View Full Version : 3.5e Epic Evil Campaign Build Suggestions

2009-10-07, 07:00 AM
I'm soon to be playing in an epic, Evil, monsters-allowed, planes-hopping campaign in 3.5e. I'm not the most familiar of people with this system, and even less so with playing monsters with class levels ... but the fact that I can do it meant I really wanted to try, so I came up with a character with suitably epic motivations, a rather awesome (to my eyes, anyway) array of abilities, and a sheer coolness factor going for him.

Before I begin, let me tell you what the DM told me regarding the campaign:
- Betrayals are fully expected and embraced
- Epic spells will NOT be something granted to players except at plot-specific moments (in other words, unless he says so they're off the table)
- There will be much planes-hopping so having the ability to move about the planes under your own power is almost a must; all characters will be given 10 free skill ranks in Knowledge(The Planes)
- He will allow small amounts of leeway in character creation if he likes the concept enough
- The other players so far are a sorceror, a monk, a duskblade, a scout, and some character from the book of 9 swords, almost all of which are playing with some form of monster race or level adjustment or both; the monk and the scout are not definitely able to play
- "All" books except for the Spell Compendium and anything to do with Psionics are allowed (I assume "all" will later be revised but don't know yet)
- The starting level is 24, the starting array is 18, 16, 13, 12, 11, 10
- Ability points are only awarded every 4 class levels, not for monster HD

That's about all I know at the moment.

On to my character:

Sunda Asura
Male Neutral Evil Rakshasa Ur-Priest 2/Mystic Theurge 8 (7 Outsider(Native) HD)
HP 126, AC 32, Fort 15 Ref 15 Will 22
STR: 13 DEX: 16 CON: 16 INT: 16 WIS:19 CHA: 29 (+5 inherent bonus)
Skills: Bluff +23, Concentration +23, Disguise +21, Knowledge(Arcana) +23, Knowledge(Religion) +23, Knowledge(The Planes) +20, Listen +14, Sense Motive +20, Spellcraft +23, Spot +14
Languages: Common, Infernal, Sylvan, Undercommon, Celestial, Draconic, Abyssal, Goblin, Daelkyr (10 ranks invested)
Feats: Iron Will, Spell Focus (Evil), Divine Metamagic, Quicken Spell, Practiced Spellcaster (Ur-Priest), Practiced Spellcaster (Sorceror), Leadership (Given Free)
Special Qualities: Speed 40ft/x4, Darkvision 60ft, +4 Racial Bonus to Bluff and Disguise, +9 Natural Armor Bonus, DR 15/good and piercing, SR 37 (27+Class levels)
Special Abilities: Rebuke Undead 12x/day, Natural Weapons Bite (1d6) and 2 Claws (1d4), Detect Thoughts(Su) save DC 20, Change Shape
Possessions: Staff of Illusion, Greater Rod of Maximize, Rod of Absorption, Glove of Storing (2x), Black Robe of the Archmagi, Ring of Protection +5, Ring of Arcane Might, Headband of Conscious Effort, Cloak of Etherealness, Scarab of Protection, Belt of Many Pockets, Boots of Gravity, Handy Haversack, Dimensional Shackles, Heward's Fortifying Bedroll, Belt of Many Pockets, various potions and dusts

Casts as a 10th level Ur-Priest, caster level 17:
-0th- Create Water, Cure Minor Wounds (x2), Guidance, Resistance (2x)
-1st- Entropic Shield, Cure Light Wounds (x2), Bless, Bane, Doom
-2nd- Zone of Truth, Owl's Wisdom, Eagle's Splendor, Shatter, Silence, Resist Energy
-3rd- Cure Serious Wounds (x2), Dispel Magic, Wind Wall, Mass Resist Energy
-4th- Cure Critical Wounds (x2), Assay Resistance (x2), Spell Immunity
-5th- Plane Shift (Eberron*) x2, Plane Shift, True Seeing
-6th- Forbiddance, Heal (x2), Greater Dispel Magic
-7th- Greater Restoration, Regenerate, Resurrection
-8th- Mass Cure Critical Wounds, Greater Spell Immunity
-9th- Mass Heal
*Plane Shift (Eberron) was for the purposes of breaching a specific dimensional barrier, which was the fluff of why my character was introduced.
+2 to Spell Penetration (Robe of the Archmagi)

Casts as a 15th level Sorceror, caster level 18:
-0th- Detect Magic, Read Magic, Ghost Sound, Mage Hand, Open/Close, Arcane Mark, Prestidigitation, Mending, Message
-1st- Charm Person, Ray of Enfeeblement, Feather Fall, Shield, Magic Missile
-2nd- Glitterdust, Scorching Ray, Web, Knock, Mirror Image
-3rd- Dispel Magic, Lightning Bolt, Greater Mage Armor, Haste
-4th- Scrying, Greater Invisibility, Enervation, Dimensional Anchor
-5th- Telekinesis, Overland Flight, Spell Theft, Wall of Force
-6th- Contingency, Disintegrate, Veil
-7th- Spell Turning, Greater Teleport
+2 to Spell Penetration (Robe of the Archmagi)

Young by Rakshasa standards, Sunda Asura was created in the multiverse of Eberron, where he remained for most of his existence as a lackey of the ancient and powerful Lords of Dust. A relative nobody, he was unable to advance in the rigid class-based society of his people, and would often be used as a glorified messenger boy. Knowing that he could grow beyond his peers if given the opportunity, he searched and searched, and over the millennia found evidence for a coterminous set of dimensions, as well as musings and failed spells which excited him with their potential. About 2000 years ago, unwilling to spend another age chafing at the bit, he rushed his research into the formation of a spell that would propel him into the unknown, and used it to breach heretofore sacrosanct walls of reality.

Arriving in a multiverse that seemed vast and backwards by his standards (the DM's custom setting, which I don't know much about yet), he spent centuries familiarizing himself with his new home universe. Encountering similar races and similar perils, he nevertheless found himself liberated and began to grow in power. As an Astral traveler, he encountered gods and monsters, and found that there were little difference between the two except for the level of power. Back in Eberron, gods had been a nebulous force which rarely made their influence known and obviously carried vast power; these new gods seemed more similar to the more powerful of his former Rajas, and he found he could not worship them. Instead, he reasoned, these gods were only a sufficiently advanced race, one to which anyone could aspire ... and, logically, the greater gods of this universe and the gods of Eberron were merely a species twice removed from his own in power.

Convinced of the possibility for advancement, Sunda seeks a way to raise himself up, to the level of his old masters and beyond. From his fortress on the body of a dead god of secrets in the Astral Sea, he and his followers tirelessly research the means to steal power from gods, manipulate the primordial energy of the cosmos, and combine the two into an art form that will unlock the next stage of evolution. Recently, with the help of a mysterious imp of great power, he has finally perfected the spell that breached the dimensional barrier. With the promise of greater knowledge and ability, the imp has convinced him to aid in its own plans, which are certainly far more sinister than they appear but coincide with Sunda's own goals, for now.[/endbio]

Before anyone leaps on me, yes, I know that technically a Rakshasa cannot go directly into Ur-Priest, because he cannot get the required Knowledge(Religion) 8 due to it being cross-class. However, the DM liked my idea enough that he will allow me to get the 8 ranks, provided I pay the full 2 skill points for each one. Furthermore, he ruled that Rakshasa get the base class skills of a Sorceror in addition to what is listed in the MM, so I get Concentration, Knowledge(Arcana) and Spellcraft as class skills, which helps a lot.

Any suggestions on how to improve build, spell list, w/e. I think swapping out classes at this point is probably not allowed, but I do have a level gained from this session, and I'm debating how to use it.

Thanks a lot in advance! I know this was a lot to slog through, and I hope someone's intrigued enough to give me some suggestions on it. Looking forward to hearing from everyone! :smallbiggrin:

2009-10-07, 07:23 AM
Let's see...

As you have both Sorcerer and Ur-Priest casting, you might consider the Mystic Theurge PrC for 8 levels instead of going Ur-Priest 10. Fits both the fluff (Arcane and Divine), and is fairly appropriet to the build. Gets your casting up to Ur-Priest-10/Sorcerer-17, for 9th level Divine, 8th level Arcane.

You get Rebuke Undead as an Ur-Priest, but can't use it for much as you don't get a very high effective turning level - you might consider some of the Complete Champion or Complete Divine Divine feats that let you trade Turn attempts for other things.

Your caster level is low, so SR will hurt - avoid spells that permit it.

Some really useful Sorcerer spells that a Sorc-7 can still use:
Invisibility, Glitterdust, Stinking Cloud, Web. Your save DC will be low, though... what's really handy is Wings of Cover, although I can't remember if it's in Spell Compendium or Races of the Dragon off-hand. Immediate action, 2nd level spell that momentarily breaks line-of-effect, halting one enemy action against you.

2009-10-07, 07:27 AM
1) Don't do Ur-Priest 10, go Ur-Priest 2/Mystic Theurge 8 instead, that'll give you the same amount of Ur-Priest and 8 more levels of Sorcerer.

2) You shouldn't bother with the stupid alternate class feature, get Rapid Metamagic from Complete Mage instead.

2) I wouldn't increase WIS, your Ur-Priest casting can't measure up to Sorcerer, so increase CHA instead and just put as much into WIS as you need.

Otherwise your build looks pretty good, although i have to ask what your DM is doing about LA; because if the 17 HD build you have posted is what you'll be playing at ACL 24, you're gonna have a seriously hard time.
Also, are you dead-set on playing a Rakshasa? Otherwise, take a look at the Black Ethergaunt from the Fiend Folio.

2009-10-07, 01:41 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I had wanted Ur-Priest 10 for the icing (ability to steal others' spell-like abilities with no save and use it exactly as they do), but that's probably not worth the 8 levels of sorcerous spellcasting I can get if I follow your advice and go Mystic Theurge. Although, Jack_Simth, you say I'd have 17th level sorcery? How do you figure? 7 from Rakshasa, then I lose 2 for Ur-priest, than I can only take 8 of MT before I reach 17, which with the LA is equal to 24.

I figured my turn attempts would be better spent on something other than my weak turning, so I got Divine Metamagic in the hopes that I could Corrupt Spells on the fly, raising their level and turning them evil so that they get the benefit of my spell focus. Is there another turn-spending feat that would be a better choice for this build, though?

On Spell Resistance: Yeah, that's probably gonna be a problem. Not much I can do about it unless I play a non-monster, though, and I think the only other magic-user is also playing something with a large LA so he'll also be handicapped in that regard. Spell Penetration was my lame attempt to begin rectifying that problem, as well as Practiced Spellcaster which at least gets my caster level in Ur-Priest up to 17. Are there better options, or am I just going to have to deal with it/choose spells that lower SR?

I'm pretty set on Rakshasa; I want the character to have inborn magic, a god that he doesn't respect, and the ability to infiltrate societies rather easily. I also have wanted to play a Rakshasa since this DM used one as our party's primary antagonist in another game, so there's that, too. The Ethergaunt looks pretty great, but using it would mean either no divine magic or very low divine magic at lvl 24; considering there's going to be what I think is a straight sorceror, I'd like to be able to provide the divine magic for the party in addition to being backup arcanist. I'll keep them in mind, though; the Red Ethergaunt looked like it might allow the leeway to do what I want, but its abilities have such low save DCs that it's almost not worth it.

I'll take your advice and pump CHA, although I need at least 19 wis to cast 9th level spells so I have to put at least one stat bump in that. Shifting around the Starting Array, I can get 18 WIS and 24 CHA to start, but then have only 15 INT, which I'm worried won't give me the skill points to do much beyond get the requisite Knowledge. I'll have to see.

Take spells that don't allow SR, got it. I'll have a looksie.

Thanks again for the swift advice!

2009-10-07, 04:32 PM
Updated with Mystic Theurge build and Sorceror spell list. I figure he's mostly a trickster/team playing character, and the Ur-Priest spells will be chosen to complement his innate ones (for example, using that list to get Plane Shift so that I don't have to use a 7th level Sorceror slot for it). Question, though: do Permanency and Contingency work for divine spells? I see nothing in the SRD that indicates they don't, but I want to make sure I'm not missing something.

Also, the Ur-Priest's caster level is calculated by adding his Ur-Priest level to half his levels in other spellcasting classes. Since this character is technically gaining sorceror caster levels at the same time as Ur-Priest levels, does that mean he gets half the bonus of his total sorceror level (15) in addition to the bonus from Ur-Priest levels (10), making him count as a 17th level caster?

2009-10-07, 11:01 PM
Apparently we get 1.5 million gold for gear, but we're also expected to spend this on building a "base of operations" and cohorts. I've never done either. Are there D&D rules for players building their own evil lairs?

The Glyphstone
2009-10-07, 11:17 PM
Check the Stronghold Builder's Guide if you can. All the rules you'll ever need to make an evil lair. It's made of win, awesome, and sweetness, and has the Landlord feat for even more moolah to spend on a fort.

Oh, and beg/plead/blackmail/threaten you DM until he unlocks Spell Compendium for use...as a dual progression caster, you really, really, want the goodies in there.

2009-10-07, 11:32 PM
Ah, I guess I'm missing a book; I hadn't even heard of the Stronghold Builder's Guide. Oh well, I'm sure I'll be able to borrow it from someone once the game starts; I doubt my lair would come into play immediately.

Haha, I already feel like I'm presuming enough, considering he was iffy on the Mystic Theurge thing when I broached it to him but decided to allow it, and also allowed me to break the cross-class skill ranks limit in order to make my character. I'll gauge how the other spellcaster feels about it when we meet, and maybe we'll join forces and try to convince him :smallbiggrin:

Now I'ma go read up on Leadership, which apparently we all get free.

2009-10-08, 03:58 AM
For items, I've been told I'll be allowed either one ability-enhancing item or one Manual/Tome (which I'm probably going to use on a Manual of +5 CHA), but no more than that to begin with. No Epic items; things from the Magic Item Compendium are likewise banned. We have 1.5 million GP to spend, but as I said we're expected to use some of that on building a stronghold and/or outfitting cohorts and followers.

I'm having trouble really coming up with good gear, especially that's thematically appropriate. So far, I have:
Body: Black Robe of the Archmagi (75,000 gp)
Finger 1: Ring of Protection +5 (50,000 gp)
Finger 2: Ring of Arcane Might (20,000 gp), Ring of Freedom of Movement (40,000 gp) or Ring of Mental Fortitude (110,000 gp) -- can't decide here!
Head: Circlet of Persuasion (4500 gp). I know there's much better stuff but for some reason I can't seem to find it.
Neck: Scarab of Protection (38,000 gp) or Scarf of Spell-Catching (18,000 gp)
Belt: Belt of Hidden Pouches (5000 gp)
Glove: Casting Glove (25,000 gp)

No idea what else to get. No idea what weapon to even use, or if I should go with a rod or staff or what. Anyone have any suggestions?

2009-10-08, 04:27 PM
Weird, your DM wants you to build 24th level characters and allows monster classes, but won't accept Spell Compendium or Magic Item Compendium? What are they "too powerful"? Well, anyhoo, item recommendations:

A staff of divination
A crystal ball with true seeing

A mirror of mental prowess
Boots of teleportation

A cube of force
Dust of disappearance (the only form of invisibility that trumps magical detection)

A portable hole

You want these things because at epic levels, it's very important to be able to figure out what's going on, get anywhere in an instant, and erect near-impervious defenses at a moment's notice. Plus, you need an extradimensional space to store all your junk when you're on the go.

2009-10-08, 08:54 PM
I think that he wants to be able to actually give us items as loot that we don't have already; I don't think the Magic Item Compendium itself is banned, it's just that we can't outfit ourselves from it because then he'd have to be giving us ridiculous things as rewards. As for the Spell Compendium, I think he just wants the spellcasters to not overshadow the non-magical ones too much, although TBH I really don't know. I'm not privy to his reasoning, at least until we play on Sunday.

Cool, good suggestions. The only one I think would be redundant are the boots of teleportation, which I can duplicate myself, both more often and more accurately, so I'll probably look for something else. Otherwise, though, pretty much everything on there would be useful.

I think I'm also going to get at least one Shroud of Disintegration, just on the off chance I can kill someone with it with Suggestion :belkar:. No idea if it works like that or not, but I intend to find out.

What should I go with for a weapon/implement type thing? The staff of divination is alright, but not really wowing me.

2009-10-12, 03:50 AM
Well, I just returned from the first game, and I have to say, my build is not a powerhouse but it's immensely useful all the same. This group needed healing magic and dispel backup pretty badly, and the DM feels a lot more confident throwing full encounters at them rather than ones tailored to their strengths. Early on, the others were skeptical, the Duskblade the most so: when I attempted to Veil the party in order to better infiltrate an Elven city, he, being a Drow, decided to leave his SR up to gauge my spellcasting power. I rolled poorly (I think I needed a 14 to beat it), and he pronounced that they'd have to babysit me for the mission. We disguised him through mundane means (which I did with my high ranks in Disguise), and I proceeded to display my worth by
- Coming up with the plan to get us into the mausoleum
- Deflecting guards who came upon us during the night, by virtue of being able to Change Shape without sorcery while the others slept
- Reading thoughts to know when our cover was close to being blown or not
- Giving everyone besides the drow Tongues so that they could speak Elvish (a detail we had all overlooked, unfortunately)
- Preventing people from escaping through judicious uses of Web and Dimensional Anchor
- Healing every speck of damage they took pretty much the round after it happened

By far the best moment of the session, though, was during our fight against several Ascended Undying, who weren't, in hindsight, terribly hard but owing to our lack of knowledge about them and their rather steep list of immunities, took a bit longer than they should have. Seeing that this was likely to be a big battle, the Duskblade's first order of business was to full attack me with Vampiric Touch, apparently to get a bunch of temporary HP off of me, reasoning that I was essentially useless besides Plane Shift and if I survived the attack I couldn't really hurt him and I'd just heal myself up to full.

What ended up happening instead was that my Contingency went off (as I'd set it to go off as soon as one of my allies made a violent move against me), I teleported fifty feet into the air (staying there thanks to my Overland Flight spell, cast every morning; it was a tall cathedral-type room), and wasted his round. I was up next, and I was debating using my rod to Maximized Disintegrate him right there but decided to take a bit more of a measured revenge, owing to our current predicament. I Divine Metamagicked to quicken an Assay Resistance spell against him, and then used Telekinesis (on which I rolled an 18 for penetration, so I didn't really need the first spell but oh well; he rolled poorly on his Will save, too, and had almost no WIS bonus) to toss him, and one of the guards who was closer to us, all the way across the room and into the middle of the big Ascended. Who promptly all got opportunity attacks on him.

The player laughed his ass off and, in character after the fight, pronounced me not so useless when I healed his wounded ass back up. Was a real heartwarming moment, I think.

Anyway, despite having proved useful, there were, I admit, times when I didn't contribute much, owing to my piss-poor selection of Cleric spells. I got too many offensive debuffs that allow SR and saves; I admitted that I'd never played a high-level cleric before, and hadn't really though about it enough I guess. So, they all suggested I go wild on buffing spells next time. Does anyone have any suggestions on that? The DM's also said that I can swap out some Sorceror spells if I want, since he knows I'm inexperienced. I've edited the first post to reflect what I ended up playing with.

2009-10-12, 04:33 AM
How could a Duskblade of level whatsoever hope to be able to beat a character with 9th level cleric AND 7th level sorcerer casting anyway? Or could have the balls to call him "useless"? Funny idea ;)

Anyway, try "gate" as your 9th level cleric spell...

2009-10-12, 04:58 AM
I think it was more the player's way of testing me and whether I'd be a good player than actual hubris on his part. He certainly wasn't put out at all when I did my little trick on him. And if he had actually gotten off the attack, he probably would've done half my HP in damage at most, considering my scarab blocks up to 12 negative energy attacks (a fact which I neglected to mention to anyone except the DM, just in case :smallbiggrin:).

I could try Gate, but I really have no idea what I can summon with it or how to use its abilities when I do. Plus, this DM might not approve of using it in particularly overpowered ways; I've seen him make spells backfire spectacularly in other games when he thinks the player is using too much cheese. He's heavy on house-ruling, which I think is fun because in most cases his rulings are either fun-based or common-sense based.

2009-10-14, 02:40 AM
I'm thinking of going Abjurant Champion next level ... he's gonna allow me a few changes to the build considering my inexperience, and I figure I'll swap out Practiced Spellcaster once for Combat Casting and then take it again next level. With Abjurant Champion I get d10 hit dice, full spellcasting/BAB progression (helps with the rays, right?), automatic Extend on Abjurations, automatic Quicken on some Abjurations, and Arcane Boost later for some timely +'s to saves, AC or w/e. Not great, I know, but seems much better to me than just going Sorceror for a level. Thoughts?