Wizards Community > Gleemax™ > RPGs > d20 Character Optimization > The Shuriken Storm: A New Record for Throwers!
02-15-07, 04:52 PM
This character is capable of dishing out damage that ends up in the mid-thousands and can assassinate a single target in one round or destroy an entire army. To see the class variant that sparked this build, please see "Up Against the Wall!" in my signature.
I'm headed off to work soon, so I'll post more and format this thing when I can. This is just a preliminary taste at present.
I'll also offer a couple of variants in the final version.
First off, books you'll need:
Dungeonscape (alternate Fighter class features), Races of Stone, Tome of Battle, basic game material.
Next, optional books:
Unearthed Arcana (rules available on the SRD), Forgotten Realms - Serpent Kingdoms, Forgotten Realms - Races of Faerun, Dragon #335.
Build: Human Chaos Monk of the Overwhelming Attack School 2/Fighter 6/Wolf Totem Barbarian 2 (Whirling Rage variant)/Warblade 1/Bloodstorm Blade 4/Master Thrower 5
Jotenbrud (1st): This lets you count as large size, which both gives you access to Knockback and adds a +4 to your Bull Rush attempts.
Power Attack (Overwhelming Attack School 1): Since Knockback allows you to use this to increase your Bull Rush modifier, it fills two roles on this build, going from great to phenomenal.
Improved Bull Rush (Overwhelming Attack School 2): Another +4 to Bull Rush and no Aoos. This is less important later on, but for leveling up as a melee character it's crucial.
Point Blank Shot (3rd): A prerequisite for the Bloodstorm Blade class and the Precise Shot feat, which you need to get into Master Thrower.
Precise Shot (Fighter 1): No penalties for firing into melee. Good stuff, and an entry requirement for Master Thrower.
Two-Weapon Fighting (Fighter 4): This allows you to throw with both hands, adding an attack. With the Palm Throw ability from Master Thrower, this becomes two extra attacks.
Knockback (6th): The key to making the Dungeon Crasher class feature really shine. This feat lets you Bull Rush with weapon attacks, adding a bonus equal to your attack roll penalty with Power Attack to the attempt.
Shock Trooper (Fighter 6): This has several very nice features. Perhaps the most important is the ability to move a successfully Bull Rushed oppoenent one hex to the left or right for each hex you move him or her back. This lets you steer enemies into one another to trip them and helps you manuever them next to a wall so you can slam them into it.
Improved Trip (Wolf Totem Barbarian 2): A +4 to trip and the ability to take an extra attack on a tripped opponent. Choice.
Extra Rage (9th): This is necessary if you want to be able to rage more than once per day. Since it grants you an extra attack, +2 AC, +2 to Reflex saves, and a +4 to Strength, it's worth it.
Rapid Shot (12th): Yet another attack (or two with Palm Throw).
WP Focus (Bloodstorm Blade 3): Necessary for getting into Master Thrower. Choose a small thrown weapon you can flurry with - shuriken or sai.
Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (15th): Another attack (or two with Palm Throw).
Quick Draw (Master Thrower 1): Even though this build doesn't require this to tick (since weapons will be returning as a free action thanks to the Bloodstorm Blade), it's still useful if the character is caught without his weapons out.
Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (18th): Another attack (or two with Palm Throw).
Dungeon Crasher: This ability comes in place of a Fighter's second level feat, and allows him to deal 2d6+1.5xStr mod damage if he successfully bull rushes an opponent against something similar to a wall. At 6th level, the damage goes up to 8d6+3xStr mod. This is the build's primary source of damage.
Palm Throw: Allows the thrower to chuck two small thrown weapons with each attackin exchange for losing his Str bonus to damage. Since the build's damage is mostly from Bull Rush (which can be improved, thanks to Knockback, by Power Attack), this is not an issue.
Weak Spot: The Master Thrower's capstone 5th level ability allows him to treat your ranged attacks as touch attacks, which lets him sell his BaB down to nothing to improve his Bull Rush attempts.
Thunderous Throw: This 2nd level Bloodstorm Blade ability allows the character to make melee attacks at range. This feature allows throw weapons to carry the Knockback feat's effect and Bull Rush enemies, and is key to the build.
Lightning Riccochet: This is the ultimate goal of any thrower - free action returning weapons. In other words, this character only has to have magical artillery sufficient for a single attack - the second he throws it, it returns to his hand, ready for the next strike.
You can now use the chaos monk's flailing strike with shuriken for up to 26 attacks (4 base, 3 from Greater TWF, 1 from Rapid Shot, 1 from Whirling Rage, 1 from the use of Improved Trip, up to 3 from flailing strike, x2 for Palm Throw). Each of these is a touch attack, causing a Bull Rush attempt with a modifier (assuming you sell BaB down to 0) of +42 (+46 if you are enlarged by an item or spell).
For each successful Bull Rush against a wall, you deal 8d6 + 3xStr mod damage. If you have a flying item, are on a flying mount, or are otherwise airborne and above your target, you may deal this damage by smashing them into the ground.
You require only two +5 shuriken to throw, since once you throw with one hand the shuriken can fly back as a free action to your other, allowing you to attack with both hands without requiring 4 shuriken.
Your Strength should be a 36 (18 base, +5 from levels, +5 from a Tome, and +6 from an item), which will rise to a 40 when you are raging.
Shuriken base damage: (1d2+5)x26 = (6-7)x26 = 156-182
Bull Rush base damage: (8d6+[3x15])x26 = (53-93)x26 = 1378-2418
Total: 1534-2600 damage.
This is, of course, assuming your flailing strike gets you the maximum number of extra attacks and that all your attacks hit and bull rush the opponent successfully against a wall (or the ground).
Your ability to successfully destroy armies comes from the Shock Trooper's domino rush maneuver. With complete trip, you can bull rush opponents into one another, each time receiving a free extra attack (NOT an Aoo) against both - and with palm throw making each extra attack two hits, this can end up meaning nearly limitless hits (provided your enemies are grouped closely enough) within your throwing range. With flight, each of those attacks does bull rush damage (8d6+45).
You can do a variant of this technique by grabbing Ironheart Aura and Stormguard Warrior. What feats or class levels you switch are ultimately unimportant, but the technique may cost you an attack or two.
Stormguard Warrior allows you, with combat rhythym, to make a number of melee touch attacks. With Thundering Throw from the Bloodstorm Blade class, you can do this at range. Even though your attacks do not deal any damage, each CAN bull rush the opponent, dealing your smashing damage if they're hitting the ground or a wall. In addition, your next round's worth of attacks receive a +5 bonus for each successful touch attack.
Round 1: 24 bull rush touch attacks (I'm assuming swapping Far Shot and Greater TWF for Ironheart Aura and Stormguard Warrior), dealing (53-93)x24 = 1272-2232 damage.
Round 2: 24 bull rush touch attacks for (8d6+3xStr+5x24)x24 = (173-213)x24 = 4152-5112 damage.
You could also pass on 4 levels of Master Thrower and instead simply use Combat Rhythym for the touch attacks necessary to Bull Rush your foes. This would mean you would never use the extra +5 to damage per successful hit, but frankly 1272-2232 seems enough, doesn't it? Besides, that would open up 4 levels that you could use to get back the two attacks you lost.
Against larger foes you could use a reduced number of attacks per round but wield a two-handed weapon to increase your Bull Rush by another +19 for a total of +60 (+64 when enlarged). For comparison purposes, a Great Wyrm Red Dragon has a bull rush modifier of +73. When you consider you'll both be rolling a d20, your chances are still decent.
All this would also be possible on a melee character.
Imagine a sumo wrestler chaos monk with Stormguard Warrior. He flurries with touch attacks to push you back with his unarmed attacks, and when you hit the wall you get hurt . . . badly. Next round if you're still standing he can destroy you with the amped damage from Stormguard Warrior, or simply bash you back into the wall again. Snap Kick would, of course, be necessary for this build.
Of course, if you wanted function over flavor, you'd want a two-handed monk weapon. Think a Rope Dart from Dragon Mag (I forget the number, off-hand) or a quarterstaff.
A final note: to make this damage truly ridiculous, you can always sacrifice the Chaos Monk's flurry in place of using two Many-Fang Daggers from FR - Serpent Kingdoms. These broken weapons deal x4 damage per hit.
And . . . I'm spent.
02-15-07, 05:07 PM
well, this is just crazy stupid.
You get a congratulations from me, JJ, cuz I'm too tired to second guess you!
:cheer: :cheer: :cheer:
02-15-07, 09:17 PM
It actually works. And not just tenuosly, either - it straight up, RAW WORKS! Thanks, Progress - I'm kind of proud of this baby.
Did you notice the whole "do damage with the touch attacks from Stormguard Warrior by turning them into Bull Rushes that deal Dungeon Crusher damage" thing? That, to me, is particularly sick. After all, one of the biggest issues of Stormguard Warrior was always that you had to blow a round in order to build up damage for next round. With Dungeon Crusher, you can deal huge damage right away - and do even MORE next round!
I need to make that Sumo Wrestler from Street Fighter for the video game thread . . . wasn't his name Honda?
Bill Bisco: Average Adventurer
02-15-07, 09:27 PM
E. Honda Yes. One of my friend's most hated characters (he told me that his brother would just tap A all the time, "huh-HUH-HUH-HUH" )
We just gotta simulate the butt stomp and his forward flying attacking.
02-15-07, 09:48 PM
Some sort of jumping bull rush, I'd say. Still, we got the flurry of slaps DOWN:
Chaos Monk of the Overwhelming Attack School 2/Dungeon Crasher Fighter 6/Wolf Totem Barbarian (Whirling Attack Variant) 2/War Hulk 10
With Snap Kick we're talking 9 touch attacks for bull rushing hand slaps.
Trade out the War Hulk for 2 levels of War Blade and a couple of Crusader. Heck, maybe even a couple Swordsage levels - after all, he only wore a fundoshi (the little diaper thing the sumo wrestlers wear). It honestly doesn't matter once your Bull Rush gets big and you're using Stormguard Warrior for touch attacks.
I haven't combined this with Ruby Knight Vindicator unfairness yet. You could get more attacks by being able to couple Thunderous Throw (a swift action) with Raging Mongoose (a swift action) for another 4 attacks. It'd be a tight fit, though.
Of course, I've never been a fan of using spell-cheese to become a better melee combatant. It justs seems unreasonable that the spellcasters, who are already more powerful, can do the melee thing better.
02-15-07, 09:48 PM
cool. time to travel the planes and kill every god in existance with bull rush attacks... sigh
02-15-07, 09:58 PM
returning shruikens... NO, shruikens are ammunition in 3.5, therefore they are destroyed on impact (illogical though that may be.)
02-15-07, 11:05 PM
So use sai. Doesn't matter.
02-15-07, 11:57 PM
Isn't Bull Rush a Standard Action?
02-16-07, 12:01 AM
Not with Knockback from Races of Stone, which makes it part of any attack you Power Attack on.
02-16-07, 03:03 AM
Jotunbrud is from Races of Faerun
02-16-07, 11:49 AM
Thanks - have to put that in.
I thought of a different variant as well. This one's not solely damage based, so it might actually be PLAYABLE.
Chaos Monk 2/Fighter 6/Wolf Totem Barbarian 2/Warblade 1/Master Thrower 1/Bloodstorm Blade 4/Warblade 1/Crusader 3
You'll be using Stormguard Warrior to make touch attacks that slam foes into obstacles. You can switch between Aura of Triumph (healing 4 HP per round for a total of 26x4 = 104 HP per round!) and Aura of Chaos (allowing your 26x8 = 208 6-sided dice potentially "explode," causing even MORE damage), and you can even have the Warblade's Leaping Dragon Stance + Swift Leap combo for when you want to jump over enemies heads and rain down death from above. Very useful, since you fill the healer role as well as the damage-dealing deathstorm roll. Heck, even if you don't bull rush a target your touch attack has an effect!
You could also pull this off with Blood in the Water stance and a couple of keen weapons. Finding a good threat range on a Monk weapon is hard, so you might want to do this with a few levels in Shou Disciple. Consider:
Chaos Monk 2/Fighter 6/Wolf Totem Barbarian 2/Warblade 1/Master Thrower 1/Bloodstorm Blade 4/Shou Disciple 3/Warblade 1 or Crusader 1
This would let you hurl storms of 26 touch-attack keen daggers with threat ranges of 17-20. If you paid the extra feat, you could pull this off with keen kukris, each of which would have a threat range of 15-20. For each successfully confirmed threat (regardless of if you actually deal damage or not!) you'd gain a +1 to hit and damage for the next ten rounds . . . and this would keep stacking as long as the fight went on.
You know those little glass bead counters they use in card games? Might be wise to use those to keep track of just how silly your bonus has gotten.
A critical threat range of 6 points (15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20) means a 30% chance of a critical. 30% of 26 is 7.8, so you would score, on average, 7~8 criticals per round. This means a stacking +7~8 damage for each round's worth of attacks, above and beyond the bull rushing.
Almost enough to make you want to ditch bull rush and go with little tiny thrown weapons that don't do much damage . . . to start with . . . until they get beefed up by Blood in the Water and start hitting like Mac trucks!