Monday, November 14, 2011

Building a Better Beast: The Specialist

I always wondered what the spikes were for.

Welcome back to Building a Better Beast. We’ve already taken a look at The Tank, and The Wraith, today we’ll explore another build called the Specialist. Whereas the Tank focuses on being indestructible and the Wraith supports his rogue allies, the Specialist is a melee combatant who uses his abilities to control the flow of combat.

As always the artificer should start by taking the Augment Summoning feat. He should also pick up all the repair spells he can. In addition he might want to consider the following.

1st Level: Because they are both melee combatants your Specialist can benefit from all the same spells as the Tank.

Ablative Armor--A pool of hit points which keep the Specialist safe from physical injury.
Shield of Faith--At lower levels your Specialist is still without his armor upgrades, this will help to offset that major difference between the Tank and the Specialist.
Enchant Weapon--The utility of the Specialist comes from his combat feats, if those attacks don’t hit he isn’t as useful. A +1 to hit is always appreciated.

2nd Level: A few defensive spells, as well as a spell which is key to the build.

Rienforce Construct and Toughen Construct--I’ve already extolled the virtue of these spells when we discussed the Tank. What holds there holds here as well.
Bull’s Strength--The DC for combat feats depends on the Strength of the user. This is why it is so important to get your Specialist’s Strength as high as possible.

3rd Level: A few spells from the same list as the tank, and one peculiar choice.

Shield of Faith, Mass and Stoneskin--As described in the Tank build.
Flame Turret--What makes this choice so peculiar is that it isn’t a buff spell for the Specialist. However, it works really well with this build. By utilizing the Specialist’s Intimidate and Takedown attacks you can keep an enemy well within ranged of the raging fires of the Flame Turret.

4th Level: Either of the Armor spells are useful at this level. Unlike the Tank whose high AC makes Thundering Armor almost useless the Specialist is a little bit easier to hit, and thus the spell effect is more likely to be useful.

5th Level: At this level you’re going to choose a favorite spell as well as possibly get an upgrade of an earlier spell.

Radiant Forcefield--Remember how we were talking about how the Specialist is easier to hit? This spell will make that factor a little less pronounced.
Bull’s Strength, Mass--Like Shield of Faith, Mass you might as well buff all the warriors while you buff your own.

6th Level: Although they aren’t essential to this build you can use the Specialist’s skills to kite enemies into position for Blade Barriers and Tactical Detonations.


1st Level:
Let’s start by picking up the first of the Specialist’s combat feats, Takedown. It unlocks the Trip command.

2nd Level:
Now we’re going to select the other one, Shattering Strike. It unlocks the Sunder command.

3rd Level:
Menacing Growl will let the Specialist guide enemies forward so that he can disable him with his combat abilities. It unlocks the Intimidate ability.

4th Level:
At this level you’re going to want to upgrade both your combat feat abilities. DC12+Str Modifier.

5th Level:
Let’s not wait any longer to pick up Adamantine Plating, this will increase your AC by +8 and give you a Damage Reduction of 2/adamazinte.

6th Level:
Time to buy Homunculus Strength.

7th Level:
Time to increase Shattering Strike and Takedown again DC is now 14+Str Modifier.

8th Level:
Upgrade Menacing Growl 2 steps. Intimidate is now +12.

9th Level:
Save your points.

10th Level:
And spend them on Homunculus Strength II.

11th Level:
Now you can enjoy the capstone enhancement Homunculus Combat Alacrity. This enhancement gives a 5% chance to double strike, and a 5% increase to attack speed.

12th Level:
Maximize your combat feats. DC is now 10+Str Modifier+6.

13th Level:
Pick up Reinforced Armor for a +10 to hit points.

14th Level:
Upgrade your Reinforced Armor (+20 now) and max out Menacing Growl (+16 to Intimidate)

15h Level:
Max out your Reinforced Armor for a +40 to hit points.

16th Level:
Time to pick up Combat Alacrity II which will increase the double strike and attack speed to 10%.

17th Level:
Increasing Adamantine Plating two steps sounds like a good idea, which will give your pet a +12 to ac and a DR 6/adamantine.

18th Level:
I suggest picking up Danger Avoidance, this will give you an additional +1 to AC and +2 Reflex Saves.

19th Level:
Increase Danger Avoidance two steps, your dodge bonus to AC and Reflex saves will now be +3 and +6 respectively.

20th Level:
Wow, you’re just about about as tough as the Tank if you take this level to max out Adamantine Plating (+14 and DR 8/adamantine) and Danger Avoidance (+4 to AC and +8 to Reflex saves).


  1. interesting, so the idea is less "tank them all" and more "keep a few aggroed and rip their faces off". neat.

  2. Yup, that sums it up nicely. I know you won't like this but I got the idea from the 4th edition Paladin, who instead of aggroing everyone like the Fighter focuses on kiting bosses around.

  3. eh, i just dont like 4ed in general, the fact that you took something from it and applied it well to ddo is a good thing :P