Author Topic: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look  (Read 17606 times)

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RobbyPants

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2011, 09:45:04 PM »
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.  
Unreasonable or not, there's always the notion of providing feedback within the parameters of what's allowed. It's nice that he stated it up front as opposed to shooting ideas down and limiting the sources after the fact.
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Bauglir

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2011, 06:49:28 PM »
I will say that the book limitation is a pretty reasonable thing. Yeah, at this point most people who still play have, er, obtained most of the 3.5 library that SneeR listed, but because of his stated goals, limiting books to the bread-and-butter ones that he has is a good way of undercutting people who insist that the Factotum is a piece of shit that needs to dumpster-dive, as well as people who think it's awesome because of how well it synergizes with particular obscure* rules. Yeah, that's right, Iaijutsu Focus. I'm calling you out. This setup more or less lets the Factotum stand on its own merits to a fair extent, rather than how well it can access other things of merit.

*Obscure here being a relative term. I'm pretty sure that by now, everyone on the boards is familiar with everything that's gotten brought up in these arguments, but rules like Iaijutsu that are setting-specific 3.0 that was only ever updated in an issue of Dragon definitely falls into the category. I know that I actually ban Iaijutsu because it's so out of line with other skills, and I require players to ask about every 3.0 option they want to use - I don't think I'm terribly unusual in the latter area, and the sort of playground that sometimes gets brought up isn't something that can be safely assumed, even though it does come up in a lot of games as well.
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bkdubs123

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2011, 07:28:43 PM »
Thanks for the support Rob and Bauglir. I was beginning to think that no one cared about what I was doing here and so I was considering just letting it die. I'll get to the Level 10 SGT sometime soon, in which I have a feeling even my un-optimized build will do just fine.

Hallack

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2011, 07:43:10 PM »
Definitely get going.  I really like the Factotum but in my playgroup we always dumpster dive all the books, particularly 3.0 like Iaijutsu Focus.  I think seeing capabilities without the far end of the optimization spectrum is of benefit.   
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Mooncrow

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2011, 07:50:18 PM »
Thanks for the support Rob and Bauglir. I was beginning to think that no one cared about what I was doing here and so I was considering just letting it die. I'll get to the Level 10 SGT sometime soon, in which I have a feeling even my un-optimized build will do just fine.

I've found it quite interesting (even though it reinforces my belief that the Same Game Test is a poor test).  I held off commenting though, since your opening statements implied you weren't interested in hearing critique until you were done posting the details of the fights.  I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of your experiences =)

bkdubs123

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2011, 08:12:16 PM »
 I held off commenting though, since your opening statements implied you weren't interested in hearing critique until you were done posting the details of the fights.

No, no, I just don't want to talk about other builds until the tests are over and we've talked about the upoptimized build first. If you have any feedback regarding what I've done so far, please feel free to bring it up. Think my build sucks? Let me know! (it isn't supposed to be good, really) Think my tactics suck? Tell me! Have suggestions for new tactics that my current build could/should be using? Suggestions for different gear set ups? Let me know!

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I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of your experiences =)

Good, good, glad to hear it.

SneeR

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2011, 08:47:12 PM »
Riddle me this: are you assuming that the Factotum is choosing his spells based on what he thinks is coming up? Like he knows he will be fighting an evil outsider, so he prepares Protection from Evil?
The answer to everything:
[spoiler][/spoiler]
SneeR
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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.

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bkdubs123

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2011, 10:01:52 PM »
Riddle me this: are you assuming that the Factotum is choosing his spells based on what he thinks is coming up? Like he knows he will be fighting an evil outsider, so he prepares Protection from Evil?

Not at all. I'm choosing spells based on his build and what seem to be generally useful spells. Grease and Alter Self are my favorite CORE 1st and 2nd level spells. Scorching Ray is my next favorite core 2nd level spell and is nice when empowered. Fireball is for shits and giggles, can be empowered, and is good against groups of weak foes. Haste and Polymorph are always good. I'm using the same spells for every encounter in the level range. To do anything else would be a poor indication of balance.

EDIT: I'm running analysis on SGT 10 now. Polymorph is proving to be the win button. I'm going to try a build next that doesn't use Alter Self or Polymorph at all.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2011, 10:39:53 PM by bkdubs123 »

Mooncrow

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2011, 12:42:34 AM »
One thing I've found about factotum spells, is that personal buffs tend to be the best use of the slots; obviously Alter Self and Polymorph are the two powerhouses, but even without those two, there are other buffs that can really come in handy, especially in more focused builds. 

Now, caveat; I've never played a straight factotum past level 8, but for a combat-centered character without FoI, it seems to do well in two types of tactics - Trip and/or Grapple centered - built to be the lockdown for the biggest threat on the field, or a ranged build, eventually capitalizing on Manyshot.  In general, you want to doing as much damage on a single attack roll as you can, so they make very poor AoO spammers.

For lockdown - Enlarge Person, with a flail or similar weapon for tripping, or some light weapon for grappling (I always grapple with natural weapons, so I'm not sure what's good outside of that:p)

For archers - Cat's Grace, Levitate/Fly, liberal use of Tanglefoot Bags to maintain distance - this option will probably be weaker than the lockdown for this test, at least the 5th level one.

I didn't see any use of Bag of Tricks in your breakdowns, did that get used at all?  I usually find it quite nice to have a second body to take advantage.  Dropping 9k to Empower two blasting spells also seemed a bit inefficient to me; dropping that cash on a couple blasting wands instead might make more sense, saving the spell slots for buffs or control.

Anyway, just a few comment/suggestions: I tried to stay pretty close to what you had listed, with a few minor equipment changes.  I think I'll try doing this with a completely different build just to see how it works out.

bkdubs123

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #29 on: September 28, 2011, 01:42:17 AM »
It breaks my restriction on gear value, but a Dex-based Halfling Factotum with a Sword of Subtlety and using Greater Invisibility is appealing to me. With Dex 22 at 10th level that's an attack bonus of +20 when sneak attacking, or +16 when not. Weapon Finesse (1st), TWF (3rd), Close-Quarters Combat (6th), and Giantbane (9th) for attacking at 1d4+5+1d6 with three attacks at +18/+18/+13 seems alright to me. Adding Haste to that would make it +19/+19/+19/+14, or 80% to hit a Fire Giant with the first three and 55% to hit with the last for adjusted average damage per round of 32, though he'd only be able to keep that up for 3 rounds. And with Giantbane, even when he's not invisible his AC will be comparable or higher than the Gray Render. Not optimal by any means, but it seems fun, and it's an alternative to Polymorph.

Mooncrow

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #30 on: September 29, 2011, 08:32:36 PM »
Hmm, I don't know if my findings are worth posting in detail.  I decided to try it out first fairly un-optimized - an archer focus, no Alter Self or Polymorph, uncomplicated feats, like what a beginner might choose

Stats:
Str 10 Dex 16 Con 12 Int 16 Wis 10 Cha 8 (at 1st)
Str 10 Dex 16 Con 12 Int 17 Wis 10 Cha 8 (at 5th)
Str 10 Dex 18 Con 14 Int 20 Wis 10 Cha 8 (at 10th)

Feats:
Point Blank Shot (1st)
Rapid Shot (1st)
Weapon Focus: Longbow (3rd)
Quick Draw (6th)
Far Shot (9th)

Gear:
The same as the OP except:
5th - Longsword enhancements swapped for Longbow, and +1 Mithril Chain Shirt, no Shield, Bag of Tricks swapped for Wand of Magic Missile
10th - Rod of Empower and new wands dropped, longsword not upgraded, and the rest of the extra money spent on Rod of Extend, Gloves of Dexterity +2, Boots of Striding and Springing, Heward's Handy Haversack, and a lot more alchemy flasks

SLAs:
5th
Shield
Cat's Grace

10th
Haste
Fly
Slow
Summon Monster IV

5th Level Same Game Test
[spoiler] HP 33 AC 24 (5 armor, 5 Dex, 4 Shield) Attacks: +1 Longbow +9 ranged, Flasks +8 ranged touch, MW Longsword +4 melee  Saves: F: +3 R: +11 W: +2  Initiative: +8

For the most part, my results were similar (seriously, fuck that statue), except:

Basilisk - The "averting your eyes" for a 50% save against the gaze specifically is talking about when you are still looking directly at the creature, just avoiding it's face.  So, the mirror method works fine.  Or, you can run and gun against it, but it takes forever :p (~15 rounds) but you do win pretty handily.  (Just remember to close your eyes when your turn is done)  - Definite win

Manticore - with no Troglodyte this one hurts a bit, but you can make up for it by Fighting Defensively while it's in the air, and burn the rest of your IPs here and he only hits on a 20 for 2 rounds and only hits on a 19 or 20 the other 2 - which averages out to ~12 damage, while you do ~13 damage to it.  From there, exactly as described in the OP -  you should have a big enough advantage to walk away - probable win (my math says ~2/3 of the time)

Howler/Allip - guh, this one is hard - the biggest problem is actually the stupid allip - if you fail the Babble save, this is a definite loss - and even burning an IP on the save, you still lose 55% of the time.  And if you do save, it gets a lot closer, but you'll still lose more than half of the time - definite loss (boo!) [/spoiler]

10th Level Same Game Test
[spoiler] HP 73 AC 20 (5 armor, 4 dex, 1 haste) Attacks +1 Flaming Longbow +11/+11/+6 ranged, Flasks +10 ranged touch, +1 Longsword +8 melee Saves: F:+8 R:+15 W:+6 Initiative +9

Fire Giant - Start off by casting Fly and Haste out of sight, followed by summoning a Lantern Archon, who casts Aid on you (81 hp), next round fly over to the giant, while the archon cast aid on itself.  Position yourself and your pet 19 feet above the giant and cast Slow - that gives the giant two Will saves to make; one vs DC18 for Slow, one vs DC12 for the archon's aura.  Since the flaming ability on the bow is useless, and he has high AC, it's time to break out the acid flasks, his touch AC is 8, and you make 4 attacks per round at +9/+9/+9/+4 (+1 from Aid) for an average of ~18 damage a round, while the archon blasts his rays away averaging 5 damage a round.  So, that's him dead at 7 rounds.  How fast does he kill me?  He hits me on a 12 or better (13 if slow lands) so he averages ~9 damage per round (8 with slow) and so takes 9 rounds to kill me.  It's even better if he gets hit by the archon's aura, but that's pretty unlikely.  Probable Win

Young Adult Blue Dragon - without Polymorph, this one isn't winnable with this setup, I don't think.

Bebilith - has no flight or ranged attack past 30 feet.  Pretty much a repeat of the Fire Giant, using Holy Water, except it takes longer and there's no danger of death.  Eventually, I'm sure it Plane Shifts to get away, and I'm willing to call that a win.  (Another option is to plink away with Magic Missile for many, many rounds)

Vrock - probable loss - if Slow lands (~25% chance, accounting for SR) then we're golden, otherwise, his DR/resists are too much to overcome before he tears us to shreds.

Mindflayers - Definite Win; I really am loving the lantern archon; it's Aid + a movable Magic Circle Against Evil is pretty fantastic.

Trolls - Definite Win

Shadows - Definite Win [/spoiler]

I do see what you were talking about now though, this is a much less fun class to play without a couple FoI feats, and the problem is much worse at 10th - there's a lot to do with IPs, and the resource is so limited that it feels really painful to use them, and of course being solo hurts that even more.  And since I hate losing, after I finish up the 10th level write up, I'm going to go for a much more optimized build (within the OP's listed constraints) and see what I can do against the current "loss" fights.  I have at least one concept that I think might do nicely.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 08:56:16 AM by Mooncrow »

bkdubs123

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #31 on: October 01, 2011, 12:45:18 AM »
Fire Giant - He hits me on a 6 or better (5 if slow lands) so he averages ~7 damage per round (6 with slow) and so takes 12 rounds to kill me.  It's even better if he gets hit by the archon's aura, but that's pretty unlikely.  Definite Win

Not so fast there, he throws flaming rocks that deal 4d6+10 damage, and he has a 75% chance to hit you. That's an average of 18 damage per round, not 7 meaning that he kills you in 5-6 rounds. That sounds more like a draw/probable loss to me.

Regardless, I think we're getting the point across. Even using nothing but Core the Factotum is more than capable of taking 50% of the encounters in the SGT. It just isn't fun.

Mooncrow

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #32 on: October 01, 2011, 01:00:14 AM »
Fire Giant - He hits me on a 6 or better (5 if slow lands) so he averages ~7 damage per round (6 with slow) and so takes 12 rounds to kill me.  It's even better if he gets hit by the archon's aura, but that's pretty unlikely.  Definite Win

Not so fast there, he throws flaming rocks that deal 4d6+10 damage, and he has a 75% chance to hit you. That's an average of 18 damage per round, not 7 meaning that he kills you in 5-6 rounds. That sounds more like a draw/probable loss to me.

Regardless, I think we're getting the point across. Even using nothing but Core the Factotum is more than capable of taking 50% of the encounters in the SGT. It just isn't fun.

Yeah, my bad in the write up - it should read "needs a 14 to hit (15 if Slow lands)"

But yes, the point stands.

bkdubs123

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #33 on: October 01, 2011, 01:16:31 AM »
Yeah, my bad in the write up - it should read "needs a 14 to hit (15 if Slow lands)"

Right, right (but wait, why does it need a 14? Shouldn't it just need an 11 or 12 with Slow?). /splitting hairs

Mooncrow

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #34 on: October 01, 2011, 01:39:01 AM »
Yeah, my bad in the write up - it should read "needs a 14 to hit (15 if Slow lands)"

Right, right (but wait, why does it need a 14? Shouldn't it just need an 11 or 12 with Slow?). /splitting hairs

Bah, I had to leave in the middle of doing my math on this one, and ended up adding things wrong.  So, the factotum's armor is +5 armor, +4 dex, +1 haste, +2 deflection (from the archon's magic circle) = 22AC, which makes this fight a lot closer. (~9.6 damage a round, or 9 rounds until the kill) So, that probably bumps it to Probable Win.

JaronK

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #35 on: October 01, 2011, 03:09:34 AM »
So, I'm mostly staying out of this thread because you've seen my input on the subject and mostly don't need it here, but the obvious question to me is this: on the SGT at level 10, why not animate the Fire Giant (as an Animate Dead Skeleton you've got level 3 spells, I don't see why you wouldn't) and thus have a minion to provide support in the later fights?  This is a totally core thing that's available.  It's hardly cheesy in any way.  I suppose animating the dragon if you beat it would be using Draconomicon rules and thus not core, but the Fire Giant seems well within the constraints of this challenge.  Especially since you don't seem to be using stealth all that much.

Likewise, why not use Turn Undead on the Allip?  That should make that fight MUCH easier, since you can take one enemy out of the fight instantly.

JaronK

Mooncrow

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #36 on: October 01, 2011, 03:53:24 AM »
So, I'm mostly staying out of this thread because you've seen my input on the subject and mostly don't need it here, but the obvious question to me is this: on the SGT at level 10, why not animate the Fire Giant (as an Animate Dead Skeleton you've got level 3 spells, I don't see why you wouldn't) and thus have a minion to provide support in the later fights?  This is a totally core thing that's available.  It's hardly cheesy in any way.  I suppose animating the dragon if you beat it would be using Draconomicon rules and thus not core, but the Fire Giant seems well within the constraints of this challenge.  Especially since you don't seem to be using stealth all that much.

Likewise, why not use Turn Undead on the Allip?  That should make that fight MUCH easier, since you can take one enemy out of the fight instantly.

JaronK

I did consider animating, but in the spirit of the OP, which I took to be "test a factotum under circumstances no one can complain about", I went with a "each individual encounter is discrete" thing for maximum neutrality.  I actually took it a step further, going straight out of Core, and (I think) avoided anything I've ever seen called cheesy or broken.

I didn't turn because the Allip's Babble effect is the same range (60 feet) and if I manage to save, I don't care about it until the Howler is dead.   (my touch AC is still 15 vs the Allip's +3 to hit, and 1d3 wis damage is going to take a long time to take me down)  

Now, this isn't how I play the class in an actual game, obviously.  The factotum really shines in a party , and it's actually fun to play that way (my second favorite class).  But this was an interesting thought exercise.  If I were to try a more serious, I would probably go with a heavy UMD user - I think I could beat all of them except for the statue (unless you use sonic/acid ignores hardness rules) and possibly the cleric (assuming it is a 5th level).  Of the 10th level, pretty much only the necromancer would be a challenge.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 08:55:50 AM by Mooncrow »

Kaelik

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #37 on: October 01, 2011, 07:17:16 AM »
General comments about structure:

1) I would allow Spell Compendium as well. I think in general everyone ever who has ever seen the book allows it, and it's pretty fucking great.

2) You might want to specify that you are allowing MMI as well, since you are using Alter Self and Polymorph. Just technically true.

3) SGT is actually supposed to be run on "what you would know" grounds, so Wizards prepare spells based on likely enemies in the area. In practice, this is almost never important, because the things you are really worried about fighting (Dragons and Outsiders) can hit you in the desert/cave/ect. But for what it's worth, that's how it is. Doesn't mean they know they have to deal with a Basilisk by any means, but they can prepare in general, although, especially level 5, that hardly matters because Alter Self is going to be probably the best at any level, so you are only changing your level 1 spell.

4) SGT is supposed to be novarific. This does slightly bias in favor of some types of character over others, but as a general rule, you should be casting as many spells as your factotum can each fight. So Basilisk, start with grease instead of tanglefoot bag, and then follow up with Tanglefoot if you have to. As a general rule.

Specific fight comments SGT 5:

0) Traps, I don't know how you plan to identify all the DC 24 traps and disable them all with basically no problems when you haven't put a single rank in search, and you have a +13 Disable Device. So... I guess you can try to use Fighter style trap disarming of throwing things in front of you + ten foot pole, but that probably won't help against the First Alarm Triggered Orb of Acid Trap, or the second, or the third.

1) Basilisk: a) It's pretty clear that you get 50% for using the mirror, because you are "averting your eyes" which only ever gets a 50% reduction. As opposed to total eye closure which gets you 100%. You lose at life everyone who needs to see. b) Also, there is the passive and active gaze, so you have to roll those basically twice per round. Also, you have to give it the miss chance for concealment, even when using a mirror. c) The point of "in it's burrow" is that it wait around a corner, so you can't use range attacks, and if you ever close, you get gazed. Then it stays in the burrow if you pop a shot off and then run away. It doesn't allow kite tactics, which is why this is one of the SGTs that Wizards lose and Barbarians win.

2) Manticore: a) how are you charging into a tanglefoot throw, that's pretty silly, and possibly illegal. b) One thing to keep in mind is that creatures with clumsy fly speeds faster than their land speed can go really far in a straight line by flying at ground level and landing at the end of their turn. Allows them to turn on a dime if they choose, while maintaining speed. Probably makes Opportunistic Piety harder (once tanglefoot wears off).

3) Phase Spiders can see into the material plane from the ethereal, I have no idea how you intend to find it before it finds you. It basically comes down to a readied action each round. I'd need to see this played out.

4) Howler may prove a problem, that would be like Manticore or Phase Spider, where I'd want to roll a bunch of times or do some really complex math to see how that one really turns out, so maybe Factotum always loses to the Howler, and you did the math, but you actually do have decent offense against the Allip, Opportunistic Piety's healing energy can also be used to damage undead, so you can just kill it dead in two rounds (OP never says anything about Will save for half harmless, like most healing effects, and doesn't give any kind of range/attack roll at all. You can arguably just channel and kill some undead you don't even have line of sight or effect to, though there might be something in the Magic Overview section that prevents that, certainly nothing stops you from OPing from 120ft away, moving back 30ft, and doing it again, though I think the Dark Temple would probably involve the Allip coming out of the ground within 60ft of you anyway, giving it a surprise round Babble.)

5) Cleric + Zombies. Actually, that's not EL 7 anymore than it's EL 22 when a Balor uses it's summon to summon another Balor, or a Formian Mynarch has some dominated beatstick. CR/EL is very clear that when something gains minions through the use of it's abilities, it doesn't increase EL at all. So when an NPC Cleric uses it's spells and Wealth to cast Desecrate, then Animate some Undead, that's totally not an EL increase, just like when the PC Cleric animates some undead, they don't add to party level. It's one of the reasons Clerics are Better Than You, (for specific values of you).

SGT 10:

First build. Other than Polymorph, I think you can do better with spells. Especially because:

a) Empowered Fireball is a level 5 spell, how do you even have that, and why do you want it? Can the Factotum apply metamagic without increasing the spell level? If so, why don't you have empowered Twinned everything instead?

b) Empowered Scorching Ray is also a "why do you even want it" thing, but also a "again, can you even have this when you already have a 4th level spell?" It seems really clear to me that metamagic is not free (I can quote you if you don't believe me) and based on the way it's worded, you also can't have two 4th level spells where one is a 4th, and the other is a 2nd modified to 4th. So you have two illegal spells.

0) Again with traps. All the Symbols have DC 30+ search and disable DCs. You have a search of Int.... Search, and you have a Disable of +20, or, not 50%. So for disabling, you get to say "After the first Symbol, my character figures out what they are" (since you probably don't have read magic, and you can't make the search check, although, I think that's bullshit and you should be able to make a DC 25+level Spellcraft check to identify the spell, and even a DC 15+level check to know that the spell exists, and what it does, and operate from there, but RAW symbols are stupid).

That leaves the disabling method of... throwing a covering onto each symbol, then waiting CLX10 minutes (or arguing that you blocked line of effect), and moving on to the next one. So you have to have a lot of coverings, and absent line of effect ruling, a lot of time. You really aren't doing this any better than a fighter, because your skill bonuses are just not high enough.

1) Fire Giant. Not sure about all the stealth hiding stuff, unsure how you get concealment, and it does have a +14 spot to you +15 Hide, so it could totally end up seeing you no problem. But even if you do get into hiding and do your little Grey Render charge (PS Arcane Dilettante heavily implies you still need verbal components if they exist, which polymorph does, but I'll give you this one as RAW) you still need to rethink your strategy, possibly including some kind of grapple buff spells, because you actually a) can't succeed on your grapple initiation that often, b) Would totally lose if you did.

Are you playing with some completely different grapple rules? Because the Fire Giant has a +25 grapple mod, and you in Grey Render form have a +22 mod. You lose a lot, and his winning strategy is to just initiate the grapple himself, and then pin you, then do damage, and you will never succeed on checks enough to win. This is the same winning strategy he would use on a regular Grey Render too, so he doesn't even need to know it's a Polymorph to employ it. Instead, I think you might be better off going for something that avoids ever grappling him in the first place, because if you start with a Bite into grapple, he will voluntarily fail the initial grapple check, then Pin and win. No reason to bother breaking the grapple.

2) Well let's see, both your Empowered Fireball and Empowered Scorching Ray are illegal if you also want to polymorph. Also, there is an argument to be had about if Will-o Wisps are gaseous, as the prevention, but for simplicity sake, I'll buy it. Of course, you still start off with way less damage done, and oh yeah, you totally can't use the Dragon for soft cover against himself. He can originate the breath from any corner of his own space. So take 4 from your ref save, and remember that you only get haste for 10 rounds, and he's going to be spending a lot of time taking long sweeping breath runs at you to avoid letting you shock him, so that will probably only handle the first couple breaths.

3-6) Genuinely confused why you think it will beat Trolls, Shadows, Mind Flayers, Vrock. Vrock maybe, and Shadows, depends a lot on how damaging the surprise round and subsequent rounds are, vs how many you can turn at a time. And I don't want to do the math, especially if there's a better strategy I haven't thought of yet. But I'm starting to think you are assuming the Factotum can just surprise round everything and never be surprised himself, which doesn't seem to have any mechanical basis on your current build.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 08:35:27 AM by Kaelik »

Sir Giacomo

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #38 on: October 01, 2011, 10:59:08 AM »
Kaelik...you are ... back!
(squeezes away a tear... ;) )

On topic: I'd suggest the Factotum does not use alter self/polymorph in case the purpose is to use as few of typical "winning" methods as possible.
Otherwise, a noble effort and good idea!
We need a lot more evidence for testing notions of class balance on these boards imo.

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bkdubs123

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #39 on: October 01, 2011, 08:09:18 PM »
on the SGT at level 10, why not animate the Fire Giant (as an Animate Dead Skeleton you've got level 3 spells, I don't see why you wouldn't) and thus have a minion to provide support in the later fights?

The Same Game Test isn't a string of 10 CR X encounters that you're supposed to defeat all in a row. That would be ridiculous. They are, as Mooncrow put it, a series of discrete encounters. Sure, I could have use Animate Dead, but it would do me no good.

Quote from: JaronK
Likewise, why not use Turn Undead on the Allip?  That should make that fight MUCH easier, since you can take one enemy out of the fight instantly.

I didn't use Turn Undead on the Allip for two reasons: 1) The Allip has Turn Resistance +2, and 2) Even if I somehow managed to turn it, it would just run away for a bit, so that, if I somehow killed the Howler I would still have to contend with Allip eventually.

2) You might want to specify that you are allowing MMI as well, since you are using Alter Self and Polymorph. Just technically true.

Right, right, will do.

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Specific fight comments SGT 5:

0) Traps, I don't know how you plan to identify all the DC 24 traps and disable them all with basically no problems when you haven't put a single rank in search, and you have a +13 Disable Device. So... I guess you can try to use Fighter style trap disarming of throwing things in front of you + ten foot pole, but that probably won't help against the First Alarm Triggered Orb of Acid Trap, or the second, or the third.

Honestly, that's just an oversight on my part. I'd thought that I went back and removed a few ranks from Balance and other skills like that, ones I don't need so many ranks in, to add Search, but I guess I forgot to. I also thought I had the Wand of Detect Magic in SGT 5 (because I really should have...) Though, the Bag of Tricks should help out in this encounter seeing as how I completely fucked this one over. :blush

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1) Basilisk: a) It's pretty clear that you get 50% for using the mirror, because you are "averting your eyes" which only ever gets a 50% reduction. As opposed to total eye closure which gets you 100%.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree, because apparently you don't interpret (from SRD), "Looking at the creature’s image (such as in a mirror or as part of an illusion) does not subject the viewer to a gaze attack," to mean what I interpret it to mean.

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Also, you have to give it the miss chance for concealment, even when using a mirror.

Where in the rules does it say that, when looking at something through a mirror, you give it concealment? How much concealment? I looked for a rule like this myself, but couldn't find it, and so I went on assuming that you attack as normal when "aiming" via reflection.

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c) The point of "in it's burrow" is that it wait around a corner, so you can't use range attacks, and if you ever close, you get gazed. Then it stays in the burrow if you pop a shot off and then run away.

It waits around the corner. Of the desert. Explain to me how that makes any sense to you. No, I interpreted "in it's burrow" to mean in it's fucking burrow.

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2) Manticore: a) how are you charging into a tanglefoot throw, that's pretty silly, and possibly illegal.

Of all the rules I thought might be a bit questionable, charge attacking with a thrown weapon was not one of them... :o

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3) Phase Spiders can see into the material plane from the ethereal, I have no idea how you intend to find it before it finds you. It basically comes down to a readied action each round. I'd need to see this played out.

I guess I figured it couldn't see into the material plane from the ethereal (from the SRD, "Phase spiders dwell and hunt on the Material Plane"). Hmm. That's a good point, I don't know how I'd rule this given that information. Is that true?

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4) Opportunistic Piety's healing energy can also be used to damage undead, so you can just kill it dead in two rounds (OP never says anything about Will save for half harmless, like most healing effects, and doesn't give any kind of range/attack roll at all. You can arguably just channel and kill some undead you don't even have line of sight or effect to, though there might be something in the Magic Overview section that prevents that, certainly nothing stops you from OPing from 120ft away, moving back 30ft, and doing it again, though I think the Dark Temple would probably involve the Allip coming out of the ground within 60ft of you anyway, giving it a surprise round Babble.)

Yeah... I'm stunned that there's no range/attack given. I filled in the blanks with it and called it gospel, to the point that I was certain it was range touch/touch attack, but nothing is given. lol. There's not even errata, a sage's advice, or FAQ for it. In the interest of trying to avoid shady rulings, and to offer an excuse for why I didn't do that, let's call it range touch/touch attack. I thought it was a touch attack, and thus I didn't use it to channel positive energy since I would have such a low chance of hitting it anyway.

Quote from: Kaelik
SGT 10:

First build. Other than Polymorph, I think you can do better with spells. Especially because:

a) Empowered Fireball is a level 5 spell, how do you even have that, and why do you want it? Can the Factotum apply metamagic without increasing the spell level? If so, why don't you have empowered Twinned everything instead?

Metamagic Rod of Empower does it for me. Why not Empowered Twinned? Because there is no Metamagic Rod of Twinning. :P So, no I don't have any illegal spells. Why do I want Fireball and Scorching Ray? Fireball for large groups of mobs, both of them just so I have another chip on my shoulder (helps to balance out that I'm using Alter Self and Polymorph).

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0) Again with traps. All the Symbols have DC 30+ search and disable DCs. You have a search of Int.... Search, and you have a Disable of +20, or, not 50%.

Hmm... good point. I assumed Disable Device +20 would be more than enough for this sort of thing, but when half the CR 10 magical traps in the SRD are 9th level spells with search and disable DCs of 34... well, a) that's pretty bullshit, and b) you're right there's no way a trapfinder can bypass these through conventional means. Stupid. I suppose we'll send some lovely little critters from the Bag of Tricks through the hallway and hope it's enough.

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1) Fire Giant. Not sure about all the stealth hiding stuff, unsure how you get concealment, and it does have a +14 spot to you +15 Hide, so it could totally end up seeing you no problem.

Except the Factotum has +22 to hide/move silently? And the Fire Giant suffers appropriate distance penalties. I should have no problem sneaking up within charging distance.

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Are you playing with some completely different grapple rules? Because the Fire Giant has a +25 grapple mod, and you in Grey Render form have a +22 mod. You lose a lot, and his winning strategy is to just initiate the grapple himself, and then pin you, then do damage, and you will never succeed on checks enough to win.

The Gray Render typically has a +20 mod, but with Brains Over Brawn it now has +25. Putting us on equal terms, except that for the Fire Giant to pin me he'd have to do nothing but attempt to grapple me, whereas I can just Bite him, something I would normally do anyway, and get two free grapple attempts per turn. I thought all of this was pretty clear in my analysis.

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I think you might be better off going for something that avoids ever grappling him in the first place, because if you start with a Bite into grapple, he will voluntarily fail the initial grapple check, then Pin and win. No reason to bother breaking the grapple.

Would I be better off going for something that avoids grappling in the first place? Almost certainly yes, but I saw this as a fun way to win the encounter. As far as voluntarily failing the initial grapple check and then pinning, I think we'd have to get into a big discussion over the grapple rules. I'm still pretty sure the Gray Render strategy works well enough to call this a definite win.

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2) Of course, you still start off with way less damage done, and oh yeah, you totally can't use the Dragon for soft cover against himself. He can originate the breath from any corner of his own space. So take 4 from your ref save, and remember that you only get haste for 10 rounds, and he's going to be spending a lot of time taking long sweeping breath runs at you to avoid letting you shock him, so that will probably only handle the first couple breaths.

I was thinking I'd enter the Dragon's space to get cover and block line of effect but I don't think I can do that, now that I'm looking back at all the rules.

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3-6) Genuinely confused why you think it will beat Trolls, Shadows, Mind Flayers, Vrock. Vrock maybe, and Shadows, depends a lot on how damaging the surprise round and subsequent rounds are, vs how many you can turn at a time. And I don't want to do the math, especially if there's a better strategy I haven't thought of yet. But I'm starting to think you are assuming the Factotum can just surprise round everything and never be surprised himself, which doesn't seem to have any mechanical basis on your current build.

The Trolls are easy. Empowered Fireball, Empowered Scorching Rays, that's guaranteed to kill two of them if not more. Enlarge Person + attacks of opportunity takes care of the rest. Oh, and sure, I'll Polymorph into something if I get scared. Yeah, I'll get a little roughed up, but probably not bad enough even to warrant using opportunistic piety to heal. I'm confused as to how you have any doubt that I beat them.

The Shadows are even easier. Opportunistic Piety (hell, Empowered Fireball has 50/50 shot of killing them all). At an average turning check of 9 that allows me to affect up to a 9 HD undead. More than enough. Average turning damage (or total HD turned) of 16 means that, on average, an Opportunistic Piety turns 3 of the suckers (luckily that's just enough). From the SRD, "If you have twice as many levels (or more) as the undead have Hit Dice, you destroy any that you would normally turn," Shadows have 3 HD, and so even with their +2 turn resistance, any Shadows I turn get automatically destroyed.

The Mindflayers I'm sure I can kill in any variety of ways involving Polymorph. I had been entertaining the idea of changing into a Bulette, burrowing underground, and then Leaping out from underneath one. Four claw attacks at +15 each will kill a Mindflayer in one round. Now, maybe the other one had readied an action to Mindblast, but with Cunning Insight I still have a 75% to succeed, and then it's just another burrow + Leap.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 08:18:53 PM by bkdubs123 »