Lair Assault Strategy – Magic Items

In the ultra-deadly Lair Assault environment, the right tools and equipment can mean the difference between survival and a Total Party Kill. Here are a few items for you to consider…

lair assault magic item Lair Assault Strategy – Magic ItemsMagic Item Rules

In the first Dungeons and Dragons Lair Assault challenge, Forge of the Dawn Titan, players may choose one magic item of the sixth, fifth, and fourth level or lower. They may also spend up to 840 gold to purchase additional mundane or magic items, but they may not purchase more than two consumable items.

Please note that this article does not list the complete details of any DnD item. Please refer to the Wizards of the Coast Dungeons and Dragons Insider (DDI) Character Builder or Compendium for full item descriptions. Happy shopping!

Magic Weapons and Implements

For nearly any character, your level six magic item choice should be a +2 weapon or implement. A +2 item provides a higher attack bonus, more damage per attack, and more bonus damage dice on a critical hit. While you might be tempted to choose a +2 set of magic armor, a strong offense might be enough to prevent one final attack from an opponent. Aside from a +2 item, here are a few magic weapons and implements to consider for your assault on the dawn titan’s lair.

The Defender’s Sacrifice

Since you have more healing surges than you can probably use in the encounter, burning a surge to weaken a key opponent can mean the difference between conscious and unconscious allies.

Sacrificial Weapon +2 (Level 6 )
Weapon: Any melee
Power (Daily): Free Action. Use this power when you hit with the weapon. Spend a healing surge, and instead of regaining hit points, you cause the target to become weakened until the end of your next turn.

The Monk’s Best Friend

If you thought brutal weapons were awesome, check out this ki focus. With a Monk, the damage dice of EVERY attack will be a minimum of three, with no re-rolls required.

Devastating Ki Focus +1 (Level 5)
Property: When you roll damage for an implement attack or a weapon attack with this ki focus, any die that shows a 1 or a 2 instead deals 3 damage.

Ranged Striker’s Off-hand Companion

Do you have a ranged striker who needs a decent melee weapon? Trying to find ways spend your 840 gold? Well this is the short sword for you…

Rhythm Blade +1 (Level 3; Price: 680 gp)
Weapon: Light blade
Property: While you wield this weapon in your off hand, your shield bonus to AC and Reflex increases by 1.

Magic Clothing and Armor

Armor of Sudden Recovery +1 (Level 3; 680 gp)

Armor: Cloth, Leather
Power (Daily * Healing): Minor Action. You can use this power when you’re taking ongoing damage. The ongoing damage ends, and you gain regeneration equal to the amount of the ongoing damage until the end of the encounter.

Anyone who has played through the Forge of the Dawn Titan once knows that there is a LOT of ongoing damage. Why not turn that into regeneration?

Bloodcut Armor +1 (Level 4)

Armor: Leather, Hide
Power (Healing Surge): Minor Action. While you are bloodied, use this armor to gain resist 10 to all damage until the end of your next turn.

It should be noted that while this item is still awesome, it is NOT as awesome as the character builder OR compendium might lead you to believe. Upon closer inspection, the DMs at my LFGS discovered that a Standard Action is required to “recharge” the power. To clarify, this item requires a minor action and a healing surge to activate the damage resistance, and a standard action to re-enable the item power (and then another minor action and healing surge are required to activate the damage resistance).

Battle Harness +1 (Level 4)

Armor: Cloth, Leather, Hide
Property: As a free action, you can draw a sheathed weapon or retrieve a stowed item.
Property: You gain a power bonus to initiative equal to the item’s enhancement bonus.

I am a big fan of this item, because I think it goes well with the Defender Slingshot strategy I described last week in the Party Optimization post. And it never hurts to be able to chug a potion with just one minor action instead of two.

Armor of Sacrifice +1 (Level 5)

Armor: Chain, Scale, Plate
Power (At-Will): Minor Action. Use this power when you are adjacent to an ally who is subject to an effect that a save can end. The ally is no longer affected, and you now have the effect. You cannot make a saving throw against this effect until the end of your next turn.
Power (Daily • Healing): Minor Action. Spend a healing surge. One ally within 5 squares of you regains hit points as though he or she had spent a healing surge.

Any item that can remove status effects from allies is a good choice. After all, someone needs to get the leader up if they fall unconscious. Paired with the Superior feats, a sacrificial weapon can also be very useful to take ongoing damage or other nasty effects off an ally, and move them onto your hardier character.

Shadowdance Armor +1 (Level 5)

Armor: Cloth, Leather
Property: Your area and ranged attacks don’t provoke opportunity attacks.

The daily power on this item is not worth mentioning, but avoiding opportunity attacks as a ranged striker is awesome, especially if it saves you a feat.

Fireburst Armor +1 (Level 3, 680 gp)

Armor: Cloth
Property: You automatically succeed on saving throws against ongoing fire damage.

Anyone who has run through the Lair Assault Forge of the Dawn Titan module knows they are going to burn. A lot. Auto-saving vs. ongoing fire damage is nice, especially if you have an ally who can easily grant saving throws.

Armor of Resistance +1 (Level 2; 520 gp)

Armor: Any
Property: Resist 5 to a damage type chosen from the following list at the time the armor is created: acid, cold, fire, force, lightning, necrotic, poison, psychic, thunder.

No racial, background, theme, or feat-related damage resistance? Well, when all else fails, this armor is an option. And if you are trying to target the damage types specific to the Forge of the Dawn Titan mod, this can help provide that last type of resistance you so desperately need.

Dwarven Armor +1 (Level 2; 520 gp)

Armor: Chain, Scale, Plate
Power (Daily * Healing): Free Action. You regain hit points as if you had spent a healing surge.

Surgeless free action healing? Don’t mind if I do!

Any Armor +2

I am of the opinion that maximizing defenses is a sucker’s game in the Lair Assault play format. Have no illusions– you ARE going to get hit, and you are going to take damage. In nearly all cases, I think a party is better served by each player selecting a +2 weapon instead of +2 armor. The only instance I can think of where +2 Armor might be a smart idea would be with Summoned Armor. With Summoned Armor, a defender could temporarily make his plate mail vanish in order to make important skill checks without an armor penalty.

Neck Slot Items

Amulet of Life +1 (Level 5)

Power (Encounter * Healing): Free Action. Trigger: Use this power when you spend a healing surge. Effect: You can spend an additional healing surge.

This is a nifty item, especially if you have other items that consume healing surges, like the Bloodcut Armor.

Cloak of Resistance +1 (Level 2, 520 gp)

Power (Daily): Minor Action. Gain resist 5 to all damage until the start of your next turn.

Note that in Forge of the Dawn Titan, fire resistance is halved, but resistance to all damage is not. If you find yourself exposed, this could save your arse.

Safewing Amulet +1 (Level 3, 680 gp)

Property: When falling, you reduce the distance fallen (for the purpose of calculating damage) by a number of feet equal to 10 × the amulet’s enhancement bonus. You always land on your feet after a fall.

Whenever there is a D&D module that claims to be “deadly” you can bet falling damage is a possibility. If you don’t have the option to be trained in acrobatics, you may want to consider this item.

Brooch of Shielding +1 (Level 3; 680 gp)

Property: Gain resist 10 force.
Power (Daily): Immediate Interrupt. Use this power when you are hit by an area, close, or ranged attack. Gain resist to all damage equal to the brooch’s resist force value against that attack.

This is one of the few items, especially at low level, that provide force resistance. It also has a daily interrupt power that can shield you from a deathblow when you are low on hit points.

Lucky Charm +1 (Level 4; 840 gp)

Power (Daily): No Action. Trigger: You miss with an attack or fail a skill check, ability check, or saving throw. Effect: Roll a d6 and add the result to the attack roll, skill check, ability check, or saving throw.

So you didn’t want to choose the Harper theme, eh? No worries, this item provides the same daily power benefit. Or you can just take both and be a super Harper.

Collar of Recovery +1 (Level 4; Price: 840 gp)

Property: Gain extra hit points equal to this item’s enhancement bonus when you spend a healing surge to regain hit points.

Who doesn’t need more hit points when death is almost inevitable?

Other Items to Consider

Circlet of Second Chances (Level 3; 680 gp)

Item Slot: Head
Power (Daily): No Action. Use this power when you fail a saving throw. Reroll the saving throw, using the second result even if it’s lower.

Belt of Vigor (Level 2; 520 gp)

Item Slot: Waist
Property: You gain a +1 item bonus to your healing surge value.

Counters of Second Chances (Level 5)

Item Slot: Arms
Power (Daily): Free Action. Use this power when you miss with a melee attack. Reroll the attack, and use the second result, even if it’s lower.

Although some players may find it difficult to justify choosing this item as their level 5 magic item, I highly recommend this item for Vampires. When you unleash your ungodly 2d12+2d8+1d10+mods melee attack, you NEED to hit!

Consumable Items

Potion of Healing (Level 5; 50 gp)

Standard faire. You’ll probably want to buy two of these, assuming you don’t buy a fourth magic item that costs 840 gold.

Potion of Resistance (Level 4, 40 gp)

There are multiple types of damage dealt in the Forge of the Dawn Titan. You may not be able to obtain resistance from all damage types with racial traits and armor alone. A potion of resistance can round out your ability to resist any damage Lair Assault can dish out.

Potion of Regeneration (Level 9, 140g)

This is a level NINE item, and therefore ILLEGAL for Lair Assault Forge of the Dawn Titan. One of the players used this during my first run and I didn’t catch it, but he won’t get away with it next time!

Your Suggestions

Have you discovered any items you feel are particularly useful in this Lair Assault challenge? Let us know!

15 comments for “Lair Assault Strategy – Magic Items

  1. Josh
    September 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Don’t forget some of the less-frequenly-used item types, like Boons! Pelor’s Sun Blessing, for example, provides bonus damage against certain types of enemies and (more importantly) gives a character the ability to trigger a healing surge in an ally while granting a +1 rider to saves until the end of the encounter.

  2. greg
    September 28, 2011 at 4:54 am

    bull S you cant buy higher level consumables. the description says you can buy magical and mundane items you can afford. Period.

    with that in mind i like to go with lv11 augmenting whetstone. guess what- you have a lv3 weapon (or implement if you can use a weapon as an implement) for just 350 gold!

    i also like to make intimidators. instantly take a foe out of a fight when theyre bloodied (usually go with half-orc and strong arm tactics feat or dragonborn with intimidation of the dragon feat- usually +21 minimum on intimidate).

    with that in mind i like the other consumable to be Talent Shard level 8 (+2 to one skill). also, i like the boon ioun’s revelation (+2 all skills, with a +1 to one skill for the entire party- usually go with athletics for the party or be greedy with another +1 intimidate).

    i also like the noble theme and wandering duelist background (+3 intimidate). noble theme means free lv6 common item (+1 shielding blade, or a +2 amulet if making a grabber fighter build).

    also the noble theme’s lv2 utility grants a +5 on next intimidate check. so for you math wizzes that’s a !!+26!! intimidate for the encounter (with a 20 cha with my dragonborn sorc/barb hybrid)(with the +1 bonus from ioun’s rev with +2 from talent shard) with a +31 for one check using Noble Influence. PLUS. THIRTY. ONE.

    so once the boss is bloodied scare the crap out of him and hope to hit his insane will defense (dont know what it is but i assume he’s a warlock meaning high will). just roll a 2 and you’ll hit if his will is 23. Game over.

    • Sunyaku
      September 28, 2011 at 5:25 am

      Unfortunately, the module states that players cannot purchase consumables higher than their level. Also keep in mind that you can only have a maximum of TWO consumable items. Interesting idea with the intimidate check… I’m not sure how most DMs would rule there. Have you played through the Forge of the Dawn Titan yet? With the presence of the primordial Maegera and Mordai Vell’s lord Asmodeus, Mordai Vell really has no reason to surrender to anyone. He either dies, or the ritual completes and he acquires absolute power. It’s a race against time. This is not an uncommon feature, I’ve seen more than one module from Wizards that states that monsters fight to the death regardless of any diplomacy or intimidate attempt. While the module does not explicitly state this, that’s how I would personally rule, given the situation.

  3. greg
    September 28, 2011 at 6:07 am

    just read the update to the rules. damn they did change it to specify not being able to buy consumables higher than level- they also changed it so that forgemasters gloves no longer grant an addition 5 fire resist with the mark of making feat; WoTC is changing the rules to make it harder :(

    the intimidate skill description is simple tho- meet or beat their will defense with an intimidate check and they surrender. it doesnt matter if they’re winning or higher level.

    im making a tiefling; theres the little feature of having natural fire resist. i think it’s total crap tho that they dont have a racial bonus to intimidate. makes no f’ing sense. so i’ll have +20 intimidate (19 plus the one bonus from iouns rev).

    currently tweaking my guy for when i play tomorrow

  4. jason
    September 29, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Greg – are you forgetting about teh -10 modifier when trying to intimidate a hostile target?

  5. greg
    October 5, 2011 at 2:17 am

    nope not forgetting about the minus 10. if i have +26 to imtimidate and i roll a 10, that’s a 36 on the check. 36 -10 is still well above anything’s will defense; rolled a 40 to intimidate boss; no way his will defense is over 30.

    after having beaten it once and realizing my intimdate was way higher than needed (had a battlemind with psionic skill feat, meaning can spend a power point to add 3 to a check, and the aspect of unspeakable horror, meaning another +5 to intimidate, totalling +26 or +29 when using a power point; did it for boss and rolled an 11)

  6. greg
    October 5, 2011 at 2:36 am

    i won’t go into detail on the guy i made who beat lair but here are some reasons why, and my new guy, which i’ll be using tomorrow and who is insane:

    be a tiefling. 7 fire resist, take feat diabolic soul, meaning 12 fire resist. 90% of attacks are fire.

    armor of sudden recovery (leather or cloth only). my battlemind was never even bloodied. ’nuff said.

    ioun’s revelation. +2 ALL skills, can give whole party +1 to whatever; im greedy and like it for more intimidate.

    brooch of shielding. resist 10 force, can use interrupt to gain resist 10 all to one attack (area, close, range); there MAY, MAY be a ranged attack that is force, fire).

    +2 sacrificial carrikal. awesome damage (reroll 1′s and 2′s), spend healing surge on a hit 1/day to weaken enemy; i’ll be using it on boss.

    2 consumables- potions of clarity (can reroll attacks you dont like). screw healing potions/ regeneration potions/ resisting potions.

    feats:
    -diabolic soul. insanenly awesome.

    -hybrid talent, battlerager. Hit with any melee/burst power, con mod temps (3), hit with invigorating power, double con mod temps, MISS with invigorating power, con mod temps

    -psionic skill, intimidate. +2 intimidate, can spend power point (have 2 JUST for this purpose) to add +3 power bonus.

    btw intimidate is just 18- +1 from ioun’s rev, +3 from psionic skill, totalling +22. last time i intimidated the crap out of the boss but the DM just made him dazed.

    at-will’s: crushing surge, conductive defense
    encounter: 3Fighter, bull charge
    dailies: 1, corona of floating force, 5, pinning smash.
    utility: inspiring fortitude (can grant 13 temps to EACH ally)

    skills atheltics(+11), endurance (+10), intimidate(+18 base).

    the key to this guy:
    insano regeneration, lots and lots and LOTS of temporary hp, 12 fire resist, intim-O-dator, and ALWAYS FLOATING. Floating Force is a stance- you ignore difficult terrain and HAZARDOUS terrain; that MAY include lava…

  7. greg
    October 16, 2011 at 5:25 am

    *spoilers*

    did lair assault today, and i didnt make it. But there were only 2 of us.

    the other person was a Deva healer; she used every single heal on herself. and she died, leaving me with a lot left.

    first “encounter” was about 9 minions. none did fire damage, so my force and fire resist didnt mean squat, and i had no burst/area attacks, and neither did the cleric. she ended up using a daily, making a zone of 1d6+cha damage; they were gone soon after.

    after was the jumping over platforms (oh i netted a fish and gave it to her). i drew a card that let me get a Stroke of Luck on a failed saving throw; even after about 10 ongoing damage saving throws, and 3 saving throws to avoid falling off a platform (literally about 13 saving throws), i unfortunately continued to save every time (even though i had 12 fire resist meaning 6 fire resist, meaning ongoing 5 fire did nothing). there was a fire bat and a warlock in the platform room.

    i suggested we focus on one enemey- the bat- so i could intimidate when bloodied. when it finally was i rolled a ONE on the intimidate, so it just laughed at me. the cleric died after falling and getting singled out (as the DM felt like doing) for attacks. i left the room, leaving the warlock alive, went in the next hallway, and grabbed the jewels from the statue.

    the jewels granted 5 REAL fire resist (didnt need) and +5 vs ongoing fire dmg; i dropped it, continuing to try and fail a save for the stroke of luck card. Oh wait both were alive- the bat and warlock followed me. i went into the third little room, put on the robe, but dropped it because it was the same as the jewels. i killed the bat, then went further down the hallway, and used the dark Sun at-will power to see what was in the main room.

    there was the elemental (lv10), the boss (lv8 elite), a dragonborn, and 2 trapped statues. this was about round 14, and you have 20 to stop the boss. i went to the portcullis, rolled to lift it, failed, and rolled again using my standard and got it. the boss ran like a bitch and the elemental and the dragonborn came at me. the warlock used his power to teleport us and switch places, sending me back further in the hallway. the dragonborn and elemental blocked the 2-square wide hallway.

    i moved to the dragonborn then rolled to bullrush him. i failed, but by this time i finally got the Stroke of Luck and rerolled, pushing him one square and entering the space he left. then i used my action point to move past him, the elemental, and the warlock, going 2 squares past the portcullis- Opp attacks were worth it, cant remember if they hit (my guy had regen 5, temp hp, and resist fire so i didnt care).

    i charged the boss and did my Black Wrath of Hell, Takedown strike, and Bull Charge on him. earlier i used my Corona of Floating Force, levitating me and avoiding hazardous terrain and any terrain hazard, aka the lava. the dragonborn came at me, the elemental, and the traps were firing. the boss used his powers like crazy, the dumb dragonborn took 10 damage/round cuz he was in the lava but had just resist fire 10.

    they ended up eventually dropping me to -3, then unleashed hell on me (including a coup de grace), but only got me to -25. my bloody value is 27, so i didnt die. then i regened 5 at the start of my turn (from armor of sudden recovery from the ongoing 5 damage from turn 4), bringing my hp to 5, and then it was turn 20 and too late.

    i had hurt the boss like hell but didnt bloody him (he has over 180 hit points i think). if i could have bloodied him i could have intimidated with a +22 to the check; i would have had to roll about a 10.

    but thats what happened- just me. all the cleric did was heal herself twice and lay a zone for the minions. the fish she ate gave resist 10 fire vs 1 attack, but didnt save her. just remember that having a tiefling is essential, and being a hybrid battlemind/battlerager worked well.

    my 2 consumables were 2 potions of clarity (reroll encounter/daily attack, tho rerolling at-wills would have helped tremendously; my last 3 attacks vs the boss were 1, 2, and 2).

    • Coulbe
      October 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm

      You should have died earlier. Regen doesn’t occur if you’re unconscious.

      Also, if you’re going the path where the cloaks are anyway, there is no point to be a Tiefling. Just grab one for +5 resist and saving throws, and get hit by the Elemental to take +10 ongoing fire, then use sudden recovery to gain regen +10.

    • Sunyaku
      October 16, 2011 at 6:23 pm

      Only two players is certainly a challenge… did your DM scale it down at all? It sounds like they went at you full force. If you ran four-player “normal mode” for only two players, the ratio of monsters to players would actually be worse than nightmare mode.

      I’m impressed you two got past the first room. Good job!

      Floating above the lava is also a nifty way to nerf Mordai Vell’s controller push/slide effects.
      Sunyaku recently posted..Lair Assault Tactics for Dungeon Masters

  8. Simon
    October 19, 2011 at 2:30 am

    A note on bloodcut armor – you don’t spend a healing surge to use the armor, just to recharge the power. See p226 of the PHB

    • Sunyaku
      October 19, 2011 at 3:06 am

      Quite right Simon, thank you.

  9. Sandros
    October 27, 2011 at 3:28 am

    Lava damage happens whenever you enter the square. Regardless if you are flying/floating/etc.

    • Sunyaku
      October 27, 2011 at 4:26 am

      You are right, it is technically written as “enters the square”, but I can’t imagine many DMs would rule this way. If they did, they would also have to rule that characters take damage when they jump over lava, because they are still “entering the square”… which doesn’t make sense. I personally would rule that you have to “touch” the lava to take the damage. So floating/flying/jumping would be valid strategies at my table.

  10. Ameron
    November 16, 2011 at 4:25 am

    I’ve defeated the Lair Assault twice now thanks in large part to the consumable item Nail of Sealing. Once in a door it requires a DC 25 Strength check to open. Only 1 monster in the adventure has a +5 or higher Strength modifier. Since a 20 is not an automatic success (just like a 1 is not an automatic failure) when making a skill or ability check those monsters are stuck on the other side of the door once sealed. Of course two monsters can try to work together but that takes time and still requires a) a successful assist, and b) a successful DC 25 check. Not going to happen. We just ran past the monsters as fast as possible, took the opportunity attacks along the way and then had 17 rounds to defeat the big boss. It was almost too easy. Nail of Sealing… best 40 gp I spent when making my character.
    Ameron recently posted..You Make the Call – Questions About Rules (Part 1)

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