Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Mutant Solution

 

Mutants are a concept that I wanted from the beginning.  

I tried a couple of different models before I came to strange conclusion.

I had already done the ground work.

Racial talents cover all the strange and quirky powers and that list will grow over time.

All I needed to do is slap together a Mutate template to make them accessible.

What follows are a list of reskinning concepts, powers and ideas so they can represent a mutant in our game.

Talent Trees as Mutations.


The following is a grab bag of ideas.  They are mostly general, but some Talent Trees are better for mutations then other.  If some specific talents can represent anything specific, it will be listed below:

  • Desecrator: Your mutation is an “experiment” from the Desecrators.
  • Dream Cantrip:   You’re a living tap to the dreamtime.
  • Fey: You are a changeling, or affected by the dreamtime.
  • Fleet:  Enhanced adrenal glands or higher muscle density in the legs allow for faster response time on the ground.
  • Flying: Some examples include skin flaps, wings (bat or bird like) as well as some overall structural changes.
  • Gaze:  Your gaze is based on generating energy waves from your eyes.
    • Charming Stare: Your character generates pheromones that have the same effect in game terms.
    • Daunting Stare: Your character is very scary and your stare triggers a fear response.
    • Mesmerize: Your eyes are hypnotic like a snake.
    • Confusing:  Your eyes have a tendency to flash in a manner that causes convulsing seizures
    • Paralyzing: Your eyes have a tendency to flash in a manner that causes paralyzing seizures
  • Growing:  This can be used to simulate Gigantism
  • Hallowed Touched:  You are mutated by the raw magical energy of the hallowed world.
  • Living Dead:   Your character has tumors or other necrotic traits that makes you tougher than normal.
    • The following Racial talents have a direct effect on the physiology of your mutant: Boneless, Hard Rotted, Skeletal.
    • The majority of other Living Dead Racial talents are used to give resistance and immunities that simulate redundancies or unique physiology.
  • Natural Armor:  You have enhanced density, reinforced skeleton reinforcement, or redundant organs
  • Natural Weapons:  Some examples of natural weapons include: Bite, horns, claws, talents or spines that can be used as a weapon.
  • Savage: Your character has animal characteristics and is often a human/animal hybrid: 
    • Cast Iron Stomach:  A ton of mutants can eat just about anything.
    • Gullet Pouch:  Your mutation gave you an organic pocket.
    • Musk Spray: This may represent a hybrid of a skunk or wolverine.  Alternatively, this is an over-sized gland that generates a projectile.
    • Scent: This is the most common enhancement of hybrid mutants.
    • Thick hair – used to represent mammal hybrids
    • Thick scales – used to represent reptile hybrids.
  • Savvy: You develop a neural link with allies.  You can choose to base this on chemical impulses.
  • Shrinking: This can be used to simulate dwarfism.
    • Special note: if your character takes the shrinking talent tree as their mutation for a race that is normally size medium, they can start their character at size small.
      • Small: +1 to attack and AC, -1 to CMB/CMD, +4 to Stealth skill, carry capacity is ¾ (x 0.75) that of normal medium creature.
      • Weapons must be sized for a small creature (treat tiny weapons as light, small weapons as one-handed, medium weapons as two handed, cannot use large weapons).
  • Stout: This talents represent natural toughness
    • No fear: can simulate a reduction in your Amygdala.
  • Venom: if your character is emulating a bug-like or snake like creature, this talent tree can be useful.
  • Vision: vision beyond normal range is really common among mutants
    • All Around Vision: This can be used to simulate masses of eyes or multiple heads.
    • Darkvision: You have heat receptors, or able to see in the dark for darkvision.
    • Blindsense:  You have vision by a means other than sight. 
    • Eagle Eyed:  you have enhanced distance vision, not unlike an eagle or mountain goat.


Examples of Specific Features


This is a demonstration of how using multiple talents can emulate common mutations:

Multiple Heads
Requires: All Around Vision (Vision), Stubborn Survivor (Stout)
Description:  You have multiple heads and while it doesn’t change your stats, it does give you a couple of advantages.

Stinging Tail
Requires: Tail (Natural Weapons), Venom-Weak (Venom)
Description: Your character now has a Stinging Tail not unlike a scorpion.

Feat Ideas


Low Light Vision: often used to simulate animal eyes.

Save: Endurance: Example of this in mutant physiology when it comes to Interior moisture Reservoir.

Save: Great Fortitude: This is used to simulate Accumulated Resistance of the mutant.

Skill Focus (Athletics):  This can be used to simulate Dermal Suction, aka small hairs that improve climbing.

Skill Focus (Perception): This can be used to simulate additional perception organs.

Skill Focus (Stealth): This can be used to simulate camouflage physiology of the mutant.

Two Weapon Fighting:  This and its successors can be used to simulate Independent Cerebral Control.

Common Mutate Packages


Angelate:
Attribute Modifications: +2 Wis (must be taken as highest), -2 Con (must be taken as lowest)
Class/Path:  Channeler/Witch
Requires: Flight Talent Tree, Savvy, Vision
Description:  You appear as a deformed angel that takes to the air

Braniac:
Attribute Modifications: +2 Int (must be taken as highest), -2 Str (must be taken as lowest)
Class/Path: Ritualist/Magister
Requires: Savvy, Shrinking (starts as size small)
Description: you are a giant head attached to a fairly small body.  You are much smarter than most around you.

Felinate:
Attribute Modifications: +2 Dex (must be taken as highest), -2 Int (must be taken as lowest
Class/Path: Adventurer/Prowler
Requires:  Natural Weapons, Savvy.
Description: you are a feline/human mutant with an emphasis on ambushing your target.

Ghoulate:
Attribute Modifications: +2 Dex (must be taken as highest), -2 Int (must be taken as lowest
Class/Path: Adventurer/Scout
Requires: Living Dead, Stout
Description:  You look like the walking dead, but technically aren’t.

Morlock:
Attribute Modifications: +2 Con (must be taken as highest), -2 Cha (must be taken as lowest
Class/Path: Combatant/Soldier
Requires: Savage, Vision
Description:  You look like a troglodyte and are adapted to living underground.

Rhinate:
Attribute modifications: +2 Str (must be taken as highest), -2 Int (must be taken as lowest)
Class/Path: Combatant/Brute
Requires: Growing, Natural Weapons, Natural Armor
Description: you are a Rhino Man with a big horn for goring.

Case Study – Lady Vertebrae


The following is a mutate I created using the mutate rules.

Your cool title/quote: It’s not just the gun that you have to be aware of.
Race: Human
Template: Mutate
Sex: Female

Attribute modifications: +2 Dex (must be taken as highest), -2 Cha (must be taken as lowest)
Class/Path: Combatant/Gun Gal
Requires: Living Dead, Natural Armor, Venom
Description: Mutated to have your rib-cage on top as well as under your skin, you had to fight long and hard to survive. Quicker than most, you took up the way of the gun and then realized that your natural talents worked with them nicely.
Your Role:  You shoot things either with bullets or venom.  They usually don’t last long.


Attribute Modifiers:   Dexterity (Str 13, Dex 19, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8); Best Skills: Gunplay
Ability Increases over time:  At level 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20, increase Dex by +2

Skills:   Focus on Gunplay.  You can also utilize Acrobatics and Athletics to get out of trouble.   Use vehicle also plays to your strengths because sooner or later, you’ll need to get out of town fast.

Level 1 (including racial):    Talents:  Favorite Weapon (Combatant Talent Tree), Natural Armor Basics (Natural Armor Talent Tree), Feat: Point Blank Shot (Shot Talent Tree), Precise Shot (Shot Talent Tree)
Level 2:  Shot: Far (Shot Talent Tree)
Level 3:   General Gunmanship (Gunmanship Talent Tree)
Level 4:  Feat: Improved Precise Shot (Shot Talent Tree)
Level 5:  Talents: Hide-Chitin Like (Natural Armor), Sharpshooter (Gunmanship Talent Tree)
Level 6:  Feat:  Rapid Shot (Shot Talent Tree)
Level 7:  Talent:  Venom-Mild (Venom Talent Tree)
Level 8:  Feat:  Shot: Pinpoint Targeting (Shot Talent Tree)
Level 9:   Pinpoint Targeting Achievement (DRev Book of Adventure).  Talent: Sharp Shooting- Ricochet (Gunmanship Talent Tree), Venom-Weak (Venom Talent Tree)
Level 10: Substituting Feat with Racial talent due to Mutate Template:  Spit Poison (Venom Talent Tree)

Recommended Equipment:
>>Level 1:  Standard Adventure Kit, Utility Revolver, Targeting Pistol, 50 rounds light pistol ammo, Mesh Suit, Bear Spray, (53.75 GB left over for other essentials).
>>Level 2: Standard Adventure Kit, Utility Revolver (master tooled +1), Targeting Pistol, 50 rounds light pistol ammo, masterwork Titanium Chain, bear spray, 2 daggers, (283 GB left over for other essentials).
>>Weapon Improvement: As the character goes up in levels, they will upgrade their pistols and emphasize gun accessories.
>>Armor Improvement: As your character goes up in levels, emphasize light armors to ensure minimal effect on dexterity and natural armor.

Playing your character (talent and feat breakdown)
You are a coiled spring, fast on the draw.  And accurate at close range.  About level 10, you start creating natural venom that dovetails into your gunslinging skills.

Final Notes


This is far from a complete list.  There will be a revisiting when we have finalized the Book of Arrogance when we can show how psychic powers can be integrated into the mutant solution.

However, what this article should show is how relatively easy it is to create and customize a mutant with what is already in play.

Enjoy them and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Exotic Build #2 – Tech Shaman - Joe Edition

IMPORTANT NOTE: This reskin deals with ideas of spirituality and religion that may not be comfortable for some players.  Feel free to ignore any and all parts of this build that you find uncomfortable or offensive.

Tech Shaman

“To let go of the individual, to release the boundaries between ourselves and the other, to become one with the Tech…that is Machindo.  And it lets you do…this!”

History

There are stories in New North America that go back to the first sundering of the world.  Stories of individuals who used machines to work miracles, who could make cars and copiers do things they were never meant to do.  It was generally assumed that these stories were inspired by early Faustian Mechanics, or early manifestations of magic or psychic powers, or were just legends that grew in the telling.

It wasn’t until the Necromantic wars that these unique magic users started to appear in numbers.  Stories are sketchy, but almost every Tech Shaman who survived the war had a story of a miraculous awakening and the knowledge that a great evil was moving across the world.  That the ranks of these magic users has not shrunk since makes some people very nervous.

Current tech shamans come from all walks of life, though most are human.  Some come from small communities who have never seen anything more complicated than a plow, some come from cities filled with tech, some were even training to be a “regular” Faustian Mechanics.  What they all have in common is their own Satori and a certain inner confidence and humility.  While the Shamans have no church and no doctrine, they all share a common core belief, which they call Machindo. 
Machindo

Each Tech Shaman has their own individual awakening, or Satori.  Each awakening is unique: some are literally brought to the teaching, some experience the knowledge while working with a piece of tech, some have awakened in the midst of meditation, prayer, or a threat against their life.  The flavours of Machindo are varied, but the core is similar from Shaman to Shaman.

Technology represents the living spirit of the world.  Machines come from the world, built with its most sacred and irrefutable laws.  Anything created is a “machine”, from a utility belt to a nuclear reactor. The more advanced a machine, the more of the world’s spirit flows through it.  The idea of a separate self is an illusion; we are all part of this living spirit.  The extent to which a Shaman can let go of the idea of the individual self is the degree to which they can borrow and use the spirit.  This is Machindo.

Alignments: Any, though an evil Tech Shaman is rare.  There are rumors of a split between Lawful and Chaotic Shamans that sometimes come to blows, though almost no one has seen two Shamans battle. 

Who Are you?
Tech Shamans run a wide range of personality, from pranksters to pious.  The only two kinds of Shaman you never see are ones who are arrogant or insecure; something about tapping the energy of the world seems to make a person both confident and humble.

Why Build it?
Tech Shamans have all of the weirdness and flexibility of the Faustian Mechanic, but with a unique role playing twist.  This build focuses specifically on the common TS ability to use their magic through a focus melee weapon, making them similar to Sentinels.  However, you could add the TS flavour to almost any Faustian build with the reskin notes below.

Reskinning
So, what makes a Tech Shaman different from a Faustian Mechanic?  If an FM is a mad scientist, who adds magic to existing tech, a TS is a living magnet who attracts and draws magic through existing tech.  The obvious difference is that a TS wouldn’t need to spend money to create faustian items or be limited in the way a FM is to the spells in the device.

I try to recreate this flexibility through several talents (see tactics below) and I also give several options for balancing the GB costs of a Faustian Mechanic creating their own devices.  If any of those options don’t work, feel free to have Tech Shamans create Faustian items just like a regular FM.
A TS can use a regular FM item, just as anyone else could, but they cannot use any of their talents with that device.  And a regular FM could not use a TS item for anything other than its regular function.

Options

Feel free to roll or choose one of the options below.  Some or all of these can exist in the same campaign, since Tech Shamanism can manifest in different ways:

1.       Vow of Poverty: Tech Shamans only get 25% of their usual treasure/payment.  The rest is “donated” and recorded separately.  This separate money is what the TS uses to buy their Faustian Mechanic items.

2.       Purification: A machine must be purified with special salts, herbs, rituals, etc before it can be used by a TS.  The cost to do so is, coincidently, the exact same as an FM creating a Faustian item.

3.       Same but different: TS items and FM items look different but function the exact same way and are built the same way.  GM’s choice if each can use the other’s devices in this case.

Equipment:

Tech Shamans usually have one main melee weapon that they keep “upgrading” as they go along. Cost limitations, though, mean they usually won’t have these items at level 1.
Class/Path: Channeler/Faustian Mechanic
Race: Human. 
Party Role: Magic user/melee fighter.   
Focus on: Int and Str, will need at least a STR 15 by level 5.  Chr if you want someone who can be a back up negotiator, Wis for a survivalist/healer, Con if you want to be tough.

Level 1

Feats: Armored Spellcasting, Armor Proficiency: Medium
Talents: Battery Charger, Hi-Tech Master
Tactics: Congratulations.  You’re not as tough as a Brute, not as powerful as a Magister, not as versatile as a Prowler and you have no healing spells.  At this point, you are a jack of all trades, master of none.  Choose skills that let you fill a niche outside of combat; in combat, hit bad guys that are focused on other party members so they don’t focus on you.
One advantage you do have: with Hi-Tech Master, you have access to Tech Melee weapons, which are expensive but purchaseable at level 1.  Power Hammer anybody?

Level 5

Feats: Power Attack.  Cleave. (Need at least 15 STR)
Talents: Draw on Others.  Channel Spells Through Mechanics.
Tactics: For role playing purposes, I recommend waiting until level 5 to take CSTM, so that your shaman gets a cool power every 5th level.  But you can be forgiven for taking it earlier, since it’s what gives the TS their flexibility. 
Guess who gets to cast spells through their weapon now?  That’s right, you.  CSTM means you can spend channeling points to cast spells regularly, as long as you have a TS item (like that Power Hammer we talked about earlier).  Draw on Others means you can cast other people’s spells through your items, representing the shamanistic ability to draw the raw energy of creation through machines. Power Attack and Cleave means you are more effective in hand to hand, and you should be able to afford some spiffy armor now which means Armored Spellcasting and AP: Medium start being more useful. 

Level 10

Feats: Combat Expertise.  CE: Ritual Breaker.  Critical Improved.
Talents: Multi-spelling.  Better Faust Charging.
Tactics: Multi-spelling lets you put more and more power into one item, which reflects the Shaman being able to draw more and more power through machines.  This is also reflected in Combat Expertise, giving you a higher AC while you cast spells that, hopefully, don’t rely on to hit rolls.  CE: Ritual Breaker lets you use your knowledge of the flow of spirit and energy to interrupt other spellcasters, and Critical Improved is your ability to hit at just the right place at just the right time. 
Better Faust Charging is an out of combat ability that adds to the Shaman mystique, and also leads to the abilities to come in the next few levels.

Level 15

Feats: Lightening Reflexes.  Iron will.
Talents: Better Faust Charging: Flexible.  BFC: Overcharge.  Divine Trade Off.
Tactics: At this point, your Shaman develops the ability to override the power level on their items with BFC: Overcharge, as they draw the power more through themselves with the machine as a focus. BFC: Flexible means less hassle repurifying your items and Divine Trade Off reflects your ability to manipulate reality in and out of combat. 
Since Reflex is your weakest save, Lightening Reflexes gives you a boost.  You also get Iron Will to reflect your ability to withstand the will of others.

Level 20

Feats: Iron will- Improved.  Lightening Reflexes- Improved.  Greater Fortitude.
Talents: Deflect Hi-Mag Energies.  Divine Insight (X2)
Tactics: Levels 15-20 is all about your becoming better at what you do and making sure you live long enough to do it.  You get a once per day reroll on your Ref and Will saves, a plus to your Fort saves, and some damage resistance from Deflect Hi-Mag Energies.  Divine Insight gives you more channeling points, as you open even more to the spirit of Machindo



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Jay's Builds for DRev, ST. Paddy’s Special



So you want to build a leprechaun for the big day!  In DRev you certainly can do this with a bit of character reskinning and imagination.  First I need to point, there’s no race here, only a build, because Gnomes easily fill the role as these small somewhat tricky fey.  So we need to ask what kinds of powers do leprechauns’ possess.  Well they are clearly hard to catch, most likely are able to teleport, and of course protecting their gold.  So a spell casting class is clearly in order.  I like the idea that many of their powers are farcical in nature (inspired by a certain commercial icon), thus illusions should be a big part of their power set.  Some tales have them as cobblers, so perhaps some tinkering or sabotage is in order.  One could justify a leprechaun as a Faustian Mechanic, but I’ll make them Magisters to maximize their spell casting ability.

All features are from the DRev Book of Magic, unless designated with * (DRev Player’s Guide) or ** (DRev Book of Adventure)

Your cool title/quote:  Leprechaun “Go away! I’m not giving you my gold!”
Race: Gnome  (Intelligence selected as ability)
Class/Path:  Ritualist/Magister
Your Role: You are a master of low level illusions and a variety of utility spells.  You are tiny sized which allows to you get in and out of trouble quickly, and quite tough to catch.

Ability Array (including  Gnome starting adjustment): Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 17, Wis 12, Cha 13
Ability Increases over time:  At level 4 increase Int by +1 (18) and Cha +1 (14); level 8, Dex +2 (16); level 12, Dex +2 (18); level 16, Int+2 (20); level 20, Int+2 (22)

Skills:  Spread out ranks among Knowledge skills.  Take a few ranks in Sabotage and Tinkering to round out the trope that leprechauns are cobblers or trouble makers.

Level 1 (including racial and class/path):  Talents: Fey Flesh (Fey racial talent), Dream Cantrips-Gnomish (Dream Cantrip racial talent), Fey Flesh-Lucky (Fey racial talent).  Feats:  Scribe Scroll, Dabbler (spell: Guidance, Prestidigitation, Minor Resistance).  Spells:  level-0: Change Aura, Cure Minor Wounds, Cyan Trinkets, Message; level-1: Disguise Self, Force Bind.

Level 2:  Feat:  Dabbling-More (spell: Image-Silent).  Spells:  level-0: Daze;  level-1: Magic Missile.
Level 3:  Talent:  Twinkle Toes (Fey Racial Talent).  Spells:  level-0: Create Water;  level-1: Shield;  level-2: Cyan Line Blast, Invisibility.
Level 4:  Feat:  Dabbling-More (spell: Image-Minor).  Spells:  level-0: Detect Magic;  level-1: Identify, Dispel Magic-Counterspelling;  level-2: See Invisibility.
Level 5:  Talent:  Twinkle Toes-Improved (Fey Racial Talent).  Spells: level-3: Hold Creature, Mage Hand-Greater.
Level 6:  Feat:  Dabbling-More (spell: Image-Major).  Spells: level-1: Faerie Light; level-2: Cure Moderate Wounds, Spider Climb; level-3: Cyan Shards of Force
Level 7:  Talent:  Fey Port (Fey Racial Talent).  Spells: level-4: See Invisibility-Mass,  Invisibility-Greater. 
Level 8:  Feat:  Dabbling-More (spell: Imbue with Arcane Power); Spells: level-2: Detect Thoughts; Spells: level-3: Gaseous Form, Arcane Sight; level-4:  Resilient Sphere
Level 9:  Talent:  Slighter Build (Shrinking racial talent).  Spells: level-5:  Dispel Magic-Greater, Dominate Person
Level 10:  Feat: Dabbling-More (spell: Phantasmal Slayer).  Spells: level-3: Cure Serious Wounds;  level-4: Dimension Port, Holo Warrior;  level-5: Mislead
Level 11:  Talent:  Tiny Build (Shrinking racial talent).  Spells: level-6: Goad, Illusionary Awesomeness

Recommended Equipment:
>>You will need to minimize the weight you are carrying. 
>> A sling of infinite shots (TIER item) is great to supplement your ranged attack capabilities.
>>A Darkwood club could easily represent your shillelagh, though maybe a bit too large for you.   You’ll have to focus on tiny or small weapons due to your size.
>>Take a small bag of holding or the new equipment below to represent where you keep your money.
>>Green cloth armor for your leprechaun suit, with a head slot item fetish for you head
>>Take the Rings of Illusion mystic charm (TIER item) to help modify the number of illusions you have.

Power Reskinning:  Spells like Magic Missile, Cyan Line Blast, Cyan Shards of Force can be reskinned to look like rainbow powers.   Illusions seem to form out of multi-colored light that bend into the form you dictate. 

Playing your character (feat and talent break down)
A number of Fey racial talents are gained early on to improved your defenses, and to gain Fey Port as early as possible to supplement your slow ground speed.  At higher levels, you become tiny sized further enhancing your ability to avoid being attacked or attracting attention.  While tiny you can share a square with an ally, thus you may choose fight behind another long range attacker.  You use your numerous illusions to distract enemies to support your allies in combat from afar or out of combat for protecting your encampment or home base.  You have a few key low-level force spells, such as magic missile, that you use frequently to take down enemies at range.  You try to avoid melee combat whenever possible and remain unseen. 



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Classic Build #2 - Elven Ranger - Jay edition.

So now it’s time to try something different and tougher to build, an Elf Ranger.  The difficulty here is that rangers have numerous roles they can fill.  Looking at some other systems we can find that Rangers have the following features/tropes:  Animal companion, bow and arrow use, favorite enemies, good survival and tracking abilities, two weapon fighting and spell casting.   The agony of choice in DRev puts quite a few limits on gaining access to all these features, particularly the spell casting ability.  But let’s see how close we can get to these tropes in this build.  I’ll look at more focused Ranger-like builds later on.

Again the first 10 levels will be covered.

The * will indicate talents from the DRev Book of Magic and the Elf is from this book.  

Your cool title/quote:  Elvan Versatile Ranger “The wild is my battlefield”
Race: Elf (Verdant version, Dexterity as their primary ability).
Class/Path:  Adventurer/Scout
Your Role:  You serve as versatile mid-range fighter switching between melee and ranged attacks.  You have an animal companion to assist you in controlling the battlefield.  You have a minor specialization in hunting wild creatures as well as serving as the party’s life line in the wilderness.

Ability Array (including Elf starting adjustment): Str 13, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 10
Ability Increases over time:  At level 4 increase Dex by +1 (18) and Str +1 (14); level 8, Dex +2 (20); level 12, Dex +2 (22); level 16, Dex +2 (24); level 20, Dex +2 (26)

Skills:   Focus on Handle Animal, Knowledge (Nature), Stealth and Survival.  Ranks in Athletics and Acrobatic will help you move through the wild.  Ranks in perception will help in spotting danger and have good synergy with your path and racial bonuses.  Ride can be taken if you wish to take a mount. 

Level 1 (including racial):  Talents:  Child of the Wild* (Fey racial talent, automatically obtained), Expedition (Scout talent), Favored Enemy-Animal and Vermin (Scout talent).  Feat:  Dabbling* (Guidance, Minor Resistance, Purify Food and Drink taken as spell-like powers).  For proficiencies, you will be specifically proficient with Short Swords and Short Bows (using the Scout trade-in proficiency ability).
Level 2:  Feat: Point Blank Shot (Shots feat tree)
Level 3:   Talent:  Expert Tracker (Scout talent)
Level 4:  Feat: Two-Weapon Fighting
Level 5:  Talents:  Favored Enemy-Plant and Ooze, Favored Enemy-Improved
Level 6:  Feat:  Precise Shot (Shots feat tree)
Level 7:  Talent:  Awesome Pet (Scout talent)
Level 8:  Feat:  Two-Weapon Fighting-Defense
Level 9:   Talent:  Extraordinary Expedition, Skirmisher 1d4 (Scout talents)
Level 10: Feat: Precise Shot-Improved (Shots feat tree)

Recommended Equipment:
>>Level 1:  Standard Adventurer's Kit, a short bow and 20 arrows, a pair of short swords, two daggers, and buckskin armor (57 GB left over for other essentials). Your lower strength may force you to remove a few items from the standard adventurer’s kit.
>>Weapon Improvement: Improving your short bow with TIER modifications, especially an enhancement bonus and the infinite shots prominence.  Your preferred paired weapons is most likely going to be short swords, so having both with decent enhancement bonuses is a must.  Getting a dagger or short sword of slaying for one your favorite enemies is also a good idea.  You may consider taking the antipathical weapon taint for this weapon to reduce its cost. 
>>Armor Improvement:  You are limited to very light armor to gain your full dexterity modifier to AC.  You should obtain Buckskin armor with a decent enhancement rating and making it Mithral before reaching level 20 to allow your full dexterity modifier.  This can represent animal skins that have been hardened by quickly dipping them in Mithral or some new strange hide from some unknown creature. 
>>Other Magical Equipment:  The wondrous item efficient quiver is a perfect fit for this character and aids in keeping your carrying capacity in check.  A fetish of camouflage, concealment, or unseen can enhance your ability to become the sneaky ranger that’s hard to spot and hard to hit.
>>Modern weapon considerations could include a rifle to replace your short bow; a hunting rifle or AK-Trail rifle is a good choice for this.  You may also want to get a few high-tech arrows as well.
>>Your Pet:  The most important thing is to make sure you get a pet using the companion rules from the DRev Monster Manual.  A good choice is a Caine: Big Dog at level 2.   When you reach level 5, you should take a Caine: Wolf-Like or even a second Big Dog.   Build up one of your pets with the Alpha Pet template by the time you reach level 7 and continue to improve it as you gain levels.

Playing your character (feat and talent break down):
Expedition is taken at level 1 to ensure to provide you and your allies with early bonuses against the wilderness before spells or expensive equipment might be available to counter it.  By level 9, you can provide special bonuses against powers that cause fatigue and exhaustion that are being used by enemies.  These talents also aid you and your party to travel overland for longer periods of time. 
Favored Enemy is added for the classic flavor of a ranger.  Animals, Plants, Ooze, and Vermin where taken to represent “natural” creatures a hunter may often encounter, with animals and vermin being more common at lower levels. You may change these choices based on input from your GM or what you feel fits your character background.  You usually focus all of your attacks on a favored enemy first while in combat or try to set up ambushes to get a surprise round of combat against them.
The Dabbler feat was taken at level 1 to help flesh out the ranger’s slightly mystical nature; otherwise you will have to rely on skill and training throughout your career and not magic.
In combat you usually open with your short bow and then move into melee using two-weapon fighting to finish off weaker foes.  Feats for this combat style are taken over your career, with the intent to gain the Two-Weapon Fighting feat achievement and the Pinpoint Target feat achievement later on.
Your Big Dog or Wolf can be used to harass enemies while you hit them from afar with your bow. Their Pack Tactics feature and the Awesome Pet talent stack nicely, allowing you to gain significant bonuses as long as they stay adjacent to you while engaging in melee combat.

DRev Background Ideas
Roll or Pick one
1:  You are a wanderer.  You travel to see the world for its own sake or wish to participate in any great hunt you can find. You may also serve as contract trapper moving as your prey migrates.
2: You are from the Grey Alliance.  You help secure borders and go on covert raids for the alliance.
3: You are from the Dominion of Strath-Can.  The wilds of Canada are a vast place full of secret Elven communities.  You may be spy sent out to gather information on other regions or may have had your community wiped out by an enemy you are now seeking retribution against.
4: You are from Texas. You patrol a wide area as a cowhand or sheriff, though usually for a local land lord rather than a big military complex.  You are also more likely to be using a gun rather than a bow.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Exotic Build #1 – Snake Wrestler - Joe Edition

One of our game testers wanted to show off his builds, so here is one.


Snake Wrestler

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.

Class/Path: Combatant/Brute
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.

Level 1:
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.

Level 5
New 
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.

Level 10
New
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.

Level 15
New
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.

Level 20
New
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.