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Mike Schneider's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 2,349 posts (2,966 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 6 Pathfinder Society characters. 2 aliases.

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Shadow Lodge

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bfobar wrote:
Reach weapons, combat reflexes, step up, and massive damage make you a tank in pathfinder.

Depending upon how old-school you want to get with definitions, "tank" originally meant someone who can ward off massive punishment (physical and mental) -- he is not normally the PC capable of dishing out the most damage (although he often, from mere appearance, fools the enemy into assuming so). A good way to judge a the "tankiness" of a build is to measure how much healing/unsucking it needs during combat with challenging opponents.

The mentality of the steroid barbarian is "I'm going to dish it out faster than I take it!"

The mentality of the tank is "I'm going to take it less than I dish it out!"

-- S&B paladins and dwarf fighters are the toughest tanks.

T'nk (20pt dwarf)

STR:15 (7)
DEX:14 (5)
CON+16 (5)
INT:14 (5)
WIS+14 (2)
CHA-05 (-4)

traits: Birthmark (religion), Glory of Old (regional)

01 fight1 [Tower Shield Specialist], Iron Will, Steel Soul four mirror armor (45), tower shield (30), dwarven waraxe (30)

Attack: (3-2=)+1; AC:22; saves vs. magic: F+10/R+7/W+9 (+11 vs charm/compulsion).

-- At 1st level, T'nk is only ~45% to hit crappy mooks, but they need a 19 or 20 to hit him. He makes his saves ~80% of the time. Party healer seldom has to "budget" resources for him.

02 cleric1 [Abadar:Protection/Travel], 1st
... saves: F+13/R+8/W+13 (no cloak, no spells!); Sense Motive now class, speed doubles to 40 in heavy armor with Longstrider up.

03 fight2 [Burst Barrier], Shield Focus, Additional Traits [Militant Merchant (racial), Defender of the Society (combat)]
...AC now +2, Perception jumps +5 this level (assuming bought).

04 fight3 STR>16, [Tower Shield Training]
05 fight4 Dodge, Combat Expertise
06 fight5 [Tower Shield Specialist]

<> <> <> <> <>

Skills per level: 4 (spent on Perception, Sense Motive, rest grab bag).

Tactics: Takes point (or is second after a rogue). Expects to (and positions himself to) bear the brunt of melee attacks. Unlike most fighters, invites being targeted by spellcasters.

Offense is worthless at low-level but mainly irrelevant since his job is to block the choke-point eating all the incoming; offense steadily improves thereafter (he is, after all, a fighter). Teener levels: T'nk has traded some offensive power (Weapon Training + gloves) for best-in-game defense (tower shield bonus now applying to touch AC as well); he considers this well worth it, since he expects to be a target three to four times as often as he gets to attack.

Shadow Lodge

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How ever you cut it, its the extra books that have knee capped the rouge
So when the splats tripled the rogue's available Talent options and give him a crapton of cheap new magic items, traits, feats, and armor/weapon types and properties to play with, he was being knee-capped? Knee-cap me harder, please.
Tell you what, throw out a build that you think is viable for a rogue.

You mean aside from the Darkness murder-machine I cited in my most recent post before this one?

The way you guys fail your Perception checks make me wonder....

Shadow Lodge

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Atarlost wrote:

An 18 strength bard two handing a longsword with arcane strike is comparable to an 18 strength ranger two handing a longsword without arcane strike.

You really want that 18, though. It's an extra 1 attack 2 damage over 16.

Right. What's your hitpoints, fort save, armor class and AC at 8th? I say you'll have way fewer feats/rage powers/lay-on-hands and way fewer hitpoints or armor class than a real tank who needs at least one of those latter categories in *aces* to go toe-to-toe in melee with BBEGs at PFS upper tiers.

<shaking head>

Skill monkey classes forced into glass cannon Schwarzenegger concepts die like mice around Tier 7-8 in PFS when huge reach monsters with Improved Grab begin showing up. Either that, or the player wises up and relegates his character to the back ranks next to the wizard, but is under-optimized in that capacity as well since his build was totally geared for melee combat which it is now obviously inept at. I swear, I'd rather have an n-2 level dwarf straight-class CRB fighter with a tower shield and waraxe at the table than any of them; as I can trust the dwarf not to wilt in one round or one poison-save. Hell, a 5th level archer bard with Heroism up juicing a Hasted repeating crossbow would contribute more in combat than the washed-up, sad, pectoral model who can't hack it.

Moral of the story: if you want to play a barbarian, play a barbarian. Start with a 19 in your prime stat and be raging to a 26 at 5th level, making these melee pretenders look hopelessly foolish.

Shadow Lodge

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Zero, I recently ran ninja who exploited the Goz mask + Obscuring Mist trick; I triple-classed him ninja/cleric[deception]/monk[flowing] at levels 1-2-3 for a BAB of 0.

Factoring the relative disparity between his target's blotto dexterity scores and flat-footedness combined with Midnight Stalker, he waxed opponents like a raging barbarian once he started flogging their beached whale armor-class.

As a straight class, the tactics would have taken a little longer to come together, but it was still in the cards.

Shadow Lodge

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DM Under The Bridge wrote:
One particularly sneaky char I knew, threw hot ground up chillis into the faces of his enemies. I know a bit about chillis (as I grow them) so I went with it. Irritation, temporary blindness, lot of screaming, opening for a sneak attack.

Ahh.... That brings back fond memories.

Shadow Lodge

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kaisc006 wrote:
Instead talk to the player, lay out how his character is broken, point out it's banned from organized play, and let him rebuild his character from the ground up.

Note: the Synthicist was banned from PFS *not* because it was broken (although a strong case can be made in that regard), but for two other reasons: 1) they wrecked the verisimilitude sought for Society play, and 2) virtually no one playing them was doing so correctly by the albeit incomprehensible rules, and so they became a huge PITA for GMs to adjudicate at the table (one or more other summoner archetypes were also banned for this reason).

Broken? Hell, even Wild Rager wasn't banned for being broken (it, too, was banned for other reasons).

Shadow Lodge

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252. The dark Drizzit clone always dies first. (Paizo has now thoughtfully provided an entire new character class, the Magus, to make the GM's monsters' snack-detection process that much more efficient. Really, it's the thoughtful touches like this which has made Pathfinder such a success.)

253. Buffing the melees is a luxury; buffing the casters is a necessity.

254. Children are excited by DPR; adults calculate attrition.

255. If your room at the inn contains a window, its only reason for being there is to permit the entry of vampires and werewolves while you're sleeping.

Shadow Lodge

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Until you run into someone with a 50gp potion of Blur.

A potion of Blur costs 300gp and lasts three minutes.

Shadow Lodge

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CRB gnome bard with good dex and no strength; carries a repeating crossbow.

STR-10 INT:12
DEX:14 WIS:12 ...20PT
CON+14 CHA+17

Shadow Lodge

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Lord_Malkov wrote:

So, dip 1 level of cleric, then go monk. Take:

Gentle Rest
Domain Strike
Medusa's Wrath

Full Attack.
Then you can apply Gentle Rest as a swift action if you hit with an unarmed strike, and you get two extra swings with Medusa's wrath.

Holy smokes; that's hideous.

I'd forgotten all about that feat (Domain Strike).

Shadow Lodge

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Kimera757 wrote:
This is a game with serious issues. The DM should put you all at the same level, drop silly rules like low-cost templates, 0 levels of prestige classes and NPC class levels for PCs, and allow rebuilds. Also toss out people who aren't actually interested in being in the game.

Who's to say the bored players are even the bad ones? How does your character have a even a slight chance to feel unique when there's an aasimar werewolf dragon in the party? How does this represent an immersive storytelling environment in the slightest?

Shadow Lodge

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wraithstrike wrote:
Sir Thugsalot wrote:
For sheer, unmitigated naughtiness, no capstone has as much dirty rotten scoundrel flavor as the rogue's. Every single sneak you make qualifies and triggers your capstone automatically (so long as it's upon a new target you haven't sneaked yet that day).
Core Rule Book wrote:
Once a creature has been the target of a master strike, regardless of whether or not the save is made, that creature is immune to that rogue's master strike for 24 hours.
That reads like one sneak attack to me, not an entire round of sneak attacks, and since the Dc is a Fort save, and based off of what is normally a secondary or tertiary stat, making it won't be that difficult.
Brilliant! You've managed to ignore exactly *100%* of my post, including the one, small part you actually quoted! You win the prize!
Also comparing other class's capstone does not make the rogue better, and rogue is still not any more dangerous to your wizard than any other class.

Wrong. No other class is liable to have maximum ranks in a dozen class skills.

Fear rogues in combat? Pshaw. I fear rogues *out* of combat.

wraithstrike wrote:
Once again any class can use UMD. I even had a barbarian with it once...

Once again, we've already had that discussion in the other thread.

A 10th-level CRB rogue can easily have a 0% chance to fail a DC30 UMD check to emulate alignment or class feature. Not 5%. *0%*. -- Your dabbler barbarian will never be that good. Ever. Not even at 20th level.

So, do you have any advice on making rogues fun as rogues, or are you just here to poop on the class (as is the common, low entertainment of many trolls on these forums who seriously need to find a new hobby)?

Shadow Lodge

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1) halfling rogue(X)/paladin(Y) multiclass, both core
2) human "reach cleric" with the Travel domain and DEX:14+
3) elf Teleporter with Ears and Ears trait and a hawk familiar
4) gnome ranger(2)/bard(X) with EWP:Repeating Crossbow
5) dwarf fighter/barbarian with Steel Soul and Raging Vitality

5 races, 8 classes, over a dozen known languages
3 melees with different combat styles (S&B,AoOs,2hPA)
2 full-class casters, including one professional healer
2 dabbler healers
3 "faces"
3 with Survival as a class skill
4 with Perception as a class skill
1 "archer" built without blowing a ton of feats or being a one-trick-pony
1 with ability to locate and disarm magical traps, and eat the infrequent failures
1 with Smite and Detect Evil
2 with Channeling
2 with Sense Motive as a class skill
3 with Use Magic Device as a class skill

Shadow Lodge

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It's sickeningly good in the right crunchy mix:

STR:14 INT:07 (human)
DEX:14 WIS+19 (all bumps)
CON:14 CHA:07 (who said monks were MAD?)

01 cler1 [Crusader/Shizuru: Repose(Souls:Touch the Spirit World)][WF:Katana], Channel Smite, Guided Hand
02 monk1 FEAT[m], (archtype either Hungry Ghost or Qinggong w/Ki Leech)
03 monk2 [evasion], Crusader's Flurry, FEAT[m]

...and you're flurrying with a katana, using WIS for attacks and AC, and getting Ki back every time you crit (which is going to happen a lot after Keen). With a headband, your WIS is 22 by 5th or thereabouts (also the level you'll be up to three attacks per round Flurrying with Ki, or four if the party is Hasted). Oh, and de facto Ghost Touch whenever you need it, because you eventually will.

Shadow Lodge

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I love reach-clerics, especially with one level of fighter at 1st.

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Atarlost wrote:
There's one more major problem with the rogue you didn't mention. His main job is scouting and he's just not survivable. He can't fight his way out of trouble.

He's not supposed to.*

That's what escape and stealth and use magic device are for.

-- The party is for fighting.

You go back and get them.

= = = =

(*Note that a slippery rogue is going to come back from a mano-a-mano contest off alone with an over-powered monster more often than the hapless ranger or scout with lesser chances of wriggling out of a grapple.)

Shadow Lodge

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TarkXT wrote:
Sir Thugsalot wrote:
Lastoth wrote:
I just dont understand the rogue hate.
I understand it: people insist on making human rogues with high strength, low intelligence, low charisma, and moderate dexterity, then wonder why tackling the dragon head-on doesn't work.
Then show us how to do better. :)

Don't try to be a fighter when you're not a fighter.

See name of class: it doesn't say "fighter".

= = = = = =

The First Time I Learned Rogues Were Awesome:

Circa fifteen years, some Living Greyhawk organized-play module in which we, the overconfident PCs, were playing too far "up" when we really shouldn't have been.

Encounter: ambushed by thugs with spiked-chains in an ally. Now, these were 3rd-edition rule spiked-chains, carried by bruisers with Power Attack and Improved Trip, and wez-a-gonna-be-dead.

Then the "idiot" who wore a pot on his head and fought with a soup-ladle walked right up to and past all of them. Whiff!-whiff!-whiff!-whiff!.

-- With Dodge, Mobility and Combat Expertise ("How suboptimal! How to do I get DPR out of that?!?"), they couldn't hit his armor-class.

-- Once we knew they didn't have Combat Reflexes and the rogue had burned their AoOs, we pounded the tar out of them.

That guy carried the whole party through that scenario. He had more skillpoints than the rest of the table put together.

Shadow Lodge

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Lastoth wrote:
I just dont understand the rogue hate.

I understand it: people insist on making human rogues with high strength, low intelligence, low charisma, and moderate dexterity, then wonder why tackling the dragon head-on doesn't work.

Obviously it must be a problem with the class.

Shadow Lodge

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Ender730 wrote:
How does this compare to an archer cleric (especially one that can take AoO with a bow)?

A reach cleric is a clobbering machine right out of the gate at 1st level. Bow clerics take a long time to get going due to glacial feat acquisition.

Reach clerics get better when they get bigger; bow clerics get worse.

Bows are expensive; polearms are cheap.

Power Attack delivers more bang than Deadly Aim.

Archer clerics have greater range, but don't control the battlefield.

All the core feats and spells a reach cleric utilizes most are in the CRB; an effective archer cleric requires material from other sources you may not own and/or the GM allow.

Shadow Lodge

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"The best defense is a good offense" is a reflexively-quoted aphorism which is usually wrong; and especially so in higher-level PFS death-mods, where the winning characters aren't the ones who dish out the most DPR, but the ones who manage to get the job done with the least risk of dying.

If your character is isolated (i.e., hello pit trap leading to an underground lair), not getting killed while you're holding out until the cavalry arrives is far more important than being able to drop one extra monster of a pack before it tears you to shreds.

-- When, as a GM, I'm staring at two 3rd-level melee character sheets, and see...

Feats: Power Attack, Raging Vitality, Weapon Focus:(two-handed weapon)

...versus something like...

Feats: Dodge, Quick Draw, Combat Expertise

(Both builds with 22pts spend in that block of four stats.)

...I know right away which PC is more likely to die repeatedly until he retires his character (to then make the next DPR flavor-of-the-week... "Hello, magus!"), and which one was thought out with an eye toward flexibility and survivability.

And here's the funny thing: it's entirely possible that both characters would have been nearly identical at, say, 13th level. But the aspect which most fascinated the player -- as readily apparent on their low-level character sheet -- is always a good "tell" for me.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Isolation" -- In a home game with a stable group, your allies (both the meat-puppets and and their characters) are a known commodity to you, as are you to them. In such a group, your barbarian with beached-whale armor-class is buffed and healed as an after-thought by the party, and the casters plan their lists with you in mind. You 2hPA struts like a god.

In PFS, you pull your character out at a convention where table balance hasn't been tweaked to perfection by months of prior cooperative play among a group of friends who've selected each other's company for their endearing social attributes. Instead, you suddenly find yourself in the company of similarly-minded DPR junkies, like gish casters who want to buff themselves or their pets instead of battlestudmuffin you in defiance of any logical strategy, or STR:18 machinegun archers with full hitpoints and a rusty greatsword across their back who won't enter melee even when an ally is bleeding on the ground and about to eat a coup de grace. Your 2hPA is in for a world of pain.

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GM: "Samurai. MmmMMMmmm. Crunchy outside, chewy center."

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RainyDayNinja wrote:

Since most of your damage comes from sneak attack, which isn't multiplied on a crit, I wouldn't put too much stock into the threat range of a wakizashi. And I agree that keeping enchantments up on two weapons (and your bite attack) is going to be prohibitively expensive; I think your best bet would be either:

-14 Str, 18 Dex, Weapon Finesse and Power Attack with an Elven Curved Blade

That one is the winner -- being able to still dish it out in non-ideal circumstances (no full-attack, no sneak) is what keeps you alive. Works well with Spring Attack and Ki speed-bursts keeping you out of the enemy's 5'.

Stats: (15,14,14,14,12,07 pre-racial 20pt array)

INT:07 (6 skills/level is enough in PFS)
CHA:14 (ninja ki pool is CHA-based)

Racial archetype: none (claws forfeits sword-trained, so no free elf sword prof)

00 01/03/02 base save bonuses F/R/W
01 03/05/02 ranger1* [archetype:guide], Quick Draw
02 03/07/02 ninja1 SA+1d6
03 03/08/02 ninja2 [Ki pool][trick:Rogue Talent:finesse rogue], Power Attack
04 04/09/02 ranger2* [Archery style:Precise Shot], DEX>18
05 05/09/03 ninja3 SA+2d6, FEAT (Dodge yields Spring Attack by 7th)
06 ...ninja4 TRICK
07 ...etc.

*This R2 dip provides ninja-lacking shield and longbow proficiencies, shores up horrid Fort save, accesses Precise Shot without PBS, classes climb/swim/survival [have a rank each by 3rd], and Guide grants a very nice daily power-up that never, ever gets old.

Benefit: The feat ensemble of Quick Draw, Power Attack, Weapon Finesse and Precise Shot by 4th-level provides great combat flexibility involving longbows, elven curve sword, wakizashi, shurikens, and a light quickdraw shield + mithral chainshirt armor combination

Weakness: as is usual with rogues, will-save is abysmal. Have a plan for dealing with it.

Shadow Lodge

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Considering all the hate this feat gets, you'd think it was nearly the worst option in the game. But it is? Let's crunch some mathy bits....

james maissen wrote:
Sir Thugsalot wrote:
Kurthnaga wrote:
I'm aware that Vital Striking is inferior to Full Attacking. My thought process was that Vital Strike was what I wanted to be doing when I couldn't full attack.

Bingo. We have a winner.

The best use of VS is by an Enlarged 2hPA fighter who has to move to attack (and is denied a charge).

The best use of VS is by a T-rex. for almost everyone else it is not worth the investment, certainly not a class that doesn't get a ton of bonus feats like the paladin.

Sure things like weapon focus, iron will, and the like don't look 'awesome', but in all honesty they deliver far more and far better than Vital strike.

I normally don't give any of those to a paladin. But VS isn't worse; and is arguably an awesome combat feat for those "now you suck" situations (see below).
The Vital strike feat was a nice idea.. it is far too weak to be a suggestion. They were perhaps far too conservative when they made it for it to be a viable option.

A 2hPA-focused character does 4d6 on a move/attack with a greatsword, same as a large T-rex mount. VS applies to any weapon, including ranged weapons; and permits you to make the best of perpetual move-and-attack situations robbing you of full-attack capability.

Given an iconic +1/flaming greatsword wielded by a STR 18 character, he'll average 17.5 on a normal 2h chop. Vital Strike's extra two dice represent a 40% gain in average damage. Versus a target with DR5, Vital Strike's +7 represents a 56% improvement over the weaker base damage. Versus a target with DR10, 14.5 is a whopping 93% gain over 7.5.

In a scenario involving, say, an on-foot battle with a golem who ignores you while pursuing the squishy ally who triggered it (continually moving out of your threatened zone), Vital Strike compares favorably to Power Attack, where the greatsword attack ia +1/+1 attack/damage between BAB6 and BAB8 versus Power Attack, and +2/-2 attack/damage from BAB8 to BAB12.

Take a low-fantasy/cash-poor 15pt-buy campaign in which the PC in question has a STR of only 14 and sword-and-boards a +1 longsword: 2d8+2 is 69% better than 1d8+2. Versus DR5, a 2d8-3 Vital Strike attack is 400% better than 1d8-3 (which fails to penetrate 37.5% of the time).

-- A great many combat feats only kick in when everything is going your way and you're performing your signature "everything, including the kitchen sink" penultimate maneuver. Vital Strike, otoh, shines when you're nerfed, keeping you viable.

I think everyone agrees that Vital Strike is poorly worded; but for what it does, by-the-numbers it's a pretty good feat.

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PFS is tailor-made for "blockbuster" wizards; see the Guide to Guides.

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gnome 20pt
STR-06 (adjust STR at expense of WIS to taste; could be 5/12 to 10/07)
DEX:17 (bump 4th)
CHA+16 (other bumps)

01 pala1 [Divine Hunter][Precise Shot], Quick Draw
02 bard1 [Dervish of the Dawn][Dervish Dance][Battle Dance+2], Arcane Strike [AS+1]
03 pala2 [Divine Grace], FEAT
07 bard5 (BAB:6), EWP:Repeating Heavy Crossbow
10 bard10 (Battle Dance+6, Arcane Strike+3)

...the idea here is two round's worth of Hasted d8+9+(every other buff plus magic) thrice, then twice, without buying one damned archery feat aside from the paladin-granted Precise Shot. The character is otherwise played like a typical bard/paladin DEX-based multiclass (who, in the case, does not suck in melee prior to Agile upgrades).

The crossbow's superior threat ranges complements the good numeric bonuses to damage. Watching the character pull a succession of giant darkwood crossbows out of his haversack, and tossing them up onto a hat-rack/helmet when they're spent (or he needs to melee, since he can't Dervish while holding another weapon), will be comical -- and getting the rest of the table to laugh is what it's all about.

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Furthermore wrote:
I have followed a lot of advice, but I can't follow all of it when it's contradictory. (For example, I can't both have odd numbers to bump at 4th and 8th AND have all even numbers from first level.)



Thugsalot's paint-by-numbers guide to making an awesome 20pt character every time:

1) Q. Does my concept require good numbers in every stat?
...(are you sure?)
...... A. Yes. (Pick 15,14,12,12,12,12 pre-racial array.)
...... B. No (see next)
(Array #1 yields the highest aggregate positive bonus of any 20pt-buy starting array in which at least one number is higher than a 14. Note that dropping a 15 to a 14 releases 3 build points...but that only results in a 15,12,12 sequence becoming an inefficient 14,14,13 sequence. Having your "main" stat begin as an odd number may seem unideal, but it's actually the most efficient way to spend precious build points, and results in an even number through the rough 4th-to-8th section of leveling -- IMO the deadliest range for PFS characters.)

2) Q. Does my concept have one dump stat, but need the rest good?
...... A. Yes. (Pick 15,14,14,14,12,07 pre-racial array.)
...... B. No (see next)
(Array #2 is a shift of 6 points in #1, converting a 12,12,12 sequence into a 14,14,07. This is my favorite array of them all for multi-role and MAD characters.)

3) Q. Is character to be min/maxed, but with only one dump stat?
...... A. Yes. (Pick 17,14,12,12,12,07 pre-racial array.)
...... B. No (see next)
(Array #3 also is a shift of 6 points in #1 to convert a 15,12 pair into a 17,07. Characters with this array intend to bump the prime stat every level without fail, buy a stat item ASAP for a 22 by 5th, and very likely indulge classes like barbarian to boost it even further.)

4) Q. Is this character a shamelessly min/maxed "save or suck" caster?
...... A. Yes. (pre-racial 18 cast stat, sack everything else that doesn't make saves or hitpoints)
.......B. No. (Pick one of the other arrays.)
(Arrays with uber even starting numbers (especially 18s, which cost seventeen points), are not at all point-efficient. Chose this array only if ultra min/maxing is your cup-of-tea, you know your GM doesn't mind, you're very experienced with the sort of character you'll be playing, and equally well-versed in the spells and items he'll need to shore up his many weaknesses.)

= = = = =


halfling rogue2/paladinX starting stats
DEX+17 (bump 4th)
CHA+16 (other bumps)

The "bonus density" of the very efficient 15,14,14,14,12,07 array really becomes apparent in races with a +2/-1 stat adjustment. This small race character manages to swing two main stats of 16 or higher and still have three other stats 12 or higher, including the one that's the racial dump!

At 4th or thereabouts, a bump in the prime stat plus a belt yields a dexterity of 20, for an effective stat array of 20,16,14,12,12,07.

When creating a character, put yourself in the mentality of, "What are his stats after 4th with his first stat item?" The best point-buy payoff is for a 15 race-bumped to a 17, level-bumped at 4th to an 18, then item-bumped to a 20. Getting that 20 in a prime stat for a measly *seven* build points plus cash is about the very best thing you can do to supercharge utility and survivability. You have thirteen remaining build points -- two-thirds left -- to make a well-rounded character who's not a boring one-trick-pony. (If there's one thing PFS module writers do very well, it's mess with one-trick-pony expectations).

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I remember once considering that martials (especially monks) might suck, but then I saw this. (And see Crosswind's follow-up a little farther down on that page.)

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B_P_D wrote:
Do you think the Dagger Master prestige class can be used as is for pathfinder?
Our opinion isn't relevant; your GM's opinion is relevant.
I am aware of the Knife Master archetype, but I really don't like it.

Why? An KM TWFing kukris is as nasty as another rogue TWFing wakizashis (and man, is that awesome). Does obviate the very nice River Rat dagger-oriented trait, however; so it's only optimal in the higher level game with Keen, Critical Focus and some sort of pounce ability.

The Agile enhancement duplicates the DM's dex>damage ability (so you can min/max a halfling for nice damage). Not cheap, however (so you'll have to be happy with the d8 sneak dice before then).


Traits: Berserker of the Society, River Rat

01 barb1 [Urban], Extra Rage
02 rogu1 [Knife Master], SA+1d8* (*appropriate weapons)
03 rogu2 [evasion][finesse rogue], Two Weapon Fighting
04 rogu3 DEX>20, SA+2d8
05 fight1 [weapon master:dagger], Piranha Strike
06 fight2 Weapon Focus:Dagger
07 fight3 [Weapon Training:Dagger], Improved Two Weapon Fighting
08 fight4 Weapon Specialization: Dagger
09 rogu4 Critical Focus, ...etc.

Equipment: Gloves of Dueling, two +1/Agile/Furious daggers (one cold iron, the other silver), Belt of Incredible Dexterity, Celestial Armor, wand of Mage Armor (UMD prior to Celestial)

Combat role: crossbow plinker until 3rd, then flank-buddy specialist

AC: 27 while DEX-raging in Celestial, not counting anything else

Attack bonus at 8th while DEX-raging: 7[BAB]+8[DEX]+1[size]+4[WF+WT+GoD]+3[Furious] = +23 standard, or +18/+18/+13/+13 TWF/Piranha (not counting any flanking bonus)

Damage (rage/sneak/Piranha): 1d3+8[DEX]+3[Furious]+5[WS+WT+GoD]+6[Piranha]+1[rat]+2d8[sneak] = ~33.5 each

...not bad for a pint-sized punk with d3 weapons and only two sneak dice.

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Poisons are expensive, and tend to have easily-beaten saves.

Since shurikens are weapons and not unarmed strikes, their damage will not scale with leveling as a monk. Therefore, I'd recommend being ninja for the build (monk flurrying then basically granting pseudo rapid shot). The ninja trick Flurry of Stars is the real meal-ticket.

Going high strength will MAD the build (costing ranged attack-bonus and Ki uses as DEX and WIS/CHA are lowered to pay for it); if you're using shurikens, you'll should be eying bonus damage from non-stat effects like sneak-attack or weapon spec (etc). Given all the attack penalties ranged combat inflicts, you really don't want to sack attack bonus if you can help it.



racial trait: Ancestral Arms
character traits: Birthmark, Honored Fist of the Society

01 ninj1 00 01 04 02 SA+1d6, Combat Expertise, EWP:Fauchard
02 cler1 00 03 04 04 [Droskar:Trickery(Deception)/Darkness][Blind-Fight]
03 monk1 00 05 06 06 [Flowing Monk:(Redirection)][Combat Reflexes], Moonlight Stalker
04 ninj2 01 05 07 06 DEX>16, [Ki Pool][Trick:Flurry of Stars], DEX>18
05 ninj3 02 06 07 07 SA+2d6, Deadly Aim, or General FEAT
06 ninj4 03 06 07 07 [Finesse Rogue, or TRICK]
07 monk2 04 07 08 08 [Improved Reposition], Power Attack, or General FEAT
08 ninj5 04 07 08 08 SA+3d6, INT>14 or WIS>12 (raise other 12th)

* INT:13 necessary for Combat Expertise > Moonlight Stalker
* WIS:11 necessary for casting Obscuring Mist (cleric 1st)
* CHA at 12 for 3+(half ninja level) Ki (with HFotS trait)
* STR at 14 for Power Attack (7th) without belt

Equipment: Keen Fauchard, gobs of shurikens, wand of Mage Armor, Goz Mask, any of several means of obtaining concealment

-- This is a very sneaky build on multiple levels: it takes *three* odd stats at character-creation, MADs all to heck, and takes three BAB=0 classes back-to-back early -- any min/maxer only briefly glancing at your character sheet would think you're nuts.

Goal: be Moonlight Stalking whenever possible. Having +2/+2 is like having your prime stat be four higher. If your victim is also blind relative to you (he will be if you enjoy total concealment), this his additional penalties are equivalent to you being a rage-alky mutagen junkie versus a normal aware opponent, but doing it without pimped stats.

Pictures enemies stumbling around blind in the murk trying to find you while eating Power Attack AoOs from your fauchard, then getting Sneak-zinged by four Deadly Aim/Flurry of Stars shurikens.

"OK; I can imagine that being really awesome... but how do I see through my own mist and darkness?"

Goz Mask: 8,000gp; Inner Sea World Guide. PFS legal. Save your pennies, and don't flub your Fame acquisition.

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Kimera757 wrote:
Anyway the GM did not like my 24 AC at level 3 and decided that I should be thought a lesson, enter super awesome roguish NPC able to feint me and deal about 1d3 + 3d6 + 2 dmg, and also he was able to use spring attack.
How did you get such high AC?

Reminds me of a brand new PFS party in which two of the players made complementary "300"-style Phalanx Soldier fighters (0ne of the players also grew his beard just like a Spartan warrior out of the movie). They took the trait Defender of the Society and the Dodge feat, and spent their meager starting cash on Four Mirror armor (they had DEX:14 each) and tower shields...for 1st-level ACs of 24. The bad guys at Tier-2 could only hit them on natural 20s.

But they would roleplay every infrequent, minor scratch as if were life-threatening trauma:

"Oh! My brother! You have been WOUNDED!" (after one of them was nat-20/no-confirmed for 3 pts of damage)

-- We all just about died laughing.

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Redchigh wrote:

The game hasn't even started yet, but a close friend warned me that another player always plays lawful stupid, 'kill anything remotely evil' paladins.

Now, my game will absolutely have encounters that the parties can't win, since I'm trying to add a slight realism to the game.

Realism? <rubbing hands in glee> Me-sah know what to do when chaotic-evil players try to pass themselves off as lawful-good paladins:

*Bam!* *Bam!" *Bam!* "Open up in the name of the law! <constabulary smashes down door> "Sir Doofus, you are hereby under arrest for the murder of Petey Rangel, alias 'Lazy Eye', the used arms dealer, and his shop assistant, 'Squirrely' Jim. -- Killing them in broad daylight in front of half the town wasn't really the brightest of your plans, now was it? ...Please say you're resisting arrest."

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BzAli wrote:
The alignment-systems sucks...

I *love* the alignment system, and think it's one of the best core features of the game at fostering actual roleplaying (as indeed happened, per OP). I actually prefer the wording in 3.5 PHB over the bit-more-watered version in Pathfinder CRB.

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Rynjin wrote:

Yes, that 8 Ki ain't shabby...

If you spend a significant amount of your PB on it, a Feat, and a trait (not counting the Headband since that's a "must have").

As well, that 8 Ki last you 8 rounds. Roughly 2 combats, 2 and a half if they're over in 3 instead of 4.

At least the Paladin's 2 Smites lasts that 2 combats, and applies to every round in said combat, with a much more significant bonus (and a bonus to-hit instead of a penalty!)

Paladin: "Dang, nabitty! I am sick and tired of assassin vines and golems. *sigh* Sometimes I just wish for a footpad trying to shiv me for my coin who was tough enough that I couldn't drop him in one hit without smiting.....

Monk: "I have eight extra attacks per day, more if I can find time to nap. They work on anything. And it's all powered by the same perspicacity which helps me avoid being hit without all that costly armor weighing you down!"

Paladin: "Have I ever told you how much I'm starting to hate you? I swear, the feeling is growing worse and worse by the hour. Are you evil yet? <squint> *Dammit!*"

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Look, step back for a second. They're at 4th level. The "munchkin" character is a monk. Which means in another few levels (more or less, depending on yes/no railroading and encounter design), he'll be soundly and routinely overshadowed at everything he can do by everyone else in the party (assuming they're not playing NPC classes or PF rogues).
I previously wrote:
Thanks to the new, IMO poorly advised, FAQ Paizo has gone with in conjunction to the 6th printing's text for Flurry, the definition of munchkining now encompasses "I'll burn Ki to two-hand Power Attack three times a round at 4th level with my temple sword!"

...I've seen low-level monks completely slaughter modules with this stupid, broken mechanic. Remember, a monk flurrying is only -1 relative to fighter BAB; this means a monk's flurry attacks versus raw BAB are -1/-1/-1(Ki) versus a TWF fighter's -2/-2.

Thanks to Paizo's odd-ass rulings, monks can now 2hPA better than fighters. (Balance is restored higher up when the fighter's feats and class features gel, but it's very annoying for a GM to have to deal with these hog-the-show monstrosities in low-level adventures.)

darkwarriorkarg wrote:
Sir Thugsalot wrote:

Sometimes (i.e., frequently) a GM is far more interested in the story of his campaign than in ensuring that every twinked build his players can devise is properly challenged. And, if he's running an LotR-style medieval fantasy campaign, he may not want tengu ninjas, drow synthacists and goblin alchemists wrecking the verisimilitude of the setting....

I would invite such a GM to let me know when his fantasy novel is published. I game to make the story, not act it out.

"But I wanna play Star Wars in the Knights of the Old Republic era, not crummy old fantasy D&D! Waaaa...."

-- And when the "It's all about me!" mentality clashes with a GM's "I'm tired of that crap." attitude, who wins the argument?

If I'm running a Game of Thrones setting, your lost Martian isn't stepping out of a crashed flying-saucer no matter how cool it is in next year's Paizo splat.

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Thalin wrote:
I think vanilla fighters ARE PRC bait, straight out. I actually think they are outdated; as I think "straight from the core book" rogues are outdated. The core rulebook was Paizo attempting to take 3.5 DND and do as minimal changes as possible;
<stare> ...fighter is generally regarded as one of the most greatly improved classes in the game (see below)
Even many of the archtypes should eventually be multi-classed; often sooner than 9th. For my PFS fighter (polearm-tripper, polearm specialist), I took him to Inquisitor @ 6th level to get the growth domain and some other options.
Well, forfeiting a point of BAB for Swift Enlarge is more a testament to the broken cheese of that domain than the alleged suckiness of fighter. (This same argument applies to that rogue thread in which you counseled against a level of cleric.)
.Paizo really should have thought a little more about high levels for fighting-types giving more abilities.

The straight fighter is the class which eventually is highly mobile with the best all-around AC, dishes out amazing damage to any opponent, and whose iterative attacks have better bonuses to hit than most other characters' primary attacks.

Take the Valeros 12th-level iconic, rearrange his stats for a 22 DEX and Agile weapon, give him Gloves of Dueling and mithral full plate, and he'll be juicing every bit of that +6 dexterity bonus to AC in full-plate via Armor Training and be snarfing a theoretical +7/+7 attack/damage with his chosen Weapon Training group thanks to the gloves and the lesser and greater weapon Focus and Specialization feats. Instead of longsword+shortsword, give him a pair of shorts to collapse the feat/training spread (so instead of Weapon Training in heavy blades, light blades and bows, he he'd have WT+2(+2Gloves) in light blades and WF/GWF/WS/GWS in shortsword, and WT+1(+2Gloves) in bows. For even better kick ass, a trait for wakizashi proficiency, and go with those instead of shortswords; with Critical Focus, he'll be confirming crits on his -10 iterative at the same or higher attack bonus as most other PC's primary attack.

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ShadowcatX wrote:
Yeah, paladin is a pretty good dip.

Well, maybe it is...what are this dwarf's stats? Is his charisma garbage? (IMO you either take two or more levels of paladin or no levels.)

Stalwart Defender requires Endurance (which rangers get at 3rd), so why not Ranger3/figh4? If you think you'll be shield-and-waraxe most of the time, take Weapon and Shield Style at rang2, and be the Weapon Master fighter archetype. Ranger will also give you a crapton of useful skills.

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They're 3rd-level and stupid.

Kill them.

(Then, smarter, they make new characters who aren't as dumb.)

-- Do not nerf the opposition, ever; it is up to the PCs to employ Auguries, divination magic, talk to NPCs (etc) to get a gauge on what sort of opposition they may be facing.

Make your world powerful and mysterious, and your players will love you for it.

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Thanis Kartaleon wrote:
A level 1 human Order of the Sword Cavalier can reach Are You Kidding Me, Really levels of damage (+9 to hit, 1d8+11x2/x4) pretty easily.

Gendarme is the (only?) cavalier route to three feats at 1st level (for Spirited Charge), but you need four feats to pull off the -1att/+6dmg 2h Power Attack/Spirited Charge lance exploit....

...not seeing how x4 comes about at 1st (unless we're talking unlikely crits).

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1) Sleep can drop the entire opposition if all roll poorly.

2) barbarians will auto-drop most opponents.

3) Lance charges will auto-drop most opponents.

4) Rapid-shot/Flurry/TWF will drop most double-tapped opponents.

I'd go with an elf paladin on warhorse: he'll be immune to Sleep or Slumber and have a racial defense against other magic.

Basically just tank and kill with four attacks vs any adjacent. Feat: Mounted Combat.

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Entilzha wrote:
Sir Thugsalot wrote:


Another "make the GM happy" build which is deceptively powerful (relatively speaking, of course):

STR+15 INT:12
DEX:14 WIS:07
CON:12 CHA:12 ...STR becomes 16 at 4th

Deity: Abadar

Build: Paladin 6 (CRB)

Traits: Dangerously Curious, Eyes and Ears of the City

Feats: Mounted Combat, Ride-by Attack, Combat Reflexes, Quick Draw

Equipment: four-mirror armor, lance, bardiche, longsword, quickdraw light shield, military saddle, light crossbow (you'll buy a MW STR composite bow later)

Divine bond: mount (heavy horse -- *no* dinosaurs, etc)

= = = =

What "sells" it to your grumpy GM who's sick of Monty Haul Munchkinland:

* No 18 in any stat
* No multiclassing
* You do have a sidekick, but it's just a horse
* You're an ordinary bloke human
* The PC's alignment will reign in your bad impulses as a player

-- So, you earn far fewer frowns out of the gate from your GM than other players submitting Tinkertoy/Frankenstein builds with two 7s and an 18 in them. This lets him compose his adventure with one less irritation.

What makes it strong:

* 24 skill points to spread around; 30 if you want 'em
* Use Magic Device and Perception are on the class list
* +8 stat bonuses in a 10pt build; all stats "even" at cap
* Reach weapons and Combat Reflexes generate extra attacks
* Ride by Attack denies opponents full-attacks, avoiding damage
* Excellent AC and self-repair skills
* The mount may be replaced at some point
* +1 to attack ground targets while mounted means attack bonus is equivalent to unmounted STR 18 PC.
* Class-list Diplomacy and Sense Motive let you gab indoors when the mount is curbed
* You have an iterative attack
* Quick Draw means the right tool is in your hands at all times

Nice build for a 10 pt buy.

What about replacing that last level of Paladin with Fighter in order to get Spirited Charge? I don't think you'd get any frowns if you multiclass into 1 class for a level.

Forfeiting pally6 weakens the mount, drops our ref and will saves, costs us a Mercy (Diseased is a solid choice) as well as caster-level, and drops Lay on Hands from 3d6/4-a-day to 2d6/three-a-day, as well as affecting Channel similarly., no; Pally6 is pretty damned important: there isn't an "our fifth choice" feat in the game worth giving up all that.

Multiclassing also makes our "tired of the BS" GM frown (that being why I kept it straight class CRB). Lastly, if the GM ever does grant an extra level (which I suspect he might), pally7 grants a second level spell (w/circlet) and a third +7 damage Smite per day (these being a lot more useful than fighter2 for another feat as a leveling pally5/figh2).

The reason I put Quick Draw in there instead of Spirited Charge is because it is actually situationally more useful. Example: you're afoot fighting w/bardiche; you drop foe with first attack, Quick Draw your bow and make your iterative against another opponent. Same thing while mounted has you free-action stowing quickdraw shield and then snapping off a shot. So, it grants extra attacks while simultaneously appearing "non-munchkin" (unlike Spirited Charge) to your GM.

Damage is already adequate in this low-capped campaign -- especially versus a Smite-buddy, upon whom a mounted lance charge yields 2d8+6+12 with an ordinary sharp stick (then you Ride-by out of his 5'). So, we take only two Mounted feats, saving the other two for "flexible response". ...and because I love Quick Draw, a very under-rated feat which we'll be using constantly.


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The nastiest TWF I've ever seen is a samurai with a splash of barbarian[urban] and fighter[unarmed]. All DEX, dumped STR.

Equipment around 10th: Agile/Furious Amulet of Mighty Fists, +1/Agile/Furious wakizashi, +1/Keen cestus, Celestial Armor, Belt of Incredible Dexterity.

Feats: Mounted Combat (1), Weapon Finesse (1), TWF (3), Dragon Style (fighter dip), Extra Rage (5), I-TWF (7), Improved Critical:wakizashi (Samurai6), Critical Focus(9).

Melee full-attack: several wakizashi strikes, while off-hand makes cestus punches (Dragon Style + Agile Amulet = 1.5x pain on the first).

At 11th & Greater TWF, you're ladling on +9hp damage to each hit from Challenge (or 63 damage alone from Challenge while Hasted if you connect every hit).

-- You're basically a BBEM destroyer; since your weapons are light, you can keep shredding in grapples or even when swallowed whole.


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Our perceptions of what constitutes optimized are, IMO, severely distorted to maximum DPR builds of realistically dubious worth.

I.e., the Power Attacking barbarian who can split the moon in half but needs 100pts worth of healing after finishing a three-round combat is considered "over-powered", while the dwarf tank with Combat Expertise who slowly but reliably motors through every combat while taking nary a scratch isn't.

By the numbers, said dwarf is much more "over-powered" versus CR -- but nobody complains because he isn't flashy.


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Jiggy wrote:
Heck, I myself am much less of a d*ck in person than I am online, and I'm just one person!

It's true! Jiggy is not as much of a d*ck in person as he is online!



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Mergy wrote:
Mike Schneider wrote:
Armored monk (Maneuver Master)

But overpowered? No, I hardly think so. I've seen a barbarian with the fast drinking trait...

A monk tripping in armour should be the least of anyone's worries.

Wait until he hits level 4 and begins swifting Ki for AC+4 while wearing magic armor.

Barbarians hit for big damage, but they also take big damage. The armored-MM gets unhittable fast, and doesn't even take -2s to his weapon attacks (he's only -2 to the maneuvers granted by Flurry of Maneuvers).


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Armored monk (Maneuver Master):


01 EWP:Fauchard, Improved Trip

Wear four-mirror armor. Tactics: Flurry of Maneuvers with a trip polearm. Finish combats early with plenty of time left to read Paizo threads complaining about overpowered characters.

Hurry up and make one today! Play it exclusively until Ultimate Combat has a new print-run which finally fixes it.



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Alexander_Damocles wrote:

My three biggest issues are as follows:

Single BBEG fights. The action economy alone wipes out the boss.

It is not a GM's responsibility to "fix" (AKA rewrite) a lousy module. -- That is the campaign's responsibility; and it only happens when GM's complain up the chain.


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Secane wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Why not just stick to point buy which keeps everyone on the same page balance-wise?
I am using pointbuy. The problem is that some players, will often drop their stats way down to 7 or 8 and give a flimsy reason to justify why their characters should have such a low stat. It's plain min-maxing

Q. How is picking your stats any different than choosing your class, weapons, feats and spells?

I.e., if I make a Power Attack barbarian/fighter with a bardiche who wears a bandolier full of potions of Enlarge Person and has the Accelerated Drinker trait, is he suddenly over-the-top because he started with a strength of 19 and paid for it with a charisma of 7?

Why does a gnome bard or halfling sorcerer have to have a strength of 10? Or 8? Or even 6? Perhaps, just maybe, magic and gift-of-gab is how they overcome their physical limitations, no?

Plug the following 20pt array of 15,14,12,12,12,12 into a dwarf for STR:15,DEX:12,CON+14,INT:14,WIS+14,CHA-10, and give him plate armor, Combat Expertise, Steel Soul, and the Threatening Defender and Defender of the Society traits, and even a "min-maxed" 25-pt barbarian is going to have trouble hitting him or enjoying saves as good.

Stats are only one small part of the total package.


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Thalin wrote:
If you are wanting a front-line rogue, skip two-weapon fighting. Longspear and strength it, you'll get more damage...

This is building a fighter, not a rogue.

A rogue is the person who wheedles info out of an NPC who won't be intimidated, gets the best deal on ship passage, knows when he's being BS'd 90% of the time, smuggles the half-orc's greatsword into the VIP sauna, UMDs anything in sight after about 6th, and solves the puzzle-trap which will otherwise kill everybody.

If you make a STR 18 melee "rogue" with mediocre INT and dumped CHA, I guarantee you that you will be unhappy with your character at about the point the fighters are buying their Gloves of Dueling. -- Unless, of course, you never viewed him as being much of a "rogue" anyway.

Reynard_the_fox wrote:
Back to the topic at hand: Don't be afraid to multiclass. After 5th or 6th level, Rogues don't get much besides steady increase to sneak attack dice and eventually some decently sweet master talents.

That's like saying fighters don't get much besides steady increases in hitpoints and eventually some decently sweet feats.

The ideal rogue multiclass is a 1st-level dip for better starting hitpoints, martial weapons and a selection of otherwise non-rogue skills (such as Survival).

cooperton wrote:
You guys are lacking a rogue and a wizard... I humbly suggest an Arcane Trickster.

Or, with less money than the fighters are spending on weapons and armor, you UMD a bunch of cheap wands while wearing a Circlet of Persuasion.


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Jiggy wrote:

Holy necro, Batman! You might get more responses if you start a fresh thread, so people don't think it's a continuation of an old, long thread they don't want to catch up on.

I've been curious about the knife master... except if I did it, I'd run a half-orc and carry oils of darkness and deeper darkness. Any time I fight sighted opponents in normal or dim light, I use the appropriate oil to drop the light level exactly to darkness.

Anyone without darkvision is effectively blinded, making them easy to hit and enabling my sneak attacks. But since I have darkvision, I'm unaffected.

Let the stabbing commence.

I'd take dwarf over half-orc for this trick (fills in all the major holes in rogue, i.e., poor saves, hitpoints, etc, and is a race with stone-cunning).

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