View Full Version : Magical Conman

2008-08-24, 08:53 PM
I have this idea for a magical con-man. Basically, the idea is that the character casts spells to make people believe that they have a problem, such as a ghost or monster living in their home or business, or a curse has been placed on them, or something equally bad. Then, my character swoops in and "solves" this problem either by dismissing the spell or casting an opposite spell, thus saving the day and earning coin/treasure/whatevs. However, I'm not entirely certain how to appropriately stat this character. I was going to run what I had by you nice folk (un-nice folk are welcome to contribute as well, just do so in an un-un-nice way) and see if anyone could help me refine the idea.

Starting Level: 8
Starting Gold: 27,000
Stat Buy: 32
Books Available: Core (inc XPH, PHII etc)
Complete series
Races series
Anything else, just ask. (ie, most everything)

Here we go.

Vossryn Osrenic, Human Sorcerer 8
Alignment: Chaotic ----

Human- Mostly for RP reasons, I kind of like to play humans. In this case the schemer/conman seems to work for a human, as an elf probably would be too haughty about magic to use it as parlor tricks to deceive ignorant townsfolk.

Sorcerer- Two main reasons: Bluff as a class skill, and Charisma as a caster stat. This will make the art of deception fairly easy, as the character will inherently push charisma and be skilled at deceiving people into and convincing them of their "problems" via bluff. It will also give the character the ability to bluff various concerns or skepticism away.

Alignment- Here was part of my problem. I wanted to call this character Chaotic Good, mostly because of who he isand isn't willing to con. The character explicitly does not pull these tricks on little old ladies or poor farmers, instead preferring to turn his tricks upon wealthy landowners, tavern owners, and typical people of aristocracy who "make their drakes squeezing the little men and women of the world." The type who own your land and half your crops, then have the gall to tax you. People who will throw an old man out in the rain because he can't afford a room. The character feels it is perfectly acceptable for him to "squeeze them right back." (Granted, specific reports of such villainy aren't necessary, having more money than everyone you know invokes the 'at the heart of a great fortune is a great crime' ideology.) The character, of course, typically keeps his ill-gotten gains (and covets wealth in a haley-esq way), not to be confused with a Robin Hood style steal from the rich to give to the poor idea. I can see this being a chaotic neutral character, I really feel that there is enough of a vein of good to call him CG.

STR: 8 (-1) largely unneccessary. Anything that has to be lifted or fought can be done by something charmed to do so.
DEX 14 (+2) Ranged touch attacks and AC, mostly.
CON 12 (+1) Probably could stand to go a bit higher
INT 14 (+2) Part of the schemer mentality, also for skill points
WIS 14 (+2) Fits the character, good for Will Saves (don't con a con-man)
CHA 16 (+3) Bluff, spells, etc etc. +2 bump from 4th and 8th levels makes it 18.

Familiar: Viper. +3 to bluff, and I plan to bluff that he acts as a sort of divining rod for curses, extra-dimensional threats, etc. So I'll empathic-link him to straighten out or hiss excessively and see if I can't bait someone.

Feats: Here is where I'm not really sure. My initial choices were Spell Focus: Enchantment, Greater Spell Focus: Enchantment, Split Ray, and maybe Sudden Maximize. However, there are probably lots of other really good choices I'm over-looking. I chose SF and GSF Enchantment because I figure a reasonably large part of the character's survivability will be in charming people/monsters into really wanting to believe in his schemes. Also, say the local town has an old wizard who might immediately disagree with my character's declaration that the tavern is haunted. Slap a Charm on him and suddenly he's a lot more willing to let me carry out my 'investigation'. I also have the option of using a few disabler spells in combat (hideous laughter or Charm person/monster) to tip the scales in, say, a situation when I've been found out and need to beat feet. When the Captain of the Guard comes up to you and says he knows you're up to something, then let's you off with a writ of "Oh well, boys will be boys. Now run along, you little scamp, you." then those feats seem valuable. However, I haven't decided how strongly I feel about them. Split Ray (and/or sudden maximize) is for the inevitable "oh crap, I need to Ray of Enfeeblement/Scorching Ray the ever-loving crap out of X with great success!" situations. I had another feat or two in mind but for the life of me, I can't recall them.

Let me start out that I have a deep-seated and inexplicable distrust of non-core spells. I think it has something to do with my inherent fear of becoming that player. Arcane magic is power, and Absolute Power corrupts Absolutely. So all of the spells listed are core. My main concern is in having a spell list that works for the character's purposes as well as the inevitable dungeon/quest/adventure that will probably unfurl.

L0- Detect Magic, Light, Ghost Sound, Prestidigitation, Open/close, dancing lights, message, read magic

Basic Stuff. Casting light on a staff or rod makes it appear like it might be doing something special (like making that illusionary spider recoil in fear), open/close for triggering traps or making a place look haunted, dancing lights/ghost sound/prestidigitation for fleshing out a convincing 'problem'.

L1- Charm Person, Magic Missile, Mage Armor, Ray of Enfeeblement, Silent Image

Again, pretty self explanatory. Charm Person for making friends and influencing people in any dozen number of ways from getting them to stop being suspicious to making them suspicious of each other. Magic Missile because sometimes you have to shoot something (including the illusionary monster you're 'defeating'). Mage Armor because something is going to try to hit me at some point, I imagine. Ray of Enfeeble for the same reason, also helping out in combat and discouraging attackers/pursuers. Silent Image is just fun. The door is disguised as a bookshelf, so who knows where that damn sorcerer went.
Spells I almost chose: Color Spray- seemed redundant with Web, mostly for slowing up pursuers or bottle-necking swarming enemies, but Web can be combusted for funsies. Disguise Self- 1800gp for a hat that does it whenever seemed fair. Burning Hands- Mage Armor beat it out for the last spot. Maybe if I fit some money into the budget for bracers of armor. I suppose ideally nothing will get close enough to hit me, but 12 AC is awful low for a L8 character. Burning hands +Web = fun for the whole family. Ventriloquism seems suitably covered by ghost sound, at least for my purposes.

L2- Web, Hideous Laughter, Scorching Ray

Web- for bottlenecking jokers and slowing pursuers. Better than glitterdust or fog because it doesn't necessarily mess up melee, it just forces everyone to stay pretty much where they are (that is to say, not chewing on me.) Also, if all of my friends aren't in it, I can burning hands/scorching ray it and make BBQ. Thirdly, I can place an illusionary demon spider in it and it makes an interesting scene in the attic of some tavern or mansion. Hideous Laughter falls under the "I need you to not be in front of me with an axe please" category, and doesn't have quite as specific targets in mind as, say, hold person (which also gives a save every round). It also can possibly work as a 'curse' or the affect of a mischievous ghost if used carefully. Scorching ray is for shooting chumps with fire. How I love the fire.
Some spells I considered are Invisibility (opted for a wand) and mirror image (which will probably be picked up in the next level or two.

L3- Major Image, Fly

Major image is for your typical schemes, "hay look a giant spider!" "oh noes a demon lord!" Useful both for deceptions and in battle/avoiding battle (see oots #478 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0478.html) last panel). Fly is for getting away, traveling, and avoiding getting stabbed where applicable.
I considered grabbing Haste (next few levels, probably), Stinking Cloud (seemed minorly redundant with Web, possibly grabbed as a later 3rd level spell), and Suggestion (seemed that charm person + bluff would accomplish the same thing).

L4- Charm Monster

"Hey, Grognok the giant monstrous humanoid/giant/whatever, I have an idea. Come to Townsville with me and rage around, throw some carts and scare some folk. Then I'll chase you off into the hills and they'll give me TWO delicious hams as a reward. And, because we're such good chums, I'll give you both of them." Also, in combat: "Oh no! The orcs have a cave troll!" Me: "TROLL-Y, MY BEST PAL EVAR, LET'S HUG AND FROLIC IN THE DAMP CAVERNS AND SING SONGS ABOUT PASTRIES! Yeah but before that, this place is a mite-bit crowded, wanna bash these orcs that don't feed you enough? That'd be Awesome."
I'm thinking of grabbing Dimension Door (escape trouble, dimdoor into people's attics to set up for their 'haunting' or what-have-you), Wall of Fire (stick with me here, imagine several illusionary walls of fire and a few real ones creating a 'maze'. Sounds pretty fun, eh? Also, just placing one over the web will be pretty good stuff.), and another good choice will be Enervation (casters hate it!). I wouldn't mind black tentacles in there somewhere, but I honestly don't know where (maybe take the extra spell feat).

Magic Items: Cloak of Charisma, Hat of Disguise, Wand of Invisibility, and a Rod of Lesser Metamagic: Silent (for not being obvious when I'm using an illusion or something). Then, some scrolls.

I realize this is an awful long post, but I was hoping to get some good feed back. Thanks in advance!

2008-08-24, 08:59 PM
Player's Handbook 2. Beguiler.

Class summary: Take a rogue, subtract 2 skill points per level, and give him Sorcerer Style spontaneous casting, only instead of picking a limited number of spells per level, he simply knows every spell on a preset list, which contains almost every illusion and mind-trick in the book.

You still get Bluff as a class skill, as well as other nice things. My friend JUST designed a beguiler and when other players said "Whats a beguiler" I answered "magical con-man"

Beguiler also nicks silent and stilled as free feats at levels 5 and 10.

Dr Bwaa
2008-08-24, 09:00 PM
Summon Monster I or II. It's not particularly optimal for play, but levels are low enough that it doesn't really matter, and anything summoned by SM I/II will be plenty to scare any average townsperson into letting you "exterminate" it for you.

EDIT: Second the Beguiler idea.

2008-08-24, 09:07 PM
Conman = Changeling Beguiler, with the Trickery Devotion feat. Nothing more needed here.

2008-08-24, 09:14 PM
Good idea, but I wanted to avoid that level of specialization to be honest. While Enchantments and Illusions are a big part of the character, I kind of wanted other schools of magic to be options as well. Had I wanted to be a caster/melee hybrid who masters enchantments and illusions exclusively, I probably would've opted to be a bard.

2008-08-24, 09:14 PM
A Halfling or Gnome would both work wonders for the race from flavour reasons. The Halfling isn't against some trickery to get cash, and the Gnome just loves jokes. Both of these have no LA and no racial HD, unlike the better choice of Changeling, and caster level loss is harsh.

2008-08-24, 10:25 PM
My main dilemma was in choosing some feats. What are some obvious go-to feats for an enchanter/illusionist type that aren't reserve feats (specifically banned for whatever reason). Please throw the name of the book (at least) in with the name.

2008-08-24, 10:29 PM
Trickery Devotion, from the Complete Champion book I would rate as a must have. If you want to be able to con people, and give yourself a way out, the ability to basically create a duplicate of yourself that can cast spells and fight for you (at the appropriate levels) and can also open doors and such. This gives you a way to be talking to someone, whilst your duplicate causes all kinds of shenanigans for you.

2008-08-24, 10:41 PM
It doesn't advance spell progression, so it may not be as useful as some other things, but the Mountebank from Complete Scoundrel has a few useful features, including adding INT to bluff check at 1st level

2008-08-24, 10:42 PM
That's very, very interesting, though I can't shake the concern that the [domain] subtype is assuming or expecting something cleric-y of me, even though it isn't in the prereqs.

2008-08-25, 01:40 AM
A Halfling or Gnome would both work wonders for the race from flavour reasons. The Halfling isn't against some trickery to get cash, and the Gnome just loves jokes. Both of these have no LA and no racial HD, unlike the better choice of Changeling, and caster level loss is harsh.

Since when did changeling have HD or a LA? :smallconfused: