View Full Version : Gondsman use at high levels?

2008-12-05, 03:33 PM
Can a Gondsman compete at higher levels, to be anything more than a useless timesink liability? Granted, I can assume it would need to be equipped properly, but the stats seem so abysmal, and HD so related to the techsmith's, that it seems pointless to go to Techsmith for a dip at all.

2008-12-12, 08:25 PM
hmm noone has ever played a Techsmith in a lvl 15 and up game? disappointing but not unexpected

Shades of Gray
2008-12-12, 08:26 PM
What game are you talking about? It doesn't sound like D&D...

2008-12-12, 09:01 PM
I think both of those are PrCs. I think Gondsman is Faerun-specific and Techsmith is Dragonlance-specific, but I'm not sure.

2008-12-12, 09:41 PM
Techsmith is a Faerun-specific PrC that gives you a custom "familiar" called a Gondsman (basically, a mechanical dude that you can upgrade).

Sadly, I'm not much more familiar with the class than that, so I can't help too much. Just add some wands or something to the Gondsman, and teach him to use them?

2008-12-12, 09:54 PM
They're 3.0 FR, hence the peoples' unfamiliarity with them. Most people on these boards didn't extensively play 3.0 FR. Techsmith is a caster PrC specific to Gond (it's written as if only Clerics could enter, but there's nothing stopping Wizards from taking levels too, other than if you state that the order doesn't accept non-Clerics), which requires one crappy feat to enter, and gets full casting, half BAB, good Fort and Will, and a number of interesting class features.

Gondsman has HD = 3+TEchsmith levels. Those are Construct HD so it's 1d10s for HP, and 3/4th attack bonus. It has crappy stats, but can wear any equipment of a character of appropriate size (they're small or medium). Rebuilding one takes 500gp per HD, and a day per 1000gp. In other words, they're perfectly expendable sidekicks with little in ways of anything else interesting. I don't remember the specifics of 3.0 Construct statistics, but since Gondman has Int, it probably should gain skills. However, none of the example Gondmen does, so meh. If you can talk it into getting skills, give it UMD (which, unlike just about every other skill you could teach it, would actually be useful to put that HD into use with Divine Power). A level 14 Cleric's Gondman could learn +6 UMD, for example, which a focus (or Mw. Tool in general) could be boosted to a decent +8, and +10 by Eagle's Splendor (3.0 version is Hours/Level). If you buff it up properly (it has no Spell Immunity, I recall), it can indeed contribute.

It can use equipment, but since all equipment you give it it away from yours, I wouldn't really spend too much gold on it. Just a basic weapon (or its standard Slam-attack) you can cast Greater Magic Weapon on, a standard armor you can cast Greater Magic Vestment on, Superior Resistance and have it Wand Divine Power and it'll be a decent combatant. This is all if Constructs didn't have Magic Immunity. Also, the wording on boosting the construct while leveling up is a bit ambiguous - RAW it means that you get to boost it every time you level up (RAI is probably that every time you take a level in Techsmith), which helps a bit. Still, even with 10 levels of buffing the construct, it'd merely have +20 AB if you spent all your buffs on attack bonus (anything else and it'd be notably worse) - +8 with a +5 weapon and Belt of Giant Strength +6 (but that's helluva much money to waste on a sidekick).

So it all comes down to whether it can benefit of magic buffs or not. If it can, it's a decent sidekick with a boatload of immunities, but if it can't, it's mostly a little can of HP with arms attached.

The other abilities of a Techsmith are underwhelming, except for the level 3 bonus Domain. You gain Improved Critical for free (it's a replacement for the entry feat, but even in 3.0, it wasn't the first on a Cleric's long list), along with the ability to sense nearby Constructs (blah), ability to ignore Construct's DR and sense which spells they're weak to after 1 round (how many constructs do you plan on fighting anyways?), ability to make crappy bombs and the ability to autokill constructs on crits (sure, if your campaign in construct-heavy). You also get 4+Int skills per level along with very circumstancial bonuses, but you need 9 ranks in Craft: Something to enter. You gain EWP: Firearms, which is useful if you can actually acquire any firearms in the campaign.

Basically, Techsmith is great for a campaign where you fight constructs constantly, it's ok for a campaign with an access to firearms and such, and meh otherwise. Or it's great if the Gondman isn't Spell Immune (it'll be much like an animal companion - since you can enter on level 7, it'll still be useful, even at only 4 HD at the time). Oh yeah, and I suggest buffing the Gondman up offensively since its defense will be crap anyways (you can't buy extra HP). For its offense, use its natural Slam-attack that deals 1d8+2-handed Str damage, with shield in the other hand (thanks to the way natural attacks are treated, you get two-handed Str this way). First level, buff Str, then focus on buffing attack bonus so it'll hit something (it starts with odd Str, so the first point in Str gives you strictly better results than putting it in BAB). Try to give it temporary HP (another reason Divine Power would be awesome) along with miss chance, buff it up with Greater Magic Weapons and Vestments and such, and have it go to town.

For the record, numbers you could pull on a Gondsman when on level 16 (assuming 10 levels of Techsmith - no reason going Techsmith at all unless you plan on taking at least 3 levels, as it costs you a feat and lots of skills):

Medium Construct (14 HD)

82 HP
19 BAB
+4 Fort, +6 Ref, +5 Will (immune to most Fort-save effects, and all mind-affecting things though)
+21/+16/+11/+6 Slam for 1d8+4 base damage
17 AC (10+5 Natural AC+2 Dex)
16 Str, 14 Dex, -, 4 Int, 13 Wis, 6 Cha

Basic buffs:
+29/+24/+19/+14 Slam for 1d8+14 damage
+10 Fort, +13 Ref, +11 Will
38 AC (10+5 Natural AC+3 Dex+7 Shield+13 Armor) - +5 if Shield of Faith is in effect, +5 if Barkskin is in effect, to max. of 48 before Haste & al.
22 Str, 16 Dex, ...

This is with something that raises Str by +6 (Empowered Bull's Strength is like to do that, for example), Dex by +2 (or more - I just used these numbers to max. AC), Greater Magic Weapon/Fang cast on the Slam-attack (level 16 with Prayer Beads), Magic Vestment on Heavy Shield and Mithril Full Plate and Superior Resistance.

EDIT: This article (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20050601a&page=2) clarifies that they indeed do qualify for skills and feats. Therefore, you could pick up UMD and Divine Power 'er up to +33/+28/+23/+18 attacks, along with a bunch of self-only buffs (False Life comes to mind...). They also get feats, which opens up all kinds of options and really makes them worth your while. That fellow, for example, has 5 feats to work with. The basic Power Attack & al is available. Also note that the book states they're proficient with all equipment of their size, so pick up some exotic weapons for when the two-handed Slam & Shield-combo doesn't suit you (it isn't really that good in 3.0 since you can't use two-handed Power Attack; if you use them in 3.5 though, they can become decent melee warriors).

EDIT#2: I just remembered, you don't get iteratives on a natural attack. So use a weapon instead. A two-handed reach weapon if possible. Exotic if allowed, martial if not. Get him an Animated Shield instead (+3 shield is still pretty minor on those levels, and Magic Vestment removes the need for any extra).

EDIT#3: Last one, I promise. I'm not sure if I remembered to say it, but if I didn't, the #1 use for these is to be Polymorphed. Polymorph gives you forms with vastly more impressive physical qualities, damage output, special attacks (this is the big one - a standard Gondsman can't really learn any useful special attacks outside magic as Grapple has grown obsolete and it's pretty poor at it, and it doesn't qualify for Combat Expertise and isn't able to take class levels) and so on. If Polymorph is not allowed, you could try some alternative spells to achieve the same. It won't be that easy then though - you'll probably need to acquire some ability to cast spells with "You"-target as Touch-spells instead. You could just argue that since they're Familiar-like, they should get Share Spells, but that might not fly. Other than that, it's tough.

2008-12-13, 09:09 AM
hmm noone has ever played a Techsmith in a lvl 15 and up game? disappointing but not unexpected

Virtually no character companion is up to scratch at higher levels. Whether it is a Mount, Animal Companion, Familiar or whatever. They are all sadly lacking in staying power and prone to dying horribly if they get anywhere near combat with the badguys.

I am contemplating making a Techsmith for one of my players who lost his Favoured Soul/Sorcerer in RHoD last night and I am looking at the Gondsman right now deciding what I'm going to do with it. Even at lower levels it could be in a world of hurt. Personally I'm thinking that they need a form of DR or Hardness, and I would encourage you possibly looking to do something similar.

2008-12-13, 10:15 AM
Virtually no character companion is up to scratch at higher levels. Whether it is a Mount, Animal Companion, Familiar or whatever. They are all sadly lacking in staying power and prone to dying horribly if they get anywhere near combat with the badguys.

Familiar is an exception. With "Imbue Familiar"-spell, you effectively get a second caster. If you pick Improved Familiar and have UMD too, you'll have an additional Wandificer in addition (not a warrior - give 'er some temporary HP though and they'll manage, especially since they don't tend to get targeted). And Animal Companion will be no more prone to dying than your average high-level Fighter (which is to say, very), while being completely replaceable even if they do. Gondsman will be just like an Animal Companion, except a bit more expensive to replace. And Mounts are unlike to get targeted.

Also, see Supermount (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=382372); Dragon Mount 20+/Animal Companion 20+/Familiar 20 rolled into one companion; it'll have close to 50 Dragon HD and it'll frankly kick royal butt. Just to point out that not all high-level companions are useless.

2008-12-14, 12:12 PM
didn;t realize it was 3.0, hmm thanks for your considerations, all.