Author Topic: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look  (Read 17951 times)

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bkdubs123

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The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« on: September 24, 2011, 03:55:04 PM »
Surgeon General's Warning: This is a controversial topic and I am not interested in years-old, festering ePeen wounds. I'm going to be more than a little blunt about what kind of discussion I want to have in this thread and exactly what kind I don't. I'm not interested in hearing any bullshit about Iaijutsu Focus or FAILspellslol or flask Rogues or Wizards-are-better or any other fucking nonsense. I'm not interested about hearing how much anyone hates or loves Frank Trollman. At all. With that out of the way, what I am interested in doing is producing a simple, fucking simple Factotum build, that uses as few sources as possible that is effective, satisfying, and able to run a 50/50 win/loss rate in the Level 5 Same Game Test and the Level 10 Same Game Test. And I plan on doing it without attempting any rules loopholes or exploits or other pointless drivel. Hooray honesty?

I'm not posting this in the Min/Max board, because I'm not really looking for optimization here, and because I can't trust the topic not to precipitate outlandish and explosive vitriol. I just want to tackle a mercifully forthright Factotum build without all of the cockfighting and lies and general asshattery. I am coming into this with the belief that a Factotum, without using Font of Inspiration even once, without using Gnome Quickrazors, without needing to be Undead with Mindsight and Darkstalker, will be able to achieve that 50/50 win/loss rate. And do it with dignity. But I also come at this with an open mind. Perhaps I will be proven wrong. Perhaps my interpretation of the mechanics, the game state, or other factors will be flawed. That's what I hope to expose and discuss as a community.

I'm going to build a Factotum. One build. And I'm going to do it using the SRD, Complete Warrior, Complete Adventurer, Complete Arcane, Complete Divine, and of course Dungeonscape. And that's it. Then I will use that build at 5th level to go through the Level 5 SGT, and I will use that build at 10th level to go through the Level 10 SGT. The build at 10th level will have different spells prepared. I don't want to talk about other Factotum builds until I've put mine through the tests. I never want to talk about Necropolitan Whispergnomes with a fist full of Fonts. I never want to talk about 3.0 books, Dragon magazine, web enhancements, or third-party material. I hope the community will oblige me and I hope to talk about this openly and such that useful information is presented in a clear way. If I sound like a mental health worker, that's because this topic has seriously been like a fucking tumor in threads here and elsewhere. :twitch

Anyway, let's begin!

The Build
Human Factotum 10
[spoiler]

Alignment: Any
HD: d8


LV   BAB Fort Ref Will   Special
1.   +0   +0  +2  +0     Inspiration (2pts), Cunning Insight, Cunning Knowledge, Trapfinding
2.   +1   +0  +3  +0     Inspiration (3pts), Arcane Dilettante (1 spell, 0-level)
3.   +2   +1  +3  +1     Arcane Dilettante (1 spell, 1st level), Brains Over Brawn, Cunning Defense
4.   +3   +1  +4  +1     Arcane Dilettante (2 spells, 1st level), Cunning Strike
5.   +3   +1  +4  +1     Inspiration (4pts), Arcane Dilettante (2 spells, 2nd level), Opportunistic Piety
6.   +4   +2  +5  +2    
7.   +5   +2  +5  +2     Arcane Dilettante (3 spells, 2nd level)
8.   +6   +2  +6  +2     Inspiration (5pts), Arcane Dilettante (3 spells, 3rd level), Cunning Surge
9.   +6   +3  +6  +3     Arcane Dilettante (4 spells, 3rd level)
10.  +7   +3  +7  +3     Arcane Dilettante (4 spells, 4th level), Opportunistic Piety +1/day


Ability Scores (w/28pt buy)
Str 10 Dex 15 Con 14 Int 16 Wis 10 Cha 8 (at 1st)
Str 10 Dex 15 Con 14 Int 17 Wis 10 Cha 8 (at 5th)
Str 10 Dex 15 Con 16 Int 20 Wis 10 Cha 8 (at 10th)

Equipment & Gear
(I am using a variant of the suggestion for building characters above 1st level, no single item will exceed ~33% WBL)
[spoiler]
5th Level Wealth - 9000gp

+1 Longsword (2315gp)
MW Greatsword (350gp)
MW Longbow (375gp)
+1 Chain Shirt (1250gp)
+1 Heavy Steel Shield (1170gp)
Cloak of Resistance (+1) (1000gp)
Wand of Cure Light Wounds (50 charges) (750gp)
Bag of Tricks (Gray) (900gp)
Acid Flask (5) (50gp)
Alchemist's Fire (5) (100gp)
Antitoxin (2) (100gp)
Smokestick (5) (100gp)
Tanglefoot Bag (2) (100gp)
Climber's Kit (80gp)
MW Thieves' Tools (100gp)
MW Tool (Hide) (50gp)
MW Tool (Listen) (50gp)
MW Tool (Move Silently (50gp)
MW Tool (Spot) (50gp)
60gp worth of adventuring gear

10th Level Wealth - 49000gp
(I'll just add 40000gp worth of gear here; improvements to existing gear will cost the difference in gold between the old value and the new)

+1 Flaming Longsword + Wand Chamber (6100gp)
+1 Longbow (2000gp)
Cloak of Resistance (+3) (8000gp)
Amulet of Health (+2) (4000gp)
Headband of Intellect (+2) (4000gp)
Metamagic Rod of Empower (Lesser) (9000gp)
Acid Flask (10) (50gp)
Alchemist's Fire (20) (300gp)
Antitoxin (10) (400gp)
Wand of Enlarge Person (50 charges) (750gp)
Wand of Detect Magic (50 charges) (350gp)
5050gp worth of additional swag
[/spoiler]

HP: 36 (at 5th), 80 (at 10th)
AC: 20 (+2 Dex, +5 Armor, +3 Shield) (at 5th); Same at 10th

Fort: +4 (at 5th), +9 (at 10th)
Ref: +7 (at 5th), +13 (at 10th)
Will: +2 (at 5th), +6 (at 10th)

Initiative: +5 (at 5th), +7 (at 10th)
Speed: 30ft land

Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+6 (at 5th); +7/+12 (at 10th)
Space/Reach: 5ft/5ft (or 10ft/10ft when Enlarged)

Attacks (5th level): +1 Longsword +4 melee (1d8+1), or MW Greatsword +4 melee (2d6), or MW Longbow +6 ranged (1d8), or Acid Flask +5 ranged touch (1d6 acid), or Alchemist's Fire +5 ranged touch (1d6 fire + Reflex DC 15 or 1d6 fire next round)
Attacks (10th level): +1 Flaming Longsword +8/+3 melee (1d8+1 plus 1d6 fire), or MW Greatsword +8/+3 melee, or +1 Longbow +10/+5 ranged (1d8+1), or Acid Flask +9 ranged touch (1d6 acid), or Alchemist's Fire +9 ranged touch (1d6 fire + Reflex DC 15 or 1d6 fire next round)

Special Attacks: Cunning Insight, Cunning Strike, Opportunistic Piety 4/day, Spells

Special Qualities: Inspiration, Brains Over Brawn, Cunning Defense, Cunning Surge

Feats
Combat ReflexesB, Deft Opportunist (1st), Skill-Focus (UMD) (3rd), Close-Quarters Fighting (6th), Hamstring (9th)

Skills
Balance +13 (at 5th) +20 (at 10th), Climb +13 (at 5th) +20 (at 10th), Concentration +10 (at 5th) +16 (at 10th), Disable Device +13 (at 5th) +20 (at 10th), Hide +15 (at 5th) +22 (at 10th), Listen +10 (at 5th) +15 (at 10th), Move Silently +15 (at 5th) +22 (at 10th), Open Lock +15 (at 5th) +22 (at 10th), Spot +10 (at 5th) +15 (at 10th), Use Magic Device +10 (at 5th) +15 (at 10th)

Spells Prepared
5th Level Spells
Grease (Reflex, DC 14)
Alter Self

10th Level Spells
Empowered Scorching Ray
Empowered Fireball (Reflex, DC 18)
Haste
Polymorph

[/spoiler]
« Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 10:12:17 PM by bkdubs123 »

bkdubs123

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2011, 03:56:10 PM »
Reserved for the Same Game Tests themselves and further analysis.

The Level 5 Same Game Test
[spoiler]
A locked door behind an arbitrarily high number of assorted CR 4 traps.
A huge Animated iron statue in a throne room.
A Basilisk in its desert burrow.
A Large Fire Elemental in a mystic forge.
A Manticore on the wing above a plain.
A Phase Spider anywhere. They're tricky creatures like that.
A couple of Centaur Archers in a light to medium wood.
A Howler/Allip tag team in an abandoned temple to a dark god.
A Grimlock assault team (4 members) hidden in a cavern.
A Cleric of Hextor (with his dozen zombies) in a crypt.
[/spoiler]

SGT 5 Full Analysis (Wall of text)
[spoiler]
1. Locked door + traps
This is bread and butter. It's hardly worth our time, really, the traps get disabled, we probably take a trivial amount of damage, and the door at the end, finally, gets lockpicked. Easy enough. Definite win.

2. Huge Animated Iron Statue
The second encounter seems daunting. Oh, and actually, it's impossible for you to win, I'm almost positive. I forgot that animated objects have hardness. That makes this fight actually a lot harder than your run of the mill CR 5 animated object, stupid, stupid game designers. You lose this pretty hard. Definite loss.

3. Basilisk
I don't think the Factotum can win this, but... who knows. Let's give the Factotum a small, steel mirror and see what happens.
[spoiler]
I'm going to give the Factotum a surprise round because his perception and stealth outmatch the Basilisk's. Let's say he's hidden behind a cactus at 60ft away. :rollseyes Hidden behind that cactus, even taking a -6 penalty to attack, throwing a Tanglefoot Bag is a better option than his bow. So, we'll charge out, starting the surprise round, move to 40ft, toss the bag and blow an inspiration point, giving us +10 to attack -6 for the three range increments, total of +4 vs Touch AC of 9, that's an 80% chance to hit. I'll take it. So, the Basilisk is probably entangled (-2 to attack rolls, -4 Dexterity, half speed) for an average of 5 rounds. End surprise round, start initiative, move back 30ft, fire the Longbow. That's basically how the next 5 rounds are gonna go. Stay out of Gaze range, and plink. Hitting only on a 10 or higher gives us a 55% chance, melting our adjusted average damage per round down to 2.5. Well, that's 11.5 damage down, 33.5 to go. On that last round, get the mirror out, because Basilisk is about to shake off that Tanglefoot Bag and come running. Sure enough, here he comes, and he gives us the active Gaze!

Now, one minute here. The rules for Gaze say that even on an active Gaze averting your eyes gives you 50% immunity, but then later it says that looking at the creature's reflection does not subject you to a Gaze. I don't know what the legitimate ruling for this is, but I'm going to say that the Factotum looking at the Basilisk with his mirror still has a 50% chance of getting turned to stone. It's inspiration point time, taking our total down to 2, and here comes the rolls (let's do this 5 times for completeness): 1st roll (30%, Fort 17), 2nd roll (1%, Fort 17), 3rd roll (15%, Fort 14), 4th roll (77%, we're good), 5th roll (95%, clear). Alright, the Factotum made it! On his turn, mirror, so he doesn't need to make a save vs death, run away, casts Alter Self and turns into a Troglodyte (1 inspiration point left). Basilisk follows, active Gaze again (Ugh!), so we blow that last inspiration point: 1st roll (59%, clear), 2nd roll (92%, clear), 3rd roll (49%, Fort 14), 4th roll (Petrified, Loss), 5th roll (85%, clear). Well, as you can see, we are at a breaking point. We're no closer to winning this fight than when we started and we've accrued a 10% loss. Let's just proceed as if everything was going really well.

Round 8! We run over to that son of a bitch and, looking into the mirror, we give him what for! Longsword comes in with a 45% chance to hit and deals an adjusted DPR of around 2.5, bring the beast to 31hp! Let's assume that given his two presumed failures at petrifying us, the Basilisk now thirsts for our blood, and just comes and bites us, which has only a 15% chance to hit, dealing adjusted DPR of 1. Whoo-hoo! So, if we assume a slug-fest from here out, we actually win (Longsword, Claw, Bite at 45%, 30%, and 30% respectively puts our DPR at 4, outpacing the Basilisk); however, it will take us 8 rounds. In that time the Basilisk could be slamming us with more active Gaze attacks, and without any more inspiration points, this fight is a lost cause. Unless a mirror fully protects us from active gaze attacks, in which case...
[/spoiler]
If a mirror fully protects against active Gaze attacks, then this is a definite win for the Factotum. If it doesn't, then this is a definite loss.

4. Large Fire Elemental
The fourth encounter is really easy to judge. It has DR 5/--. You can't hurt it without Acid. You don't have enough Acid. Definite loss.

5. Manticore
[spoiler]
Now, at first I thought the Manticore was going to be a definite loss, but I changed my mind, because I realized it has a clumsy fly speed. Which makes it trivially easy to chase after and hit with a Tanglefoot Bag. Begin the battle changing to a Troglodyte with Alter Self so you don't get auto-deaded by the spikes, and then fire at will with your bow. You aren't going to do much, but you have a better chance of hurting it than it does of hurting you. After he's wasted all of his spikes on you, he'll go to ground after you, because he's got a pretty impressive melee routine. That means it's Tanglefoot Bag time. With a charge we've got an 80% to hit, so four times out of five the poor guy's entangled and has a 35% chance of being rooted to the ground. If you root him, pelt him with Alchemist's Fires, you should deal him roughly 8d6 damage this way, which is a sizeable chunk of his hp. If not, just run and plink with arrows for a few rounds and then hit him with your other Tanglefoot Bag. Now, ordinarily you'd lose the ground-based slugfest, but you have the advantage of being able to withdraw and heal yourself via Opportunistic Piety (up to 39hp if necessary, turns out it very much is). From there you've got the healing, and will just go toe-to-toe with you. It's too bad we're in an open plain, because hiding to heal would be nice. The battle seems tough, but doable, but it could swing in the Manticore's favor if your rolls get bad.[/spoiler]I'll call this one a draw.

6. Phase Spider
This one is very tricky, but manageable. The Phase Spider gets a surprise round, and then goes first, so it gets two free attacks, both of which you're flat-footed for, making you very vulnerable, especially to that vile, nasty poison. You take some damage and, even if you pop an inspiration point for each save vs poison, which you should, you're almost certain to fail one of them (you have only a 55% chance to succeed even with IP). So, there goes another chunk of hp. You're probably in bad shape right now, but that's okay, because the Spider goes ethereal after it's second bite and then you run and hide. You heal yourself up, and in the meantime the Phase Spider has no idea where you are. If it starts looking for you, you will always find it before it finds you, and if it comes to a throw down, alchemist's fire + troglodyte will finish the Spider off eventually. This is a probable win.

7. A Pair of Centaurs
This one is made easier by being in a Forest where you can play up guerrilla warfare. You have lots more hp, you have far better AC, and you have the better attack bonus. You likely don't need anything here, but your bow and opportunistic piety, but, hey your other options definitely don't hurt. Definite win.

8. Howler + Allip
You'd have a hard time dealing with either of them alone, with little offensive potential against the Allip and the Howler is just a melee machine for its CR. How they thought a 6 HD Large Outsider with jacked ability scores, crazy DPR, and a nasty debuff is CR 3 is beyond me. Definite loss.

9. Grimlocks
This is really no-contest. You beat the tar out of some Grimlocks because they are newbs. Definite win.

10. Cleric + zombies
Well, this one is actually an EL 7, if we assume a Cleric 5 with 12 human zombies, but okay. The 12 zombies alone make up an EL 6 encounter... It's a toss-up, but I'll call it a probable loss. You can destroy all of the undead easily enough, but if you're up against a Cleric 5, once you're through all those you've got, y'know spells to contend with. Let's go ahead and call this a Definite loss, though... it's pretty lame to put an EL 7 encounter in the Level 5 Same Game Test. *shrug*

In closing, we've got win, loss, ? ? ? ?, loss, draw, probable win, win, loss, win, loss. So... we're close to, but not quite at 50%. That is unless we win the Basilisk encounter, which will put us a bit above 50%. I'm not going to hold my breath.[/spoiler]

The Level 10 Same Game Test
[spoiler]
Okay, so since the Level 5 test has nice environment descriptions let's assign them to this test too (added environment descriptions in purple; also added a 10th encounter, in purple, for more smooth measurement).

A hallway filled with magical runes.
A Fire Giant on a treacherous mountain pass.
A Young Blue Dragon terrorizing a small village.
A Bebilith on the hunt in a mage's guild hall.
A Vrock picking through the dead at a scorched battleground in the Abyss.
A tag team of Mind Flayers in an unlit passage of underground catacombs.
An Evil Necromancer in an overgrown graveyard.
6 Trolls in a cold, damp, cave den.
12 Shadows in a bleak, misshapen forest.
A group of NPC mercenaries (Cleric 6, Fighter 6, Rogue 6, Wizard 6) holed up in a cluttered dungeon.
[/spoiler]

SGT 10 Full Analysis (Wall of text)
[spoiler]
1. Hallway filled with runes.
Again, we handle the trap encounter with almost contemptuous ease. Definite win.

2. Fire Giant
[spoiler]
This one is going to be hard. Luckily you win the initiative/perception/stealth game so you've got the drop on him. In the surprise round you cast Haste (IP down to 4). On the first round of combat you get to go first. This is where, from what I can tell, you just want to Polymorph from hiding into a Gray Render and stay hidden. On the Fire Giant's turn he has no idea what's going on and does nothing. 2nd round you charge giving you a 75% to hit with your bite. I'll take it. Given that he's flatfooted, now might be a good time to Hamstring if you think you can afford it (costs 2 IP), but let's assume you don't and just hit him. That's some damage and a 50% chance to grab him and deal some more damage. If he's grabbed, that's awesome, he can't sword you at all. If he's not you get a new chance every round, so no big deal. Let's run some numbers. You've got a 65% chance to bite him and thanks to haste you've got 2 bites and a 40% with each claw. With the NA boost you got from the Render your AC rockets up to 30 giving the Giant only a 55% chance to hit with his first attack, 30% with the second, and 5% with the third (though it will crit). And that's ignoring the fact that he'll be grabbed some of the time. Your adjusted average damage per round is about 22 (not counting the bonus Rend damage). The Giant's adjusted average damage per round is about 25. Without those grabs you'll lose the damage race. However, you get two chances to grab per round, and at a 65% chance to hit with a 50% of grab, that's close to a 40% chance to grab each round. So, adding 40% of the rend damage to your adjusted DPR gives you 28 compared with 25. With your lower hp you'd normally lose this race, except that at a minimum of 4 out of every 10 turns the Giant can't even hurt you.[/spoiler] That sounds like a win to me, especially because I didn't even bother with using subtlety. Definite win.

3. Young Blue Dragon
This one is slightly off. If it's actually a Young Blue Dragon (CR 6), this shouldn't be much of a problem. If it's meant to be a Young Adult Blue Dragon (CR 11), then it will be significantly more difficult. I'm going to assume it's the latter.
[spoiler]
Wowie. This guy is a monster alright. Wish I had a shivering touch right about now. An absurd amount of hp, lots of powerful natural attacks, a very high attack bonus, and a breath weapon that will cut me down to size very quickly. Oh, and it casts arcane spells as a sorcerer (luckily only 1st level spells, but still). I can deal him 27d6 fire damage in short order, but that's only an average of 94.5 (interestingly that's exactly half his life total). Even the maximum damage wouldn't kill him (162). But alright, let's assume no surprise round, and the Factotum goes first, and on his first turn he Hastes and gets behind partial cover (+2 reflex). Dragon breathes lightning at him for 10d8 with a 65% of half damage and adjusted avg damage of around 30. After breathing lightning, the Dragon lands, preparing to tear us to bits with its natural attacks. So, next we Polymorph into a Will O'Wisp and take to the skies. Our AC sky rockets to to 36! And though the dragon's fly speed is three times our own, our maneuverability cuts that advantage to shreds. Now, even with our great AC, the dragon's got +24 to hit and thus has a 45% chance to hit. Thankfully, we're naturally invisible (extraordinary ability!) (stupid Polymorph) the dragon is large and we are small we can use him as soft cover (+4 AC) and to block line of effect from the breath weapon. We hit 95% of the time dealing around 9 damage per round (electricity thus bypassing DR), meanwhile the dragon only hits 25% of the time once per round, dealing only 4 damage per round. We can't keep this up indefinitely, so we'll need to hit it with our empowered blasting spells to knock out half its hp. The dragon will kill us in 12 rounds, but if we blast and keep up the hit and run tactics we'll kill the dragon in 10~11. Hard. Fucking. Fight.
[/spoiler]Whew, even with Polymorph, let's call this a draw.

4. Bebilith
Analysis to come. Without analysis we'll call this a probable loss.

5. Vrock
Analysis to come. Without analysis we'll call this a probable win.

6. Pair of Mind Flayers
Analysis to come. Without analysis we'll call this a probable win.

7. Evil Necromancer
Analysis to come. Without analysis we'll call this a probable loss.

8. 6 Trolls
Definite win.

9. 12 Shadows
Definite win.

10. NPC Party
Analysis to come. Without analysis we'll call this a probable win.

Pending analysis this bumps the Factotum up to an 80% success rate. I'm pretty sure that's good enough to call it Tier 3.
[/spoiler]
« Last Edit: September 27, 2011, 10:39:20 PM by bkdubs123 »

Hallack

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2011, 04:13:05 PM »
I like it.  I'll work up some feedback and post it later.  Probably Monday truth be told.
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Unbeliever

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2011, 05:27:16 PM »
I'm down with the clear statement of parameters (though small point, you might want to put the books used in bold, they get buried in there).  My only comment on that regard is I think you might be going a little too far in the few books direction.  I just think there's a lot of space between 3.0, Dragon Magazine, weird mechanics like Iaijutsu, and the 4 splatbooks you allow. 

I tend to default to just default to all 3.5, I think ... all the Races, Completes, and environment books (e.g., Dungeonscape, Cityscape), as well as 3.5 setting material (Eberron being the hardest to adapt b/c of action points). 

Again, I get where you're going.  You are, as you well realize, stacking the deck against the Factotum a bit just b/c one of the class' main advantages is its flexibility and ability to use tricks available to other rogue/scoundrel classes. 

Ikeren

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2011, 08:00:36 PM »
Is the criterion for semi-optimized T3 winning 50% of encounters?

I think you're trying to do something cool, but I'm uncertain of why you're trying to do this cool thing.

bkdubs123

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2011, 08:52:00 PM »
Is the criterion for semi-optimized T3 winning 50% of encounters?

I think you're trying to do something cool, but I'm uncertain of why you're trying to do this cool thing.

Basically it boils down to this: Everyone who's ever discussed the Factotum at length on any D&D forum has been a frothing, festering, conniving, deceiving lunatic. You have a ton of people in the "hate it" camp who say the Factotum is a piece of shit no better than a Monk, and you have one guy in the "loves it" camp who says Factotums are cool because iaijutsu focus, necropolitan, and whispergnome. They are all insane and so wrapped up in layers of their own delusions that none of them have any idea what the hell they are talking about.

I claim to know what I'm talking about, and I aim to show that, without optimization, loopholes, tricks, or dumpster diving through every known source, a Factotum is in fact a solid Tier 3 class that is able to kick some ass. All of you fine people get to, presumably, watch my downfall as I get sucked into a vortex of my own madness and start howling baseless accusations and compulsive lies. Should be fun.  :P
« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 09:55:00 PM by bkdubs123 »

SneeR

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2011, 09:51:15 PM »
Thank you for doing this, bub!  :clap I have always been curious if the class was any good without that damned Font of Inspiration! Most games I play don't allow web enhancements or Dragon Magazines, so this is definitely a cool idea. Now, please maybe don't be so vague as "win, win, lose, maybe win, draw," because I have no idea how a Factotum not spamming their Inspiration points plays...  :blush
The answer to everything:
[spoiler][/spoiler]
SneeR
[spoiler]
I don't know if the designers meant you to take Skill Focus for every feat.
Sounds a little OP.

The monk is clearly the best class, no need to optimize here. What you are doing is overkill.

It's like people who have no idea what a turn signal is. They ruin it for everyone else.
When another driver brandishes a holy symbol and begins glowing with divine light, seek cover or get spattered with zombie brains. I do not see what is so complicated about this.
[/spoiler]

bkdubs123

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2011, 01:05:58 AM »
Now, please maybe don't be so vague as "win, win, lose, maybe win, draw," because I have no idea how a Factotum not spamming their Inspiration points plays...  :blush

Oh, I certainly plan on going over each and every encounter with a more fine-toothed comb, and give this a thorough analysis, so don't worry about that. Basically, the idea of playing a Factotum without spamming is conservation of energy. If you don't need to use your points, then don't use them. Are you hit with a save-or-lose? Pump that saving throw. Do you really need to hit right now? Pump that attack roll? Are you completely fucked and need to alpha strike? Scorching Ray + Cunning Surge + Scorching Ray (might actually work against the Necromancer). In other words, save the IP for when you're about to die. Which is often enough.

Playing this Factotum build is a whole lot of, "holy shit, whaddo I do? whaddo I do?" But it strangely seems to work, mostly because it can pull out all the stops if it really needs to. Like, in the fight against the Fire Giant, I'm starting to think that if I just Polymorph into a Gray Render that I can win the damage race. Thanks to Brains Over Brawn our grapple modifiers will be equal, except I get a free grapple every time I hit him with my bite. Which is every turn. It's a tense balancing act of relying on your impressive skill modifiers, relying on your wealth by level, and relying on your class features. The strange thing is that you sort of use your class features as a last resort. It's completely different from anything I've played...
« Last Edit: September 25, 2011, 03:40:48 AM by bkdubs123 »

Unbeliever

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2011, 05:39:11 AM »
fwiw, one of the people I play with has a 15th level factotum in our game.  She does have a bit of the "oh well, I wonder what I do next" type of an issue with the character. 

But, she uses Brains Over Brawn plus tripping, Imperious Command, poison, and a couple of Fonts of Inspiration to make the rolls she needs to make, get an extra action when needed, and avoid horrendous things.  It works fine -- she's not a powerhouse, but she's extremely effective at locking down single, tough opponents.  In a way, she's almost like the opposite of your typical battlefield control god wizard. 

bkdubs123

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2011, 06:23:42 AM »
Full analysis of Same Game Test 5 is up. Please take a look and let me know if I'm just an idiot, or if my tactics could be improved, or any other criticisms you may have. I need to know how to resolve the Gaze attack issue in the Basilisk fight, because if the mirror works, then he straight up definitely wins. If it doesn't, then he definitely loses.

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2011, 07:09:44 AM »
The 10th level version might need a different spell selection. IIRC, Factotums can't select the same spell twice in a day for Arcane Dilletante (although I may be misremembering the thing about only one spell of the highest level selected each day).

Thanks for doing this. It's nice to see what a Factotum who doesn't use every trick in the book looks like.
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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2011, 07:53:39 AM »
The 10th level version might need a different spell selection. IIRC, Factotums can't select the same spell twice in a day for Arcane Dilletante (although I may be misremembering the thing about only one spell of the highest level selected each day).

Ah, yes, you're right. My error. I'll just have to prep something else then (no harm, no foul). It's not like blasting is top shelf stuff anyway.

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Thanks for doing this. It's nice to see what a Factotum who doesn't use every trick in the book looks like.

I agree. :)

EDIT: In doing this test, I'm realizing, I actually dislike the Factotum a lot. It's kind of a shitty class. It's only class features of note are all skills as class skills, Brains Over Brawn, Opportunistic Piety, and really shitty casting. Overall, it's probably enough to make it Tier 3, but that doesn't mean it's enjoyable to play. Sure, sure, there are a lot of more impressive things I could be doing with the class outside of the sources I'm using for this test, but that has no bearing in the discussion.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2011, 08:47:57 AM by bkdubs123 »

Unbeliever

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2011, 03:37:44 PM »
EDIT: In doing this test, I'm realizing, I actually dislike the Factotum a lot. It's kind of a shitty class. It's only class features of note are all skills as class skills, Brains Over Brawn, Opportunistic Piety, and really shitty casting. Overall, it's probably enough to make it Tier 3, but that doesn't mean it's enjoyable to play. Sure, sure, there are a lot of more impressive things I could be doing with the class outside of the sources I'm using for this test, but that has no bearing in the discussion.
This is about right.  Except I would disagree on two points.  First, as I already noted, you did use a very limited set of books, so you might be unfairly hamstringing the class.  It needs to search far and wide for the most effective ways to use skills in combat, etc., and those rules are scattered liberally among D&D books.  Second, while its casting is shitty, especially compared to an actual caster, it is among the best of the classes that get a handful of spells.  It's worlds better than say Ranger, Paladin, and even Spellthief (I think, didn't double check) just b/c it gets access to at least one or two higher level spells fairly quickly.  

Really, though, the Factotum class is all about tricks.  Like, that's its thing.  Your build didn't use them, which is fair enough b/c it wouldn't be "straightforward" if it did, but it does undermine the thing the class has going for it.  The class is explicitly a "think out of the box" toolbox type of thing.  

Finally, I'd note that the Same Game Test, unless I'm mistaken, is (EDIT:  nearly) all combat encounters, which isn't exactly where the Factotum shines.  

EDIT 2:  I did briefly sketch out a Factotum build that I don't think uses any absurdity at all.  Although it does use more sources than you do (pretty much all clearly 3.5 ones).  I expect it would do significantly better, though not dominate, the Same Game Test.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2011, 03:39:55 PM by Unbeliever »

bkdubs123

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2011, 08:46:40 PM »
EDIT: In doing this test, I'm realizing, I actually dislike the Factotum a lot. It's kind of a shitty class. It's only class features of note are all skills as class skills, Brains Over Brawn, Opportunistic Piety, and really shitty casting. Overall, it's probably enough to make it Tier 3, but that doesn't mean it's enjoyable to play. Sure, sure, there are a lot of more impressive things I could be doing with the class outside of the sources I'm using for this test, but that has no bearing in the discussion.
This is about right.  Except I would disagree on two points.  First, as I already noted, you did use a very limited set of books, so you might be unfairly hamstringing the class.

Yes and no. On the one hand, I am certainly limiting my options, but that's to rise above the dung heap that has been all previous discussion of the Factotum where the one proponent of the class used every loophole and dirty trick he could find and all of the haters ignorantly said that the Factotum is worthless without splat diving. I am compelled to create a feasibly Tier 3 Factotum build using only the sources listed. This build is a little on the weak side, but I went very conservative for the first time through because I was over confident. There is definitely more I can try.

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It needs to search far and wide for the most effective ways to use skills in combat, etc., and those rules are scattered liberally among D&D books.

Honestly, in my opinion, that's one pretty clear mark of a poorly designed class. I used to love the Factotum, now I love the idea much more than the execution.

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Second, while its casting is shitty, especially compared to an actual caster, it is among the best of the classes that get a handful of spells. It's worlds better than say Ranger, Paladin, and even Spellthief (I think, didn't double check) just b/c it gets access to at least one or two higher level spells fairly quickly.

I honestly think that's arguable. Well, at least when we're talking about the Paladin. Outside of core + completes, the Factotum gains access to wonderful spells. The Paladin gets some amazing stuff too, and gets casting as a swift action.

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Really, though, the Factotum class is all about tricks.  Like, that's its thing.  Your build didn't use them, which is fair enough b/c it wouldn't be "straightforward" if it did, but it does undermine the thing the class has going for it.  The class is explicitly a "think out of the box" toolbox type of thing.

That's not the way it's presented, really, and not the way I interpreted the class as needing to be used. It's presented exactly how I'm playing. To quote Dungeonscape, "Rather than train in any given field, he masters all the basics and manages to pull out something useful when the situation is desperate enough." As I always envisioned it, the Factotum was useful to a party because, with his Inspiration points he could fill in for any other party member for 1 or 2 rounds, as needed. The problem with this approach to class design is that he plays like an Expert, with slightly better skills and PC wealth, until he really needs to use his class features. He has to hold back at actually using his main class features because he doesn't have enough resources open at all times. I made a Factotum "fix" a couple years back that I'm going to have to take a second look at to see if I approve.

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Finally, I'd note that the Same Game Test, unless I'm mistaken, is (EDIT:  nearly) all combat encounters, which isn't exactly where the Factotum shines.

I take issue with this, and somewhat disagree with you on that point. 1) Every class should be able to pull its weight in combat encounters. That's where XP comes from, that's what 75% or more of the game is all about. If what you say is true, then the Factotum truly isn't a Tier 3 class. 2) I believe the Factotum truly can shine in combat, my build just doesn't reflect that very well (at least not so much in the Level 5 SGT).

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EDIT 2:  I did briefly sketch out a Factotum build that I don't think uses any absurdity at all.  Although it does use more sources than you do (pretty much all clearly 3.5 ones).  I expect it would do significantly better, though not dominate, the Same Game Test.

Oh, I'm sure it would do significantly better, but that's beyond the point of this thread. If you'd like to contribute a different build limiting yourself to SRD + Complete War/Adv/Arc/Div I'd be glad to talk about it though. There's surely plenty of tricks in just those sources for our fine Factotum to take advantage of. Try to avoid dodgy readings of rules and stick to RAW when you can.

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2011, 10:39:26 PM »
Yes, I actually would like it if you used more books.

This is what I always allow:
Core: DMG 1, 2 PHB 1, 2, All MMs, XPH
All Completes.
Spell Compendium
Rules Compendium
Magic Item Compendium
Dungeonscape
Cityscape
All "Races of..."
ToB
Miniatures Handbook

If I'm feeling nice:
Sandstorm
Frostburn
Stormwrack
Heroes of Horror
Heroes of Battle
Libris Mortis
Lords of Madness
Unearthed Arcana
Planar Handbook
Book of Exalted Deeds
Book of Vile Darkness
ToM
Setting Handbooks

I don't think that this is unreasonable to expect. In fact, many here would thinkg this list conservative if not restrictive!
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I don't know if the designers meant you to take Skill Focus for every feat.
Sounds a little OP.

The monk is clearly the best class, no need to optimize here. What you are doing is overkill.

It's like people who have no idea what a turn signal is. They ruin it for everyone else.
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bkdubs123

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2011, 10:52:42 PM »
I don't think that this is unreasonable to expect. In fact, many here would thinkg this list conservative if not restrictive!

How in the hell is that list restrictive? That's at least 90% of all WotC published material! Nobody has all of those books (not in physical form anyway).

You're also completely missing the point. I'm trying to discuss the Factotum in a conservative, low source environment. A way that's never been done before. That is the point of this thread. Because all discussion of the Factotum up to this point has been about the Factotum with all sources available. The discussion has formerly been around two points: 1) Factotum is awesome because it can use everything from every source; and 2) Factotum is piece of fucking shit because it isn't even Tier 3 if it does use every source.

If I opened up the sources it would be as a last resort, and I certainly wouldn't open it up to All WotC, because every little bit I open up the sources makes that second point more and more true. A well-designed class shouldn't need to use more than the SRD and the book it's printed in, to be honest, but since Dungeonscape is more about actual dungeons than it is about characters I think it's perfectly reasonable to allow the first wave of Completes.

I'm trying to prove point 2 wrong, and I'm trying to do it from... from an "optimization high ground," similar to a moral high ground, from where, if I'm successful, no one can make abjectly false and ignorant claims about the class anymore. I hope I'm making sense.

EDIT: I'd still like to hear people's opinions on my full analysis of the Level 5 Same Game Test. Does that seem to be a fair analysis of my build? Does anyone have any suggestions for new tactics and strategies as they pertain to my build? Would anyone else like to offer an SRD + Complete War/Adv/Arc/Div build that they expect will perform better?
« Last Edit: September 25, 2011, 10:54:41 PM by bkdubs123 »

SneeR

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2011, 11:41:25 PM »
I understand, dude. I only thought of allowing the stuff I would always allow, but I suppose that is ignorant to your point. Yes, I suppose a wizard can work without a multitude of source, as can a Psion, a Dread Necromancer and a Crusader... Your "optimization high ground" is commendable!

Now, you analysis of the class so far is strangely lacking in social of physical challenges, such as conning kings, climbing cliffs, or traversing underground lakes filled with sahuagin.
That CR 7 Encounter is worthless in there...

I can't say I approve of the overuse of Tanglefoot bags, even though item reliance is practically built-in feature of the class. Also, why wouldn't he have some spell to deal with the Allip? They barely have any hp, almost any 2 force spells should do. Lesser Orb of Force, perhaps?

I appreciate what you are trying to do, but the same game test here doesn't seem to test a few things...

Keep trying, though! I love the high ground idea; you are headed in the right direction!
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I don't know if the designers meant you to take Skill Focus for every feat.
Sounds a little OP.

The monk is clearly the best class, no need to optimize here. What you are doing is overkill.

It's like people who have no idea what a turn signal is. They ruin it for everyone else.
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Unbeliever

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2011, 02:47:55 AM »
@Sources
A well-designed class shouldn't need to use more than the SRD and the book it's printed in, to be honest, but since Dungeonscape is more about actual dungeons than it is about characters I think it's perfectly reasonable to allow the first wave of Completes.
I  just completely disagree with this statement.  100%.  Materials, build resources, and rules are essentially randomly distributed through D&D books. The fact that build or class A happens to have all of its material or support handily compiled in one book and build or class or archetype B has it scattered in a dozen implies nothing.  

I also use mostly SneeR's expanded list for every campaign, with the possible exception of BOED and BOVD, those I mostly use things selectively from.

You posted b/c you wanted feedback.  You've gotten a large proportion of feedback saying, in effect:  "we respect what you're trying to do but the restrictions strike us as both unreasonable and not fair to the class since many of its abilities live elsewhere."  You're free to ignore us, but don't expect a whole lot more feedback in that case.  And, saying that other people are fuckwads is not convincing to other interlocutors who are, presumably and hopefully not fuckwads.  At least, I try not to be a fuckwad.  

@Same Game Test in general
The more I think of it, the more I don't like the Same Game Test.  But, I also don't like the Tiers system.  It makes support characters seem much weaker than they are, in practice, for example.  

That being said, I don't think the Factotum can easily "pinch hit" for another party member role.  That's hard to do in general, and if they can it's b/c of the right choice in magic items.  If that's what the class is supposed to do -- and I'm far from expert in it -- then it's a failure.  

@Factotum Build
As to your build, for a combat Factotum I'm surprised that the build makes no use of Brains Over Brawn.  Why doesn't it use some tripping or disarming?    If it gets the drop on its enemy -- which seems possible with its Stealth and its Inspiration Points -- it can then engage in a bit of lockdown, right?  Improved Trip + Sweeping Reach Weapon + Brains Over Brawn (and maybe an Inspiration point at the right moment) should lock down most melee'ers.  Throw in a lesser energy assault crystal (if you can afford it, the sweeping weapon might have to go) or some of those alchemical capsules to do a little bit of damage to things with DR.  

EDITed to try and make it easier to read.

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2011, 03:51:33 AM »
@Sources
A well-designed class shouldn't need to use more than the SRD and the book it's printed in, to be honest, but since Dungeonscape is more about actual dungeons than it is about characters I think it's perfectly reasonable to allow the first wave of Completes.
I  just completely disagree with this statement.  100%.  Materials, build resources, and rules are essentially randomly distributed through D&D books. The fact that build or class A happens to have all of its material or support handily compiled in one book and build or class or archetype B has it scattered in a dozen implies nothing.

You have every right to disagree, but consider the list of Tier 3 classes (Beguiler, Dread Necromancer, Crusader, Bard, Swordsage, Binder (without access to the summon monster vestige), Wildshape Varient Ranger, Duskblade, Factotum, Warblade, Psionic Warrior), of those classes ALL OF THEM function perfectly well with the list of sources I'm allowing in this test. More than that, all of them can are 100% viable with no sources other than SRD and the book they were printed in. All of them, except perhaps the Factotum, which is what we're trying to establish here. In a scientific experiment you have a control sample and a test sample. The control in this case being ALL of the other classes and the control parameters being my allowed sources.

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You posted b/c you wanted feedback.  You've gotten a large proportion of feedback saying, in effect:  "we respect what you're trying to do but the restrictions strike us as both unreasonable and not fair to the class since many of its abilities live elsewhere."  You're free to ignore us, but don't expect a whole lot more feedback in that case.  And, saying that other people are fuckwads is not convincing to other interlocutors who are, presumably and hopefully not fuckwads.  At least, I try not to be a fuckwad.

I hope I haven't given any posters in this thread the impression that I'm calling them fuckwads. Because I don't intend to do that. I appreciate the feedback I've gotten, but, respectfully, suggesting that I use more sources misses the point. I'm simply not going to use more sources. If that means I get no more feedback, then so be it. All genius is misunderstood in its own time. ;) To open up more sources is to acknowledge that the Factotum does not stand in the same realm of usefulness as the other Tier 3 classes. I am not ready to do that. Does that make sense to you?

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@Same Game Test in general
The more I think of it, the more I don't like the Same Game Test.  But, I also don't like the Tiers system.  It makes support characters seem much weaker than they are, in practice, for example.

That is a fair assessment with its own valid argument. I am from the school of thought that, for the most part, agrees with the purpose of the Same Game Test, which is to gauge a class' worth based on its in-combat strengths in a variety of different combat situations. Why the trap encounters are in there is a bit beyond me, and, yes, the tests themselves are sometimes poorly put together, but they are the golden standard of measurement and that's not likely ever to change now. If a class isn't viable in combat, then, in my opinion, it is poorly designed, because it, at best, performs admirably but contrary to the most integral and widespread mechanics of the game system at large. We don't have to agree on that.

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That being said, I don't think the Factotum can easily "pinch hit" for another party member role.  That's hard to do in general, and if they can it's b/c of the right choice in magic items.  If that's what the class is supposed to do -- and I'm far from expert in it -- then it's a failure.

That's what it seems like it's supposed to be able to do in my eyes. But who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of D&D game designers? I surely don't.

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@Factotum Build
As to your build, for a combat Factotum I'm surprised that the build makes no use of Brains Over Brawn.  Why doesn't it use some tripping or disarming?    If it gets the drop on its enemy -- which seems possible with its Stealth and its Inspiration Points -- it can then engage in a bit of lockdown, right?  Improved Trip + Sweeping Reach Weapon + Brains Over Brawn (and maybe an Inspiration point at the right moment) should lock down most melee'ers.  Throw in a lesser energy assault crystal (if you can afford it, the sweeping weapon might have to go) or some of those alchemical capsules to do a little bit of damage to things with DR.  

Well, to begin with, I wanted to try and build that attempted to cover a few bases at a time and try to cover up some of its own shortcomings. We're seeing that this didn't turn out the greatest. Also remember that a few of your suggestions there come from outside my sources. A different set of feats, and a different set of equipment, resulting in a more specialized could certainly help out, and I will be examining those possibilities after I finish the results with this build. Tripping is definitely one of the things I aim to work on with another build.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2011, 12:38:29 PM by bkdubs123 »

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2011, 09:38:10 PM »
It would also be nice to add a 10th encounter to this to round off the scoring. Probably another multi-threat encounter, with 3-4 creatures in it of mixed roles? I don't think I should design the encounter though, given my bias in trying to overcome the encounter, so if someone else wants to take a crack at it be my guest. If not I'll come up with something.
What about for sixth level NPCs, each of a different class (barbarian, rogue, cleric, wizard)? For speed sake, you could probably grab the pre-gens from the DMG.


Is the criterion for semi-optimized T3 winning 50% of encounters?

I think you're trying to do something cool, but I'm uncertain of why you're trying to do this cool thing.
My understanding is this uses a different tier rating system. It looks like he's shooting to make a rogue-level balanced PC, which would win about 50% at level 5 and 10 and not fall significantly far behind at higher levels. The other three "tiers" are monk-level, fighter-level, and wizard-level.
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