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Vedavrex Misraria

Lune's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 1,192 posts. No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 2 Pathfinder Society characters.


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I would suggest taking a look over this thread to see if you get any inspiration.

I might also suggest reflavoring the Clustered Shots feat as the mechanics of it support it actually coming from one shot even though it uses multiple attacks to accomplish.

I favor Dragonchess Player's build so far. It makes for the most versatile character with the focus you want. It would add a lot to a party at all levels. I would add the Vital Strike line of feats to that build.

Just seems like he is going for a "one big hit" build. Channel Smite fits with that well with a character who has Channel. So does Extra Channel, for that matter.

How about adding Channel Smite?

Alright, well that IS the way it reads. I'm not certain it is within the spirit of the feat, though. I guess that is subject to opinion unless officially clarified. I wonder how many people house rule this. I will definitely be bringing it up to my DM just so we are on the same page regardless of what ruling he makes.

So let me make sure I understand how the rest of this would work:
If you take non-lethal damage while you have temporary hit points these are actually tracked serpately even from your normal hit points. Thus if the character has 100 hp and 10 temporary hit points and takes 10 points of lethal damage while he has Ablative Barrier up; 5 points of the damage would be converted to non-lethal damage (keep a seperate running total), and 5 points would be taken off of his temporary hit points.

If the next round the same character took 15 points of lethal damage, 5 points would get taken off his temporary hit points which would completely deplete his temporary hit points. 5 points would taken off his normal hit point total and 5 points would be converted to non-lethal damage due to Ablative Barrier (which is being recorded sepeartely). This would have effectively healed him for 10 points of damage that turn (5 lethal, 5 non-lethal).

Then if this character activated his Spontaneous Healing/Healing Touch discovery he would heal 5 points of lethal damage which would bring him back up to full hit points. He would also heal an equal amount of non-lethal damage which is being tracked seperately. He would then have 5 points of non-lethal damage remaining.

Is that all correct?

I also wonder what happens if the character has taken 101 points of non-lethal damage and then is granted temporary hit points. Would this make him become conscious? this also a good time to mention that the same character has a level of Barbarian and can gain a buffer of Rage hit points as well? It gets complicated here, you see.

I am familiar with everything here. I am looking for other people's opinions as there are some clarity issues within the rules. This, actually has been an issue since 3.x as Die Hard and non-lethal damage rules haven't really changed since then. If you do not believe me then I welcome you to do a google search for "D&D Die Hard non-lethal" and take a look at some of the forum posts. Since Pathfinder didn't really clarify those rules at all we are left with the same issue.

So, let me get your opinion straight. I'm not saying it is wrong, I just want to make sure I understand your outlook.
You believe that the general rules for non-lethal damage overule the specific rules of Die Hard. In other words, you believe that:
1. Assuming the character with Die Hard has 100 HP and an 18 Con and takes 101 points of damage that they would be Staggered but could keep fighting until at 118 damage (or -18) and would fall dead.

2. Assuming the character with Die Hard has 100 HP and an 18 Con and takes 101 points of non-lethal damage that because this was non-lethal the Die Hard feat would not kick in and they would fall unconscious rather than being staggered? Is this opinion just because Die Hard doesn't specifically mention non-lethal damage as the reason your HP total is below 0?

I am in agreeance with everything you stated except about Die Hard.

Say I have 80hp and have taken 90hp worth of non-lethal damage. Would I still be conscious? Or because it is non-lethal damage would I be unconscious?

What if I have taken 101hp worth of damage and I have a 20 Con? Then I would be more than 20 points below my maximum. Would Die Hard stop functioning at that point and I actually go unconscious? (Since the character has Lingering Spirit this cap would actually be at 130hp in this example)

What if in both of the above examples he also has 1 point of lethal damage?

How do you believe these things interact?

I have an Alchemist that I am playing in a game who will soon be using these in combination. If I cast False Life and Ablative Barrier and then take damage how is that recorded? How will this heal when using Fast Healing via Spontaneous Healing/Healing Touch Discoveries?

...and to further complicate issues: the character also has the Die Hard feat and Lingering Spirit Discovery. So he can go to negative hit points and keep fighting. But... how does this interact with the non-lethal damage caused by Ablative Barrier?

This is one reason I was sad that they removed ECL from Pathfinder. My suggestion would be to look back at the old ECL rules and those from Savage Species. They give a solid outline of how to judge the power levels of something with racial hit dice opposed to that of a party with class levels. They can still be implemented in Pathfinder and I have done it to large extent. Doing a Savage Progression like suggested in Savage Species does seem to be the way to go.

Make sure you know how you are going to rule on both the RP side (seems like you have a solid handle on that) and the rules side of things. It is important to decide how you are going to handle item slots, manufactured armor, feats and skills to prohibit and other things like this before the campaign starts. Just because he is awakened doesn't mean that he would have proper training to take the types of feats he would need. For instance it would likely be fairly difficult to teach a tiger how to use Improved Unarmed Strike. It would just be against their nature. You need to know how you will rule on these sorts of things and be sure you convey them to the player before hand so he can make a sound judgement on if he still wishes to do it with your rulings.

Might I second the suggestion of at least 3 levels in Zen Archer and the rest wherever you'd like (even Ranger)?

Zen Archer gets you Wis to hit and with a Guided weapon (RAW allows it to be applied to ranged weapons, check with DM first) you can get Wis to damage as well. This would allow you to forgoe strength for ranged attacks. If you wanted to use Dex as well that could still be a good choice to up your AC further and your saves. Another advantage of this build is the high unarmored AC.

Your melee damage would still suffer until you get an Agile or Guided melee weapon. Piranha Strike would still be a great feat choice.

You also wouldn't need to get natural attacks as you get Improved Unarmed Strike for free. You lose out on flurry of blows in melee but if you are only looking for single melee attacks and always threatening for AoOs then this is the way to go. Or, you know... just use your bow unless it is an AoO.

Plus, if you do go with Ranger your high Wis wont go to waste on spellcasting.

Piranha Strike. Oh. And Dragon Style feats.

I feel like using a race with racial HD would put me even further behind the curve. Good catch though.

If your GM is open minded then I suggest looking at the 3.5 Prestige Class the Arcane Heirophant. They get the ability to combine their Familiar and their Animal Companion into a Familiar Companion that advances on both lists just as you wanted. It, of course, has spell casting requirements though.

That too. It seems like more than just oversight that the Hexcrafter was left without a way to use a Hex with Spell Combat too though. Heck, even making it an arcana would be fine.

I dunno... "sleep effects they cast". Might be some wiggle room there. No official ruling on it that I know of.

I'd like to say right now before the thread gets going. Gees, Grimmzorch. Thanx for opening up this can of worms! I predict a heated debate coming.

I have been thinking about this very subject for the Hexcrafter guy that I have been working on. It kinda sucks for action economy. It seems like they would have made a specific exception for Hexcrafters. They sorta did with Accursed Strike but that doesn't help with Hexes.

With my characters build already being extremely feat tight I can't justify spending another feat on IUS and Hex Strike.

And I did. Twice. And if the OP posts again and tells us what he is looking for then I will continue to be as useful as possible.

Am I off the hook now, boss?

Ah, didn't know that Vivisectionist wasn't PFS legal.

Alexandros Satorum: I respectfully disagree. Often times people come to these boards and say "I want to do X, Y and Z. How can B class accomplish this best." The answer is often that they can not accomplish X, Y and Z best but another class can. Often the OP walks way appreciative of another viewpoint they haven't considered because they weren't aware of how something worked.

And anyway, I didn't do that aside from the Vivisectionist suggestion that isn't PFS legal anyway. If you do not like Deadmanwalking's, or BBT's suggestions (Slayer/Barbarian or Wild Stalker/Trapper Ranger respectively) then please direct your complaints to them. They are the ones who made suggestions of other classes. Not me.

Ciaran: You are not the forum police. I can suggest what I like. I am being constructive. You are not. Drop it.

sentaiexpress: Personally, I like the builds that have less rogue and more martial. If you have to take rogue levels I would suggest taking 1, 2 or 3 levels. Those are the best cutoff points IMO.

If you go with Deadmanwalking's suggestion I would take Piranha Strike and Weapon Finesse. Also, Vivisectionist Alchemist would stack really well with that too and it keeps the rogue feel. Even just a couple of levels is great.

I suspect it is for some overly nostalgic association with "sneak attack" being how you "stab someone on the back". BBT is correct though. It is difficult and often not worth it to make reliable sneak attacks. Even then it is situational damage as opposed to static damage that will hurt anything.

EvilPaladin's advice isn't bad if you absolutely gotta have rogue. His build at least doesn't rely fully on situational damage, it has both. I would, however, consider what it is you actually want out of rogue.

Most things rogue better than rogue. Its a sorry situation, but it is true.


Me...earlier wrote:
This is mostly just theory crafting for some possible future game that I'll likely never get to play in. I know that isn't a big motivator but you know me... I love making character concepts. So... I guess I can't answer the question of what is available but I would say probably the more widely available things the better.

Thats 3 traits unless i go half orc. Then i miss out on wayang spellhunter. Guess i could take extra traits.

I was also going to use a spiked gauntlet until he gets improved whip mastery.

Also to do lethal with a scorpion whip takes a seperate ewp feat or else i would be taking a -4 to attack.

Scorpion whip doesnt do nonlethal for enforcer though.

Hm... Sylph. That is an interesting option. Not sure how I would picture a Sylph Warlock.

BBT: Caravan Drover. Hm. I'll have to take a look at that. This is mostly just theory crafting for some possible future game that I'll likely never get to play in. I know that isn't a big motivator but you know me... I love making character concepts. So... I guess I can't answer the question of what is available but I would say probably the more widely available things the better.

revaar: Awesome catch!

Oh, and I thought of going Elf for the extra arcana favored class option but losing out on EWP at first level isn't really doable even though it would net me the equivalent of 2 bonus feats/arcanas/hexes. The stat bonuses would be good, though.

So you can't do both Kensai and Hexcrafter as they both replace Spell Recall. That puts a bit of a kink in my build. However, this is what I have so far:

Replacing Adaptability to get Ancestral Arms for EWP: Whip
Replacing low-light vision with Drow-Blooded for Dark Vision (this is good as I will be using stealth)

1st - Magus 1: Arcane Pool, Cantrips, Spell Combat, Weapon Finesse (1st), EWP Whip (Half-Elf)
2nd - Fighter 1: Weapon Focus (bonus)
3rd - Magus 2: Spellstrike, Whip Mastery (3rd)
4th - Magus 3: Arcane Accuracy
5th - Magus 4: Evil Eye (bonus), Rime Spell (5th)
6th - Fighter 2: Combat Expertise (bonus), Enforcer (bonus)
7th - Fighter 3: Maneuver Mastery, Improved Whip Mastery (7th)
8th - Fighter 4: Improved Trip (bonus)
9th - Magus 5: Dazzling Display (9th), Shatter Defenses (bonus)
10th - Magus 6: Misfortune
11th - Magus 7: Knowledge Pool, Medium Armor, Extra Arcana: Accursed Strike (11th)
12th - Magus 8: Improved Spell Combat
13th - Magus 9: Fury's Fall (13th)
14th - Magus 10: Fighter Training
15th - Magus 11: Combat Reflexes (15th), Cackle (bonus)
16th - Magus 12: Agony,
17th - Magus 13: Heavy Armor, Greater Trip (17th)
18th - Magus 14: Greater Spell Combat
19th - Magus 15: Disruptive (arcana), Quicken SLA (19th)
20th - Magus 16: Counterstrike

That gets everything I wanted except the Rogue (Thug) stuff. I think it makes up for it in spells and Hexes though. Everything is fairly delayed from where I want it to be, though. Waiting until 9th to setup the Shatter Defenses/Enforcer abuse is kinda sucky. I kinda need the whip feats where they are at though to decrease the suckyness of using a whip for a weapon and actually making it viable. I guess I could switch around Shatter Defenses and Improved Trip.

I would love to do Rime Spell at first level but there is honestly no room without delaying Weapon Finesse and that just seems bad with a low Str high Dex build. Likewise I will have to get Whip Mastery as early as possible so I can actually damage anything. Cant get that til I get Weapon Focus so I have to wait til 3rd.

Also I have never played a Magus. Not sure all of what kinda tricky stuff I can do with the spells yet. I haven't looked into it much.

I dunno. I feel like it could use some improvement. What do you think?

/facepalm Oh yeah. Forgot I got it free with Kensai.

Actually, I rather liked the idea of keeping spare whips around to use just for Greater Whip Mastery. Grappled is a debuff. :)

Ok, just found the Whip Mastery line of feats. How did I miss these before? Oh yeah... its cause they do not appear on this list. God, all of these seem good for this build. If I go this route I could use a Whip rather than a Scorpion Whip and still be effective. It would also free up a trait from Blade of Mercy.

...its just more feats though. UGH!

I'm kinda just mulling over an idea here. I'm thinking of a warlock type character (Hexcrafter Magus) that uses a Whip and Spiked Gauntlet in one hand (for threat area so he threatens adjacent at least) and casts with the other. I'm going for a melee striker/debuffer here.

For race it would probably be Half-Elf for the free Exotic Weapon Proficiency and other elfy goodness. Maybe even going with Drow Blooded and Drow Magic for Stealthy stuffs.

I was actually also considering combining it with Kensai and pumping Int and Dex and forgoing Strength completely. This would work especially well if I get Combat Reflexes ... the only problem is the Whip doesn't threaten.

Actually, the Whip as a whole is a problem. I wanted to combine it with Enforcer to give the Shaken Condition. The problem is that with things with armor I will have trouble even damaging them. So... that is pretty terrible. Maybe if I take the Blade of Mercy trait? Then I could use the Scorpion Whip, right? Its slashing. Still doesn't solve the issue with not being able to threaten with a Whip.

I honestly considered a Small sized Flying Blade... but that is just silly and I don't want to eat the potential -4 to hit (goes to +0 on AoOs though!).

I was also going to go with the Rime Spell + Wayang Spellhunter + Frostbite + Enforcer to give them Entangled, Fatigued and Shaken. Possibly even doing this from first level depending on what I select for a first level feat.

As for the rest of the melee side I was also going to go with some tripping feats later on. Obviously I would need Weapon Finesse if I'm going to forgo Strength. I would also need Combat Expertise to even go into any of the Trip feats. So then there is Improved Trip, Fury's Fall, Greater Trip, maybe even Fury's Snare. There was also the afore mentioned Combat Reflexes. Since I was going for the Striker/Debuffer thing I would also really love to fit in Shatter Defenses which requires Weapon Focus and Dazzling Display. That also will make Deadly Stroke look pretty tasty later on too.

So... how the hell am I going to get all those feats? Welp... if I go with Kensai/Hexcrafter the Kensai side would give me Weapon Focus. There is honestly no way that I am going to put a dent in those feats without some Fighter levels. Lore Warden seems in theme both mechanically and fluffy. For 2 levels I would get 3 feats. The lack of Armor Proficiencies wouldn't hurt with being a Kensai and all. 3 levels would get me a +2 on all CMB and CMD. Hell, if I'm going for 3 I might as well stick around for 4 to get another bonus feat. 4 feats in 4 levels and a +2 to CMB and CMD doesn't seem too shabby.

I realize it slows down spell progression but Magus isn't really a full caster anyway. I also realize that I would be giving up some effectiveness to fit theme, but I'm ok with that so long as it doesn't completely gimp the character.

Now for the caster side of things...

First of all I would love to fit in a Familiar but only if I could get Improved Familiar (Faerie Dragon so good!!) and with everything else going on with the build I just don't think it is in the cards. I just don't think I have enough room to fit it in. So, I'm just going to skip that for now.

The Hexes that I am looking at primarily are Evil Eye (to start the debuffing madness), Misfortune (to make it worse) and Cackle (to continue it). I do not want to go with Prehensile Hair. I dislike it for this concept and it can become nearly game breakingly powerful. Same with Slumber, that is just boring. Pass. Flight is good but I don't know if I will be able to fit it in before it loses its luster. Accursed Strike is definitely going to happen.

For Magus Arcana Arcane Accuracy is going to start looking REALLY good towards mid level. It will also help with landing those trips. Disruptive could be great if I could manage to threaten with a Whip. Same with Spellbreaker. Honestly, I just haven't played with enough of this stuff to know what would be good for this type of build.

I may not get a lot of room for Major Hexes in the build and if I go with more than 2 levels in anything other than Magus then I'll never get a Grand Hex. I'm not overly broken hearted about that. None of them really seem great for the build anyway.

As for Metamagic I definitely want Rime Spell. Not interested at all in Dazing Spell cheese. Merciful Spell might open up some possibilities with Enforcer. Persistant Spell could be good later on. Sickening Spell is good to lay on the debuffs. I will likely have to rely on Metamagic Rods for many of these though. I do not tend to play primary casters often so advice here would likely be helpful.

You are going to hate me for this... but it would also be sweet to throw in a few levels of the Thug rogue Archetype. Hear me out on this, though. Frightening extends shaken and can potentially Frighten my opponent. Frighten is an one of the best debuffs in the game (especially if I can find a way to threaten with the Whip... GR!). Sticking around for 2 levels nets me a Rogue Talent. There are so many good ones to choose from. Befuddling Strike or Offensive Defense are both good for the debuffing schtick. I could also just pick up Finesse Rogue or Combat trick to shore up my need for all these feats. Taking Ninja Trick to gain Pressure Points or Style Master (Crane Style) seems good. Staying for 3 levels gives me Brutal Beating to apply Sickened.

The problem is I don't think I can fit this all into a build.

I mean...
Lore Warden 4, Thug 3, Hexcrafter/Kensai 13 wouldn't be terrible, would it?
It would get me 4 bonus feats from Lore Warden (including Combat Expertise), 1 from Thug, 3 from Hexcrafter/Kensai (including Weapon Focus). It gets a free Hex, and will at some point gain a single Major Hex... though I don't know which one. Plus 10 feats over levels that comes out to 19 feats/hexes/talents/arcana or whatever. 20 if you include the one from Half-Elf.

It falls short of a 16 BAB though, which is unfortunate. I could shave off a Rogue or Fighter level, I guess. I would also get rewarded with Iajutsu Focus if I did so.

I dunno. I got a lot going on here. What do you think of where this all falls together as a concept?

RavingDork: Thank you for your post. I thought you might chime in eventually. I couldn't agree more.

Fruian Thistlefoot:
Independant of what the topic was that was being discussed you still chose to use a very generalized blanket statement. If you do not stand behind that statement you are welcome to retract it. It seems like you have done that to some extent already as you are now saying that a multi-layered defense is best which I would have agreed with if this was said originally. Either way, I do not need to defend my position as I believe it was done fairly well by the rest of the board goers. If you would like to argue your point then I would like to direct you to them.

I would, however, like to make some clarifications.

1. Making the Full Plate Barding out of Mithril adds 9K gold and doesn't add anything to AC. For the sake of just an AC based build you could safely remove that. ACP isn't going to be much of a negative to an Ankylosaurus anyway. Heck, you could make it out of adamantine if you'd prefer and the cost is only 6K more. That would give you 3/- DR for the whole layered defense approach. Or just have it made of steel and save the 9K to apply elsewhere.

2. I never made any claim that miss chance wasn't good. It is. This does not invalidate AC being good as well.

3. Getting mirror image on your Animal Companion seems to be more difficult than you think. If you are a druid it isn't on your spell list. As was pointed out potions of it do not exist. Wands exist but you need UMD for it as it can't be cast via share spells by anyone but the druid. If this is something that you are doing frequently then it is still an investment. It is an investment in something that isn't perminant, requires skill points to perform and likely has to be reapplied several times per day. In fact, due to the short duration of the spell you are likely using a combat round doing this when you could be doing something more effective. Personally, all things considered, I prefer a defense that is always on or at least has a long duration.

This is all fairly tertiary to the main issue that I had here. Its something that happens too often on these boards. I believe I gave good advice in that one good method of improving animal companions was to take armor proficiency feats to up their AC. I said this because AC is not a useless stat. Now, anyone can feel free to disagree, thats fine. Thats what message boards are for: sharing opinions.

But that isn't how it happened. My opinion was attacked calling it out as "a trap", a "double trap" and a "triple trap". Worse still to emphasize the point a blanket statement was made saying that AC itself is useless. Honestly, I don't think that was meant. I think it was simply something that was said out of frustration to drive a point home. But it was said. I think it also had to do with the thought that one person's opinion was more valid than another's probably based on the assumption that I was a neophyte and new to the system or the boards for making such a suggestion. I can assure you that neither are true. You could easily check up on this if you'd like but I don't feel like flashing my creds to validate my opinions as I don't feel that it is relavent to a constructive discussion.

By posting the question here I didn't take the statement out of context as the context was included in the statement itself. It was stated that AC is useless for PCs and animal companions. It appears that the popular opinion is that this is not true, that AC is a important part of the multi-layered defense particularly for a front-liner. I feel sufficiently validated.

How about this?

Level 10 Ankylosaurus Animal Companion:
10 base
+2 Dex 15 (Starting 14 -2 from size increase at 7th +3 Dex from levels)
+6 Natural armor from levels
+11 Natural armor (+9 base +2 after size increase at 7th)
+10 armor (+1 mithril full plate barding, 16K gp - not unreasonable for average wealth for a character of this level)
+4 Barkskin (cast by his druid)

Thats 43. This would be considered good for that level. Right? I mean you could easily bump that up by a few more points. Most casters of this level would likely have a strand of prayer beads to cast their daily buffs with so that would rase the Barkskin to it's full +5. This also isn't counting any deflection or insite bonus to AC which are fairly easy to obtain cheaply. No shield bonus which could be gained via a potion if need be. I could see easily getting that to 50 at level 10 for a minor investment.

If you absolutely got to have enlargement as a class granted ability and do not want to go with a caster class there is the Living Monolith PrC. Definitely not the best PrC but it gives the feel that you are looking for I think.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Didn't seem like flaming to me.

That is a good point, Mort. FYI - I have been around this board and several others before it and am no Neophite. I haven't really looked at it from that specific perspective but it is true. Typically monsters have lower to hit than something swinging a weapon of equal CR but they dont have to worry about iterives missing.

And I would agree that it is about equal to combat maneuvers... however, a grapple focused character will typically have no problem meeting those CMDs.

It is as I suspected. Most people are agreeing that a multi-layered defense is best. No one believes that AC is useless but that it is one of the stats that is important to defense.

For front line sluggers it is more important than those who typically stay in the back row, that is just logical. But it is never "useless".

Personally, not getting hit seems like a good thing to me. As AC is largely what determines that it seems like a fairly important stat to me.

I am not discounting other methods of protect, mind you. Saves are important as well and displacement and concealment type effects definitely have their uses. However, with the number of threads I have seen here with a DM coming to these forums with a character with an unhittable AC causing balance issues I don't think that it is trivial either. It is true that there are other ways of dealing with high AC like attacking the character's saves or using spells or effects that don't target the character at all but rather their surroundings. But to me that doesn't make it "useless". It is still a very important defensive stat. For some builds more than others.

That is my opinion. I am more interested in yours.

A poster in another thread stated the following:

Armor Class is useless to players and animal companions. Armor class is the worst Mitigation in game.

He apparently believes that AC is useless. While it is entirely within the realm of possibility that I am woefully misinformed I don't believe that is true. However, as I try to stay open minded to other ideas I would prefer to allow myself to be convinced.

So what of it? Do you believe that AC is as useless as this person thought? If so why? If not, why not?

Fruian Thistlefoot wrote:
Armor Class is useless to players and animal companions. Armor class is the worst Mitigation in game.

This is false. Not getting hit is good. Look at the number of threads on this message board alone where DMs run into problems with a player with an unhittable AC that is causing balance issues for encounters. Anyway, I do not really feel the need to defend my point. I feel like you would further need to prove yours when you make such broad statements that AC is a useless stat.

Hm... so PFSRD has info on horseshoes not fitting non-hooved animals, etc. I was incorrect on that. However, DMs that I have played with in the past have allowed for bangles of the zephyr and similar items to be created. While I suppose that technically it requires DMs to allow it as it uses the item creation rules I doubt there are many DMs who would not allow it. It follows the same pricing and abilities of the other items so I do not see why it wouldn't be allowable. If anyone has a reason why it shouldn't be then I'm all ears.

Also, I think people may have missed out on what I was saying about the amount of AC that can be gained with Heavy Armor Proficiency. I can't think of a better way to put it than what I already have. And as I said it isn't for all animal companions. But those with lower Dex that you wish to have high AC ... yeah, still good for them.

Medium Armor proficiency is NOT a waste or a trap. The difference between a Mithril Chain Shirt and an Mithril Breastplate is 2 points of AC. When it is Mithril it counts as armor of one step lighter so it doesn't slow you down either.

There are many Animal Companions who aren't able to benefit from more than 2 points of Dex as well. Like the TRex, Allosaurus, Spinosaurus, Wolf, Bear and more. For some of these getting Heavy Armor Proficiency is great as well. The Ankylosaurus is a great example of when this can work well. Plus the visual of a fully armored (already naturally armored) Ankylosaurus is fairly frightening. 9 points of AC for Full Plate is nothing to sneeze at! And with it being Mithril you still get to keep 2 points of Dex bonus. The real question then becomes how many points of Dex bonus are you going to lose out on and is it going to be enough to make up for the difference between a Breastplate or worse, a Chain Shirt? Let me give you a clue, an Animal Companion doesn't get +6 Dex until level 18. Before then if you are rocking a 14 Dex or lower Full Plate is still better. After that its equal to the bonus only marginally worse as you spent feats to get there. But that is an aweful long time of reaping the rewards of the feat before it begins to equal out.

If you are really worried about the speed that armor could potentially take away then just get horseshoes of the zephyr or another item like this. Even if your animal companion doesn't have hooves wonderous items adjust to fit the wearer. They could turn into bangles or some such thing to fit whatever your animal companion has there.

You can. But if you want to give them better armor like the ones that do have an armor check penalty then you need the feat. ...unless you don't plan on them attacking. Still, it opens the door to ... wait for it ... Medium Armor Proficiency!

... I bet you know whats coming next.

Outside of Boon Companion? Nope.

Ah yes. Forgot it was for PFS. Anyway there is still a lot of table varience at PFS. *shrug*

I didn't say that inspire courage would stack. It would continue to give you more uses/day. Archivist's ability WOULD stack with bardic performance, though but only with Lingering Performance.

Light Armor Proficiency ... then get them enchanted special material armor. IMO the best feat for most animal companions.

What Deadmanwalker is saying is correct. Without house rules Ninjas can not be Kitsune Trixters.

If you go halfling and take Helpful (halfling) feat and the Helpful trait they are likely meant to stack even though the wording doesn't specifically say that. It would bump your Aid another up to +5.

Pathfinder Chronicler also has a similar ability that, again, while the wording leaves a lot to GM interpretation was likely meant to stack with the other two. It would increase your Aid Another by another +2. It also continues your bardic performance ability. It also allows you to store your bardic performances in something like scroll form with Epic Tales. Beyond that the class is pretty terrible, but does lend itself well to these few abilities for this type of build. Well, it does have 2 good saves and a lot of skill points.

Archivist Bard has a lot to offer as well, especially if you are already going Sensei. You get to keep your bardic performance stuff from that class but also pick up the abilities from Archivist. With Lingering Performance you can stack these. Their Loremaster ability at level 2 is nice too if you want that to be part of your schtick.

If you wanted to include a decent spellcaster class in this (I would highly recommend it) I would suggest the Evangelist Cleric. It would allow you to continue your bardic music advancement still. The loss of armor proficiencies do not hurt. You only get one domain and I would highly recommend Luck. If your group is anything like mine they probably aren't too big on 3rd party resources. However, if you can swing it by them the Fate subdomain is only a slight change but probably more in-theme with what you are going for.

Personally, I would go with a halfling with 6 levels of Sensei/Ki Mystic, 1 level of Archivist Bard and the rest with Evangelist. Kirin style feats would be good for this type of build as well.

EvilPaladin's suggestions are good. I'd through in crossblooded sorcerer as well. With eldritch heritage this will allow you to have Orc, Abyssal and Dragon bloodlines. I would also go with 4 levels of Dragon Deciple.

9th level spells only matter if the character is going to get to 20th level anyway. Even then it comes down to personal preferance like was said. IMO, for a gish type like this (even a gish that is mostly caster) I say screw 9th level spells. They wont really lend themselves to this type of build anyway.

Rory's calculations are lowballing it by a long shot, IMO, if you include those things along with the strength boosts they give.

Weird. XmorsX, whom I normally agree with I find I disagree with here. The highest DPR sneak attack builds all use TWF. His scimitar + dervish dance suggestion goes along with my crane style/duelist suggestion, though.

While his sap master suggestion is good that kinda pidgeon holes you into a single combat style where you are dependant on non-lethal precision sneak attack damage. All of which have several types of foes who are immune.

Paladin adding Cha to saves is really good. Thematically, though, I can definitely understand not taking it. Also, classically, ninjas were not the disciplined warriors of the time. That was the samurai. Samurai I can much more easily see being a paladin. Espionage, infiltration, assassination, etc. ... these are what ninja specialized in. They don't seem overly paladinlike, IMO. But, all that being said, sap master is one fairly effective way to go and paladin would bring a lot to a high Cha character. *shrug*

By Trait do you mean Feat? Because Weapon Finesse is a Feat, not a Trait.

For sneak attackers to remain viable in mid-late game it is recommended that they go two weapon fighting. This is because there will be several ways - especially with the build options suggested by all those above - to deliver sneak attacks on each and every attack. So, obviously, the more attacks the better. TWF by itself is great. Improved TWF is less so and Greater TWF can likely be left out as you will not likely be hitting with that attack anyway.

I should also mention that with a high Dex build like this that TWF dovetails nicely. Basically Str builds typically go with a two handed weapon and power attack and Dex builds typically go with two weapon fighting.

If you are not considering doing this then another option might be to pick up Crane Style (and improved unarmed strike) and go with one hand free. If you are considering this then dipping a level into Master of Many Styles Monk would be a good way to pick it up. It does lower your BAB by 1 point overall but what you gain in feats, saves and abilities may make up for it. If you go for one level, you may as well go for two. Also, depending on your stat array if you have a decent Int then Duelist may work well for this as well.

From a combat effectiveness standpoint, though, I would recommend either the TWF option or the Crane Style/free hand/Duelist approach.

Aside from the other excellent advice in this thread I would highly recommend taking advantage of the race's alternate favored class bonus of 1/6 for a rogue talent. At level 6 you will be able to get two rogue talents. If you are worried about this cutting into you HP total then you can take the toughness feat. This feat definitely wont go to waste for levels 1-6 and then for all levels after that you are better off with continuing to get rogue talents. 3 extra rogue talents by level 18 is WAY too good to pass up.

If you are ever content with the amount of sneak attack damage that you do and want to add some versatility and flavor I would recommend taking a look at gaining a 3+ levels in Horizon Walker for several interesting options. Forest for +4 stealth, swamp for +4 to perception, underground for blind fight, urban for +4 to diplomacy are all good for this type of character. Astral plane for dimension door 3+Wis mod/day is great. Work with you GM to see if they will let you base it off Charisma instead as Horizon walker when written was intended more for rangers who are wis based and ninja came out after that. This would open up the option of the dimensional agility line of feats as being a great choice.

Horizon Walker offers some other interesting options as well that can add a bunch of flavor. With an investment in Combat Reflexes, Dodge and Mobility (feats that would compliment the build anyway) you could also get into Shadowdancer which has some interesting options for the build as well.

I also would second (third?) the suggestion to go Scout. If you go with Shadowdancer you wont even be giving up uncanny dodge... just delaying it. A lot.

One other suggestion... consider this a strong suggestion if you are going with a weapon finesse build is the Pirahna Strike feat. Its the Dex character's Power Attack.

I also wanted to point out this thread with a ruling from SKR. It doesn't help so much in this thread except reinforce the only opinion on these issues I have seen posted from a Dev.

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