I was afraid this might happen. When I said "Theoretical Optimization" it didn't mean "tossing ideas around" it meant "stuff that a reasonable DM would throw a book at you for, that is usually used to break world records or do impossible things"
This thread could probably be bumped to the normal Character Optimization section when an admin gets a chance.
ok, can we dial is back a bit? your charts and figures are very good, but i need to build up to it to understand it.
We work on a 85 point stat buy, nothing below 3 and above 18. 13th level gives me 3 additional points. i was opting into human, im guessing the feat will help. Given the level, i am looking at:
Unless you plan on becoming a construct or undead, Switch CON and CHA, or bone a fae (Faerie Mysteries Initiate) to use INT for HP. Charisma isn't actually as important as the class description makes it out to be, and CON is also a save stat.
On that note, starting off as a Warforged comes with a whole host of abilities (namely an entirely different list of things you can Alter Self into, being able to infuse yourself, not sleeping, and skipping quite a few of the things that living beings need to keep up with) If you really need the feat though, human works.
initial feat string looks like this:
Scribe Scroll - Bonus
Brew Potion - Bonus
Craft Wonderous - Bonus
Craft Arms and Equipment - Bonus
Craft Rod - Bonus
Craft Want - Bonus
Craft Staff - Bonus
Attune Weapon - 4st
Craft Construct - 8th
Exp Artisan - 12th
Legendary Artisan - lvl
Wand Mastery - lvl
Improved Homunculus - lvl
3 feats open
Truename makes Wand Mastery irrelevant unless you are explicitly using your wands out in the open vs people who can make ludicrously high checks to learn your truename (which cannot be learned by any means BUT that check. Truenames are unlearneable by magical or deific means). I assume it's there though because you needed to burn one of the bonus feats.
Improved Homunculus is thematic, but you can replicate most of it with normal buff spells instead of setting a feat on fire for it. Cardinal rule of artifice: Reduce your base costs as far as possible. Once you do that, then the other stuff becomes trivial.
Try this progression instead:
Art1: Scribe Scroll
Lvl1: Faerie Mysteries Initiate
Hum: Keen Intellect
Art2: Brew Potion
Art3: Craft Wondrous
Lvl3: Item Familiar (Gives you bonus XP for crafting, as well as a bonus to UMD/Truespeech)
Art4: Extraordinary Artisan
Art5: Craft Arms & Armor
Lvl6: Craft Construct
Art6: Craft Wand
Art8: Legendary Artisan
Art9: Craft Rod
Lvl9: Truename (Doubles spell DCs, makes dispelling harder on you AND your items, lets you use items with your own CL)
Art12: Craft Staff
Lvl12: Etch Schema
If you can, use the Dark Chaos Feat Shuffle to replace (Rod, Staff, Potion, Scroll, Wand Mastery) with as many copies of Magical Artisan as you can get away with. Extraordinary Artisan and Legendary Artisan are technically Item Creation feats, so you can apply Magical Artisan to both of them as well.
If possible, take flaws to get 2 more bonus feats.
If possible, take Antifeats from Kingdoms of Kalamar to get another 6 bonus feats. Almost nothing that Antifeats can do to you will actually inhibit a dedicated artificer.
Again, I direct you to the cost reduction table:
Restricted by Skill: 0.9
Restricted by Class: 0.7
Apprentice: 0.9 (No room in the build)
Extraordinary Artisan: 0.75
Bound Elemental: 0.8 (Likely can't get it)
MA: EA: 0.75
MA: BE: 0.75
Blazing Forge: 0.5
Artificer's Dump: 0.9
MA: ExtA: 0.75
suggestions on mundane weaponry? Do I buy the Bracers of archery to get into the long bow or am i just going to run wands? Does my feat tree change to comp for this? I can see I am going be subpar in melee, would liek to optimize ranged attacks and defense.
At level 13, the entire concept of mundane weaponry is laughable. You are a mage, who can field constructs that make fighters cry. (Fun fact, if your construct is intelligent, it gets feats. You can probably figure out what to do with that). I don't know where the idea that you are bad at melee comes from. Your chassis as a "skillmonkey caster" is overriden by the ludicrous amount of buffs you can use. If you are dead set on being backline though, you can just CRAFT something that makes you good at it. A Starmantle Cloak makes you utterly immune to all mundane weaponry, and lets you take half damage from magic weaponry. Between that and traditional defensive items (cloak of resistance, remember you can combine the effects of items in the same slot for a premium)
Here's an example piece of armor, that you can just cast Magic Vestment on if you need raw numeric bonuses:
+1 Ghost Ward
+1 Nimbleness (+1 max dex, -2 ACP)
+1 to Bluff, +1 to Concentration, -10%ASF
Armor is immune to acid and rust.
Easy Travel (+1,500):
Treat Medium load as light load.
Lightweight: The weight reduction
Ornate: +2 to diplomacy
Reinforced: +1 to armor bonus
Segmented: +1 max dex
When you get a chance, get Mantle of the Fiery Spirit cast on you. It permanently gives you the fire subtype (aka immunity to fire), and it's the most common element in the game.
As for constructs, I keep a short list of basic ones, then make custom ones for battle.
Price 750 gp
To look at it, a spider thief is just a collection of eight to twelve mechanical claws around a central mechanical iris that serves as a sort of eye. The whole thing often painted black or grey. The genius of it is that it moves very silently and its claw-legs are capable of climbing any surface, even along ceilings and sometimes glass, because of a slightly stickiness at the tip of each claw. When not climbing or moving silently through a room, spider thieves can roll up into a ball and roll like a pillbug. This seems especially effective on slopes and stairs, where it allows them to “run” at rate of 160 feet per round.
Use and Powers
The spider thief is a sort of a mechanical mage hand with a kleptomanical streak. Spider thieves love to take small objects and inspect them, even when not ordered to do so, and they “worry” at stones, bits of bright cloth, coins, and the like.
A spider thief responds only to its maker and those who know its secret command word. It ignores all others. It knows really just two commands: “Bring me (X)” and “Give this to (Y)”. When ordered to, a spider thief can go out and carry away objects weighing up to 1 pound. If carefully instructed, it can also carry an object weighing up to 1 pound to a particular location.
A spider thief only fights in self-defense, and only when trapped and unable to escape.
Many attempts have been made to make a spider thief into a spy. They seem ideally suited for the role, but their animating spirits always seem entirely uninterested in the task. Spider thieves sent as observers usually return with reports of what treasures they saw at a location (from buttons to gemstones), what interesting garbage they found on their journey to and from a location, and so on.
When the container holding the tiny elements of the universal key is opened, they rush out faster than water, with an air-like whistle and begins its work: to unlock, unfasten, unbolt, unscrew, unnail, unbuckle, untie, unstopper, and unglue any objects or items held together in the area of the swarm. It cannot, however, reduce masonry into its component bricks (buildings are simply too big for it, and it seems that the universal key will misidentify them as natural terrain).
The key does not affect living matter, but does affect inert items held by a living creature (such as shields, belts, potion bottles, armor buckles, shoelaces, buttons, etc). In particular, a universal key is known for disconnecting each and every ring in a suit of chain from all other rings, a rather spectacular sight as months of smithwork are literally unraveled in a single round. Creatures in its area are entitled to a Reflex save to avoid the affect entirely. This is not a magical effect, however.
The universal key cannot open any magically sealed lock, but it can undo the physical aspect of whatever is affected by the magic. For example, if a universal key encountered a door with arcane lock cast on it, the key could not unlock the door. It would, however, remove the hinges from the door and possibly detach the lock itself from the door if that were possible.
While a universal key cannot be ordered to fight, it can be ordered to move in a certain direction. Any creature making a successful Charisma check (DC 14) can order the key to move in a particular direction, but not against a particular foe. If the check is successful, the key moves in that direction immediately and cannot be commanded again until it has spent a round unlocking or unbinding objects in the first square in that direction where it finds such things (even if that is not the square that the commander wanted the key to reach). It unbinds all objects in a total of four of its spaces, and then it seeks a small container to hibernate in, closing the stopper behind itself until released again. It can be activated once per day.
The Sorting Beast is an accountant's best friend, a clockwork device that divides coins, gems, and other treasures into neat piles, and that can detect and identify magical items. Sometimes it is a little too obsessed with counting.
The sorting beast is a six-legged clockwork creature with eyes and antennae at both ends. It has a set of legs on both ends, and either set can manipulate and hold objects up to 30 lbs in weight. The more complex sensors are largely located in the central "thorax" of the device, and include scales, jeweler's lenses and light projecting lenses, small hammers, tuning forks, a tiny gas "puffer" for taking samples of powders, a dipole lightning generator, a filtering system for liquids, scissors for cutting samples, and a sonic thumping resonance device. Most of these are entirely inscrutable to people used to simple machines; not even an artificer is likely to be 100% familiar with all of them.
A small inkwell and metal nib are attached somewhere within the main body of the sorting beast; this scribe writes appraisal results for both gemstones and magical items on strips of paper that it drops near the sorted items.
Sorting beasts move very quickly, using their "puffer" to blow small coins and gems into piles, moving their metal claw-hands in a blur of speed to sort larger objects, and occasionally making strange noises or erupting in sparks or fire as they test various materials.
The sorting beast has AC 14, hardness 3, 10 hit points, a +7 bonus on all saving throws, and speed of 10 ft. (rolling). It has no attacks.
Use and Powers
The sorting beast is created with a +10 bonus to the Appraise skill. It sorts all non-magical objects presented to it into stacks by value: all copper, silver, gold, and platinum coins are sorted and counted (and a small paper label is printed totaling the coinage), all gems are judged by weight and quality (taking 1 minute each) and again sorted to piles worth up to 10 gp, 100 gp, 1000 gp, and more than 1000 gp, with paper labels. The various raw materials, spices, wines, works of art, jewelry, and other items are sorted next, by value in tens, hundreds, and thousands.
Finally, the magical items are dropped into a pile and the sorting beast holds up each one so that its owner can direct whether it should perform a "deeper analysis" consisting of an identify spell cast at 10th caster level. If a deeper analysis is not required, then the sorting beast uses metallic probes, tasters, small jets of fire, bending tests, and other mechanical-magical methods to perform its analysis, generally without harming the item being inspected. The results of either analysis are printed in gold and red inks on fine paper strips in a strange code. Anyone reading the slip must make a Spellcraft check (DC 15) to interpret them properly. On a roll of a natural 1, the results are completely misinterpreted with a false meaning. The sorting beast can only use its identify power 5 times per day.
The sorting beast damages a magical item rarely, but it does happen. Each item examined using mechanical-magical means must make a saving throw (DC 8). On a failure, the item suffers some cosmetic damage and the item must make a second save (DC 8). A second failure results in the item being broken.
For an example combat construct, check out the Battle Horror. It hits the mark in every way that matters, and it is intelligent.