# Thread: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

1. ## Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Welcome back to the Iron Chef Optimization Challenge E6 Appetizer Edition! It's time to get grimdark, spoopy, goffik, whatever you wanna call it. You know, just in time for Hallowe'en... er, well, maybe Hallowe'en decided to come late this year. But we're getting dark and shadowy up in here.

Oh yeah. This is happening.

The form of this challenge is to take a particular D&D 3.5 base class (our "secret ingredient," or SI) and turn it into a functional E6 build, which must feature the SI as heavily as possible. (The only hard rule about this is that you must take at least one level in the SI, though judges are encouraged to look favorably on builds that take as many levels as possible in said SI.) Your final build submission should consist of your 6 regular levels and your first 10 epic bonus feats, though providing a snapshot at earlier points through the progression is heartily encouraged. Entries are to be PM'd to the Chair (that would be me!), and they will be posted anonymously; our volunteer judges will then grade each build on a 1-5 point scale in four categories: Originality, Power, Elegance, and Use of the Secret Ingredient. The builds with the highest three scores will be awarded medals, with the Honorable Mention award going to the non-medaling build that the Chair likes best and/or that receives the most votes for HM in this thread. (HM may not always be awarded, particularly if the number of builds is very small.) And then we all have cake!*

*Note: You must provide your own cake.

This is basically like the regular Iron Chef, and let's be brutally honest with ourselves here: this isn't a gargantuan community, and we basically all know what we're talking about at this point. Make the builds, send 'em in, post some scores, and have fun. If you've got questions, lemme know. Still, let's lay out a few rules!
• Cooking Time: Builds must be submitted via PM to the Chair by 4:59 PM GMT - 9 on Monday, November 25, 2019 (1:59 AM GMT on Tuesday, November 16). The reveal shall be on the first evening the Chair has free following the cooking deadline, which is hoped to be that evening or the immediately subsequent one—I'll do my best, anyway. Judging is then encouraged to go as quickly as possible; if multiple judges volunteer, we'll set about a two-week window, but if we only get one judge, we'll try to wrap up as soon as possible after that judge presents scores. (I will admit that the deadline time may not be an exact science, but don't hide from me and we'll probably be cool.)
• Kitchen: Let's break this one down a bit.

• ALLOWED: Almost all D&D 3.5 material published by WotC: Core, Completes, monster books, Races Of books, alternate power source books (Expanded Psionics Handbook, Magic of Incarnum, Tome of Battle, Tome of Magic, etc.), Spell Compendium, Book of Exalted Deeds, Book of Vile Darkness, Eberron material, Forgotten Realms material, and other WotC-published 3.5 material. (This list is NOT exhaustive and there are many other legal books that I did not mention by name!)
• ALLOWED: Material from the 3.5 archives of the Wizards of the Coast website (including, but not limited to, the Mind's Eye articles). If you use it, link it.
• ALLOWED: Official errata from WotC. If you're relying on this in a material fashion, it's a good idea to link it and to discuss it.
• NOT ALLOWED: Unofficial errata, including "class fixes" (regardless of the source, including from the original author if not published in a WotC book) or fan-created content.
• ALLOWED: Unupdated WotC-published 3.0 material (e.g., Sword and Fist, Masters of the Wild, etc.) except for 3.0 psionics. No 3.0 psionics allowed. If you are using 3.0 material, use the general-purpose skill updates (Wilderness Lore becomes Survival, Innuendo becomes Bluff, etc.) and the general-purpose rules updates (spells with a casting time of "1 action" become "1 standard action," etc.) when appropriate.
• NOT ALLOWED: 3.0 material for which a direct 3.5 update exists. Use the updated material instead.
• ALLOWED: Dragon Compendium and its errata.
• NOT ALLOWED: Content from Dragon Magazine and/or Dungeon Magazine unless said content appears in an otherwise allowed source.
• ALLOWED: Oriental Adventures, including the 3.5 update to Oriental Adventures from Dragon Magazine #318. This is a specific exception to the "no Dragon" rule!
• NOT ALLOWED: Pathfinder content, regardless of whether it is "D&D 3.5 OGL" or not. If it didn't come from WotC, we don't want it.
• ALLOWED: From Unearthed Arcana: racial paragon classes, alternate class features/variant classes, spelltouched feats, and variant races. (Traits and flaws are technically legal, but traits warrant a -0.5 point penalty in Elegance, and flaws warrant a -1 penalty in Elegance.)
• NOT ALLOWED: Other Unearthed Arcana content, including (but not limited to) bloodlines, LA buyoff, fractional BAB/saves, alternate casting systems, alternate skill systems, item familiars, prestigious character classes, generic classes, gestalt, etc. When you're wondering if UA content is allowed, err on the side of caution and don't mess around with it.
• NOT ALLOWED: Leadership, regardless of source. Game elements functionally equivalent to Leadership (including, but not limited to, Dragon Cohort, Undead Leadership, and Thrallherd) are similarly banned. (Familiars, Improved Familiar, animal companions, Wild Cohort, psicrystals, elemental envoys, and similar game elements are allowed, and they are not considered to be "Leadership." If the difference isn't obvious, feel free to contact the Chair with specific questions.)
• NOT ALLOWED: Third-party content, homebrew, or other non-WotC content.
• NOT ALLOWED: Epic feats from the Epic Level Handbook. Just because you're "epic" in E6 after 6th level doesn't mean that you're that kind of epic.
• NOT ALLOWED: Any race or template with a level adjustment other than +0. (Or any other source of LA other than a race or template, if any such things exist.)
• NOT ALLOWED: For our judges: penalizing solely based on legal sources used, regardless of whether those sources are plentiful, sparse, common, obscure, or something in between. If the material is legal, then it doesn't matter how many or how few books it came out of.
• ALLOWED: Also for our judges: penalizing for using a source (other than material in Core; don't be vindictive about genuinely obvious stuff) that isn't listed in the build writeup. The chef may choose to present the sources in-line with the text, in a consolidated source list, or somewhere else, but if the source is listed (and is otherwise legal), it counts. If the source is not listed, you may choose to penalize for that.

If you have questions about anything in this section (or hell, in this ruleset), feel free to ask the Chair.
• Character Creation: 32 point buy is assumed. For the purposes of this contest, Level Adjustment greater than +0 is banned. (This may be revised at a later point, but I don't feel that the E6 LA rules are conducive to fun in the context of this contest.) No more than two entries per chef per contest, please; if you submit two builds and somehow are so overcome with inspiration for a third that you can't help yourself, PM me and tell me which two you care about the most.
• Highlighted because of past issues: It is not enough for your build to end with a level adjustment of +0. You must be +0 from start to finish. No using ANY build elements with a level adjustment above +0, even if they then get mitigated or reduced somehow.
• Speculation: Please do not post any form of speculation before the reveal. Just don't do it, guys. It's not cool. This means NOT posting any of the following or anything substantially similar: what you think is going to be common, significant elements of your planned build or of other potential builds, or anything else that could directly influence someone else's build choices for good or for ill. (It's acceptable to ask for rules clarifications as appropriate, but try to avoid tipping your hand too much.) Speculation is bad because it can discourage people from posting builds and can also "taint the judging pool" when it comes to Originality, so please just try to be aware of how other people might react to your speculation.
• E6: Here's how E6 works for the purposes of this contest. Build your character normally for the first six levels. After you reach level 6, you stop gaining levels and start gaining bonus feats every time you would gain 5,000 XP. Since we aren't actually tracking XP, you'll basically list your first ten epic bonus feats in the order that you take them, and we think of them as being kind of like levels. We will not use the LA-equals-reduced-point-buy rules, instead preferring to just ban races with LA, at least for now. We will not use the "capstone feats"; all feats that you take must be normal legal 3.5 feats, not homebrew E6 ones. You may not use the Epic feats from the Epic Level Handbook, though if for some reason there are non-Epic feats from the ELH that you qualify for, you may take those. (I don't think there are any, but I'm sure someone will prove me wrong.) It is up to the discretion of each judge whether this is a "hard E6" (magic above 3rd level spells is simply beyond mortal reach, items that have a listed CL above 6th are just plain not available, etc.) or a "soft E6" (if you can somehow get the magic on your character, it's yours, regardless of level), though I honestly don't expect it to come up. Don't go crazy with making assumptions about items and we probably won't have to find out.
• Presentation: Please use the table found below in the spoiler. List your epic bonus feats (in clear order) after the table. If you find a clever way of formatting that that isn't annoying and that doesn't break anything, have fun; if it's portable, I may steal it for the next round. When sending your build or any disputes to the Chair, clearly include your build's name in the subject of the PM, and please present your build exactly as you want the Chair to copy and paste it into the thread.
If you're using a picture, cite the source and follow any relevant citation rules. Because we have had issues with this in the past, when listing your skills, please make it very clear how many ranks you have at each level. There are multiple ways to do this and we do not wish to cramp anyone's individual style by dictating exactly how this must look, but make sure that somewhere in your entry there's an explanation of how many actual skill ranks you have. It's still fine to list total skill bonuses, if that's your style, but don't only list bonuses; make sure that there is a clear listing somewhere of your ranks alone.
Spoiler
Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
1st New Class Level +x +x +x +x Skills Feats New Class Abilities
2nd New Class Level +x +x +x +x Skills Feats New Class Abilities
3rd New Class Level +x +x +x +x Skills Feats New Class Abilities
4th New Class Level +x +x +x +x Skills Feats New Class Abilities
5th New Class Level +x +x +x +x Skills Feats New Class Abilities
6th New Class Level +x +x +x +x Skills Feats New Class Abilities
Code for the table:
Spoiler
[tr]
[th][B]Level[/B][/th]
[th][B]Class[/B][/th]
[th][B]Base Attack Bonus[/B][/th]
[th][B]Fort Save[/B][/th]
[th][B]Ref Save[/B][/th]
[th][B]Will Save[/B][/th]
[th][B]Skills[/B][/th]
[th][B]Feats[/B][/th]
[th][B]Class Features[/B][/th]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]1st[/td]
[td]New Class Level[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]Skills[/td]
[td]Feats[/td]
[td]New Class Abilities[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]2nd[/td]
[td]New Class Level[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]Skills[/td]
[td]Feats[/td]
[td]New Class Abilities[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]3rd[/td]
[td]New Class Level[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]Skills[/td]
[td]Feats[/td]
[td]New Class Abilities[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]4th[/td]
[td]New Class Level[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]Skills[/td]
[td]Feats[/td]
[td]New Class Abilities[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]5th[/td]
[td]New Class Level[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]Skills[/td]
[td]Feats[/td]
[td]New Class Abilities[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]6th[/td]
[td]New Class Level[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]+x[/td]
[td]Skills[/td]
[td]Feats[/td]
[td]New Class Abilities[/td]
[/tr][/table]
• Contest houserules: Nearly the same as the main contest's rules here: all creatures are proficient with natural weapons they have or may acquire, bonus feats that are explicitly granted without meeting prereqs are usable even without those prereqs, and feats that affect which skills are class skills for you and/or how you spend your skill points (Able Learner, Martial Study, Truename Training, Apprentice, etc.) apply immediately at the level at which you take them (even though you normally spend skill points before taking a feat). When taking Open Minded as an epic feat, any skill that has ever been a class skill for you (including through your class, your race, your feats, or similar game elements, though please don't muck around with retroactively making something stop being a class skill for some stupid reason) is a class skill when determining how the 5 granted skill points may be spent. All usual rules about HD-related skill caps apply. When taking Open Minded as a non-epic feat, treat it as normal; the class skills of the class you took at the level you gained Open Minded (plus race, feats, etc.) are your class skills for those skill points, similar to if Open Minded's skill points came straight from your class.
• Judging guidelines: The minimum score in a category is 1, and the maximum is 5. Judges are expected to be fair, consistent, and open-minded, and they are expected to make a good-faith effort to engage with any reasonable disputes that arise, especially when RAW is in question. That said, contestants are asked to not dispute more than necessary; let's do everything in good faith and really only dispute when a judge is being inconsistent, being unfair, or is otherwise grossly misinterpreting a build.
Judges may not penalize Originality solely because a build is a tribute or homage to an existing creative work (in or out of D&D canon; note that this is not the same thing as penalizing Originality for using well-known optimization tactics), nor may judges penalize based solely on sources used (whether those sources are plentiful, sparse, common, obscure, or something in between, you should judge the build elements and how they work together rather than what book or what books they came out of, as long as those books are legal for this contest and are cited in the entry).
As with the main contest, we will follow the "One Mistake, One Penalty" guideline, and it is very important that the judges adhere to it. I'm going to directly copy and paste this from the main thread, and hopefully the original author won't mind too much:
Spoiler
Judges are only allowed to penalise once for a given mistake. If someone messes up their skills and doesn't qualify for a PrC, ding them as hard as you like. Once. In one category. You don't then get to declare that because they didn't qualify for that PrC, they don't get those levels, and thus don't qualify for anything else. If Ranger is a common ingredient, ding them for Originality. Once. Don't also take off points for Two-Weapon-Fighting being a common ingredient.

Non-exhaustive list of examples:

Skills
Allowed:
• Giving a penalty for miscalculating the number of skill points gained
• Giving a penalty for not having enough ranks to meet a prerequisite
• Increasing the harshness of a skill miscalculation penalty if it affects critical skills including prereqs

Not allowed:
• Giving separate penalties for miscalculating skill points and for non-qualification where the non-qualification is solely caused by the miscalculation

Prereqs
Allowed:
• Giving a penalty for not meeting prereqs
• Scaling the penalty depending on how important the item that the build failed to qualify for is
• Giving minimum score in UotSI for not qualifying for the SI
• Not giving credit for (note: not the same as penalising for) tactics using feats or classes other than the SI that were not qualified for (but see below)

Not Allowed:
• "Cascading" failures to qualify - declaring that because a build doesn't qualify for a feat, for example, it also doesn't qualify for anything using that feat as a prereq
• Treating a build as having fewer levels than it does because of FtQ for classes

Other general things that are no longer allowed:
• Penalising because someone has chosen to build a tribute to an existing creative work
• Deciding that a backstory has not met a fluff prerequisite well enough, or because its method of meeting it is "unrealistic". You may penalise if a fluff prereq is not addressed at all, but not for how well it is addressed.

Note that these are protections, not licenses. Deliberately taking a feat that you know you don't qualify for hoping to just suck up the judging penalty for a feat that you couldn't normally take is not okay, and may lead to your build being disqualified.
• Dispute guidelines (NEW, PLEASE PAY ATTENTION): Disputing is long, annoying, and emotional. It's also sometimes necessary, but it's often not actually something that makes everyone have more fun. Let's go into a little more detail here.
Spoiler
• Do NOT dispute to make an argument that goes fundamentally beyond what's in your write-up. It is the responsibility of the chef to make sure that the write-up is complete and contains their best arguments for what the build does and why it's awesome. If you didn't explain your tactics well or didn't spell out something that a judge misses, just do better next time. Don't drag it out after the fact.
• Do NOT dispute just to be clever or witty or cheeky. Please. We're all adults here and so I assume you know what that means. Don't treat the build as a setup and your oh-so-clever dispute as the punchline. It's not as funny as it is in your head. Trust me. I've been down that road.
• Do NOT dispute just to say "oh yeah, my bad, I missed that" or some equivalent. If you're not directly challenging the judge, save the commentary until after the reveal. I 100% get that the urge to respond to commentary is very strong, but type it out and sit on it for a while if you've gotta.
• Do NOT dispute just to try to wheedle more points out of the judge. Note that this is different from saying that the judge is being truly unfair or is being truly wrong by black-and-white RAW. A dispute is NOT the place to try to scrape together a few last quarter-points. If you didn't put it in your write-up, that's on you. This also means that a dispute is really not the place to have long back-and-forth tit-for-tat arguments. That's a surefire way to get people grumpy. It's a contest on a D&D board, guys, not the results of a federal election.
• Do NOT dispute to tear down another build. That's just plain not cool. If you entered the contest, it's not on you to judge the other builds.
• DO dispute if the judge is being blatantly biased by giving you a substantially different ruling on a build element compared to another chef who used the same build element in nearly the same way. (Note that position in a build may affect if you're using that element in "nearly the same way" or not.) Please reserve this for the truly blatant examples. I mean it. Remember, it's the contestant's responsibility to make their best argument in the original write-up.
• DO dispute if the judge is actively going against the contest rules. Note that there are relatively few ways in which a judge can go against contest rules (we intentionally give very wide discretion to our judges), but examples include truly breaking One Mistake One Penalty, penalizing just because of number of sources of (legal) material, and so on.
• DO dispute if the judge is clearly ignoring unambiguous RAW. Note that this is for unambiguous RAW; if the RAW is shady and you're making an argument that isn't completely clear and that it wouldn't be strange for a GM to frown on, the judge has every right to frown on it as well. (You generally know when you're indulging in shady RAW. Be mature about this.) But if the judge is saying you didn't hit a prereq that you clearly did hit (and included in your write-up!), saying you can't do something that the plain text of the ability says you can do, or anything like that, by all means, call 'em out.
• Do NOT dispute if the judge doesn't agree with your interpretation of ambiguous RAW. Yes, this is a retread of the previous bullet point; this is that important. If you're relying on ambiguous RAW, it's on you to lay out clearly why it should work the way you want it to work. Again, be mature and act in good faith: you really know when you're pushing things like this. If they don't like it, they don't like it. Move on.

Disputing is a privilege, not a right. In the Chair's sole discretion, disputes that do not meet these guidelines and/or that do not seem to be offered in good faith may be suppressed.

• Other bits and bobs: If there's something major and relevant I haven't mentioned, assume that the way I handle it will probably be the same as the main contest unless stated otherwise or unless doing so would be an obviously absurd result. If you've got questions, I'll give you answers.

This round's secret ingredient:
the SHADOWCASTER, from Tome of Magic!

Allez Optimizer!

The Builds:
Coming soon!

Spoiler: Contest History

2. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Here's a few gentle recommendations that are intended to improve scores and make things easier for the judges. As always, THE RECOMMENDATIONS IN THIS POST ARE NOT RULES. Judges and contestants are free to honor them or ignore them; my intent here is only to help, and NONE of what I'm saying here is required. (That said, did you see the new dispute guidelines? Those ARE rules, so please go read them. And I'm even going to be better about enforcing them this time.)

Recommendations:
• Double-check ALL of your prereqs. Every. Single. One. Feats, PrCs, whatever. You might even go so far as to spell out when you meet each one, but again, that's not a requirement. But one of the single biggest causes of point loss is failure to meet prereqs.
• Tell the judges what's cool about your build! You spent hours or days on this (y'know, probably) and know it inside and out, but the judges are getting a whole bunch of these dishes all at once and don't know the build history of each one. You're significantly more likely to score well if you spell out exactly what makes you awesome than if you try to just let it stand on its own.
• Make it easy to read! Skill tables are awful, though they're an incredibly necessary evil. Full Monster Manual-style statblocks are occasionally useful but are also insanely dense if not formatted well. Judges are very likely to miss something if you aren't careful with how you present your info. Remember that judging takes a lot of time, energy, and focus, so don't rely on the judge being willing/able to decode something in order to see what makes you interesting!
• Be memorable. Remember that we're all using the same ingredient here. What makes you different?

This is going to be a hard round. I have the utmost respect for each and every one of you who committed to this (don't let me down!). I've tried so many times over the years to make a shadowcaster I feel comfortable bringing to the table, but every single time I chicken out at the last second and play something with more staying power instead. To go into an E6 setting knowing that you're not going to ever get to turn your whole suite of mysteries into SLAs is pretty gutsy, so I salute you already.

Now, remember that everyone's working in the same environment! Your job is both to make the best of it and to somehow stand out. As is always the case, I'm not judging and I'm not the one you need to impress, but if I were judging, I'd be most impressed by builds that both explain why their mysteries are awesome and why the character isn't a useless waste of space when they're not casting one of their, like, six mysteries per day. Which is a hell of an ask, but that's why this is a hard ingredient.

I have faith in all of you. I've given you two and a half weekends to work on this (if you work M-F, of course. Don't wanna assume too much), so I think you can do this. Remember, everyone's going to suck, so don't talk yourself out of that goofy take!

As a reminder, we are NOT using the "official unofficial fix" from Ari Marmell. Play with what actually got printed in ToM (plus any applicable official errata).

Bold, red, underlined, big. Anyone asks that question, feel free to mock them.

3. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Inspiration has struck.

4. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Originally Posted by Zaq
Here's a few gentle recommendations that are intended to improve scores and make things easier for the judges. As always, THE RECOMMENDATIONS IN THIS POST ARE NOT RULES. Judges and contestants are free to honor them or ignore them; my intent here is only to help, and NONE of what I'm saying here is required. (That said, did you see the new dispute guidelines? Those ARE rules, so please go read them. And I'm even going to be better about enforcing them this time.)

Recommendations:
• Double-check ALL of your prereqs. Every. Single. One. Feats, PrCs, whatever. You might even go so far as to spell out when you meet each one, but again, that's not a requirement. But one of the single biggest causes of point loss is failure to meet prereqs.
• Tell the judges what's cool about your build! You spent hours or days on this (y'know, probably) and know it inside and out, but the judges are getting a whole bunch of these dishes all at once and don't know the build history of each one. You're significantly more likely to score well if you spell out exactly what makes you awesome than if you try to just let it stand on its own.
• Make it easy to read! Skill tables are awful, though they're an incredibly necessary evil. Full Monster Manual-style statblocks are occasionally useful but are also insanely dense if not formatted well. Judges are very likely to miss something if you aren't careful with how you present your info. Remember that judging takes a lot of time, energy, and focus, so don't rely on the judge being willing/able to decode something in order to see what makes you interesting!
• Be memorable. Remember that we're all using the same ingredient here. What makes you different?

This is going to be a hard round. I have the utmost respect for each and every one of you who committed to this (don't let me down!). I've tried so many times over the years to make a shadowcaster I feel comfortable bringing to the table, but every single time I chicken out at the last second and play something with more staying power instead. To go into an E6 setting knowing that you're not going to ever get to turn your whole suite of mysteries into SLAs is pretty gutsy, so I salute you already.

Now, remember that everyone's working in the same environment! Your job is both to make the best of it and to somehow stand out. As is always the case, I'm not judging and I'm not the one you need to impress, but if I were judging, I'd be most impressed by builds that both explain why their mysteries are awesome and why the character isn't a useless waste of space when they're not casting one of their, like, six mysteries per day. Which is a hell of an ask, but that's why this is a hard ingredient.

I have faith in all of you. I've given you two and a half weekends to work on this (if you work M-F, of course. Don't wanna assume too much), so I think you can do this. Remember, everyone's going to suck, so don't talk yourself out of that goofy take!
This was a sweet addition to the post. Thanks for saying it, chair

5. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Can you use each fundamental that you choose 3 times per day?
or
Do you have 3 uses per day, one for each fundamental?

The tenses are a bit weird. You can choose one fundamental more than once and gain a "set of uses" but you only gain an additional fundamental (singular) at 4th level.

6. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

As I read it, each “instance” of knowing a fundamental means you can cast that specific fundamental 3/day. If you learn a fundamental a second time, you can use that specific fundamental an additional three times per day.

7. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

This is how you know they didn't edit it properly (other than the class maker saying it). Though it doesn't matter for this challenge, in the long term for a regular game there's no reason to do that, you'll eventually get it an unlimited number of times a day anyway.

8. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

I sent my monstrosity in. This class is bonkers.

9. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Blast even if i have problem with computer and cell i have to partecipate at this round! What is the time limit?On my old computer i had two idea one that was fantastisc and that i tried to use on one campaign!

10. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

The official deadline is Monday Nov 25th

11. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Originally Posted by daremetoidareyo
I sent my monstrosity in. This class is bonkers.
This class fits my wife's definition of "hot mess."

I keep starting ideas, and I keep having to stop because they're *not shadowcasters.* I don't know if I'll get a submission this round.

12. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Originally Posted by thorr-kan
This class fits my wife's definition of "hot mess."

I keep starting ideas, and I keep having to stop because they're *not shadowcasters.* I don't know if I'll get a submission this round.
That’s the problem: even shadowcasters are only shadowcasters for a few rounds each day. You’re on equal footing with everyone else. I say try it out anyway.

13. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Originally Posted by Zaq
That’s the problem: even shadowcasters are only shadowcasters for a few rounds each day. You’re on equal footing with everyone else. I say try it out anyway.
I tried grafting Truenamer and Shadowcaster together once just to create a class that has abilities that can be used consistently and abilities that (theoretically) function more than a couple of times a day. It was thematically and mechanically a mess.

I'm putting together my build over the next few days, should be ready by Monday.

14. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Getting close to the 72 hour mark! Got a couple dishes in. How’s everyone else doing? I know weekends tend to be prime build-time.

15. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

I'm thinking about a build and might be able to squeak it in

16. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Zaq i asked you something with a Message but when i have these answear i will be able to put my build

17. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Response provided. Sorry I missed it, but I appreciate the heads-up!

18. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

I found a ruling that messes with my original idea, still trying to make it work, but I've been... Distracted

19. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

More than any other competition, these deadlines always sneak up on me. That said, I think I've hit on an idea.

20. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

I love what I'm seeing so far, but I'm greedy and I always want more. Stay encouraged and determined, chefs! You've got this!

21. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

i originally wasn't going to enter. however, today of course, inspiration has struck. i may need an extra day to get it done, but may finish before the deadline. just a heads up

22. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

We can work something out.

23. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

I've submitted my build. There was a slight error with formatting I hope the chair can correct for the sake of thread space

24. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Yup, caught it already. You’re good.

25. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

I won’t be free tonight. Hard deadline is Wednesday, cool?

26. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Originally Posted by Zaq
I won’t be free tonight. Hard deadline is Wednesday, cool?
Quite. Thank you.

27. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Can't wait to see the builds for this heaping load of hot mess.

28. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Don't wait on me. I can't get it to gel, and holiday stuff has come up. So I won't be submitting.

I, too, am looking forward to what comes out.

29. ## Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge: E6 Appetizer Edition (Round XXI)

Iiiiiiincoming!

30. ## Fluffless

No fluff. All smooth. Like a polished rock. Sleep well, children.

Originally Posted by Fluffless
Spoiler: Racials

Whisper gnome (RoS 96)
+2 DEX/CON, -2 STR/CHA, Small (+1 AC/Attack, +4 Hide) Speed 30
Lowlight and Darkvision 60ft, Weapon Familiarity, +1 attacks vs kobold/goblinoids, +4 dodge to AC vs giants, +4 Hide/Move Silent, +2 Listen/Spot. SLA’s: 1/day Silence, Ghost sound, Mage Hand, Message
4d6+2d4+12 HP
STR 11 DEX 14 CON 12 INT 17 WIS 10 CHA 12
Racials:
STR 9 DEX 16 CON 14 INT 17 WIS 10 CHA 10
LVL 4 into INT

Spoiler: Build:

Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
1st Beguiler +0 +0 +0 +2 Bluff 4, Conc 4, Hide 4, Know Arcane 4, Move 4, Sleight 4, Spellcraft 4, Tumble 4, UMD 4 Precocious Apprentice – Distracting Ray Armored Mage (Light), Trapfinding, Spells
2 Shadowcaster +0 +2 +0 +4 Conc 5, Hide 5, Know Arc 5, Move 5, Spellcraft 5 - Fundamentals, Apprentice Mysteries
3rd Shadowcaster 2 +1 +3 +0 +5 Conc 6, Hide 6, Know Arc 6, Move 6, Spellcraft 6 Shadow Cast, (B)Still Mystery -
4th Shadowcaster 3 +1 +3 +1 +5 Conc 7, Hide 7, Move 7, Spellcraft 7, cc-Bluff 5 - Umbral Sight (+30ft)
5th Noctumancer +1 +5 +1 +7 Conc 8, Spellcraft 8, cc-Tumble 5, cc-UMD 5 - Capture Magic’s Shadow, +1 SC/Mysteries
6th Noctumancer 2 +2 +6 +1 +8 Conc 9, Spellcraft 9, cc-Tumble 6, cc-UMD 6 Shadow Familiar, (B)Alertness Innate Counterspell 1/day, +1 SC/Mysteries

Spoiler: Feats/Spells/Mysteries

1-Precocious Apprentice – 2nd level casting
3- Shadow Cast – pick an unthreatened adjacent square (behind you) no AoO for casting/sla’s
3- Still Mystery – no somatic component for mysteries, they can’t be identified now
6- Shadow Familiar – gain a familiar w/ the dark template at full master level
1- Practiced Spellcaster (Beguiler) +4 CL up to HD, so CL 6
2- Improved Familiar
3- Martial Study (Action Before Thought) – use Concentration for REF saves
4- Shape Soulmeld (Lamia Belt) - +4 to Bluff/Hide
5- Favored Mystery (Sight Eclipsed) – becomes Su, 3/day
6- Extra Silence – 3 uses of racial Silence
7- Favored Mystery (Thoughts of Shadow) – becomes Su, 3/day
8- Battle Caster – can now cast in MED armor w/o ASF
9- Darkstalker – creatures w/ special senses must make listen/spot to see you
10- Able Sniper - +2 on ranged attack vs FF 30+ft away, gain +4 on hide checks after attacking
[b]Spells/Mysteries per day
3rd lvl Arcane at CL 6:]/b]
1: 0-5, 1-4, 2-1
5: 0-6, 1-5, 2-1
6: 0-6, 1-6, 2-1

Depending on how you read the bonus spells per day entry in the PHB p8, the ability to cast 2nd lvl spells is the determining factor for bonus spells/day. Since you can cast a 2nd lvl spell at 1st lvl through the Precocious Apprentice Feat, you should qualify for a bonus slot of 2nd level due to a high INT. This is not reflected in the table, but should you agree with that reasoning, add 1 to each 2nd lvl spell slot at all levels.
Beguiler gives you access to Abjuration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Evocation, Illusion, and Transmutation at lvl 1. Spell Selection for Precocious Apprentice: Distracting Ray (SpC 69): no save, no SR close range, ranged touch that forces a DC17+spell lvl concentration check or spell being cast is lost.
3rd lvl Fundamentals/Mysteries:
Fundamentals usable 3/day, Mysteries 1/day
2: Arrow of Dusk, Sight Obscured 2x, Steel Shadows
5: Arrow of Dusk +1, Afraid of the Dark
6: Sight Eclipsed
Fundamentals:
Arrow of Dusk (taken twice) – Med range ray, no save, no SR, 2d4 nonlethal, crits x3
Sight Obscured (taken twice) – 1rd/lvl +5 hide/sleight or other check to conceal actions/gestures
Umbral Mind Path:
1- Mesmerizing Shade: close range, will save partial, dazed and -1 attacks/checks/saves 1 round
2- Thoughts of Shadow: 1min/lvl, +4 to INT or WIS or CHA
3- Afraid of the Dark: med range, will save for half, 1d6+1 WIS damage
1- Steel Shadows: 10min/lvl, +3 shield and +3 armor bonus to AC
2- Sight Eclipsed: 1rd/lvl, can attempt hide checks while being observed
at 6th, it’ll be a Dark Weasel (+2 to REF saves)
at epic 2nd we’ll change to improved familiar and use the Gem Scarab from MMV
Dark Onyx Gem Scarab Familiar
N Small Magical Beast (Extraplanar)
Tremorsense 30ft, Listen +6, Spot +4
AC 19 (touch 11, flat 16) (+8 NA)
Speed 50, fly 70 avg, burrow 25, climb 20
Melee: BAB +2, Bite +2 1d4-1
SLA: Deathwatch 6/day (0th level spell from the Healer’s spell list, Mini 11)
Darkvision 60ft, Hide in Plain Sight, Resistance Cold 10, Superior Low Light Vision
Str 9, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 15, Cha 10
Alertness, Climb +9, Hide +7 (+15 in sand), Listen +6, Spot +4 (+10 racial on climb, and can always take 10), Improved Evasion, Share Spells, Empathic Link, Deliver Touch Spells, Speak with Master
Deathwatch gives you information on how close to death targets within a 30ft cone are. Each use is good for 10 minutes/lvl, and SLA’s are usually HD=CL (since familiar’s are special, that makes it for CL 6, or an hour at a time). Knowing which targets are close to death allows you to target them with your Arrow of Dusk to knock them out of the fight.

Spoiler: Explanations

So shadowcaster sucks, on that we can all agree. Class feature’s that are only usable a few times a day, and the rest of the time you have to be something else. Even the feats designed around the class either only grant an extra use 1-2x/day, making them poor choices to invest in as well for the most part. On top of that, any investment into this class destroys your BAB, so you’ll never be a frontline damage dealer either.
I’ve tried to use some of the available options to the shadowcaster, and enhance them, as well as to give myself more options for things to do in and out of combat. This starts out by having Beguiler be the base class for far more skill points, and arcane casting. Then following this with 3 ranks in the SI, finishing off with 2 ranks of Noctumancer, which progresses both the Beguiler’s arcane casting, as well as our mystery progression for Arcane CL of 6th, and Mystery 5th.
Umbral Sight stacks with our racial vision to grant Darkvision 90ft.
Precocious Apprentice allows us to hit 2nd level spells, as well as gives a potent attack vs enemy casters right from the get go. Shadow Cast grants you the ability to use all your spells/mysteries w/o provoking AoO’s as long as you aren’t completely surrounded, and Still Mystery makes all your mystery casting unidentifiable.
Shadow Familiar is explained above, but is most beneficial as you get full familiar advancement out of it instead of just partial. Martial Study shores up the abysmal REF save, while Shape Soulmeld stacks on bonus’s to Bluff and Hide. Favored Mystery bumps those 2 up to 3x day uses along with Extra Silence for the same, and Battle Caster gets us into Medium armor for more survivability. Darkstalker forces that astronomical spot vs our hide to be seen, and able sniper both grants a situational bonus to ranged attacks, as well as yet another bonus to hide.
Sight Obscured can be used with Bluff, Hide, Move Silently, Sleight of Hand and Tumble. The familiar shores up Arrows of Dusk making them more potent. We can buff any of our mental stats for what is most important in the moment thrice daily, get a boost to AC, or inflict WIS damage on a foe.
Our familiar has HiPs, and we nearly have it through our mystery. Total Hide score with everything up and activated comes out to +30. If you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself in melee combat, hopefully a +16 to your bluff check will help you to feint or otherwise cause a diversion. As a fun exercise in thought, your familiar is actually bigger than you, and uses and succeeds on a HiPs hide check, would your +30 modifier allow you to then use him as cover and hide behind him?
Noctumancer’s 2 class abilities present a bit of a problem, and for that we turn to UMD to help out. Dispel Magic is out of reach on our spell list, but with UMD we can attempt to use wands or scrolls (at a max of +8 to the check), or to do the same with mysteries that have been used with item creation feats to do the same. The second ability however can be used to burn off less awesome mysteries to outright counterspell, and in keeping that awesome shadowcaster tradition alive, once per day.

Spoiler: Sources

Complete Arcane: Battle Caster, Practiced Spellcaster, Precocious Apprentice
Complete Scoundrel: Improved Familiar
Magic of Incarnum: Lamia Belt, Shape Soulmeld
PHB2: Beguiler
Races of Stone: Extra Silence, Whisper Gnome
Races of the Wild: Able Sniper
Tome of Battle: Action Before Thought, Martial Study
Tome of Magic: Dark Creature Template, Feats (Favored Mystery, Shadow Cast, Shadow Familiar, Still Mystery), Fundamentals/Mysteries, Noctumancer, Shadowcaster

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