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a) "Living" is not a rules term. It has no crunch meaning.
Well, it wont help you get more spells per day and you don't start out buffed which may or may not be an important consideration. You wont qualify for feats which have a higher score than your normal score because the enhancement is not a permanent effect.
Good point! So this is clearly better for physical abilities.
Throw in a level or two of Fighter (feats) or two levels of Cavalier (intimidation) to get heavy armor proficiency. Alternatively, two levels of Master of Many Styles Monk will get you great saves as well as access to Tiger Pounce, which shifts the PA to hit penalty to AC.
Third option, and my favorite, Mutagenic Brawler with 2 levels of MoMS/MoSM Monk, combine pummeling style & dragon style. Use brawling armor & an AOMF. You can throw in 3 levels of weapon master fighter brawler fighter for further bonuses and (not sure here) access to gloves of dueling.
It is not overly difficult to get a familiar that can reliably use a wand. Invest in UMD, the Evolved Familiar feat or the Figment Familiar archetype to get the Skilled evolution.
A wand of animal's ability costs 4500 GP. That's 500 GP more than a +2 belt or headband, but provides +4 right from the start. It lasts 3 minutes, thus at least one combat and your familiar can cast it on you, preserving your action economy. 50 charges should last you until you can afford a +4 or even +6 item.
Comments? Am I missing anything?
Carnivalist & Eldritch Guardian combine nicely.
Outflank, Precise Strike. Paired Opportunists. Combat Reflexes
I recommend a Pseudodragon for reach and until then a hawk with the mauler archetype.
Oddly enough, since a Homunculist's homunculus is not technically an improved familiar, it does seem to gain speak with animals of it's kind, opening it up for archetypes. Furthermore, though a homunculus cannot speak, a Homunculist's homunculus gains speak with master, which clearly is a language - though one with only two speakers. It should thus be able to use spell trigger items.
It would be much more fun, if improved familiars, which almost everyone taking a familiar will go for anyway, could take the archetypes.
And while it's not a case of archetype interaction (improved familiars are not archetypes), it seems rather clear that one cannot replace what one does not have.
Therefore abandon the trade paradigm and embrace communism: From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.
N. Jolly wrote:
I would rather recommend Long Arm. I've been using that with a natural attack focused Investigator to good effect. Though you only have reach with the claws, it'a still a tremendous tactical advantage and in comparison with using I weapon I find that I prefer having two slightly weaker reach attacks than one stronger in most cases. It's just more flexible.
Any critical hits allows both the hunter and animal companion an AoO at +4
To do this, you need the feat Seize The Moment, which requires Improved Critical, which requires a BAB of +8, as well as Combat Reflexes. Pack Flanking on the other hand requires Combat Expertise.
So, reliably generating AoO via crits will only be possible at level 12 for a Hunter.
Here's a set up:
1st Combat Expertise
For the AC:
At 13th and 16th add Improved Critical for claws and then bite.
This way, by level 3, you'll always count as flanking when threatening the same target, triggering +4 to hit, +1d6 damage. That to hit bonus will allow you to use Power Attack effectively despite your 3/4 BAB, so that's next. Shake It Off translates into a +2 to saves for you and your companion. Spirit's Gift is probably the best feat to strengthen a companion.
Don't dip. Instead, get a mutagen and focus on polymorph extracts to get extra attacks. Together with studied combat, that will provide an OK offensive basis.
Using a mutagen, alter self and studied combat, you'll end up with
Three words: Spirit Guide Oracle
The ability to switch to a new set of spirit spells as spells known is very powerful. Furthermore, there are rarely more than 2-3 revelations that are actually worth picking in a mystery.
But ultimately, it comes down to whether you prefer spontaneous or prepared casting. I for one vastly prefer spontaneous casting since I hate having had the right option but not having picked it in the morning. And to be honest, when I play prepared casters, I almost always have a standard set of prepared spells anyway.
Yes. As has been stated, since ease of access to full attacks varies over builds (and scenarios, but that is neither here nor there), it's pretty hard to come up with a composite value that is still representative of something.
This is wrong.
At the table, one rolls many times, each combat is usually a sequence of attack rolls. DPR considers accuracy (and damage) only insofar as it concerns a single isolated, idealized roll.
Accuracy has effects that are not captured by commonly used DPR calculations. This is precisely what I mean when I say that DPR undervalues accuracy.
This does not make those calculations useless, nor should it motivate a crusade against DPR. It also does not mean that DPR fails to consider accuracy.
Nor should anyone draw the conclusion that power attack is a bad feat or that it's never a good idea to push damage. In fact, I intended no hands on advice at all, but to point out some mathematical facts about the combat rule mechanism. My goal is understanding, rather than application. That is not to say that no practical application can be made, just that I am not terribly interested in those practical applications.
Consider a plot not as in a move: a sequence of scenes.
Having planned scenes vs. improvised scenes:
I prefer a set-up like this:
DPR leaves out the value of accuracy by itself. My considerations are intended to show that accuracy has important effects by itself. They are are not intended to be used in character building to judge the power of a build (though they can be).
Consider what I said not an engineers tool to build characters but a philosopher's argument to establish that focussing on accuracy tends to be a good idea, even if DPR might not show this.
Of course DPR calculations provide useful information, but it leaves certain things out. These include the aspects that I have tried to point this board's attention towards.
Several times people have defended from anecdotal and subjective experience that accuracy is most important. I have shown that there is a mathematical basis to that experience and that, to the degree I have explicated ("all things being equal...") that feeling is justified by the actual probabilities in play.
I have been criticised for using extreme cases. I have justified this by pointing out that the extreme cases are good cases to study because the show clearly what is a general effect also in play in less extreme cases. I have not seen any reply that actually has taken this into account, so I will repeat myself: The effect shown is as real in less extreme cases, even if it is less extreme.
Finally, my considerations are not intended to replace DPR, but to make clear that there are important aspects that DPR does not represent and that yet have an impact on play and the experience of players. So unless you can show that my math is unsound, it would be wise to just accept that there is more to the game than DPR. Again, it's not either/or it's a complementary analysis.
And finally, DPR is calculated under standardized assumptions, abstracting from the diversity of actual play. These same assumptions allow my considerations to be applied to specific stats to see whether under these circumstances e.g. Power Attack or Weapon Focus would be stronger feats. Again, I have chosen simple and extreme numbers to show the principle clearly and distinctly, but there is nothing stopping you from applying the same consideration on more "realistic" cases.
In that spirit, thanks to everyone who offered more than repeating the "it's unrealistic" response.
As an aside, it is really three different considerations:
1) can be roughly evaluated if you have something of a grip on binomial distributions. But in general the advice to draw from that is: if you feel that you are missing too much, increase accuracy even at the cost of raw damage, no matter what DPR tells you. If you hit reliably, you have no issue, of course.
2) is rather difficult to evaluate. And while not super practical "RUD" is still a very realistic representation of the actual effect on damage dealing in combat.
3) is based on the simple observation that any 1 attack damage potential beyond what is needed to eliminate a target possibly represents wasted resources spent to acquire it. Between +1 to hit and +3 to damage vs. an enemy I already kill without the +3 to damage +1 to hit is obviously preferable. And that issue repeats at multiplies of target hit points. The ratio of hit points to raw damage, always rounding up if any fractions remain gives you the minimum number of attacks required to eliminate a target. Any damage bonus that does not yield a lower number of minimum required attacks is practically wasted.
Still, accuracy is limited as well, but the mechanism of iterative attacks almost guarantees that a +1 to hit is rarely wasted.
The pretty clear conclusion, given my math is sound, is that all things being equal, accuracy is always preferable to a corresponding amount of damage.
What happens in actual play is that sometimes you get more in damage than you lose in accuracy and if that is the case you can still come out on top. But given identical DPR, accuracy > raw damage, no matter how extreme the difference.
The real practical question is at what point the HD disadvantages are less relevant than DPR increase. If anyone has a workable analysis on offer, I'd be keen on reading it.
The example is chosen for clarity. The relationship holds to a correspondingly lesser degree in less extreme cases. A lesser difference is a difference still.
Also it was chosen to be abstract to clarify a particular relationship between abstract concepts.
Thirdly, the issue at hand (DPR calculations) is in general highly abstract and not representative of the diversity of actual play, I hence I do not consider that point all too relevant.
On the other hand, my abstract conclusion does point, imo, towards an explanation why, in actual play, accuracy is generally valued so highly. That is to say, the presented abstract relation describes an aspect of the structure of actual play, because it describes facts about the rules governing actual play. So "ceteris paribus" is the important factor here. Though other aspects are certainly also efficacious, that does not disprove my results nor show them to be irrelevant.
Since there is a current discussion going on about Power Attack being a trap, I would like to offer some considerations on the common practice of DPR calculations and how the miss out on some important aspects. I shall assume that the reader is familiar with the common DPR formula and will discuss it in depth.
Let's compared two extreme cases with similar DPR but different dsitribution of raw damage and accuracy.
1) The chance of doing nothing
With some rounding, we can read the data from one of many readily available tables
The HD case: P(n,p=0.3,x=0)
The HA case: P(n,p=0.9,x=0)
As we can see, the difference shrinks, the longer the combat lasts, but is rather impressive for short fights. If over all combats are shorter rather than longer the case gets worse for HD. This is a jarring observation if you consider that shorter combats are generally considered desirable.
2: Accuracy kills faster
For HD the case is simple. It is identical to the "all misses" case above: 0.34, so roughly a third.
For HA, instead of just wanting to know the probability of not hitting at all, we need the inverse probability of hitting three times out of three. This is simply 1-0.9*0.9*0.9=1-0.73=0.27, roughly a fourth.
3: The Advantage of Smaller Slices
I conclude: All else being equal, it is always preferable to have higher accuracy over higher damage. Furthermore, the experience of missing a lot makes playing HD over HA less enjoyable for many players, in particular because combat tends to be short and no one likes never hitting.
Caveat: This does not consider further factors, in particular damage reduction which affects HA much more strongly than HD or miss chance, which affects HD worse than HA.
I believe that what phased out heavy armour was not firearms technology per se, but the changing tactics that resulted from their adoption, in particular drill and pikeman/gunman formations employed by professional armies. The heavy cavalry of the late middle ages is good for powerful charges, but drilled musketeer/pikemen clusters are very well capable of defending against those. This essentially made heavy cavalry tactically useless, once drilled professional armies began to dominate the battlefields. Since mobility and speed are still useful against such armies, the new cavalry significantly reduces its armour load and adapts its weaponry. Note that they still use plate cuirasses long after the heavy full plate amour has become historical. It is only in the 19th century when more or less modern fire arms (breech loading rifles) become common, that those are also starting to disappear.
What furthermore supports this notion is the fact that heavy plate armour develops around the same time that fire arms spread throughout Europe. Almost, as if heavier armour was some kind of response to their appearance, though that's probably not the whole story.
Tl;dr: Not weapons technology per se, but the demands of changing tactics killed the heavy plate armour.
2 Levels of Cavalier of the Order of the Cockatrice, aka Cockalier gives Dazzling Display as a bonus feat sans prereqs, the ability to use it as a standard action and, most importantly a +2 bonus to hit demoralized targets, which combined with the AC penalty from shaken almost guarantees the second hit.
MoMS2, Brawler (Snakebite Striker) 2 is a great base. You could even go dex, take one of the styles that let your unarmed attacks count as slashing, take slashing grace and from then on go Swashbuckler (or another class that grants precise strike).
I don't think that the slayer can take the minor/major magic tricks.
Here is the list:
bleeding attack*, camouflage, combat trick, fast stealth, finesse rogue, firearm training, grit, hard to fool, lasting poison, powerful sneak, rogue crawl, slow reactions*, snap shot, sniper's eye, surprise attack, swift poison, terrain mastery, trap spotter, unwitting ally, or weapon training.
The misunderstanding stems from the this line, I believe:
If the rogue talent has a prerequisite (such as the major magic rogue talent requiring the minor magic talent), the slayer must fulfill the prerequisite before taking that rogue talent.