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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    ~A Guide to the Factotum~

    What I don't know isn't Knowledge [Int] ~ Factotum Motto

    First and foremost, I want to thank the other factotum guides around that I've learned from. Particularly the guides by Dicum Mortuum, Janus Jones and KRyan

    Table of Contents:
    1. Introduction
    2. Ability Scores and Races
    3. Class Features
    4. Feats, Skills & Skill Tricks
    5. Making it Magical: Squeezing Power From the Cosmos
    6. Classing it Up: Multiclassing as a Factotum
    7. Gear: Arms, Armor, and Items
    8. Miscelany: Strategy, Builds, and Homebrew ACF's


    Beta, for he is the second best in every field. That's an apt description of the Factotum, a standard class found in Dungeonscape. It is capable of doing about anything at any given moment, but with limits.
    This class is one for scholar-adventurers; the Indiana Jones-es, the Batman-s, the Eratosthenes-es, and Baron Munchhausen-s.
    Relying on their cunning and wide assortment of abilities, factotums are capable of meeting up against a variety of challenges and succeeding. In many ways they are a veritable one-pc-party.
    This is not to say, however, that they ought to work alone. Factotums shine the most when acting as backup for their party, pulling out a trick out of their sleeves to help overcome the challenge at hand.

    As many handbooks I'll rate abilities and feats and spells and options with a color code. In order of descending recommendation:

    This imperial color indicates an option worthy of the Tyrian dye
    Broad and versatile as the sky; this is a good, worthy choice
    A reliable & solid choice, there may well be better but this is worthwhile and enjoyable. It is the baseline color.
    This indicates a subpar option, not terrible but you can do better; and may well wish that you had.
    This warns against a treacherous beast; avoid its wicked ways unless you have a strong reason to venture near.

    Pathfinder Addenda: Factotum
    The factotum is a 3.5 class that ports over to pathfinder remarkably well. It has a new ability or a noticeable increase in old abilities at almost all levels. It also has a vague-yet-concise class-skill definition: All skills. As such it is a class that ports over to Pathfinder with extreme ease, and will find itself well at home, or more than at home, as the extra feats are a great boon to a feat-starved class. As such I have included these boxes with relevant Pathfinder data for the Pathfinder player interested in playing a Factotum, or the 3.5 Factotum that is bringing Pathfinder materials into a 3.5 game.
    Last edited by Gildedragon; 2013-07-19 at 04:09 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Post Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Ability Scores and Races

    The Ability Scores

    Of the six ability scores intelligence is, without a doubt, your highest priority. A true factotum needs to be quick in wit and sharp in intellect. Nurture your mind and reason, and it shall serve you well.

    Regarding the rest; it depends what sort of factotum you wish to be and what aspects of your manifold repertoire you wish to display most prominently.

    Conversely, the base magnetism some call charisma, and the vulgar instincts some call wisdom are things to be transcended. True grace and acuity come from training and practice, rather than animal prowess. These ability scores are, possibly, those of least concern to you.
    Wisdom is valuable to you because of three things: Will Saves, Perception Skills and Uses of Opportunistic Piety. Of those, only Opportunistic Piety cannot be fixed if you have a bad Wisdom score, and that will not drop below 3 uses.
    Charisma, on the other hand, has the potential to break the game (by standard rules) and is the key to UMD (more on it later). While these skills will get most of their umph from Cunning Knowledge and/or skillranks, penalties can be galling.

    It is advantageous to strengthen one's physical prowess; a healthy body for a healthy mind. It is, however, something of an excess to nurture both strength and dexterity at the expense of other ability scores. Agility need not be coupled with force, nor force with agility.
    Strength is the only ability score that gives any bananas about odd values, as it effects your carrying capacity. Keep this in mind while assigning scores.

    Lastly; one should never underestimate the value of health and salubriousness. The maintaining of one's Constitution should never be far from a factotum's mind. It is, however, possible to over-emphasize this attribute. Factotums are, of all academics, the most inclined towards robustness of body.
    Constitution is a hard ability score to assign a value to. Keep it positive, but don't let this concern cramp you away from your build. You can always boost it up with magic or the like.

    These precepts would dictate the following score distribution:

    This is not to say that that is the only or best ability score arrangement. If anything it is meant as a guide to minimize the impact of any one bad roll. Ultimately play-style, concept, and personal personal preference take precedence over all. That is to say, take this advice with a grain of salt.
    To point, my funnest factotum I've played had the following distribution:
    For a hardy but perhaps reckless and abrasive intellectual.

    The Races

    It is is a truism that humans are about as good as it gets, in terms of base races. That +1 skillpoint per level and that +1 feat are gems to be savored.
    However, let us see if we can't do better:

    I do not like small humanoids, with the exception of kobolds. They kinda creep me out. As such I believe I may do them some injustice. If you like or do not mind them, they are the two best (according to common knowledge) races for a factotum: Whisper Gnomes (RoS) and Strongheart Halflings (FRCS)

    Instead of running through all the available races, let us look at the top drawer races and some of my personal favorites and see what makes them particularly good for factotums.

    Humans: +1 skillpoint, +1 Feat, Bonus Languages: Any
    What makes humans so nice for a factotum is their versatility. Having an extra feat is all but priceless. Black because this is our quality baseline.
    Whisper Gnome: +2 Dex & Con, -2 Str & Cha, Small, SLA's, +4 Stealth Skills, +2 Perception Skills, Gnomish Weapon Familiarity (RoS)
    Allegedly the best factotum race; though I can't say I'm 100% behind it. It is good, without a doubt, excellent if you want to Iajutsu Focus and sneak around. This race screams Rogue to me much more than it does Factotum, but the benefits are there.
    Venerable Dragonwrought Kobold: +3 Int, Wis & Cha, +2 Dex, -4 Str, -2 Con, +2 to a Skill, Small, +1 1st level Sorc Spell 1/day -1 Feat (RotD)
    This might as well be a race, seeing how much it crops up. It's good, penalty to Con notwithstanding. No time like old age to go adventuring I guess.
    Aleithian Deep Dwarves: +2 Con & Int, -4 Cha, Dwarven Traits (Stonecutting, +2 Fort vs Poison, +2 Will vs Psi), Psi-Like Abilities (Varied), Slow, Darkvision, Light Sensitive (WotC Psionic Bestiary)
    The hit to charisma is hard, but not unbearable; skill ranks into diplomacy and the like if you feel you need to be social or tricksy. The bonuses are on a pair of great stats. You are also a dwarf, meaning you get to access dwarven weapons and move in fullplate without slowing down. The psi-like abilities are pretty nice and varied. I am surprised this doesn't have an LA.
    Aelfborn:+2 Int & Dex, -2 Con & Wis, half elf, +5 feats, -1 Wis every 2 levels (Dr 307)
    These guys are... tough to rate. On one hand, they give you a lot of bonus feats (albeit a limited list) making it very easy to qualify for exemplar, and they can all be DCFS-ed. Bonuses to good stats, penalty to a dump stat provided you go undead. But then there is the creeping wisdom loss. That is a -12 over 10 levels. I know I advocate wisdom dumping, but that is something else entirely. Unless you start with a 13 or higher you will be a vegetable! If you do go for this race, making yourself impervious to damage/drain on your limited Wisdom is key. Being undead is a solid start, as is binding to Naberius, and the Keen Intellect feat is a must.
    Beguiler: +2 Int, +6 Dex, -4 Con, True Seeing (continuous), Small (ShSo)
    The stats are great for a ranged factotum, that -4 to constitution will hurt. The true seeing SLA, however is amazing. Hard to overestimate its value. Now, these are listed as "cohort" LA... so if you are not allowed one, get one via leadership. Better than a familiar!
    Strongheart Halfling: +2 Dex, -2 Str, Small, +1 Feat, +2 Bonus to Assorted Skills (FRCS)
    With an effective +2 to AC and a decent set of bonus skills this halfling might be better than humans' +1 skillpoint. If you're dex-based and don't mind being small, this is a pretty solid race.
    Glimmerfolk: +2 Dex, -2 Str, Various Light-Related SLA's, Low Light Vision, +2 Perform, Pattern Immunity, Shadow Resistance, Glowing Orbs, Outsider (Dr 321)
    Glimmerfolk filled to the brim with racial powers and abilities and have a wide range of SLA's, notably Mirror Image 1/day among others. They're a pretty powerful LA 0 race, and one that can benefit the Factotum by granting a wide range of special abilities as opposed to boosting the Factotum's core abilities.
    Drow: 2 Int & Dex, -2 Con, SLAs, Darkvision, Elf Traits (WotC Savage Progressions)
    No LA and a bonus to Int. This is rare. However the -2 to Con leaves you frail and the elf racial abilities are not all that great. Getting the bonus to Dex offsets, to an extent, the Con penalty and the SLAs, which are fun to have.
    Illumians: Luminous Sigils, Power Sigils, Illumian Word, Glyphic Resonance (RoD)
    This race is predominantly oriented to multiclass characters, but there are a few benefits to be gleaned by a factotum. Each power sigil grants +2 to all skill or ability checks of any given ability score (or two, if picking wis+con) or a +1 increase to caster level (up to your character level) for spells and SLA's, and the power words provide a variety of abilities. Most of these are only useful for multiclassing but for a singleclassed factotum the following are useful: Str-Dex: +2 dodge vs a target hit by a sneak attack, Str-Wis/Con: 2/day Use turn undead to get +Wis to damage, Int-Wis/Con: 2/day Divine Metamagic for any metamagic feat you've got
    Gray Elf: +2 Int & Dex, -2 Str & Con, Elf Traits (PHB, SRD)
    These are the Drow's more common, less interesting siblings.
    Fire Elf: +2 Int & Dex, -2 Cha & Con, Elf Traits, Fire resistance (UA, SRD)
    As Gray Elves, but Cha penalty instead of Strength, so better if you are not interested in being a social butterfly. Fire resistance is useful for both enduring heated environments and against any sort of fire attack.
    Synad: Aberration, Darkvision, 3Pp, +2 Will, 1/day +2 to a roll (init, attack, or save) post confirmation of success or failure, 1Pp for +2 Kn Check, 1/day 1Pp for +1 mental action, Bonus Language: Any (CPsi)
    A pretty solid racial choice, especially if multiclassing into a psi user. Not my favorite but it's nice and versatile.
    Warforged: +2 Con, -2 Wis & Cha, Living Construct Traits, Light Fortification
    These are an interesting race for a factotum. They are hardy and resistant or immune to a whole slew of effects and conditions. There's no bonuses to anything else, but it increases your survivability, which isn't bad.
    Changeling: Minor Change Shape, +2 to some social Skills(ECS)
    Good at disguising, hiding, and impersonating. Also with the right feat: You can emulate other humanoids for racial requirements. This can be very handy. Very good in a social or intrigue campaign, situational else-wise. It does increase your versatility, though. A 1-dip into rogue with the Changeling sub level can be amazing
    Neraphim: +2 AC, Camouflage, Annulat Familiarity, +5 to jump (PlH)
    The weapon is decent; the bonus to AC and the deny target dex bonus 1/target/encounter are both okay. It is an outsider so you get to use Alter Self in funny ways. I think you can do better though.
    LA Races:
    When rating these races figure out if you can or cannot get rid of the LA. If you can, use the main color. If you can't, then look at the color of the LA.
    On Level Adjustment:
    It's not as bad as you might thing; which is not to say it's not bad, just that it's workable.
    If playing a race with LA do the following:
    Check the Lesser version of the race (if available) and see if it still gives you what you want. With planetouched it is almost universally the case you want it. Here one is merely dropping some traits to tone the race down.

    Alternatively: Try to buy it off. This will only be worth your while if you have an LA of 2 or less. Higher LAs take too long to get rid of. An LA of 2 is still a problem as you won't catch up with the rest of the party in level until around level 12. This is bad, and if, starting before level 9, something I advice against.
    An LA of 1 that is bought of at level 3 will have you caught up at level 5~6. This is not too bad, and bearable as you'll catch up pretty quick.

    Lastly, suck it up, if you feel you're getting your levels' worth in racial abilities there you go. If this isn't the case, go for a different race and see if it can't get re-fluffed.

    Athasian Human: Human traits, +2 to two ability scores, Scaling Psionic (psion-wilder) Powers and Power Point Pool LA +1 (Dr 319)
    These are great! Even with the LA they might well be worth it. You can essentially make all your feats floating feats at level 15 with these guys.
    Amazing, love them to the bone.
    Primordial Half-Giant: +4 Int, +2 Cha, -2 Dex & Str, powerful build, Darkvision, SLAs, PsiLAs LA +1 (SoX + EPH)
    I will address the primordial template later. But this race is a solid choice for a factotum. The boost to Intelligence is considerable and there is no penalty to key stats.
    Cansin: +2 Int & Cha, Acid Resist, Entropic Shield 1/day, Bonus Languages: Any, LA +1 (Dr 297)
    This is the manic-pixie-dream-person race. Fluff in and out, and the crunch backs it up. Nonetheless the ability boosts are great, acid resistance isn't bad, and the SLA is ok.
    Fire Hobgoblin: +2 Int, Dex & Con, -2 Cha, Fire Resist, Lowlight Vision, Stealth bonuses LA +1 (UA, SRD)
    If one buys off the LA it is not a bad race at all with bonuses to quite a few of the good stats. It is excellent for a fighting factotum.
    Tiefling: +2 Int & Dex, -2 Cha, Outsider [native] Traits, Cold/Electric/Fire Resist, +2 Bluff & Hide, Darkness 1/day, LA +1 (SRD)
    The SLA is cute, the resistances are nice, and the immunity to a variety of effects is delicious, and, best of all, a bonus to intelligence. The LA can be a problem, but we'll talk about that later.
    Axani: +2 Int & Wis, +2 Diplomacy & Spot, Calm Emotions 1/day, Cold & Sonic Resist, Bonus Language: Any,LA +1 (Dr 297)
    No penalties, bonuses to perception and diplomacy. You get a decent SLA. Pretty nice; even if the fluff is you being anal retentive.
    Mechanatrix: +2 Int & Con, -2 Dex & Cha, Cold & Fire Resist 5, Immunity & Healed by Electricity, Shocking Grasp 1/day, LA +1 (FF)
    This is a pretty good race for any melee-strength factotum. The outright immunity to an energy type is very nice, as is the fact that they heal by electricity. Shocking Grasp SLA isn't the most useful but it can be a healing patch for yourself, letting you heal the electricity-vulnerables with your other powers
    Dust Paragenasi: +4 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Con & Cha, Dust Cloud 1/day, Breathless,Outsider [native], Scaling Bonus vs Dryness, Bonus Languages (Any), LA +1 (Dr 294)
    With dust cloud, a high bonus to Dex and a hit to Con you might consider this for a ranged factotum. Keep yourself at a fair distance attacking with alchemy and knowledge-enhanced arrows or thrown weapons. Get a poncho and be a man with no name.
    Wispling: +4 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Str, halfling, Alter Self 1/day, Outsider [native], LA +1 (FF)
    The fiendish halfling is an excellent race for dex-based builds. If going for Shadow Blade, high Dex, infiltration-oriented build you might just want to be the result of a balor getting nasty in Bag End.
    Smoke Paragenasi: +2 Dex & Int, -2 Cha, Outsider [native], Pyrotechnics (Smoke Cloud) 1/day, Bonus Languages (Any), Bonus vs Cloud Effects, LA +1 (Dr 294)
    Like a Tiefling sans resistances. It's alright.
    Air Genasi: +2 Int & Dex, -2 Wis & Cha, Outsider [native], Levitate 1/day, Breathless, Bonus Languages: Any, LA +1 (FRCS)
    As Tiefling but slightly different and slightly worse. The penalty to Wis and Cha is bad, considering that you don't get the same panoply of abilities a Tiefling does. The ones you do get, however, are amusing (if situational). Breathless in particular I enjoy as it removes some terrain difficulties and can provide for ingenious solutions to all sorts of problems.
    Fire Genasi: +2 Int, -2 Cha, Outsider [native], Control Flame 1/day, Bonus Languages: Any, LA +1 (FRCS)
    If you only want the Int bonus this is okay. Can't justify making it red, but it is bad when compared to the Tiefling.
    Fey'ri: +2 Dex & Int, -2 Con, Outsider [native], 4 Demonic Abilities, Elf Blood, Alter Self (at will),+2 or +3 LA (RoF)
    Like a Tiefling but moreso. The SLA's are varied and interesting The penalty to Con is harsh, but if you can get around the LA, it is nothing much. RAW making this Humanoid [planetouched] gets rid of all of the LA. As a DM I would not allow this, and have that make it drop the LA by one. If your DM has the lesser variant get rid of all the LA, well get Dimension Door and don't look back.
    Primordial Half-Ogre: +2 Int, Str, and Cha, -2 Dex, SLAs, Large Size LA +2 (SoX + RoD)
    The LA is a bit much for my taste, but, on the flip side, they got rather good melee factotum stats: bonuses to all the good stuff! If you can afford the LA and aren't keen on going too cheesy, these are a straight up solid choice.
    Drow: +2 Int, Cha & Dex, -2 Con, SR, Darkvision, SLAs, Some Elf Traits, +2 LA (SRD)
    The bonuses are excellent for a bold dashing factotum, the SLAs and SR are both nice... but the LA is harsh, very harsh. If you can't buy off the LA stay away from this race. If you can, and are starting above level 6 (having bought half of your LA off) then being a Drow is viable. Being a level behind until ~12 can sting though.

    Primordial Enko: I don't remember what these were... can't find a reference to them either...

    Dragonborn of Bahamut: +2 Con, -2 Dex, -Overwrites Base Race's and Inherited Templates' Traits, +Draconic Abilities, Requires Good
    This is a decent option for a good-aligned factotum that is dissatisfied with their base racial traits and/or has low constitution. This template is also a way to gain flight, which is not bad at all.
    Unseelie Fey: +2 Dex & Cha, -2 Str & Con, Seasonal Power, Random Wings, Random Eyes, Intimidate Bonus, Scaling DR, Iron Vulnerability, LA +0 This is an odd template with a lot of random happening in it. About 1/3 of unseelie fae get to fly, 10% don't have eyes at all. Very funny. Additionally you need special weapons, iron will damage you.
    Necropolitan: Undead, Turn Resistance, Can be as old as you want to be, Pseudo +1 LA
    If you have a particularly abysmal Con score there is little sense in throwing good money after bad, and getting rid of the whole thing outright may be the best option. Aditionaly a Factotum may be middle aged or older when they undergo the ritual, netting them a bonus to mental stats. The downside is that such a state of unlife may be poorly seen by your fellow adventurers, furthermore the utter lack of a constitution score leaves you vulnerable to certain fortitude-save requiring effects, and a cleric's turn/rebuke undead ability may well spell out "unavoidable annihilation" or "undeath-long servitude".
    Primordial: +4 Int & Cha, -4 Str, -2 Con, At-Will SLAs (SoX)
    What can I say? This template is amazing if one somehow has the giant type inborn. Still looking for a giant without a hit to Intelligence and a low LA. If one finds one... well. THIS all the way. No LA and great bonuses.
    There are a couple of worthwhile template-stacks (these are calculated with a medium race in mind):
    Primordial Half Minotaur (template): Str +8, Con & Cha +4, Int +2, Dex -2; Scent; +10' speed; Gore; +2 Spellcraft, +2 UMD; DV 60; Know North; +2 Nat Armor, LA+1 (Dr 313)
    Smart, strong, charismatic. This is amazing for a melee factotum. Tack it on a human and go to town being burly and smart and charming as a button... if somewhat easier to hit
    Primordial Half Ogre (template): Str +8, Int Cha & Con +2, Dex -2 ; +2 Spellcraft, +2 UMD; Dark Vis 60; +10' speed; +2 Nat armor; Large; LA+1 (Dr 313)
    An okay +1 LA template if you want the reach of a large creature
    Primordial Half Ogre-Half Minotaur: Str +12, Cha & Con +4, Dex -2; Nat Armor +4; LA +1 (Dr 313)
    A fair bit stronger, a bit dumber
    Magic-Blooded: +2 Cha, -2 Wis (Dr 306)
    A boost to your charisma at the expense of your introspective capacity. Brash, cocksure, and ready to plow ahead. Sign me up!
    Arctic: +2 Con, -2 Cha (Dr 306)
    If you have an overabundance of charms and a dearth of HP this might be the thing for you
    Ghost: Incorporeal, Outsider, Extraplanar (Gw)
    This template has no LA and it is a pretty simple way to get incorporeality. I cannot emphasize enough how useful it is to be incorporeal. Yes, you no longer have the physical presence as you did before (cue laughs), but you are much harder to damage, and you can do some amazing scouting. The ghost feats from Ghostwalk will bear some looking into if you want more ghost abilities. You'll need to keep yourself from getting Banished or Dismissed, because that sends you to the afterlife...
    Wild: +2 Str, -2 Int, Cha, +1 Skillpoint, -All SLAs (Dr 306)
    Why would you even... the extra skillpoint is nice but at the expense of an equivalent amount of Int... I... why?
    Divine Minion: Fear Immunity, Free-Action At Will Wildshape +1 or +2 LA [WoTC Magic Books of Faerun: Hate of the Cobra)
    Instantaneous at-will wildshape into a creature associated with your deity is pretty awesome; especially when you consider that wildshaping restores your HP. Instant healing, at will! This ship is bananas!
    The best, by far, is Nephthys, who offers three pretty good shapes: croc (for swimming), hawk (for air mobility), and constrictor snake (for something). Quite well worth the +1 LA. After that is Thot, who offers flight and a monkey; and Isis, who offers flight. I personally go for Isis to keep the cheese low. Sebek, Anhur (though the lion form may be of use for low Str factotums) and Hathor are pretty meh, and the +2 LA forms aren't worth it. Careful with this as you are extraplanar, and a well prepared cleric can send ya to the outer planes.
    Deep: +2 Int, -2 Str, 1/day Expeditious Retreat, Spider Climb and Ghost Sound, Light Sensitive, Darkvision 120, +4 Hide & Move Silently, +1 LA (Dr 306)
    This is a pretty nice acquired template to slap onto a dex-based factotum. Sure it lowers your carrying capacity, but extra skillpoints and SLA's don't hurt in the least. Add it to a human to get a feat, skillpoints, and an Int bonus.
    Dark Creature: Hide in Plain Sight, +10' movement, Sneak Bonuses, Cold Resist, Darkvison, Superior Low Light Vision, LA +1 (ToM)
    This is great for sneaking around fast. You're extraplanar while on the material plane though, which means you can be dismissed to the plane of shadow.
    Phrenic: +4 Cha, +2 Int & Wis, HD-dependent, +1 PP, Psi-Resist, Psi-like Abilities,+2 LA
    The ability score increases are not bad, the boost to your other mental stats allows you to take on templates that decrease these in favor of physical abilities. The psi-like abilities are not bad either.

    General guidelines for race-selection:
    Avoid intelligence penalties like the plague. There are precious few things that can justify a race that has a -2 to Int. Conversely, a +2 Int is hard to top. It may be possible to overstate the goodness of this trait but I sincerely doubt it. There are, however, precious few races with bonuses to INT, and even less with no level adjustment, keep this in mind. Bonus feats are preferable to SLA's, most of the time, but good SLAs can help a lot with factotum's limited spellcasting. Hits to Constitution range from bad-but-bearable to downright terrible depending on your rolls.
    Lastly, when evaluating hits (or bonuses) to other stats think of what you get out of them and what type of factotum you wish to play. For example: If you are above or at your preferred masterwork armor's maximum Dex bonus, a +2 to your dexterity means little if nothing, whereas a -2 Dex for a +2 in another ability score is a very favorable trade.
    Likewise, if you are not inclined to be the party face, a +2 to charisma is not worth penalties elsewhere. A socialite or any other social-interaction heavy factotum, will find this meager charisma boost most valuable.

    Increasing the age category for +1 to all mental abilities and -1 to all physical ones can be a useful thing to grant a factotum a keener edge.

    Pathfinder Addenda: Races & Favored Class
    Races in Pathfinder are less unbalanced. Half orcs and half elves are both truly viable factoti, and with the right selection of racial powers they can even shine. Also with the removal of LA, look at the drow and planetouched races; they might just be what you need.
    In addition, there are a number of viable PF templates:
    Spoiler: CR +1
    Advanced: the gold standard by which these templates are measured. It boosts all your stats considerably, (allowing you to compensate for a low roll or point buy)
    Fey Creature: Bonus to intelligence, a fly speed, and teleportation at will. This screams utility and mobility. Ideal for a ranged factotum.
    Haunted: bonuses to intelligence and constitution, taking 20 on knowledge checks, and gain an ornery (it will be ornery) DM controlled spirit that can inflict Con damage on you. Like being a paladin, only different.
    Nightmare Creature: you are a living nightmare with a number of rather intense abilities. You get evil-fied, and ping to detect evil even if you werent, but man are the abilities worth it.

    If you are playing 3.5 and want a cunning greenskin, ask if you can port the PF horc over, it is not above LA+0 in 3.5 terms except for the bonus to intelligence without any penalties (because that is anathema apparently).
    Homebrew Ahead
    When picking factotum as a favored class the extra skillpoint or hitpoint can be great. But assuming you'd like something with more variety 1/3 or 1/4 of an inspiration point would be a suitable bonus. It also helps ameliorate the absence of Font of Inspiration, should it not be available.
    Last edited by Gildedragon; 2014-06-06 at 12:55 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ettin in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Post Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Class Features and Progression

    As a factotum you have a veritable cornucopia of class features, getting something new at virtually every level, excepting 6th and 18th, where a bonus feat alleviates the dullness.
    With such boons what is one supposed to do, and how may the savy factotum avoid squandering their resources.

    In regards to the fundament of the class, it is not unlike a monk: a feeble weak willed monk. That is to say, poor will and fortitude saves, the third best hit die, and 2/3's attack. On the plus side, you are capable of wearing light armor, light shields, and are proficient with martial weapons. Not the dazzlingest of beginnings, but there is greatness in the stars.

    Additionally, the factotum receives the capacity to detect and disable complex traps. If there is already a devoted trapsmith in the party you may find it profitable to inquire about substituting Trapfinding as per any of many Rogue alternate class features. Poison Use from the Drow Rogue is a dastardly capacity.

    Where the factotum begins to shine is in its unmatched repertoire of skills, getting 6+Int points and every single skill as a class skill; this meaning that every obscure, outdated-but-unerrataed skill is your playground, and you're gonna make use of that.

    In addition to this, factotums get Inspiration which fuels all but two of their abilities. Your inspiration is refreshed at the end of every encounter, allowing free use of your abilities out of combat. As per the FAQ:
    Quote Originally Posted by FAQ
    ...Unspent inspiration points are replaced when the factotum returns to his full number of points once an encounter ends...

    ...An“encounter” is more than a combat, but it also includes any other significant event in the game such as stopping to bash down a door, navigating a rickety bridge, or dealing with a trap.
    If the characters have a minute or two to catch their breath and rest, assume that the last encounter has ended and all per encounter abilities refresh.
    It is implied that IPs refresh at the end of encounters, not only at the start of them. And even with them refreshing at the start of encounters exclusively, there is little that does not count as an encounter.
    In combat, however, you may find the hard limits on your Inspiration Points somewhat chafing. Thankfully, there is a feat to be a balm to your discomfort.

    • Cunning Insight: Adding your intelligence to saving throws, and combat rolls (attack and damage) is extremely handy. It helps offset the poor saves. It is a non-action, so feel free to use it to your heart's content.
    • Cunning Knowledge: This ability is a delight, it allows you to reach fairly high DC's with ease. Take into account, however, that it can only be applied to any one skill once per day. Once. This means that repeated Kn. checks to identify things, diplomatic engagements, and complex skill checks do not benefit as much from this as once-per-day skills (eg: Craft) does. When using this ability save it up for something that seems worth the +Class Level boost you are giving it. Consider how many encounters you are liable to encounter that day and act accordingly. If you are fighting off the winter-wolves at the mouth of an elder white dragon's cave, save that boost to Kn. Arcana. There is, however, no shame in using up an ability if it helps you preserve resources. It is far worse to be miserly with one's potential, never letting it be manifest, than to be too ready to use it. This ability is odd compared to the rest of the factotum abilities as it uses your factotum level instead of your intelligence modifier; as such it does not favor those who dip into factotum.
    • Arcane Dilettante (Sp): A useful and potentially powerful ability. It is constrained by two main things: firstly, one cannot prepare multiple copies of any given spell, and second, one can prepare but one spell of the highest level available. On the positive side, your caster level is equal to your class level, and you have access to the entire Sorcerer-Wizard spell list, which is the broadest and most varied. We shall deal with spells in more detail later on, but as a general rule: utility spells and/or long duration buffs.
    • Cunning Defense: Handy, if limited.
    • Cunning Strike: Gain extra sneak attack dice as a non-action that, according to the FAQ stacks with itself. Talk to your DM about that, but with this you qualify for the Craven feat, if you desire your attacks hit lower, more telling, blows. If you have room for Craven in your build, this gets bumped up to Blue, as it can become your main source of damage. Otherwise steer clear of it unless you've already used Cunning Insight on your weapon damage; +int mod likely be as high or higher than +1d6
    • Opportunistic Piety (Su): Pretend you are a cleric... kinda sorta. The healing capacity is limited, but it is a lifesaver in a pinch and you might be able to use it to fuel [Divine] feats. Worth talking to your DM about this. Problem is it is keyed partly off Wisdom, which you may well have neglected.
    • Cunning Surge: Though potentially taxing on your inspiration, gaining bonus standard actions that stack with all other action economizing measures. Such a capacity makes each turn count as if it were two.
    • Cunning Breach (Su): Ignoring spell resistance for spells that otherwise offer no save is nice, as is ignoring DR. A useful, if unglamorous, tool in your arsenal. Previously orange until I remembered that SR but no saving throw spells are a thing. Still there are likely better uses for your spells, but there are some combat gems.
    • Cunning Dodge: Survive the unsurvivable; this is you finding cover from the unlikeliest source to survive that which would elsehow kill you.
    • Cunning Brilliance: This power strikes me as utterly delightful, a somewhat novel twist on Arcane Dilettante; but instead of spells you prepare class features. Sadly, my experience with factotums of this level is limited, and I am capable of imparting merely heresay. It has been pointed out to me that Spellcasting is an EX ability. Of so: avoid wizards; sorcerer may be a decent option, standard divine casters might also be good, and fixed list casters are also favorable. As the ability lasts for a limited time don't be afraid to rain down ordinance via this ability.
      To come- List of abilities that can be mimicked, with some vague ranking-

    Abilities that do not use Inspiration:
    These are passive bonuses that add your inteligence modifier to Str & Dex checks (including skills and initiative) and, later, to your armor class.
    Brains over Brawn: This ability is fantastic in every way imaginable. If you are considering dipping into factotum, have a decent INT score and are not concerned with caster levels, go for this. It is unlikely you will regret it.
    Improved Cunning Defense: Not unlike a monk's AC bonus, this allows you to apply your mind towards the protection of your body. Unlike a monk's, however, it allows for armor. It comes into play somewhat late, however.

    Pathfinder Addenda: Levels 6 & 18
    As a general rule all Pathfinder classes get something at every level. The factotum mostly complies with this but has two levels in which nothing happens. Here are some suggestions, taken from other classes, to fill in these spaces.
    Homebrew Ahead
    Level 6:
    • Cantrips
    • Skill Mastery
    • Adaptive Learning: As a Rogue (Scroll Scoundrel) of the same level
    • Familiar: As Wizard of the same level
    • Archaeologist's Luck: As Bard (Archaeologist) of the same level
    • Deep Pockets: as a Pathfinder Chronicler of 1/2 Factotum Level. Drawing an item costs 2 IP.
    Level 18:
    • Gain access to a domain's granted power, using factotum level instead of cleric level
    • Access to any feat the factotum qualifies for for the duration of the day.
    • While we're on homebrew: Cunning Insight should apply to CMB and Cunning Defense (and Improved Cunning Defense) to CMD.
    Last edited by Gildedragon; 2013-07-19 at 04:08 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Skills and Feats

    These are a Factotum's bread and butter, affecting what you can do, and how well you can do it. When going for feats, skills, and associated abilities think of how they increase your adaptability and how well they synergize with your class abilities. Notably: a high Int, lots of skills and miscellaneous powers. Don't try too hard to specialize, or overload any given class ability. Pouring resources into one thing means they are not being used for other capacities, and thus beware of diminishing returns. I would generally say that no more than one or two feats should go towards any one particular goal, the notable exception being Font of Inspiration, and do not try to keep all skills maxed out. You benefit from breadth, not necessarily depth.

    Appraise (Int): Not very good, but worth having the 1 rank so you can at least try. If you really want to, hit 50 and you can detect magic as per the spell.
    Autohypnosis (Wis): Nice skill with a series of situational but handy applications. Resist dying, emulate a Paladin's fear immunity, remember your shopping list. The DC's max out at 20, so no need to go overboard.
    Balance (Dex): You need at least 5 ranks to not get flatfooted by Grease. If you can reliably get 90 you get to walk on water, and at 125 you can walk full speed on fog, dusty air, and clouds.
    Bluff (Cha): A good, generally handy skill out of combat. Useful for bypassing guards and selling fake goods. Inside of combat it is not that good as feinting isn't very much worth it. It can apply a nice bonus to Intimidate (see the rules in Dragon 303). If playing a trickster type or a party face, go for it.
    Climb (Str): Strength dependent, the DC's are not that high for standard (1/4 speed) movement.
    Concentration (Con): The highest DC you'll need to make for any reasonable use of this is 22 (15+7th level spells). Five ranks here get you a bonus to Autohypnosis, which is good if you have maxed the latter out.
    Decipher Script (Int): A skill in which, as an intellectual, you should have training. It allows for a variety of interesting abilities, and lets you decode puzzles.
    Diplomacy (Cha): A Factotum's cunning can make them forces to be reckoned with in diplomacy. Keep in mind that this skill can be used to get up to 20% off goods while haggling (Dr 303). Personally I eschewed this skill all together after derailing a campaign with it. If you wish to be a diplomatic factotum, suggest Burlew's Diplomacy to the DM out of courtesy.
    Disable Device (Int): Essential if there are no other devoted trapfinders. Otherwise it ranges from ocassionaly useful to utterly useless. Remember that with a good enough check you can turn your enemies' traps into traps for your enemies.
    Disguise (Cha): It is useful for finding alternative routes into an area. This skill is hampered only by your creativity and bluff.
    Escape Artist (Dex): Less useful a skill as a variety of spells and magical items bypass the need for this skill. However, it is handy to get out of grapples and bonds early on in your career.
    Gather Information (Cha): Learn who's who and what's what in any given campaign setting. Not worth more than one rank.
    Handle Animal (Cha): Have a pet. Not very useful.
    Handle Humanoid (Cha): A skill from Fabulous Cats and it is, well, a fabulous skill. If you can succeed in a DC 25 check (30 for monstrous humanoids) you can get your jailor to bring you your possessions, unlock your cell, and protect you (each needing a different use). No save, not magical, not mind-affecting. When one considers that creatures such as Liches keep the humanoid type (as the augmented humanoid subtype) you begin to see the true power of this skill. The one caveat: you have to be [feline] that is to say: Catfolk, tibbit, rakshasa, rakshasa-descenced (ask your DM if a tiefling can apply), or a changeling OR Undergoing the Ritual of Association (SS) for 56,000 gp.
    Heal (Wis): Cleric is down, you're out of Piety, and the goblins just ran away with your gear. Have a point in here just in case violently anticlerical goblin raiding parties become more of a thing
    Hide (Dex): Amazingly handy to avoid combat. A fight will not start until you are spotted, make sure to get the drop on your enemies by sneaking good.
    Iaijutsu Focus (Cha): This is one of the most contentious factotum things. This skill is capable of immense physical damage, provided the target is flatfooted; easy on the first round, less so afterwards. There are ways to get it continuously, but with skilltricks it can be got for a couple of couple of times per encounter, which likely is all you need. For more information on Flatfooting go see Greenish about it.
    Intimidate (Cha): You can be terrifying if you want to. With the Demoralize option and Imperious command you can neutralize a large part of the battlefield. This is a 1/encounter skill (you ought not spend more than that doing scary faces at the gnolls), and best reserved for encounters with a lot of enemies. Use Cunning Knowledge early on. Not a skill to worry about having much need of.
    Jump (Str): Useful, synergizes with a variety of things, allows you to overcome difficult terrain by leaping over your woes. Think of it as low-level mundane flight.
    Listen (Wis): A skill that determines your sensory acuity. Being capable of pinpointing enemies in the dark, hearing enemies through a wall/door.
    Lucid Dreaming (Wis): An odd and seldom used skill. It allows one to travel through the Dreamscape and alter people's dreams.
    Martial Lore (Int): Not very useful, interesting, but not useful. Take Kn. Nobility instead.
    Move Silently (Dex): See Hide for the benefits of sneaking around.
    Open Lock (Dex): As Disable Device. More useful if not dungeon-delving and more urban in your residency. Being able to hit 20's reasonably well is good. Higher modifiers let you do it quicker.
    Perform (Cha): Any There ought be a use for this. It is ultimately entirely for flavor, but being good at oratory is handy for speechgiving, and dancing and playing instruments are marks of a genteel and refined nature. I'd advice 1 point in Dance, Oratory, and one other musical one, if only to be rounded out.
    Profession (Wis): Any This is merely for flavor.
    Ride (Dex): Invest in a nice mount and voila, you can do all sorts of fancy schmancy combat. Move and full-attack, fly, move faster across the landscape.
    Sense Motive (Wis): Detect lies, motivation, guiding principles, possibly alignment, and even surface thoughts, prevent yourself from being feinted at, and show general people-savyness. This could also be known as Paranoia. Pure gold as a skill.
    Sleight of Hand (Dex): Cute clever skill. Juggle, pick pockets, draw hidden weapons, conceal your spellcasting.
    Speak Language: Be a polyglot. Speak to everybody in their native tongue, be able to read any text. It is flavorful and fitting for a fella like you.
    Spell/Psicraft (Int): Useful, erudite, but not essential.
    Spot (Wis): See Listen for the benefits of increasing your sensory acuity. It allows you to perceive invisible creatures
    Survival (Wis): Five ranks and know true north, feed your party with your cunning knowledge, and show that the bookish scholar is a lean mean self-sufficient survivalist.
    Swim (Str): Nice, invest a bit in this. It can always come in handy.
    Truespeak (Int): This is an odd little skill. It is needed for the casting of a few cute spells (a slightly better mage armor, an obscure dispel magic, and a couple others) but the DC's ramp up way too fast for this to be any good. It does kinda fit the factotum flavor. Besides who else's gonna make use of this skill and adjoining spells?
    Tumble (Dex): Move and avoid AoO's, reduce falling damage, earn copper pieces by playing leapfrog. A must-have skill.
    Use Magic/Psionic Device (Cha): Yeah, you need these; the factotum does NOT get a class spell list, so to make use of scrolls, wands, schemas, etcetera UMD/UPD are essential. Especially UMD unless you're in a psionics campaign. If you aren't a Lawful or True Neutral factotum, you want to make a UMD DC 30 check as soon as you can. This'll let you fake your allignment to get use of the fantastic Jazidim relic: the Scrolls of Uncertain Provenance.
    Use Rope (Dex):This is a very "just in case" skill. Useful if you like tying people up.

    Craft: Making your own gear is a worthwhile task, it cuts down on costs heavily and makes sure you have just what you need just when you want it. Be wary about the times though.
    • Armor: Making your own armor is way to get more bang for your gold-pieces, and emphasizes your self-sufficiency. Slow, though, especially at lower levels, when you need the cheaper equipment the most. Consider using a scroll of fabricate to speed up the process for a particularly pricey item; such as that masterwork mithril breastplate you are eyeballing
    • Alchemy: This is good beyond words. The variety of effects that can be produced via alchemical items is near infinite, and adds resources to your ability pool that getting access to would otherwise be expensive or unfeasible. Stop worrying about having DR piercing weapons, or in-combat cover, or not enough booze.
    • Bowmaking: Not as versatile as general weaponsmithing, but can help produce useful ranged weapons.
    • Leatherworking: Not as versatile as general armorsmithing, but can make leather armors and can make fancy shoes, gloves and saddles. Also you can bind your own notes in the hide of that displacer beast you just cut up.
    • Poison: This is fantastic, get poisons for cheap, make your attacks more deadly and sneaking about easier. The cost of raw materials is lower and the production is calculated in GP which means its production is fast.
    • Weapons: As Armor-crafting above. This ability lets you overcome the Individualist flaw's restriction for most of your campaign.

    Knowledge: For non-identification skills you might want to limit your ranks to 5 (if you like the synergy bonus), unless you got the ranks to spare or you find yourself making those checks often.
    • Arcana: This is probably the most common knowledge check I see made. Identify all sorts of strange phenomena, all manner of magical creatures and creations. This is a skill that is almost always handy, except if magic is exceedingly rare.
    • Architecture: Occasionally useful, mostly flavorful. Helps you know if a bridge will hold your load, how long ought the barricade last, and which pillars to knock out to bring down the roof on a raging barbarian. Question is; are you allowed to Knowledge Devotion this to tear through dungeons/structures/walls?
    • Dungeoneering: While this knowledge's ancillary abilities serve well only if regularly spelunking or if exploring the Underdark, it provides a means of dealing with otherwise tricky enemies, even if the roster is not the most comprehensive.
    • Local: This covers only one creature type, but it is the most common creature type you'll find. Humanoids. Add to that a bonus on knowing what's happening around town, and local color and you have an amazing skill.
    • Geography: This area of knowledge will rarely be of use unless free-reign travel or geopolitics feature prominently in your campaign.
    • History: Flavorful.
    • Nature: This is one has the most, and most abundant creature types. These'll be things you'll fight often. Furthermore, identifying plants and all sorts of natural world goodies positions you as a scientist type, and may enhance your search for reagents, food, poisons et cetera.
    • Nobility: So this boosts your diplomacy. Also helps you figure out whose tomb you are plundering.
    • Psionics: Like arcana but psionic. In a psionics heavy campaign it is handy. But otherwise it is entirely skippable
    • Planes: I am surprised how often people neglect this skill. Being able to identify outsiders and their ilk is quite useful. Always know which special metal overcomes their DR with this skill.
    • Religion: It covers undead, which is a common enough enemy so that's great. Especially since undead have all sorts of weird stuff happening for them. Additionally it makes one conversational in religious practices and symbols. In a world with as many evil cults and meddlesome gods as D&D this is priceless.

    Skill Tricks:
    These pseudofeats cost 2 skillpoints a piece and can be used only once per encounter. Despite this they can increase the repertoire of tricks you have under your belt.
    • Acrobatic Backstab: Tumble 12 This renders opponents flat footed after tumbling through their space. It is the only one (besides Escape Attack) which does not require Quick-Draw.
    • Clarity of Vision:Spot an invisible creature for a round, enough to glitterdust, flour, or something them up to render them visible.
    • Collector of Stories: Knowledge (any) 5 You will qualify for this without trying and it grants a +5 to a knowledge check.
    • Conceal Spellcasting: Concentration 1, Spellcraft 1, Sleight of Hand 5 Make sure that no one notices you casting those spells. It is, however, opposed by your opponents' Spot.
    • Escape Attack: Escape Artist 8 To activate this skill-trick (and treat your target as flat-footed) you have to have been grappled first. Which you should have avoided to begin with.
    • False Theurgy: Bluff/Sleight of Hand 8, Spellcraft 8 You have precious few spells. Getting one counterspelled stings bad. This prevents that from happening... the usual way. Dispel Magic still gets rid of it, and standard counterspelling is rare.
    • Never Outnumbered: Intimidate 8 Turn your imperious command into an area of effect shaken-ing. This can be devastating for encounters, as you suddenly terrify all your foes.
    • Hidden Blade:Quick-Draw, Sleight of Hand 5 This renders opponents flat footed when drawing a concealed weapon.
    • Sudden Draw: Quick-Draw, Sleight of Hand 5 While making an attack of opportunity you get to treat them as flat-footed.
    • Listen to This: Listen 5 In the rare case you don't actually understand something being said, use this to repeat it to someone that will elucidate it for you.

    (Gonna sort by color or alphabetically one of these days)

    Font of Inspiration: This is only factotum-centric feat there is. This is it; the Divine Metamagic to your Cleric, the Natural Spell of your Druid. The number of times you want to take this feat depends on how far you want to take your factotum. In my experience 3 is a fairly good number of times to take this feat. It boosts your inspiration considerably and still leaves room for other feats to jostle around. Some would argue, however, that one ought to take this feat "as many times as possible"
    Knowledge Devotion:This is an extremely handy feat for factotums. Bonuses to hit and to damage with a successful knowledge check. Worth making the room for in your build for this. The feat caps out at DC of 36 for a +5 bonus to attack and damage rolls. If you perchance are starting around level 6, take this feat then and pretend it is a class feature; it might as well be.
    Item Familiar: This feat is pretty damn good on factotums (and any other skill monkey). Its main use is boosting your skill ranks and providing you with an intelligent magic item. The spell slot investment is not that useful for a more mundane factotum, though it can stretch them a bit further if you have spellcaster levels. The XP boosting is either broken, if XP is tracked, or useless if it isn't. Making the bonus XP be crafting XP only is a nice middle ground.
    Because of its drawbacks I recommend factotums opt for a riverine gauntlet; and enchant it with flying at their earliest convenience, as well as providing it with spellblade rings to impede its destruction.
    Draconic Reservoir: This feat is a prereq for the Greater Draconic Rite of Passage, which is, essentially a free level (in sorcerer). What this means is that you have a 3/day SLA (Identify, Grease, Mage Armor are all top notch choices, Bulwark of Reality might even be worth it if you spend ranks in truespeak) and casting as a 2nd level sorcerer. If you are Dragonwrought and have high cha dip 1 into sorcerer and nab this.
    Imperious Command: This is amazing if you are investing in Intimidate. It affects several enemies and allows you to control the battlefield. Combine it with the never outnumbered skill-trick and, well, scare folks as an area effect
    Nymph's Kiss:This feat is [Exalted] which means only the purest of factotums may take it. It boosts their charisma checks and grants them an extra skillpoint per level. There are some other benefits but those are the big ones.
    Karmic Twin: This human-only feat from Oriental Adventures is the non-exalted man's nymph's kiss, exaltedness seems to lead to an extra skillpoint, as what this does is boost your all your charisma checks. Not bad, and not bad on a diplomancer along nymph's kiss.

    Quick Draw: Useful for a variety of skill tricks, or if you use a lot of thrown weapons, pull out a lot of gear, or if you are going for Flick of the Wrist. Nice, flavorful, full of flair, but don't commit to it. There are better things on the shelves.
    Staggering Strike:
    Craven:If you get sneak attack from rogue(like) levels, or if Cunning Strike counts as the sneak attack class feature, then you can boost your precision damage significantly.
    Ancestral Whispers: You can turn undead, so you qualify. Expend a use of TU to get a bonus to a particular skill for a duration determined by your cha, and the capacity to take 10 with said skill. Not the best of feats, but a viable one if you need to take 10 and have more feats than levels free in your build.
    Weapon Finesse: If you are playing a dexterity oriented factotum, this will increase your chances of hitting your enemies in melee. This is quite good. The reason it is orange, however, is that you can generally fill in for it with feycraft weapons. And if you need it for prerequisites, the feat below can give those fairy daggers an extra oomph.
    Shadow Blade: With a good dexterity this feat allows your attacks to deal a fair bit more damage, provided you are attacking with Shadow Hand weapons (dagger, short sword, unarmed strike, spiked chain). It has easy to fulfill pre-requisites: a feat or a set of Gloves of the Shadow Hand or a level in Swordsage (which is not a bad level, but you may not be wanting to multiclass). It counts as Weapon Finesse for anything that cares about you having said feat.
    Keen Intellect: If you dumped Wis this makes it all better. It effectively renders Wisdom meaningless (though ability drain on Wisdom will bite your peaches something nasty in this case). It must be taken at first level though.
    Kung Fu Genius/Carmendine Monk: If dipping into monk for some reason (notably: PF feats are available), or if they are ruled to work with the swordsage’s similar ability, getting Int to AC is pretty good. Considering you get it again with Cunning Dodge and Improved Cunning Dodge... You ought to be really hard to hit with this.
    Able Learner: This feat is most useful when building a dipping factotum, or dipping into factotum, or as a prerequisite for the Chameleon PrC.
    Magic Item Crafting: Be your own, independent, custom-stocked magic-mart. There are several feats in this category but Scribe Scroll and Craft Wondrous Item are the ones that'll give you the most bang for your buck. The Factotum's capacity to know new spells every day from the Sorc-Wiz list means that over a period of rest you can build up an amazing repertoire of utility spells, ready to be used at a moment's notice. Craft Magic Arms and Armor is potentially handy but perhaps ends with you constantly working for the party. If you get CMA keep it under wraps.
    Obtain Familiar: You got a caster level (after second level) so you can have a familiar. There are a couple standout choices: monkeys (+3 tumble), ravens (speak language), and crows (+1 fort). My personal favorite is the monkey, with its humanoid hands it can aid another, and with a pearl of speech (600gp) it can UMD wands (probably scrolls too). It is a prereq for improved-familiar which will let you get stuff like a pseudodragon or an elemental.
    Improved Familiar: The pseudodragon and elementals are really cool, as are the magical beasts (hippogrif, anyone) but it is worth noting that keeping one's standard familiar with Improved Familiar grants the familiar-caster duo new abilities (DR 331). Notable among these is the raven's ability to aid you in knowledge checks. However, this is a feat that should be taken only if you really want the hippogriff or you have an overabundance of feat slots.
    Leadership: This is kind of like a familiar, but more powerful. The followers are interesting, but not what you are doing this for. What you are doing this for is the cohort. There are a couple standout races for this: Beguiler, Kenku, Petal, and Warforged. I have no doubt that there is a handbook regarding leadership, but my quick take is this: get an Artificer (item crafting for cheap!), Bard (bonuses to the whole party), or fellow Factotum (your apprentice). Kenku are neat because they have a hefty bonus to Aid Another (+4 as opposed to the normal +2), Warforged needn’t sleep and can be upgraded quite nicely (sorta like a smarter, fixable golem), the Beguiler has True Seeing always active, and is light enough to carry on your shoulder. True Seeing! Make sure the little fella is well protected and they can be your seeing-eye monkeything.
    Martial Study:
    Martial maneuvers are nice, but a single one isnt worth a feat. Buy the magic item that grants you one. Grab this only if you expect to be fighting in AMF's or hordes of ethereal filchers. If wondering what to take, go oggle the Swordsage's Handbook; save boosters are nice. Note, however, that stances ARE maneuvers, and thus can be got with this; but only 3 times, so if getting this feat make sure you make a real good use of it.
    Martial Stance:
    As said above: a stance is better that any simgle maneuver, as it is active all day until you swap it for another, so no need to worry about recovery or anything. There are several good ones, and you are likely looking at those from Shadow Hand, though keep in mind the prerequisites, and remember that your IL is 1/2 your level; and the highest level maneuver known is: (IL+1)/2.
    Downgraded to orange upon realization that magic items can grant these to you. Still, a stance is great to have.
    Flick of the Wrist:
    If you have protracted combats and are very fond of Iaijutsu Focus damage, this is your feat. It needs quick-draw as a pre-req, and some ranks in sleight of hand.
    Exotic Weapon Proficiency: If martial weapons don't quite have the style for your factotum you may be looking into the exotics. They are, however and for the most part, not that good. Flavorsome, perhaps, but often not meritorious of a feat.
    The notable exceptions to this being the Gnomish Quick-Razor and Spiked Chain/Dragon Chain. The former is excellent for Iaijutsu Focus because of the odd mechanics of drawing and sheathing it has. This is perhaps the only weapon that can be sheathed as a free action.
    The Spiked Chain is great for tripping and disarming, with the trip property, variable reach and a net +6 to disarm. Additionally it benefits from weapon finesse and shadow blade. That I have no idea how these are wielded or what they really are does not detract from their versatility. These proficiencies can be, however, picked up with a level of Exoticist Fighter (four of them anyway, but that is probably as much as you need)
    Point Blank Shot:
    You want this, nay, need this, if you are going for a ranged factotum.
    Rapid Shot:
    A prerequisite for Manyshot, it increases the number of ranged attacks you are making. More attacks = more damage.
    Higher penalty than Rapid Shot, but you get the extra attacks as part of standard actions rather than per round. Problem is that it gives you attacks as part of standard actions, but none during full attacks.
    Precise Shot:
    This keeps your ranged attacks relevant when everyone else is engaged in melee combat. It is also, however, available as a +1 weapon enhancement.
    Two Weapon Fighting:
    Get an extra attack per round. This can be extremely handy if you have the inspiration points to burn.
    Improved Trip:
    Tripping is amazing: you make your opponent prone, and force them to expend a move action to get up (during which you can trip them again). This feat gives you a +4 bonus to that and lets you do it unarmed without provoking an attack. But you will likely be using a weapon so...
    Improved Disarm:
    Get rid of your opponent's weapon and get to keep it. This feat gives the perfunctory do not provoke attacks of opportunity clause of all "Improved X" feats, as well as the +4 to said maneuver. This adds up to a +10 to disarm with a spiked chain.
    Power Attack:
    By giving yourself +int to attack you get to boost your damage and neutralize the penalty to attack.
    Trivial Knowledge:
    Shucks, I guess gnomes are the knowledge is power race. This feat is quite nice, as it allows you to roll 2d20's and take the highest for all knowledge checks.
    Planar Touchstone:
    A great feat that grants you any one of a variety of abilities. You need an expensive material focus but it may well be worth it.
    Catalogues of Enlightment (Luck): Getting one reroll per day is great, and works beautifully with some luck feats. Getting a touchstone weapon as your focus essentially gives you a lucky blade.
    Valley of Thunder: +1 to AC
    Catalogues of Enlightment (War): Get weapon proficiency and focus with a martial weapon, extending it to an exotic weapon is to your DM's discretion, but if that flies this is not a bad use of a feat.
    Faerie Mysteries Initiate (Passions):
    So after engaging in "exuberant sensual" activity you get your Int to HP instead of Con. For a low Con factotum this is a godsend. It is very thematically appropriate with Nymph's Kiss. Furthermore it makes sense to take this, seeing how many feycraft weapons you're handling.
    Vatic Gaze: Detect magic at will isn't bad, especially if you have a fancy monocle. But what makes it passable is knowing highest level of spells they have available to cast via a Sense Motive check. The better part of the feat can, however, be duplicated by Permanency, so maybe pass this.

    Slot-less Feats
    Of all the resources available to the Factotum, none is more restricted than feats. Even the meager spellcasting and healing capacities of the factotum can be enhanced via magic items. But in the realm of feats, there is precious little that can be done to get more. But precious little is enough, given enough knowledge.
    Here is a small list of worthwhile feats that may be acquired through purchase or engaging in feats of valor and audacity.

    Agile Acrobat:
    If perchance your factotum is the nimble but weak sort, and often encounters walls to scale, pits to leap over, and the like, this feat allows leaping and climbing that rely more on grace than on brute force. Purchasing the entry to the Challenge of the Highest Spire, and the training to win this vertical race, and the associated feat, costs a measly 3000 gold pieces.
    Luck Feats:
    Luck is a chancy mistress, and having her on your your side is to have a powerful ally. To venture and expedition to the legendary ruins of the Court of Thieves will cost you a hefty 6000 gold pieces, but in exchange you will attain the favor of the luck gods, and a luck feat to show this off.
    There are a variety of feats to pick from, listed here are the choicest that need no other feat to be taken:
    Lucky Catch: Failing a Climb check high up can be dire news, this gives you a second chance.
    Lucky Start: To catch an opponent flatfooted one needs to go first. See a bad initiative roll unmade.
    Good Karma: Save a friend's life by throwing yourself in harm's way. As long as your defense is strong this will earn you goodwill and increase your party's longevity.
    Make Your Own Luck: Failed a skill check? Get a second chance. Note that it needs another luck feat to be taken.
    Unvelievable Luck: This has the prerequisite of having another luck feat, but it gives a +2 to your lowest save and two more rerolls.
    Tactile Trapsmith:If your factotum is of the agile sort, and is often searching and disabling traps, this feat allows you to add your Dex to these checks. Instead of using your valuable feat slots for this, engage in a raid of the Iron Wyrm Vault. The cost of buying the right information, gear, and paying the proper bribes is a mere 3000 gold pieces.
    Skill Focus This feat is a prereq for Exemplar, it is not that good though. On the flip side certain focuses are available as Legendary Sites.
    • Kn. Religion or Kn. History: Mounting an excursion to the Frog God's Fane so as to unveil the secrets of history and long-dead religions costs some 2000gp.
    • Perform: For 5000gp one can secure a performance at Heward's Hall so as to increase your talent in music, dance, or oratory. It requires the aspiring artist to perfom a breathtaking piece.
    • Craft: As its bardic counterpart, this Variant Heward's Hal endows those who smelt at its forges, producing an item of great mastery, to advance their craftsmanship.
    • Climb: Participating in the Highest Spire challenge costs 3000gp, but can provide you with greater benefits than merely boosting your climb.
    • Disable Device, Hide, Move Silently, Open Lock, or Search: Engaging in a raid of the Iron Wyrm Vault (3000gp) has more powerful benefits for the discerning factotum.
    • Intimidate: Should your criminal activities, insurrectionist behaviour, or the evil regime catch up with you and toss you into the Otyugh Hole; and should you manage to escape, you will have gained a mastery at intimidation rivaled by few. The seizure of your goods will reduce your wealth by 3000gp.

    Favorite Flaws & Traits

    Flaws are something of a contentious subject. Factotums love them, some DM's hate them. Yours truly is quite fond of a few of them. Thus here I list my personal favorites, and the reasons for it. These are from the SRD, and Dragon Magazine issues 324-8 and 333. I have also included here my favorite traits, they are less contentious and less exploitable (I believe there is a correlation between those), and are at the end of the section. Now, while I am ranking these, I will advise that you pick your flaws for flavor. A factotum's shortcomings ought be as telling of their adventurous background as their strengths.

    Arcane Performer: While the factotum doesn't quite qualify for this (it requires spontaneous casting) there is something delightful of having to perform (weapon drill ideally) to cast your spells. With this flaw a factotum can come off as a showman, an extravagant spellcaster. (Dr 324)
    Brash, Implacable: These two flaws are different in effect but similar in flavor. This is a short tempered, red-blooded intellectual; a something to behold. It is someone passionate and versatile, and someone to fight to their last breath. (Dr 324, 328)
    Cautious: And this is not the same guy as above. This is a methodical factotum. Discretion, you know, is the better part of valour.
    City Slicker: An afinity for the metropolis and aversion to being dropped in the wild. Overal terrible with plants and animals, much better with the remains of cultures. You will overcome that aversion to the wild but civilization will always be this factotums forte. (Dr 324)
    Code of Arms, Honor the Duel, Honorable Challenge These three are very similar in flavor (they were all intended for paladins). This is a factotum that fights with honor and righteousness. Either trained in a very formal society, or with a strong sense of what a proper fight is. Some may find it foolish, but this factotum knows that these guidelines are what makes them truly civilized. (Dr 324)
    Curious: Factotums are seekers of knowledge; curious should always be an adjective applied to them. Though the penalty to initiative is unpleasant but not unbearable(Dr 328)
    Glory-Hound This is a factotum that lives for battle and glory. Wishes for immortality in song and legend fill this factotum's head, an ache to be recognized for fighting prowess and intellectual might. (Dr 328)
    Individualist: A man can be an island; they just need to know enough to cease to rely on others. This factotum is the paragon of survivalists. They make their own weapons, food, armor. Others may come to rely on you, but you won't on them. (Dr 328)
    Insomniac: A thirst for knowledge and caffeine, a mind full of problems and questions. It is hard for this factotum to fall asleep, but all academics have been there, questions floating to your head, luring you awake constantly. Pairs beautifully with Curious. (Dr 328)
    Light Sensitivity: Darkvision and long nights in the deep caves of the world, not burning fire to prevent your air from running out have left you with truly sensitive eyes. To counter this you always wear sunglasses, hiding your vulnerability under a facade of stylishness and affectations. (Dr 328)

    Traits (SRD)
    Absent Minded: Mechanically and flavorwise I love this. A bonus to all kn. checks is delicious and a small penalty to your senses isn't terrible. You are wrapped in your own thoughts and analyses. It's the one trait I think is truly excellent and all factotums should take. The other traits are all pretty well balanced and rely on how you see your particular factotum playing out.
    Specialized: This is, to an extent, the opposite of absent minded. Do not take it for a Knowledge. It might be worth it for a craft, if you're really keen on one particular discipline thereof (Alchemy is the best). It is pure fluff to take it for profession. I am somewhat surprised it does not also apply to perform skills. It might be interesting to take it in there.

    Pathfinder Addenda: Feats & Traits
    Overall, Pathfinder's skills will match up with 3.5's. Without the panoply of obscure 3.5 skills and the concatenation of some others, it means you will have maximum ranks in more skills.

    Spoiler: Feats
    Kirin Style, Kirin Strike & Kirin Path:
    These three feats are intended as a sort-of Knowledge Devotion for Pathfinder. Particularly good is the Strike, giving you x2 Int modifier to damage. The Path is okay; mostly it allows you to take 10 on all identification checks. If in a 3.5 game that allows Pathfinder feats, these are highly recommended. If in a Pathfinder only game, taking this is virtually mandated.

    Improved Dirty Trick & Greater Dirty Trick:
    The combat expertise prereq isn't that hot. However, the versatility of this feat is excellent. It allows a crafty factotum to get the upper ground against a foe. The Greater version makes it so the penalty lasts for a longer time. I find that this might be one of the best combat maneuvers you can do.

    Spoiler: Traits
    Pathfinder's traits are somewhat different from 3.5's in that they have no drawback whatsoever.
    Pragmatic Activator
    Last edited by Gildedragon; 2014-06-05 at 08:54 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ettin in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Post Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Making it Magical

    Factotum spellcasting is limited by three things. One, you get a pretty small allotment of spells per day. Two, you cannot prepare more than one copy of any given spell. And third, you may only have one spell of the highest level you can cast. Despite these harsh constraints you are capable of picking -any- Sorcerer/Wizard spell, you suffer no ASF, and are capable of overcoming (or at least severely hampering) others' SR.

    With said assessment of the situation here are general guidelines for the selection of useful spells:

    Firstly, do not try to out-wizard the wizard, or the sorcerer for that matter. They have more spells than you. On an exceptionally lucky day, an exceptionally clever factotum may well get away with beating a wizard at his own game, but such a factotum would do well to seek lifetime refuge in a dead magic zone before a day is past.

    Instead get spells that they do not have. This helps the party as a whole, by making the group more prepared to face danger. It also allows a more mercenary factotum to procure magic items from a wizard, in exchange for the knowledge of esoteric spells.

    Seek spells that have long durations, hour per level ones are excellent if you have acquired Extend Spell or a rod thereof. Avoid highly situational magics, unless you are aware said situation is likely. Your spell planing benefits from forethought.

    Protective spells and buffs are rarely the wrong way to go, as are spells that do indirect damage. If a spell makes the rest of your party more effective, it is one that you should consider having in your repertoire.

    Handy Spells
    • Lvl 0:
      • Amanuensis Make copies of valuable or incriminating documents, read or sell or use for blackmail later.
      • Arcane Mark If you need to let your allies know it really is you, this spell provides a means to do this. It also works for tagging and scrying on objects.
      • Candlelight Unlike its brighter sibling Light, this spell will last you for a long time, 1hr/level to be precise. A good useful thing to carry until you find a better source of continuous light.
      • Detect Magic Invaluable for finding magical knick-knacks and can be used to identify items with an artificer's monocle
      • Mage Hand Presume your factotum is in a prison cell, and the keys were hung just across the room. This paltry telekinesis will allow you to make those come to you. Useful, but also can be acquired as an amulet.
      • Prestidigitation Words fail me to describe the wondrousness of this spell. Ask if you can get a hand of the mage type item for it. Be clean and eat like a king, and be limited only by your imagination.
      • Read Magic Essential to read scrolls and other magical texts; unless you can hit Decipher Script checks of higher than 50.
      • Resistance A beautiful spell. That +1 can be the difference between the sullen brute that follows you around beating on the wizard and beating on you. Easily acquired in magic items as you level up, but useful at low levels.
      • Silent Portal If there is a door or grate one needs to get past, but the noise of it will alert the guards, this is priceless. Otherwise not very useful except to sneak in and startle the barbarian.
    • Lvl 1:
      • Armor Lock: Reduce a target's movement, reduce their AC. It's nice, on the flip side it targets fortitude which is likely the high stat of those wearing armor. So go for the skirmishers with this, the rogue types in the light armor.
      • Benign Transposition:
      • Comprehend Languages: This is great for the time before you speak all the languages. It allows communication between groups to happen. Ideally you need at least two to allow full negotiations to happen, so something to have on a wand or couple of scrolls.
      • Distract Assailant It renders an enemy flatfooted until their next turn. Decent, more effective in some ways than Grease.
      • Feather Fall: This is a spell that is mostly (read, entirely) useless if not needed; but vital to your survival if you do. It is best put into a magic item, even single shot ones, to use at your convenience.
      • Grease: Simple in description, varied in uses. Make enemies flatfooted as they try to balance on the oil-slick, get out of grapples, slip through holes, oil a squeaking hinge. Pretty handy, though the balance ability can be imitated by a sack-full of marbles.
      • Identify: Expensive, though handy in a pinch. Best to look into acquiring an Artificer's Monocle and use detect magic.
      • Loresong: From Dragon Mag 335, this spell provides you with a considerable boost to a skill; a minimum of +5. It is a competence bonus, meaning it doesn't stack with many other things, but it does stack with Master's Touch.
      • Mage Armor: If for some reason you are unwilling to wear armor this is a spell for you. Higher levels of protection exist, but this is available early and can be found in all sorts of magic wands.
      • Magic Aura: Make your magical trinkets appear mundane, make your magicless baubles appear to be artifacts of unknowable might. Handy for dealing with ethereal filchers.
      • Magecraft: Gain a +5 to a Craft check, handy when making all sorts of items
      • Master's Touch (CA): You know that fancy exotic weapon you keep around? Gain proficiency with it ipso facto. This is something you may want in an eternal or expendable wand.
      • Protection from X
      • Truestrike: Handy to get a crucial attack, yours or your companions', in.
      • Unseen Servant: A +2 bonus on all untrained skills, a trap-triggering device, a gopher... a lot of uses for a low level spell. And it has an hour/level duration too.
    • Lvl 2:
      • Alter Self: A particularly infamous spell. There are threads upon threads as to how to best use it.
      • [Animal]'s [Quality] Spells: Remarkably useful for boosting one of your stats at a time. Fox's Cunning is your go-to until you can buy your fancy hat, but all the others can be a charm to get your stats up to the challenge. Store a couple in Spell Glyphs for later use.
      • Master's Touch (PHII): Boost a skill check up by 4, not too shabby
      • Lorecall (Balancing or Listening) Boost one of those skills by 4, and get some interesting side benefits, such as the ability to walk on liquids or blindsense. Pretty handy spells with decent duration. Getting them on at-will or continuous magic items is worth it.
      • Luminous Armor: Great armor for the good-aligned factotum. Lasts for a fair while too.
      • Continual Flame This is your perpetual source of light. Don't bother casting it on a torch, instead make your robes seem to be coated in eldrich flames, or bespell a weapon or a iounstone, to be your torch.
    • Lvl 3:
      • Glowing Orb This is nicer than Continual Flame (except for the theatrics), as it allows you to move the object around and the light level may be controlled at will. Easily broken, though, so maybe buffing it up is in order.
      • Mighty Wallop, Greater
      • Shrink Item Have walls hidden as cloth ribbons, be able to remove the treasure from the dungeon, even things too big to normally transport, make the bard's gamelan into something actually portable.
    • Lvl 4:
      • Minor Creation: This is excellent to make perishable items, such as poisons, that you don't need to keep indefinitely
      • Polymorph
      • Dimension Door
      • Solid Fog
      • Shadow Conjuration: For those times you suspect you'll need something aren't quite sure what.
    • Lvl 5:
      • Permanency: Get continuous-effect spells on yourself and your allies. Detect Magic is a particularly good & cheap one. Blasted XP costs
      • Fabricate: For making those mundane items fast.
      • Planar Binding, Lesser: Bind, rather, Recruit outsiders to your cause. Be decent about it and cunning in your words and you won't regret it. Of course, get too abusive with this and expect the celestial/infernal/axiomatic hordes after you. The chaotic ones are 50/50 regardless of what you do.
    • Lvl 6:
      • Tenser's Transformation
      • Stone Body
      • Planar Binding: See the lesser version
    • Lvl 7:
      • Control Weather: It might not be the best use of your single 7th level slot but it is a nice thing to have on days in which you and your pals are merely traipsing through the planes.
      • Magnificent Mansion:
      • Teleport, Greater: Then again, why bother traipsing? Just be there. Albeit, there might be joy in the journey itself.
    Last edited by Gildedragon; 2013-06-20 at 04:57 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ettin in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Getting Classy

    The factotum is one of those few classes which works beautifully singleclassed. In part because of its constant parade of class features, in part from lack of support, and in part because of good solid class design. There are, however, instances in which you may want to multiclass to extend you Factotum's capacities into different directions. Therefore here is a short primer on how to multiclass and prestige-class a factotum with style.
    In prima facie: Multiclassing out of factotum is best done if fractional BAB and Saves are being used, otherwise your BAB will be hurting from forays out of your class.

    Base Classes:
    Bard: Bardic Music isn't a bad addition, proficiency with a fun weapon, and gain Bardic Knowledge. A decent boost and second chance to identify an object. Go Bardic Sage (UA) to boost your Bardic Knowledge.
    Barbarian: Flavor wise it seems these would be a poor fit. But for 1-2 levels it works. If if you can work them together, that is. This class will boost your HP, rage 1/day (provided you are non-lawful), and speed you up, and uncanny dodge. Go for the Wolf Totem (UA) to get Improved Trip for Uncanny Dodge. If you stay non-lawful trade Rage in for Ferocity (CS), but keep in mind that while raging you can't think clearly, nor use strategies that you'd otherwise go for. Trade in fast movement for a Lion Totem (UA, different type of totem) to get Pounce
    Binder: Having a couple SLA's under your sleeve is useful. While it is unlikely you will bind anything more than 2nd level vestiges, a couple of the low level ones are nice. Here's a brief list of some that I find useful. After Naberius you need to spend a feat (improved binding) or 3 levels in the class to get them. There are a couple more vestiges for these levels, and they might be handy, but these are the ones I believe you will be binding the most.
    • Aym lets you ignore speed penalties from armor and wear medium armor (mithral fullplate anyone). Also she lets you deal double damage to objects; making your iaijutsu do normal damage to them, rather than half. Who needs mountain hammer when you're doing up to 9d6+ damage to them.
    • Leraje is nice if you are doing a ranged attacker. While proficiency with bow is meaningless (you already have it) getting precise shot means that you don't have to spend a feat or enchantment on it.
    • Naberius is killer in high diplomacy campaigns, or if facing a lot of poisons and ability damage.
    • Malphas turns you into a scout from a safe distance away. Gives you poison use as well, which is great if you are keen on making your arsenal decidedly viperous.
    • Savnok gives you armor. Heavy armor and the knowledge of how to use it. You'll be slow but well protected. In addition you get to swap positions with an ally every five rounds; which makes your ridiculous AC handy, as well as forcing enemies to move (out of your threatened area) if they want to attack anyone but the steel giant you've become.

    Cleric: Go cloistered cleric, get Knowledge Devotion for free, a variety of domain powers, Lore and a few miscellaneous bonuses. You also get a couple of spells in the process.
    Fighter: You need bonus feats and a boost to your BAB? Here's the quick-and-dirty solution. Taking this for one level gets you a feat or 1d6 sneak attack, two levels gets you dungeon crasher and a feat, or two feats.
    Human Paragon: Gain an extra bonus feat at 2 and an ability score boost at 3. Nice, better if you have a spellcasting class.
    Monk: Despite all the flack they get, Monk is a solid choice for dipping 1 or 2 levels. The poor skills are offset by a good boost to all your saves, bonus feats, wis (or int) to AC, a bonus on unarmed damage and evasion. The bonus feats for the basic monk are poor, but if you go for the Martial Monk variant (Dr 310) you get to pick feats from fighter bonus feats (at the expense of 1 skillpoint per level). If Dragon Magazine is verboten pick the Passive Way from UA to get Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, and +2 to Bluff. Invisible Fist (EoE) allows you to swap evasion for invisibility.
    Psion: Like a wizard, this class has strong INT synergy. Egotist seems to have the best power selection. It is a class that I have yet to test more, but it seems promising.
    Ranger: May be useful for gaining TWF or Ranged attack feats.
    Rogue: If you need extra sneak attack dice turn to this, and trade the trapfinding (which you already have) for any of a variety of abilities such as poison-use, disguise self 1/day, or a bonus to appraising and identifying divine items.
    Scout: The main benefit I am seeing for this is the mobility + empowered attacks. Skirmish seems like a good ability for a factotum using hit and run tactics. 3 levels seems good for a factotum dip as it grants a bonus to AC when moving. Swapping trapfinding for some other ability is highly recommended.
    Swashbuckler: This is a "3 level" dip that grants you Weapon Finesse, +1 to Reflex and (most importantly) +Int to damage when finessing... provided the creature is not immune to sneak attack and you're in no more than light in load & armor. An excellent dip nonetheless as it plays to your strengths.
    Swordsage: The great thing of ToB classes is that your other levels advance them by 1/2. The particularly great thing of the Swordsage is that they have the greatest variety of maneuvers. Shadow Hand is a personal favorite of mine, but remember not to go too 'rogue' in focus. Pick maneuvers that let you do a variety of things: throwing people around is always fun. Diamond Mind's maneuvers are a great boost to your low saves. Taking 1 or 2 levels of this in your mid levels would be optimal, to get higher level maneuvers. It grants you your Wisdom to AC, which may be Kung-Fu Genius-able.
    Warblade: The other useful initiator class. It gives you a couple bonuses based on your intelligence or warblade level (whichever is lower) and has a decent selection of schools. This synergy can be quite powerful. Also it has full BAB class, which is a nice boost to your attack power. This is better than Swordsage for doing more than a dip.

    Prestige Classes:
    Chameleon: This prestige class has a similar schtick to the factotum but moreso. Going the full 10 yards with this class is good, it gives you decent spellcasting and miscellaneous abilities and ability score boosts. However, if you want to me more factotum, Chameleon 2 is wonderful. A floating feat that one gets to reasign is such a potent tool to have. It opens up all the situationally useful feats, and the cool-but-impractical ones. It lets you see if your really like how something plays out. I love it immensely. If you are going this route ignore all item creation feats and load them up into this beauty. And if one day you don't know what to pick, grab an extra Font of Inspiration.
    Exemplar: This class is a one level dip. It boosts your skill-focused ability, but more importantly it has Skill Mastery. this ability allows you to pick a number of skills equal to your int mod (likely 5) to be able to always take 10 with said skills. For Skill Mastery pick from among the following: Use Magic Device, Social Skills (Diplomacy, Intimidate, Bluff), Disable Device, Iaijutsu Focus, Knowledge (Nature, Local, Arcana, Religion, Planes) (if you do not have access to the Kirin Path feat), or any skill you are using very often and failure is an issue
    Legacy Champion: If you got a legacy item, and have hit 10th level and want to boost your factotum abilities more, this isn't a bad class. Alternatively; use it to boost the level of an initiator class, getting x1.5 IL for most levels. This is cheesy in the extreme, but a really fast way to progress your martial adept side, and leave more levels open for factotuming.
    Master of Masks: This class is nice. The masks are okay, though this is a 1 level dip if you don't have a spellcasting class. The gladiator mask is handy to handle all those exotic weapons you may be ogling. Assassin isn't a bad choice for your second one.
    Master Thrower: For a Dex-based ranged factotum this class may well be a must. I am not sure if I would continue past level 3 with this, but it isn't bad. The ranged trip and 2-for-1 attack tricks are pretty neat.
    Thunder Guide: Objectively speaking, this class is Orange, maybe even Red, a drop in power from a pure factotum. But nine hells, this class is adorable. When one of the class features is, straight up, "be an action hero", and another has you giving lectures to packed halls. This is a class that, fluffwise, is perfect for the factotum. It works as-is in Eberron, elsewhere it will need DM adjudication. I'd strongly recommend it to Factotums trying to bring their power level down a notch and boost flavor. Take this class for 8 levels max; that's the be-an-action-hero breakpoint. Setting it on the other side of a gestalt wouldn't be bad.
    Uncanny Trickster: Short, boosts the number of skilltricks you get, and the uses you get out of them. But also, and perhaps, more importantly, it does the same "any class feature" advancement the Legacy Champion does. Though with its higher number of class features it arguably does it better. This class can help turn a 1 swashbuckler dip into the int to damage bonanza you were hoping for. Additionally this sweet little thing can be entered at level 6, allowing you to skip over the dead level without losing a thing (well 1 level of factotum).

    Breakpoints: When to stay and when to go

    As mentioned before, there exists a distinct possibility that you may not take the advancement of the factotum to the full score of levels. As such there are points in which exiting the factotum is easier, or at the least, more beneficial.
    • 3: This is where you begin to feel the factotum: intelligence to str and dex checks, and occasionally to your AC. Still if you're dipping just 3... come on stick to it and try it a bit more.
    • 5: The factotum's sixth level is lacklustre. I would generally not advocate leaving factotum so soon, but a quick 2 level dip in Uncanny Trickster tides you over with something happening at every level. You will only get to a maximum of factotum 19, but that's all right.
    • 8: Multiclassing out at this point might help you make better use of the extra standard actions you have just gained. Also +8 to your skills is a respectable amount.
    • 11: You stuck to your guns and went a bit further? With the ability to overcome SR and DR you will deal a lot of hurt. Your number of spells isn't terrible either. You have also officially passed the midpoint in class levels. Whatever you may multiclass into you are more Factotum than anything by at least 2 levels! (unless you go epic)
    • 16: I really like level 16, Int to AC -again- (but always on). If you go the path of the kung-fu genius you'll likely have more than +30 to your AC. Nothing will touch you.
    • 19: Imitate classes! Yay! You've made it so far.
    • 20: Kudos for staying in factotum so long. You want to be epic now? Sorry kiddo, you gotta multiclass: the factotum has no epic progression. You could homebrew one, or you could try some other icecream flavor. Who wants a floating epic feat?

    Pathfinder Addenda: Multiclassing

    Bard 5: Loremaster is an excellent ability for Bards. Taking 10 with all Kn. Skills and being able to take 20 1/day is pretty handy. Lets you know stuff when you need to. Bardic Music and Versatile performance are both pretty useful and team-player-y. Taking the Archaeologist archetype lets you get some extra rogue abilities and really really Indy Jones the hell out of your factotum.
    Monk (Master of Many Styles & Sohei) 2: This allows a factotum to nab a handfull of neat abilities: Two of the three Kirin Style feats, action during a surprise round, unarmed strike damage, wis (or int*) to AC, and evasion
    * See the Kung Fu Genius feat above
    Last edited by Gildedragon; 2013-07-19 at 07:31 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ettin in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Gear, Equipment, and Knickknacks

    • Shuriken: A thrown weapon that is priced as ammunition for all purposes. Very handy for creating an omniweapon and dirt cheap utility magic weapons.

    • Unarmed Strike: Can't be disarmed of this, nor easily separated from it, and if monkeying around this can do decent damage.
    • Gauntlet: Can't be disarmed, can be enchanted, does lethal damage. Not my ideal go to but can do in a pinch.
    • Poison Ring: The delightful thing of this weapon is its innocuous appearance. While useful for the delivery of injury poisons, it is an enchantable weapon that can pass hidden in most social encounters. Put your favored utility weapon enhancement on these, hide them with magic aura, and go to town. (DrC)
    • Dagger: The standard light weapon. Cheap and easy to hide.
    • Shortsword: The other basic light weapon. Not so easy to hide but it does more damage.
    • Longsword: Baseline one-handed weapon.
    • Rapier/Scimitar: Lower damage than a longsword but with better crit range.
    • Spiked Shield: Gives you defense and a bit of extra oomph if shield bashing.
    • Halberd: Trip & can oppose a charge
    • Guisarme: Reach and trip for cheap and without the need of a feat. This may be the best weapon for a polearm-factotum
    • Scythe Trip and x4 crit modifier
    • Spiked Chain: Variable reach, trip and disarm. A very conspicuous weapon but a very useful one. It is also useful for both finesse and power attack
      • Kusari Gama: This is spiked chain lite. Personally I am partial to it, as you can get it finessed with feycraft, rather than spend a feat on it.
      • Whip: A control weapon like the Spiked Chain & KG. It has 15' variable reach, but does not threaten, light and finessable. You don't want it for the damage (which is virtually non-existant) but for the reach and tripping. It isn't bad if you are into controlling the battlefield.
        • , Dagger: Like the standard whip but does actual damage.
    • Elven Lightblade, Thinblade, Courtblade These are the light, one handed and two-handed versions of a same weapon. Decent, elves get to be proficient with these, they have good crit-ranges, and the heavier versions are wieldable in two hands, finesse-able and power-attack able. Top choice if going elf. (RoW)
    • Gnomish Quickrazor: A cute weapon, give you the whole blades under the sleeves thing. Useful only if you are using Iaijutsu Focus. (RoS)
    • Crescent Blade: If you are sneak-attacking or have some other way to add extra damage to every attack (such as the Kn. Devotion) this is a weapon that evokes gorgonzola. Remember that its attacks on that first round qualify for IF which means double the iaijutsu. Oh! And it is a light weapon; so feycraft it. (Dr275)
    • Fan: A fan made out of knifey slashy bits comes in a few exotic flavors. There is a certain elegance or dramatic quality to using these weapons. They all are light weapons and have an advantage against unaware opponents.
      • ,Collapsing Crescent This fan has a +4 vs flat footed opponents, decent, then, if using Iaijustu Focus. (Sa)
      • ,War: A successful Bluff check gets you +4 to your first attack with this weapon. It has a higher crit multiplier than the collapsing crescent variety. (AEG, OA)

    • Dagger: Thrown weapon that can be used to stab people, can be easily hidden, and interestingly enchanted. What's not to like.
    • Sling: Cheap, easy to hide as a headband, can hurl alchemical items.
    • Longbow (Composite): There's no real reason to get anything but composite to your max str if you can. The shortbow is subpar and you'll need both hands to use it anyway. This weapon has RANGE, and if you want to avoid getting hurt it might well be your bestest friend.
    • Crossbow: It has got style, and can be used one-handed. So if you want to be a fantasy gunslinger without using guns or wands, this is it.
      • , Light: This is the baseline crossbow. Make reloading it a free action by making it Quick Loading (MIC)
      • , Hand: This is what you want if two weapon shooting. It has got panache, though doesn't deal that much damage. As with the Light Crossbow, it can be enhanced to reload as a free action. Problem is: it is exotic.
      • , Heavy: This packs a punch but it is a full-round action to reload.
      • , Repeating: Exotic and can be replaced with a weapon enhancement. If you really need mundane multiple attacks with this then by all means.
    • Net: Entangle your enemies with this, make them spend time trying to get out rather than attacking you.
      • Razor, More vicious than the standard net, but can only be used once.
    • Splashy-Type-Weapons: Holy water, Alchemists' X, Tanglefoot Bags, Oil, Dust, etc. These are generally incredibly useful things to have on hand. Using a sling to deliver them is probably the best way to use them. Some of them deal damage, some debuff. You want to have a variety of these on hand.

    • Elvencraft: Make your bow into 3 different, separately enchantable, weapons. Get a melee weapon for when fighting, just in case something shows up to try and hit you. (RoW)
    • Feycraft: Lower weight category for weapons, turn light weapons into finesse weapons without having to get a feat (DMGII)
    • Modular: If concealed weapons are a thing in your game, go for this. Also the flavor for these says that the weapon breaks down into a variety of components that can be stashed all over oneself (as jewelry or other things) break down an enchanted weapon with defensive charms and get the bonus discretely. (DRC)
    • Basket Hilt: If you're getting disarmed often this is a good bonus. Combine with a locking gauntlet for an extremely sturdy grip.
    • Blood Groove: If concerned about weight this is handy. A mithril feycraft longsword with fuller weighs 1.3lb (about dagger weight) and a greatsword would weigh in at less than 4 lb. (Dr358)
    • Deceptive: Make your weapons look like something else. Handy if, like me, you like the unarmed look. (Dr358)
      • Disguised Dagger: Make your dagger even easier to hide. Have it be a hairpin or a clothespin(DrC)
    • Touchstone: Make a weapon your link to your touchstone. Add 200gp to the masterwork cost of such weapon. (PlH)
    • Ornate: +2 to Intimidate or Diplomacy, this is something the charismatic factotum wants. Actually it is cheap enough any factotum wants it. Not too difficult to add to your self-made gear(Dr358)
    • Serrated: Nasty business these. Go for a whole bunch of attacks and leave your target hurting for some time. A mundane Power Word Pain. (Dr358)

    • +1: Not sure if it is just me, but I am markedly unfond of the +1 enchantment. It's barely better than masterwork and ups the price of all other enchantments considerably. But alas, this is all but inevitable.
    • Defending: This is for your poison rings. Add its enhancement bonus to your AC. Cast Greater Magic Weapon on them to make the deal as sweet as can be. (SRD)
    • Aptitude: Get all your weapon-specific feats (including EWP) with any weapon this is on. A solid choice to put on a pommel dragonshard. Use a knopesh, or a quickrazor, or bastard sword, or anything
    • Warning: Also for another poison ring. Gain a +5 insight bonus to initiative. (MIC)
    • Lucky: 1/day re-roll a failed attack. If you're doing the whole favored by fortune shtick this is right for you. (SRD)
    • Deadly Precision: Get this on a crescent knife and you won't regret it. Extra sneak attack damage isn't bad. (MIC)
    • Merciful: Kind of the opposite of Deadly Precision. Nice if you want to take someone alive or just knock them around. (SRD)
    • Sweeping: If you get your kicks out of making people fall on their faces, this is not a bad choice. (MIC)
    • Dispelling & Dispelling, Greater 3/day get rid of your enemies' magic. (MIC)
    • Finesse: A fancy feat; essentially feycraft but can apply to spiked chains (and rapiers) and grants a bonus to dex. I like it even if it is rather costly. Apply to your shuriken for cost's sake.
    • Metaline: Change the metal into a DR overcoming one. Good if you are fighting a lot of differently DRed things. (MIC)
    • Spellblade: On anything, as it has a flat cost, and dispel magic. Then again combo this with a dispelling weapon and expect to start seeing more spellblades around. (PGtF)
    • Rapid Reloading: For your crossbow needs get this (MIC)
    • Crystal of Return: The least version is magnificent as it gives you "quick draw" for the attached weapon. Too bad it isn't the actual feat to save you a slot. (MIC)
    • Dragonshard Pommel Stone: I like this item though it is decidedly expensive. It costs 1.25 times more than enchanting a weapon with the corresponding abilities, but the possibility of turning any given enchantment combination one desires into interchangeable crystals is pretty appealing. This means certain situational abilities become more viable to get, you just keep in in store until you will need it. (FoW)

    • Misc
    Armor & Shields:
    • None: If going the monk route this is as good as it gets. Sorry, but then again, you are taking KungFu Genius which means you're getting your prodigious Int to your AC. Nothing shabby.
    • Silk: You have a ridiculously high dexterity and just want something you can enchant.
    • Chain Shirt: Standard fare until you get more gold to spend on arming yourself. Not my favorite but you can do worse
    • Resin Suit: Kaorti resin made into bandages.. reallym a waste of the stuff. The chain shirt is cheaper and won't make you break out in hives. If you got access to the resin, make a weapon out of it, not armor
    • Chain Mail (Mithril):
    • Breastplate (Mithril or Darkleaf): This is one of the best, if not the best, light armor around. Darkleaf is cheaper than breastplate, and perhaps more create-able with Fabricate, but it lacks the luster and elegance of Mithril. Still, regardless of which you use you're stuck with a -1 ACP
      • , Tumbler's (Mithril or Darkleaf): As above, it grants a +2 to tumble; provided you're proficient in exotic armor. The feat is hardly worth it though. Stick to ordinary breastplate
    • Chahar-Aina, Masterwork: You want a bonus to AC that stacks with that of other shields and armor, you got it, you want to have both hands free, got that too. Rules on this particular armor-enhancer are fuzzy so you may want Mithril or Darkleaf, and you must wear it atop light armor. It requires Medium Armor Proficiency to wear without ACP (but masterwork gets rid of that) (OA)
    • Dastana, Masterwork: You want a bonus to AC that stacks with that of other shields and armor, you got it (again). These bracers are pret-a-portier for you. (OA)
    • Buckler: Wield weapons and get shield bonus to AC. Basic, you can get fancier shields that do that later on in your career.
    • Tessen: Buckler/Fan/Walloping Stick. Bonus points for flavor. (OA)
    • Duelist's Cloak: (Dr 335) Shield to AC, bonus to disarm, keeps both hands free. It can't, however, be enchanted as a normal shield.
    • Light:
    • Heavy:
    • Gnomish Battle Cloak: Shield to AC, bonus to disarm, keeps hands free, can be enchanted as a shield... requires a feat to get the AC bonus from it. Get it to put armor enchantments on this. (RoS)
    • Tower: Hide behind this and pretend you are a turtle.

    • Environmentally Designed: It reduces environmental penalties; either from heat or cold. A must if doing a desert or frostfell campaign. Skip otherwise; it might have some situational use, but just cast endure elements then.
    • Feycraft: It provides a small bonus for social bluffing (because it makes you feel fancy) and lowers weight and ASF (which you couldn't care less about).
    • Githcraft: A bonus to concentration, lower AsF (see above) and, more importantly, it can be turned into snazzier armors at a discount.
    • Hellforged: This is perhaps the best of the templates (and of course it is evil). It increases ASF (what do we care) and lowers max dex (easily fixed). It grants AC bonuses when fighting next to your allies, and an affinity for fortification and breastplate of command (which is a dandy piece of armor). The getting of a helpful fiend to make this for you on Baator makes it challenging. Tiefling factotums may have the edge on this, calling on their grandparents to make them one for their birthday.
    • Lightweight: The weight reduction isn't that big, but along with reinforced they even out, and having a bit more carrying capacity isn't bad.
    • Ornate: Pretty armor; +2 to diplomacy. I like it for the flair of it.
    • Reinforced: +1 to armor bonus, heavier but that +1 isn't shabby and it is pretty cheap.
    • Segmented: +1 max dex. Cheap, useful only if your dex has outgrown your armor. One would ask: how did you get your dexterity so high? You're a factotum: those bonuses were meant for intelligence. Still if that is the case, pile on the not-getting-hit-ness.
    • Vital Coverage: As with any critical hit impairing boost, this won't do much for you 19 or 18 (or 14, if your DM is into crit-fishing) out of 20 times. But when it does, it can be a life saver. It raises your effective AC versus critical hit confirmation. This replicates the effects of Ysgardian Heartwire for cheap and with less restrictions.


    Before going any further please take a saunter through Darrin's excellent exploration of equipment. It will undoubtedly be edifying. Factotums benefit greatly from preparedness and that text will help a lot in thinking of how to be prepared for any and everything. As such I will be focusing on items either not covered there, items which I feel need special mention, or those in which I may differ from his assessment.
    • Masterwork Alchemy Set: Though it consumes a good portion of your Haversack's carrying capacity, it is indispensable for an alchemy-crafting type. Put it in a bag of holding type I and toss it in.
    • Wand Bracer: Store up to 5 wands in each of these. Great for spells you need on hand. (Du, 300gp)
    • Smuggler's Boots: Hide stuff in them: vials, maps, love letters, forgeries... I love these. (AEG, +30gp)
    • Lead Lining: Hide stuff from magical detection. (CS, 10gp)
    • Longspoon Thieves' Tools, Masterwork: You will, eventually, fail the disable device check, so make sure you are out the trap's range when it happens. These provide no net bonus to the skill checks. (CAd, 150gp)
    • Masterwork Thieves' Tools: You need these if you're the lockpick. Stash an extra pair inside your boots. (SRD)
    • Shapesand: The wisdom check may be a bit high, but if you can make it, get this item. It is unmatched in its infinite versatility. Like you, this can be anything you want it to be. (Sa, 100gp)
    • Masterwork Tools: At 5pp a pop these beauties are a steal. Here are some that are particularly great.
      • Knowledge Skills: You'll be needing at least six of these for the combat knowledges. The other four are optional and fluff adequate. These are cheap and useful options for a Kn. Devotion or smartypants factotum. As to what these should be, fluff wise: they're small mnemonic aides. These can mean from specialized training to a carved figurine, a specially knotted rope, the particular pattern of scratches on a Gelatinous Cube's vertebra... etc.
      • Use Magic Device: You really want to hit that magical DC 30 don't you? Well what about a small crystal that naturally resonates with magical energy. It let's you see and focus on activating the device just right.
      • Autohypnosis: A small scented sachet that helps you focus your mind or a clockwork device that makes soft white noise.
    • Weapon Capsule Retainer: Get your weapons poisoned or gilded or anything as a swift action. Incredibly useful for a prepared factotum
      • , Triple As above but three. (430 gp)
    • Capsule Retainer: Drink a potion or alchemical brew as a swift action. Would be handier if poisons weren't subpar. But it does mean you have a potion right there if you ever need it... or a poison if you are that desperate. (CAd)
      • Alchemical Tooth: A bit fancier than the Capsule Retainer. Three times as expensive, but hard to find.(CAd)
    • Alchemical Charms

    • Scrolls of Uncertain Provenance: +5 to all knowledge skills, all the time. The true believer benefits be damned. It requires for one to be 1 step from LN, but that's not a bad place to be. Else you gotta get your UMD to fool it good. (MIC, 8000gp)
      • Tome of Worldly Memory: This is a more limited version of the scrolls. Handy when you haven't got the cash or alignment for the Jazidim relic. It takes a minute to activate (or 1 standard if you have 5+ ranks in said knowledge) making it less viable for combat abilities such as Knowledge Devotion, and can only be used thrice per day. (MIC, 1500gp)
    • Headband of Intellect +X: This is the epitome of a smart hat, and you don't just want this item, you need it. This is the main, cheapest Int booster. If a circlet isn't your type re-fluff it to a haircomb... or a fedora. Don't leave home without it. (SRD, bonus squared x 1000gp)
    • Shadow Hand Gloves, Apprentice: Get a stance or maneuver, particularly Shadow Jaunt, Assassin's Stance, or Child of Shadow (miss chances are golden) after wearing it for a day. (ToB, 3000gp)
    • Omniweapon: Sizing, morphing +1 adamantine-pure ore shuriken. This weapon is capable of transforming into any other weapon of any size you please. Need cover? Gargantuan Spiked Shield. Need a bridge? Colossal quarterstaff. Cave in? Adamantine Pick. Need to hide it? Fine chakram, and thread a hole through it for easy access. Incredibly useful and relatively cheap, but because of the enhancements on it, this is best reserved as a utility item rather than your main weapon. Aurorum is a decent alternative material for this, but it blows the price way up.(MIC+SRD+Dr347 520gp)
      Note that you can jack it's powers up and just morph it to your weapon of choice
    • Handy Haversack: It is amazingly useful. Retrieve items without riffling through. If you have quickdraw it means having the right item in hand all the time.
      • Bags of Holding: The greatest problem with the haversack is its carrying capacity. Go around this by storing heavy items, or many items of the same type, inside these beauties. It will hamper the sack's action economy, but expand its capacity.
      • Enveloping Pit: Another relic this one. It requires you to be one step away from LE. As with the Scrolls, you can overcome this by having a good enough UMD check. This is the most voluminous storage solution. You can build a laboratory and crafting station inside this space. If you wish to procure magical forges, this is an item you need. (MIC, 3600gp)
    • Magical Forges: From Races of Stone these beauties allow all sorts of crafting bonuses.
      • Thautam, of: Get Craft Magic Arms and Armor. (RoS, 15000gp)
      • Weaponsmith/Armorsmith, of: +20 to the relevant craft check. Allows much expedited creation of items. Though Fabricate is much faster. (RoS, 10000gp)
    • Glyph Seal: Spell storage is extremely valuable for a factotum, particularly of higher level spells. Store a couple self buffs in these, attach them to an object which you flip open while not saying the password to activate the spell. (MIC, 1000gp)
      • , Greater: Hold higher level spells here. (MIC, 4000gp)
    • Rod of Ropes: It's got a ton of flair. Hookshot, oodles of rope, lasso. (CS, 4000)
    • Iounstones:
      • Dull Grey: The baseline for the Iountorch. it is a cheap handy trinket. (SRD, 25gp)
    • Bands of Fortune: You got at least one luck feat? These increase the versatility of said feat, allowing you to use those re-rolls for something more. (CS, 2000gp)
    • Luckblade (0 Wishes): You like bonuses to saves and rerolls. This is a very fancy cheese-cutter.
    • Hat of Disguise
    • Circlet of Persuasion
    • Fancy Hat: A combo of my three favorite head items: hat of disguise, circlet of persuasion, headband of intelligence. Starting off at 9850gp for the 2 related abilities (disguise and persuasion). You get a +13 to disguise, +3 to all other charisma checks (iaijutsu focus anyone), +X to Intelligence

    Pathfinder Addenda:
    Pathfinder has a few items that work lovely with factotums.
    My personal favorites are the damaged iounstones, which sometimes are handier than the perfect ones. Go figure. They are generally cheap, and can have you looking like the modron orrery.
    • Mossy Green Disks: These provide competence bonuses to Knowledge skills. None are quite at the level of the scrolls of uncertain provenance; and don't stack with it. All the stones are good, but flawed ones, because of the Con penalty, are best used during non-combat checks, and expediently removed... unless you are undead
    • Opalescent Pyramids: Go for the cracked ones. These are a wonder. Never spend another feat in EWP.
    • Nacreous Grey Sphere: Handy, if expensive. They can give an adventurer an extra edge. A flawed can be a boon to any factotum considering undeath. Get magically turned back to how you looked when you first acquired the stone: that is rosy cheeked, and alive.
    • Pink And Green Sphere: Go cracked and get a small competence bonus to a charisma skill (UMD?)
    • Dusty Rose Prism: Cracked gives you a bonus to initiative. Small but again, a bonus is a bonus and it is pretty cheap.

    Besides them, there are some other overall useful items:
    The Jingasa of the Fortunate Soldier: A great backup to fortification armor. The crit still went through: well now it didn't. Truly the factotum's favored slot is the head.
    Muleback Cords: Your strength might be low, you might rely on dex to carry you through battle. But this allows you to carry your gear with greater ease.
    Bandoleer: More pockets.
    Weapon Straps:Drop your weapon and get it back right after.
    Poison Pill Ring: A surprisingly obvious item never stated out for 3.5
    Last edited by Gildedragon; 2014-06-19 at 09:40 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ettin in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)


    Anything I forgot in the previous, anything that needs to be said... etcetera

    How to fight as a factotum without iaijutsu?
    I am not unfond of Iajutsu Focus, I quite like it in fact, it makes factotums true forces to be reckoned with, but I do find it a bit cheesy or crass. It lacks craftyness, which is the factotum's hallmark. So what to do if you either can't or won't iaijutsu all combat long?
    • Find a source of additional damage: Typically this means Knowledge Devotion for Int heavy characters, as well as Power Attack for Str based ones (or Dex with Elven blades), but you may also want to get better sneak attack power. Assassin's stance is the go-to solution for this, but also consider Deadly Precision weapon enhancements. Two weapon fighting might also aid in this. Furthermore you may consider importing the PF Kirin Style feats.
    • You want to be using Cunning Insight a fair amount to increase your hitting as well as your damage. If power attacking use cunning insight to offset the penalty and essentially get a 2:1 damage:Int ratio.
    • Remember your tactical maneuvers; especially trip, disarm, and demoralize. An enemy without their weapon, on the floor, or shaken is a vulnerable enemy, and one you can deal with better.
    • Remember to control the battlefield. Nets, tanglefoot bags, caltrops, oil, fire, ice, smoke, spells. These things let you make sure that attacks happen only when and how you want them to happen.
    • Keep moving. You have a decent jump and tumble, take advantage of that and don't let yourself be flanked. Skirt around the battlefield, make your enemies chase after you and into your home turf.
    • Remember the terrain: Higher ground and cover are your friends; be on the lookout for them.
    • DR matters. Without the large damage output from IF DR can lower what damage you are normally making to below your happiness level. Take a moment to change weapons to those that will overcome the target's DR. You ought to know what those are.
    • A knowledge check unmade is a knowledge check wasted.
    What to do when in Society?
    You may encounter yourself in a variety of social situations throughout your adventuring days, either by design, duress, or pleasure. Furthermore, because of your competence in other roles, you might find yourself thrust into the role of the party's representative, or face. Now if this role entails social interactions only once a day, then do not over-think this and use Cunning Knowledge (Diplomacy); that is the raison d'etre of that particular class feature. However, if you find social interactions are more frequent than that: what is a factotum to do?
    • Get your Charisma up. Eagle's Splendor for that one critical meeting, or as a backup after you've spent your Cunning Knowledge (Diplomacy). If this is a spell you find yourself casting often it might well be investing in a cloak of charisma or the like (perhaps adding the bonus to charisma to your hat for the same price).
    • Assess the situation. Are you merely trying to impress and effect a favorable disposition, or are you trying to establish a long-term social relationship? Is the person friendly, or hostile, or with their own agenda? What are this person's interests? Use Gather Information and Sense Motive to establish the situation, grant bonuses to the interaction, and let you know when to best bring out the big guns.
    • Are you sure you can't blind them with science? Or another form of intelligence? Sometimes, if fitting, you can make skill-checks with alternate ability scores, to indicate a reliance on said aspect rather than the typical one. Perhaps the diplomatic encounter is taking place over letters or some other form of communication that relies more on reason than charisma. In this case your intelligence would determine the soundness and structure of your argumentation, rather than your capacity to convey its passion.
    • Remember alternate skills: Intimidate and Perform (and Tumble and Sleight of Hand, when using their Perform functions) can be used to sway disposition. Perform is of particular interest as each perform skill is a separate check, and a separate independent use of Cunning Knowledge. Having to impress a fighter or general or bodyguard? Perform (Weapons Drill) to show yourself to be a well versed and disciplined man of martial prowess. A senator or group thereof? Perform (Oratory) to give a compelling speech. The handsome/beautiful heir apparent at a party? Perform (Dance). You get the point. The use of perform to sway people's attitudes is demagoguery perhaps, but a valuable tool to not expend your more nuanced resources where others would suffice. One must be careful when intimidating as it will sour and impede future interactions.
    How to find the choiciest deals in the market?
    As an adventurer and being of the planes it is not unlikely you will find yourself in need of gear and accommodation; which becomes increasingly more expensive. How is a factotum supposed to keep the cost of living down?
    • Craft your own equipment. Though perhaps slow, a factotum has a variety of means to accelerate the production of gear by means of magic. It is worth noting that spells do not count towards your maximum time crafting.
    • Lead a spartan lifestyle. An adventurer is capable of overcoming most of their base needs, up to and including the need for breath. By investing in the right items and skills you will never fail to have the sustenance you need for no cost at all; even if that means driving the sustenance need to zero.
    • Remember to forage... outside the city. A judicious use of the Survival skill and Cunning Knowledge can feed you and your party for days. Within the city this likely means dumpster diving and rat-hunting. You may be frugal but you have class, avoid doing such things in town. It might upset the locals.
    • Acquire a patron. While in civilized areas you are a veritable polymath and genius in all manner of things. Impress a noble with your learned nature and artistic talent and gain sustenance while within the region, as well as some political clout, in exchange of your many well honed talents.
    • Remember to charm and haggle with the sellers. Provided you can turn them "Friendly" you get a 10% discount as per Complete Adventurer.


    Martial Factotum: By Koury
    This is a combat-oriented factotum build, hinging on a high intelligence and high synergy in the factotum-warblade combo. This is an antisocial, know-it-all gnome that can wipe the floor with the best of them
    Factotum 20:
    The Big Dipper:
    Soup Du Jour:
    Psion Coulis in Factotum Broth, with a Monk Croquette.
    This factotum has a variety of abilities, psionics, 2x int to AC, 4x int to damage. Can use some tidying up, and dips a lot.
    8-BT Red Wizard: By Guigarci
    This build relies on cheese to do anything, cast high level spells, and change their abilities at the drop of a hat. Int based, cha dumping, animal-husbandry knowing
    Factotum, Legacy Tricksters and ToB: by PiggyKnowles. This is where I first saw the Factotum-Uncanny Trickster/Legacy Champion Shenanigans

    Factotum Variants
    The factotum is a class that lacks support. As such there is certain need to give it some backing. Here are a few ways to change up the factotum, customize it to a campaign world, theme, or just to make a party of 4 factotums less homogeneous.

    Trapfinding Variants: These are (for the most part) derived from Rogue ACF's that substitute trapfinding, or ACF's that substitute for trapfinding. Of all the Factotum variants these would be the least contentious as they are trading an already well established class-feature for another.
    • Antiquarian (Ex): +Wis to Appraise checks of religious magic items, 1/day Identify (CL equal to factotum level) religious paraphernalia with a Kn. Religion check (DC: 10+ item CL)
    • Disguise Self (Sp): 2IP, +2IP to activate as a swift rather than standard action. CL equals factotum level
    • Poison Use (Ex)
    • Trapsense (Ex) as a Barbarian
    • Lore (Ex) as Bardic Knowledge, using Factotum Level in place of Bard Level
    • Familiar
    • Animal Companion

    Arcane Dilettante Variants: These are based off other magic-like systems. Contentious and hard to balance, I have tried to keep them close to the factotum's power
    • Martial Dilettante: Maneuvers Readied (per day) = Max Level of Spells per day + 1 (reserved for a Stance); Max Level of Maneuvers Readied = Number of Spells per Day. Refreshing a maneuver or changing a stance costs 1 IP. The end result is a lot of day-to-day variety with the factotum, but less variety in any one combat than a full Martial Adept.
    • Divine Dilettante: This one is the simpler adaptation of the factotum. Change the class-list it draws its spells from. Instead of Arcane, it draws from a divine list; probably cleric. Though druid isn't a bad idea. Give them the opportunity to learn druidic at this level too.
    • Psionic Dilettante:
    • Truespeaking Dilettante:

    Opportunistic Piety Variants: These are based around iconic class abilities similar in class-defining flavor as Turn Undead and Lay on Hands, the abilities are meant to be weaker versions of the full class abilities, mostly by either lasting less and consuming a fair number of IP.
    • Opportunistic Melody: Gain Bardic Music as a bard 1/2 your factotum level. You may use Bardic Music 1+Charisma modifier times per day. Activating this ability consumes 1IP +1IP per every 2 rounds it is maintained.
    • Opportunistic Theriantropy: Gain wild empathy as a ranger. Starting at 5th level a factotum can spend 1IP to wildshape (as the druid ability) into a small or medium creature 1/day for 10 min, spending 1 additional IP to maintain the wild-shape per minute for up to 10 min/factotum level. The factotum gains an extra use of this ability at levels 10 and 20. At 15th level the factotum gains the ability to wildshape into a Large or Tiny animal.
    • Opportunistic Meldshaper:

    Cunning Strike Variants: Decidedly Incomplete
    • Smite Evil/Good/Law/Chaos: Something along those lines
    • Stunning Fist-esque effect
    • A floating fighter bonus feat
    • Something like favored enemy
    Last edited by Gildedragon; 2013-06-19 at 11:37 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
    SilverLeaf167's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Helsinki, Finland

    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Subscribed. I love me some Factotums.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (continued at last!)

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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Subscribing, and offering my assistance in creating the guide, if any is needed.
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    Ettin in the Playground

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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    I'd welcome input on any of the topics. Any addenda or comments or experiences are welcome.
    How some races play for factotums'd also be welcome. I've mostly been limited to air genassi, tiefling, and human factotums.

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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Strongheart Halflings should work pretty well, especially if you're more of the sneaky sort.

    Don't forget to mention the obvious: Font of Inspiration is a must-have feat, Headband of Intellect is really useful, 24h and hour/level buffs are some of the best choices for Arcane Dilettante (the Primal line from Dragon Magic springs to mind, and Greater Magic Weapon of course).

    I also find that a single level of Swordsage is a nice boon to a Factotum, especially as it allows you to take the Shadow Blade feat on a Dex-focused character. Swashbuckler 3 grants you a slightly better BAB, more HP, Weapon Finesse for free and the best of all, Insightful Strike.

    Dex-based Factotums can basically get by with just Weapon Finesse and a ton of Font of Inspiration, plus Shadow Blade if they go with the Swordsage dip, but Two-Weapon Fighting, especially in combination with Knowledge Devotion and Craven, will really help their damage output if they can spare the resources.
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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Illumians make great races for factotums with the Uur symbol. This gives huge bonuses to Dex skills so adds to the trapfinding role, but also to initiative therefore better combat

    A great feat is keen intellect. Allows you to dumpstat wisdom as will saves are now intelligence based as well as all wid skills.

    Skills wise it depends on roles. My factotum is a trapfinder so search, disable device and open lock are maxed. A party face would have high ranks in diplomacy, bluff, sense motive and 5 ranks in knowledge nobility.

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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    The thing I'd like to see here is builds for a factotum and how they play. So far the only one i can find involve a Whisper Gnome and IF for massive damage. I'd like to see a tripper and an archer factotum actually built out. People say that Factotums are good trippers, but I'm not seeing it being actually workable. Archery is feat intensive and takes away from FoI.

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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscredwin View Post
    The thing I'd like to see here is builds for a factotum and how they play. So far the only one i can find involve a Whisper Gnome and IF for massive damage. I'd like to see a tripper and an archer factotum actually built out. People say that Factotums are good trippers, but I'm not seeing it being actually workable. Archery is feat intensive and takes away from FoI.
    The thing that makes them great trippers is the ability to add their Intelligence bonus to all Strength checks, including trip attempts, and the ability to cast Enlarge Person on themselves helps too (though pretty much anyone can get that dirt cheap). Of course, it eats up at least three feats (four if you want a spiked chain), but is devastating when done right.
    Archer Factotums typically use Manyshot, since your Cunning Insight applies to each attack for only one point, but yes, that is feat intensive as well.
    I personally prefer a sneaky duelist factotum with the sort of stuff I mentioned in my earlier post (Knowledge Devotion, Craven, dipping Swordsage), simply because it feels way more elegant to me and looks much cooler in my head.
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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by SilverLeaf167 View Post
    The thing that makes them great trippers is the ability to add their Intelligence bonus to all Strength checks, including trip attempts, and the ability to cast Enlarge Person on themselves helps too (though pretty much anyone can get that dirt cheap). Of course, it eats up at least three feats (four if you want a spiked chain), but is devastating when done right.
    I know about how this works, I'm just picturing it side by side with a human Barbarian/Fighter tripper and I'm not sure if the trip checks get good enough on the Factotum. The barb is going to have at least the same Str as a Factotum has Int (both prime stats, larger +str racial bonuses than +int ones), and raging gets you an additional +2 to the check, so unless the Factotum has a 16 str on top of an 18 int he's going to be worse.

    It's fine for the factotum to be a worse tripper than the barbarian/fighter, I just have never built a tripper before and don't know how much is needed to be good enough to do the job at various levels.

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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscredwin View Post
    I know about how this works, I'm just picturing it side by side with a human Barbarian/Fighter tripper and I'm not sure if the trip checks get good enough on the Factotum. The barb is going to have at least the same Str as a Factotum has Int (both prime stats, larger +str racial bonuses than +int ones), and raging gets you an additional +2 to the check, so unless the Factotum has a 16 str on top of an 18 int he's going to be worse.

    It's fine for the factotum to be a worse tripper than the barbarian/fighter, I just have never built a tripper before and don't know how much is needed to be good enough to do the job at various levels.
    Well, the tripping thing is more like "I want to be a Factotum, but what should I do in combat?" than "I want to be a great tripper, so I should pick Factotum"

    Assuming Factotums are about as good at tripping as Fighters are (with perhaps a very tiny difference in the check bonus), the big difference is that Factotums have LOTS of other stuff they can do as well, while the best the Fighter can do is... probably a couple Power Attacks instead of trips, if he's spent the feats on that. Factotums, on the other have ALL THE SKILLS (insert meme here), some spells and huge bonuses to EVERYTHING. And as we all know, versatility is key in D&D.
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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by SilverLeaf167 View Post
    Well, the tripping thing is more like "I want to be a Factotum, but what should I do in combat?" than "I want to be a great tripper, so I should pick Factotum"

    Assuming Factotums are about as good at tripping as Fighters are (with perhaps a very tiny difference in the check bonus), the big difference is that Factotums have LOTS of other stuff they can do as well, while the best the Fighter can do is... probably a couple Power Attacks instead of trips, if he's spent the feats on that. Factotums, on the other have ALL THE SKILLS (insert meme here), some spells and huge bonuses to EVERYTHING. And as we all know, versatility is key in D&D.
    I love the Factotum, I want to play one. I just want to make sure that after I take 3 feats I can do the job in combat, that I'm not just repeatedly failing to trip anything worth while.

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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by SilverLeaf167 View Post
    Assuming Factotums are about as good at tripping as Fighters are (with perhaps a very tiny difference in the check bonus), the big difference is that Factotums have LOTS of other stuff they can do as well, while the best the Fighter can do is... probably a couple Power Attacks instead of trips, if he's spent the feats on that. Factotums, on the other have ALL THE SKILLS (insert meme here), some spells and huge bonuses to EVERYTHING. And as we all know, versatility is key in D&D.
    Which is why I would avoid going into very feat-heavy fighting style like TWF or archery.
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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Which is why I would avoid going into very feat-heavy fighting style like TWF or archery.
    As I also mentioned, my favorite style of build only requires Weapon Finesse and Shadow Blade.
    One could argue that having a lot of inspiration points (since the topic of discussion here seems to be spending feats) beyond a certain threshold (I think they have far too few without FoI) doesn't add to the Factotum's versatility per se, only giving them more uses per encounter of their multitude of tricks, but I don't really want to get stuck on semantics. A Factotum is the most effective with as many inspiration points as possible, I agree with you on that.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2013-02-18 at 11:39 AM.
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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by SilverLeaf167 View Post
    One could argue that having a lot of inspiration points (since the topic of discussion here seems to be spending feats) beyond a certain threshold (I think they have far too few without FoI) doesn't add to the Factotum's versatility per se…
    FoI isn't the only feat a factotum might want. Tactile Trapsmith, for example, is pretty good for boosting a pair of skills, and various fear tricks can be pretty devastating.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukitsu View Post
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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Why create a new handbook instead of contributing to the others?

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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    In for some hopefully new tricks on how to be useful in combat without iaijuitsu ? focus and buckets of poison from creation spells. ;)
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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Guigarci View Post
    I love factotums; I love how they play and feel and for the longest time I've only seen unfinished and partial handbooks to this extremely versatile and fun class.
    This needs work. you're the hero of your own story, but nobody else gives a rats patootie that you like something.

    You should explain why you love it (consider that there are many skeptics, you should try to win them over).
    You should explain why it is fun. (Is it because you win at the D&D skills sub-game? Because skills is the weakest part of D&D by far. Is it combat? E.g. Because you once rolled a critical hit on a t-rex, hit the gyros, and he failed his piloting roll to remain standing?)

    What can someone expect from this class? Is it just a 'rogue done right'?

    What about the font of inspiration issue? Some people say you just load up with half a dozen of those and you're guaranteed to win at D&D. Is that fun? If so, why?

    If it is similar to something else, but better, then explain that. If it isn't like anything else, is it like a blend of other things? (It's like, if you put Jackie Chan and a Honey Badger in a blender with some ice-cream?)

    Give the person who has absolutely no idea a picture of what this class is about. Is there a cool character from a movie or a book that personifies the Factotum spirit?
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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscredwin View Post
    I know about how this works, I'm just picturing it side by side with a human Barbarian/Fighter tripper and I'm not sure if the trip checks get good enough on the Factotum. The barb is going to have at least the same Str as a Factotum has Int (both prime stats, larger +str racial bonuses than +int ones), and raging gets you an additional +2 to the check, so unless the Factotum has a 16 str on top of an 18 int he's going to be worse.

    It's fine for the factotum to be a worse tripper than the barbarian/fighter, I just have never built a tripper before and don't know how much is needed to be good enough to do the job at various levels.
    For a tripper factotum you're wielding a two-handed trip weapon, and likely aren't small. The int bonus to str checks means that you likely are better at tripping than most. You're not the best possible tripper, but you got other tricks for those.

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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alienist View Post
    Give the person who has absolutely no idea a picture of what this class is about. Is there a cool character from a movie or a book that personifies the Factotum spirit?
    Indiana Jones is the standard answer there, I believe.
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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Re: races

    I would put an exception in for gray elf/fire elf, esp. combined with Faerie Mysteries for int for hp instead of con.

    Humans should be purple because font of inspiration.

    Tieflings are bad because of level adjustment. Like, really bad. Unless you're using the lesser variety, in which case you should mention that.
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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Speaking of Factotums in fiction, am I right in guessing that the language of this guide is modeled off of the speaking patterns of that most successful of Factotums, Jeeves?
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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Spuddles View Post
    Tieflings are bad because of level adjustment. Like, really bad.
    If you say that about tieflings, you run out of adjectives for the drow, though.

    Also any reference to factotums is incomplete without a mention of whisper gnomes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukitsu View Post
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    Default Re: Getting the Facts Straight: A Factotum Handbook (WIP, PEACH)

    If we're talking about un-altered, vanilla SRD races, Gnomes are second to Humans because they are Small-size, a CON bonus is just as valuable as DEX to most (especially if Faerie Mysteries Init. is off the table), and you can trade your racial weapon proficiency for that of the gnommish quickrazor (Races of Stone, p. 154), which is your preferred method for delivering attacks with Iaijutsu Focus damage (Oriental Adventures, p. 58), which every melee build should have maximized. It is about on par with the vanilla Halfling, which is better if splat access is minimal (but you're playing a class from Dungeonscape that derives most of its staying power from a web supplement, so why would you be?). It is behind Strongheart Halfling (which is also better than Human), which is in turn behind Whisper Gnome (which is absolutely ridiculous for Factotums--Small with no speed reduction, DEX and CON bonus, racial bonuses to Hide, Move Silently, Listen and Spot, low-light and darkvision, racial familiarity you can swap into quickrazor, and Silence as an SLA--this is your purple race, right here).

    You are severely overvaluing that INT bonus. The fact of the matter is, while an INT bonus may be the basis for boosting most of your class features, WotC was so stingy with them that you don't get much of anything useful to go with it. The only LA+0 race (barring lesser tiefling) that gets an INT bonus is Gray Elf, which gets a penalty to CON. Tiefling and Drow both have level adjustments, and while Tiefling's is manageable with buyoff, Drow puts you so far behind that you might as well just not even bother.

    If you want my opinion on the INT bonus races, it would be thus:
    Gray Elf is good, but not stellar.
    Tiefling is entirely skippable, except for Lesser Tiefling, which is pretty good
    Drow is just bad.
    Improve each of these by a single step if Faerie Mysteries Initiate (Dragon #319) is on the table. Degrade Tiefling by a single step if level adjustment buyoff is not on the table (Drow does not get any worse and Gray Elf doesn't have a level adjustment).

    The other planetouched (which is to say, Aasimar and all of the Genasi) are two grades lower than their lesser versions, by default. That is the power of level adjustment.
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