Author Topic: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker  (Read 6924 times)

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Cuindless

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Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« on: May 26, 2010, 09:30:13 AM »
I'm tinkering with a high-seas based character starting at 12th level and have hit something of a brick wall. Here's the build I have so far:

CN Human
S15 D17 C11 I15 W6 Ch14 starting (stats randomly generated using the standard rolling mechanism)
S16 D20 C11 I16 W6 Ch14 modified.

1  Rogue, TWF and Dodge
2  Rogue
3  Rogue, Mobility
4  Swashbuckler, +1 Dex
5  Swashbuckler
6  Swashbuckler, Spring Attack
7  Dread Pirate
8  Dread Pirate, +1 Dex
9  Dread Pirate, Improved TWF
10 Scarlet Corsair, Improved Feint
11 Scarlet Corsair
12 Tempest, Daring Outlaw, +1 Int
13 Tempest
14 Scarlet Corsair
15 Swashbuckler, Greater TWF
16 Swashbuckler, +1 Str
17 Swashbuckler
18 Swashbuckler, Improved Initiative
19 Swashbuckler
20 Nighsong Enforcer, +1 Dex

The build grants 9d6 sneak attack and a +19 BAB as written, but reviewing the build I'm starting to question if the 2 levels of Tempest are really adding anything to the build. I added them by rote because TWF and Tempest kind of go hand in hand, but I'm wondering if they're more of a detriment in this build because of the heavy feat requirements. If I were to swap them out for, say, 2 more levels of Swashbuckler then that would free up Dodge, Mobility and Spring Attack for other feats that synergize with TWF and/or Sneak Attacking. If I were to swap them out with 2 levels of Fighter, that would be 5 extra feats to play with. There's also other PrCs that I might be overlooking.

All books are available with the exception of Magic of Incarnum, Unearthed Arcana and campaign specific books that aren't Forgotten Realms (i.e. Eberron, Dragonlance, et cetera). Variant class options need DM approval, but he's pretty lenient as far as that goes. The DM is uncomfortable with psionics as well (mostly because he isn't very familiar with them), but hasn't said "No psionics". Thoughts?

Shadowhunter

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2010, 10:33:02 AM »
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ninjarabbit

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2010, 10:46:18 AM »
I'll 2nd dropping tempest.

A level of lion totem barbarian would be nice for pounce. I also like assassin for the minor spellcasting, maybe rogue2/barbarian1/swashbuckler3/assassin10/swashbuckler4 for 16 BAB, spellcasting, and 10d6 SA.

Havok4

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2010, 11:58:44 AM »
I would suggest picking up craven (CoR) to give your sneak attack damage a boost. I would recommend taking 2 levels of warblade at some point to gain some nice tricks with two weapon fighting from the tiger claw discipline and iron heart surge.

archangel.arcanis

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2010, 12:36:24 PM »
if you go either Warblade or Swordsage look at Bloodclaw master PrC. It will probably net you what you really wanted out of Tempest. Though it does limit you on weapon choices, but damage from the weapon is mostly irrelevant since SA is 90% of your damage. Plus the only thing that may be out of your way for it is the 9 ranks in Jump everything else you will have anyway.
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Arz

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2010, 12:50:38 PM »
This may not be helpful but I found ships decks and corridors cluttered. You might want to try some of these positional feats which may or may not require you to be a gnome. If you can put yourself on a ladder way between decks - Undermountain Tactics from dungeonscape is quite good. Also RoE had Ship Savvy. If you want to add more positional aspects Breachgnome PrC isn't bad.

I'd ditch daring outlaw since you don't have enough swashbuckler levels to take advantage of it.

Cuindless

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2010, 12:56:16 PM »
I forgot to mention that my DM is a bit dodgy on Tome of Battle stuff as well, but, like Psionics, he isn't completely against it. It's just the lack of familiarity with the system. I can definitely convince him to allow me to take some of the feats and such, but I'm not sure on the builds. I'll ask him. I'll have to do the same with Hit and Run Fighter and Lion Totem Barbarian. I know he's said bad things about "Sneaky Rages", but he's thrown Barbarian/Rogues at us with charging two-handed leaping sneak attacks... I guess that means it's okay.

I personally like the Scarlet Corsair feinting and the Dread Pirate the Sneak Attack, but I can easily see replacing Tempest with a level of HaR and a level of Lion Totem Barbarian for Dex to damage and pounce. That would free up three feats for Craven, Staggering Strike and Deadly Precision. I don't have HaR in front of me. Do you get a bonus feat at first level with that?

As for ditching Daring Outlaw... the build has 8 levels of Swashbuckler. How is that not enough to take advantage of it?
« Last Edit: May 26, 2010, 01:00:43 PM by Cuindless »

Arz

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2010, 01:07:47 PM »

As for ditching Daring Outlaw... the build has 8 levels of Swashbuckler. How is that not enough to take advantage of it?
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dantheman

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2010, 03:03:25 PM »
Another option, if you like the feinting aspect of Scarlet Corsair, is to drop tempest and dread pirate, as well as one level Scarlet Corsair, and pick up All 5 levels of Invisible Blade from the complete warrior and a level of HaR.  Invisible Blade gives you feinting as a swift action as well as 3d6 SA (though only with daggers).  In addition, there's a feat called Surprising Riposte in Drow of the Underdark that makes an opponent flat-footed if you successfully feint and damage them.  Also, HaR does get the normal bonus feat.

PhaedrusXY

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2010, 03:04:34 PM »
Another option, if you like the feinting aspect of Scarlet Corsair, is to drop tempest and dread pirate, as well as one level Scarlet Corsair, and pick up All 5 levels of Invisible Blade from the complete warrior and a level of HaR.  Invisible Blade gives you feinting as a swift action as well as 3d6 SA (though only with daggers).  In addition, there's a feat called Surprising Riposte in Drow of the Underdark that makes an opponent flat-footed if you successfully feint and damage them.  Also, HaR does get the normal bonus feat.
The problem with that is that per the errata you can only use the swift action feint once per round. IB is still a decent PrC, though.
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Cuindless

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2010, 03:35:29 PM »
I took a look at the Invisible Blade PrC and discounted it. I realize that the difference in weapon damage is insignificant, but I just don't want to use daggers. Call it an RP/Fluff reason, but it doesn't fit with my vision of the build. Is there a better way to make opponents flat footed than the feinting maneuver? Point of fact, is there a better way to get sneak attacks than that? I'll probably be flanking quite a bit because I won't be going solo, but if I'm fighting a lot of opponents and can't get into a flanking position, is there a better way to get my sneak attack damage while soloing a monster?

RobbyPants

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2010, 04:03:19 PM »
I would suggest picking up craven (CoR) to give your sneak attack damage a boost. I would recommend taking 2 levels of warblade at some point to gain some nice tricks with two weapon fighting from the tiger claw discipline and iron heart surge.
That was my thought, especially at higher levels.  Taking warblade at 19th level gives you an initiator level of 9, which means you can take up to 5th level maneuvers (if they don't have steep prereqs).  Iron Heart Surge and White Raven Tactics are both very good for their level (3rd for both).
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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2010, 04:27:15 PM »
I took a look at the Invisible Blade PrC and discounted it. I realize that the difference in weapon damage is insignificant, but I just don't want to use daggers. Call it an RP/Fluff reason, but it doesn't fit with my vision of the build. Is there a better way to make opponents flat footed than the feinting maneuver? Point of fact, is there a better way to get sneak attacks than that? I'll probably be flanking quite a bit because I won't be going solo, but if I'm fighting a lot of opponents and can't get into a flanking position, is there a better way to get my sneak attack damage while soloing a monster?
The spell Insightful Feint might help out w/ the feinting, even w/out the Invisible Blade.  There's also Swift Invisibility.  Island of Blades seems like your best bet overall, as it makes flanking a snap. 

The other thing I like doing for sneak attacks comes from DotU -- take a dip into Warlock for the darkness invocation and then grab the feat that lets you burn a use of a darkness spell-like ability (I'm AFB at present, so I don't remember the name, but it's easy to find) to hide as a swift action. 

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2010, 07:42:19 PM »
HaR nets you a fighter bonus feat as normal.
2nd level Shadow Hand maneuver Cloak of Deception, as I earlier mentioned, gives you G.Invisibility for a round. Hence why I like it a lot.
Distracting Ember for flanking also works.

If you can get ahold of Tome of Battle, it works wonders for you. As mentioned, 2 levels of Bloodclaw Master would help with the two-weapon fighting, but since you're not keen on using daggers...
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I often have to remind people not to underrate divination.  The ability to effectively metagame without actually metagaming beats the ability to set things on fire more times than not.
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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2010, 07:56:53 PM »
I heartily support both the use of HaR fighter and Surprising Riposte as part of any build that gets access to swift action feinting.
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Cuindless

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2010, 08:45:46 AM »
I have ToB as does my DM, he's just not that familiar with it. I've convinced him to allow me to take some stuff from it before, he's just a bit shaky on the rules and such. Thanks for all the great ideas. I'm running them by my DM now.

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2010, 11:21:28 AM »
Excellent, the tiger claw maneuvers are literally made for two weapon fighters and will greatly increase your combat abilities.

Cuindless

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2010, 07:26:50 PM »
Okay, the DM nixed the Lion Totem Barbarian idea. I forgot that it was from UA, which was disallowed. So, any other creative ways to get pounce? I know "Two-Weapon Pounce" can give me two attacks vice one. Are there any others I'm missing?

The DM is okay with HaR fighter and ToB stuff. I'll take one level of HaR fighter in place of Tempest. Now, should I take 1 level of Warblade, 1 level of Swordsage, or should I drop some levels of Swashbuckler and take more levels of one or the other?

Maat_Mons

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2010, 07:33:56 PM »
Unearthed Arcana has a lion totem barbarian, but it does not grant pounce.  The lion totem barbarian that grants pounce is in Complete Champion. 

Cuindless

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Re: Optimizing a Pirate TWF Sneak Attacker
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2010, 07:46:42 PM »
Yep. My DM just called me and said as much. Thanks, Maat. So it looks like I'm taking out the Tempest and replacing it with one level each of Lion Totem Barbarian and HaR Fighter. So do you guys think that the Tiger Claw maneuvers are really worth 2 levels of Swashbuckler?