Weekly Optimization Showcase: Heavy Weapons Elf

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Brian
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Brian Dupuis
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2012-10-05T17:38:00Z
2012-10-05T17:38:00Z
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University of Alberta
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I'm back in the driver's seat! Sorry for the brief delay. I'm also trying something out behind-the-scenes, which should clear up the spacing issues somewhat. (EDIT: Well, that didn't work. Spacing will be borked for a bit until I can manually fix it.)



As usual for the showcase, these builds are intended to spur discussion and perhaps inspire a few people in the spirit of the old CO boards. They come from members of my gaming group - me, Radical Taoist, DisposableHero_, Andarious, Sionnis, and Seishi - and I'll always identify who wrote the build at the start, so do not assume I'm the guy behind all of them (because I'm not!).

Unless otherwise noted, showcase builds use 28 point-buy, and have their snapshots evaluated using fractional base attack / saves (because it simplifies the math). None of them actually rely on fractional to be built, though. The format I use showcases their progression at key levels rather than just presenting the build and showing off a few tricks at level 20; most of these are capable of being played 1-20 if you so choose.


 


With that out of the way, let's get started. This week, one of Andarious’ builds is up. We have planned for you… MORE PAIN!


------------------

HEAVY WEAPONS ELF


WHO TOUCHED MY BOW?



Required Books: Tome of Battle, Races of the Wild (one feat, optional)
Unearthed Arcana used: None!


 


Background: I am Heavy Weapons Elf. And this… is my weapon. She weighs 1.36 kilograms and fires 2000gp custom-tooled arrows at 160 shots per minute. It costs 320,000gp to fire this weapon for twelve seconds. *manic laughter*


 


A few weeks back I showcased Gun Fu, a cheesy, theoretical ranged build, and mentioned it was part of a build-off against the others. This was Andarious’ entry, the one that kicked off the contest, though I believe RT was the one who named and fluffed it. It was originally designed as a cohort, hence its simplistic design, but it remains quite effective in anyone’s hands. It works alarmingly well if the leader is both a meat shield and a buffer; the A-Game Paladin is arguably the best such leader in the showcase so far (swap out Song of the Heart for Leadership and meet the Heavy); the two builds also gain combat momentum at around the same level (that is, a moderate start to a powerful finish).


 


Quick aside: When I say “designed as a cohort”, that implies that Andarious had a leader in mind. Turns out you’ve met her – the Heavy is a possible cohort for Aluonna, who isn’t too far off from the A-Game Paladin herself.


 


This build was the first in our group to observe that several ToB maneuvers worked equally well with ranged attacks as with melee attacks, and that those maneuvers tended to lend themselves well to the arrow-spam attacks that several archers are capable of making. Furthermore, unlike most special-effect attacks, they didn’t have the 30’ range limit that precision damage tends to use (I’m looking at you, Swift Hunter). This inspired everyone to try to make multiple-ranged-attack builds employing multiple attacks and ToB maneuvers. Gun Fu was my entry there, but I’m the first to admit that the Heavy Weapons Elf is significantly better at an actual game table.


 


And the mental image is at least as entertaining as the build itself. I mean, who ever imagines elves as big boisterous bruisers with thick Russian accents (and PhDs in Russian literature)? Okay, admittedly, it isn’t as tough as its namesake, but it works. And despite having quite a lot of Intelligence synergy, its Int is strictly average – but he’s yet to meet someone who can outsmart arrow through neck.



The Basics


 



  • Race: Elf. Oddly enough, none of your classes give ranged weapon proficiency, so you have to get it from another source, and elf is required for your prestige class anyway.

  •  Ability Scores: 13/18/12/10/10/8, after racial modifiers. Naturally, Dexterity gets pumped like there’s no tomorrow. As this is a cohort build, he can usually rely on his leader for melee defense, but desperately needs accuracy. You shouldn’t neglect the other ability scores either, particularly Strength and Constitution, but accuracy is your big bonus here. Note that the average Intelligence is by design: anything to simplify the math on a cohort is a good thing, and by having a +0 Intelligence modifier, all of the little warblade bonuses can be ignored. On a PC, this should probably be higher, but it doesn’t need to be insane: normal +Int items are probably sufficient here.


 


Skill Notes: Originally designed as a cohort, the skill loadout is quite simple: you pretty much just need Concentration and Jump. Use the remaining skill points to complement the team. Perception skills are hard to get on a warblade, but given their frequency, having a second set of eyes and ears that can make decent checks is appreciated. Diplomacy is a class skill, Tumble can help get you out of a bind, and Survival (cross-class) can combine well with Hunter’s Sense if you don’t have a tracker on the team. You can even pick up Intimidate at the later levels and come out just fine. Not usually his job, but… *chuckles*


 


Basic Equipment: Get the best damn composite longbow money can buy. Of particular note is the Elvencraft longbows (Races of the Wild), although strictly speaking these are optional. It’s a weapon modification that you add to any bow; elvencraft longbows can freely interchange between quarterstaff and longbow as you see fit (without an action – you could in theory bash someone unconscious, snipe his buddy, then 5’ step and club a third guy as part of the same full attack). The build was not designed with this in mind (as virtually every maneuver is one that works on ranged attacks), but it’s a very useful backup, and allows your cohort to make use of any maneuver-granting items you find without switching weapons. (You lack Weapon Finesse, though, so consider these to be backup at best).


 


Magical Gear Goals: You’re an archer. Equip yourself accordingly with whatever seems good and you’re golden. I’m particularly fond of spell storing arrows – have your mage load them up with specialized, situational takedown spells in advance and keep them in a special quiver for special occasions. Although the CL won’t be amazing, you can still unload as many basic spell effects per round as you have attacks, and against multiple targets, without the mage having to waste spell slots on similar effects. This translates into an incredible “action advantage”, but it can get kind of costly if you use them regularly.


 


It’s expensive, but a Quiver of Anariel or related ammo-supplier can be very useful given the number of attacks you’re making. You don’t need anything fancy here, just the basic one will do – enhance up the bow to save some money. If you have a bit to spare, the options for different special materials aren’t expensive to add to this quiver.


 
EDIT: I can't believe I forgot the Energy Bow. That's your top priority, hands down. Unlimited base ammunition (but compatible with specialist Spell Storing arrows), Force damage type (it's not entirely clear if the force arrows get bonus damage from the bow's enhancement bonus, but the accuracy still applies), automatically accomodating any Strength bonus, and a ranged "Power Attack" effect (in a build with full base attack and plenty of ways to compensate for missed attacks) - you quite literally couldn't ask for more. You probably won't be able to Elvencraft the thing, but that's always a side option anyway.



The Build.
Build Stub: Warblade 10 / Eternal Blade 10.



1 – Warblade – (Battle Clarity, Weapon Aptitude) (Point Blank Shot) (Wolf Fang Strike, Sudden Leap, Moment of Perfect Mind) (Blood in the Water)

*
Oh, Tiger Claw, how you hog-tie your practitioners so. An entry like this is needed for Blood in the Water; your other maneuvers help cover your arse (in the context of a cohort, that’s one less thing the leader needs to worry about).

 


Blood isn’t perfect in this situation (you only threaten on 20s), but it’s the best of the first-level stances for people unloading a lot of attacks. You’ll use this as your default stance as a result, switching to later stances for tactical or defensive purposes as needed. The low critical threat rate means that giving up your Blood bonus isn’t as intense a loss as it is in most Blood in the Water builds, so don’t be afraid to switch.


 


An interesting alternative is Bolstering Voice. It’s one of those party-support effects that no PC would “waste” space on, but would work on a cohort. It’s not in here because the leader is intended to use Inspire Courage (both Inspire and Bolster provide Morale bonuses), but if you’re not an Inspire leader, switch it up.


2 – Warblade – (Uncanny Dodge) (Douse the Flames)

*
This is a prerequisite maneuver, nothing more. You’ll almost never use it. On the plus side, Uncanny Dodge means less work for the leader, since the cohort’s flat-footed AC keeps his massive Dex bonus going.

3 – Warblade – (Battle Ardor) (Precise Shot) (Wall of Blades)

*
Interestingly, you can block a melee attack by making a ranged attack roll – even, apparently, without spending an arrow. (This is where an elvencraft bow really helps with verisimilitude.) This takes a load off your mind as a cohort (since ranged cohorts tend to be picked by frontline leaders; Wall on the cohort means that the leader can focus a bit more on protecting other teammates). Similarly, Precise Shot means you ignore soft cover, so he won’t peg your leader’s back while aiming at the schmuck you’re fighting.

4 – Warblade – (Action Before Thought > Wolf Fang Strike) (Hunter’s Sense)

*
Now we’re getting somewhere – Action helps cover for your poor-ish Reflex (at this level you haven’t souped your Dexterity all that much), and Wolf Fang Strike was basically dead air anyway.

 


Since you probably lack Survival, Hunter’s Sense isn’t spectacular, but it will help you locate hidden foes. And Sandvich. So moist and delicious…


5 – Warblade – (Improved Initiative) (White Raven Tactics)

*
CHARGE NOW, DOKTOR! Another straightforward level that prevents the leader from worrying about the cohort. Improved Initiative is actually really good on ranged fighters, since they’re in a position to strike more frequently during the first round. And White Raven Tactics + Improved Initiative means that if your Dex-heavy cohort gets to go first in battle, then surprise, so do you. This is in addition to all the usual hijinks that can ensue with White Raven Tactics.

6 – Warblade – (Improved Uncanny Dodge) (Woodland Archer) (Iron Heart Surge > Douse the Flames)

*
And, of course, Iron Heart Surge means that your cohort is only out of the fight for a little while if someone pegs him with an action-control effect. There aren’t that many low-level maneuvers that work with ranged attacks, hence the emphasis on Sudden Leap, counters, and stances at this point. You mix these in with full attacks, on which you get your second shot now.

 


Speaking of ranged attacks, look at Woodland Archer carefully. It’s got three maneuvers, although we’re only going to use the first two. The first one, Adjust for Range, is the only thing you really need to worry about most of the time on a full attack: if you miss, your next attacks get +4, which is nearly as good as if you hadn’t missed in the first place. This one combines well with Haste effects and anything that adds bonus attacks at your highest attack bonus – it gives you a good shot against high-AC targets. (However, under the ideal pairing with a buff-based leader, this maneuver loses some of its panache). The second maneuver is Pierce the Foliage, which basically says that if you hit a foe despite concealment, you ignore concealment from now on. This is almost as good as Improved Precise Shot, except available five levels earlier, and it comes with Adjust for Range on the side.


7 – Warblade – (Battle Cunning) (Covering Strike)

*
Surprisingly, this maneuver works with ranged attacks! It’s surprisingly good at that role too, due to archers’ abilities to tag multiple targets with ease. Use this boost, and for three rounds, you’ve completely shut down an entire wall of AoO tanks – perfect for laying down “covering fire” when you move in or bail.

8 – Warblade – (Don’t swap anything)

*
You’ve got all the good stuff you can use reliably anyway.

9 – Warblade – (Dancing Mongoose) (Weapon Focus: Composite Longbow, Blind-Fight)

*
Dancing Mongoose does work with ranged full attacks, which can be lethal with Precise Shot + Sudden Leap to get you into one of many safe positions before unloading. Blind-Fight is one of those feats that someone in the party should probably have, so it covers slack the leader might be lacking; here, it’s also useful as an anti-stealth measure (Spell Storing arrows become generally affordable around here, and a pinpointed Glitterdust or Faerie Fire arrow tends to ruin a sneaker’s day.) Furthermore it helps quite a bit with Hunter’s Sense, to the point where you might want to use that in battle. Hunter’s Sense can help you pinpoint an invisible target, Blind-Fight lets you reroll concealment-based miss chances, and if you successfully hit on this, Woodland Archer: Pierce the Foliage causes you to ignore concealment against that target for as long as you continue to unload into him.

10 – Warblade – (Iron Heart Focus > Action Before Thought) (Hearing the Air)

*

IHF is amazing for many warblades: like Diamond Defense, you can now use one ready maneuver slot to cover all three saves, but unlike Diamond Defense, it’s available much sooner.


 


Hearing the Air is there to provide anti-stealth support. This stance + Blind-Fight + Spell Storing arrows can really ruin an assassin’s day. Between this stance and Hunter’s Sense? HIDE, COWARD! HE WILL FIND YOU!


11 – Eternal Blade – (Blade Guide, Eternal Training 1) (Order Forged from Chaos)

*
I’ve written enough on Eternal Training in other builds. The only new thing to note is that the Devoted Spirit or Diamond Mind maneuver has to be usable without a melee attack (or with one, if you’re using the elvencraft modification).

 


You get your third ranged attack here, and hopefully your leader (and possibly Woodland Archer) are making that attack accurate enough.


 


Order is another of those excellent maneuvers that works best on a cohort – if he’s ever in a position where a full attack isn’t possible, but he’s got a move action available (i.e. he’s readying), Order allows him to reposition the team advantageously. In the context of your ideal leader, this lets you reposition your team’s melee in full-attack range (so they can benefit from the team leader’s buffing ability). Alternatively, the leader might have White Raven Tactics; hitting the Heavy Weapons Elf with this allows the elf to recover maneuvers and exchange the team leader’s swift for a move action on the entire party. KOME, MEN! VE MUST PUSH LITTLE KART!


12 – Eternal Blade – (Guided Strike) (Rapid Shot)

*
By now, you’ve noticed that this build works best when it’s making a lot of attacks. That’s where Rapid Shot comes in. It can easily go earlier in the build if you want, but I think Woodland Archer is better early on.

 


Guided Strike will only be used against really, really tough foes (like iron golems if you lack the right type of arrow), since your swifts are usually eaten up with movement or counters. One less thing to worry about, by and large. However, it IS worth noting that not all of the Eternal Blade swift class features work with ranged attacks. This one does. So break little coward toys! MORE RUBBLE, LESS TROUBLE!


13 – Eternal Blade – (Armored Uncanny Dodge, Eternal Training 2) (Iron Heart Endurance)

*
IHE isn’t a great maneuver, but on a cohort, it’s nice: you’ll normally be spending resources on out-of-combat healing, and having this maneuver means those costs only ever need to cover half the cohort’s HP. (Use IHE every minute or so to get up to half, then start drawing on the party resources).  

 


If you’ve got your cohort’s survivability to a suitable level already, and would rather switch to an all-out offense mode, a passable alternative is Moment of Alacrity – time this right, and you might be able to take two turns in a row (moving from low Initiative one round to high Initiative on the next practically does this). Your high baseline Initiative makes this less useful than it is on an average-Dexterity character, though.


14 – Eternal Blade – (Eternal Knowledge)


 


15 – Eternal Blade – (Eternal Training 3) (Martial Study) (Diamond Defense, Raging Mongoose) (Supreme Blade Parry)

*
A lot of things are going on here, so let’s consider it point-by-point.

 


First, Eternal Training is now usable in nearly every encounter for the day. Realistically you won’t have that many maneuvers to choose from with it; I think the best one open to you is either a Diamond Mind save counter or Shield Block (which oddly does not require a shield to perform). But it’s worth mentioning, especially if you took an elvencraft bow (as you can grab a melee strike if you need it and still be able to deliver it – the Insightful Strikes, Mind Strike, and Disrupting Blow are passable options.)


 


Second, Diamond Defense. Largely, this replaces Iron Heart Focus, but you can still pack both if you’re fighting spellcasters. That’s two maneuvers readied that can each cover all three saves. (You still hang on to Moment, though, and rotate it in if you expect enemy mages.)


 


Third, Raging Mongoose. Yes, this works with ranged attacks, and will probably be your boost of choice for quite some time.


 


Fourth, Supreme Blade Parry. You’ve now got an offensive stance (Blood in the Water), a defensive stance (Supreme Blade Parry, best used if swarmed), a utility stance (Hunter’s Sense) and a sensory stance (Hearing the Air). That’s a pretty good set of roles you can switch between as needed. Plus, this one lets you shout out I AM BULLETPROOF! if you’re going for full Heavy schtick.


16 – Eternal Blade – (Defensive Insight)

*
Unless you’ve boosted your Intelligence, this won’t be all that useful for you, so you can probably forget you have it.

 


You get your fourth iterative attack right now, though. Don’t forget you have that.


17 – Eternal Blade – (Eternal Training 4) (Time Stands Still)

*
NOW IS COWARD KILLING TIME! You knew it was coming. And it comes at a level you can reasonably expect a cohort to hit, even with the Leadership level cap. This is positively DEVASTATING on an archer, especially with Rapid Shot, Raging Mongoose, and any of the buffs present from your leader. (Note that Woodland Sniper’s Adjust for Range means that your low attack bonus iterative shots from the first full attack will apply a +4 on all attacks made during the second full attack.

18 – Eternal Blade – (Tactical Insight) (Improved Precise Shot)

*
Tactical Insight only works on melee attacks, so you can forget about it. Improved Precise, however, lets you ignore cover and concealment up to total, nicely simplifying the character somewhat (reducing the cognitive load on the player playing the leader). This feat can show up as early as 12th if you wish.

19 – Eternal Blade – (Eternal Training 5) (Quicksilver Motion)

*
This is just another no-nonsense repositioning effect, very useful for getting line of sight on your targets. Between this, Sudden Leap, and Time Stands Still, you can probably unload four full attacks worth of arrows between reloading.

20 – Eternal Blade – (Island in Time)

*
I don’t have to mention how awesome this ability is at all. It’s a perfect capstone to the build. It was long trip. We kill many cowards for that.

 


 


 



Snapshot: Armed with a +5 tome of Dexterity, a +1 manual of Strength, and +6 items on Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution, you’re looking at 205 expected HP, +20 base attack (Ranged +38 with Greater Magic Weapon on your composite longbow), and saves of +18/+18/+8 (with Diamond Defense and Moment of Perfect Mind). Your eight warblade maneuvers readied are probably Time Stands Still, Raging Mongoose, Diamond Defense, White Raven Tactics, Order Forged from Chaos, Covering Strike, Wall of Blades, and Quicksilver Motion or Sudden Leap (depending on what magic gear you’ve invested into mobility). Note that you have Rapid Shot (extra attack, -2 to all attacks) and Woodland Sniper: Adjust for Range (on a miss, +4 to all ranged attacks for the rest of the round), so you’re uncommonly good at throwing out the full attacks, even at the full range of the bow (no 30’ cap here). Finally, 20 levels of Improved Uncanny Dodge make you virtually immune to flanking and Dex-denial, so you’re virtually immune to sneak attacks. (Mix this in with your surprisingly good anti-stealth effects – despite poor sensory skills – and you’re a rogue’s nightmare.) DID THEY THINK THEY COULD HIDE FROM YOU?


 



Overall Strengths: Full attacks always worked well on a boost/counter-happy warblade, and they work well on an archer. You’re getting the best of both worlds. You’re also a reasonably simple build (there isn’t that much to keep track of on their turn), and a perfect force multiplier – thus becoming an ideal cohort for a buffer. (As above, I mentioned that this was designed as the cohort for an Inspire Courage machine.) Finally, you actually have a few party-support effects that people wouldn’t normally expect on a warrior: Covering Strike that can hit an entire enemy wall, high Initiative + Order Forged from Chaos + White Raven Tactics, Blind-Fight + Hearing the Air + (either Woodland Archer: Pierce the Foliage or a Spell Storing Arrow of an anti-invisibility effect), and Hunter’s Sense (without Track or Survival, sadly, but with the ability to recognize people by scent as easily as by sight, meaning you see through visual glamers with relative ease).


 


Overall Weaknesses: This was designed as a cohort, rather than an independent character, but it will still work as an independent one if need be. Its reliance on ranged attacks limits its options in battle, along with its skills (the need to keep Jump and Concentration maxed for some of your maneuvers prevents too much flexibility there). Will saves are a concern, so keep that Moment of Perfect Mind on hand and don’t hesitate to Mind Blank the Heavy. Anyone who holds extended conversations with his Sandvich needs all the mental support he can get.

Variants:  If you want a total reduction of cognitive load (i.e. worry less about controlling your cohort rather than yourself), drop Woodland Archer and move Rapid Shot / Improved Precise Shot earlier. This frees up a feat for whatever you’d like; Martial Study (Shadow Blink) gives you another swift-action reposition, if you so choose. An alternative for this extra feat adds further cognitive simplification: If your team uses a lot of buffs that modify Strength (instead of simply boosting attack or damage rolls), consider a Bone Bow (Frostburn) instead – it’s a composite longbow that shifts its strength bonus to match its wielder’s, no matter what, at the cost of being Exotic.


 


If you want to use an Elvencraft bow (Races of the Wild), you’re in luck: this allows you to pick maneuver choices that do not require ranged attacks. Doing this probably requires you to cram in Weapon Finesse somewhere (since it’s difficult to be both Elvencraft and Feycraft… ), but it would let you switch seamlessly between the maneuvers here (which work on ranged or melee attacks) and the largely more powerful melee strikes.  (Even with no variation at all, you can use this with Eternal Training to pick up some of the more interesting Diamond Mind attacks.)


 


 


There you have it. A damn fine Tome of Battle build that combines an unusual focus (archery + initiator!) with a cohort-friendly design so you can make good team. Pair this guy up with the A-Game Paladin (or a Song of the White Raven Crusader, such as Aluonna from Dead for Nothing) and be prepared to stand atop a massive pile of enemies while your leader makes you unstoppable. CRY SOME MORE! AAAAAGGHHHH WAAAHAHAHA!


 


Next up: Take your pick from [DH] Eat Sleep Gank, [RT] Edge of the Light, and [RT] Gnowhere Gnome. Go ahead and place your vote!



I'm also working on new builds of my own to add to the list, as well as a side project (not quite Something Completely Different, but not as fixed as these templates). Additionally, we're almost at a consensus on what to do with other forums (discussion is sporadic and game nights delayed, so it's slow, but progressing). I'll reply with an update soon!


Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

A friend of mine would kill me if I didn't vote for the Gnome, so I'm putting one in for RT's Gnowhere Gnome.
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
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56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
I was actually trying to figure out what kind of cohort I wanted to pick up for my dread necro/rainbow servant/MotAO buffer/debuffer, and this is a very solid choice! So what kind of spells should I be persisting on this guy? I can persist two of them with my naenhoon sigil, and can DMM: Persist a few more. Aside from that, seeing the begginings of the gun fu build is pretty neat. 

I will vote for Gnowhere Gnome.

edit: I should also mention that touch is a fixed range in my play group. 
I also vote for Gnowhere Gnome (do you expect us to pick anything else?).


I was actually trying to figure out what kind of cohort I wanted to pick up for my dread necro/rainbow servant/MotAO buffer/debuffer, and this is a very solid choice! So what kind of spells should I be persisting on this guy? I can persist two of them with my naenhoon sigil, and can DMM: Persist a few more. Aside from that, seeing the begginings of the gun fu build is pretty neat.


The Heavy's always impressed me, and it was the one that got me thinking about solidifying all the stunts I knew for repeat attacks on Gun Fu. However, to play Gun Fu, you'll need to drop Splitting (at the very least) and/or switch to flintlock pistols (probably a good stylistic choice anyway); to play the Heavy, you're ready out of the box.

As for enhancements... hm. There's a lot of leeway there. The most obvious one is probably Greater Magic Weapon - you really want to stack up the +Hit and +Damage on this guy, due to the sheer number of reliable attacks he'll be making. Haste would be a fun one (it's fixed-range), since it provides extra attacks and this is all about the offense. Anything to augment his speed is another good one - Quicksilver Motion works amazing with an insane land or flight speed, while Sudden Leap is a nearly-as-good-and-available-much-sooner alternative, but the big point is the ability to move and keep the full attacks coming. Heroics might also be a fun choice - accelerate the feat progression or grab a few extras (there's not a lot of leeway without delving into Manyshots, which don't work with strikes and are less effective with boosts). And of course the usual defensive spells are good calls, but I think only Mind Blank would be worthwhile on a cohort rather than on another PC (if you're limited in number of persists to toss around).

I haven't considered his role as a synergist - there's a surprising amount of good White Raven in there (Covering Strike, White Raven Tactics, and Order Forged from Chaos), and I think practically speaking those might be his most powerful abilities, even while he's holding on to a Mongoose and Time Stands Still. (Mongooses aren't as good here as they are on dual-wielders, but they're still great boosts.)

...There might exist room for a variant on this - it'd be a pretty significant variant, though! - which actually grabs Song of the White Raven on his own. Sort of a fusion of the Heavy and the A-Game Paladin into a single character, who supplies his own Inspire Courages. I'm not sure how that'd look, though it'd be a fun one to try.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Cool. I've had some thoughts about ranged martial adepts. This is nice.

A Crusader with Martial Spirit could be interesting, too, but probably not needed on a ranged character.

BTW, I vote for Edge of the Light. 

...There might exist room for a variant on this - it'd be a pretty significant variant, though! - which actually grabs Song of the White Raven on his own. Sort of a fusion of the Heavy and the A-Game Paladin into a single character, who supplies his own Inspire Courages. I'm not sure how that'd look, though it'd be a fun one to try.



Does song of the white raven allow you to stack any source of inspire courage, or only inpsire courage granted by the bard class?
The_Fred: Interestingly, Martial Spirit is one of those abilities which won't work with archery - it specifies melee attacks. Surprisingly little Devoted Spirit helps in a build like this. Diamond Mind and White Raven have the greatest number of non-attack maneuvers in them (usable with ranged weapons, since you aren't attacking), and a surprising amount of Tiger Claw operates on ranged or melee attacks (even, curiously, Fountain of Blood, though you need to threaten other targets), but the overwhelming majority won't work because they require melee weapons.

The trick is always to look for attacks which do not specify melee. The dodgiest we get here is Covering Strike - the description says "in addition to taking normal melee damage" despite the maneuver not having any restriction on working with ranged attacks.


...There might exist room for a variant on this - it'd be a pretty significant variant, though! - which actually grabs Song of the White Raven on his own. Sort of a fusion of the Heavy and the A-Game Paladin into a single character, who supplies his own Inspire Courages. I'm not sure how that'd look, though it'd be a fun one to try.



Does song of the white raven allow you to stack any source of inspire courage, or only inpsire courage granted by the bard class?


That's... an interesting question. It requires Bardic Music (Inspire Courage), but if you somehow get that specific ability without bard levels, you'd use your crusader and warblade levels as your bard level. Note that Bardic Music requirement - this is hard to obtain without bard. Not that bard is a bad call here, especially with the right entry levels, but the trick is to keep enough feats open for Inspire boosting as well as archery, without botching the maneuver timing too much. (You'd almost certainly have to give up Time Stands Still.)

That's why it's much simpler to go for an Inspire Courage + Leadership main character: they're usually the sort you'd expect to have backup anyway, and they work very well in the context of accurate archers. (Shame there isn't a 3.5 ranged power attack.)

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

How important is eternal blade to this build? Obviously you can squeak a few more points of inspire courage out if you drop eternal blade. Going dragonborn elf will let you pick up dragonfire inspiration as well as song of the white raven. If you drop eternal blade it would allow you to drop the weapon focus in exchange for song of the white raven, and rapid shot for dragonfire inspiration. You get rapid shot back with a persisted heroics. You would end up with bard 2/warblade 18 or bard 3/warblade 17. Maneuver progression would be slightly different, but still good over all.
The_Fred: Interestingly, Martial Spirit is one of those abilities which won't work with archery - it specifies melee attacks.


Ah, it does as well. I even remember checking that a while back, I just forgot.
RE ranged manoeuvres in general, I do want to try some kind of Shadow Garrotte/Fan the Flames/etc ranged initiator using those manoeuvres as the actual attack, but I'm not sure it would be any better than a Warlock or Dissolving Spittle Incarnate. You could take a lot of levels which grant sneak/skirmish and then dip Crusader with Martial Study, or whatever, and get a nice ranged manoeuvre without giving up many levels of the other. Swordsage 4 also offers Wis to damage (but only with one school, and Desert Wind is all fire). Just some random thoughts.
Oi, what happened to Uberflank? Did I miss a build?

If I can't get him, I'll vote for Eat Sleep Gank. He's been waiting in the wings for a while and wants a chance to shine.

==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
How important is eternal blade to this build? Obviously you can squeak a few more points of inspire courage out if you drop eternal blade. Going dragonborn elf will let you pick up dragonfire inspiration as well as song of the white raven. If you drop eternal blade it would allow you to drop the weapon focus in exchange for song of the white raven, and rapid shot for dragonfire inspiration. You get rapid shot back with a persisted heroics. You would end up with bard 2/warblade 18 or bard 3/warblade 17. Maneuver progression would be slightly different, but still good over all.


By all means, go ahead and whip this up!

 Eternal Blade isn't terribly important, but it's one of those too-good-to-pass-up options. You're ignoring several of its swift-action abilities and Intelligence synergy here, so we aren't getting the most bang possible out of the class, but it does provide Diamond Mind and Iron Heart (both of which we like), full base attack + IL (both of which we need, especially for the Martial Study: Raging Mongoose), and of course the distilled awesome that is Island in Time. If you think giving that up for a few points of Inspire Courage is worth it, dive in! (Note that if you can afford the proper support infrastructure - see the A-Game Paladin, including the equipment - this might not be worth it. Aluonna technically only has Inspire Courage +1, but routinely inspires for +4, and that's without Words of Creation. Best of both worlds, of course, is seeing if you can get all of that on an Eternal Blade 10.)
RE ranged manoeuvres in general, I do want to try some kind of Shadow Garrotte/Fan the Flames/etc ranged initiator using those manoeuvres as the actual attack, but I'm not sure it would be any better than a Warlock or Dissolving Spittle Incarnate. You could take a lot of levels which grant sneak/skirmish and then dip Crusader with Martial Study, or whatever, and get a nice ranged manoeuvre without giving up many levels of the other. Swordsage 4 also offers Wis to damage (but only with one school, and Desert Wind is all fire). Just some random thoughts.


Interestingly, we have such a character on our other team, but it's not a ranged-focused build. (He's mostly a Shadow Sun Ninja, with a few interesting splashes to alter its strategy. But he DOES make frequent use of Shadow Garotte + Sudden Strike.) Since frequency-of-delivery is kind of important on these ranged builds (see the emphasis on full attacking here, or the reliability of the Chaingun Porcupine) I'm almost wondering if an Idiot Crusader approach might make that more interesting. (Primer: "Idiot Crusader" - take crusader, dip another martial adept, take a PrC, assign all the known maneuvers to the other adept class and all the readies to the crusader. If you can get as many readied maneuvers as you have known maneuvers, the crusader maneuvers refresh every round.)

Aelryinth: ...You know, I don't know where it went. If we said there'd be two builds, I'll go see about getting it up. (I don't have its writeup with me, so perhaps RT beat me to the punch there.)

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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


You're welcome to whip this up if you'd like. Eternal Blade isn't terribly important, but it's one of those too-good-to-pass-up options. You're ignoring several of its swift-action abilities and Intelligence synergy here, so we aren't getting the most bang possible out of the class, but it does provide Diamond Mind and Iron Heart (both of which we like), full base attack + IL (both of which we need, especially for the Martial Study: Raging Mongoose), and of course the distilled awesome that is Island in Time. If you think giving that up for a few points of Inspire Courage is worth it, dive in! (Note that if you can afford the proper support infrastructure - see the A-Game Paladin, including the equipment - this might not be worth it. Aluonna technically only has Inspire Courage +1, but routinely inspires for +4, and that's without Words of Creation. Best of both worlds, of course, is seeing if you can get all of that on an Eternal Blade 10.)



Well if you consider that I will be playing with the character as a cohort, I would never get those capstone abilties from eternal blade anyway! Seems like all the more reason to drop it if I really wanted to get the inspire courage optimization without having to play that character myself. Unless I am really missing something, I am not really losing much of anything with bard 2/warblade 18.
(Primer: "Idiot Crusader" - take crusader, dip another martial adept, take a PrC, assign all the known maneuvers to the other adept class and all the readies to the crusader. If you can get as many readied maneuvers as you have known maneuvers, the crusader maneuvers refresh every round.)


I had already thought about this, actually (Crusader->JPM being a nice one), but I think extra manoeuvres readied also adds to the pool from which they're drawn, as when the Crusader goes from 2/5 to 3/6. However, once you have three or more appropriate manoeuvres, you'll always have at least one of them anyway. Using the Crusader just for the recovery method and using PrCs or Martial Study to customise the list is an idea which I've been planning on playing with, but haven't really gotten around to.

That's... an interesting question. It requires Bardic Music (Inspire Courage), but if you somehow get that specific ability without bard levels, you'd use your crusader and warblade levels as your bard level. Note that Bardic Music requirement - this is hard to obtain without bard. Not that bard is a bad call here, especially with the right entry levels, but the trick is to keep enough feats open for Inspire boosting as well as archery, without botching the maneuver timing too much. (You'd almost certainly have to give up Time Stands Still.)



Warrior Skald is a pretty decent replacement for bard on a Warblade/Crusader Song of the White Raven build.  I had a character built around that at one point for an epic campaign.  It wouldn't really work here since the pre-requisite feats would more or less be wasted though.
I would vote for a gnowhere gnome for next week also wow this build was great not what I expected at all, keep up the great work everyone
Fairly nice build.
You guys (or is it mostly AR?) really like your Eternal Blade.

 Eternal Blade isn't terribly important, but it's one of those too-good-to-pass-up options. You're ignoring several of its swift-action abilities and Intelligence synergy here, so we aren't getting the most bang possible out of the class, but it does provide Diamond Mind and Iron Heart (both of which we like), full base attack + IL (both of which we need, especially for the Martial Study: Raging Mongoose), and of course the distilled awesome that is Island in Time. If you think giving that up for a few points of Inspire Courage is worth it, dive in! (Note that if you can afford the proper support infrastructure - see the A-Game Paladin, including the equipment - this might not be worth it. Aluonna technically only has Inspire Courage +1, but routinely inspires for +4, and that's without Words of Creation. Best of both worlds, of course, is seeing if you can get all of that on an Eternal Blade 10.)


I'll add a word of caution for the readers: it's very easy to find oneself starved for swift actions at high levels, even more so when you add the Eternal Blade goodies on top of the Warblade counters & boosts (and then there are the items...). That's one reason why Stance of Alacrity is one of the best stances; in that sense it's good that this build does not plan on using all the EB swift action abilities.

An immediate example of such a trade-off: do I use a save-enhancing counter now or do I save my action for Raging Mongoose next turn?

I've actually taken to listing maneuvers/spells/abilities by the action they take in some cases, because that helps me not stock up on 10 swift/immediate action abilities.

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

 

  • Maeve in The Lost History of Istar