The Colossus of War
Note: This is my favorite build of all time, which got deleted during the forum update. I've had a couple requests to repost it, so here it is. I don't recommend actually playing this character verbatim, as it would likely cause your DM's head to explode, but you can take and adapt as many elements from it as you think your DM would find to be reasonable. (ShakaUVM - 1/4/10)
The build demonstrates the abusability of the Archivist base class from Heroes of Horror, which is an intelligence-based and spellbook-based divine caster that can cast ANY divine spell, including cleric spells, druid spells, spells that appear on any domain list, and initiate-only feats. Being able to persistent, say, a holy star is what sets the build well above other Gish builds (at least from what I saw in the competion). 20th level dwarf, 32 stat point build, standard equipment, no house rules, all 3e and 3.5 books allowed. The Colossus can take a Hecachonteries in a stand up, beat down fight. Heck, he can kill a heca without throwing a single attack at all.
The class can be tweaked in any number of different ways. Reckless Rage is a worthless feat that can be swapped out for any of a number of different feats. His spell list is flexible (can cast any divine spell up to 9th, and any arcane up to 5th) with 9th level spells and a caster level of 18th. Unlike most gishes, all his high level slots are free. He doesn't burn 9th level slots on quickened righteous mights. You can fill up his list wist as many persistent spells per day. It just costs you a lesser restoration to persistent any spell. Much better than DMM. His equipment is generic, and can be swapped out for individual needs.
Swap out spellblades for whatever spells are common in your campaign. By default he's immune to greater dispel and reaving dispel, the achilles' tendon of any gish.
He was originally written for a gish competition on the CO boards, which had certain restrictions, like no shapechanging magic. It's interesting to see how much power can be squeezed out of 3.5 D&D without resorting to the most overpowered spells in the system, like shapechange or polymorph any object.
Original post follows:
I thought I'd roll up a gish just because the challenge of a self buffing fighter that can't use Shapechange (my staple spell) is interesting for me. This is with a minimum of research, I'm sure much better could be done. This is just a proof of concept of a guy that walks around colossal sized all day long. He runs around at 90% of his efficiency all day long. If he gets time to buff, he can squeeze a few more points of AC, + to hit, etc. out. He's almost impossible to dispel except through the cheese that is disjunction. If allowed, he'd have a miracle up to protect against it. Scott O'Neil is to credit for the discovery of the ultimate cheese of the Archivist, though the combination with Spelldancer and giant size was my invention.
Also, in my living campaign (www.livingplanar.com) we've banned the worst of this stuff, so it is always fun to demonstrate why. =)
Just looking at the other posts in the gish competition, he seems to come in with about double the hit points, and 20 to 40 points higher in attack sequence and AC than the other guys. He also doesn't need to buff in combat, and is more or less immune to being dispelled.
Archivist is from Heroes of Horror. Essentially, they are wizards that cast divine spells. They use intelligence for spellcasting and cast cast any divine spell. Including spells that only appear on Initiate Feats, like the uberness of Holy Star.
Heavy weapons are from Forgotten Realms. Essentially they increase the size category damage of a weapon, but require their own special exotic weapon proficiency.
Spelldancer is from Forgotten Realms, and can apply metamagic feats to spells at no cost (at worst, you take 2 points of con damage and are fatigued, which he himself can cure with restorations)
Giant Size is from Oriental Adventures. It is a size-only increase, not shapechanging, so it is allowed under the rules. It's essentially a 7th level Enlarge Person.
Nimbleness armor is a +1 enhancement that increases the dex bonus on a armor by +2.
Flying weapons are from forgotten realms, and are a low powered dancing weapon. Essentially for a +1 bonus, the weapon can be released like a dancing weapon, but they only attack and deal damage as animated objects. Essentially, I just use it so the colossal weapons can carry themselves when I'm dressing, since they have no duration.
Player Name: Bill Kerney
Character Name: THE COLOSSUS OF WAR
Race: Deep Dwarf
Str: 66 [14 base + 6 divine power + 32 giant size + 5 tome + 6 rage + 5 level increases] (6)
Dex: 22 [14 base + 6 gloves/+10 divine agility - 2 giant size] (6)
Con: 42 [14 base + 2 dwarf + 6 amulet + 12 giant size + 2 tome + 6 rage] (6)
Int: 20 [16 base + 4 headband] (10)
Wis 22 [12 base + 10 owl's wisdom] (4)
Cha 6 [8 base - 2 dwarf] (0)
Hit points = 482 HP base / 782 HP in one round vs spells / 1,562 HP vs Melee [139.5 base +320 (Con) = (459.5 HP + 22 temp + 300 (two contingent Heals)) x 2 Amulet of Retribution]. x4 hp from Improved Blink (50% miss chance) and Starmantle (reflex saves DC 15 to halve melee damage) = effectively 6,248 HP vs Melee!
Initiative: +11 (+6 Dex +5 Kauper's Skittish Nerves)
Move Speeds: 60' land [20 base + 10 barbarian + 30 haste], 120' fly [90 base + 30 haste] (good maneuverability, 24/7)
AC: 71 AC (all day long), 82 AC buffed, Max 106 AC
Up all day long:
+13 armor (+5 mithral full plate of nimbleness)
+2 armor (silverbeard, stacks with full plate)
+7 shield (animated +5 shield)
+1 insight (ioun stone)
+12 base natural armor
+10 Circumstance (Holy Star)
+4 Sacred Bonus (FR spell) (alternatively use shield of warding for +5 sacred to AC and reflex saves for only 1 min/level)
+8 Deflection (Extended Armor of Darkness)
+4 Cover (Bigby's)
+3 unnamed Archivist Bonus
+3 luck Recitation
+1 morale Divine Protection
+4 vs Giants
+20 moment of prescience
Max: 106 (not raging)
(If he took defending weapons and improved expertise (which he certainly has the int for), he could pump his AC up another 25 points, for a maximum of 106+25+3 (fighting defensively) = 134 AC max, 114 AC just walking around, which would let him tank a Hecachonteries with ease. Would need another one of these guys to kill it though. But he's not a tank, he's a gish, which is why he doesn't have defensive feats like that.)
Additional defenses up 24/7:
Must make Fort Save or be stunned when approaching (Hand of Torm)
50% miss chance due to Persistent Greater Blink
SR34 from spell resistance.
Shield of the Archons (negates one hostile spell per round)
Radiant Shield (reflect 1d6+22 electricity every time hit) + Half damage from electricity
As many Energy Immunities as your campaign allows (some one, some allow all five)
Optional: Starmantle Cloak to be immune to nonmagical attacks, half damage from magical weapons.
Optional: DR10/adamantine (from Stone Body)
Saves (including +3 dwarf bonus vs spells, +4 shield of the archons, +4 Will from rage and +1 Ref from haste):
Reflex: +24 + Improved Evasion in full plate
Saves with Temporary Bonuses (Recitation, Hand of Divinity and Shield of Warding):
Reflex: +33 + Improved Evasion in full plate
Barbarian: Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Heavy Spiked Chain [Rage]
Fighter: (Weapon Focus: Heavy Spiked Chain)
Archivist: Endurance [+3 to hit enemies]
Archivist: [+3 to saves] /* This ability isn't used in this post */
Archivist: Combat Casting, (Skill Focus: Knowledge (Religion))
Archivist: [Ability to Stun with Knowledge Checks 6/day]
Contemplative: (Extend Spell) /* Planning Domain */
Spelldancer: Persistent Spell [Ability to persistent unlimited spells per day for free!]
Divine Oracle: Reckless Rage (alternatively Extra Rage), [Prescient Sense]
Church Inquisitor: [Inquisition Domain] /* +4 on dispel checks */
Exotic Weapon Master: [Flurry of Strikes with spiked chain]
Special Abilities of note:
Casts 9th level spells at 18th caster level (22nd CL when buffing for the day).
His abilities function 24/7 due to persistent spell and the spelldancer's ability to add metamagic for free to spells. The first 2 persistents are free, each extra one requires a save or a casting of lesser restoration. He has lots of lesser restorations.
Archivists can cast ANY DIVINE spell (not just cleric spells), so he has cherry picked all the best spells from druids, shujenjas, rangers, paladins, domain spells, initiate feats, etc.
Since he can cast Greater Anyspell at will, he can replicate any 5th level or lower wizard spell as well. Archivists can stun creatures with a knowledge check (no save).
He is colossal sized 24/7, due to persistent Giant Size spell (Oriental Adventures).
All of his attacks catch opponents flat footed due to persistent Greater Blink.
Can full attack on a charge
He takes half damage from melee, reflecting the other half back at the people that hit him. With 482 HP (782 HP counting contingent Heals) it is highly unlikely he will die in melee. Even if people can hit him, they will die before he does. Essentially, he has to take 1584 damage in melee in one round to kill him.
Full attacks start at +59 to hit (+42 final attack), if all hits land deals 648 damage +8 Con damage
Has a persistant gutsnake to grapple hapless foes (+64 on grapple checks) on top of the full attack action
Max Two Luck Domain rerolls in a round (maximum 14 extra charges of luck)
Reflect Spell 1/day (item)
Fly all day long at 90' (good), 120' when hasted
Evasion in Full Plate + half damage from AOE Spells = Improved Evasion in full plate (essentially)
Immunity to Greater Dispel Magic and Reaving Dispel (item)
Immunity to Fear, Charms and Compulsions (item)
Immune to Crits and Sneak Attacks (item)
Permanent Immunity from Arrows (permanent Wind Wall) and immune to weather effects
Dispels other Gish's spells at +4
Can flurry of blows with a 2 handed heavy spiked chain
120 foot darkvision racial
Can go incorporeal and attack with ghost touch weapon on the prime material plane
Move action to get +3 to hit against a foe
Move action to Stun (no save) a foe
Skills of note: His skills are unimportant. He has plenty due to his high Int, which is generally spent on meeting prereqs, and maxxing out Knowledge Skills. At least Planes and Undead will be at +34, allowing him to stun/daze outsiders and undead of roughly 34HD and less without a save, taking only a move action. He also has max ranks in tumble (as a dwarf, he can tumble in full plate).
Spells of Note: He can cast any divine spell, and will cherry pick from all the lists. Generally speaking, most of his 2nd level spells will be lesser restorations so he can do the following power up suite each day:
Persistent Giant Size
Persistent Divine Favor
Persistent Divine Power
Persistent Righteous Might (doesn't stack with Giant Size, but gives DR9/evil)
Persistent Master Air (druid spell -- permanent flying at 90')
Persistent Greater Blink (from celerity domain, no miss chance on own attacks, 50% miss from incoming attacks, 50% from AOE spells, lets you attack as if you were invisible)
Persistent Holy Star (+10 to AC)
Persistent Gutsnake (cast via Greater Anyspell)
Persistent Silverbeard (+2 armor to AC, stacks with armor)
Persistent Stormrage (fly + immune to weather + Wind Wall 24/7)
Persistent Shield of the Archons (negates one hostile spell per round, +4 unnamed bonus on all saves)
Persistent Radiant Shield (deals 1d6+22 electricity damage every time hit, half damage from lightning)
Extended Spell Resistance (SR34)
Extended Owl's Wisdom (+10 to wisdom for 2 hours)
Items of Note:
(Colossal sized equipment costs x16 in base materials)
Nimbleness (+2 max dex) Death Ward Heavy Fortification Mithral Full Plate (Magic Vestment to +5): 12,000gp base cost + 64k magic = 76k
Animated Reflecting Heavy Shield (Magic Vestment to +5): 64k
Ghost Touch Wounding Spellblade (Greater Dispel Magic) Doomwarding Platinum Spiked Chain (GMW to +5): 70k
Spellblade (Reaving Dispel) Doomwarding Armor Spikes: 43k
Boots of Speed: 12k
Amulet of Retribution: 56k (half the melee damage taken by wearer is reflected back to attacker -- Book of Exalted Deeds cheese)
+5 cloak of resistance = 25k
Manual of Bodily Health (+2) = 55k
Manual of Gainful Excercise (+5) = 134k
+4 gloves of dex = 16x
+2 headband = 4k
+6 amulet of health = 36k
Dagger of Warding (12k) grant immunity to fear, charms and compulsions (FR)
Necklace of Prayer Beads (Standard): 26k
Pale Green Ioun Stone (+1 to attacks and saves): 30k
Orangle Ioun Stone (+1 caster level): 30k
Dusty Rose Ioun Stone (+1 insight to AC): 5k
=714k (change left over to transcribe spells into spellbook, off scrolls if necessary)Books: Oriental Adventures, Heroes of Horror, Player's Guide to Faerun, Magic of Faerun, Complete Warrior, Complete Divine, Book of Exalted Deeds.
Why is this character the ultimate Gish? His maximum attack sequence is:
+59/+59/+57/+57/+57/+52/+47/+42 with all attacks catching the enemy flatfooted.
(Normal All Day Long attack sequence of only: +57/+57/+57/+52/+47/+42)
A colossal heavy spiked chain deals 8d6 per hit. Each hit deals averages 81 damage + 1 Con (Wounding). He thus does 648 damage +8 Con WITHOUT USING POWER ATTACK. If he had power attack, he'd do 968 damage a round with full power attack. (He can easily swap out Reckless Rage for Power Attack if he feels saucy.)
Attacks (with haste):
+5 weapon enhancement bonus
+1 weapon focus
+20 BAB (/ +64 grapple)
+1 insight to hit (ioun stone)
+3 luck divine favor
-8 size modifier
+2 Invisible from Greater Blink (plus enemy is flatfooted)
+2 morale bonus righteous wrath of the faithful
+3 unnamed Archivist Bonus (Tactics)
=+57/+57/+57/+52/+47/+42 (haste, flurry, then 4 from BAB)
If burning gold like water (burning 2 doomwarding charges at 7k per charge):
+3 luck divine favor
+2 morale righteous wrath
+2 CON damage (wounding
=8d6+53+2 CON per hit
...plus a gutnsake for a free attack and improved grab to handle grappling (+64 on grapple checks is pretty decent). Can drag around grappled people without issue.
All attacks hit for: 486 damage + 12 CON damage (no power attack) or 648 damage +16 CON if burning doomwarding charges.
Alternatively, he can stun a creature with a move action (no save), once per creature per day, as long as the creature has around 21HD or less, or can daze (no save) a creature with 31HD or less (plus or minus 10HD depending on the knowledge roll). If they are of the right type.
He's +31 (+33 on two) on Knowledge Checks. Depending on how many skill points he has left over controls how many different types of monsters he can stun/daze. He'd definitely have outsiders and undead at +33. His AC starts at 69 and tops out at around 80 to 100 without fighting defensively or using improved combat expertise.
His abilities are up 24/7. He does not need to waste precious combat actions casting spells. Given time to buff, he can squeeze a few more points out in every category.
He can cast any divine spell in the game, and any wizard spell of 5th level or lower (Or 6th using limited wishes)
He is COLOSSAL SIZED all day long. How cool is that? Grapple checks, obstacles? Hah! He spits on them. Plus he terrifies his enemies. The only downside to Giant size is that he has to buy colossal sized equipment. Giant size does not resize your existing equipment.
He is impossible to dispel using dispel magic, or targetted greater dispel magic or reaving dispel. Disjunction can't be stopped, but it is cheese, and banned in most campaigns anyway. If the campaign allows it, he would burn a miracle to become immune to disjunction.
He can take a Hecatoncheires in a stand up, beat down fight. The fight isn't even close to being fair for the Heca, in fact. (See below)
He can spell turn any spell once per day, and can spell turn targetted reaving dispels and greater dispels back on the caster all day long (no ring of counterspells here!).
He can dispel other Gishs at a maximum of +24 on his greater dispel magic checks (Inquisition Domain)
He can have up two contingent Heals using Contingency (Heal) and Spell Phylactery (Bracer Slot): Heal (Heal can indeed be Phylacteried.) This effectively gives him an extra 300 hit points, to needing to be hit for 792 hit points (782+10) in one round to kill him, or 1,584 HP! in melee damage in one round to kill him (due to the amulet of retribution reflecting half back). And whoever is attacking him will almost assuredly die first. Counting Starmantle (no damage from nonmagical weapons and half damage from magical weapons) and Improved Blink (50% miss chance) we're honestyly talking about 6,336 HP of melee damage to kill him.
Did I mention he's colossal? And has a ridiculously high AC and attack sequence to go with it. He can full attack on a charge. Unlike other Gishes, he can go all day long, without needing to rebuff. He can also cast Heal and Mass Heal, unlike most Gishs, who are arcane.
His ability to stun without a save is ridiculous, costing him only a move action to knock any outsider or undead out of the combat for a round, with no save. He can do it 6/day, but no more than once per opponent.
He can trade off Reckless Rage (for -2 to str and con, +2 to AC), for Extra Rage so that he can rage less hard but more often.
He can buy a defending weapon (instead of the useless flying ability) and take Expertise and Improved Combat Expertise to hit AC125 or so. The current build is an aggressive build, not a defensive build.
His only weakness is a lack of great cleave and combat reflexes. Not a big deal since with 6-8 attacks a round he will do just fine without cleaving. The only weakness is against swarms of low level opponents, against which he'd just use a Wail of the Banshee or AOE damage spell. Combat reflexes could be really good, but in high level combat, many opponents ignore AOOs from movement and from spellcasting due to high tumble and concentration scores. Reckless Rage could be dropped for Combat Reflexes (and then maybe Large and In Charge) to have a more consistent, all-day-long type character, at the cost of a little bit of to hit and burst damage.
Special competitions: He does fine, just fine, against any special circumstance. Evil bad guy in a castle? Poke him through the window in top of his tower. Dragons? Magical Beasts? Anything? Just beat the living daylights out of him. His sole weakness is areas too small to support his large stature, of which there are always ways around. He is a full progression spellcaster, who doesn't need to burn higher level slots on metamagic (a +6 persistent spell of a 7th level spell only takes a 7th level spell slot for him), which means all his top spell slots (8th and 9th level spells) are free for utility, offense, whatever. His powerup suite just takes his useless mid-level spells. This is HUGE difference from most gishes, who burn all their 9th level spells on Shapechanges and Quickened Righteous Mights.
Lower Levels: Essentially, you can play around with the build order -- as long as you have divine spells and spelldancer, you can persistent anything. So maybe below about 8th level he's just another boring cleric type, but past that he's a permanently buffed fighting machine. There's really no dead levels in the build though. A barbarian1/fighter1 with weapon focus in a 2d6 spiked chain is about as good as characters get at 2nd level, you know?
Anti-magic: He can swap out Reckless Rage for Initiate of Mystra, with some finagleing. Alternatively, he just miracles to become immune.
Hecatoncheires: Apparently, comparing your build against a Heca is all the rage these days. Essentially, to fight a Heca (a +37CR combat) he'd need a few rounds to put up his temporary buff spells (including Holy Weapon to stop his regeneration). Once done, he's above the death point (93AC is when the Heca starts needing to roll 20s to hit), and will only be taking 2.5 hits per round (5 nat 20s / 2 blink), or about 22 damage a round, which is insignificant (the heca will also take 22). AC70 is only +12 above my top attack rolls. With 80 damage + 7 holy - 20 DR = 57 damage per hit, we're looking at about 18 hits to kill, or maybe 3-4 rounds or so. Maybe 5 or 6 counting his fast healing. It doesn't matter, the heca will be doing piddly damage every round, and won't even break through to the first contingent Heal by the time it dies. In fact, in all honesty, he could just lie down and let the Heca full attack him, and the reflected damage from the Amulet of Retribution would still almost be enough alone to kill the Heca without doing anything else (since it bypasses his DR). The fight would go like this:
0) Prep, then lie down, let the heca power attack for full or whatever. Maybe Bear's Heart for 80 temp hp or so.
1) Heca begins full attack sequence
2) Readied Action (Mass Heal goes off at half life) to heal 250 hp.
3) Character now has more effective max hp than the Heca
4) Therefore the Heca dies from reflected damage before character dies
*Powerful Magic: Able to manifest 9th level spells from all divine spell lists, and arcane spells of 5th-6th level and less
*High Base Attack: +20 BAB by 20th level.
*No ASF: Divine Spells are not subject to ASF.
*High Armor Class: Without buffs he has 69 AC, which meets the greater than or equal to 40 constraint.
*High Damage: He tops out at 968 damage a round, plus 8 con damage, which is well above 200 a round.
*No Form Altering: Giant size isn't form altering. Per the rules, it is merely an enlargement effect, and is allowed.
-ShakaUVM 06-10-06, 02:04 AM