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DnD3.5e: I could use a little help

If he's going to go rogue/wizard, there's no reason to dip swordsage. Dex to damage is nice, but it's not worth losing two levels of spellcasting, and Greater Invisibility takes care of most of his sneak attack needs.

Greater invisibility comes online a lot later than most games end, and requires a standard round to buff. Cloak of Shadows can be used as a swift action and allows a rogue to full attack. Shadow blade is always active, as is Assassin's Stance. If you wait til level 5 or 6, it only takes 1 level of swordsage to grab both and sundry other useful maneuvers (such as Sudden Leap).

Originally Posted by Rejakor View Post
Unseen Seer is hands down the best arcane/sneaky class, and really, the best spellcasting/sneaky combo prestige class in the game full stop.

The Divination Mastery thing doesn't 'cripple' your spells, it gives them -1 CL, which is counteracted by practiced spellcaster, so in reality, given that you're going to have practiced spellcaster ANYWAY to offset your rogue levels, you basically just net a free +1 divination.

As for duskblade spellthief etc, i'd really recommend rogue/wizard. Duskblade is kind of okay at low levels but it very very quickly loses puff and it has few of the utility spells that can really make a rogue shine. When you have the BAB to qualify, levels in Abjurant Champion are a good idea as well. Dipping swordsage gets you access to Shadow Blade and Assassin's Stance which help your sneak attack damage, as well as various utility maneuvers including going invisible for a round (!!) and being able to avoid full attack and charges. Typically take it one level before you get to prestige out, as the higher level you take it the better but you don't want to delay your prestiges too long.
Not really sure how a rogue/wizard is able to be recommended for a duskblade/spellthief build, but it does make me consider the abjurant champion route. I've never used maneuvers before, but I've seen them used often enough, typically with devastating results. I'll consider that for a backup. And when I was referring to the divination mastery, it was for that DB/ST/DSM build Greyfeld mentioned. Sure, practiced spellcaster would balance out the debuff, but it's still taking away a buff that's already there. Besides, I think illusion spells would benefit a sneaky type more often than divination.

The point of unseen seer is that it gives full spell progression.

It also gives 6+int skillpoints, a good class skill list for a rogue, and occasional sneak attack and not terrible HD and BAB.

It gives you the options and utility of a caster while remaining definably a 'rogue'. I've played rogue/wizard/unseen seers at both high and low level, and they 'feel' like a rogue while keeping up with the 'big boy' spellcasters. Daggerspell mage doesn't really do that. It's okay at low levels because you can use touch spells with your full attack, but the lost caster levels really add up quickly and you lose puff fairly fast.

As for Duskblade, at level 5 it's kind of neat, you're shocking grasping and hitting people with a weapon at the same time. At nearly any level beyond that, it's very weak as your blasting and melee potential are both very sub-par. It also doesn't really feel 'roguelike'. If you want duelist style dagger fighter, that's different, and honestly i'd be looking at Swordsage/Warblade and Jack B Quick/nausea lockdown builds, as opposed to anything else.

1 level of Spellthief and the Master Spellthief feat is something you can add on top of anything castery. It's not really a base build, it's more of an optional addon if you have a level you don't really need for anything else.

Illusion spells typically don't care about caster level at all except for duration, which isn't often an issue (usually you break your invisibility by sneak attacking, or get past whatever you were stealthing past, before it becomes an issue, or the illusion lasting for 10 minutes longer doesn't matter as they would find out anyway when it broke that the macguffin is gone). Divinations do because of nondetection, which is defeated by a Caster Level Check. It's not a huge point, you're really not going to notice -1 CL or +1 CL much either way, even if you're blasting, 1d6 is 3.5 damage on average, and if you're an unseen seer, you shouldn't be blasting, you should be buffing yourself and then murder-daggering people.

Either way, don't forget Darkstalker, and pack lots of scentblind oil, and when in doubt, run away (rogue style).

You know, after reading a lot of this stuff, I ended up looking at shadowcasters and some of the shadow magic prestige classes. A few of those look pretty cool, but it sucks that they often require contact with the shadow plane to enter them.

The shadow plane is cotangent with the material. Have a chat to your DM, but shadow creatures and openings to the plane of shadow should be relatively common in the prime material.

Shadowcasting is mechanically broken, though, like truenaming. It doesn't really do anything until the level when wizards are gating around the place and being dragons. There's a couple of mechanical fixes floating around the place.

I've always like shadowcrafting, too, more real than real illusions.

speaking as a Duskblade, if its puffing out you are doing something wrong. i am currently level 10 and i average 50 damage from a single hit with a guarenteed hit. now for the way i do it there is a bit of set up.
round 1 swift cast blade of blood sacrificing 5 hp to add 3d6 to my next hit, standard cast true strike
round 2 activate Arcane strike dumping 3rd level spell +3d4 damage, channel shocking grasp +5d6.
i am using a great sword +1 shock so there is another 3d6 and with my strength modifer i get +8 damage.

i am also running around in plate armor (battle caster feat) so i can stand on the front line and hammer at stuff. now if i had thought to run more like a rouge and get SA damage and hit with a lighter weapon i would be adding even more damage for giving up just a little off of my base weapon. short sword +1 shock and 2d6 SA (3 rouge) is a net of +1 dice and the ability to enter a PrC that adds to both my SA and my CL? super.

that wasn't the style i wanted to play myself so i didn't go that rout. this makes a great glass cannon build with lots of damage potential.

A level 10 orc barbarian can do;

2d6 (greatsword) + 18 (2h'ing, raging, 18str+4race+4rage+4Belt) + 20 (Power Attack) +3 enh bonus on the sword + 3 Gauntlets of War, for an average unbuffed mostly gearless total of 50 with a total attack bonus of 10(BAB) + 10 (str) +3 (sword) -10 (PA) = +13.

A level 10 orc barbarian using Core + Complete Warrior can do;

2d6 (greatsword) + 18 (2h'ing etc) + 30 (Leap Attacking Power Attack) + 6 sword enh and gloves of war, with an attack bonus of +23, on a charge, and then as a full attack after the charge as well.

A level 10 grey orc barbarian 6/fighter 4 using Core + Complete Warrior + Orc web enhancement can do;

2d6 (greatsword) + 20 (2h'ing etc) + 30 (Leap Attacking Power Attack) + 6 sword enh and gloves of war x2 (Heedless Charge) for an average of 124 on a charge, at +23 to hit, unbuffed. Then he gets to bullrush, and if he can make them reach a wall by any diagonal, then they take 4d6+30+10. Then he can full attack for the same amount next turn.

This is without any real optimization, and is on a barbarian chassis. By this level, clerics are turning huge (GOMU GOMU NO DIVINE POWER DESU) and wizards are rewriting reality and reading the future in tea leaves. Duskblade can, a limited number of times per day, do 50ish damage relatively easily.

i never said it was a perfect method for doing damage. according to many my character is not 'optimized' either. having said both of those however, the duskblade gets some things that orc barbarian doesn't. the duskblade has spells which means when i do my full combo i am guarenteed a hit. i can also fall back on the spells i have at range. yes i am much less effective with just the spells but i don't HAVE to close.

now i am not going to argue that a properly played barbarian can kick out huge amounts of damage over the duskblade. however, that wasn't the point at all. in fact your post is completly not related to the intent of the OP. this was about some variety of combat caster. now hold on let me check my books right quick. . . . . . . nope not finding ANY spellcasting for the barbarian in any book.

this player has a specific vision of how he wants his character to function. we should be trying to work within the framework he has given. so while i have no problem conceding that your little barbarian work up can out damage me in its limited field, it has no bearing on this discussion and should instead have its own thread.

My point was that the Duskblade loses steam in comparison to both melee characters and caster characters at levels above 5. You contested my point with an example. I stated an example in opposition. My example was not attempting to state that the person who started this thread ages ago should play a barbarian, but simply that in comparison to a barbarian, such as one that might be found in the prospective player's party, a duskblade is mechanically weaker, since it relies on a per/day mechanic, and does less damage as a melee combatant even so. My suggestion was to use a class that is NOT mechanically weaker than your average melee character found in a DnD party.


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