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codexgigas
2008-07-06, 03:47 PM
For an upcoming campaign, I've decided to play a gish, something I've never done before. I've got a basic set-up, but I'd like some help. I'm not sure about my feat choices, especially my Fighter bonus feats. Combat Casting and Still Spell are PrC requirements. I'm pretty set on my classes, and my DM discourages PrC dipping, so the build really should only have one or two dips. I'm gaining spellcasting as a Focused Transmuter banning Necromancy, Illusion, and Evocation (I'm open to changing one or more of my banned schools). My stats were generated by rolling 4d6, dropping the lowest, and re-rolling ones. Anyway, here's the general idea.

Race: Human
Stats:
STR 12
DEX 15 (16)
CON 14
INT 18 (22)
WIS 13
CHA 7

1 Swashbuckler 1 (EWP: Elven Thinblade, Spellcasting Prodigy, Weapon Finesse)
2 Swashbuckler 2
3 Focused Transmuter 1 (Combat Casting, Scribe Scroll)
4 Swashbuckler 3 +1 Dex
5 Fighter 1 (Improved Initiative?)
6 Fighter 2 (Improved Toughness?, ?)
7 Abjurant Champion 1
8 Abjurant Champion 2 +1 Int
9 Abjurant Champion 3 (Still Spell)
10 Abjurant Champion 4
11 Abjurant Champion 5
12 Knight Phantom 1 (Minor Shapeshift) +1 Int
13 Knight Phantom 2
14 Knight Phantom 3
15 Knight Phantom 4 (Battle Caster?)
16 Knight Phantom 5 +1 Int
17 Knight Phantom 6
18 Knight Phantom 7 (?)
19 Knight Phantom 8
20 Knight Phantom 9 +1 Int

On the plus side, the build has almost full BAB and can eventually cast in Mithral Fullplate with no ASF. However, I max out at 7th level spells and those only kick in at level 20. I like the Int-synergy between Swashbuckler and Wizard, so I'd rather not change that. As far as spells go, I'm planning on focusing on buffs and save-or-sucks, since I'm going to have good spell DCs.

mikeejimbo
2008-07-06, 04:02 PM
I liked the look of Abjurant Champion when I saw it. I'm not sure how effective it actually is in game, having never played it, but I think it's a good choice.

Frost
2008-07-06, 05:57 PM
Abjurant Champion is great, the mistake you are making is trying to get full BAB, and taking any levels in Swashbuckler.

Their is no int synergy with Swashbuckler, you get less extra damage then you would from buff spells.

At the very least drop a level of Fighter and pick up one of Wizard, you lose a feat (big deal) and gain a spellcasting level. You keep the same BAB.

expirement10K14
2008-07-06, 06:26 PM
Swashbuckler is useless unless you use one of the daring feats from Complete Scoundrel (I believe). Try dropping those for something else, wizard or a different melee class would probably be best.

ShneekeyTheLost
2008-07-06, 07:07 PM
Ya know, I was about to go on a huge rant about how worthless Swashbuckler is, then decided against it. Really, it's your build. Play it how you like. It's about the most sub-optimal gish build I've ever seen, but hey, if you have fun with it, then that is what is important.

codexgigas
2008-07-06, 08:05 PM
It really would be more helpful if I was given alternatives to my choices instead of being told that they were sub-par. I'm aware that playing a gish (as opposed to a straight wizard) is a sub-par choice. I don't personally see how swapping out my Swashbuckler levels for Fighter levels would help, since Fighters are generally considered to be one of the worst classes in core. I could go for a Paladin/Sorcerer combo of some sort, but I can't find a way to get both four iterative attacks and 9th level spells.

Dropping both Fighter level and a Knight Phantom level in this build and replacing them with Wizard levels will net me an 18 BAB bonus and casting as a 17th level Wizard (which means 9th level spells). I don't see how this makes the final level of Abjurant Champion worth it, so I might swap that out for another Knight Phantom level (although that will only grant me a +1 to CL).

What I'm looking for are constructive comments to help me make an efficient gish. I thought that Int to damage on top of buffs would be helpful, since combined with weapon finesse, it means that I only need two high stats.

JeminiZero
2008-07-06, 08:28 PM
Try: 1 Fighter / 2 Wizard / 3 Human Paragon / 1 Spellsword / 5 Abjurant Champion / 8 EK or KP

@ Level 20

BAB: 1 + 1 + 2 + 5 + 1 +8 = 18

Caster Level: 2 + 2 + 5 + 1 + 7 = 17

Eldariel
2008-07-06, 08:37 PM
You should maximize your casting side. It basically comes down to this:

Every level of Wizard still gets BAB. Every level of Fighter gets 0 casting. Because of this conundrum, for a build that wants large both, it's always more beneficial to take Wizard than Fighter. Of course, you need one level of a combatant class to qualify, and the feat doesn't hurt either. So Fighter 1/Wizard 4-6/rest.


I suggest:
Fighter 1/Wizard 6/Spellsword 1/Abjurant Champion 5/Eldritch Knight Rest


This gets 9th level spells a bit earlier and gets the handy bonus feat/ACF of Wizard. Alternatively, enter Eldritch Knight ASAP to take less Wizard-level overall; that seems unnecessary though. This build loses only 3 points of BAB, so you end the game with the plentiful BAB of 17. The extra-level of casting is way better than the extra point of BAB.

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2008-07-06, 10:44 PM
I wouldn't recommend taking Illusion as a prohibited school, it gets spells like Displacement, Bladeweave, and especially Superior Invisibility. Evocation, Necromancy, and Enchantment would be better to lose.

Try using the Fighter Feat Wizard variant (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#wizard) from UA and in the SRD. That gets you a Fighter bonus feat at Wizard 1, 5, 10, 15, and 20 instead of the usual Wizard bonus feats and Scribe Scroll. Going Fighter 1/ Wizard 6/ etc. with that gives you more usable bonus feats than starting out Fighter 2/ Wizard 4/ etc.

If you use a native outsider as your base race, such as the +0 LA Aasimar or Tiefling (http://wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/sp/20040213a) (which you never have to spend a level (http://wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/sp/20030824a) to gain the LA for), you'll get proficiency in all martial weapons as a racial trait due to the outsider creature type. That will allow you to use something like Wizard 6/ Eldritch Knight 2/ Abjurant Champion 5/ EK 7, or pick up a level of Dragon Slayer for the armor proficiencies to qualify for Spellsword, which you can take up to five levels of and still have 9th level spells by level 20.

A build like Fighter 2/ Wizard 4/ Spellsword 1/ Incantatrix 4/ Abjurant Champion 5/ Eldritch Knight 4 gets a +16 BAB and 17th level spellcasting at level 20. Use Metamagic Effect with Persistent Spell for buffs like Wraithstrike, Bladeweave, Displacement, Shield, even take Arcane Disciple for the Destiny domain to get Persistent Choose Destiny. If you can't use Incantatrix you can substitute any other prestige class that gets full spellcasting, but there aren't many choices that would be worth such an early hit to your BAB and HP.

Good feats to use would be Power Attack, Leap Attack, Arcane Strike, Extend Spell, Persistent Spell, Metamagic School Focus, Practiced Spellcaster, and Improved Toughness. Item creation feats like Craft Magic Arms and Armor or Craft Wondrous Item could also be useful if purchasing or commissioning specific magic items isn't an option. Get a Spell Storing weapon and a Lesser Metamagic Rod of Maximize to put something like Vampiric Touch, Sound Lance, or Shivering Touch into it between fights.

mikeejimbo
2008-07-06, 11:12 PM
Alternatively, if you want to be both a melee fighter and a spellcaster, play a Cleric.

Or a Druid, but I'm better with Clerics.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-07-06, 11:24 PM
Alternatively, if you want to be both a melee fighter and a spellcaster, play a Cleric.

Or a Druid, but I'm better with Clerics.I've always been partial to Duskblades. It's a Blaster Caster Gish, and still good up till level 10.

Chronos
2008-07-06, 11:31 PM
Note that the OP said that his DM discourages PrC dipping. So the single levels in Spellsword or Dragonslayer that folks are suggesting probably won't meet his requirements.


Dropping both Fighter level and a Knight Phantom level in this build and replacing them with Wizard levels will net me an 18 BAB bonus and casting as a 17th level WizardThere's no reason to drop any Knight Phantom levels: If you're taking one, you might as well take them all, since it gets full BAB and (for every level except the first) spell advancement.

Frost
2008-07-06, 11:50 PM
You want options? Wizard 4/Human Paragon 3/Spellsword 1/Abjurant 5/EK (or Knight Phantom) 7.

Casting: 18/BAB 17.

Why? Because, you aren't ever going to be level 20, so having one more CL at every level is better then having one more iterative attack at 1 level out of every 6.

Ultimately this comes down to one question though. Polymorph in or out?

If it's in, you can just play Wizard 20 for all that it matters, and Wizard 5/Incantatrix 5/Archmage 5 to get easier persists of your buffs.

If it isn't, focus on Str and Int, that's it. Beat things with a gish spell list (look one up, bottom line Heroism/Heroics/Wraithstrike/Create Magic Tattoo/Girillion's Blessing/whatever.)

Ecalsneerg
2008-07-07, 06:48 AM
I've always been partial to Duskblades. It's a Blaster Caster Gish, and still good up till level 10.

No, the crowning glory comes at level 13 when you can use one touch spell on everything you can hit with a full attack.

Now to fit that in a Dervish build...

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2008-07-07, 01:29 PM
No, the crowning glory comes at level 13 when you can use one touch spell on everything you can hit with a full attack.

Now to fit that in a Dervish build...

Forget Dervish, go Bard 1/ Duskblade 13/ Sublime Chord 3 and use a Spiked Chain with Whirlwind Attack and Otto's Irresistible Dance.

Signmaker
2008-07-07, 02:20 PM
No, the crowning glory comes at level 13 when you can use one touch spell on everything you can hit with a full attack.

Now to fit that in a Dervish build...

Please consult Kurald's signature for a gestalt Duskblade build: Will, the Whippomancer.

kladams707
2008-07-07, 02:56 PM
Well no matter what, a Gish build will usually be sub-optimal until later levels (when prcs become available), and of course they'll never be full casters/fighters, though you can get it right.

However, I thought I'd weigh in b/c I have a similar idea for a defensive/precision type Abjurant champion. I would replace the swashbucklers with fighter/wizard levels. And you can still play the defensive fighter. Like others have said, it's better not to ban illusion. Especially w/ displacement and invisibility and the likes at your hand. For instance, you might want to consider a spring attack(feat)/mirror image combo. This way you can move five feet through the images, strike, and move through again. Of course this might be considered more for flavor and imaginaton while wasting three feats.

With that being said, play what you want and have fun with it.

HOVA
2008-07-07, 05:43 PM
I could go for a Paladin/Sorcerer combo of some sort, but I can't find a way to get both four iterative attacks and 9th level spells.

I had the same issue when I was trying to make a "sorcadin" gish... but I did figure one out. I don't know if it will work in your campaign, but here's my build:

Paladin 2/ Sorcerer 4/ Spellsword 1/ Abj Champ 5/ Sacred Exorcist 8

This gets you to 16 BAB and 18 CL and works really well with arcane strike @ 9th level.

I've never had an opportunity to play it myself, but it's on my list to try out.

Good luck and have fun playing whatever you decide!

Deepblue706
2008-07-07, 07:44 PM
One of my favorite Gish builds is as follows:

Human Fighter 1/Wizard 5/Eldritch Knight 2/Spellsword 1/Abjurant Champion 5/Eldritch Knight 6.

BAB of 17, CL of 18.

Taking the stats you rolled, I'd arrange them thusly:

STR 13
DEX 15
CON 14
INT 18
WIS 12
CHA 7

Feats I Like To Use:

1: Power Attack
H: Improved Bull Rush
1F: Improved Initiative
2W: Scribe Scroll
3: Cleave
6: Combat Casting
6W: Still Spell
7EK: Shock Trooper
9: Arcane Strike
12: Quicken Spell
15: Empower Spell
18: Maximize Spell

Of course, you don't have very high HP, so you shouldn't try to use all of your combat abilities at every turn. However, you should be rather good at support and one-on-one fights. With your magic, you shouldn't have too much trouble shaping the battlefield, which can help block-off, occupy or nullify some enemies so you can swing away at others with less fear of flankers.

For your arcane magic, specialize, because you'll have few spells per day, and specialization grants you that +1 to your chosen school. Just don't get rid of Abjuration (obviously), Transmutation or Conjuration. Losing any school sucks, but these will hurt you more (all have decent buffs and other useful spells). I recommend dropping enchantment (or illusion) and evocation. Enchantment has Heroism, which is great for a number of reasons, but Illusion has Invisibility, Displacement, Shadow Evocation and Simulacrum - so I think I would sooner drop the former.

ShneekeyTheLost
2008-07-07, 07:55 PM
Options:

1) Fighter2/Wiz(of whatever specialist)4/SpellSword1/AbChamp5/PK8

BAB=18
CL=18
Full iterative attack progression, 9th level spells.

2) Pal2/Sorc4/Spellsword1/AbChamp5/Sacred Exorcist8

BAB: 16
CL: 18

You not only get full iterative attack and 9th level spells, but also get your casting stat to all your saves. Oh yes, if you REALLY want to 'cheese' off your GM, use the turn attempts from SE to fuel DMM. The nice way to do this is to DMM Chain buffs (like Mind Blank, GMW, and the like). The 'gouda' way is DMM Persist Foresight, which is a win-button for every encounter. Another use is to combo you blowing a turn attempt on Sacred Boost just before the cleric drops some healing down. Pretty much, you want to get a feat to do something with it, because you're never going to be able to use it otherwise.

The Mormegil
2008-07-08, 11:38 AM
Ok, now: many people got their 2 cp on the (probably) best gish build you can make. Anyway, I'm adding a few for fun and for variety. Remember, though, that casting>bab and that what you're looking for is a way to persist your buffs in order to maximize your melee effectiveness.

Here are some builds:

Battle Sorcerer 4/Paladin 2/Spellsword 1/Abjurant Champion 5/Sacred Exorcist 8
Battle Sorcerer 6/Swiftblade 10 (most broken PrC ever, in WotC's archive... don't play this)/Abjurant Champion 5
Dread Necromancer 4/Fighter 2/Spellsword 1/Abjurant Champion 5/Phantom Knight 8
*insert wizard build here, add Arcane Disciple: War for Divine Power and Persist it*
Wizard 5/Warblade 1/JPM 10/Abjurant Champion 5

Person_Man
2008-07-08, 12:06 PM
Here's another crazy option - you can be a Paladin 20 or Ranger 20. (Or Class/PrC, using any PrC that fully progresses spellcasting). Take Sword of the Arcane Order from Champions of Valor. This feat allows you to use your Paladin and Ranger spell slots to prepare Wizard spells.

Obviously, this is less powerful then anything with access to higher level spells. But you get an ok gish with no multi-classing or PrC. You can share spells with your mount or companion. You get full BAB and hit points. You can swap out dead/suboptimal levels for alternate class features (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=967118) (Wildshape Ranger!). Paladins and Rangers have excellent spells on their own lists in the splat books. Paladin can take Battle Blessing from Complete Champion, which turns all of your Standard Action spells into Swift Actions. Ranger can PrC into Stalker of Kharash without losing caster levels for Favored Enemy (Evil) - which is very helpful when combined with Favored Power Attack, Nemesis, and Wise to your Ways.

Again, I fully stipulate that this is weaker then any full caster. This build is for people who want to play as your standard meat shield or striker, but with some ok spells to buff themselves with occasionally.

ShneekeyTheLost
2008-07-08, 07:18 PM
I know a lot of people like Battle Sorcerer, but I find it sub-par. You loose an extra spell per spell level known. That's pretty steep cost for 3/4 BAB. I'm not even going to bother mentioning casting in light armor since it's pointless anyways. As has been mentioned before, Mirror Image > AC. Besides, Mithral Chain Shirt+ PK or SpellSword = no ASF anyways.

If you want to go for the gouda:

Wizard/Incantatrix/Archmage

Feats required: Arcane Disciple (War), Persist (and prerequsites), and Chain Spell

The Cheese Explained:

Incantatrix can be used to make a spellcraft check to use a metamagic feat without applying extra spell levels. Persist Divine Power. You now have full BAB. Persist Greater Mirror Image. You now have regenerating images, so you've got a 12.5% chance of even having to worry about any given attack that suceeds in hitting you. That's generally better than armor can do anyways. Now, just to really piss off your GM, Arcane Reach + Chain Spell + Magic Vestments/Greater Magic Weapon/Mind Blank. Everyone has +5 equipment and are immune to mind-affecting save-or-loose effects.

Effect: +20 BAB, CL of 20, and all the cheeze implied in a typical Batman Incantatrix build. The only way this could get worse would be to toss in Initiate of the Sevenfold Cheeze.

Chronos
2008-07-08, 08:13 PM
The wizard arcane disciple builds do suffer from a couple of drawbacks, though... First, if your Divine Power (and other persisted domain buffs) ever gets dispelled, you'll have a hard time putting it back up again, since you can only cast those spells once per day. Second, you'll be rather short on HP, compared to a standard warrior or gish.

But if you really want to lay on the cheese, take the Competition domain instead of War, which gets you both Divine Power and Righteous Might. If size is an issue, for fitting into dungeons and the like, then put a Reduce Person on top of the Righteous Might, then dismiss it whenever you want to be large and in charge.

By the way, is there a limit on the number of times per day that the Incantatrix can pull off that free metamagic thing? Because if you can make a spellcraft DC once, you can probably make it all day long.

Frost
2008-07-08, 09:25 PM
By the way, is there a limit on the number of times per day that the Incantatrix can pull off that free metamagic thing? Because if you can make a spellcraft DC once, you can probably make it all day long.

Yes, the limit is 3+ Int mod. So you are looking at somewhere between 10-20 times a day, depending on if it's right when you get it, or much later, and of course your level of optimization.

expirement10K14
2008-07-08, 09:49 PM
Yes, the limit is 3+ Int mod. So you are looking at somewhere between 10-20 times a day, depending on if it's right when you get it, or much later, and of course your level of optimization.

I would really like to see you get a +17 modifier to intelligence, that's a 44.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-07-08, 11:21 PM
I would really like to see you get a +17 modifier to intelligence, that's a 44.18(start)+2(Grey Elf)+3(Venerable)+6(Enhancement)+5(Levels)+5(Tome) =39

Huh. I still need a +5. Maybe take Lich when you hit 20. Anyone have another +5 they can add that doesn't have LA?

Frost
2008-07-08, 11:38 PM
18(start)+2(Grey Elf)+3(Venerable)+6(Enhancement)+5(Levels)+5(Tome) =39

Huh. I still need a +5. Maybe take Lich when you hit 20. Anyone have another +5 they can add that doesn't have LA?

No, but I was generalizing it, because the low was 10, and 10-17 sounds a little weirder.

Chronos
2008-07-09, 12:48 PM
Huh. I still need a +5. Maybe take Lich when you hit 20. Anyone have another +5 they can add that doesn't have LA?If you're Gestalt, you could toss in Elf Paragon (+2) and Chameleon (+6). Or you could do just Elf Paragon, in a normal game, at the cost of one casting level (probably not worth it).