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In Sandstorm, there is a weapon that seems neigh superflous: the Great Falchion. I adore Great Scimmy because its usable (if anything) without Exotic Proficiency. And I love the Falchion from the Core. However, a slight die upgrade and no crit boost seems like a wasted feat. Am I missing something?
and can Falchion be optimized in a ToB melee build? I just feel its damage is good and it'd seriously look BA with a guy in medium armor.
Even a small boost without a penalty or limitation is worth it in core. Outside of core, the powergamers say "Hahahaha, penalties? What are those? A trick here and there and they're gone." So... really it depends what books you're allowed to play with. All books? Then no, it's not worth the feat.
In answer to your original post, I would say no. 1d12 18-20/*2 with no special properties is not worth spending a feat on. It's not even good for an exotic weapon.
In answer to your second question, there is no particular way to optimize a falchion. There are no falchion specific feats. The falchion lacks reach, making it a poor choice for any combo involving AoO. The threat range is decent, which is helpful when you're not fighting crit immune creatures, which are common. But optimizing crits is a trap, in that the cost benefit ratio (investing in Improved Crit, Psychic Weapon Master, etc) barely increases your expected damage.
So just do any ToB build, and use a falchion as your primary weapon.
If you're low on books, improved crit is worth the feat. If you're tweaking your character and need every feat, try a source of the keen edge spell or at high levels the scabbard of keen edges. While there's not much available to optimize crits, you don't need much to outpace a greatsword. Just focus mostly on regular damage instead, and let the crit damage come naturally or whenever you find a cheap and easy crit boost. When you can't crit, you'll still barely be behind at all.
Yeah, you can't really optimize the Falchion specifically. A few tricks are:
1. Get the Falchion to be Keen and have some sort of Burst/Thundering on it ASAP.
2. Use Bonecrusher (Stone Dragon 3) to basically auto-confirm your crits. Claw at the Moon (Tiger 2) also grants a bonus on crit confirmation.
3. If your DM let's Improved Critical and Keen stack (by RAW they do not), and maybe even if he doesn't, use Blood in the Water (Tiger 1) as your stance: each crit during combat grants an untyped +1 to attack and damage! Honestly Punisher's Stance (Iron Heart 1) is probably better though .
4. It's minor, but Fleshripper (Tiger 3) applies greater penalties if you crit, so maybe learn it as well?
This is all basically set up by level 12 at the very latest (to have say a +1 Keen Shocking Burst Falchion, and know all of these maneuvers and stances), so just learn other juicy stuff and take some pretty standard charger/generally good feats and go to town. You'll obviously have to go Warblade so you can learn Iron Heart, Tiger Claw, and Stone Dragon stuff, but that's great: it means you can also get IRON HEART SURGE!!!! and that if you find a really great non-Falchion weapon during play, you can use Weapon Aptitude to re-apply all of your focuses/specializations/imp criticals (if you take them, they're a trap but if you are playing low-moderate power campaign it's not the end of the world).
Another problem with ToB + Criting is that bonus damage from manevuers (any that give +xd6) is not multiplied in a critical. Look for manevuers that give you static bonus (such as Leading the Charge stance) or strikes that do other things besides +xd6 damage like Emerald Razor.
A beholder’s favorite foods include small live mammals, exotic mushrooms and other fungi, gnomes, beef, pork, colorful leafy vegetables, leaves, flower petals, insects, and birds.
Good or Neutral Alignment
Orc or Half-Orc Race
Falchion as Weapon
A G/N alignment rules out Disciple of Dispater.
But yeah, a ToB + Crit build isn't that different from your everyday ToB build. Just taking maneuvers that have to do with crits (and as Keld said, you don't want +xdy damage maneuvers), picking up a Keen Falchion and going to town is as simple as it gets. Beyond that, you are starting to sacrifice something real to get more crits, and that gets counterproductive fast.
But if you do want to invest in it, you can do some stuff. Like getting your hands on a Kaorti Resin Falchion and a Sacred Scabbard (MIC 183). The former costs a feat on the appropriate EWP, the second disallows magical crit-enhancers on the weapon itself, probably locking you into taking Improved Critical. You could take Power Critical (CWar 103), but that's another feat, and this one sucks. You see where this is going. =/
You may want greater Truedeath and Demolition weapon crystals, depending on the campaign.
Like most exotic weapons, it really isn't worth a feat.
If you can wrangle a 1 level dip in the Master of Masks PrC (CS), the Gladiator Mask gives you auto proficiency with ALL exotic weapons. It has some steep skill reqs for a melee type though (Bluff, Disguise, Perform [act] all 8 ranks).
1. Get the Falchion to be Keen and have some sort of Burst/Thundering on it ASAP.
Burst, thundering and keen all do less damage on average than other weapon enchantments. Even with a falchion's crit range. Like I said, it's best to add normal damage boosters and let the normal crits easily overcome the 2 damage difference between a greatsword and falchion (and then some). And such boosters are useful on crit-immune baddies to boot, leaving you only a hair behind a greatsword in these encounters. Focusing specifically on crits will only shoot yourself in the foot.
Your best options are greater magic weapon and strength boosts, followed by the normal +1d6 damage enchantments (even though crits don't multiply d6's). Any class features or feats that increase base damage help too.
In the best case scenario, a high crit range weapon has a .30 (chance of having a crit with the Improved Crit or Keen effect) * .95 (chance of confirming a crit against someone with low AC) chance of getting *2 damage. If you have 3-4 attacks per round, and you're making a full attack, you're likely to get a crit once (essentially just giving you one more attack per turn). Assuming that you have 3-4 attacks per round, and assuming the enemy isn't immune to crits, and assuming that the enemy doesn't have high AC (making confirming the crit far less likely, barring a further investment in various things), that's not much of a return on your investment.
By comparison, there are dozens of ways to multiply damage or add attacks or add scaled damage 100% of the time.
Well, obviously you focus on your crits. Prismatic Burst from MiC is a decent crit enhancement and I recall others. Then there's of course the Lightning Mace-crap, but that requires...well, it's a tad cheesy. And yeah, Disciple of Dispater, Weapon Master and a dozen other 3.0 PrCs (Sword & Fist and Book of Vile Darkness contain those two) are best when it comes to crits.
Kaorti Resin is a very worthwhile buff for your Falchion, effectively upping the crit from 18-20/x2 to 18-20/x4 (and 15-20/x4 with a crit range increase). It costs you EWP, but that increase is actually worth 1 feat for a crit-focused build.
Also, Blood in the Water-stance from Tiger Claw is an excellent fit for a heavy critter, though obviously works better with TWF than THF; THF really likes stuff like Diamond Nightmare Blade from Diamond Mind, in combination with Power Attack (makes for nice crits).
Yeah, a crit-using Warblade is a decent character. The only issue is that crit immunity is easy to come by later on and while many things still trigger if opp is immune (like Prismatic Burst, Blood in the Water and company; focus on those), it'll still take lion's share of your damage. Oh, and Collision-weapon property from SRD is great for this since unlike bonus dice, it IS multiplied.
You lose two points compared to equivalent-level die bonuses, but it works vs. everything AND it's multiplied on crits.