Weekly Optimization Showcase: Storm Knight

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I'm going to be rather busy for most of tomorrow (it's conference season), so I'm putting this up today.

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’s another one of mine. The response last week was almost unanimously for this particular build; I like it but had to make quite a few compromises along the way. I hope it lives up to the hype.

STORM KNIGHT
Another kind of gish

Required Books: Eberron Campaign Setting, Dragonmarked, Tome of Battle, Races of Destiny. (A couple dragonmark powers reference spells in the Spell Compendium and in Magic of Eberron.)
Unearthed Arcana used: Flaws, although you could do without them; it doesn’t mess with the timing at all.

Background: I’ve loved the lore of House Lyrandar ever since I first read about it (and, in fact, until they allowed custom avatars here, every avatar I’ve used on this forum has been based off of House Lyrandar). I’d just never made a character focused on a dragonmark. This is just an attempt to put those two together and make a character based around that particular style, without sacrificing too much in the way of substance. The first stab at this used Dragonmark Heir (and was actually trying to be reasonably “class-free” ) , but it turned out to be far more interesting to use the Storm Sentry from Dragonmarked. Although it never hits the full magical might of a classical "gish" build, it turns out that a dedicated dragonmark character can surprise you with how much magic he can still bring to the table - their main limiting factor is stamina, which the classes in Dragonmarked tend to alleviate somewhat by adding extra uses per day to signature powers.

Along the way, a secondary idea hit me: Since we’re forced to use half-elf for this, why not show off some of the specific strengths of that race and make it something to be proud of rather than something to shun? (The Eberron half-elves khorovar aren’t exactly outcasts, and have a distinct racial identity.) Normally, if people are playing with half-elves, they’re either exploiting subtypes to get both human and elf options, or they’re making Half-Elf Hippies using the bard substitution levels; this build goes in a different direction.

I envisioned this character as a sort of airship swashbuckler, and a lot of the choices were made in the context of him being used in airship encounters. However, a lot of the choices (weapons, most of the maneuvers, etc) are arbitrary and quite flexible.


The Basics


  • Race: This is fixed – you’re playing a Half-Elf. And not only that, you need to be related to House Lyrandar.

  • Ability Scores:  Start out with 15/10/13/14/8/12. Pump Strength at 4, then Charisma at every other opportunity. (This leaves you with an odd Constitution, so you’ll want to tome it at any point once you can afford it.)

  • Flaws: You have plenty of Fortitude to spare, so Meager Fortitude is in. The other is up to you – either Murky-Eyed or Vulnerable are good starting points, as you have good means of compensating for these. Narratively, your powerful dragonmark is eating away at your overall health and comes with a few side effects.


Skill Notes: Max out Concentration and one other skill you like. You also need 5 (well, 4, technically, but may as well go for synergy) ranks in Balance and Tumble. Other than that, you’ve got a blank slate to spread the 82ish remaining points around (if you maxed out Tumble, you'll have more), and a surprisingly good skill list.

Basic Equipment: No particular demands here; equip like any other warrior. For style you’ll probably want to use a one-handed weapon (longsword or rapier preferred) and low check penalty armor (max dex doesn't matter, check penalty sort of does), but it realistically doesn’t matter much. Go for style and stubstance.

EDIT: Count has noticed something definitely worth mentioning here: Pandemonic Silver (Complete Warrior) is functionally like alchemical silver (just much more expensive), except that when it is drawn, it emits a fear aura for the round. The DC is based on the strengths of the winds surrounding you. This fits quite well with the style component of the build.

Magical Gear Goals: Any of the Syberis Shard dragonmark focus items are good investments (EbCS); there isn’t a blowout-amazing item specific to the Mark of Storm (well, not a combat-related one anyway), but the basic Focus, Reservoir, and Channeling Rods are all interesting selections. .A basic +1 focus item will serve you quite well, even at the high levels (the results will be spectacular). You’ll also probably want to grab a few maneuver-granting items from the Tome of Battle (Iron Heart Vest, Ring of the Diamond Mind, etc.): you don’t have a lot of combat feats, so you’ll be using maneuvers to compensate, but your maneuver progression is delayed, so the items can expand your options quite a bit. (Note that these maneuver-granting items are NOT keyed to a specific maneuver – as your IL improves or your situation changes, they can reconfigure themselves given a day or so. You can use this to keep a pseudo-maneuver-progression going as you gain levels. Even the cheapest of these items will last you quite some time – by the time your IL is high enough to exceed the least-grade items, you’re gaining maneuvers normally again.) This is on top of your usual combat gear for warriors. I’d suggest Keening your weapon if possible – you have easy access to Shocking Burst, so you may as well run with it. Finally, due to its unusual feat structure, you’ll get a lot of use out of Eternal Wands of Heroics – honestly, there isn’t a warrior build out there that doesn’t benefit from these.

See also the Suggested Variants section below – this build works quite well with certain special weapons. These weapons also have the side effect of being very reasonably priced (a steal, considering what they grant, although it isn't entirely without cost), so if you're having difficulty affording all the support you want, keep that in mind.



The Build.


Build Stub: Warblade 4 / Half-Elf Fighter 1 / Storm Sentry 5 / Eternal Blade 10.
Note: Levels marked with a * contain updates on your magical abilities; be sure to check ‘em out!


*1 – Warblade – (Weapon Aptitude, Battle Clarity) (Least Dragonmark, Mighty Dragonmark, Dragonmark Prodigy) (Moment of Perfect Mind, Steely Strike, Sapphire Nightmare Blade) (Stance of Clarity)

*
Dragonmark powers (CL 3): Gust of Wind 2/day (DC 17), Updraft 1/day.

You’re a warblade, but you have a small number of basic magical powers to use to get a feel for your Storm heritage. Know the rules for Gust of Wind down by heart; you’ll be using it a lot. Updraft (from the Spell Compendium) is basically a turbo-charged Jump check, mostly used to gain a lot of altitude very quickly.

2 – Warblade – (Uncanny Dodge) (Steel Wind)

3 – Warblade – (Battle Ardor) (Dragonmark Mastery) (Disarming Strike)
*
Yes, Disarming Strike. I’m bored of making Wall of Blades / Iron Heart Surge warblades; this is an interesting and appropriate choice for a swashbuckler-type. (Feel free to swap it if you want, though; it’s not essential.)

Dragonmark Mastery allows you to expend AP to trigger your dragonmark powers as a swift or immediate action. This is actually quite good in your case – since they’re spell-like abilities, they lack somatic components. If you want, you can reach out with your free hand and grab someone, then (after the fighting about the grapple rules is over), you can use Updraft to gain a lot of height very quickly while holding on to them – Updraft isn’t based off of weight (it moves you in much the same way a Slide spell moves you, just vertically), so assuming you’re strong enough to support your foe, up they go! Updraft also protects you from falling from that extreme height, but it doesn’t protect what you’re holding – and you can just as easily let them go, plummeting to earth at terminal velocity.

For style points, grab them and wait until the following round to Updraft. Then, use Mastery to trigger a Gust of Wind while they’re in midair – Gust treats them as one size smaller if they’re airborne. This particular trick isn’t necessary, but it really “hits it out of the park” whenever you do use it, especially if you’re on an airship.

Of course, while all of this works well stylistically and tactically, Dragonmark Mastery is still perhaps the most sacrificial part of the build. This is where the ubiquitous Power Attack would go if you were doing the more boring, but more practical, route (probably alongside Wall of Blades for the same reason).


4 – Half-Elf Fighter – (Blade Mastery)
*
I used the half-elf fighter for better skill points and a good Will save – one of this build’s serious weaknesses is a low Will save. Blade Mastery counts as Weapon Focus in the longsword and rapier. It isn’t likely to work, but check with your DM if these can be reconfigured with Weapon Aptitude.

*5 – Storm Sentry – (Heir’s Mark, Improved Gust, Wind’s Embrace)
*
Dragonmark powers (CL 4): Gust of Wind 3/day (DC 17), Updraft 1/day

Storm Sentry levels each increase your dragonmark powers’ caster levels as if they were levels in Dragonmark Heir, so you’ll start getting higher altitudes with Updraft now. You’ll also start getting enough Gusts to use them more reliably, and the ability to trigger Feather Fall is appreciated, if not essential.

*6 – Storm Sentry – (Lyrandar’s Shield, Powerful Winds) (Lesser Dragonmark)
*
Dragonmark powers (CL 10) – Gust of Wind 5/day (DC 19), Updraft 2/day, Wind’s Favor 2/day

And now those gusts get far deadlier, as the DC will start to skyrocket. The CL boost from Lesser Dragonmark is quite nice as well. And yes, Updraft and similar secondary powers are dragonmark powers and thus get extra uses from the true Dragonmark feats; it’s not explicit from those feats, but it is from some of the other ones in Dragonmarked (i.e. Quicken Dragonmark).

Wind’s Favor is not chosen for combat – it’s chosen because it’s the power that all the airship controls look for. This build can steer airships without Charisma checks, which means you can act as a wonderful team pilot if you can get your mitts on a ship. If you need a combat application for Wind’s Favor, you have it already – use it to trigger your Storm Sentry powers. Here, that’s a Shield spell for 10 minutes/level. This doesn’t sacrifice your piloting ability – the Wheel of Wind and Water only checks if you have the Wind’s Favor ability, not if you have uses of it left for the day.

*7 – Storm Sentry – (Lyrandar’s Fist)
*
Dragonmark powers (CL 11): Gust of Wind 6/day (DC 20), Updraft 2/day, Wind’s Favor 2/day

Lyrandar’s Fist is a lot spiffier now that you have a SLA that you aren’t going to want to use in combat (Wind’s Favor), and it’s a kill move if used on an airship unless the target can fly or Feather Fall.

*8 – Storm Sentry – (Storm Strike)
*
Dragonmark powers (CL 12): Gust of Wind 7/day (DC 21), Updraft 2/day, Wind’s Favor 2/day

Shocking Burst isn’t all that impressive (am I alone in thinking that spending a greater dragonmark power on this is a bit overcosted? If a greater mark granted both Shocking Burst and Thundering, that might be a bit more worthwhile), but Wind’s Favor isn’t doing anything else for you in combat, so you may as well use it if you want it.

*9 – Storm Sentry – (Gale Force) (Dragonmark Adept)
*
Dragonmark powers (CL 13): Gust of Wind 8/day (DC 22), Updraft 3/day, Wind’s Favor 2/day, Downdraft 1/day (DC 17)

Yes, there’s a feat with the same name as a prestige class. I don’t know either.

Downdraft gives you a way of countering flyers. It’s interesting in that the damage is based only on the distance you push them, and it’s the distance that is halved, not the damage, on a save. Basically if you have a target with an altitude of 50 feet or less, save or no save, they’re hitting the ground. If you don’t expect to deal with flyers, your other choice (Binding Winds) is a bit more interesting but less dynamic. (If you take Binding Winds, add 1 to your uses per day of Downdraft to see how often you use it.)

Gale Force makes the one-two Updraft/Gust trick from level 3 somewhat more interesting, because it can blow away medium creatures. And the DC’s getting up there!

10 – Warblade – (Swap Steel Wind for Mithral Tornado) (Absolute Steel stance)
*
FINALLY, you get a stance that you might want to leave “always-on”. However, it’s not a guaranteed choice. Pearl of Black Doubt is a great defensive alternative, particularly with Lyrandar’s Shield; if you think you’ll be fighting against multiple targets all that often, definitely consider switching it. Absolute Steel just happens to be a better “all-purpose” stance since there are many, MANY situations where bonus speed is a good thing, and if you take advantage of that, you get an AC bonus too.

This warblade level was delayed until Storm Sentry finished to make sure the warblade’s second stance was a third-level one, and to raise your IL high enough to get 4th level maneuvers. Be sure to keep two Diamond Mind maneuvers handy for next level.

11 – Eternal Blade – (Blade Guide, Eternal Training 1) (Lightning Recovery)
*
As a member of House Lyrandar, calling yourself a half-elf is a disservice. You’re not half of anything: you are a khorovar, a true child of Khorvaire, with a distinct racial identity all your own, and you bet your life you’re going to let that show with pride! Bring on the Eternal Blade, one of the best classes in the ToB! (You qualify due to Blade Focus, even if you aren’t using one of those weapons, and the half-elf's "Elven Blood" ability or the (elf) subtype (they're functionally equivalent, really).)

Eternal Training’s best use is to grab exotic maneuvers to flesh out your combat potential; your feats are still going to your mark. At this point you can grab maneuvers of up to 4th level, but you’re limited by prerequisites and schools. You’ll probably get more mileage out of choosing interesting Diamond Mind maneuvers as you advance simply because you have more prerequisites from that school; the only 0-prerequisite Devoted Spirit maneuvers are all level 1 and 2, and most of those lack synergy with your build, don’t scale well, or both. If you want Devoted Spirit at all, you’re most likely to find use out of Vanguard Strike (to share your incredible accuracy with the party) or Shield Block (which doesn’t actually need a shield to work). The usual standout among those maneuvers, Foehammer, is essentially made obsolete by your Eternal Blade ability to bypass DR.

However, if you picked up your Eternal Wand of Heroics at this point, you can bootstrap up Eternal Training a bit: Martial Study is a fighter feat. You can use that to pick up one of the 0-prerequisite Devoted Spirit maneuvers for half an hour, and then use Eternal Training (since Heroics won’t stack with itself) during your encounter to nab 1-prereq Devoted Spirit maneuvers instead. All the level 3, 4, and 5 Devoted Spirit maneuvers have only a single prerequisite, so as your IL gets high enough for them, you can use this trick to diversify. Divine Surge (a very deadly attack that is described as if it has a downside while it actually doesn’t) and Entangling Blade (which can be used to shut down slow fliers, particularly if combined with a Dragonmark Mastery fueled Updraft) both fit your concept well and work on any foe (note that the healing maneuvers require an alignment difference to function!).

If your DM lets maneuver-granting items fulfill prerequisites (which is reasonable based on how the items are worded, and the looser meaning of "prerequisite" when talking about maneuvers (since maneuvers, unlike feats, don't go away when you lose a prereq), but falls under the generic "item-as-prerequisites" caution), you can add a Devoted Spirit amulet to the mix to get the 0-prereq, then Heroics, then finally Eternal Training for a 2-prereq maneuver. It’s worth noting that every single maneuver in Devoted Spirit except Strike of Righteous Vitality (and Immortal Fortitude, which Eternal Training can’t grant you) has at most 2 prerequisites, so the entire Devoted Spirit discipline can be available to you this way for critical encounters with a bit of prep time. Although it takes until level 16 to come online, Castigating Strike is probably the best choice at this level of complexity; although it requires an alignment difference, it uses your Dragonmark-fueled Charisma for its DC and gives you some extra AoE capacity. Plus, the only thing that stops this maneuver’s description from basically being a storm strike is that it lacks the right energy descriptors (and thus isn’t subject to energy resistance).

*12 – Eternal Blade – (Guided Strike) (Greater Dragonmark)
*
Dragonmark powers (CL 17): Gust of Wind 9/day (DC 23), Updraft 4/day, Wind’s Favor 3/day, Downdraft 2/day (DC 18), Control Winds 1/day (DC 20)

CL 15+ Control Winds is awesome. That is all.

13 – Eternal Blade – (Improved Uncanny Dodge, Eternal Training 2) (Shield Block)
*
It's interesting, but you don't actually need a shield to use Shield Block. (A liberal, but unlikely, interpretation might let you designate your Lyrandar's Shield as its shield, which is a pretty decent way of protecting your allies if you keep this readied.)

However, I admit it - the only reason I'm taking this maneuver at all is because it's the best of the 0-prerequisite Devoted Spirit maneuvers to this build. If you read up on the proper use of Eternal Training - see the note at level 11 - you'll see why this matters. If you didn't, read the note at level 17.

If, even after reading that, Shield Block isn't all that tasty to you, switch it for Disrupting Blow. Will DC 20ish at this point isn't super-amazing, but it isn't bad either, and the penalty is pretty significant. For one, it specifically denies them immediate actions, meaning you can do something like smack them with this, then back up and use Gust of Wind or Lyrandar's Fist to push them overboard and they'll be denied their chance for a Feather Fall or emergency teleport. Anything that gives you extra actions over your opponent is something you have to take seriously.

14 – Eternal Blade – (Eternal Knowledge)

*15 – Eternal Blade – (Eternal Training 3) (Dragonmark Visionary) (Manticore Parry, Dancing Blade Form)
*
Dragonmark powers (CL 17) – Gust of Wind 9/day (DC 23), Updraft 4/day, Wind’s Favor 3/day, Downdraft 2/day (DC 18), Control Winds 2/day (DC 20), Storm Touch 1/day (DC 20)

Strictly speaking you could choose Storm Tower instead of Storm Touch, but the latter complements your combat potential while honestly the former does not. I admit Storm Tower is probably the better thematic and defensive choice, but there's some fun synergy for Storm Touch here. The most interesting is to trigger the power (and touch someone with the first attack; note that you can actually do this as a swift via Dragonmark Mastery, so if you've got the AP, think of it as a boost) and then hold the charge; your touch attack is then considered “armed” while the duration lasts, and you can deliver the touches as separate attacks. (It’s actually quite explicit about this; you get one touch per CL, and any touches leftover after the initial casting can be delivered as normal touch attacks.) This matters because you can then use it to deliver a martial strike as a touch attack (which, with your attack bonus, probably can't miss except on a 1), along with a very nice 10d6+save-or-stun rider effect. Check out level 17’s note to see this taken to the extreme.

(This is also as good as your mark is going to get without equipment.)

16 – Eternal Blade – (Defensive Insight)
*
At this point your IL is high enough (4+6 Warblade + (5+1)/2 non-warblade = 13) to hit 7th level maneuvers, meaning you can use Eternal Training to grant yourself Avalanche of Blades. If you want to see why this is killer, check out level 17. You can start practicing with it now.

17 – Eternal Blade – (Eternal Training 4) (Avalanche of Blades)
*
As every Stormguard Warrior knows, Avalanche is a killer maneuver if you’re using touch attacks. You don’t have Stormguard, but you DO have Storm Touch. Read the spell carefully – it gives you one touch per caster level, which you can hold and deliver in later rounds, and each touch deals 10d6 damage (you’re an heir of Lyrandar) and has a chance of stunning the target. The stun is the only thing negated on a save – the damage can’t be reduced by saving – so this can add up very fast. (Also, each touch calls for its own save against the stun; DC 20 is high enough that only warriors have a good chance of making that many consecutive high saves; if even one save fails, they’re stunned, which disarms them and denies them their Dexterity bonus to AC, so you start Avalanching against their hosed AC -2, which can easily compensate for the avalanche penalty.) You only get 17 of those touches per day, though, so shock wisely.

18 – Eternal Blade – (Tactical Insight) (Martial Stance – Stance of Alacrity)
*
Chosen because you seriously lack for stance options and I don't like being shoehorned into just one set of tactics. You can actually use any stance you qualify for here; I just like Stance of Alacrity because it lets you employ a counter (like Manticore Parry or Moment of Perfect Mind) and still keep your swift action open for your Eternal Blade or Storm Sentry abilities, or for a well-timed Dragonmark Mastery power. If you want to switch this feat for Martial Study, or indeed for anything else, it’s open to you.

19 – Eternal Blade – (Eternal Training 5) (Finishing Move)
*
You don’t have a lot of strong multiplication damage here (i.e. no Power Attack by default, and even on a critical hit, your abilities add bonus dice instead of multiplicaiton damage), so Diamond Nightmare Blade is actually worse than an appropriately-timed Finishing Move here. Finishing Move is more in line with your lots-of-dice approach to damage anyway (particularly if delivered via a Storm Touch). If you find yourself using that Eternal Wand of Heroics to grab Power Attack a lot and you favor two-handed attacks, you can always use Eternal Training to grab Diamond Nightmare Blade instead.

Also, I won’t lie: I’m a fan of Finishing Move, both mechanically and thematically. I grew up in the late 80s and early 90s; it’s all I can do to initiate this maneuver without announcing “FATALITY” afterwards. And I did say I was prioritizing style in this build anyway, so go ahead and finish him.

20 – Eternal Blade – (Island in Time)
*
Not only is Island in Time awesome (honestly, you could almost write a full page on what you can do with this), but you finish off at IL 17 and you have Eternal Training. You can use that to grab Time Stands Still if you want. Or, if you feel like forking over the big bucks, a master-level ring of the Diamond Mind (45,000gp is kind of expensive for the benefit, honestly) can make this maneuver a more permanent part of your arsenal.

You could also wear a Devoted Spirit amulet (of any grade), then cast Heroics from your Eternal Wand for Martial Study (Devoted Spirit). That, plus Shield Block from earlier, gives you three Devoted Spirit maneuvers, and with Eternal Training at IL 17, there's only one thing that can mean. You can, with a bit of prep time, pull out a Strike of Righteous Vitality - and spam it every other round thanks to warblade maneuver recovery.

In the same style, although Eternal Training is limited to Devoted Spirit and Diamond Mind, you can still “cheat” a bit and grab Strike of Perfect Clarity if you want that extra Iron Heart edge – you’ve got the prerequisites and an Eternal Wand of Heroics for Martial Study (Iron Heart). (You won't be able to combine this with the Strike of Righteous Vitality mode, though, since two castings of Heroics don't stack. If you absolutely must do both, you'll need to fork over the 45k for a master-level Iron Heart Vest.)

So, in a sense, even though you don't finish off knowing any 9th level maneuvers, but you have access to three of them with differing levels of preparation.
 

Snapshot: With +6 items on Strength, Constitution, and Intelligence, and +4 on Charisma (pricey, I know, especially for a warrior who wants dragonshard items), we’re looking at 218 HP, +20 base attack (or melee +32 with any weapon + Greater Magic Weapon, plus maneuvers like Lightning Recovery), saves of Fortitude +19, Reflex +12, Will +6, IL 17 (with Eternal Training), and a suite of very powerful Dragonmark powers (CL 17) – Gust of Wind 9/day (DC 24), Updraft 4/day, Wind’s Favor 3/day, Downdraft 2/day (DC 19), Control Winds 2/day (DC 21; the weather effects themselves may have a higher DC), Storm Touch 1/day (DC 21). You also have 'pseudo'-spell-like effects through Storm Sentry class features - essentially varying grades of Feather Fall (Wind's Embrace), Shield (Lyrandar's Shield), Bigby's Forceful Hand (Lyrandar's Fist), and Personal Weapon Augmentation (Storm Strike). That’s a surprisingly large array of magical abilities on a primary warrior character, and their CLs and DCs are quite respectable. (Downdraft’s low DC is not all that significant, since it’s more dependent on altitude than save DCs; anyone under 50’ altitude will have the same effect if they pass or fail.) In fact, a high-CL Control Winds can level a small town, to say nothing of what it can do in an airship scenario. (A mere Dragonshard Focus +1 (Storm) can let you manage manage CL 18 Control Winds, which is even more impressive – able to reach DC 30 tornado-force winds from perfectly still air!) You don’t inherently know any extremely high-level maneuvers, but you’ve got a pretty high IL, and can thus make good use of Eternal Training, Eternal Wands of Heroics (Martial Study), and maneuver-granting items to expand your repertoire.

Overall Strengths: While not the strongest of the warriors I’ve made, it has a lot of style. You’re alarmingly accurate in melee and pack a decent array of martial maneuvers (especially when you consider Eternal Training), you have a lot of good ways to employ every action type, and your wind powers are extremely strong. You have enough Gusts of Wind to actually employ that as a signature ability (twice per encounter or so on an average day of adventuring), and a DC high enough to make you want to. Your powers have a nice steady progression at nearly every level, particularly with novice maneuver items (the only serious surges in power come from adding on new dragonmark feats, and any dragonmarked character experiences those), making this a very easy 1-20 experience. The Grab/Updraft/Gust combo is a lot of fun if you can get it to work. Oh, and although you don’t rely on Dexterity, you can only be flanked by people with 18 levels in Rogue, which is something if you’re in melee.

Overall Weaknesses: Your Will save is in the pits. I deliberately avoided using Wall of Blades (because you don’t have a swap available when the better Manticore Parry comes online) and Iron Heart Surge (because, as awesome as it is, it shows up everywhere, so it’s refreshing to avoid it), so you might want to use an Iron Heart Vest to shore up that weak spot. Surprisingly for a warrior, you have no direct combat feats (including Power Attack – your Eternal Wand of Heroics might be seeing a lot of use for that alone), so your combat variety is supplied entirely by standard special attacks, your maneuvers (which are a bit delayed by Storm Sentry) and your wind powers (which have a per-day limit, although you do have a lot of them and equipment can provide more). 

Variants: You can get rid of Dragonmark Adept and Mighty Dragonmark if you want (particularly if you’re playing at a higher level) to get rid of the flaws or pick up certain combat feats (I still need a way to mainbuild Power Attack without flaws; as it stands I'd probably swap Mastery for it). The maneuver selections are pretty open – in fact, they’re open enough that you could pretty easily swap Crusader instead of Warblade and get a completely different feel for your character. (This gets you Devoted Spirit and White Raven instead of Diamond Mind and Iron Heart, and drops a bit of the Eternal Blade’s Intelligence synergy in favor of more maneuvers with a better recovery method.) If you’re OK with fewer maneuvers, starting off with Swashbuckler 3 can get you the opposite result – a Dexterity/Intelligence warrior who picks up the Sublime Way after mastering his mark. (There's a substantial difference between Swash3/Warblade 1 and Swash3/Crusader 1 as far as gameplay is concerned; while normally you don't just dip warblade for Int synergy, here you've got Eternal Blade for that.) If you don’t like some of the mark powers and you’re okay with a smaller magical repertoire, you can probably drop a couple of the other feats (Dragonmark Visionary is probably the most expendable, although the extra use of Control Winds is awesome), in exchange for other combat infrastructure. Since you’ve got such a strong mark, you also have access to some of Dragonmarked’s more interesting feats, including Mark of the Dauntless, which renders you immune to stunning and dazing (two immunities which are always appreciated), or Stormrider, which gives you amazing poise and a few innate energy resistances.

There’s a couple other oddball choices you can make – in particular, this build works quite well with Kamate, the Iron Heart legacy weapon. It’s a perfect thematic choice and it isn’t a bad call mechanically either – you use Iron Heart like a pro (and the way it grants you Steel Wind effectively gives you an extra readied maneuver), its accuracy powers can easily cover for your flaws, and it has storm-themed spell-like abilities at respectable CLs with DCs powered by your Charisma. Who would think twice if this guy pulled out max-CL Lightning Bolts or Chain Lightnings? It even picks up Shocking Burst on its own, meaning you can direct your mark powers towards the Storm Sentry features instead. (Well, I'll be honest, it isn't perfect: most of WotC’s designed legacy weapons aren’t optimal choices, and Kamate’s save penalties are killer. Plus, I’m assuming martial weapon proficiency with it is enough, since it’s a martial weapon if you use it two-handed.) Alternatively, Supernal Clarity (the Diamond Mind legacy weapon) benefits a lot more from Storm Strike (if you’re still using it in the late game, a +5, 15-20 weapon with haste effects is about all you could ask for), and the saving throw penalties are a lot more manageable (Fort only, which you have to spare, instead of all three). Sadly, its attack bonuses come online rather late, and its capstone ability is of questionable use for warriors. (You can use it to cover for your Control Winds ability and Storm Sentry buffs, but otherwise it just lets you move, trigger your Eternal Wand, or chug potions; you also get it at the same level you pick up Island in Time, which is thematically the same ability, just designed for warriors.) It would have been much more interesting for warriors if S.C.'s version of the ability had been an immediate action or if it could be shared with others, but what can you do?

Finally, since I’m an unabashed fan of the Tales of… series of games, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note this build’s (unintentional, I promise!) similarity to another noble-born swordsman who makes exclusive use of wind magic, and may even have a sword that grows in power as he does. Getting a good magic bow and a pair of Crystals of Returning (basically lets you switch weapons on the fly) puts you well on your way to emulating Woodrow (Garr) Kelvin, from Tales of Destiny. 

There you have it. How’s that for a Lyrandar captain, an airship swashbuckler, or an unusual wind-and-lightning-themed “gish”?

Next up, I have a proposition for you. If you vote for the Inevitable Nightmare or Captain Constitution, the other build will follow, and then we'll continue along the list. (They were built independently, but the latter wound up being benchmarked against the former, so they work as partners or rivals.) If the vote instead goes to the Heavy Crusader or to Gun Fu (note: theoretical build), I'll rotate the entire list after that to a new set of three builds that I haven't even mentioned so far (I might reveal their names later in the week, but for now, the air of mystery will remain to build tension.)



...Oh, one last thing. The captain has asked me to remind you that as spell-like abilities, dragonmark powers have no verbal component. Anyone caught shouting “Fus Ro Dah!” when employing Gust of Wind will be thrown overboard. No exceptions. Have a nice flight!

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)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style))

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

[RT] Something for Everyone: A.K.A. The Last Sorcerer RT Will Ever Build (Caster, Damage, Trapscout, Takedowns)

 

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.

There you have it. How’s that for a Lyrandar captain, an airship swashbuckler, or an unusual wind-and-lightning-themed “gish”?

Raiden wins!  Too bad it wasn't flawless, though.  
Next up, I have a proposition for you. If you vote for the Inevitable Nightmare or Captain Constitution, the other build will follow, and then we'll continue along the list. (They were built independently, but the latter wound up being benchmarked against the former, so they work as partners or rivals.) If the vote instead goes to the Heavy Crusader or to Gun Fu (note: theoretical build), I'll rotate the entire list after that to a new set of three builds that I haven't even mentioned so far (I mightreveal their names later in the week, but for now, the air of mystery will remain to build tension.)

...Oh, one last thing. The captain has asked me to remind you that as spell-like abilities, dragonmark powers have no verbal component. Anyone caught shouting “Fus Ro Dah!” when employing Gust of Wind will be thrown overboard. No exceptions. Have a nice flight!


For threatening me with being thrown overboard, I'm calling out Captain Constitution!
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
User Quotes
56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
I like this, I've recently been reading the dragonmarked classes and the like, hoping I can play one in a game soon, possibly, non-eberron, but lenient DM. Still, this is awesome, and not what I was expecting in the slightest I shall say that. A chambered wand of wraithstrike is all I can think of for this, unless I missed it in the description, just for avalanche of blades if nothing else.

 I'm going to joint vote Inevitable Nightmare and Gun Fu for my vote... I just want to see all builds as soon as possible lol 
See, I've actually used the Grapple + Updraft combo before, but why in the 9 hells did I not think about adding Gust of Wind to the mix?

The build is flavorful, and looks tremendously fun.  Eternal Blade is a very good fit and I do agree with some maneuver selections.  It's not that I don't like Iron Heart Surge or Wall of Blades, but they are used way too often and it is very refreshing to see builds not take / rely on them.

I'm already thinking of a way to utilize this base and try and use a greatclub (fluffed to be like a baseball bat) and call myself Nes!

Vote wise, I'll toss my two copper towards Inevitable Nightmare.

I'm glad this one got showcased. It's a solid build, not too complicated and not boring by any means. Making a couple neat abilities work well together. One of my favorites, and also one I had very little hand in. I look forward to see what gets brought in next and weather or not I'm called on to provide input on Tempest's writeup this time.
I like this, I've recently been reading the dragonmarked classes and the like, hoping I can play one in a game soon, possibly, non-eberron, but lenient DM. Still, this is awesome, and not what I was expecting in the slightest I shall say that. A chambered wand of wraithstrike is all I can think of for this, unless I missed it in the description, just for avalanche of blades if nothing else.



I can think of four reasons why you wouldn't want the wand (besides the "it's cheesy" argument). First, between your Storm Sentry abilities and your Eternal Blade powers, your swift action is pretty much spoken for. Also, Avalanche already has a way of using touch attacks through your Storm Touch ability, but you'll need a greater dragonshard reservoir to do that more than once per day. Furthermore, without Power Attack or Stormguard Warrior, you have no way of turning that insane accuracy into bonus damage, so it's better to probably just stay mobile and make use of strikes at your full AB. Finally, you don't have Use Magic Device, so the best you could hope for is an eternal wand (even assuming that wondrous item counts as a wand for the chamber), and those are hard-limited to 2/day.

Still, if you want, you could still do it. I just listed why the thought didn't even cross my mind.

See, I've actually used the Grapple + Updraft combo before, but why in the 9 hells did I not think about adding Gust of Wind to the mix?


I don't blame you; it takes specialty resources to do this at all, and most builds who are able to do that are ones that are horribly, horribly shut down by grapplers. To do it as a wizard, for instance, requires you to want to grapple a target, employ a spell to make that grapple succeed, cast a Stilled Updraft, and follow it with a Quickened Gust of Wind. That is not a good way to spend resources. But if you're getting them more or less "for free" in a full-base-attack build...

I'll also note that many rods function as maces or light clubs, which means you might be able to get away with attaching a Least Crystal of Return to a Channelling Rod of Quickening, which will let you pull this stunt off without an action point.

The build is flavorful, and looks tremendously fun.  Eternal Blade is a very good fit and I do agree with some maneuver selections.  It's not that I don't like Iron Heart Surge or Wall of Blades, but they are used way too often and it is very refreshing to see builds not take / rely on them.



I'm already thinking of a way to utilize this base and try and use a greatclub (fluffed to be like a baseball bat) and call myself Nes!

Ness is a bit too psychokinetic for this build, I think, and it's hard to model the real diversity in his weapons in D&D. I noted in the post which video game character I think he's closest to, although sadly I don't think that many people are familiar with the game (and certainly not the version of it I linked: although Tales of Destiny was released in English, its remastered version was not, and Garr/Woodrow is kind of lacklustre in the original, without a real signature style. His modified form also shows up in the PSP Radiant Mythology games, but I think only the first one was released in English, where he wasn't playable.). Real shame, too; the Tales series is what happens when the guys behind Soul Calibur get a good character designer and (usually) good writers, and tackle a console RPG.

(Since Soul Calibur is one of the explicit inspirations for the Tome of Battle, and all the Tales games take place in fantasy worlds that wouldn't be out of place in D&D (by and large), it's not surprising when characters "just happen" to come out similar to Tales examples. For instance, one of the other builds we're working on was spearheaded by Andarious, who hasn't played any of the Tales games, and had generic input from RT and I (who are lifelong Tales fans, but left that fandom out of our design suggestions)... and yet the build, with a few specific choices for the weapon, still turns out to be a dead ringer for Stahn at higher levels. It's actually one of my favorites that isn't ready for showcasing yet in part because there's a few bits of openness to it, and I don't want to hijack Andarious' original plans for the fluff behind it. (I.e. it needs a more unique name than just "Stahn v1", just like the Storm Knight isn't "Garr v1".))

I'm glad this one got showcased. It's a solid build, not too complicated and not boring by any means. Making a couple neat abilities work well together. One of my favorites, and also one I had very little hand in. I look forward to see what gets brought in next and weather or not I'm called on to provide input on Tempest's writeup this time.


Thanks, and you might want to check your inbox.

Honestly, there's a reason why about a third of these builds are yours: somehow you manage to work with simplicity and outdo what I do with complexity. (My builds are over-represented here because I started off with just the ones that I was comfortable releasing, before I spoke to everyone else about theirs.)

...You know, speaking out our group's different styles, DisposableHero_ tends to create interesting interactions, but doesn't really flesh them out into fully-specc'd builds (he does mostly-complete templates instead). Still, some of them are pretty damn clever. I'm wondering... should we flesh one of them out as a showcase build, or just release a "showcase" of stunts like that instead?

I'm going to joint vote Inevitable Nightmare and Gun Fu for my vote... I just want to see all builds as soon as possible lol 


Vote wise, I'll toss my two copper towards Inevitable Nightmare.


I'm not counting double votes, so we're currently sitting at the Inevitable Nightmare. [EDIT: I was speaking about the "joint vote", not the duae quartunciae.]

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)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style))

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

[RT] Something for Everyone: A.K.A. The Last Sorcerer RT Will Ever Build (Caster, Damage, Trapscout, Takedowns)

 

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.

Two copper as in "my two cents"; not two votes, rather opinion / preference.
Nice build.

I'd just dispute the claim that Manticore Parry is better than Wall of Blades - I find the latter better simply because it's much more versatile. But I can see how someone would get tired of WoB + Iron Heart Surge: I'm not there yet, but if I build 2 or 3 more Warblades, I might.

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

 

  • Maeve in The Lost History of Istar


 
It's sort of strange that you mention the Syberis Shard dragonmark focus items and then say you don't know if there’s any specific item that raises your dragonmark caster level. Dragonmark Focus is the first item in that section and raises your Caster Level for your dragonmarks from 1 to 4 depending on the price.
It's sort of strange that you mention the Syberis Shard dragonmark focus items and then say you don't know if there’s any specific item that raises your dragonmark caster level. Dragonmark Focus is the first item in that section and raises your Caster Level for your dragonmarks from 1 to 4 depending on the price.


...Well. I'll be damned. I misread that as "DC" all these years. Good find! I'll edit the main post accordingly.

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)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style))

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

[RT] Something for Everyone: A.K.A. The Last Sorcerer RT Will Ever Build (Caster, Damage, Trapscout, Takedowns)

 

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.

A person over on the minmaxboards mentioned a very interesting material which I thought I'd mention here. Pandemonic Silver in Complete Warrior (pg 136). When drawn, weapons made of Pandemonic Silver force everyone within 30 ft to Save vs Fear.  Failure means that they Cower for 1d4 rounds.  The Save DC is based on the strength of the wind around you, topping out at DC 28 if you can get tornado (175 mph+) wind.
Ooh, that's a good find. It also lacks a daily limit (both for an individual weapon's screams and how many times a subject can be affected while screaming), although the DC is somewhat hard for most to control. It's a little expensive and acts like alchemical silver (read: damage penalty, doesn't breach the more favorable DRs), but all told, wow, that's a good investment.

It also suggests that a build that can employ debuffs and wind effects combined with quickdraw effects would, perhaps, be a pretty effective way of stacking up fear effects. Hmmm....

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)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style))

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

[RT] Something for Everyone: A.K.A. The Last Sorcerer RT Will Ever Build (Caster, Damage, Trapscout, Takedowns)

 

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.

Get a gnomish quickrazor and draw/sheathe with your infinite Free Actions until your DM throws the book at you.
just a random question: you sa, to pick up eternal wands of heroics. so do you have to skill UMD or how are you getting them activated?
Eternal wands are neat that way, they're the potion of wands. No UMD or casting required. Better than a potion in the long run as well, but potions of Heroics are not a bad alternative, cheaper in the short run but the 2/day forever thing makes the Eternal Wand fairly smexy once you can afford it.
just a random question: you sa, to pick up eternal wands of heroics. so do you have to skill UMD or how are you getting them activated?


Eternal wands aren't actually wands. It's just a poetic name for a 2/day command-word (read: anyone can use it) item. They only hold low level spells and at minimum CL, but there are some spells that they work wonders on. Heroics just happens to be one of the best bang-for-buck ones in that context. Other spells of note are those with expensive material components or XP costs that you might want to use multiple times, but not all that many times per day (Identify is the iconic example but there are better ones).



Also, Count, I just noticed something silly about pandemonic silver. It affects anyone within that range that can hear you. Strong winds kind of interfere with that - if you're able to get up to hurricane- or tornado-force winds (the ones that give the best DCs and the best wind effects on their own*), Listen checks (and thus the ability to detect things by sound) are flat-out impossible (an instance of 3.5 "absolute language" that bugs me; "impossible" means that the gods of sound or storms still can't hear things in such wind.). That means that pandemonic silver's effective DC caps out at 22, which is pretty weaksauce for a mind-affecting fear effect. The nice thing here is that it's triggered as part of another action and that fear effects stack; perhaps using it on a support weapon instead of your primary might be better.



*
Well, usually. You can sometimes exploit the way winds affect targets of different sizes to get interesting battlefield control effects. Oddly enough, our last game ended while my shaper was in the middle of sustaining severe-force winds for precisely this reason. Her Large astral constructs are unaffected by winds of that speed, but Medium-sized enemy combatants are checked. This makes your typical one-directional hallway assault somewhat simpler, as your enemy can't close easily with you while your Large summons are unaffected. (I was also using it to speed up an ectoplasmic shambler, intended to soften up targets in the next room and interfere with enemy spellcasters, but that's secondary here.) But unless you're exploiting a size differential like this, generally, the stronger the winds the better.

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)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style))

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

[RT] Something for Everyone: A.K.A. The Last Sorcerer RT Will Ever Build (Caster, Damage, Trapscout, Takedowns)

 

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.

That is really silly. Like "monks not having proficiency in unarmed strikes" silly. I'd think most DM's would houserule that (better make a note though).
oh ok. always thought MIC states, that you need arcane casting to use ethernal wands. Have to look this up, when im at home
oh ok. always thought MIC states, that you need arcane casting to use ethernal wands. Have to look this up, when im at home


So I looked again, and it seems I misread it (they do only work for arcane casters, although you don't need to be able to cast spells of their level or have the spell on your list - expected, since they were designed in the EbCS as a magewright weapon in the Last War). The text in the MIC is at a page transition, and the costs are very similar to what the DMG lists as the guideline price for an item that does their thing for anyone (spell level(0.5 for cantrip) * caster level * 1800 (command word) / (5/2 charges per day))*, so I didn't notice when I first read it and mis-remembered it. Checking Complete Arcane, having spell-like abilities meets the "caster level X" requirement but not the "ability to cast [arcane] spells" requirement, so it looks like the wand of heroics is out (for quite a few of these builds, in fact). If you want it, you'll need to craft something custom for it, or have an ally who can activate it use it for you (Heroics is a touch spell, not a personal one).

*
Oddly, the MIC is more expensive than the DMG suggests for this (specifically, the eternal wands cost 100gp more than the guideline formula above would give), despite the eternal wand having a "class restriction". I haven't noticed much else in the MIC that does this (it has a reputation for making a lot of things cheaper and some particularly mean things more expensive (or, more typically, similarly-priced but weaker or limited in uses/day)).).


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)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style))

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

[RT] Something for Everyone: A.K.A. The Last Sorcerer RT Will Ever Build (Caster, Damage, Trapscout, Takedowns)

 

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.

If spell level doesn't matter you could take the Magical Training feat.
Tempest, the price went up because it's LESS restrictive, not because it's more.

It's basically a wand that you can use x/day, instead of x charges, right?


Well, normally you have to have a spell on your list to use a wand.

 The eternal wand just means you have to be an arcane CASTER...which is far broader, and so it should be pricier. Your list is actually irrelevant...you can use an Eternal Wand on someone else's list.

==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
You are right tempest. A normal 2 uses/day item would cost, following the DMG, Spell level * Caster level * 1800 (command word) * 2 / 5 ( 2 charges per day). Add 100 gp and you're on the price for an ethernal wand. perhabs they raised the price for not really using up a slot.
Ael, they're not wands. That's just the name. They're command-word wondrous items. A rough core equivalent is the cape of the mounteback.

Against that standard, they follow the pricing for a generic (non-class-limited) command-word item usable 2/day (the modification for X uses per day is to divide the price by (5/number of daily uses)), +100gp. Limiting them to classes with a specific class feature (i.e. the ability to cast arcane spells) should reduce the price by somewhere between 10% and 30%, but that's not factored in anywhere.

I'm not arguing that they should be cheaper - I'm saying I messed up and that the pricing was pretty close to what I'd expect from the formulas.



(Seeron: "ETERNAL". No H.)

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)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style))

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

[RT] Something for Everyone: A.K.A. The Last Sorcerer RT Will Ever Build (Caster, Damage, Trapscout, Takedowns)

 

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 can't really say for sure whether or not they should be considered wands, and apparently the writers of the MIC couldn't either, since creating one requires both Craft Wand and Craft Wondrous Item.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Fulminating Crab, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome LurkerIronglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
I can't really say for sure whether or not they should be considered wands, and apparently the writers of the MIC couldn't either, since creating one requires both Craft Wand and Craft Wondrous Item.


The fact that they're command word items is the giveaway. There are no wands that are command word, as they're spell trigger by definition. That's one of the reasons why Wand Overdrive (sig) doesn't use them. Only the name and the secondary requirement even hints they might be wands; you could call them spell pistols if you prefer.

If I may hazard a guess, the craft wand requirement is likely there to prevent them being churned out with Craft Wondrous alone (they were pretty clearly intended with magewrights (read: NPCs) in mind). Not that it matters if you're allowed custom items, really, as you can just create 2/day command word items of any spell usable by any class using Craft Wondrous alone.

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)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style))

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

[RT] Something for Everyone: A.K.A. The Last Sorcerer RT Will Ever Build (Caster, Damage, Trapscout, Takedowns)

 

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.

Love the build, but I'm confused about one thing. You mention better Will save in your reasoning behind the half-elf fighter level. In my copy of Races of Destiny, I see +2 Fort and that's it for level 1 of half-elf fighter. Am I missing something?
A few things:

 I can't see an increased Will save either. 

Would the Supernatural Transformation feat be good for this build? It would allow for your caster level for one of the SLA's to = your HD. 

 Go to page 114 of Magic of Eberron. Look at the items called Dragonmarked Rods.
Did you guys miss the previous posts?


EDIT: The Crown of High Dominion dragonshard focus item is quite nice. Obviously it won't be usefull in direct combat but the tactical applications are endless. You'll need a Dragonmarked Rod to use it though. Dragonmark Scepter seem nice as well. 1k for an additional daily use of your Least mark seems worth it to me.
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