The Factotum Handbook

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Wow - you guys RAWK the heezy. All of these ideas and additions are really starting to make the Factotum look more and more playable.

ESPECIALLY the Font of Inspiration feat! I disagree that it is "unbalanced" - I think it is SPECIFICALLY designed to make the Factotum more playable in higher level games.

Im running a totemist that focuses on landshark boots to get 4 attacks as a standard action. An extra standard action would be pretty sweet considering the builds number of attacks dont scale with level.

This got me thinking:

Factotum 8/Totemist 2: Use Landshark Boots and attack 8 times in a round, jumping and then clawing four times, adding Int to damage with Inspiration points. Alternatively, do this with a Manticore Belt and fire off two rounds’ worth of spikes with two standard actions. The max damage should be pretty impressive: 5 base essentia by 20th level, +1 from Totemist levels, and +1 from Expanded Soulmeld Capacity lets you fire off a flight of 7 spikes per volley, each dealing 1d6+1/2 Strength.

Now combo this with Azure Talent, Psycarnum Infusion, and Psionic Meditation and you can really let lose: blow psionic focus to infuse your Manticore Belt with max essentia, then meditate as a move action to regain focus. Now fire off 7 spikes, use Cunning Surge, and shoot 7 more. If you want, blow some to grab sneak attack dice.
And another thought:

Human Factotum 8/Warblade 3: Font of Inspiration (1st), Font of Inspiration (human), Font of Inspiration (flaw), Font of Inspiration (flaw), (3rd), (6th), Font of Inspiration (9th). 20 Inspiration points means at least 6 rounds in which I’ll get 2 standard actions and a move. Strike away!

You can also do a Rod of Many Wands plus the Dragon Prophecy feat that allows for quickened wand casting, which would let you fire 6 + 1 = 7 wands per round.

A Factotum Swordsage could move, use a boost, then initiate two maneuvers with Cunning Surge. Next round he could “meditate” to regain maneuvers as a “full-round action,” then use Cunning Surge to gain an extra standard action.

For a really high-level trick, you can imitate “Chuck’s” ultimate, solar-system throwing ability by mimicking the spell from Complete Champion with your Setting Sun throw. That's the big move from the "highest possible speed" thread.
If you like using Skill Tricks from Complete Scoundrel (and what Factotum wouldn't?), Uncanny Trickster makes you lose nothing as a pure Factotum abilities wise except a caster level and one less level for effects that use Factotum level. Not a whole lot of options for those that want that juicy capstone ability at 19.
Sure seems overpowered to me. a 20th level factotum has 10IP. A human factotum with 18 int can take the feat 4 times by the time he reaches level 6, giving him a total of 14IP. Should a 6th level character be able to do +14d6 sneak-attack damage, once per encounter? Probably not.

I like the idea behind the factotum, but I doubt overpowered and factotum belong in the same sentence.
I like the idea behind the factotum, but I doubt overpowered and factotum belong in the same sentence.

lol!
Taking it 8 times gets you 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+11=47 IP per encounter. That's 47d6 Sneak Attack dice, 11 extra standard actions, and other things. That's powerful. Doesn't break any records, but for a single feat its too much.
lol!
Taking it 8 times gets you 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+11=47 IP per encounter. That's 47d6 Sneak Attack dice, 11 extra standard actions, and other things. That's powerful. Doesn't break any records, but for a single feat its too much.

True, its powerful, but those are 8 feats, not 1. And factotums don't get extra feats...
Single feat, meant only 1 feat over and over. I like the 2 IP each time you take it: that's a nice, reasonable fix.
Nobody seems to have mentioned this, so I will. All those Sage Online answers about the Factotem have made it into the FAQ.

More evidence that the Factotem can take reserve feats in there, as well (the sage refers to the spells as "prepared spells" repeatedly). Very good.

Just to be pessimistic, I'm still not convinced till there's a definite ruling from the sage, as there's as much evidence against as for.

I'm feeling pessimistic as well. I would agree that, since the factotum's spells are "prepared" up until he uses them (at which time they become "spell-like abilities), they should qualify for gaining the benefits from reserve feats. However, I think it's a bit difficult for a factotum to actually get a reserve feat.
If you look at the prerequisites for the reserve feats, they all require you to be able to cast spells of a certain level. However, factotums don't cast spells, they use spell-like abilities. This is why warlocks can't reap the benefits of reserve feats. They use spell-like abilities; they do not cast spells.
So, it looks to me like a factotum can use his prepared spells to power reserve feats, but he'll be hard-pressed to actually qualify for getting the feat in the first place. Can anyone refute this? I know I'd love to play a factotum with reserve feats.
I know that reserve feats have come to be viewed as one of the grails of factotum optimization, and I can understand the appeal, but... I dunno. They don't strike me as the most interesting thing a factotum can do with his time. I feel that the factotum's skills and weapon proficiencies give him sufficient alternatives-- the class doesn't need those feats to pad out its options, like a wizard might. I admit I prefer incarnum and martial study feats, which don't necessarily have greater uses or applications, but... maybe it's the sense that reserve feats are rather "wizardy," and I prefer a factotum that's more diverse.
I know that reserve feats have come to be viewed as one of the grails of factotum optimization, and I can understand the appeal, but... I dunno. They don't strike me as the most interesting thing a factotum can do with his time. I feel that the factotum's skills and weapon proficiencies give him sufficient alternatives-- the class doesn't need those feats to pad out its options, like a wizard might. I admit I prefer incarnum and martial study feats, which don't necessarily have greater uses or applications, but... maybe it's the sense that reserve feats are rather "wizardy," and I prefer a factotum that's more diverse.

I don't know about "holy grail", but a few are definitely potentially useful, as I said. Even narrowing away a lot of the list, Dimensional Step is simply a fantastically useful ability to have; it will get you out of basically anything, I believe (but am not certain) that as a supernatural ability with no components it can be used even if paralyzed, and so forth. It also simply feels suitable to factotum flavor to me in a way that things like Fiery Blast and so forth don't, but I can't really quantify it.
You know, I was thinking of asking CustServ whether the factotum's spells (or spell like abilities) allow you to use reserve feats. Then I thought that for every question I ask, at least 10 people on this thread will not agree with how I phrase it, so I had a flash of inspiration. (heh heh)

Why don't I ask it here on this thread first, get all the flack, then ask the revised version to CustServ.

So here it is:

Dear CustServ,

Does the spells that the Factotum can cast as spell like abilities (chosen per day) qualify them for reserve feats? And allow them to use said reserve feats?

Many thanks,

prototype00
This works for me. Just make sure you ask 4 different people, b/c you'll get 4 different responses :D
You know, I was thinking of asking CustServ whether the factotum's spells (or spell like abilities) allow you to use reserve feats. Then I thought that for every question I ask, at least 10 people on this thread will not agree with how I phrase it, so I had a flash of inspiration. (heh heh)

Why don't I ask it here on this thread first, get all the flack, then ask the revised version to CustServ.

So here it is:

Dear CustServ,

Does the spells that the Factotum can cast as spell like abilities (chosen per day) qualify them for reserve feats? And allow them to use said reserve feats?

Many thanks,

prototype00

Simple and clear wording. I think it would be impossible to mis-interpret that one. All I can do is correct grammar.

Do the spells that the Factotum can cast as spell-like abilities (chosen per day) qualify them for and allow free use of Reserve Feats?
lol!
Taking it 8 times gets you 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+11=47 IP per encounter. That's 47d6 Sneak Attack dice, 11 extra standard actions, and other things. That's powerful. Doesn't break any records, but for a single feat its too much.

I think that is 46 not 47, because at level 20 you only have 10 IP.

I think the sneak attack would be huge, but nothing would match the disappointment of a Factotum that put every IP he had into a sneak attack...that missed.

The multiple standard actions, on the other hand...well that's a lot of charges from a staff, is all I'm sayin'.
Oh, right, 46... my bad (was trying to go from memory). 15 standard actions in a row... if the DM allows you to use UMD to boost your CL, then that's pretty sick potential (gimme a wand of fire seeds, please...).

I don't see a normal game allowing this feat for a factotem as is. I can see 2 IP each time you take the feat, but increasing each time gets sick.
I think that is 46 not 47, because at level 20 you only have 10 IP.

I think the sneak attack would be huge, but nothing would match the disappointment of a Factotum that put every IP he had into a sneak attack...that missed.

The multiple standard actions, on the other hand...well that's a lot of charges from a staff, is all I'm sayin'.

You save 1 IP. for True Strike.
Oh, right, 46... my bad (was trying to go from memory). 15 standard actions in a row... if the DM allows you to use UMD to boost your CL, then that's pretty sick potential (gimme a wand of fire seeds, please...).

I don't see a normal game allowing this feat for a factotem as is. I can see 2 IP each time you take the feat, but increasing each time gets sick.

UMDing your caster level would only matter for staves, not wands. Still, you would burn through it faster than an Artificer, but at least they can make more without even having to dip into their actual XP.
Hello all. I am currently designing the SWIFTBLADE HANDBOOK and some members were talking about the Factotum/Swiftblade optimization.

Specifically combining 8-10 levels of Factotum with Swiftblade and or possibly with the trapsmith (early entry for haste).

You guys are the experts on the Factotum. Does anyone have or can construct a fully fleshed out build progression that uses 3-10 Levels of the Swiftblade PrC?

Feats, skills, items would be important. Thanks in advance. If someone contributes I will add it to the handbook.
Specifically combining 8-10 levels of Factotum with Swiftblade and or possibly with the trapsmith (early entry for haste).

Trapsmith is actually pretty much absolutely necessary for that build. The factotum can only cast a given spell once per day, so a pure factotum/swiftblade can't use most of his abilities for most of the day.
Doesn't swiftblade require 3rd level spell slots?
lol!
Taking it 8 times gets you 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+11=47 IP per encounter.

Your character now has no feats.

That's 47d6 Sneak Attack dice

Which is less damage than the leap attacking barbarian...assuming your opponent is not undead, has fort armor, or is otherwise immune to crits..and you have no more IPs

11 extra standard actions

Nice, its best ability, though I'm not the 11 actions is better than the 2 it could normally get in typical high level combat,

and OR (you used all your IPs for the massive sneak attack) other things.

The feat makes them potentially more than "novel yet underwhelming" if it is invested in and played intelligently.

There are many things this board has created that is powerful; the factotum, even with this feat, doesn't strike me as one.

Nice, flavorful, a good idea, but not enough "wow" or IPs...something this feat helps to address.
Doesn't swiftblade require 3rd level spell slots?

It requires the ability to cast Haste. It also requires that "all your third level spell slots" for the previous level have been used to cast Haste, but if you don't have any third-level spell slots then 100% of them have been used for Haste anyway.
I'm going to assume that smiley is to indicate that you are full well aware of how completely untrue that is? :p
Nothing untrue. Sweet, sweet vacuity.
I think the feat is too powerful as is. Thats all I'm trying to say.

I think its in the realm of Leap Attack or Shocktrooper or Power Attack, or even Natural Spell, as in the class isn't even half as effective without it. Someone else said that a feat designed to fix bad class problems shouldn't exist, and I agree.
You save 1 IP. for True Strike.

Neat trick but you can only do that once per day. You can't repeat any factotum spell-like abilities.
Sure, but there's other things you can do, too. UMD Scroll of True Strike, use Wraithstrike, etc., and teleport away w/ as a Sp.

I have an idea for a Factotem imitating Death Strike of an assasin then teleporting out as a character... what do you think?
As the guy who started this thread, I'd like to weigh in on Font of Inspiration. I've come up with some tricks that should prove to the skeptics that it, at the very least, can make a Factotum VERY capable.

I think that the Factotum may actually be optimizable for high-level play - but only if Font of Inspiration stays as written, and none of the class abilities get nerfed by over-zealous “balancers.” Here’s the thing - as written, it appears that you can spend as many inspiration points as you like on extra standard actions; there’s no stated limit on how many times you may use cunning surge in a given round. This gives the Factotum a rather impressive ability to “nova,” blowing through tons of inspiration points in the first round of combat to fire off multiple effects.

Let’s consider the possibilities:

If playing with flaws, a Strongheart Halfling or Human could get, at first level (provided he or she managed an 18 base Int), a total of 10 extra inspiration by blowing four feats (two flaws, a 1st level, and a racial bonus feat) on Font of Inspiration (1 for the first, 2 for the second, 3 for the third, and 4 for the fourth). If by 3rd level you can have a friendly caster lay a Fox’s Cunning spell on you, you can then pick up yet another Font of Inspiration feat, granting you another 5 points - but only when your Intelligence remained boosted to 2 points higher than normal. At 6th, provided you could boost your Int to 3 points higher than normal (4 if your put your 3rd level attribute point in something other than Intelligence), you could take the feat again, adding another 6 points as long as your Int remained boosted. By 9th your two attribute points (at 4th and 8th) should have boosted your Int to a base of 20, allowing you to pick Font of Inspiration yet again (as long as you’ve got a +4 attribute item). The bottom line is that the only thing limiting the number of times one selects Font of Inspiration is Intelligence, which means that as long as you can keep boosting your Int, you can keep taking the feat.

By 20th level, you could potentially have selected Font of Inspiration a total of 18 times (1st + racial + flaw + flaw + 3rd + 6th + 9th + 12th + 15th + 18th). The problem with doing this, of course, is managing to get a +18 Int modifier - an impressive score of 48. With level bonuses (+5), enhancement bonuses (+6), the right tome (+5), and a base score of 18, you can manage a 34 - enough to take the feat 12 times, leaving you with 6 extra feats. With a Gray or Sun Elf, you lose one feat (the racial one), but gain a +2 base Intelligence, allowing for a max of 36 Int; this would allow you to take Font of Inspiration 13 times - not bad, all in all. Twelve selections of the feat would grant 78 Inspiration, while an elven build would grant 91.

78 Inspiration makes for a nova of 26 extra standard actions. 91 would give 30.

Race-wise, being an outsider (an Imaskari with the Otherworldly feat or a Diabolus) could be very beneficial, since at higher levels you could have a friendly caster use Polymorph Any Object to turn you into a monster with an impressive Int score (Ethergaunts come to mind). You could also achieve the same effect by blowing the three grand or so needed to purchase a scroll of Polymorph Any Object. The key here would be making sure that whatever you turned into, it’s average Intelligence would be significantly higher than your own.

Class-wise a Thrall of Demogorgon could be incredibly effective - the bonus feats that it grants do not require you to meet prerequisite requirements. This means taking 10 levels in said Thrall class could grant two more Fonts than possible otherwise (since getting into the class costs 2 feats in and of itself). Coupling this with the Thrall’s Dual Actions ability makes for a VERY fast character.

Now the question becomes: so what do I use all those standard actions for?

The smart money is on wands. Ray of Stupidity does Int damage and has no saving throw, which means you can spend 2 pts to remove SR, then blast away for 1d4+1 Int damage per hit. At 20th, this could be an impressive 31d4+31 - enough to incapacitate an entire CROWD of enemies, be they casters or no. As long as you hit with your ranged touch attacks, it doesn’t matter. The other nice thing about this wand is that even if you choose not to nova, you can still lay a smack down by spending an inspiration point to increase the attribute damage the wand deals by your Int modifier. Single-target = guaranteed incapacitated.

A Wraithstrike Wand (1st action), Power Attack, and a Manyfang Dagger would allow for 30 full power attack quadruple damage hits, and could easily be coupled with the wand idea.

Check it OUT: Whirling Blade wand, Wraithstrike Wand, Manyfang Dagger, loads of Font of Inspiration feats. Here’s the gig: nova your actions, move, remove an enemy’s DR or SR, activate Wraithstrike, then use Whirling Blade as many times as you have standard actions left in your nova. Enemies within a 60 foot line take BaB x 4 + Int mod x 4 + 4d4 damage - a total of (on a Factotum 11 with a base Int of 18, +2 from levels, and +4 from an item) 32d4+424. That’s 456-552 on a skill monkey. You can also stack this with Aura of Triumph, making damage dice (whether from Whirling Blade or Ray of Stupidity) explode, and/or Critical Strike (yay for a crit on that ****!).

Guided Shot is another handy one (ignore cover, concealment, and distance for 1 round with ranged attacks) to have as a wand.

Simply hold one wand in your off-hand and wield a weapon (with a wand hilt, of course) in the other, or just two-weapon fight with dual wand hilt weapons. Even if stuff like the Manyfang Dagger isn't available, the Whirling Blade trick still allows for multiple ranged, touch-attack, power-attack boosted, Int-to-damage strikes - nothing to sneeze at, certainly.

Font of Inspiration makes a Factotum able to play with the big boys - even the casters. It will still not be a caster's equal, but it will be a fast, versatile skill user capable of laying down impressive effects with wands. Depending on what classes you use to synergize (Martial Adepts, Chameleon, Trapsmith, etc.), there are quite a LOT of things you can do after 8th level.

Isn't it nice to find a class that gets a capstone ability so early?
I haven't even TOUCHED the possibility of a Factotum/Ur-Priest or Sublime Chord, of course.
Is there a ruling on using Divine Metamagic with the turns granted from the Factorum to apply metamagics to spells granted by another class (like Chameleon)?
None that I know of. That opens up a whole 'nother can of CO worms. Boy, them dudes at WotC shore do know how to loosely throw together a poorly-worded class!
I have been kicking around a Factotum 8/Swashbuckler 3/Chameleon 9 and using DMM (Persistant) to keep a Divine Power up to boost my attack bonus. What is the general consensus on the boards?
This is kind of what I was thinking w/ Font of Inspiration would happen... Its just too easy.
Is there a ruling on using Divine Metamagic with the turns granted from the Factorum to apply metamagics to spells granted by another class (like Chameleon)?

AS written, the Factotum doesn't have the ability 'Turn Undead'. Just an ability 'Opportunistic Piety' that replicates the effects. I seriously doubt that would be useful for powering DMM or other Divine feats.
Hmm - good argument, Sian.

JWB -

This is kind of what I was thinking w/ Font of Inspiration would happen... Its just too easy.

Did you see my strategies? Fun, right? Also makes the Factotum pretty capable of holding a candle to Incarnum builds. :P
I've been mulling over the entire factotum/swashbuckler/chameleon combo, and have come to the conclusion that the swashbuckler levels are a bit unecessary, the only thing that they net you is weapon finesse and insightful strike, both abilities can be duplicated by the classes.

After looking at the factotum closely, lvl 11 seems like a good level break (ignoring SR and DR is pretty sweet) and that would leave me with 9 levels to play around with.

Personally I think that if you can't go chameleon 10, chameleon 7 is probably sufficient, but what to put in those two levels?

Or am I crazy for thinking this?

prototype00
Factotem 11 / Chameleon 7 / Totemist 2 (Incarnate 2 is pretty good, too)

how about...
Factotem 8 / Binder 3 / Knight of the Sacred Seal 5 / Totemist 2 / Incarnate 2?

BAB 15 (*sigh*)
DR 10/magic
2 Vestiges
bunches of standard actions
totem chakra
crown chakra
6 simultaneous soulmelds
full martial and armor proficiencies

that could get pretty weird... what couldn't it do? i guess AoE stuff...
Factotem 11 / Chameleon 7 / Totemist 2 (Incarnate 2 is pretty good, too)

I think this would win the bookkeeping nightmare award without any competion
Well, with the build that I was thinking about (Factotum 8/Swashbuckler 3/Chameleon 9) it ends up hurting for feats. The feat choices I was looking at were:

1 Able Learner
1 Combat Expertise
3 Improved Trip
6 Two Weapon Fighting
9 Extend Spell
12 Persist Spell
15 Divine Metamagic
18 Improved Two Weapon Fighting

Of course you always have 1 feat floating with the Chameleon levels thus you have each of these feats one tier before I have each listed (thus being able to DMM at 12th).

My idea for mixing in Swashbuckler nets Weapon Finesse so I can depend less on Strength and gives me a boost in damage. The swashbuckler earlier on in my career will make this build much easier to play at the low levels. The build would play as a face and trap springer primarily and operate as a secondary melee'r in combat (with the occasional crowd control spell from chameleon).

I am joining in with a bunch of brand new players so I am not expecting them to be optimized at all. I wanted to play a character that could serve as a substitute for whatever wasn't available and still be effective in each roll. I think this build (assuming I can get DMM Divine Power going) would work the best.

Regarding a ruling on DMM not operating with the Factotum's Turn Undead ability: Do you think that it is not legal because I do not qualify for the DMM feat or that the turn attempts from the Factotum can not be used to power DMM?
Regarding a ruling on DMM not operating with the Factotum's Turn Undead ability: Do you think that it is not legal because I do not qualify for the DMM feat or that the turn attempts from the Factotum can not be used to power DMM?

Both, actually. You don't qualify for the feat because you don't have Turn/Rebuke Undead, and you can't power the feat if you have it, because Opportunistic Piety doesn't give you a use of Turn Undead, it lets you turn undead as a cleric of your level. You also couldn't use Opportunistic Piety to power Devotion feats from Complete Champion.