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Not having the ACG isn't a problem.
If she's interested in specifically a rogue sort, perhaps consider Ninja instead? It seems like it'd fit a rogue really into disguise and stealth, and the access to things like Vanish will help get sneak attacks, though not particularly reliably.
As for traits, Hunter's Eye is a good way to get longbow proficiency (since rogues only get shortbows).
I was looking through feats and feat chains that might be good for Brawlers, and I came across a feat I don't see mentioned often that strikes me as particularly effective for usage with Pummeling Style.
Medusa's Wrath (Combat)
Prerequisites: Improved Unarmed Strike, Gorgon's Fist, Scorpion Style, base attack bonus +11.
Benefit: Whenever you use the full-attack action and make at least one unarmed strike, you can make two additional unarmed strikes at your highest base attack bonus. These bonus attacks must be made against a dazed, flat-footed, paralyzed, staggered, stunned, or unconscious foe.
With Pummeling Style being all about pooling a high number of attacks into a single strike and hoping for a crit, this struck me as a potentially powerful damage boost on top of the number of attacks already available through BAB/Flurry/Haste.
But the fact the enemy needs to be debuffed got me thinking about ways you could potentially provide those debuffs yourself and ensure the extra damage.
Obviously, the previous feats in the chain help with that, but they all involve using standard actions to do so, which doesn't seem like a good action usage. So what other ways could you get those debuffs? Here's what I came up with:
Dazed: Dazing Assault: The attack penalty is a bit steep, and because Pummeling Style is all about one big hit, it'll be tricky to get in the first round, though obviously good for followups.
Flat-footed: The obvious one here is just to win in initiative and hit them with Pummeling Charge.
Paralyzed: Nothing off the top of my head.
Staggered: Staggering Critical is all I could think of, and chances are if you're a Pummeler who's crit an enemy, they're already dead.
Stunned: This one is possibly a bit easier, since Brawler can pick up Stunning Fist (though much later than monk) and get the level/uses per day. But the DC is still Wisdom based, and Brawlers aren't as motivated to stack Wisdom as monks are.
Unconscious: Brawlers actually have that covered in class abilities with Knockout, but more options wouldn't be bad. Though by the time an enemy is unconscious, you're probably not too worried about beating the crap out of them.
Any other ideas? Is this build even worth pursuing?
Animal Domain and the Pack Flanking feat? Being able to fight adjacent to your AC and still count as flanking is pretty solid, because it would allow you to utilize both Outflank and Paired Opportunist, since one keys on flanks and the other keys on being adjacent. Great if you go for an AoO oriented build, possibly with stuff like Broken Wing Gambit.
A one level dip in Brawler would allow you to qualify for Combat Expertise without needing 13 Int, and since most teamwork feats are also combat feats, you could use Martial Flexibility to pick them up and reap the benefits of Solo Tactics. Or you could take Snakebite Striker and get more Sneak Attack dice. Since Animal domain gives you an AC at level -3, you could take Boon Companion and still get a full progression AC even with a one level dip.
You have fewer Panache points, but by dropping Inspired Blade, you get back the ability to gain Panache from killing blows. By choosing your targets well (or sniping kills from your teammates), you could potentially make up some of that difference. You also get more weapon options, so not a total loss.
If you're allowing psionics, I'm a huge fan of the Aegis or Soulknife. If you build an Aegis with Reach, the Push and Pull abilities, and stuff like Powerful Build and a polearm and you start knocking enemies all over the battlefield.
Soulknife can be a lot of fun. Solid at TWF, or you can go with something like Deadly Fist/Gifted Blade and build a pure Wisknife.
For non-psionic stuff, TWF slayer is pretty solid, but you'd be relying on the animal companion to give you flanking bonuses. Swashbuckler with Slashing/Fencing Grace is now the go-to for agile melee builds. Brawler is a lot of fun, especially with Pummeling Style.
True, the increased ability to move and still make full attacks that Mythic brings sort of devalues the pounce effect of Pummeling Style. Still, it's kind of a cool visual and fitting for a brawler to punch something really, really hard instead of a bunch of times. Too bad the extra attacks from spending surges wouldn't be mathed into the combined Pummeling pool.
I'm also still not set on a race, though I suppose at a certain point the power spikes of level and Mythic abilities will make the initial choice less and less relevant.
I'd sort of avoided grappling in Pathfinder because of the terrible experiences with it in 3.5, but some of the Pathfinder abilities make it seem interesting. Especially when you add in the Mythic stuff, like Meat Shield and Uncanny Grapple.
Magus with the Dimensional Dervish feats. Go Strength based, grab a warhammer, and poof around bashing in skulls.
You could go for the Eldritch Scion archetype and grab some Bloodrager abilities. Elemental bloodline (Air) gives you a fly speed at level 8, and being electricity-based is thematic for a magus, which tends to use a lot of Shocking Grasp. Bonus cool points for wielding lightning and a warhammer.
The Warpriest BAB itself will stack onto the flurry, but won't actually progress the ability. The warpriest flurry will be completely separate (and not usable with a bow), which will stack on the monk BAB. It's a little odd, but the end result is that you have two different flurry abilities that don't stack with each other in terms of actual progression. You actually end up costing yourself attacks by only having 3 levels of flurry progression, because it locks you out of Rapid Shot/Manyshot.
The biggest challenge with crossbows is going to be the extra feats needed. Archery already requires 3-4 'core' feats, and needing to add Rapid Reload and Crossbow Mastery to that list will make the first couple levels a bit rough.
Bolt Ace is cool, but as written there's a lot of problems with useless features (like still getting Gunsmithing).
Too bad Zen Archer doesn't work with crossbows.
Ranger or Slayer both get some bonus feats and cool features, which helps. Ranger is better able to take advantage of the racial Wisdom bonus, but Slayer is more versatile for foe choices, which is good in PFS.
While not a particularly spectacular archetype, taking at least a few levels of Fighter (Crossbow Master) might help get the feats you need early.
Remember that slayers can grab the TWF feats without meeting prereqs just like rangers can, and get to potentially add both Studied Target and Sneak Attack damage on a full BAB class, which is pretty damn solid.
Slayer does a pretty good job of blending ranger and rogue, taking some of the best martial elements out of both of them at the cost of the nature theme/abilities of the ranger and some of the skill stuff of rogues.
Given the flexibility of illusions, I'm a fan of just going for Gnome Sorcerer, with either the Arcane or Fey bloodlines. You'll have wiggle room to be able to pick up some buffs, debuffs, or direct damage spells for times when the illusions might not be the best option.
You could also run with an Arcanist, and make the most of the ability to spend reservoir points to boost spell DCs.
You could always go for a gnome with the Master Tinker trait and just personally craft your own repeating crossbows. I could see this being fun for hand crossbows, too, possibly using TWF, though the hit penalties of TWF on top of Deadly Aim penalties combined with not hitting touch AC might make that harder to land.
It doesn't inherently do anything to fix the reloading issue of crossbows, so you'll be mostly limited to a light crossbow till you can pick up Crossbow Mastery.
Beyond that, it doesn't really seem to change much from a standard gunslinger, so you'd just go for an archery build. The added crit multiplier tacked onto the weapon training seems like going for a crit focus would be solid, too.
Progression for a human could be something like
15 point buy seems pretty low for a theoretical build, as most games seem to be 20 or 25.
But a Plumekith aasimar who rolled/chose 50 on the variant ability table would have +2 Dex, +4 Wis for racial ability modifiers. A Faultspawn tiefling who got/rolled a 90 on the variant ability table would have +2 Dex, +4 Wisdom, -2 Intelligence for racial modifiers.
Aasimar has the advantage of no stat penalties, which is great for low point buy games. Resistances are nice, too.
Tiefling has advantage of being able to grab Prehensile Tail, Scaled Skin (with fire resist), and Fiendish Sprinter.
The Snake Style feats key off Sense Motive checks, which will be really high with a Wis build. Might be worth going for a Lawbringer aasimar instead, for the racial skill bonus.
Wielding a reach weapon would likely mean you'd go for an AoO build, which means a decent dex and Combat Reflexes. Note it's an exotic weapon unless you're a dwarf, so dwarf is the best race option for the weapon.
You could put the 18 in Strength, 16 Dex, 14+2 Con, 12 Int, 16+2 Wis, and 6-2 Cha. Grab Power Attack and the free Weapon Focus at first level, then Combat Reflexes at third. Build just like you would a reach fighter.
Gnome has more to offer than +1 DC. They also get access to Effortless Trickery, which is a simply amazing feat. Being able to maintain an illusion as a swift action then use your other actions to cast and maintain other spells is really strong. I can't count the number of times I've, say, maintained an image of an illusory threat, then stepped in and cast color spray. Or had two image spells going on simultaneously while still being able to shoot magic missiles.
Gnomes also get Threatening Illusion, which can be great for summoning up illusory threats on the battlefield.
So I'm about to start a Skull and Shackles game with a small group (just me and one other player) that the GM is willing to make Mythic, and provide NPC crewmembers to fill out the missing party roles somewhere down the line. As all of us just got our hands on the ACG, I got really interested in the Brawler, and the other player is really interested in making a Swashbuckler.
My problem is...I have no idea how to build a Brawler. I've played plenty of martial characters, but they've always been switch-hitter Rangers or two-handed weapon fighting Fighters, Paladins, and Barbarians. I'm not really sure what direction to go, especially with the anticipation of Mythic somewhere down the line.
The build constraints are: 25 point buy, 2 traits (one of which must be campaign), open to any Paizo stuff. The GM has requested I avoid too much cheese (like everyone's favorite 2 level MoMS dip), and that I try to avoid any particularly exotic races, so I'm going to try to keep it straight brawler with core races.
My first decision I need to make is on race. Human, half-orc, and fighter all appeal to me. Half-elf is also viable, but I'm personally less interested in a half-elf pirate. Those three races have some pro's and con's I'm trying to weigh out.
Human pros: Bonus feat, +2 stat, can take either the skill points or Heart of the Sea. Access to Martial Mastery and Critical Versatility feats.
Dwarf pros: Racial stat mods and Hardy great for survivability, darkvision, Relentless and Saltbeard seem good for the campaign. Access to Steel Soul and Ironhide.
Half-orc pros: +2 stat, darkvision, can drop ferocity for Sacred Tattoo or Gatecrasher (maybe good for Steel-Breaker). Access to Smash and Ironhide, as well as human feats.
From there, I need to figure out feat choices. Pummeling Style is really strong and likely a given, especially when combined with stuff like Horn of the Criosphinx and Mythic shenanigans. But...what else?
If human, I can start off with Power Attack, Combat Expertise, and Improved Unarmed Strike at level 1, which means I have the prereqs to grab a whole lot of options with Martial Versatility. Dwarf or half-orc would likely just have power attack. But I'm not really sure where to go from there. Do I grab some combat maneuver feats? Do I grab the Weapon Focus/Specialization chain for more damage and accuracy? Do I grab Toughness and the like to boost my survivability?
It's almost embarrassing how confused I am about how to play a brawler. But I've never played any monk-like character ever, so I don't know how they actually play out in combat in terms of strengths and weaknesses.
Thanks for any advice!
I've always liked the idea of a half-orc Alchemist (Grenadier) from the Steel Eaters tribe (they're basically the mad scientists and weapons engineers of Belkzen) that focuses on bombs and making weapons. The Explosive Missile discovery attached to a bow/crossbow/firearm can be great thematically, because you basically have a rocket launcher.
There's also a Summoner who might be focused on making his eidolon look like a space alien. A Heavens/Dark Tapestry Oracle or a Voidborn sorcerer could also tie into a space theme.
Barbarians are good options, given the Numerian setting. You could either go the Superstition route and loathe magic and technology, or perhaps Armored Hulk and use heavy armor.
The Technology Guide has a bunch of tech-based archetypes, as well.
What about a Sacred Fist warpriest that takes Crusader's Flurry down the line? A bit delayed, but you'll be able to flurry with kukri's (or a single kukri), without spending feats on TWF. Being unarmored and getting the tweaked skill list is good for an assassin sort of character. Only downside is that Sacred Fist isn't automatically proficient with the deities favored weapon.
Aasimar could work, since they often have animalistic features. Ss could Skinwalker. Unfortunately, weretigerkin also have a Wis penalty, but the generic Skinwalker traits are +Wis, -2 Int, +2 to a physical stat, which could work out just fine for a Warpriest. You could make it look like a cat without using the weretiger stats.
I'm curious how the feat would break down using two different weapons. If using, say, the kukri and the scythe, how does getting a crit work? Which weapon would you base your multiplier on? The one that scored the threat, or the highest one? Or would parts of the attack crit differently for a single pool of end damage?
You'd be making the same number of attack rolls as a full attack, so you'd presumably break it down to individual rolls for each weapon just like a full attack, so you'd know what came from where.
There's a ranger archetype specifically designed for demon slaying. The nice part about the ranger bonuses as opposed to the paladin Smite is that you can keep it going all day, rather than be limited to smites. They get some limited spellcasting, mostly utility spells. You can grab an animal companion, or take the party bond option and boost the damage output of other martials in your party vs demons.
Sort of a different approach, but an aasimar can take the Angelic Blood feat which causes them to deal damage to nearby evil enemies when they take bleed damage. The Holy Vindicator PrC gets Stigmata, which is a bleed effect that buffs them. You could, say, have an aasimar that gets Rage via the domain and goes into Holy Vindicator. Angry angel bleeding all over everything. The self-healing of a divine can help make sure you don't get TOO low.
If you play a melee sorcerer, don't bother investing in armor proficiency. Grab something like Weapon Focus, because with a low BAB, your to-hit is going to suck. Toughness is never a bad option.
You can also go with draconic Bloodrager, which can also go into Dragon Disciple as far as I know. Just because you're a barbarian, doesn't mean you can't be a dashing captain.
You could also, more amusingly, get some draconic flavor by playing a kobold swashbuckler. Not the most optimal option by any means, but grabbing Slashing/Fencing Grace and maybe the Mouser archetype could make for a decent pirate. It also opens up the Draconic Aspect feat chain, for things like flight and a breath weapon.
Horn of the Criosphinx specifically calls out two handed weapons.
"Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +6 or monk level 6th.
Benefit: Whenever you make a successful charge attack while wielding a two-handed weapon in both hands, add two times your Strength bonus to the damage roll."
It says two-handed weapon in both hands, not a one handed weapon wielded in two, which is why the weapon list was so limited. I mean, there's a bunch of two-handed "monk" weapons, but most of them are Eastern weapons that both require a feat and are more flavorful than mechanically decent. Quarterstaff is a monk staple, bayonet is the only two-hander in the "close" group, and seven-branched sword is the best "monk" two-hander, despite the feat requirement.
Feat entry text has always trumped feat table. There's been a number of feats with inaccurate table entries.
That's a good observation about Horn of the Criosphinx. I noticed the fact it was a monk bonus feat, but I glossed over the rest because I didn't think you could two-hand unarmed strikes (since they're considered light weapons). This becomes a good option if weapons don't work out, though weapons still have some benefits over actual unarmed strikes, like ease of enchanting and potentially higher crit ranges/modifiers.
Then that means you've played a lot of games with an optional rules interpretation that I suspect isn't part of the majority of games, and are passing balance judgments based on such. While it's a total valid observation for the games you play, it doesn't really mean much for anyone else who isn't in those games.
You make the same number of attack rolls, and the same number of damage rolls, with the same modifiers to each, as a standard full attack. If you roll a 1, that's one attack that you missed and thus one damage roll you don't make, just the same as if you were full-attacking normally. Why would continuing to attack after a roll of a 1 be broken? The fighter can miss a hit on his full attack and still keep swinging, that's just one hits worth of damage he doesn't get to add. Like, it's no different than a regular full attack action, save the damage being pooled, just like Clustered Shots.
The crit thing is pretty strong, but there aren't many weapons on the list that really get to abuse it. I just like the "flurry on a charge" component of the whole thing, though it's just piled into a super hit. Doesn't seem any more OP than, say, the flurry of spirited charge RAGELANCEPOUNCE barbarian.
It really doesn't strike me as much different than a standard full attack (since you hit the same number of times, with each hit dealing the same amount of damage), except for the nice shiny "one crit means it all crits" thing and the fact it's all piled into one attack, which is nice for getting past DR.
The perk is the using it on a charge, since that used to be just a barbarian/druid thing for the most part, and a flurrying brawler gets a lot of attacks to pile onto that charge.
Flurry doesn't have to stack. The point is that you can grab an archetype that drops that class feature, then get the same feature in an entirely different class. There's nothing "redundant" about that, because you're not trying to stack anything. Flurry already works with BAB from non-monk levels, so in this case you'd simply flurry as a monk of your cleric level, with the monk levels counted as non-monk levels for this purpose.
You could have some fun with the fact that Cayden Cailien's favored weapon is a rapier, and go for a Fencing Grace melee cleric (though the feat tax to get that far is a bit challenging). A single level in Swashbuckler (Inspired Blade) would net you 2/3 of the required feats, though, as well as a small Panache pool, a bump to Reflex saves, some extra skill points and access to some better class skills, so not a bad dip overall.
From there, just build a standard cleric. Halfling's Cha boost will help a bit with channels, you'll be relatively elusive in melee, be able to provide a solid flanking buddy, contribute some damage when you're not casting spells, and most importantly have some serious style while you're doing it.
You seem to lack in both battlefield control and some additional healing potential, but be fine in raw combat ability. To that end, I recommend a Witch, an Arcanist with the Unlettered Arcanist or White Mage archetypes, or perhaps a Shaman. All of them are pure casters with access to some of the better battlefield control/buff spells, while having enough clutch/out of combat healing potential to ease the strain on the paladin/bard.
This is for a home game with a lenient GM who likes the "rule of cool" more than hard mechanical balance, so I've got some wiggle room. That said, I'd like to stay within the mechanics as much as possible, based on my assumption of 2-handed weapon viability.
Pummeling Charge requires a flurry attack, which has a limited pool of available weapons, especially two-handed ones. I broke down the three that I thought were best in my initial post, none of which have that high crit range. The options would open up a lot more if one handed weapons wielded in two hands counted, but Horn of the Criosphinx seems pretty clear on that one.