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If you never find, at the end of the day, that you have a leftover spell slot sufficient to charge your staff, then I guess a staff is not a great deal for you. Personally I'll often find that I have a leftover slot or a spell I prepared for a situation that didn't quite come up, and trading it down is a lot better than letting it go poof.
My issue with them is mostly that, at best, you are getting the ability to save a spell slot from a previous day.
You say this like storing a spell slot from one day to the next isn't amazing. Sure, trading down Reverse Gravity for Fireball isn't the most economic deal, but if you haven't used that Reverse Gravity by the end of the day it's a better deal than letting it evaporate in the morning.
Drake Brimstone wrote:
I think part of the problem with this class is they are trying to make a hybrid class from a "base" class and a hybrid class. Remember, Ranger is essentially a hybrid of Fighter and Druid to start with. With archetypes already in existence that blur the line between Druid and Ranger there isn't much room for a whole new base class.
On top of that, the druid is already functionally a hybrid, with 3/4 BAB, medium armor, decent weapons and useful combat abilities. So the space is even narrower than you'd think.
Alex Mack wrote:
I like this class. The problem is mechanically you can probably pull of very much of what this class does with the inquisitor who takes the animal domain and has his animal spend feats on teamwork feats. This is probably the most optimized route to build an inquisitor anyway so we have some major redundancy here especially as the class lay out is pretty much modeled after the inquisitor.
You can also do all of what this class does with a druid who just decides not to Wild Shape or cast his high-level spells and picks up some teamwork feats.
I am extremely disappointed about the specification of living targets for Precise Strike. Didn't they fix that on the rogue precisely because it was no fun having a character whose main damage mechanic was neutralized by about half the monsters in the game?
My problem with this class is that, since it's supposedly a druid hybrid, comparing it to the druid is natural and inevitable. The Hunter only makes sense as a druid hybrid if you forget that druids already have 3/4 BAB and medium armor (with the option of heavy if they want it). I get that this is supposed to be a more combat-focused hybrid than the druid, but what makes it more combat focused? It has barely better proficiencies (longsword isn't really a step up from scimitar, longbow is nice I guess), an enhancement bonus a few times a day (which doesn't stack with items or the buffs that are already on the druid list), and bonus teamwork feats.
A druid who spends his feats on weapon combat will come out looking pretty much exactly the same as a hunter, except with better spellcasting and the option of wild shape if he feels like it. There's no significant boost to the combat ability of the hunter compared to a druid, even a druid who entirely ignores wild shape.
Cha to knowledge check would be nice, but I dont really have any interest in cha to reflex (I dont consider it stacks with divine grace). I'll have to analyse if it works well. The loss of cha to CMD could be problematic.
Since Sidestep Secret replaces your Dex bonus, it should stack with Divine Grace just as your Dex bonus would.
I agree with most of your advice except for these. Feather Fall is one of the very few situational spells which can be worth using a spell-known slot for, because it's an immediate action and the situation where it comes up is one where you often have less than a round to act. When you've been dropped through a trap door or thrown off a cliff you don't have time to dig for a scroll before you hit bottom. If you don't see the situation coming up, that's one thing, but if Feather Fall's worth having at all it's worth having on short notice.
As for Sleep, its HD limit is painful even at low levels and he's got both Grease and Color Spray. That's plenty of level 1 battlefield control; Sleep would be redundant.
The Sapper archetype for rogues in the Dungeoneer's Handbook says that "She shares a portion of the proceeds with the adventurers; the amount typically equals 1d10 gp per sapper level per dungeon." However, the archetype is available to PCs. Since the ability explicitly states that the shared-out d10-per-level is "a portion of the proceeds", what is a PC sapper's personal share of this loot?
People who say Deception, Time, Healing and Shadows are the only worthwhile patrons are skimming the list for a few spells that pop out at them. This is understandable, since the patrons list is honestly a bit boring to read, but if you actually dig through it there are a lot more good patrons than that. Agility, Ancestors, Elements, Trickery and Strength are all good patrons for their given playstyles that give a number of useful spells from offlist. (Plague would be, except that the Gravewalker archetype does the same thing better.) Water and Spirits are both patrons that give you a bunch of offlist spells that do things the normal witch list doesn't do very well, but they're both rather specialized and campaign-dependent.
Honorable mention goes to Winter for early Ice Storm and Enchantment for early Euphoric Tranquility, both of which are excellent spells that those patrons grant a level earlier than usual.
Personally I find Shadows to be something of a disappointing patron, actually; Shadow Conjuration was immensely powerful in 3.5 where just about every effect under the sun found its way into Conjuration eventually, but in PF it's pretty much just "summon monster, pit or wall at a level penalty". A lot of the time you'd be better off just memorizing Summon Monster instead, which is on the witch list already. Some people like it, though.
In the Universal Monster Rules entries for disease and poison, the formula for calculating the DC of monster disease and poison attacks is provided. In both cases, the Constitution modifier of the creature is one of the elements, so when that increases the DC increases as well.
This is all assuming you've bothered taking the appropriate craft skill though, which kind of bumps it down.
You don't need to have the craft skill, you just need to make the craft check. Craft is an Int-based skill that can be used untrained, most DCs are 10-15, and only a few alchemical items and high-Strength composite bows have DCs higher than 20. A wizard should be able to take 10 on most items easily even untrained and handle almost anything else with one skill point plus class skill bonus - or, if even that's too much investment for you, Crafter's Fortune should suffice to make up the gap.
The "more than one item" question is a matter of GM interpretation - most GMs I've known have allowed it as long as they're notionally related items (like "bow and arrows" or "a pile of antitoxin flasks") but I can imagine some being sticklers about it. As I recall in 3.5 the spell used the duration for the most "expensive" material involved for multi-material items, but I don't know if that clarification's official in PF.
Oh, I agree that the "rare metals" duration is useless - it's just that that's the only one. For anything that's not made of mithral, adamantine, or alchemical silver, it should last long enough for a lot of purposes.
If you don't think "create pretty much any nonmagical item for a few hours to a day or more" is useful, well, that's your opinion, but saying that you're downrating it because the duration is too short is baffling when it lasts hours for literally anything except a very short list of specific materials.
So I'm skimming your spell ratings: why do you think Major Creation's duration makes it useless? Even precious metals last a minimum of three hours at the minimum possible caster level, with base metals lasting nine hours and non-mineral objects lasting 18. "Rare metals" are the only things that can possibly last less than an hour and a half with it.
I don't want to come off like I'm "the False Focus guy" but another interesting aspect of the feat occurred to me late last night: I'm pretty sure that as written it can add in alchemical power components for free as long as they don't go over the GP limit. It's not a huge bonus, but I won't say no to some extra damage on Fireball, higher DC and a bit of damage on Grease, rerolls on Black Tentacles and extra resistance on Resist/Protection From Energy.
There are some good possibilities up there, makes me think the Feat deserves about a green (Probably not blue, since it is competing with so many other feats though.)
Oh, and I forgot to address this earlier: bear in mind that False Focus is available and usable level 1. I have always had a hard time finding good feats for wizards at low levels, especially human wizards: there's Spell Focus, sure, and if you're a summoner there's Augment/Superior Summoning. Outside of that, though, it's mostly either "take Improved Initiative/Toughness/other effective-but-boring feats" or "take metamagic feats that I won't actually use for several levels to get them out of the way". I've never been a fan of the boring-boost-your-numbers feats as anything but filler, so something like False Focus gets extra points from that perspective.
Regardless of color rating, it's also worth noting that False Focus synergizes well with an amulet Arcane Bond, which starts you with a "masterwork amulet" - there's no list price for this, but given the price of the masterwork weapon you can choose to start with, a 100-GP amulet shaped like your favorite deity's holy symbol isn't too unreasonable.
Fabricate Bullets actually gets into the same weirdness as Fabricate. See, the thing about both versions is that the target is explicitly the same object as the material component. So you can cast it with False Focus, and the focus substitutes for the pound of lead without being consumed, no problem - except that the effect of the spell is to then transform the target (which is now your holy symbol) into a pile of bullets.
With Fabricate proper, this is still pretty useful, because it means you can carry around a supply of 100-GP holy symbols and transform them each into any nonmagical object worth 300 GP or less with a Craft check. (And yes, arguably that includes things like "three 100-GP holy symbols on a cotton string".) With Fabricate Bullets it's pretty borderline - you can turn a 2-GP-value holy symbol you carved yourself into 30 GP worth of bullets, so it's still a pretty decent cost-saver, but it's not quite the fountain of free bullets you might have been hoping for.
Dreaming Psion wrote:
These are all fair points - it is not a perfect spell, even though it is pretty great. One thing to note is that you don't actually need to make an offer for Planar Binding if you're confident in making your Charisma check without it, but you're right that you still need to win a contest of wills against your illusory creation.
Unrelated to that but related to the guide, I was putting together a character for a potentially upcoming game and was reminded of a fantastic wizard feat the guide doesn't mention: False Focus. The prereqs are cheap, it lets you spam Animate Dead and similar lowish-to-moderate cost spells for free, and between all the various foci and material components you can end up gathering for niche spells it can save you a lot of cost and hassle in the long run. There's also weird shenanigans you can engage in involving False Focus and Fabricate but, well, they're weird.
What do you mean by "anything to show"? I don't know of any clarifications or FAQs on it, but the fact that you have Greater Shadow Conjuration's wording to compare it to means it seems fairly clear that there's a difference.
I mean, suppose you had a set of spells called Beast Body, Greater Beast Body, and Beastest Body. Beast Body says "you can turn into any Small or Medium animal that does not fly", Greater Beast Body says "Works as Beast Body except that you can turn into any Large or smaller animal that does not fly", and Beastest Body says "works as Beast Body except that you can turn into any Huge or smaller animal". Would you think even for a moment that Beastest Body doesn't let you turn into a bird?
Shades is essentially Wish Lite - the same great do-anything flavor, but without the hefty price so you can actually use it regularly. The only sticking point is of course sorting out what exactly it means for unusual spells to work at partial effectiveness (heaven help you if you disbelieve a demiplane you're currently in) and whether you can voluntarily fail to disbelieve a spell. (RAW you should be able to since you can voluntarily fail saves against most spells, but narratively it's a little weird.)
I had a fairly similar experience dealing with my review of witch patrons. Honestly, I feel like like the Shadow line as a whole has a lot of leftover goodwill from 3.5 when sourcebook proliferation put a much wider variety of effects in their purview. In Pathfinder, Shadow Conjuration and Greater Shadow Conjuration, you get as you say a choice between, ultimately, pretty much three effects: "zone of debuff/damage" (a pit or cloud), "wall", or "summon monster" and you'd mostly do just as well memorizing Summon Monster and putting something beefy in the way instead.
However, with Shades specifically it deserves the hype. What you're overlooking is that Shades, unlike Shadow Conjuration, is not limited to the subschools. Compare the text of Greater Shadow Conjuration and the text of Shades. Specifically, it's "This spell functions like shadow conjuration, except that it duplicates any sorcerer or wizard conjuration (summoning) or conjuration (creation) spell of 6th level or lower" for Greater Shadow Conjuration and "This spell functions like shadow conjuration, except that it mimics conjuration spells of 8th level or lower" for Shades.
This is huge. It means Create Demiplane with standard-action casting time and no material component. It means that "summon monster or hungry pit" can also be a Maze, or a Magnificent Mansion, or a Greater Planar Binding if any of those turn out to be what you need (be sure to work out with your GM exactly what it means for any of those to be disbelieved, though, because it's not always clear.) Heck, it can even be Heal, Greater Restoration, or Resurrection - unlike Shadow Conjuration, it doesn't specify wizard spells. In other words, it means it actually has the versatility and power that people hype the shadow line over, because it really can do a huge variety of different powerful effects in one slot.
As long as you're looking over prestige classes, Hellknight Signifer bears mentioning. Entry will eat a bunch of feats, but it's full-casting with medium BAB and corresponding d8 HD, reduced ASF (cast in mithral plate if you don't mind losing your swift action, or darkleaf hide if you do), and a variety of generally handy goodies (DR, telepathy, True Seeing, see through walls, etc.) It's best for characters looking to play melee/caster hybrids, but the improved defenses are worth considering for anyone who doesn't mind the feat cost.
This is a legitimate issue and the primary reason that the elemental looks cripplingly weak or overwhelmingly strong depending on the level you look at: it advances in fits and spurts rather than the steady progression of other companions. You're better off focusing on that rather than cherrypicking the levels it does badly at.
I'm not ignoring it - last night I was working from memory regarding Piranha Strike, and people are correct that it does not apply. Power Attack is still not a good feat for the build, given what has to be given up to qualify relative to the benefits received.
Yeah, your AC should be in fairly respectable shape with Dex as your attack stat. Wear the best armor that can handle your Dex bonus, or as they suggest just go with silken armor, enchant that up, and go with that. Combat Expertise is rarely something you want to use, although if I recall correctly Crane Style gives some decent returns on defensive fighting once you get into that in addition to its 1/round no-sell. Obviously you'll want the same defensive items everyone else does as well: ring of protection, amulet of natural armor, etc.
Azaelas Fayth wrote:
@Benly Dervish Dancer requires you not to have a weapon or shield in your off-hand.
Bah, that's what I get for working from memory. Another point in favor of Crane Style then.
Anyhow, Eakratz is right that maneuvers are a great plan. That said, I still think Dervish Dancer is very much the right way to go - relying on getting an Agile weapon means you're putting off your ability to deal decent melee damage until you have enough funds for a +2 weapon and the opportunity to custom-buy one, assuming that even comes up in your campaign.
Alternately, think of it as spending a feat for another +1 to hit and damage since you don't need to buy Agile on your primary weapon. :)
Well, there's good news and bad news on that front. While you won't be getting the damage from Power Attack, the fact that you can pour pretty much all your effort into Dexterity without worrying about strength means your damage will at least be respectable. You'll never have the damage per round of the guys who wield the big two-handed weapons, but nobody does.
Critical feats are a pretty solid idea for a character focusing on the scimitar if you're worried about it.
- Looking at the number crunch above though, it would seem that the toll on the to-hit numbers for power attack and Piranha Strike are kinda steep, maybe because this is not "optimized" character. If for example, at level 4, i am up against an AC of say... 16, and I am fighting defensively (yes... we haven't addressed the AC issue yet), I will be hard pressed to pull a decent roll and hit anything with a +4 bonus to hit.... Wouldn't you agree?
That's because fighting defensively is a pretty bad idea for the most part. Don't do it. Get some good armor, keep pumping your Dex, and carry a shield in your off hand (remember, you don't need to leave that hand empty unless you go Crane Style or Duelist) and your AC will be fine. You're in the enviable position of having your offense stat also be your defense stat, so capitalize on that.
- On the other hand, if I do not have a way to scale damage, I will be hard pressed to pass through stuff like DR, I know that is only further down the road, but also further down the road, I hear combat maneuvers get less and less meaningful - probably against giant or quadruped creatures..
I haven't played Skull & Shackles, but I read the player's guide recently. (It's intended to be read by players before starting the AP, so I wouldn't consider this stuff spoilers.) The ranger section suggests there'll be a heavy focus on human and monstrous humanoid enemies, so that should be all right. Giants are annoying, but your lore warden CMB bonus will help.
I don't see why not. You'll be very mobile between light armor and high Acrobatics, and with Agile Maneuvers and Greater Trip you can zip around behind someone, sweep his legs out from under him, kick him on the way down and laugh.
Power Attack is not a great source of damage at this point in the build, particularly given what needs to be done to get it: a stat-up that could go into his damage stat for a +1 to hit/damage, a 4000-GP item that goes in the same slot as an item that could be boosting his damage stat for another +1 to hit/damage, and a feat. In return for giving up that +2 to hit and damage and that feat, he is getting -1 to hit and +2 damage. It is a seriously raw deal.
Your numbers look fine on a quick skim. Piranha Strike is not going to be nearly as valuable as Dervish Dance, and bear in mind that Dervish Dance lets you run attack, damage, AC, initiative, and Reflex all off the same stat. That's a lot of mileage out of Dex boosts.
Nothing at all is wrong with Lunge as such. The question is, what's right about Lunge for this character? It feels like you've taken what would be good advice for an entirely different sort of fighter build and thrown it randomly into someone asking for advice in a very different niche situation. Advising in favor of Power Attack is the same thing: it's a default feat for many types of fighters, but in this specific case of a character whose stats are already known and ill-suited to it, you're advising him to go well out of his way for very little benefit.
Thinking about it more, Power Attack is a bad choice here.
With Dervish Dance, consider the following comparison:
+1 Dex at level 4: +1 to hit, damage, AC, initiative, and Reflex saves with no further investment.
+1 Str at level 4: No immediate benefit, but you can then spend 4000 GP and a feat to get -1 to hit and +2 to damage.
Seriously, keep Dervish Dance, forget about Power Attack. Weapon Specialization is a good idea, Power Attack is just not for this build.
Here's a short and easy version: Dervish Dance, Agile Maneuvers, combat maneuver feats, pump Dex, keep up Lore Warden, wreck guys with single-stat melee and huge CMB. Forget randomly going bard or rogue or monk, forget power attack or lunge for no reason, there's a solid core there that you can build on if you want to. When you think of a feat, think "Why am I taking this feat? What does it do for the playstyle I'm planning here?" I don't see any good reason for taking lunge in this build or otherwise jumping ship to do something else entirely.
edited because I was getting too grouchy.
Personally, I think Power Attack can wait for the most part. Remember that increasing your Dex bonus with this build is +1 to hit and damage as opposed to -1 to hit and +2 damage with Power Attack. I'd put the point into Dex for now and work on Agile Maneuvers and one or more combat-maneuver chains (Improved Trip, Combat Reflexes, and Greater Trip is always a good time, for instance). That said, the Power Attack recommendation isn't a bad one, just different from what I'd pick.
That's correct, you'll have a couple of levels with a wasted feat lying around. And you're right that it's not worth taking a level of monk just to get IUS when fighters get so many feats to throw around anyway. Crane Style isn't a "right now" feat; pick it up when you get the chance. Antagonize would require starting in on yet another skill you haven't touched yet, so really it's another one that's only for the future if ever.
You actually can trade out your weapon focus.
"Upon reaching 4th level, and every four levels thereafter (8th, 12th, and so on), a fighter can choose to learn a new bonus feat in place of a bonus feat he has already learned."
Your Intelligence will be useful if you stick with Lore Warden, since you make Knowledge checks for the Know Thy Enemy ability. As for Charisma, Antagonize could be useful once you've got your basics together - it combines very nicely with Crane Style, for instance, letting you force an enemy to attack you and then bat aside his attack.
I would not recommend jumping ship to bard. I do think that you can constructively follow Lore Warden if you pick up the feats I suggested. Tripping and disarming do seem pretty swashbuckley to me, and Lore Wardens are really good at it; all you need is Agile Maneuvers to let you use your strong Dex for it. If you get Agile Maneuvers and Dervish Dance you'll be pretty close to a single-stat character, which is always nice. Your original Crane Style idea isn't bad once you're going that route, either. The character will take a level or two to shape up, but that'll always happen when you're turning a build around and Dervish Dance can be taken at your next level-up for good damage at least.
You're level 1 and you've got a character who honestly is at a decent starting point for a dex-based combatant build, so you don't need to ditch it - you just need to grow him into that build.
Okay, so what I see here is that you rocked a good defense and no real offense. You're feeling like a fifth wheel because you forgot to put in something for your character to actually do in a fight.
First, some bad news: your best option using RAW would be for the character right now to drop his rapier, grab a scimitar, spend two skill points on Perform (dance) next level and pick up Dervish Dance. This really isn't your fault: there's no reason for Paizo to have given the scimitar better support than the rapier for this kind of combat style when the rapier seems to make more sense. If your GM is kind, he may let you take this feat for rapier instead.
The next feat to think about is Piranha Strike. This is basically Power Attack, except that it's for finesse weapons. It gives you more damage which will help you pull your weight some.
My third suggestion is Agile Maneuvers combined with one or more combat maneuver feat chains, probably Trip to start - you'll get Combat Expertise as a bonus feat from Lore Warden, so that'll help you snag it. Combined with Lore Warden's scaling CMB bonus, you'll be a beast at tripping.
Once you're contributing offensively, you can think about shoring up your defenses further, but those three feats should all help you pull your weight.
That said, the creatures it does work on are pretty good, so there's that.
Someone mentioned it but got the name wrong - Magaambyan Arcanist is a wizard prestige class that grants the aura class feature with no casting lost. It also lets you poach druid spells, so you can pick up Summon Nature's Ally and qualify for Starlight/Moonlight/Sunlight Summons if you're into that, and gives some other nice class features.
Hayato Ken wrote:
The problem is that per the normal rules for magic item creation, you must use either Spellcraft or "an applicable craft or profession skill" when making the enchantment check for wondrous items, even if you don't craft the initial item yourself. Since Master Craftsman says "you must use the chosen skill for the check" and not "you may use the chosen skill for the check", it's not clear that the feat overrides the need for the skill to be applicable. So, no using Craft: Jewelry to make your magic shoes - you need a skill that actually applies to shoes.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
My opinion is that what you "need" on the healing front is someone who:1) Can provide substantial chunks of rapid healing in an emergency,
2) Can provide a significant flow of out-of-combat healing to keep things going between fights,
3) Can cure or mitigate ailments,
4) Can contribute proactively when it's not the right time to do any of those, and
4a) knows when that right time is and isn't.
4a depends on the player, of course. "Dedicated healers" tend to overlook point 4, but it's worth bearing in mind that they don't actually have to be attacking to contribute offensively. I find that it often works very well to recommend to those players that they put some resources into buffing and do that when people aren't too badly injured - it keeps to the "support" role they were envisioning, but at the same time it helps move them from a reactive to a proactive mindset.
Anyway, the point is, I do think it's true that you "need a healer" in the sense that a party that can't handle points 1-3 is going to have some trouble. It's just that it's important not to forget point 4.
I wouldn't be so sure about that. The description for an Amulet of Natural Armor explicitly says it's made out of leather, so at least some amulets can be. Leather decorated with the claws or fangs of dangerous creatures makes perfect sense for an amulet to enhance unarmed attacks.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
I did say access to in-combat healing, not a dedicated healer. What you said essentially agrees with my post there. And don't try to out-grognard me, I've only been playing a couple fewer years than you. :)
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
This is yet another reason that teams who rely on dedicated in-combat healing can be creating a self-fulfilling situation. If there is a dedicated healer on the team, that's one less character doing damage which is enough to extend the fight a round or two, greatly increasing the probability of needing a heal somewhere in the fight.
On the other hand, the aforementioned snowballing effect means that having in-combat healing can be essential. The key is having the ability to judge when in-combat healing will maintain more advantage than the proactive measures (attacks, buffing, etc) that you could be taking instead.
While it's not my experience that fights are over in a couple of rounds, I certainly think it's fair to say that most fights are decided by the end of the first few rounds. Since each participant that's dropped reduces their side's firepower, things tend to snowball pretty decisively if there isn't a deadlock. Likewise, buffs and debuffs accumulate over the course of multiple rounds, assuming their duration isn't incredibly short.
Don't know if any monk specific items, bus as a dwarf I would go for blacksmith, due to dwarfs being able to get racial bonus to that...
If you want your dwarven crafting bonus, jewelry is a better option. You don't need weapons and armor as a monk, but you do need rings and amulets.
That said, you'd probably be better off with cloth or leather as your craft skill in terms of creating monk items. Krigare and equalizer's lists are a pretty good starting place, and you'll notice that they're mostly things that can be made with cloth or leather. A generous GM might even let you make an amulet out of leather, especially if you flavor it properly - an amulet made from the knucklebones or claws of particularly fierce animals would be appropriate for Mighty Fists, and within the scope of a leatherworker, for example. Rings are probably harder to get away with, though.
Noir le Lotus wrote:
It's not explicity stated because in the game, effect means when you are targeted by a spell or special ability.
I don't know of any place where it's defined that way in the rules - if you do, I would appreciate a citation.
As a counterpoint, the text of Racial Heritage: "You count as both human and that race for any effects related to race. For example, if you choose dwarf, you are considered both a human and a dwarf for the purpose of taking traits, feats, how spells and magic items affect you, and so on." The phrasing makes clear that "taking traits and feats" is an example of an effect.
Benn Roe wrote:
If you want to use a polearm, I would really suggest taking advantage of the bonus proficiency from your Order to get it. The Order Of The Nail is one of the more adventurer-friendly orders and its favored weapon is the halberd, so try to hold out until then. If you absolutely have to have a better weapon, is the Heirloom Weapon trait PFS-legal? If not, maybe play a human or half-elf and get proficiency by spending the bonus feat or using the Ancestral Arms alternate racial trait respectively. Four feats seems like a lot, but I'd rather spend four feats than one feat and a wasted level - most of the benefits you'd be getting from a fighter dip are things that are made redundant or superceded entirely by Signifer benefits, and one of the things that makes Signifer such a strong class is that it can be entered with no caster levels lost.
Also, Arcane Armor Training isn't that bad until you're at a level where you're casting a lot of quickened spells. For a good chunk of your career, you really won't have anything better to do with your swift actions.