Brad McDowell wrote:
...WELL, you could look at it this way instead. Belt of Dwarvenkind isn't EXACTLY the same.
It costs 1 item slot + 25k to get to evasion.
To get to the skill bonus, darkvision, and +1 to all saves costs 10k (ioun stone) + 12k (goggles of night) + pittance for the skill bonus
which isn't as imbalanced as buying the dwarf item. So we have either proven that Belt of Dwarvenkind is overpowered (it sorta is), or goggles of night are ridiculously overpriced (it sort of is), or some combo. =)
-Cross (Note that I'm trying to keep the "number of slots used" the same, which is why I buy an ioun stone instead of something else)
Robert A Matthews wrote:
As the Pathfinder Advice Board's Greatest Defender of Cleave and Great Cleave, I am a big fan of the Captain America SLAM-CLEAVE wherein our hero knocks all enemies near him back a bunch and on their asses.
I mean, it's got to be the freaking heavy crossbow, right?
Takes 2 hands.
There's just nothing worse.
Any melee weapon that you can finesse, you can TWF and murder things with.
Hell, even the Crossbowman archetype sucks.
You can't do reasonable DPR with a heavy crossbow. It just sucks. I humbly submit that it is the worst weapon in the game to specialize in. I'll make a trade: Somebody else make an optimized heavy crossbow user, and demand that I prove that ANY WEAPON OF THEIR CHOICE is worse, and I will make a weapon user of their weapon that does higher DPR.
By itself, it's not awesome.
With Foehammer (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/core-races/dwarf/foehammer-fighter-dwarf), it's sort of amazing. You can basically prevent enemies from ever getting a single attack off of on you, by knocking them 10 feet back and prone any time they get close. =)
I think I wrote a post on how to do this a while ago. You're basically going to run into two problems:
1.) Monsters and NPCs are going to outscale the party, without the party having magic items
2.) How the heck to let PCs play spellcasters?!
My proposed solution to (1), at the time, were pretty simple:
At level 3 and every 4 levels thereafter, everybody gets +1 to attack and damage.
This is pretty rough, but it basically emulates the power of AC-boosting items, resist cloaks, magic weapons, and stat-boosting items, which are generally the most important things PCs buy.
(2) is more of a roleplay-y thing, which you've got some good examples on already. Think you have a reasonable handle on this already, but some more suggestions.
a.) Powerful NPCs should seek to control magic-users. Weak NPCs should be terrified of them - lynch mobs with pitchforks and torches
b.) Make magic creepy - describe it well, and even your player will think twice about using it.
The "Don't attack him!" guys are promoting a sort of dickish strategy. It's tactically optimal, but flawed: it's not letting your player shine - the whole @#$%ing poing of his build is to be hard to hit. Have people try to hit him. And fail.
Two big ideas, which probably have been mentioned, though:
1.) Pre-written APs are frequently crushed by even slightly-optimized parties. They work best if you modify a little bit. Add in a few more slightly lower-level monsters, some guaranteed-damage spellthrowers (magic missile), etc.
2.) In situations that can be problematically static (tight hallways, doorways, etc), make sure you give the party some incentive to be mobile. Players _like_ moving around, positioning, etcetera. A dungeon crawl that takes place with everybody phalanxing in a doorway every combat is lame. Some low-level spellcasters, some boiling oil, all can make an encounter a lot more interesting without actually making it much harder.
Brad McDowell wrote:
...err, what? Why wouldn't you get Evasion as a half-orc also?
If cthulhu can be defeated even withouth mythic ranks (and by a single character!), what could be a possible real challenge for a optimised party of level 20 with 10 mythic ranks? A god? We would need stats for those.
We should probably clarify that there is plenty of room in between optimized and the builds which are presented, which are really, really, really optimized.
A careful reading of the Flagbearer feat shows that you cannot attach it to a longspear and get the bonus. You must carry the flag in a free hand.
Yeah. Which is what I thought until I read Banner of the Ancient Kings: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/wondrous-items/wondrous-items/a-b/banne r-of-the-ancient-kings
I ended up concluding that flagbearer is s&!%tily written. =)
A few quotes: "As long as the longspear or pole to which the banner is attached is firmly wielded in two hands..."
"If the banner’s carrier possesses the Flagbearer feat, the banner of the ancient kings doubles the morale bonuses granted by that feat"
So, by your reading, if I had a banner of the ancient kings attached to the longspear: I would get no bonus from the flagbearer feat, and thus doubling it would do nothing. Very sad for me.
I conclude, thus, that Flagbearer is pretty okay with you attaching a flag to a spear, getting its bonuses, and moving on with life.
That said, if you want to go hardcore Rules-As-Written on a pretty poorly-worded feat: Attach a flag to your longspear. Stab people with it on your turn. Wave it around in one hand on other people's turns.
Yeah, no big deal. Pick literally any race you want, it works fine with the build. You'll have 1 less +1 at level 8 (big freaking deal), and the stat bonus isn't as perfect.
If you want to be super party face, just go:
As base stats. Pick literally any race with a charisma bonus, and follow the build above.
While versatile performance is nice, you'll have 7 skill points per level (8 if you go favored class, 9 if you go human), which is enough to rank up everything you need to maximum. You'll be plenty effective in melee, amazing out of combat, and generally great support.
Hey - I am dumb, not super-sure what you mean by core. If Aasimar doesn't work for you, human or really any other race works fine. Aasimar's a touch better.
Hey OP. Bards experience a big power spike at level 7, so level 6 is a bit lackluster, but here's a (very, very, very) good support build. Your rogue will probably have most of the skills taken care of.
Aasimar (Angel-Blooded), Arcane Duelist
Str 16 (+2)
1.) Lingering Song, (Arcane Strike)
Take Aasimar favored class bonus for Inspire Courage. It doesn't pay off yet, but it will soon.
Meanwhile, you are pretty good at melee - 18 strength and arcane strike means you won't be able to be ignored. You can take power attack at 7 if you like.
Regarding Song Management:
Regarding Spell Management:
For level 2 spells, well, they're all good. Blistering Invective is a great second-round action if you can tag a lot of enemies with it, silence is situationally incredible, and the merits of glitterdust have been discussed.
I generally use Gallant Inspiration if it will get somebody to confirm a crit with a x3 or greater multiplier (thaaat's a lot of damage), or for a particularly important out of combat skill roll (critical trap-disable, diplomacy, and the like).
Bards are incredibly good in pathfinder. Enjoy, and feel free to ask any questions about the build. I'm currently playing a half-orc version of this!
Swift is fine, immediate is bad. Alternatively, make it a resistance bonus (so it's not useful at high levels), cap it at +5, and it's a fine level 1 spell too.
Immediate + Resistance Bonus + 5 cap = sort of useful at low levels, won't see much play later.
Swift + Sacred + Swift Action = Won't see much play at all, until high levels, when it will be up all the time.
I'd prefer the first.
You can absolutely run situations like this. The key is to make sure that there are _lots_ of possible options for PCs to take, not one. And that the PCs understand what they are. I think about 99% of unsatisfying encounters in DND come from the players and the GM having different visions of what's happening.
You have listed one: run away!
Ideally, you should have done the following:
1.) Made it _wildly_ clear to the PCs that they couldn't handle the thing in a straight-up combat. Like, if they think they can handle the allosaurus, have a bigger dinosaur come and just _crush_ it.
2.) Pre-fight, have shown the PCs some theoretical ways they could escape. Example:
2a.) Perception check to notice that the beast can't seem to knock over/fit through certain types of trees.
2b.) Geography check to note that there's probably a gorge around here
2c.) Survival check to know how to distract one/hide from one
3.) Give some environmental factors they could maybe use to win the fight if they wanted to. Nearby unstable tree to land on it, boulders, quicksand...
Another option: Up the ante. Have a herd of stampeding stegosauri interrupt. Now, the PCs have an enemy they can't fight (a herd), and a clear objective (omg, be anywhere but here).
Finally, and I can't stress this enough: It's fine to kill the PC, but make it satisfying. If the samurai wants to sacrifice himself, and the party can't talk him out of it, let him do it, and have it mean the difference between the party getting away and them getting munched.
The player will enjoy it, and the party will remember it fondly. Don't be grouchy about it.
Here's some creepy stuff to do:
1.) Have animals around the party be freaking out. Making a lot of noise, clearing out.
2.) Find a farmer's daughter or somebody kicked to death.
3.) Swaddle a redcap in an infant's wrap (so you can see only his eyes), and use his crying as a lure for the party (into redcap ambush).
Vital Strike is sort of like the cleave line - it makes you better when you're at your worst, with only a standard action.
Except that, unlike Cleave, it doesn't really let you tackle any scenarios you couldn't tackle already. If there's a single foe, and you need single target damage, you're probably going to be able to line up a full attack this round or the next. Where as the cleave line at least makes you a terrifying metal fireball that can potentially do way more AOE damage than you'd put out with a full attack.
May I interject a simple proposal to Mr. Deth (staunch defender of summoning classes) and Mr. Maissen (staunch advocate for the liberation of summoned creatures)?
While it's good of you to argue over rules interpretations, neither of you are actually helping the OP. As BOTH OF YOU AGREE, if the summoner can communicate with the creatures, they will do what he wants. Communication is not a particularly difficult roadblock. So, best case, you're being a little annoying to your PC, and a summoner is equivalently effective in combat. So your argument has little to do with how effective summoners are, power-wise.
Likewise, the argument that the DM should run the NPCs is the rare (and beautiful) suggestion that actually runs counter to what the DM wants to do: speed up combat and prevent the MS from slowing it down. The DM has the _most_ dice to roll already. Having him roll the MS's dice to does not in any way streamline the process except to require very precise instructions to be relayed to the DM, adding delay.
My original point stands: Master summoners are a problematic class, as pretty much everybody agrees, because they are the best in the game at the most flexible/overpowered/difficult-to-run mechanic, which is summoned monsters.
I very much suggest the pre-rolling technique used above, in conjunction with turn time limits, to mitigate the effects of the master summoner. Average damage on all summoned monster hits can help too.
Mitigating power without specifically targeting the player is more difficult. Pretty much all levelheaded PF experts agree that the summoner is problematic (though, as evidenced here, you will always get some "NOTHING IN PF IS IMBALANCED" folks), and the Synthesist and Master Summoner the most so. To be honest, you're going to have to work pretty darn hard to prevent other characters from feeling overshadowed if your summoner knows what he's doing.
But the suggestions in this thread are pretty good.
I think you will find that
1.) Your solution only works when you have a level 11+ caster enemy, which is not abundant against level 7 summoners in Carrion Crown.
2.) If you trade your standard action (cast greater dispel magic) for a 50% chance of countering a player's standard action (summon monsters), and he can do his action WAY more times per day than you can do yours, and he has a bunch of friends who also have standard actions...you're not going to be very effective.
TLDR: I wish it weren't so, but dispel magic is a pretty awful use of an action in Pathfinder. =/
OP - you're not wrong. Master Summoner is a complete disaster of an archetype, tacked on to summoner, which is pretty much a complete disaster of a class. Your experience is shared by many. I'd like to highlight some very good advice from above:
1.) Turn Time Limit. If you trust your player not to cheat, have him spend other people's turns rolling the attacks/damage for his minions. Then, on his turn, he can just ask "Does this hit? Does this hit?", etc, and tally the damage from the attacks that hit.
2.) If you want a fight to be even, there's a few things you can do:
2a.) Protection from <summoner alignment> pretty much shuts down all summoned critters, and is outrageously hard to dispel. Same with circle of protection from <summoner alignment>
2b.) Lots and lots of AOE damage.
2c.) Chokepoints - if there are only a few places a fight can happen, a mass of summons is less useful
2d.) Specific anti-summon weapons, like Runeforged: Liberal (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/magic-weapons/magic-weapons-non-core/r uneforged-weapon?tmpl=%2Fsystem%2Fapp%2Ftemplates%2Fprint%2F).
Hope this helps.
Okay, if we're talking sheer damage, I'm re-thinking my love of crane style over snake style.
Basically, snake style is useless until Snake Fang. But monks can get to pretty silly AC by mid levels without working too hard at it, and being virtually guaranteed to get your full suite of AoOs on a giant-dex character until opponents realize not to attack you is sort of amazing.
I think the following causes less experienced GMs trouble:
By and large, when you have a save-or-#@$%'d caster in the game, you only have one (or, let's say, one caster per save, ref/fort/will).
So the way to deal with him is easy: buff the monster's saves when you want it to not get SoD'd. Nobody else is affected, combat proceeds apace.
However, most groups have at least 2, sometimes 3 or 4 people who attack. So if you have one character who is more optimized, it's tough to give enemies a high AC without screwing the other characters in the party.
The solutions to this puzzle are a bit sparse (debuff that guy with NPCs, give treasure to the other PCs to even it out, etc), so it confuses people, and they come up with incorrect conclusions, like the above.
Level 1: Power Attack
Pretty much the best anti-mage opener for a barbarian is that.
Spell Sunder is the best anti-mage ability in the game, along with Superstition. You want it as fast as is humanly possible.
I was mostly just talking about relative AC.
Light Armor vs. wis + Monk AC bonus. Wis + Monk AC bonus should win or be close almost every time.
Unless you're just going to dump wis, which is reasonable.
Drunken Strength is actually sort of crap. For 1 swift action you can get another attack, just from straight monk. That is always worth more than d6 (or 2d6) extra damage.
Careful about your swift action economy! =)
All Agile-based builds basically are mediocre until you get the agile item, and incredible thereafter. Your build would be fine without every other item you have.
The basic rule of "Fighter or Monk?" is that every level you put towards fighter will make you a bit less flexible in terms of skills and abilities, and a bit better at doing damage.
I think Wiggz' build goes towards one end: it's as flexible as possible without sacrificing any damage, and mine goes towards the other: it's as damagey as possible without sacrificing any flexibility.
Gotta say, though, Wiggz' build is suuuper tightly put together. All feats appear exactly where they should, for maximum utility. Tip of the optimization cap to him, that's really nicely done.
-Cross (I think it gets out-damaged pretty significantly by a TWF scimitar fighter, just because of crit range, but it depends on how many AoOs he gets from Snake Fang in a given round)
Probably want to talk to your DM about the interpretation of the MoMS skipping-snake-sidewind thing. The Hero-labs guys interpret it the other way, and I can't find an official clarification.
I think you're mis-estimating your swift action economy. First, assume for a moment that you get 3 rounds before combat to drink (or you walk around drunk, so you have 3 drunken ki points at all times). Third round of combat, you have to spend real ki. My build can blow a swift action to stock up for the next two, and is never out of drunken ki even if it's caught out.
If you use your Snake Fang immediate, you can't spend a ki point on your next turn (immediate actions use up next turn's swift action).
And you do, as you noted, about 2d6+20 damage, twice a round. Three times if your opponent hasn't seen the trick before, four times if you want to use next round's swift action and not have your +4 AC.
Meanwhile, my approach does 2d8 + 6(dex)+2(weapon)+6(...should take piranha strike instead of wf:unarmed, knew I forgot something), which is about 4 less damage per attack than you...
...six times a round. And I still have dex and combat reflexes.
You're basically relying on one trick: Get enemies to attack me, then hit them hard.
If that doesn't happen, there's very little your character can do. One-trick ponies don't really end up working well all the time, particularly when the trick is just a Good trick, not a Ridiculously Broken Trick.
Finally, there's going to be a pretty huge AC difference, I think. Light Armor is +4 AC. Wisdom + Monk AC bonus = +8 AC. Your Dex is going to be 12. Mine is going to be at least 22, which is another 5 AC. Crane Stance effectively gives another ~2 AC over what you could do otherwise. So that's an 11 AC difference. You can mitigate it by using +4 AC every time, but you're sacrificing an attack for it.
All of these builds can do the Tekko-Kagi trick. Light armor is exactly as expensive to upgrade as Bracers of armor (bonus^2*1000). Going light armor changes your AC by basically nothing - it might even decrease it.
-Cross (Wiggz has a reasonable example of what happens if you go straight-out damage. But he's basically playing a straight fighter who dips in MoMS to get crane and snake. This just in: Level 17 fighters can do a lot of damage)
Here, I realize that I'm just sorta picking holes in your build. Let me put up a counter-build, what I regard as a rock-solid choice, and we can compare. I'll dodge Quinggong, because you don't have the book.
Bonus feats in parentheses. I'm going to be lazy about
12 Monk of the Four Winds/Drunken Monk
(1) (Dodge), Crane Style
Three essential items here: Agile amulet of mighty fists, Monk's Robe, and Belt of Physical Perfection. The belt lets you get Fast Drinker, which allows you to reasonably drink in combat, which, combined with Deep Drinker, means you can use ki-pool in the middle of combat.
This character has a number of very neat tricks:
1.) He is dependent only on 2 stats: Dex for attack, damage and defense, and Wisdom for defense.
Let's compare, a bit. By going unarmed fighter, you pick up +1 attack and +5 damage over this build, per strike.
But your unarmed strikes are 2d6 vs. 2d8 for mine, so the difference is +1 attack and +3 damage.
In all fairness, I had to buy Agile, so you'll also have +1 to attack and damage on me there. You'll be at +2 attack and +4 damage.
Damage-wise, I think you still lose, though:
Defense-wise, you're definitely behind:
Utility-wise, I think the above build still wins:
(Also, I don't mean this to come off as confrontational - MY BUILD VS YOUR BUILD. I just felt that maybe instead of poking holes, I should be constructive).
Don't like this build as much. Other build had a clear plan: elemental fist damage everywhere, and lots of ways to spend that damage.
A few issues with this build:
1.) I do not believe MoMS lets you skip Snake Sidewind
2.) Snake and Panther don't have a lot of synergy.
3.) You're not getting enough mileage out of MoMS to make it worth sacrificing flurry.
4.) Panther style is pretty mediocre. Eventually, enemies will recognize it and stop taking AoOs, and then you have blown SIX feats (dodge, mobility, combat reflexes, 3 panther feats) just to not get AoO'd.
5.) Snake style is also pretty mediocre. Your sense motive is going to basically be level + 3 + 4 (wisdom) + 2 (Snake Style).
At level 1, that gives you 20.5 AC on average against a single attack, which is good.
At level 10, that gives you 29.5 AC on average against a single attack, which is almost certainly less than your actual AC.
Snake Sidewind is downright awful.
Snake Fang is really good. But you have to consider whether or not it's worth it to take MoMS and spend 3 feats to get to that point.
This build is a lot more vulnerable to just being ignored by enemies - if they don't swing at you, there's very, very little you can do.
Both are great. I'd go druid. You'll need the utility of wild shape a reasonable amount when your rogue/monk isn't there, and druids are awesome. It's tough to screw up a druid.
All druid builds that do any summoning look pretty much like this:
1: SF: Conj
And whatever you darned well please after that.
If you want to go vanilla-ish druid, go Menhir Savant (the trades are great).
Here's a few other ways:
1.) Cast the Alarm spell on everybody. Can be heard up to 180 feet away. Trigger it whenever you
2.) Status. 2nd level cleric/witch spell. Infinite Range, allows caster to monitor position and condition of players. Ergo, if you are clever, you can set the following alarms:
2a.) If a player sees enemies, he kicks a wall, stubbing his toe for 1-2 damage. He goes from unarmed to wounded - a signal.
2b.) Figure out some pattern of motion (dance the cha-cha!) that is unlikely to be done in the course of every day events (it must change distance/direction in a predictable way. Jumping up and down also works.). This is a signal.
Status lasts an hour per level. If you're doing a ritual, I'd buy a wand of it (or scrolls). Designate one person your watch-man. Have him have Alarm, sit in the center of the keep, and have status on. When somebody gives the signal, he uses alarm, which everybody will be able to hear.
Alternatively, put status on everybody. =)
Good point on dragon ferocity. Adjusting.
1) Drunken Master/Master of Many Styles/Quinggong 1: Bab +0, Elemental Fist (MoMS style), Dodge
I'm still pretty confident that 2 crane feats are much better than two marid style feats. If nothing else, swap in crane style and crane wing for your Brawler feats.
15 foot reach for your 1 attack vs. 10 foot doesn't seem terribly better - I'm not sure lunge is worth it in this case.
Also, let's agree: Marid cold snap isn't incredible. Entangled is an annoying but not catastrophic condition. I'm of the opinion that rushing it isn't worth it - 10 is plenty early.
Finally, go take a look at QG monk: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/monk/archetypes/paizo---monk-a rchetypes/qinggong-monk
It has some really nice trades you can make.
Hey, few things.
1.) I tend to think crushing blow is sort of lousy. It's a full round action, plus a stunning fist attempt, and you have to both hit and have them fail a not-very-difficult save in order to achieve a B/B+ level result (-3 to -4 AC).
2.) Sacred Mountain monk isn't a great choice. Evasion is incredibly better than Toughness and +1 Natural Armor. Plus, you could go Quinggong monk instead, trade off slow fall and pick up a giant AC buff in Barkskin
3.) Unarmed fighter just to get Marid Coldsnap earlier and because you're a bit feat-tight might be premature.
Suggest this progression:
1) Drunken Master/Master of Many Styles/Quinggong 1: Bab +0, Elemental Fist (MoMS style), Dodge
Basic argument: Mantis style isn't that awesome. It gives a marginal increase to your stunning fist hit chance and DC (10% chance, per hit, to cause some effect).
Crane Style, however, is amazing. With crane riposte, you can trade 1 AB for 4 AC (...totally. Worth. It.) and auto-deflect an attack. It shores up your defenses way more than anything else would, while not costing you much on the offensive end.
Take Dragon Ferocity at 9, because it does very little for you until you get a second attack.
-Cross (You don't have the spare feats to do the drinker feats, nor the stat points)
If you care about per-level, the highest (base) bestiary ABs, by level, are:
If you account for inflation (Go ahead and add level/2 to each of those), and add 21 to them, you should get a reasonable estimate of what your AC should be.
>_< Good point on the natural attacks not being available. So if you're not using natural attacks, literally all you're getting for 4 those 4 levels in dragon disciple is +2 attack, +2 AC, +3 damage and 3/4 BAB
Compare to going straight monk:
+1 AC (monk bonus), +1 damage (fist damage size increase), +3 AC (Barkskin instead of true strike from qinggong), an extra attack.
You know, over that span of levels, it's not as uneven as I thought. It seems borderline crazy to take it JUST for the strength and natural armor, but dragon style makes good use of it.
It is an interesting idea. The problem is really that multiclassing out of monk is sort of meh - monks, as a pure class, scale really well.
My big question here is: How are we going to be doing damage?
Let's look at the high point of this build, in my opinion, which is level 8: Monk 4, DD 4
You've probably got an amulet of mighty fists +1, and a +2 strength belt. So your strength is:
18+2(alter self) + 2 (levels) + 2(belt) + 4(DD) = 28, for +8 on all attacks from strength.
Which is nice, because you're attacking with Punch, Punch, Claw, Claw, Bite.
My main problems with this build are:
1.) Those 5 attacks are about all you're ever going to get. 3/4 BAB, and you can't flurry while adding natural attacks. A straight monk at this point would have almost as many attacks - 4, to your 5.
2.) Dragon Style only adds damage to unarmed strikes, not to natural attacks.
3.) You're trading slow fall for True Strike, which isn't that great, when every other monk will trade it for barkskin, which is awesome.
On the plus side:
1.) You get a lot of mileage out of that amulet of mighty fists.
2.) You're not MAD at all.
3.) You're using almost every bonus dragon disciple has
Ultimately I think a straight, strength-based, dragon-styled oni-spawn monk will be significantly more powerful. But if you like the style, go for it.
Stephen Ede wrote:
This thread should probably have started and ended with:
Actions are the scarcest commodity in the game at high levels, and the most impactful.
Improved Familiar gives you additional actions.
At mid to high levels, Improved Familiar is much better than Bonded Item.
Dawnflower Dervish is pretty lousy, to be honest. First, they are almost exactly equivalent to vanilla bard. Except that they trade bardic knowledge + lore master for a feat, and their song works double on themselves and not at all on anybody else.
That first trade isn't awesome (bardic knowledge + lore master are easily worth a feat), and the second trade is just awful. You're almost guaranteed to have at least one more person making attack rolls in a given party, and probably 2 - so you're sacrificing effectiveness.
He can't use it to snipe people inside the cloud (unless he discovers some crazy feat or item that allows him to do so) but he can certainly use it for a ninja disappearing trick... Most locations have some sort of cover, I assume this is for those "getting caught with your pants down" sort of situations.
Yep. You've gotten a solid range of advice in this thread, from "Don't allow hellcat stealth" to about 500 ways to make combat interesting/challenging for him, to the general observation that his character isn't that good.
I was just trying to make sure that those rules were pretty clear. A lot of times, actions seem problematic to DMs when they really are not.
Remember that using a smokestick is going to be a full round action: draw it (move), light it (standard), drop it (free). He won't actually get to make a stealth check or move away until the round after that. So feel free to punch him in the face, grapple, etc.
"(plus he can use smoke generating items to gain concealment, etc)"
All smoke-generating items replicate obscuring mist and fog cloud.
From the spell description:
"A creature within 5 feet has concealment (attacks have a 20% miss chance). Creatures farther away have total concealment (50% miss chance, and the attacker can't use sight to locate the target)."
So, if you are in the smoke cloud, everybody has total concealment from you.
From Sniper's eye:
"Foes with total concealment are still immune."
So, no. You can't use smoke sticks, smoke pellets, fog or anything else like that for sniping. Unless you decide to give him goggles of fog-cutting or something.
-Cross (Edit: disallow hellcat stealth and his opportunities to do this sort of sniping are really, really, really limited.)
I mean, OP, here's the thing. The core items are the core items for a reason: they're really, really good.
Amulet of Natural Armor, Ring of Protection, Cloak of Resistance, basic armor and weapon enhancements are suuuuper cash-efficient at low levels. =)
For 4k, a belt of strength +2 is also not a bad investment.