I am in a party of five in a homebrew DND 3.5 game where the world has been mostly over run by the undead. There are pockets of civilization left, mostly the well-guarded cities. My last character, a dwarf fighter, died in combat, allowing the party to escape a major threat.

I'm looking to create a new character that will complement the party in this campaign. I don't expect an entire character build, but rather what classes/class combinations would be useful to complement the strengths of the other characters.


  • Level 7
  • Tier 3 - 4 classes
  • No Paladin or Cleric (at least at more than 1-2 levels, would be over-powered in this world)
  • If it was published in a physical book, it's usable for this game

Party Makeup

  • A Human Factotum/cleric/mishmash - specializes in tripping, also the face of the party
  • A Human Bard - does singing and buffing (somehow gives us +7d6 of sonic damage)
  • A Human Binder - still unsure what he really does
  • A Drow Rogue/Fighter - our dps machine

What my last character did

The dwarf was a fighter that specialized in running into combat, smacking things, and preventing them from repositioning (Dodge, Mobility, Vexing Flanker, Stand Still, and other feats). He was also good for setting up the Rogue for Sneak Attack.

What I'd like to do

I want another combat-oriented character that, at a minimum, can help the Rogue achieve Sneak Attack. If the character could also capitalize on the Factotum's trip targets, that'd be awesome. I'd rather not be a copy-paste of the previous Fighter I had.

What I've looked at so far

The first class that I found that looked like it might be useful is Swordsage from Tome of Battle. It looks like it'll be a good combat-centered class, but I'm not sure on its ability to stay in combat to help the Rogue or Factotum.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm worried this may be difficult for us to answer. "Find the best class" we can do, but "good but not too good" is much harder. We'd be reduced to tossing out a bunch of ideas and hoping you like one of them, and idea-generation questions don't work very well here. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B Apr 25 '17 at 20:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanB I dunno if you're unfamiliar with the tier system. basically, tier 1 are game-breaking classes that are just simply super powerful, especially late game. tier 2 classes are classes that aren't AS game breaking, but can still handle a VERY broad number of situations. tier 3-4 tend to be more focused on a few things, and do them well. I'm basically asking for something that does it's job well without breaking the game or being completely terrible \$\endgroup\$ – DForck42 Apr 25 '17 at 20:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I know about the tier system but I think you actually have more constraints than that. For example "Knight of the Raven" gets undead turning but no spellcasting, so I'm pretty sure it's tier 3 or 4, but I'm guessing you'd say that was overpowered in this world. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B Apr 25 '17 at 21:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @korvinstarmast, rather than us presenting plethora's of options, the OP should do some research, narrow it down to a few options, then ask which is best based on stats/ feats etc. The best answer so far (IMHO) has the tome of battle and "Weird multiclass stuff" listed as options which I'd argue is very close to "play anything" \$\endgroup\$ – Jim B Apr 25 '17 at 22:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is definitely not too opinion based. It is possibly too broad. You could make the question better by asking what abilities available to an X level character strongly complement each of the existing party members or (or 'and, separately,') asking what the core weaknesses of the party without you are. The latter is unclear without more info on your party mates but the former is probably answerable as-is. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Apr 27 '17 at 1:16

For tier 3-4 melee to complement the party, you have a few strong options:

  • Barbarian-based pounce charger: This is kind of the gold standard of t4 melee: Take at least 1 level of Spirit Lion Totem Barbarian (Complete Champion), take the Leap Attack (Complete Adventurer) and Shock Trooper (Complete Warrior) feats, fill the build out with whatever mishmash of melee classes sounds good to you (Fighter 2 is common, Totemist (Magic of Incarnum) is very strong), and call it a day. Use a two-handed weapon and charge for MASSIVE DAMAGE. Pros: Lots and lots of damage. Cons: Kind of boring (you pretty much do the same thing every round), high damage might seem overpowered at a low-op table.
  • Tome of Battle classes: All of these are tier 3-4ish right out of the box, and don't require much fancy optimizing. You can pretty much just stay single-classed, pick whatever maneuvers sound cool, and end up with an effective character. Pros: Hard to screw up, maneuvers provide fun and interesting tactical choices. Several maneuvers exist that let you move around (making flanking for your Rogue easy), or cause the enemy to count as flanked or flat-footed (which will also enable sneak attacks). Cons: Some people find that these classes play too much like spellcasters for their taste. Tome of Battle didn't get the nickname The Book of Weeaboo Fightan Magic for nothing.
  • Duskblade: The 3.5 gish-in-a-can that doesn't suck. You hit things, and then you get to cast touch spells for free on the things you hit. It's right in the tier 3-4 range (it's stronger in combat than most t4s, but not as flexible as most t3s). Pros: Round-by-round variety and tactically interesting choice like the ToB classes, but this time it's with actual magic. Around the right power level for your game. Tactical teleportation makes flanking for the Rogue easy. Cons: A lot of the best spells the class gets (Color Spray, Vampiric Touch) don't work well on the undead.
  • Swashbuckler/Rogue: The Daring Outlaw feat (Complete Scoundrel) makes this combo strong. Dual-wield to maximize your sneak attacks per round. Pros: Benefits from setting up flanking combos with the other party Rogue (you both get to make sneak attacks!). Lots of attacks/round make good use of the bonuses from the Bard. Cons: Kind of squishy, might be stepping on the other Rogue's toes a bit in terms of party role.
  • Wild shape variant Ranger (Unearthed Arcana, but more easily accessible on the SRD): Turn into a dinosaur! Then fight stuff! Pros: Did I mention the part about turning into a dinosaur? Also, your animal companion makes flanking for the Rogue easy. Cons: Rules for Wild Shape are kind of complicated and involve a decent amount of bookkeeping, especially if you use different forms for different situations.
  • Weird multiclass stuff: There are lots of ways to make melee combatants that operate around a t3-4 level that can't be summed up by listing one or two of their classes. You could make a teleporting Monk/Swordsage with the Sun School (Complete Warrior) and Snap Kick (Tome of Battle) feats and focus on teleporting around making blink-strikes. Or a Crusader/Incarnate (Magic of Incarnum) with all the Devoted Spirit maneuvers that give you DR and healing, plus the Mantle of Flame soulmeld focused on tanking it up in the thick of combat and doing retributive fire damage. Or...

My Recommendation: If you don't mind a little bit of wuxia flavor, take a quick look through the maneuver list in Tome of Battle, find the schools that sound coolest to you, and play whichever ToB class has access to them. These classes really are a ton of fun!

If you want more help on working out the details of the build, you can seek it out by editing this question, asking a new question, or hitting us up in chat!

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If you do go with the wild shaping ranger (or, really, any ranger), you're probably taking favored enemy (undead). It's not the same as being a Paladin or Cleric, but it is a moderately potent anti-Undead ability... \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Apr 27 '17 at 1:24

Let's see what fits the party...

Your bard is giving massive damage bonuses. By extension, attacking many times is better than hitting hard.

You're going to have tripped foes, and you're going to want to support a rogue.

You're likely to be the closest thing the party has to a tank.

Between the binder, rogue, bard, and factotum, you don't need to worry about bringing utility to the party. Combat power is a lot more important.

Given those... swordsage might be a bit more fragile than you'd like. It's basically in the monk/rogue zone for tankiness. Instead, I'd suggest considering Crusader or Warblade out of the same book. Both are a fair bit beefier, and have fewer powers to manage, but still have some interesting toys to play with. The Crusader in general is quite good at tanking, holding the attention of the enemy, and handing out buffs to other party members.

Given the damage buffs you're getting, you might also consider Totemist out of Incarnum. It won't have the same level of tanky as a Crusader, but they're very good at cranking out large numbers of weak natural attacks per round (especially if you're, say, a kobold with the tail-attack feat to begin with) and with prone to help the hitting, and a massive damage bonus to each hit, that'll help put the enemies down pretty quickly. Only disadvantage (other than not being a dedicated tank) is that you'd have to learn the Incarnum and natural attack rule sets, and you might be stepping on the drow's toes.

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