Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Essentials Rules Point

For my 100th blog post (100! woo-hoo!) I wanted to walk through a wording and rules issue that came up at last week's DDE session. While the issue caused no rancor, the wording of the powers seemed a bit obtuse at the time so the DM and I agree to go with it as was last week and to then discuss it further outside the game session. I'm fine with that. I'm sure I played it wrong to begin with, but the rules as written severely diminish the power below the way I originally read and envisioned it.

I was playing a first level Dragonborn Cavalier (Paladin) who came with the following powers:

So the way I read it originally was that anyone swinging at an ally in my active Defender Aura took a -2 to attacks, and that anyone who attacked an ally in my Aura took Righteous Radiance damage. A careful re-read of the powers doesn't quite say that though.

At first glance it would appear that any ally of mine in the bounds of the aura would gain a defensive bonus, but what the power really says is that any enemy in the aura instead has a -2 penalty to attack. So my Aura 1 affects the eight adjacent squares around where my character was standing, but if the opponent was outside of that range attempting to hit an ally within the bounds of the Aura would otherwise be unaffected. The net of this would be that I really couldn't use Defender's Aura to extend a defensive bonus to allies but rather I would more likely use it to affect a specific opponent(s) I might be facing to minimize their attack(s) on me, to force them to focus on me, and then maybe affect another opponent(s) who may happenstance into the zone of affect.

As a combo power Righteous Radiance essentially allowed me to more-or-less "Mark" the opponent(s) in my Aura. If the affected opponent(s) then Shifted or attacked someone besides me I would do an automatic amount of damage to the opponent (but the opponent(s) doesn't get the RR damage if they were to hit one of my allies who might happen to have his or her own Defender's Aura activated). I suppose if the opponent Moved my character would get an Opportunity Attack, so maybe the Shift/damage thing does pin them down a little.

So it looks like my play would be to bring my character forward, engage a targeted opponent in my aura, and if the affected opponent then did something stupid they would take extra damage. I originally saw this as a way for my character to provide a boon to my allies and to punish opponents who attacked them, but upon a second reading it looks like I would be using this combo a little more selfish manner.

Side note: I mentioned in last week's DDE recap that the Essentials Character Builder didn't have a Flaming Weapon option. Per a suggestion from the DM my resolution was to add a basic +1 Longsword to my character sheet - that took care of all the basic math of bonuses and such. I then created a temporary regular DnD character, gave that character a +1 Flaming Longsword, printed out the single sheet with the +1 Flaming Longsword card on it, and then cut/pasted that card onto my character sheet. With the math already taken care of all I really wanted to see was the special affects text of the flaming sword card, so for all intents and purposes my updated character sheet now has a +1 Flaming Longsword on it.


  1. I see this as a defensive combo that works best when you put yourself in the thick of the action. For example, if you place yourself in the middle of the "front line", then the three enemies in front of you are at -2 to hit your comrades on either side, and take 5 radiant damage if they swing at them. That means if they're smart, your enemies will all focus on you, and your allies can whale away on them. Combine this with feats like "Against All Odds" that give you bonuses when lots of enemies are around you.

  2. Yes, but ... the implication is that I would need all of my multiple opponents to cooperate and stand in a position where I could affect them with my Aura. But outside of that the effect is really minimized.

    I'll get to use it plenty of times over the next several weeks so I am sure I will come across an optimal opportunity though.