Caress of the Dragon – Bard 16 / RDD 14 / Shadowdancer 10

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  • #1093
    TheSquid

    EDIT: updated build, for better or worse, in the comments. Level spread has also changed.

    I was reading Tear of the Dragon by Kail Pendragon and Conlaoch, which I understand is considered a strong build. I realised that the 7d6 sneak dice are kind of wasted, as (mostly) everything that is immune to critical hits is also immune to sneaks, and so I tried to build “the same character” with Shadowdancer instead of Rogue. I was a bit baffled to see that several experienced players in this thread seem to imply that nothing good should have come of this attempt. Let us compare my build to Tear of the Dragon:

    • I retain: same AB and damage, same AC, exact same saves, Devastating Critical: Rapier at level 27 and Epic Dodge at level 34 (one level later)
    • I lose: trap skills, 7d6 Sneak Attack, 14 HP, Craft Wand, level 5 and 6 spells
    • I gain: Hide in Plain Sight, stealth skills, Slippery Mind, Shadowdancer class feats, +2 saves vs. spells, Elf racial benefits

    Overall I think this is a pretty good trade! HiPS + DevCrit sounds like a very powerful combination. Craft Wand could be incorporated in the build by delaying WF and EWF and dropping Epic Prowess. Level 5 and 6 Bard spells are kind of meh. The real loss here is trapping skills, which I assume were there to help against crit/sneak immune enemies. Hopefully you can get by with help of party members/henchmen/UMD scrolls. Looking forward to trying this guy out, and to your comments and suggestions!

    Caress of the Dragon

    Bard(17), Red Dragon Disciple(10), Shadowdancer(13), Elf, any non-lawful

    STR: 16 (26)
    DEX: 16 (26)
    CON: 10 (12)
    WIS: 8
    INT: 14 (16)
    CHA: 12 (14)

    Elf: (Hardiness vs. Enchantments, Keen Sense, Low-light Vision, Skill Affinity: Listen, Skill Affinity: Search, Skill Affinity: Spot, Sleeplessness)
    01: Bard(1): Dodge
    02: Bard(2)
    03: Bard(3): Weapon Focus: Rapier
    04: Bard(4): DEX+1, (DEX=17)
    05: Bard(5)
    06: Bard(6): Mobility
    07: Bard(7)
    08: Shadowdancer(1): DEX+1, {Hide in Plain Sight}, (DEX=18)
    09: Shadowdancer(2): Power Attack, {Darkvision, Evasion, Uncanny Dodge I}
    10: Red Dragon Disciple(1)
    11: Red Dragon Disciple(2): (STR=18)
    12: Red Dragon Disciple(3): DEX+1, Cleave, (DEX=19)
    13: Red Dragon Disciple(4): (STR=20)
    14: Bard(8)
    15: Red Dragon Disciple(5): Improved Critical: Rapier
    16: Red Dragon Disciple(6): DEX+1, (DEX=20)
    17: Shadowdancer(3)
    18: Red Dragon Disciple(7): Great Cleave, (CON=12)
    19: Red Dragon Disciple(8)
    20: Shadowdancer(4): DEX+1, (DEX=21)
    21: Red Dragon Disciple(9): Great Dexterity I, (DEX=22), (INT=16)
    22: Red Dragon Disciple(10): (STR=24), (CHA=14)
    23: Bard(9)
    24: Bard(10): STR+1, Overwhelming Critical: Rapier, (STR=25)
    25: Shadowdancer(5): {Defensive Roll}
    26: Shadowdancer(6)
    27: Shadowdancer(7): Devastating Critical: Rapier, {Slippery Mind}
    28: Shadowdancer(8): DEX+1, (DEX=23)
    29: Shadowdancer(9)
    30: Bard(11): Curse Song
    31: Shadowdancer(10): {Improved Evasion}
    32: Shadowdancer(11): DEX+1, (DEX=24)
    33: Shadowdancer(12): Great Dexterity II, (DEX=25)
    34: Shadowdancer(13): Epic Dodge
    35: Bard(12)
    36: Bard(13): DEX+1, Epic Weapon Focus: Rapier, (DEX=26)
    37: Bard(14)
    38: Bard(15)
    39: Bard(16): Epic Prowess
    40: Bard(17): STR+1, (STR=26)

    Hitpoints: 330
    Skillpoints: 283
    Saving Throws (Fortitude/Will/Reflex): 20/22/30
    Saving Throw bonuses: Spells: +9, Mind Effects: +2, Traps: +2
    BAB: 25
    AB (max, naked): 37 (melee), 34 (ranged)
    AC (naked/mundane items only): 30/34
    Spell Casting: Bard(4)
    Alignment Changes: 0

    Hide 43(51), Lore 8(28), Move Silently 43(51), Perform 33(35), Spellcraft 42(45), Taunt 43(45), Tumble 40(48), UMD 31(33)

    01: Hide(4), Lore(4), Move Silently(4), Perform(2), Tumble(4), UMD(4), Save(2),
    02: Hide(1), Lore(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(3), Tumble(1), UMD(1),
    03: Hide(1), Lore(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(1), Tumble(1), UMD(1),
    04: Hide(1), Lore(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(1), Tumble(1), UMD(1),
    05: Hide(1), Lore(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(1), Tumble(1), UMD(1),
    06: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(1), Spellcraft(1), Tumble(1), UMD(1),
    07: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(1), Spellcraft(1), Tumble(1), UMD(1),
    08: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Tumble(1), Save(5),
    09: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Tumble(1), Save(10),
    10: Spellcraft(8), Save(6),
    11: Save(10),
    12: Save(14),
    13: Save(18),
    14: Hide(5), Move Silently(5), Perform(4), Tumble(3), UMD(7),
    15: Spellcraft(4),
    16: Spellcraft(1), Save(3),
    17: Hide(3), Move Silently(3), Tumble(5),
    18: Spellcraft(4),
    19: Spellcraft(2), Save(2),
    20: Hide(3), Move Silently(3), Save(4),
    21: Spellcraft(1), Save(7),
    22: Save(12),
    23: Hide(3), Move Silently(3), Tumble(5), UMD(8),
    24: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Spellcraft(5),
    25: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Save(7),
    26: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Save(14),
    27: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Tumble(5), Save(16),
    28: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Save(23),
    29: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Save(30),
    30: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(2), Spellcraft(6), Taunt(27),
    31: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Save(7),
    32: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Tumble(5), Save(9),
    33: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Save(16),
    34: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Save(23),
    35: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Spellcraft(5), Taunt(11), UMD(6), Save(6),
    36: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Spellcraft(1), Taunt(1), Save(9),
    37: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(3), Spellcraft(1), Taunt(1), Tumble(5), Save(4),
    38: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(3), Spellcraft(1), Taunt(1), Save(4),
    39: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(6), Spellcraft(1), Taunt(1), Save(1),
    40: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(5), Taunt(1)

    #1094
    Orion

    Looks powerful and very interesting! Dev Crit Rapier, Epic Dodge, HiPS and Bard 17 (song and level 4 spells)! Thanks for exploring.

    Part of me wishes you could fit Lasting Inspiration in there too! But I believe that maybe is too much to ask. It was attempted with Shadow Drake but it lacks WF/EWF and therefore loses 3 AB, has base Con 7 (gulp! 244hp base hp) and it gets LI at level 39 then RDD 10 at 40 by which time the character has pretty much finished what it needs to do in the module or PW. So probably not worth it.

    Not sure I have any useful suggestions. Perhaps a detection skill such as Listen or Spot might be handy, particularly if there is no Blind Fight. One other thought was a Bard 16 RDD 14 SD 10 split (RDD 14 bonus feat Epic Prowess). Might add a little HP but not sure it would be much better.

    #1096
    TheSquid

    Your idea is good, I think. RDD14 adds 18 HP and loses 14 skillpoints, but more importantly I realised that postponing ED to level 36 lets you end on 25 DEX and grab Armor Skin for +1 AC at the cost of 1 Reflex. I think that does make the build better! Update:

    Bard(16), Red Dragon Disciple(14), Shadowdancer(10), Elf

    STR: 16 (26)
    DEX: 16 (25)
    CON: 10 (12)
    WIS: 8
    INT: 14 (16)
    CHA: 12 (14)

    Elf: (Hardiness vs. Enchantments, Keen Sense, Low-light Vision, Skill Affinity: Listen, Skill Affinity: Search, Skill Affinity: Spot, Sleeplessness)
    01: Bard(1): Dodge
    02: Bard(2)
    03: Bard(3): Weapon Focus: Rapier
    04: Bard(4): DEX+1, (DEX=17)
    05: Bard(5)
    06: Bard(6): Mobility
    07: Bard(7)
    08: Shadowdancer(1): DEX+1, {Hide in Plain Sight}, (DEX=18)
    09: Shadowdancer(2): Power Attack, {Darkvision, Evasion, Uncanny Dodge I}
    10: Red Dragon Disciple(1)
    11: Red Dragon Disciple(2): (STR=18)
    12: Red Dragon Disciple(3): DEX+1, Cleave, (DEX=19)
    13: Red Dragon Disciple(4): (STR=20)
    14: Bard(8)
    15: Red Dragon Disciple(5): Improved Critical: Rapier
    16: Red Dragon Disciple(6): DEX+1, (DEX=20)
    17: Shadowdancer(3)
    18: Red Dragon Disciple(7): Great Cleave, (CON=12)
    19: Red Dragon Disciple(8)
    20: Shadowdancer(4): DEX+1, (DEX=21)
    21: Red Dragon Disciple(9): Epic Weapon Focus: Rapier, (INT=16)
    22: Red Dragon Disciple(10): (STR=24), (CHA=14)
    23: Bard(9)
    24: Bard(10): STR+1, Overwhelming Critical: Rapier, (STR=25)
    25: Bard(11)
    26: Bard(12)
    27: Bard(13): Devastating Critical: Rapier
    28: Bard(14): DEX+1, (DEX=22)
    29: Shadowdancer(5): {Defensive Roll}
    30: Bard(15): Curse Song
    31: Shadowdancer(6)
    32: Shadowdancer(7): DEX+1, {Slippery Mind}, (DEX=23)
    33: Shadowdancer(8): Great Dexterity I, (DEX=24)
    34: Shadowdancer(9)
    35: Shadowdancer(10): {Improved Evasion}
    36: Red Dragon Disciple(11): DEX+1, Epic Dodge, (DEX=25)
    37: Red Dragon Disciple(12)
    38: Red Dragon Disciple(13)
    39: Red Dragon Disciple(14): Armor Skin, Epic Prowess
    40: Bard(16): STR+1, (STR=26)

    Hitpoints: 348
    Skillpoints: 269
    Saving Throws (Fortitude/Will/Reflex): 20/22/29
    Saving Throw bonuses: Spells: +7, Mind Effects: +2, Traps: +2
    BAB: 25
    AB (max, naked): 37 (melee), 33 (ranged)
    AC (naked/mundane items only): 31/35
    Spell Casting: Bard(4)
    Alignment Changes: 0

    Hide 43(50), Lore 8(27), Move Silently 43(50), Perform 28(30), Spellcraft 32(35), Taunt 43(45), Tumble 40(47), UMD 32(34)

    01: Hide(4), Lore(4), Move Silently(4), Perform(2), Tumble(4), UMD(4), Save(2),
    02: Hide(1), Lore(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(3), Tumble(1), UMD(1),
    03: Hide(1), Lore(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(1), Tumble(1), UMD(1),
    04: Hide(1), Lore(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(1), Tumble(1), UMD(1),
    05: Hide(1), Lore(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(1), Tumble(1), UMD(1),
    06: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(1), Tumble(1), UMD(1), Save(1),
    07: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(1), Taunt(2), Tumble(1), UMD(1),
    08: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Tumble(1), Save(5),
    09: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Tumble(1), Save(10),
    10: Spellcraft(4), Save(10),
    11: Save(14),
    12: Save(18),
    13: Save(22),
    14: Hide(5), Move Silently(5), Perform(4), Taunt(4), Tumble(3), UMD(7),
    15: Save(4),
    16: Save(8),
    17: Hide(3), Move Silently(3), Tumble(5), Save(5),
    18: Save(9),
    19: Save(13),
    20: Hide(3), Move Silently(3), Save(15),
    21: Save(19),
    22: Save(24),
    23: Hide(3), Move Silently(3), Taunt(16), Tumble(5), UMD(4),
    24: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Taunt(1), UMD(4),
    25: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(2), Taunt(1), UMD(2),
    26: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Taunt(1), UMD(2), Save(2),
    27: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Taunt(1), Tumble(5), UMD(1),
    28: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(3), Spellcraft(1), Taunt(1),
    29: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Save(7),
    30: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(3), Spellcraft(5), Taunt(4),
    31: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Save(7),
    32: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Tumble(5), Save(9),
    33: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Save(16),
    34: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Save(23),
    35: Hide(1), Move Silently(1), Save(30),
    36: Spellcraft(22), Save(13),
    37: Save(18),
    38: Save(23),
    39: Save(28),
    40: Hide(5), Move Silently(5), Perform(6), Taunt(12), Tumble(5), UMD(2)

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