Glory to She who shines the brightest
Quote Originally Posted by Sonny Blaze
Sonny Blaze
Lawful Neutral Silverbrow Human Rogue 3/Spellthief 3/Justiciar of Taiia 4/Black Flame Zealot 10

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Starting languages: Common, Ignan, Halfling, Draconic

Str 10
Con 12
Dex 14
Int 16
Wis 14
Cha 12

All level increases to Int.


Story:
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Sonny Blaze was born into a church-run orphanage. He grew learning all the blessings of the beloved Pelor, following in His doctrine, living the life of the righteous. He hated it, felt oppressed, boxed in. The only times he felt free were the times spent under the rays of the sun, basking in the warmth (even though that time was mandatory.) And then, one day, it all changed.

A group of traveling minstels came through, roaming from church to church, spreading the Light of Life. They stayed in the orphanage for a month, traveling to local churches and their affiliations. But they had a secret. They were not, in fact, a devoted band of Pelor, as they seemed to be. But instead, a following of Taiia, covertly spreading Her light. Sonny, already believing there was more to life than what Pelor had to offer, was instantly hooked.

He fell in with the group, under the tutalege of one Mr. Ghrian, learned of beauty of the Rays of Taiia, studied Her doctrines. He learned that everyone should be given the chance to come into Her warmth, but that unbelievers must be made to pay for their heresy. He, himself, took the life of the Director of the Orphanage, a man unwilling to accept Pelor's non-existance and turn to the only true goddess, Taiia.

For years, he traveled with Mr. Ghrian, infliltrating various religious sects, under one guise or another. Sometimes they were a group of missionaries traveling the world and in need of a few weeks' rest; at others, they were homeless wanderers in search of charity. Whatever it took to get them in the door, allowed to stay, offered hospitality and trust. They would move through those gathered, quietly spread the word of Taiia, seek converts to Her will. Those who refused to open their eyes to Her light were burned, cleansed of the sins of their souls.

On a mission to a temple of Wee Jas, things went horribly wrong. The clergy there stayed faithful. Sonny's band of believers were discovered, their cover blown. The resulting war was a catastrophy of confusion and chaos. In the end, the temple burned. Death had come to members on both sides of the fray. Sonny made it out alive, but he had witnessed a horror that would haunt him -- Mr. Ghrian held immoble in the grip of one of Wee Jas's clerics, fangs pressed deep into his neck, blood flowing free. It was the last time that Sonny would see his mentor alive.

But they would meet again.

Sonny continued the mission of Taiia. He led a group of travelers from tmemple to temple, spreading the Word as they always had. They visited truth upon believers of Hextor and Heironious, of Moradin and Yondalla, of Elhonna and St. Cuthbert. They converted a few; they sacrificed many. All for the Glory of the Sun, the Everlasting Light of Taiia. They came upon a monestary of holy worshipers of Vecna, and it was here that Sonny brought the vengence of the sun down upon the abomination that had taken the life of his mentor years ago. And in so doing, he freed Imithe Ghrain from his unholy servitude.

Imithe Ghrain, freed vampire, would go on to start his own villiage, populated soley by abominations of undead. They built altars to Vecna, Wee Jas, Orcus, and a handul of other foul and depraved gods whose names had been lost to time. They prayed and worshipped within the shadows, under the moonlight, hiding from the sun. And one day, Sonny came. His band of Lightbearers walked among the unholy, bringing sacred grace of the warmth of the Sun to free them from their unholy existance. And in the midst of the conflagration, Sonny came face to face with his former mentor. He offered redemption, an escape from the darkness of idolatry. Imithe Ghrain refused to see the light.

Their battle began, mentor versus student, darkness versus light, undead chill versus ever-burning flame. In the end, the Light shone through the darkness. Sonny's blade bit into decaying flesh, driving scorch marks through a body already turning to mist. The flame crackled, immolating the mist, burning it to steam which dissipated into nothingness.

Sonny Blaze wandered back into the world, as his mentor had taught him to so long ago, and saught out more of Taiia's children to bring them to the Light.


Build:
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Sonny Blaze
{table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

1st|(ACF) Rogue 1|
+0
|
+0
|
+2
|
+0
|Appraise 1; Balance 4; Bluff 4; Diplomacy 4; Disable Device 4; Disguise 4; Forgery 1; Hide 4; K:Religion 4; Move Silently 4; Open Lock 4; Search 1; Sense Motive 2; Slight of Hand 1; Spot 4|1st: Apprentice (Philosopher); H: Dragonfire Strike|Sneak Attack +1d6; Antiquarian

2nd|Rogue 2|
+1
|
+0
|
+3
|
+0
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 5; Diplomacy 5; Disable Device 5; Disguise 5; Forgery 1; Hide 5; K:Religion 5; Move Silently 5; Open Lock 4; Search 2; Sense Motive 3; Slight of Hand 1; Spot 5|--|Evasion

3rd|(ACF) Rogue 3|
+2
|
+1
|
+3
|
+1
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 6; Diplomacy 6; Disable Device 6; Disguise 6; Forgery 1; Hide 6; K:Religion 6; Move Silently 6; Open Lock 5; Search 3; Sense Motive 4; Slight of Hand 1; Spot 6|3rd: Darkstalker|Sneak Attack +2d6; Penetrating Strike

4th|Spellthief 1|
+2
|
+1
|
+3
|
+3
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 7; Diplomacy 6; Disable Device 7; Disguise 7; Forgery 1; Hide 7; K:Religion 7; Move Silently 7; Open Lock 6; Search 4; Sense Motive 4; Slight of Hand 1; Spot 7|--|Sneak Attack +3d6; Steal Spell; Trapfinding

5th|Spellthief 2|
+3
|
+1
|
+3
|
+4
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 8; Diplomacy 6; Disable Device 8; Disguise 8; Forgery 1; Hide 8; K:Religion 8; Move Silently 8; Open Lock 7; Search 5; Sense Motive 4; Slight of Hand 1; Spot 8|--|Detect Magic; Spell Grace +1; Steal Spell Effect

6th|Spellthief 3|
+4
|
+2
|
+4
|
+4
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 9; Diplomacy 6; Disable Device 9; Disguise 9; Forgery 1; Hide 9; K:Religion 8; Listen 1; Move Silently 9; Open Lock 7; Search 6; Sense Motive 4; Slight of Hand 1; Spellcraft 1; Spot 9|6th: Martial Study (Distracting Ember)|Steal Energy Resistance 10

7th|Justiciar of Taiia 1|
+4
|
+2
|
+6
|
+6
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 9; Diplomacy 8; Disable Device 9; Disguise 10; Forgery 1; Hide 10; K:Religion 8; Listen 2; Move Silently 10; Open Lock 7; Search 7; Sense Motive 5; Slight of Hand 1; Spellcraft 1; Spot 10|BF: MWP: Kukri|Sneak Attack +4d6

8th|Justiciar of Taiia 2|
+5
|
+2
|
+7
|
+7
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 9; Diplomacy 11; Disable Device 9; Disguise 11; Forgery 1; Hide 11; K:Religion 8; Listen 3; Move Silently 11; Open Lock 7; Search 8; Sense Motive 6; Slight of Hand 1; Spellcraft 1; Spot 11|--|Combat Sense +2

9th|Justiciar of Taiia 3|
+6/1
|
+3
|
+7
|
+7
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 9; Diplomacy 12; Disable Device 9; Disguise 12; Forgery 1; Hide 12; K:Religion 8; Listen 4; Move Silently 12; Open Lock 7; Search 9; Sense Motive 7; Slight of Hand 1; Spellcraft 1; Spot 12; Skill Trick: Spot the Weak Point|9th: Iron Will|Augury 1/day

10th|Justiciar of Taiia 4|
+7/2
|
+3
|
+8
|
+8
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 9; Diplomacy 13; Disable Device 9; Disguise 13; Forgery 1; Hide 13; K:Religion 8; Listen 5; Move Silently 13; Open Lock 7; Search 10; Sense Motive 8; Slight of Hand 1; Spellcraft 1; Spot 13; Skill Tricks: Spot the Weak Point, Second Impression|--|Sneak Attack +5d6

11th|Black Flame Zealot 1|
+7/2
|
+3
|
+10
|
+10
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 9; Diplomacy 13; Disable Device 9; Disguise 14; Forgery 1; Hide 14; K:Religion 8; Listen 7; Move Silently 14; Open Lock 9; Search 10; Sense Motive 8; Slight of Hand 1; Spellcraft 1; Spot 14; Skill Tricks: Spot the Weak Point, Second Impression|--|Death Attack; Zealous Heart

12th|Black Flame Zealot 2|
+8/3
|
+3
|
+11
|
+11
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 9; Diplomacy 13; Disable Device 10; Disguise 15; Forgery 1; Hide 15; K:Religion 8; Listen 9; Move Silently 15; Open Lock 9; Search 10; Sense Motive 8; Slight of Hand 1; Spellcraft 1; Spot 15; Skill Tricks: Spot the Weak Point, Second Impression|12: Staggering Strike|Poison Use

13th|Black Flame Zealot 3|
+9/4
|
+4
|
+11
|
+11
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 9; Diplomacy 13; Disable Device 11; Disguise 16; Forgery 1; Hide 16; K:Religion 8; Listen 11; Move Silently 16; Open Lock 9; Search 10; Sense Motive 8; Slight of Hand 1; Spellcraft 1; Spot 16; Skill Tricks: Spot the Weak Point, Second Impression|--|Sneak Attack +6d6

14th|Black Flame Zealot 4|
+10/5
|
+4
|
+12
|
+12
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 9; Diplomacy 14; Disable Device 11; Disguise 17; Forgery 1; Hide 17; K:Religion 8; Listen 13; Move Silently 17; Open Lock 9; Search 10; Sense Motive 8; Slight of Hand 1; Spellcraft 1; Spot 17; Skill Tricks: Spot the Weak Point, Second Impression|--|--

15th|Black Flame Zealot 5|
+10/5
|
+4
|
+12
|
+12
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 9; Diplomacy 14; Disable Device 12; Disguise 18; Forgery 1; Hide 18; K:Religion 8; Listen 15; Move Silently 18; Open Lock 9; Search 10; Sense Motive 8; Slight of Hand 1; Spellcraft 1; Spot 18; Skill Tricks: Spot the Weak Point, Second Impression|15th: Sickening Strike|Fateful Stride

16th|Black Flame Zealot 6|
+11/6/1
|
+5
|
+13
|
+13
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 10; Diplomacy 15; Disable Device 12; Disguise 19; Forgery 1; Hide 19; K:Religion 8; Listen 16; Move Silently 19; Open Lock 9; Search 10; Sense Motive 8; Slight of Hand 1; Spellcraft 1; Spot 19; Skill Tricks: Spot the Weak Point, Second Impression|--|Sneak Attack +7d6

17th|Black Flame Zealot 7|
+12/7/2
|
+5
|
+13
|
+13
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 11; Diplomacy 16; Disable Device 12; Disguise 20; Forgery 1; Hide 20; K:Religion 8; Listen 17; Move Silently 20; Open Lock 9; Search 10; Sense Motive 8; Slight of Hand 1; Spellcraft 1; Spot 20; Skill Tricks: Spot the Weak Point, Second Impression|--|Sacred Flame

18th|Black Flame Zealot 8|
+13/8/3
|
+5
|
+14
|
+14
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 12; Diplomacy 17; Disable Device 12; Disguise 21; Forgery 1; Hide 21; K:Religion 8; Listen 18; Move Silently 21; Open Lock 9; Search 10; Sense Motive 8; Slight of Hand 1; Spellcraft 1; Spot 21; Skill Tricks: Spot the Weak Point, Second Impression|18th: Fire Devotion|--

19th|Black Flame Zealot 9|
+13/8/3
|
+6
|
+14
|
+14
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 13; Diplomacy 17; Disable Device 12; Disguise 22; Forgery 1; Hide 22; K:Religion 8; Listen 21; Move Silently 22; Open Lock 9; Search 10; Sense Motive 8; Slight of Hand 1; Spellcraft 1; Spot 22; Skill Tricks: Spot the Weak Point, Second Impression|--|Sneak Attack +8d6

20th|Black Flame Zealot 10|
+14/9/4
|
+6
|
+15
|
+15
|Appraise 1; Balance 5; Bluff 14; Diplomacy 18; Disable Device 12; Disguise 23; Forgery 1; Hide 23; K:Religion 8; Listen 22; Move Silently 23; Open Lock 9; Search 10; Sense Motive 8; Slight of Hand 1; Spellcraft 1; Spot 23; Skill Tricks: Spot the Weak Point, Second Impression|--|Unholy Immolation[/table]


Spells:
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Table:
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Spells per day/Spells Known
{table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th

1st|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

2nd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

3rd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

4th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

5th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

6th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

7th|-|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

8th|-|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

9th|-|2|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

10th|-|2|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

11th|-|2|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

12th|-|2|2|0|-|-|-|-|-|-

13th|-|2|2|0|-|-|-|-|-|-

14th|-|2|2|1|-|-|-|-|-|-

15th|-|2|2|1|-|-|-|-|-|-

16th|-|3|2|1|0|-|-|-|-|-

17th|-|3|2|1|0|-|-|-|-|-

18th|-|3|2|1|1|-|-|-|-|-

19th|-|3|2|1|1|-|-|-|-|-

20th|-|3|3|1|1|-|-|-|-|-[/table]


Wands of Note:
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Sonny has access to using spell trigger items off of the Spellthief and Justiciar of Taiia spell lists. JoT isn't as important here (because he can cast all of them), but a few are still helpful in wand form. These are as much a class feature to Sonny as they are to any wizard or sorcerer, and he should use them to equal benefit.
A small (certainly not exhaustive list) of wands Sonny finds useful:

1st level:
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Reduce Person (PHB): When used on himself, Sonny becomes a small creature, adding to his attack and AC and, more importanly, his Hide skill.
Sniper's Shot (SpC): Long range flaming sneak attacks. It won't work with Penetrating Strike or Death Attack, but can still be useful against some foes.
True Strike (PHB): Are we kidding around here? As if using Spot the Weak Point and coming out of the shadows against an unaware foe wasn't enough to deliver a Death Attack. Adding in True Strike is overkill. (See what I did there? Huh? Huh?) Overkill is what we do.


2nd level:
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Delusions of Grandeur (SpC): Mind-affecting, Will neg., and SR, sadly. But, when cast into a spell-storing weapon and used on a Death Attack, there is the chance of penalizing the target's saves just when he needs it most.
Incendiary Slime (CM): Grease is generally a good spell for sneak attackers. Add in the flaming fun, and this is right up Sonny's alley.
Insidious Insight (RoE): Mind-affecting, Will neg., living target. But its a nice bonus to skills Sonny uses and lasts for plenty of time.
Invisibility (PHB): This is almost too obvious to include on the list.
Knock (PHB): Because sometimes taking 20 on Open Lock just isn't enough.
Phantom Foe (SpC): Mind-affecting, Will disbelief. But if it works, this spell will turn a one-on-one fight in Sonny's favor in a hurry.
Reflective Disguise (SpC): Useful spell for sneaking into gender specific areas (dormitories, etc.). Sonny can use it to help out his Disguise checks.
Shadow Double (DotU): Will to disbelieve that is only offered to targets it has attacked. Won't last long, but it can be an effective flanking buddy when the need arises.


3rd level:
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Energy Vulnerability (PHBII): Will neg., SR, and a wand will only effect 10HD. Still, burn, baby, burn!
Flame Arrow (PHB): Sonny doesn't use ammunition offen, but it's certainly thematic. If a wand of Sniper's Shot comes becomes useful, so will this.
Legion of Sentinels (PHBII): Yes! Just yes!! No save, no SR. Here, have some flankers! The only problems Sonny has with this on a wand are the drool stains!
Searing Light (PHB): One of the useful Justiciar of Taiia spells that you may want to use more than once per day. Quite useful against those pesky undead.
Unluck (SpC): Will neg. and SR. But if it works, Sonny's Death Attack gets scarier.
Weapon of Energy (SpC): Burn...burn...BURN!!!


4th level:
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Divine Favor (PHB): The other Justiciar of Taiia spell to make this list. There may be days where one casting just won't do it. And for those days, a wand is nice to have.
Fire Stride (SpC): Because sometimes you're all out of floo powder.
Flame Whips (SpC): Reach and fire damage. What's not to love?
Improved Invisibility (PHB): I don't have to spell this one out for anyone, do I?
Phantom Battle (PHBII): When they say "create a diversion", this is what they mean. An area effect of flanking!
Shadow Conjuration (PHB): Utility in a wand. Summon Monster(s) for flanking. Lesser Orb of Fire for ranged sneak attacks. There're a multitude of uses here limited by your own imagination.
Voice of the Dragon (SpC): A large bonus to useful skills is always appreciated.




Levels 1-5:
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Patience, patience, patience. That's the key to Sonny. Anything can be done if he takes enough time to do it well.

On Skills:
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Maximum ranks in Bluff and Disguise allow for infiltration of enemy churches. (And when heretics are comprised of anyone who doesn't acknowledge Taiia, that's most every church out there.) A single rank in Forgery allows easy access to simple documentation. Ranks in Diplomacy and Sense Motive get Sonny in the door. He can opperate as the party-face.
Anyone can Search, and be effective with enough time (taking 20). With Trapfinding and Detect Magic from Spellthief, Sonny can do a bit more. Open Lock (and enough time to take 20) gets Sonny through most doors and into most drawers. Maximum ranks in Disable Device gets Sonny past the traps he might encounter on those doors and drawers.
Maximum ranks in Hide and Move Silently, coupled with the Darkstalker feat, have obvious benefits for a man lurking through hallways he's not supposed to be in. Also, those 8 ranks in Hide and Move Silently allow Sonny to be a leader for an Infiltration team. (See team benefits, DMG II p. 192) Max. ranks in Spot let Sonny be the lookout, as well.
Maximum ranks in Knowledge: Religion lets Sonny easily determine the abilities of divine magic items through the Antiquarian ACF. The single rank of Appraise allows trained checks and, coupled with the Antiquarian bonus, Sonny can examine common or rare items with enough time (taking 10) easily. Many exotic items are still fairly easy for him to appraise.


Combat:
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Combat is fairly straightforward. Land a sneak attack where possible. If not, take the time to get into position to be able to. Once the sneak attack has landed, Sonny can opt to use Dragonfire Strike to add to the damage and convert it to fire. (+4d6 is nothing to sneeze at at 5th level.) If the target is immune to fire, he won't; otherwise he will. Steal Spell Effect can remove an Energy Resistance spell (or similar) in order to still achieve fire damage. This becomes all the more useful if Sonny finds himself weaponless. An unarmed strike (in a pinch) will deal non-lethal damage, but Sonny can convert the sneak attack damage to fire, thus remaining lethal.
Another trick to use to save money: Alchemist's Fire costs 20 gold pieces per flask. Oil is just 1 silver piece per flask. Sneak Attack with a flask of oil and use Dragonfire Strike to change the SA to fire damage.
Defensively, Sonny is relying on stealth to hide and snipe. Fire from range, bluff for a diversion, then get out of sight. Evasion protects from the AoEs. The Apprentice feat adds +2 to Will saves and Spell Grace adds +1 to all saves vs. spells



Levels 6-10:
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Skill:
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Maximum ranks continue with Hide and Move Silently, as well as with Spot (and Listen has been added here, although slowly), continuing the ability to scout. Max. ranks also in Diplomacy and Disguise, strenthening party face and infiltration abilities, with the Second Impression skill trick adding a bit of a safety net, just in case.
A lone rank in Spellcraft lets Sonny make checks, allowing him to make the check (fairly easily, no less) to call a Companion Spirit (DMG II p.194-203). Flame is the obvious Specific Characteristic. Any of the General Characteristics offer Sonny greater utility (or offer him the chance to grant greater utility to his party, or both), and as such, any can be chosen to match the make-up of the party.


Combat:
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The beauty here is Steal Energy Resistance. It opens up the number of enemies that Sonny can use his Dragonfire Strike ability on effectively. Sneak Attack has risen to +5d6 here (+6d6 DFS), which allows him to be a team leader for the Superior Flank teamwork benefit (see DMG II p.194). This greatly opens up his ability to flank, which allows his sneak attack (including Penetrating Strike to SA everything!). And once in every encounter, Taiia herself sends her manifestation to provide a flanking buddy (Martial Study: Distracting Ember), just to see heratics burn!
Combat Sense adds benefits to both attack and defense. And Spot the Weak Point certainly encourages a well-placed sneak attack.
Iron Will adds another +2 to Will saves.



Level 11-15:
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Skills:
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A lot more of the same. Competancy in social skills with an expertise in Disguise and stealth. Listen is the main change here, adding to spying/scouting abilities. The Fateful Stride ability adds extra movement handy for infiltration.


Combat:
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Death Attack and Spot the Weak Point were made for each other, practically guarunteeing a successful hit on a flat-footed opponenet. Add some poison to the blade and the Sickening Strike feat, and the DC to resist a Death Attack gets harder. Staggering strike provides a great debuff to enemies who survive Death and/or Sneak Attacks.



Level 16-20:
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Just three words: More. Fire. Damage. Sacred Flame brings more fire damage. Fire Devotion brings more fire damage. More Sneak Attack dice brings more fire damage. And Unholy Immolation means enemies can't come back from it easily.
(Note: check with your DM to see how Unholy Immolation + Penetrating Strike ACF works with undead like vampires and liches. If it results in an undead not being able to regrow even if they have a coffin or phylactery, UI becomes that much more awesome.)

A word on zealotry:
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Complete Champion contains requirements and benefits for church affiliations. Zealots are most likely to engage in such affiliations. Taiia does not have a church listed in the book, but with your DM's approval and help, try building one for your table. For greater ease, domain affiliations are listed. Three fluff well for Sonny's devotion to Taiia.
Fire: "Nothing can withstand the heat of the inferno." This holds perfect fluff for Sonny. With a high enough affiliation score, Sonny could gain some fire resistance and add fire damage to some of his attacks each day. It works very well with the build.
Sun: Oddly, not a domain granted by Taiia's destroyer aspect. Nonetheless, the fluff works for 'The Faith of the Sun'. Divine Light adds to a Black Flame Zealot (can you have a flaming, flaming kukri?). Useful for off-hand attacks.
Knowledge: Another domain not granted by Taiia's destroyer aspect, but still offered by Taiia. Sonny certainly shows fluff toward using knowledge to his benefit. Student and Academic are both useful to Sonny, but Scholar is where things really shine for him. If this is an option at your table, fidget with Sonny's skills to make sure you have at least one rank in Knowledge: the Planes. With the Scholar ability, Fire Immunity (among other things) can be negated for a brief time. Certainly a helpful ability for Sonny to have in his back pocket!


Resources:
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SRD: Rogue
Complete Adventurer: Spellthief; Staggering Strike feat
Deities and Demigods: Justiciar of Taiia
Complete Scoundrel: Skill Tricks
DMG II: Apprentice feat
Dragon Magic: Silverbrow Human; Dragonfire Strike feat
Complete Champion: Antiquarian ACF; Church/Domain affiliations; Knowledge Devotion; Fire Devotion feat
Dungeonscape: Penetrating Strike ACF
Tome of Battle: Martial Study feat; Distracting Ember
Lords of Madness: Darkstalker feat
Drow of the Underdark: Sickening Strike feat