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Spring Attack requires Dodge and Mobility, so the regular way to get it requires spending 3 feats.

I want to take the elocater prestige class as my 6th level in an E6 game. It requires Mobility and Spring Attack (but not Dodge per se, curiously enough).

Options I’m aware of for getting these cheaper:

  • All three feats are available as bonus feats from various fighter variants (Dragon vol. 310). Monk can also get them via the Cobra Strike fighting style, though Spring Attack doesn’t happen until 6th. But that means monk 1st/fighter 2nd or monk 2nd/fighter 1st can get all three. Three levels is a lot to ask, though.

  • Mobility can be gotten from magic mobility armor, a +1-equivalent special property (Magic Item Compendium). Timed right, that could replace one of the levels above.

  • A golden dancing peg leg (Dragon vol. 318) conveniently grants Mobility and Spring Attack, but it inconveniently costs 55,000 gp. (Technically, Dragon vol. 351 has the monkey head talisman that also works, but that is considerably more expensive.)

Currently, my build is a half-elf cleric 1st/monk 2nd/ardent 1st/dragonmark heir 1st—and both monk bonus feats are, ideally, spoken for. The game has not yet started, so changes can still be made, but the race and levels are mostly inflexible. Half-elf is to qualify for the Mark of Storm. The monk levels, raging monk (Dragon vol. 310) to be precise, are there for berserker strength (brought up to that of a 6th-level barbarian via Chaos Rage), ardent 1st is there to be the manifesting that elocater advances, and dragonmark heir is the only way to access Lesser Dragonmark in E6.¹ Due to requirements, dragonmark heir has to be taken as my 5th overall character level.¹

Technically, a level or two of barbarian, druidic avenger, or rage cleric could replace a level or two of raging monk. Since I’m using both monk bonus feats, however, this is painful and probably not the best answer. Also, rage cleric conflicts with the level of cleric I was already planning on.

Speaking of, that level of cleric could maybe be dropped, but I would then need a feat (Touchstone or Planar Touchstone) to get a key cleric domain (Windstorm) via the Catalogues of Enlightenment, so that’s costly too.

Answers can be from any 3.xe source published by Wizards of the Coast (including electronic publications, e.g. PDFs or pages from wizards.com), or from any 3.xe issue of Dragon or Dungeon magazine. It must be 3.5e-legal, that is, if it’s 3.0e material it can’t have been replaced by 3.5e material (that likely nixes almost all of 3e psionics, though feel free to make the case for something that doesn’t explicitly reference mechanics that no longer exist). Epic material doesn’t exist in any way, shape, or form. Gaining levels and then losing them is banned, as are polymorph shenanigans. No messing with lycanthropy, level drain, gaining and losing templates, reincarnate, various rituals from Savage Species and elsewhere for changing one’s race, etc. Manipulate form is right out. Outside assistance is not preferred, and has to be level-appropriate—no assuming a 5th-level E6 character somehow knows a 7th-level psion or a 9th-level bard or what have you. For that matter, any and all sources of 4th-level-or-higher spells or powers are out, even though there are technically ways for E6 characters to access some of them. Magic items have to be producible by an E6 character, and cannot cost more than, say, 8,000 gp or so (I would gladly spend more than that saving a feat or two but I can’t justify having more than that as a 5th-level character). Items granting feats have to be actually published and existing—no positing a custom magic item that grants a key feat just because Arms & Equipment Guide suggests some guidelines for a DM who might want to create some. You cannot assume that leveling up will take place at any particular moment, so any temporary effects must be possible to keep up all day, every day—without Persist Spell.

  1. Not strictly true, but any shenanigans that could achieve Lesser Dragonmark in E6 without using dragonmark heir, or allow dragonmark heir before 5th, are exactly the kinds of shenanigans that I’m avoiding.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Out of curiosity, why elocator? To this outsider, it seems much more trouble than it's worth and ain't bringing much to the table. I mean, vanguard treads (MIC 145) (3,100 gp; 2 lbs.) are within an E6 budget, and the levitation spell is available from a variety of sources. Is it just cool to float all the time? (By the way, can I just say I hate the disconnect between the elocator having as its requirements the Spring Attack feat and a base attack bonus of +3? I hate that. There. Said it. Thanks.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 8:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Yup, just cool to float all the time. Good point about the BAB, though, that is rather dumb—it’s almost as if the PrC expects you to get these feats while skipping reqs, but aside from the golden dancing peg leg, I haven’t seen a way to do so. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 12:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would your DM let you combine raging and martial monk (also from Dragon 310)? They're variants rather than ACFs, but they replace different features. Even if not, rage might be easier to get elsewhere than spring attack. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 4, 2022 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Prevarications Raging monk doesn’t touch monk bonus feats, I could trivially use the Cobra Strike fighting style with it to get Dodge and Mobility. The real problem is that I had already planned on uses for those bonus feats, so that doesn’t really buy me anything. Two levels of fighter, plus mobility, gets me there, but I don’t have two levels to play with. A level of fighter, and using a monk bonus feat for one, would work, except now the feat I was going to get with that monk bonus feat needs to be gotten elsewhere, and again I’m out of levels to use for it. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 4, 2022 at 15:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @annoyingimp Unlock Dragonmark plus shenanigans for infinite action points, so I can use all the SLAs at-will, even those I had not chosen. Which still isn’t stellar, really, particularly when Greater Dragonmark isn’t on the table, but it is what I’m trying to optimize. So no, can’t be replaced. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 10, 2022 at 11:30

2 Answers 2

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As you mentioned, with mobility armor from Magic Item Compendium you could avoid wasting a feat on Mobility. And, if you want to get any wattage out of your Spring Attack, pick up Dodge, perhaps through a Bloodline?

Bloodlines

Bloodlines are a thing, if your DM allows them. The Major Devil bloodline, in particular, gives you Dodge at level 2, or level 4 if you take it as Intermediate. Some extra XP costs involved, of course.

Fractional BaB

With fractional BaB (Unearthed Arcana, p. 73), you count each of your levels as either +1, +0.75 or +0.5, depending on how the class progresses BaB, rather than +1 or +0.

So, you would have 1 level of Cleric, 2 levels of Monk, 1 of Ardent and 1 of Dragonmark Heir, all 3/4 BaB classes, so +0.75 each. This leaves us at +3.75, which is better than the non-fractional +1, but...

In general, if you wind up with a fraction, round down, even if the fraction is one-half or larger.

So RAW you won't get the prerequisites for picking the Spring Attack feat in time. This is a case where you'd have to rely on the tender mercies of your DM, by allowing rounding up of +3.75 to +4.

Your best bet seems to be giving up on Cleric, leaving you at four levels of +0.75, or +3 BaB. A level of any full-BaB class gives you +4 BaB at character level 5, so taking your fifth character level as Fighter both fulfills all requirements (provided the Bloodline and armor enhancement) for Spring Attack, as well as a Bonus Fighter feat, a list which includes Spring Attack.

  • Dodge: Bloodline
  • Mobility: mobility armor
  • Spring Attack: Fighter bonus feat

...and when you reach level 6, you'd fulfill all requirements for Elocater, provided you ranked up Concentration enough.

Nota Bene

Don't expect the cost for Bloodlines to be as cheap as RAW can read them.

Still, Bloodlines + mobility enchantment gets rid of both non-BaB requirements for Spring Attack. BaB is harder, with the class levels you are otherwise planning for, so a level of Fighter seems to be your best bet.

Marshal

Retraining

Fluff it

Kalashtar

Bloodlines are out?

In the Eberron Campaign Setting (p. 290), the Empty Vessel "host race" is described as:

Unwilling to permanently join with a human host as the kalashtar did, the quori sought another solution. That solution was to use controlled breeding and psionic manipulation to spawn highly evolved Riedran humans tinged with elf and fiendish blood.

So Empty Vessels are explicitly defined as part human, part elf - that sounds like a half-elf to me. They are naturally psionic, but have no 1st level powers they can naturally manifest, so the Ardent level is required and the Cleric level is lost. However, they do get a Bonus Feat at level 1, so Dodge is "free".

This is fluff

This is a fluffy appeal to your DM, and not a straight-forward rules-as-written argument. It depends on your DM's willingness to support a concept that's stretching the boundaries of "Dragonmarked" beyond where some may be willing.

Martial Monk

If you can sacrifice one of your two Monk bonus feats, the Martial Monk variant class from Dragon #310, p. 45, offers an opportunity.

Gain: Fighter bonus feat list to choose monk bonus feats (at 1st, 2nd and 6th level; Intimidate is class skill.

Lose: -1 skill point per level (and -4 skill points at 1st level); no Knowledge skills as class skills.

Combine this with the regular rules for Monk bonus feats:

Bonus Feat: [...] A monk need not have any of the prerequisites normally required for these feats to select them.

...well, again, Spring Attack is on the list of Fighter Bonus Feats, so Spring Attack at level 2, why not?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Gonna need more than “it doesn’t say you can’t” for the marshal bonus feat. “It says you can’t everywhere else” doesn’t actually mean anything; that could well be reminder text or for emphasis. Also won’t touch bloodlines with a 10-foot pole, but that’s on me since it’s not mentioned in the question... \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ The traditional argument for bonus feats not needing prereqs by default is that "bonus feat" has general rules only in the Monster Manual (page 301, top of the righthand column). In a discussion of what to do if a monster doesn't have feat pre-reqs, MM states "consider altering the creature so it qualifies for the feat, or assign the feat as a bonus feat. (It is acceptable for a creature to have a bonus feat for which it does not meet the prerequisites.)" \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 16:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @From "Your character must have the indicated ability score, class feature, feat, skill, base attack bonus, or other quality designated in order to select or use that feat" ~PHB page 87. These are the general rules for feats that apply to ALL feats unless specified otherwise. The rules are crystal clear, stop trying to seed a gray area where there isn't one. \$\endgroup\$
    – Snappie
    Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 20:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ I’m not inclined to edit the question out from under you; I’ll keep these caveats in mind for future questions, but since I didn’t mention them, I’m not objecting to your answer on those grounds. That said, they are variants, so they really can’t be assumed—but then so are the UA alternate class features and variant classes, which are routinely assumed. In my experience, LA buy-off is not uncommon, but not “the norm,” and bloodlines are used by almost no one (because they’re an incoherent mess that add nothing useful to the game and only cause headaches). \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 21:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ But I only bring those up as side-notes. The real problems I have with this answer are simply that I do not agree that either marshal or empty vessel qualify for the things you claim they do. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 21:27
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Play a LA +2 Entomanothropy as a small Snow Spider and reduce your Level Adjustment from 2 to 1 at 6th (1 racial HD + 3 class levels + 2 level adjustment = 6).

You are now 5th level with 1 racial HD, 1 Level Adjust, and 3 class levels with Spring Attack.

You may lose some point buy (see the E6 level adjustment link below) or your GM may use the DMG's page 172 rules for Level Adjustment. You will have +2 WIS -2 INT -4 STR +4 DEX to make up for some lost point buy.

You still retain feats and skills from your 1 level of racial, you just lose feats/skills from the final one level adjustment you can't buy off until level 7. Which wont happen in E6.

Entomanothropy https://web.archive.org/web/20050302192431/http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/re/20040621a

Small Snow Spider https://www.realmshelps.net/monsters/block/Snow_Spider,_Small

Level Reducing https://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/races/reducingLevelAdjustments.htm

E6 LA https://dungeons.fandom.com/wiki/E6_(3.5e_Sourcebook)/Rules#Races_with_a_Level_Adjustment

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