Originally Posted by Norwirk
I know I need Two Weapon Fighting and ... i think its called Over Sized Two Weapon fighting feats? And the Exotic Weapon feat because you can use a bastard sword in two hands fine without it but only in one with the feat or something...
Welcome to the Forum! Please be aware, when you ask for build advice around here, it generally goes something like this:
1) You say "Hey, I have this really cool idea, I wanna use X and Y and Z!"
2) Forum says, "OMG that's absolutely horrible, never use X and Y and Z, here's a mathematical formula that proves X, Y and Z will horribly and irrevocably ruin your game and cause cancer in puppies. If you play anything other than <blah> (usually some variation of Wizard 20/Cleric 20/Druid 20) you're doing it wrong, so wrong that we will publicly hunt you down and shame you for it."
3) Stunned anger, usually followed by an agonizing few months as the very slow and painful realization that the forum was probably right sinks in...
Anyway, I absolutely love TWFing with bastard swords, even though I know it's not "Optimized" and it may cause cancer in cute little puppies. Very briefly, there's a few problems with TWF that we need to address before we get down to brass tacks:
1) It's feat-intensive. You only have seven basic feat slots over your 20-level career, and just the basic TWF feats eat up half of those. Ranger helps a bit here, but the biggest worry is to avoid not-so-obvious traps that *seem* like they help TWF but actually make it worse... stuff like Spring Attack or Two-Weapon Defense.
2) It has low damage output, particularly compared to your basic wombat fighter using just a two-handed weapon and Power Attack. We need some bonus damage to keep it somewhat competitive. Ranger Favored Enemy helps a little bit, but not enough. Sneak Attack sometimes works well, but if you have access to Complete Adventurer (that's the one with Oversize TWF, one of my favoritest feats ever even though it's mostly garbage) and Complete Scoundrel, then we can rack up some decent bonus damage from a Skirmish/Swift Hunter build.
3) To make TWF work, you need a reliable way to move + full attack every round, or enough rounds to make it worthwhile. Travel Devotion (from Complete Champion) can help out here, but Person_Man created a nice list of Ways to Get Pounce or Free Movement
So, here's what I'd recommend to start with:
Race: Human, Azurin, or Strongheart Halfling
1) Ranger 1. Feat: Travel Devotion. Bonus: Track. Human: EWP Bastard Sword.
2) Ranger 2. Bonus: TWF
3) Scout 1. Feat: Oversize TWF. Skirmish 1d6.
4) Scout 2.
5) Scout 3. Skirmish 1d6AC+1.
6) Scout 4. Feat: Swift Hunter. Bonus: Improved Skirmish. Skirmish 2d6AC+1./4d6AC+3.
7) Ranger 3. Bonus: Endurance. Skirmish 2d6AC+2/4d6AC+4.
8) Ranger 4. Swap Animal Companion -> Distracting Attack ACF (PHBII)
9) Ranger 5. Feat: Travel Devotion x2. Skirmish 3d6AC+2/5d6AC+4.
10) Ranger 6. Bonus: Imp. TWF.
11) Ranger 7. Skirmish 3d6AC+3/5d6AC+5.
12) Ranger 8. Feat: Combat Reflexes.
13) Ranger 9. Skirmish 4d6AC+3/6d6AC+5.
14) Ranger 10.
15) Ranger 11. Feat: Double Hit (Miniatures HB). Bonus: Greater TWF. Skirmish 4d6AC+4/6d6AC+6.
16) Ranger 12.
17) Ranger 13. Skirmish 5d6AC+4/7d6AC+6.
18) Ranger 15. Feat: Robilar's Gambit.
19) Ranger 16. Skirmish 5d6AC+5/7d6AC+7.
20) Ranger 17. Hide in Plain Sight.
For Favored Enemies, take 1st: Undead, 2nd: Constructs, 3rd: Elementals, and 4th: Oozes or Plants, whichever you prefer. Why? Swift Hunter does something else other than let you stack Scout/Ranger for Skirmish damage, it also allows you to apply skirmish damage to favored enemies that would normally be immune to skirmish. Undead are the most common enemy you'll probably encounter at all possible levels. Constructs are also quite common, and can get extremely nasty at mid/high levels. Elementals aren't quite so common, but continue to get bigger and nastier. Plants tend to be slow and flammable. Oozes are more like traps than creatures, you can usually just walk around them so long as you spot them in time, but unlike vine strike
, golem strike
, and grave strike
, there is no "ooze strike" spell.
ACF = "Alternate Class Feature". This means you swap some of your class abilities (usually not-so-useful ones) for different class abilities (usually much more useful ones). There are several you'll want to consider:
Trap Expert (from Dungeonscape): swap Track for Trap Sense and Disable Device as a class skill. While Track may seem important, more often it's just window dressing thrown in as an afterthought to make the Ranger seem useful: if it's vitally important information, the DM will make sure the players find it regardless of whether or not you make your Track roll. Trap Sense is generally seen as more useful, and you're not quite so fragile as a rogue, so this means you can take over Trapfinding/Disabling duties if the party doesn't have a rogue or the rogue gets squished.
Spiritual Connection (from Complete Champion): Wild Empathy has a chance to improve the attitude of an animal. Spiritual Connection, however, lets you talk to the animal/plant directly, find out key information (who needs Track now? The effin' oak trees saw everything!), ask the animal/plant out to tea, get their opinions on bearded dwarfs, etc. Much more useful.
Distracting Attack (from PHBII): Your animal companion is a bloody smear waiting to happen. It advances so slowly that you'll spend more time and resources in combat just trying to keep it alive than it can give you anything by helping. Distracting Attack renders a foe as "flanked" on a successful hit (even ranged hits). This may not help you directly, but if you have anyone else in the party that relies on Sneak Attack for damage, they will be your BFF.
Skilled City Dweller (from the Cityscape Web Enhancement
): This lets you swap Ride as a class skill for Tumble. A couple ranks in Ride and a high Dex will probably be all you ever need (generally a DC 5 to stay in a saddle). A high Tumble check helps you avoid AoOs or move through opponents, which you'll need if you're trying to activate skirmish every round. Get it *really* high, like 40+, and you can take a 10' step instead of a 5' step.
PrCs to Consider:
Highland Stalker (from Complete Adventurer). Dipping in for two levels gives you +1d6 skirmish damage, which is generally faster than waiting four levels for Scout/Ranger to give you the same damage boost. However, you'll need to keep the Track feat to qualify, in which case you can't use the Trap Expert ACF.
Dragon Devotee (from Races of the Dragon). Four levels gives you +2d6 skirmish damage and 1st level Sorcerer spellcasting. Make sure you choose two divination spells (such as true strike
and maybe critical strike
), and this helps you qualify for...
Unseen Seer (from Complete Mage). Four levels gives you another +2d6 skirmish damage, and you can take the hunter's mercy
spell (PHBII) as a sorcerer with a much higher caster level.
You may also want to consider dipping Fighter 2 (for Power Attack and Weapon Focus: Bastard Sword), and then taking a level of Exotic Weapon Master (from Complete Warrior). This lets you take the Exotic Weapon Stunt "Uncanny Blow", which allows you to treat your one-handed bastard swords as two-handed weapons for the purposes of calculating Power Attack damage. This lets you rack up Power Attack multipliers (Valorous weapon enhancement, Leap Attack, etc.) right along with the two-handed wombats.