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The typical Tinker Gnome contents themselves with building a series of complicated inventions that don’t work.  To Flytrap Steamwhistle, this struck her as a failure of planning, which in turn, made it a failure of imagination.  Not short on either, Flytrap spent her early years meticulously researching spellcasting options and machine designs.  Her peers thought her slow, but when she was ready, she headed out into the world, fully prepared to make her dreams a reality.  And she would.  Literally.

Flytrap Steamwhistle
Middle-Aged Tinker Gnome(32 point buy):
DEX 13
CON 13
INT 26 (+16 bonus)
WIS 13
CHA 9 (-2 flaw)
Class: Wizard (Focused Illusionist) 5, Shadowcraft Mage 5, Incantatrix 10
(Order: Wiz 5, SCM 3, Incan. 10, SCM 2)
Barred Schools: Evocation, Enchantment, Necromancy, Conjuration
Relevant Skills: Spellcraft, Concentration, Knowledge(Arcana, Engineering, Dungeoneering, Nature, Religion, Planar), Craft(Siege weapons, machinery, trapmaking, blacksmithing, bowmaking, weaving, woodcarving, masonry, etc.), various planar languages

1(level): Heighten Spell
1(dark chaos feat swap from Scribe Scroll): Sanctum Spell
1(flaw): Earth Sense
1(flaw): Earth Spell
3(level): Spell Focus(Illusion)
5(wiz.): Extend Spell
6(level): Arcane Thesis(Silent Image)
8(otyugh hole): Iron Will
9(Incant.): Repeat Spell
9(level): Echoing Spell
12(Incant.): Ocular Spell
12(level): Persistent Spell
15(Incant.): Easy Metamagic(Echoing)
15(level): Arcane Disciple(Luck)
18(Incant.): Easy Metamagic(Repeat)
18(level): Arcane Disciple(Creation

Relevant Purchases:
+5 Int Tome(137.5K)
+11 Int Headband(Commissioned, 121K, bought in Sigil by Gate)
+30 Spellcraft cloak (Commissioned, 90K, bought in Sigil by Gate)
Ring of Arcane Might (+1 CL, 20K)
Robe of Arcane Might (+1 CL Illusion, 21K)
Ioun Stone(Orange Prism) (+1 CL, 30K)
Karma Prayer Beads (+4 CL after divine spell, 20K)
Greater Maximize Rod (121.5K)
Gate Detection Traps (Commissioned, 1K each)
Bag of Holding III (x4, 7.4K each)
Bottle of Air (7.25K)
Sovereign Glue (600gp)
Amulet of Tears (Configured for hamster, 2.3K)
Vale of Smoke & Fog (18K/visit, 1 year +50% illusion duration & +1 DC)

Note that with Sanctum Spell and Earth Spell, the Conjuration(Creation) version of Gate can be imitated from an 8th level slot, so Flytrap can shop in Sigil starting at level 15, whenever she needs custom magic items.

Other Stuff
Magic Tattoo (+1 CL)
Distract-O-Tron (Mechanical, crafted with Fabricate, forces low-DC Concentration checks that can be auto-failed at predefined intervals)
Lucky the Hamster (born in Flytrap’s Fast Time home demiplane)
A breeding population of rats

The Mobile Sanctum
Since the bonus from Sanctum Spell is a core part of this build, the Sanctum must naturally move with the caster.  Initially (at level 8, when the Sanctum is first needed for Shadow Illusions) the Sanctum is just a Medium-sized sled with a stone floor (for Earth Spell), chest-high walls to take cover behind, and a pack animal to tow it.  At Level 9, Fabricate allows for some miscellaneous mechanical upgrades, and at Level 15, Shadow Miracle gives access to Animate Objects, which is eligible for Permanency (also via Shadow Miracle, to avoid the XP cost).

From then on, the Sanctum consists of a Medium sized structure with 8 collapsible spider legs with wheels on the end, which extend to make the Animated Object Gargantuan-sized.  By collapsing the legs and angling them forward and backward, the Sanctum can still walk or roll down 5-foot-wide corridors if necessary.  At 18th level, Flytrap can imitate True Creation with Shadow Miracle, whereupon she can replace the exterior with adamantine, and add additional complex machinery.

Persistent Boosted Caster Level
Key to the deployment of large numbers of summons is the Echoing Spell metamagic feat.  When applied, a spell will return to you as if it had been prepared again for you to recast an hour later, with -4 to its caster level.  It will keep coming back with additional -4 CL penalties, as long as the caster level is above the minimum (17 for a 9th level slot, 15 for an 8th level slot, and so on).  Naturally, this benefits heavily from any ways to boost caster level, and starting at level 15, Flytrap can begin to apply a massive, long-term boost.

First, she needs to prepare.  Starting on a private demiplane (created with Shadow Genesis and accessed with Shadow Gate), she pulls a bag of rats out of her Bag of Holding (containing a Bottle of Air), activates her Prayer Beads (which she can now use because Shadow Miracle lets her cast divine spells) for +4 CL, and casts Spell Enhancer for +2 CL on her next spell.  She then uses a Shadow Miracle to cast Greater Consumptive Field.  With a base of 15, +8 from items, +8 from Earth Spell on Heighten, and +2 from spells, it has a CL of 33, so after killing the rats, it provides a +16 bonus.

That done, she casts another Spell Enhancer and Shadow Miracle(GCF), dismisses the previous one, and pulls out another bag of rats.  Since the new one is at CL 49, it provides a +24 bonus.  With two more repetitions, the bonus goes to +28, then +30.  She then casts Suffer the Flesh for a +5 CL bonus (taking 5 Con damage), then casts an Ocular Echoing Extended Silent Image, and uses Instant Metamagic (Heighten) to raise its level by 8.  Casting it as a Shadow Miracle(GCF) at CL 66, it does not take effect immediately, instead being stored in one of her eyes for later deployment.  Since it is deployed as a fixed-range effect, Flytrap can now use Metamagic Effect to apply Persistent Spell to it – with the Extend Spell and bonuses from visiting the Vale of Smoke & Fog, the duration is increased to 3 days.

Now she just needs to deploy the Ocular Spell and charge it with another rat bag, and she has +33 CL for the next 3 days.  Every third day, she needs to refresh the effect with another Shadow Miracle, but with the existing bonus in effect, she only needs one GCF boosted by Spell Enhancer to refresh it.  In the immediate term, she can use the echoes from the last Shadow Miracle to fix her ability damage, and whatever else she wants.

At 20th level, the obtainable bonuses get more extreme.  Her additional levels, using a Shadow Miracle to imitate Greater Channel the Mishtai for +1 CL (at the cost of 20 HP), and casting the Shadow Miracle (GCF) from a 9th level slot all amount to an additional +7 CL, so the obtainable GCF bonus goes up to +40 CL.  Furthermore, with the auto-Extend from the 4th level in Shadowcraft Mage, the duration of the persisted GCF goes up to 4.5 days.  The only other thing to note is the need to protect her pet hamster from the GCF effects with a custom Amulet of Tears.

The Quintessence Storage Facility
Summons naturally expire in a matter of minutes, even with two different Extend effects in play, so in order to bank them up, unusual measures are needed.  First, large quantities of Quintessence, which are created with a fourth level psionic power, and which prevent time from passing for anything inside a building completely enclosed by it.  Quintessence isn’t a spell, but the text of Miracle (available to be imitated by Shadow Illusion thanks to Arcane Disciple (Luck) at level 15) states that it can have “any effect whose power is in line with the above effects”.  Since one of those effects is imitating any 7th level or lower spell, imitating a 4th level psionic power seems reasonable.

First though, Flytrap must create her home demiplane, using Shadow Illusion from an 8th level slot to imitate Genesis to create and expand a Fast Time x3 plane.  She can then use Shadow Illusion to imitate the Creation subtype of Gate for interplanar travel back and forth.  Decorations are desirable but optional – the only essential parts are the Fast Time trait, and getting a pet hamster named Lucky born on said plane (making it native to the demiplane).

At level 15, Flytrap has 5 level 8 slots (with an effective level of 10 thanks to Sanctum & Earth Spell, so she can imitate Miracle.  First, she activates her Prayer Beads, then casts a Shadow Miracle to create a Planar Bubble targeting Lucky.  Since Lucky is native to your Fast Time plane, this creates a bubble of fast time that lasts over 10 hours on the outside (so well over 24 hours on the inside).  She follows by casting 3 other Heightened Silent Images from her 8th level slots – the exact spell they imitate doesn’t matter, only that it has a duration.

She then employs her 8 uses of Metamagic Effect to add Echoing and Repeat Spell to the Planar Bubble and the other 3 ongoing spells.  Since all were cast at CL 64, each gets 12 echoes over the next 12 hours (4 hours outside the bubble).  She also uses Instant Metamagic (Heighten) on an Echoing Repeat Silent Image, getting another 13 * 2 Shadow Miracle castings.  Throwing in the last 8th level slot for a final Shadow Miracle, she thus gets 123 casting of Quintessence before she has to rest (inside the Planar Bubble).  This amounts to 369 castings per Prime Material day.

At level 20, she has 9 level 8 slots, 8 level 9 slots and two uses of Instant Metamagic (Heighten).  And now, thanks to metamagic reducers, Echoing and Repeat spell are effectively free.  With CL 20 + 8 + [8 or 9 from Heighten] + 40, Echoing Spell now gives 15 additional repetitions.  Subtracting one repetition for deploying the Planar Bubble, that gives her 288+256+64=608 castings per rest, or 1824 daily.

With her growing stockpile, she can then start work on the Quintessence Storage Facility, which is located in another new demiplane with normal time traits.  If the quintessence is applied with a thickness of 1/100 an inch (somewhat thicker than a typical coat of paint, each casting will cover roughly 52.36 square inches.  Incidentally, if precision is needed during application, there are several available summons with Telekinesis SLAs to apply even force without any risk of it sticking to the wrong surface.

Now it’s a matter of calculating how much surface area is needed.  Assuming a medium creature, lying down, can squeeze into a surface area of 5 by 2.5 feet that converts to 1800 square inches.  Dropping down four size categories, we divide by 16^2 = 256 to get a surface area of ~7.03 square inches occupied by a Fine-sized creature.  For easy stacking, the storage units will be designed as coin-shaped cylinders resting on their sides, with enough thickness (12 inches) to allow for creatures to occupy both sides while leaving room for a Gate in the middle and unloading mechanisms on the ends.  Thus, a medium storage unit, meant to accommodate up to 3600 Fine-sized creatures, needs to fit 1800 on each end.

This requires a radius of 63.47 inches, with a surface area of 12,654 square inches on each end and 4785.2 inches on the middle.  This requires 575 castings of Quintessence to cover one, and 334 castings for subsequent storages (since each can re-use one of the existing ends).  Quite feasible.  However, each storage requires a way to seal and un-seal it.

To do that, Flytrap employs 1 inch plugs with Sovereign Glue covered in Quintessence on the end, which are placed over a ring of Sovereign Glue covered in Quintessence on the side of the storage unit.  There is a hole in the middle of the ring, so as long as the plug is absent, time passes normally inside the storage.  However, when the plug is applied, the storage is completely sealed, and the contents are frozen in time.  Thanks to the Sovereign Glue, removing the plug poses no risk of peeling off and dissipating any of the Quintessence, since the Quintessence has to stay stuck to it.  Thus, the storage provides a reusable way to freeze things in time.

Making practical use of the storage still requires a few additions.  First, the unit needs to register when a Gate is cast inside it.  For that purpose, Flytrap commissions a custom auto-resetting magic trap (in Sigil if necessary) employing Detect Magic and Light, which triggers the light when it detects a strong Conjuration effect in a certain position relative to itself, and turns off the light when it stops detecting the effect.  By the item creation rules, these should cost 1000gp each.  Next, you need a machine to remove and reinsert the plug when a lever is pulled, something well within reach of Fabricate and Flytrap’s Craft skills.  You then need an operator to ready actions for pulling the lever whenever the light turns on or off, something a permanent Small Animated Object can do.

The system also benefits from a deployment mechanism that automatically pushes the contents out of the Gate moments after it manifests, so that it can be rapidly dismissed afterward.  Attaching a string to the middle of the Quintessence plug provides a way to trigger a purely mechanical, auto-resetting trap to rapidly push the plates on both ends of the cylinder towards the middle, then retract them.  Fabricate and Craft do the rest.  The entire system of cylinders can also be rigged to rapidly shift over 12 inches whenever one or more storage units are re-sealed (the next time they re-seal, the system rapidly shifts back to the original position, and so on).  Once again, Fabricate and Craft will suffice for another auto-repeating mechanical trap.

The reason for this deployment mechanism is to enjoy the benefit of Repeat Spell applied to Shadow Gates.  If the entire process of unloading, re-sealing, and shifting over takes less than 2 seconds, the Repeat version of the Gate will open into a different storage unit, even if Flytrap is casting from a Fast Time x3 area.  She may need to rig the Distract-O-Tron to interrupt her partway through the round, so she can auto-fail the Concentration check and end the spell early enough for the shift to happen.  Once this process gets underway, she can thus unload up to 6 storage units in each round of normal time.

Summoning the Army
The first step is deploying the Planar Bubble.  After targeting Lucky, she waits an hour (20 minutes outside) for the spell to return.  She then uses another Shadow Miracle to imitate Greater Channel the Mishtai, getting another +1 bonus to CL (at the cost of 20 HP), and also actives her Prayer Beads.

Next, she starts deploying the summons she can Persist.  Use two rounds and two of her 9th-level slots to pre-cast Ocular Repeat Echoing Extended Heightened Silent Images, both of her eyes now store a charge of the spell.  She then spends the next two rounds employing Metamagic Effect on each charge to add Persistent Spell to each (since they now have a fixed range).  On the fifth round she fires off both summons, resulting in a total of 4 SM IX monsters over the current and subsequent rounds (plus the ability to cast again an hour later thanks to echoing).  With the combination of Extend Spell, Shadowcraft Mage bonuses, and the +50% duration from the Vale all the summons will last 108 hours, aka 4.5 days.

Flytrap has 14 uses of Metamagic Effect, so using all 8 of her remaining level 9 slots and 6 of her level 8 slots, she can get 28 persistent summons over 35 rounds.  Through 2 uses of Instant Metamagic (Heighten) on Persistent Ocular Repeat Echoing Extended Silent images in level 5 slots, she gets 4 more persistent summons in another 3 rounds.  The effective CL for the spells is 78 for the 9th-level slots and 77 for the others, giving 15 echoes later for all 14.  In terms of summon choices, this cluster of summons should be composed of Ursinal Guardinals, due to their valuable at-will SLAs.

She now proceeds to the regular summons.  With an 8th level slot needed for a Gate later, she proceeds to unload one 8th-level slot, all 9 of her 7th and 6th-level slots (using the 6th level slots to imitate Bone Devils), her 7 remaining 5th level slots, and 8 4th-level slots, taking just over 11 more rounds, and bringing in 68 more summons.  As she summons them, the Ursinals use Polymorph to convert the summons into Speck Ecto Fragments (Fine-sized, 60ft fly speed) and the Bone Devils use Fly on all the summons (so they can still fly after Polymorph is removed later).  At the middle of the 12th round she casts a Shadow Gate into one of her medium Quintessence Storage Cylinders.

The associated Gate Detection Trap triggers, so the Animated Object on standby uses its readied action to unseal the cylinder’s plug.  The Unloading Trap triggers and then retracts, leaving the cylinder open to enter.  Her summons then spend the 12th round entering it, after which she dismisses the gate, and her animated object (on seeing the Gate Detection Trap turn off) re-seals the cylinder in the same round.  In terms of remaining duration, the first summons from her 4th level slots have the shortest time left, with a CL of 32 converting into 144-3 = 141 rounds remaining.

One hour later inside the Bubble (20 minutes outside), all the Echoing spells come back.  Once again, she starts by adding in 32 more persistent summons, a bit more quickly this time since she doesn’t need to re-apply Metamagic Effect.  She doesn’t need to choose any particular options this time.  The regular summoning proceeds normally, with the pre-existing Ursinals casting more Polymorphs.  Durations are reduced by 18 rounds due to the -4 CL from Echoing Spell.  On casting Gate, the existing stored summons will by pushed out by the unloading trap, but they can just move back in alongside the new ones.

Ultimately, the spells from the 7th level slots (CL 66, min 13) get 13 echoes, as do those from the 6th and 5th level slots.  The final echoes from the 4th level slots get 14 echoes, with the last at CL 7, and an initial duration of 31 rounds (28 rounds left on the initial castings).

This process would thus store 10 * 2 * 16 + 24 * 2 * 17 = 1136 summons.  She can also use 14 of the echoes from her (Repeating) Shadow Miracle at the start to bring in another 28 Summon Nature’s Ally VII summons in the intermediate rounds, for more SLA options, boosting the total to 1164 monsters stored.  Meanwhile, she was also employing the remaining echoes on her Persisted summon spells, ultimately ending up with, on average, 511.5 of those (since one Repeat casting would needed to be substituted for refreshing the Persistent Greater Consumptive Field every 4th rest cycle, she loses an average of 0.5 persistent summons each rest cycle).  With everything done, she uses a Shadow Miracle echo to plane shift herself and her sanctum back to the home plane to rest.

Since Flytrap is operating in continuous Fast Time x3, she can get three rests every Prime Material day.  For the next two rests, she repeats the process above, adding another 2272 summons into the storage.  Since this involves opening the storage for 32 total additional rounds, the shortest-lasting summon in storage now has 5 rounds remaining in its duration.  Most of them have a lot more.  Meanwhile, her 1534.5 persistent summons will still last another few days, but she has spare Gate spells in her routine to put them into a separate large Quintessence Storage.  However, any persistent Ursinals that cast Polymorph on monsters in a given storage should ultimately join them in that storage.

In between the summoning and the storage, the summons can also apply self-buffs to each other (besides Polymorph from the Ursinals and Fly from the Bone Devils).  Anything with a duration of 1 min./level is viable, so specific summons can employ Aid, Blur, Death Ward, Freedom of Movement, Invisibility, and Protection from Arrows at-will, and some get limited uses of Bear’s Endurance, Heroism, and Resist Energy.  Since Flytrap will have many summon storages, she can optionally pick a “theme” that it’s designed to counter, then choose summons and pre-battle buffs based on that.

Of course, it’s not necessary to put all 3408 regular summons into a single storage.  Smaller storages can easily be employed to deploy smaller battalions for crushing lesser threats – a single echoing Shadow Gate can be used to access numerous such smaller storages over the course of an adventuring day.

Limited Deployment
For regular deployment, Flytrap simply uses a Shadow Gate to access the desired storage cylinder.  The deployment trap automatically pushes the monsters out, though they remain in their Speck Ecto Fragment forms.  Bunched up so closely, they are extremely vulnerable to AoE effects, so it can help if her Animated sanctum can position itself to obstruct line of sight.  If the summons were pre-buffed with Invisibility during the summoning phase, that can also help.

Non-Ursinal summons will need to delay initiative until the Ursinals can act.  Once it’s their turn, they each use an AoE Dispel magic, automatically succeeding on the check to remove their own Polymorph effects, after choosing to auto-fail any preceeding checks.  After that, all summons can use their Fly spells (from the Bone Devils) to spread out, and properly begin the fight.

Dealing with Spell Resistance
Spell Resistance is the bane of the Shadowcraft Mage, but there are a few options for dealing with it.  For SR alone, mundane bows may be your best option.  The Bralani Eladrin is a SM VI monster that wields them naturally – just give them real arrows to shoot, and their attacks will not be subject to SR.  If the SR is coupled with damage reduction… then you have to get more creative.

With Echoing, Repeating Shadow Miracles able to replicate both True Creation and Fabricate, Flytrap can rapidly manufacture pretty much anything.  If there’s wood on hand to reduce the amount of True Creation needed, mass-producing regular ballistae is quite straightforward.  For easy transport, they can just receive a Shrink Item followed by more Echoing Shadow Miracles to make it permanent.  From there, deployment simply involves a summon retrieving it from a Bag of Holding and throwing it on the ground.

Ammunition is a bit more complicated.  The 3d8 damage from regular ballista bolts won’t suffice against heavy DR… but if the bolts were four size categories larger, the resulting 12d8 damage would be a different story.  Bolts for a Colossal++ crossbow can be produced readily enough with wood, Miracle(True Creation), and Fabricate.  From there, with all lasting bonuses (including the Persistent Greater Consumptive Field) factored in, a Shadow Miracle can hit CL 73, which (with echoes) is enough to shrink about 12 bolts down to a size where a ballista can fire them (depending on what the minimum volume is for such a crossbow bolt).

Properly employing those bolts in battle involves several stages.  A large humanoid with high BAB and Dex is ideal, since they will only take a -6 penalty when attacking with a ballista (-2 from size, -4 from no proficiency).  They will each need a crew of 2 to reload, and a Warden Archon or Coatl to cast True Strike before each shot.  Lastly, since Flytrap must personally say the command word to end a Shrink Item (each volley of bolts must thus be prepared with their own unique command word), all the ballista operators must fire in tandem, with a readied action to fire when she starts to say the command word.  When everything comes together, each bolt deals an average of 54 damage – with 30+ crews firing, that’s enough to give even a Tarrasque pause.

Other Options
Maximum Time Stop
You might have noticed the metamagic rod of maximize on the equipment list.  This is what it’s for.  Flytrap casts a Time Stop with the rod employed, then spends the first two rounds using Metamagic Effect to add Repeat Spell and Echoing Spell.  That leaves her with 2 rounds of the current Time Stop, another 5 rounds at the start of her next turn after the Time Stop ends.  Most importantly, with her ongoing CL boosts from a Persistent Greater Consumptive Field (located in a staging demiplane thanks to Ocular Spell), she now gets 11 echoes of the full effect later in the day.

Recurring Elemental Monoliths
When she needs something that hits a bit harder than her regular summons, Flytrap can bring out the Elemental Monoliths.  Unfortunately, Repeat Spell won’t help her concentrate on two at the same time, but it does mean that any attacks directed at the original monolith in the first round after she summons it are negated when it gets replaced the following round.  And Echoing Spell means she can re-cast it eleven more times.

Ocular True Creation
The ability to conjure solid objects out of nothing is already powerful, but by casting the spell via an Ocular Miracle, Flytrap can make the objects appear anywhere within 60 feet.  Want to trap an opponent in an adamantine sphere full of lava?  Go ahead!  Want to add some traps inside for good measure?  As long as you have the Craft skill (and Flytrap does) and the total volume is less than 31 cubic feet, go ahead!  Imagination is the only limit, and Flytrap can imagine quite a lot.

Technological Insight
With access to Shadow Miracle, Flytrap can separately imitate Moment of Prescience, Improvisation, and Skill Enhancement at CL 56 to get a cumulative +83 bonus to any skill check (and three more +28 bonuses in the next 112 rounds and a +30 bonus lasting most of the day).  Applying that bonus to a Knowledge(Engineering) check, she can get a result of 18(skill ranks) + 12(INT) + 3(racial) + 83(spells) + 10(take 10) = 116.  This should probably be enough to understand modern technology like computers, spacecraft, 3D printers, and bioreactors, all of which she can rapidly build with Fabricate given the right materials (once she can invest ranks in the correct craft skills).  It may also be enough to understand some more advanced technologies, like teleporters, warp drives, AGIs, particle lances, etc.  The insights gained could also justify being able to take ranks in Knowledge(science).

By level 20, with CL 68, she can get a Knowledge(Engineering) result of 145 with the same method, so even more technological knowledge becomes accessible.  And with Shadow True Creation at level 18, raw material availability is no longer an issue.

Naturally, the same bonus combination can be applied to other Knowledge skills to learn valuable secrets about the cosmology.  But all that is significantly less interesting to Flytrap.

Summon-Based Divination
Many summons have divination-based abilities, and with Persist applied to those summons, Flytrap can access those abilities regularly.  Divination (81% success chance, at-will) can give vague guidance in response to questions, Locate Creature and Locate Object (at will) provide search capabilities for anything within 840 feet, and Scrying (at will) can be spammed until the subject gets a natural 1 on their will save (yes, the original caster can’t try again there for 24 hours, but Flytrap has lots of persistent summons) at which point she can be relayed information about their immediate surroundings for the next 11-12 minutes.

Ursinal Support Casting
Ursinal Guardinals cast as 12th-level wizards, so, (using ink supplied by Shadow True Creation), your persistent summons can copy any spells you want them to cast into their spellbooks, then prepare those spells for the subsequent days you have them.  Additional uses of Fabricate are an obvious choice, but the options are nearly limitless.  And you can have a lot of persistent Ursinal summons.  Oh, and as a bonus, you can use Cooperative Metamagic to make some of their spells Persistent.

Persistent Summon Rebuilding
Psychic Reformation is a 4th level psionic power, making it another option for imitation by Shadow Miracle.  For scenarios where having specific feats on your persistent summons would prove valuable, this power lets you swap them out.  Some options include Weapon Proficiency(Ballista), Martial Study, Martial Stance, or Mage Slayer + Pierce Magical Concealment + Pierce Magical Protection.  Thanks to Echoing Spell, each casting lets you rebuild numerous different summons.

Full Deployment
For full deployment, it is best to have a 3rd demiplane created as a staging area (with normal time traits).  To start, Flytrap can take a Gate to the staging area, and deploy a Planar Bubble.  If there’s no hurry, she can wait an hour (20 min. outside the bubble) to get back an echo of the Gate for the eventual final deployment, otherwise she’ll need to use one of the Gates that would otherwise be used to access the storage units.  For this, we’ll assume Flytrap has the time, which she can use scrying the target area or just doodling machine ideas.

As the echo is about to return, Flytrap casts Polymorph to turn into a Beholder, then begins casting Ocular (etc.) Silent Images.  Since a Beholder has 10 eyes, she can charge them with all 8 of her 9th level slots and 2 of her 7 8th level slots.  She can then spend the next round firing off all 10, simultaneously accessing 10 Medium Quintessence Storages.  The next round (for her), the 10 spells repeat, and (since the storages shifted over 12 inches, they access 10 new storages.  She also casts another non-Ocular Shadow Gate, and continues doing so for the next four rounds.  Since all the Shadow Gates are Repeating, a total of 30 storages are accessed – 29 of them for regular summons, and one for Persistent summons.  This amounts to 98,832 non-persisted summons, representing 29 days of stockpiling – in the same time frame, Flytrap would have also stockpiled 44,501 persistent summons, so those can be combined to produce a total of 143,333 summons.  Since unloading the Ocular Shadow Gates, just under 2 rounds have passed outside the Planar Bubble.

Upon finishing the access process, Flytrap immediately casts a Gate to access the deployment zone.  Meanwhile, the summons will have prepared for deployment. The Ursinals can dispel their polymorph effects (or ready actions to dispel them during the deployment round), various additional buffs can be cast – in addition to those listed in the “Summoning the Army” section, certain summons can start engaging the buffs with 1 round/level durations: Elation, Greater Invisibility, Holy Aura, and Prayer. Meanwhile, the Bralani Eladrin can ready actions to cast Gust of Wind in the upper area of where the deployment gate will go.

When the deployment round begins, the Bralani start to cast stacking Gusts of Wind while the other monsters begin flying into the effect.  Each summon entering will be launched forward Nd6 squares, where N is the number of Gusts of Wind currently active.  As long as the summons fly out of the way after being launched forward and the Bralani keep stacking more Gusts of Wind, this approach provides an orderly way to deploy all 143,333 summons without them clumping up.
And then?  Well, then someone is about to have a really bad day…

In Conclusion
Well, that was fun.  Some of you may be wondering why I went with Arcane Disciple(Creation) instead of Residual Metamagic, and yes, the numbers would probably be higher if I went with the latter, but it would make dealing with Spell Resistance a bit harder.  And honestly, I’m not sure any true Tinker Gnome could resist the temptation of unlimited raw materials.

EDIT (6/1): Edited to account for the Gnome Illusionist 1 ACF, Greater Consumptive Field, and the correct minimum CL limits on Echoing Spell

So, I’ve been thinking about ways for a Shadowcraft Mage to add Persistent Spell to his Shadow Illusions to create a long lasting shadow army, and this build is what I’ve put together so far.  Feel free to suggest additions or point out if anything isn’t rules-legal.  Note that this build is borderline T.O., so it assumes a rather generous DM (early SCM entry, Iron Will from an otyugh hole, Easy Metamagic from Dragon Mag, and a rather favorable interpretation of the Metamagic Effect & Echoing Spell interaction).
Note that if the party contains another Incantatrix with Persistent Spell, then they can amplify this build quite a lot with Cooperative Metamagic.  If that second Incantatrix has a copy of this build, then they can make things really crazy.  Oh, and also note that the actual play scenario for this build assumes some form of mass combat houserules.  Obviously, moving 1000+ summons 1-at-a-time isn't actually playable.  But for now, on to the build!

Whisper Gnome Wizard (Focused Illusionist) 5, Shadowcraft Mage 5, Incantatrix 10
Schools Banned: Evocation, Enchantment, Necromancy, Conjuration
Order: Wiz 5, SCM 3, Incan. 10, SCM 2
Stats(32 point buy): STR 5, DEX 10, CON 14, INT 24, WIS 13, CHA 9
1(level): Heighten Spell
1(wiz.): Sanctum Spell
1(flaw): Earth Sense
1(flaw): Earth Spell
3(level): Spell Focus(Illusion)
5(wiz.): Extend Spell
6(level): Arcane Thesis(Silent Image)
8(otyugh hole): Iron Will
9(Incant.): Persistent Spell
9(level): Echoing Spell
12(Incant.): Easy Metamagic(Echoing)
12(level): Repeat Spell
15(Incant.): Easy Metamagic(Repeat)
15(level): Twin Spell
18(Incant.): Easy Metamagic(Twin)
18(level): Arcane Disciple(Luck)

Relevant Items:
+5 Int Tome(137.5K gp)
+11 Int Headband(121K gp, bought in Sigil by Gate)
+30 Spellcraft cloak (90K gp, bought in Sigil by Gate)
Ring of Arcane Might (+1 CL)
Robe of Arcane Might (+1 CL)
Ioun Stone(Orange Prism) (+1 CL)
Note that with Sanctum Spell and Earth Spell, the Conjuration(Creation) version of Gate can be imitated from an 8th level slot, so you can shop in Sigil starting at level 15

The Mobile Sanctum
Since Gnomes are Small, their sanctum can just be a small structure that barely fits 1 person, with a stone floor (for Earth Spell), and wheels, which can be towed by Persistent summons.

Summoning the Army
As with most things involving a Shadowcraft Mage, things begin with a Heightened Silent Image.  From inside their Sanctum, the Mage casts a prepared Silent Image Heightened to 8th level, with Extend Spell (+0 net), Repeat Spell(+0 net), Echoing Spell (+0 net), and Twin Spell (+1 net) from a 9th level slot.  Earth & Sanctum Spell boost the effective level to 10, so it can imitate a 9th level spell.  For this example, we’ll imitate Summon Monster IX (yes, I know it’s not the best) to summon an Elder Earth Elemental.
Twin and Repeat both take effect, so 1 round later, we now have 4 elementals.  Now we apply Metamagic Effect.  Thanks to the OP +Spellcraft and +INT items, making the DC 54 check to apply Persistent Spell is quite simple, especially if you take 10 (since you’re out of combat).  Now (by one interpretation) one of the four summons has a 72 hour duration (24 hours from Persistent Spell, another 24 from Extend, and another 24 from the SCM class feature, which stacks with Extend).
Now we come to Echoing Spell.  Per the description, after an hour passes, the spell “returns” to you and you can cast it again with the CL reduced by 4.  Metamagic Effect is described as applying a metamagic feat to a spell effect already in place, so I’m interpreting that as meaning the spell returns with the Persistent Spell applied to it – meaning that subsequent recastings have Persistent Spell in effect on everything summoned.  As noted earlier, having another Incantrix with Persistent Spell boosts this further, since they can use Cooperative Metamagic to apply it while you’re casting (also avoiding any murky rules interpretations).
Since Echoing Spell keeps repeating as long as the CL is above 0 you get 5 total repetitions.  Thus, you have 1 72-hour summon from the first casting and 5*4 = 20 summons from the echoes.  With bonuses applied, you have an INT of 40, which gives 18 uses of Metamagic Effect.  This amounts to 378 summons/day with a 72-hour duration.  By staggering casting times, you can have 4 days worth of long-term summons active for a single battle.  Now that’s an actual army!

(Optional) Equipping the Army
Spell Resistance and high Will Saves can pose issues for an army of shadow summons, but there is a solution, if you’re willing to foot the bill.  Many summons carry weaponry, so if you replace it with actual, low-grade magical weaponry, then their attacks are no longer affected by either SR or disbelief.  Bows are great for this, since you only need to supply the arrows.  Other alternatives such as flying monsters dropping large rocks also exist.

Echoes of Quad-Elemental Monoliths
You might have seen this coming.  Although you cannot cast another spell while concentrating on an existing one, Repeat and Twin Spell apply automatically.  And so, you can now get four Elemental Monoliths (with 69 rounds duration from CL 23) for the price of one 9th level slot!  Metamagic effect isn’t an option here, but with the Concentration limitation, Persistent Spell might not be desired anyway.
And while Persistent Spell is out, Echoing Spell is still in!  An hour after casting, the spell returns (with duration reduced by 12 rounds from the lowered CL), and, as long as you’re no longer concentrating on any of the original monoliths, you can cast it again to get 4 more!  And do it again in another hour!  Ultimately, you get 24 Elemental Monoliths staggered in 6 separate waves, with the last wave lasting 9 rounds.  If you use multiple 9th level slots, you can potentially intersperse the waves from multiple castings.  The only real question is whether you can find 6 different challenges in a day requiring 4 Elemental Monoliths that are spaced at least an hour apart.

Echoing Shadow Miracle Mass-Buffs
The same trick used for summoning the army can be used for applying mass buffs via Shadow Miracle.  You can get echoing, repeating persistent buffs from 8th level slot, using Metamagic Effect to boost the quality of your army rather than its size.  You need a way to move your army quickly so that your buffs affect different creatures when Repeat Spell triggers the round after each casting.
I’m not that familiar with buff spells, so feel free to make suggestions in the comments.  Note that Miracle can imitate any 8th level Cleric spell, or any 7th level-or-lower spells.

(For Fun) Unleashing the Swarm
For an optional though experiment, I considered just how many persistent summons could be accumulated if quantity was the only goal (summoning 1d4+1 monsters from lower-leveled summoning spells for each casting).  Here’s what I came up with:
(Note that lvl is post-Earth & Sanctum Spell, post-Shadow Illusion reduction, so the slot used is 1 lower than the number shown
9th: lvl5+persist+twin, auto echo,repeat,extend -> 3.5 summons*24 repetitions*4days*8 castings
8th: lvl4+persist+twin, auto echo,repeat,extend -> 3.5 summons *24 repetitions *4days*8 castings
7th: lvl3+persist+twin, auto echo,repeat,extend -> 3.5 summons *24 repetitions *4days*9 castings
6th: lvl3+ persist, auto echo,repeat,extend -> 3.5 summons *12*4days repetitions *9 castings
5th: lvl5+twin+meta-persist, auto echo,repeat,extend -> 3.5 summons *21 repetitions *4days*9 castings
4th: lvl4+twin+meta-persist, auto echo,repeat,extend -> 3.5 summons *21 repetitions *4days*9 castings
3rd: lvl3+twin+instant-persist, auto echo,repeat,extend -> 3.5 summons *24 repetitions *4days*2 castings
3.5*4*(24*27+21*18+12*9)=15,876 Fiendish Hawks

If you boost things further with 12 lesser Empower rods (108K gp), that adds:
1.75 summons*4 days*9 castings*90 repetitions -> +5,670
bringing the total up to 21,546 Fiendish Hawks for your impromptu recreation of The Birds.

So, what does everyone think?  Did I miss anything?

Min/Max 3.x / The Way Real Men Travel
« on: March 18, 2014, 05:41:52 PM »
Ingredients:  Lyre of Building, Hulking Hurler, way to make Hulking Hurler fly, a building

Preparation:  Enter the building along with the Hulking Hurler, and anyone who wants to travel like a real man.  Play the Lyre to make the building temporarily indestructible, get the Hurler flying, and have him lift the building into the air (from the inside).

Now, have the Hurler throw it at your destination.

Result: Everyone inside gets catapulted super-fast toward the target (certain feat combos involving Far Shot will extend the range of this stunt very much), and arrives without having to worry about things like teleportation blockers.  Plus, if the building is heavy, it can smash through the outer fortifications of your destination - without taking any damage itself, thanks to the Lyre.  The occupants might want protection from physical damage though....

Min/Max 3.x / Challenge: Most Beatable CR 50 Monster
« on: January 13, 2014, 06:07:40 PM »
Here's an interesting challenge - use any mix of templates, classes, feats, etc., to create the most "beatable" CR 50+ monster or individual you can think of.  By "beatable" I mean quick and easy to defeat, for a wide variety of characters, of ideally level 1.  So, picking a useless monster, giving it a ton of HD, then choosing Toughness exclusively for its feats, would satisfy the basic criteria, but it would lose points on not being quick to kill.

Hope to see some new innovations in being creatively useless!

The power description ( says it reformats choices made when a character reached their current level, so by using this power to swap a skillpoint between two non-essential skills, you could argue that your 'choice' to still take another artificer level gives you back your original crafting reserve.  Think this holds water?  At any rate, it doesn't take much imagination to abuse this - but any particularly ludicrous uses are welcome in the thread.

You Break it You Buy it / The Sphere: Total Invulnerability, Mk II
« on: September 08, 2012, 02:17:09 PM »
Total invulnerability -a major goal for any being of power.  I made an earlier character aiming for this objective, but its method for evading divinations (using the position of an object in a looping teleportation circle chain as the basis for who gets control, so the identity of the controller isn't absolute) proved controversial.  So here I am with a new and improved version - I present: The Sphere!

So first, the starting conditions.  Let's say we have an epic-level Thrallherd Nomad Psion, with wizard and artificer cohorts, who's been powerleveling via Scry & Die, so has effectively limitless XP and resources.
Now, the building:  It is a spherical structure with no entrances, and a hollow interior.  This interior contains certain mindless undead (detailed later) and certain magic items (also detailed later).  Any empty space is filled with Gelatinous Cubes, so it becomes impossible to teleport inside.

The magic items include 48 Lyres of Building, which are played by some of the undead to make the building indestructible 24-7.  The building itself is also enchanted by the artificer, so it cannot be affected by powers which only work on nonmagical objects.  Lastly, the Wizard then throws up a double-layered permanent Epic Ward, which directly blocks the Afflict, Destroy, Dispel, and Transport seeds (treating them as 10th level spells).  Since the Ward is double-layered, each Ward protects the other from the Destroy and Dispel seeds.  The dispel DC for these wards is boosted so high that no non-epic spells can dispel it.

Now for the anti-divination part.  The Psion builds up a Weird Engine (Air Weirds under his control that can repeated cast Contact Other Plane) and uses the result power to figure out how to replicate his consciousness as a very large number of separate, simple, components that can respond to sensory imputs by providing an instruction and/or activating other components.

Once this task is complete, he sets about creating these components, along with an automatically resetting Dimensional Oubliette ( trap.  Once the components are complete, he devises a way to feed them sensory input and to deliver their instructions to the mindless undead operators, and to the Dimensional Oubliette trap.  Lastly, he sends all components not actively engaged in thought into their own Dimensional Oubliette, where their existence "is merely theoretical" they "do not exist conventionally" and divination/clairsentience effects used on them "fail as if they were used on something nonexistent".  When a component activates another, it uses the Dimensional Oubliette trap to free them, and each component uses the trap on itself to go inactive.

This done, the trap is used to send the psion, all his cohorts and followers, along with the Air Weirds and anything else used in construction, to a Dimensional Oubliette.  Now, the component-based "brain" is all that remains, and since the vast majority of it is in the Phantom Zone at any given time, its operation is literally inscrutable.

Now, for the fun.  We have an indestructible sphere with an inscrutable operator, so what do we do with it?  One idea:  let one of the mindless undead have over 20 HD, use Psychic Reformation to give it Throw Anything and Distant Shot( (use epic spells to enhance its physical capabilities as needed).  Give it flight, and a way to see through the stone, and it can throw the Sphere at anything it can see, for massive damage.

If you have any more ideas for undead operators or magic items to put in the sphere, feel free to submit them.  Thanks for reading!

Introduce Yourself / Greetings
« on: August 13, 2012, 03:48:13 PM »
Just a member of the old boards, now getting around to joining this one after an epic procrastination marathon.

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