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  1. - Top - End - #211
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Menteith's Avatar

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    I mentioned this earlier, but the problem is that dealing ability damage breaks your vow with Vow of Nonviolence/Peace, meaning you wouldn't be able to use one of the Justiciar's best abilities (Crippling Strike).
    This is basically why I abandoned my original concept. That and a mutually exclusive alignment restriction caused me to dramatically revise my build. I think my original idea was better overall, but I just couldn't find a way to make it work. I'll post it after judging is over, as it has elements in it that made their way into my submission.
    There is the moral of all human tales;
    'Tis but the same rehearsal of the past.
    First freedom and then Glory - when that fails,
    Wealth, vice, corruption - barbarism at last.
    And History, with all her volumes vast,
    Hath but one page...

  2. - Top - End - #212
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Venger's Avatar

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by Mishkov View Post
    I absolutely loved the cat!

    I'm sort of surprised no one went wildshape ranger into master of many forms for the grappling.

    Also you can deal nonlethal damage with vow of nonviolence or vow of peace which melds well with justicar, so that could have been an option if people wanted to go the vow of poverty route.
    MoMF is much better than the SI, making it a poor choice for inclusion. you don't want a spice that overpowers the SI. WS ranger 5/momf1/justiciar10/momf5 will make judges say "justiciar is just slowing down momf" which is kind of true
    fight my brute! it's a lot of fun
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    How telling is it that people would rather discuss the taxonomy of tomatoes (which are delicious) than the truenamer class?
    Iron Chef Medals!
    Amazing Princess Mononoke avatar by Dispozition

  3. - Top - End - #213
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    mattie_p's Avatar

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    I'm of mixed opinions on having more than one chef. On one hand, it seems unfair to solo chefs. On the other hand, the entries might be enhanced by another eye, or have "too many chefs" syndrome, so it might be a wash. On the gripping hand, there's nothing stopping anyone now from doing it.
    Chairman of Zinc Saucier. Currently judging made from scratch Flayerspawn Psychics. It is just like Iron Chef but comes with double the prize money.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    So now you're claiming that spellcasting "lacks a clear, supernatural element?" Being supernatural is literally the only point of magic.
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    Eglath - 2nd Place Iron Chef XXXII


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  4. - Top - End - #214
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Amphetryon's Avatar

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by mattie_p View Post
    I'm of mixed opinions on having more than one chef. On one hand, it seems unfair to solo chefs. On the other hand, the entries might be enhanced by another eye, or have "too many chefs" syndrome, so it might be a wash. On the gripping hand, there's nothing stopping anyone now from doing it.
    The "helpers" don't currently get any acknowledgement in the annals of the IC, or similar, though.
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV.

    Who made my awesome Dwarf Hexblade avatar, you ask? BRC did!
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  5. - Top - End - #215
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    eggs's Avatar

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    If somebody wants to build a character by committee, I'm all for it. (Not for doing it myself; that sounds miserable. But if somebody else is into it, I have no objections.)

    The biggest advantages I'd expect it to give would be a couple fewer people having to drop out due to less trivial time commitments or better entries. Both of those sound more like benefits than detriments to the competition.

    Plus, drawing the lines between "asking people build-related questions," "getting a buddy to edit/give feedback" and "submitting a joint entry" seems problematic and subjective at best. And a blanket ban on that sort of consulting seems inappropriate - I doubt anyone would be opposed to some actions in that continuum (eg. getting a second opinion on whether Sneak attack's limitation on nonlethal attacks overrides Bring 'em Back Alive's permission for nonlethal attacks).

  6. - Top - End - #216
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    I considered submitting a build this round. The justiciar's abilities reminded me of a bouncer, so I tried combining that with an idea I had a while back of a badass tavern owner with levels in Dungeon Lord (obviously leaving off the last level). I had trouble making it work though.
    Last edited by Kaje; 2012-09-26 at 04:06 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #217
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Cool. Ratings done. Link to rubric earlier in the thread.

    Quick note on ratings, I rate low. That's not to rain on anyone's parade; it's just to widen the scale.

    And as a note on power, I typically compared numbers to those of a straight human elite array Fighter with as many of the same feats as are legitimate, using its class features to go up the Weapon Supremacy feat line.

    Doril
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    Originality:

    Centaur Shadowstriker was a surprise, and the combination of class and racial features does seem to work for low-mid level damage output, so I'll award a point there, and for Centaur as an unexpected but effective choice for a grappling class with a sizable damage bonus.

    I said I'd be easy on fluff, but it's still a point for creativity; even if I'll be satisfied with a modicum of effort on its part, there'd need to be at least something there for me to award that point. Total 2/5

    Power:

    It does compare favorably to my fighter yardstick (especially against evil, nonlethal-vulnerable targets), but its damage relies on full attacks that it can't assure and the one tactic available is basically "beat something up and try to wrestle it." The snap kick + scorpion's grasp combination isn't a bad way of getting that off without sacrificing damage, but unless this guy's equipment is cranking his grapple much higher, it doesn't scale well against monster grapple scores. The build does gain more from its Justicar levels than it probably would otherwise, so I'll award the extra point. 2/5 total.

    Elegance:

    Two prestige classes taken to completion, both fitting different angles of the base class's fluff. As far as a narrative explanation, getting this into even groups that take fluff straight out of the book would be cake, so I'll give that its 2 points.

    Mechanically, you are making good use of the Paladin's smite, even with just one level, and that's neat enough that I'll award half a point. Shadow Striker kind of addresses the problem with damage v. nonlethal-immune creatures, but it does it in an awkward way that seems to leave more loose ends like Good Devotion 1/day and the undead-blast ability than it ties together. I'll give 1.5/2.

    My overall impression is that this build's abilities are a bit of a hodgepodge, so I won't award the bonus point. 3.5/5 total.

    Secret Ingredient:

    As mentioned in the note, this build does best by ignoring one of the Justicar's big features in the Use Rope check. Snap Kick and the hoof attacks look like they could work well with Crippling strike and Nonlethal Strike. My biggest concern with the use of the secret ingredient is that the build doesn't use enough resources outside the SI to cover its deficiencies (the overall low PC grapple scores and the difficulty of keeping targets grappled at high levels, the general melee full attack problem, ways of forcing flanks/dex-denial). 2/5 total.

    Total: 9.5


    Dustie
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    Originality:

    On the fluff point, Dustie's a western insect bounty hunter. I love it. 1/1.

    On the rest of the build, Totemist and swordsage aren't unexpected, most of the feats are basically locked options and even thri-kreen isn't completely out of the blue. But Psychic Renewal and the psionic Thri-Kreen are an interesting spin to throw on a Swordsage build that uses a level 1 maneuver so heavily. 3/5 total.

    Power:

    First, this compares very favorably to the fighter yardstick for damage, but it doesn't keep up well enough with the insane high-level monster grapples to treat that as a central combat schtick, or have abilities like dispel or Dimension Anchor to grapple magical targets and keep them there.
    In terms of power, I think the Psychic Renewal+Sudden Leap+Psionic Thri-Kreen's gimmickry comes back to bite the build a little bit – all of those put a heavy burden on the build's swift actions, especially considering that it's toggling stealth and grapple soulmelds at the same time.
    This build looks like it has some issues with tactical versatility, as its biggest bonus damage source is situational and often ignored, and because it's largely built to only be able to target one defense.

    I'm seeing two clunky mechanics interactions – the first is Hogtie competing for actions with Grapple+Constrict, rather than complementing them; the second is Assassin's Stance taking the Rogue's sneak attack for a model, which forbids nonlethal attacks like those involved with Bring 'em Back Alive (and associated Nonlethal Strike/Crippling strike).

    Between the grapples, strength damage and nonlethal strike, Justicar levels do look like they contribute meaningfully to this character's effectiveness, so I'll award the point I'd set aside for that. 3/5 total.

    Elegance:

    Mechanically, Totemist and Thri-Kreen make swordsage better, which makes Thri-Kreen better, which makes Justicar better. It's tight. I'd give that 2 points.

    Narratively, Totemist is a match and Justicar takes it well. But looking at the fluff involved, Swordsage is a bit awkward, especially playing up the fire maneuvers. I'd give 1/2 points there.

    On the last subjectivity point, the build crosses 3 different splatbook subsystems for its basic tricks, and manages not to leave any useless loose ends; I think that's worth something. But crossing 3 different splatbook subsystems for its tricks is the kind of thing that makes a build hard to pitch, so I'd give another half point, for 3/5 total.

    Secret Ingredient:

    The build makes very good use of crippling strike and nonlethal strike and patches some of the Justicar's default weaknesses (namely mobility), but the rule issues mentioned in the Power section are each synergistic problems, so I'm going to dock a point; after the point I'd withheld for ridiculous builds that manage to use every part of the class (including its silly manacle proficiency), I'll give another 3/5.

    Total: 12


    Unspeakable
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    Originality:

    Tibbit Ghost is not something I expected, but between the hide check, Fangshield Ranger and Master of the Unseen Hand, I'm seeing it. Weight focus is a clever inclusion, as is grappling + Defensive Sweep. Flavorwise, the housecat hunting down wizards is also a fun spin on an old joke. I'll give 5/5 total.

    Power:

    There are a couple rules issues I'm seeing: the first is that as far as I'm aware, as soon as you stop pinning/grappling a creature, it stops being pinned/grappled, so the Pin+ranged attack combination doesn't work until Improved Hogtie comes online; the second is that Telekinesis, as a spell that deals damage with multiple attack rolls in the same round, only applies the extra damage from Nonlethal strike once, per the rules compendium.

    And after that Toughness is cute and ghost is good enough that it doesn't really matter, but 3 HP is still a terrible feat (its terribleness is more a function of monster and NPC damage than its proportion of a character's total HP). I really don't think I can avoid docking that.

    The last thing I'm going to hold against it is the campaign-reliance on monsters. There's a good chance that past a certain point, you could just teleport somewhere and find an Elephant to possess or something, but it puts enough up to chance that I'm not going to go for a full award on this (even though there is a good chance it can go very well).

    But beside that, ghost cranks the power level pretty high – at worst, Telekinesis essentially ignores Justicars' frequent mobility problems, malevolence allows it to target a separate defense or to steal monster abilities and incorporeality alone allows more versatility than most powers available to creatures beside full casters.

    I'm not sure Justicar is the best way to spec the concept, but the tactical discussion has me close enough to sold on it feasibly contributing to award a point.
    Altogether, I'd give 3.5/5 total.

    Elegance:

    Mechanically, one or two ranger levels make sense for skills and bonus feats. The last 3 levels seem interchangeable with anything else with full BA and decent skill points. But it's very minimalistic as far as the splatbook rulesets involved, so 1/2.

    Flavor-wise, it fits nicely; the build mostly flows out of a quick "Ghost cat" pitch, and being a ghost, the timeframe is flexible enough that the backstory's broad-scope setting history probably won't be intrusive.

    And looking at the build, I liked seeing things like the Tibbit race choice crop up with Weight Focus and the initial Monstrous Humanoid type echoed with Fangshield Ranger (maybe that wasn't a goal, but it was clever). So I'll give the reserve point for 4/5 total.

    Secret Ingredient:

    I'm seeing how the grapple bonus can be used, I'm seeing ways for the Nonlethal Strike to be used effectively (though this is kind of campaign/DM-reliant), I'm seeing how the Bring 'em Back Alive/Hogtie abilities can be justified. I'm not seeing Manacle proficiency doing anything useful, so I won't give the point for using every part of the SI, but I'll give 3.5/5 total.

    Total: 16


    Zaroff
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    I need to preface this by saying that the Sacrifice rules put me in a bit of a bind. They're a clever way to apply the Justicar's features, and they do ramp up the character's power, but they come from a very high-powered and very DM-reliant variant rule which – if in effect in a permissive manner – wouldn't particularly favor the Justicar over other builds that get Know: Religion earlier and at higher benefit.

    I decided to treat the power entry as if the Sacrifice variant rules were in effect, but not brought up or used by other players (which seems likely, as they're pretty obscure), but by penalizing Elegance for using the variant for high-level versatility.

    Originality:

    Flavor-wise, it doesn't sound much different than the canned Fist of the Forest/Evil Guardians of the Green description, but flipping the Bounty-Hunter schtick on itself is clever. I'll give a point for that.

    On the mechanics, the sacrifice mechanics are an inventive way to use the Bring em' back alive feature, so I'll give another point there, but they come in late enough that I'm not going to call them central to the character build.

    The rest of the framework isn't especially surprising as a charger build, but it does use some combinations we don't see much (I don't think I've seen Lion Tribe Warrior once since complete champion, but with Flying kick and invisible fist, that's a pretty vicious setup at low levels). I'll give 4/5.

    Power:

    It's a charge build with two-handed power attack traded for additional attacks, ability damage and a few dice of sneak attack-like damage output, using rules that allow the numbers to be cranked higher as compensation. So it's at least going to outpace yardstick characters and splatter monsters it can affect. The downside is that without sacrifices, that's the one form of offense it can provide. With its scout skills, I doubt the build will be useless anywhere.
    Sacrifices are a powerful mechanic, but they come into play late, and the build doesn't look like it's going to be clinching the highest DCs without outside help or custom items.
    I'm going to give it a 4/5 total.

    Elegance:

    Most of the versatility and Justicar justifications stem from a poorly-defined set of variant rules, which don't become usable until very late in the build and there are loose ends like Two Weapon Fighting and Endurance that don't do very much or work very well with the build's charging schtick, so I'm not going to award elegance points.

    Flavor-wise, the Ranger, Monk and Fist of the Forest levels and ACFs do fit well together, and Justicar isn't much of a stretch. I'll give the two points for an easy pitch and cohesion. 2/5 total.

    Secret Ingredient:

    The main resources this build seems to be using are crippling and nonlethal strikes. Its Grapple and Use Rope modifiers are each on the low end (and they basically need to be crazy to work as a reliable combat tactic). I'll give it 2/4 for using half the class's features effectively with all the extra Flurry/Snap Kick/Trance attacks, and I'm going to keep the point I'd reserved for ridiculous builds using every class feature reserved. Total 2/5.

    Total: 12


    Breagar
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    Originality

    Mechanically, Half-Orc Paragon for Lawful Bear Warrior entry is a bit different, as is Human Paragon (though I'm not sold on the latter's contributions), but raging bear warrior grapplers are pretty well-known, and not many of the feats or build choices break expectations. I'll give a point for the Paragon rage.

    Fluff-wise, I was going to get ornery about a without explanation, but then I realized you changed the class's spelling and pronunciation to fit into a limerick, and I was sold. That's ridiculous and excellent. So 2/5 total.

    Power

    I keep looking at all the locked feats and class features that boil down to +numbers, thinking low-level utility was going to be a problem, then seeing at all the powers coming out of that swordsage dip and biting my tongue. That one level is pulling a lot of weight.
    I am concerned about mobility at upper and high levels (even with Pouncing Charge, that's only one move+full attack per fight) and with tactical combat versatility (the build is very reliant on melee range and targets that can be hit/damaged/disabled with melee attacks and grapples).

    These are normal problems for melee builds, and partially addressed with pounce/snap kick and teleportation, respectively.

    The entry's notes seem to underestimate monster grapple scores: +37 only matches or exceeds around 19% of monsters in the CR 16 to 22 range, and even with Snap Kick, improved grapple, the graft and the titan gloves, there's a very good chance (a little over 22%) that a random monster in that CR range will resist grappling after a move.

    But having said that, between high BA+unarmed strike, snap kick and three natural weapons, the build looks like it can manage high damage output with nonlethal strike, and its grapple isn't costing any actions, so it could be useful when it lands. I'm seeing some out of combat utility with Swordsage teleports and skills. I'd give 3/5 total.

    Elegance

    Mechanically, I'm seeing a lot of feats and levels that just don't do much. Crimson Scourge is useless and Human Paragon isn't much better (there's no reason to waste resources on the off-chance that a group plays with unfavorable houserules), and I'm not seeing any mechanical tricks that make me stop and say "that's neat."

    Fluff-wise, there's a lot of dipping around and conceptual incongruence. Even if some of the dips like crimson scourge could be justified easily enough in a fluff-bound group and some of the levels like the paragons are vanilla enough to scrape by, Bear Warrior and Swordsage level-dips seem kind of out of the blue.

    So I'm not going to give any points on those two sets of criteria.

    I do get a kick out of the idea that a paragon of humanity would have a defining ability of turning into a bear, but it seems like a tough sell. 1/5 total.

    Secret Ingredient

    The build mostly works as a cookie-cutter grappling build despiteJusticar levels (Justicar's main contribution to the build's central schtick, Improved Grapple, could have been picked up more easily without also buying Justicar's prerequisites). Bear-morphing ignores most of the Justicar's manacle and knot features. Extra attacks and snap kick do put the Justicar's nonlethal strike to good use, though. 2/5 total.

    Total 8


    Bilblibliip
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    Originality

    The Kuo-Toa's creative. I'm not sure it's the best use of 5 levels, but that's more for the power discussion; I can see its abilities engrained in the build as more than a gimmick (pincer staff and keen sight especially). Sewerm Urban Companion is an excellent choice that doesn't get much attention. Between those, I'll give 3/4 for mechanics (class progression is otherwise not unexpected, and most of the feats are either prereqs or expected options).

    On the fluff point, a slaver and wrangler for the crazed kuo-toa is a slightly different take on the Justicar's flavor text. Sure. 4/5 total.

    Power

    LA is steep and there are a lot of filler feats here without numbers to back them up. Compared to the yardstick fighter, the kuo-toa gets handily trounced for attack, damage and grapple, especially if the Fighter gets a mancatcher for parity. Compared to monsters, the Kuo-toa's grapple is really low, even with the titan gloves. Adhesive seems to be the central schtick, but it has a low DC, relies on monsters having a reason to attack the justicar, and isn't particularly advantageous, considering the build's low grapple modifier.

    Throughout the build, I'm seeing lots of fun-looking tricks that could be neat to mix in, but nothing beside magic items backing them up. Cute tricks like keen vision + quick reconnoiter could be neat, but not if they come at the cost of resources needed to establish basic competence. 1/5 total.

    Elegance

    Mechanically, I can see how almost all of the build choices are contributing, even if they don't contribute much. Fluff-wise, it's very simple, very thematic. It even breaks down in nice 5-level chunks.

    Given the build's simplicity and focus, 3.5/5 points.

    Secret Ingredient

    The abilities that define this build seem to work parallel to the Justicar, rather than working with it: the pincer staff and sticky shield each keep the Kuo-toa's hands occupied with hog-tie-ineligible tools and keeps the justicar out of a range to exploit Nonlethal Strike with its extra attacks; the harpoon doesn't work with bring 'em back alive. With the strategies and items described (essentially shelling out gp to emulate ranger features), I'm not convinced Justicar is playing a major role here. The bits on various manacles and gathering information from wildlife, I'll give 1.5/5.

    Total 9


    Ximen Bao
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    Originality

    Master of Shrouds was something I did not expect, but it's hard to miss the advantage 4d6 strength damage as a standard action would give a grappler. The unexpected angles relating to the build are tied into the build's core functions closely enough that I can see what most of it is for. I'll give 4/4.

    And on the fluff point, the sacrifices to the Dragon Below is a twist on the , so I'll give the extra point. 5/5 total.

    Power

    First of all, considering the ability damage/penalties this build spews, its numbers look good. I can see how it deals with mobile enemies and threats that aren't vulnerable to melee combat. I can see how it puts the grappling/hogtie features to good use, and how it contributes meaningfully out of combat, so for the straightforward power of the build, I'll give a 4/4.

    On the last point I had reserved for Justicar improving or increasing that power, I don't think I can give the point. I'm not sold on Justicar (or Duskblade, for that matter) giving anything that more Cleric or Master of Shrouds and Improved Grapple wouldn't. Total 4/5.

    Elegance

    Mechanically, between Duskblade, Cleric, Master of Shrouds and a melee combat schtick, stat requirements are all over the place. I'm left wondering what the Duskblade dip is doing that Improved Unarmed Strike and Improved Grapple wouldn't. Caster levels aren't supported, and most of the build's resources look like they're dedicated to the Justicar abilities, which are largely just playing clean-up for things the build can already do by ECL 10.

    Fluff-wise, the build's dipping around into a list of disparate classes and picking up a variety of abilities that aren't really incorporated with one another (investing feats to boost summoning, but never getting level-appropriate summons that can make use of those feats; putting levels into channeling, but spreading CL and ability requirements around to minimize its efficiency; investing some resources in poisons without getting a poison source; getting some bonus damage without the extra attacks or move+full attack options to make good use of it). 1/5 total.

    Secret Ingredient

    This build is good at the things a Justicar does (grappling, tracking targets down, incapacitating them without killing them), but that doesn't have much to do with actual Justicar levels – the build itself is getting most of its power out of Master of Shrouds, whose progression is cut short to make way for the secret ingredient. Without Justicar, it could be even better at most of what it does.

    But since this does make very good use of Hog-Tie, does stack its hard-hitting abilities with crippling strike and focuses on the same abilities as the Justicar, I'm going to give the build a 2/5 total.

    Total 12


    Armin Long
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    Looking at the build's write-up, I want to call it out on its use of Smiting Spell, which it grabs earlier than it can qualify for, and which seems to be treated as more open-ended with its applicable spells than the feat actually is (it's only Touch spells, so things like Escalating Enfeeblement and Hold Person don't work). Fixing it is trivial enough that I don't think it would affect scores anywhere, but I wanted to point it out.

    Originality

    The channeling angle is inventive. I would have expected it with Duskblade/AbjChamp for that tactic, but this looks like it could work. The application of the channeling/ranged grappling scthick does look deeply engrained in the build.

    Fluffwise, it goes pretty straight with the class descriptions, but there looks to be some characterization in the writeup and religious angle. Total, I'll give it 2.5/5.
    Power

    The Sasumata has a pretty serious size limitation, and its 2-hand requirements could be problematic with hog-tie (tough not unsurmountable). I see how the Smiting Spell+Still Spell combination is supposed to work with grapples, but it sets Channeled spell DCs stagnate at, what – 20 with a 5th level spell slot at ECL 10+? – That's not too bad at first, but referencing Dictum Mortuum's save progression chart, that's either an auto-success for most monsters or close to one as normal CRs near epic.

    Just from the Cleric levels, I can see how the build would be able to deal with a variety of situations, and I can see how the build could get some decent buffs to squeeze some +numbers effects from Cleric levels without sacrificing its actions, but Justicar levels, fluff feats, the chosen combat modus operandi and the feats dedicated to achieving that MO are all going to hurt. 3.5/5 total.

    Elegance

    Mechanically, I'm not sure what Domination domain is for – it doesn't work with the build's main schtick, resistances are common and once Justicar levels kick in, the DCs plummet compared to target saves. A lot of feats and levels (like basically all of Justicar itself) seem to be tagged on for fluff, but not efficiency, and spin the build off in a bunch of partially-supported directions (a couple disjointed resources thrown at enchanting, a couple at grappling, a couple at channeling, etc.)

    Flavorwise, Church Inquisitor and Justicar make a very good fit, and seem like a very easy pitch 2/2.

    Since there's not much synergy between the various components, casting leaves some serious unsupported loose ends and the secret ingredient is just kind of shoved on top of what might have otherwise been a fluent and workable Cleric build, I'm going to with 2/5 total

    Secret Ingredient

    Levels in Justicar are visibly hurting the build, as it gets progressively worse at its schtick with its unsupported casting and resources sapped by prereqs and CL-patches. With the described tactic of channeling save-or-loses, Justicar isn't adding much beside improved grapple (and, with Justicar's 2-feat prerequisite cost, that doesn't amount to much). The build doesn't look like it does anything to make particularly good use of the Justicar's bonus damage, and the reach weapon makes the narrative behind hog-tie wonky enough to be potentially problematic. 1/5

    Total 9


    Alive
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    Originality

    Wild Shape Ranger isn't exactly out of the blue, but between it, Scent and Exemplar, there's probably enough to give the build itself a 2/4.

    On the flavor, I'll be honest: I skimmed. Looks like there's characterization and concept support, so I'll give it the point. 3/5 total.

    Power

    Wild Shape does give ways to capitalize on nonlethal strike for damage output, so I can see this working as a striker, and it similarly does give some flexibility for out-of-combat roles and, to a lesser extent, a variety of combat environments.

    But I am not convinced on this build's ability to keep up with monster grapples, which scale much faster than most opposed skill and ability rolls. To use your level 15 cross-section, the median grapple modifier of CR 15 monsters is +38: 5 points higher than it needs for an auto-success against this build's Hogtie; without custom items, the "absolutely enormous" Use Rope score is not nearly enormous enough to be relevant. Grapples are similarly limited – I think the highest modifier this build can get through shapeshifting is the Sewerm for +33/+38 grapple at levels 15/20, which is lower than most monsters in those CR ranges.

    And I am not seeing many offensive modes beyond direct physical attacks, so for magical, incorporeal or otherwise difficult-to-physically engage enemies, there will likely be problems, and for nonlethal- or sneak attack-immune targets, damage output looks middling at best. I'll give 2/5 total.

    Elegance

    I see how most elements of wild shape ranger/nature's warrior complement Justicar in one way or another (granting constrict, adding attacks, covering for an otherwise mundane build's versatility). I do have a nitpick that Hog-tie competes with Constrict for the build's actions, which looks somewhat problematic. I am seeing some elements that either don't do much work (Natural Bond) or that I''m not sure I understand (Nature's Warrior 4 versus Ranger 6). I'll give 1/2.

    Fluff-wise, this looks as straightforward as wild shape or urban ranger. The only thing that might be problematic is the Exemplar dip. I'll give 1.5/2 there.

    I really like how Exemplar ties a useless prerequisite into an ability greatly supporting one of the SI's features. I'm not sold on its execution, but I'd give the last point for it, as it would be a neat cohesive trick for the build if the numbers were adequately cranked up. 3.5 total.

    Secret Ingredient

    I see how Wild Shape ranger can make good use of Justicar's grapple bonuses, nonlethal strike and hogtie, and how this build has the daily uses/duration to pull that off throughout the adventuring day. I see how wild shape ranger can patch some of the vulnerabilities Justicar faces as a mundane class by adding various mobility options, sensory tools and stealth tricks, though I'm not convinced it has the daily uses to afford that kind of trick in the adventuring day – especially before near-epic levels.

    So I see that the build puts all these abilities to use; my one concern is that it doesn't look like it has the numbers to use them well, as mentioned in the Power section.
    3.5/5 total.
    Total 12

    {table=head]Name|Originality|Power|Elegance|SI|Total
    Doril|2.5|2.0|2.5|2.0|09.5
    Dustie|3.0|3.0|3.0|3.0|12.0
    Unspeakable|5.0|3.5|4.0|3.5|16.0
    Zaroff|4.0|4.0|2.0|2.0|12.0
    Breagar|2.0|3.0|1.0|2.0|08.0
    Bilblibliip|4.0|1.0|3.5|1.5|09.0
    Ximen|5.0|4.0|1.0|2.0|12.0
    Armin|2.5|3.5|2.0|1.0|09.0
    Alive|3.0|2.0|3.5|3.5|12.0[/table]
    Last edited by eggs; 2012-09-27 at 12:39 PM.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by eggs
    Flavor-wise, the Ranger, Monk and Fist of the Forest levels and ACFs do fit well together, and Justicar isn't much of a stretch. I'll give the two points for an easy pitch and cohesion. 1/5 total.
    You state that you give 2 points to Zaroff in Elegance but then the final total only has one. Which is right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cd4 View Post
    You state that you give 2 points to Zaroff in Elegance but then the final total only has one. Which is right?
    Good catch. I messed that up when trying to figure out what to do with the Sacrifice thing, should have been 2. Fixed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eggs View Post
    Good catch. I messed that up when trying to figure out what to do with the Sacrifice thing, should have been 2. Fixed.
    And here I'd been poring over the rubric trying to figure out how the numbers added up to 1.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    The mysteries of erroneous math make even abstract math look quaint and simple.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Final(?) Tallies After Two Judges

    {table=head]Entry|Place|Judge 1|Judge 2|Total|Average
    Sixteentoes Componentguarder|Gold|14.0|16.0|30.0|3.75

    Ximen Bao|Silver|17.25|12.0|29.25|3.65625

    Zaroff|Bronze|16.0|12.0|28.0|3.5

    Dustie|Fourth|15.25|12|27.25|3.40625

    Alive|Fifth|14.75|12.0|26.75|3.34375

    Doril Shadowbane|Sixth|15|9.5|24.5|3.0625

    Armin Long|Seventh|14.25|9.0|23.25|2.91875

    Bilblibliip|Eighth|13.5|9.0|22.5|2.8125

    Sheriff Breagar Bearclaw|Ninth|11.5|8.0|19.5|2.4375[/table]



    There's the numbers as of the moment. Did you end up changing Zaroff's numbers? If he gets another, he'll edge out Dustie for bronze.

    EDIT: changed zaroff's numbers
    Last edited by Venger; 2012-09-27 at 02:39 PM.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    There's the numbers as of the moment. Did you end up changing Zaroff's numbers? If he gets another, he'll edge out Dustie for bronze.
    Zaroff lost .25 points from the first judge for not making effective use of Ranger spellcasting (beyond turning on wands) and gained another point from the second judge - the total should be at 28 points iirc.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by Menteith View Post
    Zaroff lost .25 points from the first judge for not making effective use of Ranger spellcasting (beyond turning on wands) and gained another point from the second judge - the total should be at 28 points iirc.
    I'll amend accordingly, that's enough to snag him bronze for the moment.

    are there any other judges yet to post besides thiago martell?
    Last edited by Venger; 2012-09-27 at 02:34 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    How telling is it that people would rather discuss the taxonomy of tomatoes (which are delicious) than the truenamer class?
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    I'm sort of suprised that we didn't see any Black blood cultist builds. Both the justicar and the BBC forcus on grappling and they both have track as a prequisite feat. Then again, to get the best abilities of BBC you need 8 levels which would probably overshadow justicar.

    aaaand I just answered my own question .

    Out of curiosity was anyone planning to enter a BBC build?

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    I'm kind of against co-chefs for the competition, for two main reasons. The first is that is sort of opens the door to a whole host of potential problems that, while not strictly likely, are still possible. Stuff like conflicts and chefs splitting, only to submit all but the same build.

    The other is purely selfish in that I plan to work by myself no matter what, and don't want anybody to have a potential advantage over me.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    The next Secret Ingredient has been chosen, FYI.
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    So... hint time?
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    The SI is chosen? Oh, I get the hint. Yes I do...

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    More queries:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ximen Bao
    Hi,

    Just had a couple of queries re: the judging of Ximen Bao, specifically her elegance score:

    eggs mentioned a couple of abilities that aren't incorporated with each other, and I had a couple of questions about some of this:

    1. "investing some resources in poisons without getting a poison source"

    As mentioned in Ximen's build, her primary source for poison is from her shadows - they are the source for Shadow Essence, the poison she favors. The write-up also mentions use of the survival skill and detect poison to scavenge poisons. In addition, she can harvest the poison that she herself creates via Animal Devotion.

    2. "putting levels into channeling, but spreading CL and ability requirements around to minimize its efficiency"

    Ximen included a proposed spell selection, most of which revolves around touch spells to be channeled that have powerful effects that do not rely on CL or saving throws - shivering touch and its lesser version being the most common, since their only CL-based aspect is their duration, which is still more than enough time for Ximen to drain and hog-tie an enemy. Similarly, the duskblade spells are also spells that are not dependent upon ability scores and CL.

    3. "getting some bonus damage without the extra attacks or move+full attack options to make good use of it"

    My only concern here isn't with the criticism (which is valid) but rather the fact that it seems somewhat inconsistently applied - the same is true of several builds in this contest, but Ximen is the only one that appears to have been penalized for it. (If this was merely a comment on the build, and not an actual score drop, then I withdraw this last one.)
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    The next Secret Ingredient has been chosen, FYI.
    cool! is it thief of life?
    fight my brute! it's a lot of fun
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    How telling is it that people would rather discuss the taxonomy of tomatoes (which are delicious) than the truenamer class?
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    cool! is it thief of life?
    Well, we've had one ingredient straight from the Realms (Drow Judicator, Underdark), so I suppose that it's Eberron's turn at the wheel, eh?

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by Ximen
    As mentioned in Ximen's build, her primary source for poison is from her shadows - they are the source for Shadow Essence, the poison she favors. The write-up also mentions use of the survival skill and detect poison to scavenge poisons. In addition, she can harvest the poison that she herself creates via Animal Devotion.
    That's fair, but I want to maintain the rating because the larger situation is still there - the build has piles of partially-supported abilities which aren't complementary and often need more investment to be put to reliable or efficient use (like the Augment Summoning investments or the CL bit mentioned below).
    Quote Originally Posted by Ximen
    Ximen included a proposed spell selection, most of which revolves around touch spells to be channeled that have powerful effects that do not rely on CL or saving throws - shivering touch and its lesser version being the most common, since their only CL-based aspect is their duration, which is still more than enough time for Ximen to drain and hog-tie an enemy. Similarly, the duskblade spells are also spells that are not dependent upon ability scores and CL.
    Just taking the level 15 and 20 cutaways, median SRD monster spell resistance in the SRD are 22 and 26 at those levels, respectively. Without supporting CL further than Practiced Spellcaster, channeled spells usually aren't sticking, regardless of whether their effects swing with CL. Humanoid enemies vary further, but I don't consider it a reliable tactic without more support.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ximen
    My only concern here isn't with the criticism (which is valid) but rather the fact that it seems somewhat inconsistently applied - the same is true of several builds in this contest, but Ximen is the only one that appears to have been penalized for it. (If this was merely a comment on the build, and not an actual score drop, then I withdraw this last one.)
    I'm pretty sure I mentioned effective or ineffective use of Nonlethal strike in just about every entry. That wasn't something I was docking points for specifically, but it was something that would have shown the Secret Ingredient put to more clear use. My contention was that I could see Crippling strike being applied, and stacking slowly with Shadow strength-blasting, but that the other Justicar features just being tacked on as far as strategy is concerned, and finding some way of or incorporating grabs or extra attacks would have changed that.

    EDIT:
    After Magic of Eberron's Elemental Scion came up in another thread, I'd be intrigued to see it come up, along with its weird mix of potentially-powerful abilities and really painful limitations.
    Last edited by eggs; 2012-09-28 at 06:58 PM.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    My concern with 2 contestants sharing a build is the notion of an extra set of eyes giving an unfair advantage, though if a majority supports the idea, I can be persuaded.
    I guess since I brought it up, I should probably drop in my thoughts on the subject.

    I mostly brought this up because I think a creative process involving two people could come up with some really fun builds. I know that I'd like to see what could be done with two people working together, bouncing ideas off of each other and then refining them into one finished project.

    As it stands, that can already happen - except only one person can take credit for the build at the end. I like the idea of two people working together and submitting a joint build, and doing so also reduces the chances that something improper will happen, like being a judge after you've helped someone work on their build.

    Yeah, there's a risk that you could coordinate a build with someone, and then something might happen where you aren't working together anymore and now someone else has all your ideas (and vice versa). But eh, there are always risks. Heck, sometimes I even get paranoid about posting questions in the RAW thread for potential builds because I'm afraid it will give away my idea.

    Just my two cents. I won't be devastated if the forum overall would prefer one chef per entry. I just think it might be fun.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    I'm for it as well for pretty much the same reasons.

    asking questions here around iron chef time is hard, but it does avoid losing points later on
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    I guess since I brought it up, I should probably drop in my thoughts on the subject.

    I mostly brought this up because I think a creative process involving two people could come up with some really fun builds. I know that I'd like to see what could be done with two people working together, bouncing ideas off of each other and then refining them into one finished project.

    As it stands, that can already happen - except only one person can take credit for the build at the end. I like the idea of two people working together and submitting a joint build, and doing so also reduces the chances that something improper will happen, like being a judge after you've helped someone work on their build.

    Yeah, there's a risk that you could coordinate a build with someone, and then something might happen where you aren't working together anymore and now someone else has all your ideas (and vice versa). But eh, there are always risks. Heck, sometimes I even get paranoid about posting questions in the RAW thread for potential builds because I'm afraid it will give away my idea.

    Just my two cents. I won't be devastated if the forum overall would prefer one chef per entry. I just think it might be fun.
    A "Special Edition" Team Challenge would certainly be entertaining.

    But I think that teams would have to register together that they are working on something together, at least to the judge.
    Last edited by Madara; 2012-10-01 at 05:56 PM.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by Madara View Post
    A "Special Edition" Team Challenge would certainly be entertaining.

    But I think that teams would have to register together that they are working on something together, at least to the judge.
    that sounds like a great idea.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Team Challenge sounds like a blast! I would love that one.

    It sort of moves beyond the scope of IC, but it could even be a lot of fun for something like optimizing a party, rather than a single character. Probably too much work to pull off more than once, but it could be pretty awesome....
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by Madara View Post
    A "Special Edition" Team Challenge would certainly be entertaining.

    But I think that teams would have to register together that they are working on something together, at least to the judge.
    "Special Edition" would address one of the potential concerns, of a paradigm shift.

    Hypothetically, how would folks feel if - for example - Madara registered as the second chef with 6 of 10 different teams? That would appear, to me, to be a separate concern from having a solo chef enter multiple entrants, because Madara's (or any other contestant's) amount of input could be as minimal as he and the other contestant(s) are willing to accept, all while maximizing his odds at "winning."
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground XXXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    "Special Edition" would address one of the potential concerns, of a paradigm shift.

    Hypothetically, how would folks feel if - for example - Madara registered as the second chef with 6 of 10 different teams? That would appear, to me, to be a separate concern from having a solo chef enter multiple entrants, because Madara's (or any other contestant's) amount of input could be as minimal as he and the other contestant(s) are willing to accept, all while maximizing his odds at "winning."
    That's why I suggested the preregistration, which would limit you to participation in one team.(Which I do realize is different from the normal contest in which we have multiple submissions)
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