Hello and welcome to yet another thread by a random forum poster with little to no clue. Today's topic is the Arcane Duelist
's Omnislash ability, or Flurry of Swords as it calls it's self. But before we go into that I'd like to run off on a tangent, off topic, out of focus, sidetracked, if you'll hear me out.
Remember back in the 339 (that is WotC's forums pre-Gleemax) all the rave and attention the worthless Dervish from Complete Warrior got? If you are unfamiliar with the class allow me to enlighten you. The Dervish is primarily about an over glorified Spring Attack gone Bounding Assault PrC and that is about it. Srsly, it is. Dancing lets you attack while you move and the rest of the PrC gives Cleave, Spring Attack, Fast Movement, and you can use Scimitar's as a light weapon thus reduce your TWF penalty by 2. The class didn't get attention for those crummy abilities offered in feat form to the NPC warrior class but for it's 10th level capstone ability of the Dervish named Thousand Cuts. It is a 1/day ability to double the number of attacks you have but you must move around while doing so. This PrC had loads of threads dedicated to being able to deal 500~1,000 damage once per day in a full attack action. But!
The little ole Arcane Duelist went unnoticed. Well if the dervish can get so much attention surly the Arcane Duelist can too.(back on topic)
To provide highlights to the link offered above the Arcane Duelist, AD for short, offers stuff not granted in feat form. At first glance instead it offers stuff found in magic items, only worse. However it's capstone is quite possibly the coolest thing under the sun. Not just in looks
but for optimization as well.
Here is the lowdown on it's abilities.
Abusing the Omnislash1.
Poor BAB, d8 HD (better than some others), two good saves, 4 skill points per level.
Requires: BAB 6, Dodge & Mobility, Perform & Tumble 5, 1st level arcane spells. Screams Bard doesn't it?
Chosen Weapon / Enchant Chosen Weapon
A seeming useless ability or is it? This class ability stacks with whatever you have enchanted on your weapon to begin with provided the weapon's total bonus does not exceed +10. You can use the raw bonus to make up for blowing your money on named enchantments or to push your numbered bonus into the epic range a half dozen or more levels before you should which is useful for some key high level monsters printed. Best use is to cover a weapon named enchantment I'll go into later on.
Cha to AC. Not bad at all. Very useful.
Reduce damage to increase hit. Seems lame, but srsly this is D&D. What optimizer worth his login can't bump damage into the overkill range? Give up some of that over kill for a better hit chance. There is no notation weather or not this applies before or after a critical hit's multiplier. Also since the class gives poor BAB you better get used to using this. The good news of course when it comes to THF Power Attack + Dexterous Attack = Win. Combine with simple charge boosters to remain an effective damage dealer as you level up. From here on out though the PrC's usefulness is kinda crap. Hold in there for the next six levels and remember; anything you use you have an almost guarantee to hit now.
It's a horrible ability. It really is, since while it is unnoted we must assume it takes a standard action to use and theres a cloak that sells for pretty cheap that grants Blur 24/7.
Free Keen ability, imposes a penalty to your attack roll equal to the treat range. Noted in the ability is that when used in conjunction with Dexterous Attack the damage penalty is applied before the multiplier. So why was it not noted in the Dexterous Attack entry how it stacks and more importantly if you don't use it in conjunction with false keenness thus exempt from that section of rules what happens? My guess, the damage penalty from Dexterous Attack applies to the final result, after the critical multiplier, which makes this ability useful simply becuase it makes a previous ability better.
Back to getting useful abilities. This time its an unlimited Mirror Image spell-like ability. Very useful for defense. Pop out 1d4+3 mirror images as presumably a standard action for up to a one in twelve shot of getting hit. Since you can use it any number of times you should recast it every minute to gain the benefit of having clones all the time.
Flurry of Swords, aka Omnislash
This ability single handedly puts the Dervish's Thousand Cuts ability to shame even *if* said ability worked every encounter. The omnislash can be used 10 times per day but only per to a single opponent. Using it requires a full-attack action and when used it gives an additional attack and 1d4+3 clones that attack the targeted foe(s) in the same way. While you are limited to using this against a single foe once per day you are in no way limited to attacking one foe at a time while using this.
Ability Drain: Wounding(core)
(and Weakening(some Faerun book)
too if you wanted)
Say your chosen weapon is the Unarmed Strike as you have a monk dip. With a mere 22 str you can give up 6 points of possible damage for +6 to all your attack rolls, this almost single handedly pays for Furry of Blows, Snap Kick, and the Omnislash's penalties to attack. Anything else and we're talking bonuses to attack and since the damage penalty is to be ignored expect a large number here. Your clones also benefit from your attack setup so each of them also have an additional three attacks. Even with a low three attacks with BAB we're talking ( 5 X (1d4+3) ) Constitution damage or an at minimum 20 points which in turn drain (HD*10) HP from the target(s) and also deals 20 damage assuming they don't just kneel over and die.2.
Negative Levels: Souldrinker(bovd)
/ Energy Drain(dotf)
That's 200HP lost from all 20 negative levels and they now have -20 to attack & saves if they live using Souldrinker, 20d4 negative levels using Energy Drain. Yes, take your pwnage to go. You got work to do.3.
If you were thinking Iaijitsu Strike then I approve. Sneak Attack comes to mind. Stormguard Warrior? Count me in. Whats that? You want inspiration? We have Dragonfire
Inspiration. Made with lightning. Real
lightning. A +5 weapon (which becomes +9) deals +180 damage when you have 20ish attacks per round. Blades of Fire(spc) up some flaming death.4.
Save or suck/die
Instead of aiming for a super high save DC you instead aim to pump out enough attacks your opponent rolls so poorly they fail. Clouting's stun effect is really nice but you'll have to back a foe into a wall first. Stunning Blow & Sudden Stunning, which is based on cha!, even if used once in your attack chain is repeated by each clone. Go Lich or so and spam your paralyzing touch. Poison interestingly becomes an option as each clone would employ a poisoned blade as well. Any touch attack spells can be used too if you cast them the round before and held the charge.5.
Shattermantle lowers spell resistance by 2 per hit, Spell Thieves can drain huge amounts of spells if you need the caster alive but unable to surprise you as you haul him away. Spellstoring weapons really become useful since each clone would let the same spell loose too. I suppose there are others outside of that but I can't think of any.
The omnislash is a great ability to play with with very powerful outcomes. The six near dead levels of AD is a very steep price for it though. You have to have a base in your build capable of getting through the dead levels or start out around the 16th level to mitigate the cost.Using the Omnislash
Heres a few examples of putting it to use.
Bard 8 / Crusader 1 / Arcane Duelist 10 / Monk 1
For the first few levels you'll play as a dragonfire inspiring bard, later on you'll take a level in crusader and pick up Song Of The White Raven and as asap as you can you'll enter Arcane Duelist. Eight times per day you'll Word of Creation up some dragonfire inspiration and Omnislash a foe to death. Simple and sweet. Thanks to it's bardic abilities it remains useful even with the very close to dead six levels of AD.
Hexblade 4 / Paladin of Tranny 2 / Arcane Duelist 10 / Marshal 1 / Monk 1 / Iajutsu Master 2
cha to saves twice (sort of), cha to ac twice using Ascetic Mage, cha to initiative using marshal, and also +9d6 damage on every attack. Not the strongest option but I'm sure you grasp the concept of what it tries to do. the more you can stack cha to stuff the more simple leveling becomes useful.
Loredrake Steel Dragon 5 / Singer of Concordance 2 / Arcane Duelist 10 / Abjurant Champion 3
Take the diabolic domain just for Devil's Ego and it's +4 profane to charisma. You can use River's Ravages to boost your spellcasting by four levels (and size for reach) through out the game. It's not a super powerful caster by any means but you can create a stack of +1 Spellstoring Gnome Quick Razors to use in your downtime too. Just use Dexterous Attack to cover the lack of proficiency.
Factotum 8 / Arcane Duelist 10 / Swordsage 2
Yes, even a factotum works. This one picked up Knowledge Devotion and Burning Blade for an extra boost to attack & damage. This my be the one case Cunning Strike's +1d6 per inspiration point becomes useful as each point spent gives a total of +5d6~+8d6 damage in total.
I totally want to note if you wanted you could try to use a Words of Creation Inspired to Greatness and aim to bump your initiator level high enough to put a Ring Of The Diamond Mind(time stands still) to use Omnislash twice in a given round. But the gain isn't worth the cost as far as I can tell.
Anything else you want to add?