Knight Build Advice Please

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My previous attempt to post this seems to have gotten lost in the Interwebs, so I'll try again.


I'd like to play a Knight, the basic concept of which seems to be, "You can't go around me; you'll have to go through me."


However, I'm having trouble accomplishing this in a build given my constraints, which are:

A) PHB I&II, DMG, Complete Series

B) 28-point buy

C) Starts at lvl 3 and will only be played occasionally, so a build that sucks until lvl 10 isn't an option.   



In a nutshell, he seems too MAD to do what I want him to do. I'm thinking I need Combat Reflexes, Combat Expertise and Improved Trip, but this requires decent INT and DEX so I'm looking at something like 14/13/14/13/8/14. I'm dubious that can land any attacks or Test of Mettle reliably with these stats. Am I right? Or do I expect too much from a 28-point environment?

Maybe I need to beg my DM to at least allow Stand Still, which would reduce the need for Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, and a decent DEX?


Any suggestions?
Knight stops at 3. You really can't do better by taking more knight, and everything that could make it better is either a feat or a Tome of Battle effect (and that's banned here for reasons completely unknown - since he allows the PHB2, with its Hadouken and Super Saiyan Aura feats, I can only assume it's because he doesn't like the thought of fighters getting nice things.) Forget about everything else the Knight has - they really suck, by and large, so things like Test of Mettle read well but play like crap.

(Incidentally, even with the Knight, lots of things can just go around them. Dodge difficult terrain (easy), get a high Tumble (easy), and rely on the Knight's MAD to resist any of her terrible Challenge abilities.)

The basic "can't go around me, gotta go through me" thing, with the sources you've listed, is best handled via a reach weapon, Combat Reflexes, Stand Still, possibly Improved Trip (difficult to get without Unearthed Arcana), and possibly Deft Opportunist to make your Power Attacks much better. Note how this takes a lot of feats, so it's hard to do at lower levels. You've hit most of these same conclusions on your own.

I really don't think it's possible to make an effective melee character in limited conditions without  including the Tome of Battle. Why is it out of the question here, if I may ask?

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Basically we have a large loosely affiliated group of players, many of whom are not D&D experts. We have many gaming groups within this larger group, some of them drop-in, some not. I'm creating this character for a drop-in one-shot, but he would be eligible to use in the other drop-in games as well. My guees is that the book limitations are generally in place to enable interchangability (the DMs can be sure they won't encounter anything too far outside their experience, and players who have 50 rulebooks memorized won't too far outshine the others). I'm not entirely certain that PHBII is allowed in the open groups  (it is in the closed one I play in). I've mentioned I want to play a Knight, and nobody's objected, and my assumption is that if one thing is allowed from PHBII then everything is.

If you say one should stop Knight at 3, does that mean you consider Bulwark of Defense the last good ability? Would that mean I can dump CHA?
I've never played a knight, but Person_Man over on the GitP boards has a knight handbook that seems like it has a good bit of info.

From perusing the builds, most of them seem like they'd do better as crusaders, but a few are interesting.  The "Fine But Deadly" build is a fun idea - use Test of Mettle, become as small as possible (such as being a hengoyaki in sparrow form to become fine-sized), then share another enemy's space.  Confound the Big Folk will mean that the enemies that come to hit you because of Test of Mettle will have a 50% chance of hitting their ally instead, plus you'll have full cover.  Use iajutsu focus or similar abilities that work against flat-footed opponents to attack, and move around from enemy to enemy.

I also would never, ever play a Vow of Peace build in an actual game, but I'll admit I chuckled at the idea of a Vow of Peace knight.  Test of Mettle to attract enemies, Vow of Nonviolence/Peace to boost the save DC, and then watch as their weapons shatter when they hit you.

EDIT: OK, reading deeper into the handbook I linked, I like a lot of the advice here, although again much of it is general build advice that would work equally well with a crusader (which would be my recommendation to play instead of a knight).  But I must admit, I'm a bit confused.  He really seems to put a lot on Test of Mettle, but about half of the builds recommend multiclassing out of knight, despite the fact that Test of Mettle's DC is going to be dependent on your knight levels.  If I was building a knight for anything beyond Bulwark of Defense, I'd personally try to take as many knight levels as possible.