Omni's Guide to Crusaders
Hail and Welcome to the Crusader forums. If you have come to these forums you are undoubtedly a child of the All-Father, and a defender of his faith. This guide is not intended to give you a narrow conception of the Crusader class but rather to conveniently organize information for you in a useful and informative manner.
The Four Basic Types of Crusaders
- The Support Crusader
- The Casting Crusader
- The Melee Crusader
- The Half Giant Crusader
Support Crusaders are the most commonly played Crusaders active in-group combat. They are almost exclusively healer based Crusaders, and largely they are Sons of Thurin (Dwarves). These Crusaders will seek to maximize their passive defense (Block), their focus line skill (Liturgy) and often invest a large number of points in Restoration, the focus line skill for healers. These characters will make use of two spells most commonly, sacrifice, and prayer of mending. This is the result of sacrifice being a highly effective health transfer spell that allows a player to heal his allies regardless of whether or not his ally is Shadowmantled, a spell used to block heals. On lore servers such as Saedron and Vindication, support Crusaders are also found in Human, Elf, Centaur and Aelfborn forms.
The Casting Crusader is a Hybrid by definition. Crusaders have 2 damage spells as of my writing this guide. These spells are Dariusâ€™ fist, damage over time and area of effect holy damage spell, and Censure, a direct holy damage spell. Casting Crusaders come in all shapes and sizes however they are most rarely Half Giants. All other races that Can play Crusader have the option of choosing whether or not they would like to be healer based Crusader or a fighter based Crusader. Healer Crusaders have a power damage modifier in their offensive stance and greater intelligence capacity than fighter based Crusaders. As a downside Healer Crusaders have a power damage penalty in their Defensive stance. Fighter Crusaders do not have a power damage penalty in any of their stances and a greater ability to attain high defense than Healer Crusaders. Casting Crusaders are often hybrids, which take advantage of procs, damage effects, which have a 5% chance of landing whenever a player lands a hit with their weapon.
The Melee Crusader is least commonly played Crusader in Shadowbane. This group, as I have organized it, does not include Half Giants, which are substantially different than other Melee Crusaders. Melee Crusaders are the most varied in their builds, primarily due to personal preference of players and various strengths each race possesses. Crusaders suffer 3 major drawbacks as a fighter based class. These flaws are a lack of toughness to bolster their hit points, a lack of athletics to bolster their stamina and no root or snare breaks. Dwarves are a common race played by melee Crusaders, as they do possess the toughness skill due to their race. Aelfborn Crusaders have a racial snare immunity power. Many Melee Crusaders are drawn to this race as they can attain defense levels in excess of 3000 defense rating. Fighter Crusaders also offer level 30 weapon powers for Swords, Sword Mastery, Hammers, Hammer Mastery and Blade Mastery. Crusaders also possess a Health Regeneration chant, a 50% damage chant, and a Class weapon sword and hammer. Crusaders also have a power called All-Fatherâ€™s shield which boosts ones strength, constitution, attack rating and defense rating for 2 minutes.
The Half-Giant Crusader is the most commonly played Melee Crusader. Unlike other Crusaders, Half-Giants are only limited by their lack of a root/snare break. They racially offer the player athletics and toughness skills. Half-Giant Crusaders also offer the user a Stacking racial rage that greatly increases damage. Half-Giants offer very favorable stat spreads for melee characters and a racial boost to the Great Hammer and Great Sword Mastery skills. These Crusaders can attain extremely high damage, hit points, stamina and melee resistances. Half-Giant Crusaders rarely use the class weapons and instead tend to use Great Swords and Great Hammers.
Races that Heed the Call of the All-Father
Humans are a common race in any class they can be. Humans offer a plethora of extra skill points in Shadowbane and they are particularly useful for Crusaders. Extra points allow Crusaders to invest in their disciplines and their support powers, which make them useful in groups. Humans like their mixed race cousins, Aelfborn, are able to take blademastery. Blademaster is a very useful Discipline that offers Find Weakness a stacking â€“25 melee resistance debuff that is very complimentary to Crusaders damage chant. Human Crusaders may also take Runecaster, Bounty Hunter, Huntsman, Commander, Darksworn, Knight, Prospector, Sanctifier, Artillerist, Wyrmslayer and Undead Hunter.
Dwarves are the preferred race of most support Crusaders. They have naturally high resists and their racial toughness skill make them a worthy choice for any Crusader. Dwarf Crusaders may apply Artillerist, Rune Caster, Commander, Bounty Hunter, Sanctifier, Prospector, Darksworn, Undead Hunter, Wyrmslayer, Forgemaster and Giant Killer. Forge Master offers the user 2 popular item enchantment spells. Hone and Harden which may enhance the efficacy of ones weapons and armor. Giant Killer offers the user a short duration rage, and a constitution debuff.
Elves are very well known within Crusader circles are excellent candidates for having their pictures taken but awkward allies on the battlefield. Elves are almost exclusively played on Lore servers. They have very low natural constitution and as a result are almost exclusively defensive characters. Elves do offer the Bladeweaver discipline, which boosts sword skill and grants ambidexterity to the Crusader. These characters are almost always caster or proc oriented hybrids. They frequently run out of stamina. Elves may also use Artillerist, Bounty Hunter, Commander, Huntsman, DarkSworn, Prospector, Rune Caster, Undead Hunter, Wyrmslayer and Sanctifier
Aelfborn are chosen for two purposes. They are capable of using the blademastery discipline rune and they have a racial snare immunity power. They are very difficult to kill, hard to catch and used by casters, support characters and fighters. Aelfborn may also apply Artillerist, Bounty Hunter, Runecaster, Commander, DarkSworn, Undead Hunter, Huntsman, Knight, Prospector, and Sanctifier disciplines.
Half-Giants are the 900-pound gorilla in the room when it comes to Crusaders. All veteran Crusader players will actively acknowledge that Half-Giants are racially so apt to be fighter based characters that they are often considered their own mini class. They possess Athletics, Toughness and a stacking rage that makes them immune to power blocks. Half-Giants have no exclusive racial disciplines however they can apply Bounty Hunter, Artillerist, Commander, Huntsman, Knight, Prospector, Rune Caster, Wyrm Slayer and Undead Hunter
Centaurs are frequently played for lore server however they are often played in Centaur spec groups and as solo hybrid casters. Their primary strength is their speed and a noteworthy secondary strength is a high natural spirit that provides ample mana for most Crusaders. Centaurs can apply Artillerist, Bounty Hunter, DarkSworn, Commander, Huntsman, Knight, Prospector, Rune Caster, Sanctifier, Wyrm Slayer and Undead Hunter.
Weapons and Fighting Stances
- Defensive Stance â€“ GM
- Offensive Stance â€“ 20
- Precise Stance â€“ 20
- Defensive Stance â€“ 30
- Offensive Stance â€“ 20
- Precise Stance - 20
- Swords â€“ 30
- Sword Mastery â€“ 30
- Great Sword Mastery â€“ 20
- Blade Mastery â€“ 30
- Blade Weaving â€“ 15
- Swords â€“ 20
- Sword Mastery â€“ 20
- Great Sword Mastery â€“ 10
- Blade Mastery â€“ 20
- Blade Weaving - 10
- Hammer â€“ 30
- Hammer Mastery â€“ 30
- Great Hammer Mastery â€“ 20
- Hammer â€“ 25
- Hammer Mastery â€“ 25
- Great Hammer Mastery â€“ 10
Crusaders are commonly seen using 2 sets of weapons. Swords are one of those two weapon types. Crusaders have a one-handed class sword, which relies upon liturgy as its mastery line. The Holy Blade is one of 2 weapons, which allows the player to use Dariusâ€™ fist, a powerful area of effect and damage over time holy spell. Other Crusaders use the discipline swords for either Blade Master or Blade Weaver. A few Crusaders will also use Great swords if they prefer 2-handed weapons.
Hammers are a great choice for any crusader. Hammers offer the crusader a powerblock and a stuns that are outside of shield block a power used by shield users to stun. Crusaders are also offered the Faith hammer, a single-handed hammer that relies on liturgy as its focus line skill. Many support and casting Crusaders use Sceptors that have stats on them to boost their stats in some way, this is a popular choice among dwarf healer crusaders. Great Hammers are also used by Crusaders, they are noteable only among Half-Giant and Dwarf fighter Crusaders.
Fighters as a base class offer 4 training points per level. The rune offers +5 Base Str, +5 Base Con, and +5% movement rate. They suffer from â€“10 Base Intelligence. Fighters receive great stances and higher weapon power levels than Healers. All of the classes that can be Crusaders offer the Fighter Base Class. Fighters will gain more hit points and stamina over time.
Healers as a base class offer 5 training points per level, and are granted +5 Base Con and +5 Base Spirit. Healers suffer â€“10 Base Dexterity at creation. Healers are granted benediction and restoration. Healers can train Blessed Mending, and Prayer of Mending , two very powerful tools, that are very useful in group utility and single-player game play.
Powers, a Detailed Look
Blessing of the Healing Hands (BoTHH)
You need this power, it is the power that Crusaders have lived and died by for years. At GM BoTHH offers 85% health heal and 40% stamina heal. Its cast time is 1 second, this is the fastest percent heal in shadowbane. BoTHH also dispels bleeds, this is a must have for any Crusader worth his salt.
Holy mantle offers a stacking defense buff that is at gm, 150 extra def. It does open a large number of possibilities for defensive Crusader builds. It is also a very expensive point sink that some builds can not afford. Itâ€™s an excellent tool, itâ€™s just something you should consider only once you know you can afford it. Many defensive builds that can not afford to GM this buff, add 1 point for a cheap 30 def anyway.
Aid to the Faithful
This is an excellent support power. If your support Crusader is for a melee group, the 150% Health regen this chant can offer will be integral. It is impossible to make a true health-regen build on a Crusader as these characters are unable to apply gladiator and I do not believe this chant stacks with the gladiator health regeneration buff. Itâ€™s a great chant and very useful as bards often die before crusaders in group vs group combat and Crusaders can live long enough to make this chant worth its point investment.
Benediction of Saint Lorne
Here stands the second chant that makes Crusaders an excellent group mate for a melee group. This, at gm, grants a 50% damage buff chant. This is a huge advantage and far better than commander damage chant that is used by most melee characters. I highly recommend this on any Crusader that can fit it.
Weapon Proc. This is an excellent tool if you have the spare points. Itâ€™s a high damage holy damage proc, a better version of Undead Hunterâ€™s discipline proc. If youâ€™re using a proc build or a hybrid build, Consecrate weapon might be for you. Most players make an independent character with just this power and use that character as a bot.
Benediction of Saint Clarimus
This is a group defense chant, it is not good. I donâ€™t recommend ever wasting points on this power. At GM it offers a mere 50 def to your group.
This is the meat and potatoes of any caster build. A single-target holy damage spell. Itâ€™s a slower cast time nuke that Prelates have. Censure can produce good damage, with a slow 4 second cast time. It uses almost 50 mana per cast. We donâ€™t have the best nuke but itâ€™s still respectable. Your ATR and damage are tied to the Liturgy Focus line.
Saint Alaricâ€™s Aid
This is one of the most perfect little spells in Shadowbane. It is just the most underrated of all powers offered by Crusaders. It is granted at GM so all you need is 61 Liturgy to have this. It is a single target poison and disease, dispel that casts in only 2 seconds. Itâ€™s the fastest cure in SB and it makes druids into kittens. It does cost 60 mana per cast which can be expensive for some Crusader builds. This power can remove druid poison DoTs and the powerful poison backstab effects.
Many veteran players will argue that this spell is the only reason to build a Crusader, and when it comes to group oriented Crusaders, theyâ€™re absolutely right. This is a single target health transfer with 240% efficiency at GM. This is just an outrageously powerful spell. It penetrates through Shadowmantle, heals for large amounts and only takes 3 seconds to cast. If you plan on being a support Crusader, here is where you should begin your template.
Saint Alaricâ€™s Blessing
A single target poison resistance buff. Itâ€™s almost entirely useless. Poison resistance is entirely unnecessary on most builds as poison damage isnâ€™t that common or that strong. It can reach 50 poison resistances, I donâ€™t advise using this power on any Crusader build.
There are varied opinions on the true viability of this power. It requires the user have either a faith hammer or a Holy blade equipped in ones Hands. It is a fairly unique power. It costs stamina, and is attached to Liturgy Focus line. Damage over Time with an Area of Effect twist that makes this a great power for stance dancers that need to hit high defense opponents. I like it but I find I have to design my build around the decision to incorporate this power.
The All-Fatherâ€™s Shield
This is more commonly referred to as â€œSader Rage.â€ It lasts 2 minutes regardless of train investment. Itâ€™s 25% defense and attack rating bonus stay constant as well. As a result of this many Crusaders that are tight on trains leave this power at 1 train because those effects they desire most donâ€™t change. The bonus that is gained by training this is +40 more constitution and +40 more strength. Itâ€™s a great power, every Crusader build should use this.
This is a very coveted power among shield users. Shield Bash is a long duration melee stun. The ATR for this power is based on the skill investment in the block focus line. Whether you decide to put 1 point in this giving you a 2 second stun or you decide to GM it and gain an 8 second long melee stun. This power is used to stop opponents, or disrupt spells based on how many trains are invested in it. One less that savory use for this power is to stun oneself with it repeatedly to continually refresh ones own stun immunity
This power is granted at GM. It is very useful for pulling mobs to ones location. It is an excellent tool to help you level.
This is a heal that is only available to Healer based Crusaders and is universal to all Healer based characters. It is rooted in the restoration focus line. It provides small but fast healing, that makes it provide for more constant less interrupted healing per second. This is a single target heal. This power can remove bleeds at GM
Prayer of Mending
This is a heal that is only available to Healer based Crusaders and is universal to all Healer based characters. It is rooted in the restoration focus line. It provides small but fast healing, that makes it provide for more constant less interrupted healing per second. This is a group heal. This is one of the most commonly cast spells by group oriented Crusaders.
Summon is granted by having 69% benediction and being above rank 2. It is used to teleport allies from far distances to oneself. Itâ€™s a useful tool for any healer based character.
Skills, an introduction
This is the basic weapon choice of a large number of Crusaders. Swords are popular for defensive Crusaders because they offer a high-level attack rating debuff weapon power. Swords also offer the user the ability to bleed an opponent. Bleeds and Dariusâ€™ fist are often sufficient to kill many vampire rogues or mages. Swords is the skill that allows you to use the Class Sword, The Holy Blade. You will want to train swords to 100% if you intend to be a Blade master, Blade weaver or wielder of the Holy Blade. Swords is a STR based skill.
Polearm is not a popular choice for Crusaders. They offer only level 15 weapon powers on fighter Crusaders and level 5 weapon powers for healer Crusaders. It is however a viable build when used by a Half Giant fighter, and is a slightly weaker version of a Half Giant Pole Arm Templar.
Spear is another rare choice for Crusaders. Weapon powers are only level 5 for healer Crusaders and level 15 for fighter Crusaders. Wyrmslayer discipline can be applied to Crusaders but the Damage over time weapon power for Wyrmslayer is not as good as Dariusâ€™ fist and generally considered a useless build.
Liturgy is the power that comes only to the most devoted followers of the All-Father. It is the focus line skill for Dariusâ€™ Fist and Censure. It is the weapon mastery skill for the Holy Blade and the Faith Hammer. Every Crusader should have this. All Crusaders are advised to take this skill to a minimum of 70 to obtain the various powers necessary for all Crusaders. This power is boosted by the class shrine boon.
Medium armor is substandard. There is no reason to ever roll a Crusader with Medium Armor. It provides minimal advantage to defensive builds with extensive loss of resistances. Medium armor also receives no advantage from the Crusader shrine boon. Crusader armor offers a bonus to liturgy skill, and Medium armors do not. Heavy armor users may take advantage of Vorgrim armor which now provides a sizeable defensive boost higher than regular defense heavy armor.
All Crusaders should use this skill. It offers superior Resistance and Defense when wearing the new Vorgrim armor and subjected to the Crusader class shrine boon compared to all other armor types. Crusader armor is a type of Heavy Armor and provides a bonus to liturgy skill.
Great Hammer Mastery
This skill is used primarily by Half Giant or Dwarf fighter crusaders. The weapon powers are only at 20 for fighters and 10 for healers. It can be used pretty effectively on Half-Giants as they have provide a favorable for any melee character.
Great Sword Mastery
I recommend only using this skill if you have made a Half Giant Great Sword Crusader. It will not be as good as a Great Hammer Crusader as you will be lacking in good weapon powers. The weapon powers are only 20 on fighters and 10 on healers.
This skill will make or break how effective your hammer wielding Crusader is. There are two ways to make use of this skill. You can either train this skill up as high as possible and wield a regular hammer for better physical damage and sacrificing Dariusâ€™ Fist. Weapon powers are level 30 for this particular skill. The other way to use this skill is to wield a Faith hammer, and train your liturgy up as high as possible and training this skill only to 70 for all the weapon powers.
Pole Arm Mastery
This is only good for a Pole Arm crusader. I donâ€™t advise ever using this build.
This skill will make or break how effective your sword wielding Crusader is. There are two ways to make use of this skill. You can either train this skill up as high as possible and wield a regular sword for better physical damage and sacrificing Dariusâ€™ Fist. Weapon powers are level 30 for this particular skill. The other way to use this skill is to wield a Holy Blade, and train your liturgy up as high as possible and training this skill only to 70 for all the weapon powers.
This skill will unlock shield bash to you as a Crusader. You should be thankful for you are fortunate to possess a great skill in block. You will want to use this on any defensive build, resistance build or support build. Itâ€™s a great power and can keep you alive. Block as Iâ€™ve already said unlocks shield bash which at its bare minimum is a great way to pre-stun oneself. This skill is raised to gold on most Crusader builds.
Parry is a useful means of passive defense for dual wielding crusaders. It does not grant a bonus to your defensive rating but your passive defense gained will entirely justify a significant point investment.
This skill will appear only on healer Crusaders. It is advisable to train this skill to 69 to unlock the summon skill. Other than unlocking summon, there is nothing else in benediction worth having for a crusader.
This skill appears only on healer Crusaders. Restoration is the focus line skill for heals. This skill will unlock blessed mending and prayer of mending. The two powers are excellent utilities and I would confidently venture that any healer Crusader worth his salt has this skill somewhere above 100%.
This skill appears only on Dwarves and Half-Giants in the Crusader Class. It will boost your total hit points in a significant way. As a rule of thumb, if you have this skill on a Crusader, that is the clue to train it.
This skill appears only on Half-Giant Crusaders. Its inherent value lay in its ability to boost your stamina. Stamina is easily expended on fighter toons and most Crusaders suffer a lack of it. On a Half-Giant Crusader you will not have to use BoTHH on yourself purely because you have run out of stamina because you should gold this on almost any basic melee Half-Giant Crusader.