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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default My Experiences as a Truenamer

    Heya. I'm gonna talk about my actual play experience as a by-the-book Truenamer here. This isn't really a "handbook" in the Gleemax sense, though I will be talking about what I've learned (and more importantly, am learning) works and doesn't work. The first post will be used to discuss generalities of the Truenamer, viewed through the lens of my actual experience. The second post will be used for specific discussions of what I've actually done in-game, giving real examples of what a Truenamer can and cannot do. I haven't decided what the third post will be for, but it'll come in handy some day, I'm sure.

    So, let's start. The Truenamer, from Tome of Magic, is infamous for being, well, unusable. For those of you who don't know, it's a skill-based casting class, in that the success or failure of its spells (called "utterances") hinges on a skill roll. The problem is that the DC of affecting any creature with an utterance is 15 + (2xCR). See how it goes up by two per level? And remember how you can only put one more rank in a skill every level? Yeah. So it actually gets harder to use your abilities as you get stronger. Add in a few more stupid design decisions (the fact that using an utterance gets harder, adding 2 to the DC every time you use it per day, for instance, or the fact that the utterances tend to be nothing special in power) and you have a class that is almost universally regarded as a grade-A stinker. There are a few top-notch homebrew fixes for it (some, indeed, on this very forum), but the as-written class is underwhelming at best.

    Generally speaking, I agree with this. I've spoken out against it quite loudly in the past, and I don't recant what I've said now. That said, recently I got a wild hair up my ass and decided I was going to try to play the class pretty much as written. The campaign is tenth level (higher than I've ever played before, in fact) and is still young and in progress, so I'll be updating my experiences as I go.

    To make things easier, I'll be using and abusing spoiler tags. I hope you don't mind too much.

    Vocabulary:
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    Utterance: Essentially, a Truenamer's "spells." There are three kinds (or "lexicons") of these, listed below.
    Lexicon of the Evolving Mind (LEM): These are your "normal" utterances. They affect creatures (or rather, a creature), and they come in "normal" and "reversed" flavors. In other words, each LEM utterance is really two-in-one, and you can choose which version to use when you speak it. They have 6 levels. A level 20 Truenamer gets 20 of these.
    Lexicon of the Crafted Tool (LCT): These utterances affect items, and are generally pretty much crap. They come in 5 levels, and there's only two per level (yes, two!). A level 20 Truenamer gets 5 of these. (Please feel free to add a sarcastic "Wooooooo." as necessary.)
    Lexicon of the Perfected Map (LPM): These utterances, like LCT, kind of suck, and affect areas. You get a whopping 4 of these at level 20.
    Truespeak: A trained-only, INT-based skill that is the basis of the Truenamer class. Every utterance requires a successful Truespeak check to work.
    Chaining: This is my term; that is, you won't find it in Tome of Magic. When I say I "chain" an utterance, it just means using it again as soon as it runs out. No relation to the Chain Spell metamagic feat.
    Law of Sequence (LoS): One of two major pain-in-the-ass rules that afflict Truenamers, the Law of Sequence says you can only have one copy of an utterance working at once. In other words, if you cast Lesser Word of Nurturing, you can't cast it again until it runs out. You can use other utterances while you wait, but you can't use the same utterance twice before it runs out.
    Law of Resistance (LoR): The other pain-in-the-ass rule, this makes the DC of your Truespeak check for each individual utterance go up by two for every time you've used that specific utterance that day.


    Basics of the Truenamer:
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    Over 20 levels, the Truenamer gets 20 LEM utterances, 5 LCT utterances, and 4 LPM utterances. They have other class features as well, so let's go through and look at them, shall we?

    Known Personal Truename: This is about 50% fluff and 50% crunch. Knowing your own truename is useful for some specific things, but generally speaking it means you have a net +2 to affect yourself with utterances.

    Knowledge Focus: You get four of these, each one giving you an unnamed +3 to a specific knowledge skill, chosen when you get it. It specifically states that it stacks with itself, which is handy. These are a nice perk, especially with Knowledge Devotion.

    Truename Research: Whee! A useless bonus feat!

    Recitation Feats: Whee! More useless bonus feats!

    See the named: If you're willing to spend a lot of time and money researching someone's truename, you can scry on them once per day. Yay, I guess? Weird that it appears on the table as "1/day" but never gets any better.

    Sending: If you're willing to spend a lot of time and money researching someone's truename, you can cast Sending to them thrice per day. Kind of thematically cool, but I really can't see this being useful.

    Speak Unto the Masses: This ability is great, but comes way, way too late. At level 17, other classes are getting 9th level spells. You, on the other hand, are getting the ability to use LEM utterances on multiple creatures at once. With limitations. And a not-insignificant boost to the DC. Yeah, this comes way too freakin' late. Still, it's useful.

    Say my Name and I am There: This is one of the coolest capstones ever. You get to give your friends a little magic word that lets them summon you whenever they want. They don't have to make checks, they can use it at will, and you can give the "true nickname" to as many people as you trust. I mean, at 20th level, you'd damn well better get something cool, but this really is cool.


    The Truenamer and Complete Champion:
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    Complete Champion brought the Truenamer two major boons, and I'm not sure how playable it would be without them. The first is the Paragnostic Assembly, one of many organizations in the book which provides benefits to its members depending on how dedicated they are. One of these benefits is, at the second-highest levels of affiliation, an unnamed +10 bonus to a chosen skill from a specific list. Oddly, but thankfully, the list includes Truespeak. I say this is odd because it's the ONE place I've seen ANY new Truespeak-related material from WotC.

    So, if you're a Truenamer, it helps immensely to beg your GM to include the Assembly in your world, and to bend over backwards to get as high an affiliation score as you can. Some of the affiliation boosters are purely mechanical... +2 for each Knowledge skill you have with 10 or more ranks, for example. Some, however, are more roleplaying-based... bonuses for going on dangerous missions for the Assembly, for bringing them new information, and so on. Work with your GM to see what you can do to become affiliated with the assembly. Since my character was created at tenth level, most of the work I did for the Assembly would be in the past, so I ended up giving my GM about 5 pages of backstory and sacrificing a portion of my starting wealth to the Assembly. Lower levels of affiliation can give up to a +5 bonus, so it's still worth looking into even at lower levels.

    The second boon Complete Champion offers is the well-loved feat Knowledge Devotion. The Truenamer has a truly lousy skill list. They get all Knowledge skills as class skills, Truespeak, and UMD, and that's nearly it. They don't even get Spellcraft... and some thematically appropriate skills, like Listen, Speak Language, and Decipher Script, are also missing. The point is, as an INT-based character, you'll likely end up with a lot of Knowledge skills. Since the Paragnostic Assembly rewards you for having lots of Knowledge skills, this isn't really a bad thing, but Knowledge Devotion makes it even better. Between your ranks, the Truenamer "Knowledge focus" bonuses, your INT, and a few choice Utterances, it's very easy to max out the bonus you get from Knowledge Devotion, thus giving you something to do in combat when you don't want to risk or waste utterances. It's also possible to make a gish-focused truenamer. I chose to play more of a party supporter than a self-buffing gish, but Knowledge Devotion works beautifully on a Truenamer gish.


    Weaknesses of the Truenamer compared to other casters:
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    The utterances a Truenamer gets aren't generally anything special, and a standard sorcerer pretty much outshines a Truenamer even when the utterances work. There are two or three effects a Truenamer can do that, say, a Wizard can't... for example, Spell Rebirth (which you can get at level 10, if you were smarter than me and didn't lose any caster levels) lets you "un-dispel" a spell, renewing a dispelled or dismissed spell effect. Pretty cool. Mostly, though, the utterances are pretty much on par with or weaker than what a sorcerer of equal level can do.

    Also, utterances have two more big problems. First, they're all single-target except for the "Lexicon of the Perfected Map" ones (which are generally weak, and of which you only learn FOUR as a Truenamer 20). Since you can't have two of the same utterance going at once, this is a huge limitation. You can cast what amounts to Haste, or Fly, or Freedom of Movement on someone, sure, but only on one person at a time, which sucks. Second, utterances are REALLY SHORT. The LONGEST one lasts for one minute, and that's a real anomaly. Generally they work for either one, three, or five rounds. This severely limits their out-of-combat utility, and even in combat, three rounds may or may not be enough if you don't have true blitzkrieg encounters.


    Strengths of the Truenamer compared to other casters:
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    The Truenamer's viability depends 100% on your ability to pump your Truespeak check. If your check is too low, you'll waste most of your actions in combat, and you'll be a dead weight. However, once you go book diving, it's not THAT hard to get up to fairly reasonable checks. I'll be writing this from the perspective of having a 90% or better chance to use your utterances successfully, which isn't that hard to get.

    First, very few utterances allow saving throws. The few that do should probably be avoided, since the saving throw mechanic is weak (it's based on Charisma... which is the ONLY THING the Truenamer uses Charisma for. Lame.), but a surprising number of them don't even bother. Inertia Surge, for instance, immobilizes an enemy for one turn, and they don't get to do a thing about it. Greater Speed of the Zephyr can mimic the effects of Slow, but the opponent doesn't get a save to resist. If you pick your utterances carefully, you'll end up rolling all the dice, and your opponent won't get a say in the matter.

    Second, while utterances that aren't based on spells are rare, they do exist, and it's nice to be able to do some things that the party wizard can't replicate. As a few examples, Inertia Surge gives Freedom of Movement at level 1 (only for one round, sure, but that's enough to get out of a grapple); Spell Rebirth can either "un-dispel" something or, just as interestingly, can dispel without having to make a caster level check; Universal Aptitude gives a +5 unnamed bonus on ALL SKILLS for five rounds; and Caster Lens can increase a friend's caster level or, more importantly, manifester level by 2.

    Another thing is that the Truenamer can get past spell resistance. Utterances are spell-like abilities, but if you voluntarily increase the DC of your Truespeak check by 5, you can automatically bypass spell resistance. Every point you bump up the DC counts, of course, but this is handy nonetheless.

    There's one more strength, though, but it's so important I'm going to set it aside separately.


    Quickening Utterances: (If you read only one spoiler in this post, read this one.)
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    The Truenamer, like most other casters, has some equivalent of metamagic. Only two of them are really effective (Extend Utterance and Quicken Utterance), but oh, how effective they are. "Metautterances" (they don't actually get this name) effectively increase the DC of your Truespeak check by a certain amount and apply a metamagic effect to the utterance. Extend is an easy +5, and Quicken is a ridiculous +20. Yes, go ahead and think about that for a second. You have to have a greater than 100% chance of making your Truespeak check before you can even think about using Quicken. On its face, this seems patently absurd... and really, it is. It's an absurd limitation. However, you wouldn't be playing a Truenamer without supercharging your Truespeak rolls, would you? Once you gain the ability to use Quicken, well, it immediately becomes the strongest weapon in your arsenal, bar none.

    See, here's the thing about Quicken. The Truespeak DC for any given utterance is static with regards to the utterance itself; that is, using Knight's Puissance (a first level utterance) on your Rogue buddy is exactly as hard as using Breath of Recovery (a sixth level utterance) on the same Rogue. All that matters is the target, not the utterance. Do you see where I'm going here?

    Quickening your strongest utterances is exactly as difficult, or as easy, as quickening your weakest ones.

    When your Wizard friend got Quicken Spell, he immediately started loading up on Quickened True Strikes, Quickened True Castings, Quickened Greases, all those fun spells. He couldn't Quicken Haste, though, or Solid Fog.

    You? Can.

    The Truenamer is just about the only casting class, barring insanity like the Incantatrix, that can Quicken every spell they have as soon as they get it. (The Shadowcaster can also do this, but not as frequently.) This is huge. This is huger than huge. This is what makes the Truenamer worth playing. As soon as you hit 9th level (the earliest you're allowed to take Quicken Utterance), you can quicken ANYTHING YOU WANT for the rest of your career.

    Also, Quickening essentially costs you nothing but your swift action, and this is the only in-class option Truenamers get for swift actions. Even if you don't have a 100% chance of successfully casting a quickened utterance, try it anyway. You lose nothing if you fail. The DC doesn't go up (the Law of Resistance kicks in only on a successful utterance), and you still have your standard action left to cast normally. There's almost no reason NOT to try quickening something every round.



    Protecting your investments:
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    Truenamers rely ridiculously heavily on magic items. Every Truenamer NEEDS a (Greater) Amulet of the Silver Tongue (found in Tome of Magic, +5 enhancement to Truespeak, +10 for Greater). Many GMs will also allow a simple competence-bonus item, using the rules in the DMG. A competence item isn't strictly necessary, but it helps a lot, so if your GM lets you, pounce on the opportunity. However, when so much of your usefulness comes from these items, losing them is an enormous blow. Adventurers get robbed, they fall into oozes, they get hit with shatter, whatever. Nasty things happen. At least a fallen Paladin can become a Blackguard. A Truenamer with no way of replacing his Truespeak items is little better than an Expert. So, you should do everything you can to make sure nothing happens to your items.

    The first step is to make them out of riverine, from Stormwrack. Riverine is expensive, but it's essentially made out of miniature walls of force. You heard me. Walls of force. Items made from it are nearly invincible. Disintegrate and Disjunction will destroy them, but Disintegrate and Disjunction will destroy damn near any items you have no matter what you do, so that really isn't much of a strike against it. Best of all, for non-armor items, it's priced by the pound, so it's not prohibitively expensive (I won't pretend it's cheap, but it's definitely not as bad as it could be) to buy, say, an amulet and a ring made out of it.

    The next step is to prevent them from being stolen while you sleep. What follows is perhaps not the only solution, but it's the one that I ended up using. If you don't have access to the books needed (Complete Arcane or Spell Compendium, Magic Item Compendium, and Dungeonscape), I guess you should try to find something else. Anyway, what I did was to buy a light shield made of darkwood (not proficient with it, but there's no ACP, so big deal) that contained a hidden space, using the oil bladder rules from Dungeonscape. Then, since UMD is on the Truenamer skill list, I purchased two Eternal Wands (from MIC)... normal wands will work just as well, but I like Eternal Wands. The first one is a wand of Greater Alarm. It's just what it sounds like... not quite on the Rope Trick or MMM level of protection, but it's cheaper and very handy. The second, however, is the really important one: a CL 8 wand of Absorb Weapon.

    Absorb Weapon is an Assassin-only spell, so it's more likely that you'll get a Warlock, a Chameleon, or an Artificer to make it for you... talk to your GM. The upshot of it, though, is that it lets you absorb a light weapon into your body for one hour per CL (hence why we wanted it CL 8). It's more or less impossible to detect while absorbed, and you're the only one who can bring it back out (unless it gets dispelled or something, which is what the Greater Alarm is for).

    Remember the light shield I mentioned? Well, since you can make a shield bash with it, it counts as a light weapon. So, every night, you put your amulet (and your ring, if applicable) inside your hidden compartment on your shield, and then absorb it into your body while you sleep. Not foolproof, perhaps, but pretty close to it.

    If you have another way of protecting your items, feel free to post it.


    What options does a Truenamer have?
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    This is one of the saddest parts of this post. I'm really forced to believe that to play a Truenamer well, you really don't get that many options. You more or less have to be a member of the Paragnostic Assembly (that unnamed +10 is way too good to pass up, and frankly necessary at higher levels), you really can't prestige class out (the classes that give Truespeak as a class skill don't actually give you new utterances known, and if your GM rules that classes that advance "+1 level of existing casting class" works for Truenamers the way it works for Shadowcasters, Warlocks, or Artificers, well, you have to burn additional skill points since Truespeak isn't a class skill for them, and they rarely offer anything to the Truenamer anyway), and worst of all, there just aren't that many utterances to choose from. Let's take a look at what utterances you can take. I'm going to assume that the Truenamer is a straight-classed Truenamer 20, and takes nothing but the highest-level utterances available (for instance, not learning a 2nd level LEM after level 6, when you get level 3 LEM).

    LEM 1: 5 available, 2 known
    LEM 2: 8 available, 3 known
    LEM 3: 8 available, 4 known
    LEM 4: 8 available, 4 known
    LEM 5: 8 available, 4 known
    LEM 6: 6 available, 3 known

    The LCT and LPM are even worse. You learn 1 of each level available (so 5 LCT, and 4 LPM), and there are even fewer options (2 for each level of LCT, 3 for LPM).

    So, what does this mean? Well, most Truenamers are going to look awfully similar. There simply aren't enough options to allow for any real diversity, especially when you consider that a good handful of utterances outright suck. There are NO utterances printed in ANY supplemental material, including web enhancements (a lot of alternate power sources get the same treatment, but at least there are a COUPLE additional vestiges, mysteries, and soulmelds), so what you see is what you get.

    Feats are another issue. At least three feats are accounted for (Skill Focus, Extend Utterance, and Quicken Utterance), which is a sizable chunk of the few you get. There simply isn't a lot of diversity possible here.

    The Truenamer skill list, as I've said, is pretty lousy. The only skills worth mentioning are Knowledge, Truespeak, and UMD. While Knowledge and UMD will get you pretty far, the point is that the skill section of most Truenamers' character sheets will look pretty similar overall.

    So, Truenamers will mostly be purchasing the same magic items, taking the same class, taking more or less the same feats, taking very similar utterances, taking very similar skills, joining the same organization... even certain races are far more common than others (Illumians, with their Naen sigil giving a +2 on all INT-based skill checks, are far and away the most commonly played Truenamers).

    As a self-avowed option whore (I have a hard time making a character that uses few than 3 books, NOT COUNTING the PHB/DMG), I'm forced to admit that most Truenamers will look damn near identical. The class just isn't flexible enough to allow for anything else.

    Some Truenamers will take dips here and there (I've heard of Marshal and Exemplar dips being very common, for the +CHA to INT skills and +4 on any skill, respectively), but that hardly counts as diversity.

    It pains me to say it, but Truenamers have more or less one viable build, with a couple small options. I hate to declare anything "THE ONE AND ONLY PATH," but frankly, if you deviate too far from what I'm talking about, you'll either be incapable of pulling your weight or stop really being a Truenamer.

    This makes me sad. If anyone wishes to provide a counterpoint, please let me know. It sucks that a class should be shoehorned into such a cookie-cutter build just to be capable (not even talking about godly), but that's what we have in the Truenamer.


    So, when is a Truenamer viable?
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    I don't think a Truenamer can be played at every level. You learn Utterances very slowly, and since you can't retrain them, it's a huge help to not have to take the utterances that become obsolete. Likewise, affording the proper magic items and getting the proper affiliations with the Paragnostic Assembly is much easier at high level than at low level. I don't think you'd be very happy playing a level 1 Truenamer, with your one utterance known and nothing else.

    Ideally, you'd start at level 9 at the earliest, since that's when you get Quicken Utterance (which is, as stated above, what makes Truenamers worth using). However, I think you could be viable as low as level 5 or 6, since by then you have enough utterances to have options in battle and enough wealth to have at least a +5 item if not a +10.

    I can't comment on high-level Truenamers. Like I said, the game I'm in is currently level 10, and I'm trying to base as much of this as possible on my experience, rather than just on theory. The DCs of your truespeak checks will be higher and higher, and we've already discussed more or less all of the low-hanging fruit available for increasing truespeak checks, so playing at higher levels will definitely be harder. Nevertheless, without play experience, I'm not going to be comfortable declaring anything as a cutoff point for the Truenamer's sweet spot.

    Overall, though, while I'd rather be a level 1 Truenamer than a level 1 Shadowcaster, I'd really rather not be either. If you're playing a low-level game, the Truenamer might not be for you.


    What books do you need to make a good Truenamer?
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    This is a tricky question. Besides the obvious Tome of Magic, what do you really need to play a viable Truenamer? Well, as I said above, Complete Champion offers more to the Truenamer than nearly anything else. I feel you could play a Truenamer with just Tome of Magic and Complete Champion.

    Since other books don't really directly add to Truenamers, Truenamers benefit less from additional books than other classes tend to. However, remembering that UMD is a class skill for Truenamers, the Spell Compendium and Magic Item Compendium help a lot. You can get some wands of spells that boost skill checks (there aren't as many as you might think, but there are a few), or get access to spells that do what you can't.

    There's a school of thought that says the luck rerolls from Complete Scoundrel are also worth using... I haven't tried this myself, but if you can't get your Truespeak check to quite the level you want it, being able to reroll a crucial utterance check could be really handy.


    The Item Familiar Question:
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    The Item Familiar, from Unearthed Arcana, is an option that gets brought up a lot whenever the Truenamer is discussed. Go ahead and read it before you come back and read this. The attractive part of it for Truenamers is that it lets you get a very large bonus on a chosen skill (in this case, obviously, Truespeak), more or less doubling the ranks you have in that skill.

    Personally, I hate item familiars. Variant rules are fine and dandy, but I hate it when a character needs a variant rule in order to function. (The only exception in my book is the fractional BAB/save stacking, but that's really neither here nor there.) I've tried to play my Truenamer as close to by-the-book as possible (the only major exception is my +10 competence item, which I discuss later), and I feel that Item Familiars are a bad idea all around.

    The big problem with them is that they put the GM in a real bind. See, Item Familiars can be really, really powerful. Hell, for the investment of a feat, you can choose to get free XP. Nothing else in the game lets you do that. Even though a feat is a large opportunity cost, item familiars generally give you their benefits with almost no drawbacks, except one. Do you know what that one drawback is? The drawback is that you can lose it. All of the benefits are contingent upon having continuous access to the item familiar. This is supposed to be the "balance" to the free XP, free spell slots, free skill points, and eventual intelligent item ally.

    So, to summarize, the character takes a feat that gives him what generally amounts to a much greater benefit than most other feats can give, with the caveat that these benefits aren't really that big of a deal, because the player can lose them.

    So, does the GM let the player essentially ignore this so-called drawback, leaving the item familiar in place unless the player is almost unimaginably stupid? Or does the GM invoke this drawback, in so doing really harshly punishing the player for taking this feat and possibly crippling the character? There's no middle ground. The concept is nominally balanced against this drawback, but invoking the drawback seems almost unduly harsh. But is a drawback that is never used really a drawback? These are the questions that a GM whose player takes an item familiar is forced to contemplate. Your GM has enough to worry about without throwing this little quandary at him.

    I would be remiss to fail to acknowledge that the bonus to Truespeak possible with an item familiar is quite substantial and can help out a character quite a bit. That said, I still don't think it's a good idea.

    Furthermore, the loss of the item familiar punishes the Truenamer, with their reliance upon the all-important Truespeak skill, more than it punishes other characters. This, of course, is a two-edged sword, and really just magnifies the existing problem. The Truenamer gains more from boosting a single skill than basically any other class, with the possible exceptions of the Artificer's UMD, the Incantatrix's Spellcraft, and any diplomancer's Diplomacy. (Note that I said diplomancer, not diplomat. There's a difference.) The already considerable bonuses granted by the familiar are even more important to the Truenamer. However, that just makes it more of a target... more in need of its "downside." Does your GM give you this huge boon almost for free, or does he use the one downside, the one you theoretically accepted when you took the feat, and leave your character nearly useless until you can recover it? Neither option really seems fair.

    There's an argument that a Truenamer "needs" an item familiar, but I really hope that's not the case. We all know that the Truenamer is a flawed class, but it's more than a "flaw" to admit that the class literally needs variant rules to be viable.

    Overall, the item familiar mess is just that: a mess. I recommend just forgetting the whole thing if at all possible.

    I would welcome a well-reasoned counterpoint, if anyone chooses to write one.


    So, what CAN a Truenamer do?
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    The Truenamer has a very clear intended role of buffer/debuffer/battlefield control. Once they get quicken, they can actually do this relatively well. Allow me to repeat that. Once they get quicken, they can actually do this relatively well. See, there are two things standing in the way of the Truenamer fulfilling its true potential as a buffer/debuffer/BC specialist.

    First is the fact that they get next to nothing targeting more than one creature until very high levels. Solid Fog, especially Quickened like that, is a fantastic ability, but it gets old really fast, and you don't want to overuse it, lest you find it used on yourself. (Granted, you can just use Inertia Surge on yourself and get free, but you don't want to HAVE to). Other than that? Nope, you get your single-target abilities and you like 'em. Speak Unto the Masses doesn't come until the primary casters are tossing around 9th level spells, the LPM utterances are almost universally not worth it (again, with the notable exception of Solid Fog), and other than that you're stuck with one target per turn. Now, this isn't necessarily horrible. You can still buff one ally quite well, or slow down one enemy. If you want to have more than one target, though, you need to quicken. Quickening, as I've said, is one of the best things a Truenamer gets, and frankly does push them up from "unusable" to "a big challenge." Still, combine the short, short durations of utterances with the single-target-only rules, and your actions get spread pretty thin.

    The second rule, of course, is the goddamn Law of Sequence. The LoS takes the "one character at a time" focus and makes it even worse. Even if you have enough time to do so, you can't buff your entire party, or befuddle all of your enemies, at least not with the same tricks... you have to pick and choose. This gets painful.

    That said, I still say that the Truenamer is best suited to a support role, buffing and debuffing as necessary. This does mean that it's not a bad idea (not automatically a good idea, but not necessarily bad either) to pick up "redundant" utterances (like the two versions of Seek the Sky), so that you can apply more or less the same effect to two characters at once. The Truenamer, especially at mid levels, does indeed have some nice buffs, and the no-save nature of some (though certainly not all) of their debuffs can be fun. You just can't think like a traditional party buffer. You're more of a specialist... one problem at a time.

    It occurs to me that a Truenamer could take this property and run with it, becoming a reasonably capable gish. Rather than trying to spread buffs across the entire party, you could simply apply them to yourself, then wade in swinging. You'd be very nontraditional, of course, and would be somewhat lacking in defense compared to a more traditional gish, but I do believe that a Truenamer could nicely buff himself (particularly with Knowledge Devotion for that extra, nearly free oomph) and dish out some melee pain.

    Interestingly, while I don't think for a second that this would be the most productive use of a Truenamer's abilities, I've noticed while cataloging them that they have quite a few damage-over-time abilities, so people who wish to recreate some of their favorite MMO archetypes (or at least one of them) might find a friend in the Truenamer. All of the Word of Nurturing utterances, Energy Negation, and Energy Vortex all do damage over an extended period of time, as does Agitate Metal. It would be interesting (not at all effective, but interesting) to see a Truenamer use their in-class UMD to cast Sonorous Hum, then Extend some Words of Nurturing (using the Hum to concentrate on one, Swift Concentration to concentrate on another, perhaps actually concentrating on a third...) for a nice damage-over-time effect. Granted, DoT is even less effective in D&D than straight up blasting is, but if that's the archetype you want, the truenamer is technically capable of it.

    Really, though, you're best off assuming the role of a buffer/debuffer or a gish. Either way, you'll be essentially buffing someone; it's just a matter of whom.


    What roles should the Truenamer not try to take?
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    I'm going to be dealing here, of course, with roles that even look attractive to a Truenamer in the first place, not simply saying "and they shouldn't be a trapspringer, or a doorbreaker, or..."

    The Truenamer does not make a good utility caster. While they are capable of sort of faking it, and do have a few utterances that will help with a utility role (Universal Aptitude on the Rogue when he's picking an especially tricky lock... Caster Lens on the cleric when she's casting the party's all-day spells in the morning... that sort of thing), they really can't substitute for a wizard or even a bard as an all-purpose utility caster. They can fire off a Seek the Sky now and again, but they'll have a hell of a time actually providing the party with useful flight for more than the briefest of obstacles, especially if you have more than just a couple people in your party. They can become invisible for a minute with an extended Vision Sharpened, but they won't be able to scout or help the party scout (because how many reconnaissance missions take a minute or less? And how many times, when you're being stealthy, can you afford to cast a noisy utterance?) effectively. Even if one of their short, short utterances comes in handy, Boccob forbid that more than one character need the same benefit simultaneously. None of their utterances last long enough to be genuinely effective out of combat.

    The Truenamer should not seek to replace a proper divine caster for medical purposes. While the Word of Nurturing line provides fantastic HP healing, and indeed a truenamer can take on the role of HP refiller, their utterances which can remove negative statuses come far, far too late. A Truenamer will keep your HP in top shape, but don't come to him when you've got ability damage, or paralysis, or negative levels, or anything of the sort until he's at least 10th level, and even then only if he took the right Utterances.
    Last edited by Zaq; 2009-06-11 at 10:36 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.
    Do you play 4e? I wrote a guide to Truenamers in 4e as well!
    Here's something I homebrewed. (It's not Truenamer-related, honest.) PEACH!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: My Experiences as a Truenamer

    This post will be used to discuss my firsthand experiences with Truenaming, and will be much more specific, as opposed to the general discussions in the previous post.

    My character, the fluff (short version):
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    Sanden Xala, an Illumian, was raised reading and re-reading all the great tales and legends of old, and he internalized them. He believes that the stories really tell about the way things either are or should be. As such, he wants to be just like his heroes in the old tales, and he's not above contrivances to get that way, such as hiring actors or prostitutes to play the roles of "cocky rival" (every great hero has a cocky rival!) or "tear-soaked love interest" (every great hero has someone begging him not to risk his life on his latest quest!). However, as time has passed, he understands that while he still wants to be a protagonist in the great story of life, his role is more that of the narrator. He speaks, and it is so. He tends to speak in Truespeak first and Common second, narrating the changes he makes to the battle, setting the scene for the heroes and villains.


    My character, the crunch:
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    At level 10, I have a total of +53 to Truespeak checks, from ranks (13), INT (+5), Illumian Sigils (+2), Skill Focus (+3), a Greater Amulet of the Silver Tongue (+10 enhancement), a ring of competence (+10 competence, see my comments on this below), and the bonus from membership in the Paragnostic Assembly (+10 unnamed, also see below). I broke optimization rule number 1 ("thou shalt not lose caster levels") and took three levels in Human Paragon, since my GM was kind enough to count the generic "+1 level of existing casting class" as counting towards Truenamer. I did this mainly so I could have a few utility skills, since the Truenamer skill list is kind of, well, limp. My relevant feats include Quicken Utterance and Extend Utterance, as well as Knowledge Devotion.

    I started with a 16 in INT, raising it to a total of 20 via level-up bonuses and the Human Paragon boost.


    On Competence Items:
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    My ring of +10 competence to Truespeak is the one and only bonus I have that isn't explicitly laid out in a book somewhere. The DMG tables are pretty clear about how to make a skill-bonus item, so I really don't think there's anything esoteric or broken here, but it's still, by the strictest definition, a custom item. I was going to go without it, but it was my GM's idea. Given the opportunity, I felt I would be foolish not to take it... but honestly I don't think it's necessary. The Truenamer's power level jumps sharply with it, but I don't think it's truly unplayable without one, at least not around the level I've been playing. Quickening will be harder, but not impossible.


    Early Experiences:
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    The game is yet young, and so I expect to be adding a lot to this post later on.

    So far, I've found two major limitations: the Law of Sequence and the duration of utterances. I haven't had any problems making the necessary checks, especially with Universal Aptitude up. However, the fact that I can only have one copy of any particular utterance "active" at once is really painful, especially since all of the Lexicon of the Evolving Mind (that is, "normal") utterances are two-in-one. For example, Greater Speed of the Zephyr lets me cast either Haste or Slow on one target at once. However, thanks to the Law of Sequence, I can't Haste both myself and my friend, nor can I Haste my buddy while Slowing our target. This is a much bigger limitation than I had initially anticipated.

    Likewise, the duration of the utterances just isn't enough. At least in my group, the concept of the "one-round encounter" just doesn't happen, at least not yet. Even the five-round utterances have tended to need renewing now and again, and especially the three-round utterances. Extend Utterance is a lifesaver here, as the +5 really isn't difficult to do, and doubling the duration helps a lot. Even so, the fact that I HAVE to do this is unsettling.


    My utterances known, and my thoughts on them:
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    Level one, Lexicon of the Evolving Mind

    Universal Aptitude: This gives either a +5 unnamed bonus on ALL SKILLS for five rounds, or a -5 penalty to the same. This is pretty huge. It's useful both to me and to my party, and it's very open-ended. Even if it didn't increase Truespeak checks (which it does), I'd recommend it to every Truenamer, but as it is, it's vital. The Reversed version has yet to be useful (how often do you see an enemy using skill checks? How often do you know that those skill checks will happen within 5 rounds? How often do you need to mess up those skill checks so badly that you'll spend an action on them?), but I guess I could see it being useful for, say, making a guard less likely to make his Forgery check or making a spellcaster less likely to make his Concentration check.

    Inertia Surge: This is a great utterance in that I can't decide if I like the normal or reversed versions better. It offers either Freedom of Movement (yes, the fourth-level spell!) for one round, or makes an enemy immobilized (able to act, but unable to move) for one round. The fact that it only lasts for one round (two when Extended) hurts, but it's still useful. Freedom of Movement is a very powerful and very useful ability to have, and the fact that the reversed version allows no save makes it passable battlefield control. I've used the reversed version to allow the party Knight to move away and set up a charge without the target following, which is handy.

    Second Level LEM

    Strike of Might: The normal version gives a +10 damage to the target's next successful hit (within the next round), and the reversed gives a -5 damage to the same. Since it only applies to a single hit, this isn't a fantastic buff, but there are quite a few times when I'd be better off adding damage to my melee friend than trying to dish it out myself. I have yet to use the reversed version... if it didn't have that "within the next round" limitation, I could see it, but there are better things I can do with my actions.

    Hidden Truth: I hadn't planned on taking this utterance, but now I'm really glad I did. It gives a +10 bonus to an immediate Knowledge check (and lets you do so untrained!), or gives a +10 bonus to Bluff checks the target makes in the next round. I can't ever see roleplaying the Bluff version... maybe if I weren't the one doing the talking, but it's hard to justify spending an action to make an utterance and then talking to someone without raising suspicion. I think the main use is to feint, but feinting is weak anyway. However, the Knowledge bonus is awesome, especially with Knowledge Devotion. (If I quicken Universal Aptitude then use Hidden Truth before making my Knowledge Devotion check, that's a +15 before I start adding anything else! That'd be a minimum +2 bonus even if I had no ranks and no INT! If you're going to spend a round buffing, I can think of worse ways to do it.)

    Lesser Word of Nurturing: Ah, the Word of Nurturing series. Normal, it gives you fast healing for 5 rounds (in this case, FH 3); reversed, it does some d6s of damage to the target (in this case, 2d6) and does it again next round if you concentrate. I had some qualms about picking up both the Lesser and Moderate versions of this, but thanks to the Law of Sequence, I'm glad I did, since it lets me hit two targets (or, with some creative Quickening, hit the same target with both) at once. The damage isn't amazing and doesn't scale well, but it's safer than using my sword if I have no better options. It's nice that it's untyped damage and thus basically impossible to resist. If you had the Swift Concentration skill trick, you could pull off some shenanigans with the Reversed version (especially if you Extended it), but I don't have that. Out of combat, an Extended use of the normal version is a guaranteed 30 HP healed... not too shabby.

    Level 3 LEM

    Moderate Word of Nurturing: Like Lesser WoN, but gives Fast Healing 5 or 4d6 damage. See Lesser WoN for my thoughts on it.

    Seek the Sky: This is one of those utterances that will eventually become obsolete, since Greater Seek the Sky (5th level) is better in every way, but oh well. Basically, this mimics the Fly spell (60' fly speed, good maneuverability) for 5 rounds, or renders a target incapable of flight for 5 rounds (though they fall gently and take no damage). The duration is something of a kick in the nuts, especially since you absolutely cannot cast it again until the first one runs out (so no chaining them in midair to keep yourself aloft), but still, flight is a great defensive option, and the speed boost is handy. I'm looking forward to using the reversed version, but we haven't faced any flying enemies yet. I almost always Extend this, just so I have more than 3 rounds of action (figure 1 round gaining the appropriate altitude and 1 round getting near enough to the ground that I don't die when it runs out, and that leaves 3 practical rounds to work with).

    Vision Sharpened: My reasons for taking this were primarily thematic, and frankly it's not an extraordinarily useful utterance. It's not dead weight, sure, but there are better 3rd level utterances. It gives the target either See Invisibility or Invisibility for 5 rounds... and yes, that's normal Invisibility, not Greater (so no attacking!). This would be a good second level utterance (though there already is a 2nd level equivalent, Perceive the Unseen, which is more or less garbage), but as a 3rd level, it's underwhelming. If I didn't have thematic reasons for taking this, I probably wouldn't have... it's important to have a way of seeing invisible things, but I'd rather have a wand of Glitterdust. The duration on the Invisibility option is too short, even Extended, to do any good out-of-combat sneaking, and since you can't exactly silence an utterance, chaining it isn't a good idea. Skip this utterance.

    Greater Speed of the Zephyr: Now we're talking! Haste or Slow for three rounds. The bad news is that it's only three rounds and it's only one target at a time, but the good news is that there's no save on the Slow version, so that's helpful. Haste and Slow are almost universally lauded as top-notch 3rd level spells, and even this relatively gimped version is useful, if not quite as powerful as the real thing. Extend is a must with this, really.

    1st level, Lexicon of the Crafted Tool

    Fortify Armor: Very few of the LCT utterances are worth anything, really. Fortify Armor, surprisingly, lets you give armor fortification for 5 rounds. This utterance is interesting in that you can voluntarily increase the Truespeak DC and get a greater effect... if you increase the DC by 10, you get 50% fort., and a +20 gives you 100% fort. Since the DC for the LCT utterances tends to be easier than the LEM utterances (it's based off the caster level of the item, which is rarely if ever as high as the level of the character wearing it when you follow standard WBL), this is a generally attractive option. I haven't bothered to use it yet, but I guess it would be nice against sneak attacking foes. The big problem is that since all utterances have such a short duration, you really can't pre-buff (let alone do your Morning Buff Routine with hours/level spells, since those don't exist), and this is only very rarely worth the action in combat. Still, the other option was essentially Keen Weapon, so this is really the better choice.

    Level 2 LCT

    Identify Item: That's right, you only get one of each level of the LCT utterances. Truenamers don't get a lot of love even in their own book. This utterance is essentially Identify, only it gives a little more information and has no costly component. Useful, but given that the first level you can get it is ECL 7, it's underwhelming. However, when you consider that the other option (yeah, there's only two level 2 LCTs... and indeed only two of each level of LCT. No love even in their own book, I tell you!) is, I kid you not, friggin' Heat Metal (a first level spell that wasn't extraordinarily useful back at first level!), the choice is kind of obvious.

    Level 1, Lexicon of the Perfected Map

    Fog from the Void: The LPM utterances got so little attention that they literally forgot to include the DC necessary to speak them. You won't find them anywhere in Tome of Magic. They had to add them in the errata. (Interestingly, they're the only utterances whose difficulty scales with level. Casting a level 1 LEM and level 6 LEM on the same target has the same DC, but casting a level 1 LPM and level 4 LPM does not. Weird, huh?) Anyway, you get FOUR total LPM utterances, one of which is at 20th level. They tend to be underwhelming at best, though they're your only option for affecting multiple creatures simultaneously before 17th level. Thankfully, one of the two or three actually useful ones is level one, and it's this one. It essentially creates a Fog Cloud (like the spell), and it lasts for a minute! Yes, one whole minute! From an utterance! Are you as shocked as I am? Anyway, the great thing about this utterance is that if you add 10 to the DC, you make Solid Fog instead, and Solid Fog is wonderful. Add in the fact that you can Quicken this (something your average 10th level wizard can't do!), and you can see why this utterance is gold.


    Some specific, direct-from-experience comments:
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    Well, I've played this character for a few more sessions now, so I've got a little more to add.

    A truenamer is next to worthless in a non-combat dungeon scenario. They're really not that good at getting past obstacles of any stripe, and they few they CAN get past (using Seek the Sky to get past a pit, for example) fall flat because of the Law of Sequence saying that you can only help one ally at a time. So, the Truenamer can get THEMSELVES (or the party scout, perhaps) past a cliff, but getting the entire party past will take a long time and will make the Law of Resistance hurt a lot (since you have to keep casting the same utterance over and over).

    The one exception I was GOING to point out I just realized I actually did incorrectly. REPEAT: THIS PARAGRAPH IS BASED ON AN INCORRECT READING OF THE RULES. I WAS going to say that Analyze Item is useful for identifying magical traps and similar mysterious items, but then I reread it, and realized that it has, for some inexplicable reason, a range of touch. (Almost all utterances have a range of 60 feet... except this one, for some reason.) Yeah, while it's useful to cast it like I was doing and see if Item X is trapped and if so, with what, that's not a very good idea when you have to TOUCH the potentially-trapped item in the first place. Bleh. If you talk to your GM and get him to ignore that little bit of stupidity, it's much more useful.

    I've had a chance to use Vision Sharpened a couple times now, always Reversed (thus creating invisibility). Since you can quicken it, it's passable for darting around the battlefield without provoking AoOs, or for getting a quick bonus to hit (if your opponent can't see invisible things, they're denied their DEX). I've used it on a civilian to help them get away from some zombies, and I once used it on myself to charge at a Gray Glutton and kill it without getting smacked around by its Huge reach. Without Quicken, it'd be pretty useless, but it's better than I gave it credit for now that I can quicken.

    A word of warning: While Solid Fog is great for slowing down enemies, make certain that your allies have a way of affecting things in the cloud before you go spraying it all over the place. Battlefield effects take finesse.

    Interestingly, Word of nurturing seems like it gives fast healing to undead and constructs. I had a long discussion with my GM about this, and your GM may or may not agree, but it looks like you can indeed heal your construct buddies with the WoN utterances, which might be handy depending on your game. If your GM disagrees, then it would stand to reason that the non-reversed Word of Nurturing would damage undead, which can be a decent source of damage in a fire-and-forget sort of way. As the kids say, YMMV.

    I also got a chance to use the reversed version of Strike of Might to decent effect. When it's combined with reversed Greater Speed of the Zephyr, the hapless target can only make a single attack, with a -5 penalty to damage. It can definitely make a big bruiser hurt less. It's very situational, to be sure, and I wouldn't use it without combining it with the Slow effect, but it did mean less HP refilling work to do.

    I'm learning that it's not always best to automatically Extend every utterance you cast. That makes the Law of Sequence a little more painful. Sometimes it's best to just use the normal utterance, then either recast it on the target or cast it on a different target. Remember, you only get one at a time, and you can't dismiss them.

    More to come later.


    A few more notes from the front
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    Well, Sanden's back in business (after having been sidelined for about a month or two in real time), so I thought I'd start updating this thread again. He's now level 11, so there's that. Here are some more things I've noticed in actual play.

    First, Recitation of the Sanguine State, like so many other aspects of the Truenamer chapter, was obviously not actually read. Basically, you can say your Truename as a full-round action to, well, let me quote it. "If you succeed on your Truespeak check, your body is purged of all poisons, as if a neutralize poison spell had been cast on you." The problem? Neutralize Poison isn't quite that simple. First off, it's not an instantaneous cleansing. It's got a duration. It actually protects you from future poisons if you cast it in advance. Does RotSS work the same way? If so, what's your caster level for it? Why? I swear, it's like they didn't even read it.

    I'd like to take a moment and talk about how wonderful Hidden Truth is. Hidden Truth, as I mentioned above, is a second-level LEM utterance that gives the target a +10 unnamed bonus on a single Knowledge check, as well as allowing them to make the check untrained. On its surface, this seems pretty nice, but not amazing. Having used it for a while, though, I'd have to say it's my favorite utterance. See, there are a few nice things about this. First, the fact that it's an unnamed bonus is always very nice, so anyone can benefit from it. More importantly, though, is that it has an instantaneous duration. This means that the Law of Sequence doesn't apply to it. You don't have to wait for it to run out before casting it again. With Quicken, you can even give it to yourself twice if you're planning on making two Knowledge checks (for example, if you're facing a mind flayer and are planning to make a K:Dungeoneering check and a K:Psionics check). This alone would make it stand out a bit from the other utterances, but the best use, I believe, comes not from piling it on yourself but on spreading it around.

    For example, let's say that you're confronted with some strange altar setup in the middle of a crumbling ruin. Naturally, you ask your resident smart guy (normally the wizard or bard, but a truenamer works as well... or, since this is K:Religion, maybe the cleric) what this thing is, and hopefully they can give you some insight as to what it's doing and why you care. Hidden Truth does, indeed, make this job even easier, and that's very nice. However, it has a second possibility. Let's say that your party smart guy is you, the truenamer. You can make your K:Religion check... but maybe you didn't roll so well, or you don't think you got the whole story, or there's another perspective you're not sure about. Ordinarily, you wouldn't get to keep going on this... but with Hidden Truth, you're not the only one who can make that check. The ability to make the check untrained, with enough of a bonus to make up for being untrained, means that everyone in your party can make a roll and see what they know about this thing. Naturally, if you give a Hidden Truth to your entire party every single time you need a Knowledge check, the Law of Resistance is going to come and bite you in the ass pretty soon... but when there's something really important, or when you don't think you rolled very well, it's totally legitimate to let someone else try their hand at it. Hidden Truth not only lets them make the attempt, but it also gives them a halfway decent shot at succeeding (especially if you give them Universal Aptitude as well).

    One kind of sneaky thing (and borderline cheesy... it's definitely against RAI, but whether it's overpowered is debatable) you can do with Hidden Truth is basically pre-cast it. It has an instantaneous duration and it says that it gives the bonus to a single Knowledge check. It does not, however, say when you have to make this check. If you're expecting the party scout to come across something interesting when they go reconnoitering alone, you can prime them with Hidden Truth and possibly let them figure out what it is that they've found. If you want to really abuse RAI, you can cast it on your entire party as the last thing you do before you go to sleep. It'll patiently wait around until they make their next Knowledge checks, but the Law of Resistance will clear out overnight. Like I said, definitely an abuse of RAI, but I don't think it's really problematic or cheesy (like, for example, combining Incarnation of Angels with Dismissal would be).

    I'd also like to mention once more just how damn useful Universal Aptitude is. Everyone makes skill checks, and a +5 unnamed bonus to all of them really does make a difference. It's easy to forget that you can cast your non-combat buffs on your teammates (at least, I forgot that I could do it once or twice), but it's really worthwhile to make sure that the critical Use Rope check succeeds, or that the Decipher Script check goes through, or that the Disguise check is absolutely perfect.

    A lot of a Truenamer's buffs are actually great for miniature scouting missions (that is, the kind that only take a few rounds... peeking around a corner, peering in a window, that sort of thing). The horribly short duration prevents them from being used on proper scouting missions, but Universal Aptitude, Seek the Sky, Hidden Truth, and Vision Sharpened all work very nicely for poking your head around a wall and seeing what's on the other side.


    Spell Rebirth
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    Spell Rebirth is an excellent 4th-level LEM Utterance. In the normal mode, it un-dispels (or un-dismisses) a spell, as long as it hasn't been more than one round since the spell was dispelled. As I've mentioned elsewhere, this is really cool since it's one of the only tricks that a Truenamer can pull off that a wizard cannot. (At least, I don't think a wizard can un-dispel things... can they? Friggin' wizards.) Sure, it's rather situational unless your GM is very dispel-happy, but even having it work once is worth it.

    It's the reversed utterance, however, that I'd really like to talk about. I'm going to quote the entire text of it here. (I think that falls under Fair Use.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tome of Magic, p. 244, "Spell Rebirth: Reversed"
    This utterance dispels the spell with the highest caster level affecting the target.
    That's it. That's the entire text of it. Prima facie, it's pretty nice. A dispel that doesn't roll a caster level check? Sign me up! Sure, it only gets one spell, but that's still pretty nice. In my experience, casters tend to be boss-encounters rather than mook-encounters, so their caster levels can be pretty high (and thus tricky to dispel). This will vary from group to group, of course, but the value of a dispel that doesn't need a caster level check should be obvious.

    However, there's more to this utterance. In fact, a lot more.

    The Truenamer chapter is notorious for having terribly lazy editing. Inconsistencies, omissions, and absurdities abound. This, I would say, is one of those omissions or absurdities. Let me quote that exact text again, with a key bit bolded:


    Quote Originally Posted by Tome of Magic, p. 244, "Spell Rebirth: Reversed"
    This utterance dispels the spell with the highest caster level affecting the target.
    Now, what does this mean, exactly? Well, there aren't a lot of limitations on it. You can Spell Rebirth away, say, an area of magical Silence affecting the target. Or an area of Reverse Gravity. (Do you want to tell me that lifting someone up and slamming them into the ceiling isn't "affecting" them?) Do you see where I'm going with this? Spell Rebirth is basically the Truenamer's Iron Heart Surge. Sure, "spell" is a lot more limited than "condition" (thankfully), so we can't Rebirth away some of the sillier examples of what IHS can theoretically be used for (such as Surging away the burning on the Plane of Fire... which I don't think actually works, but which the text is vague enough to kind of support), but we can still Rebirth away a hell of a lot. The point is that Spell Rebirth, as written, can dispel any area spell (short of AMF, since Rebirth is an SLA and thus can't get past AMF without a scroll of Invoke Magic and some dubious transparency shenanigans) that can "affect" someone. Furthermore, unlike IHS, Rebirth dispels the spell. Again, as written, it won't simply remove the effect from the target... it'll dispel the whole shebang, no questions asked. You don't even have to stretch the reading the way you do with IHS... it tells you straight up that the spell is dispelled.

    This, of course, leads to some real shenanigans if you're not careful. Let's say a castle is warded with Dimensional Lock... well, if you can just get a single Truenamer spy to infiltrate the area, it doesn't matter how high the caster level is, that sucker's open to attack. It's a little bit dicier as to whether or not it can get past, say, Obscuring Mist or Cloudkill, but it seems likely. I won't bother to discuss any other specific examples, but surely you can see by now the power and the danger inherent in this utterance.


    The Chips Are Down: How a Truenamer fares in a boss battle (UPDATE 2 Oct 2009)
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    So, last week we had our first really major boss fight. We knew that our target glowed like a Christmas tree under Detect Magic, had at least one Contingency up (yes, I know, RAW you can only have one. This was a boss battle, though, so you expect that to apply?), and was an INT-based caster. (Don't speculate too much as to what it is... there's homebrew in them thar hills.) Oh, and the GM trusted him to take on the three of us. To be fair, we'd been adventuring for some time (he was our... third or fourth encounter worth noting today), but still, this was a clear boss. His shtick, as we learned, was that he was really friggin' resilient, and had no fewer than five forms (as any good boss should).

    This was, I will say, a hell of a fight. With Universal Aptitude up, I didn't have to roll to hit him with normal utterances, but I did have to roll to hit him with quickened ones that I had been using all day. (I actually failed to quicken once or twice). I didn't get to do a whole lot to his first form... the Wilder actually made the first move (he was going to let us choose to leave him alone or try to fight him) by summoning a level 8 Astral Construct (pre-combat, since it was invisible and he suppressed the displays) and hitting him with the construct and a fully augmented Crystal Shard in the first round. I think I used Slow on him to keep him from full attacking, since he had a few nasty ToB tricks, but overall his first form went down quickly.
    His second form was his ghost, who blasted us with some nasty DD spell. A single lucky Reversed Moderate Word of Nurturing took him down easily enough, but that's what let us know that it was properly on.

    His third form (basically just his first form again, with a contingent True Rez letting him start over) fell to similar tactics, though less easily. There was a Reversed Inertia Surge or two in there to keep him in place, which I think saved us from a PBAoE or two.

    The real battle began with his fourth form, which is when things got really nasty. He was rezzed again by some kind of pact he had made, and was a lot nastier this time. The Astral Construct tripped him, and I decided that it was time for a big gun, so I hit him with Slow and Solid Fog (okay, Reversed Greater Speed of the Zephyr and Fog from the Void, whatever). That kept him in place long enough for him to eventually fail a save against the sorcerer's Stinking Cloud, which she put in the same place as my Solid Fog. This bought the Construct some time to beat on his ass. This was a tense time for me, because a Truenamer relies on line of sight, which was blocked by two different kinds of fogs. You can't buff (or debuff) what you can't see. I mostly kept putting Inertia Surge and Strike of Might on the sorcerer's summoned air elemental (chosen because it could zip around the area with its 100' move speed until it found him, spring attack him, and come back). Once he eventually crawled out of the fog, I mostly kept him Slowed and hit him with Reversed Words of Nurturing. After far, far too long, he dropped.

    This, of course, was just the start of Round Five, when he was rezzed AGAIN, this time by some kind of infernal energy, which came with a corresponding boost in power. Naturally. This time, I helped the Sorcerer become invisible a few times (allowing her to cast without provoking, since we knew he couldn't see invisible foes) with Reversed Vision Sharpened, as well as trying my best to keep him in a Reversed Word of Nurturing. He was absolutely refusing to fail the saves that the sorcerer was throwing at him, and her Enervation missed on a nat 1 (it was one of those things that should not have missed... he was Slowed, prone, flat-footed, and she was making a touch attack. And she missed.) I decided against Solid Fogging again, since I didn't want to be unable to help anyone. A couple good Enervates did help take him down, I think, as did the merciless beating of the new (since the battle had gone on long enough that the first one vanished) Construct. The wilder actually used his last few points making this thing... he was running on empty. I did my best to keep him Slowed, and eventually he went down for good.

    Now, what did I learn from the battle? Quite a bit, actually. First, a Truenamer really, really hurts if he or she can't see. Next time we get to a shop, I'm buying a Blindfold of True Darkness, or maybe a wand of Listening Lorecall.

    Also, if you can consistently make your Truespeak checks, Utterances are actually really hard to stop. We later learned that what had seemed like way too much HP was actually stupidly high DR (the GM later apologized for not telling us that our attacks weren't working right, as he was supposed to). I was informed that my Words of Nurturing actually did a not-insignificant share of the damage in certain forms (I think against his last form?), because nothing stops Reversed Word of Nurturing. Seriously. Nothing short of regeneration will stop it. Not DR, not energy resistance, not spell resistance (+5 Truespeak DC = no SR), not high saves (saves? What saves?), nothing. This turned out to be very valuable. Similarly, the fact that he didn't get to save against Slow or Inertia Surge apparently made a big difference. He was easily making the saves that the Wilder and Sorcerer were throwing at him, but I didn't give him the chance to say no. A Truenamer, then is very valuable against an enemy with high defenses, because they're hard to stop.

    In addition, after a while I stopped Extending Greater Speed of the Zephyr (that's Haste/Slow to you folks following at home). When it ran out, it was worth it to me to be able to decide if I should Haste someone or Slow him. The Law of Sequence really sucks sometimes.

    Also, Strike of Might helped us get through his DR once or twice. Not amazing, but not bad.

    Overall, I held my own, and I've been told that I was a major contributor to his not killing us. We actually managed to get away with no one hitting 0. Granted, this is mostly because my +12 initiative was good enough to go first and shut down his nastier strategies, but I invested in it for a reason.

    The point is, though, Truenamers are nice once they get going because they're really hard to defend against. I wasn't doing anything overwhelmingly amazing (I mean really, 4d6 per turn from Moderate RWoN? We're level 11. We should do 4d6 when we SNEEZE.), but there wasn't anything that this enemy, who had been set up to be really resilient, could do about it. His high saves also didn't make much of a difference, since I was the one rolling all the dice. Sure, I set myself up for exactly that, but hey, it worked.

    Oh, and never, ever underestimate Solid Fog. Especially with Inertia Surge.
    Last edited by Zaq; 2009-10-02 at 06:33 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.
    Do you play 4e? I wrote a guide to Truenamers in 4e as well!
    Here's something I homebrewed. (It's not Truenamer-related, honest.) PEACH!

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    This final post will be more or less a summary. I expect it to change over time, of course.

    I chose to play a Truenamer basically as a challenge to myself, to prove that I could. The Truenamer is still a terrible class, a flawed concept. I've had a lot of hoops to jump through to make the character even as good as it is (not that Sanden is playing at a 100% optimized level, but that's not the point)... as Sstoopidtallkid succinctly put it,

    "He has taken an odd race, 2 +10 magic items(meaning a significant chunk of his WBL), and used an association from CChamp to become effective, and he's still having issues during play. [. . .] Yeah, he's having fun with it, and it's working out well, but that is in spite of the class, not because of it."

    I really couldn't have said it better. I'm playing a Truenamer more or less in spite of it. My character is pulling his weight and is a useful member of the party, and absolutely the only thing I'm using that's not 100% by-the-book is a +10 competence item, which, as I've stated, is enormously helpful but not strictly necessary.

    So, does this mean that the Truenamer is a viable class?

    Well, really, I would say no. I've managed to make it sort of work, but it's really not a viable class if you have to put in as much effort as I have and still get only average results. If you don't bend over backwards like I have, you basically won't even be able to contribute to the party. If you want to play a Truenamer, well, I hope you like playing more or less what I've described here, since that's pretty much what you'll have to do.

    Just because a single effective build can be made does not mean that the class actually works.

    Truenamer doesn't work.

    But still, here I am, playing a Truenamer, probably experiencing it more than WotC did when they wrote Tome of Magic. I feel, on some level, like it's my duty to share my experience with you folks.

    If there's anything else you want to know about my experience, please, go ahead and ask.

    A condensed assessment of the problems facing the Truenamer, for your quick reference (Added 27 Dec 09)
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    -The Truespeak DCs are nearly impossible to meet without heavy optimization. If you don't book dive and bend over backwards, you simply can't use your primary class ability. God help you if you choose to play at low levels.
    -The Law of Sequence blows ass. The fact that you don't have any multi-target abilities is bad enough, but the fact that you can't even re-cast your utterances (or indeed use their reversed versions, because Pun-Pun forbid you should want Haste and Slow at the same time) is nearly unforgivable.
    -Utterances aren't that good. They have their perks, but even the Monk gets evasion. Most of the time, even when they work, they compare unfavorably to Invocations that you can get at the same character level, and they mostly fail to scale up as you increase in level (the level 6 LEM utterances are almost universally awful, and none are appropriate for level 18 characters).

    So, you have to work your ass off to use subpar abilities that you can't even use the way you want to. That's what's wrong with the truenamer.


    A final word (Added 27 Dec 09)
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    After about six-seven months of playing, I've retired Sanden. I had two reasons for this: First, I was getting pretty far away from by-the-book (multiple +Truespeak items that weren't listed, entry into PrCs I didn't qualify for by RAW, etc.), so my experiences weren't going to be very relevant to this thread, and second, I was getting really fed up with Truenaming, because frankly, it's frustrating to work so hard and get so little love (from the game rules, I mean, not from my fellow players or fellow posters). So, I've decided to post something of a final analysis here.

    First, the Truenaming chapter of Tome of Magic is hands down the WORST-EDITED WotC product I have ever seen. It's full of omissions (the most infamous of which is the missing DC for the LPM utterances. I mean, when you forget to tell your players how to use their class abilities... how lazy do you get?), poor wording (I still don't know what Shield of the Landscape actually does), references to earlier spells that clearly didn't actually read the earlier spells (Recitation of the Sanguine State, anyone?), contradictions (is the +4 bonus from speaking your personal truename competence or untyped? It's listed as both.), and absurdities (what the hell is Ether Reforged doing as an instantaneous duration effect?!), not to mention the horrific game design. As a result, I hypothesize that the chapter was written in an almost unimaginable hurry, and almost certainly not playtested. (The monster section, with its huge racial bonuses to Truespeak for monsters who otherwise couldn't use their defining abilities, makes it seem like the person or people who wrote the monster section knew something about what was wrong, but that didn't spill over into the main section.) I don't think I'll ever know for sure what kind of process went into making the Truenaming section, but there's enough evidence there to make me believe that it was written by someone (or some people) who didn't talk to anyone else, who didn't have time to edit properly, and who just didn't bother to test what they had written. (I'm not even talking about pushing the limits of the system, since we know that WotC never does that. I'm talking about testing it at all.) This is the first challenge facing an aspiring Truenamer.

    If you can get past the poor writing and nearly complete lack of support, you still have to live with the crazy skill DCs, the weirdass Law of Sequence, the fact that your GM has to have the CR of every monster you meet at his fingertips (god help you if you homebrew!), and the fact that your primary class feature just isn't that spectacular even when it works.

    Honestly, I'm a little surprised that I stuck with it for so long. I think it's because I really liked my character's personality, even as his mechanical abilities gave me headaches. In the end, though, it wasn't worth it. I don't regret what I've done, but let me tell you, I am glad to be done with it.

    So, what have I learned? I've learned that even when you can make your Truespeak checks, you still have to be really creative to do what you need to do. I've learned that the broken Truespeak DC is only one of many problems the class faces. I've learned that the Truespeak chapter is even more poorly written than I think anyone had suspected (I do believe I'm the first to notice that Spell Rebirth is nearly as open-ended as Iron Heart Surge, or at least the first to discuss it).

    And you know what? I've also learned that it's possible to be a valued and functioning member of a party even as a Truenamer. My experiences here were not all bad. I had a few tricks that worked (INT focus + Limited skill list + Universal Aptitude + Hidden Truth = Yeah, I can make that Knowledge check. DC 45? Yeah, I've got one rank in that, I can handle it.), I had one or two things that no one else could do (though damn if I didn't have to work for 'em), and I was occasionally able to make the other party members really shine. Assuming that I had help meeting the DCs, I'd sooner play a Truenamer than a Swashbuckler, or a Divine Mind, or yes, even a Monk. However, this doesn't mean that you SHOULD play a Truenamer. I would have been able to play the same archetype (clueless guy who thinks that the world works the way it does in stories) just as well with any number of other classes, plenty of which actually don't suck. I didn't have a party niche other than Smart Guy (a role easily filled by a wizard, archivist, bard, factotum, psion, DFA, or even incarnate), but I managed to carve out a space for myself.

    There's no easy fix for the Truenamer. Contrary to what some people believe, fixing the Truespeak DC mechanic wouldn't make the class good (better, perhaps, but not good). All else being equal, even giving them their Utterances at-will wouldn't really make them very powerful (the no-save effects are nice, but not gamebreaking by any stretch). The Law of Sequence needs to be shot repeatedly in the face, and the Utterances need to be heavily rebalanced to actually be level-appropriate. By the time you'd be done, the class wouldn't be recognizable anymore. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the point is, this isn't just a bad implementation of a good core. It's a bad idea through and through. Truly shameful that they wasted such brilliant fluff on such a terrible class.

    I'm starting to repeat myself, so I'll stop here. I learned a lot, I had some fun, I had some headaches, and I've sort of become the resident expert on Truenamers. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but I'm happy to share the information with whomever is willing to listen (which would be you, dear reader, if you've made it this far).


    Two really final things to say:

    First, my word is not absolute. I know a lot about Truenamers, but I am not infallible. I welcome well-reasoned disagreements with open arms.

    Second, if anyone wants to know anything else, has any questions, or wants to know my opinion on anything related to this, please do not hesitate to ask. The whole reason I've typed up this enormous topic is to share what I've learned, so if I can share more, I'd like to know.

    Thanks for reading.
    Last edited by Zaq; 2009-12-27 at 01:54 AM.
    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.
    Do you play 4e? I wrote a guide to Truenamers in 4e as well!
    Here's something I homebrewed. (It's not Truenamer-related, honest.) PEACH!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
    And another post for me. I doubt I'll need more than three, so go ahead and post after this.
    OK. The class is overpowered!!!

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    Default Re: My Experiences as a Truenamer

    Photoshopped. Totally photoshopped. I can see the pixels.

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    Default Re: My Experiences as a Truenamer

    My only question for the OP: Why not just write out your experiences before hand in, say, Word then copy/paste into your posts?

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    I once played a Blue (psychic goblin) Truenamer once. Really, I think the negative reaction they typically receive is a bit over the top. They really aren't that bad.

    With an 18 INT, an amulet of the Silver Tongue +5, Skill Focus (truespeak), and Focused Skill User (2 other skills, plus truespeak; from Complete Psionic, a feat that gives a +2 to three specific skills as long as one is psionically focused), my truenamer was pretty much automatically succeeded on his checks for the first four or five uses of a single utterance.

    He was level 5, granted, but he did a good job of healing, buffing, debuffing, and even doing decent damage with reversed words of nurturing. Overall, I was actually rather impressed. He had no spell slots or power points to worry about. I just put down a little check every time he used the same utterance, to remind myself of the +2 increase to the skill check DC.

    Also, since they have UMD as a class skill, you can grab some wands and other toys to help keep yourself useful when the utterance DC's get a little dicey.

    No, they are not as powerful as a standard core caster, or even a psion, but I'd put them on about the same power level as a warlock, or perhaps an Incarnate, assuming the adventure doesn't really tax endurance to the extreme.

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    At level 5, maybe. The reason the Truenamer is so reviled is that fact that unlock core casters, warlocks, fighters, rogues, CW Samurai, or any other class, they actually get worse as they level, not better. 5th level is a very good time to be a truenamer...the DCs aren't intolerable yet, and you've just acquired an incantation from the second of your three lexicons.

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    Default Re: My Experiences as a Truenamer

    I really like the fluff of the truenamer, but I really would rather just see it replace the current magic fluff. Wizard of Earthsea had a system like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quick_comment View Post
    I really like the fluff of the truenamer, but I really would rather just see it replace the current magic fluff. Wizard of Earthsea had a system like that.
    And they spent most of the books either following people who could barely use it or when it all died and nobody had magic anyways.

    Anyways, Truenamers with their 3/4 BAB make decent gishes...if you have a stat left over after that INT, toss it into STR and take up the sword.

    There was a chart on CharOp that showed Truenamer success chances...you're going to start rapidly getting worse, but after a few levels your chances start going up. Get an Item Familiar, you'll need its bonuses. Refluff your Amulet of the Silver Tongue as actually talking that way, it'll be hilarious.
    Quote Originally Posted by A_Moon View Post
    How many times, when the Fighter says "I draw my sword", did you just want to smack that cheating-optimizer in the face and say "No! You don't draw your sword! You draw Orcus!". When the Cleric says "I run away from Orcus!": "No! You run into Orcus! Rogue tries to hide? He hides behind Orcus! The bard in a tavern on the other side the town tries to order a drink? How about a nice frothy mug of Orcus?
    Quote Originally Posted by Guancyto View Post
    Perhaps this will sate Flickerdart's endless hunger for assassinations.

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    Righto, so I've got the initial posts up. ZeroNumerous, that might have been a more elegant way of doing it, but I guess I just didn't think of it. Oh well.

    Anyway, thoughts, anyone?
    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.
    Do you play 4e? I wrote a guide to Truenamers in 4e as well!
    Here's something I homebrewed. (It's not Truenamer-related, honest.) PEACH!

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    Looking good so far. I've always loved Truenamers, and your flavour is great for using one. How'd you take Human Paragon as an Illumian, though? Do they count?

    At +53, that's 63 on an average roll, against DC 45 for an enemy of your CR. Even quickened, your first Utterance of the kind for the day has a 40% chance, and regular is 100% for several tries. This'll be nice to see, indeed.

    For thematic convenience, get some scrolls of Moment of Prescience. It's DC45 UMD for the max bonus, so it'll be a while yet before you're hitting that (if you took UMD to begin with) but it's a great "I must succeed!" trick even if it isn't very practical.
    Quote Originally Posted by A_Moon View Post
    How many times, when the Fighter says "I draw my sword", did you just want to smack that cheating-optimizer in the face and say "No! You don't draw your sword! You draw Orcus!". When the Cleric says "I run away from Orcus!": "No! You run into Orcus! Rogue tries to hide? He hides behind Orcus! The bard in a tavern on the other side the town tries to order a drink? How about a nice frothy mug of Orcus?
    Quote Originally Posted by Guancyto View Post
    Perhaps this will sate Flickerdart's endless hunger for assassinations.

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    Thanks Flickerdart. I figured that since Illumians are Humanoid with the Human subtype, they qualified for Human paragon, and my DM agreed. I'm probably losing more than I'm gaining from the class (which is one reason I'm not actually recommending it for aspiring Truenamers), but I wanted to have some more skills, you know? Balance, Sense Motive, Listen, that kind of thing.

    Your math is a bit off. Against a CR 10 foe, the DC is 35 (15 + 10x2). Even against a CR 15 foe (DC 45) I have a decent chance of quickening.

    One thing I'm really noticing, though, is that since utterances have such damn short durations, you have to keep refreshing them if you want them active, which makes the Law of Resistance really add up. After another session or two I'll post some thoughts about when to utter and when to refrain from doing so.
    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.
    Do you play 4e? I wrote a guide to Truenamers in 4e as well!
    Here's something I homebrewed. (It's not Truenamer-related, honest.) PEACH!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
    Your math is a bit off. Against a CR 10 foe, the DC is 35 (15 + 10x2). Even against a CR 15 foe (DC 45) I have a decent chance of quickening.

    One thing I'm really noticing, though, is that since utterances have such damn short durations, you have to keep refreshing them if you want them active, which makes the Law of Resistance really add up. After another session or two I'll post some thoughts about when to utter and when to refrain from doing so.
    Ah, right, my bad. I was counting for 15, not 10...well, if your DM springs some crazy boss monsters on you, you'll do fine too.

    Since talking normally is a free action, you could throw your enemies off guard by muttering gibberish on turns you're not uttering, to confuse them. After all, how do they know you didn't just do something?
    Quote Originally Posted by A_Moon View Post
    How many times, when the Fighter says "I draw my sword", did you just want to smack that cheating-optimizer in the face and say "No! You don't draw your sword! You draw Orcus!". When the Cleric says "I run away from Orcus!": "No! You run into Orcus! Rogue tries to hide? He hides behind Orcus! The bard in a tavern on the other side the town tries to order a drink? How about a nice frothy mug of Orcus?
    Quote Originally Posted by Guancyto View Post
    Perhaps this will sate Flickerdart's endless hunger for assassinations.

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    Default Re: My Experiences as a Truenamer

    Quote Originally Posted by CockroachTeaParty View Post
    I once played a Blue (psychic goblin) Truenamer once. Really, I think the negative reaction they typically receive is a bit over the top. They really aren't that bad.
    It was mostly the opinion of the powergamers/munchkins. To them, if a build isn't able to theoritically slaughter singlehandely every monster of their own CR as a swift action, then it's clearly a worthless piece of poop and no player could ever have fun playing it.

    And then there are the players to wich power isn't everything, and are willing to play a class even if it isn't "Pwn everything roflz is the wayz to goz!".

    I'm glad to meet some of these players. Keep enjoying your sessions!

    (I'm always impressed that people are willing to optimize dozens of spells, feats and prc for their wizards, but they don't seem to be able to optimize half a dozen items wich all do the same thing)
    Last edited by Oslecamo; 2009-06-09 at 09:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oslecamo View Post
    It was mostly the opinion of the powergamers/munchkins. To them, if a build isn't able to theoritically slaughter singlehandely every monster of their own CR as a swift action, then it's clearly a worthless piece of poop and no player could ever have fun playing it.

    And then there are the players to wich power isn't everything, and are willing to play a class even if it isn't "Pwn everything roflz is the wayz to goz!".
    He has taken an odd race, 2 +10 magic items(meaning a significant chunk of his WBL), and used an association from CChamp to become effective, and he's still having issues during play. The class should be able to function on it's own, with minimal needed input. Most classes become good with a bit of work, and especially with a few sources. This one is using one of the most broken sources in 3.x and it's barely decent. Yeah, he's having fun with it, and it's working out well, but that is in spite of the class, not because of it, which is an issue with the class. There's a reason it doesn't even get a tier.
    [/sarcasm]
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oslecamo View Post
    It was mostly the opinion of the powergamers/munchkins. To them, if a build isn't able to theoritically slaughter singlehandely every monster of their own CR as a swift action, then it's clearly a worthless piece of poop and no player could ever have fun playing it.
    Eh, you aren't being serious on your powergamer-comment, are you? The problem with Truenamer in particular is that it's a helluva lot of work to hit the DCs. Out of the box, at level 1, the average DC is 17. Assuming 18 Int and Skill Focus, that's 45% chance to do nothing each turn. And that's burning a bunch of resources already.

    Basically, the problem people have with the class is that you need to go through a lot of trouble to make the DCs, and when you do, you don't get anything amazing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oslecamo View Post
    (I'm always impressed that people are willing to optimize dozens of spells, feats and prc for their wizards, but they don't seem to be able to optimize half a dozen items wich all do the same thing)
    It's not a matter of not being able to, it's just that that's an awful lot of trouble to get...nothing you couldn't already do with any of the Core classes. And the fact that having to devote a ton of your resources just to be able to do what you're supposed to do kinda sucks. I mean, sure, if that floats your boat, go ahead, but I'd rather have my classes do what they're supposed to do without any feats or skills, and focus my feats and skills on customizing my character.


    That said, if you enjoyed your run with the Truenamer, the more power to you. I'll be reading this with great interest.
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2009-06-09 at 09:57 PM.
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    Default Re: My Experiences as a Truenamer

    Indeed - I like seeing people being able to salvage/redeem otherwise horrid ideas, so this could be quite interesting watching it play out.

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    Default Re: My Experiences as a Truenamer

    In my current game I foresee a possible death for my PC. Looking into this I would like to try a True Namer. Any tips for a level 4 Gestalt player?
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    Default Re: My Experiences as a Truenamer

    I've added some thoughts on the Truenamer's class features, options a Truenamer has, a brief discussion on Item Familiars, and cleaned up a few small details in some other sections.

    What else should I be adding, any thoughts?

    I'd also, as I mention in the relevant sections, appreciate some counterpoints on certain aspects of my discussion, if anyone disagrees with me strongly enough to write them. (No need to disagree for the sake of disagreeing, of course... if you think what I've said is spot-on, great. I just don't want to set myself up as the ONE AND ONLY MASTER OF ALL THINGS TRUENAMER, since that's patently false and ridiculous. Discussion is good.)
    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
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    Do you play 4e? I wrote a guide to Truenamers in 4e as well!
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    Default Re: My Experiences as a Truenamer

    Quote Originally Posted by Demons_eye View Post
    In my current game I foresee a possible death for my PC. Looking into this I would like to try a True Namer. Any tips for a level 4 Gestalt player?
    What else is in your party? Truenamer is an even worse idea in Gestalt than in normal play, but maybe if the rest of your party is weak combos we can make it playable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sstoopidtallkid View Post
    What else is in your party? Truenamer is an even worse idea in Gestalt than in normal play, but maybe if the rest of your party is weak combos we can make it playable.
    Wow that was unbelievably unhelpful
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demons_eye View Post
    In my current game I foresee a possible death for my PC. Looking into this I would like to try a True Namer. Any tips for a level 4 Gestalt player?
    That really depends on whether you want your Truenamer side to be your dominant side (using your other class mostly to support it), or if you want it to play more of a support role.

    If you want to prop up your Truenamer side, Artificer might be a decent choice, since the infusions that add bonuses to skills are invaluable. Archivist might be a decent choice, since the knowledge-heavy nature of both classes synergizes very well, and there are a few good divine spells to boost skill checks. You would also be able to use the Truename Spells tucked away in a corner of the Truename Magic chapter, many of which are pretty decent. Whatever class you choose, though, make sure you have INT synergy.

    The best choice might be a Factotum, though. Both classes use INT, and the Factotum has tricks to boost your skill checks when you need them. Some of the more generic boosts that Truenamers get, such as Universal Aptitude, will fit perfectly with the Factotum's strengths, as well. Hell, even the normally terrible Recitation of the Mindful State isn't QUITE as bad when you have the relevant skills as class skills.

    If you want your Truenamer side to be the secondary focus, that's a bit trickier, since you have to invest so much into Truenaming to make it worthwhile. I can see the Truenamer being a capable self-buffing gish, especially once you hit level 9 and can Quicken your utterances (that's five levels away, to be sure, but worth considering I suppose). The danger with playing a Truenamer in gestalt is that the Truenamer makes a lot of demands upon your standard actions, and offers no long-lasting or passive benefits. It takes a lot of attention, in other words.

    Does that help?
    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.
    Do you play 4e? I wrote a guide to Truenamers in 4e as well!
    Here's something I homebrewed. (It's not Truenamer-related, honest.) PEACH!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Demons_eye View Post
    Wow that was unbelievably unhelpful
    If he's in a party with a Wizard/Factotum, Warblade/Artificer, Rogue/Barbarian, and Warlock/Swift Hunter, we can't help him. If he's in a party with a significant party role missing, we can help him fill that role with his other side and keep decent Truespeach at the same time.

    The problem is that Gestalt rewards builds with one side that requires actions to accomplish something, and one side with passive abilities that synergize well with the first side. Until 9th, Truenamer fits neither of those. Meaning we need to get one side of his build good enough to remain competitive with his party, while also keeping him able to hit DCs of 23 at level 4, enabling him to buff/debuff to aid his primary side, while we can't invest the usual 3 feats and massive amounts of cash needed for a Truenamer.

    Edit:Hadn't considered Factotum. Yes. That could work. Pump Int, get everything you can to boost the skill, snag the various other good skills(Autohypnosis etc), and pick the right SLAs. If nothing else, you'll always have something to do even when you don't want to waste an utterance.
    Last edited by Sstoopidtallkid; 2009-06-09 at 11:56 PM.
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    Greatly I was all ready thinking Artificer but Archivist is looking nice now I have looked into it.
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    Default Re: My Experiences as a Truenamer

    Your little article here is a very good write-up, I think. I've always LOVED the idea of the Truenamer class, but every time I look at the book I just shake my head and go on to something else. I'm still with Sstoopidtallkid when he says you've "taken an odd race, 2 +10 magic items(meaning a significant chunk of his WBL), and used an association from CChamp to become effective, and he's still having issues during play," but I think you've at least shown that you can do okay without resorting to an Item Familiar and all that.

    I will say that this...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
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    Truenamers rely ridiculously heavily on magic items. Every Truenamer NEEDS a (Greater) Amulet of the Silver Tongue (found in Tome of Magic, +5 enhancement to Truespeak, +10 for Greater). Many GMs will also allow a simple competence-bonus item, using the rules in the DMG. A competence item isn't strictly necessary, but it helps a lot, so if your GM lets you, pounce on the opportunity. However, when so much of your usefulness comes from these items, losing them is an enormous blow. Adventurers get robbed, they fall into oozes, they get hit with shatter, whatever. Nasty things happen. At least a fallen Paladin can become a Blackguard. A Truenamer with no way of replacing his Truespeak items is little better than an Expert. So, you should do everything you can to make sure nothing happens to your items.

    The first step is to make them out of riverine, from Stormwrack. Riverine is expensive, but it's essentially made out of miniature walls of force. You heard me. Walls of force. Items made from it are nearly invincible. Disintegrate and Disjunction will destroy them, but Disintegrate and Disjunction will destroy damn near any items you have no matter what you do, so that really isn't much of a strike against it. Best of all, for non-armor items, it's priced by the pound, so it's not prohibitively expensive (I won't pretend it's cheap, but it's definitely not as bad as it could be) to buy, say, an amulet and a ring made out of it.

    The next step is to prevent them from being stolen while you sleep. What follows is perhaps not the only solution, but it's the one that I ended up using. If you don't have access to the books needed (Complete Arcane or Spell Compendium, Magic Item Compendium, and Dungeonscape), I guess you should try to find something else. Anyway, what I did was to buy a light shield made of darkwood (not proficient with it, but there's no ACP, so big deal) that contained a hidden space, using the oil bladder rules from Dungeonscape. Then, since UMD is on the Truenamer skill list, I purchased two Eternal Wands (from MIC)... normal wands will work just as well, but I like Eternal Wands. The first one is a wand of Greater Alarm. It's just what it sounds like... not quite on the Rope Trick or MMM level of protection, but it's cheaper and very handy. The second, however, is the really important one: a CL 8 wand of Absorb Weapon.

    Absorb Weapon is an Assassin-only spell, so it's more likely that you'll get a Warlock, a Chameleon, or an Artificer to make it for you... talk to your GM. The upshot of it, though, is that it lets you absorb a light weapon into your body for one hour per CL (hence why we wanted it CL 8). It's more or less impossible to detect while absorbed, and you're the only one who can bring it back out (unless it gets dispelled or something, which is what the Greater Alarm is for).

    Remember the light shield I mentioned? Well, since you can make a shield bash with it, it counts as a light weapon. So, every night, you put your amulet (and your ring, if applicable) inside your hidden compartment on your shield, and then absorb it into your body while you sleep. Not foolproof, perhaps, but pretty close to it.

    If you have another way of protecting your items, feel free to post it.
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    On the subject of protecting a super-important item: Clasp of Safeguarding from Dungeonscape should be a staple for almost any high-level character.
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    Default Re: My Experiences as a Truenamer

    I suggest something even stranger. Create your items as a Graft. This takes more work (people with the Create Graft feat are rare), but makes it part of your character. You can't lose it, and it only doubles the price.

    Then there's the flavor. Why have an Amulet of the Silver Tongue when you can just have a Silver Tongue?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyeudo View Post
    I suggest something even stranger. Create your items as a Graft. This takes more work (people with the Create Graft feat are rare), but makes it part of your character. You can't lose it, and it only doubles the price.

    Then there's the flavor. Why have an Amulet of the Silver Tongue when you can just have a Silver Tongue?
    This sounds like an interesting idea, but how do you do it? I looked at the graft flesh feat and info about grafts, but it just lists a bunch of them without giving information on how to go about designing custom grafts or adapting items into grafts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterSaturnine View Post
    This sounds like an interesting idea, but how do you do it? I looked at the graft flesh feat and info about grafts, but it just lists a bunch of them without giving information on how to go about designing custom grafts or adapting items into grafts.
    You do it the same way you make any other non-standard item: Homebrew. See, we have the origional item itself, which is decidedly non-broken. Then we have the general guideline for grafts (it's not given, but reverse engineering has shown that they stay pretty close to twice the cost of a normal magic item that could do the same thing). Putting the two together gives us the double costed, but unlosable Silver Tongue.

    Depending on which Graft Flesh feats you have access to, I recomend putting it in the Silithar, Warforged, or that other type of construct graft availible (I forget their name), but making a graft from the tongue of a Logokron Devil would work for a Fiendish graft.

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