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  1. - Top - End - #151
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Judging update: Four builds are done. One more build is very nearly done, and if I apply myself, I can probably finish it before I leave for work today (though the chances of me getting anything done after work are basically nil). EDIT: Five builds are done. The remaining build has some preliminary notes scribbled down in all four categories, but I'd hesitate to call them even 50% done. My goal is to finish the last build tomorrow; I have a busy evening, so there's not much more that I'm going to accomplish today, but hopefully tomorrow will see things to the end.

    As far as a judging extension goes, I'm a judge and not a chef (so I dunno if my vote counts for much here), but I would definitely rather see two judges than have everyone's score be entirely my responsibility.
    Last edited by Zaq; 2015-11-05 at 03:17 PM.
    In the Beginning Was the Word, and the Word Was Suck: A Guide to Truenamers

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Gentlefolk, learn from Zaq's example, and his suffering. Remember, seven out of eleven players who use truenamer lose their ability to taste ice cream.
    Come join the Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground E6 Appetizer Edition! We're currently judging for round 24. Everyone is welcome!

    My compiled Iron Chef stuff!

    Queer pride isn't limited to one month!

  2. - Top - End - #152
    Troll in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    I think we may have a quorum for an extension.

    OMG PONIES: have you a sense of how much time you may need?

  3. - Top - End - #153
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Quote Originally Posted by daremetoidareyo View Post
    I think we may have a quorum for an extension.

    OMG PONIES: have you a sense of how much time you may need?
    Wednesday at the latest, Monday very late at night if I push myself. Mrs. Ponies is traveling for work, and as such I must fill the sorrowful hours of my temporary bachelorhood.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaz View Post
    Ponies, the Kim Karsdashian of GITP.
    This is what happens when they let me DM:
    Beyond the Horizon IC / OOC
    A Time to Die: Alpha IC / Bravo IC / OOC

  4. - Top - End - #154
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Temotei's Avatar

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Quote Originally Posted by OMG PONIES View Post
    Wednesday at the latest, Monday very late at night if I push myself. Mrs. Ponies is traveling for work, and as such I must fill the sorrowful hours of my temporary bachelorhood.
    One to three days is a fine sacrifice for doubling the judging pool, I think.
    Base Class Contest XXXXVII - Time is on Our Side (Yes it is)
    Chat Thread
    Contest Closes May 24th

    Homebrew
    Please feel free to PM me any thoughts on my homebrew (or comment in the thread if it's not too old).

  5. - Top - End - #155
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    All right, let's do this! Clocking in at 18,000 words even (for the judgment itself, plus whatever I'm saying here), my judgment is done! It's too long for one post, so please be patient while I break it up; I actually am going to have to put it in three posts, so give me a minute to do that. I guess I was verbose. (Big surprise there, right?)

    I hate to say it, but there weren't any builds this time around that really knocked my socks off. That's not an indictment of the chefs in any way; this was a really nasty SI, and the reason I'm judging is because I straight up gave up on cooking it, so I definitely want to send some respect to those of us who managed to tough it out and put something in front of me. Anyway, I've got a lot of posting to do, so let's get to it!

    Post 1 of 3:

    Thing #1 and Thing #2:
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    Originality: 3.0 Blood Magus. Yeah. I'm not just taking off points because there were three Blood Magi. I'm taking off points because there were three Blood Magi and Blood Magus was the very first thing I thought of when I read Polyhaemia. (Plus, the fact that it's got overlapping prereqs and offers Heal as a class skill makes it a pretty natural choice for Flux Adept.) So you've got the double whammy of it being obvious and it being repeated. [–0.5] Beyond that, though, I definitely didn't expect a Barbarian, and even though we were already in the Dragon Compendium, I didn't expect a (pair of) dvati either. I have no idea why you're doing either of those things, but the fact remains that I didn't expect them at all, so I can give you points for that. [+0.5] Using Precocious Apprentice to get "2nd level spells" with only one level expended is gutsy, but it's also not exactly anything new.

    Power: 1.75 Using dvati to get your HP down low enough to have Berserker Strength active is . . . I'm going to say clever. Too clever by half, perhaps, but clever. That said, is it actually wise to have HP so low that you can rely on that? You're getting up close and personal with the enemies, you've got no CON bonus, and you're at half HP compared to a regular character to begin with (plus, you're a level behind thanks to your LA, so your HP is even lower than usual compared to a normal character). And of course, you mentioned that you're using Blood Magus to self-damage with the express goal of getting into Berserker Strength. You also have low AC (no DEX, I'm not sure what kind of armor you actually wear, and Berserker Strength imposes a –2, as you mentioned). What prevents you from just keeling over the first time something decides that you look squishy? I guess you do have a few basic defensive spells (Mage Armor, Mirror Image, Displacement, Fire Shield), but aside from Mage Armor, all of those take actions in combat (from both twins, mind you), and I don't see any way of reducing that action cost, assuming that you can even concentrate to cast them (see my comments in Elegance). (It also doesn't help that you have to occupy both twins to cast those spells.) Plus, it's an awfully long time before you actually have enough spellcasting mojo to have the slots and CL available for those things, so you're definitely a few steps behind a normal "squishy Wizard," who wouldn't normally be Power Attacking things in melee range. Tempting Fate only works once per day (and only on one twin!), and there's a lot of levels before it comes online (even assuming you can get a bonus luck feat from the Court of Thieves, which I really don't like you relying on in an Iron Chef context, especially given that I'm not at all sure how you would actually get past the gauntlet of traps that protects the Court of Thieves). I do see Diehard in there, which I guess kind of works with Stanch from Blood Magus, but really, that's kind of weak tea (and it might make you even more likely to be killed, since someone standing and fighting as an active combatant at negative HP is more likely to get knocked to –10 than someone who's unconscious and therefore no longer a threat—and remember that Feign Death takes a standard action, so you can't just fall over and play dead in response to someone hitting you). Overall, I just don't see how you can actually survive your primary strategy of Berserk-ly meleeing things in the face, and that makes me think that you just aren't that effective at what you profess to do. [–0.75]

    You seem to be relying a fair bit on using Handle Animal to take care of things for you (you mention training magebred combat animals into Warbeasts, loadstone marauders, and warbeast sparrows, I believe?), but your Handle Animal is really nothing special. I don't know how many ranks you actually have in it (since you didn't actually finish your skill points), but you don't have that many to begin with (and it looks like you have one point free per Flux Adept level, which you're somehow splitting between four different skills?), you have 8 CHA, and Pheromonic Control is only worth a +4 at best (limited times per day for the Eagle's Splendor part, and only against things with Scent for the other part). I can't tell just how much of your primary strategy actually relies on this, but I don't see you as actually being good at it. Since you mention it in three separate areas in your entry, I figure you care about it enough that it kind of matters whether or not you're actually good at it. [–0.25]

    I'm incredibly skeptical that you can use your familiar to do all the work for you that you think it can do. With no ranks in Diplomacy, why should anyone actually listen to a weird talking semi-draconic animal thing (of indeterminate type, since you didn't specify cat vs. raven vs. huitzl) to find hirelings or train teamwork benefits or purchase trainable animals or introduce a pair of weird (constantly raging) Things to a party? (We're not even going to talk about them somehow setting up your whole Court of Thieves escapade.) I do understand that this is D&D, so I'm not saying that no one would ever listen to a weird semi-draconic talking animal, but I'm still highly skeptical that you can just use your familiar as a proxy to do everything you think it can do. As a result, I think your out-of-combat abilities are more limited than you're admitting. I'm not going to hand out a penalty in that regard (since I do appreciate you at least acknowledging that you'll need some flavor of workaround for those levels where you're literally always raging), but neither am I going to award any bonuses for that sort of thing. At best, you're half-covering a weakness; I don't see enough of a positive strength here to be worthy of a bonus. [0]

    I'm not seeing a lot of utility coming from your magic. You seem to mostly have combat spells, but with your super-slow progression and your limited ability to cast thanks to Berserker Strength, I'm not sure how often you can bring those spells to bear. What's more, you have no ranks in Concentration or Tumble, so if you're in melee range of something you can't 5 ft step away from, you WILL get attacked for trying to cast, and with no CON and no Concentration, there's no guarantee that the spell won't fizzle. So you can basically only cast before stuff closes in to you. Between all this and the fact that casting occupies both twins' actions, I'm not at all convinced that your spells are going to be very useful to you. [–0.25]

    Overall, I'm not getting a strong impression of what you do well. You've got high STR, Berserker Strength, and Power Attack, but you're way too squishy to survive going toe-to-toe for long against anything CR-appropriate, and Power Attack is your only real source of bonus damage (with a possible exception of Arcane Strike, but I'm not sure, because you didn't actually pick an 18th level feat; either way, there's a whole lot of levels before 18th), so you're not actually a good melee character. You've got some spells, but you lose so many caster levels that you basically never have level-appropriate ones, you can't cast them half the time, and casting spells ruins your dvati action advantage. You don't have enough skill bonuses to serve as the party skillmonkey. I just don't see a niche that you're able to competently fill.

    Elegance: 0.75, raised to minimum of 1.0 Okay, first things first. Let's talk about your use of wildcards. This build, to be blunt, is not finished. It is not my job to assign your skill points for you. It is not my job to pick between Arcane Strike and Summon Elemental. It is not my job to figure out whether your familiar is a cat or a raven or a huitzl (all three of which are mentioned in the build table). It is your job to make those decisions and present me with a finished build. You don't get to rely on the judge picking the most favorable setup for you. That just plain isn't how Iron Chef works. Can you imagine one of the real (food-related) Iron Chefs presenting a judge with an unseasoned dish and a spice rack, telling them to add whatever spices they see fit? That's just as silly as what we've got here. I don't know what more to say than that. [–1]

    You can't get 5 ranks in Heal by level 2. It's not a class skill for Wizard or for Barbarian, no matter how many variants you invoke. You can't actually get 5 ranks in Heal until you've got 7 HD, so even if you rejigger your skill points, that means that you're entering Flux Adept a level early. You can see that this puts me in a tough situation. There's no easy way to realign your levels to actually make this work, since you don't come anywhere near the CL 5 necessary to enter Blood Magus for quite a while. That's really not a good place to be. At best, that means that you're losing a level of Blood Magus (which means you don't get the Polyhaemia + Blood Draught trick); at worst, it means you're losing a level of Flux Adept (which still means you're losing the Blood Draught + Polyhaemia trick). Either of those costs you a level of spellcasting advancement, unless you put Wizard in the placeholder level. Plus it means you spent too many skill points. (You also spent too many skill points at level 5.) To be blunt, this is bad. [–0.5]

    I'm not at all convinced that your "componentless spells" trick is enough to cast while raging. Even if we accept your dubious interpretation of False Theurgy (which, I will remind you, only works once per encounter, like all skill tricks do unless stated otherwise, and False Theurgy does not state otherwise), componentless spells still require concentration (they still take a standard action and still provoke AoOs without use of the Concentration skill, after all), and they still can't be cast while raging. Rage (or in your case, Berserker Strength, which has "the same limitation on actions as a barbarian in rage") doesn't interfere with components—it just says flat out that you can't cast spells. You will also notice that Rage specifically bans using metamagic feats, so even if we accept your dubious argument that you can use False Theurgy to mimic a Silent True Strike, you can't do that while raging, because you can't use Silent Spell while raging. Appealing to the GM's mercy because "you're using a FLUX ADEPT" might work in a home game, but this is Iron Chef, and we don't get convenient houserules to make things work the way we want them to work just because the RAW is inconvenient. The end result is that you've got a few levels where you just can't cast, and then you've got a bunch more levels where you can only cast until something hurts you, which doesn't seem like an effective way to play a character. (It's also a massive rules headache whether you can cast when one twin is Berserk and one twin is not, since both twins have to concentrate to cast a spell, but even glossing over that, this isn't pretty.) Overall, I just plain don't think it works. I respect the amount of effort you put into trying to make Barbarian play nice with Wizard casting, but ultimately, it doesn't actually do what you want it to do, and the entire character just suffers from a massive lack of cohesion as a result. [–1]

    You also don't qualify for Blood Magus. When you take Blood Magus, you have 1 level in Wizard and 6 levels in Flux Adept, for a total of CL 4 on your Wizard casting. Blood Magus requires CL 5. You could fix this by swapping Flux Adept 7 one level earlier and putting Blood Magus one level later, but you didn't do that, so that's another way your build is illegal. [–0.25]

    I do appreciate the use of Bear Totem Wasteland Barbarian to take care of many of the troublesome prereqs for Blood Magus and Flux Adept. Since Toughness, Great Fortitude, and Endurance aren't Fighter bonus feats, it's actually relatively tricky to get them all from class levels. The fact that Great Fortitude is a prereq for both Blood Magus and Flux Adept might be obvious, but I already dinged you for that in Originality, and I do like seeing prereqs serve double duty, so I can give you some credit for the nice way you handled those prereqs. [+0.5]

    I've got you sitting at a total Elegance of 0.75 right now. The minimum score is 1, so we'll bump it up to 1, but there's really not much that's elegant about this character.

    Use of Secret Ingredient: 1.5 The fact that you didn't finish the SI is unfortunate. Regeneration is an ability that's otherwise really hard to get as a PC, so passing up on that is definitely regrettable, especially on someone as squishy as you are.

    Overall, I'm not sure what good Flux Adept is doing you. Deadly Spittle is a clever trick, but with only enough CON to get 3 (or maybe 4, depending on how you read "minimum 1") doses of it per day (and note that being a dvati doesn't let you double it—you get 3 per day, not 3 per day per body, so spitting from 2 bodies at once will just drain your reserves faster), I'm not really seeing it being a primary strategy for you. Feign Death might be useful for someone so squishy (and of course, that's a massive headache as far as dvati are concerned—can one Feign Death without the other one doing so?), but beyond that, I don't see you actually making much use of the abilities. I guess the fact that you actually like to make physical attacks makes Haste a little more useful for you than for your fellow chefs, though you seem to be under the mistaken impression that we're still using the 3.0 Haste that just grants an extra standard action, which isn't at all true. And I guess that you do have the (obvious, but still flavorful) trick of Blood Draught + Polyhaemia = "my blood is all the potions," though it's not clear to me if that's really going to matter by the very, very late point at which it comes online. (It's horribly unclear how either Blood Draught or Polyhaemia work with dvati, anyway; I'm inclined to think that at least Polyhaemia does care which twin drank the potion, though I could go either way for if Blood Draught cares which twin's blood holds the potion; either way, it's ugly.) Also, your Barbarian-ness actively interferes with using Polyhaemia; you can't make INT-based checks, including Craft: Alchemy checks, while raging, so I hope you aren't at low HP when the time comes to use Polyhaemia.

    If you're relying on your familiar to make all your skill checks for you, remember that your familiar doesn't get the Flux Adept features that boost skills, so you're basically losing the SI's features there. Grace Through Will has no effect on whether "you can keep marbles from destroying your charges"; only true ranks in Balance prevent flat-footedness when Balancing, and since you didn't actually assign your skill points before plating up the dish, I have no idea when you actually get enough ranks in Balance to deal with that sort of thing.

    Being a dvati doesn't actually help most of your Flux Adept abilities; on the contrary, it makes many of them less efficient. The dvati rules say "In most cases, an effect that applies to one twin fails to spill over to the other," so you have to burn more of your precious uses per day if you wanted to give both twins claws, or have both twins sweat acid, or have both twins use Haste, or have both twins use Pheromonic Control. It's not even at all clear how Polyhaemia would work for them (or for that matter, if Blood Draught is tracked for them separately); only Personal spells are automatically shared, and you can't even put a Personal spell in a potion, so it looks like you have to even track your potions separately. In short, being a dvati actively interferes with you getting a lot of use out of most of your Flux Adept abilities. That's kind of a big deal, and not in a good way. Honestly, I think that's your biggest problem as far as UoSI goes: many of the SI's abilities are use-limited per day, you don't have enough CON to use them very often, and you have to use them twice as often as a normal person to get the same effect, so you're really drastically limited in how much use you can get out of the SI's features.

    I can see the effect that Flux Adept had on your build, in that it seems pretty clear to me that the prereqs pushed you in the direction of Barbarian. The downside is that I still don't see how Barbarian meshes with Flux Adept at all, so you just have this weird contraption of a character who doesn't seem to know what it wants to do. You're a Barbarian to facilitate Flux Adept, but you didn't do anything with Flux Adept once you got in, so you've just got this hodgepodge of abilities that don't really seem to make much sense.

    Your one saving grace is that the character is chaotic enough (in terms of design, not in terms of alignment) that it's not automatically the case that you'd be stronger for being more of your base classes, but that's really just because your non-SI classes are all over the place and don't really do you much good. All told, though, you can't really benefit from the SI's abilities, so even though you were building toward the SI instead of building around the SI, you still don't really need to be a Flux Adept. [–1.5]

    Final Thoughts: Playing a dvati is always kind of swinging for the fences. You know that they're pretty cheesy to begin with, so you're pretty much going big or going home. I can tell that you knew this, since you've got a hell of a lot of shenanigans packed into a single build. I do applaud your bravado; it takes guts to put a dish like this in front of the judges. Unfortunately, I'm not convinced that it actually works. I really have no idea why this character made any of the choices they did. Wizard and Barbarian are like oil and water here, and Flux Adept honestly comes out of nowhere, especially considering that dvati actively fights with it. Overall, no part of this build plays nicely with any other part of the build, and you end up with a character who doesn't really have any strengths. The only thing about this character that really impressed me was using Barbarian to take care of most of the annoying prereq feats for Blood Magus and Flux Adept, but beyond that, there just wasn't much to recommend it.
    Total Score: 7.25


    Liara Rosebloom:
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    Originality: 2.5 Blood Magus. Yeah. I'm not just taking off points because there were three Blood Magi. I'm taking off points because there were three Blood Magi and Blood Magus was the very first thing I thought of when I read Polyhaemia. (Plus, the fact that it's got overlapping prereqs and offers Heal as a class skill makes it a pretty natural choice for Flux Adept.) So you've got the double whammy of it being obvious and it being repeated. [–0.5] Beyond that . . . you're a Wizard. You've got a touch of MotAO (but not enough for the full Spellpool), and of course you're a Flux Adept, but fundamentally, you're a Wizard. You're not the only Wizard (though you're the only Wizard who went for basically a full caster build), and you don't do much that differentiates you from any other Wizard/Flux Adept, so I'm not seeing anything that makes me want to give out extra Originality points.

    Power: 4.0 You're the only chef to hit 8th level spells, which is worth something. You're not the only one to basically play a full caster, but still, you do have the highest level spells of anyone in the contest, so that's worth mentioning. Sure, those missing 5 levels definitely hurt at the end, but you pretty much brought about as much magic to the table as it's possible to bring without losing levels in Flux Adept, so you can get some points for that. [+0.5]

    While your UoSI is likely not happy about the fact that you waited until the last possible minute to take Flux Adept, the fact that you took it so late does mean that you have as much spellcasting advancement as possible before you start losing caster levels, so you're able to pretty much function as a normal Wizard (minus a few annoying prereq feats) for the first half of your career, which is definitely helpful. I like seeing a strong early game, and with full Wizard casting, you definitely can solve problems early on. [+0.25]

    I'm not sure if Focused Specialist helps you more than it hurts you. At high levels, most of your spells known appear to be Conjuration, but at lower levels (where you're more likely to need to worry about running out of slots in the first place), you almost seem to like Transmutation and Abjuration spells as much as Conjuration, and I wonder if you're actually going to have enough slots per day to do everything you want to do. Conjuration spells are powerful enough that you can probably find a way to muddle through with them, but it does make me wonder. I guess we'll call that even. [0]

    Your feats are basically divided into two categories: Strong Wizard Feats and Annoying Prereqs. You do have a lot of annoying prereq feats (Cooperative Spell, Toughness, Great Fortitude, Endurance—Heighten Spell is kind of a mix of prereq and useful on a Wizard), but your non-prereq feats are all pretty useful, give or take Acidic Splatter (it's a nontrivial matter for a prepared caster to devote a high-level slot to powering a reserve feat, since that has a much higher opportunity cost than a spontaneous caster doing so; that said, it's not a bad option to fall back on, though I really would have ideally liked to see Precise Shot to make the RTAs easier). Collegiate Wizard is a great way for an Iron Chef Wizard to get lots of spells without quibbling over how much gold you have to spend and how many scrolls you can find, Practiced Spellcaster is good for shoring up the weaknesses of the SI, Craft Contingent Spell is crazy powerful, and Minor Shapeshift is good for any caster who has the feat space available. With three PrCs, each of which requiring at least a feat or two that you wouldn't take on your own, you've got a lot of prereqs to burn through, but your non-prereq feats definitely stand on their own merit. I'm almost hesitant to give you more points for them, though; I've already given you points that boil down to "you're a Wizard, and Wizards are powerful," so rewarding you for taking powerful Wizard feats like Craft Contingent Spell and Minor Shapeshift kind of feels like letting you double-dip in "Wizards are powerful and have powerful toys." (There's also the not-so-minor problem about you taking feats that aren't legal bonus feats, meaning that you'd actually have to give up some of your powerful feats to make the build legal, but we'll talk about that in Elegance.) So I guess I can give you a little more credit here, but you've already earned the bulk of what I'm giving you. [+0.25]

    Elegance: 2.0 First off, Toughness isn't a Fighter bonus feat, so you can't get it instead of Scribe Scroll. Weird, right? But them's the rules. Believe it or not, Great Fortitude isn't a Fighter bonus feat either, so that's also not a legal bonus feat for you. In Iron Chef, always, always, always check the prereqs for your feats, and always, always, always check your bonus feats to make sure that they're legal choices. You aren't the first person who's been burned by this, and you won't be the last. But the fact remains that you don't qualify for the SI, nor do you qualify for Blood Magus. None of your other feats are Fighter bonus feats, so you can't just shuffle things around and become legal. That's bad. Very bad. You'd have to radically redo your feats to make this legal, probably losing Collegiate Wizard and Acidic Splatter (though you could conceivably shunt Heighten Spell up to 3rd level and then Cooperative Spell up to 5th level, since you can take a metamagic feat as a non-Martial Wizard bonus feat, so you actually might be able to keep one or the other of Collegiate Wizard or Acidic Splatter). Honestly, I'm tempted to slap you with a Failure To Qualify, since the build is flat out not legal as presented, it takes more than trivial changes to make it legal, and one of the things for which you fail to qualify is the Secret Ingredient. Since you could theoretically make it work by losing one of your feats, I'll just assess a half-point penalty for each illegally chosen feat instead of giving you a zero for FTQ, but you really need to be more careful about that. [–1]

    You overspent a skill point at level 11, since Concentration is cross-class for the SI. You accounted for that at every level of Flux Adept after that, but you did mess up there. A minor problem, but still a problem. [–0.25]

    I dinged you in Originality for taking Blood Magus, but you definitely took it for the right reasons: Blood Draught + Polyhaemia is highly flavorful, there's that overlapping Great Fortitude prereq, and perhaps most importantly, it gets you Heal as a class skill without losing any caster levels. It's unfortunate that you still didn't get into Flux Adept any quicker than you would have by just taking Heal cross-class, but still, you definitely paid attention to your prereqs, so that's nice to see. [+0.25]

    I do not believe that you get access to Bard and Sorcerer spells by means of the Spellpool. The sidebar on pg. 49 of Complete Arcane is very clear that the Spellpool has spells "on the wizard/sorcerer spell list in the Player's Handbook," which is not the same thing as Bard spells (or non-PHB Sorc-only spells). The Spellpool is still a useful trick to have, but you're still just a Wizard, not a Wizard with Bard spells. [0]

    I definitely like seeing Quick Potion. I actually really like that spell, since I think potions are thematically very cool, and Quick Potion is a great way of making them not be a major gold drain. The downside, of course, is that you only have access to Polyhaemia for all of two whole levels (at an ECL where having access to a couple extra 2nd- and 3rd-level spells per day really doesn't mean jack, especially when those extra spells are subject to the limitations and downsides of potions), so that's regrettable, but I do like seeing Quick Potion as a way of enabling Polyhaemia. It's not useless before Polyhaemia, of course, but it's not so powerful that it's worth a bump in score anywhere. Still, I wanted to mention it. [0]

    Use of Secret Ingredient: 1.75 The fact that you waited until the last possible minute to enter the SI really makes me think that you were avoiding it. And to be honest, you didn't do anything with the SI that actually makes sense for the character. You have a much higher Bluff than the average Wizard (between having it as a class skill, Pheromonic Control, and Taste of Truth), but you didn't tell me why you really care about that, and with no other face skills, it's kind of weird to have someone who can lie like a champ but who can't convince anyone of anything honestly. Polyhaemia is thematically appropriate (especially with Blood Draught). Other than that? You seem to mostly just care about being a Wizard, and Flux Adept makes you a worse Wizard, which really doesn't do anything to convince me that Flux Adept is a natural choice for the character. This is compounded by the fact that the Flux Adept abilities that you get the most use out of (Taste of Truth, Polyhaemia, and Regeneration) all come super late in the build, so there's a lot of levels there where you're really just strictly worse for having Flux Adept and don't really have much to show for it.

    Overall, this is an obvious case of a build who took the SI because it was the SI, not because you liked the abilities or because it was a natural choice for you. All of the SI's abilities seem like things you rationalized after the fact instead of things you actively incorporated into your build. Pretty much anything you can do is done despite being a Flux Adept, not because of it. You did take all ten levels, and you did put some token investment into Polyhaemia and Taste of Truth, but beyond that, I just don't think you actually used the Secret Ingredient well. [–1.25]

    Final Thoughts: Fundamentally, you're a Wizard, Harry Liana. Your Power benefited from basically being a full Wizard, and your UoSI suffered for the same reason, since your Wizardliness totally eclipsed anything you got from Flux Adept. You definitely got too clever with your bonus feats; always double-check your feat prereqs and your bonus feat options. Vizzini was either too strong or not nearly strong enough, depending on how you look at it; either way, Blood Magus was an obvious and thematic choice, but it suffered from being too obvious. At the end of the day, this is a perfectly strong character, but it's an unremarkable Flux Adept.
    Total Score: 10.25
    In the Beginning Was the Word, and the Word Was Suck: A Guide to Truenamers

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  6. - Top - End - #156
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

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    Originality: 3.5 Using Sorcerer as the source of casting isn't staggeringly original, but I definitely approve of using the Dragonblood Sorcerer substitution level to get Draconic Heritage to get Heal as a Sorcerer class skill. That was cool, and I didn't think of it ahead of time, so points there. [+0.25] Using Planar Sorcerer to get the K: Planes necessary to enter Fiend-Blooded isn't anything new, though I wasn't expecting to see a Domain Access Sorcerer, and I definitely wasn't expecting a lesser maeluth (dragonborn or otherwise), so I guess I can give a couple points for that. [+0.25] Other than that, you're pretty much a Sorcerer, so we'll leave off there.

    Power: 2.0 You've got a good pile of Sorcerer casting; there's basically no elegant way to get more Sorcerer casting and still finish all ten levels of the SI (kobolds and their Draconic Rites notwithstanding, and your Elegance score thanks you for not going down that road). You lose a fair bit of freedom as far as spells known goes, since many of your ACFs cost you spells known (or, in the case of Domain Access, restrict your freedom regarding spells known), but you're still very clearly a full caster, plus or minus an annoying half-casting SI.

    However, while you've got a lot of Sorcerer spells, I'm actually not sure how I feel about your spells known. The majority of them seem to be utility spells, which isn't necessarily bad, but it does leave me wondering exactly what your plan is in combat. (The breath weapon is nice, but with a 1d4 round recharge, it's not a reliable primary strategy in the absence of anything else—an average of 2.5 rounds between uses is a long time, considering that many D&D combats only last 3-5 rounds.) At low levels, Chill Touch and Power Word Pain are perfectly serviceable. However, you don't have much at 2nd or 3rd level that actually brings combat to a close faster (Blinding Color Surge is about the only one that affects an enemy, and that only affects one enemy for one round). Are you planning on doing a gishy thing with Bull's Strength, Claws of the Savage, Draconic Might, and (Greater) Magic Fang? That seems like it'll take a lot of actions in combat, since all of those have short durations (except GMF), and your base stats (12 STR, unremarkable BAB, no armor beyond Mage Armor, poor DEX) aren't that great as a backup. (Claws of the Savage has a middling duration, but it's still far from an all-day spell, especially since you can't Extend an SLA, and there's a lot of levels before it comes online.) You eventually get access to some more combat-oriented spells in the form of Burning Blood, Thalassemia, Wall of Stone/Iron, and eventually Flame Strike and Whirlwind of Teeth, but there's a good chunk of levels in the middle where none of your at-level spells seem to be geared around ending combat faster. None of the SI's abilities in that level range are going to be great for that, either, so I feel like there's a pretty good period of time where you actually aren't very good at combat. Kind of weird for a Sorcerer, but that's what I'm seeing based on your spells known. Sorcerers have great potential power, but I'm actually not seeing a spell list that's good at combat for a lot of your career, and since spells are pretty much the alpha and omega of what you're capable of (especially with the bulk of your feats devoted to SI-related prereqs), that's kind of a problem. You start pretty strong, and you eventually make up some of the ground you lost (though I'd never say you end up with game-smashing power), but there's kind of a donut hole in the middle that really stands out. Since I'm not sure how good you are at gishing it up even once you get all the buffs you want, I just don't think you're good at combat for most of the game. [–0.5]

    I mentioned that your spells tend to be utility rather than combat. So, how good are you at utility? Spider Climb is solid, and Flight of the Dragon is eventually decent (though kind of a short duration; I would have been tempted to hold out for Overland Flight). You have a couple defensive combat spells (Blinding Color Surge, Wings of Cover); they do help you survive combats, but they don't help you end combats, and they don't do a ton out of combat. You have a couple buffs that can be cast on allies, even if they're kind of situational. Your 3rd level spells mostly confuse me. Analyze Portal is a really situational spell, and that seems like the kind of thing that you would leave up to the Wizards and the scroll-users, not the Sorcerer with harshly limited spells known. Control Temperature is cute with Thermoregulation, but how useful it is in its own right is debatable, at least without other spells to combine with it. Nondetection baffles me; what are you hiding so frequently that it's worth a spell known, especially considering the expensive material component? 3rd level spells have a ton of crazy good options (Haste/Slow, Fly, Mass Snake's Swiftness, Dispel Magic . . . even Fireball is halfway decent when you have Force-Charged Energy, even if it's not a primary choice), so the fact that you took nothing but weird situational spells confuses me. Overall, I think you've got a few out-of-combat tricks, but not as many (nor as many that are generally applicable) as I'd expect from a Sorcerer with so few combat spells. As with your combat spells, the late game sees you in a better spot for this sort of thing (Plane Shift is major, Wall of Stone/Iron are great, and even Charm Monster can have its moments). Outside of your spells, your skills are decent enough, but you're decidedly not a skillmonkey, and I can't see your skills being your primary way of solving too many problems. [0]

    Let's go down your feat list. Your early prereq feats are unfortunate, but not significantly more so on you than on anyone else in the contest. Extend Spell is a perfectly serviceable choice for your required metamagic feat, and you do have a decent number of spells it would work with pretty well. Brew Potion is a bit of a problem, though. You took it for Polyhaemia, right? Well, you forgot that Polyhaemia relies on Craft: Alchemy, which you don't have a single rank in. So it's not actually enabling the SI; it's just serving under its own merits, and its own merits are not very strong. Potions are hella expensive, even when you brew them yourself, and at least a few of your potion-legal spells (including, but not limited to, Mage Armor and Greater Magic Fang) definitely suffer from being put into potions and therefore using minimum CL (unless you pay out the nose for a higher CL, of course, but that just makes the first problem worse). After that, we get into late prereq feats, which in some ways are even more annoying that early prereq feats. (On the one hand, they're less bad than early prereq feats because you have a more robust character with more tricks to fall back on, so each lackluster feat represents a smaller portion of your character's total abilities, and you've got other tricks to use as a backup even if a feat isn't doing you much good. On the other hand, they're worse than early prereq feats because you qualify for better feats that are actually useful at these levels, meaning that you've got a higher opportunity cost to taking a lackluster prereq feat instead of something that's actually strong.) As far as how those late prereq feats actually stand up (outside of being prereqs), Eschew Materials is a reasonably fluffy feat, but if your GM is still messing with your spell component pouch at level 12, you've got other problems, and Blood Calls to Blood is pretty darn situational, so those feats are really only serving as the cost of entry into Fiend-Blooded rather than making you stronger in their own right. Shape Breath is decent (having played a DFA, I can definitely appreciate the benefits of having access to both lines and cones), though I'm not sure how critical your breath weapon is going to be from levels 18-20. You basically don't have any bonus feats (except Draconic Heritage, which serves as a different kind of prereq), so your feats are almost entirely prereqs, Brew Potion, and Shape Breath. Brew Potion is an uninspiring feat for you, and Shape Breath comes so late that it almost doesn't matter, so you've pretty much got nothing really interesting in your feat list. I guess Extend Spell is useful despite being a prereq, but other than that? I'm thoroughly unimpressed, and I don't think your feats are making a good argument for your Power. [–0.5]

    I like the Smiting Spell + Dark Tide trick, but there are two problems with it: first (and perhaps most importantly), it's level 20 only, and I don't really care about stuff that only works at level 20. Second, you don't seem to have any way of being immune to the giant pile of extra-spicy blackwater, so that might be dangerous. In short, it's a cute trick, but because of those two reasons, I don't think I can give much credit for it. (Smiting Whirlwind of Teeth is also fun, but again, 20th level.) [0]

    Elegance: 2.75 3.0 Playing a dragonborn who's not Good is a little iffy, but since you're also not Evil, I'll call that close enough. A real hard-ass GM might invoke the Tarnished Dragonborn rule on pg. 15 of RotD in response to a dragonborn taking Fiend-Blooded and using a surprisingly high number of [Evil] spells, but I don't feel like being a hard-ass about this, so whatever. It's not explicitly illegal, and fluff is mutable, so we'll leave it at that. (The only thing that really still worries me is your use of Demonic Blood Infusion, which has the [Evil] tag, explicitly makes the target Chaotic Evil, and has a tendency to permanently turn the target CE even after the spell wears off. I can definitely see Bahamut having a problem with that. Since you didn't list it as being a primary strategy, I guess I won't mark off for that, but do be careful with that sort of thing in the future.)

    Nice job using Lesser Planetouched to dodge the LA and qualify for Fiend-Blooded. I normally view Lesser Planetouched as being a little cheesy (not so cheesy as to usually earn a penalty, but it definitely doesn't usually get any goodwill from me), but turning the alleged drawback of going from Outsider to Humanoid into a benefit (since a non-Lesser maeluth couldn't qualify for Fiend-Blooded) is clever enough to earn some points. (I just love seeing drawbacks turned into assets.) [+0.25]

    I have some bad news about your skill points. Believe it or not, Concentration isn't a class skill for Flux Adept. (Yeah, the class is even worse than you thought it was!) That means that at 7th through 14th, you overspent by 1 skill point per level. Since it's an easy mistake to make, I'll only count off once, but the build is still not legal as written. [–0.25]

    I'm not sure it's actually possible to have become a dragonborn "when he had 1 Humanoid Hit Die, prior to obtaining his first class level." You don't have any RHD, so there's no provisions for you having a Humanoid HD before gaining a class level. Especially because the Rite of Dragonic Rebirth costs 100 GP, and while I'm willing to believe that you can get that many before attaining 2nd level, I'm not confident you can do it before attaining 1st. And you can't get your Heal skill on if you don't qualify as [dragonblood] when you take Sorc 1, huh? I'm really torn about this. I mean, the rules are pretty clear that you have to start as a non-dragonborn and become a dragonborn. On the other hand, they're pretty much presented as a race like any other (or a pseudotemplate that's easy to get), and honestly, I've always been in favor of ignoring a lot of the costs of stuff you need at level 1 (a standard Sorc doesn't have enough starting GP to summon a familiar; a standard Pally doesn't have enough GP to afford real heavy armor; a standard Fighter doesn't get a masterwork weapon . . . all of these things are dumb and should be glossed over, in my opinion, and it's not going to break the game to let you start with a familiar or a suit of armor or a dragonborn race). In a home game (not that I'd ever start at level 1, eww), I'd never tell someone they couldn't start as a dragonborn, and I'd only make them pay the 100 gp if they actually did start as something else and truly transformed on-camera. In the end, I think I really do have to mark off a little bit for this; I'm not marking off so much because it's illegal as because it requires the GM making a favorable ruling for you, if that makes any sort of sense (and it may not at this point). [–0.25] EDIT: Successfully disputed. No penalty for this issue.

    You don't have any clever way of dealing with prereq feats, either by getting them as bonus feats or by making them do double duty. I mentioned it in Originality already, but I do like your use of Draconic Heritage to take care of Heal, so that's cool. The fact that both Flux Adept and Fiend-Blooded use K: Arcana is nice, but hardly amazing, since that's pretty much the most common skill for casting-related PrCs to require (or darn close to it; I've never seen the numbers). Still, I like your trick with Heal. [+0.25]

    Your progression is pretty smooth, or as smooth as it can be for a weird SI like Flux Adept. The most noticeable hiccup is actually taking Planar Sorcerer. At the level you take Planar Sorcerer, you don't have any spells that can actually qualify for Force-Charged Energy (and you only ever get a couple of them at all), and the K: Planes ranks don't pay off until much later (even getting K: Planes as a class skill doesn't do much, since the SI gets it as well), so you're basically giving up a 2nd level spell known (your highest level known at the time, I might add, so definitely a big cost!) for a vaguely defined benefit that won't pay off for quite some time. That's . . . less than elegant. It's just one level, but still, for a low-level Sorcerer to give up a precious, precious spell known in exchange for a benefit they can't use for many levels to come? That's not good. In fact, it's not even clear if it's legal to take Domain Access and Planar Sorcerer at 5th level, since they both give up the same thing: the ability to learn a new 2nd level spell at 5th level. You might be able to talk a GM into ruling that you can lose two spells known without each of them trying to grab the same spell known, but I don't think that it works by RAW (and at best, you'd be giving up your already-learned 2nd level spell, replacing it with the domain spell). The Planar Sorcerer level just isn't elegant no matter how you slice it. [–0.25]

    Use of Secret Ingredient: 3.5 I like the flavor of a Flux Adept with Scent (how bizarre is it that they don't actually get it normally?), but I don't buy your argument that having Scent makes all your opposed CHA-based rolls get the +2 from Pheromonic Control. "Against" has a meaning, and it's not that. If the wording was something like "any CHA-based skill check involving a creature with the Scent ability," I'd definitely give it to you, but you're very clearly rolling against the other creature, not against yourself. So that's clever, but it's not clever enough to really work.

    As far as everything else goes, I guess it's best to look at everything one at a time. You have a few token ranks in Tumble and Balance, but you otherwise ignore Grace Through Will entirely (and even the full +5 bonus from GTW doesn't make you good at those two skills). Pheromonic Control is both good and bad on a CHA-based caster; on the one hand, the Eagle's Splendor effect does directly make your casting better, but on the other hand, a CHA-based caster is ideally going to want to find a permanent enhancement bonus (that doesn't take an action in combat and that affects bonus spells per day, unlike Eagle's Splendor). I do appreciate you not assuming that you'll automatically have access to a Cloak of Charisma, but you can see where I'm coming from, I hope. Still, it's not totally useless on you. Control Temperature was a very clever choice for you; you're basically the only chef to be able to proactively do anything with Thermoregulation, so kudos there. You don't have any especially clever uses of Iron Stomach or Feign Death; I definitely recognize that those abilities are situational and hard to show off as primary strategies, but I don't see a lot of effort put into them on your end. Bitter Tides also isn't doing you a ton of good; RAW, it only adds extra damage to the claws you get through Boiling Blood, not the ones from Claws of the Savage, and you don't do anything especially interesting with it. You have enough Bluff that Taste of Truth is noticeable (and getting Scent is thematically appropriate, if not actually that useful), but you don't max it out, and you have the same trouble as some of your fellow chefs in that (1) you don't really pay a lot of attention to Bluff for a while but then get a massive bonus all at once after Taste of Truth comes online, and (2) you don't have any other face skills, so you have a character who can lie like crazy but who can't convince people of things honestly, which is weird. If you actually do use your crazy claws strategy, I guess Haste does you some good (there's ambiguity if Haste grants an extra claw attack, since the spell description specifies "one extra attack with any weapon he is holding," but I'm willing to let that slide); I'm not sure how powerful you actually are with your claws even when fully buffed, but at least you're making some effort there. You're the only chef to make use of spells that directly buff your claws, so Boiling Blood is a bit less bad on you than on everyone else; the fact that you have to spend a ton of actions turning on the claws and then turning on the buffs (again, minus GMF, though it's ambiguous what happens if GMF's duration goes beyond the duration of the claws, or if you can pre-cast GMF before your claws exist) is definitely not a great thing for how useful that'll actually be, but as far as UoSI goes, you're the only chef who seems to do much with Boiling Blood, so that's good for you. You sort of ignored Polyhaemia; you went out of your way to pick up Brew Potion to guarantee that you'd have potions to use with it, but you completely forgot that it takes a Craft: Alchemy check to use it, so you can't actually do anything with it, and that's sad. Regeneration is a nifty ability, but you didn't do anything special with it; the only thing I can see you doing is casting Demonic Blood Infusion on yourself to get some minor resistance to cold and fire, but as I mentioned in Elegance, I can definitely see that jeopardizing your dragonborn status, so that doesn't seem like a primary strategy.

    Overall, there are a couple abilities in the SI that aren't doing you much good (that loss of Polyhaemia is really unfortunate, given that you burnt a feat on the otherwise not-so-great Brew Potion), but I do appreciate you trying to make use of Thermoregulation, Boiling Blood, and Haste in ways that most of your fellow chefs didn't. (You also did get some baseline use out of Pheromonic Control, Taste of Truth, and Regeneration, even if you didn't do anything special with those abilities.) I'm not going to go so far as to say that you use the SI's abilities well enough to make up for the loss of 5 spellcasting levels (especially given that the actual results of your efforts are questionable), but you seem to be trying to work with the SI's abilities as much as or more than many of the other contestants, and with an SI this awful, that counts for a lot. No one started the SI earlier than you (there was a tie), and you finished the SI earlier than anyone else who actually took all 10 levels, so that's cool. I don't know that I'm actually convinced that you really needed to be a Flux Adept, but I think you put more effort into being a Flux Adept than pretty much anyone else, so at the end of the day, you've earned some points here. Not a ton of points (it does definitely interfere with the character's other capabilities, and that loss of Polyhaemia is bad), but definitely something. [+0.5]

    Final Thoughts: I wasn't sure what to make of this build. You've got a lot of magic, but you don't have a lot of really great spells known. A Sorcerer lives and dies on their spells, so to have a limp spell list is a pretty big crime on a Sorcerer. You put in the best effort I saw as far as using the SI's abilities goes, but being brutally honest, I'm not sure how much good it really does you in the end. You've got a number of buff spells that make me think you want to gish it up, but you've got no way of dealing with the massive action economy headache that accompanies all of them, and I'm not sure how great the payoff is even if you get all your buffs up at once. You're not the most chaotic entry I've ever seen by a long shot, but there isn't a real clear picture of what the character really wants to accomplish, and I think that ended up costing you in the end.
    Total Score: 11.75 12.0


    Honest James Horson:
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    Originality: 3.5 Shugenja is an interesting way of answering the question of "how do I get Heal AND K: Arcana AND spells on a single character?", so that's neat. I definitely wouldn't have guessed we'd see any Shugenjas (especially not with weird spells from OA, though I'm not convinced that those OA spells are super useful), so I can give you some points for that. [+0.25] Since the SI has two abilities that focus on boosting CHA-related things, it's not entirely surprising to see another character who plays the face role to the hilt and tries to just talk their way out of everything, but it's definitely gratifying to see one of those characters who doesn't happen to be a Changeling Rogue, so thumbs up for that. (I love Changeling Rogue in general, but we see soooo many in Iron Chef, so it's nice to see a face who isn't one.) [+0.25]

    Power: 2.75 Doing a Handle Animal-heavy character is always risky in Iron Chef, since it's really not clear how many animals (and what kind of animals) it's fair to assume you have at any given point. That's really dependent on availability of funds, availability of time, and availability of the animals in question, all of which are incredibly campaign-specific. You are clearly aware of this, as you mention early on that "this build takes loads of game time to set up," so you can understand where I'm coming from. It's obviously not fair to put this build in a fast-paced hack-'n'-slash dungeon crawl and judge it based on that. That said, it's also not entirely fair to just assume that you have all the time you could ever need and can bring tons of CR-appropriate animals to every fight, or that you can always afford as many rare animal cubs as you want (of whatever type you want), or that you can just generate arbitrarily high amounts of income by selling your animal training services during arbitrarily long downtimes. It is important to remember that pg. 75 of the PHB stipulates that you can't rear more than 3 animals of the same kind at once, though I admit that it's ambiguous if that also bars you from raising other animals of different kinds or if it just means you can only do 3 at a time per type of animal. (Either way, it does put a bit of a damper on your plan to have 20 mice trained at all times, or anything like that—at the very least, it makes it take longer, which brings us back to the original concern about not being sure how much downtime it's fair to assume you have available.)

    Let's start with what you do well. You're an excellent liar, and while I'm not willing to believe that you've got epic skill checks for most of your career, you do have undeniably respectable totals for your highest skills, and you can certainly hit a few epic DCs late in the game. [+0.5] I ideally would have liked to have seen some higher totals for face skills other than just Bluff, but you don't totally ignore your other CHA-based skills, and enough of your bonuses apply to all CHA skills (between Half-Elf Paragon, Motivate Charisma, Eagle's Splendor, and just stupidly high CHA, you've got a pretty darn good total before we break down the skill-specific bonuses) that you can certainly make a functional face, even if you're only really at your best when lying to people. When you have access to animals to train and the time necessary to train them, you're definitely very good at that; I'm not willing to say that you're always going to have the time and the resources available to always have the perfect pet ready, but you definitely invested enough in your Handle Animal abilities that I'm willing to say that you can definitely use it to solve a few problems over the course of your career. [+0.25]

    You're going to have a nontrivial time casting spells in combat if anything decides you look like a target, since you have no Concentration and no Tumble. Anything you can't 5 ft step away from WILL mess up your casting. I understand that you're a half-caster at best, but your spells still seem to be your primary way of contributing to things after initiative is rolled, so the fact that you're entirely relying on your party to stand between you and things that don't want you to cast is worrisome. [–0.25]

    Let's look at your feats. Able Learner is never a bad choice, especially when you're jumping around from class to class. Combat Panache may be your single most helpful feat, since it's about the only thing that you can do once someone gets too close to you. I'm not sure why you chose Earthbound Spell (yes, you needed a metamagic feat, but I don't see why you chose that specific one); you're ECL 11 before you can even use it on a 1st level spell (and I think only Obscuring Mist actually makes sense as an Earthbound Spell among your 1st level spells), and very few of your spells known really seem to do anything when you turn them into traps. Heroic Destiny and Fearless Destiny seem like an awful lot of work for something that only works once per day; I do like the synergy between Fearless Destiny, Combat Panache's ability to play dead, and Flux Adept's actual Feign Death feature, but that's still a lot of feat space for a once-daily ability. (It's not clear whether an animal would be smart enough to wake you from Feign Death after the battle is over. Without you there to tell them what to do, an animal would have to be extraordinarily well trained to stick around a battle dangerous enough to drop its master, and even if you invent a new, non-RAW trick for "wake up the master, who is playing dead," I'm not sure that INT 2 is enough to get an animal to wait until combat is over to do that, especially without you there to tell it what to do. You might wake from your coma and continue to play dead if the animal wakes you up too early, but you could do that with just Combat Panache, kind of obviating the usefulness of the SI.) Persuasive is a prereq, of course, though at least it does make your main trick better, and Master Manipulator has its uses. At a minimum, I think Earthbound Spell is poorly chosen (you just don't have high enough spell slots to really use it, and relatively few of your spells are even good targets for it), and I'm not convinced that Fearless Destiny improves your Combat Panache Play Dead trick enough to warrant spending two feats on it. So after dealing with your prereqs, you've got relatively few feats that really make you stronger, and since you've got a lot of annoying prereq feats to begin with, having dead feat space is pretty rough for you. [–0.5]

    Insidious Corruptor is an interesting choice. I do like the thematic potential of it, and it was clever of you to use half-drow to qualify for yet another thing. My biggest concern with it is that the save DC on Claws of Influence is really low, since it's based on your class level, and you take it super late in the build. Yeah, your CHA is definitely higher than most, but not so much higher that a DC 11 + CHA effect is likely to work at ECL 17 (unless you're dealing with someone of such low level that you likely didn't need Claws of Influence). All told, I think it's a neat thematic choice for the character, but I'm not convinced that what it gives you will really affect your power level at the level you take it. [0]

    As is often the case for silver-tongued rascals, it's not at all clear exactly at what level the character starts being playable; you've got reasonably high skills out of the box, but you don't have "never-fail" levels of skills until you get a good few HD under your belt, and if your skills fail you early on, you have absolutely nothing to fall back on (your early spells are a joke as far as combat goes, and you have no real combat capabilities beyond that). I wouldn't really be comfortable playing this character in the 1-5 range; you're about as good a talker as they come in that range (barring silliness like a Changeling Rogue with a dip in Warlock for Beguiling Influence), but I don't think you're a good enough talker to rely on it to the exclusion of everything else at that level, and if initiative ends up being rolled, you're pretty much useless there. At mid levels, you've got enough tricks that you can handle yourself, but it'd take some really charmed d20s to actually level you up to a point where I'd be comfortable bringing you to the table. [–0.25]

    Overall, you're a hard character to rate in terms of Power, as is so often the case for tricksy skill-reliant characters in Iron Chef. You're not going for a full Kole Naerrin-style "talk your way out of literally every single problem" character, and you do have a trick or two once initiative is rolled, but you tend to be way stronger when things aren't making attack rolls around you. A GM who's willing to work with you (by letting you have access to lots of trainable animals and time to train them, by letting you build up a network of contacts, by letting you try to talk your way out of more than the average dungeon crawl would usually allow, and so on) would see you as a very strong force, but you do rely pretty heavily on the GM giving you opportunities to use your tricks (in ways that a "normal" character wouldn't necessarily need). I guess we'll just leave it at that.

    Elegance: 2.5 I'm a little wary of allowing half-drow into Half-Elf Paragon, given that Drow Paragon exists, but I think the strictest reading of the rules does allow it (depending on whether you read the "except as follows" bit to have Drow Blood replace Elven Blood), so I'll let it slide. Once we're over that hurdle, it's a little bit impressive to see just how much crap you managed to make half-drow qualify you for (Able Learner AND Half-Elf Paragon AND Human Paragon AND Insidious Corruptor). Of course, you do have to invoke the variant rule in the sidebar on pg. 150 of RoD to actually qualify for Able Learner (by default, half-elves qualify for elf-only stuff, but not for human-only stuff; Human Paragon is an exception thanks to the wording of Divided Ancestry in Half-Elf Paragon), so that makes me a little bit less happy. I'm going to say that the positive part of cleverly using half-drow to qualify for a million things cancels out the negative part of having to use fuzzy rules to qualify for Half-Elf Paragon and Able Learner. [0]

    I'm torn about what to do with your lack of a source list. On the one hand, you do offer a lot of citations in your build table, which is good. On the other hand, you don't have a master source list, and you don't actually cite everything—it took me way longer than I care to admit to find half-drow, which was very frustrating. I'm not going to give you the full –1 penalty, since you do cite almost all of your sources, but you still didn't include a list, and I still had to spend time looking for one of your sources, so that's a penalty. [–0.25]

    You spent 2 extra skill points at level 6. You underspent by 2 at 7th, so it's conceivable that you accidentally shuffled the 2 ranks in K: Religion from 7 to 6, but you do need to be careful about that. You also underspent by 2 at 13th, but then you overspent by 3 at 14th. You then underspent by 4 at 17th, and then you underspent by 2 at 18th, 19th, and 20th. You ended up underspending more than you overspent, so I'm not going to take off a ton of points for this, but the fact remains that your skill points ended up sloppy, and you did overspend a couple times. [–0.25]

    I don't like seeing you trying to cross setting lines by invoking a ritual of the Church of Cyric in Eberron. I'm not going to dock you points for it, but I'm also not going to assume that you actually have access to it. Since it's just a bonus to what you're already doing, that's not a huge loss (it's not like it gave you a brand new ability that you were relying on using), but that's going just a little bit too deep into cross-setting material for me to feel comfortable about it in an Iron Chef context. [0]

    In terms of how your actual build is set up, I don't see anything especially elegant, but I don't see much that's terribly inelegant. In a vacuum, using Shugenja to take care of three of the prereqs for Flux Adept (spells + Heal + K: Arcana) is clever. The fact that you're using Human Paragon and Able Learner makes the clever use of Shugenja a lot less clever—since you could easily get the awkward skills out of the way with Human Paragon and Able Learner, you could have gotten your spells from a casting class with a more generally applicable list, so Shugenja ends up feeling like a grab at exoticism for the sake of exoticism rather than simply a clever way of knocking out several prereqs that usually don't come together. [0] Other than that, your early levels are kind of a hodgepodge, but they're a hodgepodge that makes sense for what you're trying to do, and I did mean what I said when I mentioned that I don't mind seeing dips if they really contribute to the character's goals. It's nice to see you using bonus feats to get the SI's prereqs out of the way, but beyond that, nothing really makes me sit up and take notice.

    Use of Secret Ingredient: 2.0 Seven levels of Flux Adept? Ugh. That doesn't make me happy, especially since levels 9 and 10 are some of the most interesting abilities that the SI grants. [–0.5]

    You appear to use basically two abilities from the SI: Pheromonic Control and Taste of Truth. You really don't seem to care about anything else, with the possible exception of Feign Death. (I do see your offhand mention of using Bitter Tides to make you less appetizing when Feigning Death, but I don't see where you're going to get the actions to do that, since they both take standard actions to activate.) Taste of Truth is a pretty decent boost to Bluff, but is it really the best way you could have gone about doing things? It ends up being a +7 to Bluff from Taste of Truth for the cost of seven levels and three feats (plus some skills). If that's all you care about, why not just dip a single level of Warlock to get Beguiling Influence, giving you a +6 to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate for the cost of a single level? A level or two in Incarnate and/or Totemist could have provided much the same effect as you get from Pheromonic Control, and then you'd still have more feats and more levels to play with. Please note, of course, that I'm definitely not marking off on you because something else is stronger (and/or easier) than the SI; I'm marking off on you because the only part of the SI that you really used was something that could have been better handled with something else, and you let the rest of the SI's abilities rot on the vine. When you only care about one or two things the SI does, and those things in question can be easily replicated elsewhere, I'm not at all convinced that the SI is the best choice for the character, you know? You make a good effort at making use of those two abilities, but I don't think they add enough to the character to make me feel like you really wanted to be a Flux Adept. This character is definitely working around being a Flux Adept rather than working with being a Flux Adept, if that makes sense. And again, only taking seven levels is really not doing you any favors.

    The fact that you have Combat Panache doesn't do you much good here, since its Play Dead ability is pretty much strictly superior to Feign Death for day-to-day usage (mostly because of the action required, though the fact that it doesn't require obtuse trigger conditions to wake up is also helpful). I have no trouble believing that you like to play dead when the going gets tough, but I do have a hard time believing that it's better for you to do that with the SI than with Combat Panache. So I don't think you're really getting much use out of the SI's version of Feign Death more often than not. (I'm not saying it could never ever be useful, but I don't think you're really going to be relying on it in the way you say you are.)

    Overall, you did get good use out of Pheromonic Control and Taste of Truth. Pretty much every chef shoved some ranks in Bluff to take advantage of those abilities, but you went farther than most in explaining why it matters that you're good at lying and exactly what kinds of things you can do with a crazy high Bluff total, so I can give you credit for that. [+0.25] The problem is that you didn't really use anything else, and as I said earlier, in no way am I convinced that Flux Adept was a natural choice for this character. [–0.75]

    Final Thoughts: There are a few things in your write-up that made me really scratch my head, but they didn't really affect your score, so I'm just going to mention them here. First, while I definitely like the audacity associated with faking being a changeling reality seeker, I don't see how you're going to pull that off, given that you've got no Disguise ranks until the very tail end of your build, and reality seekers look like untransformed changelings, not half-drow. (I did see something about hiring prostitutes to help you, but that's still something literally anyone can do, so I don't really get what you're going for with that one; besides, are prostitutes necessarily going to have higher Disguise than you, what with your miscellaneous bonuses to everything CHA-related?) Second, your comment about "laundering the clean money through shady businesses" is just downright confusing, since that's kind of the exact opposite of how money laundering works, so I have no idea what you're getting at here. Third, you mention "wearing a disguise spell on top, if dealing with truesight type folk," but that's exactly when you need to NOT use a disguise spell, since True Seeing would pierce the disguise spell (but maybe not the mundane Disguise check). Like I said, none of those things bothered me enough to have them affect your score, so I'm putting them here, outside of the main judgment. Anyway, other than that, you're another talky character who tries to live and die on their skills, but you aren't really much of a Flux Adept. You might be a playable character, but you're playable despite Flux Adept, not because of it.
    Total Score: 10.75
    Last edited by Zaq; 2015-11-09 at 03:30 PM.
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  7. - Top - End - #157
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Last one, so feel free to start complaining at me after this one. (I'm pretty sure I got all the math right, but if I didn't, go ahead and call me out.) Post 3 of 3:

    Edmond Dufresne:
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    Originality: 3.5 With a half-casting SI, I was expecting more chefs to use PrC-granted casting to fulfill the spellcasting requirement, but luckily for you, no one else actually did so. I may have been expecting it, but I was still surprised by you being the only one to actually do it, so that works out in your favor. [+0.25] Changeling Rogue makes an appearance in more Iron Chefs than not . . . yeah, it's an amazingly powerful level (one of the most character-defining single levels in the game, especially at level 1), but it seems like no SI is immune to someone throwing it in there. (I may have to ask one of our lorekeepers how many Changeling Rogues have actually shown up in Iron Chef, at least in the past year or so, because it seems like there's always at least one.) I'm not going to say that it's a bad choice, but it's the exact opposite of an original choice. [–0.25]

    Savant, on the other hand, I didn't see coming. Perhaps I should have, since we already had Dragon Compendium open, but since it's usually so completely overshadowed by Factotum, I nearly forgot that it exists. For that matter, I didn't expect anyone to try to make a stealthy skill-primary character here—yeah, the SI grants a few random bonuses to skills, but with 2+INT skill points per level, the SI really isn't a class that you expect to live and die on its skills. So I really didn't expect anyone to pull out something like Assassin. I can give you some points for going with a character role I didn't really expect. [+0.5]

    Power: 3.0 Your early levels see you as a fairly generic skillmonkey. Changeling Rogue is as useful as ever (like I said, it's one of the most character-defining single levels in the game), and you've got a couple dice of SA, so you can do some damage when you manage to hit (WF doesn't hit the field until 3, as I discuss in Elegance, and your BAB isn't great early on, but you'll be okay). Skill Assistance is a nice trick that I'm surprised we don't see more often. Overall, I think you've got one of the stronger starts out of this crop of entries, which is nice to see. [+0.25]

    Your feats aren't really anything special. Three of them are, of course, eaten up entering the SI—that's unavoidable on some level, but you didn't really put any of them to extra use, so there's a large chunk of build resources that are just kind of sitting there. Deceptive Spell would be very thematically appropriate if you had any spells where you needed the visual effect to come from somewhere else, but since most of your spells are either personal buffs, touch attacks, or mind-affecting tricks with no real visual component, you don't really have a whole lot of use for Deceptive Spell . . . which means that it's nearly a wasted feat. I'm also not sure how much good Brew Potion is doing you. I definitely appreciate that you want to guarantee that you have access to potions to use with Polyhaemia, so I do understand why you took it, but you have very few spells known that can be brewed into potions. Remember that personal spells (or spells above 3rd level, for that matter) can't be made into potions, so you can't use a lot of your stuff like Vital Strike, True Strike, Swift Invisibility, Veil of Shadow, Toxic Tongue, and so on. Ebon Eyes would work, and Amorphous Form would work, and I'm honestly not sure whether or not Blade of Pain and Fear would work. So that puts you at either two or three spells that actually can be made into potions. Not really a shining example of an incredibly useful feat. Overall, I'm seeing more dead weight in your feat list than I really like to see. [–0.25]

    I do think Staggering Strike is a good feat. For most of the time you have it, you've got 4d6 SA, which isn't going to break any damage records, but at least it's noticeable. You have enough swift-action defensive spells that I'm willing to believe that you might actually get away with making a melee sneak attack or two, and you might even have a way of debuffing a Fort save, so I can see you getting some use out of that. Making enemies unable to full attack you is a pretty good way of staying alive, so I like that. [+0.25]

    Unfortunately, you didn't really pay your feat taxes. You've got maxed Hide and MS, but you don't have Darkstalker, which means that anything with Scent, Blindsense, Blindsight, or Tremorsense (and I don't need to tell you how dirt-common those are, do I?) can see you anyway. I absolutely hate that Darkstalker is a feat tax for a character archetype that doesn't necessarily have a lot of free feats anyway, but the fact remains, without Darkstalker, stealth tends to be a losing battle. (It also would have been nice to see HiPS in there somewhere, but I understand that getting HiPS is a nontrivial investment much of the time.) It's clear what the character is aiming to do, but it's not clear how well you'll succeed at that past the earliest levels with neither Darkstalker nor HiPS. (Swift Invisibility is a band-aid, but you don't have enough spell slots to rely on it all day.) [–0.25]

    Elegance: 2.75 Bad news, mate. You don't qualify for Weapon Finesse. It requires BAB +1, which you don't have at level 1. Yes, that's incredibly dumb, and in a home game, I'd houserule that away before you could blink, but you're still not legal as written. You could be legal just by swapping around your 3rd level feat and your 1st level feat (even if that does make your first two levels a bit harder), so I won't give you a zero here or anything, but the fact remains, the build isn't legal. [–0.25] At the very least, your skills are all legal—no bonus for that (that's a baseline assumption, and you don't get a cookie for meeting baseline assumptions), but at least I don't have to penalize for that.

    I'm not seeing any elegant ways of handling prereqs or of making them do double duty. The closest thing is using Assassin casting to qualify for having 2nd level spells, but that's not really anything groundbreaking, and it does mean that you get into the SI later than if you were a base casting class. (It might help you in UoSI by making it so that the SI didn't cause you to lose caster levels, but it's not so elegant that I'm really impressed by it, if that makes sense.) I guess it's nice to use Savant's open-ended bonus feat to get one of the SI's prereqs out of the way, and I do appreciate using Savant's skill list to get the weird mix of skills you need for Flux Adept out of the way, but I'm not seeing anything that really wowed me in that department, since the skill points and the feats still kind of got wasted (you got into the SI, and then you never did anything with them ever again). [0]

    By the very strictest reading of the rules, you don't qualify for Detach, since technically you pick feats before you get new class features (PHB pg. 58-9), meaning that you technically don't have Regeneration until after you pick your 18th level feat. That said, I've never met a GM who's going to be quite that strict about things, so I'll mention it, but I won't penalize for it. Besides, it's funny. Sure, it's not strong, but it's funny.

    Overall, I don't see a whole lot that's really painfully inelegant (aside from the unpleasant prereqs on the SI), but I don't see a whole lot that's especially elegant, either.

    Use of Secret Ingredient: 3.0 Let's just go step by step. You have at least a few token ranks in everything Grace Through Will gives a bonus to—in a perfect world, I'd like to have seen more ranks in them, but with the crappy skill points you get from this class, that's not really possible, and at least I feel like you're making more of an effort on that front than many of your comrades. I'm torn on whether Pheromonic Control does you a ton of good; you do have Changeling Rogue as a high baseline for your CHA-based skills, but you don't really maintain high ranks in most of them (other than UMD and a couple levels of Bluff at the end), and so I can't tell how much you're really relying on that sort of thing. Thermoregulation is passive, so it's not something that's easy for anyone to show off here. (I would have liked to have seen Evasion to really take the biggest advantage of Thermoregulation, but we can't have everything.) I like your fluff use of Iron Stomach to eat the debris from digging your way out of prison; I'm not convinced that you can it to store poisons in your stomach, since the "any" part of it means that you'd probably just start digesting them, vials and all! (It's also not clear where you're getting your poisons, aside from Toxic Tongue and Spider Poison, which don't stick around—Craft: Alchemy doesn't make poisons, since that's what Craft: Poisonmaking is for). Still, that's cute. I do like your use of Obtain Familiar to circumvent the limitations on Feign Death, which is clever. I'm torn about how well you use Bitter Tides; your fluff painted an interesting way to use the ability to sweat acid, using it to burrow out of a jail cell, but that's very clearly a clever situation rather than a strategy that can be adapted to many different situations. Everyone suffers from how late Taste of Truth hits the field, so it's always awkward to have no Bluff advancement for 9 levels and then have a massive boost to it all at once, but at least you've got your Changeling Rogue baseline to fall back on, so it's not like you've never been able to bluff and then suddenly got good at it. You do seem to want to make the occasional full attack (even if I don't see any crazy mobility boosters to really facilitate that round after round), so Haste isn't wasted. Like I said way back on page 1 or 2 of the thread, Boiling Blood is almost strictly inferior to just a single level of Monk, so it's going to be hard to impress me with how you use it; I don't see anything here that really makes me sit up and take notice, but the ability for an assassin-type character to appear unarmed is at least giving it some lip service. As I said in Power, I'm not sure that you can use as many potions as you think you can, but you do have both Brew Potion and enough ranks in Craft: Alchemy to make use of Polyhaemia, so that's not bad. I was wondering if anyone was going to take Detach; you're the only chef who explicitly used Regeneration to qualify for anything, which is a mark in your favor, even if I would have liked to see some way of covering your vulnerability to the things that pierce it. (And yeah, Detach isn't actually that great on a Flux Adept, since they can't reattach members by holding them to the stump, but I guess it's something.)

    Overall, I feel like you at least paid some token attention to using most of the SI's abilities. The fact that you used a 10-level casting class (and therefore technically didn't lose any caster levels) is nice to see, and you're not leaving me wondering why you'd bother slowing down a full caster progression for the SI's lackluster toys. Mind you, I'm still not feeling like the character needed to be a Flux Adept to do what they want to do; you wove a neat story about how Flux Adept might help someone deal with being in solitary confinement, but that's more after-the-fact justification rather than an explanation of why this character is stronger for being a Flux Adept than for being, I dunno, more Assassin and Assassin-related stuff. I'm not going to go so far as to say that being a Flux Adept didn't hurt you; your early feat progression is painful, and you definitely lose some effectiveness as a Roguish character by taking 10 levels in something with 2 + INT skills. But I feel like even if Flux Adept doesn't really make the character that much stronger, it's a lot less confusing on someone like you than on most of your fellow chefs. At this point, I'm willing to call it even; you aren't critically invested in the SI, but compared to a lot of other entries, you seem to be trying a lot harder to actually use the features you're given. [0]

    Final Thoughts: Your fluff wasn't bad (if a bit long), though I admit that it bothered me to consider you gaining eight or ten levels while rotting in solitary confinement. In terms of what you actually do, you aren't breaking any crazy new ground here, but you're overall decently effective at what you're trying to do. I don't think you're 100% as effective as you're billing yourself to be (no Darkstalker means you're way less stealthy than you think you are, the number of spells that you can actually potionify is actually much smaller than you seem to believe, and so on), but you're not a bad character overall. I'm still not 100% convinced that Flux Adept is actually the best choice for you, but at least you're making a token effort to use most of its abilities, which is more than I can say for some of your fellow competitors.
    Total Score: 12.25


    Rincefix:
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    Originality: 2.5 Blood Magus. Yeah. I'm not just taking off points because there were three Blood Magi. I'm taking off points because there were three Blood Magi and Blood Magus was the very first thing I thought of when I read Polyhaemia. (Plus, the fact that it's got overlapping prereqs and offers Heal as a class skill makes it a pretty natural choice for Flux Adept.) So you've got the double whammy of it being obvious and it being repeated. [–0.5] Beyond that, you're a Sorcerer, and you've got some Hexblade levels slowing your progression down, and that's about it. I have to admit that I'm not incredibly impressed, Originality-wise. I mean, I didn't see Hexblade coming, but I also don't see how it really fits the character (the character doesn't feel like a Hexblade; the character feels like a Sorcerer who happens to have Hexblade levels for some reason), so there's that.

    Power: 3.0 First off, I really don't understand what good Hexblade is doing you. You seem to care about your spells, so why sacrifice three more spellcasting levels than you have to? I do understand that Blood Magus interferes with you using Paladin to get CHA-to-saves (though I kinda think a Sorcadin might have been more interesting than what we've seen here), but is Mettle really worth the loss of spellcasting mojo? Your saves are definitely above average, but I don't know if they're so great that Mettle was worth 3 levels. This really slows down the start of your build; your first few levels and your first few feats are basically entirely passive and/or defensive, and it takes a long time before you've got enough magic to make up the difference, if you ever really do. [–0.25]

    I also don't see why you bothered with Blood Magus. Sure, it has Great Fortitude as an overlapping prereq with Flux Adept, but you still have to take Toughness, and worst of all, you don't have enough levels of it to get Blood Draught, the very ability that makes it an obvious pairing with Flux Adept! The fact that Blood Magus is an easy (-ish) way of getting Heal as a class skill might have been a factor if you put it before Flux Adept, but you didn't. I just don't see why it's in there. I can respect putting in something because of matching flavor, but when you don't get far enough into the second class to actually get the flavorful ability in question, I'm just left kind of scratching my head. It does advance Sorcerer casting, so it's not really making you actively weaker (aside from the opportunity cost of taking Toughness), but it's definitely not adding much to your power level. [0]

    Your feats mostly make sense, or as much sense as can be made with the prereqs standing in your way. The first few are painful, but things mostly seem to come together starting with Extend Spell, which is probably the best metamagic feat for you to choose (aside from maybe Invisible Spell, since you lose so many caster levels and therefore don't have a ton of extra slots for metamagicking stuff up). Brew Potion isn't a terrible choice, since I definitely appreciate wanting to guarantee that you'd have access to potions to use with Polyhaemia, though it's a little unfortunate that most of your good potion-legal spells are 3rd level (and therefore expensive; you might not be worried about the 36 XP, but 375 gp a pop definitely adds up if you use it frequently). Flyby Attack is useful for nearly any caster, though it's unfortunate that you have to burn an action in combat to turn on Fly (since you never learn any all-day flight spells). Combat Casting is an interesting way of dealing with the fact that the SI doesn't have Concentration as a class skill; it's still not the strongest feat in a general sense, but it's more useful on a Flux Adept than on your average caster, I suppose. I'm not absolutely in love with Empower Spell, since I'm not convinced that your damaging spells will actually still be worthwhile by the time it comes online, but I suppose it's not completely worthless. (Heighten Spell might have been a better choice, just to make your low-level BFC spells have some more utility.) I don't see any crazy combos or anything with them, but once you get out of prereq hell, your feats mostly stand on their own merit. None of them provide a drastic increase in utility, but after the prereqs are out of the way, none of them are totally dead weight, which is surprisingly rare to see in some rounds of IC. [+0.25]

    You've got a good pile of low- or mid-level Sorcerer spells, but the fact that you lose 3 levels of casting at the beginning when you know you'll lose 5 levels of casting later on is just confusing to me, since you otherwise seem to want to be a full caster. It's always useful to have someone in the party who can cast Grease, Web, and Haste (top-notch spells all around), but with all the lost progression, it seems like that's about all you can bring to the field for quite a while. You're kinda like a Mystic Theurge without the divine spells backing you up; you've still got some well-chosen spells from the strongest list in the game, but you don't necessarily get them at the right levels, and the save DCs and caster levels are lower than they really should be. Fundamentally, this is the same complaint as I made in my first Power paragraph; your Sorcerer spells are good, but Hexblade is standing in the way of you using them to the fullest. In the interest of not double-dinging you, I won't mark off again; what I'm basically saying here is that I appreciate that you made good choices with your spells known, but I don't think that you've got enough spellcasting mojo to justify a bonus for that alone. Sorcerer casting is strong enough that you might be functional in a low-op group even with the handicap you've given yourself, but that's as much as I can say in favor of your power. [0]

    Elegance: 2.5 It's technically ambiguous whether a level 1-3 Hexblade can even make use of Craft (Alchemy), thanks to that pesky "must be a spellcaster" clause, and a Hexblade isn't really a spellcaster until level 4, so that's kinda funky. However, I think that rule is really dumb, and since a Hexblade eventually becomes a spellcaster (even if you never get enough Hexblade levels for that to happen), I'm going to call that close enough, so no penalty on that end. Still, be careful with that sort of thing.

    You spent one skill point too many at level 14. You then underspent by one point at level 15, so I guess that evens out; you could just move the point in Spellcraft one level later, since that's not bumping up against any caps or any prereq thresholds. I kind of wish I didn't have to give out a penalty for such a small error (since your net total is the same), but my criteria state that your skill points have to be legal at every level, and it's a bad judge who ignores his own criteria. [–0.25]

    You might have sold me on Toughness being useful at level 1 if you started as a Sorc instead of a Hexblade, but it's mostly useless for you until you enter Blood Magus, which means there's a massive level gap between investment and payoff. That's a textbook example of something I consider to be inelegant. Add in the fact that Blood Magus doesn't actually do you any good, as I discussed in Power, and we have a really graceless feat choice. Since level 1 is the only level when Toughness even comes close to being useful, I'll mark off less for taking it at level 1 than I would at level 3 or level 6 (even though that does mean you have a larger gap between investment and payoff), but I still really don't like seeing a (nearly) useless prereq feat taking up space for 17 levels. [–0.25]

    Using Great Fortitude as an overlapping prereq may have been obvious, but I already dinged you for that in Originality, and it's still nice to see a prereq feat doing double duty. I really would have liked to have seen Blood Magus earlier (so as to get Heal as a class skill before taking Flux Adept), and the fact that you lose out on Blood Draught is definitely unfortunate (since that's exactly why Blood Magus makes sense to pair with Flux Adept), but at least you've got one instance of aligned prereqs. That's your only elegant way of dealing with prereqs, though; you don't have any clever ways of getting anything as a bonus feat, you don't have any other double-duty feats (or even double-duty skills), and very few of your prereq feats stay useful once you get into whatever you're qualifying for, with the possible exception of Great Fortitude making Mettle a bit more likely to come up. I definitely would have liked to have seen more on this front, but I can give you a little credit for what you did manage to do. [+0.25]

    The jump between Hexblade and Sorcerer is jarring. If I were to look at your build one level at a time instead of looking at the whole thing all at once, suddenly going from Hexblade to Sorcerer doesn't seem to make sense; you do make an argument that Sorc 1 gives more and better spells than Hexblade 4 does, but it still comes off as strange to make the jump there. After a few more levels of Sorc, it becomes clear that you care more about Sorc than about Hexblade, but that just flips the confusion around; instead of wondering why you jumped ship from Hexblade to Sorcerer, we're left wondering why you started with Hexblade at all if you really wanted to be a Sorcerer all along. I think the point I'm really trying to make is that your first three levels (and the feats that attend them) don't have anything at all to do with your next four levels, Flux Adept or no Flux Adept, and that would make the character awkward to play at low levels. It almost might have made more sense if you were obviously jumping around gathering prereqs (I don't view a build full of one-level and two-level dips to be automatically "awkward" if you're obviously building up to something, especially right at the lowest levels), but you seemed to have an early build concept ("tough, resilient Hexblade") that got abandoned in favor of another one ("um, full-casting Sorcerer or something"), with the SI sprinkled on top after you qualified for it. Maybe it's the fact that Hexblade 3 isn't a super-common breakpoint (you usually see 2 levels for CHA to saves or 4 levels for the Dark Companion), so it stands out more than an obvious and common dip like Monk 2 or Paladin 2? I dunno. I just don't think your pre-SI life really hangs together cohesively. [–0.25]

    Beyond that, I'm not seeing anything that stands out to me in terms of Elegance. At the end of the day, the build is relatively simple, but the different parts of it don't dovetail in any particularly clever or elegant ways—meaning that you don't have a ton of moving parts, but the parts you do have don't really seem to mesh that well with each other. It's easy to point at the different build-chunks on a high level (Hexblade provides Mettle, Sorcerer is the base casting, Flux Adept is mandated by the contest, and Blood Magus is late-game filler that's vaguely thematic), but since the different parts don't really do much to build off each other (Mettle is decent, but it has nothing to do with the rest of the build; Blood Magus doesn't really hurt you, but you don't get the ability that makes it a real thematic match, so it's just kind of sitting there), it doesn't feel especially clever or elegant, so really, we can just leave it where we are. [0]

    Use of Secret Ingredient: 2.75 I guess we should just go down the line. Grace Through Will seems to only matter to you for Tumble, but I suppose you at least didn't ignore it entirely. I'm torn about whether Pheromonic Control is good or bad on a CHA-based caster; on the one hand, the Eagle's Splendor effect does directly make your casting (and your saves) better, but on the other hand, a CHA-based caster is ideally going to want to find a permanent enhancement bonus (that doesn't take an action in combat and that affects bonus spells per day, unlike Eagle's Splendor). I do appreciate you not assuming that you'll automatically have access to a Cloak of Charisma, but you can see where I'm coming from, I hope. Still, it's not totally useless on you. Thermoregulation is passive, so there's not much you can do to show that off. You didn't mention any crazy tricks with Iron Stomach or Bitter Tides; I do understand that those are abilities that are very situational rather than something you can showcase as a primary trick, but I don't see you doing much with them that your fellow chefs aren't also doing. I also don't see you doing much with Feign Death; it's kind of in the same boat as Iron Stomach and Bitter Tides in that it's situationally useful, but again, I'm not seeing anything special or clever that you're doing with it. You have high Bluff, so Taste of Truth is good for that; you don't have any other face skills, so it's a little weird to have a "party face" who can lie to anyone but who can't engage in honest dealings at all, but at least you do max out one of the skills that this particular SI ability boosts (although Sense Motive seems to have been ignored outright). I'm not sure what good Haste is doing you; you don't really seem to care about making attacks (though you do mention your martial weapon proficiency now and again, and you have non-dumped Strength), so I can't tell if you really care about Haste. I'm torn about whether it's good or bad that you still have Haste as a spell known; it's good because your Haste actually benefits the party and therefore really does something useful, but it's bad because it kind of obsoletes one of the SI's abilities (though I do understand that you said that you learn it as a spell known after the SI gives it to you). I'm thoroughly unimpressed by your use of Boiling Blood; as I mentioned early on in the thread, it's basically obsoleted by a single level in Monk, so it's going to take something special to make me really notice it, but I don't see you really trying to do much with it. (See my earlier comments about it being unclear if you care about hitting things or not.) You do have Brew Potion and high Craft: Alchemy, so you've got Polyhaemia covered (your argument about Tenser's Transformation and the potion of Bull's Strength involved is cute, even if it's not exactly a groundbreaking capstone ability). I'm not seeing anything that makes you especially able to take advantage of Regeneration (I would have loved to have seen some ways of getting resistance or immunity to the elements that pierce it); I guess the fact that you can heal the self-damage you do with Blood Component is something, though you would have been way better off not taking Blood Magus and instead spending the feat you spent on Toughness on Practiced Spellcaster, so far as your CL is concerned.

    Overall, you don't completely ignore the SI's abilities, but neither am I seeing any way in which they really make you stronger. Since you do have Mettle, I guess Great Fortitude is a little bit less useless on you than on some of your fellow chefs, but the prereq feats still make your early levels really painful, and the fact that you've already lost some CL from Hexblade makes the half-casting nature of the SI even worse for you than for some other entries. Your build doesn't seem to be actively avoiding or fighting the SI, but neither do I believe that you'd ever have given Flux Adept a second glance if it weren't required by the contest, and nothing you do with the SI's abilities really seems critical to how the character functions. The strongest argument in favor of how Flux Adept makes you different from every other Sorcerer out there is that you take advantage of the bonuses to Bluff and Tumble, but when you consider that it interferes with your Concentration progression to the point that you need to take Combat Casting (normally not considered to be a strong feat at all, especially at ECL 15), it's kind of hard to feel great about how the SI affects your skills. In short, I don't think that Flux Adept made you a stronger character, and I don't think that it makes sense as a natural choice for the build. I just don't see you incorporating its abilities into your suite of tricks in such a way that it makes sense for you to have invested in the SI. You aren't ignoring them outright, but I still don't think the character really needed to be a Flux Adept (or even necessarily really wanted to be one), and that just doesn't make me want to give out a high score. Since you did put in a little effort for some of the abilities, I won't give out a terrible score, but I still just wasn't impressed by how well Flux Adept fit your build. [–0.25]

    Final Thoughts: Your Hexblade levels are the only thing that really made you stand out from every other Sorcerer out there, but I just couldn't wrap my brain around what made 3 levels of Hexblade good enough to sacrifice 3 levels of Sorcerer spells. It's a shame that Blood Magus ended up being so common this round, and it's a double shame that you didn't get to take advantage of Blood Draught; that really makes it feel like you lost out in Originality without getting the bump from having the thematic ability that every other Blood Magus was grasping for. Overall, this character isn't terrible, and I could see them being interesting in a very low-op group (it'd be a way to bring a small amount of Sorcerer problem-solving to the table without being a full-blown T2 caster), but I never really got a unified vision of what the character wanted to accomplish and why their abilities made them cool.
    Total Score: 10.75
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Wow, that judging is indeed very thorough. Thanks a bunch, Zaq.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Yeah, I'm impressed. That's a lot of words. Wow.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Disputational!

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Door
    Thanks for judging, Zaq. And now for every judge's favorite part: the feedback.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
    Double Door:
    Power: 2.0
    There are two usual ways of building for Power: on absolute terms, and matching the Secret Ingredient. I opted for the latter. Thus the SI requires spellcasting, but does nothing (other than half advancement) with it, so I chose Double's spells to augment Flux Adept capabilities rather than be used in place of them. Even so, the character's power comes more from spells than FA class abilities; it's a very weak class and hard to get in line with. Similarly, the FA requires lackluster prerequisite feats, so I largely chose similar feats so the rest of the character didn't overwhelm the SI. Your judging went more for absolute capabilities than for keeping capabilities in line with those of the SI. There's nothing I can do about this; we're on different wavelengths.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq
    I like the Smiting Spell + Dark Tide trick, but there are two problems with it: first (and perhaps most importantly), it's level 20 only, and I don't really care about stuff that only works at level 20. Second, you don't seem to have any way of being immune to the giant pile of extra-spicy blackwater, so that might be dangerous. In short, it's a cute trick, but because of those two reasons, I don't think I can give much credit for it.
    Dark Tide starts at a location Medium range away from Double Door; that's up to 1,000' away. The blackwater expands at 100' per round, and thus takes 27 rounds to get to full ½ mile radius. Double has Flight of the Dragon for 100' flight, or 200' per double move, or 400' per round using Run; he can easily avoid the blackwater that way. But he probably doesn't even need that. Starting at 1000' from the center of Dark Tide, Double can Run at 80' per round.
    You can run for a number of rounds equal to your Constitution score, but after that you must make a DC 10 Constitution check to continue running. You must check again each round in which you continue to run, and the DC of this check increases by 1 for each check you have made. When you fail this check, you must stop running. A character who has run to his limit must rest for 1 minute (10 rounds) before running again. During a rest period, a character can move no faster than a normal move action.
    Double Door has a Constitution of 20, so he can run for 20 rounds before needing to make any checks. In 20 rounds he can run 1,600', placing him 2,600' away from an effect which extends 2,640' after 27 rounds. Resting and moving at a normal move action gets him the remaining 40' in 1 round (6 rounds before the blackwater reaches that point), still without needing to make any checks. Double picks where and when to cast Dark Tide, so he can pick a location where there's a reasonable path to Run. (Note that Run requires a straight line each full-round action, but there is no requirement to have 20 rounds each in exactly the same direction; only a bunch of 80' straight lines.)

    In short, Double doesn't need to be immune to the blackwater because he has multiple ways to avoid it. As for the level 20 issue, that's back to the original intent: the build was designed to be in line with the Power of the SI, so his most powerful capabilities were intentionally arranged for late in the build.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq
    Elegance: 2.75
    I have some bad news about your skill points. Believe it or not, Concentration isn't a class skill for Flux Adept. (Yeah, the class is even worse than you thought it was!) That means that at 7th through 14th, you overspent by 1 skill point per level.
    I don't understand. I still spent the skill points; it's just that my goof means the arithmetic for the ranks bought is off. The total is then +4 ranks for +8 points (12 ranks total), not the +8 points (16 ranks total) indicated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq
    I'm not sure it's actually possible to have become a dragonborn "when he had 1 Humanoid Hit Die, prior to obtaining his first class level." You don't have any RHD, so there's no provisions for you having a Humanoid HD before gaining a class level.
    From page 136 of Fiend Folio:
    MAELUTH
    Medium-Size Outsider
    Hit Dice
    : 1d8+2 (6 hp)
    From page 191 of Player's Guide to Faerûn:
    Planetouched: Planetouched are humanoids (not outsiders) with the planetouched subtype.
    The type changes, but there's nothing there about removing any racial HD — just the LA.
    From page 310 of Monster Manual:
    Humanoids with 1 Hit Die exchange the features of their humanoid Hit Die for the class features of a PC or NPC class.
    Double Door has 1 Humanoid HD as a Lesser Maeluth, rather than 1 Outsider HD as a regular Maeluth. That HD doesn't go away until it's exchanged for their first class level, as stated in the Humanoid type rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq
    Final Thoughts: I wasn't sure what to make of this build. You've got a lot of magic, but you don't have a lot of really great spells known. A Sorcerer lives and dies on their spells, so to have a limp spell list is a pretty big crime on a Sorcerer.
    I've mentioned this above, but I'll recap for your recap. I tried to make this as much about the Flux Adept as I could (except for goofing on the skill selection) and very much less about the Sorcerer so the base class didn't outshine the SI. You judging the character as a Sorcerer means we're not going to see eye to eye.
    Also, if it means getting a second judge, I'm fine with waiting a couple more days.
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    A dispute? 18,000 words wasn't enough for you? Why I oughta— Ah, a dispute. Always good to see some feedback on what I wrote. Not sure if I'll necessarily be changing much, but here we go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Door
    There are two usual ways of building for Power: on absolute terms, and matching the Secret Ingredient. I opted for the latter. Thus the SI requires spellcasting, but does nothing (other than half advancement) with it, so I chose Double's spells to augment Flux Adept capabilities rather than be used in place of them. Even so, the character's power comes more from spells than FA class abilities; it's a very weak class and hard to get in line with. Similarly, the FA requires lackluster prerequisite feats, so I largely chose similar feats so the rest of the character didn't overwhelm the SI. Your judging went more for absolute capabilities than for keeping capabilities in line with those of the SI. There's nothing I can do about this; we're on different wavelengths.
    Yeah, you're right about us being on different wavelengths. You'll notice that I judged everyone on absolute terms, not just you, so it wouldn't be fair to them if I suddenly popped out more points for you now based on that alone. I did give you points in UoSI for picking spells that work well with the SI's abilities, but even accounting for that, there's room on the character for spells that would be more generally applicable than the spells you took. Sorry, but no score change. (I do understand where you're coming from; I made Li'l Brudder, after all, so it's not like I've never submitted a dish where the power level is intentionally constrained to fit the abilities of the SI, but at the end of the day, the important thing is that I graded everyone's Power in the same way.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Door
    Dark Tide starts at a location Medium range away from Double Door; that's up to 1,000' away. The blackwater expands at 100' per round, and thus takes 27 rounds to get to full ½ mile radius. Double has Flight of the Dragon for 100' flight, or 200' per double move, or 400' per round using Run; he can easily avoid the blackwater that way. But he probably doesn't even need that. Starting at 1000' from the center of Dark Tide, Double can Run at 80' per round.
    You can run for a number of rounds equal to your Constitution score, but after that you must make a DC 10 Constitution check to continue running. You must check again each round in which you continue to run, and the DC of this check increases by 1 for each check you have made. When you fail this check, you must stop running. A character who has run to his limit must rest for 1 minute (10 rounds) before running again. During a rest period, a character can move no faster than a normal move action.
    Double Door has a Constitution of 20, so he can run for 20 rounds before needing to make any checks. In 20 rounds he can run 1,600', placing him 2,600' away from an effect which extends 2,640' after 27 rounds. Resting and moving at a normal move action gets him the remaining 40' in 1 round (6 rounds before the blackwater reaches that point), still without needing to make any checks. Double picks where and when to cast Dark Tide, so he can pick a location where there's a reasonable path to Run. (Note that Run requires a straight line each full-round action, but there is no requirement to have 20 rounds each in exactly the same direction; only a bunch of 80' straight lines.)

    In short, Double doesn't need to be immune to the blackwater because he has multiple ways to avoid it. As for the level 20 issue, that's back to the original intent: the build was designed to be in line with the Power of the SI, so his most powerful capabilities were intentionally arranged for late in the build.
    I guess your argument for being able to outrun Dark Tide makes sense (though it makes it even more situational in that you have to be very careful to cast in in areas where you can run away), but really, the fundamental reason that I didn't give any extra points for it is because it comes online at level 20, and basically nothing that only works at level 20 matters. (To use the example everyone's thinking of, Truenamers have Gate without the XP cost at level 20, but that doesn't make them actually powerful.) You'll notice that I didn't deduct points for it or anything. I just mentioned it because I wanted to recognize that it's a cute enough trick, but I don't think it's actually doing enough for the character's power level to be worth any points in Power.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Door
    I don't understand. I still spent the skill points; it's just that my goof means the arithmetic for the ranks bought is off. The total is then +4 ranks for +8 points (12 ranks total), not the +8 points (16 ranks total) indicated.
    Sorry, but that's arguing after the fact. You didn't list skill points spent; you listed skill ranks taken, and as written, the build spent too many skill points. Like I always say, I grade the build based on what you actually wrote, and what you wrote was that you took 1 full rank in Concentration at each of those levels. Your dispute offered a change to make things legal, but the build was not legal as presented. That's why I marked off. As I mentioned in the judgment, it's a super easy mistake to make, so I only marked off a little bit, but illegal is illegal. (I think only one chef this round was 100% legal on their skill points, and they ended up being illegal on one of their feats, so it's not like everyone escaped this. You're in good company.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Door
    [Discussions on humanoid RHD]
    Now we might be getting somewhere. You do make a reasonable argument that you might have a Humanoid HD before you take your first class level—the game gets really funky when considering stats on PCs prior to them taking their first class level, but yeah, I can see a possibility that it might work that way. The problem comes when we consider the 100 gp. Sorcerer starting gold is 3d4 × 10 gp, or 75 gp. You're arguing that you're getting access to 100 gp before you actually take your first Sorcerer level. You don't have any of the skills that are used by RAW to make money (no Craft, no Profession, no Perform), not that it's clear if you could have those skill ranks before taking Sorcerer (yeah, RHD can have skill points, but you sure as hell don't have access to those skill points after you take your first class level, so I'm not going to look favorably on an argument that you had a bunch of Craft or Profession ranks with your RHD and then overwrote them when you took Sorcerer 1). I'll accept that you could exist as a character with one Humanoid RHD before taking Sorcerer; the question is now if you can reasonably be assumed to have access to 100 gp (which is above your typical starting gold value) before taking your first class level. 100 gp is pocket change to an adventurer, but it's a fortune to a commoner (and someone with only 1 RHD and no class levels really can't be considered to be much above commoner level). To be honest, I don't like that your build forces the GM to think about that question.

    As I kind of mentioned in my actual judgment, if I were actually GMing (not that I like GMing 3.5 anymore, and not that I would ever start at level 1), I wouldn't personally have a problem giving you enough gold to get some character-defining stuff out of the way: let the Wizard have enough gold to summon a familiar, let the Ranger have enough gold to buy a decent composite bow that actually matches her STR, let the Paladin have enough gold to buy armor of the type that she plans to wear long-term, let the Truenamer have enough gold to pay some dues to the Paragnostic Assembly and start being a member in good standing. Letting Double Door have enough gold to play as the race he intends to be seems pretty reasonable when you put it that way; you're clearly designing this character as being a dragonborn from square one (as evidenced by taking a dragonblood RSL at level 1), so I don't think it would make the game better to force you to be a maeluth first and earn your way into being a dragonborn later. It's especially true when you consider that, while 100 gp is more than the average starting gold for a Sorcerer, it is technically possible (though very unlikely) to roll well enough that random starting gold (not that random starting gold is actually a good idea) to have that much gp starting out.

    But . . . this is Iron Chef, and Iron Chef tends to play by RAW. The rules don't have provisions for starting with more gold just because it's inconvenient that you don't have all your character-defining stuff at level 1. Every GMing instinct I have tells me to tweak the RAW, but the RAW still need to be tweaked to get the end result I want, and as an Iron Chef judge, I can't just make "nice GM" rulings all over the place (ignore that prereq! That class ability is actually at-will! Have some extra skill points! Of course that's a class skill for you!) the way I would if a real player showed up with an Iron Chef-grade PrC. And like I said, this is pretty much a GM headache that it even has to come up, which itself does not speak well of your Elegance.

    I am super torn about this. The RAW seems to be against you, but I feel like the RAW is kind of unnecessarily punishing in this particular case, and if the game started even at level 2, we'd be able to just gloss over this without even casting Bigby's Waving Hand. In the end, I think I'm going to say that since it's such a character-defining piece of the build (it's your bloody race, for crying out loud! This isn't even your signature weapon or signature pet—it's your damned body), and since it is technically possible that you could have rolled well enough on your starting gold to get 100 gp, I'm going to let my Nice GM Shoulder-Angel overrule my RAW Hard-Ass Shoulder-Devil and say that it's possible that you could become a dragonborn prior to taking your Sorcerer level. Score change: Remove the –0.25 penalty for this matter. New Elegance score: 3.0; new total score: 12.0.
    In the Beginning Was the Word, and the Word Was Suck: A Guide to Truenamers

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Thanks for judging (and responding to disputes), Zaq! Spreadsheet has been updated.
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    How are you doing with the judging, Ponies?
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    Quote Originally Posted by golentan View Post
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    looking though some of my books, i found a very interesting PrC that could be interesting to Optimize ... Watch Detective from Masters of the Wild. Skillmonkey specializing in whodunnits

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    smile Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Sian View Post
    looking though some of my books, i found a very interesting PrC that could be interesting to Optimize ... Watch Detective from Masters of the Wild. Skillmonkey specializing in whodunnits
    Now that sounds like something I'd be up for!

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Sian View Post
    looking though some of my books, i found a very interesting PrC that could be interesting to Optimize ... Watch Detective from Masters of the Wild. Skillmonkey specializing in whodunnits
    I'd be willing to judge that one. I have little interest in crafting anything for that prestige class.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sian View Post
    looking though some of my books, i found a very interesting PrC that could be interesting to Optimize ... Watch Detective from Masters of the Wild. Skillmonkey specializing in whodunnits
    I'm not sure how I feel about that class. It'd be fun to play in a low-power game, but it's so bloody GM-dependent that it seems really hard to make fun in an Iron Chef context. Kind of like Silver Key, now that I think about it: both of them are skill-heavy classes with really specific specialties (and sharply limited in-combat capability from the SI), and it's very hard for either one to show off the class's abilities in a proactive manner (absent a GM-presented scenario). I predict a divide between people who are clever at concocting fluff scenarios for the character's abilities and people who aren't, and then a second divide between judges who accept those fluff scenarios as actually being what the character has to do and judges who take a more general-purpose take on the matter. (I'm not volunteering to judge this one yet, but if it wasn't clear from my last few judgments, I'm in the latter camp; I don't dislike seeing your scenarios you present to me, but I'm not going to assume that a character has a lot of strong general-purpose utility just because you concocted a specific scenario to show off the SI's abilities, since it's almost never the same person who designs the character and who designs the challenges for that character.)

    I'm not saying it couldn't possibly be fun to Iron Chef, but it wouldn't be a top choice for me. Speaking both as a chef and as a judge, it's frustrating to have the SI offer a bunch of abilities that are really situational, since those are hard to show off. (Flux Adept was bad enough with Iron Stomach, Bitter Tides, and Thermoregulation.) It does have a clear focus, so it's not as bad as Thunder Guide (or Flux Adept, for that matter), and there's no super difficult prereqs to meet, so there might be some amount of variety in the entries, but I just worry about how well any entry would be able to proactively show off the class's features.

    There's no way we would actually do this, since it would involve way the hell more work and would involve totally reinventing the way Iron Chef works, but Watch Detective would be interesting if all of the entries ended up going through the same set of challenges (revealed after the builds are posted), ideally run by the same GM. Then we'd have actual situations and problems that need to be solved, rather than just theoretical musing about what kind of scenarios would really let a Watch Detective shine. Way more work than I'm volunteering to do anytime soon, of course, but it might be interesting to watch.
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    Gentlefolk, learn from Zaq's example, and his suffering. Remember, seven out of eleven players who use truenamer lose their ability to taste ice cream.
    Come join the Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground E6 Appetizer Edition! We're currently judging for round 24. Everyone is welcome!

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    The problem with Silver key was not as much a question about its abilities (which was lackluster, don't get me wrong ... i competed), but rather the strict prerequsites that it had, asking for you being a Dwarf (or counting as such) and have Trap Sense.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    I am 100% on board for Watch Detective. I do agree with Zaq that it is frustratingly hard to use, and essentially requires the right type of game, but I'd like to try regardless.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    May I make a suggestion for the future?

    Give the judges three weeks instead of two - that's what we seem to end up doing anyway.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    May I make a suggestion for the future?

    Give the judges three weeks instead of two - that's what we seem to end up doing anyway.
    There is a chance that going this route will eventuate in us waiting four weeks instead of three, due to human nature.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    May I make a suggestion for the future?

    Give the judges three weeks instead of two - that's what we seem to end up doing anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by daremetoidareyo View Post
    There is a chance that going this route will eventuate in us waiting four weeks instead of three, due to human nature.
    What daremetoidareyo said. Deadline creep is all but unavoidable in something this informal. (Besides, I finished within two weeks! This time!) Let's at least pretend that we can do this in two weeks. It's not like we don't already have mechanisms for extending it if necessary.
    In the Beginning Was the Word, and the Word Was Suck: A Guide to Truenamers

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Gentlefolk, learn from Zaq's example, and his suffering. Remember, seven out of eleven players who use truenamer lose their ability to taste ice cream.
    Come join the Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground E6 Appetizer Edition! We're currently judging for round 24. Everyone is welcome!

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
    Deadline creep
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    I would absolutely be down for watch detective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
    I'm not sure how I feel about that class. It'd be fun to play in a low-power game, but it's so bloody GM-dependent that it seems really hard to make fun in an Iron Chef context.
    weak classes are a ton harder to play in "low power" games. it'd be even more unusable than in a default game.

    but it's a perfect thing for IC: a dish no one has ever played. I dabbled with it back in nightsong infiltrator. it's grotesque. we'd likely have some questions about their peculiar code of conduct, but it seems like a fun SI.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    I'll be honest, I'm less than enthused about Watch Detective. It seems to fall a bit too much into the old 3.0 PrC design pattern of giving you a few mediocre SLA uses/day instead of actual class features. I guess I've seen worse skill bonuses come up in IC ingredients, the disarm bonus is sort of like a thing (or would be if it weren't for the fact that it only ends up being 1 point better than just going full BAB for 10 levels), and Int to subdual damage is sorta nifty, but on the whole, ehhh.

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    weak classes are a ton harder to play in "low power" games. it'd be even more unusable than in a default game.

    but it's a perfect thing for IC: a dish no one has ever played. I dabbled with it back in nightsong infiltrator. it's grotesque. we'd likely have some questions about their peculiar code of conduct, but it seems like a fun SI.
    Depends what "low power" means. If it means the magic mart is closed, then yes, we have a bit of a situation. If it just means that there won't be some snooty wizard in the party buzzing around your head casting all the divinations that your fancy detective PrC would have given you several levels earlier, then it's a preferable circumstance for a PrC like Watch Detective.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Quote Originally Posted by WhamBamSam View Post
    I'll be honest, I'm less than enthused about Watch Detective. It seems to fall a bit too much into the old 3.0 PrC design pattern of giving you a few mediocre SLA uses/day instead of actual class features. I guess I've seen worse skill bonuses come up in IC ingredients, the disarm bonus is sort of like a thing (or would be if it weren't for the fact that it only ends up being 1 point better than just going full BAB for 10 levels), and Int to subdual damage is sorta nifty, but on the whole, ehhh.

    Depends what "low power" means. If it means the magic mart is closed, then yes, we have a bit of a situation. If it just means that there won't be some snooty wizard in the party buzzing around your head casting all the divinations that your fancy detective PrC would have given you several levels earlier, then it's a preferable circumstance for a PrC like Watch Detective.
    "low power" is inevitably code for "no magic/low magic," which D&D is not a great system for for a lot of reasons (can't overcome a lot of monsters since magic is understood as being part of a standard adventuring party, etc) so yeah, that's what I meant. mundanes are a lot more dependent on items than casters, so they suffer the most in a "low power" game since it's a lot harder for them to fill in gaps
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Honestly, watch detective will suffer from the same problem that flux adept does. There are a few very obvious options that will feature prominently in the submissions, and due to the complete lack of combat options offered by the class all submissions will have to choose between scoring well on power or scoring well on use of the special ingredient.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Quote Originally Posted by xyianth View Post
    Honestly, watch detective will suffer from the same problem that flux adept does. There are a few very obvious options that will feature prominently in the submissions, and due to the complete lack of combat options offered by the class all submissions will have to choose between scoring well on power or scoring well on use of the special ingredient.
    Not quite sure on that ... it could certainly be argued that having it as a success criterium to never get into combat (although Watch Detective might not be the best PrC for that), and actually pulling it off, would qualify for having a relatively high power rating.

    rate after what the character aims at and are able to, instead of rating after a sliding scale of TO

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    The problem is that, as Zaq already stated, not all judges do that. You can describe a set of situations that you expect to use the character in, but ultimately judges are perfectly within their right to ignore those and judge entries based upon what an average campaign might throw at them.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXXIII

    Quote Originally Posted by xyianth View Post
    The problem is that, as Zaq already stated, not all judges do that. You can describe a set of situations that you expect to use the character in, but ultimately judges are perfectly within their right to ignore those and judge entries based upon what an average campaign might throw at them.
    not all judges are judging the same? ... shocking!!!

    That said, its always possible to make a character that might be good but simply doesn't fit the box that a Judge is trying to fit them in, nothing new.

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