Author Topic: The Factotum's Handbook  (Read 287084 times)

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Negative Zero

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #80 on: August 16, 2009, 06:30:23 AM »
I've been looking for more ways to expand an int focus on my factotum so wanted to ask, are there any feats that change some skills to be modifed by intelligence? I think I remember one from Oriental Adventures but any beyond that?

Try this.

JaronK

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #81 on: August 17, 2009, 04:15:15 PM »
So, can someone elaborate on this?

The way Spellthief steal spells works, if used on spells the spell is stolen for the day, so the Wizard you stole it from can't cast it again.  As such, stealing spells from party members is rarely all that useful.  But if you steal a spell like ability, the person you stole it from gets it back as soon as you use it, even if it was a 1/day ability.  Factotum spells are spell like abilities, so if a Spellthief is in a party with a Factotum, they can cast any prepared Factotum spell they want virtually at will.  This is awesome for construction spells and other spells with long term benefits, even if those benefits aren't that amazing usually... Wall of Stone and Fabricate could easily build an entire castle in a day, for example. 

As to the level 19 ability, I'll leave spells alone for the moment, but all feats are defined as being (Ex) unless otherwise noted, so getting all of a Fighter's feats is absolutely defined by the rules.  Manuevers have the same ruling (some DMs might get upset about getting the Su manuevers).

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #82 on: August 18, 2009, 04:52:29 AM »
On the Jack of All Trades point: while JoAT won't work, Elf Dilettante from Races of the Wild will, because it specifies that you are treated as having 1 rank in every skill. The downside, of course, is that you have to be an Elf or Half-Elf. The feat really shines with Half-Elf Bards, but it is an option for Factotums as well.
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Optimator

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #83 on: November 13, 2009, 01:08:48 PM »
So in a new campaign I made a human Factotum.  He is a professor of archeology/tomb raider/private eye (an obvious mash-up between Indiana Jones and Jake Gittes from Chinatown.  I just love that I can make a character who can actually perform multiple archetypal roles!).  Level 5 and so far so good, and he will likely be played for a good long time (high teens are likely to be played).   

Str-14, Dex-12, Con-17, Int-19, Wis-14, Cha-14, at least one point in every skill, focusing on rogue-like skills, plus Gather Information, Knowledge: History, Knowledge: Religion, and one point in Profession: Professor.  Uses a guisarme, a longsword, and a composite long bow.

My question is this though:  feats.  So far he has Able Learner (Just in case I wanted to go Chameleon eventually) and two Font of Inspirations.  I'm confused and because I am a perfectionist I have to know the right way to do all this and I have every intention to overthink this whole process :D .  I am worried about using my 6th level feat on FoI again.  Will I need something else earlier or should I get all the bonus IPs as soon as I can? How many FoIs is enough?  How many is too many?  My guess was three, but we'll see.

I don't know what direction I should be taking this guy.  I just worry about being effective in combat later on, really.  Out of combat, obviously Factotums shine brighter than almost all classes.  My DM thinks, and I agree for the most part, that Iajitsu Focus is silly and he's banned it from all campaigns.  I also would like to avoid especially contrived combos and anything "gray-area" rules-wise.  Just looking over the class abilities I'm given, seems like Cunning Insight will start to drop off, at least for damage.  Getting my huge Int to hit won't go out of style.  The spells are awesome, but I don't see how they could carry me through a day's worth of fights.  So at this point, it appears to me that feats are going to make up for some of the slack. 

Just going down JaronK's very fine suggestion list, since the guide is lacking (hint, hint  ;)) EDIT:  Very nice list in the guide now.  Outstanding.

Craft Wondrous Item - Definitely a great feat for Factotums, what with the freedom to choose so many spells.

Manyshot - Why?  What am I missing? [quick edit] Wait...  Volley = one attack roll.  Is that why?  That's pretty cool.  Wait, no way I'll qualify.  17 Dex, plus two other feats I don't particularly care for.

Darkstalker - Ah, of course.  Probably going to get that as well. 

Master of Poisons - Where's this from again?  I see it's use but I fear book-throwing.  I mean, making buckets of poison and then boosting the ability damage with IPs?  I don't know if I would want to use that combo often enough to warrant the feat.

Imperious Command - Doesn't really fit the character, but I could see it working well for factotums.

Improved Trip - I was seriously thinking about taking this as my 6th level feat. 

Other ideas I had were... I think my friend mentioned there was a feat for swinging across chasms with a whip.  I'd probably take it if I could find it--just for kicks.  Kinda stumped at this point.  I think I could just as easily fall back on UMDing a staff and a wand or two to assist in fights, but that feels like giving up  ;).  With that approach, all my feats become secondary and I can choose flavorful feats like the whip-swinging or something zany like Dreamtelling from HoH. 

Chameleon would be a fantastic boon in combat, but I want to get as many Factotum levels in that I can.  At least it's an option later on.  I'd just as soon go straight Factotum, at least until level 16.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TL;DR summary:  Feats for a factotum are confusing me.  What balance should I strike for combat feats, out of combat/flavor feats, and FoI?  Which combat feats peter out and which ones stay good?

Also, Dictum Mortuum, this guide could use some love if you find the time.  Your guides are always so good and the first section of this guide is already really well done. 
« Last Edit: February 18, 2010, 03:44:28 AM by Optimator »

Rebel7284

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #84 on: November 13, 2009, 05:18:01 PM »
Using a whip to swing is a skill trick, not a feat.  I think you need to be proficient with a whip though which factotums are not by default. 

IMO, 5 FoI is enough.  If you need to do a lot of scouting, Darkstalker should come first though.
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JaronK

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #85 on: November 13, 2009, 08:56:07 PM »
On the Jack of All Trades point: while JoAT won't work, Elf Dilettante from Races of the Wild will, because it specifies that you are treated as having 1 rank in every skill. The downside, of course, is that you have to be an Elf or Half-Elf. The feat really shines with Half-Elf Bards, but it is an option for Factotums as well.

I just looked over Elf Dilettante, and it doesn't give you ranks.  It just says you get a +1 unnamed bonus to untrained skills and that you can use them even though you're untrained.  It does NOT specify that you're treated as having a rank, so it won't work.

As for feats, I think 3-4 Fonts is a good amount.  There are just so many other good feats for Factotums that it's not a good idea to go overboard, and you really don't need more than 4... despite the increased inspiration points per feat, there's actually diminishing returns due to the fact that you'll quickly run out of useful ways to use those inspiration points if you get too many (obviously standard actions are nice, but once you're out of spells they do much less).  Feats like Darkstalker are just so good.

If you can't use IF and don't want anything that feels too gimmicy, poison is still a nice option so long as using Minor Creation to expand your doses of Black Lotus Poison doesn't feel like too much of a gimmick.  Cunning Insight + Poison is a nasty combo, after all.  You need Master of Poison from Drow of the Underdark.  Despite the fact that it's very effective, most GMs don't balk too badly because it's also easy to counter (anything immune to poison doesn't care).  Other fun things to make poison extra nasty include Assassination weapons (adds 1d6 effective sneak attack and adds the weapon's bonus to the DC of any applied poisons), Terrifying Strike, and Sickening Strike.  When every hit you do causes a -4 to saves, that poison gets really nasty really fast.

Manyshot was on my list of feats because you can fire multiple shots as a standard action.  Combined with something that makes those shots count (like poison, or just a solid bow) and Cunning Surge that's handy.  I'm not sure it's great unless you're specializing archery though.

Oh, and if you do go with poisons I strongly recommend having something good for killing undead too.  A Lyre of the Restful Soul and Rod of Defiance are great for this when you can afford them, as it means Opportunistic Piety is nearly a gaurenteed kill shot.

JaronK

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #86 on: November 13, 2009, 11:51:06 PM »

Craft Wondrous Item - Definitely a great feat for Factotums, what with the freedom to choose so many spells.


If you are going to go chameleon this would not be a good choice as the various item creation feats work very well with that classes floating feat.

KellKheraptis

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #87 on: November 13, 2009, 11:56:40 PM »
Do you guys want me to dig up the thread where we broke the factotem and put the trick in here?  I can edit it into this post.  It involved UA action point abuse with the spell unfettered heroism to gain all abilities of all base classes level 15 and under, all day long.
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Optimator

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #88 on: November 14, 2009, 08:07:49 AM »
Thank you very much for the advice as always, JaronK.  Poison isn't totally out, I just know my DM and he'd literally be mad if I tried to dump 996 doses on an enemy.  Havok4, hells freaking yes Chameleon + Item Crafting.  I probably will end up getting Chameleon up to the floating feat if nothing else. 

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #89 on: January 12, 2010, 07:25:44 PM »
Random thought: How would cunning insight interact with the damage roll of a ditherbomb?
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Dictum Mortuum

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #90 on: January 12, 2010, 08:03:36 PM »
I completely forgot about this thread (again).
Starting this weekend i will begin working on this project.
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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #91 on: January 12, 2010, 10:51:41 PM »
YAY !!! I was wondering what happened to you...

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #92 on: January 14, 2010, 07:27:44 PM »
That guy has so many handbooks, he has a handbook about making handbooks. I'm surprised he remembers anything ever.

Dictum Mortuum

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #93 on: January 14, 2010, 08:57:26 PM »
I messed with real life and no one messes with her.
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JaronK

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #94 on: January 15, 2010, 03:56:02 AM »
Manyshot - Why?  What am I missing? [quick edit] Wait...  Volley = one attack roll.  Is that why?  That's pretty cool.  Wait, no way I'll qualify.  17 Dex, plus two other feats I don't particularly care for.

Because it's a Standard Action that gives multiple shots.  Combine it with Cunning Surge for lots of shots.  Combine it with Cunning Surge and a Splitting Bow of Assassination +5 as well as some nice poison (IIRC there's one that does 2d6 con damage at base DC 26, so it's lower damaging that BL but harder to resist, and it's also vegetable based) and the two ambush feats that lower saves (terrifying strike and sickening strike, you'll need to use the level 4 ability or Assassin's Stance to trigger them), and now you can spend three inspiration points to fire 6 shots, and for each hit the target must effectively make a DC 35 fort save or take 2d6 con damage (and thus be more vulnerable to later shots, plus you can of course add Int to the con damage).  Fun stuff.  Very feat intensive for a Factotum of course, as you also need Master of Poisons and the Many Shot prerequisites.  But if you wanted a poisony assassin sniper character, this is the way to do it.  Still, the number of feats required hurts a lot.  Is there any way to do this without needing all those feats?  I think I'd rather have three more Fonts of Inspiration.

Quote
Master of Poisons - Where's this from again?  I see it's use but I fear book-throwing.  I mean, making buckets of poison and then boosting the ability damage with IPs?  I don't know if I would want to use that combo often enough to warrant the feat.

Drow of the Underdark.  It's a nasty trick, but lots of enemies are immune to poison, so it's a bit situational.  But yes, it's nasty.  Still, SOMEBODY has to make poison work.  After all, assassin snipers using poison are a fantasy staple but they're mostly not viable in games.

Quote
Imperious Command - Doesn't really fit the character, but I could see it working well for factotums.

Yeah, awesome for some to be sure.   Good with assassin types (make them cower using Cunning Surge and your level 1 ability, then Coup de Gras with a Quickrazor, how cool is that?).

Quote
TL;DR summary:  Feats for a factotum are confusing me.  What balance should I strike for combat feats, out of combat/flavor feats, and FoI?  Which combat feats peter out and which ones stay good?

Really campaign situational.  I think you probably want 3-4 Fonts of Inspiration to have enough Insp points... more than that and all you can do is Nova, less than that and you don't have the abilities you need when you need them.  Factotums are so flexible that without knowing what you want to do it's hard to give advice.

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, great if they're vulnerable to fear or poison, and if they're not you're still a Factotum with enough feats to come up with something.  I recommend having a Rod of Defiance and Lyre of the Restful Soul in case the DM busts out with undead (instant kill!).

JaronK
« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 04:06:21 AM by JaronK »

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #95 on: January 15, 2010, 06:01:20 AM »

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.


I have been looking for that rule for a while. Thanks.

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #96 on: January 16, 2010, 09:26:30 PM »
Just want to make sure that Polymorph effects are highlighted when it comes to Arcane Dilettante. If, for some reason, the DM denies you Iaijutsu Focus, spells like Body of War, Displacer Form, and even the Complete Mage/PH2 Polymorph spells go a long way to make up for it. For any other caster, losing your spellcasting abilities in those forms isn't worth it. For a Factotum however, those spells are absolutely viable and very powerful (especially if they give access to some SLAs). Even though you may not be allowed to use your normal SLAs in those forms, you are still able to use Cunning Surge or other Factotum class features. Hell, you may even be able to argue that you don't lose Arcane Dilettante while under the effects of something like Body of War.


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snakeman830

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #97 on: January 17, 2010, 12:22:25 AM »
Just want to make sure that Polymorph effects are highlighted when it comes to Arcane Dilettante. If, for some reason, the DM denies you Iaijutsu Focus, spells like Body of War, Displacer Form, and even the Complete Mage/PH2 Polymorph spells go a long way to make up for it. For any other caster, losing your spellcasting abilities in those forms isn't worth it. For a Factotum however, those spells are absolutely viable and very powerful (especially if they give access to some SLAs). Even though you may not be allowed to use your normal SLAs in those forms, you are still able to use Cunning Surge or other Factotum class features. Hell, you may even be able to argue that you don't lose Arcane Dilettante while under the effects of something like Body of War.
This is actually a pretty good idea.  Body of War is the highest level spell you can do this with (since it's 7th level), but IIRC, the description says nothing about losing spell-like abilities, only spellcasting.

Could be very interesting in a gestalt game with Warlock as the other side (unoptimal, perhaps, but interesting nontheless).
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Sinfire Titan

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #98 on: January 17, 2010, 12:28:18 AM »
This is actually a pretty good idea.  Body of War is the highest level spell you can do this with (since it's 7th level), but IIRC, the description says nothing about losing spell-like abilities, only spellcasting.

Could be very interesting in a gestalt game with Warlock as the other side (unoptimal, perhaps, but interesting nontheless).

It's somewhat dependent on your ability scores for some of them (if you own a Belt of Magnificence it may not be worth using Displacer Form at all, likewise if your DM is stat-crazy). It works wonderfully with Incarnate/Totemist Gestalt, but they work with everything anyway.


Factotum//Incarnate is also a good option for any Gestalt game. Makes up for the weaknesses of both classes.


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Dictum Mortuum

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Re: The Factotum's Handbook
« Reply #99 on: January 19, 2010, 08:22:22 PM »
Anyone who is interested in skills, please take a look at the skills section, which turned out to be massive, for coloring, mistakes, etc.

Just want to make sure that Polymorph effects are highlighted when it comes to Arcane Dilettante. If, for some reason, the DM denies you Iaijutsu Focus, spells like Body of War, Displacer Form, and even the Complete Mage/PH2 Polymorph spells go a long way to make up for it. For any other caster, losing your spellcasting abilities in those forms isn't worth it. For a Factotum however, those spells are absolutely viable and very powerful (especially if they give access to some SLAs). Even though you may not be allowed to use your normal SLAs in those forms, you are still able to use Cunning Surge or other Factotum class features. Hell, you may even be able to argue that you don't lose Arcane Dilettante while under the effects of something like Body of War.

Thanks. I certainly had polymorphing in mind as a combat option.
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