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Build of the Week – The De-Buffer: Action Denial

Hey there, Gamer Nation! Guess what’s back? That’s right, I’m back with another character build for you all to enjoy. The de-buffer was put forth by my wife, @HotPinkJoystick when I was searching for a build to do. I quickly discovered that there were multiple ways to do this build, and will be bringing my second de-buffer build to you later, but for now it’s a character focused on de-buffing the enemy by denying them their actions.

The beautiful part of this build is that there is a lot that you can do to really make it your own. There are some species that do stand out, such as those that offer Persuasion rerolls, such as the Nagai, but it’s really not important. You do need a few trained skills, those being Persuasion, Deception, and Knowledge (Bureaucracy), but that’s it. Everything else can be customized to your liking.

Level 1 – Scoundrel 1 – Base Attack Bonus +0

Starting Feats – Point Blank Shot, Weapon Proficiency (pistols, simple weapons)

Level 1 Character Feat – Skill Focus (Persuasion): A lot of your talents and abilities are going to key off of this skill. Getting any bonus possible is going to help you. (SECR 88)

Level 1 Scoundrel Talent – Revolutionary Rhetoric: This talent allows you to make a Persuasion check as a standard action against an opponent’s Will Defense. If the check is successful, you deny the opponent their standard action next turn. (GoI 22)

Level 2 – Scoundrel 1/Noble 1 – Base Attack Bonus +0

Starting Feat – Linguist

Level 1 Noble Talent – Rant: This is a neat little talent. When you successfully use the Persuasion skill to intimidate a target, instead of the normal benefits you instead deny that target their move action on their next turn and give an ally a move action they can use immediately as a reaction. (UR 20)

Level 3 – Scoundrel 2/Noble 1 – Base Attack Bonus +1

Level 2 Scoundrel Bonus Feat – Silver Tongue: This feat allows you to use the Persuasion skill to either intimidate or change attitude as a standard action instead of as a full-round action. (GoI 29)

Level 3 Character Feat – Improved Defenses: Let’s face it. Even though you aren’t going to be throwing a whole lot of damage downrange, but you’re going to be the one with the big target on your chest when your opponents are finally able to take their full turns. (SECR 85)

Level 4 – Scoundrel 3/Noble 1 – Base Attack Bonus +2

Level 3 Scoundrel Talent – Hesitate: This talent allows you to make a Persuasion check as a standard action against a target’s Will Defense. If successful, you drop the target’s speed by 2, and require it to spend a swift action whenever it would take a standard action until the end of their next turn.. (S&V 15)

Level 5 – Scoundrel 4/Noble 1 – Base Attack Bonus +3

Level 4 Scoundrel Bonus Feat – Demoralizing Strike: This is a funky little feat. It states that whenever you damage an opponent with an attack of opportunity, you can make a Persuasion check to intimidate a target as a free action. Nothing stating that it has to be the NORMAL method of intimidation (see the Rant talent above). (GoI 27)

Level 6 – Scoundrel 5/Noble 1 – Base Attack Bonus +3

Level 5 Scoundrel Talent – Sow Confusion: This talent builds off of the Hesitate talent we took two levels ago. You make a Deception check as a standard action once per encounter against every enemy you can see. If successful, you force each affected enemy to spend a swift action whenever they want to spend a standard action to attack. This lasts until the start of your next turn. (S&V 15)

Level 6 Character Feat – Combat Reflexes: The ability to throw out a few more attacks of opportunity a round isn’t necessarily a bad thing, even if you don’t get to use it every round or even every encounter. Remember, every AoO you get to make is an extra intimidation (and therefore, use of the Rant talent). As an added bonus, you can make these attacks of opportunity even if you find yourself flat-footed. (SECR 83)

Level 7 – Scoundrel 6/Noble 1 – Base Attack Bonus +4

Level 6 Scoundrel Bonus Feat – Skill Focus (Knowledge [Bureaucracy]): This feat gets you into the Corporate Agent Prestige Class. (SECR 88)

Level 8 Scoundrel 7/Noble 1 – Base Attack Bonus +5

Level 7 Scoundrel Talent – Opportunistic Strike: Once per encounter, this talent lets you take an attack of opportunity against an opponent that provokes an attack of opportunity from an ally, as long as the opponent is within point blank range. (KOTORCG 27)

Level 9 – Scoundrel 8/Noble 1 – Base Attack Bonus +6

Level 9 Character Feat – Recurring Success (Opportunistic Strike): This feat lets you pick a feat or talent that can only be used once per encounter. This feat lets you use it one additional time per encounter. (GoI 28)

Level 10 – Scoundrel 9/Noble 1 – Base Attack Bonus +6

Level 9 Scoundrel Talent – Cheap Shot: Once per encounter, this talent lets you take an attack of opportunity against an enemy that withdraws from an ally as long as that opponent is within point blank range. (KOTORCG 27)

Level 11 – Scoundrel 9/Noble 1/Corporate Agent 1

Level 1 Corporate Agent Talent – Impose Hesitation: This talent lets you make a Persuasion check against the Will Defense of all opponents within a 6 square cone, and if successful, any target affected by the talent loses their swift action next turn. (KOTORCG 43)

Level 12 – Scoundrel 9/Noble 1/Corporate Agent 2

Level 12 Feat – Withdrawal Strike: This feat allows you to take an attack of opportunity against a target that takes the withdraw action against you. (KOTORCG 35)

Level 13 – Scoundrel 9/Noble 1/Corporate Agent 3

Level 3 Corporate Agent Talent – Impose Confusion: This talent builds off of Impose Hesitation by increasing the size of the cone to 12 squares. Also, once per encounter, you can cause the targets affected to love their standard actions instead of their swift actions. (KOTORCG 43)

Really, the rest of the build can go in whatever direction you want it to. I’d recommend taking another use of Recurring Success at 15th level picking up a second use of Cheap Shot once per encounter, but aside from that, take what you want to tweak it to your specifications. If you’re having a hard time hitting on those attacks of opportunity, you may want some Soldier levels. If you want to throw some penalties on top of the denied actions, the Noble has some neat talents for you to look at. So, looking at the character, we have several tactics we can use to take away an opponent’s action. You start off with Revolutionary Rhetoric to halt an opponent’s standard action, and you eventually get several more ways to deny opponents other actions, and you can even do it on their turn with the Demoralizing Strike feat and the Rant talent. Some GMs may rule it a little bit differently, but the talent does state that it affects them on their NEXT turn, and then if your turn comes up before him, you can semi-regularly deny him two of his three actions. Like I said though, some GMs may rule it differently, so run it by them before you pursue this build to find out what his take on it is going to be.

And so there you have the De-Buffer focusing on Action Denial. I’ll be back soon with the “Penalty Giver” build for the De-Buffer.

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Build of the Week: The Wookiee Battlerager

Ever since I read the Wruushi Training feat from Galaxy at War, I’ve wanted to build a Wookiee martial artist. This is simply too cool a feat to ignore. Seeing as how I’ve yet to be in a Saga game where I’m not the GM though, this is going to be my outlet.

When I envision a Wookiee martial artist, I think of a combatant who is able to charge into battle quickly and take their opponents down even more quickly, and those that are going to take some extra time to soften up are going to be left reeling from the ferocity of it all. I also see a combatant who isn’t afraid to give into his feelings and let his rage take over when it’s necessary. Finally, I see a combatant who can literally take things apart with his bare hands, be they people or objects.

The Wookiee Battlerager

Species: Wookiee. This one is obvious. It’s the requirement for taking the Wruushi Training feat and one of the only species with the rage ability (and indeed, the only species if your looking at the Core Rulebook only).

Starting Ability Scores

Strength – 18

Dexterity – 10

Consitution – 16

Intelligence – 12

Wisdom – 9

Charisma – 8

This may look like a tough build to pull off with a small point buy, but it’s really not so bad. Strength and Constitution are going to be your heavy lifters. As long as you keep hitting the bad guy, you’re going to be getting temporary hit points each round. Add that on with the Damage Reduction granted by virtue of the Elite Trooper prestige class and suddenly, having a high Reflex Defense isn’t all that necessary. Yeah, you’re still going to be hurting after a combat, but that’s what medical droids are for. An Intelligence of 12 right off the bat is expensive, but the extra trained skill helps, and you need an Intelligence of 13 to do the level dip into the Martial Arts Master prestige class.

Starting Trained Skills

Climb

Endurance

Jump

Swim

Straight up, you’re a physical character. Take the skills that play off your racial strengths as well as your Strength score.

Level Progression

Level 1 – Soldier 1

Starting Feats: Armor Proficiency (light, medium), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons)

Level 1 Feat: Martial Arts I – The Martial Arts feats are the be all, end all feats for you. Upping your unarmed damage is very necessary to keep up the damage output and every one of these you take helps shore up your Reflex Defense a little bit.

Level 1 Soldier Talent: Melee Smash – As well as opening up the Stunning Strike talent, this simply adds another point of damage done with your melee attacks.

Level 2 – Soldier 1/Scout 1

Bonus Feat: Shake it Off – This feat lowers the time required to use the Recover action from three swift actions to two.

Level 1 Scout Talent: Longstrider – As long as you are in light armor, or no armor, you get a +2 bonus to your speed, helping you to get into the face of the biggest and baddest person of the battlefield (well, besides you).

Level 3 – Soldier 2/Scout 1

Level 3 Feat – Wruushi Training: This is the feat that everything else in this build hinges around, and why we took the Wookiee as our species. This feat gives you bonus hit points equal to your Constitution modifier when you successfully hit your opponent with your unarmed strike. If you can keep hitting, it’s like having a few points of SR that you can replenish by hitting someone.

Level 2 Solder Bonus Feat: Flurry – This feat gives you a bonus to your attack roll in exchange for taking a penalty to your Reflex Defense, which seems like the perfect tactic for a battlerager. Additionally, this replaces the worthless to you Point Blank Shot feat for entry into the Elite Trooper prestige class.

Level 4 – Soldier 3/Scout 1

Ability Score Increases: +1 Strength, +1 Intelligence

Level 3 Soldier Talent: Stunning Strike – This talent lets you move the opponent multiple steps down the Condition Track if you beat their damage threshold with your melee attack, which can help put an opponent down faster.

Level 5 – Soldier 4/Scout 1

Level 4 Soldier Bonus Feat: Martial Arts II – More damage with your fists and another point of Reflex Defense.

Level 6 – Soldier 5/Scout 1

Level 6 Feat: Melee Defense – This talent lets you trade attack bonus for Reflex Defense. The tactic doesn’t seem very apropos for the build, but it satisfies the final requirement for the Martial Arts Master prestige class.

Level 5 Soldier Talent: Unrelenting Assault – Even if you miss your opponent with a melee attack, you still deal damage to him equal to your Strength modifier, which, with this species, isn’t a small amount.

Level 7 – Soldier 6/Scout 1

Level 6 Soldier Bonus Feat: Double Attack (simple weapons) – In exchange for taking a penalty to both attack rolls, you get a second attack against the same opponent (or a different one within your reach) as a full round action. This is great if you don’t need to move into range of an enemy.

Level 8 – Soldier 7/Scout 1

Ability Score Increases: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution

Level 7 Soldier Talent: Indomitable – Even with the Recover action taking you less time, being able to pop up to the top of the track once per day as a swift action is no mean ability to have.

Level 9 – Soldier 8/Scout 1

Level 9 Feat: Martial Arts III – More damage with your fists, and another point to Reflex Defense.

Level 8 Solder Bonus Feat: Fortifying Recovery – This feat allows you to heal hit point damage when you take the Recovery action to a tune of 2 x your Constitution modifier.

Level 10 – Soldier 8/Scout 1/Elite Trooper 1

Level 1 Elite Trooper Talent : Teras Kasi Basics – This talent gives you an extra die of damage to your unarmed attacks, allowing you to keep the hurt coming as you progress in level.

Level 11 – Soldier 8/Scout 1/Elite Trooper 1/Martial Arts Master 1

Level 1 Martial Arts Master Talent: Wruushi Expertise – This gives your opponents some serious action denial if you can make an attack roll that beats their Fortitude Defense once per turn after successfully damaging them, only allowing the enemy to take a single swift action on their next turn.

Level 12 – Soldier 8/Scout 1/Elite Trooper 2/Martial Arts Master 1

Ability Score Increases: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution

Level 12 Feat : Extra Rage – Going into a rage a second time per day can be a nice boon to have.

Level 13 – Soldier 8/Scout 1/Elite Trooper 3/Martial Arts Master 1

Level 3 Elite Trooper Talent: Multiattack Proficiency (simple weapons) – This talent knocks the penalty down for multiple attacks with simple weapons (aka, your fists) by 2.

Level 14 – Soldier 8/Scout 1/Elite Trooper 4/Martial Arts Master 1

Level 15 – Solder 8/Scout 1/Elite Trooper 5/Martial Arts Master 1

Level 15 Feat: Wroshyr Rage – This feat gives you piles of bonus hit points when you first enter a rage. By the time the enemy has blown through those, you’ve easily covered the distance to them and are getting fresh stock of them by pounding your fists into them.

Level 5 Elite Trooper Talent: Unarmed Parry – This talent lets you block an incoming melee attack roll much like the Jedi’s Block talent does. Only, you get to make an unarmed attack roll. Multiple parry attempts also only suffer a cumulative -2 penalty on the attack roll.

Level 16 – Soldier 9/Scout 1/Elite Trooper 5/Martial Arts Master 1

Ability Score Increases: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution

Level 9 Soldier Talent: Devastating Attack (simple weapons)  – This talent lets you start punching through opponent’s damage thresholds a lot more easily.

Level 17 – Soldier 10/Scout 1/Elite Trooper 5/Martial Arts Master 1

Level 10 Soldier Bonus Feat: Weapon Focus (simple weapons) – This may seem a little late in the game to pick up this feat, but a +1 bonus to his is a +1 bonus to hit, and even moreso considering it’s how you get your bonus hit points.

Level 18 – Soldier 11/Scout 1/Elite Trooper 5/Martial Arts Master 1

Level 18 Feat: Triple Attack – This feat lets you take a -10 (-8 with the Multiattack Proficiency talent) on all your attacks to get three attacks as a full round action.

Level 11 Soldier Talent: Penetrating Attack (simple weapons) – This talent lets you start taking objects apart with your bare hands more easily, like doors, desks, and TIE Fighters.

Level 19 – Soldier 11/Scout 1/Elite Trooper 6/Martial Arts Master 1

Level 20 – Soldier 11/Scout 1/Elite Trooper 7/Martial Arts Master 1

Ability Score Increases: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution

Level 7 Elite Trooper Talent: Teras Kasi Mastery – This talent lets you take a full-round action as a standard action, provided the only thing you were doing with that full-round action was making unarmed attacks. This means you can now move into the face of the big bad, start your Recovery action with a single swift, and toss out all three of your unarmed attacks. This is huge.

So there’s the build. If you don’t particularly care about the level of Martial Arts Master, I would suggest picking up the Unstoppable Force feat in place of the Melee Defense feat at level 7. This helps shore up your sadly lacking Will Defense against Force powers and will help you avoid turning into a mewling pup when the Sith Lord starts dropping the fear effects. If you still want the action denial, but want to go this route, consider the Improved Stunning Strike talent in place of the Multiattack Proficiency (simple weapons) talent. This inhibits their actions should your damage roll be enough to move them down the Condition Track. If you want to go this roll, you could easily drop your Intelligence by a couple of points and up your Constitution a little more, giving you more hit points and more bonus hit points when the fists start flying.

Enjoy, Gamer Nation.

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Build of the Week: The Revolutionary Leader

Hey Gamer Nation, I’m back with another build for your campaigns. This build was inspired by several of the new talents and feats in Galaxy of Intrigue, and The Unknown Regions, that focus around uses of the Persuasion skill to baffle enemies, ending in action denial as well as Intimidation tactics. I was immediately smitten with several of the names and began picturing a revolutionary leader, a political dissident, even a terrorist leader. Without further ado.

The Revolutionary Leader

Species: Nagai strike me as a good fit for this kind of character. Not only do they get a bonus to their Charisma, but they also have the ability to reroll their Persuasion checks, which is the skill that is going to be doing a lot of heavy lifting for this build.

Starting Ability Scores:

Strength – 8 (-1)

Dexterity – 16 (+3)

Constitution – 8 (-1)

Intelligence – 14 (+2)

Wisdom – 14 (+2)

Charisma – 17 (+3)

Trained Skills

Persuasion, Deception, Gather Information, Knowledge (bureaucracy), Knowledge (galactic lore), Knowledge (social sciences), Initiative, Perception, Knowledge (tactics) (trained at level 8)

Level Progression

Level 1 – Noble 1

Starting Feats – Linguist, Weapon Proficiency (pistols), Weapon Proficiency (simple weapons)

Level 1 Feat – Weapon Proficiency (rifles):  This is a build that is going to be finding themselves in combat, and has a couple of talents and feats that key off breaking an opponent’s damage threshold, so holding a bigger weapon capable of putting out more damage is going to be important, as well as having something for the intimidation factor.

Level 1 Noble Talent – Wealth (SECR): This talent not only satisfies all the talent requirements for the prestige class we’re going to be going into. It also gives you added credits each level to help keep your unit outfitted with the latest gear as well as giving you the necessary funds for bribes to keep officials quiet on your activities and get the latest intel from your contacts.

Level 2 – Noble 1/Scoundrel 1

Level 1 Scoundrel Feat – Point Blank Shot

Level 1 Scoundrel Talent – Revolutionary Rhetoric (GoI): This talent allows you to shake an enemy into inaction through your words, denying them the use of their standard action if your Persuasion check beats their Will Defense.

Level 3 – Noble 2/Scoundrel 1

Level 2 Noble Bonus Feat – Skill Focus (Persuasion) (SECR): This one should be pretty self-explanatory. This is the skill that is going to be providing your heavy lifting, so squeezing an extra +5 competence bonus is a good thing.

Level 3 Feat – Precise Shot (SECR): Even the quickest witted revolutionary finds themselves firing blaster bolts occasionally. This lets you stand back and deal with enemies who are engaged with your melee allies more effectively.

Level 4 – Noble 3/Scoundrel 1

Ability Score Increases – +1 Int, +1 Cha

Level 3 Noble Talent – Inspire Confidence (SECR): This is one of the baseline talents for a later talent we’ll be picking up, and a solid talent choice anyway.

Level 5 – Noble 4/Scoundrel 1

Level 4 Noble Bonus Feat – Unwavering Resolve (CWCG): This feat gives you a bonus to your Will Defense against Persuasion and Deception checks that target it, giving you a better chance of not falling to the same tactics that you employ.

Level 6 – Noble 4/Scoundrel 2

Level 6 Feat – Silver Tongue (GoI): This feat allows you to make a Persuasion check to Intimidate a target as a standard action instead of the normal full-round action, giving you the rest of your turn to act as you see fit.

Level 2 Scoundrel 2 Bonus Feat – Combat Trickery (UR): This feat allows you to make a Deception check to make the target flat-footed against your next attack made before the end of your next turn. Alternatively, you can spend a Force Point to make the target flat-footed against your next attack made before the end of the encounter.

Level 7 – Noble 4/Scoundrel 3

Level 3 Scoundrel Talent – Make an Example (GoI): This talent gives a target that you attack a penalty to attack you until the end of your next turn provided you hit and break their damage threshold, which can make you a much less desirable target in combat when push comes to shove.

Level 8 – Noble 4/Scoundrel 3/Soldier 1

Ability Score Increases: +1 Int, +1 Cha

Level 1 Soldier Feat – Armor Proficiency (light)

Level 1 Soldier Talent – Devastating Attack (rifles) (SECR): This talent allows you to treat your opponent’s damage threshold as if it were five points lower when attacking them with a rifle, letting you break their damage threshold more often and bring the Make an Example talent into play more often.

Level 9 – Noble 5/Scoundrel 3/Soldier 1

Level 9 Feat – Intimidator (UR): This feat allows you to give an enemy a penalty to their skill checks and attack rolls against you instead of the normal effects when you successfully use the Persuasion check to Intimidate them, making them less of a threat against you in combat.

Level 5 Noble Talent – Bolster Ally (SECR): This talent is the second prerequisite for the next talent we’ll be taking, plus a good one in a pinch should an ally get himself in a little bit of trouble, allowing you to bump him back up the condition track and toss him a few bonus hit points.

Level 10 – Noble 6/Scoundrel 3/Soldier 1

Level 6 Noble Bonus Feat – Stand Tall (GoI): This feat allows you give your allies a free attack against an opponent when they damage you in combat once per encounter, plain and simple.

Level 11 – Noble 7/Scoundrel 3/Soldier 1

Level 7 Noble Talent – Beloved (S&V): This talent gives you access to three different abilities that can be used once per encounter. You can get a bonus to Reflex Defense for standing next to a chosen ally, give an ally a free attack against a target that damages you, or give your allies free movement when you are damaged in combat.

Level 12 – Noble 8/Scoundrel 3/Soldier 1

Ability Score Increases: +1 Con, +1 Cha

Level 12 Feat – Recurring Success: Stand Tall (GoI): This feat gives you a second use of the Stand Tall feat per encounter.

Level 8 Noble Bonus Feat – Quick Skill (KotORCG): This feat allows you to once per encounter, take 10 on a skill check that you normally couldn’t have, or, halve the time required to take 20 on a skill check.

Level 13 – Noble 9/Scoundrel 3/Soldier 1

Level 9 Noble Talent – Rant (UR): This talent allows you to make a Persuasion check to Intimidate a target (which you can now do as a standard action) in order to deny them the use of their move action next turn and give you your ally a free move action to be used immediately as a reaction.

Level 14 – Noble 9/Scoundrel 3/Soldier 1/Crime Lord 1

Level 1 Crime Lord Talent – Notorious (SECR): This talent gives you a reroll attempt on Persuasion checks made to Intimidate a target with the caveat that the reroll has to be accepted, regardless of whether its better or worse. This does stack with the Nagai’s racial ability to reroll Persasion checks.

Level 15 – Noble 9/Scoundrel 3/Soldier 1/Crime Lord 2

Level 15 Feat – Recurring Success: Beloved (GoI): This feat gives you an additional use of the Beloved talent abilities once per encounter.

Level 2 Crime Lord Talent – Master Manipulator (UR): This talent lets you make a second Persuasion check immediately after making a successful Persuasion check. It must be made against the same target, but it doesn’t need to be made for the same use, allowing you to use both your Revolutionary Rhetoric and your Rant talents in the same turn to deny an opponent both his standard and move actions in the next round.

Level 16 – Noble 9/Scoundrel 3/Soldier 1/Crime Lord 3

Ability Score Increases: +1 Con, +1 Cha

Level 3 Crime Lord Talent – Impel Ally I (SECR): This is the first of the Impel Ally talents that allows you to give up some of your actions to grant allies actions in your place. This one allows you to spend a swift action to let an ally move their speed.

Level 17 – Noble 9/Scoundrel 3/Soldier 1/Crime Lord 4

Level 4 Crime Lord Talent – Impel Ally II (SECR): This next tier of the Impel Ally talents allows you spend two swift actions to give an ally a standard action to be used immediately.

Level 18 – Noble 9/Scoundrel 3/Solder 1/Crime Lord 5

Level 18 Feat – Recurring Success: Quick Skill (GoI): This feat gives you a second use of the Quick Skill feat per encounter.

Level 5 Crime Lord Talent – Presence (SECR): This talent doesn’t do anything for you that you don’t already have, but it opens up the next talent selection.

Level 19 – Noble 9/Scoundrel 3/Soldier 1/Crime Lord 6

Level 6 Crime Lord Talent – Demand Surrender (SECR): This talent allows you to make a Persuasion check to force an enemy to put down their weapon and surrender to you once per encounter.

Level 20 – Noble 9/Scoundrel 3/Soldier 1/Crime Lord 7

Ability Score Increases: +1 Wis, +1 Cha

Level 7 Crime Lord Talent – Impel Ally III (S&V): This is the upper tier of the Impel Ally talents. This one allows you to once per encounter to spend 3 swift actions on consecutive turns to give an ally a standard and a move action to be used immediately after the final swift action is taken.

So there you have the build. One minor change I would make if you find yourself needing to procure more and more illegal goods for your party, and can wait until the higher levels to improve your Intimidation time, would be swapping out the Silver Tongue feat for the Friends in Low Places feat from Scum and Villainy. If you find yourself in more and more combat, swapping out some of the feats for other combat feats might not be a bad idea, but you should be able to get a lot of mileage out of these feat and talent suggestions even in combat intensive games.

Finally, have fun spouting all the revolutionary rhetoric that you want while playing this character.

Oh, and expect a Threat Assessment entry here in the next couple of days using this build as a lynchpin for a group.

So until then Gamer Nation.

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Build of the Week: Two Challenges

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that good stuff. I meant to get these up last week, but then planning for my own game wound up taking precedence and then I wound up fighting something off at the beginning of the week, so I’ve been largely keeping myself in a  cold medicine induced coma for most of the week when I wasn’t at work, and so now seems as good a time as any.

These build challenges were put forth by Powertank66, a new member on the d20 radio boards. The first build challenge was a 4th level character built around the Warden of the Sky tradition found in the Jedi Academy Training Manual, using any of the books available. The second build challenge was creating the most optimized 4th level Force user I could using only the Core Rulebook, the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide, and the Jedi Academy Training Manual.

Warden of the Sky

The Wardens of the Sky are more or less the self appointed defenders of the space lanes, Force Sensitive martial artists (to maintain a lower profile), capable of using their telekinetic powers to devastating effect with their unarmed attacks. Here are my considerations for a 4th level Warden of the Sky

Species: Human. I like Humans for my Force Sensitive characters. The bonus feat and bonus trained skill is never anything to sneeze at, and can be a great benefit for a character that is going to find himself feat heavy, which a Warden of the Sky (at least this build option) is going to do.

Ability Scores:

Strength – 14 (+2)

Dexterity – 14 (+2)

Constitution – 12 (+1)

Intelligence – 12 (+1)

Wisdom – 12 (+1)

Charisma – 11 (+0)

Trained Skills

Use the Force

Knowledge (galactic lore)

Acrobatics

Jump

Level Progression

Level 1 – Jedi 1

Starting Feats – Force Sensitivity, Weapon Proficiency (simple weapons, lightsabers)

Level 1 Feat – Martial Arts I – Your unarmed strikes are going to be your main options in combat, so pumping that damage is always a good choice whenever you can. Each time you do so, as a bonus, your Reflex Defense goes up.

Human Bonus Feat – Trip – The ability to prone your opponents with a grapple attempt is very nice, forcing them to use their Move Action to get up, preventing them from moving  more than 6 squares away from you.

Level 1 Jedi Talent – Mobile Combatant – One of the major sticking points with a melee combatant is that Star Wars is primarily a game about blasters, making the ability to stick with your opponent and keep him from getting range on you a god send. In exchange for a swift action at the end of your turn, this lets you move with an adjacent opponent, frustrating him as he tries to get range on you.

Level 2 – Jedi 1/Soldier 1

Level 1 Soldier Feat – Weapon Proficiency (pistols) – While your unarmed strikes are going to be your main attacks, a back up choice is never a bad option should the need present itself.

Level 1 Soldier Talent – Expert Grappler – This talent gives you a +2 bonus to your grapple checks, making you better at them, plain and simple.

Level 3 – Jedi 1/Soldier 2

Level 3 Feat – Force Training – Picking up a few Force powers to help augment your combat abilities can’t hurt. My two picks are surge and battle strike.

Level 2 Soldier Bonus Feat – Throw – Sometimes you just want to toss an opponent around, and with this feat, you can do so. This also sets up the chance for the talent this build takes next level.

Level 4 – Jedi 1/Soldier 3

Ability Score Increases – +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity

Level 3 Soldier Talent – Telekinetic Throw – This talent increases the range of your Throw feat, from 1 square beyond your reach to 3 squares beyond your reach, really letting you toss your opponents around should you choose.

As you advance in this  build, you want to keep an eye towards increasing your damage output, as you will always be lagging behind your other allies, melee and ranged. However, by sticking with your grappling feats, and adding others like Multi-Grab and Knock Heads from the Legacy Era Campaign Guide, you can become a real thorn in your opponents side, especially with your ability to stick with an opponent through your Mobile Combatant talent, and your ability to deliver a proned opponent at the feet of another melee combatant in your party with greater damage output and now a bonus to hit thanks to your Telekinetic Throw talent. You might consider Telekinetic Strike should you want to keep your damage output on the higher end, though this is really a sub-par way to go sbout it, since Force Points are such a finite resource to begin with.

If you really want to keep your damage up, pick up your Martial Arts feats as soon as possible and trade out your third level Force Training with Echani Training or Teras Kasi Training from Galaxy at War. Instead of increasing your Dexterity at 4th level, increase your Intelligence to 13, and pick up Melee Defense as a feat choice to get you into the Martial Arts Master Prestige Class which gets you access to the Teras Kasi Basics talent, which nets you an extra die of damage with your unarmed strikes.

The dangerous thing about this Force tradition, is that it’s very easy to cripple yourself by trying to do too much. Pick a certain trick and build around it, whether it’s putting an opponent down as quickly as possible through greater damage output, or keeping them tied up with grapple techniques, or maybe something else entirely.

Optimized Force User

The idea of an “optimized” Force user is a tricky one, because there is so many ways you can take a character like this: Force Wizard, Lightsaber Combatant, Negotiator, or any number of other ways. So, for this build, I’ve decided to build a character that is able to use the Force effectively, but is also able to hold their own in combat should it come to that.

Species – Miralukan. Normally, I don’t like the Miralukans for Force heavy builds, but for some reason, I’m drawn to them with this build. Maybe they just seem to be coming more and more iconic as more people play them. The penalty to Dexterity is going to hurt a little bit in combat, but the extra trained skill from the Intelligence bonus is going to help to keep you diverse in other aspects outside of the realms of the Force.

Ability Scores

Strength – 13 (+1)

Dexterity – 10 (+0)

Constitution – 10 (+0)

Intelligence – 14 (+2)

Wisdom – 14 (+2)

Charisma – 14 (+2)

Trained Skills

Use the Force

Knowledge (galactic lore)

Perception

Initiative

Level Progression

Level 1 – Jedi 1

Starting Feats – Force Sensitivity, Force Training (I like energy resistance, move object, rebuke, and Force slam), Weapon Proficiency (lightsabers, simple weapons)

Level 1 Feat – Force Boon – More Force Points is never a bad thing to have, especially for a Force user who has at least double the number of things they can spend a Force Point on than other classes.

Level 1 Jedi Talent  – Adversary Lore – Every time I read this talent, the more and more I like it. Applying a -2 penalty to one opponent’s Reflex Defense against both your attacks and any ally’s that can hear and understand you for beating their Will Defense with a Use the Force check is a really cool ability.

Level 2 – Jedi 2

Level 2 Jedi Bonus Feat – Skill Focus (Use the Force) – Increasing the power of your Use the Force skill as a Jedi is never a bad option.

Level 3 – Jedi 3

Level 3 Feat – Force Training (I like energy resistance, move object, Force whirlwind, and Shien deflection)

Level 3 Jedi Talent – Deflect – Ranged combat is the dominant form of combat in the Star Wars Universe, and any Jedi is going to find himself being shot at. The ability to negate a potential hit against you is an incredibly powerful ability to have and one that few Jedi without other strong defensive options should be without.

Level 4 – Jedi 4

Ability Score Increases – +1 Strength +1 Charisma

Level 4 Jedi Bonus Feat – Force Readiness – I like the option of being able to spend a Force Point to enhance an attack of opportunity or a rebuke attempt against an enemy Force user.

With this, you’ve got a Force-user that can hold his own in melee combat, as well as effectively use the Force offensively as well as defensively. You’ve also got the Force Points to spend should you need one, and even better yet, you can spend them when it’s not your turn. You’ve also got a strong defensive option in lightsaber combat as well as the ability to aid your allies in combat through your adversary lore talent.

Of course there’s lots of ways that one can change this build to optimize it to a particular role in Force use, and I won’t go into ways to tweak the build in order to do so.

So there you have my two build considerations for these challenges, Gamer Nation, and more specifically, Powertank66.

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Build of the Week – The Ultimate Tank

Well, Gamer Nation, I’m back with a few builds today. I’ll be hitting you first with the Ultimate Tank Build, and then a couple of smaller builds as requested by someone one the d20 Radio boards.

The Ultimate Tank is a character designed to be able to take hits and keep on going, coming back from the brink of death time and again to continue fighting in both hit points and the condition track. This build also contains strong ties to the Defender role in Dungeons and Dragons 4E with it’s later ability to “mark” a number of targets, giving them a penalty to hit any target other than you.

The Ultimate Tank

Species – Gamorrean. The +2 species bonus to Fortitude Defense and the free Improved Damage Threshold traits almost make this species a no brainer. The Primitive trait doesn’t hurt them so bad, since they’ll be using melee weapons in the first place and no class gets Advanced Melee Weapons as a starting feat.

Starting Ability Scores

Strength – 14 (+2)

Dexterity – 12 (+1)

Constitution – 14 (+2)

Intelligence – 10 (+0)

Wisdom – 11 (+0)

Charisima – 10 (+0)

Trained Skills

Endurance

Initiative

Climb

Level Progression

Level 1 – Soldier 1

Starting Feats – Armor Proficiency (light, medium), Weapon Proficiency (simple weapons), Improved Damage Threshold

Level 1 Feat – Extra Second Wind: One of the key things for this build is the ability to keep coming back for seconds in battle, and the ability to catch multiple second winds per day allows you do this.

Level 1 Soldier Talent – Armored Defense: Wearing armor is going to help you to shake off serious blows, but it’s never fun being easier to hit just because you choose to wear armor. This talent lets you add either your heroic level or armor bonus to Reflex Defense, whichever is higher.

Level 2 – Soldier 2

Level 2 Soldier Bonus Feat – Armor Proficiency (heavy): Heavy armor gives you both the biggest bonus to Reflex Defense at lower level as well as helping to increase your Fortitude Defense and Damage Threshold, which is going to help you stay up when you do take hits.

Level 3 – Soldier 3

Level 3 Feat – Weapon Proficiency (advanced melee weapons): Advanced melee weapons are generally a better choice for a melee character, and even though Gamorreans do have access to the Primitive Warrior feat from the Rebellion Era Campaign Guide, the Advanced Melee Weapons Proficiency fulfills a requirement to get into the Gladiator prestige class.

Level 3 Soldier Talent – Improved Armored Defense: This talent lets you add half your armor bonus on top of your heroic level, making wearing armor an even better option for you.

Level 4 – Soldier 4

Ability Score Increases – +1 Dexterity, +1 Constitution

Level 4 Soldier Bonus Feat – Flurry (KOTOR 33): This talent lets you take a penalty to your Reflex Defense in order to get a bonus to your attack roll, which can help to overcome opponents with higher than average defenses without hurting your higher than average defense too much. This also fills a requirement for the Elite Trooper Prestige class.

Level 5 – Soldier 5

Level 5 Soldier Talent – Second Skin: This talent lets you increase both the Reflex and Fortitude Defense bonuses on your worn armor by 1, which is a no brainer for a character who like his armor.

Level 6 – Soldier 6

Level 6 Feat – Recovering Surge (RECG 30): This talent lets you also move +1 step up the Condition Track when you catch a second wind.

Level 6 Soldier Bonus Feat – Martial Arts I: This feat not only gives you another attack option should you need it, but also gives you a +1 to your Reflex Defense as well as fulfill the last feat prerequisite for your prestige class choices.

Level 7 – Soldier 7

Level 7 Soldier Talent – Tough as Nails: This talent acts as the Extra Second Wind talent, letting you take another second wind throughout the course of the day.

Level 8 – Soldier 7/Gladiator 1

Ability Score Increases: +1 Dexterity, +1 Constitution

Level 1 Gladiator Talent – Unstoppable (KOTOR 45): This talent lets you, once per encounter, simply decide that you are going to move one step less down the Condition Track. This is a great ability, especially considering that you don’t need to spend an action or a Force Point.

Level 9 – Soldier 7/Gladiator 2

Level 9 Feat – Fast Surge (RECG 29): This feat lets you catch a second wind as a Free Action, which may not seem so great at first until you realize that you can take a Free Action even when it isn’t your turn. So if you’re surrounded and about to go down, you can suddenly get yourself back in the fight and not worry about going down on the next enemies attack.

Level 10 – Soldier 7/Gladiator 2/Elite Trooper 1

Level 1 Elite Trooper Talent – Mandalorian Glory (KOTOR 38): This talent gives you a +5 bonus on your next attack roll when you drop an opponent, which isn’t bad. This also opens up your next Elite Trooper talent.

Level 11 – Soldier 7/Gladiator 2/Elite Trooper 2

Level 12 – Soldier 7/Gladiator 3/Elite trooper 2

Ability Score Increases: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution

Level 12 Feat – Unstoppable Combatant (RECG 30); This feat lets you catch multiple second winds per encounter should you need to, which can really help to save your bacon (couldn’t help the pun, sorry), should a fight really start turning against you.

Level 3 Gladiator Talent – Personal Vendetta (KOTOR 45): This talent lets you take a swift action to apply a -2 penalty to the attack rolls of all enemies within 12 squares should they choose to attack someone other than you, letting you “mark” all of those opponents to put it in 4th Edition terms.

Level 13 – Soldier 7/Gladiator 4/Elite Trooper 2

Level 14 – Soldier 7/Gladiator 4/Elite Trooper 3

Level 3 Elite Trooper Talent – Armored Mandalorian (KOTOR 38): This talent lets you add your armor’s equipment bonus to Fortitude Defense to your Damage Reduction, up to your normal Damage Reduction score as provided by your Elite Trooper class feature, effectively doubling your DR.

Level 15 – Soldier 7/Gladiator 4/Elite Trooper 4

Level 15 Feat – Quick Comeback (RECG 35): This feat allows you to take a single swift action after an attack has moved you down the Condition Track to move +1 step up. This is a fantastic ability, especially since as longa as you’re only moving one step down the track with each attack, as long as you have that single swift action open to you (which a melee character probably is going to), it’s like you didn’t move down at all.

Level 16 – Soldier 7/Gladiator 4/Elite Trooper 5

Ability Score Increases: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution

Level 5 Elite Trooper Talent – Strength in Numbers (CWCG 40): This talent gives you an additional +2 bonus to your DR when you start your turn within 10 squares of an ally. This is great, especially if you can work with another melee character.

Level 17 – Soldier 7/Gladiator 4/Elite Trooper 6

Level 18 – Soldier 7/Gladiator 4/Elite Trooper 7

Level 18 Feat – Increased Resistance (RECG 34): This feat is a little more situational, giving you a +2 to your Fortitude Defense until the end of your next turn when an attack or ability that specifically targets Fortitude Defense fails to overcome it. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work when an attack hits but fails to move you down the Condition Track, but works really well against certain Force Powers and enemies that like to use poison.

Level 7 Elite Trooper Talent – Indomitable: This talent lets you move +5 steps up the Condition Track once per day, which really helps when the chips are all down.

Level 19 – Soldier 7/Gladiator 4/Elite Trooper 8

Level 20 – Soldier 7/Gladiator 4/Elite Trooper 9

Ability Score Increases: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution

Level 9 Elite Trooper Talent – Juggernaut: This talent lets you still move your full speed in medium or heavy armor.

Equipment Selections: Make sure you get yourself the best suit of heavy armor you can afford at the earliest possible moment. As soon as you can afford it, look at both the Fortified Armor and Superior Fortified Armor traits to increase the armors equipment bonus to Fortitude Defense as well as increasing your Damage Threshold. For example, if you pick up a suit of heavy beskar’gam, and give it the Superior Fortified Armor trait, at level 20 you’ll have a Reflex Defense of 41. a Fortitude Defense of 47, and a Will Defense of 30. You’ll also have a DR of 8, which increases to 10 when you start within 10 squares of an ally.

Other than that, as soon as you pick up the Proficiency feat, pick yourself up an arg’garok which your species choice lets you treat this weapon as an advanced melee weapon instead of an exotic weapon.

One important thing to note is that while this character can stand toe to toe with the biggest and baddest melee monsters out there, they do suffer from a decidedly average Will Defense, so keep that in mind when dealing with Force Users and other creatures and characters that can target your Will Defense with some of their attacks.

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Build of the Week – The Force Wizard (Revisited)

That’s right Gamer Nation, it’s time for another Build of the Week. When I first started doing this, I hit you up with the Force Wizard, one of the staple character archetypes. And then, after I posted up the build advice, my format for the bit changed, and I never went back and updated the first one. Well, now I’m doing that.

The Force Wizard is a build that is designed to sling Force powers around in near every round in combat, electing to use this power as a weapon instead of something more traditional like a lightsaber or even a blaster, using it both to batter their foes into submission as well as to help to turn away all but the most devastating attacks.

The Force Wizard

Species: Ithorian. I know in my original build, I advised Human for the build, but when looking at everything else the Ithorian offered, both the bonus to Wisdom and Charisma (your two key ability scores), and their species bonus to Will Defense, I decided to play around with them for the build and see how they worked out. I’ll let you be the judge of how you think it worked out.

Ability Scores

Strength – 9 (+0)

Dexterity – 10 (+0)

Constitution – 10 (+0)

Intelligence – 10 (+0)

Wisdom – 17 (+3)

Charisma – 17 (+3)

Trained Skills

Use the Force

Perception

Level Progression

Level 1 – Jedi 1

Level 1 Feat – Force Training: As always, I’ll show which Force powers were picked for each level of this feat at the end of the progression.

Level 1 Jedi talent – Telekinetic Savant: This talent allows you to return one power with the [telekinetic] descriptor to your Force suite once per encounter without having to spend a Force Point. With as many powers that have this descriptor out there, that’s a lot of nice options to have. This also sets you up nicely for your next talent.

Level 2 – Jedi 2

Level 2 Jedi Bonus Feat – Skill Focus (Use the Force): Your Charisma is already higher than average, and is on the treadmill with your every 4 levels stat increases. However, having that additional +5 to the skill check is never a bad thing, especially when you start dealing with some of the powers that have higher than average DCs.

Level 3 – Jedi 3

Level 3 Jedi Talent – Telekinetic Prodigy (TFUCG 88): This talent gives you a bonus Force power every time you take the Force Training feat as long as you’ve taken the move object power with that instance of the feat. The only caveat is that you have to select a power with the [telekinetic] descriptor. Move object is one of the most versatile Force powers, in my opinion, and each book that has more Force powers has at least one if not more powers that carry the necessary descriptor, so you have a lot of options with this talent. This is truly a great talent consideration.

Level 4 – Jedi 4

Level 4 Ability Increases: +1 Wisdom, +1 Charisma

Level 4 Jedi Bonus Feat – Strong in the Force: This feat lets you roll d8s instead of d6s for your Force Points, upping the average roll on those suckers by 1 point, which may not seem like a lot in the short run, but as I’ve stated before, you’ll come back and thank me when you’re Force power would have failed to go off because you missed your roll by a single point.

Level 5 – Jedi 5

Level 5 jedi Talent – Telekinetic Power: This talent lets you use another instance of a power with the [telekinetic] descriptor when you roll a natural 20 on your Use the Force check to activate it. With all the powers with that descriptor that you should have in your Force suite, you shouldn’t have any problem getting some mileage out of this talent.

Level 6 – Jedi 6

Level 6 Feat – Force Boon: Three extra Force Points per level? Sign me up.

Level 6 Jedi Bonus Feat – Fight Through Pain (GaW 23): This feat is worth it’s weight in credits for a character of your build type. It allows you to figure your Damage Threshold using your Will Defense, which is already higher than average, in place of your Fortitude Defense, which is sadly lacking. This feat is going to help you stay on your feet for a lot longer should things turn against you.

Level 7 – Jedi 7

Level 7 Jedi Talent – Channel Energy (JATM 16):  This talent allows you to spend a Force Point to use a Force power from your Force suite when you successfully use the negate energy power to negate the damage from an energy attack. This isn’t a bad defensive reprisal option to have handy for yourself.

Level 8 – Jedi 7/Force Adept 1

Ability Score Increases: +1 Wisdom, +1 Charisma

Level 1 Force Adept Talent – Equilibrium: This talent lets you spend a Force Point to immediately move to the top of the Condition Track. This may not seem so great at first glance; after all, the soldier has a talent that lets them do this without needing to spend a Force point, but this talent specifically states that it lets you remove all debilitating conditions, which includes persistent conditions.

Level 9Jedi 7/Force Adept 2

Force Technique Chosen: Force Point Recovery – This Force Technique is really a no brainer for any build, even despite this build’s increased number of Fore Points at each level, getting one back after the end of every encounter in which you spend them is a wonderful thing.

Level 9 Feat – Force Training

Level 10 – Jedi 7/Force Adept 3

Level 3 Force Adept Talent – Channel Vitality (JATM 18): This talent lets you gain a temporary Force Point which must be used before the end of your next turn in exchange for moving -1 step down the Condition Track. This may not seem like a good idea at first, but remember which Force talent we just took two levels ago. You can use this without much fear for the first few times, and then spend the bonus Force Point to move yourself back up to the top of the Condition Track the next time with the Equilibrium talent. It might be a little bit “munchkiny” of a tactic, but we all like to do that every once in a while.

Level 11 – Jedi 7/Force Adept 4

Force Technique Chosen: Improved Force Lightning – While Force lightning is a great power in it’s own right, allowing you to treat the attack as a Bantha Rush is an added bonus.

Level 12 – Jedi 7/Force Adept 5

Ability Score Increases: +1 Wisdom, +1 Charisma

Level 5 Force Adept Talent – Mystic Mastery (JATM 18): This talent is really a no-brainer. It gives you a bonus Force Point per level equal to the number of Force talents you have taken, up to a maximum of +6. You have already taken 5 Force talents so far by following this progression, so, when taken with the Force Boon feat, that’s an extra 8 Force Points per character level. Not bad if I don’t say so myself.

Level 12 Feat – Force Training

Level 13 – Jedi 7/Force Adept  6

Force Technique Chosen: Improved Force Slam – This technique allows you change the area of your Force slam power from a cone to an area burst around you, allowing you to quickly clear out an area should you find yourself surrounded in combat.

Level 14 – Jedi 7/Force Adept 7

Level 7 Force Adept Talent – Fortified Body: This talent makes you immune to sickness, disease, and radiation, plain and simple.

Level 15 – Jedi 7/Force Adept 8

Force Technique Chosen: Extended Move Object – This technique gives you an extra 6 squares of range on the move object power, giving you just that much more room to work with when using it.

Level 15 Feat – Force Training

Level 16 – Jedi 7/Force Adept 9

Ability Score Increases: +1 Wisdom, +1 Charisma

Level 9 Force Adept Talent – Force Power Adept – move object: This talent gives you the option of spending a Force Point to reroll your Use the Force check when activating a certain Force power, and keep the better result. This is never a bad thing.

Level 17 – Jedi 7/Force Adept 9/Force Disciple 1

Level 1 Force Disciple Talent – Many Shades of the Force (JATM 73) – Force lightning: This talent takes away the [dark side] or [light side] descriptor from any Force power in your suite. We’ve selected Force lightning. Now watch your enemies tremble before you as you can throw this power around without fear.

Level 18 – Jedi 7/Force Adept 9/Force Disciple 2

Force Secret Chosen: Devastating Power – Getting a little more ‘oomph’ out of your damage dealing Force powers can be necessary sometimes to help take down a powerful enemy, and this Force secret allows you to do that.

Level 18 Feat – Force Training

Level 19 – Jedi 7/Force Adept 9/Force Disciple 3

Force Secret Chosen: Multitarget Power – The ability to target multiple enemies with a Force power can sometimes spell the difference between life and death. Imagine being able to use Force lightning to clear out a squad of enemies all with one use.

Level 3 Force Disciple Talent – Force Power Adept – Force lightning: We’ve already taken this power with the move object power, so why not take it for our new main attack power.

Level 20 – Jedi 7/Force Adept 9/Force Disciple 4

Force Secret Chosen: Distant Power – Sometimes you really need to be standing a good distance away before you use your move object power to fling a heavy piece of machinery into the enemy’s main reactor.

Ability Score Increases: +1 Wisdom, +1 Charisma

Force Powers Taken

Level 1 – move object, farseeing, negate energy, rebuke, mind shard, Force blast, Force blast, Force shield

Level 3 – move object, Force lighting, negate energy, mind shard, Force blast, rebuke, Force slam, repulse

Level 9 – move object, rebuke, negate energy, Force lightning, Force blast, phase, ballistakinesis, Force whirlwind

Level 12 – move object, lightning burst, vital transfer, Force blast, Force lightning, energy resistance, negate energy, Force shield

Level 15 – move object, vital transfer, Force slam, Force lightning, Force blast, negate energy, rebuke, Force whirlwind

Level 18 – move object, Force grip, Force lightning, Force blast, Force slam, negate energy, rebuke, Force whirlwind

The one thing to remember with this build is that while you need to keep your Force Power suite diverse, you also have to keep enough attack options into your Force suite for a possible protracted battle in which you might not be able to refresh your Force suite.

It should also be noted that while this build is supported by RAW, this is also the somewhat game-breaking power that can be wrought with some of the character options released in later supplements. So, stay aware, both as a GM and as a player, and be willing to make concessions if it comes to it.

Anyway, there’s the build, revisited, Gamer Nation. Sorry it took a little longer than expected. Wound up misplacing my notes for a day or so. We’ll see you back here later.

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Build of the Week – The Saber Master

When looking at Jedi build options, two primary archetypes jump to mind: the Force Wizard and the Saber Master. I’ll be [re]-examining the Force Wizard this Friday. So that leaves me with the Saber Master for this post.

The Saber Master represents a Force user who has formally studied and mastered the art of battle with the Jedi’s signature weapon: the lightsaber, further augmenting his own strength and abilities with the power of the Force.

The Saber Master

Species: I chose to go with my standby species for this build: the Human. The bonus feat and bonus trained skill are nothing to sneeze at. Since this build suffers from a terrible case of MAD (Multiple Attribute Dependency), taking penalties on one ability for bonuses on another is a little less than wonderful for a point buy. However, if you’re rolling, or are using a higher point buy, any species with a bonus to Strength would be a good choice, such as the Wookiee, Yuzzem, or Togorian.

Ability Scores:

Strength – 15 (+2)

Dexterity – 12 (+1)

Constitution – 11 (+0)

Intelligence – 10 (+0)

Wisdom – 14 (+2)

Charisma – 10 (+0)

Trained Skills

Initiative

Jump

Use the Force

Level Progression

Level 1 – Jedi 1

Level 1 Feat – Weapon Focus (lightsabers): Every extra point of attack bonus with your weapon helps, and this allows you to have an edge over your foes defenses from the very beginning.

Human Bonus Feat: Force Training: Force powers chosen with each instance of this feat will be explained in detail at the end.

Level 1 Jedi Talent – Block/Deflect: Block and Deflect are the two most powerful defenses a Jedi has, especially for a lightsaber user, so its important to pick these two talents up as early as possible. Pick whichever one you think you’re going to get more use out of first.

Level 2 – Jedi 2

Level 2 Jedi Bonus Feat – Rapid Strike: You won’t get the full benefit of this feat until you hit level 4, but it’s still nice to have, especially against enemies with lower than average defenses. An extra die of damage is nothing to sneeze at, but this also sets you up for other feats later.

Level 3 – Jedi 3

Level 3 Feat – Force Regimen Mastery (JATM 23): The Regimens chosen for this feat will be explained in detail after the progression.

Level 3 Jedi Talent – Block/Deflect: Choose whichever one you didn’t choose at 1st level.

Level 4 – Jedi 4

Ability Score Increases: +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity

Level 4 Jedi Bonus Feat – Skill Focus (Use the Force): Since you’re Charisma isn’t as high as it might have been, you’re going to need some help hitting the higher tiers of your Force powers. The +5 bonus from this feat will help.

Level 5 – Jedi 5

Level 5 Jedi Talent – Weapon Specializatino (lightsabers): Every extra point of damage you can squeeze out with a successful lightsaber attack helps you to dispatch foes that much more quickly.

Level 6 – Jedi 6

Level 6 Feat – Force Training

Level 6 Jedi Bonus Feat – Double Attack (lightsabers): This is the first level at which you can qualify for multiple attacks with a full round action. This makes you capable of dishing out just that much more punishment in a round.

Level 7 – Jedi 7

Level 7 Jedi Talent – Riposte (KotOR 25): Free attacks are always a good thing. This talent lets you make a free attack once per encounter against an opponent who’s melee attack you have successfully blocked with the Block talent.

Level 8 – Jedi 7/Jedi Knight 1

Ability Score Increases: +1 Constitution, +1 Wisdom

Level 1 Jedi Knight Talent – Soresu: This talent lets you reroll your Use the Force check on a failed Block or Deflect check, accepting the second result, making this a very powerful ability to have.

Level 9 – Jedi 7/Jedi Knight 2

Force Technique Chosen: Force Point Recovery: The ability to gain back a Force Point at the end of an encounter is a powerful ability.

Level 9 Feat – Accelerated Strike (KotOR 32): This feat allows you to make a full attack as a standard action once per encounter allowing you to make a full movement and all your attacks in the same round, or better yet, activate a lightsaber form power before making a full attack.

Level 10 – Jedi 7/Jedi Knight 3

Level 3 Jedi Knight Talent – Multiattack Proficiency (lightsabers): Lowered penalties when you make multiple attacks is nothing to sneeze at, helping you to dish out more damage when you make full attacks.

Level 11 – Jedi 7/Jedi Knight 4

Force Technique Chosen: Improved Shatterpoint (CWCG 54): Persistent conditions suck when you have to deal with them. Giving them out however, is great. This technique lets you do that with the shatterpoint power.

Level 12 – Jedi 7/Jedi Knight 5

Ability Score Increases: +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom

Level 12 Feat – Attack Combo (Melee) (LECG 34): This feat triggers when you hit an opponent with both of your attacks on a full attack action using the Double Attack feat. Once you do so, you deal one extra die of damage on all of your attacks until the end of your next turn. This extra damage stacks with that provided by feats like Rapid Strike, unlike some other feats that add extra damage.

Level 5 Jedi Knight Talent – Juyo – You can spend a Force Point with this talent in order to reroll your first attack roll each round against a chosen opponent. This is a great option for when you are fighting against a powerful opponent one on one.

Level 13 – Jedi 7/Jedi Knight 6

Force Technique Chosen: Force Power Master (vornskr’s ferocity): The vornskr’s ferocity power has some high DCs to hit. The ability to take 10 won’t let you hit the highest DC, but it will allow you to reliably activate the power.

Level 14 – Jedi 7/Jedi Knight 7

Level 7 Jedi Knight Talent – Vaapad: This talent increases your critical hit range with your lightsaber.

Level 15 – Jedi 8/Jedi Knight 7

Level 15 Feat – Force Training

Level 8 Jedi Bonus Feat – Improved Rapid Strike (KotOR 33): This feat allows you to increase the penalty to your attack rolls for an extra 2 dice of damage instead of the single die of damage from the Rapid Strike feat.

Level 16 – Jedi 8/Jedi Knight 7/Jedi Master 1

Ability Score Increases: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution

Level 1 Jedi Master Talent – Combustion (JATM 85): This talent lets you deal an extra 1d6 points of fire damage with a Force power that deals damage. This includes lightsaber form powers.

Level 17 – Jedi 8/Jedi Knight 7/Jedi Master 2

Force Secret Chosen: Devastating Power: Extra damage from a Force power, including lightsaber form powers, is never a bad thing. This lets you deal 150% damage with a power by spending a Force Point, and 200% damage if you spend a Destiny Point.

Level 18 – Jedi 8/Jedi Knight 7/Jedi Master 3

Force Secret Chosen: Multitarget Power: This secret lets you hit multiple opponents with a Force power. By definition, a lightsaber form power is a Force power, so technically, you could hit multiple opponents for mega damage.

Level 3 Jedi Master Talent – Lightsaber Form Savant (JATM 19): This talent allows you to return a lightsaber form power to your Force suite once per encounter without needing to spend a Force Point.

Level 18 Feat – Triple Crit (lightsabers): This feat allows you to deal triple damage on a critical hit, which thanks to the Vaapad talent, is more often than normal.

Level 19 – Jedi 9/Jedi Knight 7/Jedi Master 3

Level 9 Jedi Talent – Lightsaber Defense: An extra point of deflection bonus to your Reflex Defense may not seem like much, but come back to me and tell me how it saved your butt when the Sith Lord misses you by one.

Level 20 – Jedi 10/Jedi Knight 7/Jedi Master 3

Ability Score Increases: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution

Level 10 Jedi Bonus Feat: Attack Combo (Fire and Strike) (LECG 34): This feat is the second tier of the attack combo feats, adding another bonus damage die when you connect with two attacks on the same turn.

Force Regimens: sparring practice, remote training, vo’ren’s first cadence, vo’ren’s second cadence

Force Powers:

Level 1: battlestrike, surge, shatterpoint, vornskr’s ferocity (taken at 12th level)

Level 6: battlestrike, surge, shatterpoint, tempered aggression (taken at 12th level)

Level 15: tempered aggression (x2), vornskr’s ferocity, circle of shelter

This build focuses on the lightsaber form powers. Tempered aggression lets you treat your attack roll as a critical hit as long as you beat your opponent’s Reflex Defense by a certain amount based on your Use the Force check. The only caveat is that it also earns you a Dark Side Point unless you have the Vaapad talent, which, if you’ve followed the build advice, you have at 12th level. Vornskr’s ferocity allows you to deal extra dice of damage with your lightsaber dependent on your Use the Force check, but also carries the Dark Side descriptor unless you have the Juyo talent. Shatterpoint lets you treat your opponents Damage Threshold by an amount lowered based on your Use the Force check. Battlestrike lets you deal extra damage with your next attack made before the end of your next turn based on your Use the Force check.

As for the Force Regimens, you gain bonus Force Points to activate the Block and Defense talents with the sparring practice, and remote training regimens respectively. Vo’ren’s first cadence gives you a bonus to your Will Defense, and Vo’ren’s second cadence gives you a bonus to attack rolls against enemies that flank you. They also give you the severing strike talent and whirlwind attack feat respectively. Remember, you can only choose one regimen to gain the benefits of each day.

Equipment Choices: A self-built lightsaber of your choice of model. That’s about all this build needs to really, really shine. Designs to consider would be the greatsaber for the increased damage output or the crossguard lightsaber for the lowered penalties for multiple block attempts in the same round with the tradeoff being that you take a -2 to all Deflect attempts. However, if you find yourself in a campaign where more of your opponents are using melee weapons than they are blasters, this might be a good choice for you.

So there’s the build advice for this version of the Saber Master. This build is designed to dish out as much damage from a single attack as possible, however there are many ways to build a Saber Master, playing around with the lightsaber form talents and powers to varying effect. I’ll be exploring other avenues of this build in future installments. However, look back next week for a re-examination of the Force Wizard under the new format.

Catch ya on the flipside Gamer Nation.

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Build of the Week – The Sniper

I’m back, Gamer Nation. This week, I want to welcome the new year by looking at a long favorite ranged build – the Sniper. Striking hard from hiding, taking down the opponent as quickly as they can; they’re mantra being “one shot, one kill.” While that goal can be difficult with some of the more powerful foes in Star Wars Saga Edition, with the proper build it can be possible to take an opponent the entire way down the condition track in one round.

So, without further ado:

The Sniper

Species: Gran – The Gran may not have a Dexterity bonus, but they do have a few abilities that make them perfect for the Sniper build (or any ranged attacker build for that matter). First off, they don’t take penalties to Perception checks made out to 50 squares, and once per encounter, they can Aim as a single swift action, a very powerful ability.

Ability Scores

Strength -12 (+1)

Dexterity – 16 (+3)

Constitution – 13 (+1)

Intelligence – 10 (+0)

Wisdom – 10 (+0)

Charisma – 10 (+0)

Trained Skills

Perception

Climb

Jump

Survival (trained at Level 8 )

Level Progression

Level 1 – Soldier 1

Starting Feats: Armor Proficiency (light, medium), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons).

Level 1 Feat: Point Blank Shot – This is one of the keynote feats you’ll need to build off a lot of your other feats and one of your prestige class entry requirements. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use it at further than 30 squares until later in your build, but it’s still an important feat to have.

Species Conditional Bonus Feat: Precise Shot

Level 1 Soldier Talent: Devastating Attack (rifles)  – This starts the build off of the condition track mastery track. This talent lets you treat your foe’s damage threshold as 5 lower, letting you break their threshold more often.

Level 2 – Soldier 2

Level 2 Soldier Bonus Feat: Careful Shot – This talent gives you a bigger bonus to your attack roll when aiming, which is a tactic you should be using fairly often with this build.

Level 3 – Soldier 2/Scoundrel 1

Level 3 Feat: Far Shot – This feat drops the penalty from firing at longer range. nothing to sneeze at.

Level 1 Scoundrel Talent: Dastardly Strike – This is the first talent that allows you to move an opponent multiple steps down the condition track. If you catch your foe flat-footed, then you move them an automatic -1 step down the condition track.

Level 4 – Soldier 2/Scoundrel 1/Scout 1

Ability Bonuses: +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity

Level 1 Scout Talent: Acute Senses – This is the keystone talent for the Awareness talent tree, which you need to satisfy a prestige class requirement.

Level 5 – Soldier 2/Scoundrel 2/Scout 1

Level 2 Scoundrel Bonus Feat: Quickdraw – This may or may not be a feat you get a lot of use out of, but it requires a feat requirement for the Gunslinger prestige class.

Level 6 – Soldier 2/Scoundrel 2/Scout 2

Level 6 Feat: Steadying Position (GaW 26) – This feat lets you ignore your opponent’s Dexterity bonus to Reflex Defense when you fire from a prone position, letting you use your Dastardly Strike talent more often.

Level 2 Scout Bonus Feat: Deadeye – This feat grants you a bonus die of damage on your next attack when you use the Aim action, which as stated under the reasoning for the selection of the Careful Shot feat, is a tactic you should be using as often as you can, if not every round.

Level 7 – Soldier 2/Scoundrel 2/Scout 3

Level 3 Scout Talent: Keen Shot – This talent lets you ignore concealment when attacking with a ranged weapon, and finishes your talent requirements for the Bounty Hunter prestige class.

Level 8 – Soldier 2/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4

Ability Bonuses: +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom

Level 4 Scout Bonus Feat: Skill Training (Survival) – This finishes your entry requirements for the Bounty Hunter prestige class.

Level 9 – Soldier 3/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4

Level 9 Feat: Double Attack (rifles) – This feat lets you take a second shot as a full round action, helping set up a powerful combination in a few levels.

Level 3 Soldier Talent: Penetrating Attack (rifles) – There aren’t a whole lot of opponents out there with Damage Reduction in Star Wars Saga Edition, but those that do have it can ruin your day real quickly. This talent helps offset some of that.

Level 10 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4

Level 4 Soldier Bonus Feat: Accelerated Strike (KOTOR 32) – This feat lets you make a full-round attack as a standard action once per encounter, allowing you to aim, gain the benefits of such on your first attack, and follow up with a second stinging shot with your Double Attack feat.

Level 11 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1

Level 1 Bounty Hunter Talent: Hunter’s Mark – This talent states that when you aim and deal damage, you move your target down -1 step on the Condition Track. As long as you fire from a prone position and deal damage, you move the target at least -2 steps on the condition track, -3 if you break their damage threshold.

Level 12 – Solder 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 1

Ability Bonuses: +1 Constitution, +1 Wisdom

Level 12 Feat: Riflemaster (GaW 25) – This feat does a number of things for different rifles, most notably letting you increase the damage die of the heavy blaster rifle from d10s to d12s.

Level 1 Gunslinger Talent: Debilitating Shot – This talent does the same thing as Hunter’s Mark, letting you move your opponent a possible -4 steps down the Condition Track in a single shot, and possibly moving them to the bottom of the track in a single round if you use your Accelerated Strike feat and break their threshold with the second attack.

Level 13 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 2

Level 14 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 3

Level 3 Gunslinger Talent: Precision Shot (GaW 31) – This talent lets you gain the benefits of the Point Blank Shot feat at range.

Level 15 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 4

Level 15 Feat: Triple Attack (rifles) – One more attack with a full-round attack is largely gravy, and may seem a little unnecessary, but can be a wonderful ability against foes with higher than normal Damage Thresholds.

Level 16 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 5

Ability Bonuses: +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom

Level 5 Gunslinger Talent: Draw a Bead (GaW 31) – This talent lets you add your Dexterity modifier (which by this point is nothing to sneeze at) to your damage rolls against an opponent you have aimed at from a range by spending a single swift action, but lasting until you finish your opponent off or until he leaves your sights.

Level 17 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 6

Level 18 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 7

Level 18 Feat: Weapon Focus (rifles) – This may seem like a really late point to take this feat, but every point of attack bonus helps.

Level 7 Gunslinger Talent: Multiattack Proficiency (rifles)  (LECG 41) – This talent lowers the attack penalty when you make multiple attacks with rifles, easy as that.

Level 19 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 8

Level 20 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 9

Ability Bonuses: +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom

Level 9 Gunslinger Talent: Old Faithful (LECG 41) – This talent lets you add your Trusty Sidearm damage to rifles, netting you an extra four points of damage per attack with your attacks.

Alternate talent choices include a second pick of Multiattack Proficiency (rifles) in order to further mitigate the penalties on your Double and Triple Attack. The rest of the Sharpshooter talent tree from Galaxy at War is also have some great alternatives, so check those out as well.

When looking at equipment, you want to go with a weapon that’s going to deal good damage, such as the heavy blaster rifle, equipping it with either an enhanced low-light targeting scope to give you an edge in darker environs. If you decide to wear armor, you can go with the regular targeting scope should you choose to install a helmet package on your armor. You may also want to look at the Dashade Weapon template from the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide since you’ll be playing with the Condition Track a lot more often than you’ll be concerned with dealing straight hit point damage, and this helps you keep them pushed down the track for longer.

Obvious tactics for this build include finding a position far enough away with solid cover, dropping to the prone position, and aiming before squeezing off your shot. Once per encounter, you’ll be able to aim and take either the Double Attack or Triple Attack action, thanks to the combination of your species ability and the Accelerated Strike feat.

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Build of the Week – Secret Agent, or Bothan, James Bothan

For this build, I decided to take a look at several of the prestige classes to build an effective “Secret Agent” type character.

Species: Bothan

Planet of Origin: Bakura (RECG 20)

Starting Abilities:

Strength – 12 (+1)

Dexterity – 15 (+2)

Constitution – 10 (+0)

Intelligence – 12 (+1)

Wisdom – 14 (+2)

Charisma – 10 (+0)

Trained Skills

Treat Injury

Perception

Stealth

Knowledge (tactics)

Initiative

Use Computer

Knowledge (bureaucracy) (At level 16)

Level Progression:

Level 1 – Soldier 1

Starting Feats: Armor Proficiency (light,medium), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons)

Level 1 Feat: Informer (TFU 33) – This gets you virtual training in the Gather Information skill, while allowing you to use your Perception skill in place, which nets you a bigger bonus to the skill check thanks to your higher than average Wisdom score. This also gets one of your skill training requirements for the Enforcer Prestige class.

Level 1 Soldier Talent: Battle Analysis – This talent may seem decidedly, “meh”, but it sets you up nicely for your next soldier talent.

Level 2 – Soldier 1/Scout 1

Level 1 Scout Talent: Blend In (TFU 28) – This talent lets you use your Stealth modifier in place of your Deception modifier in order to create a deceptive appearance, once again allowing you to make use of a higher ability score.

Level 3 – Soldier 2/Scout 1

Level 2 Soldier Bonus Feat: Martial Arts I – This feat gives you a nice unarmed option should you find yourself without a ranged weapon. This also sets you up for some abilities in the Infiltrator class. The +1 dodge bonus to Reflex Defense is gravy.

Level 3 Feat: Confident Success (RECG 31) – This feat nets you a Force Point when you learn something via the Gather Information skill, which is something you’ll be doing a lot of.

Level 4 – Soldier 2/Scout 2

Ability Bonuses: +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom

Level 2 Scout Bonus Feat: Skill Focus (Perception) – This serves a dual purpose, giving you the bonus to both your Perception and virtual Gather Information checks.

Level 5 – Soldier 3/Scout 2

Level 3 Soldier Talent: Defensive Position (GaW 21) – This talent lets you spend two swift actions in order to increase the benefit you gain from cover.

Level 6 – Soldier 3/Scout 3

Level 3 Scout Talent:  Evasion – Taking an automatic half damage from area attacks is nothing to sneeze at.

Level 6 Feat: Advantageous Cover (TFU 31): As long as you have cover, you take no damage from area attacks. Period. This is a very powerful option, especially when paired with the ability to get improved cover from ranged attacks with the Defensive Position talent.

Level 7 – Soldier 4/Scout 3

Level 4 Soldier Bonus Feat: Martial Arts II – This is just a nice build up from Martial Arts I.

Level 8 – Soldier 4/Scout 4

Ability Bonuses: +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom

Level 4 Scout Bonus Feat: Skill Focus (Initiative) – This choice is pretty self explanatory. When the chips are down and you’re forced into combat, going first can be the difference in living and dying.

Level 9 – Soldier 5/Scout 4

Level 5 Soldier Talent: Armored Defense – This is a nice talent, allowing you to wear armor without it holding you back.

Level 9 Feat: Martial Arts III – This is the top of the Martial Arts feat tree, giving you better unarmed combat options.

Level 10 – Soldier 5/Scout 5

Level 5 Scout Talent: Surveillance (TFU 28) – This talent finishes your prestige class entry requirements and can give you an edge in combat.

Level 11 – Soldier 5/Scout 5/Enforcer 1

Level 1 Enforcer Talent: Nonlethal Tactics (TFU 45) – This talent gives you a nice edge to attack and damage when using certain stun weapons.

Level 12 – Soldier 5/Scout 5/Enforcer 1/Infiltrator 1

Ability Bonuses: +1 Strength, +1 Intelligence

Level 1 Infiltrator Talent: Set for Stun (TFU 49) – This talent moves a foe an additional step down the condition track if you spend two swift actions before using a ranged weapon set to stun.

Level 12 Feat: Republic Military Training (KOTOR 35) – This feat gets you DR 10 in cover against one attack per encounter. This is great, especially if your GM is willing to let era specific feats into games set outside the era specified.

Level 13 – Soldier 5/Scout 5/Enforcer 2/Infiltrator 1

Level 14 – Soldier 5/Scout 5/Enforcer 3/Infiltrator 1

Level 3 Enforcer Talent: Slowing Stun (TFU 49) – This talent states that as long as you move your opponent at least one step down the condition track, you also cut their speed in half, letting you keep them in range.

Level 15 – Soldier 5/Scout 5/Enforcer 3/Infiltrator 2

Level 15 Feat: Point Blank Shot – This is always a nice feat to have for any sort of ranged combat you may find yourself in.

Level 16 – Soldier 5/Scout 5/Enforcer 3/Infiltrator 3

Ability Bonuses: +1 Intelligence, +1 Wisdom

Level 3 Infiltrator Talent: Creeping Approach (TFU 49) – This talent is amazing. It lets you start while hidden from an opponent and then enter their line of sight without them even seeing you. Fantastic for getting past an overly alert sentry.

Level 17 – Soldier 5/Scout 5/Enforcer 3/Infiltrator 4

Level 18 – Soldier 5/Scout 5/Enforcer 3/Infiltrator 5

Level 5 Infiltrator Talent: Improved Surveillance (TFU 28) – On top of the attack bonus, this talent also gives you defense bonuses when you take the time to observe your opponent.

Level 18 Feat – Triple Crit (simple weapons) – This feat helps you deal extra damage with your unarmed stun attacks through the Infiltrator class feature when you score a critical hit.

Level 19 – Soldier 5/Scout 5/Enforcer 3/Infiltrator 6

Level 20 – Soldier 5/Scout 5/Enforcer 4/Infiltrator 6

Ability Bonuses: +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom

This build has a couple of options open to it. Your main source of power in combat is utilizing stun weapons, as many of your talents grants them bonuses to them as well as getting you into position to use them. Your unarmed strikes can deal stun damage as well at higher levels, giving you one more option. If forced into combat where you can’t use stun weapons (or need to eliminate a target instead of just neutralizing them), then you get great bonuses from finding cover and trading fire with an opponent from there.

This build also gets a great benefit from watching and observing your opponent, both before and during combat, getting extra Force Points for using your investigative abilities to learn about your opponent and bonuses in combat for watching them.

When looking at equipment choices, don’t overlook the benefit of the Bothan Weapon template from the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide. You deal less damage when not in stun, but after level 11, that’s already an extra 2 dice of damage from ranged stun weapons (and a few select melee weapons).

This character works well on its own, but can be slightly less than optimal in a group setting, so be warned. It requires a different play style for the rest of the group, but in a properly themed campaign and planned group, this build could be a lot a lot of fun.

Until next time, Gamer Nation.

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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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