Today on Know Thyself, our subject is a human who has dedicated his life to woodlore. He has mastered the art of gaining the trust of the creatures which roam the land (the Drake incident totally wasn’t his fault) and lives a naturalist lifestyle. In addition, he has focused exclusively upon the Spinning Axe technique, making him a frightening foe in hand-to-hand combat.
Once infected with vampirism, but saved from the threat of permanent undeath by a miraculous situation. A pair of axes (once kept as trophies on the wall in Drock’s tomb) are in his possession, ready to swing into action to bring enemies low. Possible father and master of the emo sigh, he can only be one man.
Step up, Melee Basic Attack (MBA), on-hit triggers Dual Weapon Attack, Shift (optional), turn over. Jeez, the Scout variant of Ranger is boring. Deadly and effective, sure, but where’s the spice? There is a little something that separates the woodsman from a regular brute with axes akimbo.
These At-Will Minor actions can be changed out as often as desired, and each grant distinctive benefits while he remains in the Stance. Being a Human, Thoril has learned three such Aspects, which grant some pretty awesome bonuses. Let’s check them out.
Aspect of the Charging Ram is for hitting fast and hard. As long as the Scout moves a minimum of 2 squares to reach his enemy, the attack can be considered a charge. Normally, movement made past enemies grants an Opportunity Attack, but while Thoril adopts this Stance, he can’t be struck during the charge portion of his attack. Think of it like a Shift he can make at full speed. Don’t forget, the charge benefit of a +1 bonus to attack applies. If he lands an attack, he gets a +2 power bonus to the damage roll of the MBA taken at the end of the charge, and he knocks the enemy prone.
The drawback to a charge attack is that once it’s complete, the turn is over (no Dual Weapon follow-up). Thoril will need to spend any actions he has prior to starting a charge, or they’ll be wasted. However, nothing is stopping him from using an Action Point and tearing into his now-prone foe, who is granting Combat Advantage, with an MBA and Dual Weapon Attack one-two punch. Injury to insult.
Assume a particularly strong foe survives being hit with the force of a Charging Ram and keeps coming at the Scout. Thoril could switch to Aspect of the Cunning Fox, where he never has to worry about changing his position on the battlefield should he need to. While in the Stance, he uses his attacks, whether he hits or misses an enemy, ranged or melee, to distract his foe long enough to take a free action and shift up to 2 squares. Yes, that’s every time he would need to roll a d20 to attack. Also, Thoril only takes half damage from any attack made against him during his own turn. This might happen if an enemy pulls some kind of Immediate Interrupt or is granted an Opportunity Attack on Thoril, such as if Thoril attacked with a ranged weapon with an enemy adjacent to him. Heh, like if he cashes in that one arrow.
The last Stance that Thoril knows is called Aspect of the Regal Lion. It’s situational, but its benefits will most certainly become useful as the party continues to grow and has to face ginormous enemies. When the Stance is adopted, any MBA or RBA (Ranged Basic Attack) made against Large or Larger enemies will get a +2 power bonus to the attack roll. Additionally, Thoril gains a +2 power bonus to all defenses against any and all attacks made by these big guys. Massive monsters have more body to hit, and moving all that mass takes time, which telegraphs their attacks to those who know what to watch for.
In addition to the abilities granted by his Stances, Thoril has a few more tricks up his sleeve. Twice per Encounter, when Thoril lands a melee attack, he can invoke Power Strike for no action cost. As a result, the victim of his attack takes an additional 1[w] damage, and considering the damage output on his weapon combo of Vicious +2 battleaxe and handaxe, this is significant.
Humans have a knack for obtaining victory where only defeat seems possible, as expressed in the Encounter power called Heroic Effort. For no expended action, anytime Thoril wold miss with an attack or fail a saving throw, he can choose to add a +4 racial bonus to the result. Also, Thoril’s training allows him to use Reactive Shift once per Encounter. As an Immediate Interrupt, he can shift a number of squares equal to his WIS modifier (currently at +3) when an enemy he can see ends its turn adjacent to the him. Rounding out Thoril’s defenses are Oak Skin and Step of Morning Mist. Oak Skin grants a +3 Resist All (equal to WIS mod) as a Daily Minor. Step of the Morning Mist teleports our Scout up to 5 squares and gives him a +5 power bonus to all of his defenses until the end of his next turn. He can do this only in place of his Move action for the turn, once per day.
With all this amazing power available to his whim, you must ask yourself that all-consuming question…
Can you accept this?
(Written by Merlin Reynolds)