"What did you say the intruder looked like, ma'am?" "Um, well, y'see. . . ."
Quote Originally Posted by Eglath
Eglath
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Sometimes a job calls for stealth, and sometimes for brute strength. You never know when it takes a cat, or even an octopus, to steal the relic from a temple. Usually it don't, but when it does, they call me. I get it done.

From the deepest caverns to long abandoned ruins, adventurers for centuries are familiar with the dungeon crawl. But what happens when the original builders of the dungeon are still using it? And the dungeon is actually a temple? Well, it is still a dungeon crawl. There are the normal variety of traps, both magical and mundane, and a large cadre of guards and clergy. There are basically have two ways of dealing with this, brute force and stealth. The ideal temple raider has both, in spades. This is the story of Eglath.

I was always fascinated with dungeons. The ruins of a temple, with a deep underground labyrinth, holds treasures unimagined, regardless of how many people have been through there before. There are always scraps of books and parchment which some mage or priest would pay dearly for, some secret door that has yet to been discovered, traps that no one has yet disabled. So when I took a job to raid a temple of Nerull, who I had just happened to have a history with, I was hooked. Time to stop being a bottom feeder and start living the high life. It is the active temples that have all the gold, gems, and artifacts. Why not make a profit off of a rival's misfortune?

Unfortunately, while we met our objectives on the small shrine, resistence and casualties were higher than expected. Time to learn some new tricks. I had already mastered the basics of wildshaping, but it was time to pursue that, all the better to get the loot. I eventually learned to wildshape into larger creatures, like the giant octopus, which is useful both underwater and on land. Ever been grappled by a giant octopus? You don't really want to. But most important was when I learned to shape into tiny creatures, like that bane of commoners everywhere, the housecat.

So I've been seeking exciting new opportunities, new destinations, and in the process, making new ruins for you to enjoy later, or in another life.

You're welcome.



The Build
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Eglath Gathakanathi, CN Goliath Ranger 5/Temple Raider 8/Master of Many Forms 4/Divine Seeker 2
{table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

1st|Wildshape Ranger 1|
+1
|
+2
|
+2
|
+0
|Search 4, Open Lock 2, Disable Device 4, Move Silently 4, Hide 4, Spot 4, Listen 4, |Improved Unarmed Strike|1st rival organization (temple of Nerull), wild empathy, fast movement, Trap Expert ACF

2nd|Ranger 2|
+2
|
+3
|
+3
|
+0
|Knowledge (Rel) 1, Search 5, Open Lock 2.5, Move Silent 5, Hide 5, Spot 5|N/A|N/A

3rd|Ranger 3|
+3
|
+3
|
+3
|
+1
|Search 6, Open Lock 3, Move Silent 6, Hide 6|Alertness, Endurance (Bonus)|N/A

4th|Ranger 4|
+4
|
+4
|
+4
|
+1
|Search 7, Open Lock 3.5, Move Silent 7, Hide 7|N/A|Urban Companion (Cat)

5th|Ranger 5|
+5
|
+4
|
+4
|
+1
|Search 8, Open Lock 4, Move Silent 8, Hide 8|N/A|2nd rival organization (temple of Erythnul), Wildshape

6th|Temple Raider 1|
+5
|
+4
|
+6
|
+3
|Hide 9, Know Rel 2 |Improved Grapple|Trapfinding, trap sense +1

7th|Master of Many Forms 1|
+5
|
+6
|
+8
|
+3
|Anything stealth/disguise |N/A|Shifter’s speech, improved wild shape (humanoid)

8th|Master of Many Forms 2|
+6/+1
|
+7
|
+9
|
+3
|Anything stealth/disguise|N/A|Improved wild shape (giant; Large)

9th|Master of Many Forms 3|
+7/+2
|
+7
|
+9
|
+4
|Anything stealth/disguise|Natural Spell|Fast wild shape, improved wild shape (monstrous humanoid)

10th|Master of Many Forms 4|
+8/+3
|
+8
|
+10
|
+4
|Anything stealth/disguise|N/A|Natural Spell|Improved wild shape (fey; Tiny)

11th|Temple Raider 2|
+9/+4
|
+8
|
+11
|
+5
|Know Rel 3, Hide 10,Anything stealth/disguise |N/A|Sneak attack +1d6

12th|Temple Raider 3|
+10/+5
|
+9
|
+11
|
+5
|Anything stealth/disguise|Savage Grapple|Uncanny dodge

13th|Temple Raider 4|
+11/+6/+1
|
+9
|
+12
|
+6
|Anything stealth/disguise|N/A|Trap sense +2

14th|Temple Raider 5|
+11/+6/+1
|
+9
|
+12
|
+6
|Anything stealth/disguise|N/A|Sneak attack +2d6

15th|Temple Raider 6|
+12/+7/+2
|
+10
|
+13
|
+7
|Anything stealth/disguise|Craven|Improved uncanny dodge

16th|Temple Raider 7|
+13/+8/+3
|
+10
|
+13
|
+7
|Anything stealth/disguise|N/A|Trap sense +3

17th|Temple Raider 8|
+14/+9/+4
|
+10
|
+14
|
+8
|Anything stealth/disguise|N/A|Sneak attack +3d6

18th|Divine Seeker 1|
+14/+9/+4
|
+10
|
+16
|
+8
|Anything stealth/disguise|Extra Wildshape|Sanctuary, Thwart Glyph

19th|Divine Seeker 2|
+15/+10/+5
|
+10
|
+17
|
+8
|Anything stealth/disguise|N/A|Sacred defense +1, sneak attack +4d6[/table]


Spellcasting (Note, includes bonus spells for wis at level 20, without inherent and item enhancement bonuses)
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Spells per day/Spells Known
{table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th
1st|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

2nd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

3rd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

4th|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|(Ranger 4)

5th|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|(Ranger 5)

6th|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|(Temple Raider 1)

7th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

8th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

9th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

10th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|

11th|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|(Temple Raider 2)

12th|2|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|(Temple Raider 3)

13th|2|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|(Temple Raider 4)

14th|2|2|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|(Temple Raider 5)

15th|2|2|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|(Temple Raider 6)

16th|3|2|2|1|-|-|-|-|-|(Temple Raider 7)

17th|3|2|2|2|-|-|-|-|-|(Temple Raider 8)
[/table]

Ranger spells
Level 1-Alarm, animal messenger, calm animals, charm animals, delay poison, detect animals or plants, detect poison, detect snares and pits, endure elements, entangle, hide from animals, jump, longstrider, magic fang, pass without trace, read magic, resist energy, speak with animals, summon nature's ally I.

Temple Raider spells
Level 1-detect law, detect secret doors, disguise self, invisibility to undead, obscuring mist, protection from law.
Level 2-augury, cat’s grace, darkvision, delay poison, invisibility, lesser restoration, undetectable alignment.
Level 3-locate object, magic circle against law, nondetection, obscure object, remove curse, resist energy, see invisibility.
Level 4-air walk, confusion, death ward, freedom of movement, neutralize poison, restoration, spell immunity.


Ability Scores, final skill checks, saves:
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Ability scores:
32-point buy-Str 14, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 12
Racial-Str 18, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 12
Levels-Str 18, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 18, Cha 12
Inherent-Str 22, Dex 12, Con 18, Int 14, Wis 26, Cha 12
Items-Str 28, Dex 12, Con 18, Int 14, Wis 32, Cha 12

Saves: base + stats + items = total
Fort: 10 + 4 (or wildshaped creature) + 5 = 19
Reflex: 17 + 1 (or wildshaped creature) + 5 = 23
Will: 8 + 11 + 5 = 24

Skills: I didn't calculate all the skills, just ensured that each skill had enough to meet the pre-reqs for my prestige classes. Focus on stealth and you won't go wrong.


Recommended magic items:
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This character is not terribly reliant on magic items. Of course you want cloak of res, stat boosters, etc. Magic Light armor is nice for when you are not wildshaped (but when would that be? I guess if he has a girlfriend...) dunno if wilding clasps make the armor fit octopus form. I'm gonna say no.

Main this this guy is going to want is a portable hole, as he is scoring big when he makes a run through a temple.


Playing notes/recommended tactics:
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As mentioned in the story, wildshaping into a giant octopus is particularly unpleasant for the victims. Savage grapple allows sneak attack damage to be done with each successful grapple, and specifically does NOT cost wildshape uses, as opposed to other wild feats. For stealth, it is hard to beat a cat, although other tiny creatures are also useful. Most of his skills are designed around stealth for the initial insertion, but shaping into an octopus or bear is always useful when things hit the fan. Honestly, are there any problems that don't get better if you throw a bear, or an octopus, at it?

Craven + 4d6 sneak attack + savage grapple is an extra 33 damage on a successful grapple, which is why octopus is so great (base 2d8 +6 on a grapple, and you get 8 of them a round without using iterative attacks). Grappling is assisted by race, with Powerful build specifically not being lost with wildshape, getting another grapple bonus. Out of water? You can hold your breath for 2x con rounds, or way longer than combat should last. Once we start getting limbs sundered, shape into bear for a while, and if we need to run away, there are numerous fast, stealthy creatures, both with or without flight, to shape into, without denting the number of wildshapes per day significantly.

It was a tough decision to forgo the last 2 levels of Temple Raider, but getting the glyph bonus is potentially a lifesaver in some of the larger temples. Another sneak attack die was a bonus. Wildshaping through MoMF also allows humanoid shaping, allowing for additional potential in disguise and bluffing past mooks.

All in all, we've got stealth, we've got strength, we've got temples in ruins after we're finished with them.

The character is viable at all levels, I considered trading away ranger spellcasting but decided to keep it as they have a large and useful list of spells. Trading it would have hurt me at higher levels when access to wands and such is better. Pass without trace was, in particular, extremely difficult to give up.

If LA buyoff is allowed, I think it is time to go into Warshaper, getting the capstone of multimorph would be extremely useful for this character, but comes, obviously, post-epic


References:
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Wildshape Ranger - SRD
Urban Companion/Favored Organizations - Cityscape Web Enhancement
Champion of the Wild - Complete Champion
Trap Expert - Dungeonscape
Imp favored Enemy - Complete Warrior
Master of Many Forms, Savage Grapple - Complete Adventurer
Divine Seeker - Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting