Part two of my judgments.

Paulie Pocket: 16.25
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Isn't it just a crying shame that Hoardstealer doesn't get Baleful Polymorph (or another way to forcibly reduce an unwilling target's size) as a spell? That would have been perfect. Not your fault that it's not on the table, but still.

Originality: 5

I'll be honest: I didn't expect this. There's some really clever stuff here. That is a genuinely novel way to use Deep Pockets. I had forgotten that Body Pouch and Barbed Stinger even exist, and I don't think I've ever seen the Wormtail Belt used as a main attack method before, given that it's got such awful limitations. Well done. It's mostly a build with one specific gimmick, but it is a hell of a gimmick, and the amount of effort you spend building around this gimmick is impressive. Even more impressive is the fact that I'm willing to buy that this probably works. It's kind of the opposite of foolproof, but I don't think there are any fundamental rules conflicts that would prevent you from at least trying to do this insane thing you want to do. Yeah, I think you've earned a maximum score in Originality today.

Power: 3.75

I love your use of Deep Pockets. The pieces come together in a surprisingly logical way, and I agree that the "irretrievably lost" clause is your horrifying ace in the hole if they try to cut their way out.

As absolutely hilarious as your Body Pouch trick is, let's be realistic that it's likely to only work a very limited number of times per day simply because you don't have enough PP to manifest a 7 PP (+2 size) Expansion very often. I calculate you as having 14 PP per day at your apex (ECL 9+), so let's be honest here: this is a big ol' nova. [Side note: next time, please throw in a table or something showing your PP progression, okay?] A really weird and different nova than what we might normally see from a user of psionics, but still not something that works over and over. That said, you put enough effort into this crazy combo that I'm willing to accept that you're probably going to pull it off now and again, and as I indicated in the first sentence of this paragraph, it truly is hilarious.

I'm not sure that you can both spear someone with your stinger and maneuver them into the pouch in the same round. The Wormtail Belt is very clear that it cannot be used as a secondary natural attack. If it's a primary natural attack (and it can't be a secondary), then you don't get iteratives with it, and you don't have an "attack" left to use to force a grabbed critter into the bag. So you're a little slower than advertised. I do feel like there's a fair bit of prep necessary to really get your primary pouch trick working (you have to spend an action to Expand, too; you'll PROBABLY already have Deep Pockets active when combat starts, but that might not be true right when you first get it). I'm still willing to forgive that because it's just that amusing to me, but we do need to be clear-eyed about the fact that it really does involve an awful lot of moving parts.

How interesting are you when your main trick is recharging or irrelevant? You're vaguely Totemist-shaped, but you've got the majority of your melds (including the all-important totem bind) tied up in your body bag trick until you leave Hoardstealer. You mention getting claws from the Claws of the Wyrm, though that's not going to work very well at 12+ if you're actually shaping the Mauling Gauntlets (with the MG in your Hands slot and your Girallon Arms necessarily in the Arms slot, you can't put the CotW anywhere). You do mention the Dragon Tail, but considering how janky it is compared to every other natural-attack-granting meld in the game, I'm not sure that's a good thing. But overall you've got maybe one meld free (if that; that's assuming that at least the Wormtail Belt and Girallon Arms are locked in place) for the vast majority of your career, and one single meld isn't worth that much versatility. (You also seem to overload your Hands slot in the late game, if your mention of "pounce" means the Sphinx Claws.)

Psychic Rogue does offer some interesting utility early on, though it's debatable if you'll ever use it later: you have, as mentioned, exactly enough PP to become Huge twice per day. If you use your PP on literally anything else, you're down to 1/day for your biggest boost. You didn't really indicate to me whether that's something you plan on relying on. Sure, there's some flexibility and you don't really have to choose in advance, but at the same time, if you don't tell me just how much you're prioritizing your backup options at the expense of your main trick, how am I supposed to know just how aware you are of your own limitations? I will give you some credit for the early game (no sense in binding the Wormtail Belt until ECL 6, so at least your 3-5 range is workable), though I'm not totally blown away.

I suppose that the shockingly broad wording on Barbed Stinger does mean that you can at least attempt to grapple things, even big things, even when you aren't trying to shove them into your pouch. That's fairly unusual, to be honest. I'm not sure if you've got quite enough juice to always win said grapple checks if you aren't fully enlarged (I don't need to tell you how hard it is to grapple ginormous things, do I?), especially since you've got really low essentia until post-Hoardstealer, but even if the Wormtail Belt is usually not a great main attack, Barbed Stinger at least makes you really, really annoying with it. If that's your actual strategy, you'll have weirdly low damage for a STR-primary brawler, but it's probably more effective than it looks. It'd be nice if you could have forced the actual Improved Grapple feat in there somewhere; Barbed Stinger prevents the AoO, but getting a nice +4 on every grapple check you make would have been meaningful.

Your skills aren't bad. It's fairly shocking how few of your competitors actually prioritize both Search and Disable, but you've actually got the ability to deal with some degree of traps, which is niche but not useless. You get enough Tumble to have some basic mobility, you have some late investment in the perceptive skills (would have been nice to see it earlier, but I know why that didn't really happen), you pay the necessary attention to Concentration, and you've got enough UMD to have a wand or two lying around. Okay. I've seen worse. You're not really a primary skillmonkey (you don't have enough incarnum mojo to rely on that for your skill bonuses until very late in the game, and you don't have QUITE as much depth as a pure Rogue or another traditional skillmonkey might), but you do have a few things that you care about, and I'm willing to bet that you can solve a few problems with them. You did waste a Skill Mastery slot on UMD; it's not stress or distraction that prevents you from taking 10 on UMD, after all. It's a clause in the skill itself, like Truespeak. At least your other SM choices make sense, though I would have liked to have seen Tumble in there. Can't have everything, I guess.

I've said enough. Let's put a number on here. I think you've nailed about a 3.75. You're above average because your big flashy trick is probably workable now and again, you've got a reasonable skill baseline, and you might occasionally pull off grappling even if you aren't firing on every single one of your cylinders. You'd have scored higher if your main trick was less use-limited, if you had made it more explicit what you're doing when you're not trying to grapple, and if you had less of a traffic jam among your soulmelds.

Elegance: 2.5

Basic legality check: You underspent by 1 skill point at 9th. You overspend by 2 points at level 19 and again at level 20, which is honestly fairly confusing. You had been doing so well! Your feats and class choices are legal, at least. What happened at the very end there? Must have been a late revision or something. Still heartbreaking to go off the rails at the last second, though. I think we can truly say that you just didn't stick the landing.

Shape Soulmeld was kind of a wasted feat. I don't believe that the bonus to Strength checks applies to grapple checks. (Other combat maneuvers like bull rush call out that you specifically make Strength checks, while grapple calls for grapple checks. Grapple checks involve STR, but so do typical melee attack rolls, and I don't think the Mauling Gauntlets apply to basic melee attacks.) This is in Elegance rather than in Power because, oddly enough, I don't think this has a major effect on your ability to grapple; you're well into the highest levels of play before you have anywhere near enough essentia to simultaneously max out your Girallon Arms and put anything into your Mauling Gauntlets, so really you're at worst losing about a +2 from the shape. That's not gonna make or break you and doesn't fundamentally change how I'm scoring your Power, so I'm going to instead mark it against your Elegance for wasting a feat and for trying to misapply a bonus. (One Mistake, One Penalty. We're keeping this firmly in one category.) It would have made more sense to take Bonus Essentia or maybe a more general-purpose soulmeld there. I mean, this feels weird to rag on you for taking Shape Soulmeld for the Mauling Gauntlets, because SS: MG is one of my favorite tricks. I just don't think that you can use the MG for what you say you can use 'em for.

Class structure is fairly logical. Skill-heavy dip at 1st, get the Totem Bind online ASAP, go back to a skill-heavy class to finish the SI's prereqs and to set yourself up to have exactly enough ML after Practiced Manifester to become Huge, take 10 levels of the SI at the earliest opportunity, then finish with Totemist. Makes perfect sense to me if we accept the premise that the last handful of levels of Hoardstealer matter, which is a useful fiction we're just going to have to deal with.

Other than the hard stumble on Shape Soulmeld, your feats make sense. Your first four are all geared directly towards making your body bag trick work, and it's never a bad choice for a Totemist-based build to finish off with a few Open Chakras. (Shame you didn't have the CON to get Open Greater at 18th, but eh, it's 18th, and you didn't call out any Throat or Waist-based melds as being something that would be especially interesting with a non-Totem bind.) The only thing that kind of feels like a prereq waiting around is Body Pouch, which isn't going to play its main role for at least 6ish levels until the whole trick comes online, but I don't see a way that such a fate could have been readily avoided.

You made some good choices with your race. A -4 to DEX is a little painful, but skarn provides much-needed STR and the all-important [reptilian] subtype, while dragonborn provides nice wings, a bonus to CON to help with meldshaping prereqs, and access to a source of natural weapons without using your totem bind. (I mean, you lost skarn's natural weapons when you went dragonborn, so it's good that you got more than just the Claws of the Wyrm out of the deal, but still, good choices overall.)

This feels like about a 2.5. The clean class structure and good choice of race cancel out your small but still illegal screw-up with your skill points at the very end, and that poor choice with Shape Soulmeld brought you a bit below average.

Use of Secret Ingredient: 5

You've built around basically the class's only unique feature, so that looks good on you. You can't swap in something that isn't Hoardstealer without losing your crown jewel. The later levels are probably kind of suboptimal on you compared to, say, more PsyRogue or more Totemist, but that Deep Pockets trick goes a long way. You even align your skills with the class's trap focus.

I gave Splash Gordon an A for effort, and I think this build deserves the same. You have one big trick, and that trick cannot function without Hoardstealer. The vast majority of your build resources are designed to support this trick. You even enter the SI ASAP and finish it out. Even if you don't get as much benefit from all of the later features as you do from Deep Pockets, this is still a build in which Hoardstealer is a load-bearing central column, and that's worth recognizing. Congratulations.

Final Thoughts: This is a very impressive build overall. It's wild enough to really feel new without overreaching into something that doesn't play nice with the rules, and its reliance on something only Hoardstealer has means that you have a legitimate reason to bother with the secret ingredient. Nicely done!



Shellie Caleesye: 11
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This seems relevant.

Originality: 3

Hmm. I'm seeing a lot of nice pieces put together, but I'm not seeing anything terribly unconventional. This is a completely solid skillmonkey of the "heavy on skill ranks, light/moderate on incarnum" style, but I'm not seeing what makes it different from the next skillmonkey in that style. It does seem to flow together pretty cohesively, though, and it's been a while since I've seen a build with quite so many picks for Skill Mastery, so I suppose that's something that's good for you. I'm willing to give this a midline score of 3. It holds together and does feel like a build rather than like a clustering of fragments or like something copied out of the example section of a handbook, but I was hoping for just a little more explanation of why you're cooler than the skillful guy next to you. Your write-up was a start and got you this far, but I think there could have been more.

Power: 2.75

That's a fairly impressive amount of skill mastery. I applaud you for not wasting a slot on UMD, so that's good. You did, however, seem to waste a slot on Sleight of Hand. It's legal to choose a skill in which you have no ranks (for some reason), but since Sleight of Hand can't be used untrained, you're a "master" in a skill you aren't allowed to attempt. So that's weird. I guess the Theft Gloves let you use it untrained, but then you're locking in one of your (actually rather small number of) melds, which seems less than ideal on this particular character, even if the Theft Gloves are a pretty natural choice for you overall. I'd have liked to have seen at least one "I'm trained, really!" rank. You can't tell me you never had a single rank to spare. This is far from a dealbreaker, but it is nonetheless worthy of comment.

You are a little coy about what benefit you get out of Wyrmgrafter. I understand that you're saying that you're using it to recycle the tissues of improperly hatched wyrmlings, which is relatively clever, but you didn't actually tell me what you're doing with it or why it makes you more powerful (we are, after all, currently grading Power). Don't forget that you still need specific spells to make specific grafts; UMD is a thing and so are cooperative spellcasters, but I would have liked to have seen you mention that so that I know that you're aware of it and considering it. But even if that's covered, why do you care about making draconic grafts? What ones do you want? Why is that worth the space in your build?

Quick Reconnoiter is a classy feat that I've always liked, but I'm not sure how critical it is on a character who's not really trying to make attacks. If you're waving weapons around and trying to spend your actions killin' dudes, then being able to try to detect hidden things without wasting actions is fairly meaningful! But you aren't really spending your actions killin' dudes. Does it even matter to you if you have to spend a move action looking for something? Action economy is much squishier and more easily managed when not in combat, and you don't really seem to worry too much about what happens in combat.

I admit to being completely baffled by your choice to take Mounted Combat and Trample with a single rank in Ride. What exactly are you riding, and why are you so confident in your ability to do anything meaningful with the skill in which you invest the fewest ranks? You aren't planning on riding a dragon you raised, are you? Seriously? That takes five years, per Draconomicon pg. 13. (And then you have to wait for the dragon to get big enough to accommodate a Medium rider, which takes longer. Most dragons other than red and gold need to be a minimum of juvenile—26 years, according to MM1 pg. 68—before they become Large. Even red and gold take 6 years.) That's, like, as long as it takes to research a personal truename. Or to craft any of the trophies for Trophy Collector. (It's actually worse than that. Like, way worse. I'm trying to comically gesture to things that already take so long as to be functionally unusable, and this is worse. That's how impractical rearing a dragon really is.) I mean, sure, downtime is downtime and it's unrealistic to be going 24/7, but if you're actually having four level-appropriate encounters per day, you go from 1 to 20 in something stupid like 2 or 3 months. Even taking a week or two off between each level, that's nowhere near enough time to raise a dragon. Even taking six weeks off between levels doesn't do that much on this time scale. So I'm not really sure why you spent those feats the way you did. I love the fluff on stealing dragon eggs and using the obscure rules from Draconomicon to raise them, but those feats seem way out of place to me. The scheme is amusing enough that I applaud spelling out that your skill bonuses are technically high enough, but I don't think it's sufficiently feasible to assume that you're actually going to, over the course of this character's time in actual play, end up riding any dragon you've hatched from an egg unless you're doing some hardcore timeskips. Sufficiently hardcore that we may need to worry about your character advancing an age category.

Judging noncombatant characters like this is always hard. You've got good utility; no one's gonna deny that. If a skill check can solve a problem, there's a good chance that you can be the one to do it. You combine Rogue-style skillmonkeying with Incarnate-style skillmonkeying (kinda low essentia, but your actual ranks are about a hundred times better than a normal Incarnate's, so that's not to be ignored), and you play it to the hilt. I very much like you calling out what those skills let you do; that's an excellent help when it comes to gauging what your Power should be. You have less non-skill utility than someone with early-game access (or even mid-game access) to actual chakra binds, but you do indeed have skills.

We also have to be honest about the fact that you have basically no ability to contribute to a fight that has actually started, and I'm not getting a full Kole Naerrin-style explanation of why you're confident that you'll basically never roll init. That's a headache, and it's a drag on your power.

To your credit, you're very clear about the fact that you're not trying to be a combatant (well, aside from the baffling choices of Mounted Combat and Trample), but that doesn't mean that you aren't kind of deficient in dealing with a meaningful chunk of the game, even if you're remarkably cool when not in a struggle to the death.

It's almost trivial by level 18, but why bother with Nimble Charge, especially if you're making it a favored trick? When are you ever charging? You don't seem to care about attacking at all, let alone attacking in a manner that puts you in harm's way. I guess it works on running as well as charging, but still, kinda out there; the actual Run action is hard to use, especially in a dungeon-type scenario. As a trick, I can see it; as a favored trick, I'm less convinced. Still pretty trivial at the level bracket in question, but as I keep saying, every choice should matter.

I'm not convinced that Antiquarian is useful to you. Traps don't only become a problem after you enter Hoardstealer, and you're one of the few chefs with enough trap-related juice (full ranks and the Theft Gloves? That's nontrivial) that you might have a fighting chance against traps in the pre-ECL-6 bracket. It's cute that you come full circle at the very end and lay out in your final level bracket that you can autosucceed on the Antiquarian check after all your late-game investment, but I'm not sure that it's relevant in the late game, while Trapfinding may have been relevant in the early game. I know that conventional wisdom says to trade away any possible features from your pre-SI classes if those features would then be granted by the SI (because then you're "using the SI to the fullest"), but I don't think you're coming out ahead in Power.

Enough words. Time for action! And by action I mean a damned number. I'mma call this 2.75. You've got killer skills, but you can't contribute basically anything when there's a d20 roll called for that isn't a skill check, and you've got enough questionable choices to keep you below the midline. You'd have scored higher with more focus to your feats, with a cleaner early game, and with (of course) some meaningful offense or else with a really compelling argument that you'd never actually need to fight anything.

Elegance: 2.75

Basic legality check: You fell prey to a classic mistake, I'm afraid. Able Learner makes cross-class skills cost the same as in-class skills. It does not, however, actually make all skills class skills for you, so it does not raise the cap for how many ranks you can have in a cross-class skill that has never been a class skill for any of your classes. Heal, unfortunately, is not a class skill for any of your classes until Exemplar. You exceed your max ranks at ECL 8 (max should be 5.5, but you have 6), and it gets worse from there. To compound this, you can't have 10 ranks in Heal by ECL 12 (your max would be 7.5), making Wyrmgrafter an illegal choice for you. You otherwise seem to be legal, but that's a pretty hard stumble, unfortunately.

You've got the synergy direction on Concentration wrong. 5 ranks in Conc gives you a +2 to Autohypnosis, but 5 ranks in Autohypnosis has nothing to do with your bonus to Conc. At least that doesn't stop you from getting your DC 15. Minor, but again, I want everything you're presenting me to matter and to be correct. This would have been bad if you had been really relying on it, but if nothing else, it is worthy of comment even if it doesn't quite rise to the level of a penalty.

I can't remember the last time I saw a character take exactly one level of Totemist. That honestly surprised me, and I found it a little jarring. I understand that you're specifically interested in just shaping melds for skill bonuses rather than getting all the cool Totem bind effects, but, you know, cool Totem bind effects! This part, at least, failed my "does the build make sense one level at a time" test, because I kept anticipating the second level of Totemist and never got it. The rest of the level progression is reasonable enough if we assume (for some reason) that it's a priority to enter and exit Hoardstealer as quickly as possible.

Your skill progression is remarkably smooth. Almost disturbingly so. I suppose it makes sense that someone with that many skill points and Able Learner would rarely need to play catchup, so that's pretty nice.

I genuinely like the way you laid out "here's what I can accomplish with X skill at character level Y." That's the kind of thing I was looking for when I asked you to hold my hand and spell out what makes your character cool. Thumbs up there.

I think that this is about another 2.75. The way you spelled out your skill baseline is excellent and would have brought you above the midline if you'd been legal, but there's nothing else particularly elegant about your build, and I can't reward that big illegal mess with Heal and Wyrmgrafter.

Use of Secret Ingredient: 2.5

Hmmm. You use Skill Mastery pretty well. You use the caster level to qualify for Obtain Familiar and you mention that the spells exist, but you don't tell me which ones you care about or why (aside from an offhand reference to FoM that I only noticed after the fact). You name-drop Hide from Dragons, and I'm willing to believe that it might come up on you once or twice, given your playstyle. You pretty much don't mention anything else about Hoardstealer, though, and since you've got 3 levels of Rogue already, a slightly smaller level investment (7 more, versus 8 levels of HS) could have gotten you Skill Mastery from Rogue, plus more skill points, more bonus feats, and the ability to qualify for Savvy Rogue, which is all kinds of awesome, losing only the familiar. So I'm not super convinced that you need or even particularly love Hoardstealer. Familiars are great, but if that's your primary thing to show off for your investment, I'm less than impressed.

The build isn't very reliant upon the Secret Ingredient and doesn't really have any unique synergy with it. You aren't actively fighting against it, but you haven't made a strong case that it's very important to you. You even explicitly say that your life is pretty similar before it and after it, which doesn't speak well to your UoSI.

You do enter the SI at the earliest level and then take 10 uninterrupted levels of it, but I really wish that you'd made a stronger case for why you bothered doing so. I'm left with the impression that you're just doing this because it's the SI rather than because it's the right choice for the build.

I do acknowledge that Skill Mastery is very important to this character. But since you do get an almost equal amount of SM from another source and you could get just as much SM (plus other goodies, including 16 extra skill points and a pile of feats) from advancing your base class the almost the same number of levels (technically fewer), that's only so impressive when you don't use much else from the SI.

This feels about like a 2.5. You don't get anything unique out of the class and can replicate almost everything you care about just by advancing what you've already laid out, but you do use the class to at least somewhat advance your primary goal, and it's less actively anti-synergistic with you than with some of the worst examples this round. You'd have scored higher with more focus on the early features, with a deeper discussion of the spells, and with simply more explanation given about why you should bother at all.

Final Thoughts:

This is a respectable build that's honestly fairly sandbagged by the SI. If you hadn't felt compelled to put a bunch of Hoardstealer in here, I think you would have had even more skills and probably even a bit of offensive oomph. Your fluff (and your skill-calculating crunch) about stealing dragon eggs is amusing, if somewhat impractical. The purpose of the build was clear, which is not something all of your competitors can say. Where I struggled was sometimes figuring out whether your purpose was level-appropriate when your limitations are taken into account.



Mellon: 8
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I do appreciate naming a follower of a goddess of wealth after a robber baron. Classy touch.

Originality: 3.5

It's been a while since I've seen any of the draconic Initiate of XYZ feats used, and it's not every day that I see a "skill Cleric" who doesn't use the Kobold and Trickery domains. Using the Wealth domain to get Appraise as a class skill is reasonably clever, given that Appraise is actually kind of difficult to find. So those are good things.

I didn't expect to see a Cleric entry into Hoardstealer at all, to be honest. My problem is that the build failed to sell me on Cleric making any sense with Hoardstealer. Like, at all. So while it's not so much of a shameless grab that I'm going to directly penalize for it, it's close enough to a shameless grab that I'm not inclined to reward just from the juxtaposition alone.

You don't really have any unique or interesting tricks/strategies/combos. Sovereign Speaker has the potential to be interesting, but it wasn't given any focus. It's not entirely fair to call this build completely generic, but I also don't think it succeeds at bringing anything new to the table. I'm gauging my own emotions as I read these builds, and I'm looking for "ooh, that's neat!" or "wow, I wish I'd thought of that!" or something similar. Reading this build, I mostly got "okay, so what?"

I'll focus on the good rather than the bad and give you a 3.5, mostly for the reasons in my first paragraph. You'd have scored higher if you made the whole greater than the sum of the parts or if you had any sort of remarkable tactics up your sleeve.

Power: 2

So, um, you're a Cloistered Cleric with some weird feats for about five levels. That's an acceptable baseline for the early game given that, y'know, spells are fun. You then stop advancing your Cleric spells for most of the rest of the build, minus a few levels here and there fairly late on, in favor of, well, what, exactly? Hoardstealer offers excruciatingly slow arcane spell advancement, the same number of skill points as your foundation class, and very few abilities that get much attention in your write-up. You have that name-dropping section at the end, but you mostly gripe about how underwhelming the SI's features are. It's true that they're not necessarily very strong in a vacuum, but that's why it's extremely important for you to sell me on why you bothered interrupting your full divine caster with 10 levels of Hoardstealer. You, um, don't really do this. When you start as a T1 full caster and then dive into a Secret Ingredient, I'm expecting you to tell me what your character really does that's so cool that it's worth interrupting your casting for, or else I'm expecting you to show me some unique and interesting combination of your full-casting abilities and what the SI offers. I didn't get that out of this build.

If we accept that you can get into SS at all (which, as you'll see in Elegance, I have problems with—but I will follow One Mistake, One Penalty and score your Power as though your illegal class levels are legal), you don't choose especially poor domains, but you don't point out to me why they're unusually good or interesting on you. They're perfectly fine generic domains, but they don't seem to have anything to do with the character, the character's focus, or anything like that. But I guess they are decent in a vacuum. It's just a shame that you basically presented them in a vacuum.

Your skills are bizarre. You have way more Disable Device than you do Search. Why is that? Both skills are important if you want to be a trapmonkey, but you can't disable what you don't know about. (Sure, SOME traps will just fire a bolt or two at you and then let you try to disable them, but what about traps that alert the dungeon's denizens of intruders, or ones that flood the chamber in some way, or or or or . . . Why risk it?)

Knowledge Devotion confuses me. I'll choose to gloss over the contradiction inherent in a Cloistered Cleric who's devoted to a deity without the Knowledge domain trading out the domain for the feat, since CChamp semi-directly contradicts itself there. But let's assume that it's legal and then focus on whether you make it worthwhile. You only have meaningful investment in 2 knowledge skills (and, really, only in Arcana long-term), and you don't seem to be making too many attacks or investing in too many damaging spells that aren't summons/conjurations (which won't be affected by KD). Why is that more useful than a bonus to CL on Divination spells and access to at least two or three spells that you wouldn't otherwise have? KD is a potentially very useful feat, but even if we accept that a few levels with Lore is enough to fuel the bonus (that's fairly questionable; separately, don't forget that you don't add Lore to your ranks, but you instead choose which one to use when making a check), you don't seem to have anything that you care about spending the bonus on, which is the bigger problem. That doesn't look good on you.

You seem to care an awful lot about your darkvision and your low-light vision. As a result, I'm a little confused as to you seem to have a total of 1 rank in Spot. The darkvision I'll buy as being somewhat useful even without Spot, but you spent an extra level on doubling up on just how far away you can see in low-light conditions; why is that good without Spot? Just kind of weird overall, honestly. I know that there's no such thing as enough skill points, that Hoardstealer is very demanding with its prereqs, and that being a dungeon-monkey is expensive, but still.

You mention casting the Silence spell often enough that it's worth discussing that a bit. I agree that in certain circumstances, the Silence spell is a clever way to avoid detection, and it's more readily available to Clerics than to those with a more Wizardly bent. So that's cool. I will say, though, that I have no idea what you're referring to as your "near permanent silence field." You don't have an especially high number of 2nd level slots or any way of making it last longer than normal, which is far from permanent. It's a nice trick, but it's a profoundly use-limited one that I don't think will be as universal as you seem to think it will be.

I guess I just don't see where this character is trying to go. You're kind of a nontraditional skill-user, but you don't highlight too many spells (other than Silence) that really bolster that particular role, and you lose an awful lot of spellcasting ability in favor of Hoardstealer, which doesn't really contribute to what few stated goals you have outside of getting Trapfinding and, I suppose, getting MOAR DARKVISION for some reason. Your list of favored spells doesn't seem to be geared towards solving any particular kind of problem in really impressive ways; sure, you might pick something different, but as I said in my criteria, it's on you to tell me what you're doing and I'm not just going to assume the absolute best choices in the absence of text telling me about that. So really, I can't avoid this any longer: it's very nice, but what does it DO? You mention being a "support character/backup rogue." which is kind of a starting point, but you really failed to sell me both on how that's interesting and on why you're sufficiently good at it for anyone else to care. Cleric spells are potentially strong, but you don't seem to be doing anything particularly strong with them, and Hoardstealer offers truly minimal improvements to your ability to solve problems. You spend the majority of your feats trying to make yourself more skillful, with somewhat questionable results. Sovereign Speaker doesn't have any particular synergy with the character other than being a generically useful Cleric PrC, but you don't explain why you take it when you do or what it does for you that's really noteworthy. The build just kind of putters around and doesn't seem to have a consistent focus or a strong party role.

I'm feeling somewhere around a 2 for your Power. The fact that you do have some reasonable access to the Cleric list early on and the fact that you pick some generically acceptable domains with SS prevent me from tanking you to the bottom, but you'd have scored much higher if you really spelled out why I'm supposed to care about any of your build choices or what synergy you have between Hoardstealer and Cleric. I'm tempted to drop it more, but I will respect the foundation of spells you've got.


Elegance: 1

I really don't like seeing custom Apprentice feats in Iron Chef. Not one bit. Stick with what WotC gave you before lunging straight for the homebrew. That's going to cost you.

I'm also not super willing to buy your explanation about Initiate of Astilabor and having the Sovereign Host as your patron deity. Yeah, there's the pantheon clause, but the Sovereign Host is already a pantheon, and it doesn't traditionally include Astilabor. There's also a difference between casually venerating multiple deities (which is how I read that text from the PHB) and going deep enough into the service of one deity that you become an "initiate" of that deity while allegedly having another pantheon as your patron. I don't think I really buy your explanation. I'd have been more lenient (though still unhappy about this) without Initiate in the mix, but DrM pg. 15 points out that you have "achieved distinction with [your] deity" and that an initiate feat "presumes a deep level of commitment to a single deity."

You put in enough indirect evidence that you took the Wealth domain at level 1 that I was able to piece that together, but I can't quite tell what your third domain is at level 1. Is it Cavern just because you listed that first? C'mon, man, literally the first thing I put in my criteria was to make this easy for me. Just say what your domains are when you get them. This shouldn't be difficult.

Losing SF: Appraise to dragonborn is reasonably elegant, I suppose.

Basic legality check: (Note: I'm going to be checking your skill points based on the dubious argument that your homebrew Apprentice feat is in play.) You overspent by 1 point at ECL 7. You listed Hide 13 at ECL 10 and ECL 11; this seems to have caused you to underspend by 1 point at 11.

I need to come back to Worldly Focus and Sovereign Speaker. If we assume that Astilabor exists in Eberron (yeah, I know, I know, "if it exists in D&D, it has a place in Eberron," but I still don't find it elegant to mix in mechanically-beneficial devotion to deities in different cosmologies), I might be willing to turn a blind eye to Worldly Focus by accepting that your primary deity is Astilabor but that you pay enough general respect to the SH that you can qualify for WF, because WF's prereq is a little bit looser than Initiate's prereq is, as I read it. But I'm really getting stuck on your ability to qualify for Sovereign Speaker. I straight up don't think that that's compatible with Initiate of Astilabor. Your primary Cleric levels are devoted to Astilabor. Astilabor offers you her unusual domains (which is fine!). You aren't worshiping a vague pantheon of draconic deities or a specific pantheon of the Sovereign Host; you're even more devoted to Astilabor than the average Cleric is, as evidenced by your Initiate feat. I don't think you qualify as "worship[ing] the Sovereign Host without venerating one god above the others." Initiate of Astilabor says that you venerate Astilabor above the others. If you want to make the argument that the prereqs for SS should read "must worship the Sovereign Host without venerating one god in the Sovereign Host above the others in the Sovereign Host," then I think that you don't qualify for Initiate of Astilabor anymore, and you arguably shouldn't even have Astilabor as your patron deity anymore. This just doesn't work, and it's just plain not elegant.

Ruathar seems to come out of nowhere. Ruathar is usually what you use to either quickly get a new skill as a class skill or else just to fill some time while waiting to qualify for something else you care about, but neither of those things seems to apply to this build. Taking two levels of Ruathar (advancing Cleric for some reason?) in the middle of eight levels of Hoardstealer is, to say the least, confusing. I guess guaranteeing that you get some Boots of Elvenkind isn't entirely nonsensical, but the second level is bizarre. Even going back to Cloistered Cleric for a level would have gotten you the same BAB, 2 more skill points, the same spellcasting advancement, and a +1 to all of your saves instead of just to Ref and Will. I don't see the cost-benefit analysis working out here. (Elfwise isn't a bad ability, but why take it when you took it? Why interrupt Hoardstealer like that?)

I don't see where you "spelled out" what you're using your familiar for, to be honest. It's not worthless (familiars are useful), but you didn't actually really tell me what you're doing with it. A statblock and a quick list of the basic features inherent to familiars don't mean much.

You have cowlick ranks all over the place. UMD is emblematic of this: one rank at level 1 (why?), some semi-normal investment at levels 5-7 (but still not heavy investment that convinces me that it's reliable for you), then it's forgotten for seven levels until you put in a single rank at 14th and a single rank at 18th. Like, what? What does that even indicate? What is that for? Why bother? What's up with the late-game interest in Sleight of Hand? All I want is a few lines explaining where the cowlicks come from, but you didn't give me that.

I don't really see anything elegant about this build. I hate your homebrew Apprentice feat, I'm disturbed by your deity mishmash, and I don't see any mitigating factors to buoy up your score. Let's move on.

Use of Secret Ingredient: 1.5

Why bother, sir? Why bother? You spent at least three feats on getting your skills up to snuff to be able to qualify for Hoardstealer at all on a Cloistered Cleric chassis. The fact that you spent so much effort on sticking with Cleric instead of, you know, just dipping a level in Rogue or Factotum or something indicates that being a Cleric is really important to you. But then you stop being a Cleric for, like, a long time, and you don't explain why Hoardstealer makes the character better.

I suppose we should look at the class features. You get some mileage out of Trapfinding, though not as much as if you had both high Disable and high Search.

You mention darkvision several times and do end up with a very large pile of it. It's not really firmly clear to me what exactly you're doing with such intense darkvision, but you do have it and you do seem to care about it at least a bit.

You dismiss Trap Sense (which is, admittedly, hard to show off, and you're not unique here). Not your biggest problem by a long shot, of course.

You briefly mention Deep Pockets but then spend a paragraph talking about how a spell you get from your Cleric levels is better; since Deep Pockets is one of the SI's few unique abilities, this is not a way to make me happy when I'm judging your UoSI.

You make no special effort to optimize Hide from Dragons. The same comments about Trap Sense apply here; it's very hard to show off, you weren't alone in not making it sparkle, and it's not your biggest problem, but we're still going down the list.

You explicitly say that you don't try to optimize Treasure Dowsing.

You use the arcane caster level to get a familiar, which is fine as far as it goes, but you hardly mention the spells at all.

You have acceptable choices for Skill Mastery. You don't do anything unusual or special with it, but your choices are reasonable.

So, um, I'm seeing Trapfinding, maybe some darkvision, a little tiny bit of attention to the arcane caster level, and then generic Skill Mastery. But I'm not in any way convinced that the character really cares about being a Hoardstealer. I think they really just want to be a Cleric. A straight Cleric with a quick dip into something for Trapfinding (assuming that you don't want to use the Kobold domain for thematic reasons) would make far more sense here. Honestly, even starting as a Cleric and then moving into actual Rogue for several levels instead of taking Hoardstealer would make slightly more sense. You spend a lot of time and effort getting a Cleric to qualify, but you don't bother showing why a Cleric would ever bother, and the build is clearly suffering as a direct result of having Hoardstealer taking up so much space. I'll give you a 1.5, with the fact that you take all the levels (for some reason) and the fact that you at least parlay the arcane caster level into a nominally potentially useful familiar serving as mitigating factors for why you don't deserve rock bottom. You'd have scored higher if you used the class features instead of just griping about them, if you bothered to show off the spells at all, or if you demonstrated how Cleric makes you better at being a Hoardstealer in a novel or interesting way.

Final Thoughts:

There's not really anything to this build. It's a very bad case of "unrelated build with the SI plopped in the middle," and I can't figure out what you're even really trying to do. I've learned over the years that if your build is mostly spent complaining about the SI rather than trying to use the SI, the only way you're going to pull a good score is if you have at least one really phenomenally interesting trick that the SI lets you do. Build around your beautiful jewel of a trick and, if you must, complain about the SI's other garbage features while you're laying the groundwork for why you really care, but do your best to make it amusing. If you can't think of a single thing to do with the class, then maybe your efforts are better spent judging or prepping for the next round? I mean no offense, but I just didn't see any joy in this build. You didn't communicate to me that you were having fun with what you were doing, and that really came through in the final product. Maybe I'm wrong and you had a blast (and if that's so, I sincerely apologize for stating otherwise), but I really didn't get that sense from you. I sincerely hope that your next build is more fun for you!