Eclipsing Optimized Builds

   Eclipse is supposed to make things easier in d20 – and “optimization” is an ever-popular tactic. Of course, an over-optimized character tends to be dull to play, as well as annoying to the game master. Nevertheless, Eclipse does make things easier. Here then is a quick optimized boss-skirmisher – designed to rush forward, take out a major foe, and then fall back.

   After you do this once or twice, you’ll probably get a look from the game master that calls for making another character. Oh well.

   Just for fun, this is going to be a first-level build, and I’m going to presume that the characters only weapon is a piece of wood – although we will be exploiting the fact that bonus points from disadvantages, duties, and bonus feats, fall outside the usual adventurer-framework restrictions. I’ll also presume that the game master is willing to put up with a quite absurd character design, at least for experimental purposes.

   Advric Senjean

   First Level Human Harbinger of Doom

  • Basic Attributes: Str 18, Con 14, Int 8, Dex 12, Wis 10, Cha 8. (28-point buy attributes).
  • Disadvantages: Broke, Irreverent, and Obligations (10), Illiterate (2), and Duties (to the local baron, +2/Level).
  • Total available character points: 48 (Level One Base) + 14 (Disadvantages) + 12 (Level One Bonus Feat and Human Bonus Feat) = 74, 26 of which may be spent outside of the Adventurer framework restrictions.

   Basic Purchases (30 Points):

  • Proficient with All Simple Weapons, Light Armor, and Shields (9)
  • +7 Skill Points (7)
  • +2 on Fortitude Saves (6)
  • d12 Hit Die (8) (14 Hit Points at level one).
  • Initial BAB +0 (no cost) (Not that he will care, see below).

   Special Abilities (44 Points):

  • Reflex Action/Three actions per day variant, Specialized in Movement for Double Effect (may invoke it and then take two extra move actions), Corrupted/only while wearing light or no armor and lightly encumbered, 4).
  • Split Movement, Specialized, only when taking Reflex Action movement (3).
  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses. Specialized: only for attack rolls (6)
  • Berserker, with Odinpower and Odinmight (12). When Berserk, +20 Str and -2 on Reflex Saves.
    • The following abilities are all Specialized/only while Berserk for half price:
      • Enhanced Strike/Crushing (Corrupted/only with quarterstaves, 2): May combine an entire attack sequence into a single strike once per minute.
      • Enhanced Strike/Hammer (Corrupted/only with quarterstaves, 2): Once per minute the user may launch an attack at +5 to hit and inflict maximum damage on a hit.
      • Enhanced Strike/Hurling with Return (Corrupted/only with quarterstaves, 3): Once per minute the user may throw a weapon for double damage and have it come back to him after the attack.
      • Four Bonus Attacks with Quarterstaves (12): Allows five strikes, admittedly all of them at -8 To Hit.

   Sadly, I suspect that any sane game master will insist on the usual rule for adding multipliers there, and will only allow that “doubled damage” from hurling to take us from x5 damage on our attack to x6. Oh well.

   The basic strategy here is to (1) Spot an opponent. (2) Use a Reflex Action to rush forward up to 60′ to get within – say – twenty to forty feet of said opponent. (3) Trigger your Berserk as a free action and get your Strength up to 38. (4) Take your normal action to make a full attack using Crushing (x5 damage), Hammer (+5 to hit and maximum damage), Hurling (raising damage to x6 and allowing your weapon to be thrown and then return), and Luck (to “Take 20” on your attack roll), thus getting a “natural” 20 to hit, an attack total of 20 (rolled) + 14 (strength) +5 (hammer) -8 (bonus attacks) = 31, and scoring 6 (maximized d6 due to Hammer) + 21 (1.5x Strength bonus due to using a two-handed weapon) = 27 base. Of course, we now multiply by 6, for a total of 162 points of damage (a little more if the followup roll confirms the critical).

   The next round, and until the Berserk runs out in a total of six rounds, or the character takes too much damage and either goes down or has to use a Reflex Action move to escape, the character simply smites any remaining enemies around him, launching five strikes at +6 (+14 strength, -8 for bonus attacks) to hit for 1d6+21 (1.5x Strength Bonus) damage each.

   There are ways to make this worse, but that really ought to suffice for first level.

   Where would this character – presuming some game master put up with him long enough for him to gain a few levels – go from here?

   Some BAB, additional good-sized hit dice, and better bonuses to saving throws are in order for any fighter-type character, and some way to enhance his AC or deflect damage would be nice. For some specific possibilities:

  • Augmented Bonus/”Shattering Parry”, adds (Str Mod) to (Dex Mod) when calculating AC (6 CP). We could restrict that to “only while using a quarterstave”, but why bother? It’s already cheap enough.
  • Bonus Uses on those Enhanced Strikes would be good. Fortunately, the Bonus Uses will share the limitations of the Enhanced Strikes – so a mere 6 CP will provide +4 uses per minute of each of them.
  • The Berserk will be usable more often as the characters level goes up, but +4 bonus uses for 6 CP is a pretty good deal. He’d probably want to buy off the Fatigue afterwards as well, since that’s a mere 3 CP and well worthwhile.
  • Imbuement (Quarterstave) (6 CP) will effectively turn any stave he picks up into a magical weapon.
  • Augment Attack – perhaps Extended Range (6 CP) and an extra d6 with Quarterstaves while Berserk (3 CP) would be handy.
  • If you’ve just GOT to go for demented overkill, take Hysteria with the Mighty modifier specialized in Berserker for Double Effect (12 CP) and some Mana to fuel it (6 CP), triple the strength bonus from Berserker, and crank your strength up to 78 for a round once or twice a day. If your game master has let you use this character design long enough to reach level two, he’ll probably be willing to let you go ahead and take this option. Even without any other improvements, this will give us an extra +20 To Hit and +30 base damage with our two-handed quarterstave – for a total of 51 to hit and 342 damage with the main attack and +26 to hit and 1d6+51 damage for the five strikes per round until the Berserk or your supply of Mana to fuel the Hysteria runs out.

   By level three this character could be inflicting considerably more damage than he is already, at a considerably higher BAB – if there was any point to it. In general, there isn’t. Even if the game master is willing to put up with it, doesn’t send in any similar characters to oppose you, and isn’t bothering to apply any of the methods in Eclipse for keeping the character designs and players under control, what’s the point? It isn’t much fun to reduce tactical situations to a couple of initiative checks to see who unleashed their incredible super attack first.

   It’s kind of fun to build nigh-unstoppable characters – and there are a LOT of ways to do it -but it’s usually not much fun to actually play them. Actually playing is usually a lot more fun with a character who’s reasonably versatile, good at what he or she does but not overwhelming, and has some interesting quirks. Eclipse makes it easier to build that kind of character too.

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One Response

  1. […] Harbringer of Doom:  an optimized skirmisher, and what NOT to do. […]

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