The Tao of TruenamingIntroduction
Dedicated to Roland St. Jude for his loving support and Sir Giacomo for providing the inspiration.
As we all know, the art of Truenaming is much looked down upon by pretty much every class in the game, from the mighty Druid to the lowly Complete Warrior Samurai. However, the foolish fools who oppose the Truenamer have foolishly underestimated this class, which is wonderfully made and most definitely balanced against other classes.
"But Solo, you devilishly handsome and clever fiend," you are no doubt asking, "Isn't the truenaming system horribly weak? How can it be that a class based off of Truenaming is balanced against better designed classes such as the monk?"
Well prepare to have your mind blown, for the answer is so simple that you will literally smack the teeth out of your gob for having missed it. Schedule an appointment with your dentist and read on for the true secret behind the power of Truenamers!
The True Secret Behind the Power of Truenamers
You were supposed to understand. I'll make you understand.
Look closely at the rough diamond that is the Truenamer and what do you see? Right next to the skill that is the bread and butter of any Truenamer, that is to say, Truenaming, there is this little skill called Use Magic Device. By accessing this wondrous source of power, you can even the field between you and other classes by stealing the casters' best tricks for yourself via the use of wands, scrolls, and staffs!
Truly the Truenamer can benefit most from the power of UMD, even moreso than the monk, which makes him mightier than even the wizard since wizards do not even get UMD as a class skill and benefit so little from the additional magic it provides.
And, in the long tradition of naming builds after DC comic book characters, I shall call this Truenamer... THE RIDDLER!
"Hold on, Solo, you great visionary you," I can hear you crying again in desperation to avoid realizing the truth behind my statements in a desperate attempt to preserve your precious and cherished worldview in which you can hate Truenamers with a clean conscience, "Isn't the voracious consumption of perishable items expensive? After all, you only get so much wealth when you level up, and it seems that the wands will eat up your money very quickly and not leave cash for other equipment."
Well, I'm no expert on wealth and expenditures, but my good friend Giacomo is and can answer your question perfectly well since he has debated this issue countless times before. To quote his rebuttal of mathematical proof that the Joker monk's wand use was unsustainable, ""Who cares about what happens a week after a character starts play? They work when they're created, right?"
Besides, as he pointed out, partially charged wands are freely available at most magic shops, whether they be in the City of Brass or Hicksville, Faerun, population 10 redneck commoners, forty cows, and one flea ridden dog with a slight limp in his left hind leg. All you have to do to locate a good source of used wands is pursue the advertisements in any issue of the Daily Eberronian Post Pennysaver for a cheap and inexpensive partially charged wand with the exact amount of charges you require, like shopping for a used car of a specific make and model with a specific amount of mileage on it.
"Surely you jest, Solo you uncanny cad," you mutter to yourself, "Isn't it nearly impossible to find a used car with such exact specifications? I can't go down to my local horseless motorcarriage dealership and locate any used car I want, they'll generally only have a few models available. Furthermore, how will I know the mileage on the car is accurate? Can't the dealership fidle with the odometer if they're dishonest and I tell them ahead of time exactly how many miles I want on the car?"
Why yes, my chum, these are all objections one might raise if they were determined truenamer hater, but the rules clearly state that a character may start with partially charged wands with any amount of charges left in them at character creation, so it obviously they can obtain partially charged wands with any amount of charges left in them at other times too. Q.E.D.Optimizing UMD
So how does one get the best UMD score possible? Obviously, ranks in UMD are the first step, something that is easily done due to having UMD as a class skill; can you imagine how hard it would be to make a UMD based build that has it as a cross class skill? Such an idea is so laughable that it can safely be considered absurd.
Next, of course, come synergies. 5 ranks in Spellcraft and Decipher Script will give two separate +2 bonuses to UMD involving scrolls. This will prove useful, since scrolls are harder to activate than wands.
After skills there are feats such as Skill Focus and Magical Aptitude, which the UMD enthusiast is encouraged to take in order to boost his UMD score.
Last, but not least, come magical items such as Spellsight Spectacles and a Circlet of Persuasion. The best investment by far in this domain, though, is not something you can buy off the market, but something you have to spend a feat on: the Item Familiar. By investing skill points into the familiar, you can get a bonus ot your own skills, beefing up not only UMD but Truenaming as well!
Bonus points if you make the Item Familiar out of your masterwork tool of UMD.
"But Solo, you perfectly ordinary person you," I can already hear you objecting, "What is this miraculous masterwork tool that is a mundane item which aids in what is clearly not a mundane task?"
Well, I don't know, but the rules say you can have one, so it obviously exists! Does it really matter what it is? Just because I can't think of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist! I don't know what masterwork tool you'd have for jumping, concentration, or sense motive, but you can have them so the issue of what it is specifically is a moot point. Simple logic.
Making Item Purchases
Now the real game begins!
Wands: The best source for all spells below level 4, since wands are cheaper than scrolls for the amount of spells you get. This means that, instead of buying scrolls, you can buy single charge wands and save a fortune!
Scrolls: if you can find a high level caster to toil away endlessly making scrolls for you, then you're set for all your higher magic needs! Just have him scribe down the spells you want and you'll be as powerful as any spellcaster.
Staffs: Emulate high caster level with UMD check and cast spells better than the wizard!
Aside from the magic items that depend on UMD, you can buy rods, rings, and wondrous items which will, for a price, allow you to have access to even more of the caster's tricks, putting you on par with these so called "tier 1 classes".
"That's not true, that's impossible," you are doubtlessly thinking to yourself, "While you are using money to make up for the Truenamer's lack of spellcasting, the spellcaster has spellcasting already and a lot of wealth of his own. Doesn't that mean that a spellcaster who uses his money to buy magical items will be superior to your truenamer? How can you defend the purchase of magic items as a way to become as powerful as a full spellcaster?"
If you simply searched your feelings, you would know it to be true. Spellcasters are at a disadvantage here because they suffer diminishing returns when attempting to enhance their power with more magic, while the Truenamer has more to gain relatively speaking. This means that the Truenamer can easily catch up to the wizard because his power increases much faster!
For if knowledge is power, then a GOD AM *I*!
"Just one second," you say, barely getting over the shock of learning that the Truenamer has his uses, "I admit that UMD is a good skill, but isn't Truenaming 'the suck' since the DC for a Truenaming check done unto a subject shoots up faster than sunflowers fertilized by Giacomo's monk guide?"
Wrong again! Provided one takes the proper steps to optimize Truenaming, it is entirely possible to "mix it up with the best of them" as it were. Keep in mind that while the wizard has to operate under the restriction of spell slots, the Truenamer has no such restriction and can use his abilities as many times as he wants to per day! Truly such limitless potential is to be feared and respected in equal proportions.
Let's take a look at the best utterances and examine their power:
* Knight's Puissance (1st LEM) Normal: +2 to attack; Reverse: -2 to attack
* Defensive Edge (1st LEM) Normal: +1 to AC; Reverse: -1 to AC
* Universal Aptitude (1st LEM) Normal: +5 to skill checks; Reverse: -5 to skill checks
* Inertia Surge (1st LEM) Normal: Freedom of Movement for one round; Reverse: Immobilize your enemy with no save
* Speed of the Zephyr (2nd LEM) Normal: +20 to base speed; Reverse: -10 to base speed
* Strike of Might (2nd LEM) Normal: +10 to damage on next damage roll; Reverse: -5 to damage
* Temporal Twist (2nd LEM) Normal: grants one extra attack; Reverse: dazes target
* Keen Weapon (1st LCT) Doubles the threat range of any weapon
* Fortify Armor (1st LCT) Grants light to heavy fortification depending on how much a penalty the user takes to the Truenaming DC
* Accelerated Attack (3rd LEM) Normal: target gains the Spring Attack feat and leaves mirror images behind him; Reverse: spellcaster can move while casting a spell and leaves behind mirror images
* Energy Negation (3rd LEM) Normal: grants energy resistance 10; Reverse: inflicts 2d6 energy damage per round
* Speed of the Zephyr, Greater (3rd LEM) Normal: one target benefits from the effects of the Haste spell; Reverse: one target is slowed as the Slow spell
* Temporal Spiral (3rd LEM) Normal: grants target an immediate move action; Reverse: target is dazed
* Seek the Sky (3rd LEM) Normal: target can fly with a speed of 120 feet and good maneuverability; Reverse: target is unable to fly
* Spell Rebirth (4th LEM) Normal: restore an effect that was just dispelled or dismissed; Reverse: dispels a spell with the highest caster level affecting a target
* Word of Nuturing, Potent (4th LEM) Normal: grants fast healing 10; Reverse: deals 6d6 damage to target, and does so again at the end of your turn if you spend a standard action concentrating
* Confounding Resistance (4th LEM) Normal: If the target makes a successful save against an attack that normally would have a lesser effect on a successful save he instead negates the effect. Reverse: suppresses improved evasion if the target has it, evasion if target does not have improved evasion, and inflicts a -2 penalty to saves if target has neither
* Fog of the Void (1st LPM): Get fog cloud or solid fog
* Preteranatural Clarity (5th LEM) Normal: +5 insight bonus on any single attack roll, opposed ability or skill check, or saving throw; Reverse: causes target to become confused as the Confusion spell
* Sensory Focus (5th LEM) Normal: target gains blindsight and True Seeing; Reverse: target is blind and deafened
* Ward of Peace (5th LEM) Normal: wards a target; Reverse: banishes target to an extradimensional pocket
* Word of Nuturing, Critical (5th LEM) Normal: grants fast healing 15; Reverse: deals 8d6 damage to target, and does so again at the end of your turn if you spend a standard action concentrating
* Knight's Puissance, Greater (6th LEM) Normal: +5 to attack; Reverse: -5 to attack
* Ether Reforged (6th LEM) Normal: target's armor and weapon gain the Ghost Touch property; Reverse: renders target etheral as the EtheralJaunt spell
* Mystic Ramparts (6th LEM) Normal: grants you target damage reduction 5/— and a +5 bonus on saving throws; Reverse: imposes a -5 penalty on AC and saving throws
* Word of Nurturing, Greater (6th LEM) Normal: grants fast healing 20; Reverse: deals 10d6 damage to target, and does so again at the end of your turn if you spend a standard action concentrating
* Metamagic Catalyst (5th LCT): can apply metamagic effects to potion or scroll
* Conjunctive Gate (4th LPM): Gate, as the spell
* Deny Passage (4th LPM): Forces an area to deny access to targets
It is evident that not only does the Truenamer possess the ability to use magic well, but also engage in combat and UMD. It turns out that the Truenamer is infact a very versatile class provided one builds appropriately.Boosting Skill Checks
Was that over the top? I can never tell.
You could use these spells to boost your skill check:
* Good Hope (+2 morale, Brd 2, Sor/Wiz 3, PHB)
* Greater Heroism (+4 morale, Brd 5, Sor/Wiz 6, PHB)
* Guidance (+1 competence, Clr 0, Drd 0)
* Improvisation (x2 CL luck points, up to half of which can be spent on one skill check, attack roll, or ability check, Bard 1, SpC)
* Prayer (+1 luck, Clr 3, Pal 3, PHB)
* Precognition (+2 insight, Seer 2, XPH)
* Divine Insight (+5+CL (max +15) insight, Clr 2, Pal 2, SpC)
* Guidance of the Avatar (+20 competence, Clr 2, Web article)
Which are made all the sweeter when you consider that there are rules for breakable ceramic tiles which function as potions... tiles that you can repair to full functionality with the Rebuild Item utterance. Joygasm indeed! Buy one healing tile and you'll be set for life. This, incidentally, makes you more powerful than the party cleric, who can only heal a finite amount per day.
Next, come items that help with the Truespeech check:
* Masterwork tool for a +2 circumstance bonus; what it is exactly is left as an exercise to the reader.
* Circlet of Intellect for the Int bonus
* Amulet of the Silver Tongue for an enhancement bonus to Truenaming checks
* Pale Green Ioun Stone for a +1 competence bonus)
* Stone of Good Luck for a +1 luck
You also get the priceless Universal Aptitude utterance, which gives a +5 unnamed bonus on skill checks for its duration.
Finally, the right multiclassing and prestige classing will vastly expand one's ability to make skill checks:
* One level in the Marshal class nets a minor aura which can be used to boost Int checks for Truenaming with your Cha modifier. It also gives a Skill Focus: Diplomacy that helps qualify for...
* Exemplar, one level of which lets you take 10 on a number of skills of your choice, with a +4 bonus to any one you have 13 ranks in. Obviously, selecting Truenaming and UMD means that you never have to worry about rolling low again.
* Affiliation with the Paragnostic Assembly, which can add up to a +10 bonus.
Also, one must keep in mind that since different versions of an utterance count as different utterances for the purposes of calculating the DC, you can raise the level of the utterance if the DC becomes too high and start anew, with the +4 bonus per level raised, of course.
Once you've given yourself the ability to make the skill check, it comes time to think of augmenting your utterances with the feats Extend, Empower, and most of all, Quicken Utterance, which let you up the DC in order to apply their effects. Isn't that grand?Making A Truenamer
Hey, diddle diddle, time for a riddle.
As a Truenamer, you gain
* D6 hit dice
* A good Will save
* 3/4 BAB
* 4+Int skills
* A useful skill list, with all knowledge skills and UMD
* Knowledge focus: What would the Riddler be without knowledge? Not much, which is why the Truenamer gets all knowledge skills as class skills and Knowledge focus as a class feature. It gives +3 to any one type of knowledge check, and is gained 4 times through the course of the Truenamer's career at levels 2, 7, 10, and 14. Great when combined with Knowledge Devotion, the Marshal's aura, the Collector of Stories skill trick, and the Exemplar's ability to take 10 on checks.
* Bonus Recitation Feats: As the monk and fighter have taught us, it is bonus feats that make a class worth taking.
* See the Named: Very limited scrying 1/day is still scrying.
* Speak unto the Masses: You can affect an entire group of monsters with this if they are the same type.
* Say my name and I am there: How cool is being able to instantly teleport to places where you are needed? The wizard can't beat your style.
Obviously, your primary stats should be Intelligence for Truenaming checks and Charisma for utterance DCs and UMD. This makes you as smart ask, but much sexier than, wizards. Since you get medium BAB and d6 hit dice, you can even step into combat if you feel like it by having good Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution, instead of being forced to stand in the back of the party. Yet another way the Truenamer is more powerful than the wizard!
"Wait, Solo," you yell in panic as I sweep away your cherished misconceptions and fallacies with a wave of my mighty pen, "If the Truenamer needs high mental stats, won't not have enough physical ability to stand up in combat?"
Well poo to you with great knobs on top, I say! Truenamers are not MAD; a truenamer with bad stats performs almost as well as a truenamer with great stats. By having abilities that rely on all stats, a Truenamer actually frees himself from MAD by benefiting equally as well from any stat boost rather than being forced to focus all their attention on one stat like the wizard. Besides is it not true that every class needs good scores in multiple stats? Wizards need Int, Dex, and Con, for instance, while Fighters require Str, Con, Dex, and Int. Only the Monk is on the same level as the Truenamer, since he gets bonus feats without needing to meet the ability score prerequisites for them and as a consequence, does not need high scores.
As a fighting mage, you will best be served by going into the Acolyte of the Ego prestige class, which gives full BAB and the ability to grant yourself cool buffs based on utterances along with - you guessed it - a bonus Recitation feat! This is best done after Truenamer level 9, as your higher level utterances do not support the noble and powerful art of beating things up. Alternatively, for those of you with true daring, dipping in Monk and then prestige classing into Disciple of the Word is an option. As a dedicated Monk/Truenamer prestige class, the amount of crazy broken stuff you can get away with is hard to describe in words.Beating Batman
Riddle me this, riddle me that, who's afraid of the big, black bat?
In a world awash in magic, the wizard cannot remain aloof in his ivory tower. Any class, especially the Truenamer, can have a shot at taking him down off his throne and kicking him in the behind. As a Truenamer, you have Truenaming, magic items, and physical ability while all the wizard has is magic, so you obviously have the advantage on at least two fronts. This is a mathematical fact. If you're fighting a wizard, all you have to do is use magical items to counter his spells and then close in for the kill with Truename magic and martial prowess once you are done.
For example, Mind Blank, True Seeing, Deathward, Polymorph, Globe of Invulnerability, and Resist Energy make you immune to many dangerous spells, so be sure to have them on constantly. If cost is an issue for these spells (though I don't see why it would be), you can always save cash by buying a single charge wand of Unfettered Heroism, and the feat Wand Surge, which allows you to spend a single action point in the place of a wand charge. Since Unfettered Heroism gives you back an action point plus one per round as long as the spell lasts, you can gain a net return of many action points which you can use on other wands. This will enable you to have constant buffs of all sorts of spells on the list above.
To save on action economy, you can put a wand chamber in a staff and have two magic items in one. You would do this because you like UMD, so what could be better than putting some UMD in your UMD so that you can UMD while you UMD.
Also remember to have plenty of Rods of Absorption on you so as to render yourself immune to targeted spells, and keep Rods of Cancellation around so as to plow through any attempt at stopping you with Forcecage or Wall of Force. Remember, the proper counter to every spellcaster's trick exists, so victory is merely a matter of buying a magic item of it from a spellcaster for later use.
If all else fails and you find yourself unable to counter a trick through equipment for whatever reason, remember to interpret rules in your favor. For instance, while the Solid Fog spell can be deadly if interpreted to mean that someone in it can only move 5 feet at most in one round, if you read it as meaning the base speed of everyone in the area of effect is reduced to 5 feet then you can get out of the fog in only one round by running. If the wizard is using Planar Binding to obtain minions, say that the minions should be hostile and actively work to circumvent the wizard's every order even if the wizard wins his Charisma check. Argue that using Contact Other Plane more than once per month angers the entity that is being contacted so it deliberately lies to him and decreases his mental abilities, despite this being contrary to what the spell description dictates. You get the idea.
So after allocating points to have good Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, and Charisma with enough in Wisdom to avoid a penalty, dipping in Marshal and Exemplar, then taking the Acolyte of the Ego prestige class, take the Knowledge Devotion feat, learn the Collector of Stories skill trick, obtain an Item Familiar, select a ton of consumable magic items, consume small mountains of supplies on a daily basis, make custom items to boost your skill checks and interpret rules in your favor, your Truenamer will be a man (or woman) to be feared for his (or her) unparalleled mastery of both combat and magic!
And if anyone dares dispute my irrefutable conclusions, I am prepared to obstinately argue with him endlessly until the thread is locked for deteriorating into a pointless flamewar due to my passive aggressive posts that conveniently ignore points made against me in favor of walls of text that needlessly obfuscate the issue so that I can hide behind a verbal smokescreen that confounds all those who would stand against me.