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Private-Prinny
2011-09-04, 06:09 PM
Welcome, contestants, judges, and guests to Iron Chef XXIV. Here in Optimization Colosseum, contestants will endeavor to create an optimized and flavorful character using a specified D&D3.5 prestige class as a "Secret Ingredient".

Contestants: You will need to present your build at at least one of the following points: 5th level, 10th level, 15th, 20th, and a "sweet spot" that you feel is the high point of the build. Feel free to present as many of these as you like, and please give a rundown of the build's abilities and playability at all of the levels you didn't show. The rules are as follows:

Menu: For most challenges, the "special ingredient" will be drawn from Core plus Completes. There will, from time to time, be special challenges that showcase secret ingredients from other books--for example, the XPH.


32 point-buy is the presumed creation method, but we have generally allowed other levels of point-buy.
If you do use a different point-buy, please make your case for its necessity in your entry. Keep in mind that for using exceptionally large or small point-buys may warrant deductions in elegance and/or power.

Kitchen: Competitors will be free to use any official 3.5 rulebook in constructing their builds. Dragon magazine is disallowed, and Unearthed Arcana is allowed; but see Elegance below. Alternate rule systems from UA such as gestalt are not allowed, as they create a different playing field. Also, item familiars are forbidden because I hate 'em.

Cooking Time: Contestants will have until 11:59PM GMT on Sunday, September 18th, 2011 to create their builds and PM them to the Chairman, Private-Prinny. Builds will then be posted simultaneously, to avoid copying. Judges will have until 11:59PM GMT on Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 to judge the builds and submit their scores. If no judges have scored by that point, only the scores of the first judge to submit will be counted.

Judging: Judging will be based on the following criteria, with each build rated from 1 (very poor) to 5 (exemplary) in each area: Originality, Power, Elegance, Use of Secret Ingredient.


Power level is up to you. Cheese is acceptable, but should be kept to a sane level unless you're showcasing a new TO build you've discovered. In the words of one of my predecessors, a little cheddar can be nice, but avoid the mature Gruyere unless you're making a cheese fondue.


Elegance could bear a little elaboration. It basically measures how skillfully you put your build together, and whether you sacrificed flavor for power. We're cooking here - if your dish doesn't taste good, it doesn't matter how well-presented it is. Use of flaws is an automatic loss of one point per flaw in this category. Other things that will cause lost points here are excessive multiclassing, and classes that don't fit the concept - using Cloistered Cleric in a front-line melee fighter, for example, will lose you points.

Presentation: Builds will be posted anonymously, in order to avoid the potential of bias towards a particular competitor. For this reason, please don't put your name in the build, as I'm likely to miss it when reviewing the entries!


Due to concerns about standardizing entry format, I'd like everyone to try to use the following table for their entry.NAME OF ENTRY
{table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack<br>Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

1st|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

2nd|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

3rd|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

4th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

5th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

6th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

7th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

8th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

9th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

10th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

11th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

12th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

13th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

14th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

15th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

16th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

17th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

18th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

19th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

20th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities[/table]

CodeNAME OF ENTRY
{table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack<br>Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

1st|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

2nd|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

3rd|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

4th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

5th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

6th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

7th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

8th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

9th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

10th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

11th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

12th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

13th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

14th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

15th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

16th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

17th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

18th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

19th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

20th|New Class Level|
+x|
+x|
+x|
+x|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities[/table]


For entries with spellcasting, use the following table for Spells per day and Spells Known. (Spells Known only if necessary, i.e. Sorcerer or Bard, but not Wizard or Warmage)
Spells per day/Spells Known
{table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th

1st|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

2nd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

3rd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

4th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

5th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

6th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

7th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

8th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

9th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

10th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

11th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

12th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

13th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

14th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

15th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

16th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

17th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

18th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

19th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

20th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-[/table]

CodeSpells per day/Spells Known
{table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th

1st|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

2nd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

3rd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

4th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

5th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

6th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

7th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

8th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

9th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

10th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

11th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

12th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

13th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

14th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

15th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

16th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

17th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

18th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

19th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

20th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-[/table]


For other systems (Psionics, ToB, Incarnum, etc.) keep track of PP/maneuvers/essentia separately, preferably in a nice neat list.

Speculation: Please don't post or speculate on possible builds until the "reveal," in order to avoid spoiling the surprise if a particular competitor is producing a build along those lines.

Leadership is banned; we're producing a meal, not a seven-course banquet for a hundred diners.

So! Who wants to sign up as a contestant, and who wants to sign up as a judge? Looking for as many contestants and judges as feel like playing!

This week's special ingredient is:
The Miniatures Handbook's Tactical Soldier!
We will have trophies for 1st through 3rd places, as well as a special trophy for honorable mention. The honorable mention prize is given to the most daring or unexpected build. Judges, contestants and guests alike are invited to vote for honorable mention via PM.

Allez optimiser!

Contestants

The Builds

Past Competitions

Iron Chef I: Entropomancer (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=142470)
Iron Chef II: Psibond Agent (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=146583)
Iron Chef III: Cancer Mage (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=148584)
Iron Chef IV: Stonelord (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=150595)
Iron Chef V: War Chanter (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=152543)
Iron Chef VI: Master of Masks (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=156876)
Iron Chef VII: Green Star Adept (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=158633)
Iron Chef VIII: Pyrokineticist (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=160266)
Iron Chef IX: Animal Lord (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=162702)
Iron Chef X: Mythic Exemplar (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=164381)
Iron Chef XI: Blade Bravo (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=166539)
Iron Chef XII: War Mind (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=9426386)
Iron Chef XIII: Vigilante (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=172233)
Iron Chef XIV: Seeker of the Song (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=174434)
Iron Chef XV: Drunken Master (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=176049)
Iron Chef XVI: Assassin (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=178202)
Iron Chef XVII: Ardent Dilettante (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=182492)
Iron Chef XVIII: Unseelie Dark Hunter (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=186097)
Iron Chef XIX: Dread Pirate (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=190607)
Iron Chef XX: Incandescent Champion (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=10976416)
Iron Chef XXI: Ghostwalker (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=198921)
Iron Chef XXII: Dervish (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=206576)
Iron Chef XXIII: Divine Crusader (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=210071)

Lateral
2011-09-04, 06:22 PM
Cool! I may be entering, once I dig up my MiniHB and take a look at the class.

...Damn, it's listed right before 'War Hulk', and that was actually my wild guess as to the class for this Iron Chef. :smalltongue:

Wait a minute, how are we supposed to build a teamwork-focused character without teammates?

Edit: All right, I've got an idea. Count me in.

Kefkafreak
2011-09-04, 06:27 PM
Wow... :smallyuk: this is the worst prestige class I've seen in a very long time. It's like taking a tier 5 class and making it worse.

I'll... try to think of something.



Wait a minute, how are we supposed to build a teamwork-focused character without teammates?

I did in the previous round :smallbiggrin:

Amphetryon
2011-09-04, 06:36 PM
Cieyrin's going to be so happy to see Tactical Soldier as the SI.

I'll compete this time around.

Lateral
2011-09-04, 06:46 PM
Wait, for the Sidestep bonus feat, do you have to qualify for the feat to gain it?

Private-Prinny
2011-09-04, 06:47 PM
...Damn, it's listed right before 'War Hulk', and that was actually my wild guess as to the class for this Iron Chef. :small tongue:

And have every entry be X 7/War Hulk 10/Hulking Hurler 3? No thanks.

Lateral
2011-09-04, 06:51 PM
And have every entry be X 7/War Hulk 10/Hulking Hurler 3? No thanks.

Fair enough, although the Cancer Mage challenge managed to avoid similar pitfalls.

ColonelFuster
2011-09-04, 06:55 PM
First thing I've seen since coming back from a hiatus. I might take a stab at this one.

Edit: I had this class confused with another, withdrawing respectfully. Good luck to all competitors!

Private-Prinny
2011-09-04, 06:59 PM
Fair enough, although the Cancer Mage challenge managed to avoid similar pitfalls.

I never really liked the Festering Anger "trick" because it doesn't depend on RAW, and is completely at the whim of what you decide the "negative effects of diseases" entail.

Lateral
2011-09-04, 07:03 PM
I never really liked the Festering Anger "trick" because it doesn't depend on RAW, and is completely at the whim of what you decide the "negative effects of diseases" entail.

Well, yes, but I don't think anyone who does the Hulking Hurler trick would get high points for Originality or Elegance.

But you're probably right; it's too easily abused to make a good challenge.

BobVosh
2011-09-04, 07:10 PM
I liked only one part of this class when I looked at it before, and that was flanking from whatever square you threaten. I think it was a bonus feat so the class is even worse I bet.

Why would you be so cruel to our competitors, PP?

Lateral
2011-09-04, 07:12 PM
I liked only one part of this class when I looked at it before, and that was flanking from whatever square you threaten. I think it was a bonus feat so the class is even worse I bet.

Why would you be so cruel to our competitors, PP?

No, it's a class ability; they get Sidestep as a bonus feat.

DeAnno
2011-09-04, 07:14 PM
I have an absolutely silly idea.

To clarify, all forms of leadership, including random cohort feats, are banned, correct? With a PRC so focused towards teamwork, I just wanted to check.

Lateral
2011-09-04, 07:23 PM
I have an absolutely silly idea.

To clarify, all forms of leadership, including random cohort feats, are banned, correct? With a PRC so focused towards teamwork, I just wanted to check.

Building on this, what about feats that don't give you a cohort, but give you an NPC ally that doesn't fight for you or help or anything, but is mostly just relegated to the background? (Specifically, I'm asking about the Apprentice feat from DMGII.)

Devmaar
2011-09-04, 07:35 PM
Competing

Maybe this time I'll actually get the entry in...

Amphetryon
2011-09-04, 07:55 PM
Questions about specific feats are probably best relegated to PM, to avoid tipping your hand.

Hecuba
2011-09-04, 08:10 PM
I'd like to judge this one.

My criteria in brief:

Originality:
How unusual, mechanically, is your build? Is it a variation on a fairly standard build with changes for the Secret Ingredient, or is it something that's not usually on the plate for these kinds of classes? Are your tricks and tools from the general optimization toolkit, or are they based on some novel (or semi-novel) synergy?

Power:
I'll judge power on a sliding scale: I'll take the more powerful of
a) the "chassis" you build the PRC on if the PRC weren't there OR
b) the PRC if it were magically attached to a build of 10 levels of survivor.

While I won't be mapping to it explicitly, if your build would move that chassis up by the equivalent of a test of spite tier, you're probably at at least a 4.

Elegance:
How much do you have to give up to make this build work? How much do you have to presume? And on the flip side, how much room do you have to adapt it to the specific table and campaign at hand?

Some specific elements here:

Obviously, the standard rules for Flaws are in force. Similar (but probably smaller in most cases) penalties will be levied if you are dependent on other variant rules (traits, fractional BAB/saves, etc). On the flip side, if your build is perfectly functional and effective, but has room to grow into common variants well, noting that in an adaption section might get you a small bonus if the synergy strikes me as good design. As a note, this will not be the case for flaws.
How strapped are you for feats and skill ranks? Do you have barely enough to make entry, or can you spend some to meet the campaign/party needs?
Are there any implicit or explicit contradictions in the build? Do you have to presume non-standard fluff? If there are setting specific elements to the character, do they draw from more than one setting? Do they cause contradiction internal to the setting? Are there alignment contradictions/shifts? Does the fluff of the various elements mesh well (or very not well)?
In practice, you can usually find a way to justify these issues: but if you have to do so, you'll get a lower score here.


As a note here, I'm not going to hold the simple fact that a build is found in a setting specific book as a setting specific element. A couple good watermarks I'll use are:
-setting related entry requirements or class features
-(usually with a lesser penalty) strong fluff based ties to setting specific organizations, deities, etc.
If you can explicitly reference an adaptation section for the class, some or all of such penalties might be waved.
How likely is this to be banned for issues other than raw power relative to the rest of the party? If you have to make an argument based on the semantics of a rule, you'll probably get a penalty. As a good benchmark, if a thread on the topic would devolve into an discussion of whether or not its legal, you'll probably get a penalty if your build needs to benefits from the more generous option.

Use of Secret Ingredient:
The mere presence of levels in the secret ingredient do not constitute good use there of. While I won't penalize dead SI levels (purely because I don't want my scoring to run exactly opposite of general trends), I won't reward them either. As a general example, if you only use 5 levels of the SI, I will score you more generously if you have 5 levels of other things that synergise well with the SI than I will if you have 5 more levels of the SI from which you get only BAB and saves. (Though 5 non-SI levels with no notable synergy will probably do worse).

Other elements:

If the build accomplishes something novel that requires the SI or something that is made vastly better/easier with the SI, you'll score better.
If the SI is actively detrimental to your goals, you'll probably score worse.
While I won't penalize for the opposite, if your build make the SI a better choice over something that is usually a strictly better but mechanically similar class, you'll score well. For example, if you can make Divine Crusader a better option than Ur-Priest.

AMFV
2011-09-04, 08:13 PM
I will be competing in this one again, hopefully it'll be better than last time.

Piggy Knowles
2011-09-04, 08:16 PM
...wow. So, I've never owned the Miniature's Handbook. The only two things that ever really got referenced from it, Marshal and War Hulk, were both posted online as Wizards previews. This makes the MiniHB one of the only, if not the only, official 3.5e book that I've never actually read.

Long story short, I've never even seen this prestige class. This should be interesting. No ideas yet, but hopefully competing!

Z3ro
2011-09-04, 09:05 PM
What a mess of a PrC. I'm gonna have to read up and think a little bit before I decide if I'm competing or judging.

flabort
2011-09-04, 09:27 PM
Man, there's never a class I can find online :smalltongue:
At least not when I have time to compete. *Glares at unseelie hunter*

Well, I'll have enough to do collecting people's builds from the Dessert round (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=213806), so I guess whether I can compete or not is moot, eh? :smallcool:

term1nally s1ck
2011-09-04, 09:43 PM
Huh. Umm..

Ahh, I've got nothing. I'll judge I guess. Posting criteria tomorrow.

Lateral
2011-09-04, 09:54 PM
Hey, is Dragon Magazine kosher?

Amphetryon
2011-09-04, 09:56 PM
The OP specifically says Dragon Magazine is not allowed.

Lateral
2011-09-04, 09:59 PM
The OP specifically says Dragon Magazine is not allowed.

Ah, so it does. My bad.

Private-Prinny
2011-09-04, 10:08 PM
Hey, is Dragon Magazine kosher?

What Amphetryon said. The problem with Dragon Mag. material is that it's filled with stuff that wasn't too well thought out, and there wasn't much quality control.

The Compendium is fine, though, since those are just things that WoTC decided to officially sanction.

OMG PONIES
2011-09-04, 10:47 PM
Back in the kitchen!

ranagrande
2011-09-04, 10:53 PM
I think I have an idea. If I really do, I shall make my Iron Chef debut!

If I don't, it'll be another false start. I've done that before. :smalltongue:

Amechra
2011-09-04, 11:24 PM
I'll do one as well; I already have an idea...

Zaq
2011-09-05, 12:44 AM
I've always really wanted to play a Tactical Soldier, but I've never had a party that was both sufficiently high-level and sufficiently low-op to make it fly.

I'll be thinking about this one. If I'm inspired, I may enter. It's looking like a tough nut to crack, though.

Cog
2011-09-05, 01:47 AM
The Iron Chef rules talk about book sources, but a few times I've seen web enhancement material tossed into builds and I don't recall seeing any points deducted for that. Are those enhancements definitely acceptable?

Kefkafreak
2011-09-05, 02:11 AM
I have a couple of ideas but I'm fairly certain that someone else will use them.

Private-Prinny
2011-09-05, 02:14 AM
The Iron Chef rules talk about book sources, but a few times I've seen web enhancement material tossed into builds and I don't recall seeing any points deducted for that. Are those enhancements definitely acceptable?

Anything snagged off of the official WoTC website is kosher. Anything else is dubious at best unless it's an SRD link.

Cog
2011-09-05, 07:35 AM
Anything snagged off of the official WoTC website is kosher. Anything else is dubious at best unless it's an SRD link.
Yeah, I did mean the official web enhancements. No Dandwiki. :smallbiggrin:

Thanks!

Amphetryon
2011-09-05, 07:56 AM
The thinking on web enhancements, to my knowledge, was that they can't be terribly obscure to anyone posting to the forums, because they have access to the web by default. Unless, of course, your computer doesn't come with The Google.

gbprime
2011-09-05, 08:52 AM
Yet another ingredient where we have to wonder why ANYONE would take levels in it as opposed to some other class. Perfect Iron Chef fodder. :smallamused:

Lemme see if a build gels for me, otherwise I may judge.

term1nally s1ck
2011-09-05, 09:33 AM
Criteria:

Originality:
You will gain points for using feats and classes that are not immediately obvious to use, or are not used by many other contestants.

You will lose points for using feats and classes that are used by many contestants, or are very obviously expected.

Power:
Power will be rated on 3 factors, starting at 3 points:

Your main trick, and how strong it is. -1 to 1 points.

Secondary tricks, which while not as strong as the main trick, still can be effective. Quantity and quality both apply. -1/2 to 1/2 points

Versatility outside of its obvious comfort zone.
-1/2 to 1/2 points.


Elegance:
For Elegance, I'll be operating on a less is more policy. Dead levels at the ends of classes, floating feats that don't synergise as well, and generally dead weight will be penalised.

You will get bonuses for how well your choices flow into the next choice, how smoothly you can transfer into the PrC/any other class, and how neatly you can tie everything together. A good backstory may get you half a point or so if it does this exceptionally well.

Use of the Secret Ingredient:
Now, this time I will be quite generous on this matter, and not as harsh as I would be normally.

You will gain points for the more of the PrC's abilities that you manage to use effectively or enhance.

You will lose *some* points if another PrC could do what you are doing much better.

You may also get points for enhancing the Pre-reqs for the PrC.

Amphetryon
2011-09-05, 10:50 AM
I'd like to get a clarification on how Delayed Cleave works, RAW, please. There's reference within the ability to "threatens that square", which makes it unclear to me whether the granted AoO/Cleave must target the same square, or if it can be any square the Tactical Soldier threatens. Thanks.

Grendus
2011-09-05, 11:03 AM
It actually doesn't seem that bad to me. Low T4 ish. You need to be a solid slugger to make use of the abilities, and it's more warfare-ish than the small squad of murderous hobos type of game, but not that bad.

Anyways, I'm in. Not sure what yet, but I'm in.


I'd like to get a clarification on how Delayed Cleave works, RAW, please. There's reference within the ability to "threatens that square", which makes it unclear to me whether the granted AoO/Cleave must target the same square, or if it can be any square the Tactical Soldier threatens. Thanks.

It says you make "a cleave attack as an attack of opportunity". Follows the normal rules of cleave, treat it as though you were the one to kill the target, and doing so uses one of your attacks of opportunity this round. The "Still threatens the square" requirement is likely referring to if the character had suffered a knockback/bull rush or took a 5 foot step away after his attack.

Private-Prinny
2011-09-05, 11:41 AM
It says you make "a cleave attack as an attack of opportunity". Follows the normal rules of cleave, treat it as though you were the one to kill the target, and doing so uses one of your attacks of opportunity this round. The "Still threatens the square" requirement is likely referring to if the character had suffered a knockback/bull rush or took a 5 foot step away after his attack.

Grendus is correct. If someone drops a foe that you threaten and have damaged, you can take an AoO against anyone else in your threat range.

Cieyrin
2011-09-05, 11:52 AM
Cieyrin's going to be so happy to see Tactical Soldier as the SI.

You got that right. :smallwink: We'll see if I can carry through with getting an entry together that's interesting and flavorful.


I've always really wanted to play a Tactical Soldier, but I've never had a party that was both sufficiently high-level and sufficiently low-op to make it fly.

I'll be thinking about this one. If I'm inspired, I may enter. It's looking like a tough nut to crack, though.

Me, too! It looks so tasty, yet so dated where it comes to the flexibility it tried for since ToB took up the combat versatility crown. Still, fun things to be had, I just have to discern where...

Grendus
2011-09-05, 12:46 PM
Phew, on second inspection, it's a lot worse than I thought. The tricks are nice-ish, but it's going to have MAD problems and it's tricks will come online so late as to be less than useful. But then, that's the point of these challenges, isn't it.

Z3ro
2011-09-05, 01:24 PM
Alright, I think I've got a decent set of combos for this one. I'm entering.

ranagrande
2011-09-05, 01:58 PM
Question: Is Savage Species allowed?

Jade Dragon
2011-09-05, 02:12 PM
Anything snagged off of the official WoTC website is kosher. Anything else is dubious at best unless it's an SRD link.

So swiftblade is good?

Cieyrin
2011-09-05, 03:43 PM
Question: Is Savage Species allowed?


So swiftblade is good?

As noted, all published 1st party books are in, plus web articles on the Wizards site. Just remember the golden rule that 3.0 stuff is grandfathered in if otherwise unupdated and list your sources, for the Judges get annoyed if they have no idea where you're getting things from!

yugi24862
2011-09-05, 04:11 PM
I want to note that you have chosen a Prc so obscure and bad that their is no advice at all findable on google.

Bravo.

Amphetryon
2011-09-05, 04:27 PM
I want to note that you have chosen a Prc so obscure and bad that their is no advice at all findable on google.

Bravo.
Ah, you're misreading the results. When that's the result, the advice of the CharOp community is clear: PLAY SOMETHING ELSE. :smallwink:

yugi24862
2011-09-05, 04:48 PM
Ah, you're misreading the results. When that's the result, the advice of the CharOp community is clear: PLAY SOMETHING ELSE. :smallwink:

I know its the point. I just find so remarkable that no one has asked how to make it playable, on the entire internet. Its like everyone has looked at it and knows its unusable and their is no point asking for help with it. This amount of collective intelligence stuns me.

Jade Dragon
2011-09-05, 04:56 PM
I know its the point. I just find so remarkable that no one has asked how to make it playable, on the entire internet. Its like everyone has looked at it and knows its unusable and their is no point asking for help with it. This amount of collective intelligence stuns me.

I've come up with a new saying for hopelessly weak things like this!

"There is no underkill. There is only 'fire and miss' and 'forget to reload'." :smallbiggrin:

Amechra
2011-09-05, 05:04 PM
I know how to optimize it... of course, I won't share my methods, but if you know what you are doing, it isn't too pathetically weak.

One hint: Delayed Cleave is a completely unique ability, as far as I know.

BillyBobJoe
2011-09-05, 11:26 PM
Aww, for some reason I thought this was a 5 level prestige class, but it's 10 levels long. :smallfrown: I was going to try and fit in some Elocater, but gave it up after that. I think I have an idea forming in my head, so I may try to enter.

Tam_OConnor
2011-09-06, 12:39 AM
What Amphetryon said. The problem with Dragon Mag. material is that it's filled with stuff that wasn't too well thought out, and there wasn't much quality control.

The Compendium is fine, though, since those are just things that WoTC decided to officially sanction.

I was under the impression that it would force judges to acquire the entire 3.0/3.5 run of the magazine, and so wasn't kosher. There's certainly unbalanced stuff in it, but their quality control isn't noticeably worse than the official books (*cough* Complete Champion *cough*). It's just more noticeable because there were 85+ issues, and folks tend to drag out the unbalanced stuff.

Anyway, defending my investments aside, I will judge.
My criteria: General Notes: I start at 3, and add or subtract form there. Also, make sure to give me sources, because a judge who has to use indices is a frustrated judge.

Originality: Relying on one of the classes the prestige class description recommends will generally earn you a three. Using well-known combinations (Wiz 5/PrC 10/Archmage 5, Shock Trooper/Leap Attack, etc) will merit deductions, while new and original stuff will obviously earn more. At the same time, though, there should be some wriggle room. If you get too Special Snowflake, then a deduction is possible.

Power: I judge on a relative scale, as per Zeal's PrC tier ranking (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=107618). Building on a wizard chassis won't automatically earn you more points; it'll just raise into competition with other prestige classes for wizards (it might score you points on originality, though).

Elegance: How easy is it to follow the progression of your build? Generally, it's possible to recoup lost points by explaining the in-game logic behind your dips, or unfinished PrCs, or what have you. Rule mistakes will generally hit you here. The ideal here is to produce a build that feels like a custom-designed class.

Use of Secret Ingredient: What do you do with the secret ingredient once you're in it? What new tricks do you find lurking in the crunch? I also tend to be unforgiving with later entry.
How's that guide for new contestants coming?

One of the things I'm planning on doing is posting the list of my predictions along with my judging, if only to pull back the curtain a bit.

Groverfield
2011-09-06, 12:57 AM
I'm going to give this a go again...

DeAnno
2011-09-06, 01:11 AM
The more I look at this PRC the more useless it seems. It did motivate me to come up with an idea for the dessert challenge though, if only to avoid dealing with this class.

I may relegate myself to judging if I can't come up with an entry better than "lol" status.

OMG PONIES
2011-09-06, 06:33 AM
Hmm, the roughest of ideas is starting to gel. It's no truenamer, but it might just work.

Greyfell
2011-09-06, 06:37 AM
count me as an entry. This time I'll have plenty of time to work on it (do to a lack of any real life issues, dont ask)!

This is definitely going to be a challenge, regardless

OMG PONIES
2011-09-06, 09:41 AM
Here's what I think might be helpful for newer chefs around here. Please let me know if anything should be added, subtracted, or changed. Hopefully we can all create something worthy of being added to the beginning post in order to help new people become a part of this competition.

A New Chef's Cookbook

Maybe you're new to the Iron Chef Optimization competition, and you're interested in submitting a build for the first time. Allow me to be the first to say: DO IT! The worst that can happen is that you lose an internet competition, the consequences of which are much the same as winning an internet competition: nil.

Nonetheless, if you want to do well in this competition, the best thing you could do is to read through previous rounds of the competition. You'll see what has come before, you'll learn what has gained or lost points consistently. However, this advice is akin to telling someone to enroll in a French culinary school if they want to get better at cooking. While it may be a good idea, it's not for everyone. As such, I've prepared a few cooking pointers on each of our four categories:

ORIGINALITY
Expected entry methods or classes recommended in the text of the Secret Ingredient will lose you points, while oddball choices and unique prestige classes will win them. Please keep in mind that some "unique" classes will lose points, as they have become common in this competition (binders and totemists spring to mind, but there are others as well).
Some judges also award points here for unique mechanical tricks that haven't been used before.
Please, include something to serve as a backstory. It doesn't have to be long, but a solid one will get you points here from some judges. Some backstories have taken interesting formats (a new vestige (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8337459&postcount=109), an organization (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9111609&postcount=109), sonnets (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9321125&postcount=154) and interviews (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10609686&postcount=107), to name a few), but you don't necessarily have to go that far. Write something captivating, and write it well.

POWER
Most judges evaluate both offensive and defensive capability, while some even look at out-of-combat utility. Be sure to consider all three of these categories.
Make sure you remain competent in your chosen field. As always in optimization, maintaining casting progression is important. If you select a class capable of spellcasting, be sure to abandon it only for good reasons. On the other hand, if you're a melee combatant, many judges will pay attention to your BAB--a +16 or higher is well-regarded, as it grabs your final iterative attack. Other classes have other considerations (chakra binds available, etc), but it holds true.
Be wary of nova abilities; while it may be a great trick X times per day, the judges will want to see what you can still do once the nova is gone.
ELEGANCE
For many judges, elegance equates to simplicity. Obscure sources, too many classes, or convoluted tricks may upset some judges, though it may impress others. Handle with care.
Much like the above, class dips are hotly contested. Some judges will take points off if you take less than three levels in a base class, no matter how much power it lends to the build. Others will only deduct if you incur multiclass penalties. Some will do both. If you're only sprinkling a few levels of a class into your build, consider the consequences.
LA, LA buyoff, and Unearthed Arcana as a whole can raise some eyebrows among judges. In past rounds, judges have been receptive to such things presented in an Adaptation section, rather than the main build itself.
A pet peeve of mine and other judges is build legality. Please, make sure you qualify for all classes and feats you've selected. Double-check your tricks to ensure accuracy. For some judges, it would be helpful to run your entry through a spell checker. And please…PLEASE always list your sources.

USE OF SECRET INGREDIENT
First and foremost, make sure you meet the entry requirements. Some judges have given scores as low as 0 in this category for failing to do so.
Secondly, many judges will ask the question "why choose the Secret Ingredient over another prestige class?" Give them an answer to this question.
Most judges will score this category based on how many levels of the Secret Ingredient are taken. If you're taking something instead of more levels of the Secret Ingredient, be sure to explain why. Even so, you may still lose some points.
Speaking of explanations, please fully explain everything your build can do. Whether it's subtle or blatant, it can be hard for judges to catch every trick from every contestant in every round. Help them out a bit.

Now, these are just my opinions. Take them with a grain of salt. Or nutmeg. Or whatever tastes good to you, because you're ultimately cooking up your build, not mine. Have fun with it! These are just some things I've noticed over previous rounds of the competition that might make your first entry a smoother experience.

Kefkafreak
2011-09-06, 09:48 AM
On the other hand, if you're a melee combatant, many judges will pay attention to your BAB--a +17 or higher is well-regarded, as it grabs your final iterative attack.

16 gets the last iterative attack.

Sewercop
2011-09-06, 09:49 AM
Thank you :) appreciated

Amphetryon
2011-09-06, 09:57 AM
Re: New Chef's Cookbook.

I believe we've discussed where my opinion differs from yours, so I don't want to re-hash those issues in the thread. I do have one other cogent piece of advice for prospective chefs, though: SHOW YOUR PROSPECTIVE ENTRY TO ANOTHER FORUMITE.

There are many solid optimizers here at GitP who do not have the time, inclination, or both to enter these contests. Ask one whose opinions and impartiality you trust if s/he's willing to look over your build. Things you think are blatantly obvious may be missed by someone without your built-in insights to the build, and an impartial eye is more likely to spot errors and omissions that you may gloss over.

Piggy Knowles
2011-09-06, 10:00 AM
OK, after mulling it over for a day, I've got a couple of ideas. May start putting together some builds to see if anything pretty emerges. Hopefully competing!

Cieyrin
2011-09-06, 11:09 AM
I know its the point. I just find so remarkable that no one has asked how to make it playable, on the entire internet. Its like everyone has looked at it and knows its unusable and their is no point asking for help with it. This amount of collective intelligence stuns me.

Actually, I have seen it mentioned in a guide here on the forums by a fairly prominent guide writer, though it's not the focus of said guide. Not that that's a ringing endorsement but at least it's not completely obscure.

OMG PONIES
2011-09-06, 11:42 AM
16 gets the last iterative attack.

Ah, so it does--egg on my face. The post has been corrected.

I echo Amphetryon's wise words; find a fellow forumgoer and you've basically got a free pre-judge! Also, Amph, feel free to PM me about anything that you think should be changed; I know we've had individual points we disagree on, but I was trying to post what I've seen from a large number of judges (whether I agree or not).

Jopustopin
2011-09-07, 01:36 AM
Interpose (Ex): This ability makes no sense as an extraordinary ability. It says that if a bad guy hits your ally you can take all the effects as if the blow had hit you. AS IF?! Wait, so you're not jumping in front of your ally?! The blow actually hits your ally and some how extraordinarily you take all the effects?

Jopustopin
2011-09-07, 02:47 AM
Sorry this ability is even more ridiculous than the previous one.

Delayed Cleave (Ex): So you're fighting with a battle Axe and a heavy steel shield (much like the Tactical soldier depicted in the miniatures handbook). You're fighting two level 5 barbarian ogres. You threaten both of them. You hit the first ogre dealing (we'll say) 20 points of damage. Your ally charges (and uses combat brute and leap attack) killing the creature in one devastating blow with his trusty +3 Lucky Greatsword.

Now your "Delayed Cleave (Ex)" ability kicks in! Awesome what does it do?

Well... you get to make a cleave attack as an attack of opportunity and all normal restrictions on cleave attempts and attacks of opportunity apply. Awesome you have four more attacks of opportunity this turn anyway, so no biggie there. What restrictions are we looking at on the "Cleave" side of things? Glad you asked; cleave is an immediate, extra melee attack against another creature within reach. But wait! There are some restrictions: The extra attack is with the same weapon and at the same bonus as the attack that dropped the previous creature. :smallconfused:

How the tactical soldier gets the greatsword is not that hard to imagine (a la globetrotter), but how the tactical soldier will use the greatsword (with the shield and all) is another story.


I think that the sentence should have been "... if the creature is dropped by someone other than her, and the tactical soldier still threatens that creature's square, she may make a cleave attack as an attack of opportunity as if she had dropped the creature."

Kefkafreak
2011-09-07, 06:13 AM
What's worse in regards to Elegance, having a class feature that is never used, or using an ACF to replace it (let's say an UA variant for a worst case scenario)?

Urpriest
2011-09-07, 09:35 AM
What's worse in regards to Elegance, having a class feature that is never used, or using an ACF to replace it (let's say an UA variant for a worst case scenario)?

UA class variants generally don't have an Elegance penalty, or at least don't have much of one. It's the rest of UA that's looked on with suspicion (though most people are also ok with the paragon classes, and in some cases the race variants).

An unused class feature usually only gets dinged when it's somewhat obvious, like a ranger's TWF in a two-hander build.

Kefkafreak
2011-09-07, 12:18 PM
What about prestige class dips (like Mindbender)? Are they penalized like base class dips?

Grendus
2011-09-07, 12:47 PM
Interpose (Ex): This ability makes no sense as an extraordinary ability. It says that if a bad guy hits your ally you can take all the effects as if the blow had hit you. AS IF?! Wait, so you're not jumping in front of your ally?! The blow actually hits your ally and some how extraordinarily you take all the effects?

No worse than the Crusader's healing being (Ex). The probable reason they said "as if" is that were it to say you took the blow, people might get confused and try to use the TS's AC instead of the intended target's. Not that it would be problematic (3/day isn't game breaking), but they worded it as such to fit their vision.

As for the delayed cleave, I'm going to assume that's unintended as the ability can be triggered by weapons that don't qualify for cleave or don't require an attack roll (environmental damage, falling damage, spell damage, breath weapons, etc). If not, that basically obviates my entire build, which is a shame because I was actually quite pleased with how it's turned out. We should probably get an official ruling on this...

For the purposes of this challenge, can we assume that Delayed Cleave intended for the Tactical Soldier to make a cleave attack using the attack bonus and damage of the last successful hit he made against the target, rather than the person who delivered the killing blow?

Cog
2011-09-07, 02:03 PM
For the purposes of this challenge, can we assume that Delayed Cleave intended for the Tactical Soldier to make a cleave attack using the attack bonus and damage of the last successful hit he made against the target, rather than the person who delivered the killing blow?
That's how I would interpret it anyway. It's "Delayed Cleave", not "Allied Cleave"; you get to cleave off your attack even though it's been, say, a few turns since you made it.

Likewise for Interpose. I think the writers just assumed that the names of the abilities would be counted when people interpreted how they worked.

Urpriest
2011-09-07, 02:13 PM
What about prestige class dips (like Mindbender)? Are they penalized like base class dips?

Usually yes.

Grendus
2011-09-07, 02:45 PM
That's how I would interpret it anyway. It's "Delayed Cleave", not "Allied Cleave"; you get to cleave off your attack even though it's been, say, a few turns since you made it.

Likewise for Interpose. I think the writers just assumed that the names of the abilities would be counted when people interpreted how they worked.

More likely it's due to poor proofreading. It's very easy to do when writing your own material - you know what it does, but sometimes it gets a little lost in translation. That said, it is the reasonable interpretation. Otherwise you're stuck with TS's grabbing arrows out of dead guys and cleaving with them (or worse... how do you cleave with someone else's Orb of Force?).

There is one more question that needs clarification - it says "she may make a cleave attack as an attack of opportunity. All normal restrictions on cleave attempts and attacks of opportunity apply". Attack of Opportunity specifies you make the attack at your full attack bonus. Cleave specifies you make the attack at the same attack bonus you used when you struck the killing blow. Which do we use? I can see a good argument for either, but neither sticks out as being obviously RAI.

Amechra
2011-09-07, 04:18 PM
Quick question...

Does teleportation count as movement for, say, Skirmish?

Urpriest
2011-09-07, 04:27 PM
Quick question...

Does teleportation count as movement for, say, Skirmish?

It's controversial. Curmudgeon says no because movement is change in position over time. I find this an exceptionally silly reason.

Ditto
2011-09-07, 04:35 PM
That sentence is grammatically consistent with allowing Skirmish...

I believe the answer is 'not definitely-yes', so beware. Maybe use the phrase 'If your DM subscribes to this theory...', or 'The RAW doesn't say I'm definitely wrong, so this is probably legit...' :smallbiggrin:

term1nally s1ck
2011-09-07, 04:39 PM
Teleportation isn't necessarily a Move. It's not a 'Move' action (though it might be a 'move action', like standing up), nor does it contain the word 'move'.

Ditto
2011-09-07, 05:14 PM
The wording of 5-foot-step rules offer vague movement wording that lends credit to the argument of teleport-skirmishing being legal.


You can move 5 feet in any round when you don’t perform any other kind of movement. Taking this 5-foot step never provokes an attack of opportunity. You can’t take more than one 5-foot step in a round, and you can’t take a 5-foot step in the same round when you move any distance.

If you can take a 5 ft step after Teleporting, I think it follows you can skirmish after teleporting.

Hm, what about falling? If you're standing on a Wall of Force that is dispelled and you drop more than 10 feet, can you skirmish then? That's definitely physically moving, but requires no action... circles within circles!

Grendus
2011-09-07, 05:16 PM
So to answer your question for the purposes of the competition - you can make an argument for it, but don't be surprised if at least one judge docks you points for questionable RAW legality. Personally I'd allow it by virtue of scouts probably needing all the help they can get, but I'm not sure that's what the designers had in mind when they wrote the class.

OMG PONIES
2011-09-07, 06:02 PM
The wording of 5-foot-step rules offer vague movement wording that lends credit to the argument of teleport-skirmishing being legal.


You can move 5 feet in any round when you don’t perform any other kind of movement. Taking this 5-foot step never provokes an attack of opportunity. You can’t take more than one 5-foot step in a round, and you can’t take a 5-foot step in the same round when you move any distance.

If you can take a 5 ft step after Teleporting, I think it follows you can skirmish after teleporting.

Actually, the quote you've provided seems to say the opposite. If you can 5 ft step after teleporting, your DM believes that you haven't "performed any other kind of movement". If you haven't performed any kind of movement, you can't skirmish...unless of course, you teleport and then take a 5 ft step before skirmishing. Unless I'm reading it wrong. Either way, my brain hurts.

Urpriest
2011-09-07, 06:50 PM
Hm, what about falling? If you're standing on a Wall of Force that is dispelled and you drop more than 10 feet, can you skirmish then? That's definitely physically moving, but requires no action... circles within circles!

IIRC, Curmudgeon seems to think falling can trigger Skirmish. But again, the man is hardly gospel.

Amechra
2011-09-07, 07:33 PM
My idea fell through; I won't be participating, I don't think...

Amphetryon
2011-09-07, 07:36 PM
IIRC, Curmudgeon seems to think falling can trigger Skirmish. But again, the man is hardly gospel.

Gospel? No. The one Prinny's most likely to cite as the final arbiter of RAW disputes for this contest? Seems quite likely indeed. Contestants may wish to keep that in mind.

Grendus
2011-09-07, 07:44 PM
Aww, go ahead and give it a shot. Like I said, you may have points deducted, but I think as long as you specify that the text is ambiguous your build would be just fine. Just point out that before trying to use your build in a game you should check with the DM to make sure that teleport->skirmish is kosher.

Looks like there's a slight kink in my build - according to the Rules Compendium you can only take one swift action/round. I was kind of hoping you could swap a move action (or heck, even a standard action) for an extra swift action. The fluff suggests you should be able to, but the actual ruling says "you may only perform a single swift action per turn". Shame, makes his best trick a lot harder to pull off.

While we're on the subject of teleports, however, does teleporting end Stone Dragon stances? I suspect it does, but I'm not sure. How about multiple five foot steps, such as taking your own five foot step and then later getting one from Sidestep? This one I suspect wouldn't break the stance, since the movement is broken up into multiple chunks and each is within the allowed distance, but I'm not sure if there's an official ruling.

Private-Prinny
2011-09-07, 07:44 PM
I will clear all of these disputes now.

Interpose (Ex): This ability makes no sense as an extraordinary ability. It says that if a bad guy hits your ally you can take all the effects as if the blow had hit you. AS IF?! Wait, so you're not jumping in front of your ally?! The blow actually hits your ally and some how extraordinarily you take all the effects?

Yes. The caveat here is only that you don't get to use the Tactical Soldier's possibly superior AC to negate the attack.


For the purposes of this challenge, can we assume that Delayed Cleave intended for the Tactical Soldier to make a cleave attack using the attack bonus and damage of the last successful hit he made against the target, rather than the person who delivered the killing blow?

Yes. Yes we can. Whichever blow you hit with last is the base attack bonus you use.


Quick question...

Does teleportation count as movement for, say, Skirmish?

I personally disagree with Curmudgeon, since nowhere (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/moving) in (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/movement) the (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/move) dictionary (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/motion) does it reference movement as anything other than a change in position. I believe Curmudgeon was confusing this with speed, which is change in position over time. Teleportation just has a speed that approaches infinity. So yes, teleporting at least 10ft triggers Skirmish.

Ditto
2011-09-07, 08:07 PM
Actually, the quote you've provided seems to say the opposite...
You're right, I read that backward. :smalltongue: But the idea was the vague movement language has precedent elsewhere, and that could be applied to teleport-esque effects. And Fearless Leader has validated this, so it works out.

Squiggles
2011-09-07, 08:17 PM
I'll try my hand at an Iron Chef competition, assuming I can cobble a relevant build together on time

Amechra
2011-09-07, 08:20 PM
It's more like "Aw, I don't have the feats available to make The Slender Man".

Don't ask why that was a goal; I'll have to think of something else...

DeAnno
2011-09-07, 10:35 PM
It's more like "Aw, I don't have the feats available to make The Slender Man".


The evil dip devil on your shoulder is whispering Fighter 2/Psywar 2 in your ear.

Amphetryon
2011-09-07, 10:39 PM
Character's done. Just writing up the explanation and fluffy bits.

Cog
2011-09-07, 10:49 PM
The evil dip devil on your shoulder is whispering Fighter 2/Psywar 2/UA FeatsRogue 2 in your ear.
Sorry, you had a typo there. :smallbiggrin:

I'm probably in for this.

Amechra
2011-09-07, 11:07 PM
But then where are the tentacles? Nah, I'll go for something else.

Cog
2011-09-07, 11:16 PM
But then where are the tentacles? Nah, I'll go for something else.
Assuming this counts as a joke at this point (but spoilering just in case not:)
The Illithid Heritage feats, including tentacles, are psionic feats and so valid choices for a PsyWar's bonus feats.

Amechra
2011-09-07, 11:29 PM
It is a joke at this point; I will have a serious entry, though...

BillyBobJoe
2011-09-08, 12:48 AM
Assuming this counts as a joke at this point (but spoilering just in case not:)
The Illithid Heritage feats, including tentacles, are psionic feats and so valid choices for a PsyWar's bonus feats.

What happens if an Illithid takes those feats? :smallconfused::smalltongue:

Escheton
2011-09-08, 04:26 AM
I might throw my hat in the ring. Got some ideas I'd love to work out, though they might be obvious to the point of having others do similar.

Cog
2011-09-08, 09:31 AM
What happens if an Illithid takes those feats? :smallconfused::smalltongue:
A Zaphod Beeblebroxithid?

Greyfell
2011-09-08, 03:58 PM
Sorry, you had a typo there. :smallbiggrin:

I'm probably in for this.

why not just add in monk 2 as well? You can use the UA to dial in pretty much any two feats you want.... :smallamused:

DeAnno
2011-09-08, 04:06 PM
Random 2 level dips is one of the best melee base classes in 3.5 :smallsmile: (and just like any other base class, doesn't provoke multiclass penalties if used alone.)

flabort
2011-09-08, 04:19 PM
why not just add in monk 2 as well? You can use the UA to dial in pretty much any two feats you want.... :smallamused:

And Generic Warrior 2/cloistered Cleric (W/Deviotion feats) 1

DeAnno
2011-09-08, 04:39 PM
And don't forget Warblade 1/Swordsage 1/Crusader 2 at some latish point in your career!

Amechra
2011-09-09, 03:22 PM
Generic classes are forbidden, correct?

Cog
2011-09-09, 03:31 PM
Generic classes are forbidden, correct?
They're closer to an alternate system like Gestalt than they are to alternate classes like Cloistered Cleric. If not outright banned, I'd at least expect heavy penalties for Elegance.

Hecuba
2011-09-09, 03:31 PM
I don't know if they're explicitly forbidden, but I have no problem telling you that using a system explicitly noted as being an alternative to the basic class system itself would count as a pretty big presumption of latitude (and thus a fairly low elegance score when I judge).

ThreeDSix
2011-09-09, 08:25 PM
Count me in on this one - this looks like fun!:smallbiggrin:

Babale
2011-09-11, 01:27 PM
Hey guys! First Iron Chef challenge, and the only reason this caught my eye is because I think Ramsey is hilarious (and, doesn't he look like Neal Patrick Harris AKA Barney Stinson?)

In any case, I have never worked with the Secret Ingredient, which should make this fun and challenging. So I'll do this!

Private-Prinny
2011-09-11, 06:00 PM
Just a reminder that the deadline is exactly one week from now. As of right now, no one has submitted an entry.

Zaq
2011-09-11, 08:28 PM
It's . . . it's a really hard class. I'm pretty sure that fewer than half of their abilities aren't done better by something else, and what's left has its own drawbacks.

I'm trying, but I'll be honest, I don't even have any build skeletons at this point. It's just refusing to gel.

Babale
2011-09-11, 08:31 PM
Yeah, im going full flavor, no optimization.

Lateral
2011-09-11, 08:49 PM
I just don't have the time on my hands right now to work on something that's not giving me inspiration. I guess this means I'm dropping out.

Urpriest
2011-09-11, 08:51 PM
Yeah, im going full flavor, no optimization.

That...generally doesn't work out so well. In addition to losses in Power, it usually means low Use of Secret Ingredient, since the judges won't see you doing anything special with it.

Grendus
2011-09-11, 08:53 PM
Yeah, im going full flavor, no optimization.

Odd, I'm doing the opposite. I'm not quite satisfied with the results yet (I keep coming back to "why did I take the last three levels of that PrC"), but it's looking good so far. Delayed Cleave is a solid class feature, presuming you have teammates to pick the enemies off or some way of inflicting environmental damage...

Crap, now I have two builds. Though I had already thrown out the gish concept, not enough free levels for a gish PrC and it's tough to justify losing 10 caster levels from a base class. Are we allowed to submit multiple builds?

Edit: yea, double checked the rules. Now I have to come up with two back stories.

Zaq
2011-09-11, 09:01 PM
Odd, I'm doing the opposite. I'm not quite satisfied with the results yet (I keep coming back to "why did I take the last three levels of that PrC"), but it's looking good so far. Delayed Cleave is a solid class feature, presuming you have teammates to pick the enemies off or some way of inflicting environmental damage...

Crap, now I have two builds. Though I had already thrown out the gish concept, not enough free levels for a gish PrC and it's tough to justify losing 10 caster levels from a base class. Are we allowed to submit multiple builds?

Edit: yea, double checked the rules. Now I have to come up with two back stories.

Also, make sure you use as few of the same tricks as possible, or you'll end up shooting yourself in the foot for originality.

Kefkafreak
2011-09-12, 01:38 AM
I'm just procrastinating a little, I'll submit something eventually :smalltongue:

Piggy Knowles
2011-09-12, 08:39 AM
Blargh, I procrastinated and now I'm not sure I'll be submitting something after all. I've got one build worked out, but which needs a couple more tweaks with the feats, and needs skills and a backstory to be put together. I've got another build that seems solid but doesn't really pop, and definitely needs some work.

But this is a hellish week for me, and I'll be out of town Friday/Saturday/Sunday, so if I don't get it done by Thursday, it's not getting done at all. OK, time to push through...

OMG PONIES
2011-09-12, 09:45 AM
Working on something, but no promises--this is a tough class to make work.

Lateral
2011-09-12, 06:37 PM
Just a question, for future reference. Dipping is penalized in elegance, but what about dual-classing? If my base before entering a prestige class is, for example, Barbarian 3/Rogue 3, would that be penalized?

Urpriest
2011-09-12, 06:39 PM
Just a question, for future reference. Dipping is penalized in elegance, but what about dual-classing? If my base before entering a prestige class is, for example, Barbarian 3/Rogue 3, would that be penalized?

Most judges set the bar for dipping at 2 levels or fewer, so as long as you've got at least three I don't think anyone will have a problem with it.

Zaq
2011-09-12, 07:00 PM
OK, I actually have an idea, a backstory, and something resembling a class progression. We'll see just how badly it falls apart at the seams when it comes time to explain "that's very nice, but what does it do?", if it doesn't fall apart before then (when I try to get all the friggin' feats I need).

Amphetryon
2011-09-12, 07:14 PM
OK, I actually have an idea, a backstory, and something resembling a class progression. We'll see just how badly it falls apart at the seams when it comes time to explain "that's very nice, but what does it do?", if it doesn't fall apart before then (when I try to get all the friggin' feats I need).

Bah, just embrace/shun dark chaos for NI feats. How badly could the judges dock you? :smalltongue:

OMG PONIES
2011-09-12, 07:28 PM
After my previous build fell apart, I thought I'd have to judge. Instead, it looks like a different build is beginning to gel. I think I'm still in this as a competitor.

Zaq
2011-09-13, 01:19 AM
Argh. This is taking way too many feats, and it's really not doing anything special. (It keeps flirting with standard CharOp tricks, but then either not being able to pull them off properly, simply failing to do so, or otherwise being frustrated . . . not that they'd help my Originality score anyway.)

That said, as I'm building this, I'm becoming weirdly enamored with a certain base class I'm using . . . I say "weirdly" not because it's that bad of a class, but because it's usually very much not my style. It's looking strangely fun right now, though. Not entirely relevant to Iron Chef, but still, kind of strange.

AMFV
2011-09-13, 05:29 AM
Build submitted.

OMG PONIES
2011-09-13, 07:03 AM
That said, as I'm building this, I'm becoming weirdly enamored with a certain base class I'm using . . . I say "weirdly" not because it's that bad of a class, but because it's usually very much not my style. It's looking strangely fun right now, though. Not entirely relevant to Iron Chef, but still, kind of strange.

The exact same thing happened to me in the last round when building Sortes, so I know where you're coming from. For me, half the fun isn't even in the Secret Ingredient, but the stuff you learn about other elements of D&D when trying to piece together a decent build.

dextercorvia
2011-09-13, 08:28 AM
The exact same thing happened to me in the last round when building Sortes, so I know where you're coming from. For me, half the fun isn't even in the Secret Ingredient, but the stuff you learn about other elements of D&D when trying to piece together a decent build.

That happened to me in the Divine Crusader challenge as well, except that I realized everything I wanted from DC I could get from Favored Soul, and often earlier.

Amphetryon
2011-09-13, 09:29 AM
That happened to me in the Divine Crusader challenge as well, except that I realized everything I wanted from DC I could get from Favored Soul, and often earlier.

I believe I may have commented on this issue with Divine Crusader in my judging. :smallwink:

Private-Prinny
2011-09-13, 09:31 AM
Even if we only have the one build by the deadline, this will still be an interesting round. Just... wow.

OMG PONIES
2011-09-13, 09:34 AM
Sounds like some stiff competition. I'll have to make sure to get my entry (entries?) in by the deadline.

Amphetryon
2011-09-13, 11:53 AM
Please tell me it's a simple oversight in Tactical Soldier's writeup, and they just forgot to include the verbiage "even if she doesn't meet the prerequisites" for the second level bonus Feat, Sidestep. Pretty please? :smalleek:

Private-Prinny
2011-09-13, 12:59 PM
Please tell me it's a simple oversight in Tactical Soldier's writeup, and they just forgot to include the verbiage "even if she doesn't meet the prerequisites" for the second level bonus Feat, Sidestep. Pretty please? :smalleek:

Unfortunately, there's precedent for both, so I can't do that.

dextercorvia
2011-09-13, 01:23 PM
Please tell me it's a simple oversight in Tactical Soldier's writeup, and they just forgot to include the verbiage "even if she doesn't meet the prerequisites" for the second level bonus Feat, Sidestep. Pretty please? :smalleek:

My rule of thumb is if a class grants a specific feat, then you don't have to meet the prereq's (unless otherwise specified), if you can choose it (even from a small list), then you do (unless otherwise specified).

term1nally s1ck
2011-09-13, 01:53 PM
That's my usual ruling as well. Sadly, there's no RAW text to back it up, so you have to just go with when it is mentioned.

OMG PONIES
2011-09-13, 02:34 PM
What, you don't have a bunch of extra feats to spare in your build?

Me neither. :smallfrown:

Lateral
2011-09-13, 04:51 PM
It just clicked for me, so I think I may be back in.

Ursus the Grim
2011-09-13, 07:41 PM
Unfortunately, there's precedent for both, so I can't do that.

Fair enough. I would assume that this means that, upon failing to make the prerequisite, the build would not get to "choose another feat" because they technically don't "already have" Sidestep?

I know its close to the deadline, but I've got my build mostly done. I've been meaning to fail at this contest too.

Private-Prinny
2011-09-13, 07:44 PM
Fair enough. I would assume that this means that, upon failing to make the prerequisite, the build would not get to "choose another feat" because they technically don't "already have" Sidestep?

I know its close to the deadline, but I've got my build mostly done. I've been meaning to fail at this contest too.

Your assumption is correct.

Lateral
2011-09-13, 08:00 PM
Wait, what sort of stuff should we include? I know we need a level-by-level table, a list of spells/powers/maneuvers/soulmelds/mysteries/whatever, and a more detailed description of abilities and tactics at five-level intervals and a sweet spot, and I realize that some at least minimal backstory fluff would be helpful, but what else would it be a good idea to have?

OMG PONIES
2011-09-13, 08:48 PM
I've always included some bullet points of how I'm using the Secret Ingredient. Class features, combos, etc. It seems to have helped. Honestly, it's helped even more than the every-5-levels breakdown I've also been in the habit of giving.

OH! And a list of sources used. Some judges will dock you Elegance points if you don't include a rough bibliography, but all the judges will be glad if you do. :smallbiggrin:

Ursus the Grim
2011-09-13, 08:54 PM
I just realized that what I've made could very easily be used as a build for a known fictional character. Entirely on accident.

Has this happened to anyone else? Should I embrace it? Or would I be docked points?

Amphetryon
2011-09-13, 09:25 PM
I just realized that what I've made could very easily be used as a build for a known fictional character. Entirely on accident.

Has this happened to anyone else? Should I embrace it? Or would I be docked points?

According to TVtropes, it's all but impossible not to find a character with whom your idea shares similarities. I've done it a few times. Some judges do dock for calling attention to the similarities, some don't.

Sewercop
2011-09-13, 11:27 PM
Seems I might be able to have time for this comp after all.
If i have any questions about a specific thing or rule, who should I ask?

I kinda dont wanna post build specific questions in thread if they are to arise :)
(not a problem yet, my build just has tactical soldier atm ,just started)

BobVosh
2011-09-14, 01:26 AM
If you PM me I'll be glad to help. I'm not an amazing rules guru but I'm usually good enough.

Greyfell
2011-09-14, 05:13 AM
Still in as a contestant, despite still in the midst of a job hunt and with a clothes dryer that tried to burn the house down!

OMG PONIES
2011-09-14, 05:48 AM
Still in as a contestant, despite still in the midst of a job hunt and with a clothes dryer that tried to burn the house down!

My goodness! Take care of that appliance turned arsonist! Wishing you luck in your job search and safety in your battle with the dryer.


If i have any questions about a specific thing or rule, who should I ask?

In the past, I've found it helpful to either PM the Chairman or post my question in the Simple Q&A D&D 3.5 (by RAW) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=207897) thread. If the rules dispute in question is particularly dicey, feel free to include a quote of your question and its response.

BobVosh
2011-09-14, 05:52 AM
Still in as a contestant, despite still in the midst of a job hunt and with a clothes dryer that tried to burn the house down!

You sure it isn't some sort of firebreathing golem, right? I would check into this if I were you.

So on an unrelated note, anyone else decided they hate this tactical soldier class?

OMG PONIES
2011-09-14, 05:54 AM
So on an unrelated note, anyone else decided they hate this tactical soldier class?

On the contrary, I view it as my greatest foe to date and welcome the challenge. You know it's tough if I go in asking myself, "how can I make this better than the Truenamer I just made?" :smalltongue:

Lateral
2011-09-14, 06:17 AM
So on an unrelated note, anyone else decided they hate this tactical soldier class?

Yeah. It's so difficult to think of a clever build when the abilities are minor bonuses at best.

Greyfell
2011-09-14, 07:14 AM
thanks for the concern... luckily (??) the heating element committed seppuku before it actually torched anything. Part ordered (sadly, from the national warehouse as it's not available locally) after checking with the good old ohm meter to see which widget was no longer keeping a circuit

We'll see how my first entry here goes!

edit: I don't hate it really... but it does seem a bit more flavorful then really powerful.

Greyfell
2011-09-14, 09:23 AM
okay the table is assembled... I think (I'm not good with code and after a while it all sort of runs together and gets hard to read).

Volunteer for a read through and 'oops, you forgot XYZ' check?

AMFV
2011-09-14, 09:36 AM
I've already submitted so if you need a lookover I can do one for you. If you don't mind another contestant looking it over.

OMG PONIES
2011-09-14, 09:40 AM
I've already submitted so if you need a lookover I can do one for you. If you don't mind another contestant looking it over.

It's generally avoided to keep anonymity, but I can't see a problem with it if both contestants agree to it. Unless of course, you steal it and improve it for a "second" entry :smalltongue:.

AMFV
2011-09-14, 09:51 AM
It's generally avoided to keep anonymity, but I can't see a problem with it if both contestants agree to it. Unless of course, you steal it and improve it for a "second" entry :smalltongue:.

CURSES!!! My plan is foiled!

I just figured it'd be hard to find somebody willing to do a readover so I figured I'd offer.

Private-Prinny
2011-09-14, 10:28 AM
It's generally avoided to keep anonymity, but I can't see a problem with it if both contestants agree to it. Unless of course, you steal it and improve it for a "second" entry :smalltongue:.

Ha ha ha no. :smalltongue:

Greyfell
2011-09-14, 10:48 AM
Was that a 'no' as in no, don't let a fellow competitor look at it or 'no' as in 'if you try to copy something thats obviously a fellow posters entry, we'll smack you' ?

:smallsmile:

anyhow I'll check back this evening or tomorrow morning for any takers

Ursus the Grim
2011-09-14, 12:52 PM
I don't see it specifically addressed in the OP. Is the Wizards site acceptable, IE, if someone wanted to buy a Forcebow or use a feat?

Cieyrin
2011-09-14, 01:06 PM
I don't see it specifically addressed in the OP. Is the Wizards site acceptable, IE, if someone wanted to buy a Forcebow or use a feat?

As long as you provide a link back from it in your sources, it's generally alright.

Ursus the Grim
2011-09-14, 01:09 PM
As long as you provide a link back from it in your sources, it's generally alright.

I see. Thanks. I'm sure these questions have been asked a million times.

OMG PONIES
2011-09-14, 03:12 PM
As much as I fell in love with the base class I started out with, I've found a build that's much more tempting and fun. To square one!

Dumbledore lives
2011-09-14, 05:32 PM
Just checking but the ruling is that you don't get the sidestep bonus feat if you don't qualify? I just ask because tactical soldier doesn't have tumble on its class list and it seems heavily implied you don't need to meet the prerequisites.

Piggy Knowles
2011-09-14, 05:35 PM
I have a fairly simple build that isn't going to shock anyone with by pushing daring new frontiers, but is actually pretty solid. I'm just really not sure that I'm going to have time to format it and all before this weekend. This week's work has been awful.

If I don't get something in by the deadline, I'll at least judge.

Cieyrin
2011-09-14, 05:56 PM
Just checking but the ruling is that you don't get the sidestep bonus feat if you don't qualify? I just ask because tactical soldier doesn't have tumble on its class list and it seems heavily implied you don't need to meet the prerequisites.

The Chairman didn't put forth a solid answer, due to arguments for either way being valid. If you want to cover all your bases, there are undoubtedly methods of making sure you qualify prior to getting it, but if you want to argue your stance on it, make sure you say so in your entry and just go with that.

Private-Prinny
2011-09-14, 06:00 PM
Was that a 'no' as in no, don't let a fellow competitor look at it or 'no' as in 'if you try to copy something thats obviously a fellow posters entry, we'll smack you' ?

:smallsmile:

The second. I wouldn't even bother revealing it if I thought they cribbed it off of someone else.

OMG PONIES
2011-09-14, 06:26 PM
My spreadsheet is now what I'd call up-to-date...the only things I can think to add are judging trends on the master record and awards for the highest score in each category. Both of these are being considered, but after the busy month ahead. For those who have been promised a copy by e-mail, expect it within 24-48 hours. For those who want a copy, PM me.

I was going to post this in the Records thread, but didn't want to be accused of Thread Necromancy. One thing I added to the spreadsheet with the inclusion of a master record is a historical ranking across all rounds. Due to the varied number of judges each round, the ranking is by average score. And now, for your viewing and inspiration-inducing pleasure:

The Top 10 Iron Chef Submissions of All Time! (so far)


Round IV's Old Lob Many-Eyes (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8441606&postcount=106) by Akal Saris
Round XI's Dulcinea (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9321125&postcount=154) by OMG PONIES
Round II's Lirea (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8207286&postcount=173) by BooNL
Round XI's Jack (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9321119&postcount=153) by Rancor1
Round IX's Sway (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9111589&postcount=106) by WinWin
Round XVI's Spoons McGee (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9940342&postcount=171) by TheGildedDuke
Round XVI's The Leopard's Paw (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9940319&postcount=170) by TamOConnor
Round VI's Jereth (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8798025&postcount=127) by Draz74
Round X's Dr. Milo Brushscrubber (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9208735&postcount=95) by OMG PONIES
Round III's Noxius (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8337459&postcount=109) by Akal Saris

Hopefully these entries can act as a guide for new chefs. Even if you don't have time to read through all past rounds, perhaps reading these 10 entries can give you an idea of what it takes to be the creme de la creme in this competition.

Thanks to Amphetryon for the correction!

Cieyrin
2011-09-14, 06:35 PM
We probably want to recreate the thread if we want one, since I believe Shinken made the last one and is otherwise incapable of editing it at this time.

As for the ranking, I'm surprised VT isn't in the top 10. Odd...

Amphetryon
2011-09-14, 06:40 PM
My spreadsheet is now what I'd call up-to-date...the only things I can think to add are judging trends on the master record and awards for the highest score in each category. Both of these are being considered, but after the busy month ahead. For those who have been promised a copy by e-mail, expect it within 24-48 hours. For those who want a copy, PM me.

I was going to post this in the Records thread, but didn't want to be accused of Thread Necromancy. One thing I added to the spreadsheet with the inclusion of a master record is a historical ranking across all rounds. Due to the varied number of judges each round, the ranking is by average score. And now, for your viewing and inspiration-inducing pleasure:

The Top 10 Iron Chef Submissions of All Time! (so far)


Round IV's Old Lob Many-Eyes (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8441606&postcount=106) by Akal Saris
Round XI's Dulcinea (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9321125&postcount=154) by OMG PONIES
Round II's Lirea (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8207286&postcount=173) by BooNL
Round XI's Jack (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9321119&postcount=153) by Amphetryon
Round IX's Sway (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9111589&postcount=106) by WinWin
Round XVI's Spoons McGee (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9940342&postcount=171) by TheGildedDuke
Round XVI's The Leopard's Paw (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9940319&postcount=170) by TamOConnor
Round VI's Jereth (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8798025&postcount=127) by Draz74
Round X's Dr. Milo Brushscrubber (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9208735&postcount=95) by OMG PONIES
Round III's Noxius (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8337459&postcount=109) by Akal Saris

Hopefully these entries can act as a guide for new chefs. Even if you don't have time to read through all past rounds, perhaps reading these 10 entries can give you an idea of what it takes to be the creme de la creme in this competition. Prinny, if this is too much of a thread derail, let me know and I'll remove it.
Thanks for the push, but my entry that round was Moudo, not Jack. Rancor1 submitted the were-capuchin monkey.

Private-Prinny
2011-09-14, 06:40 PM
Hopefully these entries can act as a guide for new chefs. Even if you don't have time to read through all past rounds, perhaps reading these 10 entries can give you an idea of what it takes to be the creme de la creme in this competition. Prinny, if this is too much of a thread derail, let me know and I'll remove it.

No, it's fine. Personally, I like the feeling of nostalgia that I'm getting remembering when all of these were new. I'll point out that with you in spots 2 and 9 and Akal in spots 1 and 10, you're pretty much tied.

flabort
2011-09-14, 06:43 PM
Can't help but notice you wound up with yourself at two places on that chart :smalltongue:
Just kidding you.
But how did you figure out the "Top ten"? Average scores?
Because total score (Sum of all judges) would be unfair to rounds with less judges.

I'm also surprised I don't see anything from last round in there. Were the entries from earlier rounds just that good, or have the judges just gotten that much stiffer? :smallwink: :smalltongue:

Amphetryon
2011-09-14, 06:51 PM
I'm also surprised I don't see anything from last round in there. Were the entries from earlier rounds just that good, or have the judges just gotten that much stiffer? :smallwink: :smalltongue:
I know last round most of the scores I gave out weren't especially high; I'd expect that with his rating system, a single judge being 'stingy' in a given round will probably lower the average score enough to keep that round's winners from qualifying for the Top 10.

Ursus the Grim
2011-09-14, 06:51 PM
Thanks, Ponies. The one thing I REALLY needed was to see the best entries from the 24 contests, just so I know EXACTLY what I'm up against.

Private-Prinny
2011-09-14, 06:53 PM
I'm also surprised I don't see anything from last round in there. Were the entries from earlier rounds just that good, or have the judges just gotten that much stiffer? :smallwink: :smalltongue:

To put it in perspective, Old Lob's average score was slightly above 4.4. His average from me was a 4.5. Also, from the three judges that round (arguskos, Grynning, and myself) he didn't receive less than a 4 in anything. It was just that good.

Greyfell
2011-09-14, 07:23 PM
AMFV: PM sent.

barring that he doesn't see anything to out pof whack, I should have it submitted by saturday night latest

Zaq
2011-09-14, 07:42 PM
Hmm. What's going to hurt worse . . . losing Originality for using a few well-known staples, or losing Power for having the same well-known staples in easy reach (a lot of prereqs overlap with what I'm trying to do) and not taking them? Decisions, decisions . . .

Sewercop
2011-09-14, 07:58 PM
I started making a character for the comp, feeling happy with the progress, i took some time to look at the development so far. Thats when i felt the sudden urge of smacking my head into a wall.
It showcased nothing of the tactical soldiers abillities. It worked, but tactical soldier could just have been racial hd.

\sigh
This is not easy.

At least i have the basics of a melee build i can use later.
Back to the drawing board.

Ps. Thanks for letting me know who to ask when troublesome rulings shows its ugly head :)

Grendus
2011-09-14, 08:01 PM
Hmm. What's going to hurt worse . . . losing Originality for using a few well-known staples, or losing Power for having the same well-known staples in easy reach (a lot of prereqs overlap with what I'm trying to do) and not taking them? Decisions, decisions . . .

Hmm. I'd make the flavor choice first, then add an adaptations section where you mention the higher power options. But that's just me, you could go either way.

Zaq
2011-09-14, 08:06 PM
Hmm. I'd make the flavor choice first, then add an adaptations section where you mention the higher power options. But that's just me, you could go either way.

The problem is less that they're standing in the way of something more interesting and more than they're just, well, tired and uninspiring. Effective, sure, but pretty much the opposite of something new and interesting. The prereqs just overlap so well with what I'm already taking that it just seems really, really obvious that I'm avoiding them, which will surely prompt the "and why didn't you do THIS . . .?" comments.

Thurbane
2011-09-15, 04:01 AM
So on an unrelated note, anyone else decided they hate this tactical soldier class?
It doesn't have many redeeming features - but at least you can say it has fairly easy entry reqs, even for a straight Fighter. I think it's "OK" for a dip - 2 levels will get you the Flanker ability, and the Sidestep feat without the steep(ish) reqs.

DeAnno
2011-09-15, 04:08 AM
It doesn't have many redeeming features - but at least you can say it has fairly easy entry reqs, even for a straight Fighter. I think it's "OK" for a dip - 2 levels will get you the Flanker ability, and the Sidestep feat without the steep(ish) reqs.

That was actually part of what really stumped me in this competition: it isn't so hard to imagine some sort of Rogue dipping Tactical Soldier 1 for Flanker (though I think Swordsage 1/Island of Blades is probably definitively better, argh), but as you go on in the class it slowly gets less synergistic, more reliant on tightly capped per day abilities, generally less useful, etc.

Unless I get a stroke of genius, I'll just be judging here, and I'll be very interested if anyone can salvage this into something truly useful.

BobVosh
2011-09-15, 04:19 AM
okay the table is assembled... I think (I'm not good with code and after a while it all sort of runs together and gets hard to read).

Volunteer for a read through and 'oops, you forgot XYZ' check?

Just noticed this. I'm not judging or contesting this time around, so I am up for it.


It doesn't have many redeeming features - but at least you can say it has fairly easy entry reqs, even for a straight Fighter. I think it's "OK" for a dip - 2 levels will get you the Flanker ability, and the Sidestep feat without the steep(ish) reqs.

Takes a lot for me to even think "the green star adept one must have been easier."

DeAnno
2011-09-15, 04:40 AM
Takes a lot for me to even think "the green star adept one must have been easier."

Despite all the flak they get half casting PRCs really aren't that unplayable (just rather less playable than full casting), and usually you can pull requisite spell X out of sourcebook Y to make otherwise useless class feature Z seem really cool.

Greyfell
2011-09-15, 04:42 AM
PM sent bobvosh, and thanks. You too AMFV

OMG PONIES
2011-09-15, 04:47 PM
As for the ranking, I'm surprised VT isn't in the top 10. Odd...

Me too. Unfortunately, his entries were always odd enough to rub at least one judge the wrong way, which can really deflate your chances.


Can't help but notice you wound up with yourself at two places on that chart :smalltongue:
Just kidding you.
But how did you figure out the "Top ten"? Average scores?
Because total score (Sum of all judges) would be unfair to rounds with less judges.

Yes, I used average categorical scores--(Sum of All Categories from All Judges)/4*(Number of Judges). One bad judge can cause problems for a build's average score. As one could surmise, the opinions of one judge counted for more in a round with fewer judges. Can any more mathematically inclined people tell me if average total scores--(Sum of All Totals from All Judges)/(Number of Judges) would present a truer average?


I know last round most of the scores I gave out weren't especially high; I'd expect that with his rating system, a single judge being 'stingy' in a given round will probably lower the average score enough to keep that round's winners from qualifying for the Top 10.

That, coupled with the fact that we have had 192 entries so far. With that many entries, the gaps between each of the top slots were pretty thin.


Thanks for the push, but my entry that round was Moudo, not Jack. Rancor1 submitted the were-capuchin monkey.

You mean my spreadsheet was...wrong?! Human error. :smallbiggrin:

term1nally s1ck
2011-09-15, 04:58 PM
Yes, I used average categorical scores--(Sum of All Categories from All Judges)/4*(Number of Judges). One bad judge can cause problems for a build's average score. As one could surmise, the opinions of one judge counted for more in a round with fewer judges. Can any more mathematically inclined people tell me if average total scores--(Sum of All Totals from All Judges)/(Number of Judges) would present a truer average?

It would let you know who was the best compared to other people in the round. If the round in general was poor, the winner would have an inflated score.

If you want a good way to remove the variance of particularly harsh (or kind) judges, simply remove the highest and lowest scores for each entry before taking the average.

DeAnno
2011-09-15, 05:02 PM
Yes, I used average categorical scores--(Sum of All Categories from All Judges)/4*(Number of Judges). One bad judge can cause problems for a build's average score. As one could surmise, the opinions of one judge counted for more in a round with fewer judges. Can any more mathematically inclined people tell me if average total scores--(Sum of All Totals from All Judges)/(Number of Judges) would present a truer average?

The issue is that a Judge's scores are a convolution of the quality of the build and the harshness of the judge. The build's average score says a lot about its quality, but also something about the harshness of the judging panel that round. Similarly, the average score a judge gives out in a round says a lot about his harshness, but a little about the overall quality of builds. Lastly, all the judging in a round might be affected in some difficult to predict way by the relative tastyness of the round's PRC.

Statistically, you could dig in here and try to whip out some Bayes theory to figure out relative likelyhoods of various harshness/quality spreads, but that is going to be long and involved and in the end it won't really give very conclusive results.

Since we don't have a consistent panel of judges, I don't think you can fairly compare builds from one competition to another based on the scores given to them by their separate panels.

Ursus the Grim
2011-09-15, 06:16 PM
*sigh*

As much as I really like what I've done, its nothing special. I'm going to bow out of this one and watch the pros go at it.

flabort
2011-09-15, 06:23 PM
the Dessert round has had it's reveal, with a surprise twist!
Go Check it out. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=213806) I never would have expected it!

Sorry to hear you won't be competing in this one, Ursus. Mind telling us what you had (AFTER the reveal)? :smalltongue: It would serve as a good example how to play the class, even if it's not "Pro Quality" (and what makes you think you aren't a pro?).
It's probably better than what I've got: Nothing. :smalltongue:

Ursus the Grim
2011-09-15, 06:28 PM
the Dessert round has had it's reveal, with a surprise twist!
Go Check it out. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=213806) I never would have expected it!

Sorry to hear you won't be competing in this one, Ursus. Mind telling us what you had (AFTER the reveal)? :smalltongue: It would serve as a good example how to play the class, even if it's not "Pro Quality" (and what makes you think you aren't a pro?).
It's probably better than what I've got: Nothing. :smalltongue:

Heh, actually part of the reason was because I had a flash of inspiration when I noticed the Dessert and the Greed aspect thereof. I thought my time would be better suited trying that one out, but I mistakenly read the Judge's deadline. Lol.

Zaq
2011-09-15, 07:39 PM
My build is turning out to be almost a parody of a Tactical Soldier. I'm not sure if that's a good thing.

DeAnno
2011-09-15, 07:55 PM
My build is turning out to be almost a parody of a Tactical Soldier. I'm not sure if that's a good thing.

Even a parody of a Tactical Soldier couldn't possibly be worse than an actual Tactical Soldier.

Zaq
2011-09-15, 08:13 PM
Well, it's a Tactical Soldier that's basically lampshading how bad Tactical Soldier is.

Again, really not sure if it's worthwhile to finish the write-up. This class may be beyond my ability to optimize it. Not beyond ANYONE'S ability to optimize it, sure, but it's definitely pushing me.

. . . And that's not "pushing me to new and greater heights," either.

Grendus
2011-09-15, 08:42 PM
Well, I like how my build is turning out (though it's badly feat starved). A lot of it's power comes from the other classes though, every time I look at it's offensive or defensive abilities I can't help but think "but wouldn't X do this better?"

Delayed Cleave is a nice feature, but it would have been better as the capstone to a 5 level PrC, dedicating 7-10 levels to this class seriously robs you of so many opportunities.

Hecuba
2011-09-15, 10:37 PM
Well, I like how my build is turning out (though it's badly feat starved). A lot of it's power comes from the other classes though, every time I look at it's offensive or defensive abilities I can't help but think "but wouldn't X do this better?"

Delayed Cleave is a nice feature, but it would have been better as the capstone to a 5 level PrC, dedicating 7-10 levels to this class seriously robs you of so many opportunities.

Well, while I can't speak for other judges, keep in mind that X doing it better is less of a concern (for me at least) if X would be a direct substitute for the secret ingredient. Yes, you will score extraordinarily well if you can come up with a compelling reason to, for example, take Divine Crusader over Ur-priest. That does not mean, however, that failing to do so carries a penalty. That would be like saying a painting is bad because it's not the Mona Lisa or Sunflowers.

Amphetryon
2011-09-16, 06:54 AM
Well, while I can't speak for other judges, keep in mind that X doing it better is less of a concern (for me at least) if X would be a direct substitute for the secret ingredient. Yes, you will score extraordinarily well if you can come up with a compelling reason to, for example, take Divine Crusader over Ur-priest. That does not mean, however, that failing to do so carries a penalty. That would be like saying a painting is bad because it's not the Mona Lisa or Sunflowers.
Many art critics - and IC judges - do actually score against how your painting measures up to Sunflowers. Just food for thought.

Greyfell
2011-09-16, 10:14 AM
Sorry folks, due to real life issues outside my control, I have to drop.

on a side note... anyone know any employment oppurtunities in southern AZ?

Little Brother
2011-09-16, 02:04 PM
I would like to sign up, if it is not too late.

Cieyrin
2011-09-16, 02:09 PM
I would like to sign up, if it is not too late.

The deadline is Sunday 11:59 PM, so you still have time to write and submit an entry.

Amphetryon
2011-09-16, 08:53 PM
How many entries do we have so far?

Private-Prinny
2011-09-16, 11:44 PM
How many entries do we have so far?

Only 3 so far.

Zaq
2011-09-17, 03:50 AM
Crap. I just thought of a much better way to optimize this class than what I originally had (which is, as I've said, mostly a joke). Now I just have to actually write the whole damn thing up, pretty much from scratch, including the fiddly parts. At least I didn't have much planned for tomorrow.

BobVosh
2011-09-17, 11:03 AM
Aww, I wanted to see the Tactical Lampshade.

Zaq
2011-09-17, 11:16 AM
If I get REALLY in the zone, I'll write up both, but no promises.

If I don't do that, however, I will either PM you or publicly post what I was thinking after the reveal.

shaddy_24
2011-09-17, 05:24 PM
Huh, just found this and took a look at the Tactical Soldier. Had an interesting idea for something, but I don't have the time or experience to put together a full build. Darn. Well, looking forward to what you all pull out of this, it looks absolutely vicious.

Zaq
2011-09-17, 09:10 PM
I cannot remember the last time I was quite so frustrated with a character build. My second idea turned out to be a gimmick, not a build. (It looked better than it actually was.) I'm going to try to make myself focus enough to submit the first build, but it's mostly out of spite at this point. I fully expect to lose. Are we still at only 3 entries, Prinny?

Lateral
2011-09-17, 09:19 PM
This really is an awful, uninspired class, isn't it?

Anyway, I realized that my build only uses the abilities of the class as minor versatility bonuses, and I wasn't really feeling like the build did anything special, so I'm dropping. (Honestly, the high point of the build was when it had Tactical Soldier abilities and 5d6 sneak attack. Meh.)

Amphetryon
2011-09-17, 09:23 PM
My odds of taking another Bronze are getting better and better. :smalltongue:

Lateral
2011-09-17, 09:37 PM
My odds of taking another Bronze are getting better and better. :smalltongue:

With three entries? I should hope so. :small tongue:

Maybe next time. How long is the interval between submission of builds and the final results, usually?

Zaq
2011-09-17, 11:03 PM
I'm onto build #3, and I think this one might stick. But then, I said that about the last one.

I'm gonna feel really silly if someone else shows up with the same trick.

Z3ro
2011-09-17, 11:42 PM
Well, I submitted a build, so there'll be four at least.

Amphetryon
2011-09-17, 11:43 PM
Well, I submitted a build, so there'll be four at least.
Well, drat. That reduces my odds to Win, Place, or Show drastically.

Little Brother
2011-09-18, 12:42 AM
Well, drat. That reduces my odds to Win, Place, or Show drastically.I figure, if I'm lucky I'll get the honorable mention, so you're at least looking at third.

AMFV
2011-09-18, 12:44 AM
I figure I'll either do really badly or really well this time around.

The Gilded Duke
2011-09-18, 01:21 AM
There, just submitted mine. The class does suck, but eventually an idea to make it work came to me. In the end I had to turn everything inside out.. but I think it does the job in the end. I'll probably wait till the reveal to tell the original version.

Dumbledore lives
2011-09-18, 02:55 AM
I submitted a build too, and it's amazing just how many feats you require to make the class work well.

Zaq
2011-09-18, 03:18 AM
I submitted a build too, and it's amazing just how many feats you require to make the class work well.

Tell me about it. It's all I can do to not just go Fighter/Feat Rogue/PsyWar/Human Paragon/Crap, No Room Left For Tactical Soldier. It doesn't LOOK like it takes that many feats (hell, you were probably going to take one or two of the prereq feats anyway), but good god.

OMG PONIES
2011-09-18, 08:01 AM
Build submitted. I had one other idea, but didn't really have any ideas to separate it from standard charop fare.

Devmaar
2011-09-18, 10:41 AM
I'd just about got my build to the point where it might scrape by as mediocre, when I realised it didn't work :smallsigh:

So yeah, I'm out

Zaq
2011-09-18, 01:09 PM
God dammit.

I admit defeat.

NO DEFEAT. TRIUMPH. It's half-assed, rushed, not very good, and I'm sure I forgot something, but build submitted.

Sewercop
2011-09-18, 03:45 PM
Trying to put it together, i hope i manage to submit my entry before the time is up.

This is not an easy class to put the spotlight on.
Its like a vampire sprinting away from the sunlight.

DeAnno
2011-09-18, 03:52 PM
Trying to put it together, i hope i manage to submit my entry before the time is up.

This is not an easy class to put the spotlight on.
Its like a vampire sprinting away from the sunlight.

I almost feel like writing up a Vampire Tactical Soldier for the lulz. (You have all those convenient spawn to be your allies and activate delayed cleave!)

Grendus
2011-09-18, 04:16 PM
I'm going to have to withdraw. Lots of schoolwork came up at the last minute. No biggie, my entry was fairly obvious ({Redacted}). I wasn't that impressed anyways, it was essentially a {Censored} with too few {Removed}. Straight {Scrubbed} would have done it better.

Ditto
2011-09-18, 04:30 PM
S'not really PC to discuss build ideas before the reveal. :smalltongue: Not that anyone who is going to submit probably didn't have their idea set at this point.

Grendus
2011-09-18, 04:45 PM
Meh, I figured I was being vague enough that it wouldn't matter. I'll edit out the offending text.

Kefkafreak
2011-09-18, 04:46 PM
I finished my character but it's too mediocre so I won't be participating in this round.

Sewercop
2011-09-18, 05:28 PM
ahh.. Need to work. Seems like small chance im gonna enter. It depends if i can finish it in a couiple of hours when im back.

If im not able to enter comp, ill post the build frame in the thread later.

AMFV
2011-09-18, 05:35 PM
ahh.. Need to work. Seems like small chance im gonna enter. It depends if i can finish it in a couiple of hours when im back.

If im not able to enter comp, ill post the build frame in the thread later.

You did see it was GMT right? So you only have like an hour and thirty minutes till the deadline.

Private-Prinny
2011-09-18, 06:00 PM
And it's time at last for the Reveal. We had a slew of builds at the last minute, ending up with a total of 8 entries. And most of them are hilarious.

Private-Prinny
2011-09-18, 06:01 PM
"What? That has a name too?"
Char Sorrel
LN Warforged Barbarian 4/Fighter 1/Tactical Soldier 10/Devoted Defender 5

Char Sorrel
{table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack[br]Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

1st|Barbarian 1|
+1|
+2|
+0|
+0|Spot (cc, 2), Sense Motive (cc, 2), Climb (4), Search (cc, 2), Spellcraft (cc, 2)|Weapon Focus (Guisarme)|Ferocity, Illiteracy, Climb Speed (Ape Totem)

2nd|Barbarian 2|
+2|
+3|
+0|
+0|Spot (cc, 2.5), Sense Motive (cc, 2.5), Climb (5), Search (cc, 2.5)||+2 Intimidate

3rd| Barbarian 3|
+3|
+3|
+1|
+1|Spot (cc, 3), Sense Motive (cc, 3), Climb (6), Search (cc, 3.5), Spellcraft (cc, 3)|Power Attack (Ape Totem bonus), Combat Reflexes|

4th|Barbarian 4|
+4|
+4|
+1|
+1|Spot (cc, 3.5), Sense Motive (cc, 3.5), Climb (7), Search (cc, 3.5), Spellcraft (cc, 3.5)||Ferocity 2/day

5th|Fighter 1|
+5|
+6|
+1|
+1|Spot (cc, 4), Sense Motive (cc, 4), Search (cc, 4)|Cleave (Fighter bonus)|Literacy

6th|Tactical Soldier 1|
+6|
+8|
+1|
+1|Sense Motive (5), Climb (8), Spellcraft (cc, 4)|Alertness|Flanker

7th|Tactical Soldier 2|
+7|
+9|
+1|
+1|Sense Motive (6), Climb (9), Spot (cc, 4.5)|Sidestep (Tactical Soldier bonus)|

8th|Tactical Soldier 3|
+8|
+9|
+2|
+2|Sense Motive (7), Climb (10), Spot (cc, 5)||Interpose

9th|Devoted Defender 1|
+9|
+11|
+4|
+2|Listen (3)|Extra Rage|AC Bonus +1, In Harm's Way

10th|Devoted Defender 2|
+10|
+12|
+5|
+2|Listen (6)||Defensive Strike

11th|Devoted Defender 3|
+11|
+12|
+5|
+3|Listen (7), Spot (7)||AC Bonus +2, Deflect Attack +1

12th|Tactical Soldier 4|
+12|
+13|
+5|
+3|Sense Motive (8), Listen (cc, 7.5), Spot (cc, 7.5)|Improved Fortification|Defensive Shield

13th|Tactical Soldier 5|
+13|
+13|
+5|
+3|Sense Motive (9), Listen (cc, 8), Spot (cc, 8)||Offensive Strike

14th|Tactical Soldier 6|
+14|
+14|
+6|
+4|Sense Motive (10), Listen (cc, 8.5), Spot (cc, 8)||

15th|Tactical Soldier 7|
+15|
+14|
+6|
+4|Sense Motive (11), Listen (cc, 9), Spot (cc, 9)|Martial Study (Shield Block)|Delayed Cleave

16th|Tactical Soldier 8|
+16|
+15|
+6|
+4|Sense Motive (12), Listen (cc, 9.5), Spot (cc, 9.5)||Unbalancing Blow

17th|Tactical Soldier 9|
+17|
+15|
+7|
+5|Sense Motive (13), Listen (cc, 10), Spot (cc, 10)||

18th|Tactical Soldier 10|
+18|
+16|
+7|
+5|Sense Motive (16)|Martial Stance (Thicket of Blades)|Reciprocal Strike

19th|Devoted Defender 4|
+19|
+17|
+8|
+5|Listen (11), Spot (11), Sense Motive (14)||Defensive Strike +1

20th|Devoted Defender 5|
+20|
+17|
+8|
+5|Listen (12), Spot (12), Sense Motive (15)||AC Bonus +3, Deflect Attack +2[/table]

STR: 16
DEX: 16
CON: 14 + 2
INT: 12
WIS: 10 – 2
CHA: 8 – 2
(Level-ups go into STR)

Story:Once upon a time, a new batch of warforged emerged from the forges at House Cannith. They all lined up to receive their new training and instructions. Each one was handed a shiny new copy of the Book of Nine Swords, containing the newest and greatest fighting techniques the army had to offer. One warforged, however, did not busy himself reading through his new book like his comrades did. He tried to do so, but quickly found that he couldn't read! This warforged had need nicknamed “Char Sorrel” for the black, charred-looking stripe going across his brown torso. Char was sad that he couldn't read like his comrades could. Thankfully, he was still strong and swift enough to keep his place at the training academy, and he applied himself to learning whatever skills he could, even though he wasn't very good at it.

Char trained hard. His friends were learning cool tricks like Iron Guard's Glare or Wolf Fang Strike, but he just learned to hit things harder. His copy of the Book of Nine Swords was confiscated from him, and Char was sad.

One day, as the warforged were allowed to take on a few jobs outside the academy for training and income, Char's employer caught him sighing to himself. Quickly intuiting Char's feelings of inadequacy, his employer took pity on him. He could see that Char had a mind for tactics, even if his reading programming didn't quite install properly. He taught Char how to read, making him overjoyed. When Char asked if he had a copy of the Book of Nine Swords, the employer thought for a minute, and returned with a tiny, even miniature, book of tactics. “The Book of Nine Swords is hard to get a hold of nowadays,” he told Char, “but this book served me well back in my youth. I think it can help you learn the tactics you need.”

Char read the book and trained as hard as he could, learning new tricks along the way. When he met with his old academy comrades to spar and chat, they showed off all the new moves they had learned. Char, feeling pleased that he finally had some tricks, showed off how he could flank from seemingly impossible angles and easily reposition himself whenever he struck an opponent off guard.
“That's adorable,” said Shadow. “Look everyone, Char finally mastered Island of Blades!”
Setsun added “Yes, and Shifting Defense, too! Looks like he's finally a Swordsage!”
Char was sad. He had never been able to really speak up for himself or hide his feelings, and when he told his friends what he actually had learned how to do, they all laughed at him. All he could do was sigh and mutter to himself, “good grief!”

Char got shipped out to serve as a bodyguard for a very demanding customer. While protecting her, he learned how to take a blow for someone else and got quite good at doing so. As soon as he was done with that job, though, he went back to studying his miniature book, trying to get all he could from it. A year or so later, he met with his friends again, showing them what he had learned.

“Look!” said Char. “I can help defend my allies by taking a shot for them, or by increasing their defenses!”
“Oh, you learned Faith Unswerving? Nice going!” said Devo.
“Yeah, and White Raven Defense too? I'm impressed, Char!” said Whitey.
“Well, no, it's not any of those,” said Char, “but look, I can lower my defenses and hit harder!”
“Oh, I get it!” said Tiger. “He's learned Rabid Wolf Strike!”
“No,” said Iron, “It's clearly Punishing Stance.”
Char would have blushed if he weren't a warforged. “Well, check this out! I can perform a delayed cleave attack!”
His nine companions were impressed for a moment. None of them could match that trick. Char was happy. He had a trick to call his own! Flushed with confidence, he then showed his friends how he could knock an enemy off guard and incite his allies to attack them.
“Aha!” said Whitey. “Swarming Assault! I know it well.”
Char sighed again. He tried to show off his reciprocal strike move, but Devo's comment about Defensive Rebuke was just too much for Char to bear. Char went out into the rain and sighed. “Why can't I have a normal build like everyone else?” Dejected, he walked home. He remained a valuable bodyguard for many years, but his self-esteem never really got any better.

Tactics: Char is better than he thinks he is. Ferocity increases his DEX, so he can make a whole lot of AoOs every round, and Flanker works very well with a reach weapon. Devoted Defender goes very well with Interpose and Sidestep, letting Char play the role of the defender almost competently. In Harm's Way has more uses per day than Interpose does, but Interpose lets him defend people who aren't his charge. Defensive Shield keeps with the theme of protecting his allies. Offensive Strike isn't as much of an issue for him, since Improved Fortification makes him immune to critical hits. He simply never uses it when there are spellcasters around, which his ranks in Spellcraft will hopefully help him notice. Delayed Cleave works very well with a lot of AoOs, especially since if your last hit was an AoO, you'll have a better to-hit bonus than you would if it was an iterative. Unbalancing Blow is actually a good move, even if White Raven does it better, and the way that Char likes to stick near his allies means that he'll actually get to use it fairly often. Reciprocal Strike works like Defensive Strike, only not quite as limited. The two classes mesh very well, making him fairly competent at his chosen role. He doesn't have a whole lot of hidden tricks up his sleeve, but he doesn't have to. He simply uses what he's been given and makes the best of it.

Sources: PHB, Cityscape (Ferocity), Miniatures Handbook (Tactical Soldier), Tome of Battle (Martial Study/Stance), Sword and Fist (Devoted Defender), Eberron Campaign Setting (Warforged, Improved Fortification), Unearthed Arcana (Ape Totem Barbarian)

Private-Prinny
2011-09-18, 06:03 PM
We've had a Truenamer, may as well use a Samurai.
Takai Shingi, LG Necropolitan Dragonborn Samurai 6/Tactical Soldier 10/[Silver] Dragon Samurai 4
Base stats: STR 14 DEX 15 CON 8 INT 12 WIS 12 CHA 16
Modified stats for Dragonborn: STR 14 DEX 13 CON 10 INT 12 WIS 12 CHA 16
Ending stats, sans equipment: STR 18 DEX 14 CON - INT 12 WIS 12 CHA 16

How Takai Shingi Became Twice Reborn
Takai Shingi was born a half-elf child of a marriage arranged to bring peace between the human clan of Bahamut-worshippers his father belonged to, and the chieftan’s daughter of the wild elves who had waged guerrilla warfare on those humans since they first settled on the outskirts of the elves’ ancestral forest. She went to live in the human village, with the agreement that the elves would cease their warring so long as she or her offspring lived among the humans. Shingi’s was a difficult birth, and it claimed his mother. He barely survived it himself, affected with a breathing affliction the healers could not mend.

*****

Shingi, at the age his father’s clan considered manhood, was devastated when told by the clan’s daimyo that he would not be able to join the ranks of the samurai who protected them, despite his father’s high status.

“Sorry, Shingi, but you do not have the wind to keep up. Your stamina is not enough, in spite of your efforts and desire,” he said. “Besides, your frailty is a liability of another sort, with the pact your mother’s people honor while her progeny live.”

Shingi nodded stoically. “What must I do to gain this honor?”

The daimyo thought long and hard. “If you are truly dedicated, both to our honored Bahamut and the way of the samurai, you may petition the clan’s shugenja to perform the Right of Rebirth with you. It toughens the body some, and will perhaps be enough that you will not be a weight on the unit’s sword arm. Are you willing?”

“I will honor my father and become a samurai, as he was before me. This, I vow.”

The petition to the shugenja was made and accepted, and Shingi became dragonborn. His weakness of breath transmogrified into a weapon of its own, as he could cough out gouts of fire, acid, cold, or electricity as he saw fit. The daimyo deemed him worthy, and he became a samurai. In short order, his skills as warrior and leader earned him his own command.

*****

Takai Shingi lay on a makeshift gurney in a battlefield tent, the smell of smoke and carnage in his nostrils.

“You’ve been poisoned, Lord Takai. The arrows these dishonorable tundra-dwelling barbarians use are dipped in some strange root which robs the body of its ability to heal,” his lieutenant’s eyes shone as he spoke, obviously fighting for composure.

“Where. . . where are our shugenja? Where are our healers?” Shingi’s voice was a weak rattle as he asked.

“Lord Kojo erred in tactics when he saw the barbarians had us flanked by archers, and ordered them to the center for safety, Lord Takai. One of the barbarian’s wu jen blasted the whole of our contingent of shugenja with a single spell. We must make due with poultices and basic knowledge of healing until we can get to our reinforcements, 2 week’s march east.”

“Do you think I will survive the march?”

Shingi only needed to see his lieutenant’s face to know the answer was ‘no.’

“Can you lead the men to safety?”

“The peace you negotiated with these barbarians from your sickbed should hold, but the men do not rally to me as they do to you, and I lack your tactical sense should a problem arise, Lord Takai. If we are not attacked, I can lead them. If not. . . .”

Shingi nodded, hearing the answer he suspected. “And what of the peace with my mother’s people? I have no children. Are we prepared for war with the elves, so soon after this military action?” The lieutenant shook his head, mutely.

“What must I do to ensure my clan’s safety?”

“These barbarians venerate an aspect of Wee Jas, Lord Takai. Even with the truce in place, they will not heal an enemy, but it is possible they can. . . transform you again to keep you able to lead.”

“You’re talking about Crucimigration, aren’t you.” Shingi’s voice was flat; his words, not a question.

“Yes, Lord Takai, I am.”

Takai Shingi bowed his head. “Find one of our wu jen who is able to send a message spell to the elves. Ask if this will keep - or break - our peace with them. If they will honor our peace, I must do what I can to keep it and ensure my men their safety.”

“Lord Takai? A thought just occurred to me. What of your post? Your vows as samurai? Will this ritual not violate your oath against physical contact with the undead, by its very nature?”

Takai Shingi smiled, ruefully. “It will. For the greater good, I must find a different way to serve.”

How Takai Shingi Advances His Career
The table does not include stat bonuses to saves or skills.
Takai Shingi, the Twice-Reborn
{table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack[br]Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

1st|Samurai 1|
+1|
+2|
+0|
+0|Intimidate 4, Knowledge (Arcana) 1, Knowledge (History) 1, Knowledge (Nobility) 1, Sense Motive 4|Combat Reflexes, Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Bastard Sword|Dragonborn traits, Breath Weapon every d4 rounds, Daisho Proficiency

2nd|Samurai 2|
+2|
+3|
+0|
+0|Intimidate 5, Knowledge (Arcana) 1.5, Sense Motive 5|-|Two swords as one

3rd|Samurai 3|
+3|
+3|
+1|
+1|Intimidate 6, Knowledge (Arcana) 2, Sense Motive 6|Power Attack|Kiai Smite 1/Day

4th|Samurai 4|
+4|
+4|
+1|
+1|Intimidate 7, Knowledge (Nobility) 2, Sense Motive 7|-|Boost DEX

5th|Samurai 5|
+5|
+4|
+1|
+1|Intimidate 8. Knowledge (History) 2, Sense Motive 8|-|Iaijutsu Master

6th|Samurai 6|
+6|
+5|
+2|
+2|Intimidate 9, Ride 1, Sense Motive 9|Cleave|Staredown (NOTE: Acquire Necropolitan Template here)

7th|Tactical Soldier 1|
+7|
+7|
+2|
+2|Intimidate 10, Knowledge (Arcana) 2.5, Sense Motive 10|-|Flanker

8th|Tactical Soldier 2|
+8|
+8|
+2|
+2|Intimidate 11, Knowledge (Arcana) 3, Sense Motive 11|Sidestep|Bonus Feat (Sidestep)*; Boost STR

9th|Tactical Soldier 3|
+9|
+8|
+3|
+3|Intimidate 12, Knowledge (Arcana) 3.5, Sense Motive 12|Vexing Flanker|Interpose

10th|Tactical Soldier 4|
+10|
+9|
+3|
+3|Intimidate 13, Knowledge (Arcana) 4, Sense Motive 13|-|Defensive shield

11th|Tactical Soldier 5|
+11|
+9|
+3|
+3|Intimidate 14, Knowledge (Arcana) 4.5, Sense Motive 14|-|Offensive strike

12th|Dragon Samurai 1|
+11|
+11|
+3|
+5|Intimidate 15, Knowledge (Arcana) 5, Sense Motive 15|Intimidating Strike|Dragon Breath (30’ cone of cold) 1/day, Cold Resistance 5, Boost STR

13th|Dragon Samurai 2|
+12|
+12|
+3|
+6|Intimidate 16, Knowledge (History) 2.5, Sense Motive 16|-|Dragon friend

14th|Tactical Soldier 6|
+13|
+13|
+4|
+7|Intimidate 17, Knowledge (History) 3, Sense Motive 17|-|-

15th|Tactical Soldier 7|
+14|
+13|
+4|
+7|Intimidate 18, Knowledge (History) 3.5, Sense Motive 18|Kiai Shout|Delayed cleave

16th|Tactical Soldier 8|
+15|
+14|
+4|
+7|Intimidate 19. Knowledge (History) 4, Sense Motive 19|-|Unbalancing blow, Boost STR

17th|Tactical Soldier 9|
+16|
+14|
+5|
+8|Intimidate 20, Knowledge (History) 4.5, Sense Motive 20|-|-

18th|Tactical Soldier 10|
+17|
+15|
+5|
+8|Intimidate 21, Knowledge (History) 5, Sense Motive 21|Greater Kiai Shout|Reciprocal strike

19th|Dragon Samurai 3|
+18|
+15|
+6|
+8|Intimidate 22, Knowledge (Nobility) 2.5, Sense Motive 22|-|Immune to silver dragon fear (redundant)

20th|Dragon Samurai 4|
+19|
+16|
+6|
+9|Intimidate 23, Knowledge (Nobility) 3, Sense Motive 23|-|Elemental weapon +1d6, Boost STR[/table]

Sources
SRD: Skills, Combat Reflexes, Exotic Weapon Proficiency, Power Attack, Cleave.
Complete Warrior: Samurai (p. 8), Greater Kiai Shout (p. 99), Kiai Shout (p. 102).
Player’s Handbook 2: Intimidating Strike (p. 79), Vexing Flanker (p. 85).
Miniature’s Handbook: Tactical Soldier (p. 22), Dragon Samurai (p. 18), Sidestep (p. 28).
Races of the Dragon: Dragonborn of Bahamut (p. 5).
Libris Mortis: Necropolitan (p. 114).

How Takai Shingi Plays As a Character
1st Level
He’s a fairly ordinary samurai, but has a changeable, recharging breath weapon for range, to reduce the arsenal he has to carry in his golf bag, and a host of other small goodies obtained via becoming dragonborn. Some might be tempted to snag Power Attack here instead of Combat Reflexes, given a 13 DEX, but the ability to act in a surprise round can prove more useful to a new adventurer’s career than the potential ability to hit for a bit more damage in the first full round of combat. His skill choices give him a bit of utility out of combat. He might not want to spend a feat for Bastard Sword proficiency, but gaining it for free does let him eke out a bit more DPR with his primary weapon.
5th Level
Two Swords as One and Power Attack do not synergize well, so Shingi has to choose which one is better in each situation. Most of the time, Power Attack will be superior. There will be times, though - especially later in his career when he gets the wakizashi enchanted with, for example, Eager and Warning - when he’ll want the ability to at least start out a fight with two weapons. Combining Power Attack with Kiai Smite gives significant oomph to his damage output, albeit once a day. He boosts his DEX just once, to double the benefits of Combat Reflexes and improve AC and Initiative. Iajutsu Master works with Combat Reflexes to keep him safer in ambush situations.
10th level
Sixth level is the primary metagame reason - along with Kiai Smite - that Shingi is a samurai, and not a vanilla fighter. The +4 bonus to Intimidate and ability to use it to demoralize a foe in combat give him a breadth of options not available to most standard fighter builds. This is especially true when adding in the breath weapon, now at a respectable 3d8. Combine these elements and he gets situations where he can demoralize a foe at range, use his breath weapon on that foe and those foes adjacent , then the next round, charge in, Power Attack for 2 with the penalties offset by the charge, and have excellent odds of triggering Cleave. He can increase those odds further by combining the Power Attack with Kiai Shout, or he can spread his focus further by demoralizing an enemy that he’s not going to hit with the Charge + Power Attack combo that round but is threatening one of Shingi’s allies.

As noted in the table, Shingi undergoes the ritual to become a Necropolitan at 6th level - preferably near the end of 6th level - so spends considerable time at this point. (Please, leave the flavor-text related debate about Schrodinger's Samurai for another thread; CW Samurai has no proscription against touching or being undead, RAW). When he hits 7th, he begins life as a Tactical Soldier, gaining the Flanker ability, which helps both his allies and his own Power Attacks. 8th level brings access to the bonus feat Sidestep, which is one of the very few ways in-game to get a second 5-foot step, and without the horrible prerequisites. In acquiring Vexing Flanker and Interpose at 9th, Shingi drastically improves his ability to shape the battlefield for himself and his allies. Because he’s become a Necropolitan, the biggest concern involved in taking a blow aimed at your enemy via Interpose - the threat of a lucky critical hit - is all but eliminated. The 10th level Defensive Shield ability further reduces concerns about lucky shots against Shingi or his allies, by giving them all a decent bonus to AC when it’s needed.
15th level
11th level’s Offensive Strike is a powerful weapon that’s potentially very dangerous to Shingi. A +4 bonus to attack and damage, combined with Kiai Smite, the demoralizing ability, and basic Power Attack tactics yields vicious blows, but leaves him vulnerable to critical hits and failed saving throws. Oh, wait! Dragonborn + Necropolitan cover a huge chunk of potential saving throws, and Necropolitan makes him virtually immune to critical hits, as noted before. Those Will saves are a bit troubling, though, so Shingi needs a more thorough solution.

That solution starts to come online at 12th level, with Dragon Samurai. Shingi gets a good Will progression, and Cold Resistance 5, along with a steadily increasing boost to his cold breath weapon, which becomes the primary choice from here on out. Intimidating Strike at this level gives another method of reducing the effectiveness of his enemies. Order of operations is important, but he can combine this with his Staredown ability to take an opponent from unafraid to shaken to frightened in a single attack. He’s also used two stat increases to augment his STR score a bit, not counting any magic items he should have by this point, which offsets the single point BAB lag suffered here. At 13th level, his breath weapon increases a bit, his Will improves further, and he gets a sizable +4 bonus to CHA when dealing with silver dragons, which is at least situationally useful. At 14th level, choosing between two functionally dead levels, he drops back to Tactical Soldier 6 for the bonus to all saving throws.

Character level 15 - Tactical Soldier 7 - is the “sweet spot” of the build, thanks to Delayed Cleave. Shingi does good, solid damage, but he’s not an ubercharger or some other mini-nova of damage. He gets by with a little help from his friends. That means he uses his breath weapon to soften up several foes, demoralizing and possibly frightening - or even panicking - an enemy with Intimidating Strike, the demoralizing use of Intimidate, and his new feat, Kiai Shout. The panicked, badly injured foe runs for it, provoking an AoO from one of Shingi’s allies. Shingi uses a 5-foot step to threaten an adjacent square as the panicked enemy falls to his ally’s attack, and Delayed Cleave is activated. That’s significant ability to influence the battlefield, right there.
20th level
16th level’s Unbalancing Blow is almost as much fun as Delayed Cleave. Forcing an enemy to provoke AoOs by hitting him with his weapon is a pretty good trick for ensuring that enemy’s quick demise. 17th level gets a small boost to Shingi’s Reflex and Will saves, his weakest. In finishing up Tactical Soldier at 18th, he gets Reciprocal Strike, to give even more emphasis to his ability to deal damage in the defense of his allies, and Greater Kiai Shout, which all but assures that any enemy that is not outright immune will be shaken for the duration of any battle with Shingi and his allies. At 19th level, he resumes Dragon Samurai, getting another small boost to his Reflex save; I’m sure there’s a niche case where the immunity to dragonfear isn’t redundant, but I couldn’t find one. That’s all right, though, because it leads to Dragon Samurai 4, which gets a free +1d6 cold damage added to his katana. It expressly stacks with any other elemental damage Shingi has put on his weapon, and is one of the few ways for a non-caster to get greater than an equivalent +10 of bonuses on a weapon.

How Takai Shingi is Pitched to Your Gaming Group
First things first, let’s get rid of the elephant in the room. You’re playing a Tactical Soldier in general, and Takai Shingi in particular, because Tome of Battle isn’t allowed at your gaming table. Perhaps nobody owns it, or the group has a “no PDFs” policy. Maybe your DM doesn’t want the extra layer of complexity that maneuvers and stances can bring to the game, or heard horror stories, or has a specific ‘feel’ for the campaign in mind that he perceives as conflicting with Tome of Battle. Maybe someone your DM knew actually used a d2 Crusader, or Iron Heart Surged out the Sun, or played the auto-refreshing Idiot Crusader and soured him on the idea. The reason doesn’t matter, ultimately. Tome of Battle is just a toy you’re not allowed to bring to this particular sandbox.

And yet, you want to play a martial character. You know you could go all CoDzilla on your DM’s campaign and “teach him a lesson”, but you’d rather take the high road, and respect the parameters your DM is trying to set up for the game. You want a mundane warrior type, but one with more options than “I swing my sword. I swing my sword again. I swing my sword AGAIN.” Takai Shingi, with his ability to reduce enemies’ efficiency, boost allies’ defenses, take one for the team, and influence the whole of most battlefields with his tactics, is that character.

How Takai Shingi Switches It Up
With Variant RulesNot a whole lot changes with fractional BAB, but fractional Saves smooth out the progression a good bit. Shaky and Inattentive are good Flaw choices to get Entangling Exhalation, move Power Attack to 1st level, and snag Extra Smite at 3rd as Shingi’s otherwise 1/day Kiai Smite comes online.
With EquipmentMithral Full Plate at his earliest opportunity is a grand idea for Shingi. Eager and Warning on the wakizashi were already mentioned above; add Defending to the mix if possible, so that if he finds himself desperately needing the extra AC for some odd reason, it’s available to him. Adding Collision to katana, along with as many other damage boosters as are appropriate to the campaign, is highly recommended. Acquire Black Sand by any legal means possible for permanent Fast Healing when it’s worn in his boots, with the added bonus of that wonderful “day at the beach” feeling between his gently decaying toes. If you can get a friendly party member or NPC to craft an item to shape Shingi’s breath weapon, it’s the easiest way to avoid “Whoops! Sorry, Grok!” moments in combat. Any character without wings or a spell list is obviously going to need some item allowing Flight, and hopefully Freedom of Movement. Lastly, any boosts to STR and CHA should be priority concerns for Shingi.

*If going by Private-Prinny's interpretation that Sidestep is only granted when prerequisites are met, ignore all references to this ability.

Private-Prinny
2011-09-18, 06:06 PM
This kid sounds like a born adventurer.
Thomas the Doubter
"I trust in steel alone."
CE Human Swordsage 6/Ranger 4/Tactical Soldier 10

The Build
{table=head]
Level|
Class|
Base Attack Bonus|
Fort Save|
Ref Save|
Will Save|
Skills|
Feats|
Class Features

1|
Swordsage 1|
+0|
+0|
+2|
+2|
Concentration 4, Disable Device 2, Jump 2, Listen 4, Search 2, Sense Motive 4, Tumble 2|
Combat Reflexes, Weapon Focus (Desert Wind), Stone Power|
Quick to Act +1, Discipline Focus (Desert Wind)|
1|
1|
6|
1

[CENTER]2|
Ranger 1|
+1|
+2|
+4|
+2|
Concentration 5, Disable Device 3, Jump 2, Listen 5, Search 3, Sense Motive 5, Tumble 3|
Trapfinding, Favored Enemy (Human), Spiritual Connection

3|
Ranger 2|
+2|
+3|
+5|
+2|
Concentration 6, Disable Device 4, Jump 3, Listen 6, Search 4, Sense Motive 6, Tumble 3|
Weapon Finesse, Two-Weapon Fighting|
Combat Style (Two-Weapon Fighting)

4|
Swordsage 2|
+3|
+3|
+6|
+3|
Concentration 7, Disable Device 4.5, Jump 3, Listen 7, Search 4.5, Sense Motive 7, Tumble 4||
AC bonus

5|
Swordsage 3|
+4|
+4|
+6|
+3|
Concentration 8, Disable Device 5, Jump 4, Listen 8, Search 5, Sense Motive 8, Tumble 4||


6|
Ranger 3|
+5|
+4|
+6|
+4|
Concentration 9, Disable Device 6, Jump 4, Listen 9, Search 6, Sense Motive 9, Tumble 5|
Cleave, Endurance|
Endurance

7|
Ranger 4|
+6/+1|
+5|
+7|
+4|
Concentration 10, Disable Device 7, Jump 5, Listen 10, Search 7, Sense Motive 10, Tumble 5|
Improved Two-Weapon Fighting|
Distracting Attack, Champion of the Wild

8|
Tactical Soldier 1|
+7/+2|
+7|
+7|
+4|
Concentration 10.5, Disable Device 7, Jump 5, Listen 10, Search 7, Sense Motive 11, Tumble 5||
Flanker

9|
Tactical Soldier 2|
+8/+3|
+8|
+7|
+4|
Concentration 11, Disable Device 7, Jump 5, Listen 10, Search 7, Sense Motive 12, Tumble 5|
Lightning Mace, Sidestep|
Sidestep

10|
Swordsage 4|
+9/+4|
+8|
+8|
+5|
Concentration 12, Disable Device 7.5, Jump 6, Listen 11, Search 7.5, Sense Motive 13, Tumble 5||
Discipline Focus (Insightful Strike): Tiger Claw

11|
Tactical Soldier 3|
+10/+5|
+8|
+9|
+6|
Concentration 12.5, Disable Device 7.5, Jump 6, Listen 11, Search 7.5, Sense Motive 14, Tumble 5||
Interpose

12|
Tactical Soldier 4|
+11/+6/+1|
+9|
+9|
+6|
Concentration 13, Disable Device 7.5, Jump 6, Listen 11, Search 7.5, Sense Motive 15, Tumble 5|
Double Hit|
Defensive Shield

13|
Swordsage 5|
+11/+6/+1|
+9|
+9|
+6|
Concentration 14, Disable Device 8, Jump 7, Listen 12, Search 8, Sense Motive 16, Tumble 5||
Quick to Act +2

14|
Tactical Soldier 5|
+12/+7/+2|
+9|
+9|
+6|
Concentration 14.5, Disable Device 8, Jump 7, Listen 12, Search 8, Sense Motive 17, Tumble 5||
Offensive Strike

15|
Tactical Soldier 6|
+13/+8/+3|
+10|
+10|
+7|
Concentration 15, Disable Device 8, Jump 7, Listen 12, Search 8, Sense Motive 18, Tumble 5|
Robilar's Gambit|


16|
Tactical Soldier 7|
+14/+9/+4|
+10|
+10|
+7|
Concentration 15.5, Disable Device 8, Jump 7, Listen 12, Search 8, Sense Motive 19, Tumble 5||
Delayed Cleave

17|
Tactical Soldier 8|
+15/+10/+5|
+11|
+10|
+7|
Concentration 16, Disable Device 8, Jump 7, Listen 12, Search 8, Sense Motive 20, Tumble 5||
Unbalancing Blow

18|
Tactical Soldier 9|
+16/+11/+6/+1|
+11|
+11|
+8|
Concentration 16.5, Disable Device 8, Jump 7, Listen 12, Search 8, Sense Motive 21, Tumble 5|
Greater Two-Weapon Fighting|


19|
Tactical Soldier 10|
+17/+12/+7/+2|
+12|
+11|
+8|
Concentration 17, Disable Device 8, Jump 7, Listen 12, Search 8, Sense Motive 22, Tumble 5||
Reciprocal Strike

20|
Swordsage 6|
+18/+13/+8/+3|
+13|
+12|
+9|
Concentration 20, Disable Device 8, Jump 8, Listen 13, Search 8, Sense Motive 23, Tumble 5||[/table]

Attributes
{table=head]STAT|POINTS|BASE|LEVEL|TOTAL|MOD
STR|5|13|0|13|+1
DEX|13|17|5|22|+6
CON|4|12|0|12|+1
INT|0|8|0|8|-1
WIS|10|16|0|16|+3
CHA|0|8|0|8|-1[/table]

Maneuvers & Stances
{table=head]Level|IL|Maneuvers Known|Maneuvers Readied|Stances Known
1|1|Moment of Perfect Mind, Mighty Throw, Stone Bones, Sudden Leap, Wolf Fang Strike, Burning Blade|4|Child of Shadow
2|1.5|||
3|2|||
4|3|Action Before Thought|4|Hunter's Sense
5|4|Baffling Defense|5|
6|4.5|||
7|5|||
8|5.5|||
9|6|||
10|7|Mind Over Body, retrain Burning Blade for Feigned Opening|5|
11|7.5|||
12|8|||
13|9|Dancing Mongoose|6|Assassin's Stance
14|9.5|||
15|10|||
16|10.5|||
17|11|||
18|11.5|||
19|12|||
20|13|Shadow Blink|6[/table]
Backstory
In my youth, there was but one constant. My parents fought constantly, always lying. They lied to each, to themselves, even to me. In their petty spats, they would each try to get me to take their side against the other. We moved constantly, so they fought about that. We always spent more gold than we made, so they fought about that. Such was the life of a merchant's child. The only constant was the satisfying scrape of my whetstone against my blades. Sometimes, I'd find a large tree to hide behind while they fought, sharpening my knives to a diamond point and carving pictures into the tree--pictures of people with a happier life.

I decided it was time for one final change. I ran. I took my knives and my whetstone, but I didn't take my time. I was gone before they could even stop arguing long enough to check on me. I tried to survive in the wild, but living in the forest takes more than a keen nose and an ability to hunt. Instead, I moved to the big city and blended into the fray. I took odd jobs and moved from squalid hut to dirty flat, but I still had my whetstone, my one constant. I kept my knives sharp, but my senses sharper. During negotiations with one shopkeep, he couldn't help but laugh. Every time he tried to feed me a pitch, I called him on it. I had heard them all before, I told him. He said I was like a nonmagical zone of truth and offered me a job. That same night, I was inducted into the assassin's guild. I started as an interrogator, then an enforcer, but eventually worked my way up the ranks to a true, blue assassin.

One thing I've learned is that my childhood wasn't as nearly as tragic and unique as I thought--everyone lies; some people are just better at it. Some people beg and stammer their way through a sob story, while others will stare you in the face with steely resolve and tell the biggest whopper there is. Either way, once they see their own blood start spilling, most folks straighten up and fly right. But everyone lies at first, even me.

You see, my parents didn't fight. They loved me. They didn't argue over money; they spent it all on me. We didn't move because of them; we moved because I kept torching their stores and running away. Whenever they'd finally find me, they'd try to rebuild wherever we were. They were good folks, but they still spawned a liar like me. Their only lie was telling themselves I'd turn out okay.
Tactics
Levels 1-5:
Your high DEX and WIS provide a great base AC, which can be augmented by armor and Child of Shadow. Along with Stone Power, these provide increased survivability. Even in these early stages, you're quite good at the old stabbity-stab. Weapon Finesse and Two-Weapon Fighting come online at the same time as a +2 BAB, making sure that fighting with both weapons just drops you to a +0 before DEX, rather than imposing a penalty on your rolls. When you're not in place for a full attack, you have Wolf Fang Strike and Sudden Leap to get you there. Burning Blade gives you bonus damage against anyone, and Favored Enemy gives you bonus damage against humans, which are the most present creature type in my campaigns. If something else works better for your campaign, feel free to change it. However, it's worth noting that, in addition to damage, Favored Enemy buffs your Listen and Sense Motive checks as well. Aw yeah. We can use that to buff Baffling Defense, but that maneuver becomes more useful as we put more ranks in Sense Motive.

Out of combat, we have some decent versatility. Hunter's Sense gives us scent (which can be used in-combat as well against invisible foes), and we have decent trapfinding ability. Our ranks in Listen help us scout, while Sense Motive allows Thomas to take care of himself in social situations.
Levels 6-10:
Cleave, Distracting Attack, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, and Lightning Mace as well as entry into the SI. By this point, you're a melee beast (and your BAB isn't too shabby). Discipline Focus gives us even more bonus damage on Wolf Fang Strike, but we don't care if our damage per hit is relatively low--for us, it's about the number of hits. We want to make sure our opponent gets flatfooted and stays that way, and Distracting Attack is there for that. Every time we hit an opponent, he's flatfooted until an ally hits him or the start of our next turn. Since we count as our own ally, he's flatfooted until we hit him again. Right now, this just means he's easier to hit; in a few levels, it means sneak attack almost all the time. Once we hit him again, of course, Distracting Attack is triggered again. And again. Every time we hit.

Mind over Body comes online, allowing us to replace every save with a skill check with 12 ranks. Additionally, since fire resistance or immunity is becoming rather common, we retrain Burning Blade for Feigned Opening, allowing us to make sure our enemy provokes an attack of opportunity by taking an attack of opportunity.
Levels 11-15:
Assassin's Stance, Double Hit, Robilar's Gambit, and Dancing Mongoose--put simply, more hits for more damage! Assassin's Stance is great when used with abilities like Flanker and Distracting Attack; even though it's not the most sneak attack damage a person can get, coupled with the fact that our foes are almost always flanked and the number of attacks we get, it really racks up. With the number of attacks of opportunity we get via Robilar's Gambit, it just becomes awesome. Double Hit serves to double the efficiency of many of our class features, making it a no-brainer. All these extra attacks are extra chances at Lightning Mace attacks, which mean extra sneak attack damage. And extra favored enemy damage. And extra STR modifier damage. And extra weapon enhancement damage. Oh, yeah, your weapon does damage, too.

Dancing Mongoose is great on its own, since you can tack it onto whatever you'd like: a double move, a standard action strike, a full attack, or perhaps a class feature that takes a full round to activate…
Levels 16-20:
Hey, look at that, we just got such a class feature! Unbalancing Blow is transformed from a feature that does one attack to give your friends some glory into a whirlwind of attacks that confuse your enemy and allow your allies to gang up on it…you know, what it should have been all along.

Delayed Cleave and Reciprocal Strike deserve mention for being more abilities defined as Attacks of Opportunity, thus receiving the benefit of Double Hit. More attacks means more Lightning Mace, right? Speaking of more attacks, we finish off the build with Greater Two-Weapon Fighting. However, if you'd rather put Defensive Sweep here, it's up to you. I just didn't like the idea of encouraging enemies to move away--this build is about spamming attacks, not locking down your enemies. The real capstone of the build is Shadow Blink--the ability to teleport as a swift action is awesome. Not only can we move into place for a full attack, but we can teleport up into the air and attack flying enemies, using Tumble to lower or negate our falling damage.
The Perks of Being a Tactical Soldier:
Sense Motive (2 ranks): You need these to get into the class. However, Sense Motive is an underrated skill. You can use it to avoid being conned (vs a Bluff check), sure, but you can also sense when someone is acting under an enchantment spell (DC 25 or 15, depending on the effect), get a "hunch" about a social situation (always DC 20), discern secret messages (vs a Bluff check), and assess the CR of an opponent. The last one is my favorite: it can be helpful to know just how tough a fight's going to be going in. This check is opposed by your opponent's Bluff check, which means many monsters won't be hard to beat. Usually it gives you a result that places your opponent in two out of five categories, but beating your opponent by 10 or more narrows it down to one category. Being a swordsage snags us another use for Sense Motive--with the Baffling Defense maneuver, we can replace our AC against an attack with the result of a Sense Motive check. While our AC is already decent, the possibility of having an AC of up to (43+Wisdom) is pretty awesome, allowing you to effectively say "no" to an attack. Of course, it doesn't work with Offensive Strike, but more on that later.

Because of the fun uses for the skill and the power of Baffling Defense, we want Sense Motive maxed out. Luckily for us, Swordsage and Tactical Soldier both give Sense Motive as a class skill. Ranger, however, does not. You could take levels in Urban Ranger, but that takes away Track and leaves you with the even more useless Urban Tracking. Instead, we can use the Skilled City-Dweller variant found here (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20070228a) to switch out Survival and Ride for Sense Motive and Tumble, respectively. We keep Track, but lose Survival, so its effectiveness is hampered. Instead, we pick up the Trap Expert ACF from Dungeonscape to trade away Track for trapfinding and the addition of Disable Device to our Ranger class skills, granting us an option that can be used to keep us alive. We're not the party's primary trapmonkey, but we've got something to contribute.
Cleave: I've always wanted to use this feat in conjunction with a Two-Weapon Fighter, since more attacks means more chances to drop a foe (and thus, more chances to activate this feat). When we couple this theory with feats that allow us to take more attacks (Combat Reflexes, Robilar's Gambit, Double Hit, and Lightning Mace), the usefulness of Cleave increases.

Granted, it's still only once per round whenever you or a foe drop a threatened enemy (thanks to Delayed Cleave). I was thinking of taking Great Cleave at level 18, but it really depends on your DM's play style. Usually, my DM wises up and doesn't surround me with creatures to Cleave, so Greater Two-Weapon Fighting's guaranteed extra attack is a better choice for me. However, if you're playing a war campaign or your DM likes to surround you with enemies until either you die or they do, Great Cleave is the 18th-level feat for you.

I always felt silly putting the requisite Power Attack on a TWF-er, since most of mine (this one included) favor using two light weapons and thus cannot benefit from Power Attack. Because of this, it's never made sense to have Cleave on a TWFer. Enter Stone Power (from Tome of Battle). It functions as Power Attack for prerequisites, and allows you to drop your attack bonus in exchange for temporary hit points. There's more on this above, but this feat is particularly great for a Tactical Soldier because it helps offset the additional damage you'll find yourself taking from abilities like Interpose and Offensive Strike. Even though it's a prerequisite for a prerequisite, we're able to get some use out of it here.
Combat Reflexes: The name of the game is attacks of opportunity, and we hope to be provoking quite a few. However, provocation means nothing if you run out of AoOs halfway through the round. This feat, coupled with a high DEX, allow us to take many attacks of opportunity whenever a creature provokes. For a list of what provokes from us, see above.

Combat Reflexes itself helps with Attacks of Opportunity, but it also serves as a prerequisite for some truly great feats: Double Hit, Robilar's Gambit, and Lightning Mace. Since our build focuses quite a bit on gaining attacks of opportunity, Double Hit multiplies our effectiveness by 2, as it allows you to follow up your attack of opportunity with another one from your offhand. While it's common sense to me that this second attack counts as one of your AoOs for the round, check with your DM--there's no explicit wording in the Miniatures Handbook one way or the other.

Robilar's Gambit causes foes to gain a bonus to attack and damage against us, but we don't care about that since we're a swordsage. Child of Shadow is a great stance, and the concealment granted can negate the bonus Robilar's provides. Alternatively, we can gain some impressive bonuses to AC when fighting defensively, thus counteracting the bonus. As for the damage, using Stone Power every round can give us up to 10 temporary hit points, counteracting some of that bonus damage. What do we get in return? A free attack of opportunity every time someone attacks us. Oh, I'm sorry--two free attacks of opportunity. :smallbiggrin:

Double Hit and Robilar's Gambit are great, but they both just serve to fuel the star of the Combat Reflexes Show: Lightning Mace. We're attacking a whole bunch, so we're bound to score a critical threat eventually. Depending on your DM's tolerated op level (see Suggested Items), our threat range with this feat can be pretty large. Every time we threaten, we gain a free attack. Free. It doesn't count against us, it can be part of our full attack or following an attack of opportunity. Every attack becomes a decent chance for another attack, even when used as written (a 5% chance of getting something for free is still great). This can lead to a truly staggering number of attacks, and some even argue that it functions against creatures immune to crits, since you just have to get a crit threat, rather than an actual critical hit.
Flanker: Choosing the square from which we flank is great, and can have some hilarious results (such as threatening a foe from the square of another foe, since the ability says the square can be impassable or occupied). We'll be the party's melee buddy more than ever before, and we'll be hitting more often. However, one thing really gets extra oomph out of this ability: sneak attack.

When it comes to Sneak Attack, Assassin's Stance is our weapon of choice. While +2d6 sneak attack isn't much compared to a standard rogue, having the versatility to flank in untraditional ways and dole out an extra 2d6 on every one of our many, many attacks can really rack up the pain. The additional damage could even drop a foe, allowing our Cleave to trigger. Rather than needing to move to flank the target of our cleave, we can simply change the square from which we flank (since the ability lets us designate a square "at any time during her turn"). The only thing that seems off-limits is choosing a square at the beginning of your turn and also changing it mid-turn, due to some of the ability's wording. As such, we can flank from our own square until it's time to cleave, then set up the surprise sneak attack.
Sidestep: First, allow me to address the rules question. I'm acting under the assumption that you gain this feat even if you don't meet the prerequisites. The class feature says that you gain Sidestep without any ifs, ands, or buts. I understand that some similar class features (like the Ranger's combat style) include a clause that you gain the feat even if you don't meet the prerequisites, but I don't think the absence of this clause necessitates the prerequisites.

With that being said, I was a bit puzzled at how to make use of this class feature at first. I pictured a character using Sidestep after Sidestep to dart across the battlefield, then realized it can only be used once per round. However, I also noticed that it does not count against your limit of one 5 foot step per round. One of my favorite stances, Child of Shadow is often mentioned as a bad idea for TWFers because of the movement it requires. No longer! Now, you can 5 foot step after one of your many attacks of opportunity, then 5 foot step as a free action before enjoying a full attack with the benefit of concealment. Hello, Offensive Strike!

Granted, some DMs may not allow this, as Child of Shadow states you must move 10 feet on your turn. If that's the case, you can still use this as a defensive ability. When an ally drops an opponent, you can use Delayed Cleave to score a free attack of opportunity...or two. You can then activate Sidestep to make a 5-foot step to block your foes from the ally your DM will now want to kill. If they want to get to him, they'll have to go around you--provoking plenty of AoOs in the process.
Interpose: Who ever thought of a swordsage as a defensive character? This ability is usually great for more tanklike classes, but our feats and maneuvers allow us to get some mileage from this as well. Stone Power comes up again, giving us plenty of temporary HP so we don't have to worry too much about taking a few hits (3/day). If the hit takes up all of your temporary HP, you can just use Stone Power again before taking another hit for a friend. Of course, there's no need to wait--since Interpose doesn't specify an action required, I think it's safe to assume that you can Interpose on multiple attacks in the same round.

Besides damage, you also take other effects as if you had been hit. This means that nasty touch spells or ranged attacks are fair game, as long as the enemy threatens you but attacks an adjacent ally instead. You take the hit, and you have a pretty decent chance of shrugging off the effects. Your saves are high, and keep in mind that you have three Diamond Mind maneuvers that replace your saves with Concentration checks. Because of this, you can even interpose on magical effects while using Offensive Strike.

Speaking of magical effects, there's another strategy that might make your DM go gray. It's dubious, and it depends on your definition of "ally," so check with your DM. For the meantime, humor me. If you can determine your own allies, there's nothing stopping you from declaring an enemy as your ally for a round. Declare the enemy Big Stupid Fighter your ally right before the enemy cleric buffs him with a touch spell. Make sure you still declare the cleric your enemy, of course. Get to a place where the enemy caster threatens you, and wait for them to buff their Fighter. Interpose on that touch attack! Take the damage (0) and the other effects (buff spell). Now stop declaring the Fighter your ally. Congratulations, you've just robbed the enemy of actions while simultaneously making yourself stronger. Thank your frenemies by stabbing them repeatedly with your new buff. :smallbiggrin: As per the PHB, an ally is determined as "any creature friendly to you." Of course, the word friendly might not be applied to your enemies, so this might not work. I'm not expecting it to--it's just an interesting observation.

Additionally, since you're not actually hit, I'm not sure if this works, but you can ask your DM if Interpose allows you an AoO from Robilar's Gambit. If so, you can really deny your opponents options--you enter Robilar's Gambit to encourage them to attack you and provoke AoOs. Even if they refuse and attack an adjacent ally, you can still take the hit yourself and respond with two attacks of opportunity. Combine it with the above trick for hilarious results: the cleric hits you with a touch attack for 4 damage and a buff. In exchange, you give him two AoOs in the face. What a crappy Secret Santa you are.
Defensive Shield: Oh boy, fighting defensively. While there are ways to make it more awesome, some of them require being Kalashtar (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11437853&postcount=105) and others require feats/turn attempts (War Devotion says "what up?"). Still, there are a few free (or nearly free) ways to boost this option for you. 5 or more ranks in Tumble grant us a +3 dodge bonus to AC instead of the usual +2. Luckily, we have 13 ranks. Additionally, the Cautious trait (not a flaw) gives us a further +1 bonus in exchange for a -1 on saves vs fear. Also luckily for us, we have Moment of Perfect Mind from first level, meaning that we're making a skill check and not a save. With both of these bonuses, we get a +4 to AC when fighting defensively, balancing out the -4 to attack a little better.

While it would be nice for these additional bonuses to carry over to your two adjacent allies, I don't think they do by RAW. You just give your allies a +2 dodge bonus to AC; you're not sharing your bonus from fighting defensively. Even so, it's nice to boost your reward for giving up some attack bonuses. Speaking of those, you can recoup the -4 by using Offensive Strike. If you think you'll be fighting defensively all the time, you can try to wedge in Deadly Defense (from Complete Scoundrel) in any of numerous ways. This feat gives an extra +1d6 damage when fighting defensively; I didn't think it was strong enough to include, but other people might just want extra damage.
Offensive Strike:Ooh boy, my favorite. On this build, you can practically rewrite this ability as "you gain +4 on all attacks and damage." There's no limit on times/day like some of our other abilities. It's assumed that you'll think twice about using this ability because of the drawbacks: all successful hits against you are automatic threats, and any saves against spells you make automatically fail.

Now, fortification armor can help with the first, but that's not enough. We have high DEX and WIS along with some light armor to ensure an astronomical AC. If you're feeling lucky, you can use Baffling Defense to replace that AC with a Sense Motive Result. Even if they can pierce your AC, the Child of Shadow stance is available to you for 20% concealment. This means they'll be missing you an awful lot. When they hit, they'll be making an automatic threat, but they still need to confirm. If they confirm, you'll be getting critted a lot, so you may not want to activate Robilar's Gambit and Offensive Strike at the same time unless you have plenty of Stone Power temporary HP or a healer in the party.

When it comes to saves, it's a whole different story. You laugh saving throws in the face. First of all, the clause about saving throws isn't as restrictive as I thought at first blush. All saving throws against spells automatically fail, but you have no such restriction on saving throws against powers, poisons, supernatural abilities, etc. For those, your saves are actually pretty decent. I think that spell-like abilities fall under "spells," but ask your DM exactly what you might automatically fail. On spells or anything else, we have a way (three ways, really) to make saving throws a thing of the past: Moment of Perfect Mind, Action Before Thought, and Mind Over Body. Each maneuver can be used as an immediate action, and each one explicitly states that you "Roll a Concentration check INSTEAD of" the save it's meant to replace. Furthermore, it also specifies that you must use the maneuver before rolling a save, and that you don't automatically fail Concentration checks on a natural 1. By 20th level, you have 20 ranks in Concentration. Add in your CON modifier and any bonuses from gear, and you're sitting pretty. In the worst-case scenario, you can be guaranteed to pass any save with a DC of 21 or lower, and it's possible to make saves upwards of DC 40.
Delayed Cleave: Coupled with Double Hit, this ability allows us to make two free attacks against an opponent we threaten when an ally drops another opponent we threaten. While you have to abide by the restriction of Cleave (only activating the ability 1/round), Double Hit doesn't require a separate activation of Cleave. It just gives you a second AoO, pure and simple. You and the party rogue can go to town flanking from odd angles and cleaving everyone to death. But don't forget--you've got Lightning Mace. Your two free attacks of opportunity could trigger further free attacks if any of them are critical threats. Who needs Great Cleave?
Unbalancing Blow: Usually, giving up a full attack action at this level is never a good idea. However, we have a way to preserve plenty of attack actions here. First of all, we can use Dancing Mongoose in order to make two attacks as a swift action. It's a great little boost that can be tacked onto a full attack or standard action strike, but really shines here. After our two free attacks, we can use the full-round action to make a single melee attack with Unbalancing Strike. It deals normal damage, which could include sneak attack, and now the enemy provokes attacks of opportunity from all creatures threatening it. Creatures includes yourself, remember. So you take your attack of opportunity, but you don't stop there--thanks to Double Hit, you get to take another one. Here, we've traded in our full attack for 5 attacks (2 Dancing Mongoose + 1 Unbalancing Strike + 2 AoOs) from us PLUS an attack of opportunity from any creature threatening our foe. I'd call that an upgrade. Also, keep in mind that any of our 5 attacks could still trigger a free attack thanks to Lightning Mace.

Additionally, I find it interesting that Unbalancing Blow provokes attacks of opportunities from "creatures" threatening the target. I'm sure there's some way to tap this wording in order to make a target's allies turn upon it. I know that you don't HAVE to take an attack of opportunity against every creature that provokes one, so I didn't dedicate too much effort to that train of thought. Just another observation.
Reciprocal Strike: You know the deal by now--we use Double Hit to turn our one attack of opportunity into two, and those two attacks could trigger bonus attacks thanks to Lightning Mace. The interesting thing about this ability is that the trigger isn't simply making an attack, but making a successful attack that deals damage. Sure, the enemy mage you're threatening might succeed on a Concentration check to cast Orb of Acid defensively at one of your allies, so they don't provoke an AoO for casting…but they DO for dealing damage to one of your friends.

Naturally, the attack of opportunity is subject to "normal restrictions," so it has to be an enemy that you're threatening, you need to have AoOs left for the round, etc…but there's no restriction on the damaged ally. Unlike Interpose, they needn't be adjacent. Heck, they needn't even be on the same plane. If you're threatening an enemy who makes a successful damage-dealing attack against an ally, you get your AoO routine. Check with your DM to see if dealing ability damage counts as "successfully dealing damage" to deal with some of those pesky rayslingers.
Other notes: One truly tremendous thing about the Tactical Soldier is that every single one of its class features are Extraordinary Abilities, so they work in an anti-magic field. Some of your maneuvers are also extraordinary abilities, but not all of them. Some are Supernatural, and are thus suppressed in an AMF. However, every class feature of the Secret Ingredient still works exactly as advertised.
Suggested Items:
Gloves of DEX: important as always. In a high-wealth Magic Mart campaign, consider picking up a DEX-boosting tome as well.
Periapt of WIS: This provides a direct boost to your AC, as well as a boost to AC if you choose to use Baffling Defense.
Vest of Defense (MIC 146): 3/day, you gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC for one round when fighting defensively that stacks with your existing bonuses from fighting defensively. With the skills and trait mentioned above, you can get up to a +6 with this item.
Tunic of Steady Spellcasting (CAdv 136): Despite the name, this relatively inexpensive item gives a bonus to all Concentration checks, which can boost all of your saves 1/encounter via maneuvers.
Bracers of Opportunity (MIC 81): these arm items give you a constant +2 bonus to attacks of opportunity, which is great given the number you'll be taking. Additionally, 2/day, you can make an attack of opportunity after reaching your maximum number for the round (if that happens).
Fortification Armor: unlike the monk, you can wear light armor and still get your WIS to AC. This helps us get a sky-high AC. Partner that with concealment from Child of Shadows to negate some attacks entirely and fortification armor to negate some of the critical hits you're threatened with, and you'll be able to hand out Offensive Strikes 'til the cows come home.
Impact Light Mace (x2) or...: The impact ability is much like the keen ability, but for bludgeoning weapons. It expands the mace's threat range to 19-20, giving you a 10% chance of a free attack on every attack (since you need only score a threat to get the extra attack--you do not need to confirm the crate).
Keen Aptitude Daggers (x2) or…: if your group is a bit more high-op, your DM should be okay with these. The aptitude enhancement allows you to use daggers with Lightning Mace, bringing your crate range to 17-20, bringing your chance of a free attack up to 20%. Make these bad boys Feycraft weapons (DMG II)! It lowers the damage of the weapon itself, but in exchange you won't need Weapon Finesse to add your DEX to hit. Instead, feel free to take Shadow Blade to add your DEX to damage instead. Mmm, bonus damage. If you're using daggers, have a friendly caster make some potions of Daggerspell Stance on you every once in a while. This spell from Spell Compendium gives you SR equal to 5+the caster level, and you also gain a +2 insight bonus on attacks and damage whenever you wield two daggers. While it might be expensive to buy these at a high caster level, having someone brew them is much easier and cheaper.
Keen Aptitude Kaorti Resin (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/re/20031014a) Kukris (x2): besides being a tongue-twisting alliteration, these are the mack daddy of critfishing. Only wheel these out if you're playing in a group of powerga--I mean, like-minded individuals. The threat range of the weapon is 15-20, or a 30% chance of free attack. That's nearly 1 in 3! Furthermore, whenever a crit is confirmed, you'll be piling on the hurt with a x4 crate multiplier.
Novice Ring of Diamond Mind--Rapid Counter (ToB 150): Even 1/encounter, Rapid Counter is great for a build like this. When making an attack of opportunity, you can take a free extra attack before or after the AoO. It doesn't count as an AoO itself, but it's still an attack, so it can still trigger a free Lightning Mace (dagger/kukri) attack.
Martial Scripts (Vanguard Strike & Defensive Rebuke): Vanguard Strike has been included to ensure that you meet the prerequisite for Defensive Rebuke, which is a great feat for AoO builds. As a swift action, you activate Defensive Rebuke before a full attack. The key to using this maneuver well is to spread your attacks among as many enemies as possible, since anyone you hit can't attack anyone but you without provoking an Attack of Opportunity--two with Double Hit. If they still go against your Rebuke and attack your foe, you get to drop two more attacks of opportunity for each hit, so nobody in their right mind is going to full attack your buddies while you're around. Activate Robilar's Gambit to make sure that, even if they play by your rules and attack you, you also get two attacks of opportunity for each hit.

Sidestep and Delayed Cleave actually make this tactic even better. Defensive Rebuke states that it functions on "each enemy you strike after you initiate this maneuver," with no indication that it has to be on your turn--just in the maneuver's one round duration. Your attacks of opportunity slap Defensive Rebuke on additional foes, with no limit aside from the number of AoOs you can dish out. If your ally gives you a free AoO with Delayed Cleave, you might be able to slap Rebuke on a foe who wasn't in your threatened area when it was your turn. Sidestep allows you to move into position to pursue those who move away.

Adaptation/Additional Cheese:
Traits and Flaws: Traits haven't been penalized heavily in ICO as far as I know, so I included one above (Cautious) and described its benefits. If you're allowed to use two, you can also be Illiterate in exchange for a +1 to Sense Motive. However, this will stop you from using martial scripts, so it really depends on whether or not scripts are present in your campaign.

When it comes to flaws, you can snag two great feats: Deft Opportunist and Expert Tactician. A flaw like Shaky is great for a high-DEX melee character, both mechanically and fluff-wise: I picture a character with his hand always on the hilt of his dagger, pulling it out at the first noise. Anyway, the feats: Deft Opportunist gives you a +4 on attack rolls for AoOs, which you're making an awful lot. Moving Cleave up to first level via your second flaw frees up a spot at 6th level for Expert Tactician, which grants you and your allies a +2 to attacks and damage against a creature you hit with an AoO for one round. Since AoOs are the name of your game, this can expect to see a lot of use.
LA buyoff/templates: I'm expecting to see a lot of undead this round, specifically Necropolitans. Undead immunities are just THAT good--especially for a Tactical Soldier. They allow you to toss around Offensive Strikes all day without fear of getting nicked with an automatic critical threat, and you can simply ignore a lot of spells that require saving throws. In addition, any template that provides a DEX bonus acts as fuel for this build, providing an increased to-hit, increased damage (if using Feycraft Daggers and Shadow Blade), increased AC, increased Reflex saves (still important against non-spell effects), and more attacks of opportunity. My favorite for the money has long been half-fey, what with the flight and SLAs along with stat boosts in the right places. Amusingly, Unseelie Fey from Dragon Compendium can still be tacked onto this template, but the STR penalty means you'd have to rearrange the point buy a little. The Unseelie have great DR, some interesting abilities to choose from, and more stat bonuses in exchange for being evil. Plus, you get the fun of saying "Unseelie Fey Half-Fey" more than anyone should.
Infinite Loops: The funny thing about Tactical Soldiers? What happens when you put two of them in a room together if one or both has Lightning Mace. As soon as one activates Offensive Strike, the other is guaranteed that, as long as she can keep hitting (at the same BAB), she can keep attacking. Every successful hit is automatically a threat, and every threat is a free attack. Keep stabbing until you miss or they die. Of course, this is worth keeping in mind if your DM sends a tactical soldier after YOU.

On the other hand, be wary of psionicists. While Moment of Perfect Mind should help you greatly, The Test of Spite (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/archive/index.php?t-125698.html) has shown us what can happen if a build with Lightning Mace fails a Will save vs. Death Urge. Infinite loops can always work against you, too.

Sources Used:
Miniatures Handbook
Tome of Battle
PHB & PHB II
Dungeonscape
Complete Warrior
Complete Adventurer
Complete Champion
MIC
Web Enhancements
DMG & DMG II

Private-Prinny
2011-09-18, 06:07 PM
There's always room in that Handy Haversack.



Ser Small
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/407620/SerSmall.jpg
The Backpack Knight

Ser Small

Ser Small long ago gave up on riding dogs.
They couldn't climb stairs.
They couldn't open doors.
They didn't like drinking potions of fly.
They smelled like urine.

And so Ser Small began riding party members instead.
They had hands!
They could climb things!
They could use magic items!
Of course.. adventurers being adventurers they still smelled like urine.

Squire Small of the Backpack (Level 7)

Tactical Soldier is good at working with adjacent allies. However in the heat of battle, the only ally you will reliably be adjacent to is your mount. So instead of worrying about an animal companion or a familiar or anything, Ser Small just rides a party member.

He combines the defensive abilities of Tactical Soldier with the protections of mounted combat, and the buffs of mounted fury. Mounted Fury lets him share his rage with his mount (lets say a rogue or warblade). The Whirling Frenzy Fury gives them an extra attack, bonus strength and a bonus to ac.

Mounted Combat gives Ser Small a chance 1/round to protect his mount from an attack. If someone manages to beat his ride check, he can still take the hit himself with Interpose. Flanker lets him better flank with party members, and Sidestep helps him move out of the way of danger.

At this level Ser Small can make three Lance attacks on a charge for double damage while raging. He also automatically makes the check to let his mount attack as well.


Ser Small Crusader General of the Grand Order of Luggage (Level 20)

At this point Ser Small can help defend his mount even when not raging thanks to Defensive Shield. He is able to cleave whenever his mount kills something. If near multiple allies he can force foes to provoke attacks of opportunities. If an enemy gets past his mounted combat and his Interpose, Ser Small can at least hit them back with Recipricol strike.

Vexing Flanker and Adaptable Flanker further enhance his Flanking abilities gained from Tactical Soldier. As a swift action he can flank an enemy with his own mount as the flanker.

Ride by attack lets him and his mount charge and move. If his mount doesn't already have pounce, he would gladly gift them a wand of Lion's Charge.

Crusader tops everything off and enables him to actually use Offensive Strike. Offensive Strike gives a nice +4 to attack, but leaves Ser Small vulnerable until his next turn. Ser Small counters this by following up Offensive Strike by using White Raven Tactics on himself to take his turn again. As his mount acts on his initiative, they also act again.

Leading the Charge boosts the damage of both him and his mount. Leading the Charge and War Leader's Charge boosts that damage further. Note that both abilities are a full round action charge, that gives a bonus on the damage. Ser Small is still able to make multiple attacks on that charge.

Steely Resolve also helps him spread out any damage he absorbs with Interpose.



The Art of Riding Party Members

Ser Small is a unique tank, that uses Interpose and Mounted Combat to protect his mount from harm. He is also a buffer, giving his mount extra attacks and bonuses to strength and AC. He is also a damage dealer, doing triple damage with a lance, even more with a valourous lance, and yet even more with his crusader stances and abilities.

Riding Rogues

Ser Small benefits rogues greatly at higher levels. With a swift action each round he can provide flanking with his rogue mount. Ride by Attack also helps melee rogues avoid any nasty full attacks. Mounted Combat and Interpose protect against what attacks do get through. The extra attack from Mounted Fury also lets them get more sneak attack in.

Riding Chargers

Ser Small's main benefit for other charges is his use of Ride by Attack. Most methods of hit and run do not allow multiple attacks, or do not count as charges. Ride by attack does count as a charge however. While other chargers could pick up this ability themselves, they would then have to worry about a mount and would not be able to leap attack. With them acting as the mount, they can leap attack to their hearts content before Ser Small rides them off to safety. That extra attack and strength boost doesn't hurt either.

Riding Casters

Riding Casters works a bit differently. Ser Small will not make them rage, so as not to prevent their spell casting. He will however still protect them with the combination of mounted combat and Intercept. Lastly, with Ser Small being on their back, it is much easier for casters to cast touch spells on Ser Small. He can also use Whtie Raven Tactics on himself to let both him and his mount act again in a round.

Can you ride other characters?
Yes, as long as they are medium size and can support your weight. Ser Small weighs 30 pounds before equipment, and has the lighter equipment of a small sized character. He takes a -5 on ride checks for riding a creature ill suited for a mount.



Ser Small the Backpack Knight
Strongheart Halfling Whirling Frenzy Lion Totem Barbarian / Fighter / Tactical Soldier / Crusader

{table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack[br]Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

1st|Whirling Lion Barbarian 1|
+1|
+2|
+0|
+0|Ride 4|Power Attack, Cleave|Lion Totem, Whirling Frenzy 1/Day

2nd|Whirling Lion Barbarian 2|
+2|
+3|
+0|
+0|Ride 5, Sense Motive 1||Uncanny Dodge

3rd|Whirling Lion Barbarian 3|
+3|
+3|
+1|
+1|Ride 6|Mounted Combat|Trap Sense +1

4th|Whirling Lion Barbarian 4|
+4|
+4|
+1|
+1|Ride 7, Sense Motive 2||Whirling Frenzy 2/Day

5th|Fighter 1|
+5|
+6|
+1|
+1|Ride 8|Combat Reflexes|

6th|Tactical Soldier 1|
+6|
+8|
+1|
+1|Ride 9|Mounted Fury|Flanker

7th|Tactical Soldier 2|
+7|
+9|
+1|
+1|Ride 10||Sidestep

8th|Tactical Soldier 3|
+8|
+9|
+2|
+2|Ride 11||Interpose

9th|Tactical Soldier 4|
+9|
+10|
+2|
+2|Ride 12|Ride By Attack|Defensive Shield

10th|Tactical Soldier 5|
+10|
+10|
+2|
+2|Ride 13||Offensive Strike

11th|Tactical Soldier 6|
+11|
+11|
+3|
+3|Ride 14||

12th|Tactical Soldier 7|
+12|
+11|
+3|
+3|Ride 15|Spirited Charge|Delayed Cleave

13th|Tactical Soldier 8|
+13|
+12|
+3|
+3|Ride 16||Unbalancing Blow

14th|Tactical Soldier 9|
+14|
+12|
+4|
+4|Ride 17||

15th|Tactical Soldier 10|
+15|
+13|
+4|
+4|Ride 18|Vexing Flanker|Reciprocal Strike

16th|Fighter 2|
+16|
+14|
+4|
+4|Ride 19|Adaptable Flanker|

17th|Crusader 1|
+17|
+16|
+4|
+4|Ride 20||Furious Counterstrike, Steely Resolve 5

18th|Crusader 2|
+18|
+17|
+4|
+4|Ride 21|Extra Rage|Indomitable Soul

19th|Crusader 3|
+19|
+17|
+5|
+5|Ride 22||Zealous Surge

20th|Crusader 4|
+20|
+18|
+5|
+5|Ride 23||Steely Resolve 10[/table]

Crusader Maneuvers and Stances:

Initiator Level 12
Leading the Charge Stance - Allies +12 damage on a charge
Douse the Flames - Helps the mount hit the target
Battle Leader's Charge
White Raven Tactics
War Leader's Charge

Pick up other maneuvers and another stance to taste, avoid stone dragon


Useful Equipment and Kitchen:

Mounted Fury: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/re/20031125a
Whirling Frenzy Barbarian: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/classFeatureVariants.htm
Lion Totem Barbarian - Complete Champion
Adapting, Vexing Flanker - PHB II
Crusader - Tome of Battle

Recommended Equipment:
Exotic Military Saddle
MW Tool of Ride
+ Ride magical Item
Rhino Hide Armor
Valorous Lance
Retributive Amulet
Wand of Lion's Charge for the mount

Private-Prinny
2011-09-18, 06:08 PM
You know what, I'm not even going to try to beat this guy's intro.

The Toymaker, CE Human Fighter 2/Duskblade 3/Tactical Soldier 10/Effigy Master 5

''My name is Talky Tina and I'm going to kill you."


http://paizo.com/image/content/CouncilOfThieves/PZO9027-EvilDolls.jpg
Story
Glinka sat on her porch carefully whittling away at a small doll. The town was bustling with activity, villagers cheerfully walked around bustling about their daily activities. But a trained observer would have noticed something odd, something wrong about the mechanical and jagged way they moved. They weren't human, they weren't even alive.

Glinka finished making the little girl and told it to go play, the toy mechanically got up and ran off to play in a rigid mechanical fashion. ''Well, that's finished'', Glinka said to no one in particular. She had certainly showed them, showed everyone in the town, showed the people, showed her parents. Her father was also a toymaker, but he couldn't make his toys live, and he gave them away. Glinka didn't need to make toys for other people, after all they already had friends.

Her father had thought she was crazy when she treasured the toys, when she preferred to play with toys than with other children, well who was crazy now... Who was crazy now indeed...
She had worked as hired muscle for a mercenary band while apprenticed to her father, so that she could make ends meet without having to sell any of her friends.

She remembered the unpleasantness of mercenary work. She didn't mind the fighting and killing, but the talking, the people all around. That was simply too much. She could hardly remember the first day when it happened. She was working on a small toy, when some of her small magic left her and the toy woke up. Shortly thereafter she left the mercenary band and began to make her friends come alive.

Now she had returned to village, years later. The villagers were gone, she didn't remember too much about that, or chose not to. Faintly in the back of her head she remembered the screaming and the blood as her creations tore apart the villagers. But no more. Now the village was as good as new, and she had made everyone better, now they were real people and not the fake people they had been before.
Crunch

Attributes
32 point buy
Str: 16
Dex: 12
Con: 16
Int: 14
Wis: 10
Cha: 8
The Build
Glinka, The Toymaker
{table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Bonus Feature

1st|Fighter 1|
+1|
+2|
+0|
+0|Craft (Woodworking): 4 (+4), Sense Motive 2 (+4), Use Magic Device 2 (+4) Knowledge (Arcana) 2 (+4), Spellcraft 2 (+4)|Power Attack, Fighter: Cleave, Human: Apprentice (Craftsman)|Bonus Feat

2nd|Fighter 2|
+2|
+3|
+0|
+0|Craft (Woodworking) 5 (+1), Ride 4 (+4)|Combat Reflexes|Bonus Feat

3rd|Duskblade 1|
+3|
+5|
+0|
+2|Craft (Woodworking) 6 (+1), Spellcraft 4 (+2), Knowledge (Arcana) 4 (+2)|Arcane Disciple (Envy Domain)|Arcane Attunement, Armored Mage (Light)

4th|Duskblade 2|
+4|
+6|
+0|
+3|Craft (Woodworking) 7 (+1), Spellcraft 5 (+1), Knowledge (Arcana) 5 (+1) Ride 7(+3)|None|Combat Casting

5th|Duskblade 3|
+5|
+6|
+1|
+3|Craft (Woodworking) 8 (+1), Ride 8 (+1), Balance 1 (+2), Knowledge (Arcana) 6 (+1)|None|Arcane Channeling

6th|Tactical Soldier 1|
+6/+1|
+8|
+1|
+3|Craft (Woodworking) 9 (+1), Balance 2 (+2), Ride 9 (+1), Jump 1 (+1)|Craft Wondrous Item|Flanker

7th|Tactical Soldier 2|
+7/+2|
+9|
+1|
+3|Craft (Woodworking) 10 (+1), Ride 10 (+1), Balance 3 (+2), Jump 2 (+1)|None|Sidestep

8th|Effigy Master 1|
+7/+2|
+9|
+1|
+5|Craft (Woodworking) 11 (+1), Ride 11 (+2), Balance 4 (+2)|None|Craft Effigy

9th|Effigy Master 2|
+8/+3|
+9|
+1|
+6|Craft (Woodworking) 12 (+1), Ride 12 (+2), Balance 5 (+2)|Practiced Spellcaster (Duskblade)|None

10th|Effigy Master 3|
+8/+3|
+10|
+2|
+6|Craft (Woodworking) 13 (+1), Ride 13 (+2), Spellcraft 6 (+1), Knowledge (Arcana) 7 (+1)|None|Improved Effigy

11th|Effigy Master 4|
+9/+4|
+10|
+2|
+7|Craft (Woodworking) 14 (+1) Ride 14 (+2), Spellcraft 7 (+1), Knowledge (Arcana) 8 (+1) |None|None

12th|Effigy Master 5|
+9/+4|
+10|
+2|
+7|Craft (Woodworking) 15 (+1), Ride 15 (+2), Spellcraft 8 (+1), Knowledge (Arcana) 9 (+1)|Extraordinary Artisan|Effigy Link

13th|Tactical Soldier 3|
+10/+5|
+10|
+3|
+8|Craft (Woodworking) 16 (+1), Ride 16 (+1), Jump 5 (+3)|None|Interpose

14th|Tactical Soldier 4|
+11/+6/+1|
+11|
+3|
+8|Craft (Woodworking) 17 (+1), Ride 17 (+1), Jump 8 (+3)|None|Defensive Shield

15th|Tactical Soldier 5|
+12/+7/+2|
+11|
+3|
+8|Craft (Woodworking) 18 (+1), Ride 18 (+1), Jump 11 (+3)|Mounted Combat|Offensive Strike

16th|Tactical Soldier 6|
+13/+8/+3|
+12|
+4|
+9|Craft (Woodworking) 19 (+1), Ride 19 (+1), Jump 14 (+3)|None|None

17th|Tactical Soldier 7|
+14/+9/+4|
+12|
+4|
+9|Craft (Woodworking) 20 (+1), Ride 20 (+1), Jump 17 (+3)|None|Delayed Cleave

18th|Tactical Soldier 8|
+15/+10/+5|
+12|
+4|
+9|Craft (Woodworking) 21 (+1), Ride 21 (+1), Jump 20 (+3)|Legendary Artisan|Unbalancing Blow

19th|Tactical Soldier 9|
+16/+11/+6/+1|
+12|
+4|
+10|Craft (Woodworking) 22 (+1), Ride 22 (+1), Jump 22 (+2), Sense Motive 3 (+1)|None|None

20th|Tactical Soldier 10|
+17/+12/+7/+2|
+13|
+4|
+10|Craft (Woodworking) 23 (+1), Ride 23 (+1), Jump 23 (+1), Sense Motive 5 (+2)|None|Reciprocal Strike[/table]

Spells
Spells per day
{table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th

1st|-|-|-|-|-|-

2nd|-|-|-|-|-|-

3rd|3|2|-|-|-|-

4th|4|3|-|-|-|-

5th|5|4|-|-|-|-

6th|5|4|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

7th|5|4|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

8th|5|4|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

9th|6|5|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

10th|6|5|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

11th|6|6|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

12th|6|6|5|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

13th|6|6|5|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

14th|6|6|5|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

15th|6|6|5|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

16th|6|6|5|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

17th|6|6|5|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

18th|6|6|5|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

19th|6|6|5|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

20th|6|6|5|-|-|-|-|-|-|-[/table]

Spells Known
{table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th

1st|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

2nd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

3rd|4|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

4th|4|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

5th|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

6th|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

7th|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

8th|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

9th|4|4|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

10th|4|4|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

11th|4|4|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

12th|4|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

13th|4|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

14th|4|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

15th|4|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

16th|4|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

17th|4|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

18th|4|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

19th|4|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

20th|4|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-[/table]
Level By Level Breakdown

Level 1
Tactics
At this level Glinka is a pretty standard fighter. She has reduced cost on metalworking, although this technically does not apply to weapons or armor, it is possible that a favorable DM might see that they do (however that ruling isn't really necessary for this build). She has essentially no other tricks outside of power attack at this point
Build Notes
Glinka has now achieved almost all of the feat prerequisites of Tactical Soldier. She is also moving towards the prerequisites of Effigy master.

Level 5
Tactics
At this point Glinka has some levels of Duskblade. She uses her spells mostly to buff and empower her so that she can fight more effectively. She doesn't have a ton of spells or a ton of tricks and is mostly confined to the whole, approach monster and hit it really hard trick
Build Notes
At level 3, she takes Arcane Disciple (Envy), to do this she must worship Erythnul, which isn't that far-fetched for a warrior character based on envy and toymaking. This does one important thing, explicitly it adds the spell Simulacrum to her spell list (even though she will not be able to cast it). Because it is now on her class list she qualifies for Effigy Master even though she will not get 8th level spells (As simulacrum is 8th level on the Envy domain).

Level 10
Tactics
At this point Glinka has taken several levels of Effigy Master. She is able to construct Effigies of up to 12 HD (9 for her caster level + 3 additional for being an effigy master). At this point she can construct a large construct with significantly less than half her wealth (factoring in the reduced cost). I will be discussing good options for effigies later in the build. At this point since her Effigy is slightly more potent than she is, she falls into a support role, and will for some time, using her Effigy as a tank. At this point she only has enough wealth for a single effigy to be practicable
Build Notes
She has entered both of her prestige classes. At this point she focuses more on her effigies than on her tactical soldier abilities. She is much more powerful than her equivalent melee classes as she brings both herself and a 12 HD monster with various special attacks to the field.

Level 15
Tactics
At this level she really begins to hit her stride. She has reached her maximum hit die of Effigy and begins to craft more than one at a time. With less than half her wealth at this point she can build seven large 16 HD effigies or five huge 16 HD effigies. She can also build medium or smaller effigies for scouting and investigation or to use as alarms or guards. With her effigies she can fly and maintain many sources of movement. Also at this point all her cost reducers have come online. Generally she uses interpose and defensive shield to keep her constructs alive as they are a more significant portion of her damage output than she is. Also she uses the flanking special ability to insure that they are always in a position to take advantage of her adversaries' weak points.
At this point she has all of her cost reduction elements and can focus on more tactical feats. She also should have several rods of repair (although this may not happen). She is now bringing the equivalent of eight or more combatants on the field. Since at this point fighters are just getting their fifth attack she is easily increasing her damage output eightfold (depending on her choice of effigy).

Level 18, Sweet Spot
Tactics
This is her tactical sweet spot. She gains her signature ability, unbalancing blow. At this point it is likely better for her to switch to medium sized effigies, or large ones with special attack options (such as improved grab and trip). Essentially she moves as many of her effigies into range as possible and then performs unbalancing blow. Allowing her effigies to attack, at this point they should, trip, grapple, and rend the poor soul in the center hopefully wiping him out utterly. She also gains mounted combat which she uses to protect her mounted effigy. She can continue to use interpose and the like to protect her effigies, a role which becomes more important as her effigies become relatively weaker. Despite this at this point she can bring twelve huge, fifteen large, or eighteen medium 16 HD effigies into play. Of course her unbalancing blow is not effective against huge or larger opponents, but she can still use her effigies to swarm them, and make a full attack herself.
Build Notes
At this point she really hits her swing. 12-18 allies is more than almost all of the summon monster spells will prepare, and unlike outsiders they are unquestionably under her control. Compared to a fighter she is clearly at a massive advantage. A regular fighter on a full attack at level 18 looks something like this 18/13/8/2, whereas Glinka's full unbalancing attack would look like this: 15/12/12/12/12/12/12/12/12/12/12/12/12/12/12/12 (using large effigies), also her effigies are likely to have high strength modifiers and various special abilities like improved trip, or improved grab which they can use to take on extra damage and weaken the target. Additionally her effigies can make all of their attacks in a round, boosting her damage to even greater numbers. Delayed cleave while a nice ability, requires significant Dex (which is more MAD), and requires you to be fighting hordes of mooks, which is unlikely.

Level 20
Tactics
Not much has changed from level 18. Reciprocal strike is a passive maneuver and thus requires no active focus, although more attacks in the round are nice. Essentially she maintains most of the same tactics except with increasing number of effigies. At this point she can craft 31 medium, 26 large, or 21 huge effigies with less than half her wealth. She is likely to have some combination therein, it is unlikely that she can position that many for an unbalancing strike, barring reach and flight, but in the event that she does it is equally unlikely that anything could
Build Notes
She finishes out the build, gains one kinda poor ability. At this point she is pretty awesome compared to a melee fighter, a fighter has at this point 20 HD and five to roughly ten attacks in a round. Glinka brings up to 516 HD worth of creatures and well over sixty attacks in a round. She also forces adversaries to spread their firepower around, meaning that nukes will be dramatically less effective at stopping her. While she is not a wizard level of earth shattering power, she is certainly a formidable opponent on the field
On making the most of your effigies
Now to get into the nitty gritty of effigy manufacture, obviously you want the most bang for your buck (and HD). Animals tend to be rather power in power to HD, the main thing that you want to look for is having unique natural attacks (and a whole bunch of those), higher than normal attribute scores for their hit dice, and not being too large (mostly for cost, but also for dungeon sizing issues). It would also be wise to make at least a couple effigies to use as mounts (those with unique or unusual movement types).
Template Craziness and Cheese
There is a cheesed out method to the effigy master I probably should mention. As the effigy template does not rely on LA or CR but only HD, templates that affect only HD are generally assumed to be fair game. I would avoid overdoing this as it will quickly lead to unbalance and issues with the build. However I would be remiss in not mentioning this trick with this build. I would recommend no more than two (and possibly no) templates for most average power games. Dragons are a good bet due to their massive number of special attacks (at large, the biggest size you can make they get 1 bite, 2 claws, 2 wings, and 1 tail slap per round, they also tend to have good attributes for their size and hit dice.) Other good options include monsters that can trip or constrict, these generally allow you to limit your enemy's options upon attacking them or make them more vulnerable to attack later.
On cost
Obviously this build is very very WBL dependent. In my examples for number of creatures I avoided spending more than 1/2 wealth by level on effigies. If money is scarcer, the build would likely be further head with more smaller hit-dice creature to fully utilize it's unbalancing strike and special attacks. I took two cost reducing feats, apprentice (craftsman) and extraordinary artisan, which reduce costs by 10 and 25 percent respectively, this should help some, additionally it is possible that you could build your effigies with reduced cost materials, but as this is not explicitly spelled out I did not factor it into the cost of the effigies for the build
Additional Options
Not too much here as you don't want to lose effigy master levels or unbalancing blow. If WBL isn't an issue you can always change the cost reduction feats to mounted combat options. It is possible to include more Duskblade levels if you utilize flaws which would boost your CL and spells by a small margin.
Sources
SRD, Minatures Handbook (SI), PHB 2 (Duskblade class), Complete Arcane (Effigy Master PrC), Eberron Campaign Setting(Extraordinary and Legendary Artisan feats), DMG 2(Apprentice (Craftsman) feat)

Private-Prinny
2011-09-18, 06:10 PM
And in a tradition of strange entries, we have an organization.
Since the tactical soldier PrC is based on group combat, I made a whole organization and its training progression.

Fluffin the farthest east reaches of the Hobgoblin Empire, there is a mountain called Pantheon’s Rock. The mountain is full of magic, and would make any sorcerer there godlike in power. A monastery of warrior-monks was established there to protect the place. They recruit from nearby villages, but some noble’s second sons go there, rather than becoming men-at-arms.
“Me an’ da boyz charged straight up dat hill, and we waz feelin’ pretty good, see, cuz we had a good fifty or more o’ us to dere ten. so we tought “Letz get em, boyz! WAAAAGH!” An we went straight up dat hill, half way up, an met em. Den we stopped. We couldn’t break em. We sent more up, and dey sent em fallin down dead.”
-Orc warlord on the Fifth Assault on Pantheon Rock
Dragon Monastery Soldier
STR 14, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 14, before levels.
{table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

1st|Hobgoblin LA|
-||
-|
-|-|-|-
2nd|Knight 1|
+1|
+0|
+0|
+2|Sense Motive 2, Concentration, rest doesn’t matter|Power Attack|Fighting challenge +1, knight’s challenge, knight’s code
3rd|Fighter 1|
+2|
+2|
+0|
+2|Same|CombatReflexes|-
4th|Knight 2|
+3|
+2|
+0|
+3|Same|Cleave|Mounted Combat, shield block +1
5th|Crusader 1|
+4|
+4|
+0|
+3|Same|-|Furious counterstrike, Steely Resolve 5, Maneuvers
6th|Knight 3|
+5|
+5|
+1|
+3|Same|-|Bulwark of Defence
7th|Marshal 1|
+5|
+7|
+1|
+5|-|Skill Focus Diplomacy, Martial Study(Drain Vitality)|Minor Aura
8th|Marshal 2|
+6|
+8|
+1|
+6|Same|-|Major Aura +1
9th|Tactical Soldier 1|
+7|
+10|
+1|
+6|Same|-|Flanker
10th|Tactical Soldier 2|
+8|
+11|
+1|
+6|Same|Martial Stance(Island of Blades), Sidestep|-
11th|Tactical Soldier 3|
+9|
+11|
+2|
+7|Same|-|Interpose
12th|Tactical Soldier 4|
+10|
+12|
+2|
+7|Same|-|Defensive Shield
13th|Tactical Soldier 5|
+11|
+12|
+2|
+7|Same|Doesn’t really matter, maybe Martial Stance(Assassin’s Stance)|Offensive Strike
14th|Tactical Soldier 6|
+12|
+13|
+3|
+8|Same|-|-
15th|Tactical Soldier 7|
+13|
+13|
+3|
+9|Same|-|Delayed Cleave
16th|Tactical Soldier 8|
+14|
+14|
+3|
+9|Same|It really doesn’t matter|Unbalancing Blow
17th|Tactical Soldier 9|
+15|
+14|
+4|
+10|Same|-|-
18th|Tactical Soldier 10|
+16|
+15|
+4|
+10|Same|-|Reciprocal Strike
19th|Warblade 1|
+17|
+17|
+4|
+10|Same|Doesn’t matter|Maneuvers, Battle Clarity, Weapon Aptitude
20th|Warblade 2|
+18|
+18|
+4|
+10|Same|-|Uncanny Dodge[/table]


Level by level crunch and fluffLV5:Fluff:They start out by learning the basics on formation fighting and strategy, much to the chagrin of the generally very enthusiastic young initiates, who want to learn the flashy moves right away. When the basics are complete, they throw themselves into the techniques with fanatical excitement and devotion

Crunch:They start with Knight for the d12 hit dice, and hop into fighter for the prereqs. The crusader was a bit early, but I wanted a bit of hitting power before LV 6, and Crusader nets me Iron Guards Glare, and access to some nice stuff from White Raven. If LA counts for the 2 levels equals an effective level for maneuvers, then you can nab some of the sweet level 2 stuff. Mostly, at this level, they’re gonna just be a threat through numbers, not much else. Their equipment is going to be chainmail, a tower shield, and a short sword.

LV10: Fluff: The initiates proceed to master some defensive arts, but mostly practice leading and group work. They then rise in the ranks and are a full-fledged member of the monastery, and learn how to sap the opponent’s strength with a swing of their sword, and to manipulate the opponent, to flank them from ways that seem impossible.

Crunch:The knight finally gave me bulwark, which I believe makes me immune to charges, as you can’t charge over rough terrain, I think. Marshal was a weak choice, I admit, especially at this level, but I really like the fluff. I also really like Drain Vitality, and it is needed for some nasty stuff later in the build. Finally, if my reading is right, they can declare an adjacent space, and then Island of Blades makes anyone next to an enemy next to that space flanking.

LV15: Fluff: The students, having achieved the rank of a master, have learned how to control the tide of a battle, to take advantage of openings allies make, and how to take advantage of any drop in guard from an opponent

Crunch:With all the flanking action going on here, Island of blades and the flanker rule, I figured sneak attack sounds nice. Delayed Cleave is also nice, so, basically, these guys can swing twice with AoOs, then smack a dude a couple times, cleave onto someone else, and when that guy dies, swing again.

LV20:Fluff:The true masters of the arts, these soldiers have learned how to strike through armor, create openings for their allies, and even throw off the effects of enchantments.

Crunch:Dang, I’m running out of good lines or descriptions for these guys. Either way, I thought that it felt right to go all the way, even if it would have been better to jump out before some dead levels. Oh, well. So, I put Warblade on the end because I thought giving them a bit of oomph might help seperate them from the rest of the melee wimps. Feats really don’t matter at the end. I figure each guy might now different maneuvers, but I would make it look something like Steel Wind, Iron Heart Surge, and Sapphire Nightmare Blade. It is fairly flexible though.


Gear:These guys, at least the front, will have a tower shield and a short sword. If the Harlequins qualify, they are generally the second rank, so it doesn’t matter, but if not, the second rank has long spears and short sword side arms, and might carry a Tower shields, depending.

For magical gear, it would be nice for belts of magnificence, but to be honest, these are soldiers of an organization, so they might not be so lucky. Basically, any stat-boosters other than dexterity are great, and magic gear in general is not bad. This isn’t an item-dependent build.

Private-Prinny
2011-09-18, 06:12 PM
WARNING: Beware of Dog
Rowana, Lord of the Wolves

Image
http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll278/Dumbledore13A/not_real_by_aditya777-d469hve.jpg

Fluff
Raised in the forest by a small tribe of shifters, Rowana slowly realized that she did not belong amongst these people, she didn't understand the way that society worked, with all the deception and the insanity that comes with social structures. So she ran away.

She ran off into the forest where no one else cared to follow. She was adept at surviving in the wild, having been trained to for her entire life. So she hunted and killed and lived as an animal for many years, but eventually began to respect the things she hunted, and developed a bond with one specific wolf, the leader of a large pack.

She also developed a bond with the wolf's mate, a much smaller but still potent wolf. She trained in combat with these wolves adapting her particular aggressive style to a much more defensive one more in line with the pack mentality of wolves.

The Build


Stats with Point Buy and Racial
16 Str, 16 Dex, 14 Con, 10 Int, 14 Wis, 6 Cha

At level 20:

18 Str, 16 Dex, 16 Con, 10 Int, 15 Wis, 6 Cha

TN Ranger 5/Beast Master 5/Tactical Soldier 10

{table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

1st|Shifter Ranger 1|
+1|
+2|
+3|
+0|Climb 2 ranks (+7), Handle Animal 4 ranks (+5), Jump 2 ranks, (+7), Listen 2 ranks (+4), Knowledge (Arcana) 2 ranks (CC, +2), Knowledge (Nature) 4 ranks (+4), Spot 2 ranks (+4),Survival 4 ranks (+6)|Skill Focus (Handle Animal), Track (Bonus)| Favored Enemy +2 (Arcanists), Wild Empathy (Wis based)

2nd|Ranger 2|
+2|
+3|
+3|
+0|Handle Animal 1 rank (+6), Listen 1 rank (+5), Knowledge (Arcana) ½ rank (CC, +2), Knowledge (Nature) 1 rank (+5), Spot 1 rank (+5), Survival 1 Rank (+7)|Rapid Shot (Bonus)|-

3rd|Ranger 3|
+3|
+3|
+3|
+1| Handle Animal 1 rank (+7), Listen 1 rank (+6), Knowledge (Arcana) ½ rank (CC, +3), Knowledge (Nature) 1 rank (+6), Spot 1 rank (+6), Survival 1 Rank (+8)|Power Attack, Endurance (Bonus)|-

4th|Shifter Ranger 4 (Champion of the Wild)|
+4|
+4|
+4|
+1| Handle Animal 1 rank (+8), Listen 1 rank (+7), Knowledge (Arcana) ½ rank (CC, +3), Knowledge (Nature) 1 rank (+7), Spot 1 rank (+7), Survival 1 Rank (+9)|Point Blank Shot (Bonus)|Animal Companion

5th|Ranger 5|
+5|
+4|
+4|
+1|Sk Handle Animal 1 rank (+9), Knowledge (Arcana) ½ rank (CC, +4), Knowledge (Nature) 1 rank (+8), Sense Motive 1 Rank (CC, +3), Survival 1 Rank (+10)|-|Favored Enemy +4 (Arcanists), Favored Enemy +2 (Magical Beast)

6th|Beastmaster 1|
+6/+1|
+6|
+6|
+1|Handle Animal 1 Rank (+10), Sense Motive 1 Rank (CC, +4), Survival 1 Rank (+11)|Cleave|-

7th|Beastmaster 2|
+7/+2|
+7|
+7|
+1|Climb 1 Rank (+8), Handle Animal 1 Rank (+11), Knowledge (Nature) 1 rank (+9), Survival 1 Rank (+12)|Alertness (Bonus)|-

8th|Beastmaster 3|
+8/+3|
+7|
+7|
+2|Climb 1 Rank (+10), Handle Animal 1 Rank (+12), Listen 1 Rank (+10), Spot 1 Rank (+10)|-|Speak With Animals 1/day

9th|Beastmaster 4|
+9/+4|
+8|
+8|
+2|Handle Animal 1 Rank (+13), Listen 1 Rank (+11), Spot 1 Rank (+11), Survival 1 Rank (+13)|Combat Reflexes|Extra Animal Companion

10th|Tactical Soldier 1|
+10/+5|
+10|
+8|
+3|Climb 1 Rank (+11), Handle Animal 1 Rank (+14)|-|Flanker

11th|Tactical Soldier 2|
+11/+6/+1|
+11|
+8|
+3|Climb 1 Rank (+12), Handle Animal 1 Rank (+15)|Sidestep (Bonus, see below)|-

12th|Tactical Soldier 3|
+12/+7/+2|
+11|
+9|
+3|Climb 1 Rank (+13), Handle Animal 1 Rank (+16)|Natural Bond|Interpose

13th|Tactical Soldier 4|
+13/+8/+3|
+12|
+9|
+3|Climb 1 Rank (+13), Handle Animal 1 Rank (+16)|-|Defensive Shield

14th|Tactical Soldier 5|
+14/+9/+4|
+12|
+9|
+3|Climb 1 Rank (+14), Handle Animal 1 Rank (+17)|-|Offensive Strike

15th|Tactical Soldier 6|
+15/+10/+5|
+13|
+10|
+4|Climb 1 Rank (+15), Handle Animal 1 Rank (+18)|Razorclaw Elite|-

16th|Tactical Soldier 7|
+16/+11/+6/+1|
+13|
+10|
+4|Climb 1 Rank (+16), Handle Animal 1 Rank (+19)|-|Delayed Cleave

17th|Beastmaster 5|
+17/+12/+7/+2|
+13|
+10|
+4|Climb 1 Rank (+17), Handle Animal 1 Rank (+20), Knowledge (Nature) 1 Rank (+9), Survival 1 Rank (+14)|-|Low-Light Vision

18th|Tactical Soldier 8|
+18/+13/+8/+3|
+14|
+10|
+4|Climb 1 Rank (+17), Handle Animal 1 Rank (+21)|Shifter Instincts|Unbalancing Blow

19th|Tactical Soldier 9|
+19/+14/+9/+4|
+14|
+11|
+5|Climb 1 Rank (+18), Handle Animal 1 Rank (+22)|-|-

20th|Tactical Soldier 10|
+20/+15/+10/+5|
+15|
+11|
+5|Climb 1 Rank (+19), Handle Animal 1 Rank (+23)|-|Reciprocal Strike[/table]

Use of Secret Ingredient
Yes, the build does not enter Tactical Soldier until level 10, but that's because it only really adds anything once we have a decent couple of animal companions. The best place to enter it would be with only one level of Beastmaster, than to sprinkle some more in at good intervals, but unfortunately that would require more feats than this build has, a perpetual problem. Tactical Soldier adds some useful abilities, notably flanker and interpose at the early levels and delayed cleave at the later. The flanker will add some much needed bonuses to his animal companions, and interpose will allow him to protect his weak animal companion, the one gained from the fourth level ability of Beastmaster.

As for why tactical soldier instead of any other prestige class, well it's one of the very few prestige classes based off of teamwork, and offers some very useful abilities. You also gain heavy armor proficiency so if you want to you can stay decked out in some full plate, though you lose your dex bonus, so it's really either way. You might gain sidestep too, which is a very nice bonus feat if you don't have to meet prerequisites, though RAW says you do, and you don't, so you might not have it.

Level By Level Breakdown
You're pretty much a standard ranger, with a huge load of bonus feats that don't actually add that much for the first 5 levels, but once Beastmaster comes online your animal companion becomes the same as a druid, and continues that way for quite a while, which combined with tactical soldier makes you a decent force even without a party.

5th Level
You're a standard ranger, focused on smashing stuff with a greatsword, or using a composite bow for anyone you can't reach. You have the added trick of when shaping you grant your wolf companion claws and more strength because of the Shaper substitution level.

10th Level
You now have quite a few Beastmaster levels so have a full level companion, and can use Handle Animal to acquire more helpers if the situation warrants it. You can also flank with these companions, and should have some good HP with 5d8s and 5d10s. Same basic strategy for combat, run in and attack your opponent with a greatsword, in important fights use shifting to grant you can companions claws, and your wolf will probably be tripping now.

12th Level
This is the sweet spot of the build, hopefully natural bond works for both animal companions, it could be argued it works either way, but if not you will have to be using your intervene ability a lot more for your second companion. But you have one full animal companion, either a dire wolf or a buffed up wolf, both will work.

15th Level
Now you have most of the useful abilities from Tactical Soldier, though there are a couple more useful ones like delayed cleave still to come. Your animal companion is only a couple levels below most, and you have some useful abilities to both protect them and yourself.

20th Level
All done, you can have a dire bear companion if you'd like now, though a buffed up dire wolf will still be useful, and would fit the character better. You've got a couple of useful abilities to work with your allies and have a bunch of hp so you can be a decent tank or scout.


Sources

Complete Adventurer: Beast Master, Natural Bond
Races of Eberron: Shifter, Shifter Feats, Shifter Racial Sub
Complete Champion:Champion of the Wild Ranger ACF
Minature's Handbook: Tactical Soldier
Player's handbook: Everything Else

Private-Prinny
2011-09-18, 06:14 PM
This Wall? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_Floyd%E2%80%94The_Wall)
The Wall
Warforged, Lawful Neutral
32 Point Buy
Str 16 Dex 16 Con 16 Int 12 Wis 8 Cha 6
All stat points to Str

Campaign notes
At the beginning of the Last War, an elite unit of warforged was created with the goal of leading others into combat. These units were to represent the highest levels of commitment to the cause of justice and protection of those who could not protect themselves. They were taught to fight together as a unit, many working as one.

Early in the campaign, this unit worked as planned. They were able to head into areas and situations that others had no hope of emerging from. For a time they laid waste to many of the opposition’s plans. Such actions were not without consequence; the enemy became more aware of the unit’s existence and took action to put a stop to them.

Laying a cunning trap, the enemy ambushed and destroyed all but one member of the unit. The remaining survivor limped its way back to friendly territory, where it gave a full report to its commanders and was reassigned to a more conventional unit.

During the remaining years of the war, this unit, whose comrades took to calling The Wall (due to his implacable nature), focused inward instead of outward. After witnessing so much death and tragedy, The Wall determined that attachments, like those to his old unit, were a weakness that could not be tolerated. The Wall became more withdrawn, more machine-like, as the war went on.

Finally the war ended and The Wall was discharged. Without anywhere to go, he took odd jobs as hired muscle to pass the time and still be able to crush some skulls. After a while, a group of adventurers noticed his prowess and hired him on to their company.

In the days since, The Wall managed to reclaim a small measure of attachment; it actually cared about his comrades for the first time in quite a while.


The Build
{table=head]Level|Class|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Skills|Feats|Class Features

1st|Crusader|
+1|
+2|
+0|
+0|Balance 4 Intimidate 4 Jump 4 Craft(armorsmithing) 4 Sense Motive 2|Adamantine Body|Furious Counterstrike, Steely Resolve 5

2nd|Fighter|
+2|
+4|
+0|
+0|Intimidate 1 Jump 1 Craft(armorsmithing) 1|Combat Reflexes|Bonus Feat

3th|Fighter|
+3|
+5|
+0|
+0|Balance 1 Intimidate 1 Jump 1 Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Ride 1|Power Attack, Cleave|Bonus Feat

4th|Crusader|
+4|
+6|
+0|
+0|Balance 1 Intimidate 1 Jump 1 Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Ride 1||Indominatable Strike

5rd|Crusader|
+5|
+6|
+1|
+1|Balance 1 Intimidate 1 Jump 1 Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Ride 1||Zealous Surge

6th|Tactical Soldier|
+6|
+8|
+1|
+1|Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Intimidate 1 Jump 1|Percise Swing|Flanker

7th|Tactical Soldier|
+7|
+9|
+1|
+1|Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Intimidate 1 Jump 1||Sidestep

8th|Tactical Soldier|
+8|
+9|
+2|
+2|Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Intimidate 1 Jump 1||Interpose

9th|Tactical Soldier|
+9|
+10|
+2|
+2|Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Intimidate 1 Jump 1|Improved Bull Rush|Defensive Shield

10th|Warforged Juggernaut|
+9|
+12|
+2|
+2|Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Intimidate 1 Jump 1||Armor spikes 1d6, Expert bull rush, Powerful charge, Reserved

11th|Warforged Juggernaut|
+10|
+13|
+2|
+2|Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Intimidate 1 Jump 1||Charge bonus +1, Construct perfection 1, Extended charge

12th|Tactical Soldier|
+11|
+13|
+2|
+2|Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Jump 1 Intimidate 1|Martial Stance (Thicket of Blades)|Offensive strike

13th|Warforged Juggernaut|
+12|
+13|
+3|
+3|Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Jump 1 Intimidate 1||Construct perfection 2, Healing immunity, Superior bull rush

14th|Warforged Juggernaut|
+13|
+14|
+3|
+3|Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Jump 1 Intimidate 1||Armor spikes 1d8, Charge bonus +2, Construct perfection 3

15th|Warforged Juggernaut|
+13|
+14|
+3|
+3|Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Jump 1 Intimidate 1|Robilar’s Gambit|Construct perfection 4, Greater powerful charge

16th|Tactical Soldier|
+14|
+15|
+4|
+4|Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Jump 1 Intimidate 1||

17th|Tactical Soldier|
+15|
+16|
+4|
+4|Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Jump 1 Intimidate 1||Delayed cleave

18th|Tactical Soldier|
+16|
+17|
+4|
+4|Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Jump 1 Intimidate 1|Deft Opportunist|Unbalancing blow

19th|Tactical Soldier|
+17|
+17|
+5|
+5|Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Jump 1 Intimidate 1||

20th|Tactical Soldier|
+18|
+18|
+5|
+5|Craft(armorsmithing) 1 Jump 1 Intimidate 1||Reciprocal strike[/table]

{table=head]Level|Maneuvers|Stance

1|Crusader’s Strike, Charging Minotaur, Stone Bones, Vanguard Strike, Douse the Flames|Martial Spirit
4||Iron Guard’s Glare
5|Mountain Hammer[/table]

General notes
This build focuses on subtle battlefield tactics to get the most out of tactical soldier. The weapon of choice is any type of martial reach weapon, such as a glaive (the particular weapon does not matter as much, so glaive is selected for damage). Tactical soldier gives many options involving attacks of opportunity, the best of which involve taking a five foot step after each attack to keep opponents at a distance and the ability to threaten while five feet away.

Warforged, along with warforged juggernaut, were chosen to take advantage with bull rushing and offensive strike. Warforged juggernaut makes you immune to extra damage from criticals, as well as many types of spells, taking most of the pain out of the ability’s drawbacks. Some spells may still hit home, but for the most part you’ll be okay. This gives a free +4 to attack and damage, or more of the time, with power attack, a straight +12 to damage per hit.



Gear
No specific gear is required for this build, besides a reach weapon. A battlefist is nice to pump slam damage, and standard melee gear like anklets of translocation are helpful, but not required. Gloves of the balanced hand do help, to combine your primary weapon with armor spikes for additional damage.


Levels:
1-5This particular build is great in that it has two sweet spots; first and twelfth level. At first level, this character is basically as sturdy as any character can be. The adamantine body absorbs 2 points of damage, and crusader lets you heal 2 points of hp anytime you hit something. You’ve got a reach weapon, which gives attacks of opportunity, or your slam if the enemy closes the gap. Stone bones grants you extra damage reduction as needed, and Crusader’s strike can provide extra healing if needed.

Through level 5 you add more to the package, getting additional attacks of opportunity from combat reflexes and more damage from power attack. Iron guard’s glare helps give your allies a boost (and is part of where The Wall’s name comes from).

6-9Four levels of Tactical Solider provide a number of options to this build. Flanker is a great ability that will let you provide a flank even at reach, simply by designating the spot directly infront of you. Sidestep allows you to take a 5 foot step any time you get an attack of opportunity, meaning you can constantly reposition yourself on the battle field.

Interpose will let you take hits for a comrade, but defensive shield, when combined with Iron guard’s glare, provides an effective +6 armor class to two adjacent allies. In addition, precise swing lets you ignore cover, except total cover. That means you can actually stand behind your allies, attack their target, and still provide the AC boost, as a kind of behind/in front wall.

10-15We take a two level break from tactical soldier to get a few levels of Warforged juggernaut. The ability we’re really looking for there is construct perfection 1, which prevents extra damage on critical hits. Another level of tactical soldier gives us offensive strike, which provides +4 damage and attack in exchange for every hit threatening and all saves failing. Warforged Juggernaut makes us immune to extra crit damage, and the next three levels also give us immunity to many of the worst kind of spells, meaning we can use offensive strike almost all the time. The preferred method is to drop the +4 attack into power attack, give +12 damage instead.

Besides immunities, Warforged juggernaut also ramps up charging damage and bull rush capability. While the charging could be better, combining with offensive strike gets a +8 to attack, and 2d6+4 to damage. The +8 attack can easily be power attacked, giving an extra 2d6+20 damage. Not uber-charger levels, but respectable for a build focused on attacks of opportunity.

At 12 and15 we get other nice ability for attacks of opportunity, Thicket of Blades and Robilar’s gambit. This is the second sweet spot of the build. Thicket of Blades, combined with sidestep, means that many foes will never be able to attack you, as each time they close to attack, you get an attack of opportunity you can move back with. Robilar’s gambit invites attacks, especially if we need them to move around the field.

16-20The last levels of tactical soldier provide more attack options. Delayed cleave provides for additional attacks, unbalancing strike helps provide additional damage on a single target, and reciprocal strike acts as a counter balance to Robilar’s gambit; no matter who they attack, their target gets to swing back. The feat at 18th level is really open, but since most of your attacks will be attacks of opportunity, deft opportunist makes sense, adding and extra +4 to attacks (that will usually be power attacked away)

Sources
3.5 SRD
Complete Warrior
Ebberon Campaign Setting
Magic Item Compendium
Miniatures Handbook
Tome of Battle

Private-Prinny
2011-09-18, 06:16 PM
And that's all of them. Admittedly, it's more than I expected for such a subpar class. Good luck to all. The judging period has begun.

Ursus the Grim
2011-09-18, 06:19 PM
Well, I'm sure glad I didn't go with either of my ideas. My first was a Beastmaster build, my second using Warforged and Fortification to negate some of the backlash. . . I like them all and best of luck to everybody.

Ditto
2011-09-18, 06:57 PM
I have to throw a vote to Char for honorable mention. Poor Char... the other 'bots make him feel bad. And he's trying so hard!

Private-Prinny
2011-09-18, 06:58 PM
I have to throw a vote to Char for honorable mention. Poor Char... the other 'bots make him feel bad. And he's trying so hard!

Thank you for reminding me about that.

My vote for honorable mention goes to The Toymaker.

Urpriest
2011-09-18, 07:26 PM
My vote for honorable mention goes to Charlie Brown...I mean, Char Sorrel.

Incidentally, one of the builds has a demanding and hostile spellchecker that replaced crit with crate. You may want to discipline that creature.

Sewercop
2011-09-18, 08:11 PM
You did see it was GMT right? So you only have like an hour and thirty minutes till the deadline.

ummmm.. I did not see that. That kinda blows.
Ill check the other entries and see if i would have had a chance at all. ill post my frame if its not same as one of the others.
_____________________________________-
edit:

Nice collection of builds, diversity.I like it.
Feeling kinda frustrated, all i had left was to type up the build. Well, well,,, next time then.

My frame for the comp.

-Dvati, unseelie fey, divine minion.
then adding necropolitan and evolved undead 4 times, And then spell stiching them.
-Marshal 1\master of many forms 3\fiend of possesion 6\tactical soldier 10
(eidoloncer 4, switches out for fiend later)
-Add custom bloodline on top of that. Add on service of elder evils.
-Basicly a charisma monster with loads of feats and options.

Yes, I used dragon magazine compendium. Its optimization after all. It said dragon magazine. I would probably gotten alot of deductions for my choices, but its a build i feel would do good. Besides, i have made my first non caster in d&d 3.5 :) and i have build for the upcomming 3.5 group

Lateral
2011-09-18, 08:27 PM
Wow. Those are some pretty epic builds- they totally crushed my idea.

Ah, well, maybe next time.

OMG PONIES
2011-09-18, 09:44 PM
Good stuff as always! I'll read more in-depth tomorrow, but I'm glad I didn't submit my second build, as it was nearly identical to another.

Which one, of course, will have to wait until the end...

Hecuba
2011-09-18, 09:44 PM
Just gave the builds a 1st looking over. Very nice. If my week goes as planned, I should be able to look over the nighty-gritty Tuesday and/or Wednesday to do my judging.

shaddy_24
2011-09-18, 10:14 PM
Ah, someone else took my idea. What came to mind for me was using Necropolitan to gain immunity to most of the problems from Offensive Strike, but I didn't know what to do with the rest of the build. I thought of getting large size and/or reach with combat reflexes to support allies over a larger area of the battlefield. Couldn't think of anything really cool or unique to fill it in, everyone here has much more interesting things then I'd thought up.

Thurbane
2011-09-18, 10:49 PM
Nice builds. I just couldn't come up with anything that wasn't pretty boring...I concentrated on a Loxo Fighter 2/Tactical Soldier 10/Exotic Weapon Master 1 - using a spiked chain and large size to maximize AoO. Loxo was one of the few large races I could find that didn't take a hit to Dex. 5 Monstrous Humanoid hit dice and LA +2 hurt, but I could still hit BAB 18 and all 10 levels of Tactical Soldier. It was too feat starved, though, and apart from Stand Still abuse, not particularly effective. The fluff was as a clan defender and bodyguard to the chieftain.

Zaq
2011-09-18, 11:25 PM
Lateral, was your idea by any chance Rogue 10/Tactical Soldier 10, abusing Opportunist? You mentioned having 5d6 sneak attack, and I had to both laugh and cringe, because that's what I had planned. I'm glad I swapped that out at the last second.

That said, I've seen several mistakes in my own build, as well as quite a few tactics I forgot to mention. I was seriously rushing at the end, and I got very sloppy. While I'm not saying which one my build was, I can only hope that the judges are merciful, though I honestly don't expect much.

Talbot
2011-09-18, 11:42 PM
If you end up needing an extra judge, shoot me a PM. I had to drop last time I volunteered due to time constraints, but I just read (and enjoyed) all the builds in an effort to distract myself from a terrible pro-wrestling PPV, so I'd be happy to help if needed.

Kefkafreak
2011-09-19, 01:47 AM
This was my build, which I didn't submit because it's too generic and I expected someone else to use a similar build.

It basically abused Venomfire with two fleshrakers / whatever to destroy enemies.

Name

{table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

1st|Druid 1|
+0|
+2|
+0|
+2|Concentration 4, Handle Animal 4, Survival 4, Sense Motive 2 |Power Attack, Cleave|Animal Companion, Nature Sense, Wild Empathy

2nd|Druid 2|
+1|
+3|
+0|
+3|Concentration +1, Handle Animal +1, Survival +1, Knowledge (nature) 1||Woodland Stride

3rd|Druid 3|
+2|
+3|
+1|
+3|Concentration +1, Handle Animal +1, Survival +1, Knowledge (nature) +1|Combat Reflexes|Trackless Step

4th|Druid 4|
+3|
+4|
+1|
+4|Concentration +1, Handle Animal +1, Survival +1, Knowledge (nature) +1||Resist Nature's Lure

5th|Druid 5|
+3|
+4|
+1|
+4|Concentration +1, Handle Animal +1, Survival +1, Knowledge (nature) +1||Wild Shape 1/day

6th|Druid 6|
+4|
+5|
+2|
+5|Concentration +1, Handle Animal +1, Survival +1, Knowledge (nature) +1|Natural Spell|Wild Shape 2/day

7th|Druid 7|
+5|
+5|
+2|
+5|Concentration +1, Handle Animal +1, Survival +1, Knowledge (nature) +1||Wild Shape 3/day

8th|Tactical Soldier 1|
+6/+1|
+7|
+2|
+5|Concentration +1, Ride+1||Flanker

9th|Tactical Soldier 2|
+7/+2|
+8|
+2|
+5|Concentration +1, Ride+1|Wild Cohort|Sidestep

10th|Tactical Soldier 3|
+8/+3|
+8|
+3|
+6|Concentration +1, Ride+1||Interpose

11th|Tactical Soldier 4|
+9/+4|
+9|
+3|
+6|Concentration +1, Ride+1||Defensive Shield

12th|Tactical Soldier 5|
+10/+5|
+9|
+3|
+6|Concentration +1, Ride+1|Natural Bond|Offensive Strike

13th|Tactical Soldier 6|
+11/+6/+1|
+10|
+4|
+7|Concentration +1, Ride+1||

14th|Tactical Soldier 7|
+12/+7/+2|
+10|
+4|
+7|Concentration +1, Ride+1||Delayed Cleave

15th|Tactical Soldier 8|
+13/+8/+3|
+11|
+4|
+7|Concentration +1, Ride+1|Expert Tactician|Unbalancing Blow

16th|Tactical Soldier 9|
+14/+9/+4|
+11|
+5|
+8|Concentration +1, Ride+1||

17th|Tactical Soldier 10|
+15/+10/+5|
+12|
+5|
+8|Concentration +1, Ride+1||Reciprocal Strike

18th|Druid 8|
+16/+11/+6/+1|
+13|
+5|
+9|Concentration +1, Handle Animal +1, Survival +1, Knowledge (nature) 1|Companion Spellbond|Wild Shape (Large)

19th|Druid 9|
+16/+11/+6/+1|
+13|
+6|
+9|Concentration +1, Handle Animal +1, Survival +1, Knowledge (nature) 1||

20th|Druid 10|
+17/+12/+7/+2|
+14|
+6|
+10|Concentration +1, Handle Animal +1, Survival +1, Knowledge (nature) 1||Venom Immunity[/table]

Darrin
2011-09-19, 09:51 AM
No Dvati builds?!?!? Dagnabbit... should have submitted, although my idea was basically pair up with Devoted Defender, which I think Char has done quite well already. (Are Dvati even allowed in IC? I know Dragon Compendium generally is, but... the rules headaches would be fairly extensive).


Ah, someone else took my idea. What came to mind for me was using Necropolitan to gain immunity to most of the problems from Offensive Strike, but I didn't know what to do with the rest of the build.


I had a similar idea, although it involved the Immortal Fortitude stance, but the only way I could think of to get it with 10 levels of Tactical Soldier was to use Ruby Knight Vindicator as a capstone: Crusader 9/TacSoldier 10/RKV 1. But it involved some Sun domain shenanigans that (assuming it survives a ruling inquiry) I may use in a future competition.

My other idea was the Dvati could "swap" whoever was using Offensive Strike that round, and if the Offensive twin was getting reamed that round, his Defensive twin could swap in to take the hit(s).

Amphetryon
2011-09-19, 10:24 AM
(Are Dvati even allowed in IC? I know Dragon Compendium generally is, but... the rules headaches would be fairly extensive).Yep, but you'll probably want to be VERY clear in your build explanation, and accept that at least one judge will deduct for obscurity and/or cheese.

Sewercop
2011-09-19, 12:25 PM
The build i missed to send in was a dvati.