Shield Fighter, level 30 Human, Fighter, Swordmaster, Ceaseless Guardian Build: Guardian Fighter Fighter: Combat Superiority Fighter Talents: One-handed Weapon
FINAL ABILITY SCORES Str 30, Con 14, Dex 20, Int 10 Wis 14, Cha 12.
STARTING ABILITY SCORES Str 18, Con 12, Dex 12, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10.
AC: 35 Fort: 41 Reflex: 36 Will: 31 HP: 218 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 54
TRAINED SKILLS Athletics +28, Endurance +20, Heal +22, Intimidate +21
UNTRAINED SKILLS Acrobatics +18, Arcana +15, Bluff +16, Diplomacy +16, Dungeoneering +17, History +15, Insight +17, Nature +17, Perception +17, Religion +15, Stealth +18, Streetwise +16, Thievery +18
- Human Bonus Feat: Mobile Challenge (Retrained to Mobile Warrior at 22)
- Level 1: Heavy Blade Expertise
- Level 2: Shield Push
- Level 4: Forceful Opportunist (Retrained to Heavy Blade of Opportunity at 12)
- Level 6: Weapon Focus - Heavy Blades
- Level 8: Improved Defenses
- Level 10: Improved Initiative (Retrained to Superior Initiative at 23)
- Level 11: Hindering Shield
- Level 12: Persistent Threat (Retrained to Rapid Combat Challenge at 21)
- Level 14: Ubiquitous Shield
- Level 16: Armor Specialization - Scale
- Level 18: World Serpent's Grasp
- Level 20: Reckless Attacker
- Level 21: Heavy Blade Mastery
- Level 22: Martial Mastery
- Level 24: Allied Opportunity
- Level 26: Toughness
- Level 28: Vicious Advantage
- Level 30: Strength Through Challenge
- Fighter at-will 1: Cleave
- Fighter at-will 1: Footwork Lure
- Fighter at-will 1: Tide of Iron
- Fighter encounter 1: Hack and Hew
- Fighter daily 1: Lasting Threat
- Fighter utility 2: Glowering Threat
- Fighter encounter 3: Sweeping Blow
- Fighter daily 5: Rain of Steel
- Fighter utility 6: Kirre's Roar
- Fighter encounter 7: Come and Get It
- Fighter daily 9: Bedeviling Assault
- Fighter utility 10: Clearheaded
- Fighter encounter 13: Shield Bearer's Vendetta (replaces Hack and Hew)
- Fighter daily 15: Unyielding Avalanche (replaces Rain of Steel)
- Fighter utility 16: Tyrian Battle Stance
- Fighter encounter 17: Revel in Pain (replaces Sweeping Blow)
- Fighter daily 19: Strike of the Watchful Guard (replaces Lasting Threat)
- Fighter utility 22: Undeniable Challenge
- Fighter encounter 23: Warrior's Urging (replaces Come and Get It)
- Fighter daily 25: Marking Barrage (replaces Bedeviling Assault)
- Fighter encounter 27: Cruel Reaper (replaces Shield Bearer's Vendetta)
- Fighter daily 29: Force the Battle (replaces Unyielding Avalanche)
ITEMS Adventurer's Kit, Scale Armor, Longsword, Heavy Shield
Thoughts: I was challenged to create the ultimate in sword and board fighters. This is what a human with a longsword and shield can do. What I've delivered is an all-purpose controlling defender that works well as is but can also be the launching point for variations. This build focuses on using the most broadly powerful feats and powers, and on synergy.
Emphasize constitution and give it a hammer and it can daze at-will with the Overwhelming Impact feat in the Epic Tier. Powers like Warrior's Urging then cause mass daze. Make it a Dragonborn with Draconic Arrogance and take it down the Iron Vanguard path. Use Thundering Breath and Concussive Breath to push and daze with its breath weapon. The Adamantine Warrior epic destiny squeezes a few more drops from its push damage.
Emphasize wisdom and it will qualify for Superior Will and Martial Resolve. Take it down the Pit Fighter Paragon Path and use the Marked Scourge and Slashing Storm feats to leverage that wisdom. Humans still work well for this build because of Persistent Threat but a Minotaur or Longtooth Shifter would gain extra wisdom benefit.
Synergy in action: Mobile Challenge and Shield Push allow you to push an enemy away from its attack target as an interrupt, without taking yourself out of melee reach with the enemy. Hindering Shield is the linchpin of this kind of shield fighter. All pushes, slides, or pulls result in the Slow condition. This makes it extremely hard to escape the fighter once hit - and Shield Push and Forceful Opportunist(or Tide of Iron/Footwork Lure+Heavy Blade of Opportunity) allow the application of this slow when it's not the fighter's turn. Then, leverage the slow status with Grasp of the World Serpent and Vicious Advantage. Defensive Advantage is another potentially good feat in this build but wasn't included due to space constraints. Come and Get It/Warrior's Urging apply slow after pulling, increasing the gathering effectiveness of these attacks. The Auto-damage stances(Rain of Steel through Force the Battle) are particularly effective when the enemy can't escape because of being slowed, followed, and/or prone.
This build is designed to attract a lot of attention with multiattacks & multi-marking and to survive that attention by equipping a shield, investing in broad defensive feats, and in particular defending against being surrounded via Ubiquitous Shield and Strength Through Challenge.
Mobility is also very good - this fighter can follow shifting enemies on Combat Challenge attacks and use opportunity attacks to move on others' turns. Armor Specialization(scale) brings speed back up to 6, and the epic destiny boosts it further up to 7. More could be gained by using Fleet Footed if desired. Enemies are not a barrier to movement, but advantageous reference points to maneuver around. Tyrian Battle Stance provides the emergency freedom to move around without suffering opportunity attacks, and the side benefit of Heavy Blade Expertise provides a solid Plan B. Swordmaster allows Tide of Iron and Cleave to be used at the end of a charge. Using Tide of Iron this way to enter or re-enter the fray applies the crucial Slow condition. Force the Battle daily stance increases the damage of at-will attacks, making these kinds of charges more appealing.
This build can last a long time in an encounter. Martial Mastery and Swordmaster's level 16 benefit grant recycling of encounter powers. In particular, action point recycling gives on-demand reuse of an encounter power well suited to the current encounter. For example: use Warrior's Urging to gather and slow enemies on turn 1. Since they now grant combat advantage, the chances of knocking enemies prone via Grasp of the World Serpent is very good. On turn 2, use Cruel Reaper. Action point and use Cruel Reaper again to further chop up those enemies - that's 8d8(36) + 76 = 112 at level 28 with a +6 weapon per enemy. If this becomes a regularly used tactic, the feat Headsman's Chop would add 20 damage per creature to this combination.
The interaction between Grasp of the World Serpent, Hindering Shield, Vicious Advantage, and various push/pull/slide powers is the most potent control aspect of this build. Any enemy hit by forced movement becomes Slowed and thus subject to being knocked over while simultaneously being vulnerable to the knockdown due to granting Combat Advantage. This puts extra movement control and bite into the fighter's Combat Challenge and opportunity attacks - not only can it halt enemies on OAs but it knocks them prone too. A Slowed enemy adjacent to the fighter has no recourse to escape other than teleports or pushing the fighter away.
Just to be clear: Unleashing this kind of monster on your DM can just about ruin his or her chance of getting at your squishies without conspicuous targeted stuns or conveniently locking this fighter out of the combat. Don't go down this path unless you WANT your DM to throw the Monster Manuals at you all at once.