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Marvel-dude
2010-08-02, 11:22 AM
My dear giantitp.com users, I come to you in need of help.

I have decided to play as a another players "familiar".. a rat (or my character THINKS he is the players familiar). (Mostly because I always play the party tank and wanted to do something different)

I started to think "rats are pretty small.. ergo I won't be able to swing the mighty greatsword anymore.. So I need some bonus dice" And so I started to look in the different books. And as I read through OA I saw the mighty (in my eyes) skill "Iaijutsu Focus" and I decided that that would be a skill I would be using for combat. The only problem is that it is a charisma skill and as a rat I have a -8 penalty to charisma...

The other only problem is that I need to get my opponents flat fooded, which can be done by flanking them.

Who is good at flanking? A swordsage with the "island of blades" stance of course. And since I started out as a Swordsage, I might as well take two levels in there to get a armor bonus

My stats are
str 3
dex 22
con 14
int 7
wis 20
cha 10

I would go with 2 flaws which would give me the feats: Cross-class learning Iaijutsu Focus & Skill focus: Iajitsu Focus
As a rat I get the feats Weapon Finess and Stealthy

So my question is: Where do I go from there? Rogue so I can SA all the time? Unarmed swordsage to get some decent unarmed damage? Help me out


TL;DR: Playing as a rat, class advice, Swordsage 2/ ???

For some inspirational ideas I would like to have this character be like Petey from Unforgotten Realms (if you have seen it, if not then hurry to the interwebz and google it)

Pie Guy
2010-08-02, 11:37 AM
I don't think there is a feat to add a skill to your class list. But Iajutsu Focus completely makes sense for a swordsage, so try to get your DM to add it to the list. Point to the concentration based School (sorry, I forget it's name), as it very similar to Focus.

Marvel-dude
2010-08-02, 11:44 AM
Actually we have a bit of books in my group but we also use the internet. There is a feat on the dandwiki site that grants you two skills and allows you to treat them as class skills :D

Private-Prinny
2010-08-02, 11:45 AM
I hate to be the one to say this, but Flanked and Flat-footed are not the same thing. In order to get the bonus dice from Iaijutsu Focus, you'd need to spam Sapphire Nightmare Blade.

Getting a viable source of Sneak Attack damage, on the other hand, works very well with Island of Blades. Sapphire Nightmare Blade and Island of Blades can both be picked up with one Swordsage level.

Stack on Shadow Blade for extra fun, if you're using Unarmed Strikes.

And as a note on the D&Dwiki site, a lot of the stuff on there is actually homebrew.

Marvel-dude
2010-08-02, 11:54 AM
I hate to be the one to say this, but Flanked and Flat-footed are not the same thing. In order to get the bonus dice from Iaijutsu Focus, you'd need to spam Sapphire Nightmare Blade.

Getting a viable source of Sneak Attack damage, on the other hand, works very well with Island of Blades. Sapphire Nightmare Blade and Island of Blades can both be picked up with one Swordsage level.

Stack on Shadow Blade for extra fun, if you're using Unarmed Strikes.

And as a note on the D&Dwiki site, a lot of the stuff on there is actually homebrew.

Damn :\ I was so certain
I don't have my books near my at this moment. What level is Sapphire Nightmare Blade?

And should I just go full Swordsage 20?

Douglas
2010-08-02, 12:01 PM
Once you're high enough level to satisfy the 10 ranks prereq, Confound the Big Folk from Races of the Wild should satisfy all your flat-footedness needs. In the mean time you'll have to depend on Sapphire Nightmare Blade, Grease, Invisibility, and various other non-flanking tricks. Flanking can get you sneak attack, but it does not make the target flat-footed.

You should pick up the Shadow Blade feat to add your dex bonus to your damage.

Sapphire Nightmare Blade is level 1. You can get the full text of all maneuvers online here (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20061225a), and they're even formatted for printing and cutting into little cards to use for reference during play.

Starbuck_II
2010-08-02, 12:43 PM
Flat foot:
Grease spell
Surprise attck (suprise round)
"Distract Assailant" spell from Complete Adventurer will make your opponent flat-footed for the round, and is a swift action to cast.
Marbles in Arms & Equipment guide I think
Avenger Executioner works at 4th lv if target shaken, frightened, panicked.

Dragonmuncher
2010-08-02, 02:02 PM
Between the subject and the first couple paragraphs, I could have SWORN that you were going to be taking up the venerable mantle of PETEY THE FROG BOY (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/archive/index.php/index.php?t-10140.html).

Ahhh... who else remembers the first Screen Name PrC Contest? Good times.

The Glyphstone
2010-08-02, 02:08 PM
There's the 1st-level Swordsage boost Distracting Ember, enemy is flat-footed for one turn.

Person_Man
2010-08-02, 02:15 PM
Several things:

Iaijutsu Focus only applies to the attack after you draw your weapon. So unless your rat can somehow hold a weapon, you can't use it.
As a Skill, anyone can invest in Iaijutsu Focus cross class.
Boosting the Skill is accomplished primarily through magic items and spells.
The primary method of making enemies Flat Footed are 1) Winning Initiative; 2) Skill Tricks (Comp Scoundrel); 3) Confound the Big Folk. You can read about 2 and 3 in this build, under "Bonus to Damage."

Kylarra
2010-08-02, 02:15 PM
You can't flank as a rat anyway, rats are tiny.

Tiny, Diminutive, and Fine Creatures

Very small creatures take up less than 1 square of space. This means that more than one such creature can fit into a single square. A Tiny creature typically occupies a space only 2Ĺ feet across, so four can fit into a single square. Twenty-five Diminutive creatures or 100 Fine creatures can fit into a single square. Creatures that take up less than 1 square of space typically have a natural reach of 0 feet, meaning they canít reach into adjacent squares. They must enter an opponentís square to attack in melee. This provokes an attack of opportunity from the opponent. You can attack into your own square if you need to, so you can attack such creatures normally. Since they have no natural reach, they do not threaten the squares around them. You can move past them without provoking attacks of opportunity. They also canít flank an enemy.

Another_Poet
2010-08-02, 02:54 PM
Your inability to flank (OR make AoO's) is a huge disadvantage. Given your stealth modifer though you should be able to get a lot of Iaijitsu strikes in anyway.

The real problem is the Cha penalty. In this case the skill doesn't seem to come off of Charisma in the sense of "social charm" (a la bluff) but in the sense of "force of willpower" (a la UMD). Based on that, and the massive combat penalties you take as a rat, and the fact that Iaijitsu Focus is cross-class for you, I would make a case to your DM for allowing Iaijitsu Focus to come off of a different appropriate stat. Wisdom (which also represents force of will) makes sense, but your GM might see that as a pretty bold request with your Wis of 20. You might instead suggest Con, since being able to project a massive war-shout in the middle of combat requires the stamina to not be out of breath.

In any case, I would bargain with the GM for some help on this build.

ap

Person_Man
2010-08-02, 03:06 PM
As a side note, a Rat Binder or caster would work fine. There's no reason you need to physically attack enemies if you have better things to do.

Darkxarth
2010-08-02, 03:15 PM
As a side note, a Rat Binder or caster would work fine. There's no reason you need to physically attack enemies if you have better things to do.

A Rat Psion would be cool too, no need to worry about somatic and material components.

Snake-Aes
2010-08-02, 03:20 PM
A Rat Psion would be cool too, no need to worry about somatic and material components.

A rat Ardent, with his stats.

Douglas
2010-08-02, 03:26 PM
There's the 1st-level Swordsage boost Distracting Ember, enemy is flat-footed for one turn.
No, that gives you an extra flanker for one round. It has nothing to do with making someone flat-footed.

The Glyphstone
2010-08-02, 04:53 PM
No, that gives you an extra flanker for one round. It has nothing to do with making someone flat-footed.

Whoops, thought it was the other way around.

The Antigamer
2010-08-02, 05:01 PM
Rat dragonfire adept. Breath entangling fire at enemies while perched on peoples shoulders. /thread

FuryOfMetal
2010-08-02, 05:03 PM
You should pick up the Shadow Blade feat to add your dex bonus to your damage.



Where do i find this feat?

Ranger Mattos
2010-08-02, 05:40 PM
Ok, I don't really have anything to add, so:

How on earth are you a rat character? What are the stat changes?

Douglas
2010-08-02, 07:30 PM
Where do i find this feat?
Tome of Battle.

Tyrmatt
2010-08-02, 07:55 PM
While you seem quite set on the idea of being an actual rat, have you considered refluffing one of the anthropomorphic races to be a rat rather than inflicting such a massive penalty on yourself? The rest of your party won't appreciate you hamstringing yourself to the point of uselessness, unless this isn't a very serious game.

Homebrewing off the top of my skull something like

Ratkin
Str -4
Dex +6
Int+2
Cha -4

Ratkin gain a +2 to all Fortitude saves made against non-magical disease and a +2 on all Move Silently and Hide checks.

Ratkin are small and not very strong, though they are extremely deft and agile. While intelligent, they suffer a great prejudice for being related to plague-carrying rats.

Just a suggestion.

Kylarra
2010-08-02, 07:56 PM
Rat DFA or Warlock would hilarious.

Snake-Aes
2010-08-02, 07:58 PM
While you seem quite set on the idea of being an actual rat, have you considered refluffing one of the anthropomorphic races to be a rat rather than inflicting such a massive penalty on yourself? The rest of your party won't appreciate you hamstringing yourself to the point of uselessness, unless this isn't a very serious game.

Homebrewing off the top of my skull something like

Ratkin
Str -4
Dex +6
Int+2
Cha -4

Ratkin gain a +2 to all Fortitude saves made against non-magical disease and a +2 on all Move Silently and Hide checks.

Ratkin are small and not very strong, though they are extremely deft and agile. While intelligent, they suffer a great prejudice for being related to plague-carrying rats.

Just a suggestion.

That rat has wis20. It'll hardly be useless if it has a wis-based caster class. A druid would be particularly nasty, although it seems he wants to stay rat. A cleric or ardent would be just about as nasty as if it was medium-sized.

Xyk
2010-08-02, 07:59 PM
Rat DFA or Warlock would hilarious.

Warlock would actually be pretty good, given the ranged touch attacks.

Tyrmatt
2010-08-02, 08:09 PM
That rat has wis20. It'll hardly be useless if it has a wis-based caster class. A druid would be particularly nasty, although it seems he wants to stay rat. A cleric or ardent would be just about as nasty as if it was medium-sized.

It seemed more the idea that he wanted to be a nippy little damage dealer in the vein of a swordsage was suffering under the Rat as it used a lot of charisma based skills. If he's switching classes entirely, its' moot.

I'm also assuming this is a point buy game and he could reassign stats as needed rather than a roll out the stats one where its set in stone.

Just suddenly got hit with an idea of a Rat God there as well...excuse me, I need a whiteboard.

Snake-Aes
2010-08-02, 08:11 PM
oh >.> I didn't catch that. Melee is completely inviable by a tiny character with str 3. Most attacks will connect but you have to stack a good ten levels worth of bonuses just to do a couple dice worth of damage.

Douglas
2010-08-02, 08:17 PM
oh >.> I didn't catch that. Melee is completely inviable by a tiny character with str 3. Most attacks will connect but you have to stack a good ten levels worth of bonuses just to do a couple dice worth of damage.
Stacking Shadow Blade with 22 dex, sneak attack, Iaijutsu Focus, Insightful Strike (the Swordsage class feature) with 20 wisdom, and bonuses from maneuvers can boost that to something respectable long before level 10.

mabriss lethe
2010-08-03, 12:42 AM
how about an eldritch glaive wielding warlock?

Escheton
2010-08-03, 03:51 AM
Uhm...why isn't the rat just awakened? Ya know, with normal mental stats and no minus to cha...
I second the rat binder, ardent and dfa btw.

Marvel-dude
2010-08-03, 05:54 AM
1st: This is it not a serious DM. He likes it fun (with loads of internet references and such)

2nd: I just thought the idea of people joining the party and asked "so who is the tank?" and everyone pointed at the little rat would be fun


Ok, I don't really have anything to add, so:

How on earth are you a rat character? What are the stat changes?

I just found some random rat on the d&dwiki

"Rat as character:
-8 str
+5 dex
-8 int
+2 wis
-8 cha

size: tiny (+2 ac, +2 dex
natural attacks: bite attack
Special: low light vision, scent
feats: stealthy, weapon finess
skills: +4 hide, move silently, +8 balance, climb, swim"

I rolled decent stats: 18,18,15,15,14,11

And if anyone have a better "rat race" I would love to see it ^^


Uhm...why isn't the rat just awakened? Ya know, with normal mental stats and no minus to cha...
I second the rat binder, ardent and dfa btw.

I don't know how awakened creatures work :\ Which book is it in? Because it sounds pretty good


Several things:

Iaijutsu Focus only applies to the attack after you draw your weapon. So unless your rat can somehow hold a weapon, you can't use it.
As a Skill, anyone can invest in Iaijutsu Focus cross class.
Boosting the Skill is accomplished primarily through magic items and spells.
The primary method of making enemies Flat Footed are 1) Winning Initiative; 2) Skill Tricks (Comp Scoundrel); 3) Confound the Big Folk. You can read about 2 and 3 in this build, under "Bonus to Damage."


What if... I somehow got something like Wolverines claws and sheated/unsheated them each round? Would that work?

Snake-Aes
2010-08-03, 05:58 AM
It's a spell to give animals and plants humanlike intelliigence.
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/awaken.htm
That rat already has it, though, so I don't know if it can be used on it. I'd guess not since otherwise you could keep casting Awaken on the same animal over and over for +Xd6 charisma.

Marvel-dude
2010-08-03, 06:03 AM
He isn't a awakened rat.. He is just a rat (with character classes)

Peregrine
2010-08-03, 06:36 AM
I'd guess not since otherwise you could keep casting Awaken on the same animal over and over for +Xd6 charisma.

Two problems: an awakened animal becomes a magical beast, so you can't awaken it again (so if that rat PC race still has the animal type, then it's not awakened); and awaken gives +1d3 Charisma, not d6.


An awakened animal gets 3d6 Intelligence, +1d3 Charisma, and +2 HD.

For a PC rat, I would rule that 3d6 Int translates, for PCs, into standard 4d6 drop lowest -- in other words, no racial bonus or penalty to Int. Same for Con, which is 10 for normal rats. Dex and Wis are just +4 and +2, while Str and Cha follow the table on DMG p.173 (2+1d3 Cha averages a score of 4).

Even with +2HD, it's a bit hard to say it's balanced with the standard player races. You could almost say it's worth a negative level adjustment. :smallsmile:

But all that's irrelevant, since...
He isn't a awakened rat.. He is just a rat (with character classes)

In which case, well, you can still look at DMG p.173, but those tables deliberately don't work with creatures of animal intelligence (and don't give smarter creatures an Int below 3). Basically, you're off the map, matey. Wizards never published rules for roleplaying animals as animals. So use DMG p.173 and just leave your Int at 2, is all I can suggest.

I don't have Tome of Battle, but a rat rogue could be feasible... the only way you'll do respectable melee damage is with extra damage dice.

Person_Man
2010-08-03, 08:52 AM
oh >.> I didn't catch that. Melee is completely inviable by a tiny character with str 3. Most attacks will connect but you have to stack a good ten levels worth of bonuses just to do a couple dice worth of damage.

Not necessarily. You could use Weapon Finesse for your To-Hit and Tome of Battle maneuvers for damage. But you wont' have a threatened area, so anything involving AoO is out.

But yeah, definitely look into a rat DFA or cleric or ardent or something.

Xallace
2010-08-03, 10:33 AM
I would like to note that Skill Training is a feat from Unearthed Arcana that nets you two skills as permanent class skills. I appear to be a little late to the party on this one, though.

Marvel-dude
2010-08-03, 11:06 AM
Ha I will dedicate this day (and a few others) to make this character playable >:D

Wait... can't claws be sheated and unsheated? Like how lions are always pictures as having cute cuddly paws.. And then "Slick" up pops 3-4 razor sharp talons

Escheton
2010-08-03, 11:28 AM
Yeah, thats mostly a feline thing. Though magic mutated rats can have anything they want...

Lurk might be a good class for this thing. Even has a power that lets you store a weapon in your hand. And seeing he prolly doesn't have pockets...
Do kinda like the image of a rat switchblading a greatsword.

Marvel-dude
2010-08-03, 11:31 AM
Okay so that takes care of the unsheating a weapon part.. Now I need ideas on how to get victims flat footed

Where do I find this lurk class?

Drogorn
2010-08-03, 11:31 AM
It'd be easy to justify that using a reach weapon lets him flank.

Xallace
2010-08-03, 11:31 AM
Where do I find this lurk class?

Complete Psionic.

Snake-Aes
2010-08-03, 11:35 AM
Has Confound the Big Folk + Underfoot Combat been brought up? It'll basically guarantee the rat will attack from cover against flatfooted opponents 24/7, plus tripping with DEX instead of STR.

Marvel-dude
2010-08-03, 11:47 AM
Has Confound the Big Folk + Underfoot Combat been brought up? It'll basically guarantee the rat will attack from cover against flatfooted opponents 24/7, plus tripping with DEX instead of STR.

have I understood the feat right? I move over to my target, bash at him with normal attacks, sheat the claws and then the next round I unsheat the claws and use Iaijutsu Focus because he is caught flatfooted?

Snake-Aes
2010-08-03, 11:48 AM
have I understood the feat right? I move over to my target, bash at him with normal attacks, sheat the claws and then the next round I unsheat the claws and use Iaijutsu Focus because he is caught flatfooted?


Knee Striker Ė When you occupy a square with a creature at least two size categories larger than you, the creature is considered Flat-Footed against you and you receive a +4 bonus on rolls to confirm critical hits.
Might be so, yes. But with natural weapons it'd be an even greater stretch than normal weapons would be.

Marvel-dude
2010-08-03, 11:52 AM
Might be so, yes. But with natural weapons it'd be an even greater stretch than normal weapons would be.

damn :\
I guess I can ask my GM if it would be allowed to count that as sheated and unsheated..
But I better prepare some options if it isn't allowed.

So what sort of weapons can you sheat and unsheat, that a rat can use

Xallace
2010-08-03, 12:03 PM
Tiny rat katana.

Kylarra
2010-08-03, 12:10 PM
A splinter.




:smalltongue:

Escheton
2010-08-03, 12:10 PM
Hmm, you could take a lvl or two of soulknife. Would be nice for such things.
There are feats that allow you to get certain shapes. Claws could be a homebrew version.

For claws totemist and psiwar work well too.

Marvel-dude
2010-08-03, 12:13 PM
Oh gawd that would be awesome. But can rats even hold anything in their tiny hands? And where would one find tiny katanas

what sort of damage would a splinter do?

Where can I find that Soulknife class?

Snake-Aes
2010-08-03, 12:21 PM
Oh gawd that would be awesome. But can rats even hold anything in their tiny hands? And where would one find tiny katanas

what sort of damage would a splinter do?

Where can I find that Soulknife class?

The SRD (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/classes/soulknife.htm), but it's really bad(they're the buttmonks of the psionics).


Also, remember that Quick Draw only applies to DRAWING the weapon. You still burn a move action to sheathe it. So either you are stuck with 1 attack per round, or you are dropping multiple weapons on the ground.

Xallace
2010-08-03, 12:30 PM
Yeah, soulknife wouldn't get you much. Soulbound Weapon (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psm/20070214a) (scroll down a little) is the soulknife summed in up in one class feature, and better. Also, there's your tiny katana. You summon it with the power of your tiny rat mind.

And the Psychic Warrior is here (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/classes/psychicWarrior.htm) if you need it.

Escheton
2010-08-03, 12:43 PM
psiwar 2/ardent 18 is pretty sweet that way.
Get call weaponry as a ardent via expanded knowledge or whatever that feat is called again. Then retrain the psiwar one. You have to take it at lvl 1. It does not state you can't retrain it later.

rats can't wield weapons however unless they are at least slightly anthropomorphic

Xallace
2010-08-03, 01:00 PM
I also suggest your wizard buddy take Combat Familiar and Lurking Familiar from PHBII. That way you can enter an opponent's square without provoking an attack (so long as you're channeling a spell), and you can burst from his robes to gain "the normal benefit for attacking from a hidden position." I don't know what that means exactly, but it could be good for your.

Also, I'm not sure how much Gloves of Man from Savage Species cost, but they're gloves that give you working human hands. You might be able to work with your DM to see if you can get a cheap pair (since they're so small), perhaps made by your wizard buddy.

Edit: One of the later Dragon Magazines has a feat for Warlocks called Eldritch Claws. Lets you make claw attacks with your EB. Doesn't provoke an attack.

Person_Man
2010-08-03, 01:19 PM
damn :\
I guess I can ask my GM if it would be allowed to count that as sheated and unsheated..
But I better prepare some options if it isn't allowed.

So what sort of weapons can you sheat and unsheat, that a rat can use

No.

Natural Weapons are always "drawn" and there is no rule mechanic for sheathing them (including cats).

Also, Iaijutsu Focus only applies to the attack "immediately after drawing a weapon." So you basically need a Gnomish Quickrazor (Races of Stone) which allows you to draw and sheath your weapon as a free action, or Quickdraw - in which cast you must draw as a free action, drop your weapon as a free action, and then draw another weapon as a free action (highly inefficient, in that it prevents you from using a magic weapon). And as far as I know, animals can't wield manufactured weapons. (I think there might be a spell or feat somewhere in Savage Species that works around this. But why spend Skills + Weapon Finesse + Confound the Big Folk + Whatever just to eek out a moderate bonus to damage?)

Furthermore, Confound the Big Folk requires that you move into an enemy's square. Then the next round, your enemy is considered flat footed against you.

So it works for some very specific builds (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5266526). But I don't think it will work for this one.

To reiterate, a Rat Cleric or Druid or Ardent or Totemist would work fine. (And now that I think about it, a Rat Totemist in particular would be hilarious). You could pull off a Rat Swordsage, and rely exclusively on maneuvers for damage. You could even work out a Rat Binder or Incarnate if you focus on certain vestiges/soulmelds without Save DC's. And if your DM is willing to hand wave Favored Class rules, you might even want to dip one level into Rogue for the Skills and 1d6 of Sneak Attack (for Craven and/or Staggering Strike). But Iaijutsu Focus is not a viable option unless your DM is willing to hand wave a lot of rules.

The Antigamer
2010-08-03, 04:18 PM
Whoops, somehow missed the second page :smalltongue:
Ignore this post.