Building a Fun, Mid-Optimized Low Epic PC

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Hi all, this is my first time posting to these forums, though I'm a big fan of the Weekly Optimization Showcase and other ongoing series.

My friend is planning a level 22 campaign, themed around dragon-hunting and the great game of Xorvintaal (MMV). This will be everyone's first time playing Epic, and the highest I've ever played before is level 15. The biggest problem that I'm having is that I can't decide what to play. I want to play something strong, whose power is appreciated by the party without overpowering everyone else, who are less into optimizing than I am. I would be content playing a support role, but I don't want to be useless or forgotten. If I was a damage-dealer then I'd like to be able to do significant damage, but not one-hit KO things (though I suppose I'd like to be ABLE to, if it came down to it, because with dragons if you don't take them out then they'll take you out pretty quick). Do you see the kind of vibe I'm going for? Strong, maybe a little OP, but nothing that would require a great deal of cheese to pull off. I don't want to have to resort to spurious readings of rules, because it would be easy for my DM to say "Nope, your thing doesn't work." I want to be legit, capable, but played the way the powers involved are supposed to be played. For this reason I'm doubtful of casters, especially since my DM doesn't really recognize their power, and I would be corrupted by the power. Most of all, I want to be COOL. I want my character to be awesome. 

There are probably going to be only three members of the party, myself included. One's going to go beatstick BSF, I don't know if via Ubercharger or straight Fighter or what. She liked Duskblade playing before, but she probably won't want to repeat. ToB might be too much bookkeeping for her, but it could go that way. The other player is likely to be a scouty type, either actual Scout or something similar. He's been Scout and Warlock before, so he likes medium range and the ability to get out of harm's way quickly. So, for my build, I don't want to do so much damage either by battle or by spellcasting (Mailman style) as to invalidate the BSF, I don't want to be too skillful as to invalidate the Scout, and I don't want to overpower/powergame with a God/Batman wizard.

My potential ideas are (built to level 20 unless stated otherwise):
A Dragonfire Adept 20, who's spent all WBL to buy protective items to make him virtually unkillable. Not very offensively strong or versatile, but I like his personality. I know that I could buy those items for anyone, but I like a "dragon" with a hoard.
An Erudite 20/Psionic PrC 2 who would have basically all spells and powers known. Definitely overpowered, only limited by his indifference to common beings.
A Tibbit Rogue who fights with feats like Confound the Big Folk to get lots of SA damage. But SA against dragons? 
A Frenzied Berserker, just because it's pretty fun, crazy, and does insane damage. Less TPK potential at Epic levels, riiiiight? Thinking Thri-Kreen just because it's a chance to play one.
Shadowcraft Mage, because I love the idea of illusions that are realer than real. Still, since everything will have Mind Blank, the more creative and clever illusions are unusable and I get stuck with Shadow Fireballs and other direct damage.
A Paladin (or pseudo-Paladin RKV). The Paladin is interesting just because if you go Paladin 12, you get Earth Glide. Which is cool. And RKV can get 9th level Cleric spells and 8th level maneuvers.
A Chameleon, because if I can't pick one thing I could do them all.
Wizard/Swiftblade, focusing mainly on melee (maxing out at 6th level spells, and rounding off with Warblade). Kind of a fun and dashing swordsman idea.
Truenamer 20, because at high levels with lots of cheese I could get my Truespeak as high as an Incantatrix gets its Spellcraft. Gates everywhere.
Eternal Blade, to be a bit like Link. Hey, listen! Maybe make him mute. But it might step on the BSF's toes.
Stalker of Kharash, because Rangers like Aragorn are cool, and hunting evil by scent is neat. But what damage would it do?
Jade Phoenix Mage is neat because at this level it can grab 9ths, but might be too strong.
Force Missile Mage. If we're going classic Dungeons and Dragons, Magic Missile is as classic as it gets.
Teflemmar Shadowlord, because my DM loves Rogues and Assassins and would probably love to see it played. But again, the damage...
Master Transmogrifist. Probably the strongest build here, apart from the Erudite. Could lead to Persisted Shapechange with Infinite Variety abuse. 
Soulbow/Cragtop Archer could allow me to attack from almost a mile away, but the damage is pitiful.
Healer 20 is certainly not overpowered, would be supportive, and can cast Sanctified spells. But it's a bit boring.

I've come up with some other ideas too, most of them gishy somehow (Sacred Fist w/ Apostle of Peace, things with Ur-Priest, etc), but those are basically just casters, and not that cool.
Human
Erudite Spell To Power 10 / UrPriest 2 / Psychic Theurge 8 / Chameleon 2

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-____- Well, I guess this is what I get for posting in the optimization forum. Did neither of you see that I don't want to go overpowered?

I don't need Epic Spellcasting, I'm sure that if I were to play any sort of caster and didn't restrain myself, I could decimate the campaign. Heck, all I'd need is Hide From Dragons and a Maximized Shivering Touch to take out any of the campaign's intended big bads. That's easy. The DM's likely to ban Epic Spellcasting anyway because he wouldn't want to deal with it, but I don't think I'd use it even if I could. It's just not needed.

That's a terrible build, awaken. Elan Erudite 20 is far superior. Find a Wyrm Wizard and take him to a demiplane, where you use Body Outside Body clones to Psychic Reform him into choosing all spells, Arcane and Divine, as Arcane. Learn them all, and then Teleport Through Time to bring him back home. With Mental Pinnacle and Improved Overchannel you can refuel your power points and augment anything as much as you want.
-____- Well, I guess this is what I get for posting in the optimization forum. Did neither of you see that I don't want to go overpowered?

...You really don't get it, do you? Epic and overpowered are the same thing. You don't get one without the other.
I don't need Epic Spellcasting, I'm sure that if I were to play any sort of caster and didn't restrain myself, I could decimate the campaign.

Anything you can do, the DM can do better. Especially at epic levels.
Heck, all I'd need is Hide From Dragons and a Maximized Shivering Touch to take out any of the campaign's intended big bads.
By "any of the campaign's intended big bads" you mean "Any dragon with a mental stat below 10 who's never seen a spellbook before," then yeah. That kind of stuff is easy to get around.
That's a terrible build, awaken. Elan Erudite 20 is far superior. Find a Wyrm Wizard and take him to a demiplane, where you use Body Outside Body clones to Psychic Reform him into choosing all spells, Arcane and Divine, as Arcane. Learn them all, and then Teleport Through Time to bring him back home. With Mental Pinnacle and Improved Overchannel you can refuel your power points and augment anything as much as you want.



This "rules" thing. You should learn it before vomitting all over the forums.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
How about a Paladin with the feat Sword of the Arcane Order?  If you worship Mystra, this feat allows you to cast Sorc/Wiz spells in your Paladin spell slots.   As for PrC ideas, how do Knight of the Raven (from Expidition to Castle Ravenloft), Sanctified Mind (from Lords of Madness, gives Power resistance as the class capstone), Soulguard (from Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells, less ways of getting your mind hacked/jacked), or Triadic Knight (from Champions of Valor, though it'd be interesting to pull off with your DM if you chose to try to keep S.o.t.A.O.) sound as choices?


I'll come back with a potential build later, computer on the fritz, and I need to reload a few programs anyway.
...You really don't get it, do you? Epic and overpowered are the same thing. You don't get one without the other. Anything you can do, the DM can do better. Especially at epic levels.


The thing is, the DM of this Epic campaign has never played a level higher than 13. He's usually like level 4. He won't know to stick Mind Blank, Freedom of Movement, and True Seeing on every monster that lives. He thinks Rogues are stronger than Wizards, or at least about equal. If I suspected this campaign to be truly of Epic proportions, I wouldn't have any qualms about going full OP. But I'm toning myself down because his idea of higher challenges is upping HD and DR.

By "any of the campaign's intended big bads" you mean "Any dragon with a mental stat below 10 who's never seen a spellbook before," then yeah. That kind of stuff is easy to get around.


By "any of the campaign's intended big bads" I mean any dragon that my friend plans to generate using a dragon creation program he's writing for the campaign. Strength and Int through the roof, but Dex 10, always. If he makes the dragon a full caster I'd resort to AMF and Hamstring Attack, if I went ToB. And no, this is not the kind of DM who has tinfoil hats and Contingent Celerity.

That's a terrible build, awaken. Elan Erudite 20 is far superior. Find a Wyrm Wizard and take him to a demiplane, where you use Body Outside Body clones to Psychic Reform him into choosing all spells, Arcane and Divine, as Arcane. Learn them all, and then Teleport Through Time to bring him back home. With Mental Pinnacle and Improved Overchannel you can refuel your power points and augment anything as much as you want.



This "rules" thing. You should learn it before vomitting all over the forums.


Sorry, what? That plan is airtight. StP Erudite can learn any spell, provided you take Improved Manifesting to give yourself 10th level powers (by adjusting the Epic Spell rules to suit powers). The Wu Jen spell Body Outside Body states that you lose all spellcasting ability, but not SLA or SUs. Many builds hinge upon this. Psionics is, by definition, SLAs. Ergo, Body Outside Body creates ML/5 copies with PP reserves equal to yours at the time of manifestation, and are completely expendible in terms of XP. Mental Pinnacle will get you ML*3 temp PP for a fraction of that, meaning that you could use an Augmented Temporal Acceleration and then churn out Mental Pinnacles to refuel PP. If you want to game the system even more, use Soul Crystal (a standard action power) to create effective, no-use-psionic-device power stones that also have an activation time of one standard action, to bypass those casting times and unique power per day limitations. Improved Overchannel won't let you augment AS MUCH as you want, sure, but ML 40 is fine by me, and you can use Delay Death (or Pact of Return) to make it insignificant. As far as the Wyrm Wizard goes, by Geasing him and using Psychic Reformation to force him to pick and repick new spells known, you can get any and all spells as arcane, which the clones could learn and then Psychic Chiurgery into you. (I'm assuming you're of course using Persistant Power from Hyperconscious in order to keep the clones around long enough.) So, the end result of this is infinite PP-fueled, all spells known, infinite actions/turn (with Temporal Acceleration and clones), God. Where did I lose track of this "rules" thing?
The thing is, the DM of this Epic campaign has never played a level higher than 13. He's usually like level 4. He won't know to stick Mind Blank, Freedom of Movement, and True Seeing on every monster that lives. He thinks Rogues are stronger than Wizards, or at least about equal. If I suspected this campaign to be truly of Epic proportions, I wouldn't have any qualms about going full OP. But I'm toning myself down because his idea of higher challenges is upping HD and DR.

Then what are you doing on an Optimization board?
By "any of the campaign's intended big bads" I mean any dragon that my friend plans to generate using a dragon creation program he's writing for the campaign. Strength and Int through the roof, but Dex 10, always. If he makes the dragon a full caster I'd resort to AMF and Hamstring Attack, if I went ToB. And no, this is not the kind of DM who has tinfoil hats and Contingent Celerity.

So your DM has never even thought of the concept of immunity? See the above question.
Sorry, what? That plan is airtight. StP Erudite can learn any spell, provided you take Improved Manifesting to give yourself 10th level powers (by adjusting the Epic Spell rules to suit powers). The Wu Jen spell Body Outside Body states that you lose all spellcasting ability, but not SLA or SUs. Many builds hinge upon this. Psionics is, by definition, SLAs. Ergo, Body Outside Body creates ML/5 copies with PP reserves equal to yours at the time of manifestation, and are completely expendible in terms of XP. Mental Pinnacle will get you ML*3 temp PP for a fraction of that, meaning that you could use an Augmented Temporal Acceleration and then churn out Mental Pinnacles to refuel PP. If you want to game the system even more, use Soul Crystal (a standard action power) to create effective, no-use-psionic-device power stones that also have an activation time of one standard action, to bypass those casting times and unique power per day limitations. Improved Overchannel won't let you augment AS MUCH as you want, sure, but ML 40 is fine by me, and you can use Delay Death (or Pact of Return) to make it insignificant. As far as the Wyrm Wizard goes, by Geasing him and using Psychic Reformation to force him to pick and repick new spells known, you can get any and all spells as arcane, which the clones could learn and then Psychic Chiurgery into you. (I'm assuming you're of course using Persistant Power from Hyperconscious in order to keep the clones around long enough.) So, the end result of this is infinite PP-fueled, all spells known, infinite actions/turn (with Temporal Acceleration and clones), God. Where did I lose track of this "rules" thing?

Lemme tell you the very, very first thing you did wrong with that whole laughable chain of arrogance and ignorance; You forgot that what you're doing requires in-game action and the hinting down of an incredibly specific build. In other words, you're trying to be "optimized," but what you're really doing is playing "Mother May I" with the DM. It isn't even like an Archivist, where the Magicmart is solid, you're playing Calvinball and hoping the DM won't notice.

And that's ignoring the many, many other problems with your post.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
The thing is, the DM of this Epic campaign has never played a level higher than 13. He's usually like level 4. He won't know to stick Mind Blank, Freedom of Movement, and True Seeing on every monster that lives. He thinks Rogues are stronger than Wizards, or at least about equal. If I suspected this campaign to be truly of Epic proportions, I wouldn't have any qualms about going full OP. But I'm toning myself down because his idea of higher challenges is upping HD and DR.

Then what are you doing on an Optimization board?
By "any of the campaign's intended big bads" I mean any dragon that my friend plans to generate using a dragon creation program he's writing for the campaign. Strength and Int through the roof, but Dex 10, always. If he makes the dragon a full caster I'd resort to AMF and Hamstring Attack, if I went ToB. And no, this is not the kind of DM who has tinfoil hats and Contingent Celerity.

So your DM has never even thought of the concept of immunity? See the above question.


I've also posted this on the regular board. I posted this on the optimization board because I know that people who are capable of optimizing are capable of optimizing a non-optimal class. An optimized Knight is weaker than a non-optimized Sorcerer, but for my purposes it would be more fun.


Sorry, what? That plan is airtight. StP Erudite can learn any spell, provided you take Improved Manifesting to give yourself 10th level powers (by adjusting the Epic Spell rules to suit powers). The Wu Jen spell Body Outside Body states that you lose all spellcasting ability, but not SLA or SUs. Many builds hinge upon this. Psionics is, by definition, SLAs. Ergo, Body Outside Body creates ML/5 copies with PP reserves equal to yours at the time of manifestation, and are completely expendible in terms of XP. Mental Pinnacle will get you ML*3 temp PP for a fraction of that, meaning that you could use an Augmented Temporal Acceleration and then churn out Mental Pinnacles to refuel PP. If you want to game the system even more, use Soul Crystal (a standard action power) to create effective, no-use-psionic-device power stones that also have an activation time of one standard action, to bypass those casting times and unique power per day limitations. Improved Overchannel won't let you augment AS MUCH as you want, sure, but ML 40 is fine by me, and you can use Delay Death (or Pact of Return) to make it insignificant. As far as the Wyrm Wizard goes, by Geasing him and using Psychic Reformation to force him to pick and repick new spells known, you can get any and all spells as arcane, which the clones could learn and then Psychic Chiurgery into you. (I'm assuming you're of course using Persistant Power from Hyperconscious in order to keep the clones around long enough.) So, the end result of this is infinite PP-fueled, all spells known, infinite actions/turn (with Temporal Acceleration and clones), God. Where did I lose track of this "rules" thing?

Lemme tell you the very, very first thing you did wrong with that whole laughable chain of arrogance and ignorance; You forgot that what you're doing requires in-game action and the hinting down of an incredibly specific build. In other words, you're trying to be "optimized," but what you're really doing is playing "Mother May I" with the DM. It isn't even like an Archivist, where the Magicmart is solid, you're playing Calvinball and hoping the DM won't notice.

And that's ignoring the many, many other problems with your post.





No, don't ignore the many, many other problems. Address them outright, because I don't see them. And I also don't see what you mean about "Mother May I". Assuming that a Wyrm Wizard or Recaster exists in the world, or ANY sort of way for an arcane caster to get a single divine spell of thier choice, which isn't too much of a stretch, then everything else is given. That's not a specific build, that's a class. It's as likely as there being a single Death Delver or Incantatrix. It's also assuming that Geometer can't change whether or not divine spells count as arcane or vice versa. If  those classes don't happen to exist, then get Wish and use your clones to Wish (or Reality Revision) some arcane scrolls of divine-only spells. It doesn't matter if they couldn't be made otherwise, it's Wish! And hey, even if not, you've still got all Arcane spells, including Wish, so you effectively have all 6th level or lower Divine spells too. But that scrolls thing should work, even if nothing else does. After that, you're golden. It's all things that you're doing on your own, using RAW, *mostly* RAI, and nothing that you aren't able to. So what about these many many other problems?
I've also posted this on the regular board. I posted this on the optimization board because I know that people who are capable of optimizing are capable of optimizing a non-optimal class. An optimized Knight is weaker than a non-optimized Sorcerer, but for my purposes it would be more fun.

And an optimized Knight would probably roflstom all the BBEGs.

What you really should play is a God Wizard. Win while letting the rest of the team feel useful.
No, don't ignore the many, many other problems. Address them outright, because I don't see them.

Nah. That'd require effort, and it's pointless because it the very basis of your "plan" is flawed.
And I also don't see what you mean about "Mother May I". Assuming that a Wyrm Wizard or Recaster exists in the world, or ANY sort of way for an arcane caster to get a single divine spell of thier choice, which isn't too much of a stretch, then everything else is given. That's not a specific build, that's a class. It's as likely as there being a single Death Delver or Incantatrix.

Something that is completely up to the DM to provide. This isn't the Magic Mart, the DM has complete control over this one. It's "Mother May I," plain and simple.
It's also assuming that Geometer can't change whether or not divine spells count as arcane or vice versa.

I'm going to do you a favor and ignore that.
If  those classes don't happen to exist, then get Wish and use your clones to Wish (or Reality Revision) some arcane scrolls of divine-only spells. It doesn't matter if they couldn't be made otherwise, it's Wish!

Wrong Wish has definite and completely explicit limits. Anything above goes into "Mother May I," and completely made up spells, such as an Arcane analog of a divine spell, is most definitely outside of the limits.
And hey, even if not, you've still got all Arcane spells, including Wish, so you effectively have all 6th level or lower Divine spells too.

And a Wizard can do that, only better, while singing "Anything you can do, I can do better," especially since you don't actually get 9s without going into houserules and... wait for it... "Mother May I."
But that scrolls thing should work, even if nothing else does. After that, you're golden.

Nope.
It's all things that you're doing on your own, using RAW, *mostly* RAI,

Again, nope
and nothing that you aren't able to.

And nothing says a human can't shoot an at-will no-save instadeath beam out of his eyes.
So what about these many many other problems?

The many other porblems are that so much of what you've suggested is either a wildly inefficient way to go about something or just plain against the rules.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Wish can create a magical object, or nonmagical object worth 25,000 gp or less. An arcane scroll of Heal is a magical object, not nonexistant, and can be Wished for. That's how Wish works. 

You keep saying the DM has complete control over this as though he doesn't have complete control over your special "Magic Mart." Your build contained Ur-Priest, right. "Nope, Ur-Priest doesn't exist" says the DM. Now what? 
Wish can create a magical object, or nonmagical object worth 25,000 gp or less. An arcane scroll of Heal is a magical object, not nonexistant, and can be Wished for. That's how Wish works.

Wrong. An Arcane scroll of Heal is a nonexistent object, because Heal is not an Arcane spell.
You keep saying the DM has complete control over this as though he doesn't have complete control over your special "Magic Mart." Your build contained Ur-Priest, right. "Nope, Ur-Priest doesn't exist" says the DM. Now what? 

Wrong. See, the Magic Mart and Ur-Priest are actually in the rules. "Random NPC Wyrm Wizard for me to steal spells off of" isn't. It's a combination of "Mother May I" and "Calvinball," two things that do not belong in D&D.

Also, it was ADMG's build. I was just pointing out that you were wrong.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Arcane scroll of Heal is a nonexistent object, because Heal is not an Arcane spell.

It's normally rare, but there are a number of different ways to make an arcane scroll of heal, so it's a valid object that can genuinely exist.
See, the Magic Mart and Ur-Priest are actually in the rules. "Random NPC Wyrm Wizard for me to steal spells off of" isn't..

I have to agree on this; while you can use wish to obtain a technically valid object even if no-one has actually created one before, you don't have any guarantee that the campaign contains a wyrm wizard, a bard/combat medic, or any other specific prestige classes or combinations.  The only way you're likely to ensure it is if your DM allows you to create your own NPCs through Leadership (or an equivalent).

But isn't this all getting away from the original topic?  Normally, I'd not object if the OP seems okay with it, but an elan erudite wasn't even the preferred choice, was it?

Nettlekid, what does your DM suggest?

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For things "Nice" and "Not liable to get a book thrown at you" rules interpretations and optimization levels you could try:

Arcane Spellcaster 3/Druid 3/Arcane hirophant 10/Mystic Thurge 6. That gets you 19th level casting in 2 separate classes and a few of the nicer druid abilities.

Check to see if Level Adjustment buyoff is allowed (page 18 Unearthed Arcana) and try something with roughly a +3 level adjustment if so. A were-fleshraker Dungeoncrasher Fighter 4/Warshaper 4/Other(s) ??? who used Power Attack, Knockback, Leap Attack, and Shock Trooper could lay down damage reasonably enough.

Due to your access to Perfect Two Weapon Fighting, you could try Monk 11+ (or anything else that progressed flurry of blows to monk 11) that has obtained pounce somewhere to throw 10 or more attacks at people using flurry of blows plus whatever other attack number boosting effects on it you wanted to. You'd want to come up with some way to put damage and other effects on to those to make the attacks not become outclassed by other PCs.


Basically, when looking at epic level play you have to look at what changes at epic levels.


  • You quit getting spell progression (without spending feats), though your caster level still increases.


    • You don't really benefit from having over maximum levels in a spellcasting class. Not usually a problem but still something to be avoided.




  • You're BAB and Saves all become standardized.


    • A class who's benefits come from high BAB or good saves is going to loose its pizazz. Pack in all of these increases into your earlier levels if you can. (War hulk is a nice little trick for exploiting this. Epic rules force it's lack of BAB progression to become a normal epic progression.)




  • You gain access to a generally underwhelming feat list.


    • Really, it's one of your biggest assets. Look for gems here and tell us if you find one you like, but if you can't find anything (other than INFINITE SPELLCRAFT!!!1!one!!) then really you should look at how...




  • You have all previous 20 levels to become the optimized bastard you were born to be.


    • Really, all the good stuff you'll ever get barring your level 21 epic level feat and epic magic items can be found here. Pick any 1-20 build you want and throw 2 additional levels of anything you like the looks of onto it. Those 2 additional levels past the planning cap shouldn't alter things too much.


Find a Wyrm Wizard and take him to a demiplane, where you use Body Outside Body clones to Psychic Reform him into choosing all spells, Arcane and Divine, as Arcane. Learn them all, and then Teleport Through Time to bring him back home. With Mental Pinnacle and Improved Overchannel you can refuel your power points and augment anything as much as you want.

You said you didn't want to resort to stupid tricks, and then you pull that out? Really?

It's one thing to fiat a PrC; it's another to have to find one. You need to track down a Wyrm Wizard in-game (bearing in mind that levels in a PrC are "intangibles" so you don't know who's a Wyrm Wizard and who isn't, only whether they can, say, cast spells) which is in itself no easy feat. You then need to abduct him and force him to help you, without having his army-of-high-level-spellcaster buddies following and killing you. You also need a way not to get kicked out of the game, and a way not to be eaten by velociraptors.

If you want a more sensible suggestion? Just play a damn Wizard. A Wizard can be pitched anywhere from pretty damn powerful to one of the world's worst characters. You can even reconfigure him pretty well from day to day by changing your memorised spells. So, if you find he's overpowering everything, tone it down. If not, you can amp it up. Focus on party buffs so your chums get to feel as though their doing the work, and just make sure you have some kind of emergency escape tactics available in case you pitch yourself too low (that's probably better, because then you look as though the challenge was appropriate for you even if it's just that you pulled your punches too much).
It's normally rare, but there are a number of different ways to make an arcane scroll of heal, so it's a valid object that can genuinely exist.

Wrong. Their existence is contingent on several things the DM hascomplete control over. In other words, you have to get the DM to say "yes," rather than the magic-mart's "No."

Since it is not on any Arcane lists, it is not an arcane spell, and cannot be unless someone has the ability to make it so.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Bard/Combat Medic with Create Scroll. Done. For one simple example. There are plenty more and many of the characters that would create them don't even suck.
Bard/Combat Medic with Create Scroll. Done. For one simple example. There are plenty more and many of the characters that would create them don't even suck.

...So now you have to play "Mother May I" and ask the DM to include trash NPCs. Nice.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Naw it's just a statement of fact. The spell can and does exist. Same arguement can be made for an Archivist that wants to use anything from Abjuration, Divination and Necromancy Sorc/Wiz because those can all be made domain spells for clerics. It's not even a questionable ruling it's simply a truth. IF your DM says otherwise that's DM fiat and whatever it happens.
Naw it's just a statement of fact. The spell can and does exist. Same arguement can be made for an Archivist that wants to use anything from Abjuration, Divination and Necromancy Sorc/Wiz because those can all be made domain spells for clerics. It's not even a questionable ruling it's simply a truth. IF your DM says otherwise that's DM fiat and whatever it happens.

Wrong. The spell is not divine. Dead stop, the end. You're just making **** up because you want it to be true. So, yeah, take that **** out of theoptimization forums.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Well ... (scritchy scratchy) ... umm, how about a:
Cleric 1 / Commoner 18 / Thrallherd 1 / Chameleon 2
and throw all that delicious posted cheese at it.

Definitely not optimized (yay mindreading)
and can use every single thing counter-posted.

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Wrong. The spell is not divine. Dead stop, the end. You're just making **** up because you want it to be true. So, yeah, take that **** out of theoptimization forums.



You keep complaining about the things that you're able to do being based on the things the DM gives you, but face it, that's how any class works. My thing depended on there being a Wyrm Wizard or Recaster in the world. You say the DM could say that those builds don't exist. What's stopping the DM from saying there's no such thing as an Erudite, either? Okay, so if a Wyrm Wizard or Recaster doesn't exist then maybe it will be hard to get an Arcane Scroll of Heal. But if the DM says that Heal doesn't exist, as a spell, THEN it's impossible. What's stopping the DM from saying that there are no casters? What's stopping the DM from saying that the Monk is the only class in the world? Everyone is Monks or Commoners. There you go. They've trumped your infallible Magic Mart. And if you want to play a caster, you're just playing Mother May I with the DM. Right?

Or is it that, if things are written in the D&D books, they have no reason not to exist? Like magic, and as such, Wyrm Wizards or Recasters? If I make sure to stick a little something into my build that originates from the book Dragon Magic or Races of Eberron, then that book is in play and as such, the Wyrm Wizard or Recasters are in play as much as the Wizard from the PHB.

You could take leadership, and then build your cohort as a guy who can cast divine spells as arcane spells (any of the ways). Then have him make you a scroll. Even better, if you don't want to "Waste a feat on it" (assuming leadership wasn't awesome) you could then retrain the feat away a level after he makes you a bunch of scrolls. 


If you don't want to rely on the DM letting you find an NPC. 


Its super cheesy, and probably wouldn't fly but its a way to make it happen.


Honestly, I'd just ask the DM to let me cast heal as an arcane spell cause I'm a nice guy. Seems easier. 


Really though, why do you want your mid-optimized epic PC to be able to cast heal? Seems like a wasted effort. 

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Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Nope.

See, the classeses are rules. The NPCs aren't. The DM has to explicitly declare the NPCs existence for them to exist.

Or is it that, if things are written in the D&D books, they have no reason not to exist? Like magic, and as such, Wyrm Wizards or Recasters? If I make sure to stick a little something into my build that originates from the book Dragon Magic or Races of Eberron, then that book is in play and as such, the Wyrm Wizard or Recasters are in play as much as the Wizard from the PHB.



Oh, man, my sides are aching from this. Just, wow... It's almost like you acctually don't get it, but given that a gerbil could get, I must assume you're just a fantastic actor.



I am pretty good at acting, and you're pretty dreadful at it when you're trying to cling to an argument that you didn't have substance for in the first place. For one, the DM is above the rules. If the DM ruled that Wizards don't exist, then they don't, and anything you want to build with it is moot. So whether or not the classes are in the rules and NPCs aren't is irrelevant. Now, next, this pertains to your pointlessly flippant comment about humans and death rays. If the DM doesn't make a calling on it, then it's not that you can use anything the books don't forbid, it's that you can use whatever they include. You can't have a human with death rays because there is nothing that says you can. You can have a Wyrm Wizard because the book says you can. In making characters, you always make implicit assumptions about the classes and levels of NPCs in the world. If you own any magic items with high caster levels, you're assuming that such high level NPC casters with the appropriate item creation feats exist. This is no different. If you want to support it further, you can write a line or two into your backstory that establishes the existance of such an NPC and have your DM okay it. That's no more or less of a Mother May I situation than your DM verifying that you were able to buy or otherwise obtain your items, provided you didn't make them yourself.

If your next post consists solely of "Nope, uh-uh, you're wrong, you're stupid, go away" without any substance or counterargument, then I consider the argument won by me and I will not respond to any other incitement.
+1 Well said sir.

For a more specific and good example of a way to get an Arcane Scroll of Heal Arcane Disciple (Complete Divine 79 A single feat, which doesn't cost much more than some token skill ranks) can get a straight Wizard access to Heal and they come with Scribe Scroll stock.

That's an easy one to believe that such a character would exist, and it's not just some "crap NPC" made for the sake of explaining your scroll.  

Regarding my earlier reference to Archivist doing the same trick look at Divine Magician (Complete Mage page 33), this substitution feature makes it possible for a dedicated Archivist to find someone that can make a scroll of any Wizard Abj. Div or Nec spell worth bothing to get in scroll form.
Good thought. I'm not actually dedicated to getting an Arcane Heal, that was just a tangential conversation that arose from saying that if I wanted to go broken, I'd just go StP Erudite 20 and call it a day, and when questioned I described how I would get arcane versions of divine spells, and this expanded out of that.

Going back to my original request, I think I might go with Bard 1/Factotum 8/Swiftblade 1/Sublime Chord 2/Swiftblade +9/Swordsage 1. This way I get  9th level spells, but only a small selection and so I have to pick wisely. This is my spell list so far:
4: Orb of Force, Enervation, Celerity, (Haste) 
5: Xorn Movement, Draconic Polymorph, Wall of Stone, Greater Dispel Magic 
6: Geas, Antimagic Field, Otto's Irresistible Dance, Contingency 
7: Arcane Spellsurge, Greater Teleport, Ironguard, Reverse Gravity 
8: Polymorph Any Object, Greater Arcane Fusion, Greater Plane Shift 
9: Shapechange, Prismatic Sphere

That's a not-very-but-not-naive-optimized list of mostly utility spells. Let's be honest, Shapechange could do basically everything anyway, so the rest is just useful. I think I'd take Permanent Emanation: Antimagic Field, because Haste is extraordinary for me and so I stay buffed, using Spring Attack (or just move-standard-move, thanks to Swiftblade, or move-standard-standard-move, thanks to Swiftblade+Factotum, or move-standard-full round-standard-move, thanks to Swiftblade+Factotum+Belt of Battle) to use hit-and-run tactics, whittling away HP and Con with the right weapon.

Does this seem like an okay idea? What would make a good weapon and armor (super light) for a non-Power Attacker? I'm thinking a +1 Implacable Wounding Transmuting Paralyzing Adamantine Rapier sounds pretty good, right? Epic special abilities are pretty lame. With that weapon, you'd do 1 Con damage and a cumulative 2 bleed with every hit, while repeatedly forcing saves against low DC paralysis that they'll eventually get a 1 on, and that's your chance to Coup De Grace. I think it'd be pretty cool for a nimble, hyperactive swordsman.

I can't think of any good armor, though.

Not sure I'm sold on the 1 level Swordsage dip. I love me some gish and Swiftblade as an epic character sounds like fun to me (even if according to some trolls it sucks at any level).

Jade Phoenix Mage/Swiftblade combo would be Mid Op and have some fun Synergy. At epic levels Swiftblade 10's actually pretty good as well, gives you reliable buffing rounds. 
The Swordsage is the part of the build I'm shakiest about, and I'm willing to swap it out if something better comes up. I thought it would be cool because Shadow Hand has some useful Fort Partial ability damage maneuvers, and I could initiate a maneuver while still double moving in and out. Plus I could initiate with Factotum's Cunning Surge, fall back, and full round recover maneuvers, if I felt like it. But that's more of "hey, look at what Swiftblade can do!" as opposed to actually being a good build tactic.

I do like Swiftblade, and I've never played one. They look like a great way for a caster to beat the action economy, and at these low Epic levels where I can still grab 9ths, all the better. I've thought about a JPM/Swiftblade combo, but the level order doesn't work out well. Lowest I can get into Swiftblade is ~6 or 7, while JPM is 7, so that's probably Wizard 5/Initiator 1/...Swiftblade 10/JPM 6? Losing 7 caster levels total. That's pretty bad. The problem is that both of their capstones are really cool, and I'd want to use both. I'd hate to miss out on Emerald Immolation. And if I did that, I'd probably use a Wu Jen build so I could Body Outside Body Emerald Immolation (SO COOL) and then there's no room for Swiftblade. Nah, I'll give JPM a pass, but I'll stay open with regard to replacing that Swordsage dip.
See, the classeses are rules. The NPCs aren't. The DM has to explicitly declare the NPCs existence for them to exist.

They don't need to exist as specific NPCs for an item that they could create to be valid; only the possibility of the item ever being created is necessary.

For example, you can use wish to obtain a wounding weapon even if there has never been a single mage with Mordenkainen's sword on their class spell list anywhere in that universe, because it exists as a valid possibility.

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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.
See, the classeses are rules. The NPCs aren't. The DM has to explicitly declare the NPCs existence for them to exist.

They don't need to exist as specific NPCs for an item that they could create to be valid; only the possibility of the item ever being created is necessary.

For example, you can use wish to obtain a wounding weapon even if there has never been a single mage with Mordenkainen's sword on their class spell list anywhere in that universe, because it exists as a valid possibility.

Wrong. The spell exists independantly, as does the item. Arcane Heal only exists if there's a person of the appropriate class who happened to take that particular spell.

In other words, one flat-out exists, whereas the other, the Arcane divine spells, only have the potential to exist, which turns into "Mother May I." In other words, y'all are worse than the Shadow Miracle crowd.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
On topic and productive. As a Mid-Op idea for Epic Swiftblade just do Wiz 6/Swiftblade 9/Abjurant Champion 5/+1 Swiftblade, and then keep stacking more Wizard casting. Remember that in epic levels BAB doesn't matter so it's all abotu CL's and features.
Hm, that's pretty good. I guess I went Factotum=>Swiftblade because it felt less castery to me, but then threw in the Sublime Chord because I wanted something for the Swiftblade to progress. I know they both get 9s, but Sublime Chord somehow feels less broken-castery to me than Wizard. 

I've just been trying to find a clever way to use Abjurant Champion and Sublime Chord to get a really high CL of 10+BAB, or something like that, but Master Spellthief works better for that. And in any case, it's not what I'm really going for. How does Abjurant Champion help with the build? For BAB or CL?
Both, and increased action economy (Swift Abjurations).
Hm, the action economy thing is quite good, but does it really beat the extra standard action/encounter I'd get from Factotum 8? 2 if I took a single Font of Inspiration. How many Abjuration spells would I use, though? That's a school that I don't find myself going into a lot.
Well, there's also the free extends, and the bonus of +class level to any abjuration spell that provides a bonus to AC. +9 Shield spell that sticks around all day sound good?
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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
That's okay-ish, but for epic level when I'm fighting dragons with +50 or so to hit, +9 AC doesn't really matter. If I'm subject to any attacks, I'm relying more on the 50% miss chance than AC. Which is why I'm not overly enthusiastic about the Abjurant Champion's defenses.
My favorites include Circle of Proteciton from X, Nondetection and Protection from Arrows... Swift Action, auto Extend they're spiffy.
Isn't Protection from Dragons an abjuration, too?
"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'm starting to second-guess myself with the Swiftblade. I'm just worried that being a caster of any sort would be too much temptation for power. Access to spells like Greater Blink and Shapechange...I don't trust myself enough with them.
(Before we get off the caster kick, though, a question. Do the spells you get from Sword of the Arcane Order count as arcane, not divine? If so, a SotAO Paladin=>Sublime Chord could be interesting, using the Harmonious Knight ACF to get Bardic Music. Might be fiddly with your gods, though.)

Anyway, I'm not throwing away the Swiftblade build, but in doing it I've decided that the "death by a thousand cuts," "bleed them out" style of battle is pretty cool. So I've built a Rogue 3/Monk 2/Fighter 1/Swordsage 2/Jaunter 4/Teflammar Shadowlord 4/Swordsage +6. Rather convoluted, I know, but as a result you get 8th level maneuvers, some useful taxi abilities in Teleport and Plane Shift, and then using Shadow Jaunt/Stride/Blink, you can repeatedly full attack. With Sun School and Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting, I think you could get 9 attacks in a single full attack, meaning you could do 18 attacks and then Shadow Blink away, Adaptive Style to recover your maneuvers, and repeat on turn 3, or just go all out with 27 attacks in one turn. 36 if you have an immediate action teleport like the one from Shadow Cloak. If your weapon is Wounding, that's a lot of Con damage. Which is kind of cool, right? Useless against undead, constructs, and anything immune to ability damage, but meh.

There are also those Epic Vestiges, which are pretty neat. One gives Regeneration, which is pretty hard to get otherwise. And another lets you use quickened Walls of Force. Or maybe an Epic Warlock, or any Warlock PrC, because some of those neat Epic Feats let you use things like Greater Teleport and Plane Shift, or the Power Word spells, at will. Grr, there are just so many options. I get indecisive like this when I try to think of a cool superpower I'd want if I could have one, too.
Again, I'd suggest looking for an Epic ability, Epic feat, bizarre racial choice, or class capstone you want to get and work backwards from there. That lets you backtrack your build to find things that will support that primary feature so that everything you can grab in addition to supporting that end goal is "a bonus" on top of your primary tactic. It might help with your indecisiveness and "feeling lost" about your build by giving you a definite goal to work towards.
Again, I'd suggest looking for an Epic ability, Epic feat, bizarre racial choice, or class capstone you want to get and work backwards from there. That lets you backtrack your build to find things that will support that primary feature so that everything you can grab in addition to supporting that end goal is "a bonus" on top of your primary tactic. It might help with your indecisiveness and "feeling lost" about your build by giving you a definite goal to work towards.

Hm, maybe. I've been kind of doing that with PrC capstones (or near-capstones), like the Swiftblade's Perpetual Options or the Teflammar Shadowlord's Shadow Pounce. Two problems arise there, though. One is that there are a lot of cool abilities, and I worry that if I don't pick a really cool ability that I'll enjoy playing with repeatedly, I'm going to just be bored. That's the case for something like Shadow Pounce. It's really cool, but am I going to get tired of just putting my figure token in three different spaces and rolling a d20 about 20 times? Secondly, I want to be effective as well, which means that although I want to focus my build around a neat gimmick, I want to make sure that gimmick is pretty airtight. I was just looking at Soul Eater, and thinking a psycho Thri-Kreen Soul Eater build might be pretty cool, but what do I do against an enemy with any sort of negative level warding? I become useless. And I don't want that to happen. So it's hard to choose.
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