Author Topic: The Factotum's Handbook  (Read 287099 times)

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Treantmonklvl20

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Re: Skills
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2008, 06:37:16 AM »
Insight on the best skills and skill tricks the factotum can pick.

You definitely want one rank in all skills (except Profession/Crafts) to open them all up to Cunning Knowledge.  This will give you the same chance to succeed in pretty much any skill as someone who maxed out -2.  Need someone with Knowledge Engineering - you got it.  Need someone with Use Rope - yup - you got that too.  Etc.

Then max out a few skills.  This "catches up" with time - increasing the number of maxed out skills with level.  Definitely max Search/Disable Device since a Factotum puts Rogues to shame in this area.  Same goes with UMD.  (You can even beat Warlocks with this too.  Warlock takes 10 - you add your class level to your roll)

Non-Combat related skills are good choices since inspiration points spent on these will not likely affect your next combat.

I like the "big 3" knowledges with Knowledge Devotion as well - Factotums will get VERY nice scores on this.
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woodenbandman

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2008, 07:04:09 AM »
Doesn't Cunning Knowledge apply only once/skill/day? And don't you only get inspiration points in combat? I'd say Warlock's ahead on this one, they can utility cast with ease.

JaronK

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2008, 02:07:35 PM »
Cunning Knowledge is indeed once per skill per day, but you get Inspiration for every encounter, not just in combat.  Generally, this means in any non combat encounter (such as finding a trap, or something) you always have plenty of IPs to work with.

But yes, you want to max out skills you plan to use a lot... Cunning Knowledge is for spiking up a skill once per day.  For many skills, that's plenty.

As for Knowledge Devotion... I don't much like it with Factotums.  That basically requires pumping up a LOT of Knowledge skills, which means having relatively poor other skills, and there's just so many skills that a Factotum will want that can't be subbed with Cunning Knowledge alone (UMD, Diplomacy, Hide, Move Silently, Open Lock, Disable Device, Search Spot, etc).  That said, if you were making a purely combat oriented Factotum, I could see it happening.

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woodenbandman

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2008, 06:10:34 PM »
^I think that that's a stretch. When do you stop gaining inspiration? You could just talk to a commoner and count that as inspiration.

Although that is a good point, you don't get much use out of Cunning Knowledge if you can't use it outside combat...

Treantmonklvl20

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2008, 09:44:05 PM »
Officially a Factotum gets his full Inspiration points for every encounter.

If you are running a published adventure - that is every spot in the adventure that posts an (EL=X) header.  You will find that indeed traps and social encounters have Encounter Levels and thus are treated as encounters.

According to the DMG any individual challenge is an encounter, whether it is combat related or not.  Fight an Orc?  That's an encounter.  Spike trap in the dungeon?  That's and encounter.  Talking your way out of trouble witht the town guard?  Also an encounter.  The frequency of which the Factotum relaoads his inspiration points is what makes it such an attractive class.

That said - still - the more inspiration points the better.  When you read through the options the class has - spending several inspiration points in every round of combat is not only possible, but quite desireable.  Have a combat that lasts several rounds means you will need to be frugal with those points even if you've been focusing on Font of Inspiration.

But yes, a Factotum will have his full inspiration points to deal with a social encounter or an encounter with a trap.  In these cases he has inspiration points to spare - but this is not a liberal interpretation of the rules by OP - this is the way they are clearly written by suggesting a Factotum reloads his inspiration points with every encounter rather than with every combat.
 
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JaronK

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2008, 02:41:05 AM »
Exactly.  The only time Factotums will be low on Inspiration is in combat... in all other encounters (and yes, every time you do something it's an encounter) the Factotum will have plenty of points.  That's just how they operate.  As such, Cunning Knowledge's IP cost doesn't even matter.

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ChristopherGroves

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2008, 03:51:28 PM »
Some of the better written adventures have encounters that, when you start, you don't know what they will be ... social, problem solving, combat ... or they could morph from one to another.

Still, no reason NOT to overload on Font of Inspiration.

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2008, 08:43:36 PM »
Something I PM'd to JaronK the other day:

Quote
Note that Arcane dilettante is a single spell-like ability that can be used to power various spells. Empower and Quicken Spell-Like Ability can be used to spontaneously apply metamagic to any of the factotum's spells for the day (up to 3x/day). There are other SLA feats, as well. Also, Ability Focus.

Even if he doesn't have a level in totemist, binder, or mindbender, or the Mindsight feat, an undead or construct (but not living construct) factotum with Lifesense (from Libris Mortis) can see any living creature because of the glow they emit. Mindsight AND Lifesense mean you can pinpoint any creature that isn't both nonliving and mindless. Which means basically you're only screwed against mindless constructs and mindless undead (though the detect undead spell will help you deal with the latter). Only get fubar'd against mindless constructs? Yes plz!

Also, you don't need the Quickdraw feat, a quickrazor blade, or multiple eager weapons to get the benefits of using Iaijutsu. Note that, if you're willing to take the -4 nonproficiency penalty, arrows make great improvised weapons, as you can already draw them as a free action to use with your strikes. And not only that, they're very cheap (1/50 the cost of a regular melee weapon, with the same enhancements, meaning you can carry 50 different arrows, each with a different set of abilities attached to it). Take Weapon Proficiency (Arrow) and you get a REALLY nice benefit...and a high Craft skill wouldn't be amiss at that point, either.

I just started looking at the factotum, but man...the class kicks ass.
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TheChrisWaits

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2009, 11:57:13 AM »
Would Jack of all Trades be worth it? It would save you several skill points to use for skills you want really high checks in.

woodenbandman

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2009, 06:36:09 PM »
Well you only lose out on about 1 maxed out skill in the long run. There's only so many skills in the game, and you can put all the points in at character creation and then max your skills more slowly. Not that huge of a loss, really.

Personally, I think that a bard is actually better at doing the "Do any skill ever" than a factotum is. They can take Bardic Knack and cast improvisation, meaning that they can apply their boosting ability to any given skill more than once per day, as well as have about half ranks in the skill the rest of the time. I don't know who would win in a fight between a bard and a factotum. Probably the factotum, if he were appropriately perpared. In fact, probably just the factotum in general.

Bards do have a bit more stamina though, between Lyric Spell and potential divine bard DMM stuff. On the other hand, bards are a tiny bit more MAD.

JaronK

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2009, 12:54:52 AM »
Would Jack of all Trades be worth it? It would save you several skill points to use for skills you want really high checks in.

Not worth it... Jack of All Trades doesn't give you enough to have Cunning Knowledge fire.  Cunning Knowledge doesn't require trained, it requires 1 rank.  So, no, Jack of All Trades won't give you anything worth having.  Really, JoaT is only worth it on a Bardic Knack Bard.

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TheChrisWaits

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2009, 05:45:26 AM »
Not worth it... Jack of All Trades doesn't give you enough to have Cunning Knowledge fire.  Cunning Knowledge doesn't require trained, it requires 1 rank.  So, no, Jack of All Trades won't give you anything worth having.  Really, JoaT is only worth it on a Bardic Knack Bard.

JaronK
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bogsnes

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #32 on: January 21, 2009, 08:38:49 PM »
to me, Whisper Gnome Factotums is just SO much better than any other Factotum... Their only problem vs. Human is one lesser SP, and can't enter Chameleon.

Switch your familirity with Gnome Hooked hammers to Quickrazor (as per CWar?, I think...) and be totally awesome...

+ They can get Knowledge Devotion + Plural Knowledge (roll Knowledge skills twice... as often as you want, and take the best roll), and with at least 1 rank in the 6 identifying Knowledges you can probably get from +2-+3 every time... (not sure if the skill trick collector of stories (or something like that) works, but if it does, it gets even more awesome... you are practically guaranteed a +2 against one enemy, and have a good chance of getting +3...

Also, they get 30' speed, +1 atk rolls, +1 AC, +8 Hide, +4 Move Silently, +2 Listen/Spot, Darkvision 60', Low-Light Vision, SLAs, Con and Dex boost for a Str and Cha penalty... they are just awesome...

IF will gain you the damage you need, and you are much better than the party Rogue at skills, you are about as good as a Bard at spells (more powerful ones, but fewer), can heal, gain SA, AC boosts, cheat death, mimic lots of abilities...

Also note that Cunning Brilliance used to emulate SS, Warblade or Crusader will give you ALL the maneuvers redied with no recovery mechanic, since Readied is a different entry than Known...

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #33 on: January 21, 2009, 11:20:21 PM »
to me, Whisper Gnome Factotums is just SO much better than any other Factotum... Their only problem vs. Human is one lesser SP, and can't enter Chameleon.

Switch your familirity with Gnome Hooked hammers to Quickrazor (as per CWar?, I think...) and be totally awesome...

You can do that?  Page number please?


Quote
+ They can get Knowledge Devotion + Plural Knowledge (roll Knowledge skills twice... as often as you want, and take the best roll), and with at least 1 rank in the 6 identifying Knowledges you can probably get from +2-+3 every time... (not sure if the skill trick collector of stories (or something like that) works, but if it does, it gets even more awesome... you are practically guaranteed a +2 against one enemy, and have a good chance of getting +3...

Where is plural knowledge from?


Quote
Also, they get 30' speed, +1 atk rolls, +1 AC, +8 Hide, +4 Move Silently, +2 Listen/Spot, Darkvision 60', Low-Light Vision, SLAs, Con and Dex boost for a Str and Cha penalty... they are just awesome...

Until you get grappled.  Yes WG's are awesome.  But not *that* much better than humans.  Or Azurin for that matter.  Mn, azurin.

Quote
IF will gain you the damage you need, and you are much better than the party Rogue at skills, you are about as good as a Bard at spells (more powerful ones, but fewer), can heal, gain SA, AC boosts, cheat death, mimic lots of abilities...

Also note that Cunning Brilliance used to emulate SS, Warblade or Crusader will give you ALL the maneuvers redied with no recovery mechanic, since Readied is a different entry than Known...

Uhm, no it doesn't work like that.  because no sane DM will allow it, if nothing else.

woodenbandman

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #34 on: January 22, 2009, 03:14:31 AM »
Wait doesn't Bardic Knack only work on skills you have 1 rank in?

bogsnes

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2009, 01:03:03 PM »
to me, Whisper Gnome Factotums is just SO much better than any other Factotum... Their only problem vs. Human is one lesser SP, and can't enter Chameleon.

Switch your familirity with Gnome Hooked hammers to Quickrazor (as per CWar?, I think...) and be totally awesome...

You can do that?  Page number please?


Quote
+ They can get Knowledge Devotion + Plural Knowledge (roll Knowledge skills twice... as often as you want, and take the best roll), and with at least 1 rank in the 6 identifying Knowledges you can probably get from +2-+3 every time... (not sure if the skill trick collector of stories (or something like that) works, but if it does, it gets even more awesome... you are practically guaranteed a +2 against one enemy, and have a good chance of getting +3...

Where is plural knowledge from?


Quote
Also, they get 30' speed, +1 atk rolls, +1 AC, +8 Hide, +4 Move Silently, +2 Listen/Spot, Darkvision 60', Low-Light Vision, SLAs, Con and Dex boost for a Str and Cha penalty... they are just awesome...

Until you get grappled.  Yes WG's are awesome.  But not *that* much better than humans.  Or Azurin for that matter.  Mn, azurin.

Quote
IF will gain you the damage you need, and you are much better than the party Rogue at skills, you are about as good as a Bard at spells (more powerful ones, but fewer), can heal, gain SA, AC boosts, cheat death, mimic lots of abilities...

Also note that Cunning Brilliance used to emulate SS, Warblade or Crusader will give you ALL the maneuvers redied with no recovery mechanic, since Readied is a different entry than Known...

Uhm, no it doesn't work like that.  because no sane DM will allow it, if nothing else.

154-155 for swapping...
Plural is from... oh, I meant Trivial Knowledge... Races of Stone...
and by RAW, the last one works.

bogsnes

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #36 on: January 23, 2009, 01:04:36 PM »
Wait doesn't Bardic Knack only work on skills you have 1 rank in?

No, it is skill checks you actually can make...

From PHBII
Benefit: When making any skill check, you can use 1/2
your bard level (rounded up) in place of the number of ranks
you have in the skill (even if that number is 0).

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #37 on: January 27, 2009, 08:08:14 AM »
...it's fun to note the AWESOME synergy with Spellthieves ... Magecraft + Fabricate can probably do that too for all but the most advanced items...

If you don't mind, I'd like you to elaborate on that, as I'm not too knowledgeable about Spellthieves.

Also, where's "Magecraft" from? I've looked, to no avail. Thanks in advance.

bogsnes

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Re: Overview
« Reply #38 on: February 09, 2009, 04:07:13 PM »
    Class Abilities:

    • Weapon and Armor Proficiency: All simple and martial weapons, light armor and shields. Pretty much everything you'll need.
    • Inspiration: Inspiration is the signature ability of the factotum class. You can use your inspiration points to activate several of your abilities. The best point is that your pool of inspiration is updated at the beginning of every encounter. At low levels your pool will be limited, but hopefully after a few levels you will be able to expand it by using the font of inspiration feat.

    Yeah, pretty much right...

    Quote
    • Cunning Insight (Ex): Add a competence bonus to an attack roll, damage roll or saving throw by spending one of your inspiration points. The bad news: this is a competence bonus, which is quite common and they don't stack. The good news: it's a non-action useable any time. It won't be that useful after a few levels, but the ability to apply your intelligence modifier to saving throws can be a life saver. The bonus to damage rolls can be exploited if used with ability damage rolls.

    What? this is one of their best abilities?
    Damage roll bonuses is awesome together with master thrower and the like, but the save bonus is just AWESOME...

    Quote
    • Cunning Knowledge (Ex): Basically, you can spend just level + 3 ranks on a single skill. This ability lets you add your factotum level as an unnamed bonus to a skill in which you have at least one rank once per day. This means that it's just two points less than max (level + 1 vs level +3). This ability is especially useful with skills that you won't be using a lot, like appraise or an obscure knowledge.
    • Trapfinding (Ex): Yeah, you can do that, too.
    • Arcane Dilettante (Sp): This is an awesome ability. First of all you get to use arcane spells which will give you additional versatility. The spells you mimic are spell-like abilities, but you lose most benefits of those. A good idea is to use buff spells with a large duration. Another point is that you get an arcane caster level equal to your factotum class level, which means that you are eligible to take my favourite feats: obtain familiar and improved familiar. Finaly, it might seem like a waste, but you can apply metamagic feats on these spells if needed.

    These are okay...

    Quote
    • Brains over Brawn (Ex): Gain your intelligence modifier as a bonus on dexterity and strength checks. Remember that initiative is a dexterity check and this ability applies to that.

    What? This is their best ability by far (together with Cunning Brilliance)... If you have 20 Int, for example, it means +5 Initiative, +5 Trip/Grapple/Disarm etc... And +5 on Hide, Move Silently, Tumble, Balance, Jump, Swim, Climb, Open Lock etc... Also, 20 Int is not even that high... If you have 30+ Int, you do just get sick bonuses to everything...
    It is one of the best abilities in the game (behind spellcasting, manifesting and those things...)

    Quote
    • Cunning Defence (Ex): It's a free action! It's a dodge bonus, so that means that it stacks with other dodge bonuses. It's very nice when a single opponent threatens you, like a charger or a ray from a spellcaster. It also packs the element of surprise.
    • Cunning Strike (Ex): It's a bonus of +1d6 sneak attack damage for a single attack, not even a whole round. Also, it doesn't scale with levels. It's ok for you if you just need an extra bit of damage, but one inspiration point for something like this is not a fair trade.
    Quote
    • Opportunistic Piety (Su): Heal or turn undead. It's not bad, but the uses per day are too low to be of any importance. You can probably use this to activate devices that require turn undead or the ability to channel positive energy (although, you can accomplish this with clever use of UMD anyway).

    this is actually okay, for out of combat healing/when you face a undead with Rod of Defiance and Lyre of the restful soul

    Quote
    • Cunning Surge (Ex): This is an awesome ability, but it's a little unclear about how it works. If you can use it as many times as you want per round (at least if you have the inspiration points to spend) it's a dream come true. In the once per round case, it's still useful but more down to earth. This coupled with a form of attack that takes a standard action can be your main damage output.

    You can use it any number of times per round, but generally, it is not worth it...
    Also, it is their third best ability after BoB and Cunning Brilliance

    Quote
    • Cunning Breach (Su): Unfortunately this only works about yourself. Both can be handy against targets with high spell resistance and damage reduction.

    This could probably be light blue... Hello, it kills dragons with Shivering touch automatic over 50% of the time... add in Spectral hand cast with a extra action, and voila, you did just beat that CR 26 dragon T1 at level 11

    Quote
    • Cunning Dodge (Ex): Well, it's like saying: 1/day cheat death. At least barring instant death effects and such. The cost is high, at four inspiration points, but at the level you will get it you won't have a problem, especially if you make use of the font of inspiration feats.

    I think it just should be regular blue, but it is still very good...

    Quote
    • Improved Cunning Defence (Ex): Your most important attribute as a bonus to AC and most importantly, a dodge bonus. It's good for all the reasons its normal counterpart is, but more so, since you don't need to spend an inspiration point to activate it.

    1. You don't get the bonus in anything but light armor (not so important since you are probably not going to use anything heavier anyways)
    2. At the level you get it, your AC is going to be to low to matter anyways...

    Quote
    • Cunning Brilliance (Ex): It is very good to be able to mimic other classes' abilities, but unfortunately you gain this at 19th level, which is very high. As such, the majority of players won't be bothered with/create a character which revolves around this class ability. For those who are interested, more information will be available later.
    [/list]

    WHAT??????? This ability is AWESOME... you can gain 9th level spells, maneuvers with no recovery mechanism, all the fighters feats, 10d6 SA, Wildshape, Manifesting, etc. for a minute... AND IT IS BLACK? it is together with BoB the best ability they get... This alone could get them to be Tier 1 for a minute 3 times per day?

    Quote
    Feats that are useful to factotums besides font of inspiration

    well, it isn't good to take it more than 3ish...
    Also, the Gnome Quickrazor is awesome with IF, so you should mention it... spend a feat or be a Gnome/Whisper Gnome

    Also, skills you must have is generally UMD, Hide, Move Silently, and at least 5 ranks in Bluff...
    Make use of your big skill list, and get a rank in every skill, and get most of the synergy bonuses...

    Overall, a good guide  :clap
    « Last Edit: February 09, 2009, 04:10:40 PM by bogsnes »

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    Re: The Factotum's Handbook
    « Reply #39 on: February 09, 2009, 05:27:32 PM »
    Wait doesn't Bardic Knack only work on skills you have 1 rank in?

    No, it is skill checks you actually can make...

    From PHBII
    Benefit: When making any skill check, you can use 1/2
    your bard level (rounded up) in place of the number of ranks
    you have in the skill (even if that number is 0).
    Read the very next line carefully.

    "For trained only skills, you must have one rank in the skill to use Bardic Knack."

    Or something to that effect.

    "I am the Black Mage! I cast the spells that makes the peoples fall down!"

    The Legend RPG, which I worked on and encourage you to read.