The Factotum Handbook

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Well, my thinking off the bat is not so much that the class is sloppy...
Most all of the DM call moments come when you try to take the class's abilities and consider them to be the full-blown equivalent of the base classes. Which, to me at least, it attempting to circumvent the basic nature of the class. Sure, he gets spells, but is he an arcane caster? No. He can grant himself a sneak attack, but is he a rogue? No. The inherent limitation of the class is that he is not any one thing, he can only wing it for a time. As such, his abilities probably shouldn't be legitimate stand-ins for the base abilities with regards to feats or prestige classes. If for no other reason than taking a reserve feat or a divine feat demands a level of training and dedication that the dabbler factotum does not possess.
Well, my thinking off the bat is not so much that the class is sloppy...
Most all of the DM call moments come when you try to take the class's abilities and consider them to be the full-blown equivalent of the base classes. Which, to me at least, it attempting to circumvent the basic nature of the class. Sure, he gets spells, but is he an arcane caster? No. He can grant himself a sneak attack, but is he a rogue? No. The inherent limitation of the class is that he is not any one thing, he can only wing it for a time. As such, his abilities probably shouldn't be legitimate stand-ins for the base abilities with regards to feats or prestige classes. If for no other reason than taking a reserve feat or a divine feat demands a level of training and dedication that the dabbler factotum does not possess.

While I would agree with you on some level, I would also argue (both as a player and a DM) that if the class abilities do not qualify for prerequisites (feats and/or PRCs), then a class which already has difficulty keeping up with the other core jack-of-all trades (bard) is now much more severely gimped.

With a PRC limiting advancement of inspiration points, you're going to trade off your all-around power for a focused perspective, right? That is what a PRC is all about. Why not allow the class abilities to be a definitive qualifier? A bard is a weak back-up arcane caster and a weak back-up fighter and a weak back-up healer and a decent skill monkey, and a fun class to play. They can get into many PRCs focused on wiz/sor classes, or divine casters, or fighting classes, all without requiring multiclassing. I'd rule the Factotum can do the same...
Now, to do a quick one-eighty on my conservative and pro-RAW attitude as presented above, is it a reasonable stretch to allow the Jack-of-all-Trades feat from CA (All skills are considered to have 1/2 ranks) to open the skills for using Cunning Knowledge? While RAW, CK requires you to have 1 rank in the skill you wish to boost, the purpose of the feat is to provide base-level training in every skill....
Hmm, I'm not sure if 0.5 ranks = 1 rank in a skill. If my reading of the feat is right.

prototype00
Hmmm I was giving the Factotum 11/ Chameleon 9 some thought the other day. With able learner as the first feat and then font of inspiration for all the other feats, its quite a hefty gish type class. (With knowledge arcana as the floating feat from the chameleon)

Using a greatclub, which does 1d10 damage, and then casting spikes and Greater mighty wallop, this character can deal out the following:

6d8 (colossal great club damage) + str (probably 3 with a 14 strength) + int (with an inspiration point ) + 5 (a good knowledge devotion check) and + 10 (with spikes)

and of course you can cast wraith strike and divine power beforehand.

and it only requires 15 inspiration points. (Doable with font of inspiration.)

(6 to cast both spikes and divine power, 4 to boost 4 attacks with int to damage, 2 to remove DR and 3 to make a move action if required.)

Thats quite a good volley.

prototype00
Finally got to play a Factotum (5th level), planned him all out, and they come up with font of inspiration the day before the game. I called the DM and had him ban the feat, it seemed best.

Did the guy who came up with FOI even READ the damn class?

ONE inspration point would probably be worth a feat, though it'd be a tough call. Damn if they go fast and it's hard to know when to spend them and when to hold one back. I like the decision-making though.

Got 4 IP. Seems like spending them on damage is the way to go. Int is +5. The math:

Spending it on damage gives me @ 17 avg damage vs 12.

Spending it on attacks gives me 12 extra damage 25% of the time, so @ 15 avg damage. Save a point for a save or to cure 15 hp.

Some random points on Factys..

1) Spending 1 point on a skill and depending on boosting it by your level is a good idea for most skills, but you don't want to do this with skills like Tumble and Concentration because you will have to blow an IP during the battle to do that. Put the extra ranks in the combat skills, you can't afford to waste IP during a fight.

2) Dex+ Int + ranks + level + Mounted Combat can make your Ride checks so high your mount will be almost impossible to hit.

3) Got a Guisarme that I make trip attacks with. My trip check is a +12 with the Imp Trip feat. I can trip anything medium that isn't flying or swimming. Large creatures are a bit of a problem. A Troll is at a +10, a Girrilion at +12 and a HWHorse at +11. I like at least a +4 advantage to the opposed check (70% win rate). The tall ones have reach too so I don't get the AOO when they come after me. Solved the problem with..

Brute Gauntlets- Bonus of up to +4 on damage and str & dex checks for 1 round. (Magic Item Comp, only 500gp!) and..

Strech Weapon, 2nd level sor/wiz spell (PHB2 ?) Gives your weapon +5 feet of reach. It only works once, but you can keep it there indefinitely until you need it.

As long as I'm not attacked by an army of Ogres I should be OK.

Oh, and the Guisarme is invisible and non-magical. Made it myself. A cookie for anyone who knows how I did it.

4) The Knowledge Devotion feat in Comp Champion is just perfect for Factys. I got 5 ranks each in KArcane, religion, nature and planes. INT makes the check a +10. The Collector of Stories skill trick (Comp Scoundrel) gives me a +15. The Tome of Worldly Memory gives me +20 to 3 of them once per day. I could spend a IP to make it a +25, but that would be spending an IP in combat so I dont do it.

The +20 gives me an even chance to have a +2, 3, 4 or 5 to all attack rolls and damage for that combat, depending on what I roll for the Knowledge check at the beginning. So I'm getting a +3 1/2 to hit and damage for one feat and a bunch of skill points on stuff I probably would take anyway.

I'm planning on taking Maximize Sp-like Ability (Comp Arcane) at 6th-level. I'm assuming this is legal. It seems a bit too good but not nessessarily overpowered. With a crapload of Pearls of Power I'll be able to blast like an Evoker pretty soon.

I know nobody asked me to tell them about MY factotum, but there is sort of a point to this.

This guy (Robert the Sick, a pirate of ill repute ), is a pretty fun, well-made and complex character. He's got a lot of options and abilities. I like him.

The FONT OF INSPIRATION feat makes him a IP collecting ***** with no other feats, waiting for 8th level when he can spam 6 standard actions in a round and kill everything in sight with a 3rd level wand. And if he can't kill quite everthing, he can at 9th level when he can spam 8 actions in a round.

And he's probably going first because he's adding his INT to his initiative. There's a fun battle.

Bob: Initiative... 23!

DM: OK, Bob, you go first.

Bob: I blast the goblins with my wand of fireball for.... :rolls: :rolls: :rolls: :rolls: :rolls: :rolls SEVENTY-FIVE MORE TIMES:

Bob: Umm.... 280 points of damage.

DM: OK

Bob: Are they dead?

DM: Yes, Bob, they're dead

Other players: [heavy sigh]



Hate the feat. Hope they errata it.

~
Finally got to play a Factotum (5th level), planned him all out, and they come up with font of inspiration the day before the game. I called the DM and had him ban the feat, it seemed best.

Did the guy who came up with FOI even READ the damn class?

if he did, He must have only expected the Facty to take it 2 or 3 times, tops.
Got 4 IP. Seems like spending them on damage is the way to go. Int is +5. The math:

especially since you don't have to spend the point until you already know you hit. (but before you roll damage)

Oh, and the Guisarme is invisible and non-magical. Made it myself. A cookie for anyone who knows how I did it.

I wanna know how you keep from misplacing it. ;)
Got 4 IP. Seems like spending them on damage is the way to go. Int is +5. The math:

Enjoy your 4 IPs, I've got Elminsters to make cry.

*Rides his font of inspiration supercharged build off into the sunset.*

prototype00
I think if it allowed 2 more IP, and could only be taken 2-3 times at intermitent times (like spell pen and greater), it would be balanced.

Nobody is saying anything different: it is a god-awful powerful feat.
I'm planning on taking Maximize Sp-like Ability (Comp Arcane) at 6th-level. I'm assuming this is legal. It seems a bit too good but not nessessarily overpowered. With a crapload of Pearls of Power I'll be able to blast like an Evoker pretty soon.

Wouldn't work. The text of Arcane Dilettante is pretty specific in this regard, you can only mimic a particular spell once per day. A pearl of power makes the spell prepared again, but the Facty still can't mimic it again until after 8 hours of rest or on the same day. The Facty also can't prepare the same spell multiple times a day. Pearls of Power are completely useless to a Factotum. A Factotum does not cast spells.
Hate the feat. Hope they errata it.

My take at it is that it's not a problem with the feat, but with the class feature. It should be limited to once per round, no more. This still makes for a powerful feat, just lest prone to the sort of abuse everybody is talking about.
While I agree in principle, in the CO game I'll be playing it won't be an issue. If they start capping the Factotum's abilities, I'd be concerned that they wouldn't stop with Surge - I could easily see them putting a level-based cap on the number of sneak attack dice on a given attack as well. Doing so would neuter the Factotum, and his testes aren't enormous as is.

If I make it into the CO game, I'll let you know how the Font does in a party of optimized casters. My thought is that he should just *barely* be able to hold his own. All those extra actions are great - don't get me wrong! - but there is a severe limit placed upon what a Factotum can actually *do* with them. Right now I've got a UMD skill monkey build who can dish out damage and incapacitate with wands, but I can easily see myself screwed in any number of ways.

I think the Font + Surge trick could be easily house-ruled to work only once/round if someone wanted to use it in a non-optimized game. In a full-on CO game, however, I'm willing to bet it'll work fine as is. More on this, though, as play begins - I'll post some weekly updates to keep you guys informed on how things shake out.

Oh - in other news, *even* though you now *officially* can't add Int to attribute damage (making the Int-to-damage trick pretty useless unless you're getting some kind of multiplication; so far, that means a "valorous" weapon on a charge or exploiting the Manyfang Dagger's greasy cheese), you can still use wands to incapacitate opponents.

Ray of Stupidity, my previous winning choice, has been revealed as possessing two major flaws: 1) it's a mind-affecting, enchantment, compulsion spell, making it useless against anybody with Protection From Evil up, and 2) it's a 2nd level spell, making it a bit expensive as a constant component of one's equipment (if clips for a handgun cost $4,500 a piece, people would be a LOT more careful about shooting folks).

The replacement?

Lesser Shivering Touch, from Frostburn. It's a touch attack, meaning you have to get in close (but with Whirling Blade and/or Hunter's Mercy, range is covered), but it's very nice - 1d6 Dex damage, no save. Bam! Strip your hapless enemy of SR and tap them with your "submission stick" until they're legless. No SR, no save, and it's a touch attack. Talk about single-target neutralization! It won't, of course, work against attribute-damage immunes, but it's a guaranteed crippler against everything else.
Wouldn't work. The text of Arcane Dilettante is pretty specific in this regard, you can only mimic a particular spell once per day. A pearl of power makes the spell prepared again, but the Facty still can't mimic it again until after 8 hours of rest or on the same day. The Facty also can't prepare the same spell multiple times a day. Pearls of Power are completely useless to a Factotum. A Factotum does not cast spells.

Not maximizing a spell. Maximizing the Arcane Dilettante ability.

Arcane Dilettante (sp)- It's a spell-like ability.

Pearls of Power- Not prepared again. Prepared again just if it had not been cast. Kinda like you never used it.

Debatable, but I'll just use the 3.0 pearls of power if I have to. 3.0 is still legal by RAW.

There's a LOT of debatable stuff about the Facty, especially the spellcasting/mimicing/spell-like/verbal?/somatic?/what exactly am I doing here?

I get the feeling that Mearls just said. "Well I'll give um some spells, but the need to wear SOME armor. I'll just make um spell-like. Sort of. But they have to prepare um. Yeah. And none of um twice. Just like 9 swords. Good. Cool ability."

It's kind of up to us to get hung up on the details.

JMO
~
Not maximizing a spell. Maximizing the Arcane Dilettante ability.

Arcane Dilettante (sp)- It's a spell-like ability.

Pearls of Power- Not prepared again. Prepared again just if it had not been cast. Kinda like you never used it.

I have no problem whatsoever with 'maximize spell-like ability' with Arcane Dilletante. It's a perfect fit. I just don't think the Pearls of Power work that way..

Once per day on command, a pearl of power enables the possessor to recall any one spell that she had prepared and then cast.

The Factotum doesn't cast spells.

Debatable, but I'll just use the 3.0 pearls of power if I have to. 3.0 is still legal by RAW.

Once per day on command, a pearl of power enables the possessor to recall any one spell that he or she had prepared and then cast.

Hm.


It's kind of up to us to get hung up on the details.

JMO
~

Can the Bard, Rogue, Monk, ETC 'hang with' line damage dealing spellcasters? were they designed to? I think trying to make the Facty something he's not is part of the problem we're running into with this guide. The Factotum is designed as a substitution class, someone who can competently fill in for about any missing/unconscious/disabled party member for a short time, and meanwhile be a consummate skill-monkey. Why are we trying to make him into an H-bomb? He stands just fine on his own abilities.
The Factotum is designed as a substitution class, someone who can competently fill in for about any missing/unconscious/disabled party member for a short time, and meanwhile be a consummate skill-monkey. Why are we trying to make him into an H-bomb? He stands just fine on his own abilities.

This is CharOp, H-bombs are what we do. :P
This is CharOp, H-bombs are what we do. :P

Okay, I walked into that one. ;)
While I agree in principle, in the CO game I'll be playing it won't be an issue. If they start capping the Factotum's abilities, I'd be concerned that they wouldn't stop with Surge - I could easily see them putting a level-based cap on the number of sneak attack dice on a given attack as well. Doing so would neuter the Factotum, and his testes aren't enormous as is.

Indeed, why stop with the surge ? No reason. A Factotum shouldn't be able to get more sneak attack than an equal-level Rogue by the way, even if SA costs the factotum some IPs. He shouldn't be more powerful spell-wise than a regular caster ; nor more proficient in item-use than an Artificer ; nor more dangerous a melee fighter than a front-line warrior. As Sian says, the Factotum has his own niche - and it's already perfect so. He's the omni-potent replacement - for a while. If no companion goes down, he's the one showing off by having just the right skill at the right moment, or the one who breaches the nigh-imbeatable SR and/or DR just the time needed to get a hit or two.

Example of the last point : at 11th level, a base Factotum has 6 IPs without any Font feat. Let him spend 2 on Cunning Breach, then 1 on Arcane Dilettante, two rounds in a row ; or 2 on CB, full attack with TWF for 3 attacks, then 3 on Surge for an additional attack with Cunning Strike for more damage or Arcane Dilettante - all in one round. He's not even acting as a replacement there, but as an independent flashy style.
As I said, as-written the Factotum allows you to tailor the class to any given style - either with full optimization or at a lower level. That said, WITHOUT caps placed on abilities and WITHOUT Font of Inspiration, the Factotum is a woefully under-powered class.

While I agree that the Factotum should fill in for different roles as needed, he should be at least COMPETENT at those roles. With only a total of 10 Inspiration by 20th level, his abilities will not be even ADEQUATE for filling in for ANYONE - not the casters, not the warriors, not even the rogue.

Arcane Dilettante is extremely limited, offering almost NO uses per day, and only (for the most part) 6th level abilities.

Combat-wise, you are only capable of assigning the most minimal amount to attack and damage, both of which are the WORST way to deal with enemies.

Cunning Strike, if level-limited, would only allow you to deal, at TWENTIETH LEVEL, 10d6 sneak attack damage. And THAT would only be for ONE STRIKE, and would remove ALL of your other abilities for the entire encounter. If that were the case, it would be a waste to EVER use Cunning Strike - it would be a completely negligible ability that would be worthless. You would never spend Inspiration on it, since there would always be something better to do with those points.

What about if one COULD spend unlimited inspiration on a single Cunning Strike, AND had access to Font of Inspiration, however? Assume you can take flaws, are a human, and have the Int to support it. That's two fonts for flaws, one for human, and seven for levels - a total of 1 +2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 = 55 extra inspiration points; 65 with the base Inspiration from 20 levels of Factotum. That means one attack with 65 extra dice attached once per encounter! Could a Rogue of an equivalent level match that?

HELL yes! Take a 20th level Rogue with Greater TWF and Improved Rapid Shot - he can attack seven times in a round, dealing 10d6 sneak attack damage with each hit - a total of 70d6. Plus, he can do it to different targets and do it again EVERY round. Would this make the Factotum BETTER than a Rogue? HELL no! It would just give the Factotum an OPTION to snipe at an unsuspecting enemy. If we're going to compare class abilities and discuss relative strength, then an arcane caster can EASILY get more sneak attack dice than a 20th level Rogue - and do so without sacrificing it's ability to cast reality-altering spells (which make it better than the Rogue anyway, before one even takes into account that it can do the Rogue's thing - sneak attack - better too).

Here's the basic problem with the Inspiration mechanic without the Font:

ALL of your class abilities (those worthy of note) are dependant on spending Inspiration points. If you have, at 20th level, only 10 Inspiration points, your class abilities run out within the first to second round. After that, you're the equivalent of a Rogue without sneak attack or special abilities. In other words, unlike ALL the other classes, your abilities run out quickly in each encounter, leaving more or less nothing behind.

Even if you take into account the 19th level ability (which can last for a full minute), consider someone attempting to play a Factotum at ANY OTHER LEVEL. The amount of Inspiration available during any given encounter is so extremely limited that you'll have barely enough to make your first round count.

Take, for instance, a 5th level Factotum. When combat begins, you've got 4 inspiration points. If you attack once, you've spent HALF your inspiration points - assuming an 18 Int, that's a +4 to attack and damage on ONE HIT. If someone attacks you, you can spend another inspiration for a +4 AC against that single opponent, or one for a +4 to ONE save. Within the first round of combat, what have you accomplished?

About as much as a Paladin with smite. Only not as good. Nowhere NEAR as good - you've got no companion, no BaB, and worse saves. It's as if you got one lousy smite ONCE per encounter, and more or less nothing else.

To whit, it's TERRIBLE.

My point is simply that at low and mid-levels the Factotum isn't able to fill in for ANYBODY except a different trapfinding class (and any other trapfinding class would have more to reccomend it, being capable of doing more and doing it more reliably). Without Font of Inspiration, a Factotum is a neutered Rogue - all of the weaknesses, none of the strengths, and nothing much to reccomend it.

With Font, it becomes playable. I think a round limit on Cunning Surge makes sense for most games (not for the current one I'm playing, however), but I think a level cap on Cunning Strike would make it utterly worthless. Without the Font, however, this lovely class (which I think has such potential!) becomes pathetically underpowered, and is unable even to fill the part-timer role it was designed to satisfy.
hrmmm... i think i have to build that rogue for my savage tides game...
As I said, as-written the Factotum allows you to tailor the class to any given style - either with full optimization or at a lower level. That said, WITHOUT caps placed on abilities and WITHOUT Font of Inspiration, the Factotum is a woefully under-powered class.

While I agree that the Factotum should fill in for different roles as needed, he should be at least COMPETENT at those roles. With only a total of 10 Inspiration by 20th level, his abilities will not be even ADEQUATE for filling in for ANYONE - not the casters, not the warriors, not even the rogue.

I disagree. Even without inspiration, the factotum has Brains over Brawn, Trapfinding, Improved Cunning Defense, and respectable melee ability with 3/4 BAB, D8 hitdie and Martial WP, not to mention having every. single. skill. That inspiration refreshes Every. Encounter. With the average encounter lasting 5 rounds, this looks fine to me. The Facty is filling in. Not replacing, and unlike, say, the Bard and the Fighter, he has high level abilities that help him keep up.
Arcane Dilettante is extremely limited, offering almost NO uses per day, and only (for the most part) 6th level abilities.

At 20th level, the Facty gets 8 different 7th level spells a day. The Factotum gets a boost in Arcane Dilletente, because his entire allocation can be taken from his max spell level. find me a non-primary spellcaster that can match that.
Combat-wise, you are only capable of assigning the most minimal amount to attack and damage, both of which are the WORST way to deal with enemies.

Already established that using Cunning Insight to hit doesn't pay off except in special cases. 1IP into damage (for a huge int score, you're talking +15-20 damage for a tiny expenditure) is almost always a good payoff. Augment with Cunning Strike bonus dice as desired.
Cunning Strike, if level-limited, would only allow you to deal, at TWENTIETH LEVEL, 10d6 sneak attack damage. And THAT would only be for ONE STRIKE, and would remove ALL of your other abilities for the entire encounter. If that were the case, it would be a waste to EVER use Cunning Strike - it would be a completely negligible ability that would be worthless. You would never spend Inspiration on it, since there would always be something better to do with those points.

I freely agree that Cunning Strike is often not the best use of points. There's no penalty to use it though if it has a good chance of ending the encounter outright. Anyway, I don't think anyone's seriously proposing level caps, it's more that FoI is a broken feat.
What about if one COULD spend unlimited inspiration on a single Cunning Strike, AND had access to Font of Inspiration, however? Assume you can take flaws, are a human, and have the Int to support it. That's two fonts for flaws, one for human, and seven for levels - a total of 1 +2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 = 55 extra inspiration points; 65 with the base Inspiration from 20 levels of Factotum. That means one attack with 65 extra dice attached once per encounter! Could a Rogue of an equivalent level match that?

You can try harder. ;) -4 IP for +10 Rogue Sneak Attack Dice. -1 IP for Cunning Insight to damage, equal to 7 dice. -2IP for Cunning Breach, as any threat at this level will have significant DR/SR, now utterly negated. -4 IP to use Cunning Surge to cast any one damaging or debilitating spell of 7th level or lower (Personal pics include Stun Ray, Chain Lightning, Eyebite, Greater Shadow Conjuration, Feeblemind) Plus a Contingency spell of level 6 or less, set up in advance to trigger on a code word. (twinned scorching ray is nice for 6x4d6, or Greater Fireburst, 20d8, or Tenser's Transformation..). 55 left over for extra sneak attack dice equals the rough equivalent of +122 D6, on top of whatever weapon damage there is. Plus you could finish out the rest of your attacks keeping those Rogue dice, for 20 more bonus dice damage. I'm sure I could do better than this with a little work.
HELL yes! Take a 20th level Rogue with Greater TWF and Improved Rapid Shot - he can attack seven times in a round, dealing 10d6 sneak attack damage with each hit - a total of 70d6. Plus, he can do it to different targets and do it again EVERY round. Would this make the Factotum BETTER than a Rogue? HELL no! It would just give the Factotum an OPTION to snipe at an unsuspecting enemy. If we're going to compare class abilities and discuss relative strength, then an arcane caster can EASILY get more sneak attack dice than a 20th level Rogue - and do so without sacrificing it's ability to cast reality-altering spells (which make it better than the Rogue anyway, before one even takes into account that it can do the Rogue's thing - sneak attack - better too).

We already know that high level arcane casters easily eclipse all other classes in raw damage output. And the Factotum can't out sneak-attack a rogue.. at least not for more than a round or so. This is fine. ;)
Here's the basic problem with the Inspiration mechanic without the Font:

ALL of your class abilities (those worthy of note) are dependant on spending Inspiration points. If you have, at 20th level, only 10 Inspiration points, your class abilities run out within the first to second round. After that, you're the equivalent of a Rogue without sneak attack or special abilities. In other words, unlike ALL the other classes, your abilities run out quickly in each encounter, leaving more or less nothing behind.

They run out if you try and nova, or if you spend imprudently. Cunning Brilliance gives you a class ability for one minute, more than enough for a full encounter, and it should be the primary factor for a Factotum in any combat. I'd like to see feats that let you increase the number of available class abilities above 3/day though.
Take, for instance, a 5th level Factotum. When combat begins, you've got 4 inspiration points. If you attack once, you've spent HALF your inspiration points - assuming an 18 Int, that's a +4 to attack and damage on ONE HIT. If someone attacks you, you can spend another inspiration for a +4 AC against that single opponent, or one for a +4 to ONE save. Within the first round of combat, what have you accomplished?

5th level factotum should have an effective 20 int, really. that's just a nitpick though. First round, roll Knowledge Devotion to see how much of a bonus to hit and damage I'm getting against this particular nasty. Assume about a +2. 1 IP for Scorching Ray, 4d6x2, will probably hit cause it's a touch attack and +3 BAB. 2nd round, Improved Trip with about a +13 bonus (Assuming a weapon with +2 to trip) thanks to Brains over Brawn, and a free attack when he hits the ground, and +5 to the damage roll (1IP). The party will be really happy you're keeping the enemy on the floor. And of course if the enemy tries to stand, that's an AoO that you can put him back on the floor with. he'd better hope he has a good ground game. There's still 2 IP left to use as you see fit, or for miscellaneous dumbness like having to tumble to the other side of the enemy or such.
My point is simply that at low and mid-levels the Factotum isn't able to fill in for ANYBODY except a different trapfinding class (and any other trapfinding class would have more to reccomend it, being capable of doing more and doing it more reliably). Without Font of Inspiration, a Factotum is a neutered Rogue - all of the weaknesses, none of the strengths, and nothing much to reccomend it.

I'd like to see a rogue do any of the things I described above, plus know everything, heal, turn undead, and sling spells.
With Font, it becomes playable. I think a round limit on Cunning Surge makes sense for most games (not for the current one I'm playing, however), but I think a level cap on Cunning Strike would make it utterly worthless. Without the Font, however, this lovely class (which I think has such potential!) becomes pathetically underpowered, and is unable even to fill the part-timer role it was designed to satisfy.

Maybe you'd be happier playing a Bard.
With Font as written, it becomes silly. Who wouldn't take as many of that as they could, and how fun would it to play a Factotum that's exactly like every other Factotum? A good judge for any feat: If a class would be completely stupid not to take it, it's probably overpowered for that class. If the Factotum is underpowered, it should be addressed in errata, or by houseruling more IP for the class. Not by giving it a clearly overpowered feat.

Hint: There's a psionic feat that's worded exactly like FoI. Except it's for a class that has 300+ PPoints at 20th level.
They run out if you try and nova, or if you spend imprudently. Cunning Brilliance gives you a class ability for one minute, more than enough for a full encounter, and it should be the primary factor for a Factotum in any combat.

While I'm not coming down on one side or another of the Font of Inspiration argument, I have to very strongly disagree here. An ability that does not exist until 19th level can't be considered a character class's primary combat tactic. What's more, even at 20th level, Cunning Brilliance won't last through the supposedly-standard four encounters per day.

Cunning Brilliance is a powerful tool, but it is not a primary tool of the factotum.
While I'm not coming down on one side or another of the Font of Inspiration argument, I have to very strongly disagree here. An ability that does not exist until 19th level can't be considered a character class's primary combat tactic. What's more, even at 20th level, Cunning Brilliance won't last through the supposedly-standard four encounters per day.

Cunning Brilliance is a powerful tool, but it is not a primary tool of the factotum.


We were mainly looking at the 20th level Factotum, so that's why it came up, since a 19th or 20th level facty is going to be using it heavily. Cunning Brilliance is an awesome ability, and you're totally right that it won't last 4 encounters a day.. but by then your spellcasters are probably out of all their good spells and healing, so the Facty's still useful. ;)

Currently playing a 2nd level Factotum. Might not be the most effective member of the group, but he pulls off the crazy stunts when they're needed, and is a blast to play. That's what's important, right?
Currently playing a 2nd level Factotum. Might not be the most effective member of the group, but he pulls off the crazy stunts when they're needed, and is a blast to play. That's what's important, right?

The same thing can be said of any character - of any class and of any race. There is nothing more subject to personal preference and the course of a campaign than a player's enjoyment of his character.

As far as actual competence is concerned, however, please to be telling me how Trapfinding, skills, and Brains over Brawn begin to have any relevance in a combat encounter (outside of the godsend that is UMD), for I just can't manage to see it.

Maybe I just don't have any idea of what makes for an effective character, but medium BAB and no combat abilities outside of those chosen as feats from character levels ... That's NPC-class contribution to the combat. The factotum contributes in a manner approximately appropriate to his level for the first round or two of combat, and then he's all out. He's then relegated to contributing as an Expert while his friends continue doing things appropriate to their level.

Again, though, maybe I just don't have any idea of what makes for an character.
As far as actual competence is concerned, however, please to be telling me how Trapfinding, skills, and Brains over Brawn begin to have any relevance in a combat encounter (outside of the godsend that is UMD), for I just can't manage to see it.

Brains over Brawn: Huge bonus for Trip, Bull Rush, and Initiative. Go first, spoil the opponent's action. Trapfinding of course has nothing to do with combat (If you're lucky)
For the kind of combat a Factotum should be getting into, USE those skills. Bluff, Sense Motive, Tumble, Balance.. play to your superiority in these skills. Make difficult terrain for your opponent and fight them on your terms. The Factotum is about options, and using them to play on your enemy's weaknesses. As stated earlier, Knowledge Devotion is perfect for Factotums. put those skill points to work.
Maybe I just don't have any idea of what makes for an effective character, but medium BAB and no combat abilities outside of those chosen as feats from character levels ... That's NPC-class contribution to the combat. The factotum contributes in a manner approximately appropriate to his level for the first round or two of combat, and then he's all out. He's then relegated to contributing as an Expert while his friends continue doing things appropriate to their level.

Medium BAB is nothing to sneeze at, and is quite serviceable, especially since the Factotum will often be flanking, getting bonus from Knowledge Devotion or Inspiration, and using a lot of special attacks that are initiated by touch. Don't discount the Factotum's Martial WPs! Not many classes get that, and the Factotum can make good use of a flexibility in weapon choice. I just can't believe you're trying to compare the Factotum to an Expert. Let's see.. more HP, more skillpoints. All class skills instead of 10. Better saves. Martial WP and Shields. And when the encounter's over, he's got his IP back. Seriously, by 6th level, the Factotum has all the tools to contribute well throughout a combat, and I don't think you can possibly discount his out-of-combat usefulness.
As far as actual competence is concerned, however, please to be telling me how Trapfinding, skills, and Brains over Brawn begin to have any relevance in a combat encounter (outside of the godsend that is UMD), for I just can't manage to see it.

Well, Brains Over Brawn can make a superior tripper - still takes feat investment, but it's contributing beyond the feats.

Still, it's a bit of a corner case.
Just two words to add, on top of what Sian said, whose's position I fully agree with.
ALL of your class abilities (those worthy of note) are dependant on spending Inspiration points. If you have, at 20th level, only 10 Inspiration points, your class abilities run out within the first to second round. After that, you're the equivalent of a Rogue without sneak attack or special abilities. In other words, unlike ALL the other classes, your abilities run out quickly in each encounter, leaving more or less nothing behind.

They do only because :
- you only see the IP abuse
- you absolutely wanna start your nova on round 1 (or 0 with surprise).

Really, the Factotum is not meant to be an equivalent to the SA-specialist rogue or front-line tank. He's only a temporary replacement : ie, someone who will step in the line of battle in the middle of the fight just the time needed by the cleric to bring the barbarian/fighter/knight/paladin/whatever back to his feet after being demised. He's the one occasionally doing SA, but always looking for a good occasion to use his own abilities to play. He's a man of opportunity, not to focus on front-line fighting or Sneak Attack, but to keep his options large : trip, disarm, flanking-aid, movement, and sometimes a SA or other ability.

Even more, I'd say he's only a helper in combat. You guys only see the optimization for combat, but D&D is not only about combat. Traps & locks, for one, are another kind of encounter : BoverB means they no longer present any threat. NPC interactions are another : Cunning Knowledge means the Facty could have one truly magnificent diplomacy check (on top of enough ranks in it - thank you, insane Intelligence), enough to avoid one fighting encounter, and then another truly magnificent bluff check to avoid another nasty encounter, and then a truly magnificent sense motive check to know that the supposed-traitor actually is lying to them and leading to an ambush, and then a truly magnificent intimidate check to cower that tribe of savage humanoids into submission. So far, he has utterly avoided 3-4 unnecessary combat encounters and all traps and bypassed all doors, thereby saving the party's hp & spells (be them combat, healing or utility - like knock, find traps, etc - spells) and he's not done yet.
Could a rogue help with traps & locks ? yes. Could a bard help with interaction ? yes. But the factotum does both, and more. He can replace them in a four-member group, and in a five-member group he allows the sneaky guy not to take trapfinding but to focus on combat & sneaking.

Let's now speak of his ability to improve his companion's powers, to be a team-player. First, he's the one who'll be able to identify all the signs at the entrance of the cave to determine exactly what type of monsters live there (Spot + Knowledge), what their weaknesses are, and which tactic might be the best : the primary spellcasters will be able to use appropriate buff spells and potions may be taken (or even prepare/buy them one day in advance in the best cases) while contingencies will be planned with the brawlers.
Second, as Sian said, trip attacks are where the Factotum shine. It's too sad disarm takes an attack roll, but a trip attack is very potent when done to a foe who's adjacent to an allied heavy hitter : AoO on standing up from a prone position, +4 attack bonus for attacking a prone foe in melee, +2 from flanking = nigh-permanent +6 attack bonus for the meleeist. More : as the Factotum is flanking the prone enemy, he gets the same bonuses, and an AoO when he stands up - AoO which may be another trip, keeping the foe on the ground until the end. As a meleeist's attack bonus is usually on par with the foe's AC (or slightly better), it's an additional 30% attacks of his that hit - or considering he normally would hit with 60% attacks, an extra 50% net damage output (9 attacks out of ten hitting, compared to 6 out of ten) ; if the meleeist is not doing on average more than 24 damage per attack (say, a 2d6+1d6 energy+13 damage : +1 flaming greatsword with a 26 Str), that could be a six-point Power Attack for 12 additional points of damage. This is without using any IP point, and already better than the bard's Inspire Courage. Use IPs either to increase your damage on the follow-up attack after each readied trip or to get a full-attack once you deem the foe has been sufficiently weakened while keeping a potential Cunning Surge to ready another trip should you not finish him off at that moment.
Third way of being a party helper, using as few IP as needed : play the counterspell substitute. Free your wizard & cleric friends for actual casting of spells, while you take charge of preventing the enemy spellcaster of casting his own spells. Don't do it using Arcane Dilettante, no : ready an action to fire an arrow. And use Cunning Instinct to add your Int modifier. Say you have level 8 Factotum with 26 Int, with a +1 sonic/flaming/frost/whatever composite longbow (+2 Str) (I assume +2 Str-mod as 12 base +2 item - that's rather conservative) : you're already doing an average of 11 points of damage (and could be more using +1 shocking/frost/flaming/whatever-different-from-bow arrows), which raises to 19 with one IP on Cunning Insight. The Concentration check of the primary spellcasting foe just went up to 29 + spell level (or 34+SL for magic arrows) : unless the spellcaster's Concentration bonus is higher than +20, you've just become more effective at counterspelling than your magic-dispelling friend, for four rounds without any Font feat, and you just dealt nearly 80 points of damage to the foe. Four rounds of one-sided unopposed spellcasting really are terrible to behold. Alternatively, you could have tumbled past your enemies in the first round, using Cunning Surge to ready a move action should the spellcaster move away and relying on AoO -or- readying an melee attack action.
This could go on way longer. As you see, the Factotum is a team-player, an opportunist. A real jack-of-all-trade.



One word on trip. One feat investment ? Sure, this works wonders, but also thing about using adequate weapons. A whip, for example, is useful, to get your trip attacks from afar without closing with enemy warriors ; you don't even need a feat, a one-level dip into bard is fine (see the synergy with bardic knowledge with your tremendous Int-modifier ?) without losing your 19th level ability (and while improving your Will base save, gaining rudimentary bardic music and a few cantrips).
What about if one COULD spend unlimited inspiration on a single Cunning Strike, AND had access to Font of Inspiration, however? Assume you can take flaws, are a human, and have the Int to support it. That's two fonts for flaws, one for human, and seven for levels - a total of 1 +2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 = 55 extra inspiration points; 65 with the base Inspiration from 20 levels of Factotum. That means one attack with 65 extra dice attached once per encounter! Could a Rogue of an equivalent level match that?

HELL yes! Take a 20th level Rogue with Greater TWF and Improved Rapid Shot - he can attack seven times in a round, dealing 10d6 sneak attack damage with each hit - a total of 70d6. Plus, he can do it to different targets and do it again EVERY round.

Perhaps a factotum4/rogue could be interesting, though I guess that's more suited for a Rogue Handbook thread.
Originally Posted by IICV in the "Crossing every layer of Abyss" thread on 07-06-07, 04:44 PM
Quantum Mechanics are probably just really tiny Modrons.
It's too sad disarm takes an attack roll, but a trip attack is very potent when done to a foe who's adjacent to an allied heavy hitter : AoO on standing up from a prone position, +4 attack bonus for attacking a prone foe in melee, +2 from flanking = nigh-permanent +6 attack bonus for the meleeist. More : as the Factotum is flanking the prone enemy, he gets the same bonuses, and an AoO when he stands up - AoO which may be another trip, keeping the foe on the ground until the end.

Actually, AoO take place before the provoking action resolves. An opponent declares that they are standing up, you get an attack of opportunity, then they stand up. You can not trip an opponent who is already on the group.

Nice thought though.
Actually, AoO take place before the provoking action resolves. An opponent declares that they are standing up, you get an attack of opportunity, then they stand up. You can not trip an opponent who is already on the group.

Nice thought though.

Yes, that's right, I forgot that. Well then, ready an attack to trip him after he got up. You still get the AoO before he stands up, and then get to send him back the nose in the sand. Granted, the foe could use a second move action to get up again, but if you have Combat Reflexes it just means you get another AoO, so does your ally.:D
BIG point we're forgetting here guys.

A facty gets wizard spells AND a d8 with a 3/4 BAB.

Alter self
WRAITHSTRIKE!
POLYMORPH!!
Draconic poly, trollshape, and all the other poly subschool stuff.

He only gets a few spells, but he gets enough to buff once a battle

A facty is a ready-made gish, WITH all those skills, AND the tripping bonus, AND the Knowledge Devotion bonuses, AND the Inspiration points.

Put together a 10th level facty-gish with Polymorph (I don't have time right now or I'd do it) do the KDevotion and maybe Imp trip and see what you get.

Side note- Feel like an idiot. Spent 4-5 hours piecing a spellbook together and then reread the class yesterday and realized I didn't need one. I saw prepared arcane caster and just ASSUMED...



Oh, and I'm using the pearls of power thing in my game but making a UMD check to do it. Makes me think; What else could I be doing with these UMD checks?

Hmmm..

Nice summary. thanks!
One word on trip. One feat investment ? Sure, this works wonders, but also thing about using adequate weapons. A whip, for example, is useful, to get your trip attacks from afar without closing with enemy warriors ; you don't even need a feat, a one-level dip into bard is fine (see the synergy with bardic knowledge with your tremendous Int-modifier ?) without losing your 19th level ability (and while improving your Will base save, gaining rudimentary bardic music and a few cantrips).

I really wish Factotum got EWP:Whip for free, but you can't have everything, eh? Sure, any fightery type can trip, but the Facty can trip quite well with less investment than the others.
I am looking at playing either

Human Factotum 5, Chameleon 4, Uncanny Trickster 3 (advancing Chameleon), Chameleon +4, Factotum +4

or

Human Factotum 5, Chameleon 10, Factotum +5

I am definately interested in Able Learner and Insightful Reflexes, and I am considering Font of Inspiration.

I am the 5th player, so I am looking to capitalize on my versatility, being able to do pretty much anything, including getting every skill synergy ASAP.

I am curious as to what feats and skill tricks you all would recommend, both for the Chameleon floating feat, and normal feats.

TIA
Could a Factotum get into the Sublime Chord PrC with a Factotum 9/Bard 1 build?
Could a Factotum get into the Sublime Chord PrC with a Factotum 9/Bard 1 build?

As a Factotum doesn't actually cast spells, no.
As a Factotum doesn't actually cast spells, no.

Do they prepare spells?
At 20th level, the Facty gets 8 different 7th level spells a day.

No he doesn't.
The Factotum gets a boost in Arcane Dilletente, because his entire allocation can be taken from his max spell level.

No he can't.

Do they prepare spells?

No.

:D
To clarify, since WombleHunter left it a bit unclear (simply stating no);

On points one and two, the Factotum can only 'cast' 1 spell of his highest level, the rest must be of a lower level.

For that third no, I believe you're wrong Womble - the wording is clear, the Factotum does prepare spells (just doesn't cast them). Page 16 of Dungeonscape, midway down the right column (second paragraph under Arcane Dilettante) states, "At the start of each day, choose a number of spells from the sorcerer/wizard spell list... ...but you can prepare only one spell of your maximum level." Per that bit, you do prepare spells.

Unfortunately, once they are prepared, you then unleash the power as a Spell-Like Ability (by spending an Inspiration Point) and you do not actually cast the spell.
Unfortunately, once they are prepared, you then unleash the power as a Spell-Like Ability (by spending an Inspiration Point) and you do not actually cast the spell.

Exactly. This is also why factotums have a hard time harnessing reserve feats. Sure, they prepare spells, which is what they need to make use of those feats. However, the reserve feats all come with a prerequisite that requires you to be able to cast spells of a certain level.

A factotum who hasn't multiclassed (or gotten into a spellcasting prestige class) can't access anything with a prerequite requiring spellcasting.
BIG point we're forgetting here guys.

A facty gets wizard spells AND a d8 with a 3/4 BAB.

:snip:

Put together a 10th level facty-gish with Polymorph (I don't have time right now or I'd do it) do the KDevotion and maybe Imp trip and see what you get.

Just hit 10th level. Looks like the best I can do with the above tactic is to go with a 10-headed hydra.

Round One:
Make K Devotion check- Take 10 = 31, add +4 to hit and damage

Extra st action- Polymorph (10-headed hydra)

Full-round action- Charge and attack at +16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16 for 1d10+9 damage each

Round Two: ??

Round Three: Profit!

Alternately, if we have time to buff.

Pre-battle: Polymorph (10-headed hydra), have party cut off heads, wait 4 rounds.

Round One:
Make check (+4)

Full round- Charge and attack at +16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16 for 1d10+9 damage each

X Standard action- Attack at +16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16/16 for 1d10+9 damage each

Round Two: Mournfully lament how underpowered your Factotum is.

Assuming this works unless they changed Polymorph again.

Can I trip with a bite attack? I'm not sure. I'm thinking it's a natural weapon so...

You could do this as a wizard, of course, but at +10 with 1d10+5 damage unless you had K Devotion (not likely). Unless you killed EVERYTHING you would also be standing amougst your enemies with a 13 AC and and your d4's worth of HPs. Not optimal.

High AC opponents and DR would be hell on this strategy, but don't forget that you have the War Troll option at 12th level and the Firblog at 13th.

Also been thinking of some Facty-specific feats that would improve abilities and add a FEW more IP.

Facty level 3-
1/day use an IP to gain INT to attack roll or saving throw after you have seen the result of the roll. Also gain 1 isp point.

Level 6-
Cunning Dodge effects your AC vs all opponents, not just one. You gain 1 ip. You also gain 1 ip at 16th level when you gain imp cunning dodge.

Level 9-
Spend 3 uses of Op Piety to heal twice the damage. Gain 1 ip.

Level 12-
Spend 4 ip to ignore DR/SR for 1 round. This affects all attacks this round, not just yours. Gain 1 ip.

Level 15-
Ignore an attack 1 additional time per day by spending the requisite 4 ip. Gain 1 ip.

Level 18-
Trade a spell slot for a # of lower level slots. A 6th level for a 4th and a 2nd for example.
~

Haven't written them into Official Form yet but these type of feats are far more reasonable than Font.

Opinions?
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