The group consists of a Bard, a Cleric, a Bow Ranger, an Invoker, a Dragon Sorcerer, a Warden and then Lady Blacksteel's Rogue and my Fighter. I like to have a theme for my characters - on the rare times I get to play one, anyway - so I went with a fairly easy one this time:
|Marcellus Maximus, former gladiator in the Great Kingdom, now a special agent of the County of Urnst
Original? No. Easy for other players to grasp? Yes. Another new wrinkle that I wanted to try was making characters that were intended to work together most of the time, so Lady Blacksteel's character ended up as a gladiator-themed Rogue - she's the hammer, I'm the anvil. We are former arena fighters from the Great Kingdom of Aerdy (this one is set in Greyhawk) who eventually left (or maybe escaped or maybe won their freedom -it's not something they talk about a lot) and ended up in one of the Urnst states and eventually put their talents to work for the ruler.
Mechanically the trick is that rogues can add extra damage to one hit per round when they have combat advantage (this is the current version of the Backstab from 1E). So how does one achieve "combat advantage" one might ask. The traditional way is through flanking, or positioning two characters on opposite sides of an opponent, and reams of data have been discussed on the internet about how to achieve this. One interesting note as well is that a prone opponent also grants combat advantage to a melee attacker. This is where I decided to add some focus.
The Rogue and the Fighter have both been created in a way to allow them some ability to reposition even if they are in melee. There are a lot of powers and feats built around this idea so it's not terribly difficult. Fighters though have some powers that let them knock an opponent prone and I took as many of them as I could. There is also a feat which gives me a +5 to damage rolls against a prone opponent. Lady B's Rogue gets her sneak attack damage against a prone opponent as well so if I can knock someone down and keep them there, they will not last long. There are some other tricks in there too but that 's the main theme of this pair - I set her up and she knocks them down, and if they're still breathing I can knock them down some more.
Anyway it should be fun. I spoke with the Warden too, the other "front line guy" and talked a little bit about how to work together so we should be in good shape. Kids are foisted off on other family members, junk food and drinks are secured, and dice are gathered. I believe we are ready.