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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXII

    There's a reason no one likes fire ants...

    Quote Originally Posted by The Bloodstained Hurricane
    The Bloodstained Hurricane, Thri-Kreen Ranger 2/Scout 4/Dervish 10

    Point Buy 32
    Starting Stats -> Ending Stats
    18 Str -> 22 Str
    16 Dex -> 16 Dex
    14 Con -> 14 Con
    13 Int -> 13 Int
    14 Wis -> 14 Wis
    04 Cha -> 04 Cha

    Background
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    The jungle was alive with the calls of animals and the fall of rain as Beta Squadron tramped through the night, chasing the shadows back with their dimly burning torches. Though their levels were low, the patrol was heartened by their wide range Antimagic field, allowing them to even the playing field against any high level adventurers that might try ambushing the force. Sergeant Tordek wiped some rainwater from his brow and took a glance around at his men.

    Corporal Soveliss led the way with Tordek through the Jungle expertly, and his old friend Lidda covered the back. Krusk had the Antimagic emitter strapped to his back, well equipped to carry the weight with his Orcish genes. The rest of the troop were new recruits, untested by battle and grumbling about the lousy conditions. Suddenly, there was a crackling of branches from the side. The troop as a whole were unconcerned, thinking it must be some animal, but Tordek's experience had given him a sixth sense for optimized PCs, and he shouted a hasty warning to his men.

    Alas, even as the words escaped his mouth, the horror was upon them. It moved so fast that its body was a blur, seeming to snap back and forth and sideways in unnatural fashion. For a brief moment, the metal of its spinning blades shone crazily in the torchlight, and then the thing seemed to almost crash through the body of the first recruit, gutting him brutally in an explosion of blood. The brave pulled at their weapons, and the cowardly turned to run, but it mattered nought.

    In the first seconds, a half dozen of them were shredded; fighting or running the creature did not care if they fell into its deadly path. Leaping from ground to tree to ground again the demon easily evaded Soveliss' arrows and Lidda's hastily thrown daggers, jumping back deep into the thick trees as abruptly as it appeared.

    Before the survivors had a chance to take a breath, it was out of the trees again, flashing around Lidda like a bloodstained hurricane as she desperately tried to keep it at bay with her daggers. But four arms were better than two, and in the space of an eyeblink and a flash of distant lightning Lidda's torso fell in twain and the beast's inexorable motion continued.

    Krusk screamed his rage and charged, but in a spray of blood and gore his head was ripped off by its terrifying jaws and now Soveliss and Tordek stood against its advance alone. Finally, they got a clear look at the creature, the giant insect from distant lands recognizable as a Thri-Kreen, a bloody scimitar running with rainwater in each hand and a bright red bandanna around its head.

    As it engaged the two of them it was like fighting a blender, the two skilled soldiers barely keeping pace together. Their spirited defense couldn't last, and with a resounding clap of thunder a scimitar ripped though Soveliss' defenses, killed him instantly, and sliced through into Tordek knocking him dazed to the ground.

    The last thing he saw was the pair of giant, glowing, compound eyes.


    The Build
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    Racial Traits
    40 Base Speed, +3 Natural Armor, +30 Jump, +4 Hide in sandy/arid settings, Darkvision 60, Immune to Sleep, PLAs (Manifester Level 1/2 HD): Know Direction and Location 3/day, Chameleon 3/day, Metaphysical Claw 1/day, Greater Concealing Amorpha 1/day
    Thri-Kreen have four functioning arms, and a Bite (1d4) as a secondary natural attack. Once per day, the bite can poison for initial 1d6 Dex, secondary paralysis at DC 10 + Con mod + 1/2 HD.
    Favored Class: Ranger

    The Bloodstained Hurricane
    {table=head]ECL|Class|BAB|Base Fort|Base Ref|Base Will|AC Bonus|Skills|Feats|Class Features

    3rd|Thri-Kreen 1|
    +1
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    +0
    |4 Jump, 1 Perform Dance, 4 Spot, 1 Tumble|Combat Expertise|-

    4th|Thri-Kreen 2|
    +2
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    +0
    |1 Jump, 1/2 Perform Dance, 1 Spot|Deflect Arrows|Racial Traits

    5th|Ranger 1|
    +3
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |
    +3
    |
    +0
    |1 Spot, 6 Survival|Dodge, Track|Favored Enemy, Wild Empathy

    6th|Ranger 2|
    +4
    |
    +3
    |
    +6
    |
    +3
    |
    +0
    |5 Search, 1 Spot, 1 Survival|Multiweapon Fighting**|+1 Str

    7th|Scout 1|
    +4
    |
    +3
    |
    +8
    |
    +3
    |
    +0
    |1 Disable Device, 1 Search, 7 Tumble|-|Skirmish +1d6, Trapfinding

    8th|Scout 2|
    +5
    |
    +3
    |
    +9
    |
    +3
    |
    +0
    |4 Disable Device 3 Search, 1 Spot, 1 Tumble|Weapon Focus: Scimitar|Uncanny Dodge, Battle Fortitude +1

    9th|Scout 3 (Dungeon Specialist)|
    +6
    |
    +4
    |
    +9
    |
    +4
    |
    +0
    |6 Disable Device, 1 Search, 1 Spot, 1 Tumble|-|Climb Speed (half land), Attack with Light Weapons while Climbing, Skirmish +1d6/+1 AC, Trackless Step

    10th|Scout 4|
    +7
    |
    +4
    |
    +10
    |
    +4
    |
    +0
    |1 Disable Device, 1 1/2 Perform Dance, 1 Search, 2 Spot, 1 Survival, 1 Tumble|Mobility|+1 Str

    11th|Dervish 1|
    +8
    |
    +4
    |
    +12
    |
    +6
    |
    +1
    |5 Perform Dance|Swift Hunter|Dervish Dance 1/day, Movement Mastery, Slashing Blades, 2nd Favored Enemy, Skirmish +2d6/+1 AC

    12th|Dervish 2|
    +9
    |
    +4
    |
    +13
    |
    +7
    |
    +1
    |5 Perform Dance|-|Fast Movement +5 ft

    13th|Dervish 3|
    +10
    |
    +5
    |
    +13
    |
    +7
    |
    +1
    |Extreme Leap, 1 Perform Dance, 1 Spot|Spring Attack|Dervish Dance 2/day

    14th|Dervish 4|
    +11
    |
    +5
    |
    +14
    |
    +8
    |
    +1
    |Clarity of Vision, 1 Perform Dance, 2 Tumble|Improved Multiweapon Fighting|Dance of Death, +1 Str

    15th|Dervish 5|
    +12
    |
    +5
    |
    +14
    |
    +8
    |
    +2
    |1 Climb, 1 Perform Dance, 3 Tumble|-|Dervish Dance 3/day, Fast Movement +10 ft

    16th|Dervish 6|
    +13
    |
    +6
    |
    +15
    |
    +9
    |
    +2
    |3 Climb, 1 Perform Dance, 1 Tumble|-|Improved Reaction

    17th|Dervish 7|
    +14
    |
    +6
    |
    +15
    |
    +9
    |
    +2
    |Leaping Climber, 1 Perform Dance, 1 Tumble|Improved Skirmish|Elaborate Parry, Dervish Dance 4/day, Skirmish +4d6/+2 AC

    18th|Dervish 8|
    +15
    |
    +6
    |
    +16
    |
    +10
    |
    +2
    |3 Jump, 1 Perform Dance, 1 Tumble|-|Fast Movement +15 ft, +1 Str

    19th|Dervish 9|
    +16
    |
    +7
    |
    +16
    |
    +10
    |
    +3
    |3 Jump, 1 Perform Dance, 1 Tumble|-|Tireless Dance, Dervish Dance 5/day

    20th|Dervish 10|
    +17
    |
    +7
    |
    +17
    |
    +11
    |
    +3
    |3 Jump, 1 Perform Dance, 1 Tumble|Speed of Thought|A Thousand Cuts[/table]

    **Multiweapon Fighting: Special: This feat replaces the Two-Weapon Fighting feat for creatures with more than two arms. Since the feat is globally replaced, and since Thru-Kreen have a favored class of Ranger, both the RAW and the RAI appear to support them getting MWF with Ranger 2.


    Build Notes
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    No matter how you look at it, the Dervish is a PRC very good at one thing, and that thing is making full attacks. It gets to move around as it makes its full attack, and it gets a solid +5 to hit bonus to help especially with the back rounds of a full attack. It even gets movement bonuses and can take 10 on Tumble checks to help it get all of its attacks in safely. However, it also does one thing very poorly: conserve feats. Dervish is a total feat-hog, and feeding its habit means any complicated plans are probably not going to have enough feats to function.

    From here, the best race in the buisiness of making simple full attacks is the Thri-Kreen. It gets off twice as many weapon attacks as anyone else, and even though multiweapon fighting takes more ECL to get off the ground with higher BAB requirements and the Thri-Kreen LA, even early on youre getting similar numbers of hits at higher bonuses.

    Dervish is a class you want to get all the way through so you don't have to hoard your Dervish Dances/day, so this and the 4 ECL Thri-Kreen chassis leaves us with only 6 spare levels to get everything we need to succeed. Scout levels are a no-brainer, since Dervishes are practically made to take advantage of Skirmish. However, the inclusion of two Ranger levels with them proves to be optimal; it's a favored class, and Swift Hunter (required with this setup to get to Improved Skirmish) and Multiweapon Fighting cancel out in the feat tally, so it costs us very little of importance. In return, we lose 1 less BAB than Scout 6, and trade some mostly trivial Scout bonuses for mostly trivial Ranger bonuses (though Track is handy early).

    The main obstacle late in the build is being fast enough to get all our attacks off reliably and cleanly: Thri-Kreen is great here too with its 40 foot natural speed and easy access to Speed of Thought, as well as some easy use of Jump skill tricks.


    ECL 4-5
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    Being a Thri-Kreen, under convential rules the Hurricane is not playable until ECL 4 when she has completed her Monstrous Humanoid HD. Right out of the box, using her natural attacks to avoid Multiweapon Fighting penalties is probably preferable, giving her a respectable full attack routine of 4 claws and a bite. Against hordes of mooks using Combat Expertise to get a large AC bonus while fishing for Crits might not be an unwise course, especially considering that having 2 less HD this early on will really hurt your HP. If you run into DR/magic, remember Metaphysical Claw can at least enchant one of your natural attacks. Your first Ranger level's biggest advantage is probably that it lets you actually wear light armor.

    On the utility front you can jump really unexpectedly far and do it at will, which is surprisingly useful at these sorts of levels. Your first Ranger level gives you Track and Survival skill points, and combined with your Know Direction and Location PLA should be pretty good in the wilderness. Chameleon is especially useful at these levels and should make you a pretty good sneak even with nothing in Hide, and you've got decent senses with Darkvision and respectable Spot.

    Overall it's a tough start but you aren't without options and there are a number of things you can do well.

    Summaries will be listed with no magical gear, but with mithral breastplate, masterwork weapons (where appropriate) and appropriate mundane circumstance tools

    ECL 5:
    Full Attack 4 Claws +7, 1 Bite +2
    Claws & Bite: 1d4+4/2
    AC: 21=10+3dex+3nat+5armor
    Init: +3 | Fort: +4 | Reflex: +8 | Will: +5
    Jump +47, Spot +10, Survival (Track) +10, Tumble +7
    Speed 40, Darkvision 60



    ECL 6-10
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    With Ranger 6 you gain Multiweapon Fighting (it should be noted that this is possible because multiweapon fighting *replaces* TWF for multi armed creatures), letting you switch over to handaxes if you like. (You can use short swords, but they're piercing only and be worthless at ECL 11. You probably also want a bigger weapon for your main hand.). This probably isn't actually worth the -2 penalty vs claws unless you at least have +1 Weapons, but remember that you still keep your secondary bite and it doesn't take any TWF penalties.

    After that you take your 4 Scout levels (as Ranger is your favored class, you have no issues with Multiclassing penalties). On the combat side, these get you your Skirmish bonuses and Uncanny Dodge, which both may come in useful occasionally at these levels. A full attack is still your best bet for combat, but Skirmish is an acceptable consolation prize when you have to move.

    On the skills side, you pick up Tumble and Trapfinding, allowing your increasingly obselete tracking skills to decay in favor of Searching for and disabling traps. You also gain a climb speed from your scout substitution level (the enhancement bonus to speed you traded for it was going to be overlapped anyway), and though it's fairly slow it allows you to fight while climbing, building up your crazy insect cred.

    We're still struggling for effectiveness in combat here, but making up for it by being a decent skillmonkey. Everything is about to come together though.

    ECL 10 (No magic gear):
    Full Attack 4 Masterwork Handaxes +11/+11/+11/+11/+6, 1 Bite +7
    Attack: Masterwork Handaxe +13, 1d6+(1d6)+5 x3
    Masterwork Handaxes: 1d6+5/2 x3
    Bite: 1d4+2
    Skirmish: +2d6/+1 AC
    AC: 21=10+3dex+3nat+5armor
    Init: +4 | Fort: +7 | Reflex: +13 | Will: +6
    Climb +14*, Disable Device +14, Jump +47, Search +14, Spot +14, Survival (Track) +13, Tumble +17
    Speed 40, Climb 20, Darkvision 60 (Starred Skills can Take 10)



    ECL 11-15
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    With ECL 11 the Hurricane picks up the Dervish Dance and explodes into combat relevancy, now performing her six step full attacks with ease while simultaneously getting her skirmish dice. Combining this with her new ability to use four scimitars and our steadily increasing bonuses with slashing weapons, she can do quite a bit of damage to the enemy on almost every round. At ECL 14 she picks up Improved Multiweapon fighting and her full attack progression increases to ten, which can output over a hundred damage if she executes them all.

    On the skills front our skillmonkey side degrades, but we get perform dance up to max and keep up with tumble. We also pursue a couple skill tricks related to movement and perception to help us make our full attacks more easily and generally to be a scary bug.

    The Hurricane portayed in the backstory chose Humanoid (Human) +4 and Humanoid (Elf) +2 as her favored enemies, but this is largely personal choice and campaign dependent. :P

    ECL 15 (No magic gear):
    Full Attack 4 Masterwork Scimitars +20/+20/+20/+20/+15/+15/+15/+15/+10, 1 Bite +15
    Attack: Masterwork Scimitar +22, 1d6+(2d6)+8 18-20x2 (Spring Attack)
    Masterwork Scimitars: 1d6+(2d6)+8/5
    Bite: 1d4+(2d6)+5
    Skirmish: +2d6/+1 AC
    AC: 23=10+3dex+2der+3nat+5armor
    Init: +4 | Fort: +8 | Reflex: +17 | Will: +10
    Climb +15*, Disable Device +14, Jump +51*, Perform Dance +15*, Search +14, Spot +15, Survival (Track) +13, Tumble +22*
    Speed 50, Climb 25, Darkvision 60 (Starred Skills can Take 10)


    ECL 16-20
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    It's said that the slightest of breezes can eventually build into a Hurricane, and this is entirely the case here. The Bloodstained Hurricane quickly becomes more powerful with every level now, gaining rapidly scaling attack bonuses along with doubling her skirmish at ECL 17 and adding a wonderful Nova capstone at ECL 20.

    In this range she will actually struggle to pull off all of her attacks over the course of a Dervish Dance by virtue of having almost as many attacks as 5 foot increments in her speed, not to mention possibly missing skirmish on a couple of attacks at the beginning. Some of her skill tricks are more or less helpful with this depending on DM interpretation (though seriously, if anything should be allowed to attack and tumble in mid-jump it's probably this thing.) In any case, if she can get her hands on some sort of powerful speed item or buff that will be pretty helpful in getting all her attacks off, especially when she has to climb around or something. Her speed problems are reduced at level 20 when Speed of Thought finally makes its appearance, bringing her unmagical speed to 65 with its conveniently stacking insight bonus. Properly executed, a thousand cuts has the potential to deal over 500 damage.

    We come into some open but heavily restricted skill points towards the end here, and I've decided to invest them in Jump, just because you never know when you're going to have to Jump across a 15 square chasm in an antimagic field. Her vertical leap of over 15 feet should let her make some good use of her skill tricks, and is just generally an appropriate thing for this character to have.

    ECL 20 (No magic gear):
    Full Attack 4 Masterwork Scimitars +28/+28/+28/+28/+23/+23/+23/+23/+18/+13, 1 Bite +23
    Attack: Masterwork Scimitar +30, 1d6+(4d6)+11 18-20x2 (Spring Attack)
    Masterwork Scimitars: 1d6+(4d6)+11/8
    Bite: 1d4+(4d6)+8
    Skirmish: +4d6/+2 AC
    AC: 24=10+3dex+3der+3nat+5armor
    Init: +6 | Fort: +10 | Reflex: +20 | Will: +13
    Climb +19*, Disable Device +14, Jump +65*, Perform Dance +20*, Search +14, Spot +15, Survival +13, Tumble +27*
    Speed 65, Climb 30, Darkvision 60 (Starred Skills can Take 10)


    Useful Equipment
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    None of the following is at all necessary for the build to function, but merely a quick sampling of some things you should be aware of.

    Offensively, you can't deal your precision damage to Undeads or Constructs and will often have difficulties with DR due to your many small attacks. For this reason, assembling collections of Greater Truedeath and Demolition Crystals (10,000 and 6,000 respectively, MiC) to overcome these problems is important, though you should priotize depending on campaign because it can be an expensive habit to maintain.

    You have a great deal more freedom with Weapon Enhancements themselves, though you should try to get some actual raw enhancement bonus in some way for hitting and static damage (either through buffs or a truly enchanted weapon). Brilliant Energy as always is very tempting but it is quite expensive and exacerbates your problems with Undeads and Constructs. On the other claw, Keen synergizes well with Scimitars and is fairly cheap. You may also wish to be aware of Parrying, Warning, Dispelling, Vampiric, (all MiC). Defending (gimping one out of four weapons to defend) and Speed (though eventually you have too many attacks to use anyway) from the DMG may also be of interest at certain points in your career. The various energy damage enchantments are enticing but large theoretical numbers can become quite small when faced with even token energy resistance.

    On the Defensive side, you have fair AC and saves to work with and the relevant stat items along with a resistance bonus to saves and an enhancement bonus to AC will do a world of good. As for specific armors, Speed (+6,000, Swift Haste 3/day, MiC) is probably something you want tacked on for movement if nothing else, and Freedom (+5, FoM, MiC) is expensive but very useful (because when you can't move, you can't really full attack). You will definitely want a Ring of Evasion if you can get one to exploit your good reflex save.

    A continous Collar of Umbral Metamorphisis (22,000 ToM), is an especially useful item for you as it provides untyped extra speed. Of course, the HIPS and stealth bonuses are great too. Obviously a Belt of Battle is a wonderful item for you just like most other people, giving you an extra full attack once per day (if used on the same round as your Dervish Dance, this is an especially fearsome Nova). In general with the rest of your gear try to go after effects which can give you extra move to get your attacks off with, and otherwise make generally good decisions.


    Adaption
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    The build presented uses the EPH Thri-Kreen with no LA buyoff, which would net you 2 HD if you got it. Similarly, if you can convince your DM to allow the MM2/SS non-Psionic Thri-Kreen you only suffer an LA of +1. If you manage to earn yourself two HD, it might be worthwhile going Scout 8 instead of Scout 4/Ranger 2 (though you may want to delay the last couple Scout levels). You could also add in some ToB or Incarnum onto the end of the build that way (though you provoke multiclassing penalties), taking advantage especially of ToB's late entry perks.

    Featwise, you should remember that nonpsionic Thrikreen are unable to take Speed of Thought. Also on the speed front, if you anticipate being able to exploit various large boosts to speed from magic, you might consider improving your dex to 19 for Greater Multiweapon Fighting (though you probably can make this dex improvement with magic as well). If your DM allows traits, you very much want Quick for the untyped speed boost.


    Sources
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    PHB, EPH (Thri-Kreen, Speed of Thought), CA (Scout), CW (Dervish), CS (Swift Hunter, Improved Skirmish, Skill Tricks), MM/SRD (Multiweapon Fighting feats), PHB2 (Dungeon Spec Scout)
    Last edited by Private-Prinny; 2011-07-17 at 07:25 PM.