Just be glad he didn't find any warpstone.

Quote Originally Posted by Tchar-Lee Kuh-Lee
Tchar-Lee Kuh-Lee

N Nezumi Swordsage 7/Fang of Lolth 10/Swordsage 10

Stats
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(Racial Adjustments in Parentheses)
Str 16 (Increases here)
Dex 14
Con 12 (14)
Int 14
Wis 14
Cha 8 (6)

Backstory
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Tchar-Lee learned soon that live as a nezumi was not easy. Nezumi grow to adulthood very quickly, so he had to accept the realities of the world to function in it. His ancestors told him stories of the great empire that once existed, when his people were connected and civilized, and not rooting in the remains of the Shadowlands for scraps just to survive.

His clan wanted better for the younger ones, and so they tried to teach him and the litter-mates the fundamentals of magic in the hopes of discovering talent among them. Tchar-Lee was not so gifted, but he muddled through lessons in fetishes and simulacrum dolls, as well as the elegant magic items of the human craftsmen. In time Tchar-Lee realized that his tutor was himself little more than a novice in the world of magic, and he had taught all he could.

Tchar-Lee spent more and more time learning from the masters of sword and fist, who taught him their secrets of combat, how to move quick as a thought and harness the savagery of his ancestors. In time he grew skilled enough to join the scouting parties to search for resources in the border areas of the Shadowlands.

Tchar-Lee was shocked by the wealth of the humans on the border. Each family had their own house, and many had their own animals for milk and meat. When they beheld the nezumi party bearing down on them, their faces contorted in horror and disgust. They called them words Tchar-Lee had never heard before, words like oni and vermin. They fled their houses, leaving many riches for the raiding party to collect. Tchar-Lee located a small amulet in the shape of some sort of skittering creature, buried in the corner below a small table.

When he got back to the rest of the clan, he spent some time studying his new bauble. There were whispers ofÖsomething there, but he had to focus his hardest to make it out. After a few minutes of concentrating, he was able to see an image of the creator crafting the item, speaking to his apprentice.
ďThis amulet enhances the power of whatever vermin you place it on.Ē
He was about to say more before the sounds of nezumi calling out to each other in the square broke his concentration, and he could not find it again. After some deliberation, Tchar-Lee tried it on, finding the clasp fit oddly about his neck. He focused on his inner ki, allowing to resonate at the frequency of the item as he had learned. It was tricky, and the frequency of the item felt slippery, far higher than he was used to. After a few exhaustive minutes, he set it aside to resume another day.

Over the next few weeks he practiced with the amulet, trying each time to properly coax out its properties. But it thwarted him each time, the background noise of the Shadowlands taint clouding the whole process and dulling the frequencies. Finally, after nearly two months, the item finally blended its own resonance in harmony with the Shadowlands and his own natural ki. He moved the amulet to his neck, and it clasped itself shut with sudden force. He gave a sudden yelp as he felt it uncomfortably tight against his neck, but at the same time he felt the guidance of the amulet flowing within him.

When his skin darkened no-one noticed, what wasnít covered by fur was coated in scratches and calluses and dirt, obscuring whatever color it once was. The subtle stretching of his jaw was unnoticed by even him, as it was such a small change from the large nezumi snout that he barely noticed his bite could more easily snap the shin of a cow to suck the marrow out. But all noticed when his eyes changed, swelling and chambering themselves like no nezumi. The elders called an immediate meeting of the clan. All agreed that no nezumi had ever fallen to the effects of the Shadowlands taint, but none could explain what was happening to Tchar-Lee as anything else. When he explained that it had happened after he found the amulet, the clan decided that he had been cursed, by the ancestors who once owned it, or by the god it was a symbol of. They did not need to know to recognize that he had been cursed, and that his ill fortune could ruin the whole clan.

It was with tearful goodbyes but grim resolve that his family and clan bid Tchar-Lee goodbye. They allowed him to take what little he could personally claim, and told him that while they hoped for his well-being, they would never again offer him kindness or compassion in the hopes of appeasing that which had cursed him. He understood completely, and bore them no ill will. He was not so forgiving of the rich lords of the border, who would seek to curse him for taking a petty bauble.

Tchar-Lee kept in his old ways, scouring the borders and the outer edges of the Shadowlands for what he needed to stay alive, but as he grew more fearsome, he grew bolder as new strength welled within him. It must have been a human curse, for only humans would consider greater power at the expense of their looks a very bad thing. Tchar-Lee raided the borders with renewed energy, laughing a chittering squeak as the humans fled from their own handiwork. The cries of vermin were less and less, and the cries of oni more and more. He ventured into the deeper Shadowlands to seek out these oni in the hopes that they were those like him. He found no welcome among the cruel demons that stalked the lands and none that shared his exact plight, though no resident of the Shadowlands seemed shocked at his appearance.

As time drew on Tchar-Lee found it easier and easier to live among the warped creatures of the Shadowlands, still fighting for his survival but able to carry out a conversation with those twisted by curses it seemed few deserved. He grew strong enough to gain grudging respect from the other creatures, and with this came the ability to live in something almost like peace. In time his name faded from even his peopleís memory, and became little more than a legend of a creature that struck the human encampments infrequently to demand food in sacrifice.

Legends are slippery and shadowy by nature, and it is unclear what became of Tchar-Lee, whether he became an oni himself, or whether he even existed in the first place. But if you ever encounter a monstrosity that is the worst parts of rat and spider writ larger than either should ever be, you should probably give it a very wide berth.

Build
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Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
1st Swordsage 1 +0 +0 +2 +2 Balance 4, Concentration 4, Hide 4, Jump 4, Move Silently 4, Spot 4, Tumble 4, Use Magic Device 4 Apprentice (Spellcaster) Quick to Act +1, Discipline Focus (Weapon Focus): Shadow Hand
2nd Swordsage 2 +1 +0 +3 +3 Balance 5, Concentration 5, Hide 5, Jump 5, Move Silently 5, Spot 5, Tumble 5, Use Magic Device 5 AC Bonus
3rd Swordsage 3 +2 +1 +3 +3 Extreme Leap, Concentration 6, Hide 6, Jump 6, Move Silently 6, Tumble 6, Use Magic Device 6 Adaptive Style
4th Swordsage 4 +3 +1 +4 +4 Concentration 7, Hide 7, Jump 7, Move Silently 7, Spot 7, Tumble 7, Use Magic Device 7 Discipline Focus (Insightful Strike): Tiger Claw
5th Swordsage 5 +3 +1 +4 +4 Concentration 8, Hide 8, Jump 8, Listen 1, Move Silently 8, Spot 8, Tumble 8, Use Magic Device 8 Quick to Act +2
6th Swordsage 6 +4 +2 +5 +5 Concentration 9, Hide 9, Jump 9, Move Silently 9, Spot 9, Tumble 9, Use Magic Device 9(2) Shadow Blade
7th Swordsage 7 +5 +2 +5 +5 Concentration 10, Hide 10, Jump 10, Move Silently 10, Spot 10, Tumble 10, Use Magic Device 10(2) Sense Magic
8th Fang of Lolth 1 +5 +2 +7 +5 Point it Out, Hide 11, Jump 11, Move Silently 11, Spot 11, Tumble 11, Use Magic Device 11 Skill Bonuses
9th Fang of Lolth 2 +6/+1 +2 +8 +5 Acrobatic Backstab, Hide 12, Jump 12, Move Silently 12, Spot 12, Tumble 12, Use Magic Device 12 Gloom Razor Sneak Attack +1d6
10th Fang of Lolth 3 +7/+2 +3 +8 +6 Spot the Weak Point, Hide 13, Jump 13, Move Silently 13, Spot 13, Tumble 13, Use Magic Device 13 Spider Bite
11th Fang of Lolth 4 +8/+3 +3 +9 +6 Clarity of Vision, Hide 14, Jump 14, Move Silently 14, Spot 14, Tumble 14, Use Magic Device 14 Climb Speed 20ft
12th Fang of Lolth 5 +8/+3 +3 +9 +6 Hide 15, Jump 15, Listen 3, Move Silently 15, Spot 15, Tumble 15, Use Magic Device 15 Scent Sneak Attack +2d6
13th Fang of Lolth 6 +9/+4 +4 +10 +7 Hide 16, Jump 16, Listen 5, Move Silently 16, Spot 16, Tumble 16, Use Magic Device 16 Natural Armor +2, Spider Vision
14th Fang of Lolth 7 +10/+5 +4 +10 +7 Hide 17, Jump 17, Listen 7, Move Silently 17, Spot 17, Tumble 17, Use Magic Device 17 Summon Swarm
15th Fang of Lolth 8 +11/+6/+1 +4 +11 +7 Hide 18, Jump 18, Listen 10, Move Silently 18, Spot 18, Tumble 18 Staggering Strike Sneak Attack +3d6
16th Fang of Lolth 9 +11/+6/+1 +5 +11 +8 Hide 19, Jump 19, Listen 13, Move Silently 19, Spot 19, Tumble 19 Spider Limbs
17th Fang of Lolth 10 +12/+7/+2 +5 +12 +8 Hide 20, Jump 20, Listen 16, Move Silently 20, Spot 20, Tumble 20 Natural Armor +4, Vermin Type
18th Swordsage 8 +13/+8/+3 +5 +13 +9 Concentration 13, Hide 21, Jump 21, Move Silently 21, Spot 21, Tumble 21 Multiweapon Fighting Discipline Focus (Defensive Stance): Shadow Hand
19th Swordsage 9 +13/+8/+3 +6 +13 +9 Concentration 16, Hide 22, Jump 22, Move Silently 22, Spot 22, Tumble 22 Evasion
20th Swordsage 10 +14/+9/+4 +6 +14 +10 Concentration 19, Hide 23, Jump 23, Move Silently 23, Spot 23, Tumble 23 Quick to Act +3

Maneuvers
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1st Wolf Fang Strike (change at 4), Charging Minotaur(change at 6), Burning Blade(change at 8), Mighty Throw(change at 10), Distracting Ember, Sapphire Nightmare Blade, Sudden Leap
2nd Cloak of Deception, Mountain Hammer, Emerald Razor (at 4), Shadow Jaunt (at 6)
3rd Bonecrusher, Mind Over Body
4th Death from Above
5th Dancing Mongoose (at 18)
6th Moment of Alacrity
7th Swooping Dragon Strike
8th Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip, Raging Mongoose, One with Shadow (at 20)
Stances: Child of Shadow (at 1), Blood in the Water (at 2), Assassinís Stance (at 5), Hearing the Air (at 19)

Level 5
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Nezumi, also known as Ratlings, are a fun race from Oriental Adventures. They have a variety of advantages, the most notable right now is 40 foot movement speed, which means better mobility and the possibility of charging from a greater distance. At early levels the first strike is often the last. Nezumiís discussion of claws and bite is vague and a bit confusing. Iím not sure if youíre supposed to treat them as natural attacks, or if you just make unarmed strikes that deal lethal damage. Iím going to leave it alone either way. Talk to your DM.

Swordsage provides a solid base to build on. Boost to initiative means youíre even more likely to go first. Weapon Focus with the shadow hand weapons helps make fighting with Shadow Blade when it kicks in. AC bonus from Wis helps out along with armor and Dex, and Insightful Strike lets you add it to Tiger Claw strikes as well.

Wolf Fang Strikeís the bitter pill that we all have to swallow, but you might get a bit of use out of it if your unarmed strike is good enough. Distracting Ember is a great setup for Sneak Attack, which you pick up from Assassinís Stance. Child of Shadow makes for great sneaking, as does Cloak of Deception, and Shadow Jaunt and Sudden Leap are great for positioning. Sapphire Nightmare Blade is another good way to toss on SA. Emerald Razor is for those tough to hit enemies, and Mountain Hammer is the classic for piercing DR. Bonecrusher opens up critical hits for blood in the water.

Apprentice fulfills the skill requirement for the SI, and the cap stays elevated even after level 5. Adaptive Style is a near necessity for swordsages; it lets you spend your action much more efficiently.

Skills are pretty self-explanatory, keep Concentration as high as you can for Diamond Mind Maneuvers, max jump for Tiger Claw, max Tumble for acrobatic backstab and general battlefield stuff.

Level 10
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Two more levels of Swordsage give you all you need to get into the SI. Sense magic will help identify stuff and save you buying wands. Death from Above takes advantage of your high jump mod (even higher with the boost from 40ft speed). Once you get into the SI, strategies change a bit. Permanent Sneak attack means you can switch to other stances if you wish, but Assassinís will be your primary combat one for a while since it gives more SA and activates Shadow Blade. Bonus to Jump helps with Tiger Claw, and the bite attack is something else to throw SA on.

Shadow Blade lets you add Dex to damage when using a Shadow Blade Weapon in a Shadow Blade stance. You have two solid ones, so itís very much worth it.
Gloom Razorís options are all good, most notably the first, which pairs very well with Child of Shadow.

Acrobatic Backstabís another way to render people flatfooted, and Spot the Weak Point helps to get through tough AC.

Level 15
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More levels of Fang of Lolth really pay off. Climb speed lets you move about even more, and when you can teleport onto or up a wall, sneaking gets even better. Darkvision is never bad, and bonus on spot helps with your skill tricks. More SA on the pile never hurts, and natural armor on top of all the other things helps you stay in the game.

Scent is a special, Nezumi can spend a feat to gain the special quality, which is a potent anti-sneak tool, especially when paired with Clarity of Vision. Staggering Strike is the peanut butter to SA chocolate, removing a lot of your enemyís options without a full-round action.

Your UMD mod is reliably high at this point, so you can stop sinking ranks into it. You can hit the check for wands with no penalty, so make free use of them.

Level 20
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Now is when the party really starts. Vermin type means immunity to mind affecting, which is a large portion of spells locked down (immunity to x person doesnít hurt either). More natural armor keeps your AC up, but what weíre really here to talk about is spider limbs. Each of the 4 can hold a weapon, which means itís time to fight with multiple weapons. Multiweapon Fighting now kicks in, reducing the penalty to much more manageable levels. There are two potential strategies to pursue with them. The first is hold all short swords (a Shadow Hand weapon) and stay in Assassinís stance for 5d6 SA on each of 9 attacks (3 primary hand, 1 off-hand, 1 bite, 4 limb weapons), with Shadow Blade tossing Dex onto all but the bite.
The second strategy is to equip yourself with all kukris and enter Blood in the Water. It was a nice stance before, but now with 6 kukris (or a scimitar and 5 kukris) flailing with 18-20 threat ranges each, things will start to stack up pretty quickly.

More swordsage levels bring more maneuvers. Moment of Alacrity can ensure that you go first, meaning SA damage applies. Dancing and Raging Mongoose add on even more attacks, to a potential total of 11 or 13 attacks respectively in a single round, each a source of SA. Swooping Dragon Strike is a lot of damage, renders the target vulnerable to SA, and potentially throws on a stun, which practically locks down a fight since the enemy canít take action and drops all items.
Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip is the real show-stopper, tacking on extra damage based on how many attacks hit. It tops out at 8 or more attacks, which means you can take your normal full attack, miss once, and still gain that coveted 20d6.

Sources
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Nezumi, Scent: Oriental Adventures
Swordsage, Shadow Blade, Gloom Razor: Tome of Battle
Apprentice: Dungeon Masterís Guide II
Staggering Strike: Complete Adventurer
Multiweapon Fighting: Monster Manual
Skill Tricks: Complete Scoundrel