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Talk:Fiendish Brute (3.5e Class)

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Here are the results of a level 5 SGT I did on what I think is a pretty reasonable Fiendish Brute build:


Tiefling Fiendish Brute 3/True Fiend (Baatezu) 1/Brute 1

Str 16, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10 (yes, really)

31 hp

BAB +3

Weapons: 2 Claws +6 (1d4+3 and black adder venom and shakes) and Sting +1 melee (1d3+3 and poison)

AC 25 (+3 Dex, +7 natural, +5 armor)

Poison Sacs (Black Adder Venom (1d6 Con/1d6 Con), DC 15), Sting of the Scorpion (1d6 Con/1d6 Con, DC 15), Carrier (Shakes (1d8 Dex), DC 15), Wings of Evil

Equipment: +1 Chain Shirt, +1 greatsword

Skills: Move Silently +11, Hide +11, Spot +8, Listen +8

Fort +9, Ref +9, Will +3

Standard strategy: get near the opponent, darkness, stab stab stab.


  • A huge Animated iron statue. – Probable loss.
    • There is a less than 50% chance that the statue won’t notice the Fiend; at that point, combat begins and the Fiend gets pounded by the statue, which is immune to its attacks due to hardness and Construct traits.
  • A Basilisk. – Probable win
    • The Fiend has an excellent chance of winning the initial gaze confrontation, and after that it’s just a matter of using darkness and wailing on the basilisk until it dies (which will happen pretty quickly with all the poison it’s taking).
  • A Large Fire Elemental. – Definite loss
    • The Fiend is immune to fire, and the elemental is immune to poison; this is just a wailing match where the Elemental is blind. And the Fiend can only deal damage on ¼ of the attacks that hit. Even after Shakes is taken into account, the Fiend has a roughly 55% chance of hitting on any given claw attack (and significantly less for the sting) for an average of 0.75 damage per attack (and an average of 0.33… damage for the tail). The elemental has a 24% chance after darkness is accounted for, but deals an average 9 damage on an attack. The Fiend also has about half the hit points of the elemental. Win to the elemental.
  • A Manticore on the wing. – Probable win
    • The Fiend can fly better than the Manticore, has a somewhat better chance of hitting it than it does him, and a decent chance of hitting it with some nasty poisons. The manticore does a bit more damage. Would say this fight favors the fiend.
  • A Mummy. – Definite loss
    • Unless he can light the entire room on fire, I just don’t see this going any better than the Fire Elemental, since the Fiend also has to worry about the Mummy’s full repertoire (including mummy rot) and doesn’t get the benefits of Shakes.
  • A Phase Spider. – Even match
    • This is a poison vs. poison battle with readied actions. Both save on an 8, and both deal Con damage, although the phase spider deals slightly more Con damage. The spider also deals slightly more damage, and can choose its opportunities when the Fiend would be flat-footed (or wait him out). Call this even, due to the sheer ambiguity.
  • A Troll. – Probable loss
    • The troll has a good Fortitude save – it only loses to the poison on a 4+, and there's a 50% chance the fiend will hit with its claws. Its chance to hit, however, is pretty low due to the Fiend's high AC; these end up being about even. DPR for the Fiend is on par with the Troll’s regeneration, so that isn't significant. Statistically, the Fiend deals about 0.7 Con damage per round, and the Troll deals 3.8 damage per round, so the long haul goes to the Troll. If the troll hits with a rend (4% chance on each round of attacks, the fiend straight loses. This goes in the troll's favor.
  • A chasm. – Definite win
    • Fly speed. Win.
  • A moat filled with acid. – Definite win
    • Fly speed. Win.
  • A locked door behind a number of pit traps. – Definite loss
    • Seriously, if the door is made of anything sturdier than wood, there’s nothing he can do to it.
  • A couple of Centaur Archers in the woods. – Definite win
    • If the archers are trying to do anything to the fiend, he can catch up to them pretty quickly (especially with Good maneuverability), and they can’t survive the resulting onslaught.
  • A Howler/Allip tag team. – Definite loss
    • Even with a magic sword, this is not going to go well for the Fiend. The Allip turns him into a gibbering idiot.
  • A pit filled with medium monstrous scorpions. – Definite win
    • Fly speed. Win.
  • A Grimlock assault team. – Definite win
    • The Grimlocks don’t even have eyes, so darkness won’t matter. However, they’re also ridiculously susceptible to poison and disease, so they each go down in about two successful attacks and only hit on a 20. Easy win.
  • A Cleric of Hextor (with his zombies) – Even match
    • Cleric probably has comparable AC, but no time to actually cure any poisons’ ability damage. If the cleric has bestow curse and chooses wisely, it can probably decrease the fiend’s poison DC drastically; that would probably allow the zombies to nom him down. On the other hand, if enough Con damage gets put on the cleric, that could be a win right there. Going to call this a tossup due to too many variables.

Definite Win: 5 Probable Win: 2 Even Match: 2 Probable Loss: 2 Definite Loss: 4

That is very solidly Rogue level. --Quantumboost 21:36, April 2, 2010 (UTC)

Didn't see the talk page entry, lemme compose a response? --Ghostwheel 21:43, April 2, 2010 (UTC)
Take your time. --Quantumboost 21:46, April 2, 2010 (UTC)
Sure, let's go with your build--but change the feats (and taking class levels Fiendish Brute 1 -> True Fiend 1 -> Fiendish Brute 3). For this purpose, we'll pick up Projectile Vomiting (3), and Wings of Evil for our fiendish feats. Our modus operandi will be to stay out of range, using Projectile Vomiting on enemies who can't reach us or carrying a bow for those who are immune to acid.
  • A huge Animated iron statue - Definite win, staying out of range and acidify them.
  • A basilisk - probably even match, since the basilisk can use its gaze every round. Toss-up who dies first.
  • Fire elemental - Definite win. Stay out of range and blast it.
  • Manticore - we can fly too, and its got a lower damage than we do. Plus our vomiting does a lot of damage. Probably win.
  • Mummy - even chance, you can win as long as you don't get paralyzed at first.
  • Phase Spider - even match
  • Troll - we pwn this, since we do acid damage at will, and stay out of range.
  • Chasm - Definite win.
  • Moat filled with acid - Definite win, especially with our acid resistance
  • Locked door - vomit on the door until it collapses while flying above the pit traps. Definite win.
  • Centaur archers - probable win.
  • Yeah, the allip's going to kill us easily. Definite lose. Though we could always fly away.
  • Pit with scorpians. Definite win.
  • Grimlocks. Another definite win. Stay out of range, and blast em.
  • The cleric doesn't have much in the way of stopping us, and we can stay out of range and just blast it. Probably win.
This gives us... 8 definite wins, 3 probable wins, 3 even matches, and one definite loss. I'd say that's wizard-level *shrug* --Ghostwheel 22:09, April 2, 2010 (UTC)
You have a 65% chance of dying to the mummy at the start. How does that translate into "probable win"? Surgo 22:23, April 2, 2010 (UTC)
Yep, that could be problematic. Upping that to "even chance", which doesn't change much. --Ghostwheel 22:53, April 2, 2010 (UTC)
Not interested in the current argument, but as a tangent do you think these results indicate that you set the level of Projectile Vomiting too low at fighter? What with that being your tactic for the majority of these combat encounters... - TarkisFlux 22:58, April 2, 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, this seems to be more a matter of you using a specific feat which by itself drastically increases the power level of the Fiendish Brute. Note that previously the only real "ranged attack" options were either (a) limited in use (Spines of Fury) or (b) had a level requirement (Breath Weapon). I'm beginning to think that was intentional.
Given this, and the lack of actual explanation of most of those results... unless you can mount a better argument for Wizard-level I'll have to revert the change on this class, and probably change the balance point on Projectile Vomiting to Rogue. --Quantumboost 23:05, April 2, 2010 (UTC)
Tarkis: Not particularly; the feat itself is very meh. In the end, it can't do much by itself. The wizard-level bit is the flying at will, which allows you to evade an incredible amount of enemies. Freely flying at low levels has always been a wizard-level ability.
Quantum: Not really. We don't even have to go with the feat. We could have just as easily gone with a level or two of Warrior (NPC) and picked up proficiency with bows, peppering the enemy to death. It would have taken a lot longer, but the results wouldn't have been too different. That said, I stayed within the parameters given, and the feats can stay as-is. Are there any specific fights that you'd like a deeper explanation of? I figured most were self-evident, but if there are any in particular that seem off, please let me know and I'll expand or clarify. I don't mind if you change the balance point on Projectile Vomiting (it, by itself, doesn't really do enough damage to be considered rogue-level in my opinion), but getting Fly at level 5 is a very strong indicator of a wizard-level class. Not just for combat, but also for the scouting and utility abilities that come with it. --Ghostwheel 23:16, April 2, 2010 (UTC)
That feat is not meh, not if losing it drops the class down to QBs SGT. Besides that, there aren't any other fighter level feats that give you scaling d6s as a ranged touch attack (that lacks a specified action and also calls it out as at-will and can have SA or other precision effects tossed onto it as well) out to short range as well as energy resistance. There may be better rogue / wizard level feats out there, but since that's basically the only change you made to the build to get a substantial boost, well, I'd like to see you do that with any other fighter level feat. And I continue to disagree with your low level flight hate, as avoiding enemies does not equal besting them in an SGT (chasms, pits, and some traps aside), but that's not particularly relevant atm.
That said, I've gotta side with Ghost on this one. The feats here are class features in the same way that spells are class features for wizards. Yes QB, you can argue that it's an issue with the feat, but it's like arguing that the wizard's issue is his spells. You can cut back on the available feats in the same way that you can cut back on the available spells to sandbag the class, but that doesn't make it a non-awesome class (though it lacks the substantial flexibility that I normally associate with wizard level stuff). - TarkisFlux 23:45, April 2, 2010 (UTC)
There's a difference between the feats that are introduced with the class and those that are introduced later on. The Fiendish Brute was part of a sourcebook, and Wings of Evil was in that sourcebook (hell, I'd count in that *series* of sourcebooks) while Projectile Vomiting wasn't. As such, I'm fine with considering Wings of Evil as part of the class but am not fine with counting Projectile Vomiting as part of the class.
I'll abide by policy, of course, but to do so I need to understand what policy is. For a hypothetical example: say someone wrote up a class that received bonus feats with a particular tag, and a sizable list of such feats. The class was rated fighter-level after analysis. Suppose later another, unrelated user wrote up more feats with the same tag which were individually substantially more powerful. Would the class need to be reclassified as a higher level given the new feats?
Also, regarding the prior test sans vomit:
  • The statue has hardness 10 and reduces most damage sources by 10 (except maybe acid and sonic, and maybe untyped). Also, it can reach up to 25 feet up, and it's very likely that you're inside when facing it, so kiting doesn't seem as assured as you seem to think.
  • Phase Spider - there isn't any reasoning. At all. How is this an even match and not a "you are poisoned several times, you die"?
  • Troll: You don't do acid damage anymore.
  • Door: Without acid damage, how do you handle this one?
  • Entropic shield and wind wall are on the Cleric list, and as a humanoid proficient with simple weapons the cleric can use ranged weapons such as crossbows. As such, calling it a "probable win" is going to need a more detailed reason than "lol I kites him".
--Quantumboost 00:21, April 3, 2010 (UTC)
If we assume for the moment that Projectile Vomiting is off the list, then we'll take the build that you had above. That brings phase spider and cleric up to the level that you listed them as above, making them both toss-ups. As for the others, just get 50 flasks of acid (or more, with level 5 CWBL and perhaps investing in Craft (Alchemy)), and douse enemies/the door with them, all the while flying and staying out of range when applicable. That'll take care of the statue, the troll, and the door without too much of a problem. --Ghostwheel 00:27, April 3, 2010 (UTC)
Okay, looks like the Brute is too strong at level five with access to Wings of Evil. I'd contend that the acid flasks actually aren't helpful against the door (else it may as well just be pit traps, and I mean in all cases) or the statue due to how hardness is worded, but that doesn't actually matter with the rest of the distribution. I'll try to put together a solid 10th-level build and see how it performs there. I don't think level 15 will be that pertinent since it's a 10-level base class. --Quantumboost 01:06, April 3, 2010 (UTC)
Point on the feat source QB (which I missed). Regarding general policy on that, there isn't one because it's all fuzzy. It's sorta like trying to rate a wizard with and without the spell compendium. There's a difference, but how much of one is tough. For your hypothetical though, I'd say if a class got rated and then someone came along and gave it a higher powered option (like in this case, if projectile vomit is a higher powered option than others) that it wouldn't actually affect the rating of the class. For lots of reasons that I don't actually have time for atm, but will add later on if anyone cares to read my babble about using balance levels. - TarkisFlux 03:01, April 3, 2010 (UTC)

Class Feature Components Edit

There's another issue the above discussion hasn't covered WRT class feature components (in this case, [Fiend] feats). How do you rate a class with selectable class feature components scattered across the board in terms of power. A Brute can take only feats labelled as Wizard-level, or only feats labelled as Rogue-level, or mostly feats labelled as fighter-level.

So what do these balance points mean? If the Fiendish Brute is assigned rogue-level based on what it gets in the Tomes, what does it even mean for some of the feats to be wizard-level, since a Brute can take Poison Sacs, Large Size, Extra Arms(!) and Pincers and be rogue-level? The feats should only be wizard-level if building around them turns a build that wasn't wizard-level into a wizard-level build; a Brute who spends all his class features on wizard level feats should be a wizard-level character, and, given a bunch of fighter-level options, should be able to sandbag to fighter level by taking all fighter-level options (similar to how a wizard who casts wizard-level spells is wizard-level, but one who casts exclusively fighter-level spells is fighter-level), otherwise there's no meaning to the rating system for character options at all.

So the pile of fiend feats that exists should only have as many wizard-level feats as it does right now if the fiendish brute is indeed a wizard level class by taking them. If the Fiendish Brute taking a bunch of wizard-level ToF feats isn't a wizard level class, then those feats aren't actually wizard-level (assuming that they're being picked with some kind of plan, not randomly).

On the issue raised, which I would phrase as "for an options-dependent class, which options should we use to define its balance point?", I lean toward only the options intended to go with the primary release of the class. If core-only wizards weren't wizard-level but spell compendium wizards were, the wizard would be whatever balance point the core wizard is, with a bunch of wizard-level expansion options (which you might do well to note with its balance point). A Feat Compendium that adds a whole mess of wizard-level fighter feats (that is, feats that, if you build a fighter around these feats, it becomes a wizard level class) wouldn't make the fighter wizard-level, since the core fighter isn't. Alternately, this kind of class can have a range of balance points; if there are enough fighter-level and rogue-level spells to make a wizard who uses only those (one) playable and (two) something you might play while neither deliberately optimizing or sandbagging (so that a new player might play one by accident), then the wizard might be listed as balance point: Fighter, Rogue, Wizard. --IGTN 05:14, July 28, 2010 (UTC)

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