Need help with a Shifter melee combatant

6 posts / 0 new
Last post
Like the title says, I need help optimizing this guy (or gal).  The shifter race has intrigued me since the first time I opened the ECS, and I want to play one in melee.  I've got it narrowed down to one of 3 bases: Warblade/Bloodclaw Adept (thinking of throwing Weretouched Master in there for the +12 to Str and free Pounce), Ranger/Fighter/Weretouched Master, Psychic Warrior/PrC? I plan to use minimal natural attacks, and intend for my primary Shifter Trait to be either Longstrider or Beasthide.

Pros/Cons for each path:
Warblade/Bloodclaw Adept: MANEUVERS!  Also, Bloodclaw Adept adds 1rd/class level duration to shifting, and an additional shift/day at levels 1 & 5.  If I go Weretouched Master (Tiger), I'll get Pounce (better than the Strike-based pounce of BCA), as well as +12 Str, +4 Dex, +6 Con when shifted, along with full tiger and hybrid forms.
Ranger/Fighter/WTM: Free feats.  Lots and lots of free feats... Also, advantage for both of these is that the base class(es) are full BAB, so I can get 4 attacks in a round by level 20.
Psychic Warrior/Slayer(?): Powers and feats.  IIRC, Illithid Slayer is full BAB, and an appropriate PrC for Eberron.

Right now, I'm looking for advice on which path to take, though I'm leaning toward either Warblade or PsyWar because they're more than just "I hit him again!"  After that, I'll be looking for advice on maneuvers & stances/powers and feats to take.  I'll probably work up a quickie outline for each of the two I'd prefer and post them tomorrow sometime.

Also, I'm willing to cheese the heck out of this build with a bloodline.  Either Lycanthrope (super cheesy, I know) or any level of Fey (it's the Eldeen Reaches!). 
"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
Started off working on the outline for a PsyWar... and realized that it just wasn't going to work well unless I went Rgr1/PsyWar4 to get into Slayer.  And I realized that, while I like the idea of a reach weapon + natural attack, I'd really rather do it with a warforged I think.

So, tonight I'll be working on the Bloodclaw Adept, and I think I will be working in Weretouched Master. 
"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
Well, I got the Warblade/Bloodclaw Adept/Weretouched Master done... and I feel like I messed it up somehow.  My thematic goal is to capitalize on the animalistic nature of shifters (which is why there aren't any Diamond Mind maneuvers), the bonuses they get from BCA, and the prodigious strength increase of the Master's Tiger Hybrid Alternate Form.  Mechanically, I'm trying to maximize the number of attacks and the number of crits, triggering Blood in the Water early and often, and later trying to maximize the output of Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip.

This assumes a 32-point buy, with no gear.  Mostly because I was banging my head against the wall coming up with what I have.  

Race: Shifter (Longstride) I'm willing to change the shifter trait, within thematic (Tiger-based) reason.  So Wildhunt is ok, but Truedive isn't.

Str: 12 (+1 at 16 & 20)
Dex:  16 (+1 at 4, 8, & 12)
Con: 12
Int: 14
Wis: 14
Cha: 8

Classes: Warblade 6/Bloodclaw Adept 2/Weretouched Master 5/BCA +3/Warblade +4

1) Warblade 1: (Two-Weapon Fighting) - Steely Wind Strike, SuddenLeap, Wolf Fang Strike - Blood in the Water
2) Warblade 2: Leading the Attack
3) Warblade 3: (Weapon Finesse) Wall of Blades
4) Warblade 4: Claw at the Moon (replaces Steely Wind) - Punishing Stance
5) Warblade 5: (Improved InitiativeB) White Raven Tactics
6) Warblade 6: (Reactive Shifting) Iron Heart Surge (replaces Leading the Attack)
7) Bloodclaw Adept 1: Death From Above
8) BCA 2
9) Weretouched Master: Tiger 1: Improved TWF
10) WtM 2: (Shifter FerocityB)
11) WtM 3
12) WtM 4: (Weapon Focus [Kukri], Shifter FerocityB)
13) WtM 5
14) BCA 3: Dancing Mongoose
15) BCA 4: (Greater TWF)
16) BCA 5: Swooping Dragon Strike
17) WB 7: Finishing Move
18) WB 8: Raging Mongoose Srike (replaces Wolf Fang Strike)
19) WB 9: (Shifter Defense) Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip
 20) WB 10: Mountain Tombstone Strike (replaces Dancing Mongoose) - Prey on the Weak

I actually like the build up until ~15.  It's when the higher-level maneuvers come online that I start questioning my decisions.  I tried to avoid static svaes (which is why Hamstring Strike isn't on here), but the Jump check DC of Swooping Dragon makes me giggle.  In the words of Leeloo Dalls: Playuz halp!
"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
The fluff for this build is that this is one of the defenders of the Eldeen Reaches against the incursions of the Demon Wastes and Khyber.  Mechanically, it's a very slow-developing Lockdown, with a couple of advantages.
Race: Shifter (Wildhunt)
Str: 15 (All level-based ability boosts)
Dex:  14 
Con: 14
Int: 12
Wis: 14
Cha: 8

Classes: Ranger2/Fighter2/Warshaper3/Weretouched Master5/Fighter+8
Since I can enter Warshaper at level 5, I figured I might as well...

1) (Shifter) Ranger 1: Combat Reflexes, TrackB (Favored enemy: Evil Outsider)
2) Ranger 2: TWFB
3) Fighter 1: Combat Expertise, Imp. TripB
4) Fighter 2: Imp. Initiative
5) Warshaper 1: (Morphic Immunities)
6) Warshaper 2: Reactive Shifting (Morphic Weapons, Morphic Body)
7) Warshaper 3: (Morphic Reach)
8) Weretouched Master (Tiger) 1
9) WtM 2: Wildhunt Elite, Extra Shifter Trait (Longstride)B
10) WtM 3: (Pounce!)
11) WtM 4: Shifter DefenseB
12) WtM 5: Stand Still
13) Fighter 3
14) Fighter 4: Martial Study (Foehammer)B
15) Fighter 5: Precise Swing
16) Fighter 6: Martial Stance (Thicket of Blades)B
17) Fighter 7
18) Fighter 8: Mage Slayer, Hold the LineB
19) Fighter 9
20) Fighter 10: Robillar's GambitB

Advantages: As near as I can tell, once I'm through the Weretouched Master levels, this guy is immune to any ubercharger that's smaller than Huge.  I end up being able to shift to a Large creature with +16 Str for 12 rounds at a time, along with a Reach weapon and an extra 5' reach due to Warshaper 3.  And just in case anyone gets too close, I can claw them up to 15' away.

Disadvantages: Other than prodigious Strength, there's no real way to boost the damage output.  Also, the weapon needs to either be Large (which means I couldn't use it without shifting into Tiger-Man) or Sizing (which costs me an action).

Equipment needed: Physical ability boosters (permanent or worn doesn't matter too much), a Sizing reach weapon by level 12, magic armor that can grow with him or alternative armors. 

Any comments or suggestions?
"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 still think the armor changes with him.

...and how are you qualifying for Elusive Target without Dodge and Mobility?

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)

 

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 still think the armor changes with him. ...and how are you qualifying for Elusive Target without Dodge and Mobility?

I'm not.  I woke up remembering that this awesome feat had not-awesome pre-reqs.  So that's getting changed to Precise Swing.  And the shifter trait is getting changed from Beasthide to Wildhunt, partly for flavor reasons (it fits better with a tiger), and partly because I was just too worried about my AC when I chose it.  By the time I have to worry about whether I can wear armor or not, most people won't even have a chance to hit me.
"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