be ;) ).

Level 3

Feats – Rapid Strike, Point Blank Shot – Rapid Strike gives you an extra die of damage in exchange for a measly -2 to your attack roll (since you have the required Dexterity score needed for the smaller penalty). This is pretty much a no-brainer feat. Point Blank Shot is gained from the level dip into Scoundrel, which satisfies a feat prerequisite for entry into the Elite Trooper prestige class.

Talent – Dastardly Strike – This lets you move a foe a guaranteed step down the condition track should you catch them without their Dexterity bonus to Reflex, on top of what you might normally move them down. This is nice under the right circumstances. A little later, we’ll move to help those circumstances come about more often.

Level 4

Stat Bumps – +1 Dex, +1 Int – Use your new Intelligence bonus to train in Deception.

Talent – Melee Smash – A +1 bonus to melee damage rolls may not seem like much in the grand scheme, but since it’s untyped, it stacks with everything, and is a set up for our next soldier talent.

Level 5

Soldier Bonus Feat – Martial Arts I – Unarmed fighting isn’t what we’re really going for, but it not only satisfies a prerequisite for entry into the Elite Trooper, but gives us a solid backup option should we find ourselves ever without a weapon, and gives us a +1 dodge bonus to Reflex Defense on top of it. Not bad.

Level 6

Talent – Stunning Strike – This talent lets you move a foe an additional step down the condition track should you beat his damage threshold. Now we’re up to -3 steps per hit should we catch a foe flat-footed and break his damage threshold from one attack. Scary.

Feat – Improved Charge – This feat gives you an extra damage bump when charging, which is a nice combat option for melee types to close the distance faster when they need to.

Level 7

Soldier Bonus Feat – Weapon Focus (advanced melee weapons) – This gives you a permanent +1 to hit with advanced melee weapons. This is always a good option.

Level 8

Ability Bumps – +1 Str, +1 Dex

Talent – Weapon Specialization (advanced melee weapons) – This gives you a little damage bump when using advanced melee weapons, which all goes toward helping to break a foes damage threshold.

Level 9

Talent – Greater Weapon Focus (advanced melee weapons) – This is our first Elite Trooper talent, and increases our bonus to hit with our weapon that we got from Weapon Focus, and sets us up for the last next few talents.

Feat – Double Attack (advanced melee weapons) – This gives us our first chance to take an opponent down in one round, provided we catch him without his Dexterity bonus to his Reflex Defense and break his damage threshold with each attack.

Level 11

Talent – Greater Devastating Attack (advanced melee weapons) – This moves the penalty to a foes damage threshold from -5 to -10. This is an absolutely mean talent.

Level 12

Ability Bump – +1 Str, +1 Dex

Feat – Extra Rage – This gets us one additional use of our devastating Rage ability per day, plain and simple, simple and dirty.

Level 13

Talent – Greater Weapon Specialization (advanced melee weapons) – This is the same story as Weapon Specialization, only the damage bonus is greater.

Level 15

Feat – Extra Second Wind – This feat allows us to last an extra encounter or two per day by allowing us one more use of the Second Wind action each day.

Talent – Indomitable – This talent lets you turn the tables on an opponent who is trying to use the same tactics on you by letting you jump to the top of the condition track once per day. This can put you back in the fight in a second and allow you put some serious hurt on an opponent.

Level 16

Ability Bumps – +1 Str, +1 Con

Level 17

Talent – Tough As Nails – This is the same concept as the Extra Second Weapon feat, giving you a few more encounters per day that you can conceivably last through.

Level 18

Feat – Improved Damage Threshold – This gives your own damage threshold a boost of 5 points, allowing you to foil the plans of a foe that attempts to use your own tactics against you.

Level 19

Solder Bonus Feat – Triple Attack (advanced melee weapons) – This gets you a third attack with your weapons as a full attack. Simple and nasty, not to mention highly effective.

Level 20

Ability Bumps – +1 Str, +1 Con

Talent – Indomitable – This gives you one more use of the talent per day.

There you have the build progression. There isn’t a whole lot of room for variation in the talent, feat choices aside from what level you might take them at, since there isn’t a whole lot for the build in the Core Rulebook, but even without them, you can still make a dangerously effective melee condition track killer. After level 10 or so, you have more or less free rein with your feat selection, so go ahead and choose differently if something else strikes your fancy. You might consider Mighty Swing, which allows you to deal an extra die of damage in exchange for not moving during your combat round. This bonus die however does not stack with that granted from Rapid Strike, so be warned. It’s a good option if you don’t have the Dexterity score to use Rapid Strike to it’s fullest advantage (ie, taking the -5 penalty instead of the -2).

The real room for variation comes in the species selection. Gamorreans and Trandoshans both get Strength bonuses as well as a host of other abilities that make them appealing in their own right. Gamorreans get the Improved Damage Threshold feat for free at creation on top of an additional +2 to their Fortitude Defense making them that much harder to move down the condition track in their own right. Trandoshans have Natural Armor which helps offset their racial penalty to Dexterity. They also have the Regeneration ability, which helps them to deal with nasty conditions like limb loss that sometimes can happen with the nastier beasts in the universe, not to mention anything wielding a lightsaber.

So there you have my considerations for the Melee Condition Track Killer. I’ll be back in a few hours with my build presentation for the Ranged Condition Track Killer and possibly a few other build goodies today (by way of apology for being so delinquent with these posts (Not to mention posting here in general. I’m getting better about that. I promise.).

So we’ll see you in a few hours, Gamer Nation.

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