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View Full Version : Swordsage+Fighter+Dervish - Suggestions



Panigg
2010-04-17, 09:02 AM
Human

Swordsage+Fighter+Dervish

STR 10 2
DEX 15 6 + + + + +
CON 12 4
INT 14 2
WIS 14 6
CHA 10 4

1 SS 1
1 Dessert Wind Dodge
1 Weapon Finesse
2-5 Fighter 1,2,3,4
2 Mobility
3 Combat Expertise
3 Deadly Defense
5 Two Weapon Fighting
6 SS 2
6 Weapon Spec Scimitar
7-16 Dervish 1-10
9 Improved Two Weapon Fighting
12 Melee Weapon Mastery Slashing
15 Greater Two Weapon Fighting
17-20 SS 3,4,5,6
18 Improved Critical

SS 36 + 9/Level
Balance
Climb
Concentration
Heal
Hide
Intimidate
Jump
History
Local
Nature
Nobility and Royalty
Listen
Move Silently
Ride
Sense Motive
Swim
Tumble
1/2Perform

Fighter 5/Level
Climb(Str)
Craft(Int)
HandleAnimal(Cha)
Intimidate(Cha)
Jump(Str)
Ride(Dex)
Swim(Str).

Dervish 7/Level
Balance(Dex)
Craft(Int)
EscapeArtist(Dex)
Jump(Str)
Listen(Wis)
Perform(Cha)
Profession(Wis)
Swim(Str)
Tumble(Dex).

10 maneuvers known/ 6 readied/ 3 stances

lvl 1 wind stride stance
lvl 1 flame blessing stance
lvl 6 fiery assault stance

lvl 1 distracting ember
lvl 1 burning blade boost
lvl 2 burning brand boost
lvl 4 searing blade boost
lvl 7 inferno blade boost

lvl 5 leaping flame counter
lvl 3 zephyr dance counter

lvl 7 salamander charge strike
lvl 6 ring of fire strike

----------

Pretty satisfied with this guy.

He could do 10 attacks, each round + cleaves, with 2d6 slashing + 12 dmg + 4d6 fire + 18 fire dmg. At max level of course. But leveling with this guys seems decent too.

Any suggestions you guys have?

Please don't try anything too crazy. My DMs are rather conventional. This guys will probably need some convincing already. ^^

Last Laugh
2010-04-17, 09:34 AM
I think you should drop at least 2 levels of fighter in favor of swordsage.
As it is I don't think you qualify for weapon mastery/specialization and you lose virtually nothing for taking 2 more levels of swordsage over fighter.
You would:
Have the same Base attack
Have 1 less feat
Have 2 less HP
Have 8 more skill points, from a better list
Better saves whenever you are in a stance from your chosen discipline
Ability to identify magic items
Better and MORE maneuvers
Maybe I'm just missing your weapon focus (scimitar) feat.... I still think you should drop 2 fighter levels for 2 swordsage levels
think about what you can do with 2 feats that's better than +2 to hit/damage
You could: grow a dragon tail, Lrn to power attack and cleave
My personal favorit is: Hidden Talent + Up the Walls for +2 awesomeness

Panigg
2010-04-17, 09:40 AM
Swordsage gets free weapon focus for scimitar from class features.

But yeah, nice suggestion. Thanks.

Eldariel
2010-04-17, 09:44 AM
Switch to some Shadow Hand-weapon. I know Scimitar is cute and all, but Shadow Hand weapons qualify you for Shadow Blade which will single-handedly multiply your damage output, much more than the 18-20/x2 crit range. Short Sword is the most viable alternative.

jpreem
2010-04-17, 09:49 AM
Dessert wind - mm yummy.:smallbiggrin:

Last Laugh
2010-04-17, 11:28 AM
Where are you getting cleaves from (I figured weapon focus was me overlooking a SS ability)

Darastin
2010-04-17, 11:42 AM
Short Sword is the most viable alternative.
Dervish Dance requires a slashing weapon, which the short sword is not.

Daggers, however, can be used as slashing weapons and are Shadow Hand weapons. Both first-level Shadow Hand stances work well with the Dervish Dance. With Shadow Blade, this should deal more damage than a scimitar and is not dependant on crit-able targets. You can still use Desert Wind strikes and boosts. It is a little less fiery in style, however.

Also, I'm not sure if Deadly Defense is worth using on that build. If you can give me some numbers based on expected stats and equipment, I can feed my number-crunching program with it and find out.


@Last Laugh:
The cleaves are from the Dervish class. It grants Cleave for free in its middle levels and Great Cleave while using its capstone, A Thousand Cuts.

Eldariel
2010-04-17, 12:04 PM
Dervish Dance requires a slashing weapon, which the short sword is not.

Daggers, however, can be used as slashing weapons and are Shadow Hand weapons. Both first-level Shadow Hand stances work well with the Dervish Dance. With Shadow Blade, this should deal more damage than a scimitar and is not dependant on crit-able targets. You can still use Desert Wind strikes and boosts. It is a little less fiery in style, however.

True enough. I remembered it was Slashing/Piercing like Dagger, but apparently I was wrong.


Also, I'm not sure if Deadly Defense is worth using on that build. If you can give me some numbers based on expected stats and equipment, I can feed my number-crunching program with it and find out.

The real question is, what else would one pick? Most feats you could add in that slot to a good effect simply add few points of damage. Deadly Defense is one of the better options. You must remember that Dervish Dance grants a notable To Hit-bonus, meaning it's almost always efficient to use some conversion effects and as PA is unavailable here, Deadly Defense should be affordable practically always when Dancing.

He also has MWM, meaning without Dervish Dance, his base To Hit is +1 over the normal two-hander (+3 focus, -2 TWF) and Deadly Defense places him at -1. He also loses a point of BAB (and another near the end), placing him at -2 compared to Elite Array Fighter while using Deadly Defense, but up to +5 from Dervish Dance more than makes up for that. Once we factor in flanks (easy enough to achieve with e.g. Island of Blades), all-day buffs from the party (GMW, later on Heroism) and item-based buffs (Shadow Hand-weapons are +3 To Hit), it should be quite safe to say that converting any amount of To Hit to damage is like to be a good thing. Hell, those -15 attacks will eventually have an over-5% chance to hit.

EDIT: Also, after Elaborate Parry, the AC gain is very substantial at -4 To Hit for +7-8 (depending on Tumble-ranks; 15+ for 8) to AC. Indeed, combined with the class-based AC and the option to use Combat Expertise, this allows switching gears for fights where it's necessary.

Panigg
2010-04-17, 12:14 PM
Deadly Defense is nice, cause it works well with a dervish class feature. Elaborate parry, which grants +4 on fight defensively. With tumble that is a good portion of my AC.

Panigg
2010-04-17, 12:28 PM
Btw. I was also thinking about dabbling in shadow hand. You guys are pretty good. :)

Darastin
2010-04-17, 12:53 PM
Deadly Defense is nice, cause it works well with a dervish class feature. Elaborate parry, which grants +4 on fight defensively. With tumble that is a good portion of my AC.
Ah, yes. I forgot the defensive aspect.

But there are other options. As a dervish, you can deny your opponent a full attack against you by simply moving away (difficult for a TWFer without some other, non-enhancement speed increases - a level of barbarian works wonders here - unless you give up your last attacks). This often results in those opponents picking other targets.

You also have all the nescessary feats for Eluvive Target. While by RAW, it only works against one opponent, DM psychology might make you immune to Power Attacks.

Just my two Euro-cents;
Darastin

Eldariel
2010-04-17, 01:01 PM
You also have all the nescessary feats for Eluvive Target. While by RAW, it only works against one opponent, DM psychology might make you immune to Power Attacks.

A feat exists for Immediate Action announcement of Dodge targets, though I can't for the life . Also, one could of course pick up Improved Trip -> Knock-Down, though without Strength, that's not going to be very impressive. Still, it's a lot of Knock-Down attempts per turn and as the opponent is denied the counter-trip attempt by Knock-Down, things go fine.

Though Deadly Defense is quite excellent. I was playing a Dervish once myself and exactly once was I unable to leverage it due to attack bonuses falling wrong. That was a rather high AC opponent, so meh. Those shouldn't come up too often.


It's also reasonable to argue that even though it's an enhancement bonus, the Dervish speed bonus stacks with magical boosts (since it's Ex). By rules, that's not the case, but by any amount of common sense, you should get full benefit from Expeditious Retreat/Haste/Longstrider/such. If you do get that through, get a +30' speed boost.

Panigg
2010-04-17, 01:17 PM
That was combat defenses, I believe? But you have to take three combat feats for that to make sense, which I just don't have.

Darastin
2010-04-17, 01:18 PM
A feat exists for Immediate Action announcement of Dodge targets, though I can't for the life .
It's one of the combat form feats from the PHB2; Combat Defense IIRC. HJowever, that's already the "upgrade" you get when you habe three or more combat form feats. Thus, it's quite expensive, given that this build already needs the TWF chain, Dodge, Mobility, Shadow Blade, Weapon Specialization and Mastery...

Just my two Euro-cents;
Darastin

Eldariel
2010-04-17, 01:28 PM
It's one of the combat form feats from the PHB2; Combat Defense IIRC. HJowever, that's already the "upgrade" you get when you habe three or more combat form feats. Thus, it's quite expensive, given that this build already needs the TWF chain, Dodge, Mobility, Shadow Blade, Weapon Specialization and Mastery...

Oh? I remembered it was Reactive Something. Ah well, that's a lost straw then; Dervishes are indeed notoriously feat-starved. I built a Dervish that actually finished all the logical feat chains and ended up taking Monk 2/Fighter 4/Psy War 2/Barb 2 (Wolf Totem) outside Dervish...

Panigg
2010-04-18, 10:16 AM
I looked at your suggestions carefully and decided to... go in a different direction. ^^

Human

Swordsage+Fighter+Dervish

STR 10 2
DEX 15 6 + + + + +
CON 12 4
INT 14 2
WIS 14 6
CHA 10 4

1 SS 1
1 Dessert Wind Dodge
1 Weapon Finesse
1 Weapon Focus Scimitar (Bonus)
2-3 Fighter 1,2
2 Mobility
3 Combat Expertise
3 Two Weapon Fighting
4-5 SS 2,3
6 Deadly Defense
6-16 Dervish 1-10
9 Improved Two Weapon Fighting
12 Improved Crit
15 Greater Two Weapon Fighting
17-20 SS 3,4,5,6,7,8
18 ?

SS 36 + 9/Level
Balance
Climb
Concentration
Heal
Hide
Intimidate
Jump
History
Local
Nature
Nobility and Royalty
Listen
Move Silently
Ride
Sense Motive
Swim
Tumble
1/2Perform

Fighter 5/Level
Climb(Str)
Craft(Int)
HandleAnimal(Cha)
Intimidate(Cha)
Jump(Str)
Ride(Dex)
Swim(Str).

Dervish 7/Level
Balance(Dex)
Craft(Int)
EscapeArtist(Dex)
Jump(Str)
Listen(Wis)
Perform(Cha)
Profession(Wis)
Swim(Str)
Tumble(Dex).

13 maneuvers known/ 7 readied/ 3 stances

lvl 1 Blood in the water
lvl 1 hunter's sense
lvl 3 wolverine stance

lvl 1 dancing mongoose
lvl 1 burning blade boost
lvl 2 burning brand boost
lvl 4 searing blade boost
lvl 7 inferno blade boost
lvl 8 girallon windmill flesh rip
lvl 8 raging mongoose
lvl 9 feral death blow
lvl 5 pouncing charge
lvl 6 wolf climbs the mountain

lvl 5 leaping flame counter
lvl 3 zephyr dance counter

lvl 7 salamander charge strike
lvl 6 ring of fire strike

-----------

Blood in the water gives you +1 hit +1 damage per crit for 1 minute, untyped, stacks with itself.

This is just too good to pass up in a dervish build.

Eldariel
2010-04-18, 10:27 AM
How are you getting 8th and 9th level maneuvers? You need IL 15 and 17 respectively for them and that takes minimum of 10 and 14 Initiator-levels in a 20-level character. Can you count your Dervish-levels as full IL or?

Panigg
2010-04-18, 11:01 AM
How are you getting 8th and 9th level maneuvers? You need IL 15 and 17 respectively for them and that takes minimum of 10 and 14 Initiator-levels in a 20-level character. Can you count your Dervish-levels as full IL or?

The ToB states that levels in martial adept count for the full IL.
Level in other martial classes grant half IL.
Prestige class levels grant full IL again.

So this char should have an IL of 19.

Eldariel
2010-04-18, 11:10 AM
The ToB states that levels in martial adept count for the full IL.

That's your Swordsage-levels only.


Level in other martial classes grant half IL.

Levels in all other classes add Ĺ IL.


Prestige class levels grant full IL again.

Only Prestige Classes that specifically state they advance initiating, in other words only the ones in ToB (other than Bloodstorm Blade). You'll end up with IL 14 in the build's present guise.

Panigg
2010-04-18, 11:50 AM
ToB is poorly worded then...

"Prestige classes work a little differently. In most cases, you
add the full prestige class level to your martial adept level to
determine your initiator level. See the prestige class descriptions
in Chapter 5 for details."

Couldn't find anything else for that matter. Any quotes are welcomed.

Eldariel
2010-04-18, 11:52 AM
From all martial adept PrCs you'll find the Maneuvers-ability. That's the key. See, for example, Bloodclaw Master:

"Maneuvers: At each odd-numbered level, you gain a new maneuver known from the Tiger Claw discipline. You must meet a maneuverís prerequisite to learn it. You add your full bloodclaw master levels to your initiator level to determine your total initiator level and your highest-level maneuvers known."


That clause refers to ToB PrCs specifically.

Panigg
2010-04-18, 11:55 AM
Ahh ok. Why did they have to hide the description like that?

Ok, well, doesn't make much of a difference. The highest level strikes I really need are 7.