Bugbear in the Playground
Join Date: Mar 2010
Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXIII
Winter is coming.
Originally Posted by Vald Lokkur
VALD LOKKUR, The Wolf of Winter
Much have I fared, / Much have I found,
Much have I got of the gods;
What shall life of mankind / when at last there comes
The mighty winter to men?
-Othin, The Ballad of Vafthruthnir
“Move it along,” growled the chieftain. “We should break camp ‘ere dawn. It gets hot quick in these parts!”
The workers grumbled, but increased their pace. They were war-slaves, accustomed to heavy work. By the time the first lights of dawn began piercing the sky, the mess of tents and fires had disappeared, and Orlag’s berserkers were dressed and ready to ride.
Orlag gave the order to form, and called for his scouts. “Are we clear?”
“Chief, the path to the east is clear as day,” said the head scout. “One of our number reported seeing an elfin figure just west of the camp. Accompanied by a white wolf, just as the stories foretold.”
“Oh, come now,” Orlag scoffed. “Those villagers were a superstitious lot. There are still two moons until harvest. What winter spirits would be caught wandering the countryside now – in the midst of summer?” He laughed. “I would welcome such a visit. Perhaps a taste of winter is just what we need. Our horses and our slaves wilt in this heat.”
The chieftain stopped. Above the sounds of a busy camp, he could hear the unmistakeable whistling of an arrow cutting through the air. Years of instinct cut in, and without thinking, Orlag deftly stepped aside and avoided the shot. The arrow, a rough-hewn shaft of ash and fletched with blue and white feathers, lay a few feet from him. The wind began to howl.
“That shot came from the west,” cried Orlag. “Find the one who shot it! Bring him to me!”
His voice was drowned out by the terrible winds. Suddenly the area was filled with a biting cold and – snow? Yes, snow! Snow was falling throughout the camp, so thick that Orlag could not see his hand in front of his face. He stumbled forward. Already, the snow was past his ankles.
“What in the name of Llerg is going on? Men, together!” Orlag’s fury was rising, but how could he be expected to fight in this storm? And how could he be expected to hold his camp together against a witch-spirit?
Somewhere in the distance, he could hear a wolf howl…
The Icy Fingers of Telchur: The Build
The Harsh Winter Winds: The Wily Machinations of Vald Lokkur
"What call do you have to say I must live under your laws, or the laws of man? Your society is but a hiccup, a brief and frantic struggle against the inevitability of winter. But though you are now living high in your false summer, it is but a matter of patience. The whispers you hear on the northern winds are the mutterings of Telchur, and when he passes through, he will leave naught but infinite white silence."
-Vald Lokkur, Divine Crusader of Telchur
, CN, Hexblade 5/Abjurant Champion 3/Arcane Archer 2/Divine Disciple 10
Dedicated to Telchur, God of Winter (Complete Divine & Frostburn)
STARTING STATS (post racial adjustments):
Str 12/Dex 16/Con 14/Int 10/Wis 10/Cha 16
Level by level breakdown
|Level||Class||Base Attack<br>Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Skills||Feats||Class Features|
|Knowledge Religion 2 ranks, Intimidate 4 ranks||Point Blank Shot||Hexblade's Curse 1/day|
|Intimidate 5 ranks, Ride 1 rank|| ||Arcane resistance|
|Intimidate 6 ranks, Ride 2 ranks||Precise Shot||Mettle|
|Intimidate 7 ranks, Ride 3 ranks|| ||Summon Familiar (Owl)|
|Intimidate 8 ranks, Ride 4 ranks||Combat Casting||Hexblade's Curse 2/day|
|6th||Abjurant Champion 1|
|Intimidate 9 ranks, Concentration 1 rank||Weapon Focus (Shortbow)||Abjurant armor, extended abjuration|
|7th||Abjurant Champion 2|
|Intimidate 10 ranks, Concentration 2 ranks|| ||Swift abjuration|
|8th||Divine Crusader 1|
|Intimidate 11 ranks, Ride 5 ranks|| ||Aura|
|9th||Divine Crusader 2|
|Intimidate 12 ranks, Concentration 3 ranks||Improved Familiar (Winter Wolf)|| |
|10th||Divine Crusader 3|
|Intimidate 13 ranks, Concentration 4 ranks|| ||Resistance to electricity 5|
|11th||Arcane Archer 1|
|Intimidate 14 ranks, Ride 6 ranks, Concentration 4.5 ranks|| ||Enhance arrow +1|
|12th||Arcane Archer 2|
|Intimidate 15 ranks, Ride 7 ranks, Concentration 5 ranks||Far Shot||Imbue Arrow|
|13th||Divine Crusader 4|
|Intimidate 16 ranks, Ride 8 ranks|| || |
|14th||Divine Crusader 5|
|Intimidate 17 ranks, Ride 9 ranks||Weapon Specialization (Shortbow)|| |
|15th||Divine Crusader 6|
|Intimidate 18 ranks, Ride 10 ranks||Ranged Weapon Mastery (Piercing)||Resistance to acid 5|
|16th||Divine Crusader 7|
|Intimidate 19 ranks, Ride 11 ranks|| ||Darkvision|
|17th||Divine Crusader 8|
|Intimidate 20 ranks, Ride 12 ranks|| || |
|18th||Divine Crusader 9|
|Intimidate 21 ranks, Ride 13 ranks||Practiced Spellcaster (Divine Crusader)||Resistance to acid and electricity 10|
|19th||Divine Crusader 10|
|Intimidate 22 ranks, Ride 14 ranks|| ||Perfect self|
|20th||Abjurant Champion 3|
|Intimidate 23 ranks, Concentration 6 ranks|| || |
Divine Crusader Spells
Hexblade Spells per day/Spells Known
1- Protection from Law, Augment Familiar, Charm Person
2- Alter Self, Invisibility
Divine Crusader Spells per day
WINTER DOMAIN SPELL LIST:
2- Snow Walk
3- Winter's Embrace
4- Ice Storm
6- Death Hail
7- Control Weather
8- Summon Giants
Winter Always Lies at the End: On the Use of the Secret Ingredient
"The hope of spring and summer is but a fragile thing. Telchur once kept the world in his icy grip for a thousand years; he may rule the weather once again. You think this frost will pass? You are naive. You must learn to live through the winter, or you must die. There is no other choice."
-Vald Lokkur, the Winter-Witch
The build itself is fairly straightforward. Vald Lokkur uses Imbue Arrow to fire off devastating area lockdown spells like Blizzard, while he and his wolf avoid many of the nastier effects thanks to Snowsight and Snow Walk. That being said, there are a couple of things to bring up.
Arcane Archer’s “Imbue Arrow” ability is obviously a large part of this build. Although you must be an arcane caster to take levels in the class, the Arcane Archer actually can imbue any spell, arcane or divine, as long as it is an area spell.
Now, one important note is with the casting time:
Originally Posted by ”SRD”
It takes a standard action to cast the spell and fire the arrow. The arrow must be fired in the round the spell is cast, or the spell is wasted.
This is actually the real secret to the build. While it is nice being able to cast spells like Blizzard and Sleet Storm from a ridiculous distance (between Far Shot, Ranged Weapon Mastery, the distance
enhancement, etc., Vard Lokkur can easily hit 2,100 feet if he fires at something ten range increments away), the real advantage is being able to cast all of his spells with longer casting times in a single action. This means that he can move and cast spells like Blizzard and Death Hail, and not worry about the casting being interrupted. It even means that spells like Control Weather and Fimbulwinter, with a casting time of as much as ten minutes, can also be done in a single round.
Also, oddly enough, the spell Winter’s Embrace is
listed as an area spell, meaning it is also a suitable choice for Imbue Arrow.
The Hard, Frozen Soil: Level-by-level analysis
"The Fimbulvetr is coming. It has been foretold. It will be the end to this life, and the start of the next. For three successive years, summer will not come. The world will remain shrouded in snow. Do not despair! The final winter of this world presages the first blossoms of the next. It is not armageddon - it is Ragnarok!"
-Vald Lokkur, the Wolf of Winter
Divine Crusader is a perfect fit flavor-wise for Vald Lokkur. Vard Lokkur is nothing if not a crusader of Telchur, a witch-prince solely dedicated to bringing about the Fimbulwinter that precedes Ragnarok.
The signature feature of the Divine Crusader is of course its accelerated casting, which aids the build enormously. It would be difficult to fit the many disparate elements of this build and still retain ninth level spells otherwise.
While the Divine Crusader is otherwise sparse in its remaining class features, they do manage to mesh well with the build. The bonus feat of Weapon Specialization is great, allowing the build to take Ranged Weapon Mastery. This further extends the range of the shortbow, Telchur’s favored weapon. A cold and storm-focused build is also certainly not going to turn its nose up at a built-in resistance to electricity. And the capstone, where Vald Lokkur becomes an outsider, is always useful here, with Alter Self as a Spell Known, and wands of Polymorph so cheap and available.
"You believe that winter lies at the end of autumn. I believe it lies at the end of my arrow."
-Vald Lokkur, Divine Crusader of Telchur
These levels, Vald Lokkur begins focusing far more heavily on defensive maneuvers. He still uses his curse as a reasonable debuff, and fights at range, but here his resistance to spells via Arcane Resistance and Mettle pay off much more, and his Abjurant Champion levels make Protection from Law a surprisingly powerful buff. To expand his limited spells per day, Vald Lokkur could always look into wands of spells such as Alter Self, which add a great bit of versatility to him.
However, he really starts coming into his own at level 9, when he trades in his familiar for a winter wolf. This winter wolf will stay with him for the rest of his career, and when he cannot fight at range, will be his primary form of offense.
In the mid to high levels, Vald Lokkur truly comes into his own. In addition to his combat abilities advancing, his Divine Crusader accelerated casting also begins to catch up with other characters. This is also where his Imbue Arrow tricks come into play, and once he picks up Weapon Specialization, he can use Ranged Weapon Mastery to give him outstanding range on his area attacks.
His basic modus operandi is to sneak up on a group, buff himself and his wolf with Snowsight and Snow Walk, and fire an Ice Storm, Death Hail or Blizzard spell into their midst. Blizzard is especially potent, completely cutting off all visibility and applying a ridiculous amount of snowfall each round. While his enemies struggle with this, he approaches, immune to many of the effects, and uses his curses to further debuff while his winter wolf engages in melee.
The Sweet Spot
In these levels, it is all about planning. Spells like Control Weather and Fimbulwinter can decimate armies if used appropriately, and no one is more adept at using them than Vald Lokkur. He also gets another melee combat option with access to the Summon Giants spell. A favorite tactic is to fire off a Control Weather, and then use lockdown spells like Blizzard and Ice Storm while he and his giants engage in hit and run tactics, firing arrows and throwing boulders at range, until the nastiest of Control Weather’s effects come into play.
Fimbulwinter has a minor XP cost, but its gigantic area and impact on an environment cannot be underestimated. The fact that it takes only a standard action for Vald Lokkur to cast makes it even more important. It also works well hand-in-hand with Control Weather.
Also, though at this point it is a minor trick, by 20th level Vald Lokkur has become an outsider, making Alter Self and Polymorph tactics provide even more versatility. Vald Lokkur primarily uses these to buff his defenses and/or his stealth, rather than using them offensively.
Level 15, Hexblade 5/Abjurant Champion 2/Divine Crusader 6/Arcane Archer 2
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Combat Casting, WF (Shortbow), Improved Familiar, Far Shot, Weapon Specialization (Shortbow), Ranged Weapon Mastery (Shortbow)
Casts 6th level spells from the Winter Domain and 1st level Hexblade spells (including Protection From Law, cast as a swift action with an additional +2 bonus to AC, and Augment Familiar).
BAB +13/+8/+3 (same for Winter Wolf)
Able to cast Winter’s Embrace, Ice Storm, Blizzard, and Death Hail through his bow, all as standard actions. Can share Snowsight and Snow Walk with his familiar.
Last edited by Private-Prinny : 08-17-2011 at 08:19 PM.