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i mean the other issue is the WBL part is your dm just going to shower you with items in the next few encounters? CR and such is built with WBL in mind so if you are lvl 9 but only geared as lvl 6 you may still have some issues
He tends to be stingy on the loot, but the cleric did get a Major magic item... a trident of some sort. we might sell that and craft items to catch up some to WBL. Otherwise we have been under WBL for most of the game.
UPDATE: So I messaged the GM. I asked if I could split up the 100k xp with the two new players. that should put the whole group at around 9th level. So issues resolved! 3 levels in a night still isn't bad!
I appreciate the help guys. Now I can summon without worry of taking over the game lol. Should be fun.
@Tacticslion - Yes we usually run an optimized group. We have been helping the new players learn the ropes as far as optimization goes. They are picking it up quick. The Bloodrager class is just crazy good from what I have seen so far. Having two melee fits my play style perfectly. I enjoy making the battle easier for the DPS to go crazy. Utility is my game. I fix anything a great axe cant.
First thanks for all the Feedback. I will try and respond to all the replys....
1. The GM has alot of experience and He understood that the Deck could wreck things. He just wanted to show the new players something crazy. Up to this point its been a pretty gritty and dark game(we are in Ravenloft). I think he wanted to inject some humor and fun. In our experience if the Deck is introduced at a very high level the party does one of two things.... refuse to pull cards (no fun) or have the spells to make any negatives a moot point. He took the chance of wrecking his game just as we took a chance with pulling cards. We as a group wont fuss with a retcon if something is too wacky.
2. My MAIN concern is to no outshine the party. Especially the two new guys. They have been great finds for our group and I want then to continue to enjoy the game. I will be asking if I can share my xp with the group. If he wont go for that I might just not write down xp until at least the cleric catches up to me in levels.
3. @chbgraphicarts Thats a pretty fun and interesting idea. Only issue is we are in Ravenloft and have been attempting to get out. The GM has hinted that we might find a way out soon. If my level turns out to be an issue my Arcanist might just not make it out of the mist like the rest and I will re-roll something new.
4. I will certainly talk to the GM. He is a good GM. I think he will have a pretty good plan for attacking our unique situation. The cleric (the other experienced player) has already talked about helping some. He is an Item creator. We will be pooling our remaining gold to make items for the Brawler (He lost all his items). It will be the first way we help to swing the balance back. Most of the wealth will be funneled their way in items. I might get a Helm of int back and some gold for copying spells to my spell book. Otherwise most will be headed to them.
Eponine Lokrien Savet wrote:
Ask the GM and the fellow players if you can use one of the wishes to add up all the party exp gained, and distribute evenly to all members. Explain your concerns about being 4 levels higher.
We dont have a wish left but I will ask the GM if I can split the xp I gained with the group. Thats an excellent Idea. It would probably put us all around 9th level almost 10th.
So I had something happen a few nights ago that I have never experienced before and it presents a unique dilemma I thought the fine people on this forum could help me with it. We have two new gamers in our group. This is their first playing pathfinder and they are hooked. The DM of this particular game decided it would be fun to to let them experience a classic. He decided to pull out the Deck of Many Things(Classic version). We where all level 6. We have a Cleric, Bloodrager (New Player), Brawler (New Player), and Arcanist (Me).
So we are sitting in a bar when through a series of events an old croan presents a Deck of Many things and offers each of us a chance to draw cards from the deck. The new players each go first.
The Bloodrager chooses to draw 3 cards.
Then comes the the Brawler and he picks 4 cards.
The cleric decides to pick up 8 cards.
Im up and I choose to draw 7 cards
Everyone joined in the fight and we fought 4 wraiths. The cleric used 2 wishes to cast Sunburst and we finished off the 4 Dread wraiths. (The DM awarded us 25k xp each for defeating 4 CR13 creatures).
Choose between most valuable item(Helm of Int) and a major ally(Cleric). I picked the Cleric
When all the dust cleared I had gained 125,000 xp that night and went from level 6 to 11. The Bloodrager leveled to 7, the Brawler to 8, and the Cleric to 9. So I am now 4 levels ahead of our lowest party member and Im not sure how to handle it.
I am playing an Occultist/School Savant (Conj) Arcanist (The DM allowed the archetypes to stack). I'm at about 1/3 WBL. I pretty much have no gear other then the two magic items from the Deck of many things. My feats are mainly centered on summoning and conjuration. Exploits are Consume Magic Items, Metamagic Know, and Greater Meta Know. I mainly play the Controller/Buff role. I usually start the fight with Haste, followed by summons and spells like the create pit line to control the battlefield and make it easier for the party to do what they do best. I have yet to personally deal a point of damage lol. But its been effective (the dm has branded me the Pit Master haha).
Now for my issue. Being at the level I am, I worry the DM will compensate with higher level encounters and I might have to take a more direct hand in combat. I also worry that my summons will outshine the lower level melee considering I can now use Summon Monster VI. How would you handle the disparity? How can I make sure I don't outshine the rest of the group?
Really it depends on the group and the game being played.
- Does the group like to optimize?
In a game of high optimization there is an expectation that the DM wont play nice. He should attempt to stress the party. Give them real challenges with horrible consequences if they fail. If however your playing with an unoptimized party... that will just lead to frustration.
- Does the group want to be handled with kid gloves or are they into a more gritty game?
- What type of game are you in (Running)?
There is no black or white answer.
It really does feel like a fun little archetype to try out. I was planning on the archer route but there are plenty of other ways to try it out.
I didn't realize they got your armor proficiencies and weapon proficiency. I understand there are feats that mimic those proficiencies but its not really the same thing as a feat in my mind. If you can go with an outsider however they have decent proficiencies to begin with.
Proficient with all simple and martial weapons and any weapons mentioned in its entry. Proficient with whatever type of armor (light, medium, or heavy) it is described as wearing, as well as all lighter types. Outsiders are proficient with shields if they are proficient with any form of armor.
I dont think any of the Improved familiar outsiders wear armor but they can at least use any martial weapon.
Improved Familiar doesn't require a caster level. It requires a Spell Caster level. At 1st level, an eldritch guardian gains a familiar, treating his fighter level as his effective wizard level for the purpose of this ability. In my mind that qualifies him for Improved familiar.
As for Mauler... it already has the ability to speak. Again I would consider that counting. Even without the Mauler template it would be a pretty good little damage dealer.
My next character will be a Eldritch Guardian/ Mutation Warrior. Full Archery with Improved Familiar(Mauler archetype) (Azata, lyrakien). From the look of it, it should be a ton of fun. My little familiar will have a godly str and share all my archery feats. Give her a bow and watch the DM shake his head when it is dealing almost as much DPR as me.
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I cant tell if this is the worst advice ever or the best troll post ever. Either way... brovo...
Have you considered going outside the box. I assume you have a decent strength for composite bow damage. Taking power attack isn't a bad Idea for when the DM uses wind wall or Fickle winds to ruin your fun. A fighter + 2 Handed weapon + Power attack can still dish out some pain when your unable to use your bow.
Just a thought. Also you might look into Arcane Strike. Its pretty easy to get a spell like that has a CL = your fighter level. Its not like your using that swift action for anything else. An extra 5 damage a shot is pretty decent for 2 feats.
Ive been playing an Arcanist with the Occultist archetype. We just hit level 6, but already he has nicknamed my character the Pit Master (Create Pit). He asked me kindly not to pick up Mad Monkeys, because between pits and Elementals that last minutes instead of rounds he was already having issues. We have been fighting tons of mooks and wolves. Combat usually went like this.
1. Summon 1d3+1 Water or Earth elementals
Now that I have hit 6th level I can throw in Haste(No Mad Monkeys though :(
The enhance bonus you can add doesn't stack past +5 which a fighter can get with a normal +5 weapon.
I understand the extra attack is a spell, but you have to actually HIT your opponent for it to matter. Granted your first attack is likely to hit but again look at my example...
+27/+22/+17/+12 vs +13/+13/+8/+3
A Magus's best attack is worse then every attack the fighter has other than the last. If a DM balances an encounter to give the Fighter's last attack a low chance to hit.... that means your BEST attack has a low chance to hit... the others are just laughable.
Stuns, Sicken, Flanking, ect... all those things can be accomplished by the other classes by using abilities such as crit feats or augmented by casters in the party. It just seems to me the magus lags behind for a front line fighter type. I have the same issue with Warpriest and Monk
Here is my issue with the Magus class in general...
The magus is at its heart a Melee class with a smattering of spells. But take a look at their bonuses to hit. In my opinion they just have too many issues hitting. Look at them compared to other melee centric classes...
Fighter - Full BAB, Weapon Training, Gloves of Dueling
Magus - Lets look at what it gets...
- Mid Bab, with TWF penalties due to spell combat
As an example. Lets say you have a 20th level Two Hand Fighter and a 20th Level Magus in the same party. The fighter will have a total of +27 to hit (+21 after Power Attack) vs the Magus +15 (+13 after Spell Combat)
How does a DM balance an encounter with that wide of a gap in bonuses to hit. Simply put the Magus just falls behind. He will hit less and less as that gap gets larger. Burning through your arcane pool to keep up seems a sub par answer.
Am I missing something here?
Which is why I wont play a Paladin in any game unless I know the DM doesn't treat the code this way.
He didn't willingly kill his lover. He didn't change alignment. And he did nothing that would break his Code of Conduct. RAW he is completly safe from loosing his powers. Now as to the Spirit of what the Code is supposed to do....
The Paladin's Code is an RP tool. It is not a "How can I screw my player" tool. It is not meant for the DM to "Set up" situations for the Paladin to have to sacrifice his party/health/ect in order to keep following. It should only be used by the DM to monitor the players actions. As long as he is acting in a LG mannor and isn't doing horrible things you shouldn't be holding his code over his head. How is that fun at all.
Why is it some DM's want to force a player to walk on egg shells if they play a Paladin. Why do some DM's see the need to make Paladin's fall as soon as they see one is being rolled up. I've seen these post over and over. Lose, Lose situations where if the Paladin act like a rational normal individual they loose all their powers and abilities.
NO... BAD. Dont do it. Let the Paladin have fun. Let him be a Rightous Warrior for his god. Dont be "that" DM.
I just don’t see the big deal. Use the Magic Jar effect. It’s an archetype you take for this exact reason. It’s not an evil act. You have to look at the context of who you take over. Is it an innocent child... evil. Is it a non-combatant who has done nothing wrong... evil. Is it an enemy who is trying or tried to kill you... not evil. If you’re going to kill him anyways then what’s the problem. It’s actually the most humane way to go if you think about it. Painless. Instant. Your soul just passes on. Would you rather the warrior split your head open with a broadsword?
In game terms it’s not evil. In RP terms it shouldn't be considered evil either unless you’re taking over someone that’s innocent.
Rogar Stonebow wrote:
Even though may be spending their time in their villages "growing up" they are becoming accomplished in music, art, combat... etc.
Except they dont get any extra skill points or bonuses to music, art, ect. Did they just forget 100 years worth of experience when they set out to find a job (class).
I can understand all the monk hate. I see why on papaer it is weaker then alot of other options. But I have also seen Rogues, Monks, and Ninja's that did very well. We had a 3.5 game with a Monk that went from 1st to 26th level. He was a very effective member of the party.
On paper I see the point. But in practice I see most Rogues and Monks do pretty well. Its hard to explain. A few facts that might be why. Im not argueing that they are good or bad. Just coming from someone who has played pen and paper for 15 years, and Pathfinder for 4 years or so... I have yet to see them actually perform poorly.
Spend 120 years becoming a Level 1 Ranger. Spend two weeks adventuring with a party of mixed races... Double your experience to level 2. Depending on the adventure... you could Spend 120 years "Growing up" and 1 or 2 years later your at your max level of experience (20th level). The wizard that spent 100 years learning to cast light is now creating his own Dimi-Plane a few years later. Hmmm.... Yes it doesn't make alot of sense. Also on that same adventure you have a Human who according to lore develops more quickly because of their short life span... but you just reached the same penacle as he did in the same amount of time. He has maybe 60 years left to life... you have... Hundreds of years left to live all the while being 20th level.
I have most races developing at the same time (Late teens to early 20's). Most Elves and long lived races tend to spend more time in their community before they decide to branch out and adventure, but that isn't required. It just makes it easier for me to grasp. I understand that different races will mature at different rates, but I dont see it being a difference of a hundred years or so. A few years difference makes more sense to me.
I'd make an archer that could actually take feats he wanted in addition to the billion archer feats he needed to work.
Ahh yeah. Forgot about the fact you dont get Dex to hit. I really hope they fix that feat. It should provide Dex to Hit and Damage. You could always go Elven Curve Blade and just CALL it a Katana. Kinda crappy I know but who is going to argue with you while you are actively killing them with said weapon.
You actually dont need to take any Swashbuckler to make it work. Just go straight Magus. At first level you gain Weapon prof with one exotic weapon and Weapon Focus with your chosen weapon. With your first level feat take the following.
Slashing Grace (Combat)
Take the following two Arcana from the ACG...
Flamboyant Arcana (Ex) — Gain the derring-do and opportune parry and riposte swashbuckler deeds.
Arcane Deed (Ex)(requires Flamboyant arcana) - Gain a swashbuckler deed. The deed must be able to be used by a swashbuckler of your magus level. You can use that deed by spending points from your arcane pool as the panache points required for that deed.
You can take Extra Arcana as your 3rd level feat for two Arcana at 3rd. that means you can pick up Flamboyant Arcana and Arcane Deed (Precise Strike). With one Arcana and one feat you have Derring-do, opportune parry, riposte, and Precise strike. Swashbuckler in a box. As long as he has one Arcane Point left in reserve you can deal your Magus level in damage. Thats pretty sick.
A. My bonus was in the first post. 23/23/23/18/13. That is after Deadly Aim and Rapid is factored in. So I would need to roll a 1/1/1/6/11 to hit an AC of 24. I'm not sure how you factored your chance of hit. Ive done very little with "DPR" Olympics.
B. I never said that a Ranger is more well rounded than an Inquisitor. Just that I built the ranger as a well rounded character. I didn't build him for max DPS. However that 1d10+21 could easily be 6 arrows at 1d10 + 29 (And another +4 to hit) off the top of my head if I had built him for straight DPS games. And I am probably missing a lot of the tricks to get his damage up. But I would have had to drop Hooded Champion which adds to the whole well rounded vibe I went with. Never said the Inquisitor wasn't well rounded lol.
C. I couldn't get your link to work. However I didn't have Heroism, or Greater Magic Weapon (Both buffs I could get from my party). I didn't select traits, but I will assume there is little damage boost there. And I was well under WBL (45k under to be exact). Thats wands, potions and extra bonuses on my weapon or whatever.
D. See this is what makes me go Hmmm. I wish I could get your link to work. To say that, "Especially against an AC 24", makes me think your bonus to hit is pretty bad. I hit that on less then a 10 on every attack but the last. I hit it on a 1 on my first 4 arrows. Factor in Concealment and your bonus gets worse where mine doesn't. Again I cant see your build so I am assuming.
Divine Power, Weapon of Awe, ect take rounds away from combat. Your buffing while the Ranger is killing things. Most of his buffs are instantaneous. And Teammates can do very little if the enemy is in your grill. You have to hope you can keep taking 5 foot steps and the mobs aren't Large, or have reach. You have to hope the DM doesn't play your enemies smart and use cover/concealment. You have to hope that your Tea mates don't step in front of you and give you penalties due to concealment.
E. Here we agree. I think Rangers and Inquisitors are awesome. I think Inquisitors are all around a better class then Ranger when it comes to the power curve. But that's based on its buffing potential and 6th level casting. Archery is one of those things that require so many feats, that you almost have to have an Archetype or class ability that give you early access or give you class abilities that mimic them. Monk, Fighter, Ranger, ect... they all have an archetype or combat style dedicated to Archery. Inquisitors don't (as far as I know). In fact there best option is to Dip Zen Archer.
I said no contest based off just Archery. Inquisitors are better casters, better at social situations, and have better damage potential. But 3/4 BAB and lack of early access/Bonus feats it really hurts it for Archery. At least imo. I don't think our opinions are too far from each other. We both think both classes are good. We just differ on which we think is a bit better for archery.
Let me explain and clear up a few things.
A. I miss calculated. He would do 1d8 + 21 (+2 Bow, +4 Str, +1 Point Blank, +8 Deadly shot, +5 Favored Enemy, +1 Greater Bracers). I also forgot to add in the shot from Many Shot. So with Gravity Bow thats 6D10 + 126 or 156 avg damage without a crit.
B. I went for a more balance build with tons of utility. You will notice my build doesn't have a stat below 10. I could have gone Human for the extra feat, used for Arcane Strike for another +3 damage. I could have skipped Hooded Champion (it adds utility not dmg), Favored Enemy bonus would have been +6, instead of +5, and dumped int and cha for a 20 Dex and a 16 Str (There is another +1 dmg per shot). I could have spent more gold on his Bow (instead of just using a +2 bow). Either way I could have boosted his dps into the 200ish range pretty easy. But I figured 150 dps a round was good enough for any campaign. Better to be well rounded then a dps machine with huge weakness.
C. I would be very interested to see your Level 12 Inquisitor that could pump out 300 dps. I'm not saying you cant do it, but I dont see it being possible without some serious cheese. Your already at one less attack a round then the Ranger at 12th level.
D. Even if you can push it up to 300. Thats assuming you hit every attack. My ranger has pretty good bonus to hit even with his last attack. He has Improved Precise Shot and Point Blank Master. Your Inquisitor doesnt. He provokes, He misses due to concealment. He can never get Point Blank Master, and you cant get Improved Precise untill 15th level. That HURTS.
E. I will give Inquisitor this. Its a much better PURE divine caster. It actually has spells that are good at helping outside of boosting Archery. But other than that... The Inquisitor might be able to present some pretty numbers on paper, but I have a feeling in actual play they would be far less effective(at archery) then a straight Ranger.
I would say Ranger is still a better all around option. Expecially if you go Hooded Champion. Here is a quick build on Hero lab.
Ranger (Hooded Champion) Spells Prepared (CL 9th; concentration +13):
So assuming Instant Enemy, Deadly Aim, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Many Shot, and Haste(Boots of Speed) modifiers added:
23/23/23/18/13 for 110 avg dmg without crits, Gravity Bow, or extra elemental dmg bonuses. Pretty decent damage at level 12. And thats with a quick build an without all his stuff added in. He also has a really nice mount/Pet. The real beauty of a Ranger is that he has Improved Precise Shot, and Point blank Master at such an early level. That with the bonuses he can stack on and the straight BAB means he will be hitting more often an Inquisitor. Its not really a contest imo.
As stated earlier. The required CHA modifier for this to be even slightly reasonable is too high. For it to work you can't lower the Caster Level to 1. You have to use your full Caster Level...
Siphon Spell (Su): When the arcanist uses the greater spell disruption exploit, she can siphon some of the power of the targeted spell to restore her arcane reservoir. If the caster level of the spell is equal to or higher than that of the arcanist, and she exceeds the DC of the dispel check by 5 or more, she adds 1 point to her arcane reservoir. If she exceeds this check by 10 or more, she instead adds 2 points to her arcane reservoir.
2 Exploits... 1st and 7th
You basically give up your 1st and 7th Exploit for the ability to cast summon monster as a standard action (plus the move action to sack the spell) and the 1 minute per caster level. Because it cost 1 point per spell level its too expensive to use your normal pool. You will have to sack the spell slot you could have used to just cast the spell in the first place. So you get for 2 exploits...
1 min/CL summon monster as a standard action when you sack a spell(same as a cleric sacking spells for heals)
While this is strong its at the cost of 1/5 of your exploits. As an arcanist you have less spells to begin with. Also... Because you get a new level of Summon Monster at every odd level but dont gain that level of spell casting till your next even level your having to sack several spells or you loose one of your normal pool each summons. Compare this too a Master Summoner. He has 5 + Cha mod in summons in addition to his normal casting.
9th level casting vs 6th level casting, but if you want to churn out the summoning power of a Summoner your not going to do alot of casting. Not to mention you can only have one at a time while the Master Summoner can flood the field.
Its a toss up really. A strong Archetype but it doesn't really replace the appeal of a Summoner imo.
The real win evolutions are Pounce, Improved Damage, Reach, Pull/Push and Bite.
Problem: The summoned creature must conform to any limitations of the evolution. This means a lot of your best High level Devils/Demons/Angels cant benefit from some of these. Pounce needs a Quadruped for instance.
No T-Rex with Pounce and Claws... Limbs are a 2 point evolution which you cant get.
So I tried to place all the feats as I would probably take them. Here are a few things I noticed...
1. You really dont start rolling until Level 5 when you get Dex to Damage and Crossbow Mastery. I went Light Crossbow with Two weapon Fighting.
H: Rapid Reload (Light Crossbow)
1d8 + Dex on a 19-20/X3 is pretty sick. At 20th with a 20 Starting Dex, you could potentially max it out at a 36 dex or so. With +5 Keen Crossbows thats...
+38 to hit
26/26/26/21/21/16/16/11 (Touch AC within 80ft )
Its the only "Archer" type with Dex to damage... well other than an actual Gunslinger of course. I think it makes it super competitive with the other big ranged classes (Zen Monk, Fighter Archer, Ranger, ect).
The Hooded Champion Archetype is also very interesting... I am knocking around a few ideas on ways to tweak it.
I fixed it. It seems someone decided to troll my guide. I do plan to update it with all the new traits and suggestions. I have just been out of town the past 6 months or so. Now that I'm back I should be getting it updated before long. Thanks again for all the suggestions and comments. I will post a new thread when I get it updated.
So, how does it change if you get 1 point in 5 attributes of your choice each 4 levels? You can switch which attribute doesn't get a point each time if you like.
It doesn't. Caster's aren't powerful because they are SAD. Attributes have very little to do with it. Its the casting that makes them what they are.
Messing with the way attributes are gained doesn't change that.
This really looks amazing. It makes me want to try out a custom campaign with no prepared casters. It would cut down on arcane power by making casters more specialized. Something like...
No Wizard or Sorcerer. Possibly even change the Druid/Cleric/Oracle to be more specialized spontaneous casters as well. It would limit the power of the classes some. They would at the very least drop to low Tier 2 classes if not Tier 3. And it would add a ton of depth if given as much love as your beguiler has gotten. Each could be rivals of different "Schools" of magic.
Anyone else think this would be a cool campaign world?
Im sorry... at what point did I say that investing in social skills and Cha would do nothing for that person? At what point did I say that all social situations should be hand waved and up to the person's actual ability to communicate?
The OP said the fighter and Monk didnt feel they could CONTRIBUTE to out of combat situations. Not take them over or be the face... but actually make a difference. My respose was simply this... Anyone with well developed backstory and a DM who wants to get everyone envolved will be fine. Will they be making all the social roles? No. But can they contribute to the story and the conversation... sure. Can they gather information by actually talking to people... yes. Will they get as much info as the guy with a maxed out GatherInfo skill. No... but they can still figure stuff out and add to the group. Can the DM incorporate the backstory of any character into the plot and make that player fill invested. Absolutely.
My favorite character was a low INT Barbarian(3.5 before the buffs). He didnt have a ton of social skills, but I RP'ed his low INT and had a blast with him. I never felt like I couldn't contribute even though I lacked a huge pool of skills or earth altering spells and abilities. I played him from 1st to 26th level. He along with 2 other long lasting characters became the focal point of the story... A Barbarian, a Fighter and a Monk actually now that I think about it.
I have also seen Rogues/Bards/Wizards with a crap ton of skills/spells that could contribute outside of combat, but they sat in the corner playing words with friends until the combat started. I never said that Fighters/Monks had the same advatages that other classes have when it comes to social situations... and honestly if they wanted to be a face or the social guru... then they should look at another class. But if all the want is to be a part of the story when not in combat... that is easly solved by a little creative thinking.
And If I was in a game that resolved all social situations with a skill role I think I would fall asleep. Those skills are all well and good but if Your DM (or you) require a skill role to get anything done in a social situation then you are missing out on half the fun of a Pen and Paper RPG. Are there mechanical issues with Fighter or Rogue or Monk... Possibly, but thats not what the OP asked about. They dont need help in the one thing not tracked by Pathfinder... the ability to come up with an interesting character and then roleplay said character.
My point was that Fighter is always going to be worse option to perform out of combat abilities. *Any* class can do this better.
I must be confused. When did Pathfinder add a "Roleplaying" stat? Do fighters dump RP to raise STR now?
I dont see the issue. To the original poster: The issue isn't the classes. Its the players playing the classes. They seem to have prepared for combat, but failed to create interesting concepts to RP when they aren't swinging a sword or kicking someone. I have had entire games revolve around the fighter(The focal point for the "out of combat" portion of the game).
Here is an Idea: Have them write a backstory. Where do they come from. Where are their families. Why did they decide to adventure. What are their goals. Do they have any enemies. What do they fear the most. Likes/Dislikes/Quirks/Issues/ect. Then incorperate that stuff into the plot. That should keep them from feeling "useless".
I think the sweet spot is around level 22 to 26... Which doesn't really require you to have an Epic level handbook. Six levels past 20 gives you plenty of time to enjoy your capstone and to flesh out your character by giving him additional levels from another class.
I have only reached epic level twice and have been playing pen and paper games for over a decade... that doesn't stike me as a huge hole that needs filled. There are rules in place for 20+ gameplay even if they aren't fleshed out. Add in Mythic play and you have everything you really need.
Now a Divine book on the other hand, would be great. A book of all the Deities stated out... if for no other reason then to give my groups something to debate("God A could totally take out God B in a fight!").