Home > DnD > Making D&D Characters: Drow 5

Making D&D Characters: Drow 5

I said I was going to cover equipment, and the truth is that this post will not. Because this post has to ask a big question about my Drow’s combat style – how will combat go for the rest of the game?

Should I specialize in melee or ranged combat?

It matters a lot. It decides my fighting style. It decides how I kill enemies by myself or in groups. Does it match the flavour I;ve been creating all this time?

Melee combat would be designed around springing from cover for Sneak Attack, and getting behind opponents for flanking. Ranged would be based around firing from cover – and at night where we can Hide in Plain Sight means we don’t have to find cover to re-hide after shooting.

I have 3 Feats I can learn, one from character creation and one for every three Character levels I have.

To go melee would nearly require me to take Weapon Finesse, as I have no points in Str for bonuses to melee weapons. Weapon Finesse would give +5 to hit right away, which I need more than damage. But, Spring Attack if the go-to for a melee based Rogue in my opinion, and that requires both Dodge and Mobility as prerequisites. The other side is Two-Weapon Fighting, which would increase the number of melee attacks per round by one. The downside to being melee-based would be the fact that my very light Rogue has to venture out into full combat to deal damage, which is risky with low HP, and to be effective we need to have Weapon Finesse and one of the weapons it affects.

As a ranged character I would need Point Blank Shot, as it’s nearly a prerequisite for every other ranged feat. From there either Rapid Shot to increase the amount of attacks made per round, or Precise Shot (and Improved Precise Shot) to get rid of the negative attack mod for firing into a melee, and also to remove miss chances from cover and partial concealment (which nullify the ability to Sneak Attack). There’s also Concealed Ambush which reduces the re-hide penalty if a ranged attack is made while hidden, which would be very useful, the normal penalty is a staggering -20 which would be reduced to a manageable -10. The downside here is ranged pretty much restricts our choice of weapon to the Crossbow family, which require horrendous wastes of time reloading. I could take Rapid Reload here to offset the cost of spending whole turns doing nothing but reloading, but it cuts into my available feats which is shame because if I want to make multiple attacks in one round it becomes nearly required.

And I’m not taking Stealthy or Skill Focus to max out Hide or anything, those are just a waste of a feat.

Melee or Ranged?


Option 1: (Melee) Weapon Finesse, Dodge, Mobility – Keeps the attack bonus high, Dodge is best on single enemy encounters with a +1 AC boost but not totally useless on groups, whereas Mobility is good against groups because it increases AC against Attacks Of Opportunity, allowing the Rogue to move into a flanking position easier.

Option 2: (Melee) Weapon Finesse, Two-Weapon Fighting, ??? (Weapon Focus/Improved Critical) – I don’t know. The extra melee attack could be worth it, but under the core rules you can’t make the extra attack unless you make a Full Attack, which limits your round movement to a 5ft step. It’s ugly, but effective against single large enemies who don’t move around the battlefield very often. The ??? is more to the fact that two-weapon fighting is just nearly always inferior to two-handed or sword-and-shield type melee, but the Rogue Sneak Attack bonus damage can offset the lower damage output Two-Weapon Fighting offers. On top of that, I really have no idea how to build a proper dual-wielding character because the rules just suck for it.

Option 3: (Ranged) Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Rapid Reload – Makes for an explosive first round with multiple Sneak Attacks but makes following rounds a bit harder to deal damage in. The extra attack is nice but -2 to attack rolls can hurt if the enemy remains at a high AC bonus.

Option 4: (Ranged) Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Concealed Ambush – Can only make one attack a round (and possibly less than that with reloading) but more likely to have them be Sneak Attacks. Works best in darkness, and the reduction of the re-hide penalty helps with that. Compared to the Rapid Shot build, this one is more about damage over time and survivability then burst damage.

Four possible builds and all completely viable in different circumstances.  So the deciding factor goes back into my previous posts. What does my Rogue do?

Hide. Stealth. Assassinate.

I choose Option 4. Besides, can always take Rapid Shot and Rapid Reload later, but it’s important to take Improved Precise Shot when it becomes available. With the type of combat style chosen, I can start focusing on ways to improve my ranged, hit-and hide combat style by buying lots and lots of shiny equipment.

Next time: Bling!

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