Monday, October 19, 2009

Still more on the "Gish"

Derobane-bane offered up quite a comment to my most recent post on this subject (perhaps it should have been a new post). I will endeavor to address some of his points. First of all, there is this:

I'm not sure if one could make a 'gish' as effective (in terms of game combat mechanics)as Vendalin in Pathfinder. 3.5 was pretty easy to manipulate with all the extra sources out there. Still, I'm sure that one could make a PC that is almost as awesome as a fighter and spellcaster of equal level, given enough time and thought.

There is something to consider about Pathfinder that is different from D&D 3.5 which tends to work in favour of the gish concept at the expense of straight up melee classes and that is the relative availability of magic items for purchase. In Pathfinder, the maximum value of items available for purchase in a metropolis is 16,000 gp. That is equivalent to a +4 armour bonus before adding in the cost of the armour itself. Therefore, high-level fighters will have to find their magic weapons and armour in the treasure hoards of defeated foes or cajole their spellcasting comrades to make them. For this reason, I think the fighter with the +5 full plate, +5 heavy shield, +5 ring of protection and +5 amulet of natural armour is probably a thing of the past. So, the difference in AC between a gish and a fighter of equal level will probably not be as great. Of course, the fighter will still have a ton of hps, but he also has that low Will save and as we all know, smart opponents will always try to charm or dominate the enemy meat shield.

Another issue in gish creation is which sort of arcane spellcaster to chose. I have gone with sorcerer for one main reason, the bloodline benefits. Abyssal and Draconic bloodlines both provide some very useful benefits for a melee fighter. I chose Abyssal mainly because the bonus spells at lower level were more appealing, especially bull's strength, rage and stoneskin. At higher levels, the Draconic bloodline gives you the various form of the dragon spells, but getting there basically means you have to go with the sorcerer class all the way (in which case, you aren't really a gish).

The main drawback of choosing sorcerer is that there are effectively no dump stats. First of all, you need Cha since your spellcasting is based on it. Some of your bloodline bennies also use Cha. Of course, you need Str, Con and Dex for their combat benefits. That leaves Int (which you need for the Spellcraft skill to make magic items) and Wis (for Will saves). Int probably comes closest to being a dump stat in this case, but you will soon find yourself wishing it was at least 10. A wizard could choose Cha as his dump stat, but as handy as that might be, it doesn't come close to counterbalancing bloodline benefits. Sorcerer is the way to go.



Obiri said...

I missed Derro's last post somehow but should make a comment.

Vendlon was a seriously broken character. I intentionally made him as such. As it was probably our last hurrah for 3.5 I found one of the more crazy character optimization paths, Derro ok'd it and I went for it.

It was true, he could easily outfight the fighters and still have lots of divine caster goodness.

I wouldn't call him a gish though, he was more of a cleric on crack, speed and roids!

With no practiced spellcaster feat to boost caster level, and without a ton of prestige classes that progress both your fighter and casterness a gish in pathfinder is never going to out cast the wizard or fight the Fighter. But I think that's good. I think the whole point of the gish is flexibility.

Rognar said...

You should immortalize this creation for those of us who didn't participate in the Legacy of Fire (ok, just me). Why don't you post it?

Obiri said...

I don't have my character sheet with me but I'll give you the basics - its really pretty simple what I did.

Vendlon was an Archivist. The class is like a divine wizard. You get cleric spells by default but if you can find other divine spells on a scroll you can add them to your spells list just like a wizard.

They also get dark knowledge so they get different bonuses against outsiders, aberrations, undead, monstrous humanoids and magical beasts.

For the first 8 levels, he was basically a weak cleric who hid in the back like a wizard and dropped the standard buffs and heals.

At level 9 things kicked into overdrive. He took 1 level of Sacred Exorcist. I had been building up his faith in Sarenrae for a while, and as we frequently were dealing with enemies of an extra planar origin, if fit with the story nicely. What this did was give me Undead Turn attempts which I used to power my new feat Divine Metamagic: Persist.

This is one of those cheesy 3.5 feats that in this case allow you to make any personal or fixed range buff last for 24 hours at the cost of 7 turn attempts.

By level 15 I had 21 Turns available allowing me to persist 3 spells, plus I could persist my level one and two spells anyway the normal way.

With access to most divine spells in the game (The City of Brass being an interplanar metropolis) you might be able to imagine the kind of things this can lead to.

At level 9 I think I was able to only persist 2 spells a day but it was still pretty crazy.

Persisted Buffs
Bite of the Werebear(Tiger until level 11) +16 str, +8 con, +7 natural armor, plus a bite and 2 claw attacks.
Righteous Might, large size, +4 size bonuses to str and con, DR/Evil
Divine Power - Fighter Bab (powering BotWB's free Power Attack) and some bonus hit points
Divine Favor - +3 attack/damage

Long Lasting buffs (15+ hours)
Greater Magic Armor +3
Greater Magic Natural Weapon +3 (Bite only)
Energy Immunity: Fire (of course)
Greater Resistance

Heroes feast from a Magic Item

As you can see this was a pretty sick melee combatant. His AC was close to 30 and wandered into combat after casting Mirror image on himself. Unless the enemy had a crazy high AC, he full power attacked everything and on average did 20-35 points of damage per hit. His Saves were all high teens low 20s, He was immune to fire, large sized with reach, immune to poison, fear. He could raise the dead, cast Heal, Freedom of Movement and even had a couple nukes.

As Derro pointed out his only weakness was a high level Dispel Magic which would cause to him to hide behind everyone else again.

I fixed him though, three rings of counterspells all with Dispell Magic, Greater loaded in them.

Rognar said...

Wow! I'm not even sure where all that stuff comes from. Is it all from 3.5 splatbooks or are there some 3rd party sources included in your build?

Obiri said...

Pretty generic splat books.
Complete Divine
Spell Compendium
Magic Item Compendium
and I guess the Archivist is from Tome of Horror.

My druid back-up character was almost as mean but would not have had access to the cleric and adept spells but of course would have had wildshape which is crazy on its own.

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