Scholar Combat Tactics...

Daxz

Mongoose
Hi,
I'm just curious as to what tactics you guys use with your scholars. Do you use poisons and sorcerous powders? Do you use summonings (animals at low level and demons at higher)? Do you use curses and hypnotism?

On another note: have some of you created new styles and spells? care to share some of them?

-thanks
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I don't have any favourite tactic. Most magic styles can put your players out of service, so you won't need any special tactic to do it. Using alchemical items or poisons however, while more difficult to pull off, adds to the atmosphere. If every sorcerer the players fight uses a Black Plague to wipe out nearest city, game will go crazy.
I have designed only one sorcerer at the moment. He is a Khitan 13th level sorcerer who favors death touch via his Khitan Staff when situation allows for melee combat and Agonising Doom whenever he can afford the huge Power Point. But that's just combat. Usually he uses his Divinations spells to avoid trouble as much as he can. He has some thralls who he sends to do his will, while he coordinates their missions. In fact, he will only fight pesonally when absolutely necessary to further his own goals, since he likes to work behind the scenes.
Obviously, other sorcerers with different personality would use different tactics and could be more agressive if it suited them.
I will create one magic style based on the Cthulhu Mythos -it will allow, among other things, the summoning of some of the "gods" from the Outer Dark, and you can be sure that Yog Sothoth will make demon lords look as powerful as ants. But no sane player will allow this spell to be ever used in Hyboria, at least not without fighting...
If you are interested, when I make this style up I can submit it to the forum.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
My Stygian scholar is mostly a "range specialist" with his Stygian Bow, and the occasional gasseous poison which he can direct with prestidigitation.

Most importantly, he doesn't readily admit his sorcerous abilities, so his magic attacks are credited to parlor-tricks, sleight of hand, or exotic gadgets when explanations are needed.
 

Prof.Dogg

Mongoose
The Khitan Scholar in the group has already discovered the fantastic combination of combining Defensive Martial Arts & a full Defense with a Staff with a 10' reach. He declares full defense giving his DV +6. Then he waits till they close & whacks them with an attack of opportunity (admittedly only 1/round w/o Combat Reflexes). Then he takes his 5' step & full defense the next round & continues to maneuver between opponents while the Pirate goes for flanking Sneak Attacks & the Barbarian just plays cuisart on the outside. Sure, he has a low BAB but he's not exactly useless in combat. When he gets high enough to start Cursing people through his Staff of Death, he'll be even more potent.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Your post doesn't specify if you're talking about DM or PC scholars. I'll approach this from a PC scholar point of view.

I try to avoid melee as much as I can, since I have a low Str and Con. If at all possible, I try to end my round in a square that enemy "brutes" can't reach with a single move, because a warrior with high Str, Power Attack, and a bardiche/greatsword can quite easily force a massive damage save that I have little chance of making.

My melee attacks are feeble, and my spells at low levels are weak in combat. I have therefore opted to use armor and rely on Defensive Blast and War of Souls, at least until I get stronger combat spells. When I stop using my shield, I will switch to a staff. Reach makes it the best weapon for a scholar.

Poisons and alchemical items are great for DM scholars, but as a PC scholar I usually can't rely on them. This is because they take time to make, and are either expensive or found only in dangerous locations. Poisons can also backfire since I don't have the right feats, but I will try to aquire a few globes of demon-fire in case of an emergency.

I personally don't use animal summonings, since they depend on the local fauna, the XP cost is steep in the long run, and they have a tendency to run away when hurt. I don't know the full implications for summoning demons, but it is probably a good idea to limit demon summoning to special occasions.

Curses is sorcery style that has a few weak spells, and many strong spells with difficult prerequisites. I might take it later, but Gelid Bones is the only good spell it has for a typical low level scholar, and even that requires the Oriental style.

I highly recommend Hypnotism, especially with the Scrolls of Skelos. I haven't used it all that much so far, but that will change when I get Dread Serpent and Mass Hypnotic Suggestion.
 

Turim

Mongoose
Ack! I did log in. Oh, well. BTW, Prof.Dogg, the scholar in your group can't make attacks of opportunity, as they are not allowed while taking the total defense action. That assumes you're not talking about fighting defensively.
 

sbarrie

Mongoose
Also, I believe if you take a 5' step with fighting defensively then you provoke an attack of opportunity in Conan.
 

Daxz

Mongoose
Thanks for the replies. I'm refering mostly about PC scholars. The question come mostly because my player that plays a scholar was complaining about how useless he was in combat and how he always bite the dust in a hurry.

I even made a few spells (which I'll post later) but I think he was just using the wrong tactics.

Is there a list anywhere which shows some cheap or easily aquired herbal or alchemical items? Like may be: 1)blinding powder, 2)sleeping drug, 3)stinking bomb, 4)sneezing powder, etc.
 

Prof.Dogg

Mongoose
Turim said:
Ack! I did log in. Oh, well. BTW, Prof.Dogg, the scholar in your group can't make attacks of opportunity, as they are not allowed while taking the total defense action. That assumes you're not talking about fighting defensively.

Darn it! Foiled again! You are correct (Conan, p.168). I shouldn't have allowed him to make his AoO. It's the same in the PHB but my group has by and far missed that ruling over the last couple of years. I'll have to start enforcing it. I can find no reference to the taking a 5' step while on total defense & provoking one (exept in hampering terrain) in either book. My thanks for pointing out my short-comings as a GM ;)
 

thulsa

Mongoose
Prof.Dogg said:
Darn it! Foiled again! You are correct (Conan, p.168). I shouldn't have allowed him to make his AoO. It's the same in the PHB but my group has by and far missed that ruling over the last couple of years. I'll have to start enforcing it. (...) My thanks for pointing out my short-comings as a GM ;)

Don't worry, Prof. :)

I am Turim's DM from time to time, and if memory serves me right, Turim has made several AoOs with his own characters while using Total Defense. Always sounded kinda silly to me, but then the PHB 3.5 was released and cleared things up.

Total Defense remains a favorite (or should I say default!) action with Turim's characters, though... :lol:

- thulsa
 

Turim

Mongoose
Daxz:

If your player really feels his scholar is useless, he could post his stats, feats, and spells. Maybe someone on this forum could offer some constructive ideas on how to play him more effectively. If you're asking for a list of homebrew items, I can't help you with that, but there are a few relatively cheap combat items in the core book and Scrolls of Skelos. I don' have SoS right now, so I can't really recommend any items from that book.

Flamepowder (50 sp) is weak. But it can start fires, and may be useful for intimidation.

Stygian Tomb-Dust (400 sp) can blind an enemy.

Kothic Demon-Fire (500 sp) can stun an enemy, and force a massive damage save if you're lucky.

Lotus Smoke (effectively 0 sp) is slow and unreliable, but might come in handy. Don't be fooled by the cost in the book. You need only find and craft the corresponding lotus blossom (which is free), and it will replace the 1/3 craft cost. This is both dangerous and time consuming, of course.

Prof.Dogg:

Page 171: "Taking this 5-foot step doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity unless it is combined with another action in the round."

Thulsa:

:)
 

Prof.Dogg

Mongoose
Turim said:
Daxz:
Prof.Dogg:

Page 171: "Taking this 5-foot step doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity unless it is combined with another action in the round."

Thulsa:

:)

I noticed that entry but there is an implication from the other 5' step references that this may need to be reworded to 'unless it is combined with another action in the round that would in itself provoke an AoO such as casting a spell.' Haven't found the errata for the PHB yet to confirm it but I'm certain (say, about 95% certain) it has been adjusted to say something along those lines. The very act of taking a 5' step is meant to exclude oneself from taking an AoO by being cautious in one's movement (as opposed to the action taken). Let me know if you find it first.
 

Jason Durall

Mongoose
Daxz said:
Thanks for the replies. I'm refering mostly about PC scholars. The question come mostly because my player that plays a scholar was complaining about how useless he was in combat and how he always bite the dust in a hurry.

To me, he seems like he's not really grasping what a scholar character is all about. They should avoid combat whenever possible.

As a GM, have you been giving him stuff to do that doesn't involve combat? Problems to solve, social interaction, things to translate, etc. that can be done without resorting to combat? Are you providing threats that cannot be met through sheer violence, but must be outsmarted or outmaneuvered?
 

Samvail1

Mongoose
I am playing a Scholar in our Conan ampaign.

She is a sorceress with no combat skills at all.

She uses Kothic Demon fire with a Telekenisis boost for ranged attacks and a man-servant for self defense. Failing that, a defensive blast is quite effective.

Taking ranks in craft-alchemy and craft-herbalism means she is able to produce (and invent) her own potions and chemicals to augment her skills.

Ranks in craft-glass blowing means she can produce her own hight quality aparatus for alchemy.

Having a high Charisma and ranks in Bluff and Diplomacy are effective.

If all this fails, she hides behind the Nordheimer Barbarian and his Greatsword.


Still alive at 4th level.


Sam
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I agree with Jason. I have one sorcerous player character in my gaming group and I'll make sure he never fells useless by creating situations that cannot or shouldn't be met with a sword in your hand. I subscribe what Jason said about outsmarting and outmaneuvering.

By the way, the sorcerer player in my games has been so far one of the most sucessful, since he is the one who heals the other group members and his timely bluffs have saved the group on more than one tigh spot. Besides, his Decipher Script skill was what saved all of them from opening the wrong door in one cursed dungeon and you can be sure they wouldn't have wanted to awake what lied there.

Now, at 4th level he got the Torment spell, which can be useful for combat, specially when coupled with good teamwork. But the point is he lived to get to this point and only had to use Defensive Blast once in his life. If in the future his combat spells are needed for a climatic battle, so be it. But this doesn't mean a sorcerer PC has to fight in every game the way a barbarian or soldier does.

Anyway, if you really want a sorcerer who is powerful in combat I would recommend Hypnotism spells -they are subtle but mighty- or wait until you are mid-high level and can use the more powerful Curses or Necromancy spells. For low level characters it could also be useful Telekinesis to launch alchemical compounds -or just weapons.[/quote]
 

afro-slav

Mongoose
Here is a link that may be useful especially the 2nd or 3rd post onward.

http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2109


hope it helps,

afro-slav
 

Bregales

Mongoose
Hey Daxz, you didn't mention what race your Scholar is or what background style [he] has. The scholar in my group is a Stygian who was a member of the Black Ring until he quit from his master at 4th level, feeling too big for his britches and now can't figure out why he still gets PP drained every now and then, and why demons show up every once in a while :twisted:

That being said, he's played him true to intent, VERY EVIL and seeking Corruption Points as quick as he can get them. I've kept magic down in my campaign until recently, he's just earned his first and is about to earn his second. If your player has corruption, it can have an effect on how others deal with the scholar, including the possibility of trying to drive him out/slay him/arrest him for being an abomination!

That doesn't help your questions much, so let me try again... :oops: he has used a bow when unable/unsuitable to cast spells. He has used Defensive Blast opportunistically; I have found some uses questinoable but he's always done well by it. The other posts about alchemical powders and skill use is great. This brings up a point from our last game, our sorcerer uses Intimidate all the time, which makes him obvious wherever he goes (I'm dealing with that as GM already), but he tried to Intimidate an NPC with a REP of 90. According to the skill, REP wasn't added for the NPC's defence, which seems silly to me but according to the skill writing our diabolical Akriphon was able to roll a 32. I role-played the NPCs reaction according to his background and circumstances and didn't have him quake with fear, but the player got what he wanted anyways. So as was said, skills like Bluff & Diplomacy are great, but Intimidate can come in handy too. BUT BEAR IN MIND WHAT I'VE TOLD MY PLAYERS: BEING OBVIOUS ISN'T ALWAYS THE BEST APPROACH. But I'd assume it'd help trying to save your skin in a fight.

Hope this helps.
 
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