Bugbear in the Playground
Join Date: Mar 2010
Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge VIII
Did you see that?
Originally Posted by Mirage
Mirage. Killoren Pyrokineticist
I struggled with a few different concepts before settling on my final choice. After running through a few options, I finally settled on Druid to start off my Pyrokineticist build. I utilised the Sandstorm and Complete mage ACF's to create a Wasteland Druid with a Fire Elemental companion. Much more suitable than my initial Pyro/Blighter concept. Later I use the Arcane Swordsage adaptation in order to aquire a few fire themed arane spells and Desert Wind Maneuvers. For the purpose of optimization, the Caster Levels of these few spells is the characters Initiator Level; the spells are restricted to personal and touch spells from the arcane Abjuration, Evocation and Transmutation schools. These swordsage spells will also aid in later prestige class qualification. I rounded off the remaining free levels with Sorcerer and Arcane Heirophant. The end result is a fey avatar of the desert that stalks the wastes and blasts her foes with fire. One who takes the form of a Brass Dragon during the day, or Shadow Dragon at night.
The build is presented as a Gish, though it lacks the traditional versatility of a warrior-mage. Obviously, this character focuses on fire and has a number of options available to complement the abilities of Pyrokineticist. Relevant notes are presented with each level snapshot in order to better explain the characters abilities. Unfortunately, due to study, I was unable to finish this build. The basics of each snapshot have been presented, but actual stat blocks have not.
I would rate this character a solid Tier 4. It has great potential as a skirmisher, but lacks the endurance required for grinding. It has a few strengths outside of combat, but they are rather specialised. If you enjoy the hit and run or kiting playstyle, then you might enjoy this build. Resources used incluse the SRD, Completes, Spell Compendium, Magic item Compendium, Sandstorm, Draconomicon and Races of the Wild. 32 point buy and average HP.
Mirage, Killoren Druid 1
Feats: Wild Talent
Abilities and tactics.
Mirage has a small Fire Elemental named Sparky as a pet. Sparky loves it when Mirage casts the Raging Flame spell. It makes non magical fires (like Sparky) burn twice as hot. It also means that if Sparky sets something on fire, it burns twice as hot as well. Sparky loves to set things on fire. If enemies get too close to Mirage, she will cast the Sandblast spell. It deals subdual damage and can stun enemies. Sparky is immune to stunning.
Mirage usually takes the Killoren aspect of the Hunter or Destroyer. As she gains levels, she will take the Aspect of the Destroyer more often.
Mirage, Killoren Druid 4/Swordsage 1
Feats: Speed of Thought
Abilities and tactics.
Sparky is all grown up. He is now a medium sized Fire Elemental. If he can set an object on fire, Mirage will cast the Animate Flame spell and give him a little friend to play with. His fire damage and Burn DC has increased, increasing the potency of the Raging Flame spell, especially when coupled with Mirage's other fire abilities. The benefit of Raging Flame to magical fire is minor, but one point per die can add up over the course of an encounter.
Mirage has a slightly expanded selection of Druid spells. Flame Blade and Scimitar of Sand are both treated as a scimitar, so they benefit from Mirage's Discipline Focus. Touch Attacks increase the probability of successful manuevers, both spells easily last the duration of a conflict. Produce Flame and Flaming Sphere are other commonly prepared attack spells. Halo of Sand provides only a small bonus to defence, but it has a long duration and can be shared with Sparky.
Mirage has a number of Martial Adept maneuvers available. A fair mix of boosts, strikes, counters and spells. The Heroics (swordsage) spell allows her to adapt her combat style according to her needs, from offence to defence. It can even grant temporary knowledge of a martial maneuver. It would not be a good idea to loop this ability in a game you enjoy. I suggest that the effect has its duration shortened to curb abuse. Balor Nimbus (swordsage) is great for grappling. Both of these spells can be shared with Sparky, via Mirages Druid ability. The Child of Shadow surrounds Mirage with a concealing, shimmering desert heat as she moves, a reflavoured version of the stance. Her other martial abilities enhance her attacks with flame or allow her to unleash a scorching counter attack on foes that strike her.
Mirage, Killoren Druid 4/Swordsage 1/Pyrokineticist 4/Sorcerer 1
Feats: Desert Wind Dodge, Scorching Sirocco
Abilities and Tactics
Fire lash is typically wielded in the off-hand. This enables Mirage to relase it easily when she needs to cast a spell. If it is treated as a weapon, then she can utilise her martial manuevers with reach. Both of her hands are almost always benefiting from Hands Afire, so she always has an attack ready. Mirage may suppress this ability so as not to damage objects or clothing. Whenever she is weilding a weapon she will typically use Weapons Afire immediately, even on spell produced weapons if possible. The alchemical items she sometimes uses also benefit from this ability. Flaming alchemists fire!
Bolt of Fire replaces many of Mirage's blast spells. Because of her speed, it is typically used during a surprise round or before closing to melee. It can also be used for kiting some enemies. Due to her passive Fire Adaptation coupled with the Heat Endurance feat, Mirage can freely set a battlefield ablaze with few repercussions to herself. Only immune foes are safe from her flames. Critical Strike and Blades of Fire are swift action Sorcerer spells that can be shared with Sparky, or used to great effect by Mirage alone.
No new martial maneuvers, but new tactics have become available. Desert Wind Dodge encourages mobile attacks, adding a dodge bonus and fire damage to certain attacks. The Scorching Sirocco tactical feat also encourages mobility. Fan the Flames increases the chances of a target being set on fire after taking fire damage and Mark of Fire gives allies a bonus to strike targets hit repeatedly with fire damage.
Mirage, Druid 4/Swordsage 1/Pyrokineticist 8/Sorcerer 1/Arcane Heirophant 1
Feats: Natural Spell, Draconic Wild Shape
Abilities and Tactics
Nimbus has fantastic utility. DR, Flaming touch attacks, retributive damage and a Charisma bonus. Great in melee combat, beneficial when casting spells, ultilising Smite attacks and it also effects the save DC's of later Pyrokineticist abilities. Firewalk is a situational flight ability. Combined with Longstrider the distance covered is reasonable. Great for setting up a melee charge on a flying opponent, or even walking to safety during a long fall. Unfortunately, Speed of thought requires Psionic Focus, so it wont apply. Also, Power Points are limited, but a power crystal may be able to extend the duration and leave a precious Power Point remaining to reactivate Mirage's Focus. Fear No Fire and Greater Weapon Afire enhance some of Mirage's lower level abilities, doubling their benefits.
Casting receives a bonus. Dehydrate and Heatstroke are thematic spells. Wild Shape is available, the Natural Spell and Dragon Wild Shape feats allow casting in those forms. Manifesting the majority of your abilities on an animal or dragon form should not be a problem. I can see an ape or dragon using a lash, but it is the DM's discretion whether those tactics are available. Great forms include the Leopard (for charge and grappling), Eagle (overland flight) or the squid (for when Mirage absolutely has to swim). Typically, reserves her use of Wild Shape to take the form of a Brass or Shadow dragon. She gains the extraordinary and supernatural abilities of the form, but is limited to small and medium creatures of the dragon type.
Originally Posted by Optimystik
'Adding up numbers' is completely independent of roleplay. What you're saying makes as much sense as "peeling a banana is not a good way to drive."