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ShadowFighter15
2009-08-17, 01:00 AM
Trying to put together a Shifter barbarian for future use (read: when another game shows up on Myth Weavers with the right sources available and that sounds interesting), but I'm wanting a bit of help.

Basically, I'm thinking a razorclaw shifter who focuses more on her shifting ability and who mostly fights with her claws. I imagine that, aside from Power Attack, all of her feats would be Shifter ones, with Extra Shifter Trait (Beasthide) being one of them. Probably not optimal, but I'm leaning more towards flavourful, rather than optimised.

I'm tempted to go with the Ferocity Alternate Class Feature, from Cityscape's Web Enhancement (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20070228a), but I don't know how that shapes up with the regular Rage ability and how well it would synergise(sp?) with the Razorclaw trait (or even if that's something to worry about).

Since I don't know what sources or stat-generation are going to be used in the game I submit her for (I'm making her mainly as a stand-by character for future use); I just go with a 32 point-buy for the Ability Scores. This is what I came up with (pre-racial adjustments), but feel free to suggest alternate set-ups:

STR: 14
DEX: 14
CON: 16
INT: 12
WIS: 14
CHA: 8

I'm also wanting to keep her either a pure barbarian or barb and one PrC. As interesting as they are; I've never seen the appeal of builds that take one or two level dips in about three or four different classes.

Anyone have suggestions? Aside from Ferocity, I'm trying to limit the character to Core, ECS, Races of Eberron and the Completes.

PinkysBrain
2009-08-17, 05:13 AM
Monk 2/barbarian 2/ranger 1/weretouched master(tiger). Flying kick works nicely with pounce + unarmed strikes + natural weapons ... 1d12 extra damage on every attack. Pure claw fighting doesn't make much sense unless you go with Psychic Warrior (for Claws of the Beast). They mix well with unarmed strikes though, because Shifter Savegery improves those as well.

You can of course swap the monk level with fighter+IUS if you mind the alignment shift, in either case get a monk's belt ASAP. Afterwards you can follow up with some warshaper and bearwarrior (kung-fu bear).

PS. the errata'd weretouch master 5th level is a very poor level unless you are playing with fractional BAB.

ShadowFighter15
2009-08-17, 05:42 AM
I'd rather work with errata, since they're probably closer to RAI than the pre-errata version (why else would something be errata'd then?).

The suggestion's an interesting concept, but like I said in my first post:


I'm also wanting to keep her either a pure barbarian or barb and one PrC. As interesting as they are; I've never seen the appeal of builds that take one or two level dips in about three or four different classes.

What I'm looking for mainly is feat and skill trick suggestions and a possible PrC, as well as any suggestions as far as point-buy distribution. If the final build has more than three classes in it, then it's not what I'm wanting (call me boring, but I figure you can get just as much fun out of simple builds as the more complex ones).

PinkysBrain
2009-08-17, 06:48 AM
No knowledge nature on Barbarian ... so unless you want to wait till level 8 the best you can do is Barbarian 4/Ranger 1.

The problem with any shifting build is that it's really feat intensive, unless you really pump the shifting feats you just don't get enough shifting attempts. Fighter/monk are just there for the bonus feats. The attraction in mixing classes is that you can fight the way you want at a lower level ... instead of it all only coming together well at higher levels (which a pure claw build will not, it will get worse progressively ... claws are simply not very good weapons on their own, nice as a backup or as extra attacks but not as exclusive weapons).

Lets say you go Barbarian 7 ... you will suck at level 7 if you try fighting with your claws, unless your DM gives you a lot of freebie magic items to pump you up. Or the party wizard polymorphs you.

Cieyrin
2009-08-17, 10:05 AM
If you're fine with homebrew, I'd recommend this PRC: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=113692. It's currently the only way outside of great gobs of druid or druid-like levels to get a third shifter trait, plus a goodly number of bonus shifter feats for boosting your shifting further.

As a Shifter Barbarian, I'd heartilly recommend having your first shifter trait be Beasthide and going Beasthide Elite, so that a) you have more staying power when you rage and shift, b) your AC actually goes up while shift/raged and c) OMG hit points. If you insist on a attack trait, I suppose recommending the powerful charge gore trait would probably be the better choice, as it does decent damage on that charge, plus tripping, IIRC. After which you can start hitting things w/ your favored two-hander.

There's also a rage/shift feat in Races of Eberron that maeks your natural attacks pretty devastating, IIRC.

Them's my 2 coppers. Take as you will.

PinkysBrain
2009-08-17, 10:13 AM
There's also a rage/shift feat in Races of Eberron that maeks your natural attacks pretty devastating, IIRC.
It increases base damage a bit ... but unless you are a King of Smack type character base damage is gravy, but not the meat and potatoes.

Yora
2009-08-17, 12:00 PM
I just really looked up shifters for the first time.
For a setting where even the most important NPCs are below 10th level (and so have 3 to 5 feats), making shifter powers commulativ stacking seems kind of redundant. You'll never get more than 2 of those.

Person_Man
2009-08-17, 02:03 PM
IMO, the best Barbarian PrC are Totem Rager, Frostrager (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20040911a&page=3), Fist of the Forest, Deepwarden (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20040807a&page=4), War Hulk (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/iw/20030914a), un-errata'd Weretouched Master, and Frenzied Berseker (if you know exactly what you're doing).

A single class barbarian is somewhat viable if you use tons of alternate class features (forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=967118) such as Spell Sense, Street Fighter, Lion Totem, and Whirling Frenzy. I wouldn't suggest using Ferocity unless you have a Dex specific build.

Eldariel
2009-08-17, 02:15 PM
A single class barbarian is somewhat viable if you use tons of alternate class features (forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=967118) such as Spell Sense, Street Fighter, Lion Totem, and Whirling Frenzy. I wouldn't suggest using Ferocity unless you have a Dex specific build.

I must point out that Ferocity goes perfectly with Intimidating Rage, for builds not wanting to burn another feat on Instantaneous Rage - Whirling Frenzy gives you an extra attack, but Ferocity is great for Initiative-bonus and instantaneous Intimidating (also known as "Barbarian Celerity").

Also, that Barbarian PrC list has a disturbing lack of Runescarred Berserker and Bear Warrior. Personally, I love Runescarred Berserker. It's one of the best Anti-Magic Field users in the game on this side of Initiate of Mystra (which, let's face it, just should not exist).

Person_Man
2009-08-17, 02:43 PM
I must point out that Ferocity goes perfectly with Intimidating Rage, for builds not wanting to burn another feat on Instantaneous Rage - Whirling Frenzy gives you an extra attack, but Ferocity is great for Initiative-bonus and instantaneous Intimidating (also known as "Barbarian Celerity").

I'll agree that if your goal is to win Initiative and kill the enemy caster in the first round then a Ferocity-Lion Totem Barbarian/Chameleon or something like it is a good method. (And that's a pretty intelligent goal for many campaigns). But IMO, for most melee builds being Str based is superior to being a Dex based.


Also, that Barbarian PrC list has a disturbing lack of Runescarred Berserker and Bear Warrior. Personally, I love Runescarred Berserker. It's one of the best Anti-Magic Field users in the game on this side of Initiate of Mystra (which, let's face it, just should not exist).

I think Bear Warrior is very dependent on your ECL. Sure the Str bonus, Improved Grab, and potential improved reach rock. But you also have a ton of dead levels, and nothing to look forward to after ECL 15 (unless you want to go into Warshaper - but the OP doesn't want more then one PrC).

Well, Runescarred Berserker is Forgotten Realms specific, and Shifters are Eberron specific. So unless the DM is nice, you can't use them together. Also, I've always thought that the RB is overrated. Sure, you can scribe certain spells into your skin (notably Protection from Evil, See Invisibility, Invisibility, Freedom of Movement, Haste, Improved Invisibility, Righteous Might, Stoneskin, Spell Immunity, Anti-Magic Field, Polymorph Self, Heal, Spell Resistance) and then release them as a spell-like ability whenever you need them. But you can't use spell trigger items for your spells, and scribing them costs gp and XP, making it a less then viable choice for long term campaign. The pre-reqs require 3 cruddy-ish featsl, and the rest of the class abilities are just slightly better then your normal Barbarian class abilities.

Of course, that's just my theoretical read of the class. Has your experience with the class been different?

Eldariel
2009-08-17, 02:57 PM
I'll agree that if your goal is to win Initiative and kill the enemy caster in the first round then a Ferocity-Lion Totem Barbarian/Chameleon or something like it is a good method. (And that's a pretty intelligent goal for many campaigns). But IMO, for most melee builds being Str based is superior to being a Dex based.

Well, Ferocity still has the Str-boost. It just switches the Con-boost for Dex-boost and instantaneous usability. The three Rages go as follows:
-Rage is strongest defensively, gives you more HP and two improved saves
-Ferocity is when you want to act first, saves feat on Intimidating Rage
-Whirling Frenzy is strongest offensively, gives you an extra attack

All of them give +4 Str anyways. And Whirling Frenzy and Ferocity technically increase your AC while Rage reduces it, but frankly, Barbarian's best defense are saves (with Steadfast Determination, Rage gives +4 to Will-saves!) and HP anyways.


I think Bear Warrior is very dependent on your ECL. Sure the Str bonus, Improved Grab, and potential improved reach rock. But you also have a ton of dead levels, and nothing to look forward to after ECL 15 (unless you want to go into Warshaper - but the OP doesn't want more then one PrC).

Ah yeah, it's not something you want to single-class. You take 5 levels of it to get Brown Bear form and trade on; Dire Bear isn't that much better, really.


Well, Runescarred Berserker is Forgotten Realms specific, and Shifters are Eberron specific. So unless the DM is nice, you can't use them together. Also, I've always thought that the RB is overrated. Sure, you can scribe certain spells into your skin (notably Protection from Evil, See Invisibility, Invisibility, Freedom of Movement, Haste, Improved Invisibility, Righteous Might, Stoneskin, Spell Immunity, Anti-Magic Field, Polymorph Self, Heal, Spell Resistance) and then release them as a spell-like ability whenever you need them. But you can't use spell trigger items for your spells, and scribing them costs gp and XP, making it a less then viable choice for long term campaign. The pre-reqs require 3 cruddy-ish featsl, and the rest of the class abilities are just slightly better then your normal Barbarian class abilities.

Of course, that's just my theoretical read of the class. Has your experience with the class been different?

I'll have to admit, my game with one was relatively short. That said, the costs aren't really as high as crafting Scrolls so the spells are quite cheap. More importantly, having access to Anti-Magic Field means whenever faced with somewhat humanoid opponents, you can generate an environment where you are without a doubt the meanest combatant in the field. Heal also gives you a great deal of self-sufficiency.

The lower level Runescars aren't that amazing, but True Strike, Divine Favor, See Invisibility, Invisibility, Keen Edge, Protection from Elements, Air Walk, Freedom of Movement, Haste, Righteous Might & Greater Invisibility all serve some use. Basically, it allows you to make yourself a mini-Clericzilla before you reach the point where you can try to make Clericzillas play fair (keyword being "Try" of course; you still aren't a full caster so you'll still lose out there, but you're much better off than most martial types).

It's worth remembering though that the Berserker Lodge-feats have some quite good options (I love Wolf Berserker feat, for example; free qualification for Improved Trip and +4 extra to Trip-checks? That means you'll practically never lose those), so only two weakish feats. You can pick Iron Will in Otyugh Hole which only leaves Survivor so you'll get by with 1 feat you wouldn't want otherwise.


But yeah, the things I appreciate about the class are:
-Self-sufficiency
-The ability to somewhat even up the playing field against magical higher level beasts and self-buffing warriors
-Still advancing all your Barbarian-abilities and even getting Greater Rage (something few other PrCs grant; it's not amazing, but it's handy)

One poor feat is a price I'm always willing to pay for it.

ShadowFighter15
2009-08-17, 05:52 PM
I'm surprised I forgot about Weretouched Master. I've gone over the errata and it looks like I'd prefer it to the version in the ECS (Mainly for that Weretouched III feature that the original didn't have), shame it doesn't have the hybrid form anymore, but oh well.

I think I remember some Ranger variant that got Rage, anyone remember where that is? I'd be happy for the character not to have any levels in barbarian, that's really just the general feel I'm going for.

PinkysBrain
2009-08-17, 06:12 PM
Mechanically weretouched III is rather bad without fractional BAB. Basically you trade a whole level of a real class and +1 BAB for a couple of small stat increases. (The alternate animal form is so laughably bad it can't be counted at all ... what were they thinking?)

I don't remember a variant ranger with rage ... there is the druidic avenger from UA, which meshes well with Moonspeaker. Not as strong as a normal druid, but that's hardly a problem ... you're still a druid :)

ShadowFighter15
2009-08-17, 06:34 PM
Mechanically weretouched III is rather bad without fractional BAB. Basically you trade a whole level of a real class and +1 BAB for a couple of small stat increases.
Perhaps, but since I was leaning towards a Tiger Weretouched Master, you don't lose +1 BAB; the +2 to strength while shifted counters that. Besides, in the long run, +1 BAB doesn't matter too much.

(The alternate animal form is so laughably bad it can't be counted at all ... what were they thinking?)
Not going to argue with that; I with they'd left the hybrid form in, but I don't think I'll be using the animal form at all anyway.


I don't remember a variant ranger with rage ... there is the druidic avenger from UA, which meshes well with Moonspeaker. Not as strong as a normal druid, but that's hardly a problem ... you're still a druid :)

I'm trying to get away from spellcasters; my first character is a duskblade and my second is a Warblade (which are close enough to spellcasters from a gameplay standpoint); I just want something simple, but effective. Even if it means that most of their turns will consist of "I attack again." Then again; I'm sure with a bit of artistic license, I can probably turn a single swing of a claw or axe (I am planning on this girl having a backup weapon) into something you'd need Jackie Chan to film (or maybe Jet Li, Jackie's getting up there in the years, after all).

I'll keep the Druidic Avenger in mind for the future though; might be able to have some fun with that somewhere down the road.

PinkysBrain
2009-08-17, 06:58 PM
Backup weapon? After level 10 you will do substantially more damage with your greataxe than your claws. If you don't mind spinning your actions into a Jackie Chan scene what is wrong with the IUS+Claws combo? :) IUS+Claws+pounce+flying kick = the awesome.

ShadowFighter15
2009-08-17, 07:03 PM
I'm thinking of having her use a battleaxe one-handed and using the claws of her off-hand as an extra attack. I want to go with a form that has natural weapons (and the longtooth's bite doesn't appeal for some reason; I can't really see how it could be incorporated into a two-handed weapon style, no matter how feral and random the style is), but that'd be a waste if I used a two-handed weapon. Using a battleaxe, she can still use her claws and, if need be, use the axe two-handed.

I might have her carry a greataxe or some other two-hander around for those times when she can't shift for whatever reason, though.

ShadowFighter15
2009-08-18, 06:22 AM
Okay, found a game where I can use a shifter barbarian and a few things have changed; namely the ability scores:

STR: 17
DEX: 18
CON: 16
INT: 13
WIS: 14
CHA: 10

That's after racial mods; I got lucky with the dice. Since she's got such a high dexterity now (and because the game won't allow it), I won't be using the Ferocity variant. If anyone's got suggestions for feats or skill tricks, let me know. Here's the character sheet so far; also, if anyone knows what the 1000 GP from the Cloak of Resistance could be used for instead, let me know - it was kind of filler equipment to keep her from lugging around 100 platinum at the start of the game.

Person_Man
2009-08-18, 12:28 PM
If anyone's got suggestions for feats or skill tricks, let me know.

Well, IMO almost all of the Shifter feats suck. Here are my non-shifter feat suggestions. Obviously, which feats you choose depend on your ECL and build goals (damage dealer, battlefield control, defense, fluff, etc):

Arcane Schooling: Youíre treated as having one level of one arcane class for the purpose of activating spell trigger items (like Wands). Hello buff spells, good bye UMD! Playerís Guide to Faerun pg 33.

Battle Jump: Double damage on a charge if you drop from above your enemy (or make a very high Jump check). Unapproachable East pg 42.

Combat Acrobat: If you make a DC 20 Balance check to negate being knocked Prone, and/or a DC 15 check to ignore up to 4 squares of difficult terrain. The usefulness of this feat is entirely dependent on your DM. If your DM is fond of Trip attacks and terrain, it's a hugely efficient investment, even if you have to invest in Balance (a mostly worthless Skill) cross class to get it. If he doesn't, then it's nearly worthless. PHBII pg 76.

Combat Focus + Combat Vigor + Combat Stability: +4 bonus to Will Saves, +8 to resist bull rush/trips/grapple/etc, and Fast Healing 4. A big, but useful investment. PHBII pg 87.

Combat Reflexes: Probably the best way to generate extra attacks. PHB.

Deformity (Tall): Bonus to your natural reach. Requires Willing Deformity (bonus to Intimidate). Heroes of Horror pg 121.

Deepspawn: You gain two tentacle attacks. Notable in that natural attacks count for Power Attack and Weapon Finesse. Requires Aberration Blood (which also qualifies you for Inhuman Reach). Lords of Madness pg 179.

Fearless Destiny: Once per day when you are reduced to -10 or fewer hit points, you are instead reduced to -9 and stable. A lot cheaper then Resurrection. Races of Destiny pg 152.

Inhuman Reach: Increases your natural reach. Requires Aberration Blood. Lords of Madness pg 180.

Knock-Down: Trip is a popular way to keep your enemies at bay. Requires Improved Trip (which in turn usually requires Combat Expertise). Deities and Demigods (officially updated for 3.5).

Leap Attack: Drastically increases your Power Attack damage when you charge. Comp Adventurer pg. 110.

Mage Slayer: Casters cannot cast defensively when you threaten them. When combined with a reach, this feat is extremely useful for disrupting spells and spell-like abilities. Comp Arcane pg 81.

Martial Stance: You gain one Tome of Battle stance. Stances are effectively an all day buff, and there are a ton of useful options. Requires one martial maneuver (a level of a ToB class or the Martial Study feat). Tome of Battle pg. 31.

Martial Study: You gain one Tome of Battle maneuver. Again, there are a ton of excellent options. Tome of Battle pg. 31.

Pierce Magical Concealment: Allows you to ignore the miss chance from any spell or spell-like ability. Iíve found that this is pretty much a requirement for any melee build if you want a chance of hitting BBEG at high levels. Combine this feat with any Blink effect to impose a 50% miss chance on your enemies and deny them their Dex bonus, without suffering the 20% miss chance. Requires Mage Slayer and Blind Fight. Complete Arcane pg 81.

Power Attack: The bread and butter of melee bonus damage. PHB.

Robilarís Gambit: Enemies get a bonus to hit you, but all of their melee attacks provoke an AoO. PHBII pg 82.

Scorpionís Grasp: Free Grapple check when you hit an enemy. Grapple is a great way to boost damage for unarmed builds, and lock down a single enemy. Requires Improved Unarmed Strike and Improved Grapple. Sandstorm pg 52.

Star Spawn: You gain a fly speed with some limitations. Requires Aberration Blood. Lords of Madness pg 181.

Shock Trooper: Letís you shift your Power Attack penalty to AC, and it gives you some very useful Bull Rush maneuvers as well. This feat is pretty much standard for any build with Power Attack. Complete Warrior pg 112.

Steadfast Determination: You can use your Con mod instead of your Wis mod for your Will Save, and you no longer auto fail a Fort Save on a roll of 1. Will Saves are one of the biggest weak points of most tanks, and this feat solves that problem. Requires Endurance. PHBII

Stone Power: You gain temporary hit points each turn in exchange for lowering your To-Hit. IMO, it's far more useful then Power Attack at low-mid levels, especially when combined with DR and/or healing of any type. Requires one Stone Dragon maneuver. Tome of Battle pg 33.

Three Mountains Style: If you hit an enemy twice in the same round with your mace, morningstar, or greatclub, they must Save or be Nauseated for 1 round. Although the prereqs are annoying (Improved Bull Rush, Cleave, Power Attack, Weapon Focus), only Weapon Focus is a bad feat choice, and Nauseated is a potent effect. Complete Warrior pg 114.

If you want to know about Skill Tricks, this build (www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5266526) uses them heavily.

PinkysBrain
2009-08-18, 02:15 PM
Shifter feats are a means to a cause, you use them for the increased number of shifts per day.

ShadowFighter15
2009-08-18, 08:42 PM
I'm thinking of grabbing Leap Attack when I can, but I still want a lot of Shifter Feats so that she can really make use of that ability. She'll be working towards Weretouched Master (the errata'd version). Since I want to keep her pure barbarian otherwise, she'll be entering into it a bit later than a multi-classed character would, but only by two levels.

Might go with the Lion Totem ACF from C.Champion, mainly because it fits the theme I'm going for (not the spiritual side, just how she's learned to fight).

I couldn't find an actual list of skill tricks in the build you linked, Person_Man, but I've gone over the table of them in C.Scoundrel and the only ones I can find that she'd be able to take would be Extreme Leap, Corner Perch (eventually), Leaping Climber, Speedy Ascent and Wall Jumper. She's a bit too limited on skill points for me to invest in other skills just for a trick (and most of them don't fit my image of the character).

Her next level; I'll get her Extreme Leap and I'll play it by ear from there, depending on how the campaign goes.

ShadowFighter15
2009-08-19, 12:41 AM
Anyone got suggestions on what, if anything, the 1000 GP from the Cloak of Resistance could be better spent on?

PinkysBrain
2009-08-19, 12:55 AM
Buy some Braids of Dire Shifting from RoE.

ShadowFighter15
2009-08-19, 04:04 AM
Those look pretty good, and they fit the character better than the cloak, thanks.