Mar 032016

First Life Gnome Eldritch Knight
It is Gnome build week here on DDOGamer, as Count Babcula posts a Deep Gnome Illusionist build, followed by me and this Eldritch Knight, and soon (or at least, soonish) to include a Gnome Assassin.

Gnomes everywhere. In fairness, you were warned.

DDOGamer accidentally presents: A week of Gnome character builds

This one is for my Gamer Girl. She wanted something different, something to play with our Torchwood friends on Torchwood nights, something that didn’t worry about end game or epics because she doesn’t think it is likely this character will ever get there. Being played probably only once per week, I see her point, but tried to figure in end game capabilities too, because reasons. Like, things change, I’ve run bank characters up to cap, who knows what might happen.

But I digress. Let’s talk build details!


  • It must have a frontloaded power curve; this can not be one of those late-blooming characters that only gets good in Epic
  • Does not have to be overly self-healing; there will always be a cleric in accompaniment
  • Has to be able to really contribute; my Gamer Girl hates it when she feels like the group is carrying her character

And so I came up with this. An Eldritch Knight, designed to tank (at least as much as a first life character with naked gear slots can tank), that can engage multiple enemies with Intimidate and AoE attacks, and support itself and the rest of the party with wands (for the first few levels) and scrolls (later) via UMD.

First Life Gnome Eldritch Knight
16/3/1 Wizard/Paladin/Artificer
Lawful Good Gnome

The Artificer level is purely to open up the UMD skill. I am not using any Artificer enhancements or abilities other than the UMD. Because of this, the build will not get ninth-level spells. On the other hand, there are no ninth-level spells that are necessary for this play style.

And she’ll get a tiny steel dog for lever-pulling purposes, forever cute and tiny. Another plus!

               28pt     Level Up
               ----     --------
Strength         8       4: INT
Dexterity        8       8: INT
Constitution    16      12: INT
Intelligence    20      16: INT
Wisdom           8      20: INT
Charisma         8      24: INT
                        28: INT

All intelligence, all the time.

          W  A  P  P  P  W  W  W  W  W  W  W  W  W  W  W  W  W  W  W
          1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Spellcr   4  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  23
Intim     2     1  3  1  2  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  23
UMD       2  3  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  23
Spot      2  3                 1                 ½     1½ ½  2  1  1½ 13
Balance   2     1     1     1     1     1     1     1     1     1     11
Jump      2  ½                 ½  ½  1½ ½  1½ ½  1  ½  ½  ½           10
Concent   4  1                                                     1   6
         28  9  7  7  7  7  7  8  8  8  8  8  8  8  8  9  9  9  9  9

Intimidate, Spellcraft and UMD are the essential skills. Everything else is gravy. I selected Jump and Balance and Spot, but one could try any number of others here and probably do just as well.


 1        : Insightful Reflexes
 1 Wizard : Extend Spell
 3        : Shield Mastery
 3 Deity  : Follower of: Sovereign Host
 6        : Tower Shield Proficiency
 9        : Skill Focus: Intimidate
 9 Wizard : Empower Spell
12        : Skill Focus: Use Magic Device
14 Wizard : Maximize Spell
15        : Improved Critical: Piercing
18        : Improved Shield Mastery
19 Wizard : Mental Toughness
21 Epic   : Overwhelming Critical
24 Epic   : Intensify Spell
26 Destiny: Holy Strike
27 Epic   : Burst of Glacial Wrath
28 Destiny: Forced Escape

Normally, a build like this would want Power Attack, Cleave, and Great Cleave, but this build does not have the Strength. Nor should they be necessary; the character’s spells and Eldritch Strike should do enough AoE damage to make up for any Cleave deficiency.

I am boosting two skills even though I usually avoid boosting any. All part of trying to front-load the character into being able to use her best stuff (tanking and UMD) as soon as possible.

The character will need to swap out Extend for Quicken sometime around level 10 or 12.

1. Obscuring Mist, Sonic Blast, Niac's Cold Ray, Nightshield, Grease
2. Blur, Fog Cloud, Snowball Swarm, Invisibility, Web
3. Displacement, Haste, Sleet Storm, Frost Lance, Stinking Cloud
4. Ice Storm, Shout, Wall of Fire, Solid Fog, Dimension Door
5. Cone of Cold, Eladar's Electric Surge, Niac's Biting Cold, Cloudkill, Teleport
6. Acid Fog, Greater Heroism, Otiluke's Freezing Sphere, True Seeing
7. Prismatic Spray, Otto's Sphere of Dancing, Mass Protection from Elements, Greater Teleport
8. Greater Shout, Otto's Irresistible Dance, Polar Ray
1. Enchant Armor, Enchant Weapons

Melee buffs, Area of effect damage, and spells that shape the battlefield. I am focusing on Cold and Sound for damage spells.

Enhancements (80 AP)

Eldritch Knight (Wizard) (43 AP)
    • Eldritch Strike, Spellsword: Frost
         1. Toughness III, Battlemage III
         2. Shield Training, Light Armor Proficiency, Martial Training, Wand and Scroll Mastery III
         3. Arcane Barrier III, Critical Accuracy III, Intelligence
         4. Medium Armor Proficiency, Critical Damage III, Intelligence
         5. Still Spell III, Doublestrike II, Eldritch Tempest III

Gnome (17 AP)
    • Gnomish Perserverance, Intelligence, Gnomish Perserverance II, Intelligence II, Retain Scroll Essence
         1. Gnomish Weapon Training
         2. Color Spray III, Permanent Blur, Gnomish Weapon Training
         3. Gnomish Weapon Training
         4. Gnomish Weapon Training

Harper Agent (12 AP)
    • Agent of Good I, Intelligence
         1. Harper Enchantment, Strategic Combat
         2. Know the Angles III
         3. Strategic Combat

Sacred Defender (8 AP)
    • Holy Bastion, Sacred Defense
         1. Extra Lay On Hands III, Durable Defense III

Color Spray is just because I needed it to unlock T4 Gnomish Weapon Training. But maybe it will be cool even with low DCs? The target has to save three times, so there’s hope.

Everything else is laser-focused on the character focii: tanking, staying up, UMD’ing.

Level Order

1. Wizard          6. Wizard         11. Wizard         16. Wizard
2. Artificer       7. Wizard         12. Wizard         17. Wizard
3. Paladin         8. Wizard         13. Wizard         18. Wizard
4. Paladin         9. Wizard         14. Wizard         19. Wizard
5. Paladin        10. Wizard         15. Wizard         20. Wizard

The whole leveling order and leveling guide are designed to get the most powerful enhancements onto the character as quickly as possible, especially INT to weapon damage and Sacred Defense stance.

Leveling Guide
   1. EKw0 Eldritch Strike; Hrp0 Agent of Good I; Hrp1 Strategic Combat
   2. Gno0 Gnomish Perserverance; Gno1 Gnomish Weapon Training; Hrp1 Harper Enchantment
   3. SD0 Holy Bastion; SD1 Extra Lay On Hands I, II, III
   4. Gno0 Intelligence; Hrp0 Intelligence
   5. Hrp2 Know the Angles I, II, III; SD1 Durable Defense I
   6. SD0 Sacred Defense; Hrp3 Strategic Combat; SD1 Durable Defense II
   7. Gno0 Gnomish Perserverance II; Gno2 Permanent Blur; Gno2 Gnomish Weapon Training; SD1 Durable Defense III
   8. EKw1 Toughness I, II, III; EKw1 Battlemage I
   9. EKw0 Spellsword: Frost; EKw1 Battlemage II, III; Gno2 Color Spray I
  10. EKw2 Shield Training; EKw2 Light Armor Proficiency
  11. Gno0 Intelligence II; EKw3 Intelligence
  12. Gno3 Gnomish Weapon Training; Gno2 Color Spray II, III
  13. EKw2 Martial Training; EKw3 Critical Accuracy I; EKw3 Arcane Barrier I
  14. EKw3 Arcane Barrier II, III; EKw3 Critical Accuracy II, III
  15. EKw4 Medium Armor Proficiency; EKw4 Intelligence
  16. Gno0 Retain Scroll Essence; Gno4 Gnomish Weapon Training; EKw4 Critical Damage I
  17. EKw2 Wand and Scroll Mastery I, II, III; EKw4 Critical Damage II
  18. EKw4 Critical Damage III; EKw5 Doublestrike I, II
  19. EKw5 Eldritch Tempest I; EKw5 Still Spell I; EKw5 Eldritch Tempest II
  20. EKw5 Eldritch Tempest III; EKw5 Still Spell II, III

It was not as easy as you might think to come up with something for an INT-based race that is not a caster or an artificer. Neither of which appealed to my Gamer Girl since she already has a fully-built-out caster and also has some sort of visceral dislike of all things artificer. For whatever reason.

Everyone has to have their likes and dislikes, right?

Regardless, I am excited to see how this plays out!

🙂 😀 🙂


p.s. There is a 32-point version of this build with a more efficient skill selection here.  You may want to check it ou.

  10 Responses to “First Life Gnome Eldritch Knight”

Comments (10)
  1. Have you considered Tier 5 Harper instead? Your caster levels will be high enough to self-cast Tensors and Tier 5 harper will get you the feat Extend for free on all spells! That will result in 15 melee power, spell power and ranged power, bonuses to attack and damage on evil opponents, and other goodies.
    I would do 38 harper and to radient forcefield in EK.

    • Excellent suggestion! I think the T5 Eldritch Knight enhancements are a better fit for this build, but I can totally see your point.

  2. Tower shields will seriously impact the spellcasting & necessitate a load of item switching & ASF reduction – i’d leave it till a little later on & just use small/large until then – heroic skyvault is ML12 i think, and the orchard ones are ML14 – maybe take that feat at 12 & at level 6, take the dragonmark (instead of SF:UMD) since it’ll give +2 umd by itself then another 3 APs in the racial line will give you an extra +3, a pretty hefty bonus in the lower & middle levels.

    • Maybe! I was totally unimpressed with the dragonmark though. Skill focus is more efficient because it costs only the feat while the other way costs a feat + APs

      • Moving Tower Shield proficiency until later might be a good idea all by itself. Maybe swap with Mental Toughness?

      • Only 3 APs though – not particularly expensive, and it’s easy enough to swap out the feat or adjust enhancements later, i was just focussing on the whole “pump UMD high & early” aspect 🙂

        Actually thinking about it, how important are the spell slots from that 16th wizard level? Ditch the artificer level & go with a 15wizard/3paladin/2warlock – they get their 1st instalment of deceive item at level 2 for +5 UMD, combine that with the dragonmark & those 3 APs, that’s potentially +11 UMD (including that 1 from 1st gnome core) just by level 5 which is pretty significant – then start adding the wizard levels from level 6 onwards.

        • Interesting trade-off. Will consider. The three AP are a bigger issue than you might think though. This build really needs five more AP than it has.

          • Yeah it’s a pretty tight one AP-wise (i make it 42 minimum to get the t5 EK ones you specify)… the warlock version wouldn’t necessarily need the dragonmark & AP combo though, that +5 is pretty effective straight up & you could comfortably go with the original SF:UMD for “only” +8 with no extra AP investment 🙂

            I think as with most characters it’ll just be a matter of making adjustments to the AP assignments occasionally while levelling for best impact at the time.

  3. There’s no need to take tower shield feat on an arcane caster, as Master’s Touch will grant proficiency. Actually, you don’t need it on any toon which has UMD and access to the Portable Hole for MT scrolls. 🙂

    I continue to believe the least bad option for an EK is bard / wizard: Swashbuckling DPS bonuses are pretty front-loaded so you only need 3-5 bard levels; while wiz provides bonus feats & caster oomph. With Harper + Insightful Reflexes, INT becomes your to-hit, dmg, Reflex, and DC stat all in one. You can spec for either S&B w/bucklers (Skirmisher+Shield Mastery feats) or with an orb (Arcane Marauder) for caster bonuses (and to save two feats).

    Then the biggest question is whether you splash a third class: e.g., rogue for trap skills, Evasion, and some sneak atks; artificer for trap skills & runearms (Cannoneer); or ftr for extra feats and possibly defensive stance.

  4. Gamer Girl being carried, an odd thought, isn’t she usually the one carrying the whole party?

What do you think?

%d bloggers like this: