Apr 092014

Building a Commando
Halfling Commandos don’t happen by accident.
You have to craft them. Carefully.

You all surprised me last week with your take on UMD in the end game. 53 people voted, and the majority of you, 75%, felt that UMD was still useful even in the end game. That is quite the majority.

Interestingly, all 75% of you felt that if you are going to have UMD, you need a lot, at least 30+. Not a single vote was cast in favor of 20+ UMD. Not one.

Which means Mawry, my original Halfling Commando, is still going to need UMD as part of her new build plan. A lot of UMD, more than one can get when taking it solely as a cross-class skill. She’s going to need at least a level in one of the classes that has UMD as a prime skill: Artificer, Bard, or Rogue.

Also, I already know that Mawry is going to need at least one level of something Arcane. While that is no longer needed to qualify for Arcane Archer, it is part of Mawry’s vision and always has been. Plus, Arcane spells add interesting character abilities without the use of feats or enhancement AP. Arcanes mean Artificer, Bard, or Wizard.

So… one splash for UMD, and another for Arcane, or maybe one that provides both. Artificer seems like a particularly synergistic approach since it is both Arcane and UMD-enabled, but I am eliminating it because the best thing that Artificer brings to the table – really the only one that is Commando-like – is Endless Fusillade and I won’t have the 22 AP needed to get it.

So no to Artificer. But that leaves several choices. Too many for me to just cleanly know what I want; the ideas keep mentally swirling about in my head like colorful towels in a glass panel door washing machine. One day I’m preferring a deep Wizard splash, another day thinking Bard or Rogue or maybe Wizard and Rogue… Normally these things eventually clarify in my mind and I am able to discern what I really want.

But not this time. I need a second opinion. Keep in mind the goals of this build:

  • Self-sufficient: she self heals, self buffs, even makes her own ammunition
  • Flexible: She can range, she can melee, she can throw buffs, she can sneak, she can solo. She can’t be the main tank or main healer, but she can do everything else
  • Competent in the End Game: She is actually good at all of these differing roles. She does them well enough to run Epic Elites

With all that in mind, what do you think?

Splashing Bard?



Splashing Rogue?



Splashing Wizard?


And for that matter, exactly how much Ranger do I need? At least 11 levels to be sure, that gets all of the most important free Ranger feats. But how many exactly?

So many choices. 18/1/1? 12/4/4? 11/8/1?


πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

  9 Responses to “Going To the Polls For A Second Opinion”

Comments (9)
  1. I am wholly incompetent to answer any of the questions. Meditations in the monastery and successes of its denizens require total concentration there. But the dilemma is quite interesting and I’m curious what others add.

  2. I’m incompetent for other reasons, and I’m going to hold out for Swashbuckler!

    (I’d have voted 20+ UMD, it’s all I’ve ever aimed for, you can see now why I didn’t vote :P)

    Eberron small folk, they ain’t so small πŸ˜‰

  3. Are you still looking to do traps? If so why not artificer, spells, traps and UMD in one class.

  4. Again, I suggested “2-7 levels of rogue”; you forgot to add that with L2, you can get poisoned blade stance (not to mention evasion, but then, rangers [at L9] get evasion too). Now, maybe you’ll be using another stance that would prohibt you from using poisoned blade, but it is something to consider, no?

    As far as the others – I like the deep ranger build, but I did not cast a vote, simply because it will depend (obviously) on how deep you go with the other class(es). I assume you will splash some wiz, so basically splash the rogue (and wiz) and take whatever’s leftover in ranger.

    But as I have said often – what do I know?

  5. Don’t despair. Let me remind you that out there somewhere is a reality in which a zombie pale master sorc monk halfling of unrevealed class splits picks through bits of grey matter plucked from the skulls of epic exploiter builds left to rot and decay into the nether-realm of; What came before whatever update is the one that came “this morning”. Whew! Good luck with your quest. I await the outcome with an even greater carry-on sentence than that found here. πŸ™‚

  6. I haven’t voted in your poll yet, and probably won’t because the best splash options (imo) aren’t listed:

    For Ranger, I’d go with 12 Ranger. Not much reason not to, and plenty of good reason to grab it. That leaves 8 levels to work with for the following:

    5-6 Wizard – Displacement (3rd-level spell), Shield SLA, and other goodies.
    2-3 Rogue – Sneaks, Earlier evasion if you don’t backload the second level, and makes it easier to spread out skillpoints.

    The actual spread between the 2 depends on what you want: 6 Wizard nets you an extra 3rd-level spellslot and a few SP, and 3 Rogue nets you more sneak attack damage. As you indicated, you could go 11 Ranger (and get both 6 wiz and 3 rog), but I think we’re both missing something about that 12th Ranger level (there’s a reason people making rangers go at least 12 Ranger, but I forget what it is).

    Hope this helps. πŸ™‚


  7. I would reconsider 1 Artificer especially since its gives you UMD and Trap skills, it also gives you wand and scroll mastery for 4 ap which is much cheaper then what rogue could give it to you for. It also gives you access to repeaters for when manyshot is off cool down and you don’t want to move in to melee range fighting something that will just one shot you (shouldn’t happen much but it does on occasions).

    If you are looking for self healing on a fleshy you really need to get to Ranger 14 for CSW, and i would take 15 for the extra FE and FoM.

    I’ll throw out the 15 Ranger 4 Paladin 1 Artificer again but it seams like you have dismissed it Paladin. So the next build that I would have you look at is 14 Ranger 5 Wizard 1 Rogue.

    I want to stress that 12 Ranger is to little if you want good self healing.

    Looking at each of your build goals I think any build with 15 Ranger will meet them.
    “Self-sufficient: she self heals, self buffs, even makes her own ammunition”
    Quickened CSW is enough to meet this, Its not limited in number like the Dragon Mark and is much easier to use in combat then a scroll. Fact that 14 Ranger can get you CSW means it can meet this goal.

    “Flexible: She can range, she can melee, she can throw buffs, she can sneak, she can solo. She can’t be the main tank or main healer, but she can do everything else”
    ~25 AP in Tempest gives you good melee 100% off hand procs +4 hit/dmg, The delema you faces is AA vs Stalker. IMO Sniper Shot is a better enhancment for hybrid rangers then Slayer Arrow it costs less points and does about 60% of the damage when fired in a Furyshot but since it is on a much shorter cooldown you can fit a second one in (possibly a third but that takes awesome timing). ~20 in Stalker Gives you good Ranged options and boosts your melee and devotion at the same time though this does tend to favor melee. Spending enough poitns in AA to get Slayer Arrows is also an option if that’s your preference but it locks you out of improved evasion but thats only a consideration if you are failing saves in EE.

    “Competent in the End Game: She is actually good at all of these differing roles. She does them well enough to run Epic Elites”
    15 or 14 Ranger will get you EE viable, taking the 4 Paladin levels brings you close to optimal, however since that’s not what you are looking for the best bet that you are looking at is the 5 wizard since it will give you displacement and self hasting it also has the EK tree which can boost your DS by 3% and add 1d6 elemental damage.

    Hope that helps.

What do you think?

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