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Black_Zawisza
2011-01-05, 06:30 PM
Because I want to use my cohorts and followers as more of a background plot point than as a constant mechanical benefit to my character, my DM is allowing me a slightly homebrewed, more powerful Leadership. I can currently have up to 300 followers. About 2/3 of them should have NPC classes, and the other 1/3 can have PC classes. All of them are level 5.

The leader of the army and my cohort is a level 9 Shock Trooper Warblade. What Warblade maneuvers and stances are good in that sort of role?

I'm thinking of dividing the army into 30 squads capable of fighting independently, each containing six warriors and four support characters. Preferably 2 or fewer full casters per squad. What classes are good for buffing large parties? Maybe I'm wrong, but Bard 5 doesn't look like a great choice here.

Thanks for the help, fellow Giants in the Playground!

Saint GoH
2011-01-05, 06:52 PM
Bard 5 can (using Song of Heart, a badge of valor and dragonfire inspiration) give everyone 3d6 extra damage on attacks. 6d6 if yer DM allows Words of Creation.... Sounds like a buffbot to me.

Also worth looking into is War Weaver from miniatures handbook. Not really useable at level 5 but it allows you to buff a large amount of people with a single spell, pretty fun.

I actually think Bards are your best option in terms of large scale buffing. They wont be able to hand out Bulls Strengths or Cats Graces, but they can give any number of people within a certain range static bonuses to hit and damage, massive additional fire/electricity/cold/acid damage, or even competence bonuses to skill checks. Seems most efficient.

Jack_Simth
2011-01-05, 06:52 PM
I'm thinking of dividing the army into 30 squads capable of fighting independently, each containing six warriors and four support characters. Preferably 2 or fewer full casters per squad. What classes are good for buffing large parties? Maybe I'm wrong, but Bard 5 doesn't look like a great choice here.

Thanks for the help, fellow Giants in the Playground!

Bard-5 is actually pretty useful at it - although it takes a few fairly specialized feats to really make it shine (such as Words of Creation or Dragonfire Inspiration, I think they were called).

Marshall (Miniatures Handbook) is also fairly effective.

Cleric and Wizard, of course, are the obvious support characters - lots of good Buffing spells for both of them.

These guys are mostly background, right? What level of optimization do you want for something that's not expected to impact play? If you make the standard set six warriors, a Rogue, a Wizard, and a Cleric (Set of nine; exactly 2/3rds are NPC classes), then you can assign them to relatively minor adventuring duties. With the fill being either an Adept (NPC class - for two-thirds of your squads) or a Bard (PC class - for the other one-third of your squads), and you're pretty much set.

hamishspence
2011-01-05, 06:53 PM
Marshal from Miniatures Handbook is a buffer class- but also underpowered.

Maybe Dragon Shaman from PHB2 might be better?

Or Warblade/Crusader with White Raven.

Gavinfoxx
2011-01-05, 06:54 PM
Well, I would get REALLY creative with the "NPC Classes" thing.

The NPC Classes include more than you might think:

Religious Adept (Eberron Campaign Setting),
Urban Adept (Sharn City of Towers)
Expert (Dungeon Master's Guide)
Magewright (Eberron Campaign Setting)

Remember, you can mix and match features. Experts, with the right skills, make decent warriors..

http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=9602.msg324498#msg324498

And remember, Religious Adepts can get access to obscure spells by having the appropriate domain.

And the fact that you can get characters with PC classes means that you can go for the strong classes -- Archivists, Wizard, Cloistered Cleric, Beguilers, Erudites, Factotums, the Tome of Battle classes, Dread Necromancers, Sorcerers, and so on and so forth.

Black_Zawisza
2011-01-05, 07:54 PM
Bard-5 is actually pretty useful at it - although it takes a few fairly specialized feats to really make it shine (such as Words of Creation or Dragonfire Inspiration, I think they were called).
Any idea where I could learn more about those and the Bard in general?


Cleric and Wizard, of course, are the obvious support characters - lots of good Buffing spells for both of them.
Might a Sorcerer be better than a Wizard here?


These guys are mostly background, right? What level of optimization do you want for something that's not expected to impact play?
I should clarify what I said earlier: at high levels, these guys will play a role on the world stage; they'll be capable of overthrowing the government of a small country. At major junctions in the plot, they'll even be able to fight for me if they have enough time to work out the logistics of getting to where they need to go. I want to be as optimized as possible without using anything ridiculously cheesy.


If you make the standard set six warriors, a Rogue, a Wizard, and a Cleric (Set of nine; exactly 2/3rds are NPC classes), then you can assign them to relatively minor adventuring duties.
Might a Factotum be a superior choice to a Rogue?


With the fill being either an Adept (NPC class - for two-thirds of your squads) or a Bard (PC class - for the other one-third of your squads), and you're pretty much set.
I ought to have given more information initially, sorry *this campaign world is low wealth and low magic, so the DM is probably going to raise an eyebrow when he learns that my army is comprised almost entirely of casters. :smalltongue:

Coidzor
2011-01-05, 08:03 PM
Optimizing Inspire Courage (http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19869994/Bard_Inspire_Courage_Optimization) (which, I believe, influences Dragonfire Inspiration) Not necessarily the most up to date of the sources on the matter, I believe BG has a bit more recent one.

A bard handbook (http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19870498/The_Bards_Handbook)

These are just from some recent links I've been to/quick googling though.

Jack_Simth
2011-01-05, 08:37 PM
Any idea where I could learn more about those and the Bard in general?Answered better by Coidzor, so I'm leaving this one alone.
Might a Sorcerer be better than a Wizard here?At 6th, for someone you don't want to spend much time tracking, sure. At 5th, absolutely not. This is primarily due to the little issue that the Sorcerer only has access to 2nd level spells, while the Wizard has access to 3rd level spells. Compare Haste, Wind Wall, and Tiny Hut (used defensively - it's one-way viewable, no save - which means total concealment for you, without granting concealment for your enemies) to ... what 2nd level Buff spells are there in Core? Blur, Protection from Arrows, and the animal attribute spells? The 2nd level stuff is pretty much exclusivly single-target, while the 3rd level stuff includes things that can target most of your squad's meatwall.

I should clarify what I said earlier: at high levels, these guys will play a role on the world stage; they'll be capable of overthrowing the government of a small country.
Ah... you might want to look at the DMG city generation tables, specifically the level of NPC that can be generated, and rethink that. A 'Small Town' is going to have PC-classed NPC's that range from 1st to 8th as the highest level for a given class. A 'Large Town' is going to range from 4 to 11. In a 'Small city', do, the *lowest* of the high-leveled PC classed NPC's is going to be 7th level, the highest, 14th.

Now, if your DM does things differently, that's another story... but by default, if they cap at 5th, they're better used occupying already-conquered territories than they are doing the conquering.

At major junctions in the plot, they'll even be able to fight for me if they have enough time to work out the logistics of getting to where they need to go. I want to be as optimized as possible without using anything ridiculously cheesy.Yeah... then you'll want to skip the cap of no more than two full casters per squad. You'll want to be looking at Cleric, Artificer, Beguiler, Wizard. Ditto for the Cohort.
Might a Factotum be a superior choice to a Rogue? Potentially. It depends on how they're played, really. However, for what you're likely to be doing with them, Rogue will usually be better - see, the Factotum has problems with large-scale battles: Limited Inspiration points. Almost everything a Factotum does requires at least one inspiration point to use, and their pool is *per encounter*. A large-scale battle is often going to be modeled as a single encounter, rather than a long series of them... and so the Factotum is liable to run out of steam. The Rogue is usually going to be less immediately powerful, but his main limit is his hit points (which is *also* a limit for the Factotum).
I ought to have given more information initially, sorry *this campaign world is low wealth and low magic, so the DM is probably going to raise an eyebrow when he learns that my army is comprised almost entirely of casters. :smalltongue:Heh. Make your cohort a Cleric, and say he trained them all... but if you're after short-term power, casters are usually where it's at.

But if you want to skip the casters, try a single Cleric, make one of the NPC's in each squad an Adept, then go Marshal, Crusader, and Bard for the normal set of PC classed characters.

poignant123
2011-01-06, 04:45 AM
I used a lot of changelings as my followers, just so I can have them follow me everywhere and so that they can pull shenanigans.

Saintheart
2011-01-06, 07:45 AM
If you want to turn groups of your warriors into slow-moving engines of death, have you looked into The Spartan Handbook, a.k.a. How To Rock The Phalanx? (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=4963.0)

Haven't seen it used often, but at the very least it's a nice theoretical exercise! :smallsmile:

Black_Zawisza
2011-01-06, 10:01 PM
If you want to turn groups of your warriors into slow-moving engines of death, have you looked into The Spartan Handbook, a.k.a. How To Rock The Phalanx? (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=4963.0)

Haven't seen it used often, but at the very least it's a nice theoretical exercise! :smallsmile:
Thanks, that's pretty darn helpful! That'll make my army practically impervious to physical assault, but what how can I make it more resilient to magic attacks?

EDIT: Divine magic, and Psionics to a lesser degree; arcane isn't common in my campaign.

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2011-01-06, 11:27 PM
Those 300 followers could form a grapple-ball with your character and have a movement rate of over nine thousand!
Four of these: Human Bard 5, two flaws; Dragontouched, Draconic Heritage (one each sonic, cold, electricity, and acid), Dragonfire Inspiration, Melodic Casting, Song of the Heart. Each with a Badge of Valor and each knows the spell Inspirational Boost.

One of these: Silverbrow Human Savage Bard 5, two flaws one of which is obtained at 3rd level: Dragonfire Inspiration, Melodic Casting, Wild Cohort (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/re/20031118a), Song of the Heart, Draconic Arua. Also has a Badge of Valor and knows the spell Inspirational Boost.

One of these: Human Savage Bard 4/ Marshal 1, two flaws obtained at 3rd and 4th level: Melodic Casting, Wild Cohort, Song of the Heart, Draconic Aura, Words of Creation. Also has a Badge of Valor and knows the spell Inspirational Boost.

The combination of these characters' powers will summon Captain Planet give every ally who hears them +20d6 energy damage to their melee and ranged weapon attacks and +7 to attack and damage rolls. Plus they grant two draconic auras and one marshal aura to nearby allies, and have two animal companions (likely warbeast wolves) to watch their flanks while they're buffing everyone. Note that the weapon bonuses apply to ranged attacks, so they can sit back and use composite shortbows and blind their enemies with Glitterdust. Note that Inspire Courage is a Supernatural effect, so the fire damage added by Dragonfire Inspiration is a noninstantaneous magical fire which means anyone damaged by it has a chance of catching on fire.


At least one of these: Gnome or Water Halfling Druid 5, two flaws: Greenbound Summoning, Spell Focus: Conjuration, Augment Summoning, Natural Bond. Animal Companion should be a Warbeast Fleshraker. He sits in the back using Summon Nature's Ally II and III to get Greenbound Dire Bats, each of which can use Wall of Thorns 1/day and Entangle at will as spell-like abilities with a caster level equal to its HD. They also have increased natural armor, DR, fast healing, and the Augment Summoning buffs, so they're practically unkillable and will last long enough to completely blanket an enemy army in entangles with walls of thorns on the stronger groups/individuals, or to outright block their advancement. Mass Snake's Swiftness is another winner.


At least 20 of these: Human Ranger 1/ Fighter 4, two flaws: Track, Wild Cohort, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus: Shortbow, Weapon Specialization: Shortbow, Mounted Combat, Mounted Archery. +1 Composite Shortbow (should be Str +2), chain shirt, their companion is a light horse trained for combat riding. Horse single-moves, rider full attacks with rapid shot with no movement penalty; horse double-moves, rider full attacks with rapid shot at a -2 for movement. They can flank around enemy formations and harass them with ranged attacks, possibly striking their officers and support units who are trying to stay near the back. Add on Inspire Courage bonuses and they become a serious threat.


A few of these: Half-Ogre Psychic Warrior 3, two flaws: Aberration Blood, Inhuman Reach, Combat Reflexes, EWP: Spiked Chain, Combat Expertise, Improved Trip. +1 Large Spiked Chain, some decent medium or heavy armor, knows the power Expansion, someone casts Cat's Grace on him. You can probably guess what this guy does. He's naturally Large size, so 10 ft. reach, Expansion makes him Huge for 15 ft. reach, Inhuman Reach adds +5 ft. so 20 ft. natural reach. A reach weapon doubles your natural reach, so he'll be able to AoO opponents 40 ft. away. Since he takes up a 15 ft. space, that's an area 95 ft. wide that he can hit. This is a long-armed giant towering over the army, swinging a chain down to crush anyone foolish enough to approach. Note that if an enemy army charges forward and the guy in front gets tripped, his square is now difficult terrain and anyone running/charging through it will have to make a Balance check or either stop or fall down. Just a few of these guys each making three AoO trips on a charging front line will easily break up the enemy formation.

A few of these: Dragonwrought Kobold Loredrake, Sorcerer 5, Dragonwrought, Versatile Spellcaster, probably Draconic Reserve, maybe Draconic Aura, whatever else you think he'd want. He casts spells as a 7th level Sorcerer, and should get spells like Haste, Fireball, Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Web, Glitterdust, Grease, Ray of Enfeeblement, you get the idea. A few well placed Fireballs can end a battle before it even begins. Haste should be used on those mounted archers, the Str/Dex buffs on the half-ogres, and crowd control effects can be dispensed liberally. Web is useful for shielding the army's flanks or cutting off an enemy retreat. If the Loredrake cheese gets smacked down, use Grey Elf Wizard 5's instead, or maybe Focused Transmuter 3/ Master Specialist 2.

Saint GoH
2011-01-06, 11:35 PM
@Biffoniacus_Furiou : The Gouda is strong with this one...

Coidzor
2011-01-06, 11:48 PM
The combination of these characters' powers will summon Captain Planet give every ally who hears them +20d6 energy damage to their melee and ranged weapon attacks and +7 to attack and damage rolls.

And with wardrums they can extend this benefit to every single member of their side on a battlefield, IIRC.


Note that Inspire Courage is a Supernatural effect, so the fire damage added by Dragonfire Inspiration is a noninstantaneous magical fire which means anyone damaged by it has a chance of catching on fire. Ooo, didn't know about that bit. :smallbiggrin:


At least 20 of these: Human Ranger 1/ Fighter 4, two flaws: Track, Wild Cohort, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus: Shortbow, Weapon Specialization: Shortbow, Mounted Combat, Mounted Archery. +1 Composite Shortbow (should be Str +2), chain shirt, their companion is a light horse trained for combat riding.

Why Composite Shortbows instead of Composite Longbows?


Because I want to use my cohorts and followers as more of a background plot point than as a constant mechanical benefit to my character, my DM is allowing me a slightly homebrewed, more powerful Leadership. I can currently have up to 300 followers. About 2/3 of them should have NPC classes, and the other 1/3 can have PC classes. All of them are level 5.

What sources are allowed? Just the SRD NPC classes or is the Magewright(Eberron Campaign Setting) available as well?

Are there any other NPC base classes? Adept, Warrior, Commoner, Aristocraft, Expert along with Magewright and the variant of the Adept from Eberron (I think) that gets a domain and the variant of Adept that's the Urban Adept are all the ones I can think of offhand.

Do the 200 have to be entirely NPC classes or can they get away with 1, maybe 2 levels of PC classes in their builds? What about trading 1 PC level away from the 100 who can have full PC class levels for 1-2 levels of PC classes for the 200 who would otherwise be full of NPC class levels?

Oh, and how big of a budget do you have?

A corps of animal handling experts to rear and breed warbeasts and/or dinosaurs for mounts or just trained animals to fight one's foes might be a possibility. If your budget is big enough and you have the sources allowed, you can even start with some magebred animal breeding stock for them to warbeast up for your cavalry.

I could definitely see some "beastmaster" experts leading a troupe of trained fighting animals as well as helping to provide mounts for the force. A charismatic druid or few can even help procure exotic/powerful wild animals and magical beasts with wild empathy (aid another does work wonders) for the corps of experts to train/rear/use as breeding stock. And the experts can have other uses depending upon their suite of skills, from having some field engineer uses to being able to function semi-autonomously due to being able to come up with tactics on their own using Knowledge History (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=3065.0). To even having Iajutsu Focus as a class skill to bump up their ability to do damage in a pinch.

Or having one's mounted Warriors use their skillpoints to have both ride and handle animal maxed out so that they help rear and train the animals in their downtime might even make it so one didn't need a dedicated corps of experts for the job. (With an Int of 10, Handle Animal, Intimidate, and Ride are the three best class skill candidates for a 5th level human warrior.)

Bubs (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7097263&postcount=38), after all is, a 4th level character with 3 levels of Commoner. (with, say, 4 levels of druid and 1 of marshall, a character using a similar design direction could have the wild empathy chops to get some animal allies the hard way (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=10396.0))

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2011-01-07, 12:44 AM
I was thinking that you couldn't use Longbows while mounted, which is the case, but it turns out a Composite Longbow can be used while mounted. Here I was thinking you couldn't use either one mounted, hence that special longbow in OA which specifically allowed it. Definitely use composite longbows over shortbows for any mounted archers, then.