Prepare for a frosty reception.

Quote Originally Posted by Dokar
Name: Dokar Jaggedfang
Race: Frostblood Half-Orc

Starting Attributes: Str 12, Dex 17, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 12 (32 point buy)
Increases: Dex 18 (4th), Dex 19 (8th)
Dragonborn of Bahumat: Str 12, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 12 (8th)
Increases: Dex 18 (12th), Dex 19 (16th), Wis 14 (20th)
Final Attributes: Str 12, Dex 19, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 12

Background
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Dokar doesn't ask questions. Things are less... painful that way. He already knows why the other orcs pick on him, insult him, or beat him within an inch of his life when the adults aren't looking? An accident of birth, a father that only exists as a whispered secret. Why did Captain Rakzak pick him for the Frost Guard patrols? Why is Captain Rakzak so cruel? Will he live to see another spring?

He doesn't ask these questions. He knows how to get the answers. The other orcs are strong, but they're slow and stupid. Quick to anger, and when they drink they get sloppy. He's faster, so when the swinging fist comes he makes sure he isn't there anymore. He was picked because he's quick, quiet, and knows how to pick his terrain, when to retreat if the odds are against you, and when to strike quickly if the odds are with you. Captain Rakzak is cruel, but he's not a sadist. His cruelty has a purpose. He wants to make sure they can survive in a world that doesn't like orcs, and likes half-orcs even less.

Dokar was getting ready for a patrol when he heard the clanging alarm from the other end of the village. It was just early morning, after the first heavy snowfall of winter. Icegaunts, four of them. Dokar helped take one down, and Captain Rakzak brought down a second, but the other two grabbed two dead villagers, Harnag the blacksmith and his daughter Vigla, and ran off. They will be back after midnight, with fresh Icegaunts. Captain Rakzak orders the village to evacuate to Fort Winterhold, and they spend the rest of the day moving everyone in the village up through Snaptooth Pass. Rakzak selects a dozen of the Frost Guard, Dokar among them, to guard the pass.

Just before dawn the icegaunts attack the pass, but only three of them. Vilga is now one of them, but there's no sign of Harnag. The Frost Guard have chosen the terrain well, a bottleneck blocked by several large boulders on the left and a sheer cliff on the right. But the Icegaunts are relentless and crafty, conjuring ice beasts and numbing spheres behind them. The mystery of Harnag is answered when a fourth icegaunt falls with a bone-shattering thud into the middle of their ranks. Looking up, they can see a fifth icegaunt, the bony remains of Harnag, inching his way along a narrow mountain goat path about a hundred feet above them. Rakzak taps Dokar on the shoulder, points up to Harnag, and barks, "Stop him!"

Dokar knows these mountain goat trails, has climbed all over them as a child. It takes him ten minutes to work his way up. Dokar picks his terrain, a ledge where the path widens enough to give him room to fight. He doesn't have to wait long before Harnag is on him. Dokar dashes forward before Harnag can get to more open ground, but the icegaunt shrugs off his slashes and lumbers forward, slashing with clawlike bony fingers of his own. Dokar falls back, then lunges forward, trying to catch the iceguant off-balance, but Harnag's bony arms slam into him like two massive tree-trunks. He falls back and lunges again, only this time a bony finger slices across his brow, and icecold blackness washes through his head and down his spine, sapping his strength, chilling his bones from the inside. Dokar realizes he can't keep this up, the icegaunt will just wear him down. He falls back towards the edge of the cliff, being careful of the loose shale, but it gives him an idea. As the icegaunt closes on him, he pretends to stumble. Hoping to catch him offguard, the icegaunt lunges in to finish him off, but Dokar pivots, ducks under a slashing arm, and then slams his shoulder into the icegaunt. Harnag slashes wildly, scraping his claws across Dokar's forearm, but the icegaunt is off-balance, slipping, and then he's gone. A couple seconds later, Dokar hears a distant crunch below him.

Dokar collapses. Apparently the claws raking across his forearm caught something, enough that his entire arm goes numb, and then the rest of his body collapses. He can't move. Somewhere above him, he hears the flapping of leathery wings, and then a brilliant flash blinds him, something reflecting the morning sun into his eyes just as it crests over the mountains. He hears flapping again, and then a large dragon, silver scales sparkling in the morning sun, lands lightly on the ledge. There doesn't seem to be enough room for the dragon, but then it's shape shimmers and shrinks, taking the form of a tall woman with ivory-white skin and long, platinum-blonde hair. She approaches Dokar, uttering a few words in the ancient tongue of the tribal elders, and touches him on the shoulder. Warmth spreads throughout his body.

"Stand up, if you can, Dokar Jaggedfang," she tells him in a firm, musical voice.

Dokar finds that his muscles are still a little shaky, but he can stand. The two regard each other quietly for a moment before Dokar finally decides to ask a question.

"Who are you?" he asks.

"My name is Aragenthia. I am your grandmother."

Dokar takes a moment to think this over. Finally, he says, "Your timing could have been better."

If she takes offense at this jibe, she doesn't show it. "Come with me," she tells him. "There is someone you must meet." She strides past him, moving effortlessly down the mountain goat path.

Dokar waits a moment, then decides to risk another question. "Who?"

"Bahumat," she calls out. "You are to become his Hand."


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

1st|Scout 1|
+0
|
+0
|
+5
|
+1
| Balance 4, Bluff(cc) 2, Hide 4, MS 4, Know:Arc(cc) 2, SenseMotive 4, SpeakLang:Draconic 1, Tumble 4, DisableDev 3|Dragontouched|Skirmish 1d6

2nd|Planar Ranger 1|
+1
|
+2
|
+7
|
+1
|Know:Planes 5, Survival 1|Track|Favored Enemy:Undead, Wild Empathy -> Spiritual Connection ACF

3rd|Planar Ranger 2|
+2
|
+3
|
+8
|
+1
|Know:Planes 6, Listen 2, Spot 2, Survival 2|TWF, Travel Devotion|

4th|Scout 2|
+3
|
+3
|
+10
|
+1
|Tumble 7, Balance 5, DisableDev 7||Battle Fortitude +1, Uncanny Dodge

5th|Scout 3|
+4
|
+4
|
+10
|
+2
|Bluff(cc) 4, Know:Arc(cc) 4||Fast Movement +10', Trackless Step, Skirmish 1d6AC+1

6th|Planar Ranger 3|
+5
|
+4
|
+10
|
+3
|Know:Planes 8, Hide 6, MS 6|Swap Endurance -> Swift Hunter, Planar Touchstone -> Sun Domain (Dragonlance)|Skirmish 2d6AC+1

7th|HotWM 1|
+5
|
+4
|
+12
|
+5
|Tumble 10, DisableDev 10|Draconic Senses|

8th|HotWM 2|
+6
|
+5
|
+12
|
+6
|Tumble 11, DisableDev 11, Hide 8, MS 8|Swap Draconic Senses -> Dragon Tail (Dragonborn)|Dragonborn of Bahumat(Wings), Skirmish 3d6AC+1

9th|HotWM 3|
+7
|
+6
|
+12
|
+6
|Tumble 12, DisableDev 12, Hide 10, MS 10|Draconic Heritage (Silver/Cold), Dragonfire Strike|Skirmish 4d6AC+1

10th|Scout 4|
+8
|
+6
|
+13
|
+6
|Tumble 13, DisableDev 13, Listen 4, Spot 4, Survival 4|Improved Skirmish|Skirmish 4d6AC+2/6d6AC+4

11th|Planar Ranger 4|
+9
|
+7
|
+14
|
+6
|Concentration 6||Distracting Attack ACF

12th|Planar Ranger 5|
+10
|
+7
|
+15
|
+6
|Concentration 10, Listen 5, Spot 5|Extra Turning|Favored Enemy:Constructs, Skirmish 5d6AC+2/7d6AC+4

13th|HotWM 4|
+11
|
+7
|
+16
|
+7
|Tumble 15, DisableDev 15, Hide 11, MS 11||

14th|HotWM 5|
+11
|
+7
|
+16
|
+7
|Tumble 17, DisableDev 17, Hide 12, MS 12||Skirmish 6d6AC+2/8d6AC+4

15th|HotWM 6|
+12
|
+8
|
+17
|
+8
|Tumble 18, DisableDev 18, Hide 13, MS 13, Listen 6, Spot 6|Imp. TWF|

16th|HotWM 7|
+13
|
+8
|
+17
|
+8
|Tumble 19, DisableDev 19, Hide 14, MS 14, Survival 6||Master's Gift

17th|HotWM 8|
+14
|
+8
|
+18
|
+9
|Tumble 20, DisableDev 20, Hide 15, MS 15, Listen 7, Spot 7||Skirmish 7d6AC+2/9d6AC+4

18th|HotWM 9|
+14
|
+9
|
+18
|
+9
|Tumble 21, DisableDev 21, Listen 8, Spot 8, Survival 8|Gr. TWF|Improved Dragonfire Strike, Skirmish 7d6+7AC+2/9d6+9AC+4

19th|Highland Stalker 1|
+15
|
+11
|
+18
|
+9
|Tumble(cc) 22, DisableDev(cc) 22||Mountain Stride

20th|Highland Stalker 2|
+16
|
+12
|
+18
|
+9
|Tumble(cc) 23, DisableDev(cc) 23||Skirmish 8d6+8AC+2/10d6+10AC+4[/table]


Spells
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Spells per day
{table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th
1st|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
[/table]
Favorite Spells
1st: entangle, longstrider, conjure ice beast I (Frostburn), instant of power (Forge of War)


Designer Notes
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Of the three "special attacks" that Hand of the Winged Masters (HotWM) can advance, skirmish damage progresses the slowest, so I decided to use HotWM to optimize a Swift Hunter build. Normally skirmish damage goes up 1d6 every 4 class levels, but with HotWM, we get 4d6 skirmish damage over 8 levels. With Improved Skirmish, we can get our skirmish damage up to 10d6, and once Improved Dragonfire Strike kicks in with an extra +10 at HotWM9, we're outpacing most TWF Rogues (well, most non-Craven TWF Rogues) on DPS. I opted not to finish HotWM to pick up an additional 1d6 skirmish from Highland Stalker. I wanted this build to focus on TWF, and since skirmishing relies more on movement than sneaking, I didn't think True Stealth really fit in the build. When Dokar cuts out your intestines, he's not going to be sneaky about it. I did give him some points in Hide and Move Silently, but that's mostly to get him into or out of trouble. With mostly d8s for hit points and a mediocre Constitution, Dokar is a little on the fragile side to be a full-time frontline tank.

This build relies on two "tricks" to get the most out of TWF + Skirmish. The first is using Planar Touchstone linked to the Catalogues of Enlightenment to pick up Turn Undead as a cleric via the Sun domain from the Dragonlance Campaign Setting. Since this is a rather obscure sourcebook, here's the relevant text from page 104 of DLCS:

"Sun Domain
Deities: None (mystic only)
Granted Power: Turn or destroy undead as a good cleric. Use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier. This is a supernatural ability."

There may be some quibbling about how exactly this gets squared away with the Sun domain in the PHB/SRD, but since there's an argument that DLCS was published after the 3.5 PHB/SRD, the DLCS version may in fact supercede the PHB/SRD version. I'm not really arguing for that, but rather I'd like to imagine that there may be many different versions of the domain powers out in the interplanar cosmology somewhere, and if that were the case, then the Catalogues of Enlightenment would probably be the place that knew something about it. That and I thought it was a neat trick to pick up Turn Undead as a cleric with only one feat, and there might be some optimizers out there who aren't aware of it.

Adding four Turn Undead attempts allows Dokar to activate Travel Devotion up to 3/day, or 30 rounds of swift-action move + full attack. If he needs more, he can pick up a Nightstick for 7500 GP.

The second trick involves some chicancery with Dragonborn of Bahumat. As is widely known, you lose most of your racial features after the Ritual of Rebirth, including racial bonus feats. However, Frostblood Orcs and Half-Orcs have an additional clause to their racial bonus feat: "If a frostblood orc or half-orc would later gain Endurance as a bonus feat, he can select any other feat for which he qualifies." So when Dokar gets to Ranger 3, he takes the Swift Hunter feat instead. Later, when Dokar goes through the Ritual of Rebirth at level 8, he loses Endurance as a bonus feat (which was nearly useless to begin with), but keeps Swift Hunter.

Ah, but you may ask, why would a TWF skirmisher even want to go Dragonborn of Bahumat, why not just start with a human, keep the bonus feat, and not worry about going Dragonborn? If TWF is your primary combat mode, then adding a breath weapon doesn't really help, you can get flying via items/grafts/etc., and HotWM already offers some Draconic Senses. Well, in addition to highlighting another trick some optimizers might not be aware of, I also wanted to use Dragonborn to squeeze another feat into the build. At the bottom of page 10 in Races of the Dragon, there's another frequently overlooked feature to Dragonborn of Bahumat:

"Special: Ordinarily, only a 1st-level character can select certain feats requiring the dragonblood subtype (see Chapter 6). However, upon becoming a dragonborn, you can elect to replace one (and only one) of your existing feats with one of these feats. A character cannot have more than one of these feats."

There are only two 1st-level only dragonblood feats that actually qualify for this: Dragon Tail and Dragon Wings. Normally, I like to use this with a Ranger dip to swap Track for Dragon Wings, which lets me take the Breath Weapon aspect and also puts me only one feat away from taking Improved Dragon Wings and full-fledged flight. I didn't have enough feats available to get a decent archery build off the ground, but Dragon Tail + TWF + Dragonfire Strike seemed like it was worth pursuing. Unfortunately, I needed to keep Track to qualify for Highland Stalker, so I had to put off Dragonborn of Bahumat until 8th level, when HotWM gives Draconic Senses as a bonus feat. It may seem like it goes against the spirit of the Secret Ingredient to get a class feature just so you can trade it away for something else, but I figured that Dragon Tail is still draconic-themed and just as likely to be granted by a Winged Master as Draconic Senses. If Dokar really needs enhanced senses, they can be obtained via other means: Dragonborn Mind aspect, spells, items, grafts, etc.


ECL 5
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Dokar is a fairly standard TWF Scout at this point, ready to pick up Swift Hunter next level. Most likely, he's still in a support role as a 2nd-line fighter/flanker, a competent Tracker/Trapfinder, and a typical outdoorsish-skillmonkey type. For weapons, Dokar starts with a pair of shortswords, but upgrades to a greatsword (primary) + armor spikes (offhand) once he has a level of Ranger.


ECL 10
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Once Improved Skirmish comes online, damage output may start to overshadow Dokar's trapfinding/skillmonkey roles. He dishes out 6d6 cold damage on each attack, and assuming he managed to find some Gloves of the Balanced Hand somewhere, has 5 attacks on a full-round attack: 2 iteratives, 2 offhand attacks, and a tail slap. Thanks to the DLCS Sun Domain, he can activate Travel Devotion 3/day for up to 30 rounds of swift-action move + full attack. He can fly due to Dragonborn of Bahumat, and can deal skirmish damage to undead via Swift Hunter. By now, Dokar has most likely upgraded his weapons to a feycraft (DMGII) + dragonfang (Draconomicon) shortsword and feycraft + dragonfang armor spikes, which gives him the equivalent of Weapon Finesse with those weapons and allows him to take advantage of his higher Dex bonus on attacks (dragonfang offsets the lower damage die from feycraft by adding +1 cold damage). This leaves a hand free to carry a heavy dragoncraft (Draconomicon) shield for additional protection.


ECL 12 (Sweet Spot)
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Dokar's class abilities "peaks" here, as his remaining class abilities don't do much except enhance what he already has. Skirmish damage goes up to 7d6, Extra Turning gives him Travel Devotion up to 5/day, and he can deal skirmish damage to both undead and constructs. He even has a Ranger spell he can cast 1/day, probably entangle, longstrider, or instant of power (Forge of War). Weapons layout would still be feycraft dragonfang shortsword + armor spikes + heavy shield.


ECL 15
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Dokar has a third iterative attack, 8d6 skirmish damage, and he picks up Improved TWF because presumably he wants to upgrade his Gloves of the Balanced Hand to something else. Or if he's not concerned about losing the Gloves, he could pick up Greater TWF here and use his 18th level feat for something else. He has maxed out Tumble and Disable Device, and is starting to backfill some of his sneakish/outdoorsish skills.


ECL 20
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Dokar should now have 8 attacks on a full-round attack: 4 iteratives, 3 offhand, 1 tail slap. Skirmish is up to 10d6+10, or about 45 cold damage per hit.


Sources:
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Frostblood Half-Orc, Dragon Magic
Scout/Highland Stalker, Complete Adventurer
Planar Ranger, Unearthed Arcana/SRD
Spiritual Connection ACF/Travel Devotion, Complete Champion
Distracting Attack ACF, PHBII
Swift Hunter/Improved Skirmish, Complete Scoundrel
Planar Touchstone/Catalogues of Enlightenment , Planar Handbook
Sun Domain, Dragonlance Campaign Setting
Dragonborn of Bahumat/Dragon Tail, Races of the Dragon