Power gamers worldwide wept after reading the latest updates from Wizards of the Coast. The Battlerager Fighter is severely weakened and the followers of Tempus have had their legs cut out from under them. Generally I don’t like to just rehash an article posted by Wizards, but I think this one requires some attention and discussion.
Yesterday in Andy Collins’ article News – July Update Letter (July 2, 2009) he announced the July 2009 Updates (PDF) which include changes to the following areas of the PHB, Martial Powers and Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide.
- Rain of Blows (Fighter, Encounter 3rd level)
- Channel Divinity: Righteous Brand of Tempus (feat)
- Battlerager Vigor (Fighter, class feature)
- Dual Strike (Fighter, At-will 1st level)
- Guileful Switch (Warlord, Utility/Encounter 6th level)
- Dwarf Stoneblood (feat)
- Improved Vigor (feat)
“These updates modify key portions of the game that weren’t working as we intended,” explains Collins. Don’t worry if your favourite character has just been gimped because Collins assures us that “character builds relying on these options remain playable and fun; they just aren’t abusive or eclipsing other build options.” I guess we’ll find out for sure the next time we play PCs affected by these revisions.
Some of these feats and powers are well known to me (thanks to my recent realization that The Most Powerful Fighter is a Battlerager Fighter). A few of the others I haven’t read before this update was released. So for those who might not immediately recognize what’s changed I’ve collected the high points below along with a little bit of personal commentary.
Rain of Blows (Fighter, Encounter 3rd level)
Previously you made your first attack and if you hit you got to make a secondary attack. Now you attack twice regardless of the success or failure of the first attack. However, you now have the opportunity to make a third attack if you have a high enough Dex. The new description also does just 1[W] damage without Str. So on average you’re going to do less damage since you’re rolling all of it and not relying on your incredible Str at all.
Channel Divinity: Righteous Brand of Tempus (feat)
Previously when you used this encounter power you’d score an automatic crit if you hit before the end of your next turn. Now if you hit after using this power you treat it like a crit by adding appropriate extra dice but neither the extra dice, nor the weapon damage is maximized unless you actually roll a crit in which case everything including the extra crit dice are maximized. Still a great feat, but as above it will on average do less overall damage since you’re still rolling all weapon dice.
Battlerager Vigor (Fighter, class feature)
The description of this class feature has been reworded to make it clearer. New to the description is that temp hp are gained if you miss everything when using an Invigorating attack power.
Dual Strike (Fighter, At-will 1st level)
Previously you needed to use both attacks on a single target. Now you must split the attacks between two different targets. Not a significant change, but it does add versatility.
Guileful Switch (Warlord, Utility/Encounter 6th level)
The only change with this power is that it used to be a minor action and now it’s a free action. Good call, Wizards.
Dwarf Stoneblood (feat)
Previously you added 1/2 your Con modifier to your temp hp. Now you get a flat +2; at 11th level this increases to +4; and at 21st level this increases to +6. It is also clearly designated as a feat bonus. So a Dwarf with an insanely high Con won’t be swimming in temp hp any more, more like treading water.
Improved Vigor (feat)
The additional +1 temp hp continues to be gained when using an Invigorating attack power, but this no longer applies to any temp hp gained from Battlerager Vigor. It is also clearly designated as a feat bonus. This change will limit the likely number of temp hp a Battlerager will get in any given round.
Read the explanations Wizards of the Coast provides for these updates in the PDFs for each affected book.
- Player’s Handbook Update (PDF)
- Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide Update (PDF)
- Martial Power Update (PDF)
What do you think? Were these changes necessary? If your PC is going to be affected by these changes are you still interested in playing him or will you ask the DM if you can create a new character?