Tripper (3.5e Optimized Character Build)

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The idea of this build is to produce a master at tripping opponents.


Complete Divine (Competition domain), Miniatures Handbook (war hulk), Player's Guide to Faerûn (Rune domain), Races of Destiny (illumian, Enhanced Power Sigils), Races of Stone (earth hammer), Races of the Dragon (greater mighty wallop).

Game Rule Components[edit]

Spells, Powers, Soulmelds, Stances, etc...[edit]

Spells: divine favor, divine power, earth hammer, greater magic weapon, greater mighty wallop, guidance, righteous might.



Starting Ability Scores: Str 14, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 8 (standard point buy).

Race: illumian.

Starting Racial Traits: power sigils (aesh).

ECL Class/HD/LA Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Feats Class
Fort Ref Will
1st cleric +0 +2 +0 +2 Exotic Weapon Proficiency (spiked chain), Scribe ScrollB domains (Rune, Competition), turn undead
2nd cleric +1 +3 +0 +3 racial traits: power sigils (krau), illumian words (aeshkrau)
3rd cleric +2 +3 +1 +3 Combat Reflexes
4th cleric +3 +4 +1 +4 ability score increase (Wis 15)
5th cleric +3 +4 +1 +4
6th cleric +4 +5 +2 +5 Power Attack
7th cleric +5 +5 +2 +5
8th cleric +6/+1 +6 +2 +6 ability score increase (Dex 15)
9th cleric +6/+1 +6 +3 +6 Cleave
10th fighter +7/+2 +8 +3 +6 Combat ExpertiseB
11th war hulk +7/+2 +10 +3 +6 ability boost (Str 16), no time to think
12th war hulk +7/+2 +11 +3 +6 Improved Trip ability boost (Str 18), great swing ability score increase (Dex 16)
13th war hulk +7/+2 +11 +4 +7 ability boost (Str 20), mighty rock throwing
14th war hulk +7/+2 +12 +4 +7 ability boost (Str 22), mighty swing
15th war hulk +7/+2 +12 +4 +7 Knock-Down ability boost (Str 24)
16th war hulk +7/+2 +13 +5 +8 ability boost (Str 26), sweeping boulder ability score increase (Dex 17)
17th war hulk +7/+2 +13 +5 +8 ability boost (Str 28)
18th war hulk +7/+2 +14 +5 +8 Enhanced Power Sigils, ToughnessB ability boost (Str 30), massive sweeping boulder
19th war hulk +7/+2 +14 +6 +9 ToughnessB ability boost (Str 32)
20th war hulk +7/+2 +15 +6 +9 ToughnessB ability boost (Str 34), massive swing ability score increase (Dex 18)


With divine favor, divine power, greater magic weapon, and righteous might your attack bonus is (+20 BAB, +17 Str, +1 WF, −1 Large, +3 luck, +3 enhancement) +43 and your Strength check modifier for tripping is [+17 Str, +4 IT, +4 Large, +3 power sigil (aesh) (Su), +1 Competition domain] +29.

Righteous might, unlike other size-increasing effects, does not apply a penalty to your Dex.

The capstone ability of the war hulk, massive swing, is similar to Whirlwind Attack, except that:

  1. It's one roll applied to all opponents within range instead of rolling separately for each opponent (which, IMO, neither better nor worse)
  2. It's a standard action
  3. If you use a full-round action you get iterative massive swings due to BAB, and
  4. You don't lose the extra attack from Cleave (though if you drop more than one opponent with massive swing, you only get one attack from Cleave).
  5. With Knock-Down you'll get a trip attack for each opponent to which you deal 10 points of damage, and given that you're doing 2d6+31 to each opponent, it's possible to trip every opponent within reach (20'; 72 Medium opponents if every square you threaten is occupied).

The Illumian's racial trait Illumian words (aeshkrau), allows the use Strength to determine bonus spells instead of Wisdom.

Earth hammer turns your spiked chain into a bludgeoning weapon and increases the damage to a Huge spiked chain. You now have a weapon with which you can sunder, and unless your opponent threatens you with your 20' reach, you won't provoke an attack of opportunity.

Munchkin-Size Me[edit]

To think we haven't even addressed magic items yet.

Side Notes[edit]


There's a rule in the Complete Warrior that says if you lose a requirement of a prestige class, you lose the prestige class's class features (except hit dice, skill points, base attack bonus and base save bonuses). You'll find a number of those that believe this rule only applies to the prestige classes in the Complete Warrior because (a) the rule hasn't been reproduced in any other product (not even the other books in the Complete series), and (b) the rule causes some prestige classes to fail (e.g. dragon disciple, survivor, and ur-priest).

If your DM applies this rule to all prestige classes, you're better off with a human for this build than an illumian. You'll get a bonus feat, and you'll have to replace Enhanced Power Sigils with some other feat. Or you can pay for enlarge person and permanency, but you'll suffer a Dex penalty while the benefits overlap with righteous might.

If the DM still doesn't allow this, just use the half-ogre (+2 LA). Just make sure to get the Int up to 13 for Combat Expertise.

DM Counters[edit]

The war hulk's no time to think means that all Int-, Wis-, and Cha- based skills all have 0 ranks. A rogue with Improved Feint and max ranks in Bluff should be able to catch this build flat-footed quite frequently.

COUNTERED: A +X Armor/Animated Shield of [Light/Medium/Heavy] Fortification dampens or nullifies the thief's sneak attack damage, and the thief must spend a move action to stand after every round because the Tripper keeps knocking him down (or face a -4 to each attack roll and AC vs Melee), so he'd only get one use of his Improved Bluff for pretty much the whole combat. Even Spring Attack - with a max split of 15/15 for the longest "hit and run" range possible - isn't going to make it out of reach.

More effective would be to have a Huge (preferably multi-legged) creature in the way of him and 2 or more spellcasters with Reflex-save-related spells in the back. The Huge creature has Improved Disarm as a feat, a Ring of Evasion (or better, Monk levels), Belt of Giant Strength +6, and as much reflex-boosting gear as possible (Gloves of Dex, Ion Stones (these stack with themselves, btw), etc).

Huge creature attempts to disarm the Tripper. If he succeeds, great, he then drops the chain BEHIND himself and pounds on the fool. Regardless of if he succeeds or not, the spellcasters lob their area effect-spells at Tripper: while his Will and Fort are great, his Reflex is only barely average, so they should hit him more often then not. The Huge creature should stand a reasonably good chance of making his reflex saves with his equipment, and because of his Evasion, he takes no damage. Even if Tripper succeeds, he still takes half, and with 2+ working him over like that, it can wear him down quickly.

Also, having some sneaky caster with Silent Spell scatter some Silence-enhanced objects around a room, and then throw one at him as a surprise attack (he has to wait to cast his self-buff spells or he'll lose them, and all of them require a Verbal component) will eliminate the main threat Tripper poses, while a melee attacker walks over and does the rest, all while being supported by his spellcaster buddy (who can exploit the afor-mentioned Reflex flaw to great effect).


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