The pixie berserker is CHARGING INTO YOUR SPACE!

I picked up a copy of Heroes of the Feywild at my friendly local game store last Friday, which was apparently the day the book first came out at “premier stores”. I haven’t read through the whole thing yet, but a friend and I were talking about some of the content over the weekend.

The silly example that I tossed out there was building a pixie berserker wearing a Badge of the Berserker, with the goal of charging INTO the space of an enemy and making it really hard for that enemy to escape the berserker’s defender aura. The more we talked about it, the more it sounded like something we had to try!

We were thinking about the character specifically for something like Lair Assault (which neither of us has tried yet), so we were talking about a 5th-level character.

1. Race and ability scores: Pixie. Okay, so a lack of racial bonus to Strength is going to make it tough to build a good barbarian, but so it goes. With the racial bonuses to Charisma and Dexterity (seems more useful for a berserker than Intelligence), the stats will be 18 Strength, 11 Constitution, 16 Dexterity, 8 Intelligence, 10 Wisdom and 12 Charisma. If we were specifically going straight to level 5, we could take Strength down to 17 and then bump it up at level 4, giving us some more points to make the other stats better, but I won’t even worry about that right now. I will assume that the Con score gets to 12 somehow.

2. Class: Berserker version of the barbarian. We get the Defender Aura and Vengeful Guardian powers. We’ll take the Temperate Land heartland (since we’re a pixie), which will give us +2 to damage as long as we wield a weapon in one hand and a shield in the other. We’ll also have +1 speed while charging (which I’ll assume applies to the fly speed, though I’m not 100% certain of that). We get 15+Con hit points at level 1 (26) and 6 more per level (so 50 total at level 5; 51 if we bump up Con). 8 healing surges per day (+1 if we get Con to 12), and a +2 bonus to Fortitude. I won’t worry about skills here.

3. Equipment: Since we’re going for level 5, I’ll keep things pretty simple.

  • Badge of the Berserker +1 (obviously)
  • Magic Rapier +2
  • Whatever magic hide armor +1 you like (level 5 or lower) – Barkskin sounds pixieish to me
  • Small shield
  • Other cool stuff

4. Feats. I like Light Blade Expertise and Streak of Light (combat advantage when charging).

5. Powers, themes, backgrounds, etc. I’m sure there’s lots of cool, potentially abusive stuff we could do here. That’s not really what I’m interested in, though, so I’ll skip it.

6. The results:

  • Crazy Wings the Pixie Berserker (Level 5)
  • 51 hit points, 9 surges per day (assuming we bump up Con to 12 at some point)
  • AC 22 (10 base, 2 half-level, 4 magic hide armor, 3 dex modifier, 1 small shield, 2 from Poised Defender in defender mode)
  • Fortitude 19 (10 base, 2 half-level, 1 neck slot, 4 strength modifier, 2 class bonus)
  • Reflex 17 (10 base, 2 half-level, 1 neck slot, 3 dex modifier, 1 shield)
  • Will 14 (10 base, 2 half-level, 1 neck slot, 1 charisma modifier) – ugh
  • Charging attack bonus: +15 vs AC (2 half-level, 4 strength modifier, 3 proficiency, 2 enhancement, 1 light blade expertise, 2 combat advantage from feat, 1 for charging)
  • Charging damage: 1d8+9 (4 strength modifier, 2 enhancement, 2 from Temperate Heartland, 1 from light blade expertise since Streak of Light gives CA)
  • Normal melee attack bonus: +12 vs AC (same as charging, minus the charge bonus and the automatic combat advantage)
  • Normal melee damage: 1d8+8 (no automatic combat advantage, so no +1 from LBE)

Is this the most powerful character in the world? Probably not. But the idea of charging INTO an opponent’s square and basically locking them down with the defender aura just seems like too much fun NOT to try. You don’t provoke combat advantage for charging with the Badge of the Berserker, you have combat advantage from Streak of Light, and you get extra damage from Light Blade Expertise. CHAAAARGE!

Crazy Wings sounds ridiculous enough to play one of these days. What do you think?

22 thoughts on “The pixie berserker is CHARGING INTO YOUR SPACE!

  1. Words cannot express how awesome this is. The visual alone is fantastic. And that is a nice little stack of numbers to go with it.

    The first thing I thought of when I read this was summer here in Canada. Almost anywhere, the mosquitos are pretty nasty. When one of them buzzes around your head incessantly, defying all efforts to swat them, you start to realize how tenuous your grip on sanity really is.

    And now you have given that mosquito a sword. You sir, are an evil genius.

  2. I just wanted to point out that most auras are close burst 1 which technically does not include the origin square. If that’s the case with your barbarian defender aura then occupying the same space may not have the exact effect you’re intending. Of course, I’m not all that familiar with the primal classes so this may not apply in this particular situation.

    • Interesting; I hadn’t considered the technicality of how the close burst 1 defender aura would work for a PC in the same space as an enemy. I do know that the rules for the pixie state that creatures in the same square do count as being adjacent, but I don’t remember anything that specifically addressed whether the aura applied to enemies in the same space as the pixie.

      Personally, I would at the very least house rule it so that the aura does apply to enemies in the same square as the pixie, of course.

    • Your interpretation of the rules as written is correct. But is it fun?

      On the one hand, we have the argument that close burst powers do not affect the caster’s personal space(which would be ridiculous when it came to damaging spells)and that personal space is abstracted in the game as one square.

      On the other hand, we have an interesting corner case. Pixies are so small that their personal space doesn’t consume a whole square, thus allowing them to invade and occuoy the square of an ally or enemy. If we wanted to be fussy, we could argue that the aura still doesn’t affect the Pixie’s “square”(being only a percentage of a full square)but still affects the remaining percent of the actual square because it does not represent the pixie’s personal space. Protecting the personal space(and thus the person)of the caster is the real reason why close burst powers don’t hit the origin square.

      But do we really even want to talk about rules in this case? This idea is really cool! It’s cinematic. It takes a dry mechanic about creature size and turns it into something flavourful to be roleplayed. If you describe it right it should be a source of entertainment for the whole gaming group. Also, it doesn’t break the game in any way that matters. The enemy can still attack the pixie, the affect if the aura is no different than it would be if the pixie was in an adjacent square, and there is no extra unfair attack bonus for being inside the enemies space.

      This is fun and funny. I would suggest that it adheres to a much more important rule, Rule of Cool, and doesn’t break the game in anyway. So why don’t we just wink at close burst rules and let this one past for the greater good, eh?

      • I agree with both replies to my comment. I’d likely apply the same reading as both of you if I was the DM. However, the original article talked about using this build in Lair Assault. My experience with public play is that many DMs (most actually) are obsessed with rules as written. So in a home game I think his idea is fantastic and would be a lot of fun to play. In a public play game you might find the character unable to do the really cool thing you expected because some DM (correctly) applies the RAW. I’ve been that guy who is disappointed that something didn’t play out as expected during LFR so I just wanted to help someone else avoid that situation.

    • Actually it does include the origin, because its an aura. From the Compendium:

      “Aura

      An aura is a continuous effect that emanates from a creature. Unless otherwise noted, an aura uses the following rules.

      Fills an Area: The aura fills the creature’s space and each square that is both within a specified distance of the creature and within line of effect of it. For instance, an aura 1 affects each square adjacent to the creature. A creature is normally unaffected by its own aura.

      Unaffected by the Environment: The aura is unaffected by environmental phenomena and terrain, although blocking terrain blocks an aura. For instance, an aura of fire is unaffected by an area of extreme cold.

      Overlapping Auras: If auras overlap and impose penalties to the same roll or game statistic, a creature affected by the overlapping auras is subjected to the worst penalty; the penalties are not cumulative. For instance, if a creature is affected by three overlapping auras that each impose a -2 penalty to attack rolls, the creature takes a -2 penalty, not a -6 penalty.

      Deactivating an Aura: A creature can take a minor action to deactivate or reactivate one of its auras. However, certain auras have set durations and cannot be reactivated after they end.

      Death or Unconsciousness Ends: A creature’s auras end immediately when it falls unconscious or dies.”

  3. You may wanna add a “Tusk Shield” from Mordenkainens Magnificent Emporium.

    “Tusk Shield” (light shield) – Whenever you charge, you gain a +2 item bonus to all defenses until the start of your next turn.

    • I know there are tons of options out there for optimizing charges (Horned Helm does extra damage, I believe, and I think there are some bracers that have an effect, too). Sounds like the Tusk Shield is yet another – thanks for mentioning it.

      To be clear, I’m not trying to optimize Crazy Wings; the concept of “pixie barbarian who charges into the enemy’s space” is enough for me. But hey, if the optimizers out there want to run with this, feel free!

  4. I’ve never really been a fan of characters built on charging… until now. The real beauty is that since you get to move into the enemies space, I’d think that you need one space less of “run up”. Makes it much more useful.

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    • Funny you should mention that! When I actually rolled up Crazy Wings for Living Forgotten Realms play last week, I did in fact choose the Iron Wolf Warrior theme. I picture Crazy Wings as having a wolf face tattooed across the left half of his own face – he’s an animal!

      • Iron Wolf Warrior lvl 1 attack power makes Crazy Wings as a living bowling ball which just sums up the maddness of crazy animal

        • It went well! I’ll have to put up a follow-up post one of these days to show off the full character sheet and talk about Crazy Wings in action. I’ve also commissioned an artist to do a character portrait, so I think I’ll wait until that’s ready. But he’s a ton of fun!

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