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- Bahamut's Champions Review
Out of all the good aligned gods, Bahamut is certainly one of my favorites. One problem is that aside from clerics I dont really give two shits about divine characters, though that might change when Josh starts running Scales of War with plenty of houserules and extra bits tacked on to make it more presentable. The other problem is that I was gunning for tiefling avenger of Asmodeus, and this article throws a platinum holy symbol in the works. I'm thinking dragonborn paladin or maybe invoker.
Bahamut's Champions is similar to the old "Core Beliefs" articles that ran in the olden days of Dragon, when people read it off of pieces of paper (while possibly wiping their asses with other pieces of paper): you get seven character backgrounds, three "initiations", and then some paragraphs on beliefs and duties that takes up almost a column. Backgrounds come with an opening paragraph that tells you how they work (in case this is your First Time to the Rodeo), while initiations serve as a springboard for how you got into the adventuring gig. A simple-yet-elegant adventurer's algebraic equation.
With those whopping three pages out of the way, its on to crunch. You get a paragon path, some feats, and then an epic destiny.
The paragon path is chromatic bane, a guy who really hates chromatic dragons, except she also hates metallic dragons. And planar dragons. Basically any dragon at all that serves Tiamat. Another name for this would be the bane of dragon's who associate in some manner with Tiamat, but thats understandably waaay too fucking long. The path features grant you energy resistance when you burn an action point, allow an ally to make a fear save at the end of your turns (all the time), and gives you the Channel Divinity power platinum mantle, which gives out a defense bonus to you and all allies when you are hit by a close/area attack. Nifty.
Rolling stab lets you shift 5 squares and make an attack after you get hit, giving you a defense bonus and also dealing extra damage against dragons.
Rousing cry automatically removes the dazed/stunned condition from an ally and lets them move for freeeeeeeeee.
Heartstrike deals quad-weapon damage, slides the target, lets you shift after it, and marks it for the entire encounter. You can also use it with a charge.
There's a dozen new feats, with almost half belonging to Heroic tier. Every single feat requires a divine class of some sort, except for Radiant Breath which also demands that you are dragonborn. Each tier presents something for every divine class, with the exception of Epic (that only has something for invokers and paladins). Here are some previews:
- Radiant Breath adds radiant to the damage of dragon breath, so dragonborn Chaladins are even more badass and exploding undead than they already were.
- Shielding Word adds a defense bonus to allies that you peg with healing word.
- Dragonbane lets powers that normally target undead also work on dragons.
- Forceful Challenge lets you slide a target that takes damage from divine challenge.
- Weakening Challenge is an epic-feat that weakens a target every time it is affected by divine challenge.
All of the powers that deal damage have a level swap entry that lets you deal more and more damage if you swap it out with higher level powers than whats normally required, so they can remain useful even at high levels.
Finally the epic destiny, Bahamut's vessel. You get "touched" by Bahamut and he invests you with divine essence. Mostly this just makes you a total badass and gives you features and "epic powah", but also functions as a deus ex machina in case Bahamut bites the big one: you can use it to reboot him, at the low-low cost of being utterly consumed by divine fire in order to give it a jump start. Sure you die, but you live on forever in the percentage of his brain that he actually accesses from time to time.
In all seriousness, its actually pretty damned cool. You get to increase Str, Wis, or Cha by 2 points for an opener, so it works great for any and all divine classes. However, each time you burn an action point you regain hit points as if you'd spend a healing surge in addition to a defense boost. Each time. At level 24 every ally within 5 squares gets a bonus on saves, and if they get healed get a bonus to attacks and defenses. Finally, when you get dropped you immediately regain all your hit points and turn into a Large platinum dragon. Sure, its not as cool as the sorcerer's wyrmform power at level 29, but its still pretty sweet.
First, you get darkvision, some resistances, can fly and hover, and all enemies within 5 squares take an attack penalty. You can bite whenever you want, which deals 3d12 + 12 damage and slides the target, and you get a breath weapon attack that affects a close blast 5 and does some okay damage that pushes and immobilizes targets. The downside is that if you use that it ends your dragon form. On the plus side, you can still use any other powers that you want and the only gear you lose access to are wondrous items and weapons that you were holding.
I enjoyed this article, even though I dont play divine characters. I've wanted to give them a shot, but with all the playtest materials trickling in I've been investing free time to giving those a shot. This has ironically tempted me to give divine classes a closer look: even if I dont want to look up to Bahamut, it works well as a foundation for other deities (as well as consider giving those Core Beliefs articles another looksie). My only complaint is that I was expecting a bit more out of the story content.