Weekly Optimization Showcase: The Evasion Tank

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Major props to Andarious for writing up nearly the entire showcase this time around. Both TS and I were swamped with life, so Andarious stepped up to the plate and did the lion’s share of the leg work here.

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, Andarious, DisposableHero_, TempestStormwind, 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. First up this week, we’ve got an Andarious build for you.
------------------

THE EVASION TANK
“When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.”

Required Books: Players Handbook, Tome of Battle, Complete Warrior, Magic Item Compendium
Unearthed Arcana used: Nadda, go ahead and milk the flaws if you want though.

Background: The theory used here goes back once again to Andarious’ WoW playing days. As he said “A few years since I played, but something I remember was that mitigation saved the healer a lot more than having tons of HP. High AC and Miss chance are all well and good but what about the option to just say NO, that doesn’t hit? Well here it is. I also love Jackie Chan films [as the 2010 Karate Kid quote above indicates] and couldn’t help but notice just how silly this build makes the people attacking it look. Finally, yes I use ToB and Complete Warrior a lot, and that’s easy to explain. I snuck a few e-books onto my work computer and the only actual D&D books among those were these two. This ended up with me studying them very closely in down time.” His studies, to put it lightly, bore fruit.

The Basics



  • Race: Human (It ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it. This build is feat starved.)

  • Ability Scores: 14/14/14/14/10/8. Welcome to why Monks suck, don’t worry we’ll fix it. As available a +1 Manual of Dex and a +1 Tome of Wis should be applied. All other increases should go to Str, it is just meat and potatoes for melee damage and winning opposed checks.



Skill Notes: Concentration, Tumble, Hide, Move Silently, Balance, Jump, Martial Lore and some skill tricks. The build has enough ranks, distributed well enough to keep most of the mentioned skills at or near max by 20.

Basic Equipment: A spiked chain. Smoke Sticks (later) or an Eversmoking Bottle is even better; concealment is a lovely thing.

Magical Gear Goals: You will have to pay the usual melee character gold tax (a weapon and stat boosters). Boost your stats following the priority of Str>Wis>Con>Dex>Int, and leave Cha to rot. Serpent Armor (MIC) goes a long way, giving the feat starved build access to Combat Reflexes. Anything to improve his ability to Trip, Grapple and Disarm helps as well.


The Build.
Build Stub: Monk2/Fighter2/Swordsage2/Warblade9/Master of Nine5

1 – Monk – (Unarmed Strike, AC Bonus, Decisive Strike) (Improved Grapple, Dodge, Mobility)
*
Okay, a fairly weak opening, I’ll admit. It’s that bad monk I warn everyone not to build, we’ll get there though.

2 – Monk – (Evasion) (Deflect Arrows)
*
The reason this build is named Evasion Tank? It tanks, but not through HP, not even really through AC, but through denial of chances to hit. That begins now with one simple step. Note that this doesn’t use your Attacks of Opportunity or your immediate action.

3 – Fighter – (Combat Expertise, Improved Trip)
4 –Fighter – (EWP: Spiked Chain)
5 – Swordsage – (Quick to Act +1, discipline focus (Weapon Focus:Shadow Hand)) (Moment of Perfect Mind, Action Before Thought, Burning Brand, Cloak of Deception, Clever Positioning, Counter Charge) (Island of Blades)
*
We start counter and boost heavy, because these abilities scale well and help with the defensive nature of the build. Also, you’ll notice the build suddenly sucks a lot less with the addition of a single Swordsage level. It’s amazing!

6 – Swordsage – (AC Bonus) (Adaptive Style) (Distracting Ember) (Flame’s Blessing)
*
A staple feat, a helpful boost and a stance that lets him walk into hell unscathed.

7 – Warblade – (Battle Clarity (Reflex Saves),Weapon Aptitude) (Claw At The Moon, Disarming Strike, Wall of Blades) (Hunter’s Sense)
*
So wait, seemed like a good thing going with Swordsage, why mess that up going Warblade? Big dreams, you’ll see. Offensive Maneuvers belong in this school. Access to Disarming Strike and Wall of Blades provides further shut down kung fu.

8 –Warblade – (Iron Heart Surge)
9 –Warblade– (Battle Ardor (Critical Confirmation)) (Elusive Target) (Mind Over Body)
*
Some good stuff going on. Elusive Target is the staple feat of this build, and the only reason I can think to take Dodge over Expeditious Dodge.

10 –Warblade– (Mithril Tornado replaces Claw At the Moon) (Pearl of Black Doubt)
*
Whirlwind Trip, go ahead.

11 –Warblade– (Blind Fight) (Tactical Strike)
12 –Warblade– (Improved Uncanny Dodge) (Improved Disarm)
*
Don’t discount the power of disarms with Mithril Tornado and attacks of opportunity, especially since you can already trip. When they stand up from prone, use the AoO to disarm them. When they pickup their weapon, use the AoO to trip them. It can get quite ridiculous.

13 –Warblade– (Battle cunning (damage)) (Covering Strike)
14 –Warblade– (Disrupting Blow replaces Tactical Strike)
*
Action denial from Disruptive Strike gives you an offensive defense. If they can’t do anything, they can’t hit you. It’s also a Will save effect, making it quite effective against the usual melee opponent demographic.

15 –Warblade– (Improved Initiative, Shadow Blade) (Greater Insightful Strike)
16 –Master of Nine– (Manticore Parry, Scorpion Parry)
*
Finally some more hard stops. With these added to his Warblade list, he is able to shut down two attacks per round when flanked, and turn his opponents strengths against each other.

17 –Master of Nine– (Dual Stance) (Hydra Slaying Strike) (Hearing the Air)
*
You’re very effective against other humanoid opponents, but big monsters with enormous natural full attack routines are a serious threat. Hydra Slaying Strike is a good counter to them; they can make only one attack a round after you hit them with that, and one attack in a round is easy for you to counter.

18 –Master of Nine– (Perfect Form) (Martial Stance) (Fool’s Strike, Adamantine Hurricane) (Ghostly Defense)
*
This guy needs an Eversmoking Bottle now. He can out perform most foes in a situation where they will both have miss chance. And as if that weren’t enough, he also packs Blind Fight and Hearing the Air. Now foes that miss him due to miss chance hit their buddies instead.

19 –Master of Nine– (Counter Stance) (Diamond Defense) (Stance of Alacrity)
*
With all those immediate action counters, switching to Stance of Alacrity, and then using another counter is just a natural little combo.

20 –Master of Nine– (Mastery of Nine) (Tornado Throw, Time Stands Still)



Snapshot: This build is designed to function as a group’s only melee character. If everyone else is busy blasting, using archery, controlling, what have you, that’s the Evasion Tank’s ideal. If everyone else is invisible and this guy appears to be a one man army? That’s even better.

First things first, the Evasion Tank’s Kung Fu is pretty good. Having two martial classes allows for a lot of counters and boosts to be prepared. Here’s the load out at 20.

Warblade Typical Readied Maneuvers
Tornado Throw, Time Stands Still, Diamond Defense, Addamantine Hurricane, Fool's Strike, Manticore Parry, Scorpion Parry, Iron Heart Surge, Wall of Blades

Swordsage Typical Readied Maneuvers
Moment of Perfect Mind, Action Before Thought, Counter Charge, Cloak of Deception

The evasion tank can begin most combats by moving himself into a seemingly vulnerable position (perhaps via Tornado Throw, actually setting up a tight multiflank). The first time an opponent attempts to hit the Evasion Tank, they will hit an ally instead (Manticore Parry), allowing him to Counter Stance into Stance of Alacrity and then cause another hit to backfire (Scorpion Parry), as well as ensuring that the dodge target is going to hit someone else (Elusive Target’s Diverting Defense). If combat continues for more than a round or so this way creating concealment through equipment or ally intervention allows this guy to further confound his foes. Of course, all of this can change with a full round action thanks to Adaptive Style. But as it stands, this allows for obscene crowd control in melee, as well as plenty of single target counters and the ability to make people look silly, alone or in groups.

Number wise, you hit level 20 with 213 average hit points, a base attack of +17, and saves of 18/17/13 (that Reflex save includes battle clarity, and note that you have evasion). While those hit points are acceptable but not amazing for a tank, remember that most enemies will be lucky to scratch them.

Overall Strengths: Good kung fu. This monk like character barely touches the D&D class that’s supposed to do this well (Monk). Then it proceeds to barely touch the class that everyone gets pointed to for a monk like character that does monk better (Swordsage). Finally it uses some warrior classes (Fighter and Warblade) to bring it all together, and drive it into the true Martial Artist it was meant to be (Master of the Nine). Melee battlefield control without Thicket of Blades and Stand Still is kind of rough, but by disarming and tripping this build pulls it off with style. The ability to fight within a smoke screen is just good clean Ninja fun. The only way for enemies to exhaust your counters is to dogpile you with more attacks than you can respond to - and if everyone’s forced to dogpile on the tank (especially a tank with improved uncanny dodge), he’s doing his job right.

Avoiding hits the way this build does is considerably more efficient than tanking through HP, and more reliable than tanking through AC or miss chance. The party healer ought to be less concerned about this guy than they would be about a fighter. A +5 initiative bonus BEFORE your Dex modifier also helps ensure that desirable positioning can happen prior to most opponents acting.

Overall Weaknesses: Will save is the standard issue here, though you’ve got a better will than most tanks. Ranged combat is a problem as well. These are typical problems with melee characters. Use gear to shore up the reach problem by increasing speed and providing flight. Counters (Moment of Perfect Mind, Diamond Defense) help with the will saves a lot, even if being gang mind raped. Consider a Desert Wind Cloak with Leaping Flame if you find ranged attackers to be a nuisance.

Variants:  You could move most of the Mot9 levels earlier in order to get access to the class features and an earlier boost to power level. Would not be a challenge at all to move Mot9’s first level to as early a slot as 8. This is a good option for a game slated to mature before 20 (as many do). If you’d rather have +1 dodge to AC than 23 skill points, going Azurin and taking Midnight Dodge instead of Dodge is an option.




There you have it. A kung fu master designed to either challenge a melee heavy party, as an NPC encounter or to act as the primary diversion of an otherwise melee character deprived party. Slap a bulls eye on this guy and let him run off into the fray.

Next up: [DH] Psycarnum Warrior, just to get it off the roster.
On the level 9 part of the stub, it should be elusive. A very minor thing, but something I noticed.

On the build itself, a very unique way to approach tanking in DnD. Who needs arbitrarilly high AC and HP if you just shrug off everything they throw at you! It's funny you mention WoW, because back in burning crusade you could get a rogue to about 98% dodge chance. Talk about an evasion tank!
Yep, that's when I was playing and I could tank for about 30 seconds every 10 minutes if I needed to lol.
Sorry to bother you again but have you guys come to a concensus yet regarding my "other sites" question?
LOL. You just built a character based on a blue color deck from MtG.


This build would be incredibly annoying to fight, kinda like a stasis deck.

==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
The Basics



  • Race: Human (It ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it. This build is feat starved.)

  • Ability Scores: 14/13/14/13/10/10. Welcome to why Monks suck, don’t worry we’ll fix it. As available a +1 Manual of Dex and a +1 Tome of Wis should be applied. All other increases should go to Str, it is just meat and potatoes for melee damage and winning opposed checks.

If you're tanking Charisma anyway, why not drop it to 8 and raise Dex & Int by 1 each?



The Build.
Build Stub: Monk2/Fighter2/Warblade11/Master of Nine5

Psst... you forgot the swordsage levels.
Variants:  You could move most of the Mot9 levels earlier in order to get access to the class features and an earlier boost to power level. Would not be a challenge at all to move Mot9’s first level to as early a slot as 8. This is a good option for a game slated to mature before 20 (as many do). If you’d rather have +1 dodge to AC than 23 skill points, going Azurin and taking Midnight Dodge instead of Dodge is an option.

How much would it hurt the build to go swordsage... or better yet, unarmed swordsage, at level 1 in order to get Desert Wind Dodge instead of Dodge?
Next up: [DH] Psycarnum Warrior, just to get it off the roster.

After you get this week done, can I put in a request for a Seishi build?  I was just looking through Tempest's sig & realized that none of the builds up so far belong to him.
Sorry to bother you again but have you guys come to a concensus yet regarding my "other sites" question?

I realize it's none of my business what you guys ultimately decide, but I would prefer that you didn't.  It is my hope that these builds will bring the others back here, even if it's just for these builds, and I'd prefer not to have to go to multiple websites in order to find out any thoughts others might have on these.
LOL. You just built a character based on a blue color deck from MtG.

This build would be incredibly annoying to fight, kinda like a stasis deck.

==Aelryinth   

I hadn't thought of this, but... yeah.  "I Mana Leak, Counterspell, Rewind... Echoing Truth targetting that token right there at end of turn... Oh, and I have Graceful Adept out, so I have an infinite handsize."  I'm willing to play against pretty much any kind of deck except that one.  And that incldes Tooth and Nail and ArcRav decks.
"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
Saying no in MTG is just such a great feeling though! For the person doing said counterspelling.
Saying no in MTG is just such a great feeling though! For the person doing said counterspelling.

Right up until somebody beats the **** out of him out back.
"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
How much would it hurt the build to go swordsage... or better yet, unarmed swordsage, at level 1 in order to get Desert Wind Dodge instead of Dodge?


Desert Wind Dodge doesn't work with all the Elusive Target maneuvers.
After you get this week done, can I put in a request for a Seishi build?  I was just looking through Tempest's sig & realized that none of the builds up so far belong to him.


He doesn't actually put up that many builds. I'll ask him if there's anything he'd like to submit.
Sorry to bother you again but have you guys come to a concensus yet regarding my "other sites" question?

I realize it's none of my business what you guys ultimately decide, but I would prefer that you didn't.  It is my hope that these builds will bring the others back here, even if it's just for these builds, and I'd prefer not to have to go to multiple websites in order to find out any thoughts others might have on these.


We have yet to come to a consensus.





        Sorry to bother you again but have you guys come to a concensus yet regarding my "other sites" question?

        I realize it's none of my business what you guys ultimately decide, but I would prefer that you didn't.  It is my hope that these builds will bring the others back here, even if it's just for these builds, and I'd prefer not to have to go to multiple websites in order to find out any thoughts others might have on these.










        I realize this reply wasn't directed at me but I would like to chime in regardless. 





        In the OP it says "    these builds are intended to spur discussion and perhaps inspire a few people in the spirit of the old CO boards." and yet... I don't really see many people being inspired (mainly because there aren't many people still here). These boards (or at least this part of the board) are a shadow of what they once were and many people have a grudge too. There have been 23 showcases so far and I haven't seen anyone from the other boards come back. My thinking is that if after 23 showcases people haven't come back yet than they won't even if there are more. If the showcases are brought to other websites like the minmaxboards or gitp, many more people will be exposed to them. While it is annoying to have to go to multiple websites to see other peoples thoughts, I believe that if the showcases are not brought to the other websites, other people won't have thoughts on them at all.




       

How much would it hurt the build to go swordsage... or better yet, unarmed swordsage, at level 1 in order to get Desert Wind Dodge instead of Dodge?

Desert Wind Dodge doesn't work with all the Elusive Target maneuvers.

Why not?  I thought Desert Wind Dodge counted as Dodge for prereqs?
Sorry to bother you again but have you guys come to a concensus yet regarding my "other sites" question?

I realize it's none of my business what you guys ultimately decide, but I would prefer that you didn't.  It is my hope that these builds will bring the others back here, even if it's just for these builds, and I'd prefer not to have to go to multiple websites in order to find out any thoughts others might have on these.

I realize this reply wasn't directed at me but I would like to chime in regardless. 
In the OP it says "    these builds are intended to spur discussion and perhaps inspire a few people in the spirit of the old CO boards." and yet... I don't really see many people being inspired (mainly because there aren't many people still here). These boards (or at least this part of the board) are a shadow of what they once were and many people have a grudge too. There have been 23 showcases so far and I haven't seen anyone from the other boards come back. My thinking is that if after 23 showcases people haven't come back yet than they won't even if there are more. If the showcases are brought to other websites like the minmaxboards or gitp, many more people will be exposed to them. While it is annoying to have to go to multiple websites to see other peoples thoughts, I believe that if the showcases are not brought to the other websites, other people won't have thoughts on them at all.

I was actually one of the people who had a grudge due to the G0 flamewar, which coincided with the release of 4E and the introduction of Gleemax.  I was gone for well over two years.  I understand the grudges; I also recognize that these boards aren't the same as they were when the grudges were fostered.  And, IIRC, there are grudges the other way, as well.

Directed to both blaaaaa & the Optimization Group: As a compromise/alternative, what if there was a thread on minmax/bg/gitp with links to these builds, so that all discussion was still in one spot?

I've said my piece, and will leave you guys to your decision.   
"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
Two of the options for the Elusive Target tactical feat require a Dodge Target to work.
Hah, I'm glad to see at least someone else trying the eversmoking bottle trick.  It can be useful much earlier if you get a blindfold of true darkness as well.

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

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
Posting a link to an index thread would make the most sense. I think that's probably a sound, and simple idea.
I actually wouldn't mind posting them on other forums too - I never thought the goal was to bring back regulars here. (It's our group vs Wizards bureaucracy and bad blood re: Gleemax/pruning/GamerZero/etc, and that's a fight I would never even start, let alone expect to win.) The point was to try to get the people who do come here thinking again. As for those of us who lost accounts due to the various forum migration hassles (if you search around, you'll note that DisposableHero_ is among the "zombiegleemax" users!), I wouldn't dare ask anyone to re-register here.

The reason I (as opposed to another group member, initially) posted them here? I started writing up our builds (well, initially, my builds, since I started before I asked the others if they'd like their stuff shared too) as a way to stay focused on communication and D&D - and to procrastinate from working on part of my masters' thesis. (I'm a physicist working in psychology right now and I was getting fed up at trying to explain to people with many more degrees than I that they were making first-year calculus errors in their publications.) I had an account here and knew where to look for important reference material, so up they went. Plus, it got the information out there - they're being read, at least.

The reason I didn't post on GiantITP? No account, and I don't think any of my teammates have an account there either. It's a good community by and large, but I also have an obsessive personality, and I didn't want to juggle two online communities while working on my thesis.

Why no MinMaxBoards? This, I admit, is personal. One of the founders, Josh, hates me due to an imagined slight several years ago (he thinks I stole his "archbishop of canterbury" idea when I put forth "The Stormwind Fallacy" when I made it abundantly clear at every possible opportunity that it wasn't my idea, and I was just attaching a name to it to help it spread. I arrogantly chose my own name, which I regret doing, but the idea took off from there. Nowadays I tend to refer to it by the much more descriptive "Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy" name, but my name is still stuck to it, and Josh still badmouths me because of it.) It's not a good idea to be a guest at any location where the host hates you, so I never migrated to BG or to MMB. That's really all there is to it. (And I know - from multiple sources, including Meg and RT himself - that Josh is a lot more ascerbic online than he really is in person, but all the same, he's the one in the administrator seat. I harbor him no ill will, but all the same, I don't feel I'd be welcome at MMB.)

I'm defending my master's thesis today - two and a half hours from now, in fact - so we'll see if my life clears up enough to post discussion elsewhere. I don't mind an index thread idea, but it'll get chaotic really fast if that's mirrored on other forums and used as a singular discussion point. I'll think on this a bit more and try to come up with a viable alternative for propagation. (I'm on record as saying that forums are the ideal common online discussion method for sharing and developing builds - usually in the context of bashing wikis for this purpose - so it'll definitely stay as a repost-elsewhere idea. But it'll need some teasing simply due to the volume of material out there.)






As to the Evasion Tank itself, this is actually one of my favorite builds we've offered. The actual execution can be varied somewhat while keeping the concept whole, and that concept is quite intriguing to me since, to my knowledge, no one's tried this before. There turned out to be a surprising plethora of hard-stops out there in the rules, and when you put them together, the results get kind of interesting.

Btw, this is also the third example I know of that takes ToB and breathes new life into a Complete Warrior tactical feat. The first, ages ago, was when people discovered that you could use Shadow Hand teleports to use Sun School more effectively (we have a character who uses this to deadly effect for novas in one of our games - if I ever get around to showcasing our other game (the one DisposableHero's been running since around 2006 - you'll see him). The second is the Dream Blade from last week, making Combat Brute much deadlier and versatile thanks to Diamond Mind non-charging multipliers. The third is here, using ToB negations with Elusive Target.

On a third point, the one area I'm dissatisfied with is the use of the spiked chain. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but it's a two-handed weapon, which prevents one of the earliest hard-stops from functioning: with your hands full, you can't use Deflect Arrows, which is one of the purest, no-nonsense hard-stops in the game. The normal suggestions - switching to the Kusari-Gama or Spinning Sword (here, I think the former's better since it's a better tactical weapon) - prevent you from using Shadow Blade, since neither's a Shadow Hand weapon. (No one would be surprised if the kusari-gama was changed to one, though that result would have some surprisingly strong optimization ripples.)

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 Speed: 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.

I totally missed the Spiked Chain not allowing Deflect Arrows. Honestly it doesn't need to deal a lot of damage so changing it out for one of the one handed reach weapons works just fine. The Unarmed Strikes can deal the majority of the damage so long as the reach/trip weapon is maintained in order to support crowd control via Disarm and Trip.
I totally missed the Spiked Chain not allowing Deflect Arrows. Honestly it doesn't need to deal a lot of damage so changing it out for one of the one handed reach weapons works just fine. The Unarmed Strikes can deal the majority of the damage so long as the reach/trip weapon is maintained in order to support crowd control via Disarm and Trip.


True, and you might not always be in a Shadow Hand stance here anyway (even with dual-stancing, you're likely to be using Setting Sun or Diamond Mind here). And you can still make unarmed strikes with your hands full thanks to the monk unarmed strike ability. Sadly, that only applies to unarmed strikes (and presumably things you can sub in place of attacks - yes, you can disarm someone with your feet or with a headbutt), instead of for all "hands free" purposes such as Deflect Arrows. (If you thought the disarm-with-your-forehead image was silly, can you imagine deflecting an arrow with your neck? Or, if you play Skyrim, deflecting an arrow with your knee?)

EDIT: It occurs to me that since you're using Stance of Alacrity and Ghostly Defense or Hearing the Air as your main stances, and damage isn't this build's main focus, Shadow Blade may not be worth it at all, so switching to the kusari-gama (or spinning sword, if it allows trips and disarms as well) would still be a good idea, and it frees up a feat. Not sure what I'd put in that feat slot though.

...And if memory serves, wasn't it Jackie Chan who used a horseshoe-on-a-rope in basically this same way?

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 Speed: 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.

Could have been. I know the guy has Weapon Focus (Bench). He even took oversized two weapon fighting so he could dual weild benches skillfully.

Now... regarding the free feat. Stand Still would work well, no? Combat Reflexes is coming from gear of course. 
I totally missed the Spiked Chain not allowing Deflect Arrows. Honestly it doesn't need to deal a lot of damage so changing it out for one of the one handed reach weapons works just fine. The Unarmed Strikes can deal the majority of the damage so long as the reach/trip weapon is maintained in order to support crowd control via Disarm and Trip.


True, and you might not always be in a Shadow Hand stance here anyway (even with dual-stancing, you're likely to be using Setting Sun or Diamond Mind here). And you can still make unarmed strikes with your hands full thanks to the monk unarmed strike ability. Sadly, that only applies to unarmed strikes (and presumably things you can sub in place of attacks - yes, you can disarm someone with your feet or with a headbutt), instead of for all "hands free" purposes such as Deflect Arrows. (If you thought the disarm-with-your-forehead image was silly, can you imagine deflecting an arrow with your neck? Or, if you play Skyrim, deflecting an arrow with your knee?)

The Spiked Chain grants you a +4 bonus to disarm, and a kusari-gama gives you a -4 penalty (net change of 8); I think the chain would still be worth it.  Also, just because you're wielding a 2h weapon doesn't mean you've got both hands on it at all times; hasn't that already been established with the guisarme/spiked gauntlet weapons combo?  Lastly, Deflect Arrows works ONCE per round; is it really worth it, even if Spiked Chain negates it?
...And if memory serves, wasn't it Jackie Chan who used a horseshoe-on-a-rope in basically this same way?

Shanghai Noon.  Although the image that comes to mind for me is Jason Statham with the firehose in Transporter 2.

EDIT:
Could have been. I know the guy has Weapon Focus (Bench). He even took oversized two weapon fighting so he could dual weild benches skillfully.

Now... regarding the free feat. Stand Still would work well, no? Combat Reflexes is coming from gear of course.


Is Stand Still worth it?  How much actual damage output is actually expected with this build?  Stand Still allows a save based on the amount of damage that would have been taken, which is the problem I encountered with Kris.  Why not Precise Swing (ECS) to negate most cover bonuses in melee?
"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'm posting from my phone while I wait for the projector to warm up for my defense, so I can't check from here, but is the disarm penalty based on weapon size or on how you're using the weapon? The spiked chain requires two hands to have a threatened area, while the kusari gama does not. Thus you can switch two-handed on your turn for the bigger bonus, then switch one-handed as your turn ends and still have reach and deflect with the kusari, but you can't do the reverse with the spiked chain. Deflect may only work once per round but it also can't be avoided by any normal means and it doesn't take an action, conserving your immediates for other purposes. Action Economy >>> Possible modifier on a combat maneuver most of the time.

This is moot if the modifier to disarm is set by weapon size instead of how it's wielded.

Possible feat suggestion: Martial Study (Moment of Alacrity). Allows perfect kung-fu for any scene with Adaptive.

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 Speed: 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.

Weapon size - 2h weapons get +4, light weapons get -4.
"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
Making spinning sword ideal here, though to be honest, I'm tempted to switch out EWP: Spiked Chain for Hidden Talent (Expansion) and use a flail instead.
I probably need to read this in more detail, but I like the concept. Very inspiring.
Making spinning sword ideal here, though to be honest, I'm tempted to switch out EWP: Spiked Chain for Hidden Talent (Expansion) and use a flail instead.


Stamina issues: All of once or twice per day.

If the spinning sword can disarm and trip, use it - switch to 2H grip if you need damage, then release at the end of your turn for Deflect + Reach. Keep it in two-handed form if you're not facing archers.

The other reason I'm mentioning it is that as levels go up, including epic, this build is one of the few that actually has access to two really good reasons (separate links) to consider Deflect Arrows. It goes from side dish to ZOMG HOW THE **** DO WE HIT HIM. This guy could make the #1 Snoipah get served by his own effects. Deflect doesn't get much support here, but the epics make it absolutely amazing.

Basically? Epic levels mean you're a Jedi.

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 Speed: 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.

Jedi Master actually.

Re:Spinning Sword, no tripping and no 1.5* str when two handed. It's somewhat hard to tell if it can't be weilded in two hands at all or just that you don't get the 1.5* str bonus. As written it could be interpereted that if you weild it in two hands you get the +4 for Disarm and the increased Power Attack multiplier however.

At the end of the day, the reach was never all that important anyway. It's not hard to consider just dropping the EWP for Superior Unarmed Strike. 
Jedi Master actually.

Re:Spinning Sword, no tripping and no 1.5* str when two handed. It's somewhat hard to tell if it can't be weilded in two hands at all or just that you don't get the 1.5* str bonus. As written it could be interpereted that if you weild it in two hands you get the +4 for Disarm and the increased Power Attack multiplier however.

At the end of the day, the reach was never all that important anyway. It's not hard to consider just dropping the EWP for Superior Unarmed Strike. 


I suppose this would work, but I still like the idea of keeping a hand free or at least having that option. You can seriously hose ranged attacks even more that way (strap on a buckler with a lesser or greater crystal of Arrow Deflection - that's a flat +5 AC vs ranged attacks, plus their best attack is deflected via your Deflect Arrows, plus you might even get a second deflection if you use the greater crystal (it's unclear). The cloak with Leaping Flame just adds insult to injury.)

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 Speed: 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.

A buckler is a shield, which loses Wis to AC.
Nice build.

Lol @ TS for posting seconds before his thesis defense (hope it went well!).

(I hope the following sparks some more discussion! I can't really offer a TL;DR, so please try to get through the wall of text.

I've actually given this kind of mechanic some thought in the past (A-R, get out of my head ;)), and the main problem I see is that the "you miss" abilities are situational - Fool's Strike excepted. Let's look at them:
A) Fool's Strike is the best one by far IMO. Sure it requires you to beat an opposed attack roll, but with magic items (Discipline weapon!), buffs, etc... that should be doable except perhaps against the best melee monsters (like dragons?).

B) Diverting Defense requires you to be flanked. This has a pretty good chance of happening... but it's not clear it would happen more than once (maybe twice) before the enemy realizes it and changes his tactics.

C) Scorpion Parry requires an adjacent enemy within the other enemy's reach. The problem with that is that if an enemy has reach, he has no reason to stand next to you. And if he doesn't have reach, it's less likely he'll have the other foe in hsi threatened area.

D) Ghostly Defense requires a miss chance and an adjacent enemy. Fog is nice for the concealment, but 20% miss chance is not high. 50% would be a huge improvement but it's obviously harder to get. The Eversmoking Bottle is a definite help in this area, but it hinders you some (Blind Fight makes it palatable, naturally); the biggest hardship is that your whole party has to be Eversmoking-compatible (TM), else they'll just be made useless.

E) Manticore Parry requires an adjacent enemy (cf. above) and only works against weapon attacks. Me no likey: I would only take it in a campaign where one faces NPCs rather than monsters almost all of the time.

(As a side note, I don't like the Mithral Tornado/Adamantine Hurricane maneuvers precisely because they require adjacent enemies.)

So those mechanics require - or at least, benefit immensely - some control of the enemies' positions. Let's look at our options:
- A-R already mentioned being the only visible member of the party. That certainly helps making enemies rush you and surround you.
Other trickeries can help (illusions to make you appear a desirable target, taunts, ...) but their efficiency can be DM-dependent.

- Tripping helps but it doesn't reposition, and tripping monsters is basically impossible for a non-dedicated build at high levels.

- The Setting Sun throws are pretty perfect for this actually, but they take up space that your build uses for counters. I'd work in some of them, personally: throw an enemy adjacent to another, move up to them and now you can use Scorpion Parry. Or throw an enemy on top of another with that cool Comet Throw.
I realize the build has the awesome Tornado Throw, but it gets it at level 20.

- Another possibility is to use out-of-turn mobility to end up in the right position. I believe this is an underused mechanic, myself (admittedly it's more cool than powerful). Two ways to do that:
1) Shifting Defense + Combat Reflexes: you move 5ft after every enemy attack. This can be used:
to evade an opponent's reach, and hence avoid entirely the tail attacks of a full-attack, in keeping with the build's theme (but the opponent can generally take a 5ft step, so it's something to be wary of),
or to setup one of the counters above that require precise positioning.
The problem is that it uses your stance slot. You do have Dual Stance, but only a limited number of rounds per day.

2) Evasive Reflexes (ToB) + Karmic Strike or Robilar's Gambit: this requires "only" feats, but:
Robilar buffs your opponent's attack, making counters more difficult.
Karmic Strike is better in that it gives you a penalty to AC but much worse in that it only works when you get hit, running counter to the theme.

Alternatively, you can of course delegate the task of controlling position to another member of the party, a Lockdown or an arcanist/psion capable of using offensive teleports.

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

 

  • Maeve in The Lost History of Istar


 
Doesn't ToB have a Contest of Wills or something like that? If you use that, it can make opponents target you.
"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
Nice build.

Lol @ TS for posting seconds before his thesis defense (hope it went well!).


It did, in fact. I may have set a record for speed, and it was an unconditional pass with no revisions. I just submitted the final doc to the faculty, so I'm all in the clear for now.

Or, as I summed it up to my gaming group, Achievement Unlocked: M.Sc.

I've actually given this kind of mechanic some thought in the past (A-R, get out of my head ;)), and the main problem I see is that the "you miss" abilities are situational - Fool's Strike excepted. Let's look at them:


This bit can be a bit condensed, since it's a common complaint, but it's a good one. The trick, I think, is to focus your main actions on staying mobile and alternating around trips and disarms. Keep the battlefield dynamic and have as many of the counter scenarios open to you - that way, you have as high a chance as possible of any one of them showing up at once, and you can pretty easily adapt for more than one showing up in the same battle.

This response more or less holds to most of the following points - you make a good observation, but dynamic, mobile play combined with anything to make him a priority target minimizes its impact on the build. Further comments are beyond this general point.

- A-R already mentioned being the only visible member of the party. That certainly helps making enemies rush you and surround you.
Other trickeries can help (illusions to make you appear a desirable target, taunts, ...) but their efficiency can be DM-dependent.


Only meleeist works as well. If you've got archers and spellcasters, and are making good use of terrain (avoid open fields), you'll probably be triggering more often than not. (And if they switch their tactics, you have a bunch of other options available to you as well, even without Adaptive Style.)

- Tripping helps but it doesn't reposition, and tripping monsters is basically impossible for a non-dedicated build at high levels.

- The Setting Sun throws are pretty perfect for this actually, but they take up space that your build uses for counters. I'd work in some of them, personally: throw an enemy adjacent to another, move up to them and now you can use Scorpion Parry. Or throw an enemy on top of another with that cool Comet Throw.
I realize the build has the awesome Tornado Throw, but it gets it at level 20.


I think Andarious intended this to trip humanoid opponents, which it still has a good chance of doing at higher levels. And all the Setting Sun throws (there's a few) are both trips and repositions. You're right they take up space, but the other way to look at this is that you've got Adaptive Style (and possibly Moment of Alacrity) along with a bunch of situational counters. If you're in a situation where you know a counter will fail - i.e. you're suddenly fighting one single enemy - just swap away!

...You know, that might be a good option for that last feat we were discussing (when I made the silly mistake of forgetting the buckler shut down monk AC). It's one of the least known feats in the game (it only appeared in the Oriental Adventures errata and the corresponding 3.5 update), but Great Throw would fix that right up. (It requires Improved Trip and replaces the bonus attack from Improved Trip for letting you choose another square you threaten as the endpoint of your trip).


- Another possibility is to use out-of-turn mobility to end up in the right position. I believe this is an underused mechanic, myself (admittedly it's more cool than powerful). Two ways to do that:
1) Shifting Defense + Combat Reflexes: you move 5ft after every enemy attack. This can be used:
to evade an opponent's reach, and hence avoid entirely the tail attacks of a full-attack, in keeping with the build's theme (but the opponent can generally take a 5ft step, so it's something to be wary of),
or to setup one of the counters above that require precise positioning.
The problem is that it uses your stance slot. You do have Dual Stance, but only a limited number of rounds per day.

2) Evasive Reflexes (ToB) + Karmic Strike or Robilar's Gambit: this requires "only" feats, but:
Robilar buffs your opponent's attack, making counters more difficult.
Karmic Strike is better in that it gives you a penalty to AC but much worse in that it only works when you get hit, running counter to the theme.


I actually love both of these, particularly if your repositioning lets you do something like "5' step, but I'm still in your threatened area, so the attack can still hit me - only now I'm in the perfect position for a counter, so go ahead and knife your buddy".

Alternatively, you can of course delegate the task of controlling position to another member of the party, a Lockdown or an arcanist/psion capable of using offensive teleports.


Pinball Brothers, anyone? (I think, quite honestly, that the Brothers are amazing support in just this context.)

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 Speed: 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.

Actually, though it's underused compared to Karmic Strike and Robilar's Gambit, Defensive Throw from CW is another option. The prereqs are Dodge, Combat Reflexes, and Improved Trip, 2 of which the build already has and one of which might be worth taking anyways if you don't want to rely on Serpent Armor (or if you are willing to rely on Serpent Armor, qualify by taking Evasive Reflexes instead). It gives you a trip whenever your dodge target attacks you and misses (which you can make happen), it eats an AoO rather than your immediate action (which we want to use elsewhere), and it doesn't specify reach (so you can trip polearm users and the like). Switching out Spiked Chain Proficiency and Shadow Blade for Combat/Evasive Reflexes and Defensive Throw is a definite option.
And isn't the imagery just awesome on defensive throw? A guy with a spear is trying to poke you, but you dodge it, grab the spear and throw him to the ground, following up with a swift punch as he goes down.
This bit can be a bit condensed, since it's a common complaint, but it's a good one. The trick, I think, is to focus your main actions on staying mobile and alternating around trips and disarms. Keep the battlefield dynamic and have as many of the counter scenarios open to you - that way, you have as high a chance as possible of any one of them showing up at once, and you can pretty easily adapt for more than one showing up in the same battle.


In a game with locked gauntlets, I don't find disarm very viable (I know my PCs always get one when they rely on a particular weapon). Still, it's very nice if NPCs don't use them.

Thinking back on the few encounters you described from your campaigns, the foes were generally NPCs rather than monsters, so that does make trip much, much better.

This response more or less holds to most of the following points - you make a good observation, but dynamic, mobile play combined with anything to make him a priority target minimizes its impact on the build. Further comments are beyond this general point.


Out of curiosity, has this build (or something similar) been playtested? That's the downside of my own reflections: I haven't gotten to put them to use, so they lack battle testing.

Only meleeist works as well. If you've got archers and spellcasters, and are making good use of terrain (avoid open fields), you'll probably be triggering more often than not.


When I look at recent encounters from my campaigns, the counters requiring adjacent enemies wouldn't have triggered that often... but of course we weren't aiming for that; common tactics often lead to splitting up enemies rather than bunching them up.

(And if they switch their tactics, you have a bunch of other options available to you as well, even without Adaptive Style.)


Agreed: one nice thing about martial adepts is that they always have back-up options.

And all the Setting Sun throws (there's a few) are both trips and repositions. You're right they take up space, but the other way to look at this is that you've got Adaptive Style (and possibly Moment of Alacrity) along with a bunch of situational counters. If you're in a situation where you know a counter will fail - i.e. you're suddenly fighting one single enemy - just swap away!


I probably wasn't clear - I was proposing something and trying to anticipate the counter-arguments at the same time - but I was indeed recommending that the build take on more throws, and at lower levels. I'd drop Manticore Parry in a heartbeat, for instance: it doesn't belong in a precious Mo9 maneuver slot IMO. You could replace it with a level appropriate throw.
And Mighty Throw with the 1st Swordsage level is really good, since you already have Improved Trip and so can attack the prone enemy if the trip succeeds.

...You know, that might be a good option for that last feat we were discussing (when I made the silly mistake of forgetting the buckler shut down monk AC). It's one of the least known feats in the game (it only appeared in the Oriental Adventures errata and the corresponding 3.5 update), but Great Throw would fix that right up. (It requires Improved Trip and replaces the bonus attack from Improved Trip for letting you choose another square you threaten as the endpoint of your trip).


Where is Great Throw from? I couldn't find it. (I know PF has a feat that does that, though: Ki Throw.)
I did find Martial Throw (MiniH) but it uses grapple mechanics and only allows switching positions. It could still be interesting for this build.

I actually love both of these, particularly if your repositioning lets you do something like "5' step, but I'm still in your threatened area, so the attack can still hit me - only now I'm in the perfect position for a counter, so go ahead and knife your buddy".


Yes, this is the 2nd option I mentioned:
This can be used:
to evade an opponent's reach, and hence avoid entirely the tail attacks of a full-attack, in keeping with the build's theme (but the opponent can generally take a 5ft step, so it's something to be wary of),
or to setup one of the counters above that require precise positioning.


The 1st option you'll use when you don't have counters available (used and not recovered yet), or if you face something with a stupid number of attacks (hydra, dragon, TWFer, ...).

Pinball Brothers, anyone? (I think, quite honestly, that the Brothers are amazing support in just this context.)


Sounds like a good call. I only remember vaguely what they do - shame on me.

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

 

  • Maeve in The Lost History of Istar


 
Where is Elusive Target from, btw? Too lazy to look it up (and it doesn't seem to be in your list of used materials).
Where is Elusive Target from, btw? Too lazy to look it up (and it doesn't seem to be in your list of used materials).

It's a Tactical Feat from Complete Warrior.
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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 was just reading those the other day, too. I like the teleporting monk one (Monk 2/Totemist 2 + Blink Shirt, anyone?)
Mostly off topic post here but I just wanted to let you guys know that you could use the desert wind cloak keyed to the fire elemental summon manuver to power the necrocarnate level in the "Ashdarlon reborn" build (I didn't want to necro the thread).


Sorry again for off topicness Frown.  
Thread necro shouldn't offend anyone unless you're trying to bring back a thread that had a flame war or major arguement on it (said thread aught to get locked anyway). Distracting Ember I assume you mean?
Heh, poor little elemental. They're great to abuse for all sorts of purposes: the Pyrotechnics spell, setting of combat trapsmith traps, you name it.
Thread necro shouldn't offend anyone unless you're trying to bring back a thread that had a flame war or major arguement on it (said thread aught to get locked anyway). Distracting Ember I assume you mean?



Really? Guess I must be too used to Gitp. Also, yes I was talking about Distracting Ember. I'm seperated from my books for various reasons Frown.

Heh, poor little elemental. They're great to abuse for all sorts of purposes: the Pyrotechnics spell, setting of combat trapsmith traps, you name it.



Don't forget Bovd sacrifices WinkInnocent.
Yeah, that's why I don't frequent GitP. I did, briefly, got slapped on the wrist too many times too quickly for my liking. Very serious people running that forum.