Creating a Temptress character

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Clovenhoof
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Creating a Temptress character

Postby Clovenhoof » Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:10 pm

Hey folks,

well, looks like we're going to get a Temptress in the group for our new campaign, which ought to be very cool. She'll be the party's Face, and also double as Thief. And she'll probably be a Zingaran. Unless there are strong points for a different race?

I'm suggesting her to take at least 10 levels of Temptress (for the FC bonuses), and at least 4 levels of Thief (for the goodies).

Stats: we use a Point Buy system, so I'll be suggesting her to take Int 14, in order to buy Decipher Script and Disable Device ranks with her Int-bonus points on Non-thief levels. Other than that, she'll obviously have high Cha, and also high Dex.

What Secret Art should she take? As a Zingaran, even 4 Levels of Thief will already get her 4 dice of Sneak Attack (due to Light-footed). One option would be to further improve this with Secret Art, but otoh I'm not sure this is really necessary.
I think the general idea of a part-time sorceress would also be pretty cool, but as we recently discussed in another thread, it's not easy to find a suitable Sorcery Style. In essence, it boils down to Divination or Telekinesis. Also, recharging PP with sex sounds pretty cool. ;)
What option would you say is better?

What feats should she take / plan on taking?
My current suggestions are Dodge/Mobility and Combat Expertise to avoid getting hit, and possibly also Fleet Footed. She's supposed to stay out of combat most of the time (looking harmless and helpless and more like booty than an opponent*), but sometimes intervene with Sneak Attack when the time is right.
Any other suggestions?

*) This probably also means she can't make use of her Arming Sword bonus, at least early in the game.
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Postby Ichabod » Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:17 am

I doubt it will be much of an issue getting Decipher Script and Disable Device at desired levels. But, I'm sure there are other reasons to have an INT of 14 or better.

It's rather a waste of time to SA something and not have it die. 3d8+1d6 is only 16 points of damage, should be looking at another 8 or so on average to get the job done.

OTOH, sorcery is way more interesting. Divination is game changing in ways that magic in D&D is game changing. Visions means knowing where things are. Psychometry can punch through mysteries. For Prestidigitation, Conjuring is a far better initial spell than Astrological Prediction, being really the best basic spell. Telekinesis is far too narrow to be desirable. Burst Barrier and Conjure Item would be the two advanced spells that would be most useful to a party. I'm not sure how Hypnotism got ruled out.

Combat Expertise requires making attacks, though it is a prereq. for Improved Disarm/Trip which has some possibilities; K: Zingaran Fencing School would be a way to cheat those feats, btw. Dodge and Mobility don't gain a lot if she often doesn't end up doing anything. Submissive Demeanor and True Submissive would be most desirable. Fleet-Footed is just generally really good. Improved Grapple wouldn't be crazy. Could go the Steely Gaze path.

What is the party going to be fighting? Iron Will, possibly No Honor, would make sense when monsters are afoot. What else is she going to contribute? Knowledgeable is a great, general feat, but I can see not bothering if KSs are well-covered. Performer makes sense since I'm guessing no one else would bother.
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Postby Clovenhoof » Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:49 am

Ichabod wrote:I doubt it will be much of an issue getting Decipher Script and Disable Device at desired levels. But, I'm sure there are other reasons to have an INT of 14 or better.
Yeah well, of course there's also several feats - like Combat Expertise - with an Int13 prereq, so you can just as well pump in another point and get the extra skill point and bonus language.
It's rather a waste of time to SA something and not have it die.
I agree. So let's see: At Thief-4, she gets maybe 1d8 weapon + 2d8 sneak attack style + 1d6 Zingaran Sneak + 1d6 Light Footed = 3d8+2d6, for an average of just over 20 points. She'll also be using Finesse most of the time, of course. However, with more SA from Secret Art, she'll of course get those 20+ more reliably. But a fifth level of Thief would do the same.
She might even consider taking TWF *bang* double damage per round.
OTOH, sorcery is way more interesting. Divination is game changing in ways that magic in D&D is game changing. Visions means knowing where things are. Psychometry can punch through mysteries.
True that. I guess we'll talk to the Game Master and ask his opinion whether he'd welcome a Diviner in the group or would rather keep it magic-free. Another point is that she would have to buy the K:Arcana skill with her Int points as well.
On the other hand, as you said Burst Barrier etc. would also be useful (and very funny to look at: at least two hulking warriors need to get through a fortified door -- and send a scantily clad girl to make it explode :lol: )
Also, I just noticed that - according to Thulsa's version changelog - the Temptress gets her final Secret Art at level 17 rather than level 15. (I can't verify myself b/c the GM has the 2E corebook.) - That of course makes the choice more difficult, as she either has to give up some Thief goodness or the final Secret Art.
I'm not sure how Hypnotism got ruled out.
Well, I'd consider that the third option. Though it's thematically very fitting, I have the suspicion that the Temptress can gain the same or better kind of influence just using her class features. Especially as her low MAB will result in a rather low save DC.
Submissive Demeanor and True Submissive would be most desirable.
Huh? Sounds very compelling just from the names. Where do I find these, and what do they do?
What is the party going to be fighting? Iron Will, possibly No Honor, would make sense when monsters are afoot.
I don't know what the GM has in store for us, but I guess it will probably go against humans at least for the first half of the game. She gets good Will Save anyway, but Iron Will certainly wouldn't hurt.
Knowledgeable is a great, general feat, but I can see not bothering if KSs are well-covered.
Excellent suggestion, I'll pass that on! So far it looks like the rest of the party will be butt-kickers, and she'll be the one stuck with the Knowledge checks.

Edit: might also be an idea for her to also take some actual Scholar levels. But that will depend. We don't know yet whether we'll get a fourth player who might take either Thief or Scholar. (Myself and the third player are both gonna be butt-kickers.)
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Postby VincentDarlage » Sun Feb 22, 2009 1:46 am

Clovenhoof wrote:[
Submissive Demeanor and True Submissive would be most desirable.
Huh? Sounds very compelling just from the names. Where do I find these, and what do they do?
They are feats from Hyboria's Fallen.
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Postby Clovenhoof » Sun Feb 22, 2009 1:48 am

Ah, thanks. Didn't somebody plan to make a Feat Compilation list with all the official feats and where exactly they can be found? That would make things so much easier. :p
Edit: I don't suppose they're also included in some 2nd ed release?
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Postby Dark Mistress » Sun Feb 22, 2009 1:56 am

Personally I think I would lean towards the SA. It is hard to go wrong doing a extra dmg. They have some interesting feats and combo classes in the book mentioned.

It depends a lot honestly on what kind of game will be run.
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Postby Ichabod » Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:16 am

Submissive Demeanor
Preq: WIS 13+
Ben: When targeted by spells or effects, you may make a contested Will save with the caster. If you succeed, the caster chooses another target. No effect if no other targets or area of effect.
Special: If you fail by 5 or more, the sorcerer focuses his entire attention on you the following round. You may not willingly fail the save. The benefit ends as soon as taking any hostile action, such as attacking or casting spells.

True Submissive
Preq: Submissive Demeanor
Ben: Any creature with an INT of 4+ that tries to attack you or target you with a spell or spelllike effect must make an opposed Will save to follow through with the attack. If he fails, the attack is stopped (the spell is wasted). If he succeeds, he doesn't need to make another save for 24 hours.
Special: Benefit ends as soon as you attack, make threatening movements (such as cast a spell), or take a move action, though 5' adjustments are okiedokie.

Note that there are some important differences in how the two operate to where TS isn't just a strictly better version of SD. We have had a character with these for 2-3 years. At first, he kept forgetting about them.

For the temptress, these are obvious. But, note the importance of high Will saves.
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Postby Clovenhoof » Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:25 am

Awesome, thanks. =)
Okay, since spells still are going to be rather rare one way or the other, the true boon I see here is that you can't even be attacked by the typical grunt. That's excellent, and of course it fits the Temptress perfectly.
At first, he kept forgetting about them.
We've had that so often in various D20 games, especially with racial abilities but also other stuff.
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Postby Krushnak » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:57 am

If she's going to be a Zingaran i would suggest taking knowledge fencing and also going for intricate swordplay which includes parry and combat expertise as prereqs so that should cover all the combat feats she'll ever need. maybe even take fencer's finesse(argos and zingara) so she can use her dex for damage. that is as much as i would think about combat with her aside from getting sneak attack from thief.
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Postby Demetrio » Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:05 am

Fencer's Finesse is very useful and Master fencer shouldn't be sniffed at if one has a slot or two free (though that's unlikely for a Temptress, I grant).
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Postby Clovenhoof » Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:41 am

Well, as for Intricate Swordplay, I haven't done the math but I'm not sure it will be worthwhile. The T's Parry progression is worse than Dodge, and this character's Str is worse than her Dex (10 or 12 vs 16), so in the end it probably wouldn't really add a lot to the defence value, if anything.

K:Fencing and the other A&Z feats don't sound bad; we don't have the A&Z book however (yet). Maybe we can con the GM into getting it. ;) (The problem is that we use a homebrew setting (same Earth, different era), so a good part of the fluff sections of any background books are probably unusable.)

Atm we're also considering having her take a few Scholar levels, because the spells Ichabod discussed above also sound very... tempting. (Btw I used to have a Scholar player in my group before, I was GM then, but that one never realized how useful Conjuring can be although she had the style.)
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Postby LilithsThrall » Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:17 pm

My opinion on how to munchkinize the Temptress is very different from everyone else here.

I'd take Nature magic as her secret art. This gives her an animal ally and (with Sorcerous Garden) easy access to poison.

I'd get Steely Gaze/Menacing Aura.

Dex would be her second char and she'd focus on poisoned bows and whips.
She'd try to stay at range and use her Inspire, Steely Gaze, etc. To buff/debuff the party.
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Postby LilithsThrall » Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:30 pm

My opinion on how to munchkinize the Temptress is very different from everyone else here.

I'd take Nature magic as her secret art. This gives her an animal ally and (with Sorcerous Garden) easy access to poison.

I'd get Steely Gaze/Menacing Aura.

Dex would be her second char and she'd focus on poisoned bows and whips.
She'd try to stay at range and use her Inspire, Steely Gaze, etc. To buff/debuff the party.
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Postby Krushnak » Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:47 pm

Just reading up on the Temptress in the 2nd ed RB and noticed something that makes sorcery a more tempting choice.

Seductive art: each time she gets this along with other benefits she gains +1 to her MAB if she takes sorcery as her secret art.
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Postby Clovenhoof » Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:51 pm

Well, I don't really think that it's the Temptress's job to intimidate opponents in combat, or be any kind of Combat Monster. That's what the Barbs are there for.
She is and always will be a Soft Target, with bad Defense, no armour, low HP and low Fort. It is also pretty much a given that PC Archers never manage to stay out of melee range for long.

Menacing Aura would be an interesting feat for my Barbarian (starting with Cha 12), if only Barbs didn't have so few feat slots to begin with...

@Krushnak: oh, that's interesting, we gotta check this out. You're right, this makes taking Sorcery as Secret Art much more appealing, especially for styles like Hypnotism where you get lots of opposed checks.
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Postby LilithsThrall » Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:22 pm

Clovenhoof wrote:Well, I don't really think that it's the Temptress's job to intimidate opponents in combat, or be any kind of Combat Monster. That's what the Barbs are there for.
She is and always will be a Soft Target, with bad Defense, no armour, low HP and low Fort. It is also pretty much a given that PC Archers never manage to stay out of melee range for long.

Menacing Aura would be an interesting feat for my Barbarian (starting with Cha 12), if only Barbs didn't have so few feat slots to begin with...

@Krushnak: oh, that's interesting, we gotta check this out. You're right, this makes taking Sorcery as Secret Art much more appealing, especially for styles like Hypnotism where you get lots of opposed checks.
This is a matter of playing style. Personally, I have low regard for the school of thought that draws a line between "combative" and "noncombative" classes. I mean, what if the story requires a game session to be all noncombat? Are the combat class characters supposeed to spend the game session sitting down, shutting up, and coloring? Some classes are easily constructed as "combative" or "noncombative". What they need to be is well-rounded with something meaningful to offer both in and out of combat.
And if being intimidating was counter to the class, Temptresses wouldn't get intimidate as a class skill.
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Postby Clovenhoof » Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:22 pm

Update:
now I just discussed things with the player, and she'll probably go for a threeway mix of Temptress, Thief and Scholar, with Temptress being the Major class, and the Scholar levels taken only rather late in the career.

So it's probably going to be working towards something like Tem 12, Sch 4, Thf 4, give or take a little here and there.
Secret Art being Sorcery, probably starting off with Prestidigitation, later adding Divination (unless the GM objects) and Hypnotism with the Scholar levels. Sorcery chosen to get a pleasant way of recovering PPs, instead of those icky sacrifices.
Still being a Zingaran, she'll get around 4 dice of sneak attack, in addition to the weapon die. Might also take TWF at some point to add some serious damage spikes during combat.
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Postby Voltumna » Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:26 pm

Regarding sorcery for a temptress, this may depend on character concept, but I have never envisioned a temptress with a flashy sorcery style like prestidigitation. I think their magic would be more subtle. They being able to get close to potential targets because of their seductive arts, may be easy to come by with magical links, then work divinations, hypnotism, curses or necromancy from the shadows of their lairs. Hypnotism is a great style for a temptress I think, because it boosts their manipulative and seductive powers, then divinations would allow them to get secrets from people which could be used for extortion, curses and necromancy to terribly get rid of opposition and enact their vengeance. This styles work for a black widow or vampiress type of temptress.

Now if the temptress is more of an entertainer-performer type, then prestidigitation could be a good fit. Oriental magic and nature could work with this one too. Just some thoughts.
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Postby Spectator » Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:43 pm

I don't see why you don't just make a very attractive female scholar.
Boost her w/ hypnotism spells. Enslave (from 1st edition Skrolls of Skelos) being an incredibly powerful one.
Boost her with Divination, mind-reading spell of course and a few others.
Maybe a bit of immortality (I like the concept of her having a dark side and sacrificing a virgin every now and then to keep youing and fresh is a good idea).
Make/ house rule Diplomacy as a class skill or she could purchase it with her bonus skill pts from her int. bonus and have a scholar who can manipulate with the best of them.

I always found the Temptress to be a doofus class.
At least in the first edition, they could not take sorcery stuff, but from reading how the 2nd edition class descriptions is, I guess they are trying to allow for a psuedo-sorceror.

Sorry, Vincent, I hope you don't take offense, I just think that as a class it is akin to the "Bard" from AD+D.
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Postby Clovenhoof » Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:34 pm

@Spectator: what you describe is simply a totally different character concept.
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