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deganawida

Ranger who can kill anyone in 1 hit

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Books used: 3.5 PHB, Complete Warrior, Complete Adventurer

 

Relevant stats:

 

Assume Str of 14

10th level

Straight-class Ranger

Human

Jump 8 ranks

Favored Enemies at +6, +2, +2

 

Feats:

Weapon Proficiency (Exotic):Bastard Sword------1st level

Weapon Focus:Bastard Sword-------1st level

Power Attack-------3rd level

Favored Power Attack (from CW)------6th level

Leap Attack (from CA)------9th level

 

Weapons: Masterwork Bastard Sword (+1 to hit), wielded two-handed when using Power Attack.

 

Equip: No magic items

 

Breakdown:

 

BAB-10

Attack Bonus----10(BAB)+2(Str)+1(WF:BS)+1(MW BS)

 

When using Power Attack with a two-handed weapon, you multiply the amount subtracted from your BAB by 2, rather than 1; i.e., take 10 away from AB, add 20 to damage.

 

When a ranger with Favored Power Attack (CW) attacks a Favored Enemy with Power Attack and a two-handed weapon, he does 3 times damage as the amount taken from AB; ie., take 10 away from AB, add 30 to damage.

 

When a character with Leap Attack makes a jumping Power Attack with a two-handed weapon, he does 3 times damage as the amount taken from AB; i.e., take 10 away from AB, add 30 damage.

 

1 doubled, then doubled twice more, is 4 times according to D&D rules. Thus, a ranger built as described would, with a leaping Power Attack against his Favored Enemy and using a two-handed weapon or a non-light weapon in two hands would do 4 times damage as the amount taken from his Attack; i.e., take 10 away from his Attack, and he does 40 extra points of damage.

 

Now, that's only 40 points of extra damage. How can he kill everything in one hit? Let me break it down further:

-10 to attack for Power Attack

+1 to attack for WF:BS

+1 to attack for MS BS

+2 to attack for Str

+2 to attack for Charging

Attack Bonus of +6

 

1-10 damage from Bastard Sword

+6 damage for Favored Enemy bonus against best FE

+3 damagefor Strength (1.5 times Str bonus of +2)

+40 damage for Power Attack, Favored Power Attack, and Leap Attack

 

Minimum damage dealt by this attack is 50 points of damage.

 

Whenever a single source deals 50 or more points of damage to a creature, said creature must make a Fortitude save vs. DC 15 or die. Now, many CR 10 creatures could possibly make that save, but this ranger could force a save every other round while still doing a minimum of 50 points of damage per hit.

 

I saw how all this synergized together Tuesday night when I got home with my new copy of Complete Adventurer. I had to work out the math by hand just to make sure that I was right. It is an incredibly powerful build that only requires the right class and 3 extra feats (as it can be done with a greatsword or -axe as well), yet it's given to the weakest of the full-BAB classes, that being the Ranger. A Ranger who took this would probably not take the TWF fighting style (man, I hate those fighting styles with their virtual feats), and wouldn't need to use much archery. I'd allow it in my campaign, simply because Rangers are the weakest full-BAB class and a character who picked it would have to forgo fighting styles.

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The implication there for me is to make it quite hard, and take a heck of a long time, to reach 10th level.

Which should be the case, in my opinion. In the super-fast power-leveling of a cRPG that build would be far too much, but in a P&P campaign where it can take a year or more of playing that character to reach 10th level, it seems reasonable.


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That's actually going to be relatively in-effective in practice, considering that its final AB is +6.

 

The creatures you're fighting at tenth level generally have over 16 AC, so you're going to need 20s to actually hit anything at all. Sure, you'll be massively damaging when you do hit, but without TWF that's going to be something like once every ten rounds.

 

Great for making goblins explode, but against real enemies that build would be relatively easy to beat.


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Good point, Squidget, except for two things: the low strength and the lack of magic. It's not unreasonable at all for a 10th level melee-focused character to have an unmodified Str of 16 or higher, adding another +1 at least to attack. Next, when we add magic into the equation, we can assume at least another +5 to attack: +4 to Str from items (giving a +2 attack bonus), and +3 from a +3 Bastard Sword. Both of these are available to 10th level characters as level-appropriate treasure. Throw in a bard song, a bless, or something similar, and the attack bonus is pushed up to +11 (the +3 from Str, the +3 from the sword, minus the MW bonus) at the least. Assuming an average roll of 10, that means that such a character could hit anything with an AC of 21 or less with each hit. And that's just a conservative estimate. I imagine that some players could come up with even more bonuses to attack (one way would be to burn action points on the attack roll, if the campaign has action points; another would be to exchange WF:BS for Improved Favored Enemy, so you only have to take 8 points away from BAB to make the 50 point mark).

 

Of course, this build does have a weakness: defense. Since a ranger is limited to light armor by feats (only given Light Armor Proficiency), combat style (limited to light armor only), and special abilities (Evasion only works in light armor), he'll never have a high AC to begin with. Add to that the fact that charging incurs a penalty to AC. and the fact that the ranger is the only full-BAB class to have less than a d10 for hit dice (he has a d8), and you begin to see the real weakness of this build. Personally, I think it's a fair trade-off, as this character can wreak massive carnage potentially but is more likely to be seriously wounded/die than other melee combatants due to poor hit points and AC.

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That's actually going to be relatively in-effective in practice, considering that its final AB is +6.

 

The creatures you're fighting at tenth level generally have over 16 AC, so you're going to need 20s to actually hit anything at all.  Sure, you'll be massively damaging when you do hit, but without TWF that's going to be something like once every ten rounds.

 

Great for making goblins explode, but against real enemies that build would be relatively easy to beat.

 

That's where a wizard comes in handy. *cough* True Strike *cough*


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Rangers rarely have a high defensive capability; they heavily rely on getting in as many hits as possible first before being hit themselves (or getting mre hits than the enemy, hence the dual-wielding and highest BAB rating).

Rangers are guerilla warriors, and Degan's build certainly makes a nice "finish the job" character. It would be best combined with hitting an enemy from afar with a bow and then closing in for that big finish. That big-damage potential is nice, but it comes at sacrificing a lot of other aspects of the class, I think.


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The funny thing is, even though I came up with this build, I'd probably never use it. When I play, I tend to pick utility combat feats, such as Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, and Improved Unarmed Strike (hey, when disarmed, it helps to be able to use your hands and feat), and this build would prevent me from taking such feats. Still, it is nice ...

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The other problem with this build is you won't hit your 50-damage mark against anything but a favored enemy.

 

You'd probably get closer if you took your last level in Rogue and threw on an extra 1d6 Sneak Attack against non-constructs and undead, but I haven't got time to work out the numbers at the moment and see if you can make your way back up to 50 minimum damage.

 

Personally, I've always preferred builds that use the Core Books only. Some of the stuff in the supplements just gets ridiculous (like the Ninja of the Crescent Moon and Sacred Fist.)


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The supplements are quite neat, though some of them do get a bit silly (usually the stuff for monks and clerics, seems to be... but maybe that's because I don't like monks or clerics?)

 

I did try building a "maximum-damage" power character at one point. He was a Swordwraith (from Monster Manual 2, IIRC), wielded a mercurial longsword , was an Exotic Weapon Master (Complete Warrior) and used one of the exotic weapon mastery benefits to do double his Str bonus when wielding it two-handed, and with a couple of well-chosen feats, at level 11 he had two attacks per round (at a decent AB) for an average damage of about 30 normally, or over 50 with Power Attack, and a maximum possible damage of 141 on a critical hit, IIRC :lol:

 

He was also usefully immune to lots of things (since he was undead) but had the disadvantage of only having about 60 hit points and really needed a special support character to heal him...

 

Never actually got round to playing that character in an adventure...

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