A little help with 3.0?

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Greetings folks,

I am requesting help for one of two things here: 

1)      A main-tank type that relies on grace over brawn (i.e. Dex > Str), (hopefully) eventually becoming a Bladesinger.  So gish-like with a concentration on BAB over caster level.

2)      A secondary tank-Xxx hybrid, mad damage dealer.  I’m attempting to work Duelist in there.

The interesting part here is I am somewhat limited to D&D 3.0 + Forgotten Realms supplements (as the GM does not like 3.5’s immediate and swift action types).  He also likes the limited spells and the duration of the stat buffs, I guess.

I’m starting with the 3.5 Swashbuckler (anything 3.5 must be approved by the GM, so I’ve done due diligence here) as my base, just wondering where to go from there.

My two racial choices so far are Catfolk (+1 LA, 3.5) and Drow (+2 LA).  So far, it looks as if Drow works best with #1 and Catfolk with #2.

For my 1st level feat as the Drow, it’s Light adaptation.  For the Catfolk, I haven’t decided yet.

The stats work off all 10s and using 30 points on a point-for-point basis up to max (by race) and we are allowed 3 levels to work with.

My stats as yet:  12 Str, 18 Dex, 14 Con, 18 Int, 10 Wis, 12 Cha.  I am somewhat of a skill hound, and also why I aimed for either the Bladesinger or Duelist build.

I'd like to see what options I might have available.  Any and all suggestions welcomed and thanks very much for your time.


I recommend against any race with a level adjustment.

The two most basic gish options are duskblade (Player's Handbook II, p19) and battle sorcerer (Unearthed Arcana, p56).

Are you using the Races of Faerun version of bladesinger? At 6th level, that one lets you cast a spell as a swift action any time you make a full attack.

I like the duskblade but I'm unsure he would allow it, I will question.
The battle sorceror looks intriguing, I'll look at it.
It will be the Races of Faerun version, yes.  I like the capability of swift action casting (which is basically like the Duskblade's ability, although way more often).  All the players at the table agreed the other versions of 3.0 Bladesingers were, while playable, RAW:  poorly.
The campaign is a Planescape-esque one, so the GM is encouraging non-standard races.
Thanks for your help! 
Go bard and drop church organs via Summon Magical instrument on the bad guys. The DM will start loving 3.5
One immediate thing you will notice in 3e is that buff spells, particularly on the cleric list, last much, much longer (typically hours/level instead of minutes/level). Much of what was written for 3.5 clerics was based around Divine Metamagic getting buff spells to last longer; much of this can be transferred to 3e without the 3.5 feats simply because several of the buff spells already last all day after around level 6 or 8.

In 3e, it was exceedingly difficult to do a Dexterity-based melee-type that didn't utterly suck. It was still hard to do it in 3.5 until the Tome of Battle came out (one of its big points on the CO board was making Dexterity-SAD characters much easier to do). 

(Interestingly, you think the duskblade's ability is less often than the Bladesinger's? That's only true if you look at Quick Cast. Duskblades can instead use Arcane Channelling (cast a touch spell and attack together as a standard action, delivering the touch spell through the weapon attack) as often as they have spell slots, and if there's one resource with which a duskblade is overendowed, it's spell slots.)

For a light game like you're describing, though, duskblade (even duskblade 20) should work for one of them. They're hard to make Dexterity-dependent but might work well in the second case. See if you can get it allowed (even without Quick Cast; that's minor). I don't think your DM will like it though: he hates some of the best stuff of 3.5 (including swifts and immediates - although 3e had shades of this with partial actions).

The bladesinger is a more interesting choice if it's the RoF version. I'll have to look back through the 3e strata of my notes to see if I have anything on them, but offhand, I think Battle Sorcerer might be one of the simplest entrance points though not the best. (The usual "simple" approach to arcane gishing in 3.5 involves Spellsword and Abjurant Champion; the latter is 3.5 only and the former's 3e version won't work (both versions lost half their CLs, but the original 3e lost them on odd levels, so the one-level dip hurt).) The battle sorcerer is basically just a variant on the regular sorcerer - a good one too - and nothing in it is terribly locked to 3.5. You can apply the same approach to the 3e sorcerer and modify it as needed - the biggest change is the lack of ability to rotate spells known.

If you want an alternate take on the "Grace over brawn" approach with the bladesinger, though, consider one of the following:
-"Sorcadin" - a sorcerer-based spellcaster who has a one-level dip in Paladin and otherwise remains true to the paladin code. This is especially good in 3e, since all the paladin's best abilities came online at level 1. (In 3.5, you usually used a two-level dip instead.) This dramatically increases your Charisma's strength (as Charisma governs your spellcasting as well as applying to all your saving throws and making sure your once-daily smite will connect). From here you look into other Charisma-based spellcasting increasers. I don't recall offhand what these may be for 3e though.
-Ask to copy the 3.5 feat Snowflake Wardance. Basically, this allows any bard to pick up a one-handed slashing weapon and dance through the crowd, using Charisma as a combat stat. It's a good ability. There's a lot of good equipment wardancers tend to need, but a lot of it's 3.5; there are a few alternatives to this in the 3e Arms & Equipment Guide which might substitute though.
--A potentially more interesting approach to this would involve the 3.5 Sublime Chord (basically transforms the bard into a sorcerer over time, decreasing its musical ability and skills but interacting much better with magic, including high-level magic), and advancing that with Bladesinger (and keeping Snowflake Wardance as your melee form). I'm not sure if or how this would work though, as I'm away from my books and not terribly familiar with the RoF Bladesinger.

I'm just dumping out ideas now, so I'll stop, but I hope that helped. 

Weekly Optimization Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

[RT] Something for Everyone: A.K.A. The Last Sorcerer RT Will Ever Build (Caster, Damage, Trapscout, Takedowns)


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


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

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

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

3.5: Definitive Shopping List (gear guide PDF)


5e Eberron homebrew rules (PDF) (Artificer, Warforged, Changeling, Kalashtar, Shifter, Dragonmarks) | Discussion thread

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