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Choco
2010-05-28, 11:42 AM
I was just curious if natural weapons are a viable choice at the high levels. My concern is that while there are ways to get them an enhancement bonus, is there any way to give them other properties, like give claws the Vorpal enchantment for instance?

So, let the discussion begin!

balistafreak
2010-05-28, 11:48 AM
Look around and see if you can't throw in Kensai with a Totemist.

I'm not sure if it's allowed, given the (relatively) transitory nature of soulmelds, but if it does, it should be pretty cool. Adding awesome enhancements to your FOUR claw attacks has got to be cost effective. Not to mention you can use essentia to shore up the baseline enhancement (+1-+5) leaving your Kensai progression to throw in nothing but awesome abilities.

There's the problem of losing your essentia progression, but that's the opportunity cost.

And attacking with four vorpal claws actually starts to get scary, although I'd almost always go with something less 1-dimensional.

tyckspoon
2010-05-28, 11:53 AM
Depends on how you get them. Totemists and PsyWars can buff their own natural weapons so they remain relevant. And you can always go with a Skirmish/Sneak Attack build so that the base damage of the weapon is mostly pointless and the number of attacks you make matters, which is something natural weapon builds are usually pretty good at. There's Kensai, as mentioned, which can pick a natural weapon as its signature weapon to be enhanced. And if you really want to pay for it you can ask your DM to let you use the Necklace of Natural Attacks from Savage Species, which works like the Amulet of Mighty Fists except it's cheaper to use on small numbers of natural weapons and you can put +equivalent enhancements on it.

Choco
2010-05-28, 12:06 PM
Depends on how you get them. Totemists and PsyWars can buff their own natural weapons so they remain relevant. And you can always go with a Skirmish/Sneak Attack build so that the base damage of the weapon is mostly pointless and the number of attacks you make matters, which is something natural weapon builds are usually pretty good at. There's Kensai, as mentioned, which can pick a natural weapon as its signature weapon to be enhanced. And if you really want to pay for it you can ask your DM to let you use the Necklace of Natural Attacks from Savage Species, which works like the Amulet of Mighty Fists except it's cheaper to use on small numbers of natural weapons and you can put +equivalent enhancements on it.

I know about the +enhancement, that is not the problem. The problem is that attack/damage enhancements at high levels become obsolete, and you have everyone running around with +1 haste, wounding, wrathful healing, etc. weapons.

The Kensai is a good call though, I'll have to somehow work that into a build. Gonna have to twist the DM's arm into letting me slide on some of the RP prereqs though.

Greenish
2010-05-28, 12:08 PM
I know about the +enhancement, that is not the problem. The problem is that attack/damage enhancements at high levels become obsolete, and you have everyone running around with +1 haste, wounding, wrathful healing, etc. weapons.Well have a +1 Wounding Wrathful Healing Necklace of Natural Attacks (with Greater Magic Weapon on it from a cleric).

Choco
2010-05-28, 12:10 PM
Well have a +1 Wounding Wrathful Healing Necklace of Natural Attacks (with Greater Magic Weapon on it from a cleric).

Oh my bad, I didn't realize you could add things other than attack/damage enhancements with that, that certainly does change things...

Togo
2010-05-28, 12:39 PM
The biggest problem with natural weapons for high level characters is that you don't get iterative attacks with them....

tyckspoon
2010-05-28, 12:44 PM
The biggest problem with natural weapons for high level characters is that you don't get iterative attacks with them....

Most of the good natural weapon builds hit 6 or so attacks, often at full BAB each, which is easily competitive with or better than weapon-using builds.

Keld Denar
2010-05-28, 01:53 PM
Also, if you can change your type to aberration, dragon, elemental, magical beast, or plant, there is the Rapid Strike feat in the Draconomnomnomnomicon. It gives a "pair" of natural attacks, like a set of claws, a 2nd iterative. If you take Improved Rapid Strike, you can give that set tertiary, quadranary, and higher iterative attacks.

Changing your type isn't hard. Dragonwraught Kobolds are probably the easiest way, otherwise Elans are aberrations. There are a couple of low LA templates that give you the plant type too, IIRC.

true_shinken
2010-05-28, 01:58 PM
(Improved) Rapidstrike.
Claws of the Vampire.
Heck, it's the whole point of the King of Smack.
That's pretty much doable, yes, sir.

Volos
2010-05-28, 02:14 PM
Let's assume druid of 15th level or higher using wildshape. Take tiger to wildshape (not dire-tiger, you will see why).

You start with 2 claws (1d8+6), bite (2d6+3), and 2 rakes (1d8+3)

Now add in Necklace of Natural Attacks (+5 claws and bite plus any enchantments)
Tiger advances from Large to Huge size due to more then 13HD (Up a size, +8Str, +4Con, -2Dex, +2NA)
Animal Growth (Up a size, +8Str, +4Con, -2Dex, +2NA, DR10/magic, +4 on all saves)

You end up with 2 claws (3d6+14), bite (4d6+7), and 2 rakes (3d6+7)
[Not to mention you have +4HP/HD, AC+2, DR10/magic, and +4 on all saves]

To answer your original question, are Natural Weapons a viable choice at the high levels? Yes.

Machiavellian
2010-05-28, 02:16 PM
My fave is using an Elan Totemist to become a Soul Eater, then finish with 5 levels of warshaper

tyckspoon
2010-05-28, 02:26 PM
Let's assume druid of 15th level or higher using wildshape. Take tiger to wildshape (not dire-tiger, you will see why).

You start with 2 claws (1d8+6), bite (2d6+3), and 2 rakes (1d8+3)

Now add in Necklace of Natural Attacks (+5 claws and bite plus any enchantments)
Tiger advances from Large to Huge size due to more then 13HD (Up a size, +8Str, +4Con, -2Dex, +2NA)
Animal Growth (Up a size, +8Str, +4Con, -2Dex, +2NA, DR10/magic, +4 on all saves)


Wild Shape does not change your type, which leaves you ineligible for Animal Growth- its one the things they specifically wanted to disallow when they keyed Wild Shape on the Alter Self ability instead of Polymorph. And there is some debate about whether or not you can turn into an advanced animal, although I'm inclined to agree with allowing it.. the argument against has always struck me as a rather unconvincing kind of "because."

strider24seven
2010-05-28, 02:49 PM
Black Blood Cultist from Champions of Ruin is a viable option at high levels because you get so many attacks from Savage Grapple that you really don't need a way to break damage reduction if you have a decent STR score. And you do, because you are a grappler. My favorite high-level grapple build uses BBC+Shadowpounce+Swordsage+Battlejump+Shock Trooper+Pounce+Improved Grapple to get 3 full attack charges that you can instantly start a grapple on someone with. My personal record with that build is 104 attacks and 3506 damage in a single round:smalleek:. I killed 30 enemies within a 40' radius, though. Not bad for a grapple-based build. Naturally, though, I got ripped to pieces by the party's Frenzied Berzerker Ubercharger the next round. :smallyuk:

sofawall
2010-05-28, 02:49 PM
And there is some debate about whether or not you can turn into an advanced animal, although I'm inclined to agree with allowing it.. the argument against has always struck me as a rather unconvincing kind of "because."

I suspect it is the same reason a Dragon who takes class levels does not grow bigger. They are not Animal HD.

Volos
2010-05-28, 04:23 PM
Wild Shape does not change your type, which leaves you ineligible for Animal Growth- its one the things they specifically wanted to disallow when they keyed Wild Shape on the Alter Self ability instead of Polymorph. And there is some debate about whether or not you can turn into an advanced animal, although I'm inclined to agree with allowing it.. the argument against has always struck me as a rather unconvincing kind of "because."

I guess I'll just have to settle for potions of Enlarge Person then. And an advanced animal doesn't seem to be that much of a stretch. You can assume the form of any animal that you are familiar with as long as it has no more Hit Dice then your druid level. Polymorph allows for up to 15HD, and the Tiger advances at 13HD. The druid could quite easily be familar with this form of tiger if his animal companion is an advanced tiger. Easily obtainable at 14th Level with the Natural Bond feat.

Greenish
2010-05-28, 04:35 PM
Iif his animal companion is an advanced tigerI don't think an advanced tiger is a valid companion.

Runestar
2010-05-28, 05:12 PM
Most of the good natural weapon builds hit 6 or so attacks, often at full BAB each, which is easily competitive with or better than weapon-using builds.

The problem comes with augmenting them. Amulet of mighty fists doesn't care how many you have, but since fighters can already tap on the wizard's greater magic weapon spell to get free +5 weapons, it is a bit of a waste.

Dr is also an issue. With 6 natural attacks, dr can potentially apply up to 6 times, and unlike weapon attacks (where you can apply 1.5 str mod to each attack), you get only 1/2 str mod to your secondary attacks.

And the more natural weapons you have, the more expensive it is to buy amulet of natural attacks. :smalleek:

Lev
2010-05-28, 06:07 PM
BoED has a feat that enhances your natural attacks with a ravage:

Touch of Golden Ice [Exhalted]
Your touch is poison to evil creatures.
Req-Con13
Any evil creature you touch with your bare hands, fist or natural weapon is ravaged by Golden Ice.

Ravages work like poison, so:
Golden Ice-
Contact DC14
Initial DMG: 1D6 DEX
Secondary DMG: 2D6 DEX

Secondary DMG triggers in 10 rounds.

Volos
2010-05-29, 01:38 PM
I don't think an advanced tiger is a valid companion.

The extra HD given to your animal companion by virtue of your Animal Companion class feature would make your tiger and advanced tiger once it reaches the appropriate HD.


Bonus HD
Extra eight-sided (d8) Hit Dice, each of which gains a Constitution modifier, as normal. Remember that extra Hit Dice improve the animal companionís base attack and base save bonuses. An animal companionís base attack bonus is the same as that of a druid of a level equal to the animalís HD. An animal companion has good Fortitude and Reflex saves (treat it as a character whose level equals the animalís HD). An animal companion gains additional skill points and feats for bonus HD as normal for advancing a monsterís Hit Dice


As normal for advancing a monster's Hit Dice. This would imply that an advanced animal isn't only a valid companion, but it is the only valid choice for an animal companion once it reaches enough HD to advance.

Greenish
2010-05-29, 01:45 PM
The extra HD given to your animal companion by virtue of your Animal Companion class feature would make your tiger and advanced tiger once it reaches the appropriate HD.Curiously enough, I have always thought that Animal Companions don't gain the size increases from their extra hitdice, but can't find where it's spelled out.

As normal for advancing a monster's Hit Dice. This would imply that an advanced animal isn't only a valid companion, but it is the only valid choice for an animal companion once it reaches enough HD to advance."An animal companion gains additional skill points and feats for bonus HD as normal for advancing a monsterís Hit Dice."

:smallconfused:

Volos
2010-05-29, 01:58 PM
Increasing Hit Dice
As its Hit Dice increase, a creatureís attack bonuses and saving throw modifiers might improve. It gains more feats and skills, depending on its type, as shown on Table: Creature Improvement by Type.

Note that if a creature acquires a character class, it improves according to its class, not its type.

Size Increases

A creature may become larger when its Hit Dice are increased (the new size is noted parenthetically in the monsterís Advancement entry).

A size increase affects any special ability the creature has that is affected by size. Increased size also affects a creatureís ability scores, AC, attack bonuses, and damage values as indicated on the tables below.

Yes, an animal companion gains more skills and feats as it advances, but that is part of what is normal for advancing a monster. I already knew this, it wasn't what I was trying to explain.

This is from the section of the Monster Manual dealing with Improving Monsters and what to do normally when giving monsters extra HD. It seems that if the entry in the Monster Manual has a note about advancing to a new size at a certain HD, then that is the valid method of advancement.

obtusehobbit
2010-05-29, 02:25 PM
From the 3.5 FAQ


When you add Hit Dice to a druidís (or rangerís) animal
companion as the masterís level goes up, does the animal
get any bigger? For instance, when a druid has a wolf
companion, the wolf starts out with the standard 2 Hit Dice
and is size Medium. By the time the druid is 3rd level, the
wolf has 2 bonus Hit Dice. According to the wolf entry in
the MM, an ďadvancedĒ wolf with 4 Hit Dice would be
Large. Is the example companion wolf also Large?

An animal companion doesnít get bigger when it adds extra
Hit Dice for the masterís levels. The advancement entries for
creatures, and the rules for advancing monsters, refer to
unusually powerful specimens that are simply tougher (and
perhaps bigger) than normal for their kinds.

Mystic Muse
2010-05-29, 03:34 PM
It only counts when using racial hit dice. Unless you want Paladins getting dragons with 6 extra age categories.