by Anthony "Deuce DM" Franchini
Race/Class/Build: Bladeling Rogue (Scoundrel, Artful Dodger)
Number of times gibbed: 1 3
Number of confirmed kills: 3 2
Ever since the bladeling was introduced to me in 3E D&D, I have wanted to play this monster race bred for war by the god Bane, armed in razor-sharp spikes, who terrorizes the field of battle so much his enemies would rather run away from him than face him head-on. FTDM was the obvious choice to run wild with this theme and soak the ground with the blood of my enemies.
I have had a chance to play this dungeoneer twice, once in the form of DC’s Joker, the other as the price-slashing Mega-Corporation Wal-Mart.
Feat(s) taken: Improved Razor Storm
At-Will Powers: Sly Flourish, Deft Strike
Encounter Power: Opening Move
Daily Power: Precise Incision
Defenses: AC 17; Fortitude 10, Reflex 17, Will 12
Hit Points: 23
First, let us discuss damage potential of the Bladeling Rogue. As a Player’s Handbook Rogue and lacking the abilities of the Essentials Thief, the Bladeling Rogue best works with allies that grant combat advantage (CA), enabling extra damage through sneak attack. Tied with his most often used attack power, the aptly named Opening Move, the Bladeling Rogue has potential to deal 2W+2d6+dex damage as a standard action while having CA and attacking with a rogue weapon (i.e. short sword, dagger, crossbow). As a minor action, the Bladeling Rogue has the ability to release an improved razor storm as a minor action, dealing 1d8+dex to all creatures in a burst 2. The improved razor storm also deals ongoing damage, a nice easy way to drop your targets at the start of their turns, potentially forcing them to respawn OR gibbing them if you get them close enough to their negative bloodied value. Normally, razor storm is a burst 1 and 1d6+dex damage, so the feat significantly ups the amount of damage and range to include more targets. My thought here was to not only be able to spread extra damage around, but attempt to gain an easy killing spree with either a wounded ally nearby (that may be healed) or an enemy I could not threaten while attacking with my standard action. Whether boosted with the feat or not, improved razor storm targets Reflex, which tends to be lower in non-rogue builds. This leads to constant damage dealing, especially against big bulky fighters or leader-types with low or no Dexterity bonus.
I built the Bladeling Rogue not just for damage, but also to cut down on the number of deaths incurred by the team. Building for high damage is easy (a Half-orc Slayer, for example), but not all classes grant you an AC or other defense above 20, making a very easy target. While the Bladeling Rogue may not start with defenses that high, by selecting the artful dodger class feature, the AC and Reflex bonus granted to you by Opening Move become quite handy. I sunk all of Attribute points into Dexterity and Charisma, which allowed me to have an AC/Reflex of 21 following my attack, which lasted until the end of my next turn. This not only serves as a mental deterrent to attacks, as posted Defenses can be viewed by anyone and people tend to target easier to hit foes, but on die rolls as well.
It was obvious that I would not reach the 30 hp plateau, nor would I be able to effectively defend myself from any caster or a charm of misplaced wrath spell. With a Fortitude of 10 and a Will of 12, non-martial characters had an easy time of striking, pushing, and pulling the Bladeling Rogue into all sorts of hazardous terrain.
During E2M2: Mortal Kombat, the biggest strength I had was being able to save a move action when respawning anywhere on the map and going to town on my target of interest. Razor storm wasn’t as useful here, but I was deadly enough that the opposing teams kept away from me and I only needed to respawn once. Nothing says deterrent like a big fucking knife!
During E5M2: Army of Darkness, razor storm was really helpful to clear deadites and spread the damage around to other teams. The dice did not favor many during that match, but open areas are always best.
Theoretically, the Bladeling Rogue would be great on maps such as E1M6: Dead Simple, E1M2: The Citadel, and E1M1: Slaughterhouse. Really, any map where the spawn points are close together and enemies clump together.
I would not play the Bladeling Rogue on large maps, unless you’re willing to spend double moves and use the razor storm as your only attack, which is equal to most at-wills but not very effective in taking down enemies single-handedly. In my opinion, the worst maps for the Bladeling Rogue would be E1M3: Tomb of the Iron Lich, E4M2: Vault of the Spider Queen and E4M1: Court of the Storm Lord. Hard corners, varying heights, and large maps in general will screw up the Bladeling Rogue’s battle plan.
To fit the character, my first build of the Bladeling Rogue was role-playing The Joker, psychopathic clown from the DC universe (for the 0.0001% of you whom don’t know him). I dropped Improved Razor Storm for foulborn heritage, which would deal 5 psychic damage if to enemies entering/ending their turn adjacent. It just seemed fitting with the Jokers mindset. Because of the nature of the Map, it was not used as much as expected, while easy movement between tiers and being able to drop onto the map upon respawn made it easier to fire off the razor storm each round it recharged.