View Full Version : 3.5 Gish Built, please check

2009-02-08, 03:53 PM
Hello folks. I just rolled up an Elf Swashbuckler 4/Wizard 2/Abjurant Champion 5/Bladesinger 3 with dreams of 20th level. Ability Scores are

After Elf species and ability score mods that ends up being 16/18/14/18/10/9

Tome of Battle is not allowed, unfortunately.

I've Equiped myself with Gloves of dex +6, Headband of int +6, a cloak of resistance +3, and Rings of Force Armor. Melee weapon ends up being a +4 weapon, a +1 Keen Enervating Rapier (so on a crit it bestows a negative level)

I end up with BAB 13, CL 13, access to 5th level spells (I'm an effective 9th level wizard for the purposes of spells per day/spells known), and a pretty solid 107 HP. My AC before buffs is 25, and when I drop a shield spell I add another 9 to that.

Is this solid? Can I tweak levels to get more out of this, or are there better items I can make use of for my 150,000 gp?

A big question is spells: I perused the assorted splatbooks and my spell compendium. I'm familiar with TLN's guide, although I have selected no offensive spells except for Dispel Magic, because the party has a full wizard/master counterspeller dude, and a Sorc/Spellwarp Sniper/Arcane Trickster. I'm just wondering if the playground has any suggestions on some really solid buffs.

Also, what level abjuration spells are quickened for a 5th level abjurant champion? Can I only quicken second level spells?

2009-02-08, 04:15 PM
4 things:

1. cut that last level of Swashbuckler. It gets you nothing, and this means that you can go Gray Elf (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/elf.htm#grayElf) and an additional level of wizard.
2. If you use above advice, don't bother improving Str. Drop it down to 14 if you can, and put the other stats in Dex.
3. Bladesinger is a horrible, horrible trap. Go something like Spellsword(for the ability to hit with a spell, not the armor), or Swiftblade (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/prc/20070327).
4. No, it says round up, so you can quicken 3rd level spells.

Keld Denar
2009-02-08, 05:00 PM
Unfortunately, your build is not very good. You don't keep very high CLs, and you don't have 16+ BAB by level 20. A more traditional build might be Fighter1/Wizard5/Spellsword1/AbjurantChampion5/EldritchKnight4 or similar. That gets you 17/20 BAB and 18/20 CLs. Yea, you won't get free Weapon Finesse or +int to damage, but you'll get more powerful spells which translate into bigger buffs and more damage from things like Arcane Strike.

If you really want Swashbuckler, and interesting build might be Swashbuckler3/Duskblade3/SuelArcanamach4/AbjurantChampion5/Spellsword1/Anything4. SA (from Complate Arcane) gets nice spellcasting and some neato abilities. Kinda MAD, needing Dex, Int, and Cha, but you could synergize that a bit using the Illumian race with the sidebar to make up a new sigil with NaenKrau runes to key your bonus spells off int (similar to AeshKrau) which will make up the loss of 2 CLs and make you only dependant on int and dex (and Con, everyone is dependant on Con).

Might be kind of interesting.

2009-02-08, 06:14 PM
I'm confused about the BAB though. At this build the BAB is 13/14 (I loose 1 bab for two levels of wizard) and at level 20 it would be 19/20. My CL is 19/20, and I'd be able to cast 6th level spells (with effective wizard level of 12). I know 9th level spells are the end-all be-all of D&D but I thought this was pretty respectable.

Maybe I didn't make myself clear, and if so I apologize, the build I posted in the first post is only 14th level.

The obvious duskblade is not allowed, and neither are things like the swiftblade or classes not printed in actual books. I'm pretty sure that taking swash 3/wizard 4/abj c.5/bld s.2 nets me a BAB of +12, a caster level of 12, and 10 effective levels of wizard for spells known. I guess at level 20 I'd have access to 7th level spells..

2009-02-09, 02:39 AM
If your group doesn't optimize very hard, you should be fine. If they do, you might need some help.

I'm confused about the BAB though. At this build the BAB is 13/14 (I loose 1 bab for two levels of wizard) and at level 20 it would be 19/20. My CL is 19/20, and I'd be able to cast 6th level spells (with effective wizard level of 12). I know 9th level spells are the end-all be-all of D&D but I thought this was pretty respectable.

With 13/14 BAB, you should be hitting, but without Power Attack or Sneak Attack who cares? You're dealing 15 damage per attack, half of which only applies to crit-able opponents (at your level that's an important qualification). You're casting 6th level spells (and that's a good thing!) but that's about it. Unless you have some way of generating damage or making something useful of your presence in melee, you may as well be a level 11 Wizard (probably even weaker--you have more wealth, but you've probably spent it on melee gear; and a level 11 wizard would have feats and prestige classes that help spellcasting).

First off, I think I ought to say that I might be a bit biased against this build because it's pretty close to the approach I took for the most absolutely worthless character I've ever played. I was new, the Bladesinger and Swashbuckler looked like they were made for each other, I thought it would be perfect. What ended up happening was me standing around without enough HP to survive monster attacks, without enough spell slots to last a full day and without enough damage for baddies to notice me--even when I decided to nova and Arcane Striked everything I had at once.

The Bladesinger class is next to worthless (actually, that's being generous). First off, it needs Combat Casting and Dodge and Weapon Focus. That's three wasted feats; maybe plausible for a human Fighter/Wizard, but not really for a Swashbuckler. Then, it requires you use a Rapier one-handed. This means no reach, no Power Attack and no TWF unless you scrounged four free feats (and with these entry requirements, that's absurd). So damage and battlefield control are out. And the class kills your spellcasting with its half-progression and entry requirements, so there's nothing there to help you out. What you're left with is severe Monk Syndrome--you're hard to hit, but you can't do anything to justify your being there. Actually, the Monk can boost its Stunning Fist DC pretty high and has better defenses than you, so you're definitely in trouble.

If you want a decent Finesse-based gish, you're going to need to add tag-along effects of some sort to your attack. Duskblade would be the obvious go-to, but you say that's out. Your other choices might be Spellsword (easy entrance, you can hit opponents with single-target Antimagic Fields and neat effects like that) or Raumathari Battlemage (UE; it's pretty okay despite low HP and loses fewer caster levels) or Havoc Mage (Minis; it's really absurdly straightforward. Mediocre, but straightforward). [edit: I just looked back at the Havoc Mage; it did not do what I remembered it doing. That class is foul.]

If you want the full 10 levels of Bladesinger (the capstone is the Bladesinger's only real feature, so I'll assume it's why you entered the class), you might want to look at 10-level prestige classes with self-contained spellcasting. Use your first ten levels to carry you. If you take 5 levels of Chameleon or Assassin before entering Bladesinger, you might be in okay shape.

You might need to dig deep to pull Bladesinger through all ten levels--when I try to optimize the class, there are certain feats and variants that seem to come up often:

A 1-level dip in Monk with the Carmendine Monk feat (CoV) and the Passive Way variant (UA) gives you Improved Unarmed Strike for Two-Weapon Fighting, Combat Expertise for meeting prerequisites and Intelligence to AC (and Stunning Fist if you take it).
The Craven feat (CoR) will increase Rogue or Assassin Sneak Attack during your Bladesinger levels.
Feat Rogue helps you qualify for Assassin and provides some of your much-needed feats.

And, of course, taking 2 levels Prestige Bard (UA), 5 levels Abjurant Champion (CM) and using Eldritch Knight as a filler will outdo Bladesinger at all of Bladesinger's schticks, have the same fluff and will have more spellcasting levels and feats than the Bladesinger can manage.

2009-02-09, 06:09 AM
Both Swashbuckler and Bladesinger are generally poor choices for any Gish. You want the highest level spells you can get as soon as possible, and losing more than two levels of spellcasting before prestige classes is a huge setback. Starting out Fighter 1/ Wizard 6/ Spellsword or Fighter 2/ Wizard 4/ Spellsword is a probably the best you can do without cheese. A replacement for Fighter 2/ Wizard 4/ Spellsword would be Fighter 1/ Wizard 2/ Elf Paragon 3/ Spellsword, which is actually quite good. With cheese take the feat Otherworldly (PGtF), it changes your creature type to Outsider thus granting you proficiency in all martial weapons, allowing you to go Wizard 6/ Eldritch Knight, after which you can pick up Abjurant Champion and even dip one level of Dragon Slayer from the Draconomicon to qualify for Spellsword, which is also good for a one-level dip. An older build went Fighter 2/ Wizard 4/ Spellsword 1/ Incantatrix (PGtF) 4/ Eldritch Knight 9, which gets 17th level spellcasting and a +16 BAB at level 20 with overpowered Metamagic Effect: Persistent Spell tricks.

The basic idea is to lose both as few levels of spellcasting and as few points of BAB as possible while qualifying for whichever prestige class that progresses both that has the easiest prerequisites, then only stick with that one long enough to qualify for another. Swashbuckler 4/ Wizard 2 qualifies for Abjurant Champion, but so does Fighter 2/ Wizard 4/ Spellsword 1. It takes one more character level to do so, but you're ahead by two levels of spellcasting ability while sacrificing only one point of BAB. If you can get 17th level spellcasting ability and +16 BAB by level 20, you're better off than having poor spellcasting ability but higher BAB. Abjurant Champion may as well not grant any class features at levels 3-5 other than making Abjurant Armor and Swift Abjuration better, what it grants at those levels is completely irrelevant. Martial Arcanist at +19 BAB and 12th level spellcasting ability is worse off than +16 BAB and 17th level spellcasting ability with Practiced Spellcaster for a caster level of 20 at level 20.

Don't worry about Strength so much, or any physical ability scores for that matter, you should be able to cast Polymorph to take on the form of something with spectacular stats, or even Draconic Polymorph from the Draconomicon (with Metamagic Effect: Persistent Spell). Your greatest sources of damage will be Power Attack and possibly Leap Attack (CV), and Arcane Strike (CW). It's actually not a bad idea to go with a specialist Wizard with the Focused Specialist variant (CM) in a school like Transmutation just to have so many more spells/day to power more Arcane Strikes, which gets better as you get higher level spells. Use the spell Wraithstrike, possibly with a Lesser Rod of Extend, and Power Attack without worrying about missing most of the time. Leap Attack is especially useful if you Polymorph into something that has Pounce, such as a Cave Troll (MM3). Get a Lesser Rod of Quicken so on the round after an Extended Wraithstrike you can Arcane Strike, Power Attack, and possibly Leap Attack, and then cast a Quickened Whirling Blade with all the same bonuses as though you were wielding it in melee. In that case, Sculpt Spell (CA) would also be a good choice, keeping in mind that even if a metamagic feat causes a spell to be cast from a higher level spell slot, it is still considered a spell of its original level for save DCs and whether a Lesser Metamagic Rod can be used with it, unless it was Heightened.

Don't spend a lot on your weapon. You can use Greater Magic Weapon to increase its Enhancement bonus, so only get it enchanted for properties that are worth having. Relying on critical hits is a huge trap, the higher level you get the more opponents will be immune to them. Make it +1 to get Spell Storing and put a (Lesser Rod of) Maximized Vampiric Touch or a Maximized Shivering Touch into it, and/or get the Valorous (UE) property on it to deal double damage for the rest of the round after a charge. If you're going to include Incantatrix 4 just cast Thunderlance with Metamagic Effect: Persistent for one of the best weapons in the game absolutely free. Don't worry too much about boosting your Int score, you're not casting spells that allow saving throws and you shouldn't be depending on it to boost your damage or AC. I'd spend quite a bit on Metamagic Rods (at least one each of Lesser Quicken, Extend, and Maximize), get Armbands of Might, a Healing Belt, and a Ring of Freedom of Movement, work on filling out your spellbook, and maybe get some set items from MIC such as Gloves of Endless Javelins, and anything from the Raiment of the Four set is nice. You should be able to cast Superior Resistance on yourself every day, which is better than any pre-epic item can grant.

2009-02-09, 09:07 AM
I'll have to think long and hard about this. The damage I realized was a bit of a problem. The AC/Combat survivability I'm not especially worried about. I can get an AC of 57 with only a minor amount of effort. I can see where you guys are coming from on the bladesinger - those feat requirements really suck. I may stick with it though. The party has pretty reliable sources of damage. My last character was a melee brute cleric and he was useful to the party mostly for his ability to stand between the baddie and the mages/fighter-archer guy.

Truth be told, I kind of like the flavor of the guy. With spell/item loadout he's ultra-mobile. Does anyone else think Lightning Leap is made of awesome?

The DM also has this funny tendency to find things incredibly hard to hit, and then devote resources to trying to hit those things, so he can go HA! I hit you. I will take a look at Arcane Strike though. I discovered the Focused Specialist alternate ability and now I cast almost as many spells as the sorcerer.