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    Default Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Welcome, contestants, judges, and guests to Iron Chef XIV. Here in Optimization Colosseum, contestants will endeavor to create an optimized and flavorful character using a specified D&D3.5 prestige class as a "Secret Ingredient".

    Contestants: You will need to present your build at at least one of the following points: 5th level, 10th level, 15th, 20th, and a "sweet spot" that you feel is the high point of the build. Feel free to present as many of these as you like, and please give a rundown of the build's abilities and playability at all of the levels you didn't show. The rules are as follows:

    Menu: For most challenges, the "special ingredient" will be drawn from Core plus Completes. There will, from time to time, be special challenges that showcase secret ingredients from other books--for example, the XPH.

    32 point-buy is the presumed creation method, but we have generally allowed other levels of point-buy.
    If you do use a different point-buy, please make your case for its necessity in your entry. Keep in mind that for using exceptionally large or small point-buys may warrant deductions in elegance and/or power.

    Kitchen: Competitors will be free to use any official 3.5 rulebook in constructing their builds. Dragon magazine is disallowed, and Unearthed Arcana is allowed; but see Elegance below. Alternate rule systems from UA such as gestalt are not allowed, as they create a different playing field. Also, item familiars are forbidden because I hate 'em.

    Cooking Time: Contestants will have until 11:59pm CUT on Wednesday, November 10th 2010 to create their builds and PM them to the Chairman, true_shinken. Builds will then be posted simultaneously, to avoid copying.

    Judging: Judging will be based on the following criteria, with each build rated from 1 (very poor) to 5 (exemplary) in each area: Originality, Power, Elegance, Use of Secret Ingredient.

    Power level is up to you. Cheese is acceptable, but should be kept to a sane level unless you're showcasing a new TO build you've discovered. In the words of one of my predecessors, a little cheddar can be nice, but avoid the mature Gruyere unless you're making a cheese fondue.

    Elegance could bear a little elaboration. It basically measures how skillfully you put your build together, and whether you sacrificed flavor for power. We're cooking here - if your dish doesn't taste good, it doesn't matter how well-presented it is. Use of flaws is an automatic loss of one point per flaw in this category. Other things that will cause lost points here are excessive multiclassing, and classes that don't fit the concept - using Cloistered Cleric in a front-line melee fighter, for example, will lose you points.

    I am going to have to ask the contestants to PM me about any disagreement with the judges. Under no circumstances is a contestant to defend themselves inside the thread, since it breaks anonymity.

    Presentation: Builds will be posted anonymously, in order to avoid the potential of bias towards a particular competitor. For this reason, please don't put your name in the build, as I'm likely to miss it when reviewing the entries!

    Due to concerns about standardizing entry format, I'd like everyone to try to use the following table for their entry.
    Spoiler
    Show
    NAME OF ENTRY
    {table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack<br>Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

    1st|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    2nd|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    3rd|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    4th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    5th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    6th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    7th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    8th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    9th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    10th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    11th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    12th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    13th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    14th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    15th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    16th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    17th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    18th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    19th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    20th|New Class Level|
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |
    +x
    |Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities[/table]

    Code
    Spoiler
    Show
    [b]NAME OF ENTRY[/b]
    {table=head][b]Level[/b]|[B]Class[/B]|[b]Base Attack<br>Bonus[/b]|[b]Fort Save[/b]|[b]Ref Save[/b]|[b]Will Save[/b]|[B]Skills[/B]|[B]Feats[/B]|[b]Class Features[/b]

    1st|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    2nd|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    3rd|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    4th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    5th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    6th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    7th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    8th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    9th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    10th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    11th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    12th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    13th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    14th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    15th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    16th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    17th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    18th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    19th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities

    20th|New Class Level|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|[center]+x[/center]|Skills|New Feats|New Class Abilities[/table]


    For entries with spellcasting, use the following table for Spells per day and Spells Known. (Spells Known only if necessary, i.e. Sorcerer or Bard, but not Wizard or Warmage)
    Spoiler
    Show
    Spells per day/Spells Known
    {table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th

    1st|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

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

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

    4th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    5th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    6th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

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

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

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

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

    11th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    12th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    13th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    14th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    15th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    16th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    17th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    18th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    19th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    20th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-[/table]

    Code
    Spoiler
    Show
    [b]Spells per day/Spells Known[/b]
    {table=head][b]Level[/b]|[b]0lvl[/b]|[b]1st[/b]|[b]2nd[/b]|[b]3rd[/b]|[b]4th[/b]|[b]5th[/b]|[b]6th[/b]|[b]7th[/b]|[b]8th[/b]|[b]9th[/b]

    1st|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

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

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

    4th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    5th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    6th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

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

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

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

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

    11th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    12th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    13th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    14th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    15th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    16th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    17th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    18th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    19th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    20th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-[/table]


    For other systems (Psionics, ToB, Incarnum, etc.) keep track of PP/maneuvers/essentia separately, preferably in a nice neat list.
    Speculation: Please don't post or speculate on possible builds until the "reveal," in order to avoid spoiling the surprise if a particular competitor is producing a build along those lines.

    Leadership is banned; we're producing a meal, not a seven-course banquet for a hundred diners.

    So! Who wants to sign up as a contestant, and who wants to sign up as a judge? Looking for about 5 judges and as many contestants as feel like playing!

    This week's special ingredient is:
    Complete Arcane's Seeker of the Song

    Allez optimiser!

    Judges
    Amphetryon
    Grynning
    WinWin
    Vorpal Tribble

    Contestants
    darbythegambler
    Ealstan
    TerrickTerran
    OMGPonies
    Ozymandias9
    The Gilded Duke
    BobVosh
    Heliomance
    gbprime

    Past Competitions

    Iron Chef I: Entropomancer
    Iron Chef II: Psibond Agent
    Iron Chef III: Cancer Mage
    Iron Chef IV: Stonelord
    Iron Chef V: War Chanter
    Iron Chef VI: Master of Masks
    Iron Chef VII: Green Star Adept
    Iron Chef VIII: Pyrokineticist
    Iron Chef IX: Animal Lord
    Iron Chef X: Mythic Exemplar
    Iron Chef XI: Blade Bravo
    Iron Chef XII: War Mind
    Iron Chef XIII: Vigilante
    Last edited by true_shinken; 2010-11-04 at 07:34 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    i love this PrC! i'm in

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Amphetryon's Avatar

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    I'll sign on as a judge for this one.

    My criteria:
    Spoiler
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    MY CRITERIA: When more than a single example is given for a score, not all examples need be met to warrant that score.

    Originality: Originality looks in part at the established archetypes and builds that the community at large has produced over the years. Characters attempting to perform, yet less adept at performing, as a well-established archetype - for instance, a charger - than typical for that archetype will score lower here than characters attempting to break new ground. Examples of a given score -
    5 - A new concept, necessitating the Seeker of the Song PrC.
    4 - A new concept, using Seeker of the Song without requiring it to tick.
    3 - An unusual concept that has been showcased on gaming forums before, or that is featured in other contest entrants. It’s not new, but it’s not stock standard either.
    2 - An old reliable concept, substituting Seeker of the Song for the one typically used in discussions of builds of this type.
    1 - A build either cut and pasted or cobbled together entirely from extant handbooks and other known works. No new ideas are presented.

    Power: Power is measured assuming a 1st - 20th campaign. Characters that come to power very late in the progression, or that are somehow ineligible to play at low levels, can expect a deduction here as surely as characters whose power peaks at low-to-mid levels and then relatively diminishes. Examples of a given score, relative to other entrants in the contest -
    5 - Easily the most powerful, flexible build presented here.
    4 - A powerful character that might need help or additional preparation in specific circumstances to continue to do its job well.
    3 - A build that is of average power for the contest, neither significantly stronger nor appreciably weaker overall. It may dominate in niche cases or be rendered weak in other niche cases.
    2 - While less powerful than the typical entry for this contest, the character manages to contribute reasonably without relying on help from other party members.
    1 - The build struggles to perform to the expectations typical for a character in the role assigned. Either the character relies heavily on help from other party members or requires specific equipment not restricted to the given role in order to be useful.

    Elegance: Note that I tie the Elegance score closely to the Secret Ingredient. Shifter Druid 18/Moonspeaker 2 may be simple, but it is not an elegant use of Moonspeaker, to my mind. Note also that my default assumption is that characters presented are being inserted into an already-established world. A character that requires the DM to rewrite or ignore large swaths of existing fluff for your concept to work is unlikely to score highly in Elegance. References to Unearthed Arcana include those aspects of Unearthed Arcana that are included in the Variant section of the SRD. If I have to go hunting through books just to figure out where you got a particular feat, item, template, or obscure skill usage, expect no more than a 2 in Elegance. Examples of a given score -
    5 - Seeker of the Song is entered appropriately early and taken to completion. All class levels, feats, skills, and disclosed items are smoothly tied together and progress the whole concept seamlessly and in a logical order. Favored Class rules are adhered to, and single-level dips are kept to a bare minimum - no more than one. No Unearthed Arcana, templates, LA or Racial HD, or other obvious power-oriented shenanigans were used. One could reasonably expect a majority of DMs to allow both the concept and progression to happen in a typical game.
    4 - Seeker of the Song is entered reasonably early, perhaps delayed a bit or taken piecemeal, but finished. All class levels, feats, skills, and disclosed items are useful, but may not be intuitive choices to augment the presented concept. No Unearthed Arcana, templates, LA or Racial HD, or other obvious shenanigans were used, though Favored Class rules may have been ignored. One might expect to have to explain some bits of the build fairly carefully to a DM and possibly work out some accommodations, but flying books or dice bags are unlikely.
    3 - Seeker of the Song is taken to completion, but entered later than expected or typical of this contest. Class levels, feats, skills, and disclosed items are taken in a disjointed fashion, perhaps indicating power is more important than concept. This character may use a race with a level adjustment for thematic reasons, or be forced to take a flaw or two to fit everything in, or use some other method of grabbing more feats or spells or other features than one would typically expect. One would have to work closely with the DM for some features of the presented build to be available, work as described in the build presented, or come online in a timely fashion, and wouldn’t necessarily expect to get this character approved by a DM that doesn’t know the player well.
    2 - Seeker of the Song is abandoned before reaching its capstone or entered too late to finish before Epic levels. Class levels, feats, skills, and disclosed items do not share a unifying theme or work toward a more powerful whole. A template and LA are both included, possibly with flaws. Without an established rapport with a DM, one would expect the concept to meet with enough resistance that having a Plan B is advised when pitching the idea.
    1 - Vivacious Anthropomorphic Dire Were-Squid Half-Fiend Domain Wizard with Frail and Inattentive and... no. Just no. So many discordant templates and feats and ideas have been slapped together that ‘a Wizard did it’ is the only viable explanation for the character’s existence. Seeker of the Song appears to have been an afterthought to the overall design. You would fully expect the character idea either to be rejected by the DM, or to have come into being entirely through the DM’s meddling with your character, and wouldn’t broach the subject with the DM if dice, books or other potential projectiles were within easy reach.

    Use of Secret Ingredient: This is a conglomeration of how well, and how thoroughly, you incorporate the abilities of the Secret Ingredient into the build. Examples of a given score, relative to other entrants -
    5 - A fresh, original usage maximizing the particular strengths and minimizing the particular weaknesses of the Seeker of the Song. Every aspect of Seeker of the Song is utilized in the best way of any entry presented.
    4 - A solid, complete usage of Seeker of the song. Specific strengths of the Secret Ingredient were emphasized with minimal emphasis taken away from other strengths, or without negating known weaknesses.
    3 - Use of Seeker of the Song was typical for the contest. Synergies were not emphasized especially, and some features of the Seeker of the Song were ignored for the sake of maximizing a particular trick or two.
    2 - Others used the Seeker of the Song more thoroughly, but this entry’s usage wasn’t bad. The overall concept works but doesn’t especially synergize with the Seeker of the Song’s strengths well.
    1 - The Seeker of the Song is actively hindering the concept presented. Clearly the character would have been stronger with a different Prestige Class, and the Seeker of the Song got shoe-horned in there because of the contest.


    EDIT: This is strictly a personal preference, but to me, a build that relies on minions, undead hordes, robot armies, and so forth is working against the spirit of the 'no Leadership' clause, and may well see deductions as a result.
    Last edited by Amphetryon; 2010-11-03 at 10:32 AM.
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV.

    Who made my awesome Dwarf Hexblade avatar, you ask? BRC did!
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  4. - Top - End - #4
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    true_shinken's Avatar

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    I'll sign on as a judge for this one.

    My criteria:
    Spoiler
    Show
    MY CRITERIA: When more than a single example is given for a score, not all examples need be met to warrant that score.

    Originality: Originality looks in part at the established archetypes and builds that the community at large has produced over the years. Characters attempting to perform, yet less adept at performing, as a well-established archetype - for instance, a charger - than typical for that archetype will score lower here than characters attempting to break new ground. Examples of a given score -
    5 - A new concept, necessitating the Seeker of the Song PrC.
    4 - A new concept, using Seeker of the Song without requiring it to tick.
    3 - An unusual concept that has been showcased on gaming forums before, or that is featured in other contest entrants. It’s not new, but it’s not stock standard either.
    2 - An old reliable concept, substituting Seeker of the Song for the one typically used in discussions of builds of this type.
    1 - A build either cut and pasted or cobbled together entirely from extant handbooks and other known works. No new ideas are presented.

    Power: Power is measured assuming a 1st - 20th campaign. Characters that come to power very late in the progression, or that are somehow ineligible to play at low levels, can expect a deduction here as surely as characters whose power peaks at low-to-mid levels and then relatively diminishes. Examples of a given score, relative to other entrants in the contest -
    5 - Easily the most powerful, flexible build presented here.
    4 - A powerful character that might need help or additional preparation in specific circumstances to continue to do its job well.
    3 - A build that is of average power for the contest, neither significantly stronger nor appreciably weaker overall. It may dominate in niche cases or be rendered weak in other niche cases.
    2 - While less powerful than the typical entry for this contest, the character manages to contribute reasonably without relying on help from other party members.
    1 - The build struggles to perform to the expectations typical for a character in the role assigned. Either the character relies heavily on help from other party members or requires specific equipment not restricted to the given role in order to be useful.

    Elegance: Note that I tie the Elegance score closely to the Secret Ingredient. Shifter Druid 18/Moonspeaker 2 may be simple, but it is not an elegant use of Moonspeaker, to my mind. Note also that my default assumption is that characters presented are being inserted into an already-established world. A character that requires the DM to rewrite or ignore large swaths of existing fluff for your concept to work is unlikely to score highly in Elegance. References to Unearthed Arcana include those aspects of Unearthed Arcana that are included in the Variant section of the SRD. If I have to go hunting through books just to figure out where you got a particular feat, item, template, or obscure skill usage, expect no more than a 2 in Elegance. Examples of a given score -
    5 - Seeker of the Song is entered appropriately early and taken to completion. All class levels, feats, skills, and disclosed items are smoothly tied together and progress the whole concept seamlessly and in a logical order. Favored Class rules are adhered to, and single-level dips are kept to a bare minimum - no more than one. No Unearthed Arcana, templates, LA or Racial HD, or other obvious power-oriented shenanigans were used. One could reasonably expect a majority of DMs to allow both the concept and progression to happen in a typical game.
    4 - Seeker of the Song is entered reasonably early, perhaps delayed a bit or taken piecemeal, but finished. All class levels, feats, skills, and disclosed items are useful, but may not be intuitive choices to augment the presented concept. No Unearthed Arcana, templates, LA or Racial HD, or other obvious shenanigans were used, though Favored Class rules may have been ignored. One might expect to have to explain some bits of the build fairly carefully to a DM and possibly work out some accommodations, but flying books or dice bags are unlikely.
    3 - Seeker of the Song is taken to completion, but entered later than expected or typical of this contest. Class levels, feats, skills, and disclosed items are taken in a disjointed fashion, perhaps indicating power is more important than concept. This character may use a race with a level adjustment for thematic reasons, or be forced to take a flaw or two to fit everything in, or use some other method of grabbing more feats or spells or other features than one would typically expect. One would have to work closely with the DM for some features of the presented build to be available, work as described in the build presented, or come online in a timely fashion, and wouldn’t necessarily expect to get this character approved by a DM that doesn’t know the player well.
    2 - Seeker of the Song is abandoned before reaching its capstone or entered too late to finish before Epic levels. Class levels, feats, skills, and disclosed items do not share a unifying theme or work toward a more powerful whole. A template and LA are both included, possibly with flaws. Without an established rapport with a DM, one would expect the concept to meet with enough resistance that having a Plan B is advised when pitching the idea.
    1 - Vivacious Anthropomorphic Dire Were-Squid Half-Fiend Domain Wizard with Frail and Inattentive and... no. Just no. So many discordant templates and feats and ideas have been slapped together that ‘a Wizard did it’ is the only viable explanation for the character’s existence. Seeker of the Song appears to have been an afterthought to the overall design. You would fully expect the character idea either to be rejected by the DM, or to have come into being entirely through the DM’s meddling with your character, and wouldn’t broach the subject with the DM if dice, books or other potential projectiles were within easy reach.

    Use of Secret Ingredient: This is a conglomeration of how well, and how thoroughly, you incorporate the abilities of the Secret Ingredient into the build. Examples of a given score, relative to other entrants -
    5 - A fresh, original usage maximizing the particular strengths and minimizing the particular weaknesses of the Seeker of the Song. Every aspect of Seeker of the Song is utilized in the best way of any entry presented.
    4 - A solid, complete usage of Seeker of the song. Specific strengths of the Secret Ingredient were emphasized with minimal emphasis taken away from other strengths, or without negating known weaknesses.
    3 - Use of Seeker of the Song was typical for the contest. Synergies were not emphasized especially, and some features of the Seeker of the Song were ignored for the sake of maximizing a particular trick or two.
    2 - Others used the Seeker of the Song more thoroughly, but this entry’s usage wasn’t bad. The overall concept works but doesn’t especially synergize with the Seeker of the Song’s strengths well.
    1 - The Seeker of the Song is actively hindering the concept presented. Clearly the character would have been stronger with a different Prestige Class, and the Seeker of the Song got shoe-horned in there because of the contest.
    Man I really liked your judging criterea. Might set up a new standard for myself when I go back to judging.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Count me in to compete!
    Nothing to see here, move along...

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    I'll attempt if I can figure out the right build.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    I'll judge again.

    Criteria in the spoiler.

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    I'm a bit different in style than most of the recent judging I've seen - I go with an overall "feel" and instinct than a point by point breakdown of scores. I am a bit more forgiving on build legality since as a DM I am not one of those guys who is going to check every single feat to make sure you meet the pre-reqs unless you're obviously abusing the game, and I understand that few games actually function in the "RAW Vacuum." However, do NOT take that as a free pass; I will be checking these to the best of my ability and I will dock points if there's a serious screw up.

    Originality:
    This is a fairly subjective category for me, and like elegance, it will be based on both concept and execution. If your character has a great, clever back story but is based around blase cookie-cutter mechanics, you will probably score in the 2-3 range. Good story with neat mechanics will earn a 4, especially if it's something mechanical I couldn't have thought of myself. Something reeeeaaalllly out there and unexpected will get you a 5, but be careful as you may take hits in other categories if it's too wacky.

    Power:
    I set a baseline of 3 for power based on what tier I expect most characters to fall into. For this contest, tier 4 will be 3 points, just like the last contest. Tier 3 performance will earn you 4 points. A few neat tricks and boosts to combat power will get you the half-point bump. Earning a 5 here will be based on how well you explain what the character can do, and if you have any real cool combos or tricks that impress me in the build.

    Elegance
    This one is my favorite category, and most builds make or break themselves here. What I'm looking for is whether A) I'd like to play the character and B) as a DM, would I allow the character. Back story also figures heavily here, because as nice as your mechanics may be, without an explanation they are really bland. I don't need you to justify every class level with story, or to shoehorn silly PrC fluff into your background, but it had better make sense conceptually as to why your character has the levels they have.

    Mechanical things I don't like or wouldn't allow as a DM: Flaws, really obscure sources (this means books most people are unlikely to have access to - use common sense here), excessive dipping (some is ok, like the classic Sorcadin build dipping Spellsword, but if there's more than four slashes ["/"] in your class breakdown I'm going to look at it very closely). I won't give a numerical value because this IS still subjective; some builds can get away with a flaw or something if they really work well otherwise, others....can't.

    Obviously a build being blatantly illegal or doing something really questionable that would probably earn a "NO" at most tables will make your score drop here, but as I mentioned at the start I will still be forgiving if I can see that you were trying to build around a good concept (probably earning a 1.5 or a 2).

    Use of Secret Ingredient:
    How well you do here depends heavily on how you did on the other 3 categories, and whether the PrC in question was key to that success. If your build couldn't have hit the power and elegance levels it did without being a Seeker of the Song, expect to do well. If you got a low originality score and plain 2 or 3 in the other two, you will still score low here even if you had all 10 levels of the PrC. My main rule here is yes, please use the PrC a lot, but use it well.
    Last edited by Grynning; 2010-11-03 at 10:44 AM.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    I'll judge if required.

    My criteria is a mystery, even to me.

    I am looking for something that is suitable for play and basing my scoring on that simple criterion. More than that, I can not say.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Ok, so Combine Songs. Any two songs you know, put them together, get benefits. That makes sense. However, do you have to use to two uses of your bardic music or one?

    Subvocalize, as swift action, can start a new song, if only one is being sung. Thus won't work with the above, correct? Thus it is only useful if you want to keep one 'music slot' open for whatever might come your way.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    EDIT: This is strictly a personal preference, but to me, a build that relies on minions, undead hordes, robot armies, and so forth is working against the spirit of the 'no Leadership' clause, and may well see deductions as a result.
    This brings up another question: what about material that requires Leadership as a prereq (admittedly very little in 3.5)? Perhaps use Wild Cohort as a stand-in feat or something?

    EDIT: more general question: I'd assume the bardic music requirement for entry into the class requires an actual listed class feature labeled "bardic music" and not possession of a single type? For example, the 1d20 different prestige classes that give Inspire Courage only?
    Last edited by Pechvarry; 2010-11-03 at 11:15 AM.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    In regard to that, Amphetryon, that's a big complaint I had with Sally. Artificers are made to make things. They get construct followers as a class ability. Does this mean the entire class has a stigma attached? To not use its strengths just isn't right.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    The key part of the phrase in my edited criteria is 'RELIES ON.' A build whose perceived primary power source and shtick is through some form of minionmancery goes against my understanding of the spirit of the contest rules.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    oh ok...Spellstiched awakened undead it is.

    Even better. Why don't people just take leadership for a Bard competition? Bards have class features that require other characters, it just would not be fair to deny them followers to buff.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Quote Originally Posted by WinWin View Post
    oh ok...Spellstiched awakened undead it is.

    Even better. Why don't people just take leadership for a Bard competition? Bards have class features that require other characters, it just would not be fair to deny them followers to buff.
    I can't tell which post this is a response to...
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Quote Originally Posted by true_shinken View Post
    Welcome, contestants, judges, and guests to Iron Chef XIII.
    May want to fix that ole' copy-pasta. As for VT's questions:

    • Combine Songs: It specifically states that you choose "two music abilities and [activate] both." Though you only use one action, I'm seeing two uses of your music.
    • Subvocalize: This does not work alongside Combine Songs, as it says, "A seeker can use this ability only if he already has one (and only one) bardic music or seeker music ability already active." The way it interacts with combine songs follows, stating that you can begin a song, add to it via subvocalize, and then sustain both with one standard action per round.


    I have my own concerns about the build, namely in terms of variety. Keep in mind the restriction facing Ex-Seekers of the Song . Also, though it is not listed in the Requirements section, the introduction on page 56 contains the following text:

    Quote Originally Posted by Complete Arcane, page 56
    Every seeker of the song must have at least one bard level...
    Are we counting that as a requirement?

    P.S. In as a contestant, though that may change to judge.
    Last edited by OMG PONIES; 2010-11-03 at 12:03 PM.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Quote Originally Posted by WinWin View Post
    oh ok...Spellstiched awakened undead it is.

    Even better. Why don't people just take leadership for a Bard competition? Bards have class features that require other characters, it just would not be fair to deny them followers to buff.
    Leadership is banned from Iron Chef.

    Quote Originally Posted by OMG PONIES View Post
    May want to fix that ole' copy-pasta.
    Thanks for pointing that out.

    Quote Originally Posted by OMG PONIES View Post
    I have my own concerns about the build, namely in terms of variety. Keep in mind the restriction facing Ex-Seekers of the Song .
    I hope you'll be surprised with variety, dude.

    Quote Originally Posted by OMG PONIES View Post
    Are we counting that as a requirement?
    No, it's in the flavour text, so it doesn't count. Of course some judge might decide to penalize you in elegance, but I wouldn't.
    Last edited by true_shinken; 2010-11-03 at 12:36 PM.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Quote Originally Posted by true_shinken View Post
    Leadership is banned from Iron Chef.
    My sarcasm-sense tells me it was a mocking post. Not that it applied. Bards don't make followers. Artificers gain them as a class feature.


    Anyways, nothing is jumping out at me to use here, but we'll see what comes to mind.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Quote Originally Posted by The Vorpal Tribble View Post
    My sarcasm-sense tells me it was a mocking post. Not that it applied. Bards don't make followers. Artificers gain them as a class feature.
    I'll have to disagree here, VT. Remember our note about known cheese up there in the first post? Well, having 20 actions a round is known cheese, isn't it? It does make the game less fun for everyone else when you take 30 minutes a turn for your character alone. That does not sound elegant at all.
    Also, Artificers are not forced to create constructs (in the same way not all level one characters with maxed Knowledges are not forced to summon Pazuzu). In fact, they are quite powerful without them.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    That's why I specified in the text he can make constructs for everyone else if they will donate a pint of blood.

    Everyone gets two homomnuculus, including the artificer himself. The dragon golem isn't gotten until 18th level. The nimblewrights are out and about the city gathering intel, not in the fight.

    Ever if they were ALL there, he had a total of 8 homonuculus, 2 nimbles, and a golem. 11 constructs, not 20. Take out nimbles, that's 9. Take out half the others because they are meant to be scouts, that's down to 5.

    So for Sally alone, he has three fighting constructs by 18th level. The rest have their own. It is party friendly.

    And no, he doesn't have to make them and is powerful without them. But then, there were the complaints of WBLmancy. Well, items are his thing. Take them away, his golems away, an artificer is beginning to have troubles.

    I don't want to sidetrack from the current contest however. Y'all wanna take this to a thread all its own feel free.
    Last edited by The Vorpal Tribble; 2010-11-03 at 01:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Quote Originally Posted by The Vorpal Tribble View Post
    I don't want to sidetrack from the current contest however. Y'all wanna take this to a thread all its own feel free.
    OK, VT, just a last statement. WBL is part of the rules as well, so if you mess with it, you should expect consequences as well.
    Do notice you almost won, regardless of judges penalizing flaws you admit you had.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Quote Originally Posted by true_shinken View Post
    Do notice you almost won, regardless of judges penalizing flaws you admit you had.
    Losing I don't mind, and there were some awesome entries that could well have surpassed it. It's the reasoning that irked me.
    Last edited by The Vorpal Tribble; 2010-11-03 at 01:23 PM.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Quote Originally Posted by The Vorpal Tribble View Post
    Losing I don't mind, and there were some awesome entries that could well have surpassed it. It's the reasoning that irked me.
    Oh, I understand. I guess should just agree to disagree here, like gentlemen, then. ^^

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Quote Originally Posted by OMG PONIES View Post
    Also, though it is not listed in the Requirements section, the introduction on page 56 contains the following text:

    Originally Posted by Complete Arcane, page 56
    Every seeker of the song must have at least one bard level...

    Are we counting that as a requirement?
    I personally would not. The intro text to several PrC's says something like "entrants to this class must have a Barbarian level because this requires rage" because the writer/editor forgot there are other ways to get rage. I think the SotS text is like that. If you can get Bardic music from somewhere else (though there aren't many ways), I'd consider that legal entry into the class.

    Note: I would NOT consider an ability that replicates a single bard song or that functions similarly to count as bardic music (i.e. you take a class that just gives "inspire courage").
    Last edited by Grynning; 2010-11-03 at 01:42 PM.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Grynning View Post
    I personally would not. The intro text to several PrC's says something like "entrants to this class must have a Barbarian level because this requires rage" because the writer/editor forgot there are other ways to get rage. I think the SotS text is like that. If you can get Bardic music from somewhere else (though there aren't many ways), I'd consider that legal entry into the class.
    I think we can safely rule it's not a requirement. It's not on the requirement field and it's specifically listed as a 'bad' requirement in the DMG. Also, by extension of this rule we couldn't have Duskblade/Dragon Disciple or Lurk/Shadowdancer for example and I've never seen anyone state it can't be done.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Man this is a weird class...but one thing is really bugging me - Note of Solitude.

    "Will saving throw (DC 10 + the seeker's ranks in the Perform skill). Creatures affected by by this ability get a bonus on this saving throw equal to their Hit Dice."

    Am I wrong in thinking that the bold clause above makes this capstone less than freaking useless? It seems like a screw-up of Truenamer level proportions. As far as I can tell, the vast majority of CR-appropriate monsters would only fail this save on a 1.

    Edit: Also, just noticed this - the ability "Note of Solitude" isn't on the class table, and instead "Hymn of Revealing" is listed, which isn't in the class text. Has this class been errata'ed?
    Last edited by Grynning; 2010-11-03 at 02:02 PM.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Grynning View Post
    Man this is a weird class...but one thing is really bugging me - Note of Solitude.

    "Will saving throw (DC 10 + the seeker's ranks in the Perform skill). Creatures affected by by this ability get a bonus on this saving throw equal to their Hit Dice."

    Am I wrong in thinking that the bold clause above makes this capstone less than freaking useless? It seems like a screw-up of Truenamer level proportions.

    Edit: Also, just noticed this - the ability "Note of Solitude" isn't on the class table, and instead "Hymn of Revealing" is listed, which isn't in the class text. Has this class been errata'ed?
    Complete Arcane's Errata (available online from wotc) does not include anything for Seeker of the Song. We're left with 'Text Trumps Table', so the Hymn of Revealing would appear to be a relic of an early version.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    Complete Arcane's Errata (available online from wotc) does not include anything for Seeker of the Song. We're left with 'Text Trumps Table', so the Hymn of Revealing would appear to be a relic of an early version.
    Yeah, I checked the errata myself a few min ago. I guess the rather unfortunate Note of Solitude is the correct capstone. It's basically a 60 foot AoE Dismissal, it just only has a 5% chance of working on pretty much any given creature.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Grynning View Post
    Yeah, I checked the errata myself a few min ago. I guess the rather unfortunate Note of Solitude is the correct capstone. It's basically a 60 foot AoE Dismissal, it just only has a 5% chance of working on pretty much any given creature.
    Skill checks are very easy to optimize. Perform's record is about +180, I believe.
    Nevermind, it's ranks and not check. Yeah, sounds awful.
    Last edited by true_shinken; 2010-11-03 at 02:16 PM.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Grynning View Post
    Yeah, I checked the errata myself a few min ago. I guess the rather unfortunate Note of Solitude is the correct capstone. It's basically a 60 foot AoE Dismissal, it just only has a 5% chance of working on pretty much any given creature.
    Yeah, excluding for the moment the need to get rid of a horde of extra-planar mooks, I can think of one and only one use for the capstone. And it's kinda cheesy. I'll pass on using it, but it will be interesting to see what happens if someone else does.

    Anyhow, I'll compete for this one.
    Last edited by Ozymandias9; 2010-11-03 at 02:33 PM.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge XIV

    I'm competing. I've already got half my build done - I thought about it for five minutes and knew exactly where I wanted to go - in exactly the opposite direction as the class designers intended.

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