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Danse Macabre

Kaouse's page

Organized Play Member. 788 posts (790 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 2 Organized Play characters.


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I honestly think they should take all aspects and archetypes and toss them into a fire. A class called "The Shifter" shouldn't be restricted to Beast Shape II.

The Shifter should get an expanded Wild Shape list, rather than a more restricted one. They should get Wild Shape at level 2, starting with Alter Self. From there, they get the same progression as a Druid would, only continuing beyond Level 14, and getting access to all other polymorph spells, like Giant Form and Form of the Dragon.

At Levels 1, 5, 9, 13 & 17, the Shifter gets the ability to add an enhancement bonus to their natural attacks, as well as certain weapon special abilities, similar to the Magus. To give you a bonus while not Wild Shaped, each of these levels also allows you to select 1 natural attack you can add to your base form, with the restriction of not adding new limbs to said base form.

At levels 3, 7, 11, 15 & 19, the Shifter gets access to a "Chimeric Form" ability, where they can choose to become an amalgamation of multiple forms chooseable by their current level of Wild Shape. For the strongest level of Wild Shape, this number will always be 1, but for weaker levels of Wild Shape, the number of creatures you can choose increase linearly. Thus, earlier levels of Wild Shape aren't completely ignored at higher levels. More importantly, this actually allows you to become an actual owlbear, rather than a bear with a stealth bonus.

At level 20, your Wild Shape is constant, and you can change forms at will. You gain your base form's natural attacks in any form, and you learn one "Eldritch Secret" (i.e. cool s~!& that is only situationally useful, like Immortality, or See in Darkness w/ a constant Deeper Darkness effect, or the ability to plane shift/teleport once per day, like Lion from Steven Universe).

Probably the one with access to the Heal spell as a swift action. Can't really beat that once you've got it. Hell, spells are generally stronger than most other things in the game.

That said, Invulnerable Rager Barbarians with Improved Stalwart make rather impressive damage sponges.

And Crossblooded Arcane + Destined Bloodragers with Fate's Favored have rather significant defenses. The ability to cast any Bloodrager spell on yourself as a free action when you rage is rather immense. Specifically because one of the spells you get is Mirror Image, which can neuter physical encounters.

So I'd say that optimized Bloodragers make the better tank until late levels, where the Warpriest can Fervor-cast Heal.

I don't think I've ever seen somebody actually berate another player using the tier list as an excuse. They might suggest a more useful/fitting option, but in my experience, the tone is meant to be helpful as opposed to antagonizing.

Furthermore, I disagree that the Tier system isn't educational or informative; on the contrary, that's all it is. It is a measure of a class's relative power and versatility. That's all.

For example, it's an objective fact that the Core Paladin is superior to the Core Fighter. One has a bonus to a small subset of Will saves, the other has straight up immunity to that subset, as well as a better Will save, and a class feature that directly boosts ALL saves.

However, for the people who refuse to see things from an objective point of view, somebody telling them to play a Paladin instead of a Lawful Good Fighter comes off as a personal attack, rather than a helpful suggestion.

We're just trying to help. A lot of us who ascribe to the tier list do so because we ourselves have been in positions where our characters felt...inadequate. It's not a good feeling at all. That's why it's important to understand the tier list.

Understanding the tier list helps you understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of each class, and once you understand the reasons behind their placement, you can carve out a niche for yourself and never feel useless again.

I suggest trying Kirthfinder. Probably the closest thing to a "Pathfinder 2E" that you will ever get. It actually makes an attempt to balance out the classes, and it's pretty fun.

Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
Kaouse wrote:

Generally combat lasts an average of 4 rounds, and there are generally 4 combats per day. Thus, a Barbarian only needs 16 rounds of rage in order to rage effectively every round.

Even with a CON of 10 and no enhancement/level boosts, the Barbarian gets to this number by level 7 at the latest. Beyond that point, you generally start having more rage rounds than you could ever really need.

Then maybe I'm doing something wrong, Cause in my time playing both this and 3.5 combats usually range from 5-10 rounds at the least.

Grab the Community Minded regional trait then. Rage for 1 round, use Community Minded to extend the morale bonuses for two rounds. You'll still be fatigued for those two rounds, but mathematically, you always come out ahead, and can effectively triple your rage rounds.

If you like it, can I get a call out as a Beta Proofreader or something? I'd love to be able to attach my name to this project.

At any rate, I really like the second idea:

S/M/F Components = 1 Partial Action
V Components = 1 Immediate Action
Spell "Assembly" = 1 Partial Action

Between BAB +0 and BAB +5, a spellcaster has to devote their entire turn towards casting a spell with multiple components. But as soon as they reach BAB +6, they effectively revert to standard Pathfinder rules on spellcasting, which should make transition from Pathfinder to Kirthfinder easier.

Plus, partial casters benefit, as they get a built in Spell Combat @ BAB +11. But even regular casters can achieve something similar by using metamagic to erase the action cost of specific components. It also gels nicely with Spell-Like Abilities, which have no components.

I also like the idea of having Quickened Spells use Silent & Still spell as prerequisites, but then also include their effects of getting rid of components.

This means that all Quickened Spells effectively only require mental actions, and thus spells like Surmount Affliction become a hell of a lot more useful.

Generally combat lasts an average of 4 rounds, and there are generally 4 combats per day. Thus, a Barbarian only needs 16 rounds of rage in order to rage effectively every round.

Even with a CON of 10 and no enhancement/level boosts, the Barbarian gets to this number by level 7 at the latest. Beyond that point, you generally start having more rage rounds than you could ever really need.

Steel Soul Dwarf Inquisitors were my go-to when I wanted to optimize saves from an early level.

What a weird game where you include a Level 18+ Barbarian w/ Superstitious yet don't include any boosted stats, despite the fact that even inherent boosts should be easy to come by at this level. Superstitious Barbarian scales with level. Paladin scales with stats.

Also, do note that Superstitious does nothing against Extraordinary abilities, or anything else non-magical in nature. You'd be surprised how many of those exist.In comparison, Divine Grace works on everything.

Plus, I have a personal fondness for Enlightened Paladins, and they can easily get ludicrously high saves.

But I honestly think that the winner of the "Saves War" is actually the Inquisitor. Mostly because they're one of the only classes to get Stalwart, allowing you to negate a myriad of "Fort/Will Partial" spells.

Like Blasphemy when cast by someone with a Caster Level higher than your HD + 5, which still paralyzes you for one round even if you make the save. Unless you're an Inquisitor.

Small error, there is no minimum action to cast a spell with my version of the rules. I'd have to add another partial action or some such specifically for spellcasting, or add it's action to one of the components. The first option (adding another partial action requirement) makes spellcasting pretty rough for casters, since they won't be able to cast spells with multiple components until BAB 6.

An alternative for the second option (adding the "casting" partial action to another component) would be to combine the action requirements of other components. Namely, combining somatic components/attack rolls with the material/focus components. This way, casting will always be relegated to a partial action, and the use of metamagic to erase components makes a bit more sense.

In other words, Casting a spell with S, V, M/DF components takes the following actions:

1 partial action - Somatic + Material/Focus components
1 immediate action - Verbal Components
1 partial action - "Spell Casting"

Use of "Silent Spell" Metamagic erases the immediate action expenditure.

Use of "Still Spell" Metamagic erases the partial action expenditure, but only for spells that have no Material or Focus components.

Minimum cast time w/ no components = 1 partial action.

@ BAB 6+ the caster gains an extra partial action, which can be used for movement, and an extra immediate action, which can be used for quickened spells and other things.

Speaking of Quickened Spells, it might be nice to add Still Spell metamagic and Silent Spell Metamagic as prerequisite feats. This way, in effect, all Quickened Spells are cast without components, with a minimum cast time of a single immediate action.

This split could be further simplified by classifying material/focus components as the same as, or a subset of, somatic components. In this case, spells that require expensive Material/Focus components would be ineligible for use with Still Spell and Quicken Spell.

I think this is a pretty good solution that makes a lot of sense with the action rules you've already written. What do you think?

I was thinking, what if spell components had specific actions associated with them? Verbal components would cost an immediate action, material/focus components cost a partial action, and somatic components w/ associated attack rolls cost another partial action.

In this case, the minimum time for casting a spell with zero components would be a single partial action. This correlates to the casting time of a spell-like ability, which would also have no components and also be a partial action to cast.

With this system, casting a spell requires your entire turn until BAB 6. Beyond BAB 6, casters gain an extra partial action and an extra immediate action, allowing for basic movement and quickened spellcasting in the same round.

For full casters, this is where it ends, but for partial casters with 11+ BAB, stuff like spellcasting + attacking in the same round becomes possible. As long as the once/round restriction on spellcasting is upheld (barring Quickened Spells), it should remain pretty balanced.

With that out of the way, I would also get rid of the distinction between 0 BAB characters and 1 BAB characters, so Level 1 casters aren't totally screwed by this system.

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Kaouse wrote:
That said, I had some areas of concern after reading over it:
Me, too. The more I look it over, the more I realized that I should NOT have rushed it out. Basically, I started with an idea that was too complicated, tried to simplify it, and then ended up with some cases where the loss of granularity actually prevented me from accomplishing what I was shooting for. I'm still a little torn on which direction to go.

Well, take your time. You can't rush quality, and this is still pretty quality work right here.

Also, mind your health. :P

Boy has this thread been derailed.

Chapter 7 was a great addition to the rule set, and really helps tie things together. That said, I had some areas of concern after reading over it:

Spellcasting in Combat wrote:

Casting a spell or channeling energy generally involves two steps, each of which requires an action:

 Retrieving material components and/or presenting a focus component requires a partial (move) action. Therefore, if your BAB is less than +6, you cannot take a move action (including a 5-ft. step) while casting a spell unless there is no material or focus component, because your bonus move action is supplying the partial action needed to retrieve the components.
 The verbal and/or somatic components of a spell require a standard action.

Emphasis mine. Why is the section referencing your BAB present? Spellcasting always takes a Standard action + a Move/Partial action. You get the extra Move/Partial action @ BAB = 1, allowing you to cast a spell in one round. @ BAB 6, the amount of partial actions in a standard action increases, but spellcasting still takes up your entire standard, so nothing changes @ BAB = 6.

This is further muddled up by the section on SLAs and Su abilities:

Treat the activation of a spell-like or supernatural ability as the casting of a spell by a sorcerer. Spell-like abilities therefore do not have material components, but do generally have somatic components and require a partial action to activate.[

Emphasis mine. So the somatic components and general casting of a spell like ability and a supernatural ability requires a partial action instead of a standard? If so, the BAB = 6 remark would make a bit more sense. But then we'd probably need a limit on how often spells/SLAs/Su abilities can be used in a single round.

On the subject of spell actions, what happens if we lose or don't need specific components? Presumably, a spell without a material or focus component doesn't need the partial action spent on using them, correct? But what about the opposite? What action is it to cast a spell without verbal or somatic components, but with material/focus components, only a partial action? Still Spell seems to suggest that a spell with no components defaults to a standard action, so it seems like that's independent of components, but then the part above about SLAs and Su abilities (barring Channel apparently, which specifically works like spellcasting) being a partial action doesn't really make tremendous sense.

On the subject of spell actions, what about Quickened spells with material components? Is it a Swift action + a partial action? Speaking of Quicken Spell, it's description in Chapter 8 should probably include full-round spells (as it does in Core), not just standard action spells. Otherwise, reducing a spell with full round casting time by half is kinda hard to adjudicate.

On the subject of the Bonus Move thing, is it really necessary to not give it to characters with 0 BAB? It literally only affects a subset of Level 1 characters and NPCs. It honestly seems almost vindictive against early level spellcasters, who now must spend 2 rounds casting a spell that in regular Pathfinder would only be a standard action.

avr wrote:

The shifter gets more utility than a barbarian but less combat strength - the bonuses are lower at low levels and by the time they get better the bonuses are easily replaced by goldmancy, being enhancement-typed.

The shifter actually gets less utility than the Barbarian. Barbarian can fly, sunder spells, and even have access to their own version of True Seeing (which isn't a divination, and therefore bypasses Mind Blank). There's really very little you'd want a Shifter for over a Barbarian.

And this isn't even taking into account the Beastkin Berserker Barbarian, which is literally just a better Shifter in every conceivable way.

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Ryan Freire wrote:
Omnius wrote:
I play many systems. I use different systems for different things. Much of the time, Pathfinder is the game I can get a group for, and I want to actually be able to enjoy playing it.
Therefore it should change to something you like rather than the game that the people you can get a group for choose over all the other games out there.

Translation: Let them eat cake.

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Ryan Freire wrote:

The problem is people rattling chains about C/MD operate under the assumption that "balance" is the goal rather than worrying about fun.

If balance was what people wanted Pathfinder wouldn't be what it is, and 5th ed would look a lot more like 4th.

People continually rail against 3.0/3.5 problems while ignoring, forgetting, or disingenuously glossing over the fact that pathfinder exists because people wanted 3.0/3.5 and wanted the customization and options that they provided.

The case hasn't actually been made that the existence of that disparity has been a significant financial dent for paizo, and without that, people whom are super bothered by it are probably best off finding a game more to their liking. To change it significantly rather than putting out different games is the kind of risk that could (and should) be viewed as potentially putting Paizo out of business or at least dramatically shrinking the company.

Here's an idea: Every dollar made by a 3rd party company that purports to help "fix" Caster Martial Disparity, is a dollar that Paizo could have made were they not so archaically insistent on pretending it doesn't exist. There would be no need for Path of War, Spheres of Power/Might, Legendary Fighter or anything else if there wasn't this huge gaping problem with the system.

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Kirth Gersen wrote:

Withdraw... did that not make it into the Combat chapter? Bad job, Kirth! I can only apologize that I've been more than a little distracted between losing my home, my father, and my health all right in a row, so that rushing out an unfinished chapter probably wasn't the best idea. But people kept asking for it! need to take care of yourself. If you have issues you need to handle, then just let us know. Take as much time as you need to get things in check. We just want the best for you.

If you don't care about worshipping Cthulu or something similar, Dreamed Secrets should serve your purposes well.

No Arcane Caster?
Omae wa mou shindeiru

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Is it bad that I honestly forgot about most of those terrible classes?

Is it worse that the two "clear winners" among the muggles have literal classes that are better than them at everything (i.e. Primalist Bloodragers & Sanctified Slayer Inquisitors)?

Omnius wrote:

You know the sad thing?

The Fighter is actually one of the best purely martial classes.

Compared to...what exactly?

Certainly not compared to the Barbarian, or the Slayer. I'm honestly not sure if I would put the Fighter above stuff like unchained Monk

You know, Ryan Freire, if you want people to take your argument seriously, the best way to do it is to actually take the time and stat out a level 8 Fighter build that has both great initiative and great combat capabilities.

Once that is done, we can test your build against a basic Wizard of similar level. For the sake of fairness, we'll say that the basic Wizard build won't take the Divination school as their school of choice. Do these terms sound agreeable to you?

I personally like to trait cheese Bladed Dash, for the extra mobility. Being able to use Bladed Dash with Spell Combat to go in, make all of your attacks, and then Quicken Bladed Dash out is a pretty nice ability to have, and it certainly helps keep you safe.

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Ragelancepounce is nothing but a Barbarian build that does a lot of damage. It's actually pretty explanatory. Rage, Mounted Charge w/ Lance, use Pounce. You might also hear of "BattyBat," which is generally a synthesist summoner Leadership cohort, in the form of a giant flying bat. Because Synthesists can get ludicrously high fly speeds, this translates to an incredible distance on a mounted charge.

The original idea was use the Lance's double/triple damage on a charge ability with the extra attacks from Pounce, but this has long since been nerfed by Paizo such that the extra damage only applies to the first attack in a charge. That said, even with the nerf it's still a tremendous amount of damage.

A caster unprepared for a flying, pouncing Barbarian with access to True Sight could easily find themselves felled. Even more so if the Barbarian has access to Spell Sunder as well.

Of course, a properly prepared/paranoid caster, could certainly deal with such an issue.

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I don't think master_marshmallow realized that Combat Stamina wasn't a Fighter-only ability. Which kind of speaks to one of the problems with the Fighter. Zero niche protection.

Fighters only have AC because they can wear Armor, but Armor based AC is the worst type of AC to have. Touch attacks negate it, incorporeal touch attacks negate it, even brilliant energy weapons negate it (which only adds to the disparity between Fighters and equivalently leveled monsters, who ignore it entirely).

Moreover, just wearing the armor heavily restricts your DEX bonus to AC, greatly exacerbating the problem that these touch attacks pose. And unlike DEX based classes that can get Uncanny Dodge to ignore being flat-footed, there is no similar defense from touch attacks...except for Scales of Deflection...a spell.

Then there's the fact that it heavily encumbrances you, destroys your already poor skills with Armor Check Penalty, makes you drastically less mobile, takes forever to put on or take off (making you much more vulnerable to ambush scenarios), and on top of all of that it also costs an arm and a leg to buy and maintain.

Anything more than Medium Armor generally isn't worth wearing on any character in my honest opinion.

Get a Bow and Arrow and out-range him. Guns generally have pretty s~%@ty range increments, and if you're outside of his range, then it's not that easy for him to damage you. This works even better if you took the mount option for Divine Bond, instead of the weapon option.

If all of your stats are 22 and increase only by leveling, then it literally doesn't matter what the other side of your gestalt is. You can't boost CHA anymore than you could boost any other score, so it's worthless to stick with a CHA based build as you would in a normal Gestalt.

As such, the best thing you could probably do is try to fix up weaker areas in the Paladin Chassis. For this, I vote Investigator. Investigator gives you perfect saves, has tons of skill points, and has the strongest self-buff in the game, Studied Combat, which uses a bonus type the Paladin doesn't normally have access to (insight).

DEX & INT focused Kensai Magus gets great initiative (capable of beating most casters), as well as great touch AC (good for dodging a lot of annoying spells, like Enervation) and a balanced set of saves (though it should be your priority to pump this up as much as possible).

More importantly, they can cast buffs like True Sight to negate most caster defenses, as well as Dimension Door to close distance. They can even do this while still making full attacks (YMMV if they need Dimensional Agility for the latter).

Barring this, Pouncing Spell Sunder Barbarians can be quite the terror to the unprepared spell caster. Even more so if they can sunder effects that can't otherwise be dispelled (like Walls of Force, for example).

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The Sideromancer wrote:
Fergie wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
For example, say my fighter wants a unicorn. I have to tell the GM I want a unicorn, the GM has to decide if he even feels like letting me have a unicorn, and then I probably need to go on some quest or find the mystical unicorn-mart to go obtain my unicorn. Meanwhile, my wizard decides he wants a unicorn, casts planar ally, and gets a unicorn.

Well said sir!

Now I want a unicorn!

Leadership is your friend

You could use Leadership to get a Unicorn mount, OR you could use Leadership to get a caster cohort who can summon you a Unicorn mount. Which option do you think is better? Therein lies the problem.

There's a very obvious dirty joke here just waiting to be said.

I was under the impression that Hybrid classes were wrecked by Unchained Action Economy. Or so i heard. I admit that I haven't looked into it too much beyond some hearsay when it first came out.

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Lausth wrote:

Magus is a T2 class.Spritualist is a T3 class.Yes it is weaker then a magus and that is by design.Generally occult classes released as weaker than other classes and they will stay that way but they are fun to play.

Both classes are Tier 3. Tier 2 is generally reserved for spontaneous full casters, and Summoners (who are basically a spontaneous full caster).

Headsman's Blade for Slayers is pretty nice.

How is the low level Fighter going to kill all the bad guys before the caster's turn? For one, casters generally have better initiative, and less to worry about so they can boost initiative more easily. More importantly though, Fighters don't have much in the way of AoE.

Low level casters can max out a Color Spray or a Burning Hands to be able to incapacitate/annihilate multiple enemies in a single move. A low level Fighter might be able to attack one opponent, but he can't really do much more than that. Maybe if he grabbed Rapid Shot he could attack twice with a bow, but then it's unlikely that he's killing his targets with one arrow shot a piece.

By the time a Fighter could afford to grab something like Whirlwind Strike, the wizard has already moved on to bigger and more powerful spells, like Fireball or Black Tentacles. If the Wizard is played to their potential, there's never really a level where the Fighter can be considered above them.

I should also note that you want more Inquisitor levels because it also gets you more spells. You really want Level 6 spells, especially since that's the level you get "Heal," arguably the most effective combat healing option in the game.

As an Archer, 6th Level Spells also means that you get access to Greater Named Bullet, which is one of the most powerful damage boosting spells in the game. Let it be known that Warpriests don't get this spell. If ever you have some buff time and you know what you're up against, this spell should seal the deal.

So yeah, Inquisitor all the way.

Just be a single classed Inquisitor from the get go. You may miss out on Improved Precise Shot till later levels, but the teamwork feat, Friendly Fire Maneuvers, already does most of what you would want IPS for anyway. This also helps increase your Studied Target bonuses and your sneak attack damage dice, plus the Half Orc Favored Class Bonus for Inquisitors is pretty spiffy.

If you're going all the way to level 20, then you'll definitely want Deific Obedience to Erastile, followed up by Diverse Obedience to get the Evangelist benefit without being an Evangelist. It allows you to add WIS to both attack and damage with longbows within 30 feet of a target. Note that the WIS to attack won't stack with the Zen Archer or the Erastil's blessing feat.

"In addition, whenever the wielder receives temporary hit points from any source, he adds the weapon’s enhancement bonus to these temporary hit points"

I don't see the problem here. The statement is all-inclusive. The two should work perfectly fine together. I'd even go as far as to say that if you were only missing one temp hp from your rage, this would add that one temp hp and then add temp hp on top of that equal to your weapon enhancement bonus.

The temp hp you get from Lifesurge isn't restricted by the same limit as the temp hp from Regenerative Stance. However, as soon as your Temp HP reaches/exceeds your normal Rage limit, Regenerative Stance would stop giving you temp hp.

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Having played a Path of War using Rogue (Specifically a Hidden Blade stacked with Eldritch Scoundrel Unchained Rogue), I obtained immense out of combat use out of Ghostwalk, particularly to phase through walls, doors and floors. Being able to do it effectively at will made me a far better scout than I would have been otherwise, and the constant stance effects certainly helped (use of Obsidian Reflection Stance actually turned me into quite the tank whenever I got in over my head).

That said, I will note that Path of War has less use out of combat than something like Spheres of Might, where several spheres give you skill ranks and ways to buff those skills, as well as newer abilities rarely seen on a martial. Alchemy Sphere and Scout Sphere are prime examples.

Scout Sphere gives free ranks in Stealth, has the potential to give free ranks in Perception, and lets you scout enemy weaknesses, using Perception in place of Knowledge checks. Higher level Scout abilities include a "hide in plain sight" ability without the necessity for dim light, an ability to detect & resist scrying, and even a true sight ability at very high levels.

Alchemy Sphere gives free ranks in Craft (Alchemy), and lets you create specialized alchemical items that deal damage that scales with your ranks in Craft Alchemy. You could also gain a talent that lets you heal hit points, or another talent that allows you to cleanse debuffs. Then there's the host of poisons you can make with the sphere, with some of them even being beneficial, like a numbing poison that turns lethal damage into nonlethal, or a psuedo-mutagen.

Spheres of Might certainly helps to shorten the gap between martials and spellcasters, especially when spellcasters are also using Spheres of Power. But I won't say it closes that gap completely. Still, a pretty fun system all around.

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The more you can invest in DR, the better it becomes, but investment is difficult since DR rarely stacks.

An Invulnerable Rager with Stalwart + Improved Stalwart can get DR 20/- which makes them VERY difficult to take out. With Dragon Totem Resilience you can increase this number even further.

Sanctified Slayer Inquisitors.

Try to remake your character as a Sanctified Slayer Inquisitor. Spend a feat on Hellcat Stealth. Negate most of the penalty with the Penumbral Disguise spell. This way you don't need to Multiclass.

With stats like that, I would suggest a Kensai Magus. They get to add their INT to a lot of things, including AC. A Kensai Bladebound needs neither weapon nor armor. But if you want to boost your AC further, then know that you can still wear an enchanted Haramaki.

STR based is more than viable, especially with those stats, though I prefer going DEX based because I like having high Touch AC and I feel that it helps patch up the Magus's poor Reflex save.

Bench Pressing: Character Creation by the Numbers. Blue values are what you aim for, but as long as your numbers are at least orange then you're in a decent spot.

As for which of those three options deals the most damage, why don't we calculate it?

Larger Gun:
1d8 --> 2d6
1d8 Average Damage = 4.5
2d6 Average Damage = 2(3.5) = 7
Damage Increase = 7 - 4.5 = 2.5

Rapid Shot
+1d8 + 2 damage
Damage Increase = 4.5 + 2 = 6.5

Deadly Aim
Damage Increase = +4

So mathematically, Rapid Shot gives you higher damage. BUT note that you suffer more from Damage Reduction on enemies AND you'll spend more on ammunition (if your GM makes you keep track of such things). So it's up to you if you're willing to take the plunge.

Of course, Rapid Shot also opens up to more ranged feats down the line, like Manyshot, so it's probably hands down the best choice you can make.

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Solo Inquisitor all the way. Be a Sanctified Slayer if you can.

STR: 14
DEX: 14
CON: 14
INT: 12
WIS: 14
CHA: 8

Is a pretty basic point buy; it should serve you well. If you don't care about STR, I'd suggest making it a 10 and then making DEX a 16. Then be a race that gets a +2 to DEX (I highly recommend Half-Orc Inquisitors that take the Favored Class Bonus) for an 18. Put level up boosts into DEX.

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Summon Monster X was always the most powerful ability of the Summoner, and it was left untouched by Unchained. The ability to summon a monster perfect for the environment you're in and immediately put it into combat exactly where you want it is immensely powerful.

It adds to the total hp of your team, it deals damage to the enemy with each passing round, and it doubles as a form of battlefield control simply by taking up space, allowing it to flank, threaten, perform combat maneuvers, etc. Some summons even have access to other spells!

Meanwhile the Eidolon is...just a pet Fighter with free, easy to access permanent buffs (i.e. evolutions). They are but a hammer in the Summoner's hefty box of tools. Hammers can do a lot, but sometimes it's better to just have the right tool for the job.

I'd also like to know whether or not Skinwalkers gain much use out of going Shifter, since multiple polymorph effects don't really stack.

If School Understanding lets you count as a Specialist Wizard (it does seem to grant you an actual Arcane School, albeit a nerfed one unless you pay from your resevoir), then the Exploiter could theoretically be allowed to take the Acadamae Graduate feat for quicker, longer lasting summons.

Arcane Discoveries are pretty damn powerful, IMHO. Plus you can safely dump Charisma without worry, letting you have better physical stats.

The major problem with the wizard is that while they can prepare for any situation the best, they aren't always properly prepared for the exact situation at hand. Because of this, they are forced to spend extra resources on spells that help solve an issue, rather than the one spell that definitely solves the issue.

Like having "Maximized Empowered Fireball" prepared against a horde of vampires. It will certainly put in work, but a single casting of "Sunburst" could have ended the fight instead. Thus we see the value of something like Quick Study on a Wizard. It allows you to always have the "best" spell for a situation, therefore you save on spell slots.

At least theoretically.

In practice, saving on spell slots isn't all that important, since 90% of the time, good enough is good enough, and the adventuring day ends when the spellcaster runs out of spells anyway. But, being able to tailor spells to enemy weaknesses/vulnerabilities is a pretty nifty tool to have. It combos well with the wizard having access to technically every spell ever written (and then some).

I'd say the Exploiter Wizard is best thought of as a buffed Generalist Wizard. Potent Magic is always useful, and Quick Study gives you great versatility. Even moreso if the Metamixing exploit allows you to spontaneously apply metamagic to your wizard spells. At that point you have basically all of the upsides of being a wizard AND a sorcerer, but almost none of the downsides.

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