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smite4life

STATISTICHE MEDIE DEI MOSTRI [EDIZIONE 3.5]

Riporto qui un po' di dati (nulla di nuovo, si trovano tranquillamente in giro) più per comodità mia che altro. Immaginando però che possano essere pure utile anche a voi, la rendo pubblica. Per ogni GS sono riportati il numero di mostri con quel GS e i valori medi e massimi di una serie di parametri (pf, iniziativa, CA (normale, contatto e alla sprovvista), BAB e i tre TS), con un range di GS che va da 1/10 a 66 (anche se i mostri con GS superiore a 30 sono così pochi da non essere considerabili statisticamente).

Spoiler
MEDI
GS # PF INIZ CA Contatto Sprovvista BAB TST TSR TSV
0,10 2 1,00 1,500 15,50 15,50 14,00 0.00 2,00 3,50 2,00
0,13 2 1,00 2,00 14,00 14,00 12,00 0.00 2,00 3,00 0,50
0,17 4 4,50 1,75 13,75 13,25 12,00 0.25 2,50 4,00 1,00
0,25 8 3,88 1,75 14,50 13,25 12,75 0.25 2,50 2,88 0,38
0,33 7 4,43 2,57 15,71 13,14 13,71 0.14 2,29 3,14 1,14
0,50 29 6,59 1,41 14,69 11,86 13,38 0.76 2,62 2,00 0,03
1 46 12,24 1,54 15,28 11,78 13,80 1.28 3,00 2,85 0,98
2 51 20,55 2,39 15,76 11,84 13,94 2.33 4,35 4,35 2,69
3 72 27,26 2,68 16,14 11,51 14,64 3.30 4,58 4,18 3,31
4 40 48,23 2,23 16,00 10,45 15,05 5.20 6,45 5,10 4,60
5 51 56,33 3,16 17,16 10,55 15,73 6.08 7,47 5,82 4,82
6 26 69,12 3,27 18,88 11,00 17,27 7.60 8,08 6,85 6,08
7 45 86,98 2,91 18,07 10,38 16,44 8.38 8,67 6,98 6,56
8 31 96,48 3,19 20,00 10,58 18,32 9.43 9,19 7,65 7,45
9 31 130,65 3,61 21,74 10,45 19,68 11.97 12,13 9,81 8,58
10 19 136,53 2,79 22,58 9,26 21,42 13.21 11,63 8,58 9,11
11 24 163,83 3,96 23,71 10,92 21,38 14.25 13,75 10,63 10,30
12 12 196,33 1,58 21,75 7,17 21,42 17.00 15,42 9,33 9,08
13 12 167,00 2,92 27,33 10,25 26,00 14.42 14,17 9,83 12,40
14 12 180,33 4,50 27,00 11,00 25,17 16.17 15,92 11,83 14,00
15 8 224,63 3,50 29,75 8,13 29,50 18.88 15,75 10,63 15,80
16 11 239,09 4,27 31,91 10,00 30,73 21.18 17,09 13,27 16,60
17 7 244,86 3,29 28,00 9,57 26,86 20.14 19,57 11,29 16,20
18 8 302,25 6,00 32,75 8,50 31,25 24.25 19,50 15,63 19,00
19 10 355,80 4,80 36,00 9,20 35,20 27.60 22,10 16,30 19,70
20 9 409,33 6,00 36,44 9,11 34,44 29.56 24,22 18,67 21,20
21 13 393,00 4,31 38,69 8,77 37,31 27,69 23,31 16,15 20,50
22 9 452,33 7,44 40,22 11,56 36,33 29,56 23,00 19,67 23,70
23 11 480,09 8,27 39,91 12,45 35,27 31,00 26,00 21,82 24,60
24 8 622,25 9,25 42,38 12,88 37,75 37,50 29,50 24,25 27,30
25 11 600,27 8,55 44,18 18,36 39,82 34,09 27,55 24,00 28,70
26 7 420,29 10,43 44,29 27,14 39,57 27,00 21,14 20,14 26,20
27 4 625,25 10,00 46,75 19,25 40,25 43,50 31,75 27,75 32,75
28 4 894,25 16,25 53,50 26,50 43,25 42,50 37,00 37,00 31,50
29 2 472,00 12,00 50,50 30,00 42,50 21,50 25,00 25,50 24,50
30 4 1064,25 2,00 40,75 13,50 40,25 48,25 36,00 26,25 38,70
31 2 788,50 3,50 58,00 16,00 56,50 42,50 34,00 24,50 33,50
32 1 433 18 40 20 30 42 19 29 29
33 1 605,5 -2 60 0 60 72 32 30 33
34 2 1100,00 9,50 54,00 16,00 50,50 52,50 42,00 32,50 39,50
35 5 1011,80 12,60 62,00 13,80 53,20 48,40 41,60 34,20 31,00
36 1 1676 11 58 3 57 72 55 47 39
37 1 1292 4 74 20 74 55 46 29 47
39 3 1430,00 7,00 66,67 18,00 62,33 68,00 55,67 37,67 45,00
41 1 1856 14 58 16 44 96 76 56 42
42 1 1984 12 60 14 48 96 77 54 42
43 2 1516,00 4,00 79,50 21,50 79,50 59,00 50,00 31,00 50,50
48 1 1479 4 78 21 78 58 50 31 50
50 2 2472,50 7,00 83,50 19,00 78,50 83,00 72,00 44,50 51,50
52 1 1732 4 85 23 85 63 54 33 54
57 2 1517,00 7,00 81,00 26,50 81,00 60,00 49,00 33,00 43,00
59 1 2362 4 102 28 102 75 64 39 65
61 1 2299 4 99 27 99 73 63 38 63
66 1 2613 4 106 29 106 78 68 41 68

 

MASSIMI
GS # PF INIZ CA Contatto Sprovvista BAB TST TSR TSV
0,10 2 1 2 16 16 14 0 2 4 2
0,13 2 1 2 14 14 12 0 2 4 1
0,17 4 11 2 14 14 12 1 4 4 2
0,25 8 11 3 17 15 14 1 4 5 2
0,33 7 6 5 17 15 16 1 4 5 3
0,50 29 16 4 18 16 18 2 5 6 3
1 46 31 7 23 20 18 3 6 6 5
2 51 42 8 23 15 22 5 8 10 6
3 72 55 9 23 18 23 6 9 9 7
4 40 94 6 20 18 20 9 11 9 9
5 51 95 11 25 16 25 11 12 13 10
6 26 133 13 29 29 24 12 14 12 12
7 45 152 13 25 17 24 13 15 19 12
8 31 180 10 27 20 26 15 16 14 11
9 31 230 14 29 18 28 18 19 22 13
10 19 305 8 33 13 33 24 22 19 14
11 24 228 15 29 25 27 24 20 25 14
12 12 300 5 28 13 28 30 25 12 15
13 12 230 5 32 14 31 20 18 14 16
14 12 287 8 35 14 35 23 19 13 18
15 8 312 5 34 11 33 24 19 14 20
16 11 378 8 42 16 42 31 23 16 23
17 7 337 7 34 13 34 27 25 15 19
18 8 375 20 37 14 37 30 23 24 23
19 10 445 12 38 16 38 33 25 20 21
20 9 858 12 40 17 39 48 38 29 23
21 13 522 7 51 17 44 36 28 22 25
22 9 536 22 47 24 47 37 28 25 27
23 11 838 18 46 28 42 38 41 35 28
24 8 900 27 44 40 44 48 39 38 38
25 11 1105 26 52 50 50 40 45 36 41
26 7 680 17 50 48 43 40 32 29 32
27 4 817 20 52 32 45 75 40 37 41
28 4 1102 25 57 47 57 60 45 44 35
29 2 814 17 51 38 48 33 40 39 32
30 4 1785 6 58 26 58 70 47 37 50
31 2 877 4 64 20 64 45 37 25 38
34 2 1362 15 61 19 61 62 48 42 43
35 5 1075 24 67 18 67 50 46 52 43
39 3 1728 13 81 22 81 96 75 55 52
43 2 1787 4 88 24 88 65 55 34 56
50 2 2880 10 95 26 95 96 84 52 61
57 2 2006 10 92 28 92 68 59 36 59

Qui invece riporto alcuni grafici e considerazioni sparse:

Spoiler

Per prima cosa notiamo l'andamento dei PF medi in funzione del GS:

PF_plot.png

Notiamo che fino a GS 14 la crescita è lineare con un incremento di circa 14 pf per grado sfida. Dopo il GS 15, invece, la crescita diventa molto più brusca (con un incremento di circa 40 pf per grado sfida). Questo vuol dire che, per un personaggio basato sul danno, sarà necessario un incremento di potere sostanziale attorno al livello 15, mentre per tutto il resto del tempo potrà crescere linearmente.

Per quanto riguarda la CA:

CA_plot.png

Si vede subito che la CA a contatto è decisamente la migliore da bersagliare e, a parte i primissimi GS, offre un vantaggio molto considerevole. Lo stesso non si può dire di quella alla sprovvista, che invece segue abbastanza da vicino quella normale.

I TS, invece, si comportano in questo modo:

TS_plot.png

Con i TS Tempra sempre più alti e con i Riflessi che, dopo il GS 12 circa, diventano sostanzialmente i peggiori (PALLA DI FUOCO SIIII!!). Da notare come ai primi livelli, fino circa al GS 6, il TS più basso sia costantemente quello sulla Volontà, rendendo i vari Sonno, Spruzzo Colorato e Polvere Luccicante molto efficaci.

Ringrazio l'utente della board Wizard Tleilaxu_Ghola che ha fatto il lavoro in primo luogo!

E qui una tabella che non riesco a rimuovere! :expressionless:

                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     

 

smite4life

Ok, questa è una build un po' incasinata, pur essendo clamorosamente semplice nella struttura. Nello specifico, sfrutta una questione che non ho mai del tutto capito sulle regole della 3.5, perciò ne approfitto per chiedere ai più esperti (fatevi avanti, non scherzo) chiarimenti. La domanda sarà evidente al termine!

PSYCARNUM WARRIOR

You can’t stop me, I got SOUL!

Required Books: Expanded Psionics Handbook, Magic of Incarnum, Complete Psionics. A few equipment suggestions from the Magic Item Compendium are used.
Unearthed Arcana used: None!

Background: 

Spoiler

I’ll just post DH’s thoughts directly here.

So here is the idea for this build. I loves me some Psychic Warrior, I feel like they are one of the most fun classes ever designed, but the struggle of the psychic warrior is and always will be their power point pool, and managing it to maximize your power usage in a day. To this end I am making use of the Psychic Warrior's most abundant resource, bonus feats, to improve his manifesting efficiency through one of the most ill considered abilities of all time, Psycarnum Infusion. Particularly, we'll be focusing on using two focus expenditures with Psycarnum Infusion to power a pair of Psionic/Incarnum feats, Azure Talent, and Midnight Augmentation. For an essentia capacity of X, infusing these talents will provide us with 2X temporary power points, and X points of free augmentation on the power of our choice. Essentially this means, as long as we have sufficient buffing time to focus both the warrior and his crystal, we reduce the cost of a power by 3 times our essentia capacity. While this doesn't allow us to a lot of flexibility in combat, where we will still have to rely on gas guzzling combat option powers like Lion's Charge, it does give two important things: 1) an enormous increase in long term buff efficiency, 2) the ability to "run on empty" with powers that cost less than twice the essentia capacity of our feats as long as we maintain a single real power point to refocus with.

The Basics:

Spoiler

Race: Azurin

Ability Scores: 14 / 14 / 14 / 8 / 16 / 8  to start with. This ability score set will actually suit you just fine from 1 to 20, so you have complete freedom as to where you want to put those level-based ability score increases. I personally like 2 in Strength, 2 in Dexterity, and 1 in Constitution, followed by +2 manuals for Str and Dex and a +3 manual for Con. 18 in your physical stats is plenty. Surprisingly, you don’t need to boost Wis as much as you might expect.

Skill Notes: 

Spoiler

Concentration is the only skill you need, it’s the only skill you have the ranks to max, it’s the only skill needed for prerequisites. Any questions? Didn't think so.

Basic Equipment: 

Spoiler

You’ll only need armor for levels 1 to 7; go with what fits your Dex bonus. A greatsword is, well, great for the first while; you may want to switch out to a glaive and spiked gauntlets after you take Improved Unarmed Strike. A backup ranged weapon

Magical Gear Goals: 

Spoiler

You absolutely must have a Torc of Power Preservation as soon as you can swing it. It’s necessary to manifest your highest tier of powers for free. Otherwise, buffs replace many of the melee character gold taxes; you don’t need to care that much about Strength boosters with Strength of my Enemy active. As you don’t have Evade Burst, Freedom of Movement, or True Seeing on this power list, consider the rings and goggles that grant their effects. You only need Wisdom boosters for increasing your Will save and protecting your manifesting from ability damage. That said, ability damage is a threat; the Orbs of Physical and Mental Renewal from the MIC are worth considering. Also useful from that book is the Ghost Shroud, which takes up the spot normally occupied by armor and lets your attacks hit incorporeal creatures without that pesky miss chance. As you won’t need armor from level 8 on, it’s worth considering. Oh, and a Third Eye Concentrate, don’t forget that.

The Build.

Build Stub: Psychic Warrior 20

Spoiler

1 – Psychic Warrior – (Azure Talent, Psicrystal Affinity, Psycarnum Infusion) (Force Screen)

Spoiler

Turn on that cheese and kick back. The infamous Psycarnum Infusion combo is used to get around the 1/day limit on Azure Talent. As you will never invest essentia in that feat anymore, you can give yourself 2 temporary power points per round by expending psionic focus. Not much to spend them on right now, though. You start out as an AC focused psywar with a surprising number of power points for this level. A single-minded psicrystal for boosting that Concentration check is probably your best bet.

2 – Psychic Warrior – (Power Attack) (Expansion)

3 – Psychic Warrior (Psicrystal Containment) (Offensive Precognition)

 

4 – Psychic Warrior – (Strength of my Enemy)

5 – Psychic Warrior – (Psionic Meditation) (Hustle)

Spoiler

Fairly standard buffs and feats up to this point. You can see that we’re building up our psionic focus infrastructure, so we can use Psycarnum as regularly as possible in combat.

6 – Psychic Warrior – (Improved Essentia Capacity) (Psionic Lion’s Charge

Spoiler

Your essentia capacity for feats just reached 3 at this level, you can give yourself 6 temporary power points per round by expending psionic focus, of which you have two that you can recover with a move action. This is the peak level for efficiency, as the Psycarnum Talent combo will cover the cost of fully augmented powers. You can augment everything in your arsenal to max and will never spend any ‘real’ power points unless you manifest more than one power per round.

7 – Psychic Warrior – (Vampiric Blade)

Spoiler

You can manifest Vampiric Blade with Azure Talent’s power points. Fully augmented buffs, like a Huge Expansion or a +3 Offensive Precognition, cost you 1 pp each.

8 – Psychic Warrior – (Midnight Augmentation) (Inertial Armor)

Spoiler

What’s good for Azure Talent is good for Midnight Augmentation. You can now manifest augmented powers of up to 9 pp without spending any real power points. You can also manifest a +4 Offensive Precognition for 2 power points, the most you will need to spend on fully augmented powers at this point. We pick up Inertial Armor because this is the level at which we can get 11 pp manifestations that are equal to +1 ghost touch full plate without max dex or ACP. Said Inertial Armors last for 8 hours apiece and cost us 2 pp per manifestation.

9 – Psychic Warrior – (Cobalt Power) (Share Pain)

Spoiler

Share Pain is another power we can effectively manifest for free. Cobalt Power is what we do with that essentia we don’t need or want to invest in Azure Talent or Midnight Augmentation. Power attacking for a penalty equal to your essentia capacity will give you a nice x3 return on that damage bonus with a two-handed weapon. Note that it’s an insight bonus to damage; that’s why we didn’t get Offensive Prescience.

10 – Psychic Warrior – (Greater Concealing Amorpha)

Spoiler

Yes, we can manifest this for free too.

11 – Psychic Warrior – (Improved Unarmed Strike) (Defensive Precognition)

Spoiler

Now we can boost our AC even more and get monk-tier saves as well.

12 – Psychic Warrior – (Improved Grapple) (Grip of Iron

Spoiler

We turn into a magnificent grappler practically overnight, at the same level that our essentia capacity for feats increases to 4. We can manifest augmented powers of up to 12 pp for free, 13 pp if we have a Torc of Power Preservation. 13 pp covers a +5 Defensive or Offensive Precognition, or a +10 Grip of Iron, or a +8 Force Screen, or a +16 max Str bonus from Strength of my Enemy. We could also manifest 5th level powers for 1 pp each (free with the Torc), but we don’t know any yet. Powers fully augmented to 16 pp cost us only 4 real power points. Remember: Keep your Dex high so you don’t lose access to Improved Grapple (with its 13 Dex requirement) when you manifest an augmented Expansion.

13 – Psychic Warrior – (Empathic Feedback)

Spoiler

Allowing no save or PR, the only way to block this power is through immunity to mind-affecting effects, and we can augment it until it returns up to 12 damage per melee attack for free (13 damager per attack with a Torc of Power Preservation).

14 – Psychic Warrior – (Expanded Knowledge) (Wall Walker, Schism)

Spoiler

This is our next big leap in power. While we can have a ton of buffs up all day if we spend the actions on them, that is a lot of actions for our per/round buffs. Schism takes care of that problem by providing the actions. It only has an ML of 8, but 8 is the number of power points Azure Talent will give us, and Midnight Augmentation gives us 4 points of free augmentation, so with a Torc our schismed mind can still pump out those 13 pp powers for free. Once every 14 rounds we’ll need to spend a real standard action to reset Schism, but that’s alright, because we can manifest it for free. We can also manifest Wall Walker for free, making us quite mobile.

15 – Psychic Warrior – (Combat Reflexes) (Perfect Riposte)

Spoiler

Perfect Riposte, with its 9 pp base cost, can be manifested for free if you have a Torc (which you should have by now). And it is quite the boost: you get an attack of opportunity every time an enemy attacks you in melee and misses. They will be doing this very often, because you have 13 pp buffs for free all the time and can manifest a 19 pp Inertial Armor at the beginning of the day for +13 force armor to AC. Combat Reflexes lets you use this power more effectively and also do battlefield control with your insane grappling ability. Again, you lose Dex when expanding, and Combat Reflexes has a minimum Dex requirement; keep that ability score high.

16 – Psychic Warrior – (Dispelling Buffer)

Spoiler

Dispelling hurts you, as it can take a while to get your god suite of buffs back up. This will provide you with protection from dispels. It also lasts 16 hours per manifestation and costs you 3 power points.

17 – Psychic Warrior – (Expanded Knowledge) (Inconstant Location, Touchsight)

Spoiler

Touchsight, at this level, can be manifested at 13 pp for free with a Torc, giving you 100’ radius blindsight. Inconstant Location is a knockout power and a good upgrade over Wall Walker. It allows you to teleport up to your base movement speed as a swift action. Sadly, it lasts for a minute, and we can’t manifest it for free at this level…

18 – Psychic Warrior – (Expanded Knowledge) (Form of Doom, Power Resistance)

Spoiler

…because this is the level when our essential capacity increases again. With a Torc of Power Preservation, we can manifest 6th level powers for free, including Inconstant Location and the awesome Form of Doom, and also freely manifest augmented powers of up to 16 pp (see below for what that signifies). It’s worth noting that our ML is now high enough to manifest all this through Schism. Among the powers we can manifest for free is Power Resistance, which gives us PR equal to our manifester level plus 12. That’s a buff you do NOT want to manifest through Schism, mind you.

19 – Psychic Warrior – (Personal Mind Blank

Spoiler

Yes, we can manifest it for free. No, you can’t dominate our uber buffed self into beating on our buddies.

20 – Psychic Warrior – (Expanded Knowledge) (Mind Over Energy, Psionic Teleport)

Spoiler

Say no to energy damage or insufficient mobility.

 

 

Snapshot: 

Spoiler

You hit level 20, assuming level ups and manuals boosting your physical stats to 18 each, with 233 hit points, a base attack of 15, and saves of 17/11/12 assuming +6 enhancement items to Dex, Wis, and Con, but BEFORE any resistance bonuses from cloaks. You have a power point pool of 157, but that number is deceptively low, since you’ll rarely spend any power points when you combine Psycarnum Infusion, Azure Talent, and Midnight Augmentation. Let me explain how.

With a Torc of Power Preservation at level 20, the Psycarnum Warrior spends 9 pp on a 25 pp Inertial Armor at the beginning of his day (that's +16 ghost touch armor, with no max Dex bonus or armor check penalty, that lasts for 20 hours), and then spends the next few minutes setting up the following buffs, which he enjoys for free the rest of the day:

GOD MODE ACTIVATED

Spoiler
  • 13 pp Force Screen (+7 shield)
  • Huge Expansion (+4 to Strength, up two size categories, -4 to Dex)
  • 16 pp Offensive Precognition (+6 insight to attack rolls)
  • 15 pp Strength of my Enemy (that's a +16 max enhancement bonus to Strength)
  • Vampiric Blade
  • Share Pain with his psicrystal (increasing your hit point pool by at least 50%)
  • Greater Concealing Amorpha (50% miss chance)
  • 16 pp Defensive Precognition (+6 insight to AC and saves)
  • 15 pp Grip of Iron (+11 to grapple checks)
  • 16 pp Empathic Feedback (up to 16 empathic damage on every melee attack returned to sender)
  • Wall Walker
  • Schism
  • Perfect Riposte
  • 15 pp Touchsight (that's 110' radius blindsight)
  • Dispelling Buffer
  • Inconstant Location
  • Form of Doom (frightful presence, + 5 natural armor, +4 untyped to Strength, +10 movement speed, 4 2d8+1/2 Str tentacle attacks, DR 5/-, and a slew of nice skill bonuses)
  • Power Resistance (that’s PR 32)
  • Mind Blank
  • Mind Over Energy (immunity to an energy type of your choice, immediate action to manifest when you want to switch)

I repeat, you get all that for free. It leaves you with plenty of PP left over to manifest those 26 pp Psionic Lion's Charges (for 10 ‘real’ pp apiece). That's a +23 circumstance to damage rolls on that full attack at the end of your charge. With a +5 glaive and a +5 amulet of mighty fists, you will charge with +34/+29/+24 huge glaive attacks (3d6+40 damage each, 50 damage average) and +29/+29/+29/+29 tentacles (6d6+32 each, 53 damage average), and that’s without the suggested -4 to Cobalt Power or any enhancement bonuses to Strength from SomE. If you want to control? You have a grapple bonus of +48 with all those buffs active. You can also manifest Hustle and Psionic Teleport for free, in case Inconstant Location and Wall Walker aren't enough mobility. And for added fun? That big ol’ list? Take a look at how many of those buffs you can share with your psicrystal, turning it into a frightful combatant in its own right.

Overall Strengths: 

Spoiler

This build kicks the Psychic Warrior straight into Tier 2; this is as close as you get to entering “up up down down left right left right A B start” when you pull out your character sheet. Your charging full attacks will deal over 200 damage easy at the high levels with a bit of Power Attack, and over 300 or even 400 damage if all attacks hit and or you’ve got a high enough Strength bonus from Strength of my Enemy up and running. Having all those amazing defensive buffs up makes you incredibly hard to kill, and you can control the battlefield for your party very well against anything not immune to grappling.

Overall Weaknesses:

Spoiler

Ummm…I’m sure he’s got some weaknesses somewhere…I think? Someone could attack him in his sleep? His social skills suck and your GM is likely to ban Psycarnum Infusion when he sees you go all day in God Mode. That’s about it.

Variants:

Spoiler

Switch up the buffs? Great options that didn’t quite make the cut in this round include Bite of the Wolf, Claws of the Beast, Prevenom Weapon, and Skate. (Inertial Barrier and Biofeedback were considered, but Form of Doom scoops them pretty hard) If you feel mobility would be a concern, Dimension Slide or Dimension Door wouldn’t hurt to include. You can also switch up the feats. Power Attack and Cobalt Power were DH’s original picks, but you could switch them out and move the Improved Grapple and Combat Reflexes feats earlier in if you want more Expanded Knowledge options. EK: Astral Construct would give you a buddy all day, and if you feel like being a mageslayer, using Expanded Knowledge to snag Dispel Psionics and Crystal Shard works well. It’s trivial for this build to manifest fully augmented Dispels for free, and you can have your Schism ready actions to interrupt any casting with 14 pp Crystal Shards (also, yes, for free). Another tangent considered the possibility of dipping into Anarchic Initiate for Wild Surge, but that’d involve skill shenanigans this build can’t do in its current stat loadout.

There you have it. In case you were wondering, this is why we don’t showcase DH’s stuff as often; he makes us look pretty amateur.

Ok, la domanda che volevo fare è la seguente: i punti potere conferiti da Azure Talent attraverso Psycarnum Infusion consentono di manifestare poteri? Dal momento che sono temporanei, anche il potere che manifesto attraverso di essi deve durare quanto loro? Sui forum dove ho cercato risposte la questione è dibattuta, ma non mi sembra di aver trovato una risposta univoca, men che meno una risposta che citasse una regola da qualche parte. Qualcuno? Taggo @Nathaniel Joseph Claw perché sennò non legge, ma chiunque abbia voglia/conoscenze per rispondere è benvenuto! (anche @Ithiliond e @D@rK-SePHiRoTH-, che ne sanno a pacchi, e @Drimos che non vorrei si offendesse)

smite4life

Avete mai pensato a un paladino 20 che non vi faccia dire: perché non hai fatto il crusader? Beh, eccolo qui!

A-GAME PALADIN
Play that funky music, knight boy!

Required Books: Champions of Valor, Complete Champion, Races of Destiny, Dungeonscape, Eberron Campaign Setting (one feat), Book of Exalted Deeds (one feat), DMG2 (one item), MIC.
Unearthed Arcana used: None!

Background: 

Spoiler

Let’s not mince words: the paladin isn’t very good. It’s a solid Tier Five class, which – if you’re like most people I’ve met – is a bit below par. (In my experience, most people seem to think Tier Three is the sweet spot.) But bollocks to that, I say – let’s see if we can take a single-classed Paladin 20 and bring out his “A”-game through clever use of substitutions, but without stepping outside what we view the paladin as – a holy knight, a champion of good, a leader of men.

Turns out it’s actually pretty badass. In fact, this Paladin-20 build comes out pretty comparable to a Song of the White Raven Crusader (slightly less tough and moderately lower stamina, but significantly more magical with all the oomph that can provide), which is not a bad benchmark to hit at all, since the two are basically the same thing fluffwise and the latter's known to be very effective at its job (and in the Tier Three sweet spot to boot). And all it takes for the paladin to do this is throwing away Remove Disease (meh), the Special Mount (…okay) and Turn Undead (wtf?). Yes, it does it without divine feats

Let's get rolling.

The Basics:

Spoiler

Race: Illumian. Paladins are notoriously MAD, and this is the easiest way to reduce that. You even get a halo of sorts.

Ability Scores: 14 / 10 / 14 / 14 / 10 / 14. Put a point into Intelligence and Charisma at 4 and 8, then put the rest into Strength.

Skill Notes: 

Spoiler

You’re going to want some (at least 6) ranks in a vocal Perform skill, oddly enough. (3 of those ranks will be cross-class before level 3.) Other than that you’re pretty open, although you might find Concentration to be more worthwhile here than usual for a paladin, and you have reason to max out at least one Knowledge skill (probably Religion; you get Arcana as a class skill, but would have to buy it at cross-class rates most of the time). And while technically you could go all Return of the King with Perform (Oratory) and the build will work without any changes, we’re aiming for a different King (or Queen) for our knight's imagery and using Perform (Singing) in our example. Just trust me here – he will rock you.

Basic Equipment: 

Spoiler

No specific demands beyond what you’d expect for a warrior, or a paladin for that matter. However, you ditch the Special Mount, so you can more or less ignore mounted gear. Since you have Power Attack, you'll probably want a martial two-hander (and can pretty much freely pick for style), especially at the lower levels; at the higher levels, you'll probably switch to a one-hander and a shield (you will rely less on Power Attack for melee damage, your reasons to hold back grow, and the shield gives you a second slot for a wand chamber plus enough AC to survive being a high-priority target)

Magical Gear Goals: 

Spoiler

You’ll want a Badge of Valor (MIC, it's part of the Regalia of the Hero set) as soon as possible (around level 4 or 5 ideally) and a Vest of Legends (DMG2, on your own you can probably afford it at or around level 14, but it can pay off for a party if they pool their money to buy it earlier: you're a party support machine, so investing in your inspiration ability is an investment in themselves. Compare the price of a vest to the price of upgrading everyone's weapons by an extra +1 and you'll see), and you don’t need a Wisdom booster at all. Other than that, just your standard warrior-paladin gear - +Strength, +Constitution, +Charisma, good weapon, good armor, and so on. As usual for most meleeist builds, I also suggest an Eternal Wand of Heroics or two - you've got Power Attack, but not a lot else on the melee front, so this opens up some nice flexibility. Unlike most of the builds showcased to this point, you can actually use Heroics without the wand, so keep that in mind. Finally, consider the Harmonizing enhancement if you're in a high-magic game: this can allow your sword to act as the Melodic Casting or Lingering Song feat depending on how you use it.

The Build.

Build Stub: Paladin 20

Spoiler

1 – Paladin – (Aura of Good, Detect Evil, Smite Evil 1) (Power Attack) (Aesh sigil)

2 – Paladin – (Divine Grace, Lay on Hands) (Krau sigil, Aeshkrau power word)

Spoiler

Voila, Wisdom no longer matters for you. Paladin spells generally act as buffs, and those don’t care about DCs, so Strength becomes your casting stat as well as your combat stat.

3 – Paladin – (Aura of Courage, Divine Health) (From Smite To Song) (Inspire Courage +1)

Spoiler

From Smite to Song does exactly what it says on the tin: you can trigger Inspire Courage with smite attempts. Oh, look at that, the paladin just went up a tier. Inspire Courage just fits with the paladin-as-leader, doesn’t it?

Note that the build does employ Harmonious Knight, but does not employ first substitution level (which, confusingly,also grants Inspire Courage - more frequently, but locked to a mere +1 bonus - in place of Detect Evil). Smite to Song is the better effect, and keeping Detect Evil helps remind you that you're still a paladin first and foremost.

There is an argument that, since From Smite To Song isn't actually "Bardic Music", your Inspire Courage won't work with bardic-music-enhancing effects, of which there are several in this build. The counterargument is that none of the boosts in this build (except for Song of the Heart) actually require "Bardic Music". They don't alter Bardic Music so much as explicitly alter the effects of the Inspire Courage bardic music ability, which is the exact ability you're using, except you're using it through From Smite to Song rather than through Bardic Music. The same logic applies to Inspire Greatness from the Harmonious Knight, for exactly the same reason. If you're in an environment where this distinction matters and you can't learn Song of the Heart at 9th level, exchange it for Extra Smiting or another combat feat, or for Leadership if it's available.

4 – Mystic Fire Knight (Paladin) – (Improved Spellcasting, Bonus Spells) (1st level spells)

5 – Paladin – (Smite Evil 2, Divine Spirit – Healing)

Spoiler

The Dungeonscape variant replaces your mount – bear with me here. Normally, the mount is nothing more than a gimmick, and Wizards openly admitted that no matter how much you want to ride it where you like, the battlefield doesn’t always let you. This variant lets you summon spirits to support your team instead. The Healing spirit comes with twice your Lay on Hands capacity and basically lets your allies heal themselves with standard actions (think of it as a location-dependent but much higher capacity potion), so it’s best used out of combat, but since you have 20 Paladin levels in this build, the Lay on Hands capacity will be substantial.

Note that if you'd like, you can grab the second Mystic Fire Knight substitution level here - it has no drawback. However, since it augments a smite attack (and the effect only lasts for a single round!), and you're spending your smites on Bardic Music, its only real advantage to you most of the time is the slightly expanded list of class skills.

6 – Harmonious Knight (Paladin) – (Inspire Competence) (Sword of the Arcane Order)

Spoiler

At this point, you’re a paladin splashing roughly equal parts of bard and wizard on the side, but without any mechanical multiclassing or alignment concerns. (Somehow, this is rather appropriate for an illumian.) Let me explain.

Thanks to Mystic Fire Knight and Aeshkrau, you have plenty of spell slots for a non-primary caster (slightly behind the bard), and you’ll only get more as you continue to improve your Strength (which you'd do anyway as a warrior). Thanks to Sword of the Arcane Order, those slots can hold wizard spells, such as Enlarge Person (or, later on, Polymorph), and you have a higher-than-usual paladin caster level (6th, at this point) to boot. Put the three together and you’re clearly using a kind of magic that normal paladins wouldn’t even think possible. You also just hit every warrior’s first major breakpoint, base attack +6, so cheer for multiple attacks.

There’s some ambiguity in the Sword of the Arcane Order feat though. It’s not entirely clear if those spells are “paladin” spells or “wizard” spells, even though they clearly use the former’s caster level and, apart from ability scores, appear to use the same overall mechanics. As a result, we assume here that they’re cast as paladin spells. Among other things, this means they avoid arcane spell failure – bring on the heavy metal.

Oh, and why the lame Inspire Competence? First, Remove Disease is even lamer than Inspire Competence, so you're not losing anything by taking it. Second, it's a prerequisite for your next feat.

7 – Paladin – 

8 – Paladin – (2nd level spells) (Inspire Courage +2)

9 – Harmonious Knight (Paladin) – (Inspire Greatness 1) (Song of the Heart)

Spoiler

THIS feat is why we picked up Inspire Competence earlier. It adds to the effect of all your bardic music effects. This includes the bonus HD and attack bonus from your new Inspire Greatness ability, which is enough to turn most people into Instant Heroes (just add music). Oddly, it doesn't seem to apply to the Fortitude save bonus for some reason.

Regarding your main Inspiration, you’re now Inspiring at +3, or +4 if you picked up the Badge of Valor (you really should have by now). Your team also has enough collective funds at this point to pool to cover a Vest of Legends without seriously denting their equipment budgets. This vest can raise that Inspire Courage by another point at almost every level (and, as I noted above, depending on your party size, this is probably cheaper than enhancing everyone's weapons by another +1, so you're usually coming out ahead unless you actually need the enhancement bonus for an augment gem or something). That’s pretty badass. And you do this while keeping up your magical talents (though not quite to the bard’s level; your CL at this point is 8 (Improved Spellcasting + Krau), but you have fewer spell slots) and your full warrior prowess.
 
Btw, if it wasn’t obvious, you’re taking the Harmonious Knight’s option to replace every weekly use of Remove Disease henceforth with a daily use of Inspire Greatness. (You already swapped the first one for Inspire Competence.) That much should go without saying. I mean, honestly, have you ever seen that Remove Disease at the table?

If, as noted above, your DM decides to block Song of the Heart, it hurts, but it isn't insurmountable. The best alternatives are Leadership (you're a natural at it) or Extra Smiting (so you can inspire more frequently).

10 – Paladin – (Smite Evil 3)

11 – Paladin – (Divine Spirit –Combat) (3rd level spells)

Spoiler

The combat spirit provides sacred bonuses to attack and damage, which stack with your Inspire Courage abilities. And both the duration and the size of the bonus scales by paladin level – good thing we’re going the full 20 here. Adding in the third-level wizard spells certainly doesn’t hurt either – Haste alone will make a supersonic man out of you.

12 – Paladin – (Inspire Greatness 2) (Battle Blessing) (Inspire Courage +3)

Spoiler

This feat is perfectly fine for paladin casting: it lets you cast most of your spells as swift actions. In a build like THIS, with wizard spells that you cast as paladin spells, and enough slots to have passable magic stamina? This is positively amazing. Your CL is 10, not too far behind the full casters and high enough to hit most caps or breakpoints in 3rd level spells, so they'll  be effective, too.

Oh, and due to the way Inspire Greatness is worded, you don't just use it twice per day - each use now applies to two targets.

13 – Paladin – 

14 – Paladin – (4th level spells) (Inspire Courage +4)

15 – Paladin – (Inspire Greatness 3, Smite Evil 4) (Words of Creation)

Spoiler

Aww hells yeah! Setting aside the mechanical awesomeness that is this feat, you also have a great thematic tie-in between it and your Illumian (you know, the "Words Made Flesh") heritage, and everyone expects the paladin to be an exemplar for Good. All things considered, a perfect match.

Mechanically, your Inspire Courage hit +4 last level, and here it hits an impossibly good +8 once you use the Words. (If you use the Badge of Valor, you’re Inspiring at +10. The Vest of Legends gets that up to +12, and you can afford that by yourself now, but it'll only be effective until level 19.) And your Inspire Greatness' bonus HD (which now hits three targets per use) is also doubled courtesy of the Words, all at the low price of a tiny bit of nonlethal damage on a d10 HD class with healing powers. Interestingly, if you look at Optimization By The Numbers' HP curves, the conclusion is that you need a linear progression of damage with a huge boost around CR 14. Look at what level we get Words.

Also, it's easy to forget this (since no one takes Words for any other reason), but the Words of Creation have more uses than simply boosting Bardic Music. You can use them to Extend any Conjuration (Creation) effect (and you have access to wizard spells, so you've got plenty - interestingly, these are also the same spells Shadow Conjuration can copy (although Shadow Conjuration itself can't get Extended this way), and illumians have a connection to the plane of shadow), boost the caster level of [Good] spells (you have several of these as a paladin, plus many wizard spells can become [good], such as when summoning Good creatures), and perform a number of commanding/binding effects based on the creature's true name (though doing so requires Knowledge skills and two specific spells - this is one area in which you fall behind a Words of Creation bard, but you can still use it against the archetypal lich via Knowledge (Religion). You can have an ally provide one of the spells, but for the one you must cast yourself, courtesy of Sword of the Arcane Order, you can use a scroll - you have enough Intelligence and a high enough CL to pass the check on a natural 1.). 

For a high-level illumian paladin, that's a good complement of abilities (adding some much-needed options to the standard paladin), and a surprisingly good match thematically.

16 – Paladin – (Divine Spirit – Heroism)

Spoiler

The divine spirit is no Immortal Fortitude, but it's still a damn fine ability (DR 10/-, Diehard, and speeding up your Lay on Hands) which makes you appropriately tough for a hero at this level. Amusingly, you'll probably finish the battle with more HP remaining than your Immortal Fortitude buddies, since they won't be using Immortal Fortitude at all unless their HP is dangerously low. You just block the damage (possibly absorbing some of what gets through via temporary HP effects like False Life) and heal it up. (And you still have your healing spirit to patch the crusader up too.)

17 – Paladin – 

18 – Paladin – (Inspire Greatness 4) (Practiced Spellcaster - Paladin)

Spoiler

Although it doesn't look it, this level has two surprisingly good points falling out of the progression.

First, you’re now hitting your entire team with a single use of Inspire Greatness. Thanks to Song of the Heart and Words of Creation, it’s now providing 6d10 HD, +6 attack, and +4 Fortitude (the Fort save is the one area that Song of the Heart doesn't boost but Words does), in a bonus form that stacks with Inspire Courage AND your Spirit of Combat. You can also use both of your major Inspire abilities in every encounter you're assumed to have in a single day, which is a very nice improvement in stamina.

Second, Practiced Spellcaster has now raised your CL all the way to 17 (18/2=9 +2 Krau +2 Mystic Fire Knight +4 Practiced Spellcaster), and you can cast wizard spells. If, say, you pick up a 9th level wizard spell on a scroll, you need a caster level check to trigger it, but the DC is only 18, which you'll get on a natural 1. A paladin casting 9th level wizard spells with ease? Inconceivable! 

Sure, the CL and DC will be minimized (CL 17 and DC 23, like all 9th-level wizard scrolls), but this lets you double-up on (or spam) effects that just need to be cast, as opposed to need to be cast effectively. (Think UMD rogue here but with a far easier time on the checks.) And it doesn't need to be limited to 9ths - you now have access to the entire library of wizard spells from scrolls without any checks involved. (These include all the spells needed for Words of Creation's True Name abilities if you so wish.)

Of course, to do this you need enough Intelligence to actually cast the spell, so without help, you've only got 1st-5th level spells open. To save money getting the 19 Intelligence needed to get the 9ths (since another ability score booster cuts pretty heavily into your arms and armor budget, particularly since you aren't likely to do this every battle), you can simply prepare Fox's Cunning in one of your second-level slots, cast that from a cheap scroll beforehand (using the same idea but a lower-level spell), or chug a (less efficiently priced) potion.

However, it’s not entirely clear if this works, due to the way that spell lists and Sword of the Arcane Order operate. The feat doesn’t say the wizard spells appear on your list, but if they don’t appear on your list you can’t cast them in the first place. Check with your DM first.

19 – Paladin – 

20 – Paladin – (Smite Evil 5, Divine Spirit – Fallen) (Inspire Courage +5)

Spoiler

Now THAT’S how a 20th level paladin should feel! You’re inspiring your companions to new and amazing heights (Inspire Courage +10 by default, +12 with the badge, and that’s without summoning your combat spirit or using Inspire Greatness), fighting as a mighty warrior (full base attack and Power Attack with priority on Strength, plus a Spirit of Heroism and full benefits from the inspiration), and – when all hope seems lost – you can call upon the gods with the appropriately powerful Spirit of the Fallen (grants a strong fast-healing aura and can auto-revive one ally who falls each round) and basically survive an apocalypse at point-blank range, and the whole team’ll keep on fighting ‘till the end.

 

 

Snapshot: 

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With +6 items on Strength, Con, and Charisma, and a +5 Strength tome – pricey, but certainly workable, and that’s lesser MAD than usual – you have +20 base attack (with +34 melee with Greater Magic Weapon - which you can cast, although you can only get it to +4 without CL-improving gear), Inspire Courage at +10 (which means each swing of the sword is dealing half as much damage as your smites usually would, and is as accurate as a smite made with 30 Charisma, and your equipment can raise that even higher!), a paladin caster level of 18, spells per day of 7/6/6/6 (more than most bards' 1st-4th level slots, on par with a wizard), and the ability to fill those slots with wizard spells, using your Intelligence for the DC (normally a dump, but you needed 15 Int for Words of Creation, so you’ve got no problem casting 4th level spells, or Fox's Cunning it up to 19 for the biggest scrolls). Most of those spells will be best set up as buffs if you choose to fight (Polymorph, anyone?), and, since they’re cast as paladin spells, they bypass ASF by default and inherit the amazing super-speed-casting found in Battle Blessing. (Why, yes, I do feel like casting wizard spells as swift actions and then beating face like a boss. Just be advised that you do not have Melodic Casting, so cast first, then sing). As you’d expect for a paladin, you have a lot of hit points (214 on average, with 100 points of Lay on Hands and effects that grant an expanded LoH pool, temporary HP, or damage reduction) and good saves (+22/+11/+11) – the saves could be higher, I admit, but unlike most paladins this is a Strength character, not a Charisma character, and this snapshot doesn’t include Cloaks of Resistance or similar defensive gear.

Oh, for those keeping track at home? With Inspire Courage (using the Badge of Valor; the Vest of Legends isn’t useful at 20th but helps you reach this point sooner), Inspire Greatness (4 targets at once), Words of Creation, and the Spirit of Combat all active, your entire team is looking at +6d10 HD, +23 attack, +17 damage per attack, +4 Fortitude, and +12 on saves vs Fear (not counting your Aura of Courage if the spirit and your team happen to be near you) for 5 rounds (before either the Greatness or the Courage or both wears off; the spirit lasts 2 minutes). And instead of a (somewhat fragile) bard on the other end of that inspirational anthem, you find a fully armed and armored paladin, capable of power attacking for a full -20 and still coming out ahead on the attack rolls with this, and backing it up with amazing wizard support spells at almost full CL; he can freely cast those on the first and final round as swift actions without interrupting his song. (If one of them’s pyrotechnics, the crowd will go wild.) As I said at the outset, he will rock you.

Overall Strengths: 

Spoiler

Hi there. I am a paladin. I also Inspire Courage like the most optimized bard, and cast wizard spells in place of paladin spells if I want, at virtually full caster level. Oh, and it looks like I can use 9th level Wizard spells via a scroll, as simple as a vestigial d20 roll with a trivial buff. And, when push comes to shove, I have revival and healing abilities that keep the whole party standing – in your face, Crusader!

On top of this, your priority in selecting wizard spells is unusual – no-save spells of up to 4th level – but there’s a surprisingly large subset of those which fit you quite well even if you step outside the obvious buff areas areas, and thanks to Battle Blessing, they're not really made at any action cost to you as a warrior, leader, scroll-user or spirit summoner (all of which rely on your standard action, not your swift action). Feel like facing off in melee? Unlike most gishes, you pack the exclusive-to-paladins Bless Weapon spell and the wizard Keen Edge spell (which does notactually add the keen ability to the weapon, so these two spells actually seem to work together even though that probably isn't the intent), along with Haste and a host of wizard gish spells that trigger on a hit or on being hit. You want a “special” mount? Cast Phantom Steed; at CL 18 those are pretty badass transportation (albeit fragile; you might want to cast (or Eternal Wand) the Heroics spell first to get Mounted Combat.). You want to use spells offensively? Touch spells (some of which allow multiple touches via base attack, of which you're unmatched) tend to allow no save, and your CL to bypass SR is 18, nearly as good as full caster (and if you’re desperate, you can prepare Assay Resistance). Think Duskblade here. Oh, and despite having low Dexterity, you’re not too shabby on ray spells either – wizards tend to have no trouble hitting touch ACs with rays, and they have low base attack and a lowish Dexterity modifier (typical ranged touch +13 or so), and even the best ray gishes tend to peak at +16 base attack. The paladin’s full base attack allows it to easily exceed this (max ranged touch +20, with the ability to have Inspire Courage linger to boost that up to +30 or more).

So yes, you can in fact bring the thunderbolts and lightning via Orb of Sound or Seeking Ray if you want – why not?

Overall Weaknesses:

Spoiler

Oddly for a paladin, his Will save isn’t as high as it could be (decent for a warrior, but not up to usual paladin standards). Pumping Charisma even higher would help with this, but I didn’t want to over-invest in melee character gold taxes ability score boosters; you might want to get basic Resistance items sooner rather than later. Likewise, his save DCs for his spells are kind of weak, and are keyed to an unusual ability score now (Intelligence – your paladin spells still use Wisdom for the DC, but very few of those actually rely on DCs), so you're probably going to pick support spells, buffs, or binary effects rather than most offensive or battlefield control spells. Finally, it takes a relatively high level before the investment in inspiration abilities begins to pay off (8-10 or so, slightly earlier with gear), but it really picks up steam after that. (And, realistically, any full-base-attack class with decent equipment and Power Attack can hold his own pre-8 or so depending on the level of optimization in your team mages; warriors just tend to have trouble keeping up with Quadratic Wizards as levels increase. Here, you just shift gears from warrior to warlord, in effect taking a third option. So, I suppose, this isn't that much of a weakness.) Other than this, he’s got the usual melee-strategy weaknesses, but if you’re playing melee, you were prepared for that and are budgeting for it accordingly (flight, teleports, illusions, etc). Furthermore, it’s possible to shore up these to some extent (okay, a good extent) with wizard spells.

Variants:

Spoiler

I’m not really sure what you’d want to exchange on this build. If you’re forced into sticking to just one paladin order, Harmonious Knight is probably the better choice – you’d need a replacement feat for Sword of the Arcane Order and perhaps Practiced Spellcaster, but that’s doable. Extra Smiting gives you more Inspire Courages (less efficient than Extra Music, but still helpful), Lingering Song (if you qualify, see the note at level 3) extends your Inspire Courage or Inspire Greatnesses (good if you need to stop singing to cast a spell – or sing the other song), and - since you dropped Mystic Fire Knight and thus retain Turn Undead - you could even consider divine feats that fit the theme (you have 21 Charisma and 8 turns/day. Since your inspiration already does the same sort of job as Divine Might, I'm not sure that's as effective a choice here as it usually is, so consider some non-typical divine feats. For instance, Divine Vigor (+speed and scaling temporary HP) mixes very well with the Heroism divine spirit (DR, Diehard, fast Lay on Hands) when you want to lead by example or hold off an impossible foe - and praying for a blessing from the gods to turn you from warrior into champion still fits the theme quite well). If you don’t want Words of Creation at your table – and it’s from the BoED, so I don’t blame you – I’d suggest working in a combat feat of your choice: it’s a pretty substantial loss, but not one you can’t go without, and if you aren't using Words, you may as well improve your personal combat prowess.

Ok, eccolo qui... Un po' tante citazioni dai queen, ma erano in qualche modo dovute! :D

smite4life

Un altro degli esempi di quanto possa essere bello e variabile il ToB, questa build è un druido senza druido, come potrete scoprire leggendo... Non voglio rovinarvi la sorpresa!

FERAL DRUID
Real Feral Taste, Zero Druid Calories

Required Books: Complete Warrior, Tome of Battle. A few more books are suggested in the Variants section.
Unearthed Arcana used: None! (yep, another Andarious zero-variant low-source build. There is a UA suggestion in the variants, though.)

Background: 

Spoiler

Does not contain any actual Druid. The name comes from the fact that you fight like a savage shapeshifter… who uses Feral Death Blow with positively devastating accuracy by combining the ludicrous Strength boosts from a Bear Warrior with a nifty set of feat and maneuver selections to play up the theme along the way.

The Basics:

Spoiler

Race: Half-Orc. Really, all you want is +Strength; you can almost certainly go templates / subraces and wind up with something better, but no one will look twice at an orc.

Ability Scores: 16 / 12 / 14 / 12 / 10 / 10 with 28 PB, BEFORE racial modifiers.. You’re a single-ability Strength guy, guess where your points are going.

Skill Notes: 

Spoiler

Max out Jump and Concentration, and keep your Tumble up. The rest are governed by your Skill Tricks: Balance 12 and Tumble 12, for instance, unlock Back on Your Feet, Nimble Charge, Twisted Charge, and Nimble Stand. You can get all of this and still have a handful of starting skill points open for fleshing out concepts. Do boost Concentration when you can, as Moment of Perfect Mind shores up a critical weakness for you.

Basic Equipment: 

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Arm yourself like a standard barbarian, you won’t go wrong. Power Attack comes online a little late, but you can slot it in earlier if you want to play it from the lower levels. High threat weapons like falchions do outperform the classic greatsword, though.

Magical Gear Goals: 

Spoiler

Wilding clasps, amulet of mighty fists, and enhancement bonuses for your Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, and Intelligence scores, plus the usual defensive item suite for AC and saves. A +5 tome of Strength is great; the other tomes, not so necessary. In short, it’s nothing too unusual: You look at it, you’ll see what it needs.

The Build.

Build Stub: Barbarian 1 / Warblade 11 / Bear Warrior 5 / Bloodclaw Master 3

Spoiler

1 – Barbarian – (Rage, Illiterate, Fast Movement) (Extra Rage)

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You can put Power Attack here if you want as well, but Extra Rage early on is boss.

And while the Complete Cheeseball Pounce ability is strictly speaking better, this build isn’t as likely to get your DM crying. If you do swap it in, you know the drill already. The same general observation holds for Whirling Frenzy, butwe’ve already seen how much Whirling Frenzy + Bear Warrior rocks, so we’ll skip it here.

2 – Warblade – (Battle Clarity, Weapon Aptitude, Not Illiterate) (Steel Wind, Wolf Fang Strike, Sudden Leap) (Blood in the Water)

Spoiler

Pretty classic savage opening, especially with Rage abilities present.

3 – Warblade – (Uncanny Dodge) (Extra Rage) (Moment of Perfect Mind)

Spoiler

You didn’t think a barbarian/warblade would exist without this, right?

As usual, be careful - you can't use this maneuver while raging. (You do get +2 Will while raging, which helps a bit, but that won't compare to Moment). Use Moment to block Will effects that come your way before hulking out.

As with level 1, you can move Power Attack here if you want, but having the freedom to rage in every encounter makes Rage feel almost like a stance. When you judge it on those merits, it looks amazing, particularly at this level. Similarly, at this level, your base attack bonus isn't quite high enough to Power Attack freely and still keep a good chance of hitting, so the delay isn't too severe.

4 – Warblade – (Battle Ardor) (Wall of Blades)

5 – Warblade – (Claw at the Moon > Wolf Fang Strike) (Leading the Charge)

Spoiler

Sometimes more damage up front is what you need. When you start to turn into a pouncing bear? That’ll be one of those times.

6 – Warblade – (Tiger Blooded, Power Attack) (Iron Heart Surge)

Spoiler

Again, you could move Power Attack earlier if you wanted. The early Rages mean you’ll be raging in every battle and still have a use to spare, and early on (before you have enough BAB to make PA rock) that probably makes a bigger difference.

Tiger Blooded’s DC is based off of your Strength, and that’s about to go sky high. Very useful feat to mix with your high movement speed.

7 – Warblade – (Improved Uncanny Dodge)

Spoiler

You COULD swap a maneuver out here, but we’re not interested in that quite yet. There are so many “fundamentals” in the low levels that it’s just not worth the upgrade here.

8 – Bear Warrior – (Bear Form: Black)

Spoiler

This is where that falchion starts to become less useful. The Strength increases are more than worth it though.

9 – Bear Warrior – (Multiattack)

10 – Bear Warrior – (Scent)

Spoiler

Nice not having to take Hunter’s Stance for this, eh?

11 – Bear Warrior – 

Spoiler

Normally BAB +11 and the third iterative attack is cause for celebration for most tank builds, but you use natural attacks. Oh Well.

12 – Bear Warrior – (Bear Form (Brown)) (Blade Meditation: Tiger Claw)

Spoiler

While Improved Natural Attack is a better feat in general, Blade Meditation is underrated if you’re aiming for DC strikes. Many of Tiger Claw’s that have a DC also have an associated Jump check, so this is sort of like Ability Focus Plus. Especially when you add in the huge boost to Strength from Brown Bear Form.

13 – Bloodclaw Master – (Shifting 1/day, Claws of the Beast) (Dancing Mongoose)

Spoiler

That’s another +2 to strength that stacks with our rages. You may want to consider anger management therapy.

We also get Dancing Mongoose, so your bear-tiger can act imitate a third predatory animal if you feel like it.

14 – Bloodclaw Master – (Superior Two Weapon Fighting, Tiger Claw Synergy (Stance))

Spoiler

Tiger Claw Synergy’s speed boost is the big winner. With 50’ speed and Tiger Blooded, running down foes can be easy!

15 – Bloodclaw Master – (Pouncing Strike, Low-Light Vision, Shifting 2/day) (Reaping Talons) (Pouncing Charge)

Spoiler

And our pouncing bear is online. Remember Leading the Charge? I do.

The Reaping Talons feat turns you into a beast against large groups of opponents.

16 – Warblade – (Battle Cunning) (Swooping Dragon Strike)

Spoiler

We needed something a bit more potent than Claw at the Moon.

17 – Warblade – (Hamstring Attack > Claw at the Moon)

Spoiler

This is the pinnacle of your rundown capability. You’ve got a save DC in the high 30s on this maneuver, which combines very well with your movement speed and Tiger Blooded.

18 – Warblade – (Blind-Fight, Martial Study) (Adamantine Hurricane, Raging Mongoose)

Spoiler

This level showcases a huge boost in power against hidden opponents and groups of opponents. Scent and Blind-Fight makes invisible opponents much more vulnerable, and the combination of Adamantine Hurricane and Raging Mongoose lets you hit one opponent four times and everyone else within reach twice (possibly triggering a few Reaping Talons maneuvers as well). Oh, make sure to ask your GM how Improved Grab works with Adamantine Hurricane.

19 – Warblade – (Diamond Defense > Steel Wind, Supreme Blade Parry)

Spoiler

A little bit of defense when you’re tearing hordes of enemies to shreds isn’t a bad idea. Plus you can now block Will effects even while raging, which is never a bad thing.

20 – Warblade – (Battle Skill) (Feral Death Blow)

Spoiler

You are a Tiger-Bear. Your Strength should be giving this maneuver a DC in the low 40s. To put this in context, read on.

 

 

Snapshot: 

Spoiler

In a calm state, using only the usual +6 items mentioned above and the +5 Strength tome, you’ve got 235 HP, +19 BAB, and saves of +19/+12/+6. Your normal stats come to 34/18/20/10/10/8. But let’s count those bonuses: +16 to Strength, +2 to Dexterity, and +8 to Constitution while raging, plus another +2 to Strength while shifting. That puts your HP up to 315, and even gives you a handy +2 to will saves (a +24 Diamond Defense Will save or +31 Moment of Perfect Mind can really make a point to those pesky enchanters). You also go from +37 melee to +45 melee using nothing more than Greater Magic Fang – but there’s more than meets the eye here with your offense than raw damage (taking Blade Meditation over Improved Natural Attack should be the tipoff.).

Let’s take a look at your level 20 killing power more closely. Your Raging final Strength is 40, and you’ve picked up Blade Meditation for all those Strength-based Tiger Claw save DCs. There’s an 80% chance that your Feral Death Blow will kill the average CR 20.5 opponent outright upon connecting. For an idea of the range, it will kill Pit Fiends 95% of the time and KO the Tarrasque 10% of the time. That amulet of mighty fists will give you an attack bonus of +45 while raging and shifting. You’ll be hitting CR 20 opponents 95% of the time even with significant investment in Power Attack. Andarious ran the numbers for attack rolls and saving throws, and came up with a 76% kill rate for Feral Death Blow while raging and shifting at level 20. Yes, three out of every four CR 20 monsters will just die as soon as this character initiates that maneuver on them. Even without Feral Death Blow, your claws deal 2d6+30 damage (and your bite 2d6+20). Throw Raging Mongoose onto a full attack or Pouncing Charge, and that’s 6 claws and a bite. Power Attack for 5, and you’re averaging 248 damage in a single round against a CR 20 opponent. (That calculation takes into account a 95% hit rate and a 4.75% chance to critical. It does NOT take into account the possibility of Leading the Pouncing Charge, which makes things even meaner.) Your average CR 20 opponent has around 410 HP, so this isn't a trivial hunk of change.

Overall Strengths: 

Spoiler

Even without druid levels, you turn into a bear and freaking eat people. Any single opponent you focus on is virtually guaranteed to be dead by turn two. You’re highly mobile, and with Hamstring Attack and Tiger Blooded, you can make your opponents highly not. But you’re not just good at picking on loners. Improved Uncanny Dodge Reaping Talons and Adamantine Hurricane let you share the love with everybody who wants to try ganging up on a poor tiger-bear-mongoose thing.

Overall Weaknesses:

Spoiler

Will saves, as always, are your feared weak spot. Keep Moment of Perfect Mind (and later, Diamond Defense) ready at all times, just in case. (Diamond is strictly better, even if you only consider Will saves: Moment won't work while raging, while Diamond will.) Your incredible movement speed and jump checks make you very mobile (you have to be, as a melee combatant), but consider investing in some consumables to protect yourself against kiting ranged attackers. A psionic tattoo of Dimension Slide can really save your bacon, as can an Eternal Wand with a bit of cleverness.

Variants:

Spoiler

The Whirling Frenzy variant rage from Unearthed Arcana is a possible alternative to the normal rage, as is the ferocity variant from Cityscape. If you don’t want to be a half-orc, the Darfellans from Stormwrack and the Skarn from Magic of Incarnum are two good possibilities, as both increase your Strength score. You can also shift the Warblade bonus feats around without too much trouble - oddly enough Run might work, since it further boosts your Jump check results (and thus the DCs of some of your strikes).

There you have it. Although it holds no actual druid, it strikes hard and kills at least as reliably as a typical Zilla.

Nella definizione di Tempest: ecco a voi un bellissimo, cucciolosissimo tigre-orso-mangusta-coso che vi mangerà anche l'anima! BUM!

smite4life

Questo è uno degli esempi di build 20 livelli (ce ne sono un altro paio fra le varie build, fra cui uno con il Paladino... Let's the HYPE rise!!!) che riescono ad essere tremendamente efficaci comunque.

GNOWHERE GNOME
A little man who wasn't there

Required Books: PHB2, Races of Stone, Lords of Madness, Complete Adventurer, Complete Mage, Tome of Battle, Spell Compendium, Magic Item Compendium.
Unearthed Arcana used: None!

Background: 

Spoiler

RT played a single-classed kenku beguiler in a game a while back, capitalizing on beguiler stealth and misdirection when combined with natural kenku psychology and mimicry. The Gnowhere Gnome (yes, the silent G does make it deadlier) is a natural revision of that build – the sneakiest bastard that you’ll gnever find.

The Basics:

Spoiler

Race: Whisper Gnome. Everyone’s favorite elusive little bugger, they’re hard to beat in this area. If you don’t have access to whisper gnomes, any race with decent stealth synergy (goblin, strongheart / ghostwise Halfling, kenku, etc) would be a passable substitute.

Ability Scores: 6 / 16 / 12 / 16 / 10 / 10, after racial modifiers. Intelligence and Dexterity are both quite important; put your 4th and 8th level stat increases into Intelligence, and after that figure out what your gear is likely to provide and pump accordingly.

Skill GNotes: 

Spoiler

It goes without saying that you’re investing in Hide and Move Silently. Also max out the rest of the trapscout skills (Disable Device, Listen, Search, and Spot), as well as Concentration and Bluff. Plan yourself more as a scout than a caster on the skill front – you gneed 12 Spellcraft and a reasonable Concentration for your feats, but should be fine elsewhere. You should max out Use Magic Device, but not at first; you only need 12 ranks in Spellcraft, and by then your level-based stat increases should give you more skill points, so ignore UMD from levels 1-7 and then boost it more later on. If you can spare the skill points, look into some skill tricks in the mid-to-late levels; False Theurgy, Timely Misdirect, Group Fake-Out, and Swift Concentration come to mind.

Basic Equipment: 

Spoiler

Masterwork stealth gear (i.e. your gnome gninja outfit) is a good place to start. A light or heavy crossbow is a good fallback weapon to conserve early slots. You will need to have a melee threatened area later on; any basic weapon will work (dagger for style and preference, but a gauntlet works too – as does any magic staff or rod you’re packing at that point).

Magical Gear Goals: 

Spoiler

Your mundane and caster gear selection is pretty straightforward. I like the Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis here (it gives you a set of particularly nice stealth abilities that combine well with beguiler illusions – the real sell his Hide in Plain Sight, though, and you can get that through one of your Advanced Learnings), and you can save yourself a feat at the late game with the MIC’s Serpent Armor (preferably enhanced with Greater Shadow and Silent Moves). For reasons which will be discussed below, a Circlet of Persuasion is a better buy for you than for most beguilers. Similarly, you might want to pack a runestaff with Greater Dispel Magic on it – shockingly, it’s not on the beguiler list, but it’s highly desirable to have a dispeller who can’t be located, and it gives you some help against Mind Blanks and True Seers.

The Build.

Build Stub: Beguiler 20

Spoiler

1 – Beguiler – (Armored Mage, Trapfinding) (Darkstalker)

Spoiler

Do not underestimate the power of this feat. Although it’s online a little early here, it can make all the difference against most anti-stealth measures people will take.

2 – Beguiler – (Cloaked Casting (DC +1), Surprise Casting)

3 – Beguiler – (Advanced Learning: Shock and Awe) (Improved Diversion)

Spoiler

Shock and Awe is an amazing spell from the Spell Compendium, but it’s normally pretty limited in when it can be employed – surprise rounds only. It’s a great fit for sneaky beguilers like yourself – cast it on whoever will raise the alarm or who can make or break an upcoming fight. Improved Diversion can keep you hidden while you cast – it speeds up your ability to create diversions to the point where you can cast spells and shout “look behind you, a three-headed monkey!” in the same round. You’re unfortunately limited to a 5’ step in hiding, but with Darkstalker and the right use of Silent Image, that will do.

4 – Beguiler – 

Spoiler

Fog Cloud and Invisibility start to compete with Silent Image for providing a hiding place in combat. Bump Int at this level.

5 – Beguiler – (Silent Spell)

Spoiler

This feat will become much more useful later, but it’s good to have a way to mask your vocal components.

6 – Beguiler – (Surprise Casting (move action)) (Mobile Spellcasting)

Spoiler

This feat allows you to move and cast a spell as a single standard action. Improved Diversion and the Beguiler’s Surprise Casting allow you to bluff to feint or create a diversion as a move action. You can, in a single round, vanish from the sight any foe without the Sense Motive or Spot to match your Bluff and Hide checks; casting a Fog Cloud or Invisibility and moving is hard to counter when you’ve got Darkstalker.

7 – Beguiler – (Advanced Learning: Phantasmal Strangler)

Spoiler

This is a lovely save-or-up-yours that grapples for an extended period of time against foes who fail their save. Action advantage and denial of Dex? Hell yes!

8 – Beguiler – (Cloaked Casting (Spell Penetration +2))

Spoiler

Improved Invisibility appears, allowing you to be more aggressive. Boost your Int score again and start putting ranks into UMD. Freedom of Movement also appears, protecting you from sticky situations.

9 – Beguiler – (Rapid Metamagic)

Spoiler

And now using Silent Spell no longer costs you bigger actions, freeing you up to move or Bluff.

10 – Beguiler – (Still Spell)

Spoiler

Not quite as handy as Silent Spell, but hey, when you need to cast a Still Freedom of Movement, you’ll appreciate it.

11 – Beguiler – (Advanced Learning: Nightmare Terrain)

Spoiler

A magnificent spell; it entangles enemies and lets you hide while observed in its effect. Probably hands down the best spell in your arsenal for when you gneed to both make life difficult for your enemies and disappear GNOW.

12 – Beguiler – (Spectral Skirmisher)

Spoiler

This PHB2 feat gives you two benefits while invisible. One, enemies take a -5 penalty to Listen checks to locate you. Two, you can make an Attack of Opportunity against any foe who attacks the square you occupy (though it tells them where you are and removes any miss chance). The first benefit is useful now; the second not quite yet.

13 – Beguiler – 

14 – Beguiler – (Cloaked Casting (DC +2))

Spoiler

In addition to that nice little DC boost, two things are worth gnoting. First, you gain access to Project Image at this level, which is just unfair in a beguiler’s hands. See how Project Image combines with other illusions. You can create more decoys by casting Greater Mirror Image through your projected image, change its appearance with Disguise Self and make the enemies believe there’s a traitor in their ranks, or just enjoy another invisible point of origin for your spells by casting Greater Invisibility on it. Second, if you’ve been boosting UMD since level 8, by this point you should have a fairly good amount of ranks in there (especially since we haven’t had to spend skill points on Spellcraft for five levels). Get a Circlet of Persuasion and a few useful wands to deal with enemies that are immune to mind-affecting effects.

15 – Beguiler – (Advanced Learning: Simulacrum) (Evasive Reflexes)

Spoiler

Evasive Reflexes allows us to take a non-provoking 5’ step in place of an AoO. Remember that second benefit to Spectral Skirmisher? Yes, that's right; they attack the square you’re in, and you’re suddenly gnot in it anymore. This is the level by which Serpent Armor becomes very handy, but only wear it if you can get that enchanted with Greater Shadow and Silent Moves enhancements; the primary function of armor for us is to boost our Hide and Move Silently checks. Also take any enhancement that would remove ACP. We don’t care about our Armor Class; a guy who can’t be targeted doesn’t gneed to worry about being hit. Alternatively, with your UMD you can use an Eternal Wand of Heroics to supply yourself with Combat Reflexes, and forget the Serpent Armor.
As a second point, Simulacrum can cause… problems if the DM isn’t prepared. Not only can it produce decoys or body doubles (including duplicates of yourself – see everything up there with Project Image? Now double it and shave off a few levels from the double), it can also duplicate NPCs. Expect a clever player to be able to do great things with this spell.

16 – Beguiler – 

Spoiler

You acquire Moment of Prescience at this level. If you’ve got a Ring of Evasion, this is the spell that will save your bacon when they stop trying to look for you and start blasting the area with explosive magic.

17 – Beguiler

18 – Beguiler – (Combat Reflexes OR Extraordinary Concentration)

Spoiler

Combat Reflexes is the last piece of your “gnever touch me” engine. With it, you can use Evasive Reflexes more than once per round, allowing you to dodge multiple attempts to attack your square. If your GM allows you to get Serpent Armor modified with the appropriate enhancements, or if you have an Eternal Wand of Heroics, then you do not need to take Combat Reflexes. In such a case, take the Extraordinary Concentration feat from Complete Adventurer. This lets you concentrate on a spell (like Scintillating Pattern or Major Image) as a move action. Remember Mobile Spellcasting? You can move, cast, and concentrate all in the same round, and that doesn’t even affect your swift action.

19 – Beguiler – (Advanced Learning: Shades)

Spoiler

Excuse me while I add about half of the Conjuration school to my beguiler spell list.

20 – Beguiler – (Cloaked Casting (SR Breach))

 

 

Snapshot: 

Spoiler

Let’s toss on the +6 items on Constitution, Dexterity, and Intelligence, and assume you pumped Intelligence all the way (i.e. all five pumps into Int, along with a +5 tome, as opposed to amping up Dexterity) – the long game version. We also discussed, above, that your ‘ideal’ armor is probably Serpent Armor (mechanically +1 leather) with Greater Shadow and Greater Silent Moves, and a Circlet of Persuasion. (While this does give the Gnowhere Gnome a bit more equipment than usual for snapshots, I group these particular on the “+skills” heading that I usually use when discussing skillmonkeys, although they are a touch pricier. No one blinked when we gave +Concentration items to Diamond Mind specialists - same thing here).

This finishes off with 152 HP, +10 base attack (or ray +16), and saves of 10/12/12, with a spell save DC of 21+spell level (+2 if you catch ‘em off-guard, which is, er, likely) – rather good for a baseline without further gear or buffs on a spellcaster, albiet slightly skimpy on straight-up HP. Skillwise you’re looking at 228 total skill points and no changes in skill list from 1-20: this is plenty to max out Concentration, Hide, Move Silently, Bluff, Disable Device, Search, Spot, Listen, and Use Magic Device, with points left over to hit Spellcraft 12 (required for your feats). This approach leaves you with 9 skill points left, which you can use to pick up four skill tricks; our recommendation is Timely Misdirection, Clarity of Vision, Swift Concentration and any other one that seems useful to you (i.e. Listen to This).

Taking a step back, let’s look at those skill bonuses. Adding in the gear above, synergy, and racial modifiers, you’re looking at trapscout skills of +34/+34 and sense skills of +25/+25, along with a Bluff of +28 and a Use Magic Device of +30. Those are very good. But the real victor here? Stealth. Hide is +52, Move Silently is +48, and you’ve got the full suite of Beguiler misdirections (Project Image, Simulacrum, and assorted Invisibility tricks), plus Darkstalker (+Hide in Plain Sight from Nightmare Terrain or equipment), Shadow Striker + Evasive Reflexes (+Serpent Armor's Combat Reflexes), and Mobile Spellcasting (+Rapid Metamagic +Silent Spell + Still Spell).

Let me put it in perspective. On the left, you have your common ninja. On the right, you have the Gnowhere Gnome.

ninja.jpg.a615d7e7d3805f4e10bf3dfd884a60

Fig. 1a) Ninja                                                                                Fig. 1b) Gnowhere Gnome

Any questions?

Overall Strengths: 

Spoiler

You’re gnot exactly an easy guy to pin down. Able to hide from just about anything, including a direct target, and able to do so in the middle of combat in an open plain should you so desire, the Gnowhere Gnome is basically a paragon of what the beguiler can be. It’s also simple enough to fly at any table – and with his skill list, he’d have no problem being welcome at many tables either. Stick him in your stealth/scout roles and watch him shine (…or, okay, gnot see him shine – let’s be honest here); later on his magic grows to the point where he can even play at being a wizard, particularly with Shades or runestaff fun.

Overall Weaknesses:

Spoiler

What do your opponents do when they fight someone who can’t be pinned down? That’s right, they nuke the site from orbit bring on the area effects. Your Reflex and Fortitude saves are your natural weak points as a result – they’re all that stand between you and a very painful Fire Storm or Cloudkill. Look into Rings of Evasion, or the much cheaper (but less spammable) Diamond Mind rings linked to the appropriate counter, and don’t be afraid to use that Moment of Prescience effect to stay alive. There’s also the usual issues with beguilers in specific or illusionists/enchanters in general, gnamely, the host of things immune to your spells. You’re better equipped than most to handle that (Use Magic Device), but this can get costly really quick. (Thankfully, you’re Beguiler 20, so SR usually isn’t a factor.)

Variants:

Spoiler

As a Beguiler 20, the points of variation here largely fall on feats and Advanced Learning choices. Your feats largely fall in two categories (deceptive spellcasting and stealth/misdirection), and there’s no direct synergy between them that depends on these particular sets of feats (they work well together, but they don’t depend on each other), you can rotate them around as you see fit. The only potential problem is that with so (relatively) few degrees of freedom, the further you deviate, the more likely it is to run into another beguiler 20 build.

There you have it. I think, quite possibly, that the Gnowhere Gnome is the iconic Beguiler. Go ahead, tell us how you’d beat this.

…And gno apologies from us on the random silent G. It’s required, ye’see.

 

Bene, siamo alla conclusione di un altra build. Tutte queste G mute sono a quanto pare inevitabili, perciò gnon mi sono opposto al loro utilizzo sfrenato. In ogni caso, decisamente invisibile il ragazzo non è vero?

smite4life

E come promesso (a chi che nessuno si fila sto blog??? Forse a me stesso!) ecco il compagno del Wizassassin: una delle build più divertenti e stupide in senso buono che abbia mai visto, e come leggerete nel Background, è nata proprio per ridere!!!!

Uncanny Trapsmith
Get in, make it look like an accident, get out

Required Books: Eberron Campaign Setting, Complete Adventurer, Complete Scoundrel, Races of Eberron, Player’s Handbook 2, Races of Destiny, Lords of Madness.
Unearthed Arcana used: None! (Well, I use fractional for calculations, but it doesn’t change the prereqs or timing at all, just the final results. Without fractional, its base attack falls to +13 instead of +15, for instance.)

Background: 

Spoiler

Some time ago, RT put together the Optimization Circus! [purtroppo, con la chiusura del forum wizard, temo questo thread sia andato perduto!], a project where optimal met funny under the big top. One of his suggestions was the Stage Crew Gnome, a roadie who could slip unnoticed in the middle of a pitched battle and set up booby-traps under the target’s feet. This build is the next generation of that concept, with a stronger counter-intelligence focus to find more use in a social/intrigue game. Along the way it combines its spy-themed disguise, misdirection, and infiltration abilities with a strong improvised gadget-using focus (from your self-assembled traps to your imbued-on-the-spot magic equipment) - you can almost think of this build as James Bond meets MacGyver.

The Basics:

Spoiler

Race: Changeling

Ability Scores: 10 / 10 / 10 / 18 / 10 / 12. You’re going to want to boost Int at every level. This goes beyond skillmonkey and into skillgorilla territory.

Skill Notes: 

Spoiler

….What does he do? What doesn’t he do? He finishes off with 286 skill points and (midway through the build) literally gets every skill as a class skill. Apart from hitting skill prerequisites (which you can do with Craft: Trapmaking 8, Disable Device 8, Search 4, Bluff 8, Disguise 4, Forgery 4, Diplomacy 4, Gather Information 4, and Sense Motive 4 – not that hard, they’re all Rogue class skills and you've got Able Learner), you’ll need to be able to hit DC 28 Craft (Trapmaking) under pressure reliably (or DC 23 if you want to carry a heavy trap-maker’s kit), and have 5 ranks in Craft (Alchemy) to unlock all the traps. You also need four skill tricks; I’ve listed which ones we suggest below. Even with all that, you have remarkable freedom with where to put your skills, and can do it without ever cross-classing a single point. Check the snapshot below for an example skill distribution that attempts to meet all the needs of a party trapfinder, scout, and social infiltrator. (It doesn’t do the acrobatic rogue stunts, due to low Dexterity and the particular tactics involved, though you’re free to shift points there if you want.)

Basic Equipment: 

Spoiler

You don’t have any specific demands here besides decent light armor; note that while you don’t have a high Dexterity bonus you really, really don’t want an armor check penalty. Early on you’ll probably carry a crossbow (pistol crossbow, preferably) and easily-concealable daggers; later on you won’t need much besides your trapping tools (and eventually not even them!). Finally, invest in masterwork tools as early as you can for as many skills as you can; cheap +2s to skills you want to use can cement you as THE go-to guy out of combat. (It’s not uncommon to invest in these between levels 1 and 2, which is also when the synergy bonuses come online, giving you a massive +5 bump (or more!) between levels!)

Speaking of weapons, before you get your traps, you might want to emulate the Diablo 2 trapper assassins and rely on thrown alchemical weapons (alchemist's fire, acid flasks, and similar) as a weapon. If your Craft:Alchemy ranks come in early, you shouldn't have any trouble building these yourself pre-adventure. It’s a bit cheesy, since they’re touch attacks and they deliver any applicable sneak attack damage (against their target, not through the entire blast radius!) as well as their usual effects. I only mention it here because it perfectly fits with the “I build tools and use them to wipe the floor with you” theme; normally this is a cheeseball trick, but here, the theme matches nicely.

Magical Gear Goals: 

Spoiler

Boost your stealth something fierce. You want +Int, +Con (may as well), and +Dex (can’t hurt). You want magic items that produce invisibility (Shadow Hands: Cloak of Deception are available pretty early and re-usable), concealment, darkness and other stealth-friendly abilities. Outside of stealth (and survivability), you’re a support character. Really, you’re largely a function of your traps in combat, and your social skills out of combat, so you would also be a good candidate for the bag-of-tricks toy items that always look good but aren’t always worth the investment. A Shax Haversack and/or Utility Belt [di cui non trovo il link, dovrebbe essere su BrilliantGameologists, ma pare sia in down ora] come to mind – you should always be the sort of person who’s got the right tool for the job. (There’s a lot of overlap between the two, but each serves their purpose. The Shax thread includes a good list of alchemical options as well!) The rest of your team is going to be able to "beat face with big stick" or "casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down", so don’t try to outperform them: it’s your job to handle the unexpected circumstances and operate when a bit more finesse is called for. 

There's also (quite!) a few specific magic items to look for:

Spoiler

Outside of combat, an artificer's monocle is a good investment (as it is for any artificer); I'd also look into wands of generic skill-booster effects like Greater Heroism for that extra edge. (You can create scrolls or potions of the basic Heroism effect on your own.) Eternal Wands are always useful too, but in your case (since you don't fight that much) you don't need the Heroics wand I keep suggesting on showcased builds; Invisibility, Knock, Shatter, Shrink Item and Rope Trick are good candidates instead, as are just about any of the low-level figments. (Any of these you don't expect to use all that often can be covered with Spell Storing Item instead.) You're an infiltrator, act like one!

One particularly interesting choice of item is a Desert Wind cloak keyed to a hilariously under-used maneuver: Distracting Ember. This maneuver creates a flanking partner for one round, and is obviously intended to allow swordsages to support rogues (or themselves, if they're Shadow Hand focused), but it does so by actually summoning a physical creature for one round. For you, this does two things: It creates a second target for you to divert enemy attention towards (although due to action costs, it'll only work against attacks of opportunity with Fade into Violence; if the elemental lasted until the start of your next turn its options would be much more interesting), and, more importantly, it allows you to remotely trigger your traps from a distance if it looks like your target isn't getting close enough. (Several traps have an area of effect; if your target is in an adjacent square but isn't likely to step on the trigger, Distracting Ember can create a fire elemental right where you want it, and BOOM, off the trap goes.)

A related item, the assorted Bags of Tricks, can do pretty much the same thing, and - if the critter in question has a threatened area - can provide you with the distraction you need to work your misdirection feats. There are, however, some thematic concerns involved when a wild deer or angry rhinocerous suddenly appears at a dinner party.

One other aspect to look into is equipment that lets you read the minds of your targets, especially if you can extract memories from them. You've got Use Magic Device - if your DM allows this to function as Use Psionic Device (it already doubles as Use Clerical Device and Use Arcane Device, and psi is supposed to be transparent...) you shoud look at the telepath list for this. If you can get this, your feat and feature setup can let you essentially perfectlyassume the identity of existing NPCs in your campaign. I'll let you figure out how much fun this could be - just use your abilities to trap and kidnap someone, mindscan them, and then... showtime.

Another oddball choice is the Immovable Rod. Normally this is expensive and superfluous but old-school players will remember just how much havoc one can wreak with this if you're creative. The classical uses - holding a door veryshut, providing a handhold or foothold in midair, or as part of a larger assembly (such as a fulcrum or holding a platform) are all appropriate to your do-it-yourself nature. An almost trivial direct-combat example is to wait until one of your Equalizer traps knocks a target prone (which, since it does so on your opponent's turn, leaves your actions open), then run on up, set the rod on his back (ideally horizontally across the shoulder blades), and press the button. Good luck standing or rolling away from that!

Since everyone expects this build to be some kind of mechanical genius, I'd be amiss if I didn't mention the obscure, but very very useful, Universal Key. Just be careful if you choose to employ this one in combat - your low Charisma (and likely opponents in a social intrigue game!) mean it's quite easy to turn against you, and while you can finish the battle after your pants have been disassembled, it's just tacky.

The MIC's Ring of Arming also deserves special mention. Minor Change Shape doesn't alter your equipment, just your own appearance. This item acts like a superior version of a Glove of Storing (another good item choice, particularly with Sleight of Hand, but let's focus on the ring for now) in that it can store entire equipment loadouts and switch them all, including full suits of armor, with just a standard action. In a few seconds with this ring, you can go from impersonating a guard in heavy armor to impersonating a noble at the masquerade, or you can switch from a perfectly mundane disguise into full combat gear as soon as you hear "roll for initiative".

Finally, thanks to a submission from ObsidianConspiracy, a Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis (Tome of Magic) is a great complement here, as the Dark template gives you quite a lot of things that you will appreciate, most dramatically Hide in Plain Sight. I'm not sure if Minor Change Shape is enough to cover for the Dark template's physical shifts, so you might want to stick to the normal collar and only activate it when you're going into "battle mode", though. In any case, it's most useful at the later levels, since your uses of the Hide skill aren't actually dependent upon hiding (and, in fact, Shadow Striker depends upon being observed!) and at the late levels you get Darkstalker. You'll still need something to hide behind at first, but you've got a stinkbomb trap for that (which emulates Stinking Cloud, which obscures vision). Deoxhydroxinate also points out that you can easily use a tower shield for this purpose if you can somehow get it deployed quickly enough.

 

The Build.

Build Stub: Changeling Rogue 2 / Rogue 1 / Artificer 2 / Combat Trapsmith 5 / Uncanny Trickster 3 / Spymaster 7

Spoiler

1 – Changeling Rogue – (Social Intuition, Sneak Attack +1d6) (Able Learner)

Spoiler

Able Learner requires Human or Doppelganger. It was never explicitly stated that changelings – the children of humans and doppelgangers – qualify for it, but it’s a reasonable assumption that simplifies things easily. (Well, Races of Eberron does flat-out say that changelings like to take the Chameleon class (see page 43!), which requires Able Learner, so it’s pretty strongly implied.)

Social Intuition gives you a lot of good intrigue abilities (mostly doing critical social stunts faster), but importantly it gives Skill Mastery in a lot of skills, including Bluff. We’ll be using that one soon. The rest can be used to wreak some havoc with changeling shapeshifting - +10 to Disguise at level 1 and the ability to take 10 on most of the “keep your cover” skills is great, particularly when that take 10 result is high enough to hit DC 15 (in other words, you casually complete “tough” tasks at level 1).

And, as a side note, the Changeling Rogue substitution levels have a positively amazing 10 skill points per level, which give you 56 skill points to play with at level 1.

2 – Rogue – (Evasion) (Second Impression trick)

Spoiler

“I don’t always botch Disguise checks, but when I do, I prefer Second Impression.”

3 – Changeling Rogue – (Minor Lore, Sneak Attack +2d6) (Persona Immersion) (Assume Quirk trick)

Spoiler

Trap Sense is generally meh, so there’s no reason to not swap it here, especially given the TEN skill points available to changeling rogues. Minor Lore can sometimes help with cover stories as well. Remember that even if you don’t put any points into Knowledge, this bonus applies to Aid Another attempts as well; eventually your Int mod will be high enough to automatically succeed on those attempts to, so even with 0 Knowledge, you’re a great assistant.

Oh, and why Persona Immersion? Because the most reliable way to see through a disguise in D&D involves mind reading (Read Thoughts, Detect Thoughts, etc. are online as of level 3!) and very few of those effects are over 3rdlevel. (Those that are, such as Mind Probe, tend to be used after your cover is blown.) Persona Immersion is the easiest way to make sure those backfire. The Assume Quirk trick works very nicely with this as well, if you’ve researched your subject enough.

4 –Artificer – (Artificer Knowledge, Artisan Bonus, Item Creation, Trapfinding) (Scribe Scroll)

Spoiler

We needed trapfinding from some source, and artificer gets that while providing Intelligence synergy, granting access to good support magic, and counting as a spellcaster (unlocking Craft: Alchemy’s better uses). The much-needed Will save boost is gravy.

Spend some time looking through the low-level spell lists. You’ll be able to scribe spells that require up to CL 4 off of any list, although they only take effect at CL 2. Many of the good infiltration ones aren’t terribly CL-dependent –Ventriloquism and Silence come to mind.

5 – Artificer – (Brew Potion)

Spoiler

At this point, Spell Storing Item becomes your favorite infusion, if you can get a high enough UMD check to pull it off reliably. While item creation is limited by caster level, this infusion is only limited by spell level, so obscure but amazing prestige lists like the Trapsmith’s (Dungeonscape) become available. Furthermore, you can assemble these tools on the spot once you’ve infiltrated your area, although it normally takes a minute to do so. (Remember that you can spend an action point to speed this up!).

6 – Combat Trapsmith – (Combat Trapping, Trap Sense +1) (Fade into Violence) (Social Recovery trick) (2 traps)

Spoiler

The choice of traps is entirely up to you, since their importance varies based on your game. These ARE your kill moves, though, so as the opportunity arises, upgrade to the deadliest, most crippling ones you can make. Nothing stops you from building multiple traps and placing them in the same square either. Some of them also work rather unusually – for instance, the Equalizer doesn’t use an ability check to knock its victims prone, so Stability won’t help.

Fade into Violence lets you work with an ally to threaten a target, and then – using the Bluff skill you can take 10 on – force the enemy to ignore you in favor of your ally. It's an immediate action as well, so you can use it as a sort of pseudo-counter if someone tries to hit you. This can be used to get free sneak attacks here or to slip away unnoticed, but later on it’ll be a critical part of your offensive strategy. Note that since deploying a trap doesn’t target an enemy (i.e. it wouldn’t break Invisibility), you can still use it while using Fade into Violence. You can sneak up to a guy and trap his shoes. Or, even if he notices you, Fade into Violence can divert his attention elsewhere.

7 – Combat Trapsmith – (Skill Focus: Craft (Trapmaking)) (Conceal Spellcasting trick) (3 traps, 1 swap)

Spoiler

Conceal Spellcasting doesn’t care how long it takes to cast your spell, which means you can now rig up your Spell Storing Items in the middle of a dinner party.

8 – Combat Trapsmith – (Trap Sense +2) (4 traps, 1 swap)

9 – Combat Trapsmith – (Improvised Materials) (Shadow Striker) (5 traps, 1 swap)

Spoiler

Bring it on! Shadow Striker’s most important option is the Evade Notice, which operates like a better (less-limited) version of Fade into Violence, keyed off of Hide instead. It's only usable if you take no direct hostile action – which setting a trap is not. With an ally to support you, you can easily slip between targets completely unnoticed while rigging up high-DC traps right underfoot.

The other two options aren't useful at all to you, but there are circumstances when you'd want to toy around with them too. Fade Away is probably the only one you'll realistically be using, as you depend strongly on stealth for your defenses.

10 – Combat Trapsmith – (Expert Trapsetter, Trap Sense +3) (6 traps, 1 swap)

11 – Uncanny Trickster – (Bonus Trick: Listen to This, Favored Trick: Second Impression OR Listen to This)

Spoiler

Second Impression is optional, but it’s one of those very nice skill tricks without a secondary limit (unlike, say, Social Recovery) that also happens to work on large numbers of targets at once. Listen to This is the alternative because it lets you record two close-by conversations.

The real winner is that starting this level, every skill is a class skill. You were already buying them at class-skill rates, but now you have class skill max ranks in all of them.

12 – Uncanny Trickster – (Bonus Trick: Timely Misdirection, Favored Trick: Timely Misdirection) (Skill Focus: Bluff) (6 traps, 1 trade)

Spoiler

You’re advancing Combat Trapsmith, natch. Note that this increases its class level for formula purposes, which includes the DC on your traps. You also MIGHT get a trade on the traps (depending on how +1 Class Features is interpreted; we don’t see a reason why it wouldn’t), although you’re still limited to six traps.

Timely Misdirection gives you a way to bypass AoO tanks using Bluff instead of Tumble, except it’ll actually work against those annoying Thicket of Blades users. Think of it as a Bluff-based Douse the Flames or Covering Strike. 

Oh, the feat? It’s just a prerequisite. But you're getting quite a bit of Bluff mileage anyway, and Bluff is awesome regardless.

13 – Uncanny Trickster – (Bonus Trick: Group Fake-Out, Favored Trick: Group Fake-Out, Uncanny Luck) (6 traps, 1 swap)

Spoiler

By combining Timely Misdirection and Group Fake-Out, you can escape from dogpiles or the Danger Zone where two AoO tanks overlap without too much difficulty.

14 – Spymaster – (Cover Identity, Undetectable Alignment)

Spoiler

A natural choice for you – spymaster isn’t necessarily the most optimal in a combat game, but it provides a lot of good support for an intrigue game, and lets you get into places you wouldn’t normally be able to get into. Plus, Cover Identity + Persona Immersion + Assume Quirk can lead to some pretty fun impersonation effects if your cover identityis a real NPC. You’d have to abduct him first, but you have enough ways of incapacitating targets already.

15 – Spymaster – (Quick Change, Scrying Defense) (Ability Focus: Combat Trapping)

Spoiler

Combat Trapping is a single special ability, thus this feat adds its bonus to all your traps. Which now have the same base DC as 9th level spells… except they’re usable at will.

16 – Spymaster – (Magic Aura, Sneak Attack +3d6)

17 – Spymaster – (Cover Identity, Slippery Mind)

18 – Spymaster – (Dispel Scrying) (Master Manipulator)

Spoiler

Boom! Wonderful feat, and one I really wish we could have had much earlier. To qualify, you’ll either need a +1 tome or an ability boost into Charisma, but that’s not hard to do by this point.

The first ability gives you the ability to create social diversions for your team to sneak in – not as useful as it sounds, but it complements your abilities well. The SECOND ability is where it shines: Trap of Words will reveal any deliberate deception on the opponent’s part, without relying on any magic, and without the opponent being aware he’s done it. (He might notice he’s let it slip at first, but you’ve got enough Bluff to cover for that possibility.)

19 – Spymaster – (Sneak Attack +4d6)

20 – Spymaster – (Cover Identity, Deep Cover) (Retrain Persona Immersion to Darkstalker)

Spoiler

Hey, since Deep Cover makes Persona Immersion basically obsolete (after having served its purpose well for many levels), we may as well go for Darkstalker here instead. It’s a great feat, and you’ve got an open slot, so why not throw it in there? Just as your epic disguise checks can foil even True Seeing, now your epic Hide checks can as well (along with a host of other abilities). It’s a shame you can’t get Hide in Plain Sight here, but with Fade Into Violence and Shadow Striker you may not need to. I only wish it could have come online sooner.

 

Suggested Traps:

Spoiler

At the end of the build, you’ll have six traps with six opportunities to swap them, so feel free to try out others, but I suggest ending the build with Great Scorcher (AoE fire damage), Sleeper (sleep on a fail, fatigue on a pass), Glitterburst (as Glitterdust; you have the Spot check to know where to aim this), Flashbang (blind and deaf on a fail, dazzle on a pass), Equalizer (prone), Spiderweb (as Web; you can use this as a cheap AoE fire effect if you want before Great Scorcher comes online), and Stinkburst (as a localized Stinking Cloud, combines very well with Equalizer and Spiderweb). This gives you a good assortment of debuffs (with amazing save DCs, see below) and a kill move (set up enough Great Scorchers in an area and ready the marshmallows).

Snapshot: 

Spoiler

Put the usual three +6 items on Int, Dex, and Con, an extra +6 item (due to the dramatically reduced need for weapons) on Charisma, and a +5 tome for Int (your key ability by far); you also need a +1 tome on Charisma before level 18. You’re now looking at 132 expected HP, base attack +15 (melee +20, ranged +23 assuming Greater Magic Weapon, but most weapons are honestly backup), saves of +10/+20 (Evasion)/+7 (Slippery Mind), sneak attack +4d6, and a positively insane skill distribution capable of covering nearly every social and trapping role you can expect from a rogue.

Here’s one potential skill loadout:

Spoiler

There’s a few skills here listed with 0 ranks because of significant synergy bonuses and related spycraft. These final modifiers assume masterwork tools, but no magical equipment beyond the ability boosters already mentioned.
Autohypnosis 5 (+10)
Bluff 23 (+34, Social Intuition, Master Manipulator, Fade into Violence)
Concentration 5 (+10)
Craft (alchemy) 5 (+19)
Craft (trapmaking) 10 (+27)
Diplomacy 16 (+26, Social Intuition, Master Manipulator)
Disable Device 19 (+33)
Disguise 10 (+28, Minor Change Shape)
Escape Artist 0 (+7)
Forgery 5 (+19)
Gather Information 10 (+16, Social Intuition)
Hide 23 (+28, Shadow Striker)
Intimidate 0 (+10, Social Intuition)
Knowledge (Any Three) 1 (+21, Minor Lore) 
Knowlege (The Other Eight) 0 (+20, Minor Lore)
Listen 23 (+25)
Move Silently 20 (+25, Shadow Striker)
Open Lock 5 (+10)
Search 19 (+33)
Sense Motive 20 (+24, Social Intuition, Master Manipulator)
Sleight of Hand 5 (+12)
Spellcraft 1 (+17)
Spot 23 (+25)
Use Rope 5 (+10)
Use Magic Device 23 (+31, Artisan Bonus)

Skill Tricks: 8pts spent, 3 bonus tricks, 3 favored tricks
Artificer Knowledge: +14 vs DC 15 to discern magic auras

A few quick skill notes:

  • Autohypnosis has a Memorize feature which works on written or visual material very similarly to how Listen to This works on audio (and Autohypnosis may, in fact, allow you to use Listen to This to recite the "perfect clarity" description, then memorize that for longer-term retention of unusual language recordings). It also has a “Forget” function described in Dragonmarked (page 75; it's essentially Memorize but in reverse) which actually lets you manipulate your memory in the case of a Mind Probe or similar effect. A +4 bonus on this from any source will let you do this without a roll.
  • Don’t forget that your insane Bluff also lets you transmit secret information via its Innuendo ability. It isn't telepathy, but it may as well be in circumstances where you're expected to be talking.
  • Craft (Trapmaking) doesn’t need as many ranks as you’d think after your Intelligence starts getting up there – you only need to hit DC 28 if you’re trying to build a Great Scorcher trap without any materials, and that’s possible here on a natural 1 assuming no other penalties. While you're levelling up, but after you've met the prereqs, you can get around the lower ranks by employing the trapmaker's kit (a bit costly and bulky but helps keep the DCs down) and masterwork tools.
  • This approach lets you pick three appropriate knowledge skills (probably Nobility, Local, and either Arcana or History) to count as trained, but even on the other skills, a +20 modifier with 0 ranks means he knows every single piece of common knowledge out there. If you want to turn this guy into a better knowledge base, pull ranks from somewhere else. (You probably don't need Move Silently quite that high, for instance.) 
  • Open Lock isn’t high enough to handle the toughest locks, but it handles most of them. The higher-level ones, such as the hair-ripping-out DC 40 Amazing lock, are tackled via Spell Storing Item creating a charge of knock.
  • Don’t forget that Spot has a Read Lips ability and the ability to decode secret information with Bluff. This ability combines hilariously well with Listen to This and your memory stunts on Autohypnosis – essentially, only telepathic communication is protected from you.
  • Use Rope is on there because it lets you hog-tie your incapacitated targets if you want to capture them. It’s also useful for grappling hook entrances, rappelling/abseiling escapes, and related non-social infiltration moves – it's one of those skills you appreciate when you have it but no one ever takes ranks. Plus, you get to make awful “James Bondage” jokes.
  • Use Magic Device is, as usual, freaking amazing and very, very important to this build. Get a skill booster on here as soon as you can, especially after the artificer levels come online. You need to hit DCs in the low 20s reliably as soon as possible and Charisma isn’t your primary stat. You won't need it in the end-game, but it can make or break your tactics early on.

Remember that this is just one potential skill point loadout, and because of Able Learner and the eventual Uncanny Trickster level, your skill choices are essentially completely unrestricted beyond the prerequisites listed at the start of the build. 

Your traps have a save DC of 31 to evade their effect, and a skill DC of either 39 or 41 (depending on whether or not Ability Focus applies to this second DC or not) to find or disable. Unlike normal traps, non-trapfinders can Spot them, but good luck hitting that DC –it’s comparable to the Amazing Lock, which is already so high it basically says “Can someone cast Knock here?”. (To put that in even bigger perspective, a DC 43 check in the DMG is exmplified as "Track a goblin that passed over hard rocks a week ago, and it snowed yesterday". Your traps are nearly that hard to spot!) These traps are also nonmagical, so without skill checks that high, they will remain unnoticed until they strike. (Detect Magic normally causes magical traps to light up like Chinese lanterns, but it’ll miss these; similarly, they’re more sophisticated than a trapdoor, so even the more obscure Detect Snares And Pits spell will miss them.)

While the traps aren’t terribly good at damage (the most powerful one is only 5d6, Reflex Half – although good luck hitting that DC without Improved Evasion, and you can double-up on them), they work very, very well for applying conditions (some combination of prone, poisoned, fatigued, entangled, blinded+deafened, caltropped, glitterdusted, asleep, webbed, and nauseated, for seven rounds due to Uncanny Trickster), and since they’re applied to an adjacent square (that you don’t enter), nothing stops you from tossing out all six traps you know in the same spot. (Or loading up on scorcher traps if you really want damage instead of conditions – a minute of prep time gives you 50d6 damage.). Applying a trap for you is a standard action, which you can generally keep up in the middle of combat due to your ability to redirect attention away from yourself.

Naturally, like many rogue builds, this works best in combat if partnered with someone, ideally with the ability to call attention to themselves or support the trapsmith in other ways (or push enemies around - note that a trap will trigger if an enemy is forcefully moved into the trap’s square, so a swordsage or one of the Pinball Brothers can act as your trigger mechanism.). As I noted in magical gear above, you can simulate this alone using a Desert Wind cloak, but really, that's no substitute for a good ally. That said, due to the social intrigue aspect of the build, the Uncanny Trapsmith can also operate alone, using social cover to get to places he isn’t supposed to be, and set traps to act as an assassin of sorts. Just try to get the PCs to track down a good Changeling Rogue / spymaster in a royal court without ripping their hair out.

Overall Strengths: 

Spoiler

Your skill list is the stuff of legends, so if there’s something outside of combat, you’re the go-to fellow. You have ways to direct attention away from yourself long enough to set up absolutely crippling condition traps right under your enemy’s feet, and social camouflage good enough to get into royal courts to do the same. You still have a passable level of sneak attack, so if you happen to render a target more or less helpless through your traps (and look at that list of conditions!), it shouldn’t be hard to basically hog-tie such a target and coup-de-grace them.  In-combat, you're a ghost, an anti-Crusader who diverts attention away from himself and towards your somewhat sturdier allies, able to use that misdirection to set traps with impossibly high DCs right underneath your opponents' feet, triggering debuff conditions that your allies will always appreciate essentially at will.

Outside of your traps, you have access to just about every low-level spell in the entire game given a minute of prep time or an action point; while these aren't likely to be game-enders in battle, any experienced player knows the value of the right low-level spell in the right situation, and you always have the right low-level spell with you after assembling your spell storing items. (You have access to even more spells when preparing for a mission through artificer item creation, but all of them are also low-level.) You also pack enough mundane deception abilities to foil most magic-heavy games until the really, really high levels, between Cover Identity, Persona Immersion, Minor Change Shape, and your collection of support gear (and eventually the amazing Deep Cover). Finally, this build is actually pretty cheap to equip - unlike most rogues it doesn't rely on two powerful weapons, or indeed any weapon at all beyond real basics, so by all means use the excess cash to cover the interesting things that sound useful but no one can ever justify after buying the basics.

Overall Weaknesses:

Spoiler

The usual weaknesses for a rogue are all present – doubled up due to low Dexterity, but slightly mitigated due to Slippery Mind at later levels (boost your Will save early, though). You depend almost entirely on stealth in battle, so be sure to pump your stealth skills and Bluff up as high as possible, and either rely on ranged combat until you get into position, or rely on your misdirection and an ally if you’re in melee. Budget your gear accordingly and remember that you don’t rely on twin weapons the way most rogues do (and indeed can go without any weapon at all if you think your traps are offensive enough; I still suggest alchemical bombs though). Oh, and finally, even if you're doing your job right, just like any adventurer, sooner or later you'll be relying on your hit points to save you, and those are ridiculously low for one of these builds, even with a +6 Con item; using some of your weapon cash on a +4 tome of Constitution certainly would not go amiss.

Variants:

Spoiler

If you find one of the feats here not to your liking, great candidates for replacement include Action Surge, which lets you set two traps simultaneously (in addition to all of its usual goodies) and Heroic Spirit, which gives extra action points (which, in addition to their usual goodies, let you speed up your spell-storing infusions to the point where you can use them in battle). Likewise, if one flaw is available, you can redo the opening feats to get Master Manipulator much earlier without delaying anything. With two flaws, you can work in the other unique changeling infiltration feat, Racial Emulation, which may also foil race-based divination effects like Object Reading.

The spymaster levels themselves aren’t super-essential either; you can pretty easily swap them for other PRCs if you want (Chameleon comes to mind as a fun choice, and you certainly qualify). Finally, if you don’t like the artificer for whatever reason, you can replace it. You need both spellcasting (for purposes of alchemy) and trapfinding, ideally with a lot of skill points and Intelligence synergy, and there are quite a few possibilities there – factotum, psychic rogue, spellthief, and beguiler all come to mind. For instance, if you employ the factotum (the route of the original Stage Crew Gnome), you can have as many as 12 non-uncanny-trickster, non-combat-trapsmith levels to play with; that's enough to get Factotum 8 / Chameleon 4 if you want (swapping SF:Bluff for Font of Inspiration, of course; you want the inspiration for Cunning Surge!), which is about as resourceful as they come. The only hazy part about the factotum approach is that it's unclear if they count as spellcasters, so the alchemical traps might be unavailable.

Omen of Peace points out that Factotum 1 provides better benefits than Changeling Rogue 3 - you trade a few skill points, one die of Sneak Attack (in a build that quickly loses its need for attack rolls) and Minor Lore for the ability to add your sky-high Intelligence modifier to up to two attack rolls (useful early on, useless later) or saving throws (very useful throughout) per encounter, along with +Int to one check per skill per day outside of combat. I'm continuing to list this under "variants" rather than working it in to the core writeup because doing this adds yet another book to the requirements (although honestly, you're probably referencing Dungeonscape already for the Trapsmith's class list via Spell Storing Item).

There you have it. How’s that for a skillmonkey skillgorrilla skillKONG addition to the menagerie, and one you aren’t likely to see until it’s too late? It’s a refreshing twist on the rogue in that it doesn’t rely on agility but is no less a master of guile, and hopefully it should remain fun at any level along its progression.

Ok, questa è penso una delle build più divertenti come concept che abbia mai visto... Proposte per altre build "stupide" ma efficaci?

smite4life

Ok, dopo un po' di ritardo ho capito come far funzionare l'editor del blog, perciò torno con una doppia build: questa, perché mi sentivo potente e quindi ho deciso di proporvene una super powa!!!

WIZASSASSIN
Everything is permitted

Required Books: Complete Mage, DMG2, Races of Destiny, Complete Arcane, Spell Compendium (and whatever sources you want for other spells.)
Unearthed Arcana used: None! (Although it does use a DMG2 feat that is “Unearthed-Arcana-ish”.)

Background: 

Spoiler

This is a take on an “evil genius” build - an assassin that uses magic rather than knives as his weapon. It uses wizard spells and spell-power boosts to augment your abilities as an assassin, and assassin stealth and unique spells to aid you in delivering death as a wizard.  It makes use of every trick we could think of to keep the caster levels up – for instance, it manages to get into Assassin without any Rogue levels! The assassin side allows the wizard side to deliver lethal spike damage if the need calls for it, while the wizard side allows the assassin to contribute to situations where stealth and solo operations aren’t in demand. 

Be advised: The massive tier difference between the wizard and the assassin, and the extreme demands to keep caster levels up, make this build look far more like a wizard than it actually is (except at the earliest levels – think of it as a wizard who becomes an assassin and uses his magic as his implement of death, rather than a pure-blooded rogue/assassin caster). In reality it’s using wizard tricks to augment the assassin side of things, falling back to pure wizardry when that doesn’t work. Really, the best place to look to boost assassin casting turned out to be wizard casting.

The Basics:

Spoiler

Race: Illumian. You’ll be taking the Krau sigil for certain; your other is either Naen or Uur, to taste.

Ability Scores: 8/14/14/18/8/8; Intelligence is bumped at every opportunity.

Alignment: You gotta be Evil to be an assassin. Please, keep these arguments to another thread.

Skill Notes: 

Spoiler

This build uses a little-known feat in the DMG2 to keep your caster level and your stealth skill ranks up; apart from meeting your prerequisites you’re pretty open. Those prereqs mean maxing out Hide, Move Silently, Spellcraft, and Disguise (cross-class) along with 4 ranks in Knowledge (Arcana) and, eventually, Search 8, Spot 8, and Sense Motive 4. Those last three skills can be handled once Search and Spot become class skills as an assassin, though.

Basic Equipment: 

Spoiler

Consider yourself a wizard when shopping and you can’t go wrong here. You don’t start out thinking like an assassin until nonmagical gear is essentially free anyway. If you eventually pick up armor as an assassin, remember that ASF still matters to your wizard spells and plan accordingly.

Magical Gear Goals: 

Spoiler

The usual Intelligence, Constitution, and Dexterity boosters, including an Intelligence tome, are pretty much a given. Furthermore, if there are items in your campaign world that add spells known to the assassin, and they are not currently in your possession, I would like to remind you of your Evil alignment and sneaky-sneaky magical powers to rectify that proble (Runestaffs might work once you get Residual Metamagic, but for full effect, you need things like the little-known Explorer’s Handbook’s Drake Helm). Other than that, there are no real standouts: if you have a preferred set of stealth/casting gear, go for it!

The Build.

Build Stub: Wizard 5 / Assassin 3 / Ultimate Magus 10 / Unseen Seer 2; wizard specialization is largely irrelevant but we still suggest general.

Spoiler

1 – Wizard – (Scribe Scroll, Familiar) (Apprentice) (Krau sigil)

Spoiler

Apprentice is a little known DMG2 feat (Page 176) which reflects your apprenticeship to a renowned master. Mechanically, we’re using it to add Hide and Move Silently as class skills, which allows us to easily hit the Assassin prerequisites without losing wizard caster levels.

2 – Wizard – (Naen or Uur sigil / Naenkrau or Uurkrau power word)

Spoiler

 

If you take Naen, you can use your (eventually) vast array of spell slots for an even greater DC boost; it’s unclear if those “empty” spell slots look to spontaneous slots the way reserve feats do. (If they do, this is your choice.)  If you take Uur, you get a small but appreciated boost to all your stealth skills. Note that Uurkrau is phrased using a “may” – you do not want your Dexterity replacing your Intelligence here. (Int factors into your maximum spell level castable even with Uurkrau, and you’ll be using it for your spell DCs, assassin skills, and death attack, so really all this would do is introduce some level of MAD.)

 


3 – Wizard – (Enhanced Power Sigils)

Spoiler

Not all that useful HERE, but it will be soon. The real power for you is that you just got second-level spells.

4 – Wizard – N/A

5 – Wizard – (Extend Spell)

Spoiler

At this level, you’ve got 8 ranks in Hide and Move Silently thanks to Apprentice, and 4 (cross-class) ranks in Disguise. You’re Evil, and presumably – thanks to your master – you’ve had the opportunity to kill someone just to join the assassins.

6 – Assassin – (Sneak Attack +1d6, Death Attack, Poison Use) (Practiced Spellcaster: Assassin)

Spoiler

Between this and Enhanced Power Sigils, both your caster levels – wizard and assassin – are 6 at this point. That’s a lot of magical power to bring to the table at this level, particularly with Death Attack.

7 – Ultimate Magus – (Arcane Spell Power +1)

Spoiler

When caster levels are equal, the ultimate magus picks which one to advance; assume it’s advancing wizard on each level with a choice. Not that it particularly matters – Enhanced Krau and Spell Power will keep your assassin caster level very high, and your insane Intelligence will give you plenty of slots to work with.

8 – Ultimate Magus – (Expanded Spell Knowledge: Targeting Ray)

Spoiler

This is actually a pretty free choice, but Targeting Ray combines very well with your later metamagic and really helps make up for your lower base attack bonus.

9 – Ultimate Magus – (Augmented Casting) (Split Ray)

Spoiler

And now we have the first real “trick” of the build online. Your unused spell slots translate into free metamagic. At the moment with just Extend and Split Ray, it’s best used to multitarget a few basic ray spells (next level, you can use it to get an extra Sneak Attack Scorching Ray (four 5d6 rays isn’t shabby!), for instance), but its true power will appear in a few levels.

10 – Ultimate Magus – (Arcane Spell Power +2, Expanded Spell Knowledge: 2nd)

Spoiler

This choice is more or less free; pick a good wizard spell that you would want to use with expensive metamagic. Blur comes to mind, but there are probably better ones out there. At least this one helps out quite a bit in a variety of situations.

11 – Ultimate Magus – (Persistent Spell)

Spoiler

 

Augmented Casting + Persistent Spell lets you sacrifice your higher-level wizard spell slots (which you get far faster than higher-level assassin ones) in a form of Divine Metamagic, persisting – at CL 13, at this point – some of the more awesome assassin buff spells you can find. (Although you can use Augmented Casting to go the other way as well, since wizards get higher-level spell slots than assassins do and get them far sooner, it actually works out far more efficiently to use the wizard slots to fuel metamagic on the assassin spells, which is why we're using Expanded Spell Knowledge the way we are.)

An almost trivial example is the Spell Compendium’s Sniper’s Shot, which removes the range restriction on your sneak attacks – meaning your only limit is your spell range (Why, hello there, Telekinesis!). Another hilarious example is the Spell Compendium’s Lightfoot– persist that, and none of your movement provokes AoOs. Or, in other words, Tumble is for chumps.

(Well, it isn’t foolproof. You get into the irresistible force vs immovable object paradox if you use Lightfoot to move through a Thicket of Blades. But the mere fact that nothing short of Thicket can interfere with your movement is incredible, particularly since you can now just calmly stroll out of the AoO tank’s reach and blast him with a Split Ray is worth it.)

 

12 – Ultimate Magus – (Expanded Spell Knowledge: 3rd) (Residual Metamagic)

Spoiler

 

This spell choice is more or less free, but follow the guidelines above. 

Residual Metamagic  really is an awesome feat. It’s particularly awesome when you’re in wizard mode (when your assassin spell slots are used to Extend or Split a wizard spell, and then you double-up on its stamina by busting out the scrolls (which will gain the benefit of both Residual Metamagic tactical maneuvers simultaneously).

However, it also works surprisingly well in assassin mode if you can cast a Touch-range assassin-list buff. Cast it (with Persistent applied from your wizard slots), and then bust out a scroll to repeat the process on another teammate. It can become quite economical to pass the buffs around this way, particularly if the spell allows multiple touched targets. (Most of those spells, though, tend to be offensive, so you'd probably want a different metamagic on them.)

 

13 – Ultimate Magus – (Arcane Spell Power +3)

14 – Unseen Seer – (Damage Bonus +1d6)

15 – Unseen Seer – (Advanced Learning: Hunter’s Eye) (Silent Spell, Energy Substitution:Cold)

Spoiler

 

There are a surprisingly large number of good damage+debuff spells out there for assassins, but several come with an energy type – Fire Shuriken is one example. Our ability to spontaneously apply metamagic without increasing casting time due to augmented casting – and we have enough cheap wizard slots to afford Energy Substitution! – lets us apply these spells in multiple situations. You can enhance this with the Energy Vulnerability spell - just cast that as a wizard - to play with vulnerabilities as you see fit. Note that since it isn't dealing "double damage" or anything but is rather just adding bonus damage (i.e. "+50% damage"), and Sneak Attack on an energy-attack spell is energy damage, you can dramatically improve your damage output this way in a way that no other sneak attack multiplier can.

Also, speaking of Sneak Attack, Hunter’s Eye is a bloody awesome ranger spell, so having it in our spellbook is a good idea. And it’s about to become a ZOMGAWESOME idea.

 

16 – Ultimate Magus – (Expanded Spell Knowledge: Hunter’s Eye)

Spoiler

Sadly,this couldn’t be fitted in sooner without messing up the assassin/ultimate magus rhythm, so it shows up rather late. But the big advantage here is that you have Hunter’s Eye – read: +(CL/3)d6 Sneak Attack – as an assassin spell, an assassin CL of 16 at this point, and 6th+ level slots available on your wizard side. Congratulations, you can Persist Hunter’s Eye, and begin unloading absolutely devastating Split Ray Sneak Attacks.

17 – Ultimate Magus – (Twin Spell)

Spoiler

 

Hey, why not?

 

18 – Ultimate Magus – (Arcane Spell Power +4, Expanded Spell Knowledge: 5th) (Quicken Spell)

Spoiler

 

At this point, it can’t hurt, particularly on your offensive spells. Actions matter too much at this point.

You have to pick a 4th level spell here rather than a 5th since assassin doesn’t have 5th level slots, but there are a lot of good ones to choose from.  A fun choice would be the PHB2’s Crushing Grasp, although honestly that might be better as a regular wizard spell.

 

19 – Assassin – (Poison Save +1, Uncanny Dodge)

20 – Assassin – (Sneak Attack +2d6)

Spoiler

Well, technically +3d6 due to Unseen Seer’s damage bonus... or +10d6 with Persistent Hunter's Eye. Not a bad finish.

 

Snapshot: 

Spoiler

 

This build is rather expensive to equip, as it pretty much demands a +5 Int tome and +6 items on Int, Dex, and Con, in addition to basic caster gear (bonus spell-known items don’t come cheap) and whatever stealther gear you want. However, it finishes with 156 expected HP (slightly ahead of a standard wizard and about on par with a basic rogue – but note that this is without casting things like False Life or DR spells), a base attack of +11 (typically using Ranged Touch effects at +16, before factoring in Targeting Ray or similar), saves of +10/+12/+14, and a respectable number of skill points (around 100 or so not counting prerequisites; thankfully just about every skill you’d want except Concentration is a prerequisite for something). You have the full suite of Ultimate Magus class features as well (in particular, Augmented Casting, the absolute key to this build) and the assassin’s signature Death Attack. The Death Attack DC is 25, on par with a Rogue 10 / Assassin 10 with 14 starting Int and a +6 Intelligence item, a good baseline for comparison. While a good assassin can easily get that DC much higher, they tend not to be able to packan entire suite of wizard buffs and debuffs (DC 22+spell level), nor – if you really want to be showy – the ability to Time Stop for enough rounds to observe your opponent without being detected or recognized as a threat. (It’s hardly the best kill move you have, given you have 9th level spells with a DC of 31, but you do have the ability to use Death Attack mid-battle if you wish.)

Magically, this build finishes off with 9th level wizard spells, 4th level assassin spells, and respective caster levels (without equipment boosts) of 24 and 21. This allows us to hit a few rather impressive breakpoints – for instance, Augmented Casting: Persistent Hunter’s Eye at CL 21 gives us +7d6 Sneak Attack, for a total of +10d6 (on par with Rogue 20 or Rogue 10 / Assassin 10). This is very impressive on multi-attack spells, particularly Telekinesis and Fire Shuriken. (Fire Shuriken is unclear – it implies you throw all the shuriken at once given its duration, but the wording is also open to the interpretation that you have to use iterative attacks to throw them, which makes the spell much worse. Use Scorching Ray if your DM uses the conservative interpretation.)

As an example, you can Twin Telekinesis + Quicken Fire Shuriken for twenty-one attacks and the potential for up to 408d6 damage with a zero-round prep time (well, you spend a couple rounds at the start of the day persisting your buffs, but the big thing here is you can unload that without any Arcane Fusion setup times or similar). You can add in Targeting Ray (+8 on your attack rolls as a wizard spell; it can be twinned and split if you want. If you cast it as an assassin spell it’s +7, but you can apply the twinning and splitting as the encounter demands it), Energy Vulnerability (combines perfectly with Energy Sub to dodge known resistances or immunities and target vulnerabilities; interesting, this also multiplies the 78d6 fire damage that Fire Shuriken deals, despite sneak attack not normally multiplying) or Persistent Sniper’s Shot (allows you to make sneak attacks up to the range of the spells – this isn’t useful for Fire Shuriken, but for Telekinesis it’s killer) to make this even deadlier.

Oh, and Augmented Casting also allows you to break the metamagic cap in the same way that Divine Metamagic does. This lets you do things like Persist Sniper’s Eye (the 4th level “ranged death attack” assassin spell in the SpC) and combine it with all of the above (it might allow a death attack out to any range with Persistent Sniper’s Shot as well, which is downright insane with a long-range damage ray).

 

Overall Strengths: 

Spoiler

 

We’ve managed to pack in essentially an entire wizard into an entire rogue (at the cost of quite a few skill points, sadly), with a few class features that tend to support the assassin in ways you wouldn’t expect. The choices made here support the “ultimate assassin” approach more than the usual god-on-the-battlefield approach of a wizard, but if you want to you can fall back to a typical combat mage role without having too much of a problem.

I’m not going to list all the amazing synergies here – the wizard list is just too long, even if you limit yourself to spells that would interest an assassin. I’ll leave this as an exercise, but suffice it to say, it’s pretty impressive.

 

Overall Weaknesses:

Spoiler

A lot of your strengths come from persisting assassin buffs (and the best of those - stolen from the wizard list - are really limited in number due to Expanded Spell Knowledge), and although your CL is high, dispels are an option. It’s also costly in terms of wizard slots to keep those buffs going, and every persistent assassin spell you cast is one fewer spontaneous Split, Twin, Quicken, or similar spell you’re able to apply in battle later. (However, I hasten to point out that you can “cheat” this limit a bit by using scrolls + Residual Metamagic on certain spells.) Also, oddly for an assassin, you don’t have a lot of free skill points, and you don’t have Trapfinding. In this regard, you really are still a wizard playing at the assassin role, even though your class features really let you get in on that.

Variants:

Spoiler

Apart from the untold flexibility of wizard spellcasting, you can still monkey with the build a bit. Dropping some of your metamagic options in favor of Spell Focus lets you pick up Archmage for the last couple of levels (Mastery of Elements is better than Energy Substitution, and Spell Power is always a desirable option). Alternatively, if you’re lightening up on metamagic, look into metamagic reduction feats to cheapen the load on your buff spells – even a -2 slot adjustment on Persistent Spell would let you use assassin slots to persist higher-level wizard spells! Class-wise, you could also fit in more Unseen Seer insead of Assassin for those last two levels; nothing says you can’t use those levels to advance your assassin casting either. (Strictly speaking this is probably better, but the assassin levels help with skills.) And finally, if you choose to focus only on buffs and forgo Death Attack, you could probably get by with just a 12-14 Intelligence and rebuild to work entirely off of Dexterity using Uurkrau, switching from an evil genius to a more classical acrobatic assassin. (I think the higher skill points are more worthwhile myself, but it is an interesting and more challenging project to try!)

 

Ok, commenti? Direi un'ottima applicazione dell'ultimate magus, se non altro una delle più fantasiose!

smite4life

Questa settimana, la build che presento è una costruzione teorica che cerca di rispondere ad una domanda: quanti proiettili è possibile sparare in un solo round? Preparatevi per un sacco di formaggini!

GUN FU
It’s Bullet Time

Required Books: Tome of Battle, Complete Scoundrel, Complete Warrior, Races of Eberron, Weapons of Legacy.
Unearthed Arcana used: Feat Rogue variant (Sneak Attack becomes bonus feats, as fighter).

Background: 

Lock and load your dual pistol crossbows, toss on the Matrix lobby scene theme music, and prepare to grind your game to a halt. This build falls under the “theoretical optimization” header in that it tries to max out the number of ranged attacks it can get without resorting to a functional infinite, and it turns out the easiest way of doing that was to blend pistol-type weapons with martial arts… and use the Aptitude weapon enhancement to bring it all to the fore. Yep, that is cheese that you’re smelling.

I'd like to open by saying that while this build uses pistol crossbows, it does work with DMG pistols - either the Renaissance flintlocks or the modern semi-automatics.  It just won't be as effective: Pistols are one-handed weapons (so bigger attack penalties), have a lower threat range (this is important), and require an extra feat for proficiency (although this isn't a serious drawback: this build doesn't have any particular race demands, so picking a bonus feat race - such as strongheart halfling, which is virtually identical to the version I write up below - gets that). It's also not clear if your enhancements or quiver will work with them. But it's something to keep in mind.

If you don’t get the name, “Gun Fu” is a nickname for the blending of martial arts cinematography and choreography with modern weaponry. John Woo basically pioneered it, with The Matrix bringing it to the wider Western audience. A few scenes from Equilibrium should set the tone (although it isn’t my favorite movie to employ gun fu, it’s quite representative – and although this build is more reflexive than cerebral, with a reasonable investment in its defenses, it may very well be as untouchable in (normal) combat as a Grammaton cleric!)

The Basics:

Race: Halfling, although it’ll work with any race. I’m using the standard halfling; Strongheart’s better (and can get you the pistols), but not needed. Elf is a good core-only alternative, as is (surprisingly!) Goblin (high speed for small guy), but if multiclass penalties are enforced, you need Favored Class: Rogue, Fighter, or Any.

Ability Scores:  15/16/13/12/8/8, after racial modifications. Pump Dexterity at every opportunity and note the magic item requirements. If you want something less well-rounded, starting with a higher Dexterity is possible. If you’re not a halfling, you can round it out some better mental scores – you need 15 Strength, so a lot of points went there to start.

Region: Native to either Talenta or Xen’drik. According to the Eberron Campaign Setting, this lets you treat their respective boomerangs as martial weapons. (Talenta Halfling is good.) 

Skill Notes: 

You need to qualify for Uncanny Trickster, so max out at least four of your skills and buy at least four skill tricks. Thankfully, you start out as a rogue, so you have a lot of points to spend and aren’t under any particular skill pressure as we go. You’ll also get a few skill tricks; good ones for this build are Timely Misdirection (Bluff 8), Clarity of Vision (Spot 12), Back On Your Feet (Tumble 12), and Nimble Stand (Tumble 8). (You get three more beyond this at least; your options aren’t so limited.)

Basic Equipment: 

This matters less since the build really “matures” around 9th. If you’re playing it at lower levels than that (for reasons unknown&hellip , pick up armor to match your Dex mod and a set of weapons which match your current feats (light maces, gauntlets, and hand crossbows). At the end you’ll have shed the armor and switched exclusively to hand crossbows and rely on no other gear.

Magical Gear Goals: 

Magic is VERY important to this build – you need two Aptitude light crossbows (or pistols, as mentioned above), a Spare Hand (MIC), and ideally Gloves of the Balanced Hands (MIC). A Tome of Dexterity +5, a tome of Constitution +1, and +6 items for Dex, Con, and Int aren’t bad calls either (add the +Dex to the Gloves at no extra cost, as per the MIC.). If you can swing it, pick up a maxed-out Quiver of Anariel – 128,000gp is expensive, but this is one of the few builds that will actually make good use of the infinite +5 ammo. You also need an item of legacy, although what it is doesn’t particularly matter. I’d suggest something that isn’t sunderable and with as few penalties as possible (to minimize these, pick (or design) an item that only has a least legacy).

If you want perfect weapons, the ideal choices are a pair of matching +1 Splitting Diamond Mind / Tiger Claw Hand Crossbows of Aptitude. These babies are as accurate as you want and churn out a hail of bolts the likes of which we haven’t seen in a while. (Since they rely on carrier effects on the weapons themselves, we use the quiver to supply the enhancement bonus, which will stack with the Martial Discipline properties on the bows.) Two of these, the quiver, the spare hand, the gloves, the tome, the headband, and the initial down payment on a least legacy will still leave a level 20 build with nearly 200,000gp left over, which is plenty for basic defensive gear. (The game seems to assume between 20-30% of your wealth in defensive gear, so this is actually about on target (~25%). Just be sure to keep your max Dex unrestricted: there’s a reason most gun fu protagonists fight in trenchcoats, flexible leather, or martial-arts garb.)

The Build.

Build Stub: Feat Rogue 4 / Fighter 4 / Warblade 1 / Uncanny Trickster 3 / Legacy Champion 8

Note: Legacy Champion comes with a handful of bonus legacy feats; I’ve omitted these since your specific legacy item isn’t important to this build, and that will govern which legacy feats you choose.

1 – Feat Rogue – (Trapfinding) (Bonus: Combat Reflexes) (Improved Unarmed Strike)

Also worth noting: Rogues have explicit proficiency in the hand crossbow. The improved unarmed strike lets you threaten even while dual-wielding ranged weapons, and hey, it’s Gun Fu. Some martial arts are to be expected.

2 – Feat Rogue – (Evasion) (Bonus: Power Attack)

Oddly, this feat is useless here except as a prereq. Anyone know a good replacement? The only substitution I know of is Stone Power, which would be almost equally useless.

3 Feat Rogue – (Trap Sense 1) (Roundabout Kick)

4 – Feat Rogue – (Uncanny Dodge) (Bonus: Two-Weapon Fighting)

Online a touch late due to needing +1 Dexterity to qualify, but the pre-9th feats are kind of flexible as to their order.

5 – Fighter – (Bonus: Weapon Focus (Light Mace))

6 – Fighter – (Bonus: Lightning Mace) (Boomerang Ricochet)

You qualify for Ricochet by being from Talenta or Xen’drik and having full martial proficiency from fighter levels. Yes, you have feats for three different weapon types. It’s about to all come together.

7 – Fighter – N/A 

8 – Fighter – (Bonus: Improved Critical (Light Mace))

9 – Warblade – (Weapon Aptitude, Battle Clarity) (Rapid Reload (Hand Crossbow)) (Douse the Flames, Claw at the Moon, Moment of Perfect Mind) (Blood in the Water)

A pair of +1 Aptitude hand crossbows should be affordable at this point; add the other enhancements later. If you opt for actual pistols instead, once they’re Aptitude, you should be able to reload them as a free action due to the way Aptitude references Rapid Reload. (This is also why I picked Rapid Reload instead of the usually superior Hand Crossbow Mastery in DotU, which may not work with Aptitude.) Also note that Blood in the Water works with ranged attacks just as well as it works in melee (and the aptitude crossbows threaten on 17-20 thanks to your Improved Critical.).

10 – Uncanny Trickster – (Bonus trick, Favored Trick)

11 – Uncanny Trickster – (Bonus Trick, Favored Trick) (Improved Uncanny Dodge) (White Raven Tactics) 

You’re advancing Warblade with these levels, so you get a new maneuver and Uncanny Dodge, which advances to Improved thanks to your rogue levels.

12 – Uncanny Trickster – (Bonus Trick, Favored Trick, Uncanny Luck, Battle Ardor) (Point Blank Shot) (Fountain of Blood)

It’s worth noting here that your IL is actually 7 – you advanced Warblade by 1, so its effective level is 2, with ten non-warblade levels. Classes like the Uncanny Trickster simultaneously advance your effective warblade level as well as your non-warblade level, essentially letting you get +1.5 IL per level of advancement. This matters in later maneuver choices.

Interesting note: Fountain of Blood works with ranged attacks, although it’s of limited use. Consider this “doing them execution-style” and aiming for an R rating.

13 – Legacy Champion – (Reduced Lesser, Bond of Lore)

14 – Legacy Champion – (Replace Least) (Dancing Mongoose replaces Douse the Flames) (Hearing the Air)

Legacy Champion is also advancing warblade, and works the same way Uncanny Trickster does. Your IL at this point is 10.5. It’s also worth noting that Legacy Champion inherits its class skills from all your previous classes, and thanks to Uncanny Trickster, you have 11 levels where every skill is a class skill.

Oh, and you’ll probably notice a trend here: Dancing Mongoose will work with ranged attacks.

15 – Legacy Champion – (Extra Least) (Bonus: Improved Initiative) (Rapid Shot) (Moment of Alacrity)

16 – Legacy Champion – (Bonus Legacy Feat) (Quicksilver Motion replaces Claw at the Moon)

17 – Legacy Champion – (Replace Lesser, Battle Cunning) (Raging Mongoose)

As with its lesser cousin, Raging Mongoose also works with ranged weapons. Similarly, the maneuvers you took at the last couple of levels (and next level) don’t care what kind of weapons you’re using: it’s amazing how much of the melee-centric Tome is still usable here.

18 – Legacy Champion – (Extra Lesser) (Adaptive Style) (Diamond Defense replaces Dancing Mongoose)

19 – Legacy Champion – (Reduced Greater)

20 – Legacy Champion – (Bonus Legacy Feat) (Bonus: Quick Draw or Blind-Fight) (Time Stands Still)

The feat choice is to taste; both fit. Thanks to Uncanny Trickster and Legacy Champion, you finish off with IL 18.5 and you know enough Diamond Mind maneuvers to learn the quintessential “Bullet Time” maneuver. And yes, look carefully – it also doesn’t rely on melee attacks.

Snapshot: 

Take the gear listed above to finish off with 191 expected HP, 147 final skill points (with 11 levels with all skills as class skills), base attack +16 (ranged attack +36 on a single basic attack (no need for GMW in this build), and it can climb to +40 thanks to martial Discipline, but will realistically cap at +38 due to TWF penalties), Fortitude +16, Reflex +26, Will +10. Defensively, it’s a function of items that are more or less free to choose, but assuming nothing more than Magic Vestment (on a badass longcoat, natch), you’re starting from 27 and going up from there (most of that from Dex, with Improved Uncanny Dodge (never denied Dex, and Rogue 13 required to flank)). This is good, but not amazingly impressive; it’s also overestimating a bit due to legacy item penalties.

What is impressive is the attack routine.

Let’s employ the entire suggested equipment from above – and remember that Aptitude weapons gain the benefit of all your weapon-specific feats, even if they don’t match. Also note that you have a Spare Hand and Rapid Reload, so you can actually reload your weapons quickly enough to full attack while dual-wielding them. (RAW, the hand can’t actually do the reloading, but transferring or retrieving items from the hand is a free action, so technically you’re passing one of your guns to the hand, reloading the other one, picking up the first gun, passing the hand the second, reloading the first, then retrieving the second, at astonishing speed. Hey, I said this was theoretical, didn’t I?)

The usual maneuver loadout is Moment of Alacrity, Time Stands Still, Raging Mongoose, and Diamond Defense. Moment of Alacrity + Adaptive Style allows you to adjust your maneuvers at the last moment to match your foes, and boosts your initiative so high that you're probably acting first next round anyway (it’s the quintessential swordsage trick to always have the right maneuvers ready without “losing” a turn; although you know far fewer than a swordsage, we were limited to maneuvers that work outside of melee, so there was no real reason to not go this way). After it’s been used, Moment of Alacrity becomes useless without Delay tactics, so swap it for Quicksilver Motion or White Raven Tactics, depending on the scene (comes down to if you’re solo, or if you have a partner).

On your first round, use Time Stands Still to unload 7 attacks (4 from base attack, +1 TWF, +1 Improved TWF from the gloves, +1 Rapid Shot) twice. (You can add in Raging Mongoose if you want, but I prefer Quicksilver Motion as your opening swift, since you’re almost never in the right position when battle starts.) Each attack splits into two bolts (28 shots). Thanks to Improved Critical’s 17-20 crit range, 20% of those shots will threaten, triggering an extra splitting attack (averaging 11.2 extra shots) against any target. Any threats that confirm trigger another splitting attack against the same target (the number of confirmations varies based on target's AC, but Blood in the Water and Battle Ardor (as good as Power Critical here) makes this almost trivial, especially since with equipment, this build's ranged attack bonus is +34 with the first attack, +2 per discipline employed in the attack (usually +4 in this scenario: Time Stands Still + Blood in the Water), and the average CR 20 AC is 36.).  These extra attacks (against any target on a threat, or against the same target on a confirm) can also produce extra attacks if they threaten or crit, and so on. This works out, against a single target, to 7 shots fired per initial attack roll. You have unlimited +5 bolts to fuel this.

If there's a target adjacent to anyone you hit, every successful bolt that hits triggers another attack roll against the adjacent target (Boomerang Ricochet), with an independent chance to threaten or crit, triggering extra attacks against that second target if either happens. (I haven’t figured out what result this has on the expected number of total shots fired, but suffice it to say it’s a lot.) While the initial ricochet and any confirmed-crit extra attacks must go to the second target, the threat extras can branch back to the first target, or to a third one, in a hail of metal. (Every gun-fu movie needs at least one scene where the hero mows through a small army of mooks single-handedly without being touched; this lets you do just that.)

On off-rounds, you can use your swift action to reload recover maneuvers, then do a normal full attack. This works out to the equivalent of one and a half Time Stands Stills every round, once you consider Splitting. (Normal movement is fine too – once you’ve charged up Blood in the Water, you don’t need your trigger feats.) Diamond Defense is readied as an emergency boost to saving throws, since you will be a target after doing this. Quicksilver Motion lets you reposition yourself while still unloading full attacks. White Raven Tactics is mostly there for team support, which is always appreciated.

This is also a rather conservative estimation of how the attack routine looks – it ignored Raging Mongoose and effects like Haste. Before we look at that, please remove any metallic items you may be carrying. Keys, loose change...

Since No Sane DM Would AllowTM this build, and rightly so, let’s go by the RAW interpretation of WRT (the one that no one thinks is a good idea – letting it target yourself) and assume Raging Mongoose “stacks” with Time Stands Still, and see just how insane this best (worst) case scenario can get. Theoretically, of course. And this time, I’ll show the math.

Also, let’s assume a single target this time, so no Ricochet. This is the other major gun-fu archetypal scene, where you’re fighting another single elite fighter, usually another gun-fu user.

Full attack: 4 attacks from BAB, +1 from Rapid Shot, +2 from ITWF, +1 Haste = 8 base attacks per full attack. Each Splits, so 16 bolts.
Time Stands Still + Moment of Alacrity: 16 attacks -> 32 bolts.
-> Full Attack + WRT = 8 attacks -> 16 bolts.
-> Full Attack + Raging Mongoose = 8+4 attacks -> 24 bolts.

72 base shots, assuming only a single target. But wait! We haven't considered your two trigger feats!

Just from a roll of the dice, 20% of these will threaten, launching another attack (which splits, so 14.4 attacks = 28.8 extra bolts).  20% of THOSE will also threaten, launching another, and so on. A simple limit gives us the total number of extra bolts:  +48 (from 24 expected cumulative threats). Of those 24 threats, for simplicity, I will assume every one confirms (Given a high AB + Intelligence + Blood in the Water from earlier critical hits; this isn’t that unreasonable an assumption: you only need 6 critical hits to hit the average CR 20 foe on everything except a natural 1. Given the army of mooks you probably chewed through getting to your opponent, this also explains why most such opponents engage in pre-fight banter – they’re waiting for Blood in the Water to cool down!). These confirmations launch another 24 attacks at the target, splitting into another 48 bolts. 20% of those will threaten and confirm, launching four more bolts from two extra attacks (threat and confirm), and so on. Another limit shows that this will add +180 bolts.

So, our grand total? 72+48+180=300 bolts fired in a single round. In modern terms, that’s 3000 rounds per minute:this is a reasonable rate of fire for your average helicopter-mounted M134 minigun. From single-action crossbows, wielded akimbo.

Your following round has your swift action recovering maneuvers, followed by a normal full attack, just as before. If you have to move, you can do so as well; a single attack at this point has Blood in the Water charged up so high that it doesn’t need trigger feats to be significant. (Incidentally, if you unleash a full attack, the 16+40 extra shots slows your sustained rate of fire to 1540 rounds per minute. If you’re firing on the move during recovery, it drops to 1295 rounds per minute.)

Overall Strengths: 

Setting aside your skills (which put you as an “expert” ), combat-wise, this is one of those cheesy builds with a single trick, but oh what a trick this is. Without resorting to functional infinites, it easily gets hundreds of shots per round against single targets, and far, far more of them against bunched-up targets, including the ability to daisy-chain attacks through walls of targets and just keep going. And although each individual bolt starts out doing next to no damage (and is thus blockable by DR), even a 0-damage bolt can charge up Blood in the Water, and by the end of the first round each bolt may be dealing more damage than Strike of Perfect Clarity.

Overall Weaknesses: 

Setting aside the whole Theoretical Optimization (and thus not really meant to be played) thing? It’s quite reliant on a specific set of magic items, and has a low Will save (it’s got Diamond Defense to dodge well-timed spells, but burning its next swift action is not an insignificant cost to an action-heavy build like this). Also, you’re a bit of a glass cannon, so although you’ve got about the appropriate budget for defensive gear, it might not be enough to cover for everything (especially if you’re planning on picking up anti-caster or anti-stealth gear; you’ve probably favored the Clarity of Vision trick, but using Hearing the Air as a last resort costs you Blood in the Water.).

Variants: 

If you’re going for perfection here (and you have no reservations on cheese), exchange the Fighter levels for the Targeteer fighter variant from Dragon 310. It’s more or less identical to the normal fighter except for weapon proficiencies, but importantly it has unique targeteer-only features that can replace a bonus feat. The most interesting one to us is Sniper: When you make a ranged full attack, you can give up one or more attacks you could have made from your full attack routine to increase the threat range of your next attack by 1 per attack given up. (Added *after* Keening, thankfully). You can see where this is going – give up every iterative attack from your initial full attack, and your first shot has a 10-20 threat range.  Since each shot splits to fire two other attacks, which are subject to the same threat chance, you are statistically guaranteed a threat, which triggers Roundabout Kick for two more, and so on, with Lightning Mace picking up the slack and speeding up the attack count. This will actually lead to functionally infinite attacks, each pretty quickly growing to deal a functionally infinite amount of damage. You can also combine this with Time Stands Still, using Sniper on the first shot in the first full attack and then taking the second full attack as normal, or to use Sniper on both full attacks to increase the odds of getting that crucial first threat. To fit Sniper into the build, dump Point-Blank Shot and Rapid Shot; the second freed-up feat slot can be used for Boomerang Daze. (Anyone who sees this and survives is going to be dazed – both because of the ridiculous damage-based save DC on the feat, and because of the sheer awesome you just delivered.) Incidentally, yes, this produces an effective primary-ranged build that does not use Point-Blank Shot.

If instead you want to tone down the cheese, you have a couple options. The first is to simply drop Splitting from the weapons. This dramatically lowers the number of attacks, basically to the point where the build is actually playable at the table. You're still hurling out a hail of fire, but it won't be on the order of hundreds of attacks per round. (I'm not doing the math to figure out what this'll be - it'll be a lot, but not an unmanageable number unless you're chewing through walls of mooks.)  Realistically, it's Splitting that pushes this build into the No Sane DM Would AllowTM territory, although technically its the use of Aptitude that makes it theoretical. Without Splitting, it's not quite so bad, and it maintains all its stylishness. You could also switch to the actual pistols - compared to hand crossbows, the slight decrease in accuracy, significant decrease in critical threat range, and dramatic increase in style aren't necessarily bad things if you're starting with the build as presented.

I'd also like to note that we have other builds that are related to this (Tome of Battle + ranged attacks), but significantly less cheesy. If you'd like a less spectacular but far more playable build in this vein, it's coming - once there's enough breathing room after the gunsmoke clears.

There you have it. This is also why I never allow Aptitude when I DM.

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Ok, eccoci qui: ~3000 proiettili al minuto non è male: il cannone mitragliatore M61 Vulcan americano ha un rateo di fuoco che raggiunge i 6000 colpi al minuto, per comparazione....

Ok, è un po' formaggiosa, ma che ne pensate? Ho due domande per gli esperti: secondo voi è ulteriormente migliorabile? (non credo, ma non si sa mai)

Che ne pensate del meccanismo di boostrap dell'IL utilizzando l'uncanny trickster e il legacy champion per acquistare 1,5 IL per livello?

smite4life

Comincio questa presentazione con quella che è forse la costruzione che ho amato di più, un incredibile espressione di quanto sia versatile e divertente il ToB:

INEVITABLE NIGHTMARE
The Weapon You Only Have To Fire Once

death.jpg

Required Books: Tome of Battle, Expanded Psionics Handbook, Eberron Campaign Setting, Player’s Handbook 2, Races of Stone. Magic Item Compendium used for gear.
Unearthed Arcana used: Flaws, although there are easy ways to avoid them. Traits, but again these are optional.

Background: 

A while back, I was thinking... how can I make the most *reliable* damage dealer, without charging? Charges can be foiled tactically and rely on line of sight, terrain, and placement; too often we just assume that an ubercharger always means something dies every round when realistically this won’t happen. Likewise, lots of bonus damage can still be foiled by a bad attack roll, many sources of bonus damage can be cancelled with specialized defenses (Fortification vs a crit-fisher, Uncanny Dodge vs a sneak-attacker, Elusive Target vs Power Attackers, etc.) and we all dread the natural 1. This build, which was repeatedly tested at just about every level using data fromOptimization by the Numbers, was the result of trying to bypass these problems. An alternate name for this would be the “Melee Mailman”, after the well-known direct-damage sorcerer build: it's not his job to be God (or even Lockdown) on the battlefield, it's his job to Deliver The Mail, reliably and punctually.

The basic approach involves using high speed combined with standard-action strikes, engineered to hit as often as possible even at a low attack bonus through Deep Impact. The leftover attack bonus is funneled into Power Attack, which is then used to fuel multipliers (the same basic trick as an ubercharger, but with a different choice of multipliers) to make the damage roll the stuff of nightmares. Along the way every single step is made to remove the chance of failure – rather than maximizing damage output, it minimizes damage loss and minimizes damage variance.

Since offense means nothing if the attack can’t be delivered (a lesson learned by the prevalence and successes of lockdown builds, who specialize in preventing opponents from delivering their attacks), I filled out the rest with a heavy focus on being “unstoppable”. Simple lockdown or hose tactics won’t be enough to prevent that one inevitable strike from coming. The build features high Constitution, automatic no-action HP-recovery, DR (from level 1), a pile of immunities, and good saving throws as a result, plus a few binary effects that don't allow saves as secondary attacks. This amounts to him being a passable secondary tank, but using primitive tactics (i.e. without relying on AoOs or reach).

A quick note: This build has a natural roleplay component to it despite being, largely, applied theoretical optimization. Specifically, view yourself as a warforged soldier who has been subjected to a horrific weaponization process (either by the Lord of Blades or Merrix d’Cannith; both work), turned into a prototype death machine. As a result, you don’t have much of an ego left – you view yourself as a weapon, nothing more.

The Basics

Race: Warforged. The +Con and immunities are just too good to pass up here, as is Adamantine Body. Passable alternatives include any of the bonus-feat races (reduces emphasis on flaws), Mongrelfolk (the biggest Constitution bonus (+4!) you can get at LA+0, and you don’t need a lot of Intelligence) or Elan (really helps with low-level play by enabling psi-focus at level 2, and the Aberration type is immune to a lot of effects on its own right). I don’t consider the Dragonborn template here, but it remains an option.

Ability Scores: 14/8/20/10/13/6 after racial adjustments.  This uses 32 point-buy – this is the first build I’ve posted to use the high-power array, done because we wanted to see what the real limits of damage reliability could be. Pump Constitution at every opportunity. The 13 Wisdom is non-negotiable if you’re rebuilding this using a lower point-buy (which is one area where a variant race might make this easier, since warforged have a wisdom penalty and 15s are expensive.).

Traits: Quick, Aggressive. The Quick trait covers for your heavy armor usage in exchange for a slight reduction in HP, but you have ridiculous Constitution and most of your levels have a d12 HD. Aggressive is a cheap way to boost your Initiative, which is especially important given your low Dexterity. Both perfectly fit the “living weapon” concept.

Flaws: Shaky, any other. You’re not making ranged attacks at all, so Shaky is a natural choice. If you want to really play up the “no real personality beyond that of a weapon” roleplay line, taking the Pathetic (Charisma) flaw has no real impact on your mechanics and reflects the psychological damage of the weaponization

Skill Notes: 

Max out Concentration; since this build doesn’t use prestige classes or feats that require skills beyond Concentration, your skill selection is actually rather open. I’d suggest putting enough points into Tumble and Jump to get respectable results despite your check penalties. Leftover points can go to Balance (5 ranks removes the dex-bonus denial when balancing), Autohypnosis (cross-class for most levels, but can help remove fear conditions and a few other difficult-to-ignore abilities), and Craft (any of the skills that allow for warforged repair; you may as well be able to fix yourself). Since most of your levels have 4 skill points, it shouldn’t be hard to do this, but it’ll be hard to do much beyond this.

Basic Equipment: 

I favor a scythe as your weapon. Most people look at the scythe, see the x4 critical hit, and aim for optimizing for that. I look at the scythe and see a two-handed weapon with a Gaussian distribution on its damage. (For those without a statistics background, weapons that have one die of damage have equal odds of dealing each number on the die. Weapons that have two dice have greater odds of getting results in the middle of the range – for instance, there are more possible ways to roll a 7 on 2d6 than any other number.) Furthermore, it used 2d4 instead of 2d6, which actually meant fewer possible non-average damage results (lower variance, in statistical terms) when compared to the greatsword. This was appealing because I was aiming for reliability (low-variance) rather than pure damage maximization. Although greatswords, falchions, and guisarmes/spiked chains also have these properties, those are the respective weapons of choice of uberchargers, power crit-fishers, and lockdowns, and I wanted to try somethingdifferent. (Seriously, do you know any “landmark” build that actually uses a scythe?)

Your innate slam attack is another alternative to the scythe entirely because it can’t be sundered or disarmed (meaning it can’t be stopped) – but for this to be optimal depends on counting a lone slam (which deals Str*1.5 damage, as if it were two-handed) as a two-handed attack for Power Attack. Strictly speaking this isn’t possible, as natural weapons only gain 1:1 Power Attack bonuses. I’ll include a quick digression on this in the variants section below.

Being a warforged, your other non-magical gear needs are pretty much nonexistent. Just get a kit to fix yourself up and you’ll be good.

Magical Gear Goals: 

You really need weapon accuracy and multiplying damage on your weapon (even a basic Greater Magic Weapon from your team’s wizard or cleric does the trick). You do not need anything to enhance critical hits – in fact, a crit is just one more source of variance, and this build, at 20, literally cannot score a critical hit, so ignore it. You need +Speed items as well; you will want +Concentration items to boot. Other than these basics (which aren’t really all that much to ask for), look into defensive gear and perception gear – you don’t want to be stopped by strength or guile.

You want dorjes of Hustle as well – a wand chamber in your weapon should let you hold one while still fighting two-handed. If it doesn’t (since a dorje isn’t technically a wand) they should also fit in the wand bracer warforged component, but these are harder to swap out. Dorjes of Dimension Slide certainly help your mobility at the higher levels and work the same way.

The gear that I found useful when benchmarking this build includes the following at level 20:

Weapon: +3 Diamond Mind Scythe of Collision, use a lesser truedeath (ghost touch) or greater revelation (anti-concealment) weapon crystal. Modified with a Wand Chamber.
Secondary Weapon: +1 Eager/Warning gauntlet (great Initiative boost – stacks with Aggressive trait). Modified with Wand Chamber (yes, as light weapons, gauntlets can do this.)
Armor: +5 Ghostward armor plating with a Crystal of Alacrity (it’s from the Five Virtues set; no one ever notices this but it’s perfect here. Note that Adamantine Body gives you “heavy armor” so the crystal will function with it.). (Actually, I’m pretty stumped on what the ideal armor setup would be for this guy, so I went with the basics. I’m open to suggestions.)
Feet, Torso, Arms: Fleet Warrior’s Array set (all three components are amazing for you, especially the sandals and vest. Which is odd, since normally everyone goes ga-ga over the bracers, which are the least desirable part of the set for you and mostly serve to unlock abilities in the others.). You have just enough money left over with this setup to add the properties of an anklet of translocation if you want; this can help against dedicated lockdowns.
Face: Third Eye: Concentrate
Throat, Shoulders: The usual set of defensive gear (natural armor amulet, cloak of resistance, etc; see below on your ring of protection)
Head: Scout Band
Waist: Belt of Battle
Ring 1: Ring of Entropic Deflection (remember you can add the ring of protection bonus to other rings at no extra charge, so the slot concern isn’t serious. The Entropic Deflection ring synergizes greatly with a speedy warrior like this, and helps force others into melee with you.)
Ring 2: Ring of the Diamond Mind (Action Before Thought is your usual choice, but it can also hold Emerald Razor as a backup)
Misc: Eternal Wand of Heroics (mostly used for Martial Study feats!), Dorjes of Hustle and Dimension Slide both mounted in your Wand Chambers
Plus the usual +6 boosts to Strength and Constitution, with a +4 Strength tome and a +5 Constitution tome. If you can afford to boost your Intelligence you might want to; you get nearly all the good Warblade synergy for it, although strictly speaking most of it won’t be necessary.
Leftover spare change was spent on things like Fly potions, which are cheap and effective ways of getting your speed up there that also solve the melee range problem nicely. Flight is always appreciated.

At lower levels, scaled-down versions of these items should be easy to find (just avoid the expensive stuff like the belt of battle until you can afford it and you should be good). The only alternatives that aren’t common knowledge are good low-level speed-boosting options, particularly before the Boots of Striding and Springing (what you’ll probably find before the Fleet Warrior sandals) are available. The Quickness armor enhancement is available sooner than that, as are the Acrobat Boots, but all of these provide enhancement bonuses, so sell them off as better ones are available.

The Build

Build Stub: Warblade 16 / Psychic Warrior 2 / Crusader 2.

1 – Warblade – (Battle Clarity, Weapon Aptitude) (Power Attack, Adamantine Body, Vital Recovery) (Moment of Perfect Mind, Steely Strike, Stone Bones) (Punishing Stance)*

Adamantine Body gives you VERY impressive AC and always-on DR for this level, but slows you down; the Quick trait speeds you back up. Vital Recovery with warblade recovery is a cheap way of regenerating HP, something warforged tend to be poor at in general (and I maintain the feat is underrated in its own right – even here, it’s a third of your HP recovered every encounter. Suddenly level 1 isn’t so deadly, and this feat is something you’ll use in every encounter from here on out.).  If you don’t want to showcase that aspect and are willing to trade survivability for flexibility, Adaptive Style is a decent possibility and it’s easiest to fit it in here, despite it being useless to you for a few levels.

Moment of Perfect Mind covers for the typical warrior weak spot, Stone Bones gives you a cheap way to augment your DR (and an important Stone Dragon prereq that doesn’t involve a charge). Steely Strike’s penalty to AC is offset by your heavy plating, while its +4 to attack proved to be the most mathematically optimal attack maneuver for quite a few of the early levels. The same logic went into choosing Punishing Stance.

By the way, a later level involves swapping out a maneuver for its prerequisite; if you disagree with this choice, replace Punishing Stance with Stonefoot Stance. It’s not a good choice in general due to your emphasis on mobility conflicting with its typical Stone Dragon immobility, but you may need the prereq. If you're using the build at higher levels, the difference is minimal; Punishing Stance is only a key component at the lower levels.

2 – Psychic Warrior – (Psionic Weapon) (Float)* Hide

This level looks better than it actually is. While Psionic Weapon could be used to gain a pretty powerful kill move (particularly with Steely Strike), you need to have power points to use your psionic focus, and at this level you have 0 if your Wisdom is below 14. Keep that in mind if you’re playing this guy from a low level.

The power choice, as you’ve guessed, is mostly open and useless at this level anyway; even later on you aren't likely to manifest anything. I maintain that Float should have a much longer duration (compare to Longstrider, which is a much more useful buff even before you look at the duration), but that’s just me complaining.

3 – Warblade – (Uncanny Dodge) (Adaptive Style) (Sapphire Nightmare Blade)* Hide

You won't be using it a lot, but it's still a good feat. It's otherwise the most flexible component of the build.

Sapphire Nightmare Blade is a very good maneuver, but we delayed it to 3 here because it took until this level to have a respectable chance of hitting both the Concentration-vs-AC check and the attack-vs-flat-footed attack roll. Steely Strike still remains your best offensive move against foes in this CR band, but once Deep Impact comes online that quickly changes.

4 – Psychic Warrior – (Psionic Meditation) (Synesthete) * Hide

Power points at last; you can start using Psionic Weapon to boost up your damage.

Incidentally, this level was timed the way it was to overlap a psychic warrior bonus feat with getting 7 ranks in Concentration. Psionic Meditation, a vital feat in this build, for some reason has a Concentration requirement that doesn’t overlap with a feat slot in most builds.

5 – Warblade – (Battle Ardor) (Mountain Hammer)* Hide

Mountain Hammer bypasses hardness as well as DR, meaning you can break through doors or walls to get to your targets. Incidentally, if you’re targeting an object (where AC doesn't matter), make use of that Psionic Weapon feat to slice through it that much faster. (After level 6, this is the only time you'll want to use Psionic Weapon.)

The usual choice here would have been Wall of Blades; it remains a possible alternative if you don’t like Mountain Hammer. I left it out because honestly, it’s overused, and frankly, your high HP, DR and Vital Recovery should be enough protection for now. In D&D, the best defense is often an overwhelming offense, especially after the fundamentals are covered. Besides, the Stone Dragon prereqs help if you want interesting followup maneuvers.

6 – Warblade – (Deep Impact) (Iron Heart Surge > Steely Strike) (Absolute Steel)* Hide

With this, your main trick is online. Deep Impact ensures that your maneuvers will hit (touch ACs + respectable Strength + virtually full attack bonus), which in turn means you can start using Power Attack all willy-nilly against most foes, particularly armored ones. Even as early as this level, touch ACs are usually more than 4 points lower than main ACs, so Steely Strike provides little to no benefit compared to other strikes with Deep Impact (especially Mountain Hammer, at this level).

You keep Sapphire Nightmare Blade ready (or available via Adaptive Style) to use against rogue-type monsters with high Touch ACs – SNB catches targets flat-footed and comes with a small damage bonus on its own (so you aren’t that far behind even if you don’t Power Attack). Since you aren’t expending focus on Deep Impact against these foes, you can instead expend it to “take 15” on SNB’s Concentration check, which (thanks to max ranks and your Constitution) more or less guarantees its success. On subsequent rounds you refocus and either retreat for another skirmish, or move closer to your next target.

Absolute Steel is an amazing stance in this build, and will be your resting stance for most of the game. It synergizes with every aspect of your character. Add to this a fourth readied maneuver and the I Win button on Iron Heart Surge, and you’ll be very hard to stop.

7 – Warblade – (Ironheart Aura) (Insightful Strike)* Hide

I'm a big fan of Ironheart Aura + Absolute Steel - it's simple, straightforward, and boosts just about everything you care about. You also gain your successor to Sapphire – Insightful Strike is deceptively powerful and reliable at this level, as it's expected to deal about 1/3 of appropriate foes' HP in a single slice. Furthermore, it doesn’t rely on (or benefit from) Power Attack, so you’re making it at a full attack bonus (and it bypasses the Elusive Target feat, which normally shuts down every Power Attacker hard). Basically, in any situation where you’d have been using Sapphire, you’re now using Insightful Strike. 

This is also around the level you should be able to afford dorjes of Hustle, which you can use thanks to being a psychic warrior – this lets you move, deliver a Deep Impact / Power Attack strike, and refocus all in the same round.

8 – Warblade – (Improved Uncanny Dodge) (Ruby Nightmare Blade > Sapphire Nightmare Blade)* Hide

And now Power Attack becomes king: You're adding nearly quadruple your level to your damage rolls here. On an average roll, you only need an additional +3 Concentration boost to trigger the multiplication against the maximum AC at this CR (and a +2 bonus from a masterwork tool is literally pocket change to you at this level). As a side effect, you no longer need to worry about rogue flankers – warforged immunities helped with this a bit anyway, but now nothing else that’s keyed off of flanking will slow you down. 

This is also the level you'll forever ignore Punishing Stance in favor of Absolute Steel - Punishing Stance doesn't multiply, and the enhanced speed and defenses make that Ruby Nightmare Blade more reliable.

9 – Warblade – (Battle Cunning) (Stormguard Warrior) (Lightning Recovery) * Hide

At this level you basically stop caring about damage output - if you can charge up Combat Rhythm, whatever you charge up against dies. (Since you’re certainly using Hustle + a full attack to charge up, be certain to use your slam attack for an extra touch attack while charging!). I’m not joking when I say that; using the expected number of hits from your full attack against average monster AC at this level, a Deep Impact Power Ruby Nightmare Blade Attack will dish out about 78% of the average monster’s HP in a single hit (and that’s with a conservative estimate on your weapon!), and is unlikely to miss even on its own merits. In the rare occasion where this super strike (or one of your regular Deep Impact Power Ruby Nightmare Blades, or Steady Insightful Strikes) happens to miss, such as on the occasional natural 1, you have Lightning Recovery.

If you’ve boosted your Intelligence at all, you also get a minor damage bonus while flanking, which also multiplies on Ruby Nightmare Blade; between this and Ironheart Aura, you will probably want to fight in close quarters with your team's rogue.

Speaking of your team's rogue, you can take a page from his book and consider picking up a set of Shadow Hands for Cloak of Deception at any point past here, including if your rogue happens to replace his set. These are used to make certain your attacks hit – if you’re within full-attack distance, trigger Cloak of Deception and you'll be charging up against hosed AC. This is an optional upgrade though, and I don’t assume it.

10 – Warblade – (Elder Mountain Hammer > Stone Bones) * Hide

This is the level where the swap is controversial – Elder Mountain Hammer requires two Stone Dragon maneuvers, so using it to replace one of your two Stone Dragon maneuvers is questionable. (You can bypass this by exchanging Punishing Stance for Stonefoot Stance; if you’re starting at any point past level 6 or so this won’t hurt you much.)

Elder Mountain Hammer becomes an alternative or followup to Ruby Nightmare Blade – swift to Hustle for refocus, move to close in, then Deep Impact Power Elder Mountain Hammer Attack after you’ve already expended your Ruby Nightmare Blade is a powerful combination. In fact, mathematically, Elder Mountain Hammer works out to only slightly less expected damage than an optimal RNB against most opponents in this CR band.

And on its own, Elder Mountain Hammer is just a flat upgrade to your Swiss Army Chainsaw, letting you plow through obstacles or opponents with obscene DR that much faster. As with the regular Mountain Hammer, if you’re using it against objects or other places where you don’t need Deep Impact to get a full power attack, you may as well use Psionic Weapon to chew through your target that much faster. At this level, that’s 64 damage that ignores hardness, or enough to cleave straight through a six-inch-thick wooden wall or a standard two-inch thick iron door in one slice. (By level 20, it’s an easy 90 damage, enough to shatter a six-inch-thick stone wall or two full inches of adamantine plating in a single strike.)

11 – Warblade – (Endurance) (Iron Heart Focus)* Hide

This level is a “beat” level mostly – not quite dead, but not a big boost either. Iron Heart Focus is usually better than readying all the Diamond Mind counters at once, but since your real concern is your Will save, Moment is still better on that front. At least for now.

Endurance is a crappy feat (well, with your Constitution, since warforged don’t sleep, you’re basically never tired… ever), but it’s a prerequisite to something truly amazing, which is worth getting as soon as possible. In fact, if you want, you can even move Endurance to level 7 and pick it up earlier if you want, but I find Ironheart Aura to be a better low-level investment.

12 – Warblade – (Steadfast Determination) (Iron Heart Endurance > Mountain Hammer) (Hearing the Air)* Hide

You’ve heard of “god levels”? This is one of them. Offense, defense, support and versatility all get a SERIOUS bump at this level. 
Offensively, you hit Base Attack +11 here, so that’s an extra hit on your charge-up attacks (in addition to the usual benefits, namely more fuel for the Power Nightmare Blade).
Defensively, you get Iron Heart Endurance – another good self-heal – and the ZOMG Steadfast Determination. (You could grab this feat as early as 9 if you are willing to delay Stormguard Warrior.) This feat plus your insane Constitution basically means you can forget about Moment of Perfect Mind, and you’re more or less immune to most things that rely on Fortitude now (particularly after warforged immunities are considered). 

Support-wise, you’ve got a stance which can let you find hidden opponents with ease – and since you don’t sleep, you’ll probably be using this stance while you keep watch. (It also combines very well with your Synesthete power, if you actually choose to manifest it.) 

Finally, for versatility, you get a fifth ready maneuver at this level – you literally couldn’t ask for anything more.

13 – Warblade – (Battle Skill) (Retrain Vital Recovery -> [Any Other Feat]) (Moment of Alacrity)* Hide

Used to act again after Stormguarding, Moment of Alacrity makes your nightmare blades even more reliable. Basically, you delay until the end of the round, charge up, trigger Moment, and raise your initiative to the top of the pile next round, letting you act again with a Ruby Nightmare Blade. You can also use use Moment of Alacrity + Adaptive Style to always have the perfect maneuver setup for whatever encounter you face; Moment effectively removes the action cost for Adaptive Style. (This is most useful if you suddenly realize your foe has Elusive Target or something, and you don't have an Insightful Strike readied.)

Around this point you've probably noticed that out-of-combat healing is trivial in an adventuring party, even for a warforged, and your boosted Constitution has raised your max HP so high that Vital Recovery isn't pushing its weight anymore. It's retrained at this point into ANY OTHER FEAT; I haven't decided which feat will replace it (it has to be one you qualify for at level 1). I'll edit this in once I fix the analysis.

14 – Warblade – (Avalanche of Blades > Insightful Strike) * Hide

You knew it was coming as soon as you saw Combat Rhythm discussed, didn’t you? The maximum touch AC at this CR is 14, so you can afford to lose your ability to make Insightful Strike style attacks for a while in exchange for a powerup of this magnitude.

As a nice side effect, looking at how HP progresses with CR, level 14 is the point where it gets a substantial “bump”, so you need a huge damage boost at that point to keep up. Avalanche Rhythm provides that “bump” – and then some. It’s cumbersome, but not too difficult, to figure out what the “expected” increase due to Avalanche of Blades is against a given AC, and we crunched the numbers in all the subsequent levels. We’re still talking about damage on the order of 60+% of the maximum monster HP at most CRs, as long as you keep emphasizing accuracy and multiplicative damage.

15 – Warblade – (Combat Reflexes, Robilar’s Gambit) (Greater Insightful Strike)* Hide

Greater Insightful Strike covers for where Insightful Strike used to be used – against high-touch-AC targets or against foes with Elusive Target. At this level it’ll do 78-88 damage, gear-depending, on an average check result, at full attack bonus. Without using Combat Rhythm, a Deep Impact Power Ruby Nightmare Blade Attack can be expected to do 89, so at this point GIS becomes your successor to Elder Mountain Hammer as the followup move with no real drop in damage output. (For some perspective, average monster HP at CR 15 is 224, so even without a Combat Rhythm charge-up you’re pushing 40% of the monster’s HP per strike with alarming reliability.)

Your low Dexterity and lack of reach make Combat Reflexes seem subpar, so you might be wondering why Robilar’s Gambit is there at all. Three words: Channel The Storm. If you don’t actually take any attacks of opportunity, you’re not using up AoOs against your limit, so basically, every time an opponent swings at you, you get a cumulative +4 bonus on your next attack and damage roll. Note that this is a flat bonus – and you employ Nightmare Blades. If you’re attacked three times over the course of your turn (say), you enjoy an attack increase high enough to make a full Power Attack almost as accurate as a normal attack, and get that Ruby Nightmare Blade up to 103 damage without any Combat Rhythm.

You can also use a cheap trick against stupid opponents if you do get a chance to charge up – make your touch attacks using unarmed strikes. Your high AB means they’re likely to hit even without weapon enhancements, and – most importantly – they provoke AoOs each time you touch them. If opponents are stupid enough to take the opening and swing back at you – and if you haven’t unleashed a Nightmare Blade yet, they just might! – that’s even more raw output on your Nightmare Blade. It’s almost possible to one-shot maximum-HP monsters at this CR using this trick (you tend to run out of Avalanche hits before it gets quite that strong), as if you needed more killing power.

16 – Warblade – (Diamond Nightmare Blade > Moment of Perfect Mind) * Hide

…Oh, look at that, more killing power.

Average monster HP at this level is 239. Average Avalanche Rhythm Deep Impact Power Diamond Nightmare Blade Attack damage at this level: 296. Barring a natural 1, this will trigger on an average roll against the maximum touch AC at this level if you’re using a +5 Concentration item, which is half as strong as the Third Eye you should be rocking now.

Even if you don’t get a chance to charge up, a Deep Impact Power Diamond Nightmare Blade Attack will deal 198 damage, or 83% of the average CR 16 monster HP in a single hit. It does this with zero rounds of prep time andcannot miss against these targets unless you roll two consecutive natural 1s (Lightning Recovery). If anyone decides to attack you, they only make you stronger – each strike against you amounts to +16 damage on that DNB. (Two attacks against you gets a no-prep Deep Impact Power Diamond Nightmare Blade Attack up to 96% of the expected monster HP with the same accuracy – you’re already accurate enough that a +8 to hit makes no real improvement!)

Incidentally, “[Avalanche Rhythm] Deep Impact Power Diamond Nightmare Blade Attack”? In your face, Five-Shadow Creeping Ice Enervation Strike, warblades can use wuxia word salad too!

17 – Warblade – (Battle Mastery) (Diamond Defense)* Hide

Diamond Defense is a wonderful defensive maneuver, but this is actually an offensive level in disguise: you get a sixth ready maneuver slot, and +16 base attack (for charging up Combat Rhythm if you don't want to use Avalanche).

18 – Warblade – (Steady Concentration) (Strike of Perfect Clarity > Iron Heart Focus)* Hide

Why Steady Concentration? It lets you take 10 on all Concentration checks.  Your Concentration modifier is high enough to basically skip the first step on your Nightmare Blades now. Similarly, it allows you to refocus without wasting time at the table rolling. If you're willing to delay Robilar's Gambit or Steadfast Determination until this level, you can move this feat earlier if you'd like, since it removes the variability of a low Concentration roll (although statistically the results are almost identical).

Diamond Defense made Iron Heart Focus more or less redundant, so it’s replaced in favor of Strike of Perfect Clarity, another low-variance maneuver. Furthermore, if you happen to roll a critical hit, Strike of Perfect Clarity is scary indeed. (Unless your DM argues that flat-damage bonuses from maneuvers doesn’t multiply, as one sentence in the tome suggests.)

That said, it pales behind Diamond Nightmare Blade except on a crit: normal/critical damage for DNB is 230/402.5, SoPC is 157.5/630. (SoPC actually comes out ahead on expected damage if you’re attacking touch ACs, but since this build is all about reliability and low variance, I still prefer to avoid relying on critical hits, so SoPC becomes your new followup move.)

You qualify for Time Stands Still as well, but since you’d only ever use that to charge up Combat Rhythm (this isn’t a full-attack build), we can compare it to Avalanche of Blades; while TSS slightly edges out Avalanche for that purpose, the gains are marginal if the monster touch ACs are very low, and most of the high-CR monsters have very low touch ACs indeed (like, 9 on the great wyrm red dragon – TSS gives just +9 expected rhythm damage over Avalanche in this case). Since you don’t get any other maneuver swaps in this build to drop Avalanche, TSS becomes more or less redundant, and the ability to use a very powerful followup move as a standard action more than outweighs the redundancy. Thus, we took Strike of Perfect Clarity.

If you’re bummed about not getting Time Stands Still, did you see the Eternal Wand of Heroics that I always suggest for these builds? Martial Study is a fighter feat, and you certainly meet the requirements for that maneuver now. (Eternal Blades aren’t the only ones who can play the “rabbit out of a hat” game with high-level maneuvers.) However, that's more of a desperation trick, since there's plenty of chances to miss on two full attacks that you can't mitigate the way you can on a single strike.

19 – Crusader – (Steely Resolve 5, Furious Counterstrike) (Entangling Blade, Douse the Flames, Lion’s Roar, White Raven Tactics, Mountain Avalanche) (Martial Spirit)* Hide

All of these provide flat bonuses and binary effects where possible (i.e. "-20 penalty to speed, no save", "cannot make AoOs" etc), and your opponents can’t really do anything about them, period. Mountain Avalanche is used to make sure even opponents can’t block your movement between yourself and your final target. All that said, realistically, the only ones you’re actually likely to use are the boosts – and they’re good boosts, too. Even then, you have lots of competition for your swift action from Hustle and Dimension Slide, though. 

Martial Spirit is the best first-level crusader stance if you lack Reach or Charging, and interestingly it allows you to heal yourself or others on Combat Rhythm charge-ups – even outside of an encounter. Call it Epic Level Massage Therapy if you will.

20 – Crusader – (Indomitable Soul) (Aura of Perfect Order)* Hide

You just barely manage to squeeze this in – your crusader IL hits 11 just in time for their second stance, which isn’t bound by the first-level-stances-only clause that plagues level 1 martial adepts. Why is this stance so important? See the snapshot.


Snapshot: 

With the gear listed above, this is a bit of a beast. We’re talking 349 expected HP (or 369 if you don’t use the Quick trait), base attack +19 (using Greater Magic Weapon, melee +35 to +37 due to the martial discipline enhancements; damage is 2d4+20. You have Lightning Recovery if you miss), saves of +35/+16/+24 (no Fortitude failures on a natural 1; you’ve got Diamond Defense, and Iron Heart Surge if you fail), a Concentration modifier of +47, and a speed of 55 or 65 (stance-dependent) while wearing heavy armor (approximate AC 34 or so; it's easy to get it higher) with some basic damage reduction and self-healing, plus Improved Uncanny Dodge (you need to have 20 rogue levels to flank this guy) and warforged immunities. Your initiative modifier is +10 or so (AFB as I type, I forget the exact size of the eager/warning/aggressive bonus), with no wasted Dexterity (i.e. maxing Dex for Initiative while wearing heavy armor is less than perfectly productive). You also have the highest possible offensive values with the lowest possible variance and the lowest possible chance of failure. 

Let me give you an example – and to simplify things, we’ll assume less than this gear.

The “average” values for a CR 20 opponent are HP 409, AC 37, touch AC 8. Take a standard scythe with Greater Magic Weapon, dorjes of Hustle and Dimension Slide in wand chambers (scythe and gauntlet), the +Strength/+Con items/tomes, and no other items (this gives some leeway for less than perfect gear in the example below). This gives you a final melee attack bonus of +31 (2d4+15 base damage) and +37 Concentration.

Open up with Hustle, move in via either Tumble or Dimension Slide (or, if you’re already in melee range, use Moment of Alacrity to speed this all up). Initiate Avalanche+Combat Rhythm. You'll charge up to the stuff of nightmares (I estimate +43 expected damage, essentially as much as Power Attack). This estimation doesn’t include Aura of Perfect Order, which can make it slightly higher if you trigger it at the right time.

On the next round, use your move action to maintain melee distance; chances are you out-speed him and can easily reach him, and if you can’t, you still have Dimension Slide in a dorje. If you aren’t in Aura of Perfect Order, switch to it now; if you are, you can save your swift for Lion’s Roar or White Raven Tactics later. Initiate Diamond Nightmare Blade: Taking 10 on Concentration hits AC 47 without the need for a roll. Expend focus for Deep Impact to target touch AC, then Power Attack for -19 and make your attack. Use Aura of Perfect Order on the attack roll to auto-hit touch AC 26 (no chance of a miss). You'll deal 404 damage in one hit on an average die roll (which happens more often than not on Gaussian weapons), instantly reducing your opponent to the single digits. The grand total damage range on this strike is 392-416, by the way; there’s virtually no way to escape this without getting both ACs above those thresholds. Note that you haven’t actually rolled any dice beyond the 2d4 on your scythe – if your opponents have lower than regular AC 47, touch AC 26, you will be dealing this much damage, guaranteed. And, let’s be honest, that describes alot of opponents.

If you don't have the chance to charge up Combat Rhythm, you don't need to - Diamond Nightmare Blade will still deal 232 points of damage (57% of the average target HP) with no special preparations, and with the same guarantees on your attack. (i.e. Nightmare Blade multiplication will always trigger on ACs up to 47, and the attacks will always hit touch ACs up to 26 with no chance of missing and no rolls made at all.) Without any charge-up prep time, your other super moves will deal 158.5 (Strike of Perfect Clarity), 117 (Ruby Nightmare Blade), and 94 (Greater Insightful Strike, taking 10; this will realistically deal exactly 114 with a Third Eye), so you’re not hurting on the followup either. 

You can use a swift to regain psionic focus through Hustle, spend your normal move action to keep up with your opponent or close in on another (you have a high tumble score despite heavy armor, and have a Dimension Slide dorje), and still use your standard action to initiate any of those followup strikes. All of them are guaranteed to hit touch AC 26 without even rolling for an attack thanks to Aura of Perfect Order. If your foes have a touch AC higher than this, you’ll immediately know, and can simply throttle off the Power Attack a bit. (Strike of Perfect Clarity is the least reliant on Power Attack for damage since it has no multiplier, which (combined with its faster initiation time) explains why it edged out Time Stands Still.)  If your foe has Elusive Target or a ridiculously high touch AC, Greater Insightful Strike will auto-hit ACs up to 42 without an attack roll as well without losing any damage. During all of this, you remain fully mobile (no reliance on full round actions), have none of the limitations on your movement that you would have if you were charging, and have a good array of defenses (unlike a typical shock trooper) and immunities that prevent opponents from slowing you down or stopping you.

All of the numbers in the preceding paragraphs are made with less than ideal equipment as well. If you have the full loadout listed above, it becomes even deadlier (largely because the weapon is more accurate (better charge-up potential) and has Collision which, unlike many damage enhancements, multiplies on your Nightmare Blades.)

Overall Strengths: 

Very high, reliable damage output at every level of the build, even before the basic trick appears (somewhere between levels 6 and 8, around the same time most uberchargers come online). Very mobile, especially for a warrior. Quite durable, able to survive on the front lines like a boss despite having an offensive focus rather than a defensive one. Not incredibly equipment-reliant (especially for a warrior); what gear you need can (optionally) be made into un-sunderable, un-disarmable, un-pick-pocketable warforged components instead of standard equipment.

Overall Weaknesses: 

Apart from the extreme emphasis on melee tactics?. The build doesn’t have a lot in the way of perception except what its gear can provide, hence the Scout Band. (Other than gear, it relies on Hearing the Air and, possibly, Synesthete to locate hidden foes, but lacks the skills to truly rustle out stealthy targets). It lacks Reach as written, but that can easily be changed (the guisarme has exactly the same properties that made the scythe desirable, but was skipped in favor of the scythe because the build lacks any of the infrastructure to capitalize on the reach the guisarme provides.) Much of its defense is reliant on UA flaws. As with all warriors, it’s reliant on equipment for special mobility, particularly flight and teleportation. Bordering on theoretical optimization, so some DMs may have issues with it. Highly, highly dependent upon psionic focus to work, yet only has two power points by default; any effect that can artificially deplete these can seriously cripple the onslaught (he’ll have to resort to Greater Insightful Strike to keep the reliability up, or else resort to the typical “let’s guess the right number for power attack” game, which goes against the theme.)

Variants:

If you want to go without flaws, drop Robilar’s Gambit and consider if you want Vital Recovery or not. (You’ll need to delay Power Attack in any case, which is annoying, but workable. If you switch to a bonus-feat race, you can skip Adamantine Body in favor of actual armor and fit both in instead, or exchange Vital Recovery for Adaptive Style earlier.) If you’re dropping Robilar’s, you don’t need Combat Reflexes either; the best remaining feat on the warblade list is Blind-Fight (for greater reliability).

If you rule that a single natural attack (those made with 1.5x Strength on the damage roll) counts as two-handed, you have a better option than a scythe, actually - a warforged battlefist. This can’t be disarmed or sundered the way a normal scythe could, and the enhancements on it apply to both unarmed strikes and your slam attack. If you use the “bait” trick with unarmed strikes when charging up Combat Rhythm, this makes it that much more accurate. It also means that, as a warforged, you pack no particularly visible equipment – you literally are a living weapon. 

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Ebbene, eccola qui: 400+ danni senza tirare un solo dado (a parte i 2d4 della falce) che entrano sempre per avversari con CA minore di 47 e a contatto minore di 26, considerando un equipaggiamento minimale. Non mi sembra male... Pareri? Opinioni? Difetti che non ho notato?

smite4life

Ciao a tutti, finalmente comincerò ad utilizzare il blog per un motivo più valido di tenere a mente le cose! :)

Come sappiamo tristemente tutti, il forum wizard.com è stato chiuso con violenza questo 5 novembre. Fra le decine di discussioni interessanti, ve ne erano alcune che io ritengo abbastanza stimolanti, ovvero quelle della serie (come da titolo di questa inserzione) Weekly Optimization Showcase.

Nello specifico, si tratta di costruzioni da parte di alcuni utenti del forum wizard (Tempest Stormwind [TS], Radical Taoist [RT], Andarious [AR], DisposableHero_ [DH], Sionnis [SN], and Seishi [SH]) che in qualche modo esemplificassero un concetto o una meccanica, costruendo una build su venti livelli (ma spesso giocabile da livelli ben più bassi, se non addirittura dal primo) con dettagliate spiegazioni di ciascun passaggio. A mio parere, sono incredibilmente formative, permettendo di scoprire cose nuove oltre che trucchetti di ottimizzazione non sempre noti.

Con calma (non manterrò certo lo standard di una a settimana) intendo riportarle qui, anche non riuscirò a tradurle (vedrete la mole di roba).

La mia intenzione è quella, oltre che di salvare una serie di contenuti da quel forum che meritavano di essere salvati, di stimolare una discussione creativa sull'argomento. Molto spesso, queste costruzioni sfruttano meccanismi poco chiari del regolamento, oltre che poco noti, se non addirittura interpretazioni non sempre condivisibili. Spero, quindi, in questo modo di ravvivare un po' le discussioni nella costruzione dei PG per la 3ed, che mi sembrano un po' tristi (si, lo so che ormai è ora di passare alla 5ed, ma sono un nostalgico!)

SPOILER ALERT: Io non sono un esperto, il mio compito è solo di riportare le costruzioni fatte da altri, quindi non prendetevela con me! :P 

Attualmente tutte le build sono temporaneamente hostate qui.

EDIT: Grandi novità! L'instancabile sete di sapere di @Nathaniel Joseph Claw, unita all'organizzazione dei ragazzi di Giantip e EnWord, ha portato un'altro link dove sono raccolte queste ed altri decine di thread fantastici del forum Wizard: QUESTO!!!

smite4life

Topic di servizio - Topic di Gioco

Proventi dai banditi che hanno attaccato l'avamposto e primi affari con Oleg:

Spoiler

1. Fuoco Alchimista (2) --------------------> 40 mo
2. Armatura di Cuoio (4) ------------------> 40 mo
3. Pugnale (1)--------------------------------> 2 mo
4. Spada Corta (3)--------------------------> 30 mo
5. Arco lungo composito (Forza +2)----> 300 mo
6. Arco Lungo (3)----------------------------> 225 mo
7. Amuleto d'argento (Testa cervo)-----> da valutare
8. Monete d'oro-------------------------------> 65 mo
Per un Totale di 702 mo [senza amuleto, razioni da viaggio e frecce]

Korir prende Arco lungo composito
Yala prende Fuoco dell'alchimista

Oleg compra a prezzo pieno il resto -----> 297 mo

Incasso del gruppo ---------------------------> 362 mo (più amuleto, razioni e frecce)

Acquisto pozione cura ferite leggere -----> 50 mo

Rimaste ------------------------------------------> 312 mo (78 x 4)

Attacco al primo avamposto dei banditi

Spoiler

monete -------------------------> 90 mo + 321 ma
monete dei banditi ---------> 40 mo
monete di Kressle -----------> 85 mo

4 armature di cuoio ---------> 40 mo
2 archi lunghi ------------------> 150 mo
4 spade corte ------------------> 40 mo
1 armatura di cuoio borchiato -> 25 mo
2 asce perfette -----------------> 612-616 mo (ascia a mano o da lancio?)
4 pugnali -------------------------> 8 mo
1 pozione di cura ferite leggere > 50 mo

orecchini d'argento ------------> 95 mo [sconto per Svetlana]
carillon di legno -----------------> 95 mo
3 casse di pelli / pellicce ------> 170 mo
8 bottiglie di liquore ------------> 160 mo

Razioni x8, frecce x75

Totale ~685 mo + 520 (Oleg non continua a comprare a prezzo pieno!! :()

Yala prende balestra + quadrelli (37 mo)

 

Situazione economica avventurieri:

Spoiler

Grimmr: 171 + 130= 301 mo

Korir: Arco lungo composito (+2) [300 mo] - 222 + 171 + 130 = 79 mo

Kholas: 78 

Vincent: 78 + 171 + 130 = 379 mo

Yala: Fuochi dell'alchimista [40 mo] +38 + 171 - 37 + 130 = 302 mo

 

smite4life

Grimmr Zampalieve per la campagna Alba dei Re (TdS) [Pathfinder] Campagna in pausa

Van Oldric [pensionato] Oradin per la campagna Rappan Athuk (TdS) [Pathfinder] - File di Utility Campagna in pausa

Goffredus detto Gof per la campagna Mystara (reload) I Intrighi (TdS) [Pathfinder]

Varg per la campagna La pretesa del drago (TdS) [Pathfinder] Campagna in pausa

Molos "nessuno" [pensionato] Rassler per Blood of Bastards (TdS) [Pathfinder]

Jormand di Runvor per I confini del mondo [Pathfinder - low low magic]

Aaron Davis per Le Tre Bocche di Cerbero [Call of Chtulu] - Riassunto campagna Campagna in pausa

Durduk Lamafantasma per Arcipelago eterno [5E - Alfeimur]

Faragor per Out of the Abyss [5E]

Urghor per Il Male Minore [5E]

Fundron per I Frammenti dell'Anima [Pathfinder]

Gungrom per il Santuario di Ecclesiae [5E]

Lady Rose per Vento di Sangue [5E]

Vanleath per Il regno di Ercaliba [5E]

Luigi Saverio [Addio, ci mancherai] Joaquin Morgado [con Gaspàr l'eidolon] per Le Cappe d'Oro [Pathfinder]

Aranduzm per Silenzio e Oscurità [campagna drow 3E]

Robert Watson per I Fiumi Neri della Morte [Pathfinder]