CORE ONLY - Ranger/Horizon Walker

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I'll post a build stub tomorrow, but right now I'm looking at doing a Ranger 11/Horizon Walker 9. I plan to drop Dex, int, and CHA into a deep, dark hole and concentrate on Str, con, & wis. obviously, if I do that, I'm going the TWF route. Is that even feasible? If Dex is recommended to be higher than I plan, is TWF still better, or should I just plan on archer build?
"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 do believe the standard(and best) core Horizon Walker is Ranger 1/Fighter 1/Barbarian 1/Ranger +2/Horizon Walker 10/X 5 and being a tripper. 

For more information, here's a link. 
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Sweet! I was thinking of doing trips, but didn't think it fit with the "typical ranger abilities". And it's nice to know that I was on the right track with my Terrain Mastery choices; I had already decided on desert, underground, shifting, cavernous, and aligned. I'm not sure that I really care enough about cold & fire to finish off HW, though, and I'd kinda like to get the ranger's level 9 evasion ability. And maybe level 10 favored enemy bonus.
So... Now I'm kinda looking at Ranger 9/Barbarian 1/Fighter 1/Horizon Walker 8/Barbarian (if DM will allow Wolf Totem) or Fighter 1. How does that seem?
"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

If you fight with a greatsword, you'll deal 7+1.5*str damage on average. If you instead fight with a longsword and shortsword, you'll deal 4.5+1*str damage on average for the longsword and 3.5+0.5*str damage on average for the shortsword. That's 7.5+1.5*str damage total, which is only half a point better than the greatsword. Further, you're taking a -2 on attack rolls, so you're hitting less often and coming out worse overall.


If you have some other source of damage, like a rogue's sneak attack, the case for two-weapon fighting is better. You'll only have your weapon's enhancement bonus, extra damage from weapon special abilities, and sometimes your favored enemy bonus. Considering the -2 on attack rolls, the cost of keeping up on two magical weapons, and the opportunity cost of not getting other feats, I'd never go with the two-weapon-fighting combat style on any normal ranger.


Remember, you don't have to use a bow all the time just because you select the archery combat style. You can use a greatsword most of the time and just have the archery feats as a bonus for those occasions when you do use a bow.

I'm surprised you hadn't seen the horizon tripper until now, Draco. I'm assuming you're working under very limited resources here, and if that's the case the timing is everything. Getting fighter levels earlier might make a bigger bang, particularly because most of the core feats don't scale particularly well (so getting them earlier creates a comparatively bigger "bang"). Barbarian 1 / Ranger 2 / Fighter 2 would probably be the fastest way to get everything together, but I forget offhand if that'd meet the skill requirements on its own (you might need to throw Ranger 3 at the end of that, or delay Ranger 2 to the end). It'll be difficult to get Evasion on this in any reasonable span of time.

As for combat styles, even if you're a melee focus, I support the idea of an archery combat style - especially in a core-only environment. You simply don't have enough options in that environment to pull off a pure melee strategy in every encounter you'll fight, particularly if the DM's experienced. Being competent in archery as a fallback will give you an option that's otherwise lacking in core - and if you want to look at it another way, since you're never grabbng archery feats except through Combat Style, you can ignore Point Blank Shot (and if the enemy's within 30' anyway, you've got Fast Movement and your melee weapon, so you would never use PBS anyway). Thus, Archery combat style in effect gives you two feats instead of one. 

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)

 

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.

Good point, Maat. BUT: does using a guisarme & spiked gauntlet benefit from TWF? Meaning, if I'm swinging with the guisarme and somebody gets close, would I normally take -5 to use the gauntlet also?
"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
Good point, Maat. BUT: does using a guisarme & spiked gauntlet benefit from TWF? Meaning, if I'm swinging with the guisarme and somebody gets close, would I normally take -5 to use the gauntlet also?


Since the reaches don't overlap, I don't know why you'd consider it a TWF style. Usually the gauntlet is just used to provide you with a threatened area (so you can take AoOs even though they're within your reach). You can't TWF with the two of them unless you're fighting an enemy 10' away while another enemy is within 5', which is, suffice it to say, a rare occasion.

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)

 

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

 

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

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

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

You ninja'd me again, Tempest! I appreciate the feedback. To be honest, I'd remembered the Horizon Walker being one of the better melee PrCs; I'd just forgotten the "trip" part. I'm mostly just putting it together for **** & giggles.
"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
You ninja'd me again, Tempest! I appreciate the feedback. To be honest, I'd remembered the Horizon Walker being one of the better melee PrCs; I'd just forgotten the "trip" part. I'm mostly just putting it together for **** & giggles.


In the core environment it's probably the best melee prestige (although a very good case could be made for the dwarven defender in the same environment) due to the relatively easy entry requirements (a ranger splash does the trick, but you don't need too many actual ranger levels depending on your Intelligence and how much Fighter you want to use) and the unique class features (Underground and Desert are early standouts, and no one will say no to Plains after that). And then level 6 hits and you get a teleport (among other goodies as you keep going).

The trip synergy largely just works because tripping is great in Core, and Improved Trip requires a 13+ Int anyway. Rounding that off to 14 during point-buy is inexpensive and allows a single ranger level to meet the skill requirements if you time it right. More ranger levels gives you more skill points (useful particularly at the low levels, as the spells that subsume skills don't come online until later, or if you're taking the advice in the thread and cross-classing a bit of Tumble) and doesn't slow you down on the feat front (since it comes with Endurance), although it costs you some hit points if you focus on it too much; grabbing Fighter levels to pick up Combat Expertise or Combat Reflexes earlier also helps (and for variability, Endurance is also a fighter bonus feat). If you're already multiclassing your first five levels like that, barbarian is a natural fit - more for the Fast Movement than for Rage (since you can get into position quicker and you're using a core-only variant of the AoO tank), reserving Rage for serious fights (and there, the Desert mastery helps). The increased HD also offsets the ranger level(s) a bit.

It's not spectacular, but in core, very little is. The parts just happen to work well together - not in the way we usually mean when we say "synergy" (in that they don't work additively), but each part enhances something that supports something else in the build, and the costs are relatively low.

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)

 

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

 

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

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

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

I never understood why the Dimension Door ability of Horizon Walker was considered a good ability. Most adventuring takes place on planes that are NOT "shifting plane[s]", so it would seem to me to be a very niche ability in most games. Whenever I'd looked at it, I'd always preferred an energy resistance 20 or tremorsense 30'. Even more so in a Core game where NPCs won't be rocking the Darkstalker feat and there are a lot more ways to get eaten by a Remorhaz or hugged by a Magmin.
I never understood why the Dimension Door ability of Horizon Walker was considered a good ability. Most adventuring takes place on planes that are NOT "shifting plane[s]", so it would seem to me to be a very niche ability in most games. Whenever I'd looked at it, I'd always preferred an energy resistance 20 or tremorsense 30'. Even more so in a Core game where NPCs won't be rocking the Darkstalker feat and there are a lot more ways to get eaten by a Remorhaz or hugged by a Magmin.



I think you're misunderstanding the ability. The shifting ability works on any plain regardless of it's traits (minus null magic zones and such of course), the fluff simply explains that you D-Door by being able to pass through shifts in reality which aren't really defined at all. Think of it as you have a basic sense for natural distortions in reality that link time and space together and the ability to traverse said path.
what i remembered with d-door: when you use it, you can't take any action until next turn. So can you make AoO?
I think you're misunderstanding the ability. The shifting ability works on any plain regardless of it's traits (minus null magic zones and such of course), the fluff simply explains that you D-Door by being able to pass through shifts in reality which aren't really defined at all. Think of it as you have a basic sense for natural distortions in reality that link time and space together and the ability to traverse said path.

And I don't think I am misunderstanding it. Directly quoting the DMG:
You have the supernatural ability to use the ever-shifting nature of planes such as Limbo and the Plane of Shadow to travel faster. You instinctively anticipate shifts in the reality of the plane that bring you closer to your destination, giving you the spell-like ability to use dimension door (as the spell cast at your character level) once every 1d4 rounds.

That says to me that you're using the shifting of planes that are highly morphic or magically morphic to achieve your dimension door rather than simply learning how do it on those planes and then applying it to others. Other planes which I wouldn't think naturally shift at a planar level every 1d4 rounds as Limbo and the Plane of Shadow aparently do. It also seems much more in keeping with Core's tendancy to not give people 4th level spells At Will and the Shadowdancer's Shadow Jump ability (which is a very weak version of dimension door) printed only 5 pages away.
I think you're misunderstanding the ability. The shifting ability works on any plain regardless of it's traits (minus null magic zones and such of course), the fluff simply explains that you D-Door by being able to pass through shifts in reality which aren't really defined at all. Think of it as you have a basic sense for natural distortions in reality that link time and space together and the ability to traverse said path.

And I don't think I am misunderstanding it. Directly quoting the DMG:
You have the supernatural ability to use the ever-shifting nature of planes such as Limbo and the Plane of Shadow to travel faster. You instinctively anticipate shifts in the reality of the plane that bring you closer to your destination, giving you the spell-like ability to use dimension door (as the spell cast at your character level) once every 1d4 rounds.

That says to me that you're using the shifting of planes that are highly morphic or magically morphic to achieve your dimension door rather than simply learning how do it on those planes and then applying it to others. Other planes which I wouldn't think naturally shift at a planar level every 1d4 rounds as Limbo and the Plane of Shadow aparently do. It also seems much more in keeping with Core's tendancy to not give people 4th level spells At Will and the Shadowdancer's Shadow Jump ability (which is a very weak version of dimension door) printed only 5 pages away.



The use of the words "such as" throw that interpretation off, particularly when the second sentence says "of the plane" not "of highly morphic planes", implying the plain you are on will function that way. All planes in D&D have bends and twists in reality such as planar breaches or naturally occurring gates, this class feature just allows you to make use of more minor and spontaneous bends and twists hat normal go unused. Aside from that no particular sentence explicitly states that the ability functions differently on different planes, which would be a pretty big mechanical issue to just gloss over.

EDIT: As a side note worth mentioning, the plane of shadow also overlaps the material, so one could argue that that would be the reason it would work on the material plane if not any other reason.
Nevertheless, you can see my argument and misgivings for your argument. It's a very generically worded description that may blur the fluff of the ability and it's actual stats. Always one to lean for the "reasonable" interpretation you can see where I'm coming from. If you ARE doing core only because, say you DM has a dislike for 6 book combo abilities then their interpretation of this ability should be something to check on.
Nevertheless, you can see my argument and misgivings for your argument.

I can't. It's abosultely clear. "...giving you the spell-like ability to use Dimension Door..." There is no ambiguity. You gain Dimension Door as an SLA. That's it.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Nevertheless, you can see my argument and misgivings for your argument. It's a very generically worded description that may blur the fluff of the ability and it's actual stats. Always one to lean for the "reasonable" interpretation you can see where I'm coming from. If you ARE doing core only because, say you DM has a dislike for 6 book combo abilities then their interpretation of this ability should be something to check on.



Oh defiantly, I feel like one of the main faults of early 3.5 material was the blur of fluff and statistics. A good example of this is The Cudgel That Never Forgets. The cudgel is a relic from complete divine and in earlier prints the fluff of the item was that so many of them where made originally to take out shape shifters or something like that and (as an intelligent item) it would spout out, and I quote "A cudgel that never forgets speaks little except during combat, during which it reminds its wielder in stentorian tones about the transgressions of each enemy, whether witnessed personally ("That bugbear wounded Lidda most grievously" or assumed based on creature type ("That succubus hath surely tempted many good men toward evil")". Nowhere in the stat block of the item does it have true seeing, and mechanical ability to detect alignment, nothing like that. Enter a friend of mine in a game our group at the time was playing. Although a friend of mine, I have to say that he was one of the more annoying players I've ever shared a table with. He would constantly argue over flavor text, he always hogged the RP spotlight, and would constantly change characters (and even admitted at one point that he did so so that he would have to be reintroduced giving him more face time).

This particular night he was playing a cleric of St. Cuthbert (the deity tied to the relic) and the moment anyone would say things contrary to what he wanted to do he would just exclaim "alright, my cudgel starts naming off your sins!" In an attempt to give himself a reason to disagree with people. I think someone was also playing a changeling and he went "okay, my cudgel tells me they're a changeling" despite no mechanical statistics saying either of these thongs could happen. the DM just wanting the game to get along let him have his way (though the sins thing didn't really fly since all of us were of good alignment) and such as the game till I noticed in my copy of complete divine (one of the last prints of the book before 3.5 was discontinued) completely lacked the flavor text about sins and shape changers which I offered to the DM to prove my point. He then repealed his take on the item and thee player then soon after changed characters (pretty much because he didnt get his way and had pissed everyone off in game). Things like that can really rub me the wrong way.

I digress though as I have gotten really off topic (READ: end rant).

The shifting quality does have something of an ambiguous mechanical reading too it, but I've always read it as such since core D&D generally assumes a fair lack of planar plot, which always made it hard for me to read it as you only get to shift on certain plains, that and I personally find D-door to be underpowered enough to have as a semi-at-will, however the beauty of the game is that some things are interpreted differently by others, so in the end I would say that as raw I feel it works fine regardless of current plane, but to each there own.
To be fair, EruditeApe I think of you as one of the people who's been drinking from the optimization pool too often. There are a few basics that are visible through core: Clerics heal in combat, Wizards use xd6 blast spells, Fighters make full attacks and take feats like Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword). You can cry that these are sub-optimal but they are the tactics that every player I know of who started in 3.0 and 3.5 used. It was the tactics described by the play testers. It is the most basic and unmodified state of 3.X even if it's not a superior state.

Introducing into all of this a class ability that grants a 4th level spell every 1d4 rounds is a VERY big assumption to make. While I wouldn't doubt (or care) were printed in ToB where I've had characters able to Solo monsters with a CR twice their level without batting an eye; in core where dwell Half-elves, LA +1 Hobgoblins, Toughness, and all manner of other underwhelming abilities I'll put my money on the weaker of the possible interpretations.

Edit: @Lashius Oh gods that sounds horrible. I try to avoid those kinds of people to the best of my ability or get very firm rulings put forth so that they can't twist things in their favor or to wreak havoc just because they feel confrontational today. I've always preferred the "Remember to forget to tell them when next game is" tactic myself. They are seldom interested enough in the games to really get bothered when they are excluded.
I never understood why the Dimension Doorability of Horizon Walker was considered a good ability. Most adventuring takes place on planes that are NOT "shifting plane[s]", so it would seem to me to be a very niche ability in most games. Whenever I'd looked at it, I'd always preferred an energy resistance 20 or tremorsense 30'. Even more so in a Core game where NPCs won't be rocking the Darkstalker feat and there are a lot more ways to get eaten by a Remorhaz or hugged by a Magmin.

From the SRD (emphasis added)
Terrain Mastery

At each level, the Horizon Walker adds a new terrain environment to their repertoire from those given below. Terrain mastery gives a horizon walker a bonus on checks involving a skill useful in that terrain, or some other appropriate benefit. A horizon walker also knows how to fight dangerous creatures typically found in that terrain, gaining a +1 insight bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls against creatures with that terrain mentioned in the Environment entry of their descriptions. The horizon walker only gains the bonus if the creature description specifically lists the terrain type.


Horizon walkers take their terrain mastery with them wherever they go. They retain their terrain mastery bonuses on skill checks, attack rolls, and damage rolls whether they’re actually in the relevant terrain or not.


Planar Terrain Mastery
Planar terrain mastery functions just like terrain mastery, except that the horizon walker can choose one of the planar categories at each level. The horizon walker can take a non-planar terrain type instead, if she wishes.


Given that it's generally accepted that a Horizon Walker keeps its fatigue immunity even when not in the desert, even though it's not a skill bonus, it's not unreasonable to assume that the Dim Door ability does the same.




Two... Ah ah ah! Three.. Ah ah ah! Four... Ah ah ah! Six... Ah ah ah!!
88534793 wrote:
Punctuation exists for a reason, and your neglect of the shift key is to the point where Social Services should be involved.
There are a few basics that are visible through core: Clerics heal in combat, Wizards use xd6 blast spells, Fighters make full attacks and take feats like Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword).

I've never, ever seen this in practice. I don't see why people trot this out like it's the holy grail of 3.5.  
You can cry that these are sub-optimal but they are the tactics that every player I know of who started in 3.0 and 3.5 used. It was the tactics described by the play testers. It is the most basic and unmodified state of 3.X even if it's not a superior state.

I'd like to see some evidence for that pretty damned big claim. It's clearly obvious everyone I've met that killing is more efficient, Greatswords are superior to bastard swords, Power Attack is "yes," and winning the action economy is more important that ineffective spells that will likely be inferior to a standard Fighter full attack.
Introducing into all of this a class ability that grants a 4th level spell every 1d4 rounds is a VERY big assumption to make.

It's an even bigger assumption to assume that a class ability would be made intentionally awful.

Also? Candle. Core really didn't care about spell level.
While I wouldn't doubt (or care) were printed in ToB where I've had characters able to Solo monsters with a CR twice their level without batting an eye; in core where dwell Half-elves, LA +1 Hobgoblins, Toughness, and all manner of other underwhelming abilities I'll put my money on the weaker of the possible interpretations.

In core, there also dwells the Wizard, the CoDZilla, and the Candle. Also, Holy Word and Wish loops.

Assuming it's weak because it's core is not a very good idea.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Supporting EruditeApe here. CoDzilla was originally intended to show just how overpowering and unbalanced a core-only environment can be. (The original CoDzilla quote makes it clear that even Divine Metamagic is overkill.)

The Horizon Walker clearly keeps its terrain mastery abilities in any terrain. This includes a level 11 character using Dimension Door at will, with a cooldown. (Outside of core, warlocks have been doing that since level 6 via Flee the Scene, but that's separate from here.) It really helps to realize just how powerful 11th level characters are.

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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)

 

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.

While the flavour text may suggest that the dimension door effect relies on the ever-shifting nature of certain planes, it doesn't outright state that you be on one of those planes in order to use it.

The most I would say against it apart from the flavour hints is that it's noticably better than most of the other Horizon Walker abilities.
There are a few basics that are visible through core: Clerics heal in combat, Wizards use xd6 blast spells, Fighters make full attacks and take feats like Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword).

I've never, ever seen this in practice. I don't see why people trot this out like it's the holy grail of 3.5.

If you've never ever seen a cleric heal in combat, a wizard use xd6 blast spells, a fighter make a full attack, or anyone with Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword), your experience of the game is weirdly lacking in commonplace occurences.  It would certainly be ridiculous for us to have had threads advising against options of those sorts if no-one was using them in the first place.

Not, however, that it makes an argument against the Horizon Walker using dimension door on non-shifting planes, since both mechanically strong and mechanically weak options exist in core.

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.
quicko googling ... Ranger 3 / Fighter 4 / Horizon Walker 7
builds are out there too.  Sometimes with a Pixie attached.




d20srd Horizon Walker:
Other (Planar)
If other planes are in use additional Planar Terrains can be created.

Huh, I never bothered to notice that before.
That's like plain old legal houserule territory.

Here comes your 19th forums breakdown ... ohh who's to blame, it ain't 5E driving you insane.

 

If you've never ever seen a cleric heal in combat, a wizard use xd6 blast spells, a fighter make a full attack, or anyone with Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword), your experience of the game is weirdly lacking in commonplace occurences.

I've never seen a wizard use xd6 damage spells when a kill wasn't guaranteed, or when they were unprepared and trying to kill a golem, I've never seen a cleric use a Cure spell in combat, and I most certainly have not seen the use of a bastard sword. Actually, I retract that last one, I've seen an Ubermoose. But, beyond that, no. Full attacks are the only intelligent thing for a melee character not from ToB to do.
It would certainly be ridiculous for us to have had threads advising against options of those sorts if no-one was using them in the first place.

Why do preservative packets have warnings against eating them? Or on bleach canisters? Or other basic common sense warnings?

Just because some people get their kicks from chugging household chemicals does not mean that's normal.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
What is an "ubermoose" just out of curiosity
What is an "ubermoose" just out of curiosity

Paladin/Knight of the Iron Glacier, generally with a touch of Beastmaster. Bonus points for Halfling Outrider.

Basically, it's one of the superior bodies for an ubermount. Sadly, the prereqs are stupid. One of the requirements is EWP:Bastard Sword.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
I've never seen a cleric use a Cure spell in combat, and I most certainly have not seen the use of a bastard sword.

*raises hand sheepishly*
Remember that dwarf scout/favored soul... Yeah.  Guess what his deity's favored weapon was?  And guess what spells were taken every spell level...  
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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
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Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
HEY! It was my first 3.5 character, and things worked differently in 2E.
"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
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Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Oh, yeah? Well... Well... Yo mama!
"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
Interesting ubermount idea I have actually never seen that before.
Oh, yeah? Well... Well... Yo mama!

To Question is to Doubt.
Interesting ubermount idea I have actually never seen that before.

With good reason. Quite simply, the prereqs mean it is veery difficult to make, and would generally be inferior to a normal Ubermount. Or an Ashworm Dragoon ubermount. Which is sad, because I really like the ubermoose.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Hmm... I think I might be able to shave a touch off of that. It's the mounted combat feats that bug me more than the EWP.

On an unrelated note, what's the usual structure for a build involving a PrC that provides a special mount analogue if you're Supermount!ing it? Pal5 / PrC 4 / Beastmaster 1 / Outrider 10, possibly adjusting the Outrider/PrC balance depending on how awesome the PrC's dedicated class features are?

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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)

 

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.

Pally 5/Beastmaster 1/Outrider 10/PrC 4 is the traditional way, IIRC.

Or, Pally 5/Beastmaster 1/PrC X(However much you need to get the special mount)/Outrider 10/PrC Y 
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Hmmmm.

The PrC's feat requirements are Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, EWP(Bastard sword), and Animal Affinity. Beastmaster requires Skill Focus (Handle Animal); the skill requirements otherwise overlap so I think (to first order) that won't be a problem.

What's your reading on the MIC's Battle Bridle (9000gp) or the  Riding Boots (12000gp) with regards to counting as those prerequisites? Part of the benefit of having a feat is meeting requirements based on it. Assuming THAT works, we could see, say:

Strongheart Halfling
Paladin 1 (Animal Affinity, EWP: Bastard Sword))
Pal2
Pal3 Mounted Combat* (Get the Battle Bridle between now and level 5, expensive but I think affordable.)
Pal4
Pal5
Knight of the Iron Glacier 1 (Mounted Archery - this is why we did Mounted Combat as a hard feat, dual prereuquisite)
Halfling Outrider 1
Halfling Outrider 2
Halfling Outrider 3 (Skill Focus: Handle Animal)
Halfling Outrider 4
Halfling Outrider 5
Beastmaster 1 (Devoted Tracker)
Halfling Outrider 6-10 (Natural Bond)
Knight of the Iron Glacier 2-4 (whatever 18th level feat)

Effective paladin level: 19 (all the perks, including SR 24)
Effective druid level: 16 (all but the last tier of perks, which is purely numeric).

Not necessarily the best, but it does shave a feat at the cost of your mount's face body slot.

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)

 

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.

In core material, the closest to an Ubermount is probably just a druid mounted on her spellbuffed animal companion.

EDIT: Forgot about Devoted Tracker's effect not being specifically restrained to normally valid animal companions.
I've never seen a wizard use xd6 damage spells when a kill wasn't guaranteed, or when they were unprepared and trying to kill a golem, I've never seen a cleric use a Cure spell in combat, and I most certainly have not seen the use of a bastard sword. Actually, I retract that last one, I've seen an Ubermoose. But, beyond that, no. Full attacks are the only intelligent thing for a melee character not from ToB to do.

And yet they're quite commonplace despite their inefficiency, since many of the ideas familiar to optimization simply don't make an appearance for a lot of groups (or indeed, for a lot of official material).
It would certainly be ridiculous for us to have had threads advising against options of those sorts if no-one was using them in the first place.

Why do preservative packets have warnings against eating them? Or on bleach canisters? Or other basic common sense warnings?

Just because some people get their kicks from chugging household chemicals does not mean that's normal.

People aren't born with the ability to identify bleach or to know the effects of preservatives.  Much of what we know is forged through a long maturing process whereby we assimilate a vast body of information through both instruction and experience.  In this case, that translates to the effect of optimization experience.

It is indeed normal for people to use most the core options (including cure spells in combat, xd6 spells, and bastard swords) because optimization isn't the general state of the D&D game.  By definition, "optimized" is at the top end of the scale in terms of adventuring efficiency, rather than the middle.

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

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

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
I've never seen a wizard use xd6 damage spells when a kill wasn't guaranteed, or when they were unprepared and trying to kill a golem, I've never seen a cleric use a Cure spell in combat, and I most certainly have not seen the use of a bastard sword. Actually, I retract that last one, I've seen an Ubermoose. But, beyond that, no. Full attacks are the only intelligent thing for a melee character not from ToB to do.

And yet they're quite commonplace despite their inefficiency, since many of the ideas familiar to optimization simply don't make an appearance for a lot of groups (or indeed, for a lot of official material).

Got some support for that massive claim, buddy?
People aren't born with the ability to identify bleach or to know the effects of preservatives.  Much of what we know is forged through a long maturing process whereby we assimilate a vast body of information through both instruction and experience.  In this case, that translates to the effect of optimization experience.

No, but by the time people are capable of playing D&D, I expect them to be able to put two and two together. It's obvious to anyone who thinks about it for more than two seconds that it's less efficient to hurt without killing than it is to prevent actions, since a monster with one HP hits just as hard as one with a thousand. It's also basic to anyone who's read the monster manual that cures are outpased by damage.

I don't expect people to be born knowing these things. I do, however, expect people to be able to figure out the very basics by themselves.
It is indeed normal for people to use most the core options (including cure spells in combat, xd6 spells, and bastard swords) because optimization isn't the general state of the D&D game.  By definition, "optimized" is at the top end of the scale in terms of adventuring efficiency, rather than the middle.

Again, got some support for those claims?

And, no, optimization is not on "the top end" by defintion. It is working for efficiency. That's it.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
I'll leap to support Slagger on that first comment there. I have in the past five years played in five groups, three of those I'd call optimizer groups, we know the speel (Thou shall not give up caster levels, et al.)

Even in those optimizer groups, we set targets as a group (mostly to save the DM's head). Usually it will be something like "High Tier 3/Low Tier 2 build" we sort of spit ball ideas and come up with a team that works well, as individuals that can help support one another (See the Dead for Nothing Team in Tempest's sig for an example of such a team).

Now, in the other two groups, which have been shorter lived I could literally walk into the room and look around tagging everyone as different play styles altogether. Unskilled power gamer (had to make his character for him), tactless munchkin (made the most powerful character, regardless of what that might do to party dynamic), role playing rogue (low power character, but plenty of fun), goof (played an illusionist and mostly just messed with both the PC's and npcs, still really effective).

 Most of the time I've been asked to help someone build a character (on this forum or not) they're asking to fill one of the four boxes, largely what Slagger describes. Just pick some random posts. Weather these ideas are the way we are supposed to play or not, a lot of people expect that to be the way it's played.
I've never seen a wizard use xd6 damage spells when a kill wasn't guaranteed, or when they were unprepared and trying to kill a golem, I've never seen a cleric use a Cure spell in combat, and I most certainly have not seen the use of a bastard sword. Actually, I retract that last one, I've seen an Ubermoose. But, beyond that, no. Full attacks are the only intelligent thing for a melee character not from ToB to do.

And yet they're quite commonplace despite their inefficiency, since many of the ideas familiar to optimization simply don't make an appearance for a lot of groups (or indeed, for a lot of official material).

Got some support for that massive claim, buddy?

I can certainly speak for my personal experience (including my observation of my fellow players online and offline), but what kind of support would you like, and which particular idea are you challenging?

Keep in mind that I'd ask you to support your own position on an equivalent basis.
No, but by the time people are capable of playing D&D, I expect them to be able to put two and two together. It's obvious to anyone who thinks about it for more than two seconds that it's less efficient to hurt without killing than it is to prevent actions, since a monster with one HP hits just as hard as one with a thousand. It's also basic to anyone who's read the monster manual that cures are outpased by damage.

I don't expect people to be born knowing these things. I do, however, expect people to be able to figure out the very basics by themselves.

That's the sort of information that actually varies a lot with different game systems, and it does rely on knowing quite a bit of the underlying data of the game.

I note that you've assumed that players will have read the Monster Manual and will therefore know that curative magic is outpaced by the damage of monstrous opponents.  But why should players automatically read the Monster Manual (as opposed to the DM), and even if they do, there will be relatively few people capable of meaningfully examining the data unless they made a deliberate attempt at finding that specific answer.
And, no, optimization is not on "the top end" by defintion. It is working for efficiency. That's it.

Optimization is the process of aiming for an optimum result.  By definition, an optimum result is the best and most favourable result.

Aiming for optimum efficiency is one possible goal of optimization, though you could easily be aiming to optimize some other element with little regard for efficiency.  Ultimately, optimization involves finding the best way to meet a given set of parameters.

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

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

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
I can certainly speak for my personal experience (including my observation of my fellow players online and offline), but what kind of support would you like, and which particular idea are you challenging?

Your claim of most people not optimizing.
Keep in mind that I'd ask you to support your own position on an equivalent basis.

I'm not the one claiming to know the One True Waytm.

Which is all right there in the Monster Manual and the PHB.
I note that you've assumed that players will have read the Monster Manual and will therefore know that curative magic is outpaced by the damage of monstrous opponents.  But why should players automatically read the Monster Manual (as opposed to the DM), and even if they do, there will be relatively few people capable of meaningfully examining the data unless they made a deliberate attempt at finding that specific answer.

Because knowing the game is cool?
Optimization is the process of aiming for an optimum result.  By definition, an optimum result is the best and most favourable result.

Aiming for optimum efficiency is one possible goal of optimization, though you could easily be aiming to optimize some other element with little regard for efficiency.  Ultimately, optimization involves finding the best way to meet a given set of parameters.

And you still haven't supported your claim of basic optimization being the "top end."
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth