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Reynard_the_fox's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 943 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 3 Pathfinder Society characters.


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Braxon wrote:
Reynard_the_fox wrote:

To that end, I would suggest using the following classes if possible, as they tend towards lower complexity.

-Ranger (if starting below level 4)

I may have the wrong impression, but can all three of them stand on the front line equally well? My impression is that the Ranger cannot take punishment as well as the other classes.

Barbarian and Paladin both get significant boosts to their hit points, Barbarian from a d12 hit die and Rage and Paladins from Lay on Hands; but the only difference defensively between Ranger and Fighter is that Fighters have access to heavy armor. Give them Breastplate and a healthy Con score and a Ranger will be pretty sturdy. Oh, and Rangers do get a little bit of healing magic, too, meaning they can wield a Wand of Cure Light Wounds just as well as a Cleric.

Rangers aren't quite as good at hitting things (with the exception of their Favored Enemy), but they get lots of skills, which is very nice; and at 4th, they get an animal companion AND limited spellcasting. They're great for people who want to do a little bit of everything. Of course, that means they're slightly more complex to play, but it should be fine as long as it's not a brand new player trying to jump straight to a 4+ level Ranger.

Braxon wrote:
Reynard_the_fox wrote:

Skill Monkeys:

So I looked into Inquisitor and didn't find that they have Disable Traps. I looked a bit further and found that only Rogues and Alchemists have that skill. I understand that Skill Monkeys are more than just Disable Traps but does that mean every team that doesn't have either class just uses cleric heals and crowbars. I must be missing something.

Remember, anyone with Perception and Disable Device can deactivate nonmagical traps. It's only magical traps that need a class ability, and by the time you start encountering them en masse your players should have access to Dispel Magic.

Are you playing with traits? Typically, each character gets to pick two traits that represent skills they gained growing up. They're usually a +1 to a save, +1 to a skill (and make it a class skill), or a similar small boon. So even though Paladins don't usually get Disable Device as a class skill, if that particular Paladin happened to be a Vagabond Child or have Nimble Fingers, Keen Mind, (s)he can be quite good at picking locks or disabling traps. There's a trait for just about every skill, which is one of the reasons I don't usually worry about skills when people are picking classes.


Hmm... I wouldn't worry about balance too much, as it's usually easy enough to cover whatever skills you need with proper tinkering. What seems to be key here is minimizing complexity - you want your family to be focused on learning the system as a whole, not puzzling over how stuff like Spell Combat works.

To that end, I would suggest using the following classes if possible, as they tend towards lower complexity.

-Ranger (if starting below level 4)

Skill Monkeys:

Magic Users:

In my experience, these are the easiest classes to simply pick up and play. None of them require tracking spells known, like Wizard, Witch, or Alchemist; none of them rely heavily on an animal companion or other cohort, like Druid, Hunter, or Summoner; and none require system mastery like Brawler or Magus.

Good luck! We'll be able to help you better once you talk to your family and get a sense of what they want to play.


Well, you can always take the Grenadier archetype for bow proficiency if you don't want to slow your extract progression, but if you're not human it's going to take you a long time to pick up the necessary feats. A level of Fighter or maybe Divine Hunter Paladin will accelerate that.


About 500% Swashbuckler, based on what you described. Slayer is also a strong option, though, and a dip into Shadowdancer could bolster your stealth abilities.

There is, of course, the Duelist prestige class, but I think it was pretty much obsoleted by the Swashbuckler.

EDIT: The new charisma-based Magus archetype is a long shot but could work if your party really needs arcane casting.


Haha, cool stuff. If this is a combat encounter, though, that Will +8 will be his downfall. On the other hand, having some PCs meet and befriend Carl, and then help him defend his mastodon herd from a bunch of giants or something would be pretty frickin' sweet.

If you want to give him some magic items, Boots of the Mastodon or a Belt of Mighty Hurling might both be good fits. Carl probably has a pretty good boulder hurling arm by now...


Unless you intend to use a lot of Ray spells, I would recommend a stat array something like this:

20 point buy
Str 10
Dex 12
Con 16
Int 12
Wis 12
Cha 17 (boost at 4th)

Generally you want Cha > Con/Dex > Int/Wis > Str. I prefer balanced stat arrays and I really like having lots of HP and a high Fort save - if you prefer high DCs on your spells, you could drop Str and another stat and raise Cha. Remember, if you drop Str too low, you'll need to pick up a Handy Haversack or have someone else carry most of your gear for you.

Gnomes make excellent illusionists due to their racial DC boost and the Effortless Trickery feat, which is amazing for an illusionist. However, many things are resistant or immune to illusions, so I would hesitate to throw all my feats into it if I were you. Make sure your spell list has at least one or two buffs and blasts so you always have something to do in combat.

As for bloodlines, Arcane is very versatile and excellent if you just want a very versatile sorcerer. With Tattooed replacing your first and ninth level bloodline abilities, a lot of bloodlines lose some luster, so I would just look at the arcana, 3rd level ability, and bloodlines spells and see what strikes your fancy.


I'll also +1 Oradin - being a life battery + evil smiter is pretty sweet, and should play sufficiently differently from a channeler/cleric to feel new.

Alternately... hmm... You could try a shaman. They're quite versatile full casters, and I'm sure it's possible to build one for melee/healing duty. They don't get spontaneous heals or big boosts to combat, but they've got 3/4 BAB and medium armor, access to the Life and Battle spirits, hexes, and spells like Thorn Body and Nauseating Trail that can make them quite noxious to deal with in combat.


Torchlyte wrote:

Tell him to play another game.

That sounds bad, but the truth is that conditional bonuses and penalties are all over the place in Pathfinder. Positioning, magic, items, monsters... your situation changes and the math changes with it.

It sounds like his troubles stem more from totaling dice than the other bonuses. In which case, there's a simple solution - just have him pre-roll the dice! I do it all the time when I'm controlling summoned monsters - roll the dice and figure out the bonuses and damage while everyone else is taking their turn, instead of while I'm in the spotlight. Granted, this does mean you get a limited amount of fore-knowledge, but for the summons I'm generally committed to attacking anyways; it just requires the player to resist the urge to metagame.


Melee witch doctor? You definitely want this feat:

D20PFSRD wrote:

Hex Strike (Combat)

Chanting and cursing, you put a hex on your enemy as part of your unarmed strike.
Prerequisite: Hex class feature, Improved Unarmed Strike.

Benefit: When you gain this feat, choose one hex that you can use to affect no more than one opponent. If you make a successful unarmed strike against an opponent, in addition to dealing your unarmed strike damage, you can use a swift action to deliver the effects of the chosen hex to that opponent. Doing so does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Special: You can take this feat multiple times. Each time you take it, you apply it to a different qualifying hex.

Evil Eye? How about Evil FIST?! Seriously, though, grab a level of Brawler or Monk (or just take Improved Unarmed Strike if you want full casting) and you're good to go. Debuff people while smacking them around!


If he's still thinking of switching classes, I would go with a strength-based Bard with Arcane Strike and Power Attack. Just sing and smack things around! Oh yeah, and you get casting to boot.


Sure, sure. Here's a discussion thread for the Catalog.


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Hey all you shamans out there! Tired of scrambling through the PFSRD on your phone trying to figure out what you want your wandering hex to be? Print this out and worry no more!

The Seer's Catalog is a printable compilation of all the shaman's spirits and hexes. While some of the spirit animals, true spirit abilities, and manifestations had to be excluded for page length reasons, this has everything you need to leverage Wandering Spirit to the utmost.



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I've got one for the Shaman: The Seer's Catalog. It's a list of all the spirits, including spirit spells, spirit hexes, and regular and greater spirit abilities. Should be handy for anyone who wants to get good use out of Wandering Spirit. Printable!

Also includes a list of the feats available to Shamans that boost hexes, the list of standard Shaman hexes, and links to/names of the standard Witch hexes. Had to cut out some of the Spirit Animal abilities and whatnot to save space, though.


Shaman gets more versatile hexes, but witch gets earlier access and more powerful ones at higher levels. Shaman gets more utility and battlefield control spells, but Witch gets some primo arcane spells and much better debuffs. (cough cough Enervation)

However, whereas witches only get 1/2 BAB, d6 hit die, and a few patron spells known, Shamans get 3/4 BAB, d8 hit die, medium armor, a bonus ability for their familiar, a bonus spell slot at each level, and a whole suite of regular, greater, and true Spirit Abilities. Plus, a Shaman immediately has access to the entire Shaman spell list, whereas a Witch only gets 2/level plus what she can pick up during an adventure.

I don't think it's a stretch to say Shaman is more powerful than Witch. A Witch is arguably better at really ruining someone's day, but the Shaman gets a lot of extra goodies and incredible versatility.

PS: Oh yeah, and if your main class ability revolves around staying within 30 feet of an enemy, it's quite nice to be able to wear armor and have more HP than an anemic schoolgirl.

Captain K. wrote:
The Shaman might be an ideal 5th or 6th party member.

No way - a Shaman is much closer to a Wizard or Druid than a Bard. He'll easily slot in as "primary utility caster." He doesn't get all the arcane stuff a Wizard gets (e.g. Teleport), and he's not as good at healing as a Cleric, but I would be perfectly comfortable in a party with a Shaman as the only full caster.


Make sure to pick up the Undead Master feat, as well as the spells Animate Dead and Command Dead. Round out with your favorite debuffs and you should be good to go!

If you want to focus on debuffing, it might be worthwhile to check out the Halfling Jinx alternate feature. There are a lot of feats (including metamagic) that work with it.

And if it wasn't already, Enervation should probably be one of your 1st 4th-level spells.


Well, those feats are definitely going to need revising. Weapon Focus requires at least +1 BAB, which you won't have at level 1, so you'll need a different feat there; and I can't really see a good reason for Combat Expertise, since I don't think you're going to have the stats to trip people effectively.

If I were you, I'd drop Dex or Charisma, raise Con, and take Heavy Armor Proficiency as your level 1 feat. Battle Master gives you two AoOs per turn without the need for Dex, which is pretty sweet, especially combined with Enlarge Person as your spirit magic. If you grab a spiked gauntlet, you'll be able to threaten everything within 20 feet, which is pretty awesome.

Having lots of HP, a high AC, and a bevy of defensive spells is a great place to start for a battlefield controller. Be warned, though, that with only 14 strength you're going to have a tough time dealing damage, which means many enemies may choose to just suck up the AoO and walk past you. Power Attack will be a must, and I would try to find ways to boost your strength as soon as possible.


Hmm, if you won't get full BAB, then consider Ninja, too. Charisma-based abilities and more skills than you can shake a stick at.

If you're intending to be a melee character, I would be careful of picking two spellcasting classes. Action economy is one of the big constraints for gestalt characters. Though, if you weren't a synthesist, a Sorcerer/Summoner would be incredibly powerful.


If I were you, I'd go Slayer. You've already got spellcasting from Summoner, so for an ideal gestalt character you'd want a class with high skills and full BAB. Slayer gets you that, plus bonus combat feats and a full suite of espionage-oriented abilities via Slayer Talents. (Stuff like Hard to Fool and Foil Scrutiny can make or break social situations.)

Also, opting for Skilled: Stealth combined with Sneak Attack and Studied Target makes you a primo assassin, which seems like a nice thing to have on hand for an evil campaign.

Oh, and if you expect to be fighting lots of non-Lawful Evil things, being a Deliverer of Asmodeus could be sweet. Cleaner and Cutthroat could also make great archetypes if it's an urban campaign.


You might consider Magus instead of Warpriest. Thor does a lot of very arcane things, like fly and smash things with an electrified warhammer.

Although... I believe a gestalt Barbarian/spellcaster won't be able to cast in combat, right? Which makes things tricky. Maybe Magus or Warpriest combined with Brawler, Paladin, Fighter, or Slayer?

Bloodrager could be nice too - the Elemental (Air) bloodline gives you electrified attacks, plus a Fly speed at 8th level.


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DocShock wrote:
Redward, out of curiosity, what do you do with Evolved Summoned Monster? One of the guys in my group told our Wizard he should take it, but then no one saw an application for it that was worth a feat.

Anything you need! It lets you pick a new evolution every time you cast Summon Monster. That means Climb or Swim for dealing with non-flat encounters, Scent for invisible foes, Resistance for things with energy attacks, Push for shoving things into hazards (great if you like Create Pit!)... the list goes on.

Plus, if you take it twice, you can pick any TWO 1-point evolutions, which opens up things like giving an Ankylosaurus Claws and Pounce for massive damage, or Push and Reach for keeping things away from you, or even just Mount so you can officially ride a dinosaur into combat.

Bonus points for making ridiculous things, like Lantern Archons with tentacles.


There are always the four elemental races - Oread (earth), Undine (water), Sylph (air), Ifrit (fire). You could just use one of those and flavor it heavily towards its elemental heritage.

Alternately, while I'm having trouble imagining an elemental wizard or cleric, or something like gunslinger that relies heavily on gear, I could imagine them making pretty good spontaneous casters or melee types.


I'm curious: which would make a better debuffer, a shaman or a witch? Considering that they both have access to Evil Eye, Cackle/Chant, and Misfortune, it really could be either. What do you think, forums?


Two problems I can see:

-Why Enforcer instead of Power Attack and Cornugon Smash? It says you need a melee weapon - not sure touch attacks are going to do it here.

-Speaking of which, you're trying to make touch attacks, but you have a Strength of 8 and no Weapon Finesse. Even with wildshape bonuses and attacking touch AC, that's still not a great plan.

If I were you, I would go strength-based for this build, or maybe grab Weapon Finesse and go for tiny wildshapes and a dex-based build. I wouldn't expect for bad touch to work for that once you get into the higher levels, though.


Brawler! It has so many flippin options, and the effectiveness is really tied to how many lines of feats you know. I think a guide is much more vital to putting together a brawler than it is a hunter.

Really excited for the shaman guide, though - I've made a Bones shaman for an upcoming Skulls and Shackles game, and by the time I get Wandering Spirit it would be very helpful to have a guide to all the options. Thanks a lot!


shroudb wrote:

serpetine eidolon. pick up limbs(arms) to cast spells, grab (bite) constrict, bite (to up the damage), fly, large, increase damage (bite)

pick up final embrace feat line as well as rapid grappling line and imp damage(bite).

enjoy smashing the bones of your enemies to bits while wielding a metamagic rod on one hand and casting spells with the other.

as large creature with final embrace you can grab/constrict up to large, if there is space just enlarge yourself to grab up to huge.
(if there are plenty of tight spaces just dont be large and become large through evo surging/enlarging yourself)

pick up a cruel aomf. now you also apply shaken+sickened for debuffing your opponent.

keep a pair of dimenshional shckles nearby. against outsiders or castycasty types, tie them up with them in 1 round before crushing them

as a huge creature you can do up to 18d6 + 3xStr up to 3 times/round.

requires something like 12-13lvl though.

Woah, cool build! You know, I had been thinking of a "knight-in-shining-armor" type affair, but having that mentality and a monstrous body could also be a very interesting take on things. Heh, and having a halfling or small race that transforms into a giant snake would be fun too. :p I'll think about it!


Hmm, the aegis definitely seems to encapsulate the flavor I'm looking for, but I don't think I'm quite ready to plunge my playgroup into psionics.

Any suggestions to make it work for a summoner? I'm still lost as to feats... I could just take Arcane Strike, Power Attack, Furious Focus, Weapon Focus, and Lunge, but that seems pretty plain compared to the capabilities of the armor.


Hey all! Looking for some help fleshing out an idea: a synthesist summoner whose eidolon is a suit of super-armor. I like the idea of a guy who seems to be a typical Paladin-style armored knight, but then busts out a bunch of crazy powers and arcane spells.

So far I'm thinking Half-Orc for falchion proficiency and because Ferocity means you can stay up for one more round to summon something if you get hit so hard your armor fizzles out. Plus it has good RP value for a paladin-style character - I'm considering specializing in Diplomacy.

For evolutions, Improved Natural Armor, Ability Increase, Damage Reduction, Flying, and maybe Energy Resistance/Immunity all seem like natural choices, but I'm sure there's much more that can be done. Sadly Alignment Smite only affects a natural weapon. :'(

As for feats, other than Power Attack, I'm kind of stumped. Help please!


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Fey Blood is good if you can create difficult terrain; your team can charge, but the enemy can't. Infernal is an easy way to get flaming weapons for everyone, plus resistance to fire and poison (both of which are fairly common) at level 6.

Alternately, swift foot makes everyone a little faster. Renewed Vitality and Renewed Life let your team shrug off ability damage and negative levels, respectively. And grabbing Bestial Climber or Bestial Swimmer could be extremely useful in certain campaigns.


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I see the flavor coming across nicely with a Synthesist Summoner. You could fluff your eidolon as various suits of armor, and using Lesser Evolution Surge you could change its abilities at will. Add evolutions like Improved Natural Armor, Flight, and Energy Immunity, and combined with your spellcasting, you could be a pretty kickass warrior.


Yes, the Eldritch Heritage set of feats. You're going to be way feat starved, though.


Well, certainly you'll want Fortune, Misfortune, and Cackle.

Alternately, a halfling witch can take Malicious Eye, letting you hit someone with Hex and Jinx at the same time. You could then take the other jinx feats of your choice.

Humans also have a series of luck based feats, too.

Perhaps the Destined Bloodline might have some tools for you...


If you want to sink ships, the Saboteur Alchemist archetype (it's Gnome-only) gives you the Bore Bombs discovery, which lets you blast 5x5 holes in structures. An Ifrit oracle should work fine, but I probably wouldn't specialize in fire if I were you.


The Undead Master feat requires Spell Focus: Necromancy, but will let you control an extra 20 hit dice of undead critters. Quite a bit of extra firepower (and higher DCs on some nasty debuffs) for a pair of feats!

Also, instead of animating humans as simple skeletons or zombies, consider getting yourself a battalion of Belching Severed Heads. They're fragile - 100GP for each one for just 4 hit points - but with flying and a ranged touch attack energy damage, they can pester groundbound enemies quite well. Oh, though you will need access to the spell Fly somehow... Perhaps there's a wizard around who isn't too opposed to the idea of enchanting heads for you?


Dread Knight wrote:
I'm just going to say that the Spirit Warden Archetype seems to be more for destroying undead than making them.

True, but as far as I know it's the only way for the shaman to get Command Undead as a spell. I was going to flavor it as him wanting to make other undead either a) a part of his "merry" crew or b) destroyed for being party poopers.

Any suggestions for the build itself?


Hey all! I need suggestions for a build I'm working on: an Undine Shaman (Spirit Warden archetype) for Skulls and Shackles. However, I really don't know much about either shamans or necromancy, sadly. A few questions on my mind:

-If I have the Command Dead spell via Spirit Warden, plus Animate Dead, am I pretty much set for controlling the dead?

-Is the Undead Master feat chain worthwhile? What other feats are good?

-What are good main spirits for Skulls and Shackles, considering I'd already have a swim speed?

Thanks guys!


Step 1: Wolfy wolfy wolfy
Step 2: Two-handed Power Attack
Step 3: Outflank
Step 4: Spend the rest of the build on anything you want, because you're now proficient in combat! (some suggestions: Cornugon Smash for an intimidate build, Weapon Focus and Furious Focus for a better fighter, Iron Will or Great Fortitude for a more resilient character, Skill Focus for a skill monkey...)


If you're going half-elf, may I recommend you take Ancestral Arms to grab Sawblade Glaive (aka Ripsaw Glaive) proficiency? The only thing scarier than a monstrous half-elf with 20 foot reach is a monstrous half-elf wielding a chainsaw on a stick with 30 foot reach. (Plus, what amounts to a once per combat Weapon Specialization ain't too shabby.)


RainyDayNinja wrote:

But depending on the GM, I probably can't use the SLWS to pull out a potion, so it's a difference of a move action. But with that Accelerated Drinker trait, I could carry the potion in one hand and weapon in the other, then in the first round drink the potion of enlarge person, SLWS to get my wand, cast long arm, and have both my buffs up and weapon out, ready for AoOs with 20 feet of reach.

Hmm... *evil grin*

See, now you're talking! Grabbing the Aberrant Tumor feat and Improved Familiar can get you a buffing buddy, too, assuming you can have a pseudodragon or imp tumor.

Heh, a few days ago I actually started working on a character similar to this, though without Combat Patrol. He would be catfolk, and his name would be... LONGCAT!


RainyDayNinja wrote:
Tripping would be cool, but I'd be doing it with no feat support, so it may not be that effective. I think a wand of long arm in a spring-loaded wrist sheath is a good idea for a pre-combat buff. But the action economy on enlarge person (cast or potions) isn't great, unless I can get friendly casters to prep it for me.

Well, I would only recommend it against humanoid foes, particularly ones wearing heavy armor - their AC is likely to be higher than their CMD.

Also, I'm pretty sure it never takes more time than a standard action to drink a potion, even if the effects of the spell don't manifest immediately.


Argus The Slayer wrote:
Kazaan wrote:
Combat Patrol extends your threat range. So, maxed out, you get a total of 20' extended threat range and can move up to your speed to get to the target and take your AoO, off-turn. So it's like getting your full-attack with all attacks at full-BAB if they keep triggering AoOs.

That's exactly my point: you are giving up your attacks for the chance that you MIGHT make some AoOs. I don't see why that is an exciting option, unless your DM is going to spoon feed you a bunch of AoOs.

Combat Patrol sounds cool, but its a trap.

Depends on the module. There are a lot of scenarios with mindless foes that have little recourse except to shamble towards you, particularly if a choke point is involved. In which case you become a whirling dervish of terror.

@OP, though: You should really pick up a reach weapon. Grab some armor spikes or something so that you can make attacks against guys that get in close in a pinch, and you can threaten an absolutely ridiculous range. Get Enlarge Person and perhaps the Long Arms spell and you'll be unapproachable! (and not JUST because your blood is infested with the tainted spirit of the aberrant elder gods)

Remember - you don't provoke if the enemy can't reach you, so feel free to try to trip people with your AoOs, and smack them when they spend a move action to stand up again.


+1 for Haunted! I played a snake charmer Flame Oracle called Cagliostro the Great, and having access to Minor Image is fantastic. I would recommend Silent Spell and maybe Eldritch Heritage if you're stuck for feat choices - nabbing a familiar (which you can later upgrade with Improve Familiar) is really nice, especially if your GM rules that he can grab stuff from your pack for you.

Oh, and the Eversmoking Bottle is really OP with either the Ifrit feat or the Flames revelation to see through smoke. Check with your GM and party members first, because this will straight up wreck encounters.

PS: The Elemental Spell Metamagic is your friend.


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Archer inquisitor is a very viable choice here - with dex to damage you should be amazing. The skills and Detect spells are awesome for this party, too. If you have a Bard you should be free to dump charisma and focus on being the party radar, tracker, and DPS turret, plus divine caster.


Play a Gnomish Arcanist with the high scores to Int and Charisma and scheme your way to victory!

...assuming your abominable saves, HP, and AC don't kill you. ;)


Hey all! Looking for some help in constructing a Thor-inspired Dwarf Magus. I want a guy that can fly around, toss one-liners, and smack someone really hard with an electrified warhammer, preferably to the face.

Here's what I've got so far:

Str 16
Dex 12
Con 14
Int 14
Wis 12
Cha 6

Bruising Intellect (Intimidate as int-based skill)
Magical Lineage - Shocking Grasp

1 Steel Soul
3 Power Attack
5 Intensify Spell
5M Craft Magic Arms and Armor
7 Cornugon Smash
9 Lunge (or Improved Familiar)
11 Weapon Focus: Warhammer
11M Weapon Specialization: Warhammer

3 Familiar (Raven, Owl, or Armadillo)
6 Spell-Scars
9 Arcane Accuracy
12 Arcane Scent
15 Quickened Magic

I'd really love suggestions for magic items, or a good way to make a Returning Warhammer work out.

Also, to experienced magi: How often did you find yourself using Spellstrike without Spell Combat, vs. Spell Combat with a non-touch spell? Did you often need Arcane Accuracy to hit? What did you like best about playing the class?



Dwarf Cleric - get 20 Con and 20 Wis, grab a Guided weapon (to-hit and damage from Wisdom), take Heavy Armor Proficiency, and tank all day long. Dwarf Zen Archer would also be quite impressive.

EDIT: Though it may be tricky to wear heavy armor with 7 or 8 Str... eh, I'm sure there's a spell for that. (It would make a funny character quirk, too.)


Riuken wrote:
Say I hit 3 enemies with a damage spell. Since there are at least 3, I'll assume they're no more than CR = my level (making an APL+3). At that level difference, I expect a blaster (meaning a character focused on it) to drop weaker enemies if they fail a save, and leave them around half HP on a pass. If they have resistance they might survive even on a fail, depending on the damage roll.

Well, once you can start layering Empowered, Intensified, and Maximized on your blasts, you should start to see that level of power. A 15th level crossblooded caster throwing out one Empowered Maximized Intensified Fireball and one Quickened Empowered Intensified Fireball per turn courtesy of Spell Perfection is truly a force to be reckoned with. At lower levels, sadly, you're just not going to get that board-clearing quality against any but the wispiest minions.

It's a tricky balancing act on the part of the developers. They don't want to let you murder everything in a 15-minute adventure day, and they don't want to let you run out of juice 20 minutes into a 10-hour dungeon crawl. "Blast power" is one of the dials they can crank to even things out, and they turned it down a little in Pathfinder to give other classes a chance - now you have to spend a significant chunk of your resources to solo a CR+1 or 2 encounter. :'/

Riuken wrote:
I've looked at magus and ultimately decided I want to shoot lighting, not hit with a shocking sword.

...Well, you could also hit with a shocking hammer. :p Seriously, though, there are a LOT of ways to flavor the Magus. I could see an Azula-style Magus that acrobatics up to a foe, uses an Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists to poke them in just the right spot to deal damage, then fires a Shocking Grasp into their heart at point-blank range. OTOH, I understand wanting to simply blast things - you're just going to have to be satisfied with the capabilities and setbacks of whatever crossblooded thingamajig the boards have decreed to be the most damaging build.


Riuken wrote:

Blasting because flavor/boredom.

I've played many a caster and done my fair share of summoning, controlling, SoD-ing, buffing, healing, etc. I want to do what I feel is a very iconic caster, and yet I have not seen it played due to its clear inferiority. I've also discovered I struggle with playing martial types, though that seems to be rooted in the "I hit it with my sword... again" repetitive gameplay. Even with a blaster I would have other spells to do other things 10%-50% of the time.

The way I envision the "lightning mage" is an extremely powerful and somewhat volatile caster. If my spells/day are limited, but a martial's attacks/day are not, I feel like it should follow that the spells deal more damage on a failed save. I'd be down with having 3 casts/day that aren't cantrips if those 3 spells were as impressive as I envision magic being. Basically, I want the choice to be which targets I fry to oblivion, not what I can find to do that...

Okay, I feel you. I know what you mean about martial frustration - heck, one of the classes I'm most excited about from the ACG is the Brawler with its interchangeable feats.

Sadly, straight-up single target damage is one of the few realms the Pathfinder developers decided to give to martial characters. A two-handed power attacker is going to be doing about as much on every swing at 5th level as your Shocking Grasp does, without even adding weapon enhancements and class features. That's why mages tend to excel at dealing damage to all enemies at once - something the martials can't do without a boatload of feats. However, if you can combine spells AND martial abilities, you can break the rules a little...

Honestly, it sounds to me like you should be playing a Magus. Magi excel at going nova and dealing drastic amounts of damage to a single target a few times a day. Pick up a scimitar or other high-crit wepaon, grab Arcana like Arcane Accuracy, Empowered Magic, Hasted Assault, and Critical Strike, burn some arcane pool points, and watch as you rip opponents to shreds.

I know you want the power to destroy an entire field of bad guys at once, but I'm afraid that's going to be really difficult until higher levels, particularly with lightning. 3 out of the 5 people you put forth as inspiration are quite martial, and even Zeus is pretty darn buff; you really ought to consider Magus.


Riuken wrote:

Thinking about it, I'm kinda irked that blasting is such a trap option in pathfinder.

I imagine many new players come in and want to kill things with magic, but it's just so much harder to be effective at blasting than doing literally ANYTHING else with magic, including melee. I know it's not a great option, but I still want to do it, so I'm looking for a way to make it work, at least to where it keeps up with average melee damage. A past "me" would approach this idea and make a very ineffective character.

Well, remember that these boards are probably the biggest concentration of power gamers and system masters in the world. If the past you was playing with average-built party members (finesse rogues, sword-and-board paladins, low-strength monks, etc.) and fighting CR-appropriate baddies, you'd probably be doing fine with nothing but a metamagic rod.

That being said, you don't have to do crazy cross-crass shenanigans to be a decently powerful blaster. Grab Magical Lineage on your favorite blast, boost your casting stat a bit, pick up Empowered Spell, and if possible grab a +1 damage per die bloodline like Primal or Draconic, and you'll have a pretty competent boomstick. (Sorcerer, Arcanist, or Wizard can all work just fine.) Remember too that there are plenty of things resistant to lightning out there; you'll really want to be well-rounded and have something to do when fighting them.

I know people are badmouthing Lightning Bolt since line <<< spread, but IMO it makes a pretty interesting challenge. Suddenly you need to maneuver yourself and your enemies so that they're all in a line, then you can spear them like Zeus; it makes combat a lot more interesting compared to simply standing in the back and hucking fireballs. Clearly it's not as optimal, but it could be a lot of fun, and an unorthodox build.

The real question here is twofold, I think.
1. Why lightning?
2. Why blasting?

If you can answer those, we can probably build you something pretty sweet.


Hmm, that is a neat trick. Your GM may allow you to let yourself get hit by an attack, since I think most opponents would not be expecting that.

Another thing to consider might be a spell storing weapon with, say, Battering Blast or Force Punch stored in it. However, since normally bull rush doesn't use a weapon, you'd have to use this in combination with Bull Rush Strike or Shield Slam.

EDIT: Or just make your Dwarven Boulder Helmet spell storing, of course. :p


Rather than mechanical nerfing like spell failure chance, there are lots of ways, I think, to discourage one of your characters from cackling for hours at a time.

Does your party like getting ambushed? I sure hope so! Because all enemies will now hear them coming before they enter a room. All NPCs will think they're creepy as all hell. And even the party members may get tired of it - particularly if you force the witch him/herself to end every sentence with cackling.

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