I was really itching to roll some dice after having to jump behind the screen last weekend at the D&D World Wide Game Day detailed in my last post. So I signed up for an LFR game. In case you’re not in the loop, LFR is an organized play program where players create a character and assign them to a specific region of the campaign world. There are modules for each region that allow your character to progress through the levels of play. There are adventures/games for early heroic level characters up to late paragon levels.
Dungeon’s Master recently posted duelling articles on the LFR with one taking a dump on it while the other highlighting its positives. The points made by the articles, both pro and con, are largely valid which I think leaves you with like most things in life in that LFR is what you make of it; particularly since no one’s got you balled gagged up gimp style in Zeds LFR basement. It’s kind of funny as Bauxtehude once told me that he only played in LFR long enough until he poached enough players to start his Shattered Sea campaign, so perhaps the current state of LFR in metropolitan Toronto is suffering due to his thinning the talent pool. It is a shame that he is so anti-LFR as he is an excellent DM. I accept LFR with all its flaws and limitations as it gives me the opportunity to be a player for a change whenever I can squeeze it in and is very light on the obligations which seems to suite me well at my current stage of life. Although, the one thing I think that is severely lacking in the LFR adventures is any kind of threat in the encounters. It is not necessarily bad DM tactics or encounter design, but seems more to the fact that these poor monsters are up against massively twinked out or gimmicked up characters. I really think that at a bare minimum DMs need to trick out the baddies with the new damage progression and monster statistics that came out in a recent errata. But I digress, I am going to DM an LFR module next weekend so I might make some changes to the module and I’ll let you know how it shakes out.
Well Back to the gamming and such. Whenever I play LFR I always bring several characters to ensure any needed roles can be filled. Essentially this means I will be playing either a defender or a leader, I don’t even know why I bother bringing a striker. I would like to say that I am just an eternal optimist but I think more realistically it is a touch of masochism. As I was in the processes of determining what meat shield I would be playing this week, I thought why not test drive one of the essentials builds from Heroes of the Fallen Lands, especially given the massive hyperbole that has washed over the internet in the recent months. I made a Slayer, Knight, and a Warpriest. I ended up playing Drax the Warpriest of Kord (all my LFR characters are named Drax) as the rest of the party consisted of 3 strikers, a defender, and a controller. I went with the Storm Domain, as it fit my character conceptualization of a badass bruiser laying some holy smack down. The Storm Domain is one of the spheres of power you can choose that flavours your abilities, the book states “Select the Storm Domain if you favour brutal attacks balanced against the cunning needed to effectively counter your enemies tactics”. I made Drax a human as I am fond of the bonus feat and bump to defences. Since I am of the feeling that a badass warpreist needs a badass weapon I used one of my feats to get proficiency with the bastard sword.
I decided to really emphasise the “brutal” aspect with regard to powers in fitting with my bad mofo theme, so most of the powers tended to grant allies extra damage on their attacks. This seemed to particularly work well with another Essentials errata, namely to magic missiles auto-hit. I really liked the at-will power “Storm Hammer” as it went off at +7 to fortitude at first level and you could use it while charging, which I took advantage of to hurl myself at my foes to bring the wrath of my god down upon them.
Overall, this build fit right in with the other core builds and was actually enjoyable to play, and the world didn’t implode into a black whole despite crossing the “streams”. The warpriest really plays like the strength cleric was always supposed to be but never got the love from WoTC, and I actually found that it played a lot like my first level paladin, but better somehow.