Help With a CHA-based Support Tank

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Race:  Human
Class: Pal 5/Marshal 2/Crusader X

This character originally spawned from wanting to play a "Paladin-like" character without being a (pure) Paladin. To elaborate, the perception of a Paladin (chivalrous "knight in shining armor"), rather than the mechanical side. Ironically, I don't like how the Knight plays mechanically. The goal of the classes above would be to play a melee combatant that provides a significant level of passive, party boosting abilities while still remaining combat viable. I don't mind straying from these classes, or not playing any of them if it furthers the concept I have for this character.

On the mechanical side, passive, party wide bonuses that let me continue to play while they're in effect are important. I want to be able to mix it up, fight things, have fun; be a bad ass: not go, "I'll just stand here and buff you while you have all the fun, m'kay?". Second, survivability is more important to me than damage. I don't mean this to a degree that I can't contribute significantly to the party damage output, but I don't like dying, and greatly enjoy the potential gameplay/roleplay feel of being "the last man standing" in a tough engagement. Whether this means high saves, AC, self-healing, all of the above; etc. is irrelevant, as the ends justify the means in this regard.

The reason for the above levels was that at Paladin 5, I could trade my mount for the alternate spirit of healing. Marshal 2 would allow me to have Motivate Dexterity in order to improve party initiative at the start of combat, and Motivate Care for a party-wide +1 to AC.  Crusader X is simply a class in line with what I want that never stops improving rather than being front loaded (like Paladin), or useless to put too many levels in (like Marshal).

If any Prestige classes fit in with what I have listed above, do let me know. I'd greatly appreciate it, along with any other help you guys can provide.

Thank you for your time.
You could honestly just go straight Crusader & it wouldn't hurt a bit. Another option would be Cleric/Prestige Paladin (Unearthed Arcana)/Bone Knight (Five Nations). That let's you build up to the "tarnished armor" concept of the world-weary, without actually having to change alignment. The Grey Guard from Complete Champion would do the same thing. Also, look into the Dragon Shaman as a possible base class.
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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
You might find better results without the paladin levels at all (I'd grab Bard and look at the Song of the White Raven feat, along with a bit of Inspire Courage optimization), or, oddly, going pure paladin with the right substitutions. See the A-Game Paladin in my signature for an example of the latter, or Aluonna from the Dead for Nothing link in my sig for an example of the former.

Aluonna's probably closer to your desire, since the A-Game Paladin puts slightly more emphasis on Strength than on Charisma, and you can still squeeze the marshal in where Aluonna has a level adjustment. Basically, that'd be Bard 3 / Marshal 1 / Crusader 16 with Extra Music at 1, Song of the Heart at 3, and Song of the White Raven at 6. (Aluonna's designed for Words of Creation as well, which can make this approach even meaner, but strictly speaking that's optional). The human bonus feat is up to you; due to prereqs you can't grab Power Attack this way, but with the right maneuvers you won't need it as much. (If all books are open to you, I'd suggest using the silverbrow human instead - they get the dragonblood subtype. This would let you spend their bonus feat on Dragonfire Inspiration, which can be downright devastating on a support build like this.)

Regarding your actual choices, the spirit of healing is really not all that useful with only five levels of paladin, even with immense Charisma, mostly because it doesn't scale any other way. (On a full paladin, like the A-Game Paladin, it can be somewhat more useful, but the need for a person to use a standard action to heal from it really hurts its combat utility.) The later level paladin spirits are actually much better, but require significant paladin levels to acquire or improve. If you're sticking to the same rough structure here, I'd stop after either two or four paladin levels (depending on whether or not you want divine feats).

The marshal dip is useful, but of limited flexibility due to the locked choice of auras. You're right that Motivate Dexterity is perhaps the best of the minor auras if you can only pick one, but you don't need a major aura on top of that - Motivate Care is an entire character level for a very small overall boost. I'd stop at one there.

You're bang on with the crusader levels, though: They really just don't die. That's why I suggested Song of the White Raven: your crusader levels advance Inspire Courage, and you can use the actual bard levels you need to qualify to pick up some bard-exclusive Inspire Courage boosts (such as wands of Inspirational Boost (Spell Compendium), the Badge of Valor (Magic Item Compendium), and the Song of the Heart feat). You won't need prestige classes: Crusader alone is fine, and Song of the White Raven Crusaders are basically prestige classes unto themselves with the right gear. Emphasize Devoted Spirit and White Raven and you'll be fine. (Stone Dragon may have the "toughness" maneuvers, but the healing from Devoted Spirit and the sheer devastation of a good White Raven approach tend to end battles safely before the enhanced toughness from Stone Dragon comes to bear.)

Hope that helps.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

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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.


a Paladin X/ Monk 2/  Battle Sorserer 2 or Paladin 2/Monk 2/ Battle Sorserer X

you gain your Cha to your AC and Saves and improved your will and reflex save and gain evasion Improved unarmed Strike and some feats at a cost of 4 Hit poins and -2 BA
Pepe pecas pica papas con un pico con un pico pepe pecas pica papas si pepe pecas pica papas con un pico donde esta el pico con que pepe pecas pica papas.
First off, I thank all of you for your timely replies.

Secondly, before I go any further, I need to confess: I've never actually played 3.5 before. I was raised on 2nd edition, so while some of the stuff I'm reading sounds awesome: I have no idea how to go about it, and how viable it is for our campaign setting. If you talked to me like you were talking to a new player building their first character, you wouldn't be too far off.

As for our DM, he's one of those people that, to multiclass, you have to have a legitimate, in-story reason to back up the multiclass. While my posted build didn't originally reflect that (though it would probably be 2 Pal/1 Mar now [I mainly wanted the initiative and the saves]), I am currently trying to build a theoretical character to present to him so that he can help me build a character appropriate to our setting. Also, this is going to be a low magic setting, so any gear dependant builds are out of the question. If a single item would immensely assist a build, however, the DM has stated I might be able to take stat debuffs (which isn't a problem, I was expecting DEX, WIS, and INT to be at 10 any way) in order to acquire a single item at character creation.

That being said, from what I could understand, the Aluonna concept sounded really, really cool. I wouldn't mind going for Bard over Paladin, if we can work towards the character still having the same group buffing, highly defensive, armor-wearing, melee combatant feel. If you can walk through how I'd go about that in a low magic setting (if possible), I'd greatly appreciate it.

In essence, I'm working out building the character sheet of a level 20 character. Assume the very lowest of magic settings where even a +1 item is going to be exceedingly rare unless your character started with it at creation. The DM probably isn't that low magic, but I'd rather present something with weak gear (focusing mostly on feats, skills, and class abilities) and be underpowered in that department than the alternative and risk having him shut me down before I even begin. Also, while the character sheet I'm working is going to be 20 (to demonstrate to my DM what I want), the campaign will start me at level 1, so ideally, the character should level well without ever feeling like "I'll be good in ten more levels!"

If it helps, it is confirmed that I'll be playing with a Ranger with bow specialization, so Motivate Dexterity is going to be even more useful than before.

Once again, thank you both. I don't know enough about 3.5 (or even D&D in general) to be able to actively convey my wants to my DM on a character sheet the way I'd like, so the advice you guys are giving is immensely helpful. I'll continue to give input, and answer questions until the character is complete.
As for our DM, he's one of those people that, to multiclass, you have to have a legitimate, in-story reason to back up the multiclass. While my posted build didn't originally reflect that (though it would probably be 2 Pal/1 Mar now [I mainly wanted the initiative and the saves]), I am currently trying to build a theoretical character to present to him so that he can help me build a character appropriate to our setting. Also, this is going to be a low magic setting, so any gear dependant builds are out of the question. If a single item would immensely assist a build, however, the DM has stated I might be able to take stat debuffs (which isn't a problem, I was expecting DEX, WIS, and INT to be at 10 any way) in order to acquire a single item at character creation.


...Um, your DM isn't really playing the same game the books describe if that's the case. The Dungeon Master's Guide demographics alone show you that low magic really doesn't work with D&D, let alone what you can do with high skill checks. 

There *are* ways of doing low-magic D&D, but they usually involve something like the so-called E6 system (which, in a nutshell, is basically "Everyone stops advancing normally after hitting 6th level, just so the numbers, scale, and range of options aren't out of control; further effects can be bought with XP much more slowly but the basic structure of your character doesn't change"). Likewise, the game assumes multiclassing is normal - unlike 2e, a "class" is not a character identity, but a package of abilities used to describe a character. There are multiple ways of accomplishing anything. The classic joke is to compare a multiclass fighter/rogue/sorcerer with an emphasis on enchantment spells to a single-classed bard. In your case, it'd be to compare a paladin, a knight, a marshal, and a crusader with any real mix of those classes (especially with Song of the White Raven in the mix).

I'd be cautious as a result.

Also, do not take the stat debuffs - without access to magic items to boost your ability scores, which the game actually assumes you'll be buying, you will be all the more reliant on your starting stats to excel. The most important piece of gear for an Inspire Courage character (the Badge of Valor) costs about as much as a basic bag of holding or a ring of protection, and the most important spell (Inspirational Boost) is a 1st level bard spell; I don't imagine your DM has any particular trouble with those (the game assumes you'd have them from around level 5ish or so; even with low magic you'd see them sooner or later). Your strength comes from your class features, especially as a bard (read: spellcaster with Inspire Courage) or crusader (read: martial adept, which WotC themselves repeatedly admitted weren't very equipment-dependent, especially for a warrior). 

That being said, from what I could understand, the Aluonna concept sounded really, really cool. I wouldn't mind going for Bard over Paladin, if we can work towards the character still having the same group buffing, highly defensive, armor-wearing, melee combatant feel. If you can walk through how I'd go about that in a low magic setting (if possible), I'd greatly appreciate it.


Take a basic crusader and get used to describing effects appropriately (i.e. you aren't basking people in the holy light of your righteous smite and healing them with divine energy, you're shouting out battle cries and demonstrating that victory is so close at hand that they ignore their wounds. Both abilities are appropriate ways of describing the Crusader's Strike line of maneuvers.)

Really, that's it.

If you want a specific guide to the "Aluonna-type" character, that's generally referred to as a Song of the White Raven crusader, or (rarely) the 'Blade Bard'. The basic idea is to take 1-4 bard levels at least (depending on what you want - I like 3, since it gives you first-level spells for Inspirational Boost, the prerequisites for the Song of the Heart feat, and enough basic uses of bardic music to keep up with your Inspirational Boost spell slots or charges on the Badge of Valor. 3.5 "normally" assumes four "challenging" encounters per day of adventuring, so being able to use Inspire Courage at least four times per day is your first major hurdle - Bard 3 with Extra Music is penty here.). Try to round out with some even number of levels, due to the way Tome of Battle characters learn their maneuvers (this is where the possible marshal level would go). You then move on to Crusader or Warblade (to taste) and grab Song of the White Raven at 6th level. From then on out it's straight-up crusader or warblade, no worries about multiclassing or anything. In terms of actual gameplay, you're largely a regular crusader (I'll go into this below) after the first round: during the first round, you set up your team orders (read: songs, Inspirational Boost, stances, etc.) instead. Someone else asked about this style of gameplay a while back and I wrote this quick primer on it - it's in this thread, which I strongly suggest reading.

(Speaking of spells, pick spells that lack somatic components, or would only be cast at camp. These are ones that anyone, even bards, can cast in heavy armor without a problem. Inspirational Boost is one such spell, but Feather Fall is a good example of the first type, and Identify is a decent example of the second type. Charm Person is an example of a classic bard spell that you would not be taking.)

As for how a crusader plays, it's largely a matter of picking maneuvers that look good, squeezing in the Extra Granted Maneuver feat whenever possible (for you, probably 9th level), and just getting close enough to be a menace. The natural fit for your type of character is White Raven (mighty charges with bonus damage fit the knight theme and make up for your lack of Power Attack, plus stances like Leading the Charge and maneuvers like White Raven Tactics fit your leader role quite well). Don't neglect Devoted Spirit either - that's the way to tank in D&D 3.5. (It's hard to do perfectly with Song of the White Raven and Bard levels throwing things off, since you need the Combat Reflexes feat to make it amazing, but Devoted Spirit is very good at making you difficult to ignore, with Iron Guard's Glare, Defensive Rebuke, Thicket of Blades, and similar maneuvers based around the attack of opportunity.) To learn more about what "tanking" usually means in 3.5, I'd suggest reading what I wrote in the spoiler block here. (It's not all applicable to you, since you're focusing on leadership rather than tanking, but it's useful to know in general.) In your case I'd suggest using Aluonna as a model here, since she's very elegantly designed on that front (just consider something other than Charging Minotaur, which is in her build because goliaths get serious bonuses on that Strength check and are earth-themed).

If it helps, it is confirmed that I'll be playing with a Ranger with bow specialization, so Motivate Dexterity is going to be even more useful than before.


...Oddly, it won't be all that super-useful, since such characters already excel in Dexterity-based skills and have the Initiative to go first anyway. What that aura will do is help get the rest of the team up to his level. If you're dead-set on marshal, it's still the first pick (entirely due to initiative - if you act first, you probably will act last as well. Also, if YOU act early and have the White Raven Tactics maneuver, you can very quickly shore up whoever rolled poorly on initiative (read: you can get the fighter into position to lock the enemy down before they attack), or get whoever rolled really well a second turn before the opponents have a chance to react (read: the rogue gets two free rounds of sneak attacks and the enemies are ribbons).



Thank you so much for providing as much information as you did, by the way. It's a joy to work with this kind of request rather than just hearing simple, context-free requests all the time.

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.

After reading some of the threads you've recommended, I've come to the following conclusions:

I'm going to avoid trying to use the Cacophony/Dragonfire setup for this character. If I were going more bard-heavy then yes, I'd simply stand back and buff my party ad infinitum, but it is very likely I'm going to be in a three man party, with one of the characters starting as an Archery Specialized Ranger. Those buffs are going to help make every action count (which is extremely important in a smaller group), but I also have to be able to perform my role as a melee combatant.

As much as I might want to play an alternate race, the DM will not allow any races not in the core books.

Also, my party isn't going to chip in for the Vest of Legends. I won't be a high enough level bard to get Song of the Heart.

Also, what will I do about the self-inflicted damage of Words of Creation? Granted I'll take 3d4 once most battles, particularly if I have the Lingering Song feat, but I'm very health conscious. I know Devoted Spirit has an attack that heals. However, and I'll need to do more reading on the matter any way, I'm not all warm and fuzzy on how stances and maneuvers operate just yet.

I'm currently looking at a Human Bard 3/Marshal 1/Crusader X. My stats would look like 16/12/14/15/10/18. I could start with Extra Music and Lingering Song as my starting feats.

Now here is another point: how much does it cost to craft healing items? If it is cheap enough, with the third party member expected to play either Rogue or Sorcerer, I may have to play a pseudo party healer in the form of crafted heal items.

Also, if my DM states he's going to run with multiclass XP penalty, I may have to run a second level of Marshal after my second level of Crusader, no?
After reading some of the threads you've recommended, I've come to the following conclusions:

I'm going to avoid trying to use the Cacophony/Dragonfire setup for this character. If I were going more bard-heavy then yes, I'd simply stand back and buff my party ad infinitum, but it is very likely I'm going to be in a three man party, with one of the characters starting as an Archery Specialized Ranger. Those buffs are going to help make every action count (which is extremely important in a smaller group), but I also have to be able to perform my role as a melee combatant.


Perfectly sound: I wouldn't suggest cacophony or dragonfire unless you were emphasizing bard, and here you merely use bard to get the inspire courage needed for Song of the White Raven.

Also, my party isn't going to chip in for the Vest of Legends. I won't be a high enough level bard to get Song of the Heart.


The Vest is also too magical for your game, so that's a good call.

However, you qualify for Song of the Heart with bard 3, which you say you're taking below. I strongly suggest this feat, as it dramatically speeds up your inspiration effects.

Also, what will I do about the self-inflicted damage of Words of Creation? Granted I'll take 3d4 once most battles, particularly if I have the Lingering Song feat, but I'm very health conscious. I know Devoted Spirit has an attack that heals. However, and I'll need to do more reading on the matter any way, I'm not all warm and fuzzy on how stances and maneuvers operate just yet.


1) I wouldn't take Words in your case; it's one of those "requires some experience with the game to handle properly" feats, and the numeric advantage you will provide with it will decimate a nonmagical game.
2) If you did take Words, don't worry - it's nonlethal damage, and trivial nonlethal damage at that. Whenever you heal any normal HP, you also heal an equal amount of nonlethal damage, so it'll go away after a single crusader heal and it won't slow you down in the meantime.

I'm currently looking at a Human Bard 3/Marshal 1/Crusader X. My stats would look like 16/12/14/15/10/18. I could start with Extra Music and Lingering Song as my starting feats.


I wouldn't worry with Lingering Song: it matters most if you're double-singing, and you only have one song worth singing (Inspire Courage). Since you probably won't be casting spells in the middle of combat (beyond Inspirational Boost, which you cast before you start singing), its benefit will be minor. (You can keep singing as long as need be in battle and Inspire won't wear off.)

I'm not sure what I'd suggest in its place. The bard handbook lists several, but that's not aimed at crusader leadership types. You might even simply want Weapon Focus, to make up for the lost base attack bonus on bard and marshal levels.

Those are some damn amazing - almost unfairly strong - stats as well. I'll leave the rant about unbalancingly high ability scores to StevenO, though: he does that better than I do.

Now here is another point: how much does it cost to craft healing items? If it is cheap enough, with the third party member expected to play either Rogue or Sorcerer, I may have to play a pseudo party healer in the form of crafted heal items.


You need to be a spellcaster to craft these items, and you need to have the ability to cast the appropriate spells, and it takes a feat to do so.

I would read this thread, and then, with that in mind, talk to your DM about his 'low magic' policy. If you're desperate, use the Healing Hymn substitution (replaces Countersong) from Complete Champion; any leftover bardsong at the end of the day can be put to use enhancing what little healing you have.
 
Basically, with healing belts and wands of Cure Light Wounds (which you can use) or wands of Lesser Vigor (which the rogue can use thanks to the Use Magic Device skill), you should be fine: Emphasize winning fights quickly rather than healing in battle. Crusaders get some healing "for free" which can lighten the load somewhat, but you probably won't need it.

(For example, in one of our current games, the team loadout is Ardent/Erudite, Psion/Constructor, Ninja/Monk/Swordsage/Shadow Sun Ninja, Artificer, and Ranger/Revenant Blade. It's the swordsage who's our main 'healer'. We rarely need it. The ardent and artificer have stepped up in times of emergencies (the former mostly on ability damage, the latter for triggered contingency effects), but we usually focus on winning quickly, and it's only because the DM pulls out all the stops that we aren't finding it easy.)

Also, if my DM states he's going to run with multiclass XP penalty, I may have to run a second level of Marshal after my second level of Crusader, no?


Yes, you're right, but you can also "cheat" a bit there - there's an Additional Favored Class feat, and since your human feat is pretty wide open...

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.

Misread the Song of the Heart feat. I thought it said a level six bard, rather than perform. That helps.

As for the stats, I agree they're too high. However, the DM's stat policy is a bit off and he approved those stats. (A bit off equals: two average stats, two above average stats, and two high stats. However he considers the 10-12 range "average". The 13-16 range "above average", and 17-18 "high" with a rule stating if you have an 18, you can't have another 18 or 17.) I'd have been happy with a 10 in DEX, and maybe even a drop in STR. He's the DM though, not I. Also, I can always trade some of these exorbitant stats for items.

Luckily, I'd already read the Players Guide to Healing, and even showed it to the Ranger since our DM keeps going on about how quickly we're going to die without a Cleric. However, I have no idea how scarse money will be, and magical items will "only be found in a metropolis" according to the DM. That being said, I was trying to find a way to ensure that I would be able to make up for that. However, crafting wands (my original idea) costs XP, and I'm loath to do that.

However, I've been thinking about the Marshal class. I'm wondering if the significant, party-wide initiative boost is worth the dip. It is already looking like it is either going to cost me a level or a feat if I dip in to it, and both are precious resources for this particular character. It is a small party, so accuracy and initiative can spell the difference between life and death, but I'm just wanting to bring up the possibility of not running it to see if that might be a more efficient way of building this character.

A couple of things: seeing as how wands will be hard to come by, how will I go about casting Inspirational Boost? Do I wait until the second round of combat to draw my weapon, or will my armor keep me from casting it even then? Also, with a three person party, fights may take longer. Will five rounds always be enough (without Lingering Song)?
Without knowing how your DM plans on handling magic gear, I don't know the answer to most of your questions.


However, you can simply cast Inspirational Boost as a swift, and then sing normally as a standard, and it just costs you a renewable spell slot. Works just fine. The wand's just my go-to solution in a standard-magic game because it is cheap, easily chambered to a sword or shield or gauntlet to always be at hand, and helps conserve your spells per day if you need to actually cast anything.

You also don't need lingering song: Inspire Courage lasts as long as people hear the bard, plus five rounds after that. You can simply sing (or shout orders, or deliver Aragorn speeches, or...) for the entire battle if need be, and that five round timer won't start until everything's dead. The only risk there is magical Silence (you're in a low-magic world, though, so that's not all that common) or if you desperately need to cast a spell while singing (i.e. emergency Feather Fall); these would cause you to stop singing, but you'd still get five whole rounds of Inspiration after that.

Most battles last between four and ten rounds or so anyway, depending on their scale and overall difficulty. Lingering Song is mostly if you're fighting the latter and can't be bothered to pick up Melodic Casting, or if you're dual-singing (i.e. Inspire Courage + Dragonfire Inspiration) without being a War Chanter (a PrC in Complete Warrior that has the ability to sing two songs at once).

You're fine without it.

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.

Alright. Thanks for clearing that up.

However, what I'm worried about is that Inspirational Boost has a somatic spell component according to the Spell Compendium (p.124). I checked the Errata and didn't see any changes, so unless it was changed elsewhere...
Alright. Thanks for clearing that up.

However, what I'm worried about is that Inspirational Boost has a somatic spell component according to the Spell Compendium (p.124). I checked the Errata and didn't see any changes, so unless it was changed elsewhere...


*smack* RIGHT, I'd forgotten about that. You might need to go without it.

In a low-magic game, Song of the Heart will probably provide as much as you'll need. If you can EVENTUALLY get the wand, do it; it's as expensive as a wand of cure light wounds. (Which you will probably have somewhere in your low-magic world.)

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.

That is fine. I was just making sure there wasn't something simple I could do (cast it round one with a free hand, draw my weapon second round). However, I assume armor is the primary problem, and there isn't a feat to fix that problem? I'm just trying to cover all my bases at this point. Now that I have a solid concept of the character I'm going to play, and how I intend to build it.

Also, Healing Hymn, I don't understand the errata. How does it work now?

Does the party going evil change how my character works? Apparently the third person wants this to be an evil party, and unless the DM can convince them otherwise...

Once again, I can't thank you enough for all your help. You've been very patient and helpful.
While I concur the marshal is crap (I rewrote the class as a martial adept for a reason), and largely concur about the paladin (with some reservations), I would think that the parameters of this request lent themselves towards martial characters and away from arcane spellcasting gishes. Your build is better, yes, but also further from the initial request.

Also, while you're correct in that an inspire bard is most effective with a high number of attacks, that's a high number of attacks across the entire party - he's already said he's got an archery ranger (read: Rapid Shot) and a rogue (read: TWF). Since he'd be going crusader for other reasons (read: durability, "support tanking"), and it's not hard to get Song of the White Raven in there to give those levels full Inspire progression anyway, I don't think this is a bad idea.

(Finally, while crusader maneuvers do not lend themselves well to extra attacks, they aren't  lacking for multiple attack support by default. They're natural AoO gatling guns with Thicket, Defensive Rebuke, etc., which gives them a lot of attacks in their default mode. Furthermore, this favors high Dexterity for Combat Reflexes, and Furious Counterstrike is not only an offset of the accuracy loss for dual-wielding but also a source of per-hit bonus damage, so they're better positioned than a lot of people are if they wish to take up two weapons. EWP: Kusari-Gama even lets them combine the two, although they won't be tripping anyone anytime soon.)

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.

Thank you both for your replies.

No. Ignore what everyone above said(A large amount of what Tempest said is correct, but wrong here),
 
Marshal is crap, any paladin above 2, unless in an ubermount, is crap, and Bard is only effective with high number of attacks or going Sublime Chord, something which Crusader does not lend itself to.

What you want is Paladin 2/Sorcerer 4/Spellblade 1/Abjurant Champion 5/Sacred Exorcist 8. Plenty of fluff for your DM(To whom you should point out, by the way, the concept of metagame construct), not particularly gear-dependent, and capable of kicking very large amounts of ass. Only gear you'll really be hurting for is Knowstones, but that comes with the whole sorcerer deal anyways.



Firstly, thank you again, Cyclone_Joker, for your reply. However, as Tempest pointed out, I'm not looking for a gish. Also, (another thing on the list of things my DM does to make things difficult) my DM is even more anal about multiclassing in to a prestige class than a normal class. The dip in Marshal was for Inspire Dexterity, which is a significant party-wide buff to initiative. If another class dip can give a similar party-wide effect of such significance, let me know. I'd be happy to drop the class, and level dip, if an alternative was presented (even just going Bard 3/Crusader X) that fit the build (especially since, as it stands, I'd have to waste a feat to get a second favored class if I kept Marshal).

While I concur the marshal is crap (I rewrote the class as a martial adept for a reason), and largely concur about the paladin (with some reservations), I would think that the parameters of this request lent themselves towards martial characters and away from arcane spellcasting gishes. Your build is better, yes, but also further from the initial request.

Also, while you're correct in that an inspire bard is most effective with a high number of attacks, that's a high number of attacks across the entire party - he's already said he's got an archery ranger (read: Rapid Shot) and a rogue (read: TWF). Since he'd be going crusader for other reasons (read: durability, "support tanking"), and it's not hard to get Song of the White Raven in there to give those levels full Inspire progression anyway, I don't think this is a bad idea.

(Finally, while crusader maneuvers do not lend themselves well to extra attacks, they aren't  lacking for multiple attack support by default. They're natural AoO gatling guns with Thicket, Defensive Rebuke, etc., which gives them a lot of attacks in their default mode. Furthermore, this favors high Dexterity for Combat Reflexes, and Furious Counterstrike is not only an offset of the accuracy loss for dual-wielding but also a source of per-hit bonus damage, so they're better positioned than a lot of people are if they wish to take up two weapons. EWP: Kusari-Gama even lets them combine the two, although they won't be tripping anyone anytime soon.)



With that all being said, what weapon should I be going for: weapon and shield, or guisarme? Do I want to be wearing heavy armor, or will something lighter be better? Since I'm not going Words of Devotion, I no longer need the 15 in INT, and could drop it to 12, or even 10, in exchange for a higher DEX score, so it wouldn't be too hard to turn this in to more of a tank, if needed.

As I see it, if feats allow (and they may not), I could use my first turn for buffing, charge in to an ideal location turn two, and then AoO to tank, couldn't I? I'm just trying to make sure I'm getting the most out of this character.

Unfortunately, since our third person has all but quit the group before the game even started, there's a chance there might not even be a campaign for me. With that being said, I thank all of you for all the help you've given (especially you, Tempest). I've had a lot of fun working on this character, will continue to work on it, regardless of a campaign in the immediate future, until it is done. That way, when I do play (whether it be the campaign it was originally built for, or one in my future), I'll still have this character to work with.
Chain Shirt + Dastana + Chahar Aina

CJ, you've mentioned these before. What books are they in? I think you mentioned where in another thread, but I am feeling too lazy to try to look for it...
Chain Shirt + Dastana + Chahar Aina

CJ, you've mentioned these before. What books are they in? I think you mentioned where in another thread, but I am feeling too lazy to try to look for it...



Chain Shirt is in the Players Handbook (p.123-124). Dastana is in the Arms and Equipment Guide (p.15). Alternately, both Chahar Aina and Dastana are found in Oriental Adventures (p.75-76).

Hope that helps.
Thanks. Not that I am going to rush out and use it, but I always like to learn different tricks and such.

Although I DID know where to find the chain shirt... My system mastery isn't THAT low!
Funny. When you say "Archery Ranger," I hear "unoptomized build..." So, when you say "TWF Rogue," I hear "Unholy lovechild of a Monk and a truly terrible Factotum."



Yep. You're right. My teammates aren't optimized. That is why I'm working so hard to make a character that improves the entire team. Not to mention, in the campaign I was working on this character for, I was in a three man party. Going first (Motivate Dexterity), making sure every attack connects (Inspire Courage), with additional damage as a bonus? What, pray tell, is wrong with that?

Sure in an optimized party some of the above become largely irrelevant, but I can't change my teammates.

Sorry to say, but the Crusader is pretty lame outside of Idiot builds. Actually, an Idiot Crusader wouldn't be bad here. Pretty much what the OP says he wants.



Maybe. The build we were at the point you joined the discussion was much better than the initial Paladin 5/Marshal 2/Crusader X I started with. I'll admit, I wanted the character to have the flavor of a "knight in shining armor" without compromising playabilitiy too much.

I'll admit, I don't know too much about D&D. However, I know quite a bit about Magic: the Gathering. I don't look at every deck of Magic and immediately chide and insult the person because they're not playing the Power Nine, Time Vault combo, etc. People play for different reasons. This was going to be a largely casual game of D&D. I wanted to be powerful and efficient, but we also purposefully avoided bringing my powerlevel too high for the campaign I was expected to be in.

At the rate this train of thought goes, anyone not running Pun-Pun is an idiot.

I do. It's simply inefficient.



Compared to what? What is more efficient than a Song of the White Raven Bard/Crusader providing his party members with accuracy and damage? I'd honestly like to know. If the build is better than the one we've been working on, and still seems fun to play, I'd love to consider it.

So, you're saying any actually challenging enemy wil be scared by the guy throwing out D8+4 or 6+a couple d6? No, any real monster will be able to either avoid it or eat it, and that's excluding tumble



Once again, how would you improve it? I was trying to follow the tanking primer suggested by Tempest. If there is a better way, let me know.

To be completely honest, it's almost impossible to actually be a tank without spellcasting. So, this is really important, is being a tank more important, or is not being a gish more important?



Neither. I'm looking for help and suggestions. As long as the character fits within the theme I've presented, I'll be okay with it. I'll admit, I don't particularly want to play a gish, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't like to hear how you'd go about this character. Your ideas may end up being more interesting than what we're currently working on.

Wait, what?

Is your DM familiar with the concept of metagame construct?



Perhaps they're not. Could you link me some material to present to him? Both you and Tempest have asked this.

You appear to be new to the optimization game, so let me give you a tip: Anything really, actually, honestly dangerous will either autmatically win initiative or have such a low modifier that it doesn't matter. You should do the same. Furthermore, initiative is cheap. Sandals of the Vagabond, Eager Warning Spiked Gauntlet, Belt of Battle, and so on. Initiative is also easy to bypass. Any surprise-breaker+Celerity, being a tortoise, and so on. It is not worth a level.



I am new. I'm trying to optimize because I find theorycrafting and character creation fun. I'm working with a largely unoptimized party, so I'm trying to make sure my character can make up for the party's shortcomings as much as possible. Also, do note this is a low magic setting, and I can't guarantee I'll be able to acquire any of those things.

Chain Shirt + Dastana + Chahar Aina



Thank you for this. I didn't know about it, and, if my DM allows me to get these pieces of equipment at some point, I will surely take advantage of them. If I wore these, since Bards can cast spells in light armor, would I be able to cast Inspirational Boost, or does Chahar Aina cause it to be considered medium armor?

If so, this solves a major problem with the character. Thank you again.
CJ, have you ever considered that "optimized" means different things for different people? Not everyone needs to cast 9th-level spells to feel optimized. For example, I'm pretty happy with my Kris the Sadomasochist build, even though it has the casting of a Level 4 incarnate. I'm also a fan of my Hattori Hanzo build, even though his role in a fight would probably just be "the squishy casters' bodyguard". In the future, would you please consider that maybe, JUST MAYBE, people around here actually have a clue what they're doing? Because I can guaran-damn-tee that people like Tempest & RT do.
"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
Much better.

...

"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
It's a crafting build (you ever see Kill Bill?) that ends up crafting magic weapons, armor, & shields better than a god. I can't link from my phone, but if you do a boards search for Hattori Hanzo, you'll find it.
"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
You've never seen Kill Bill? That's why I said, in the opening post, that it was the Kill Bill version. It was the same actor that played the various ninjas in the Shadow Warrior series (always named Hattori Hanzo),so it was Tarantino's inside joke to give the master swordsmith the same name.
"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
If memory serves the Hanzo build used bloodline cheese (among other hoops through which it jumped) to get epic crafting pre-epic and just be a good crafter. I'd say that CJ is spot on that a sorcadin is the WAY to go if you want to do CHA based melee the best, of course I would never run a bard anything in a three man group, that's just asking for a world of hurt. Also just to reiterate what 's been said DO NOT DO A TWO LEVEL DIP INTO MARSHAL. Seriously, on the map of DnD optimization the two level dip into marshal for a mere init buff waters (to a whopping three characters) it simply reads "Here there be suckage".
Also just to reiterate what 's been said DO NOT DO A TWO LEVEL DIP INTO MARSHAL. Seriously, on the map of DnD optimization the two level dip into marshal for a mere init buff waters (to a whopping three characters) it simply reads "Here there be suckage".

Especially since you already get the buff with a one level dip, and the rest of the class isn't usually worth hanging around for.  I've generally seen it dipped for doubling up on Charisma checks with Diplomancer-type builds, though the Fortitude bonus might help on a mini-Testuo thoon thrall as far as silly tricks go (though I made one just fine without it).

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.
Yeah, it used bloodline cheeses, but the pre-epic Epic feat was a side effect of that, not the goal. The goal was to pump the caster level sky high... And it worked.
"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
Yeah, it used bloodline cheeses, but the pre-epic Epic feat was a side effect of that, not the goal. The goal was to pump the caster level sky high... And it worked.

Which is cool and all, but the epic feat doesn't work. Bloodlines are sadly not actual levels, as they specifically do not increase your character level, and so do not qualify you for [epic] feats.

True, but all that particular feat requires is 24 ranks in two skills.  If you can find a rule that says that [Epic} feats can only be used after level 20, feel free to post it in that thread and I'll change it.  So far, no one's been able to find a rule saying that it can't be done.
"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 said "in that thread".

Fair enough; I can change it.
"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
Just since we're mentioning it, I have to note that the section about epic feats from the Draconomicon is rather loosely written, since it uses the terms "dragon" and "old age", rather than "true dragon" or "old age category" which would be a little more specific.

It's one of those cases where you either assume, purely from context, that it's talking about true dragons who've reached the old age category, or you allow any creature of old age with the dragon type to have epic feats for which they meet the prerequisites (though many of them are, fortunately, still limited by hard skill or BAB requirements).

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.
Just since we're mentioning it, I have to note that the section about epic feats from the Draconomicon is rather loosely written, since it uses the terms "dragon" and "old age", rather than "true dragon" or "old age category" which would be a little more specific.

It's one of those cases where you either assume, purely from context, that it's talking about true dragons who've reached the old age category, or you allow any creature of old age with the dragon type to have epic feats for which they meet the prerequisites (though many of them are, fortunately, still limited by hard skill or BAB requirements).



Hence the beauty of the dragonwraught Kobald.
Hence the beauty of the dragonwraught Kobald.

The dragonwrought part is completely unnecessary for obtaining access to epic feats, since kobolds already have the dragonblood subtype and thus count as dragons for all effects related to race.

And, of course, kobolds aren't anything special on that front.  Any character with the dragonblood subtype (which can be almost any race since there are a variety of ways to add it) can get epic feats as soon as they get past middle age, according to a context-free reading of the Draconomicon.  If you're not fussing over the exact use of "dragon" there's no reason to fuss over the exact use of "old" either.

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.
Hence the beauty of the dragonwraught Kobald.

The dragonwrought part is completely unnecessary for obtaining access to epic feats, since kobolds already have the dragonblood subtype and thus count as dragons for all effects related to race.

And, of course, kobolds aren't anything special on that front.  Any character with the dragonblood subtype (which can be almost any race since there are a variety of ways to add it) can get epic feats as soon as they get past middle age, according to a context-free reading of the Draconomicon.  If you're not fussing over the exact use of "dragon" there's no reason to fuss over the exact use of "old" either.



I could have sworn that the passage said true dragons specifically. Oh well, I'm away from books at the moment and actually abut to head out to run a game, that and I kind of nudged the conversation off topic anyway so I'll give this a miss for now, maybe I'll have the time to look it up a little later.