by Joe Amon
Quote: If ya SMELL...what the SNAKE...is SPITTIN’!
Why build it?: This is an example of a build that needs a particular feat (Agile Maneuvers) before it becomes viable. But the feat cost is worth it to get a character that combines combat maneuvers and dex attacks. Combine a whip and a pistol, for example, and you've got round after round of trip + shot. Or use your opponent to gain an additional bonus to your AC (along with your dex) with the Cover Behind Opponent feat. Add the Venom talent tree, and you’ve got a versatile controller.
The only real weakness of the build is versus opponents too large for the Wrestler to maneuver and/or is immune to poisons. That’s when you’ll want to have a backup pistol and/or grenades to stay in the fight.
Recommended Races: Medusa. Human mutant with the venom tree will also work.
Party Role: Controller
Focus On: Dex, Str and Con. Best Skills: Acrobatics, Stealth, Survival
Who Are You?: You learned at a young age that the only way to get along with a world full of strong meatheads was to be faster and bolder. Wherever you grew up, you learned to dodge blows and sneak away before you learned how to read. That’s left you with some valuable lessons: don’t confront someone bigger directly when you can jump them from behind; think faster, not harder; even the biggest and strongest dog in the yard can’t bite you if they’re lying on their ass. What else is there to worry about?
Equipment: Whip, pistol, light armor, anything that lets you sneak and move around, handcuffs. A Faustian weapon that causes status effects is perfect for you. Grenades for when you can’t CM.
Talents: Venom- Weak, All Around Vision, Boot Camp Training (1), Unbalance Opponent
Feats: (1) Improved Trip, Improved Grapple. Agile Maneuvers
Tactics: Grab 'em, trip 'em and/or bite 'em. Your whip will give you a boost to grapples and let you trip at a distance. You scope out the guy who's hardest to hit, and keep dropping him to his knees to let your buddies pound him to a pulp. Or run up and grapple the mage or gunner who's hiding in the back, since Unbalance Opponent makes it easier for you to dodge around your enemies.
Your venom isn't much to speak of yet, so let your buddies do the damage.
Talents: Venom: Mild, Venom: Average, Spit Poison
Feats: Weapon Finesse, CM: Trip-Greater
Tactics: Now you're ready to melt some faces. :) Weapon Finesse will bump your To Hit numbers up enough that you can start adding damaging attacks to your repertoire. With Trip-Greater, you can pull down someone in the middle of a group of your allies, and they all get opportunity attacks against them (including you). Even if you're the only one, this is a great time to take advantage of your ranged poison attack and your more powerful venom.
If you want to go high level controller, use the poisons that daze or weaken the opponent, rather than bleed.
Talents: Up Close and Personal, Combat Sense, Smart Flanking
Feats: Eloquent Strike, Boot to the Head, Combat Reflexes
Tactics: Here's where you start showing versatility. First off, ABC: Always Be Combat Maneuvering. With Up Close and Personal, you get twice the chance to pull off a combat maneuver. Smart Flanking means you and an ally get a better chance to take down a larger opponent, especially with the extra attack you get with BTTH. Combat Reflexes means you don’t have to give up an out of turn opportunity attack to get the full BTTH benefit.
Here's another nice bonus: Eloquent strike means you get your Dex bonus to damage, combat sense gives you a +1 to damage with a perception check. So that whip that used to do just 1d3 damage now does 1d3 +1 + Dex + magic bonus. Not high, but consistent, and with two attacks per trip you've got more opportunities to whittle down an opponent.
Talents: Venom: Strong, Extreme. Potent Poison. Favorite Weapon: Whip
Feats: Grapple-Greater. Cover Behind Opponent
Tactics: Time to refine your tactics and character. Potent Poison to make it harder to resist your attacks, Strong and Extreme Venom to give you some potent one shot attacks, and FW: Whip for some to hit bonuses.
Since this is when you’re going to start facing a lot of really tough boss characters, it’s time to add the grapple ability to your character. If the tripping and the whip isn’t doing it, sneak up behind your opponent, grapple them, and use your two sub-actions to pin and tie them up. Give them a bite while they’re down for good measure.
Talents: Combat Sense- Sudden Action. Poison Resistance. Armor Specialization.
Feats: Dodge. Dodge- Improved. Dodge- Take Cover
Master Path Ability: Zero Tolerance
Tactics: Levels 15-20 are the icing on the ass kicking cake. Dodge and Dodge Improved make it that much harder to hit you. Take Cover means an extra +2 to your AC when you grapple a big bad, which will go well with the bonuses from Armor Specialization. Sudden Action gives you a better chance to strike first, strike hard, no mercy. And, just in case someone else out there likes poisons, Poison Resistance gives you a little extra insurance.