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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Putting the sting to the opposition.
    Quote Originally Posted by Erin Blackhand
    Erin Blackhand, Leader of the Iron Tridents

    CG Strongheart Halfling worshipper of Shaundakul
    Cityscape Ranger 4/Fighter 1/Master Thrower [Complete Warrior] 2/Nightsong Infiltrator 10/Scorpion Wraith [Secrets of Xendrik] 3

    Spoiler
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    Background
    Spoiler
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    When she was less than five years old, Erin Songfeather's parents packed up their farm tools, sold most of their possessions, and loaded the rest, including little Erin, onto the back of a cart, hitching up their donkey, and setting off to make a fortune in the big city of Smokeheart, ever the glorious opportunity on the horizon for that small halfling family.

    When they got there, they found it to be far gloomier and depressing, as big cities are wont to be. Erin's father took a job a local factory, packing crates, while Erin's mother attempted to make a little bit more money by baking bread. Erin was only seven when the factory shut down, pushing Leopold Songfeather and his family out onto the street. The first night, they huddled up in an alleyway together, wrapped in blankets, and Erin cried herself to sleep. Little did she know then that that was the beginning of her tears. After a week or so of being hounded by city guards and street thugs alike, the small pile of coins they had for food running out rapidly, Mama Songfeather heard a rumour that the local cathedral, dedicated to the cruel god Bane, took in beggars and put them to work, in exchange for spartan amenities. So that's how they found themself on the stone steps leading up to the towering edifice, staring at the great iron gauntlet raised above the intimidating building. The Songfeathers had always revered Shaundakul, the wandering god of the winds, but in their situation, what other options did they have? That's what Erin's father kept telling himself, anyway.

    It turns out the 'work' they put Erin's parents to in the great Baneite cathedral was looking after the monster pens they kept, deep below the earth. Every day, her parents would be taken from her, leaving her alone in the tiny stone cell they were afforded, for hours and hours, and when they were returned, they'd be near-unconscious, bruised, sometimes with odd wounds and haunted expressions. One day, when Mama Songfeather was too ill to go to work, they just took Leopold instead. And when he didn't come back that night, Erin and her mother clung to one another desperately, expecting the worst. When the brutes came again in the morning to take Erin's mother to work, and her father hadn't been returned yet, she demanded to know where he was, what they'd done to him, but they just ignored her, forcing her out into the corridor. Crying and screaming, she beat them with her hands, scratching the face of the rough half-orc who was manhandling her. Erin watched as he shouted in pain, shoving her mother against the stone wall. The other man, a swarthy gnome, dropped the long, metal trident he was holding, and pinned her to the floor with his knee, as the half-orc kicked her in the face.

    Erin's vision turned red. She could see her mother losing consciousness, and blood was gushing out of old wounds that had opened up, barely healed in the first place. Erin moved slowly out of the cell, the men far more interested in their cruel punishment to notice, and picked up the trident. Bunching her muscles together, like she used to do when handling her father's farming tools, she swung out with it, catching the half-orc on the leg, by the knee. Squealing in pain, he collapsed to the floor. Turning around, the gnone snarled at her; "Why, you little..", and started towards her. Holding the trident out in fear, Erin closed her eyes. When she opened them again, she realised the sound she'd heard was the gnome running straight onto the prongs of his own trident. His eyes now deadened, he slipped sideways to the floor. The half-orc was trying to get back up, half-limping towards her, so she pulled the trident out of the body of the gnome, turned, and ran. And so, fleeing the temple at the tender age of eight, Erin Songfeather cast aside her painful name, and began the life of a street urchin.

    At some point over the next couple of years, Erin grows first to level 1, then to around level 4, as she remembers the prayers to Shaundakul her father taught her. She chooses the trident as her weapon of choice, and learns to throw it, to take advantage of her race's natural talents in that area, as well as to overcome her natural disadvantage with height. She also learns to climb, mostly to get out of trouble, and the roofs and walls of the city become her home. She names herself Blackhand; her hands are always stained black from climbing the soot-dusted walls of the city.

    Around the time Erin is fourteen, she reaches level 5, and it's around then that she starts gathering other street scum around her. Mostly rogues of varying colours, they start learning to work together to ambush wealthy merchants or nobles, Erin using her skills with the thrown trident to offbalance guards or pin the mark to the ground so they can't escape while her gang picks off bodyguards. At the same time, she works on her lock-picking skills, stealing food and money to get by. By the time she's advanced level 8, she's approaching twenty years of age, and is beginning to forget her past. She forms together the core members of her little group, meets with other similar gangs, and together, they form a guild, which they call: the Nightsong Guild. With their pooled riches, they rent out a basement at first, and then later, a proper hall. Together, Erin and the higher level guildmasters work together to develop tactics and infiltration methods. At some point, the guild begins attracting people from outside the city, and a mysterious Drow stranger quickly moves up the ranks and begins teaching Erin poison use, better ambush skills, and his mystical Shadow Hand martial technique.

    Build Details
    Spoiler
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    Ranger Alternative Class Features used:
    • Rival Organisation (get social skill and AC bonuses against members of an organisation: replaces Favoured Enemy) [CS web enhancement]
    • Trap Expert (replaces Track with Trapfinding and Disable Device class skill) [Dungeonscape]
    • Shadow Sword substitution level (replaces Endurance with Walk in Silence: temporary bonus to Move Silently) [Champions of Valor]
    • Champion of the Wild (replaces spells with a bonus feat) [Complete Champion]
    • Distracting Attack (replaces animal companion with the ability to make people who've been struck by your attacks count as flanked) [PHB2]

    Skill Tricks in Italics [Complete Scoundrel]{table=head]Level|Class|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Skills|Feats|Class Features

    1st|Ranger 1|
    +1
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    +0
    |Sleight of Hand 2, Open Lock 2 (both crossclass), Climb 4, Disable Device 4, Knowledge(Nature) 4, Search 4|Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot|Rival Organisation (Church of Bane), Wild Empathy, Trapfinding

    2nd|Ranger 2|
    +2
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    +0
    |Sleight of Hand 2.5, Open Lock 2.5, Climb 5, Disable Device 5, Move Silently 1, Search 5|Rapid Shot|Combat Style (Archery)

    3rd|(Shadow Sword) Ranger 3|
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    +1
    |Sleight of Hand 3, Open Lock 3, Climb 6, Disable Device 6, Move Silently 2, Search 6|Alertness|Walk in Silence [Champions of Valor]

    4th|Fighter 1|
    +4
    |
    +5
    |
    +3
    |
    +1
    |Sleight of Hand 3.5, Climb 7|Weapon Focus (Trident)|

    5th|Ranger 4|
    +5
    |
    +6
    |
    +4
    |
    +1
    |Sleight of Hand 4, Open Lock 4, Climb 8, Disable Device 7, Move Silently 3|Ranged Pin [Complete Warrior]|Distracting Attack [PHB2]

    6th|Master Thrower 1|
    +6/+1
    |
    +6
    |
    +6
    |
    +1
    |Tumble 2, Climb 9, Open Lock 4.5|Quick Draw, Improved Initiative|Sneaky Shot

    7th|Master Thrower 2|
    +7/+2
    |
    +6
    |
    +7
    |
    +1
    |Tumble 4, Climb 10, Open Lock 5||Evasion

    8th|Nightsong Infiltrator 1|
    +7/+2
    |
    +6
    |
    +9
    |
    +1
    |Tumble 5, Climb 11, Move Silently 4, Hide 3, Corner Perch||Teamwork Trap Sense +1

    9th|Nightsong Infiltrator 2|
    +8/+3
    |
    +6
    |
    +10
    |
    +1
    |Sleight of Hand 5, Climb 12, Move Silently 5, Hide 6, Walk the Walls|Blind-fight|Steady Stance, Teamwork Infiltration +2

    10th|Nightsong Infiltrator 3|
    +9/+4
    |
    +7
    |
    +10
    |
    +2
    |Sleight of Hand 6, Tumble 6, Move Silently 7, Hide 8, Speedy Ascent||Break Away, Trackless Step (self)

    11th|Nightsong Infiltrator 4|
    +10/+5
    |
    +7
    |
    +11
    |
    +2
    |Sleight of Hand 7, Tumble 8, Move Silently 8, Disable Device 8, Open Lock 6, Clever Improvisor||Detect Magic, Teamwork Sneak Attack +1d6, Teamwork Trap Sense +2

    12th|Scorpion Wraith 1|
    +11/+6+/+1
    |
    +7
    |
    +13
    |
    +2
    |Tumble 9, Move Silently 10, Hide 10|Martial Study (Shadow Garrote) [Tome of Battle]|Poison Use, Sudden Strike +1d6, Wild Empathy (vermin)

    13th|Nightsong Infiltrator 5|
    +11/+6/+1
    |
    +7
    |
    +13
    |
    +2
    |Sleight of Hand 8, Tumble 10, Open Lock 8, Jump 2, Sudden Draw||Defensive Roll, Grant Move Action 1/day

    14th|Nightsong Infiltrator 6|
    +12/+7/+2
    |
    +8
    |
    +14
    |
    +3
    |Jump 4, Tumble 12, Disable Device 9, Open Lock 9, Back on your Feet||Improved Evasion, Skill Mastery, Specialised Tools

    15th|Scorpion Wraith 2|
    +13/+8/+3
    |
    +8
    |
    +15
    |
    +3
    |Move Silently 13, Hide 13|Martial Stance (Assassin's Stance) [Tome of Battle]|Darkness, Unexpected Assault

    16th|Nightsong Infiltrator 7|
    +14/+9/+4
    |
    +8
    |
    +15
    |
    +3
    |Jump 5, Disable Device 11, Open Lock 11, Search 7, Wall Jumper||Teamwork Trap Sense +3, Trackless Step (allies)

    17th|Nightsong Infiltrator 8|
    +15/+10/+5
    |
    +8
    |
    +16
    |
    +3
    |Disable Device 14, Open Lock 14, Opening Tap||Teamwork Infiltration +4, Teamwork Sneak Attack +2d6

    18th|Scorpion Wraith 3|
    +16/+11/+6/+1
    |
    +9
    |
    +16
    |
    +4
    |Move Silently 16, Hide 16|Travel Devotion [Complete Champion]|Sudden Strike +2d6, Veil of Shadow

    19th|Nightsong Infiltrator 9|
    +16/+11/+6/+1
    |
    +10
    |
    +16
    |
    +5
    |Disable Device 16, Open Lock 16, Search 9, Hidden Blade||Grant Move Action 2/day

    20th|Nightsong Infiltrator 10|
    +17/+12/+7/+2
    |
    +10
    |
    +17
    |
    +5
    |Search 10, Use Rope 5, Acrobatic Backstab||Hide in Plain Sight, Teamwork Trap Sense +4[/table]

    Final Skill Ranks
    Spoiler
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    Climb 12
    Disable Device 16
    Hide 16
    Jump 5
    Knowledge (Nature) 4
    Move Silently 16
    Open Lock 16
    Search 10
    Sleight of Hand 8
    Tumble 12
    Use Rope 5

    Starting Abilities (32pt buy)
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    Strength 10 (12, -2 racial)
    Dexterity 18 (16, +2 racial)
    Constitution 8
    Intelligence 10
    Wisdom 18
    Charisma 8

    Level-ups and cash should be put into Constitution, then maybe Dexterity some more. Depending on the kind of campaign, switching out some points of Wisdom would allow a higher Charisma. The reason for the high Wisdom is the generally poor Will Save of the build, as well as providing important bonuses to Spot and Listen.

    Equipment
    Spoiler
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    Most of the character's wealth by level should be saved towards better weapons. A good trident with Returning should be obtained as soon as possible, followed by Deadly Precision. Shoring up the weak saves is also a must. A Monk's Belt would be very useful, too, given her high wisdom. Other than that, items to help breaking into places or escaping if situations go bad can't hurt. Magic armour is less important, if you've managed to put some point into Constitution or obtain an Amulet of Health. Early on in the build, items that boost Sleight of Hand checks would be useful.


    Build Notes and Strategy
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    The build really gets started at lvl5 or 6, where it more or less functions as a Rogue with full BAB instead of Sneak Attack. Designed to work better as part of a team even from this early, Sneaky Shot from Master Thrower lets you use your Sleight of Hand check to good effect to get a good first 'shot' in, maximising your chance of heitting even armoured opponents, preferably using your thrown trident with Ranged Pin to lock the target down, but even if not, Distracting Attack lets allies Sneak Attack in for bonus damage, if they have it. Quick Draw is obtained the same level as BAB+6, and by then you already have Rapid Shot, so you can actually make three iterative attacks (at +8/+8/+3) at level 6, although by that point you're probably stil using mundane weapons for some of those, depending on cash flow. The Trident was chosen to take advantage of the Ranger's Martial Weapon proficiency; while the damage is the same as a Spear (the other high-damage thrown weapon in core), you only need one hand to throw a trident, leaving the other free for hanging onto walls etc. until you get Corner Perch. Climbing, and attacking from height, is really the core battle strategy of this build.

    The next major point comes at lvl11, when you first get Teamwork Sneak Attack. Now, everyone can benefit from your Distracting attack, even if they aren't rogues or similar. Around these levels you're also getting a lot of useful 'survival' abilities, like skill tricks which aid your movement, Blind-Fight to help out in situations where it's needed, while also raising your rogue skills to help with breaking into places unseen. At lvl12 you obtain Shadow Garrote, another useful way of making people flat-footed if you want to hold onto your weapon (or are disarmed). The Scorpion Wraith levels 1 and 3 are also placed just so in order to get the extra iterative attack one level earlier, before the 'dead' BAB levels in Nightsong Infiltrator.

    Lvl15 I feel is the high point of this build. Assassin's Stance has just come online, providing some much-needed additional damage on each of your iterative attacks, and by now you should have multiple returning tridents. Skill Mastery gives you a lot of confidence in your rogue skills, and Defensive Roll and Darkness give you a measure of defensive options.

    Beyond that, lvl16-20 is really just filling out the rest of the class, capping with the impressive Hide in Plain Sight. The last feat, Travel Devotion, could be a number of other things depending on playstyle, really. In general, I feel the strength of this build is the high BAB, which is rarer in rogue-like builds, ensuring that the combat maneuvers used do come off when needed to. The selection of skill tricks I've chosen are, combined with the urban focus of the Ranger ACFs, designed to emphasise the character's reliance on a cityscape to generate an advantage. With low hp, breaking into secure locations could lead to being trapped in awkward situations, so being able to quickly climb out of the way, knock open locks, and defend yourself while doing so is a valuable ability.

    Going Epic
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    Beyond Lvl20, the primary direction for this build I feel is to finish off Scorpion Wraith and start looking towards more supernatural PrCs to increase the shadow theme, increase the advanced movement options, and the hidden-attacker possibilities, hopefully continuing the sneak attack progression in some sense.

    Thoughts on Nightsong Infiltrator
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    I think, in retrospect, there are two main problems with Nightsong Infiltrator. One, is the relatively late entry compared to the power level of its abilities. The Climb 10 requirement means that things like Skill Mastery, Defensive Roll, Improved Evasion are all coming several levels 'late' compared to base classes that get them. In exchange, you are getting some nice ally-boosting powers, chiefly among which is Team Sneak Attack. But even that is largely outclassed by a relatively easy-to-obtain Bard Feat (Dragonfire Inspiration). I decided not to go Bard with my build simply because I was worried about making the cool part of the Secret Ingredient redundant.

    That brings me on to my other worry with this class; it really wants to be a good rogue PrC, but doesn't really progress Sneak Attack enough! 2d6 over 8 levels is hardly groundbreaking. I've obviously done my best in this build to mitigate that with Tome of Battle and another PrC, but it doesn't help the fact that the core rogue is probably better off staying where he is than changing to this PrC.

    Lastly, I do wonder whether there'll be any kind of Scrying-based builds which use magic to scout locations beforehand for Teamwork Infiltration and Specialised Tools, focussing more on that aspect rather than the combat side. Lack of casting progression really hurts that route, I guess. Either way, looking beyond the rules of Iron Chef, Gestalt really helps this class out majorly, giving it more reasonable combat powers, or the casting side of things mentioned above. Additionally, use of Leadership or other minion-granting powers would allow much better optimisation of the Grant Move Action ability, and so on. The main problem with using minions or summons for that kind of thing, I guess, is that the minor skill bonuses this class can give them are pretty much just gonna be overshadowed by the follower's natural abilities!

    Anyway, musings over. Good luck Judges, and thank you!
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


    Spoiler
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  2. - Top - End - #62
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    It's a bug, get it!. . . Good luck with that.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Cockroach
    The Cockroach


    Spoiler
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    CN Dark Skulk Factotum/Rogue/Nightsong Inflitrator/Hellbreaker


    Stat Array:
    Spoiler
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    Str 10; Con 10; Dex 17; Int 17; Wis 10; Cha 8
    (Total racial bonus: Dex +4, Wis -2, Cha -4)
    (Level increases in order: Int, Int, Int, Dex)
    Final total: Str 10; Con 10; Dex 22; Int 20; Wis 8; Cha 4


    The Story:
    Spoiler
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    Armand dePlouffe cut off the sentence on his lips when he heard the door open. He glanced off to the side and watched as the rest of the Guild elders came in. With a nod to Doctor Wistorff, he moved to the table and took his seat at the head.

    “Nightsong Guild meeting #1543, call to order. Guildmaster dePlouffe overseeing.” He smacked the small gavel in front of him against the table top and turned to his itinerary. “To open with, we’d all like to offer congratulations to Frederick Byman for his forty year anniversary with the Guild. Cake has been provided in celebration.”

    The Guildmaster nodded appreciation as a plate with a slice of cake came his way and settled on the table at his elbow. He flipped through his files. “The first order of business is, in fact, business. We have an offer from the Mercenaries of Moonlight to acquire an artifact – a crystal dagger, pommel as thorns, hilt as a rose, the whole of the crystal blackened from within. They are offering a sizable payment. Also, the Children of Pelor has shown interest in the same dagger. We have been informed that the dagger is, in fact, the phylactery of a dracolich named Anphilious the Black.”

    Armand glanced around the room, judging the reactions of the elders gathered. There were a few looks of stoic resolve, a few looks of mild concern. Doctor Wistorff’s face was pale. Madam Whisp made to reply, addressing the council. But the Guildmaster had just noticed something that drew his attention from her.

    His cake was missing. His plate, untouched, had vanished from the table. All of the elders’ plates were still in front of each of them, most partially nibbled. But his own plate was nowhere to be seen.

    Madame Whisp had finished her thought; everyone’s attentions turned back to him. Armand cleared his throat. “Yes, well, let’s all keep the project in mind and we’ll have a special session to devise a plan of action.” He glanced to his right, wondering at the space where his plate had been. “For the next order of business, new applications for guildship.” He shuffled the papers in front of him. “Just…uhm…one?”

    He glanced left to right around the table. Many of the elders looked surprised. Madam Whisp’s eyebrows were crinkled in wonder; Doctor Wistorff’s eyes bulged; Frederick Byman rifled through his papers trying to confirm that there was, actually, only one applicant. Sitting immediately to Armand’s right, Winmore Henders sat slack-jawed. Armand, himself, was confused by the lack of applicants, but he had just noticed something he found far more confusing.

    Sitting on the table, near his right elbow, sat his plate. There were a few crumbs scattered across it, surrounding the frosting-smeared fork. But of his slice of cake, there were no other signs.

    DePlouffe turned back to the file in front of him. “The applicant is…” He scanned the page in front of him. “…someone by the name of ‘The Cockroach’.” The elders broke into chatter.

    “Didn’t he break into the Iron Worn Vault a few years ago?”

    “It would be more impressive if we could verify that.”

    “Actually, I’d be less impressed if we could.”

    “Rumor has it that a man by that name stole the seat-pillow of King Peltus II right off of his throne. Left all the jewels behind.”

    The chatter continued, the room abuzz with rumor and speculation of wild and unusual exploits. Armand ignored it all. He looked over the application in front of him -- an application that was, mostly blank. Nothing definitive except that this ‘Cockroach’ had served no time incarcerated. Either he hadn’t done much, or he was good enough to not get caught.

    The chatter around the room had devolved from a group-wide discussion to myriad conversations all happening around the table at the once. Armand reached for his gavel – but found it missing! He let out a sigh and reached for his fork instead. He banged the tines against his plate (thoughts of his missing cake bringing sorrow to his stomach) and called for order.

    “I call for the vote,” he called out to the assembled. “You all know the drill – hold up your green card to accept the new initiate, or your red card to deny him entry.” Armand had his fingers curled around the red card in front of him when the vote was interrupted before it could begin.

    With a whoosh and a soft thud, a blur fell from the ceiling and landed on the table top in front of them. The man standing, now, in the center of the table swept low in a bow. He was hard to describe; difficult, actually, to see clearly. Armand did note, however, that this man had cake crumbs around his mouth and a smear of frosting across his lip.

    The Guildmaster took an instant disliking to him.

    “If I may just interject something before you vote on me,” the intruder said as he reached into his pocket. His hand drew free with a flick of the wrist – and there, planted into the table in front of Armand, was a quivering dagger, blade tip buried in the wood.

    It was a crystalline dagger with a hilt shaped like thorns, the pommel crafted to resemble a rosebud just beginning to bloom. The whole of it seemed to be filled with a swirling, smoky residue that blackened it from within.

    Armand glanced around the table. Each elder gathered was dropping their red card in favor of the green. The Guildmaster sighed. “It would appear that the elders have voted ‘the Cockroach’ into the guild.”


    The Build:
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    The Cockroach
    {table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills Points spent this level (Total ranks)|Feats|Class Features

    1st|Dark Template (LA+1)|
    --
    |
    --
    |
    --
    |
    --
    |Racial Mods: Hide +8, Move Silently +6|--|Darkvision 60', +10' movement, HiPs (in darkness), Resist cold 10, Superior low-light vision

    2nd|Skulk Racial Level|
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |
    +0
    |Hide 4(4), Move Silently 4(4), Climb 4(2), P:Dance 4(2), Spot 2(1), Speak Language: Drow Sign Language 2(Learned)|1st:Darkstalker|Racial bonus: +5 Hide, +4 Move Silently

    3rd|Skulk 2|
    +1
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |
    +0
    |Hide 1(5), Move Silently 1(5), Spot 2(2), Autohypnosis 1(.5) |--|Trackless path; Racial bonus: Hide +5, Move Silently +2

    4th|Skulk 3|
    +1
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |
    +0
    |--|--|Innate Non-detection, Peerless camoflauge, Racial bonus: Hide +5, Move Silently +2

    5th|Factotum|
    +1
    |
    +0
    |
    +5
    |
    +0
    |K:Planes 2(2), Open Locks 5(5), Climb 1(3), Speak Language: Infernal 1(Learned)|2nd:Combat Expertise|Inspiration, Cunning insight, Cunning knowledge, Trapfinding

    6th|Factotum 2|
    +2
    |
    +0
    |
    +6
    |
    +0
    |Hide 2(7), K:Planes 2(4), P: Dance 3(5), Disable Device 3(3)|--|Arcane dilettante

    7th|Factotum 3|
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +6
    |
    +1
    |Hide 1(8), Move Silently 1(6), Spot 3(5), Listen 1(1), Climb 2(5), Skill Trick: Shrouded Dance|--|Brains over brawn, Cunning defense

    8th|Rogue|
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +8
    |
    +1
    |Sense Motive 8(8), Disable Device 2(5), Climb 2(7)|3rd:Alertness|Trapfinding, Sneak attack

    9th|Rogue 2|
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +9
    |
    +1
    |Hide 1(9), Move Silently 1(7), Climb 3(10), Search 1(1), Spot 2(7), Listen 2(3), Skill Trick: Speedy Ascent|--|Evasion

    10th|Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +11
    |
    +1
    |Hide 1(10), Move Silently 1(8), Disable Device 2(7), Open Locks 2(7), Spot 2(9), Listen 2(5), Search 2(3)|--|Teamwork trapsense +1, Trapfinding

    11th|Nightsong Infiltrator 2|
    +5
    |
    +1
    |
    +12
    |
    +1
    |Hide 2(12), Move Silently 2(10), Disable Device 2(9), Open Locks 2(9), Spot 2(11), Search 2(5)|4th:Undo Resistance|Steady stance, Teamwork infiltration

    12th|Nightsong Infiltrator 3|
    +6/1
    |
    +2
    |
    +12
    |
    +2
    |Hide 1(13), Move Silently 1(11), Disable Device 2(11), Open Locks 2(11), Spot 2(13), Listen 2(7), Search 2(7)|--|Break away, Trackless step (self)

    13th|Nightsong Infiltrator 4|
    +7/2
    |
    +2
    |
    +13
    |
    +2
    |Hide 1(14), Move Silently 2(13), Disable Device 2(13), Open Locks 2(13), Spot 1(14), Listen 1(8), Search 3(10)|--|Detect Magic, Teamwork sneak attack, Teamwork trapsense +2

    14th|Nightsong Infiltrator 5|
    +7/2
    |
    +2
    |
    +13
    |
    +2
    |Bluff 8(8), Hide 1(15), Move Silently 1(14), Disable Device 1(14), Open Locks 1(14), Listen 1(9)|5th:Improved Feint|Defensive roll, Grant move action 1/day

    15th|Hellbreaker 1|
    +7/2
    |
    +2
    |
    +15
    |
    +4
    |Hide 1(16), Move Silently 2(16), Listen 3(12), Search 3(13), Spot 2(16)|--|Mantle of Darkness, Telepathic static

    16th|Nightsong Infiltrator 6|
    +8/3
    |
    +3
    |
    +16
    |
    +5
    |Hide 1(17), Move Silently 1(17), Listen 5(17), Search 4(17), Spot 1(17), Open Locks 1(15)|--|Improved Evasion, Skill mastery, Specialized tools

    17th|Nightsong Infiltrator 7|
    +9/4
    |
    +3
    |
    +16
    |
    +5
    |Hide 1(18), Move Silently 1(18), Listen 1(18), Search 1(18), Spot 1(18), Open Locks 3(18), Tumble 5(5)|6th:Quick Reconnoiter|Teamwork trapsense +3, Trackless step (allies)

    18th|Nightsong Infiltrator 8|
    +9/4
    |
    +3
    |
    +17
    |
    +5
    |Hide 1(19), Move Silently 1(19), Listen 1(19), Search 1(19), Spot 1(19), Open Locks 1(19), Decipher Script 7(7)|--|Teamwork infiltration +4, Teamwork sneak attack

    19th|Nightsong Infiltrator 9|
    +9/4
    |
    +4
    |
    +18
    |
    +6
    |Hide 1(20), Move Silently 1(20), Listen 1(20), Search 1(20), Spot 1(20), Open Locks 1(20), Slight of Hand 7(7)|--|Grant move action 2/day

    20th|Nightsong Infiltrator 10|
    +10/5
    |
    +4
    |
    +19
    |
    +6
    |Hide 1(21), Move Silently 1(21), Listen 1(21), Search 1(21), Spot 1(21), Open Locks 1(21), Escape Artist 6(6), Autohypnosis 1(1)|7th:Martial Study (Shadow Stride)|HiPS (nature), Teamwork trapsense +4[/table]


    Life as 'The Cockroach':
    Spoiler
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    ECL 5:

    Spoiler
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    Hide (5ranks +5Dex +8Dark +15Skulk) = 33
    Move Silently (5ranks +5Dex +6Dark +8Skulk) = 24
    HiPS except in natural light or daylight spell
    Darkstalker feat
    Innate Non-detection
    Peerless Camoflauge
    Trackless Path

    The job here is to stay in the shadows. Scout ahead, pick a lock or two, and try to keep your blood inside your body.

    Darkvision is your enemy as it takes away concealment in shadows. Hide behind a bush or a tree or a rock or, preferably, the BSF. "Borrow" a ring of the darkhidden if/when you can find one. Or carry a Dark Lantern (ToM). Or hope your party caster is willing to cast Darkness now and then to help you out.

    When it comes to combat, hide somewhere and fling a dagger or a dart around. Snipe, snipe, snipe! It'll be slow, but effective. (Assuming, of course, that the BSF isn't big and stupid enough to get in the way.) If you can maintain concealment against your enemy, draw your dagger and snipe from ten feet away, stay hidden, then get a grip on your long spear. Even though your enemy can't find you, you still flank with a reach weapon. (And using that reach weapon keeps you out of the range of the Blind-Fight feat.) According to the rules for using the Hide skill, you can continue to hide while attacking (at -20 to the check). Stay in a flanking position and take those AoOs while you're hidden. Otherwise, just maintain your flanking position to give the BSF an easier time. You're not there to clean up in combat, but you can still help out.



    ECL 10:

    Spoiler
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    Hide (10ranks + 5Dex +4Int +8Dark +15Skulk) = 42
    Move Silently (8ranks +5Dex +4Int +6Dark +8Skulk) = 31
    HiPS except in natural light or daylight spell
    Darkstalker feat
    Innate Non-detection (is losing some value by this point)
    Peerless Camoflauge
    Trackless Path
    Skill Trick: Shrouded Dance

    You've joined the Nightsong Guild! Which means you're a member of a team. And you know what that means? Yup, Teamwork Benefits!! You qualify to lead a Climbing Squad (DMGII) and (if a Nightsong Enforcer on your team can lead) you can be a member of teams using Superior Flank (DMGII), Search (Dungeonscape), Circle of Blades (PHBII), Scouting (HoB), Awareness (PHBII), Door Procedures (DMGII).... Also of interest would be a Spirit Companion (DMGII). I'd suggest Transference and Lens, but of course, your party may vary. (Though, with your stealth and sign language, the 3rd and 5th tiers of Lens look very attractive!)

    Your job in this group is, of course, to stay in the shadows. Your ability to climb (a Brains Over Brawn skill) using Speedy Ascent gives you another option for scouting. Stick to the darkness as you literally climb the walls (you OCD freak, you!) and eavesdrop on all sorts of conversations. (No one ever looks up! You'd think they'd learn by now.) Pick a lock or twelve. Find and disable a trap or two.

    Darkvision is still your enemy and the same tricks apply. When in trouble, use your Shrouded Dance to gain concealment, HiPS to disappear, and Peerless Camoflauge to move quickly to safety!

    As for combat, the drill remains the same. Stay hidden and keep a flanking position (something that becomes all the more valuble if your team has the Superior Flank benefit!) A companion spirit with transference will allow you to take a penalty to attack to give a bonus to another team member. Be the guy to take the penalty! Any help you can give the team is appreciated, of course, but do remember two important things: 1.stay in the shadows and 2. keep your blood inside your body!




    ECL 15:

    Spoiler
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    Hide (16ranks + 5Dex +5Int +8Dark +15Skulk) = 49
    Move Silently (16ranks +5Dex +5Int +6Dark +8Skulk) = 40
    HiPS except in natural light or daylight spell
    Darkstalker feat
    Innate Non-detection (has lost most of its value by this point, still...if someone's using a wand or scroll to scry on you, it could be handy.)
    Peerless Camoflauge
    Trackless Path
    Skill Trick: Shrouded Dance
    Trackless Step (self)
    Mantle of Darkness
    Telepathic Static

    Your role hasn't changed, you're just getting better at doing it! With Detect Magic at will, you'll find those magical traps with ease. Combine that with three sources of trapfinding (yes, three!) and your search and disable device skills (with your bonuses), and you'll be laughing as you dismantle those traps. (Well, you would be laughing, anyway, if your move silently skill wasn't so good.) Locks tend to fall apart when you look at them. (Or, they would, if they could see you through the shadows.) You are the party scout, the sneak, the infiltrator, the...dare I say it?...skulk!

    Darkvision can kiss Mantle of Darkness's ass! With MoD and HiPS, you no longer need fear those who can see in the dark. Scent, tremorsense, blindsense, blindsight, darkvision, seeing in magical darkness, mindsight (within 20')...pfff! All worthless against you! Hahahahahaha.... Just stay away from necropolitan psions and you should be just fine. (And even then, lifesight creates normal light, so a darkness spell from your friendly neighborhood caster should stop that...and touchsight need line of effect, so hide behind something solid -- like the BSF.)

    Combat is still not your thing. Never was, never was meant to be, never gonna be. Live with it. (And you can, in the shadows. Keep your blood in your body and things should be just fine!) You're using cold iron weapons now to undo a bit of your enemies' SR (if you hit). But you're still doing the same things -- hide in the shadows, snipe from ten feet away, threaten with a reach weapon. If someone on the team leads Superior Flank (probably, by now), your teammates love that you're standing there providing the flanking bonuses to everyone -- especially now that you're granting them teamwork sneak attack damage.


    ECL 20:

    Spoiler
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    Hide (21ranks + 6Dex +5Int +8Dark +15Skulk) = 55
    Move Silently (21ranks +6Dex +5Int +6Dark +8Skulk) = 46
    HiPS except in natural light or daylight spell
    Darkstalker feat
    Innate Non-detection (practically worthless by this point, still...if someone's using a wand or scroll to scry on you, it could be handy.)
    Peerless Camoflauge
    Trackless Path
    Skill Trick: Shrouded Dance
    Trackless Step (self)
    Mantle of Darkness
    Telepathic Static
    Trackless Step (allies)
    HiPS (nature)

    You know what you do now? You go wherever you want to go (dragons' lairs, kings' treasure rooms, women's showers) and you take anything that you want to take (the shiniest bauble in the hoard, last month's taxes, a long leering look). Added to your list of where you can go undetected (sewers, castle dungeons, the Underdark, Hell...) is now the wide world of the natural realm. Spy on nymphs bathing in a mountain stream a daybreak, run unseen with a pack of unicorns through a forest glade at noon, dance through an orgy of delights with sprites and satres in a garden field. And if a drunken goat-boy doesn't notice that his pan-pipes are missing, who's to say it was you that took them?

    You have become quite the scout and sneak. When there's a mission to undertake, you get the group in quietly and safely, and find the mcguffin. Let the BSF carry it back out.

    Combat is as it always was. Hide where you can (just about anywhere, now), fling a sharp object when you've got a clear shot, poke 'em with a long stick if you don't.
    Just keep that blood of yours on the inside of that body you have, and you'll be able to retire at a ripe old age.


    Notes:
    Spoiler
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    It should be noted that, with the exception of Telepathic Static (only needed agains telepathy, which tends to be (Su)) and Innate Non-detection (only needed against magic, which is (Su)), all the abilities here are (Ex). This character operates perfectly well in anti-magic areas and dead magic zones. If you can comission an anti-magic item to be made, take it and don't look back. Otherwise, there are several magic items that can be of use to increase skills (Hide and Move Silently, certainly) and stats (which will help to increase skills) -- feel free to add them in.

    If LA buy-off is allowed at your table, use it. The Dark template adjusted by one level and Skulks give another +1LA. The two levels could be used for dips into Exemplar, Tactical Soldier, Dread Commando, Nightsong Enforcer.... Feats and skill point allotment may have to be adjusted accordingly.



    Sources:
    Spoiler
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    Dark Template -- Tome of Magic
    Skulk -- Races of Destiny
    Darkstalker feat -- Lords of Madness
    Factotum -- Dungeonscape
    Skill Tricks -- Complete Scoundrel
    Undo Resistance feat -- Fiendish Codex II
    Hellbreaker -- Fiendish Codex II
    Quick Reconnoiter feat -- Complete Adventurer
    Shadow Stride -- Tome of Battle (Bo9S)
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


    Spoiler
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  3. - Top - End - #63
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    No jokes or riddles.
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Mara
    Matthew Mara
    a.k.a.
    Detective Comic #27
    Infiltrator Azrael
    Sharn: The City of Towers


    class level breakdown
    Spoiler
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    human ranger 1/cobra strike monk 2/ master inquisitive 2/ watch detective 3/nightsong infiltrator 10/vigilante 1/urban soul 1


    Build
    Spoiler
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    abilities
    Spoiler
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    str 10 dex 14 con 14 int 18 (increases here) wis 10 cha 8

    {table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

    1st|Ranger 1|
    +1
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    +0
    |climb 4, gather info 4, hide 4,know (dungeoneering), know (local) 4, listen 4, move silently 4, search 4,sense motive 4, spot 4, tumble 4|Combat Reflexes, EWP:spiked chain|Favored Enemy (Organization: Nightsong Guild), Track, Voice of the City

    2nd|Cobra Strike Monk 1|
    +1
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |
    +2
    |climb 1 (5), gather info 1 (5), hide 1 (5), listen 1 (5), move silently 1 (5), sense motive 1 (5),spot 1 (5), tumble 1 (5)||Dodge, flurry of blows, unarmed strike

    3rd|Cobra Strike Monk 2|
    +2
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |
    +3
    |climb 1 (6), gather info 1 (6), hide 1 (6), listen 1 (6), move silently 1 (6), sense motive 1 (6),spot 1 (6), tumble 1 (6)|Investigate|Mobility, evasion

    4th|Master Inquisitive 1|
    +2
    |
    +5
    |
    +7
    |
    +3
    |bluff 5, listen 1 (7), search 3 (7), sense motive 1 (7), spot 1 (7)||zone of truth

    5th|Master Inquisitive 2|
    +3
    |
    +5
    |
    +8
    |
    +3
    |bluff 3 (8), know (local) 4 (8), listen 1 (8), search 1 (8), sense motive 1 (8), spot 1 (8)||Alertness, contact (3rd lvl)

    6th|Watch Detective 1|
    +3
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    |
    +5
    |climb 4 (10), disable device 5, open lock 2| Vexing flanker|City watch training

    7th|Watch Detective 2|
    +4
    |
    +5
    |
    +11
    |
    +6
    |hide 2 (8), know (engineering) 2, listen 1 (9), move silently 2 (8), open lock 3 (5), spot 1 (9)||combat expertise, obsessive specialty (know: local), profile

    8th|Watch Detective 3|
    +5
    |
    +6
    |
    +11
    |
    +6
    |disguise 1 (3), hide 2 (10), know (engineering) 3 (5), know (local) 2 (10), listen 1 (10), move silently 2 (10), spot 1 (10)||cooperative interrogation, superior disarming

    9th|Nightsong Infiltrator 1|
    +5
    |
    +6
    |
    +13
    |
    +6
    |disguise 1 (4), hide 2 (12), listen 2 (12), move silently 2 (12), spot 2 (12), UMD 5 | Improved Trip|Teamwork trap sense +1, trapfinding

    10th|Nightsong Infiltrator 2|
    +6/+1
    |
    +6
    |
    +14
    |
    +6
    |disguise 5 (9), hide 1 (13), listen 1 (13), move silently 1 (13), spot 1 (13), UMD 5 (10||Steady stance, teamwork infiltration +2

    11th|Nightsong Infiltrator 3|
    +7/+2
    |
    +7
    |
    +14
    |
    +7
    |bluff 1 (9), disguise 5 (14), hide 1 (14), listen 1 (14), move silently 1 (14), spot 1 (14), UMD 4 (14)||Break away, trackless step (self)

    12th|Nightsong Infiltrator 4|
    +8/+3
    |
    +7
    |
    +15
    |
    +7
    |bluff 4 (13), disguise 1 (15), forgery 4, hide 1 (15), listen 1 (15), move silently 1 (15), spot 1 (15) UMD 1 (15)| Spring Attack|Detect magic, teamwork sneak attack +1d6, teamwork trap sense +2

    13th|Nightsong Infiltrator 5|
    +9/+4
    |
    +7
    |
    +15
    |
    +7
    |bluff 1 (14), disguise 1 (16), hide 1 (16), listen 1 (16), move silently 1 (16), sleight of hand 7, spot 1 (16), UMD 1 (16)||Defensive roll, grant move action 1/day

    14th|Nightsong Infiltrator 6|
    +10/+5
    |
    +8
    |
    +16
    |
    +8
    |bluff 1 (15), disguise 1 (17), hide 1 (17), listen 1 (17), move silently 1 (17), sleight of hand 7 (14), spot 1 (17), UMD 1 (17)||Improved evasion, skill mastery, specialized tools

    15th|Nightsong Infiltrator 7|
    +11/+6/+1
    |
    +8
    |
    +16
    |
    +8
    |disguise 1 (18), gather info 2 (8), hide 1 (18), intimidate 4, listen 1 (18), move silently 1 (18), sleight of hand 3 (17), spot 1 (18), | Wolf Pack|Teamwork trap sense +3, trackless step (allies)

    16th|Nightsong Infiltrator 8|
    +12/+7/+2
    |
    +8
    |
    +17
    |
    +8
    |disguise 1 (19), forgery 10 (14), hide 1 (19), listen 1 (19), move silently 1 (19), spot 1 (19)||Teamwork infiltration +4, teamwork sneak attack +2d6

    17th|Nightsong Infiltrator 9|
    +12/+7/+2
    |
    +9
    |
    +17
    |
    +9
    |disguise 1 (20), forgery 6 (20), hide 1 (20), listen 1 (20), move silently 1 (20), spot 1 (20), tumble 4 (10)||Grant move action 2/day

    18th|Nightsong Infiltrator 10|
    +13/+8/+3
    |
    +9
    |
    +18
    |
    +9
    |disguise 1 (21), hide 1 (21), listen 1 (21), move silently 1 (21), spot 1 (21), tumble 10 (20)| Adaptable Flanker|Hide in plain sight, teamwork trap sense +4

    19th|Vigilante 1|
    +13/+8/+3
    |
    +9
    |
    +20
    |
    +11
    |disguise 1 (22), hide 1 (22), listen 1 (22), move silently 1 (22), sense motive 8 (16), spot 1 (22)||Detect evil, streetwise +2

    20th|Urban Soul 1|
    +13/+8/+3
    |
    +11
    |
    +22
    |
    +11
    |disguise 1 (23), hide 1 (23), listen 1 (23), move silently 1 (23), sense motive 7 (23) spot 1 (23), tumble 1 (21)||urban sustenance, City ramparts 1/day[/table]


    Backstory
    Spoiler
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    Detective Comic #27
    Spoiler
    Show


    Like many things in his life, the next important decision in Mara's life came down to a roll of the dice.

    A great bell went off above his head and he stood in front of the tired secretary on his dais. He shuffled into the circle like all those before him, the gown he was wearing for graduation still feeling a little long on him.

    "Name?" the secretary asked him.

    "Mara comma Matthew," he said.

    "All right, Mara, best of luck."

    The dice above him rolled round in their crystalline holder, great lumps of ivory fabled to be carved from a mammoth's tusk back before it was illegal to hunt them.

    "27!" the secretary said once the dice had come to a stop.

    Mara blanched.

    The secretary handed him a sheepskin with a seal around it. It had a grinning comedy mask on it. Mara felt sick to his stomach.

    "Congratulations, Mara. They'll be waiting for you down the hall."

    "There must be some mistake," he said quietly, "I'm not-."

    "Dice don't lie, kid. Come on, you're holding up the line."

    Mara scuttled off down the hall until he found a room with a few murmuring voices coming out of it.

    "Hey, Mara's here, looks like he's with us, guys!" shouted Golden.

    He rounded the corner and saw a sizable number of his graduating class from the police academy surrounding him. There were many faces he had expected to see fleshing out the rank and file of the department's clowns. Golden was always setting off stink bombs in the mess, even if no one could prove it was him.

    Though the rules of good conduct prevented Mara or anyone else from saying otherwise, he suspected Golden's gnomish heritage may be partially to blame.

    He certainly didn't expect to see some of the others relegated to the comedy corps, though. Mara smelled coffee, and felt he could use a cup. He hadn't had anything to eat before catching the lightning rail to the academy this morning, he'd been too nervous, dreading this day.

    An urn sat on the table, an appetizing tail of steam wafting from it. Mara reached for a cup but found a clawed hand on his shoulder. He swallowed and froze in his steps.

    "Leatherwing?" he asked, but knew he didn't have to.

    "Very astute, human. Outta my way."

    Leatherwing elbowed him with his bony arms and clasped his fingers awkwardly around a cup. He drank it black and steaming, just as Mara expected he would.

    "But… you can't be here," he said, feeling as though he'd made a mistake when Leatherwing's eyes reddened in anger.

    "Oh, yeah?" Leatherwing said, punctuating it with a high pitched screech that made Mara's teeth rattle. "And why's that? Tell me, I'm just dyin' to know."

    Leatherwing loomed over Mara now. The excitement had made the shifter live up to his name. The folds of skin shut up in his armpits had spread out in crude approximations of wings. The ragged legs of the pants that he wore under his gown lifted off the floor as his feet grew an extra joint. He was a good foot taller than Mara now, and the shade he was casting made it all too clear that he was at a disadvantage should it come to blows.

    The crowd smelled blood in the water and started to circle up around the pair. Someone, somewhere started the all-too-familiar chant.

    "Fight. Fight. Fight."

    If it were allowed to build steam, there was no stopping it. Mara had to use his training and defuse a hostile situation. He could do this. He was an officer of the law. He had the diploma to prove it.

    "N-now, look, Leatherwing, I didn't mean anything by it, just I didn't figure you'd wind up here is all."

    Leatherwing's face was impossible for him to read now. He could never tell how a shifter felt when it was in its animal form. The bat snout that poked out from Leatherwing's face showed no wrinkles of aggression as a human's would. He couldn't see any comprehension in his amber eyes, but he couldn't see where their pupils began either.

    Leatherwing's clawed hand lashed out and grabbed his throat. His wing fanned out and knocked a stack of cups to the floor with a crash that made the shifter wince as his giant ears picked up the noise. Had Mara been a braver man, it would have been the perfect chance to perform an incapacitating strike to the center of his sensitive snout, but he wanted to stop the fight, not make it worse.

    "Why not?" Leatherwing screeched, his words barely discernible through his mouthful of fangs.

    "Because," Mara gasped for air, "you're not funny."

    Leatherwing gave a small noise of satisfaction and pulled his hand away, letting Mara choke. He shrank back down to his normal size and gave his vestigial wing flaps a beat. He hopped up onto the table where the coffee cups were and took advantage of the crowd's attention.

    "No, I'm not! You think there are a lot of shifter cops? No! We're the ones filling the cells and prowling the streets. My mother didn't groom me to go to the police academy, she groomed me for lice, because she was a werebat. I didn't come to this to get applause, I came here to do my duty. That's the reason I deserve to be over in tragedy and you don't. My parents are dead!"

    The crowd, who had been eager for a fight, was captivated by Leatherwing's performance. Some invisible member of the crowd began a slow clap. Before long, everyone else had joined in, even Mara. Such timing, such flair. Mara even forgot for a moment that Leatherwing was adopted and raised from birth by a nice dwarven couple.

    Mara found an unbroken coffee cup and filled it. He tried to gulp it down like he'd seen Leatherwing do, but it was too hot.

    The door to the room shut with a bang. The crowd turned to see the stern-faced dwarf standing before them, his beard as immaculate as the dress uniform he was wearing.

    He focused in on the damage over towards the coffee table.

    "We can't leave you clowns alone for five minutes, can we?"

    He waved his hand and made the dishes whole again, stacked neatly on the table.

    "Anyway, gimme your attention a few minutes, and we'll assign you your partners. But first, I gotta explain the noble tradition of the comedy corps."

    Mara could hear the irritation in the lieutenant's voice and could tell he didn't believe that nonsense in their textbooks about this half of the force being important either. Nonetheless, with the way his luck was going, the best option was to pay attention.

    "Way back when, cops were allowed to just take their tests, get assigned a partner, and if they didn't like him, they requisitioned a new one. But then some of the geniuses in brass decided that the department was having problems in PR, that folks thought of us as too grim."

    There were grumbles throughout the crowd.

    "I know, I know. Anyway, suicide rates among staff were too high, so they figured making half of us into clowns'd cheer folks up a bit. Make our partners happier, make the public happier, make us happier."

    "Did it work?" shouted someone in the room. A few chuckles followed it.

    The lieutenant tried to pinpoint the source of the noise, but it became clear someone was using ventriloquism when he determined it was from his own breast pocket.

    "Well, smart guy, would I have to give this talk to new meat every year if it did? I know this ain't where most of you guys wanted to be. There's nothing I can do about it. Just try to make the best of it, and you'll get through all right."

    "Like you?" chirped the lieutenant's breast pocket again. He said nothing, just turned and exited the room.

    "Send 'em in!" Mara heard the lieutenant shout.

    The room was packed even fuller than it had been as the number of cops-to-be in it doubled.

    The chief took the color and cleared his throat. He gave a speech similar to the one Mara had just heard, about how it was his duty to keep the darkness in his partner-to-be's soul at bay, and show him the sunny side of life while his partner would keep his cheery optimism this side of bearable with occasional tough-love talks and remonstrations.

    Honestly, Mara wasn't sure who this was supposed to be helping. He knew better than to say anything, though.

    Eventually, the chief finished and began reading off a long scroll.

    "Golden, you're with Silver."

    "Figures," Golden said, making a face. He hopped up to the front of the room and shook hands with his new partner, a hulking warforged, scarred and pitted from battle. The instant the joy buzzer in Golden's hand touched his partner's metal palm, he experienced a short and kicked Golden under the chin, sending his tiny body flying across the room like a football.

    He landed on a pile of folding chairs, but staggered out a few moments later.

    "I'm all right!" he said. Everyone laughed, even the chief.

    "Moving on," he said, and got back to the list. It was a while before Mara knew he was coming close to his name.

    "Mara, you're with Wilson."

    Mara walked up and shook his partner's hand. He was really a rather normal-looking guy. Mara couldn't think of a single way at all that he was his comically mismatched opposite.

    They stood off to the side with all the others who'd already been paired up.

    "Hey," Mara muttered.

    "Yeah?"

    "Is Wilson short for anything?"

    "Nah. Sometimes the names just don't end up meaning anything, that's all."

    Mara nodded and for some reason felt very disappointed.

    The rest of the ceremony wasn't particularly eventful, and Mara and his partner began their patrol in what seemed like no time at all.

    "So," Mara said to break the silence in the pair's cruiser, "what made you join the academy?"

    Wilson shrugged. "Just a job, really. You?"

    Mara sighed. "Yeah, just a job," he lied. It appeared he and Wilson really were mismatched after all, just not in any way that made him want to laugh.

    Their radio crackled and told them of a B&E not too far from their present location. Mara told them they'd be on the way soon and they started toward the storefront.

    They got out and Mara had to suppress an urge to cover his nose when the approached the corner shop. He knew they weren't in the richest part of town, but he wasn't expecting… whatever it was currently beating the inside of his nose into submission.

    "It's sad, isn't it?" Mara said.

    "Huh?"

    "This place."

    "Oh. I guess. Isn't it my job to be sad?"

    Mara held the door open for his partner and blinked back a tear when he saw crutches for sale in the window far too small for anyone grown to use them.

    "Yeah," Mara said.

    "Hello?" Wilson said. "Anyone home?"

    There wasn't any sound from inside the shop, and there wasn't anyone standing behind the counter.

    Mara gestured to Wilson in Police Sign Language and asked what he was doing. Wilson signed back for him to play along and asked him to crouch behind the counter.

    Mara hopped the counter and crouched down behind it.

    "Marco!" Wilson yelled.

    "Polo! Oh, dammit!" yelled someone else from the upper floor of the shop.

    Wilson pulled a wand from his sleeve and hissed a magic word as a coating of something thin and slippery-looking coated the bottom stair. He drew his cloak around himself with a dramatic flourish and disappeared from Mara's view.

    Mara saw a changeling with a stocking pulled over his face bolting down the stairs, taking them two at a time. The instant his foot landed on the bottom stair, it flew immediately out from under him. The robber's fell backward and landed against the stairs with a wet-sounding crack.

    Mara popped his head up and looked out at the perp. He wasn't moving.

    "What the hell were you thinking?" Mara shouted. He hopped over the counter and ran over to the changeling.

    "Sir? Sir, can you hear me?" Mara said.

    A wisp of fabric reappeared in the air. Mara gave it a tug and unwrapped his partner.

    "Why did you do that?"

    Wilson bit his lip and looked nervous.

    "I just- I thought it would be funny."

    Mara swallowed nervously and pulled up the changeling's mask.

    He saw a telltale red rash around the changeling's mouth and rolled up his sleeve to find the track marks he suspected may be lurking there.

    "Did you notice he was buzzing on agony?" Mara asked.

    "Yeah, that's why he didn't change."

    The changeling made a little groaning noise. Mara rested his ear against his chest to check for breathing.

    "Sir? If you can hear me, blink twice." Mara said. The changeling blinked twice. Mara clapped a pair of handcuffs around his jittering wrists.

    "Healing will be made available to you as soon as we're back at the precinct house. As soon as you're detoxed and capable of standing trial, you will do so. If you can't afford a barrister, the city will provide one to you. You don't have to say anything to me, though it may help you to do so."

    They were able to load him into the car without any further incident.

    "You're not gonna tell on me, are you?" Wilson asked, sounding very small.

    "What, for miscasting a lousy spell? It could happen to anyone," Mara said, feeling a little sick to his stomach as he did.

    "No," Wilson said, "for playing outside of my role. For making a joke."

    Mara couldn't think of anything to say, so just shook his head.

    It was going to be a very long trek up the ladder.
    Eberron's Greatest Detective
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    The last few months passed quickly for Mara. He had been unhappy in his role as a glorified clown, but he'd done his part to make the witnesses smile when they told him details of the brutal crime du jour. Wilson tried his hand at dramatic monologues about a fictitious tragic past, but never got past the first sentence or so before the audience lost interest. He simply lacked the gravitas.

    The time came for new recruits to be eligible for the detective's exam. Mara was first in line. He would be up for reassignment with a new partner with a detective's badge, and he'd heard rumors of a prize offered to the officer who scored highest in the class. Mara was going to do his best.

    He sat for the test and did his part to swat away arcane eyes and curious furry creatures trying to peek at his answers. It was part of the test, as the whole point was to test how good each candidate was at gathering information. Mara did his part in his own subtle way. He had little skill for theft personally, but was adept in exposing it in others. Mara squeezed off a zone of truth in the last few minutes of the test, masking his verbal component under the flutter of a familiar's wings.

    The proctor called out the prospective detective the parrot landed on.

    "You there, are you cheating?"

    "Yes, quite flagrantly!"

    "Out!" The proctor pointed to the door, and the would-be test-taker shuffled out to sulk in the hallway with the others.

    The proctor called time eventually, and Mara and the others left the room without speaking a word. Golden, of course, eventually broke the silence.

    "I sat next to Silver. The goofball polished himself this morning. I could see everything in his breastplate. How about you?" Golden said.

    "I just studied," Mara said meekly. Golden snickered.

    "Good one! And you said you didn't belong here. Who you think's gonna win?"

    Mara shrugged. "Probably one of the bots. They're natural when it comes to tests."

    Golden sighed and lit a comically undersized cigarette. "Yeah, figures. Silver's an ok guy, I guess, I just gotta wonder what the rest of us are missing."

    "Yeah."

    The proctor came out with the last batch of applicants, including Leatherwing. Some small, mean-spirited part of Mara wanted to make a crack about his literacy, but he decided against it.

    "All right, guys, get outta here. You win, you'll know about it. Don't call us, we'll call you."

    There were a few scattered laughs, but not many.

    Mara wandered home in a daze. His eyes were burning from taking the test. All he wanted was rest.

    He rode the rail back to his apartment. The car was full of other bleary-eyed officers, dreaming the same dreams Mara was. He hoped fate was kind to them. Sometimes it seemed like all he could hope for, even if his track record was far from stellar.

    Mara opened the door to his one-room apartment and felt something amiss. The coat he'd worn to the examination was thin out of habit, not necessity. It was protocol not to dress too warmly when on active duty, so an officer's senses could pick up on subtle changes in the atmospheric temperature. It had caught them more than one wayward frost mage in the past. He felt it was a touch too warm in the cramped space. Someone else was there.

    He took a step towards the high-backed chair in the center of the room. It always faced toward the door specifically so no one could hide in it. Mara reached for his weapon and kept talking.

    "How'd you get in?"

    The chair spun around to reveal a figure striking in its nondescript nature. It was dressed in a form-fitting but somehow still androgynous black unitard. Its hands were wrapped in long, black gloves, and its head was concealed in a roughly oval mask. Mara didn't see any holes for eyes or a mouth, but didn't hear any breathing. The room was eerily silent. The figure drew itself up to its full height, well over six feet, and took a step towards Mara, making no sound on the squeaky floorboards of his apartment.

    "Identify yourself now, or I am well within my legal rights as a citizen of Stormreach to use deadly force. I'm a cop. Just get out the way you came in, and no one has to get hurt."

    Mara took a step back as he heard a grating, unnatural noise come from the creature's direction. He saw a black choker around its neck, doubtless a tool to distort its voice. He was proved correct after it stopped what he realized was laughter and began to speak.

    "Is that any way to address your superior, Officer Mara? Or should I say, Detective Mara?"

    Mara backed towards the wall and reached for a wand to turn on the lights. While the room lit up, the figure's features were no clearer to him. It seemed surrounded in some kind of shadow or haze. He could see neither breadth nor slenderness of shoulder, not bulge of muscle or breast, or the slightest hint of hair under the mask. It must be some kind of glamor, and an expensive one, too.

    "Let's see some ID."

    The thing in front of him laughed again, a noise like a mouthful of broken glass.

    "I'm sure that someone of your perceptive qualities has ascertained by now my wish to remain anonymous."

    "What's your rank then, if you're allowed to come here in the middle of the night without telling anybody?"

    The figure shook its head.

    "At our echelon, we have no more use for your petty ranks, much less names. You do remember that you were told you'd know if you won the prize."

    Mara lowered his weapon.

    "You mean I got the highest score?"

    "Yes, Detective. Congratulations."

    Mara let out a nervous giggle and holstered his weapon.

    "I'm sorry sir, or, uh, ma'am?"

    It laughed again, and Mara wished it wouldn't.

    "As I said, I have no more use for such monikers. You are a funny one, Detective. "

    "That's what you pay me for."

    The figure extended an arm and beckoned for Mara to sit. He did so.

    "If it's so important, you can call me Rothbart. I'm here to tell you the truth about the schism in the police department."

    "The what?"

    Rothbart gave what Mara supposed was intended to be a knowing chuckle, but didn't sound much like one when the filter was finished with it.

    "You see, despite popular knowledge to the contrary, the division of recruits into two houses had nothing to do with public opinion or suicide rates. Both remained perfectly static after the change."

    Mara was confused. "But the statistics, they back it up."

    "All falsified."

    "What's the point?"

    "The point, Detective, is why I am here. You see, the department's aware of the discrepancy between certain officers' dispositions and their placement. It's deliberate."

    "Why?"

    "Because only the most determined can perform under that kind of stress."

    Mara shook his head. "But why the pretense?"

    Rothbart gestured with a hand, the first time Mara had seen it demonstrate any overt body language.

    "It's like the criminal gangs say, what's the best kind of spy?"

    Mara responded at once, "one who doesn't know he's a spy." It had been on the exam.

    "Precisely. You see, those of you who wind up mismatched are being forced to develop traits you don't have, just as you would in the field."

    He wasn't sure he liked where this was going, but found it fraught with tragic potential.

    "What are you saying?"

    "How do you think we select men for our undercover operations, Detective? In your time thus far on the force, do you know anyone who has been selected for such operations?"

    Mara shook his head.

    "Well, we obviously haven't been sitting on our hands all this time. We appoint our men secretly. They carry on with most of their normal duties to avoid any opportunity for coworkers to find out, in case they're playing for the other team. We make our pitches in conversations just like this."

    "Is that why the," Mara said, gesturing vaguely at Rothbart's face. It nodded.

    "What is it you want me to do?"

    Though he couldn't know for sure, his detective's instinct told him Rothbart was smiling.

    "That's the spirit."


    A Cowardly and Superstitious Lot
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    "You're going to be undercover in the Nightsong Guild. Given your performance on departmental evaluations, you'd be more well-suited to their covert operations division, the Nightsong Infiltrators," Rothbart said.

    He supposed that would make him a Nightsong Infiltrator Infiltrator, but hadn't wanted to spoil the mood, so hadn't said anything. It was all so wonderfully serious.

    "Do you remember that changeling burglar you arrested with Wilson a few months back?" Rothbart asked

    "I do," Mara said.

    "He was merely a symptom of a much more serious social disease. The Nightsong Guild has been smuggling agony in for months, but only recently wiped out the last remnants of a rival distributor. They now have an effective monopoly, and are planning to increase the price."

    Pricier agony meant a lot of desperate addicts roaming the streets, and a lot more money in the Guilds' pockets.

    Mara had asked the inevitable: "How did this happen?"

    "Narcotics division is receiving a share of the profits. They would have more if the Guild were spending all of its money producing more product instead of settling turf wars."

    Mara was shocked, but listened on.

    "Part of your role is gather information from the Guild to learn who is controlling the local trade."

    "How will I do that? Doesn't the Guild check out its recruits?"

    "The department's contacts took care of it."

    Mara said he would take the job, and extended his hand. When its glove touched his skin, he felt a chill that had nothing to do with the temperature of the room.

    Rothbart produced a small, nondescript ring, and told him to put it on.

    Mara did, and Rothbart told him the command word. He spoke it, though it wasn't in any of the registered magical languages. By this point, he knew better than to ask if Rothbart had a permit for it.

    A tiny, hinged compartment on the ring opened up, and a great length of black fabric leapt from it and enveloped Mara's body. The barest slice of his skin was still open to the air.

    Rothbart gestured, produced a pair of visor sunglasses from the air, and set them carefully over Mara's face, rendering him entirely covered. They radiated magic, which explained why he didn't find his vision hampered, nor did he find any difficulty breathing through the cloth that wrapped around his nose and mouth.

    "Your new identity has already been talked up to the Guild. You're a transfer from a branch in Regalport."

    Since teleportation was strictly regulated and monitored, he had supposedly come into Sharn by land. This explained the delay in his arrival, favoring stealth over speed, as the Nightsong Infiltrators were trained to do.

    When Mara broached the subject of training, Rothbart produced a glass vial that looked to be full of a black, smoky substance.

    Though he'd never seen it in person before, he knew from his studies at the academy that it was fog, a highly illegal substance made of an individual's condensed memories. Extraction of these memories was a delicate procedure, like removing the venom sacs from a puffer fish, and if done improperly could kill the victim or leave him a blank slate.

    He didn't bother to ask at this point, knowing he would simply get a response about desperate times and measures or the like. Rothbart crushed the capsule under Mara's nose and the vapor drifted up into his nostrils.

    Before him, he found memories of his hands dancing through dozens of locks, his feet finding just the right spots to step in to avoid leaving footprints, subtle motions with his body to avoid letting his scent blow on the wind.

    The training of the Nightsong Guild now reverberated in Mara's mind. He knew exactly how to implement his training for the Guild's goals, or at least how to make a very convincing imitation of it.

    His first mission was to shadow a shipment of agony and make sure that there weren't any witnesses. Rothbart explained the lack of any other narcotics officers on hand as the department wanting to trace the supply back to its source in the hopes of finding who was in charge.

    The aim was to cut off the Nightsong Guild's head that its body might wither and die.

    The duty itself was uneventful. He gave the attendant the name Rothbart had assigned him, Azrael, and gave his classification as Infiltrator, first-class. After a moment of scrutiny checking the unfamiliar agent with a wand for police paraphernalia, he told Mara that his story checked out.

    He sat in the corner where people couldn't see him, or at least pretended not to, and watched sad-eyed workers open the crates and dole out the agony into tiny, glass vials.

    Once they had finished their shift, the foreman showed Mara the door, and he began his real mission.

    The driver that had smuggled the agony into the warehouse was in the back office warming up with a cup of hot cocoa, leaving Mara the chance to slip into the hidey-hole where the agony had been smuggled, a little false-bottom in the bed of the truck.

    Mara's breath was hot and close around him on the ride back to HQ. He waited until the engine stopped idling and the driver's footsteps grew too faint for even his Guild-trained ears to perceive any longer.

    Mara slithered out of the truck and surveyed his surroundings. He was surrounded by a bevy of identical trucks, presumably having returned earlier from similar missions.

    He saw the name of the moving company, "Three Guys and a Truck," and searched around for the office.

    The driver was making a report to a large, bearded man sitting in a chair, cradling a snifter of brandy. The art on the walls looked uncharacteristically expensive for a moving company.

    Mara memorized his face and went out the door to report back to Rothbart.

    He waited at his apartment for Rothbart to return. He sucked Azrael back into his ring and found his street clothes a welcome comfort. He didn't like playing robber for any longer than he had to.

    Rothbart slithered in through his chimney, somehow not upsetting any of the soot caked on the inside.

    "You could use the door."

    "It's against protocol. You should know that if the fog did its job."

    Mara nodded. "Right. I just mean, oh, never mind. I found the kingpin. But what good does it do? I need some kind of hard evidence."

    Rothbart glided over to him, his steps eerily silent on the floor. He reached behind Mara's ear and with a flourish, produced a small, gold chain he hadn't realized he was wearing.

    "Part of the perks of being an Infiltrator," Rothbart said as he raised the necklace. "This recorded everything you saw and heard. It's got the kingpin talking about the shipments if that was what you saw. All you need do is deliver it to the head of narcotics."

    Mara swallowed.

    "Can't I give it to someone else? So I don't blow my cover if he asks how I got it? I wasn't acting as an officer of the law, I could get into serious trouble with IA."

    Rothbart shook his head. "It has to be you. We don't know how rotten narc's core is. Anyone you gave it to would be at risk of destroying it. You have to give it to the head, and you have to walk with him down to evidence yourself if it's needed. We've come too far to go back now."

    Mara didn't see a way around it. "What's the activation code?"

    Rothbart snarled another word in the cruel, illegal language that he had used to activate the ring.

    "What if he asks me where I found the recording device?"

    "It's on a need to know basis. If he asks, he isn't in our circle. If not, then it's moot. You had better hurry. Evening shift finishes soon."

    Mara contemplated the necklace and took it from Rothbart's hand. He looked at it and glanced up, but Rothbart was gone.

    He turned up for work when he wasn't scheduled and got some odd looks. The head of narcotics, Willoughby was filling out a sea of forms, sipping from a flask of Hasty-Tasty to speed up his pen strokes.

    Mara opened the door to his office and went in.

    "Mara? How are you, son? Take a seat. Did you leave something behind? Lost and found's not my department. Unless of course someone loses some illegal substances, that is, ha ha!"

    His words were an absolute flurry as he rapidly shuffled papers to and fro.

    "Well, sir, I brought you this." Mara took off the necklace and set it somberly on the desk.

    "I'm afraid you're not really my type, Mara. You know I only date other elves."

    "No, sir, it's evidence."

    "In what case?"

    "The case against the Nightsong Guild, sir. About the agony they're smuggling."

    The avuncular smile left his face and he gestured towards the door. With an ozone tang of magic in the air, it shut itself, drowning out the buzz of the busy police station behind them.

    "Mara, I'm going to have to ask how you know about that. You aren't assigned to the case."

    Mara picked up the necklace and rested it in the palm of his hand in what he hoped was a suitably dramatic way.

    "Well, sir, I have been assigned to the case," he paused for dramatic effect, "by von Rothbart."

    Willoughby bolted straight up, his reflexes enhanced by the energy drink that lay half-full on his desk.

    "How do you know that name? You're in very deep trouble, son, very deep trouble indeed."

    He grabbed the can and quaffed the rest of it. Willoughby let out a mighty belch through his nose as he finished the last remnants. At least now Mara knew the reason a comic was in charge of narc, even if it didn't seem exactly productive.

    Willoughby balled his hands into fists, leaving a flesh-colored blur behind his fingers as he moved. Mara had to act fast, or he knew Willoughby would have subdued him in no time.

    "I have something to change your mind, sir, just look at this!" Mara spoke the command word and held the necklace in front of him like a protective amulet keeping Willoughby at bay as though he were a vampire.

    The necklace exploded in a ball of flames.


    I Am the Night
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    Mara awoke handcuffed to a hospital bed in the infirmary.

    "You're up," said the medic attending to his wounds. "I wish I could say it was good news."

    "What… you mean?" Mara croaked, every word dragging a file across his throat.

    "Your terrorist attack. I suppose it would please you greatly to know that you were successful. Willoughby is no longer with us. You didn't get off unscathed though. Either your protective ward failed, or the Guild didn't see fit to outfit you with one, but either way, you sustained significant damage."

    Mara squinted at his reflection in the medic's glasses and let out a shrill scream. His face was grotesquely burned, and his face and neck were peppered with shrapnel. He recognized a piece in his cheek as part of Willoughby's soda can.

    The medic yanked it out with a gesture of his hand, the shard landing in a small metal pan.

    "I'd ask you why you did it, but that's not my job. I'd wish you a speedy recovery, but there's a zone of truth cast on your bed." With that, he departed.

    Mara recognized the footsteps he heard coming towards his room. They belonged to his partner. It seemed like someone else's life.

    Wilson sat down in the chair next to his bed a respectable distance away, like he thought Mara would claw at him.

    "I got this questionnaire I gotta ask you, Matt, but I'm just gonna put it away. Why?"

    Mara choked out a halting response.

    "Rothbart told me narc was dirty. Working with the Guild. I gathered intel and reported back to Willoughby to show him the guy in charge, the one at the moving company. Did we get him?"

    Wilson let out a long, slow breath. He laughed a little, but then couldn't stop himself from crying. Mara did his part to pretend not to notice.

    "Narc isn't dirty. They were trying to crack the Guild's stint dealing agony too, but it didn't have anything to do with Rothbart. And he ain't a cop," Wilson said.

    Mara felt a deep sinking in his chest that he couldn't attribute to the painkillers swimming through his blood.

    "We got a call from a moving company. Guy running it owed a couple months' rent, so we went to talk to him. Property crimes brought a sniffer if he had any violent thoughts and they found he's a changeling. Same one we caught way back when. They tell him the game's over and he comes quiet. We got him back at the station in a holding cell."

    Mara's head was spinning.

    "But the-the workers, and the agony-"

    "An illusion. Programmed image. Rothbart or whoever he is said it went off when you gave the activation phrase. Only other person there besides you was the driver. He took you back to Rothbart's company and they staged the conversation for you. He planted the bomb on you when he got back to your apartment and told you it was evidence. Maybe if we'd got you before it'd gone off, we could play it like you didn't know better, but you killed someone, Matt."

    Mara took a deep, painful breath.

    "What he said about the force, about the divisions, how it's used to pick spies, none of it's true?"

    Wilson shut his notepad and pushed his chair back.

    "I don't know what you're talking about. I figure the junk's kicking in. I'll come back when you're lucid."

    Wilson left and for a moment, Mara let what he'd done sink in.

    There wasn't time to pity himself. He reached to the side table and picked up the shard of Willoughby's Hasty-Tasty can. He got a good, firm grip on it and the edge bit his finger. He watched the blood well up on his thumb and gingerly dripped it into the keyhole on his handcuffs. Without oil, some substitutions had to be made, his memory told him. After a bit of finagling, he sprung it open. He was still feeling woozy from the drugs, but was steady enough on his feet to stand.

    There was a roll of gauze nearby, and he was able to cover the worst of his face with it. The man next to him was fast asleep, and had a hat and coat on the chair next to him.

    Mara wasn't proud, but he had something he needed to do. He donned the hat and shrugged on the coat. A few minutes later, he was out the window and beating a path to the jail.

    He knew where the holding cell was in relation to the rest of the building and how long Rothbart would be there. Before he could pay him a visit, there was one thing he needed back. The necklace. His hand burned with painful chunks of metal, and his memory supplied the name of a mage who didn't ask questions.

    Mara limped his way there, staying out of sight, and used the name Azrael one more time to secure a favor. The mage pulled the shrapnel from his skin and crushed them together again, making the necklace whole in his palm.

    "Present?"

    Mara growled through his shredded lips.

    "Something like that."

    At street level, the bars on the holding cell's window were accessible, but too small to fit through. Mara was able to see Rothbart in the cell, lounging on the bed in the shape of the bearded kingpin. He only had one throw, so had to make it count. The necklace landed on Rothbart's chest, and he had just enough time to turn around before Mara spoke the magic word that felt all too familiar to him by now and shut his eyes so shield them from the worst of the splatter.

    He started running off down the alley as Rothbart's blood started to soak into his crusted bandages. Rothbart may have killed both of his names, but one way or another, he would find a way to use his skills to put things right. He and the city would be square again, even if it took the rest of his life.

    Build highlights
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    Level 5
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    Your training at the academy enables you to track. You're being trained in the art of unarmed combat so you can incapacitate criminals non lethally in order to arrest them.

    You're moving up the ranks and have your levels in master inquisitive. Investigate lets you learn all kinds of cool things about crime scenes, and it works really well in tandem with your Track feat. You can follow criminals' tracks and discern the importance of the materials you find as early as level 5.

    If the assailant's still there when you arrive, you've got zone of truth as a SLA, and if you're playing with action dice (since it's an eberron prc) you can use it a little more often.

    You've even got an informant now, or whatever your contact is. Master inquisitive even gives alertness as a bonus feat for the SI so you don't have to pay for it.

    Combatwise, you've got evasion, combat reflexes, and EWP spiked chain. You can now make a bunch of AoOs within 10 feet.

    I'm not going to pretend dodge/mobility do anything. It's there for spring attack later. But in circumstances where you do run away from enemies, the +4 from mobility does stack with the +4 from the SI's breakaway ability, so that's something.


    Level 10
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    You've passed your detective's exam and are in watch detective prestige. City watch training gives a +2 insight bonus on listen, search, sense motive, and spot checks. You also gain combat expertise.

    As with dodge/mobility, I'm not going to pretend that you're going to use combat expertise but it opens certain doors for you at level 9 with improved trip.

    Spiked chain lets you trip, imp trip lets you get a free melee attack right afterwards. Combine this with your 10 foot reach and enjoy.

    Obsessive specialty lets you pick a knowledge skill (local here) and gain your class lvl as an untyped bonus to it, so that's pretty cool. The class gives all knowledges as a class skill, so pick what you like.

    Profile is a weird little ability that works well with track and investigate. While talking to witnesses, you can form a clear picture of the assailant in your mind, and draw it. Very useful for making wanted posters.

    Cooperative interrogation is essentially "good cop bad cop", and allows you to give an ally a +4 to an intimidate/bluff in any round right after you do the opposite. you can even buddy up with another detective and buff yourselves indefinitely.

    superior disarming's handy if you get caught without your weapon, but you have a little monk, so you don't mind too too much. you probably won't be disarming that much, but it's nice to have the option available. spiked chain allows you to have a small bonus on the disarm check and not be adjacent to an enemy when you make the attempt too.

    You've begun the SI and your career as a nightsong infiltrator infiltrator. What's it given you so far?

    You can find traps now. Steady stance and teamwork infiltration are also up and running. With the groundwork laid with your earlier class levels, the SI will be able to have a much strong effect later on

    Vexing flanker is up, bumping your flanking bonus from 2 to 4, making you more likely to hit with your attacks from teamwork SA and opening the door for adaptable flanker later.


    Level 15 sweet spot
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    As mentioned earlier, mobility helps a little with your AC when avoiding AoOs when stacked on top of breakaway and now you're able to enjoy that.

    You've got trackless step now, so you're quite a formidable investigator. Detect magic is up now, in case you're separated from your wand collection, which you've certainly been making use of, since the SI's kind enough to give UMD. it can also provide a nice boost against magical traps. even if you fail the check to find the trap, you'll still be able to find the magic.

    Spring attack's up now, making all those taxes you've been paying worth it. You can move attack and move, which is admittedly lackluster, but why you really want it is wolf pack. wolf pack requires a dex of 15, but I'm not going to pretend that you don't have a dex boosting item of some kind this late in the game.

    It's a tactical feat, and gives you one good maneuver:

    Distract foe. when you flank with an ally, after the first round, you can roll a melee attack as a full-round action. If it works, roll bluff+damage dealt versus target's sense motive +BA. if you win, every ally who's flanking with you can immediately make an AoO.

    Normally, this is kinda okay. With your team sneak attack, it becomes a little more attractive, especially if you have melee focused precision damage based characters in your party (especially if they have ambush feats)

    Imp evasion's up, and with your save, you shouldn't worry about reflex effects anymore. Your allies can share trackless step now.


    Level 20
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    Adaptable flanker is up, and merges with your spiked chain, vexing flanker, combat reflexes, team SA, and wolf pack abilities. This lets you occupy any square you threaten for the purposes of flanking when adjacent to an opponent.Your spiked chain gives you a 10 foot reach, you can actually count as being behind your enemy (if medium/small) as well, so your friends can be on the same side as you.

    While the ability this is keyed off of, tactical soldier and elocator's "flanker" specifies you can occupy normally impossible to occupy squares (such as walls, other characters' spaces, etc) and this lacks such language, you can still threaten those squares (if a ghost came out of the wall you were threatening, you could attack it) so it seems not to change the end effect. As always, ask your DM.

    Your level after the SI is completed represents your disillusionment with both the law and crime. With your reputation gone, you have to fight crime on your own terms.

    Vigilante gives a boost to gather info and know (local) checks, which you use fairly often, in addition to detect evil as a SLA at-will, paladin style. While it is admittedly late in the game, and you probably had a wand already, it never hurts.

    Urban soul is your transformative level. After you find you have to fight crime on your own, you form an unbreakable bond with the city, and become part of it. You no longer eat, drink, or sleep and heal 2x the normal rate. You also get a rage like ability that's stronger the larger your city.

    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


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  4. - Top - End - #64
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Source list for Matthew Mara.

    Sources
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    core-ranger, combat reflexes, EWP, monk, alertness, imp trip, spring attack
    eberron campaign setting-master inquisitive, investigate
    masters of the wild-watch detective
    PHB2-vexing flanker, adaptable flanker,
    Races of the wild-wolfpack
    complete adventurer-nightsong infiltrator, vigilante
    races of destiny-urban soul
    Cityscape web enhancement
    Last edited by Amphetryon; 2012-12-15 at 07:31 PM.
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


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  5. - Top - End - #65
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Also, Semper Ubi Sub Ubi.

    Quote Originally Posted by E. Pluribus
    E. Pluribus














    While there is a lower class, I am in it,
    while there is a criminal element, I am of it,
    and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.


    The individual cannot exist without the society, and they are no better then its weakest point. E Pluribus uses his abilities to try and reinforce the weakest among his group, so that the whole may become strong. While this often seems to take the form of selfish criminal behavior, the actions and motivations of changelings can be hard to discern. When E. is traveling with a group, they move with stealth, yet are constantly aware and ready for ambush. When he travels, his fellows avoid the snares and pitfalls strewn across the path. When he travels, they learn to work as one. Yet, like his patron Traveler, he does not always reveal himself or his motives. If you do not know people at their worst, you cannot make them better.


    The Record of Union
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    E. Plurabus, CG Changeling Team Member
    {table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

    1st|Savant 1 Level|
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |Hide 4, MS 4, Spot 4, Bluff 4, Disguise 4, Sense Motive 4, Spellcraft 4, Climb 4, Disable 4|Able Learner|Academic Lore, Skill Assistance Spot, Trapfinding

    2nd|Savant 2 Level|
    +1
    |
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |Hide 5, MS 5, Spot 5, Bluff 5, Disguise 5, Climb 5, Disable 5, Open 2||Talent Lore: Alertness

    3rd|Savant 3 Level|
    +2
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +3
    |Hide 6, MS 6, Spot 6, Bluff 6, Disguise 6, Climb 6, Listen 1, Open 4|Darkstalker?|Sneak Attack +1d6

    4th|Savant 4 Level|
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Hide 7, MS 7, Spot 7, Bluff 7, Disguise 7, Climb 7, Listen 2, Open 5, Search 1||Skill Assistance Hide

    5th|Changeling Rogue 1|
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +3
    |
    +4
    |Hide 8, MS 8, Spot 8, Bluff 8, Disguise 8, Climb 8, Listen 5, Search 5||Sneak Attack +1d6, Social Intuition

    6th|Changeling Rogue 2|
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |Hide 9, MS 9, Spot 9, Bluff 9, Disguise 9, Climb 9, Listen 8|Craven|Evasion

    7th|Chameleon 1|
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |Hide 10, MS 10, Spot 10, Bluff 10, Disguise 10, Climb 10, Search 6, Disable 6||Aptitude Focus 1/Day

    8th|Nightsong Infiltrator 1|
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |Hide 11, MS 11, Spot 11, Bluff 11, Disguise 11, Climb 11, Search 11, Disable 6||Teamwork Trap Sense +1, Trapfinding, Teamwork Ability: Scouting, Teamwork Ability: Search Team

    9th|Nightsong Infiltrator 2|
    +5
    |
    +1
    |
    +5
    |
    +4
    |Hide 12, MS 12, Spot 12, Bluff 12, Disguise 12, Climb 12, Search 12, Disable 10|Improved Diversion|Steady Stance, Team Infiltration+2

    10th|Nightsong Infiltrator 3|
    +6
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |Hide 13, MS 13, Spot 13, Bluff 13, Disguise 13, Climb 13, Search 13, Disable 13, Spellcraft 5||Break Away, Trackless Step (Self)

    11th|Nightsong Infiltrator 4|
    +7
    |
    +2
    |
    +6
    |
    +5
    |Hide 14, MS 14, Spot 14, Bluff 14, Disguise 14, Climb 14, Search 14, Disable 14, Spellcraft 8||Detect Magic, Team Sneak Attack +1d6, Team Trap Sense +2

    12th|Nightsong Infiltrator 5|
    +7
    |
    +2
    |
    +6
    |
    +5
    |Hide 15, MS 15, Spot 15, Bluff 15, Disguise 15, Climb 15, Search 15, Disable 15, Spellcraft 11|Quick Reconnoiter|Defensive Roll, Grant Move Action 1/Day

    13th|Nightsong Infiltrator 6|
    +8
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |
    +6
    |Hide 16, MS 16, Spot 16, Bluff 16, Disguise 16, Climb 16, Search 16, Disable 16, Spellcraft 14l||Improved Evasion, Skill Mastery, Special Tools

    14th|Nightsong Infiltrator 7|
    +9
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |
    +6
    |Hide 17, MS 17, Spot 17, Bluff 17, Disguise 17, Climb 17, Spellcraft 17, Craft Blacksmithing 2||Team Trap Sense +3, Trackless Step (allies)

    15th|Nightsong Infiltrator 8|
    +10
    |
    +3
    |
    +8
    |
    +6
    |Hide 18, MS 18, Spot 18, Bluff 18, Disguise 18, Climb 18, Spellcraft 18, 4 Gather Infol|Practiced Spellcaster: Chameleon|Team Infiltration +4, Team Sneak Attack +2d6, Teamwork Ability:Superior Flank

    16th|Nightsong Infiltrator 9|
    +10
    |
    +4
    |
    +8
    |
    +7
    |Hide 19, MS 19, Spot 19, Bluff 19, Disguise 19, Climb 19 Spellcraft 19, 8 Gather Info||Grant Move Action 2/Day, Teamwork Ability: Friendly Fire Evasion

    17th|Nightsong Infiltrator 10|
    +11
    |
    +4
    |
    +9
    |
    +7
    |Hide 20, MS 20, Spot 20, Bluff 20, Disguise 20, Climb 20, Spellcraft 20, 12 Gather Info||Hide in Plain Sight, Team Trap Sense +4

    18th|Chameleon 2|
    +12
    |
    +4
    |
    +9
    |
    +7
    |Hide 21, MS 21, Spot 21, Bluff 21, Disguise 21, Climb 21,|Trickery Devotion|Rotating Bonus Feat

    19th|Chameleon 3|
    +13
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    |
    +8
    |Hide 22, MS 22, Spot 22, Bluff 22, Disguise 22, Climb 22,||Mimic Class Feature 1/Day

    20th|Chameleon 4|
    +14
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    |
    +8
    |Hide 23, MS 23, Spot 23, Bluff 23, Disguise 23, Climb 23,||Ability Boon +2, Teamwork Ability: Improved Friendly Fire Evasion[/table]


    Spells of the Community
    Spoiler
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    Chameleon Casting
    {table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th

    1st|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    2nd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    3rd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    4th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    5th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    6th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    7th|4|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    8th|4|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    9th|4|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    10th|4|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    11th|4|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    12th|4|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    13th|4|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    14th|4|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    15th|4|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    16th|4|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    17th|4|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    18th|4|4|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    19th|4|4|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-

    20th|4|5|4|2|-|-|-|-|-|-[/table]

    For his Chameleon Spellcasting, he usually uses the arcane spell of the Trapsmith from Dungeonscape, which notably gives him 1st level Clairvoyance, Gaseous Form, and Haste, and Second level Dimension Door and Stone Shape. While he doesn’t take enough levels of Savant to get any spellcasting, he has taken levels in a spellcasting class, and can use wands from the spells on the Savant Arcane and Divine Lists without having to use UMD.


    Out of Many, One
    Spoiler
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    E Pluribus is focused on increasing the abilities of his team as much as possible. While some characters do this through spells or bard songs, E Pluribus instead tries to work at covering for the gaps in other peoples skills. From early levels he is able to use his own skill ranks for the hide and spot checks of his party members. He doesn’t bother with move silently as this can be easily covered for with the silence spell or other abilities. Trackless Step also helps protect them from any tracking.

    His spotting abilities are later enhanced by the Teamwork ability, Scouting. This gives the party as a whole a free listen and spot check at the end of the round, using the lowest modifier in the party, but with +1 for each party member. E Pluribus lets the party member with the lowest modifier use his own skill rank instead, in the end allowing the team to spot even better then he can on his own. In case the free spot check a round isn’t enough E Pluribus learns Quick Reconoiter to give himself an additional free spot check each round. Between the two free spot checks, and a focus on spot, he should be able to see and detect anything, including scrying sensors and invisible creatures. If something is really hard to see, he can give his entire party a move action, to then make spot checks using his spot skill.

    Another Teamwork ability that works well with the trapfinding abilities of the Infiltrator is the Search Team. The Search Team lets his search check apply to searches made by other party members. This speeds up the normally slow process of searching 5 foot squares once at a time. You might have noticed that after a while he stops taking ranks in search and disable device, that is because after a certain point he no longer needs them. The Infiltrator gives him the ability to take 10 on search and disable checks. He has 16 skill ranks in Search and disable, he starts with 16 int. Team Infiltration gives him +4 Competence on Search and Disable checks. Specialized Tools gives him a +4 Circumstance bonus on the same, giving him a 37 on Search and Disable Checks. The highest magical trap only has a dc of 34.

    Superior Flank is combined with Team Sneak Attack to increase damage dealt, by making the flanking of enemies easier than it would be normally. E Pluribus can move in through stealth, making use of his Hide in Plain sight, Darkstalker, and his ability to make a distraction to hide with a bluff check.

    One of his most powerful abilities though is Detect Magic. Combined with his high spellcraft modifier he can identify all spells that have already been cast, all spells as they are being cast, and furthermore, most spells that are cast on him in secret that force him to make a saving throw. If using even a +3 skill boosting item, he can identify all spells cast on him in that way.

    One of his most surprising abilities is that E Pluribus is actually a spellcaster. From level 7 he is able to access most of the Trapsmith spell list, which is one of the most powerful spell lists in the game. 1st level Clairvoyance and 2nd level Dimension Door are especially useful when bypassing dungeon obstacles. He also can also use magic items with spells on the Savant Arcane or Divine Lists without having to make UMD checks. There are many great spells on that list including True Strike and Divine Power. Should he need to, he can switch away from Trapsmith casting to the spell lists of any other arcane or divine caster. In addition to swapping around caster lists, he can also swap around his Chameleon feat, adapting day by day, with it he can pick up familiars (He is a CL 3 Savant filling the requirements), magic item creation feats, Maneuvers, and more.

    On top of everything else he is a changeling who can quickly gather information, and disguise himself as others. Craven adds a little extra punch, and Darkstalker makes him especially hard to detect. When necessary trickery Devotion gives him a semi-illusionary double.

    Sources:
    Changeling: Eberron Campaign Setting
    Savant: Dragon Magazine Compendium
    Able Learner: Races of Destiny, see Chameleon Prestige Class Adaptation Section
    Darkstalker: Lords of Madness
    Changeling Rogue: Races of Eberron
    Craven: Champions of Ruin
    Chameleon: Races of Destiny
    Scouting Teamwork Ability: Heroes of Battle
    Search Team Teamwork Ability: Dungeonscape
    Improved Diversion: Complete Adventurer
    Quick Reconnoiter: Complete Adventurer
    Practiced Spellcaster: Complete Arcane
    Superior Flanker Teamwork Ability: Heroes of Battle
    Trickery Devotion: Complete Champion
    Trapsmith: Dungeonscape

    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


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  6. - Top - End - #66
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Staying revenant, er, relevant.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aredhel Melwasul
    Aredhel Melwasul, Lioness’s Song
    Wood Elf rogue 1/Ranger 2/Rogue +2/ Barbarian 1/Revenant Blade 1/ Nightsong Infiltrator 4/Revenant Blade +4/ Nightsong Infiltrator +5
    Stats
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    32 point buy
    Pre-racial Str 14, Dex 14.,Con 14, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 8
    Post-Racial Str 16, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 8
    Level up Bonus 3->Dex (at least 1 before level 11) 2-> Str.

    Backstory
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    Deep within the bowels of Sharn, in a dark room protected from prying eyes (and scrying and other divinations), the heads of the Nightsong guild has gathered to discuss who will join their ranks.
    “Our next candidate is… Aredhel Melwasu, she has proven herself to be resourceful and skillful enough to join our ranks, definitely as an Infiltrator.”
    “No, just no, have you forgotten all the troubles that her kind has brought us?” yelled a human as he smacked his fist against the wooden table.
    “Calm down Swift, when you joined the Nightsong you left all your ties, what the Valenar did against Cyre is irrelevant, besides she is young enough, she didn’t participate in the Great War” was the response from an aged elf.

    “…. Fine; but I still think she is not fit to become an infiltrator, she is too reckless and doesn’t seems to understand the concept of subterfuge, I accept that her stealth abilities are incredible; but no matter what she will find a way to start a fight. With that in mind she should be an Enforcer not an infiltrator,” was the reply from the man known as Swift.

    “Yes; but lately we have seen a lot of works being botched because our infiltrators haven’t been able to fight of the guard, I believe it is time to broader their skill set”.

    “True… so you think she is ready to face the trials?”

    “She is going through them right now? Then why did you summon me if you have already decided that?”

    “Because protocol demanded I did so”

    “…”

    Meanwhile in a higher level of the guild complex, unbeknown to her the elven warrior was fighting for a place in the guild; but more importantly for her life, the construct fighters doing their best and then some more to protect the secrets of the guild. Her twin bladed scimitar danced through the air as she slashed, parried and stabbed, trying to find an opening to incapacitate her foes; but her attacks bounced off the plating that covered them. Finally when she was cornered she unleashed the fury of her namesake and with new strength and drive she defeated the automatons.

    Once she calmed down, she proceeded to study the door those construct were so hell-bent on protecting, her finely tuned senses telling her that somewhat was amiss, what? She did not know, at least at the moment. Going through the motions with the ease of years of practice she managed to discover and dissemble the traps hidden not in the door as someone might expect; but in the frame of it, another empty corridor like so many she had found, yet the fact that those “golems” had protected the door told Aredhel to go deeper. Following her instincts she kept going avoiding traps and even patrols (despite her upbringing and her own instincts, she knew she couldn't keep fighting against everything). Finally she reached another door; but this time she knew it was the door as the rapier surrounded by a cloth engraving told her. Taking out her tools she started working on the locks that stood between her and her price. After some tense minutes were her senses worked in overdrive taking everything in, she opened the door.

    Two men were waiting her on the other side of the door, before she could react the older looking one spoke:
    “Welcome Aredhel Melwasul, welcome to the Nightsong guild”.


    {table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

    1st|Rogue|
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |
    +0
    |Balance 4, Climb 4, Craft (Wood working) 3, Disable Device 4, Hide 4, K: History 2 (4 cc), Listen 4, Move Silently, Open Lock 2, Search 4 , Spot 1, Spellcraft 1 (2 cc)|Alertness |Trapfinding, Sneak Attack +1d6

    2nd|Elven Ranger|
    +1
    |
    +2
    |
    +4
    |
    +0
    |Climb 5 (+1), Disable Device 5 (+1), Handle Animal 1 (+1), Hide 5 (+1), Listen 5 (+1), Move Silently 5 (+1), Search 5 (+1), Spot 4 (+3) || Trap Finding, Elf Favored Enemy Giants* +2, Spiritual Connection, Teamwork Benefit: Group Trance, Elven Ranger Substitution Level

    3rd|Ranger|
    +2
    |
    +3
    |
    +5
    |
    +0
    |Climb 6 (+1), Disable Device 6 (+1), Hide 6 (+1), Listen 6 (+1), Move Silently (+1) Search 6 (+1), Spot 5 (+1) |Bladebearer of the Valenar, Two-weapon Fighting| Combat Style (Two-weapon fighting)

    4th|Rogue|
    +3
    |
    +2
    |
    +7
    |
    +0
    |Balance 5 (+1) Climb 7 (+1), Disable Device 7(+1), Hide 7(+1), Listen 7 (+1), Move Silently 7(+1), Open Lock 3 (+1), Search 7 (+1), Spot 7 (+2)|| Evasion

    5th|Rogue|
    +4
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |
    +1
    |Climb 8 (+1), Disable Device 8 (+1), Hide 8 (+1), Listen 8 (+1), Move Silently 8 (+1), Open Lock 5 (+2), Search 8 (+1), Spot 8 (+1), Use Magic Device 1 (+1)||Sneak Attack +2d6, Penetrating Strike, Teamwork Benefit: Cunning Ambush

    6th|Barbarian|
    +5
    |
    +5
    |
    +7
    |
    +1
    |Climb 9 (+1), Hide 9 (+2 cc), Move Silently 9 (+2 cc), Listen 9 (+1)|Weapon Focus (Valenar Double Scimitar)|Spirit Lion Totem (Pounce), Whirling Frenzy (1/day)

    7th|Revenant Blade |
    +6+/1
    |
    +5
    |
    +7
    |
    +3
    |Climb 10 (+1), Handle Animal 1 (+1), Hide 10 (+1), Listen 10 (+1), Move Silently 10 (+1), Search 10 (+1), Spot 10 (+1)| |Ancestral Guidance (Power Attack or Weapon Specialization (Valenar Double Scimitar), Hero of the Valaes Tairn, Ranger Class features

    8th|Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +6/+1
    |
    +5
    |
    +9
    |
    +3
    |Disable Device 11 (+1),Handle Animal 2 (+1), Hide 11 (+1), Listen 11 (+1), Move Silently 11 (+1), Search 11 (+1), Spot 11 (+1), Use Magic Device 2 (+1) Skill Trick (2) ||Teamwork Trapsense +1, Trapfinding, Nimble Charge

    9th|Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +7/+2
    |
    +5
    |
    +11
    |
    +3
    |Disable Device 12 (+1), Handle Animal 3 (+1), Hide 12(+1), Listen 12 (+1), Move Silently 12 (+1), Search 12 (+1), Spot 12 (+1), Use Magic Device 5 (+3)|Wild Cohort: Leopard| Steady Stance, Teamwork Infiltration +2, Teamwork Benefit: Massed Charge
    10th|Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +8/+3
    |
    +6
    |
    +11
    |
    +4
    |Disable Device 13 (+1), Handle Animal 4 (+1), Hide 13 (+1), Listen 13 (+1), Move Silently 13 (+1), Search 13 (+1), Spot 13 (+1), Use Magic Device 8 (+3) ||Breakaway, Trackless step (Self), Teamwork Benefit: Awareness.

    11th|Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +9/+4
    |
    +6
    |
    +12
    |
    +4
    |Disable Device 14 (+1), Handle Animal 5 (+1), Hide 14 (+1), Listen 14(+1), Move Silently 14 (+1), Search 14 (+1), Spot 14 (+1), Use Magic Device 11 (+3)||Detect Magic, Teamwork Trapsense +2, Teamwork Sneak Attack +1d6.

    12th|Revenant Blade|
    +10/+5
    |
    +6
    |
    +12
    |
    +7
    |Hide 15 (+1), Listen 15 (+1), Move Silently 15 (+1), Search 15 (+1), Spot 15 (+1), Use Magic Device 11.5 (+1 cc)|Darkstalker| Shadows of the Past

    13th|Revenant Blade|
    +11/+6/+1
    |
    +6
    |
    +12
    |
    +7
    |Hide 16 (+1), Listen 16 (+1), Move Silently 16 (+1), Spot 16 (+1), Use Magic Device 12 (+1 cc)||Ancestral Guidance (Improved Critical)

    14th|Revenant Blade|
    +12/+7+/+2
    |
    +6
    |
    +12
    |
    +8
    |Hide 17 (+1), Listen 17 (+1), Move Silently 17 (+1), Spot 17 (+1), Use Magic Device 12.5 (+1 cc)||Giant Slayer

    15th|Revenant Blade|
    +13/+8/+3
    |
    +6
    |
    +12
    |
    +9
    |Hide 18 (+1), Listen 18 (+1), Move Silently 18 (+1), Spot 18(+1), Use Magic Device 13 (+1 cc) |Staggering Strike| Ancestral Guidance (Blind-Fight), Legendary Force

    16th|Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +13/+8/+3
    |
    +6
    |
    +12
    |
    +9
    |Disable Device 19 (+1), Hide 19 (+1), Move Silently 19 (+1), Spot 19 (+1), Use Magic Device 17 (+4), Tumble 2 (+2)||Defensive Roll, Grant Move Action 1/day

    17th|Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +14/+9/+4
    |
    +7
    |
    +13
    |
    +10
    |Disable Device 20 (+1). Hide 20 (+1), Listen 20 (+1), Spot 20 (+1), Use Magic Device 20 (+3), Tumble 5 (+3)||Improved Evasion, Skill Mastery, Specialized Tools
    18th|Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +15/+10/+5
    |
    +7
    |
    +13
    |
    +10
    |Disable Device 21 (+1), Hide 21 (+1), Listen 21 (+1), Move Silently 21 (+1), Search 21 (+1), Spot 21 (+1), Use Magic Device 21 (+1), Tumble 8 (+3)|Improved Two Weapon Fighting**|Teamwork Trapsense+3, Trackless Step (Allies).


    19th|Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +16/+11/+6/+1
    |
    +7
    |
    +14
    |
    +10
    |Disable Device 22 (+1), Hide 22 (+1), Listen 22 (+1), Move Silently 22 (+1), Search 22 (+1), Spot 22 (+1), Use Magic Device 22 (+1), Tumble 11 (+3)||Teamwork Infiltration +4, Teamwork Sneak Attack +2d6.

    20th|Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +16/+11/+6/+1
    |
    +8
    |
    +14
    |
    +11
    |Disable Device 23 (+1), Hide 23 (+1), Listen 23 (+1), Move Silently 23 (+1), Search 23 (+1), Spot 23 (+1), Use Magic Device 23 (+1), Tumble 14 (+3) ||Grant Move Action 2/day[/table]

    On Teamwork Benefits
    Spoiler
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    Teamwork benefits are a sadly underutilized maneuvers that have an amazing synergy with the playstyle that Nightsong infiltrator encourages. In addition to that they don’t consume any type of resources except time. Their requirements is having a team leader with certain amount of ranks in a skill related to the benefit and the other members simply having a low amount of ranks in the skill for some benefits that can be quite substantial. Each Benefit needs two weeks of training to be developed and this be able to get the benefits, I suggest taking the usual downtime between level ups to train with the party to get the following benefits:

    Awareness: Everyone gets +2 circumstance bonus to Listen and spot if any other team member is within 30 feet of each other. Spot and Listen are probably the most rolled skill so every little bonus helps.

    Cunning Ambush: The team leader can hide other team members using his own modifiers, though the check uses the team member dex modifier and armor check penalty. Considering you will most likely have a huge Hide modifier this will help a lot in laying ambushes.

    Improved Cunning Ambush: This is pretty awesome, any character that had been hidden with the benefit of the above teamwork benefit gets a full round worth of actions in the surprise round if they aren’t surprised themselves. One of the few completely mundane ways to mess with action economy.

    Group Trance: You can share your trance with your whole party and get 8 hours of rest in 4 hours, Spellcaster still need their normal rest time to prepare spells; but this reduces the time you spent being vulnerable.
    Massed Charge:The leader makes a special charge and all team members charge at the same time toward the same target each getting a bonus to their attack rolls equal to the number of members charging in addition to the normal charge bonus. Even though they move on your initiative count, there is nothing on the rules that prevents the other team member to act normally on their own initiatives.


    Wild Cohort
    Spoiler
    Show
    One of the main damage sources is sneak attacking and the easiest way to enable it is via flanking, for Aredhel this is even better as thanks to Teamwork Sneak attack your flanking partner also get a little sneak attack. Now while flanking is a pretty sound strategy regardless of playstyle; not all groups enable easy flanking, either due party composition or playstyle. In order to fix this the Wild Cohort feat is selected, that gives you a constant flanking companion.

    LeopardMountain Lion was selected primary due having 3 attacks and pounce which works as a force multiplier thanks to teamwork benefits and they also automatically qualify for all the teamwork benefits (except Group Trance) described above, the main one being Massed charge, which gets you and him a +2 attack bonus.
    Due the way the feat is worded, even though you have an effective Druid level to select your companion, it doesn’t affect it bonus HD and advancement, which means by the time you first get the feat your leopard has 5 extra HD, +5 natural armor, +2 Str/Dex and some extra tricks.

    Those extra feats help you customize your cohort to make him a threat. Your first priority should be getting the Island of Blade stance on the leopard so you can flank your enemy even if you are adjacent to each other, the earliest you can get it is at ECL 10 when your cohort will have 7 extra HD and thus 2 extra feats. At higher levels you could opt for a tiger companion or even a Magebred Ghostiger (level 11); but personally I feel a large white tiger would draw too much attention which is counterproductive when stealth is one of your primary strengths. .


    Build Snapshots
    A very important note about Aredhel and the Nightsong Infiltrator class in general, is that it encourages a proactive style of play. Many of its class abilities require some downtime to lay an ambush so you should try to go and look for encounters instead of waiting for them to find you.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Level 1: You are a squishy rogue with good stealth and perception abilities, use them accordingly. In combat you should use a longspear to maintain enemies at bay and sneak attack when possible (1d8+1d6+4 averaging 11 points of damage is perfectly fine at this level).

    Level 5: At this point of the game you are less squisher and can go toe to toe with enemies more comfortably, you also change your longspear for your ancestral weapon, the Valenar Double scimitar. In combat you should flank as much as possible and full attack to make the most of your Sneak attack, remember that you also have Penetrating Strike to deal with those pesky undead, construct, elementals, etc. Out of combat you are one of the beast scouts available with good sneaking skills, even better perception skills and the ability to deal with traps. Your spiritual connection allows you to talk with animals to get a better idea on any surprised that might await you.

    Sweetspot Level 9: Here is when your main stichk comes online, Using the benefit of Massed Charge with your LeopardMountain Lion cohort you can full attack (power attack optional) on each charge and almost assuredly get sneak attack flanking with your feline friend, who thanks to his own pounce and Teamwork sneak attack adds 5d6 sneak attack damage (if you have other melee friends this number increases)in addition your spiritual connection should allow you to command your cohort as a free action since you can speak with him. If possibly try to lay down ambushes and charge from your hiding spot along with your furry friend. As always your scouting skills improve and thanks to Teamwork Infiltrator you can share the love with your party.

    Level 10: Pretty much the same as last level with slightly higher numbers.

    Level 15: Legendary Force comes online at this level! This means that now you treat both ends of your Valenar Double Scimitar as two handed weapons, meaning you have 1.5 str bonus and 1:2 Power Attack ratio on all your attacks, this coupled with your sneak attack makes for a very high Staggering Strike DC.
    Level 20: You can now grant move actions to your allies; but since you do it as a standard action it is next to worthless; but on the upside all of your main tricks continue to improve, anything vulnerable to sneak attack (and with penetrating strike it is almost everything) will become chunky salsa thanks to 6 attacks each with 1:4 Power attack ration and 4d6 dice of sneak attack, + whatever amount of attacks from your flanking partner each dealing 2d6 dice of sneak attack (your Leopard companion will have 5 attacks, so 10d6 extra damage). Improved Evasion and Defensive roll are pretty neat defensive abilities that can save your life.

    Variants and rules clarification
    Spoiler
    Show
    This build can benefit from various variants that aren’t assumed in this challenge and may need some clarification on the rules:

    *The Elven Ranger Substitution level has an ability that modify the normal favoured enemy which changes the skills the bonus apply to, in specific it keys the bonus to Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Spot, Survival and Weapon Damage Rolls. It also has an special option that makes the bonus +3 if the Favoured Enemy selected was Undead, Orcs or Servants of Loth (Drows, Monstrous Spiders and Driders) since in Eberron Lolth doesn’t exist and Drows aren't mortal enemies with “normal” elves you should ask your DM if he would let the special bonus to Giants of Xen’drik.

    ** This build doesn’t assumes that specific items will be easy to get; but if you can get a pair of Gloves of the Balanced Hand (MIC) you should take Greater Two weapon fighting at level 18 instead.

    Revenant Blade’s class ability Guidance of the Ancestors gives you up to three “virtual” feats that don’t count for pre-requisites, there is a pretty cheap item (1800 gp) that allows you to select another feat in addition to a small bonus to hide and move silently, and if possible you should get your Zaelshin Tu as soon as you get into Revenant Blade.

    On the subject of the bonus feats if your DM allows them to count as pre-requisites you should change your feat selection. Select Power Attack as your first level feat instead of Alertness and use your first Ancestral Guidance feat on Alertness to qualify for Nightsong Infiltrator, the rest of the feats could be Combat Expertise + Improved Trip for tripping goodness. For a more drastic change you can drop Staggering Strike and depending on what you want, more damage or a more defensive build change that feat. For more damage you should select Improved Sunder as your Ancestral Guidance feat and Combat Brute instead of Staggering Strike, for the more defensive build get Dodge+Mobility as your “virtual feats” and get Elusive Target as your 15th level feat.
    Finally Revenant Blade levels stack with Ranger level to determine CL, since you don’t have ranger spells one could argue that this does nothing; but you could ask your DM to let them stack for the CL of your Spiritual Connection ability.

    With Flaws in play there are other options that open up, you could focus on the charger aspect of the build by taking power attack and Improved Bullrush and substituting any normal feat (darkstalker or Staggering Strikes are the best candidates) for Shock Trooper (in addition with the variant up you could also get Combat Brute online by level 15 for pseudo-Ubercharging). For a more Stealthy/stabby option you could take Craven and move Darkstalker down to level 1 and getting Extra rage at level 12 to get more out of your Barbarian level. If you have a more generous point buy or awesome rolls and therefore can afford Cha 11+ you can take Hidden Talent (Dimension Hop) and visit the Psionic Node (detailed in CPsi) to get a swift action teleport and 7 PP/day.

    If level adjustment buy off is in play, the Dark Template (ToM or Cormyr: The tearing of the weave) is a prime candidate to get, particularly the version from Cormyr since it gives you Su HiPS, which is strictly superior to the Ex version from the ToM template.

    Items
    Spoiler
    Show
    As with all characters you can benefit a lot from diverse magic and mundane items, here is a list of some of the items which can help you.
    Standard magic items: Save boosters, AC boosters, Stat enhancements, etc (try to priotize str then con and finally dex)
    Zaelshin Tu(PgtE): Will give you another feat from your Ancestral Guidance class ability.
    Mantle of Rage(Web): Gives you an extra use of rage per day.
    Maneuver Granting Items (ToB): Maneuvers are awesome and some of them are particularly useful to you. Distracting Ember (Desert Wind Cloak) Flanking partner 1/encounter? Yes please. Cloak of Deception (Shadow Hands) Greater Invisibility for one round, easy escape when fecal matter hits the fan and you must escape or as a Sneak Attack enabler. Mountain Hammer (Stone Dragon Belt) Dungeon opener, nough said. Now these items occupy some really important slots; but you should be able to add their effects to other items for a 1.5 increase in price and since they are so cheap it won’t cost you much.
    Gloves of the Balanced Hand(MIC): Gives you improved two-weapon fighting, getting them should allow you to take Greater Two weapon fighting at level 18 (combine them with Shadow Hands for roughly 12500 GP)
    Belt of Battle (MIC): Extra actions are awesome; therefore this item is also awesome.
    Sneak Attack Boosters:
    Deadly Percision (CAd): +2d6 SA.
    Deadly Percision (MiC): +1d6 SA.
    Assassination(Web): +1d6 SA, also enhancement bonus to poison save DCs.
    Bracers of the Hunter (EB:SoX): +1d6 SA, +5 hide & +2 initiative.
    Bracers of Murder (DotU): +2 profane to attack/damage vs flat-footed foes, reroll SA's 1s, +2 to Death Attack save DCs too.
    Rogue's Vest (MiC): +1d6 SA, +2 hide/move/reflex.
    Murderer's Gloves (?): 3/day swift action, one round invisibily after SAing.
    Umbral Awn or Custom Legacy (ToB/WoL): +3d6 SA.
    Full Mon's Trick or Custom Legacy (WoL): +4 to attack/damage while SAing.
    Sword of Subtlety (Core): +1 short sword, +4 to attack/damage while SAing
    Mantle of the Predator (MiC, item): +1d6 SS on melee only, +5 hide/move.
    Shadow Veil (MiC, item): while in shadows, gain concealment against stuff that does not use light to find you.
    Ring of DarkHidden (MiC, item): darkvision cannot see you.
    Due your High Use Magic Device modifiers you can use most wands and scrolls.


    Sources:
    Spoiler
    Show

    Player’s Handbook: Rogue, Ranger, Barbarian, feats, skills.
    Monster Manual: Wood Elf, Leopard
    Unearthed Arcana: Whirling Frenzy.
    Complete Adventurer: Nightsong Infiltrator, feats.
    Complete Champion: Spirit Lion Totem, Spiritual Connection Ranger.
    Complete Scoundrel: Skill Tricks
    Player’s Handbook II: Teamwork Benefits.
    Player’s Guide to Eberron: Revenant Blade, feats.
    Five Nations: Magebred Ghost tiger
    Web Enhancements: Wild Cohort, Mantle of Rage
    Magic Item Compedium: Misc. Items
    ToB: Items, feats.
    Lord of Madness: Feats
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


    Spoiler
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  7. - Top - End - #67
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Seeing double?
    Quote Originally Posted by The Twins
    The Twins
    Take our loves, take our lands, take us to where we cannot stand. Burn the land, boil the sea. You can't take the sky we see...

    The Twins were from a village that got attacked when they were young. They hid, being frail and scared, but made a vow when they emerged and saw the devastation: They would find those responsible and make them bleed... They figured out in their travels that their people were attacked by slavers, most of them being taken and sold. They vowed to eschew the comforts of a normal life until all were freed... Since they are frail, since they are scared, and since they are weak, then Twins have elected to use tactics that keep them in the shadows and allow them to strike without being seen...

    The Build...
    Spoiler
    Show
    Neutral Good Dvati Females

    Racial Features
    Level Adjustment +1
    Twins: A single Dvati is two creatures with the same level and classes. Hit points are divided among both, but both get get full Constitution Bonus.
    Pair Link: Dvati flanking with each other gain a +3 bonus. They may use Aid Another to give +4 to Attack Roll or Armor Class.
    Echo Attack: Flanking twins can spend a Move Action to force an opponent make a Will save. Failure gives +1 to Attack Roll or Armor Class against that creature.
    Spell Conductor: Dvati can shift the effects of Touch Spells that are Harmless between themselves.

    Ability Scores By Level
    {table=head]Level|Str|Dex|Con|Int|Wis|Cha|Increase Amounts|From What

    1st|
    11
    |
    15
    |
    12
    |
    13
    |
    16
    |
    10
    ||32 Point Buy

    4th|
    11
    |
    15
    |
    12
    |
    14
    |
    16
    |
    10
    |+1 Int|Level Increase

    7th|
    11
    |
    15
    |
    12
    |
    14
    |
    18
    |
    10
    |+2 Wis|Vow of Poverty

    8th|
    12
    |
    15
    |
    12
    |
    14
    |
    18
    |
    10
    |+1 Str|Level Increase

    11th|
    12
    |
    17
    |
    12
    |
    14
    |
    20
    |
    10
    |+2 Wis, +2 Dex|Vow of Poverty

    12th|
    13
    |
    17
    |
    12
    |
    14
    |
    20
    |
    10
    |+1 Str|Level Increase

    15th|
    13
    |
    19
    |
    12
    |
    14
    |
    22
    |
    12
    |+2 Wis, +2 Dex, +2 Cha|Vow of Poverty

    16th|
    13
    |
    20
    |
    12
    |
    14
    |
    22
    |
    12
    |+1 Dex|Level Increase

    19th|
    13
    |
    22
    |
    14
    |
    14
    |
    24
    |
    14
    |+2 Wis, +2 Dex, +2 Cha, +2 Con|Vow of Poverty[/table]

    If Level Adjustment Buy Off is in effect, there is another increase at 20th that would got to Str [14].



    The Build Proper
    Note that bonuses to saves for Resistance granted by the Vow of Poverty Feat are added into saves. This is because they are static 'always on' bonuses.
    Also included are the bonuses from the Crusader's ability, Indomitable Soul.
    The 20th Level is included for campaigns using Level Adjustment Buy Off. If that rule is not allowed, just ignore it.


    Alternate Class Features
    Invisible Fist, Exemplars of Evil -- Page 21; Passive Way Monk, Unearthed Arcana -- Page 52
    Decisive Strike, Player's Handbook II -- Page 51; Hit and Run Fighter, Drow of the Underdark -- Page 58
    Penetrating Strike, Dungeonscape -- Page 13

    {table=head]Level|ECL|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

    1st|
    2
    |Rogue|
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |
    +0
    |Balance 4, Climb 4, Diplomacy 4, Disable Device 4, Hide 4, Move Silently 4, Open Lock 4, Perform (Dance) 4, Search 4, Tumble 4|Sacred Vow (Level Feat), Craven (Flaw Feat), Darkstalker (Flaw Feat), Shaky (Flaw), Frail (Flaw)|Sneak Attack +1d6, Trapfinding

    2nd|
    3
    |Rogue|
    +1
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |
    +0
    |Balance +1 [5], Climb +1 [5], Disable Device +1 [5], Hide +1 [5], Move Silently +1 [5], Open Lock +1 [5], Perform (Dance) +1 [5], Search +1 [5], Tumble +1 [5]||Evasion

    3rd|
    4
    |Passive Way Monk|
    +1
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |
    +2
    |Climb +1 [6], Hide +1 [6], Move Silently +1 [6], Tumble +1 [6], Search +1CC [5.5]|Combat Expertise (Bonus Feat), Improved Unarmed Strike (Bonus Feat), Vow of Poverty (Level Feat)|Bonus Feats, Decisive Strike, Wisdom to Armor Class, Unarmed Damage


    4th|
    5
    |Monk|
    +2
    |
    +3
    |
    +6
    |
    +3
    |Climb +1 [7], Hide +1 [7], Move Silently +1 [7], Search +2CC [6.5], Tumble +1 [7]|Combat Reflexes (Bonus Feat), Intuitive Strike (Exalted Feat)|Bonus Feat, Invisible Fist

    5th|
    6
    |Crusader|
    +3
    |
    +5
    |
    +6
    |
    +3
    |Climb +2CC [8], Hide +2CC [8], Move Silently +2CC [8]||Furious Counterstrike, Steely Resolve 5, Maneuvers/Stances

    6th|
    7
    |Hit-and-Run Fighter|
    +4
    |
    +7
    |
    +6
    |
    +3
    |Climb +1 [9], Hide +2CC [9], Move Silently +2CC [9]|Allied Defense (Level Feat), Deadly Defense (Bonus Feat), Nymph's Kiss (Exalted Feat)|Bonus Feat, Dexterity to Damage, Initiative +2

    7th|
    8
    |Hit-and-Run Fighter|
    +5
    |
    +9
    |
    +7
    |
    +4
    |Climb +1 [10], Hide +2CC [10], Move Silently +2CC [10]|Riposte (Bonus Feat)|Bonus Feat

    8th|
    9
    |Crusader|
    +6/+1
    |
    +10
    |
    +7
    |
    +4
    |Hide +2CC [11], Move Silently +2CC [11], Search +1CC [7], Skill Trick -- Shroud Dance|Sacred Strike (Exalted Feat)|Indomitable Soul

    9th|
    10
    |Rogue|
    +7/+2
    |
    +11
    |
    +7
    |
    +5
    |Hide +1 [12], Move Silently +1 [12], Tumble +4 [12], Skill Trick -- Nimble Charge|Alertness (Level Feat)|Sneak Attack +2d6, Penetrating Strike

    10th|
    11
    |Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +7/+2
    |
    +11
    |
    +9
    |
    +5
    |Hide +1 [13], Move Silently +1 [13], Tumble +1 [13], Search +4 [11], Skill Trick -- Acrobatic Backstab|Sanctify Natural Strike (Exalted Feat)|Teamwork Trapsense +1, Trapfinding

    11th|
    12
    |Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +8/+3
    |
    +11
    |
    +10
    |
    +5
    |Hide +1 [14], Move Silently +1 [14], Tumble +1 [14], Search +3 [14], Disable Device +3 [8]||Steady Stance, Teamwork Infiltration +2

    12th|
    13
    |Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +9/+4
    |
    +12
    |
    +10
    |
    +6
    |Hide +1 [15], Move Silently +1 [15], Tumble +1 [15], Search +1 [15], Disable Device +3 [11], Open Lock +2 [7]|Stand Still (Level Feat), Nimbus of Light (Exalted Feat)|Break Away, Trackless Step (Self)

    13th|
    14
    |Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +10/+5
    |
    +13
    |
    +12
    |
    +7
    |Hide +1 [16], Move Silently +1 [16], Tumble +1 [16], Search +1 [16], Disable Device +2 [13], Open Lock +3 [10]||Detect Magic, Teamwork Sneak Attack +1d6, Teamwork Trapsense +2

    14th|
    15
    |Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +10/+5
    |
    +13
    |
    +12
    |
    +7
    |Hide +1 [17], Move Silently +1 [17], Tumble +1 [17], Search +1 [17], Disable Device +2 [15], Open Lock +3 [13]|Vow of Obedience (Exalted Feat)|Defensive Roll, Grant Move Action 1/Day

    15th|
    16
    |Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +11/+6/+1
    |
    +14
    |
    +13
    |
    +9
    |Craft (Basket Weaving) +2 [2], Hide +1 [18], Move Silently +1 [18], Tumble +1 [18], Search +1 [18], Disable Device +1 [16], Open Lock +2 [15]|Precise Strike (Level Feat)|Improved Evasion, Skill Master, Special Tools

    16th|
    17
    |Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +12/+7/+2
    |
    +14
    |
    +13
    |
    +9
    |Craft (Basket Weaving) +3 [5], Hide +1 [19], Move Silently +1 [19], Tumble +1 [19], Search +1 [19], Disable Device +1 [17], Open Lock +1 [16]|Vow of Abstinence (Exalted Feat)|Teamwork Trapsense +3, Trackless Step (Allies)

    17th|
    18
    |Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +13/+8/+3
    |
    +15
    |
    +15
    |
    +10
    |Craft (Basket Weaving) +1 [6], Hide +1 [20], Move Silently +1 [20], Tumble +1 [20], Search +1 [20], Disable Device +2 [19], Open Lock +2 [18]||Teamwork Infiltration +4, Teamwork Sneak Attack +2d6

    18th|
    19
    |Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +13/+8/+3
    |
    +16
    |
    +15
    |
    +11
    |Craft (Basket Weaving) +1 [7], Hide +1 [21], Move Silently +1 [21], Tumble +1 [21], Search +1 [21], Disable Device +2 [21], Open Lock +2 [20]|Robilar's Gambit (Level Feat), Vow of Chastity (Exalted Feat)|Grant Move Action 2/Day


    19th|
    20
    |Nightsong Infiltrator|
    +14/+9/+4
    |
    +16
    |
    +16
    |
    +11
    |Craft (Basket Weaving) +3 [10], Hide +1 [22], Move Silently +1 [22], Tumble +1 [22], Search +1 [22], Disable Device +1 [22], Open Lock +1 [21]||Hide in Plain Sight, Teamwork Trapsense +4

    20th|
    LABO
    |Crusader|
    +15/+10/+5
    |
    +16
    |
    +17
    |
    +12
    |Craft (Basket Weaving) +1 [11], Hide +2CC [23], Move Silently +2CC [23], Tumble +2CC [23]|Knight of the Stars (Exalted Feat)|Zealous Surge[/table]

    Vow of Poverty Math/Extras and Initiator Junk
    (This does not include additional bonuses from the Exalted Feats that this character possesses. These are straight Vow of Poverty, Ability Scores, and any 'always on' Armor Class or To-Hit Feats and Abilities that they have.
    I'm also throwing the Initiator Level/Maneuvers/Stances on this because I don't want to create yet another table.)


    {table=head]Level|Armor Class|To-Hit|Vow Extras|
    IL
    |New Maneuvers/Stances

    3rd|20 (+2 Dex, +3 Wis, +5 Exalted)|+1 (+1 Base)|Endure Elements|
    1
    |-

    4th|20 (+2 Dex, +3 Wis, +5 Exalted)|+6 (+2 Base, +3 Wis, +1 Exalted)|Exalted Feat|
    2
    |-

    5th|20 (+2 Dex, +3 Wis, +5 Exalted)|+7 (+3 Base, +3 Wis, +1 Exalted)|Sustenance|
    3
    |Leading the Attack (Strike Maneuver), Vanguard Strike (Strike Maneuver), Shield Block (Counter Maneuver), Tactical Strike (Strike Maneuver), Iron Guard's Glare (Stance)

    6th|22 (+2 Dex, +3 Wis, +6 Exalted, +1 Deflection)|+8 (+4 Base, +3 Wis, +1 Exalted)|Exalted Feat|
    3
    |-

    7th|23 (+2 Dex, +4 Wis, +6 Exalted, +1 Deflection)|+10 (+5 Base, +4 Wis, +1 Exalted)|Resistance +1, Ability Score +2|
    4
    |-

    8th|24 (+2 Dex, +4 Wis, +6 Exalted, +1 Deflection, +1 Natural Armor)|+11/+6 (+6/+1 Base, +4 Wis, +1 Exalted)|Exalted Feat, Mind Shielding|
    5
    |Thicket of Blades (Stance)

    9th|25 (+2 Dex, +4 Wis, +7 Exalted, +1 Deflection, +1 Natural Armor)|+12/+7 (+7/+2 Base, +4 Wis, +1 Exalted)|-|
    5
    |-

    10th|25 (+2 Dex, +4 Wis, +7 Exalted, +1 Deflection, +1 Natural Armor)|+13/+8 (+7/+2 Base, +4 Wis, +2 Exalted)|Exalted Feat, Damage Reduction 5/Magic|
    6
    |-

    11th|27 (+3 Dex, +5 Wis, +7 Exalted, +1 Deflection, +1 Natural Armor)|+15/+10 (+8/+3 Base, +5 Wis, +2 Exalted)|Ability Scores +4/+2|
    6
    |-

    12th|29 (+3 Dex, +5 Wis, +8 Exalted, +2 Deflection, +1 Natural Armor)|+16/+11 (+9/+4 Base, +5 Wis, +2 Exalted)|Exalted Feat, Greater Sustenance|
    7
    |-

    13th|29 (+3 Dex, +5 Wis, +8 Exalted, +2 Deflection, +1 Natural Armor)|+17/+13 (+10/+5 Base, + 5 Wis, +2 Exalted)|Resistance +2, Energy Resistance 5|
    7
    |-

    14th|29 (+3 Dex, +5 Wis, +8 Exalted, +2 Deflection, +1 Natural Armor)|+17/+13 (+10/+5 Base, +5 Wis, +3 Exalted)|Exalted Feat, Freedom of Movement|
    8
    |-

    15th|32 (+4 Dex, +6 Wis, +9 Exalted, +2 Deflection, +1 Natural Armor)|+20/+15/+10 (+11/+6/+1 Base, +6 Wis, +3 Exalted)|Ability Scores +6/+4/+2, Damage Reduction 5/Evil|
    8
    |-

    16th|34 (+5 Dex, +6 Wis, +9 Exalted, +2 Deflection, +2 Natural Armor)|+21/+16/+11 (+12/+7/+2 Base, +6 Wis, +3 Exalted)|Exalted Feat|
    9
    |-

    17th|34 (+5 Dex, +6 Wis, +9 Exalted, +2 Deflection, +2 Natural Armor)|+23/+18/+13 (+13/+8/+3 Base, +6 Wis, +4 Exalted)|Resistance +3, Regeneration|
    9
    |-

    18th|36 (+5 Dex, +6 Wis, +10 Exalted, +3 Deflection, +2 Natural Armor)|+23/+18/+13 (+13/+8/+3 Base, +6 Wis, +4 Exalted)|Exalted Feat, True Seeing|
    10
    |-

    19th|38 (+6 Dex, +7 Wis, +10 Exalted, +3 Deflection, +2 Natural Armor)|+25/+20/+15 (+14/+9/+4 Base, +7 Wis, +4 Exalted)|Ability Scores +8/+6/+4/+2, Damage Reduction 10/Evil|
    10
    |-

    20th|38 (+6 Dex, +7 Wis, +10 Exalted, +3 Deflection, +2 Natural Armor)|+27/+22/+17 (+15/+10/+5 Base, +7 Wis, +5 Exalted)|Exalted Feat, Energy Resistance 15|
    11
    |White Raven Tactics (Boost Maneuver)[/table]


    The Tactics/Notes...
    Spoiler
    Show
    Keep in mind that this tactical guide assumes that the Dvati are, in fact, two separate creatures that do not share actions except for spell casting, which is specifically called out in the Dvati rules. This guide further assumes that the Dvati are treated as allies of one another and can take the advantages that being an ally gives with some abilities.

    ECL 1-5
    The first thing you'll notice about the first level of this character is that it does, indeed, have two Flaws. There's just no other way to fit everything this build needed in, and I figured massive deductions already for the dipping, so... .

    One thing to note is that the Flaws are flavorful without being an actual hindrance: Frail does not matter because we're always going to be taking middle on our Hit Dice, applying the flaw, then dividing the amount between two bodies. Since we would have had to round down on halving the Hit Points anyway, we lose nothing. Shaky should also never come into play because we will never be in ranged combat.

    Through the first two levels, the tactics are very simple: We try to get into Flanking position with our two bodies as quickly as possible and Sneak Attack. This gives us a better bonus than a normal character, and we get two chances to hit because we're two different bodies. It is a dangerous proposition at first because of low Hit Points and Armor Class, but since we don't have Vow of Poverty yet we should wear some armor and wield a shield to supplement those (Yes, take the penalty for non-proficiency!). We're going to use Hide/Move Silently and Darkstalker to (hopefully) catch some foes Flat-Footed if we can't Flank.

    We get higher Armor Class once we hit Monk and get Vow of Poverty at 3rd. We get Decisive Strike which synergies well with Craven, and we are going to use those to increase our damage as much as possible (hopefully we'll be Flanking when we do so). Invisible Fist is going to help us get Flat-Footed attacks every few rounds too, so we can pump our now relatively decent Armor with Combat Expertise if necessary.

    As a final note: 4th Level her gives us Intuitive Strike which will give us Wisdom to Hit. That will make us hit a whooooole lot better.

    ECL 6-10
    Our first level in this range begins to open op tactical options. Vanguard Strike and Leading the Attack allow our Flanking buddy to hit better and use more Combat Expertise. Tactical Strike can help establish Flanking positions. Iron Guard's Glare and Shield Block (which does not actually require us to use a shield) allow us to increase our Flanking buddy's Armor Class. Both Dvati should permanently be in Iron Guard's Glare stance by the way, which is like a free +4 AC. The best part? We can burn through Maneuvers twice as quickly as a standard Crusader, which means they refresh a lot quicker.

    When we get to Fighter, we get Dexterity to Damage against Flat-Footed foes, and Initiative Bonus. Those are great, but the best parts of these levels are Allied Defense, which allows the Dvati to double-dip on Combat Expertise, and Riposte, which allows an Attack of Opportunity every time an opponent misses us while we are using our Combat Expertise (I should point out that when Decisive Strike is used on your action, all of your Attacks of Opportunity also deal double damage). Since we're already doing Combat Expertise anyway, Deadly Defense is taken to get more damage.

    Rounding out this stage of the character's development are another level of Crusader and Rogue. We get Thicket of Blades to provoke an Attack of Opportunity when an opponent takes a 5ft Step near us, more Sneak Attack damage, and Penetrating Strike. That last one allows us to get at least a little mileage out of Sneak Attack when we're facing immune things.

    Sacred Strike is the last great thing I want to mention. The Sneak Attack dice we have become d8's when facing an Evil foe!

    ECL 11-15 (Sweet Spot)
    I assert that Teamwork Infiltration, when used by Dvati, allows for a double-dip. That means we're going to get +4 to Hide, and get a little more mileage out of that skill. Doesn't change our tactics much, but nice.

    Stand Still is the first thing that really changes our tactics. We are now going to lock down threats on the battlefield. This is going to be made really, really hard to get around because of Decisive Strike + Craven + Thicket of Blades. Basically, if they move even in a 5ft Step or Withdraw, we get an Attack of Opportunity and we will then punish them with ultra high DC's. Since, ideally, we will be Flanking with two Dvati, we get two tries to stop them if the first fails.

    The Nightsong Infiltrator does a lot of good for our concept here: Good defensive abilities, like Defensive Roll (in case we get hit hard) and Break Away (in case **** really hits the fan). Skill Points galore and Skills we want are also great, and tactical movement ability with Grant Move Action.

    Continued Sneak Attack progression is also great. Just as with the Teamwork Infiltration, I assert that we can double-dip here seeing as we are Dvati and treated as two different creatures.

    ECL 16-20 (Sweet Spot)
    Increase progression of the things we already have is great, and we add some new abilities to boot:

    Precise Strike allows us to get rid of extra Sneak Attack dice to get +2 to hit for each dropped die. This allows us to cover some Combat Expertise deductions so that we can get a higher Armor Class.

    Robilar's Gambit allows us to get more mileage out of Decisive Strike and allows us to get more Attacks of Opportunity even when we aren't using that.

    White Raven Tactics, which we get if there's Level Adjustment Buy Off, will allow us to keep chaining turn after turn of extra actions with the second Dvati to act lowering the first's Initiative. That being dependent on getting this Maneuver back when the Maneuvers refresh.

    We also get even more mileage out of Hide, when we get the Hide in Plain Sight ability. Hopefully, we are scoping out the territory we are fighting in so that Teamwork Infiltration gives us more Hide bonus.
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


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  8. - Top - End - #68
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Paging Admiral Akbar. . . .
    Quote Originally Posted by Deron Betar
    [b]Class level breakdown:
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    LE Changeling rogue 2/factotum 3/combat trapsmith 5/ nightsong infiltrator 10


    Starting abilities[spoiler]
    str 10 dex 12 con 14 int 18 (boosts go to int) wis 12 cha 8

    Deron Betar

    Nuts and Bolts
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    {table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

    1st|Changeling Rogue 1|
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |
    +0
    |bluff 4, climb 4, craft (trap making) 4, diplo 4, DD 4, hide 4, listen 4, open lock 4, search 4, sense motive 4, sleight of hand 4, spot 4, tumble 4, UMD 4|Quick Change|Sneak Attack +1d6, social intuition

    2nd|Rogue 2|
    +1
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |
    +0
    |bluff 1 (5), climb 1 (5), craft (trapmaking) 1 (6), diplo 1 (5), DD 1 (5), hide 1 (5), listen 1 (5), ms 1 (5), open lock 1 (5), search 1 (5), spot 1 (5), tumble 1 (5)||Evasion

    3rd|Factotum 1|
    +1
    |
    +0
    |
    +5
    |
    +0
    |bluff 1 (6), climb 1 (6), craft (alchemy) 1, craft (trapmaking) 1 (6), DD 1 (6), hide 1 (6), listen 1 (6), ms 1 (6), search 1 (6), spot 1 (6)|Darkstalker|Inspiration, cunning insight, cunning knowledge, trapfinding

    4th|Factotum 2|
    +2
    |
    +0
    |
    +6
    |
    +0
    |bluff 1 (7), climb 1 (7), craft (alchemy) 1 (2), craft (trapmaking) 1 (7), DD 1 (7), hide 1 (7), listen 1 (7), ms 1 (7), search 1 (7), spot 1 (7)||Arcane dilettante

    5th|Factotum 3|
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +6
    |
    +1
    |bluff 1 (8), climb 1 (8), craft (alchemy) 3, craft (trapmaking) 1 (8), DD 1 (8), hide 1 (8), listen 1 (8), ms 1 (8), search 1 (8), spot 1 (8)||Brains over brawn, cunning defense

    6th|Combat Trapsmith 1|
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    +8
    |
    +1
    |balance 2, climb 1 (9), craft (trapmaking) 1 (9), DD 1 (9), hide 1 (9), listen 1 (9), ms 1 (9), search 1 (9), spot 1 (9)|Skill Focus (craft: trapmaking)|Combat trapping, trap sense +1, 2 traps

    7th|Combat Trapsmith 2|
    +4
    |
    +4
    |
    +9
    |
    +1
    |balance 2 (4), climb 1 (10), craft (trapmaking) 1 (10), DD 1 (10), hide 1 (10), listen 1 (10), ms 1 (10), search 1 (10), spot 1 (10)||Feat: (Trickery Devotion)| 3 traps

    8th|Combat Trapsmith 3|
    +5
    |
    +4
    |
    +9
    |
    +2
    |balance 1 (5), craft (trapmaking) 1 (11), DD 1 (11), hide 1 (11), listen 1 (11), ms 1 (11), search 1 (11), spot 1 (11), tumble 3 (8)||Trap sense +2, 4 traps

    9th|Combat Trapsmith 4|
    +6
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    |
    +2
    |craft (alchemy) 2 (5), craft (trapmaking) 1 (12), DD 1 (12), hide 1 (12), listen 1 (12), ms 1 (12), search 1 (12), spot 1 (12), |Alertness|Improvised materials, 5 traps

    10th|Combat Trapsmith 5|
    +6/+1
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    |
    +2
    |craft (trap making) 1 (13), DD 1 (13), hide 1 (13), know (architecture and engineering) 3, listen 1 (13), ms 1 (13), search 1 (13), spot 1 (13) ||Expert trap setter, trap sense +3, 6 traps

    11th|Nightsong Infiltrator 1|
    +6/+1
    |
    +5
    |
    +12
    |
    +2
    |craft (trapmaking) 1 (14), DD 1 (14), hide 1 (14), listen 1 (14), ms 1 (14), search 1 (14), spot 1 (14), UMD 6 (10)||Teamwork trap sense +1, trapfinding

    12th|Nightsong Infiltrator 2|
    +7/+2
    |
    +5
    |
    +13
    |
    +2
    |craft (trapmaking) 1 (15), DD 1 (15), disguise 1, hide 1 (15), listen 1 (15), ms 1 (15), search 1 (15), spot 1 (15), UMD 5 (15)| Shadow Striker|Steady stance, teamwork infiltration +2

    13th|Nightsong Infiltrator 3|
    +8/+3
    |
    +6
    |
    +13
    |
    +3
    |craft (trapmaking) 1 (16), DD 1 (16), disguise 6 (7), hide 1 (15), listen 1 (16), ms 1 (16), search 1 (16), spot 1 (16)||Break away, trackless step (self)

    14th|Nightsong Infiltrator 4|
    +9/+4
    |
    +6
    |
    +14
    |
    +3
    |craft (trapmaking) 1 (17), DD 1 (17), disguise 6 (13), hide 1 (17), listen 1 (17), ms 1 (17), search 1 (17), spot 1 (17)||Detect magic, teamwork sneak attack +1d6, teamwork trap sense +2

    15th|Nightsong Infiltrator 5|
    +9/+4
    |
    +6
    |
    +14
    |
    +3
    |DD 1 (18), disguise 5 (18),hide 1 (18), listen 1 (18), ms 1 (18), perform (dance) 2, search 1 (18), spot 1 (18)| Cloak Dance|Defensive roll, grant move action 1/day

    16th|Nightsong Infiltrator 6|
    +10/+5
    |
    +7
    |
    +14
    |
    +4
    |DD 1 (19), disguise 1 (19), forgery 7, hide 1 (19), listen 1 (19), ms 1 (19), search 1 (19), spot 1 (19)||Improved evasion, skill mastery (climb, DD, open lock, search)

    17th|Nightsong Infiltrator 7|
    +11/+6/+1
    |
    +7
    |
    +14
    |
    +4
    |DD 1 (20), disguise 1 (20), forgery 7 (14), hide 1 (20), listen 1 (20), ms 1 (20), search 1 (20), spot 1 (20)||Teamwork trap sense +3, trackless step (allies)

    18th|Nightsong Infiltrator 8|
    +12/+7/+2
    |
    +7
    |
    +15
    |
    +4
    |bluff 5 (13), DD 1 (21), disguise 1 (21), forgery 2 (16), hide 1 (21), listen 1 (21), ms 1 (21), search 1 (21), spot 1 (21)| Cunning Evasion|Team work infiltration +4, teamwork sneak attack +2d6

    19th|Nightsong Infiltrator 9|
    +12/+7/+2
    |
    +8
    |
    +15
    |
    +5
    |bluff 5 (18), DD 1 (22), disguise 1 (22), forgery 2 (18), hide 1 (22), listen 1 (22), ms 1 (22), search 1 (22), spot 1 (22)||Grant move action 2/day

    20th|Nightsong Infiltrator 10|
    +13/+8/+3
    |
    +8
    |
    +16
    |
    +5
    |bluff 5 (23), DD 1 (23), disguise 1 (23), forgery 2 (20), hide 1 (23), listen 1 (23), ms 1 (23), search 1 (23), spot 1 (23)||Hide in plain sight, teamwork trap sense +4[/table]


    Blueprints for a Backstory
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    Sins of the Father
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    Deron trudged through the snow to his father's. He wore a lumbering hulk of a body for the time being. His larger surface area helped him lose heat more slowly. It was all he could do to keep himself warm through the bitter winter wind that blew through the cold, miserable depths of Sharn. The towers loomed over the city like specters, casting a pair of evil shadows down on the poor working men like his father who toiled tirelessly to keep their infernal forges burning.

    Small mercies being what they were, his father lived close to that forge. Close enough to the boiler that had consumed his life to feel its warmth through the thin walls that let in the worst of the street din and the howling of the wind.

    Deron opened the door and quickly shut it after himself. The last thing his father needed was the chill of the wind rattling his old bones.

    Deron banged a bottle onto the table and pulled out the cork with his teeth. Only the hardest of alcohol could remain liquid with the temperature outside, and the chill meant there were fewer and fewer people every day for him to steal it from. He poured it into his father's little tin cup and set it in the old man's trembling hands.

    His father thanked him with a sleepy nod of his head and hunched beneath the blankets on his cot as a burst of wind sliced through the crack in the doorjamb. The frigid air had extinguished the fire, and Deron had to squint as his eyes adjusted to the darkness. He shifted his pupils larger, like a cat's, and let his cheekbones sink lower onto his face, making his eyes as large as saucers to sponge up the dregs of light present. He got to his knees and felt around the floor for a wand. The markings along its grip told him it was what he needed.

    The wand shot fire, and he had kept it in case the two had another break-in. The police didn't bother to respond to calls in this part of the city, and it wasn't as though he'd never killed before. But the wand was to keep his father alive, and that's just what it would do. Deron crouched in front of the fireplace and made himself as big as he could to block the wind from reaching the logs.

    He counted the notches he'd marked on the wand with his pocketknife. This was indeed the last one. To hell with it. He couldn't sell it after this anyway. He snarled the magic word and fire dripped from the tip into the fireplace as the runes on its haft lit up one last time. He dropped the worthless stick of wood in afterwards. It would give his father a few more moments of comfort, at least.

    "Deron," his father beckoned him over, his cup empty.

    "What is it, father?"

    "The man who stole from me, the man who put us here," he croaked. Deron knew his father's mind was going, that he didn't remember having told Deron this story every night for as long as he could remember. Still, he couldn't bring himself to interrupt, since some part of him knew this was the last thing his father would ever say to him.

    "That death dealer from Cannith, Ovard Estarke. He stole my schemata. The suit, Deron, my beautiful, perfect little suit."

    Deron was just reading from a script at this point, but knew it was his last performance. His swan song, and his father's as well. The tears in his eyes were as real this time as they had been the first time he'd heard it, and the last he'd had any genuine surprise.

    "What do you want me to do, father?"

    "It's too late for Ovard, he has fell to the reaper, as I know I will some day soon. But his son lives on." He put his hand on Deron's shoulder and gripped it tight. "Like you do, my son."

    "What is his son's name?"

    "Anton. You must break him for me, son. I have no strength left in me. Only when he has become… reduced to what I am now, only then must you end it. Only then must you kill him."

    "I swear I will," Deron said, meaning it just as much as he always had.

    His father reached for his ceremonial dagger, the one he had been awarded for bravery and honor back before the most recent revolution that had put him to work stoking the boiler. The dagger, like his father, was weathered with age, rust clinging to its edges as soot caked his father's lungs. He picked it up by the blade, balancing it between his fingers and prepared to throw it, as he did every night. Deron hung his head and waited for the thud in the wall, but it didn't come. His father dropped it to the floor and the blade rang with a quiet, tinny sound, drowning out the old man's last breath.

    Deron grabbed the blade between two fingers, dwarfing it in his huge hand. He pulled it behind his shoulder and let it fly at the wall, the tip landing in a well-worn groove, in the center of a picture of Anton Estarke, right between his eyes.

    The script was over. Deron was writing his own story now. He opened the small box under his father's bed and took the few pennies they'd been saving. He piled on his father's spare coat and threw open the door. He pulled the dagger out of the wall and headed out into the world, not turning around when the wind blew out the fire for the last time.

    Deron lurked in the many shadows of the railroad crossing in a small, unobtrusive shape, his coat pooling on the ground beneath him. He waited until he heard the whistle of the lightning rail bellow and popped his head out from his hiding place. If he got a running start, he should be able to get onto one of the last cars. They never checked them as often as the ones up front.

    Sure enough, he was able to hoist himself onto the edge of the second to last car, grabbing onto the handle on the door, though he felt it would rip his arms out of their sockets. He was glad he'd kept his body weight low.

    Deron was able to unbolt the door and slither through a small crack, squishing his ribcage together as tight as it would go so he could close the door without more sound than necessary.

    He collapsed onto the rusty floor of the train car, panting heavily and rubbing at his shoulder.

    No sooner had he catalogued his injuries than he felt a meaty hand on his other shoulder, squeezing it painfully. He whipped his head around and popped a face onto the back of his head, his eyes and nose dissolving into a mass of hair. He faced his attacker as his back became his front. It was a good trick to unnerve normals and always gave him the first (and often last) blow in a fight.

    "What the hell are you?" the bouncer yelled at him as he took a step back in disgust.

    Deron looped an ankle behind his opponent's leg and tripped him. He hit the floor hard, his head hanging out the door.

    "Looks like I'm the man who keeps bums from hopping on the train now."

    Deron slammed the door shut hard with a piercing crack. He dragged the body back into the car by the ankles and bolted the door. He sat cross-legged and felt in the dead man's pocket's. He found a pack of cigarettes and a book of matches. He dragged one along the floor and held it up to the dead man's face so he could study his features. Once he was satisfied his own shape matched his new identity, he shrugged off his clothes and put on his new uniform. He dressed the corpse in his rags and kicked him off the train. The police wouldn't look too carefully at a bum thrown off the train. They never did.


    The Railroad Plot
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    Deron had picked this train for a reason. He knew it was on its way to deliver parts to Estarke's forges. While his father had toiled in the boilers for the last years of his life, he had once been a tinker, a soldier, and a spy. He knew what they said about changelings, and despite its unsavory connotations, he admitted there was a great deal of truth to it. A man who could change his face as easily as a suit of clothes was predisposed to spy work. It wasn't his fault if he was well-suited to this line of work.

    Before being dishonorably discharged for being part of the old regime, his father had been a maker of wonders. He hadn't known he would be on the losing side of the war, but no one ever did. Back in his more lucid days, he had taught Deron much about the art of craft. Deron knew the intricacies of the velvet glove and the iron fist that Estarke had built his pilfered empire on. He knew the intricacy his father had developed only to have Estarke coat his finesse in lead to use it as a club, to make it more marketable for Cannith to use as a cudgel rather than a scalpel. One of his father's precision tools could do the work of ten of Estarke's blunt instruments.

    Each of the crates on this train had the components to build one of Estarke's suits. One was all he would need to reverse-engineer it back to its original elegance. He picked up a crowbar that lay on the floor and pried open the lid on one of the crates. He lifted a gauntlet from its bed of hay and blew off the stragglers. He slid his fist into it and opened and closed the crude mitten on his hand. Soon he would find the way to get back to the source.

    He heard the train putting on its brakes, so he threw down to gauntlet back into its nest and banged the nail back in place. The yard detective was checking the cars. All he had to do was stay calm.

    The door slid open and a mousy little man with a clipboard looked him up and down. He stepped up the ladder into the car and looked at the boxes. He saw the one Deron had inspected had been tampered with.

    "Dmitri, what happened to that one?" he asked.

    "Bum tried to open it. He thought there was oil in there or something he could carry, maybe," Deron said in his borrowed voice.

    "You get rid of him?"

    "Yes."

    "Good man. Well, you go ahead and get rid of it then."

    "Eh?"

    The detective rolled his eyes. "Estarke doesn't want any damaged goods. Take it to the pawn shop and say it fell off the train, melt it down and sell it to a dentist, dump it in the lake, I don't care, just get it out of here."

    Deron picked up the box, the bulk of Dmitri's arms making the task easier than it would have been.

    "You bet. Time to knock off?"

    "Yeah. Seeya tomorrow."

    "See you," Deron lied.


    More than Meets the Eye
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    It was a trivial matter to find a loft to work in. Dmitri had had money in his pockets, more than enough to find lodging and tools.

    For days Deron labored in the cramped space, stripping away the armor plating Estarke's engineers had put on to make the lines of the suit smoother, reveling in the angles and sharp corners that he revealed beneath he outer shell, like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. The image was a ubiquitous in changeling culture. Unlike with the humans, he didn't think it effeminate: it was just a symbol of change. If what you were wasn't strong enough, make yourself better. If that wasn't manly, Deron didn't know what was.

    Once he had the framework of the suit exposed, the extraneous pieces stripped away, he was an artist standing in front of a blank canvas. He had pared down the power grid to the minimum of functionality. He didn't need all the armor plating that Estarke's foot soldiers waddled around in. Primarily because his mission was one of stealth, of finesse, also because he didn't expect to survive it no matter what he did, so he may as well have agility on his side.

    With the breastplate off of it, the dragonshard powering the armor glowed like a full moon, bathing the room in a cool, blue light. The energy from the dragonshard was the suit's original driving force, what made it a weapon, but it had been scrapped in favor of powering pistons to pound enemies into submissions. These clunky pistons lay on the cutting room floor, scattered around Deron's feet, his heavy work boots protecting his skin from the shower of sparks that dripped from his cutting torch.

    His stained undershirt clung to his skin, the heat from his torch causing a fresh layer of sweat to bubble to the surface of his skin. The skin on his face was taut around his protective goggles. He shifted it to a leathery, reptilian hide, his sweat glands disappearing for the time being, the heat invigorating his now-cold blood and making him work faster as his forked tongue tasted the iron-tinged air.

    He had done all the work on the suit that he could for the time being. Tomorrow was the day. Estarke was going to unveil a new "invention" of his tomorrow. Some kind of glorified go-cart that Anton or his father had no doubt stolen from another man like Deron's father. Even if Deron was not able to kill Anton tomorrow, he could at the very least break his new toy.
    A Day at the Races
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    Deron stood in the stands with the rest of the cheering fans. He had a hooded cloak draped around him. It wasn't as though they would recognize the generic lump of meat he was masquerading as today. It was more a security blanket. The hatred he felt burned in his belly like the very cheapest of vodka. He was sure if people could see his face, it would blind them like the light from an archangel's flaming sword of vengeance.

    He stood at the final mile of the 10 mile race. He had gathered intel as a volunteer with the city, helping them map out concession stands, so he knew right here was where security checkpoints were thinnest.

    His father had taught him of the doppler effect, and he heard the roar of a machine. He had researched Estarke's project so he would know the rumble that heralded its approach, and this was not it. It must be his opponent, Iust Einhammer.

    The eccentric little gnome blew past the bend, reclining on his peculiar little luge, shocks placed all around his wheels, absorbing every bump in the road. He tapped a button and a blast of compressed air shot out from under the right wheels, flipping the car over 180 degrees. The padded chair Einhammer was reclining in flipped in perfect time with it, maintaining his equilibrium so perfectly, it didn't spill a drop of the martini he was sipping with one hand, the other lazily gripping the steering column.

    Einhammer gave an ostentatious wink to the crowd before speeding off to complete the final mile.

    Just as his engine was fading into the distance, Deron heard the approach of Estarke's gas-guzzler.

    He smelled it before he saw it, an ill wind heralding the approach of his enemy. A cloud of black smoke trailed behind Estarke's car, its spoiler gleaming in the sun. Deron squinted. No wonder Estarke was lagging. He favored substance over style. He was probably waiting until the last mile to deploy his nitrous oxide. It would provide a brief speed boost that would overheat the hell out of his engine. Great for winning little publicity stunt drag races like this, but useless in any practical sense. For all Estarke's flaws though, he knew what the decadent people of Khorvaire wanted; that was why he was rich and Deron's was standing there in a stolen coat.

    He took a deep breath and steeled himself. He'd run through this scenario a hundred times in his mind, but as much as he could change the meat and bones of his body, he could never quash his survival instinct. All he had to do was trust in his father's designs and all would be well.

    Deron put his hand on the edge of the concrete barrier and hopped it in one fluid motion, his feet hitting the asphalt with a heavy, metallic thud.

    A city guardsman clapped his hand over Deron's shoulder and yanked down his hood.

    "Sir, please step behind the barrier."

    Deron did his dirty trick and slipped his face where the back of his head was, facing the man who stood behind him.

    "Hey, man," he said making the guardsman falter backwards in surprise.

    The guardsman grabbed the whistle around his neck and blew it.

    "Changeling! Everybody down!" He reached for the pistol on his belt, but Deron's hand was quicker. It darted out, a spiderweb of steel running along the tendons of his hand and grabbed the guardsman's wrist and crushed it. Deron rolled his arm down and popped his face out facing the front of his shirt again. He hoisted the guardsman up over his head, the cables running along his bulging biceps making the task trivially easy.

    Estarke's car was bearing right down on him now. Just as he'd cleared the curve around the mountain and he was coming down a stretch of straight road, he'd hit the nitrous oxide, just like he was supposed to. He was going far too fast to stop or turn out of the way without giving himself a fatal case of whiplash.

    Deron felt adrenaline running through his veins as the smell of magic wafted up from his suit's engine heart.

    Estarke's vehicle was only a few hundred feet away from him. His timing had to be perfect. He had time for only a few words before his voice would be drowned out by the roar of Estarke's engine.

    "Hey, Anton! Catch!" Deron exhaled the last word with great force as he heaved the guardsman straight forward, his body arcing in just the parabola he had planned, approximating the guardsman's weight, coming down right in front of where Estarke's windshield would be in a few seconds.

    With a great sound like a clap of thunder, Estarke's cockpit blasted out of his car, rocketing straight into the air, the diesel fumes burning Deron's throat.

    Estarke shouted the magic word at the top of his lungs to the cheers of the crowd and surrounded himself in a custom-made suit. It surrounded Estarke's soft, rich boy body in armor plates in the blink of an eye. The guardsman landed against the decorative abs Estarke had placed on his suit, reminiscent of the gladiators of old. Deron heard the guardsman's ribs crack. He was sure he wouldn't be thanking Estarke any time soon.

    "What's your problem, face-changer? Couldn't you just wait in line for an autograph like everyone else?"

    The crowd obediently laughed. Estarke plopped the guardsman down into the crowd behind the barriers. The car was still barreling straight for Deron, and he didn't take his eyes off it. Estarke was just showboating now, posing for the crowd and flexing his brushed steel muscles. As far as he was concerned, Deron would be a red smear on the pavement in a matter of moments.

    Deron threw open his coat with a dramatic flourish and revealed his suit. Its steel spines engulfed his chest like the rings on a barrel, letting him shift to face back and forth as he often did in combat. His engine heart chugged steadily and glowed with white-hot power. He gestured with his wrist and a collapsible steel cable slithered out of the exoskeleton on his arm. It crackled with magic and burned so hot he could feel sweat beading on his brow.

    Deron swung it straight in front of him as he heard the roar of Estarke's car grow deafening, the machine's smog-caked grill gleaming at him like the jaws of some slavering beast. The chain from his arm split it straight down the middle, the halves separating and parting in front of him just as he had calculated, the molten slag from the bisected halves of the car dripping behind it onto the road.

    The cheers of the crowd turned to screams once more as the halves crashed into the barriers. Estarke turned around and faced Deron.

    Deron flicked out his other arm and wound a cable around Estarke's ankle. He quirked his fingers and sent a jolt of magic into Estarke's suit. The iron in it started to become dark with soot. Deron smelled meat cooking from Estarke's direction. Estarke gave him a chin nod and the faceplate of his suit slid away, exposing his soft, red face underneath.

    He gave the cable a yank with the strength his exoskeleton gave him and watched as the steel coiled around Estarke's suit, pinning his arms to his sides. Estarke was close enough for Deron to smell the alcohol on his breath. He lifted his free hand and spread it before his enemy's open visor. Poisonous gas blossomed out and found its way into Estarke's helmet. Deron head butted him in the bridge of the nose with a satisfying squelch. Estarke nodded his head forward as his head snapped down with the force, just like he was supposed to, and his faceplate came back down again, trapping the gas inside with him.

    Deron extended his finger and a tiny blue flame sprung from it. He waved it across the gap between Estarke's faceplate and the rest of his helmet. The bridge wasn't strong enough to hold up against anything trying to cut it, but it should hold for the three and a half minutes it would take him to suffocate. Maybe less since he was probably breathing at an accelerated rate inside his iron coffin.

    Estarke blasted the jets in his boots against the ground and propelled the pair of them forward, the force knocking Deron on his back, his opponent landing on top of him. Deron heard something glass shattering and felt a sharp pain in his chest. He tried to lift Estarke off of him, but found he had no strength.

    His enemy's bulk had broken his dragonshard heart. His suit was without power.

    Now that the danger had passed, a cluster of city guardsman ran over and kicked Deron in the head until he stopped moving.


    I Told You That Story so I Could Tell You This One
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    The next time Deron awoke, he saw a familiar face looking at him through a set of iron bars. Einhammer gave him an insouciant smirk as he noticed he was awake.

    "Up and at 'em, slugger!" he yelled in a booming voice that only a gnome could generate. It made Deron's head ring, his concussion still fresh at the forefront of his mind in every sense of the phrase. Einhammer pantomimed boxing an invisible assailant as Deron rose shakily to his feet.

    "What do you want?" he croaked.

    "Those were some real slick moves out there. You ever thought about goin' into mass production?"

    Deron smirked. How his luck had changed.

    "Depends. What're you going to give me?"

    "Half?" Einhammer said nervously, taking a sheaf of papers from his breast pocket and pushing his thick-rimmed glasses up his broad nose.

    "What do you want it for?"

    "To destroy Estarke."

    "We have a deal, then." Deron held out a hand for the papers and signed his name with a flourish.

    "Splendid!" Einhammer clapped his hands and snapped his fingers.

    "You can let him out now, constable."

    A guardsman trudged over and unlocked his cell.

    "What's the damage?" Einhammer said airily.

    "The car, the barriers, the patrolman he hospitalized…"

    Einhammer waved his hand. "No, no, no, how much money does he cost?"

    The constable grit his teeth in visible disgust.

    "You're bailing him out, Mr. Einhammer, not buying him. It's ten thousand gold pieces."

    "Potayto, potahto," Einhammer said, beckoning for a war forged manservant who had been standing idly in the corner to present the constable with his money.

    "This is platinum. What am I supposed to do with this?"

    Einhammer took the key and unlocked Deron's cell.

    "Sounds like a personal problem."

    Deron could hear the guard muttering under his breath as Einhammer led the way out of the station and into his stretch limousine, his war forged locking himself into the driver's seat, his hands interfacing with the control panel.

    Einhammer talked while Deron ate sandwiches out of the minibar.

    "You see, Estarke has been my primary competitor for many years," he said, inspecting his fingernails.

    "Uh huh," Deron grunted through a mouthful of ham and chicken.

    "And I think you've got what it takes to knock his suits off the bestseller's list. If you could just refine your design, work in a proper lab-"

    Deron narrowed his eyes at him.

    "Not to say your current design is in any way flawed, of course, just that you may be able to reach your full potential with better resources. More funding."

    Deron snorted, little crumbs of bread falling from his lips into the knotted snarls of his beard.

    "Everyone in your city solves problems the same way. They drown them in gold."

    Einhammer beamed with pride at what Deron thought was clearly an insult.

    "It's funny you mention that, because I couldn't help but notice your cabling seemed to be made of iron."

    Deron shrugged. "It's what I can afford."

    "Wrong! It's what you used to be able to afford. It's nothing but the best for you now, buddy boy." Einhammer clapped his shoulder affectionately, but pulled his hand back when Deron made a low growling noise in the back of his throat.

    "Uhh, anyway, my engineers have found that a special gold alloy is actually a much better conductor of the electricity your suit uses as its primary weapon. It would drastically reduce the amount of power each jolt uses, meaning a longer battery life."

    Deron nodded. "I'll look at it."

    "Your magnanimity knows no bounds, Mr. Betar."

    "Deron. Mr. Betar was my father."

    Einhammer nodded. "I'm sorry. What happened to him?"

    "Estarke killed him."

    "Well then, what say we kill him right back?"

    Deron felt himself smile for the first time in a while.

    "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."


    The Forge of War
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    Deron was experimenting with electromagnetism. A thin coil of Einhammer's gold allow wrapped around the hand of his exoskeleton would turn his body into a powerful magnet when current was run through it. With proper control, his suits would be able to jerk Estarke's around like rag dolls.

    He put on the gauntlet and turned on the switch. He fine-tuned a dial on the side and targeted a socket wrench lying across the room. With a few subtle gestures of his wrist, he had it sailing into his hand. He caught it with a ring of metal on metal.

    Einhammer looked down on him from a catwalk at the top of the hangar serving as Deron's workshop.

    "For Pete's sake, if you want someone to hand you a wrench, just tell them. What do you think I have all these lousy 'forged crawling around this place for?" Einhammer demanded.

    "I'm experimenting with something," Deron said.

    Einhammer rolled his eyes. "You! Junkpile!" he pointed at a warforged and beckoned it over. "If there's anything Deron needs, hand it to him, all right?"

    It nodded. It got onto the elevator down to the ground floor and the wheels on the counterweight system started turning, slowly lowering its bulk.

    Deron had an idea. He produced a fire trap from his gauntlet and tossed it onto the floor. He took cover behind a blast shield and held out his gauntlet.

    He adjusted the settings and tried to make something more solid, extending his will just over the trap. A ghostly blue outline shimmered in the light and then grew into something of substance, an exact copy of Deron. He willed it to put out a foot on the trap. It detonated and the copy of him was blown to bits.

    "Deron! Are you all right?" Einhammer yelled from above.

    "Fine, boss! Just experimenting with something. It worked."

    "Why do you keep screwing around with those traps? Estarke's made his money on suits. Why doesn't all this crap you're building look like a suit?"

    "Trap's better."

    Einhammer slid down a fireman's pole on the catwalk, landing on the floor with a little thud, his body given heft not from exercise, but from a thousand good dinners.

    Einhammer picked up an unfinished knockout bomb, the metal bucket still empty, a pressure pad still waiting to be bolted onto the top.

    "How'm I gonna get people to buy these things if I can't show 'em off on a model?" Einhammer snapped his fingers and pointed at the nearest warforged. "You! C'mere!" It trotted over.

    He tossed it the half-finished trap.

    "How do you get a head in there? Could you put your head in there?"

    After a few clanks against the too-small bucket, the warforged shook its head. "No, sir."

    "Help me understand you, Deron. I need to destroy Estarke's business. Estarke sells suits. These are not suits. Why're people gonna buy these instead'a his suits? You're not makin' any sense."

    Deron rested an arm around Einhammer's shoulder, flaunting his height over the gnome.

    "Hey, man, come over here, I got to show you something."

    "Oh, all right," Einhammer groused.

    Deron gestured to a spare gauntlet across the hangar and pulled it over. He used its fingers to dramatically whip off a sheet covering several force cages holding some of Estarke's suits.

    He raised his hand and gestured towards the first. It powered up and turned on its invisibility spell.

    "How did you do that?" Einhammer said in amazement.

    Deron tossed a sparker from the gauntlet, made of the same energy as the clone he'd made earlier. It went off with a bang and covered the invisible suit in glitter.

    "Turn off the suit's invisibility," he said as he moved to the next cage. He lobbed in a magnet and disrupted the suit's gyroscope, making it fall on its side, the next he threw in a handful of tentacles to bind its limbs, and the next he threw a gas bomb in to clog its air filter.

    "Like I said: trap's better. Only reason I failed last time was because of me. Take out the man, take out the problem. All that's left is design, no more room for human error."

    Einhammer quirked an eyebrow at the changeling.

    "Just an expression."


    Back in Black
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    Over the next few months, Estarke's profits began to dip dramatically. After asking Deron's advice, Einhammer distributed batches of the exosuits to the thieves' guilds, giving the gangs that prowled the streets the counter to Estarke's security guards, blinding lookouts with glitter and tripping pursuers with magnets.

    Once the security contracts were lost, the rest of Estarke's empire was soon to follow. It wasn't long before Einhammer's company was once more comfortably in the black.

    Every night, after he had endured Einhammer talking about how much money they had made, Deron recited his promise to his father. He did it in the privacy of his own room, right in Einhammer's headquarters, and knew eventually, the time would come.

    One night it did. The alarms in the building were blaring, and Deron jolted awake.

    "At last," he said to himself. He put on his glove and snapped his fingers. His exoskeleton wrapped itself around himself. It was time to finish things.

    He ran into the hangar and saw Estarke throwing workbench after workbench aside.

    "Betar!" he howled, his voice sounding alien through the filter in his helmet. "Come out and fight me like a man, changeling!"

    Deron slid down Einhammer's fireman pole, glad for once for the gnome's eccentricities.

    "Hey, man," Deron said with a rehearsed aloofness. He had learned it from Einhammer.

    Estarke shrieked with fury and pitched a table at him. Deron sliced it in half with a burning tendril from his wrist.

    Estarke's suit was showing signs of wear. Without its expensive maintenance, it was scarred and pitted, rust showing around the joints where he had sweated through it.

    His hunch had been right. The suit was ferrous after all. Deron shrugged and threw an equalizer to trip him. Estarke was on the floor in a moment, but crushed the trap beneath his boot. He rose shakily to his feet and leapt at Deron.

    Estarke's bulk was around him again, and again it broke the glass in his suit. Once more he was immobilized as Estarke crushed the air out of him, the suit's apelike arms squeezing him tight in a bear hug. Deron winced as his left arm snapped right in the middle.

    His suit's power gone from him, Deron slithered his right hand out of Estarke's grip and brought it up over his head. His body was in agony as he shifted his bones to jelly and back again.

    Deron spoke a single word of magic and called his father's dagger to him from under his pillow, where it had lain as he slept every night until tonight.

    It was now in his hand.

    Deron head butted Estarke's warped faceplate as hard as he could. He felt his own nose break, and his eyes clouded with tears. The motors within Estarke's helmet whined and groaned as his head bobbed a little from the impact, his faceplate reluctantly sliding up.

    Beneath it, Estarke was unshaven, reeking of alcohol and shame. With the last of his strength, Deron drove the blade between his enemy's eyes, where he had seen it strike so many times, just over the half-healed lump of Estarke's broken nose.

    Deron's back hit the floor, a section he'd prepared every night for this moment. There were enough explosives under it to bring the whole hangar down on top of them as soon as he hit the ground.

    The building went up in flames.

    And neither one of them got up.


    User's Manual
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    lvl 5
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    You are a changeling rogue, and have social intuition in your hip pocket. Enjoy it now (and for the rest of your career, really) when the DC on social skills is on the low side. You have an absolutely ridiculous amount of skill points between changeling rogue's 10/lvl and your high intelligence.

    With the ability to to fool enemies' magical senses with darkstalker, you should be able to attack your enemies unawares a fair portion of the time.

    Speaking of sneaking around, the factotum's delicious brains over brawn ability gives you your int mod as an additional bonus to all str/dex checks, which includes two of your most important skills: hide and ms.

    Changeling rogue loses your trap finding in exchange for social intuition, but factotum nabs it right back, so you can put your search and DD to good use against traps.

    At this point, you're going to be skulking around and functioning as a stereotypical rogue: disabling traps, and being a sneak and a scout. However, the feats and ACFs you have make you better at it than you would normally be.


    lvl 10
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    You're primarily using your traps (explained below) to damage and debuff your enemies remotely at this point, and from now on. Lay traps and get enemies to trip them or trigger them with your travel devotion clone.

    You still sneak to get the drop on your enemies, and darkstalker + travel devotion let you bait foes into attacking the wrong thing.

    You no longer pay for traps, and have alertness, the last thing you need to enter the SI.


    lvl 15 (sweet spot)
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    You are now in the SI. Congratulations.
    Shadow striker's 3 tactical maneuvers each complement the SI's teamwork-centered abilities.

    Evade notice: if you and an ally flank 1 enemy, you can make a hide check vs his spot as long as you take no offensive actions. If successful, he can't attack you as long as he threatens someone else. great for making an escape without provoking AoOs

    fade away: attack an enemy as a standard, move, then hide. if your attack hits, it gives you +5 on the hide check. very sneaky! especially good to help you hide out till you get hips.

    ghost strike: when you and an ally threaten an enemy, you make an MS roll vs enemy's listen. next round, he loses his dex to AC against your 1st attack if your ally still threatens.

    since the SI is very keen on you and an ally flanking opponents together, this feat and all three of the maneuvers in it are useful.

    trackless step is online, meaning that you don't leave a trail, meshing well with darkstalker. Not only can't enemies see where you are, they can't see where you were either.

    steady stance gives a bonus to balance/climb, which is also boosted by brains over brawn, so you shouldn't have a problem with either of those checks, which is why you're safe not putting any more points in after you meet the prereq for this class. your climb mod is very high.

    teamwork trap sense can help if you and the party are bottlenecked, but you really shouldn't have them huddled around you when disarming a trap.

    break away combines nicely with evade notice. You shouldn't provoke another AoO again.

    detect magic can let you find magic traps without even rolling search, which can save you a lot of time.

    teamwork sneak attack meshes with shadow stalker and gives your allies more reasons to want to gang up on opponents with you, especially if they have any ambush feats.

    granting allies move actions is great, and can be used when you are flanking an enemy together with shadow striker. it gives you something to do when you're evading notice so your action's not wasted if your ally needs a move action.

    the SI makes you better at what you already do: getting in, disabling enemy traps, and replacing them with your own undetected.

    lvl 20
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    while when choosing from a list, improved evasion offers nothing over evasion and a good ref save, imp evasion isn't bad if it's free. Nice to have if you botch a DD roll or get knocked into one of your own traps with an enemy's awesome blow or something

    skill mastery with climb can help when racing an enemy or fighting while climbing, and taking 10 on DD takes an awful lot of pressure off when disarming traps. open lock and search are literally given in the section of the PHB on taking 20, so skill mastery with them gives no real benefit. you're just going to use knock to open locks anyway, and by now your UMD check is high enough not to worry about failure. thanks for the skills, nightsong infiltrator!

    specialized tools can help with planned break ins, but clearly won't be used much on the fly due to the time required. using alchemy is probably allowable (making acid to eat through locks or oil to grease hinges and the like) since it's not an exhaustive list. your trap making tools or thieves' tools would likely be fine for the purpose.

    you can now aid your allies in moving without being tracked. your stealthiness is rubbing off on them.

    your capstone, hips, finally comes online at the bitter end. unfortunately, it's the ranger version, so only works in "natural terrain." make sure you and your dm have a clear agreement on what exactly that means. it works nicely with cunning evasion, which is online now, and gives you extra chances to hide. the text says characters with hips don't need cover, but I assume you require natural terrain. nonetheless, this is a taste ability that provides this build with a pleasant aftertaste
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


    Spoiler
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  9. - Top - End - #69
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Part 2:
    It's a Trap!
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    Combat trap smith? What is that?

    Glad you asked. Since the SI is so focused on infiltration and traps, I figured that would be a good element to accent with this side dish. This class is centered around building combat traps in the middle of combat. unlike normal traps, these only take 1 full round (provoking AoOs) to make (at lvl 10, a standard action w/o AoOs)

    Your traps (with the exception of the scorcher/great scorcher) do not deal hp damage, but instead debuff adversaries with some rather ruinous conditions. Obviously, personal taste and the capabilities of the rest of the party will play into your trap selection a little (there are 12 choices, of which you can ultimately have 6) but here is the order I suggest for Deron:

    1: scorcher, glitterburst
    2: scorcher, glitterburst, equalizer
    3: scorcher, (swap glitterburst for web), equalizer, flashbang
    4: web, equalizer, flash bang, (swap scorcher for sleeper), stinkburst
    5: web, equalizer, flashbang, sleeper, stinkburst, great scorcher

    what do these traps do?

    scorcher is ref vs 2d6 fireball
    glitter burst is glitter dust (no save)
    equalizer is ref vs fall prone
    web is ref vs the web spell
    flash bang is fort vs blind/deaf (dazzle on save)
    sleeper is fort vs. sleep (fatigue on save!)
    stink burst is fort vs stinking cloud (save every round you're in the square)
    great scorcher is ref vs 5d6 fireball

    the duration on the ones besides the scorchers (which are obviously instantaneous) is a number of rounds equal to your class level.

    with the exception of great scorcher and web, which affect the square they're in and all adjacent squares, each of these traps only affect the square it is planted in.

    you can plant a trap in any square adjacent to yourself on solid ground and can put as many traps as you like in the same square (though effects for the same trap do not stack, the target does have to make multiple saves for multiple traps, and you can put as many fire traps as you want in one square time providing)

    traps are tripped by a tiny or bigger creature stepping on it (flying/incorporeal ones don't count, as usual) and each trap only works one time. the trap "lasts" for one hour or until triggered, whichever's sooner, after which point it doesn't work anymore.

    presumably after this point, the trap is inert, though it still exists where you buried it in the ground. I am not sure whether this would mean that it'd detect through trap finding or similar techniques, or if it would just register as garbage. ask your dm for specifics. This is addressed under the dirty tricks section.

    enemies can disable your traps normally with a search/DD check = 20+class lvl+int (so get that int high!) but first they need to see it with a spot check (same DC). your traps are easier to see because of reasons, so enemies don't need trap finding, but that's still a pretty high check, plus your traps are nonmagical, so won't ping on a detect magic.

    if you can make a lowish craft (trap making) check. The highest check you have to make to successfully deploy a trap at each level is always lower than your minimum possible roll.

    when you enter the class at 6, you take SF(trap making) to gain a +3 bonus to the check. the class gives this as a bonus feat the next level, but is one of the rare instances where if you have it already, you are allowed to take a different feat that you meet the prereqs for instead. The rationale for taking the feat early is to give you a bonus to trap making checks ASAP when you need it most.

    You have a +5 from 20 int, +3 from skill focus, +9 from max ranks for a total of +17. Your traps' DCs at 1st lvl are only 15, so you can't fail!

    This holds true until your very last level. Your bonus at 10 is +21, and your great scorcher trap requires a craft DC of 23, so you still succeed 95% of the time, which turns into 100% next level.

    The reason you keep putting ranks in trap making for a few levels is combat transmith's "improvised materials" ability that will be Deron's best friend throughout his career.

    From lvls 1-3, combat trap smith makes you use a kit to build traps. It costs 100gp and gives enough material for 10 traps, so it won't exactly bankrupt you.

    However, at level 4, you no longer need to rely on your kit if you don't want to by boosting the DC of the trap making check by 5.

    As demonstrated earlier, you really don't care all that much about the check since it's impossible for you to fail. When you gain the ability, you can auto-improvise your traps with minimal effort, and it soon becomes impossible for you to fail auto-improvisation.

    I put ranks in trap making up through 14, for a total bonus of 25 (17 ranks + 3 skill focus +5 naked int) I am assuming by now that you have been able to get a +6 headband of intellect, since as a skill monkey, int is important to you. Combat trap smith also uses it to calculate the save DC for its traps, so it becomes of even greater importance that your int is as high as possible. If you're low on money in your game, just go ahead and put ranks in it for a few more levels until you can hit DC 28 without rolling to improvise your great scorcher.

    As is plain to see, your traps can interact with one another to great effect:

    Web + stink immobilizes an enemy and makes them lose actions
    Web + fire deals extra damage when they break out of the web and step on the fire trap
    Sleep + web makes the str check or escape artist DC harder

    The combinations are numerous.


    Clone Better
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    Now that you're familiar with the rules about how your traps work, it's time to make things interesting:

    Trickery devotion allows you to use a clone of yourself that gains powers as you level up:

    1: unseen servant+silent image
    5: unseen servant + major image + bluff to do-si-do
    10: unseen servant + major image + remote viewing + skills/ability checks+ phantom equipment
    15: unseen servant + major image + remote viewing + skills/ability checks + phantom equipment + str = yours/2, cast spells as though project image

    your guy lasts 1 minute/character level and has 6+character lvl hp

    Whew! that's a lot to handle! Let's take it one step at a time:

    You obtain trickery devotion at level 7, since you already took SF(trap making) so get another feat you qualify for at level 2 of combat trap smith. Like all the domain feats, trickery devotion doesn't actually have any prerequisites except that it fit you thematically, and for a character centered around stealth and traps, deception is what you're all about.

    Let's start with the basics: your clone can trigger traps and can't be targeted or harmed by any non AoE damage dealing things (so all the traps except your scorchers don't hurt it)

    it can pass through difficult terrain and the like without difficulty, so can reach into a square and trigger a trap without difficulty. This can be used with traps that have a range of squares adjacent to itself, like the web (don't use it to trip scorchers, you'll blow up your clone, since he's never entitled to a save).

    When the trap is actually in an opponent's square, your clone can also be used to trigger traps under enemies who levitate or hover, which is situational, but nonetheless very fun when it comes up.

    Unlike a normal unseen servant, yours actually is visible, and looks exactly like you. Remember! you're a changeling! Take advantage of this. Between your racial bonus to disguise check, your plentiful ranks, synergy from bluff, and cunning knowledge (trickery devotion, used once/day is a good use of your cunning knowledge for disguise for the day) your disguise will be quite difficult to see through, so too will the disguise of your clone.

    Domain feats specify that the save DC (if any) is listed in the text. Trickery devotion has no save DC, so unlike a normal major image, it cannot be will disbelieved!

    So essentially, for 1 min/character level, you can have a clone of whoever you want at your beck and call! Sound, smell, and heat are included as well as visual appearance, and none of them can be disbelieved.

    This, works very well in tandem with your darkstalker feat, which lets you hide from blind sense, blindsight, tremor sense, and scent. You essentially don't show up to your enemy, but your clone does! You can, in fact, use the clone to bait them and lure them over to some of your traps.

    Once you hit 5 (so once you get the feat) you can also roll bluff w/ a +4 bonus vs an opponent's sense motive check to confuse them as to which of you is the real one. If they fail, they have it wrong and mix the two of you up. This will be complicated by them not being able to save vs. the clone's major image.

    at 10, you can view the world through your clone's body and ignore terrain, fly, etc. Remember to keep it in range of yourself (close range, treat character lvl as caster lvl) or the effect ends.

    This can be very useful when it comes to reconnaissance. Your clone does not weigh anything and has no material body, so can scout ahead for you and walk through doorways without springing tripwires, setting off pressure pads, or anything else you don't want him to do.

    you can also use skills through your clone and he has versions of your tools, so he can not only find traps for you, he can also disable them.

    at 15, you can cast spells through your clone as though via project image. you don't have any spells, but your arcane dilettante SLAs count, and it's nice to have the option there with wands, which can open up all sorts of crazy things. he can also gain 1/2 your str and can attack enemies with whatever equipment he's got (as long as it doesn't leave his grasp)
    Dirty Tricks
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    This is the catch-all section for anything this build could theoretically do that would require some judgement on the DM's part. Some of these are just theoretical exploits, others are things that didn't fit anyplace else.

    Needle in a Haystack:
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    What exactly happens to your inert traps once the hour is up? They're not made of magical force, so don't just dissolve. If a character sees a cavern or something with a whole bunch of traps, is there any way for them to tell which are live? Ask your DM.


    Set us up the Bomb:
    Spoiler
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    You can put an arbitrary number of traps in a square, resources and time permitting. With proper time and inclination, you can deal essentially as much damage as you like to an enemy who is vulnerable to hit point and fire damage. They will have to make a lot of saves and will fail enough to kill them. This clearly falls under the umbrella of "gentleman's agreement not to do this" but it's nonetheless an interesting thought exercise


    Now You See Me, Now You Don't
    Spoiler
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    Quick change makes minor shape shift a move action. Cloak dance is a move action to gain concealment. Conceal yourself and change your shape, and then pop back in a different shape the next round. Confuse everyone, especially in combination with any of the tricks under the trickery devotion section



    Sources
    Spoiler
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    complete champion: trickery devotion
    complete scoundrel: combat trapsmith
    core: skill focus, alertness, rogue
    dungeonscape: factotum
    lords of madness: darkstalker
    PHB2: cunning evasion, shadow striker
    Races of eberron: changeling rogue, quick change
    XPH: cloak dance

    complete adventurer: nightsong infiltrator(secret ingredient)
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


    Spoiler
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  10. - Top - End - #70
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Imitation has more to it than flattery.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lycus Blackbeak


    Lindsay hated guard duty.

    He had fought hard for the Vicar of Mourning during the Blackwater Wars, had won every battle, proved himself enough to gain audience with the Vicar himself. The Vicar had promised him riches and a position within his own house. He had jumped at the chance, expecting higher wages and easy living. But the Vicar was demanding and intensely paranoid, requiring round the clock guarding, and as he neared the end of another twelve hour day, Lindsay found himself missing the bloody simplicity of the wars.

    “Lindsay, I have need of you,” came the Vicar’s dusty voice from the door behind him. “Come in, quickly.”

    Lindsay looked around at the other guards. They all shrugged. Lindsay turned and entered the crypt-like room.

    The Vicar looked up at him, with surprise showing in his sunken eyes. He quickly covered the maps he was working on. “What are you doing here? How dare you enter without knocking?”

    “I - I was called,” Lindsay stammered. “You asked -”

    “I did nothing of the sort,” the Vicar said quietly, “and since you have so recklessly abandoned your post, perhaps you ought to stay on for a second shift.”

    Lindsay was preparing to reply when he heard the sounds of a struggle from outside the room. He turned to speak, but the Vicar waved him away. “Go,” he commanded. “See what happens when you leave your post?”

    Back in the antechamber, all was chaos. The guards were fanning out, preparing to face three men, all wearing mail and bearing swords. He paused a moment to wonder at how they managed to get in without an alarm being raised.

    Suddenly he heard someone shout. “Guards, put down your weapons,” said the voice. “The Vicar’s orders! These men are here to see him!” Lindsay watched in awe as the guards all did, looking confused. He belatedly realized that the voice that spoke was his own.

    “No!” He shouted, preparing to tell them it was all a trick, that he had not spoken, when he stepped forward. Something clicked under his foot. He felt a strange vapor puff up past his nose and suddenly fell forward, so drowsy he could no longer stand.

    “That wasn’t me,” he muttered, but his voice was so low that the other guards could no longer hear him. With heavy, drooping eyes, he watched a strange bird-man step out of the shadows. And then, all he knew was sleep...

    "Crow tool manufacture had three features new to tool use in free-living nonhumans... which indicates that crows have achieved a considerable technical capability in their tool manufacture and use."

    Hunt, G. Manufacture and use of hook-tools by New Caledonian crows. Nature 379, 249 - 251 (18 January 1996).

    Lycus Blackbeak
    CG Kenku, Factotum 3/Totemist 2/Combat Trapsmith 5/Nightsong Infiltrator 10
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    LYCUS BLACKBEAK
    {table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

    1st|Factotum 1|
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |
    +0
    |Climb 4 ranks, disable device 4 ranks, balance 4 ranks, search 4 ranks, use magic device 4 ranks, bluff 4 ranks, craft (trapmaking) 4 ranks, craft (alchemy) 4 ranks, hide 4 ranks, move silently 4 ranks|Darkstalker|Inspiration, cunning insight, cunning knowledge, trapfinding

    2nd|Totemist 1|
    +0
    |
    +2
    |
    +4
    |
    +0
    |Climb 4.5 ranks, disable device 4.5 ranks, search 4.5 ranks, use magic device 4.5 ranks, hide 4.5 ranks, move silently 4.5 ranks, craft (trapmaking) 5 ranks, craft (alchemy) 5 ranks||Wild empathy

    3rd|Totemist 2|
    +1
    |
    +3
    |
    +5
    |
    +0
    |Climb 5 ranks, disable device 5 ranks, search 5 ranks, use magic device 5 ranks, hide 5 ranks, move silently 5 ranks, craft (trapmaking) 6 ranks, craft (alchemy) 6 ranks|Sacred Vow|Totem chakra bind (+1 capacity)

    4th|Factotum 2|
    +2
    |
    +3
    |
    +6
    |
    +0
    |Climb 6 ranks, disable device 6 ranks, balance 5 ranks, search 6 ranks, use magic device 5 ranks, bluff 5 ranks, hide 6 ranks, move silently 6 ranks, craft (trapmaking) 7 ranks, craft (alchemy) 7 ranks||Arcane dilettante (1 spell)

    5th|Factotum 3|
    +3
    |
    +4
    |
    +6
    |
    +1
    |Climb 7 ranks, disable device 7 ranks, search 7 ranks, use magic device 6 ranks, bluff 6 ranks, hide 7 ranks, move silently 7 ranks, craft (trapmaking) 8 ranks, craft (alchemy) 8 ranks, spot 1 rank||Brains over brawn, cunning defense

    6th|Combat Trapsmith 1|
    +3
    |
    +6
    |
    +8
    |
    +1
    |Climb 8 ranks, craft (trapmaking) 9 ranks, craft (alchemy) 9 ranks, disable device 8 ranks, hide 8 ranks, move silently 8 ranks, open lock 1 rank, search 8 ranks, spot 2 ranks|Vow of Nonviolence|Combat trapping, trap sense +1, enfeebler trap, befuddler trap

    7th|Combat Trapsmith 2|
    +4
    |
    +7
    |
    +9
    |
    +1
    |Climb 9 ranks, craft (trapmaking) 10 ranks, craft (alchemy) 10 ranks, disable device 9 ranks, hide 9 ranks, move silently 9 ranks, open lock 2 ranks, search 9 ranks, spot 3 ranks, bluff 6.5 ranks|Skill Focus (craft (trapmaking))|Entangler trap, equalizer trap (lose befuddler)

    8th|Combat Trapsmith 3|
    +5
    |
    +7
    |
    +9
    |
    +2
    |Climb 10 ranks, craft (trapmaking) 11 ranks, craft (alchemy) 11 ranks, disable device 10 ranks, hide 10 ranks, move silently 10 ranks, open lock 3 ranks, search 10 ranks, spot 4 ranks, bluff 7 ranks||Trap sense +2, flashbang trap, spiderweb trap (lose enfeebler)

    9th|Combat Trapsmith 4|
    +6/+1
    |
    +8
    |
    +10
    |
    +2
    |Craft (trapmaking) 12 ranks, craft (alchemy) 12 ranks, disable device 11 ranks, hide 12 ranks, move silently 11 ranks, open lock 5 ranks, search 11 ranks, spot 5 ranks|Alertness|Improvised materials, sleeper trap

    10th|Nightsong Infiltrator 1|
    +6/+1
    |
    +8
    |
    +12
    |
    +2
    |Bluff 9 ranks, craft (alchemy) 13 ranks, disable device 12 ranks, hide 13 ranks, move silently 12 ranks, search 12 ranks, spot 6 ranks, use magic device 10 ranks||Teamwork trap sense +1

    11th|Nightsong Infiltrator 2|
    +7/+2
    |
    +8
    |
    +13
    |
    +2
    |Bluff 12 ranks, craft (alchemy) 14 ranks, disable device 13 ranks, hide 14 ranks, move silently 14 ranks, search 13 ranks, spot 7 ranks, use magic device 12 ranks||Steady stance, teamwork infiltration +2

    12th|Nightsong Infiltrator 3|
    +8/+3
    |
    +9
    |
    +13
    |
    +3
    |Bluff 15 ranks, craft (alchemy) 15 ranks, disable device 14 ranks, hide 15 ranks, move silently 15 ranks, search 14 ranks, spot 8 ranks, use magic device 15 ranks|Shadow Striker|Break away, trackless step (self)

    13th|Nightsong Infiltrator 4|
    +9/+4
    |
    +9
    |
    +14
    |
    +3
    |Bluff 16 ranks, craft (alchemy) 16 ranks, disable device 15 ranks, hide 16 ranks, move silently 16 ranks, search 15 ranks, spot 13 ranks, use magic device 16 ranks||Detect magic, teamwork sneak attack +1d6, teamwork trap sense +2

    14th|Nightsong Infiltrator 5|
    +9/+4
    |
    +9
    |
    +14
    |
    +3
    |Bluff 17 ranks, craft (alchemy) 17 ranks, disable device 16 ranks, hide 17 ranks, move silently 17 ranks, search 16 ranks, spot 16 ranks, use magic device 17 ranks, Skill Trick: Clarity of Vision||Defensive roll, grant move action 1/day

    15th|Combat Trapsmith 5|
    +9/+4
    |
    +9
    |
    +14
    |
    +3
    |Bluff 18 ranks, craft (alchemy) 18 ranks, disable device 17 ranks, hide 18 ranks, move silently 18 ranks, search 18 ranks, spot 18 ranks, use magic device 18 ranks, Skill Trick: Corner Perch|Improved Diversion|Expert trapsetter, trap sense +3, stinkburst trap, glitterburst trap (lose entangler)

    16th|Nightsong Infiltrator 6|
    +10/+5
    |
    +10
    |
    +15
    |
    +4
    |Bluff 19 ranks, climb 11 ranks, craft (alchemy) 19 ranks, disable device 19 ranks, hide 19 ranks, move silently 19 ranks, search 19 ranks, spot 19 ranks, use magic device 19 ranks, diplomacy 1 rank, forgery 1 rank||Improved evasion, skill mastery, specialized tools

    17th|Nightsong Infiltrator 7|
    +11/+6/+1
    |
    +10
    |
    +15
    |
    +4
    |Bluff 20 ranks, climb 12 ranks, craft (alchemy) 20 ranks, disable device 20 ranks, hide 20 ranks, move silently 20 ranks, search 20 ranks, spot 20 ranks, use magic device 20 ranks, diplomacy 4 ranks||Teamwork trap sense +3, trackless step (allies)

    18th|Nightsong Infiltrator 8|
    +12/+7/+2
    |
    +10
    |
    +16
    |
    +4
    |Bluff 21 ranks, craft (alchemy) 21 ranks, disable device 21 ranks, hide 21 ranks, move silently 21 ranks, search 21 ranks, spot 21 ranks, use magic device 21 ranks, diplomacy 8 ranks|Ability Focus (combat trapping)|Teamwork infiltration +4, teamwork sneak attack +2d6

    19th|Nightsong Infiltrator 9|
    +12/+7/+2
    |
    +11
    |
    +16
    |
    +5
    |Bluff 22 ranks, craft (alchemy) 22 ranks, disable device 22 ranks, hide 22 ranks, move silently 22 ranks, search 22 ranks, spot 22 ranks, use magic device 22 ranks, diplomacy 12 ranks||Grant move action 2/day

    20th|Nightsong Infiltrator 10|
    +13/+8/+3
    |
    +11
    |
    +17
    |
    +5
    |Bluff 23 ranks, craft (alchemy) 23 ranks, disable device 23 ranks, hide 23 ranks, move silently 23 ranks, search 23 ranks, spot 23 ranks, use magic device 23 ranks, diplomacy 16 ranks||Hide in plain sight, teamwork trap sense +4[/table]

    FINAL SKILL RANKS:
    Balance 5 ranks
    Bluff 23 ranks
    Climb 12 ranks
    Craft (alchemy) 23 ranks
    Craft (trapmaking) 12 ranks
    Diplomacy 16 ranks
    Disable device 23 ranks
    Forgery 1 rank
    Hide 23 ranks
    Move silently 23 ranks
    Open lock 5 ranks
    Search 23 ranks
    Use magic device 23 ranks
    Clarity of Vision skill trick
    Corner Perch skill trick

    Ability Scores
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    Str 6/Dex 15/Con 13/Int 18/Wis 10/Cha 12 (includes racial mods)

    Boost Intelligence at every level.


    Suggested Items
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    Equip yourself like you would any thief. Intelligence is far and away your most important stat, so pick up items and tomes that boost that. Following that, boost Dexterity.

    Weapons are unnecessary; your claws mean you can always flank without needing to carry a weapon in your hand, and you have vowed not to deal damage regardless. It wouldn’t hurt to keep a feycraft sap on you for when you need to deal nonlethal damage, or a few nets or bolas, but that’s about it.

    You’ll want armor that restricts you as little as possible, and when you can afford the greater version of Shadow and Silent Moves enhancements, I would pick those up, which will free up a soulmeld for you. (Anything other than the greater versions is not worth it, however, as your Kruthik Claws grant you a +8 competence bonus on their own.) A Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis is also always nice on a stealth build.

    A hat of disguise or a wand of alter self would not go amiss, combining well with your Mimicry ability to impersonate just about anyone. Wands are also great. A wand of glibness in particular would be nice, as would a wand of heroics. An eternal wand of open least chakra is also a very nice thing to have.



    The Blackbeak's Code
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    Where the shadows fall, evil may grow. To attack evil in the light of day is a futile task; evil must be destroyed where its roots grow deepest.

    Redemption exists in the souls of all men. I must always remember this.

    The greatest form of evil is tyranny. One man with evil in his heart may cause mischief but little more, while an empire threatens the entire world.

    Societies built on tyranny are like a stone wall with no mortar. An army may fling itself against the wall to no avail, while a clever bird picks at the cracks.

    If I am to truly succeed, I must do this without the shedding of blood. Certainly evil blood must sometimes be spillt, but it must not be at my claws. This is not an abdication of guilt. This is my sacrifice.


    Build Snapshots
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    LEVELS 1-5:
    Spoiler
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    You begin play as a stealthy scout. Darkstalker comes online right from the get-go, because what kind of scout would you be if you couldn’t even sneak past a CR ⅓ guard dog?

    Anyhow, like all factota, you are a jack of all trades. Combined with your racial bonuses, totemist soulmelds and your inspiration points, you should be putting out truly phenomenal skill bonuses in all the stealthy skills. This especially becomes true at level 5, when you are adding your Intelligence bonus to many of these skills.

    With your two levels of totemist, you get three soulmelds and the ability to bind to your totem chakra. Feel free to switch these up as circumstances require, but you’ll pretty much always want the Kruthik Claws for the potential +8 bonus to your stealth skills. Other good ones include the Lammasu Mantle, for a nice bonus to saves and AC, the Blink Shirt for tactical movement, and the Great Raptor Mask, for Evasion and nice boosts to your spot checks.



    LEVELS 6-10:
    Spoiler
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    Well, that escalated quickly. Right at level 6, you pick up both Vow of Nonviolence and your first level in Combat Trapsmith, giving you a wide variety of new abilities.

    Let’s look at those traps for a minute. Note that none of your chosen traps break your Vow of Nonviolence. Note also that the Vow of Nonviolence provides a hefty +4 bonus to their save DC, meaning that by level 9, you’re looking at a DC of 18+Int. To make matters worse, many of your chosen traps still inflict a debuff even on a successful save. Slink around the battlefield setting traps under the feet of your foes, allowing you to entangle them, knock them prone, put them to sleep, sicken them and more. Heck, by level 9 you don’t even need materials to do this anymore - you can create these traps at-will using whatever happens to be at hand.

    It’s also worth taking a gander at that excellent craft (alchemy) skill. While your trapmaking tops out at DC 26 (enough to make a Sleeper or Stinkburst trap with improvised materials), the better you are at alchemical crafting, the faster you can churn out these items. So in addition to laying nasty traps all over the place, you’re also debuffing with tanglefoot bags, eggshell grenades, alchemical sleep gas and torch bug paste. You’re using noxious smokesticks and stinkpots to create battlefield control, or boosting allies with nerv, bloodspikes and antitoxins.

    You should pretty much exclusively switch to the Great Raptor Mask as your totem bind from here on out, by the way. As a scout, the bonus to Spot checks is becoming very important (and soon you’ll have Clarity of Vision as well). The evasion is also essential, allowing you to pick up your first level of Nightsong Infiltrator. Right now that means a big boost to your skills and a passive boost to you and your allies, but over the next few levels, it’s about to become VERY important.


    LEVELS 11-15:
    Spoiler
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    Hey, let’s take a nice long look at what those Nightsong Infiltrator levels offer you. In addition to a ton of excellent defensive abilities (hello, break away and defensive roll!) and some nice scouting boosts (hi, trackless step and detect magic at will!), you also pick up a lot of nice teamwork benefits.

    First of all, teamwork trap sense. It’s nice on its own, since it gives your party a reasonable boost against traps. It’s especially handy for you, just in case one of them stumbles into one of your traps. (No matter how many times you tell that fighter not to step there, he just never seems to learn...)

    Oh, hey, your skills. Nightsong Infiltrator gets a hefty 8 skill points per level and every skill you need here as a class skill. Now you can catch up on both bluff and use magic device, right at the levels when those two skills become super important. You can also pick up the Clarity of Vision skill trick, letting you spot invisible enemies to target with your Glitterburst traps.

    Now, see that maxed out bluff skill? You’ve got three very good reasons to take advantage of it. The first is the “Delivering a Secret Message” ability. You’re laying traps all over the place, and you want your party to know where they are without your enemies doing so. Using bluff, you can convey to them where not to walk without cluing in the baddies.

    Also, as a kenku, you’ve got the Mimicry ability. You can mimic voices, sounds, etc., that you’ve heard. You’re going to be spending a lot of time hidden. Use this time to spread confusion as you mimic the voices of your foes, issuing contradictory orders or calling for help where none is needed. This is especially nice if vision is obscured by things like smokesticks and Stinkburst bombs.

    But we were talking about Nightsong Infiltrator’s teamwork benefits. You’re lending some of your stealth ability to your party, which is always nice. Also, while you have sworn not to attack, by flanking enemies you can still lend your aid to your allies, granting them not only a flanking bonus, but sneak attack damage as well. Now let’s look at Shadow Striker. If you and an ally have an enemy flanked so that you both threaten, you can make a Hide check versus his Spot, and if you succeed, he can’t attack you as long as the other enemy still threatens. This means he can’t make attack of opportunities on you while you trap the square he’s standing in. In fact, you can lay trap after trap right under his feet and there’s not a darn thing he can do about it. Your ally, meanwhile, is free to attack, and dealing extra damage to boot.

    Oh, hey, I said there were three reasons why bluff was so important to you. Take a look at that level 15 feat, Improved Diversion, which allows you to make a bluff check to create a diversion to hide as a move action instead of a standard action. Well, notice that at the same level, you get the ability to start setting traps as a standard action, including things like the Stinkburst trap. Ever seen a ninja disappear in a puff of smoke? That’s you, baby! Standard action to create a stinking cloud bomb, move action to call attention to create a diversion, and then take a five foot step and use that movement to hide. The net effect is that you toss down a bomb or smokestick, causing a big bang and smoke, and then... disappear.


    LEVELS 16-20:
    Spoiler
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    The good just keeps on getting better.

    Right at level 16, you get three great boons - improved tools (essentially a +2 bonus to just about every useful skill you’ve got), skill mastery, and improved evasion. Failure just isn’t an option for you!

    Nightsong Infiltrator’s huge number of skill points means you’ve long since hit the ceiling on most skills you care about, so with the extra points, you begin to branch out a bit. You can actually make a pretty passable diplomancer in these levels, assuming you can dodge the flying books. You also pick up forgery, a nice little skill that is only opposed by... forgery! With forger’s paper (which you can easily craft yourself) and an inspiration point, not to mention your massive Int bonus, you should be able to forge almost anything.

    All of your other abilities improve as well. Once your party was a bunch of bumbling fools who couldn’t clunk down a hallway without alerting half the castle. Now they’re a crack team that can put Charlie and his roller-skating astral devas to shame. Your whole team moves everywhere without leaving a trace, quiet and deadly. You can even grant them extra movement to help reposition them into flanking positions and push them past the tougher parts.

    That team sneak attack bonus gets better as well, so your little flanking Shadow Striker trick becomes even deadlier. You get a very nice Hide in Plain Sight ability for when you’re in natural terrain, and it combos well with your smoke bombs. Oh, and the DC of your traps is now 21+Int. With level appropriate gear, that means a whopping DC of 33, with the ability to target multiple saves.



    Tips and Tricks
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    In addition to Lycus Blackbeak's hefty stealth bonuses, soulmeld use, factotum abilities and high-DC traps, Lycus has several particular tricks he uses to get the drop on his enemies.

    Evasive Flanking
    Spoiler
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    Find an ally and move into a flanking position. In addition to flanking bonuses, you’re also granting your ally sneak attack damage. Meanwhile, using Shadow Striker’s “Evade Notice” option, you can make a hide check to avoid being attacked, as long as you don’t directly attack your enemy. That’s OK, because your Vow of Nonviolence means you don’t really like directly attacking anyhow. One thing you CAN do? Set traps! So while you’re boosting your ally’s attacks, you’re also setting trap after trap on your enemy... and as long as you both threaten him, he can't attack you or take AoOs on you while you do it!


    Disappearing in a Puff of Smoke
    Spoiler
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    You can create small stinking clouds at will as a standard action via the stinkburst trap. You can also make a diversion to hide as a move action via Improved Diversion. The actual act of hiding itself isn’t an action at all, but rather is combined with movement, as long as you have some form of cover or concealment, and if you spend your move action on something other than movement (ie, making a diversion), you can follow it up with a 5-foot step.

    So what happens when you combine that? Well, set off a stinkburst bomb as your standard, make a bluff check to distract everyone as a move action, then 5-foot step into hiding. The stinking cloud gives you the concealment you need to successfully hide. Yes, that’s right, you’ve just recreated the ninja disappearing smoke bomb trick.


    Trapped!
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    Sometimes, no matter how cleverly you lay a trap, you just can’t convince an enemy to set it off. Good use of the bluff skill should help keep this problem to a minimum, but in a pinch, you can set traps off yourself to excellent effect.

    Many of your traps create lasting battlefield control, or affect all adjacent squares in addition to their own square. Go ahead and set these off yourself, especially those requiring a reflex save. Despite the massive DC, you’ve got excellent Reflex saves, improved evasion, and a whopping +7 trap sense bonus to saves.

    Your allies also share a good portion of these trap sense bonuses, meaning that if they've got decent saves, you can also include them in the radius of your traps without fear of harm. Just be prepared to buy them a mug of ale afterwards if things don’t go quite as planned...


    Break Away and Make Them Pay
    Spoiler
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    Mobility is important to you, and the Break Away ability is pretty sweet, offering a huge AC bonus if you do nothing but move. But... not ANYTHING else? That seems sad! Still, it comes in handy, especially since you’ll want to be constantly moving into flanking positions. You’re an EXCELLENT flanking partner, after all.

    But hey, wait a minute, isn’t speaking a free action? And when it comes to speaking, your words are deadly. Thanks to your Mimicry ability, you can perfectly mimic other voices and sounds you've heard. Your goal is to completely confuse and confound your enemies, so while you dance around the battlefield granting flanking boosts and sneak attack damage, you can also shout commands in their leader’s voice, imitate the sounds of swordplay or arrows firing, convince enemies that there are traps where none exist, and more. You can simultaneously deliver a secret message to your own allies, completely under your enemy’s radar.



    Sources
    Spoiler
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    Combat Trapsmith, skill tricks: Comp Scoundrel
    Darkstalker: Lords of Madness
    Sacred Vow, Vow of Nonviolence: Book of Exalted Deeds
    Shadow Striker: PHB2
    Improved Diversion: Comp Adventurer
    Factotum: Dungeonscape
    Totemist: Magic of Incarnum
    Ability Focus: MM/SRD
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


    Spoiler
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  11. - Top - End - #71
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    It's a Christmas miraculum! - C. M. Burns
    Quote Originally Posted by Santa
    Spoiler
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    Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house
    Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
    The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
    In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;


    This is a showcase for new TO build.

    The Build
    Spoiler
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    St. Nicholas
    Gray Elf Artificer 4/Wizard 1/Artificer 1/Divine Oracle 1/Artificer 1/Divine Oracle 1/Abjurant Champion 1/Nightsong Infiltrator 10

    ACFs:
    Elf Wizard Racial Substitution Level
    UA Wizard Variant: Trade Scribe Scroll for a Fighter Bonus feat

    Stats:
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    Starting Stats (32-point buy):
    Str 10/Dex 12/Con 14/Int 16/Wis 8/Cha 16
    With Racial Modifiers:
    Str 8/Dex 14/Con 12/Int 18/Wis 8/Cha 16

    All boosts go to Cha.


    Build:
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    {table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features
    1st|Artificer 1|
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |Disable Device 4 ranks, Hide 2 ranks, Know (religion) 2 ranks, Move Silently 2 ranks, Open Lock 4 ranks, Search 4 ranks, Spellcraft 4 ranks, Use Magic Device 4 ranks|Practiced Spellcaster, Scribe ScrollB|Artificer knowledge, Artisan Bonus, Disable trap, Item creation
    2nd|Artificer 2|
    +1
    |
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |Disable Device 5 ranks, Hide 2.5 ranks, Know (arcana), Move Silently 2.5 ranks, Open Lock 5 ranks, Search 5 ranks, Spellcraft 5 ranks, Use Magic Device 5 ranks|Brew PotionB|
    3rd|Artificer 3|
    +2
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +3
    |Climb 1 rank, Disable Device 6 ranks, Hide 3 ranks, Know (the planes) 1 rank, Move Silently 3 ranks, Search 6 ranks, Use Magic Device 6 ranks|Skill Focus(Knowledge:Religion), Craft Wondrous ItemB|
    4th|Artificer 4|
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Climb 2.5 ranks, Disable Device 7 ranks, Hide 3.5 ranks, Move Silently 3.5 ranks, Search 7 ranks, Use Magic Device 7 ranks|Exceptional ArtisanB, Craft Wondrous HomunculusB|
    5th|Wizard 1|
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +6
    |Know (religion) 8 ranks|Martial Study (Cloak of Deception)B|Summon familiar
    6th|Artificer 5|
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +6
    |Climb 3 ranks, Disable Device 8 ranks, Hide 4 ranks, Move Silently 4 ranks, Search 9 ranks, Use Magic Device 9 ranks|Skill Focus (Use Magic Device), Craft Magic Arms and ArmorB|Retain Essence
    7th|Divine Oracle 1|
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +8
    |Climb 4 ranks, Search 10 ranks, Use Magic Device 10 ranks| |Oracle domain, scry bonus
    8th|Artificer 6|
    +4
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    +9
    |Disable Device 10 ranks, Hide 5 ranks, Move Silently 5 ranks, Search 11 ranks, Use Magic Device 11 ranks| |Metamagic Spell Trigger
    9th|Divine Oracle 2|
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    +10
    |Climb 5 ranks, Disable Device 11 ranks, Search 11 ranks, Use Magic Device 12 ranks|Combat Casting|Prescient sense, trap sense +1
    10th|Abjurant Champion 1|
    +6
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    +12
    |Climb 10 ranks, Corner Perch| |Abjurant Armor, Extended Abjuration
    11th|Nightsong Infiltrator 1|
    +6
    |
    +2
    |
    +4
    |
    +12
    |Disable Device 14 ranks, Hide 7 ranks, Move Silently 7 ranks, Search 14 ranks, Use Magic Device 14 ranks| |Teamwork trap sense +1, trapfinding
    12th|Nightsong Infiltrator 2|
    +7
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |
    +12
    |Disable Device 15 ranks, Hide 12 ranks, Move Silently 11 ranks, Search 15 ranks, Use Magic Device 15 ranks|Craft Staff|Steady stance, teamwork infiltration +2
    13th|Nightsong Infiltrator 3|
    +8
    |
    +3
    |
    +5
    |
    +13
    |Disable Device 16 ranks, Hide 16 ranks, Move Silently 16 ranks, Search 16 ranks, Use Magic Device 16 ranks| |Break away, trackless step (self)
    14th|Nightsong Infiltrator 4|
    +9
    |
    +3
    |
    +6
    |
    +13
    |Disable Device 17 ranks, Hide 17 ranks, Move Silently 17 ranks, Search 17 ranks, Tumble 7 ranks, Use Magic Device 17 ranks| |Detect magic, teamwork sneak attack +1d6, teamwork trap sense +2
    15th|Nightsong Infiltrator 5|
    +9
    |
    +3
    |
    +6
    |
    +13
    |Disable Device 18 ranks, Hide 18 ranks, Move Silently 18 ranks, Search 18 ranks, Tumble 12 ranks, Use Magic Device 18 ranks, Acrobatic Backstab|Extend Spell|Defensive roll, grant move action 1/day
    16th|Nightsong Infiltrator 6|
    +10
    |
    +4
    |
    +7
    |
    +14
    |Climb 12 ranks, Craft (woodworking) 1 rank, Disable Device 19 ranks, Hide 19 ranks, Move Silently 19 ranks, Search 19 ranks, Tumble 14 ranks, Use Magic Device 19 ranks, Walk the Walls| |Improved evasion, skill mastery, specialized tools
    17th|Nightsong Infiltrator 7|
    +10
    |
    +4
    |
    +7
    |
    +14
    |Balance 5 ranks, Disable Device 20 ranks, Hide 20 ranks, Move Silently 20 ranks, Search 20 ranks, Use Magic Device 20 ranks, Back On Your Feet| |Teamwork trap sense +3, trackless step (allies)
    18th|Nightsong Infiltrator 8|
    +11
    |
    +4
    |
    +8
    |
    +14
    |Balance 7 ranks, Disable Device 21 ranks, Hide 21 ranks, Move Silently 21 ranks, Search 21 ranks, Tumble 19 ranks, Use Magic Device 21 ranks|Persistent Spell|Teamwork infiltration +4, teamwork sneak attack +2d6
    19th|Nightsong Infiltrator 9|
    +11
    |
    +5
    |
    +8
    |
    +15
    |Balance 12 ranks, Disable Device 22 ranks, Hide 22 ranks, Move Silently 22 ranks, Search 22 ranks, Tumble 21 ranks, Use Magic Device 22 ranks| |Grant move action 2/day
    20th|Nightsong Infiltrator 10|
    +12
    |
    +5
    |
    +9
    |
    +15
    |Balance 14 ranks, Decipher Script 5 ranks, Disable Device 23 ranks, Hide 23 ranks, Move Silently 23 ranks, Search 23 ranks, Use Magic Device 23 ranks| |Hide in plain sight, teamwork trap sense +4[/table]

    BBonus feat granted by class.


    Spells
    Spoiler
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    Artificer Infusions per day
    {table=head]Level|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th
    1st|2|-|-|-|-|-
    2nd|3|-|-|-|-|-
    3rd|3|1|-|-|-|-
    4th|3|2|-|-|-|-
    5th|3|2|-|-|-|-
    6th|3|3|1|-|-|-
    7th|3|3|2|-|-|-
    8th|3|3|2|-|-|-
    9th|3|3|3|1|-|-
    10th|3|3|3|2|-|-
    11th|3|3|3|2|-|-
    12th|3|3|3|2|-|-
    13th|3|3|3|2|-|-
    14th|3|3|3|2|-|-
    15th|3|3|3|2|-|-
    16th|3|3|3|2|-|-
    17th|3|3|3|2|-|-
    18th|3|3|3|2|-|-
    19th|3|3|3|2|-|-
    20th|3|3|3|2|-|-[/table]

    Wizard Spells per day
    {table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th
    1st|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    2nd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    3rd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    4th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    5th|3|1+1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    6th|3|1+1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    7th|3|1+1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    8th|3|1+1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    9th|3|1+1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    10th|3|1+1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    11th|3|1+1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    12th|3|1+1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    13th|3|1+1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    14th|3|1+1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    15th|3|1+1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    16th|3|1+1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    17th|3|1+1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    18th|3|1+1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    19th|3|1+1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
    20th|3|1+1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-[/table]


    Suggested Items
    Spoiler
    Show
    Thanks to starting as an Artificer, Nicholas can craft almost all the magical equipment he needs and supply the rest of his party too. That said, a pair of Magic Tattoos or Orange Ioun Stones at level 13, whether bought or cast/crafted, will help by boosting his Artificer CL high enough to make 9th level scrolls and staffs (note that thanks to Divine Oracle, he can craft 9th level Divination equipment without this). And of course, anything that boosts UMD, like Spellsight Spectacles, a Cloak of Charisma, or a Circlet of Persuasion, will help him craft the equipment he needs.



    The Story of St. Nicholas
    Spoiler
    Show
    With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
    I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.


    You know the story... Every Christmas Eve he flies from house to house, delivering presents to the nice boys and girls, and leaving coal for the bad. But there is another story. The one that came before.

    You see, he was always a good soul, St. Nicholas. He loved helping others, tinkering, and adventuring. Yes, he was an adventurer. Perhaps Lord Starrin would not have feared him otherwise.

    He started like any other artificer. He made useful things, and strengthened his friends in battle. He even opened a magic shop. He was interested in learning everything, and got pretty good at it, too. Give the man a few days in the back room and he would give you an answer to anything divination could find. Sometimes he would sneak around to find things out himself; could do it pretty well for an artificer. That was how he joined the Nightsong Guild. They magnified his abilities tenfold, combining his love of stealth with his natural teamwork. It made him very popular whenever a job turned up. He was just so easy to work with, and friendly.

    Well, Lord Starrin heard of his growing influence, and feared the direction House Cannith might take if the Nightsong Guild got control of it. He didn't realize that Nicholas was a member out of convenience, not loyalty, that his real love was people. Our lord took it upon himself to send an assassination group after Nicholas. Make it look like a rival spy group wanted him taken out, you see? Well, no one saw the group or Nicholas after that. At least, not until a few years later, when Lord Starrin got a room full of coal, and someone thought they spotted Nicholas on the rooftop. It turned out Nicholas wasn't angry, just sad. I guess he realized that Eberron wasn't his home anymore, and left. I don't know where to. Maybe Starrin does; he certainly changed his mind about Nicholas after that. I heard he even got Nicholas sainted.

    At any rate, that's when children started getting toys every year. Some say St. Nicholas does it because he genuinely loves people, others say that he's driven by the remorse of killing his beloved, who was in the group Lord Starrin sent after him. I only know this: if you stay up late Christmas Eve and keep an eye open, then maybe, just maybe, you'll see a plump figure slide down the chimney, leave some presents beneath the tree, and scurry away. And gods bless him.


    St. Nicholas and His Elves, a.k.a. How Does He Do It? (Build Explanation)
    Spoiler
    Show
    A bundle of toys was flung on his back,
    And he look'd like a peddler just opening his pack:


    First, the factory. Feeling he was no longer welcome in Eberron, Nicholas went to the Ethereal Plane. He spent some time crafting two Orange Ioun stones for himself, then created and cast a scroll of Genesis to create a flowing time demiplane with 20 rounds per 1 round on the Material Plane. Then he used his craft homunculus ability as an artificer to create a slew of dedicated wrights. They can't craft more magic items, but they can create mundane items, so they spend each year putting together toys (and sacks of coal).

    Second, the reindeer. Nicholas needed 69,120 scrolls of Simulacrum (for an ECL3 clone), which require 78,624,000gp, 27,025,920xp, 20,736,000gp worth of powdered ruby, and 69,120 days to create. He had a few ways of getting all the materials:
    The gp:
    1. Crafting and selling magic items. Artificers have the ability to generate nigh-infinite wealth simply buy turning raw materials into magic items, and Nicholas was no exception.
    2. Selling Walls of Iron/Salt.
    3. Crafting a scroll of Wish and cast it to wish for 99,360,000gp. This was dangerous, but possible.
    4. Using Planar Binding to compel an Efreeti to give Nicholas its wishes, and wishing for a scroll of Gate and two of Simulacrum. Repeating the process with Gate rather than Planar Binding 34,560 times would give him the scrolls he needs (note these are well within the bounds of a safe wish).
    5. As 4, except Wishing for a Ring of Infinite Wishes. Then using 69,120 of those wishes for a scroll of Simulacrum each.
    Nicholas settled on #1 as his first option because he believes in actual work (and not crashing the economy), and got the cash. He bought the powdered ruby, and was set.

    The xp:
    1. Ordinary adventuring. Having a Dedicated Wright means never having to spend time crafting again, so Nicholas could spend all his time earning xp if he wanted to. 212 levels would give Nicholas enough xp to craft his scrolls, and 232 levels * 13.3 encounters/level * 4 encounters/day = 772 days to get his xp.
    2. More Simulacrums. A simulacrum of Nicholas costs 1,137.5gp, 1,091xp, and 1,000gp worth of powdered ruby. Ignoring money, which he could use the above tricks to obtain, that's 1091xp. Being level 10 means a simulacrum has 55,000xp. Nicholas could then order it to create scrolls of Transference (costing 1xp each) and give it to him, which he would then cast to get the required xp for crafting. 55000 - 1091 - (55000 - 1091)/(391 + 1) > 53771xp gained per simulacrum, meaning Nicholas needed 503 simulacrums to replace the xp loss.
    3. Awaken Cheese. In case you aren't familiar with it, Nicholas could create scrolls of Awaken and Polymorph. He would then get a random druid/friend/simulacrum of himself (with a Limited Wish to make their next save) to start casting Awaken targetting him, and before the spell finished use Polymorph to turn into an animal. He would gain 2 HD worth of xp (43,000), randomize his Int (which he could repeat with more Awakenings until it was >= his original score), and get a +1d3 to Cha per casting. If the DM rules Nicholas has to be polymorphed the whole time, he could simply cast Persisted Polymorph from a staff. The result is that 116 castings of Awaken give Nicholas enough xp to craft his scrolls (and enough Cha to turn the gods into his fanatical followers and simply Alter Reality so that he has them).
    Nicholas again chose #1, and 2 years later he was ready.

    Then Nicholas used Magic Circle Against Evil, Dimensional Anchor, and Lesser Planar Binding to call a Nightmare. He compelled the creature to give him 69,120 hairs, then let it go. He used his scrolls of Simulacrum to create the 69,120 Nightmare clones, and ordered them to go frolick on the Astral Plane until needed on Christmas Eve. Then he took a day off.

    Third, the sleighs and bags. 8 Nightmares can carry 2,400lbs as a light load, so either the sleigh or the present bags or both ought to be magical. A bag of holding type IV holds 250 cu. ft. of material. Assuming for the moment that each clone delivers a single toy to each of 11,576 children, that means 250 ft/bag / 11,576 toys/bag = 0.0216 ft/toy = 0.25 in/toy. So the only gifts Nicholas would be able to deliver are those little toys you get from the quarter-insert vending machines, and that's not good enough. 24 bags/sleigh would weigh 1,440 lbs and allow Nicholas to deliver gifts up to 6 cu. in. (which includes most toys, due to being skinnier). So Nicholas creates 207,360 bags of holding type IV using the same tricks to get money and xp as above. Then his elves/Dedicated Wrights create lightweight sleighs that are under 600lbs (allowing for a hefty Santa).

    Finally, the clones. Rather than create a slew of simulacrums for this job, Nicholas recognizes the need for a skilled infiltrator to deliver presents and escape unnoticed. So he decides to create equal-level clones. He decides on Body Outside Body to do the job. A Staff of Persisted Body Outside Body, with each spell placed into the staff at 1/2 cost, CL20, costs 26,250gp, 2,100xp, and 20 days to create (thanks to Exceptional Artisan). 20 days to create means 18 staffs/year. But Nicholas gets 20 years on his demiplane for every 1 in Eberron, so he actually has time to create 360 staffs, using the same tricks for money and experience as above (although perhaps a different method, like getting Simulacrums to work for him). He creates a new batch of clones for each Christmas.

    On Christmas Eve, Nicholas starts activating his staffs. Each activation costs 8 charges, meaning 6 activations @ 4 clones/cast = 24 clones/staff. 360 * 24 = 8,640 clones to fly out and deliver presents on Christmas Eve, with 8 Nightmares, 1 nonmagical sleigh, and 24 bags of holding filled to the brim with presents. Nicholas's elves give the clones instructions and maps for their routes. Then the Nightmares, who have already started casting Astral Projection while waiting for their simulacrum passenger to be summoned, complete their castings, begin their routes, and spend the entire night helping their Nicholas clone deliver presents. The next morning, after the BOB duration has expired, they return to the demiplane and are freed from their restraints. Then they return to the Astral Plane until next December.

    Based on this source, the population of the world in 1350 was about 300 million people. Since D&D is based roughly around that time period, we'll use that as the population of Eberron.
    According to this source, the life expectancy for people around this time was age 30, so we'll use that too and guess that about 10/30 = 1/3 of the population was under the age of 10 (in reality, it was probably more). Note that doesn't contradict the maximum ages listed in the SRD, it only says most people didn't reach them.
    This source reports that most homes held a nuclear family of 2 parents and 2 children.
    Finally, note that on a globe, it takes 24 hours for Christmas morning to travel around the world. So we'll assume we have 24 hours to visit every house. Now we have everything we need for our calculations.
    300 million people/3 (children under 10) = 100 million
    100 million children/2 (children per household) = 50 million
    50 million/8640 clones = 5,788 houses/clone
    14,400 rounds/day * 1 day / 5,788 houses/clone = 2 rounds/house for each clone.

    That's just enough.

    Round 1: The nightmares fly to the next house on their path and land. The Nicholas-clone uses a full-round action to grab the item at the top of the next bag in order, which happens to be a pair of toys tied together with string and made specifically for the house he's at because the elves stacked the bags exactly that way for exactly that purpose.
    Round 2: The nightmares begin to fly away. The clone uses a move action to drop down the chimney, a free action to drop the gifts under the Christmas tree, and a move action to dart back up the chimney (which he can do thanks to Walk the Walls) and into the sleigh.

    At the end of the night, as he disappears, he gives a cheer for another year's work completed.



    Of course, Nicholas won't live forever (he's not an Elan), which leaves the question of who will run his operation after he's gone. He has several plans for this eventuality:
    1. Use Awaken cheese to gain 20 extra HD and create an ECL 20 Simulacrum of himself.
    2. Raise a child or apprentice to take up the mantle once he's gone.
    3. Work some custom magic into his clothes so that anyone who puts them on will be suitably empowered to perform the job. Include instructions and clauses on a business card with writing so small that several high-powered microscopes are required to read it all.


    Presents For Everybody - How St. Nicholas Is A Team Player
    Spoiler
    Show
    He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
    And I laugh'd when I saw him in spite of myself;


    The Nightsong Infiltrator may be one of the most breakable rogue PrCs in the game. Most of its abilities stack with everything, including themselves, and in his adventuring days, St. Nicholas exploited this to its full effect. Nicholas's preferred method of group-work is with Extended Persisted Body Outside Body*. There are 113 5' squares in a sphere with 30' diameter, so that's how many clones fly in a pack. This synergizes perfectly with many of his class features, detailed below.

    *None of these tricks actually require Body-Outside-Body clones, anyone with the same class abilities as Nicholas will work just as well. They're just used to show that Nicholas can pull these off by himself.

    Trap-proof (Teamwork Trap Sense + clones)
    Each group member gives all of the others +4 AC vs. traps, meaning Nicholas and each of his clones has AC 465 vs traps. They can literally walk through a dungeon without worrying about being attacked by traps. Of course, they'll still want to dodge.

    Recycle Trap (Retain Essence + Detect Magic)
    This one doesn't use clones. Detect Magic allows Nicholas to spot magical traps, which he can then disable with the Artificer's Retain Essence ability (if your DM allows it).

    Breaking the Sound Barrier (Grant Move Action + clones + Break Away)
    Grant Move Action provides a lot of potentially awesome abilities, including everything from "grab that thing and run for it!" to giving allies psuedo-pounce to pull off the next trick in 1 turn. Perhaps the most singly-powerful, though, is when Nicholas really wants to get somewhere. This time, Nicholas has a pack of 904 clones, a sphere with 30' radius, everyone has Fly active, and they just remembered they need to be 1/2 a mile away. Now. So the first person in iniative order grants everyone else a move action, which they immediately use to fly 60' away. Then he uses his move action to join them. The second person does the same thing, as does the third, and so on. Unfortunately, not everyone makes it there, as each time a clone in the shell between the 15' radius sphere and the 30' radius sphere uses Grant Move Action, a group of other clones in the sphere have to use it as well, just to keep up, resulting in only members of the original 113-person group actually reaching the goal with about 9 extra Move Action boosts on top of the ones they give each other.

    The upshot of this is that St. Nicholas and a bunch of his clones are able to fly 7320' in one round. That's equivalent to 1220 ft/s, and since the speed of sound is only 1126 ft/s, the group creates a sonic boom. As far as I know, this makes St. Nicholas the second fastest build currently on record. To top it all off, since no one in the group does anything but move in that round, they all grant each other +4 dodge bonuses on top of their own +4 dodge bonuses, so that everyone in the group gets +8 AC against everything, like that pidgeon that came out of nowhere.

    Murderfest (Teamwork Sneak Attack + clones)
    This is Nicholas's signature ability, the reason people would have been terrified of him if he had gone evil (and some were anyway). At level 14, Nicholas gives each ally flanking the same enemy +1d6 Sneak Attack damage, and it specifically says it stacks with every other source, including other Nightsong Infiltrators' Teamwork Sneak Attack bonuses. This means if Nicholas and 7 clones surround an enemy, they all get +8d6 Sneak Attack. But Nicholas is also an artificer, and he can create staffs of Fly and Xorn Movement. That means his clones can also flank their enemy in the 9 spaces above and below it, for a total of 26 flankers, all granting each other +25d6 Sneak Attack damage on top of their class's 1d6. And at level 17, that rises to 2d6, meaning each individual flanker attacks for 52d6 Sneak Attack damage per hit. That's 1352d6 from sneak attack damage per group attack. Throw in Divine Power for 4 attacks per round (and remember that all these spells can be persisted once he hits level 18), and you've got 5408d6 damage from Sneak Attack alone. That's the minimum damage by creature size; Nicholas deals more against large or bigger creatures because they have more spaces to be flanked by. That's enough to drop any creature in the ELH you care to name, DR and all.


    Playing Santa Claus (St. Nicholas In Your Campaign)
    Spoiler
    Show
    He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
    And fill'd all the stockings; then turn'd with a jerk,


    You may be curious, justifiably, why this section is in a TO showcase. First, in case you want to use St. Nicholas as an NPC. Second, as with most TO abilities, a DM can restrict them to prevent him from breaking the campaign.

    As a high-level scout, information gatherer, and arcanist, St. Nicholas makes an excellent NPC for high-to-Epic-level campaigns, where he'll be ripe for abducting by the BBEG. And while the role of Santa would seem to be incompatible with being an adventurous PC, his life before taking on that role could include any number of interesting adventures or campaigns. While the TO tricks Nicholas pulls off probably won't be welcome in most campaigns, he is nevertheless a competent party member.

    Nicholas's power scales up or down similar to a regular artificer's, but his scouting abilities/classes have to be factored in. If Nicholas gets all the benefits accorded to crafters (all item/spell sources, experience is a river, lots of crafting time, etc), then they make him slightly less powerful than a straight artificer. If, on the other hand, his crafting abilities are restricted, his mundane scouting abilities become more valuable.

    Nicholas is primarily a scout, filling the role of the rogue with his ranks in Search and Disable Device, and secondarily a buffer, diviner, and secondary arcanist. He can find and disable traps with a straight 37 Search and 35 Disable Device. He can craft or infuse items and equipment to boost his allies' abilities. And he can create scrolls/staffs of any spell up to 8th level, or 9th with the right equipment (see Suggested Items above). That means at level 18 he can cast Persisted 9th-level spells from any spell list, and at level 20 boasts +32 to UMD, requiring only a Circlet of Persuasion and Cloak of Charisma +2 to auto-succeed on crafting 9th level scrolls/staffs, which he should have long-since crafted. With better equipment, he gets the same result earlier.

    A note on prerequisites: Nicholas's Wizard level grants him alertness via a familiar, access to the wizard spell list, and the ability to activate arcane spell items without a UMD check. 0-level divinations and Shield are enough to qualify him for Divine Oracle and Abjurant Champion. Luckily for him, Nicholas is an elf, so he automatically has the required martial proficiency for Abjurant Champion. Then he uses the spellcasting features of both those classes to advance not his Wizard casting, but his Artificer CL and infusions. This gives him CL12 for crafting magic items at level 10, which increases to CL15 at level 13. Lastly, he meets the Evasion prerequisite of Nightsong Infiltrator via Divine Oracle's Prescient Sense (unless your DM doesn't allow that, in which case see Adaptations below).

    Sweet-spot Snapshot*

    Level 15: Artificer 4/Wizard 1/Artificer 1/Divine Oracle 1/Artificer 1/Divine Oracle 1/Abjurant Champion 1/Nightsong Infiltrator 5

    Immediately upon entering the Nightsong Infiltrator class, Nicholas makes rapid improvements in his Hide and Move Silently skills, turning him into a fully-fledged scout. He also has auto-success for most tumble checks, and picks up Acrobatic Backstab for when a bit of extra flair is needed. By now, Nicholas has access to all of the tricks described in the previous section, and can craft items of 9th level spells on top of it. With the right preparation (which he gets thanks to his divinations), he can break into any place in Eberron. And thanks to Trackless Step, he can't be followed on the way out, which is good because some people don't like receiving coal for Christmas. In the cases where they catch Nicholas (which should be few and far between) Defensive Roll helps him as much as any other rogue, since he can more easily craft items that boost his Reflex save to keep it in step with a regular rogue's.

    *I had written snapshots for levels 5, 10 and 20 as well, but after seeing how much text they took up I removed them out of pity for the judges.

    Adaptations

    What do you do if your DM doesn't allow Prescient Sense to be used to fulfill the Evasion for Nightsong Infiltrator? By RAW, Prescient Sense is a "form of evasion," so it should qualify. Nevertheless, if your DM still doesn't allow it, Nicholas has a few other options.
    1. If your DM doesn't use multiclass penalties, rearrange the first 10 levels as Artificer 1/Cloistered Cleric 1/Artificer 3/Combat Medic 4/Abjurant Champion 1. This requires reallocating some skill points, but Nicholas has a few extra since he don't need Know(religion). Then rearrange his level 1-9 feats as: Combat Casting, Dodge, Practiced Spellcaster, Shape Soulmeld (Mage's Spectacles).
    2. If your DM insists on multiclass penalties, Nicholas has to drop being a Gray Elf in favor of a race that has Favored Class: Cleric or Favored Soul. Then continue as 1.
    3. Grab a Ring of Evasion.
    4. Apply the Shadow template, which synergizes well with the build as a whole, despite losing 2 caster levels.

    Also, using the Fractional BAB/Saves variant gives +2 BAB, +1 Fort, +1 Ref, +1 Will.


    Build Sources
    Spoiler
    Show
    And laying his finger aside of his nose
    And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.


    Complete Adventurer:
    Nightsong Infiltrator

    Complete Arcane:
    Persistent Spell
    Practiced Spellcaster

    Complete Divine:
    Divine Oracle

    Complete Mage:
    Abjurant Champion

    Complete Scoundrel:
    Acrobatic Backstab
    Back On Your Feet
    Corner Perch
    Walk the Walls

    Eberron Campaign Setting:
    Extraordinary Artisan

    Magic of Incarnum:
    Shape Soulmeld

    Tome of Battle: The Book Of Nine Swords:
    Martial Study

    All spells can be found in the PHB with the following three exceptions: Body Outside Body (Complete Arcane), Genesis (ELH), and Transference (PHBII).
    He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
    And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
    But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight —
    Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


    Spoiler
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  12. - Top - End - #72
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    I believe that's the last of them. Judges, I wish you good luck.
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


    Spoiler
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  13. - Top - End - #73
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Bellona

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Missed my mark by about six minutes on my second entry... ah, well. I won't post it here until after judging is done because it's got a little overlap with another entry, and I don't want to inadvertently reveal which build isn't mine. Still, I've only scanned the entries thus far, but this looks like an awesome round!
    Optimization Showcase in the Playground

    Former projects:
    Shadowcaster Handbook
    Archer Build Compendium

    Iron Chef Awards!
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    GOLD
    IC LXXVI: Talos
    IC LXXV: Alphonse Louise Constant
    IC XLIX: Babalon, Queen of Bones
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  14. - Top - End - #74
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kesnit's Avatar

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Is Santa eligible for Honorable Mention? If so, that one gets my vote!
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

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  15. - Top - End - #75
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Quote Originally Posted by Kesnit View Post
    Is Santa eligible for Honorable Mention? If so, that one gets my vote!
    All builds are eligible for HM. I generally make it a practice to give HM to a build that doesn't win another medal, so Santa may or may not qualify on that basis, as the judges see fit.
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


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  16. - Top - End - #76
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Amechra's Avatar

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    I'm kinda sad that I wasn't able to wrangle my Knight 5/Nightsong Infiltrator 10/Dread Commando 5 build; that would have been awesome.
    Quote Originally Posted by segtrfyhtfgj View Post
    door is a fake exterior wall
    I do Let's Plays now. Current Game: Huntress of the Hollow

  17. - Top - End - #77
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    I'm kinda sad that I wasn't able to wrangle my Knight 5/Nightsong Infiltrator 10/Dread Commando 5 build; that would have been awesome.
    I'm actually surprised we didn't see at least one Dread Commando. It just screams synergy with Nightsong Infiltrator. Maybe it's another case of everyone dodging the obvious (although if so it was futile - we have some pretty funny and unexpected overlap this competition!). Although I'm curious; with your build, how do you pick up evasion? Impulse Boots?

    I began a write-up on a Survivor entry into the SI, and while it was fun, it couldn't actually do much without a lot of heavy cheese, so I scrapped it :P
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  18. - Top - End - #78
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Amechra's Avatar

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    I think I dropped a few levels in something, and grabbed the Shadow Creature template.

    It was a mechanical mess that would have gotten a negative amount in power, and I didn't have enough time to build...
    Quote Originally Posted by segtrfyhtfgj View Post
    door is a fake exterior wall
    I do Let's Plays now. Current Game: Huntress of the Hollow

  19. - Top - End - #79
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    The awkward moment when you realize game time is about 6 hours a head of your time.

    Ah well, I don't need any trophies. Since it's after the reveal, I can blab about my crazy strategy?

  20. - Top - End - #80
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Quote Originally Posted by DangerDanger View Post
    The awkward moment when you realize game time is about 6 hours a head of your time.

    Ah well, I don't need any trophies. Since it's after the reveal, I can blab about my crazy strategy?
    General strategy? Yup. As Piggy Knowles noted above, it's probably best to avoid posting a complete build, to avoid undue influence on the judges.
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


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  21. - Top - End - #81
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    I didn't end up entering, time zone fail. It looks like someone did something sort've similar.

    General idea: Trickery Devotion + Turning. From there on, throwing in auras and/or maneuvers (white raven tactics).

    I think you get the idea.

  22. - Top - End - #82
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    I think the math ended up like, the amount of "yous" you could make would be 2^(2+CHA/3+[extraturning feat and/or nightsticks bonus]/3)

    more simply, 2^X, X being how many times you can actually make a clone

    If X reaches 4, it's noticed.
    Once X reaches 6, it's pretty broke.
    Anything beyond 6 and your DM flips the table.
    Last edited by DangerDanger; 2012-12-15 at 09:49 PM.

  23. - Top - End - #83
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    I submitted a build I am not happy with because formatting took waaaay too long. I should have gone with my first idea:

    Cleric 3/Walker in the Waste 8/Nightsong Infiltrator 9. Apply the Shadow Creature Template to get the Evasion requirement, and use LA Buy Off to get the class levels I needed.

    The idea was to have the Sand Golem to create cover for me, and use the Salt Mummy/Golem as teammates for flanking. Walker would have given me Desiccating Touch in addition to Sneak Attack, which would have been nice.
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  24. - Top - End - #84
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunter Killer View Post
    I submitted a build I am not happy with because formatting took waaaay too long. I should have gone with my first idea:

    Cleric 3/Walker in the Waste 8/Nightsong Infiltrator 9. Apply the Shadow Creature Template to get the Evasion requirement, and use LA Buy Off to get the class levels I needed.

    The idea was to have the Sand Golem to create cover for me, and use the Salt Mummy/Golem as teammates for flanking. Walker would have given me Desiccating Touch in addition to Sneak Attack, which would have been nice.
    Now imagine [I]f the Mummies were you giving your bonuses to you as you [give] your bonuses to you as you flank anything with [you] while you flank everything with you, getting bonus hits from you as you get bonus hits from you, all while walking around in [a] perpetual circle slapping your opponents around until the cycle ends only to be re-initiated by you standing a few feet away from you eating a [hamburger].

  25. - Top - End - #85
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Does the class require the entry get evasion from a class feature, or can any soulmelds, items, etc. that refer back to the class feature count?

    Also, amusingly I was trying to put together a Santa Claus build of my own. Since it didn't work out, here I am in the judge's seat. I'm going to start reviewing the builds now, but we'll start here...

    For ease of reference
    • Erin Blackhand: Strongheart Halfling Ranger 4/Fighter 1/Master Thrower 2/Nightsong Infiltrator 10/Scorpion Wraith 3
    • The Cockroach: Dark Skulk Factotum 3/Rogue 2/Nightsong Infiltrator 10/Hellbreaker 1
    • Matthew Mara: Human Ranger 1/Monk 2/Master Inquisitive 2/Watch Detective 3/Nightsong Infiltrator 10/Vigilante 1/Urban Soul 1
    • E Pluribus: Changeling Savant 4/Rogue 2/Chameleon 4/Nightsong Infiltrator 10
    • Aredhel Melwasul: Wood Elf Rogue 3/Ranger 2/Barbarian 1/Revenant Blade 5/Nightsong Infiltrator 9
    • The Twins: Dvati Rogue 3/Monk 2/Crusader 3/Fighter 2/Nightsong Infiltrator 10
    • Deron Batar: Changeling Rogue 2/Factotum 3/Combat Trapsmith 5/Nightsong Infiltrator 10
    • Lycus Blackbeak: Kenku Factotum 3/Totemist 2/Combat Trapsmith 5/Nightsong Infiltrator 10
    • Santa: Gray Elf Artificer 6/Wizard 1/Divine Oracle 2/Abjurant Champion 1/Nightsong Infiltrator 10
    Last edited by OMG PONIES; 2012-12-15 at 10:33 PM.
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  26. - Top - End - #86
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Amechra's Avatar

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Sadly, it's from class.

    Which is why I dropped my build.
    Quote Originally Posted by segtrfyhtfgj View Post
    door is a fake exterior wall
    I do Let's Plays now. Current Game: Huntress of the Hollow

  27. - Top - End - #87
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Quote Originally Posted by OMG PONIES View Post
    Does the class require the entry get evasion from a class feature, or can any soulmelds, items, etc. that refer back to the class feature count?
    Tough to say. Some of those abilities say that you gain evasion "as the rogue class feature." Not sure if that counts or not. Might end up being a judge/DM call, unless there's been an official ruling somewhere that I don't know about.
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  28. - Top - End - #88
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    IdleMuse's Avatar

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Edited for Anonymity
    Last edited by IdleMuse; 2012-12-15 at 10:55 PM.
    "Hex grids are the way forward! And slighty to the side..." - Studoku

  29. - Top - End - #89
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    IdleMuse, please edit your response so as not to give away which build may be yours. Thank you.
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


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  30. - Top - End - #90
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XL

    Idle, I'd edit your post so that you don't reveal which build is yours.

    EDIT: Ninja'd by the chairman.
    Last edited by Piggy Knowles; 2012-12-15 at 10:50 PM.
    Optimization Showcase in the Playground

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    IC XLIX: Babalon, Queen of Bones
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