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Gamiress
2009-02-26, 01:01 AM
I'm going to be playing in an ECL 15 campaign pretty soon, and I need some advice on how to optimize this build. I want to play an ECL 15 Drow fighter, and I kinda have my heart set on using one particular weapon: a meteor hammer (using dire flail specs) so I'd like to be able to take advantage of trip, disarm and generally be a speedy pain in the neck to the enemy.

The character is Lawful Evil in a party of mostly Neutrals and one Chaotic Good, and the DM has a major thing for undead and constructs. A Paladin/Vassal of Bahamut has just been thrown into the mix.

Base stats are 18,17,17,17,16,13 (unassigned yet, haven't added level bonuses)

Books are open season, although I'd like to stick close to the mainstream for simplicity's sake. I don't have a lot of the more obscure sources and the DM reserves the power of veto on anything ridonkulous. (He's already turned down a pixie, a blue slaad, and a pink dragon)

I'm not usually one for min/maxing, so any help is appreciated :smallsmile:

EDIT: I should have mentioned from the start, house rules in play:

1. Max HP.
2. You must have a level in a class, no soaking race (aforementioned blue slaad is at fault here)

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-02-26, 01:34 AM
There's Lesser Drow and the Drow racial class. Either of those is better than MM1 Drow, which suck.

I also recommend Warblade(ToB) over Fighter. They can move each round and not suck, both of which are impossible for a Fighter, and they come with the same flavor.

Keld Denar
2009-02-26, 01:52 AM
Meteor Hammer is close enough to the spiked chain to be considered one for Exotic Weapons Master's Flurry of Strikes trick, right?

1 Warblade1 Exotic Weapon Proficiency: MH
2 Fighter1 Combat Reflexes
3 Crusader1 Standstill
4 Fighter2 Power Attack
5 Warblade2
6 Warblade3 Weapon Focus: MH
7 Warblade4
8 Crusader2 (Thicket of Blades here)
9 Warblade5 Ironheart Aura, Improved Init (B)
10 Exotic Weapons Master1 (Flurry of Strike trick here)
11 Bloodstorm Blade1
12 Bloodstorm Blade2 Stormguard Warrior
13 Bloodstorm Blade3
14 Bloodstorm Blade4
15 Warblade6 Robilar's Gambit

ok, this guy is gonna lock down anyone within 15', 30 if you get enlarged. No one is gonna be able to move, including 5' steps, without provoking from you. You can either claim the AoO or you can use it to charge Channeling the Storm, part of Stormguard Warrior. The more AoOs you forgo, the more powerful your full attack is gonna be. Now, when its your turn, you Flurry of Strikes and unleash your weapon using Bloodstorm Blades ability to make melee attacks at range. Now you can annihilate anyone up to 50 feet away, using PA and your built up Stormguard Warrior bonuses.

For gear, make sure you get like, a +1 Mithril BP with Speed enhanced on it, and probably a +1 Mithril Heavy Shield with Animated and Soulfire. Other gear should be Winged Boots, a Lesser Cloak of Displacement, a Ring of Freedom of Movement, and the usual +str/con/dex enhancers. That should pretty well settle you in. Hope you like the build.

Gamiress
2009-02-26, 02:01 AM
Nifty, yet impractical

Thank you for the advice, but it's really not what I'm looking for. I'd have to multiclass five times it looks like, and Drow already have +2 LA. Besides, I don't think a Lawful Evil ex-indentured soldier character is really suited for Crusader, and the DM ruled that the Meteor Hammer be treated as a reflavoured Dire Flail.

Looks like a cool build though ^_^

Talk of Warblades intrigues me. I'll ask the DM if I can borrow his ToB.

Behold_the_Void
2009-02-26, 02:13 AM
Tome of Battle is really nice for Fighter builds, I heartily recommend it. Warblades are awesome.

Keld Denar
2009-02-26, 02:22 AM
Thank you for the advice, but it's really not what I'm looking for. I'd have to multiclass five times it looks like, and Drow already have +2 LA. Besides, I don't think a Lawful Evil ex-indentured soldier character is really suited for Crusader, and the DM ruled that the Meteor Hammer be treated as a reflavoured Dire Flail.

Looks like a cool build though ^_^

Talk of Warblades intrigues me. I'll ask the DM if I can borrow his ToB.

Crusaders can be of any alignment, but tend toward one of the extremes. LG, LE, CG, or CE. Just because you crusade, doesn't mean you crusader for goodness.

And its 3 base classes and 2 prestige classes. 2 of the base classes are within 1 level of each other. Plus, XP penalties are retarded...

Dire Flail is a double weapon, right? Thus, Flurry of Strike still works with it, as Flurry works with any spiked chain OR double weapon.

And I'd use the 0 LA version of Drow, or see if you can count as having bought off the LA. Between the Con penalty and the 2 missing HD, you are gonna be hurting for HP at level 15, where just about anyone and their mom could drop you from full to 0 HP in one full attack. Not a good place to be.

Eldariel
2009-02-26, 03:16 AM
A suggestion: Use level adjustment buyoff (Unearthed Arcana). By level 15, you'll have bought off your entire level adjustment so you'll catch up to Humans in level in no time (on these levels, your racials just aren't that big of a deal so it's ok).

Also, don't forget to get Sundark Goggles (Races of the Dragon); they'll allow you to get rid of the light issues a Drow normally enjoys out in the open.

Gamiress
2009-02-26, 09:30 AM
I hadn't thought of LA buyoff, that's a good idea. I'll ask my DM how he would handle it, since Drow can buyoff LA by level 9 and we're playing at ECL 15.

Definitely getting the Sundark Goggles, of course.

Thanks!

Assassin89
2009-02-26, 12:28 PM
Stats wise,
strength takes an 18 and the three stat bumps, as that is the main stat for the type of weapon you are using.
Dex takes a 16 to improve reflex saves
Con takes a 17 to offset the racial penalty
Wis takes a 17 to increase will saves
Int takes a 17 so that you have more skill points, and are eligible for combat expertise and any feat that has combat expertise as a prerequisite.
Cha takes a 13

The stats should be as follows:
Str 21 Dex 18 Con 15 Wis 17 Int 19 Cha 15

Feats for a non multiclassing fighter should include exotic weapon proficiency, combat expertise, improved disarm, improved trip, power attack, cleave, great cleave, weapon focus, weapon specialization, greater weapon focus, greater weapon specialization and improved initiative

Gamiress
2009-02-26, 01:34 PM
Will it screw me over to get Whirlwind Attack?

Zaq
2009-02-26, 01:51 PM
Will it screw me over to get Whirlwind Attack?

In a word, yes. It requires really bad feats as prereqs, requires you to be right in the thick of things (almost certainly flanked), and you only get ONE attack against every enemy. If that one attack would kill them, you were better off with Great Cleave (Great Cleave is also a bad feat, but at least it only requires two feat slots instead of five), and if it didn't kill them, then you're going to take full damage from all of them, rather than full damage from all-minus-one of them (the one that you dropped with your full attack, of course. But you didn't take a full attack. You took Whirlwind.)

Whirlwind Attack is flashy, cool, cinematic, and completely and utterly worthless in-game.

Gamiress
2009-02-26, 02:10 PM
In a word, yes. It requires really bad feats as prereqs, requires you to be right in the thick of things (almost certainly flanked), and you only get ONE attack against every enemy. If that one attack would kill them, you were better off with Great Cleave (Great Cleave is also a bad feat, but at least it only requires two feat slots instead of five), and if it didn't kill them, then you're going to take full damage from all of them, rather than full damage from all-minus-one of them (the one that you dropped with your full attack, of course. But you didn't take a full attack. You took Whirlwind.)

Whirlwind Attack is flashy, cool, cinematic, and completely and utterly worthless in-game.

Haha, good to know. I've never played a high level melee class, I'm usually the one standing in the back taking potshots. Unfortunately that role has been claimed, and I've been sitting on this idea for a while (although it was envisioned at ECL5)

What I'm really trying to do is focus on him as a character that can move quickly and bash heads as he goes. Because we've got a paladin in the party, he has to play nice and pretend that he's not going to do a Tsukiko if he gets the chance. Combat is the only place for him to show off that vicious and sadistic side that makes him Lawful Evil.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-02-26, 02:18 PM
Haha, good to know. I've never played a high level melee class, I'm usually the one standing in the back taking potshots. Unfortunately that role has been claimed, and I've been sitting on this idea for a while (although it was envisioned at ECL5)

What I'm really trying to do is focus on him as a character that can move quickly and bash heads as he goes. Because we've got a paladin in the party, he has to play nice and pretend that he's not going to do a Tsukiko if he gets the chance. Combat is the only place for him to show off that vicious and sadistic side that makes him Lawful Evil.Then may I recommend a Scout 4/Rogue 11 build with Swift Ambusher, Craven, and Improved Skirmish? Just from those, as long as you move 20' in a round, you deal 12d6+15 damage and gain 6 to AC.

It's one of the few ways to make a mobile character.

Gamiress
2009-02-26, 02:40 PM
Then may I recommend a Scout 4/Rogue 11 build with Swift Ambusher, Craven, and Improved Skirmish? Just from those, as long as you move 20' in a round, you deal 12d6+15 damage and gain 6 to AC.

It's one of the few ways to make a mobile character.

That's a good idea, but like I said before this DM is really big on undead and constructs, both are immune to sneak attack damage.

Eldariel
2009-02-26, 02:51 PM
Penetrating Strike ACF from Dungeonscape allows you to deal SA damage to normally immune things when flanking. Take that. Swift Hunter-feat from Complete Scoundrel stacks Ranger- and Scout-levels for Skirmish and Favored Enemy and allows dealing Skirmish-damage to crit immune Favored Enemies. Consider it.


Also, Grave Strike & Golem Strike (Spell Compendium) spells work; they're level 1 so Wand them and use your Use Magic Device-skill to activate them. Swift Action so Swift Action to Wand them as long as you can acquire the wand as a swift action (Quick Draw, Gloves of Storing, some such).

Finally, Greater Truedeath and Demolition Crystals enable Sneak Attacking Undead and Constructs respectively. You may be able to convince your DM to make them work on all Precision Damage-types (since it already enables Sneak Attack and Criticals; seems pretty logical that it'd also enable Skirmish & Sudden Strike).

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-02-26, 02:53 PM
That's a good idea, but like I said before this DM is really big on undead and constructs, both are immune to sneak attack damage.

So Scout/Ranger with Swift Hunter and taking Constructs and Undead as your favored enemeies (meaning you can then sneak attack them).

An Improved Manyshot Scout build is pretty vicious.

Another suggestion to use with your weapon of choice:

Warblade/Exotic Weapon Master

Basically, take Double Weapon Defense and Flurry of Blows from EWM. Also take the White Raven FEAT Clarion Call, which lets you make an Intimidate check DC 20 to declare an opponent flat-footed.

Just... whatever you do... don't use scimitars...:smalltongue:

Kaiyanwang
2009-02-26, 02:56 PM
Also, Grave Strike & Golem Strike (Spell Compendium) spells work; they're level 1 so Wand them and use your Use Magic Device-skill to activate them. Swift Action so Swift Action to Wand them as long as you can acquire the wand as a swift action (Quick Draw, Gloves of Storing, some such).


Are these spell suitablefor an eternal wand?

Eldariel
2009-02-26, 02:59 PM
Are these spell suitablefor an eternal wand?

Golem Strike is; it's a Wizard-spell. Grave Strike is a Cleric/Paladin spell. That said, it should be rare enough that you get to SA/Skirmish such creature types for an Eternal Wand to be more economic than a standard Wand; I'd get a standard Wand anyways. And if that were the case, you should be getting a Greater Truedeath Crystal.

Gamiress
2009-02-26, 03:04 PM
I'm going to need names of books, because I don't have a lot of the things that are being named off. A couple of things are reading like Greek because I don't know what they're from =P

So far I think I need to look at:

Tome of Battle (I think I can borrow this one...somewhere)
Spell Compendium (DM has it)
Complete Adventurer (I have it)
Races of the Dragon (Another player has it)

Zaq
2009-02-26, 03:08 PM
Golem Strike, Grave Strike, and Vine Strike are all in the Spell Compendium. I think they're also in Complete Arcane (Golem) and Divine (Grave/Vine), or maybe Complete Adventurer. I don't remember. I'm positive they're in the Compendium, though.

Truedeath and Demolition Crystals, as well as Eternal Wands, are in the Magic Item Compendium.

Swift Hunter is in Complete Scoundrel.

Anything I missed?

Eldariel
2009-02-26, 03:17 PM
Penetrating Strike: Dungeonscape

Gamiress
2009-02-26, 03:21 PM
Where's Exotic Weapon Master from?

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-02-26, 03:22 PM
Where's Exotic Weapon Master from?

Complete Warrior

Gamiress
2009-02-26, 04:19 PM
Okay, I got a breakdown of White Raven, and to be honest the whole "teamwork oriented party leader" thing is the complete opposite of what I want for this (evil) character. The idea is to avoid butting heads with the paladin, lest he get Detect happy.

I still like the Scout idea though, and with Ranger it could work. I'd like to try statting it up and see how it looks, would it still be Scout4/Ranger?

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-02-26, 05:41 PM
Okay, I got a breakdown of White Raven, and to be honest the whole "teamwork oriented party leader" thing is the complete opposite of what I want for this (evil) character. The idea is to avoid butting heads with the paladin, lest he get Detect happy.

I still like the Scout idea though, and with Ranger it could work. I'd like to try statting it up and see how it looks, would it still be Scout4/Ranger?

That depends on what you are trying to do...

What are your goals with this character? Do you want to be a secondary meat shield and damage output? Do you want to be Hardcore Melee DPS but relatively fragile? Do you want to use stealth and guile, or strength and skill?

There are several things you could do, depending on how you want to run your character.

For example, you could run a Rogue/Swordsage/Bloodclaw Master which would be dishing out somewhere in the neighborhood of 9d6 sneak attack damage, get your Dex to damage instead of Strength (making STR a dump stat), and still applying precision-based damage to undead and constructs (wand sheaths + Wands of Golembane and Gravebane). An example would be the character Pip (http://www.myth-weavers.com/sheets/view.php?id=102949) that I rolled for a contest earlier. The only thing you will have to change is to change the race and remove Craven, as I seriously doubt your GM would let you use it. However, you couldn't use a Dire Flail for this build.

OR

You could take my earlier suggestion about Warblade/Exotic Weapon Master. Don't bother with White Raven if you don't want to, try going into Diamond Mind, Stone Dragon (ignoring DR on constructs, the Stone Dragon tactical feat is extremely handy for bypassing DR/Hardness, and has maneuvers that do Con damage), and Iron Heart (Iron Heart SURGE!!!!).

OR

You could go Scout4/Ranger 11 and take Swift Hunter as a feat to deal precision-based damage to undead and constructs.

Gamiress
2009-02-26, 06:16 PM
High DPS in short bursts is pretty well perfect. I envisioned the character as a wrecking ball really, someone who can jump into a group of enemies, deal damage for a couple rounds, ideally while crippling them for the primary fighters, then vanish and come back from another angle. It's why I asked about Whirlwind Attack. I want to use the Meteor Hammer because it's light and deals good bludgeoning damage, and I can add Flaming to it for fire damage against squishier undead.

He's the only evil character in a party with a Paladin in it, so his social role is pretty nil. The best thing in that regard is to lie low and be really good at what he does so they don't start asking hard questions. He stands off to the side, giving opinions when asked, not so involved as to complicate things but not so distant as to be suspicious.

I've mentioned that he was an indentured soldier, not a noble. He's used to taking orders, and the potential to stab the party in the back is high.

EDIT: Riddick. Riddick is a good analogy. Bash bash bash, back off, disarm disarm trip, hide, bash bash bash.

AslanCross
2009-02-26, 06:21 PM
Will it screw me over to get Whirlwind Attack?

Taking levels in Warblade will allow you to get a "whirlwind attack" maneuver as a standard action, with a +2 bonus to attacks, at a much lower level, without compromising your feats. Mithral Tornado can be taken as early as level 7.

BTW: The entire Warblade class description is posted in a preview on the WOTC website somewhere, and all of the maneuvers (as cards for printouts) are also available as a free web enhancement.

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-02-26, 06:37 PM
High DPS in short bursts is pretty well perfect. I envisioned the character as a wrecking ball really, someone who can jump into a group of enemies, deal damage for a couple rounds, ideally while crippling them for the primary fighters, then vanish and come back from another angle. It's why I asked about Whirlwind Attack. I want to use the Meteor Hammer because it's light and deals good bludgeoning damage, and I can add Flaming to it for fire damage against squishier undead.

He's the only evil character in a party with a Paladin in it, so his social role is pretty nil. The best thing in that regard is to lie low and be really good at what he does so they don't start asking hard questions. He stands off to the side, giving opinions when asked, not so involved as to complicate things but not so distant as to be suspicious.

I've mentioned that he was an indentured soldier, not a noble. He's used to taking orders, and the potential to stab the party in the back is high.

EDIT: Riddick. Riddick is a good analogy. Bash bash bash, back off, disarm disarm trip, hide, bash bash bash.

Then what YOU want, my friend, is Swordsage leaning heavily into Shadow Hand and Setting Sun...

but why bother with such a sub-par and, forgive me, lousy weapon?

Here's what you do...

First off, take Unarmed Swordsage. You lose armor proficency (big deal), and gain monk unarmed damage progression. Whaa... pick up a Mithral Chain Shirt, which doesn't have any Dex Penalty anyways.

Now you are hitting with your fists, which are bludgeoning, and doing base 2d6 damage with your fists, which is harder hitting than the dire flail, and we're about to get even nastier with it.

Okay, 1st level, you pick up Child of Shadows stance. You also pick up Shadow Blade feat. You add Dex instead of Strength to your damage rolls. Also manage to pick up Weapon Finesse in there somewhere, and you will end up with Strength as a dump stat, and the ability to boost Dex pretty far.

You are wanting several Tiger Claw maneuvers, particularly Pouncing Strike, which lets you make a full attack as part of a charge.

You also want TWF chain. And two levels of Bloodclaw Master. This lets you use your full Dex modifier to damage on the off-hand, and negates the -2 TWF penalty.

You are also wanting some Setting Sun maneuvers for defense, particularly Scorpion Parry, which lets your opponent hit one of HIS allies, rather than YOU. Sound like fun?

Gamiress
2009-02-26, 07:17 PM
To be honest, it's mostly a flavour choice. I'm a firedancer IRL, and I've never had a character wielding my meteors. Is there a way to keep the flavour?

Iku Rex
2009-02-26, 07:40 PM
A dire flail makes a terrible meteor hammer. Use a chain (OA, SavSpec) instead.

Would you be wiling to consider some spellcasting ability?

Will you get standard wealth for level 15?

Also, does it have to be a full drow? It's not a good race for a melee character. Maybe half-drow instead?

Gamiress
2009-02-26, 07:58 PM
A dire flail makes a terrible meteor hammer. Use a chain (OA, SavSpec) instead.

Would you be wiling to consider some spellcasting ability?

Will you get standard wealth for level 15?

Also, does it have to be a full drow? It's not a good race for a melee character. Maybe half-drow instead?

Chain, huh? Hmm...

I'm not against spelllike abilities and such, but I am against this character being gish, and the Drow stays. I'm a roleplayer before I'm a gamer, and I'm perfectly willing to take a hit (or several) to power in the name of characterization.

We're getting 200 000 gp + 1 magic item up to 12000, subject to DM approval.

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-02-26, 08:13 PM
Chain, huh? Hmm...

I'm not against spelllike abilities and such, but I am against this character being gish, and the Drow stays. I'm a roleplayer before I'm a gamer, and I'm perfectly willing to take a hit (or several) to power in the name of characterization.

We're getting 200 000 gp + 1 magic item up to 12000, subject to DM approval.

How about Spiked Chain? That's about the same thing as a double-ended Poi. Even better, it's a Shadow Hand favored weapon, which means you can still take Shadow Blade and use it.

If you are doing this, you won't need to TWF, because the Spiked Chain isn't a double-weapon, although it IS a reach weapon you can also use in melee (in 3.0, it was EITHER a double weapon OR a reach weapon, but this was negated in 3.5, but you might be able to talk your GM into using the Spiked Chain as a Double Weapon instead of a reach weapon).

Gamiress
2009-02-27, 01:32 PM
How's this for stances?

Child of Shadows
Holocaust Cloak
Pearl of Black Doubt
Ghostly Defense

I'm not sure about the fifth one.