View Full Version : Your skill monkey assessments

2007-10-05, 07:36 AM
I'm going to be in a 4 player, 6th level AD&D game soon. Barbarian, Cleric and Sorcerer are already taken, leaving the skill monkey slot. There is a hint there are lots of undead. I have my ideas about which class to use, such as Rogue, Bard, Beguiler or Scout, but I'd be interested in your brief assessments of their usefulness. For example, Bard makes a good 5th character but is too generalist to properly fulfill the vacant, skill monkey slot. I can use the books the DM has: Core, PHB 2, Complete Adventurer, Complete Warrior and Complete Mage.

2007-10-05, 07:44 AM
I'd go beguiler because you don't seem to have an arcane caster or party face either. Beguiler can fill all three roles quite well. Remember to take the shadow spells to give you more versitility. The extra spell feat might not be a bad idea either.

2007-10-05, 07:49 AM
I'd go beguiler because you don't seem to have an arcane caster or party face either.

They have a sorcerer...

2007-10-05, 07:55 AM
I say screw 'em and just play whatever you want to play.

Kurald Galain
2007-10-05, 08:36 AM
The beguiler is an awesome skill monkey, but because his spells tend to be mind-affecting, he is less effective against undead (although he could still buff the party).

The rogue is a good skill monkey, but his sneak attack is likewise not very effective against undead.

The bard is more of a buffer and a face than an actual skill monkey, although he could work as that as well. He lacks trapfinding, though.

I'm unfamiliar with the scout, but as I recall skirmish is useful in combat but he's less skillish, and I don't recall he has trapfinding.

2007-10-05, 08:37 AM
A bard with a high intelligence could be a good skill monkey, if you ask me. You technically only need 16 charisma to be able to cast any Bard spell, though it does affect the DC's of any spell you'd want to cast offensively.

There's also the possibility of multiclassing. You could take both Scout and Rogue levels, for instance, and there's a feat in Complete Scoundrel to have the two class levels stack for your Scout's Skirmish ability progression.

2007-10-05, 08:43 AM
Remember that the 4 classes I stated is not exhaustive. Feel free to mention other classes from those books that are skill monkeyish. I'm quite prepared to play an underpowered class if it's fun.

2007-10-05, 08:47 AM
I'd be tempted to run a multiclass rogue/bard, personally. Rogue1-3, depending on taste, to pick up trapfinding and a light sneak attack, level 2 gets you a BAB and Evasion, and level 3 gets a BAB, +1 to fort/will saves, and a second d6 of sneak attack. From there, levels of Bard, and a focus on buffing/utility spells, will mean you have some decent offense (Fascinate to annoy Target X, a d6 or two of sneak attack, and eventually suggestion), you cover the utility/buffing roles so the sorcerer can focus on offense, and you've got plenty skillmonkey happening. Your two major stats should be Int and Cha, clearly.

2007-10-05, 08:49 AM
Rogue: Generic Skill Monkey. At 5th level, you still won't have access to you Greater Invisibility, a Ring of Blinking, or something similar. So if you want to Sneak Attack on a regular basis, you'll have to flank. Melee Monkeys are squishy, but definitely do-able if you're smart about it and have high stats. This is probably your best option if you want a strait forward, easy to play, psuedo front liner.

Scout: Hugely useful if your DM tends to use a lot of terrain, because they get the Flawless Stride ability. If your DM is going to keep you in the dungeon a lot, you can use the PHBII version to get a Climb speed instead of Fast Movement, essentially giving you 24/7 Spider Climb. This is probably your best option if you want to use a mobile Bow Monkey.

Beguiler: Generally thought of as the most powerful Skill Monkey, because its a full caster. You tend to spend a lot of time using Charm and Dominate, and you're really good at it. It also has the advantage of not having to invest in many "mandatory" Skill Monkey Skills, because you can use toolbox spells (Invisibility, Knock, Silence, Spider Climb) to replace them spontaneously as needed. This lets you focus on less used but more fun Skills, like Disguise, Forgery, Bluff, etc. Be sure to coordinate with the Cleric and Sorcerer to make sure that you don't use overlapping spells. In terms of all around power and ability, this is probably your best option.

Bard: A pure Bard is generally one of the mechanically weakest classes in the game. But a Bard 5/PrC X can be very useful and powerful, depending upon which direction you want to go with it. A Bards saving grace is that he's very good at being the party face, and can generally talk or fascinate his way out of combat with most enemies with Int 3 or higher. If your party is roleplaying heavy, this can be one of your funnest options. If its hack and slash heavy, it could potentially be one of your worst.

If your DM lets you use online material, you might want a Psychic Rogue (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psm/20040723b), which is one of my favorite classes. Basically you're a Rogue who trades 3d6ish Sneak Attack and Trap Sense for a small number of psionic powers. The nifty thing is that you can take the Expanded Knowledge feat to get access to some real offensive power (such as Claws of the Beast), fixing the Rogues primary weakness. You have seriously low power points though, so you really need to conserve them for when you really need them.

Ninja is a horrible idea. Sudden Strike is harder to qualify for then Sneak Attack, you have a limited number of times per day that you can go Invisible for 1 round, and you have serious MAD. And your higher level special abilities suck. If you want to play a Ninja, play a Rogue and wear black pajamas.

Spellthief is very situational unless you have access to the Master Spellthief feat from Complete Scoundrel. I'd avoid it unless you really know what you're doing.

Also, its worth noting that a party doesn't need a Skill Monkey. You can find traps with the Find Traps spell, or just buy a pack of dogs, tie all but one of them up outside the dungeon, and play fetch with one at a time inside the dungeon to set off any traps. After it dies, go get another dog. The Mount spell works great for this as well. You can scout via magic (Invisibility + Silence, Clairvoyance) more effectively then you can with Skills. And any class with Diplomacy and Sense Motive on its Skill list can be the party face. If enjoy using Skills a lot, then play a Skill Monkey. But there's really no serious need for one in most parties.

2007-10-05, 08:58 AM
You might consider a Spellthief from Complete Adventurer, although while they have the same skill points as a Beguiler, they don't have the advantage of Int as a casting stat. Still, I gather they're a fun class.

Mr. Friendly
2007-10-05, 09:11 AM
I'd throw my vote in for Ninja or Spellthief. Both have decent skill points, both get trapfinding.

If you went Spellthief, I'd say get the Master Spellthief feat; Ninja, get extra Ki feats.

Of those two, I favor Ninja more. Not for any sort of internet Ninja/Pirate sort of thing, simply that the Ninja class is pretty nice.

However, since you mentioned that there are hints of undead goodness, Spellthief may be the better path, since as I understand how the various Spellthief powers work, you can choose to give up doing Sneak Attack to activate them, though it says nothing about choosing to give up Sneak Attack against things that are immune to Sneak. (I am talking out of my posterior on this one though, so I could be easily be wrong)

2007-10-05, 11:31 AM
If you can use online content, then I vote Psychic Rogue (linked by PersonMan above) or a Scout with a 2-level Ranger dip and the Swift Hunter (http://realmshelps.dandello.net/cgi-bin/feats.pl?Swift_Hunter,CS) feat. Pick Undead as your Favored Enemy and you'll be able to do Skirmish damage to Undead due to the feat.

If you can't use online content, Beguiler is good. If you care more about being unique than about being really powerful, try making a Beguiler who actually fights in melee sometimes (not the usual thing) by giving him a 3-level Swashbuckler dip or something.

2007-10-05, 11:59 AM
Just go for Rogue with an item of x/day Gravestrike, it should be fine.

Human Paragon 3
2007-10-05, 12:00 PM
Factorum. Tons of skill points (8) every skill as a class skill, and when the going gets undead, the undead get destroyed by surprise blasts of positive energy.

2007-10-05, 12:09 PM
Factorum. Tons of skill points (8) every skill as a class skill, and when the going gets undead, the undead get destroyed by surprise blasts of positive energy.

They don't have access to Dungeonscape.

Rogue or Beguiler are probably your best bet, especially if actual skills are important. Rogue has the most at base, Beguiler would likely have more once the high Int is factored in. Bard doesn't have trapfinding, and Ninja is not generally held to play well with others, I believe. Beguiler is more powerful than Rogue, being an arcane caster, but be aware of the limitations of the spell list. Of course, being able to cast Haste spontaneously gives them more to do in combat against crit-immune foes than a Rogue anyway...

2007-10-05, 12:32 PM
Dungeonscape adds a few new options for skill monkeys, if you can get ahold of it.

The Barbarian is a bizzare skill monkey, but Dungeonscape's alternate class feature for them cashes their fast movement in for the abilty to find traps with Survival and disarm them with damage rolls.

The Ranger alternate class feature is Trapfinding and Disable Device becomes a class skill, for the low, low price of losing the Track bonus feat feat.

Then there's the Factorum, who is a jack of all trades, quite litteraly. He can help with any party roll at least a few times a day, but his specialty is performing the skill monkey roll. Doesn't seem to have a particular problem against Undead, unlike classic skill monkeys.

2007-10-05, 01:11 PM
The variant Changeling Rogue gets 10 skill points a level so pretty nice for 1 - 3 levels.

Since there are going to be lots of Undead consider taking at least a level dip in Ranger or Urban Ranger with Undead for your PC's Favored Enemy.

A level of Cleric or Cloistered Cleric gets you Turning which could be useful with lots of Undead. (Another option could be taking a few levels in the Chameleon PRC for some interesting bennies and minor spellcasting):


With 6 levels one of those could be Chameleon.

Changeling Rogue - 2 (Evasion), Urban Ranger -2 (Undead), F - 1 or Cloistered Cleric -1 (Bardic Knowledge, Domains and Turning), Chameleon -1.