August 23, 2010 by Jeremiah McCoy
It is not hard to think of a fantasy character defined by his equipment. Arthur had Excalibur, Elric had Stormbringer, and Harry Potter had his wand. Using an item as a basis for a character or part of a combo is a great way to add some flavor to a character. It also can get you some wicked results.
Lets start this combo off with the race you will need first. The Razorclaw Shifter is found the Players Handbook 2. They are a Dexterity and Wisdom race so they are pretty good for the druid, fighter, ranger, and warden classes. Which ever class you go with, they tend to be very bestial in their flavor.
The key thing for this combo is their encounter power (minor action), Razorclaw Shifting. You can activate this power when bloodied and until the end of the encounter, the characters speed increases by 2, and they gain a +1 bonus to AC and Reflex. It is not common for encounter powers to have effects which can last till the end of the encounter but, that is part of why this combo works so well.
A weapon with the Battlecrazed enchantment is what is needed next (ed. note: from Adventurer’s Vault). The Battlecrazed weapon is only for heavy blades and axes. What makes a weapon more Battlecrazed than another? This axe gets a little more crazed than the mace over there. The mace is more “splashcrazed” or maybe “hanging on the mantle crazed”.
Anyway, the Battlecrazed enchantment does a couple of things. It will give the weapon a property of doing an extra 1d6 damage when the wielder is bloodied. That in and of itself, is a potent way to increase your damage output if your careful but, that is not all. It also gives the daily power (minor action) which does half your character level damage to the character and they count as bloodied till the end of their next turn. That bloodied effect counts towards all positive effects including racial.
You can see where this is going. You pop the self bloodying effect relatively early in the fight. I would recommend doing it just before an attack you think will have a good chance to hit to get the damage addition. The important factor here is that you also activate the Razorclaw Shifting power as well. They are both minors so you will want to either spend an action point or plan on not having to move. For the rest of the encounter, you will have your speed upped by 2 and +1 to AC. More mobility and harder to hit are both good traits to have for a tough fight.
As a few variations, there are some other ways to go here. First you could go with the Longtooth Shifter ability. It would give you +2 damage until the end of the encounter and you would have regeneration 2 while you are bloodied. I like the defense and mobility better but, if your concern is damage output that might work better. Also, there are some Feats worth taking to further capitalize on this tactic. You should look at Bluring Claws (ed: from Players Handbook 2, does bonus damage when shifted and enemy grants combat advantage) or Razorclaw Spirit Shifting (ed: from Primal Power, let’s you shift when shifted and an enemy attacks AC or Ref).
This is a good example of using an item in a power combo to get maximum effect. There are lots of items and there will no doubt be more. 4th edition D&D is very item dependent, so keep that in mind when planning out new characters.