The Factotum Handbook

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I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean here. Do you mean that the factotum has to be a high level character to benefit from Cunning Knowledge?

Incarnates and binders are neat, but I find the factotum's Cunning Knowledge feature attractive for its elegant simplicity. Add class level to any skill check (as long as the factotum has one rank in it), once per day per skill-- I love it. It has me reading the Skills chapter of the PHB, thinking about stunts and strategies. Even at levels 2-5, a factotum's Cunning Knowledge can counteract some serious environmental and circumstance penalties.

I thought you meant the Cunning Brilliance ability, not Cunning Knowledge. Incarnates get some serious skill bonuses with the right soulmelds, though (Incarnate by the Numbers thread, for example).
Just some thoughts about Factota at epic levels...

Does Arcane Dilettante (7th level) qualify for Improved Spell Capacity (8th) and Improved Spell Capacity (9th), and then Epic Spellcasting?
Arcane Dilettante does not grant actual spellcasting, but spell-like abilities instead.
Just some thoughts about Factoti at epic levels...

Like bacterium/bacteria, the plural of factotum is factota.
:/ I thought it was factotums.
I prefer "polymath".
:/ I thought it was factotums.

Only if you lack the sophistication to speak fluent Latin.

(I say this only because I'm full of it.)
:P That's what wiktionary has, at least.
:P That's what wiktionary has, at least.

If Wiktionary is related to Wikipedia, then that explains why it's wrong.

(Truthfully, because we speak English and not Latin, you could be correct, but most Latin words use Latin plurals even in English.)
Just read the whole thing, great stuff.

Some ideas to mull over:
  • Master of the Unseen Hand prc could be very nice for Factotum. Qualify almost trivially and telekinesis is an amazing spell. It would also push your final BAB over that magical +16 limit.
  • Truespeak, could it be used efficiently with Factotum? It's a class skill and intelligence based afterall.
Hmm, well then here are some thoughts for epic factotum feats:

  • Improved Arcane Dilettante [Epic]: increases the maximum spell level to 8.
  • Greater Arcane Dilettante [Epic]: increases the maximum spell level to 9.
  • Extra Arcane Dilettante [Epic]: increases the number of spell-like-abilities per day. Stacks with itself.
  • Supernatural Brilliance[Epic]: can emulate supernatural abilities for Cunning Brilliance as well as extraordinary abilities.
Ask Wizards is all about the Factotem this week. Lots of nice clarifications. I never even considered applying more than 1 IP into sneak attack... wow...

Summary of Q&A
Q: Dear Guest Sage,
I have two questions related to the factotum (Dungeonscape p14) and sneak attack:

1) Can a factotum spend more than one inspiration point on cunning strike to gain more than 1d6 sneak attack damage?

2) Can a factotum of 19th level use cunning brilliance to emulate a rogue's sneak attack ability?
--Peter

A: Answering your questions in order:

1. Yes, you can use multiple inspiration points to gain additional sneak attack damage.

2. It's reasonable to assume that sneak attack is an extraordinary ability. When in doubt, the DM should decide if an unmarked ability qualifies. Anything that lacks a clear, supernatural element should be fair play.



Q: Dear Guest Sage,
When playing a factotum (Dungeonscape p14), what happens to inspiration points unspent at the end of the encounter?
--Peter

A: Unspent inspiration points are replaced when the factotum returns to his full number of points once an encounter ends.



Q: Dear Guest Sage,
Does the factotum (Dungeonscape p14) meet the requirements for activating spell trigger or spell completion items, such as wands and scrolls?
--Rupert

A: The factotum lacks a spell list. While he chooses spells from the sorcerer/wizard lists, this is not the same as having a true class spell list. Thus, a factotum cannot use spell trigger or spell completion items without Use Magic Device or some similar ability.



Q: Dear Guest Sage,
Can a factotum (Dungeonscape p14) use his "cunning insight" to boost his save outside of combat, for example against a poison trap?
--Jonathan

A: Yes, you can use such abilities outside of combat.

An "encounter" is more than a combat, but also includes any other significant event in the game such as stopping to bash down a door, navigating a rickety bridge, or dealing with a trap. If the characters have a minute or two to catch their breath and rest, assume that the last encounter has ended and all per encounter abilities refresh.
The insight bonus to skill checks is certainly not useless. Especially not with the fact that you get every skill. Being able to make every knowledge and diplomacy check with that bonus is a big boost.

And the only reason that works and isn't scarily overpowered with out-of-combat-no-inspiration-to-use is because you can only get cunning insight once per skill per day. Nice.
How about some thoughts on spells? Factoti only get get 8, so they have to make them count.
I would pick spells that:

Give considerable combat boost:
  • Tenser's Transformation
  • Nightstalker's Transformation
  • Mental Pinnacle
  • Thunderlance (I think this is very good for factotum)


Are generally versatile/useful:
  • Telekinesis
  • Teleport
  • The stuff that every wizard has


Have long durations:
  • Permanent Image
  • Greater Magic Weapon
  • Dominate
  • Overland Flight


That listing is obviously incomplete I just listed spells that came immediately in mind. I wonder what makes the best spell for that 7th level slot (too bad Limited Wish has an xp component)?
Reserve feats may help boost the factotum's spell and fighting prowess. Blade of force comes to mind.
Sysane-The Terror of Urik
Reserve feats may help boost the factotum's spell and fighting prowess. Blade of force comes to mind.

Reserve Feats still don't work with the Factotum's spell-like ability.

Spells that emulate class abilities are going to be high on the list. Leave the blasting to the sorceror, and use wands/scrolls and UMD for the utility stuff.
Reserve Feats still don't work with the Factotum's spell-like ability.

Why won't Reserve Feats work when Metamagic Feats will?
Sysane-The Terror of Urik
Why won't Reserve Feats work when Metamagic Feats will?

Metamagic feats will only if they're *splat* spell-like ability, and those are fairly limited.

The Factotum doesn't cast spells. He reproduces spell-effects as spell-like abilities.
Metamagic feats will only if they're *splat* spell-like ability, and those are fairly limited.

The Factotum doesn't cast spells. He reproduces spell-effects as spell-like abilities.

Metamagic can only be applied to spells that can be cast as well. Arcane Dillettante's wording states that the factotum casts spells. Under that logic, Reserve Feats would work with Arcane Dillettante. If its reasoned that it wouldn't that would mean that Metamagic Feats would not work with this ability either.

In fact, under this assumption the only feats that a factotum could use in conjunction with Arcane Dillettante would be Empower Spell-Like Ability, Quicken Spell-Like Ability, and possibly Ability Focus.
Sysane-The Terror of Urik
oh, boy, 7d6 acid splatters, with an extra 9d6 sneak attack damage, once per encounter! wait... that's not that good...
Metamagic can only be applied to spells that can be cast as well. Arcane Dillettante's wording states that the factotum casts spells. Under that logic, Reserve Feats would work with Arcane Dillettante. If its reasoned that it wouldn't that would mean that Metamagic Feats would not work with this ability either.

Spell-like abilities, supernatural abilities and extraordinary abilities that mimic spells explicitly do not qualify for Reserve Feats. (Complete Mage, P37) this is what hoses the Warlock out of Reserve Feats, too. ;)
In fact, under this assumption the only feats that a factotum could use in conjunction with Arcane Dillettante would be Empower Spell-Like Ability, Quicken Spell-Like Ability, and possibly Ability Focus.

That appears to be correct.
Spell-like abilities, supernatural abilities and extraordinary abilities that mimic spells explicitly do not qualify for Reserve Feats. (Complete Mage, P37) this is what hoses the Warlock out of Reserve Feats, too. ;)

Ah, I missed that.
That appears to be correct.

Which is odd considering that the text for Arcane Dillettante states how to apply metamagic effects to the spell. This is a very odd ability needless to say.
Sysane-The Terror of Urik
Which is odd considering that the text for Arcane Dillettante states how to apply metamagic effects to the spell. This is a very odd ability needless to say.

Yeah, the text of that is particularly odd, especially since it mentions metamagic and modified spell level, and the spell-like ability enhancement feats are x-day, not level bump. I'm truly not sure how to reconcile that. As written, metamagic does not apply to spell-like abilities.

The text for Arcane Dilettante shows that the Factotum prepares spells like a Wizard does, and that any metamagic must be applied when the spell is prepared, and takes up a slot of the spell's modified level. but as the Factotum casts spells as spell-like ability, it would seem that standard metamagic can't be added to the Factotum's spells. Contrary to all other spell-like abilities though, the Factotum's must be prepared ahead of time. This is a rather unique circumstance that breaks with the traditional conditions of spell-like abilities. ( shown here: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20040420a)

I think this is one for the Sage. *sends off*
In the text of Opportunistic Piety, it states that you can heal "a number of points of damage equal to twice your factotum level + your Int modifier." I just need someone to please clarify the exact order of operations here. Is it (2*level)+Int, or is it 2*(Level+Int)? Obviously, the latter is preferable, but I fear it's probably the former. :-(

Also, I was wondering about becoming a member of the Chameleon prestige class. One of the prerequisites is that you must get the Able Learner feat. Now, I'm just going off of memory (I don't own the book, but I've seen it before), but I think the benefit to that feat is that you can spend skill points to buy ranks in any skill as though it were a class skill (One point buys one rank). However, you'd still be stuck with the lower max rank limit for your cross-class skills.
But why would any factotum want that feat? All of the skills in the game are already class skills!
So, am I just not remembering the description of the feat correctly? Perhaps that prerequisite should be waived for factotums?
In the text of Opportunistic Piety, it states that you can heal "a number of points of damage equal to twice your factotum level + your Int modifier." I just need someone to please clarify the exact order of operations here. Is it (2*level)+Int, or is it 2*(Level+Int)? Obviously, the latter is preferable, but I fear it's probably the former. :-(

D&D maths are usually pretty specific about these things. if it was 2*(lvl+int) it would have been stated as 'twice the sum of your factotum level + your Int modifier'. So I would definitely go with A.

Also, I was wondering about becoming a member of the Chameleon prestige class. One of the prerequisites is that you must get the Able Learner feat. Now, I'm just going off of memory (I don't own the book, but I've seen it before), but I think the benefit to that feat is that you can spend skill points to buy ranks in any skill as though it were a class skill (One point buys one rank). However, you'd still be stuck with the lower max rank limit for your cross-class skills.
But why would any factotum want that feat? All of the skills in the game are already class skills!
So, am I just not remembering the description of the feat correctly? Perhaps that prerequisite should be waived for factotums?

You're remembering the feat right. Able Learner is mainly of benefit to the Factotum when multi-classing.. The class skill price discount last I checked still only applies to class skills for the class you're currently leveling. Regardless of whether a skill is purchased as a class skill or a cross-class skill, if it is a class skill for any of your classes, your maximum rank equals your total character level + 3, so with Able Learner, a multi-class Factotum has max rank potential and 1sp/rank cost for all skills no matter what class he takes. Without Able Learner, those skills that are not class skills for the new class cost 2/1, but he still has maximum rank potential in all of them.
D&D maths are usually pretty specific about these things. if it was 2*(lvl+int) it would have been stated as 'twice the sum of your factotum level + your Int modifier'. So I would definitely go with A.

...Rats.
You're remembering the feat right. Able Learner is mainly of benefit to the Factotum when multi-classing.. The class skill price discount last I checked still only applies to class skills for the class you're currently leveling. Regardless of whether a skill is purchased as a class skill or a cross-class skill, if it is a class skill for any of your classes, your maximum rank equals your total character level + 3, so with Able Learner, a multi-class Factotum has max rank potential and 1sp/rank cost for all skills no matter what class he takes. Without Able Learner, those skills that are not class skills for the new class cost 2/1, but he still has maximum rank potential in all of them.

Oh, that would make sense. The applications for multiclassing are kinda nice. It's still bugging me that I'll need it if I want to become a chameleon, though. Ah, well. Life's not always fair, eh?

Thanks for the quick response, BTW. Much appreciated. :D
...Rats.

Oh, that would make sense. The applications for multiclassing are kinda nice. It's still bugging me that I'll need it if I want to become a chameleon, though. Ah, well. Life's not always fair, eh?

Thanks for the quick response, BTW. Much appreciated. :D

Fair? The Chameleon's ability to swap out a feat at the start of every day meshes in incredible ways with the Factotum's versatility. The Factotum/Chameleon can truly do almost anything, given a day to prepare. also the factotum/chameleon is an awesome magic item crafter, as with a day lead-in, you can make basically any magic item that you can emulate the spells for, and have the temporary feat to craft it. It's crazy. :D
Hows about this one.

Factotum 8/ Warblade 1

Initiator level= 5. Taking the Iron Heart Surge manuver we can end any ongoing effect as a standard action.

We have an extra standard action for 3 IP. So we can end any ongoing effect for 3 IP.

:D
O, i did thought about this one. ATM I'm making 15th lvl Assasin's Creed [Not stalky, hit n' run type] type assasin with Factotum

Factotum 8/ Warblade 1/ Totemist 2/ Factotum +4
Landshark boosts bound to Totem chakra + Cunning Surge = Move action and 8 full BAB, full str bonus attacks in 1 round.

BAB +11 Base F/R/W 9/11/4
Maneuvers: Wall of Blades (IH2), Moment of Perfect Mind (DM1,) Sudden Leap (TC1), Iron Heart Surge (IH3)
Stance: Leaping Dragon Stance (TC3)

Suggested Spell-likes: Wraithstrike, Jump, Freedom of Movement/Greater Invisibility, Vigor, Invisibility (Need good ideas )
Feats: Improved Initiative (The more core the better + that type of char screams for high init), Able Learner, Bonus Essentia, Martial Study: IHS, 3 free slots.


Fight would look like: jump to target, 4 claw attacks, if alive next 4 otherwise invisibility, sudden leap on roof or smoething like that. Nest rounds: run

EDIT - Craven would be insane here, but i'm not sure about swapping factotum lvl for rouge.
And shameless bump
FEATS

Reserve Feats: Annoyed that the Factotum only gets a total of 8 spells per day (one 7th level, seven 6th level)? Well, weep no more! Reserve feats can turn your spell slots (especially that highest-level one) into spell-like abilities you can use at will, making you a true "arcane dilettante," so to speak. Use with the Energy Admixture feat to allow you to have your spell slot fuel more than one reserve feat and go to town! Good options include Acidic Splatter, Blade of Force, Borne Aloft, Clap of Thunder (synergize the touch attack with Power Attack for more damage), Dimensional Jaunt (teleport all day long - yay!), Dimensional Reach (ultimate pick-pocket), Face-Changer (great for subterfuge if you aren't a Changeling), Fiery Burst (mini-fireball), Minor Shapeshift (to add some physical oomph), Invisible Needle (force attacks can be handy), Storm Bolt (yay for line attacks!), Summon Elemental (can be handy), Sunlight Eyes (useful if you want to use magical darkness to hide), and Winter's Blast (cones are handy for crowds), among others. Lots of flavor, lots of fun, and usable at will - what's not to like? As an extra point, your Cunning Insight ability can add to the attack or damage roll of any of these abilities, should you choose to use it that way. Neat, huh?

Not sure if this has already been rebutted.. but you can't use spell-like abilities to qualify for Reserved Feats.

Yes.. even I'm kicking myself.
yeah... but its a weird mechanic w/ Factotem. They only use spell-like abilities when the effect is cast. While its still prep'd, its still a spell. I haven't heard anything definitive one way or the other. Regardless, you have to ask your DM ahead of time.
I *think* the factotum spellcasting allows them to spend one inspiration point to cast their spells as spelllike abilities...they still choose them normally at the beginning of the day, as normal. BUT...what if you *DON'T* spend the inspiration point? If I read it right, it DOESN'T turn into a spell-like ability, and is cast as a normal spell with arcane spell failure chance and all that...allowing you to fiddle with metamagic feats and reserve feats as much as you like!
I *think* the factotum spellcasting allows them to spend one inspiration point to cast their spells as spelllike abilities...they still choose them normally at the beginning of the day, as normal. BUT...what if you *DON'T* spend the inspiration point? If I read it right, it DOESN'T turn into a spell-like ability, and is cast as a normal spell with arcane spell failure chance and all that...allowing you to fiddle with metamagic feats and reserve feats as much as you like!

The ability text is pretty explicit. You can only use the Arcane Dilettante ability with the expenditure of an inspiration point.

Still waiting on the sage for an answer to my earlier question. its a tricky one.
On the subject of the arcane dilletante ability, it describes your ability to cast spells as being near-random hand gestures and weird sounds. However, you cast spells as spell-like abilities. That means no verbal components and no somatic components. Am I missing something, or do you really just stop and concentrate to cast spells, contrary to what the description says?
On the subject of the arcane dilletante ability, it describes your ability to cast spells as being near-random hand gestures and weird sounds. However, you cast spells as spell-like abilities. That means no verbal components and no somatic components. Am I missing something, or do you really just stop and concentrate to cast spells, contrary to what the description says?

The factotum is as far as I know the only critter that uses spell-like abilities differently than the standard. As per the text on page 16, The factotum prepares his spells and requires material components. Though 'weird hand gestures' and 'bizarre words' are stated in the flavor text, this does not appear to count as requiring the normal vocal and somatic components. As written, the Factotum's Spell-like abilities are as standard spell-like abilities Except:
They must be prepared ahead of time
and
They require material components.

jury is still out on what metamagic feats are applicable.
jury is still out on what metamagic feats are applicable.

I don't think metamagic feats are actually in question here. In the Arcane Dilletante text its says that you may apply metamagic feats to your spells, so no problems on that account.

Under the Reserve feat text it tells us that you need to be able to cast a spell of a certain type and level, and that spell like abilities do not qualify.

So i think as factotums cast spells slightly differently to other casters the creators have allowed them to apply metamagic feats to there spell like ability but i would lean towards the no Arcane Dilletante would not qualify you for reserve feats school of thought.

But if it was later resolved in a FAQ that arcane dilletante did qualify for other feats i would be very pleased :D
I don't think metamagic feats are actually in question here. In the Arcane Dilletante text its says that you may apply metamagic feats to your spells, so no problems on that account.

I think you're right here, and that appears to be the *intention* of the ability. The wording was just unclear. ;)
Under the Reserve feat text it tells us that you need to be able to cast a spell of a certain type and level, and that spell like abilities do not qualify.

So i think as factotums cast spells slightly differently to other casters the creators have allowed them to apply metamagic feats to there spell like ability but i would lean towards the no Arcane Dilletante would not qualify you for reserve feats school of thought.

But if it was later resolved in a FAQ that arcane dilletante did qualify for other feats i would be very please :D

For reserve feats, they specifically disqualify spell-like abilities, so I don't think it matters that the factotum prepares his spell-like abilities, unlike anything else in the universe.
The factotum is as far as I know the only critter that uses spell-like abilities differently than the standard. As per the text on page 16, The factotum prepares his spells and requires material components. Though 'weird hand gestures' and 'bizarre words' are stated in the flavor text, this does not appear to count as requiring the normal vocal and somatic components. As written, the Factotum's Spell-like abilities are as standard spell-like abilities Except:
They must be prepared ahead of time
and
They require material components.

jury is still out on what metamagic feats are applicable.

Actually, there is one other class that uses SLAs differently then normal: Warlocks. Warlock invocations are SLAs but they have somatic components. Only of of their Invocations (The Dead Walk) has an optional material component.