View Single Post

Thread: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook.

  1. - Top - End - #12
    Titan in the Playground
    Darrin's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Cleveland, OH

    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    IV. Helping Hands: When Two Just Isn't Enough

    Yes, of course, you say, TWF looks so awesome, but how can we make it look even more awesome? By adding more hands, of course. Here's a list of methods to add additional hands to your build:

    1. Prehensile Dragon Tail

    Dragon Tail (Races of the Dragon) + Prehensile Tail (Savage Species/Serpent Kingdoms) gives you a third hand that can wield weapons. Dragon Tail is a 1st-level only feat that requires the dragonblood subtype, but you can actually add this after your 1st level by becoming a Dragonborn of Bahumat and swapping one of your existing feats for Dragon Wings or Dragon Tail. Since you lose your racial bonus feats when you become a Dragonborn, this is best accomplished with feats granted as class abilities. Fortunately, there are many classes that grant feats that are nearly useless or later become irrelevant. Ranger actually has two: Track and Endurance. Some other candidates: Monk (Stunning Fail, Defunct Arrows, etc.), Wizard (Scribe Scroll), Dragonfire Adept (Dragontouched), Duskblade (Combat Casting), or Knight (Mounted Combat). Add the variant class features from Unearthed Arcana, and you can add Barbarian (Toughness from Bear Totem, Blind-Fight from Dragon Totem, Run from Lion or Horse Totem) and a couple others, such as Simple Druid (Track), to the list. There may be other PrCs that offer feats that are better repurposed as Dragon Tail.

    2. Arms Race

    Start with a race that already has four hands. Thri-Kreen are the most well-known, but they have 2 racial HD and either LA +2 (Expanded Psionics Handbook) or LA +1 (Shining South, non-psionic). Diopsid (Dragon Compendium) is sort of a "Thri-Kreen Lite", another insectile race with four arms but only LA +1 and no racial HD. The Eberron Campaign Setting offers another option: Dolgrim, mutant goblins with four arms and two brains. See the section on Races above for more details on these races.

    3. Totemist With the Most-Est

    Totemist 2 (Magic of Incarnum) binding the Girallon Arms soulmeld to the Totem chakra. This gives you four glowing blue furry arms along with four claw attacks. Based on the fluff, it's not entirely clear if these arms are functional enough to wield weapons, but assuming your DM says they can, you now have the problem of deciding whether you want four weapon attacks or four claw attacks. Of course, if you want to keep your four claw attacks and still get iterative/offhand attacks, you can use Improved Unarmed Strike + armor spikes.

    4. Permanent Girallon's Blessging

    Girallon's blessing + permanency spells (see Savage Species p. 60). Assuming a 13th level caster, both spells would cost about 11140 GP. While the Savage Species version of girallon's blessing has a drawback where you have to make a Will save to do anything complex with your extra arms, the updated version in the Spell Compendium removes this drawback and makes them fully-functional arms. By RAW, the permanency rules on page 60 of Savage Species still applies to the Spell Compendium version. Your biggest concern here is your extra arms are dispellable via dispel magic, so consider protecting yourself against that: Ring of Counterspells (4000 GP, DMG), Spellblade (+6000 GP, Player's Guide to Faerun), Ring of Spell-Battle (12000 GP, MIC).

    5. Polymorph Shenanigans

    Use various alter self/metamorphosis/polymorph effects to turn yourself into a creature with four or more arms. The easiest method is probably just to cast polymorph any object (PaO) on yourself twice, which means the duration of the spell is "permanent". However, this still allows it to be dispelled, so take the same precautions as you would with a permanent girallon's blessing. If you can find a 15th level spellcaster, you can buy two PaO's for only 2400 GP. Some interesting forms to consider: Thri-kreen (XPH/Shining South), Diopsid (Dragon Compendium), Dolgrim (Eberron Campaign Setting), Tako (Oriental Adventures), and Ormyrr (MMII).

    6. Magic Items

    If you'd prefer just a magic item to change forms, then there are a couple options: Phylactery of Change (11200 GP, A&EG p. 135) offers all-day polymorph up to 7HD (check out the Ormyrr in MMII), and Fleshshifter Armor (13160 GP, Book of Vile Darkness p. 111) gives you alter self at will.

    7. Spare hand

    If you'd prefer to keep your existing form, then picking up a Spare Hand (12000 GP, MIC) is probably the easiest option, but to get it to wield a light offhand weapon, you have to power it with at least a 3rd level infusion, so it may only be useful to an artificer. Arms of the Naga (56000 GP, Savage Species) can add two arms, but I consider them too horrendously expensive, and they have a big drawback: if you try to use them in combat, you have to make a Will save DC 19 every round or take a -2 penalty on all attacks, saves, skill checks, and ability checks. If you already have extra appendages but don't have hands, such as from a soulmeld or the two tentacles from the Deepspawn feat (Lords of Madness), then you can add Gloves of Man (42000 GP, Savage Species) to get functional hands. These are nearly as expensive as the Arms of the Naga, but fortunately do not have any of that Will save nonsense to use them properly.

    8. Grafts

    There are several different kinds of grafts, but they can be divided into two broad categories based on which rules they follow. The "old" style grafts were introduced in the Fiend Folio, and the "new" style grafts were introduced in Magic of Eberron. The differences between "old" and "new" grafts has mostly to do with who can create them and how many you can add to a creature. The "old" style grafts can only be created by a creature of the proper creature type that has taken the Graft Flesh feat, but the recipient of the graft can acquire as many of these grafts as his resources will allow. The "new" style grafts can be created by anyone with the proper crafting feat, but the recipient can only have a maximum of five grafts, and they must all be of the same kind. Since the "new" graft rules didn't explicitly replace the "old" graft rules, some DMs may allow you to mix/match some of the old style grafts along with up to five of the new style grafts. It's not always clear from the graft descriptions if a graft is replacing an arm that must be removed first, or is being added to your torso along with your existing arms. You'll need to consult your DM to nail down the specifics of what you're allowed to do with grafts. For a more in-depth look at grafts, consult Veyr's Fleshwarping handbook.

    Here's a list of sourcebooks with grafts:

    Fiend Folio (old): Aboleth, Beholder, Fiendish, Illithid, Maug, Undead, Yuan-Ti
    Libris Mortis (old): Undead
    Serpent Kingdoms (old): Yuan-Ti
    Lords of Madness (old): Aboleth, Illithid, Silthilar
    Magic of Eberron (new): Deathless, Elemental, Plant
    Faiths of Eberron (new): Construct
    Races of the Dragon (new): Draconic

    Here's a list of arm-related grafts:

    a. Zombie Arm (25000 GP, Libris Mortis). This is probably one of the cheaper graft options, but while it gives you a +2 inherent Str bonus, it also reduces your Dex by 2 points, which makes it difficult to include two of them in a TWF build. It also gives you a slam attack, but this is an exception to my "one slam good, two slams bad" policy: the text states that the slam is made with the arm, so presumably if you're wielding a weapon in that arm, you'd lose the slam as well.

    b. Enervating Arm (40000 GP, Fiend Folio/Libris Mortis). Instead of reducing your Dex, this graft gives you a +4 inherent bonus to Str, and an enervating touch attack that can confer a negative level 2/day (Fort save DC 14 negates).

    c. Paralyzing Arm (40000 GP, Fiend Folio/Libris Mortis). Essentially the same as an Enervating Arm, but it has a paralyzing touch instead (Fort save DC 14 negates).

    d. Weakening Arm (40000 GP, Fiend Folio/Libris Mortis). Similar to the Enervating or Paralyzing Arm, this one deals 1d6 Str damage as a touch attack 2/day. However, unlike the other arms, there's no save to avoid this damage, and thus probably the best of the undead grafts.

    e. Taloned Arm (34000 GP, Races of the Dragon). This draconic graft doesn't include any inherent Str or Dex bonus/penalty, but offers a secondary claw attack. It's a bit more expensive than the Zombie Arm, but other than losing -2 HP, doesn't have any significant drawbacks.

    f. Clawed Arm (50000 GP, Fiend Folio). This fiendish graft is more expensive, but will also slowly drive you insane if you have a good alignment. It includes a +4 untyped Str bonus for anything you do with that arm and a natural claw attack, but most of the other arms are cheaper and have fewer drawbacks.

    g. Serpent Arm (12000 GP, Serpent Kingdoms). This graft ends in a serpent head rather than a hand, so you can't wield weapons with it, but you do get a bite attack with poison (primary/secondary 1d6 Con), so... say hello to the venomfire spell (same book, +1d6/CL acid damage, no maximum damage cap). It's also much cheaper than the other arm grafts, so you could conceivably buy a several of these for a whole bunch of secondary bite attacks.

    h. Mighty Arms (1000 GP, Faiths of Eberron). This is the cheapest arm-related graft, but it's implied from the description that these arms replace your existing arms, rather than add an extra set of arms. Then again, it never says in the rules that you have to remove body parts to add construct grafts, so... check with your DM. This construct graft gives you a slam similar to a warforged, although this is another exception to my "one slam good, two slams bad" policy: the text states you can make a secondary slam attack if your "other hand" is wielding a weapon, which most likely means you need at least one hand free to make a slam. This graft also allows you to add warforged components that can be mounted on the hands or arms, such as a battlefist, although how exactly a battlefist affects your attack routine can be a bit of a head-scratcher.

    i. Arm of the Ancestor (8500 GP, Magic of Eberron). Unfortunately, the text makes it pretty clear that this deathless graft is applied over an existing arm, so it doesn't add any more hands than you already have. The ability to give any creature you touch Fast Healing 3 once per hour is pretty nifty, but this graft has nothing else to offer from a TWF standpoint.

    9. Templates

    The easiest is probably Insectile (Savage Species), which adds four arms for only LA +2. Although the text says you don't gain any additional attacks with these arms, all you have to do is add Multiweapon Fighting and a half-dozen melee weapons, and you should be good to go. There's also a template in Dungeon #136 called Obah-Blessed, which can either give you two extra arms for LA +2, or four extra arms for LA +3.

    10. Aberrant Limbs

    In the DMGII, there's a "Unique Ability" called Aberrant Limbs. This is listed as an "NPC Only" option, but what's good for the goose should be good for the gander, yes? Assuming your DM allows this, for only LA +2 you can pick up an extra pair of arms and Multiweapon Fighting as a bonus feat.

    11. True Mind Switch

    This is power that Tleilaxu Ghola used for his infamous "Psionic Sandwich" trick, but you could also use it to acquire any non-sandwich body with the appropriate number of arms. Unlike polymorph any object, the duration is instantaneous, so there's no need to worry about dispel magic. This trick requires some very high-level psionics, but then Doc Roc trumped it with what he refers to as his "Commodore Guff" build, but everyone else calls "Doc Roc's Magic Jar trick". This version can be done with only two castings of magic jar, a 5th level core arcane spell.