Bugbear in the Playground
Join Date: Mar 2010
Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge VI
Do you think my face looks good? I made it myself.
(Now so massive, it needs two posts!!!
Originally Posted by Seera
Seera d’Cannith, defrauded heir
The dream is ever the same. Jumping from one roof to another, the fresh wind of Sharn winter in the face and her mother’s lullaby still in mind: “Once was Merrith d’Cannith, strong in mind and strong in spirit; then his son and heir Beris, our sweet home was his; Assia Bearan came the next, then Merrith, then Wilex; Argonnensis was grandfather, Aldous Bearan is your father… then there’s Seera, our sweet heart, we will never be apart.”
That evening Seera were really pissed off: “Mom, you have to cut it!” moaned “I’m sixteen now, I don’t need no silly lullaby animore!”
Seera saw the pain on her face: Maelian d’Cannith wasn’t good in lying, nor in pretendine. Suddenly, Seera tried to add something, but her mother stopped her: “You’re right, my dear.” She woke up from her bed and added “You grew up so sudden and…” Maelian stopped, then stepped out, hiding a tear from her daughter.
Seera was upset, but her excitation was too great to be disturbed by that strange feeling – remorse? – that heavied her chest. She waited all day, boiling in anticipation to try her father’s new tricks.
He found her some night ago trying to climb on house roof. Instead of the stern reproof she was waiting, her father lectured her on the ultimate folly of climbing and swinging on the wall of a palace floating half a mile from the ground. “Sharn is a beautiful city, my dear, but it’s floating on your doom if you don’t prepare properly.”
She looked at him, puzzled. Aldous shook his head: “I’ll give you something to avoid my beloved daughter and only heir to become a questionable art form on city lower levels.”
And he did. She had now a pair of gloves, a pair of boots and a amulet. “To climb better, to keep you there and to save you in event of fall” were the words of her father.
The night was cloudy and thin rain started to fall, anticipating a stormy night. But she was too excited to give up her first excursion with her new toys.
“This stuff is amazing” roared her, in delight, defying the hard rain and the rollino thunder. Steady on a flying buttress despite the rain, she dominated the area around Cannith palace. Amazing.
In the platform several feet down, a group of figures was approaching her house. Two large ‘forged and a red robed man. “Uncle Merrix!” shouted her, but the heavy rain covered her words. “Uncle Merr…” He will never listen to her. “He’s going home. I know a shortcut.”
She did, indeed, and rushing from spires and towers, swinging with no fail thank to her magical gear. She arrived in front of her house just when her uncle, Merrix d’Cannith, was entering. She rushed even more, took a great jump and landed on her home’s roof.
“He will meet mom and dad at the diner’s room” guessed, and cautously sneaked in that direction. “I could make a surprise entrance. Maybe from the window”.
And she came to the main window, to make her plan happen. She was about to burst in – no worry for the heavy macical defences: they were set to not harm any family member – but… There was something wrong. Her father, His Carlmness, was… “shouting?”
Yes, shouting at uncle Merrix: “You can’t do that, ‘Forged are people, not constructs! I will never, ever, ever back you in this. And, for the gods’ sake and for the sake of our ancestors, I shall oppose you with any mean.” His wife, on his side, nodded, and so did, with proud, Adamant, their loyal warforged bodyguard
Uncle Merrix grinned at him: “So, this is your final word, Aldous?” His father flaming eyes were clear enough “So be it.” He was about to live the room, but half out, he turned at Aldous and said: “There’s just a minor inconvenience. I’m not gonna do it… it is already done.”
Nonchalant, he lifted a strange dragonshard, carved by runes of power, and pointed it towards Adamant. His eyes suddenly became dark and, in a moment, he turned towards an astonished Aldous.
Adamant was a large, adamantine warforged, crafted with great skill to be strong, utterly strong, and perfected with layers of magic. When his left punch hitted Aldous Bearan d’Cannith, he flyed away like a puppet. This was so wrong, so umpredictable, so… horrific.
Seera standed still, this couldn’t be possibile, this… Her mother, instead, was a quick and skilled wizard. With hate in her eyes, she desperately starter to pronounce power words, rushing to… Adamant was quick. Too damn quick. It was his pride: “Big and quick, lil’ Seera. To protect you all, and you at most, my beloved lil master.” Every time he said so, he lifted her up, with hands so soft that it seemed impossibile they were adamantine.
He was doing the same with her mother, now. It seemed the same, at least, and Seera for a moment, hoped he was about to embrice her, to save her from Merrix betrayal. Then her spine broke, with a sound snap, and her motionless body fell on ground.
“Nooo” she shouted, and a lightning flashed. Merrix saw her, smiled her and said: “Dispatch her, Adamant.”
She saw the warforged monster stepped towards her, through a veil of tears. She shook her head. But the vision didn’t go away. Her father still dead, her mother still dead. She looked at his uncle, void on her eyes. Then she lean on her back and fall.
“Umpfh… she did it by herself.” That side of Cannith palace was the most eyecatching: a proud construction standing a pitfall.
Seera wasn’t planning, she just throw herself down, a sudden act of pure despair. But her father was, in effect, smarter than her. Half away the falling, her medallion started to glow. And her fall speed decreased: she was, now, a slow plume floating and gently descending.
The lower layers of Sharn were a dump. A dump of material, a dump of people. When she touched the ground,, she was surrounded by strange humanoids. Goblins, hobgoblins, a towering minotaur, a couple of gargoyles.
They were looking at each other, a pack of wolves decidine who’s gonna give the first bite. Then another lightning, and her dragonmark, the mark of making carved oh her right cheek, glowed in response.
Then, a green goblin stepped towards and, cerimoniously, asked: “Do the high Maker Princess need this servant’s help?” Then, aiding her to stand, he whispered: “Come with me, fast.”
She followed him, empty in spirit, not opposing any resistence. She never know what really happened, what she told him, what he did.
The only sure thing was that, at the sunrise she was fighting the sleep on a caravan, her boots, gloves and medallion lost. She was going on.
Fairhaven, port of freedom and, in effect, a fair haven for most people, and for Seera too. Her dragonmark announced her far in advance of her arrival. Her natural destination was Aundair’s outpost of house Cannith. A suspicious baron Jorlanna d’Cannith received her. After less than a hour after, having heard her story, she welcomed her, with commotion, she gave her a place in the house and assigned her to a master crafter, for her proper training.
Seera d’Cannith, Rogue 1.
Abilities: (on 32 point buy) Str 8, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 16
Skills. Bluff 7 (4 ranks), Craft (any 2) 7 (4 ranks), Disable Devices 7 (4 ranks), Disguise 7 (4 ranks), Hide 6 (4 ranks), Move silently 6 (4 ranks), Perfora (acting) 7 (4 ranks), Search 4 (4 ranks), UMD 7 (4 ranks), [8 points free to assign]
Feats: Able Learner, Least Dragonmark
Class Features: Sneak attack +1d6, Trapfinding.
Nothing much to say: Seera is a runaway defrauded heir. Nothing better than a rogue.
Skill selection has been carefully pondered. Bluff, Disguise and Perfora (act) are mandatory, since MoM has them as prerequisites. Hide+Move silently and Dis. Dev+Search give her a role: ambusher and trap disabler. While not mandatory, this skills would reveal itself very useful. UMD maxed is mandatory too, because of the further advancement. Since the build will soon leave to no regrets the rogue advancement, Able Lerner is mandatory too, to relieve the too painful skill point investment in cross class skills.
Least Dragonmark and the entire dragonmark chain is not core for this build and one can probably find something more optimal. But Seera is a dragonmarked heir (no, not the PrC, the role :p ) and her dragonmark is strongly story-related, so I strongly suggest to keep it in every adaptation.
Since that day, however, baron Jorlanna ordered her to wear a mask: her dragonmark, unusually placed, would be too much revealing. And Lord Merrix, now baron of House Cannith himself, wuold find her out.
To anyone, she was now Beria, unfortunate, disfigured daughter of a l lost cyran side of the family.
As time went by, Seera became a good artificer. Never leaving the quarterhouse, never letting anyone come too close, never doing anytihng else than crafting – yes, a harsh life, but with good outcome in terms of work.
Rogue 1, Artificer 4
Abilities: (on 32 point buy) Str 8, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 17(+1)
Skills. Bluff 11 (8 ranks), Craft (any 2) 9 (6 ranks), Disable Devices 7 (4 ranks), Disguise 11 (8 ranks), Hide 10 (8 ranks), Move silently 10 (8 ranks), Perform (acting) 11 (8 ranks), Search 8 (8 ranks), UMD 11 (8 ranks) [8 points free to assign]
Feats: Able Learner, Least Dragonmark, Favored in house (Legendary Artisan).
Class Features: Sneak attack +1d6, Trapfinding; Infusions (4,3) Craft Reserve, Artificer Knowledge, Artisan Bonus, Disable Traps, Item Creation, Scribe Scroll, Brew Potions, Craft Woundrous Items, Craft homunculus, bonus feat: Legendary Artisan.
Now it’s easier to understand previous skill selection and the usefulness of Able Learner: without it, it would have been impossible to max the three skill prerequisites for MoM, Hide+Move silently, trap search and destroy and UMD.
Favored in house feat would help Seera, since it would be soon really useful.
Use your craft reserve to build a costumized item: a mask that grants you a bonus on UOM. The mechanics is simple: start to work on it, then stop when the craft reserve is exausted, the start again by reaching new level, then stop. Using almost all Seera’s craft reserve would allow you to build a mask of UOM +7 (200 XP total, multiplied 25 = 5.000, that object would have a base price of 4.900). Since it has no spell prereq, it has no UMD check involved.
It would be counted since level six.
Key equipment: rogue’s tools, Talenta Sharrash weapon (reach, two handed, 1d10 19-20 x4, exotic), a Chainmail, a small collection of scrolls, maybe a wand.
Then, her 18th birthday.
She intended to keep it secret, to let the day pass by, as any other day. But…
She managed to keep just one memory from her former life. Her ring, the family ring, her one and only heirloom. Her father said her to treasure it, because “he will disclose you the secrets our family trades from generations”. With all lost and uncle Merrix owning all, it seemed now a empty promise.
But that day, that only day, her ring glowed and shed heat. She was alone on her lab, so she didn’t retain the yell and threw away the ring.
The inside was faintly glowing, showing some carefully carved words: “Prove your descendance, have the heirloom”.
She stood still. Then, understanding flow on her like a river destroying a dig. Her mind immediately came back at her mother’s lullaby, her eyes shed bittersweet tears and her mouth started to move by itself: “Once was Merrith d’Cannith, strong in mind and strong in spirit; then his son and heir Beris, our sweet home was his; Assia Bearan came the next, then Merrith, then Wilex; Argonnensis was grandfather, Aldous Bearan is your father… then there’s Seera, our sweet heart, we will never be apart.”.
Still in deep commotion, she grinned: “This is so… unpoethic.”
And then tried again: “Merrith, Beris, Assia Bearan, Merrith, Wilex, Argonnensis, Aldous Bearan.”
Suddenly, the stone on the ring – a metalline-like diagram she always thought to simbolize a schema – grew in size, becoming a huge, brilliant schema. She came to it with awe. She started to examine it, still crying.
“It is a… a schema. A project… instructions to craft… masks?”
Rogue 1, Artificer 6, Master of Masks 3
Abilities: (on 32 point buy) Str 8, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 18(+2)
Skills. Bluff 11 (8 ranks), Craft (any 2) 9 (6 ranks), Disable Devices 12 (9 ranks), Disguise 11 (8 ranks), Hide 15 (13 ranks), Move silently 15 (13 ranks), Perform (acting) 11 (8 ranks), Search 13 (13 ranks), UMD 26 (13 ranks) Added: Spellcraft 13 (10 ranks) [17 points free to assign]
Feats: Able Learner, Least Dragonmark, Favored in house (Legendary Artisan), Extraordinary Artisan, Lesser Dragonmark.
Class Features: Sneak attack +1d6, Trapfinding; Infusions (4, 4 ,3) Craft Reserve, Artificer Knowledge, Artisan Bonus, Disable Traps, Item Creation, Scribe Scroll, Brew Potions, Craft Woundrous Items, Craft homunculus, bonus feat: Legendary Artisan, Craft Magic Arms and Armors, Retain Essence, Metamagic Spell Trigger; Persona Masks (4), +1 Spellcasting, Mask Specialist.
Seera enters the Master of Masks PrC at level 6. Since it would be useful to take track of what she can craft, she advance this way: MoM 1, Art. 5, MoM 2, Art 6, MoM 3. Basicly, any time she gets a new persona mask, she advance a level in artificer. Why?
As you may have already notice, persona masks are magic items. As the text clearly states, they’re also crafted by you. Artificer+MoM= craft better masks.
Also mind that, with Retain Essence, from 7th level on, you may choose to pay XP cost of crafting items by expending 25 times the price in gold, since you salvage XP from items (read note below)
Let’s see persona mask belonging to Seera level by level:
6th: Gladiator Mask and Assassin Mask.
7th crafted improvements:
Gladiator Mask: in addiction to it’s standard power, any time it is donned, the wearer can choose to activate it’s power (use activation): a Divine Favor spell (Cost: 787,5, 48 XP).
Assassin Mask: in addiction to it’s standard power, any time the wearer strikes a construct (use activate) the mask activate an effect identical to Golem Strike spell. (Cost: 787,5, 48 XP).
8th: Demon maask
9th crafted improvements
Gladiator Mask: in addiction to it’s standard power, any time it is donned, the wearer can choose to activate it’s power (use activation): a Divine Favor spell. Once a day, while donning the mask (use activate), the wearer can call a greater might and activate on himself a Divine Power effect (Cost 2.205, 133 XP)
Assassin Mask: in addiction to it’s standard power, any time the wearer strikes a construct (use activate) the mask activate an effect identical to Golem Strike spell, or, striking a un dead, an effect identical to Grave Strike spell (Cost: 787,5, 36 XP).
(Note that 450 more gold coins are expended, since the total XP expended exceded the craft reserve).
10th: Faceless mask.
Favoured in houwe could help you, now, since asking other artificer to help you could reduce XP cost and then improve her equipment. Since its use is strongly discretionary, it is not counted as granted in this build.
Key equipment: Seera now can afford a magic weapon, a magic armor (suggested a Mithril Full Plate +1) and a small arsenal of scrolls and wands.
[i]A year later, more or less, her researches stopped. The schema was incomplete. She went straight to Jorlanna. This research was too promising to stop in a cul-de-sac and the schema suggested how to know more. It was a hard way, through. It leaded to Xen’drik.
Rogue 1, Artificer 8, Master of Masks 6
Abilities: (on 32 point buy) Str 8, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 17(+1), Wis 10, Cha 18(+2)
Skills. Bluff 12 (8 ranks), Craft (any 2) 9 (6 ranks), Disable Devices 17 (14 ranks), Disguise 12 (8 ranks), Hide 20 (18 ranks), Move silently 20 (18 ranks), Perform (acting) 12 (8 ranks), Search 18 (18 ranks), UMD 31 (18 ranks) Spellcraft 18 (15 ranks) [25 points free to assign]
Feats: Able Learner, Least Dragonmark, Favored in house (Legendary Artisan), Extraordinary Artisan, Lesser Dragonmark, Two Weapon Fighter, Double Wand Wielder. (Wand Mastery)
Class Features: Sneak attack +1d6, Trapfinding; Infusions (4, 4, 4, 1) Craft Reserve, Artificer Knowledge, Artisan Bonus, Disable Traps, Item Creation, Scribe Scroll, Brew Potions, Craft Woundrous Items, Craft homunculus, bonus feat: Legendary Artisan, Craft Magic Arms and Armors, Retain Essence, Metamagic Spell Trigger, Craft Wand, bonus feat: Wand Mastery; Persona Masks (5), +2 Spellcasting, Mask Specialist, Many Faces (2 move), Hidden Mask.
You should be familiar with the mechanics, by now.
11th level improvement
Faceless Mask: in addiction to it’s standard power, once in a day, where donning this mask (use activation), the wearer can choose to activate an effect identical of Polymorph spell (Cost: 2940, 177 XP). [23 XP of craft reserve free to use]
13th: Dragon mask
15th level improvement
Gladiator Mask: in addiction to it’s standard power, any time it is donned, the wearer can choose to activate it’s power (use activation): a Divine Favor spell. Once a day, while donning the mask (use activate), the wearer can call a greater might and activate on himself a Divine Power effect. Similarly, once a day, in conjunction or indipendently by the previous power, the wearer can activate an effect identical to Righteous Might spell (Cost 2.362.5, 142 XP)
Assassin Mask: in addiction to it’s standard power, any time the wearer strikes a construct (use activate) the mask activate an effect identical to Golem Strike spell, or, striking a un dead, an effect identical to Grave Strike spell. Moreover, once a day, while donning the mask (use activate), the wearer can activate an effect identical to Nightstalker Transformation spell. (Cost 2.362.5, 142 XP)
(Note that 850 more gold coins are expended, since the total XP expended exceded the craft reserve).
At 14th level, the real power comes in. With Many Faces class ability Seera can switch to one mask to another as a move action. If you’ve paid attention, most of the improved masks effects are activable once donned, so switch to one another counts to activate them. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the key ability of this build: breaking action economy.
Let’s try an example: Seera wears Assassin mask, leaving Gladiator mask in one hand. Then, at the first round of a battle, she wears as a standard action the Gladiator mask, activating Divine Favor, Divine Power and Righteous Might. Then, as a move action, she shifts to Assassin mask, activating Nightstalker Transformation too. If she’s smart, she weared Faceless mask too, in advance, since Polymorph has a 10 min/level duration.
So, now she’s a huge War Troll, to hit as a fighter, a huge bonus to Strenght, Constitution and Natural Armor, with a +6d6 sneak attack.
Key equipment: add Sizing to your weapon, since you’ve become a shapechanger, then buy all the scrolls, wands and maybe staves you can afford. Strongly consider Eternal Wands and minor schemas. Have fun with belt of battle, particularily useful, since with a single charge you can take a extra move action to switch a mask.