Weekly Optimization Showcase: Wizsassin

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It's Friday again! And this time, people have made the case for me to post two builds this week. I don't mind, it helps clear out the queue some.

(It's also been a month of me posting these, so I'll shorten the preamble.) 

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, Radical Taoist, DisposableHero_, Andarious, Sionnis, and Seishi - and 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!).

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.

With that out of the way, let's get started. This week, two builds: in this thread, by popular demand, I’m presenting a build entirely from Andarious that I’ve been talking about for a while.  

WIZSASSIN
*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: 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 



  • 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: 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: 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: 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 problem. (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.



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

*
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)
*
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)
*
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)
*
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)
*
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)
*
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)
*
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)
*
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)
*
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)
*
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)
*
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)
*
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)
*
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)
*
Hey, why not?

18 – Ultimate Magus – (Arcane Spell Power +4, Expanded Spell Knowledge: 5th) (Quicken Spell)
*
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)
*
Well, technically +3d6 due to Unseen Seer’s damage bonus... or +10d6 with Persistent Hunter's Eye. Not a bad finish.


Snapshot: 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 pack an 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: 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: 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:  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!)


 



 


There you have it. An assassin caster where the assassin list is, in fact, the primary source of strength, who resultingly plays like a magical assassin rather than a wizard pretending at the role. The fact that you actually are a wizard, and a very powerful one at that, is beside the point.


 


Next up: Due to other discussion, next week will probably be the Storm Knight... but other options include my Inevitable Nightmare, Andarious’ Captain Constitution (note: these two builds actually go together), a joint Andarious/Tempest Heavy Crusader, or a theoretical build of mine (the first to be showcased) called Gun Fu. Go ahead and place your votes!

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Don't overlook Extend spell on hour/level buffs even starting at level 9 that's a lot of power out of simple spells like Mage Armor (or The SC upgrade).


While I put Persistant Spell into the build at 11, it doesn't actually WORK until 12, it's a bit of a weakpoint in the build, but it was the best feat economy.


Regarding the final 2 levels, do whatever you want really. More Unseen Seer's fine, a PRC you're hot for? Go for it. I just wanted more Assassin CL for the boost in Hunter's eye, those two levels give 2d6 SA and a lot more slots to mess with, or I would not have bothered. As Tempest says, the final levels are quite up in the air, as are many of the feats. It was all about what seemed best for the task at hand.


Regarding equipment, yes there's a high cost to having this sort of power. The guy's basically an egg head. One more thing to keep in mind is the economy this build gets out of Rings of Wizardry, like any Ultimate magus the value is significantly higher for the Wizsassin than for a single school arcanist. This build should certainly have a Ring of Wizardry 4 at the earliest convenience.

Nice!  Whatever I thought this was going to be, this certainly wasn't it.  Quite the inventive way to use Ultimate Magus, I didn't expect it and I was pleasently surprised.  The only way to make it even morre awesome would be to find a war god to worship and get Arcane Disciple: War to get Divine Power.  I wonder what this would look like in Epic levels; perhaps finishing out Assassin and going into Arcane Trickster wouldn't be a bad idea.

All in all, this was an awesome build, Stormwind.  Kudos, and thanks, to you and the rest of your friends for coming out with these builds that the rest of us can enjoy them.
I like it. I think it's the the first UM build I see that uses Assassin (but it's been a while).
Also, making an Assassin who has glowing symbols around his head is ballsy. ;)

You mention Persisting Touch spells though, which isn't really mainstream (FAQ...).

Also, Complete Mage has a few decent Assassin spells:
Critical Strike => ignore concealment for 1 attack
Deathsight => no need to wait 3 rounds to make your Death Attack
Vital Strike => (corner case) SA even that weird NPC who has True Seeing and Improved Uncanny Dodge.
Unfortunately none of them benefit from Persisting.

OoP's characters
My current character in Real Adventures Play-by-Post games:

 

  • Maeve in The Lost History of Istar


 
This is awesome, I'd play this and probably not get slapped for it too. I'd thought about wiz/assassin/Ultimate magus but could not think of a way to do it. 
 If you can get Body outside body then you can laugh as your clones all death attack.

 Seriously awesome.

 I vote Storm Knight. Followed by Gun Fu (Which strikes me as a monk/Bloodstorm blade)

  
This is Andarious' baby, not mine, and he's already posted here, so thanks all go to him, please!

  The only way to make it even morre awesome would be to find a war god to worship and get Arcane Disciple: War to get Divine Power.


As I mentioned earlier, you have slightly better base attack than most wizards, and they don't seem to have a problem hitting with ray spells, and you can spontaneously cast Targeting Ray if you want. Divine Power is for melee; this is more of a ranged assassin.

 You mention Persisting Touch spells though, which isn't really mainstream (FAQ...).


I can never remember if that's kosher or not. Even without it, though, the build integrity is fine.

 Critical Strike => ignore concealment for 1 attack
Deathsight => no need to wait 3 rounds to make your Death Attack
Vital Strike => (corner case) SA even that weird NPC who has True Seeing and Improved Uncanny Dodge.


I'll have to look those up. If they're already assassin spells then runestaffs will work for them too; the tricky selection is Expanded Spell Knowledge, which requires non-assassin, wizard spells. 

  If you can get Body outside body then you can laugh as your clones all death attack.


You can't, but honestly, why would you want to? Death Attack is very overrated, and you don't need it to be an assassin. Here, it's like cheering that your character can put a knife in its boot, while said character is currently wearing the Iron Man suit. You kind of have better options.

Followed by Gun Fu (Which strikes me as a monk/Bloodstorm blade)


It has neither of those classes. (Although since its name is an actual term, instead of a whimsical name - google it, and you'll see; it has a few other synonyms - it kind of gives the game away as for style.)  Good try, though. 

(Storm Knight is going up regardless; this'll be the last week for a while with two builds coming up. Might make that a monthly thing.) 

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Consider this, you can deliver a death attack with a Split Ray Disintigrate... Make three fort saves, 1 DC X and 2 DC Y, if you fail the first, don't bother with the other two... if you fail the other two... we'll talk damage. That's the sort of thing this guy uses for Assassination attempts. Nothing fancy... just PILES of damage that potentially kill you outright, and even if they don't you might just be taking 100d6 (that's 350 damage on average).

Even IF all the targets saves are passes, if they don't have Mettle they're taking 30d6, nothing to sneeze at. 
How well does is work without access to the DMG2 or RoD?  I know skills are a bit tougher to come by but Wizard/Assassin/UM can still be done.
Consider this, you can deliver a death attack with a Split Ray Disintigrate... Make three fort saves, 1 DC X and 2 DC Y, if you fail the first, don't bother with the other two... if you fail the other two... we'll talk damage. That's the sort of thing this guy uses for Assassination attempts. Nothing fancy... just PILES of damage that potentially kill you outright, and even if they don't you might just be taking 100d6 (that's 350 damage on average).


Hey, why are you posting in the middle of game night? We need your crusader to kick in a door.

/me puts away the hypocrisy hat. 

Still, good point. And it boggles the mind that at least two of the suggested builds up for a vote this time could actually survive that, taking maybe just  30d6 (105 damage) and still have most of their HP left. And that's assuming you can even hit one of those builds with rays, which is far easier said than done.  (EDIT: Wait, at least one of the builds has Improved Uncanny Dodge, so that drops it to a mere 10d6 even if both rays hit, which it can shrug off to hilarious effect...)

...In the name of showmanship, I'll leave figuring out which two of those builds I'm talking about as an exercise to the reader. If you're curious, vote for them!


How well does is work without access to the DMG2 or RoD?  I know skills are a bit tougher to come by but Wizard/Assassin/UM can still be done.


The first version of this resorted to using rogue levels at the start. It also didn't use illumian (Gray Elf), so it worked out to a 25/17 CL build that was slightly less magical. (Rogue 1 / Wiz 3 / Rogue +1 / Assassin then progress as above, with PSc(Assassin) used to get its CL above WIzard for the usual UM stunt.)

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

I'm going to assume that captain constitution is a survivor of the attack, as is Heavy Crusader.

I definitely want to see Gun Fu, but Storm Knight has been there for that long that I want to see that too. 

As for body outside body death attack... just another reason for a DM to throw the books at you. Or in our case because the Wizard is banned from one of the next games so I'm looking at stuff to do with a Wu Jen. Which could still work instead of Wizard
 
How well does is work without access to the DMG2 or RoD?  I know skills are a bit tougher to come by but Wizard/Assassin/UM can still be done.



It can be done, originally it WAS done. I took only a single Assassin level rather than 3, and used two rogue levels to qualify, 1st and 5th, so as to optimize ranks. The 4th and 5th wizard levels went on at the end, to get the bonus feat (wasn't worth the feat prereqs to get a PRC worth taking, really).

I have to say I think this is my favorite build from your group yet. I’m a fan of high level casters and rouge builds alike and it’s splendid to see them mesh so well. I tossed out an idea for a wiz/ asn magus build a while ago to some of my friends (just a rough concept, I never perused the idea to its fullest for some reason or another) but an idea I had was to use spectral hand to deliver death attacks, but it was never agreed upon if it would work. My general argument was that even though it delivered the attack from a range since the hand made the attack contact and was adjacent, the maneuver could be done. The obvious argument was that even though it delivers touch attacks it was still a ranged medium and therefore didn’t qualify. Has anyone in your group brought this idea up by chance? After seeing the build the idea came that someone might have, and if not, what do you guys think on the matter?


p.s- my vote is for storm Knight, I've been dyeing to see it!

I've always loved this build, and was actually thinking of adapting some elements from it to a potential character.

That said, I was re-reading the apprentice rules from the DMG2, and I couldn't find any mentor type that grants Hide/Move Silently.  Is this just operating under the assumption that a mentor can be found for any two skills?  I always assumed it had to be chosen from one of the eight mentor types listed on pages 177 & 178.  (And actually, when talking about becoming a mentor on page 179, it again reiterates the eight mentor types.)
I've always loved this build, and was actually thinking of adapting some elements from it to a potential character.

That said, I was re-reading the apprentice rules from the DMG2, and I couldn't find any mentor type that grants Hide/Move Silently.  Is this just operating under the assumption that a mentor can be found for any two skills?  I always assumed it had to be chosen from one of the eight mentor types listed on pages 177 & 178.  (And actually, when talking about becoming a mentor on page 179, it again reiterates the eight mentor types.)



The DM can create new mentor types using the listed mentors as guidelines




On page 175. 
Replacing the last level of Assassin for Spellthief, taking this level earlier (at 18) to replace Twin Spells for Master Spellthief is a good sugestion i guess.

You lose +1d6 of Sneak Attack and Twin Spells, but you merge your caster levels reaching something around 40 which can be VERY good with Hunter's Eye and a lot of buffs. You can use Steal Spell too with great power.

But there's something i'm not certain about:

I want to add Uncanny Trickster 3 to the build, so UM will be considered level 12 and will be able to apply Augmented Casting on 6th and lower level spells instead of 5th, but then we lose Unseen Seer (and one not so important level of Assassin) AND more importantly: Hunter's Eye.

Is there another way to get that spell?
Well, realized that Uncanny Trickster/Legacy Champion wouldn't work properly since after 10th level Dual PrC starts to progress only one spellcasting time at each level, so even with Augmented Casting working on 6th spells this build wouldn't be as effective.

But Spellthief and Master Spellthief still can be add to the build without losing Twin Spell:

Magical/Special Location - The Frog God's Fane

Level 19 – Spellthief 1
Level 20 – Loremaster 1 – Secret: Applicable Knowledge (Master Spellthief)

You won't lose much as Assassin (only Uncanny Dodge which isn't that good), and will gain caster level and Steal Spell level around 40.
Now I still think this is my favourite build going but I've a question, what adjustments must be made for a non-illumian as we don't have them in the setting
It will just slow your Wizard casting progression moderately and you'll have to cap out with 2 more Wizard progression to get 9ths, like more Unseen Seer is a good choice for one.
It will just slow your Wizard casting progression moderately and you'll have to cap out with 2 more Wizard progression to get 9ths, like more Unseen Seer is a good choice for one.


Krau sigil doesn't progress your spells like you had an extra level in your spellcasting class. It only increase you CL on spells by 1, meaning that it can never grant you higher level spells than your class allows you to cast.
You're right, but that's not what I'm saying. Ultimate Magus has advancement that's reliant on your highest Caster Level, if your Assassin casting falls behind your wizard Casting then you'll advance Assassin automatically on at least one level, delaying your 9ths a bit. Without Krau Sigil this build will have that problem. It's not huge, but it is there.
So what it's still perfectly playable? I suppose human effectively makes Apprentice free
You're right, but that's not what I'm saying. Ultimate Magus has advancement that's reliant on your highest Caster Level, if your Assassin casting falls behind your wizard Casting then you'll advance Assassin automatically on at least one level, delaying your 9ths a bit. Without Krau Sigil this build will have that problem. It's not huge, but it is there.



Ah okay I see. However I don't understand how Illumian helps one of the casting classes to catch up with the other. This CL boost applies to every spell (both from Wizard and Assassin), does it not? Care to enlighten me?
Still totally viable, as you say.  The caster level bonus caps at your total HD, if your caster levels are equil (and they will be with Illumian and Practiced Spellcaster), then you advance whichever you prefer.
You're right, but that's not what I'm saying. Ultimate Magus has advancement that's reliant on your highest Caster Level, if your Assassin casting falls behind your wizard Casting then you'll advance Assassin automatically on at least one level, delaying your 9ths a bit. Without Krau Sigil this build will have that problem. It's not huge, but it is there.



Ah okay I see. However I don't understand how Illumian helps one of the casting classes to catch up with the other. This CL boost applies to every spell (both from Wizard and Assassin), does it not? Care to enlighten me?

The caster level advance is one or the other, not both. THus, you advance whichever one is to your best advantage to do so. You can change it, of course, usually when you level. Most DM's won't let you alter it on a whim.

By advancing the lowest casting class, you can make sure which class gets full advancement, instead of averaging things out.

==Aelryinth
Fighter vs Warblade analysis http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19573526/Analyzing_the_Fighter_vs_The_Warblade The Lockdown F/20 iconic build http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19856162/A_little_Lock_build_for_you
I'm not sure we're looking at the same thing Aelrynth. I'm speaking of Krau Sigil, and the fact it boosts your caster level for all Spells and Spell-Like abilities by 1 (to a maximum value of your character leve). This is +2 if you have two sigils, or +3 if you also have Enhanced Power Sigils (which is unlikely to be worth it with Practiced Spellcaster providing 4 to a single class rather than 1 for each class).