View Full Version : Dual-wielding midlevel villain

2012-03-15, 07:13 AM
For my current campaign, I've decided to have a quartet of NPC recurring villains who will wander in and out of the campaign providing an occasional threat/concern to the heroes, sort of like the Linear Guild. I'm so devastatingly original. Unlike the Linear Guild I'm not going to have them actively oppose the heroes for quite some time yet, just appear at cross-purposes every now and then to mess things up. For this reason they can be a few levels higher than the PCs, who are currently on the verge of level 7.

For added geek value, I based three of them on Sawyer, Shenhua, and Rotton the Wizard from Black Lagoon. For those who haven't seen the show; Rotton is a longcoated poser of a gunman who never gets to open fire because he spends to much time making speeches, Sawyer is an expressionless Goth girl with severe throat damage and a large chainsaw, and Shenhua is an accomplished twin-knife fighter who dresses like a high-class speciality escort. All fairly normal.

D & D stuff.

The fourth member of the group, "Grog the Environmentalist", is a Barbarian 2/Cleric 7 (TN). Grog talk like Thog, but has adequate Wis. Grog left his tribe to pursue Clerical career, worshiping elemental forces of existence proven by empirical observation. His domain are Fire and Weather.

Sawyer is a Rogue 3/Barbarian 7, since she has that whole axe-murderer vibe going. She has a boatload of flaws (for starters, an ugly jagged scar where her vocal cords used to be) and bonus feats, but is essentially a simple Greataxe-wielding killer. An easy build to make.

Rotton is a Swashbuckler 1/Sorceror 7 (because making him an actual wizard would be too easy). Fairly straightforward except that he has to make saves against speechifying.

Shenhua is bothering me a little. I've given myself 11 levels to play with here, and so far I've got her at fighter 6/tempest 5. She fights with +1 returning throwing axes (supposed to be Kukris, but the game version of Kukris can't be thrown). Thanks to considerable strength and weapons specialisation she gets +9 damage on each hand. And has next to no skill points.

That's what's bothering me. She's supposed to be a sneaky, stealthy, acrobatic killer using two-weapon fighting, but as a Fighter, she just doesn't get the skills to be this. She could do it as a Ranger, but then she loses weapon specialization and becomes less of an actual threat (and one of her Tempest class abilities becomes useless). As a Rogue or Scout (who would lose Weapons Spec but gain Sneak attack/skirmish), she loses too much BAB and can't get the full Tempest benefits within the level allowance (it was the 2-weapon spring attack I needed). As a Barbarian (which wouldn't fit the concept anyway) she wouldn't get enough feats and still would miss out on +2 damage.

I'm not too unhappy with what I've got, but I kept thinking that she'd do a lot better given her stats if she'd just stay away from 2-weapon fighting and picked up a longaxe or something.

So, given that 18, 16, 16, 14, 10, 10 are the stats, and given I just have the core books plus CArcane, CDivine, Cadventurer, and CWarrior, and given that I'm stuck with using throwing axes as main armament, can anyone suggest a better?

Averis Vol
2012-03-15, 07:26 AM
you can use cross class skills and items to compensate for her lack of actual ranks. grab the boots of elvenkind, the cloak of elvenkind (or better, a piwafwi) maybe some shadowed armor....yea that should be just fine for a substitution of the real thing. i could suggest guerilla warrior from the book of war or using the warrior class instead of fighter, gets you better skills, perfect BaB, selective class abilities like evasion, a fighters proficiencies and a d10 HD but those are all from books you didn't list sadly :smallyuk:

Elric VIII
2012-03-15, 07:46 AM
Have you considered a Feat Rogue/Warblade/Bloodstorm Blade? Rogue gets you the feats like Fighter and the skills for stealth. Warblade gets you some nice TWF boosts like Wolf Fang Strike, Sudden Leap, Steel Wind, Punishing Stance, and Blood in the Water (and is better than pretty much anything Tempest can do). Then Bloodstorm Blade will allow you to throw and retrieve your Kukris as melee attacks.

EDIT: Just realized that Warblade (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20060802a&page=2) is online, but Bloodstorm Blade isn't. You can find maneuvers here (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20061225a). There is also a feat in CW called Throw Anything that you can use to throw Kukris.

2012-03-15, 09:13 AM
The Thug variant (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#fighterVariantThug) of Fighter is a bit more skillful, just swap two of the new class skills with Hide and Move Silently as they would be more suited to that particular character's background.

2012-03-15, 09:40 AM
Assuming you are fairly set on both tempest and weapon specialization (which I understand, I actually like both despite being horribly unoptimal), the easiest way I can see to boost some power would be to drop two levels of fighter for barbarian. Use the whirling frenzy variant, and you've got a guy who gets extra strength/damage as well as extra attacks. As a bonus he gets a couple extra skill points to boot.

2012-03-16, 01:57 AM
Thanks for all the responses!

I'd missed Throw Anything. Problem is it doesn't turn the weapon into a "ranged" weapon, so you can't enchant it as a returning weapon, which is pretty core to the concept.

Using items to boost skills. Good idea. I had her down for +5 leather armour (for some silly reason). Change it to +3 shadowed Mithral shirt and she saves enough WBL for the boots.

Warblade seems very....manufactured.

Thug is a VERY good call. She can lose the armour proficiencies (she'll never be in anything heavier than M. Shirt) and a single feat. Put that 14 into INT and she gets 7 skill per level, enough to get Hide and MS through cross-class. The Thug skills work perfectly as well.

Barbarian levels...nice but I don't want 3 people in the group with those. Rotton might think it's a game and join in.

2012-03-16, 02:17 AM
Stormguard Warrior TWF-users make fun NPCs. When 3 or 4 windup hits land, players panic. Warblade is typically the best base, but if it's too "manufactured" or whathaveyou, you could toss it onto some sort of Fighter build. It would take a lot more work to move and attack, though (but that's a given).

2012-03-16, 02:20 AM
A Daring Outlaw build with a Swordsage dip at 9 for Shadow Blade and Assassin's Stance makes for a horrifying TWFer, and if she's human, you can give her Able Learner so she can keep most of the Rogue utility goodies as well. I dunno if you're looking for that level of optimization though. This will also require her to use daggers or short swords.

Edit: Looks something like this:

Human Rogue 3/Swashbuckler 5/Swordage 1/Swashbuckler X

Feats (in order):

Able Learner
Two-Weapon Fighting
Weapon Finesse (Swashbuckler Bonus)
Daring Outlaw
Shadow Blade
Improved TWF (Since this comes a bit late, you may want to give her a pair of Gloves of the Balanced Hand out of MIC)
Greater TWF


- Sneak Attack of 6d6+9 at level 9, with an additional 1d6 at every odd Swashbuckler level and +1 per character level (included in the 6d6+9).
- Dex to attack and damage.
- Not as MAD as a Str-based TWFer.
- Able Learner essentially makes all Rogue class skills Swashbuckler class skills, so essentially it's a Rogue on a d10 Hit Die with full BAB.
- Swordsage Maneuvers allows for options when a full attack is impractical or sneak attack is not set up.

Edit the second: Whoops, totally didn't see the book limitations there. Still, I recommend the above.

2012-03-16, 03:08 AM
She needs to be sneaky, two weapon fighting and throwing things? Have a look at my halfling dagger thrower here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=12853792&postcount=1).

Since you have not so many books, how about this:
Halfling Thug Fighter 6/Master Thrower 5 (CWar p58)
1 - weapon focus (lvl1)
2 - weapon finesse (bonus)
3 - two-weapon fighting (lvl 3)
4 - weapon specialization (bonus)
5 -
6 - precise shot (bonus), point blank shot (lvl6)
7 - quick draw (bonus), palm throw (trick)
8 - evasion (bonus)
9 - another trick you like (trick), rapid shot (lvl9)
10 - Snatch Arrows (bonus)
11 - Improved Critical, Weak Spot (trick)

18 dex and str dump stat

You have full BAB, all your thrown daggers are ranged touch attacks, and palm throw doubles each attack, so during a full round attack you are throwing 10 daggers. you can't afford returning, a bag with 50 daggers is much cheaper.

2012-03-16, 06:43 AM
Good stuff. I can't fit everything here within the concept, but I can always make more NPCs. In particular I have a dashing pirate captain in mind whose build I'm not happy with, so that's a shoe-in for that Rogue/Swashbucker Daring Outlaw build.

The problem with the sneak attack-based ideas, as well as the daggerthrower, is something that rhymes with "Fresh Gorems". Somebody in the current adventure seems to like using them as elite mooks.

I can keep the basic thug/tempest build and work in Able Learner as long as I keep her Human (which I am. I think the PCs might notice if the person they're chatting with changed races in the middle of a conversation). So that should help with sneaky stuff.