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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    So, everyone who has ever posted in a thread that I have made and has given advice knows that I am an idiot, but luckily this forum exists to make my idiotness impact my favorite hobby less than it should. Kudos mates.

    Anyhoo, Melee Lockdown builds have interested me from when I first heard about the concept. From what I have gathered, they are generally Fightertypes with Spiked Chains for the versatility. One of my friends is going to be running a (probably short lived) campaign, and I would like to try out this fightertype because it is totally different from every fighter I have ever played. Now, I have read over Lester/Nester the Molester but remember that I am an imbecile and I haven't a clue how the hell they are supposed to work. Oh great Forum Gods, will you grant me further knowledge yet again?...

    Seriously though, y'all are awesome and make this great system better for so many people.
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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    Actually, if you can swing it Crusader's(Tome Of Battle) make very good Lockdown's, largely due to the fact that they get the Stance Thicket of Blade's, which makes 5ft steps provoke. Plus they get manuevers that limit options.

    If you don't want to do that, the feats are:
    EXP: Spike Chain
    Stand Still(SRD/XPH)
    Combat Reflexes
    Power Attack
    Mage Slayer(CArcane)
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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    Alternately, if ToB isn't allowed, psychic warriors are some of the best lockdowners in the game. See expansion.

    You can even forgo the spiked chain (and the feat) if you use a glaive and a spiked gauntlet. You can also even forgo Improved Trip if you find yourself running out of feats, though you'll want to pick it up eventually for the extra attack.

    Do you want a 1-20 build, or what? What level are you building for?

    Sources allowed? Houserules? Flaws?
    Last edited by Lycanthromancer; 2009-03-05 at 10:51 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lycanthromancer View Post
    Alternately, if ToB isn't allowed, psychic warriors are some of the best lockdowners in the game. See expansion.

    You can even forgo the spiked chain (and the feat) if you use a glaive and a spiked gauntlet. You can also even forgo Improved Trip if you find yourself running out of feats, though you'll want to pick it up eventually for the extra attack.

    Do you want a 1-20 build, or what? What level are you building for?

    Sources allowed? Houserules? Flaws?
    I always forget the relevant rules...
    A 1-20 build would be fantastic, however I believe that the campaign will be around level 7. Almost all sources are allowed providing they don't cause, as said Mr. DM, "Something that is just stupid." He than went on to list Frenzied Berserker, Nightstick stacking, etc. I assume flaws are allowed, though probably not 2.

    I'd kiss you but I'd rather not be a lycan...

    EDIT: I did it again! 32 point buy. Also, could someone explain how psionics work. MY INT Score <
    Last edited by Zergrusheddie; 2009-03-05 at 10:58 PM.

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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    Ever played a CRPG that used Mana Points or Magic Points?

    That's Psionics. You get X Power Points per day, determined by your class level and your key ability score (Int for Psion, Wis for PsyWar, Cha for Wilder). A power costs a certain number of Power Points to use, and most of them have various 'augments', extra options you can apply to the power for the cost of more points. You can never spend more points on any single power use than your manifester level (psionic version of caster level). That good?

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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    You want extra sources of +trip for tripping. After BAB, imp. trip, and strength, the next easiest way is to be bigger. Pots of enlarge person are 50gp each (if you get the variety that lasts 1min instead of the DMG 5min ones), a wand of enlarge person is 750 gp. Being a psychic warrior is probably best, though, since you get bonus feats, the aforementioned expansion, and psionic lion's charge, as well as other sweet powers.

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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    Psionics works by many of the same rules that spells do.

    Really, the main differences are power points, augmentation, and psionic focus.

    1. You expend power points like you'd expend spell slots. A first level power costs 1 pp, and every power level above that costs an additional +2 pp more (so a 2nd level power costs 3 pp, a 3rd level power costs 5 pp, etc). You can spend as many power points as you have manifester levels, which are the equivalent of caster levels (so a 4th level psion can spend up to 4 power points on a single power).

    2. Augmentation is adding more power points to a power to make it more...erm...powerful. Depending on the power in question, augmentations range from causing additional damage to increasing size changes caused by the power to raising the power's save DC. Augmentation cannot break rule #1.

    3. Psionic focus is a state that's either "ON" or "OFF," depending on whether you've gained it or expended it lately. You gain psi focus by taking a full-round action (that provokes AoOs) and making a DC 20 Concentration check (which can be lowered to a move action using a feat). The only thing that psi focus does by itself is that it allows you to "Take 15" on a Concentration check when you expend it. You can also get feats or class features that do different things depending on the state of your focus. Some grant relatively small benefits if you're currently focused (such as granting +10 ft to your movement speed), and others grant larger benefits when you expend it (such as adding +2d6 points of damage to an attack). Generally you can only have one focus at a time, but having a psicrystal and the Psicrystal Containment feat gives you an additional one.

    On a similar vein, metapsionic feats (ie, psionic metamagic) are powered by psi focus. You expend your focus and a few extra power points (note that these pp don't count toward normal augmentation, but they still cannot break the manifester level cap) when manifesting a power, and you get the effect described in the metapsi feat.

    There's also a lack of components for powers (other than some XP costs in some cases), which means you can manifest in armor without penalty (other than standard penalties for wearing armor you're not proficient in).

    Instead, there are psionic displays, which are subtle or flashy effects that accompany a psionic manifestation. These include bursts of light that surround the manifester or the area of effect, ghostly sounds, odd smells, mental buzzing, or a light dusting of ectoplasm that covers everything around (though it doesn't do anything but look funny before it evaporates). You can suppress displays with a Concentration check.

    Other than the spellcasting rules, and the rules for the specific powers in question, that's about it.

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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    Glyph and Lycan, you both explained it extremely well. I've been reading the XPH and every online entry I've been able to find and they all failed to explain it as simply and eloquently as you both did.

    Would something like Nester (Bottom of http://forums.gleemax.com/wotc_archi...x.php/t-694016) work? The thing is, I am really good at finding builds, but my comprehension is lacking. Do you need a Dex modifier of +7 or more to get the full benefit? The one thing that caught my eye was Strength of My Enemy; even I know what that can add up to.

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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    Lester is quite a decent lockdownist (although I'd take the Martial Stance: Thicket of Blades feat a bit earlier to focus on the lockdown aspects). With some smart use of Linked Power, you can get a very solid buff suite up quick and a large guy with a reach weapon & opponents triggering attack of opportunity with every move is just brutal.
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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    Your basic choices for a melee Lockdown build:

    Combat Reflexes + Combat Exp + Improved Trip + Knock-Down:
    • Pro: Enemy can either sit there and attack with a -4 penalty, crawl, or stand up and provoke an AoO if you threaten them.
    • Con: Size matters, so big/strong enemies will have an advantage. Pointless against most enemies with ranged attacks and/or spells. Some enemies can't be tripped, or can stand up without provoking.
    • Level of Effort: 4ish feats.
    • Best used against: Groups of weak enemies, or to create a choke point in a dungeon.


    Combat Reflexes + Power Attack + Improved Bull Rush + Knockback + Shock Trooper
    • Pro: Pushes enemy away from you, preventing counter attacks. Can deal massive damage with Dungeoncrasher variant (Dungeonscape).
    • Con: Size matters, so big/strong enemies will have an advantage. Pointless against most enemies with ranged attacks and/or spells. Pushing an enemy away from you can prevent you from making a full attack against them. Enemy can move again their next turn without penalty.
    • Level of Effort: Goliath or Half Giant Fighter 6 + 5 feats.
    • Best used against: Groups of weak or mediocre enemies.


    Fear effects:
    • Pro: Forces enemy to run away, or to Cower if you can also lock him down otherwise (Stand Still, Grapple, Imperious Command, etc).
    • Con: Usually allows multiple Saves. Tons of enemies are immune or have a high Will Save. Enemies that are running away from you really aren't locked down, they're just running.
    • Level of Effort: 1-3 feat(s) + 1 magic item and/or 1 class ability and/or Intimidate Skill ranks
    • Best used against: Any enemy or enemies that aren't immune with a low-ish Will Save. Tag team with party members who focus on ranged attacks/spells.


    Combat Reflexes + Stand Still:
    • Pro: Stops enemy movement. Once you have the ability to deal 40ish damage, it's 95% effective against all enemies.
    • Con: Deals no damage. Enemy can move again on their next turn. Completely pointless if the enemy isn't using melee attacks.
    • Level of Effort: 2 feats.
    • Best used against: Moderately powerful enemies that you can't kill in one round.


    Create Difficult Terrain:
    • Pro: Enemies can't Charge, and have a hard time moving around. Enemies can't take 5 ft steps, and thus will always provoke AoO without Tumble. Effects enemies regardless of size. Generally doesn't require any kind of attack roll or check to use.
    • Con: Enemy can still move and attack. Completely pointless if the enemy isn't using melee attacks. Useless against flying enemies and many others (Scouts, high level Rangers, etc).
    • Level of Effort: Varies. Earth Devotion, Knight, some ToB material, and a few other options.
    • Best used against: Enemies with very high Saves/checks that you need to slow down.


    Daze effects:
    • Pro: Effects anyone, completely incapacitating them.
    • Con: Allows a Save, and usually only lasts for 1 round. Usually requires using specific weapons and/or sub-optimal pre-reqs. Pointless if you can kill the enemy in 1-3 hits.
    • Level of Effort: Varies. Shield Slam, Anvil of Thunder, Boomerang Daze, Ragewild Fighter, Born of Three Thunders (for Duskblade), Killoren, Devoted Inquisitor build, Cabinet Trickster, a few magic items.
    • Best used against: A single powerful enemy or quirky miniboss squad.


    Improved Unarmed Strike -> Improved Grapple -> Scorpion's Grasp
    • Pro: Locks down a single enemy, drastically limiting their options. Allows you to deal damage with opposed checks instead of attack rolls. Can deal massive damage if you have your entire build geared toward this.
    • Con: Size matters, so big/strong enemies will have an advantage. You lose your Dex bonus against other attackers. Ineffective against more then one enemy at a time.
    • Level of Effort: 3 feats + Monk/Fist of the Forest/Psychic Warrior or something similar if you also want to deal high damage.
    • Best used against: A single powerful enemy.


    There are other options - Stun, Stagger, Nauseated, Entangled, nets/harpoon/lasso, etc. But they're generally not as effective. Also note that to be optimal, Trip, Bull Rush, and Grapple pretty much require that you get really big, or find some other way to boost your opposed check (Marshal, certain magic items, etc). Similarly, anything that allows a Save benefits from a debuff build. Remember that although Stand Still and difficult terrain are weaker, they're also much more difficult for enemies to resist.

    And all of these suggestions are completely sub-optimal if you want to be a caster or a Dragonfire Adept, who have much better ways to lock down enemies. There's also a ton of Tome of Battle combos that are too numerous to list out here.


    Here's my current favorite melee Lockdown build:

    Hentai, the Knight Protector
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    Cha > Dex > Str (13+)> Con > Int (10+) > Wis (dump): Basically, this Knight has three goals:

    1) Get access to Standstill, Combat Reflexes, Mage Slayer (Complete Arcane), Supernatural Opportunist (Tome of Magic), and Frightful Presence (Draconomicon).

    2) Getting ridiculous reach. This can be accomplished a number of ways:

    Play a big race (try to avoid LA)
    Reach Weapon: Doubles reach.
    Polymorph: Ask a friend to turn you into something bigger.
    Expansion (doesn't stack with Enlarge Person): +1 or +2 size.
    Alter Self (doesn't stack with Enlarge Person or Expansion): +1 size.
    Giant Size (Wu Jen 7, Comp Arcane pg 109): Grow to Huge size or bigger.
    Willing Deformity -> Deformity Tall (Heroes of Horror): +5 ft.
    Aberration Blood -> Inhuman Reach (Lords of Madness): +5 ft.
    Extended Reach (req tentacle like limbs, provided by Inhuman Reach): +5 ft.
    3 levels of Warshaper (Comp Warrior): +5 ft, but only with natural weapons.

    Some of these options aren't a good choice for this build, but I'd though I'd put them out there anyway. But it should be relatively easy for you to get 30+ feet of reach with a moderate investment. If necessary take the Arcane Schooling (Player’s Guide to Faerun pg 33) or invest in UMD. Even cross class, as a Cha based build you shouldn't have trouble using it.

    3) Find a way to consistently deal 40ish damage per hit - not very hard with decent Str, a two handed weapon magic weapon, etc. This will make the Reflex Saves needed to accomplish any type of movement and the Concentration checks needed to cast ridiculously hard.

    Put these together with your Knight class abilities (Bulwark of Defense, Vigilant Defender, Daunting Challenge, Test of Mettle) and basically everyone within your reach will be screwed one way or another. You can stop movement, create difficult terrain, impose a penalty on Tumble, force enemies to attack you, can use a Fear effects, will get bonus AoO, and prevent spellcasting. Stand near the party Wizard or whoever needs to be protected the most, and the enemies will come to you, even without Test of Mettle.

    The down side of this build is that it really doesn't come together until at least ECL 12ish, if not much higher. It lacks any big damage dealing combo, though you could certainly add some at high levels. And your DM is definitely going to use lots of very long range enemies against you, so be prepared.


    The sad thing about this post is that I already had 90% of it written, and I just had to copy and paste from my previous posts. Oh well, beats work.
    Last edited by Person_Man; 2009-03-06 at 04:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    Check out Archerpwr's Lockdown 2.0 build over on the CharOps board. Its probably a little overly complicated, but it gets the job done.

    Also, for lockdown, you REALLY want to go with a Spiked Chain rather than a Guisarme/Glaive + Gauntlet. With the exception of tripping, almost all of the other methods of control that Person Man listed above are a function of damage. Standstill's DC is based on damage and Knockback is influenced by PA value. A Gauntlet is a light weapon, which means you can't even PA with it, much less get 2:1 PA return on it. That means your DCs are gonna be really low or you aren't gonna get your PA to your bullrush attempt. Spending a feat on Short Haft is even worse than Glaive + Gauntlet because of the swift action investment and the loss of reach while choked up on the weapon (which takes another valuable swift action to get back). If you are gonna drop a whole feat on Short Haft, you might as well get EWP: Spiked Chain instead.

    Don't get me wrong, I love Glaives. It is good general purpose "beat stuff up" weapon since in 99% of situations you can 5' step and full attack. But for Lockdown control, you really need to get your full investment of force regardless of you and your foe's positioning, and a Spiked Chain is one of the few weapons that can really deliver.
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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    I don't like the Stand Still feat. I'd rather use Knock-Down + Improved Trip, or even just Improved Trip, and deal damage.
    Last edited by Lycanthromancer; 2009-03-06 at 03:30 PM.

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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    How's this look? It's geared for simplicity more than for serious optimization, but it should be pretty functional.

    Human Crusader 20
    Str 16, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 12 or somesuch (starting).

    Level 1: Combat Reflexes, Stand Still
    Level 3: EWP (spiked chain)
    Level 6: Power Attack
    Level 9: Stone Power (ToB)
    Level 12: Extra Granted Maneuver (ToB)
    Level 15: Defensive Sweep (PHBII)
    Level 18: Robilar's Gambit (PHBII)

    Pick and choose maneuvers from all three Crusader disciplines in moderation, rather than focusing hard-core on any one discipline. A healthy splash in White Raven will always make sure your party loves you, even if your own turns don't work quite the way they're supposed to. However, the one totally critical thing to pick is the Thicket of Blades stance ASAP (which, unfortunately, won't be until Level 8).

    Use a Glaive and spiked armor (not gauntlet) until you pick up spiked chain proficiency.
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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Draz74 View Post
    Use a Glaive and spiked armor (not gauntlet) until you pick up spiked chain proficiency.
    Armor Spikes are STILL a light weapon with all of the problems I posted above. No PA pretty much means no control.
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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    Yeah, but at levels 1-2, things tend to die just by being hit by an AoO, so you don't really even need to use Stand Still.
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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zergrusheddie View Post
    Would something like Nester (Bottom of http://forums.gleemax.com/wotc_archi...x.php/t-694016) work? The thing is, I am really good at finding builds, but my comprehension is lacking. Do you need a Dex modifier of +7 or more to get the full benefit? The one thing that caught my eye was Strength of My Enemy; even I know what that can add up to.
    Lester adds his Wisdom modifier to the number of attacks of opportunity he can make in a round: with flaws you'll be capable of moving a number of the feats back a couple of levels, which means you'll have some feats to spare, potentially for stuff like Standstill, which would benefit the build quite nicely I'd think.

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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    Here's a different idea: play a Favored Soul of Kossuth (a FR deity), whose favored weapon is the spiked chain. That gives you free Exotic Weapon Proficiency and Weapon Focus. (If you make it to level 12, you can add free Weapon Specialization.) Level 7 isn't quite enough to make for decent melee, but at level 8 you can cast Divine Power for full combat readiness.

    You'll want Improved Trip, of course. Add Foundation of Stone to get a +4 bonus to resist being bull rushed or tripped yourself. The basic idea is you do with spells what other builds do with class abilities: make yourself an impregnable tripping, smashing barrier, then add battlefield control spells like Wall of Stone so the enemy has to try to get through you. Instead of Barbarian's rage, you can cast Bull's Strength on yourself. Wear Steadfast Boots and get a free "readied" action to take out anyone who charges you, at the 10' reach of your chain, plus another +4 to resist being bull rushed, tripped, or overrun.

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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    Feats:
    H: Combat Reflexes
    1 Psychic Warrior: Standstill
    1B Psychic Warrior: Expertise
    2B Psychic Warrior: Link Power
    3 Psychic Warrior: Exotic Weapon Proficiency
    5 Psychic Warrior: Improved Trip
    This is what I have so far. Link Power would let me use 2 Powers in one round and get the second power automatically in the second, correct? Can you actually trip as part of an AoO? If you can, than does Standstill really matter? Finally, what makes Thicket of Blades so powerful?

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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zergrusheddie View Post
    Feats:
    H: Combat Reflexes
    1 Psychic Warrior: Standstill
    1B Psychic Warrior: Expertise
    2B Psychic Warrior: Link Power
    3 Psychic Warrior: Exotic Weapon Proficiency
    5 Psychic Warrior: Improved Trip
    This is what I have so far. Link Power would let me use 2 Powers in one round and get the second power automatically in the second, correct? Can you actually trip as part of an AoO? If you can, than does Standstill really matter? Finally, what makes Thicket of Blades so powerful?
    With a Spiked Chain you should be capable of tripping as an AOO yes, so Standstill is irrelevant.

    Link Power is extremely useful when Combined with Hustle and Psionic Meditation just make sure you're psionically focused before combat:
    Swift action: Hustle, spend Psionic Focus to use Link Power some buff.
    Move Action from Hustle: because of Psionic Meditation you can spend a Move Action to become Psionically focused.
    Full-Round Action remains.

    Thicket of Blades prevents them from making 5ft steps without provoking attacks of opportunity, meaning that they cannot simply leave your threatened squares.

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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    The function of Standstill is to control large targets tripping is inefficient against such as Giants, Dragons, Tarrasques, the like.
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    Default Re: Looking for a Melee Lockdown build (Spiked Chain?)

    Yes, you can trip as part of an AoO (especially with Knock-Down, natch). Therefore, no, you don't really need both Improved Trip and Stand Still. It's nice to have both available as options, but I'd get Improved Trip ASAP, and pick up Stand Still later whenever you feel like you have a free feat or when monsters are starting to be too big or too magical-flying for you to trip.

    Linked Power is awesome if you use it right. Yes, it lets the second power automatically happen in the next round. However, note that you have to expend your Psionic Focus to use Linked Power, which means you can only use Linked Power 1/encounter unless you have a way to get your Focus back. (I highly don't recommend actually spending a full round in combat and drawing AoOs to get your Focus back.) Also, note that it's often not worth it in combat to use up a standard action to buff yourself, even if you're getting two buffs out of it through Linked Power.

    Therefore, if you really want to use Linked Power, I'd say you need three more things to make it really good:
    - the Adrenaline Boost power from CPsi
    - the Hustle Power (which you'd probably take anyway)
    - the Psionic Meditation feat

    With all of these, you can expend your focus and use Linked Power to manifest Adrenaline Boost as a swift action and have another buff affect you automatically next round; then you can use a swift action on a later turn to manifest Hustle and use the action it grants you to regain your Focus. As icing on the cake, during the one round that you're waiting for your Linked buff to show up, you get +2 STR & DEX from the actual effect of Adrenaline Boost.

    This combo is awesome, but with a Psychic Warrior's relatively low PP, you'll find yourself burning through them awfully fast if you Hustle too often. So I'd probably still get this combo, but not until mid-levels, after your Tripping strategy is fully set up and working well.

    Finally, Thicket of Blades is great because it means you still get to smack people around if they try to get past you without provoking AoOs. (The most common 2 ways of doing this are the Tumble skill, and a series of 5-foot steps.)
    You can call me Draz.
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    Also of note:

    Work on my homebrew system, CRE8, is still marching slowly onwards. I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel -- an Alpha release -- in the distance now. Read my Design Goals here.

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