Weekly Optimization Showcase: Heavy Crusader

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...It's Friday already? Wow, where'd the week go?

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, one that Andarious and I worked on together (he did the lion’s share of the concept and initial work, I did the refinements and detailing).

Note: There are two versions of this build. They’re identical except for one feat and your weapon choice, but the weapon choice is very significant in terms of how this plays. The two versions are the “Critical” version (damage-heavy) and the “Avenger” version (more versatility and defense).

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HEAVY CRUSADER
No rest. No mercy. No matter what.

Required Books: Tome of Battle – yes, that’s it. Wizards.com web articles optional but strongly recommended for the Critical version, Weapons of Legacy (only implicitly!) for the Avenger version.
Unearthed Arcana used: None! (This build is extremely elegant in this regard.)

Background: Very, very simple concept: A crusader that hits hard at every level with no real buff time. We all know crusaders are like energizer bunnies – this one just uses sledgehammers instead of drumsticks. Maximize your choices at each level (so your granted maneuver selection is always up to par) and focus on keeping the heavy blows coming.  As you may have noticed from how few sources are actually needed to bring the build to full strength, it works as a great showcase for crusaders in particular and the Tome of Battle in general – it’s kind of iconic that way.

The high levels are structured around a uniquely Crusader kill move – Greater Divine Surge – and using the other uniquely Crusader options to cover for this move’s weaknesses. The build is not based on this single high-level stunt, though – it’s just a natural progression from the original theme of heavy hits. GDS just happens to have a serious drawback that takes a bit of finesse to escape.

The original version of the build was the “Critical” version, which is plenty fine in its own right (honestly, Andarious somehow found one of the sweetest sets of Martial Study timing I’ve ever seen, even with the feat’s arbitrary three-times-only limit.). The “Avenger” version is a simple modification that I made to the build while thinking about the Storm Knight, and it turned out there was a different equipment choice that fit like a glove. It slightly changes how the build plays, though. The “Critical” version is more generalized, but depends more strongly on critical hits for obscene damage. The “Avenger” version is more reliable, but has slightly lower overall stats and is more strongly dependent on fighting opponents of alignments that oppose your own. There are reasons to favor either approach, so choose accordingly.

The Basics



  • Race: Half-Elf. Yes, you’re the least-loved PHB race without relying on anything setting-specific. Outside of core, any of the elf subraces will work so long as they lend themselves to melee – most important is the lack of a Constitution penalty. (That’s really the only reason we’re using half-elf here.)

  •  Ability Scores: 14/10/15/13/8/12 with the elite array; pump Int at 4, then dump the rest in CON. We assume a +1 tome of Con around level 14 or so; a bigger (and odd-numbered) one is of course more desirable.

  • Alignment: Any of the four extremes. Well, technically crusaders can be any except True Neutral, but the “Avenger” version of this build benefits from having a corner-case alignment, ideally one opposing your campaign’s opponents. (For instance, fighting the Quori or Thay (largely LE)? Be CG. Fighting against the Cults of the Dragon Below or the Banites? Go LG. And so on. It does lend itself slightly more to being LG than CG, since the Avenger variant punches through DR/Cold Iron, like the chaotic demons, but not DR/Silver, like the lawful devils.)



Skill Notes:
Max out Concentration; your few remaining points are up to you (maxing Intimidate works well enough if you want to go that route, for instance). You don’t have that many points to spend. If you’re willing to cross-class a bit, picking up the requirements for the Nimble Charge and Twisted Charge skill tricks would not go amiss; they make your White Raven charges mean.

Basic Equipment: The “Critical” version uses a scimitar as its weapon of choice (go ahead and use it with a shield most of the time – you’re charging with bonus damage that doesn’t care about handedness, so you could use the AC and don’t gain much from two-handing). The “Avenger” version uses a specific falchion, so a shield is out of the question.  Defensively it’s pretty stock Crusader – get good armor and be ready to rumble. Speed matters, though, so as you can afford it, get faster armor without sacrificing defense.

Magical Gear Goals: Apart from the standard gear I list for most warriors (go go Eternal Wand of Heroics!) this build is largely concerned with its weapons. And here, you’ll see, is the key difference.

The “Critical” version benefits just from a Keen scimitar (and eventually, a Keen Kaorti Resin Scimitar) with as much accuracy on it as you can muster (look to the Martial Discipline enhancements here). For the record, that’s a 15-20/x4 critical hit property. Thus, multiplicative damage is ideal (Collision), but honestly any of the Burst effects would also be worth looking into since they’ll trigger quite often. For miscellaneous gear, look into anything that enables critical hits on normally crit-immune targets (there’s a few crystals in the MIC in particular, which stand out since you don’t have Use Magic Device.)

The “Avenger” version is named after its signature weapon: Faithful Avenger, one of the Nine Swords - the Devoted Spirit legacy weapon. The build was built and considered complete, but then I read this sword’s abilities and realized it made an almost perfect companion to the build. Legacy weapons come with their own minor issues (particularly weakened saving throws), but this sword will surprise you – particularly with how well it worked with a build that wasn’t designed with it in mind! Since you can’t modify legacy weapons and don’t have room for Improved Critical, you’ll want a Scabbard of Keen Edges with this approach.

Both builds benefit greatly from Diamond Mind rings as well, particularly at the later levels. These rings are essential to getting the most out of your high-level kill moves.  You don’t need a strong one, though – any will do. Similarly, both builds really benefit from anything that a full-attack warrior would normally look for – its kill move is a full round action that doesn’t allow movement. Teleports or action-economy increasers are the way to go here, but don’t go overboard – shortly after the kill move comes online, you get Dancing Blade Form, giving you reach when it matters, and your swift action is a premium resource here.

NOTICE: The Tome of Battle contains one line which implies that even flat-damage boosts from maneuvers (such as the bonus damage on White Raven charges, Leading the Charge / Blood in the Water, Strike of Perfect Clarity, and so on) does not multiply in the case of a critical hit. This contradicts every other example of bonus damage in the entire game. Personally, I suspect all the maneuvers when the tome was being written used bonus damage dice, so that line would have been accurate (given the casual tone the Tome uses in places), but some maneuvers were later changed and that line was skipped. This build assumes that flat damage does multiply in the case of a critical hit. If your DM rules against this, replace the one variable feat (at level 12) with Power Attack and use your weapon two-handed. (Even the Critical build should switch to a falchion if this is the case.)

The Build.
Build Stub: Crusader 10 / Eternal Blade 10.

1 – Crusader – (Furious Counterstrike, Steely Resolve 5) (Extra Granted Maneuver) (Crusader’s Strike, Charging Minotaur, Douse the Flames, Leading the Attack, Stone Bones) (Martial Spirit) (5/3)
*
Nearly every crusader opens up this way; EGM’s strength shouldn’t be underrated. This maneuver selection should keep you – and your team – alive through this deadliest of levels.

2 – Crusader – (Indomitable Soul) (Leading the Charge)
*
No crusader should be without this – your three schools each lend themselves to charging attacks in different ways, and this stance scales perfectly with level. Oh, and your 18-20 weapons happen to multiply this damage too.

3 – Crusader – (Zealous Surge) (Martial Study) (Battle Leader’s Charge, Wall of Blades)
*
Big flat damage – White Raven is one of the most painful disciplines to fight against for a reason. Add to that a high critical threat weapon and the results can be devastating. (Your charge damage averages 36 at this point on a critical hit with a one-handed scimitar!). Oh, and you’re also able to play warblade, bringing some impressive defense to the table after executing the charge. (This is more important for the Avenger version naturally.)

4 – Crusader – (Steely Resolve 10) (Mountain Hammer > Stone Bones)
*
Bigger damage and the ability to bypass DR; your own Steely Resolve should help fill the void left by Stone Bones. Charging Minotaur remains for now because it is still guaranteed to hit if done correctly. (Note that it might also gain the damage from Leading the Charge, which produces interesting results.)

5 – Crusader – (Bonecrusher)
*
It’s just awesome when the strongest damage strike at a level also happens to be a big booster to critical hit builds.

The Avenger variant gets Faithful Strike at this level as well. Basically, add one-third your level to attack and damage rolls against diametrically opposed alignments, or half of this to those who oppose only one of your alignments. This is a deceptively strong ability; if your campaign has a dominant villain alignment, this will grow to be your best friend.

6 – Crusader – (Smite 1/day) (Martial Study) (White Raven Tactics > Leading the Attack, Iron Heart Surge)
*
Similar to level 3, you get a source of flat damage (only once per day, but sure enough, smite damage does multiply on a crit), an upgrade to a maneuver that’s growing less useful (your teammates are accurate enough here that LtA doesn’t matter as much, but getting extra actions always helps), and more ability to play warblade by grabbing one of the hottest maneuvers known to man. Iron Heart Surge is truly awesome, and having it on a crusader (especially one with EGM) means that not only is he an expert at Not Dying, he’s also an expert at Never Stopping.

7 – Crusader – (Divine Surge)
*
Really, this maneuver feels like cheating. It’s ridiculously strong for the level and its fluff (and higher-level cousin) implies it should have a drawback, but it doesn’t. So go to town and hit hard.

8 – Crusader – (Steely Resolve 15) (White Raven Strike > Charging Minotaur) (Tactics of the Wolf)
*
What’s this? A crusader without Thicket of Blades? Blasphemy!

…Or not. Note the lack of 18-20 reach weapons. Note the lack of high Dexterity, or Combat Reflexes. Note no Stand Still or tripping ability. You simply don’t have the infrastructure to take advantage of the Thicket. Meanwhile, Tactics provides you with yet more flat damage which multiplies on a critical hit, and is a bit more reliable to trigger compared to Leading the Charge (without any real competition between the two, since you use the first while getting into position to use the second). Similarly, White Raven Strike hits hard and stuns the target, giving you an action advantage – the same sort of thing Charging Minotaur used to do (by forcing opponents to move just to get back to their old positions). Except at this level, your weapons are probably much stronger than Charging Minotaur can be, and are quite accurate to boot so the auto-hitting is less important. 

9 – Crusader – (Weapon Focus) (Elder Mountain Hammer)
*
WF goes to Scimitar or Falchion depending on your version. Elder Mountain Hammer keeps the heavy hitters coming (it’s a very good maneuver for the level).

Incidentally, the Avenger version starts getting cheap +Con items in Faithful Avenger around now. They’re online late – you get +2 at this point when you could easily have had that three or four levels ago – but it doesn’t eat up a slot, and in the end it saves you a lot of gold.

10 – Crusader – (Diehard) (Flanking Maneuver > Mountain Hammer) (6/4)
*
You have Elder Mountain Hammer, so the old one is swap fodder. Flanking Maneuver is one of the strongest maneuvers available at this level, and picking Tactics of the Wolf makes it the clear winner.

11 – Eternal Blade – (Blade Guide, Eternal Training 1) (Lightning Recovery)
*
Damn good maneuver – it doesn’t hit hard if it doesn’t hit.

Eternal Training is, as always, most useful in giving you new maneuvers known. Since you have enough Devoted Spirit maneuvers to basically have access to the whole school through Eternal Training, I won’t write more on that. Regarding Diamond Mind, there are several maneuvers at many different levels that have 0 prerequisites (Sapphire Nightmare Blade, Insightful Strike, any of the saving-throw boosters (including Diamond Defense) and Rapid Counter all come to mind). However, Diamond Mind doesn’t have a lot of 1-prerequisite non-stance maneuvers (just Emerald Razor – and you don’t have the Power Attack which makes this useful), so your Diamond Mind choices are usually defensive.  

12 – Eternal Blade – (Guided Strike) (Exotic Weapon Proficiency OR Power Attack – see inside)
*
This is the feat choice that defines your version.

If you’re the Critical version, you’re almost certainly taking Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Kaorti Resin Scimitar. Keen that baby up and you have a 15-20/x4 weapon in a build with a lot of flat damage. Let the bodies hit the floor.

If you’re the Avenger version, you pick Power Attack; without the x4 of a Kaorti Resin weapon, you rely on the old mainstay of big damage output. The only feat that comes close to this one for utility in this build is Improved Critical, since you can’t add Keen to a legacy weapon, but you can still “cheat” a bit to grab that when you want it (via a Scabbard of Keen Edges or your ever-ready Eternal Wand of Heroics.)

13 – Eternal Blade – (Uncanny Dodge, Eternal Training 2) (War Leader’s Charge) (7/5)
*
You know the drill at this point – more big +damage. War Leader’s Charge’s +35 damage doesn’t look like much, but that’s the average damage output of 10d6, except here it’s compatible with multiplication.

14 – Eternal Blade – (Eternal Knowledge)

15 – Eternal Blade – (Eternal Training 3) (Martial Study) (Greater Divine Surge, Diamond Defense) (Immortal Fortitude)
*
DAMN that’s a fine level. Set aside, for the moment, the obvious awesome that is Immortal Fortitude and/or Diamond Defense, and let’s focus on your new favorite kill move.

Your Constitution should be as high as you can possibly manage at this point – assuming only the +1 tome at or around level 14 (when they’re affordable), you should have a 22 or 24 Constitution (depending on the strength of your +Con item – Faithful Avenger alone gives you a +4, but we know it’s a touch late on when those come online.) This allows you to make Greater Divine Surge into a SERIOUS kill move – you can dump up to 15 points of Con into this strike at this point, meaning it’s a strike with an extra +15 on the attack roll that deals +36d8 extra damage, and that’s before you factor in the flat damage from effects like Tactics of the Wolf (or the optional Power Attack). However, it renders you flat-footed, and you’ve just lost a LOT of Constitution for a kill move that strong. So, how do we make sure this move doesn’t actually kill YOU as well?

Simple. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The single most important resource in D&D is the number of actions available to you. Not only is this super strike likely to kill anything it hits (denying them actions)… you have ways of gaining more of your own, to cover for your vulnerability. Observe.

By this point, you have a Diamond Mind ring of some sort, probably for Moment of Perfect Mind. Between this and Diamond Defense, you know two Diamond Mind maneuvers, and thus Eternal Training can be used to grab Moment of Alacrity. Between Moment of Alacrity and White Raven Tactics, you should never be in a situation where your opponents are able to act after you, but before any of your allies act.

If you are alone, you delay until after your opponent, initiate Moment of Alacrity, deliver the Greater Divine Surge… and then are flat-footed for approximately no time at all (although if you’re still threatened after this, you’ll have to rely on potions or similar to clear the Con loss). If you’re fighting with allies, you instead White Raven Tactics your party’s cleric – now would be a perfect time for a Heal spell to go your way. (Healing is normally not worth it in battle, but losing that much Constitution certainly justifies it. Besides, since it’s a WRT-allowed heal, it’s not actually “costing” your team any actions, and it fueled a strike strong enough to win the battle. The tradeoff isn’t as bad as it looks.)

In a few levels, you’ll be able to take care of this on your own as well. The Avenger variant can already do it to some extent, but it isn’t all that impressive just yet (the sword can cast Lesser Restoration… very slowly, and only 3/day, meaning out-of-combat conservation of spell slots is fine). The real strength of the Avenger variant with this approach, though, is that it has room for Power Attack and has a base attack bonus equal to your initiator level – meaning that against foes that you would have hit anyway, thanks to the attack bonus from GDS, you can fully Power Attack for no net loss of accuracy (and at a -1:+11 return on your damage, in a sense, although not all of that multiplies).

16 – Eternal Blade – (Defensive Insight) (8/6)
*
The extra ready is the real win at this level, but I’ve got an SBlock here because the Avenger variant deserves special notice.

The strongest defensive ability, I think, of the Faithful Avenger comes online at this level – it’s Boundless Determination. If you already know Immortal Fortitude, as we do, the stance also grants temporary hit points equal to your Crusader level (10) every round. This combines perfectly with Steely Resolve; although we only have 10 crusader levels, that's exactly what we'd expect from a maxed-out Stone Power, except without the attack penalty or limit on how (or even IF) we attack. Basically, once you enter Immortal Fortitude, you’re pretty much never dying.

Crusader 20 builds get more temporary HP out of this, obviously, but they don’t get all the awesome Eternal Blade goodies, like the ability to bypass DR on all of your superior flat-damage strikes.

17 – Eternal Blade – (Eternal Training 4) (Strike of Righteous Vitality)
*
Here’s your followup to the kill move, which lets you open with it rather than finish with it. The combination at this point is Eternal Training (Moment of Alacrity), Delay until after your opponent, initiate Moment of Alacrity, Greater Divine Surge (here you can dump 17 Con into the strike, hitting at +17 and dealing +40d8 damage on the hit), then act again to follow it up with a Strike of Righteous Vitality, which completely recharges your spent Constitution on top of providing 150hp of healing.

Also, the Avenger variant? At this level, once per day, it can actually use Restoration on itself as a swift action. So, if you don’t have the full combo available to you due to a poor maneuver granting but you need to kill something now, you can still pull off the trick – use the strike, then immediately use the Restoration ability. (Flat-footedness prevents immediate actions, but not swift ones.)

18 – Eternal Blade – (Tactical Insight) (Martial Stance) (Dancing Blade Form)
*
Not only does this give you a better chance of reaching your Greater Divine Surge target (remember, that maneuver is a full-round action!), it also gives you a vital Iron Heart prerequisite.

The Avenger variant’s Faithful Strike also caps out at this level: a whopping +6 attack/damage vs diametric alignments (or +3/+3 for those who oppose you on just one component). That adds up (and multiplies), and it translates into quite a lot of extra Power Attack.

19 – Eternal Blade – (Eternal Training 5) (Strike of Perfect Clarity) (9/7)
*
You want to see something scary? The Critical version of this build has got a very accurate weapon at this point which has a 15-20/x4 critical hit range, meaning you’ve got roughly a 25% chance with this maneuver of dealing +400 damage. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything vulnerable to crits that can survive that. You can make it even deadlier by using the Eternal Wand to compensate for the lack of Power Attack.

The Avenger version is capped at 15-20/x2 (and even that assumes a Scabbard of Keen Edges), but in exchange it gets a lot of other options instead, as I’ve highlighted throughout this writeup.

20 – Eternal Blade – (Island in Time)
*
I don’t NEED to write anything else at this point, do I? Island in Time is badass enough as it is, and here you are in a build that destroys its targets with next to no risk if it’s able to act twice. And by “destroy” I mean Greater Divine Surge is at +20 attack, +46d8 damage (207 average) at this point, and that’s before things like Tactics of the Wolf or Power Attack (for the Avenger variant), or a 15-20/x4 crit (for the Critical variant). This output is truly amazing, even when compared to full attacks at this level. When you’re doing that comparison, note that few full attackers can manage this degree of defense while sustaining their offense (for you, defensively, each of those attacks is usually followed by a Heal, and is combined with Boundless Determination / Immortal Fortitude / Steely Resolve 15).

The Avenger variant also gets a decent capstone here – Resiliency is a sort of super-Steely Resolve, which allows you to basically counter any build similar to this one that relies on single-strike insano-damage attacks. If two of these guys squared off, they could survive each other’s kill moves once.


Snapshot: Both variants look more or less identical snapshot-wise.  Assuming +6 Strength and +6 Con items (note that the Avenger variant gets the +Con boost from his weapon on the cheap, in exchange for getting them late), and a +1 Tome of Constitution – yes, this snapshot uses far less of your gear than we usually use! – you’re looking at 262 HP, base attack +20 (melee +31 with nothing but Greater Magic Weapon; the Avenger variant also gets Holy/Unholy and Faithful Strike to boost this even more against his true enemies, but suffers a slight attack roll penalty for using a legacy weapon; you’re at a net benefit most of the time), saves of +18/+6/+5, and the full range of Energizer Bunny tricks (lots of maneuvers of multiple action types and ways of gaining multiple actions yourself).

Check the progression spoilers to see how this build rolls. It gets positively disgusting later on, without any setup or special positioning involved (well, nothing serious anyway). Remember that you can use the Eternal Wand to pick up missing feats (like Improved Critical or Power Attack, depending on the variant). Its kill shots can easily do over 300 damage, although they're a touch slow.

Overall Strengths:  Very good progression. Early on it’s got some iconic abilities that are designed to work well with the visceral satisfaction of a critical hit. At the later levels (15+) it gets some positively disgusting damage boosts, as well as the means to recover from the strain of using these moves. The build itself is also a very tough nut to crack (note how powerful the basic snapshot is with the guy essentially in his skivvies?). The Critical variant gets insane damage output throughout the build, while the Avenger variant trades some of this insanity for dramatically improved defenses (although it loses combat potency against neutral foes, those who disagree philosophically will learn to hate you all the more.)

Overall Weaknesses: Your kill move is very immobile for a martial adept – full round action combined with, ideally, your swift to make sure you aren’t vulnerable for long. The build doesn’t have high saves, particularly the Will save: it relies on a Diamond Mind ring for that for most of its career, plus Diamond Defense, but even then you should get good resistance or immunity gear. Investing in +CHA items also helps cover Will due to Indomitable Soul, and this will also improve your smites, so it’s better than +WIS. (Incidentally, it looks like you can combine a smite attack with a martial strike, but I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you have Lightning Recovery handy.) Although it has Eternal Training, it also takes all three allowed Martial Study feats, meaning you can’t use the Eternal Wand of Heroics trick to get new maneuvers mid-battle. Finally, both routes have a drawback: The Avenger route is actually at a net attack roll penalty against unaligned or identically-aligned targets, and suffers penalties in other areas (HP, for instance). Meanwhile, the Critical version loses a LOT of its potential damage (when not using its kill move), and most of the money sunk into your weapon, when fighting foes you can’t crit.

Variants:  I discussed the two major variants along the way: Critical and Avenger flavor heavy crusader. If you can get a bonus feat somehow (flaws, a random elf subrace, etc), a hybrid approach is possible – using the Critical version, armed with a falchion instead, and grabbing Power Attack as well as the exotic weapon proficiency. If neither legacy weapons nor Kaorti resin are available, you can still function just peachy as any other crusader would – I’d suggest a falchion and grabbing Power Attack as your 12th level feat, operating as if you were the Avenger variant with the Keen Edge spell. You also might want to shift Power Attack earlier if you can, but this would probably delay Extra Granted Maneuver (and thus the Energizer Bunny effect).



There you have it. It’s a pretty simple, iconic ToB build that resorts in hitting your foes, and hitting them hard, without any particular setup demands. And everything it does is pretty uinquely crusader (particularly in the Avenger variant) - without resorting to the AoO tank stereotype.


Next up on the showcase: I still have Gun Fu to display. Once it goes up, it will be joined with a list of complete or almost-complete writeups for other builds - we listened to your requests and narrowed our focus accordingly.

So, as with last week,  you can let me know in the thread what sort of broad archetypes you'd like to see. More melee, more casters, more social/support, more offense, more defense, characters using incarnum... I'll use the feedback to know which builds to focus on.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

So THAT'S how a Crusader's supposed to be built!  

I'd like to see more combined classes, either gish or multi-casting. 
"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
So THAT'S how a Crusader's supposed to be built!


At least it shows they can be built around something other than Thicket of Blades. 

One of the later Molester builds (Tess, I think) was a natural TWF Crusader (exploiting Robilar-style ripostes charged up with Furious Counterstrike), but that paradigm went by the wayside because there's a lot of better ways to do TWFing. There are enough other AoO tanks out there, though there aren't a lot of non-pouncing damage dealers. Hopefully it'll stick this time.

I'd like to see more combined classes, either gish or multi-casting. 

There're quite a few multiclassers already (including one that basically duct-tapes together to create a new theurge - Ashardalon Reborn). Could you be more elaborate?

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

This really does showcase the power of ToB quite elgantly. Kudos.

My vote is for more casters. 
I'd like to see more combined classes, either gish or multi-casting. 

There're quite a few multiclassers already (including one that basically duct-tapes together to create a new theurge - Ashardalon Reborn). Could you be more elaborate?

Psionics and divine.  Not necessarily together, but you've done a BUNCH of dual-arcanes.
"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'd like to see more combined classes, either gish or multi-casting. 

There're quite a few multiclassers already (including one that basically duct-tapes together to create a new theurge - Ashardalon Reborn). Could you be more elaborate?

Psionics and divine.  Not necessarily together, but you've done a BUNCH of dual-arcanes.

I think I'd have more input on builds if most of mine weren't also crazy monsters, like a wilder who also just happens to be an udoroot stuck to the head of a giant centipede.

I mean, I actually have two different builds that combine ardent and ur-priest through psychic theurge, and one of them is a dire vulture that can take humanoid form (thanks to my homebrew "Trickster Spirit" template).

EDIT: Typo.

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

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass 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.
One of the later Molester builds (Tess, I think) was a natural TWF Crusader (exploiting Robilar-style ripostes charged up with Furious Counterstrike), but that paradigm went by the wayside because there's a lot of better ways to do TWFing. There are enough other AoO tanks out there, though there aren't a lot of non-pouncing damage dealers. Hopefully it'll stick this time.

And this reminds me: more of RT's builds.  That dude has come up with some stuff that's both effective and hilarious, like the molesters - which, even though they were eaten by the intrawebz, I would still  love to see the whole set - and the Sea Kin Rastaman.  Which should be the official name for that one, IMO.  
I mean, I actually have two different builds that combine ardent and ur-priest throught psychic theurge, and one of them is a dire vulture that can take humanoid form (thanks to my homebrew "Trickster Spirit" template).

You're seriously twisted, you know that?  :D
"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 would like to point out that this build in effect relies on three rulings that most DM's are not going to allow.


1) Flat damage strikes multiplying. The ToB does flatly call out they don't. My feeling is that they made some strikes flat and others dice so that they wouldn't all feel the same when you got bonus damage from additional schools, and took steps to differentiate them. The rule is there PRECISELY so it doesn't get abused like you are proposing.


2) No WAY any sane DM will let a player use a Kaorti Resin Weapon, any more then they let them use those +3/+3 swords from those guys in the original Fiend Folio. That's just bad presentation, Tempest. You're basically asking every damage build alive to adjust their damage to x4 weapons. Not going to happen. Shame on you.


3) The Avenger uses a Legacy Weapon, which makes it a very specific, campaign=oriented build...which is fine as a display.
=======

The build should stand alone without any of those, and I believe it does. It just won't put up the monster crit numbers, and would probably benefit more from Power Attack.

2p.

Looking forwards to Gun Fu!

==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
Let me preface this with a caveat: I don't intend this to sound hostile, although I'm probably being too blunt. I might edit later.

1) Flat damage strikes multiplying. The ToB does flatly call out they don't. My feeling is that they made some strikes flat and others dice so that they wouldn't all feel the same when you got bonus damage from additional schools, and took steps to differentiate them. The rule is there PRECISELY so it doesn't get abused like you are proposing.



The build doesn't entirely rely on them, to be fair - it works just fine as a standard crusader without the multiplication. The only maneuver that actually works with critical hits - Bonecrusher - was chosen because it's a heavy hitter, not because it makes confirming critical hits easier. The only feat that directly reflects on multiplication or critical hits is the EWP feat at 12, which isn't exactly required. The weapon choice is something I addressed in the variants.

Setting that aside.

This is the only point in the entire 3.5 ruleset that includes flat damage that doesn't multiply - and no reason is given for it. I can show you the numbers on this as well: a dedicated ToB White Raven charger (as White Raven charges are the most frequent flat damage sources - in fact, the only non-charge flat-damage sources are Tactics of the Wolf and Lion's Roar.) only comes out ahead of your typical ubercharge build at levels 3-5, when Battle Leader's Charge is around but multiple attacks and Pounce are not*. Even then, once the strike is initiated, it can't be used again for four rounds (or three with an extra feat - although realistically, if you're comparing against an ubercharger (three feats required), that's a fair assumption, particularly because EGM is a good feat), and even then, he could be denied it if it isn't granted - while the charger can launch into another ubercharge whenever a target presents itself. (This is why the Heavy Crusader makes use of Tactics of the Wolf and non-charging heavy hitters, such as Divine Surge - it has charging, but it isn't a charge specialist.)

*Incidentally, when I did the analysis comparing damage output between the warblade and the barbarian (using average AC values and zero feats except Power Attack, which realistically any melee damage dealer would use), levels 3-5 are the same level range where the maneuver-spamming warblade outperforms the classic barbarian.

Putting those last two points together, if you're okay with the damage multiplication on any charge build, you would not have a problem with the same multiplication in the ToB. 

2) No WAY any sane DM will let a player use a Kaorti Resin Weapon, any more then they let them use those +3/+3 swords from those guys in the original Fiend Folio. That's just bad presentation, Tempest. You're basically asking every damage build alive to adjust their damage to x4 weapons. Not going to happen. Shame on you.


The blame for that weapon IS mine - Andarious' original simply used a regular scimitar with that feat being open (it wasn't even Power Attack, on the logic that flat-damage maneuvers keep a decent damage output (even without multiplication) and don't care about handedness, and charging comes with an AC penalty, so sword-and-board isn't a bad call in this case, and if you're sword-and-boarding, Power Attack is subpar). You'll note I addressed this weapon choice in the variant section - it works just fine with a regular old scimitar - a point you concur.

3) The Avenger uses a Legacy Weapon, which makes it a very specific, campaign=oriented build...which is fine as a display.


I don't see legacy weapons as campaign-oriented, any more than the Quest spell or prestige classes with RP requirements are campaign-oriented. And as I noted multiple times in the writeup, the build was not designed with Faithful Avenger in mind, and we were pleasantly surprised with how effective that sword turned out to be and how little effort was needed for it to excel (just one feat).

(In fact, it was designed first as a way of getting Greater Divine Surge to be worth it, then from there the rest was filled out to maximize impact in minimal time without resorting to anything too fancy.)

Looking forwards to Gun Fu!


Even though you used the "no sane DM would allow" line here? I've explicitly warned that Gun Fu is theoretical. (There IS a similar build to it that is a lot more playable (in fact, it's reasonably simple, being originally designed as a cohort), but we're still working on the writeup for it, and due to its similarity, it'll show up after a few "breather" builds. Perhaps sooner rather than later, since it's an RT build and there appears to be interest for more RT builds.) 

I'd also like to warn you: You've seen in-progress versions of Gun Fu before, and it clearly showcases why something you've defended multiple times (including in arguments with me) is actually trivially easy to break wide-open. 

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Oh, no. Are you talking that Warblade dual-wielding heavy crossbows build? :P  I don't have to like that build...but under the rules, I've had to concede it works.

I thought Gun Fun was actually going to use gunpowder rules, heh!

==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
Oh, no. Are you talking that Warblade dual-wielding heavy crossbows build? :P  I don't have to like that build...but under the rules, I've had to concede it works.

I thought Gun Fun was actually going to use gunpowder rules, heh!

==Aelryinth


No, it doesn't use heavy crossbows. It doesn't need to.

It DOES work with DMG flintlocks, although doing so requires you to pick a race with a bonus feat (as written it works with ANY race that can hit the ability reqs, although I've statted it as a halfling just because I could; switching to strongheart halfling would let you use firearms though) and the result is less insane than my final weapon choice due to the low threat range. Mind you, "less insane" on the theoretical front is a far cry closer to actually playable, and I DID leave tips for using it as a gunner throughout the writeup, so...

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

I'm extremely excited to see the gun fu build now.
Excellent explination of the build Tempest, and thanks for all the feedback everyone. I have to say I especially appreciate the defense of my initial concept with the "actually Andarious originally wanted scimitar sword and board". I'm practical like that, I don't like a melee character in D&D that doesn't at least try and have a good AC, except maybe if they use 50% miss chance, even still I'd rather both.

The builds real trick has always been Greater Divine Surge, Moment of Alacrtity (or Island in Time), Strike of Righteous Vitality. OR in a party with a character capable of casting HEAL and "backpacking" for you, Greater Divine Surge, White Raven Tactics, get healed... win.
I like the "iconic" feel of this build, and Greater Divine Surge is a cool ability to build around - hard enough to use as it is.

A minor remark: Restoration has a 3-round casting time (inherited from the Lesser version) so it needs to be Rapid Spell'ed if you want the Cleric to cast it in one round. 

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

 

  • Maeve in The Lost History of Istar


 
Thank you, but the thanks go to Andarious for this one.

And Faithful Avenger itself gives the swift Restoration. Its Lesser is three rounds, but the full restore (1/day) is swift.

EDIT: Oh, whoops, misread that. Yes, the tag-team version is a touch on the slow side. There are one-action Lesser Restoration-style effects out there, but they're in psionics rather than magic. (Ardents with the Life mantle and sangehirn can manifest that power by touch.) 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)

 

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

 

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

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

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

I'm not going to lie, originally the spell I'd expected in response to a White Raven Tactics, Greater Divine Surge combo was Heal, rather than Greater Restoration. Heal takes one standard aciton and fixes you up good.