My DM is going to arrange a campaign of Epic Gestalts (LvL 24/24), I wanted to play a non-magic user, but they are so underpowered that I probably can't, the closest to a non-magic user I seem to find is using Tome of Battle. Is it the only way?

My Character Idea

My idea was to do something like a Warblade16/Factotum8 With a Swashbuckler3/Something11/PathfinderDuelist10 (Even though, Factotum is a bit magic user :-T)

But I don't know if a mage with a Wish or even any creature on the Epic Level Handbook can launch my character to the stratosphere without effort, where he hopelessly dies.

Although I don't think the campaign will focus on combat, I don't want to be placed in disadvantage.

We are using a 3.0, 3.5, Pathfinder gestalt hybrid of handbooks which mean the most useful of the three versions is what we use.

Oh and another question (if you think the build could go as I put it)...

What Should I place in Something 11? (I don't know if I should do Factotum 11)

The Campaign Idea

In a Forgotten Realms pre-Spellplague Faerûm, 5 characters will go to the city of the dead to argue with Kelemvor about The Wall of the Faithless And the injustice it is to actually exist. If he doesn't cooperate chars should prepare to change it with not so diplomatic ways.

The other Chars

I don't have all the info, but I do have some vague idea of what we are having

  • An ArcaneUber[Wiz/Src]/AbleCombatant
  • A Warlock/Master of the Nine [ToB]
  • An UrPriest/Avenger of something (Kinda Barbarian/Roguish something)

3 Answers 3


Two things to keep in mind: At very high levels, you have very high saves, and you have access to obscene amounts of powerful gear.

I played in a 3.5 epic campaign (we were well into the high-30s by the time it ended), and truth be told, the spell casters were the ones at a disadvantage, because everything had high resistances that had to be overcome, and if that was accomplished the would-be victim then got to roll his ridiculously high saving throw.

We actually had to house-rule in items and abilities and meta-magic feats to boost the power of spell casters! Yes, their spells can be immensely powerful at that level (although remember that epic-level spells are obscenely expensive (at least in 3.5, I don't know about Pathfinder) to research, and even then few mages will have many epic-level slots; also, almost all non-epic spells have caps on their damage-dealing ability), but they fail or get countered with such regularity that a non-magic user is actually at a considerable advantage over them.

I had no trouble at all fielding rogues, barbarians, various assorted prestige classes, and even once a pure fighter (those that died fell to other fighter-types (with one exception, and that was at the hands of a fellow PC), while others I simply grew tired of and discarded -- it's my curse to always get bored with whatever my current PC is). I never fielded a magic user because, even with our house rules boosting them, I felt they were horribly gimped at those levels, not to mention obscenely complex to build properly.

I would caution against too many classes/prestige classes. The most effective builds used no more than 2 prestige classes (with one exception, which used 3 of the most horribly broken prestige classes) built upon a single base class, although there was a rather effective barbarian/fighter PC. If you mix things up too much, you'll find that, while you have a large array of abilities, too many of them are based upon your class level (i.e. most class abilities are based on your levels in that class), not your character level (i.e. the combined levels of all your classes), and thus are so underpowered as to be effectively useless. Exceptions abound, of course (the rogue's sneak attack is useful no matter how few levels you have, for example), but as a general rule of thumb you want as many levels in as few classes as possible in order to be effective.

If you find yourself at a huge disadvantage compared to magic users, I would look here first, rather than looking at the magic users as being too over-powered.

Some items you should definitely have:

  • Anything that grants spell resistance. (To be noted that preset magical items that grants you SR are generally weak. You may ask someone to create you a customized Mantle of spell resistance (as its Epic version, a Mantle of epic spell resistance use the same price-calcuation rule and is just a Mantle of spell resistance with 40 SR) with enough SR you have. Although not recommended, you may also want to take a look at races like Drow that grants you built-in SR based on your character level.)
  • Anything that grants Mind Blank, which makes one all but immune to mind-affecting effects; we may have had to make custom magic items for this one, I can't recall for sure now. (If you have XPH: Third Eye Conceal, goggles' slot, 120,000 gp)
  • Nondetection, which blocks attempts to locate you; the Mantle of Great Stealth grants +30 to Move Silently and Hide as well as a continuous Nondetection, and it was so useful that literally every single character in the party bought one and considered it absolutely indispensable, even those for whom sneaking around was never something they did. (PS. Actually, Mind Blank has already granted you the more powerful version of a similiar effect of nondetection. But +30 in both Hide and Move Silently is no doubt a great option since not everyone has a high Spot/Listen skill but basically everyone has Trueseeing or Blindsight by this level.)
  • Anything that boosts your saves
  • You should of course have all the +5 Tomes to boost all your stats. (Or, if your DM allows it, a more cost-efficient way is to summon several Noble Djinns (each of them has 3 wishes for you), dominate or just capture them, and force them to cast Wishes on you.)
  • Any item that grants Death Ward, or similar proof against death effects (so common in our game that mages simply gave up using spells with death effects altogether) (e.g. Ring of Death Ward, 60,000 gp)
  • You may want to have a constant Freedom of Movement as well, or you might be swallowed by a lot of different giant creatures. (e.g. Ring of Freedom of Movement, 40,000 gp)

I wouldn't bother with any ranks of Use Magic Device, as the previous answerer has suggested. Your ability to use magic items will be so weak compared to everyone else that you might as well use those skill points to boost something you're already good at. There simply are no Jacks-of-all-trades at epic levels; everyone specializes in the few things they are really damned good at, and ignores the rest. Jacks-of-all-trades are really really useful at low levels, but worthless at epic levels.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 1:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is quite funny that an ordinary fighter PC is actually the one needs the most of the ranks on Knowledge (any) and Spellcraft (and probably INT as well) in real life. There're just too many things to think of as a fighter. And if you make things right, a fighter can be extremely powerful. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 6, 2023 at 23:10

The main problem of being in a party of spellcasters is that they're immune to crapload of various effects (and are able to cast while being in AMF), and you're not. Unless some heavy preparation work is done.

Generally speaking, you want to do 2 things:

1) Write down a list of traits (immunities, abilities, etc) that you want this character to have

2) Select classes, prestige classes, gear, whatever that gives your character these traits. Take note which work when (namely, which work in AMF).

Some random thoughts:

You have nothing to counter AMF (welcome to the sick, sad world), but otherwise you're good to go. Boost your UMD and choose your buffs. Get some spellblade enchants (PGtF) on your weapons, armor spikes, spikes on your animates shield, whatever - that come in handy to counter dispels and other nasty effects. Be an outsider (Otherworldly feat from PGtF, for example) and PAO into Planetar for permanent duration (don't forget some backup PAO scrolls). Grab items of %useful buff% 1/day and a way to cast celerity (so you cast celerity, then time stop, then buff yourself). Immunity to daze won't hurt in this case.

Never, ever, go outside without death ward or a similar effect.

If you can allow yourself permanent delay death effect - have it. Regeneration + immunity to nonlethal damage will do, if you don't.

Get insane saves, a couple instances of evasion and mettle. Don't be flat-footed, ever. Use mind blank. Boost your initiative and (touch) ac to obscene values.

Get Leadership and have your epic-level cohort do the dirty buffing work. Strictly speaking, your character is not a magic user in this case, he just sticks to someone who is.

AMF - Antimagic field (spell)
PAO - Polymorph any object (spell)
PGtF - Player's Guide to Faerûn (manual)
UMD - Use magic device (skill)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm, not familiar with AMF, is it Arcane Magic Foo-whatever? \$\endgroup\$
    – apacay
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 12:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ What ways do you know to get perm death ward to a non-magic hero? (equip?) \$\endgroup\$
    – apacay
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 13:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ AMF = anti-magic field, a 6-th level spell from player's handbook. Death ward can be obtained via armor enchantment (+1-equivalent, 1/day protects from what death ward would protect, IIRC), via custom items or (similar effect here) from being immune to whatever death ward protects from - usually from acquiring undead or construct traits via PrC, race, template or whatever. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 10:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Two questions: What immunities can spellcasters gain that they can't also give to ther non-spellcaster allies? I understand that the standard charop assumption is that you don't have friends to cast spells on you, but if the cleric is casting death ward on himself every day, there's nothing stopping him from casting it on the martial character as well. Question 2: Could you unpack your abbreviations a bit more? What's PAO, or PGtF, or HoR (which you mentioned in a comment on another answer)? \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 16:44

I think at Epic level it will be hard to balance a pure fighter type vs. magic users, but one thing that works well at lower levels is just having the fighter gear up. Given the wealth accumulation a 24th level character has, and how little he's had to spend on training, spell materials, and spellbooks, he should be sitting on a mountain of cash and/or equipment.

So, get yourself some really awesome armor & weapons (and miscellaneous magic items, and a few skill ranks in Use Magic Device). A few lesser artifacts wouldn't be completely out of the question, really. When it comes to leveling the playing field, you can bring to bear magic resistance, hastiness, invisibility, silent motion, the ability to work in complete silence, multiple attacks per round, etc.

And after 24 levels of hard adventuring, you ought to be a legend, or at least a local hero. So you'd expect to have some followers, though I don't remember the 3.5e rules regarding followers.

I don't know if a mage with a Wish or even any creature on the Epic Level Handbook can launch my character to the stratosphere without effort, where he hopelessly dies.

You're a hero, you should never hopelessly die. Preparation is key, although if someone is willing to spend a Wish on trying to kill you, it's probably curtains for you (or anybody else, really, if they can't avoid the Wish entirely).

Edited to add: It's important to remember that the fighter types will have an advantage in fights where the spell casters might have trouble. For example imagine the spellcasters facing up vs a large number of minions with (relatively) low HP, but nasty attack effects (which is just the sort of thing an intelligent deity would throw at them). Not the kind of weenies they can mass-kill, but something that their more-powerful spells are completely overkill for.

If the bad guys happen to cluster together, then great - the wizard can blast a bunch of them with a fireball or whatever. If they're smart enough to spread out, or attack from multiple directions, though... Are you really going to use "disintegrate" on an enemy that's no different than the 10 waiting to take his place? Meanwhile, the fighters can be whirlwind attacking, multiple-weaponing, etc, to take out crowds of bad guys at a time.

Not to mention monsters with spell resistance, or monsters that are particularly dangerous to spellcasters.

  • \$\begingroup\$ We'll have to agree to disagree then... I really don't think gear could solve my problems. I will have the same mountain of cash as any other Epic Character on the Game table, and SO MUCH less useful char, even more I won't be able to actually hit anything (take a look here cranialherbs.com/srd/doc/SRD/EpicMonsters(G-W).html )... Gear dependency makes the char a generic wielder, the actual power relies on the items and not yourself. It's a possibility though. Even when I don't like it (nor think that would actually work) \$\endgroup\$
    – apacay
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 22:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @apacay: The thing is, the spellcasters WON'T have as much cash - they have to pay for their spells. Plus, you can always sneak in and burn their spellbooks. Or use an antimagic field. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeff
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 17:12

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