Saturday, June 4, 2011

Alys Kaah 2: Electric Boogaloo

Von said:
Thank you for pushing beyond merely "unusual build" and into "genuinely bizarre character"; there's hope for us all yet.

Don't let my wacky characterization fool you; deep inside me beats the heart of a gamer who knows how to abuse the system. I'm not quite so bad as to min-max and I don't think I'm a powergamer, but when I make characters I pick a schtick or a role and build them to be very, very good at it. With Alys it's the role of "mounted cavalry that charges a lot," and her design allows me several stupid-powerful abilities. Allow me to demonstrate.

It all started back when I was making cavalier feats, and had a nifty idea for an Order based upon summoners who ride their eidolons into battle. Since an eidolon at 1st level is size medium, and gnomes are size small, and the Mount evolution (which lets summoners ride their eidolons into combat) is available at 1st level, it seemed a nifty way to get around certain restrictions.

Being a small character is a tradeoff: you get bonuses to Dexterity and Armor Class, but penalties to Strength and are easier to knock off your feet, and you don't move as fast as medium-size characters. But riding on an eidolon with a base speed of 40' doubles your speed, and allows you to keep up with your larger-sized comrades. It also makes you nearly impossible to grapple, as you're riding a ferocious beast who will take exception to that. It also eliminates the problems of being weighed down with gear, since your mount is stronger than you and, being either a quadruped or serpentine, can carry a lot more than a biped.

So basically, that's all the benefits of being small, with the only drawback being decreased damage -- and with the right evolutions (such as improved damage) your eidolon can more than make up for it. But wait, there's more.

Since Alys' eidolon is medium-sized, he takes up the same tactical space as a human. Which means that she can ride him anywhere a human can go. Yes, the big drawback to the mounted cavalry, that they're only good outdoors, is totally eliminated. Which means that Alys can use her lance all the time, and as long as there's enough room, she can charge and deal double damage.

But wait, there's more! By picking the right feats (ride-by attack & spirited charge ) and the right evolutions (improved damage, pounce) she has the ability to charge, do triple damage, have her eidolon do a full claw/claw/bite routine, and then continue on for the rest of her movement, taking her out of the path of danger and setting her up for another attack run.

Oh, and if Mister Boodles takes damage? Alys has a couple options. With the Mounted Combat feat, she can make a Ride skill check to avoid the hit entirely (and wow, is her Ride skill cranked up). Failing that, she can either utilize the 1st level Summoner ability of Life Link to sacrifice any number of her own hit points to prevent that damage being taken to Mr B. Thirdly, as a spellcaster, she has access to spells which heal her eidolon.

Now, of course, Mr B has wings, can fly at 60' with good manueverability and has the Wingover feat, so now he's even more mobile, and Alys' lance, Tsundere, is a +1 Flaming Frost weapon.

I actually feel slightly ashamed having written all of this out. Let me say this in my defense:
  • I never intended to exploit the rules, I just thought the idea of a gnome riding a magical construct like a knight would be funny. 
  • I didn't think I'd be able to get away with half this stuff. Of course, when I found out I could, it's not like I stopped...
  • When I joined this campaign I was 4th level and everyone else was around 9th, so I had a LOT of catching up to do so I could actually contribute to the team instead of being a gold and XP leech. 
  • The really nifty combos didn't kick in around levels 6 or 7. She's currently level 9. 
  • The half-orc barbarian STILL manages to out-damage me most of the time.
But yeah. Summoners are tons of fun, because you basically get to play two characters for the price of one. I rather short-circuited by that having Mister Boodles be a mount instead of an independent source of damage, but that just allowed me to make a "Master Blaster" type of character.

She's a crazy character, yes, but crazy strong. I can't wait until we go after the dragon at the end of the campaign. I've already had a double saddle made, so her bard can "ride bitch" and provide her with musical accompaniment and spell support.

Forget Ride of the Valkyries. Bring on Ride of the Gnomish Airborne Owlbear Cavalry.

1 comment:

  1. "I never intended to exploit the rules, I just thought the idea of a
    gnome riding a magical construct like a knight would be funny."

    And it is.  Her being an extremely competent character is good too.  It's growing on me that D&D and its derivatives mean several things by 'role' and the playing thereof.  Tactical role is as important as narrative role and a character without an effective tactical role is despised as an attention-seeking snowflake for a reason.  I don't think you need to speak in your own defence here.  :p


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