"Fanboy of the concept of half-elves" is definitely a new one for me . . .
Originally Posted by Bann Ru'Falo/Jedeck HyllBann Ru’Falo/Jedeck Hyll
Chaotic Good Changeling
Martial Changeling Rogue 2/Half-Elf Paragon 2/Half-Orc Paragon 2
Spoiler: BackgroundShowIn a dimly lit corner of the bar sat a handsome half-elf, just slightly too well-dressed for the establishment. He was notable to other patrons not just for his attire, but also for the appearance of his dinner companion. Upon a glance one might say with certainty that he sat across from another half-elf – and quite a pretty one at that – though upon a second or third she seemed clearly human, or perhaps even one of the ethereal elves. While the young man evinced no consternation at his companion’s shifting form, there was an air of somewhat strained cordiality between the two; first dates, after all, are always somewhat awkward.
The evening had reached the point of sharing of amusing anecdotes, and the young half-elf was currently on the spot. “…my mother used to tell me that if I wasn’t careful my face would get stuck that way.” He smiled, features already brightening in anticipation of the coming punchline.
“She was more right than she knew,” he chuckled, indicating his countenance with a negligent wave of the hand. “I find that the face you see before you is the one I most readily recognize in the mirror. Anyways, as you might suspect my unwillingness to relinquish a half-elven face did not earn me any friends in the Quarter, indeed…”
The young man brought the story to a light-hearted conclusion, skirting by fights and loneliness that stemmed from the cruelty of children for one who appears and acts differently. From there the conversation evolved, both participants relaxing as they found much to be admired in each other. It seemed the lady had for many years played in orchestras of progressing prominence and would shortly perform at the Grand Symphony. The young Half-Elf had parlayed a passing acquaintance some years prior into social success of no small amount among the half-elven high society and hoped to be able to attend the performance….
The evening was progressing amiably, the two voices rising and twining with sincere appreciation. Dessert was underway when the rising notes of a growing altercation intruded upon the easy comradery the pair had found throughout the meal. Over at the bar a burly human had cornered a young woman, standing aggressively close and gesticulating with increasing vehemence and volume as his advances were rebuffed. The young gentleman excused himself from his lovely date and approached the pair, strong tenor voice cutting through the furious man’s tirade as he addressed himself to the woman pinned against the bar.
“Pardon me, ma’am, but are you quite alright?”
The aggresive human rounded on him with a snarl on his lips, fists tensed and spat “Mind your own business knife-ear.”
The half-elf ignored him, eyes trained on the woman still trapped, pleasant expression on his face. “Should you wish there is room at our table, where you will be asked for nothing save that which you choose to share.”
Incensed at being ignored, the enraged man grabbed a bottle off the countertop and swung at the half-elf. A gasp escaped the young woman left behind at the corner table as, impossibly quick, a hand shot out and caught the man’s arm mid-swing, stopping it cold. Finally, the half-elf turned his gaze to the man who had swung at him.
“Ah, my apologies; I never properly introduced myself. I am Bann Ru’Falo,” as he spoke the half-elf’s features shifted, skin becoming swarthy, limbs thickening, tusks pushing out past full lips, “but perhaps you may be more familiar with the name Jedek Hyll.”
A massively muscled half-orc stood where moments before the slender half-elf gentleman had been. Whispers spread through the suddenly quite room as every person there was caught by the tableau. …It’s the Champion of the Ring…. …the Fearsome War-Hulk... …never been defeated… …what’s he doing here… …incredible… The human’s face was a ghastly white, and the massive fist still clenched around his arm seemed the only thing keeping him standing. Muscle corded on the upraised forearm, and with a cry the human dropped the bottle to shatter on the floor.
A basso rumble issued from between prominent tusks. “I think you should go.”
The man nodded furiously, words tripping over each other as he hastened to assent. Released, he fled. The towering half-orc turned back to the woman at the bar.
“Will you be alright, ma’am?”
“I…yes, I think I will. Thank you.”
“Then I will bid you a good evening.”
The half-orc cast an eye to his companion still seated by the abandoned dessert, and at some unspoken understanding she rose and approached. A gestured spilled coins on the bar as he turned to his date with arm proffered, and together they walked out into the night. As they departed the deep voice could be softly heard; “My apologies, Lady, for the interruption. I hope it has not put me too far out of your good graces. If you would so allow…”
Spoiler: Ability ScoresShow
Ability Score Lvl 4 Increase Strength 14 15 (+1) Dexterity 10 10 Constitution 10 10 Intelligence 14 14 Wisdom 10 10 Charisma 16 16
Spoiler: Build ProgressionShow
Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features 1st Martial Changeling Rogue +0 +0 +2 +0 Balance 4, Bluff 4, Climb 4, Decipher Script 4, Diplomacy 4, Disguise 4, Gather Information 4, Intimidate 4, Jump 4, Sense Motive 4, Tumble 4, Use Magic Device 4 Racial Emulation, Improved Unarmed Strike (B) Bonus Fighter Feat; Social Intuition 2nd Rogue +1 +0 +3 +0 Balance 1(5), Bluff 1(5), Climb 1(5), Diplomacy 1(5), Disguise 1(5), Gather Information 1(5), Intimidate 1(5), Sense Motive 1(5), Tumble 1(5), Use Magic Device 1(5); Decipher Script 4, Jump 4 Combat Expertise (B) Bonus Fighter Feat; Evasion 3rd Half-Elf Paragon +1 +0 +5 +0 Bluff 1(6), Diplomacy 1(6), Sense Motive 1cc(6), Use Magic Device 1cc(6); Balance 5, Climb 5, Decipher Script 4, Disguise 5, Gather Information 5, Intimidate 5, Jump 4, Tumble 5 Quick Change, Power Attack Bonus Feat, Divided Ancestry, Elven Vision 4th Half-Elf Paragon +2 +0 +6 +0 Bluff 1(7), Diplomacy 1(7), Sense Motive 1cc(7), Use Magic Device 1cc(7); Balance 5, Climb 5, Decipher Script 4, Disguise 5, Gather Information 5, Intimidate 5, Jump 4, Tumble 5 - Persuasion 5th Half-Orc Paragon +3 +2 +6 +0 Bluff 1cc(8), Diplomacy 1cc(8), Intimidate 2(7); Balance 5, Climb 5, Decipher Script 4, Disguise 5, Gather Information 5, Jump 4, Sense Motive 7, Tumble 5, Use Magic Device 7 - Divided Ancestry, Monstrous Mien 6th Half-Orc Paragon +4 +3 +6 +0 Diplomacy 1cc(9), Intimidate 2(9); Balance 5, Bluff 8, Climb 5, Decipher Script 4, Disguise 5, Gather Information 5, Jump 4, Sense Motive 7, Tumble 5, Use Magic Device 7
SKILL TRICK: Never Outnumbered
Extra Rage Rage 1/day
1: Extra Rage2: Channeled Rage3: Intimidating Rage4: Imperious Command5: Frightful Presence6: Menacing Demeanor7: Improved Trip8: Knock-Down9: Flying Kick10: Headlong Rush
Spoiler: Notes on the Questionable Legality of this BuildShowI know, this looks bad: two Racial Paragon Classes, and they’re not ones that share a divided ancestry? AND the base race isn’t EITHER of the Paragon Class intended races? Bear with me a moment, and all shall be made clear.
The first and most obviously egregious issue here is the use of Changeling to qualify for both Half-Elf and Half-Orc Paragon classes here. The ability to do so is due entirely to the level one feat choice Racial Emulation. This feats is a nifty little thing that allows a Changeling, when using their Minor Shapeshift ability to appear as a race, to also be “considered to be a member of that race for all other purposes.” There’s a very strong argument for that to mean a Changeling can qualify for any racial class or feat, providing that they are emulating that race at the moment of acquisition. That last clause is important, because while it seems feasible that a Changeling emulating a Half-Elf could qualify for Half-Elf Paragon, it would require meta-gaming to ensure that your character is in fact doings so at the moment of leveling up. It is at this point I feel it behooves me to note that I fully expect and understand Elegance deductions, and perhaps even outright disqualification (though sadness will ensue in the case of the latter). I am aware this has a distinctly ripe odor about it, but I believe it to be RAW legal, so with that out of the way we move on to the second problematic portion of the build.
“Alright,” I hear you say, “I am willing to suspend disbelief for the Racial Emulation Shenanigans, but how do you explain having BOTH Half-Elf and Half-Orc Paragons?” I’m glad you asked. It’s true that the only way to have two Racial Paragon classes is when you start with either of the aforementioned Half-Creature classes and make use of Divided Ancestry to get into one of the Elf, Orc, or Human Paragon classes. HOWEVER!! There is a single crucial sentence on page 32 of Unearthed Arcana which reads thusly: “If a character has already taken racial paragon levels in his original race, he can never become a paragon of another race.” My emphasis on ‘original race.’ This is important because Bann never takes a level in a paragon class of his original race because there is no Changeling Paragon class! Therefore this rule prohibiting multiple Paragon Classes does not become triggered, and Bann can have both Half-Elf and Half-Orc Paragon class levels. It is at this point I should note an expectation of further Elegance point deductions, because this is really splitting hairs. I’m calling worth on it pre-emptively.
This brings up another potential point of friction with the build: when Bann is emulating a race other than one of the Racial Paragon classes he has, what happens? If we’re working with Complete Warrior rules, he no longer qualifies for the prestige class. This is actually less of an issue than might otherwise be the case when emulating either Half-Elf or Half-Orc races, as the two Racial Paragon Classes are intended to fulfill different roles; Half-Elf Paragon improves our social capabilities, whereas Half-Orc Paragon makes us a scary killing machine. The fact that you can shift as a move action makes this even less of an issue. HOWEVER, there’s a way out of this question written in the rules for racial paragon classes. The following clause from page 32 of Unearthed Arcana states that: “shapechanging and form-altering magics also cause no loss of a Paragon’s class abilities.” Therefore we don’t need to worry about losing abilities, though it is nice to note that the build doesn’t really suffer even if you do.
With all that out of the way, let’s move on to the meat of the build write-up!
Spoiler: Build NotesShowLevels 1&2:
Bann starts off life as a changeling who really wants to be a Half-Elf. His level 1 feat Racial Emulation allows this to be more than just a passing fancy as his Minor Shapechange racial ability now allows him to mimic racial features for the purpose of prereqs, though it will be a little while before his dedication to the form pays off (wait until level 3). In the meantime, he takes two levels of Rogue, using the Martial Rogue ACF to swap out +1d6 Sneak Attack for two fighter feats, giving him Improved Unarmed Strike at level one with which to defend himself against changeling child bullies, and Combat Expertise at level 2 to further take a beating. The excellent Racial Substitution level for Changeling Rogues at level one gives him a truly absurd amount of skill points, which will be used to set him up for his primary role at these levels: party face. At level one we max all the social skills, as well as some ancillary utility skills such as Decipher Scrip, Disguise, and UMD. Physical skills Jump, Balance, and Climb are also maxed. Note that Bann is taking no ranks in any of the traditional skillmonkey skills such as Disable Device; this is due to the excellent Changeling Rogue feature Social Intuition, which swaps out trapfinding for a number of social benefits, the most notable of which is the ability to take 10 on Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, and Sense Motive. This is the single best level for a social character, and Bann takes it without a second thought. In combat Bann is relatively bad at this point however. With 3/4 BAB and no SA, he’s a squishy somewhat ineffectual combatant. Not to worry – at the moment Bann is a social animal at heart.
At level 3 Bann’s nigh-obsession with Half-Elves has paid off: he gets a level of Half-Elf Paragon. This comes with a number of benefits. First, there’s a bonus feat (presumably due to the human half) with which Power Attack is picked up. To be perfectly frank this is a prereq acquisition, as with only +1 BAB at level 3 Bann can get effectively no usage from this. Elven Vision gives Bann +2 on racial spot and Search checks, but as he doesn’t have those it has no effect. Finally the first level of Half-Elf Paragon gives Bann the first of his Divided Ancestries, which will have no RAW effect, but gives him leave to emulate a Human without technically betraying his adopted race. The Quick Change feat allows Bann to use his Minor Shapechange ability as a move action, which is useful for slipping away into a crowd when he blunders socially. This will become more useful later on in the build.
The second level of Half-Elf Paragon is good to Bann – at this point he picks up Persuasion, which gives a boost to existing Racial bonuses to Diplomacy and Gather Information, as well as gains a +2 Racial Bonus on all other Charisma-based skills. As before, Bann has no racial bonus to Diplomacy or Gather Information and so doesn’t benefit from this portion of the class feature, HOWEVER, he will still gain the new racial bonus to all other Charisma skills, as that does not specify which race it is a racial bonus of (RAI is pretty clear, but hey, this is optimization). At this point that means Bann has social check modifiers of +14, +12, +12 to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate respectively without gear or items, which is none too shabby. Combat wise Bann’s still probably better off avoiding it.
At some point Bann got bored with being a Half-Elf dilettante, and decided to learn how to fight good. That led him to the Half-Orcs, and in his typical obsessive fashion he spent enough time/effort emulating them that he eventually qualifies for the Half-Orc Paragon Class. Half-Orc Paragon comes with full BAB and good Fort saves, bolstering some of his weak spots. The first level of the class gives a second Divided Ancestry, which entertainingly enough makes Bann effectively four races whenever he uses Minor Shapechange to look Human. This has literally no RAW effect as far as I can figure, so…. The first level also gives Bann the Monstrous Mien feature, which gives a +4 racial bonus to intimidate at the very least when he appears as a half-orc, and possibly all the time (see earlier notes about build legality). Bann’s final level is also in Half-Orc Paragon, and here he picks up the Rage class feature 1/day. Taking Extra Rage as the level 6 feat means that when he’s looking like a Half-Orc Bann becomes a decent melee fighter 3/day. With +4 BAB, and STR 19 when raging he can actually hit things and do some damage. When hitting mooks he can use PA for some extra damage. Once Bann feels he’s got this combat thing down at least a little he takes on the stage name Jedek Hyll and enters the arena as a Half-Orc Gladiator.
Once we’ve entered the Half-Orc Paragon class the full playstyle is achieved. Bann now has two distinct identities/forms to use depending on whether he’s in a social situation or a combat one. Quick Change allows him to swap between them at a moment’s notice. We’ve been over the combat form, so a quick recap of the social skills: at this point Bann/Jedek has +15, +14, +19 for Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate respectively. Don’t forget Social Intuition allows him to take ten with these skills too.
E1 & E2:
More uses of Rage makes Bann/Jedek more able to fight all day long, and Channeled Rage helps cover for one of his glaring weaknesses: the abysmal (read non-existent) Will Save
E3 –> E6:
These feats capitalize on the social adeptness and flat out scariness of a Half-Orc rage-monster. Intimidating Rage gives a free action demoralize attempt to one foe when you start raging. Coupled with Imperious Command and the Never Outnumbered skill trick makes Bann/Jedek a fearsome battlefield controller. Add on Frightful Presence for an additional chance to make your foes too scared to fight. With Menacing Demeanor and Monstrous Mein as well as full skill ranks, a CHA score of 16, Persuasion, and Social Intuition Bann/Jedek gets to take 10 on a demoralize check for an un-augmented 32.
E7 & E8:
Battlefield control through being the scariest dude on the field is not enough forBann/Jedek. Picking up Improved Trip and Knock-Down means that Bann/Jedek can make anyone strong willed enough to still be standing fall down the hard way.
More Damage! Without some method of disengaging to charge in again, Bann/Jedek needs to make the first hit count. Flying Kick helps with this by adding a flat 1d12 damage on a charge, and Headlong Rush is the Pièce De Résistance, doubling the damage from a charge attack. Sure you provoke an Attack of Opportunity, but you do double damage and automatically trigger Knock-Down due to minimum damage numbers (though you should trigger it anyways before this assuming items). At this point Bann/Jedek is a charming fellow outside combat, and a terrifying monster on the battlefield with both fear escalation and physical control through Knock-Down and Improved Trip, as well as significant damage sources for anyone foolish enough to not simply flee in terror at the sight of him.
Spoiler: Build VariationsShowIf you fully embrace Racial Emulation shenanigans this build can be improved by changes to two levels. At level 2, emulating a Goliath qualifies for a Goliath Rogue Substitution level, which would improve your HD to a d8 and swap Evasion for Mettle (Fort based Evasion). Of more import, the second level of Half-Orc Paragon could be skipped in favor of a level of Barbarian while emulating a Goliath to get Mountain Rage, which makes you Large when you rage, as well as opening up for various other Barbarian ACFs (Pounce is less useful with BAB +4, but Drago Totem could pick up Blind Fight, and there are other options). This is a straight upgrade over the second level of Half-Orc Barbarian, but was deemed to be too cheesy, as well as not taking advantage of the SI. Emulating Goliath would also qualify for Knockback, which is kinda silly.
If Flaws are allowed there are numerous options. Possibly the most absurd of which would be to get Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Spike Chain) and Combat Reflexes to go along with Knock-Down, though a source of DEX would be needed to fuel Combat Reflexes.
Improved Unarmed Strike was chosen for fluff reasons. If you want to use a two handed weapon (spiked chain anyone?) both Improved Unarmed Strike and Flying Kick could be swapped out of the build.
Spoiler: SourcesShowEberron Campaign Setting (ECS) - Changeling (p12)
Unearthed Arcana (UA) – Martial Rogue (p58), Half-Elf Paragon (p39), Half-Orc Paragon (p40)
Races of Eberron (RoE) – Changeling Rogue (p122), Racial Emulation (p110), Quick Change (p110)
Complete Warrior (CW) – Extra Rage (p98), Intimidating Rage (p102), Flying Kick (p99)
Races of Destiny (RoD) – Channeled Rage (p150), Menacing Demeanor (p155)
Complete Scoundrel (CSc) – Never Outnumbered (p87)
Draconomicon (Dr) – Frightful Presence (p105)
Sword and Fist (SF) – Knock-Down (p7)
Races of Faerun (RoF) – Headlong Rush (p164)
Drow of the Underdark (DotU) – Imperious Command (p50)
All items not specifically called out are either described in a higher level item (such is the case for class features), in the PHB, or not part of the build as presented.