Author Topic: The Factotum's Handbook  (Read 288613 times)

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Sinfire Titan

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Re: Skills
« Reply #100 on: January 19, 2010, 08:42:34 PM »
Martial Law 1 rank: One rank and cunning knowledge will do the trick.


...I think you meant Martial Lore. Martial Law means knowing the rules of Kung-Fu, or knowing the rights a married man has (read: none).

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Swift Concentration 12 concentration: It requires a great deal of concentration points, but if you plan of using spells that are based on concentration, this can help you maintain concentration while doing other stuff.

Remember, it only works 1/encounter. It's possible it only lasts 1 round too! And you can't cast spells while concentrating, even if you can concentrate as a Swift action.


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Dictum Mortuum

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Re: Skills
« Reply #101 on: January 19, 2010, 08:50:04 PM »
Martial Law 1 rank: One rank and cunning knowledge will do the trick.


...I think you meant Martial Lore. Martial Law means knowing the rules of Kung-Fu, or knowing the rights a married man has (read: none).

Quote
Swift Concentration 12 concentration: It requires a great deal of concentration points, but if you plan of using spells that are based on concentration, this can help you maintain concentration while doing other stuff.

Remember, it only works 1/encounter. It's possible it only lasts 1 round too! And you can't cast spells while concentrating, even if you can concentrate as a Swift action.

Haha the first was hilarious :p
About the second one, i meant you can do other stuff for only one round, but you are right, i have to make it clear-er.
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JaronK

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Re: Skills
« Reply #102 on: January 19, 2010, 10:27:17 PM »
Balance 5 ranks: Balance is a synergy-like skill. Actually, it offers no synergy bonuses to other skills, but in the entry being attacked while balancing, it gives you the ability to retain your dexterity bonus to AC when balancing.

It might be good to mention that the 5 rank thing means you can move around in a greased area without being flat footed, since grease + Iajuitsu Focus is a common combination.

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Climb 0 ranks: Don't bother.

Worth mentioning for this and skills like it that you get Int to them anyway, which gets your skill high enough for most basic purposes.

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Concentration 5+ ranks: Concentration can be used untrained and you will probably need it to cast your spell-like abilities in combat. However, cunning knowledge will take care of things most of the time. Other useful options include becoming psionically focused, if you have a psionic reserve. The five ranks are for the synergy bonus to autohypnosis.

And for IF based Factotums, Concentration allows you to use Sapphire Nightmare Blade.  That's certainly nice, and you can get access to it from a cheap item if you're not multiclassing into Swordsage a little anyway.

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Martial Law 1 rank: One rank and cunning knowledge will do the trick.

You mean Martial Lore?  Does it really need a rank?

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Arcana 1 or 5+ ranks: Identifies constructs, dragons and magical beasts. You can invest 5 ranks for the synergy bonus to spellcraft. Additionally, it's a pretty wide area of knowledge that provides useful information.

For all knowledges, it's worth noting that Knowledge Devotion is one build option that's extremely useful if you decide to go that route.  It eats up your skill points like nothing else, but if you do it you get a solid boost to all damage and you know all your enemies, so it's a nice option.  

And of course you've left off Iajuitsu Focus.  It really is the Factotum sneak attack.  Perhaps not all people use it, but plenty do, and it's a very nice option for making an assassin type.  Tons of skill tricks make enemies flat footed too, making the "skillfull assassin" concept actually viable when used with IF.

JaronK
« Last Edit: January 20, 2010, 11:35:36 AM by JaronK »

Hallack

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #103 on: January 28, 2010, 12:57:32 AM »
So how good is the Factotum without FoI in play?
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Dictum Mortuum

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #104 on: January 28, 2010, 03:00:54 AM »
So how good is the Factotum without FoI in play?

Depends. You can still use the poison tricks and the iaijutsu damage, but you cannot nova. You have the spells (- polymorph -) and cunning breach. I think it's definitely playable, but a lot less flashy.
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JaronK

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #105 on: January 28, 2010, 12:26:03 PM »
So how good is the Factotum without FoI in play?

You can do all the same stuff, but less of it per encounter, so it really depends on the type of game being played I'd say.  If you tend to have fast encounters anyway, it hardly matters... you'll have enough to do things like cast two spells in a round real fast, for example, and then rely on something else (Iajuitsu damage, poison damage, Imperious Command, whatever) to finish things off.  Often times I haven't used more than 4 or 5 inspiration points anyway even once I had Cunning Surge (and never that much before I got it).  If you're playing a game that's low in combat and high in stealth/intrigue/mystery/exploration, you won't miss the feat at all.  But if you're fighting constant run and gun battles that last a long time, lack of that feat may hurt a bit (unless you get creative with spells... cast long duration spells so you don't have to worry about points in battle.  Animate Dead, for example).

I think Font of Inspiration is a solid feat and worth taking 3 or 4 times, but it's not a deal breaker to lose it.  After all, there are just so many solid feats to chose from for a Factotum that it doesn't hurt too bad.

By the way, was it ever noted that since Factotums cast as standard actions always (Spell Likes) that dramatically changes what spells are good and what aren't?  Wraithstrike becomes unusable until you can persist it (if you want to do that) but Minor Creation and Major Creation become mid combat tactical spells.  Though I think the RC might have changed this.  Not sure.

JaronK

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #106 on: January 28, 2010, 04:21:11 PM »
RC confirms that SLAs have their original casting time.


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JaronK

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #107 on: January 28, 2010, 11:54:37 PM »
That's good.  Probably also should be noted in the guide actually, as not everyone has the RC.

JaronK

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #108 on: January 29, 2010, 01:39:29 AM »
That's good.  Probably also should be noted in the guide actually, as not everyone has the RC.

JaronK

I'll make sure to add it. Btw any additional comments on the guide? I could really need some help about combat, tricks, combos and how to stay alive from people that have played a factotum. I'm going to play one in an upcoming game and have no field experience.
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JaronK

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #109 on: January 29, 2010, 02:18:12 AM »
I'll make sure to add it. Btw any additional comments on the guide? I could really need some help about combat, tricks, combos and how to stay alive from people that have played a factotum. I'm going to play one in an upcoming game and have no field experience.

I'm not sure how much my advice will help you as I tend to play Factotums as stealthy assassin types, which means heavy use of Iajuitsu Focus.  Since you don't want to use that at all, it makes things more difficult.  I'd imagine you wouldn't want the poison tactics either.

As a Factotum, you've got access to all the Wizard tricks, but later and slower.  This means that spells that would be broken on a Wizard are reasonable on a Factotum.  For example, Alter Self is insane on a Wizard, but by the time a Factotum has it Druids have Wildshape anyway, which is probably better.  So consider making use of such spells... Alter Self into a Crucian when you need to get into the thick of it, for example.  I'm also a fan of making use of Animate Dead.  A few minions can make life a lot better, allowing you to make a noticable combat contribution when it comes to that while making good use of your skills outside of combat.  And they're great for kick in the door combat.  Don't forget that by the time you can cast Animate Dead, you're very close to creating Necrosis Carnexes (MM4 or 5) which will keep them healed for you.

I'm a fan of turning into a Necropolitan if you can.  The immunities are great, and it lets you dump con, thereby allowing you to keep up your other stats (Int and Dex, most notably).  Take one point in disguise so you can disguise yourself effectively as a living person... this means enemies won't be targetting you with their anti undead stuff.  Admittedly I also use this for the benefits with poison (you can literally coat yourself in the stuff safely).  Also, depending on your reading of Mindsight it may make you immune to that, which is quite solid.  Make sure you're created in a desecrated area for more HPs.  If you can get a Dread Necromancer to do the ritual, so much the better (more HPs, and free enhancement bonuses to physical stats!).

On the topic of undead, remember you have Turn Undead.  Combine this with a Lyre of the Restful Soul and a Rod of Defiance (Libris Mortis and MiC) once you can afford them and you should be able to instant kill many tougher undead foes.  It's like getting a Truedeath Crystal for Rogues, except those two are actually cheaper (once you factor in weapon costs) and you get to blow up all undead nearby as an AoE instead of just being able to sneak attack them.  Obviously, this is only worthwhile if lots of undead show up.

If you want to play a pure combat Factotum, consider Knowledge Devotion.  It takes up a LOT of skillpoints but it's very effective if you're doing archery.  Consider combining this with Manyshot... it takes a lot of feats, but being able to use Cunning Surge + Manyshot in the surprise round (when their dex is denied to AC) is pretty awesome.  Also consider dipping Swordsage... Mighty Throw style manuevers are awesome with the Factotum 3 ability, and all manuevers are great with Factotum 8.  Even a two level dip into Swordsage provides incredible synergy (Shadow Jaunt, Cloak of Deception, Mighty Throw, Assassin's Stance, and similar are great).  Iajuitsu Master 5 is of course off the charts, but that's Iajuitsu damage again.

Anyway, that's just a few ideas.  What exactly are you going for?

JaronK

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #110 on: January 29, 2010, 02:54:03 AM »
I'm shooting for an assassin-like character, too. Although i'm going for a more charismatic route and not heavy on stealth.

I'm going to use iaijutsu. DM has approved and i'm fine with it, although it comes from a disgusting book :p

I like the necropolitan idea.

Wait a minute, don't you get 2nd level spells at 4th level? Am i missing something?
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Archao

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #111 on: January 29, 2010, 03:16:26 AM »
Btw any additional comments on the guide?
I'd suggest a section for builds, or some combinations of skills/feats/equipment to take depending on which roles someone expects to take. (e.g., JaronK's wonderful suggestions :D)

Two questions for JaronK (or anyone who knows the answer, really) does Iaijutsu Focus stack with Sneak Attack, and how exactly is Craft (Basketweaving) (ab)used?
« Last Edit: January 29, 2010, 03:21:10 AM by Archao »

Dictum Mortuum

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #112 on: January 29, 2010, 03:22:52 AM »
Btw any additional comments on the guide?
I'd suggest a section for builds, or some combinations of skills/feats/equipment to take depending on which roles someone expects to take. (e.g., JaronK's wonderful suggestions :D)

Question for JaronK (or anyone who knows the answer, really) does Iaijutsu Focus stack with Sneak Attack? I read somewhere on a forum that they don't, but no source was given.

Builds are pretty straightforward, like factotum 20 or factotum 11/chameleon 9. After the rest of the guide will be complete, i'll work something on the builds.

About the sneak attack - iaijutsu focus thingy, i don't see why they wouldn't stack.
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JaronK

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #113 on: January 29, 2010, 03:40:49 AM »
I'm shooting for an assassin-like character, too. Although i'm going for a more charismatic route and not heavy on stealth.

I'm going to use iaijutsu. DM has approved and i'm fine with it, although it comes from a disgusting book :p

I like the necropolitan idea.

Wait a minute, don't you get 2nd level spells at 4th level? Am i missing something?

You get them at 5th level.

And if we're going IA, it's a whole new ballgame.

First off, I said this earlier, but I'll put it out again:

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And something for the guide:  Complete Warrior has a variant rule where you can trade racial weapon proficiencies for any other racial weapon.  This makes Whispergnomes awesome assassin Factotums, as you can trade Gnome Hooked Hammers for Gnomish Quickrazors.  The rule is on page 169 or so, IIRC.

So for a sample assassin build, something like Whispergnome Factotum 13/Swordsage 2 with two flaws, Master of Poisons, Terrifying Strike, Sickening Strike, Darkstalker, Imperious Command, and three Fonts of Inspiration (you can add a fourth at level 18).  Skulk around in the shadows nearly undetectable, and then if you want to hit a single target sneak out and using Cunning Surge + Imperious Command to turn someone cowering, then Coup de Gras with your poisoned Gnomish Quickrazor, and vanish again, if they're vulnerable to mind effecting.  Or you can move into position, cast Sniper's Shot, and fire at a flat footed target with your Splitting +1 Bow of Assassination (boosted to +5 via a Tooth of Leraje).  On a full attack you can fire six shots (thanks splitting, and maybe we can haste this too) full of poison to assassinate that way.

So that's a good sample build.  Note that there's a LOT of ways to get your enemies flat footed.  Grease is easy of course, and the Blurstriking enchantment gets you there as well.  Also, check out the skill tricks... some of them make people flat footed.  In fact, Complete Scoundrel is full of ways to make people flat footed (consider boot blades and the like, with that oil that makes your first attack flat foot them... it's costly, but it's a solid backup measure).  There's also Flick of the Wrist, which is nice, though it does require Quick Draw which is useless with the Quickrazor (but handy enough with the bow).  Sapphire Nightmare Blade works too, and you can get it with an item if you don't take Swordsage levels.  Go nuts with this stuff.  Imperious Command is great too... use Cunning Surge to make them cower, then Coup De Gras with your razor for the kill.  If they're not immune to mind effecting, they're dead.  Don't forget Never Outnumbered with this one.  There's even a feat that lets you Coup De Gras as a standard action... imagine popping into the center of a group of enemies (you can be quite stealthy, after all... consider dropping from the ceiling), using Never Outnumbered + Imperious Command to make them cower, then use one Cunning Surge per enemy to kill them all.  Sweet.  Note that if you're going to do this a lot the Fearsome enchantment lets you intimidate as a move action, thus reducing your costs in Cunning Surges (or Belt of Battle charges).

Oh, and consider Craven.  You do have sneak attack as a class ability after all.

As for Sneak Attack and IF, the wiki IIRC says they don't stack, but I've never found a book source for that, so I can't figure out where it comes from.

JaronK

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #114 on: January 29, 2010, 04:06:30 AM »
I'm confused, i thought that if the table says "2 spells" (which is at 4th level) you can memorize one 2nd level and one 1st or 0-level spell.
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snakeman830

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #115 on: January 29, 2010, 04:11:23 AM »
I'm confused, i thought that if the table says "2 spells" (which is at 4th level) you can memorize one 2nd level and one 1st or 0-level spell.
The maximum level memorized is under "Special".  The number of spells is simply the number he can have memorized.
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Dictum Mortuum

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #116 on: January 29, 2010, 04:14:56 AM »
Duh!  :banghead
I must be blind, thanks people!
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JaronK

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #117 on: January 29, 2010, 04:47:45 AM »
I'm confused, i thought that if the table says "2 spells" (which is at 4th level) you can memorize one 2nd level and one 1st or 0-level spell.

It says max level in a column.  That's the maximum level of spells you can have... and it hits two at level 5.  At level 4 you can have two spells, one of which can be level 1 and one of which must be less than that.

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #118 on: January 30, 2010, 10:54:03 AM »
Since you've fallen to the dark side and opened up OA, I'd recommend also looking into Masterwork Dastanas and Mithral Char-ainas (sp?).  The first are basically a cheap +1 AC if you were wearing light armor anyway, and the second is +1 AC but costs a bit more and thus may or may not be useful depending on your campaign.  Still worth looking at.

Oh, and when you can afford them +1 Eager Armor Spikes of Warning are awesome.  +7 initiative for the price of a +3 weapon, and they mean you count as armed when not actively using your quickrazor (which is important for Attacks of Opportunity).  Between that and your Int+Dex to initiative, you should always go first.

JaronK

snakeman830

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #119 on: January 30, 2010, 02:57:32 PM »
Since you've fallen to the dark side and opened up OA, I'd recommend also looking into Masterwork Dastanas and Mithral Char-ainas (sp?).  The first are basically a cheap +1 AC if you were wearing light armor anyway, and the second is +1 AC but costs a bit more and thus may or may not be useful depending on your campaign.  Still worth looking at.
Don't forget that both of these can be enchanted as though they were armor.  You can load up on a pretty impressive AC and defensive abilities this way.
I am constantly amazed by how many DM's ban Tomb of Battle.  The book doesn't even exist!

Quotes:[spoiler]
By yes, she means no.
That explains so much about my life.
hiicantcomeupwithacharacterthatisntaghostwhyisthatamijustretardedorsomething
Why would you even do this? It hurts my eyes and looks like you ate your keyboard before suffering an attack of explosive diarrhea.
[/spoiler]

If using Genesis to hide your phylactry, set it at -300 degrees farenheit.  See how do-gooders fare with a liquid atmosphere.