Weekly Optimization Showcase: Gun Fu

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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 one of mine, but I did it as an unofficial “build-off” against Andarious and Radical Taoist on the same theme. Three builds came up as a result: one using shuriken and flurry, a “Heavy Weapons Elf” with fewer feats but more maneuvers, and this one, straight out of Hong Kong action cinema). Oh, and brace for cheese – this build lives in the fondue pot.

NOTE: Incomplete versions of this build have shown up here before, but this is the first time it's seen in its entirety. Or in costume.
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GUN FU
It’s Bullet Time

Required Books: Tome of Battle, Complete Scoundrel, Complete Warrior, Races of Eberron, Weapons of Legacy.
Unearthed Arcana used: Feat Rogue variant (Sneak Attack becomes bonus feats, as fighter).

Background: Lock and load your dual pistol crossbows, toss on the Matrix lobby scene theme music, and prepare to grind your game to a halt. This build falls under the “theoretical optimization” header in that it tries to max out the number of ranged attacks it can get without resorting to a functional infinite, and it turns out the easiest way of doing that was to blend pistol-type weapons with martial arts… and use the Aptitude weapon enhancement to bring it all to the fore. Yep, that is cheese that you’re smelling.

I'd like to open by saying that while this build uses pistol crossbows, it does work with DMG pistols - either the Renaissance flintlocks or the modern semi-automatics.  It just won't be as effective: Pistols are one-handed weapons (so bigger attack penalties), have a lower threat range (this is important), and require an extra feat for proficiency (although this isn't a serious drawback: this build doesn't have any particular race demands, so picking a bonus feat race - such as strongheart halfling, which is virtually identical to the version I write up below - gets that). It's also not clear if your enhancements or quiver will work with them. But it's something to keep in mind.

If you don’t get the name, “Gun Fu” is a nickname for the blending of martial arts cinematography and choreography with modern weaponry. John Woo basically pioneered it, with The Matrix bringing it to the wider Western audience. A few scenes from Equilibrium should set the tone (although it isn’t my favorite movie to employ gun fu, it’s quite representative – and although this build is more reflexive than cerebral, with a reasonable investment in its defenses, it may very well be as untouchable in (normal) combat as a Grammaton cleric!)

The Basics



  • Race: Halfling, although it’ll work with any race. I’m using the standard halfling; Strongheart’s better (and can get you the pistols), but not needed. Elf is a good core-only alternative, as is (surprisingly!) Goblin (high speed for small guy), but if multiclass penalties are enforced, you need Favored Class: Rogue, Fighter, or Any.

  • Ability Scores:  15/16/13/12/8/8, after racial modifications. Pump Dexterity at every opportunity and note the magic item requirements. If you want something less well-rounded, starting with a higher Dexterity is possible. If you’re not a halfling, you can round it out some better mental scores – you need 15 Strength, so a lot of points went there to start.

  • Region: Native to either Talenta or Xen’drik. According to the Eberron Campaign Setting, this lets you treat their respective boomerangs as martial weapons. (Talenta Halfling is good.) 


Skill Notes: You need to qualify for Uncanny Trickster, so max out at least four of your skills and buy at least four skill tricks. Thankfully, you start out as a rogue, so you have a lot of points to spend and aren’t under any particular skill pressure as we go. You’ll also get a few skill tricks; good ones for this build are Timely Misdirection (Bluff 8), Clarity of Vision (Spot 12), Back On Your Feet (Tumble 12), and Nimble Stand (Tumble 8). (You get three more beyond this at least; your options aren’t so limited.)

Basic Equipment: This matters less since the build really “matures” around 9th. If you’re playing it at lower levels than that (for reasons unknown…), pick up armor to match your Dex mod and a set of weapons which match your current feats (light maces, gauntlets, and hand crossbows). At the end you’ll have shed the armor and switched exclusively to hand crossbows and rely on no other gear.

Magical Gear Goals: Magic is VERY important to this build – you need two Aptitude light crossbows (or pistols, as mentioned above), a Spare Hand (MIC), and ideally Gloves of the Balanced Hands (MIC). A Tome of Dexterity +5, a tome of Constitution +1, and +6 items for Dex, Con, and Int aren’t bad calls either (add the +Dex to the Gloves at no extra cost, as per the MIC.). If you can swing it, pick up a maxed-out Quiver of Anariel – 128,000gp is expensive, but this is one of the few builds that will actually make good use of the infinite +5 ammo. You also need an item of legacy, although what it is doesn’t particularly matter. I’d suggest something that isn’t sunderable and with as few penalties as possible (to minimize these, pick (or design) an item that only has a least legacy).

If you want perfect weapons, the ideal choices are a pair of matching +1 Splitting Diamond Mind / Tiger Claw Hand Crossbows of Aptitude. These babies are as accurate as you want and churn out a hail of bolts the likes of which we haven’t seen in a while. (Since they rely on carrier effects on the weapons themselves, we use the quiver to supply the enhancement bonus, which will stack with the Martial Discipline properties on the bows.) Two of these, the quiver, the spare hand, the gloves, the tome, the headband, and the initial down payment on a least legacy will still leave a level 20 build with nearly 200,000gp left over, which is plenty for basic defensive gear. (The game seems to assume between 20-30% of your wealth in defensive gear, so this is actually about on target (~25%). Just be sure to keep your max Dex unrestricted: there’s a reason most gun fu protagonists fight in trenchcoats, flexible leather, or martial-arts garb.)

The Build.
Build Stub: Feat Rogue 4 / Fighter 4 / Warblade 1 / Uncanny Trickster 3 / Legacy Champion 8
Note: Legacy Champion comes with a handful of bonus legacy feats; I’ve omitted these since your specific legacy item isn’t important to this build, and that will govern which legacy feats you choose.

1 – Feat Rogue – (Trapfinding) (Bonus: Combat Reflexes) (Improved Unarmed Strike)

*
Also worth noting: Rogues have explicit proficiency in the hand crossbow. The improved unarmed strike lets you threaten even while dual-wielding ranged weapons, and hey, it’s Gun Fu. Some martial arts are to be expected.

2 – Feat Rogue – (Evasion) (Bonus: Power Attack)
*
Oddly, this feat is useless here except as a prereq. Anyone know a good replacement? The only substitution I know of is Stone Power, which would be almost equally useless.

3 - Feat Rogue – (Trap Sense 1) (Roundabout Kick)

4 – Feat Rogue – (Uncanny Dodge) (Bonus: Two-Weapon Fighting)
*
Online a touch late due to needing +1 Dexterity to qualify, but the pre-9th feats are kind of flexible as to their order.

5 – Fighter – (Bonus: Weapon Focus (Light Mace))

6 – Fighter – (Bonus: Lightning Mace) (Boomerang Ricochet)
*
You qualify for Ricochet by being from Talenta or Xen’drik and having full martial proficiency from fighter levels. Yes, you have feats for three different weapon types. It’s about to all come together.

7 – Fighter – N/A 

8 – Fighter – (Bonus: Improved Critical (Light Mace))

9 – Warblade – (Weapon Aptitude, Battle Clarity) (Rapid Reload (Hand Crossbow)) (Douse the Flames, Claw at the Moon, Moment of Perfect Mind) (Blood in the Water)

*
A pair of +1 Aptitude hand crossbows should be affordable at this point; add the other enhancements later. If you opt for actual pistols instead, once they’re Aptitude, you should be able to reload them as a free action due to the way Aptitude references Rapid Reload. (This is also why I picked Rapid Reload instead of the usually superior Hand Crossbow Mastery in DotU, which may not work with Aptitude.) Also note that Blood in the Water works with ranged attacks just as well as it works in melee (and the aptitude crossbows threaten on 17-20 thanks to your Improved Critical.).

10 – Uncanny Trickster – (Bonus trick, Favored Trick)

11 – Uncanny Trickster – (Bonus Trick, Favored Trick) (Improved Uncanny Dodge) (White Raven Tactics)
*
You’re advancing Warblade with these levels, so you get a new maneuver and Uncanny Dodge, which advances to Improved thanks to your rogue levels.

12 – Uncanny Trickster – (Bonus Trick, Favored Trick, Uncanny Luck, Battle Ardor) (Point Blank Shot) (Fountain of Blood)
*
It’s worth noting here that your IL is actually 7 – you advanced Warblade by 1, so its effective level is 2, with ten non-warblade levels. Classes like the Uncanny Trickster simultaneously advance your effective warblade level as well as your non-warblade level, essentially letting you get +1.5 IL per level of advancement. This matters in later maneuver choices.

Interesting note: Fountain of Blood works with ranged attacks, although it’s of limited use. Consider this “doing them execution-style” and aiming for an R rating.

13 – Legacy Champion – (Reduced Lesser, Bond of Lore)

14 – Legacy Champion – (Replace Least) (Dancing Mongoose replaces Douse the Flames) (Hearing the Air)
*
Legacy Champion is also advancing warblade, and works the same way Uncanny Trickster does. Your IL at this point is 10.5. It’s also worth noting that Legacy Champion inherits its class skills from all your previous classes, and thanks to Uncanny Trickster, you have 11 levels where every skill is a class skill.

Oh, and you’ll probably notice a trend here: Dancing Mongoose will work with ranged attacks.

15 – Legacy Champion – (Extra Least) (Bonus: Improved Initiative) (Rapid Shot) (Moment of Alacrity)

16 – Legacy Champion – (Bonus Legacy Feat) (Quicksilver Motion replaces Claw at the Moon)

17 – Legacy Champion – (Replace Lesser, Battle Cunning) (Raging Mongoose)
*
As with its lesser cousin, Raging Mongoose also works with ranged weapons. Similarly, the maneuvers you took at the last couple of levels (and next level) don’t care what kind of weapons you’re using: it’s amazing how much of the melee-centric Tome is still usable here.

18 – Legacy Champion – (Extra Lesser) (Adaptive Style) (Diamond Defense replaces Dancing Mongoose)

19 – Legacy Champion – (Reduced Greater)

20 – Legacy Champion – (Bonus Legacy Feat) (Bonus: Quick Draw or Blind-Fight) (Time Stands Still)
*
The feat choice is to taste; both fit. Thanks to Uncanny Trickster and Legacy Champion, you finish off with IL 18.5 and you know enough Diamond Mind maneuvers to learn the quintessential “Bullet Time” maneuver. And yes, look carefully – it also doesn’t rely on melee attacks.


Snapshot: Take the gear listed above to finish off with 191 expected HP, 147 final skill points (with 11 levels with all skills as class skills), base attack +16 (ranged attack +36 on a single basic attack (no need for GMW in this build), and it can climb to +40 thanks to martial Discipline, but will realistically cap at +38 due to TWF penalties), Fortitude +16, Reflex +26, Will +10. Defensively, it’s a function of items that are more or less free to choose, but assuming nothing more than Magic Vestment (on a badass longcoat, natch), you’re starting from 27 and going up from there (most of that from Dex, with Improved Uncanny Dodge (never denied Dex, and Rogue 13 required to flank)). This is good, but not amazingly impressive; it’s also overestimating a bit due to legacy item penalties.

What is impressive is
the attack routine.
Let’s employ the entire suggested equipment from above – and remember that Aptitude weapons gain the benefit of all your weapon-specific feats, even if they don’t match. Also note that you have a Spare Hand and Rapid Reload, so you can actually reload your weapons quickly enough to full attack while dual-wielding them. (RAW, the hand can’t actually do the reloading, but transferring or retrieving items from the hand is a free action, so technically you’re passing one of your guns to the hand, reloading the other one, picking up the first gun, passing the hand the second, reloading the first, then retrieving the second, at astonishing speed. Hey, I said this was theoretical, didn’t I?)

 The usual maneuver loadout is Moment of Alacrity, Time Stands Still, Raging Mongoose, and Diamond Defense. Moment of Alacrity + Adaptive Style allows you to adjust your maneuvers at the last moment to match your foes, and boosts your initiative so high that you're probably acting first next round anyway (it’s the quintessential swordsage trick to always have the right maneuvers ready without “losing” a turn; although you know far fewer than a swordsage, we were limited to maneuvers that work outside of melee, so there was no real reason to not go this way). After it’s been used, Moment of Alacrity becomes useless without Delay tactics, so swap it for Quicksilver Motion or White Raven Tactics, depending on the scene (comes down to if you’re solo, or if you have a partner).

On your first round, use Time Stands Still to unload 7 attacks (4 from base attack, +1 TWF, +1 Improved TWF from the gloves, +1 Rapid Shot) twice. (You can add in Raging Mongoose if you want, but I prefer Quicksilver Motion as your opening swift, since you’re almost never in the right position when battle starts.) Each attack splits into two bolts (28 shots). Thanks to Improved Critical’s 17-20 crit range, 20% of those shots will threaten, triggering an extra splitting attack (averaging 11.2 extra shots) against any target. Any threats that confirm trigger another splitting attack against the same target (the number of confirmations varies based on target's AC, but Blood in the Water and Battle Ardor (as good as Power Critical here) makes this almost trivial, especially since with equipment, this build's ranged attack bonus is +34 with the first attack, +2 per discipline employed in the attack (usually +4 in this scenario: Time Stands Still + Blood in the Water), and the average CR 20 AC is 36.).  These extra attacks (against any target on a threat, or against the same target on a confirm) can also produce extra attacks if they threaten or crit, and so on. This works out, against a single target, to 7 shots fired per initial attack roll. You have unlimited +5 bolts to fuel this.

If there's a target adjacent to anyone you hit, every successful bolt that hits triggers another attack roll against the adjacent target (Boomerang Ricochet), with an independent chance to threaten or crit, triggering extra attacks against that second target if either happens. (I haven’t figured out what result this has on the expected number of total shots fired, but suffice it to say it’s a lot.) While the initial ricochet and any confirmed-crit extra attacks must go to the second target, the threat extras can branch back to the first target, or to a third one, in a hail of metal. (Every gun-fu movie needs at least one scene where the hero mows through a small army of mooks single-handedly without being touched; this lets you do just that.)

On off-rounds, you can use your swift action to reload recover maneuvers, then do a normal full attack. This works out to the equivalent of one and a half Time Stands Stills every round, once you consider Splitting. (Normal movement is fine too – once you’ve charged up Blood in the Water, you don’t need your trigger feats.) Diamond Defense is readied as an emergency boost to saving throws, since you will be a target after doing this. Quicksilver Motion lets you reposition yourself while still unloading full attacks. White Raven Tactics is mostly there for team support, which is always appreciated.

This is also a rather conservative estimation of how the attack routine looks – it ignored Raging Mongoose and effects like Haste. Before we look at that,
please remove any metallic items you may be carrying. Keys, loose change...
Since No Sane DM Would Allow™ this build, and rightly so, let’s go by the RAW interpretation of WRT (the one that no one thinks is a good idea – letting it target yourself) and assume Raging Mongoose “stacks” with Time Stands Still, and see just how insane this best (worst) case scenario can get. Theoretically, of course. And this time, I’ll show the math.

Also, let’s assume a single target this time, so no Ricochet. This is the other major gun-fu archetypal scene, where you’re fighting another single elite fighter, usually another gun-fu user.

Full attack: 4 attacks from BAB, +1 from Rapid Shot, +2 from ITWF, +1 Haste = 8 base attacks per full attack. Each Splits, so 16 bolts.
Time Stands Still + Moment of Alacrity: 16 attacks -> 32 bolts.
-> Full Attack + WRT = 8 attacks -> 16 bolts.
-> Full Attack + Raging Mongoose = 8+4 attacks -> 24 bolts.

72 base shots, assuming only a single target. But wait! We haven't considered your two trigger feats!

Just from a roll of the dice, 20% of these will threaten, launching another attack (which splits, so 14.4 attacks = 28.8 extra bolts).  20% of THOSE will also threaten, launching another, and so on. A simple limit gives us the total number of extra bolts:  +48 (from 24 expected cumulative threats). Of those 24 threats, for simplicity, I will assume every one confirms (Given a high AB + Intelligence + Blood in the Water from earlier critical hits; this isn’t that unreasonable an assumption: you only need 6 critical hits to hit the average CR 20 foe on everything except a natural 1. Given the army of mooks you probably chewed through getting to your opponent, this also explains why most such opponents engage in pre-fight banter – they’re waiting for Blood in the Water to cool down!). These confirmations launch another 24 attacks at the target, splitting into another 48 bolts. 20% of those will threaten and confirm, launching four more bolts from two extra attacks (threat and confirm), and so on. Another limit shows that this will add +180 bolts.

So, our grand total? 72+48+180=300 bolts fired in a single round. In modern terms, that’s 3000 rounds per minute: this is a reasonable rate of fire for your average helicopter-mounted M134 minigun. From single-action crossbows, wielded akimbo.

Your following round has your swift action recovering maneuvers, followed by a normal full attack, just as before. If you have to move, you can do so as well; a single attack at this point has Blood in the Water charged up so high that it doesn’t need trigger feats to be significant. (Incidentally, if you unleash a full attack, the 16+40 extra shots slows your sustained rate of fire to 1540 rounds per minute. If you’re firing on the move during recovery, it drops to 1295 rounds per minute.)


Overall Strengths: Setting aside your skills (which put you as an “expert” ), combat-wise, this is one of those cheesy builds with a single trick, but oh what a trick this is. Without resorting to functional infinites, it easily gets hundreds of shots per round against single targets, and far, far more of them against bunched-up targets, including the ability to daisy-chain attacks through walls of targets and just keep going. And although each individual bolt starts out doing next to no damage (and is thus blockable by DR), even a 0-damage bolt can charge up Blood in the Water, and by the end of the first round each bolt may be dealing more damage than Strike of Perfect Clarity.

Overall Weaknesses: Setting aside the whole Theoretical Optimization (and thus not really meant to be played) thing? It’s quite reliant on a specific set of magic items, and has a low Will save (it’s got Diamond Defense to dodge well-timed spells, but burning its next swift action is not an insignificant cost to an action-heavy build like this). Also, you’re a bit of a glass cannon, so although you’ve got about the appropriate budget for defensive gear, it might not be enough to cover for everything (especially if you’re planning on picking up anti-caster or anti-stealth gear; you’ve probably favored the Clarity of Vision trick, but using Hearing the Air as a last resort costs you Blood in the Water.).

Variants: If you’re going for perfection here (and you have no reservations on cheese), exchange the Fighter levels for the Targeteer fighter variant from Dragon 310. It’s more or less identical to the normal fighter except for weapon proficiencies, but importantly it has unique targeteer-only features that can replace a bonus feat. The most interesting one to us is Sniper: When you make a ranged full attack, you can give up one or more attacks you could have made from your full attack routine to increase the threat range of your next attack by 1 per attack given up. (Added *after* Keening, thankfully). You can see where this is going – give up every iterative attack from your initial full attack, and your first shot has a 10-20 threat range.  Since each shot splits to fire two other attacks, which are subject to the same threat chance, you are statistically guaranteed a threat, which triggers Roundabout Kick for two more, and so on, with Lightning Mace picking up the slack and speeding up the attack count. This will actually lead to functionally infinite attacks, each pretty quickly growing to deal a functionally infinite amount of damage. You can also combine this with Time Stands Still, using Sniper on the first shot in the first full attack and then taking the second full attack as normal, or to use Sniper on both full attacks to increase the odds of getting that crucial first threat. To fit Sniper into the build, dump Point-Blank Shot and Rapid Shot; the second freed-up feat slot can be used for Boomerang Daze. (Anyone who sees this and survives is going to be dazed – both because of the ridiculous damage-based save DC on the feat, and because of the sheer awesome you just delivered.) Incidentally, yes, this produces an effective primary-ranged build that does not use Point-Blank Shot.

If instead you want to tone down the cheese, you have a couple options. The first is to simply drop Splitting from the weapons. This dramatically lowers the number of attacks, basically to the point where the build is actually playable at the table. You're still hurling out a hail of fire, but it won't be on the order of hundreds of attacks per round. (I'm not doing the math to figure out what this'll be - it'll be a lot, but not an unmanageable number unless you're chewing through walls of mooks.)  Realistically, it's Splitting that pushes this build into the No Sane DM Would Allow territory, although technically its the use of Aptitude that makes it theoretical. Without Splitting, it's not quite so bad, and it maintains all its stylishness. You could also switch to the actual pistols - compared to hand crossbows, the slight decrease in accuracy, significant decrease in critical threat range, and dramatic increase in style aren't necessarily bad things if you're starting with the build as presented.

I'd also like to note that we have other builds that are related to this (Tome of Battle + ranged attacks), but significantly less cheesy. If you'd like a less spectacular but far more playable build in this vein, it's coming - once there's enough breathing room after the gunsmoke clears.

 

There you have it. This is also why I never allow Aptitude when I DM.


 

As I promised, we haven't been idle. Here's the new selection of builds to choose from for next week - they feature more of everything people have asked for. My signature's adopted a new tag system to identify their lead authors, so I'll adopt that here now too. Next week, pick one of the following: [SN] Chaingun Porcupine, [SN] Handy, [RT] Face First, [RT] Quiet Murder, and [DH] Eat, Sleep, Gank

There's even more than this planned for later, but I figure, we'll start the voting with just these five. Comment on Gun Fu, and let me know which direction the showcase should go in the thread!
 

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.

Hehe I played a heavy crossbow aptitude weapon user that was good fun when it worked. 

I love the build, I wouldn't dare bringing this to the table though... I'm sure there is another feat to rpelace power attack though...

I'm calling for Chaingun Porcupine as my vote 
Hehe I played a heavy crossbow aptitude weapon user that was good fun when it worked. 

I love the build, I wouldn't dare bringing this to the table though...


Without Splitting, it's actually not all that bad - and the main reason behind Splitting was to give extra independent chances to threat for another trigger, rather than to increase damage output directly. Cut that out and it slows right down.

Once you're past Aptitude and Splitting, the only other contentious issue here is if IL can be bootstrapped this way. I don't see any reason why it isn't. 

As I mentioned in the variants, though, there IS a playable version of something very, very similar to this coming. It's not on the current rotation though, to give some time for the gunsmoke to settle.
I'm sure there is another feat to rpelace power attack though...

I'm calling for Chaingun Porcupine as my vote 


Only feat to swap I know of is Stone Power, which is even more useless and isn't available due to qualifications. Hence why I'm asking if anyone else knows of one.

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.



Wow.  Just... wow.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love cheese?

I vote for Face First, with Quiet Murder being my second choice. 
"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
Hehe I played a heavy crossbow aptitude weapon user that was good fun when it worked. 

I love the build, I wouldn't dare bringing this to the table though...


Without Splitting, it's actually not all that bad - and the main reason behind Splitting was to give extra independent chances to threat for another trigger, rather than to increase damage output directly. Cut that out and it slows right down.

Once you're past Aptitude and Splitting, the only other contentious issue here is if IL can be bootstrapped this way. I don't see any reason why it isn't. 

As I mentioned in the variants, though, there IS a playable version of something very, very similar to this coming. It's not on the current rotation though, to give some time for the gunsmoke to settle.
I'm sure there is another feat to rpelace power attack though...

I'm calling for Chaingun Porcupine as my vote 


Only feat to swap I know of is Stone Power, which is even more useless and isn't available due to qualifications. Hence why I'm asking if anyone else knows of one.

I don't think Legacy Champion does the 1.5 thing for IL.

Remember that IL goes up by 1/2 for classes outside your own. Since Legacy Champion would be increasing the base IL of Warblade, it wouldn't be considered an 'outside class' in that respect. IL is different from spellcasting, sure, but not THAT different that the Legacy classes can double-dip.

Also, I'm trying to work out the extra attacks mechanic. I know it's probably simple, but there's so many feats.

You've got one feat that generates an additional attack on a threat...Lightning Mace?
And you've got another feat that generates an additional attack on a confirm...or is that a Stance?
I think you stay in Blood in the Water to increase the threat range.
And of course ricochet for extra attacks via the boomerang skill.

Quiver of Andariel, indeed. You'd go through so much ammo with this build...

Ah, the vagueness of the Weapon Aptitude feat...

==Aelryinth
Fighter vs Warblade analysis http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19573526/Analyzing_the_Fighter_vs_The_Warblade The Lockdown F/20 iconic build http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19856162/A_little_Lock_build_for_you
I don't think Legacy Champion does the 1.5 thing for IL.

Remember that IL goes up by 1/2 for classes outside your own. Since Legacy Champion would be increasing the base IL of Warblade, it wouldn't be considered an 'outside class' in that respect. IL is different from spellcasting, sure, but not THAT different that the Legacy classes can double-dip.



The argument FOR it is that the "+1 level of existing class features" text clearly advances your effective level in another class (for example, a warblade 7 / uncanny trickster 2 would have an effective warblade level of 8, and thus his Int-To-Reflex bonus is capped at +8, for instance). Your EFFECTIVE warblade level is 8 in that case, but you have two levels of non-warblade, leading to a final IL of 9. 

I'm not entirely sure how it CAN'T work, and am willing to chalk it up to IL stacking simply not being considered with the UT/LC progression abilities.

Also, I'm trying to work out the extra attacks mechanic. I know it's probably simple, but there's so many feats.

You've got one feat that generates an additional attack on a threat...Lightning Mace?
And you've got another feat that generates an additional attack on a confirm...or is that a Stance?
I think you stay in Blood in the Water to increase the threat range.
And of course ricochet for extra attacks via the boomerang skill.


Using the "cleave" term to refer to "make another attack with the same weapon at the same bonus against the specified target":
Lightning Mace: When you roll a threat, cleave to the same target.
Roundabout Kick: When you CONFIRM a critical hit, cleave to the same target.
Ricochet: When you hit one target, cleave to an adjacent target.

Splitting: In all of the above cleaves, roll two attacks. Note the confound: If either of the Split arrows threatens, there's two more arrows who can threaten, and so on. (Figuring out how many this gets you is easy.) Once you have THAT, figure out how many of them crit - each crit launches two more arrows, which have a chance to threaten (launching two more) and crit (launching two more), and so on for each of the triggers. It's a pretty simple series limit to figure out how many you get.

Removing Splitting DRAMATICALLY simplifies the math and cuts the results back down to the level you'd expect out of a serious optimizer, but not necessarily in theoretical levels.

Blood does nothing for threat range - it just adds +1 to attack and damage for every critical hit you confirm. In a critical hit build like this, this eventually means every attack confirms, and every attack eventually hits, and DR becomes meaningless after a few seconds of unloading even nonmagical bolts into him.

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.

Ok, I may not be the best versed in the ToB but when it comes to advancing something that is based on class levels (IL in this case) I'm going to say a class is EITHER worth +1 or gets grouped with the non +1 classes.  If Legacy Champion effectively advances your IL in another class then it gets counted as one but then would not be counted with the other group.  To have something advance a class level based feature (which IL should be seen as) I think it would need to be pretty specific and not just how you'd interpret something.

It may be an oversight on the writers part (and you are looking for cheese here so I guess it may need to fly) but I'd say IL "level" is intended to work the same way caster level does with the added bonus of counting half of your "non-caster/martial adept" level towards your effective level.  If there was something that let you add 1/2 your "non-spellcasting class levels" to your effective caster level would you let it work on things that effectively advance a base class's spellcasting level?  You know, would a Wizard6/Spellcasting Advancing PrC 14 get CL 27 because it has 14 "non-spellcasting" levels that just happen to advance the effective level of the spellcasting class he has? 
Ok, I may not be the best versed in the ToB but when it comes to advancing something that is based on class levels (IL in this case) I'm going to say a class is EITHER worth +1 or gets grouped with the non +1 classes.  If Legacy Champion effectively advances your IL in another class then it gets counted as one but then would not be counted with the other group.  To have something advance a class level based feature (which IL should be seen as) I think it would need to be pretty specific and not just how you'd interpret something.

It may be an oversight on the writers part (and you are looking for cheese here so I guess it may need to fly) but I'd say IL "level" is intended to work the same way caster level does with the added bonus of counting half of your "non-caster/martial adept" level towards your effective level.  If there was something that let you add 1/2 your "non-spellcasting class levels" to your effective caster level would you let it work on things that effectively advance a base class's spellcasting level?  You know, would a Wizard6/Spellcasting Advancing PrC 14 get CL 27 because it has 14 "non-spellcasting" levels that just happen to advance the effective level of the spellcasting class he has? 


The issue with this is that all of the casting PrCs work the way +1 level of existing class features classes do... but Tome of Battle initiator level does NOT work that way. Rather, the ToB prestige classes sidestep the issue quite nicely by simply having their own progressions and saying they add their PrC level to your IL. (However, even THERE it's unclear: A warblade 4 / swordsage 6 / Shadow Sun Ninja 10 has a warblade IL of 17 and a swordsage IL of 18, because SSN adds its level to all initiator levels as written.)

The issue here comes with how Legacy Champion interacts with initiator level. It advances your effective level in warblade, but it does not add its class level to your warblade level in the same manner as, say, a ToB PrC.

The closest spellcasting analogy would be using something like Sublime Chord interacting with the old True Necromancer (which I believe said that its caster level for necromancy spells was equal to the sum of all of its caster levels) and multiple instances of Practiced Spellcaster. It's kind of convoluted, but I honestly don't see how it doesn't work.

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 guessing that Legacy Champion is in the Weapons of Legacy book which of course I don't have.  How it interacts with initiator level (which I am thinking of as an overall thing instead of being class specific) my be a example of parrallel development not matching final product.  My thought is that it would work like the ToB PrCs if it could advance IL of all types but from what I'm reading here I'd take it to advance Warblade IL at the 1:1 ratio but advance other classes IL by the 1:2 ratio.  As I see things adding a class level should never/rarely advance anything based on level more the +1 unless it is pretty explicit; LC advancing Warblade IL by +1.5 is more of a hiccup in the rules then an exception.

Now remember that this is all my take on things and may be the true RAW which I'll admit I sometimes take issue with.  I do think it is interesting how you're looking at a spellcasting analogy but using 3e (old TN) and Sublime Chord (at times a mixed up/over powered class already) as the examples.
Really nice build Tempest.  I can see though why No Sane DM Would Allow this build.  My question about this one is: wouldn't Protection from Arrows, if not a Chained Spell one, screw this character?
I'm guessing that Legacy Champion is in the Weapons of Legacy book which of course I don't have.  How it interacts with initiator level (which I am thinking of as an overall thing instead of being class specific) my be a example of parrallel development not matching final product.


As far as the relevant bits go, it's identical (word for word, except for the name of the class) to the Uncanny Trickster, just with a different number of levels. You can use that to get a sense of what's going on (as I know you've got access to Complete Scoundrel).

My thought is that it would work like the ToB PrCs if it could advance IL of all types but from what I'm reading here I'd take it to advance Warblade IL at the 1:1 ratio but advance other classes IL by the 1:2 ratio.  As I see things adding a class level should never/rarely advance anything based on level more the +1 unless it is pretty explicit; LC advancing Warblade IL by +1.5 is more of a hiccup in the rules then an exception.


It's a total hiccup, but one that DOES follow directly from what's written - and I did say this is theoretical. The features of the UT/LC advance your effective warblade level, and you add half your non-warblade levels to that to determine your warblade IL. The thing is, UT and LC are non-warblade levels as well.

Basically, the UT/LC modify X, while existing as Y. The thing is, X is a function of Y. It's a bit recursive and as far as I can tell, it DOES work. 

Now remember that this is all my take on things and may be the true RAW which I'll admit I sometimes take issue with.  I do think it is interesting how you're looking at a spellcasting analogy but using 3e (old TN) and Sublime Chord (at times a mixed up/over powered class already) as the examples.



I couldn't think of any other examples where the rules allowed some recursion or multiple-modification. There might be some others out there, especially where Practiced Spellcaster is concerned, but I'm not a fan of heavy-duty magic builds, so I don't know.

Really nice build Tempest.  I can see though why No Sane DM Would Allow this build.  My question about this one is: wouldn't Protection from Arrows, if not a Chained Spell one, screw this character?


Nope - all your arrows are magical and thus punch right through PfA's DR. Of course, even if it was DR/-, critical hits that deal 0 damage still charge up Blood in the Water, and it won't take long for the bolts to deal more than enough damage to punch through it.

Wind Wall, on the other hand, would screw this up - just like it'd screw up any ranged attack build, since it uses absolute language ("impossible"). There's a few other cases of this in the rules and they're all weird (i.e. a first-level adept's Protection from Evil will prevent Asmodeus himself from possessing you if he doesn't dispel it), but they do exist.

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.

...


As far as the relevant bits go, it's identical (word for word, except for the name of the class) to the Uncanny Trickster, just with a different number of levels. You can use that to get a sense of what's going on (as I know you've got access to Complete Scoundrel).

Really?  I'm afraid I'm going to dissappoint you but Complete Scoundrel is another one of the books I don't have.  I may have the first set of "Completes" but when it comes to the second set (which is where I but Scoundrel and Champion) I only have CMage.  I've got the PHB2 but not the DMG2, the basic campaign setting but not most of the supplements that followed (although I did get some FR), plus the Draconomicon, LM, two fiend books whicle picking up the MIC, SC, and most recently ToB after 4e came out.  My 3.5 (and especially 3.0) library is rather anemic compared to some peoples but I never got enough chances to get out and use them.
...

It's a total hiccup, but one that DOES follow directly from what's written - and I did say this is theoretical. ...

I know you said it's "theoretical" and I've also seen "cheese" used to describe it so my issues are more tongue in cheek then anything else here.  Even when 3.5 was going strong and I was posting to most of the boards I still didn't venture over to Char Op because I've never been a fan of trying to find the loop-holes and then drive a bus through them.
Now remember that this is all my take on things and may be the true RAW which I'll admit I sometimes take issue with.  I do think it is interesting how you're looking at a spellcasting analogy but using 3e (old TN) and Sublime Chord (at times a mixed up/over powered class already) as the examples.

I couldn't think of any other examples where the rules allowed some recursion or multiple-modification. There might be some others out there, especially where Practiced Spellcaster is concerned, but I'm not a fan of heavy-duty magic builds, so I don't know.

Wait a second, didn't you once express surprise by my reluctance/inexperience with spellcasters?  Considering how much "powergaming" seems to want spellcasters I guess I'm a bit taken back by that line.  Of course I've done builds with lots of spellcasting but I've never really tried to "optimize" everything in them.  If I play a "spellcaster" you can generally be guarenteed that I'm giving up some precious spellcasting levels somewere to make the character more interesting to me.

Sorry about all the comments on comments.  It is a little sickening when such awesomeness still has its kryptonite level weaknesses.



Really?  I'm afraid I'm going to dissappoint you but Complete Scoundrel is another one of the books I don't have.  I may have the first set of "Completes" but when it comes to the second set (which is where I but Scoundrel and Champion) I only have CMage.  I've got the PHB2 but not the DMG2, the basic campaign setting but not most of the supplements that followed (although I did get some FR), plus the Draconomicon, LM, two fiend books whicle picking up the MIC, SC, and most recently ToB after 4e came out.  My 3.5 (and especially 3.0) library is rather anemic compared to some peoples but I never got enough chances to get out and use them.



Hm. I could have sworn I'd seen you commenting on things from there like skill tricks, but I might just have my names and faces mixed up. 

The language for the UT/LC both say that at the levels they advance an existing class, "you gain class features (including spellcasting ability) and an increase in effective level as if you had also gained a level in a class to which you belonged before adding the prestige class level". So if you have two levels of warblade and you advance warblade, your effective warblade level is 3. To this, you add half your non-warblade levels, which include the Uncanny Trickster and Legacy Champion themselves.

The UT advances on 2/3 levels, while the LC advances on 7/10 (I think; AFB at this point and this build doesn't max out LC), and neither advances on 1st.
I know you said it's "theoretical" and I've also seen "cheese" used to describe it so my issues are more tongue in cheek then anything else here.  Even when 3.5 was going strong and I was posting to most of the boards I still didn't venture over to Char Op because I've never been a fan of trying to find the loop-holes and then drive a bus through them.



The two sides of CO - practical and theoretical - complement each other quite nicely, though they serve different purposes. One can think of the parallels to an initial-conditions problem (practical) and a boundary-values problem (theoretical) if you prefer, or you can see that the former helps players while the latter helps DMs (by indicating the limits of what one can expect or pointing out what to watch out for because it's abusable in clever ways).

To clarify this, the glory-days CO boards were split in two: Character Optimization (i.e. "help me with this character") and Theoretical Optimization (i.e. "what are the limits of the rules?"), just to prevent people who were only looking for one from flooding out the other. There was quite a lot of crossover (people like me, though I favored the former) but there's never been the assumption that you must do both to do either.

Wait a second, didn't you once express surprise by my reluctance/inexperience with spellcasters?  Considering how much "powergaming" seems to want spellcasters I guess I'm a bit taken back by that line.  Of course I've done builds with lots of spellcasting but I've never really tried to "optimize" everything in them.  If I play a "spellcaster" you can generally be guarenteed that I'm giving up some precious spellcasting levels somewere to make the character more interesting to me.



What I meant by "heavy-duty spellcaster" is basically anything that involves heavy use of metamagic to split the game open - the stuff that sets Tier One apart from Tier Two. I've played Tier One before - my own take on a Shadowcraft Mage, in fact - but I found it was far too involved for my liking. I'm currently playing a psion (tier two), but with a tightly-focused build based around creation (in effect playing as tier three most of the time, though the rapid power gain in the levels past... 10 or so make it difficult to keep that claim going). I prefer tier three (or powerful tier four) personally; that appears to be the sweet spot for a lot of people as well.

It is a little sickening when such awesomeness still has its kryptonite level weaknesses.


Apart from Wind Wall (which is a problematic spell rather than a problem with the build, so to speak), and perhaps trying to get into a gunfight in the middle of a hurricane (a feat which, to my knowledge, has never been attempted even in the most over-the-top wuxia/gun-fu movies ever, though it would be bloody awesome), I don't think there is a "kryptonite-level" weakness here. Were you referring to something else?

I mean, there's the usual soft spot on the will save - which leads to hilarious results if you don't guard against certain effects - but one would say the same of just about any rogue build, for instance.

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.

You had to bring up certain effects with this build. Still makes me giggle madly invisioning the crit chain that would go into that particular characters end.

The Heavy Weapons Elf was acutally mostly me, and got NAMED by RT when he said something to the effect of, "If you're going to use this, you have to rename it Heavy Weapons Elf, and also... watch this video." It's a sane build, but was, like the shuriken storm build made for one major purpose, exploiting Inspire Courage brought on by my Valkyrie build that of course will eventually have Leadership going for her. Still not set in stone on WHICH follower I'll try and bring in but ranged combat was something I wanted to shore up (at least on occasion) and it seemed a good way to go. So indirectly, I'm responsible for the monster that is the Gun Fu build being conceptualized.

It's a fun idea to mess around with though and I'm glad to see the set that's in the rotation right now, they're all solid and a different bent than most of what's been shown. 
Apart from Wind Wall (which is a problematic spell rather than a problem with the build, so to speak), and perhaps trying to get into a gunfight in the middle of a hurricane (a feat which, to my knowledge, has never been attempted even in the most over-the-top wuxia/gun-fu movies ever, though it would be bloody awesome), I don't think there is a "kryptonite-level" weakness here.

The closest that comes to mind is someone firing into a whirlwind during one of the Dead Fantasy videos (a fighting crossover of Final Fantasy and Dead or Alive characters, for those not familiar with it); the second one, I think.  It was just one part of the general free-for-all, but those clips did provide some fundamentally awesome examples of combat, mixing mainly melee combat with some ranged and supernatural effects.

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.
The Heavy Weapons Elf was acutally mostly me, and got NAMED by RT when he said something to the effect of, "If you're going to use this, you have to rename it Heavy Weapons Elf, and also... watch this video."


Whoops! Totally my bad, I really thought that was his! I'll fix that straightaway.

It's a sane build, but was, like the shuriken storm build made for one major purpose, exploiting Inspire Courage brought on by my Valkyrie build that of course will eventually have Leadership going for her. Still not set in stone on WHICH follower I'll try and bring in but ranged combat was something I wanted to shore up (at least on occasion) and it seemed a good way to go. So indirectly, I'm responsible for the monster that is the Gun Fu build being conceptualized.


Yeah, the Heavy is actually pretty damn good, and if I had been thinking a bit more about this (rather than my thesis or our actual games...) I would have written it up instead of Gun Fu (which is basically combining Aptitute cheese with IL bootstrapping* and your observation about ranged maneuvers).

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.

Meh. It's fun posting a controversial build on a forum like this one, so I'm glad this came up rather than The Heavy. It's worth bringing up later of course but rotate through some of the more interesting builds like the cast in the current vote off. They're all good and each is quite a bit different from anything that's up so far.
Speaking of which, only two people have posted votes for the next one.
Makes me wonder sometimes if anyone over at wizards actually considered the implications of some of the things that they print. I suppose they can't catch all of it, but hell candles of invocation are printed right in the core books.

Anyway, my vote for next week is face first. 
My vote is for Quiet Murder, followed by Eat, Sleep, Gank.  Both seem like Assassin-style and/or Sneak Attack based builds, but I've since learned not to assume things based on a build name.
Apart from Wind Wall (which is a problematic spell rather than a problem with the build, so to speak), and perhaps trying to get into a gunfight in the middle of a hurricane (a feat which, to my knowledge, has never been attempted even in the most over-the-top wuxia/gun-fu movies ever, though it would be bloody awesome), I don't think there is a "kryptonite-level" weakness here.

The closest that comes to mind is someone firing into a whirlwind during one of the Dead Fantasy videos (a fighting crossover of Final Fantasy and Dead or Alive characters, for those not familiar with it); the second one, I think.  It was just one part of the general free-for-all, but those clips did provide some fundamentally awesome examples of combat, mixing mainly melee combat with some ranged and supernatural effects.


...You know, I remember watching the first couple of Dead Fantasy videos around the time Haloid came out (as a self-admitted Metroid freak, that was how I found out about the animator), but that scene doesn't ring a bell. It's certainly the kind of stuff you'd see there, though - and as I recall, there's some pretty decent gun fu in those videos too (if somewhat high-powered, free of reloading, and generally overshadowed by other choreography). I'll have to check again.

EDIT: Yes, it is in fact the second one. Although this is the series so over-the-top that it thought relocating a multi-platform jump-centric melee to the middle of a tornado was a good move, and the gunshots are oddly more accurate when fired from within the whirlwind than from the outside going in.
Makes me wonder sometimes if anyone over at wizards actually considered the implications of some of the things that they print. I suppose they can't catch all of it, but hell candles of invocation are printed right in the core books.

Anyway, my vote for next week is face first. 


Well, to be fair, I think the intention of the Aptitude weapon enhancement was to mimic the warblade's Weapon Aptitude class feature (which does NOT let you plug things like Lightning Mace or Roundabout Kick or Boomerang Daze into your pistols - the only feats in the build that would port over under that interpretation are Weapon Focus, Rapid Reload, and Improved Critical, and one of those is already in the right weapon type). They probably had different editors working on the chapters, or at the very least put a higher priority on editing the warblade than the equipment, which explains the discrepancy. As RT can attest (as he was a primary author with me on Untapped Potential), there's a lot of times when only one part of interlinking rules get edited and the changes don't percolate properly.

(Then again, the Tome shows signs of poor proofing in other places. Swordsage skill points, missing information on save DCs, the weird one-line exception on flat-damage multiplication that we can't be sure is a mistake or not, and so on. We also know for a fact that there was quite a lot of late-stage editing on the book: the art gallery and a lot of fluff-text make it clear that White Raven was renamed from White Tower* after the art was commissioned (which is usually a late stage of development itself), and that Iron Heart was supposed to have a bit more of a lightning connection than two maneuver names and a few abilities on its legacy weapon. There's also an interesting story about how the Tome came to be, relative to early versions of 4e - I can't find it now, but in a nutshell, it seems that (contrary to the traditional "ToB was a testing ground for 4e" wisdom) an early prototype of 4e ("Omega") from one of the mathematicians behind M:tG was rejected from the 4e development team, but quickly repurposed into 3.5, quick enough to make it to print before 4e's announcement - and if that story's true, it sets a window on how rushed the book was. It says quite a lot that even with such a short development cycle, the book still turned out to be one of the best in 3.5.)

*
While the castle imagery is very apt, I have no idea how the "White Tower" name lasted for so long during development before being changed to White Raven, given D&D's history of legal trouble with the Tolkein estate. It's common knowledge that the original D&D got slapped with a suit for using Hobbits in the original book without permission, so you'd think they'd have learned... but perhaps whoever decided on "White Tower" might have been suffering from delusions of Gondor before the legal team wisely intervened.

...You may think that wasn't an awesome pun, but I regret nothing.


My vote is for Quiet Murder, followed by Eat, Sleep, Gank.  Both seem like Assassin-style and/or Sneak Attack based builds, but I've since learned not to assume things based on a build name.


...Oddly enough, those two happen to have somewhat straightforward names compared to some of those already showcased. Both do use Sneak Attack (albeit for different purposes and with different styles) and one even uses Assassin (unconventionally, although not quite as unconventionally as the Wizsassin). Actually, all of the builds up this week are somewhat straightforwardly named - though it may not be obvious except in hindsight, since a couple are puns.

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.

...You know, I remember watching the first couple of Dead Fantasy videos around the time Haloid came out (as a self-admitted Metroid freak, that was how I found out about the animator), but that scene doesn't ring a bell. It's certainly the kind of stuff you'd see there, though - and as I recall, there's some pretty decent gun fu in those videos too (if somewhat high-powered, free of reloading, and generally overshadowed by other choreography). I'll have to check again.

High-powered and free of reloading?  Maybe they've got gun clips of Andariel?

But no-one would make a character build that did something so ridiculous.

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.
Slagger, icwutudidthar.
"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