Monday, June 25, 2012

D&D: The Clone Wars (Part 7)

It is an interesting thing, trying to build specific characters using the mechanical structures of Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition. Some characters are extremely easy to build, at least in a basic form. The Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series has provided quite a stable of adaptable characters. Jedi are generally "some class with a sword" and adapted to fit the style and flavor of a particular character.  The clone troopers have all fallen under a somewhat similar category, being "class with bow/crossbow" and adapted to that end.  Some, on the other hand, are more complicated.  Occasionally, strange character warrant strange mechanics, such as C-3PO as the "lazy Warlord" build.

In some cases, it is just terribly difficult to find something that fits the exact way I feel the character should.  Captain Rex quickly became one of those characters.  He should be simple enough: a clone trooper with two hand blasters.  However, no class within the Fourth Edition framework quite captured this especially well.  I had already done "guy with a handgun" with Resident's Evil's Barry Burton: an Essentials Thief armed with a Hand Crossbow.  My first idea was to replicate that character for Rex but I quickly found that it did not feel right. Eventually, frustration would lead me to examine the Seeker, a generally maligned and ignored class from Player's Handbook 3.  One variant of the Seeker utilized throwing weapons and several of the powers had "Melee or Ranged" capabilities.  After some thought, this seemed like exactly the thing for Captain Rex.  He can fight at range but he does his best work at melee and short range.  That got me started.

The Seeker ended up being a bit more difficult than I would have originally imagined. Despite having throwing weapon powers, the "out of the box" Seeker only has two throwing weapon proficiencies: javelin and dagger.  [Technical Note: The Seeker also has proficiency with a few odd throwing weapons added in later supplements, including the widow's knife and short spear, but I did not count those.]  Neither was especially enthralling of a choice.  I wanted something that could be used one handed but that could be used in a pair, like Rex's Hand Blasters.  I originally considered the Hand Axe or Throwing Hammer, both reasonable choices, but I found taking two weapons did not actually gain anything.  I flirted with a few exotic Dark Sun weapons, but eventually something came to mind: the Net.

Anakin's dependable clone commander, Captain Rex.
Rex is heavy on close-range monster control.
In my research of using Nets, another feat path came up: the Foamgather Heritage feats.  Foamgather Warrior, gave a +1 (untyped) bonus to attacks made with a net.  In addition, it granted use of a special Melee or Ranged net attack which could grab (immobilize) and reposition enemies.  This seemed like a really good choice for Captain Rex, as well.  Not able to decide between the two, I decide to go with both sets of feats (Net Training and the Foamgather feats).Way back in the early days of Fourth Edition (October 2008!), Dragon magazine featured an article on gladiators and gladiatorial combat.  In it, they introduced rules for "iconic" gladiatorial weapons, including Nets, Whips, and Bolas.  As these weapons were all somewhat exotic and generally only powerful within the context of special abilities, they included multi-class paths for gaining proficiency, special abilities, and new powers with specific weapons.  The basic net feat, Net Training, grants proficiency with the Net and the special ability to slow targets with each blow.  That seemed an interesting choice, so I went with it.

As it ends up, this is a character for which a few more levels would yield interesting results.  The two additional feats that would help improve Rex's performance are Flail Expertise, which would give an additional +1 to hit with the next and allow him to prone targets instead of slide them, and Far Throw, which would increase his Ranged capabilities from 2/5 to 4/7.  Honestly, the only concern at that point would be his armor, as he would rely on being "in the mix" to get his controlling done but be susceptible to attack.  Perhaps all he needs is a good defender, like Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker...

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