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Benejeseret
2007-07-20, 05:50 PM
Greetings

I am prepping my character for an upcoming game and could use some quick input into expanding my character....my current conception I am worried may be a one trick wonder.

Character: a whisper gnome ranger (up to six) and beastmaster (if he lives to be past lvl6 through the campaigns)

This grey little cave dweller is the smallest of the small, a lightweight even for a gnome. Being a whisper gnome he is definately not cheery, but has this irrisistable dream to fly. Growing up in a cave community the flying creatures he grew up watching and wishing he could join were the bats and dire bats overhead. He will have a druid-type mentality for preserving flying creatures habitats and will try to make all caverns eco-bat-friendly.

Class: Starting Ranger with the Mounted Combat varient for combat style (gets ride-by at lvl2 and spirited charge lvl6). Starts with favoured enemy vermin. Lvl 1 feat will be handle animals skill focus (needed later on and helps with training along the way).

By level 6 he will get spirited charge and likely Natural Bond to bring his animal companion up to speed. Next level goes Beastmaster and his companion starts getting very nasty.

Animal Companion: starts with a riding dog (not companion but just a mount) that was his dog throughout childhood. In the early levels he will however take every oppertunity he gets to fly. By level 6 he will have a Dire Bat as a companion which he rider as a mount into combat. Secondary beastmaster companions will be a swarm of bats (birthed by his dire bat?).

Strategy: Charges, ride-by/fly-by charges with a lance (1d6 because small) but x3 due to charge (x9 on crit). Here is where I am worried as my conception relies 1) on a flight path on a large creature and 2)on able to do a nasty, nasty charge. May even dip into the flight feats from RotW to get him a +2d6 to +3d6 damage on diving charges. The bat swarm follows and acts as flanker to the main charge, harrasses casters and generally annoys those without high damage reductions.

Beastmaster will get me more companions who will likely be classic. medium, terrestial mounts for when confined in tunnels.

So how do I branch out? How do I get a well rounded approach that is not toast if not mounted? Please note, the very core concept relies and in fact demands being mounted and flying whenever possible. Roleplaying is not the issue as I have much backstory and hooks that I will not flush out here unless someone needs some further.

Looking for feats, magic items, or other classes to concider adding in to round out his portfolio.

Darrin
2007-07-21, 12:04 AM
Strategy: Charges, ride-by/fly-by charges with a lance (1d6 because small) but x3 due to charge (x9 on crit). Here is where I am worried as my conception relies 1) on a flight path on a large creature and 2)on able to do a nasty, nasty charge. May even dip into the flight feats from RotW to get him a +2d6 to +3d6 damage on diving charges. The bat swarm follows and acts as flanker to the main charge, harrasses casters and generally annoys those without high damage reductions.


If you have a chance to advance the smaller bats, get them Fly-By-Attack ASAP. This allows them to take any standard action (not just an attack) in the middle of their move, which allows each of them to "Aid Another" for a +2 cumulative bonus on an attack roll (DC 10). Crank up a nice attack bonus for the big bat, and let Power Attack and a charge multiplier do the rest.

Benejeseret
2007-07-21, 05:40 AM
*smacks forehead*

I completely forgot about Power Attack...yes that would fit very well as the strategy you were thinking with the multi-animal Aid Another is exactly what I was thinking.

Alveanerle
2007-07-21, 06:04 AM
Fine idea, just some corrections:
- on critical hits you'd do x5 damage, not x9 (the multipliers add, not multiply. Each "multiplier X" is treated as "add X-1 additional dice plus corresponding nonvariable bonuses")
- if you mean "swarm of bats" literal, as a "swarm" subtype, then swarms do not flank.

Stephen_E
2007-07-21, 08:04 AM
See if your DM will allow you to have a "young" Dire Bat. 2HD and reduced pyhisical stats. This would get you through 4th and 5th lev, with it reaching adulthood at 6th lev. Also try to get your GM to treat your Ranger levels as -3 for companion advancement, rather than 1/2.

Feats for Dire Bat - Flyby Attack and Great Flyby Attack (Savage Species). Allow your Dire Bat to take a move action in a straight line, and attack a number of targets on that line = to Bats Dex mod.:smallbiggrin:
Another trick is Dodge, Mobility, Elusive Target. Depending on how your DM rules it, your Dire Bat can fly around attracting AoOs and been missed becasue of it's insane AC and getting free trip attacks back. The main danger is if they attack you rather than your Mount.

If your DM allows access to Eberron material their's something called a Horrid Dire Bat. Basically Ebberon has a template that can be appied to Dire animals. Adds +3 to the alternative animal Companion penalties, but worth it.
Basically +5AC, +1d6 acid bite per 4HD, +4 Con, Bonus feat - Improved Natural attack, and some little stuff.

Remember to buy an Exotic riding saddle with straps to hold you on if go unconcious (I got knocked of my Dire Bat once when 40' up. Within an inch of death thanks to very low falling damage).

Dire Bats are good flyers. This means they can hover and fly in reverse. A Wand of Reduce animal is also good. With those you can probably take it into most indoor situations. If your Whisper Gnome is really small and light and keeps his weight load down you can possibly fly it even when it's reduced to "M" size.

If the campaign went a long way you could look at becoming a Paladin and taking Devoted Tracker feat (comp Advent) and Leadership, applying it to Special Mount/Animal Companion making it a cohort.

Otherwise you might look at Wild Plains Outrider (Comp advent). A 3 lev class that give you companion advancement and a full melee attack after your mount takes a single move action, as well as increasing your mounts base speed and having your companion use your skill ranks for making Hide and Move Silently checks. You'll have all the prereqs. Ride ranks, Mounted Combat, Track and an Animal Companion. Tough prereqs eh. :smallbiggrin:

Other equipment. Wands, lots of them. There are a lot of useful Ranger spells which you'll never be able to cast, or won't have the slots, but that are on your list.

Have fun.

Stephen

PS. DnD minis has a nice Dire Bat mini.

Indon
2007-07-21, 08:47 AM
- on critical hits you'd do x5 damage, not x9 (the multipliers add, not multiply. Each "multiplier X" is treated as "add X-1 additional dice plus corresponding nonvariable bonuses")


Are you sure? I know multipliers try very hard to do that, but they don't always.

For example, it seems to me an Empowered Scorching Ray that deals a critical hit would deal 8D6 damage x 1.5, for an effective multiplier of x5 (1x2x1.5), because the multipliers come from different sources.

Benejeseret
2007-07-21, 08:55 AM
Thanks for the rules correction Alveanerle (even if it makes me weaker, pooh)

I hadn't thought of asking for a 'young' dire bat. Nor had I even heard of Greater Flyby...that sounds exactly like what I was envisioning for the bat. I was also debating about the possibility of Horrid if allowed, but was leaning more towards Warbeast training template as I could train it myself and it would only loose one HD that way but have +2Str/+3Con and the ability to wear armour (looses out one one 'rank' increase on the companion advancement table. (I am so light I have extra weight to add barding due to higher strength).

As for the secondary bats, if young bats are allowed I may go that way but was also pondering the possibility of a true swarm.

But, with swarms it would gain HD etc...but is there a way to raise its swarm damage? 1d6 won't do much in the far future when against high CR critters.
With the HD increase the DC of their nauseate goes up and may remain useful.

Can a swarm move into a square (causing the 1d6 swarm damage) and then as a standard action perform Aid Another?

Bene

P.S. definitely not going Paladin. What do those out there think of dipping into rogue (whisper gnome favoured class) or Scout preferably (maybe DM will allow Scout as my favoured class due to similarity to rogue and more appropriate for my fluff) to gain the +1d6 or more skirmish damage to boost all the charges I will be doing. May then consider Highland Stalker as a prc.

Stephen_E
2007-07-21, 09:42 AM
Where does the warbeast training template come from?

Stephen

Benejeseret
2007-07-21, 12:45 PM
Warbeast
(trained to carry a rider, use
armor, be faster & tougher,
etc.)
(MM2 p219)
(3.5up p37)+

Can be applied to any
Animal or Vermin
of Medium-size or
greater
HD +1. Str +3, Con +3, Wis +2, CR +1
+1 Racial bonus on Listen & Spot checks.
+10í to land movement.
+2 Circumstance bonus on its riderís Ride checks (Animals only).
Proficient with Light, Medium, & Heavy Armor (Animals only).
Requires a Handle Animal check to train a creature (typical DC is
20 + HD & takes 2 months).

I got this from the online template pdf from crystal keep

Basically with the +1CR the druid/ranger/beastmaster cannot take the animal until the next level on the alternative animals list.

ie. dire bat is dr-3. Warbeast dire bat is dr-6

So you loose +2hd, one str/dex, one or two natural armour and progression of druid animal feats (evasion/devotion)

But gain all as above so only 1HD missed, gain 2 strength, 3 con, 2 wis, bonuses movement and ride skills and the armour proficiency so barding can be added.

Bene

Alveanerle
2007-07-21, 06:34 PM
Thanks for the rules correction Alveanerle (even if it makes me weaker, pooh)


Be my guest :smallcool:



What do those out there think of dipping into rogue (whisper gnome favoured class) or Scout preferably (maybe DM will allow Scout as my favoured class due to similarity to rogue and more appropriate for my fluff) to gain the +1d6 or more skirmish damage to boost all the charges I will be doing. May then consider Highland Stalker as a prc.

It seems that skirmish damage applies only when scout moves by himself, not when his mount moves with scout atop it. I don't recall just where i did see such ruling, but i'm pretty sure it is stated somewhere.

cupkeyk
2007-07-21, 06:42 PM
Which book is the mounted combat variant ranger from? It will shirley kick *ss for halfling outriders.

Medium Flying mounts include the Dire Hawk and the Desmodu Hunting Bat. The Dire Hawk even appears in the compiled animal companions in PHB2, it originally appears in RotW, avaialble at level 4 to them wingy flying things and 7 to halflings and gnome who can certainly use them to better effect.

You are aware that a Halfling outrider can full attack on a charging mount at level 8 right? That's three times more blood bukake lance action right there.

Stephen_E
2007-07-21, 07:01 PM
Medium Flying mounts include the Dire Hawk and the Desmodu Hunting Bat. The Dire Hawk even appears in the compiled animal companions in PHB2, it originally appears in RotW, avaialble at level 4 to them wingy flying things and 7 to halflings and gnome who can certainly use them to better effect.

You are aware that a Halfling outrider can full attack on a charging mount at level 8 right? That's three times more blood bukake lance action right there.

Keep in mind that if the Dire Hawk is anything like the standard hawk, it's only an average flyer, so it can't hover or fly backwards. Both very useful abilities when dungeon crawling.

You've misread Halfling outrider. It specifically states that they CAN"T charge and make a full attack. The Wildling outrider on the otherhand has a very similiar class ability at 3rd lev (and has easier entry requirements) but doesn't specifically ban the ability to charge and make a full attack. It does say your mount can only take a single move, so it's up to whether your DM will let you claim a charge for a distance of < or = to a single move fufills this. Dodgy, but it's better than the outright ban the other mounted prestige classes give.

Stephen

Darrin
2007-07-21, 07:39 PM
You've misread Halfling outrider. It specifically states that they CAN"T charge and make a full attack. The Wildling outrider on the otherhand has a very similiar class ability at 3rd lev (and has easier entry requirements) but doesn't specifically ban the ability to charge and make a full attack.

Isn't there a halfling build out there that buffs up a mount/companion into "obscene" territory? Could it be used here?

Stephen_E
2007-07-21, 08:26 PM
Isn't there a halfling build out there that buffs up a mount/companion into "obscene" territory? Could it be used here?

I think you're thinking of the Halfling Outrider class.

It's not bad. I wouldn't call it obscene, and it has no spellcasting advancement, which given that it's 10 levels, and the 3 classes that it's designed to have feed into it are all casters to some degree, is a bit of a pain.

The biggest "Oh my God that's obscene" depends on your interpretation of the para/sentance - Halfling Outrider class levels stack with paladin, druid and ranger levels for determining the characteristics of a paladin's mount or an animal companion".

If you interpret this to mean that a Druid 1/Ranger 1/Paladin 5/Halfling Outrider 10 counts as a Druid 11/Ranger 11/Paladin 15 for working out their mount/companion (and these can be combined by a feat) characteristics, then yes, it makes for an uber obscene mount.
A Direbat would have +14 HD, +16 NAC, +7 Str, +4 Dex, 8 Int and a heap of special abilities. This is without taking Natural Bond, 1st lev of Beastmaster or 1 more level of Paladin or a level of Wild Outrider (the special mount is 1 lev short of getting another +2HD advancement).

In that case you'd be looking at a 19th level PC with a mount/animal companion Direbat (to keep the OP theme) with
28HD (base 4HD+24) +27 NAC (base 5 NAC+22) 27 Str (base 17+10) 28 Dex (base 22+6) Int 9 and every special trick they can get, including 2 bite attacks. This is without giving attribute increases per 4HD (it's unclear whether bonus HD give this and thus DMs rule both ways) or buffing/magic items, which can easily bring it's AC into the high 60's.
What the hell, lets take Leadership and make it a cohort (RAW legal) and give it 10 class levels as well. Make them Monk levels and we can get the AC into 70+ before Combat Expertise.:smallbiggrin:

Stephen

AtomicKitKat
2007-07-22, 12:03 AM
The biggest "Oh my God that's obscene" depends on your interpretation of the para/sentance - Halfling Outrider class levels stack with paladin, druid and ranger levels for determining the characteristics of a paladin's mount or an animal companion".

If you interpret this to mean that a Druid 1/Ranger 1/Paladin 5/Halfling Outrider 10 counts as a Druid 11/Ranger 11/Paladin 15 for working out their mount/companion (and these can be combined by a feat) characteristics, then yes, it makes for an uber obscene mount.
A Direbat would have +14 HD, +16 NAC, +7 Str, +4 Dex, 8 Int and a heap of special abilities. This is without taking Natural Bond, 1st lev of Beastmaster or 1 more level of Paladin or a level of Wild Outrider (the special mount is 1 lev short of getting another +2HD advancement).

In that case you'd be looking at a 19th level PC with a mount/animal companion Direbat (to keep the OP theme) with
28HD (base 4HD+24) +27 NAC (base 5 NAC+22) 27 Str (base 17+10) 28 Dex (base 22+6) Int 9 and every special trick they can get, including 2 bite attacks. This is without giving attribute increases per 4HD (it's unclear whether bonus HD give this and thus DMs rule both ways) or buffing/magic items, which can easily bring it's AC into the high 60's.
What the hell, lets take Leadership and make it a cohort (RAW legal) and give it 10 class levels as well. Make them Monk levels and we can get the AC into 70+ before Combat Expertise.:smallbiggrin:

Stephen

Edit: Need to do more checking up.

Alright, so what I can tell is I was thinking of Wildplains Outrider, which explicitly doesn't stack. You'd lose the services of your Animal Companion the moment you took a level of Paladin though(since you change to a prohibited alignment). Either that or lose the Mount once you take a level of Druid(since you're not lawful good).

Also, wouldn't it be incapable of adding class levels for a long time, due to Leadership not letting it be higher than your level-2?

Stephen_E
2007-07-22, 05:52 AM
Edit: Need to do more checking up.

Alright, so what I can tell is I was thinking of Wildplains Outrider, which explicitly doesn't stack. You'd lose the services of your Animal Companion the moment you took a level of Paladin though(since you change to a prohibited alignment). Either that or lose the Mount once you take a level of Druid(since you're not lawful good).

Also, wouldn't it be incapable of adding class levels for a long time, due to Leadership not letting it be higher than your level-2?

Oops, forgot the alignment conflict. You wouldn't lose the animal companion stuff, because the Ranger covers you. Becoming a non-neutral class means you lose your class abilities, but you can argue that adding your Druid levels (and they are still druid levels) for the purpose of calculating the bonuses of your Ranger animal companion is a Ranger class ability, not a Druid class ability. There is also the point that you can "atone". The funny thing about atoning for changing alignment non-magically doesn't specifically require you to change your alignment back. Sure you can't advance because you're the wrong alignment, but you can therectically (using weasal lawyer tactics) regain your lost ability.

Re: Leadership:
Leadership doesn't let your cohort have a level more than 2 less than you. Bonus HD aren't levels. This means that a 19th level PC can have a 17th lev ECL cohort. A Dire bat has 4 levels, +2LA for been a special mount, +1 or +2LA inherent, giving you 9 or 10 class levels.

Stephen

AtomicKitKat
2007-07-22, 09:13 AM
Yeah, I stumbled onto the CO Supermount thread. My lactose intolerance has been acting up the whole day since then.

Edit: That and it really doesn't help my already violent opposition to Halflings on principle(Hi, we're short, but we can jump just as well as you, and not even proportionally!)

Benejeseret
2007-07-22, 09:10 PM
Hmmm...neat, but no supermounts for me please. The idea of scamming paly mount AND druid type companion does not sit well with me. Plus, I am not a halfling, rather a whisper gnome.

Wild plains outrider does hold some appeal, but I will have so see depending on what happens during the campaign. For all I know my little gnomeling will develope into a very different being than I envision now.

Besides, I like the beastmaster feel to things...and 'might' even consider leaving him in a leather thong.

Hey, if chainmail bikinis have the same stats as full body then a leather thong with a two studs on it (to protect the future generations don't you know) is as good as full studded leather.

My hope is to gave a gaggle of animals each trained in a different tactical feat.

One bat swoops in and trips the opponent, the second flies over and sunders its shield and a third grabs and takes off with his weapon.

THEN big momma bat dives in to give it whatfor with a wild little gnome stabbing at its eyes with a two handed Lance.

Bene

Stephen_E
2007-07-23, 12:26 AM
I have a love/hate relationship with the Beastmaster.
Thematically it's a lovely class, and the 1st 2 levels are fine.

The problem is that they screwed the pooch after that.

It's designed for Rangers and Druids to go into, both of which have spellcasting, but has no caster advancement.

It's supposed to make up for it by giving you lots of animal companions, but then makes them so disgustingly weak that they're of very limited use.

It leans to wards a scout feel, but doesn't give Hide or Move Silently as class skills.

Personally I think it should have 7 levels of caster advancement, missing 1st, 2nd and 8th. Losing 3 levels of advancement is painful enough to a full caster that they won't take it as a power build, but not crippling enough that they'recrippling their character, and it keeps the semicasters chugging along.

The additional animal companions should receive at least 1/2 advancement from non-beastmaster levels that give companion advancement (I'd treat Ranger levels as 1/2, not 1/4). With the -3/-6/-9 penalties they receive they still won't be uber powerful, but they will have a bit of durability.

I'd add Hide and Move Silently as class skills.

Stephen

AtomicKitKat
2007-07-24, 11:01 AM
-2 rather than -3 would probably give better results IMO(although then you've literally got a whole pack of animals with you, even if it's just 1 more). Meh. The whole "does not stack with other stuff" clause totally screws it. If they stacked, I'd bet more people would be running around with packs of identical animals though(eg, a pair of Dire Tigers with 1 slightly better than the other, and a pair of Dire Wolves to help Trip, or something), rather than the designer's probably vision of Ron Spencer's Vadania (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/cd_gallery/82295.jpg)

Person_Man
2007-07-24, 11:31 AM
FYI, there's a newer version of the Beastmaster called the Beast Heart Adept (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20070209a&page=4).

Unless you're using a Paladin 5/Beastmaster 1/Halfling Outrider build, the Beast Heart Adept will give you superior companions between ECL 6 through 15. It starts you out with magical beasts, and their HD bonuses scale faster.

It also doesn't require the Animal Companion ability to work correctly, so you can spend your first 5 levels as anything, and not the sub-par Ranger. And more importantly, Monster Empathy is hugely useful since it allows you to use Diplomacy with magical beasts, and the 10th level Monstrous Team-Up capstone ability makes you an AoO nightmare.

After ECL 15 though, a normal Beastmaster build will probably be superior though, because the Beast Heart Adept's levels do not stack with Druid levels to determine the abilities of your companions. So it stops scaling after that point.

AtomicKitKat
2007-07-25, 10:06 AM
I'm personally fond of Talontar Blightlord, plus that Champions of Ruin feat that turns your companion(s) more feral, giving them +2 Str/Con and making them harder to "Handle" by others, and ooh, Arcane Heirophant, plus that Fiend-blooded class. Hooray for Fiendish-Feral-Blightspawned Familiar Companions. Just too bad that would probably require somewhere around 30 levels to really "shine".