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  1. - Top - End - #31

    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    Yes, eventually both riding dog and warhorse are options to consider. But a riding dog isn't affordable at level 1.


    Yeah but guard has other restrictions:

    Trying to use guard as a substitute for attack sounds fishy at best. Moving behind your animal and saying guard isn't that bad of an idea against melee foes. But many foes have ranged attacks, including many primarily melee foes. Even for melee charges attacking sooner is better than attacking after waiting for the enemy to approach first. Especially at low level when that first attack might drop the companion or force him to flee. Teaching him to attack all creature types is ideal, and having the ability to attack the 4 common creature types before they approach is much nicer than waiting. I can see why a druid might make his first trick guard instead of attack, but it's still far from ideal. And guard isn't necessarily the better choice out of the two.

    Also arguably an animal companion or even a friendly dog might protect its owner even without any tricks, though only after he was attacked or otherwise realized his owner was threatened. He most likely will protect himself regardless.
    I meant defend not guard. My bad. Handle it so it defends you and it will defend you forever against all creature types. You can't do anything advanced though like attack the spellcaster first and whatnot, but it's your only choice if you don't have any ranks in handle animal.
    Last edited by RoboEmperor; 2019-05-31 at 01:10 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    The conversation about guard dogs seems like a bit of a red herring. Not only is it something any class from wizard to commoner can do, it's also something that a druid explicitly does better than a wizard at low levels. A Charisma-based DC 10 check on a cross-class skill every time you want your guard dog to attack is absolutely going to fail a bunch during the early levels of the game. Having guard dogs is still a great idea, and I tend to consider them a better investment for your average wizard than a crossbow, but it's not going to solve all of a wizard's problems. A druid gets an already-trained and superior guard dog to begin with, plus the druid can ALSO purchase guard dogs, can even train guard dogs herself, can buff guard dogs from a fairly low level, and has a better chance of successfully handling them in combat. The only area where the wizard comes out ahead is in terms of starting gold... but by that metric, the paladin, ranger and fighter outclass all of them, as they not only have the highest starting gold but also have handle animal as a class skill.

    As others mentioned, the overall answer is definitely druid or wizard, with druid coming ahead in those oh-so-fatal early levels, and wizards catching up around ECL 7 and pulling ahead at ECL 9 (though I do think that there's no appreciable power difference between a high-op wizard, druid, sorcerer or cleric in core past ECL 17).

    LEVELS 1-2: The druid has a more robust chassis, access to armor, better saves and an animal companion that is going to be quite effective (and also fairly expendable). Spells like entangle and produce flame provide reasonable offensive options against most foes. The wizard has extremely low hit points, no armor and worse saves, and in any sort of solo environment, that's deadly as all heck. Also, while a familiar is a good way to keep an eye out for danger, it is NOT expendable in the same way that an animal companion is. Wizards do have access to more encounter-ending options like sleep and color spray, but these spells also have the drawback of doing nothing on a failed save and having more scenarios in which they are not appropriate. Druid is the clear winner.

    LEVELS 3-4: Armor issues are mitigated a bit for wizards as the duration on spells like mage armor is now long enough that they can reasonably keep them up throughout the adventuring day. Second level spells are largely better for the wizard than the druid, especially thanks to the powerhouse that is glitterdust (which is probably the most reliable low level save-or-lose in core). However, druids do still largely have the advantage: the animal companion is still a really big deal at these levels (especially once you hit level 4 and upgrade to a dire bat or leopard), and summoning starts to become a viable tactic. SNA tends to be much stronger than SM at these early levels and in a core environment, as most of the things on the summon monster list have insufficient HD to benefit from the defensive boons that the fiendish/celestial templates provide. Winner: druid.

    LEVELS 5-6: 3rd-level spells are a big deal for both the druid and the wizard, and I'd call things about equal here. Both groups get great BFC options that can serve to keep foes locked down and out of reach. This is the first level that I believe SM starts to catch up with SNA, though I don't think it exceeds it yet. However, at these levels wild shape comes into play, and that's a really big deal. The wizard's offensive options are a bit stronger (though not as much as you'd expect - druids get some very nice level 3 spell options in core), but the druid blows it all out of the water thanks to the animal companion and wild shape. Winner: druid.

    LEVELS 7-8: Wizards get solid fog and while druids have some nice BFC options like spike stones, they won't have anything quite as good at just shutting down a sizable chunk of level-appropriate foes until 5th-level spells roll around. Both groups get access to scrying, and I put druids slightly ahead in this regard as druids don't have to pay for the extremely costly arcane focus (1,000gp is not an insignificant expenditure at this level). Wizards get polymorph, which has far more potential than wild shape in almost every way, but the duration on wild shape and the existence of Natural Spell means I still think this one leans in favor of the druid (in particular, the duration on wild shape means you're generally not spending an action to polymorph, and in any sort of solo situation, actions are at a premium). And meanwhile druids have upgraded their animal companion to a brown bear, giant crocodile or tiger. Winner: eh, you can make a case for the wizard (solid fog in particular is just that good), but I still think the druid is a bit favored in a solo setting.

    LEVELS 9-16: Eh, I could spend a while talking about how great the druid is (and it is), but starting at ECL 9, a wizard can bind a nightmare, giving it access to at-will etherealness and astral projection. Frankly, that alone makes the wizard in another league defensively as compared to the druid. And as effective as the druid is (ECL 9 is when you get animal growth and wall of thorns!), it only really gets worse from there. Winner: wizard (druids are still great though!).

    LEVELS 17-20: Honestly in a core setting, once you hit access to shapechange you functionally have access to every spell and ability available in the PHB/DMG/MM, so I find it hard to really call the wizard better at these levels. Yeah, it also gets wish and gate... both of which are accessible via shapechange in core, so again, I consider it functionally moot.

    So yeah, I think that until lesser planar binding (i.e. the first way for wizards to reliably access spells and powers way beyond the assumed ECL) is on the table, druids hold out the advantage, and once shapechange comes into play it all pretty much levels out to the point that there's no appreciable difference between the two. That leaves 8 levels where wizard leaves druid in the dust, roughly 6 levels where I'd place the two around even, and 6 levels where the druid is just leaps and bounds ahead of the wizard.
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  3. - Top - End - #33

    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    The conversation about guard dogs seems like a bit of a red herring. Not only is it something any class from wizard to commoner can do, it's also something that a druid explicitly does better than a wizard at low levels.
    It's not a red herring. Druid is clearly better, but by how much? Like you said for shapechange, the difference is so trivial it doesn't matter. Likewise my argument has been at low levels because of the whole animal thing druids are superior, but only by a trivial amount, and then once LPB comes in druids are trash compared to wizards so wizards are superior.
    Druid:Trivially stronger->trash by comparison.
    Last edited by RoboEmperor; 2019-05-31 at 01:32 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    I meant defend not guard. My bad. Handle it so it defends you and it will defend you forever against all creature types. You can't do anything advanced though like attack the spellcaster first and whatnot, but it's your only choice if you don't have any ranks in handle animal.
    So actually that's a drawback to the riding dog at first, who starts with only 1 trick and has to pick between the options with pros and cons. A guard dog knows attack, defend, down, AND guard. So tell him to defend you by default, and attack as needed, provided the enemy is the right creature type. A druid can train him to be better, but only after spending 6-7 weeks at level 2-3. Level 1 only if he has a 14 cha or spent a feat. The riding dog is still mostly better than the guard dog, but it isn't without its drawbacks. Like you say it's only so much better than what anyone can do.

    Level 1 fighters get pretty good gold. I need to start considering a guard dog or similar animal/hireling/object on all my level 1 fighters or etc. I'll get slightly worse starting armor, but my starting armor gets replaced pretty soon anyway. To be clear hirelings and objects are different but similar tricks. Not things to send into battle, but yes partial replacements for measly level 1 abilities for all classes. I did just load up a character with a hammer, many pitons and crowbar to pull off some low level tricks not dependent on any class feature. Should be fun. I know you can do more but we were limited to basic gear and I'm not yet sure if even basic tools will fly. Probably/hopefully will be fine.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2019-05-31 at 01:53 PM.
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  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    I meant defend not guard. My bad. Handle it so it defends you and it will defend you forever against all creature types. You can't do anything advanced though like attack the spellcaster first and whatnot, but it's your only choice if you don't have any ranks in handle animal.
    That still doesn't over come the natural issues an animal has with different monster types, so no I don't believe that is a valid argument. An animal not trained to attack an undead or dragon is still going to run away or cower in fear rather than defend/guard when presented with either. Sorry for not fully rereading the skill my bad; however, there is still the glaring issue that cha is a dump stat for wizards, and maybe some issues with dms using the standard handle animal DCs for a cha check. Primarily a wizard is using animals as a meat shield and honestly it isn't a great meat shield at that. Whereas, a druid can functionally train and use the animals for specific purposes.

    Between the fact that a wizard is going to struggle to 'handle' his/her animals, has little control over the animals beyond kiting enemies to said animals, basically no way to heal said animals in a cheap timely manner, and has very limited resources between level 1 and 5; I have a hard time seeing having a small army of animals as a valid way for a wizard to solo more than an encounter maybe two a day much less ~4.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnaeus View Post
    1. Why do you think he has poor perception infiltration skills? He has a pile of skill points and a familiar. He can trivially have a bat, with blindsense, or an owl, with +16 listen. Wizard has the best perception skills of any level 1 character.

    2. Sleep isnít a poor choice. Itís a situational choice. Sleep can disable multiple enemies from 110 feet away. No other core level 1 Spell can do that. If enemies are in your face, use color spray instead. If they are 95 feet off and your tank is between you, sleep is amazing.

    And you know what is amazing about situational choices for wizards? You get a lot of them. Scribe scroll is free. If you can win 1 fight a week later you could have scrolls of sleep, grease, charm person, mage armor, mount, expeditious retreat, animate rope, color spray, comprehend language for 112 gp.
    A familiar is great until it gets hit once by a goblin, your wizard is super squishy with 1d4+con hp/hd your familiar more so with half that.

    Considering a druid is one feat away from scribing scrolls and knows all spells on the druid list the druid can do the same thing. Though the wizard does have a better list for doing this.

    Still I think this debate comes down to the fact that a wizard is going to have a much harder time making it to level 6 soloing compared to either a druid or a cleric.

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    So actually that's a drawback to the riding dog at first, who starts with only 1 trick and has to pick between the options with pros and cons. A guard dog knows attack, defend, down, AND guard. So tell him to defend you by default, and attack as needed, provided the enemy is the right creature type. A druid can train him to be better, but only after spending 6-7 weeks at level 2-3. Level 1 only if he has a 14 cha or spent a feat. The riding dog is still mostly better than the guard dog, but it isn't without its drawbacks. Like you say it's only so much better than what anyone can do.

    Level 1 fighters get pretty good gold. I need to start considering a guard dog or similar animal/hireling/object on all my level 1 fighters or etc. I'll get slightly worse starting armor, but my starting armor gets replaced pretty soon anyway. To be clear hirelings and objects are different but similar tricks. Not things to send into battle, but yes partial replacements for measly level 1 abilities for all classes. I did just load up a character with a hammer, many pitons and crowbar to pull off some low level tricks not dependent on any class feature. Should be fun. I know you can do more but we were limited to basic gear and I'm not yet sure if even basic tools will fly. Probably/hopefully will be fine.
    You are wrong riding dogs come trained for combat riding, plus one free trick, so a druid with a riding dog can start with a riding dog that already knows how to attack all creature types, as well as being able to come, defend, down, guard, and heel.

    Combat Riding (DC 20): An animal trained to bear a rider into combat knows the tricks attack, come, defend, down, guard, and heel.
    Last edited by liquidformat; 2019-05-31 at 02:34 PM. Reason: comment on posts that came while typing

  6. - Top - End - #36

    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    That still doesn't over come the natural issues an animal has with different monster types, so no I don't believe that is a valid argument. An animal not trained to attack an undead or dragon is still going to run away or cower in fear rather than defend/guard when presented with either.
    The type restriction lies solely under the attack section. So it's a rule for the attack command exclusively. If it was some kind of general rule under the animal type section you might have a point but it's not.

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    Sorry for not fully rereading the skill my bad; however, there is still the glaring issue that cha is a dump stat for wizards, and maybe some issues with dms using the standard handle animal DCs for a cha check. Primarily a wizard is using animals as a meat shield and honestly it isn't a great meat shield at that. Whereas, a druid can functionally train and use the animals for specific purposes.
    You can take 20 with Handle Animal so even a Wizard with 6 charisma can get his guard dogs to defend him all day at the start of the day.

    You're correct that it isn't a great strategy. But it is much stronger than the crossbow. And Strength in numbers. The dogs can flank and such. If we're going by WBL a level 2 wizard can afford 36 guard dogs which I'm pretty sure can handle most CR2 creatures. Can't handle flying creatures or creatures with DR so in those cases it's up to the wizard's spells.

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    Between the fact that a wizard is going to struggle to 'handle' his/her animals, has little control over the animals beyond kiting enemies to said animals, basically no way to heal said animals in a cheap timely manner, and has very limited resources between level 1 and 5; I have a hard time seeing having a small army of animals as a valid way for a wizard to solo more than an encounter maybe two a day much less ~4.
    Tons of creatures are just about pure brute melee force and they will all die to your army of dogs and horses. But as I mentioned above the harder creatures like Demons and Devils that have DR5 or flight will be impervious to the dogs but not the horses as heavy warhorses pack a wallop. But I don't think the druid will have any better luck than the wizard.
    Last edited by RoboEmperor; 2019-05-31 at 02:34 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    That still doesn't over come the natural issues an animal has with different monster types, so no I don't believe that is a valid argument. An animal not trained to attack an undead or dragon is still going to run away or cower in fear rather than defend/guard when presented with either.
    That's a good point. I'm trying to remember if that's only in the handle animal skill or if it's something I remember reading more specifically somewhere else too.

    A wizard does have trouble with the handle animal DCs but you can at least tell the dog to defend before combat begins, and keep retrying or take a 10. Still not being able to direct it to attack reliably in combat, and as a move action too, is a little bit of a drawback.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    The type restriction lies solely under the attack section. So it's a rule for the attack command exclusively. If it was some kind of general rule under the animal type section you might have a point but it's not.
    That's not necessarily true or false that it's only for that section. It's simply vague. I'm wondering if I saw the animal's natural aversion to unusual creature types somewhere else too, to help clarify. And the statement "Normally, an animal will attack only humanoids, monstrous humanoids, giants, or other animals" does sound more like a general statement about animals rather than something specific to that section.

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    You are wrong riding dogs come trained for combat riding, plus one free trick, so a druid with a riding dog can start with a riding dog that already knows how to attack all creature types, as well as being able to come, defend, down, guard, and heel.

    Combat Riding (DC 20): An animal trained to bear a rider into combat knows the tricks attack, come, defend, down, guard, and heel.
    Druid animal companions start with 1 trick, not 6, not 7. This sounds more like a willful or heavily biased misreading of the rules, to try to force what would clearly be an abusive loophole to exist. I say would be a loophole because whether or not the rules say actually such a thing applies to the druid's riding dog isn't clear. And it makes far more sense to go with the norm of 1 trick in the face of this ambiguity. EDIT: Ah I do see one source of legitimate confusion. The handle animal skill says riding dogs come trained for combat riding, and that is true of store bought riding dogs. Ugh, 3.5 is annoying.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2019-05-31 at 03:06 PM.
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    I did a survey of 1st level adventures in Dungeon and about a third of all the enemies at that level have immunity to mind-affecting. Undead are particularly common. The color spray-sleep-guard dog is basically helpless in those scenariosóthe dogs won't attack undead and the spells are useless against them.

  9. - Top - End - #39

    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    That's not necessarily true or false that it's only for that section. It's simply vague. I'm wondering if I saw the animal's natural aversion to unusual creature types somewhere else too, to help clarify. And the statement "Normally, an animal will attack only humanoids, monstrous humanoids, giants, or other animals" does sound more like a general statement about animals rather than something specific to that section.
    Unless you're telling me that dire animals will run away from a skeleton you are incorrect. You can't order an animal to attack undead without special training but nothing stops the animal from defending itself from a skeleton attack. Nowhere in the rules say the animal will run instead of fight and that a skeleton can kill a hundred thousand cornered bears without a scratch.
    Last edited by RoboEmperor; 2019-05-31 at 02:52 PM.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    You can take 20 with Handle Animal so even a Wizard with 6 charisma can get his guard dogs to defend him all day at the start of the day.

    You're correct that it isn't a great strategy. But it is much stronger than the crossbow. And Strength in numbers. The dogs can flank and such. If we're going by WBL a level 2 wizard can afford 36 guard dogs which I'm pretty sure can handle most CR2 creatures. Can't handle flying creatures or creatures with DR so in those cases it's up to the wizard's spells.
    Ok, and how are you feeding this horde of Dogs? thats an awful lot of animals to feed and deal with, and most of them won't be useful in the 10 foot wide corridors common to dungeons.

    I think 3 or 4 dogs is mroe reasonable, and while helpful, it doesn't solve all of your problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    Unless you're telling me that dire animals will run away from a skeleton you are incorrect. You can't order an animal to attack undead without special training but nothing stops the animal from defending itself from a skeleton attack. Nowhere in the rules say the animal will run instead of fight and that a skeleton can kill a hundred thousand cornered bears without a scratch.
    Except now you're only responding to attacks and the attrition game doesn't favor you. Druids and Clerics could play that and come out ahead as they have native healing. The Wizard has no way to keep their Dog army up and running.
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    Unless you're telling me that dire animals will run away from a skeleton you are incorrect. You can't order an animal to attack undead without special training but nothing stops the animal from defending itself from a skeleton attack. Nowhere in the rules say the animal will run instead of fight and that a skeleton can kill a hundred thousand cornered bears without a scratch.
    Uncertain, but they may not recognize a skeleton as a creature at the minimum and could be confused. A dire animal has int 2 and the animal type. It could still be trained with handle animal and somehow have the same restriction about not being allowed to use the attack command against a much weaker creature. So you have to ask why that is. It isn't about the CR. Heck trained animals will still attack giants if commanded. Every type listed isn't natural/normal. Yeah we don't have giants and monstrous humanoids in the real world, but an animal wouldn't be able to tell the difference between those and an animal. If anything the omission of magical beasts is the only grey area.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2019-05-31 at 03:15 PM.
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    Druid animal companions start with 1 trick, not 6, not 7. This sounds more like a willful or heavily biased misreading of the rules, to try to force what would clearly be an abusive loophole to exist. I say would be a loophole because whether or not the rules say actually such a thing applies to the druid's riding dog isn't clear. And it makes far more sense to go with the norm of 1 trick in the face of this ambiguity.
    Even assuming that you're starting at zero tricks other than the bonus trick, don't forget that druids don't need to use their bonus tricks on tricks that last all day, because they can use the push option at the beginning of the day to get their animal companion to perform a trick it doesn't otherwise know. A druid should have 8+Cha to handle animal for their companion at level 1, meaning they should have no trouble with the DC 25 check if they take 20. Taking attack as your bonus trick and pushing defend and heel each morning should tide you over until you have time to specifically train them for combat. And since training only takes three hours out of the day, you should be able to find time to train them daily without getting in the way of your adventuring.

    Plus, if we're assuming that wizards can scribe scrolls to increase their utility at level 1, then I think it's only fair to also assume that druids can use that same time to train their animal companion properly.
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  13. - Top - End - #43

    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    Ok, and how are you feeding this horde of Dogs? thats an awful lot of animals to feed and deal with, and most of them won't be useful in the 10 foot wide corridors common to dungeons.

    I think 3 or 4 dogs is mroe reasonable, and while helpful, it doesn't solve all of your problems.
    3 or 4 warhorses actually. I was just making a point. No one would choose 32 dogs over two warhorses. Anyways food is mega cheap and have the animals cart it around.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    Except now you're only responding to attacks and the attrition game doesn't favor you. Druids and Clerics could play that and come out ahead as they have native healing. The Wizard has no way to keep their Dog army up and running.
    Healing isn't that amazing. You don't have lesser vigor since this is core-only so you're gonna heal at most one creature to maybe full hp if you aren't unlucky with your rolls. If an animal dies, get a new one. If an animal is hurt badly, get a new one. Natural healing is also a thing.

    No one is saying fighter, druid, or cleric isn't superior to wizard at these levels. You are absolutely correct that wizards are inferior and this animal strategy has some limitations. But you're missing the point that wizards can perform more than adequately at these levels with animals until they hit their stride. I'm not confident about 3rd level spells but am definitely confident 4th level spells let the wizard steamroll.

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    Uncertain, but they may not recognize a skeleton as a creature at the minimum and could be confused. A dire animal has int 2 and the animal type. It could still be trained with handle animal and somehow have the same restriction about not being allowed to use the attack command against a much weaker creature. So you have to ask why that is. It isn't about the CR. Heck trained animals will still attack giants if commanded. Every type listed isn't natural/normal. Yeah we don't have giants and monstrous humanoids in the real world, but an animal wouldn't be able to tell the difference between those and an animal. If anything the omission of magical beasts is the only grey area.
    I still maintain if it's not a general rule under the animal subtype or similar it's a rule specific exclusively to the attack command. A defending animal is not "attacking", it's "defending".
    Last edited by RoboEmperor; 2019-05-31 at 03:14 PM.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    I just can't see the wizard getting through the first few levels alone. He's going to get overwhelmed in combat when 8 kobolds (EL2) attack him at L2.

    A couple guard dogs won't save him when he can't even control them reliably. Sure, he can put them on guard pre-combat, but what if the kobolds hang back with their slings?

    The druid can likely throw an entangle, send in his barded riding dog, and just run away until the fight is over. If he has a dog pack as well, it isn't even a contest, as he can control them all reliably.


    So while the Wizard may ultimately have more power (at 9th or 11th level), he's not going to get there.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elkad View Post
    I just can't see the wizard getting through the first few levels alone. He's going to get overwhelmed in combat when 8 kobolds (EL2) attack him at L2.

    A couple guard dogs won't save him when he can't even control them reliably. Sure, he can put them on guard pre-combat, but what if the kobolds hang back with their slings?

    The druid can likely throw an entangle, send in his barded riding dog, and just run away until the fight is over. If he has a dog pack as well, it isn't even a contest, as he can control them all reliably.


    So while the Wizard may ultimately have more power (at 9th or 11th level), he's not going to get there.
    Then it's a tie. A druid can't beat two spider swarms (EL2) so he's not gonna get there either.

    edit: How about the druid is inside a cave where there are no plants when he gets ambushed by kobolds who are attacking him from above and traps him in a passageway with boulders? You're deliberately creating laser focused scenarios that completely deny the wizard's investment while providing favorable circumstances for the druid as an excuse to say... i don't know what you're trying to say. Just know that I can throw an EL2 encounter in an environment that completely negates the druid's abilities too so your argument isn't really an argument.
    Last edited by RoboEmperor; 2019-05-31 at 03:35 PM.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    I still maintain if it's not a general rule under the animal subtype or similar it's a rule specific exclusively to the attack command. A defending animal is not "attacking", it's "defending".
    It's not unreasonable to talk about attacks in general under the attack command section. Actually a little less confusing than putting it on top.

    Putting it in the animal type rules wouldn't be unusual for 3.5's "Screw you, find what you really want to know on page 438 not here!" style, but it would be incredibly annoying and ****-ish for the authors to do it that way. And non-humanoid PCs aren't that common so it's not really needed elsewhere.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2019-05-31 at 03:19 PM.
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    It's not unreasonable to talk about attacks in general under the attack command section. Actually a little less confusing than putting it on top.
    I think sending a dog to attack something in the middle of a melee is very different than a dog biting whatever starts whacking at him. So I think there is a reason that rule is under the attack section only and not a general rule for animals.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    At early levels it's certainly a druid. However, with the Red Wizard being in the DMG, that is probably the strongest class in the late game.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    Then it's a tie. A druid can't beat two spider swarms (EL2) so he's not gonna get there either.
    And what exactly is the issue in a druid dealing with 2 spider swarms? Produce flame is pretty much the go to must have level 1 spell along with obscuring mist and entangle. Plus a medium druid is faster than a spider swarm and a small one is riding their riding dog. The druid can either kill the swarms out right or easily escape because they are mindless.

    On the other hand kobolds are quite intelligent and there is no issue with them one staying back and using ranged weapons and two targeting the wizard first.

    If we have a situation where a level 2 wizard and druid are each soloing 8 kobolds my money is on the druid to win and the wizard to die. And having wbl number of war horses/dogs is doing the wizard little to change this.

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau
    Druid animal companions start with 1 trick, not 6, not 7. This sounds more like a willful or heavily biased misreading of the rules, to try to force what would clearly be an abusive loophole to exist. I say would be a loophole because whether or not the rules say actually such a thing applies to the druid's riding dog isn't clear. And it makes far more sense to go with the norm of 1 trick in the face of this ambiguity. EDIT: Ah I do see one source of legitimate confusion. The handle animal skill says riding dogs come trained for combat riding, and that is true of store bought riding dogs. Ugh, 3.5 is annoying.
    Riding Dogs come trained for combat riding that is very clearly RAW and why riding dogs are the go to animal companion, the runners up being badgers, camels, and wolves.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    And what exactly is the issue in a druid dealing with 2 spider swarms? Produce flame is pretty much the go to must have level 1 spell along with obscuring mist and entangle. Plus a medium druid is faster than a spider swarm and a small one is riding their riding dog. The druid can either kill the swarms out right or easily escape because they are mindless.
    How exactly does produce flame hurt swarms? How exactly does obscure mist protect against tremorsense?

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    On the other hand kobolds are quite intelligent and there is no issue with them one staying back and using ranged weapons and two targeting the wizard first.

    If we have a situation where a level 2 wizard and druid are each soloing 8 kobolds my money is on the druid to win and the wizard to die. And having wbl number of war horses/dogs is doing the wizard little to change this.
    You say that but then since 100% of my wizards have tower shields...
    Last edited by RoboEmperor; 2019-05-31 at 03:53 PM.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    How exactly does produce flame hurt swarms? How exactly does obscure mist protect against tremorsense?
    Since when were spider swarms immune to fire.

    Tremor sense only helps when you are within 30' of the swarm so dropping obscuring mist and moving away from the swarm is a valid way to escape a swarm that moves slower than you do...

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    You say that but then since 100% of my wizards have tower shields...
    Yes yes I remember your tower shield forum it is quite interesting and as I recall had some very questionable RAW interpretation to pull off. Either way wizard is more likely to be caught flat footed in a surprise round and much less likely to survive until the next round...

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    Since when were spider swarms immune to fire.
    Swarms are immune to touch attacks.

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    Since when were spider swarms immune to fire.

    Tremor sense only helps when you are within 30' of the swarm so dropping obscuring mist and moving away from the swarm is a valid way to escape a swarm that moves slower than you do...
    So you're gonna escape two creatures that moves 40ft a round by spending an action to create a worthless mist and another action moving 30ft away? And whose large shapeable size lets them completely surround the druid's squares so he has to move 35ft to escape the tremorsense?

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    Yes yes I remember your tower shield forum it is quite interesting and as I recall had some very questionable RAW interpretation to pull off. Either way wizard is more likely to be caught flat footed in a surprise round and much less likely to survive until the next round...
    How come the wizard doesn't get to do a surprise round?

    I'm sensing a severe amount of hostility towards wizards from you. I get the feeling you're just grabbing whatever you can to shoot wizards down for some reason without thinking it through. I will repeat no one is saying wizards > druid at low levels. I agree with Piggy Knowles's analysis at post #32. And there was no questionable RAW in my tower shield post. It was me just spending move actions attaching and deattaching tower shields.
    Last edited by RoboEmperor; 2019-05-31 at 04:25 PM.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    In the SRD I only see guard dog and riding dog. Is the PHB different?
    I think we must be looking in different places in the SRD. Can you post the link to where you're looking? I looked under monsters and goods and services and couldn't see guard dog in either of them.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    A familiar is great until it gets hit once by a goblin, your wizard is super squishy with 1d4+con hp/hd your familiar more so with half that.
    Yeah, if itís in combat. That bat has +14 hide, +8 move silently, and if goblin sees it, it looks like a bat.

    Also, the challenge wasnít to be better at 4 ecl 1 combat challenges, it was to be better at a range of challenges including social, exploration, and knowledge challenges. What if there is a sudden death trap with a password in ancient Thessalonian? Wizard reads the inscription (using comprehend language if necessary) and passes, Druid dies. (And no lie, I was in a game at con last weekend where my ability to read inscriptions in an ancient language were the difference between a successful mission and a horrifically failed one). Bluff into a kobold camp? Wizard can disguise self, probably speaks draconic, and likely passes. Druid and dog die. Press a button at the other end of a room before you cross the floor? Unseen servant has you covered. Try making your pet do that with handle animal.

    Wizard probably has more skill points at the point of the game where that matters. Knows half a dozen languages. And has significantly better utility spells. Yeah 8 kobolds might kill a wizard (or they might not, he has excellent run away abilities, and as mentioned probably speaks draconic and kobolds have a -1 sense motive.). But that thulsa dooms guard patrol could also kill the Druid while the wizard strolls past them, having previously charmed a guard into giving him the nightís password. What if those skeletons only attack intruders who canít make the know religion check to know the prayer to bane ?

    All of which doesnít mean that Druid doesnít have a level 1 advantage. They do. But it isnít as massive as people suggest and there are plenty of encounters where the wizard is as good or better.
    Last edited by Gnaeus; 2019-05-31 at 06:38 PM.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    Swarms are immune to touch attacks.
    huh, I had thought that touch worked just not ranged touch but rereading swarms you are correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    So you're gonna escape two creatures that moves 40ft a round by spending an action to create a worthless mist and another action moving 30ft away? And whose large shapeable size lets them completely surround the druid's squares so he has to move 35ft to escape the tremorsense?
    Tactics depend on situation, but obscuring mist has its place, especially if you start over 30' away from them. Anyways, entangle works just fine and unless your wizard has burning hands they aren't exactly in a better situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    How come the wizard doesn't get to do a surprise round?

    I'm sensing a severe amount of hostility towards wizards from you. I get the feeling you're just grabbing whatever you can to shoot wizards down for some reason without thinking it through. I will repeat no one is saying wizards > druid at low levels. I agree with Piggy Knowles's analysis at post #32. And there was no questionable RAW in my tower shield post. It was me just spending move actions attaching and deattaching tower shields.
    I didn't say a wizard doesn't get surprise rounds, just that a wizard is more likely to be caught flat footed due to lack of relevant skills. And it isn't that I dislike wizards, they have a lot of great utility spells like Gnaeus and depending on adventures you are soloing can hands down do better than a druid. However, I question the ability of a wizard to solo a lot of combat encounters especially if you have 3 or 4 in a day. Even with an army of animals a wizard is going to struggle to use them as much more than meat shields effectively. I believe it will be common for color spray and sleep to not work effectively, color spray requires pulling enemies into dangerously close quarters, where as utilizing sleep's range effectively will be a struggle with the limited control a wizard has over its animals...

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Biggus View Post
    I think we must be looking in different places in the SRD. Can you post the link to where you're looking? I looked under monsters and goods and services and couldn't see guard dog in either of them.
    http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/...AndRelatedGear

    Didn't see the ", guard" maybe?
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Side note: any class can kill a spider swarm in core with a sufficient quantity of alchemicals. This is obviously an expensive solution...

    A core-only Cleric with the Magic and Travel domains is pretty good. Magic and carefully spending wealth on partially charged wizard wands/staffs means you effectively have access to most core-only spells. The Travel domain grants some nice spells and gives a Freedom of Movement at starting at level 1. I haven't done a detailed comparison with Wizard or Druid but maybe that's worthwhile?
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    I didn't say a wizard doesn't get surprise rounds, just that a wizard is more likely to be caught flat footed due to lack of relevant skills. And it isn't that I dislike wizards, they have a lot of great utility spells like Gnaeus and depending on adventures you are soloing can hands down do better than a druid. However, I question the ability of a wizard to solo a lot of combat encounters especially if you have 3 or 4 in a day. Even with an army of animals a wizard is going to struggle to use them as much more than meat shields effectively. I believe it will be common for color spray and sleep to not work effectively, color spray requires pulling enemies into dangerously close quarters, where as utilizing sleep's range effectively will be a struggle with the limited control a wizard has over its animals...
    I'm not saying you're wrong. The best a wizard can do is walk around with a bunch of animals defending him and automatically meleeing everything to death. So if pure brute melee can't solve a situation the wizard will most likely fail. Aforementioned swarm encounter will kill all the animals or result in the loss of all of them because the wizard can't tell them to retreat and the swarm is immune to literally everything the animals can do.

    But the wizard can succeed too. I doubt any dire-animal infested adventure/campaign can stand a chance to a warhorse army. My point was using encounters advantageous to the druid but not to the wizard is not an argument to say the wizard will fail while the druid will succeed. The druid is equally susceptible to specific encounters that counter his strategy as the wizard is. Like being indoors with no vegetation.
    Last edited by RoboEmperor; 2019-05-31 at 10:32 PM.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    For the record, dog minions are not actually allowed under our parameters, since they're not class-derived. Also, they have garbage stats, so you should really be getting mules, which are way more powerful as combatants and cost a third of the price.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Troacctid View Post
    For the record, dog minions are not actually allowed under our parameters, since they're not class-derived. Also, they have garbage stats, so you should really be getting mules, which are way more powerful as combatants and cost a third of the price.
    Where does it say you can't have minions derived from wealth?

    And you're absolutely right! It may require the wizard to have 12 Cha with 2 ranks of handle animal and 50gp spent on the mwk animal handling tool but it's better than the guard dogs.

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