Bugbear in the Playground
Join Date: Mar 2010
Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge IX
Predator? Prey? I'm the guy with the Animal Companion.
Originally Posted by Felix
Felix, Hobo King of the Felines
Dark Whisper Gnome Rogue 1/Factotum 3/Swashbuckler 3/Monk 2/Beastmaster 1/Animal Lord (Catlord) 10
The elven people on the island of Inmai often share the tale of a wild gnome that can be found on their island, but nobody even knows if the tale is true any more. Felix is often talked about but rarely seen, save as a quick shadow in the corner of the eye. Wanderers and vagrants lift him up as a folk hero, while the city guard treats his name like a sip of vinegar. Below is Felix's class breakdown, extended backstory, and additional information.
|STR||4||12||-2|| || || || ||10||+0|
|CON||2||10||+2|| || || || ||12||+1|
|INT||16||18|| ||+5||+6||+5|| ||34||+12|
|WIS||0||8|| || || || || ||8||-1|
|CHA||0||8||-2|| || || || ||6||-2|
|Level||Class||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Skills||Feats||Class Features|
|1st||Wilderness Rogue 1|
|8+INT||Craven||Sneak attack +1d6, antiquarian|
|4+INT||Weapon Finesse||Bonus feat (Weapon Finesse)|
|6+INT||Knowledge Devotion||Inspiration, Cunning Insight, Cunning Knowledge, trapfinding|
|4+INT|| ||Arcane Stunt: Blur|
|6+INT|| ||Arcane Dilettante (1 spell)|
|6th||Invisible Eye Monk 1|
|4+INT||Carmendine Monk, Improved Unarmed Strike, Combat Reflexes||Unarmed strike, AC bonus, flurry of blows, bonus feat (Combat Reflexes)|
|7th||Invisible Eye Monk 2|
|4+INT||Lightning Reflexes||Evasion, bonus feat (Lightning Reflexes)|
|4+INT|| ||Insightful Strike|
|6+INT||Skill Focus (Handle Animal)||Brains over Brawn, Cunning Defense|
|4+INT|| ||Animal Companion, Wild Empathy|
|4+INT|| ||Animal Bond, Detect Animals, Wild Empathy (stacks with Beastmaster)|
|4+INT||Darkstalker||First totem, improved low-light vision (because of racial low-light vision)|
|4+INT|| ||Wild aspect 1/day|
|4+INT|| ||Speak w/ Animals 1/day|
|4+INT||Underfoot Combat||Summon Animal 1/day|
|4+INT||Confound the Big Folk||Second totem (bonus feat since Monk 2 gave Lightning Reflexes), wild aspect 2/day|
|4+INT|| ||Animal Growth 1/day|
|4+INT||Natural Bond||Animal telepathy|
|4+INT|| ||Wild aspect 3/day|
|4+INT|| ||Third totem|
- Three levels of Factotum provides Felix access to 1 arcane spell for his arcane dilettante spell-like ability. He chooses reduce person daily, bringing himself down to Tiny size. This provides a bonus to his Hide checks, AC, and attacks at lower levels, but the icing on the cake is at higher levels, when it allows him to benefit from Underfoot Combat and Confound the Big Folk against Medium or larger creatures.
- By level 20, Felix has a +49 hide and a +53 move silently without magic items. The Dark Creature template provides further bonuses, as well as allowing Felix (and Eli) to hide in plain sight. Darkstalker makes him even harder to detect, the hat of anonymity helps him blend in, and a friendly caster could cast mind blank or similar anti-divination spells on him.
- Felix gains the Dark Creature template from a continuous Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis, as does Eli. For further notes on this template, see the Quirks/Notes section.
- Beastmaster, catlord, and Natural Bond provide an animal companion at the level of a 17th level druid. Felix uses Handle Animal to rear this companion as a warbeast.
- Damage bonuses: +1d6 sneak+level (Craven)+12 (Insightful Strike) constant, additional boosts provided by the Tooth of Dahlver Nar, Knowledge Devotion, and Cunning Insight
- Feats for free: Weapon Finesse, Improved Unarmed Strike, Combat Reflexes, Lightning Reflexes, Confound the Big Folk (since Invisible Eye Monk grants Lightning Reflexes, Catlord grants a free bonus feat...any one that Felix is eligible for at level 16).
- Cunning insight/knowledge/defense and Brains over Brawn give a constant +12 bonus to all DEX/STR skills, and can boost attack, damage (see above), saves, skills, and AC on a per-encounter basis
- Carmendine Monk provides a continuous +12 bonus to AC
- Arcane Stunt provides a (shortened) 2nd-level spell-like ability usable 12 times/day
- Two levels of monk, monk's belt, and monk's tattoo mean Felix is treated as an 11th-level monk for unarmed damage, AC bonus, and speed bonus. This alone gives Felix a 60-foot land speed and a further +2 bonus to AC.
- The class itself actually provides interesting synergy, allowing you to summon a big cat and make it even bigger as a swift action via Animal Growth. Granted, it's only 1/day, and this is at level 17, but it's worth noting. Alternatively, Eli could be made bigger.
- Four attacks on a full attack (five if flurry of blows works with claws...if not, still five unarmed attacks)
For Felix Whippersnap, even as a young gnome, freedom was always paramount. He thought of a home as nothing but a comfortable cage and, as such, avoided his as much as possible. He lived in the jungle until he was found by a troupe of bandits, who took the stealthy little man under their wing.
He moved to the city with them and became a cat burglar, stealing divine artifacts straight out of the city’s biggest temples. However, he would often escape to the comfort of the wild between jobs. He had the freedom to come and go as he pleased, but one job changed everything. Felix’s heist was interrupted by a sleepless child, and the gnome panicked. His tiny blade found the boy’s gut with sickening ease. The child’s face twisted in confusion and pain as he deflated like a waterskin. Felix stood frozen, but only for a second. He fled, taking up the life of a vagrant. He ate from trashcans, slept in trees, and scuttled on to the next town when wanted posters with his portrait starting cropping up. However, word travels faster than a gnome’s feet, and Felix soon found himself uncomfortably familiar to the town guard in every city he visited.
After his fourth jailbreak, Felix knew that he needed a change of scenery. He took a position as a crewman aboard the Milady Adalia, a ship that sailed with no questions and no papers. The gnome learned the art of sailing quickly, and he was soon scampering along the masts rigging ropes and making repairs without any formal training. He took whatever task was handed to him, as he had finally found a family that offered him all of the comforts of home with none of the restrictions. Soon, the captain got wind of Felix’s past, and asked him to perform jobs requiring a bit more skill—looting other ships, assassinating the captain’s rivals, and the like. While Felix still felt repentant for his first murder, he felt no guilt in these jobs. He was merely protecting his captain and, by bringing evil men to their end, possibly atoning for his own sins. He loved his life at sea, and he would often laugh at his own good fortune.
However, the sea is a beast not to be taken lightly. One day, while Felix was manning the crow’s nest, a fierce storm came upon the ship. Wave after wave lashed over the boat, striking down the crew and pulling them into the cruel waters below. Felix was forced to watch helplessly from above as men who had become his closest friends drowned to death. Though he tried to save them, there was nothing he could do as another strong wave snapped the main mast in two, pulling Felix down as well. When he came to, Felix and a few other stragglers found themselves washed ashore on an island with no sign of their ship. Luckily, the native elven people of the island welcomed the survivors warmly. Felix was impressed with the liberal nature of the elves, and he was fascinated by their collection of strange and exotic wildlife kept at the island’s zoo. He would often linger by the leopard cages, amazed by the quiet grace behind the cat’s powerful moves. One day, while visiting the zoo, he noticed the most beautiful woman he had ever seen—a tall elven maiden feeding fish to a family of seals. He shyly introduced himself, and after a short courtship, the two were married on the island. Felix stayed and made a life for himself with his new wife, Enara. For the first time, he found a place to settle down.
Enara taught Felix the spiritual practices of her people—namely the study of their holy texts and the practice of enlightenment through meditation. Felix took to the practices immediately, and would sometimes meditate for days at a time. However, one day Enara came to him with big news: she was to have a child, and as such she would have to take some time off from the zoo. Felix would have to work a steady job to support his new family, but he was thrilled. He immediately took over Enara’s position as a zookeeper, and the menial work allowed him time to meditate while he worked. He would still visit the leopard cage as much as possible, clearing his mind and picturing himself bounding around with the mighty cats. Everything seemed to move slowly around him, and he could see the various parts of his life clicking into place like gears in a beautifully elaborate machine.
However, Felix soon began having nightmares. He would see a twisting blade and a flash of red, accompanied by the sound of a crying baby. He tried reading the scriptures more, meditating more, but nothing could shake his feelings of dread. As it turns out, his sense of foreboding was not without merit. The closer Enara came to term, the sicker she became. What started as a mild fever became a constant problem, and her already-pale skin grew even whiter until her feeble veins were visible just below the surface. The various priests and witch doctors that visited all presented Felix with the same news—they could only focus their prayers and magic on one of the two, mother or child. Furthermore, the side effects of the treatments on the one would likely kill the other. After many tearful conversations, Felix knew what he had to do. Enara wanted to have this child, and she wanted Felix to raise the baby on the island. When the time came, the clerics tried everything they could, but the strain of childbirth was too much for Enara, and she passed. The child was born with the same high fever as his mother, and Felix only had two weeks with his son Eli before the boy, too, passed away.
With nothing left to live for, Felix ran once again. He hopped aboard another ship, determined to go back to the life he once had aboard the Milady Adalia. However, the captain of this ship was an awful man, a slaver who would often kidnap children to sell them in the next port. Felix couldn’t take it, and he violently murdered the captain one night in his quarters. As soon as the murder occurred, another storm swallowed up the vessel, stranding Felix once again on the same island he had tried to leave.
Convinced that Enara was asking him to stay from beyond the grave, Felix returned to his work at the zoo. A baby leopard was born, and Felix asked his supervisors if he could rear the cub. They allowed him to, and Felix would often spend long hours with the creature, bottle-feeding it or playing with it even long after the zoo closed. He affectionately named it Eli, and it was clear that this gnome and leopard had a special bond. One day, Felix was surprised at exactly how close this bond was. He began to feel the leopard’s emotions: its instincts, its excitement, and its sense of yearning to be free. While Felix had chosen to give up his freedom, Eli never had the choice—he was born in captivity, and he would die in captivity. Felix couldn’t stand the thought, and he broke the leopard out of the zoo.
Now together, the two prowl the island freely. Felix has grown his hair out like matted fur, and has even gone so far as to replace his teeth with fangs. However, he is no villain—he and Eli stalk in the shadows, only springing out to fight alongside children. It doesn’t matter if they’re robbing you blind or asking you for food; if you’re speaking to a child on Felix’s island, it’s best to speak kindly. Elven parents on the island often try to use the story of a wild gnome to scare their children into behaving, but their children just laugh—they know Felix exists to protect them, thinking of each of them as his own children.
RACIAL TRAITS AND OTHER INFO:
Lawful Neutral alignment
- +1 AC
- +1 size on attack
- +4 size bonus on Hide checks
Low-light vision (improved by Catlord)
Darkvision 60 ft
Weapon familiarity: hooked hammers
+1 to attack kobolds/goblinoids
+4 dodge bonus to AC vs giants
Favored class: rogue
SKILL TRICKS (and levels gained):
SKILL BREAKDOWN @ 20th level without items (except attribute boosts):
POSSIBLE LEVEL 20 GEAR LIST:
Felix would use his handle animal skill to raise Eli to be a warbeast (MMII) if permitted by the DM.
Felix has a natural progression through levels except for his slow-starting Will save, but please keep in mind that Inspiration can be used to up those.
For a low-magic/low-item campaign, it may be fitting to remove the level of Rogue in exchange for the Dark creature template (currently granted by the collar of umbral metamorphosis). As such, Craven becomes worthless. Take Factotum at first level instead, with Darkstalker. This frees up a feat down the road, which can be used for anything. If wizards.com material is allowed, consider Font of Inspiration or Wild Cohort at later levels (to finally get a tiger companion, which is unfortunately unavailable to the Beastmaster).
For a high-magic campaign/high-wealth campaign, consider dropping the level of Rogue and levels of monk in favor of the Dark creature template and either two levels of conjurer (if playing with multi-class penalties) or a level of conjurer and a level of Abjurant Champion (if not). Not only does this open up a lot of arcane spells, but it can provide the amazingly broken Abrupt Jaunt class feature. if your DM disallows this, or you just want to be nice, at least you still get a cat familiar for flavor. While you could keep the collar of umbral metamorphosis, simply taking the template frees up your throat slot for the Necklace of Natural Attacks (from Savages Species). Also, in a high-magic world, you may want to consider using the Quick trait from Unearthed Arcana. When healing abounds, -20 hp over 20 levels isn't that bad in exchange for a 10-foot speed bonus. Of course, you're already pretty fast.
The head slot item above uses the rules to add a +6 enhancement bonus to INT on a regular Hat of Anonymity. If your DM disallows these rules, just use a regular +6 Headband of Intellect. Because of the factotum's Brains over Brawn ability, you still gain a +3 bonus to Hide, among other things.
Though it replaces the grace class feature, the Arcane Stunt alternate class feature comes at level 1, according to Complete Mage. However, I have put it at the level of the feature it replaces.
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."