Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Ultimate Zombie Hunter Part 4: Weapons & Future Tiers

Dominic Matte
So far I've only really talked about the heroic tier. That's because Posse McToes never made it past level 11, so I never really got to continue expanding past there. I'll provide a quick overview of some of the standout options for paragon and epic tiers, but it won't be as comprehensive as my heroic tier coverage.

Since I haven't mentioned weapons at all yet, I'll mention the two main enchantments you should look for. 

Posse's sword
The Sunblade starts as a level 9 item, and it'll be your most important acquisition - get one as soon as possible. It can shed bright or dim light in up to a 20 square radius, and you control the brightness and range of the light, meaning you'll never need to spend on sunrods or torches or anything like that ever again. More importantly, you can have it deal radiant damage whenever you want, freeing you up to take whatever powers you choose instead of focusing on radiant ones. Finally, its daily power does a small burst of radiant damage as a standard action. It's pretty weak, especially at its level, but could occasionally be a valid option against zombies if you don't have any other bursts left.
If you take the Pervasive Challenge feat (see below), you can freely swap the Sunblade for another enchantment.

When you're able, you should pick up a Holy Avenger. This is a level 30 enchantment, but it's far and away the most powerful weapon for a zombie hunter: it can be used as a holy symbol, it deals a d10 extra damage on radiant powers, lets you spend a healing surge on a crit, and as a daily power gives you and your allies a +5 bonus to Fortitude, Reflex, and Will for a turn. It'll restrict you back to selecting radiant powers, since it won't make every power radiant, but it'll help you deal even more damage to undead. And if you're still packing Bless Weapon, you still have that expanded crit range against zombies.

For the ability scores to increase as you level up, Strength is your primary score, so make sure you increase that at every available opportunity. Depending on your power selection, you should increase Wisdom, Charisma, or alternate between both as your secondary choices.

In terms of feats, here's what you should look at first:
  • Pervasive Challenge (paragon) is a real standout and should be taken as soon as possible. When you attack an enemy vulnerable to radiant damage with an attack that doesn't deal radiant, you deal extra damage equal to the vulnerability. With this feat you exploit radiant vulnerability with every single attack you make, regardless of whether the attack is radiant at all.
  • Contagious Challenge (paragon): adds divine sanction to a second enemy when you use your divine challenge
  • Forceful Challenge (paragon): slide an enemy that takes damage from your divine challenge
  • Persistent Challenge (paragon): once per encounter you maintain your divine challenge without engaging the target
  • Resurgent Attack (paragon): gain a +2 bonus to attack when you spend a healing surge
  • Crusading Wrath (epic): apply divine sanction for the whole encounter and deal extra damage to that enemy
  • Limning Challenge (epic): ignore cover and concealment on the target of your divine challenge/sanction
  • Paladin's Truth (epic): ignore resistances and immunities on creatures you've marked
  • Weakening Challenge (epic): challenged/sanctioned targets deal half damage when they don't attack you
  • Font of Radiance (epic): on a crit, create a zone that reveals invisible creatures and deals radiant damage
  • Punishing Radiance (epic): on a crit, add or increase radiant vulnerability by 10
  • Torm's Radiance (epic): your divine encounters and dailies ignore radiant resistance and immunity

For your paragon path, you'll want to pick Slayer of the Dead. It's strongest against undead, but it does a pretty good job of still being useful against living enemies as well. You get necrotic resistance, deal radiant damage in a burst on spending an action point, apply a fear penalty to enemy attack rolls when you bloody or kill undead, a couple of strong radiant attack powers, and a daily utility that lets you both ignore all damage from a single undead attack and then deal extra damage to that enemy.

There is no epic destiny that deals specifically with the undead, probably because a single creature type is generally deemed too small a focus for an epic-level hero. There are, however, a couple of thematically-appropriate epic destinies available to you. The two I prefer are Indomitable Champion and Saint, both of which are titles that make sense for a legendary hunter of the undead. I planned for my character Posse McToes to become the Avatar of Justice, but that's more to do with character development than a focus on killing undead.

So, there you have it: a blueprint for building the best damn zombie hunter out there. But how do all these things work together? Make sure you don't miss Part 5 for character sheets and combat strategy!

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