Hello all! I've lurked around these boards for a while, mostly for PF1 content, but I finally got a chance to try some 3.5 (sorta; you'll see). I've already got a build planned out, but, as this is my first time with D&D3.5, I'd love some feedback in evaluating for things I might have missed or screwed up.
The game is already running and in the lv3-4 range (so no changes to race, ability scores, or already-made choices) and will supposedly get into the upper teens, maybe to 20. All WotC sources are allowed as well as most 3PP and even homebrew, pending GM review.
First off, the game this is for has a lot of houserules, many of which influence character-building, so I'll include those here. And please no opinions about the houserules; I've expressed reservations about some of them to the GM already, and they aren't changing:
- Using Gestalt rules with several houserules/rulings:
- it's treated as 2 character progressions (so higher levels of a class can only be taken on the side with the previous levels)
- HD/saves/BAB are taken as the higher of the increase each class level taken at that character level normally gain (ie a Wiz3//Rog3 gained a d6 HP increase, +1 to all saves, and +1 BAB from his third level)
- levels are "purchased" by spending XP rather than gained at certain XP totals; the costs are the same as the amount you normally need to progress from one level to the next (ie buying a 3rd level with no LA costs 2,000XP)
- levels on each side of the gestalt must be purchased separately (so a Wiz3//Rog2 would have to spend 3,000XP to become Wiz4//Rog2 or 2,000XP to become Wiz3//Rog3)
- the right ("sub") side cannot exceed the total levels of the left ("main") side + LA (ie an LA+1 race could be Wiz2//Rog3, but his next level purchase must be on the main side)
- no limit on the main side exceeding the sub side (ie you could do Wiz20//Rog1 if you wanted)
- LA only increases costs on the main side
- a class becoming a class skill makes it treated as such for all subsequent levels on both sides for purposes of both max ranks and buying full ranks instead of half ranks
- both sides can contribute to meeting prereqs of PrCs and such
- a dual-progression PrC taken on one side can progress features from one class on the other side (ie a Wiz3//Clr3 can take levels of Mystic Theurge to progress both sides)
- the XP penalty for multiclassing is determined separately on both sides (applying favored class on both) and the worse result used
- Using Spell Points (including the nerf to damage spells)
- Using 5e Attack of Opportunity rules: moving within a creature's threatened area does not provoke, only leaving the area does (not just leaving a threatened square)
- Crits all auto-confirm
- Adding spells to a spellbook is free, mainly because of the following
- Not exactly a houserule, but we have extremely limited access to gold, equipment, and magic items. The party is currently a range of 3rd-5th level (ECL-wise) and has only acquired a handful of random mundane weapons and armor and some healing potions; no other magic items or equipment. The GM is also homebrewing some weird crafting houserules, so I have no idea right now if or how crafting will work.
- LA buyoff is allowed
- When rolling a nat 1 on an attack roll, your attack is treated as hitting your own weapon or, if there is no weapon, yourself. This is also applied to spell attack rolls. For this reason (and knowing how my luck runs), I will use ray spells rarely-if-ever.
I don't know hard details of most of the other players' plans, but I can give a their current states:
- Grey Vampire Kobold, Rogue3//DreadNecro4; I think planning on focusing minionmancy
- Greatscale Kobold, Barbarian4//Ranger4; not sure if he even has plans beyond punching things with his 16 STR (don't even ask), but he likes his animal companion
- Eirene, Eirene3/Crusader1//Bard4; planning on Eirene3/Crusader3/Paladin4/SublimeChord10//Bard6/LyricThaumaturge4/SeekerOfSong10
- Deep Fishman, Fighter3//Duskblade4; not sure on plans but likes the Duskblade stuff a lot and wants to be the cornerstone of any formation
- Might be picking up one more; no details yet
I joined a bit later and was told the party could needed both magical support and Divine magic. After spending entirely too long reading through a hundred classes/PrCs, I decided to do a hardcore theurge build since the gestalt rules remove the only real limitation (and since PF theurges are just sad). I want to avoid some of the worst cheese I've read about (Archivist abuse, Factotum gestalt blitz-casting, Persisting divine super-buffs, etc) but 1) have a huge array of options for whatever the party needs, and 2) have some big tricks I can pull out if the party gets into a bind. Kind of a tightrope act of subjectivity, I know.
The main thing is I don't want to build and super-specialize for some game-breaking wombo-combo and be vastly less effective outside of that trick. My goal is to be a super-generalist using a wide range of buffs, debuffs, battlefield control, SoSs, and some SoLs in combat. Blasting is out almost entirely thanks to banning Evocation and the Spell Points rules nerfing it anyway. I'll focus on making the battle's outcome a foregone conclusion but let the combatants actually get us there.
As for the campaign, the GM appears to have a habit (probably 5e-induced, I think) of treating high-threat encounters as the standard and has had to backpedal a couple times to avoid TPKs (an encounter last level with 2 Blink Dogs, 1 incorporeal WIS-damaging undead, and 4 2nd-level Wizards; this level we had a Drider + 6 Araneas that started out surrounding us at about 20ft away). Outside of combat, it's a very freeform campaign involving monster races trying to get refugees somewhere safe and eventually building up to strike back at a human empire.
Where I currently stand is a Freyinsar
Wizard3//Binder1/Factotum1/Warlock1. Ability scores are probably not surprising at STR 8, DEX 8, CON 14, INT 22, WIS 10, CHA 13. I plan to advance both sides of the gestalt pretty evenly so I don't just ramp up the spellcasting power of the main side too fast. Here's my leveling plan and how the HD/saves/BAB stack up (bonuses from ability scores not included, and it's an image because trying to format this table here is not a punishment I want to endure):
- The Factotum levels are to get INT to initiative and most physical skill checks as well as a pool of "No" for saves; I know swapping the first levels of Binder and Factotum would have been a big benefit, but oh well
- The Binder and Warlock progressions are almost exclusively for passive benefits
- The first two levels of Anima Mage will progress Wizard casting to catch it up from the two levels of Ur-Priest. The rest of Anima Mage will progress Warlock.
- Aligned Spellcaster to make all of my non-Good spells Evil (GM says the language applies even to non-Wizard spells)
- Abyssal Specialist to have all Evil spells as my specialist school; my banned school is Evocation
- Theurgic Specialist + Ur-Priest appears to do funky things to my caster level for all those Evil spells. Like CL20 at 10th-level and CL40 at 20th sorts of funky. Being nearly dispel-proof sounds fun, and I wonder if there are any uncapped spells out there this will boost.
- I've already used the LA buyoff to remove my LA+1 for the bargain price of 3,000XP.
And here's my planned feats:
- Race - Spell Focus (Evil)
- 1st Level - Lost Tradition (Ur-Priest, INT)
- Wizard 1 - Scribe Scroll
- 3rd Level - Iron Will (confirmed with GM I can retrain to Sculpt Spell after the first level of Ur-Priest)
- Wizard 5 - Extend Spell
- 6th Level - Theurgic Specialist
- 9th Level - Greater Spell Focus (Evil) (confirmed with GM I can take this)
- 12th Level - Quicken Spell
- 15th Level - Chain Spell
- 18th Level - Divine Metamagic - Quicken
If you've read this far, thank you for your attention. I've had no actual experience with 3.5 before this game, so if I've missed something important, please call it out. Likewise, I'll be happy to fill in any information I've forgotten to include. I'm open to ideas on changing the class progressions, feats, or anything else, though I'd like to stick with the general theme of a support-oriented generalist theurge.
I'm heading to bed momentarily, but I'll check in after work tomorrow. Thanks again to everyone who has taken the time to read this!