You don't need rogue for UMD you can take the dangerously curious trait to get it as a class skill. The cosmopolitan feat works as well. Skill focus: UMD is another option.
Also it may or may interest you but you might check out the low templar prestige class: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/prestige-classes/other-paizo/i-m/low-templa r
If you're willing to go cold instead of fire, I think this is a better choice for PFS and low-level campaigns than the save or daze because you get your mojo on at level 4 instead of level 11 (at higher levels, save or daze is better).
Human (Keleshite) Sorcerer 4
(You were born in an oasis in the desert and have always felt a tug pulling you to the sea because of your Marid heritage.. or something... just trying to explain how you end up a cold specialist of a Keleshite fire spell)
Traits: Reactionary, Magical Lineage: Burning Arc
So at level four, you can cast a Rime Spell "Freezing" Arc that does 6d6 damage to the first enemy, 3d6 damage to the second, 1d6 to the 3rd, (spell specialization gets you caster level 6 for 1 primary target + 2 secondary... if I'm reading the spell correctly) and all three targets are entangled even if they make their save! Not bad for a second level spell slot. Cold immune enemy? Just cast it as a fire spell!
If you're dead set on fire blasting, then you can do sickening spell plus Burning Arc at level 6
Human (Keleshite) Sorcerer 6
Traits: Reactionary, Magical Lineage: Burning Arc
Bloodline: Any (Arcane for DC, Orc/draconic/etc. for damage... heck you could even do Sylvan for a mount).
So at level 6 you've got an 8d6/4d6/2d6 Burning Arc that Sickens everyone who fails their save. Sickened is especially notable because it gives a -2 penalty on saves so that you can continue to pile on the hurt!
james maissen wrote:
Brilliant! This makes either the Mount spell or the Sylvan bloodline pretty compelling considerations for a low level blaster trying utilize Burning Hands
On the what to do at low-levels discussion, I think it's worth noting that casting Intensified Burning Hands as a sorcerer is a full-round action. i.e., you better hope a 5' step can get you into position, because that's all the movement you get! For a sorcerer, it doesn't seem worth bothering with Intensified Spell until you're casting Burning Arc or Fireball or something else that does not rely on your positioning to be effective.
Using Tejón's DPR Calculator these are the DPR numbers I get (assuming I checked all the boxes appropriately) Calculated for AC 12 which I believe is supposed to be the CR 1 average AC, and AC 17 which is the highest CR 1 AC that I saw when I glanced through the CR 1 monsters.
__TWF, EWP, Double Slice__
vs. AC 12
vs. AC 17
__TWF, EWP, Weapon Focus__
vs. AC 12
vs. AC 17
TL;DR - The numbers are pretty close, pick the one that is the most rad. I vote Bastard Swords because they are the largest. But as mentioned numerous times, the Falcata eventually becomes the best weapon in the game damage-wise.
With the bastard sword you're trading -2 hit for +2 damage compared to a d6 weapon. That's worse than power attack, so I'm gonna go with not worth it.
The falcata's superior crit (best in the game) means that it eventually pulls ahead of pretty much every weapon once you high enough static bonuses to damage... But finding that break point on my phone right now seems like a pain. If no one has done it by the time I get back to my computer I'll give it a go! On TWF vs 2-handed for the falcata, I think having super high strength (Barbarian for example) generally favors 2-handed but TWF can pull ahead with stuff like a Paladins Smite Evil ability.
I've never played PFS, but I get the impression that if you want to, it's not that hard to break the system.
I found Ogre's writeup on self-imposed difficulty levels for PFS characters pretty interesting. https://plus.google.com/115022859420675980618/posts/8ZGscC9Suog
I think this is an out-of-game issue with an out-of-game solution. i.e. he needs to be convinced that it will be more fun for everyone if he builds less super-effective characters because the nature of PFS is that the GM cannot adapt to his fantastic characters the way they could in a home game. In the conversation, it probably wouldn't hurt to emphasize the part where he is awesome at building characters, because that seems to be what he enjoys. I really like the hard mode analogy in Ogre's article.
This would work great for a bomb-focused alchemist. Could still be a sneaky character for sure.
Reduce Person is basically +2 attack/+2 AC for ranged characters. If you're high enough level, use the Combine Extracts discovery for combo Reduce Person+Shield extracts
Take the Pyromaniac alternate racial trait for the gnome for a little extra bomb damage.
For a PC you probably need to get the Precise Shot feat and the Precise Bombs discovery, which fills your feats and discoveries through level 3. For an NPC villain, you can skip that and rush straight for stink bomb (Smoke Bomb as your second level discovery, Stink Bomb at third with the Extra Discovery feat).
Edit: PS mad props for writing a guide—it looks like a whole lot of work. I know I have benefitted a lot from all the guides on these boards.
I participated in an arena based play-by-post (which unfortunately never finished) that might be worth skimming through the game play thread for some ideas: http://paizo.com/campaigns/DUNGEONATORSSeason1
It was two teams + monsters in a giant arena full of ruined buildings featuring:
A pride of lions (so traditional!)
Definitely a highlight was a flying NPC character dropping a Feather Token: Swan Boat from high above the arena as a deadly AoE attack.
And the lions. Nothing like an 80' charge out of nowhere with a Bite/Claw/Claw/Rake/Rake + Grab on the end of it to force a sudden change of plans!
I love this idea! The general idea of compulsive optimizers choosing to optimize a supremely non-optimal character idea so as to not outshine the group is a common one, but I like the way it's laid out in these specific rules!
Anyways, I got excited ;) Here are a bunch of thoughts:
I know it doesn't fit the mini, but if you're going to play a gnome melee fighter, it seems a real shame to miss out on the chance to use the array off stupid weapons available to the gnome such as the Gnome Hooked Hammer, The Piston Maul, or the Ripsaw Glaive. The latter two don't have "Gnome" in the title so I believe you still have to spend a feat on Exotic Weapon Proficiency, but it might be worth it for the bonus damage + the awesomeness factor.
For the Piston Maul or the Ripsaw Glaive, you don't have to change much other than your mini, just take Exotic Weapon Proficiency instead of Power Attack.
Bunch of non-barbarian ideas:
Here is another path that might interest you... the Paladin! Now, a gnome mounted paladin is generally considered a "strong" choice, so we'll skip that, since the point is to do something challenging. Instead here are a couple vengeful gnomish crusaders specializing in crushing their foes with their holy rage. Kind of like a barbarian... but with more god involved. Stat-wise it really fits the gnome (other than the low strength).
Some fit the mini, some don't.
Gnome Paladin (Oath of Vengeance) 12:
Obviously some of those extra lay on hands can be switched out for more interesting feats. The basic premise is to use Oath of Vengeance to be Smiting Evil every single encounter featuring an evil foe, and when you aren't, you're still doing some serious damage with your thunderstone fueled beat stick and healing yourself with your Lay on Hands ability. Or prancing around with an absurd AC due to your combo of full-plate + heavy shield if you want to stick with the mini.
You might even almost be able to make a TWF sword+board paladin work.
Gnome Paladin (Oath of Vengeance) 12:
I'm totally failing to find the rules for what happens if you stay up all night... But if you just get fatigued, then a human with the Heart of the Fields alternate racial trait never needs to sleep as once per day they can just negate the fatigue. This is far off into the absurd land of RAW though and probably would never happen in a real game ;)
The Pathfinder society model might be something to learn from. All characters are part of a large organization with similar but not identical goals. This explains away characters coming and going all the time.
Run a lot of one (or 2 or 3) session long adventures. Even if someone isn't up to DM for months on end, they might still enjoy DMing for an evening. When you DM your character is off doing something else, so they still get exp. maybe some cool bonus stuff as well, magic items, don't have to pay for the snacks, whatever works for your group.
My group is switching to this style and I'm really looking forward to it (I'm usually the DM)
Of course if there is actually a Pathfinder Society game in your area you can just do that!
Just a thought if you did want to go straight Archaeologist:
Half-elf Archaeologist (Bard) 6
Str: 18 (15 + 2 race + 1 level)
Rogue Talent: Trap Spotter
Perception: +16 (6 ranks + 3 class - 1 wis + 2 half-elf + 3 feat + 3 clever explorer)
Defensively, you're fragile, so try and use the reach weapons to stay out of trouble and cast Mirror Image if you have to get up close and personal. With a little work, you could probably up your defenses.
The general consensus is that this monstrosity is the most optimal choice: Cross-blooded Orc+Draconic Sorcerer 1/Evocation (admixture school) Specialist Sin Magic Wizard X
If you want to play a straight sorcerer and you are dead set on cold damage (acid damage is the least often resisted, fire damage has the most spells available to you), Here are some options:
Cross-blooded Orc+Draconic (Silver): this has the most damage, but you will suffer from the low number of cold spells available to you.
Cross-blooded Orc+Elemental (Water): damage is slightly lower, but the Elemental Bloodline Arcana allows you to change any blast into a cold blast. Which lets you use the Rime Spell Metamagic, which is pretty nice. You can do Draconic (Silver)+Elemental (Water) if Orc isn't your thing... but Orc allows you to get bonus damage on non-cold spells, which is nice when you come up against cold-immune enemies.
The keys to dealing lots of damage with any of these builds are to up your caster level with feats like Varisian Tattoo and Spell Specialization, then use the Intensified Spell Metamagic.
Upon further research, check out the Freedom Subdomain. You've got all the status removal you need in a single domain.
And just in case people don't feel like looking it up, the Liberation domain:
The great thing about this all being just one domain, is that you don't have to be a bandaid!
With a big stack of scrolls of things like: Protection from Evil, Liberating Command, Delay Poison, Remove Paralysis, Resist Energy, Lesser Restoration, etc. You're pretty much good to go on the anti-debuff front.
Also, check out the Liberation domain. It's 8th level ability sounds like exactly what you're looking for. And it's a pretty sweet domain.
With Scribe Scroll and the Liberation Domain, I think you'll be plenty effective at "anti-debuffing" so you can still be a melee battle cleric, a ranged archer cleric, or a debuffer in your own right as a caster/bad touch cleric.
Technically you can't do this because spring attack only let's your take a melee attack, not a standard action. This is the same reason that you can't use vital strike with spring attack.
You can do:
Round 1 - cast a touch spell and hold the charge
Alternatively, you can use the Domain Strike feat in combination with spring attack to deliver you domain powers.
Domain Strike is also interesting because it does not provoke AoOs, while activating your spell-like ability domain powers normally would.
Also, don't forget that spring attack requires BAB +4.
Personally, I'd skip monk and just go straight cleric, taking improved unarmed strike and whatnot as your feats, but that's certainly not your only option. Also, this would allow you to take the Chaos domain (which would seem weird if you were a Lawful monk), which has an awesome power for a Bad Touch cleric. Touch of Chaos will really shine in combination with the Wizard and Witch (enemy has to reroll their saves!)
Human Cleric of Sun Wukong
Another option that I always thought would be fun is:
Cross-blooded (Orc/Elemental: Water) + Rime Spell Metamagic
Turn the plethora of fire blasts at your disposal into cold blasts with the Elemental bloodline, then add in Rime Spell to add some debuff to your blast. Orc keeps the damage respectable. Run into a cold immune enemy? Just blast with fire! You still get your bonus damage from the Orc bloodline. The Magical Lineage trait really makes this work.
Like all the options other than Sorcerer 1/Wizard X, it's not as optimized, but it's still effective, if for whatever reason that particular build doesn't jive with you or your group.
Also, a general cross-blooded tip: make sure to use metamagic feats to use your highest level spell slots when you have no spells known of that level. Persistent Spell and Heighten Spell are solid choices for this purpose.
So this might take away some of the stupidity of the build, which is the point of course, but:
Unarmed Fighter 1/Wizard 5/Eldritch Knight
Feats (just off the top of my head):
And you actually get to use Kirin Style. When do you ever get to use Kirin Style!?
Obviously a Magus with Improved Unarmed Strike is of course the most functional version of this guy, but that might be too functional for him to be the butt of the joke ;)
I think you can make a decent argument for the keg counting as an improvised greatclub, getting you d10 damage. This would make it a 2-handed weapon, and thus you couldn't use deflect arrows anymore, but that's not really a big loss.
From the monk's unarmed strike ability: "A monk's attacks may be with fist, elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a monk may make unarmed strikes with his hands full."
Unfortunately, to flurry with the keg, you would need to use the Monk of the Empty Hand archetype, which doesn't stack with Drunken Master. As far as PFS goes, I don't think there is a lot of wiggle room in terms of bending the rules.
Here is an option
Dwarf Drunken Master
If you have a soda keg sized keg that your dwarf can carry with one hand, that leaves your other hand free to use deflect arrows legally. Fluff-wise, you can describe your character as deflecting an arrow with his keg rather than with the free hand. That accomplishes using your keg for cover more or less.
When you use your overrun combat maneuver, you can describe your character as knocking them over with the keg. This accomplishes using the keg to hit people, without having to use it as an improvised weapon that you can't flurry with.
If this were a home game, and I were your DM, I'd just let you stack Monk of the Empty Hand with Drunken Master even though it's not legal... but for PFS you can't do that so you'll have to come up with workarounds.
Bouncing, Persistent Hold Person is only a 5th level spell for a cleric/oracle/witch. Someone is bound to fail their save. Sure, it requires a follow-up coup de grace to truly be save-or-die, but it seems pretty potent to me!
Compare that to, say, a regular old Baleful Polymorph. My money's on the Bouncing, Persistent Hold Person!
Do you have to prove that a bard can excel at controlling and debuffing? You might be better served by either making a great bard or a great controller rather than trying to do both.
If you want to play a charismatic controller that never deals damage, what about a fey bloodline sorcerer? High cha, bluff is a class skill for sorcerers, bonus to compulsion spells dc Put some points in int for more skills.
If you want to play the best bard you can, it seems silly to ignore the fact that the bard is capable of dealing some pretty decent damage. Rather than cast grease, then net them, cast grease then pepper them with arrows or slice them up with your falcata. Or better yet, cast Haste then the whole party can go to town.
If you want to play the ultimate tripping disarming whip using combat maneuver specialist, the lore warden fighter archetype is a great choice.
If you're dead set on a controlling and debuffing bard, the court bard might be an interesting archetype. Give your enemies penalties instead of giving your allies bonuses. Don't forget that the penalty applies to saves against your fear and charm effects. Weapon focus: net and dazzling display might be nice.
1) Force Punch is another spell that can move people into the pit.
2) A Cleric with the Caves subdomain gets Create Pit, Spiked Pit and Hungry Pit. Better BAB means better bull rushing, shield bashing, etc., if you want to push them into the pit yourself.
For example, here is something I threw together real quick:
Dwarf Cleric 9
Alternate racial trait:
Round 1 - Activate Aura of Menace (Enemies get -2 saves, among other penalties)
Seems totally viable.
You have all the cloud spells (for their vision impairing properties), all the wall spells.
Also, if you are using spells with "save negates," AoE spells like glitterdust and grease greatly increase the chance that somebody is going to fail their save.
The Bouncing Spell metamagic feat seems a strong choice for single target save or suck spells like Blindness/Deafness, again, to incase the chance that someone gets hit with it, even if not the intended target.
Just from the first few levels of spells in the CRB, here are a handful of spells with no save.
Silent Image: in order to be allowed to make a save, the enemy must interact with the illusion in some way, at the very least, wasting an action doing so.
Scorching Ray (maybe not the best spell, but no save)
Halt Undead (on mindless undead)
Ray of Exhaustion (fatigued on save, hit them a second time and guaranteed exhaustion)
I keep coming up with more build ideas.
Then I realized that they are all based on the same combo:
Magical Lineage + low level spell:
Hideous Laughter (2nd level, 1st level as a Bard), Blindness/Deafness (2nd Level Wizard), or Hold Person (2nd level Cleric) + Bouncing Spell
Glitterdust or Create Pit + Persistent Spell
Here are some build stubs based on your interests… I've never played PFS, but everyone seems to say that Diplomacy can be a super important skill. I tried to fit 14 into Int so that you could get 4 skills. If you were willing to use your favored class bonus for skills instead of HP, you could do 12 Int and get the same skills. Or if you didn't care so much about skills, Int 10 would allow you to up your other stats. These aren't the most optimized, and I'm sure I'm missing something, but they seem effective and fun to me-both in and out of combat. Dumping strength and wisdom even further obviously gets you boosts to your other stats if you are comfortable with that.
Half-elf Fey Bloodline Sorcerer
Str: 8 (light load: 26 lbs, Str 10 is 33 lbs if that makes you more comfortable).
Spells at level 1 (didn't think too hard about these, I'm sure there are better options)
Gnome Fey Bloodline Sorcerer
Str: 6 (8 - 2, keep in mind that small gear weighs less).
Spells at level 1 (didn't think too hard about these, I'm sure there are better options)
I would suggest that you do not try and stack Magical Lineage and Wayang Spellhunter for your first game with a bunch of strangers.
It may be RAW, but it's clearly not RAI (the rules for traits specifically state that "they're intended to give player characters a slight edge, not a secret backdoor way to focus all of a character's traits on one type of bonus and thus gain an unseemly advantage"), so it's probably best to avoid it until you've established how the group you play with feels about these sorts of combinations. No point if pissing off your new gaming mates just for the sake of a little extra power for your character. On the other hand, if the guy sitting next to you is a Gunslinger rocking a Colossal Double Hackbut, or some other such absurdity, go for it!
That said, the character James Maissen posted is still totally viable without that combo, so if you've been wooed to the ways of the blaster, just swap one of them to Reactionary or something and you're good to go.
This combo has been popping up more and more in optimization threads in the Advice forum.
The full text regarding trait stacking is this: "Many traits grant a new type of bonus: a “trait” bonus. Trait bonuses do not stack—they're intended to give player characters a slight edge, not a secret backdoor way to focus all of a character's traits on one type of bonus and thus gain an unseemly advantage. It's certainly possible, for example, that somewhere down the line, a “Courageous” trait might be on the list of dwarf race traits, but just because this trait is on both the dwarf race traits list and the basic combat traits list doesn't mean you're any more brave if you choose both versions than if you choose only one." (emphasis mine).
As far as I can tell, this means that Magical Lineage and Wayang Spellhunter shouldn't stack. But of course, that doesn't mean that they don't by RAW. The problem that this requires DM interpretation, even if that interpretation seems obvious.
It'd be great to get an official response. Intensified Burning Hands as a 0th level spell? Bouncing Blindness/Deafness as a 1st level spell? Persistent Glitterdust as a 2nd level spell? Dazing Scorching Ray as a 3rd level spell? Etc. Seems overpowered to me.
Rough math (someone correct me if I've messed this up), assuming you always confirm. (I'm also assuming that the Falcata is being wielded 2-handed, so Strength bonuses, Power Attack, etc. are all identical)
18-20/x2 means that 15% of the time you do +100% damage: .15*1.0 = .15 or +15% damage (assuming 100% to confirm.)
The Elven Curve Blade and the Falchion do do slightly more base damage than the Falcata, but the Falcata's critical is definitely better. As your static damage bonuses increase the Falcata will pull ahead. Conversely, at low levels, when you don't have that many damage bonuses, the Greatsword and Earthbreaker are better than the high crit weapons.
Here's an option:
Human Theologian 8
Str: 20 (18 + 2 racial)
Use your channeling (and scrolls for more obscure ailments) to heal people after combat. During combat, focus on helping the group by killing your enemies faster!
There are vague rules for hauntings in the gm guide: http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/mastery/haunts.html#haunts
These rules are vastly ellaborated on in the first book of the Carrion Crown AP: Haunting of Harrowstone. Check it out, or at least head over to the Carrion Crown forum to hear some different reactions to the haunts: I.e. what is fun and what isn't.
Whether or not these are the rules you want to use I don't know but they seem like a good place to start. Especially the list of haunts in the Haunting of Harrowstone.
A ranged paladin seems compelling. Holy Gun as mentioned, or Divine Hunter maybe? Or Oath of Vengeance so you can take Extra Lay on Hands to get more smites?
Attacking from range, great saves, d10 hit die, and the ability to heal yourself is mighty compelling way to make up for Con 9.
Human Paladin (Divine Hunter) 1
HP: 10 (10 - 1 con + 1 favored class)
Longbow +4 or +2/+2 d8/x3
Not too shabby for level 1.
As suggested, sorcerer (maybe gnome) with the toughness feat seems solid as well. Maybe arcane bloodline and a toad familiar for a few more HP at low level? (You can pick up improved familiar to get something cooler later). Gnome Arcane Bloodline Sorcerer with Toughness a Toad familiar, and favored class bonus to HP has 13 HP at level 1. Again, not bad.
Not quite your question, but as my group is a lot smaller than yours, I often handle no shows by doing something else, like running a one-shot adventure such as "We Be Goblins" or having a board game night instead. No-shows are infrequent enough and rescheduling is easy enough that we rarely play without everyone present.
With a 7 person group, no-shows obviously are much more commonplace and rescheduling is a pain, so playing the planned adventure without the player makes a lot more sense.
In my opinion the solution is to talk to your GM about it.
All of Paizo's Adventure Paths give suggestions for what favored enemies for a ranger to take in their Player's Guides.
Don't think of it as yucky bad metagaming. Think of it as working together with your GM to tell better story! You don't have to just leave it at "Favored Enemy: Oozes will be totally relevant to this campaign" "Ok. I take favored enemy oozes." Build it into your character you when the first ooze shows up you get to see "Good thing I know how to deal with these! As a child growing up in Oozetown of Oozelandia one became an adult when one defeated one's first ooze... with one's bare hands!" And the rest of your party says "Thank goodness we're friends with Otto Oozebane, we would have been in a real pickle otherwise!" Totally worth a little "metagaming" to avoid your dragonslayer spending his whole career fighting Gnolls, never getting to address his goal to open a dragon-hide purse business or whatever.
If your GM doesn't want to help you pick your favored enemies to fit with the story, then do as blackbloodtroll suggested and play a Guide archetype.
I don't think you can stack Wayang Spellhunter and Magical Lineage, at least not RAI, but if your DM feels differently, stack away. The rules for traits state:
"Many traits grant a new type of bonus: a “trait” bonus. Trait bonuses do not stack—they're intended to give player characters a slight edge, not a secret backdoor way to focus all of a character's traits on one type of bonus and thus gain an unseemly advantage. It's certainly possible, for example, that somewhere down the line, a “Courageous” trait might be on the list of dwarf race traits, but just because this trait is on both the dwarf race traits list and the basic combat traits list doesn't mean you're any more brave if you choose both versions than if you choose only one."
For the Shocking Grasp sorcerer, I think this would be better:
Cross-blooded (draconic/orc) tattooed sorcerer
Spell Specialization + Varisian Tattoo are where it is at for d6 per level type spells. Crossblooded for +2 damage per die. Intensify and Empower obviously are good stuff.
Human ross-blooded (draconic/orc) tattooed sorcerer 10
Level 1 (1st level slot): Shocking Grasp: 4d6 + 8 (avg. 22)
And from level 3 onwards you're using Shocking Grasp at close range instead of touch.
For magic missile, I would do
Human Tattooed Sorcerer, Orc Bloodline
Spell Specialization and Varisian Tattoo net you +3 caster levels with magic missile, letting you get more missiles a lot earlier. Orc bloodline is +1 damage/die.
Level 2: Magic Missile: 3d4+6 (13.5 avg)
I posted this guy in the "Give me your Lowbies" thread, but here is an expansion out to level 10. Probably are better ways to do the feats, these were just off the top of my head.
Spell of choice: Color Spray
Gnome Oracle 10
Awesome Display (Each creature affected by your illusion (pattern) spells is treated as if its total number of Hit Dice were equal to its number of Hit Dice minus your Charisma modifier)
Persistent Color Spray as a 2nd level spell with Magical Lineage. 3rd level slot with piercing spell to combat SR.
Enemies have to save twice or most likely be unconscious, blinded and stunned. Brutal!