The Ultimate Munchkin (3.5e Optimized Character Build)
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Most Optimized Builds focus on doing one thing very well; but why settle for owning only one aspect of the game? There are an infinite number of ways to play D&D, and now you can do almost all of them with only one character! Beat huge monsters into dust! Blast spells in every direction! Use your Skills and cunning to bypass every obstacle!
This build focuses on specific synergies to boost damage output, spellcasting ability, Armor Class, Saving Throws, and skills.
Player's Handbook: Monk, Wizard, feats
Player's Handbook II: Duskblade, Feats
Complete Arcane: Enlightened Fist
Dragon Magazine #319: Kung-fu Genius feat
Arms and Equipment Guide: Ward Cestus
Dungeon Master's Guide: Monk's Belt
Savage Species: Necklace of Natural Weapons
Monster Manual: Race options, feats
Game Rule Components
This build capitalizes on Ability and Class Feature Synergy, so there is lot of room for tweaks and customization.
Spells, Powers, Soulmelds, Stances, etc...
You can use any spells, specialization, monk schools etc. for this build. However, a focus on touch spells would be beneficial due to the limitations of the Arcane Channeling feature.
Although not required, 3 items in particular will be of great benefit to this build:
Monk's Belt: DMG p248,
This build relies on Monk class features, which suffer from the extensive multiclassing. This Belt effectively gives you extra Monk levels for a measly 3,000GP.
Ward Cestus: Arms and Equipment Guide p10,
This peculiar exotic weapon performs two important functions for this build. First, it allows you to use your Improved Unarmed Attack damage from the Monk levels; and second, when used with the next item it allows the exploit of the peculiarity that a Monk's Unarmed strike is considered both a Natural Weapon and a manufactured weapon for effects that enhance either type. Throw a few enhancements of your choice on there and they will effectively stack with any enhancement to your natural weapon.
Necklace of Natural Weapons: Savage Species p58.
This item is expensive, but it provides the invaluable capability to add Enhancement Bonuses and special weapon qualities to Natural Weapons. Combined with the Ward Cestus above, it enables you to effectively stack enhancement bonuses and bypass the Legendary enhancement limitation. (Provided your DM lets it fly.) NOTE: Pay CLOSE attention to the cost of this item, it can get VERY expensive if you want to apply large bonuses to multiple natural weapons.
Due to the ability synergy, this build will also benefit greatly from any item which enhances Intelligence, such as:
Headband of Intellect
Ioun Stone of Intellect
Additionally, Dexterity enhancing items will boost your Attack rolls and AC.
Starting Ability Scores (Before Racial Adjustments): If your DM allows Dragon Magazine Material, you want to pump Intelligence as your primary ability, followed by DEX, then CON. If your DM does NOT allow Dragon Magazine Material, you will have to pump Intelligence and Wisdom as your primary abilities, followed by DEX.
Race (Templates): This build can be done with any race, but below are some of my favorites.
Thri-Kreen: Expanded Psionic Handbook, p15. +2 Str, +4 Dex, -2 Int, +2 Wis, -4 Cha. +2 BAB, +3 natural armor, +30 jump, naturally psionic, 4 arms. Focus on Multiweapon fighting for massive damage output.
Satyr: Monster Manual, p220. +2 Con, +2 Dex, +2 Int, +2 wis, +2 Cha. +2 BAB, +4 natural armor, DR 5/cold iron, +4 to Ref and Will saves. Focus on AC and defense for a nigh-unhittable tank.
Drow: Monster Manual, p103. -2 Con, +2 Dex, +2 Int, +2 Cha. Tons of racial skills, immunity to sleep, Spell Resistance 11, Darkvision. Focus on skills and versatility.
|1st||Duskblade 1||+1||+2||+0||+2||Weapon Finesse||Arcane Attunement, Armored Mage (light)||-|
|2nd||Duskblade 2||+2||+3||+0||+3||-||Combat Casting||-|
|3rd||Duskblade 3||+3||+3||+1||+3||Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Ward Cestus)||Arcane Channeling||-|
|4th||Wizard 1||+3||+3||+1||+5||-||Scribe Scroll, Summon Familiar||+1 Int|
|5th||Monk 1||+3||+5||+3||+7||Kung-Fu Genius||Flurry of Blows, Unarmed Strike||-|
|6th||Monk 2||+4||+6||+4||+8||Stunning Fist, Multiweapon Fighting||Evasion||-|
|7th||Enlightened Fist 1||+4||+6||+6||+10||-||Ki Strike (magic), Monk Abilities||-|
|8th||Enlightened Fist 2||+5||+6||+7||+11||-||Fist Of Energy||+1 Int, +1 arcane CL progression (choose Wizard or Duskblade)|
|9th||Enlightened Fist 3||+6||+7||+7||+11||Improved Natural weapon (unarmed strike)||Arcane fist||+1 arcane CL progression|
|10th||Enlightened Fist 4||+7||+7||+8||+12||-||-||+1 arcane CL progression|
|11th||Enlightened Fist 5||+7||+7||+8||+12||-||Arcane Rejuvenation||+1 arcane CL progression|
|12th||Enlightened Fist 6||+8||+8||+9||+13||Extra Stunning||Fist of Energy (burst)||+1 Int,|
|13th||Enlightened Fist 7||+9||+8||+9||+13||-||Hold Ray||+1 arcane CL progression|
|14th||Enlightened Fist 8||+10||+8||+10||+14||-||-||+1 arcane CL progression|
|15th||Enlightened Fist 9||+10||+9||+10||+14||Improved Critical (unarmed)||Diamond Soul||+1 arcane CL progression|
|16th||Enlightened Fist 10||+11||+9||+11||+15||-||-||+1 Int, +1 arcane CL progression|
|17th||Wizard 2, Duskblade 4*, or Monk 3*||+12||+9||+11||+16||-||-||+1 CL progression|
|18th||Wizard 3, Duskblade 5*, or Monk 4*||+12||+10||+12||+16||Combat Reflexes||-||+1 CL progression|
|19th||Wizard 4, Duskblade 6*, or Monk 5*||+13||+10||+12||+17||-||-||+1 CL progression|
|20th||Wizard 5, Duskblade 7*, or Monk 6*||+13||+10||+12||+17||-||Spell Mastery||+1 Int, +1 CL progression|
- ECL 17-20th show BAB, Save, and class feature progression for Wizard.
Choosing Wizard over Duskblade to progress with Enlightened Fist Levels will give you more spells and greater versatility. Levels 17-20 allow for late-game tailoring to your play-style. Progressing Wizard will provide the best spellcasting, Duskblade will provide better BAB and enhance your Fortitude Save, and Monk will provide better saves and useful class features. Alternatively, because you have 4 levels of progression on the tail-end of the character build, consider choosing a race with traits that synergize well (such as the Thri-kreen, or Satyr) and use the extra levels to absorb the Level Adjustment.
The build works because Duskblade and Wizard rely on Intelligence for Bonus spells and Caster Level checks, while the Kung-Fu Genius Feat allows the Monk class to use Intelligence for all Wisdom based class features. Pumping Intelligence also provides a high number of skill points, even though the base classes do not receive many. The saving grace of the build is that the Prestige class allows almost full Caster Level progression, while simultaneously preserving most of the Monk's Base Attack and Save progression. The added synergy of being able to channel magical attacks through your fists from two separate class features, and the synergy between the Ward Cestus and the Monk's natural weapons allows for massive damage output. Especially if a race/feat progression is taken to maximize the number of attacks per round.
Try stacking Flurry of Blows, Arcane Channeling, Fist of Energy, and your enhancements for absolutely massive damage potential. You can also focus on optimizing other aspects of the build, such as number of attacks per round, high AC, or auto-succeeding saves; your feat selection and ability points can go a long way toward customizing this build.
This build gets insanely powerful. My first time playing with this character I ended up single-handedly taking out an encounter designed to punish another hyper-optimized character for breaking the game world. Playing this build is a lot of fun, but you will absolutely break the game. Other players and definitely your DM will hate you a little bit, even if you are playing in an appropriately powered campaign.
This build requires a Lawful alignment, as Flurry of Blows is required to qualify for Enlightened Fist.
The most obvious is to disallow some of the source materials used in the build; particularly the Dragon Magazine #319 (which has the Kung-Fu Genius feat), would nerf this build considerably by destroying the Ability Synergy it is built around. Alternatively you could rule that Natural and Manufactured Enhancements don't stack, or limit some of the other peculiar synergies the build exploits such as stacking Arcane Channeling and Fist of Energy.