Now, back to PokemonPart two of Aesc's build.
Originally Posted by AescNote: all numbers assume no items or bonuses from high ability scores.
Aesc Duan Dee
Chaotic Neutral Uurkrau Illumian
Rogue/Binder/Warlock/Ranger/Swordsage/Warblade/Trapsmith/Disciple of Thrym/Sand Shaper/Ardent Dilettante
DEX 14 (level-ups go here)
Hit Dice: 6 + 13d8 + 4d6 + d10 + d12
Maneuvers and Stances Known:
(ECL 5, Swordsage 1): Shadow Jaunt, Mountain Hammer, Child of Shadow, Sudden Leap, Wind Stride, Cloak of Deception, Fire Riposte
(ECL 9, Warblade 1): Leading the Charge, White Raven Tactics, Wall of Blades, Iron Heart Surge
Spells per day / known (Trapsmith):
SpoilerShowSpells per day/Spells known
ECL 6: Haste, Gaseous Form
ECL 9: Dispel Magic
ECL 10: Dimension Door, Stone Shape
ECL 11: Arcane Sight, Resilient Sphere
ECL 13: All spells granted by Desert Insight
ECL 14: Wall of Stone, Fabricate
Spells per day (Disciple of Thrym):
Spells per day/Spells Known
Gets all spells listed in Desert Insight, since it does not specify that only one class gains the benefit.
Adds Oracle Domain at ECL 17.
SpoilerShowAesc is a support character. He is not meant to be a frontline fighter, and he'll never win any damage contests. That said, he is a capable skillmonkey, has some useful low-level magic, and is not without his tricks.
Trapsmith is a beautiful class not only because it gets a very interesting casting progression but also because booby traps keep getting better with ranks, not with class levels (advanced versus basic traps notwithstanding). Thus, the DC on Aesc's traps stays competitive even at higher levels. Aesc's high Craft (Poisonmaking) skill makes it easy for him to apply poison to his traps, giving them an edge even when the damage tends to fall short.
Also, putting Spell Storing bolts (which he eventually can make by himself) in his crossbows gives him a lot of versatility with the crossbow trap. Spells can be preloaded, which is nice, and his spell lists aren't terrible once they're loaded into crossbow bolts. Lesser Shivering Touch alone should give his opponents pause, especially when it's been dunked in some kind of nasty poison. Preparation is the name of the game; setting up the bolts with the spells and the poison ahead of time is quite useful, and of course traps always work better if you have the chance of setting them up before combat.
Aesc is a capable scout. Heightened Senses keeps his perception abilities good, and he's stealthy enough to get to where he wants to be. Lore lets him make sense of what he finds. Blend Into Shadows is, of course, fantastic, especially if you keep a rock with Darkness on it in your belt pouch, so you can always be near magical darkness. He's pretty good at tracking, especially once he gets Scent. One of his best scouting tricks comes from Sense Link: the creature with whom your senses are linked does not need to be a humanoid. Indeed, it could be a mouse, a sparrow, a horse, or something else innocuous. Aesc can use the Spiritual Connection ACF (which lets him speak with animals and plants) to convince a small animal beneath notice to follow a desired target or slip into somewhere tricky, Aesc's senses following in tow. He can do this through Diplomacy, Intimidate, or perhaps simply asking nicely with a morsel of food.
Aesc's maneuvers are almost entirely defensive or utilitarian. Mountain Hammer is intended for use outside of combat, where it basically functions as Disintegrate (if a bit slower). Most of his maneuvers should be self-explanatory, but none of them are really intended as offense.
While he has to rummage into his bag of tricks a bit more than other people, Aesc is still decent at supporting his party. The spells from Trapsmith, notably haste, are famously useful as utility or buffs, and Joie de Vivre certainly doesn't hurt. See It Again can be used to great effect to copy, for example, a partymate's high-level spell, or it can just be used to get another charge out of his own small number of daily spells. White Raven Tactics is as good on Aesc as it is on anyone else. Enthrall's save DC lags a bit at the end, but is still relatively useful out of combat. Ask your GM if an Enthralled opponent will notice you setting up a trap; they may or may not.
The vestiges Aesc binds change across his career. In the beginning, he favors Aym and Leraje, but as he levels, Naberius tends to come to the fore, for reasons which should be obvious: he heals the stat damage done by Sanctified/Corrupt spells (or by slipping with the poison) and make Diplomacy easier (which helps with convincing small animals to be scouts, among other things).
Aesc's caster level is not as bad as it may seem. He gets to add a bonus from Dust Magic, a bonus from his Krau sigil, and (for Trapsmith) a bonus from Practiced Spellcaster. (It's actually quite difficult to get a higher Trapsmith caster level without resorting to stacking tricks like Master Spellthief!) His Uur sigil adds to his DEX-based skills and his initiative modifier, and the Uurkrau power word lets him base his bonus spells per day on Dexterity, which may or may not come up depending on how free the GM is with stat-boosting items. If he has access to them, though, he can boost both of his casting classes with just DEX.
SpoilerShowI wanted to make an Ardent Dilettante with the following restrictions:
-No more than one level in any non-AD class.
-No base classes that give arcane or divine spells.
Under those restrictions, a lot of the easy avenues got cut off, so I had to find alternatives. I think, overall, that I have succeeded in making a fun support character, even if I had to sacrifice power to do so.
Questions and Answers:
Q: What's up with the Sanctified and Corrupt spells?
A: Book of Exalted Deeds and Book of Vile Darkness do not specify that only Good or Evil characters can cast Sanctified or Corrupt spells, and that any prepared caster has access to them. Being neutral and dedicated to trying new things, it makes sense for Aesc to try using both. Naberius serves to heal the stat damage done, making the costs less painful. There aren't that many Sanctified or Corrupt spells that are overwhelmingly useful, though casting them into a Spell Storing crossbow bolt can be an interesting experience. Poison Spell works when casting a spell into a Spell Storing bolt, so you can potentially have two kinds of poison on one bolt.
Q: Why no UMD?
A: I wanted to assume absolutely no magic items (beyond what you eventually get to craft yourself with Craft Magic Arms and Armor). UMD is useless without something to use it on, and I didn't want to assume that there would be free access to a magic mart. If you want to add in UMD, it's easy enough to tweak the skills (mostly by slowing down Hide/MS/Spot/Listen a point or two apiece).
Q: An Illumian with Able Learner?
A: Yup! They're humanoids with the human subtype. If the human subtype doesn't make you count as human, I don't know what does.
If flaws are allowed, Craven makes your meager Sneak Attack stay relevant for longer, and Hidden Talent (Psionic Minor Creation) does wonderful things for your poisons. If you use fractional BAB and saves, your BAB skyrockets (relatively speaking) while your saves become a lot more reasonable; in fact, with just a little bit of shuffling, you may be able to get into Divine Crusader instead of Disciple of Thrym, and doing so will give access to higher-level spells faster. Taking 3 levels of Trapsmith (dropping Divine Oracle, and either Warblade or Sand Shaper) gets you access to advanced booby traps, but doing so goes against the "only one level" policy. Handy items include general skill boosters for any of your important skills, wands and scrolls if you use the UMD variant, basic defensive gear, and basic stat boosters. A ring of wizardry and/or some pearls of power can increase your magical longevity.
SpoilerShowPlayer's Handbook (Rogue, Ranger)
Races of Destiny (Illumian, Able Learner)
Tome of Magic (Binder)
Tome of Battle (Swordsage, Warblade)
Complete Arcane (Warlock, Practiced Spellcaster)
Complete Divine (Divine Oracle)
Drow of the Underdark (Blend Into Shadows, Poison Spell)
Complete Champion (Spiritual Connection ACF)
Frostburn (Disciple of Thrym, Cold Endurance)
Sandstorm (Sand Shaper, Touchstone)
Book of Exalted Deeds (Sanctified spells)
Book of Vile Darkness (Corrupt spells)
Planar Handbook (Ardent Dilettante)