Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Race/Class Synergy in 4e: More Racial Abilities

As promised last week, this week I want to look at how the racial special abilities of dwarves, eladrin and elves synergize with the different roles.

Dwarf Abilities
Cast-Iron Stomach: A bonus to saving throws against poison is a special case kind of ability. Nice to have, but I wouldn't say it makes dwarves more suitable for any particular role by itself.
Dwarven Resilience: Taking a second wind as a minor action = easier access to hit points and better defenses for a round. Like draconic heritage mentioned last time, a great ability for defenders. Also good for battle clerics and probably melee strikers.
Dwarven Weapon Proficiency: Proficiency with the throwing hammer and the warhammer is already granted by most classes that need it. This could add a little oomph to a battle cleric.
Encumbered Speed: Coupled with already-low dwarf speed, this just lets dwarves break even with heavily-armored characters of other races in the movement department.
Stand Your Ground: An excellent defender ability - marking and locking down enemies works a lot better when you can't be moved.
Summary: Defender - two good abilities. Battle cleric - two good abilities. Melee striker - one nice ability

Eladrin Abilities
Eladrin Education: Extra skill training is too general to apply directly to one role.
Eladrin Weapon Proficiency: Free proficiency with the longsword, like the dwarven proficiency above, could be good for a battle cleric. In fact, compared to the mace this translates directly into a +1 to hit with weapon attacks due to the proficiency modifier of a longsword, making this almost as good as a primary ability boost for that particular build.
Eladrin Will: A bonus to Will and saves vs. charm doesn't really jump out as fitting one role.
Fey Origin: Like the Will bonus, counting as fey for effects doesn't fit one particular role.
Trance: Not really role related. There's not really a "stay up half the night guarding the party" role.
Fey Step: Good for any role that depends on being in the right place. Warlord definitely, though even the cleric might find it useful. Great for the rogue since positioning for sneak attack is critical.
Summary: Battle cleric - one really good ability and one nice one. Warlord - one good ability. Rogue - one good ability.

Elf Abilities
Elven Weapon Proficiency: Proficiency with the longbow and the shortbow is already granted by the build that needs it most (archer ranger). The other ranged builds throw spells. An interesting rogue build might be crafted around this ability, except that the ranged weapon rogue powers explicitly only work with crossbows and slings.
Fey Origin: As with eladrin, counting as fey for effects doesn't fit one particular role.
Group Awareness: A bonus to Perception checks for allies doesn't fit one role.
Wild Step: Ignoring difficult terrain when you shift is handy in some circumstances, but it's too situational to really boost a particular role.
Elven Accuracy: Being able to hit reliably is for strikers. A chance once per encounter to turn a miss into a hit might be on par with a primary ability boost for anyone, actually, but it's even better for strikers who want to make sure they get that extra damage as often as they can.
Summary: Striker - one really good ability.

The synergy of eladrin proficiency with the battle cleric build is really interesting. Other than that, dwarves are good defenders and elves are good strikers. No real surprises there.


ChaoticBlackSheep said...

The cast iron stomach comes in handy for dwarven defenders locking down venomous creatures, like spiders, so they don't bite the squishier members of the party. :)

ChaoticBlackSheep said...

Then again, it could also be great for a poison-based striker/assassin....

Risan said...

The trance ability is really good for a class with perception. If you don't have training, and lack wisdom this isn't helpful. But if you are a ranger you are protected at night. The trance allows you to still be aware of your surroundings, so you can still be on guard while in a trance.

Gregor LeBlaque said...

@Risan - interesting point. Not as directly useful as the across the board to hit bonus you get from a boosted primary ability, but maybe as useful as the few benefits you get from a boosted secondary ability.