View Full Version : Factotum--Question & Optimization

2008-12-29, 01:33 AM
So, trying out a Factotum. Level 2 as of Session 1 but level advancement is very fast.

Firstly, I have a question(s). I get inspiration points 'per encounter'. What constitutes an encounter? What about between fights, using skills and such? Also, is this by-the-book method that I don't understand underpowered/overpowered?


Optimization--any suggestions? Firstly, I have a question re feats. Are there any feats besides Open Minded that either give me skill points or give skill points every level (like Nymph's Kiss, but not Nymph's Kiss)?

Also, I'm using A LOT of knowledge skills--the DM calls for a lot; they've been ridiculously useful. Are there any feats that improve knowledge skills in any way? I was wondering if there was any feat that let me have a few knowledge skills level at once--I think there's something like that for Perform (versatile performance?).

At this level, I can do nearly-complete rebuilding, so suggest anything please.

Core Info: 70 year old Venerable Human Factotum: 6 STR, 7 DEX & CON, 18 WIS & CHA, 20 INT.

2008-12-29, 04:48 AM
The 'encounter' thing is poorly defined. I think it's best to discuss this with the DM; a 30-second pause where the battlegrid isn't used, for example, could be a good rule of thumb.

As far as I know, next to Open Minded and Nymph's Kiss, there is nothing to boost skill points gained. You could choose to go Factotum/Able Learner and pick a class with 8 skill points rather than 6, but then you'd give up on Factotum as a class.

IIRC, there are a few Feats that boost/alter Knowledge checks, but I don't recall them right now. The Collector of Stories skill trick from Complete Scoundrel is great (+5 when it comes to identifying monsters). If you are already buffed on Knowledge skills, consider taking the Knowledge Devotion feat from Complete Champion (thanks, KKL!). It gives you attack/damage bonuses based on your Knowledge checks versus a given monster.

I'd favor Dex over Cha (or Wis, if you're set on a charismatic character); you'll probably want to go ranged attacks, and Dex penalties just suck. Even when you're going for an out-of-combat character, Dex will help your mobility, AC and improves your danger sense, which are good qualities for those with 7 Con.

2008-12-29, 04:51 AM

Complete Champion.

2008-12-29, 05:24 AM
An item familiar, which you can find here (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/magic/itemFamiliars.htm) might help.

2008-12-29, 05:47 AM
According to the official FAQ (which is not RAW, I know, but this one makes sense IMO), a situation that comes up in between battles and needs to be somehow overcome by the players is considered an encounter.
Disclaimer: that wasn't the wording at all, it's just the meaning as I understand and remember it.

Applying this rule logically would mean that if, say, the party wants to cross a river through a very precarious rope bridge, it is considered an encounter - even if there are no goblins shooting arrows from afar. Your Factotum can use an Inspiration point to get a bonus to one Climb check (but not more), another to get a bonus to one Balance check etc. But if you run out of inspiration points in the middle, you shouldn't be allowed to say "Oh, I'll just delay for X hours so that it counts as a 2nd encounter."

Sometimes it's more hazy.
If you bump into an NPC and want to retrieve information and think "oh, I'll spend an inspiration point for that and boost my Diplomacy", you certainly can. But if, during the conversation, something else happens (say, a guard overhears and comes to ask why the hell you are so curious), I'd say it's still the same encounter. Someone else might say it's another. So you should check with your DM and agree on a general guideline, at least. :)


Able Learner is lovely, but only if you multiclass. If you go straight factotum, you don't need it (and you can only take it at first level). Jack Of All Trades allows you to make untrained checks that you normally can't (like Knowledge for a DC more than 10), even with no skill ranks. Knowledge Devotion is great, though your... strangely mix-maxed :smalltongue: character doesn't seem eager for combat. Is he?

The Absent-Minded trait (if you are OK with UA) gives +1 on all Knowledge checks and a -1 penalty to Spot and Listen.

Also from UA, is the spelltouched Breadth of Knowledge feat:

Prerequisite: Exposure to legend lore or vision spell.
Benefit: All Knowledge checks you make are treated as trained checks, even if you don't have any ranks in the specific skill. If you have at least one rank in the specific Knowledge skill in question, you gain a +1 bonus on the check.

The Master of Knowledge feat from Heroes of Horror gives +1 to all Knowledge checks.

There are a few others, but they are race-specific. (You are set on human, right?)

EDIT- And I just noticed no one mentioned Font of Inspiration. For optimization this is great, but it really pays off once you've taken it a few times. That means that a Factotum who spends ALL his feats to Font of Inspiration is a perfectly valid option, because he ends up with a huge amount of inspiration points and the ability to go crazy nova (or, alternatively, not run out even in long and difficult encounters).
But, personally, I find this method horribly boring. :)

2008-12-29, 01:53 PM
Thanks, everyone! I'll take a look, and hash out the definition of an 'encounter' with the DM.

Two last questions. I'm really looking for something like this, but for knowledge skills:

Versatile Performer(From Complete Adventurer)
Prereq: Perform (any) 5 ranks. Benefit: Pick a number of Perform categories equal to your intelligence bonus. For the purpose of making Perform checks, you are treated as having a number of ranks in those skills equal to the highest number of ranks you have in any one perform category. You can't change these categories, but your score increases as you add more ranks. You gain new categories if your INT bonus increases.

I had a second question, but forgot what it was.

2008-12-29, 02:26 PM
I don't claim to have ALL the books (most, perhaps...), but I honestly don't think there is such a feat. (And even if it did, personally I wouldn't allow it to exist in the same universe with Knowledge Devotion. :smalltongue: )

Knowledge is a much more useful set of skills than perform. Versatile Performer is not overpowered. A bard sure needs a couple of extra Perform skills, in case he can't sing for some reason, or he can't access an instrument, or the persons he means to fascinate are deaf so he needs to start dancing all of a sudden. :smalltongue: Even so, it's a limited and circumstantial use. (Great flavor, though.)

But Knowledge has many applications, for every player, even without Knowledge Devotion. The simple fact that feats which add a meager +1 to all knowledge skills do exist, would make a Versatile Performer equivalent grossly overpowered.

If you really want to excel, consider a dip to Marshal. One level gives you an aura, which can be Motivate Intelligence. You get your Charisma bonus on top of your Intelligence to all Intelligence based checks. That's a huge boost, in your case, and I'm pretty there's no feat that can duplicate that.

EDIT - Oh, and another suggestion I always make to aspiring Factotums (though usually they dump Wisdom, and for the moment you don't) is the Keen Intellect feat from Oriental Adventures. You use your Intelligence modifier instead of Wisdom for Heal, Sense Motive, Spot and Survival checks AND Will saves. First level only. Similarly, Insightful Reflexes (Complete Adventurer) replaces Dexterity with Intelligence for Reflex saves. And I'm pretty sure there's a feat that uses Intelligence to calculate bonus hit points/level, but it's from a Dragon issue. I can look it up if you like.

2008-12-29, 03:07 PM
Try this thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=88633).