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    Default Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    Gestalt Handbook

    So gestalt is a very popular rules variant presented in both Unearthed Arcana and the SRD. Despite this popularity I have not seen a handbook for it, at least not a complete one (whether or not this one ends up completed is anyone's guess). So pooling information taken from this forum (Giant in the Playground in case this is ever ported elsewhere), and my own musings and thoughts. I am committing these thoughts into a form more durable than my own memory: 1s and 0s on a server that i couldn't locate if you had a gun to my head.

    If you are new to gestalt here's a quick rundown.
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    First off, what is gestalt?
    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    In this high-powered campaign variant, characters essentially take two classes at every level, choosing the best aspects of each. The process is similar to multiclassing, except that characters gain the full benefits of each class at each level. if the two classes you choose have aspects that overlap (such as Hit Dice, attack progression, saves, and class features common to more than one class), you choose the better aspect. The gestalt character retains all aspects that donít overlap.
    So what we get is putting two classes together, losing the crap, keeping the cream. So first off we look at things that every class has, because these are the things we take the better of. For each example we will be considering a wizard combined with barbarian.
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    HD: Every class has a hit die, and unless you are combining wizard with sorcerer you will probably have a d6+. In our example you would get the barbarian's d12 hit die, ignoring the wizard's d4

    Saves: every class has at least 1 good save (commoner excluded), some have two. If your classes have different good saves, you keep the good save progressions. In general you want at least 2 good save progressions, though 3 isn't particularly difficult. In our example you would get the barbarian's good fortitude save, the wizard's good will save, but you would still have a poor reflex save progression because neither class has a good reflex save.

    Skills: You get the higher number of skills that either class would give, and you can choose them from both lists. In our example you would get the barbarian's 4+Int modifier skills per level (x4 at first), but could choose skills from both the barbarian and wizard skill lists.

    BAB: You get the higher Base Attack Bonus that the two classes offer. In our example you would get the barbarian's full base attack.

    Class features: If two classes offer the same (non-spellcasting) class feature you keep the better of the two. If you were a combination of cleric and paladin, you would only get the cleric's turn undead, though you would get spell casting from both paladin and cleric (and you keep track of each set of spells separately.)

    As a note:
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    From now on whenever i am referring to a combination of classes I will separate them with a "//" but for multiclassing they will be separated by a single "/"

    So a barbarian1/wizard1 is a 2nd level non-gestalt character, whereas barbarian1//wizard1 is a 1st level gestalt. Wizard2//barbarian1/fighter1 is a second level gestalt character who's taken one level of wizard combined with barbarian and one level of wizard combined with fighter.


    So now that we have the basics down we can move on to optimization.

    Chassis

    First off lets talk chassis (ie those features every class has). We have an opportunity to get all those things on the better side. That's not always possible, but lets look at what should be a reasonable expectation (specific builds/concepts might fall short of these and still be awesome this is a generalization)
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    BAB: You should probably have at least 3/4, it would be a touch weird not to, unless you are combining two casters (which usually isn't a great idea as will be explained below).
    Hit Die: You should probably have a d8, though a d6 is passable if you are combining some good stuff. A d4 is usually bad for the same reason listed above.
    Skills: Lots of classes have 2+, don't feel bad if your character does even with two different classes, but it's not too hard to get that up to at least 4+.
    Saves: It is best to have at least Fort and Will as good, Ref is nice, but it only mitigates damage, whereas the other two do that and keep lots of bad things from happening.

    All and all chassis maximization is only a very small part of gestalt optimization, so don't focus on it too much.

    Attribute Dependence

    Generally you can only get so many good stats, whether point buy or rolled stats. Wizard//Cleric requires a good Wis and Int, whereas Wizard//Archivist is all Int. This has been covered by a large number of people in a large number of settings, so I'll leave it be for now.

    Feat Support

    Most classes have a number of feats that it needs to do it's job well. Fighters need a lot of feat support to do their job, whereas a druid needs very little. Other than bonus feats given by classes, a gestalt character has the same number of feats that a normal character has, but the ones you get are pulling double duty as far as class feature support. If you are a Barbarian//Wizard, you have to split your feats between combat feats (Power Attack, cleave, leap attack, ect), and caster feats (spell focus, metamagic, ect). This is part of the reason why most gestalt builds tend to focus both halves on one specialty, as opposed to doing two different things, the bottom line is that if you split your focus you will be okay at two things as opposed to being really good at one thing. As most people on D&D boards will tell you, It's usually better to be good at one thing, jacks of all trades, tend to be bad at lots of things. So you want to focus on your shtick, and to that end you want both sets of class features to complement, and work together in such a way that you only need the one set of feats, and this weirdly leads to my next point.

    Action Economy

    The biggest advice for going gestalt I can think to tell you is to remember action economy. If you are a wizard//sorcerer with 10,000 spell slots, you still only have 1 standard action per turn. In general, you want 1 class that uses your standard action and one that doesn't. Example: Wizard is a very active class, factotum has a number of abilities that don't really require your standard action. Wizard//Factotum is a strong combination due to their almost single minded Int focus and factotum supporting the wizard's action options with non-actions and passive bonuses. A Swordsage uses standard actions almost every turn for it's maneuvers, pairing it with Incarnate matches up Wis focus and most of the incarnate's class features are passive bonuses.

    So what truly constitutes an active or passive class. The difference isn't always straight forward. In general full spellcasters, psionic manifesters, and martial adepts are active classes, their primary class abilities (spells, psionic powers, manuevers) are generally standard actions. Thus they use your standard actions, and having two active classes means that you are held back by action economy since you can only use the abilities of one class each turn. There are exceptions of course. For example a DMM Persist Cleric uses his spells at the beginning of the day and then proceeds to use his combat actions to hit people, as opposed to casting spells at them. If a Cleric//Swordsage has Divine metamagic and Persist spell, he isn't using his standard actions on spells, and thus has them free for swordsage maneuvers (which are now extra scary thanks to the massive buffs he has up). This will be covered in greater depth in the base class section.

    Dipping Classes

    In normal D&D dipping essentially amounts to spending levels on gaining the early level abilities of a class, at the expense of advancing the class features of the class you left. This has much less consequence in gestalt. You can focus on the features of 1 class, using the other class(es) abilities to augment the primary features. You can build your character around following 1 class and dipping anything that seems interesting/helpful alongside it, and you wouldn't have that bad a build. Sorcerer8//Paladin2/battledancer2/cleric2/incarnate2/ect is already off to a good start.
    Last edited by Darth Stabber; 2012-05-13 at 10:55 PM. Reason: Working toward completion
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    Official spokesman of the totemist class for gestalt (and proud supporter of parenthetical asides (especially nested ones)). Author of a gestalt handbook
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  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    Base Classes
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    I am specifically avoiding going into a great deal of information one each class, and will cover things from a high level view. If you are interested in one of them, read up on it, the book of origin is included after the class name for that very purpose.
    Incarnate(MoI)
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    The main features of an incarnate are soulmelds, and the vast bulk of soulmelds are passive bonuses, making it a fairly passive class. They are much better skill monkeys than their 2+int would indicate, and also have a number that are very good for combat (and a couple that are useful for spellcasters, one that is choice for Illusionists in particular). Soulmelds are chosen each morning, and they can choose any melds on their list, making them very versatile, both for helping with your character's primary shtick and adding options when that primary shtick isn't cutting it. Given how the class works it is remarkably dip friendly, with just two levels giving you benefits that continue scaling to some extent as you level even without continuing the class. Incarnates are primarily Constitution dependent, which isn't such a big deal since most classes like a good CON score, but this does want it to be a little higher than most non-meleers would normally put it. It has a secondary dependance on wisdom to set save DCs, but there aren't that many soulmelds on their list that require a save, and you can avoid those few without really missing out on much. All that being said the class really loves to use your swift actions, so watch out if you are planning on mixing it a martial adept (since boosts are also usually swift actions). The Chakra bind class features can cut off the availability of magic item slots on your body, so watch that. The class can work fine with no feat support, but a little bit in that department can go a long way.
    Chassis:d6, 1/2BAB, 2+ skills, favor Fort and Will

    Totemist(MoI)
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    Like the aforementioned Incarnate, the Totemist's primary class feature is soulmelds, thus primarily passive bonuses. It is much more combat oriented (though it can certainly look the skill monkey part). The classes main focus is natural weapons and bonuses/combat tricks when using them, making it excellent for putting tools in your toolbox. Like incarnate these can be swapped out every day, so if you don't like claws tomorrow you can try a bite, tentacles, or a stinger (at higher levels you can have multiple). For those unfamiliar, Natural weapons can usually be used alongside manufactured weapon based attacks, and can always be used alongside a full iteration of unarmed strikes. The class also offers an array of breath weapons (very few with cooldowns, so not much for metabreath feats to work with), a couple of Rays, and a very nice ranged attack in the form of manticore belt (the only ranged attack the class offers that can fire more than once per round). Like incarnate this class is very dip friendly (in fact I would argue even more so), and also it's dependant on constitution, and it sets save DCs with constitution as well which is a very nice reduction of MAD and allows the melds that offer saves (totemist has more, and they tend to be better) a better chance to shine, though if your con isn't terribly high you can still avoid the melds that offer saves relatively easily (though at that point you probably should restrict this to a dip). Given that this class generates LOTS of natural weapon attack, and you are likely to use it with a manufactured weapon or unarmed strikes, you might want to invest in multiattack, just to reduce the -5 penalty secondary natural weapons incur to a -2, and a couple feats to give you extra essentia are nice.
    Chassis: d8HD, 4+ skills, Favored Fort, 3/4 BAB.

    Monk(PHB/SRD)
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    As terrible a monk is in normal D&D, it actually brings a lot to the table in gestalt. Most of it's abilities are static, and when paired with another class it's shortcomings can mysteriously evaporate. It favors all saves, has a reasonable HD(d8), fair skills (4+), and 3/4 BAB, so it has a fairly good chassis, that can add to almost anything you pair it with. It has an wis dependence that can be switched to int at the cost of a feat (carmendine monk, or kung fu genius), making it great for casters that rely on either spellcasting stat, especially ones that generally don't wear armor. A Wizard//Monk with kung fu genius is everything wizard is in normal games, plus greater speed, HP, saves, BAB, Skills, AC, and he can heal himself (wholeness of body), and have several other weird abilities that don't require a spell slot. The ability to hit things when he doesn't want to use a spell is just icing on the cake. It can stand to benefit from feat investment, but most casters that choose this option invest nothing other than levels and they are rarely disappointed. Meleers also benefit from this, picking up the speed, saves, bonus feats, and extra attack, and with the addition of the feat unorthodox flurry, they can use whatever weapon they like. It does involve giving up your armor, though at higher levels AC is not really worth investing in. There are a number of Monk ACFs that give them different bonus feats (including Power Attack (Overwhelming Attack - SRD), allowing low strength finesse type fighters pick up the feat that the traditional meleers have relied upon forever). I can't say enough about how bad this class is normally, but it's just so good in gestalt.
    Chassis:D8, 3/4BAB, 4+int, Favor ALL

    Binder(ToM)
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    Binder is in many ways similar to the MoI classes. Each day it can pick what it want's to be good at, and it doesn't often consume standard actions (and those abilities that do are usually only usable every 5 rounds). Given the variety of vestiges that have been printed there is something for every role. There is a charisma dependence, but if it's low you don't lose anything mechanical if you are willing to RP a vestige's influence (which is often fun in and of itself). Effects that offer a saving throw are based on either charisma or constitution. Much like incarnate and totemist, binder can avoid effects that offer saves with very little loss.
    Chassis:3/4 BAB, d8HD, favor Fort and Will and 2+ skills

    Paladin(PHB/SRD)
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    Paladin seems like a fairly active class, what with being one of the primary melee classes in the PHB and a secondary spellcaster, but look at it's abilities. Mostly passive, and their spells are primarily buffs or out of combat affairs. Not damage spells, nor save-or-Xs, just buff, heal, and detection things. The closest is has are dispel evil and dispel chaos, and those aren't really relied upon by most builds. What it does have is a lot of benefit for the charisma reliant. Smite adds cha to attack, divine grace adds cha to saves, lay on hands gives you healing based on cha. Since your spells don't rely on save, you really don't need that much wisdom, assuming you have 10 all you need is a +4 pariapt of wisdom to get all 4 levels of spells. And if wisdom is your forte over charisma, there is the serenity feat (Dragon Compendium) and all of a sudden you switch all of that charisma dependence switches to wisdom. And given you kind of have more class levels to choose from, the traditional paladin2 dip gets even friendlier. Sorcerer//Paladin is really nice, having a really nice chassis, adding charisma to everything. But for the real fun, you should consider Paladin//Wilder, makes paladin's armor profs matter (psionics has no spell failure). And adding paladin's spells to an arcane caster or psionic manifester gives you several effects you would normally lack access to (barring arcane disciple and other shenanigans). Adding battle blessing is great, allowing you to use some of your pally spells while keeping your actions open.
    Chassis: d10hd, favor fort, 2+ skills, full BAB

    Rogue(PHB/SRD)
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    If you take this, you are most likely doing it primarily for the skills, and the granddaddy of all skill monkeys doesn't disappoint (though it has lost some lustre to factotum). 8+ is the best skillpoints in the game (and you choose them from a very impressive list). The other thing that brings people here is Sneak Attack, and it is one of the most reliable +damage class abilities, requiring flat-foot or flanking. Mixing Rogue with one of the Full BAB, Big HD, melee classes is a fine way to ensure you rip things apart quickly if you get a surprise round (or a timely flank). Adding it to an arcane spell caster gives a means of achieving invisibility (and rogues love being invisible), and gives casters a ton of skill, which are actually great for conserving spell slots that would otherwise be used for non-combat stuff. Loves dexterity, but can actually do without it if necessary. Evasion and uncanny dodge (and their improved forms) add a lot to survivability of a lot of builds, trapfinding is nice, and there are several good ACFs to replace trap sense. If you don't care for SA but want the massive skill points, you can always go with the feat rogue variant, which trades your sneak attack for fighter's bonus feat progression.
    Chassis:D6, 8+int, 3/4BAB, Favors Reflex

    Factotum(dungeonscape)
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    The rogue for the new millenium, and the reason that you never see expert in theoretical optimization builds since dungeonscape was published. Applies intelligence to everything, and gives you every skill as class with a very friendly 6+int per level. Oh and at level 8, you can tell the action economy to sit in the corner and cry. It gets some spells, turn undead, and some healing (a little of each it's certainly not a primary caster, but it's some nice additions to any repertoire. Honestly Factotum//(choose one: Archivist, psion, wizard, warblade) is one of the strongest starting points you can get.
    Chassis:D8, 3/4BAB. 6+int, Favors reflex

    Wizard(SRD/PHB)
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    Wizard brings a lot to the table, but it has a tendency to demand to be the focus of a build. It's chassis is TERRIBLE, only commoner is worse, but it's abilities make up for it, and since this is gestalt you get to pick a better chassis to put on it, doesn't get much better than that eh? I could go into a long explanation of how to play wizard but TLN did a much better job, so I will just say read this. Now as far as what to pair with wizard, anything that will utilize your impressive intellect. Factotum is favorite, since it's fairly passive, adds int to everything, and removes actions/turn from the list of things you care about. Monk, with kung fu genius or carmendine monk, gives you impressive defenses, and speed. Warblade also really popular, but doing it requires a not of care, since both tend to be active classes, meaning you probably want to choose maneuvers that aren't standard actions for most things (like the diamond mind save replacers, given that wizards love them some concentration).
    Chassis:D4, 1/2BAB. 2+int, Favors will

    Psion(SRD/XPH)
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    For psion I could easily repeat everything I just said about wizard, and while it would be accurate (including the fact that they have a identical chassis), but it would do you a disservice and be lazy on my part. So keep in mind everything I just said but remember 2 key points about how they are different: 1)individual psions rarely have access to the staggering array of options individual wizards do (the difference between tier1 and tier2) and 2)The is no armor based failure chance for psionic powers. You can be wearing mechanus plate and still have no issue with your "spells" not working. You can also manifest while you are polymorphed, but that's a separate issue that doesn't come up until late game and usually involves cheesyness. So unless you have a sky high dexterity, I would suggest getting the ability to wear medium or light armor (heavy might be a bit much), and laughing at arcanists.
    Chassis:D4, 1/2BAB. 2+int, Favors will

    Sorcerer(SRD/PHB)
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    For sorcerer I could easily repeat everything I just said about wizard, and it would be inaccurate. While they share a chassis and spell list, they are remarkably different. First they are more similar to psions in that they have a limited number of spells known, and can cast a lot each day. However, charisma < int as far as ability scores in a vacuum go, and where wizard still ends up with a big number of skill due to their int, you have to make sure that you can at least get spellcraft and concentration (being human helps). This also creates a very different list of classes you want to partner up with. Paladin leaps immediately to mind, adding your sensually high charisma score to your save, and giving you a big HD and good BAB, but that is only great for 1-4 level, though continuing it has some benefits (read paladin's entry). Binder gives some charisma synergy, and a host of useful tools to make up for your lesser spell selection. Battle Dancer (Dragon Compendium) is like a charisma based monk, and isn't too shabby. Bard is a touch too redundant in most cases, but it can work. Rogue's massive skillpoints and access to all social skills makes you an excellent face and makes you sneakier(and puts a little extra hurt on those damage spells with attack rolls if you apply the sneakiness). As far as what to do with sorcerer itself (since it is primarily an active class) I recommend this.
    Chassis:D4, 1/2BAB. 2+int, Favors will

    Ranger(SRD/PHB)
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    Ranger is superficially similar to paladin (fighter type, with small spell progression and a smattering of class abilities), but VERY different in application for our purposes here. He doesn't give you a huge bonus for having a high charisma or wisdom (though his spells are wisdom based), instead it gives you easy access to important feats for TWFers or Archers (and it's the only way to really get the TWF feats if you have a crappy dex and insist on TWFing anyway), it gives you some not so important feats (though both endurance and track have their usefulness in qualifying for Prestige classes and/or other feats), it gives you bonuses against the monsters that scare you most, and it gives you modest spell casting all on a pretty decent chassis (better than paladin, though divine grace tips it back in paladins favor). If you would be taking rogue for stealth skills, but you don't need all those skills and you don't need sneak attack, you get a lot of mileage out of ranger, including Hide in Plain Sight, full bab and good fort. There are several ACFs for ranger that are worthy of consideration, though I won't cover them here (several of them change the class so dramatically that any advice given about normal ranger would be useless). Your animal companion is not great (especially if you multiclass out of ranger), so do look into ACFs to replace that one, luckily it's not an exp bomb like a familiar. Your spells aren't really offensive in nature and are very much like paladins (and thus really good for adding diversity to an arcane caster's repertoire). If you need nature/stealth skills, or just have a crappy chassis that needs improvement, look no further.
    Chassis:D8, Full BAB. 6+int, Favors Fortitude and Reflex

    Cleric(SRD/PHB)
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    Cleric is always a great and flexible class, and it is here too. It's primarily an active class, but actually works beautifully as a passive class with some investment. Divine Metamagic and persist spell allow you to have your buff spells last all day, without raising the spell level, which means this class can be treated as a passive class without major issue, and if you do this, your wisdom needn't be all that high, since you aren't relying on save DCs, just the static bonuses that can be offered. Kind of like a more feat intensive incarnate. Pairing it with Swordsage as the active half and you are a combat machine that is terrible to behold. If you prefer to make the gods do your work and make cleric your active half, well you need only look at the cleric spell list and note that it has spells for every occasion, and unlike wizard, you can have any of them any day you want them since you need no spellbook. Also Given that the class is incredibly front loaded, you can dip one level of it, and you get what effectively amounts to 2 free feats (domains and/or devotions), turn undead (which won't be good for turning undead but can serve as fuel for divine/devotion feats) and a couple spells a day. Those spells won't be great, but they are just another trick up your already voluminous sleeves, and even with a 9 wisdom (unable to cast cleric spells) you get a lot out of this class especially if you have a good charisma(in fact when used as a one level dip, cleric is more charisma dependent that wisdom). There are several ACFs of note for cleric, but I recommend Cloistered cleric almost as default, especially if you are pairing it with something that like melee, and in addition to the extra skill points you gain knowledge domain for free. Also a useful ACF-like feature is the ability to swap a domain for the matching devotion feat, which is especially great if you are only dipping cleric, since devotion feats are really good and scale with level not class level (and they use turn attempts, which cleric dippers sure aren't using against undead). Obviously this is a wisdom class (ignoring the single level dip shenanigans), and likewise should be paired with an equally wisdom heavy class. Paladins may seem redundant, but their is utility here. Ranger is less redundant, and you can get a lot out of Cloistered Cleric//Ranger. Incarnate is my personal favorite, giving you all sorts of neat toys, while not interfering with your casting, and it adds to CLERIC SMASH quite well.
    Chassis:D8(d6), 3/4BAB(1/2). 2+int(6+), Favors Fortitude and Will (values in parenthesis are the values for the cloistered cleric variant)

    Druid(SRD/PHB)
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    Similar to cleric in many respects. Druid, more than any other class, can do anything that anyone else can do, and frequently they can do it better. They have spell casting, they have an awesome pet, and they can turn into an awesome pet. Unlike most casters, Druids have no problem with staying in a single class, which is nice, and it allows your other half to utilize PRCs, since again druid20 is effective without any prcs. It requires very few feats to be great (natural spell at 6th, the rest are wide open). It doesn't need anything other than wisdom to rock out (though it enjoys it's constitution), meaning it is the most SAD class going (mostly because it relies on wildshape for it's physical stats). They have a great spell list, close to cleric's but not quite as good. Pair this up with anything that like's it's wisdom score, especially monk, swordsage, totemist, or incarnate (and druid and incarnate alignment restriction match up pretty well, only losing out on the opportunity to be TN). Any class that would love to have the stats and claws of a bear will appreciate the druid features. More so than cleric, druid is an active class(though it still works quite well with swordsage), and unlike cleric, you don't dip it, you snort the whole class.
    Chassis:D8, 3/4BAB. 4+int, Favors Fortitude and Will

    Swordsage(ToB)
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    The main ToB class, and very likely to be banned from your game since many GMs are of the mind that melee can't have nice things (the kind of GM to ditch so you find one who actually understands the game and the flaws of core material). VERY active, but with a lot of work can end up semi-passive. They have maneuvers which are divided up into counters, boosts, strikes and stances. Most of the maneuvers are strikes, which are mostly standard action attacks with some choice effects or extra damage on top. Stances are passive abilities, you can have one up at a time and switch to a different one as a swift action. Boosts are usually swift actions that are frequently a buff or some movement. Counters are immediate actions that are triggered off of some effect to give you a defense or bonus or attack or something along those lines. Strikes, boosts, and counters all count toward your total maneuvers known, where as stances have their own progression. And all of these abilities refresh on a per encounter basis. Swordsages have the most maneuvers readied, the most schools to pull maneuvers from, but the worst mechanic for regaining used maneuvers (balanced out by the reduced need). Most Swordsages will pick a mix of maneuver types, but focus more on strikes, and this is fine. If you pair swordsage with a passive class like incarnate that is the best way to do it. If you are feeling really creative, swordsage can be played as a "passive class". If you pick a mixture of maneuvers that heavily favors counters and boosts, you can leave your standard actions open for whatever other thing you might need to use it for. This isn't the strongest swordsage build, but you're not going to be a pure swordsage, you're a swordsage//something else, and if you can more easily utilize these swift/immediate action abilities alongside your other classes features, then you are making the action economy work for you, which in this game is very important. The class is a physical class, requiring some decent physical stats, but also has numerous abilities keyed to wisdom. Pair this class with druid to have a bear with jeet kun do.
    Chassis:D8, 3/4BAB. 6+int, Favors Reflex and Will

    Fighter(PHB/SRD)
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    Ah fighter, the iconic 2lvl dip. Need feats, here you go, since the bonus feat list for fighter is HUGE. It gives you BAB, HP. and Fortitude, and feats at 1,2,and 4. Taking more than 4 is generally considered wasteful, unless you get the dungeoncrasher variant in which case lvl6 gets really tempting (other acfs may also extend this beyond lvl 4, but not by much). Very few builds will not be tempted to take a lvl or 2 in this, but if you don't NEED the feat, you are better off taking levels in a class with actual class features (class abilities > feats), though that is mope true in regular play, since a good other class can carry the levels. It goes smoothly with almost anything other than another primary melee class (avoid running alongside pally, barbarian, and other full BAB types unless you REALLY need the feat). There is a notable ACF for fighter that allows you to ignore arcane spell failure in light armor (at the cost medium and heavy armor proficiencies), but the level of spells that you ignore failure on is limited by the number of levels you have in fighter, so you can consider taking this alongside wizard or sorcerer if that interests you, It's not great, but you could do worse (the ACF's allowed spell level keeps pace with wizard spell progression if memory serves). The sneak attack variant trades fighter's feat progression for the same sneak attack progression as a rogue. The Thug variant trades medium and heavy armor and all shield proficiencies for 2 more skill points and more class skills, which is better if you want to keep your skills up while grabbing feats (or when combined with SA fighter). It should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway, very passive class, since it's only abilities are free feats.
    Chassis:D10, Full BAB. 2+int, Favors Fortitude

    Barbarian(PHB/SRD)
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    The big beefy beatstick. Good class on it's own, but even more so than monk, it has the ACFs to be exactly what anyone would want out of a full BAB class. Spirit Lion Totem ACF (from Complete Champion) is so good as to be considered the default, giving anyone who isn't lawful a chance to grab pounce (full attack on a charge), and even some lawful types seem to work it into their build. Wolf totem is also popular, since it gets bonus feats in exchange for abilities most characters don't really care about for improved trip (ignoring the prereqs). Rage even has the awesome whirling frenzy variation. Instead of getting con from rage, you get an extra attack at your highest BAB. Seriously, if you like melee, barbarian has something to offer, also like most melee classes outside of ToB, it's not particularly active.
    Chassis:D12, Full BAB. 4+int, Favors Fortitude

    Bard(PHB/SRD)
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    I am remarkably confused as to what to make of bard in gestalt. It's a skill monkey class with spells and a buffing ability. My main though it to mix it with a melee class (particularly crusader), allowing you to continue bardic music, since you can't cast spells while singing, but you can do almost anything else, like ToB maneuvers or or traditional combat maneuvers, and leave the bardic spell casting to cover out of combat stuff (which is where most of bard's magic is at it's strongest). My other thought is to mix it with dragon shaman, for being really good at buffing/party face, though it still isn't strong. If you are using the variant paladins, Paladin of freedom is a pretty good mix with bard, giving you all the benefits of mixing a cha class with paladin. Adding snowflake wardance (frostburn) to a pally//bard could be a fun build.
    Chassis:D6, 3/4BAB. 6+int, Favors Reflex and Will

    Wilder(PHB/SRD)
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    Wizard is to sorcerer as psion is to wilder. Wilder gets a lot of powerpoints, an ability to add a ton of extra power to their manifestations, but very few powers known. This means that most of them focus on blastomancy, and they are very good at that, probably the best base class for it (once you start counting in PRCs sorcerer pulls ahead again due to metamagic abuse, but many find it kinda cheesy). Given their impressive chassis (for a full caster), they are frequently components of gish builds, and in gestalt this is only magnified, since you can mix it with a melee class (delicious paladin//wilder). They add charisma to their touch AC, so long as it does not exceed their normal AC.

    Keep in mind that when I say few powers know, I mean 1 per power level (by which I mean every other class level, though you get an extra first lvl and an extra 9 at 20) without feats or ACFs. Now on the note of feats and ACFs there is a web enhancement here that allows you to trade a stupidly useless class feature (volatile mind) for free instances of the expanded knowledge at levels 5, 9, 13, and 17. And since it's the feat and not just an extra power known you get to pick discipline powers or powers from other classes. You can also trade elude touch to pick up a psionic mantle, which gives you more access to powers you wouldn't otherwise have access to and a mantle power, but getting casting stat to ac (even if just touch) is pretty hard to pass up, and you only get one mantle, so pick carefully (though creation mantle offers you quite a lot). Remember, psionic powers can be manifested in armor with no risk of failure.
    Chassis:D6, 3/4BAB. 4+int, Favors Will

    Psychic Warrior(PHB/SRD)
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    Gish in a box. It's powerlist has all the nice powers that a gish type character would want, though you don't get many known, and significantly less powerpoints than other psionic classes. Added to the powers, you also get bonus feats. You get 1 at first and one at second, then every third level their after, and you have the choice of any fighter feat or any psionic. If you are really hurting for feats I can give you 6 bonus feats in as many levels: Feat rogue, Fighter, Psywar, but this kinda hurts since you aren't getting much in the way of class features. You can trade the second feat for a mantle, which isn't bad, especially since you also get the mantle ability (it's a better option for psywar than wilder). Just don't expect this guy to act like a full caster and mix him with something that like it's wisdom (incarnate//psywar ain't bad at all).
    Chassis:D8, 3/4BAB. 2+int, Favors Fortitude

    Crusader(ToB)
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    Commonly known as paladin done right, for good reason. Tank, healer, damage dealer. Active like the other 2 ToB classes, with access to Stone Dragon, White Raven, and Devoted Spirit, AKA ignore DR, buff allies, and don't die. Small amount of charisma dependency. Now that I think about it, this is what you want to gestalt bard with. It would give you all good saves, you can song of the white raven it up, and maneuvers aren't spells you can sing and swing. Since you have all of your strikes to use in combat you can focus your bard spells on utility. Could also go nicely with sorc or wilder dependent on spell/power selections (focusing on buffs), but honestly not that impressive. Taking 2 levels of paladin before this nets you charisma to saves and 1 initiator level, and then crusader gives you Charisma to will again, and then you get another classes progression alongside this. Also do note that you recovery your maneuvers without any kind of action, it just happens, though you don't have much control over what you can use at any given time.
    Chassis:D10, Full BAB. 4+int, Favors Fortitude

    Warblade(ToB)
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    While it has a bigger hit die than crusader, it is actually weirdly less resilient, but still more than resilient enough. They get some nice benefits from int, but they can get by admirably without it. Works with many things, especially factotum. Wizard is also functional, though I would rather mix it with Psion to make armor easier. I am fighting back the urge to just gush over everything that's awesome about this class, but you can read it, it's good.
    Chassis:D12, Full BAB. 4+int, Favors Fortitude

    Duskblade(PHB2)
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    Melee spellcaster. Has a retarded spell progression focused on damage spells, and has the cool ability channel his spells into his melee attacks. Has cool interaction with other spell casters. It's an active class that actually works well with other active classes (other spellcasters). It also gives casters some better stats. Wizard seems the obvious mix, but the cleric list has a much wider variety of touch spells to use with it. Now you may say cleric introduces more attribute dependencies, which is true, so use archivist. Psion doesn't actually work since it doesn't cast spells, but if you can convince your GM to let you channel powers, enjoy.
    Chassis:D8, Full BAB. 2+int, Favors Fortitude and Will

    Archivist(HoH)
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    This is sort of the bastard child of a wizard and a cleric. It casts divine spells, but learns and prepares them like a wizard. He can only learn cleric spells with his freebies from leveling up, but if he finds some scrolls from other divine casting class, he can add them to his spell list. His spell casting is based on INT, except for bonus spells/day which is based on WIS. I generally recommend ignoring the wisdom, and taking the lack of bonus spells like a man, but if you find something else to mix with it that likes int and wis (I don't know what) go ahead. Since it casts divine spells you can wear armor. Best mix is probably warblade. Also note, unlike all other non-druid full casters, you have class abilities that you gain as the class levels along, not as good as druids, but still actually having class features is a plus.
    Chassis:D6, 1/2 BAB. 2+int, Favors Will

    Dragon Shaman(HoH)
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    This is a weird class. Like monk it doesn't really know what it wants to do, but at least it's abilities aren't cross purposed. In gestalt however it might give you the tools you want. It has a breath weapon with a d4 round cooldown, enabling all those fun metabreath shenanigans. At low levels it's auras are decent support, and a few of them maintain some usability at higher levels. The wings come way late, but it's cute. It's a passable passive class, don't expect miracles, but it has some links.Chassis:D10, 3/4 BAB. 2+int, Favors fort

    I probably should go over more classes, but I'm not. You can probably extrapolate what I have already said to your pet classes
    Last edited by Darth Stabber; 2013-07-06 at 08:19 PM. Reason: expansion
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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    Races and Templates

    Gestalt can make races and templates you normally wouldn't play attractive choices. Pixie for example costs 4 levels, it gives massive stat boosts and several very nice special abilities, but it costs 4 levels. In gestalt this can be less of an issue since you can take the racial class for it (from savage species), and take it alongside a class, giving you a hitdie, skills, bab, and such.
    Last edited by Darth Stabber; 2012-05-13 at 11:01 PM.
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    Redneck laser swords only work in manual.

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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    I already see awesome.

    Just to suggest a build that is Cool, but not Broken:

    Ambush Drake

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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    This is harder than I thought, though I will persist. I am done for tonight, any thoughts so far?
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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    Personally, I think you should have reserved a few more posts than that (although I'm certainly not qualified in judging a handbook), and note some basic and advanced gestalts in some of the later posts.

    A relatively decent combination might be Wizard and Warblade. Warblade brings d12 Hit Dice, Good Fortitude Save (and Int to Reflex Saves), 4x Skill Points, Int to a few other abilities, and Maneuvers. The Wizard brings the Good Will Save, Int based Spell Casting, and a familiar. They both have a few free bonus feats to work with. They both have very good ways to complement eachother; the Warblade gets basically any Buff he wants for free, and the Wizard becomes a lot more durable naturally. The combination is completely free to dump Wisdom and Charisma, while focusing on Intelligence, Constitution, and the user's choice of Strength or Dexterity, depending on what they want to do, so it's certainly not MAD. Seems like a good basic gestalt, with the only real hard part being book keeping all those spells and maneuvers.

    What say you?
    Last edited by INoKnowNames; 2012-04-11 at 10:44 PM. Reason: I see that you indeed did give a good summary of some passive classes, including the Monk example I immediately thought of.

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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    With 2 good saves, full BAB and d8 HD and mostly out of combat abilities. The wildshape variant is very good and allows you to dump physical stats, still casting if you blow a feat.

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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    I am really in favour of this handbook. Lots of Fu to you for doing something that I've been meaning to write up for a long time.

    Random things you should add:

    -Notes on the rule about double prestige-ing, and, if it is in play, good classes to take all the way to 20.

    -(Ab)using the rules for heretical clerics and paladins in Tome of Magic.

    -The importance of Duskblade 3 in most every gish build.

    -Putting Wizard levels on both sides of your build in order to make full use out of PrCs like Swiftblade.

    -DMing for gestalt and what to expect.

    -Fun tricks with Crusader to lead to true maneuver spamming even at low level.


    That's all the random things I can think of off the top of my head. Good luck!
    Last edited by Olo Demonsbane; 2012-04-14 at 04:48 PM.
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    Spell Mastery. Seriously a Wizard without Spell Mastery is like a Fighter without Weapon Focus: possible, but why?

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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    Another night's work. If any you are wondering why this is taking so long, I am writing this on nights where I work at my job as night attendant at my apartment complex, which is mostly just being here, thus giving me this block of time to do something here as opposed to going out and doing things (like playing D&D). So this is only getting worked on during nights where I am at work. I reformatted a bit, changed some things up, but mostly got more classes knock out, I gravely underestimated how long this would take.

    Quote Originally Posted by Olo Demonsbane View Post
    I am really in favour of this handbook. Lots of Fu to you for doing something that I've been meaning to write up for a long time.

    Random things you should add:

    -Notes on the rule about double prestige-ing, and, if it is in play, good classes to take all the way to 20.

    -(Ab)using the rules for heretical clerics and paladins in Tome of Magic.

    -The importance of Duskblade 3 in most every gish build.

    -Putting Wizard levels on both sides of your build in order to make full use out of PrCs like Swiftblade.

    -DMing for gestalt and what to expect.

    -Fun tricks with Crusader to lead to true maneuver spamming even at low level.


    That's all the random things I can think of off the top of my head. Good luck!
    I plan on most of these things, and when I get to Duskblade it will have a very long entry, because this class comes alive in gestalt, whether as a 3lvl dip, or as a full side of your progression (personally I like taking it to 8 so I can channel during a full attack, the rest isn't as great). Crusader dip based manuever spamming is fair game in my book, and it will be in the crusader entry. As far as Double PRCing, the entry in UA is pretty clear that you can't and given this variant is already superpowerful, I see no reason to allow it, if you can't do it with only 1prc at a time too bad, you'll just have to make do with the ability to have a character with triple9's (wizard/urpriest/theurge//psion), if your GM allows dualPRCing, he's either a pushover or suffering from a head injury, though I plan on touching on taking classes to 20 in the individual class entries. The GMing section will come last, have advice on what to expect, and my thoughts on reigning in the worst of abuses.
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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    Obviously, Warblade and Factotum are a sweet combination.

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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    Right, I only know of the pathfinder fighter, but shouldn't it be up there? It wouldn't be a bad passive chassis, what with 1d10 hitdie, full BAB, and craptons of feats.
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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    I would suggest emphasizing you take the best of both sides as a total. And by that I mean something like Fighter 1/Wizard 19//Psion 20 doesn't have +20 BAB.

    I didn't realize this for a long time.
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    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    I've always wondered this, but why exactly is gestalting popular? I could imagine gestalting a monk because it's just so bad but otherwise it seems like a horrible idea. Why would any sane DM allow characters the benefits of two classes but the drawbacks of neither? How do you even run a campaign like that? Do you gestalt all the monsters as well?

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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    Quote Originally Posted by Keneth View Post
    I've always wondered this, but why exactly is gestalting popular? I could imagine gestalting a monk because it's just so bad but otherwise it seems like a horrible idea. Why would any sane DM allow characters the benefits of two classes but the drawbacks of neither? How do you even run a campaign like that? Do you gestalt all the monsters as well?
    While I've never done this, I heard some DM's let tier 4/5 people freely gestalt with another tier 4/5 to bring them more up to snuff.

    As for it being popular... well, people like strong characters. I personally would like to run a gestalt campaign someday.
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    A comment on tiers, by Prime32
    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
      /l、
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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    Quote Originally Posted by Keneth View Post
    I've always wondered this, but why exactly is gestalting popular? I could imagine gestalting a monk because it's just so bad but otherwise it seems like a horrible idea. Why would any sane DM allow characters the benefits of two classes but the drawbacks of neither? How do you even run a campaign like that? Do you gestalt all the monsters as well?
    I think it is popular because a player can have more nice things.

    Also, for small groups or solo play, it can actually help a character fill multiple roles.
    Last edited by Malachei; 2012-04-15 at 10:14 AM.

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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    I've always wondered this, but why exactly is gestalting popular? I could imagine gestalting a monk because it's just so bad but otherwise it seems like a horrible idea. Why would any sane DM allow characters the benefits of two classes but the drawbacks of neither? How do you even run a campaign like that? Do you gestalt all the monsters as well?
    I first started allowing Gestalt because I only had 3 people playing, and wanted to make sure I had all bases covered (I'm used to running games with upwards of 7 PCs).

    I've since become a bit of a fan of it, as it allowed me to encourage the use of lower-Tier Classes (I use a Tier-based Gestalt, where you can go Tier 4&5, or 3&6) that I happen to favor, while not having to hold back as a DM or deal with weird balance within a party (Challenging a Sorcerer and a Fighter in the same encounter can be problematic with the right/wrong Players).

    For instance, A Monk//Ranger based on Archery & Trapfinding (Dungeonscape ACF) works incredibly well at a variety of ranges, and is a great Scout, but nothing about that combination will disrupt or overshadow other party members. Marshal//Knight is a fine Tank, Diplomancer, and Booster, while keeping the mundane feel and stays thematically cohesive.
    Last edited by Adamantrue; 2012-04-15 at 10:38 AM.

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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    Quote Originally Posted by Adamantrue View Post
    II've since become a bit of a fan of it, as it allowed me to encourage the use of lower-Tier Classes (I use a Tier-based Gestalt, where you can go Tier 4&5, or 3&6) that I happen to favor, while not having to hold back as a DM or deal with weird balance within a party (Challenging a Sorcerer and a Fighter in the same encounter can be problematic with the right/wrong Players).
    Yeah, the teir based gestalt is an awesome to force some parity in the game. If I'm ever playing a game where that's using that varient I'm going to go LE dread necromancer20//samurai10//Ronin10. Good synergy on fear effects (both classes have fear related abilities that don't overlap (until samurai20, which I'm not taking anyway), some mounted combat feats from ronin, a cool mount from dread necromancer (I suppose sneak attack+smite+bansai charge could also be frightening, but eh, I'm a full caster.)
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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    While Samurai is an NPC class, Ronin is actually decent.

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    Default Re: Darth Stabber's handy gestalt handbook. {under construction}

    Quote Originally Posted by deuxhero View Post
    While Samurai is an NPC class, Ronin is actually decent.
    As much as I appreciate SA on a full BAB, the class lacks any stealth skills to help utilize it(the only way it's going to go off is flanking). The only great feature is bansai charge, which is just a weaker version of shocktrooper. The fact that the two stack is nice though (of course your AC will likely be negative at that point, but what does that matter if your foe is dead). Mostly ronin is a weak blackguard analogue, in the same way that samurai is a weak paladin analogue.
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