About to start a new quest, looking for BSF guidance.

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So my group has finally decided to get back together and start another campaign. I have decided to bring back an old character that I had played before, only this time I am looking to optimize him, as he was done pretty poorly before. The only guidelines that are in place are as follows:

25 Point buy
No Unearthed Arcana
Has to be a dwarf of some flavor
Has to fulfill the BSF role in some fasion
Starting at level 1
Can't use arcane magic (dwarves in this world are non-magical)

The other members of the party, who will not be optimized at all, include:

Human Ranger (Archer)
Human Dread Necro (Minion Focused)
Human Wizard (Buffer/Battlefield Control)
Human Warmage (Blaster (Duh))
Elan Pison (Telepath) 

We have been given the knowledge beforehand that up until about level 6 it will be heavily dragon focused, so having the ability to do minor ranged support/combat would be nice if possible, but not really needed. I'm really at a loss for which direction I should be going, should I try to be the "tank", or should I just focus on charging and hope that it dies before I do? Any help would be much appreciated, thanks!
What is this "BSF" role?
Big Stupid Fighter. Sorry, I guess that isn't exactly a common term.
Big Stupid Fighter. Sorry, I guess that isn't exactly a common term.

I was reading it as Beat Some Face.  I was close at least.  And I'm guessing this campaign is largely based on 2e rules?

Take a look at the Deepstone Sentinel in Tome of Battle for a nice PrC for your character, if you want to go the Warblade or Crusader (aka Fighter With Options) route.  Straight Cleric, then using Battlepriest or Battlesmith as PrC's would also be good (I had a Dwarf Cleric in 2e  ).
Heck, you could go really far afield and multi-class cleric/Incarnum-user (probably incarnate or totemist) from Magic of Incarnum and then PrC into Saphire Heirophant (IIRC), which gives you crazy crafting abilities (specifically, 3x your class level + your caster level = actual caster level for crafting... and it's a 10-level class!)
"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"
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56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
I was orginally leaning toward crusader or cleric to begin with, as those seemed to add the most variety to the often monotonous role of hiting stuff with a weapon. If I were to go that route, which I am strongly considering, what would you suggest as far as a general build outline? Since I am the only frontline character in the group I feel the need to be durable while still dealing respectable damage. At the same time however, I need to make sure whoever we are fighting doesn't just ignore me.

If I were to go the crusader route I had planned on using a glaive with armor spikes to abuse the stand still + thicket of blades synergy. Is that a respectable way of doing things, or is there something better?

With the cleric I am completely lost as to what to do with that. 
I was orginally leaning toward crusader or cleric to begin with, as those seemed to add the most variety to the often monotonous role of hiting stuff with a weapon. If I were to go that route, which I am strongly considering, what would you suggest as far as a general build outline? Since I am the only frontline character in the group I feel the need to be durable while still dealing respectable damage. At the same time however, I need to make sure whoever we are fighting doesn't just ignore me.

If I were to go the crusader route I had planned on using a glaive with armor spikes to abuse the stand still + thicket of blades synergy. Is that a respectable way of doing things, or is there something better?


That's not a bad outline at all. Crusaders are great at three things: Focusing enemy attention on themselves, punishing enemies who try to ignore them, and Not Dying from all that extra attention. The Thicket + Stand Still + Reach weapon approach is pretty much the method of doing a crusader, to the point where crusaders without Thicket are considered unusual (i.e. the Heavy Crusader build in my signature).

I wrote a basic handbook for this style of tanking here (look at the spoiler block). You can find more specific advice for crusaders in the handbook.

You can do this style of tanking without crusader levels - fighters are all right at this, but usually mature at higher levels (they need a lot of feats, all at once, to do this, and without any one of them the trick tends to break down), and as a result tend to lack other options. The Pinball Brothers build in my signature is an alternative take on that approach, and while it might give you ideas, it won't work out of the box (since it was designed specifically for goliaths (or, I suppose, half-giants), not dwarves).

With the cleric I am completely lost as to what to do with that. 


They're a lot more complex than crusaders, and the 'usual' approach with them (Divine Metamagic + Persistent Spell on cleric buffs) is weaker with dwarves due to the charisma penalty. The Cleric Handbook should show you what I mean.

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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)

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

3.5: Definitive Shopping List (gear guide PDF)

 

5e Eberron homebrew rules | Discussion: 5e Artificer

So I have read through the linked material, and have a pretty good grasp over how to lock people down and survive doing so. Because of the whole being a dwarf thing I guess I will have to go with a guisarme and armor spikes as my weapons of choice, because I simply don't have the extra feats to spare for a spiked weapon chain or kisuri-gama.

So now that I have people standing next to me, what is the most effective way of doing damage to said people? I was thinking of throwing in a few levels of fighter for extra feats so I can pick up power attack and possibly start going down the charger route. Does figher 6/crusader 2 let me pick up thicket of blades at the same level I would normally get it as a single class crusader? If it does, is it worth giving up the early game awesomeness that is crusader for the bonus feats?

The build I have planned right now is as follows:

Ftr1 Power attack, Improved Bull Rush
Ftr2 Combat Reflexes
Ftr3 Stand Still
Ftr4 Shock Trooper
Ftr5 
Ftr6 Leap attack, (Open)
Cru1
Cru2

As far as maunevers and stances I have yet to work that out. 
So I have read through the linked material, and have a pretty good grasp over how to lock people down and survive doing so. Because of the whole being a dwarf thing I guess I will have to go with a guisarme and armor spikes as my weapons of choice, because I simply don't have the extra feats to spare for a spiked weapon chain or kisuri-gama.

So now that I have people standing next to me, what is the most effective way of doing damage to said people? I was thinking of throwing in a few levels of fighter for extra feats so I can pick up power attack and possibly start going down the charger route. Does figher 6/crusader 2 let me pick up thicket of blades at the same level I would normally get it as a single class crusader? If it does, is it worth giving up the early game awesomeness that is crusader for the bonus feats?

The build I have planned right now is as follows:

Ftr1 Power attack, Improved Bull Rush
Ftr2 Combat Reflexes
Ftr3 Stand Still
Ftr4 Shock Trooper
Ftr5 
Ftr6 Leap attack, (Open)
Cru1
Cru2

As far as maunevers and stances I have yet to work that out. 

That's actually the most efficient level set-up; the only other decent option, imho, is Ftr4/Cru1/Ftr+2/Cru+X.  That lets you snag 2nd-level maneuvers with your first Crusader level.
EDIT: Then again, looking at the pre-reps for Deepstone Sentinel, you may want to consider Crusader at 1st level so you can can as many ranks of Balance as possible.

My feat load-out would actually leave out Leap Attack in favor of being a better AoO tank, rather than charger:
Ftr1: Combat Reflexes, Combat Expertise
Ftr2: Imp. Trip
Ftr3: Power Attack
Ftr4: Imp. Bull Rush
Cru1: Battle Leader's Charge, Mountain Hammer, Stone Vise, Vanguard's Strike, Tactical Strike (Stonefoot Stance)
Ftr5: Stand Still
Ftr6: Shock Trooper
Cru2: (Thicket of Blades)
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
User Quotes
56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
So I have read through the linked material, and have a pretty good grasp over how to lock people down and survive doing so. Because of the whole being a dwarf thing I guess I will have to go with a guisarme and armor spikes as my weapons of choice, because I simply don't have the extra feats to spare for a spiked weapon chain or kisuri-gama.

So now that I have people standing next to me, what is the most effective way of doing damage to said people?


Power Attack with a two-hander, and good instincts as to how much to throttle that feat. Anything to boost your attack bonus helps a lot - Deft Opportunist is a good feat for this, as is anything that helps with tripping, as both give a fat +4 on your AoO attacks. (That +4 sounds like an accuracy thing, but with full base attack and a halfway-decent Strength, you'll hit most targets most of the time anyway, so that +4 is Power Attack fodder.) Likewise, things like Defensive Rebuke and Thicket help a lot here, since they give you more chances to strike relative to your target.

This is really all there is to it - increased chances to attack, increased accuracy, Power Attack. You don't need much more than that for damage. (Even the ubercharge package fundamentally comes down to the same thing: Pounce for extra chances to attack, Shock Trooper to make sure those attacks hit, and Leap Attack to help turbocharge Power Attack.)
I was thinking of throwing in a few levels of fighter for extra feats so I can pick up power attack and possibly start going down the charger route.


This is a mixed bag. The dwarf's low speed lends me to suggest not going for charging - particularly because dwarves get some pretty good less-mobile defensive options anyway (especially the Deepstone Sentinel). However, the idea of dipping Fighter for bonus feats is tempting.

The issue here isn't so much how much dipping - it's when you time your dips relative to your crusader levels. Pay special attention to the crusader's stance timing, as it doesn't line up with when new stances are available maneuver-wise.
Does figher 6/crusader 2 let me pick up thicket of blades at the same level I would normally get it as a single class crusader? If it does, is it worth giving up the early game awesomeness that is crusader for the bonus feats?


Yes, and arguably no. The crusader's stance timing sucks, as I mentioned; although Thicket is available at IL 5, they don't get a spare stance until level 8. 

Regarding the second question, the usual fighter breakpoints (1,2,4,6) have different advantages and disadvantages to crusaders, and those vary depending on when you time them. It's kind of hard to explain without experimenting a bit, but there's reasons to do both. I prefer more ToB to more Fighter myself, simply because gameplay is more dynamic.

The build I have planned right now is as follows:

Ftr1 Power attack, Improved Bull Rush
Ftr2 Combat Reflexes
Ftr3 Stand Still
Ftr4 Shock Trooper
Ftr5 
Ftr6 Leap attack, (Open)
Cru1
Cru2

As far as maunevers and stances I have yet to work that out. 


The Ubercharge Dilemma is that both Leap Attack and Shock Trooper have a +6 base attack requirement, which forces most people to play around with bonus feats at level 6. Fighters have no trouble with this - you've got a bonus feat there - but pure ToB tends to hiccup a bit.

As I mentioned, though, I'd suggest dropping the charging angle altogether (it's already somewhat terrain-dependent, and low dwarven speed makes it particularly tricky to employ). That frees up THREE of your feats - IBR, Shock Trooper, and Leap Attack - for other purposes. Although you've spotted the advantages of taking Fighter before Crusader, one reason to take it after is to get Martial Stances when they normally would be available. (Crusader 4 / Fighter 2 or Crusader 5 / Fighter 1 both get Thicket at level 6, for instance.)


EDITED BELOW

Draco's suggestion is pretty good. I'd actually go one step further and ditch IBR and Shock Trooper - you can get Stand Still earlier this way, and you keep a feat open if you'd like to pick up anything else (i.e. Deft Opportunist or Exotic Weapon Proficiency). It's also possible to "cheat" a bit - use one of the early fighter feat slots to grab Martial Study (any Stone Dragon or Iron Heart maneuver) and you get Balance as a class skill for fighters. If you're ditching the charge feats, Battle Leader's Charge can be swapped out for Crusader's Strike or any other maneuver that looks interesting.

Be advised: Deft Opportunist requires Dex 15+ (a good idea anyway for an AoO tank, but it conflicts with heavy armor somewhat) while Combat Expertise requires Int 13+ (which is a good idea given the skill requirements for Deepstone Sentinel, but it conflicts with the S in BSF). The "elite array" from 28pb easily allows this, while 25pb might force you to dock points out of Wisdom or Charisma to make those requirements while keeping the melee meat and potatoes of Strength and Constitution up.  

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)

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

3.5: Definitive Shopping List (gear guide PDF)

 

5e Eberron homebrew rules | Discussion: 5e Artificer

Fireblood dwarves (Dragon Magic, p7) get +4 to AC against dragons instead of giants. They also get fire resistance 5 instead of +2 to saves against poison.


If you take levels in a class with heavy armor proficiency, the dragonscale husk alternative class feature (Dragon Magic, p12) gives you built-in armor. You gain an armor bonus of 6 + 1/3 your level (in classes that normally give heavy armor proficiency). Considering the price of good armor relative to low-level wealth, that's a pretty good deal.


The exoticist fighter variant (Dragon 310, p35) gets proficiency with 4 exotic weapons instead of proficiency with martial weapons.


You can get thicket of blades at level 6 if you've taken at least 4 levels of crusader, but that still consumes a feat.

Ok, maybe I'm being dense here but what "speed problem" does a dwarf have if he's wearing medium or heavy armor when compared to a human wearing the same?  I know you want some DEX for Combat Reflexes but isn't Crusader also a "heavy armor" wearing type?  PB 25 also means I wouldn't be pushing DEX too high to start out with because of the cost.
Ok, maybe I'm being dense here but what "speed problem" does a dwarf have if he's wearing medium or heavy armor when compared to a human wearing the same?  I know you want some DEX for Combat Reflexes but isn't Crusader also a "heavy armor" wearing type?


The "speed problem" I refer to is that his base speed, even though it isn't reduced in armor, is still 20', and unlike human chargers, he can't accelerate that simply by switching to a mithral breastplate (or similar armor with good AC and max dex - virtually all of them happen to be light). You can afford that breastplate around the same time the true power of charging can come online - prior to that, it's realistically just a +2 attack or +2 to a few specific checks (i.e. bull rushing). Don't get me wrong, that can make the difference at low levels - but charging doesn't come into its own until around level 6, which is about the time you'd be switching to light armor as a human anyway. And even though a dwarf doesn't need to make that switch (since his speed isn't reduced), he's still encouraged to do so - as an AoO tank, his dexterity is probably above what heavy armor allows.

Basically, dwarf chargers have an extra investment to make - speed - that human chargers don't. However, dwarves are uncommonly good at Stone Dragon maneuvers (due to their Stability trait, it makes it difficult to unseat them from the immobile stances) and have access to Deepstone Sentinel, neither of which reward an investment in speed. Thus, I'd just ignore it and focus on the strengths of the race.

And while most of the discipline and prestige class tend to prevent charging, there are Stone Dragon and Deepstone Sentinel abilities that work well with charges, but only Crashing Mountain Juggernaut is particularly noteworthy. So you will get some charging support, but you might notice better results in this particular party (which has a blaster mage and a ranger archer, i.e. both offensive damage-dealers) if you focused on the defense and just took the charging support as gravy.
PB 25 also means I wouldn't be pushing DEX too high to start out with because of the cost.


True, but a 15 is still within reach - especially if every other score is 14 or lower (the point where it stops being 1:1).

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)

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

3.5: Definitive Shopping List (gear guide PDF)

 

5e Eberron homebrew rules | Discussion: 5e Artificer

So we were also given the option of rolling stats, so I decided to chance the randomness. I ended up with 18 STR, 16 DEX, 16 CON, 12 INT, 12 WIS, 8 CHA after racial adjusments. I would say that is a pretty good set of stats.

With that said, I am pretty sold on the idea of picking up fighter levels in order to supplement my need for feats. Because of this I feel much more comfortable picking up EWP: Spiked Chain, as dealing with one weapon will free up my wealth to spend on other things, such as potions of enlarge person and the likes. The deepstone seintinel is also very appealing to me, as it seems to further enhanace my abilites to lockdown an area and be a general neusance. The revised build is now:

Crusader 1 EWP: Spiked Chain
Crusader 2
Crusader 3 Standstill
Crusader 4
Fighter 1 Power attack
Fighter 2 Martial Stance: Thicket, Combat reflexes

This picks up the essential lock pieces early, but suffers on damage because of it. To supplement this, I plan to pick up more damaging maneuvers early on, which I will later swap for more defensive options. From here I will continue into crusader until I am able to pick up deepstone sentinel, and then probably round it off with something else, not sure what at this point. I might possibly pick up the fighter level at level 3, but because of the nature of the campaign (very dragon oriented) i wasn't really sure how much I would need combat reflexes.

Knowing that I will be facing a fair number of dragons I do have a question; if I were to trip a dragon who is flying, would they fall to the ground?

Edit: Come to think of it, is there really a reason to not take the first fighter level dip at level 3? I can't really find a reason. 
So we were also given the option of rolling stats, so I decided to chance the randomness. I ended up with 18 STR, 16 DEX, 16 CON, 12 INT, 12 WIS, 8 CHA after racial adjusments. I would say that is a pretty good set of stats. 

WOW!!!  Don't you just love burning any assumptions the game books make about character stats by rolling an equivalent PB 42 stat array?  Your character just gained a level or more of power without it ever being officially recorded anywhere.  At least tell me those are "honest" stats that were just gained by one go at teh 4d6 drop lowest six times without involving any rerolled dies or redone stats either of which really pushes up the effective ePB of "rolled" stats; also tell me that someone rolled a set that is about PB 25 or even low to balance your amazing roll.  I also like that with six "random" scores there isn't a single odd score among them.

Please don't take it personally but I'm just voicing my distain for "rolled stats" especially if the DM really wants the resources provided by the book to be any help.  There is a big difference between what you can expect from a PB 25 character and one built using the equivalent of PB 42 for stats.  Having STR 18 and DEX 16 gives you an easy leg up on many warrior builds as you can hit harder and more often while generally being harder to hurt back.  Those stats may not be as high as some I've seen but with an extremely good array like that you can use a marginal or even inferior build and do very well with it even if playing with better built character who have "normal" ability scores.

Now as for your build I can't comment much about the ToB stuff but can agree that Fighter 1,2,4, and 6 are the "normal" stopping points for fighter levels.  Ftr1 or 2 get you a feat each level while going through Ftr4 gets another +1 on each save, opens up weapon specialization (which may not be all that great), and gets you another feat.  No one should EVER take Ftr5 and stop because you only get hp and BAB that level while Ftr 6 gives +1 to all saves and BAB plus another bonus feat. 
Oh trust me, I was just a suprised as you were when I rolled the stats. The DM actually watched me roll them as well, so I am good to go as far as that is concerned. The normal system we use is roll two sets of 6, 4d6 drop the lowest die, keep the better set. This was actually the second set I rolled, the first was much worse. Only recently did I convince him that the PB system is less random and stops people from getting completely screwed on stats.

To be completely honest though, and not to sound like a prick, but I almost need to have that extra leg up, because as I mentioned in the first post, the rest of the part is pretty un-optimized. This makes things...difficult at times. I have tried to help them make their characters more effective in combat without ruinng the role playing elements for them, but they are a stubborn bunch. The wizard insists on single classing as a wizard and trying to hit things with a sword, and the warmage the same. The psion is starting to figure it out, and the ranger as well, but even then they are limited in what they want to do. The DM is also not one to shy away from a challenge, which is why I came here in the first place; I needed to make sure the rest of the party could do what they wanted to, while also being able to advance the campaign at the same time.
In my opinion building a highly optimized character with amazing stats in a party filled with unoptimized character is a formula for ruin.  You're building a character to handle the workload of the party which could make some people happy but could also ruin it for others when you do everything.  I'm going to tell you that a less optimized group can be a lot more fun to play with provided the DM is ready to tone things down a little.  What you're doing is making a superhero that will be hard to challenge with something that could wipe the floor against anyone else in your party.  I hope what I'm trying to say is making some sense but in a lot of ways what you want to do is like putting say a 12th-level character in the same party as a bunch of 6th-level characters (maybe not exactly) and expecting things to be easy.

I guess part of me is also worried about the statement "the DM is also not one to shy away from a challenge," which implies he likes building "killer" encounters for what could be an optimized party.  If he really wants a challenge what he needs to do is figure out what he can put against this unoptimized party and have them perform acceptably.  Normally I'd say that with a group of six PC the DM should run encounters at EL +1 the party's true average level to account for the extra help but if everyone isn't "up to speed" then he should still be able to run everything as if he were just facing a party of four.

Now if you're playing with a Wizard and a Warmage who think that their primary function is to "hit things with a sword" they should learn their mistake quickly and painfully.  It's not that hard to build an acceptable "gish" character that could potentially mix things up a little but that certainly isn't something a straight wizard should ever strive for.  If they want to play stupid then let natural selection do its job and cull them from the herd before they can reproduce.
I can see where you are coming from, but with the way the character is shaping up I will be doing what I am aiming to do very well, but really nothing more. That thing being controlling the battlefield, making it so that if the wizard DOES want to hit someone with a sword, he has the option to. Everyone else in the party seems to think that damage is king, and while it is true that someone needs to do the damage, not everyone in the party does. In the other campaign we were running, I played the BC wizard. Was I the best player in the party? By far. The thing is, they still got to do their damage and contribute meaningfully to combat, I just made sure that they could do their jobs more easily, and that we walked away unscathed. Role playing is still by far the biggest part of our play time, I just want to make sure everyone is alive to have their story develope in a meaningful way.

The DM loves to make encounters that really bring the party together and force us to think in creative ways. Sometimes this means making stupidly strong encounters that have an easy way to do it, and a hard way to do it. One example is when we were fighting a giant. He was standing under a rocky ledge. We could have just killed the giant straight up, but it would have been a long and treacherous fight. Instead we dropped the ledge on his head and then poked him until he died. I want to make the character in such a way that when we can't figure out the "easy" way of doing it, we still stand a chance. You worry about people not having fun, but the reality is that they complain when things are too hard. I want to take that worry away, while still having combat be somewhat exciting. 
Have somebody make you an item of Enlarge Person or (augmented) Expansion so you don't have to fiddle around with potions.
I don't know if tripping works on flying creatures, but I know that an AoO done with Stand Still makes them crash... If you can reach them.
"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"
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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
Just a thought, but if your group doesn't use XP penalties, maybe you could dip a few levels of Scout for the speed boost? If you went Scout4/Ftr2 you'd still get 3 bonus feats, an extra 10' of speed, and only lose +1 BAB.
"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
We don't use XP penalties. The speed is certainly something of an issue I suppose, but honestly don't think it is worth giving up key points of the build in order to increase it. I do have 5 empty levels at the end of the build that I am trying to decide what to do with, and adding some speed boosts in there in place of more crusader might be worth it.
So i'm wondering if anyone would be interested in me documenting my progress as I level up? A CO diary if you will. The campaign looks to go to level 20, and would update it on a weekly basis.
I'd give it a shot and if the first few were interesting continue. A rundown of what your encounters looked like and what you were able to contribute in each one would be my main interests. Along with any build choices you make along the way.

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