1. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Default Re: In the Beginning Was the Word, and the Word Was Suck: A Guide to Truenamers

    Speakers of the Words: Races

    So, before you have a class, you've gotta have a race, right? Very few races are uniquely well-suited to play Truenamers, but very few races are uniquely poorly suited to do so. Really, as long as you don't have a penalty to your INT score, you'll probably make no worse a Truenamer than the fellow next to you. Thus, I'll mostly stick to races that have something worth mentioning. These are by no means the only races who can Truename. If I don't mention a race and you don't see anything about it that would make it particularly ill-suited to the role, you can assume that “eh, it's probably okay.” Your race probably won't make that much of a difference. Do note that I really don't like races that aren't ECL 0, so I won't be bothering with anything that has LA or RHD. In short:

    • INT penalties are bad. INT bonuses are OK, but not must-have. (Penalties hurt more than bonuses help.)
    • If you're taking utterances that allow saving throws or if you want to use UMD at lowish levels, be wary of races with penalties to CHA. Otherwise, don't worry about it.
    • Races that give you something different to do are usually worth a second look. Races that give skills as automatic class skills are worth a second look as well, since you'll have lots of skill points and not that many things to spend them on.
    • You're a caster-type with mostly debuff effects and a d6 hit die. CON is as necessary for you as it is for everyone else, and DEX (mostly for initiative) is nice to have, though it can be sacrificed if necessary.
    • You have to see something (or “perceive it in some other way that gets you as much information as sight”) to use an utterance on it. Whether that makes darkvision attractive to you depends on how much your GM likes turning out the lights and dousing your torches, but it's something.

    Illumian: (Races of Destiny) This is the race that gets the biggest boost to Truespeak (the Naen sigil gives a +2 bonus on all INT-based checks at and after level 2), and the bonus to Knowledge skills at the same time is also pretty sweet. None of the combined power words really do much for you, so choose your second sigil based on what kinds of bonuses you like. Utterances are technically SLAs, so if you lose caster levels for some reason, Krau will bump up your caster level (if you care, of course, since you don't really have too many effects that are based on your CL). I like Uur for the bonus to initiative. Anything works, though. Also, the flavor is especially fitting, and the fact that illumians get Speak Language as a class skill when Truenamers usually don't is . . . well, it's something. Illumians are my favorite choice for this class. (They're my favorite race on the whole as well, but they make especially good Truenamers, such as it is.)

    Human: (PHB) It is a fact about 3.5: There is nothing a human does poorly, and there are few things they don't do better than most other races. They're just good.

    Azurin: (Magic of Incarnum) An azurin who spends their bonus feat on Shape Soulmeld (Lightning Gauntlets or Dissolving Spittle) gets an at-will touch attack (melee for Gauntlets, ranged for Spittle) that does 2d6 damage. At higher levels, if you don't spend some feats and/or levels getting more essentia, this tapers off in usefulness, but at low levels, it gives you something to do when you can't or don't want to use an utterance. If you're starting at very low levels, this might also mean that you won't feel compelled to take Minor Word of Nurturing as your first utterance, which is good, because you'd probably rather take Universal Aptitude or Inertia Surge in the long run. Dusklings have the same bonus essentia, but with that penalty to INT? Pass.

    Half-Elf: (PHB) This is just if you want pity. It's telling that Khetarin, the iconic Truenamer, is a half-elf. Half-elves give you nothing of interest, but most other races won't either, and if you really want to play up the whole “GAZE UPON ME AS I OPTIMIZE A SUCKY CLASS INTO SHINING MEDIOCRITY” aspect, you might as well take a race with a reputation for being lackluster. If you do, make sure that your facial hair is just as stupid as Khetarin's is. Yes, even if your Truenamer is female.

    Dragonborn: (Races of the Dragon) Personally, I don't like dragonborn that much, but the breath weapon makes them useful (like the azurin, it gives them something to do early on other than just be a Truenamer). If your GM plays a high-powered game, there's an argument that you can combine them with raptorans for flight AND a breath weapon, but some games will find that to be [at least] mildly abusive. Since "dragonborn" is as much a pseudotemplate as it is a race, you can tack it onto another race (losing 99% of the race's features but stacking their stat changes with those granted by dragonborn). This is notable if you want to be a gray elf; a dragonborn gray elf has net stat mods of -2 STR and +2 INT (canceling out the CON penalty that gray elves usually have to endure), which may be relevant to your interests. (Illumians still get a bigger Truespeak bonus, though.)

    Killoren: (Races of the Wild) If you have good CHA for some reason (such as if you want to use utterances with saving throws), their built-in smite is pretty fun and might make the difference between hitting and missing, especially at low levels. This is one of those “I have something to do for a turn other than just be a Truenamer” races I mentioned earlier. If you're not into that sort of thing, a bonus to K: Nature checks can be interesting (since you're probably going to be a know-it-all), and the Aspect of the Hunter gives you a whole pack of little bonuses, including one of the only two racial bonuses to initiative that I know about. You even get to pick every day, so you might go for smites early on and skill/initiative bonuses later once you've got enough utterances that you don't need to find other ways to spend your actions. Nothing overwhelming out of this race, but they're definitely not bad.

    Raptoran: (Races of the Wild) Flight. Nothing more, nothing less. Saving an utterance known on Seek the Sky can be a decent perk, though StS has other uses as well.

    Kalashtar: (Eberron Campaign Setting) If you feel like spending a feat on Hidden Talent, kalashtar (and any other race with inherent psionics, like maenads, elans, synads, or xephs, but kalashtar do it best in the long run) can give you a backup option for when you don't want to be a Truenamer. Of course, since your manifester level for Hidden Talent doesn't increase, the power won't scale, so you're either going to be focusing primarily on the early game or else you're going to want to pick something that isn't really dependent on ML, but you can handle that. (Call to Mind can give you an even more disgustingly high bonus to Knowledge checks, for example, and Psionic Minor Creation can be used for shenanigans, though neither is something that one manifests in combat.) Also, having PP qualifies you for psionic feats, if you care about those.

    Deep Imaskari, Gray Elf, Fire Elf, Dragonwrought Kobold, etc.: INT bonuses, but that's pretty much it. You probably don't need these as much as you think you do, and illumians will give you a bigger net bonus on Truespeak checks (excepting Dragonwrought kobolds starting with odd INT scores, who tie with the illumians). Still, they're here if you want 'em. Note that getting the INT bonus out of a kobold requires spending a feat on Dragonwrought, so if an INT bonus is all you're getting out of that deal, you're probably better off with another option, mechanically speaking.

    Buomman: (Planar Handbook) These give you nothing of interest and aren't especially good, but I find the concept of singing Truespeech to be funny enough to mention it. You probably shouldn't play one, but I would giggle if you did.

    Muckdweller: (Serpent Kingdoms) I mention these for three reasons. First, I think they're funny, and a lot of people don't know about them. Second, their Squirt attack is another entry in the “something to do other than utter” category (and one of, like, two DEX-based save DCs that I can think of). Third, they're really hard to hit (tiny size, +6 DEX, +3 natural armor), so that's something. If you can swing having an arcane caster level somehow, they're also a viable option for familiars, but somehow I don't see that happening on a Truenamer. Still, the little guys are fun.

    Daelkyr Half-Blood: (Magic of Eberron) These get a free (scaling, even) symbiont, which are creepy little things that are treated as kind of being creatures and kind of being items. This sorta-kinda fits in the "I have a low-level trick that isn't just uttering" box. The symbionts you can get for free don't have any unusual synergy with Truenamer, but that doesn't mean they don't have uses.

    Neraph: (Planar Handbook) Neraphim are Outsiders with 0 LA, which is nice for several reasons. One of those reasons is automatic proficiency with all martial weapons. Most 'Namers aren't especially interested in weapons, but if you want to be somewhat gishy or otherwise capable of making normal attacks at people, this can help. It also is not a bad thing to have +2 NA and Neraph Camouflage.
    Last edited by Zaq; 2018-05-12 at 02:30 PM.
    In the Beginning Was the Word, and the Word Was Suck: A Guide to Truenamers ALL HAIL KING TORG!

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Gentlefolk, learn from Zaq's example, and his suffering. Remember, seven out of eleven players who use truenamer lose their ability to taste ice cream.
    Please come participate in the Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground E6 Appetizer Edition! Current round: round IX (now cooking)!

    My compiled Iron Chef submissions and judgments, with commentary!