1. - Top - End - #105
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Private-Prinny's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXII

    "Cutting-cutting, how you kill me. Uh-huh, cutting-cutting."
    Quote Originally Posted by Savanakri
    "You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
    See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen"


    Sanavakri, the Dancing Kalashtar
    Kalashtar Warblade 1/Psychic Warrior 2/Warblade +3/Dervish 10/Warblade +4

    The Story
    Spoiler
    Show
    "Far-day night under Dal Quor's glow
    Looking out for the place to go
    Where they oppress your people, dominate and worry
    You come to hunt the Quori
    Anybody could be possessed
    But you are young and you'll pass the test
    With a bit of psionics, everything is fine
    You're in the mood for a dance
    And when you get the chance..."


    Sanavakri had trained long for this day. Long hours in the dojo, perfecting her mind and body. Long hours learning the ancient art of sheshan talarash dasyannah, the secret dances of her people.

    Now she stood cornered, a monstrous Quori looming over her. The creature's form roiled, anticipating the fear to come.

    "Any last requests?"

    "Just one," replied Sanavakri. "A beat."

    Then she began to hum. And then to dance. And then, with a fluidity that would shame the finest of Sharn's concert halls, to kill.


    The Build
    Spoiler
    Show
    "You are the dancing queen, deadly sweet, with an iron sheen
    Dancing queen, feel the rush of the falchion's gleam
    You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
    See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen"


    Sanavakri

    Starting Ability Scores: Str 16, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 8, Levelup points go to Str

    {table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

    1st|Warblade 1|
    +1
    |
    +2
    |
    +0
    |
    +0
    |Balance 4, Concentration 4, Jump 4, Knowledge(history) 4, Tumble 4, Perform(dance) 2|Power Attack|Maneuvers, Battle Clarity, Weapon Aptitude

    2nd|Psychic Warrior 1|
    +1
    |
    +4
    |
    +0
    |
    +0
    |Autohypnosis +2, Concentration +1, Jump +1|Dodge|Manifesting

    3rd|Psychic Warrior 2|
    +2
    |
    +5
    |
    +0
    |
    +0
    |Autohypnosis +2, Concentration +1, Jump +1|Mobility|

    4th|Warblade 2|
    +3
    |
    +6
    |
    +0
    |
    +0
    |Balance +1, Jump +1, Tumble +2, Peform(dance) +1||Uncanny Dodge

    5th|Warblade 3|
    +4
    |
    +6
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |Concentration +2, Jump +1, Knowledge(history) +1, Tumble +2||Battle Ardor

    6th|Warblade 4|
    +5
    |
    +7
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |Concentration +1, Jump +1, Knowledge(history) +3, Tumble +1|Combat Expertise, Weapon Focus(Falchion)|

    7th|Dervish 1|
    +6
    |
    +7
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |Jump +1, Tumble +1, Perform(dance) +4||AC Bonus, Dervish Dance 1/day, Movement Mastery, Slashing Blades

    8th|Dervish 2|
    +7
    |
    +7
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |Jump +1, Tumble +1, Perform(dance) +4||Fast Movement +5ft

    9th|Dervish 3|
    +8
    |
    +8
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |Jump +1, Listen +3, Tumble +1, Perform(dance) +1|Path of Shadows, Spring Attack(B)|Dervish Dance 2/day

    10th|Dervish 4|
    +9
    |
    +8
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |Jump +1, Listen +3, Tumble +1, Perform(dance) +1||Dance of Death

    11th|Dervish 5|
    +10
    |
    +8
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |Jump +1, Listen +3, Tumble +1, Perform(dance) +1||Fast Movement +10ft, Dervish Dance 3/day

    12th|Dervish 6|
    +11
    |
    +9
    |
    +6
    |
    +6
    |Jump +1, Listen +3, Tumble +1, Perform(dance) +1|Dancing With Shadows|Improved Reaction

    13th|Dervish 7|
    +12
    |
    +9
    |
    +6
    |
    +6
    |Jump +1, Listen +3, Tumble +1, Perform(dance) +1||Elaborate Parry, Dervish Dance 4/day

    14th|Dervish 8|
    +13
    |
    +9
    |
    +7
    |
    +7
    |Balance +1, Jump +1, Listen +2, Tumble +1, Perform(dance) +1||Fast Movement +15ft

    15th|Dervish 9|
    +14
    |
    +10
    |
    +7
    |
    +7
    |Autohypnosis +1, Jump +1, Listen +1, Tumble +1, Perform(dance) +1|Improved Combat Expertise|Tireless Dance, Dervish Dance 5/day

    16th|Dervish 10|
    +15
    |
    +10
    |
    +8
    |
    +8
    |Autohypnosis +1, Jump +1, Listen +1, Tumble +1, Perform(dance) +1||A Thousand Cuts

    17th|Warblade 5|
    +16
    |
    +10
    |
    +8
    |
    +8
    |Jump +1, Listen +1, Tumble +1, Perform(dance) +1|IronHeart Aura(B)|

    18th|Warblade 6|
    +17
    |
    +11
    |
    +9
    |
    +9
    |Jump +1, Listen +1, Tumble +1, Perform(dance) +1|Stormguard Warrior|Improved Uncanny Dodge

    19th|Warblade 7|
    +18
    |
    +11
    |
    +9
    |
    +9
    |Jump +1, Listen +1, Tumble +1, Perform(dance) +1||Battle Cunning

    20th|Warblade 8|
    +19
    |
    +12
    |
    +9
    |
    +9
    |Jump +1, Listen +1, Tumble +1, Perform(dance) +1||[/table]

    Psionics
    {table=head]Level|Power Points|New Powers Known

    2nd|2|Adrenaline Boost
    3rd|4|Defensive Precognition
    [/table]
    *Power Points are listed without bonus power points from high Wis. After this table, Power Points increase by one every level.

    Maneuvers
    {table=head]Level|Maneuvers Readied|New Maneuvers Known|Stances Known

    1st|3|Moment of Perfect Mind, Steely Strike, Steel Wind|Punishing Stance
    4th|3|Claw at the Moon|
    5th|3|Sudden Leap|
    6th|4|Trade Steely Strike for Iron Heart Surge|Blood in the Water
    17th|4|Dancing Mongoose|
    18th|4|Trade Steel Wind for Manticore Parry|
    19th|4|Swooping Dragon Strike|
    20th|4|Trade Moment of Perfect Mind for Finishing Move|
    [/table]


    Build Explanation and Tactics
    Spoiler
    Show
    "You've got expertise with that blade you swing
    Huddle up and then do your thing
    Looking for an opening, a chance to strike
    You're in the mood for a dance
    And when you get the chance..."


    Sanavakri is, first and foremost, a dancer. While she doesn't have Perform(dance) as a class skill for the first six levels of her life, she has enough skill points to spare the cross-class ranks to qualify while still getting a useful set of skills, including Tumble and Autohypnosis.

    Sanavakri's fluidity as a dancer manifests early on in her career, as she picks up both Power Attack and Combat Expertise, letting her sacrifice attack bonus for either damage with her two-handed Falchion, or AC. Her early feats for the most part give minor but useful bonuses. Psychic Warrior levels give her two handy buffs, while her Kalashtar race and passable Wisdom give her the power points to use them. Her maneuvers give her some damage, some mobility, and some protection from negative effects, while Punishing Stance and Blood in the Water are both good offensive options, with the latter likely to trigger during a long combat, given her preferred weapon.

    She enters Dervish only a level later than minimum with almost full BAB. As a Dervish dancing becomes an even more vital part of her life, and she starts preferentially putting ranks in Perform(dance) instead of Concentration, a choice which will pay off in a few levels. The Dervish's AC bonus is handy, as is its Fast Movement, and while Slashing Blades goes unused, Movement Mastery proves very useful. Not only does it allow her to take 10 on Tumble, a key skill in combat, but also Jump, used for some of her Tiger Claw maneuvers, and Perform(dance), which in a few levels she will have unique incentive to use in combat.

    Despite having fewer attacks than a TWFer, Sanavakri still enjoys the superior pounce-like benefits of Dervish Dance, and the accuracy bonuses help her Power Attack or use Combat Expertise with less risk. With limited times per day, it's not good to rely on Dervish Dance for mobility, but in Sanavakri's case she has a backup when outside of Dervish Dance in the form of standard action strikes.

    Spring Attack serves as a mini-dance for occasions when such becomes necessary, but the real gem of ninth level is Path of Shadows, which finally gives Sanavakri a use for the Perform(dance) part of Movement Mastery. Ancient Kalashtar traditions let her use Perform(dance) instead of Concentration to manifest in combat, and the ability to take 10 makes it quite unlikely that she will fail, letting her use Defensive Precognition freely when threatened.

    Dance of Death is nice for groups of weak creatures, providing more utility than Steel Wind, which we trade out when next given a chance. Like any initiative boost, Improved Reaction is always handy.

    The sweet spot of the build is at 13th level, when Sanavakri has Dancing with Shadows and Elaborate Parry. Dancing with Shadows is a Kalashtar-only tactical feat from Races of Eberron that improves defensive figting and Combat Expertise. It has three abilities, two of which are relevant here, the first being Graceful Lunge: if Sanavakri fights defensively or uses Combat Expertise, the next round she may apply whatever dodge bonus she had as a bonus to her first attack roll in the next round. With Elaborate Parry she gets +6 to AC from fighting defensively, improved to +7 from Tumble, so that alone is a +7 bonus on her attack in the next round. With Combat Expertise this goes up to +12, which is equal to her BAB, letting her Power Attack for full comparatively risk-free, or to land a particularly difficult strike. The other signficant benefit of Dancing with Shadows, Lingering Defense, allows her to fight defensively or use Combat Expertise for two rounds, then in the third gain the same dodge bonus without taking attack penalties. If a fight is going to go for a long time this can be a very useful choice, as along with the AC bonus from being a Dervish this will result in an AC that remains somewhat meaningful at higher levels. Under some interpretations one can also fight defensively/use combat expertise while benefiting from this ability, racking up double the dodge bonus (potentially leading to double the to-hit in the next round with Graceful Lunge). Please check your DM for lactose intolerance before using this last though.

    Improved Combat Expertise extends the lifetime of this tactic while allowing even higher bonuses. In the meantime, Dervish Dance can be used almost every encounter, meaning +5 or so to hit is here to stay, making defensive tactics less painful.

    A Thousand Cuts is of course well regarded, but this build has an extra use for it. As the build caps off with Warblade levels, Stormguard Warrior appears. Of its benefits, Fight the Horde is nice when coupled with Sanavakri's mobility in Dervish Dance, but Combat Rhythm is the real prize.

    Sanavakri, you see, is a dancer. For her, combat is music, a powerful beat that drives her back and forth, this way and that. She flows with combat, like so: in one round, with Dervish Dance and/or A Thousand Cuts, she dances merrily out of her opponents' way, making dozens of jabs that fail to deal any damage, safe behind a +26 dodge bonus to AC. In the next round she turns, and with a Graceful Lunging Power Attack augmented by Combat Rhythm, the latter powered up by the previous round's double full attack worth of "love taps", she obliterates her foe. Sounds fun?

    The last few levels of Warblade cap things off with a few maneuvers to use in this final all-out attack, including Swooping Dragon Strike and Finishing Move, while Dancing Mongoose ultimately might add two attacks to her Thousand Cuts, with the proper interpretation.


    Equipment Wish List and Variants
    Spoiler
    Show
    Aside from the traditional ability score boosters (Sanavakri gets some use out of every ability score except Charisma, though she only really needs Str and Dex), Sanavakri would enjoy a Keen weapon, possibly with other on-crit properties. Anklets of Translocation are useful to any melee build, while Maneuver-granting items would be handy, in particular to give stances that the build was unable to pick up like Absolute Steel and Leaping Dragon Stance. A Torc of Power Preservation could help with augmenting the build's powers. Once you get a bonus to Dex from an item, consider getting a friend with Psychic Reformation to let you switch one of your powers for Expansion, since melee generally enjoys being Large when it doesn't entail losing Dodge and hence the Secret Ingredient.

    If you are particularly worried about multiclass penalties, switching a few levels of Warblade for Psychic Warrior shouldn't mess up the build too much.

    If Flaws and Traits are available, Cautious will increase your bonus when fighting defensively by an additional +1, increasing your Graceful Lunge accordingly. Similarly, using Oriental Adventures' rules for Tumble will next you an additional point of dodge bonus for level 12+. A level of Cleric opens up War Devotion, which lets you take less of a penalty and get more of a bonus from fighting defensively, and doesn't even take a swift action.

    With Flaws a more radical variant of the build opens up. If you take Bard instead of Psychic Warrior and Arcane Duelist instead of several levels of Warblade, you can gain the ability to trade damage for attack bonus, adding a further source of fluidity to an already fluid build. The Bard level will also let you benefit from Inspire Courage, which helps in rounds when you want to exploit the many attacks of Dervish Dance for something other than Stormguard Warrior.


    "You are the dancing queen, deadly sweet, with an iron sheen
    Dancing queen, feel the rush of the falchion's gleam
    You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
    See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen"


    Sources
    Spoiler
    Show
    Eberron Campaign Setting: Kalashtar
    Races of Eberron: Path of Shadows, Dancing with Shadows
    Expanded Psionics Handbook: Psychic Warrior
    Complete Psionic: Adrenaline Boost
    Complete Warrior: Dervish, Improved Combat Expertise
    Tome of Battle: Warblade, Ironheart Aura, Stormguard Warrior, some item suggestions
    Magic Item Compendium: Other item suggestions
    Unearthed Arcana/Complete Champion/Oriental Adventures/Web Article: Some variant suggestions
    Last edited by Private-Prinny; 2011-07-17 at 07:26 PM.