Brilliant Gameologists Forum

The Thinktank => Min/Max It! => Topic started by: SpaceLlama on May 31, 2011, 06:02:24 PM

Title: Survivalist
Post by: SpaceLlama on May 31, 2011, 06:02:24 PM
In the newest campaign I'm playing in, I had a character concept that I thought would be fun to roleplay. He's a Mul Survivalist. Sort of like a Bear Gryls/Survivor man sort of character. Always knows what to do, all about getting through extreme situations. I love his name and background, and I think he'll be fun to play. The problem I'm coming across is, frequently I'll come up with a character idea that's fun to roleplay, but when it comes to mechanics and combat, sucks.

For instance:

The best classes for this survivalist seem to be like ranger or scout.

But as a Mul, my bonuses are to Con and Str.

My character uses simple weapons that can be made easily in nature (spears, bows), but I'm scared those will leave me without a good damage option.

I was hoping I could get some starter advice on what might be some good classes or feats that could take advantage of stats, but still create the character I want to roleplay. We have a lot of extra feats in this game, if that helps.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Solo on May 31, 2011, 06:09:27 PM
Barbarian, with a ton of ranks in Survival.

Also, leadership for a crew of cohorts that will document your endeavors.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: sir_argenon on May 31, 2011, 06:13:56 PM
horizon walker
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Petruchio on May 31, 2011, 06:17:05 PM
Factotum, ranger, scout or a rogue or barbarian w/ survival ranks. All of them give options for decent damage with improvised weapons from nature. The craft skill also assists with this, crafting a simple wooden spear should be simple enough, and be an effective carrier of sneak attack or skirmish damage. Crafting snare and traps would also be  consistent with the character concept as well.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: SpaceLlama on May 31, 2011, 06:21:51 PM
My brother thought that crafting snares and traps might be good for the character too. I'll have to check into that and see what sort of things can be done with traps and snares in and out of combat.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Mixster on May 31, 2011, 06:31:17 PM
Couldn't you build a hood with loads of survival ranks? He can easily make a longspear the deadliest weapon on the planet.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Lycanthromancer on May 31, 2011, 07:40:13 PM
Totemist/warblade, totemist/factotum, or totemist/wilderness rogue?
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Nunkuruji on May 31, 2011, 07:54:42 PM
Just be BEAR Gryls

Wildshape Ranger

Throw in some poison crafting if you'd like

better drink my own piss
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Gavinfoxx on May 31, 2011, 07:57:37 PM
Well, um, I would say Bear Grylls's main skills happen to be with the fact that he is a British Commando.

Not just the survivalist thing.  The infiltrator/elite military unit thing... How would you guys stat out a stealth based / deep behind enemy lines / special ops sort of character?

Just a thought.

Also, isn't there a barbarian build that happens to use the Survival skill for like, EVERYTHING?
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: X-Codes on May 31, 2011, 08:07:04 PM
Swift Hunter.  Ranger gets Survival, Knowledge (Dungeoneering), Knowledge (Nature), and can even get Knowledge (The Planes) if he takes a Planar Ranger sub-level.  I recommend 8th level for that.  While we're at it, pick up Knowledge Devotion for Knowledge (Arcana) and take the mage hunter ACF from CM.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: altpersona on May 31, 2011, 08:58:07 PM
wizard?/COD?
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: dark_samuari on May 31, 2011, 09:45:37 PM
Well, um, I would say Bear Grylls's main skills happen to be with the fact that he is a British Commando.

Not just the survivalist thing.  The infiltrator/elite military unit thing... How would you guys stat out a stealth based / deep behind enemy lines / special ops sort of character?

Just a thought.

I tend to go with a Mystic Ranger 6 with Sword of the Arcane Order (focusing on very utility-orientated spells).
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: ninjarabbit on May 31, 2011, 11:58:21 PM

Also, isn't there a barbarian build that happens to use the Survival skill for like, EVERYTHING?

There's a barbarian ACF called trapkiller that lets you use your survival check (at a -5 penalty) to find traps and you can smash the trap to bits.

Alternatively I'd go with steadfast determination and completely max out your con score.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Dawnmor on June 01, 2011, 10:58:10 PM
Bear Grills *or however its spelled* was actually a Straight ranger.  He wasnt a Barbarian, he had no mystical powers AT ALL!, So if you want to stick close to him as possible, he is a Ranger, Grab the I think PHB2 variantion that trades spells for feats, and your set.  Bear was more along the lines of an Archer Ranger with no spell casting as you can get.  He had no animal companion but he did have a working knowledge of nature.......

As for those who think he was a Barbarian? What the heck are you thinking?, have you even SEEN! his show? and you think hes a barbarian? I dont remember him killing his crew when he came across a situation that made him VERY! mad!.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Solo on June 01, 2011, 11:07:11 PM
What an entertaining post.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Demelain on June 02, 2011, 10:05:57 PM
Bear Grills *or however its spelled* was actually a Straight ranger.  He wasnt a Barbarian, he had no mystical powers AT ALL!, So if you want to stick close to him as possible, he is a Ranger, Grab the I think PHB2 variantion that trades spells for feats, and your set.  Bear was more along the lines of an Archer Ranger with no spell casting as you can get.  He had no animal companion but he did have a working knowledge of nature.......

As for those who think he was a Barbarian? What the heck are you thinking?, have you even SEEN! his show? and you think hes a barbarian? I dont remember him killing his crew when he came across a situation that made him VERY! mad!.


It would certainly make the show better.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Bozwevial on June 02, 2011, 10:55:44 PM
he had no mystical powers AT ALL!
Neither does a barbarian.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Solo on June 02, 2011, 10:57:33 PM
Actually, the ranger's the one with magic spells, which would actually support the Barbarian hypothesis.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Havok4 on June 02, 2011, 11:44:48 PM
He is actually most likely an expert with maxed out survival, climb and similar skills.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: SorO_Lost on June 02, 2011, 11:58:23 PM
Really he is a level 3 commoner. All noobs are commoners and level 6 is when skills break the realistic realm.

But last time I checked, our trees didn't eat people and wolves in arctic regions didn't have super freezing breath. Better make him a ranger. There are ACF that let you ditch spellcasting, though why not keep it? It's not like Bear can track a toad over rock, from two days ago, and it rained last night, but you'll be able to anyway. Toss some woodsy spells in, it'll be ok.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: dark_samuari on June 03, 2011, 05:42:07 PM
Bear Grills *or however its spelled* was actually a Straight ranger.  He wasnt a Barbarian, he had no mystical powers AT ALL!, So if you want to stick close to him as possible, he is a Ranger, Grab the I think PHB2 variantion that trades spells for feats, and your set.  Bear was more along the lines of an Archer Ranger with no spell casting as you can get.  He had no animal companion but he did have a working knowledge of nature.......

Anytime you convert a character from pop culture you have to make a dynamic shift in how they would function within the world of that game. Bear Grylls was a British special forces officer with specialization in survival adaptation. While your argument is certainly a valid one it ultimately doesn't allow us to transfer him into the the magical & dangerous realm of dungeons & dragons.

I have a pretty solid belief that any special forces operative (black ops, green berets, ect.) are probably pretty high level and they'll also probably highly trained in magic as a way to enhance their physical prowess. So while you are correct that a non-spellcasting Ranger might fit within the realistic mold of Bear Grylls, give us a reason why in D&D he would not have taken SotAO or other arcane lessons. I mean if other special forces operatives are going to be (there is no reason for them to not, ever...) than why wouldn't Bear Grylls?   
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: AngellusMortus on June 04, 2011, 04:45:15 PM
Building Bear Grylls as a D&D character? Better drink your own piss.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: dark_samuari on June 04, 2011, 07:43:36 PM
Building Bear Grylls as a D&D character? Better drink your own piss.

Poison Healer!
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Lycanthromancer on June 04, 2011, 07:45:06 PM
Building Bear Grylls as a D&D character? Better drink your own piss.
Better than someone else's piss.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Petruchio on June 05, 2011, 01:00:15 AM
I have a pretty solid belief that any special forces operative (black ops, green berets, ect.) are probably pretty high level and they'll also probably highly trained in magic as a way to enhance their physical prowess.

I'll have to disagree with that. I recall someone once posted a working character sheet of Einstein. Between the various feats and bonuses that he could get, he makes a DC 40 Knowledge (physics) check by taking 20 at Level 5. As a DC 40 is border nigh-impossible, it could be inferred that no real person could be higher than Level 5. Even special ops.

Einstein
+4 Int
+8 Ranks
+2 Masterwork Item (laboratory)
+4 Aid Another (two lab assistants)
+3 Skill Focus
+21 Knowledge (physics) Bonus
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Lycanthromancer on June 05, 2011, 06:51:46 PM
I have a pretty solid belief that any special forces operative (black ops, green berets, ect.) are probably pretty high level and they'll also probably highly trained in magic as a way to enhance their physical prowess.

I'll have to disagree with that. I recall someone once posted a working character sheet of Einstein. Between the various feats and bonuses that he could get, he makes a DC 40 Knowledge (physics) check by taking 20 at Level 5. As a DC 40 is border nigh-impossible, it could be inferred that no real person could be higher than Level 5. Even special ops.

Einstein
+4 Int
+8 Ranks
+2 Masterwork Item (laboratory)
+4 Aid Another (two lab assistants)
+3 Skill Focus
+21 Knowledge (physics) Bonus
I think D_S's point was that black ops tend to be the best of the best at what they do, and in D&D, in order to be the best of damned near anything you NEED magic, because magic is the best.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: dark_samuari on June 05, 2011, 09:58:49 PM
I have a pretty solid belief that any special forces operative (black ops, green berets, ect.) are probably pretty high level and they'll also probably highly trained in magic as a way to enhance their physical prowess.

I'll have to disagree with that. I recall someone once posted a working character sheet of Einstein. Between the various feats and bonuses that he could get, he makes a DC 40 Knowledge (physics) check by taking 20 at Level 5. As a DC 40 is border nigh-impossible, it could be inferred that no real person could be higher than Level 5. Even special ops.

Einstein
+4 Int
+8 Ranks
+2 Masterwork Item (laboratory)
+4 Aid Another (two lab assistants)
+3 Skill Focus
+21 Knowledge (physics) Bonus

This is a flawed connection so let us address the underlying point attempting to be made in your comparison. So, your thesis if we will, is that Einstein could be built under level five and still achieve his amazing breakthroughs within physics and because of this a special operations operative could not be higher than level five as well. If so let us perhaps attempt to analyze what each bring to the table. Einstein was a genius and powerhouse in the field of mathematics, physics and such. So off the bat he's a pretty easy guy to understand in D&D, you just need a dude who's good at hitting a very specialized knowledge check. On the other side of the fence we have a special forces operative who's duties include being able to realistically survive anywhere, kill anyone and never be seen. I mean I could go on for a while on how elite these guys have to be but perhaps we should just look at what is required of the green berets to even start training.

First of all you need to score a General Technical score of 107 or higher and a combat operation score of 98 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. This roughly means you have to be as well as or better than 107% of the nationally representative sample at technical aspects and be as well or better than 98% of the nationally representative sample at killing. So not only do you have to be very good at murdering human beings but you also have be very smart in a wide range of fields (mathematics, science and technology to name a few). So we can make the statement that these special forces operatives are pretty top-notch in attributes & skills.

But we are still brought back to your claim that because Einstein could make a really hard knowledge check, no one (not even special forces operative who collectively do more than Einstein ever would in D&D) could ever get higher than him level wise. And I can, with much difficulty, see where you might be coming from but you seem to be placing a limit on humankind through the barrier of intellectual achievements while diminishing any achievements that would actually level you up in any conventional game of D&D. 

Perhaps we should look at your Einstein example and see if we can't polish it up. After all if Einstein is the glass ceiling for any human in D&D, we might as well see if we can't really optimize him.

Albert Einstein: Old Human Male Human Paragon 1; CR 1; Medium Humanoid (human); HD 1d8-1; hp 7; Init -2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 8, touch 8, flat-footed 8; Base Atk +0; Grp -2; Atk -2 melee (1d6-2/x2; club); SA; SQ Adaptive Learning (Knowledge: Architecture & Engineering); AL NG; SV Fort -1, Ref -2, Will +3; Str 6, Dex 6, Con 8, Int 20, Wis 12, Cha 12.
Skills and Feats: Diplomacy +5 (4 ranks +1 cha), Craft (Writing) +9 (4 ranks +5 int), Disable Device +9 (4 ranks +5 int), Knowledge (Arcana) +6 (2 ranks +5 int -2 specialized +1 absent minded), Knowledge (Architecture & Engineering) +24 (4 ranks +5 int +1 specialized +1 absent minded +3 skill focus +4 call to mind +2 masterwork tool +4 aid another), Knowledge (Geography) +6 (2 ranks +5 int -2 specialized +1 absent minded), Knowledge (History) +6 (2 ranks +5 int -2 specialized +1 absent minded), Knowledge (Religion) +6 (2 ranks +5 int -2 specialized +1 absent minded), Perform (Oratory) +5 (4 ranks +1 cha), Profession (Professor) +5 (4 ranks +1 wis), Use Magical Device +5 (4 ranks +1 cha), Use Psionic Device +5 (4 ranks +1 cha); Skill Focus (Knowledge: Architecture & Engineering) and Hidden Talent (Call to Mind)
Traits: Absent Minded & Specialized (Knowledge: Architecture & Engineering)
Sources: Unearthed Arcana and Mindís Eye Web Article.

So there we go, first-level... This guy, when taking 20, can hit a check of 44 (I used Knowledge: Architecture & Engineering as I felt the engineering aspect of the skill worked better than just designating a new skill for him). So I guess if this guy can do the "impossible" at first level than there can be no second level characters right?

Also Lycanthromancer, you are right in your statement. That was pretty much my entire point.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Tshern on June 05, 2011, 10:58:00 PM
You can't take 20 on Knowledge checks, I believe.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: dark_samuari on June 05, 2011, 11:12:57 PM
You can't take 20 on Knowledge checks, I believe.

I was honestly working off his assumption but even with that, if you can find six more points of bonuses you'll be hitting the mark.

EDIT: Einstein does all his research in a luxury library with a master book lot on Knowledge (Architecture & Engineering). Its from Stronghold Builder's Guide and will cost you 45,000 gp all together but there it is. Taking 10, Einstein will be hitting 40.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: JohnnyMayHymn on June 05, 2011, 11:37:56 PM
DruidX, planar shepherdX

The ultimate survivor! It matches with flavor, and I'm pretty sure any ex-SAS is going to be Tier 1 or even gestalt...
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Tenebrus on June 06, 2011, 12:07:07 AM
There's  a feat in Heroes of Battle that lets you keep up cheaply on Move Silently and Hide if you take some class where those skills aren't available.  So if Bear needs a few levels of Warblade, you can still keep even on your key skills.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: SorO_Lost on June 06, 2011, 10:37:08 AM
If you wanted to stat BlackOps people for D&D, start with your character sheet.

Yeah, guess what I mean there :p
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: awaken DM golem on June 07, 2011, 08:35:23 PM
Bear Grills *or however its spelled* was actually a Straight ranger.  He wasnt a Barbarian, he had no mystical powers AT ALL!, So if you want to stick close to him as possible, he is a Ranger, Grab the I think PHB2 variantion that trades spells for feats, and your set.  Bear was more along the lines of an Archer Ranger with no spell casting as you can get.  He had no animal companion but he did have a working knowledge of nature.......

As for those who think he was a Barbarian? What the heck are you thinking?, have you even SEEN! his show? and you think hes a barbarian? I dont remember him killing his crew when he came across a situation that made him VERY! mad!.


It would certainly make the show better.

 :lmao


**


For some reason, the gawds of 3e have not discovered Einstein's Relativity stuff.
Technically, the Omniscificer should be able to figure out how to get all the way
from Point A to Point ZZZ ; including making materials that officially do not exist in 3e.

Gamma World otoh ...
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: radionausea on June 09, 2011, 03:05:46 PM
Of course.. I'm partial to this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=140757):

Anthropomorphic Bear Werebear Bear Totem Barbarian/ Bear Warrior/ Druid (taking a Bear companion)/ Bearlord, taking the Wild Cohort feat to get a bear companion. You're a werebear bear who owns a bear, rides a bear, commands bears, worships bears, and can get so angry he turns into a bear.

Add in max ranks in Perform: Dad at a BBQ and you're set.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Rejakor on June 09, 2011, 04:06:34 PM
I'm using JaronK's Grace Under Fire build at about level 6 for special ops troopers.

But for a more serious comparison, the DnD version of nasty-as-hell black ops fellows is probably marginally optimized high level wizards.  They're really good at everything, hard to kill, and they'll kill you in your sleep.

They don't really preserve the flavour of sneaky killey bastards though, since they're doing it from another country and quite casually.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Lycanthromancer on June 09, 2011, 04:13:00 PM
They don't really preserve the flavour of sneaky killey bastards though, since they're doing it from another country and quite casually.
I dunno. That's pretty damned sneaky.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Solo on June 09, 2011, 04:58:45 PM
I'm using JaronK's Grace Under Fire build at about level 6 for special ops troopers.

But for a more serious comparison, the DnD version of nasty-as-hell black ops fellows is probably marginally optimized high level wizards.  They're really good at everything, hard to kill, and they'll kill you in your sleep.

They don't really preserve the flavour of sneaky killey bastards though, since they're doing it from another country and quite casually.
So, Predator Drones?
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: Rejakor on June 09, 2011, 05:10:53 PM
Actually, the only real comparison for wizards I can find is nuclear missile equipped countries.

Or possibly orbital lasers.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: dark_samuari on June 09, 2011, 08:49:11 PM
I'm using JaronK's Grace Under Fire build at about level 6 for special ops troopers.

But for a more serious comparison, the DnD version of nasty-as-hell black ops fellows is probably marginally optimized high level wizards.  They're really good at everything, hard to kill, and they'll kill you in your sleep.

They don't really preserve the flavour of sneaky killey bastards though, since they're doing it from another country and quite casually.

I really think a Mystic Ranger 6 with SotAO is probably cemented for me as the go to build for any special forces operative. Great at combat, versatility in needed skills and utility within spells to compensate for anything that can't be stabbed in the dark with your trusty knife.
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: awaken DM golem on June 10, 2011, 06:04:04 PM
Elan ... gets food out of the way, for rather low cost.
Decanter of Endless Water ... or an even cheaper item , fixes that problem.
Bag of Holding ... carries all the gear and gadgets, like masterwork items.


I wonder what else would cover all this
http://www.d20srd.org/indexes/carryingMovementExploration.htm
and this
http://www.d20srd.org/indexes/wildernessWeatherEnvironment.htm

 ???
Title: Re: Survivalist
Post by: dark_samuari on June 10, 2011, 06:28:22 PM
Some solid ranks in survival will take care of food (if they don't have rations...) and for any wilderness activity that should come up.

And with a strength score of 13 they should be fine hauling 50 lb. (light), 100 lb. (medium) or 150 lb. (heavy).

Magic items aren't all that needed.