Entry number 5!
Originally Posted by Fra'alstog the BoldFra’alstog the Bold
NE (counts as Chaotic) Neraph Incarnate 7 / Totemist 2 / Sneak Attack Hit-and-Run Fighter 1 / Thrall of Demogorgon 10
Sources used: Planar Handbook (Neraph), Magic of Incarnum (Incarnate, Totemist, Shape Soulmeld, Expanded Soulmeld Capacity, Bonus Essentia), Unearthed Arcana (Sneak Attack Fighter), Drow of the Underdark (Hit-and-Run Fighter) Book of Vile Darkness (Thrall of Demogorgon, Thrall to Demon, Mortalbane, Willing Deformity), Heroes of Horror (Deformity: Tongue), Complete Scoundrel (skill tricks), Tome of Battle (Martial Study/Mountain Hammer), Champions of Ruin (Craven), Frostburn (Harpoon), Fiendish Codex I (Ordered Chaos)
STR: 14 (6 pts)
DEX: 14 (6 pts)
CON: 16 (10 pts) Level-up points go into CON.
INT: 12 (4 pts)
CHA: 14 (6 pts)
Languages at level 1: Neraph, Slaad, Abyssal
Neraph racial abilities:SpoilerShowOutsider with outsider traits (darkvision, proficient with all simple/martial weapons, no need to eat/sleep), Medium, 30’ base speed, +5 on Jump checks, +2 natural armor, treat annulat as martial weapon (and therefore proficient, because outsiders are proficient with martial weapons), +2 Spot, +2 Search, and can automatically treat a foe as flat-footed the first time each encounter they charge or throw a weapon at each given foe.
Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features 1 Incarnate 1 +0 +2 +0 +2 Concentration 4, Craft: Weaponsmithing 4, K: Arcana 2, K: Religion 2 Thrall to Demon Aura, Detect Opposition, Incarnate Meldshaping 2 Incarnate 2 +1 +3 +0 +3 Concentration +1 (5), C: Weaponsmithing +1 (5), K: Planes 1 Crown Chakra Bind 3 Incarnate 3 +1 +3 +1 +3 Concentration +1 (6), C: Weaponsmithing +1 (6), K: Planes 2 Willing Deformity Expanded Soulmeld Capacity +1, Incarnum Radiance 1/day 4 Incarnate 4 +2 +4 +1 +4 Concentration +1 (7), C: Weaponsmithing +1 (7), Spellcraft 1 Feet Chakra Bind, Hands Chakra Bind 5 Totemist 1 +2 +6 +3 +4 Concentration +1 (8), C: Weaponsmithing +1 (8), Spot 2, Listen 1 Wild Empathy, Illiteracy, Totemist Meldshaping 6 Totemist 2 +3 +7 +4 +4 Concentration +1 (9), C: Weaponsmithing +1 (9), Spot +1 (3), Listen +2 (3) Ordered Chaos Totem Chakra Bind (+1 capacity) 7 Sneak Attack Hit-and-Run Fighter 1 +4 +9 +4 +4 C: Weaponsmithing +1 (10), Jump 2 Sneak Attack +1d6, Hit-and-Run Tactics 8 Thrall of Demogorgon 1 +5 +11 +4 +4 Concentration +2 (11), Intimidate 3 Scaly Flesh +1, Hypnosis, bonus feat: Craven 9 Thrall of Demogorgon 2 +6 +12 +4 +4 Concentration +1 (12), Intimidate +1 (4), Jump +3 (5) Martial Study (Mountain Hammer) Touch of Fear 10 Thrall of Demogorgon 3 +7 +12 +5 +5 Concentration +1 (13), Balance 4 Reaching Touch 11 Thrall of Demogorgon 4 +8 +13 +5 +5 Concentration +1 (14), Balance +1 (5), Intimidate +2 (6), Spot +1 (4) Dual Actions, Scaly Flesh +2, bonus feat: Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Harpoon) 12 Thrall of Demogorgon 5 +9 +13 +5 +5 Concentration +1 (15), Spot +1 (5), Listen +1 (4), Nimble Charge skill trick Shape Soulmeld (Mauling Gauntlets) Summon Minor Demon 13 Thrall of Demogorgon 6 +10 +14 +6 +6 Concentration +1 (16), Spot +1 (6), Listen +2 (6), Intimidate +1 (7) Rotting Touch 14 Thrall of Demogorgon 7 +11 +14 +6 +6 Concentration +1 (17), Spot +2 (8), Listen +2 (8) Scaly Flesh +3, bonus feat: Mortalbane 15 Thrall of Demogorgon 8 +12 +15 +6 +6 Concentration +1 (18), Spot +2 (10), Listen +2 (10) Deformity (Tongue) Two Personas, Death Touch 16 Thrall of Demogorgon 9 +13 +15 +7 +7 Concentration +1 (19), Spot +2 (12), Listen +2 (12) Summon Major Demon 17 Thrall of Demogorgon 10 +14 +16 +7 +7 Concentration +1 (20), Spot +2 (14), Listen +2 (14) Demogorgon’s Will, Scaly Flesh +4, bonus feat: Bonus Essentia 18 Incarnate 5 +14 +16 +7 +7 Concentration +1 (21), Clarity of Vision skill trick Expanded Soulmeld Capacity Rapid Meldshaping 1/day 19 Incarnate 6 +15 +17 +8 +8 Concentration +1 (22), Point it Out skill trick 20 Incarnate 7 +15 +17 +8 +8 Concentration +1 (23), Speak Language 1 cc (Common) Share Incarnum Radiance
Note: Balance permanently becomes a class skill at level 9, though the first time we have skill points to spend after it becomes a class skill is level 10.
Note: Starting at level 12, we also have access to the Mauling Gauntlets, which should not take up a meld use.
Level Melds (Incarnate) Binds (Incarnate) Melds (Totemist) Binds (Totemist) Essentia 1 2 0 0 0 1 2 3 1 0 0 2 3 3 1 0 0 3 4 4 1 0 0 4 5 4 1 2 0 5 6 4 1 3 1 6 7 4 1 3 1 6 8 4 1 3 1 6 9 4 1 3 1 6 10 4 1 3 1 6 11 4 1 3 1 6 12 4 1 3 1 6 13 4 1 3 1 6 14 4 1 3 1 6 15 4 1 3 1 6 16 4 1 3 1 6 17 4 1 3 1 8 18 4 1 3 1 9 19 4 2 3 1 10 20 5 2 3 1 11
Fra’alstog, as most neraphim do, came into being somewhere on Limbo. Showing a penchant for cruelty from a young age, she ended up exiled from her house even faster than usual, but she was taken in by what she thought was simply a gang of evil-aligned githzerai. (These “githzerai” were likely actually yugoloths in disguise, but Fra’alstog did not know that at the time.) Whether gith or fiend, her mentors tutored her in the ways of using evil itself as a weapon, melding soul-energy into powerful forms through sheer belief, then using that evil energy to terrorize and raid less-protected settlements. Coalescing evil itself around one’s body in weaponized form takes, as one might imagine, a rather fierce devotion to the cause, and Fra’alstog’s natural cruelty (mixed, of course, with a bit of self-preservation; Limbo is a hard place to live without a family, especially when you’ve voluntarily donned a face-tat marking you as part of an evil githzerai gang) made her an exemplary student.
okay thats great n all but y always evil tho cant it be something new
No. Fra’alstog devoted herself to evil, even liberally using the forbidden powers of necrocarnum to animate the bodies of her slain foes with tortured innocent souls—
yeah but do they always hafta be tortured souls what if we just used like iunno gardeners souls or something or maybe evil critters of some kind y
Ahem. Fra’alstog grew in power and in knowledge, much to the delight of her tutors. She—
talk talk talk talk im bored now ur too focused on evil listen im u grr srs srs souls evil lol
Despite the best efforts of the githzerai who taught her, or perhaps in accordance with the plan of the yugoloths who taught her, few neraphim can completely ignore the call of chaos forever. Fra’alstog’s soul had more discipline than that of many neraphim, but—
ima be a blink dog now brb
Fra’alstog’s soul had more discipline than that of many neraphim, but the chaos found ways to shine through. The soul-energy that she shaped took on a chaotic tint, and she found herself drawn as much to the souls of magical beasts as to those of exemplars of evil. She—
dog needs salt
I thought you wanted to be a blink dog now?
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ lol u tell me
Fra’alstog soon felt strong enough to strike out on her own, and whether the gang was githzerai at the end of their legendary patience or yugoloths happy to see a scheme progress to fruition, she didn’t encounter much resistance leaving. She eventually attracted the attention of some demonic followers of Demogorgon, who appreciated her twin-souled nature. One horrific nighttime unhallowed demon-attended sacrifice later—
whats the weirdest thing u think we could get away with throwing into an astral color pool maybe like a wounded deer or something but like on a rope so we can pull it back out
Do you have any idea how hard it is to write a backstory like this?
ur not my real mom
Tactics:SpoilerShowLevels 1-6: Fra’alstog starts out strong, give or take a prereq feat or two. Incarnates are monsters early on—Lightning Gauntlets are hard to beat at level 1, necrocarnum zombies from the Necrocarnum Circlet are hard to beat at level 2, and having some flexibility in the skill department is great at a level when mundane skills matter most. Having an incarnum-based foundation also scales well, since we don’t have to invest permanent resources into much of anything—there’s zero cost to using a meld that’s strong in the early game but not in the mid game, since we can just shape a different one on the next day. Our favorite melds right now tend to be the Lightning Gauntlets, the Necrocarnum Circlet, the Incarnate Avatar, and either a movement-boosting meld (e.g., Airstep Sandals/Cerulean Sandals) or a skill-boosting meld appropriate to the day’s challenges.
Totemist melds open up a different set of potential skill boosts; even once we get the Totem Bind, though, we don’t necessarily need to rely on natural weapons much (we’ve got martial weapon proficiency from being an outsider, after all), so we can explore some of the weirder totem binds like the Blink Shirt, Pegasus Wings, or Frost Helm. Alternatively, if the utility bases seem covered for a given situation, as an Evil meldshaper we have access to the Lamia Belt for natural weapons that can explicitly be used in combination with manufactured ones.
Speaking of manufactured weapons, Fra’alstog has ranks in Craft: Weaponsmithing, and outsiders don’t eat or sleep; making a nonmagical adamantine weapon of some kind (maybe a nice maul) will take a long time, but we’ve got more downtime than the average character, and it’ll pay off.
Levels 7-10: It’s a bit annoying that we can’t qualify for the SI using incarnum classes alone, but the combination of Craven, Hit-and-Run Tactics, and Fra’alstog’s Neraph Camouflage ability keeps a single die of sneak attack useful for a reasonably long time. We meet the Chaotic Evil prereq by being Neutral Evil with the Ordered Chaos feat (which causes us to count as being Chaotic in addition to our actual alignment whenever it would be beneficial to do so, explicitly including for meeting prereqs). Since Incarnate abilities are often linked to alignment, this lets us double-dip in a lot of ways—the Incarnate Avatar and the Planar Chasuble can be used multipurpose, Incarnum Radiance (while sadly only 1/day) now adds to our movement speed in addition to our melee damage rolls, and Incarnate Weapon makes a weirdass battleaxe-flail thing, which the GM will probably have fun adjudicating. (Seriously, just imagine what that weapon looks like.) Oh, and now Fra’alstog can detect Law as well as Good. Mountain Hammer is never a bad idea, of course, and it always serves as the beloved Stone Dragon Lockpick out of battle. (You have to land if you’re using the Airstep Sandals, but that isn’t a huge cost.)
Scaly Flesh stacks with the race-based natural armor bonus Fra’alstog gets from being a neraph. Hypnosis and Touch of Fear have a different kind of use on Fra’alstog than on certain other Thralls of Demogorgon; we can animate a corpse with a maximum of 4 HD with the Necrocarnum Circlet (which will still be slightly useful as a firmly disposable minion for a few levels, if nothing else to make a flanking buddy), and since Hypnosis and Touch of Fear are HD-limited as well, using them can actually give us an idea as to whether or not someone is weak enough to animate. We can use this information in ways that not every ToD can, so that’s neat. While we don’t usually prefer natural weapons, we do always have the option, and it is pretty amusing to use Reaching Touch on natural weapons that already have reach (like those of the Displacer Mantle) or on just plain weird ones like the Landshark Boots. Reaching Touch also pairs well with the Fellmist Robe to help keep our targets nonadjacent.
Our favorite melds at this point are usually the Incarnate Avatar, the Necrocarnum Circlet (though that fades in usefulness by the high end of this level bracket, at which point we simply choose to shape something else), the Fellmist Robe, and either a mobility/utility meld (e.g., Airstep Sandals), a skill meld, or a situation-specific defensive meld (e.g., Planar Ward, Planar Chasuble, or Mantle of Flame). On the Totemist side, we pick up slack from whatever we didn’t focus on as an Incarnate, usually either for skills or for defenses. If nothing else, it’s always good to have the Blink Shirt.
Levels 11-14 (Sweet Spot!): This level bracket is where things get really nice for Fra’alstog, since a lot of the Secret Ingredient’s abilities come together very well here. First, at ToD 4, we get additional natural armor, so that’s never a waste. More importantly, Dual Actions comes online, which means that our Totemist meld layout is changing. Fra’alstog starts binding the Basilisk Mask to her totem chakra, which allows her to petrify an enemy (as Flesh to Stone) for one round. Normally, one round is too short a time to do anything horrible to a petrified enemy, but if we can squeeze in an extra turn’s worth of actions? Things get nasty. Twice per day we can petrify someone and then immediately use Mountain Hammer on them. Even if you don’t turn the whole statue to smithereens in a single attack, you’ll still likely cause massive structural damage, and since Flesh to Stone specifies that damage to the statue becomes damage to the creature if/when they get turned back, your foe is going to be missing something extremely important (a limb, a head, a sizable portion of their torso, whatever—you’re a thrall to a demon, so get creative with your destruction) when they come back. It’s basically a kill shot against anything that cares about its anatomy.
Now, Dual Actions is only twice per day, but still, a kill shot twice per day isn’t a bad feature. We’re not stopping, though. Two things come online at ToD 5. First, we get to summon a demon once per day. We’ve probably finished crafting an adamantine weapon by now (or purchased one, but let the record show that Fra’alstog can indeed get the item she wants under her own build-level power), so summon a demon that can use a weapon (the rutterkin, from FC1, isn’t a bad choice), hand it something made of adamantine, and have it lop important parts off of things that you petrify. An encounter per day of “I petrify, you demolish” and two self-contained petrify/demolish rounds per day? That adds up. (Our old tricks all still work—charge + SA + Craven is a good opener, Incarnate melds provide lots of bonus damage, and we’ve probably got more odds-and-ends utility than the average noncaster.)
The other thing that comes online is that the bonus feat we got from ToD 4 combines nicely with the HD-granted feat we get at this level, giving us access to the Mauling Gauntlets and a harpoon. A harpoon sticks in its victim and allows the thrower to make opposed STR checks to prevent the victim from moving outside a specified radius, and the Mauling Gauntlets provide a bonus to STR checks that can politely be described as “OMGWTFBBQ.” Fra’alstog isn’t going to be chucking a harpoon every round—likely only about one or two per encounter, since it gets awkward to adjudicate how many hands you have to have free to hang on to multiple ropes at once—but she’s pretty accurate with them. We can easily spend our Incarnate bind on the Sighting Gloves to negate the penalty for not having Precise Shot, the Incarnate Avatar provides us a bonus on ranged attack rolls thanks to Ordered Chaos, and our Camouflage ability works on thrown weapons as well as on charges. So she’ll be attacking flat-footed targets (ergo Hit-and-Run Tactics—also ergo Sneak Attack, ergo Craven, ergo the Reflex save to avoid getting stuck is higher and also it deals significantly more damage if the target wastes a full-round action yanking out the harpoon, which is still a win for you) with some nice to-hit bonuses and damage bonuses (a small bonus from the Sighting Gloves adds up, too) and then making opposed STR checks with a bonus that makes a raging Barbarian peer over their sunglasses and admiringly say “daaaaaayum!” You know, on those turns when she doesn’t want to petrify/smash something or just maraud around with her existing melee bonuses and would prefer to take a more lockdown/BfC role.
Things don’t slow down at ToD 6, because Fra’alstog uses Rotting Touch much better than the average ToD. All those melee damage bonuses we’ve been crowing about also apply to Rotting Touch. Incarnate Avatar works, Incarnum Radiance works (1/day, but still), and you can even apply the Necrocarnum Shroud if you want—it all adds up. If you use the BoVD version of Thrall to Demon, you can even use your little 1/day bonus on the damage roll. Doing 1d6 CON damage is an okay trick, but doing 1d6 + 8 (Avatar alone) to 1d6 + 12 (Avatar, Radiance, Thrall, Shroud, etc.) is going to absolutely ruin something’s day (possibly being a stand-alone kill shot, or damn close to it), and 3/day is enough to notice, considering that it’s going to more or less remove an enemy from the field each time you invoke it. At ToD 7, Fra’alstog uses her bonus feat on Mortalbane, adding an extra 2d6 CON damage to each of those instances. (3d6 +12ish CON damage in a true nova round? That’s gonna leave a mark. Perhaps on the ground.)
So to recap, Fra’alstog still has her old general melee tricks, she can lock something down with a harpoon (doing nontrivial damage in the process), she can petrify things and destroy them, she can petrify things and have a demon destroy them, and she can do a downright unfair amount of CON damage (no save!) several times per day. Sweet spot? Sweet spot.
Our favorite melds in this level range should be pretty clear, but we get Mauling Gauntlets for free (keep ‘em on the arms slot), we’ll bind the Basilisk Mask and the Sighting Gloves, we’ll shape the Incarnate Avatar and often the Necrocarnum Shroud, and we’ve still got a couple wildcard melds to devote to mobility, utility, skills, and defenses, chosen in accordance with the day’s needs.
Levels 14-20: At this point, Fra’alstog basically focuses on what she already does and how she can make it better. Two Personas makes the multiclassing penalty go away, if such things exist in your game. If Death Touch should fail, it still does damage, so it benefits from Mortalbane and the other things that Rotting Touch benefits from (and if it succeeds, hey, it succeeded!). Since we’re doing HP damage with Death Touch rather than CON damage, we might even be able to tack on Sneak Attack (and therefore Craven) if we’re flanking when we make the associated touch attack.
Summon Major Demon is, at a minimum, an additional encounter per day in which we can use the “I petrify, you demolish” trick, but 10 HD demons also open up some surprising utility. Bar-lguras, for instance, can take you with them when using their Greater Teleport (see FC1), which is awesome. The whole point of a summon ability is that you can use whatever option happens to be the best for the given moment, so we won’t lock that down too much, but at least we’ve got the petrification trick (which most ToDs probably don’t).
More Scaly Flesh continues to stack with our racial NA bonus, Deformity (Tongue) adds general-purpose sensing utility (if nothing else, it tells us when we can benefit from invoking Clarity of Vision), and while we don’t want to spend the XP on it every day, Demogorgon’s Will is a caster-grade back-pocket trick for “this situation is way different than I planned for, and I need to drastically change what things look like right now” that most noncasters cannot replicate. (Of course, if we’re one-shotting things with our souped-up Rotting Touch, we might be able to earn enough XP to pay the cost more often than not, but still. It’s not special if you use it every day.) Ask your GM how replicating the spell Open Least Chakra works once the spell’s duration expires; RAW, melds stay bound until you unshape them, so you might be able to use your Limited Wish to score an extra chakra bind or two that you wouldn’t ordinarily have, which is actually a fairly reasonable use for your XP.
Our remaining feats and levels go into make our existing incarnum-based abilities better. Incarnum Radiance scales based on level, we get more melds and more essentia, and we continue to have our ridiculous suite of tricks described in the 11-14 bracket, only with higher numbers. (Those tricks don’t stop being good, and they don’t stop scaling.) We can cover even more utility/defense bases with extra melds, though our core layout remains similar. If we can use Demogorgon’s Will to hack having extra binds, of course, we get even more utility (even out of our Totemist melds).
Overall, Fra’alstog displays an evolving set of tricks for pretty much her entire career. She has a good balance of flexibility and focus, she gets maximal use out of basically everything the SI has to offer, and she’s got enough juice to have a lasting effect on whatever she applies herself to.