Weekly Optimization Showcase: Chaingun Porcupine

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Huh. It's Friday. Who would have noticed?


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, we’ll be showcasing one of Sionnis’ builds.

EDIT: See here for something to check with your DM before using this build.
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CHAINGUN PORCUPINE
Never enuff dakka


Required Books: Magic of Incarnum, Complete Adventurer, Complete Scoundrel, Player’s Handbook 2, Complete Warrior, Dungeonscape.
Unearthed Arcana used: Flaws, but it’s no huge loss if they’re gone.

Background: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”. And we don’t need to reload.

This build was created as a “glass cannon” for a short adventure (level 14), but it tickled everyone’s fancy when Sionnis presented his work for the group. It’s an interesting alternative take on the heavy-spike-damage rogue. (The one that actually saw play was slightly different than this - see the Variants section.)

The basic idea here is simple: the Manticore Belt’s totem bind lets you launch multiple spines against multiple targets as a standard action, giving you a decent number of attacks lowering neither your mobility nor your attack bonus (and despite working like a volley attack, it requires separate attack rolls for each spine). Therefore, it works like a more accurate version of Greater Manyshot – and combines very well with bonus damage per attack. Add in methods of boosting this damage and making it trigger reliably, and you have a pretty scary shoot-and-scoot damage machine.

And despite the name, it makes all the attacks at once and does so at a short range, so it’s probably more of a shotgun than a chaingun. However, most people associate shotguns with AoE effects in RPGs rather than high numbers of attacks, so we’ll stick to the chaingun nomenclature Sionnis originally used. Besides, if we changed the name now, I would have no excuse for posting this:


 

(Sorry, Sionnis. I couldn’t resist.)



The Basics 



  • Race: Azurin. Bonus feat, bonus essentia, everything you need.

  • Ability Scores: 16/16/15/10/8/8; this build was developed for 32-point-buy. To get this under 28, shave two points off of Intelligence and one off of Strength, and budget accordingly. Points go into Dexterity, but pumping Constitution isn’t a bad call either.

  • Flaws: Noncombatant and Vulnerable are the natural choices for a ranged glass cannon.


 Skill Notes: Pick up the stealth skills and sensory skills, along with splashing a bit of movement (Tumble in particular). You have plenty of scout and rogue levels, so you aren’t under much skill pressure and can diversify as you wish. You can even pump Use Magic Device to taste, even though it’s not critical to the build.


 Basic Equipment: You’re also a totemist: you are your own weapon. A mithral breastplate (at least until your Dexterity outgrows it) and a shield wouldn’t be bad investments, though.


 Magical Gear Goals: Picking up an Incarnum Focus for your waist chakra is pricey, but think of it as your primary weapon when budgeting. Basic physical ability enhancers and anything that improves natural attacks (the expensive Amulets of Mighty Fists come to mind) would be in high demand too. Wands that synergize well with Sneak Attack (gravestrike, golem strike, vine strike, etc) are interesting choices too – and this goes double for ranger spells of the sort (since you don’t need UMD to trigger things like Hunter’s Eye). Interestingly, you have good reason to use psionic items as well – any item that can trigger Strength of My Enemy (at any level) or Grip of Iron (at 18+) make surprisingly good purchases for a primary ranged attacker like this.


 
The Build.
Build Stub: Totemist 2 / Scout 4 / Ranger 3 / Rogue 11.



1 – Totemist – (Wild Empathy, Illiterate) (Expanded Soulmeld Capacity, Point Blank Shot, Cerulean Will, Precise Shot) (Shedu Crown (Heart), Kruthik Claws (Hands))

2 – Totemist – (Totem Chakra +1) (Manticore Belt (Waist: bound to Totem))

*
The basics for your stunts are online this early – you use the Kruthik Claws to sneak into position, then charge up and fire the Manticore Belt for your attack. You have 4 points of essentia at this level and (thanks to Improved Soulmeld Capacity, which you link to this meld each time you shape it) can invest up to 3 of them in the Belt for now, which gives you three attacks at your full attack bonus, dealing 1d6+1 damage each (before factoring in Strength, so that’s reasonably 1d6+2).

Cerulean Will is mostly used just as an extra point of essentia. It isn’t entirely essential but it helps.  Here, you can invest the spare point into this feat to improve your Will save, the traditional foil for rogues. Shore it up when you need it by shifting the rest to the Shedu Crown and you’ll be decently strong-willed.

It’s worth noting that the Manticore Belt’s totem bind is a standard action, and it actually requires multiple attack rolls, so it’s basically Greater Manyshot on steroids. You know where this is going.

3 – Scout – (Skirmish 1d6/+1) (Indigo Strike)
*
Since you have 5 essentia at this level, and can invest up to 3 in your Belt, you put the excess points into Indigo Strike. (It scales better than Cerulean Will, but you can still shift to a defensive mode on days where you expect it.) Since that feat triggers on Skirmish, which is pretty reliable, you can expect to launch three attacks at 2d6+5 damage right away. Assuming 16 starting Dexterity, that’s three attacks at +6 as a standard action while on the move, dishing out nearly 40 damage on average, when the maximum HP at CR 3 is only 55.

If you aren’t attacking on a given round, you can still reallocate the essentia to your stealth skills (Kruthik Claws) or your mental saving throws (Shedu crown), or whatever else you choose to shape in their place – since they’ll have a dramatically lower essentia capacity than your Manticore Belt, you can actually max them both out and still have essentia to spare.

4 – Scout – (Battle Fortitude +1, Uncanny Dodge)

5 – Scout – (Fast Movement, Skirmish 1d6/+1, Trackless Step)

6 – Ranger – (Wild Empathy, Favored Enemy 1) (Track, Swift Hunter)
*
Swift Hunter is normally used in ranger-heavy builds, but here, we’re using it to make Skirmish more reliable, as it allows you to bypass precision immunity on your favored enemies. And your scout levels from before will advance your FE progression as well. You’ll get two favored enemies over the course of the build; in a generic game I’d pick Undead and either Humanoids (Humans) or Constructs, but in your game, pick the two most common groups that are likely to have critical hit immunity.

7 – Ranger – (Combat Style, Skirmish 2d6/+1, Favored Enemy 2)

8 – Ranger – (Endurance)
*
Technically speaking this level can be anything and the build will still work just fine, but for simplicity and accuracy, ranger’s as good as any (it gives us an extremely smooth damage progression for pretty much every level from 11 onward.). (Although if you’re using multiclass penalties, go for totemist instead. The extra essentia goes into Indigo Strike, and the skirmish timing changes, but the final results are basically identical.) So let’s go for an update on our attacks. 

At this level, with no equipment, you have 5 essentia and can invest 4 of it in your Manticore Belt (and the remaining 1 into Indigo Strike), so you can make a volley of four attacks (at +14 each) that deal 3d6+3 damage after factoring in Point Blank Shot and Skirmish. 12d6+12+(double Strength modifier) is a surprisingly effective amount of damage, given how you can basically trigger it at will right now.

9 – Rogue – (Sneak Attack +1d6, Skirmish 2d6/+2, Trapfinding) (Swift Ambusher)
*
Yep, two swift feats in one go. And a pretty dramatic improvement in our precision damage output, provided you can catch targets vulnerable. For now, you’re using Kruthik Claws to do this from sneaky-sneaky mode, but later on, you’ll want to partner with someone like a Distracting Attack ranger or anyone who can cast Phantom Threat.

10 – Scout –  (Improved Skirmish)
*
Thanks to Fast Movement, you can actually move the 20’ required to trigger Improved Skirmish while tumbling, so your skirmish values are both roughly +2d6/+2 higher than they would otherwise be. Sneak Attack will be unreliable at best for a little bit, but being able to pretty much trigger four 6d6+3 attacks at will is nothing to be ashamed of at this level. (Again, I’m not including the half-Strength modifier per spike here.)

11 – Rogue – (Evasion, Skirmish 3d6/+2)

12 – Rogue – (Sneak Attack +2d6, Penetrating Strike) (Deadeye Shot)
*
So, generally speaking, big damage only matters if it kills the target, yes? Therefore, even though you’re able to multitarget your spine volleys, it’s usually more effective to fire them off at the same target. At this level, you can move far enough to trigger Skirmish, and then – instead of attacking – ready an action to fire off the Belt when an ally strikes whoever you want to kill. This denies the target their Dexterity bonus against your readied attack, which happens to be five attacks at this point, each dealing 8d6+1 damage after your now-online Skirmish and Sneak Attack kick in. (Skirmish has to trigger as soon as you move, due to the passive AC bonus, and appears to apply to any attacks made in the rest of the round, such as AoOs, so it’ll apply to your readied action. Oh, and the slightly lower bonus damage here is because your essentia capacity went up, so instead of dumping a point into Indigo Strike, it goes to getting an extra spine on the Belt.)

Penetrating Strike is here to do to Sneak Attack what Swift Hunter does to Skirmish – provide a way of breaching critical hit immunity. It isn’t perfect, since you need to hit a flanked target to trigger it. To make the most of this, get a Distracting Attack ranger buddy or a wand of Phantom Threat. (Most things immune to the wand AND critical-hit immune are covered by the usual sneak attack wands, gravestrike/vinestrike/golemstrike.)

13 – Rogue – (Uncanny Dodge, Skirmish 3d6/+3)

14 – Rogue – (Sneak Attack +3d6)

15 – Rogue – (Skirmish 4d6/+3) (Bonus Essentia)
*
Finally, your essentia cap is getting to the point where you can’t max out the Belt, particularly if you got the Incarnum Focus already. Bonus Essentia fixes you right up.

16 – Rogue – (Sneak Attack +4d6)

17 – Rogue – (Improved Uncanny Dodge, Skirmisj 4d6/+4)

18 – Rogue – (Sneak Attack +5d6) (Improved Precise Shot)

19 – Rogue – (Skirmish 5d6/+4) (Bonus Feat: Ranged Pin)
*
This is a rather fun feat that almost never gets used. In this build, it’s particularly fun because you can multitarget your attacks. Even if you aren’t able to precision-damage your target, or even if you can’t move due to a spell effect, you can still give up your standard action to possibly grapple as many targets as you could attack, denying them their standard action at least. Since it also inherits any generic bonuses to your grapple attempts, if you want to make serious use of this feat, you can invest in items like the cheap Gloves of Titan’s Grip (SRD; they might not work, but other related effects certainly would) to amp up your grapple checks.  This makes you a bit of a caster’s nightmare, although it’s tricky to get that close to them at this level.

It also gives you hilarious synergy with other builds – such as sneak attackers (grappled targets are vulnerable to sneak attack, but unlike normal grapples, Ranged Pin doesn’t entail a risk that your rogue hits you instead of your victim) and jugglers (particularly Dungeon Crashers, who are repositioning targets next to obstacles for their own reasons). Pair up with the Pinball Brothers, say, and do the Deadeye Shot trick. An enemy gets used for Wall Pong (taking serious damage on each swing) and ends up nailed to the wall by the first of your spines (and simply skewered by the others, which get sneak attack damage since he’s denied Dex while grappled).

As an alternative, consider Crippling Strike. If you’re able to hit a creature without specific resistance to your attacks (i.e. if the target is vulnerable to critical hits and ability damage), they’re probably falling down after just one or two rounds of you attacking it on your own. This gets markedly meaner if combined with a Strength of My Enemy effect as well, adding on more Strength damage and improving your own. (Incidentally, SoME also works wonders with Ranged Pin.)

However, since you’re probably getting Strength damage via SoME several levels earlier, and are coming up against more and more monsters immune to it, we opted for Ranged Pin instead. Wish it could have come online sooner.

20 – Rogue – (Sneak Attack +6d6)

 
Snapshot: Reading a Tome of Dexterity +5, a Tome of Strength +4, wearing +4 item on Strength, with +6 on Dexterity, and Constitution, and a waist-chakra Incarnum Focus – yes, this is pricey, but remember that you aren’t using expensive normal weapons – gives us 178 HP, +15 base attack (Ranged +31 assuming Greater Magic Fang), 158 skill points (with many levels of Rogue, so many assorted skills are class skills, and you can get a sickening boost to your stealth skills through the Kruthik Claws) and saves of +18/+28 (Evasion)/+5. Note that the Shedu Crown can help with the low Will save. With extra gear, you can easily get an AC in the mid-to-high-30s without any real effort (possibly much higher if you try; I was able to get it up to 44 without any real cheesing), and you have Uncanny Dodge.  (Oh, and Improved Uncanny Dodge with enough rogue levels to basically be immune to flanking.)

Your real strength comes from your incarnum, and your other feat infrastructure. Your have 7 points of essentia. Most of your melds can hold 4, but your Manticore Belt (with the incarnum focus and Improved Soulmeld Capacity hooked up to it) can hold up to 7; if you dig up an extra point from anywhere (gear, spells, etc) you shovel it into Indigo Strike. You also possess Skirmish +5d6/+4 (with Improved Skirmish effectively upgrading this to +7d6/+6, and Swift Hunter to allow it to penetrate fortification on your two types of favored enemies) and Sneak Attack +6d6 (with Deadeye Shot allowing you to trigger it more or less at will against particularly tough targets, or high Stealth and Initiative scores to trigger it during round 1 against multiple targets. If all else fails you have Penetrating Strike, which – under some tactical situations – allows you to continue to deliver Sneak Attack against fortified targets, even if your wands don’t do the trick.). Put together, this translates into moving 20’ (which can easily be tumbling, given your 40’ base speed without equipment) and firing a volley of seven spikes (under GMF), each at +31, and each dealing 8d6+9 (including Strength this time) with no questions asked, or 14d6+9 with a sneak attack. Against single targets (via a 20’ move + ready action for Deadeye Shot) this works out to an average damage output of 58 damage per spine, or 406 if all attacks hit (which, since they’re all made at +31 and average CR 20 AC is ~36, isn’t that unlikely an event. Incidentally, unless the target's fortified, they're probably dead: average CR 20 HP is only 409.).

Overall Strengths: Positively insane damage output, with skirmish-style triggers being quite easy to pull off, including multiple attacks against multiple targets from a very low level. He doesn’t rely on full attacks to keep the hail of spines firing, so the build has a serious mobility advantage over your typical sneak-attack TWF rogue. Very good stealth skills (augmented even higher via your melds) and an array of other skills available to you allow for a diverse support role. Since only one soulmeld is required but you get a couple extra for free, you can freely shift the other melds around to boost up whichever skills you feel you need (although the trapscouting skills tend to be on the incarnate list rather than the totemist list.) Ranged Pin allows for an unusual support effect which combines quite well with the suggested Strength of My Enemy item (if you can get it). Oh, and to add insult to injury, your Improved Uncanny Dodge blocks flanking from everyone with fewer than 19 Rogue levels, and similarly, you have enough Rogue levels to bypass anyone with 7 or fewer levels of Improved Uncanny Dodge (which includes an alarming number of builds that just dip Uncanny Dodgers for other reasons), even though you aren’t likely to be flanking your targets.

Overall Weaknesses: Like a lot of precision builds, your range is limited (30’ ), but that happens to be the range increment of your spines anyway. It’s difficult or expensive to enhance your spine attacks, since the Manticore Belt isn’t a weapon in the traditional sense (and picky DMs might even say it doesn’t even count as a natural weapon, since it’s triggered as a standard action instead of as a normal natural attack). Furthermore, a lot of your damage is precision damage, so you lose a lot of power against critical-immune enemies (although you can’t use augment gems on the Manticore Belt, you can buy ranks in Use Magic Device for wands of Grave Strike, Vine Strike, and so forth to help with this). Finally, your Will save is alarmingly low – general resistance gear + specific Will boosters and/or Mind-Affecting Immunity are good investments.

Variants:  Sionnis actually went through a few different versions of this, but got the best overall results with this approach. One of the alternatives involved swapping some rogue levels for totemist (enough to get Double Chakra (totem)) and made use of the Heart of Fire; although it added less damage than this approach, some of that damage was fire, which allowed for some DR-bypassing. It’s hard to get enough essentia to make this approach work, but it’s an option. Another option (the one that actually saw play) had 5 levels of totemist and none of ranger; Ranged Pin came online earlier and Crippling Strike was taken at the high levels.  (This version’s increased essentia allowed a greater load into Indigo Strike, resulting in comparable damage – but no real way of dealing with fortification. It still worked.) Yet another option involved using Swift Hunter instead of Swift Ambusher, and rotating the rogue levels to more ranger levels. Although this has markedly lower spine damage (trading 6d6 sneak attack for four favored enemies; remember that the Deadeye Shot trick makes Sneak Attack more reliable than usual), it has full base attack, picks up the PHB2 Distracting Attack ability (so it can essentially flank a number of targets as a standard action), and allows your 4d6 skirmish to bypass precision-damage immunity on your favored enemies without using a wand. You don’t gain quite as much benefit from full base attack or Archery combat style feats as a normal Swift Hunter does, though, since you aren’t relying on base attack to get extra shots off. (This is one area where the Manticore Belt isn’t quite as helpful as a bow.)

The easiest way to drop flaws from this build is probably to drop Cerulean Will (it’s really only useful as an extra essentia point early on; you’ll want to take more totemist levels to compensate, so use that variant instead) and probably let Ranged Pin go. 


 


There you have it. Never underestimate the Manticore Belt. It's a fantastic enabler, and this build just keeps the damage coming fast and hard.


Since I forgot that it was Friday - combination of Sleep Madness (tm) and long hours plugging away on my master's thesis - I haven't spoken to my group about what to offer for the showcase next week. However, since I did get a request a while back for more of RadicalTaoist's builds, and I know he wouldn't mind, I'll offer a selection of his: [RT] Edge of the Light, [RT/TS] Always on Edge, [RT] #1 Snoipah, and [RT] Rusty!. All four of these fit different roles and goals, but do so with style. With four up for grabs, two votes per person will count (equally), if they're for different builds.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Ha, I knew it! I had a feeling that the build would somehow use the maticore belt bind, it seemed to fit the porcupine theme quite nicely. Mixing precision damage with large numbers of attacks has always been a standby, but this is definately a unique aproach. The imagery of rolling around on the ground as a ball and then stopping to throw some spikes at your target amuses me greatly.

Rusty! is my first vote, and my second is Always on Edge. 
Oy! Tempest, mate, yew misspelled "Snoipah", we can't 'ave that!

On a related note, this build reminded me very much of a different TF2 character given how it would play.
Nice! I'm going to have to look more closely at these books, classes, & feats.
I vote for #1 Sniopah & Rusty!.
"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
Oy! Tempest, mate, yew misspelled "Snoipah", we can't 'ave that!


Crikey! All fixed now.

On a related note, this build reminded me very much of a different TF2 character given how it would play.


With the right skills, and other gear spent on speed, it might just work, too.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Definately voting snoipah and always on edge
Nice clean build.

I'll note that you can't Ranged Pin an enemy, and then get Sneak Attack damage against it with the same volley, since the entire volley is released simultaneously (all one standard action). You could do it on the NEXT volley, however.

I'm not sure if Missile Deflection would shut this entire build down, if it treats the entire attack like one attack, like it does greater manyshot. I'm thinking it would. Don't fight a monk!

Edge of the Light gets my vote!

==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'm not sure if Missile Deflection would shut this entire build down, if it treats the entire attack like one attack, like it does greater manyshot. I'm thinking it would. Don't fight a monk!


You're thinking Manyshot, which Deflect Arrows would block. Deflect Arrows is useless against Greater Manyshot for exactly the same reason you want it in a precision-damage build: each arrow uses its own attack roll, and therefore is a separate attack (hard to deflect) and gains precision damage. The Manticore Belt works like the latter - each spine is its own attack roll. Separate attacks as part of the same action have to be deflected separately.

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)

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Awesome build. I'd probably rather do the skirmish only build myself, but that might be because I like to keep it more simple. I'm not sure why I could say towards this build, seems tight. Must admit, I'd be interested to see about the amulet of natural attacks, if you enchanted it with splitting (If a DM let you) how amusing that'd be.

My vote is for Rusty or Always on Edge
I saw a previous version of this, and it has inspired me to play a ranged Totemist (though I am focusing on Totemist, which means no Scout and what's probably going to be a far less powerful build, though more flexible). Though my DM won't allow it, if this is treated as a Natural Weapon, the traditional Shoulders Totem Avatar (if you can get to Totemist L9) + Improved Nautral Attack makes the base damage pretty cool.

A minor note - if you are using UA, there two traits which take a point from Fort or Ref to add to Will may be useful, since your Reflex save at least should be great. 
The term Chaingun Porcupine was actually started when a friend and I were randomly shouting out ideas we could mix and match. Worldwar II Alternate History got mashed up with the Redwall set of books; this silliness eventually followed. I had been trying for a while to give birth to successful high damage output Totemist build, which spawned two distinct ideas. The first involved abusing double chakra with Heart of Fire and Manticore Belt. The second involved abusing Girallon Arms and Bear Warrior.

The first build didn't work very effectively, but eventually abandoned double chakra and was warped into a very deadly precision damage build (seen above). For some reason I remember taking a feat that required dodge and using Midnight Dodge instead of Cerulean Will. For the life of me I can't remember what it is though. Also, if you play in an action point setting, you can get an amazing mileage out of Action Surge. Spend two action points for an additional standard action, use it to volley again.

The second build is called Handy, though it is unfinished and I imagine it doesn't differ significantly from many of the other Girallon Arms builds.
(Barbarian 3, Totemist 2, Weretouched Master 5, Bear Warrior 5, Warshaper 3, ??? 2; all in a ramshackle order).
That's the best avatar ever for many reasons.

Tallying the votes, we have 3 each for Rusty and Always On Edge, 2 for the #1 Snoipah, and 1 for the Edge of the Light
Well, if you're willing to be a little bit dirty, you can take the first rogue level at 8, and replace the ranger level you would have at 9 with Swordsage 1. This grants you initiator level 5, or third level maneuvers to start. I don't have the reference material on hand but I believe you get 6 maneuvers known, 3 prepared, and 2 stances for Swordsage 1; additionally, this gives you access to 3rd level stances for your level dip.

Some useful choices for this build: Name (Type; Action; Required Maneuvers) - Effect
Zephyr Dance  (Counter; Immediate; 1 Desert Wind) - Gain +4 dodge bonus to AC after your opponent rolls to hit. Nice considering you have a reasonably high AC and are difficult to get a full attack on.
Giant Killing Style (Stance; Swift; 1 Setting Sun) - Gain +2 to hit and +4 to damage against opponents of a larger size category than you.
Counter Charge (Counter; Immediate; 0 Setting Sun) - Roll and opposed Strength of Dexterity check against an opponent who charges you to move them 2 squares in a direction of your choice and stop the opponent from attacking you. Useful considering most opponents will charge you to try and engage.
***Assassin's Stance (Stance; Swift; 1 Shadow Hand) - Gain 2d6 extra sneak attack. 'Nuff said.
Cloak of Deception (Boost; Swift; 0 Shadow Hand) - Turn invisible until the end of your current turn. Great for when you need to sneak attack someone and can't find another way.
Child of Shadow (Stance; Swift; 0 Shadow Hand) - When you move at least 10 feet, you gain concealment against all ranged and melee attacks. You cannot use this concealment to hide in plain sight.

The list is a little sparse, but taking a dip in Swordsage can give you 2d6 extra sneak attack damage and a few useful counters. Since you don't have a monopoly on swift/immediate actions, they can be highly useful.
Sionnis, the description for stances at level 1 for all three initiator classes specifically states that you must pick a 1st-level stance.
"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 like it!
All the more so since I'm not an Incarnum specialist.

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

 

  • Maeve in The Lost History of Istar


 
Okay, so the creator of the newest Totemist handbook pointed out a rule in the Rules Compendium that really puts a damper on this build:


"A form of attack that enables an attacker to make multiple attacks during an action other than a full-round action, such as the Manyshot feat (standard



action) or a quickened scorching ray (swift action), allows precision damage to be applied only to the fi rst attack in the group."



It's on page 42. I pointed out that the Manticore Belt is called a single attack in MoI but it was pointed out to me that you only apply sneak attack once in a single attack anyways. Frown
Okay, so the creator of the newest Totemist handbook pointed out a rule in the Rules Compendium that really puts a damper on this build:


"A form of attack that enables an attacker to make multiple attacks during an action other than a full-round action, such as the Manyshot feat (standard



action) or a quickened scorching ray (swift action), allows precision damage to be applied only to the fi rst attack in the group."



It's on page 42. I pointed out that the Manticore Belt is called a single attack in MoI but it was pointed out to me that you only apply sneak attack once in a single attack anyways. Frown


I figure the NDA's expired by now...

Some of our group participated in feedback on the Rules Compendium. We had to fight tooth and nail for any tweak to it - I think the only substantial change we got in was the bit on transparency (a quarter-page on 137 - I think large portions of it are actually verbatim from one of my comments), which was missing from the original draft despite it being absolutely key to using any alternate system expansion.

I remember fighting about the paragraph you're quoting as well, because it doesn't explain where that ruling is coming from except for DM paranoia over chugging a few extra six-siders (i.e. the "Bah, Fighters Can't Get Nice Things" argument emerging due to bad design in spells). The general rule about separate attack rolls has a consistent mechanism - if you're rolling multiple damage rolls from a single attack roll, you only get one instance of precision damage (which is auto-balancing because the single attack roll can be cheesed more easily, i.e. True Strike or Fell Shot), while multiple attack rolls get one instance each, regardless of the action type used to deliver them (although I think spells with multiple attacks should have come with a penalty as well). The paragraph here tries to create a new condition, dependent upon the action type of the effect, with no real mechanism behind it - obviously done in response to balancing concerns, likely to swift-action multi-attack spells.

That said, I'd forgotten about that section, and it really does castrate this build (and, to a lesser extent, the Wizsassin and #1 Snoipah as well, since they use Hunter's Eye).

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Yeah...


That doesn't mean your work was wasted though. The builds are still very nice and detailed examples of optimization and their are plenty of groups that don't use the RC rulings. Just put a little note at the top or bottom explaining the situation.  


  
Yeah...


That doesn't mean your work was wasted though. The builds are still very nice and detailed examples of optimization and their are plenty of groups that don't use the RC rulings. Just put a little note at the top or bottom explaining the situation.  


  


Done.

I went ahead and looked up that totemist handbook, by the way; you might want to emphasize this build's Ranged Pin trick there, as it will still work with the Manticore Belt in general. The same basic trick applies with Ranged Disarm; although you won't benefit from Improved Disarm with it, you will benefit from size modifiers.

Oddly enough, I think this is actually helped by the Rules Compendium ruling - if you're only getting precision damage on the first attack, then the marginal cost of using the other attacks in the volley for nondamaging substitutions drops quite a bit. (It's the same logic behind Edge of the Light - it only benefits from Graceful Lunge on its first attack, so if it gets multiple attacks, the later, less accurate ones are best used to charge up Combat Rhythm.) In the case of the Manticore Belt, you don't even suffer a loss of attack bonus when you do this. Obviously (due to the feat costs, ability requirements, and the way incarnum scales) this works best for totemist dips rather than a primary totemist build, but it's still worth a note for this reason.

RT has an unpublished build he dubbed Pigsticker that used those feats on a basic Psywar 20 along with Zen Archery, Expansion, and Grip of Iron (observe that all the other modifiers to grapple or disarm checks transfer to their ranged feats, including size modifiers, and Zen Archery prevents the Dex loss from size increases from having too much of an impact); he fleshed it out with teleport powers and Corner Perch to create a rather unusual ranged dungeoneer. It might be possible to do something similar using the Manticore Belt, although the ability score demands get a bit silly.


Also, the guide might want to mention that the closest analogue to essentia is caster level. When I was learning incarnum, once I realized that essentia was essentially a limited pool of caster levels that you distributed between a bunch of ongoing "spells" (with both continuous effects and triggers, similar to produce flame and the like), it became a lot easier to grasp.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

So wait... RAW a Sorceror that uses metamagic and has to cast Scorching Ray as a Full Round Action can actually apply SA to all rays?
So wait... RAW a Sorceror that uses metamagic and has to cast Scorching Ray as a Full Round Action can actually apply SA to all rays?


RAW, a sorcerer casting Scorching Ray on its own gets SA on one of them despite making three attacks and having an explicit mechanism linking SA to number of attacks, while a sorcerer casting Searing Scorching Ray gets three SAs (one on each attack, as normal) despite there being no mechanism linking SA to action type used to generate the effect.

Yeah, we complained about it too. 

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Yeah...


That doesn't mean your work was wasted though. The builds are still very nice and detailed examples of optimization and their are plenty of groups that don't use the RC rulings. Just put a little note at the top or bottom explaining the situation. 



 



Done.

I went ahead and looked up that totemist handbook, by the way; you might want to emphasize this build's Ranged Pin trick there, as it will still work with the Manticore Belt in general. The same basic trick applies with Ranged Disarm; although you won't benefit from Improved Disarm with it, you will benefit from size modifiers.


Oddly enough, I think this is actually helped by the Rules Compendium ruling - if you're only getting precision damage on the first attack, then the marginal cost of using the other attacks in the volley for nondamaging substitutions drops quite a bit. (It's the same logic behind Edge of the Light - it only benefits from Graceful Lunge on its first attack, so if it gets multiple attacks, the later, less accurate ones are best used to charge up Combat Rhythm.) In the case of the Manticore Belt, you don't even suffer a loss of attack bonus when you do this. Obviously (due to the feat costs, ability requirements, and the way incarnum scales) this works best for totemist dips rather than a primary totemist build, but it's still worth a note for this reason.


RT has an unpublished build he dubbed Pigsticker that used those feats on a basic Psywar 20 along with Zen Archery, Expansion, and Grip of Iron (observe that all the other modifiers to grapple or disarm checks transfer to their ranged feats, including size modifiers, and Zen Archery prevents the Dex loss from size increases from having too much of an impact); he fleshed it out with teleport powers and Corner Perch to create a rather unusual ranged dungeoneer. It might be possible to do something similar using the Manticore Belt, although the ability score demands get a bit silly.



Also, the guide might want to mention that the closest analogue to essentia is caster level. When I was learning incarnum, once I realized that essentia was essentially a limited pool of caster levels that you distributed between a bunch of ongoing "spells" (with both continuous effects and triggers, similar to produce flame and the like), it became a lot easier to grasp.



The problem with using this build and focusing on Ranged Pin/Ranged Disarm is that it kind of provokes the question of why the build still has ranger, scout, and rogue levels. After all, even though they gave some other goodies, the sneak attack stuff was the main reason they were taken. 


A build focusing on the manticore belt could still be done. I just think that the build-other than having totemist levels-would look quite different. ShneekytheLost over on Gitp proposed a build that did this:

"2) Ranged Damage Output:


This build focuses on being primarily a Totemist, because everything you need, you have in-house.


Basically, it combines Manticore Belt being bound to Totem chakra to generate tons of ranged natural attacks with Dread Carapace for more damage per shot, and totem avatar to shoulder for even more damage per shot. Then find as many ways to get damage multipliers on your natural attacks (necklace of natural attacks, for example)."


A problem is that the Manticore Belt isn't actually called out as being a natural weapon. It doesn't connect to the totemists body either so there's ambiguity. If your dm decides it isn't then Totem Avatar and the necklace won't work. I recall an argument saying that a weapon had to have a type (either natural or manufactered), I'll try and track it down.


 Kensai couldn't help if the DM decides the Manticore Belt is manufactured (since Kensai requires the manufacterd weapons you enchant to be masterwork) but it could help if the dm decides it's neither manufactured or natural. If Kensai is used, the intimidate dragon souldmelds in Dragon Magic may be nice for taking advantage of Kensai's Cha focus and bonus to Intimidate.


The Pigsticker sounds quite interesting. A problem I see though is that Ranged Pin requires a Dex of 15. That would be a terrible waste of points for the build. Also, Corner Perch (the feat and the skill trick) seem kind of wasteful once flight is aquired.


Does throwing clothing on someone allow you to Ranged Pin them? They are technically "wearing" the clothing after all. I suppose they could just toss it off as a Free Action...maybe you could sovereign glue it? Also, for fighting in melee would the build use the "Claws of" powers or would it add the Elvencraft property to its bow (Elvencraft allows a longbow to be treated as a quarterstaff. This means you can Power Attack with it)?


I'll mention the caster level comparison in the general Incarnum guide. It's a good comparison but seems a little too general for a specific class handbook.


Off topic: I don't know if I mentioned this (apoligies if I did and am accidently bugging you) but I made some new posts in the Uncanny Trapsmith and Storm Knight threads (Piggy Knowles and dbay also made two knew posts in the Uberflank thread). If you have the time you may want to check them out.

I'm guessing you guys are pretty busy? Do you have a rough estimate on when you'll have the time to spare on this forum? 

I've been looking at Ranged Pin lately, and I thought I'd cross post here, because it's a relevant way of adding damage back in to this build even with the volley rules in Rules Compendium.

 

The Kraken Mantle's arms bind deal 1d8+Str damage on ANY successful grapple check. So, combined with Ranged Pin, each spine not only debuffs an enemy by forcing them to spend a standard action to get free but also deals 1d8+Str damage. Not bad, though not gamebreaking.

 

For a more extreme version, though, we've got Black Blood Cultist's level 8 ability:

 

SAVAGE GRAPPLE: Starting at 8th level, you deal damage as if you had hit with all your natural weapons (including rend, if you are raging) on a successful grapple check.

 

So now, if you went with something like a barbarian 1/totemist 11/black blood cultist 8, you could fire, say, seven spines as a standard action, making them all Ranged Pin attempts. Each successful grapple check automatically deals damage as though you had hit with every single natural weapon. Again, seven times. In one standard action. As a ranged attack.

I kinda doubt any DM will let you do damage with your natural attacks if you aren't in reach of the enemy, Savage Grapple or no. You can't even HIT with them, how are you going to inflict damage with them?

 

But, YMMV.

 

==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

Hahaha, that's pretty clever I gotta say, Kraken Mantle's kinda neat and it's got this weird Cthulu vibe for me to imagine each spine having its own tentacles, that I like. The Savage Grapple combo's humorous and probably works RAW but clearly Ranged Pin was never intended to trigger either of these abilities.