A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
You can get A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2 now at Gumroad
Page 4 of 8 FirstFirst 12345678 LastLast
Results 91 to 120 of 222
  1. - Top - End - #91
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    The Great White North

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    Hope that I'll be seeing these when I awake. Until then, fellow competitors.

  2. - Top - End - #92
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Feb 2021

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaany minute now!
    Trying to resurrect the Negative LA thread, any comment and discussion are very welcome!

    Quote Originally Posted by H_H_F_F View Post
    3.5 allows you to optimize into godhood, yes, but far more importantly, it lets you optimize weak, weird, and niche options into relevance.

  3. - Top - End - #93
    Orc in the Playground

    Join Date
    Mar 2020

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    Mmm... GMT isn't Grinvich, is it?
    Last edited by loky1109; 2021-09-01 at 01:10 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #94
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2019

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    I must say, I was quite surprised to see we were only on number 14!
    Then I noticed the other, less common numeral right besides it.

    I just want to mark my place so I can jump back here more easily. Good luck to everyone!

    Quote Originally Posted by loky1109 View Post
    Mmm... GMT isn't Grinvich, is it?
    GMT is Greenwich Mean Time, yes.
    Last edited by Squire Doodad; 2021-09-01 at 01:21 AM.
    An explanation of why MitD being any larger than Huge is implausible.

    See my extended signature here! May contain wit, candor, and somewhere from 52 to 8127 walruses.

    Purple is humorous descriptions made up on the fly
    Green is serious talk about hypothetical
    Blue is irony and sarcasm

    "I think, therefore I am,
    I walk, therefore I stand,
    I sleep, therefore I dream;
    I joke, therefore I meme."
    -Squire Doodad

  5. - Top - End - #95
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Apr 2020

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    Where's the Kaboom?

    There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom!

  6. - Top - End - #96
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    Sorry folks, probably should have said 72 hours instead of 48.

    Anyway, it's time for the reveal (please hold off on posting until the all clear).
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  7. - Top - End - #97
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    [confused unga bunga]

    Quote Originally Posted by Unga Bunga
    Spoiler: Intro
    Welcome ladies and gentlemen, To the arena of blood and bone!
    Today highlight match is The Beast against a fresh batch of flesh golems! Let's see how he does against enemies that won't be cowed by his intimidating presence, shall we?

    Spoiler: Unga Bunga
    NG->TN->NE Antropomorphic apeSS, pg. 216, Druid 5 / Nature's Warrior 3 / Thayan Gladiator 10
    Str 10 (8 +2 racial), Dex 18 (12 +6 racial), Con 20 (16 +4 level), Int 14, Wis 18 (14 +4 racial), Cha 15 (14 +1 level)
    naked HP 8 + 6d8 + 3d10 + 10d12 + 103 (219), +40 rage
    naked saves fort 19 ref 12 will 15
    BAB/Grapple +18 / +33

    dire lion pounce attack routine claw/claw/bite/bite/bite/rake/rake for +24/+24/+25(20)/+25(20)/+20/+24/+24 (+2 rage) (+4 study opponent) (+2 to claws from greater magic fang)
    claw damage 1d6+7 (+2 rage, +2 GMF)
    bite damage 2d6+3 +1d6 fire and rider improved grab (+1 rage), 19-20/x3 crit range
    rake damage 1d6+3 (+1 rage, +2 GMF)
    + Serpent coils automatic damage of 1d8+7 on each successfull opposed grapple check (+2 rage)

    Deity: Obad-hai I suppose?

    Spoiler: leveling table
    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Racial HD 1 +1 +0 +2 +2 Knowledge(Nature) +2(4), Listen +4, Spot +4, Survival +2(4) Toughness Scent, Natural Armor 3, Claw/Claw/bite natural attacks, Darkvision 60 ft.
    2nd Racial HD 2 +2 +0 +3 +3 Intimidate +1(2), Listen 4+1, Spot 4+1
    3rd Druidic AvengerUA, pg. 51 Druid 1 +2 +2 +3 +5 Knowledge(Nature) 2+3, Survival 2+3 Extra RageCW, pg. 98 Fast Movement, Rage 1/day, Nature Sense, Wild Empathy
    4th Druid 2 (+1 CON) +3 +3 +3 +6 Knowledge(Nature) 5+2, Knowledge(The Planes) +1(2), Survival 5+2 Woodland stride
    5th Druid 3 +4 +3 +4 +6 Knowledge(Nature) 7+1, Knowledge(The Planes) 1+1(2), Spellcraft +2, Survival 7+1 Trackless step
    6th Druid 4 +5 +4 +4 +7 Intimidate 1+4, Spellcraft 2+2 Track, Strong StomachCs, pg. 64 Iron ConstitutionCs.E.
    7th Druid 5 +5 +4 +4 +7 Intimidate 5+4 + Never OutnumberedCS, pg. 87 Wild shape (1/day)
    8th Skilled City-DwellerCs.E. Nature's WarriorCW, pg. 63 1 (+1 CON) +6/+1 +6 +4 +7 Intimidate 9+2, Sense Motive +2 Wild shape (2/day), Earth's Resilience
    9th Nature's Warrior 2 +7/+2 +7 +4 +7 Intimidate 11+1, Sense Motive 2+3 Weapon Focus(Bite) Wild shape (3/day)
    10th Nature's Warrior 3 +8/+3 +7 +5 +8 Intimidate 12+1, Sense Motive 5+3 Wild shape (large), Serpent's Coils
    11th Thayan GladiatorCoR, pg. 63 1 +9/+4 +9 +5 +8 Bluff +1, Intimidate 13+1, Spot 5+2 Improved Natural Attack(Dire lion bite), Study opponent
    12th Thayan Gladiator 2 (+1 CHA) +10/+5 +10 +5 +8 Intimidate 14+1, Spot 7+1 + Point it OutCS, pg. 88 Imperious CommandDotU, pg. 50 Improved critical, natural armor +1
    13th Thayan Gladiator 3 +11/+6/+1 +10 +6 +9 Bluff 1+3, Intimidate 15+1 Stunning critical, silver strike
    14th Thayan Gladiator 4 +12/+7/+2 +11 +6 +9 Bluff 4+1, Intimidate 16+1, Spot 8+2 Natural weapon focus
    15th Thayan Gladiator 5 +13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +9 Intimidate 17+1, Sense Motive 8+1, Spot 10+2 Intimidating RageCW, pg. 102 Imbue natural weapon(flaming), natural armor +2
    16th Thayan Gladiator 6 (+1 CON) +14/+9/+4 +12 +7 +10 Intimidate 18+1, Sense Motive 9+1, Spot 12+2 Adamantine Strike
    17th Thayan Gladiator 7 +15/+10/+5 +12 +7 +10 Intimidate 19+1, Sense Motive 10+1, Spot 14+2 Savage Strike
    18th Thayan Gladiator 8 +16/+11/+6/+1 +13 +7 +10 Intimidate 20+1, Sense Motive 11+1, Spot 16+2 Practiced SpellcasterCA, pg. 82 Natural armor +3, natural weapon mastery
    19th Thayan Gladiator 9 +17/+12/+7/+2 +13 +8 +11 Intimidate 21+1, Sense Motive 12+1, Spot 18+2 Magic strike
    20th Thayan Gladiator 10 (+1 CON) +18/+13/+8/+3 +14 +8 +11 Bluff 5, Intimidate 22+1, Knowledge(Nature) 8, Knowledge(The Planes) 2, Listen 5, Sense Motive 13, Spellcraft 4, Spot 20+3, Survival 8 Imbue Natural Weapon(speed)

    Spoiler: Spell slots
    • Cantrips are omitted
    • Bonus slot from high wisdom is included
    • Numbers inside (elipses) are for easy reference of an eventual Periapt of wisdom or equivalent, +2 at level 8, +4 at level 14, +6 at level 18. My assumption is that we do NOT have it

    Level 1st lvl 2nd lvl 3rd lvl
    3rd 2 - -
    4th 3 - -
    5th 3 2 -
    6th 4 3 -
    7th 4 3 2
    8th 4(5) 3 2
    9-13th 4(5) 4 3
    14-17th 4(5) 4(5) 3
    18-20th 4(5) 4(5) 3(4)

    Spoiler: build decisions
    I got to admit, my first thought was "Barbarian" and then I was like "everybody is going to do barbarian.. unless they Vizzini themself just like I'm doing, but let's not make a barbarian".

    So I thought some more, and the focus that thayan gladiator has on natural attacks made me think of nature's warrior, because they go well together! The nicest thing, in my opinion, of thayan gladiator is getting one ( or two, with speed) extra attack with the signature natural attack and this means more chances of delivering rider effects, nature's warrior has a nice and accessible automatic damage on grapples, unlike the 8 level commitment that black blood cultist requires.

    Something like poison would also have been an option, but I was drawn strongly to nature's warrior, in consideration of the fact that "probably" slave gladiators wouldn't have much wealth for equipment, and so the usually lacklusters choices of armaments from that PrC ( AC, DR, fast healing, even the +3 damage) would shine a bit more in the context of arena fights.

    Sadly, nature's warrior prerequisite kind of locks us into (wild shape) ranger 5 / nature's warrior 5 / thayan gladiator 10, but I wasn't much liking the flavor of it, it's simple and straightforward but it's also "bland" mechanically, without anything that connected to going arena other than "because I have to". Plus I disliked that my only natural weapons were in wild shape, which I find is not elegant in relation to qualifying for thayan gladiator.

    The other reasonable entry for nature's warrior was druid 6 and having settled for dire lion as the shape of choice, I tinkered with a druid 6/nature's warrior 2/ thayan glaidator 10/ warshaper 2 for a little while, but it had the same problems of blandness as the ranger. (plus, access to the large cats instead of only the medium cats!)

    While tinkering, specifically perusing ACF that did away with the animal companion "because that doesn't fit an arena settings", I got "love at first sight" with the druidic avenger ACF, both because of the callback to barbarian and because the "viciousness" feel it has makes sense to me as a better fit for arena.

    I will not claim that it's particularly innovative going for the combo of intimidating rage + imperious command, but at the end of the day I want an effective character, not a joke character. What works works, at least doing it as a druid is a little novel!

    I wasn't liking the warshaper levels much, because they were a power choice, not a theme choice, but druid 6 / nature's warrior 4 is a split that displeases me, because that 4th level "unlocked nothing" and I didn't want to do a 6/3 split plus 1 level of some other class or PrC ( aka, probably warblade, or maybe crusader). That made me think "tell you what, I could go for something with LA or racial HD, especially if it's something that has natural weapons, that way I avoid the raised eyebrows at "no natural natural weapon". I looked around for appropriate races, and antropomorphic animals fits the bill very well! Also for arena reasons, "new and different" monstrous humanoids are exactly what some thayan slaver would get/capture for arena reasons, rather than "yet another boring old human"

    The imbue natural weapon as elipsed are flaming and speed. Speed is kinda obvious : one extra bite is one more improved grab chance. Flaming was chosen with this in mind : Trolls! Or other arena opponents that have regeneration but vulerability to fire. Sure, fire is the most resisted damage, but regeneration beaten by fire is also the most common regeneration and trolls feel to me to be strong arena candidates, so I want to counter that! A similar argument can be made about ghost touch, and in the context of thayan arenas undeads seems likely, but between the two I feel countering regeneration is more important, also because incorporeal enemies are not what would present a visceral arena experience, I think.

    It would make sense to substitute nature sense with urban sense, since I do go for sense motive, but at the time the character was that level, that wouldn't make sense.

    Going for the ACF that grants strong stomach on the other hand I feel is strongly justified, that's the level our character gets captured by slavers, it makes perfect sense to me that being thrown into slave pits, into filth and with barely any food, would make the character "adapt or die". Yes, it's a power choice, but this time it's story-justified!

    Skilled city dweller on nature's warrior is used to exchange survival for sense motive, because that's a skill that makes sense to me to have in a gladiatorial setting.

    Incidentally, I'm happy that "pumping big numbers" on intimidate starts at 6th level. It's the transition point from "happy go lucky Ape minding his own businesses out in the forest" to "must do what it takes to survive in the slave pits"

    The classes themself I feel flow well : we got captured by slavers, we get by with remembered lore for a little more, but eventually we don't have older druids around to teach us the way of things, therefore it makes sense to me that we don't gain much more druid levels after that, and wild shape as a defense mechanism to not be bothered by other bullying slaves anymore! but "sadly", that gets us noticed as a candidate for the arena.

    I'm a bit unhappy about practiced spellcaster, because it's off-theme and as a payout it comes waaaay later than when I take the spellcraft ranks, but going form caster level 6 to caster level 10 achieves some good things, other than longer duration buffs : it "ranks up" barkskin, halo of sand and greater magic fang!

    On greater magic fang : we put a +2 on the claws! that way we are NOT invalidating the 9th level thayan gladiator feature! ha!

    The Alignment changes aren't necessary at all, we could start out neutral evil and leave it at that, but I feel a fall from grace is story-appropriate here.

    There is a strong case to be made about Eschew materials here, but it doesn't fit anywhere :(

    Sameish for the Invisible spell metamagic, from a story point of view it makes perfect sense, but alas, feats are tight.

    On the other hand, I'm very happy that I avoided the "druid with natural spell" pitfall, joy!

    Spoiler: story and tactics
    1-5 happily in the forests
    Blurb:Once upon a time, there was an happy anthropomorphic ape, minding his own businesses in his jungle house, attending "Old Gregor seminar on all things druid", Occasionally poking snarlying animals in the belly and/or repelling pink-skinned invaders!
    tactics: we're a 3rd level druid at 5th level, what we will do is support, at least we got some chonky 44HP which is solid. Stay back and use a sling with our nice +8 ranged attack bonusmanape!

    Sample spells prepared:
    • 0th: 1x know direction, 1 x purify food and drink, 2x cure minor wounds
    • 1st: 1x entangle, 1X lesser vigorSpC, pg. 229, 1x utility(pass without trace, speak with animals, faerie fire, goodberry, cloudburstSpC, pg. 49, stuff like this)
    • 2nd: 2x utility(mass camouflageSpC, pg. 43, resist energy, easy trailSpc, pg. 76, linked perceptionPHBII, pg. 117 , listening lorecallSpc, pg. 133, spider climb, stuff like that)

    6-10 captured by slavers!

    Blurb: Old Gregor is dead! These people have caged me! Where are they bringing me? ... I'm hungry ... I'm so hungry (this is where alignment go from neutral good to true neutral)
    Tactics: well, we are in the slave pits, doing.. slave things? Try to not get beat up, or do the beating up yourself once that becomes a possibility
    This is when we shift from "support caster" to "must be beast to stay alive" druid-->nature's warrior. Hence the DR 3/-. OUr wild shapes of choice are cat->bigger cat aka leopard->Dire lion. Deynonychus is also an option instead of the leopard, but I honestly like better staying on the cat family, mostly because it has the bite as primary attack, which fits better with the weapon focus we later use to qualify for thayan gladiator

    Sample spells prepared: We are limited to those without material or divine focus components. You didn't think they would let you keep your divine focus, did you?
    • 0th: 1x create water, 1 x purify food and drink, 3x cure minor wounds
    • 1st:1xendure elements, 1xhealthful restSpC, pg. 111, 1xlesser vigor, 1xhorrible tasteSpC, pg. 116
    • 2nd:2x lesser restoration, 1x primal hunterDrM, pg. 71, 1x heart of airCM, pg. 106
    • 3rd:1x primal instinctDrM, pg. 72, 1xheart of waterCM, pg. 107, 1xgreater magic fang

    11-15 sponsored

    Blurb: our beastial shenanigans in the pits/arena got us noticed and we got "an offer we can't say no to", life is easier now, but it's arena fights day in and day out... (this is where the alignment goes from true neutral to neutral evil)
    Tactics: assuming we are now sponsored enough that we can use a divine focus, prebuffing is an option. Other than that I don't think there is much to be said, it's not like being a beatstick is hard work. We select our catty bite as the natural attack improved by thayan gladiator, and go to town on whatever they throw at us in the arena, sounds simple enough! Make sure to rake with that pounce! Hopefully we can make use of our superior speed to pump up that Study opponent, yeah?
    It's difficult to gauge how many fights per day we have to partecipate in. If I go with "common sense" it's more along the lines of "one fight per week", but this is in the hand of the GM.
    At least we got the fear combo done for when it's an horde of mooks they unleash on us, woweeeee!

    Sample spells prepared:
    • 0th: same as 6-10
    • 1st:1xobscuring mist, 1xentangle, 1xlesser vigor, 1xhorrible taste
    • 2nd:1x barkskin, 1x halo of sandSs, pg. 117, 1x align fangSpC, pg. 8, 1x resist energy
    • 3rd: same as 6-10

    16-20 arena champion

    this is... more beatsticking? nothing realy changes from level 11-15, other than bigger numbers, so I'm not sure what else I could say here!
    Well, practiced spellcaster bumps up a nice package of the prepared spells, the AC bonuses, resist to 20, 4 more hours of duration of the CL/hour stuff, but that's about that...
    One more bite attack from the capstone speed, for better raking all the things? I want it on record that greater magic fang is now used for +2 to claws( and therefore rakes) and not for "+1 to alls", thus the 9th level thayan gladiator feature is not rendered redundant!

    Sample spells prepared: same as before.

    Spoiler: Random things
    Chef note: these musing are musing, and not "things I'm doing with the entry", especially the shenanigans, I'm not doing the shenanigans! Unless you, dear judge, think "yeah, that sounds reasonable!", I guess

    Musing: the wording of natural weapon focus/natural weapon mastery is a bit confusing in our situation, where our imbued weapon is a secondary attack. the routine is claw/claw/bite/bite, but are we doing BAB/BAB/BAB-5/BAB-10 or BAB/BAB/BAB-5/BAB-5? the 8th level clearly says "at your highest attack bonus", so it "should" be without the -5 "secondary attack" malus, but wiggle fingers. What about when we have speed on it? the weapon enhancement says full attack bonus... it's fairly clear to me but eh, I could see an argument being made here that they are at -5

    Musing: biting 3 times on a full attack helps making sure we establish the grab, but consider this : on a pounce, do we get 2 rakes for each successfull bite/grab? there is some shenanigan potential here. What if we bite 3 different targets? is releasing a grapple a free action, thus we can bite/grapple/rake/rake/release/bite/repeat? Does it depend on "when" the rake attacks happen? if they happen at the step 3 of "starting a grapple", and we don't mantain the grapple of step 4, then the shenanigany thing to do is bite->grapple->rake in step 3->not mantaint he grapple -> bite again! SHENANIGANS! BUT they are shenanigans enabled by the SI! :D

    Musing: I find it highly suspicious that the vast majority of noncore divine spells don't indicate if they require or not a divine focus, so I want to make a note here that for level 6-10, we might want to self-restrict to core only, in those heydays of "we are butt naked and no focus for us", which would limit our spells prepared to basically a bunch of CLW/CMW and lesser resto instead of all that stuff from supplements

    Musing: Damage reduction definition does not specify that it applies only to hit point damage, it specifies that it applies to damage "from most weapons and natural attacks". why am I musing on this? well, is ability damage, damage? If another thayan gladiatior took the wounding as their capstone, do we reduce it?Is it not damage done with a weapon!? p.s. if we know we're going against one such gladiator ( not all fights are to the death, right?), we might as well prepare Body WardCC, pg. 117 that day.

    Musing: Remember than you can't cast spells while raging!

    Musing: Pure shenanigans here, we have the will save potential to survive the savage species minor ritual of alignment, if we engineer our will save to hit a DC 25, we can have a (mindraped?) good cleric give us the good subtype, while staying evil-alignment ourselves. for just 56k gold, we can now benefit from luminous armor!

    Musing: Access to gear is a big question mark here. The value of barkskin+halo of sand is esponentially greater if we do have (barding, I guess) for our dire lion form, because otherwise if we are trivial to hit anyway, there is little point in preparing those spells. Napkin mat put our AC around 24? which is low for 20th level, but if we have some appropriate armor and that number goes up to 34, now the 1vs1 with a CR16 enemy is suddenly much better looking given the average attack bonus of CR 16-17 creatures is around 20ish

    Spoiler: noncore sources
    CoR = Champions of Ruin
    CA = Complete Arcane
    CC = Complete Champion
    Cs = Cityscape
    Cs.E. = Cityscape web enhancement
    CS = Complete Scoundrel
    CW = Complete Warrior
    DotU = Drow of the Underdark
    DrM = Dragon Magic
    UA = Unearthed Arcana
    PHBII = Player's Handbook II
    Ss = Sandstorm
    SS = Savage Species
    SpC = Spell Compendium
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  8. - Top - End - #98
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    No, I don't know how to say it either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Auntyrvaloss'elwen T'elient
    Auntyrvaloss'elwen T'elient ("Elwen")
    NE Wyrm of War Steel Dragon Wyrmling Ardent 2 / Thayan Gladiator 10 / Totemist 2
    (Probably) the only entry that involves multiple dragons, crocodiles, and dire horses!
    Spoiler: Crunch
    Spoiler: Progression

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Reflex Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st RHD: Dragon 1 2 2 2 Psicraft 2 (+4), Sense Motive 4 (+4), Spot 4 (+4), Concentration 4 (+1), Use Magic Device 4 (+1), Knowledge (The Planes) 4 (+4), Listen 0, Autohypnosis 0 Precocious Apprentice (Suffer the Flesh) Immunity to Acid, Alternate Form, Poison Resistance
    2nd RHD: Dragon 2 3 3 3 Psicraft 2.5 (+1), Sense Motive 5 (+1), Spot 5 (+1), Concentration 5 (+1), Use Magic Device 5 (+1), Knowledge (The Planes) 5 (+1), Listen 0, Autohypnosis 0
    3rd RHD: Dragon 3 3 3 3 Psicraft 3 (+1), Sense Motive 6 (+1), Spot 6 (+1), Concentration 6 (+1), Use Magic Device 6 (+1), Knowledge (The Planes) 6 (+1), Listen 0, Autohypnosis 0 Toughness
    4th RHD: Dragon 4 4 4 4 Psicraft 3, Sense Motive 7 (+1), Spot 7 (+1), Concentration 7 (+1), Use Magic Device 7 (+1), Knowledge (The Planes) 7 (+1), Listen 1 (+1), Autohypnosis 0 Power Attack
    5th LA: Steel Wyrmling
    6th LA: Steel Wyrmling
    7th Ardent 1 4 4 4 6 Psicraft 4 (+1), Sense Motive 7, Spot 7, Concentration 8 (+1), Use Magic Device 7, Knowledge (The Planes) 7, Listen 1, Autohypnosis 0 Weapon Focus (claw) (Bonus feat from mantle) Assume psionic mantles (2) (life and conflict)
    8th Totemist 1 4 6 6 6 Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 7, Spot 8 (+1), Concentation 9 (+1), Use Magic Device 7, Knowledge (The Planes) 8 (+1), Listen 2 (+1), Autohypnosis 0 Practiced Manifester Wild Empathy
    9th Ardent 2 5 6 6 7 Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 7, Spot 8, Concentation 10 (+1), Use Magic Device 7, Knowledge (The Planes) 8, Listen 2, Autohypnosis 1 (+1) Assume psionic mantle (magic)
    10th Thayan Gladiator 1 6 8 6 7 Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 8 (+1), Spot 9 (+1), Concentation 10, Use Magic Device 7, Knowledge (The Planes) 8, Listen 2, Autohypnosis 1 Multiattack Improved natural attack, study opponent
    11th Thayan Gladiator 2 7 9 6 7 Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 9 (+1), Spot 10 (+1), Concentation 10, Use Magic Device 7, Knowledge (The Planes) 8, Listen 2, Autohypnosis 1 Overchannel, (Pact Insidious) Mind over Body, (Pact Insidious) Improved Multiattack Improved critical, natural armor +1
    12th Thayan Gladiator 3 8 9 7 8 Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 10 (+1), Spot 11 (+1), Concentation 10, Use Magic Device 7, Knowledge (The Planes) 8, Listen 2, Autohypnosis 1 (Otyugh Hole) Iron Will Stunning critical, silver strike
    13th Totemist 2 9 10 8 8 Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 10, Spot 12 (+1), Concentation 11 (+1), Use Magic Device 7, Knowledge (The Planes) 9 (+1), Listen 3 (+1), Autohypnosis 1 Totem Chakra Bind
    14th Thayan Gladiator 4 10 11 8 8 Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 11 (+1), Spot 13 (+1), Concentation 11, Use Magic Device 7, Knowledge (The Planes) 9, Listen 3, Autohypnosis 1 Rapidstrike (claws), Reserves of Strength Natural weapon focus
    15th Thayan Gladiator 5 11 11 8 8 Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 12 (+1), Spot 14 (+1), Concentation 11, Use Magic Device 7, Knowledge (The Planes) 9, Listen 3, Autohypnosis 1 Imbue natural weapon, natural armor +2
    16th Thayan Gladiator 6 12 12 9 9 Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 13 (+1), Spot 15 (+1), Concentation 11, Use Magic Device 7, Knowledge (The Planes) 9, Listen 3, Autohypnosis 1 Adamantine strike
    17th Thayan Gladiator 7 13 12 9 9 Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 14 (+1), Spot 16 (+1), Concentation 11, Use Magic Device 7, Knowledge (The Planes) 9, Listen 3, Autohypnosis 1 Snatch Savage strike
    18th Thayan Gladiator 8 14 13 9 9 Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 15 (+1), Spot 17 (+1), Concentation 11, Use Magic Device 7, Knowledge (The Planes) 9, Listen 3, Autohypnosis 1 Rend Natural armor +3, natural weapon mastery
    19th Thayan Gladiator 9 15 13 10 10 Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 16 (+1), Spot 18 (+1), Concentation 11, Use Magic Device 7, Knowledge (The Planes) 9, Listen 3, Autohypnosis 1 Magic strike
    20th Thayan Gladiator 10 16 14 10 10 Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 17 (+1), Spot 19 (+1), Concentation 11, Use Magic Device 7, Knowledge (The Planes) 9, Listen 3, Autohypnosis 1 Improved Rapidstrike (claws) Imbue natural weapon

    Spoiler: Abilities
    Abilities Initial Race / Template Level 4 Level 8 Level 12 Level 16 Level 20
    Str 13 13 13 13 13 13 13
    Dex 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
    Con 15 17 (+2) 17 17 18 (+1) 20 (+2 @ ~13 from Coliseum of Kord) 18
    Int 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
    Wis 17 17 18 (+1) 19 (+1) 19 20 (+1) 21 (+1)
    Cha 13 15 (+2) 15 15 15 15 15

    Ardent Powers:
    Making heavy use of the Substitute Power ACF (specific changes justified below):
    • Ardent 1: Adrenaline Boost (Conflict, swapped for Offensive Prescience), Expansion (Conflict, swapped for Metaphysical Weapon)
    • Ardent 2: Metamorphosis (Life, swapped for Stygian Ward)

    Totemist Soulmelds:
    • Waist: Strongheart Vest (invest all avaliable essentia)
    • Legs: Dragon Tail
    • (Totemist 2) Arms: Girralon Arms (bound to Totem chakra)

    Racial Spellcasting:
    Spoiler: Spells Known
    • 0th: Detect Magic, Caltrops, Mage Hand, Light
    • 1st: Nerveskitter, Shield
    • 2nd: (Precocious Apprentice) Suffer the Flesh

    Spoiler: Spells Per Day
    • 0th: 5
    • 1st: 4
    • 2nd: 1

    Spoiler: Story and Snapshots

    CW: Non-graphic descriptions of violence
    The story of Auntyrvaloss'elwen's childhood is not a pleasant one. I tell the tale as pieced together from various eyewitness accounts, those rare publicized comments from Elwen herself, and the various and often contradictory biographies published by the arena publicists. These pieces were not easy to put together, and I have filled in the gaps with my estimations when necessary to produce a cohesive tale.

    Rather than experiencing the nuturing attention of a mother, Elwen was abandoned in Thay and left to fend for herself. Her mental immaturity, combined with her kind's tendency to spend years sembled into human form, left her indistinguishable from all the other foundling children. The twin strict codes imposed by civilization and ethics that steel dragons typically adhere to were replaced by a deep understanding of that sort of natural law that grows to fill a cruel vacuum of power, driven by scarcity and survival. Elwen's indoctrination in this law was indoctrinated by the fists of larger children, forcing her to seek cover and watch warily for hungry hands in the depths of the colusseum complex.

    The arena drove the life of the foundlings around it. The often rich, always careless attendees dropped sufficent food for them to eke out a living; the life of a gladiator provided a beacon of hope and a model of glory; and the rhythm of the crowds pulsing through the complex provided oppurtunities for knavery and escape. The actual fights were usually fairly mundane, but occasionally, a special event drew particularly large crowds, often for an exotic opponent for a star gladiator. On one of these days, the passages of the arena flooded with people, Elwen found herself pressed into a crush of spectators headed for the stadium, having sacrificed just-scavanged food to escape from a beating. For the moment, Elwen was content with the cover provided by the crowd, and allowed the stream to draw her out into the stadium benches. There, the countervailing flow of buffeting noise from the crowd sent her cowering beneath a bench, barely able to see the arena floor.

    She didn't have to wait long to see the main spectacle of the day. Spartos the Great, the star gladiator of the Thayan arena, had been brought out to face an unknown foe. He raged around the sandy floor, earning alternating surges of bloodthirsty cheer from each side of the Arena. Elwen buried her head in her lap, praying that the older children wouldn't find her.

    Suddenly, the noise of the crowd quieted, and Elwen heard the voice of the announcer boom over the stadium: "and for Spartos's opponent—a most unusual beast from the wilds of Gifu!" Elwen slowly lifted her head, and peered down into the arena, where she saw Spartus spitting on his palms and slowly backing away as a truly massive brown reptilian monster was brought into view. She couldn't tear her eyes away as the beast slowly raised its head, sending the guards who had been attempting to project a semblance of control scurrying back out of her sight. Pressing on despite the trepidation and suspense apparent in the air, the announcer continued "...and FIGHT!"

    Spartus dashed forwards, thrusting his trident into the now-unfurled leg of the colossal reptile. It appeared to bounce off, leaving Sparticus off balance. He stumbled, trying to regain his footing, and threw out his net, leaving his back temporarily exposed. The beast took advantage of this, slapping him with an open paw and sending him flying across the arena. The dragon then rose into the air on a pair of enormous leather wings and addressed the announcer at eye level. "Your blood sport is amusing, humans, but do not involve me in your games." Turning, it opened its mouth, melting a section of the stands (specators and all) with a blast of acid, and rapidly flew off into the mid-day sky. Elwen continued to stare towards it far after it vanished into the distance, weathering a stampede of terrified pedestrians from her position under the bench. Forgotten, Spartos's remained on the sand, unmoving as the midday sun brought the ground temperature to a blistering heat.

    Strangly intrigued, Elwen continued down the stairs, ready to scrounge for another meal. Unfortunately, as she turned back into the alleyway she had came from before the show, three larger children emerged from the shadows and assumed a menacing stance.

    Elwen internally sighed and glanced behind her, where a fourth boy lurked in the shadows. A rank bile of terror rose through her. She was tempted to call out, proclaiming her innocence and bare pockets, but instead, she focused, remembering how the beast in the arena had taken advantage of his attacker's attacks to mount a succesful counterattack. She found a cold, calm center of her brain, and allowed her fear to rise in her throat, intending to weather the assualt for as long as she could. She closed her eyes and exhaled, feeling a measure of the tension she held escape through her mouth, only to suddently snap her eyes open to screams. In front of her, the three now-fleeing thugs's clothes had been melted away in strange patterns. Glancing down at her hands, she saw her fingers shaping into bright silvery claws. A chill ran through her body as a surge of energy flowed down her spine, reshaping her limbs into powerful, steel-sheathed legs, and her back sprouted two wings. F
    inally, the terror she had felt earlier dissipated, and her conciousness seemed to flee from her flesh as she suddenly saw the situation in a harsh, cold, and metallic light. Her whole body intent on one purpose, she wheeled on the last boy behind her and unsheathed her claws.

    Spoiler: Level 5

    Sadly, Elwen does not exist at level 5, which makes her extraordinarly challenging to play. Instead, she starts at level 6 as a Steel Dragon Wyrmling with Shield and Nerveskitter as her first-level spells, a 1/day ability to cast Suffer the Flesh (completely useless), and a few mostly-utility cantrips. This isn't a great place to be. However, she does get a breath weapon (only 1d6 damage), 4 BAB (+6 attack due to size bonus and str), and 3 natural weapons (admittedly, only for 2x1d4 and 1d6 damage due to small size) with power attack, which gives a fair bit of offense. Finally, she also has access to a 150ft fly speed, which could be quite useful in the correct situation.

    From then on, Elwen acquired a fearsome reputation among the other urchins as a demon-child. They shunned her, but largely left her to her own devices. Elwen didn't particularly mind this, but she felt oddly adrift: having discovered her inner reptilian, she longed to once again feel the magic of a new measure of strength coursing through her veins. At night, she fell asleep longing for the return of the single-minded purpose her initial transformation had brought. Unleashing her steel claws and teeth upon the occasional brave or stray drunk didn't give provide the same satisfaction, nor did taking her ennui out on the various animals that shared space with the urchins. Mostly alone, Elwen contemplated the brutally stark center she had identified in her own brain, the crulety of the Arena, and the fundemental law of survival tying all living creatures together. She had occasionally witnessed battles of magery in the arena, but she was coming to realize that that form of magic
    was no different from every other attempt by living creatures to tear others down, eke out its own existance, and impose its will upon the world around it. Different manifestations of magic were only divergent from the sword in that they required different implements to enact violence, but at a foundational level, the aggression sourced from a spellbook differs not from aggression born out of pure strength of mind. Elwen resolved to rage in that path, focusing on augmenting her own draconic impulses, in search of that surge of brutal pleasure she had found in fighting for her wellbeing. She continued to hone her mind, sitting for hours on end exploring her thoughts and deepest impulses.

    She was jerked out of one of these sessions by the rough hand of a gladiator, drunk and wandering through the bowels of the arena. Elwen attempted to brush him off, only for his hand to clamp down again on her shoulder with a quiet growl: "This is no place for children. You've found some trouble by being here." Beneath his grip, Elwen's shoulder turned metallic as she once again sembled, allowing her to slip away and claw at his armored body. His armor deflected much of the strength of her claws, and she was forced to take flight to dodge a thrust of his spear. Elwen looked down at the now-cursing gladiator and found contempt in herself. Pulling that thread, she exerted her will, and once again felt her body change. Her sleek scales grew, and her muscles began to respond more quickly. She attacked the gladiator again, savaging his armor and forcing him to flee. Elwen pursued, hatred of this lesser wine-fat specimen coming to dominate her mind.

    After that night, Elwen realized that the purity of her form, and the channeling of her legacy, was a substantial asset, if only she could leverage her own nature to force it to the surface in greater quantities. Further study in this direction revealed that Elwen could force a second ghostly tail to the surface of her back, utilizing more of her draconic legacy. After further experimentation with the psionic powers she had exhibited in the scrap with gladiator, Elwen realized that she had very little stamina, and meditated for many more hours contemplating conflict and honing her strength of will. She eventually came to the understanding that all natural life was bound together, but not by some vital spirit that could be channeled to provide rejuvenation. Rather, the essence of life was one defined by the vigor of battle, the swift heady rush of excitment through muscles, transforming one's body into a war machine and washing away prior wounds. Primed with this understanding
    , Elwen felt finally ready to face the arena.

    The master of the arena was initially unimpressed with her combat prowess, but agreed to allow her into the arena, likely to serve as cheap fodder. The Zulkir of Transformation, however, appears to have discovered her prowess for natural attacks. Elwen refused to speak about the ritual she underwent, but eyewitness reports suggested that even in humanoid form, her nails glinted silver.

    Soon came her first fight in the arena. Before even stepping out onto the sand to a relitively meager audience, Elwen had retreated into the primal, reptilian center of her brain. She walked into the arena free of fear, and as her opponent circled her, sizing her up, the quiet titters from the audience did not bother her. She reached deep into herself, expending some of the core of energy that kept her walking through the day, and pushed her new understanding of battle and life into her form. Her human skin grew brown and craggy as her form rapidly expanded, quieting the audience immidiately. The announcer was similarly stunned into silence. Elwen flexed her wings and lept into the air, staying carefully out of reach of her terrified opponent before crashing down upon him.

    Spoiler: Level 10

    By 10, combat has become far more viable. Unfortunately, Elwen effectively requires a Orange Ioun Stone by level 9. While it's possible to push this point a bit later in the level progression by re-ordering totemist levels to come sooner, and then entering Thayan gladiator before finishing Ardent, the Ioun Stone is a core part of Elwen's later combat tactics, as well as a generically useful bonus, and one of two essentially crucial items (...bring on the Elegance penalties).

    Not only does Elwen have access to Multiattack, Improved Natural Attack, and Weapon Focus (claw) (through Conflict mantle) to improve her claw attack to a viable level, Elwen's various methods of spellcasting are also partially online. Shaping gives you access to a second tail attack (the description of the soulmeld explicity details a second limb growing, bypassing the normal restriction of one attack per limb). More importantly, however, her Ardent manifesting is almost fully operational, giving her access to augmented expansion, for increased strength and two die bumps on all natural attacks. True dragons, which Elwen is, also gain 2 wing attacks and a tail attack when they become large-sized, regardless of their age category. Elwen's full natural attack routine using just augmented expansion is thus 2 claws at 2d6 each, a bite at 2d6, two wings at 1d6, and two tail attacks at 1d8 at a +8 attack bonus for the bite and +6 for everything else, other than the claws at +7. Elw
    en also gets her full str bonus (3) to the bite, 4 str to each tail attack, and 1 str bonus to each claw attack. This power is fairly spammable—Elwen has access to 20 PP before any Wisdom-boosting items at level 10, meaning she can comfortably use Expansion augmented twice and then use it unaugmented 6 more times. Unaugmented use forgoes 1 tail attack, 1 dice increase on all attacks, and 1 Str bonus. If the circumstance allows, she also has a quite high wisdom modifier, and can use her flight to study her opponent from the air before plunging into melee.

    However, the third part of Elwen's magic makes level 10 especially interesting. Suffer the Flesh needs a caster level of 2 to have any effect, and Precocious Apprentice means that it starts at a caster level of 1. Therefore, it's effectively useless until the Orange Ioun Stone (or one of the feats discussed later) is obtained. However, once Elwen gains access to the stone, she can start to use Suffer the Flesh. This means as a nova option, when she has time to pre-buff, she can manifest metamorphsis at a manifester level sufficent to produce interesting results.

    Elwen's psionics are not the result of studious inquiry, nor wild magery. Rather, Elwen taps into the magic inherent in her draconic mind to produce psionic effects. Therefore, Elwen uses Metamorphisis slightly differently then most: not as a general-purpose Polymorph effect, but as an upscaled Alter Self effect. In other words, Elwen uses Metamorphisis to turn into a different dragon. Barring extraordinary circumstances, Elwen sembles into the Brown dragon, an artifact of the arena match she witnessed in her youth. A Very Young Brown Dragon is large, with 9 hit dice. Elwen can just barely hit 9 ML on metamorphisis:
    • Ardent Levels: 2
    • Practiced Manifester: 4
    • Ioun Stone: 1
    • Suffer the Flesh (CL 2, 2 Con Damage): 1
    • Life Mantle: 1

    After sembling, Elwen has the physical stats of a substantially larger Brown Dragon. She may then be able to productively manifest expansion, further boosting her size (while typically, size increases do not stack, I think there's substantial ambiguity around the stacking of polymorph-type effects with straight size increases—unlike essentially all spells/powers like Expansion, the rule that size increases do not stack appears nowhere in Metamorphisis, which suggests that designer intent is somewhat different, and again unlike size-modifying effects, Metamorphisis says that the target "acquires" a new size category, rather than referencing an increase/decrease. Finally, it's a little unclear what "not stacking" actually means here—because of how different the two effects are, I'm not sure that the concept of the size changes stacking actually makes sense. If this doesn't work, it just reduces Elwen's nova potential and instead spreads out her damage more—both powers cost 7 pp
    but offer slightly different cost/benefit tradeoffs, although Metamorphisis is usually better).

    Anyway, the further size and strength increases provided by metamorphisis further augment Elwen's combat prowess, bestowing more damage, higher attack bonuses, and a stronger power attack. Untangling what benefits are gained or kept from a metamorphisis is a bit tricky. One of the few advantages of playing a true dragon is that the clause in metamorphisis that prevents gaining extra attacks by sembling into a form with more limbs does not apply, as both forms have the same number of limbs. Read strictly, I believe this clause substantially reduces the combat effectiveness of most humanoid polymorph targets. However, it's fairly clear that the qualities we care about (manifesting, meldshaping, spellcasting, feats, and class abilities) are all retained—metamorphisis explicitly retains all supernatural, spell-like, and extraordinary non-racial traits of the original form. Feats are normally extraordinary abilities unless stated otherwise (FAQ 37, BoED 39), so I'm fairly confiden
    t in saying that Elwen keeps her feats while morphed. Boilerplate draconic racial traits are also replaced 1:1.

    Elwen can also continue to use all the spells and abilities mentioned in the level 5 snapshot.

    After her initial fight, Elwen was immidiately scheduled for more fights, and began to draw a certain buzz around herself. Sometimes, she fought as a brown dragon, but she typically fought as a steel dragon, using her focus to enlarge herself. After proving herself against weaker opponents, she was scheduled for her first exhibition match against a full gladiator. Further self-reflectin had revealed to Elwen a new well of mental energy that she could tap, and she walked the now-familiar path to the arena supremely confident. This time, however, she walked out to an unfamiliar sound: the cheering of a large crowd of spectators. Elwen knelt, and projected the draconic ideal she had located in her mind, augmented by a new pool of power as well as the entirety of her previously-known strength. A sharp bolt of pain cascaded through her brain, creating a grim smile from Elwen as she leaned into the hurt until the rush of draconic power overtook her, becoming a yet larger and strong
    er form of the same dragon she had previously sembled into. The fight was quick and brutal, but afterwards, in her quarters, Elwen felt oddly drained, and the posting of the second fight in the new series, coming up tomorrow with a stronger gladiator, sent a shock of genuine terror through her. She was now the star of the show, a role she'd never been comfortable in, and she wasn't at full strength. Elwen despaired, and began madly casting around for any potential solution. She remembered a rumor of a bookie who was willing to interfere in fights to get his payout, and set out for him, hoping to strike a deal.

    What she returned with would later be identified as a Pact Insidious. Rather than directly interfering in her own fight, the bookie would grant her novel understanding of her own body that allowed her to purge the drained feeling she was suffering from and provided yet more martial prowess. However, such knowledge came at a cost. The bookie required that she interfere in two specific other fights, sabotaging the equipment of the only two gladiators which she knew well. Second, rather than delivering a quick death, she was to draw out her next fight, torturing her opponent. Elwen identified this second flight fully rested, and prevailed, satisfying the bookie's request. Her sabotage was also effective, and cut her off from further contact with other gladiators.

    Now properly girded against mental depletion, fights once again began to blend into eachother. Elwen took pleasure from demonstrating her martial superiority in every one, but began to tire of the banality of slaughter. Thankfully, the monotony was interrupted by a trip scheduled with the Arena Master: she would travel with him to the Coliseum of Kord, and demonstrate the prowess of his gladiators. Before setting out, however, the master took her to the local prison. Coin changed hands, and the guard guided her down to beneath the bottom of the prison, a maze of tight and twisted passages, before abrutly shoving her into a foul pit. From the top, the Arena Master bellowed down an explanation. "A little girl doesn't scare anyone! You'll stay here for a week, and when I come back, you'll become a bit more intimidating, if only because of your stench and depravity." Elwen accepted her fate, knowing that this stay was likely a precondition to her trip to the Coliseum of Kord, and
    used the time in the hole not to enhance her charisma, but instead strengthen her resolve. After a week, the master seemed a fair bit disappointed in the result, but resigned himself to her minute stature, and they travelled together (although she remained under guard).

    The fight in Kord was marvelous. Elwen used her new strength of will to tap into a yet greater portion of her hidden strength, and stunned the audience with her size and fierce martial prowess. Elwen and the master began to travel far and wide, seeking different arenas where Elwen could demonstrate her skill and the master could fatten his pockets.
    Spoiler: Level 15

    This is where all of Elwen's disparate abilities start to come together, after some minor soul bartering. By shaping and binding Girillon Arms, Elwen has managed to get two extra claw attacks that are enhanced by Thayan Gladiator with her main secondary claw attacks. She's also managed to pick up Rapidstrike and Thayan Gladiator's extra attack, for yet more claw attacks—unfortunately, these do not apply to both sets of claws, and thus only give a total of +2 claw attacks. Stunning Critical provides occasional CC, and triggers fairly regularly with the number of claw attacks being made. Improved Critical is generally good and also enhances this stun. She's also gained various minor abilities—Silver Strike is occasionally useful, and a free Ghost Touch (or if items are readily avaliable, +1d6 elemental damage) is always welcome. More natural armor is similarly a nice passive perk. However, the main dish is Elwen's nova ability, which has dramatically improved.

    By squeezing every last bit of strength from herself, Elwen can actually hit a manifester level of 18 on Metamorphisis, despite having only two class levels in Ardent. This allows for shaping into a Young Adult Brown, a huge dragon with 27 strength and a +24 attack bonus. Subject to the same rules issue as earlier, Elwen can then expand into a Colossal form, garnering truly incredible reach and natural attack damage, as well as a tail sweep and crush abilitity.

    In order to raise her ML, Elwen exploits the rest and healing granted by Metamorphisis to overload on feats that allow for the increasing of caster level at the price of temporary damage. Using the Magic mantle, which states that "you always treat magic and psionics as identical," she also doubles up on similar arcane and psionic feats. Using the same wording, she uses the reserves of strength feat to break the HD limit on metamorphisis, giving her access to Huge dragons. Finally, she uses the suffer the flesh spell to bounce all transparencied caster level increases into another bonus, netting another 0.5x multiplier. In order to mitigate the Constitution loss, Elwen considered dipping a level of binder, but couldn't find the time to study the archaic art. Instead, because Precocious Apprentice limits to 1 nova/long rest, Elwen uses Strongheart Vest, augmented with 2 extra essentia, and Mind over Body with a +4 Con modifier to consistently heal the entirety of the con damage
    she takes.

    Unfortunately, Con damage reduces Elwen's Con recovery, so a 18 in Con is only enough to heal over 2 days, rather than 1. However, this is also fixable: using the same CL boosting trick as on Suffer the Flesh (both Overchannel and Reserves of Strength should work on Alternate Form, as Alternate Form explicitly calls out Polymorph in the text, and other than specific inapplicable exceptions, "Usually, a spell-like ability works just like the spell of that name" (SRD)), Elwen can augment her racial Alternate Form SLA to CL 8 immidiately before resting. This allows her to shapechange into a Dire Horse (MMII), with a Con of 21 and 8 HD. Including a +2 from the Colusseum of Kord, this allows Elwen to rest with a 23 base con, meaning she can safely recover 5 con damage.

    At this point, Elwen also requires 1/day stun immunity or mitigation (stun immunity results in additional damage, which is irrelevant because of Metamorphisis) to allow for the manifesting of Metamorphisis in the same round as Suffer the Flesh, meaning that as a solo player, a Third Eye: Clarity, Wakeful Mind Graft, or similar item is required (I may not being going for max elegance...). Necropolitan is NOT an option, as immunity to Con damage interferes with Suffer the Flesh.

    Metamorphisis ML:
    • Ardent 2
    • Ioun Stone 1
    • Practiced Manifester 4
    • Life Mantle 1
    • Overchannel 3
    • Reserves of Strength 3
    • Suffer the Flesh 4

    Suffer the Flesh CL:
    • Racial Spellcasting: 1
    • Ioun Stone: 1
    • Overchannel: 3
    • Reserves of Strength: 3

    Assuming she can pull all of this off, Elwen attacks as a Colossal dragon with Colossal+ claws (meaning 6d6 damage on every single claw attack and a bevy of special attacks) with extra perks (better accuracy due to Improved Multiattack, better crit range due to Thayan gladiator, extra attacks from various sources [Totemist+Thayan+Rapidstrike], Power Attack). Notably, pounce is somewhat less necessary as her horizontal reach, fully buffed, is 20 feet, allowing for effective pseudo-ranged swats (30 feet with her bite attack). Her total PP have also increased slightly (by 4) as her Wisdom increases, allowing for 3 full metamorphisis+unaugmented expansion combos. This would likely increase more if fully equiped. Elwen can also become a merely large brown dragon without suffer the flesh, as detailed above, allowing for more sustainability for lower-intensity fights. These buffs allow her to fully utilize Thayan gladiator class features, which are underwhelming when not used to mak
    e 6+ attacks per round.

    Maintaing Dex while Expanded is a minor hurdle, as Rapidstrike requires 9 dex and Brown dragons of any age have only 10 before Expansion. Even one size category would therefore reduce Elwen below the threshold, depriving her of extra attacks. Elwen takes the Adreneline Boost power to mitigate this, requiring her to pay 1PP per metamorphisized rapidstrike round with an unaugmented expansion running and 4PP per round with an augmented expansion, assuming no other dexterity bonuses.

    From here, the story of Auntyrvaloss'Elwen grows murky, and the legends confound the true story. It is clear that she continued to associate with the master of the arena, travelling with him and taking pleasure in her impeccable ability to slaughter other combatants. Over the course of a year, her fame grew, and she drew incredible crowds to ever more grand ceremonies. All of that changed, however, one fateful day, when the masters of the arena brought a second dragon for her to do combat with. Upon seeing her opponent, it appears that Elwen sembled into her full form, and replicated the disaster in the arena that had began her career, using her claws, breath, tail, wings, body, and bite to massacre the attendees. Eyewitnesses agree on only two aspects of this scene: the devestation wraught, and the contempt with which Elwen denounced the specators, deriding them as mere leeches onto the contest of strength that, from her perspective, formed the iron law of nature.
    Spoiler: Level 20

    Very little about Elwen's playstyle fundementally changes. Instead, Elwen's claw attacks improve dramatically, and she gains several substantial damage steroids. Improved rapidstrike grants 4 extra attacks, at -5/-10/-10/-10 (as I read the feat, there is an argument that it should instead be 3 extra attacks at -5/-10/-15). Thayan gladiator's level 10 feature allows you to enchant your claws with speed, which states that "When making a full attack action, the wielder of a speed weapon may make one extra attack with it." Most of the other level 10 features are raw damage, which are underwhelming as discussed below. However, this capstone is still useful for Elwen. An extra attack pushes her to a total of of 4 (base) + 4 (improved rapidstrike with +16 BAB)+ 1(speed)+1 (Thayan Gladiator)=10 claw attacks at Colossal+ damage, on top of two wing and tail attacks and a bite attack. She also finally pierces DR/magic, ga
    ins a better critical with her 10 claw attacks, and gains more accuracy with her Thayan-Gladiator-granted extra attack.

    To make Elwen's claw attacks even more punishing, she takes the Rend feat. Gaining access to this feat is mildly annoying, because Elwen is small in her base form. However, she can use her racial Alternate Form to become a Giant Crocodile indefinetly using the same CL boosting trick as she uses for Suffer the Flesh, as it has only 7 HD. As long as Elwen does this before levelling up and gaining access to the rend feat, she can gain the rend feat without issue. Being a giant croc is not a substantial impediment, as Elwen's main combat tactic is shaping into another form. In combat, she gains full benefit from Rend, as her big dragon form is most certainly Huge or larger. Because of this feat, which states that "If you strike the same opponent with two claw attacks, you automatically deal extra damage equal to that of two claw attacks plus 1-1/2 times your Strength bonus," Elwen effectively slightly more than doubles the damage of her claw attacks, dealing on average 2xbase+1.2
    5 STR on every claw attack that hits. She can also inititate grapple attempts automatically on every single one of her claw attacks, dealing even more damage if she succesfully grapples a Large or smaller creature. Elwen makes grapple checks with a +18+str bonus, due to her sembled size and Girillon Arms.

    A full attack routine is then 6 claw attacks at full +16 AB (+8 str, -8 size, which admittedly is not great), followed by 4 more improved rapidstrike claw attacks (at either 11/11/11/11 or 11/6/1), all for 6d6+0.5 str. For every two of those that hit, Elwen deals an extra 12d6+1.25 Str, every strike initiates a grapple attempt, and every crit threatens a stun. The rest of Elwen's natural attacks are less relevant, but still contribute substantial damge—2 wing attacks at +16 for 2d8+0.5 Str, two tail attacks at +16 for 4d8+1.5 Str, and a bite attack at +16 for 4d8+Str.

    Overall, Elwen is able to use the Thayan Gladiator class features to substantially greater effect by incorperating several different magic systems to enhance and expand her natural attack routine, turning otherwise-underwhelming abilities into substantial assets. On top of this, Elwen would struggle to enchant her natural attacks without Thayan Gladiator, making it especially crucial to her combat prowess. Elwen's strength of will pervades every aspect of her approach to combat.

    Spoiler: Sources:

    • I've sourced several specific nitpicky things throughout, but these are the general non-core non-SRD sources I've drawn from
    • Dragonlance Campaign Setting (Reserves of Strength)
    • Magic of Incarnum (Totemist, soulmelds)
    • Magic of Eberron (Suffer the Flesh)
    • Draconomicon (Rapidstrike, Imp. Rapidstrike, Dragon rules, Rend)
    • Monsters of Faerun (Brown Dragon)
    • Dragons of Faerun (Steel Dragon, Brown Dragon update)
    • Complete Psionic (Ardent, Adrenaline Boost, Practiced Manifester)
    • Expanded Psionics Handbook (Mind over Body)
    • Complete Champion (Coliseum of Kord)
    • Complete Scoundrel (Thayan Gladiator, Otyugh Hole)
    • Ardent Web Enhancement (https://web.archive.org/web/20120211.../psm/20070629a, Substitute Power)
    • Complete Arcane (Precocious Apprentice)
    • Spell Compendium (Nerveskitter, Caltrops)
    • Fiendish Codex II (Pact Insidious)

    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  9. - Top - End - #99
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    You bet he's unchained.

    Quote Originally Posted by Django
    Django, Devourer of Brains
    Spoiler: Storytime

    Ever since he’d been born, he could hear the voices.

    Rip. Tear. Consume.

    At first it’d frightened him. What child wouldn’t be? But as he grew, the oppressive life of a slave began to weigh down on him, and he had to embrace his darker urges to survive.

    But he didn’t survive. He thrived. It was almost a relief when he began to grow tentacles; his master lifted him from common scullery duty to train him first as a bodyguard, then as his abilities grew more and more powerful (and his master’s trust grew more and more tenuous) he was trained in gladiatorial combat.

    And it was here that he truly learned what it meant to live. It was simple: life in the pit had one rule. Kill or be killed. And few were as good at killing as he was. His tentacles and natural psionic abilities allowed him a commanding presence over the lesser fighters, and soon he was uncontested.

    It wasn’t until the first elf that he killed that he truly earned his title, however. His mouth had changed, morphed after he’d grown his fourth tentacle, and elves were almost unheard of in the pit, their ethereal beauty and grace landing the few who were captured as slaves as soft house servants. But this one had tried to kill her master after he’d bedded her, and Django’s own master had bid for her life, and tossed her in the ring for their amusement.

    He had her on her knees, bruised and battered, until he sensed something else. Something calling to him from deep inside her. As he got on his knelt down before the kneeling woman, his tentacles grew a mind of their own and curled around her head, flexing as they secured her. She began to scream as his razor sharp teeth dug through her skull, and in that instant he tasted bliss as her life, centuries of experience, flowed through him. It was intoxicating.

    He’d had a taste, and now he found that he couldn’t stop.

    And he didn’t want to.

    Spoiler: Da Build
    LE Kalashtar Psychic Warrior 5/Warblade 1/Flayerspawn Psychic 4/Thayan Gladiator 10
    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Reflex Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Psychic Warrior 1 +0 +2 +0 +0 Autohypnosis 4, Concentration 4, Knowledge (psionics) 4 Illithid Heritage, Illithid Skin (flaw), Toughness (flaw), Combat Focus (fighter feat) Bonus feat
    2nd Psychic Warrior 2 +1 +3 +0 +0 Autohypnosis 5, Concentration 5, Knowledge (psionics) 5 Mantled Warrior (Freedom: +10 ft speed while psionically focused)
    3rd Psychic Warrior 3 +2 +3 +1 +1 Autohypnosis 6, Concentration 6, Knowledge (psionics) 6 Illithid Grapple (1 tentacle)
    4th Psychic Warrior 4 +3 +4 +1 +1 Autohypnosis 7, Concentration 7, Knowledge (psionics) 7
    5th Psychic Warrior 5 +3 +4 +1 +1 Autohypnosis 8, Concentration 8, Jump 5, Knowledge (psionics) 8 Illithid Legacy, Weapon Focus (tentacle) (fighter bonus feat) Bonus feat
    6th Warblade 1 +4 +6 +1 +1 Autohypnosis 8, Concentration 8, Jump 5, Knowledge (psionics) 8 Battle clarity (Int to Reflex saves), weapon aptitude
    7th Flayerspawn Psychic 1 +4 +6 +1 +3 Autohypnosis 8, Concentration 10, Jump 5, Knowledge (psionics) 9 Illithid Blast (bonus feat)
    8th Flayerspawn Psychic 2 +5 +6 +1 +4 Autohypnosis 8, Concentration 11, Jump 5, Knowledge (psionics) 11 Illithid Grapple (2 tentacles) Bonus illithid feat
    9th Flayerspawn Psychic 3 +5 7 +2 +4 Autohypnosis 8, Concentration 12, Jump 5.5, Knowledge (psionics) 12 Illithid Grapple (3 tentacles) Illithid Blast 2/day
    10th Flayerspawn Psychic 4 +6/+1 +7 +2 +5 Autohypnosis 8, Concentration 13, Jump 6, Knowledge (psionics) 13 Illithid Grapple (4 tentacles) Bonus illithid feat
    11th Thayan Gladiator 1 +7/+2 +9 +2 +5 Autohypnosis 8, Concentration 13, Jump 9, Knowledge (psionics) 13 Improved Natural Attack (tentacle) Study Opponent, bonus INA feat
    12th Thayan Gladiator 2 +8/+3 +10 +2 +5 Autohypnosis 8, Concentration 13, Jump 12, Knowledge (psionics) 13 Improved Critical (tentacle), Multiattack Natural armor +1, bonus feat
    13th Thayan Gladiator 3 +9/+4 +10 +3 +6 Autohypnosis 8, Concentration 13, Jump 15, Knowledge (psionics) 13 Stunning critical, silver strike
    14th Thayan Gladiator 4 +10/+5 +11 +3 +6 Autohypnosis 8, Concentration 13, Jump 17, Knowledge (psionics) 13, Tumble 0.5 Natural weapon focus
    15th Thayan Gladiator 5 +11/+6/+1 +11 +3 +6 Autohypnosis 8, Concentration 13, Jump 18, Knowledge (psionics) 13, Tumble 1.5 Combat Vigor Imbue natural weapon (thundering), natural armor +2
    16th Thayan Gladiator 6 +12/+7/+2 +12 +4 +7 Autohypnosis 8, Concentration 13, Jump 19, Knowledge (psionics) 13, Tumble 2.5 Adamantine strike
    17th Thayan Gladiator 7 +13/+8/+3 +12 +4 +7 Autohypnosis 8, Concentration 13, Jump 20, Knowledge (psionics) 13, Tumble 3.5 Savage strike
    18th Thayan Gladiator 8 +14/+9/+4 +13 +4 +7 Autohypnosis 8, Concentration 13, Jump 21, Knowledge (psionics) 13, Tumble 4.5 Illithid Extraction Natural weapon mastery
    19th Thayan Gladiator 9 +15/+10/+5 +13 +5 +8 Autohypnosis 8, Concentration 13, Jump 22, Knowledge (psionics) 13, Tumble 5.5 Magic strike
    20th Thayan Gladiator 10 +16/+11/+6/+1 +14 +5 +8 Autohypnosis 8, Concentration 13, Jump 22, Knowledge (psionics) 13, Tumble 7 Imbue natural weapon (wounding)
    Flaws Taken: Shaky (-2 to ranged attack rolls), Vulnerable (-1 to AC)

    Ability Scores: Strength 16, Dexterity 10, Constitution 16, Intelligence 12, Wisdom 14, Charisma 8. All level-up boosts should go to Strength, ending with a score of 21.

    Spoiler: Blade Magic
    Martial Maneuvers Known: 3
    Martial Maneuvers Prepared: 3
    Martial Maneuvers: Claw at the Moon, Steel Wind, Sudden Leap
    Stance Known: Punishing Stance

    Spoiler: Psionics
    Character Level PP Powers Known/Level Powers Manifester Level
    1st 1 1/1st Precognition (offensive) 1st
    2nd 3 2/1st Dimension hop, precognition (offensive) 2nd
    3rd 6 3/1st Dimension hop, expansion, precognition (offensive) 3rd
    4th 9 4/2nd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, precognition (offensive) 4th
    5th 10 4/2nd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, precognition (offensive) 4th
    6th 13 7/2nd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, force screen, precognition (offensive), psionic charm, psionic suggestion 5th
    7th 14 7/2nd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, force screen, precognition (offensive), psionic charm, psionic suggestion 5th
    8th 19 8/2nd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, force screen, hustle, precognition (offensive), psionic charm, psionic suggestion 6th
    9th 20 8/2nd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, force screen, hustle, precognition (offensive), psionic charm, psionic suggestion 6th
    10th 25 9/3rd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, force screen, greater concealing amphora, hustle, precognition (offensive), psionic charm, psionic suggestion 7th
    11th 26 9/3rd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, force screen, greater concealing amphora, hustle, precognition (offensive), psionic charm, psionic suggestion 7th
    12th 27 9/3rd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, force screen, greater concealing amphora, hustle, precognition (offensive), psionic charm, psionic suggestion 7th
    13th 28 9/3rd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, force screen, greater concealing amphora, hustle, precognition (offensive), psionic charm, psionic suggestion 7th
    14th 29 9/3rd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, force screen, greater concealing amphora, hustle, precognition (offensive), psionic charm, psionic suggestion 7th
    15th 30 9/3rd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, force screen, greater concealing amphora, hustle, precognition (offensive), psionic charm, psionic suggestion 7th
    16th 31 9/3rd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, force screen, greater concealing amphora, hustle, precognition (offensive), psionic charm, psionic suggestion 7th
    17th 32 9/3rd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, force screen, greater concealing amphora, hustle, precognition (offensive), psionic charm, psionic suggestion 7th
    18th 33 9/3rd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, force screen, greater concealing amphora, hustle, precognition (offensive), psionic charm, psionic suggestion 7th
    19th 34 9/3rd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, force screen, greater concealing amphora, hustle, precognition (offensive), psionic charm, psionic suggestion 7th
    20th 35 9/3rd Damp power, dimension hop, expansion, force screen, greater concealing amphora, hustle, precognition (offensive), psionic charm, psionic suggestion 7th
    *Is not counting the bonus PP from a high Wisdom score, but is counting the kalashtar racial of +1 PP per level..

    Spoiler: Contentious Issues

    I’m going to be straight with y’all. This build has an assumption in it that contributes to how effective it is. RAW, Illithid Grapple gives you a tentacle that you can use as a secondary natural weapon, adding to your full attack routine. This works perfectly well, and there’s no issues.

    The issue happens when you take the feat more than once. There is a Special section after the feat that specifies that, as a full-round action, you can give up any other attacks to make an attack with each tentacle that you possess. How this build chooses to interpret these two facts is thusly:
    • Using the Special section allows you to use your tentacles as primary natural weapons, without the penalty associated with secondary weapons, allowing you to make 4 attacks at your full BAB, but no other attacks.
    • That every time you take the feat, you gain an additional secondary attack with a tentacle for each feat, taking the direct reading of “If you make a full attack, you can use the weapon as your primary attack along with your tentacle as a natural secondary attack”, giving us (at 20th level) four weapon attacks and five tentacle attacks, one of which is at +16 via Thayan Gladiator’s Natural weapon mastery while the other four are at +14 thanks to the Multiattack feat.
    I can absolutely see the honourable judges disagreeing with me, and penalizing the build appropriately in Power and Elegance (at their discretion). But I also ask them to consider the editing “standards” used in CPsi before they make their judgements. Consider the Illithid Blast that this build gets as a free feat, for example. Tell me, dear judges, how many PP can I spend while using this ability? Spoiler: It doesn’t say. It doesn’t say how many you can spend and it doesn’t say what effect spending them will have, even though it literally calls out spending them in the previous sentence. This is the quality of editing that went into this product, ladies and gentlemen. CPsi is notorious for terrible editing, which is why I’m standing by my judgement call on this one.

    On the use of Flaws; I would have loved to have gotten away without them. I even went PsyWar/Flayerspawn Psychic to try and eke enough feats out of the build. You have no idea how much I wanted to use Wilder as a base instead of PsyWar (for better Charisma synergy with Illithid Blast, along with flat out more powers known/PP). I have no excuse for Shaky, but I do have a defense for Vulnerable. In my initial build, I hadn’t realised that Illithid Grapple took an extra illithid feat beyond Illithid Heritage, and all of the ones that I wanted to take also required another illithid feat. Then I saw Illithid Skin, which perfectly cancels out Vulnerable, leaving me at a net zero, but with the ability to legally take Illithid Grapple at 3rd level.

    Spoiler: LVLS 1-5
    We’re a low level psychic warrior with a few interesting choices. We don’t have Power Attack, first and foremost ,so we’ll play a bit more defensively, even though we’ve got some unique tools. Also, we have a tentacle growing out of our face. This is a problem, though ironically enough here (and throughout the entire build, even post-illithid face) we have a +2 bonus to disguise ourselves as human. No, I don’t get it either. We’ve actually got a decent HP, thanks to Toughness, so it’s actually useful to help survive these levels (a sentence that I never thought that I would write). We nab mindlink as a PLA (ML equal to ½ HD) thanks to our race, and it could come in handy later on for stealthy communication.

    The Freedom mantle (via Mantled Warrior) gives us a valuable speed boost that we can enjoy in heavy armor, so we won’t be slowing anyone else down. It only applies while psionically focused, but we’ve got no metapsionic feats, and the only reason that we’d blow it would be for the other feature of the mantle, to help us escape a bad grapple. It also lets us access the wonderful dimension hop. Are we going to be using it a lot at this level? Well, no. But we’re taking it, dammit, because it will absolutely come in useful later.

    By the end of this section, we’re rocking a ML of 5, and we pick up our first tentacle, so we’ve got that 1d4 + ½ Strength at a -5 to hit. But at least it’s something, right? Free attacks are free attacks.

    Spoiler: LVLS 6-10
    We take our single level of warblade here for some much-needed utility. Steel wind gives us a second attack (of sorts) since we won’t be picking up a second attack for a while, and when we do we’re going to be behind the BAB curve for quite a while, and it helps keep our to-hit bonus relevant. Sudden Leap is golden for maneuverability, and Claw at the Moon is the unfortunate prerequisite Tiger Claw maneuver for it. Since we delayed warblade, we have an IL of 3.5, so we’re actually good to take this 2nd level maneuver, so yay? Really, the meat here is Sudden Leap. Combined with dimension hop from psychic warrior, we’ve got a reliable source of pseudo-Pounce (both being swift action movement abilities). Sudden Leap is the preferred method, because it’s on an easy recharge (don’t use a swift action that round and attack to refresh, and one of the reasons we grabbed the level instead of through feats. The other reason being we’re feat-starved as it is), and because it doesn't cost us our few PP, which we’re going to be hoarding like misers, although this is precisely why we picked kalashtar as our race, to help mitigate this.

    We take all of our flayerspawn psychic levels here to round us out before finishing off the rest of the levels with Thayan Gladiator. We get all of our tentacles here in a rapid-fire sequence (literally one a level for a bit), and Illithid Blast as a bonus feat. Sadly, we cannot make optimal use of the damned thing. We have a negative Charisma modifier, so we’re basically going to ignore it. Thankfully, it wasn’t a required feat, it was literally free, and we only took this PrC so we could multiply our tentacles to the max. It also boosts our ML to it’s final level of 7, which is an interesting number. Mainly because of all of the augments to our 2nd level powers that end up costing 7 PP, which we can manifest, like augmenting damp power to shut down AoE spells, or increasing the duration or manifestation speed of expansion.

    It’s a bit of a low point for the build, to be honest. Flayerspawn Psychic doesn’t fit a melee build at all, and the reduced HD also doesn’t help. But on the other hand, we have something that most Fightery-types don’t. Our Will save is only +5 (at 10th level), but looks can be misleading. As soon as we make a successful attack, we gain our combat focus (since 1st level, but best discussed here) for an extra +2 to that save. Kalashtar gives us a bonus +2 against mind-affecting abilities as well, but even more sneaky is the fringe benefit of Flayerspawn Psychic. The Illithid Heritage feat (yes, also from back at first level) gives us +1 per 2 illithid feats as a bonus on saving throws against spells, powers, spell-like abilities, and psi-like abilities. And we have (the frankly ridiculous number of) 8 illithid feats, nabbing us a +4 bonus against all of those lovely effects. Which applies to all saves, not just Wisdom. So we’re surprisingly tanky against non-HP damage and abilities.

    Neat little thing about Illithid Grab, though - it gives you Improved Grab with the tentacles, giving you a little niche in emergency grappling when combined with expansion. Now, you’re not optimized at all towards it, but you should be able to do it in a pinch if it’s really needed, and you can still attack your grappled target with all of your tentacles. No bonus for having multiple tentacles attached like true mind flayers, unfortunately (yes, it explicitly states this. No, I am not salty at all about it).

    Spoiler: LVLS 11-15
    Okay, so this is the bit where it all comes together. That absolutely stellar d12 HD helps make up for the sad sack which was Flayerspawn Psychic levels, getting us closer to something resembling a reasonable HP total (and Toughness helps. Honest, those 3 HP are clutch now). We’re rocking a 3 round Study Opponent (assuming no magical items to boost our Wisdom, which also gives us more PP, so we’re keeping an eye out for those) to help us in that first round of combat once it’s initiated. Improved Natural Attack (tentacle), granted to us for free by the SI, changes our weak and piddly tentacles from a pathetic 1d4 to a mighty 1d6. Combined with Punishing Stance (thought that I’d forgotten about it, didn’t you? Nope. Just saving it, mainly because here’s where the benefits start to outweigh the AC cost), each of our tentacles do 2d6 + ½ Strength damage. At 15th level, thanks to Multiattack our attack routine is +11/+6/+1 and +9/+9/+9/+9/+6. Not too shabby, even if the attacks themselves aren’t too impressive (though that can be changed, thanks to access to expansion increasing our size to Huge). Now we’re really getting the mileage out of Sudden Leap/dimension hop, giving us the movement to freely switch between targets for Full Attacks without Pounce.

    Use of SI, you ask? Well, I’m glad that you did. As mentioned before, INA makes our tentacles mighty with the glorious d6 to damage, and Improved Critical makes it more likely that they’ll do 4d6 (thanks to Punishing Stance). Natural armor is always a plus for a frontline character (which we are, despite the lack of Power Attack), and Stunning critical just makes our tentacles even better, considering that we’ve got 5 chances per round to stun off of an okay DC. Everybody rolls a 1 eventually, right? Natural weapon focus is great for giving us another shot at that stun and a crit, which deals even more damage thanks to our choice of Thundering from Imbue natural weapon.

    15th level is where I’d probably consider the “highlight” of the build, as it were, to come online. With Natural weapon focus, you get a bonus tentacle attack at -5 opposed to the -2 of Multiattack, but at this point we’re kinda hoping for a crit with how many attacks we’re making (and Improved Critical (tentacles) helps) for the bonus Thundering damage. We’ve also finally got enough ranks in Jump to be relatively consistent in the check to gain semi-regular movement as a swift action. We’re technically not behind in iterative attacks either; the full BAB characters are also sitting at 3 attacks for this level.

    Spoiler: LVLS 16-20
    So the build polishes itself off with the final 5 levels of Thayan Gladiator. Thanks to Thayan Gladiator being full BAB, we just manage to squeak in under the line with +16 BAB, giving us those 4 gorgeous attacks. Combined with our tentacle face, we’ve got +16/+11/+6/+1 with our two handed weapon and +16/+14/+14/+14/+14 with our tentacles, which finally count as magical, in addition to silvered and adamantine. Seriously, WotC, just spit in our faces next time. We’d probably enjoy it as much as this. Honestly, make liberal use of greater magic fang off of an ally or something before this. You’ll save the cash/favours after 19th level, I guess?

    Why do we bother with the back half of the SI instead of something like more high-level warblade, you ask? It’s kinda funny, but we actually get the most benefit from staying here. Specifically, the capstone. We pick up Wounding, letting you deal up to 5 Constitution damage per turn. No save, no SR, nothing. If they’re not immune to critical hits, it’s only a matter of time. Synergizes well with Stunning Strike as well, given how Constitution feeds into Fortitude saves, which feeds into Illithid Extraction. Natural weapon mastery makes our bonus tentacle attack (and the linked Con damage) that much better.

    We pick up fast healing 2 during our combat focus for some minor healing with Combat Vigor. Then we take Illithid Extraction as our capstone feat. Is it the most optimized choice? Good lord no. Something like Combat Stability, which would boost our counter-grapple skills in addition to boosting all of our other combat form feats for being our 3rd such feat, would be way more optimal. But dammit, do you ever get to take this feat? I can’t think of a more insulting way to dispose of your gladiatorial opponents than by eating their brain in the middle of the arena after you just finished beating them to death with your tentacles (and melee weapon. But mostly the tentacles). You don’t even have to wait until they’re helpless, either; if you’ve got all four tentacles attached (which you stand a decent chance of) while they’re stunned (again, a decent chance, given that you’ve got Stunning Strike with all of your tentacle attacks and Wounding) you can deal those tasty 2d4 points of Intelligence damage (and get some bonus PP to use your powers, yay. Seriously, it’s outright insulting to only give you as many PP as points of Intelligence damage that you deal. And they’re only temporary! Come on, this is six feats deep into a chain). Really, the feat is kinda insulting as a whole, but we’re taking it for completion’s sake. Hit me in my Power score, I don’t care. I stand by this choice.

    Spoiler: Sources Used
    Player’s Handbook
    Monster Manual (Multiattack feat)
    Eberron Campaign Setting (kalashtar)
    Expanded Psionics Handbook (psychic warrior, various powers and skills)
    Tome of Battle (warblade, maneuvers)
    Player’s Handbook 2 (combat form feats)
    Complete Psionic (flayerspawn psychic, illithid feats, damp power, dimension hop)
    Champions of Ruin (the Secret Ingredient, of course)
    Expanded Classes (psionic) Part 1: http://archive.wizards.com/default.a.../psm/20070214a for the Mantled Warrior PsyWar ACF
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  10. - Top - End - #100
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton, let's see if it pays off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Venomfang
    Spoiler: behind the curtain
    Thayan gladiator makes me think of, well, arena fights. Sure, there will be poor poor slaves being forced to fight to their death against overwhelming odds for the entertainment of the crowd, buuuuut... THE MONSTERS sounds much more interesting to me! With that in mind, engaging the KISS principle, I though "let's find some monster that tickles my fancy that has a combined HD+LA of 10"

    Well, here we are.

    Spoiler: Venomfang
    CE Plains LandwyrmDn, pg. 172, thayan gladiator 10
    Medium Dragon
    Str 20 or 26 (16 +4 or 10 racial), Dex 16 (12 +4 racial), Con 24(18 +4 racial +2 level), Int 8, Wis 12 (10 +2 racial), Cha 10 (8 +2 racial)
    HP 12 + 17d12 +127 (249)
    naked AC 22 (+3 dex, +9 natural)
    naked saves 20 12 10

    Poison DC 25 for 1d6/2d6 str damage on each successful bite attack
    Frightful presence DC 14

    Full attack routine bite/bite/bite/claw/claw at (+3)+24/+24/+24/+18/+18 for
    Bite : 2d6+5(+3), 19-20/x3 with rider poison
    claw : 1d6+2(+2)

    Spoiler: leveling table
    ECL/HD Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1/0 LA - - - -
    2/0 LA - - - -
    3/1 Racial Hit dice 1 +1 +2 +2 +2 Hide +4, Intimidate +4, Listen +4, Spot +4, Survival +4 Toughness Burst of speed, Frightful presence, Poison, Bite/claw/claw natural weapons, natural armor bonus 6, Darkvision and Lowlight vision 60 ft., Immunity to magical sleep and paralysis
    4/2 RHD 2 +2 +3 +3 +3 Hide 4+1, Intimidate 4+1, Listen 4+1, Spot 4+1, Survival 4+1
    5/3 RHD 3 +3 +3 +3 +3 Hide 5+1, Intimidate 5+1, Listen 5+1, Spot 5+1, Survival 5+1 Weapon Focus(Bite)
    6/4 RHD 4 +4 +4 +4 +4 Hide 6+1, Intimidate 6+1, Listen 6+1, Spot 6+1, Survival 6+1
    7/5 RHD 5 +5 +4 +4 +4 Hide 7+1, Intimidate 7+1, Listen 7+1, Spot 7+1, Survival 7+1
    8/6 RHD 6 +6/+1 +5 +5 +5 Hide 8+1, Intimidate 8+1, Listen 8+1, Spot 8+1, Survival 8+1 Ability Focus(Poison)MM, pg. 303
    9/7 RHD 7 +7/+2 +5 +5 +5 Hide 9+1, Intimidate 9+1, Listen 9+1, Spot 9+1, Survival 9+1
    10/8 RHD 8 +8/+3 +6 +6 +6 Hide 10+1, Intimidate 10+1, Listen 10+1, Spot 10+1, Survival 10+1
    11/9 Thayan GladiatorCoR, pg. 63 1 +9/+4 +8 +6 +6 Spot 11+1 Virulent poisonSS, pg. 40 Improved natural attack(bite), study opponent
    12/10 Thayan Gladiator 2 +10/+5 +9 +6 +6 Spot 12+1 Improved critical, natural armor +1
    13/11 Thayan Gladiator 3 +11/+6/+1 +9 +7 +7 Spot 13+1 Stunning critical, silver strike
    14/12 Thayan Gladiator 4 +12/+7/+2 +10 +7 +7 Spot 14+1 Shape Soulmeld(Sphinx Claws)Moi, pg. 40, 88 Natural weapon focus
    15/13 Thayan Gladiator 5 +13/+8/+3 +10 +7 +7 Spot 15+1 Imbue natural weapon(ghost touch), natural armor +2
    16/14 Thayan Gladiator 6 +14/+9/+4 +11 +8 +8 Spot 16+1 Adamantine strike
    17/15 Thayan Gladiator 7 +15/+10/+5 +11 +8 +8 Spot 17+1 Open least chakra(hands)MoI, pg. 39 Savage strike
    18/16 Thayan Gladiator 8 +16/+11/+6/+1 +12 +8 +8 Spot 18+1 Natural armor +3, natural weapon mastery
    19/17 Thayan Gladiator 9 +17/+12/+7/+2 +12 +9 +9 Spot 19+1 Magic strike
    20/18 Thayan Gladiator 10 +18/+13/+8/+3 +13 +9 +9 Hide 11, Intimidate 11, Listen 11, Spot 20+1, Survival 11 Endure BlowsDn, pg. 70 Imbue natural weapon(Speed)

    Spoiler: build decisions, tactics, ministory
    Look, I'm going to level with you : this is a one dimensional "bite stuff, poison them" character, I just wanted to have some fun with making a monster! Which felt appropriate with the lore of thayan gladiator! The nice thing about thayan gladiator, mechanically, is that it let us deliver the rider poison two more times per round. Getting pounce is an obvious but necessary thing to make full use of full attack, and the level sphinx claws are taken and bound reflect this. Poison is our gimmick, so boosting it's DC is also a "d'uh" in the KISS way of things. Endure blows is the only bit of standout here, but it's very simple : I had to take toughness, I qualify for it, might as well take the "cool dragon only stuff"; yeah? The other candidates here were Awaken spell resistance or Improved speed, both in Draconomicon, but SR 8 does nothing at this level. +10 to land and burrow speed does have some appeal, but 60 ft of land speed is already plenty enough, and the 10ft of burrow speed is good enough for hiding purposes

    Story: Slavers see/hear plains landwyrm unsuccessfully hiding from them, Slavers think "that creature would fetch a good price at the arena!", Venomfang finds himself carted off to said arena, where some strange trasmutation ritual is done to him to "unlock his hidden potential", Venomfang now survives by fightning in the arena whenever that may happens?


    ECL 10 : Bite things to the death, hide underground with the burrow speed if said things are flying? I seriously considered spit poison as that last feat, but burrow to the rescue!

    HD 15 : Bite things to the death, now twice per round!

    ECL 20 : Bite things to the death, now three times per round!

    Wow, this is even simplier than dumb barbarian

    Spoiler: tidbits
    Controversy: Shouldn't Intelligence be 6 for the -2 racial?
    Answer: The monsters as race for intelligence converts that 9 to a "no malus" if my PC intelligence is 8, but if you don't like that, just remove the grades from survival

    Question: what's up with the strength? why are you listing two values?
    Answer: The plains landwyrm monster entry ability scores lists strength as 15, but the base attack / attack / full attack entries list values as if the strength modifier was +5. I'm taking the conservative value of 15 as "official", but keep in mind it well might be 6 higher than that, as apprioriate for a dragon!

    Musing: Rapidstrike in draconomicon gave me pause a moment, sure it's meant for when you have multiple different natural attacks of the same name, but woulnd't it be amusing to apply it to our bite, since we are biting more than once per round, after all?

    Spoiler: noncore sources
    CoR = Champions of Ruin
    Dn = Draconomicon
    SS = Savage Species
    MoI = magic of Incarnum
    MM = Monster Manual
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  11. - Top - End - #101
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    More like preying mantis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus Bloodrender

    Maximus Bloodrender
    "Attack, Attack, Attack, Attack, ..."

    Thri-kreen Warblade3/Thayan Gladiator 10/Bloodclaw Master 1/Warshaper3

    Spoiler: Overview

    Spoiler: Feat Summary

    Race : Thri-Kreen (2RHD, LA+1)
    Level 1 : Toughness, Deflect Arrows (racial bonus)
    Level 3 : Weapon Focus (Bite)
    Level 6 : Improved Natural Weapon (Bite), Multiweapon Fighting
    Level 7 : Improved Critical (Bite)
    Level 9 : Multidexterity
    Level 12 : Improved Multiweapon Fighting
    Level 15 : Greater Multiweapon Fighting (or Planar Touchstone (Were Glade))
    Level 18 : Staggering Strike (or Greater Multiweapon)
    See Discussion & Sources below for clarifications

    Spoiler: Point Buy

    Thri-Kreen : +2 Str, +4 Dex, -2 Int, +2 Wis, -4 Cha
    Point Buy level 20 after Racial Adjustments
    (8, 12, 16, 20 in Str, 4 in Dex)
    STR 22
    DEX 20
    CON 16
    INT 12
    WIS 10
    CHA 6

    - Flavorwise : Very savage clawing machine that wreaks havoc when it starts shredding everything in its path.

    - Powerwise :
    • Pounce-like abilities (Sudden Leap maneuver, Pouncing Strike)
    • Bloodclaw Master PrC

    Full strength bonus to dmg roll when attacking with your kukris or claws
    An additional higher-level maneuver
    Possible qualification for Warshaper
    See Discussion & Sources below for clarifications

    • Thayan Gladiator

    Improved Critical (which we can shuffle to kukris until we get the keen ability on them)
    Improved Natural Weapon (Bite) 1d4 → 1d6
    Natural Weapon Focus & Mastery net us an additional bite attack at our highest bab
    The bite is further boosted by Improved Critical (once we have our keen kukris, might as well give it back right ?), Silver/Adamantine/Savage/Magic Strike meaning it can overcome pretty much anything (except those weird cold iron & alignment-based DR).
    Finally you get +3 to your NA which specifically says “increases” it so you end up with +6 NA, +5 from Dex and the rest from the armor you finally managed to find that fit you.

    • Warshaper

    Morphic Immunities : Makes sense; you spend so much time aiming for critical spots, you should hide yours from others.
    Morphic Weapons : Just a conservative reading boosts both our claws and bite attacks.
    Morphic Body : +4 to Con and Str, thank you very much I’ll take it
    Morphic Reach : In case you couldn’t quite reach the target of your hatred. It should work with your weapons as well.

    • Maneuvers :

    1st : Sudden Leap, Wolf Fang Strike, Leading the Attack
    2nd : Claw at the Moon, Mountain Hammer
    5th : Pouncing Strike (or Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip)
    See Discussion & Sources below for clarifications

    Sweet Spot
    At 13th level, you get 3 attacks from iteratives on you main hand, 6 attacks from your off-hands (the usual 3 + 3 additional off-hand attacks from Improved Multiweapon Fighting) and 2 bite attacks. The first 9 attacks all have a crit chance superior to 25% which means your target is likely going to eat it's fair share of damage...
    The remaining 2 bite attacks have only a 10% crit chance but when they do, the Stunning Strike (DC20), it's a crit multiplier of x3 and the Thundering's special crit ability dealing an extra 2d8 sonic damage (because of the x3) and a DC14 Fortitude of be deafened (if the spellcaster made it this far anyway) that come out and play.

    Spoiler: Build

    Spoiler: Table

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Reflex Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Thri-kreen 1 1 0 2 2 Climb 4, Jump 4, Spot 4, Toughness, Deflect Arrow (Racial)
    2nd Thri-kreen 2 2 0 3 3 Climb 5, Jump 5, Spot 5,
    3rd Warblade 1 3 2 3 3 Climb 6, Jump 6, Spot 6, Tumble 3 Weapon Focus (Bite) Battle Clarity (Reflex Saves), Weapon Aptitude
    4th Warblade 2 4 3 3 3 Climb 7, Jump 7, Spot 7, Tumble 6 Uncanny Dodge
    5th Warblade 3 5 3 4 4 Climb 8, Balance 1, Jump 8, Spot 8, Tumble 8 Battle Ardor (Critical Confirmation)
    6th Thayan Gladiator 1 6 5 4 4 Climb 9, Balance 1, Jump 9, Spot 9, Tumble 8 Improved Natural Attack (Bite), Multiweapon Fighting Improved Natural Attack (Bonus Feat), Study Opponent
    7th Thayan Gladiator 2 7 6 4 4 Climb 10, Balance 1, Jump 10, Spot 10, Tumble 8 Improved Critical (Bite) Improved Critical (Bonus Feat), Natural Armor +1
    8th Thayan Gladiator 3 8 6 5 5 Climb 11, Balance 1, Jump 11, Spot 11, Tumble 8 Stunning Critical, Silver Strike
    9th Thayan Gladiator 4 9 7 5 5 Climb 12, Balance 1, Jump 12, Spot 12, Tumble 8 Multidexterity Natural Weapon Focus
    10th Thayan Gladiator 5 10 7 5 5 Climb 13, Balance 1, Jump 13, Spot 13, Tumble 8 Imbue Natural Weapon, Natural Armor +2
    11th Thayan Gladiator 6 11 8 6 6 Climb 14, Balance 1, Jump 14, Spot 14, Tumble 8 Adamantine Strike
    12th Thayan Gladiator 7 12 8 6 6 Climb 15, Balance 1, Jump 15, Spot 15, Tumble 8 Improved Multiweapon Fighting Savage Strike
    13th Thayan Gladiator 8 13 9 6 6 Climb 16, Balance 1, Jump 16, Spot 16, Tumble 8 Natural Armor +3, Natural Weapon Mastery
    14th Thayan Gladiator 9 14 9 7 7 Climb 17, Balance 1, Jump 17, Spot 17, Tumble 8 Magic Strike
    15th Thayan Gladiator 10 15 10 7 7 Climb 18, Balance 1, Jump 18, Spot 18, Tumble 8 Greater Multiweapon Fighting Imbue Natural Weapon
    16th Bloodclaw Master 1 15 12 9 7 Climb 19, Balance 1, Jump 19, Spot 19, Tumble 8 Shifting 1/day, Claws of the Beast
    17th Warshaper 1 15 14 9 7 Climb 20, Balance 2, Jump 20, Spot 19, Tumble 8 Morphic Weapons
    18th Warshaper 2 16 15 9 7 Climb 21, Balance 3, Jump 21, Spot 19, Tumble 8 Staggering Strike Morphic Body
    19th Warshaper 3 17 15 10 8 Climb 22, Balance 4, Jump 22, Spot 19, Tumble 8 Morphic Reach

    Spoiler: Level Breakdown

    Spoiler: Level 1 – 5

    You start off ahead of the herd, so to speak. Thri-Kreens are bipedal praying mantis-like creatures with 4 arms (that’s two pairs of claws). Your RHD comes with a full BaB, 2 good saves, +3 NA and good Dex to go with it.
    Soon enough you enter Warblade, opening up maneuvers and especially Sudden Leap; with your +30 racial bonus on Jump, that’s a 90% chance of moving 40ft. (4 ranks, +4 Str, +2 from the d20) of swift action movement right there (that’s your speed btw). This pseudo pounce gives you 4 claw attacks and a bite (that can poison the target for an additional 1d6 Dex damage and a save-or-die a minute later.)
    Uncanny Dodge, your high Dex and your Natural Armor give you an AC of 17 in most situations and that’s before wearing any armor (which might be problematic to get since your build is… exotic). Arguably, Uncanny Dodge should let you use Deflect Arrow when you are flat-footed. If not it’s fine but it would make sense and give some love to a seldom used feat.
    Weapon Aptitude reads
    change the designated weapon for any feat you have that applies only to a single weapon.
    Which means you can shuffle around the Weapon Focus but don’t forget to get it back to Natural weapon if you want to take levels in Thayan Gladiator.

    Spoiler: Level 5 – 10

    Entering the SI right on time.
    The first half of Thayan Gladiator gives us two bonus feats, and some goodies.
    Study opponent give you a +1 attack/AC on the first round (better than nothing), Imbue Natural Weapon give your claws an extra ROAR while Natural Weapon Focus give you 10% chance to hit a crit and trigger it’s Thundering ability as well as Stunning Critical and Blood in the Water stance’s neverending bonuses.

    The aforementioned Weapon Aptitude class ability lets you change the Weapon Focus, Improved Critical and, arguably, Improved Natural Weapon feats (in between claws & bite). Until he can afford 4 keen kukris, Maximus will keep the Improved Critical on them since the Multiweapon feat allows him to use his 4 arms to attack 4 times with the kukris that now have a 15-20 crit threat (>25% chance) with only a -2 on each attack. When you get Multidexterity you’re not limited to kukris anymore. You can technically have 4 rapiers for instance but it’s best to keep the kukris, we’ll see why later on #nospoil.
    NB : According to WBL, you could get those weapons at 9th level where 32k out of your 36k total would be spent on 4 very sharp curved daggers.
    Anyways, as soon as Maximus gets his (many) hands on them, he can use his Weapon Aptitude to give back the Improved Critical feat to his bite attack; it’s still another 10% crit chance and Stunning Critical combined with the Thundering ability can make it punishing.
    The Blood in the Water Stance is giving you uncapped bonuses that stack with themselves (even if the Dice God is being unreasonable, you should still hit your fair share of crits). Lastly, the Warblade 3’s Battle Ardor, gives you +Int to confirming crits and the Claw at the Moon maneuver gives you a +4 should you crit with it (the debuff is nice).

    Spoiler: Level 10 – 15

    We’re finishing the SI with still more boosting of your bite since it has a threat range of 19-20, has the Thundering and Speed abilities, overcomes Silver, Adamantine and Magic DRs and you can attack 3 times with it (in virtue of the Natural Weapon Mastery and Speed ability stacking).
    But that’s not the best part.
    The Improved & Greater Multiweapon fighting feats give us 6 additional attacks.
    Taking everything into account we have :
    3 attacks on the main hand with usual iteratives at 15/10/5 (+Str + Weapon Focus (Kukri))
    3 off-hand attacks at 15 (+Str + Weapon Focus (Kukri)) thanks to Multidexterity
    3 additional off-hand attacks at 10 (+Str + Weapon Focus (Kukri))
    3 additional off-hand attacks at 5 (+Str + Weapon Focus (Kukri))
    3 additional bite attack at 15/15/10 (+Str)
    I mean, if you can’t hit a crit there, someone rigged the dice (or you’re just using Roll20’s algorithm).

    Spoiler: Level 15 – 20

    Ok now comes the good part. The Bloodclaw Master dip brings the Pouncing Strike maneuver for one but mostly Claws of the Beast that allows you to add your full Str bonus to any attacks made with Tiger Claw weapons, which kukris are.
    The Shifting ability is nice for that it can add those +2 Str when you need it (meh ok) but mostly, it should qualify you for Warshaper (more on that in the Discussion section).
    And this baby pack many punches.
    - Immunity to crits (you spend so much time dealing them, it makes sense that you should know how to avoid them)
    - Another size damage increase for your bite (and your claws should you be tempted to use them) and much more if tentacles or dragon wings/tails are allowed
    - +4 untyped Str & Con, yummy
    - And finally, reach, which is awesome (and it’s a “hidden” reach to boot for surprise AoO).

    Spoiler: Items

    - Every +4 tome of X (except Charisma) in the following order Str>Con>Dex>Int>Wis

    - KEEN kukris since that allows you to stop messing with your DM’s head because of your Weapon Aptitude changing your feats all the time.

    Spoiler: Combos

    Attack, attack, attack, ...
    BaB 17 = 4 attacks
    Multiweapon Fighting tree = 3 attacks with each off-hand weapon.
    3 bite attacks (Thayan Gladiator’s Natural Weapon Mastery & the Speed ability)

    Totalling 16 attacks, all with full Str bonus (except the bites that get half). Aouch.

    Hello there
    At 20, Sudden Leap Maneuver , as a swift action :
    Racial Jump +30, Ranks +23, Str +8 = 60ft of movement

    THEN you can pounce, moving twice your speed on a charge (80ft) and give your poor target a taste of the old full-attack (16 attacks with >25% to crit)

    This ends up in you being able to charge a target from 140ft away before making a full attack…

    Crit Chain
    Blood in the Water stance doesn't have a cap on how many bonuses you can get and iteratives + the Multiweapon feat tree gives you 13 tries at threatening a crit at 15-20 per round (+ 3 bites at 19-20). If we average it, it's 3 crit threats per full attack. (if you somehow buffed Int, you get bonuses on trying to confirm them). Every hit you make has you full Str bonus added to it, if you crit, it is Str x 2 (and Blood in the Water is static damage as well so it multiplies).
    To sum up, the more you hurt them, the more you have chances to hurt them even more.

    Spoiler: Discussion & Sources

    - First things first. Toughness should be deleted from any WotC material. If we were to replace it with Improved Toughness it would still be a feat tax but at least it wouldn’t be as useless. So if your DM is sane, he will let the improved version function to qualify for Thayan Gladiator.

    - Initiator Level :
    I took the conservative reading knowing that trying to cheese it by default would cost me but ToB p39 clearly states :
    In most cases, you add the full prestige class level to your martial adept level to determine your initiator level.
    RAI, they probably meant “those PrC that we present here in this book”
    RAW, that’s not what is written.
    So if we go by RAW, this little paragraph allows Thayan Gladiator to increase IL fully.
    If this floats, you don’t have to take Pouncing Strike (5th level maneuver for an IL of 10) but you can instead take Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip (8th level maneuver for an IL of 15) and boy this hurts.

    - Bloodclaw Master is made for the Two-Weapon Fighting tree. The Multiweapon Fighting tree on the other handS says
    This feat replaces the Two-Weapon Fighting feat for creatures with more than two arms.
    which means it should qualify and that Claws of the Beast get you the full Str bonus to all off-hand attacks. That’s my reading anyway.

    - Having the Shifting class feature from Bloodclaw Master count as a
    Wild shape or similar class feature
    was my call. The stuff about the Eberron adaptation to the Shifter’s Shifting ability led me to believe it was ok. That and the fact that it’s a Su ability called shifting that grows claws.
    If you rule it’s not enough, alter the build by getting Greater Multiweapon Fighting at level 18 and Planar Touchstone (Were Glade), that specifically lets you retain the Shapeshifter subtype, at level 15 and voilà.

    - In the end, if Bloodclaw Master can’t let you access the 8th level maneuver Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip, can’t let you add your full Str bonus to all kukri attacks and can’t let you qualify for Warshaper, just drop it and pick Warshaper (thanks to the Planar Touchstone method described previsouly) up to level 4 (or even 5 if the DM was so kind as to allow the LA buy-off).

    Sources :
    Player’s Handbook - Improved Critical, Weapon Focus, Kukris, “Tomes of +5”
    Monster Manual - Improved Natural Attack, Multiweapon Fighting
    Epic Level Handbook - Greater & Improved Multiweapon Fighting, Multidexterity
    Champions of Ruin – Thayan Gladiator
    Complete Warrior – Warshaper
    Magic Item Compendium – Keen ability
    Tome of Battle : Book of the Nine Swords – Warblade, Bloodclaw Master Maneuvers &
    Shining South : Non-psionic version of Thri-Kreen race
    If needed : Planar Handbook - Planar Touchstone (Were Glade) p164
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  12. - Top - End - #102
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    Clowning on OotBI, one of Iron Chef's proudest traditions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Five-Punch Ma
    Five-Punch Man
    AKA: "Just a Dude"

    When asked, "What is Truth?," a Thayan gladiator stretches his shoulder, punches you five times in the face and, without saying a word, lets his utter contempt for epistemology serve as the gauge of a warrior's progress along the way. By learning the meditative art of the Way of the Wallop, the warrior improves his ability to punch people in the face, in the neck, and in the groin. Thayan gladiators (like most people, if we're being honest) see the literal extensions of themselves as, well, extensions of themselves, and the repeated pummeling of someone's face as a spiritual experience.

    - On The Virtues of The Gladiator, by five-punch man, as dictated to his faithful aide.

    Artificer 5/ renegade mastermaker 3/ Thayan gladiator 8/ disciple of Dispater 4.
    LE male wild dwarf (Races of Faerun p.23)

    Str 16
    Con 18 (16)
    Dex 8
    Int 14
    Wis 8
    Cha 12 (14)
    All level advancements go to strength.

    Spoiler: 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats and a 10 km run
    A giant lizard lumbered towards the arena, carrying two creatures on its back; one small and unimpressive, the other much smaller still – yet somehow more epic in stature, betraying a wise and honorable nature.

    "He's gonna mess you up, master. Real bad. You know that, right?"

    "Shut the **** up." Said the crude, tiny man, rubbing his right shoulder.

    "He's basically a slightly worst version of the king of smack." Insisted the magnificent frog-like being on his other shoulder. "He's gonna beat the **** out of you. It's going to be worse than the ritual." (Editor's note: I'm not sure whether or not the marvelous creature actually said that last sentence. I was simply overcome by a strange urge to mention the ritual. Perhaps this is worth exploring.)

    "I said shut the **** up, you miserable excuse of a-" (Editor's note: several very inappropriate untruths were then spoken regarding the Intelligent and loyal servant, which I cut out for your benefit. During that grueling tangent, the vulgar master and his noble companion disembarked their lizard and walked into the preparation room of the arena.)

    "Regardless of being vile enough to make Dispater lose his lunch, that's definitely biologically impossible." Answered the humble homunculus, humbly. "Could we get back on topic?"

    "There is no topic. He's gonna die." Replied his dreadful master, who usually claimed he was 3'2'', despite being 2'11'' at most.

    "What's your plan?"

    "I'm going to punch him in the face."

    "And If that doesn't work?"

    "You know, I'm probably going to punch him in the face again. Once every 1.2 seconds or so. Should do the trick."

    "And if he vampire-claws-heals whatever you do to him?" Said the honestly fabulous frog.

    "Can't heal everything" replied the damn brute, crudely.

    The clever construct surely had a winning argument in mind, but was unfortunately cut off by the announcer.

    "Ladies, great old ones, and gentleman! On this corner, sometimes weighing 185 lbs, but currently weighing in 11,840 lbs, THE DECIMATOR!"

    The crowd screamed as the huge figure grinned and scratched his shimmering claws on his armor.

    "On the other corner, weighing in 56 lbs, FIVE-PUNCH MAN!"

    The bald and clean-shaven wild dwarf stood with one hand forward and one behind his back, looking bored. The Decimator leaned his head, looking confused. (Editor's note: that wretch of a dwarf ordered me to write that the crowd erupted in cheers. They didn't.)


    The gigantic elan moved first, lunging forward and delivering 4 painful strikes with his claws. Blood spilled to the floor. The dwarf swayed, but remained standing. Growling, he said:

    "You done?"

    From behind his back emerged his other arm – but where his hand should have been, there was something foreign, flashing in blue light and dripping with poison. Five whirling rings encompassed a mechanical hand of iron, clenched into a fist. The dwarf smiled.

    "My turn."

    Spoiler: Infusiasm
    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Reflex Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Artificer 1 (ECS p.29) 0 0 0 2 Craft (blacksmithing) (+4) 4; Craft (poisonmaking) (+4) 4; Disable device (+4) 4; Knowledge: Arcana (+4) 4; Search (+4) 4; Use magic device (+4) 4; Wild Cohort (Web), Scribe Scroll (bonus) Artificer Knowledge, Artisan Bonus, Disable Trap, Item creation
    2nd Artificer 2 1 0 0 3 Craft (blacksmithing) (+1) 5; Craft (poisonmaking) (+1) 5; Disable device (+1) 5; Knowledge: Arcana (+1) 5; Search (+1) 5; Use magic device (+1) 5; Brew Potion (bonus)
    3rd Artificer 3 2 1 1 3 Craft (blacksmithing) (+1) 6; Craft (poisonmaking) (+1) 6; Disable device (+1) 6; Knowledge: Arcana (+1) 6; Search (+1) 6; Use magic device (+1) 6; Toughness, Craft Wonderous Item (bonus)
    4th Artificer 4 3 1 1 4 Craft (blacksmithing) (+1) 7; Craft (poisonmaking) (+1) 7; Disable device (+1) 7; Knowledge: Arcana (+1) 7; Search (+1) 7; Use magic device (+1) 7; Extraordinary Artisan (ECS p.53, bonus) Craft Homunculus
    5th Artificer 5 3 1 1 4 Craft (blacksmithing) (+1) 8; Craft (poisonmaking) (+1) 8; Disable device (+1) 8; Knowledge: Arcana (+1) 8; Search (+1) 8; Use magic device (+1) 8; Craft Magic Arms and Armor (bonus) Retain Essence
    6th Renegade Mastermaker 1 (MoE p.81) 3 3 1 6 Craft (blacksmithing) 8; Craft (poisonmaking) (+1) 9; Disable device (+1) 9; Knowledge: Arcana (+1) 9; Search (+1) 9; Spellcraft (+1) 1; Use magic device (+1) 9; Weapon Focus: Battlefist (Slam) Battlefist, Craft Master
    7th Renegade Mastermaker 2 4 4 1 7 Craft (blacksmithing) 8; Craft (poisonmaking) (+1) 10; Disable device (+1) 10; Knowledge: Arcana (+1) 10; Search (+1) 10; Spellcraft (+1) 2; Use magic device (+1) 10; Battlefist +1, Self Repair
    8th Renegade Mastermaker 3 5 4 2 7 Craft (blacksmithing) 8; Craft (poisonmaking) (+1) 11; Disable device (+1) 11; Knowledge: Arcana (+1) 11; Search (+1) 11; Spellcraft (+1) 3; Use magic device (+1) 11; Supporting Construction
    9th Thayan Gladitor 1 (CoR p.63) 6 6 2 7 Craft (blacksmithing) 8; Craft (poisonmaking) (+2 CC) 12; Disable device 11; Knowledge: Arcana 11; Search 11; Spellcraft 3; Use magic device (+2 CC) 12; Combat Expertise, Improved Natural Attack: Battlefist (bonus) Study Oponnent
    10th Thayan Gladitor 2 7 7 2 7 Craft (blacksmithing) 8; Craft (poisonmaking) (+2 CC) 13; Disable device 11; Knowledge: Arcana 11; Search 11; Spellcraft 3; Use magic device (+2 CC) 13; Improved Critical: Battlefist (bonus) Natural Armor 1
    11th Thayan Gladiator 3 8 7 3 8 Craft (blacksmithing) 8; Craft (poisonmaking) (+2 CC) 14; Disable device 11; Knowledge: Arcana 11; Search 11; Spellcraft 3; Use magic device (+2 CC) 14; Stunning Critical, Silver Strike
    12th Thayan Gladiator 4 9 8 3 8 Craft (blacksmithing) 8; Craft (poisonmaking) (+2 CC) 15; Disable device 11; Knowledge: Arcana 11; Search 11; Spellcraft 3; Use magic device (+2 CC) 15; Power Attack Natural Weapon Focus
    13th Thayan Gladiator 5 10 8 3 8 Craft (blacksmithing) 8; Craft (poisonmaking) (+2 CC) 16; Disable device 11; Knowledge: Arcana 11; Search 11; Spellcraft 3; Use magic device (+2 CC) 16; Imbue Natural Weapon (Thundering), Natural Armor 2
    14th Thayan Gladiator 6 11 9 4 9 Craft (blacksmithing) 8; Craft (poisonmaking) (+2 CC) 17; Disable device 11; Knowledge: Arcana 11; Search 11; Spellcraft 3; Use magic device (+2 CC) 17; Adamantine Strike
    15th Thayan Gladiator 7 12 9 4 9 Craft (blacksmithing) 8; Craft (poisonmaking) (+2 CC) 18; Disable device 11; Knowledge: Arcana 11; Search 11; Spellcraft 3; Use magic device (+2 CC) 18; Disciple of Darkness (CoR p.23) Savage Strike
    16th Thayan Gladiator 8 13 10 4 9 Craft (blacksmithing) 8; Craft (poisonmaking) (+2 CC) 19; Disable device 11; Knowledge: Arcana 11; Search 11; Spellcraft 3; Use magic device (+2 CC) 19; Natural Weapon Mastery, Natural Armor 3
    17th Disciple of Dispater 1 (BoVD p.60) 14 12 6 11 Craft (blacksmithing) 8; Craft (poisonmaking) 19; Disable device (+3) 14; Knowledge: Arcana 11; Search (+3) 14; Spellcraft 3; Use magic device 19; Device Lore
    18th Disciple of Dispater 2 15 13 7 12 Craft (blacksmithing) 8; Craft (poisonmaking) 19; Disable device (+3) 17; Knowledge: Arcana 11; Search (+3) 17; Spellcraft 3; Use magic device 19; Hellbound Knight (CoR p.23) Iron Hews
    19th Disciple of Dispater 3 16 13 7 12 Craft (blacksmithing) 8; Craft (poisonmaking) 19; Disable device (+3) 20; Knowledge: Arcana 11; Search (+3) 20; Spellcraft 3; Use magic device 19; Rusting Grasp
    20th Disciple of Dispater 4 17 14 8 13 Craft (blacksmithing) 8; Craft (poisonmaking) 19; Disable device (+3) 23; Knowledge: Arcana 11; Search (+3) 23; Spellcraft 3; Use magic device 19; Iron Power 1
    Spoiler: Spell and Scale
    Infusions per day. Bonuses from Int not included.
    Level 1st 2nd 3rd
    1st 2
    2nd 3
    3rd 3 1
    4th 3 2
    5th 3 3 1
    6th 3 3 1
    7th 3 3 2

    Wild cohort table:

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Reflex Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st-2nd Swindlespitter (MM3 p.41) 1 3 3 0 spot 5 Virulent Poison (SS p.40), Mobility (b), weapon finese (b) posion dc 14
    3rd-5th Swindlespitter 2 3 3 1 Spot +1 (6) Ability Focus: poison spray poison DC 16
    6th Swindlespitter 3 4 4 1 Spot +2 (8) +1 Con, poison DC: 18
    7th-8th Fleshraker (MM3 p.40) 3 4 4 1 Jump 7 Virulent Poison, Ability Focus: poison poison DC 18
    9th-11th Fleshraker 3 4 4 1 Jump +1 (8)
    12th-14th Fleshraker 5 5 5 2 Jump +2 (10) Power Attack poison DC: 19
    15th Fleshraker 6 6 6 3 Jump +2 (12) Leap Attack (CAdv p.110) +1 con, poison dc: 21
    16th-17th Giant Banded Lizard (Sa p.48, 164) 7 7 7 3 Spot 8, listen 5 Virulent Poison, Ability Focus: poison, Deadly Poison (SS p.31), Quick Reconnoiter (CAdv p.112) Poison DC 25, double secondary damage
    18th-20th Giant Banded Lizard 8 7 7 3 Spot +1 (9)

    Spoiler: DO YOU DO POISON?!
    Spoiler: Equipment
    As an artificer who also DOES POISON, Five-Punch man makes and uses a lot of stuff, and I'm not going to go through it all. Assume normal melee equipment and enchantments, mostly. Of special note is the triple weapon capsule retainer (CAdv p.121), a cheap mundane item that allows to apply poison doses as a swift action. Sweet. In the same vein, the toxic weapon enhancement (DotU p.96) could be a useful and thematic addition. The virulent enhancement, from the same source, becomes nearly as tempting at later levels, when Five-Punch Man routinely uses a posion that deals double secondary damage. Both could be fine. This is especially easy if you buy the RAW approach for double enhancement presented below, but that's not a must. A wand chamber (Dungeonscape p.34) could also be useful. Continuing the theme of most of the build, these options wouldn't apply for a "normal" natural weapon.

    A necklace of natural attacks should work on top of the battlefist enhancement and the gladiator bonus, RAW. The actual enhancement bonuses wouldn't stack, but you could get different special abilities from each source. Nothing stopping you from enjoying both. This isn't essential for the build, but RAW at least it should work.

    Level 5: This is going to be a bit long – a lot of this will stay relevant through the entire career.
    Artificer has a strong start. Five-Punch man is a melee, as well as a trapfinder. He starts out with 18 Con, which is a tremendous help with his poor HD. Being a straight artificer, he already has access to retain essence, so he should not run into EXP issues at any point.
    Infusions wise, everything is accessible of course, but of special note are the armor enhancement infusions – all very good, and all available at this level. Beware their cost, though. As fun as throwing on heavy fortification can be, a 100 gp stacks up at this level, and you need the money for crafting equipment and poison. Later levels – go wild.

    Personal weapon augmentation is first level, no-cost infusion that is going to be a permanent feature of Five-Punch Man's career. At early level, it's a great source of reliable bonus damage through something like frost or flaming (sudden stunning if you want to be cheesier) or used for the toxic enhancement, mentioned in the equipment section. At later levels, it can be used to offer solution to each specific problems Five-Punch Man thinks he might face – ghost touch, bane weapon, etc. Skill enhancement is a resource-cheap way to solve all sorts of problems, and especially useful to craft higher DCs poisons from level 1 of the build. Speaking of which…

    As a wild dwarf, Wild-Punch Man has racial poison use – as well as familiarity with wild dwarf knockout poison, one can assume. His wild cohort, Scaly (detailes of whom can be found in the "Spell and Scale" spoiler tag right beneath the table), is a freaking delight and always up for donating her poison, greatly saving on expenses. That poison also happens to be more potent than that of most of her kind, due to her feats. When crafting other poisons, Five-Punch man can utilize his Extraordinary Artisan feat for cheaper costs.

    Level 10: Into the SI, entering through his natural weapon – a battlefist, replacing his right arm. This is a natural slam attack made of iron and steel, which gets iteratives and can be enchanted. Neat. While all the other chumps walk into the arena with boring claws and teeth, Five-Punch Man can walk in with a magically enhanced fist dripping in poison – simply not an option for most natural weapon users. RAW, the fist damage isn't effected by his small size, making it a net gain in most ways. If the DM decides to decrease it anyway – well, improved natural attack from Thayan Gladiator will help it back up. Improved critical is also useful, especially with iteratives, and will be supported further in the future. Natural armor stacks with his heavy armor. Admittedly, he doesn't have much support for study opponent.

    Breaking up with scaly was a hard call, and not just for fluff reasons. Wild cohort punishes you quite harshly for taking an advanced animal companion, and taking a fleshraker is no longer an obvious choice – as you lose 6 levels instead of 3. Still, in the end, Scaly 2.0 has more survivability and combat utility, and Dex Damage is more reliable than blindness.

    The core identity of Five-Punch Man is already here – beating up enemies using his enchanted-and-poisoned battlefist as a versatile combatant, and getting advantages for said battlefist that he never could as a straight renegade mastermaker.

    Level 15: Many goodies. Natural weapon focus is incredible, of course, and Five-Punch Man is nearing his 5th punch. Stunning critical and savage strike really makes you want to crit, don't they? Iteratives are helpful for that, but… hmm. Thundering is there to support the crits – with a magical natural weapon and with personal weapon augmentation, Five-Punch Man can afford to give ghost touch up. Silvered and adamantine strike are very helpful to get over DR, as Five-Punch Man's battlefist is DECIDEDLY made from iron or steel. None of your fancy metals, thank you very much.

    Combat expertise will be situationally useful, when enemies focus Five-Punch Man. Power attack will be consistently helpful, of course, though not as useful as for a THF build. Disciple of Darkness is trash, but it can potentially save the day here and there. Scaly 2.0 is on the top of her game, with 21 DC on her poison and leap attack to keep her pounce relevant. Everything synergizes well. Now, if only we could crit more…

    Level 20: Oh yeah.

    I'm going to talk about Scaly 3.0 now, because I'll be too excited later. Scaly 3.0 would claim she's male, and is named "The Ancient King", but she can't talk, so we'll stay with Scaly 3.0 She's a vast improvement over Scaly 2.0, and has the Deadly poison feat, which makes virulent a good investment (see equipment). She's also an effective combatant in her own right, though likely utilized only outside of the arena. Great. Let's get to business.

    We exit the SI after getting the awesome natural weapon mastery, right before the trash that is magic strike comes online. I've had a native enhancement bonus to that slam since level 7, thank you very much. Our next step leads us deeper into evil, as we complete our entry to the service of Dispater, lor of Dis. And Dat, probably.

    Iron power is our capstone, and what a capstone it is. It's the holy grail of many critical hit builds, as (I believe) the only way within our allowed material to improve critical range on top of improved critical. The only issue is, it requires a weapon made of Iron or steel – which our slam attack is. Improved critical, savage strike, stunning critical, imbue natural weapon (thundering) – everything just got a huge boost. DoD having full BaB also insured we comfortably reach our 4th iterative, finally becoming Five-Punch Man.

    This is obviously fantastic. On top of that, the class gives us device lore, and the skill points to re-stack our trapfinder skills. It gives us Iron hews, which is not spectacular by any means, but is supported by our many attacks and our great Con Score. Finally, at level 19, it gives us rusting grasp – granting us caster level 15 for the purposes of crafting, and making up for the largest downside of our choice to lean martial instead of staying in renegade mastermaker.

    Thayan Gladiator is all about using a chosen natural weapon effectively. A wild dwarf with no meldshaping and no psionic powers may not seem like the best entry, but Five-Punch Man is doing great for himself. He enjoys everything his 8 levels of the SI granted him greatly, with the sole exception of study opponent, which is situational at best anyway. His natural weapon can uniquely benefit not only from poisons and enchantments made by him, but also from iron power – to get better-to-significantly-better usage of all his class features. He can overcome DR/chaotic, DR/evil, DR/adamantine, DR/magic and DR/silver. He has four iteratives, competing with rapidstrike builds – and getting them way before the ECL most of those would get improved rapidstrike.

    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  13. - Top - End - #103
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    That little guy hasn't done anything yet! And when he does I bet it's going to be something really cool.

    Quote Originally Posted by 'Ole Cooter
    Study Opponent (Ex): You prefer to circle your opponents before engaging them in melee, searching them for weaknesses and noting the way their bodies move. You can study any opponent within 30 feet as a standard action for a number of rounds equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1 round). For each round you study, you gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls and AC during the round that you first engage them in melee combat.

    There are two correct ways to interpret this ability. I’ll rearrange the sentence a bit to illustrate:
    * For a number of rounds equal to your wisdom modifier, you can use a standard action to study an opponent. (Likely rules as intended)
    * You can study an opponent for a number of rounds equal to your wisdom bonus as a standard action. (This is the interpretation we are using for this build)

    ‘Ole Cooter
    Lawful Evil Middle Age Silverbrow Human
    Monk 2/ Swordsage 1/ Monk of the Long Death 6/ Thayan Gladiator 1/Assassin 8/ Mindspy 1



    Start (32 PB) 8 15 13 15 15 11
    Middle Age 7 14 12 16 16 12
    4th level +1
    8th level +1
    12th level +1
    16th level +1
    20th level +1

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1 Hand and Foot Monk 0 2 2 2 ius, stunning fist, favored in guild (mercantile), toughness 28: concentration 4, craft (alchemy) 4, craft (poisonmaking) 4, Disguise 4, Hide 4, Jump 4, Move silently 4, flurry of blows, bonus feat, unarmed strike 1d6
    2 Sleeping Tiger Invisible Fist Monk 1 3 3 3 improved initiative 7: Concentration 5, Craft (alchemy) 5, Craft (poisonmaking) 5, Disguise 5, Hide 5, Jump 5, Move Silently 5 invisible fist, bonus feat
    3 Swordsage 1 3 5 5 Primary contact, (weapon focus 9+1: Concentration 6, Craft (poisonmaking) 7(PC), Disguise 6, Heal 3, Hide 6, Jump 6, Move silently 6 Quick to act +1, discipline focus (weapon focus), 6 Maneuvers, 4 readied, 1 stance
    4 Monk of long death 1 1 3 7 7 7: Bluff 3, Concentration 7, Disguise 7, Hide 7, Move silently 7, Deathguard +1, monk abilities, poison use
    5 monk of long death 2 2 3 8 8 7: Bluff 6, concentration 8, Disguise 8, Hide 8, Move silently 8 Macabre shroud
    6 monk of long death 3 3 4 8 8 Darkstalker 7: Bluff 9, concentration 9, Hide 9, Move silently 9, Tumble 1 Death knell, deathguard +2
    7 monk of long death 4 4 4 9 9 7: Bluff 10, concentration 10, Hide 10, Move silently 10, Tumble 4
    8 Monk of long death 5 4 4 9 9 8: Bluff 11, concentration 11, Decipher script 2, Hide 11, Move silently 11, Tumble 6, Deathguard +3
    9 Assassin 1 4 4 11 9 Illithid bloodline 8: Bluff 12, Concentration 12, Hide 12, Move silently 12, Sleight of Hand 2, Use Magic Device 2 Sneak attack +1d6, death attack, poison use, spells
    10 Monk of the long death 6 5 5 12 10 8: Bluff 13, Concentration 13, Decipher script 6, Hide 13, Move silently 13, death attack
    11 Thayan Gladiator 6 7 12 10 6: Bluff 14, spot 5 Improved natural attack, study opponent
    12 Hit Run Fighter 1 7 9 12 10 raptor school, ring the golden bell 6: Jump 10, Swim 2 hit and run tactics, bonus feat
    13 Assassin 2 8 9 13 10 8: Bluff 16, Concentration 15, Hide 15, Move silently 15 poison save +1, uncanny dodge
    14 Assassin 3 9 10 13 10 8: Bluff 17, Concentration 17, Hide 17, Move Silently 17 Sneak attack +2d6
    15 Assassin 4 10 10 14 10 snap kick 8: Bluff 18, Concentration 18, Hide 18, Move Silently 18, sleight of hand 4, use magic device 4 poison save+2
    16 Mindspy 1 11 10 14 12 7: Bluff 19, Concentration 19, sense motive 5 Anticipate, combat telepathy, spherical detect thoughts
    17 Assassin 5 11 10 14 12 9: Bluff 20, Concentration 20, use magic device 11 Improved uncanny dodge, sneak attack +3d6
    18 Assassin 6 12 11 15 13 ability focus: death attack 9: Hide 19, Move silently 19, Sleight of hand 11 poison save +3
    19 Assassin 7 13 11 15 13 9: Hide 20, Move silently 20, Sleight of hand 12, Use Magic Device 17 Sneak attack +4d6
    20 Assassin 8 14 11 16 13 9: Bluff 23, Use magic device 23 poison save +4, hide in plain sight

    MANEUVERS: Wolf Fang Strike, Sudden Leap, Sapphire Nightmare Blade, Distracting Ember, Mighty Throw, Shadow Blade Technique
    STANCE: Child of Shadow

    1: Hypnotism (Illthid bloodline), Distract Assailant, Sniper’s Shot, Insightful Feint, Shadow Double
    2: Detect Thoughts (Illithid bloodline), Swift Invisibility, Swift Ready, Getaway, Smoke Stairs
    3: Suggestion (Illithid Bloodline), Vital strike, Toxic Tongue, Nightmare Terrain, Create Fetch
    4: Confusion (Illithid Bloodline), Unseen Strike, Heartripper, Hide from Dragons


    Maximous stretched his nezumi muscles in the gladiatorial antechamber. A buzzing insect...buzzed...its way between the shafts of light that pierced the room from the light of the afternoon. Maximous was sending quite a bit of coin back home from these fights. He even managed to buy the freedom of his most recent litter of pips.

    In just a few minutes, he was going to fight Ole Cooter, one of the oldest gladiators in Thay. Ole Cooter had a reputation as a boring gladiator, yet here he was, fighting almost daily, still plodding along.

    Maximous knew that he would have to act fast, as his opponent, known only as Ole Cooter, was known as a power striker. Those sorts of fighters had to be outmaneuvered and worn out. Just don’t get hit, and make them sweat. Easy Enoughfor a fast ratling fighter! Anxiety crept into Maximous’s legs, precipitating a tapping against the ground. Maximous dipped his fingers in a little pouch and scratched his nails along a dry paste, caking the creases and intracuticular spaces of his paws. This paste was an irritating poison that is deadly when introduced into the blood stream. This little gift was from the stablemaster by special request of the Tharchion. He reflected at what an honor this opportunity presented. He, Maximous, was hand chosen to get rid of this gladiator and there was a reward associated with his success. Maybe Maximous would have the down payment for his freedom soon.

    The word was amongst the fighters of the gladiator stables that Ole Cooter used to be a merchant who had sold the poison that failed to kill the Zuiker in an assassination attempt decades ago. He was subsequently sentenced to live the rest of his life as a gladiator. How the hell did an herb merchant survive this long as a fighter?

    But really, how hard was it gonna be to fight an old merchant? Well, today was the day that Young Maximous was gonna squeak in a big win.

    The doors parted, and Maximous spied the old man in his late forties who was to be his opponent. Maximous felt some relief at seeing how weak the man appeared. Ole Cooter had thin arms and skinny legs. He wore no armor.

    The two contestants approached each other and began circling as the Emcee declared their names and the rules of the match.

    This was a first blood match.
    No weapons other than the ones mother nature gave to you may be used.
    A round of betting will occur in the next three minutes.

    Maximous basically had this all memorized so he focused on intimidating Ole cooter.

    Ole Cooter stood there. He watched the form of Maximous do a pre-fight weapon drill meant to rile the crowd and intimidate him. He watched a femoral artery have insufficient armor. He observed an analogous vein in the mouse-man's neck display its potential to be a source of blood choking. Ole Cooter stood still and watched.

    “And Fight!”

    Maximous charged at Ole Cooter. His plan was to slash and retreat and let the poison do its work. But as he neared, the air changed.

    Ole Cooter held his right hand outward, palm down. Still. Too still. He suddenly flinched and the hand instantly curled into a fist. A nearly imperceptible vibration was set into motion.

    Maximous became dizzy.

    Maximous felt like his head was levitating above his body. He wasn’t even 15 feet away from Ole Cooter. What the hell is happening?

    Maximous tripped. Struggling for breath. He looked up. Ole Cooter was calmly walking away. Yelling something about being done fighting by Thay’s rules. Maximous tried to get up but he was interrupted by the voice of his grandfather, “Come on, son. You’re done here. Just let the light swallow you up.”

    Confusion and fear poured over Maximous. Like he was wrapped in a tunnel to tight to squeeze out of. What was even happening?

    “You died, Grandson. Your body just hasn’t had time to realize. Let’s go to a nice place in the Outlands. There’s an Osage tree there the size of the sky, and not a serpent in sight”


    Ole Cooter was a Monk of the Long Death (Hereafter referred to as MoLD) well before he was formally inducted into the order. His father personally trained him with a meticulous amount of loving detail throughout his life to imbibe the best tools available of all the martial arts. Imagine if Bruce lee was a Grecian Monk of Thay who was perfecting a modern martial art that synchretized many different styles and was bringing his kid along for the ride.

    The MoLD are considered to be a macabre sect of academic monks, based geographically in Thay, who were known to be striving to understand death.

    Not the soul.
    Not morality.
    The Biophysical nature of life itself.

    The MoLD are students focusing the razor’s edge of existence that separates a body under the auspices of life in the present and the chaos of the unknown of each moment of the future. Each increment of time brings an essential probability of cessation that animating force.

    The MoLD consider themselves academics, scientists, and biologists. And like all biologists, the MoLD understand that to study life is to study death. And through this study, there are many fruits of knowledge to pick. For medicine, for inner peace, for spiritual peace, for forgiveness, and for war.

    Young Cooter studied poisons and drugs effects on the body and living tissues. He got pretty good at making these substances. And then he got adept at selling these poisons through underground markets. And then he sold a deadly draught of poison to a person who turned out to be a snitch. And this person was providing poison to would-be assassins on the Tharchion’s life. Every man in the supply chain of that attempt on the Tharchion’s life was divined and severely punished.

    Cooter was arrested and sentenced to Life imprisonment in the gladiatorial stables.

    But Cooter was kind of...at home there.

    He could just hone new ways to advance the research of his order. Butchering gladiators in their own game not through superior strength, but through superior knowledge.



    This build is predicated on the strange wording of the Thayan Gladiator's one first level ability. What does it mean to study someone for 3 rounds as a standard action?

    Death Attack!

    Actually, there's a number of things that require empty rounds of watching.

    Raptor school grants +6 to attack and damage. In addition to the +3 to attack and AC from the study abilitiy? That’s +9 to hit with a death attack.

    If we had space in the build, the chink in the armor feat, (from song and silence) which trades a round of observation for negating half of someone's armor bonus. That seemed like a pain to actually calculate, so when there was insufficient feat space to fit everything i wanted, it got cut.

    Mindspy and its detect thoughts optimization also uses rounds of observation to power up. Reading the minds of anyone in a sphere around you, and getting another +1 to hit and AC is nice too.

    With UMD, detect spells on wands can be used at maximum power in a standard action.

    Stacking as many as possible, this is what was created.

    If we are doing Death attacks, we need that Death attack Fort save DC to be really high. So MoLD, entered early via primary contact nabs some death save DC increases, and it advances monk fighting skills, which benefit from improved natural attack. Thereby using every single feature of the first level of the Special ingredient. And expanding the capacity of the study opponent into a whole new frontier of optimization.

    For death attack to function reliably, we need ways to get sneak attacks with melee weapons to hit and deal damage. So invisible fist and a series of assassin spells and maneuvers all aid in that endeavor to trigger sneak attack.

    We needed a race with racial casting in order to take ranks in craft (alchemy) and so, Ole Cooter is born as a silverbrow human rather than a whisper gnome or tibbit. Take it as verboten that Ole Cooter can craft poison though-out his career and will strive for con damaging poison, or int/wis increasing drugs for themselves.

    LEVEL 5
    This is a pretty straightforward set of levels. A monk with some swordsage thrown in. Immediate action invisibility, pre-requisites for thayan gladiator, and primary contact for early entry into the Monks of long death. Flurry is helpful for death attacks later. Going first is going to be important, so we abandon hand and foot monk fighting style at level 2 and pick up sleeping tiger. And monk of long death has macabre shroud, which is weirdly helpful because it only takes a DC 20-30 knowledge: local, Thay check to learn a striking amount about any gladiator. We wind up adding 6 to that DC, which is almost useless, but it definitely isn't nothing. The low BAB and strength score here is going to hurt survivability during these rounds. Hopefully you go adventuring with a party of well rounded individuals to buff that up. But Ole Cooter has a pretty good skill array for sneaking and disguising themselves as ordinary folk.

    LEVEL 10
    We'll be cooking with gas soon, I promise. We take darkstalker because it's good for what we'll be doing later. Being concealed or invisible and karate chopping people to death. At level 6 we pick up death knell as a 1/day spell like ability. We can just add it to our featherfall racial SLA as conditionally helpful. At level 9 we pick up death attack and the illithid bloodline feat. Assassin had to be wedged here for the level 9 feat to provide the 4 extra spells to the assassin’s list, including the prerequisite detect thoughts spell for mindspy later. At level 9, Cooter’s Stunning fist save DC is 17 and their Death Attack save DC is 15. At level 10, Cooter’s Stunning fist save DC is 18 and their Death Attack Save DC is 21, which is appropriate for level 10.
    LEVEL 15 (APEX)
    Well, howdy everyone! At level 11 we take the special ingredient. Now Cooter can take a standard action to study their opponent for 3 rounds. Meaning that a death attack is possible in the next round. Also, every punch deals 2d8 damage. Hit and run fighter adds 2 more to the initiative check, as well as dex to damage for a flat footed opponent, and two fantastic feats enter the game: ring the golden bell (use a melee weapon attack (unarmed strike) at range, which is enough to trigger death attack if it is a sneak attack that deals damage.) And raptor school stacks on top of your ability to study your opponent, offering +6 to attack and damage on your first round (on top of the +3 you already have).

    Three more assassin levels follow, upping the death attack save DC by 3 more (DC24) and snap kick is added, which allows for subsequent death attacks in a round if you hit with your first strike. Almost Everything this build can do is here. In addition we have 3 level assassin spells, and suggestion is added to our spells known from the illithid bloodline, so we can affect will saves instead of just fort.

    LEVEL 20

    Mindspy + 3 rounds of observation as a standard action skips all of the problems of detect thoughts in combat. We can detect thoughts in a sphere which might be cool if theres like really smart earthworms or birds or something, and we derive some combat benefits from it. It surely helps in gladiatorial contests that are routinely rigged. The final 4 levels of assassin add another 4 to the death attack save DC as well as adding hide in plain sight to the mix of assassin abilities. Plus all of the spells chosen are quite helpful for combat or adventuring.


    Feats Race/ Class
    Dragon Magic SilverBrow Human 6
    Cityscape Favored 61, Primary Contact 61, Mercantile Guild 90
    Dungeon Master's Guide Assassin 180
    Spell compendium Distract Assailant 69, Heartripper 111, Hide From Dragons 114, Insightful Feint 124, Invisibility, swift 125, Sniper's Shot 194
    Lords of Madness Darkstalker 194
    Exemplars of Evil Invisible Fist 21
    Complete Mage Nightmare Terrain 111, Toxic Tongue 120, Unseen Strike 122, Vital Strike 122
    Complete Scoundrel Create Fetch 96, Smoke Stairs 103
    Complete Warrior Raptor School 111 Mindspy 62
    Dragon Compendium Illithid Bloodline 100, Ring the Golden Bell 105,
    Drow of the Underdark Shadow Double 62, Hit and Run Tactics 58
    Forge of War Swift Ready 117
    Player's Guide to Faerun Monk of Long Death 65
    Song and Silence Getaway 92
    Tome of Battle Distracting Ember 52, Sapphire Nightmare Blade 65, Mighty Throw 73, Child of Shadow 76, Shadow Blade Technique 78, Sudden Leap 89, Wolf Fang Strike 90 Swordsage 15
    Unearthed Arcana Sleeping Tiger Monk, & Hand and Foot Monk 52
    Monster Manual V Ability Focus 204
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  14. - Top - End - #104
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    That's not shifting! THAT'S shifting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Takkan
    CE Feral Longtooth Shifter Wolf Totem Barbarian 4/Warshaper 5/Thayan Gladiator 10
    Spoiler: Ability scores
    Initial Ability Scores (32-point buy)
    Str 18, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 8
    Racial ability score changes: +2 Dex, -2 Int, -2 Cha.
    Feral Template: +4 Str, -2 Dex, +2 Con, -4 Int, +2 Wis
    Ability Score increases go to Str.
    Final ability scores:
    Str 26, Dex 12, Con 18, Int 4, Wis 10, Cha 6

    Spoiler: The Tail of Takkan
    “For this next match, boy do we have a treat for you.” The Announcer yelled through the stadium with a sadistic grin. “A melee fighter barely smarter than a wild animal, but more ferocious than anything you’ll encounter. The prized gladiator of Tharchion Azyrnon Khal of Delhumide, a brutal killer who shifts his form in rage to terrifying effect! When he was found in the wilds, it took fifteen men and five wizards to bring him down, and now he’s here for your viewing pleasure! Give it up for Takkan!”
    The doors opened and a minor procession came out, based around a large wheeled platform, on which rested a cage of solid iron with a few breathing holes, from which animalistic growling and snarling could be heard. Four soldiers with long spears tipped with electrical energy stood at alert, pointing them at the cage. There were also two wizards clad in red robes, glaring intently at the cage.
    They dismissed the cage, and the moment they did so, it revealed a very hairy human, hunched over and growling. His leather armor seemed rather fine, surprising considering the rest of his appearance. He also had razor sharp claws on his hands that almost looked to be covered with frost. His first action was to leap forward, but the soldiers presented the spears in the hairy human’s face. They didn’t seem to harm the creature, but it didn’t advance on the wizards or soldiers. “Looks like Takkan is ready to fight! But thankfully our Red Wizards are here to make sure that he doesn’t harm anyone except our challenger!” As the wizards and soldiers started shuffling back, still having their shields raised, and once the gates closed and Takkan could no longer see the people that brought him in, he seemed to be a bit calmer.
    “And who is the foolhardy challenger? Well he’s definitely brutal, but if there was a battle of brains between Takkan and the challenger, I’d bet on the chairs they were sitting on!”
    This caused the crowd to emerge in raucous laughter, and Takkan glared at the announcer’s booth.
    “Anyway folks, it’s time for the reveal. He’s a special breed, introducing the half-orc Kurrak Manslaughter!”
    The gates on the other side of the arena opened and a half-orc strode out. His armor was a motley array of small dented metal plates and thick dirty hides, but the large, almost oversized, axe he was wielding looked very shiny, and it crackled with electricity.
    “Well, looks like we’re going to have a brutal smackdown fight. Let the competition begin!”
    The two competitors started approaching each other cautiously for quite some time, almost a half-minute, but then Takkan charged forward, initiating the combat by charging forward. While doing that, his form shifted and changed, his mouth extending and growing a snout, his muscles growing in size as he landed particularly powerful hits with his claws and teeth. Kurrak Manslaughter looked staggered, but kept his ground, but Takkan followed up with an additional claw attack, a tail sprouting from behind him a few seconds later. Kurrak got his chance to counterattack, swinging his greataxe several times, landing three hits on Takkan. Takkan didn’t seem too daunted by this, his wounds already partially closing, and he lashed out with more attacks, one of which managed to trip Kurrak and made Kurrak fall to the ground. Takkan used this brief reprieve to grow his arms and tail far longer than they usually would be on a creature of his size.
    “Looks like Takkan’s pulling out the big guns now. This is why he’s regarded as the most fearsome gladiator! Stay tuned to watch him mow down a dozen Thayan Knights who failed in their duties!”
    Until, when Takkan landed a claw, and Kurrak just dropped to the ground, his body surrounded by a pool of blood.
    “And there you go! The real cost of fighting someone like Takkan! His claws and bite are well-known for draining your stamina, so this fight was almost settled before it began!” The crowd went wild, cheering another brutal fight.

    “I told you Takkan would win.” Tharchion Azyrnon Khal grinned from behind his bodyguard, who collected the money from Turak Hashan, one of the more powerful Red Wizards. “His abilities are unique, even for a Gladiator. I’m not entirely sure what sort of training Takkan has.”
    “You cheated!” Turak announced. “You got someone to cast polymorph on your gladiator as the fight began! That’s how they were able to do that! I can sense magic, you know!”
    “Then you would know that Takkan is a rare breed able to shift into a different state, sort of like a barbarian’s rage. I’ve been trying to find more of his kind, but Takkan killed the mercenaries that captured him from his tribe… how unfortunate.”
    “You’re treading on a thin line here, Azyrnon.” Turak threatened as he walked out, followed by his two knight bodyguards.
    “Were you really threatening Turak Hashan? I’ve heard he’s going to make a play to be Zulkier of Evocation by next year. You should be careful.” Azyrnon’s bodyguard commented a few minutes after Turak left.
    “Turak Hashan’s overextending himself already, Zeldrys. If he’s stupid enough to go after Uzyryan, I’d be happy to side with the current Zulkier. Might be enough to get funding for the new wizard tower.”
    “Where’d you hear that from?”
    “Turak’s supporters are less in his pocket than the Red Wizard would like to believe. Taroven Inaren’s been looking for a position in the government independent of him, and Inzhekln’s got some other plan. Turak’s on a house of cards, Zeldrys.”
    “Well, I’ll make sure to adjust that when I ask about leads.”
    “In the meantime, I need to check up on Takkan, make sure he’s being treated well.”

    The metal men with sparky spears had put him back into his home cage. One metal man told him he fought good. Maybe Master will give him treat, for fighting good. He heard from loud voice above (God? He should ask Master about God voice from above) he will fight knights who did bad thing. He liked these fights. Arena Master never gave bad knights sharp axes or strong armor, only metal armor that breaks easily.
    He heard whisper noise coming from stone wall. Right. One fighter was on other side. Called himself Tellas. Wanted to escape. Why escape when he can fight good and get treats? Tellas is stupid, silly man for not making sense.
    The door to hallway opened, and he saw Master walk in, followed by Bodyguard and also Protector. It was easy to tell them apart, Bodyguard’s armor looked heavy but actually is light, and Protector’s armor looked light but actually is heavy. “One protects me from fighting threats, one protects me from other threats.” Master had explained.
    “You did a good job, Takkan! Did you want to go outside and guard me alongside Kiyan while Zeldrys gathers information?”
    He nodded. This was why Tellas was stupid. Why go through all this effort to escape when you can be good to your master and you go outside for free?
    “I hope you’re ready to fight after this, there’s quite a few knights that shirked their duties.”

    Spoiler: Level Breakdown
    Spoiler: ECL 5: The Savage Warrior
    Takkan grew up in a wild tribe of humans, his shifting traits coming from a werewolf ancestor. Takkan was one of the stronger members of the tribe, due to his shifter abilities, being able to down a lot of the prey the tribe uses for food. A mercenary group ended up capturing him and forcing him to be a bodyguard, however, giving him some experience in regimented fighting. In combat, Takkan uses rage and shifting to deal with a threat quickly with sharp claws and strong bite

    Spoiler: ECL 10: Morphic Power
    Takkan escaped from his captors and started wandering the land, going on more of a spiritual journey to learn about his morphic form, learning how to shape his body in a way not seen in Faerun before. However his freedom was short-lived, because soon his abilities were known throughout Thay. Takkan uses the same attacks as before, except he adds a tail when he gets the chance, and his Shifter Savagery feat makes all of his attacks extremely potent when raging and shifting (Abilities that synergize really well)

    Spoiler: ECL 15: Thayan Gladiator
    Takkan found escaping from his Thayan masters a lot more difficult than escaping from the random mercenaries that picked him up, so he just started to go along with it. His strategy has remained unchanged, although Takkan might throw in a trip attempt or two to spice things up in the battlefield.

    Spoiler: ECL 20: Master of the Arena
    Takkan is a beast in the gladiator arenas, able to strike four times with his claws when most creatures would only be able to strike twice, and adds in a bite and tail strike when he can, and his ability to extend his limbs makes him able to deal with even Large opponents effectively. Occasionally he’ll use his tail to make a trip attack.

    Spoiler: Build Breakdown
    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Reflex Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Feral Template - - - - - - -
    2nd Barbarian 1 +1 +2 +0 +0 Intimidate +4 Weapon Focus(Claws) Ferocity 1/day, illiteracy, Lion Spiritual Totem(Pounce)
    3rd Barbarian 2 +2 +3 +0 +0 Intimidate +5 Improved Trip
    4th Barbarian 3 +3 +3 +1 +1 Intimidate +6 Power Attack, Track
    5th Barbarian 4 +4 +4 +1 +1 Intimidate +7 Ferocity 2/day
    6th Warshaper 1 +5 +6 +1 +1 Escape Artist +1, Intimidate +7 Morphic Immunities, Morphic Weapons
    7th Warshaper 2 +5 +7 +1 +1 Escape Artist +1, Intimidate +7.5 Toughness Morphic Body
    8th Warshaper 3 +6/+1 +7 +2 +2 Escape Artist +1, Intimidate +8 Morphic Reach
    9th Warshaper 4 +7/+2 +8 +2 +2 Escape Artist +1, Intimidate +8.5 Morphic Healing
    10th Warshaper 5 +7/+2 +8 +2 +2 Escape Artist +1, Intimidate +9 Shifter Savagery Flashmorph
    11th Thayan Gladiator 1 +8/+3 +10 +2 +2 Escape Artist +1, Intimidate +10 Improved Natural Attack(Claws) Study Opponent
    12th Thayan Gladiator 2 +9/+4 +10 +2 +2 Escape Artist +1, Intimidate +11 Improved Critical, Natural Armor +1
    13th Thayan Gladiator 3 +10/+5 +11 +3 +3 Escape Artist +1, Intimidate +12 Shifter Multiattack Stunning Critical, Silvered Strike
    14th Thayan Gladiator 4 +11/+6/+1 +12 +3 +3 Escape Artist +1, Intimidate +13 Natural Weapon Focus(Claws)
    15th Thayan Gladiator 5 +12/+7/+2 +12 +3 +3 Escape Artist +1, Intimidate +14 Imbue Natural Weapon(Frost), Natural Armor +2
    16th Thayan Gladiator 6 +13/+8/+3 +13 +4 +4 Escape Artist +1, Intimidate +15 Great Bite Adamantine Strike
    17th Thayan Gladiator 7 +14/+9/+4 +13 +4 +4 Escape Artist +1, Intimidate +16 Savage Strike
    18th Thayan Gladiator 8 +15/+10/+5 +14 +4 +4 Escape Artist +1, Intimidate +17 Natural Armor +3, Natural Weapon Mastery
    19th Thayan Gladiator 9 +16/+11/+6/+1 +14 +5 +5 Escape Artist +1, Intimidate +18 Ragewild Fighter Magic Strike
    20th Thayan Gladiator 10 +17/+12/+7/+2 +15 +5 +5 Escape Artist +1, Intimidate +19 Imbue Natural Weapon(Speed)

    Spoiler: Sources and Notes

    Shifters in Faerun: While Shifters are primarily an Eberron race, on p26 of the Races of Eberron book there’s a couple paragraphs describing how Shifters can be used in any fantasy setting. Takkan Daan was built using this as a baseline, and the only Eberron content used relates to shifters.
    Player’s Handbook (Barbarian p24, Weapon Focus p91, Improved Trip p90, Toughness p91, Track p91, )
    Complete Warrior (Warshaper p89)
    Cityscape Web Enhancement(Ferocity) link
    Complete Champion (Spiritual Totem ACF p46)
    Savage Species (Feral Template p116)
    Unearthed Arcana (Totem Barbarian p48)
    Races of Eberron (Shifter p25, Shifter feats p116)
    Eberron Campaign Setting(Great Bite p54)
    Champions of Ruin(Thayan Gladiator p63)
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  15. - Top - End - #105
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    I heard that guy blinded a cyclops.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoBody
    Spoiler: Enter on the sand
    - And now in our stadium the main fight of this day happens!
    - Our champion! Invincible! Unbeatable!!! Glorious and horned Grogan Dal!!! - massive minotaur with great battleaxe and crackling with sparking horns stepped on sand of the arena in one end. His mighty roar spread over the amphitheatre.
    - And his opponent! Mysterious contender! Nobody!!! - on the opposite side came an unremarkable silent hobbit.
    - Let the fight... begin!!!

    Minotaur was going to trample that insignificant threat with single attack, but halfling with a smile did some weird incomprehensible maneuver and slipped between champion's legs. This was followed by slightly swing and slap minotaur on the ass. After all hobbit bounced off enemy with spectacular somersault. It was surprising, but such little slap had effect like knife stab - minotaur roared in pain. However he turned around and moved to enemy, but with more prudence. Next collision and quick-​hit exchange! Grogan's horns and axe seemingly hit little hobbit, but he dodged a strike in the last moment as if had some magic protection, anyway no one blood drop fell on the sand. In return Nobody again slapped bigger enemy with little palm. These "strikes" didn't seem like something that can do any damage, but obviously they had some effects - minotaur even fell down on one knee.
    Exchange of blows continued for some time. It looked like several minotaur's attacks had their effects, but hobbit still didn't drop any blood on sand. While completely not serious slaps of mysterious Nobody literally bludgeoned the champion. It lasted about a minute, and the minotaur's body fell on the sand. Nobody joyfully waved at the crowd and... sank into the arena's sand without any trace.

    Spoiler: Ability Scores
    Abilities Initial Race Level 8 Level 12 Level 16 Total
    Str 8 - -
    Dex 15 2 1 1 1 20
    Con 14 2 16
    Int 16 4 20
    Wis 10 4 14
    Cha 14 4 18

    Spoiler: Build

    Unbodied Telepath-2/Thayan Gladiator-10
    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Reflex Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    4th Monstrous Humanoid-4 +4 +1 +4 +4 Bluff (+7) 7; Diplomacy (+7) 7; Disguise (+7) 7; Intimidate (+7) 7; Listen (+7) 7; Sense Motive (+7) 7; Spot (+7) 7; Hidden Talent (Astral Construct) (1st), Weapon Focus (Incorporeal touch) (3rd) Telekinetic Force, Assume Likeness, Hide Mind, Incorporeal Traits, Psionic Powers
    8th LA+4 - - - - - - -
    9th Psion (telepath)-1 +4 +1 +4 +5 Bluff 7; Concentration (+7) 7; Diplomacy 7; Disguise 7; Intimidate 7; Listen 7; Sense Motive 7; Spot 7; Skin of the Construct (B) Bonus feat, discipline
    10th Psion (telepath)-2 +5 +1 +4 +6 Bluff 7; Concentration (+2) 9; Diplomacy 7; Disguise 7; Intimidate 7; Listen 7; Sense Motive 7; Spot 7; Psicraft (+5) 5; Azure Toughness (6th)
    11th Thayan Gladiator-1 +6 +3 +4 +6 Bluff (+2) 9; Concentration 9; Diplomacy 7; Disguise 7; Intimidate (+2) 9; Listen 7; Sense Motive (+2) 9; Spot (+1) 8; Psicraft 5; Improved natural attack (B) Study opponent
    12th Thayan Gladiator-2 +7 +4 +4 +6 Bluff (+2) 11; Concentration 9; Diplomacy 7; Disguise 7; Intimidate (+2) 11; Listen 7; Sense Motive (+2) 11; Spot (+1) 9; Psicraft 5; Improved critical (B) Natural armor +1
    13th Thayan Gladiator-3 +8 +4 +5 +7 Bluff (+1) 12; Concentration 9; Diplomacy 7; Disguise (+1 CC) 7.5; Intimidate (+1) 12; Listen 7; Sense Motive (+1) 12; Spot (+3) 12; Psicraft 5; Law Devotion (9th) Stunning critical, silver strike
    14th Thayan Gladiator-4 +9 +5 +5 +7 Bluff (+1) 13; Concentration (+2 CC) 10; Diplomacy 7; Disguise (+1 CC) 8; Intimidate (+1) 13; Listen 7; Sense Motive (+1) 13; Spot (+1) 13; Psicraft 5; Natural weapon focus
    15th Thayan Gladiator-5 +10 +5 +5 +7 Bluff (+1) 14; Concentration (+2 CC) 11; Diplomacy 7; Disguise (+1 CC) 8.5; Intimidate (+1) 14; Listen 7; Sense Motive (+1) 14; Spot (+1) 14; Psicraft 5; Imbue natural weapon (thundering), natural armor +2
    16th Thayan Gladiator-6 +11 +6 +6 +8 Bluff (+1) 15; Concentration (+2 CC) 12; Diplomacy 7; Disguise (+1 CC) 9; Intimidate (+1) 15; Listen 7; Sense Motive (+1) 15; Spot (+1) 15; Psicraft 5; Practiced Manifester (12th) Adamantine strike
    17th Thayan Gladiator-7 +12 +6 +6 +8 Bluff (+1) 16; Concentration (+2 CC) 13; Diplomacy 7; Disguise (+1 CC) 9.5; Intimidate (+1) 16; Listen 7; Sense Motive (+1) 16; Spot (+1) 16; Psicraft 5; Savage strike
    18th Thayan Gladiator-8 +13 +7 +6 +8 Bluff (+1) 17; Concentration (+2 CC) 14; Diplomacy 7; Disguise (+1 CC) 10; Intimidate (+1) 17; Listen 7; Sense Motive (+1) 17; Spot (+1) 17; Psicraft 5; Natural armor +3, natural weapon mastery
    19th Thayan Gladiator-9 +14 +7 +7 +9 Bluff (+1) 18; Concentration (+2 CC) 15; Diplomacy 7; Disguise (+1 CC) 10.5; Intimidate (+1) 18; Listen 7; Sense Motive (+1) 18; Spot (+1) 18; Psicraft 5; Shape Soulmeld (Incarnate Avatar) (15th) Magic strike
    20th Thayan Gladiator-10 +15 +8 +7 +9 Bluff (+1) 19; Concentration (+2 CC) 16; Diplomacy 7; Disguise (+1 CC) 11; Intimidate (+1) 19; Listen 7; Sense Motive (+1) 19; Spot (+1) 19; Psicraft 5; Imbue natural weapon (speed)

    Spoiler: Psionics
    Level Class 1st 2nd 3rd PP
    1st Psion (telepath) Astral Construct (B); Inertial Armor; Dissipating Touch; Deceleration 4+2
    2nd Psion (telepath) Hammer; Prescience, Offensive 8+5
    3rd Psion (telepath) Concealing Amorpha; Cloud Mind 13+7
    4th Psion (telepath) Biofeedback; Aversion 19+10
    9th Psion (telepath) Empathic Transfer, Hostile; False Sensory Input 27+12
    10th Psion (telepath) Body Adjustment; Share Pain, Forced 37+15

    Spoiler: Qualification
    Thayan Gladiator should have natural weapon. In Unbodied as Characters we can read:
    Quote Originally Posted by XPH, p. 216
    —Natural Attack: An unbodied can make a melee touch attack to deal 1d6 points of damage.
    so unbodied can be Thayan Gladiator. More important this natural attack is touch attack.

    Spoiler: Tactics

    Spoiler: ECL=8
    At this time NoBody is similar to regular Unbodied, except different power choice. With his powers he can more effectively fight in melee, plus can create Astral Construct for backup.
    Using of Assume Likeness provides for NoBody great combat advantage, with first look a few enemies can identify his true nature, and when foe will understand his mistake it might be too late.

    Spoiler: ECL=9-10
    Another two levels in Psion (telepath) give not only new helpful powers, but bonus feat - I take Skin of the Construct. Power Attack is the reason.
    Quote Originally Posted by Skin of the Construct, CPsi, p. 57
    More important, it grants you one Menu A choice (EPH 186) that you can use as if you were the construct.
    Quote Originally Posted by XPH, p. 186
    An astral construct does not need to meet the prerequisites for a feat granted by a menu choice.
    So NoBody has melee touch attack +4 (too little, but for touch attack this can be enough, and this isn't necessarily always use PA on full) which can do 1d6+5(PA)+2(Prescience, Offensive)+1d8(Hammer) during 6 round for 8 PP and has AC 21-23 (not so much) and 20% miss chance for another 4-8 PP, plus incorporeality 50% miss chance for free. And furthermore, he has Forced Share Pain and Hostile Empathic Transfer which can help if enemy's potential to do damage to NoBody will be surprisingly good. After all Cloud Mind, False Sensory Input and Body Adjustment with incorporeality always provide an opportunity for retreat and regroupment.
    NoBody isn't ultimate fighter as for 10 ECL, but can give any hostile combatant at least some uncomfortable minutes.

    Spoiler: ECL=11-20
    Thayan Gladiator class gives NoBody +1 damage via PA at each level, plus minor bonus damage from INA, plus 1d6 sonic damage, and 2 extra attacks! Of course improved critical and savage strike are very useful, too. As like as antiDR abilities. Isn't useful the NA bonus, but... There are only +3, not a big deal.
    And we take feats. Law Devotion gives up to +7 on attack (main application) or AC (if things to turn tough). +14 melee touch with 1d8+17 (if only Skin of the Construct apply) +1d6 sonic. Three times in round. Sounds not bad.
    About Skin of the Construct. Now, with Practiced Manifester it lasts 10 rounds. NoBody has a whole minute to kill somebody without need to remanifestate it.
    And Shape Soulmeld (Incarnate Avatar). As NoBody is LE, and thanks to poor wording of this soulmeld, he has two benefits for one price.
    Evil: You gain a +2 insight bonus on melee damage rolls for every point of essentia that you invest in this soulmeld.
    Law: You gain a +1 insight bonus on melee attack rolls for every point of essentia that you invest in this soulmeld.
    One essentia point he has since 10 ECL from Azure Toughness.

    Spoiler: Sources
    PHB - Power Attack, Weapon Focus, Improved Critical
    MM - Improved natural attack
    MoI - Azure Toughness, Shape Soulmeld, Incarnate Avatar
    XPH - Unbodied, Psion, Hidden Talent, All powers
    CPsi - Skin of the Construct, Practiced Manifester
    CoR - Thayan Gladiator
    CC - Law Devotion
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  16. - Top - End - #106
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    This time, with knives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knife wielding tentacle

    "I appear to have invented a knife wielding tentacle. Uuh, if anyone would like to volunteer to kill him off, that would be fine by me."
    -- Narlash Venamech, the Red Wizard of Thay who did it.

    Lawful Evil Amphibious Anthropomorphic Giant Octopus Knight 3/Warblade 1/Crusader 1/Thayan Gladiator 3/Disciple of Dispater 8/Thayan Gladiator +4

    Narlash looked at his masterpiece with pride. He had lost a lot of money betting on the wrong horse at the gladiator tournaments, and lost many, many times with his creations. Every time, they'd get stabbed to death, or clawed, or have their heads bitten off, and all the other Red Wizards were beginning to make fun of him for it. "Undertaker Venamech", they'd called him. Not because he buried his opponents, but because he was always burying the corpses of the competitors he had to shamefully drag out of there. But this time, this time nobody would be able to stop him. This time, he had created a monster so incredibly dangerous, they wouldn't be able to get near him. He found an octopus, submitted it to grafts and obscene magical experiments, and twisted it into a terrible abomination.

    Upon its reveal, the other Red Wizards were appalled.
    "What is this stupid thing?"
    "How did you graft a two handed weapon to its tentacles?"
    "I don't think this is in the spirit of the rules!"
    "Did you deliberately add flaws to it?"

    But Venamech wasn't listening. His creation, a whirling knife wielding tentacle, started spinning, and as it spun, it slapped the other Red Wizards, getting faster and deadlier with every hit. He'd win. His creation was crude and terrifying and one dimensional, but he'd win this time. He'd definitely win. And even if he didn't, nobody would be able to kill his deadly knife wielding tentacle.

    Spoiler: Stats and Special Notes

    Before any class levels, level drained by a wight once. Failed Fortitude save.
    Made Two Pacts InsidiousFC2
    Devoted to the Elder Evil ZargonEE (for obvious tentacle reasons)

    Str 18 +2 20
    Dex 12 +6 -2 16
    Con 14 -2 12
    Int 13 +0 13
    Wis 9 +4 13
    Cha 8 -4 4

    Vile 1) Willing DeformityBoVD
    1) Toughness
    Flaw: Shaky) Combat Reflexes
    Flaw: Vulnerable) Combat Expertise
    Pact Insidious) Power Attack
    Pact Insidious) Disciple of Darkness (Dispater)BoVD
    Mounted Combat) DCFS: Abberation BloodLoM
    3) Weapon Focus (Talenta Sharresh)ECS
    Vile 5) Deformity (Tall)BoVD
    6) Ironheart AuraToB
    TG1) Improved Natural Attack (Talenta Sharresh)
    TG2) Improved Critical (Talenta Sharresh)
    9) Stormguard WarriorToB
    Vile 10) Vile Natural AttackBoVD
    12) Extended ReachSS
    15) Robliar's GambitPHBII
    Vile 15) Chosen of Evil
    18) Inhuman ReachLoM
    Vile 20) Hellbound KnightEE

    Blood in the Water
    Punishing Stance

    Sudden Leap
    Wall of Blades
    Mountain Hammer
    Steely Strike
    Emerald Razor
    Stone Vise

    Spoiler: Progression Table
    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Reflex Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Knight 1 0 0 2 Jump (+4) 4; Intimidate (+4) 4; Climb (+4) 4; Toughness, Combat Reflexes, Combat Expertise, Power Attack, Willing Deformity, Disciple of Darkness (Dispater) Fighting challenge +1, knight's challenge, knight's code
    2nd Knight 2 0 0 3 Jump (+1) 5; Intimidate (+1) 5; Climb (+1) 5; Mounted Combat (DCFS: Abberation Blood) shield block +1
    3rd Knight 3 1 1 3 Jump (+1) 6; Intimidate (+1) 6; Climb (+1) 6; Weapon Focus (Talenta Sharresh) Bulwark of defense
    4th Warblade 4 3 1 3 Jump (+1) 7; Intimidate 6; Balance (+4) 4; Climb 6; Battle clarity (Reflex saves), weapon aptitude
    5th Crusader 5 5 1 3 Jump (+1) 8; Intimidate (+2) 8; Balance (+1) 5; Climb (+1) 7; Deformity (Tall) Furious counterstrike, steely resolve 5
    6th Thayan Gladiator 6 7 1 3 Jump (+1) 9; Intimidate (+1) 9; Balance 5; Climb (+1) 8; Ironheart Aura, Improved Natural Attack (Talenta Sharresh) Improved natural attack, study opponent
    7th Thayan Gladiator 7 8 1 3 Jump (+1) 10; Intimidate (+1) 10; Balance 5; Climb (+1) 9; Improved Critical (Talenta Sharresh) Improved critical, natural armor +1
    8th Thayan Gladiator 8 8 2 4 Jump (+1) 11; Intimidate (+1) 11; Balance 5; Climb (+1) 10; Stunning critical, silver strike
    9th Disciple of Dispater 9 10 4 6 Jump (+1) 12; Intimidate (+1) 12; Balance 5; Climb (+1) 11; Stormguard Warrior Device lore
    10th Disciple of Dispater 10 11 5 7 Jump (+1) 13; Intimidate (+1) 13; Balance 5; Climb (+1) 12; Vile Natural Attack Iron hews
    11th Disciple of Dispater 11 11 5 7 Jump (+1) 14; Intimidate (+1) 14; Balance 5; Climb (+1) 13; Rusting grasp
    12th Disciple of Dispater 12 12 6 8 Jump (+1) 15; Intimidate (+1) 15; Balance 5; Climb (+1) 14; Extended Reach Iron power +1
    13th Disciple of Dispater 13 12 6 8 Jump (+1) 16; Intimidate (+1) 16; Balance 5; Climb (+1) 15; Summon erinyes
    14th Disciple of Dispater 14 13 7 9 Jump (+1) 17; Intimidate (+1) 17; Balance 5; Climb (+1) 16; Greater iron hews
    15th Disciple of Dispater 15 13 7 9 Jump (+1) 18; Intimidate (+1) 18; Balance 5; Climb (+1) 17; Robliar's Gambit, Chosen of Evil Ironskin
    16th Disciple of Dispater 16 14 8 10 Jump (+1) 19; Intimidate (+1) 19; Balance 5; Climb (+1) 18; Iron power +2
    17th Thayan Gladiator 17 15 8 10 Jump (+1) 20; Intimidate (+1) 20; Balance 5; Climb (+1) 19; Natural weapon focus
    18th Thayan Gladiator 18 15 8 10 Jump (+1) 21; Intimidate (+1) 21; Balance 5; Climb (+1) 20; Inhuman Reach Imbue natural weapon, natural armor +2
    19th Thayan Gladiator 19 16 9 11 Jump (+1) 22; Intimidate (+1) 22; Balance 5; Climb (+1) 21; Adamantine strike
    20th Thayan Gladiator 20 16 9 11 Jump (+1) 23; Intimidate (+1) 23; Balance 5; Climb (+1) 22; Hellbound Knight Savage strike

    Spoiler: Build Progression

    2-3) The Knife Wielding Tentacle doesn't have a knife at this point, so they're really just a tentacle. They get level drained by a wight down to 1RHD, and swap that RHD for levels in Knight. They now make everywhere they threaten difficult terrain, which is incredibly useful, as nobody can charge them now. At level 3, they get their first knife for their tentacle. A weapon graftedLoM masterwork talenta sharrash is 1200gp, about half their WBL but doable. Don't worry about it being nonmagical, this problem will be solved later. Additional knives will be grafted later, as money permits. Two Pacts Insidious are made here, for four corruption points each, gaining him two feats. After this point, KWT devotes himself to an elder evil: Zargon. Zargon is also a giant tentacle toting warrior beast, so they're kindred spirits. He uses his devotion to further devote himself to the archdevil Dispater, to whom he made the Pacts Insidious, thus cementing his devotion to two of the most important things in creation: Knives, and Tentacles.

    4-5) Here we set up the KWT's martial manuevers, of which only two are of note: Blood in the Water and Sudden Leap. Please remember this stance for later. Sudden Leap will allow us to manuever ourselves around the battlefield to get the enemy in range of our reach weapons. Also of note, the Warblade's Weapon Aptitude ability. Please remember this for later, too.

    6) Entering Thayan Gladiator, we choose our bonded weapon: The Talenta SharrashECS. Getting side eyed by the people administering the Zulkir of Transmutation, it technically counts! Improved Natural Attack (Talenta Sharrash) gives us a 2d8 weapon. Not shabby. We don't want to replace all our tentacles with sharrashes just yet, leave one so that you can attack within your natural reach, but make sure to Sudden Leap to a place where you can be sure they're walking through your threatened area. Study Opponent can give us (sigh) +1 to attack and damage, which will be multiplied on a crit later. Maybe if we get more wisdom bonuses, we can psyche out our opponent enough so that we can study them for multiple rounds. Just something to think about. Static bonuses are this build's bread and butter.

    7) Improved Critical with our natural weapon gives us a 17-20/x2 weapon. Now we can really start using Blood in the Water.

    8) Stunning Critical will come in very useful soon. Every critical hit we land has the ability to stun our foe, though the DC is not that high (20), it can be improved with items and more grafts later. The amount of critical hits we will be landing makes this our Touch of Golden Ice, but for evil guys.

    9) Now this, this is the level where it all comes together. Using Stormguard Warrior, we can perform our entire attack routine and deal 0 points of damage. BUT, according to the Viscount, these attacks still threaten and confirm a critical hit, even if the amount of damage done (0), is only doubled to (0). Stunning Critical is still performed, and more importantly, Blood in the Water still ticks up. And where do we get useful targets to mock crit? What else in a gladiator arena than the audience? We just reach up our tentacles and slap the audience around a bit for 0 damage, boosting our attack and showing what a great heel we are. And not only that, if we do the same to our opponent, we can still have a chance to stun them during our setup, allowing us free reign next turn to wail on them.

    12) We start to really extend our reach at this level, and we can graft our final tentacle.

    A little note for this level, now that we have all our weapons, on the potential flexibility of our weapons. We have knives for hands, but what if we need something else? With the morphing weapon property, we can change our grafted weapon to whatever we want, within reason.
    Weapon Finesse states: "Natural weapons are always considered light weapons."
    So we can morph to any light weapon, and according to the Viscount, any two handed weapon.

    One interesting weapon to become is the Poison RingDrC. Sure, our knife-tentacles will deal 1 (1d2 with INA) damage, but they'll be touch attacks and we can power attack with it, because natural weapons can power attack at a rate of 1:1. We lose reach, but gain so much more in return. We could also morph into kukris for extra threat range, useful for when you're underground and you can't use your entire reach. But we've grafted knives to our tentacles, I hear you cry, how do we add magical abilities to them? We have the standard Necklace of Natural AttacksSS, to which we can add +1 Morphing. Pricy for 6 natural weapons, but it's alright. We also can add a truedeath or demolition crystalMIC to each of our grafted weapons, allowing us to critical hit undead and constructs. Not something we can usually do with natural weapons, but a grafted weapon DOES retain all its properties, including the ability to slot in weapon augment crystals. We can also sunder our own tentacles and enchant a new talenta sharrash to graft onto us, because the giant octopus has the unique ability to regrow its natural weapons. It'll cost an extra 1000gp, but it's a small price to pay for a completely nonmagical magical weapon.

    Another good weapon to morph into for our non-reach radius is the Nimblewright's rapier handsMMII. 3d6, 18-20/x2, and with our improved critical range gets down to 15-20 and eventually 9-20.

    But then how do we keep our sweet Thayan Gladiator bonuses? The Viscount ruled that even in a morphed state, TG still applies to any Grafted Talenta Sharrash.

    13-16) Here's where it starts getting crazy. We have an iron natural weapon, so obviously we go into Disciple of Dispater for that sweet sweet crit range. Stunning Critical becomes a lot better. Blood in the Water procs 2 out of 5 hits (assuming a 12-20 threat range), and we get 6 a round. Rile up that crowd, baby, you'll never miss, and get +2 attack and damage every round. Robliar's Gambit is there so we can gain extra attack bonuses with Channel the Storm, in case someone has the temerity to attack one of our tentacles.

    17+) With all this extra range, the next Thayan Gladiator abilities are just perfect. An extra attack, ghost touch, and an extra critical multiplier at 20th level, we get everything we could possibly want from the class. Now when we use Stormguard Warrior, we can do at least 115 extra damage a crit (of which we do on average 2 a round), not counting power attack bonuses, or the bonuses from Greater Iron Hews, or the bonuses from Blood in the Water. The longer the Knife Wielding Tentacle wields a knife, the more damage it'll do, the more accurate it becomes, and the deadlier it is to be within it's radius. You can't charge it, it'll cut you up like a cuisinart.

    With our resources at level 17, we can hire a Red Wizard to cast Embrace/Shun the Dark Chaos on our Mounted Combat feat. We don't need to be mounted. We need to be long. We replace the feat with Abberation Blood, so we can take Inhuman Reach at level 18.

    Finally, there you have it. A 50ft radius of whirling death, difficult terrain, that reaches out and touches anyone who dares get into its death circle, tearing them apart with critical hits. Perfect for a colluseum.

    Spoiler: Rules stuff

    - All creatures are proficient with any natural weapons they may have or acquire.
    Getting the Talenta Sharresh grafted to your tentacle makes it a natural weapon, and thus, you gain proficiency with it, and then you can take Weapon Focus with it without having to take Exotic Weapon Proficiency.

    - An anthropomorphic animal has the natural attacks of the base creature, but it can also use weapons if it did not have hands already. It must still acquire the necessary proficiency to wield weapons effectively, either through feats or through character classes.
    An anthropomorphic octopus doesn't lose any of its limbs, but it does gain the ability to wield weapons, and thus has "hands" you can graft weapons to. The grafted weapon doesn't exclude two handed weapons, and they become Light weapons on being grafted to your hand, so you can wield one in each tentacle.

    - Getting 20 levels requires a single wight hit, and a wight is a CR3 enemy, easily findable by a ECL2 party. It's cheesy, but according to the negative level rules in Savage Species, creatures without class levels DO lose 1 racial hit die with a permanent energy drain.

    Spoiler: Rulings

    If I take Weapon Focus (manufactured weapon), and later have it grafted onto me, does that count as the Weapon Focus (natural weapon) for Thayan Gladiator? Or must I take Weapon Focus (Grafted manufactured weapon)?
    Viscount: I'd say that the weapon focus for the weapon you have counts.

    Does it count as scoring a critical hit for the purpose of Stunning Critical if you are using Stormguard Warrior's Combat Rhythm to make touch attacks and roll a critical hit there? It deals no damage, but is still a hit.
    Viscount: Yes. you still scored the critical hit, so it should still trigger.

    I have an Anthropomorphic Giant Octopus with 2RHD. If he is hit by a wight before he takes a class level, and fails his fortitude save at the end of 24 hours, he's reduced to 1RHD. Monster Manual IV specifies that 1 hit die is lost, regardless of source. If he then takes a class level, does he have 1 RHD or does he swap it for a class level, as Savage Species says (any creature with 1RHD swaps it for a class level.) It doesn't affect my build much, I just want to squeeze in another class level.
    Viscount: I would say that you swap the 1 RHD for your class level, but I would caution you that Doing the Wight Thing (as tactics like this are called) is old, well-known cheese, that judges may not like.

    1) The "chosen weapon" of Thayan Gladiator works like this:
    Improved Natural Attack: When you enter this class, choose one of your natural weapons to gain the benefits of the Improved Natural Attack feat. The natural weapon you choose is affected by the rest of the abilities you gain through advancing in this class.
    If a Warblade uses Weapon Aptitude to change the weapon affected by INA, does that weapon gain the benefit of all of the Thayan Gladiator's class features? It seems all of the TG's class features are based off the weapon affected by the INA feat, not a seperate class feature.

    Relatedly, can an aptitude weapon benefit from the thayan gladiator's class features in the same way? It is affected by INA.
    1. Unfortunately, no. Warblade can shift the feat to another weapon, but it can't change class features. An aptitude weapon could only benefit if it was somehow the same "kind" of weapon as the one you chose for your abilities.

    2) What kinds of weapon can a +1 Morphing Grafted Manufactured weapon turn into? According to Weapon Finesse:
    Natural weapons are always considered light weapons.
    Can I morph a grafted manufactured two handed weapon into another grafted two handed weapon? Another natural weapon? A grafted light or one handed weapon?
    2. I'd say you could probably turn the weapon into another weapon of the same handedness, plus light based on the rules there. Of course with weapons like the bastard sword being both one and two handed, that's kind of moot.

    3) What is the critical range of the Nimblewright's Rapier-hands when not in the hands of a nimblewright? Say, if you morphed your natural weapons into one. It's ability Augmented Critical gives it 15-20, but fails to say what it does without it. Is it 18-20? Is it still 15-20?
    3. Without its augmented critical ability, use the range for normal rapiers.

    4) With all of the above in mind ....... if you graft a +1 morphing aptitude poison ring to the tentacle.... would you be able to morph it into any grafted weapon, including those with reach, and still gain the benefit of all of the thayan gladiator's class features without having to do anything to set up apart from the standard action to morph it, and also power attack with touch attacks since the poison ring is now a natural weapon, and thus exempt from the prohibition that light weapons cannot be power attacked with.
    4. I'd say you could only morph it into other grafted weapons of the same handedness, though as mentioned certain bridging weapons exist. Because it's still the "same" weapon you chose, I'd say you retain the class features. I would say that being a natural weapon allows you to bypass the Power Attack restriction. To be clear, you'd only be able to make touch attacks with it as a poison ring, that quality wouldn't follow if it was morphed to a different form.
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  17. - Top - End - #107
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    Wendigoing... wendigoing... wendigone

    Quote Originally Posted by Zuzela Csarkos
    Zuzela Csarkos was regular human once. He lived in Thay and this means he should be powerful or should grovel. Of course Zuzela chose the first option. He knew his chances to become wizard are... not. And he chose another way - martial arts to become thayan knight - this is high rank, too.
    Zuzela trained stubbornly and was able to interest one Red. This wizard took Zuzela as a personal bodyguard and adorned him with a magical tattoo.
    But Zuzela was the knight not for long. His first mission became the last. Red sended him as squad leader into some cave where he should get one hidden magical item. Zuzela did this, but when his squad was returning an avalanche came down and sealed the exit.
    Nobody knows what exactly happened in this cave during the two weeks while slaves were digging out the exit, but only one human had been found alive - Zuzela. All others left from themselves only blood and small body parts.
    Zuzela himself didn't avoid damage, either. He lost both his feet, but not this was most important - he somehow became a wendigo, an awful spirit of hunger and cannibalism.
    When he woke from a stupor only his employer could stop him, half of slaves and soldiers were already dead to this moment.
    Red Wizard was impressed by Zuzela again. But now the fate of the gladiator was prepared for him. Wendigo is a very dangerous monster and only a fool would try to use it in this sort, but Zuzela had his knight's tattoo and Red somehow was able to control him mentally.

    Spoiler: Wendigo's LA
    Ok. We have elephant in the room - there is no LA in template description.
    But, if we look at the sample wendigo on the pages 186-187 (FF), we can see this:
    Level Adjustment: +4
    The sample wendigo presented here uses a 4th-level human sorcerer as the base creature.
    There are no way for this sample to obtain +4 LA other than from wendigo template. Obviously this is typo that LA isn't specify in template.

    Spoiler: Crunch
    Spoiler: Stats
    Abilities Total Initial Race / Template Level 4 Level 8 Level 12 Level 16
    Str 23 16 +4 +1 +1 +1
    Dex 20 12 +8
    Con 18 14 +4
    Int 13 12 +1
    Wis 10 8 +2
    Cha 20 16 +4

    Spoiler: Table

    Chaotic Evil Wendigo Warblade-5/ex-Thayan Knight-1/Thayan Knight-10
    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Reflex Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Warblade-1 +1 +2 +0 +0 Concentration (+2) 2; Diplomacy (+4) 4; Intimidate (+4) 4; Jump (+4) 4; Knowledge (local) (+2) 2; Knowledge (arcana) (+4 CC) 2; Martial Lore (+4) 4; Tumble (+4) 4; Human Heritage (Human), Toughness Battle clarity (Reflex saves), weapon aptitude
    2nd Warblade-2 +2 +3 +0 +0 Concentration (+2) 4; Diplomacy (+1) 5; Intimidate (+1) 5; Jump 4; Knowledge (local) 2; Knowledge (arcana) 2; Martial Lore (+1) 5; Tumble (+1) 5; Uncanny dodge
    3rd Warblade-3 +3 +3 +1 +1 Concentration (+2) 6; Diplomacy (+1) 6; Intimidate (+1) 6; Jump 4; Knowledge (local) 2; Knowledge (arcana) 2; Martial Lore (+1) 6; Tumble (+1) 6; Weapon Focus (Longsword) Battle ardor (critical confirmation)
    4th Warblade-4 +4 +4 +1 +1 Concentration (+1) 7; Diplomacy (+1) 7; Intimidate (+1) 7; Jump (+1) 5; Knowledge (local) 2; Knowledge (arcana) 2; Martial Lore (+1) 7; Tumble (+1) 7;
    5th Warblade-5 +5 +4 +1 +1 Concentration (+1) 8; Diplomacy (+1) 8; Intimidate (+1) 8; Jump (+1) 6; Knowledge (local) 2; Knowledge (arcana) 2; Martial Lore (+1) 8; Tumble (+1) 8; Iron Will (B) Bonus feat
    6th Thayan Knight-1 +6 +6 +1 +1 Concentration 8; Diplomacy 8; Intimidate 8; Jump 6; Knowledge (local) 2; Knowledge (arcana) 2; Martial Lore 8; Tumble 8; Bluff (+3) 3; Spot (+1) 1; Combat Expertise Horrors of Thay (+2 fear, +1 charm), zulkir's favor
    7th Wendigo (+4 LA) - - - - - Track (B), convert WF (Longsword) to WF (Bite) via Weapon aptitude
    8th Thayan Gladiator-1 +7 +8 +1 +1 Concentration 8; Diplomacy 8; Intimidate 8; Jump 6; Sense Motive (+1) 1; Knowledge (local) 2; Knowledge (arcana) 2; Martial Lore 8; Tumble 8; Bluff (+2) 5; Spot (+1) 2; Improved Natural Attack (Bite) (B) Study opponent
    9th Thayan Gladiator-2 +8 +9 +1 +1 Concentration 8; Diplomacy 8; Intimidate 8; Jump 6; Sense Motive (+3) 4; Knowledge (local) 2; Knowledge (arcana) 2; Martial Lore 8; Tumble 8; Bluff 5; Spot (+1) 3; Improved Critical (Bite) (B) Natural armor +1
    10th Thayan Gladiator-3 +9 +9 +2 +2 Concentration 8; Diplomacy 8; Intimidate 8; Jump 6; Sense Motive (+3) 7; Knowledge (local) 2; Knowledge (arcana) 2; Martial Lore 8; Tumble 8; Bluff 5; Spot (+1) 4; Vicious Wound Stunning critical, silver strike
    11th Thayan Gladiator-4 +10 +10 +2 +2 Concentration 8; Diplomacy 8; Intimidate 8; Jump 6; Sense Motive (+3) 10; Knowledge (local) 2; Knowledge (arcana) 2; Martial Lore 8; Tumble 8; Bluff 5; Spot (+1) 5; Natural weapon focus
    12th Thayan Gladiator-5 +11 +10 +2 +2 Concentration 8; Diplomacy 8; Intimidate 8; Jump 6; Sense Motive (+3) 13; Knowledge (local) 2; Knowledge (arcana) 2; Martial Lore 8; Tumble 8; Bluff 5; Spot (+1) 6; Imbue natural weapon (frost), natural armor +2
    13th Thayan Gladiator-6 +12 +11 +3 +3 Concentration 8; Diplomacy 8; Intimidate (+2) 10; Jump 6; Sense Motive (+1) 14; Knowledge (local) 2; Knowledge (arcana) 2; Martial Lore 8; Tumble 8; Bluff 5; Spot (+1) 7; Flyby Attack Adamantine strike
    14th Thayan Gladiator-7 +13 +11 +3 +3 Concentration 8; Diplomacy 8; Intimidate (+2) 12; Jump 6; Sense Motive (+1) 15; Knowledge (local) 2; Knowledge (arcana) 2; Martial Lore 8; Tumble 8; Bluff 5; Spot (+1) 8; Savage strike
    15th Thayan Gladiator-8 +14 +12 +3 +3 Concentration 8; Diplomacy 8; Intimidate (+2) 14; Jump 6; Sense Motive (+1) 16; Knowledge (local) 2; Knowledge (arcana) 2; Martial Lore 8; Tumble 8; Bluff 5; Spot (+1) 9; Natural armor +3, natural weapon mastery
    16th Thayan Gladiator-9 +15 +12 +4 +4 Concentration 8; Diplomacy 8; Intimidate (+2) 16; Jump 6; Sense Motive (+1) 17; Knowledge (local) 2; Knowledge (arcana) 2; Martial Lore 8; Tumble 8; Bluff 5; Spot (+1) 10; Great Flyby Attack Magic strike
    17th Thayan Gladiator-10 +16 +13 +4 +4 Concentration 8; Diplomacy 8; Intimidate (+2) 18; Jump 6; Sense Motive (+1) 18; Knowledge (local) 2; Knowledge (arcana) 2; Martial Lore 8; Tumble 8; Bluff 5; Spot (+1) 11; Imbue natural weapon (wounding)

    Spoiler: Martial Arts
    Level Class 1st 2nd 3rd Stances
    1st Warblade Stone Bones, Steely Strike, Sapphire Nightmare Blade Stance of Clarity
    2nd Warblade Steel Wind
    3rd Warblade Rabid Wolf Strike
    4th Warblade Sapphire Nightmare Blade Disarming Strike Blood In The Water
    5th Warblade Bonecrusher

    Spoiler: Levels

    Spoiler: ECL 1-5
    Zuzela is pretty common Warblade with longsword and purpose in life. Nothing special.

    Spoiler: ECL 6-10
    Zuzela reached his goal, but right after that his life throwed him a curveball. Now he is a wendigo. He doesn't need his sword anymore and changes WF (longsword) to WF (Bite). One problem is here. Zulkir's favor ability from Thayan Knight's first level. Without WF (longsword) he can't be a Thayan Knight and can't have this class ability. And this means he can resist Red Wizard's mind-affecting spells. And somewhen he should get out of hand. But by RAI this effect is achieved by magical tattoo which is more like item than class ability and should work anyway. But on the other hand if we are using RAW, wendigo can't attack with longsword, but he can use weapon aptitude for reverse change WF in order to temporary meeting Thayan Knight's requirements and turning Zulkir's favor on. Anyway Zulkir's favor plus Human Heritage give Zuzela possibility been dominated via Dominate Person casted by Red Wizard. With this option Zuzela can became a gladiator, but not mad uncontrollable cannibalistic monster.

    Spoiler: ECL 10-20
    Wendigo plus Thayan Gladiator equal Bite with crit range 15-20/x4, that is very good for natural weapon. Attack bonus is +23, +24 if Zuzela attacks from above (of course he does). Damage isn't very big - 1d8+9+1d6 (cold) +2 Con damage or +1 Con damage +1/round bleeding damage depending on how Wounding and Vicious Wound work together. And Zuzela still has options to use martial strikes. First of all Bonecrusher. Rabid Wolf Strike with Wind Walk as move action combo seems very good, too. Stance for all time obviously is Blood In The Water.
    If against wendigo stand more than one enemy it will use Great Flyby Attack. With Blood in the Water this tactic can give the bonus up to +5 for attack and damage with single round.
    Let talk about defense. 4d6+10d12+67 = ~150 hp, AC 23-31 (with Combat Expertise+Fighting Defensively), DR 5/cold iron (specified in update booklet), regeneration 5, and at will Wind Walk. All this in conjunction with perfect fly 120 give Zuzela good survivability.

    Spoiler: Sources
    Fiend Folio - Wendigo (p. 186)
    Tome of Battle - Warblade (p. 20), all maneuvers (p. 47-94)
    Complete Warrior - Thayan Knight (p. 85)
    Champions of Ruin - Thayan Gladiator (p. 63)
    Races of Destiny - Human Heritage (p. 152)
    PHB - Toughness, Weapon Focus, Iron Will, Combat Expertise, Track, Improved Critical
    Monster Manual - Improved Natural Attack, Flyby Attack
    Savage Species - Vicious Wound (p. 40), Great Flyby Attack (p. 35)
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  18. - Top - End - #108
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    He's got a bone to pick you with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gulog
    Gulog, CE Frostblood Half-Orc Ranger 6/Barbarian 1/Osteomancer 3/Thayan Gladiator 10

    Spoiler: Extracts from the lab journal of Farzyet Xul
    The zulkir offered myself and twelve others a test of worth. We have been given three years, a generous requisition budget, complete creative freedom - and one chance to build a gladiator out of them. Three years to take some offal out of the slave pits and turn it into something worthwhile. Those that survive the Zulkir’s ritual will meet in the arena to test their creator’s skill. When all the inferior products lie dead, all will see that my arcane prowess, creativity and raw power far outmatch those of my rivals, and I, I alone, will be appointed to the Zulkir’s staff!

    The most delightful ideas seethe in my mind - some impractical, no doubt, and others overly ambitious, but I can requisition enough slaves to refine my theories before I start on the real work. Not all of my rivals will be so patient or cautious. Indeed, I give it less than a month before Bebtu kills his first subject, and Evekh considers herself an experimentalist; she’ll just chain a slave to her workbench and start transmuting at random, hoping to stumble onto something useful before it expires.

    Progress Report 9
    ...two-thirds of my budget spent just on the raw materials! Still, one cannot substitute cut glass for diamond and still expect a spell to function. Purchasing a subject with a useful heritage was one thing, but acquiring the materials to see it properly expressed quite another, and as for finding an uncorrupted copy of the Tome of Ossein… but I have all I need now, and I am eager to begin.

    Procedure: Wing Graft. Outcome: Partial Success
    Nil sign of arcane or biological rejection noted to date. I anticipated some interference from the preservation spell I used between excising the wings from the white dragon and grafting them to the subject, but it appears my research overestimated the risk. They appear to have integrated completely, but the subject demonstrates little proficiency with them as yet. Hypothesis: the trace of draconic blood in the subject’s veins is insufficient for full control and strength. Trial oral or intravenous infusion of dragon blood; if unsuccessful, consider acquiring draconic soul from the Academy of Shapers and Binders.

    Procedure: Familiar Bonding. Outcome: Success
    In itself, not a vital step, but necessary. I acknowledge there are risks in educating the subject in such basic magic as it is capable of learning, but Ossein’s work is irrefutable. If the subject remains completely ignorant, it will never be capable of mastering the changes I have planned for its body. Moreover, if it survives its final trial I intend to keep it - sentimental of me, I know - and it should possess some skill against my enemies. In the meantime, the cat answers as much to me as it does to the subject, and that is satisfactory. I do not forget that I am trying to create something dangerous.

    Progress Report 114
    Broke into Szarys’s laboratory to inspect her progress. She has - make that had - a yuan-ti and seems to be attempting to improve its poison. Solid work, but pedestrian.

    Attempt 5: Preliminary Osteomorphosis. Outcome: Partial Success
    Finally, some progress. The subject responded to enhanced encouragement protocols, successfully rejoining two out of six broken fingers. Same rebroken when subject begged for healing potion to fix the rest.

    Attempt 12: Preliminary Osteomorphosis. Outcome: Success
    Subject dissolved all of its tarsals and metatarsals. It reported discomfort when standing on boneless feet and fell during its first three attempts to walk on them.

    Progress Report 267
    Increased control of skeleton has led to better wing integration, although subject only capable of brief intervals of true flight. Martial prowess continues to develop. Subject now able to completely dissolve its skeleton and move by muscular effort only. Negative feedback now at sufficient level to prevent cat familiar attempting to eat deossified subject.

    Attempt 7: Facial Restructuring. Outcome: Significant Attitude Correction
    Subject modified its skeleton successfully, but chose to model itself on me. Unpleasant and grotesque, seeing a bleached parody of oneself with stringy hair. Dealt with the insolence more or less appropriately; as the subject is now aware, attempting to disguise oneself as a Red Wizard carries automatic sentence of death. It is fortunate that I am merciful, and that I haven’t time before the deadline to begin again with a new subject. Still, there will be some delay while it heals from the correction procedure.

    Attempt 1: Osteophyte Manifestation. Outcome: Failure
    Explained to subject the process of manifesting bone spurs through its skin. Subject attempted to force terminal phalanges out under its fingertips. Area grew swollen as bones grew and fused, while rest of hand deossified. Nil skin protrusion.

    Progress Report 341
    Bebtu tried to kill me. The attempt was as pointless as his eighth subject death. Nine of the original thirteen of us now remain.

    Attempt 13: Osteophyte Manifestation. Outcome: Partial success
    Subject produced three bone spurs from knuckles of right hand, each approximately 15 centimetres long. However, spurs exhibited normal bone density and were unsuitable for use as weapons.

    Attempt 26: Osteophyte Manifestation. Outcome: Success
    Subject created spurs to serve as weapon and armour. It was able to alter these in response to combat conditions and successfully defeat its opponents while taking minimal damage itself. Several of its opponents exhibited extreme demoralisation during the test, even when subject’s osteophytes were not shaped as weapons, but as rather intriguing sculpture. If it were not intended as a gladiator, it would make a fascinating display piece.

    Progress Report 378
    I will conduct the ritual tonight. There are less than four months remaining before the tournament, and my subject must have time to adjust to the final changes.

    The ritual is a delicate and intricate piece of work - one can tell a zulkir developed it - and I admit to some trepidation. It is not uncommon for our superiors to encode traps for overconfident or careless casters into such spells. I have inspected the instructions in minute detail, studied accounts of the creation of gladiators, all the usual precautions. I have more doubts about the ritual casting than I do about the ability of my creation to survive it. Whatever the outcome, I am proud of what I have made.

    Procedure: Gladiator Ritual. Outcome: Success
    Success! My creation moved differently when it awoke, such purpose and precision, such purity of intention. It was beautiful before, but it is so much more now. I cannot wait to test it further.

    Attempt 1: Morale Infusion. Outcome: Unknown
    Tomorrow, when the sun is high, my creation goes to the arena. It will fight in my name and for my cause, to prove itself worthy of all the time I have spent moulding it.

    “You will be glorious,” I told it. “None of my rivals will have anything worthy of being pitted against you. Show them your strength, kill them however best pleases you, and survive. You are the foundation of my triumph. When you stand alone in the area, the blood of the fallen red on your slicing bones, all will know who made you. I will take my rightful place among the highest of Thay, and you will be first in my favour.”

    It bowed its head, bone spurs rippling down its back.

    “Perhaps I will even give you a name.”

    Spoiler: Ability Scores
    Abilities Initial Race / Template Level 4 Level 8 Level 12 Level 16 Level 20
    Str 17 +2 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1
    Dex 10
    Con 14
    Int 12 -2
    Wis 14
    Cha 9 -2

    Spoiler: Build
    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Reflex Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Ranger (Arcane Hunter, Skilled City Dweller) +1 +2 +2 +0 Heal (+4) 4; Listen (+4) 4; Knowledge (arcana) (+4 CC) 2; Knowledge (nature) (+4) 4; Sense Motive (+4) 4; Spot (+4) 4; Dragon Wings, Endurance (B), Track (B) Favoured enemy (arcanist) +1, wild empathy
    2nd Ranger +2 +3 +3 +0 Heal 4; Listen (+1) 5; Knowledge (arcana) (+1 CC) 2.5; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive (+1) 5; Spot (+1) 5; Tumble (+2) 2; Two-Weapon Fighting (B) Combat style (two-weapon combat)
    3rd Ranger +3 +3 +3 +1 Heal 4; Listen (+1) 6; Knowledge (arcana) (+1 CC) 3; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive (+1) 6; Spot (+1) 6; Tumble (+2) 4; Toughness, Endurance Martial Study (Wall of Blades) (B)
    4th Ranger (Urban Companion) +4 +4 +4 +1 Heal 4; Listen (+1) 7; Knowledge (arcana) (+1 CC) 3.5; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive (+1) 7; Spot (+1) 7; Tumble (+2) 6; Urban companion
    5th Barbarian (Skilled City Dweller, Spiritual Totem (Lion)) +5 +6 +4 +1 Heal 4; Listen (+1) 8; Knowledge (arcana) (+1 CC) 4; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive (+1) 8; Spot 7; Tumble (+1) 7; Pounce, rage 1/day
    6th Osteomancer +5 +8 +4 +3 Heal 4; Listen 8; Knowledge (arcana) 4; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive 8; Spot (+2 CC) 8; Tumble 7; Improved Dragon Wings Boneless, immunity to disease
    7th Osteomancer +6 +9 +4 +4 Heal 4; Listen 8; Knowledge (arcana) 4; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive 8; Spot (+2 CC) 9; Tumble 7; Skeletal shift
    8th Osteomancer +7 +9 +5 +4 Heal 4; Listen 8; Knowledge (arcana) 4; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive 8; Spot (+2 CC) 10; Tumble 7; Bone spurs, unnerve
    9th Ranger +8 +9 +5 +4 Heal 4; Listen 8; Knowledge (arcana) 4; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive (+4) 12; Spot (+2) 12; Tumble 7; Weapon Focus (bone spurs) Favoured enemy (monstrous humanoid) +2, Favoured enemy (arcanist) +3
    10th Thayan Gladiator +9 +11 +5 +4 Heal 4; Listen 8; Knowledge (arcana) 4; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive (+1) 13; Spot (+1) 13; Tumble 7; Improved Natural Attack (bone spurs) (B) Study enemy
    11th Thayan Gladiator +10 +12 +5 +4 Heal 4; Listen 8; Knowledge (arcana) 4; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive (+1) 14; Spot (+1) 14; Tumble 7; Improved Critical (bone spurs) (B) Natural armour +1
    12th Thayan Gladiator +11 +12 +6 +5 Heal 4; Listen 8; Knowledge (arcana) 4; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive (+1) 15; Spot (+1) 15; Tumble 7; Skewer Foe Stunning critical, silver strike
    13th Thayan Gladiator +12 +13 +6 +5 Heal 4; Listen 8; Knowledge (arcana) 4; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive (+1) 16; Spot (+1) 16; Tumble 7; Natural weapon focus
    14th Thayan Gladiator +13 +13 +6 +5 Heal 4; Listen 8; Knowledge (arcana) 4; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive (+1) 17; Spot (+1) 17; Tumble 7; Imbue natural weapon (frost), natural armour +2
    15th Thayan Gladiator +14 +14 +7 +6 Heal 4; Listen 8; Knowledge (arcana) 4; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive (+1) 18; Spot (+1) 18; Tumble 7; Martial Stance (Punishing Stance) Adamantine strike
    16th Thayan Gladiator +15 +14 +7 +6 Heal 4; Listen 8; Knowledge (arcana) 4; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive (+1) 19; Spot (+1) 19; Tumble 7; Savage strike
    17th Thayan Gladiator +16 +15 +7 6 Heal 4; Listen 8; Knowledge (arcana) 4; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive (+1) 20; Spot (+1) 20; Tumble 7; Natural armour +3, natural weapon mastery
    18th Thayan Gladiator +17 +15 +8 +7 Heal 4; Listen 8; Knowledge (arcana) 4; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive (+1) 21; Spot (+1) 21; Tumble 7; Extra Rage Magic strike
    19th Thayan Gladiator +18 +16 +8 7 Heal 4; Listen 8; Knowledge (arcana) 4; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive (+1) 22; Spot (+1) 22; Tumble 7; Imbue natural weapon (speed)
    20th Ranger +19 +17 +9 +8 Heal 4; Listen (+4) 12; Knowledge (arcana) 4; Knowledge (nature) 4; Sense Motive (+1) 23; Spot (+1) 23; Tumble 7; Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (B) Improved combat style

    Spoiler: Spells
    Level 1st
    4th 0
    9th 1

    Spoiler: Levels 1-5
    At this point, Gulog is fairly ordinary two-weapon ranger. His weapons of choice are a spiked gauntlet and spiked armour, leaving a hand free for a heavy shield. The shield has spikes too, of course, just to complete the look. Since he's from Thay, his knowledge and skills are themed around magic and cities, rather than nature and the wilderness. Martial Study is mostly a prerequisite, but Wall of Blades is nice for a fighter with much better attack bonus than AC. His cat urban companion is nothing particularly special, but by the end of his career it will at least have a giant pile of hit points. And finally, a Barbarian dip...yeah, I know. The sad fact is, even if you're not a dedicated charger, to be effective as a melee character, you need Pounce, and there just aren't a lot of ways to get it. Rage is certainly a nice pile of bonuses for him to have too. The fact that Barbarian is his favoured class does make me feel a little better about it, at least.

    Attack routine at level 5 with Rage: Armour spikes +10 melee (1d6+7) and spiked gauntlet +10 melee (1d4+3)

    Spoiler: Levels 6-10
    Osteomancer is a weird class that grants some really weird abilities, most of which we just don't have the skills or stats to make good use of. The main one we're here for is bone spurs, which is a natural weapon that mimics manufactured weapons, allowing Gulog to take advantage of Thayan Gladiator while still using iteratives and two-weapon fighting. We also pick up monstrous humanoids as a favoured enemy (apparently they're a popular choice in gladiatorial arenas), improve our favoured enemy bonuses against arcanists, and turn our latent draconic heritage into flight.

    Attack routine at level 10 with Rage: Armour spikes +15/+10 melee (1d8+7) and spiked gauntlet +15 melee (1d6+3)

    Spoiler: Levels 11-15
    Levels in Thayan Gladiator really pick the build up, adding more attacks and improving the damage of those attacks. Frost dovetails nicely with frostblood, and it's a bonus that gets better the more attacks you make. Continuing that theme, we also pick up Skewer Foe and Punishing Stance - they're small damage bonuses, but we're making enough attacks that they're worth a lot. I like generic damage bonuses more than precision damage, since they work against everything and don't require any special conditions to activate.

    Attack routine at level 15 with Rage, Punishing Stance, and Skewer Foe: Armour spikes +21/+16/+16/+11 melee (1d8+8+3d6 and spiked gauntlet +21 melee (1d6+4+3d6)

    Spoiler: Levels 16-20
    Not much changes in the final levels - the speed property and Improved Two-Weapon Fighting add even more attacks, and Extra Rage allows Gulog to fight in top form for three fights per day instead of just one.

    Attack routine at level 20 with Rage, Punishing Stance, and Skewer Foe: Armour spikes +27/+27/+27/+22/+17/+12 melee (1d8+9+3d6) and spiked gauntlet +27/+22 melee (1d6+4+3d6)
    AC: 10 +4 (chain shirt) +2 (heavy shield) +3 (natural armour) -2 (Punishing Stance) = 17 (-2 = 15 with Rage)
    Fort +19 (+21 with Rage), Ref +9, Will +10 (+12 with Rage)

    Spoiler: Problems
    Some DMs (and possibly some judges), may not accept that you can grow armour spikes through your armour, or that you can consider your bone spurs a single natural weapon for Weapon Focus and Thayan Gladiator. In either case, it's not a problem - we can drop the shield and use a pair of spiked gauntlets without impacting the build beyond the loss of a bit of AC and going down a single die size. I'll also freely admit that Gulog's numbers are a little low - while he doesn't require any specific items, general numerical bonuses would be enormously helpful to him.

    Spoiler: Sources
    • Frostblood Half-Orc: Dragon Magic
    • Arcane Hunter: Complete Mage
    • Dragon Wings, Improved Dragon Wings: Races of the Dragon
    • Martial Study, Martial Stance, Wall of Blades, Punishing Stance: Tome of Battle
    • Spiritual Totem: Complete Champion
    • Osteomancer: Dragon Compendium
    • Thayan Gladiator, Skewer Foe: Champions of Ruin
    • Extra Rage: Complete Warrior
    • Everything else: SRD content

    Last edited by The Viscount; 2021-09-01 at 10:53 AM.
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  19. - Top - End - #109
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    Also a reference to an old old IC build. Double points.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baby
    I like
    and I cannot lie!

    You other brothers can't deny!
    When a brute walks in
    with a 20 on the hit
    and then they confirm the crit
    you get STUNNED!

    Wanna pull up Toughness
    that butt's got buffness

    Deep in that shiny armor
    you callipygian charmer

    Ooh, baby, I wanna get wit' ya
    roll for init, yeah

    My cleric tries to cure me
    but I want that butt so come an' lure me!

    Ooh, that tattooed skin
    you say you wanna get in my pen?

    Well fight me,
    smite me,
    'cuz you ain't that average knight, see

    I see that passion
    to hell with full castin'

    See you sweat
    got it goin' like a druid's pet

    I'm tired of magazines
    sayin' clawed hands are the thing

    Find the average Thayan and ask 'em that?
    "they gotta pack much back!"

    So tharchions!
    Has your brawler got the butt?
    Hells yeah!

    Tell 'em to shake it!
    Shake it!
    Shake it!
    Shake it!
    Shake that flaming butt!

    Spoiler: Oh my god, Becky

    LE neraph (Planar Handbook 12)
    Monk 2 / sohei 3 / tattooed monk 3 / kensai 2 / Thayan gladiator 10

    Abilities Initial Race / Template Level 4 Level 8 Level 12 Level 16 Level 20
    Str 16 1 1 1 1 1
    Dex 16
    Con 14
    Int 14
    Wis 8
    Cha 8

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Reflex Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Monk 1 0 2 2 2 NEW

    • Knowledge: Religion (+4) 4;
    • Concentration (+4) 4;
    • Diplomacy (+4) 4;
    • Ride (+4) 4;
    • Sense Motive (+4) 4;
    • UMD (+4 CC) 2
    • Improved Unarmed Strike {B}
    • Combat Expertise {B}
    • Endurance
    Unarmed strike, bonus feat (Passive Way style: Unearthed Arcana pg. 52), unarmored AC, decisive strike (PHB2 pg. 51), upper-class background (Ride as permanent class skill; see Cityscape pg. 59)
    2nd Monk 2 1 3 3 3 NEW

    • Knowledge: Religion (+1) 5;
    • Sense Motive (+1) 5;
    • Balance (+4) 4


    • Concentration 4;
    • Diplomacy 4;
    • Ride 4;
    • UMD 2;
    • Improved Grapple {B}
    Bonus feat (see Oriental Adventures pg. 19 & 79), invisible fist (Exemplars of Evil pg. 21)
    3rd Sohei 1 (Oriental Adventures 28) 1 5 3 5 NEW
    • Knowledge: Religion (+1) 6;
    • Concentration (+1) 5;
    • UMD (+2 CC) 3;

    • Diplomacy 4;
    • Ride 4;
    • Sense Motive 5;
    • Balance 4;
    • Weapon Focus (Butt) {B}
    • Extra Rage (Complete Warrior pg. 98)
    Ki frenzy 1/day (3 w/feat), Weapon Focus
    4th Sohei 2 2 6 3 6 NEW
    • Knowledge: Religion (+1) 7;
    • Diplomacy (+3) 7;

    • Concentration 5;
    • Ride 4;
    • Sense Motive 5;
    • UMD 3;
    • Balance 4;
    lol screw u
    5th Sohei 3 3 6 4 6 NEW
    • Knowledge: Religion (+1) 8;
    • Ride (+1) 5;
    • UMD (+2 CC) 4;

    • Sense Motive 5;
    • Balance 4;
    • Concentration 5;
    • Diplomacy 7;
    • Deflect Arrows {B}
    Ki frenzy 2/day (4 w/feat), Deflect Arrows
    6th Tattooed monk 1 (Complete Warrior 83) 3 8 6 8 NEW
    • Diplomacy (+2) 9;
    • Balance (+1) 5;
    • Knowledge: Local (+1) 1;
    • Knowledge: Arcana (+1) 1;
    • Knowledge: Planes (+1) 1;

    • Knowledge: Religion 8;
    • Concentration 5;
    • Ride 5;
    • Sense Motive 5;
    • UMD 4;
    • Extend Supernatural Ability (Tome of Magic pg. 73)
    Chameleon tattoo
    7th Tattooed monk 2 4 9 7 9 NEW
    • Diplomacy (+1) 10;
    • UMD (+2 CC) 5;
    • Knowledge: Planes (+2) 3;
    • Knowledge: Nature (+1) 1;

    • Knowledge: Religion 8;
    • Concentration 5;
    • Ride 5;
    • Sense Motive 5;
    • Balance 5;
    • Knowledge: Local 1;
    • Knowledge: Arcana 1;
    lol screw u
    8th Tattooed monk 3 5 9 7 9 NEW
    • Diplomacy (+1) 11;
    • Knowledge: Planes (+5) 8;

    • Knowledge: Religion 8;
    • Concentration 5;
    • Ride 5;
    • Sense Motive 5;
    • UMD 5;
    • Balance 5;
    • Knowledge: Local 1;
    • Knowledge: Arcana 1;
    • Knowledge: Nature 1;
    Crab tattoo
    9th Kensai 1 (Complete Warrior 49) 5 9 7 11 NEW
    • Diplomacy (+1) 12;
    • Sense Motive (+1) 6;
    • UMD (+2 CC) 6;
    • Collector of Stories (Complete Scoundrel pg. 85;

    • Knowledge: Religion 8;
    • Concentration 5;
    • Ride 5;
    • Balance 5;
    • Knowledge: Local 1;
    • Knowledge: Arcana 1;
    • Knowledge: Planes 8;
    • Knowledge: Nature 1;
    • Toughness
    Signature weapon (butt) max +1
    10th Kensai 2 6 9 7 12 NEW
    • Diplomacy (+1) 13;
    • Sense Motive (+2) 8;
    • Knowledge: Local (+3) 4;

    • Knowledge: Religion 8;
    • Concentration 5;
    • Ride 5;
    • UMD 6;
    • Balance 5;
    • Knowledge: Arcana 1;
    • Knowledge: Planes 8;
    • Knowledge: Nature 1;
    • Collector of Stories;
    Power surge, signature weapon (butt) max +2
    11th Thayan gladiator 1 (Champions of Ruin 64) 7 11 7 12 NEW
    • UMD (+2 CC) 7;
    • Intimidate (+2) 2;

    • Knowledge: Religion 8;
    • Concentration 5;
    • Diplomacy 13;
    • Ride 5;
    • Sense Motive 8;
    • Balance 5;
    • Knowledge: Local 4;
    • Knowledge: Arcana 1;
    • Knowledge: Planes 8;
    • Knowledge: Nature 1;
    • Collector of Stories;
    • Improved Natural Attack (butt) {B}
    Improved Natural Attack, study opponent
    12th Thayan gladiator 2 8 12 7 12 NEW
    • Intimidate (+4) 6;

    • Knowledge: Religion 8;
    • Concentration 5;
    • Diplomacy 13;
    • Ride 5;
    • Sense Motive 8;
    • UMD 7;
    • Balance 5;
    • Knowledge: Local 4;
    • Knowledge: Arcana 1;
    • Knowledge: Planes 8;
    • Knowledge: Nature 1;
    • Collector of Stories;
    • Improved Critical (Butt) {B}
    • Shape Soulmeld: sphinx claws (Magic of Incarnum pgs. 40, 88)
    Improved Critical, natural armor +1
    13th Thayan gladiator 3 9 12 8 13 NEW
    • UMD (+2 CC) 8;
    • Intimidate (+2) 8;

    • Knowledge: Religion 8;
    • Concentration 5;
    • Diplomacy 13;
    • Ride 5;
    • Sense Motive 8;
    • Balance 5;
    • Knowledge: Local 4;
    • Knowledge: Arcana 1;
    • Knowledge: Planes 8;
    • Knowledge: Nature 1;
    • Collector of Stories;
    Stunning critical, silver strike
    14th Thayan gladiator 4 10 13 8 13 NEW
    • Intimidate (+3) 11;
    • Bluff (+1) 1;

    • Knowledge: Religion 8;
    • Concentration 5;
    • Diplomacy 13;
    • Ride 5;
    • Sense Motive 8;
    • UMD 8;
    • Balance 5;
    • Knowledge: Local 4;
    • Knowledge: Arcana 1;
    • Knowledge: Planes 8;
    • Knowledge: Nature 1;
    • Collector of Stories;
    Natural weapon focus
    15th Thayan gladiator 5 11 13 8 13 NEW
    • UMD (+2 CC) 9;
    • Intimidate (+1) 12;
    • Bluff (+1) 2;

    • Knowledge: Religion 8;
    • Concentration 5;
    • Diplomacy 13;
    • Ride 5;
    • Sense Motive 8;
    • Balance 5;
    • Knowledge: Local 4;
    • Knowledge: Arcana 1;
    • Knowledge: Planes 8;
    • Knowledge: Nature 1;
    • Collector of Stories;
    • Open Least Chakra: hands (Magic of Incarnum pg. 39)
    Imbue natural weapon (flaming), natural armor +2
    16th Thayan gladiator 6 12 14 9 14
    • NEW
    • Intimidate (+3) 15;
    • Bluff (+1) 3;

    • Knowledge: Religion 8;
    • Concentration 5;
    • Diplomacy 13;
    • Ride 5;
    • Sense Motive 8;
    • UMD 9;
    • Balance 5;
    • Knowledge: Local 4;
    • Knowledge: Arcana 1;
    • Knowledge: Planes 8;
    • Knowledge: Nature 1;
    • Collector of Stories;
    Adamantine strike
    17th Thayan gladiator 7 13 14 9 14 NEW
    • UMD (+2 CC) 10;
    • Intimidate (+1) 16;
    • Bluff (+1) 4;

    • Knowledge: Religion 8;
    • Concentration 5;
    • Diplomacy 13;
    • Ride 5;
    • Sense Motive 8;
    • Balance 5;
    • Knowledge: Local 4;
    • Knowledge: Arcana 1;
    • Knowledge: Planes 8;
    • Knowledge: Nature 1;
    • Collector of Stories;
    Savage strike
    18th Thayan gladiator 8 14 15 9 14 NEW
    • Intimidate (+4) 20;

    • Knowledge: Religion 8;
    • Concentration 5;
    • Diplomacy 13;
    • Ride 5;
    • Sense Motive 8;
    • UMD 10;
    • Balance 5;
    • Knowledge: Local 4;
    • Knowledge: Arcana 1;
    • Knowledge: Planes 8;
    • Knowledge: Nature 1;
    • Bluff 4;
    • Collector of Stories;
    • Wanderer's Diplomacy (PHB2 pg. 85)
    Natural armor +3, natural weapon mastery
    19th Thayan gladiator 9 15 15 10 15 NEW
    • UMD (+2 CC) 11;
    • Intimidate (+2) 22;

    • Knowledge: Religion 8;
    • Concentration 5;
    • Diplomacy 13;
    • Ride 5;
    • Sense Motive 8;
    • Balance 5;
    • Knowledge: Local 4;
    • Knowledge: Arcana 1;
    • Knowledge: Planes 8;
    • Knowledge: Nature 1;
    • Bluff 4;
    • Collector of Stories;
    Magic strike (lol)
    20th Thayan gladiator 10 16 16 10 15 NEW

    • Sense Motive (+3) 11
    • Intimidate (+1) 23;

    • Knowledge: Religion 8;
    • Concentration 5;
    • Diplomacy 13;
    • Ride 5;
    • UMD 11;
    • Balance 5;
    • Knowledge: Local 4;
    • Knowledge: Arcana 1;
    • Knowledge: Planes 8;
    • Knowledge: Nature 1;
    • Bluff 4;
    • Collector of Stories;
    Imbue natural weapon (speed)

    Skill table: Values in parentheses indicate skill points spent, not ranks. For example, "UMD (+4 CC)" means that I spent four skill points on cross-class UMD and increased my total ranks by 2. (Thanks to mattie_p for making the spiffy auto-formatting table!) Reminder: Because of upper-class background (Cityscape 59), Ride is always in-class.

    Spoiler: What what (in the butt)

    Thayan gladiator focuses on one natural weapon.

    How can we possibly focus on anything but the greatest natural weapon of all?

    The butt.

    First, a quick stop in monk to load up on prereqs. Passive Way style (UA 52) for Combat Expertise. UA pg. 52 does say that a monk can abandon their fighting style at any time and take another feat at the next appropriate level, so Baby does just that after level 1. Meanwhile, Oriental Adventures pg. 19 says that you can give up Deflect Arrows at 2nd level to take a feat from table 6-1 on pg. 79 as long as you meet prereqs, and so since Improved Grapple is on table 6-1 and Baby does meet the prereqs of IUS and Dex 13, they get that prereq out of the way as well. Staying unarmored is dumb, so don't do it. Decisive strike is mostly useless for Baby, but they have it as an option, and at least it doesn't go away when armored.

    Sohei! The forgotten class. Level 1 of sohei gives Weapon Focus for free. To me, it is clear that it ignores prereqs: a character who takes sohei as their first class level does not have BAB +1 and therefore cannot have Weapon Focus, but they would indeed have Weapon Focus on their sheet because of sohei. Since all of sohei's other feats explicitly ignore prereqs, it's pretty clear that this is legal even before Baby has their butt attack online. Ki frenzy is a frenzy and therefore is affect by Extra Rage, which explicitly works on "rage or frenzy." 4/day isn't bad, actually. A stat bonus is good, and the ability to flurry is excellent. I have no idea whether or not ki frenzy's flurry stacks with monk's flurry, so I swapped out monk's flurry for decisive strike just to avoid the controversy. (Again, Baby isn't usually a decisive strike kind of person, but it doesn't cost anything to have it on the sheet.)

    It's hard to talk about butts without naturally going to tattoos. So of course Baby spends three levels in tattooed monk! The chameleon tattoo offers alter self with a duration of hours per tattooed monk level once per day per tattoo. With three levels and two tattoos, that's a total of six hours; Baby will use Extend Supernatural Ability on one of them to get the total duration up to nine hours, which is basically all day. What do they turn into? Why, a cervidal, of course. Monster Manual 2, pg. 43. Since Baby is a neraph and is therefore an outsider, they can transform into a cervidal. (Caster level of supernatural abilities = HD, so that's not a concern.) Alter self allows the user access to any natural weapons possessed by the target form.

    Friends and enemies, the butt is online.

    Spoiler: Let's do butt stuff

    Crab tattoo offers DR/magic. Per MM1 pg. 307, this means that Baby's butt overcomes DR/magic way before the SI would grant that ability. If it's good then, it's better now! (Cheeky? Me? How dare you.)

    Kensai. As everyone knows, kensai matters for exactly one reason: getting arbitrary enhancements on natural weapons. Like a butt. Note that you explicitly do not need to spend time or XP re-enhancing natural weapons that you lose and regain, which is good.

    If you don't know what enhancement we want, you're not paying attention, because that was like way back at the very beginning.

    Sizing. MIC pg. 43.

    I'm just gonna leave that flavor text there without additional commentary.

    Baby has two levels in kensai because I assume that you can't get a +gold enhancement without a +1 (just like a typical weapon). Since the cost to add sizing (+5000) is less than the cost to go from +1 to +2 and since kensai doesn't say that you can't add enhancements that don't map to + values, I assert that this is 100% RAW-legal.

    How big can we make it? …I don't know. I don't think WotC knows either. As big as the GM will assent to. Large seems like a given. Can we go to Colassal? Well, maybe if you butter the GM up, at least. How many dice on "dummy thicc?"

    Technically sizing doesn't only have to go in one direction, just in case Baby needs to fit into a small chair. If you don't see the value in this, you've never flown coach.

    (Kensai needs an oath or something? Okay, um, conquering the arena or something. Whatever.)

    Once Baby's got their rear in gear, let's plunge bass-ackwards into Thayan gladiator!

    INA immediately helps with the process of assembling as many size bonuses as we can squeeze in there.

    Study opponent? More like give them a chance to study Baby! C'mon, check that out. (Fine, maybe that just sits there.)

    Improved Critical, of course, improves the spread of rolls that get the most attention.

    Natural armor is great because we can always use a little extra padding. Helps to buttress the defenses.

    Stunning critical is fabulous for leaving an enemy all rumpled and disoriented. Baby is nothing if not stunning.

    Silver strike means Baby's moon has just as strong an effect on lycanthropes!

    Natural weapon focus means that you can bring in even more butts at once! Even without a frenzy getting up to the three moon wolf, all day every day you can just carry out a two-butt assassination.

    Imbue natural weapon makes perfect sense since Baby's butt is already too hot to handle, so obviously they assign flaming there. And don't forget that the hands bind of the sphinx claws lets you haul your butt wherever it needs to go!

    Adamantine strike is entirely right. Not even constructs get left behind.

    Savage strike means that Baby's butt knows even more about penetrating, so it can get through defenses and leave enemies cleft in twain.

    Natural weapon mastery means that your attack rolls will no longer bottom out as easily!

    Wanderer's Diplomacy lets Baby spend their hard-earned booty on things like wands of greater mighty wallop (Races of the Dragon pg. 115) to add even more size bonuses to the pile.

    Magic strike is

    Imbue natural weapon for speed brings the total of butts up to four, completing the merging of glutes and quads.

    Spoiler: What makes the rockin' world go 'round

    Champions of Ruin: Thayan Gladiator
    Planar Handbook: Neraph
    Monster Manual II: Cervidal
    Complete Warrior: Tattooed monk, kensai, Extra Rage
    Oriental Adventures: Sohei, alternate monk feats
    Unearthed Arcana: Passive Way monk style
    Cityscape: Social class rules for skill backgrounds
    Magic of Incarnum: Shape Soulmeld, Open Least Chakra, sphinx claws
    Player's Handbook II: Decisive strike, Wanderer's Diplomacy
    Tome of Magic: Extend Supernatural Ability
    Exemplars of Evil: Invisible fist
    Magic Item Compendium: Sizing
    Races of the Dragon: greater mighty wallop

    Musical inspiration by Sir Mix-A-Lot

    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  20. - Top - End - #110
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    The more important question is...will you blend?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Blender

    Spoiler: Intro

    These gladiators have a problem. Almost all of the abilities granted by your...ritual can be trivially replaced by magic items or minimal investment. The final evolution granted is an especially egregious example of this: gaining a weapon enhancement is not a great reward for 10 years in the aerna. Just to emphasize this, let's look at all the abilities you promise, and how much they'd cost to replace:
    • 1 Improved Natural Attack: 1 feat (note that we required toughness to get through your abhorrent ritual, so this isn't actually a positive). Study opponent rarely impacts the fights, but at least it's not easy to replace.
    • 2 Improved Critical: 1 feat, a +1 property, or many many spells at best. Note that forcing them to use a natural weapon, we're already unlikely to see the strikes the audience goes wild for, so this is more "compensation" then "power". Natural armor +1 is a really bland stat boost—nobody will even notice!
    • 3 Stunning Critical: Actually a unique ability! Silver Strike: meh. Easy to replace for any non-natural weapon, so again this feels like compensation for your insistence on claws and other body parts, and we can always buy Silversheen (DMG) if necessary to make some fights more (or less) fair (A paste, priced only at 250 gp, that bypasses DR/silver for one hour.) This ability isn't worth much unless we're invaded by lycanthropes.
    • 4 Natural Weapon Focus: Rapidstrike. Typical training would produce better results.
    • 5 Imbue Natural Weapon: More +1 weapon properties. Natural armor is again a fine stat boost, but not exactly unique.
    • 6 Adamantine Strike: this is a legitimately useful ability, if we're locking them into natural weapons. Still a compensation ability, though.
    • 7 Savage Strike: This is outclassed by Kaorti resin weapons, but even if we're not willing to procure those, plenty of mundane weapons produce more savage damage then even upgraded claws. Still, this isn't an easy effect to replicate, so I'll grudgingly give you credit for the technique.
    • 8 Natural Weapon Master: Bah. Not very impactful again.
    • 9 Magic Strike: ...No comment. This is simply a stark display of your impotence.
    • 10 Imbue Natural Weapon pt. 2: This capstone is almost more insulting then the year 9 feature. They get to choose between a +2 ability or a nerfed +3 ability to apply to their weapons? For the money we spend housing them and on your grotesque "ritual," this should do more.

    Total: a +5 adamantine (any normal) weapon (keen flaming burst ghost touch), 2 feats (rapidstrike and improved natural attack), a natural armor item, and a cheap consumable, outside of the year 1 and 3 abilities. This comes at the price of 10 years and a feat. I could train these gladiators better without magical assistance! Even if I sent them to a monastic order, they'd be better at unarmed fighting.
    However, the level 3 feature is both mechanically useful, especially in an arena setting, thematically fitting (think of a gladiator dazing another with a massive hit), and actually unique.

    In other words, this whole process is designed to make our gladiators up to par with every town's basic, non-multiclassed fighter who decided to use real weapons, and then squandered away a few feats. This aggressively squanders the potential of the first- and third-level unique abilities, both of which benefit greatly from lots of attacks, real class features, and real weapons, and legitimately contribute to the gladiator experience and audience excitement. They love the circling in the arena, followed by powerful, dangerous blows that knock an opponent senseless. The rest of the class is not designed to provide these, and we're losing attendance over it. Improve your tactics, or face the arena. -The Master

    Looking up from the note, the Zulkir began to frantically pace her room and mutter to herself.

    "To start with, let's get lots of natural attacks. Enter the next star gladiator: the ANTHROPOMORPHIC GIANT OCTOPUS." She snapped her head back and cackled at the ceiling, grabbing a sharp stiletto from her desk. She inked the tip in a pot of purple liquid and began scrawling on a sheet of parchment.

    "Standing at a full seven feet, the octopus is a fearsome predator, given her six tentacled and suckered arms. To enrich her into the perfect gladiator, we merely have to improve her ability to Multiattack—"

    The Zulkir suddenly stopped before madly scratching out the last part of her last comment, quietly chuckling to herself. The laughter slowly escalated into a full-blown shriek, and her improvised quill descended furiously once again.

    Spoiler: Summary

    Prototype Proposal—The Blender
    LE Amphibious Anthropomorphic Giant Octopus Ardent 5/Thayan Gladiator 3/Wizard 1/Disciple of Dispater 8/Warblade 1

    Standing at a full seven feet, the octopus is a fearsome predator, given her six tentacled and suckered arms. To enrich her into the perfect gladiator, we merely have to improve her ability to fight with multiple weapons, and bring out the power inherent in those weapons to land brutal blows on her opponents.

    Spoiler: Progression and Model Details
    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Reflex Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Monstrous Humanoid RHD 1 0 2 2 Concentration (+4 CC) 2; Spot (+4) 4; Balance (+4 CC) 2; Multiweapon Fighting
    2nd Monstrous Humanoid RHD 2 0 3 3 Concentration (+1 CC) 2.5; Spot (+1) 5; Balance (+1 CC) 2.5;
    3rd Ardent 1 2 0 3 5 Concentration (+1) 3.5; Spot 5; Autohypnosis (+2) 2; Balance 2.5; Toughness Assume psionic mantles (2) (Freedom, Physical Power)
    4th Ardent 2 3 0 3 6 Psicraft (+1) 1; Concentration (+1) 4.5; Spot 5; Autohypnosis (+1) 3; Balance 2.5; Weapon Focus (Kukri) (bonus) Assume psionic mantles (Conflict)
    5th Ardent 3 4 1 4 6 Psicraft (+1) 2; Concentration (+1) 5.5; Spot 5; Autohypnosis (+1) 4; Balance 2.5;
    6th Ardent 4 5 1 4 7 Psicraft (+1) 3; Concentration (+1) 6.5; Spot 5; Autohypnosis (+1) 5; Balance 2.5; Disciple of Darkness
    7th Ardent 5 5 1 4 7 Psicraft (+1) 4; Concentration (+1) 7.5; Spot 5; Autohypnosis (+1) 6; Balance 2.5; Assume psionic mantles (Mental Power)
    8th Thayan Gladiator 1 6 3 4 7 Psicraft 4; Concentration 7.5; Jump (+3) 3; Spot 5; Autohypnosis 6; Balance 2.5; Improved natural attack (kukri!), study opponent
    9th Thayan Gladiator 2 7 4 4 7 Psicraft 4; Concentration 7.5; Jump 3; Spot (+3) 8; Autohypnosis 6; Balance 2.5; Power Attack Improved critical, natural armor +1
    10th Thayan Gladiator 3 8 4 5 8 Psicraft 4; Concentration (+1 CC) 8; Jump (+1) 4; Spot 8; Autohypnosis 6; Balance (+1 CC) 3; Stunning critical, silver strike
    11th Immidiate Magic Conjurer Combat Wizard 1 8 4 5 10 Psicraft 4; Concentration (+3) 11; Jump 4; Spot 8; Autohypnosis 6; Balance 3; Combat Expertise (bonus) Abrupt Jaunt
    12th Disciple of Dispater 1 9 6 7 12 Psicraft 4; Concentration (+2 CC) 12; Jump (+1) 5; Spot (+1) 9; Autohypnosis 6; Balance (+1) 4; Improved Multiweapon Fighting Device lore
    13th Disciple of Dispater 2 10 7 8 13 Psicraft 4; Concentration (+2 CC) 13; Jump (+1) 6; Spot (+1) 10; Autohypnosis 6; Balance (+1) 5; Iron hews
    14th Disciple of Dispater 3 11 7 8 13 Psicraft 4; Concentration (+2 CC) 14; Jump (+2) 8; Spot (+1) 11; Autohypnosis 6; Balance 5; Rusting grasp
    15th Disciple of Dispater 4 12 8 9 14 Psicraft 4; Concentration (+2 CC) 15; Jump (+2) 10; Spot (+1) 12; Autohypnosis 6; Balance 5; Practiced Manifester (Ardent) Iron power +1
    16th Warblade 1 13 10 9 14 Psicraft 4; Concentration (+2) 17; Jump (+3) 13; Spot 12; Autohypnosis 6; Balance 5; Battle clarity (Reflex saves), weapon aptitude
    17th Disciple of Dispater 5 14 10 9 14 Psicraft 4; Concentration (+2 CC) 18; Jump (+2) 15; Spot (+1) 13; Autohypnosis 6; Balance 5; Summon erinyes
    18th Disciple of Dispater 6 15 11 10 15 Psicraft 4; Concentration (+2 CC) 19; Jump (+2) 17; Spot (+1) 14; Autohypnosis 6; Balance 5; Greater Multiweapon Fighting Greater iron hews
    19th Disciple of Dispater 7 16 11 10 15 Psicraft 4; Concentration (+2 CC) 20; Jump (+2) 19; Spot (+1) 15; Autohypnosis 6; Balance 5; Ironskin
    20th Disciple of Dispater 8 17 12 11 16 Psicraft 4; Concentration (+2 CC) 21; Jump (+2) 21; Spot (+1) 16; Autohypnosis 6; Balance 5; Iron power +2

    Abilities Initial Race / Template Level 4 Level 8 Level 12 Level 16 Level 20
    Str 16 18 (+2) 19 (+1) 20 (+1) 20 21 (+1) 22 (+1)
    Dex 15 19 (+6, -2) 19 19 19 19 19
    Con 13 11 (-2) 11 11 12 (+1) 12 12
    Int 13 13 13 13 13 13 13
    Wis 12 16 (+4) 16 16 16 16 16
    Cha 8 4 (-4) 4 4 4 4 4

    Manuevers and Stances
    • Wall of Blades
    • Iron Heart Surge
    • Claw at the Moon
    • (Stance) Blood in the Water

    Powers By (Ardent) Level
    1. Dimension Hop (Freedom), Adrenaline Boost (Physical Power)
    2. Prescience, Offensive (Conflict)
    3. Hustle (Freedom)
    4. Animal Affinity (Physical Power)
    5. Graft Weapon (Physical Power)

    PP Breakpoints (assuming 16 wisdom)
    • ECL 3: 2 + 1 = 3
    • ECL 4: 6 + 3 = 9
    • ECL 5: 11 + 4 = 15
    • ECL 6: 17 + 6 = 23
    • ECL 7: 25 + 10 (Mental Power mantle effective wis bump) = 35
    • ECL 15: 25 + 18 (Practiced Manifester) = 43

    Spells Per Day (ECL 11 or above)
    • 0: 3
    • 1: 1+1

    First-Level Spells Known: Nerveskitter, Benign Transposition, Protection from Good

    Spoiler: Explanation
    This prototype is designed to be a mobile and aggressive striker centered around the Stunning Critical feature. This ability scales with threat range, number of attacks, to-hit bonus, and strength bonus. The Blender should be able to make up to 19 attacks every six seconds, threaten a critical strike on any roll of a 9 or above, and constantly increase the accuracy and power of her own weapons with every critical strike she makes. While she might not be the strongest gladiator, the sheer number of attacks she makes should result in at least one strike slipping past her opponent's guard. In order to do this, I modified my ritual to take advantage of the latent psychic capabilities embedded in this creature's mind. The natural aggression of the octopi lends itself to philosophies of conflict and power easily. Particularly, the Graft Weapon power offers a uniquely potent capability to the discerning enricher of flesh. I delved deep into its psionic manifestation, and found that "the grafted weapon is considered both a standard weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of effects that distinguish between either weapon type." I initially worried that the power may not take on tentacles, but a deep dive into a bestiary suggested that the limbs of an octopus were indeed considered arms, as required for the power (fluff of the SRD entry for Giant Octopus). Similarly, in order to effectively fight with many weapons, creatures need the additional coordination provided by three or more hands. Luckily, the process of making octopi anthropomorphic turns their arms humanoid, adding hands, meaning her limbs have the requisite coordination.

    This means that I can now indirectly graft the strength of iron and the blades of kukris directly into her flesh. I then enlisted the powers of the darker aspects of this world to further enhance her combat prowess (although this necessitated the creation of a new altar chamber. See Requisition Form 90312—Alpha). After basic training as a gladiator, basic wizard training allows for more creativity and diverse applications of her stupendous combat prowess by girding her against suprise attacks and mental control, while further manifestations of the dark power underneath allow her to unleash those devastating criticals you wanted to see more often. Finally, further training in the advanced tactics of the blade allow her to become nearly unstoppable in the arena as she rains down blow after blow. Detailed plans below.
    Spoiler: Level 1-5:
    As a neophyte, the gladiator strengthens her mind after attaining her physical form. Utilizing her 6 arms, she wields 6 kukris, and utilizes her growing resevoir of psionic tricks to enhance both her damage output and mobility. By the fifth level, she's capable of two independent ways of increasing her damage, and several more tricks to enhance mobility. Damage output is acceptable, as while she's not particularly skilled at combat at this level, her six weapons are still quite effective at lacerating the flesh of her opponent. She can also utilize her focus to increase her own speed, or expend it for a burst improvement on her attacks. Do not attempt to face her in water. We lost several assitants and a test specimen to that experiment, as a combination of extreme mobility and a blinding effect proved disasterous.

    Spoiler: Level 5-10:
    Now, she becomes a full-fledged gladiator. Grafting all 6 weapons renders her somewhat useless outside of combat, but provides a slight improvement in her combat prowess, as a tentacled horror with knives attached to her arms is both extraordinarly intimidating and extremely effective. Until she gains her full power point reserve and is subjected to gladiator training, however, she will choose to only graft 1 or 2 of her weapons, wielding the rest normally and saving her power points for other ardent powers. The ritual I subject her to upgrades the damage of any kukri she chooses to graft, doubles her threat range on all kukris, allows her to bypass /silver DR, slightly upgrades her natural armor, and allows her to stun her opponents (DC 20 before buffs) whenever she crits. This should be quite often, as she threatens on a 15-20. Once she recieves these benefits, she typically grafts 5 weapons at the start of the day (including her mainhand), allowing stunning criticals and other benefits for the majority of her attacks, and leaving the last hand open to wield normally. Finally, if she has time to, she can also thoroughly study her opponents to upgrade her accuracy and further upgrade her armor. This is particularly useful, as it synergizes with her ability to power attack, meaning she can add even more extra damage to all of her attacks. If she gets a chance to buff her stats, animal affinity increases her STR by two (improving every aspect of her attacks), Offensive Prescience gives her yet more extra damage, and adrenaline boost offers a short-term augmentation of her prowess.

    Spoiler: Level 10-15 (sweet spot):
    With demonic power awakened, The Blender is now even better at her fighting style. With 13 attacks per round, a drastically improved reserve of power points for yet more mobility and damage, and the ability to bounce around the battlefield with short, abrupt jaunts, her chassis is already quite effective. Disapter then draws out the power of iron inherent to her weapons, increasing her crit threat range to 12-20 while also giving her the ability to further increase their damage. She should regularly be able to stun an opponent, as 13 attacks, each with a 9/20 chance of a critical threat, result in many, many saves against stunning in most opponents.

    She also appears to have gained the ability to enhance and/or corrode some devices, but the extent of this power is not fully clear. Her rudimentary wizard training also allows her to more consistently get the jump on her opponent.

    Spoiler: Level 15-20:
    In her final form, The Blender gains a full 19 attacks, each of which critically strike on a 9-20. On a critical strike, she threatens a stun on her opponent (DC: 21 before buffs) and gains a +1 to hit and damage for a full minute (190 attacks). A reasonable full attack then looks something like this (using the Greater Iron Hews ability bestowed by Dis, animal affinity, a 4-pp offensive precognition, and the swift action for manuverability through hustle.): 6 attacks at +25, followed by 6 attacks at +20, 6 more attacks at +15, and a final attack at +10 (STR+Graft Weapon+Iron Power+BAB-TWF): As soon as she starts critting, her attack bonus improves. Each strike that hits deals 1d6 (size upgrade)+8 (str) + 2 (iron power ) + 6 (iron hews) + 1 (graft weapon), plus more from blood in the water. Assuming a reasonable (32) AC, projections place her damage per round at about 300 average with 0 stacks of blood in the water before the turn starts, or about 700 with 5 stacks. If anything can sustain this level of firepower, her total damage over a minute would come out to approximately 20000 before power attacks, which can be used to channel excessive attack bonus (as BITW stacks build) into damage. This comes on top of the stuns that she threatens, which lock down any opponent she happens to be facing.

    While admittedly not as strong as her offense, the Blender has solid defensive ability as well. Wall of Blades also benefits from BiTW, abrupt jaunt allows her to interrupt attack routines, benign transposition gives a very nice defensive option, and Iron Heart Surge serves as a last-ditch way of resuming an interrupted assualt. She also also begun to demonstrate an ability to manifest stoneskin over herself, and can occasionally summon a demon to support her.

    I believe this to be the most effective way to utilize the stunning ability I have developed, while still being an extremely effective combatant.

    Spoiler: Itemization (if available)

    This build "works" with nothing more than a bunch of kukris. As always, however, more magic items only enhance combat prowess.
    • More STR is obviously good: it increases her to-hit, damage, and stun DC.
    • More WIS will increase PP, which directly translates to better mobility and damage through buffs and hustle.
    • More INT allows for more uses of Abrupt Jaunt, making a +1 or +3 item a fine investment
    • An Enfeebling kukri or two is well worth the cost, due to the substantial STR damage on crits
    • A necklace of natural attacks or amulet of mighty fists is likely a more efficient way to enchant all the kukris then manual enchantment.

    Spoiler: Commentary

    Per The Viscount, Combat Expertise satifisies Disciple of Dispater's entry req (Expertise), as it's clearly intended as an update.

    The biggest potential RAW issue I see is qualifying for the PRC using Weapon Focus (kukri). However, the feat is permanent, which dodges some of the typical arguments against spell-based qualification, and Graft Weapon has a 24 hour uptime, which means you're practically guarenteed to level up with a weapon grafted (and therefore with a Kukri counting as a natural weapon). Even if you lose the benefits if you fail to qualify after entrance (Complete Arcane/Warrior debate), that's not a big deal, because again, you have 24 hour uptime on making Kukris natural weapons, with enough bonus PP to save 5 in the tank to re-attach if necessary. Other than that, I think I'm pretty clean on rules-legality in this build.

    Multidexterity, despite being a listed prereq of improved and greater MWF, is unnecessary, as the update guide explicitly states that it's been updated into multi-weapon fighting and thus satisifies those pre-reqs.

    Originally, this was an ur-priest/ardent pyschic theurge build, but I was about 5 feats short of fitting everything, though I managed to make the skills and feats work out. I could be taking practiced manifester earlier with fewer levels of ardent, but I decided emphasizing the secret ingredient through the MWF chain was more important, and I didn't want to invite the elegance penalties on top of that. I could fit Soul Eater in if I really wanted, but that again de-emphasizes the secret ingredient, invites the action vs buff argument, and has some awkward feat implications that delay improved MWF.

    I'm suprised by how good the wizard dip is here. The purpose of the warblade dip is obvious (I don't have good magical defenses, so Iron Heart Surge is great, and Blood in the Water is a truly insane damage steroid when you're making 19 attacks at 9-20/x2), but the combat Wizard dip gets me at minimum a bonus feat, with either a familiar or an abrupt jaunt class feature, and basic spellcasting (read: nerveskitter). In a low-magic setting, I'd probably stick with the familiar, but abrupt jaunt scales well.

    Practiced manifester is mostly just for the bonus PP and better dispel resistance, and technically for augmenting your low-level powers if you have a ton of bonus PP.

    Amphibious template deals with not being able to breathe air, at the cost of two DEX.

    Spoiler: Sources (not core or SRD):

    Savage Species: Anthropomorphic Giant Octopi, Improved/Greater MWF
    Stormwrack: Amphibious Template
    Book of Vile Deeds: Disciple of Dispater, Disciple of Darkness
    Unearthed Arcana: Combat Wizard
    PHBII: Immidiate Magic
    Complete Psionic: Ardent, various powers, Practiced Manifester
    Spell Compendium: Nerveskitter, Benign Transposition
    Tome of Battle: Warblade and related manuevers
    Complete Scoundrel: Thayan Gladiator
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  21. - Top - End - #111
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    You only think you've mastered the bow. This is true mastery.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vame Pomier
    You know, it's kinda funny. The folks here in the arena sometimes say that no weapon can ever compare to one that's part of you—that nothing external to yourself will ever channel your desires and your skill the way your own body will.

    That's a little different than what my dad and the other elves in his village said. They taught me that it's possible to pour much more skill and engineering and expertise into something you can plan and craft over time. That's the elven way, after all.

    Heh, and while I'm thinking about it, the same blokes that swear by their own bodily weapons insist that you've always gotta just throw 100% of yourself behind every blow and see which ones connect because sometimes you get lucky. When I was growing up, Dad always said that you've gotta take your time and line up a perfect shot, leaving nothing to chance.

    Well, guess what. Maybe it's not just one or the other, now is it? I'm a half-elf. My entire being is all about merging disparate elements together. Finding a nice harmonious middle path.

    Oh, and will you quit whining down there? The match is over already. I didn't even hit you that many times…

    Spoiler: Vame

    Vame Pomier
    NE forestlord half-elf
    Ranger 4, Ardent 2, Thayan Gladiator 10, Swordsage 2, Eternal Blade 2

    Abilities Initial Race / Template Level 4 Level 8 Level 12 Level 16 Level 20
    Str 16 17 18 19 20 21
    Dex 14
    Con 14
    Int 12
    Wis 14
    Cha 8

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Reflex Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Ranger 1 1 2 2 0 Spot (+4) 4; Climb (+2) 2; Concentration (+4) 4; Craft (bowmaking) (+4) 4; Survival (+4) 4; Listen (+4) 4; Psicraft (+4 CC) 2; K (Arcana) (+2 CC) 1; Toughness Track, Spiritual Connection, Favored Enemy (arcanists)
    2nd Ranger 2 2 3 3 0 Spot (+1) 5; Climb (+2) 4; Concentration (+1) 5; Craft (bowmaking) (+1) 5; Survival (+1) 5; Listen (+1) 5; Psicraft 2; K (Arcana) 1; Rapid Shot (archery combat style)
    3rd Ardent 1 2 3 3 2 Spot 5; Climb 4; Concentration (+1) 6; Craft (bowmaking) 5; Survival 5; Listen 5; Psicraft (+2) 4; K (Arcana) 1; Primary mantles (Conflict, Physical Power); powers (metaphysical weapon, vigor), Weapon Focus (elvencraft shortbow), 2 pp/day before stats
    4th Ranger 3 3 3 3 3 Spot (+2) 7; Climb 4; Concentration (+1) 7; Craft (bowmaking) (+2) 7; Survival (+1) 6; Listen (+1) 6; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Practiced Manifester Endurance
    5th Ranger 4 4 4 4 3 Spot (+1) 8; Climb 4; Concentration (+1) 8; Craft (bowmaking) (+1) 8; Survival (+2) 8; Listen (+2) 8; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Distracting attack, spells (1st level ×0/day before stats)
    6th Ardent 2 5 4 4 4 Use Magic Device (+3) 3; Spot 8; Climb 4; Concentration 8; Craft (bowmaking) 8; Survival 8; Listen 8; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Craft Wand Secondary mantle (Magic), powers (graft weapon), 6 pp/day before stats
    7th Thayan Gladiator 1 6 6 4 4 Use Magic Device (+3) 6; Spot 8; Climb 4; Concentration 8; Craft (bowmaking) 8; Survival 8; Listen 8; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Improved Natural Attack (elvencraft shortbow), study opponent
    8th Swordsage 1 6 6 6 6 Use Magic Device (+5) 11; Spot 8; Climb 4; Concentration (+2) 10; Craft (bowmaking) 8; Survival 8; Listen 8; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Quick to Act +1, Discipline Focus (Shadow Hand), maneuvers
    9th Swordsage 2 7 6 7 7 Use Magic Device (+1) 12; Spot 8; Climb 4; Concentration (+2) 12; Craft (bowmaking) (+4) 12; Survival 8; Listen 8; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Craven AC Bonus
    10th Thayan Gladiator 2 8 7 7 7 Use Magic Device (+1) 13; Spot (+1) 9; Climb (+1) 5; Concentration 12; Craft (bowmaking) 12; Survival 8; Listen 8; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Improved Critical (elvencraft shortbow), natural armor +1
    11th Thayan Gladiator 3 9 7 8 8 Use Magic Device (+1) 14; Spot (+1) 10; Climb (+1) 6; Concentration 12; Craft (bowmaking) 12; Survival 8; Listen 8; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Stunning Critical, Silver Strike
    12th Thayan Gladiator 4 10 8 8 8 Use Magic Device (+1) 15; Spot (+1) 11; Climb (+1) 7; Concentration 12; Craft (bowmaking) 12; Survival 8; Listen 8; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Murderous Intent Nat Weapon Focus
    13th Thayan Gladiator 5 11 8 8 8 Use Magic Device (+1) 16; Spot (+1) 12; Climb (+1) 8; Concentration 12; Craft (bowmaking) 12; Survival 8; Listen 8; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Imbue Nat Weapon (shock), nat armor +2
    14th Thayan Gladiator 6 12 9 9 9 Use Magic Device (+1) 17; Spot (+1) 13; Climb (+1) 9; Concentration 12; Craft (bowmaking) 12; Survival 8; Listen 8; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Adamantine Strike
    15th Thayan Gladiator 7 13 9 9 9 Use Magic Device (+1) 18; Spot (+1) 14; Climb (+1) 10; Concentration 12; Craft (bowmaking) 12; Survival 8; Listen 8; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Quicken Spell Savage Strike
    16th Thayan Gladiator 8 14 10 9 9 Use Magic Device (+1) 19; Spot (+1) 15; Climb (+1) 11; Concentration 12; Craft (bowmaking) 12; Survival 8; Listen 8; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Nat armor +3, nat weapon mastery
    17th Thayan Gladiator 9 15 10 10 10 Use Magic Device (+1) 20; Spot (+1) 16; Climb (+1) 12; Concentration 12; Craft (bowmaking) 12; Survival 8; Listen 8; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Maaaaaagical strike
    18th Thayan Gladiator 10 16 11 10 10 Use Magic Device (+1) 21; Spot (+1) 17; Climb (+1) 13; Concentration 12; Craft (bowmaking) 12; Survival 8; Listen 8; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Metamagic Spell Trigger Imbue nat weapon (shocking burst)
    19th Eternal Blade 1 17 13 10 10 Use Magic Device 21; Spot 17; Climb 13; Concentration (+3) 15; Craft (bowmaking) 12; Survival 8; Listen 8; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Blade Guide, Eternal Training 1/day
    20th Eternal Blade 2 18 14 10 10 Use Magic Device 21; Spot 17; Climb 13; Concentration (+3) 18; Craft (bowmaking) 12; Survival 8; Listen 8; Psicraft 4; K (Arcana) 1; Guided Strike

    • [ECL 8] Sapphire Nightmare Blade
    • [ECL 8] Distracting Ember
    • [ECL 8] Cloak of Deception
    • [ECL 8] Rabid Wolf Strike
    • [ECL 8] Moment of Perfect Mind
    • [ECL 8] Shadow Jaunt
    • [ECL 8] Blood in the Water (stance)
    • [ECL 9] Assassin's Stance (stance)
    • [ECL 9] Bonecrusher
    • [ECL 19] Ruby Nightmare Blade

    Spoiler: 1-6
    You ready? Sweet. Let's get started.

    Levels 1-6 are about getting set up as quickly as possible. Toughness is going to be painful no matter what, but at level 1 it represents an actual noticeable increase in max HP, so you know what, if we're going to take it then let's take it when it actually matters most. Half-elf means that Vame doesn't take any MC penalties for ranger. (The favored class for forestlord half-elf is Sorcerer and Any. Dragon Magic says that FC Sorcerer replaces wizard as the full elf's FC, but it doesn't say anything about forestlord half-elf losing FC Any.)

    Ardent is here for two primary reasons. First, Weapon Focus as a bonus feat from the Conflict mantle, so let's get a prereq out of the way. Second, graft weapon. This is a beautiful little power that turns a melee weapon that you can hold in one hand into a natural weapon. It lasts for 24 hours, so you only need to manifest it once a day, which is great. (Remember, of course, that ardent can pick any power that it can manifest as its new power at level-up and it isn't limited by class level, just ML, hence why we have Practiced Manifester in there. Vame doesn't have enough PP to worry about manifesting much other than graft weapon, so any powers other than that one are mostly window dressing and are not something being relied upon heavily. Amazingly, we're not actually doing psionics=magic stuff with the Magic mantle… we actually just want UMD in-class forever.

    Vame's choice for weapon to graft is his trusty elvencraft shortbow (which he's fully capable of making by himself; he's an elf, after all, or at least he's got elven blood). It'll be best to put a wand chamber (Dungeonscape 34) in it. Per Races of the Wild pg. 166, an elvencraft shortbow is still a bow, but it can be wielded in melee similar to a club. That sounds like it's a melee weapon (check) and usable in one hand (check), making it eligible for grafting. Cool. Now it's a natural weapon. And with a 24 hour duration, that can be true all day every day, whenever desired.

    Why do we want to graft something like this, though? Why not something like a whip or a heavy pick or a flindbar or something else really weird and wild? Well, because it counts as a bow. You know what cares if we use a bow? Hunter's mercy, the 1st level ranger spell. Which forces a critical threat on the next bow attack you make within 1 round. 4 levels of ranger is just barely enough to get access to this spell. Just having it once a day (even with high WIS) isn't sufficient, of course! And that's where Craft Wand comes in. (The CL prereq is met by forestlord half-elf providing treewalk as a supernatural ability, and per page .315 of the Monster Manual, "Unless otherwise noted, a supernatural ability has an effective caster level equal to the creature’s Hit Dice.") 1st level wands are very cheap and easy to make, and we can provide every single one of the prereqs.

    Spoiler: 7-12
    Thayan gladiator! The roar of the crowd, the thrill of the fight, the nonspecificity of the zulkir's ritual!

    INA and Improved Critical are simply useful. They're basic +numbers things that just work, and I like that.

    I tried to come up with an explanation of a non-contrived instance in which study opponent is more useful than attacking or casting hunter's mercy, but you know what? You're my friends and I can't lie to my friends. Sorry. Stupid feature is stupid.

    Spoiler: Stupid idea for stupid feature
    Okay, so if you can do a bag of rats thing, just get a chicken/rat/other harmless critter and study it in the privacy of your own home (or, you know, anywhere before combat starts). There's no limit on how long study stays good before use, and although you do have to engage the studied opponent in melee, you also gain the bonuses against everyone, not just against the target, so you can basically just tote around the studied chicken (a phrase I didn't expect to write today) and, when you're ready to take a sweet, sweet +2ish bonus against someone else, you can attack the poor bird and gain that bonus against everyone.

    Look, I told you this was stupid. It's your fault for not listening and then reading this spoiler.

    A couple levels of swordsage bring a lot of utility online right away. In particular, in just two levels we get sneak attack (assassin's stance) and no fewer than three easy ways to trigger it: sapphire nightmare blade (for flat-footedness), cloak of shadow (for invisibility, denying DEX to opponents who can't see you), and distracting ember (for easy flanking). Craven comes online right at the same time. Remember hunter's mercy? Craven damage is glorious with a guaranteed critical hit. You've got three easy-peasy sneak attacks per encounter (plus any you get through standard flanking, etc.). I'll take that.

    Stunning critical is possibly my favorite feature of the SI this time! I love a rider effect that isn't use-limited, especially when we can tamper with the odds using hunter's mercy. Sure, hunter's mercy takes a setup round, but then stunning critical robs the target of a round of actions, so honestly this just evens out (except you're dishing out mad damage in the process). Also, don't forget that a stunned target is a target without their DEX bonus, so that means more free sneak attacks with Craven!

    Natural weapon focus hardly needs any introduction, but more attacks is simply an unalloyed Good Thing. That's like the best thing a full-BAB class is likely to offer you, you know? Get yourself some nice bonuses (say, Craven with cloak of deception or a stunned target, perhaps) and you're in business. And don't forget that it's entirely possible to just full attack irrespective of maneuvers! The first attack after hunter's mercy is a guaranteed crit, so it's likely that you'll have a stunned opponent thereafter.

    Murderous Intent is useful not for its weird full-round attack thing but rather for its last single sentence: automatically confirming crits against favored enemies. FE (Arcanists) is about as broad as it's possible for an evil character to get, so that's a large number of foes where hunter's mercy isn't just a threat but is flat out a guaranteed crit.

    Spoiler: 13+

    Choosing shock for the weapon imbuement is a bit arbitrary, but really the goal is simply to set up for one of the burst enhancements down the line, since we've got guaranteed crits and all. Shock felt like the one of the three on offer that's least likely to end up being resisted, but of course, you can read the room.

    Since an elvencraft bow has to be made out of wood, it's normally very hard to get silver or adamantine on there. Accordingly, having silver strike and having adamantine strike are really nice bonuses when up against enemies with DR other than vs. magic!

    Savage strike is something that can't really be replicated easily, and there's nobody better positioned to take advantage of it than someone forcing crit after crit without relying on things like "dice." More base damage, more Craven, more fun. It's pure gold.

    The remaining SI levels are, basically, numbers things. Natural weapon mastery is good for the same reason that natural weapon focus is good, but with a +5 to hit. +3 NA is… a passive defensive ability. I don't know how to show that off. You tell me how to show that off. I don't think we can fit in hidecarved dragon with 8+ levels of Thayan gladiator. Maybe if you had some way of, like, redirecting damage (Dahlver-nar?) and you self-targeted with brittleskin (Shining South 44)? Maybe? I mean that seems like a hell of a lot of work just to show off a +3 natural armor. Or maybe we can just say that it'll make someone's iteratives more likely to miss and move on with our lives. Same with magic strike. How am I supposed to show that off, exactly? I suppose it lets me break DR/magic in an AMF? I guess? Or we can move on with our lives once more. Shocking burst, at least, is good times!

    Metamagic Spell Trigger is just action economy in a can. Sure, you burn through the wands faster, but you're also level 18; you can afford to make a whole lot of wands at this level. Every round is just a guaranteed crit plus a hella nasty full attack (with lots of craven sneak attacks versus stunned targets, extra lightning damage, and so on).

    Eternal blade is, to be blunt, filler—but hey, Vame's already got all the prereqs with no investment needed, so why not? (If you find returning to base classes to be more elegant, you could just as easily take a level of swordsage and a level of ardent and honestly it wouldn't do much less, but I figure that if it's there, I may as well use it. It's not a dip, since a dip is getting in, grabbing the good stuff, and getting out—it's just a nice way to fill out the build without incurring multiclassing penalties even after the SI isn't long enough. Also, yes, half-elves are elves. "For all effects related to race, a half-elf is considered an elf.") Ruby nightmare blade for even more multiplier-stacking fun, an extra maneuver once per day (maybe greater insightful strike? I chose not to make that the default maneuver I took because I genuinely don't know if it's multiplied on a crit) and auto-breaking DR aren't bad to have.

    Spoiler: The Forbidden Technique

    So this build is presented with the assumption that you're just going to be making melee attacks with your grafted elvencraft shortbow. Everything works just fine that way, and if you don't like what I'm about to say, then just go with everything that came before. But… just because it's a melee weapon doesn't mean that it stops being a bow. It never says you stop being able to make ranged attacks as normal. And if that's the case, what changes as you make ranged attacks with a natural weapon?

    Well, without actually changing any build elements, getting extra attacks just got easier. Rapid Shot is there (I took archery as the combat style simply because I did not want to have an argument about whether or not you can TWF with a normal weapon and a grafted one) already, and we don't have to worry about positioning nearly as much. And if nothing else, you've got the ability to use ammo to take advantage of more enhancements and so on.

    Also, the darn thing gets a hell of a lot funnier. I mean, picture that. Just picture it! But you can't tell me that it wouldn't be a hell of a gladiatorial show.

    If you wanted to change build elements, trading a feat or two to get into deepwood sniper (Masters of the Wild 52) would be totally worthwhile since you've got the extra critical multiplier.

    Spoiler: Sources

    Category Game Element Book Page
    Class Ardent Complete Psionic 5
    Class Swordsage Tome of Battle 15
    Class Thayan Gladiator Champions of Ruin 61
    Class Eternal Blade Tome of Battle 109
    Race Forestlord half-elf Dragon Magic 8
    ACF Spiritual Connection Complete Champion 50
    ACF Arcane Hunter (FE Arcanists) Complete Mage 32
    Spell Hunter's Mercy Spell Compendium 117
    Power Graft Weapon Expanded Psionics Handbook 110
    Weapon Elvencraft Shortbow Races of the Wild 166
    Feat Practiced Manifester Complete Psionic 57
    Feat Craven Champions of Ruin 17
    Feat Murderous Intent Elder Evils 14
    Feat Metamagic Spell Trigger Complete Mage 45
    Mantles Various Complete Psionic 66-71
    Maneuvers Various Tome of Battle 52-94

    Credit to mattie_p for developing and sharing the spreadsheets to help with formatting!
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  22. - Top - End - #112
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    I'm not your buddy, pal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddy
    Dasyatidae (Buddy) Leoidea
    CE Lolth-Touched Amphibious Anthropomorphic Stingray
    Medium Monstrous Humanoid (Aquatic) 2 / Totemist 6 / Scaled Horror 1 / Thayan Gladiator 10

    "Buddy gonna shut you down"

    Spoiler: Some Backstory
    Cephala's grief fueled decent into madness shook the Underdark to its core, but none were left so confused, distraught, and abandoned as Dasyatidae. He had been a loyal animal companion to the Primeval Ranger for years and now his master had become such a monster that even the most depraved shuddered at the whisper of her name. A small little stingray tied to the fate and soul of one of Lolth's greatest champions, he was the purfect curiosity for the new Kulkir of Transmutation.


    Buddy basked in the adoration of the crowd and let it wash away some measure of the sadness that his vestige caused. He raised his arms to their applause and their laughter as the adventurers who had been brought to face him stumbled around the arena and struggling not to vomit. He was a crowd pleaser and the stadium erupted as the rogue lost her lunch. Unfortunately for them, these adventurers would be suffering like this for hours to come, but Buddy was pleased that he hadn't needed to finish any of them off as Focalor would have compelled him to grieve in earnest. But such as it was, Buddy's bound vestige would wear off in time for him to celebrate his string of victories and continue to cleanse Cephala's name. His transformation into a Thayan Gladiator was peculiar to him at times but he was thankful for it and relished the experience of walking in the footsteps of his lost master. The legend of Cephala had no ending so, and Buddy raised an eyebrow as he studied the defeated adventurers, perhaps this victory would finally earn him the right to search out his dear octopus.

    Spoiler: Ability Scores

    Buddy's body and mind
    Ability Point Buy Race Templates Total Starting Score
    STR 18 2 6 26
    DEX 8 4 -2 10
    CON 18 2 6 26
    INT 8 0 0 8
    WIS 8 4 0 12
    CHA 8 -2 0 6

    Spoiler: Build Table

    Buddy's soul
    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    LA+1 Lolth-Touched Amphibious Template - - - - Hide 0+8, Move Silently 0+4, Swim 0+8 - Amphibious, Fearless, STR +6, DEX -2, CON +6
    2nd Monstrous Humanoid 1 +1 +0 +2 +2 Hide 4+8, Move Silently 0+4, Swim 0+8 Weapon Focus (Sting) Land speed 30ft, Swim 30ft, Natural Armor +1, Sting (1d4+STR plus poison), Dark Vision 60ft, Weapon Finesse
    3rd Monstrous Humanoid 2 +2 +0 +3 +3 Hide 5+8, Move Silently 0+4, Swim 0+8 - -
    4th Totemist 1 +2 +2 +5 +3 Hide 5+8, Move Silently 1.5+4, Swim 0+8 Ability Focus (Poison) Wild empathy, illiteracy
    5th Totemist 2 +3 +3 +6 +3 Hide 5+8, Move Silently 3+4, Swim 0+8 CON+1 Totem chakra bind (+1 capacity)
    6th Totemist 3 +4 +3 +6 +4 Craft (Poisonmaking) 1, Hide 5+8, Move Silently 3.5+4, Swim 0+8 - Totem's protection
    7th Totemist 4 +5 +4 +7 +4 Craft (Poisonmaking) 4, Hide 5+8, Move Silently 3.5+4, Swim 0+8 Azure Toughness -
    8th Thayan Gladiator 1 +6 +6 +7 +4 Craft (Poisonmaking) 4, Hide 5+8, Move Silently 4+4, Swim 0+8 - Improved natural attack (Sting), study opponent
    9th Thayan Gladiator 2 +7 +7 +7 +4 Craft (Poisonmaking) 4, Hide 5+8, Move Silently 4.5+4, Swim 0+8 CON+1 Improved critical, natural armor +1
    10th Thayan Gladiator 3 +8 +7 +8 +5 Craft (Poisonmaking) 4, Hide 5+8, Move Silently 5+4, Swim 0+8 Bind Vestige Stunning critical, silver strike
    11th Totemist 5 +8 +7 +8 +5 Craft (Poisonmaking) 7, Hide 5+8, Move Silently 5+4, Swim 0+8 - Chakra binds (crown, feet, hands)
    12th Totemist 6 +9 +8 +9 +6 Craft (Poisonmaking) 10, Hide 5+8, Move Silently 5+4, Swim 0+8 - Totem chakra bind (+1 meldshaper level)
    13th Scaled Horror 1 +9 +10 +9 +6 Craft (Poisonmaking) 11.5, Hide 5+8, Move Silently 5+4, Swim 0+8 Open Lesser Chakra (Shoulders), CON+1 Improved grab, keen scent
    14th Thayan Gladiator 4 +10 +11 +9 +6 Craft (Poisonmaking) 12, Hide 5+8, Move Silently 5+4, Swim 0+8 - Natural weapon focus
    15th Thayan Gladiator 5 +11 +11 +9 +6 Craft (Poisonmaking) 12.5, Hide 5+8, Move Silently 5+4, Swim 0+8 - Imbue natural weapon (Ghost Touch), natural armor +2
    16th Thayan Gladiator 6 +12 +12 +10 +7 Craft (Poisonmaking) 13, Hide 5+8, Move Silently 5+4, Swim 0+8 Virulent Poison Adamantine strike
    17th Thayan Gladiator 7 +13 +12 +10 +7 Craft (Poisonmaking) 13.5, Hide 5+8, Move Silently 5+4, Swim 0+8 CON+1 Savage strike
    18th Thayan Gladiator 8 +14 +13 +10 +7 Craft (Poisonmaking) 14, Hide 5+8, Move Silently 5+4, Swim 0+8 - Natural armor +3, natural weapon mastery
    19th Thayan Gladiator 9 +15 +13 +11 +8 Craft (Poisonmaking) 14.5, Hide 5+8, Move Silently 5+4, Swim 0+8 Bonus Essentia Magic strike
    20th Thayan Gladiator 10 +16 +14 +11 +8 Craft (Poisonmaking) 15, Hide 5+8, Move Silently 5+4, Swim 0+8 - Imbue natural weapon (Speed)

    For this build I wanted to stay close to the mental image of Thayan Gladiator that I had which was a monstrous combatant with one specific natural weapon that they used in the arena to entertain the crowds while still fighting in a relatively traditional manor.

    Effective Character Level 5:

    So here's what you get from Buddy the Stingray at ELC 5: Natural Weapon Sting +12 to hit for 1d4+8 points of piercing damage and Stingray venom which was the basis for this whole build. Stingray venom is a brutal poison that leaves a victim nauseated for 1d4 hours and has secondary damage of 1d3 DEX. Leaving your opponents with one move action per turn is basically the end of the encounter and, even if they do make the Fort Save against the poison they are still sickened (no save) which will make their next save attempt even harder. Buddy's save DC is 23 at ELC 5! (10 + 1(HD) + 7(CON) + 2(Racial Bonus) + 2(Ability Focus)

    Totemist 2 gives 3x Soulmelds, 2x Essentia, 1x Chakra Bind. Totem Binding Kraken Mantle would have let Buddy breath out of the water until he got an item to replace that function. Dukar hand coral is cheep and would let him hold his breath for exceptionally long periods given his CON, gilled armor would grant air breathing period and both of those options fit into WBL for ELC 5. But in the end the Amphibious template worked and DEX isn't a key stat here so the problem removed itself entirely; the reduction to AC and Reflex saves is countered by the piece of mind not needing to worry about suffocating from a dispelling. Totem binding Girallon Arms for extra natural attacks and melding Totem Avatar for extra AC lets Buddy perform admirably as a big stupid fighter at this level.

    There was a good idea to take Barbed Stinger here to capitalize on the stinger but in the end feats were tighter than class levels and as an aquatic swimmer it was very easy to qualify for Scaled Horror. Also, while Buddy may have weapon finesse, it won't be used.

    Chronocharm of the Horizon Walker is a clearance pounce for 500gp and when you have Totemist natural attacks then it’s an easy pickup. Necklace of natural weapons of course.

    Effective Character Level 11:

    Buddy aims to end his fights in the arena by leaving his opponents stumbling around with sick tummies. Improved CON and binding Focalor for Aura of Sadness pushes the effective save DC for Buddy's venom to 26 taking to penalty into account. Totemist 5 gives 4x melds and 3x essentia so Girallon Arms, Kraken Mantle, Sphinx's Claws, and Totem Avatar will be the favorites. It is worth noting though that as long as Buddy gets an hour to prepare for a match he can meld/invest/bind whatever will work best. Azure Toughness is taken instead of the normal version to compound upon this versatility. Totem's protection is also a neat little RP friendly ability that could play in to any gladiatorial matches against magical beasts.

    The most generic loadout for Buddy is Sphinx's Claws to hands for natural weapon pounce or Girallon Arms to Totem for extra natural attacks, essentia into Wormtail Belt for extra AC, and maybe Blink Shirt all else being equal.

    Learning to read: I guess the nerds in Thay are such bookworms that even their gladiator slaves are forced to become literate because that's what happens to Buddy. In addition to the power of poetry, Buddy also gains the actual class features of the SI which really play on his Sting attack and give some more AC in the form of Study Opponent or just straight improvement to natural armor. I chose to highlight ELC 11 because he actually has 10HD here and if you wanted to use him for an encounter the LA is probably moot at this point. Silver Strike helps get over relatively obscure DR but Stunning Critical is another important rider on the sting attack and Buddy's STR modifier pushes that DC to 23. Another hobby for Buddy is messing around with trying to distil his venom into a usable poison via the rules in DotU. I don't think he has to roll a handle animal check for himself but enough craft poison attempts should yield something useful and from the monster manual he is immune to his own venom. So maybe just bags and bags of caltrops covered in stingray venom and like spiked armor with weapon capsule retainers and you know just poison everywhere.

    Buddy can definitely afford to pimp out his necklace of natural weapons now. The Assassination special ability from Cityscape Part 3 by Ari Marmell is a +1 equivalent enchantment that grants poison use and sneak attack but more importantly, it increases the DC of the weapon's poison by an amount equal to the weapon's enhancement bonus. Buddy's easily earned a +3 Assassination Necklace by now so his actual effective DC is 29 if he hasn't been dispelled.

    Effective Character Level 16:

    The Last level of Totemist lets Buddy bind Sphinx Claws and Girallon Arms at the same time as well as provides a 4th point of essentia. The Scaled Horror dip makes up for not taking Barbed Stinger and also gives keen scent and 1st level Ranger spells which Buddy's WIS is just high enough to grant/cast. Improved grab is great since sickened opponents are easy to grapple and if they are nauseated then grappling them completely shuts down any chance for escape. Open Lesser Chakra (Shoulders) lets Buddy bind Phase Cloak in addition to the others. Virulent Poison ups the poison DC by another 2.

    Three more levels of the SI grant additional sting attacks and let us deal with even more forms of damage evasion like incorporeality and DR/adamantine. At this point Buddy has significant natural armor which helps make up for the AC lost as he charges around the arena. The enhancement bonus on the necklace of natural weapons goes up to 5 so the DC for Buddy's venom is 33 including Focalor.

    Effective Character Level 20:

    The last 4 levels of the SI just keep loading class features onto Buddy's stinger with another cute bonus to natural armor as well. Imbuing the stinger with speed means that an etherealy charging Buddy gets 3 chances to nauseate an opponent with his DC34 venom, +25, +25, +20 to hit and if the opponent makes the first save they become sickened and take another -2 penalty to the following saves due to being sickened. Bonus Essentia is a fine feat to provide more of a very flexible resource that can be converted into grapple bonuses, extra HP, extra AC, etc.

    Spoiler: Sources
    PHB: Lots
    Champions of Ruin: Thayan Gladiator
    MMIV: Lolth-Touched
    Stormwrack: Stingray, Amphibious
    Savage Species: Anthropomorphic, Scaled Horror, Virulent Poison
    Magic of Incarnum: Totemist, Azure Toughness, Open Lesser Chakra, Bonus Essentia
    MM3.5: Ability Focus
    Tome of Magic: Bind Vestige
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  23. - Top - End - #113
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    I respect the pun game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hopp Delgado
    Hopp Delgado
    LE Hare Hengeyokai Psychic Warrior 7/Warshaper 3/Thayan Gladiator 10

    The old lich leaned against his scythe, looking down from the box to the arena below in boredom. He did not relish the prospect of a long unlife babysitting the scowling child and her idiot companion that sat in the seats next to him, but she was, by all accounts, an incredible prodigy, and perhaps even a future Zulkir, so it was the circle mage’s lot for him. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad. After all, they had successfully carried out the Zulkir of Transfiguration’s ritual and produced a gladiator that had been deemed acceptable and would be participating in the day’s event.

    The rakshasa they had been working on stepped into the arena, from one of its six entrances, waived to the crowd with his backwards hands, before doing an ostentatious backflip to land in a fighting crouch, eliciting gleeful claps and cheers from the simpleton. Other creatures entered from four of the remaining entrances, similarly showing off to introduce themselves, until only one entrance remained.


    Dust rose from around the final entrance, obscuring the final combatant, then dissipated as long strands of something sharp and evil looking whirled through it, revealing the figure of a grizzled humanoid rabbit whose right arm was adjoined to the whirling strands and whose left eye was covered by a patch. The creature towered over the other gladiators and cast a long-eared shadow over the arena.

    The lich’s skeletal face assumed a rictus of malevolence. The rabbit man was Hopp Delgado, with whom the lich had a long and acrimonious history. He relished the hare’s capture and gladiatorial enslavement, and could only hope that he would watch his enemy die in the arena sooner rather than later.

    The rakshasa lunged forward, undeterred by the size disparity, attempting to dart around the strange spinning blades, but the rabbit man twisted them expertly and one slashed across its feline chest, leaving an ugly wound and forcing the demon to stagger back as the hare sprung off in a different direction, tearing into a different competitor with the unnatural, whirling appendage so suddenly that the lich and the half-wit scarcely had time to wince.

    The battle was over in relatively short order. Delgado stood victorious, spinning his blade-appendage over his head and reacting to the cheers and jeers of the crowd with exaggerated machismo as the rakshasa knelt humbled at his feet. At last, the long ears and rodentlike nose turned toward the lich’s box. His mistress glowered down past Delgado to the rakshasa, who had raised his reversed hands to her pleadingly. She shook her head to a roar from the crowd, as the rabbit slashed the demon apart.

    Spectral Exterminator
    Ability Scores
    32 Point Buy: 16 Str, 14 Dex, 14 Con, 8 Int, 16 Wis, 8 Cha
    After Hengeyokai Mods: 16 Str, 14 Dex, 14 Con, 8 Int, 14 Wis, 8 Cha
    Hare Hybrid Form: 16 Str, 16 Dex, 14 Con, 8 Int, 14 Wis, 8 Cha
    Increase Str at all opportunities. Warshaper’s Morphic Body increases Str and Con by 4.

    Build Table
    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Psychic Warrior 1 +0 +2 +0 +0 Psicraft 2cc Toughness, Combat ReflexesB -
    2nd Psychic Warrior 2 +1 +3 +0 +0 Psicraft 2.5cc Martial Study (Crusader’s Strike)B -
    3rd Psychic Warrior 3 +2 +3 +1 +1 Psicraft 3cc Aberration Blood (Bulging Eyes) -
    4th Psychic Warrior 4 +3 +4 +1 +1 Psicraft 3.5cc - -
    5th Psychic Warrior 5 +3 +4 +1 +1 Psicraft 4cc Weapon Focus (Bite)B -
    6th Psychic Warrior 6 +4 +5 +2 +2 Psicraft 4, Autohypnosis 1 Inhuman Reach -
    7th Warshaper 1 +4 +7 +2 +2 Psicraft 4, Autohypnosis 1, Balance 1 - Morphic Immunities, Morphic Weapons
    8th Warshaper 2 +5 +8 +2 +2 Psicraft 4, Autohypnosis 1, Balance 2 - Morphic Body
    9th Warshaper 3 +6 +8 +3 +3 Psicraft 4, Autohypnosis 1, Balance 3 Practiced ManifesterB Morphic Reach
    10th Psychic Warrior 7 +7 +8 +3 +3 Psicraft 4, Autohypnosis 1, Balance 3.5cc - -
    11th Thayan Gladiator 1 +8 +10 +3 +3 Psicraft 4, Autohypnosis 1, Balance 4cc Improved Natural Attack (Spinning Sword) Study Opponent
    12th Thayan Gladiator 2 +9 +11 +3 +3 Psicraft 4, Autohypnosis 1, Balance 4.5 Martial Stance (Thicket of Blades), Improved Critical (Spinning Sword)B Natural Armor +1
    13th Thayan Gladiator 3 +10 +11 +4 +4 Psicraft 4, Autohypnosis 1, Balance 5cc - Stunning Critical, Silver Strike
    14th Thayan Gladiator 4 +11 +12 +4 +4 Psicraft 4, Autohypnosis 1, Balance 5, Spot 1 - Natural Weapon Focus
    15th Thayan Gladiator 5 +12 +12 +4 +4 Psicraft 4, Autohypnosis 1, Balance 5, Spot 2 Extended Reach Imbue Natural Weapon (Ghost Touch), Natural Armor +2
    16th Thayan Gladiator 6 +13 +13 +5 +5 Psicraft 4, Autohypnosis 1, Balance 5, Spot 3 - Adamantine Strike
    17th Thayan Gladiator 7 +14 +13 +5 +5 Psicraft 4, Autohypnosis 1, Balance 5, Spot 4 - Savage Strike
    18th Thayan Gladiator 8 +15 +14 +5 +5 Psicraft 4, Autohypnosis 1, Balance 5, Spot 5 Martial Study (Law Bearer) Natural Weapon Mastery, Natural Armor +3
    19th Thayan Gladiator 9 +16 +14 +6 +6 Psicraft 4, Autohypnosis 1, Balance 5, Spot 6 - Magic Strike
    20th Thayan Gladiator 10 +17 +15 +6 +6 Psicraft 4, Autohypnosis 1, Balance 5, Spot 7 - Imbue Natural Weapon (Speed)

    Level Manifester Level PP Powers Known
    1st 1 0 Defensive Precognition
    2nd 2 1 Defensive Precognition, Expansion
    3rd 3 3 Defensive Precognition, Expansion, Adrenaline Boost
    4th 4 5 Defensive Precognition, Expansion, Adrenaline Boost, Hustle
    5th 5 7 Defensive Precognition, Expansion, Adrenaline Boost, Hustle, Detect Hostile Intent
    6th 6 11 Defensive Precognition, Expansion, Adrenaline Boost, Hustle, Detect Hostile Intent, Psionic Lion’s Charge
    9th 9 11 Defensive Precognition, Expansion, Adrenaline Boost, Hustle, Detect Hostile Intent, Psionic Lion’s Charge
    10th 10 15 Defensive Precognition, Expansion, Adrenaline Boost, Hustle, Detect Hostile Intent, Psionic Lion’s Charge, Graft Weapon
    11th 11 15 Defensive Precognition, Expansion, Adrenaline Boost, Hustle, Detect Hostile Intent, Psionic Lion’s Charge, Graft Weapon
    *Does not include bonus PP for a high Wis score. Absent Wis boosting items, a Wis of 14 gives bonus PP equal to ML.

    “Look, the point I’m trying to make is that nobody is born cool. Except of course…”
    Level 5
    You start as a pretty standard Psychic Warrior, taking Expansion as soon as its duration will last for more than a round, and staple 2nds Hustle and Detect Hostile Intent. Feats are a little odd, some paying feat taxes (Hare form grants a bite attack allowing you get Weapon Focus out of the way while you still have a PsyWar feat to spend on it), and others setting the stage for things to come later, but early levels are the time when a few extra HP from Toughness or a 1/encounter Crusader’s Strike come most in handy. You’ve got Combat Reflexes and decent Dex even when expanded (you can also Adrenaline Boost as a swift if you feel like you’ll need one more AoO in a given round), so grab a reach weapon to take full advantage.

    Level 10
    Hengeyokai’s shapechanger subtype qualifies you for Warshaper, which is always a welcome addition to any brute that qualifies, especially a natural weapon build. Immunity to nonlethal from Morphic Body likely means you can heal yourself out of combat by unarmed striking yourself with Crusader’s Strike, but it’s a bit cheesy even if it is largely just replacing what the 4th level of Warshaper would have given anyway, so ask your DM. Returning to PsyWar picks up Graft Weapon, and this is where things really get fun. Graft Weapon makes a one-handed weapon into part of your arm and makes it count as a natural weapon for 24 hours, meaning that Warshaper can improve its reach and damage dice, and also that you’re proficient with it even if you wouldn’t be normally (proficiency with natural weapons is an explicit feature of the shapechanger subtype, lest you think I’m abusing the contest rules around natural weapons). This means that you can trade out that boring old halberd or whatever you had before for a spinning sword made out kaorti resin – a one-handed reach weapon that also threatens adjacent squares and has an impressive 19-20/x4 critical range, but would normally require two Exotic Weapon Proficiency feats to use. In addition to Morphic Reach, you now have Inhuman Reach and a high enough ML to expand to huge size for minutes/level or to large as a swift, further extending the sword’s reach.

    Level 15
    The SI is finally here, now that you’ve got a natural weapon worth applying it to. Improved Natural Attack improves the damage dice of the spinning sword another step (effectively colossal when fully expanded). Improved Critical gets a threat range beyond 20 to start from, bringing the threat range to a very respectable 17-20 with 4x damage and a save against stunning on crits. You’ve also got ample opportunities to fish for those crits, as the SI’s full BAB gets you up to your third iterative attack (which the grafted weapon still gets) along with an extra swing from Natural Weapon Focus, and AoOs from a reach that is improved even further with Extended Reach (the blades of a spinning sword are explicitly non-rigid, so having one as part of your arm qualifies you without relying on using Morphic Weapons to grow an extra pseudopod or whatever) and has Thicket of Blades to prevent people from moving through it safely.

    Level 20
    Finishing out the SI grants a 4th iterative and an extra attack from the Speed enhancement, and brings the Natural Weapon Focus attack up to your full bonus. Savage Strike increases your weapon’s crit modifier from the already impressive x4 of kaorti resin to x5. The last feat goes to Law Bearer, seeing as you qualify by virtue of having already put the work in to get Thicket of Blades. Against Chaotic enemies it’s a nice little damage boost on at least one attack of a Psionic Lion’s Charge pounce, and the bonus to AC stacks with both Defensive Precognition and Study Opponent.

    Many parties throw around Mass Snake’s Swiftness or Haste like candy. If in such a group, the Speed enhancement is redundant, and Wounding, or in a game where you’re fighting mostly Chaotic enemies maybe Axiomatic is a better choice for the second Imbue Natural Weapon ability.

    In a game where dedicating oneself to an Elder Evil is kosher, Deformity (Tall) is essentially free. Your DM may argue that the medium size requirement is specific rather than a minimum requirement, in which case you would not be able to add the bonus to your reach under the effect of Expansion. Another 3.0 size prereq, that of Area Attack in Savage Species, is pretty clearly using ‘huge size’ to describe a minimum value, as it describes how it works for gargantuan and colossal creatures, but this is still a point of DM adjudication.

    On a build that doesn’t use Move Silently for anything, the Hare’s bonus to move speed is more useful, but it is undeniable that Hoss Delgato is a superior punny name, and Cat Hengeyokai has the same statline, so it’s an easy change to make.

    "My memory isn't what it used to be. It used to be... a unicorn."
    Champions of Ruin: Thayan Gladiator
    Complete Psionic: Adrenaline Boost, Practiced Manifester
    Complete Warrior: Warshaper
    Lords of Madness: Aberration Blood, Inhuman Reach
    Oriental Adventures: Hare Hengeyokai
    Savage Species: Extended Reach
    Secrets of Sarlona: Spinning Sword
    Tome of Battle: Martial Stance, Martial Study, Maneuvers
    Web: Kaorti Resin
    Everything else is SRD.

    "I've been bitten by ghosts, haunted by mole rats and slapped by vampires. I think I've earned a free hot dog."
    Last edited by The Viscount; 2021-09-01 at 07:08 PM.
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  24. - Top - End - #114
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of gladiators?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lopoda Nautilo
    Lopoda Nautilo, The Shadow
    NE Necropolitian Mineral Warrior Anthropomorphic Giant Squid
    Large Undead (Aquatic, Earth, Augmented) 3 / Ardent 5 / Psychic Warrior 2 / Mindbender 1 / Thayan Gladiator 7

    Spoiler: Little table of numbers

    Ability Scores
    Ability Point Buy Race Templates Total Starting Score
    STR 16 2 6 24
    DEX 14 4 -2 16
    CON 18 2 6 26
    INT 8 0 0 8
    WIS 8 4 0 12
    CHA 8 -2 0 6

    Spoiler: Big table of numbers

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    LA+2 Anthro Giant Squid LA, Mineral Warrior, and Necropolitian Template - - - - - - 40ft Burrow Speed, Natural Armor +3, Earth Strike, Dark Vision 60ft, DR 8/Adamantine, Ability Score changes, Undead type*
    3rd Monstrous Humanoid 1 +1 +0 +2 +2 Bluff 2, Intimidate 2, Sense Motive 2, Swim 0+8 Toughness Land speed 30ft, Swim 80ft, Natural Armor +6, 8 Tentacles (1d4+STR), Bite (1d8+1/2STR) Constrict (1d6+STR), Improved Grab, Ink Cloud, Jet, Darkvision
    4th Monstrous Humanoid 2 +2 +0 +3 +3 Bluff 2.5, Intimidate 2.5, Sense Motive 2.5, Swim 0+8 - -
    5th Monstrous Humanoid 3 +3 +1 +3 +3 Bluff 3, Intimidate 3, Sense Motive 3, Swim 0+8 Multgrab -
    6th Ardent 1 +3 +1 +3 +5 Bluff 3, Intimidate 3, Psicraft 3, Sense Motive 3, Swim 0+8 STR+1 Assume psionic mantles (Conflict, Freedom)
    7th Ardent 2 +4 +1 +3 +6 Bluff 3, Diplomacy 2, Intimidate 3, Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 3, Swim 0+8 - Assume psionic mantle (Magic)
    8th Psychic Warrior 1 +4 +3 +3 +6 Bluff 3.5, Diplomacy 2, Intimidate 3.5, Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 3.5, Swim 0+8 Practiced Manifester (Ardent) Combat Reflexes
    9th Psychic Warrior 2 +5 +4 +3 +6 Bluff 4, Diplomacy 2, Intimidate 4, Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 4, Swim 0+8 - Expanded Knowledge (False Sensory Input)
    10th Ardent 3 +6 +5 +4 +6 Autohypnosis 1, Bluff 4, Diplomacy 4, Intimidate 4, Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 4, Swim 0+8 STR+1 -
    11th Mindbender +6 +7 +4 +8 Autohypnosis 1, Bluff 4, Concentration 3, Diplomacy 4, Intimidate 4, Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 4, Swim 0+8 Mindsight Telepathy
    12th Ardent 4 +7 +7 +4 +9 Autohypnosis 1, Bluff 4, Concentration 6, Diplomacy 4, Intimidate 4, Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 4, Swim 0+8 - -
    13th Ardent 5 +7 +7 +4 +9 Autohypnosis 1, Bluff 4, Concentration 9, Diplomacy 4, Intimidate 4, Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 4, Swim 0+8 - Assume psionic mantle (Time)
    14th Thayan Gladiator 1 +8 +9 +4 +9 Autohypnosis 1, Bluff 4, Concentration 10.5, Diplomacy 4, Intimidate 4, Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 4, Swim 0+8 Greater Multigrab, STR+1 Improved natural attack (tentacle), study opponent
    15th Thayan Gladiator 2 +9 +10 +4 +9 Autohypnosis 1, Bluff 4, Concentration 12, Diplomacy 4, Intimidate 4, Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 4, Swim 0+8 - Improved critical, natural armor +1
    16th Thayan Gladiator 3 +10 +10 +5 +10 Autohypnosis 1, Bluff 4, Concentration 13.5, Diplomacy 4, Intimidate 4, Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 4, Swim 0+8 - Stunning critical, silver strike
    17th Thayan Gladiator 4 +11 +11 +5 +10 Autohypnosis 1, Bluff 4, Concentration 15, Diplomacy 4, Intimidate 4, Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 4, Swim 0+8 Extended Reach Natural weapon focus
    18th Thayan Gladiator 5 +12 +11 +5 +10 Autohypnosis 1, Bluff 4, Concentration 16.5, Diplomacy 4, Intimidate 4, Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 4, Swim 0+8 STR+1 Imbue natural weapon (Ghost Touch), natural armor +2
    19th Thayan Gladiator 6 +13 +12 +6 +11 Autohypnosis 1, Bluff 4, Concentration 18, Diplomacy 4, Intimidate 4, Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 4, Swim 0+8 - Adamantine strike
    20th Thayan Gladiator 7 +13 +12 +6 +11 Autohypnosis 1, Bluff 4, Concentration 18, Diplomacy 4, Intimidate 4, Psicraft 4, Sense Motive 4, Swim 0+8 Deft Opportunist Adamantine strike

    Spoiler: The Shadow
    The stadium was in an uproar this season of Iron Chef Thay. One thaumaturgic newcomer had risked it all on a horrible experiment to take Ikayaki to the next level had produced a monster! An effort to infuse too much MSG into the grilled squid via psionic methods accidentally merged the chef with his unholy creation and has yielded an undead abomination of man, monosodium glutamate, and squid. As it's tentacles shot out and the beast began to devour the audience the producers were in agreement, all of their losses could be made up in the gladiatorial pits with this big squid.

    Lets talk about this squid! ELC 5 is just pure squid HD and that's fine. LA is usually overpowered at the lowest levels and that's certainly no exception for Lopoda. This squid man must become a mineral warrior first (by way of seasoning) and a Necropolitian second (by grilling) in order to layer the templates correctly due to type constraints. Once that is done, however, 3 movement options give extreme versatility. Natural armor and DR are excellent protection and 8 tentacles at a 30ft reach plus a bite provide awesome damage output with Lopoda's high STR. Adding improved grab and constrict on top of that makes for a horrifying level 5 encounter (grapple mod is 19 without items or effects). He doesn't care about breathing as an aquatic creature because he's undead! Toss on some Chronocharms of the Horizon Walker for budget pounce and it's tentacles for days.

    The next snapshot of Lopoda that's fun is ELC 11 when he picks up Mindbender and Mindsight. It takes some finagling with Ardent and Psychic Warrior levels to get the right skill ranks for Practiced Manifester into Mindbender but it's doable and Mindsight provides the preferred method for locating targets as Lopoda swims through the ground with 50ft of movement (10 extra from Freedom Mantle). Speaking of the squid's MANTLES, Conflict grants weapon focus for the SI prereq as well as psionic lion's charge so we can stop relying on items. Pain and Suffering could give Empathic Transfer, Hostile to qualify for Mindbender but Time is better so Lopoda takes expanded knowledge for false sensory input instead. So at this point powers known are: Expansion and Call Item from PsyWar and False Sensory Input from Expanded Knowledge. Ardent gives Dimension Hop, Metaphysical Weapon, Offensive Prescience, and Hustle. A lot of the level 1 powers are a let down so if you're allowed to sub them out with the ACF then definitely do.

    With Mindsight, Lopoda knows the position of the other thinking creatures in the arena even while underground. With Hustle (or a chronocharm) he can surface as a huge squid and full attack a whole party. You should use expansion when above ground to avoid arguments about enclosure but I would argue that since it specifically says that you double your height, length, and width that your tentacle reach should be 60ft. If anything moves inside of that radius then Lopoda should have plenty of AOOs to spend from Combat Reflexes. The first indication of the final horror comes here: on Lopoda's next standard action he moves the grapple underground and then releases his hold leaving whatever he'd grabbed deep beneath the dirt to start suffocating and with his mindsight Lopoda can know if that creature figures out a way to start moving again.

    ELC 17 is where the sweat spot is. The squid has 15 HD and is ready to eat everything! Mindbender learns Psionic Lion's Charge and the 4th and 5th levels or Ardent give Dispel Psionics, and Anticipatory Strike as powers known. The magic mantle is really only taken in order to dispel Freedom of Movement so if that isn't a concern then go for Natural World or something else. 4 levels of the SI beg some questions. One extra tentacle attack on a full attack is great if he'd happened to miss. The argument I'll make here though is that the description of Mindsight seems like more than enough for Lopoda to be able to Study his opponents from underground which, for all normal encounters, should mean for as long and as often as he wants. An extended look at an encounter with Lopoda would imagine him swimming around beneath the earth as he studied the adventurers come to slay him. Then he bursts out of the ground an starts snatching them up! After grabbing up most of the party he dives back down into the earth like some tentacled land shark. Greater Multigrab + Double Expansion + Extended Reach should put his tentacles at about 140ft long (conservative reading of extended reach is 125ft) and a grapple mod of 39 before items (Gloves of Titan's Grip and a +6 STR item push that to 50) and that's for one tentacle by itself so that Lopoda isn't considered grappled. Since he isn't grappled he can just move back underground with Hustle if he caught them on a regular attack or full attack. If he caught them on an AOO then Anticipatory Strike is an immediate action.

    Lopoda caps out with 7 levels of the SI for a solid crit multiplier increase on his 9 tentacle attacks. It's definitely a shame that we have to use a necklace of natural weapons and pay for enchantments out of our own pocket but frankly, reducing the 9th attack's penalty and overcoming DR/magic are super lackluster. With a +6 DEX item Lopoda has 9 AOOs so he'll take Deft Opportunist at the end just to make sure that he's hitting all of those. Wounding actually is kinda notable as it would make suffocation underground more of an immediate issue and it's pretty cheep but some more of that below:

    Big question for a DM: can a burrowing creature attack? If two Bulettes meet underground do the just kinda bump into each other and either surface to fight or just go around? This is a big question because if Lopoda can attack underground then it stands that he should be able to attack surface targets from underground as well. At that point, a tentacle should be able to shoot up through the ground, constrict around some poor soul, and then pull its victim all the way back underground to Lopoda's kraken-ish maw. Supposing that this is possible, then a +1 necklace of natural weapons with throwing and seeking negates the normal miss chance that Lopoda would have for relying only on his mindsight and only costs 18000 gold per natural weapon.....
    If the DM in question says that this is ridiculous then it's going to cost 80k on top of that for brilliant energy weapon which absolutely allows a glowing tentacle to shoot up and grab something and, by improved grab RAW, then pull the opponent 140ft through the earth and into Lopoda's space.

    This point is also relevant if Lopoda fights something else that also doesn't need to breath.

    Spoiler: Sources
    PHB: Lots
    Champions of Ruin: Thayan Gladiator
    Savage Species: Anthropomorphic, Extend Reach
    Underdark: Mineral Warrior
    Libris Mortis: Necropolitian
    Complete Psionics: Ardent, Practiced Manifester
    EPH: Psychic Warrior
    Complete Arcane: Mindbender
    Lords of Madness: Mindsight
    Serpent Kingdoms: Multigrab
    Complete Adventurer: Deft Opportunist
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  25. - Top - End - #115
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    I'm more partial to Amingo, myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitra Yuuz
    Mitra Yuuz

    Needlefolk Fighter 4/Barbarian 2/Thayan Gladiator 10
    Chaotic Evil

    NEEDLEFOLK (MM2 158):
    PLANT TYPE: 3 Racial HD, and LA +1 (3.5 update booklet)


    Racial mods: +2 str, +2 con, -4 int, +4 wis, -6 cha

    Abilities Initial Race Level 4 Level 8 Level 12 Level 16 Level 20
    Str 17 19 20 20 20 21 22
    Dex 15 15 15 15 16 16 16
    Con 13 15 15 16 16 16 16
    Int 14 10 10 10 10 10 10
    Wis 8 12 12 12 12 12 12
    Cha 8 2 2 2 2 2 2

    Spoiler: ”BUILD”

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Reflex Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Needlefolk Racial HD 1 0 2 0 0 Spot (+4) 4; Listen (+4) 4; Brutal Throw (Complete Adv 106) Plant traits, +4 Nat armor, spd 30, needles ranged attack (1d12+str, range inc 20'/max range 200'), 2 claws melee (1d4+str)
    2nd Needlefolk Racial HD 2 1 3 0 0 Spot (+1) 5; Listen (+1) 5;
    3rd Needlefolk Racial HD 3 2 3 1 1 Spot (+1) 6; Listen (+1) 6; Point Blank Shot
    4th Fighter 1 3 5 1 1 Climb (+2) 2; Spot 6; Listen 6; Precise Shot bonus feat
    5th Fighter 2 4 6 1 1 Climb 2; Jump (+2) 2; Spot 6; Listen 6; Weapon Focus (needles) bonus feat
    6th Whirling Frenzy (UA 66) Bear Totem (UA 48) Barbarian 5 8 1 1 Climb (+1) 3; Jump (+1) 3; Spot 6; Listen (+2) 8; Ranged pin (Complete Warrior 104), Toughness Pounce, Whirling Frenzy
    7th Thayan Gladiator 1 6 10 1 1 Climb (+1) 4; Jump 3; Spot (+1) 7; Listen 8; Improved Natural Attack (Needles) Improved Natural Attack (1d12->3d6?), Study Opponent
    8th Thayan Gladiator 2 7 11 1 1 Climb (+1) 5; Jump 3; Spot (+1) 8; Listen 8; Improved Critical (Needles) Improved Critical, Nat armor +1
    9th Thayan Gladiator 3 8 11 2 2 Climb (+1) 6; Jump 3; Spot (+1) 9; Listen 8; Vile Natural Attack (Elder Evils 14) Stunning Critical, Silver Strike
    10th Thayan Gladiator 4 9 12 2 2 Climb (+1) 7; Jump 3; Spot (+1) 10; Listen 8; Natural Weapon Focus
    11th Barbarian 2 10 13 2 2 Climb 7; Jump (+2) 5; Spot 10; Listen (+2) 10; improved Grapple
    12th Thayan Gladiator 5 11 13 2 2 Climb (+1) 8; Jump 5; Spot (+1) 11; Listen 10; Rapid Shot imbue Weapon (Ghosttouch), Nat armor +2
    13th Thayan Gladiator 6 12 14 3 3 Climb (+1) 9; Jump 5; Spot (+1) 12; Listen 10; Adamantine Strike
    14th Thayan Gladiator 7 13 14 3 3 Climb (+1) 10; Jump 5; Spot (+1) 13; Listen 10; Savage Strike
    15th Thayan Gladiator 8 14 15 3 3 Climb (+1) 11; Jump 5; Spot (+1) 14; Listen 10; Staggering Critical (DotU 52) Nat armor +3, Natural weapon Mastery
    16th Fighter 3 15 15 4 4 Climb 11; Jump (+2) 7; Spot 14; Listen 10; Dead Level
    17th Fighter 4 16 16 4 4 Climb 11; Jump (+2) 9; Spot 14; Listen 10; Weapon Specialization (needles) Bonus Feat
    18th Thayan Gladiator 9 17 16 5 5 Climb (+1) 12; Jump 9; Spot (+1) 15; Listen 10; Ranged Weapon Mastery (PHB2 82) Magic Strike
    19th Thayan Gladiator 10 18 17 5 5 Climb (+1) 13; Jump 9; Spot (+1) 16; Listen 10; Imbue Natural Weapon: Wounding
    20th LA+1 Climb 13; Jump 9; Spot 16; Listen 10;

    Manticore belt?!?

    ...not a ranged natural weapon

    Throwing scarab Daelkyr half blood…

    might be a ranged natural weapon...but probably isn’t a ranged natural weapon

    Check the Fiend Folio, Monster Manual 2, and 3.0-3.5 update document for some LA values that aren’t readily apparent.

    Needlefolk! 1d12 ranged damage! Not an EX attack! Plant type!

    --an edited overview of the process of building this.

    Basically, this is just a ranged version of a natural attacker. Why would the wizards employ a Cactus who stands there blasting quills at their opponent? I don’t know, executions or something? Maybe?

    An orphan needlefolk is taken in by an evil roman styled wizard and trained to fight in the gladiator arena. You meet them in a bar that allows such weird patrons inside, and they tell you about how much they hate elves. They got really good at shooting clouds of needles at people that want to kill them. All they want out of life is some pollen to land on their flower.

    LEVEL 5
    Three racial hit dice isn’t that bad in exchange for 2 BAB, a bunch plant type immunities, and a 1d12 damage ranged, needles shotgun blast of pain attack. We mitigate multi-attribute dependency by taking Brutal Throw. With a strength of 20, point blank shot, and weapon focus, that’s a +11 to hit for 1d12+6 damage if they are within 30 ft of you. The 1 LA can now be bought off if that variant rule is permitted.

    LEVEL 10
    Mitra picks up two spare attacks over the course of these levels: whirling frenzy & natural weapon focus. The 1d12 damage upgrades to 3d6 according to the weapon size chart for the great axe. Whirling frenzy adds another 4 to strength and boosts our flagging reflex save. So maybe this level is best expressed as the damage output.

    3d6+5 +1 vile damage at +15/+10/+10 to hit. Crits on a 19 or 20. Fort save vs. stun on a crit.
    During a rage within 30 feet of the target this becomes 3d6+6+1vile at +14/+14/+9/+9.

    We can also use all of these attacks to get ranged pins in place to hold a single opponent down while you get out of charging distance. Gearwise, Mitra is going to want something that increases her size.

    LEVEL 12: Build Apex
    Everything about level 10 plus two more attacks, a plus +4 on improved grappling, and the ability to pin ghosts and incorporeal stuff to the ground. So, if the needles can literally hold nothingness down. That’s 6 rolls to attempt to get a crit.
    Attack routine: +13/+13/+13/+8/+8/+3

    The goodies keep rolling in. Crit multiplier goes up, and Mitra no longer eats a -5 for one of your extra shots. With the addition of staggering critical, even if the opponent makes their save against your stun attack, they are slowed for a round. If you find yourself facing a slowed or stunned opponent, putting a few pins on them eats their actions up. If you’re fighting someone with deflect arrows though, you’re just going to have to claw them to death.

    LEVEL 20
    Things get a little interesting near the end. Weapon specialization adds 2 to Mitra’s damage per shot, but it also opens them up to ranged weapon mastery (piercing), which adds another +2 to hit and damage while advancing the range increment from 20 to 40. We add the wounding property onto the needles, because It doesn’t really seem like we need more attacks so much as something that can end encounters in a different way that also leans into rolling 7d20 for your attacks.

    The addition of the contestant turns the gladiatorial arena into a bit of a rock paper scissors game, as the needlefolk is immune to sneaks and crits for the most part by virtue of the plant type. Any gear that grants more rage uses would be helpful for the build.

    SOURCES: Cited in line.
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  26. - Top - End - #116
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    The lions are trapped in here with him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel

    Daniel: the Spilled Blood of Ragnorra

    Spoiler: backstory

    Daniel busied himself with preparations before his latest match. The tiny shrine to Ragnorra in his locker was explained away easily enough should anyone ask. It was expected, encouraged even, for certain types of gladiators to take these grim reminders in the ring. People didn’t tend to be too interested in what he did with them afterwards. He ran his thumb along a withered piece of leather and lit a candle in Her name. Someone behind him cleared their throat as he finished his hasty prayer. Daniel shut the door to his locker firmly enough to extinguish the flame and put on his alabaster mask, held fast to his face with an unobtrusive bit of magic.

    “Thought I’d reserved this place til midday. I might not’ve been decent,” he joked and turned to face his opponent.

    “Damn, am I early? Sorry. Still a bit lagged. They had me fighting in Ravens Bluff til a day or two ago. Teleporter always scrambles my brains some,” said a radiant aasimar with an angelic helmet under his arm.

    “Yeah, a little. Don’t worry about it.” Wouldn’t do to make a bad first impression. Who knew how many times they’d be facing each other in the future?

    Daniel sat on the plain wooden bench by the lockers and rolled forward, forming a smooth curve with his back. He touched his toes and fastened his leather sandals. A tendon in his knee made a noise loud enough the new guy winced.

    “I take it you already got the script, yeah?” he said and set his helmet down on the floor. It blinked.

    “Yeah. Bad luck, but nobody wants to see the new guy win, y’know?” Daniel said, trying to be easygoing.

    “I guess. Still a bit of a disappointment. Any moves you wanted to work out beforehand? Want to give the bastards a good show and all.”

    Daniel lay on his back and tried to pull his knee to his chest to stretch his hamstring, but his hand faltered as he felt a twinge of pain.

    “You want a hand with that?”

    Daniel swallowed. “Yeah.”

    He came closer and sat down. He rested the back of Daniel’s knee on the palm of his land and leaned gently forward. He had an extra thumb growing out of the side of his hand.

    “Tell me when to stop, all right?”

    “All right.”

    “My name’s Anthony, by the by. I figured after the guest appearance, I’d do a kind of take to the skies, curse the heavens thing. My guy’s got a kind of fallen angel gimmick.” Daniel’s hip joint creaked and cracked with the wounds of a hundred battles as Anthony worked it.

    “Could’ve fooled me. Setup sounds good. Stay between rows 20 and 24 though, or the other nobs in the box won’t be able to see, and stay under the top deck. My character can’t fly, so they’ve got to buy it when I catch you by the ankle or what have you.” Crack. Daniel nodded his head and Anthony repeated the process with the other leg.

    “Ah, that. Don’t worry about that, it’s glamered. I figured I’d wear something else on the way in in case someone saw us talking. Your guy’s a sunshiner or something, right? Wouldn’t do for me to go out like that if they didn’t have us playing doubles against a manticore or something.”

    Anthony got to his feet when he was done stretching and put on his armor, leaving his chest bare for the spectators.

    “I’ve got to take something off you. Don’t worry, I’ll wait til after I kill you, but do you have anything you desperately want to keep on til they rez you? I don’t want to do anything against your religion or anything like that.”

    Anthony picked up his helmet and stroked a tear from its eye with his thumb. He set it atop his head, muting his halo into a dusky shadow. The angelskin melted away until Daniel faced a snarling beast, leathery wings and a long, reptilian tail skittering and dragging on th floor behind him.

    “Most considerate of you, but no, I’m not especially particular. During the match, I’d appreciate if you could lay off the wings. They’re not terribly sensitive, but the illusion gets a little patchy if you interact with them too much,” he said.

    “Got it,” Daniel said. He hard footsteps by the entrance.

    “VIPs,” Anthony said with a sneer, his voice deepening as the glamer finished its work.

    “Time to get into character?” Daniel asked.

    “No time like the present,” Anthony said and slammed him against the wall of lockers hard enough to dent them just as a gaggle of socialites rounded the corner in what they doubtless thought a stealthful manner.

    “Your mother will weep when she sees what I’ve done to you, sunshine!” Anthony growled, sulfurous smoke rolling from his nostrils as his claws closed around Daniel’s throat.

    “I never knew my mother, fiend! She was taken from me too soon by filth like you!” He glimpsed a few of the socialites whispering and they scurried away once they saw something they felt like they shouldn’t have.

    The announcer showed up before too much longer to tell them they were on.

    “Good luck out there golden boy,” Anthony said and slapped Daniel on the ass with his wing.

    “Keep it, villainous cur,” Daniel said, his voice unmuffled by his enchanted alabaster mask.

    “On this side of the ring, we have your number one man! Cruelly abandoned on the streets of Keltar, our wise and generous zulkirs saw glimpsed potential in him from afar! They brought him here where he could serve his purpose: where he could fight and grow strong for you! Sport lovers of all nations, I give you Hyperion, the Blazing Sun!”

    Daniel strode into the ring to cheers and applause. He raised his knife above his head until it caught the light. He brought up his other hand and snatched its twin from its side, holding them crossed.

    “This blade is called Light! And its brother, Darkness! With the two of them by my side, I shall fear no evil!”

    The crowd cheered and laughed with delight, like they always did. Time for the other shoe to drop.

    The announcer patted his back and turned back to the hall where his opponent was to emerge.

    “And I’m afraid it’s my solemn duty to inform you his opponent today is no mere mortal. An ancient evil has clawed its way free from the depths of Hell itself and says it will not be caged by any four walls of man!”

    The audience booed. If there was one thing a good gladiator knew, it was his place.

    “I give you the demon Drink! Will our man prevail once ag—“ Before he could finish, Anthony flitted out from the hall and knocked him into the sand.

    “Enough talk, meat!” He lashed out at Daniel’s ankles with his tail, pulling his stroke enough for him to easily jump over.

    The announcer scrabbled to his feet and hopped out of the ring, his voice magically amplified.

    “I don’t believe what I’m seeing, he’s jumped the bell!” The bell now went off to designate the match’s official start for anyone who’d gotten in late.

    Daniel went at him with his knives for a while, letting the flats of the blades glance off his armor, glamered to look like stony flesh enough times to build suspense for the audience.

    “Burning brightness! His skin is too thick! Pelor, give me strength!” Daniel shouted.

    Anthony growled and breathed a cloud of illusory flame into the hollow of Daniel’s neck. In reality, it was nothing more than his hot breath.

    Daniel screamed in pain and lunged backwards into a handspring.

    “You fight for pennies in this sewer like a dog while your zulkirs grow fat off your backs. When will you gladiators learn you outnumber them? How long will you continue to fight for scraps?” Anthony unfurled his wings and showboated for the crowd, his back to Daniel while he caught his breath.

    The crowd booed while Daniel got into position and jumped on Anthony’s back, steering clear of the wings as requested.

    “I don’t know how they do things in Hell, evildoer, but in Thay, we don’t give pennies to dogs!” The crowd gamely laughed.

    “Tuck and roll to the left on three?” Daniel whispered against Anthony’s neck.

    “Yeah sure, just tap on my shoulder. You want a mortal wound first?” Anthony said too quietly for anyone to hear.

    “Nah, my guy doesn’t hit from behind,” Daniel said.

    He tapped Anthony’s shoulder a third time. Anthony reached over his back and hurled Daniel to the ground, kicking up a huge cloud of dust.

    “Pathetic! It’s clear mere words won’t make a damned bit of difference to you worthless sheep. The only language you understand is blood!” Anthony unfurled his wings and with a single beat was halfway to the box, zeroing in on a group of city councilors.

    “Fiend!” Daniel shouted. He hopped over the edge of the pit and into the audience, taking the stairs two at a time while the crowd cheered.

    “Kick his ass!”

    “Send him back to Hell!”

    “Seek the sun, Hyperion!”

    One of the guards by the entrance to the box made a token resistance.

    “Sir, if you don’t let me inside,” Daniel paused while those behind him who’d left their seats leaned in, “people are going to die!”

    He gamely stepped aside and Daniel took in the scene before him. Anthony had already ripped Councilman Gossamer from his seat and had him by the throat in one hand. His feet dangled in the air, one sandal tumbling into the stands below.

    “Maybe if I spill a little blue blood on this sand, you degenerates will put a stop to all this,” Anthony ran a claw along Gossamer’s neck, but not hard enough to draw blood.

    “This ends here!” Daniel hurled Light across the narrow room and sliced off Anthony’s hand. Before it and Gossamer fell safely to the ground in the box, he barreled forward and tackled Anthony back out, drifting the long way down to the sand.

    “You got it in you for a hard landing?” Daniel whispered.

    “Yeah, you want a quick Hell’s heart before you do me?”

    “Yeah, you got it.” Anthony snapped his wings shut and pulled Daniel’s arm around him. As promised, the illusion stuttered, so it looked as though Daniel had done it himself.

    They landed hard in the sand and circled each other until enough of it had cleared so they could be seen.

    “Your fight is with me, monster, and that’s where it’s going to stay!” Daniel shouted, exultant.

    “You know nothing of fighting, mortal,” Anthony said and flicked his tail across the bloody, clotted sand. He breathed a cloud of fake fire and smoke across Daniel’s mask and knocked it off with the followthrough of his tail.

    The crowd gasped as they saw the unsimulated horror that lay beneath. Daniel had to show his devotion to Her somehow.

    “Foul demon! Your cursed mark will not be with me long! Our loving zulkirs have mastered all aspects of magic. I’ll be good as new in no time. It’s a pity you will not be here to see it!”

    He tackled Anthony to the ground and stabbed him in the heart with Darkness. He was dead before he knew it, his serpentine tongue still lashing at empty air. Within the cover of his cloud of smoke, Daniel bit it off and swallowed it. He drew a surreptitious glyph to Ragnorra in the sand, as he did at every winning match and covered it just as quickly before anyone could see what he was up to and notice his sacrifice. She drew nearer each time and soon enough would be here proper.

    Daniel put his mask back on and acted like he’d barely gotten away with his life, taking shaky steps to the announcer, who scampered up behind him to raise his fist, still clutching Darkness, aloft.

    “Sports enthusiasts, your champion! On your way out, decide if you’d like to see Drink again and if so, what you want the zulkirs to bring him back as when they resurrect him so our gladiators can really teach him a lesson! Just put your coins in the jars. Have a good afternoon, everyone!”

    The crowd applauded and began to peel off. Daniel went off to the locker room once he’d made his victory lap and started to get cleaned up. He was hanging up his weapon and about to bathe when a fan from the crowd knocked on the lockers, still warped from earlier.

    “Excuse me, Hyperion, I know you’re real busy fightin’ evildoers and everythin’, but I was wondering could I get your autograph?” said a boy coming up barely past his knee, holding a doll bearing his likeness and a pen.

    Daniel knelt despite the protest of his knee and signed “Hyperion” big enough for it to be seen across the room. “Sure, kid. I’d have to be a monster to say no.”

    Spoiler: stub

    NE human ranger 5/thayan gladiator 10/avenging executioner 5

    Spoiler: abilities

    str 14 other increases here
    dex 16 increase at 12
    con 14
    int 12
    wis 14
    cha 8

    Spoiler: table

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st ranger 1 +1 +2 +2 +0 hide 4, k (arcana) 4 (2), k (nature) 4, listen 4, ms 4, sm 4, spot 4, tumble 4 toughness, snatch trophy, willing deformity (elder evil) favored enemy (arcanists,) track, wild empathy
    2nd ranger 2 +2 +3 +3 +0 hide 1 (5), k (dungeoneering) 1, k nature 1 (5), listen 1 (5), ms 1 (5), sm 1 (5), spot 1 (5), tumble 1 (5) two weapon fighting (bonus) combat style
    3rd ranger 3 +3 +3 +3 +1 hide 1 (6), k (dungeoneering) 1 (2), k nature 1 (6), listen 1 (6), ms 1 (5), sm 1 (6), spot 1 (6), tumble 1 (6) endurance (bonus)
    4th ranger 4 +4 +4 +4 +1 hide 1 (7), k (dungeoneering) 1 (3), k nature 1 (7), listen 1 (7), ms 1 (7), sm 1 (7), spot 1 (7), tumble 1 (7) distracting attack
    5th ranger 5 +5 +4 +4 +1 hide 1 (8), k (dungeoneering) 1 (4), k nature 1 (8), listen 1 (8), ms 1 (5), sm 1 (8), spot 1 (8), tumble 1 (8) deformity (teeth) (elder evil) favored enemy (humanoid: human)
    6th thayan gladiator 1 +6/+1 +6 +4 +1 intimidate 4 weapon focus (bite), improved natural attack (bite)(bonus) study opponent
    7th thayan gladiator 2 +7/+2 +7 +4 +1 intimidate 4 (8) improved critical (bite) natural armor +1
    8th thayan gladiator 3 +8/+3 +7 +5 +2 intimidate 2 (10), never outnumbered stunning critical (bite), silver strike
    9th thayan gladiator 4 +9/+4 +8 +5 +2 intimidate 2 (12), spot 2 (10) improved critical (kukri) natural weapon focus (bite)
    10th thayan gladiator 5 +10/+5 +8 +5 +2 spot 2 (12), clarity of vision murderous intent (arcanists) (elder evil) imbue natural weapon (ghost touch), natural armor +2
    11th thayan gladiator 6 +11/+6/+1 +9 +6 +3 intimidate 2 (14), point it out adamantine strike
    12th thayan gladiator 7 +12/+7/+2 +9 +6 +3 intimidate 1 (14), spot 3 (15) improved two weapon fighting savage strike
    13th thayan gladiator 8 +13/+8/+3 +10 +6 +3 intimidate 2 (16), sm 1 (9), spot 1 (16) natural armor +3, natural weapon mastery
    14th thayan gladiator 9 +14/+9/+4 +10 +7 +4 intimidate 1 (17), sm 2 (11), spot 1 (17) magic strike
    15th thayan gladiator 10 +15/+10/+5 +11 +7 +4 intimidate 1 (18), sm 2 (13), spot 1 (18) flay foe, vile natural attack (elder evil) imbue natural weapon (wounding)
    16th avenging executioner 1 +15/+10/+5 +11 +9 +6 balance 5, intimidate 1 (19), listen 1 (9), spot 1 (19) bloody blade, sudden strike +1d6
    17th avenging executioner 2 +16/+11/+6/+1 +11 +10 +7 intimidate 1 (20), listen 6 (15), spot 1 (20) rapid intimidation
    18th avenging executioner 3 +17/+12/+7/+2 +12 +10 +7 intimidate 1 (21), listen 4 (19), spot 1 (21), listen to this craven sudden strike +2d6
    19th avenging executioner 4 +18/+13/+8/+3 +12 +11 +8 intimidate 1 (22), hide 1 (9), listen 3 (22), spot 1 (22), spot the weak point dread blade
    20th avenging executioner 5 +18/+13/+8/+3 +12 +11 +8 intimidate 1 (23), hide 5 (14), listen 1 (23), spot 1 (23) abominable form (elder evil) bloody murder, sudden strike +3d6

    Spoiler: playtips

    Spoiler: lvl 5

    It begins. You start play as a ranger with an emphasis on melee combat. Devotion to Ragnorra, the mother of monsters, grants you vile feats marked accordingly on the chart. Specifically, you have willing deformity, and deformity teeth, granting you a bite attack to gt into thayan gladiator. You can use it or your kukri to carve steaks off your foes. With bloodsoaked intimidate, you can make an intimidate as a swift against an adjacent enemy who sees you. This is also the excuse for toughness. Favored enemy arcanists allows you to get your bonus against all creatures who cast arcane spells or use invocations which is an awful lot. Distracting attack allows enemies you attack to be treated as flanked by you as far as your allies are concerned to help them do things like inflict precision damage. Your second favored enemy is human, who you will likely be facing the most often in the Thayan gladiatorial ring. You are fighting with kukris in addition to your bite, laying groundwork for later on. For the time being, twf alongside your bite and enjoy racking up your thousand cuts. Ranger also provides access to its wide selection of useful spells through wands, so keep them in mind as well. Skilled city dweller allows you to trade ride for tumble and survival for sense motive.

    Spoiler: lvl 10

    You’re in the secret ingredient and it’s already begun to pay dividends. Your bite has advanced a step in damage and its critical range has doubled. On a critical, it stuns, can affect incorporeal targets, and strikes as if silver. Your threat range with the kukri has doubled as well, and Ragnorra has granted you murderous intent, which allows you to use a full-round action to stagger an enemy as long as you deal damage to them with a melee attack. This is great, but the secondary effect, which works against all favored enemies, lets you automatically confirm all critical threats. This alongside your extra bite from thayan gladiator and twfing mean a lot of extra damage including an extra iterative from your bite with natural attack mastery. You’ve also got never outnumbered to intimidate enemies more efficiently, and clarity of vision to spot invisible monsters.

    Spoiler: lvl 15

    You’re wrapping up thayan gladiator. Improved two weapon fighting doles out another kukri attack and savage strike juices the multiplier on your bite when it crits. Your bite pierces dr as though magic and deals con damage. It also deals one point of vile damage with each strike which cannot be healed normally, and flay foe is up which deals an extra 1d6 damage when you hit an enemy more than once slashing melee weapon which both your kukri and bite qualify for. Given how many attacks you throw out in a round, this extra damage will add up very quickly.

    Spoiler: lvl 20

    You follow thayan gladiator with avenging executioner. I’d say having to be a gladiator fighting to give the Thayan commoners their bread and circuses counts as a tragic wrong. It provides further synergy with your wintimidation, allowing you to demoralize more quickly, frighten enemies whenever you deal precision damage, deal precision damage against anyone who’s in a fear condition, and frighten anyone who sees you make a kill, which activates your bloodsoaked intimidate. Abominable form, your final vile feat from Ragnorra, further synergizes with your fear stacking. It allows you to render weaker creatures shaken whenever they behold you and applies a stacking bonus to your intimidate modifier. Avenging executioner also provides a source of precision damage for you to apply craven to. You will be able to scare enemies, deal a ton of attacks to them with precision damage on top of it, extra damage from craven, damage from flay foe, and automatic crits on each of them against favored enemies. Pretty good for a gladiator.

    Spoiler: sources

    srd: ranger, toughness, human, two weapon fighting, weapon focus, improved critical, improved two weapon fighting
    champions of ruin: thayan gladiator, snatch trophy, bloodsoaked intimidate, flay foe, craven
    complete scoundrel: avenging executioner, skill tricks
    elder evils: willing deformity, deformity (teeth), murderous intent, vile natural attack, abominable form
    complete mage: arcane hunter
    phb2: distracting attack
    skilled city dweller
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  27. - Top - End - #117
    Troll in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    That's our entries for the round! Judges, over to you!
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  28. - Top - End - #118
    Titan in the Playground
    AvatarVecna's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2014

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    Was that 20 builds I saw flash by?

    Currently Recruiting WW/Mafia: Unavenger's "UPick 2: Pick Harder"

    Avatar by AsteriskAmp

    Aspiring optimizers can try their luck in Zinc Saucier XXXIX: Hoist The Colors High

    Quote Originally Posted by Maat Mons View Post
    Everyone knows Wizards only become adventurers because it's the fastest way to get more Wizard levels.

  29. - Top - End - #119
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Apr 2020

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    Wow! These are a lot of entries, and at a glance they seem very diverse and surprising. Well done, guys, and good luck, judges!

  30. - Top - End - #120
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    The Great White North

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground CXIV

    Good lord, that's a whole lotta entries. I'm glad that I didn't submit more than 1 entry, tbh. The judges have a mountain of 'em to work through this time.

    The Competitors:
    1. Unga Bunga: NG->N->NE Anthropomorphic Ape Druid 5/Nature’s Warrior 3/Thayan Gladiator 10
    2. Auntyrvaloss'elwen T'elient ("Elwen"): NE Wyrm of War Steel Dragon Wyrmling Ardent 2/Thayan Gladiator 10/Totemist 2
    3. Django: LE Kalashtar Psychic Warrior 5/Warblade 1/Flayerspawn Psychic 4/Thayan Gladiator 10
    4. Venomfang: CE Plains Landwyrm Thayan Gladiator 10
    5. Maximus Bloodrender: ?? Non-Psionic Thri-Kreen Warblade 3/Thayan Gladiator 10/Bloodclaw Master 1/Warshaper 3
    6. Five-Punch Man: LE Wild Dwarf Artificer 5/Renegade Mastermaker 3/Thayan Gladiator 8/Disciple of Dispater 4
    7. ‘Ole Cooter: LE Middle-Aged Silverbrow Human Monk 2/Swordsage 1/Monk of the Long Death 6/Thayan Gladiator 1/Assassin 8/Mindspy 1
    8. Takkan: CE Feral Longtooth Shifter Wolf Totem Barbarian 4/Warshaper 5/Thayan Gladiator 10
    9. NoBody: ?? Unbodied Psion (Telepath) 2/Thayan Gladiator 10
    10. Knife Wielding Tentacle: LE Amphibious Anthropomorphic Giant Octopus Knight 3/Warblade 1/Thayan Gladiator 7/Disciple of Dispater 8
    11. Zuzela Csarkos: CE Wendigo Warblade 5/ex-Thayan Knight 1/Thayan Gladiator 10
    12. Gulog: CE Frostblood Half-Orc Ranger 6/Barbarian 1/Osteomancer 3/Thayan Gladiator 10
    13. Baby: LE Neraph Monk 2/Sohei 3/Tattooed Monk 3/Kensai 2/Thayan Gladiator 10
    14. The Blender: LE Amphibious Anthropomorphic Giant Octopus Ardent 5/Thayan Gladiator 3/Wizard 1/Disciple of Disapater 8/Warblade 1
    15. Vame Pomier: NE Forestlord Half-Elf Ranger 4/Aedent 2/Thayan Gladiator 10/Swordsage 2/Eternal Blade 2
    16. Dasyatidae “Buddy” Leoidea: CE Lolth-touched Amphibious Anthropomorphic Stingray Totemist 6/Scaled Horror 1/Thayan Gladiator 10
    17. Hopp Delgado: LE Hengeyokai (Hare) Psychic Warrior 7/Warshaper 3/Thayan Gladiator 10
    18. Lopoda Nautilo: NE Necropolitan Mineral Warrior Anthropomorphic Giant Squid Ardent 5/Psychic Warrior 2/Mindbender 1/Thayan Gladiator 7
    19. Mitra Yuuz: CE Needlefolk Fighter 4/Barbarian 2/Thayan Gladiator 10
    20. Daniel: NE Human Ranger 5/Thayan Gladiator 10/Avenging Executioner 5

    Alright, I think that I got everyone. Couldn't find an alignment for Maximus Bloodrender or NoBody, unfortunately.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts