Build number 6:
Originally Posted by BrokkBrokk, the Anvil SoulN Fireblood Dwarf Totemist 5/Ironsoul Forgemaster 3/Shadowsmith 10/Ironsoul Forgemaster 5
Stats (with racial adjustments)
SpoilerShowStr 16 (increase here)
Con 16 (18)
Cha 8 (6)
Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features 1st Totemist 1 +0 +2 +2 +0 Craft (armorsmithing) 4, Craft (weaponsmithing) 4, Knowledge (Arcana) 3, Knowledge (the Planes) 3, Listen 4, Spot 4, Tumble 2 Dragon Tail Wild Empathy, Illiteracy, Skilled City Dweller (Ride to Tumble) 2nd Totemist 2 +1 +3 +3 +0 Craft (armorsmithing) 5, Craft (weaponsmithing) 5, Listen 5, Spot 5, Tumble 4 Totem Chakra Bind (+1 essentia capacity) 3rd Totemist 3 +2 +3 +3 +1 Craft (armorsmithing) 6, Craft (weaponsmithing) 6, Listen 6, Spot 6, Tumble 6 Darkstalker Totem’s Protection 4th Totemist 4 +3 +4 +4 +1 Craft (armorsmithing) 7, Craft (weaponsmithing) 7, Listen 7, Spot 7, Survival 1, Tumble 7 5th Totemist 5 +3 +4 +4 +1 Craft (armorsmithing) 8, Craft (weaponsmithing) 8, Listen 8, Spot 8, Survival 2, Tumble 8 Chakra Binds (Crown, Feet, Hands) 6th Ironsoul Forgemaster 1 +3 +6 +4 +3 Craft (armorsmithing) 9, Craft (weaponsmithing) 9, Sense Motive 2 Aberration Blood (Bulging Eyes) Shield Bond 7th Ironsoul Forgemaster 2 +4 +7 +4 +4 Craft (armorsmithing) 10, Craft (weaponsmithing) 10, Sense Motive 4 (B) Craft Magic Arms and Armor Secrets of the Forge 8th Ironsoul Forgemaster 3 +5 +7 +5 +4 Craft (armorsmithing) 11, Craft (weaponsmithing) 11, Sense Motive 6 Forge Lore 9th Shadowsmith 1 +6/+1 +7 +7 +4 Craft (armorsmithing) 12, Craft (weaponsmithing) 12, Hide 3, Move Silently 3 Double Chakra (Totem) Touch of Shadow, First Mystery 10th Shadowsmith 2 +7/+2 +7 +8 +4 Craft (armorsmithing) 13, Craft (weaponsmithing) 13, Hide 6, Move Silently 6 Shroud of Shadow 11th Shadowsmith 3 +8/+3 +8 +8 +5 Craft (armorsmithing) 14, Craft (weaponsmithing) 14, Hide 9, Move Silently 9 Shadow Craft (Basic) 12th Shadowsmith 4 +9/+4 +8 +9 +5 Craft (armorsmithing) 15, Craft (weaponsmithing) 15, Hide 12, Move Silently 12 Inhuman Reach Armor of Shadow +2 13th Shadowsmith 5 +10/+5 +8 +9 +5 Craft (armorsmithing) 16, Craft (weaponsmithing) 16, Hide 15, Move Silently 15 Widen Shroud, Second Mystery 14th Shadowsmith 6 +11/+6/+1 +9 +10 +6 Climb 2, Craft (armorsmithing) 17, Craft (weaponsmithing) 17, Hide 17, Move Silently 17 Shadow Craft (enchanted) 15th Shadowsmith 7 +12/+7/+2 +9 +10 +6 Climb 6, Craft (armorsmithing) 18, Craft (weaponsmithing) 18, Hide 18, Move Silently 18 Deepspawn Armor of Shadow +4 16th Shadowsmith 8 +13/+8/+3 +9 +11 +6 Climb 10, Craft (armorsmithing) 19, Craft (weaponsmithing) 19, Hide 19, Move Silently 19 Shadow Craft (armor) 17th Shadowsmith 9 +14/+9/+4 +10 +11 +7 Climb 14, Craft (armorsmithing) 20, Craft (weaponsmithing) 20, Hide 20, Hide 20 Shadow Craft (Quickened), Third Mystery 18th Shadowsmith 10 +15/+10/+5 +10 +12 +8 Climb 18, Craft (armorsmithing) 21, Craft (weaponsmithing) 21, Hide 21, Move Silently 21 Open Lesser Chakra (Shoulders) Shadow Craft (Shadow Striking), Armor of Shadow (Quickened) 19th Ironsoul Forgemaster 4 +16/+11/+6/+1 +11 +12 +9 Craft (armorsmithing) 22, Craft (weaponsmithing) 22, Sense Motive 8 Chakra Bind (Arms) 20th Ironsoul Forgemaster 5 +16/+11/+6/+1 +11 +12 +9 Craft (armosmithing) 23, Craft (weaponsmithing) 23, Sense Motive 10 Armor Bond
SpoilerShowIn the first of the Great Dead Wars, when Fafnir the mighty Dracolich had risen again to rend the living, a great warrior from the steppes ventured into the dark caves below the crooked mountain in search of the master smith. He found the dwarf, hunchbacked and limping around his forge, his hammer blows echoing out through the darkness.
The master smith was as twisted and gruff as the tales had promised, but his eyes brightened at the promise of gold, and for a fair price agreed to craft a sword to slay the dracolich and make its wearer a legend for generations. The warrior returned in two days with the payment and took away a beautiful gleaming sword, perfect in balance and with a form to support its purpose.
A decade or so later a young duke and his entourage approached the caverns, following the echoing ringing of hammer into anvil to find Brokk the master smith, who patiently waited through the duke’s story of how the warrior from the steppes had succeeded in his fight, and used the sword and his reputation from further victories to win marriage to the princess. He now stood next in line to become king, but the warrior clearly lacked the patience or the mind to rule a kingdom. He would have to be challenged for the position, but nobody could match him with the sword. As soon as the duke stopped talking, Brokk flatly informed him that a shield of sufficient quality would provide the necessary edge to defeat the sword, which after all was for dragonslaying, not dueling. The duke was all to willing to pay the cost, and in a few days Brokk presented him with a polished shield emblazoned with a grinning lion’s face, as hard as could be but lighter than wicker. Brokk handed it over with the explanation that it was enough to defeat the sword, but it would still require skill by the user to defeat the man. The duke all too eagerly assured him that skill was of no concern, already fastening his cloak and stepping out of the cave’s mouth.
It was some years later when a king and his army arrived, the king proudly sporting both the sword that slew the dragon and the shield that bested the sword. He followed the ringing of Brokk’s endless labor to the master smith himself. The king offered Brokk a place in the castle’s armory, where he would work to arm the king and his guards with powerful weapons to keep the peace. Brokk barely looked up from his work to inform the king that he made tools of war for a purpose, not for a man, and that he was very content in his cave forge, connected to the wilderness. The king, taken aback, informed Brokk that he would not allow the smith to work for his enemies to topple the rule he had established. He would not tolerate treason or sedition, even from the respected dwarf. He demanded Brokk craft for him a crown magnificent enough to make his coronation an event of legend. Brokk paused his work and chuckled in a smoky, coughing way. He informed the king that he did not make crowns, and that even if he did, even his skill could not enchant it enough to make a man such as he worthy of the throne.
The king was choking purple with rage as he ordered his guards to slay the dwarf and destroy the forge. Brokk struck down the two who came to subdue him with swift hammer strokes and lashing tail, but he was forced to retreat as more men poured in. They filled his beautiful forge in with sand before breaking it down with sledgehammers. They carted off his ore and even hauled off his anvil on a wagon where they would toss it into the sea.
Brokk was forced into the depths of his cavern he had never explored, past where any sane men would pursue him. In the wretched darkness he fought the residents born into generations of dark for survival and he drew on their souls for strength. He also had time to reflect on where this had gone wrong. He had trusted men too much, he had allowed his name to become too familiar and his works too numerous in a small area. The level of power was too great for the hearts of short-lived men, and it would lead to nothing but chaos. The fault was his own, caring more about the craft and the money than about the consequences, and he would have to solve this on his own, reclaiming his creations. He planned and he plotted, marshalled his will.
The king had not slept well since his destruction of the dwarf’s forge. His coronation had been successful even with a crown of human make. No nobles were moving to challenge him. He kept the sword and shield by his side at all times, and they rested against his bed at night, but he could never escape the feeling that people were scheming against him. He feared the coming of a great warrior like the one who had wielded the sword, or a cunning noble like the one who had first used the mighty shield. At night he swore he could hear the endless ringing, ringing, ringing of hammer on anvil, always pounding, and getting louder every night. He woke from his fitful torpor, aware of a silence that was somehow far more frightening than the ominous ringing. He lit a candle and waved it at the darkness as if to banish a monster from his nightmares, the flame flickering with his frantic motion. Suddenly out of the deepest shadows stepped a phantom that could not have been real. A stout dwarf, blackened with soot, long tail lashing about impatiently, twisted tentacles grasping forward, a monstrous mask pulled over his face, producing the most inhuman growling. But among all these details he could not tear his eyes away from the armor covering the dwarf’s body and the hammer in his hand. Both were black as the deepest night, even inches away from the candle’s glow.
If you take the right path through the crooked mountains you will find a cave entrance with no markings. You will know that you have found the right place when you hear the sounds of the master smith’s work echoing through the cave. You will see him working as always, unsmiling, but satisfied in his own way. Mounted on the wall are three items, serving as a reminder both to Brokk and to all visitors of the forge of a time before. There is no writing beneath them, but their story has made the rules clear. State your purpose, pay the price, and take your leave. Don’t get greedy. The items are not framed or under any banner naming them, but even in the flickering light of the forge they are easy to identify: A gleaming sword, a grinning shield, and a golden crown split neatly in two.
SpoilerShowTotemist will provide us with the solid foundation to build on. Fireblood Dwarf importantly gives the dragonblood subtype, which means access to draconic soulmelds. Claws of the Wyrm and the Dragon Tail soulmeld notably give natural attacks with the shaped effect, so work especially well at level 1. The dragon tail from the feat is a nice always-on natural attack to protect yourself at all times and always threaten. Melds will take care of your sneaking needs for now, namely Kruthik Claws, Worg Pelt, and Displacer Mantle. Once you’re sneaking, darkstalker will help you stay hidden from all the means of detection. You have enough ranks in tumble to make a decent go of it, and enough ranks in spot and listen to help out the party, especially melds that can boost those.
Totem bind means natural weapons of all kinds, depending on your mood you can pick whatever you want. I’m somewhat fond of the image of attacking someone with the dragon tail (feat), the dragon tail(meld), claws of the wyrm, and the displacer mantle’s tentacles, but do whatever feels appropriate for the situation.
Foot bind offers a few options, but far more important are crown and hand. Crown can give telepathy or a nice ranged ray of cold. Binding the sphinx claws to your hands gives you pounce with your natural weapons, so you could use the above mentioned combo for 5 attacks at the end of your charge.
SpoilerShowWe’re going to take a detour into ironsoul forgemaster before entering the SI to get our BAB up the last few points. It gives its gifts early in a bonus on craft checks, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, and the very helpful shield bond. Since this is iron chef we can focus on shield bond. You can invest essentia into any shield you craft, getting resistance 5 per point in all five energy types, which covers a broad base. You can pop it on a buckler and carry on with business as usual, or devote an arm to a heavy steel shield for higher defense. I’m more partial to the former.
Now it’s SI time. We’ve now got some ranks in Hide and MS to keep relevant along with the boost from melds, and touch of shadow’s climb bonus similarly works with melds to make climbing easy. Shroud of Shadow is usable a fair number of times, so you will be able to turn it on before every encounter and, as you gain more levels, have some left over for exploring.
Aberration Blood is setup for later, for now enjoy the bonus to spot. Double Chakra means that you can bind 2 melds to the totem, so you can add on the Lamia Belt or Girallon Arms for 2 more claw attacks, a total of 7 attacks in full attack, or you can keep the sphinx claws bound for 5 attacks and pounce. If you’re not charging, you might consider using a weapon for two attacks before your natural weapons, your choice.
SpoilerShowNow we’re in business, and the purpose of this setup becomes clear. Armor of Shadow’s deflection bonus combined with a meld to boost natural armor and some good crafted armor can keep your AC respectable. Widen Shadow is helpful since few people invest in climb, but the real big benefit is that it simply denies tracking, and this way you can protect the whole party.
Now let’s talk about why we’re really here. Shadowcraft allows you to make things like weapons and shields when you succeed on a craft check, which means you’ve crafted a shield, so now you can reap that energy resistance without investing a cent!. A buckler is light, so you can make that and the one handed weapon of your choice. Dwarven waraxe is a very nice choice, and you get proficiency with it by virtue of dwarf status and the SI granting martial weapons. Enhancements are best invested fully into your weapon so you can make full use, your three attacks make it worth using alongside your 6 other attacks (not 7 because one of your claws hands is occupied).
Shadowcraft can of course be used for other things, and from this point onward you will always hit the DC 25 for any weapon or shield you make with it, so let your creativity run. It doesn’t mention whether it can mimic materials, so have a discussion with your DM, but that could prove very useful to make adamantine for hardness or overcoming DR. There are also certain materials that reduce weight, and if mimicking them is possible that could help produce more bang for your buck.
Inhuman reach gives you 10 foot natural reach, so you can control the battlefield more easily without moving as much, though certainly still bind sphinx claws if you like. It’s a little unclear what happens to displacer mantle’s tentacles, it seems like they go up to 15 feet of reach, so that’s nice. Deepspawn adds 2 permanent tentacles to your list of natural attacks, so you have 3 with no melds, and as many as 10 with full focus. Claws of the wyrm and dragon tail shaped, lamia belt and displacer mantle bound to totem chakra adds 7, if you’re wielding a weapon you’ll drop one of those claws of the wyrm, and if you’re going to instead bind sphinx claws you can drop lamia belt and go with 8 natural attacks on every pounce.
SpoilerShowFinishing Shadowsmith gives you heavier creations, faster crafting, and some neat enhancements. Shadow striking on any weapon overcomes DR, so that plus free +5 makes for a very good reason to make a nice dwarven waraxe, or even a greatsword.
The ability to now make armor presents a different avenue. Any armor you make having improved shadow boosts your hide by 10, meaning you can free up essentia for other purposes. You can make a buckler and leather armor in one use, and since you’re crafting it make it spiked armor. This provides you with a means to make your iterative attacks without having to spend any money, though of course you could make a permanent weapon with your crafting ability if you like. You can talk to your DM about whether you can use the enhancement bonus on your armor spikes when shadow crafting, it’s not super clear. It is a weapon, so it seems logical.
Finishing Ironsoul Forgemaster gives us two final gifts, the first being the arm bind. Arm binds can improve grappling with Kraken Mantle/Totem Avatar, give rend with Girallon Arms, or double natural weapon threat ranges with Dread Carapace. The second gift is armor bond, where you can invest essentia in armor you made to give you DR/-, to help blunt the blows from fighting, and it explicitly stacks if your armor is adamantine. Again, like with your weapon, you can consider simply making some decent magic armor yourself, or just enjoy the SI making it for free each day.
Open Lesser Chakra helps with another bind as long as we use it on the shoulder chakra, giving us effects like constant concealment(which you can use to hide), ethereal movement, flight, and a size increase for all your natural weapons, because everyone likes more damage.
I'll talk about mysteries here. The class doesn't mention, so I guess we can assume caster level equals class level. Under the assumption that you can choose all 3 in one apprentice path, I'd go with Life Fades, Flesh Fails, and Umbral Touch. Life Fades is decent damage, nonlethal if you want to take someone quietly, and the save only negates the fatigue effect. Flesh Fails is very good, 4 Str, 4 Dex, or 2 Con damage with no save. Your 10 ft long reach and beefy health mitigates the danger of it being a touch spell, so it's all good. Umbral Touch gives you 10 touches, each dealing 5d6 and potentially hitting them with slow (unspecified duration, maybe as the spell). It's a nice weapon to have if you're not doing something else with your hand. If we have to learn like shadowcaster, with two 1sts before our 2nd, then trade umbral touch for bend perspective, get some nice scrying in as an effect you can't otherwise replicate.
SpoilerShowTotemist, Ironsoul Forgemaster, Double Chakra, Open Lesser Chakra: Magic of Incarnum
Shadowsmith, Mysteries: Tome of Magic
Fireblood Dwarf, Draconic Soulmelds: Dragon Magic
Dragon Tail: Races of the Dragon
Aberration Blood, Inhuman Reach, Deepspawn, Darkstalker: Lords of Madness
Skilled City Dweller: Cityscape Web Enchancement