Questions pertaining to the positive aspects of character optimization (CharOp). For problems with negative issues or player problems around optimization, use the [powergaming] tag.

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39
votes
8answers
12k views

Can characters reach Mach 1 and higher in D&D 3(.5)?

A few years back our group tried to come up with the fastest possible D&D character. If I remember correctly we could build a character that could go faster than the speed of sound, but I can't ...
38
votes
13answers
66k views

Optimizing a D&D 3.5 Monk

I have complaints from someone in one of my groups that the 3.5 monk isn't good for anything offensive, only for defense and disarming (defenestration wasn't mentioned). My experience has only been ...
35
votes
1answer
13k views

What is the Stormwind Fallacy?

In the context of another Question here, the Stormwind Fallacy was brought up. What exactly is the Stormwind Fallacy and how is connected to optimization?
34
votes
3answers
30k views

What Wizard schools are best to specialize in? Which schools are best to sacrifice?

The Wizard gains the ability to specialize in a school of spells, gaining a bonus spell slot per level that must be used to prepare spells of that school. In exchange, he must ban two other schools; ...
34
votes
1answer
8k views

What are “tiers”, and what tier is each class?

I tend to play Wizards, almost exclusively, though I have branched out and played Clerics, Druids, Sorcerers, and, at some point each other core class. I would like to play something different for my ...
33
votes
10answers
5k views

Does roleplaying inherently put you at a disadvantage?

My friend is going to be DMing DnD 3.5 with me and 4 other new players. I want to be the best player I can be. One thing I have always struggled with is roleplaying. I am an analytical, competitive ...
31
votes
14answers
2k views

Repercussions to DM-mandated limit on books allowable for characters?

When running a campaign, especially one with newer players mixed with optimizers, is it a fair call to limit the variety of books available for play? For feats, classes, prestige classes, magic items ...
27
votes
3answers
3k views

Is Dexterity overpowered compared to Strength?

Finesse weapons allow you to use Dex for attack and damage rolls. This allows most of classes, including even some first-line fighters, to dump Str for Dex - you do not lose in attack rolls, only a ...
26
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I play monsters and NPCs up to their potential?

In many cases discussions about balance in 3.5 will, inevitably, involve one side or another invoking an anecdote of the time they fought this monster, or a member of that class, and they didn't ...
26
votes
7answers
16k views

Are 3.5 Bards mechanically weak?

People frequently seem to think that Bards are mechanically weaker than other classes, and I was wondering if this was true?
25
votes
8answers
4k views

What is the statistically superior character creation method, twelve 3d6 or six 4d6?

The D&D 3.5 Player's Handbook gives (among others) two preferred methods to roll ability scores for a new character: a) roll 3d6 twelve times and keep the preferred six results, or b) roll 4d6 and ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Weapon attacks compared with damaging cantrips?

Cantrips scale automatically with character level. Weapon attacks only scale with ability score and any extra attack features you might get. How could the damage of weapon attacks keep up?
22
votes
4answers
3k views

Balancing Spellcasters; Spontaneous Casters versus Prepared Casters

So ask any optimizer and they'll almost always tell you the same thing: in 3.5 classes that prepare spells are better than spontaneous spellcasters. It's generally not thought of as even a contest. ...
21
votes
10answers
2k views

Flaws that aren't flaws

What do you do when a system gives points at character creation for flaws/disadvantages when a player can permanently remove the effects of that flaw by buying something or spending other points to ...
21
votes
5answers
1k views

How can I optimize Chicken Infested?

I'm soon going to be a guest player in a Pathfinder game where silliness is the theme. (The party has been drawn into the Demiplane of Dinosaurs, which is reportedly a lot like Ravenloft, except with ...
21
votes
3answers
53k views

Optimal Focused Fighter Builds in Pathfinder

Using just the core rulebook and the advanced player's guide, what would be an optimal build for a fighter using 25 points for point-buy character generation? Assume it's a level 10 fighter intended ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a disadvantage I'm missing to starting outside my “main” class?

I am planning a character as a level 1 Rogue / 19 Wizard. If I take the Rogue level first, I get a bunch of skill, weapon, tool, and armour proficiencies I wouldn't get if I started Wizard and ...
18
votes
9answers
3k views

Make NPCs hard to interrogate

So my ~11th level party is going to be interrogating a prisoner (demon, if it makes any difference) to try to get them to reveal their master's evil plan. They'll be doing this in the prison where the ...
18
votes
2answers
339 views

Is BESM suitable for character optimization?

On a forum I asked for games that support heavy optimization / powergaming - that is, games which are fun when the entire group optimizes and plays smart with the rules, and which have suitable ...
17
votes
6answers
10k views

Highest AC possible for Sorcerer?

What is the highest Armor Class achievable for a Sorcerer with the Sorcerous Origin of Dragon Bloodline? Player's Handbook Chapter 6 variant rules included. (Multiclassing, Feats, etc.)
17
votes
2answers
19k views

How does an Fighter (Eldritch Knight) 20 compare to a Fighter 10/Wizard 10 for both damage dealt and durability?

With the release of the PHB we have the Eldritch Knight fighter archetype as an innate, class-driven way for the fighter to compete with the wizard in the AoE department. This prompted a discussion ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I get a character with the lowest hit points possible?

A friend of mine has asked me to help him create an escort mission for his April Fool's game (actually held this weekend, because, you know, scheduling). The players will be escorting a tenth-level ...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

The fastest Elf in the West (at initiative anyway)

They called him Ernie, the fastest Elf in the West. Ahem. I'm trying to improve the initiative of an Elf Wizard. At the moment it's at a respectable: +15 +4 Dex (Base) +4 Improved Initiative ...
15
votes
6answers
906 views

Would it be fair to ask the GM for benefits for self-imposed character limitations?

Is it fair to ask the DM for some kind of benefit if you give your character self-imposed weaknesses/downsides with definite consequences/mechanics behind them? For example, if I had a character with ...
15
votes
4answers
7k views

Reasons to multiclass in 3.5

I have been playing AD&D (and some other systems) for a long time, but I am new to 3.5/Pathfinder. I have just started looking at the optimization material, and it seems that multiclassing with ...
15
votes
1answer
21k views

How do I handle Arcane Spell Failure?

Recently, we’ve seen several questions related to the topic of Arcane Spell Failure, and how to get around it. I have answered these (here and here), but neither question is directly about ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

How can I play an Artificer predictively?

Of the various classes held to be Tier One, the Artificer is perhaps the absolute trickiest to play. Though their potential power - especially with access to downtime - is immense, they more than any ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

In what circumstances (if any) is Fighter 3 a good level to take?

I've heard a lot about how Fighter 3 is a bad level to take. However, are there ever any circumstances in 3.x where it is a good idea for optimisation purposes? I'd appreciate hearing the reasoning ...
15
votes
5answers
4k views

Creating Phil Taylor the darts champion

My group (4 players + GM, all new to D&D 5e,) is going to organize a campaign where the characters are based on famous sports players from our world. They asked me to play the ranged striker. I ...
15
votes
2answers
13k views

How can I optimize a factotum?

I'm playing a level 3 factotum (class from Dungeonscape) in a Midnight game. The race provides an extra bonus feat and an extra 4 ranks in skills per level. The skills are taken from pathfinder, but ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

How do I represent a warlock with a background in thievery?

I'm developing a Dwarven Warlock (Hrafnhildur "Fin" Arnarsdottir) for the next 4E campaign I get the chance to join. She left home to join a gang in a city, and after reading a book they were going to ...
15
votes
2answers
23k views

Optimal Dragonborn Warlock for DPR/AC with Blade pact and Fiend patron

How can I get the highest Damage-Per-Round (both melee and ranged using pact weapon and Eldritch Blast) and AC possible (with DPR being more important than AC) with a Dragonborn Warlock taking the ...
14
votes
9answers
4k views

What's the best class to choose with high Con and low Strength?

So, I have a problem. I have a warforged character who, the DM insisted, would be created with a class first and THEN have stats rolled, 3d6, in order and no re-ordering (i.e. STR first, then DEX, ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

How does a damage dealing Wizard use higher level spell slots optimally?

In D&D 5e, one of the neat features for spell casting is the ability to cast spells at higher levels than the spell is originally set at. For Clerics, this makes it handy such that Cure Wounds, ...
14
votes
2answers
9k views

What is the largest possible melee critical range in Dungeons and Dragons 3rd or 3.5 edition?

I've been discussing critical strikes with a friend. He states that there is no way to get more than 11-20 range in any D&D version, but he refuses to explain how he gets there, and it's based on ...
14
votes
2answers
8k views

Twin hand crossbow Fighter: is this build valid?

The Sharpshooter feat includes an interesting feature: you can choose to take -5 penalty to hit with a ranged weapon attack to increase its damage by 10. Normally, I'd dismiss the trade-off as too ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Can a Revenant Assassin be used where a high-damage striker is needed?

The Revenant racials, as a whole, seem to be focused on survivability/durability, granting the ability to stay in the fight even at zero HP. The Assassin class, while technically a Striker, seems to ...
13
votes
6answers
38k views

What is the most effective healing class in D&D 4e?

There are many Leader role classes in D&D4.0 these days. Cleric Warlord Bard Shaman etc Which one makes the most effective healer by the numbers? Numbers to be evaluated Hit points healed ...
13
votes
4answers
9k views

Is knocking someone prone worth it?

In 4e, proning was a Defender's best friend. Easy to get with Flail Expertise or Polearm Momentum, and it provided a great reward: no shift+charge for the enemy. It improved your stickiness greatly. ...
13
votes
6answers
7k views

Is there any way to see through Darkness without removing it?

Simply put, the Shadow Monk gains the ability to cast Darkness, but I'm struggling to see a use for it except as concealment during an escape. Way of the Shadow monk receives Darkness (among a few ...
12
votes
9answers
8k views

How do you optimize in 1st Edition AD&D?

1st Edition Dungeons and Dragons gives its players a few strategic options during character creation, many of which are restricted by randomly generated attributes. With this in mind, what are some ...
12
votes
3answers
7k views

How can I get the most synergy out of this Paladin/Warlock multi-class combination?

I'm planning on playing a Paladin/Warlock in an upcoming game and I've picked the Oath of Vengeance, and Great Old One Patron/Pact of Tome. I've made my backstory (island home sunk when invaded by ...
12
votes
3answers
320 views

What is the best build for a Duelist using only the SRD?

In my opinion, the prestige class Duelist (from the SRD) seems a bit weak, although the concept is interesting, as some of the abilities. For a few reasons (I don't own most supplements, and our GM ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

How to raise the largest possible zombie (undead) army

Okay, it's time for the Zombie Apocalypse. Or at least, the raising of a rather unpleasant Zombie Army. Well, zombies are nice, but hey, other undead are welcome as well. So... an let's make it an ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Do Powerful Build and Monkey Grip Stack?

The Character in question is a Large half-Minotaur Goliath who is using monkey grip. Normally a Large Goliath could wield a Huge weapon with no penalty. Monkey Grip allows you to wield a weapon 1 ...
11
votes
6answers
7k views

What is the highest possible AC?

Assuming you are level 20, and have access to any magic item, how high can you get AC (permanently or for a set duration)? Constraints: Magic items are those on the tables in the D&D 5th ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

How to get advantage on all four ranged attacks in one round?

Specifically, I want to attack 4 times with Eldritch Blast as a 17th level Warlock. What is the easiest and cheapest way to gain advantage on all 4 attacks? Enhanced Ability is nice, but is not on ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

What weapon should a halfling wizard get proficiency for?

I am a level 8 halfling wizard with Str 8 and Dex 18 (and no Weapon Finesse). I am planning to use my level 9 feat to get a martial weapon proficiency so that I can get into Abjurant Champion at level ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

How to improve AC when it's so low that enemies hit on 3–5?

The AC of my character is falling far behind her other defenses, and I'm wondering if I have missed out on something basic and important. I am going to post some of her stats as an example to this ...
11
votes
3answers
650 views

Using mechanics optimization to design a game at a desired power level

I want to learn how to optimize. I am aware of optimization and have seen examples of optimized characters, I have found many 'guides' on optimization but in reality all of these are simply lists of ...