View Full Version : I need help with optimizing a build

2009-12-01, 10:54 AM
I am in a group currently playing a beguiler. For my next feat, I am picking up Leadership, and because of my leadership score, my cohort will be level 5. After heavey consideration, I have desided to have him be a ranged attacker and body guard for my caster in case he gets in melee trouble. So far I am really liking the scout class, however, I am not sure if i should mix in rogue (Swift Ambusher) or Ranger (Swift Hunter) or both. I know that both have benefits to them, but I was hoping to get some insight from more knowledgeable players about the best possible way to build this character.

Race: Human, dwarf, or Half-Orc
Books: Any non-setting

I am mostly interested in a suggested build for level 5 and then a suggested progression until level 20. Thank you all very much in advance, you are always so helpful.

The Glyphstone
2009-12-01, 10:58 AM
Ranged combatant and Bodyguard are going to be difficult roles to overlap, since he'll need to be a credible melee threat to protect you in that range. Scout in particular is very bad as a bodyguard, because they have to move to be effective, and any round you don't move, he doesn't move (otherwise no bodyguarding), making him effectively useless.

If you want a ranged fighter/support, Scout/Ranger with Swift Hunter is by far the best option. If you can get the 3.0 Arms and Equipment Guide approved, mix in 1 level of Monk and give him a Sparring Dummy of the Master for 10ft. steps.

For a melee bodyguard, Knight from PHBII or Crusader from ToB are both very good choices - Knight because of its 'taunt' to force enemies to fight it, Crusader because of its sky-high damage absorption potential and multitude of ways to make enemies very unhappy if they choose to not attack it.

2009-12-01, 11:04 AM
By body guard I mostly mean someone who can survive a round or so longer than I could while the meaty characters fall back to save me.

The Glyphstone
2009-12-01, 11:25 AM
The thing is, if he's not a threat to the enemy that would be attacking you in melee, they'll just ignore him and keep attacking you, negating the purpose of his existence. It doesn't matter with regards to your survival how long he can survive if the monster doesn't pay any attention to him, so any cohort in a 'bodyguard' role needs to be capable of either A) preventing monsters from getting into melee with you in the first place, or B) drawing their attention off you once you're in danger. Particularly if they've bypassed your melee frontliners, since that means said monster is intelligent enough to prioritize threats, and simply having a high-HP Fighter cohort in plate won't do anything, since Mr. Monster will step around him like it did your melee party members and keep eating your face.

2009-12-01, 11:26 AM
In that case, High damage output would be my choice.

The Glyphstone
2009-12-01, 11:35 AM
Scout 1/Ranger X looks like your best bet then - a Half-Ogre Knight or Crusader with a polearm, armor spikes, and the Stand Still+Hold The Line feats creates a 20ft. radius zone of "No, you're not allowed to move unless I say you can', but his damage output is next to nothing.

Scout 3/Ranger 2, get Swift Hunter. If your DM is nice, dip 1 level in Monk and get him the Arms+Equipment Guide Sparring Dummy of the Master so he can take 10ft. steps instead of 5ft. steps. allowing him to Full Attack with Skirmish benefits. After that, I'd keep leveling Ranger all the way to 20...the Scout's class features aren't terribly impressive, and Ranger gets both decent spells (with Spell Compendium) and a mediocre animal companion. At low levels, it can just be a wolf or whatever and act as a body blocker for you, making it slightly harder for enemies to get into melee range.

EDIT: Whoops, as noted below, takes 3 levels of Scout.

2009-12-01, 11:36 AM
Swift hunter is definately better than Swift ambusher.

My advice would be to dip the cohort 1 level into rogue or spellthief. Max UMD. Buy a wand of Shield Other. Cast once every 3 hours when expecting combat, or on the 1st round. Soaking half your damage until you can become invisible and flee should keep you alive if you get jumped.

Edit: Skirmish +1d6/+1AC is a prereq for Swift Hunter and it usually requires Scout 3.

2009-12-01, 12:43 PM
Why not a ToB Crusader?

Iron Guards Glare, Shield Block, Vanguard Strike, Defensive Rebuke ... use a reach weapon (with armor spikes for close range) and throwing weapons to have something to do at range.

2009-12-01, 01:12 PM

Rog1 + Ftr2 + Rog2...
The 2 Fighter levels would give him a higher BAB, and more hp staying power, and since you're always going to be on hand to flank with him, it should give him mad stabbity... PHBII has Vexing Flanker and Adaptive Flanker (Take for those Fighter levels) so that you don't even have to surround him, get bigger bonuses, and ignoring Sneak Attacks is pretty much deadly in most instances. Make the cohort Human with 2WF and twin rapiers and thats some possible 6d6 plus poison/round that they want to stay melee with you. It gets even higher as he levels (+2d6/2 Levels, Sneak Attack Criticals with Telling Blow), and as his equipment improves (+2d6 acid damage, Keen?). Pump UMD and he can support from range with a blasty-wand like Scorching Ray or something...

And you can always Illusion-buff him to look scarier to keep people away. They may not think that thug hanging by you is all that scary, but 5 of them? That should be enough to keep the ogres off your back...

And thats just off the top of my head...

Rog1- H:2WF, 1st: Combat Reflexes, +1d6 Sneak Attack
Rog1/Ftr1- Ftr: Vexing Flanker
Rog1/Ftr2- Ftr: Adaptive Flanker, 3rd: Telling Blow
Rog2/Ftr2- +1 Str
Rog3/Ftr2- +2d6 Sneak Attack

2009-12-01, 01:15 PM
Note, Scout 3 / Ranger 2 can't actually have Swift hunter, since he can't get a feat at Level 5.

Scout 4 / Ranger 1 could pull it off using his Scout bonus feat, IIRC. But then he won't yet have Rapid Shot, which is a basic part of his arsenal. You may be better off waiting to get Swift Hunter until the cohort gets to Level 6.

2009-12-01, 01:17 PM
Half-giant psychic warrior 4, with expansion, a glaive, and spiked armor and a spiked gauntlet? You count as Huge with expansion for grappling and tripping, you have 20 ft of reach and can attack adjacent critters, and have all sorts of goodness in a grapple.

If you take strength of my enemy and grab a bow of the wintermoon, this becomes a credible archer build as well (even if all you get is Rapid Shot and a few ranged damage-boosting items from the MIC). You drain their Strength while augmenting your own, which makes tripping and grappling MUCH easier.

2009-12-01, 01:47 PM
Would Natural Bond increase the effectiveness of a Ranger's animal companion?

2009-12-01, 01:49 PM
Would Natural Bond increase the effectiveness of a Ranger's animal companion?

Yes. It would.

2009-12-01, 05:25 PM
Half-giant psychic warrior 4, with expansion, a glaive, and spiked armor and a spiked gauntlet? You count as Huge with expansion for grappling and tripping, you have 20 ft of reach and can attack adjacent critters, and have all sorts of goodness in a grapple.

The spiked gauntlet for hitting adjacent critters? Because at that point you might as well go with a spike chain. Of course a lot of people have problems with the spike chain about it being silly or this and that, but it would still be only one weapon to need $ to make magical rather than a halberd and the spiked gauntlet.

2009-12-01, 05:49 PM
Feats are expensive.

2009-12-01, 05:51 PM
Feats are expensive.That they are. Though you could take an aptitude spiked chain, but money is expensive too, especially at levels 5 and 6.

2009-12-01, 06:10 PM
Make your Cohort a Warblade, and then just have him hurt things. Lots of things.

2009-12-01, 06:15 PM
The Ranger / Scout looks good, but is not yet optimal at this level. Everything should kick into high gear once Rapid Shot kicks in.

I second the ToB Crusader. That character would be able to survive combat, dish out some damage & be a viable 'tank' for attacks. Plus, the Crusader would have some healing which can help your entire party in general.

2009-12-01, 09:09 PM
If you want him to be defensive for you, make him a chain tripper.

2009-12-01, 10:15 PM
If you want him to be defensive for you, make him a chain tripper.No better chain tripper than a psychic warrior or ToB character.

Unless you want a tier 1 character, but they can do everything.

Psionic Dog
2009-12-02, 07:49 AM
I'll second the chain tripper/stand still builds for a defensive guardian. If you go with a psychic warrior tripper don't forget to pick up Dimension Swap. That way if you managed to be in a deadlier spot than your bodyguard the two of you could switch places.

It is a little trickier to be holding a bow more often than a melee weapon, but with spiked gauntlets or unarmed strikes so as to always threaten and quick draw to get a primary melee weapon out fast in emergencies it could still be done.

One interesting alternative would be to make a Divine Mind (complete psionics). Their psionic auras give moral bonuses to nearby allies, and if your bodyguard takes the Guardian mantel he would have the ability to take a melee hit against any adjacent ally (ie you) in their place by expending his psionic focus as an immediate action. If going with Divine Mind I'd either recommend either grabbing only a 1 level dip or sticking the class through up to 10th level and then finding a PrC of choice.

2009-12-02, 07:56 AM
Definitely a crusader. The "ranged attacker" part could be handled by bloodstorm blade levels if you can pick up some Iron Heart manouvers.