Talk:Thri-kreen Dervish (3.5e Optimized Character Build)

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LA does not grant feats. When feats are gained to determined solely on HD. So after 1st-level, it will get its next character level feat at 5th ECL and every three levels after.

If you ditch the racial psionic benefits, you can reduce the LA by one (see MMII, Savage Species, or Shining South).

Also, are gythkas the only melee weapons this build uses? If so, the character is going to suffer a −4 to attack, because the second gythka counts as a one-handed weapon and a light weapon for the purpose of multiweapon fighting. You could give it two kukris, shortswords, or any other pair of light weapons instead of a second gythka, or take the feat Oversized Mutiweapon Fighting from the Complete Adventurer. It allows you to treat one-handed weapons as light weapon for the purpose of multiweapon fighting. (The feat is actually Oversized Two-Weapon Fighting, but I'm claiming Two-/Multiweapon symmetry law, in that any feat for two-weapon fighting has a counter-part for multiweapon fighting. Why the designers made these two separate groups of feats instead of one, I'll never know.) —Sledged (talk) 22:19, 25 December 2007 (MST)

First, if you use a monster class, you don't do LA. It's either/or, as far as I understand. Thri-kreen are LA+2 with 2HD and become a four-level monster class. Second, I like the psionic benefits. The ability to charge deep crystal weapons gives a nice damage bonus, and many of the psionic feats are very powerful. Thirdly, gythkas are Thri-kreen racial weapons, and I like the mental image of dual-wielding them in a whirling frenzy. As you point out, one may need another feat to avoid the one-handed penalities. Also, feel free to edit the weapons section and flesh out the build's equipment. I will do it over time, but collaboration is what wikis are all about, right? -- S1Q3T3 23:54, 25 December 2007 (MST)
You still do LA. It's just rolled into the monster class progression. Take the minotaur, for example. Since it has a +2 LA, it's monster class, it has two levels in the progression (3rd and 5th) where it doesn't gain a HD. So it doesn't gain any benefits that are a function of HD, such as BAB, BSBs, skill points (note: that max ranks in a skill is limited by HD, too), and feats. In fact, it's feats are gained not at 3rd and 6th level, but when it becomes a 3- and 6-HD creature—4th and 8th levels, respectively. So the minotaur's progression is:
Minotaur Monster Class Progression
1st Hit Die feat
2nd Hit Die
3rd LA
4th Hit Die feat
5th LA
6th Hit Die
7th Hit Die
8th Hit Die feat
The thing to keep in mind is that monster classes are merely a mechanic to allow more powerful races to be played at 1st level, when they otherwise wouldn't be allowed at lower level game-play. The end result is that once all levels in the monster class have been taken, you end up with the exact same character as if you had just rolled one up out the MM/SRD without going through the monster class. So the thri-kreen progression would look like:
Thri-Kreen Monster Class Progression
1st Hit Die feat
2nd LA
3rd Hit Die
4th LA
Where the last LA is the one that grants the psionic racial traits. —Sledged (talk) 10:35, 26 December 2007 (MST)
I can see I'm going to have to invest in SS. Doing monster classes from memory isn't working out. Thanks for breaking it all down for me. -- S1Q3T3 10:50, 26 December 2007 (MST)
Be aware that since SS was written under 3.0 rules, some of the progressions might not reflect the 3.5 changes. And SS doesn't present monster classes for all the monsters in the SRD/MM. This site hosts guidelines for creating monster classes which is all you really need to put one together. Outside of monster classes, though, I find SS to be a wellspring of useful game rule information, so I'd say it's still a worth while investment. —Sledged (talk) 16:59, 26 December 2007 (MST)
While I was tracking down SS, I came across the dervish class in CW (which I hadn't seen before.) I think that might be just the thing to address the off-hand weapon issue. Among many other useful abilities, the dervish can use the scimitar off-hand as if it were a light weapon. Seems very reasonable to adapt that rule for a "tribal weapon" to the Thri-kreen's "tribal weapon." I didn't buy, though, because I was a little concerned about laying out for CW so soon before 4e. So I would need to find the class described elsewhere. I think it may be the solution for this build. -- S1Q3T3 17:29, 26 December 2007 (MST)
When the Complete Warrior first came out, I tried many ways to optimize the thri-kreen's multiweapon fighting. One of my more successful builds used the multi-headed template from SS and dervish PrC. The multi-headed template grants superior multiweapon fighting which makes every hand a primary hand, so you don't suffer any penalties for multiweapon fighting, you get the full amount of attacks due to BAB with each hand, and you get to add your full Str bonus to damage with each weapon. So you effectively ditch the multiweapon fighting feat tree with better benefits than what the tree would give. The drawback was that the template added 2 racial HD and a +3 LA. I find any LA above +2 quite painful when you're trying to optimize. Even if you go with the non-psionic thri-kreen, with the template, you're starting off with a 4-HD, +4 LA creature. Additionally you have to move 5' between every attack in a dervish dance. With 4 attacks with each hand and two bites, that's a minimum of 85 feet in order to get in all 18 attacks. Base speed of thri-kreen is 40'. Take a level of barbarian and it increases to 50'. Boots of speed will increase it to 80' and give you an extra attack, which requires another 5' (90'). The feat Dash adds another 5', but you're still short 5' (unfortunately, the fast movement class feature of the dervish provides an enhancement bonus to speed, which doesn't stack with the speed bonus granted by haste/boots of speed). To get that last 5', you have to have some light armor of quickness. In order to get a BAB of at least +16 by 20th ECL (I try to optimize all my builds within 20 levels), all the classes you take levels in have to be full BAB classes. And in order to take all the levels of dervish by 20th ECL, you have to take at least one level of fighter. Also, you have to put at least 15 into Int (before racial adjustments) in order to meet the Int prereq for Combat Expertise. So all of your feats have been determined by 10th ECL [Combat Expertise, Dodge, Mobility, Weapon Focus (gythka)]. This leaves the feats at 13th, 16th, and 19th ECL (9, 12, and 15 HD, respectively). Take Dash at 13th for the extra 5', and Multiattack and Improved Multiattack, to eliminate the the secondary attack penalty for you bite attacks. It's pretty delicate build, but I found a way to make it work. —Sledged (talk) 22:01, 26 December 2007 (MST)
Forgot to mention what the payoff was. 37 attacks (plus any Great Cleave attacks) in a single round with the "a thousand cuts" class feature without any penalties to attack. —Sledged (talk) 11:39, 27 December 2007 (MST)
Nice. The "Quick" trait from UA gives +10 base speed at the cost of 1hp per level. I use that a lot. -- S1Q3T3 11:15, 28 December 2007 (MST)
Y'know, I'm always reluctant to use UA material in my builds. It may be because it's mostly variant rules as opposed to supplement rules. It's like you're changing the rules to make the build work as opposed to finding something what works within the existing rules. Flaws seem like an especially cheap way of optimizing a build. Mostly because, more often than not, a flaw is going to be applied to an aspect of a build that's already nigh useless. —Sledged (talk) 22:55, 28 December 2007 (MST)
Fair point, but as WotC supplements go, I find UA less abuse-prone than most (you've just given one example, for another, look at my Living Maug, the first fruit of my Savage Species purchase). I like flaws because there are too many interesting feats, and not enough time to collect them. An ECL 1 with three or four feats is a lot more unique and fun than one with one or two. -- S1Q3T3 11:22, 29 December 2007 (MST)
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