View Full Version : Optimization of Core only melee

2008-11-30, 02:35 AM
Hi guys I had a character die in my last game and I thought about making a melee character because it would help with party balance. We had a melee but he doesn't show anymore. Again this is core-only so if it isn't in the PHB MM or DMG forget about it. General stats are ECL 9, 36k to spend scores are 17,14,13,12,10,8

This is the basic thought of my build:
Human Half brass dragon Barbarian 1/Fighter 2/Barbarian 3 as a spiked chain wielder.

If I figured right I will have 3 attacks/round. 2 from BAB of 6 at +6/+1 and a bite at +6
The attacks should be +14/+9 plus magic mods - power attack for the chain, and +14 for the bite.
The damage should be 2d4 + 12 plus magic + 2x power attack, and 1d6 + power attack for the bite.

As a pure human I would have two attacks at +13/+8 and deal 2d4 + 6

As I see it the Half dragon is the superior choice for damage output/survivability.

The thing I need is gear/feats/skill selection I'm not sure if the spiked chain is the most optimal choice but we do a lot of close quarters fighting and the control would be nice. Any advice you could give would be appreciated. If anyone can think of alternate class/template/races let me know, as I am not the best optimizer. Thanks to everyone in advance.

2008-11-30, 02:37 AM
Level 11, you say? Well, that opens things up a bit.

I wouldn't recommend Dwarven Defender because, as you say, the monsters can just step away. Mobility is a big deal, especially at higher levels, and the last thing you need is to be obliged to stand still.

Instead, I'd try something like this: Barbarian 1 / Fighter 1 / Ranger 3 / Horizon Walker 6. Race, human.

You have six free feats, which you can spend as you like - I'd recommend Combat Reflexes, Expertise, Improved Trip, Power Attack, and Knockdown as well if you can get it (it's in the SRD). However, the real benefit comes from your Horizon Walker abilities. Pick the terrain mastery abilities that give you Listen and Spot bonuses, Darkvision, and fatigue immunity. Then, at level 11, you get the Planar Terrain mastery, Shifting - which gives you Dimension Door as a spell-like ability, at will.

Being able to teleport everywhere all day long does wonders for your flexibility. You'll also have great Listen and Spot scores as well as darkvision, so you can be as the party detector. And you have full BAB as well.

Much more fun than a standard meatshield, and you have some nice abilities to look forward to at level up (fire resist 20, cold resist 20, and tremorsense are the standouts). And it's all Core-only.

- Saph

There you go

mabriss lethe
2008-11-30, 03:13 AM
I'd second a full BAB horizon walker build of some sort. If not that one, then something along the same lines.

As for EWP Spiked Chain? Yeah, it's a very good weapon. One of the few that's actually worth blowing a feat for a single proficiency.

going Half-Dragon? I probably wouldn't. In most circumstances, you'll get more milage out of class levels than LA.

2008-11-30, 06:47 AM
You should try out a were-bear (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/lycanthrope.htm#werebear). You'd get a couple more levels as a fighter with the Half-Dragon, but for all the LA you're spending you're really not getting much out of it, especially considering larger creatures than medium are factored as having a flight speed for the same amount of LA.

For 7 HD and 3 LA (fairly hefty, I know, but stay with me) you will get the following:

Human Natural Were-Bear (Hybrid Form)
Fighter 1

+16 Str. and Natural Attacks. Here's what it looks like crunched out.
BAB- +6/+1
Full Attack: Greataxe +14/+9 (1d12+8) and Claw +12 (1d6+4) Bite +12 (1d8+4) (keep in mind I assumed you have a base str of 10 for these, so these will improve further after applying stats)

+8 Con. Here's what it looks like crunched out.
HP: 7d8+28 and 1d10+4 (keep in mind this is assuming you have a base con of 10 and it averages to about 72, so even a 15 in Con will increase this to 88)

+2 to Dex. S'alright.

You are a Large creature in hybrid form. This means you get reach and bonuses to grapple checks. It also means you take -1 to attack rolls and -1 to AC.

+2 Wisdom.

+2 Nat AC.

DR 10 Silver - Unless your enemies frequently carry silver weapons for no apparent reason, knock 10 damage off of all attacks that land.

Free Feats - Track, Iron Will

The Downside:
You can only be this awesome when you look like a giant bipedal bear-man. Despite the fact were-bears are LG aligned, people will likely react with fear at the fact you can turn into a giant, freakish monster. Also, when not in hybrid or bear form, you lose your stat bonuses and DR, meaning you're quite vulnerable.

What you're losing:

Fire Immunity - A justifiable reason for wanting to be a half-dragon, but you would have to be in an odd campaign or situation for this to have more application than DR. I'd say consider how much physical damage you take in comparison to fire damage on the average encounter before getting sold on this.

A breath weapon you can use once per day, useful if a bunch of things are standing in a line waiting to die. Interesting the first couple times you clear a dungeon corridor with it, but when the DM catches on the architecture and tactics you encounter might change radically.

+4 Nat AC (so 2 AC loss overall)

+2 Int and Cha. If you're the team muscle, these are not necessary.

Darkvision. If you want to sacrifice a feat and up your Strength at the same time, you can get it back for picking Half-Orc as the base race.

2008-11-30, 07:46 AM
I agree that Horizon Walker would be a good choice. An old favorite character of mine was a Ranger 3/ Barbarian 2/ Horizon Walker, with the Archery combat style along with Power Attack and Quick-Draw. It makes for a capable ranged attacker and superb melee combatant, though core-only you don't get feats like Extra Rage. You can even quick-draw out a Rapid Shot full-attack of javelins if some back-row opponent is giving you trouble. Get the Desert terrain mastery for a cheap Tireless Rage, and get Shifting terrain mastery as soon as possible. You can even get Quicken Spell-Like Ability: Dimension Door at 15, though it can't be used until level 16, but better than waiting until level 18 to get it.

I'll also agree with Harp that a natural lycanthrope would be a very good choice. I'd probably go with a Were-Lion, right from the core MM according to the "creating a lycanthrope" section. It has fewer racial HD than a werebear and just as many special attacks, plus you get Pounce with physical stats that are almost as good as the bear's.

2008-11-30, 08:49 AM
Im a fan of monk/druid multiclass for core only melee. In regard to purely the melee aspect its probably not the most optimized (especially at the lower levels) but I think its a very polyvalent build overall.

Pure druid with a monks belt is also an option but two levels of monk gets you more than just wisdom to AC. 2 bonus feats and evasion is nothing to scoff at for the feat starved druid (though admitteldy this is less of a problem in core where theres less awesome feats to pick between, but still, more is better). Talk to your DM for his view on unarmed strike + secondary natural attacks.

The lycanthrope options mentioned above also sound like a truckload of fun.

2008-11-30, 09:24 AM
Of course Druid is the best meatshield (the feats aren't worth losing Druid-levels for, btw), but if you want to go melee, I Nth the Horizon Walker. One of the very few means of making a not-so-boring melee character in Core. I'd also ask your DM for the permission to use SRD (http://www.d20srd.com) - it has all the material Wizards has allowed to be published publically.

The Psionic feats contain a few feats that have nothing to do with Psionics, but are awesome, such as Stand Still, and the Epic feats contain few non-Epic feats that are important for monsters. So yea, improve your game, use at least the non-Psionic parts of SRD. That said, the Horizon Walker is still your best bet for a non-caster meatshield (you do know casters do everything better, right?).

2008-11-30, 10:18 AM
Stupendous Man already listed my old entry, but that's the older one, so I'll give you the link for the updated version. :)

The Horizon Tripper: Core Melee Build (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80415)

Uses nothing except the PHB and DMG, and IMO is probably the best all-round melee build you can get with just those two books.

- Saph

2008-11-30, 11:49 AM
cliche, but true: druid 20

you even get an animal companion for more melee goodness

2008-11-30, 11:52 AM
Where's Knockdown and Hold the Line in the SRD?

2008-11-30, 12:04 PM
Hold the Line and Knockdown are in divine feats


2008-11-30, 07:56 PM
Thanks so much everyone. I like the horizon walker build saph, you never fail to amaze.

2008-11-30, 08:01 PM
Where's Knockdown and Hold the Line in the SRD?