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Dirty Trick, with a little creativity there's always something you can do against anything.
Trip specialists can destroy trippable opponents, but there's more and more trip resistant or immune as levels go up.
Bull Rush is safely reliable with enough size increase and dedication, and allows you to use the battlefield as a threat unlike most other maneuvers.
Grapple specialists are scary vs single targets, as long as you can beat FoM and incorporeal.
Spell-sunder barbarians are popular for a reason, once every enemy is buffed that greater sunder means every attack is a free dispel. Otherwise situational, as you rarely want to ruin your loot, but it's nice to remove casters' foci or components, or occasional unique threats...
Now that Slashing Grace doesn't allow dual wielding, straight warpriest is a no-go.. Best option for dex-based dual-wielding now would be Unchained Rogue 4.
Depending on how much magic they want, they could make do with just taking Minor Magic (probably Acid Splash) and Major Magic (probably Shield), and the drow magic SLAs..
If they like the sawtooth saber and assassin priest idea, they could go warpriest from there. Divine Favor plus Fate's Favored and maybe Magical Knack is still good, fervored inflict wounds is a better swift action attack now with sneak attack.
If the rogue talents are enough magic, Urban or Unchained Barbarian 1 for the dex-rage and martial proficiencies, at 1st level for the HP.
Warpriest of Achaekek (the red mantis, god of assassins). Level 1: WpnFinesse and WpnFocus- sawtooth sabre (longswords that 2wf like light weapons), level 3 Slashing Grace and 2wf. Level 6 dual enhancement and ? (maybe imp 2wf). It's the anti-drzzt.
Needs Dex>Wis/Con, enough str for encumbrance, enough int for skills. I'd choose trickery and either war or law/evil for blessings. Use fervor for swift divine favor and cure or inflict spells.
Solo games really have to be tailored to the PC. My luck has been best heavily improvising, using challenges appropriate to their abilities.
Make sure they always have an out and/or their enemies have a reason to KO not kill. A dead PC kills the story, an unconscious PC sets up the next chapter.
It all depends on what they want to do and can do.. At 1st level it could be their final test to graduate from their class's school, recovering an appropriate object from a structured course or nominally safe area.. Or getting out of hand celebrating, waking up naked, and having to track/investigate their gear and their forgotten adventures while hungover.. Returning to their village to see it burnt and looted by goblin raiders, and either going to the closest Garrison for help and/or tracking them down and avenging their village.. Travel through difficult territory to get to a mercenary or adventure guild recruiter before the recruiting season ends..
Blockbuster wizard could be fun. Otherwise +1 to alchemist mad bomber and/or Hyde. (There are excellent guides around for these.)
Otherwise, hmmmm... Gozran warpriest conflicts with animal companion and druids, Besmaran warpriest or inquisitor conflicts with swashbuckler and cleric.. Maybe a LoreWarden / ManeuverMaster dirty trick specialist? Or the standard beast/spellsunder barbarian?
If you like those stats (if those are after the human +2 then it's only 19pts, you can have 11str... I'd consider dropping cha 1 or 2 to get more points for str 12 minimum) you definitely want Arcane Strike to get some damage, and Weapon Finesse to have some attack bonus.
The skill bonus feats are usually pretty weak, especially for bluff considering as a batd you'll be able to cast glibness eventually. Unless it's important to you to make blatantly impossible lies sound plausible asap, at the cost of being a terrible combatant.
Why not bard? Skillful, inspire courage is a competence bonus and not tied to perform skills so can be tactical advising if you don't like music. Arcane strike and inspire courage give some static bonuses.
Sorceror (or bard again) into Dragon Disciple can use that cha, if you're OK with claw claw bite instead of 2 weapons. Can mix with fighter barbarian or paladin if you don't like magic.
Edit: Dual rapiers is really tough to do, especially core-only. Also no dex to damage in core-only. +1 to Str-based ranger.
Ancient Lorekeeper elven oracle, possibly with burning and/or haunted curse, gives a few arcane spells known, for the blended arcane/divine feel. EH too if there's bloodline powers you're hankering for.
Unless what you want is more low-level spells than you can use in a day, but no actual level appropriate spells until maybe 20th level, in which case MT however you like is perfect.
Skipping the DD, sorc and BR bloodlines aren't pick one class and combine levels for effective bloodline, they'd be tracked separately instead.
DD should continue that. If there's no sorc levels involved, technically it would give an effective sorc bloodline level, independent of any BR levels.
It's a reasonable house rule to let DD increase BR bloodline instead, but it would be a house rule.
DD requires nothing in off hand, and is flavored as for Saranraens, may allow 2wf with unarmed strikes, some DMs don't allow it with spell combat for some reason, but allows scimitar finesse without a swash dip..
SG works for your pick of slashing 1Hs, but not light, which means whip or aldori barring swash dip, doesn't require empty off hand.
For straight magus, fencing grace with rapiers might be easier, but inspired blade dip is pretty tempting.
If you want the whip, I'd do weapon master fighter 3 for the feats and weapon training.
Shadowdancer pairs great with ninja or rogue 2 for pressure points to get in on the str damage.
Bloodrager would work well if you don't need the extra feats, a lot of bloodlines get cool tricks in the first few levels, lots of options. Not weapon specific, so don't need so many feats. Of course they're MAD as hel.
Tough to beat trench fighter for a gun dip. Otherwise, gunslinger is good to leave at 5 or 7. Grasping Strike could be fun for kiting, doing a doublehackbutt vital strike musket master thing? (Someday I want to see a bouncy goblin using one of those, prone and sliding all over the map.)
It just says hold, not wield or brandish or the like that would require more effort. All my casters end up designing rod harnesses so they can free action shift a free hand to one while casting with the other. Still might need a storing glove to to free up the weapon hand unless the spell has no somatics..
If the melee party focuses on magic that ups their mobility, and UMD for that and utility and post-combat healing, you might be surprised at how effective they are. Big 'if' of course, but the amount of damage they can pump out could turn the game into rocket tag really fast.
They just need to work on scouting or other mundane intelligence gathering means (social skills to get informants or to interrogate captives) to avoid being surprised and to choose their battlefields, and work on exit strategies when things look bad (low level mists and fogs to cover retreats, high level dim doors and teleports to bug out, preferably using spell storing or umd spell trigger).
If their tactics or DPR are lacking, though, there will be plenty of room for replacement characters to fill the holes though.
I'd love a Rahadoum AP. Would be great to see the challenge involved with the lack of standard affliction removal and healing. Would probably end up giving support for anti-theists in PFS as well.
It'd be tough to make though, restrictions on available classes and gear would probably limit the customer base a bit. Maybe would need a mini-game for tracking how divine characters and abilities stay secret to avoid pulling priest-hunter aggro..
I'd hope to be focused against Rahadoumi antagonists too, rise of another arcane lich-king or the like, rather than over-using the outerplanar antagonism. Or maybe a bourgeoning civil war? Also hope it would support Rahadoumi players, to avoid the Jade Regent problem where the eastern AP doesn't support eastern PC concepts for the first half.
Your best defense is a strong relationship with the party. Get them as friends instead of latent enemies, all though that ship may have sailed. Also, the best way to get to the end of any adventure is to avoid over-stressing the GM or annoying the other players. Those are more likely to end a campaign than the trifling matter of your character's death.
Also not seeing anything I'd call non-optimized, outside of the RP choices. Given the channel focus already, Quick Channel seems extra good, get more of your abilities into play every round. Same with Craft Rod for Quicken Rods, if there is enough downtime; I'd see how CWI goes.. Depending on how often you're enlarged, combat reflexes might be nice.
You might be missing options vs undead, so versatile channel or turn/command might handle that. Temporarily controlling undead then putting them down is just tactics, unlikely to provoke PC rage like your animated undead slave army. Then again, might be easier to just melee them and maybe prepare command/halt undead.
1st level barb means 4 extra HP, and starting at BAB +1 for weapon focus. That's important for going Dex if you want slashing or fencing grace along with the free finesse at 3rd, and weapon versatility at 1st (since dex-to-damage feats all lock you into a specific weapon).
Empiricist/inspired, no need for that 12 cha (min 1 panache from each stat), you could shave that to get con 14 and some more str for encumbrance. Fencing grace and weapon versatility are required.
Student of philosophy trait from Q&C helps with int to persuading and lying, which empiricist is missing.
I'd hate to have less than 14 con, so no elf. Half-orc would be my choice, dark vision and that bonus to saves (especially with fate's favored as your other trait) is worth more than any bonus feat. Plus, dapper half-orcs are groovy.
Edit: given house rules, free finesse plus an extra bonus feat, don't know that swash is actually worth it. WF and WV at 1st, FG at 3rd. Human would give you CR, but no parry.. Parry is tough to use anyways, though, having to use it before the roll. Urban barbarian for 1st would probably be a much better dip, fort save and more HP and a few rounds of controlled rage.
Inspire Courage is a competence bonus to attack and damage, so I prefer to play it as good tactical advice, via perform oratory.
You could play a bard as a magical cheerleader, but I think their abilities work better as a competent military officer.
Slayer or ranger do make good sword&boarders, early access to Shield Master is pretty amazing. Slayer is more versatile damage (and more fun in general imho) until ranger gets instant enemy, ranger is brutal against their favorite favored enemy.
Before SM, you use a light shield off-hand. With SM you use a heavy shield main-hand, and a light crit-fisher (best=kukri, or maybe cestus if you go fighter(brawler)3 for feats and more damage after glorious lvl 6) off hand. That and and using shield enhancements instead of weapon (+5 bashing, everything else is gravy), means access to that feat at 6 instead of 11 is huge.
Shield Slam and Greater Bull Rush is a great combo, if you have friends in melee with you. Every hit with that shield provokes AoOs from your friends. If you're solo on the front line, you don't need those BR feats, but SS is still groovy if you can knock foes back enough to deny them full attacks.
Shield spikes stacking with bashing enhancement is debatable, I believe they overlap instead of stacking, but base damage dice don't matter much with all the static bonuses you can pick up.
Shadowrun pacifist pushed too far:
Had a happy little free spirit in Shadowrun, always working towards non-lethal or altogether avoiding violence on runs, lots of comic relief and hippyisms.
Old enemy hired us for an epic Arcology run, so I foolishly vowed if he betrayed us I'd be forced to kill him.
Party got split, and only one PC ends up with this Johnson/CEO and the much beloved GMPC. GMPC has beautiful self sacrificing scene, Johnson comes out in a coma and is whisked away by security detail.
To avoid being slightly embarrassed, PC witness lies, not only hiding that climactic scene from everyone, but also saying GMPC died because Johnson betrayed us.
My char asks if they're sure that's what happened, sighs sadly and says OK, then astrals out. Goes out and abuses to the bleeding edge various abilities, tracks the guy to a warded jet, overpowers the massive wards, ignores all the bodyguards while decapitating coma-Johnson, and explodes the plane on the way out. Brings back the severed head and drops it in the living room before going to his lodge to cry it all out.
Dedication against violence does not equal a lack of talent for it, and paladins looking for a reason to fall, etc..
Ulfgrim vs Ravenloft:
High power party goes to Ravenloft, realizes it sucks to be there, and decide to go home. Things get increasingly epic going on redonkulous, with escalating soulwrenching horrors inflicted on us and ours.
We eventually figure out that there's an upcoming grand conjunction thingy, where the demiplane itself would coalesce in prep to expand and absorb Faerun. If we can occupy its attention for about 10 rounds while calling on the faerunian gods, they might be able to calvalry in and sucker punch the plane into nigh nonexistence..
Also, my Ulfgrim, Tempurian Battleguard, decides that the most effective weapon vs fear/despair/atrocity is laughter.
He starts stockpiling ways to instant true res and otherwise recover from all manner of deaths, and starts secretly practicing secret stuff in bags of holding and other planar pockets.
When the time came, and the party of heroes stood insignificantly before the massive thing of primal ugly darkness, Ulfgrim kept forward, tearing off his gauntlet to reveal the secret weapon on his hand... A sock puppet! (This was before Banjo ever existed, dammit.)
Much like Tribute by Tenacious D, to this day I cannot recall the hilarity that spewed from our lips (me doing Ulfgrim's brute voice doing the sock puppet's screechy voice). I remember my friends losing it. I remember Ulfgrim dying 1-3 times a round, but the party or my preps instantly bringing him back again. I remember in the last round casting some sort of exalted holy rain spell fluffed to look like laughing sock puppets, while I screamed "sock puppets never die!" I can't remember the jokes and lines I rattled off for the life of me, and I know i've never been that funny before or since, but I get a big goofy grin every time I think about it.
Holy Burner. Blackened oracle, either flame mystery, or perhaps heavens to use patterns for when burning is not appropriate.
The Spider. Massive amount of natural attacks, enough rogue/ninja for pressure points, and shadowdancer 3 for the buddy, throw some chill touch or the like on there too. Str damage instead of HP, an alternate revenue stream.
Furtive Pygmy. Small mounted hunter or scout, either melee switch-hitting between lance charges and crit/aoo sharing. Or ranged using rogue/scout 8 to sneak attack full attack every round.
One Free Man. Rahadoumi anti-theist, self-sufficient, devoted to both personal freedom and morality. The ends are the means, never justification for them.
Well crap, reading fail twice. Very sorry.
Still think brawler start is nice, 2 extra HP and martial versatility and +1bab. 25pts so: s15+2 d14 c14 i14 w14 ch8.
Reach is good, definitely take combat reflexes for that. Lookout is nice too, but can probably wait for the others. Bardiche has reach with 19-20 threat, so that's my favorite weapon (barring that one old book with the fauchard 18-20).
The mounted axebeak is very strong, but doesn't work for my aesthetics. Primal companion hunter can give any companion reach and pounce. Seems crazy powerful, albeit just for a few minutes per day; eidolon with better stats and base abilities leaving more points for madness. Might be worth skipping the dip to not lose progression on that.
Cult of Vorg wrote:
That would fall under the same reason you take the -2 to that first attack even though at that point it's just an attack action. If you want to be able to continue into a full attack option, that first attack needs to be legal for the full attack.
So if you want to spell-combat, and are leading with a normal attack, you would need to put all restrictions and penalties on that first attack. And that's probably lenient.
Might be more correct that you have to declare the spell combat full-round action, since it's not just a full attack that tactical option just isn't available. You could still stop early, to conserve spells or no desired targets in reach, but there'd be no remaining move action to use instead.
You could start as a wild child brawler instead, avoid the Int requirement and get a couple more HP. Then your 3 hunter levels to get the teamwork sharing.
I'd go human, so you can get CE and combat reflexes or lookout at 1st, then pack flank and bonus outflank at 3, paired opp and teamwork sharing at 4.
You could have the AC take the teamwork feats too, until you get to share them, at which point pay the gold to retrain out of them.
I'd try Str 15+2, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 7. You could definitely drop some int or wis for 1 more str, but I hate doing that personally.
Leverage is good.
Guess he'd need the alluring trait, good social and physical skills and some perform string, handle animal, and heal.
Fighting style is mostly flurries of fast strikes and improvised weapons, when not a brawler knockout. Catch off guard makes sense, relying on equivalent close weapons to flurry.
One gunslinger level for his little used but effective firearm skills, in a modern guns everywhere setting that's good enough. Oh, PFS, might as well skip that.
Maybe monk dip for extra ac, moms for snake style/fang plus martial versatility for throwing situational styles on top as needed. Maybe amateur swashbuckler or a swash level too or instead.
No real dump stats, except for int maybe, but not enough skill ranks to go around without it.
Like most TV/movie characters, suboptimal builds made up for by under-CR opponents.. If you don't want all the extra details then just check out the guides to make a more effective char.
Without early entry, or a GM ok with adding guild rules, best to avoid the MT.
For an caster both arcane and divine, instead consider: witch, spell sage wizard, or what I want to play, being a half-elven (for favored class bonus spells known and access to) ancient lorekeeper oracle (ARG, gets one wiz spell every 2 lvls) possibly with blackened curse (BoA, fire blasty spells known) and dual cursed for rerolls, eldritch heritage arcane for familiar UMDer..
Why keep the color scheme as punishment?
Otherwise, big +1 to magitech specialists and/or blasty (or maybe shape changing) magic. Influenced by the innovation and hastiness of humans, the crafty dwarf skills, and the overwhelming force of giants.
17. Inns. 4+ crazy people walk into an inn. Instead of ordering food they all take turns sucking on and passing around a horn spoon. At least one of them drinks an implausible amount of alcohol and hits on anything with a pulse. One other keeps randomly disappearing right before annoying stuff mysteriously happens. At least one of them gets indignent if anyone reacts with surprise or trepidation to their pet dangerous predator. They request a room barely big enough for 2 and all pile in to sleep back to back, armored and armed. Then they toss around tips worth month or year wages looking for random rumors and tall tales they apparently believe without reservation.
Need more info. What's the nature of the gangs? Homegrown locals unable to make an honest living, or outsiders coming in and taking over. 2 rival big bads with a grudge against eachother, or organizations that will keep going even after the removal of the current leader. Run like family or business.
In general, +1 to Yojimbo and its various homages and remakes, given the setup I'd assume that's what your GM is thinking. Depending on how your group plays, separate and each try to infiltrate the opposite gang, or sell yourselves as single mercenary group to both sides.
Triggering an open and uncontrolled gang war is likely to be disruptive and have much collateral damage, and depending on the leaders' motivations, might just start again once their pawns are used up.
Once we did a quick pickup game, 3d6 play as they fall stats that ended up predictably substandard, with 2 random rolled quirks that ended up being dirty hands and drinking problem..
Made a level 1 rogue with catch off guard, survival and craft skills, picking up trash and finding ways to use it..
Had a lot of fun with that guy, especially since I usually instead play bastions of logic, heroics, and/or nobility..
Guilds/unions/competition could be a big reason for casters not revolutionizing most situations.
Most cities would have the ability to create magical lighting, but the honorable guild of lamplighters are lobbying or sabotaging it, and there's political infighting between churches as to who gets the PR.
The archmage could set up teleport circles for trade, but in addition to the dangers of pissing off the teamsters, the government sees it as a huge security concern and takes it over to prevent enemy agents and armies from using it. Especially if they're still negotiating for city-wide Forbiddence spells in return for tax breaks and other considerations.
City populations are big. Creating food and water, or removing disease, can make a big difference for a few people, but still won't make much of a difference city-wide in case of famine or plague.
Also, a population dependent on create water to sustain them is in unacceptable danger if something happens to those casters or their gods, or if they start using their monopoly on the settlements life or death to theocratize the place..
Best natural attacker is a boar shifter, which I believe requires a boon for PFS. Gore hoof hoof, trait for the adopted orc bite, slayer for the nat wpn style for claw claw.
I guess tiefling requires a boon now, too. They could get to claw claw bite with the adopted orc thing too.. Guess tengu is the way to go now if you're not a shifter, don't have or want the orcs of golarion bite trait, and don't want to be limited by rage or bloodline rounds..
So, guess crane riposte can trigger off every miss by the winged opponent now?
And yay clarification, no more worrying about bishopping past reach.
Thanks PDT, happy holidays to you too.
Or off the top of my head, moms 2 and brawler the rest. You get flurry back, elemental fist, pick up dragon ferocity to improve it, and martial flex into whichever elemental style you want. Pummelling style too, dragon will also help you get those eventual pounce charges... No blood crow / ki, but it still looks fun to me..
s15+2 d14 c14 i12-2 w14 ch7+2
Definitely worth pondering. Are their methods acceptable if I take a minute to think about it instead of knee jerk reacting? How likely is it that their followers and descendants will keep to the deal? Does he keep his word with everybody, or just credible threats like me (as I may not be any longer once his power is consolidated)? Is the deal only for current friends/family, or how do you handle future claims?
I like the idea of the mark of fate automatically reincarnating them. Eventually more characters will die, so unless this 'fate' only requires one of them to make it, you'll eventually run into this problem again.
At this point, if you don't explain why, they'll have to wonder if it's them or the island. Especially if the bodies of their kills disappear, and they meet things that could be imagined to be next lives of them. Coincedence or functional immortality, die again to find out?
Sure, there's ways to exploit it, but are those worse than the disruption of your plot of char death and replacements? Especially if you make it harrowing, giving the rez'd nightmares or flashbacks.. Instead of just walking out of the morning mist, they wake up to him screaming and bleeding from the eyes, and not knowing why he's alive again..
I was in a campaign off and on for over 10 years, and ended up rebuilding Ulfgrim the several times, every time a new edition released. 2e battleguard, then a skills/powers dual class fighter/battleguard, 3.0 fighter/battleguard-conversion, 3.5 barbarian/cleric/forgotten barb-pally style prestige/warpriest, to a PF barbarian/oracle.. Always core concept of a gung-ho human warrior priest with a bastard sword and spiked gauntlet.
I prefer to always try new things, never the same class or concept twice, so a campaign lasting this long was a challenge. The rebuilds were a major part of keeping my interest.
Still wouldn't have been able to do it without character development. Going from a favored son of the tempurian church, to a heretical outcast based on a more philosophical outlook on war/conflict, and eventually cast out and powerless until the oracle rebuild and mysterious new patron. The char started as a joke super-jock, but turned into a real personality, dealing with feelings of self-worth dealing with more powerful party members, perma-death of friends, and developing real relationships instead of macho postering and hired professionals.
I'd worry about the capture attempt the most. Many players have no concept of escalation of force, or have an emotional reaction to the thought of being made helpless, so the sad saps with saps might get them and their band slaughtered mercilessly.
Also, make sure this person is not responsible for any atrocities that the party has seen or seen people affected by.
I like the idea of tying them into one or more PC back stories, so the moment of recognition is an excuse to stop combat, as he berates his people to stop non-productively dying and let his friends through. Few things are as frustratingly disarming as someone who assumes friendship and acts like one (friendly, not stalker obsession).
Be flexible on who they are, in case the party executes the obvious leader before they can say anything or be recognized. That way some other survivor can thank them for the promotion, and you're not derailed.
Assuming you're looking for friendship and not just party compliance, I think the party would be more receptive if they are same or higher level as these bandits. Higher level NPCs tend to be resented and/or seen as a challenge to be overcome. Lower level NPCs are more likely to be adopted like a pet, or ignored..
I only started playing bards once I realized the Inspire Courage bonus is competence. So, perform oratory becomes tactical genius. No other class short of Battle Herald can take the party leader role as well, knowledge of foes, overlap with any other class to support or advise them, social skills so the person negotiating for the party actually has the authority to make deals.. So, defluffing the music out of the class, you have a natural strategic, social, and tactical leader.
Or stick with the music and make a metal guitar hero with an adamant-bodied electric Axe.. Or stick with the music and make a joke punchline.
I'm looking forward to this. Unleash the Paizo creativity! Hoping for some drastic overhauls, more than just archetypes. I like how the card game and mmo are handling their class conversions, got every reason for high hopes here.
I'm curious on what they'll do with the barb, seems like a really solid class, best of the martials. Maybe just working on the name, getting rid of rage altogether in favor of more recognisable tribal roles? I think rangers do that fine already.. I'd love a non-specialist tactical fighter too, tactician and lore warden archetypes are close but not right for me yet, complete unleashing there would be nice.. maybe the unleashed barb is reflavored as a martial trance thing as a framework for a backdoor fighter fix? Any way it goes, i'll be buying this..