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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Post Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    Soul and Steel
    An Ironsoul Forgemaster Handbook

    Spoiler: Credits
    Show
    Thanks to everyone who forced harassed abused encouraged me to write this.
    Special thanks to:
    • PsyBomb for pointing out some "ask your DM" issues.
    • Kuulvheysoon for helping with some Dwarf and Psionic details.
    • LTwerewolf for Ranger suggestions.
    • Ikeren for the Ironsoul Lockdownmaster build and feat suggestions.
    • WhamBamSam and Vaz for explaining the Ardent + Craft Psionic Arms and Armor + magic-psionics transparency thing to me.
    • WhamBamSam and Kuulvheysoon for suggesting adding the Dragonborn template.
    • YogiBear41 for suggesting Deep Dwarves.
    • Darrin for some awesome Dwarf racial summaries, Dwarven weapon proficiencies, and pointing out the Exotic Shield Proficiency.
    • Vedhin for the Maeluth.
    • Irk for the Ironmind Psychicmaster build, and various cost reduction suggestions.
    • Zetapup for catching a weapon error.
    • Chronos for pointing out how helpful NPC Clerics could be.
    • Phelix-Mu for suggesting how to improve my color-coding.
    • WinWin for the Durzagon. (Or was that Durzagon for the Win?)
    • Person_Man for his nuggets of joy.
    • WhamBamSam (again!) for suggesting Mouthpick weapons, and for the Judosoul Trapmaster build.
    • Piggy Knowles for recommending Expanded Soulmeld Capacity.
    • Danzibr and ShneekeyTheLost for the Irondwarf Forgedefender build.
    • Could YOU be next?


    Preface

    Hello! Welcome to my first handbook, a guide to assembling and using your very own Ironsoul Forgemaster!

    Quote Originally Posted by You
    Hold on a minute. What is an Ironsoul Forgemaster?
    Good question! Ironsoul Forgemaster is a prestige class introduced in the D&D 3.5 book Magic of Incarnum.

    Quote Originally Posted by You
    Yes, but what is it?
    Hmm. Let me quote a great sage, scholar and genius on that subject.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Look at your Dwarf. Now look at Ironsoul Forgemaster. Now look back at your Dwarf. He's not an Ironsoul Forgemaster, but with a dip into Incarnate he could be.

    Look at your shield. Now look at Ironsoul Forgemaster. Now look at your shield again. It now grants energy resistance. Look at your armor. It now grants DR/--. Look at your weapon. It now gets an insight bonus to damage, and dazes living opponents.

    Look at your party. They're naked. Now look at your Ironsoul Forgemaster. Now he has Craft Magic Arms and Armor, as a caster of triple his Ironsoul Forgemaster level. Look back at your party. They're heavily armed and extremely violent. They love your Dwarf for assembling their weapons of mass destruction.

    Ironsoul Forgemaster is on a horse.
    That answer your question?

    Quote Originally Posted by You
    Um... Sort of... So why should I want to play one?
    Did you not see the part about the horse? Ugh, fine.

    Ironsoul Forgemaster is an upgrade to the basic Incarnate or Totemist. It integrates the Incarnum system, which is versatile and lots of fun, by adding unique melee-oriented abilities to the character's weapons and armor. But the big draw of the class is the Secrets of the Forge ability, described in more detail below. This allows you to craft your party's weapons and armor without having to be a spellcaster, and it's extremely potent.

    Really, you should want to play one if you like the idea of a Dwarf who can melee, and can craft, but has more versatility than your average Fighter.

    Quote Originally Posted by You
    So how do I read this guide?
    I would suggest using a desktop computer, as they tend to have larger screens, although you could do just as well on a laptop or tablet or...

    Oh, right! Well, I'm including this convenient color code for various class abilities.

    BLUE TEXT means this feature is really, really good, and definitely worth your time.
    GREEN TEXT means this feature is pretty good, and at least worth considering.
    BLACK TEXT means this feature is there. Hey, it's not bad, at least.
    YELLOW TEXT means this feature is bad. I'd avoid it, generally, but you might like it for fluff reasons.
    RED TEXT means it's a trap! This is something that's extremely bad, as a rule.

    So let's begin!
    Last edited by Red Fel; 2014-10-03 at 08:35 AM.
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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster

    Requirements

    Alignment: Any nonevil. That's easy to pull off.

    Race: Dwarf. Mind you, this includes any of the Dwarf types (including, potentially, Duergar), as well as Stoneblessed (see Multiclassing, below). So, to my knowledge, your choices are:

    Spoiler: So many dwarves!
    Show
    • Aleithian Dwarf (Web): Con bonus is useful, Int bonus is helpful for low skill scores, and it gains psionics, although they're 3.0, so you'll have to talk to your DM. Also, light sensitivity is annoying.
    • Aquatic Dwarf (UA): Bonuses to Con and Str are useful, penalty to Dex is a bit of a pain, penalty to Cha is negligible. Swim speed is useful if you're in an aquatic campaign.
    • Arctic Dwarf (UA): Stats same as Aquatic Dwarf, bonuses when dealing with ice, replaces Orc enemy with Kobold enemy. Yawn.
    • Badlands Dwarf (Sandstorm): Typical bonus to Con, penalty to Charisma. Yawn.
    • Changeling (RoE):Wait, what? A Changeling isn't a Dwarf! Aha, but take a peek at the Racial Emulation feat. When a Changeling with this feat uses his Minor Shapechange ability, he counts as a member of the race he emulates. In other words, he can change into a Dwarf and count as a Dwarf. Note that this hurts the fluff of the class a lot, but may be useful from a min-maxing perspective.
    • Dark Dwarf (DCS): Same Con bonus, but greater Cha penalty, and light sensitivity. I'm gonna say no on this one.
    • Deep Dwarf (MM): Increase on racial saves and darkvision, plus light sensitivity. Hmm, no.
    • Desert Dwarf (UA) Swaps out the Cha penalty for a Dex penalty. Cha is a dump stat for Ironsoul Forgemasters; Dex is not a dump stat for a melee. No.
    • Dream Dwarf (RoS): Trades the Cha penalty for a Dex penalty, which as I've said isn't great, but if you absolutely need Cha for something... well, you have Gold Dwarf. Dream dwarves have Druid as favored class, which is fine if you wanna be all "MWAWR! IMMA DIRE BADGER! MWAWR!", but not so great for Ironsoul Forgemaster. Also, you trade your racial skill bonuses for some meaningless divination perks. Dream Sight is a very rare and unique ability to see into the ethereal plane, but... yeah, no.
    • Duergar (Lots of Places): Really? You want to take an LA? Fine. For +1 LA, you take a heavier Cha penalty, but get better darkvision, various immunities and SLAs. You lose weapon famliarity and you gain light sensitivity. Kind of a rubbish trade-off, if you ask me. Which you did, since you're reading my handbook. You're also probably Evil, which kind of precludes you from this prestige class.
    • Duergar, Lesser (PGtF, MM): Okay. So no LA, you still take the Cha hit, and you get some SLAs. Still, you're Duergar, which kind of precludes you from a lot of adventuring parties. Think about it.
    • Duergar, Psionic (You Know Where): Okay. So we're back to the LA, only now instead of SLAs we have PLAs. Note that PLAs augment up to manifester level, Expansion in particular can be augmented in various ways, and you can take feats to increase their usage. Admittedly, they're useful, but this isn't quite the class for psionics, unless you intend to dip Soul Manifester. Note, however, that this build is likely to be more Wis- than Int-friendly, so Int-based Psionics (Psion) won't be as helpful as Wis-based Psionics (Ardent, PsiWar).
    • Durzagon (MM II): It's an Outsider (Evil, Lawful) that's the spawn of a Duergar and a Devil. Non-native. Ignoring the Drizz't-esque "My entire race is Evil but I've overcome that" antics needed to enter a non-Evil class, it's also got a +7 adjustment (5 RHD and +2 LA). This was changed to +8 adjustment (with +3 LA) in the update document, which is even worse. Oh, and it has light sensitivity. You get some nifty natural weapons, which you likely won't use because you're going to manufacture yours, and some SLAs. Oh, and it's not technically a Dwarf, although I guess you can work that out with your DM. But do I need to explain why this is bad?
    • Earth Dwarf (UA): How do you out-dwarf a dwarf? By doubling all that dwarfiness! Double the racial skill bonuses and double the stability bonus! Also gets Str +2 for Dex -2, which might be worth it for a heavily-armored beatstick. Only now there's some racial hatred thing for creatures with the [air] subtype... because... yeah... an underground race with ancestors from an elemental plane that has almost no breathable air whatsoever... would totally have an axe to grind with creatures that have the [air] subtype... sure, that makes sense. If you're doing the Crafty thing, then earth dwarves are a notch above standard dwarves.
    • Geeze, how many more of these do we have? The heck with it, I'm skipping them unless they're something unusual.
    • Fireblood Dwarf (DM): This is something unusual. It gets your typical bonus to Con, penalty to Cha. But it adds some nice things. It gains fire resistance and a dodge AC bonus against Dragons, although it loses the dodge bonus against giants. But the big thing is that it has the Dragonblood subtype, which qualifies it for anything Dragon-related, including various feats, classes, and Draconic Soulmelds.
    • Frost Dwarf (PlH): Not to be confused with Arctic. So apparently Duergar weren't "metal" enough, we got evil dwarves that are so hardcore, they're from the Abyss. I have this urge to put umlauts all over these guys. Bigger Con bonus, bigger Cha penalty, cold resistance 10, and a couple SLAs (chill touch for proving their Necromancy chops and obscuring mist obviously for the Stonehenge set piece). For LA +1, not worth it.
    • Glacier Dwarf (Frostburn): Swaps most of their racial bonuses for ice-based racial bonuses. They also get Cold Tolerant, which counts as if they had taken the Cold Endurance feat, which lets them take Improved Cold Endurance, which might be useful if you weren't already getting resistance to all energy types from Ironsoul Forgemaster. So no need to bother with this subrace unless you've got some kinda Adele Dazeem fetish you need to work out.
    • Gold Dwarf (RoF): Trades the usual Cha penalty for a Dex penalty, which as I've said is bad. Trades the attack bonus against orcs for a bonus against aberrations, which is okay. But the big draw is that it qualifies you for the Gold Dwarf Dweomersmith racial feat. This feat gives you a bonus to CL when casting a spell that buffs a weapon, and gives you a 5% discount in gold cost when crafting a magic weapon. It's a nice little bonus, particularly if you decide to dip a caster class.
    • Hill Dwarf (PHB): This is a Dwarf. The standard. Nothing more to say, really.
    • Jungle Dwarf (UA): "If you got the money, honey, we got your disease." Downgrades darkvision to low-light and trades stone/metal based abilities for a +2 racial bonus to Heal, Knowledge (Nature), Spot, and Survival. Other than that, not much different from a standard dwarf, except they get Ranger as a Favored Class, which may be useful if you need to dip Ranger for something and need to avoid multiclass penalties.
    • Maeluth (FF): This is red for three reasons. First, it's not technically a Dwarf; it's an Outsider, not even a Native Outsider, and a generally LE one at that. By RAW, not a Dwarf, although I'd be willing to fudge that as a DM. Ask yours. Second, it has a +1 LA, which is ungood, and its stats as a PC are not cleanly outlined in the book. And third, its features are sub-par; it has the usual Dwarf bonus against orcs, spells, poisons and giants; the usual stonecunning, darkvision and craft bonuses. It also gets a once-per-day Unholy effect on a melee weapon. Really, unless you want Outsider cheese, that Unholy trick is the only advantage this race offers. Pass.
    • Midgard Dwarf (Frostburn): LA +4 hurts a lot, and on that basis alone I would discourage this race. That said, they do get several craft feats and skill bonuses (a bit redundant), plus an alternate form, the Native Outsider type, and a once-per-year (!) curse. Pass.
    • Seacliff Dwarf (Stormwrack): Trades racial attack bonus vs. goblinoids for "Strong Swimmer", a +2 racial bonus on swim checks and the ability to hold your breath longer. A swimming dwarf? SWIMMING? No. *REAL* dwarves sink to the bottom, walk to the edge, and then climb out.
    • Shield Dwarf (RoF): Shield Dwarves get additional languages, which is rather dull. However, they also have access to the Shield Dwarf Warder feat, which is the equivalent of Gold Dwarf Dweomersmith, but for shields and armor.


    Not satisfied with the basic model? That's why we have templates!

    Spoiler: Templates!
    Show
    • Dragonborn (RotD, Web): +0 LA. We're off to a good start. It also doubles down on your Con bonus (although it adds a Dex penalty, which might hurt in the long run). Further, like with Fireblood Dwarves, it adds the Dragonblood subtype. It has the alignment restriction, which Ironsoul Forgemaster shares, so that's not an issue. Lastly, your choice of vision, breath weapon, or flight. Flight probably won't be useful for you if you plan on wearing heavier armor (unless you get one or two of the Wings feat upgrades), but consider this - if you craft your own armor, you're able to soak the cost of crafting custom wing-modified armor. (I think Savage Species has the rules on that.) So that's a nice personal touch, there. That said, there are some flight-oriented soulmelds as I recall, so wings probably aren't your best bet. Two reasons it's not blue - first, the template strips away a lot of your Dwarven features. Second, and this is more of a fluff issue, you look less like a Dwarf and more like a rather short Dragon-person. And the Ironsoul Forgemaster is a very Dwarf-y class, so... Yeah. Mileage may vary, and all that.
    • Arctic (DMag): +0 LA. I don't often recommend Dragon Magazine content, because my access to it is limited, and because it tends to be somewhat unbalanced. The Arctic template is no exception, so ask your DM before using it. It gives a Con bonus, a Cha penalty, and some minor other benefits. Still, being able to boost your all-important Con while penalizing your dump stat, and for no LA, is great. Since it's not guaranteed to be admissible, however, it's merely black.
    • Mineral Warrior (Underdark, Web): +1 LA. This is a super-dwarfy template. Gain the earth subtype, a burrow speed, natural armor, and DR 8/adamantine. Gain +2 Str and +4 Con, suffer -2 penalties to all mental stats. If you don't plan on gishing it up, or want to have more Con for your soulmelds, this is a great template; for anyone planning on taking caster levels, it's harsh. Because it has a level adjustment, it loses some value if your DM doesn't allow LA buyoff.


    If you choose a race or template with a level adjustment, be sure to ask your DM about LA buyoff.

    Skills: Craft (armorsmithing) or Craft (weaponsmithing), which makes plenty of sense. Knowledge (arcana), which kind of makes sense too.

    Meldshaping: You need the ability to shape soulmelds. That basically means you'll need to take levels in Incarnate or Totemist.

    Quote Originally Posted by You
    Wait! Isn't there another meldshaping class? Soulborn or something?
    We don't speak of Soulborn. It is a disappointment.

    Quote Originally Posted by You
    Well, why not just take the Shape Soulmeld feat?
    Because it's a waste, that's why. This class advances your meldshaper progression. That's part of its draw. Another part of its draw is the ability to invest essentia. Taking levels in a meldshaper class sets you up for both of these things. Taking the Shape Soulmeld feat does neither, and leaves you with ten levels in a class that's really good at crafting and that's about it.

    Class Features

    Hit Dice: d8. Not terrible; by comparison, a Fighter gets d10.

    Skill Points: 2+Int. Not great, but again on par with Fighter. Chances are you'll be maxing out your Craft skills, and not much else. This isn't a class for skillmonkeys.

    Meldshaping: The class gives you +1 to an existing meldshaping class at 9/10 levels. This increases your meldshaper level, your number of soulmelds shaped, your number of chakra binds, and your essentia pool. This is extremely good.

    Shield Bond: Your first of three special class skills, you get Shield Bond at level 1. When you invest essentia into a shield you've crafted, and use that shield, you gain energy resistance 5 per point invested. Mind you, that's not just one type of energy resistance - it applies to acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic. All across the board. That's pretty nice. Oddly, you get this ability, which applies to shields you have crafted, before getting Secrets of the Forge.

    Secrets of the Forge: Hello, nurse! This is awesome. At level 2, you gain Craft Magic Arms and Armor. Your caster level for crafting magic arms and armor - and only weapons and armor - is three times your Ironsoul Forgemaster level. Got that? So at Ironsoul Forgemaster 10, you have an effective caster level of 30. Plus, it stacks with any other applicable caster levels, so that dip in Cleric is starting to look kind of nice, isn't it?

    Forge Lore: Gain an insight bonus to Craft checks. Obviously useful, but nothing to write home about.

    Chakra Binds: As you level in Ironsoul Forgemaster, you unlock your Waist, Shoulders, and Heart chakra. Again, useful, if not awe-inspiringly good.

    Armor Bond: Remember Shield Bond? Well, this is his big brother. At level 5, you can invest in armor you've crafted like you can invest in a shield, and gain DR/--, one point per essentia invested. This stacks with similar DR, so if it's adamantine, that's even more.

    Weapon Bond: And now we're into the violence. At 9th level, you can invest essentia into weapons you've crafted. Doing so grants you an insight bonus on damage rolls equal to twice your invested points. So, if you invest 3 essentia, that's an insight bonus worth +6 damage. In addition, if you've invested any essentia, your weapon dazes living opponents for one round. The damage might not seem like a lot, but being able to lock down an enemy for one round is substantial - and there's no limit on how many times you can do it.

    Playing an Ironsoul Forgemaster


    There are three aspects of the Ironsoul Forgemaster on which you might wish to focus. Which ones, and to what extent, are up to you.

    1. The Craftsman. (Craftsdwarf?) By merit of the class, you will pretty much be able to craft any weapon or armor up to any enhancement bonus you like. And you can make money off of it. You can even sell to your party at discount and make a profit - and they will love you for it. Consider the Exceptional, Extraordinary, and Legendary Artisan feats from ECS, as these will reduce the time, money, and XP cost, respectively, for your crafting.

    Do note that while you can craft items and add enhancement bonuses, you can't add other enhancements (such as Flaming Burst) without knowing the prerequisite spells. For that, you'll need to dip a caster class or hire a spellcaster to help you. The former makes you more self-sufficient, but forces you to insert squishy caster levels into your manly (Dwarfly?) melee build. The latter is expensive and dependent on your DM providing casters, or on your party caster feeling helpful, but gives you more flexibility with your build.

    2. The Fighter. Technically speaking, you don't need to craft more than three items - a weapon, a shield, and armor - to get your class' full benefit. Get somebody else to enchant your +5 longsword with Keen, Flaming Burst, and Eager if you want. You can focus your build on introducing your enemies to face-smashing good times! The typical fighter feats work well here, with feats like Power Attack and Shock Trooper. You might also consider some Incarnum feats like Cobalt Power.

    3. The Gish. Incarnum makes you more than just melee. Investing in feats and classes that boost your soulmelds isn't a bad idea. Also, if you're going to be crafting, you may as well take a few levels in a spellcasting class. Combining spells, essentia, and melee power in a single package is a pretty fearsome idea, and can make you impressively devastating.

    Important Note


    Part of what makes the Ironsoul Forgemaster such an excellent class is its ability to craft equipment, and to boost that equipment with essentia. This requires the necessary "down time" to craft!

    If your DM does not grant you down time in your campaign, or does not otherwise make concessions to your crafting, Ironsoul Forgemaster is not that great a class! Without crafting, Ironsoul Forgemaster is a dilluted Incarnate. The class derives its primary worth from crafting. Be sure to determine before taking this class whether your character will have the time and opportunity to craft.
    Last edited by Red Fel; 2019-04-09 at 09:19 AM.
    My headache medicine has a little "Ex" inscribed on the pill. It's not a brand name; it's an indicator that it works inside an Anti-Magic Field.

    Blue text means sarcasm. Purple text means evil. White text is invisible.

    My signature got too big for its britches. So now it's over here!

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster

    Multiclassing


    Incarnum Classes

    Quote Originally Posted by You
    Wait, don't these guides usually list core classes first?
    Yes, but this prestige class doesn't actually require any core classes. It does effectively require a dip in an Incarnum class, however. (See my remarks about Shape Soulmeld.)

    Incarnate: In my mind, the best choice. The Incarnate gives you lots of diverse and powerful abilities, which are advanced by the Ironsoul Forgemaster. Also, it looks freaking awesome. The Incarnate gets the best essentia progression of the three base Incarnum classes, which is pretty dang valuable. For more information about this class, see this helpful guide.

    Totemist: Also a good choice. The Totemist's abilities function more on natural weapons, for the most part, and you won't be making as much use of those, but they have several powers that are useful for just about anybody, such as the Blink Shirt. Totemists also have exclusive access to the Totem chakra, which never conflicts with an item slot. For more information about this class, see this helpful guide.

    Soulborn: Ugh, really? Fine. Soulborn was Incarnum's excuse for the Paladin. Like the Paladin, it has failed us for the last time. It has fewer soulmelds and chakra binds, and less essentia, than either the Incarnate or the Totemist. It does grant some bonus feats, a smite, and an immunity depending upon alignment. That said, the primary purpose of taking an Incarnum class with Ironsoul Forgemaster is to set up the advancement chassis, and Soulborn's advancement gives you the least. I'd avoid it.

    As an aside, here is a useful guide to the Incarnum system in general. Familiarize yourself with it, because I really have no desire to write a handbook-within-a-handbook.

    Core Classes

    Barbarian: This is a pretty solid melee chassis with some good ACFs. It adds Fast Movement, which offsets a Dwarf's naturally low movement, or you can swap that out for Pounce, which is pretty great for any melee. It also grants access to the Runescarred Berserker prestige class, which is one way of getting spells for your crafting. Unfortunately, that prestige class has such hard requirements as to render it mostly unfeasible (see below).

    Bard: There is some potential here. Bards have good tactical spells, available at low levels, and they've got decent gishing capability. However, they're not ideal. For one thing, their arcane spells are subject to arcane spell failure. For another, unless you're prepared to pump Perform, your Bardic Music abilities will be limited. Finally, while their spells may be tactical, they may not be the kind of spells you need for crafting. Frankly, if you want to do a spellcaster dip, do a true spellcaster dip; if you want to do a melee dip, go with Barbarian, Fighter, or Ranger.

    Cleric: Now here's a useful dip. Do you know how many spells are on the Cleric list that are used to enhance weapons? Do you realize how potent you will be if you can fight, use essentia, and buff yourself? Are you a bad enough dude to save the President?

    Druid: Really? How could Druid be a bad choice for anything? Well, I'll tell you. Druid's spell selection is pretty darn nice, it's true. But most crafted weapons and armor are made of metal - your Weaponsmithing and Armorsmithing skills aren't going to be put to tremendous use crafting wood. Further, when using Wild Shape, you would lose access to your crafted weapons and armor, and therefore lose your key class features. Basically, if you want a divine caster, go with Cleric on this one.

    Fighter: A very solid base melee chassis, and a good source of feats. There is also a variant in Races of Stone that lets you swap Tower Shield proficiency for Exotic Shield proficiency. That might be useful, you know, if you ever decide to get an exotic shield.

    Monk: Can't use armor. Can't use weapons. Can't use spells. Get this bozo out of my Ironsoul Forgemaster thread.

    Ranger: There's some potential here, to be sure. It's a melee-ready chassis with some spellcasting capacity, full BAB, and good Fort and Reflex saves - the latter sorely lacking in Ironsoul Forgemaster. But there's more here than meets the eye. The Sword of the Arcane Order feat (CoV) allows a Ranger to use his spell slots to cast Wizard spells - assuming, however, that he has the ability to cast Wizard spells in the first place. (Hint: Take levels in Wizard.) There is also the Mystic Ranger from Dragon Magazine, but as I lack access to that particular issue, I can't properly say whether it's helpful or not. I'm told that it's great for gishing, though. So this is a semi-green choice. Basically, if you can cheese this class into a gish form, it's green; otherwise, it's black.

    Sorcerer: Not as good as the Wizard. Yes, it gets some lovely ACFs, but there are two problems. First, the Sorcerer's list of spells known is more limited than the Wizard's, which means you might have to choose between spells-for-crafting and spells-for-casting. Second, while the Wizard easily transitions into the Runesmith PrC (see below), granting him combat casting that bypasses arcane spell failure from heavy armor, the Sorcerer, although he technically qualifies, has some problematic hoops. And unless you go Runesmith or something similar (e.g. Spellsword, Suel Arcanomach, Battle Caster feat) you'll be suffering when casting in combat.

    Wizard: See Cleric, but with a staff with a knob at the end. Yes, you lose some of the Cleric's melee-ready abilities, but this opens the way to Runesmith (see below), which has advantages of its own.

    Other Classes

    Warblade (ToB): A thing of beauty. Warblade is what so many melee classes wish to be, and it makes you an outrageous force to be reckoned with. Carefully interspersed into your build, Warblade can give you powerful maneuvers at various levels. It also grants you bonus feats. Really, just beautiful.

    Crusader (ToB): Can you say "meant to be?" The Crusader is the archetypical warrior in shining, heavy plate, taking and dealing damage in the thick of battle. It's just magnificent what you can do with this, particularly as the basis of a lockdown build.

    Duskblade (PHB II): Duskblade has some potential. On the one hand, he's gish-in-a-can. After four levels, you can cast in medium armor without arcane spell failure, which is pretty nice. Plus, you can deliver spells through your weapon, which is awesome. On the other, however, he lacks the kind of spells you'd want for crafting purposes. But if you just want to gish for gishing's sakes, you could do a lot worse.

    Prestige Classes

    Ironsoul Forgemaster is a 10-level prestige class, and you'll want every single one. But there are some of you out there who'll want another prestige class on top of that. So here's where they go.

    Stoneblessed (RoS): This is a three-level prestige class whose primary function is to let you qualify as a Goliath, Gnome, or - in this case - Dwarf for purposes of feats, classes and so forth. After three levels, you add the traditional Dwarven skills, gain a dodge AC bonus against giants, +2 to Con, and Stonecunning. Or you could just play a Dwarf and have it all for free. This is simply not worth three precious levels in an Ironsoul Forgemaster build. It doesn't give you enough to work with.

    Runesmith (RoS): Now, this is an interesting idea. Runesmith is an arcanist in armor, and if you plan to go with levels of Wizard to supplement casting, it's actually a great choice for an Ironsoul Forgemaster. Runesmith gives you 5/5 levels of spellcasting progression, plus the ability to prepare spells in such a way that they ignore somatic components, allowing you to cast in heavy armor with no arcane spell failure. If you're going with an arcane caster, it's great; if not, it's a waste of time.

    Battlesmith (RoS): No. First off, Battlesmith has heavier requirements for entry than Ironsoul Forgemaster. Second, the features (Wis to damage, +1/+2 AC, delay exhaustion, 1/day half damage from a hit) aren't so hot. And third, and this is key, Battlesmith's Secrets of the Forge ability does not stack with the identical Ironsoul Forgemaster ability. You're better off with 10 levels of Ironsoul Forgemaster (and a 30 CL) than 5 levels of Battlesmith (and 15 CL). Just no.

    Soulcaster (MoI): Okay. If you're going with a gish-type build, you might be thinking, "Why not let my spells and my incarnum work together?" Well, I'll tell you why. Soulcaster requires the ability to cast 2nd-level spells and shape 3 soulmelds. That means at least two levels of Incarnate and three of Wizard, for example, right upfront. That's five levels. You're also spending ten levels on Ironsoul Forgemaster. That leaves you only five levels, maximum, for Soulcaster. And what are you getting for it? Admittedly, you get full caster and meldshaper progression; not bad. You're also getting the ability to invest 1 essentia into each of five different spells you know to increase DC and caster level. That's... Cute. And you get three chakra binds, one of which you already have. You're also getting rubbish BAB, Fort, and Reflex saves. Not to mention the difficulty of casting spells in heavy armor - remember that? Give this class a pass.

    Soul Manifester (Web): Really? Okay. So you decided that somehow the Dwarves would let a Duergar become an Ironsoul Forgemaster instead of just, you know, murdering the crap out of him. Fine. There's just one small detail. Craft Magic Arms and Armor doesn't apply to Psionic Arms and Armor. Generally speaking, your Powers won't help you in the crafting an Ironsoul Forgemaster does. In theory, your DM might let you adapt the class to psionic crafting instead of magic crafting, but that's conjecture I won't get into here. If you really want to use psionics with your Ironsoul Forgemaster... Then this actually isn't terrible. There are some powers that can help you be quite gishy. Note, however, that while you can get into Soul Manifester as a Psion 3/ Incarnate 2, you need PsiWar 4 to do the same thing. On the plus side, if you do decide to go PsiWar 4/ Incarnate 2/ Soul Manifester 4/ Ironsoul Forgemaster 10, you're looking at a meldshaper level of 16, a manifester level of 8, 38 for psionic item crafting purposes, and some useful synergies and powers with which to gish. However, the adaptation required is so elaborate, the build so muddled, I regret to say that I can't recommend this class.

    Runescarred Berserker (UE): In a vacuum, this would be awesome. Barbarian chassis, plus spellcasting to fuel item creation. All good, right? Well, no. Runescarred Berserker requires +7 BAB for entry. That means you need six levels of Barbarian and two of Incarnate, or seven of Barbarian and one of Incarnate, in order to qualify. At most, you enjoy 2 levels of Runescarred Berserker. That gets you an extra rage, and two first-level spells. That's not worth the investment, honestly.

    Spellsword (CW): I'd really only recommend this for a one-level dip, and only for gishes. For one level, it advances arcane casting and reduces the chance of arcane spell failure by 10%. If you're not using Runesmith or the like, that's really helpful. On the other hand, if you're not playing an arcane gish, this is a total waste of your time. Note that taking more than one level of this will also hurt, because its spellcasting progression is staggered and it takes 9 levels (which you can't spare) to reach 30% ASF reduction.

    Gestalting

    I've created a separate section for this, because honestly I think it's worth noting.

    Gestalting an Ironsoul Forgemaster is remarkably simple. On the left-hand side, place your melee class, your Incarnum class, and Ironsoul Forgemaster. On the right, Cleric 20, or Wizard 20. And you're done. You can now craft any equipment with any spell requirement. Your CL for crafting arms and armor is outrageous. You can buff yourself, wade into combat, and murder the ever-loving crap out of anybody you want.

    You want more? Okay. Take Wizard, and grab five levels of Runesmith. Look, another Dwarf class! This one gives you full caster progression, only now you can scribe runes, which means your spells ignore their somatic component, meaning no chance of arcane spell failure from heavy armor. Which you will be wearing, because you crafted it.
    Last edited by Red Fel; 2018-02-20 at 08:34 PM.
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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster

    Feats

    Crafting Feats

    Attune Magic Weapon (ECS): Grants you a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls. Whoop-dee-doo. Ironsoul Forgemaster's Weapon Bond class ability does it better. So do a dozen other things. Not worth the feat.

    Craft Masterwork Armor and Craft Masterwork Weapon (UA): If you plan to make your own gear from scratch, you need masterwork. Otherwise, you'll be buying masterwork gear and upgrading it yourself.

    Exceptional Artisan, Extraordinary Artisan, and Legendary Artisan (ECS): These feats reduce the time, gold cost, and XP cost, respectively, of crafting by 25%. That can be pretty major.

    Sanctify Relic (CD, MIC): This could be okay, I guess, if you plan to craft relic armor or something. But be aware that your Secrets of the Forge bonus applies only to magic arms and armor - any other type of magic item doesn't get the CL boost.

    Talented Crafter (UA): Gives you a pool of craft points. Helpful to defray crafting costs, but not mindblowing.

    Craft Psionic Arms and Armor (XPH): If you're not using magic-psionics transparency, this is a complete waste for you. If you are using it, but your Ironsoul Forgemaster isn't psionic, it's merely black. But if you're using it, and your Ironsoul Forgemaster is psionic, this becomes green - your CL and ML are the same for item crafting, and now you have the Powers needed to craft your psionic equipment. Take the feat and go nuts!

    Gold Dwarf Dweomersmith (RoF): +1 CL when casting spells that boost weapons is nice, for a gish. Gaining spells at each level, also nice. 5% gold discount on crafting weapons is extra nice. Look at the wording of the feat, though: "Other spells gain this benefit if they target a weapon." There's a nasty little interpretation here: For example, Shatter can target a weapon. In theory, it might get a +1 CL when targeting a weapon. That's in theory, mind you: even if it fits RAW, it doesn't seem to fit RAI. Ask your DM.

    Shield Dwarf Warder (RoF): Like Gold Dwarf Dweomersmith, but for shields and armor. The same theoretical interpretation applies.

    An interesting note about these last two feats. They add several spells to your list. However, they don't require you to have a list, or even the ability to cast spells. You simply know the spells at the specified levels. That means that, even if you don't take a spellcasting class, you know these spells for crafting purposes. That's actually extremely useful, and part of what makes them green instead of black.

    Combat Feats

    Power Attack (PHB): A melee's bread and butter. A gimme, really.

    Shock Trooper (CW): Reallocate your to-hit penalty from Power Attack to AC while charging? Yes please, especially since you'll probably be using nice, heavy armor with AC to spare. Becomes a bit insane when combined with Cobalt Charge and Cobalt Power.

    Combat Reflexes, Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Spiked chain, Knockdown: Why am I adding all of these here? Because, individually, they aren't super-awesome for your build. They're alright, but nothing mindblowing. Together, however, they're sick (see Ironsoul Lockdownmaster, below). Combined with your daze ability from Weapon Bond, you can neatly cripple enemies.

    Combat Reflexes, Robilar's Gambit / Combat Expertise, Karmic Strike: A condensed version of the above. Combat Reflexes gives you extra attacks of opportunity. Robilar's Gambit triggers an attack of opportunity whenever anybody hits you. And when you hit them back, they're dazed. Bam, easy. Note that the usual concerns about Robilar's Gambit really don't apply to you - the to-hit bonus your enemies get is offset by your higher AC, and the damage bonus they get is offset by the DR your Armor Bond grants. So it's basically free. The Combat Expertise + Karmic Strike version is the watered-down version. Lower BAB prereqs and no damage bonus for your enemies, but it costs more feats in the long run.

    Battle Caster (CA): This one's for gishes only. If you have a way to wear armor without suffering arcane spell failure (such as Duskblade's Armored Mage ability) this feat lets you wear one category heavier.

    Still Spell (PHB): A metamagic feat? Yes, really. For gishes only, of course. If you're willing to increase the spell slot, you can cast a spell with no somatic components - and therefore ignore arcane spell failure from wearing armor. Worth the cost? You tell me.

    Incarnum Feats

    Cerulean Reflexes: You are a Dwarf. Reflex saves aren't your thing. This can help offset that if you find it remains an issue.

    Cobalt Charge: Are you making a charge build? This gives you an insight bonus on charge attack and damage rolls. Becomes green with Shock Trooper, above.

    Cobalt Critical: Are you a critfisher? You poor thing. This gives you an insight bonus to confirm criticals, as well as on the damage rolls on criticals.

    Cobalt Expertise: Really? I wouldn't recommend this unless you're using the elaborate trip-lockdown build above.

    Cobalt Power: Here we go. Gain an insight bonus on bull rush, overrun and sunder, as well as when using Power Attack. Power Attack is a melee staple, and Cobalt Power makes it... staple-ier.

    Expanded Soulmeld Capacity: Each time you shape your soulmelds, you can designate one and increase its essentia capacity. Note that the feat can be taken multiple times, but any given soulmeld only benefits once.

    Incarnum Spellshaping: If you're going full melee, this is red. If you're taking caster levels, this is black. It lets you cast Incarnum spells. Simple, right?

    Soultouched Spellcasting: Again, if you're going full melee, this is red. However, if you're taking caster levels, it gives you a bonus on caster checks and to overcome SR, making it green.

    Soulsight: Now this is interesting. Gain a form of Blindsense as a move action. That's not a bad idea at all, is it? A useful little trinket, at least.

    Other Feats


    Knowledge Devotion (CC): Really? Yes, really. Knowledge (arcana) is a prereq for Ironsoul Forgemaster. Knowledge (arcana) and (religion) are class skills. After you've maxed out your craft skills, if you have any points leftover, these are pretty good investments for a comfortable bonus to attack and damage rolls.

    Improved Weapon Familiarity (CW): It's the talented but remarkably racist older brother of Exotic Weapon Proficiency. IWF gives you proficiency with any Dwarven weapon. By default, a Dwarf has proficiency with the Dwarven Waraxe and Dwarven Urgrosh. This feat adds everything else, including Dwarven Buckler-Axe, Dwarven Double Spear and Dwarven Warpike. Note that this feat has a prerequisite of BAB +1, so if you start with a melee chassis class like Fighter or Barbarian, you qualify for it right out of the gate. Note that if you don't want to take this feat, Complete Warrior also has rules allowing you to swap your default Dwarven weapon proficiencies (Urgrosh and Waraxe) for any other Dwarven weapons.

    Apprentice (DMG II): Okay. So there's this feat you take at level 1, right? It gives you a mentor you have to serve. In doing so, you gain two skills as class skills, and bonus skill points to spend on them. You also gain a bonus benefit. You have to pay a tithe, which is annoying. But upon reaching level 5, you keep the skills as class skills and no longer need to deal with the mentor. So why is this useful? Apprentice (Craftsman). You gain Appraise and Knowledge (architecture and engineering) as class skills. You also gain a +2 competence bonus on Craft checks and a 10% discount on the gold cost of raw materials. That latter bit is key - discounts are good. Most importantly, because your class is crafting-dependent, you need an excuse to stop adventuring periodically. Obligations to a mentor are exactly that - you have to spend a certain amount of time working with your mentor. If the DM approves this feat, it means he's also willing to give you the time to work with a mentor, which means down time for crafting.

    Skills and Other Details

    Skills

    Craft (weaponsmithing): I don't have to explain why you need this.

    Craft (armorsmithing): Or this.

    Knowledge (arcana): This, though, you really ought to put some points into, if you have any left over. It's a class prereq, after all. Especially true if you go with Knowledge Devotion.

    Knowledge (religion): This too, probably. Not like you're doing anything else with your skill points.

    Soulmelds

    The soulmelds listed here either come from Magic of Incarnum, this web article on Psionics and Incarnum, or this web article on Draconic soulmelds. I will indicate whether soulmelds are for Incarnate or Totemist, but not for Soulborn because it displeases me. Note that if you take one class, but want something on the list for the other, the Shape Soulmeld feat is always out there.

    Adamant Pauldrons (Incarnate): Gain fortification (25% chance to ignore crits and precision damage). Use essentia to gain DR/(opposing alignment). Because your Armor Bond grants you DR/--, that means you'll have two separate DRs for enemies to overcome. Bind to shoulders to increase your fortification to 50%. This is a very nice tanking soulmeld.

    Airstep Sandals (Incarnate): Fly 10 feet (good maneuverability) per round as a move action. Invest essentia to increase speed. Bind to feet to increase maneuverability to perfect. This can be very valuable for a Dwarf, who traditionally has rubbish movement speed. It's not ideal, however, because you have to end each turn on solid ground. But this can easily make up for your limited mobility in combat.

    Apparition Ribbon (Incarnate): Reroll miss chance against incorporeal enemies. Invest to gain an insight bonus on damage against incorporeal enemies. Bind to throat to become incorporeal and gain a deflection bonus to AC. Really only useful if you're fighting incorporeal enemies or need to phase out.

    Arcane Focus (Incarnate): A trap. Even if you gish, you should be using tactical spells in combat, not direct-damage spells. Not worth it, even for the daze; you can do that with your Weapon Bond ability. The same disclaimer applies to the Psychic Focus soulmeld.

    Armguards of Disruption (Incarnate, Good): The basic ability of these is a bit lame. But when bound to your arms, you gain an insight bonus to AC and on saving throws against attacks by the undead - helpful in an undead campaign.

    Astral Vambraces (Incarnate): Psionic soulmeld. Grants DR/magic, and if bound to arms gives you your choice of one ability from the Astral Construct Menu A list. This takes the usual versatility of soulmelds and turns it up to 11; your Vambraces can give you a different power every time you shape them!

    Blink Shirt (Totemist): Standard action, at-will Dimension Door, with inflatable distance. Bind to heart to gain Blink, to totem to use DD as a move action. One of the most valuable soulmelds imaginable.

    Bloodtalons (Totemist): When reduced to 0 or below 0, function normally and don't lose HP. Invest essentia for a Spot bonus. The rest isn't worth much, but that's a nice tanking boost.

    Bluesteel Bracers (Incarnate): +2 insight bonus to inititative, +1 insight bonus to weapon damage per essentia invested. Bind to arms to share the initiative bonus with allies. A great team player choice!

    Cerulean Sandals (Incarnate): Walk on water, increase base land speed by +5 feet per essentia invested. Bind to feet to Dimension Door as a standard action, but only a certain amount before the soulmeld unshapes. The basic bonus is fantastic for the slow-moving dwarf, but the fact that they unshape is a bit offensive.

    Charming Veil (Incarnate): Psionic soulmeld. Boosts charm and compulsion powers and PLAs; when bound to the brow grants Read Thoughts 1/round, a bonus to Sense Motive, and a bonus to resist charm and compulsion powers. Not terrible, but there are better, and it's mostly useless if you're not using charm and compulsion psionic powers, obviously. Gets worse when you realize how many things are immune to mind-affecting.

    Crystal Helm (Incarnate): So much better than Apparition Ribbon. Grants +2 to Will saves against charms or compulsion, but that's boring. Grants +1 deflection to AC per essentia invested, which is great. But the kicker? Bind to crown to grant your melee attacks the force descriptor, so they can hit incorporeal foes. Why reroll a miss chance when you can ignore it?

    Diadem of Purelight (Incarnate): Given that you already have Darkvision, this isn't so great unless you want to be the party torch. But if you bind it to the crown chakra, it negates any concealment less than total, which is great for a melee role.

    Displacer Mantle (Totemist): Bonus to hide checks, boring. But bind to shoulders and you gain 20% miss chance, again very useful for a tank.

    Dragon Mantle (Totemist): Bonus to Fort saves, which you shouldn't need. Energy resistances, which you don't need because of Shield Bond. But bind to heart, and gain fast healing, which is pretty useful. Requires the Dragonblood subtype.

    Dread Carapace (Totemist): Generally useless to you, since you'll be focusing more on manufactured weapons than natural ones. But the binds are interesting. Bind to feet, and gain a massive once-per-minute boost to your speed. To heart, and gain spell resistance. To totem, and enemies who see you charge become shaken.

    Enigma Helm (Incarnate): Nondetection, baby. Crazy useful. And you can gain immunity to charm if you bind to crown. Very nice.

    Fellmist Robe (Incarnate): Grants you miss chance, which is again very useful.

    Illusion Veil (Incarnate): Useful for a gish employing illusion spells. When bound, gives you see invisibility.

    Impulse Boots (Incarnate): This will be very useful. First, it grants Uncanny Dodge. Second, it grants a bonus to Reflex saves, which you sorely need. Third, when bound to feet, it grants Evasion. When combined with that bonus to Reflex saves, that helps a lot.

    Incarnate Avatar (Incarnate): This soulmeld depends entirely on your essentia invested. For Good, it grants a bonus to AC; for Law, it grants a bonus on melee attack rolls; for Chaos, it grants a bonus on ranged attack rolls. I don't see you using the Chaos one much. Don't bother with the chakra bind - the soul chakra is only accessible either through Incarnate 19 or an Epic feat.

    Incarnate Weapon (Incarnate): Only good if your DM says that your Weapon Bond stacks with it. Even then, I'd suggest to stick with a manufactured weapon. Creates a weapon with an enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls based on essentia invested, and if bound to arms can stun an enemy after charging up on a move action. Given that your Weapon Bond can daze with no charge-up, this doesn't impress much.

    Keeneye Lenses (Incarnate): Grants a Spot bonus; if bound to eyes, grants see invisibility. Like the Illusion Veil for non-gishes.

    Lammasu Mantle (Incarnate, Totemist, Good): This thing is awesome for Good Forgemasters. First, you gain a deflection bonus against Evil creatures, and a resistance bonus on saving throws against their spells and effects based on essentia invested. If bound to the arms, you share these bonuses with nearby allies. If bound to the shoulders, you generate a Magic Circle Against Evil. This is really fantastic stuff when facing undead or Evil Outsiders. Or, you know, pretty much anything in the Underdark.

    Landshark Boots (Totemist): Blah blah, but bind to feet and gain Tremorsense.

    Lightning Gauntlets (Incarnate): Its base ability is annoyingly limited, but if bound to the hands you can add electricity damage to one melee attack per round.

    Lucky Dice (Incarnate): Okay. This one you'll love. Enjoy a bonus to attack and damage, or to saving throws, or to skill and ability checks. Change it from turn to turn, or if you're lucky, it can apply to all of them. Bind it to your hands and share it with the whole party. Another great team player soulmeld.

    Manticore Belt (Totemist): Bonus to Jump and Spot. Bind to waist and fly (clumsy), and gain Flyby Attack. Bind to totem for a neat ranged attack.

    Pegasus Cloak (Totemist): Bonus to Jump. Bind to shoulders and fly (average).

    Psion's Eyes (Incarnate): Psionic soulmeld. The psionic version of Mage's Spectacles, which I omitted from the list because of lameness. Psion's Eyes is similarly lame, except for one detail - when bound to the brow, you can use Mindlink at will.

    Rageclaws (Totemist): Gives you functionality below 0, like Bloodtalons. Invest essentia to gain additional negative hit points, which means you fight for longer. Bind to hands to gain a bonus on attack, damage, and Fort saves while operating below 0.

    Shadow Mantle (Totemist) Listen bonus, and when bound to shoulders a globe of darkness and Blindsight within it.

    Shedu Crown (Totemist): Become immune to knockback from bull rush, and gain a bonus to saves against mind-affecting. Bind to crown to gain Telepathy. This is incredibly useful, not only because it lets you speak with anything that has a language, but because it qualifies you for the Mindsight feat from Lords of Madness. Within 100 feet.

    Spellward Shirt (Incarnate): Gain SR. Heck yeah. And when bound to heart you can gain complete immunity to four spells.

    Strongheart Vest (Incarnate): Reduces ability damage. When bound to heart, you're immune to energy drain and death effects. When bound to waist, reduces ability drain.

    Threefold Mask of the Chimera (Totemist): Can't be flanked. If bound to crown, lets you take a second move action for a penalty on AC and attacks.

    Vitality Belt (Incarnate): Okay. I'll admit it, I'm not a big fan of soulmelds that exist solely to heal you up. That's why Therapeutic Mantle isn't on this list, for example. But it's been pointed out to me that there is a useful bit to this particular soulmeld. Its base ability, a bonus to various Con checks, isn't particularly necessary for a Dwarf, who already has high Con, although it's nice if you take some Diamond Mind counters. Its bound ability, immmunity to con damage and con drain, is decent, but Strongheart Vest gives you a similar benefit and spreads it across multiple attributes. No, the big bonus from this soulmeld is its invested ability - it gives you bonus HP for every point of essentia invested, multiplied by meldshaper level. For example, if you're an Incarnate 8/ Crusader 2/ Ironsoul Forgemaster 10, that's an ML of 17 (8 from Incarnate, 9 from Forgemaster). If you invest 3 essentia in this soulmeld, that's 51 bonus hit points. And these aren't temporary hit points - they're proper hit points, permanent for as long as you have the essentia invested. And because you can invest as a swift action, this soulmeld is actually a very good way to get yourself out of the red and keep yourself there until you can get some proper healing. All in all, not a terrible idea.

    Wormtail Belt (Totemist): Gain natural armor, which stacks with your regular armor. If bound to the waist, gain Awesome Blow. Handy for knocking things about the battlefield.

    So What Should I Craft?

    What you craft is important. How you do it is also important. This handbook offers excellent advice on how to reduce the costs of crafting. Check it out, so that I won't have to repeat it all here!

    One other note (which I repeat under Other Notes, below) is that, if you lack the spellcasting to put specific enhancements on weapons, according to the book, Clerics of Moradin give you a discount on spells. Make good use of that!

    Weapons

    Spiked Chain (PHB): If I have to explain why this is good, you need to rethink playing a melee role. This is the all-in-one. 2d4 damage, trip and disarm, it has reach but can also threaten adjacent spaces. The big drawbacks are (1) it requires a feat, and (2) it has a profound lack of flavor.

    Dwarven Urgrosh (PHB): A 1d8/1d6 double weapon, x3 crit, slashing or piercing, and you get the proficiency for free. Not a bad choice.

    Dwarven Waraxe (PHB): Simple but effective. 1d10, slashing, x3 crit. You get the proficiency for free. It's also the archetypical Dwarven weapon (aside from an oversized hammer). I remind you that, because it's martial instead of exotic, you can use it one-handed without penalty.

    Dwarven Warpike (RoS): It's a reach weapon, it's a tripping weapon, it's a 2d6 damage weapon with x3 crit that deals slashing or piercing damage. It's a pretty nice all-in-one weapon if you want something more flavorful than your typical Spiked Chain. Plus you can have proficiency for free if you trade out one of your typical Dwarven weapons.

    Hammer of the Magesmith (AEG): First off, it's a +1 Warhammer with a 1/day ability to cast Magic Weapon. As a reminder, a Warhammer is a one-handed martial weapon that deals 1d8 bludgeoning and has an x3 crit. That's not bad in and of itself. But the real bonus is that, when used in crafting, it reduces the gold cost of materials by 5%. Savings are nice, and Warhammers are nicely Dwarvish.

    Mouthpick (LoM): Mouthpick is a +1 enhancement that allows any creature with a bite attack to wield a weapon. While Dwarves don't usually have bite attacks, Totemists do - frequently, in fact. If you want to wield two weapons and still use a shield, shape a soulmeld that grants a bite attack, chomp down on your Mouthpick weapon and go to town. Note also that Ironsoul Forgemaster doesn't limit you to boosting a single weapon, so you could use one in your hand and one in your mouth. (If you want to neglect your shield, I suppose you could wield three a la Roronoa Zoro. But I wouldn't recommend it.) I haven't listed soulmelds that grant a bite attack, but keep the idea in mind if it interests you.

    Soulbound (MoI): Okay. MoI features the Soulbound enhancement for weapons, armor and shields, which allows you to invest essentia into the item for various effects, and to bind them like soulmelds. On a weapon, the Soulbound enhancement increases the weapon's enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls by +1 per essentia invested. If bound to the arms chakra, it gives a bonus to confirm critical hits; if bound to the brow, you can reroll misses due to concealment; if bound to the hands, you gain a bonus on initiative checks while the weapon is held. NOTE: There is a question as to whether the Soulbound enhancement stacks with the various Ironsoul Forgemaster class abilities (Shield Bond, Armor Bond, Weapon Bond); that is, whether investing essentia in the weapon can trigger both the class ability and the Soulbound enhancement. My ruling would be yes, because the language of both is based upon the essentia invested in the weapon, not invested in the class ability or enhancement. This is ask your DM territory. Assuming they stack, this is fantastic, because it gives a double bonus. If they don't, it's not so great.

    Armor

    Soulbound (MoI): Same disclaimer as with weapons. Soulbound Armor gains a bonus to AC of +1 per essentia invested. If bound to the soul chakra (which you basically can't do pre-Epic), it grants an insight bonus on saves against the abilities of creatures with an alignment opposed to yours.

    Twilight (BoED): If you're an arcane gish, you'll love the 10% reduction in arcane spell failure chance. If you're not an arcane gish, you'll probably have an arcane caster in your party who'll love the 10% reduction in arcane spell failure chance. Somebody's going to find a use for this, is all I'm saying.

    Shields

    Dwarven Buckler-Axe (RoS): Yo, dawg, we heard you liked axes, so we put axe in your shield so you can axe while you shield. It's a buckler, so you can use it with a two-handed weapon without penalty, and don't have to put Animated on it. It's an offhand weapon, so you can use it with a one-handed weapon to decent effect, and you can also put weapon-based enhancements on it in addition to the armor-based ones. And it's Dwarven, so flavor bonus points. Plus you get proficiency for free if you trade out one of your typical Dwarven weapons.

    Soulbound (MoI): Same disclaimer as with weapons and armor. Soulbound Shields gain a bonus to AC of +1 per essentia invested. If bound to the arms chakra, you gain an insight bonus against being bull rushed or overrun, or to avoid the shield being sundered.

    Animated: I shouldn't have to explain why this is good. You want a shield, because it's part of your class abilities. You don't want to have to hold it, because it's a waste of a hand. This solves both problems. Use an animated shield.

    Other Useful Items

    This article describes Dwarven magic forges. If you have a stable home base, just one of these can be extremely valuable, particularly a Forge of the Armorsmith or Forge of the Weaponsmith. Adding a +20 to your craft checks is spectacular. First of all, since making an item masterwork requires a DC 20 craft check, this guarantees success on that roll. Second, you can increase the crafting DC of the item itself to make it more quickly, and adding 20 to that check can ensure that you won't be penalized for working quickly. And anything that shortens your crafting downtime is a win-win.

    Plus, you know... Dwarven magic forge. It's just more Dwarven flavor.
    Last edited by Red Fel; 2019-04-09 at 09:32 AM.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster

    Sample Builds


    This section will include a few sample builds for your Ironsoul Forgemaster.

    Spoiler: Ironsoul Lockdownmaster
    Show
    On the subject of combat feats, "Free Dazing, all day long, on any attack" seems to totally scream lockdown.

    Feats: Combat Reflexes, Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Spiked Chain), Knockdown
    Stance: Thicket of Blades
    Maneuver: Defensive Rebuke
    Other: Enlarge Person

    Get two levels of Crusader for Thicket of Blades and Defensive Rebuke. With Enlarge Person, threaten 15 ft; if they move, hit them for 10+ damage (triggers knockdown) and try to daze them. Melee enemies that are dazed and tripped are non-existent, casters are easier to take down. Unfortunately it wouldn't come online until level 14...but still

    Pounce Barbarian 1/Fighter2/Incarnate2/Ironsoul Forgemaster 9. Wreck things.


    Spoiler: Ironpsychic Ardentmaster
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    Incarnate 3/Ardent 2/Ironsoul Forgemaster 9/Ardent +6

    Feats: Metamorphic Transfer, Practised Manifester, Craft Psionic Arms and Armour, the rest is up to you
    Mantles: Mental Power, Magic Mantle, Natural World, any other of choice
    ACF's: Substitute Power
    Items: Orange Ioun Stone
    Powers: Metamorphosis, Practised Manifester

    This build doesn't really rely on Shenanigans. If your DM doesn't like them, just don't do them, it's not a one trick pony. You can still be an Ironsoul Forgemaster, and still work as an Ardent.

    Your CL is for the purpose of creating magic arms and armor, not for the purpose of using the feat Create Magic Arms and Armor. With the Magic Mantle, magic and psionics are identical, so you're limited not by the fact that you don't know the necessary spells for magic arms and armor, but by the fact that you don't have the feat Create Psionic Arms and Armor, which is easy enough to remedy. Spend one feat there, and Secrets of the Forge should work just fine for any psionic equipment you should want to construct, so long as you know the powers. You're still limited to what your chosen mantles, the Substitute Power ACF, and Expanded Knowledge will get you, but it still might be the best option if you want to inject casting into the build to fuel your crafting.

    With Psychic Reformation, you can then reform away, and choose a new power for that level, with no XP cost, and no time frame.

    With Metamorphosis, you can use to take the form of any high Con monster (Dusk Giant, I think is the highest natively), and use that to generate your Daze on hit; or you can even go all out, and take War Troll for two Daze on saves as well (incidentally, the only way to really make the Daze "viable" rather than "ooh, neat, I got a Daze".


    Spoiler: Ironmind Forgepsychic
    Show
    We have a lot of psionics in this thread, don't we?

    Dragonborn AnyDwarf OR Fireblooded Dwarf Incarnate 2/ Psychic Warrior 2/ Crusader 1/ Ironsoul Forgemaster 10/ War Mind 5

    Feats [of note]
    Psionic Meditation (bonus feat), Psionic Weapon (vulnerable), Psicrystal Affinity [Artiste] (shaky)
    Craft Psionic Arms and Armor, Greater Psionic Weapon, Open Least Chakra [Hands], Improved Bullrush, Shape Soulmeld [Dragon Mantle], Power Attack, Shock Trooper

    Soulmelds [of note]
    Lightning Gauntlets [Hands]
    Dragon Mantle [Heart]
    Shedu Crown [Crown]

    Maneuvers & Powers [of note]
    Hustle
    Vampiric Blade
    Dissolving Weapon
    Expansion
    Elder Mountain Hammer [just try to get this]

    This essentially allows you to unload 6d6 (Elder Mountain Hammer) + 4d6 (Dissolving Weapon) +4d6 (Greater Psionic Weapon) + 10 (Power Attack) = +14d6+10 on multiple opponents with Expansion due to the war mind's sweeping strike. Oh, yeah, they also get dazed. you should also really have collision in there, as you can craft. You can also Hustle to regain psionic focus *AND* charge up your Lightning Gauntlets in the same turn.

    In addition, Chain of Defensive Posture, when coupled with Shedu Crown, Fast Healing from Dragon Mantle, DR from War Mind and Armor bond, Shield Bond, Steely Resolve, and Vampiric blade make you pretty difficult to kill.


    Spoiler: Judosoul Trapmaster
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    My current idea is a tripper using the Setting Sun throws (I have a soft spot for the discipline) to make a touch attack which dazes the enemy and flings them into traps I made. It depends on a reading of the rules that says squares with traps in them are not occupied, but that seems like a plausible interpretation. Everything I can find that uses the term "occupied" in the SRD either refers to a square having a creature in it or having something otherwise large and obtrusive in it. A little tripwire should be fine. Here's a draft.

    Lesser Duergar Martial Rogue 2/Incarnate 2/Swordsage 1/Trapsmith 3/Ironsoul Forgemaster 10/Trapsmith +2 (If LA buyoff is allowed, use Psionic Druegar and Druegar Expansion, which will also free up your 18th level feat for something else because Expansion Augmentation will already make it a swift action by that level)
    1. Martial Rogue 1 - Magic in the Blood, Combat Expertise
    2. Martial Rogue 2 - Improved Trip
    3. Totemist 1 - Darkstalker
    4. Totemist 2
    5. Swordsage 1
    6. Trapsmith 1 - Adaptive Style
    7. Trapsmith 2
    8. Trapsmith 3
    9. Ironsoul Forgemaster 1 - Martial Study (Strength Draining Strike)
    10. Ironsoul Forgemaster 2 - Craft Magic Arms and Armor
    11. Ironsoul Forgemaster 3
    12. Ironsoul Forgemaster 4 - Shape Soulmeld (Mauling Gauntlets)
    13. Ironsoul Forgemaster 5
    14. Ironsoul Forgemaster 6
    15. Ironsoul Forgemaster 7 - Martial Study (Soaring Throw)
    16. Ironsoul Forgemaster 8
    17. Ironsoul Forgemaster 9
    18. Ironsoul Forgemaster 10 - Quicken Spell Like Ability
    19. Trapsmith 4
    20. Trapsmith 5

    An alternate stub is Factotum 3/Totemist 2/Trapsmith 3/Ironsoul Forgemaster 9/Swordsage 1 (adjust placement of dip to taste)/Trapsmith +2. Might or might not require flaws, depending in point at which you stick the Swordsage dip in.

    Maneuvers: Mighty Throw, Clever Positioning, Shadow Jaunt, Cloak of Deception, Action Before Thought, Mountain Hammer, Strength Draining Strike, Soaring Throw
    Stance: Child of Shadow

    Important soulmelds are Phase Cloak (Totem (Bound)), Mauling Gauntlets (Arms), and Sphinx Claws (Hands) (You eventually hit 6 soulmelds and 3 binds, but these are the big ones)

    Phase Cloak gives you a bite, which you use to hold a Mouthpick Spiked Chain. Scuttle about in the darkness, setting booby traps which will fire really nice arrows that you made out of really nice crossbows that you made. Sadly, Secrets of the Forge won't increase the Craft (Trapmaking) check, but you'll manage. When you have no further need to be medium, you can use your Enlarge Person SLA (which is 3/day thanks to Magic in the Blood) and go to work. Your BAB is kinda meh, but you'll have a good weapon and Haste is 1st level on the Trapsmith list. You throw maneuvers to toss people into your traps, and eventually a daze effect which applies even on the touch attacks you use to initiate trips and throws. Your trip checks are boosted through Mauling Gauntlets and Sphinx Claws.

    If you can't get access to a friendly Cleric or something to cast Fabricate for you to make yourself a mouthpick weapon, you may want to finish Trapsmith before going into Ironsoul Forgemaster to get access to it natively.


    Spoiler: Irondwarf Forgedefender
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Dwarven Defender (done right, for once)

    Crusader1/Totemist6/Ironsoul Forgemaster10/Crusader1/Witch Slayer2

    Breakdown:

    Crusader to start off with for D12 HD and decent abilities. Start off with Martial Spirit stance for some self-healing which is actually relevant at low levels or Leading The Charge stance for more damage output on a charge. When you come back, pick up Thicket of Blades for better Area Denial. Remember that Prestige Classes offer full Initiation advancement for free.

    Totemist 6 is a decent jump point. You got all of your low-end chakra at level 5, and 6 nets you an extra bind to use. This build doesn't use natural attacks, however Urksan Greaves are still a valid option for more damage on a charge.

    Now, your Totem Bind is available to be swapped around, which actually gives you a lot of options. If you want ranged attacks, you can go for Manticore Belt. If you need to go underwater, go with Kraken Mantle. If you want some maneuverability, try using the Blink Shirt, for move action DimDoor. Remember, you can take your Move Action after your Standard Action if you like, so you can activate a Maneuver, then teleport somewhere else in the fight.

    Ironsoul Forgemaster can really help you out. Because you are likely going axe and shield, your Shield pretty much makes you immune to blastomancy via investing essentia. Remember, you don't have to choose, you get all flavors of energy resistance at the same time.

    Secrets of the Forge basically means that even if you don't have access to a MagicMart, you've at least got decent weapons. Forge Lore makes sure you can hit the Craft check DC's.

    Armor Bond nets you some DR/-, just like Dwarven Defender does, but without being locked into place. Stacks with Adamantine Full Plate, which you gain proficiency with via Crusader.

    Weapon Bond is an essentia dump for more damage output. The save is pathetic, but if your opponent rolls a natural 1, Dazing is not fun to be hit by.

    Witchborn Binder nets you Mettle. This makes you able to shrug off secondary effects from spells such as Slay Living, Touch of Death, Disintegrate, and others.

    This is meant as a beatstick/lockdown build, capable of taking a hit, and being mobile enough and threatening enough damage output that it has to be respected as a threat rather than simply ignored.


    Other Notes


    There is a question of interpretation, and that concerns the Incarnate Weapon soulmeld. This is a soulmeld for the Incarnate class that creates a melee weapon with an alignment descriptor. The weapon's enhancement bonus is based on essentia invested. The question is whether a soulmeld, which is created by the meldshaper, is "created" in the sense of the Ironsoul Forgemaster's abilities. If it is, the weapon would take on the dazing property outlined in Weapon Bond; if not, no Ironsoul Forgemaster would ever use this soulmeld. My ruling is that Incarnate Weapon is not considered a weapon crafted by the Forgemaster, because no crafting process was actually involved. The fluff of the class, as well as the RAW, is about the Forgemaster creating real, physical objects that are so attuned to him that he can invest in them as if they were soulmelds; that doesn't mean he can invest in a soulmeld as if it were a physical object. Again, this is ask your DM territory.

    Another interesting point is the possibility of adapting the class to Psionics. It wouldn't be terribly difficult, either, since there's already a race of Psionic Dwarves (the Duergar, if you haven't been keeping up). Simply replace Craft Magic Arms and Armor with Craft Psionic Arms and Armor, and replace all reference to caster level with manifester level. This creates some useful synergies, too - Psychic Warrior is already a capable melee chassis with powers you can use, and as mentioned above, Soul Manifester neatly meshes Psionics and Incarnum. This is, once again, ask your DM territory. But if you do come up with an Ironsoul Forgemaster Psionic version, do let me know how it works out in practice!

    Note also that even if you don't change the underlying class, there are options. Specifically, using the Magic Mantle in the Ardent class. Allow someone more versed than I to explain it:
    Quote Originally Posted by WhamBamSam View Post
    First off the Magic Mantle works whether or not the default transparency rules are in effect. I only mentioned them, because reasserting magic-psionics transparency in campaigns where transparency is not in play was probably what the author intended for the granted power of the Magic Mantle to do, but that is not what they actually wrote.

    What they wrote was: "you treat magic and psionics as identical." Emphasis mine. Identical means identical. Magic and Psionics are one and the same. Casting and Manifesting are one and the same. Spellcasters and Manifesters are one and the same. Spells and Powers are, you guessed it, one and the same. So from the perspective of someone with the Magic Mantle the text...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ironsoul Forgemaster
    Secrets of the Forge (Ex): At 2nd level, you gain Craft Magic Arms and Armor (see page 81 of the Player's Handbook) as a bonus feat, even if you do not meet the prerequisites. Your effective caster level for the purpose of crafting magic arms and armor is three times your Ironsoul Forgemaster level. For example, a 5th-level incarnate/2nd-level ironsoul forgemaster is treated as a 6th-level caster for the purpose of creating magic arms and armor. These effective levels also stack with any other caster levels that might apply.
    (again, emphasis mine) is identical to...
    Quote Originally Posted by Ironsoul Forgemaster
    Secrets of the Forge (Ex): At 2nd level, you gain Craft Magic Arms and Armor (see page 81 of the Player's Handbook) as a bonus feat, even if you do not meet the prerequisites. Your effective manifester level for the purpose of crafting psionic arms and armor is three times your Ironsoul Forgemaster level. For example, a 5th-level incarnate/2nd-level ironsoul forgemaster is treated as a 6th-level manifester for the purpose of creating psionic arms and armor. These effective levels also stack with any other manifester levels that might apply.
    The feats Craft Magic Arms and Armor and Craft Psionic Arms and Armor don't suddenly become the same feat, but that's not such a big deal.
    Thus, your CL for crafting arms and armor becomes ML for purposes of crafting psionic arms and armor, assuming you take the appropriate feat. There are some useful powers to be used in gear-making, and even if you don't, it contributes nicely to the build, again as illustrated above. Ask your DM if the magic-psionics transparency is in play, and whether the Magic Mantle can be used in this fashion.

    One more key point: Even if you are not a spellcaster for crafting purposes, the book suggests that Clerics of Moradin will be inclined to give you discounts on spells for crafting purposes. Take advantage!

    And here are some assorted and highly useful nuggets:
    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Ironsoul Forgemaster gets access to the Waist Chakra slot at level 6 (ECL 11 at the earliest, 3 levels earlier then a pure Incarnate or Totemist) and the Heart Chakra slot at level 10 (ECL 15 at the earliest, 1 level earlier then a pure Incarnate and 2 levels earlier then a pure Totemist). This could be important for certain builds, especially in one-shot and short running campaigns.

    Ironsoul Forgemaster does NOT get access to the Brow or Throat chakra slots. Brow isn't that big of a deal, but Throat is one of the most powerful Chakra Binds. A Throat Chakra Bind can grant the Incorporeal Subtype (Apparition Ribbon), a potent ranged attack (Dissolving Spittle), Banishment (Planar Ward), Save or Daze (Arcane Focus/Psychic Focus), at-will Suggestion (Silvertongue Mask), and other goodies. You can open Brow with the Open Chakra Feat at level 14 and you can open Throat with a Feat at level 18, but that's a long time to wait, and you're spending a late game Feat to get it.

    The Essentia Capacity for class abilities is determined by your hit dice, and can't be permanently increased. (It can be temporarily increased for 1 round by the Divine Soultouch Feat or Incandescent Champion, but those methods are very inefficient). Thus your essentia capacity for your class abilities is limited to 1-4 points. Shield Bond thus provides universal Energy Resistance 5-20, Armor Bond provides DR 1-4/- (stacks with DR/- provided by armor), and Weapon Bonus provides you with a +2 to +8 bonus to damage. This is particularly noteworthy for Weapon Bond, because the Fort Save DC for your Daze effect is thus DC 10 + Con bonus + (1 to 4), which isn't great. (Though in fairness, Con will probably be your highest attribute, and any living enemy will have to make a Fort Save every time you hit them with your bonded weapon).

    The Weapon Bond ability applies to an entire weapon, and enemies need to Save every time they are hit, which makes Two Weapon Fighting with a double weapon a tempting option (though it potentially makes your build MAD). In particular, the Dire Flail Smash Feat (Champions of Ruin pg 16) imposes a Save or Daze effect on all creatures that you hit with both ends of your dire flail, which adds yet another lock-down effect to your build.

    The Dragon Mantle Soulmeld provides Energy Resistance Acid, Electricity, Fire, and Cold (3 * essentia), and explicitly stacks with Energy Resistance from other sources. Thus a Totemist 2/Whatever 3/Ironsoul Forgemaster X with Shield Bond + Dragon Mantle would have Energy Resistance 8-32 (or more, since the essentia capacity of soulmelds can be increased) against everything except Sonic energy (which would be 5-20). When combined with Evasion (from a ring, Raptor's Mask, Impulse Boots, or Rogue 2) this makes you mostly immune to most Energy damage you're likely to encounter.

    Every mid-high level Incarnum based build should consider a 1 level dip into the Necrocarnate PrC, which allows you to harvest essentia from recently dead bodies for 24 hours, which can often allow you to fill every soulmeld and class ability full of essentia after you've had a couple of combats.

    A 1 level dip into any Skill Monkey class plus the Able Learner Feat plus the Skill bonuses that you get from soulmelds can make you a highly effective Skill Monkey. It's particularly useful for optimizing Hide/Move Silently, Spot, Tumble, and Use Magic Device. (Red Fel's note: Dwarves can't take Able Learner... But a Changeling using Racial Emulation can! Ask your DM!)

    Sorcerer 1 is also a great dip, in that it grants you a Familiar. The Share Soulmeld Feat allows a Familiar or Animal Companion to share the benefits of your soulmelds, which can basically double their effectiveness. It also negates the need for Use Magic Device for any Sorcerer spell trigger item, like a Wand of Soul Boon (adds essentia)

    Necrocarnum Circlet bound to the Crown Chakra is the Incarnate's most powerful soulmeld for a variety of reasons, in that it basically gives you a second infinitely replaceable Tier 4-ish minion to control. You should check it out. Though it is dependent on your Incarnate meldshaper level, so it's best with an Incarnate 5/Ironsoul Forgemaster X build.
    With regard to Necrocarnum suggestions, remember that a Forgemaster must be non-Evil. Consider the Vivicarnum adaptation suggested in the book.

    Here are some major points about essentia capacity:
    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Essentia Capacity is determine by the following:
    • 1-5 HD = 1 point of essentia
    • 6-11 HD = 2 points of essentia
    • 12-17 HD = 3 points of essentia
    • 18-20 HD = 4 points of essentia
    • Totemist 15: +1 to soulmelds bound to Totem chakra
    • Incarnate level 3: +1 to Incarnate soulmelds
    • Incarnate level 15: +1 to Incarnate soulmelds
    • Necrocarnate prestige class level 9 (ECL 16): +1 to Necrocarnum soulmelds. It explicitly stacks with the Incarnate bonus. Though by taking that many levels of Necrocarnate, you're basically giving up the +1 expanded capacity to soulmelds you could have gotten from Incarnate or Totemist 15, and their expended essentia abilities are much more versatile.
    • Totem Rager prestige class level 10 (ECL 15): +1 to soulmelds bound to Totem chakra (basically the same ability you'd get as a Totemist 15)
    • Incarnum Focus Magic Item: +1 to any soulmeld that is shaped into a specific slot (Crown, Brow, etc). Does not exist for Totem chakra, which is slotless. Using this magic item does not prevent you from binding a soulmeld to the item's slot. It's also expensive, so it's unlikely you'll be able to afford one until mid-levels, and it's unlikely you'll buy more then a small number of them. Note that it's reprinted in the Magic Item Compendium, and that version is slightly cheaper and better then the one in Magic of Incarnum.
    • Expanded Soulmeld Capacity Feat: +1 for one soulmeld. You can choose a new soulmeld each time you shape them. You can take this Feat multiple times, though in practice you'll proably only take it once or twice for your most critical soulmelds.
    • Improved Essentia Capacity Feat: +1 for Incarnum Feats. Most Incarnum Feats are garbage, so you probably won't take this though.
    • Divine Soultouch Feat: Once per round you can spend a Turn/Rebuke Undead use to gain +1 essentia and add +1 essentia capacity to everything for 1 round. Turn/Rebuke Undead uses are a very precious resource for Divine/Domain Feats, so I personally wouldn't use this option.
    • Incandescent Champion prestige class Incarnum Overload class ability can increase the essentia capacity of any soulmeld, feat, or special ability by your Charisma bonus for 1 round as a Free Action. But it's only usable once per day at level 4 (ECL 9), twice at level 7 (ECL 12), and three times at level 10 (ECL 15). Incandescent Champion also provides some essentia , but does not progress meldshaping in any other way, and all of it's other class abilities are garbage. So it's only worth considering for an NPC.


    To summarize, essentia capacity will typically be 1-4 for most applications, 1-6 an Incarnate's soulmelds, and 1-8 for a small number of the Incarnate or Totemist's most important soulmelds. In theory for 1 round you could push it up to 9 with Divine Soultouch add your Cha bonus with Incandescent Champion, but in practice few people will do so. It's also worth noting that Ironsoul Forgemaster does NOT provide +1 essentia capacity to anything, so you'll have slightly less effective soulmelds at ECL 15+ (in exchange for better class abilities).
    Thanks for reading! Please comment and contribute!
    Last edited by Red Fel; 2014-10-03 at 08:34 AM.
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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    Good to see this PrC getting a guide. It's what the Dwarven Defender only wishes it could be. I'll chime more in when I have a moment, but certain rules gray-areas need to be spelled out.

    I will edit more in when I get to a computer, phone typing is for the birds when you are getting technical

    EDIT:

    Alright, there are two big rules "Grey Areas" that will have to be decided by DM fiat any time you decide to play an Ironsoul Forgemaster.

    First, if an Incarnate Weapon counts as a "weapon crafted by the Ironsoul Forgemaster" for the purposes of Weapon Bond. While you did not make it out of a normal physical material (the normal process of "crafting", you definitely made it out of soul energy. Most DMs will let this one go, since it will completely lock out an otherwise-good Soulmeld.

    The other one is much less likely to fly with DMs, and that is Essence double-dipping. This comes into play when any of your Bond abilities interact with a Soulbound piece (or an Incarnate Weapon). The Bond abilities don't specifically call out that they have to be specifically invested in, so the interpretation goes that if you invest Essence into the Soulbound ability or the Incarnate Weapon Meld, that same essence will also do double-duty and power the Bond ability.

    As a DM, I personally let the first one be any time it comes up. The second, though, I only allow if the Forgemaster is falling behind the curve. It greatly increases the power of the class, and if your group is full of T4-5 classes it will be imbalancing to have. Then again, if you have a couple of competently played T2 characters, having it will help bring you up into shouting distance.
    Last edited by PsyBomb; 2014-04-27 at 06:34 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forrestfire
    Optimization stops being practical and starts being theoretical when your DPR is measured in Tarrasques instead of hit points
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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    A few things that I noticed reading through the Races section
    1. You mentioned that Gold Dwarves get a bonus to Cha/Dex, where you should be saying penalty.
    2. What's this about the Psionic Duergar's psionic abilities being based off of Intelligence? Soul Manifester can also be entered with Ardent, which is Wisdom-based, which is one of an Incarnate's secondary stats.
    3. Maybe note something about working with your DM with Alethian Dwarves? 3.0 psionics were... interesting, to say the least.

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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by PsyBomb View Post
    Good to see this PrC getting a guide. It's what the Dwarven Defender only wishes it could be. I'll chime more in when I have a moment, but certain rules gray-areas need to be spelled out.

    I will edit more in when I get to a computer, phone typing is for the birds when you are getting technical
    Looking forward to it. I need all the help I can get.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuulvheysoon View Post
    A few things that I noticed reading through the Races section
    1. You mentioned that Gold Dwarves get a bonus to Cha/Dex, where you should be saying penalty.
    2. What's this about the Psionic Duergar's psionic abilities being based off of Intelligence? Soul Manifester can also be entered with Ardent, which is Wisdom-based, which is one of an Incarnate's secondary stats.
    3. Maybe note something about working with your DM with Alethian Dwarves? 3.0 psionics were... interesting, to say the least.
    Good catches, thanks! And fixed.
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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    Ok, I edited in the "DM Fiat" section to my previous post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forrestfire
    Optimization stops being practical and starts being theoretical when your DPR is measured in Tarrasques instead of hit points
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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    Looking good - but note that Psychic Warriors run off of Wisdom, not Intelligence.

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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    Updated: PsiWars run on Wis, Soulbound may or may not stack, Incarnate Weapon may or may not stack.

    Keep them coming, and thanks!
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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    Psionic Druegar are actually pretty spiffy, since the ML on their racial Expansion scales with level, Psi-like abilities always behave as though augmented as much as possible, and you can take a feat n times to get 2n extra uses. So by mid levels you're running around as an oxymoron huge sized dwarf for minutes at a time whenever you feel like it.

    Also, in addition to being Wis based, Ardents are very multiclass friendly thanks to the whole Practiced Manifester thing, and can make Magic and Psionics identical by taking the Magic Mantle. The intent was to reinforce transparency in games that don't go by the default rules, but that is absolutely not how it ends up working as written. Among other things it lets you double down on Practiced Manifester advancing your maximum power level known by taking Practiced Spellcaster as well, and of particular noteworthiness for an Ironsoul Forgemaster, that manifester level is now a caster level for all intents and purposes, meaning it will stack with Secrets of the Forge. Identical is a pretty strong word.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WhamBamSam View Post
    Psionic Druegar are actually pretty spiffy, since the ML on their racial Expansion scales with level, Psi-like abilities always behave as though augmented as much as possible, and you can take a feat n times to get 2n extra uses. So by mid levels you're running around as an oxymoron huge sized dwarf for minutes at a time whenever you feel like it.

    Also, in addition to being Wis based, Ardents are very multiclass friendly thanks to the whole Practiced Manifester thing, and can make Magic and Psionics identical by taking the Magic Mantle. The intent was to reinforce transparency in games that don't go by the default rules, but that is absolutely not how it ends up working as written. Among other things it lets you double down on Practiced Manifester advancing your maximum power level known by taking Practiced Spellcaster as well, and of particular noteworthiness for an Ironsoul Forgemaster, that manifester level is now a caster level for all intents and purposes, meaning it will stack with Secrets of the Forge. Identical is a pretty strong word.
    These are all very good points. And certainly, if magic transparency ended the story, I think Psionic Duergar would be a fantastic choice, LA notwithstanding.

    The problem is that Powers are not a prerequisite for crafting magic arms and armor. Perhaps if the class were refluffed - perhaps a Duergar version that crafted psionic arms and armor - it would be awesome. And it certainly would be. But the problem here isn't the CL for crafting - the Forgemaster's got CL in the back. The problem is meeting the prerequisites to craft various enhancements. And that requires knowing spells.

    Now, in theory, you could make your way with StP Erudite cheese. But that takes effort and levels which I'm not inclined to encourage in this particular handbook.

    That said, I like where your head is at, and I think I'll make a note of it. Thanks!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    These are all very good points. And certainly, if magic transparency ended the story, I think Psionic Duergar would be a fantastic choice, LA notwithstanding.

    The problem is that Powers are not a prerequisite for crafting magic arms and armor. Perhaps if the class were refluffed - perhaps a Duergar version that crafted psionic arms and armor - it would be awesome. And it certainly would be. But the problem here isn't the CL for crafting - the Forgemaster's got CL in the back. The problem is meeting the prerequisites to craft various enhancements. And that requires knowing spells.

    Now, in theory, you could make your way with StP Erudite cheese. But that takes effort and levels which I'm not inclined to encourage in this particular handbook.

    That said, I like where your head is at, and I think I'll make a note of it. Thanks!
    Yeah, fair enough. That's the problem with Binder crafting too, though at least they've got Anima Mage.

    I guess my other thought would be to try to finagle some manner of fast progression casting in, but Ironsoul Forgemaster's non-evil requirement precludes the best one.

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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by WhamBamSam View Post
    Yeah, fair enough. That's the problem with Binder crafting too, though at least they've got Anima Mage.

    I guess my other thought would be to try to finagle some manner of fast progression casting in, but Ironsoul Forgemaster's non-evil requirement precludes the best one.
    I'm AFAB at the moment, but I don't think ur-priests lose anything from becoming good. It's kinda cheesy and depends on the character not needing to qualify for the prestige class after they've entered it, but as far as I can recall it would work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zetapup View Post
    I'm AFAB at the moment, but I don't think ur-priests lose anything from becoming good. It's kinda cheesy and depends on the character not needing to qualify for the prestige class after they've entered it, but as far as I can recall it would work.
    I was planning to go Totemist 5/Ironsoul Forgemaster 3/Ur-Priest 2/Contemplative (Law) 1/Sapphire Heirarch 6/Ironsoul Forgemaster +4 or somesuch, which only works if you waver back and forth across the LN/LE line.

    All the others are a pain to qualify for and also Cha based, which is really something of a drag.

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    On the subject of combat feats, "Free Dazing, all day long, on any attack" seems to totally scream lockdown.

    Combat Reflexes, Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Spiked chain, Knockdown, and Crusader 2 for thicket of blades and defensive rebuke. Enlarge person, threaten 15 ft; if they move, hit them for 10+ damage (triggers knockdown) and try to daze them. Melee enemies that are dazed and tripped are non-existent, casters are easier to take down. Unfortunately it wouldn't come online until level 14...but still

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    Posting to recommend deep dwarves from MM1 as a race

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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    Regarding Ardents, a thought occurs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ironsoul Forgemaster
    Secrets of the Forge (Ex): At 2nd level, you gain Craft Magic Arms and Armor (see page 81 of the Player's Handbook) as a bonus feat, even if you do not meet the prerequisites. Your effective caster level for the purpose of crafting magic arms and armor is three times your ironsoul forgemaster level. For example, a 5th-level incarnate/2nd-level ironsoul forgemaster is treated as a 6th-level caster for the purpose of creating magic arms and armor. These effective levels also stack with any other caster levels that might apply.
    You must still meet any other prerequisites for creating the desired item, such as other feats or the casting of specific spells. This stipulation might mean that you need the assistance of other characters to create a particular item.
    Emphasis mine. Your CL is for the purpose of creating magic arms and armor, not for the purpose of using the feat Create Magic Arms and Armor. With the Magic Mantle, magic and psionics are identical, so you're limited not by the fact that you don't know the necessary spells for magic arms and armor, but by the fact that you don't have the feat Create Psionic Arms and Armor, which is easy enough to remedy. Spend one feat there, and Secrets of the Forge should work just fine for any psionic equipment you should want to construct, so long as you know the powers. You're still limited to what your chosen mantles, the Substitute Power ACF, and Expanded Knowledge will get you, but it still might be the best option if you want to inject casting into the build to fuel your crafting.

    Also, if you're going for Draconic Soulmelds, Dragonborn Dwarf seems a little better than Fireblood Dwarf. The bigger Con bonus is probably worth the Dex hit, especially when you can go Heart Aspect (wings won't do much for you in heavy armor) and maybe take Entangling Exhalation or something.

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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by WhamBamSam View Post
    Also, if you're going for Draconic Soulmelds, Dragonborn Dwarf seems a little better than Fireblood Dwarf. The bigger Con bonus is probably worth the Dex hit, especially when you can go Heart Aspect (wings won't do much for you in heavy armor) and maybe take Entangling Exhalation or something.
    I'd leave both in - while Dragonborn Dwarves are pretty awesome, they lose some of the good dwarvish features, like being able to Tumble in Heavy Armor, weapon proficiencies, etc...

    More of a niche option than anything else, but still probably worth mentioning.

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    Incarnate 3/Ardent 2/Ironsoul Forgemaster 9/Ardent +6

    Feats; Metamorphic Transfer, Practised Manifester, Craft Psionic Arms and Armour, the rest is up to you
    Mantles; Mental Power, Magic Mantle, Natural World, any other of choice
    ACF's; Substitute Power
    Items; Orange Ioun Stone
    Powers; Metamorphosis, Practised Manifester

    This build doesn't really rely on Shenanigans. If your DM doesn't like them, just don't do them, it's not a one trick pony. You can still be an Ironsoul Forgemaster, and still work as an Ardent.

    As mentioned, Craft Psionic Arms and Armour through the magic mantle benefit from the Secrets of the Forge. You can now craft your armour; which includes Psychic Reformation and Metamorphosis.

    Psychic Reformation you can then reform away, and choose a new power for that level, with no XP cost, and no time frame.

    Metamorphosis, you can use to take the form of any high Con monster (Dusk Giant, I think is the highest natively), and use that to generate your Daze on hit; or you can even go all out, and take War Troll for two Daze on saves as well (incidentally, the only way to really make the Daze "viable" rather than "ooh, neat, I got a Daze".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ikeren View Post
    On the subject of combat feats, "Free Dazing, all day long, on any attack" seems to totally scream lockdown.

    Combat Reflexes, Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Spiked chain, Knockdown, and Crusader 2 for thicket of blades and defensive rebuke. Enlarge person, threaten 15 ft; if they move, hit them for 10+ damage (triggers knockdown) and try to daze them. Melee enemies that are dazed and tripped are non-existent, casters are easier to take down. Unfortunately it wouldn't come online until level 14...but still

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    Will add these notes to Builds and Feats when I get the chance later today. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by WhamBamSam View Post
    Regarding Ardents, a thought occurs.

    Emphasis mine. Your CL is for the purpose of creating magic arms and armor, not for the purpose of using the feat Create Magic Arms and Armor. With the Magic Mantle, magic and psionics are identical, so you're limited not by the fact that you don't know the necessary spells for magic arms and armor, but by the fact that you don't have the feat Create Psionic Arms and Armor, which is easy enough to remedy. Spend one feat there, and Secrets of the Forge should work just fine for any psionic equipment you should want to construct, so long as you know the powers. You're still limited to what your chosen mantles, the Substitute Power ACF, and Expanded Knowledge will get you, but it still might be the best option if you want to inject casting into the build to fuel your crafting.

    Also, if you're going for Draconic Soulmelds, Dragonborn Dwarf seems a little better than Fireblood Dwarf. The bigger Con bonus is probably worth the Dex hit, especially when you can go Heart Aspect (wings won't do much for you in heavy armor) and maybe take Entangling Exhalation or something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaz View Post
    Incarnate 3/Ardent 2/Ironsoul Forgemaster 9/Ardent +6

    Feats; Metamorphic Transfer, Practised Manifester, Craft Psionic Arms and Armour, the rest is up to you
    Mantles; Mental Power, Magic Mantle, Natural World, any other of choice
    ACF's; Substitute Power
    Items; Orange Ioun Stone
    Powers; Metamorphosis, Practised Manifester

    This build doesn't really rely on Shenanigans. If your DM doesn't like them, just don't do them, it's not a one trick pony. You can still be an Ironsoul Forgemaster, and still work as an Ardent.

    As mentioned, Craft Psionic Arms and Armour through the magic mantle benefit from the Secrets of the Forge. You can now craft your armour; which includes Psychic Reformation and Metamorphosis.

    Psychic Reformation you can then reform away, and choose a new power for that level, with no XP cost, and no time frame.

    Metamorphosis, you can use to take the form of any high Con monster (Dusk Giant, I think is the highest natively), and use that to generate your Daze on hit; or you can even go all out, and take War Troll for two Daze on saves as well (incidentally, the only way to really make the Daze "viable" rather than "ooh, neat, I got a Daze".
    Those are... really good points. Huh. Yeah, I guess crafting-wise, CL is the same, isn't it? And that is more than a bit of awesome. I'll add that. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuulvheysoon View Post
    I'd leave both in - while Dragonborn Dwarves are pretty awesome, they lose some of the good dwarvish features, like being able to Tumble in Heavy Armor, weapon proficiencies, etc...

    More of a niche option than anything else, but still probably worth mentioning.
    Inclined to agree. Definitely adding Dragonborn. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yogibear41 View Post
    Posting to recommend deep dwarves from MM1 as a race
    I'll look into it when I have book access. Thanks!

    I should be updating the handbook later this morning (or early this afternoon), so please keep those comments and suggestions coming!
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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Geeze, how many more of these do we have? The heck with it, I'm skipping them unless they're something unusual.
    Tsk tsk.

    • Dream Dwarf (Races of Stone): Trades the Cha penalty for a Dex penalty, which you said was bad, but if you absolutely need Cha for something... well, you have Gold Dwarf. Dream dwarves have Druid as favored class, which is fine if you wanna be all "MWAWR! IMMA DIRE BADGER! MWAWR!", but not so great for Ironsoul Forgemaster. Also, you trade your racial skill bonuses for some meaningless divination perks. Dream Sight is a very rare and unique ability to see into the ethereal plane, but... yeah, that may be one of those "t*ts on a bull" kinda things.
    • Frost Dwarf (Planar Handbook): So apparently duergar weren't "metal" enough, we got evil dwarves that are so hardcore, they're from the Abyss. I have this urge to put umlauts all over these guys. Bigger Con bonus, bigger Cha penalty, cold resistance 10, and a couple SLAs (chill touch for proving their Necromancy chops and obscuring mist obviously for the Stonehenge set piece). For LA +1, not worth it.
    • Earth Dwarf (UA): How do you out-dwarf a dwarf? By doubling all that dwarfiness! Double the racial skill bonuses and double the stability bonus! Also gets Str +2 for Dex -2, which might be worth it for a heavily-armored beatstick. Only now there's some racial hatred thing for creatures with the [air] subtype... because... yeah... an underground race with ancestors from an elemental plane that has almost no breathable air whatsoever... would totally have an axe to grind with creatures that have the [air] subtype... sure, that makes sense. If you're doing the Crafty thing, then earth dwarves are a notch above standard dwarves.
    • Glacier Dwarf (Frostburn): Swaps most of their racial bonuses for ice-based racial bonuses. They also get Cold Tolerant, which counts as if they had taken the Cold Endurance feat, which lets them take Improved Cold Endurance, which might be useful if you weren't already getting resistance to all energy types from Ironsoul Forgemaster. So no need to bother with this subrace unless you've got some kinda Adele Dazeem fetish you need to work out.
    • Jungle Dwarf (UA): "If you got the money, honey, we got your disease." Downgrades darkvision to low-light and trades stone/metal based abilities for a +2 racial bonus to Heal, Knowledge (Nature), Spot, and Survival. Other than that, not much different from a standard dwarf, except they get Ranger as a Favored Class, which may be useful if you need to dip Ranger for something and need to avoid multiclass penalties.
    • Seacliff (Stormwrack): Trades racial attack bonus vs. goblinoids for "Strong Swimmer", a +2 racial bonus on swim checks and the ability to hold your breath longer. A swimming dwarf? SWIMMING? No. *REAL* dwarves sink to the bottom, walk to the edge, and then climb out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    Tsk tsk.

    • Dream Dwarf (Races of Stone): Trades the Cha penalty for a Dex penalty, which you said was bad, but if you absolutely need Cha for something... well, you have Gold Dwarf. Dream dwarves have Druid as favored class, which is fine if you wanna be all "MWAWR! IMMA DIRE BADGER! MWAWR!", but not so great for Ironsoul Forgemaster. Also, you trade your racial skill bonuses for some meaningless divination perks. Dream Sight is a very rare and unique ability to see into the ethereal plane, but... yeah, that may be one of those "t*ts on a bull" kinda things.
    • Frost Dwarf (Planar Handbook): So apparently duergar weren't "metal" enough, we got evil dwarves that are so hardcore, they're from the Abyss. I have this urge to put umlauts all over these guys. Bigger Con bonus, bigger Cha penalty, cold resistance 10, and a couple SLAs (chill touch for proving their Necromancy chops and obscuring mist obviously for the Stonehenge set piece). For LA +1, not worth it.
    • Earth Dwarf (UA): How do you out-dwarf a dwarf? By doubling all that dwarfiness! Double the racial skill bonuses and double the stability bonus! Also gets Str +2 for Dex -2, which might be worth it for a heavily-armored beatstick. Only now there's some racial hatred thing for creatures with the [air] subtype... because... yeah... an underground race with ancestors from an elemental plane that has almost no breathable air whatsoever... would totally have an axe to grind with creatures that have the [air] subtype... sure, that makes sense. If you're doing the Crafty thing, then earth dwarves are a notch above standard dwarves.
    • Glacier Dwarf (Frostburn): Swaps most of their racial bonuses for ice-based racial bonuses. They also get Cold Tolerant, which counts as if they had taken the Cold Endurance feat, which lets them take Improved Cold Endurance, which might be useful if you weren't already getting resistance to all energy types from Ironsoul Forgemaster. So no need to bother with this subrace unless you've got some kinda Adele Dazeem fetish you need to work out.
    • Jungle Dwarf (UA): "If you got the money, honey, we got your disease." Downgrades darkvision to low-light and trades stone/metal based abilities for a +2 racial bonus to Heal, Knowledge (Nature), Spot, and Survival. Other than that, not much different from a standard dwarf, except they get Ranger as a Favored Class, which may be useful if you need to dip Ranger for something and need to avoid multiclass penalties.
    • Seacliff (Stormwrack): Trades racial attack bonus vs. goblinoids for "Strong Swimmer", a +2 racial bonus on swim checks and the ability to hold your breath longer. A swimming dwarf? SWIMMING? No. *REAL* dwarves sink to the bottom, walk to the edge, and then climb out.
    I am totally lifting these as-is. That was beautiful. Thanks a bunch!
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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    You might want to mention Midgard Dwarves (Frostburn) in your races section. On the plus side, they get a bunch of good crafting abilities. On the minus side, they have LA and a bunch of RHD. Back on the plus side again, those RHD are outsider-type, which means they're not much of a problem (though the LA still is). And on the question-mark side, it's not clear that they technically count as dwarves (though they really should).

    And I don't see a section on good soulmelds to shape. One that deserves mention is Vitality Belt: It's pretty useless if you're just dipping an incarnum class or taking the Shape Soulmeld feat, since it scales with meldshaper level... But in a build that actually does advance meldshaper level, you can get an insane amount of HP from it.

    Also, in your section on prestige classes, you downrank some for having high-level requirements, but there's no reason you can't just take those classes after you're done with forgemaster, not before.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    You might want to mention Midgard Dwarves (Frostburn) in your races section. On the plus side, they get a bunch of good crafting abilities. On the minus side, they have LA and a bunch of RHD. Back on the plus side again, those RHD are outsider-type, which means they're not much of a problem (though the LA still is). And on the question-mark side, it's not clear that they technically count as dwarves (though they really should).
    Added. Also, looking at Frostburn, they have the Dwarven Blood feature, qualifying them as Dwarves.

    And I don't see a section on good soulmelds to shape. One that deserves mention is Vitality Belt: It's pretty useless if you're just dipping an incarnum class or taking the Shape Soulmeld feat, since it scales with meldshaper level... But in a build that actually does advance meldshaper level, you can get an insane amount of HP from it.
    Yeah, I haven't gotten around to it, yet. But I added a preliminary note. Thanks!

    Also, in your section on prestige classes, you downrank some for having high-level requirements, but there's no reason you can't just take those classes after you're done with forgemaster, not before.
    I don't just downgrade them because of requirements, although that's part of it. I downgrade them based on what you can get. For example, Runescarred Berserker. Even assuming you take it after Ironsoul Forgemaster - which means you have to wait before having spells you can work into your items - your levels are limited. Let's assume the minimum. You need 8 Craft ranks and 2 Knowledge ranks to get into Ironsoul. The good news is that both are class skills for Incarnate. The bad news is the level delay. Your maximum rank in a class skill is your character level +3, meaning that, to get Craft 8, you need 5 character levels, a mix of Barbarian and Incarnate. Assuming you go straight into Ironsoul Forgemaster, that means you're level 15 before you can take Runescarred Berserker. You get a maximum of 5 levels of that class, granting you two extra rages, +1 natural AC, DR 1/--, cold resist 5, and a total of six spells known, up to 3rd level. Further, you miss out on two Scribe Runescar slots, because you're likely going to cover your chest with armor, and you have to touch the scars to trigger them. Yes, you're getting full BAB and solid Fort save, but honestly, for those five levels, you're kind of missing out. If your goal is gishing or gaining spell access, there are better classes; if your goal is to be melee-heavy, there are better classes. It simply doesn't seem to be a solid choice for what you're getting.

    As an aside, my class recommendations are based upon the assumption that the player is taking all 10 levels of Forgemaster. That's because crafting is such an integral part of the class, and 10 levels gets you 30 CL for crafting purposes, which is major. If a player took fewer levels of Forgemaster, obviously, the recommendations would change.
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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    I have a race you missed: Maeluth, from the Fiend Folio. They're Planetouched (so make them Lesser), and get +2 more Con at the cost of -2 Dex (total -2 Dex, +4 Con, -2 Cha). In addition to some other minor benefits. One of which is making a weapon Unholy temporarily (use it on the Paladin's Holy Avenger to annoy him).
    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    Don't you see it? The inert Shrieker may have more raw power, but the rock has something the Shrieker will never have. VERSATILITY.

    Also, the rock will probably be lighter than the Shrieker, allowing it to be used as a improvised thrown weapon should the need arise.

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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    Some thoughts to add:

    Fighter (base class): There's a variant rule under Exotic Shield Proficiency (Races of Stone p. 139) where you can ask your DM to swap your tower shield proficiency for an exotic shield, such as the Extreme Shield or Rider's Shield. This might work with a Crusader, since they are proficient with tower shields, although the variant rule only mentions fighters.

    Weapon Familiarity: There's another variant rule (Complete Warrior pp. 154-155) that allows you to switch your racially familiar weapons from Dwarven Waraxe and Dwarven Urgrosh to something else with "Dwarven" in the name, such as the Dwarven Buckler-Axe (Complete Warrior) or the Dwarven Warpike (Races of Stone). This allows a 1st-level dwarf with martial weapon proficiencies to outfit himself with a 2d6 2H reach/trip weapon and a 1d6 offhand weapon that still threatens adjacent targets.

    Dwarven Buckler-Axe: This allows you to attack with a two-handed weapon and still get all the advantages of a shield. Even better, there's no additional -1 penalty for attacking with the arm the buckler is attached to. Even non-dwarves can use this, since you don't need to spend a feat on EWP to use it as a shield. If you don't have proficiency with any shield, just make sure it's masterwork (ACP = 0) and the non-proficiency penalty is zero. You can add shield-only augment crystals, such as the Lesser Crystal of Arrow Deflection (2500 GP, MIC, +5 untyped AC bonus against *all* ranged attacks). It's also usually much cheaper to load up the really expensive +4/+5 armor enhancements (such as Soulfire or Freedom) on a +1 buckler-axe than on your existing armor.

    Oh, and a minor note about Soulbound Weapons/Armor: Greater Augment crystals can only be attached to an item with a +3 enhancement bonus, but most people never bother increasing their enhancement bonus that high because they're too busy loading them down with other Kewl Powerz. Soulbound lets you cheat a bit, though... you can invest essentia into a +1 weapon/armor to make it +3, and then you can attach Greater Augment Crystals to them.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vedhin View Post
    I have a race you missed: Maeluth, from the Fiend Folio. They're Planetouched (so make them Lesser), and get +2 more Con at the cost of -2 Dex (total -2 Dex, +4 Con, -2 Cha). In addition to some other minor benefits. One of which is making a weapon Unholy temporarily (use it on the Paladin's Holy Avenger to annoy him).
    Not technically a Dwarf, by RAW, but added.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    Some thoughts to add:

    Fighter (base class): There's a variant rule under Exotic Shield Proficiency (Races of Stone p. 139) where you can ask your DM to swap your tower shield proficiency for an exotic shield, such as the Extreme Shield or Rider's Shield. This might work with a Crusader, since they are proficient with tower shields, although the variant rule only mentions fighters.
    Note made.

    Weapon Familiarity: There's another variant rule (Complete Warrior pp. 154-155) that allows you to switch your racially familiar weapons from Dwarven Waraxe and Dwarven Urgrosh to something else with "Dwarven" in the name, such as the Dwarven Buckler-Axe (Complete Warrior) or the Dwarven Warpike (Races of Stone). This allows a 1st-level dwarf with martial weapon proficiencies to outfit himself with a 2d6 2H reach/trip weapon and a 1d6 offhand weapon that still threatens adjacent targets.
    Added this, plus the weapons, plus the Improved Weapon Familiarity feat. (Because why choose?) Thanks!

    Oh, and a minor note about Soulbound Weapons/Armor: Greater Augment crystals can only be attached to an item with a +3 enhancement bonus, but most people never bother increasing their enhancement bonus that high because they're too busy loading them down with other Kewl Powerz. Soulbound lets you cheat a bit, though... you can invest essentia into a +1 weapon/armor to make it +3, and then you can attach Greater Augment Crystals to them.
    I'm going to have to make a more detailed section on Augment Crystals. Looking over the rules, I think that Craft Magic Arms and Armor can be used to craft them, which gives the Forgemaster another exciting thing to do. But yeah, noted. Thanks!
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    Default Re: Soul and Steel: A Guide to the Ironsoul Forgemaster (WIP, PEACH)

    Actually, is a CL of 30 a big deal? Nonepic items will only require at most CL 20, and epic items are, well, epic. The discount from making stuff yourself isn't nearly as large as the x10 on the price tag of epic items, which mostly makes them impractical until you also have epic WBL.
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