Weekly Optimization Showcase: Rusty!

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Once agan, RadicalTaoist has saved my arse. I'm in crunch mode with a thesis deadline staring me in the face, so he took the initiative to write this.

 

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, RT's answer to the Super Sentry Challenge.
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RUSTY!
Man’s Best Friend


Required Books: Eberron Campaign Setting, Magic of Incarnum. That’s it, really. Races of Eberron or the Monster Manual III will do in a pinch if you don’t have the ECS, though you’ll still want the ECS for the warforged repair rules and docent components. That said, page 129 of Dungeonscape will be incredibly valuable as a source for the best poisons.
Unearthed Arcana used: None


Background: Rusty the Guard ‘Forged was a response to a little challenge in our group; who could optimize the best sentry. The ideal build would result in a PC who could stay up all night long and watch the camp without needing rest. Avoiding reliance on per-day abilities and being able to provide your own healing and supplies would be a definite plus. Several builds were thrown together; RT’s favourite was Rusty.


Warforged were a natural race pick for this challenge, and totemist a natural class (literally) with access to Spot, Listen, and Craft. While the build itself is simple, a few key skill and feat choices really synergize well with the race choice and compensate for the totemist’s weaknesses. If you’re in a wilderness adventure, taking on something like the World’s Largest Dungeon, or just have a GM who likes to ambush your party in the night, then Rusty is the perfect pet for your whole party. He only ever needs rest if he wants to change his soulmeld layout, which he can do without rest to a limited degree, and he has practically nothing in terms of per-day abilities upon which he relies. And with the ability to repair himself and shape his own natural weapons, he really doesn’t need anything else from the party besides a scratch behind the ear. Who’s a good ‘forged, boy? That’s a good ‘forged! That’s a good ‘forged!


The Basics



  • Race: Warforged. Of the races that don’t require sleep, these guys enjoy the most immunities, including a critically important immunity to poison.

  • Ability Scores: 15/14/16/10/12/6, after racial modifiers. Boost Str at level 4, and then boost Con from then on out. It gives you decent attack rolls and keeps your Con score far enough ahead of your number of soulmelds shaped for the rest of your career.


Skill Notes: You have four skills, and you will max them. They are Craft (Blacksmithing), which can be used to repair damage you take; Craft (Poisonmaking), to brew toxins to which you are immune (and thus can use with impunity); Spot, because you’re a sentry; and Listen, for the same reasons. These are the only skills to enjoy your ranks. Any other skill you might want can be boosted with soulmelds as necessary.


Basic Equipment: Hey, you’re a totemist! Get yourself masterwork equipment for your Craft checks, and a simple weapon for the low levels before your natural weapons come online. Anything to which you can apply poison is good stuff – don’t forget caltrops! In addition to your poisons, it’s worth your time to look for alchemical items in Complete Adventurer, Complete Scoundrel, and the Planar Handbook. Atramen oil from the Planar Handbook is particularly useful to any poison user.


Magical Gear Goals: Other than incarnum foci? Get what you can that won’t compete with your soulmelds for space. As you’ll pretty much always want the bloodtalons shaped but have no real reason to want them bound, magical gloves are a safe bet. Consumables are a definite yes – a potion of Ebon Eyes completely removes the drawback to the Shadow Mantle’s shoulders chakra bind. Remember that you come with armor that’s always on, and that can be enchanted for many useful benefits.



The Build.
Build Stub: Totemist 20


1 – Totemist – (Wild empathy, illiteracy) (Mithral Body)

*
Rusty’s poison immunity and ranks in Craft (poisonmaking) are his most dangerous abilities at this level. You don’t need the poison use class feature to use poison safely and you should be able to whip up drow venom and blue whinnis poison fairly reliably. You’re kind of vulnerable at 1st level (who isn’t?) so consider the Totem Avatar for a little boost to HP and AC.

2 – Totemist – (Totem chakra bind (+1 capacity))
*
NOW we’re talking! You can’t quite get the jump checks to make the best use out of the Landshark Boots yet, so the Girallon Arms or Threefold Mask of the Chimera are probably better choices. Both work very well with your racial slam attack.

3 – Totemist – (Totem’s protection) (Cerulean Will OR Shape Soulmeld: Enigma Helm)
*
Will saving throws are Rusty’s weak point, as they are for all totemists. Shore them up. While the Enigma Helm is more flexible than an incarnum feat, and offers nondetection and a cool immunity on top, it doesn’t give us another point of essentia and it competes with other melds for space and number of melds shaped. RT prefers Cerulean Will.

4 – Totemist

5 – Totemist – (Chakra binds (crown, feet, hands))
*
Options start to appear. You don’t get the great sensory options that come with the brow chakra yet, but the tremorsense granted by the Landshark Boots makes them an appealing bind for the feet. The Frost Helm isn’t a bad choice for the crown chakra either.

6 – Totemist – (Totem chakra bind (+1 meldshaper level)) (Bonus Essentia)
*
I shouldn’t have to explain the awesomeness of this level.

7 – Totemist

8 – Totemist – (Rebind totem soulmeld 1/day)
*
Oh no, a per-day ability! It’s okay, it’s not in any way essential to Rusty’s work. That said, if your GM is trying to take advantage of the fact Rusty can’t reshape his soulmelds without resting, and goes for an endurance trial using enemies that can counter your current soulmeld layout, this can be a nice countermeasure. You apparently don’t need to rest to regain this ability, so it shouldn’t cut into your watch schedule.

9 – Totemist – (Chakra binds (arms, brow, shoulders)) (Double Bind: Brow)
*
Finally! The critical sensory soulmelds all shape on the brow chakra. That’s the only reason we’re delaying the precious Double Bind: Totem feat, although they can be switched as necessary. They’re not the only things to look forward to, mind you; the Girallon Arms and the Shadow Mantle gain a huge boost at this level.

10 – Totemist

11 – Totemist – (Totem chakra bind (double bind))
*
Very useful level; no longer will you have to choose between tremorsense and claw attacks from the Landshark Boots, or between evasion and super low-light vision from the Great Raptor Mask.

12 – Totemist – (Rebind totem soulmeld 2/day) (Double Bind: Totem)
*
Another bump in power with this feat.Again, this Double Bind feat can be switched with the previous one.

13 – Totemist

14 – Totemist – (Chakra binds (throat, waist))
*
These chakras aren’t as vital to Rusty’s strategies as the others, but flight from the Manticore Belt can be useful, as can the Phoenix Belt’s healing in cases when you don’t have the time to repair.

15 – Totemist – (Totem chakra bind (+2 capacity)) (Double Bind: Arms)
*
This level’s feat choice is actually Improved Grapple in disguise…and on crack. The Totem Avatar and the Girallon Arms in combination allow Rusty to make FIERCE grapple checks, and if he’s playing watch dog he needs to keep foes from the rest of the party.

16 – Totemist – (Rebind totem soulmeld 3/day)
*
More versatility.

17 – Totemist – (Chakra bind (heart))
*
There are a few melds with nifty effects when bound to this chakra, but it’s not really your most important one.

18 – Totemist – (Combat Reflexes OR Split Chakra: Brow)
*
This is a sentry build, so more AoOs let Rusty better protect the team. A very good alternative is the Split Chakra feat. Applied to the brow chakra, this opens up an item slot for the Sentry Mask warforged component from Races of Eberron, which gives Rusty scent. Not the crappy half-scent the Hunter’s Circlet offers, real scent. Which of the two choices you select will depend on your party; if you’re REALLY scared of Will save effects, you can choose whichever of the level 3 feat choices you didn’t select last time.

19 – Totemist

20 – Totemist – (Totem embodiment, rebind totem soulmeld 4/day)
*
Another per-day ability? We tried to avoid them folks, honest we did. But it’s okay; totem embodiment works best as a Get Out of Deep Crap Free card, and should be used in emergencies when an enemy is just begging for some +12 enhanced claws to the face.

Critical Soulmelds and Combinations


  • Raptor Mask, Bloodtalons, Manticore Belt – all three of these soulmelds boost your Spot checks, occupy different chakras, and best of all, provide stacking bonuses. At the high levels, it is trivial to get Spot check bonuses in the 40s if you have all three shaped (and you will much of the time). At 20th level, binding the Mask and the Belt to the totem chakra and filling them up with essentia can get your bonuses so high, you will have a 9 out of 10 chance – or better! – of spotting immobile, invisible nonliving creatures. See Invisibility is for chumps. The Manticore Belt is a decent ranged attack method too.

  • Basilisk Mask – it gives you darkvision, which is what you’ll need for many a night shift. You probably won’t want to bind it unless you know you’ll be fighting invisible opponents. That said, if you’re in large underground caverns and are expecting opponents like drow, binding this to the totem chakra can net you 180’ darkvision, which can be somewhat of an unfair advantage.

  • Girallon Arms, Landshark Boots – the Boots provide another sensory ability, but more importantly, they can provide a claw attack that will rend with the Arms. Four landshark claws and a rend with a mobile attack can stack that damage up pretty fast.

  • Lamia Belt, Landshark Boots – this may need confirmation from the GM, but it appears the four-claw hit will work with the added speed and spring attack granted by the belt. Handiest if you have the Girallon Arms bound too.

  • Shedu Crown – again, effects that target your weak Will save are dangerous. The Crown provides a bonus against mind-affecting effects.

  • Shadow Mantle – this is one of the soulmelds that boost Listen, and it does it fantastically well. It can also provide another sensory ability and some confusing magical darkness, which is great for screwing up, say, sneak attacking ambushers who want to stick arrows in your teammates’ vital organs.

  • Disenchanter Mask – this provides another sensory ability, one a bit more unusual and difficult to counter.

  • Brass Mane, Frost Helm – while you’ll have an easy time going after low-Fort enemies with your poisons, these soulmelds will be effective against weak-willed foes who might be too hardy for the normal approach.

  • Heart of Rage – this meld works well with a grapple-happy set up. 


The Phoenix Belt, Wormtail Belt, Hunter’s Circlet, Kruthik Claws, and Threefold Mask of the Chimera also bear mention.



Snapshot: At level 20, with full investment in Cerulean Will and +6 items for Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution, but no tomes, you’ll have 253 HP, +15 BAB, 19 essentia to play with, and Fort/Ref/Will saves of +20, +17, and +11 (before any resistance bonuses). Shaping the Totem Avatar can give you another 20 hp (21 if it’s bound to the totem chakra), and the Shedu Crown can give you another +4 to those Will saves against mind-affect effects; you can also bind the Great Raptor Mask to gain evasion. Your attack rolls are +21 melee and +20 ranged BEFORE you start investing essentia in anything. An incarnum focus in your feet chakra lets your totem bound Landshark Boots attack with a +28 melee bonus four times as a standard action, if you make a good jump first. Each claw that hits deals 1d6+13 damage (before you invest anything in the Totem Avatar’s totem chakra bind). If you hit with all four and have the Girallon Arms bound for the rend, you’re dealing 6d6+78 damage (or 99 damage average) with a mobile “full attack” that can’t be foiled the way charges are foiled. An incarnum focus on the arms and a pumped out Girallon Arms meld can give you a +33 grapple check (as much as +37 if you’ve bound the Arms to your totem chakra). Finally, your Craft (poisonmaking) check is +28 with a +5 competence lab to work in; take a look at page 129 of Dungeonscape to see what you can do with that. Colossal scorpion venom (Injury DC 33, 1d10 Con/1d10 Con) comes to mind.



Overall Strengths: Rusty doesn’t turn off. He can go 24/7/365, watching the camp while the rest of the party sleeps. If offered downtime, he can repair himself, brew poisons, or reshape his soulmelds. He’s a fairly decent tank with enough HP and saves to avoid going down quick, plus immunities to a few nasty things. Contact and injury poisons make him far more hazardous than his middle-of-the-road damage output would suggest, and pulling surprise totem binds like the Basilisk Mask’s petrifying gaze, the Frost Helm’s stunning trill, or the Brass Mane’s exhausting roar can turn things around in a hurry. He’s a decent grappler on top of all that, too. And don’t discount some full-level wild empathy when the situation calls for it.


Overall Weaknesses: As much as we try to shore it up, Rusty’s will save is his Achilles heel; the more you can prevent enemies from targeting it, the better. While being a warforged does give Rusty a number of immunities, it does also give him some curious weaknesses (Rusting Grasp, Heat Metal, and the Inflict Damage line all come to mind). Finally, all Rusty has to rely on in ranged combat are his Manticore Belt and Ankheg Breastplate, which are pretty pathetic (well, in his hands, at least) at the high levels.


Variants: Rusty's pretty simple - a simple idea with a simple execution. There's any range of ways to modify this, but doing so tends to detract from its simple effectiveness. On the flipside, given how reconfigurable his totemist melds are, you have practically the full range of options available to that class (which is prett diverse!) available to you, becoming a slightly different character every day.


At Piggyknowles' suggestion, one variant is to swap a feat (likely the 18th level feat, or one of the Split Chakras if you can live without its effects) for Mindsight, qualifiying with the Shedu Crown's crown bind. Mindsight is notoriously hard to foil, and it's a perfect fit to Rusty's sentry abilities - anything intelligent within 100' now pretty much can't hide from Rusty, and as a side effect he can see through some disguises (i.e. he can empirically prove that any normal animal the DM describes is either a polymorphed villain or the villain's familiar, simply because animal intelligence and humanlike intelligence show up differently under Mindsight). Mindsight does not tell us how it interacts with Mind Blank, however, so check with your DM before applying this variant.


 



There you have it. You can rest easy at night knowing that Rusty's around. He doesn't stop, so you can.


Next up: Take your pick from the other two "runners-up" builds, plus a third "runner up" that wasn't part of the original list: [RT] The T3, [SN] Handy, or [AR] Evason Tank. (And no, for the last time, the T3 is not a construct. No one's guessed what the name means yet.)

Next week, we'll pick the next set up for rotation.

What do you think of Rusty! and which should be showcased first? Let us know in the thread. 

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.

A clean, straight build, good in melee but not even focused on it...all the sensory things are more important.

Do totemists have access to all the melds on their list, or do you have to choose by level? I'm kind of hazy on incarnum users.

If you don't have access to warforged, how would you build this? I'm guessing you'd have to have someone who could lesser restore every day for free to get rid of fatigue penalties for not sleeping.

==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
Totemists have access to all the melds on their lists; only the chakra binds are limited by level. You can only shape and bind so many soulmelds, though (a 20th level totemist gets 9 shaped and 5 bound).

Elan are another race which requires no sleep, however, their racial benefits rely on using power points, which are only recovered with - you guessed it - 8 hours of rest. They're also not immune to poison, so that's another major strength of the build gone.
Elan, give em a Mind Feeding weapon, that'll get your no-eat, no-drink PP for the day.
The Avenger variant of your Heavy Crusader build does okay as a sentry, to be honest. With those lesser restorations (which come from the legacy weapon, and weapons don't need to sleep), it can ignore fatigue and thus the need to sleep. It's the lack of sensory skills that are a problem.
While this isn't a build I would play, it's definitely one I would use as a cohort.  

I vote for T3. 
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
User Quotes
56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
I would like to put my vote in for handy (I'm sensing totemist used again there) rusty's use of abilities all day was an optimization strategy that would have never crossed my mind
Just a heads-up: This week's showcase will be delayed a bit until the weekend. The entire group has personal matters that make filling in a showcase, whichever it is, to be difficult, and we don't have all of the ones from the current pack complete (they're all partial complete).

Weekly Optimization Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

[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.

Wow, not a lot of commentary on this one, despite it being one of my favorites from the series!

Is there any reason not to go with the Shedu Crown bind and nab Mindsight as a feat?  Shedu Crown is useful for Rusty anyhow thanks to the save boost, and adding in a new sensory ability (one that's notoriously hard to beat) and also giving him an easy way to communicate with his teammates when he's acting sentry seems like a no-brainer to me.

In an evil campaign (or for an evil NPC), dedicating him to an Elder Evil might be a nice way to trim some of the negatives off, thanks to the deformity feats... with those bonus vile feats, he could pick up Deformity (Madness) for a permanent immunity to mind-affecting and a daily Will save boost, Deformity (Tongue) for a permanent blindsense, and maybe even Deformity (Eyes) for the daily See Invisibility.
Those are actually both very good options.
I think you actually need to get another form of telepathy for the Shedu Crown+Mindsight trick to actually work. Mindsight requires telepathy as a special quality and soulmelds aren't that (correct me if I'm wrong). While you would still be able to use Mindsight with the Shedu Crown, you'd need telepathy as a special quality in order to qualify for Mindsight in the first place.
Just because soulmelds are special attacks doesn't mean that their effects all are.  If the effect of a soulmeld is that you gain a special quality, you still gain a special quality, not an attack.  Same thing with, say, the Hunter's Sense stance from ToB - you would gain the scent special quality; it wouldn't be an attack just because it came from a maneuver.  Unless I'm completely missing something, of course........
Just because soulmelds are special attacks doesn't mean that their effects all are.  If the effect of a soulmeld is that you gain a special quality, you still gain a special quality, not an attack.  Same thing with, say, the Hunter's Sense stance from ToB - you would gain the scent special quality; it wouldn't be an attack just because it came from a maneuver.  Unless I'm completely missing something, of course........



Well okay that would work for say...the Hunters Circlet soulmeld which explicity states you gain the Scent special quality. However, the Shedu Crown only says you can communicate telepathically. It doesn't specifically give you the Telepathy special quality (which is what the Mindsight feat requires).

I guess I'd argue that telepathy is always a special quality?  I'll have to check my sources to see if this is ever spelled out anywhere.
Good luck with that: special qualities are hardly, if ever, defined or even discussed once the new stat block came online.

The only other telepathic but not Telepathy abilities I know of are on the psicrystal and the ghostwise halfling. Both are described as telepathic and follow all the limits of Telepathy (language, specified range, etc). If they qualify, and you allow melds to meet requirements, then the Shedu Crown qualifies. (The psicrystal can also qualify for Life sense, although it takes pumping Charisma to do so and will be limited by its Sighted range. Even then its a damn fine sentry in its own right.)

Weekly Optimization Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

[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.

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