Impromptu DM Optimization Showcase: Kung Fu Witchcraft

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All right, Tempest is sick this week, so I’m throwing something together on the fly to keep up the momentum and finally give you a chance to vote on a build. Unlike the usual fare, this is solidly aimed at DMs to use against their PCs. It showcases a trick, rather than a specific build, though I do give an example monster to illustrate the results.


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KUNG FU WITCHCRAFT


I’ll hit you, my pretty!


 


Background: The Tome of Battle is a lovely book for crafting NPCs, especially multiclass NPCs, given how initiator levels work. But there are ways to get better mileage out of this system than you might think. What if I gave you the following monster to fight?


 


Tze-Tze

CR 16


CE Medium monstrous humanoid


Init +3; Senses Darkvision 90 ft.; Listen +14, Spot +14


Languages Giant, Common


-


AC 33, touch 15, flat-footed 33; uncanny dodge, improved uncanny dodge (+3 Dex, +7 armor, +11 natural, +2 deflection)


hp 169 (20 HD)


SR 29


Fort +13 Ref +16 Will +11; Evasion


-


Speed 30 ft. (6 squares); swim 30 ft.


Melee +1 Diamond Mind Iron Heart greatsword +27/+22/+17/+12 (2d6+8/19-20) or


Melee 2 claws +24 each (1d4+5)


Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.


Base Atk +19; Grp +24


Atk Options Power Attack, Robilar’s Gambit, combat rhythm, maneuvers


Special Actions weakness, spell-like abilities


-


Maneuvers and Stances Known (warblade IL 16th)


Strikes: Avalanche of Blades, Diamond Nightmare Blade


Boosts: Cloak of Deception, Moment of Alacrity


Counters: Wall of Blades, Lightning Recovery, Manticore Parry, Diamond Defense


Other: Iron Heart Surge


Stances: Stance of Clarity, Dancing Blade Form, Stance of Alacrity


Disciplines: Diamond Mind, Iron Heart, Shadow Hand


-


Abilities Str 20, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 14


 Feats Combat Reflexes, Darkstalker, Evasive Reflexes, Ironheart Aura, Martial Study, Power Attack, Robilar’s Gambit, Stormguard Warrior, Spectral Skirmisher



Skills Balance +10, Concentration +36, Hide +26, Listen +14, Move Silently +26 (Spectral Skirmisher), Spot +14, Swim +13, Tumble +10; Skill tricks Listen to This, Nimble Charge, Nimble Stand, Twisted Charge, See the Unseen, Spot the Weak Point, Up the Hill


Possessions +3 chain shirt, +1 Diamond Mind Iron Heart greatsword, third eye concentrate, +4 amulet of health, +4 gloves of Dexterity, +2 ring of protection


Weakness (Su) Tze-Tze can weaken a foe by making a special touch attack. The opponent must succeed on a DC 22 Fortitude save or take 2d4 points of Strength damage. The save DC is Charisma-based.


Mimicry (Ex) Tze-Tze can imitate the sounds of almost any animal found near her lair.


Spell-Like Abilities (Sp) At will—dancing lightsdisguise selfghost sound (DC 12), invisibilitypass without trace, tongueswater breathing. Caster level 9th. The save DC is Charisma-based.


Martial Maneuvers Tze-Tze knows several martial maneuvers and stances (initiator level 16th). She recovers and readies maneuvers just as a warblade does.



 


“Wait a second,” you might say. “What’s up with that warblade? What race gives her +11 natural armor and all those SLAs and nifty abilities? Her HP makes sense, but what’s up with here BAB and HD? And those SAVES? And those feats and skills? That’s not a normal level 16 warblade!”


You’d be right. Tze-Tze (“Auntie” in Mandarin IIRC) is a green hag from the Monster Manual, given three levels in Uncanny Trickster and eight levels in Warblade. I gave her 77,600 gp worth of equipment (77,000 gp is the standard for level 16 NPCs according to the PHB2). She can wind up with the Avalanche of Blades + Moment of Alacrity + Diamond Nightmare Blade combo, return fire with Robilar’s Gambit + Channel the Storm, and can play at Gnowhere Gnoming with Spectral Skirmisher and Evasive Reflexes, plus multiple ways to be invisible. She’s a good solid challenge at CR 16, and one your players will remember.


Tze-Tze isn’t even the most optimized example – far from it. She’s more of a proof-of-concept build than anything. The secret to Kung Fu Witchcraft is simple: find a critter with lots of HD for its CR and the ability to take class levels, and enjoy adding half of those CR to the IL of your monstrous Bruce Lee and getting quick access to the higher level maneuvers.



Required Books: Tome of Battle, any book with monsters in it, Complete Scoundrel for the Uncanny Trickster is a plus for monsters with odd numbers of HD.



The Best Monsters


From core, the Locathah, Gnoll, and Satyr are good low-level options for monstrous martial adepts, but don’t discount the Hill Giant and Stone Giant, both of which gain an IL from their HD that is only one lower than their base CR. Andarious pointed out that the Minotaur has 6 HD for a CR 4 creature, and also has a lot of great charge synergy; keep White Raven in mind. He also pointed out that the Monster Manual 3 is absolutely lousy with critters that work well for this. The Witchknife (9 HD) and the Wood Wose (8 HD) are both only CR 4, while the Redcap is CR 2 at 4 HD (if you’re willing to forgo its special advancement rules, which are nice). If you’re willing to give class levels to an intelligent undead that doesn’t state that it advances by class, the 20 HD CR 8 Drowned is absolutely fiendish with an IL 2 higher than its CR. Give it a defensive fighting style, and just watch it wait enemies out with its drowning field.


Of course, if you’re willing to be more liberal with class level advancement for monsters, dragons make very good martial adepts, as they have some of the best hit dice and abilities in the game (try an adult white for starters). The best option for raw numbers is probably the lycanthrope template, using some fat animal for a base. Becoming a Dire Weretiger adds 16 HD for a +5 increase in CR; a Dire Weretiger Minotaur has 22 HD and is CR 9. Six levels of a martial adept, and you’ve got level 9 maneuvers and oodles of HP and charge synergy on a CR 15 monster. I offer my apologies to your PCs in advance.


 


 


There you have it. PCs shouldn’t get overconfident in your games just because they know a few moves. Anything that can form a fist can do kung fu, and don’t let ‘em forget it!


 


Next up: Time for some Andarious buildcraft. Take your pick from [AR] MacGyver, [AR] The 0 Buff Time Gish, or [AR] Truberflank. Yes, that last one was created in response to your feedback on Uberflank, and is meant to spice up flanking tactics as much as possible; the other two are interesting builds in their own right, though.

I vote for the Gish. And I'd still like to see something by Seishi.
"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 vote for whichever build doesn't use ToB, so much ToB. I guess I'll wager that Gish would be a safe bet for something fresh.
I'd like to put a vote in for gish, also I would like to state I have done this in campaigns it can be a devilishly clever trick to throw cocky players off guard, and to give them a taste of their own medicine, without being over the top about it
That is one scary old hag. It's actually kind of scary how good monsters can be when optimized.

I vote for the gish. 
I vote for the Gish as well.  All in all, this is one scary build Radical!

Just out of curiosity, does AR have an A-Game Ranger?  It was mentioned in the A-Game Pali thread as a voting choice (I think), and I voted for it in the free for all threads, but nothing ever came of it.  I was wondering what it, and other "A-Gamed" classes (assuming there are any), looked like.
I vote for the Gish. And I'd still like to see something by Seishi.


He really hasn't put out much in the way of builds. I'll ask him if there's anything he wants to throw in the ring.
I vote for whichever build doesn't use ToB, so much ToB. I guess I'll wager that Gish would be a safe bet for something fresh.


For the record, neither the Gish nor MacGyver use any ToB material
I'd like to put a vote in for gish, also I would like to state I have done this in campaigns it can be a devilishly clever trick to throw cocky players off guard, and to give them a taste of their own medicine, without being over the top about it


Oh, now you've got to elaborate on the details. I'm curious.
I vote for the Gish as well.  All in all, this is one scary build Radical!

Just out of curiosity, does AR have an A-Game Ranger?  It was mentioned in the A-Game Pali thread as a voting choice (I think), and I voted for it in the free for all threads, but nothing ever came of it.  I was wondering what it, and other "A-Gamed" classes (assuming there are any), looked like.


He does indeed have an A-Game Ranger, which probably deserves its shot at a vote. I also cobbled together an A-Game Spirit Shaman.
@Radical:  I thought AGR existed, glad to see it wasn't just my imagination, thanks.  That Spirit Shaman build has got me curious now.

@frost:  I'd also like the details, if you're willing to share.
A fun build and sorry for those of you who are sick of all the ToB, I'm not stuck at work with just a handfull of E-Books now, so there will be a lot more variety to my builds. The 0 Buff Time Gish doesn't use it at all, unless you include the ability to cast Heroics and get it that way.

Minotaur Weretiger Warblade 6... you're a sicko RT, a real sicko. I love it :p Makes a wicked leader for a group of savage fighters, he can use War Masters Charge with at least to amazing effect if he's got at least one ally to get the stun bonus too.

Seriously though a Drowned Swordsage with a bunch of Stone Dragon and Setting Sun stuff to keep people close, and immobalized. As above, 9th level maneuvers at CR 15.


A note on Dragons, Heroics (Sor/Wis 2) can get them any maneuver their HD would qualify them for that has no pre-reqs. We wrote out the "Idiot List" as in "Any idiot can do that" to lampshade these really powerful kung fu maneuvers that people can do with next to no real training. A 34 HD Dragon (OK not a lot of em pre-epic) like A Wyrm Black Dragon's CR 20 and can even use Mountain Tombstone Strike 1/encounter by casting Heroics. Extreme example, and a bit silly, but you get the point. 
Ill post my story a bit layer when I'm not at work, but just to build off what andarious said, using awakened animals and undead can make this very destructive like a rhino or triceratops with warleaders charge for example, or a manticore who can manticore parry :p
Thanks for the save, RT. I'm still feeling awful and being taxed pretty heavily at work (end of semester crunch times are rough when teaching lab classes), and I didn't see this coming.

Minor correction: The minotaur suggestion won't work with lycanthropes, since they're monstrous humanoids instead of giants. However, you can grab the good old hill giant and lycanthropify it with something a little meatier than a dire tiger if you want. CR 12, 30 HD feeds a pretty mean base here - plus Improved Grab and Swallow Whole on the right strike can be kind of hilarious (Tornado Throw Throat, anyone?).

(Edit: After discussing this with RT, now I kind of want to see that happen. Especially because nothing technically stops you from using earlier Setting Sun throws to toss a target up, and all of them would reposition the target well within your bite reach. Swordsage 2 is a great dip, and with the right feats - Improved Trip, Multigrab, Gape of the Serpent, etc - and any +Grapple gear, you could probably devour an entire enemy line like hors d'ouvres.)

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.

Voting for the 0 Buff Time Gish, if only because I am playing a psi-gish now that mixes Psionics and ToB who is having a hell of a time finding ways to get his buffs up when it matters. You wouldn't believe how quickly Metamorphosis racks up a pricey bill if used fight-in-fight-out, even with a small amount of Psycarnum Infusion shenanigans fueling it.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
I'd vote for a reaching Stand Still tank with some sort of powerful ranged DoT effect and good spell and ranged resistances. Make it some sort of construct or golem, perhaps?
I'd vote for a reaching Stand Still tank with some sort of powerful ranged DoT effect and good spell and ranged resistances. Make it some sort of construct or golem, perhaps?

What do you mean by "DoT effect"?  As for what you're seeking, perhaps the Evasion Tank would be up your alley?
"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 guessing that DoT stands for Damage Over Time, something that's hard to get on pure melee builds. I don't know many constructs that can advance by class, and only a few of them have area DoT abilities. That's a tough demand to meet for this trick, Jintegrity. 
That's fine. I'll admit, I was just trying to conceptualize a challenging foe. From what I've seen, you guys usually have the know how to produce some amazing (frightening) things.
The DoT part is the difficult ingredient; there's few ways of doing that well, and they have little overlap with the tanking bits.
If you consider a DoT the same as *free damage* then perhaps you could look into things like robilars where you get free actions on their actions to cause additional damage, also anyone ever considered a setting sun air elemental? Seems rediciulous
The idea behind my statement was a "damned if you do; damned if you don't" sort of situation. If you get close, they're probably going to kill you. If you stand back too long, however, you'll probably die, and they're resistant to the normal counters of such a strategy. The DoT comment was just an idea of punishing them for their inaction that didn't require many actions, but any similarly functioning mechanic would work.
Melee does that quite well - but only if they threaten you. Going outside your reach, there's not much damned-if-you-don't out there (unless you employ something like a melee-with-magic-debuff (i.e. hexblade) or an obscure use of the Tome of Battle (see Flip the Bird in my sig)).




Back on the original topic, I'm tossing around numbers for the possible lycanthrope mentioned above, and holy crap is this thing looking evil. RT, if you get a chance, drop me a line: getting your help on this would be appreciated as I'm still jumping between student groups today (last day they have to work on a project).


EDIT OH GODS YOU HAVE CREATED A MONSTER

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.

I have seen your spreadsheet for Barney the Vorpal Dinosaur, and holy crap, I think the rule on "+2 to CR if the creature gains significant abilities that aid it in combat" applies here. That's a fricking BEAST at CR 16.
 Barney is a dinosaur skilled in defenestration
He roars and eats his foes like treats whenever he starts ragin' 

Barney the Vorpal Dinosaur (in hybrid form)

CR 16


CE Huge Giant (shapechanger)


Init +3; Senses Low-light vision, scent; Listen +18, Spot +21


Languages Giant


-


AC 23, touch 9, flat-footed 22; uncanny dodge (+2 Dex, +13 natural, -2 size) [Does the swordsage bonus to AC apply when not armored at all?]


hp 608 (34 HD)


DR 10/silver


Fort +33 Ref +15 Will +20


-


Speed 50 ft. (10 squares)


Melee club +46/+41/+36/+31 (2d8+33) or


Melee 2 slams +46 each (1d4+13) or

Melee 2 claws +41 each (2d4+13) and 1 bite +46 (1d4+13) 


Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft.


Base Atk +26; Grp +60


Atk Options Power Attack, Improved Trip, Multigrab, maneuvers


Special Actions Rock throwing, rock catching


-


Maneuvers and Stances Known (swordsage IL 17th)


Strikes: Claw at the Moon, Death from Above, Ballista Throw, Soaring Throw, Tornado Throw


Boosts:


Counters: Counter Charge


Other: Shadow Blink


Stances: Step of the Wind, Shifting Defense


Disciplines: Setting Sun, Shadow Hand, Tiger Claw


-


Abilities Str 55, Dex 14, Con 36, Int 6, Wis 16, Cha 4


 Feats Improved Unarmed Strike, Power Attack, Improved Grapple, Extra Rage x2, Alertness*, Improved Natural Attack (Bite)*, Run*, Track*, Toughness x2*, Multigrab, Improved Trip, Iron Will (*Are the base Tyrannosaur feats, assuming we can't swap these out)



Skills Hide -1, Listen +18, Spot +21


Possessions  a Huge club


Rock Throwing (Su) Barney can hurl rocks weighing 60 to 80 pounds each (Medium objects) up to five range increments of 120 feet each.


Rock Catching (Ex) Once per round, when Barney would normally be hit by a rock, he can make a Reflex save to catch it as a free action. The DC is 15 for a Small rock, 20 for a Medium one, and 25 for a Large one. (If the projectile provides a magical bonus on attack rolls, the DC increases by that amount.) Barney must be ready for and aware of the attack in order to make a rock catching attempt.


Rage (Ex) Barney can fly into a rage 5 times per day.

Martial Maneuvers Barney knows several martial maneuvers and stances (initiator level 17th). He recovers and readies maneuvers just as a swordsage does.


I have seen your spreadsheet for Barney the Vorpal Dinosaur, and holy crap, I think the rule on "+2 to CR if the creature gains significant abilities that aid it in combat" applies here. That's a fricking BEAST at CR 16.

After building a certain character called "Tridon the Shadow Eater", I have very high expectations for a "fricking BEAST" when it comes to lycanthropy.  He was CR 17 purely from the basic Challenge Rating math, but nothing at all like it in any practical sense, and if he ever appears in game, it will be as a sort of deus ex machina equivalent to ruby-eyed destruction (a locate city bomb variant that saw in-game use against a hostaged city).

Though, technically, Tridon was an entomanothrope because there was more that I could do with vermin, I did restrain myself from including most kinds of epic material even if there wasn't anything actually preventing it.

At this very moment I'm in the middle of playing with some theoretical entomanothrope abuse to see what I can fit onto a CR of about 7 to 10 (depending on what I end up using for the base).

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.
Barney's not scary at all as a hybrid, since he doesn't get his animal form's Improved Grab, and RT's statblock doesn't include any equipment.

Behind the scenes

Take a hill giant Wolf Totem Barbarian 2. According to Improving Monsters, we can also use the PC ability score arrays for this, so we start with 15/12/14/10/13/8. I believe the feats can be rotated a bit along those 12 levels of Giant, so they became Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Grapple, Power Attack, and two Extra Rages.*
[NOTE: I'm not entirely sure if that's kosher; even if it isn't it just affects stamina and they can be replaced with other feats.]

Then, add the standard Tyrannosaur as a lycanthrope template. I didn't modify anything here.

Add in two levels of Swordsage at the end. When you hit 33HD, you get a feat; use that for Multigrab (Savage Species). Your swordsage choices are Tiger Claw for discipline focus, and your maneuvers are Claw at the Moon, Death from Above, Counter Charge, Ballista Throw, Soaring Throw, Shadow Blink, Step of the Wind, Tornado Throw, and Shifting Defense. (If you wish, you can swap out Shadow Blink for any other 0-prereq maneuver; Diamond Defense is a good alternative here.)

Finally, along the way, you gained 20 HD from the 14HD you started with, so we add +4 Str and +1 Wisdom from levels. (The template gives another +2 Wisdom.) Equipmentwise, I added in a Tome +5 for Strength and another +5 Tome for Constitution (which don't go away when subsumed into an alternate form). His giant form probably looks just like a normal hill giant.


Basically, he'll need to be in animal form to do it, but it's pretty devastating, even for CR 16.

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.

That "not scary at all" hybrid has more HP than the CR 23 Ancient Red Dragon, or the CR 25 Great Wyrm Blue. But you're right, forgot the Improved Grab.
That "not scary at all" hybrid has more HP than the CR 23 Ancient Red Dragon, or the CR 25 Great Wyrm Blue. But you're right, forgot the Improved Grab.

That's not even a thousand hit points.  Mine (perhaps unsurprisingly) involve massive templated vermin abuse, though with the more recent one, I was aiming for something I could "easily" tack onto a low-CR Medium base.

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.
I meant 'not scary' in the sense of kung fu witchcraft - that is, maximizing HD and minimizing CR to employ ToB effects (here, Tornado Throw with Improved Trip into Improved Grab into Swallow Whole - oh, and your hybrid snapshot ignored equipment. Check the spreadsheet: he's using +5 tomes now.). If I could play with template hell, I'd've picked something more synergistic.




Slagger, now you've got me curious... what did you end up using for Tridon originally?

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.

Slagger, now you've got me curious... what did you end up using for Tridon originally?

The base vermin form was a phrenic mineral warrior dark lolth-touched draconic warbeast dungeonbred guardian 30-headed 64 HD megapede (templates and whatnot applied right-to-left). 

The base humanoid/giant form to which it was applied was an incarnate construct of a Huge animated object (a human statue).  He then received the half-celestial and voidmind templates, though I don't recall exactly how I managed to put the half-celestial in there, since it's an inherited template and I avoid inconsistencies like applying inherited templates after acquired ones.  He only had a few class levels (fighter 1/fist of the forest 2/monk 2/pious templar 1) since I try to aim things at whatever level I'm currently running or playing as a slight added challenge, even if I won't actually use them.  For the sake of counting, he had a bit over eight thousand hit points from 127 Hit Dice.

I could have easily knocked him up to an even higher grade by using devastation vermin and the paragon template, I simply chose not to, and I didn't really worry about much more than the templates.  As a slight aside, you quickly get sick of applying the phrenic template after using it a few times (particularly because you're always including the augmentation for every power), so I now have a spreadsheet just for quickly producing the phrenic psi-ike abilities.

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.
I want to see Truberflank. All of the options sound good, but Uberflank was supposed to be partnering up with one of the other builds, and didn't quite cut the mustard. I want to see him retrained and sharp...and as a specialist in a particular area commonly neglected, he fits the theme of these special builds better then the others.


The gish and others can wait a week! Let's see a true master flanking build!

==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
Breaking the CR system is like Tetris. It will never stop being an amusing way to pass the time.
Vote for something else CJ, you're not going to like the Gish no matter what I say.
OK... LOL now that we can agree on. I own all of SG1 and MacGuyver... hetero man-crush? Maybe.
OK... LOL now that we can agree on. I own all of SG1 and MacGuyver... hetero man-crush? Maybe.



Ah, SG1... If I weren't in the middle of Doctor Who on Netflix, I would have to catch on some of that awesomeness.

Even thought I am hardly a regular, I'll vote for MacGuyver because I am curious. 
I'm in the middle of season 1 of MacGyver.
"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 really like the base idea of this build and it inspired me of a campaign (as we start a new one next week anyway). I thought of a warblade gish(either beguiler or wizard dip), that trains monsters in the art of fighting to create an evil army. 



And i also vote for the gish :D

Quoth Lycanthromancer, himself a very capable optimizer, on that very subject: "Manly men like manly things. Manly men are manly. Therefore, liking manly men is manly." Even if you disagree, there's probably an exception for Richard Dean Anderson. (My ex-girlfriend insists there's a distaff counterpart to that rule involving Anne Hathaway.)



I'm writing up MacGyver now, sorry about the delays. It'll just take a bit of time to get together, as I've been swamped with family and friend obligations since classes ended. 

One thing that leaps to mind as I go over the notes on this one: the majority of our builds reflect a gameplay philosophy that looks to aim for tier three as a "sweet spot". With a couple exceptions (perhaps most dramatically the psycarnum warrior), the builds in the showcase probably aren't going down as hallmark top-tier work - for instance, you'll notice that even when we have the opportunity, we bypass additional-action cheese* and have yet to do any build involving Polymorph-style effects**. While this ensures they'll find a place at more tables, it also means that they may not stand up in most Tier One games.

Notes
* The closest you'll get here are a few melee builds using Hustle or Schism, and neither of those hold a candle to Celerity. The closest you'll find to that is Anticipatory Strike showing up on the T3. (That's also the only additional-action power found on any of the characters in either of our two games - and the character who has it is specialized in astral constructs, which aren't exactly paradigm-shiftingly powerful.) The Nuker build explicitly avoids them as well, despite being a direct-damage caster with a hat-tip to the Mailman (which does use them).

**We did mention Polymorph as a possible spell on the A-Game Paladin, but again, melee / party support rather than God, available far later than it would be on a real shapechanger, lacking any real synergy beyond Inspire Courage (which would work quite well on a form with a bazillion natural attacks), and not central to the build at all. In our groups, none of us use polymorph effects at all.


Additional observation: Hmm. Except for the less-interesting and explicitly-for-DMs-to-challenge-their-players Dread Lord of the Dead, and the A-Game Paladin (who will mostly be using wizard spells), we haven't done a build with divine magic yet. Probably because it's hard to make a divine magic specialist who isn't Tier One by default.

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.

Admitted, I was defensive there with no good reason. Retracting the hetero part of my comment. Yeah if there had been another two seasons at the very least Richard Dean Anderson could have produced them, and been promoted to General. They'd be forced to haul in actors from another cult sci-fi like Farscape or something...
Firefly/SG1 crossover FTW!!!
"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
Yeah, the whole 'mostly real physics' in Firefly would totally shaft them against alien SG tech.


==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
Yeah... but here's one for ya. Replicators, vs reavers, and I'm sorry but I feel other than Ba'al they old snake heads had gotten pretty old anyway.
At least the really crappy Reaver tech wouldn't feed the replicators, and they certainly wouldn't be able to make HFR's.