Melee optimization help?

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Well I recently asked for help with a Warblade/Artificer build for a very difficult campaign my DM has in store for myself and one other player. That went quickly down the drain once put into practice. Primarily because it was an evil campaign and my companion has this mental block when it comes to playing evil. She keeps thinking it will go well but then put into practice she turns cartoon villain overthetop and then ends up hating the character and wanting a do over. So...here we are remaking characters with the intent of pursuing 'good'.


My DM is still allowing gestalts but doesn't want any gish types. I understand this limits us, but if we pick a melee class he'd like both sides of the gestalt to be such. If we pick a caster, both sides are types of caster. Prestige classes same deal. Despite the limits he has opened up some new and possibly very fun options. We ARE ALLOWED to level two PRC's simultaneously in the gestalt build.


I am playing a DM created sub-race called Ironbeard Dwarves which the DM pitched the idea of to me and I was sold immediately. If you have seen the movie 300, think of the spartan society and upbringing, then apply it to a dwarf! The abilities are:  

* +2 natural armor
* Stats: -2 chr, +4 con, +2 str (on top of regular dwarf stat line, so -4 chr, +6 con, +2 str)
* Warcry: +1 to att and dmg once per day 2d4 rounds
* Son of Iron - ironbeard dwarf may use fort in liew of reflex or will once per day.
* May use str as intimidation check


My stat line ended as:  20 STR, 16 DEX, 24 CON,   14 INT, 12 WIS, 8 CHR


So heres the challenge. I Intend Warblade to be the starting class, not necessary to take to level 20 however, especially since dual PRC's are allowed. I was thinking the other half to start as fighter for some much needed feats. I intend to stay fully melee with this character. No casting at all please. Something like battlesmith may be considered but the character will shun ANY type of casting.


My partner this time is playing a Barbarian/?? with the intent of PRC'ing into Bear Warrior, Frienzied Berserker or perhaps both I'm unsure. So we definately are lacking some things but the DM ensures he will not tailor encounters to exploit our weeknesses, but rather to put our strengths to the ultimate test as well as our ingenuity. My compantion will definately be able to put out some hefty numbers and I'm always a sucker for big numbers myself but could be convinced to go tanky with this. I am debating right now between 3 different styles of combat. Axe/shield, 2 weapon, or minotaur great hammer(already cleared and allowed). The character begins play with nothing. He is sent out with a dagger to prove his worth much akin to the spartan being sent out in the movie 300.


So the big questions I am looking for advice. How would you build a STRICTLY melee (although something like Battlesmith might sneak in) level 20 Dwarf starting with a Warblade base? Not necessary to include feat choices, although feel free to offer that advice if you feel like committing the time! Primarily looking for choices of PRC, if any and base classes in the build. I've been tossing around a LOT of ideas and can't nail them down =(.          

My question would be "What's wrong with gish-ing?" (mostly because I don't know enough about non-core base classes to help much on the other details you're looking for Laughing) I'm sure a lot of gestalt parties would like it if the spell-casters were able to defend themselves even better than normal in case of emergencies.

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Nothing wrong with gish builds. Its just a stipulation the DM set us. He doesnt normally allow Gestalt at all so I'm not going to argue. He has some funny restrictions from time to time but thats ok by me, especially this time since I do not want any type of casting with the character anyways. I dont want a character that can handle every challenge every time. I just want something thats optimized within these confines, or some helpful pointers! =).


Suppose I should mention, 3rd party books are fine. 
Rather than Fighter for grabbing extra feats, the Fighter bonus feat Rogue is a generally better choice here unless you're going for the Dungeoncrasher alternate class features or similar. The Fighter bonus feat Rogue will give you more skills as well as Uncanny Dodge and other useful abilities depending on how far you progress. Normally I'd also endorse 1 level of Martial Wizard for that bonus feat and a HP magnet familiar, but that might not mesh well with this backstory.

Sadly, I've already got a gestalt build that sounds like it fits your partner almost exactly that I've been working on (some alt rules aside). *sigh*
if you want to build a charger, barbarian 2 is always a good option. with ACF from CC, it gives you pounce for free. frenzied berserker is solid because of his powerattack bonus, but keep in mind to go away alone every morning and burn away your frienzies. i also find the resolute ACF for fighters( i think it is also in CC) solid for melee types, cause your willsave will suck.
i also find the resolute ACF for fighters( i think it is also in CC) solid for melee types, cause your willsave will suck.



While it is nice, it's covered somewhat by two things (I think):  one of the racial features (Son of Iron) and certain maneuvers/stances.
Appreciate the feedback guys.

As far as a few level fighter dip, yes I was planning on snagging dngeoncrasher. The resolute feature probably won't be necessary do to the racial and warblade abilities.

I was considering taking a barbarian level or two to get into dwarven battlerager...which doesn't seem all that great. I also love frenzied berserker but it will have to wait for another build as I dont want to steal any thunder from my companion. Been looking at prc's like dwarven defender, deep warden, depstone sentinel, a refluffing of warforged juggernaut etc. Trying to stay within the confines of your typical heavy armored, gruff fantasy story dwarf. Making it difficult on myself probably.
Couple points of interest, the deepstone sentinal is probably one of the better prestiege classes out there. It gives you a maneuver boost and also a large defensive boost with some neat class features. Also the pre reqs aren't very steep. The next point you might find neat for your spartan character is the "berzerker" class found in deities and demi-gods. An obscure book but the class is flavourful and a good fit to you're design. I would recommend against even considering dwarven defender. It is poorly designed and doesn't have anything deep stone won't get you. Look into going off maximizing attacks of oppertunities and defensive maneuvers such as tripping. If your dm is planning on playing to you're strengths then having those options to hold the baddies still while your "companion" charges and rips them to shreds. You might also consider a a crusader dip for the benefits of thicket of blades and some of the healing stuff (notlarge healing but handy to have since you don't have access to a full caster) anyway that's my 2 copper take it or leave it.
Factotum//Wizard. Or Factotum/Crusader//Warblade.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
I repeat I'm not playing a Gish.
And what does a factotum have to do with being a gish? It's the best "passive" class in the game, and if you think that glorified half-casting and 3/4BAB makes it a gish then... well, you have more problems than a DM who sucks at homebrew.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Sorry. Posted on the wrong thread. Derp.
Keep the replies coming guys, they are appreciated.

Erudite, although your suggestions may not qualify as 'gish' they do completely go against the other gudelines. Those being that if my choice is melee then all classes involved are strictly melee oriented, no casting at all. I can include things like ranger or paladin but must chose the acf that forgoes casting. Same applies if I were to select arcane caster, or psion or devine caster. We are using gestalt as a means to take a theme and run with it. He doesnt want characters that can launch fireballs one round then close with a greatsword the next. I understand a lot of you may find this a silly restriction but the alternative is non gestalt using regular multiclassing so I will make do with his rules.

So as it stands I am looking at weapon master and warmaster from sworx and fist. 3.0 i know but both cleared for use. Deepstone sentinel is still on the table as is a reworded (to apply to dwarves) eternal blade. I also had my DM take a good look at warforged juggernaut. He said as long as I write it up to apply to dwarves renaming things like construct perfection to armored perfection etc etc then he likes it. Opinions?
Man I would love to play in a campaign with these rules. I would build full caster. 1 side would be Wizard 3/ Master Specialist2/ Incantatrix 10/ Archmage 1/ Halruan Elder 4. And the other side would be Cleric 3/ Human Paragon 3/ Shadow Caster 1/ Dwoemerkeeper 10/ xxx 3. Would be the most broken thing ever.
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