Hey guys, Tempest has found himself with a thesis defense to prepare on very short notice, and he’s asked me to take the wheel for a few weeks. I’ll be posting the showcases for a while, though they’ll still appear in his signature. I’ll ask you all to don your headphones and brace for general Australianity.
S’another one of those, lads! We’re puttin’ these builds up ta start a chinwag and may’ap get some good oil moving like it did on the old CO boards. They come from my gaming mates an’ I – that’s Tempest_Stormwind, DisposableHero_, Andarious, Sionnis, and Seishi, for you blokes what are keeping track. Like Tempest, I'll always tell ya whose grouse work this week’s build woz, so do not assume it’s my bloody idea all the toime. I’m no bloody figjam. ‘At said, this week’s build is indeed one o’ mine.
‘Lest otherwoise noted, these builds use 28 point-buy, and ‘ave their snapshots summed up using fractional base attack an’ saves (as it makes the math easiah). None of ‘em actually rely on that ta be built, though. This format what we use showcases the progression at key levels, ‘stead of just upping ourselves over some level 20 tricks and letting the rest of the build piss off. Yew’ll find yew can give most of these a burl from level 1-20 as yew please.
[As usual for the showcase, these builds are intended to spur discussion and perhaps inspire a few people in the spirit of the old CO boards. They come from members of my gaming group - me, Tempest_Stormwind, DisposableHero_, Andarious, Sionnis, and Seishi - and like Tempest, I'll always identify who wrote the build at the start, so do not assume I'm the guy behind all of them (because I'm not!). That said, this week’s build does happen to be one of mine.]
[Unless otherwise noted, showcase builds use 28 point-buy, and have their snapshots evaluated using fractional base attack / saves (because it simplifies the math). None of them actually rely on fractional to be built, though. The format I use showcases their progression at key levels rather than just presenting the build and showing off a few tricks at level 20; most of these are capable of being played 1-20 if you so choose.]
[This week, I wrote the showcase up in excessive Australian slang for laughs. Thus the subtitles when it gets really hairy. It makes sense, as the character is heavily inspired by a famous Australian from Team Fortress 2, whom I’ll introduce shortly.]
With that out of the way, let's ‘ave a go at it! This week, I’ve wrote up the showcase in ‘Strine, as I’m very sure yew noticed. We’ve got a build inspired by one’ah the more famous characters to hail from the Lucky Country, a consummate professional from the game Team Fortress 2. I’d like yew all to meet-
THE #1 SNOIPAH
Required Books: Complete Adventurer, Complete Scoundrel, Complete Mage, Spell Compendium, Races of the Dragon (1 feat), Races of Destiny (1 feat), Complete Arcane (1 feat), Lords of Madness (1 feat)
Unearthed Arcana used: Bugger all!
Background: Snoipin’s a good job, mate! S’challenging work, outta doors; I guarantee you’ll not go ‘ungry, ‘cause at the end of the day, long as there’s two people on Earth, someone’s gonna want someone dead. Usually that first someone’s the PCs, and the second someone’s the poor yobboes the GM’s sending at them. So what’s a safe and sure way to get those someones to cark it? By blowin’ the insides of their ‘eads all over four counties, that’s how!
[“yobboes”= fools, idiots; “cark it” = die]
This is another one o’ those direct damage sorcerors. Yew may be familiar with the Mailman, who makes sure that damage gets to its target, and the Nuker, who’s a bit bigger on the endurance and variety bits. They’re good blokes and can do what they do well, but the Snoipah is a sneakier bastard who doesn’t let the other soide get anything near a fair go in a fight. A combination of stealth, utility, long range options, and beastly spike damage allows the Snoipah to camp out in Woop Woop, sneak up on some sorry wally, and blow ‘is skull clean off from clicks away.
[This is another direct damage sorceror. You may be familiar with the Mailman, who ensures that damage gets to its target, and the Nuker, who focuses more on endurance and a variety of blasting tactics. They’re good at their jobs, but the Sniper is a much sneakier build focused on not giving the opposition a fair chance to retaliate. A combination of stealthy, utility, long range options, and beastly spike damage allows the Sniper to wait out in the middle of nowhere, sneak up on some poor sucker, and blow his head off from kilometers away.]
- Race: Human. It’s overused ‘coz it works, mate!
- Ability Scores: 8/14/12/14/10/16 should do yew roight to begin with. Crank Charisma at levels 4, 8, and 12. If yew want to big-note on those save DCs, then keep crankin’ it, but yew ‘ave the option of boosting Dexterity from then on. S’really up to yew.
Skill Notes: It’s London to a brick that you’ll want to max out ‘Ide, Move Silently, and Spot. Concentration, Disable Device, Listen, Search, and Spellcraft all deserve 20, 21 some-odd points boi tha time ya finish pre-epic, and they’re needed tew meet prereqs on those prestige classes too. Yew’ll need some Sense Motive tew get inta Unseen Seer; she’ll be right if yew put 11 ranks in it by level 20.
[It’s certain that you’ll want to max out Hide, Move Silently, and Spot. Concentration, Disable Device, Listen, Search, and Spellcraft should get about 20 or 21 ranks by the time you hit 20, and remember that those skills will be needed to meet prerequisites. You’ll need Sense Motive to get into Unseen Seer; it should be okay if you have 11 ranks in it by level 20.]
Basic Equipment: A crossbow’s a corker of a weapon for yew at the lowest levels, what when yah spells don’t ‘ave the damage to turn a blue for you yet. Light armor’s the stuff to wear one yew hit level six. Don’t forget some daggers as what the Cloud of Knives spells needs, includin’ one in silver.
[A crossbow is a fine weapon choice at the lowest levels, what when your spells don’t have the damage to win a fight yet. Wear light armor from level six on. Don’t forget some daggers for the Cloud of Knives spells, including one in silver.]
Magical Gear Goals: Get an Orange Ioun Stone as soon as yew can. The Shadow an’ Silent Moves enhancements to armor will be more useful to yew than actual boosts to AC, as yew don’t need good AC when the bogun hasn’t got Buckley’s chance of finding yew in the first place. Otherwise, boost yah saves, Dexterity, Charisma, and Constitution as best yew can. Eyes o’ the Eagle, Rings o’ the Diamond Mind (for Mind Over Body and Moment o’ Perfect Mind), and Boots o’ Stridin’ and Springin’ will be just grand. There’s some staffs that’ll serve yew well too, particularly those o’ Passage, Divination, and Earth and Stone, but it’ll cost yew big bikkies.
[Get an Orange Ioun Stone as soon as you can. The Shadow and Silent Moves enhancements to armor will be more useful than actual boosts to AC, as you don’t need good AC when the dirtbags won’t have a chance of finding you in the first place. Otherwise, boost your saves, Dexterity, Charisma, and Constitution as best you can. Eyes of the Eagle, Rings of the Diamond Mind (for Mind Over Body and Moment of Perfect Mind), and Boots of Striding and Springing will be just grand. There are some staffs that’ll serve you well too, particularly Passage, Divination, and Earth and Stone, but they’ll cost a lot of money (“bikkies” literally means “biscuits” ).]
Build Stub: Spellthief 1 / Sorcerer 4 / Unseen Seer 10 / Spellwarp Sniper 5
1 – Spellthief – (Sneak Attack 1d6, Steal Spell 1, Trapfinding) (Able Learner, Point Blank Shot)
[You start out as a standard spellthief, so just stick to what works then. Keep your distance, catch them by surprise, and it’ll be fine.]
2 – Sorcerer – (Familiar OR Accelerated Metamagic)
You’re duxing Sneak Attack Spellcasting 101 roight away mate, and Golem Stroike ‘elps you beat one of the monster toipes that usually annoy sneak attackers. Constructs? Hah! Here’s a machine you should build - one what stops moi bullets rays! Oh, and a familiar is bettah than the PHB2 variant, but we’ll explain that choice in a moment, just ‘ang on.
[You’re acing Sneak Attack Spellcasting 101 right away, and Golem Strike helps you with a monster type that usually annoys sneak attackers...]
3 – Sorcerer – (Versatile Spellcasting)
4 – Sorcerer
Second most bloody useful spell yew’ll learn, mate! Fair dinkum. The whole build is about sneak attack at range and this ripper spell does the job.
[“Fair dinkum” = really, honestly; “ripper” = fantastic, great]
5 – Sorcerer
This beauty doesn’t need explainin’ does she? Yew won’t get a better multiattack roll spell ‘til Unicorn Arrow. By the way, remembah ta meet the Sense Motive requirements for Unseen Seer now. Able Learner’ll make it doable with your Intelligence. Professionals ‘ave standards, after all! Be polite!
6 – Unseen Seer – (Sneak Attack 2d6) (Master Spellthief)
Grease is a bloody bonzer way to deny Dexterity to enemy AC. We only ‘eld it up to meet the prerequisites for Unseen Seer. Dimension ‘Op is there for a cheap teleportation option. ‘Ere’s toimes when yew need ta be out of a grapple roight quick.
[Grease is a magnificent way to deny Dexterity to enemy AC. We only held it up to meet the prerequisites for Unseen Seer. Dimension Hop is there for a cheap teleportation option. There are times when you need to be out of a grapple right away.]
7 – Unseen Seer – (Advanced Learning) (Silent Spell)
Ace! We’ve got ‘Unter’s Oiye, and that means our spike damage will jump like a possum up a gum tree. 4d6 sneak attack damage puts us next to a straight-classed rogue. As for the Sphere, that gives us a means of doin’ lightning damage, which’ll be ‘andy in a few levels. Finally, Silent Spell is a feat we can put to bloody good use - Dimension ‘Op doesn’t have a somatic component.
[Awesome! We’ve got Hunter’s Eye, and that means our spike damage will...umm, jump really fast. 4d6 sneak attack damage puts us next to a straight-classed rogue. As for the Sphere, that gives us a means of doing lightning damage, which will be handy in a few levels. Finally, Silent Spell is a feat we can put to very good use - Dimension Hop doesn’t have a somatic component.]
8 – Spellwarp Sniper – (Spellwarp)
Shadow Phase is roight good for defense, but the winner is the utility pick of Levitate: who looks for a snoipah on the ceiling? Choose yah pozzy well and they’re gonna get real used to looking up at yew. Also, don’t let anyone whiteant the Spellwarp class feature; it’ll be roight ripper in a few levels.
[Shadow Phase is very good for defense, but the winner is the utility pick of Levitate: who looks for a sniper on the ceiling? Choose your position well and they’re gonna get real used to looking up at you. Also, don’t let anyone say the Spellwarp class feature isn’t worth it; it’ll be very strong in a few levels.]
9 – Spellwarp Sniper – (Sudden Raystrike 1d6) (Mobile Spellcasting)
Mobile Spellcastin’ is this level’s winner, lettin’ you Spring Attack with spells. Yah ‘Ide checks should be bloody spiffy at this point, so snoipe away. Blast of Flame’s a better spell than she lets on, what with her ignorin’ spell resistance.
[Mobile Spellcasting is this level’s winner, letting you Spring Attack with spells. Your Hide checks should be quite high at this point, so snipe away. Blast of Flame’s a better spell than it lets on, as it ignores spell resistance.]
10 – Spellwarp Sniper – (Precise Shot)
My god, yew’ve been shot! Did y’happen to see the handsome bloke what did it? Prolly not, if Improved Invisibility’s entered the picture. Mix it with Levitate, Mobile Spellcasting, and Shadow Phase, for a mobile snoipin’ nightmare whose miss chance will make the drongo yew’re up against do ‘is lolly. Foinally, dew note that you can spellwarp Scintillatin’ Sphere at this level.
[My god, you’ve been shot! Did you happen to see the handsome bloke that did it? Probably not, if Improved Invisibility’s entered the picture. Mix it with Levitate, Mobile Spellcasting, and Shadow Phase, for a mobile sniping nightmare whose miss chance will, um, make the moron you’re facing get...really upset. Finally, note that you can spellwarp Scintillating Sphere at this level.]
11 – Spellwarp Sniper – (Sudden Raystrike 2d6)
Good as gold! Moonbow’s a bloodly deadly addition to yah arsenal - as is a spellwarped Blast o’ Flame.
12 – Unseen Seer – (Divination Spell Power +1) (Practiced Spellcaster)
So much is happenin’ at this rip snortah of a level that yew’ll have to forgive me should I miss summat. ‘Eroics just brings a bloody bundle of options to everybody; that fat jigglin’ butterball will ‘ave to admit that yew are “kredit to team”. Black Tentacles is a third spell that lets yew root yah enemies’ Dex to AC (along with a few othah bits of theirs). Greatah Blink adds anothah miss chance on top of Improved Invisibility and Shadow Phase. And should an enemy think ‘isself saved by a natural 1 on an attack roll? ‘At’s what Altah Fortune is for! Skill beats luck, every toime.
[So much is happening at this god level that you’ll have to forgive me if I should miss something. Heroics just brings huge options to everybody; that overweight Russian will have to admit that you are a “kredit to team”. Black Tentacles is a third spell that $@#!s your enemies’ Dex to AC (among other things). Greater Blink adds another miss chance on top of Improved Invisibility and Shadow Phase. And should an enemy think himself saved by a natural 1 on an attack roll? That’s what Alter Fortune is for! Skill beats luck, every time.]
13 – Unseen Seer – (Sneak Attack 3d6)
S’pose it’s toime to explain that choice what I mentioned at level 2.
Altah Fortune is a foine spell, but it uses the immediate action, and there’s some roight fierce demand for our swift. It’s better to stick that in an action-free slot, and ‘at’s where this level’s choice comes in. If yew want a spottah and a true blue mate tew watch yah back, get a familiar and imbue ‘em. If yew’re the type what drinks with the flies and sticks to ‘is own bizzo, grab Accelerated Metamagic and Contingency.
[Alter Fortune is a fine spell, but it uses the immediate action, and there’s some fierce demand for our swift. It’s better to stick that in an action-free slot, which is where this level’s choice comes in. If you want a spotter and a true friend to watch your back, get a familiar and imbue them. If you’re the type who drinks alone and minds his own business, grab Accelerated Metamagic and Contingency.]
14 – Unseen Seer – (Advanced Learning, Guarded Mind)
We get more spells that pop roundeyes at enemies with SR, and the bewdy Dragonsight to deal with any soighting issues we might ‘ave. Grave Stroike also comes online to help yew make the undead stay cactus.
[“Pop a roundeye” = bare your buttocks at, moon; “bewdy” = great, gorgeous; “cactus” = dead, nonfunctional.]
15 – Unseen Seer – (Divination Spell Power +2) (Sanctum Spell)
Be efficient! The Sanctum Spell feat lets us bung a spell into a lower effective spell level, which enables all sorts of synergy with Imbue Familiar/Contingency, Spell Matrix, and and spellwarpin’. Spell Matrix also makes yah action economy a great bloody sight cleaner, as with it, yew can use Grave Stroike and Sniper’s Shot at the same toime.
[Be efficient! The Sanctum Spell feat lets us shift a spell into a lower effective spell level, which enables all sorts of synergy with Imbue Familiar/Contingency, Spell Matrix, and and spellwarping. Spell Matrix also makes your action economy a lot cleaner, as with it, you can use Grave Strike and Sniper’s Shot at the same time.]
16 – Unseen Seer – (Sneak Attack 4d6)
Disintegrate actually isn’t the most dangerous spell yew learn this level. With Sanctum Spell, yew can spellwarp Cyclonic Blast, which shouldn’t allow a Reflex save when spellwarped. If yew think that’ll leave yah GM mad as a cut snake, try Project Image. Yew don’t even have to be in the same bloody area to do yah snoipin’ anymore! Keep in mind yew can still make yah Image invisible and still snoipe threw it too.
[“Mad as a cut snake” = furious.]
17 – Unseen Seer – (Advanced Learning, Guarded Mind)
‘Ere, ‘ave some more damage and another immunity rooter. Yew’ve been able tew pick on any elemental vulnerability yew want for a while now; note that Polar Ray ‘as some other utility too. As for Vine Strike, it’s trew that you could choose other spells to learn, but the Snoipah build proides itself on having a plan to kill everyone yew meet.
[Again, “root” is being used a replacement for the more colorful synonym of “screw”.]
18 – Unseen Seer – (Divination Spell Power +3) (Darkstalker)
Here yew pick up Darkstalker, and not blindsoight nor tremorsense nor any of that lot are worth a zack against yew now. And the powah of Forcecage and Moment o’ Prescience hardly need any mention.
[“Not worth a zack” = not worth a penny.]
19 – Unseen Seer – (Sneak Attack 5d6)
‘Oly Dooley! Eye o’ Powah is even nastiah than Project Image when it comes to splittin’ skulls from a distance. Yew can be a cozy camper and still plug enemies who aren’t within cooee of yew. Don’t forget that Sanctum Spell lets you play games with spell level ‘ere too.
[Holy Dooley! Eye of Power is even nastier than Project Image when it comes to splitting skulls from a distance. You can be a cozy camper and still plug enemies who aren’t anywhere close to you. Don’t forget that Sanctum Spell lets you play games with spell levels here as well.]
20 – Spellwarp Sniper – (Ray Mastery)
Magic defenses like fortification armor are the only obstacles what can really ruin yah day. Now yew can turn ‘em off - and ‘ell, yew can turn off a lot o’ ‘em all at once! With this level o’ Spellwarp Snoipah and Sanctum Spell, yew can now spellwarp Acid Storm. And last but fah from least, when yew need actions roight now, Toime Stop is the spell for tha job.
Snapshot: Assumin’ yew put those last two ability increases in Dex, got +4 tomes for Dex and Cha, and ‘ave +6 items for Dex, Cha, and Con, yew’ll have a BAB o’ +14, 138 HP, a ranged attack roll o’ +22, spell save DCs o’ 20+spell level, and saves o’ +9/+16/+17 before resistance cloaks. An Orange Ioun Stone gives us a castah level of 21, with 24 for divination spells (thank yew Practiced Spellcastah for takin’ the bit out o’ Unseen Seer). That’s 8d6 extra dice o’ Sneak Attack once yew cast Hunter’s Oiye, on top o’ the 5d6 yew already ‘ad (and 2d6 sudden stroike on rays).
Let’s pick a target and show our stuff! Take the Nightcrawlah Nightshade, a CR 18 undead with 212 hp, SR 31, and a touch AC o’ 6. With Greater Shadow and Greater Silent Moves on some light armor, the Snoipah’s boastin’ a +49 Hide and Move Silently check to the ‘Crawlah’s +33 Spot and Listen (and Altah Fortune in case o’ emergency). With yah CL, Melf’s Unicorn Arrow will fire five arrows (at full bonus) a range o’ 310 feet (far enough for a -31 penalty to Spot checks!), ignorin’ Spell Resistance. So yew sneak up on that undead wankah with ease, triggah Snoiper’s Shot and Grave Stroike threw Spell Matrix, and pop ‘im for 5 doses o’ 13d6+1d8+8 damage each (an average o’ 58 damage). If all hit (and yew only miss on a 1), you’ll do enough damage to oneshawt the ‘Crawlah within one round. If 2 ‘Crawlahs are yah CR 20 encounter, you can spend a round resettin’ yah Spell Matrix and then pop the second on round 3; good luck to the wankah if ‘e thinks ‘ell spot yew at that distance. I just bagged me the world’s fattest shade - twoice!
- Lesser Orb of Cold, Sniper's Shot, True Strike, Golem Strike, Grease, Grave Strike*, Vine Strike*
- Scorching Ray, Dimension Hop, Levitate, Cloud of Knives, Heroics, Hunter's Eye
- Scintillating Sphere, Shadow Phase, Melf's Unicorn Arrow, Alter Fortune
- Blast of Flame, Improved Invisibility, Evard's Black Tentacles, Orb of Force
- Moonbow, Greater Blink, Dragonsight, Cyclonic Blast,
- Imbue Familiar with Spell Ability, Acid Storm, Disintegrate
- Spell Matrix, Project Image, Forcecage
- Polar Ray, Moment of Prescience, Chain Dispel
- Eye of Power, Time Stop
Overall Strengths: ‘Is blood’s worth bottlin’, mates! The Snoipah is a dangerous offensive castah with lots of utility and trapscoutin’ ability on the soide ta boot. ‘E’ll always be able to give ‘is mates a tactical advantage, what with getting the drop on enemies, removin’ a big threat roight away, and provoidin’ various toipes of support. ‘E’s ‘ard to ‘it with those miss chances, and ‘arder to foind with his stealth expertise and many ways of launchin’ spells from someplace he isn’t really. Yew can also steal a spell slot ‘ere and there; they’ll be low level, but low level slots can fuel Snoipah’s Shot and the loike. Worth notin’ that you can blast an area as well as a single opponent; show that bomb-tossin’ waste of good Scotch and that filthy arsonist know ‘ow it’s done!
[This guy’s fricking sweet, dudes! The sniper is a dangerous offensive caster with lots of utility and trapscouting ability on the side to boot. He’ll always be able to give the party a tactical advantage, by getting the drop on enemies, removing major threats right away, and providing various types of support. He’s hard to hit with those miss chances, and harder to find with his stealth expertise and many ways of casting spells from locations other than where he really is. You can also steal a spell slot here and there; they’ll be low level, but low level slots can fuel useful spells like Sniper’s Shot. It’s worth noting that you can blast an area as well as a single opponent; show the Demoman and the Pyro how it’s done!]
Overall Weaknesses: Loike most mages, the Snoipah’s got low HP and poor Fortitude. Yew’re not Saxton Hale, mate; avoid takin’ punishment. AoE effects are another worry; the enemy’s like as not to say “Bugger!” to tha task of seekin’ yew out and just bung on as much explosive damage as ‘e can. Yew may want ta invest in a Ring o’ Evasion just in case.
[Like most mages, the Sniper’s got low HP and poor Fortitude. You’re not Saxton Hale; avoid taking punishment. AoE effects are another worry; the enemy’s likely to say “Screw this!” to the task of seeking you out and just shovel on as much explosive damage as he can in your area. You may want to invest in a Ring of Evasion just in case.]
Variants: Asoide from the familiar decision, yew’ve a lot of choice in the order of spell acquisition. As long as yew ‘ave at least two 1st level divination spells known afore yew enter Unseen Seer, yew can switch the spells around as yew please. Yew can also switch more ‘an a few o’ the spells out if yew think yew don’t need quoite so much direct damage. The given spell list is just ta make sure the Snoipah can take advantage o’ any possible energy vulnerability. If yew hold on to Scorching Ray, Melf’s Unicorn Arrow, Orb of Force, Cyclonic Blast, Disintegrate, and at lease one more no-SR spell, it should all be ripper.
There yew ‘ave it. The #1 Snoipah can delivah vicious spoike damage from beyond the Black Stump, and still pull trapscoutin’, area blastin’, and utility castin’ when yah mates need it. God Save the Queen - unless she needs long-distance fire support, in which case He can sod off and leave the shootin’ to a dinkum Aussie!
Next up: Oi’m gonna run things a bit differently from ‘ow Tempest ‘andled votin’ - whassat? Drop the accent?....Okay, okay. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be rolling in free time either, so I’m going to get as much as I can done in advance, and that means early voting.
You have two (2) votes each, for two different options. I’ve seen a lot of good melee builds waiting in the wings for this showcase, and I’ve also noticed that I’m a bit overrepresented in the recent weeks. So it’s going to be all about the close quarters dirty work, as others have managed it. Your options are [AR] Dreamblade, [AR] Slash and Burn, [DH] Psycarnum Warrior, [DH] Eat, Sleep, Gank, [AR] Uberflank, [Various*] Deathblow, and [AR] Evasion Tank. The first three involve psionics, just so you know. I’d like to have the two front runners by next Friday.
Comments are open, and be sure to leave your votes!