In my view, Witch is essentially the new (and improved) MT. With the right build (Hedge Witch with Healing Patron and heal hex) you will beat the MT with respect to healing/status removal and on top of that you can still be a potent debuffer/controller as well, which the MT will really struggle at. The only downside is fewer lower-level spell slots, but who cares about that.
Optimization-wise then, just be a witch and call yourself a MT. Re-skin the witch fluff as you see fit.
A big point to consider with the guide is the effect on spellcasting and weapon, armor, magic item usage. The key being how many of your normal abilities are usable when shapeshifted and whether or not your equipment melds with the form.
For Druids natural spell clearly solves the spellcasting issue, but you are still unable to utilize magic items (metamagic rods, scrolls, etc.) which can potentially be a big handicap.
For other classes the Monstrous Physique and Giant form lines clearly get around the spellcasting limitation and allow you to retain your equipment (although this may be subject to GM oversight). For example, a alchemist should be able to continue to use bombs/extracts and a magus could continue to cast spells and spell combat/spellstrike while shifted into a four-armed gargoyle, but not while shifted into a dire tiger. This is a very big deal for these classes and really elevates the monstrous physique line in particular in my view.
Just to clarify, the gang up issue has been addressed specifically in a FAQ:
Gang Up: Does this feat (page 161) allow you to flank a foe with ranged weapons?
—Jason Bulmahn, 08/13/10
I strongly recommend firearms for a ranged rogue. For two reasons -
1. Touch attacks solve the core rogue problem of not being able to hit.
At high levels I would use shatter defenses to sneak attack at range.
The best way to accomplish this is to dip one level of gunslinger - I recommend pistolero or mysterious stranger. Use the rake archetype to intimidate from range for the shatter defenses combo at higher levels. Here's a sample build (human)
1. Gunslinger Rapid Reload, Point Blank Shot
The most powerful class in the game is the wizard. That has been true since the dawn of 3E and remains true today. You could strip the wizard of all its class features other than spells and it would still be true. Compared to full access to the best spell list in the game stuff like favored enemies, armor proficiencies, skill points, etc. are rounding errors.
That said, I don't think wizard is the best class in terms of fun. Properly played it distorts everything because its so powerful and makes the GM's job a nightmare. In my group we've actually banned full casters. If you want to play a wizard-type you play a magus or bard. Want to play a cleric? You play an inquisitor.
Profession (sailor) is so important in this AP that one of my PCs has actually made a character that is optimized around it.
Human Ranger (Guide, Skirmisher archetypes)with the Focused Study and Heart of the Fields alternate racial features (which collectively give a +1/2 X level bonus and Skill Focus)
at level 5 he has a +16 profession sailor modifier...
+5 Skill Ranks
and can roll twice and take the higher result 4X per day using his skill sage hunter's trick. We have had three ship-to-ship combats and the party has yet to lose a single roll with him at the helm.
My PCs have basically duplicated the tactics historically used by pirates (as opposed to true naval fleet engagements) - they've maxxed out their ship for speed/maneuverability, packed in as large a crew as possible (to man prizes), and attempt to run down and board enemies as soon as possible, without screwing around with artillery.
They also have a very optimized pilot (+17 profession (sailor) at level 5 - Ranger with skill focus, heart of the fields, and water favored terrain) so they've been very successful with this and it definitely keeps engagements short - 3 to 4 rounds usually and then its into the boarding combat.
Am I missing something about admixture? From the pathfinder srd:
Versatile Evocation (Su): When you cast an evocation spell that does acid, cold, electricity, or fire damage, you may change the damage dealt to one of the other four energy types. This changes the descriptor of the spell to match the new energy type. Any non-damaging effects remain unchanged unless the new energy type invalidates them (an ice storm that deals fire damage might still provide a penalty on Perception checks due to smoke, but it would not create difficult terrain). Such effects are subject to GM discretion. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier
RAW this changes the discriptor of the spell to the new energy type. Thus fireball goes from a fire to a cold spell and is thus eligible for rime spell. The wrinkle is that versatile evocation is chosen on cast, so fireball is still a fire spell when memorized, and thus you cannot memorize a rime fireball (unless you add an elemental spell metamagic as well). If you can cast fireball spontaneously though (via preferred spell or greater spell specialization) and apply metamagics on the fly I think a rime fireball is legal.
Given all that I think fireball is the ultimate base spell for the blaster/controller wizard abusing dazing/rime/persistent spell. Its relatively low level, targets reflex, long range, and a nice big AOE. Stack magical lineage, preferred spell, spell focus, and spell perfection and the appropriate metamagics combined with an admixture specialist and you have a versatile controller wizard casting basically one spell while also doing decent damage. A faded classic rides again!
I think the previous posters are spot on the MOMS is really a dip archetype and not great as a single-class build. With 3/4 BAB and no flurry you just have a real tough time hitting and doing damage regardless of styles.
That said, 1-3 levels of MOMS is an awesome dip. I'm working on a MOMS 3 / Fighter (Brawler) X build for skull and shackles that I think is going to be killer (haven't played it yet though). The key is to abuse the ability to keep 2 styles active and ignore pre-reqs on the style bonus feats from the MOMS with full fighter BAB + feats (plus the brawler bonuses to close weapons). Im planning on running dragon style + tiger style. The nice thing about the fuse style feature is its usable in armor, unlike flurry, which makes the archetype combine well with fighter/paladin/ranger as the primary class.
You generally need the domain strike feat to combine an unarmed strike with a domain touch power, but RAW you can't do it with a spell as a cleric unless you multiclass as a magus I believe. That said domain strike with certain domains is very good.
Also IUS opens up a number of interesting feats like stunning fist, touch of transquility, and certain style feats (snake style is great for a cleric) and allows you to retain your melee attack capability while juggling spellcasting, metamagic rods, scrolls, and shields much more easily.
Ernest Mueller wrote:
Fair enough. In my opinion, invoking rule zero to negate a core class feature half the time for a relatively weak martial class is hardly a recipe for fun, especially with the rules as written don't require you to do so.
Ernest Mueller wrote:
I am not joking in the least. Where in the rules does it say that a horse can't do anything that any other large size creature with a land movement speed can do? Mechanically a horse is no different from a PC with enlarge person. Have it spend its skill points on climb if you are worried about ladders. Its not rules-lawyering at all. Anyway, all the problems you mention are easily solved by low-level spells like spider climb. By mid-levels air walk solves every conceivable mount mobility problem.
There is no rule saying you can't ride your mount into a dungeon. A medium size character effectively becomes large sized riding a mount. That's it. How many large sized enemies do you see in dungeons? Just read up on the squeezing rules and you should be fine unless you are going into something like the mite warrens in Kingmaker 1.
Someone mentioned cavalier/rogue, and I'd second that. Specifically I'm having fun with a halfing Cavalier 4 / Rogue (Scout, Rake) XX. The horsemaster feat keeps the mount viable and you add sneak attack on a charge with the scout archetype, and are much more mobile and viable when not full attacking than your typical rogue. One of the most tactically interesting and fun martial characters I have played.
Roleplaying wise you can borrow the fluff from the Low Templar prestige class or something like that (don't actually take the class though, it sucks)
Here is a character I'm considering for actual play. The theory is to take advantage of the vivisectionist alchemists ability to get a large number of primary natural attacks via feral mutagen, or more impressively polymorphing, and then layer on sneak attack with crippling strike.
Str 22 (15 + 2 Bonus +1 Level +4 belt), 26 with Mutagen
HP 89 (10d8 + 40)
AC: 20 - Touch 12, Flatfooted 18 (+7 +3 chain shirt, +2 dex, +1 Ring of Protection), 22 with mutagen
AC is below par but can be raised to 26 with a barkskin extract and 30 with a shield extract, so in actual play its viable
Attacks (with feral mutagen):
BAB: +7 CMB: +13 CMD: 25
Full-attack DPR with feral mutagen but without sneak attack: 32.68, not very good
However, he can hand SMII extracts to his tumor familiar monkey who can then use them via his infusion discovery to gain on-demand disposable flank buddies with no loss to his action economy, so he should be able to sneak attack almost all the time.
Full-attack DPR with feral mutagen and sneak attack: 72.06 much better (doesn't include flank to-hit bonus), also has strength DPR of 4.5 from crippling strike
If he wants to kick it up a notch he can use his monstrous physique I extracts to transform into a Charda (bestiary 2) for 10 min 3x per day. In this form he gains two additional claw attacks for five total and his equipment doesn't merge, allowing him to retain access to most of his class abilities and items. He also gains +1 to hit from small size and +2 to AC from size and dex bonus, but his base damage for all attacks decreases by one die.
DPR as Charda (w/sneak): 123.34 hit point, 8 strength
If he wants to turn it up to 11, once per day he can also transform into a Calikang (from AP #29) using monstrous physique II. This is a large size form with 6 slam attacks. When you stack feral mutagen on that I believe that changes to 1 bite, 2 claw, and 4 slams for 7 primary attacks total. He also gains +4 strength and claw/bite base damage increases.
DPR as Calikang: 185.75 hit point, 10.8 strength
He's no summoner but still quite nasty for a character that's also a pretty solid skill monkey.
If you are using the APG I think the Inquisitor fits the bill of what you are looking for...
Skill-heavy class with perception, stealth, and survival as class skills
The point blank master feat specifically states that a ranger with the archery combat style can choose the feat starting at 6th level. So the archer ranger really hasn't lost anything to the archer fighter - they both gain a similar advantage.
What this does do is render the switch-hitter ranger somewhat pointless. A pure archery ranger can now do pretty much everything the switch-hitter does but without diluting its focus in any way.
For a 15th level wiz/sorc I would say true strike is actually a very non-optimized use of spell perfection. One auto-hit per round at the cost of a swift action and low-level spell slots is nothing at the level.
Spell perfection is most potent when combined with area-effect SOS spells and the relevant spell focus/penetration feats (which are doubled).
He could have done a lot better (or worse depending on what side of the table you are on).
That makes sense. A monk who takes the feat for additional type of special attack gets the monk-enhanced uses per day, but doesn't get the enhanced effect (e.g. alternative status conditions with stunning fist, more damage with elemental fist etc.) unless the feat is granted for free as part of their level 1 class feature.
I have a question on the interaction between APG monk archetypes and the various feat-based monk special attacks (stunning fist, elemental fist, punishing kick, etc.) Say I have a Hungry Ghost monk, who gets punishing kick for free. If I later decide to spend a feat on stunning fist (assuming I meet the pre-reqs), how many stunning fist uses per day do I get? Level or level/4? RAW seems to suggest the former, so a level 20 hungry ghost monk would get 20 uses of Punishing kick AND 20 uses of stunning fist but I'm not totally sure.
Seems like a nice option for high-level monks to diversify their repertoire a bit, but worried I may get houseruled if I go this route. Anybody have an thoughts on this?
Check out the level 1 bard spell Invigorate from the APG. It removes the penalties from fatigue for 10 min/level, although as written I don't think it removes the fatigued condition itself.
Thus, if a barb stops raging with invigorate in effect he is still fatigued and can't re-enter rage but doesn't suffer the str/dex/move penalties associated with fatigue.
Pretty nice for a level 1 spell if you have a barb or stalwart defender in the party.
This is how it would go...
Wizards teleport out (if they weren't forewarned of the Iron Golem via divanation)
Teleport back in
Hilarity ensues. Plenty of other solutions are possible (wall of force, wizards repeatedly cast disintegrate on ground to put it in a pit, etc.)
Ever since 3.0 wizard has stood alone on top and I don't think that's changed.
A Cavalier, an Oracle, a Summoner, a Witch, an Inquisitor, and an Alchemist walk into the City of Brass...
jon bourque wrote:
I think the witch player is not really playing the class to its full potential, which might be coloring your playtest a bit. Looking at her spell picks, she could do a lot better - Harm and mass cure mod as 7th level memorizations? She could have taken reverse gravity (with fox familiar), waves of exhaustion, and/or SM VII - all much better spells. The strengths of the witch spell list are battlefield control, summoning, and divination. With a few exceptions she seems to ignored this. For the golem encounter reverse gravity would have been auto-win.
Also, on hexes, evil eye (to saves) + agony + cackle = single target lockdown at range. She can't do this with her hex picks.