Staffs & Spells

There's some more Essentials support in the form of staff-fighting options and another mage school specialization.

Starting with staffs, the article comes in two parts. The first allows knights and slayers to pick non-parallel alternative class features in order to make the quarterstaff a viable choice, in case that's something that appealed to you. Personally, I'm kinda meh on it because while I haven't had a chance to take either class for a spin, using a big-ass sword appeals to me a lot more than a stick. Anywho, knights can replace Shield Finesse with Spinning Deflection, which grants an AC and Reflex bonus when wielding a staff, and you still count as using a shield for power prereqs. Additionally, they can take Bludgeoning Staff at level 7 in order to push enemies that they hit with power strike. Slayers on the other hand can take Rapid Quarterstaff at level 7 in order to deal automatic damage to adjacent critters when using power strike, and can take staggering staff for their level 12 utility, which lets them slide a target they miss as a free action.

The feat groups here are Ordained Weapon, Thief Weapon, and Weapon Training, each with their own pair of feats. Ordained Weapon feats are only useful for divine classes: Staff of Knowledge grants combat advantage for a single divine attack, while Staff of Travel lets you shift when you hit with divine attacks. Thief Weapon feats apply to thieves and/or rogues by virtue of their prereqs, allowing you to daze with a backstab or gaining both proficiency with a staff and being able to use Sneak Attack with it. That's a bit more up my alley, evoking images of the Robin Hood movie with Kevin Costner. Finally, Stout-Handed Staff basically lets small characters use a quarterstaff, as well as shift if you prone someone when smacking them with one, while War Wizard's Staff lets you usher an ally out of the way when using close arcane attacks. You know, if you're the kind of character that gives a shit if you're going to explode an ally.

Speaking of exploding allies, the new school on the block is pyromancy, which to me seems like a subset of evocation. It presents itself like the other schools do in Heroes of the Fallen Lands, just not intermixed throughout the class's progression. In other words, its easier to determine what benefits it provides throughout your career. Starting with the heroic tier, Pyromancy Apprentice grants a passive, untyped, scaling bonus on arcane fire attacks. Wow. Pair this with a tiefling with Hellfire Blood and you'll be packing some serious heat. Okay well, Pyromancy Expertise doesn't give you any magical benefits, instead giving a passive bonus to Bluff and Intimidate...which are two iconic tiefling skills. Hrmm... Pyromancy Master causes area and close arcane attacks to create zones that inflict automatic damage for a turn. I wonder if tieflings in Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms are going to get optional Con bonuses?

I like all these features, mostly because I like tieflings a lot and it seems specifically geared towards them, which is completely fucking fine by me. At paragon tier, Pyromancy Action lets you pick an enemy when you burn an action point, and for an entire turn anytime you hit them with a fire effect, they take maximum damage.  Brutal. Kelwyn's devouring fire is your level 11 attack, which hits a nice area and deals half damage on a miss (or you can slide them). If you kill anything, survivors take automatic fire damage again. I find it odd that you can opt to deal half damage or slide creatures outside the area of effect. I wonder if spells will be updated to represent missed targets leaping out of the way? The level 12 utility lets you transform into an elemental-type shape, granting fire immunity, a bonus on attacks based on the number of targets you're gunning for, and automatic damage to creatures stopping next to you. Very cool if cliche. Finally, at level 20 you get a very hefty 10d10 fire damage attack that not only hits an area 2 burst within 20 squares, but chalks off half your hit points (and you cannot reduce it, either). Yeesh. Fuck meteor swarm.

Not a bad haul, though a staff-wielding defender wasn't really one of my must haves, or even kinda-sorta-wanna haves. At least some of the new feats could be used by other characters, so there's some nice coverage there. Mostly, I'm stoked over the pyromancer. Josh wanted someone to play a wizard, so this'll be a good chance to tryout another tiefling that focuses on fire magic.

1 comment:

  1. Hm, I thought I'd posted this before, but I'll give it another thought.

    Anyway, the real joy of the Pyromancer is that he bypasses fire resistance entirely. This means that he'll have several extra feats to spend, since he won't have to waste time getting stuff to help him offset it.


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