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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.
Well this thread exploded over night.
As far as I can read it, the feat is pretty ambiguous, because it doesn't specifically call out unarmed strikes. Regardless of what the language or common sense might suggest, the rules text is unclear, putting it in the realm of GM interpretation.
For the purposes of this thread, I was trying to figure out the best way to optimize the build assuming 2-handed weapons were viable options. Whether or not you agree with my interpretation of the feat is pretty much irrelevant for this purpose. Barring an FAQ rules clarification, I'm operating under this interpretation, and am trying to build accordingly.
An aasimar Sylvan sorcerer with Celestial Servant and Evolved Companion would have a pretty hardy animal companion. Combine it with Evolved Summoned Monster and grab Mighty Summons, Mythic Companion, and Blessed Companion from Hierophant via Dual Path, and you'll be able to drop some pretty durable bodies onto the battlefield. Speedy Summons from Archmage will let you drop the summons faster, too, letting you, say, summon some monsters and cast Haste in the same round and giving them all the buff.
So, I'm really liking the feel of the brawler class. One of the better feats for the class that also came with the ACG is the Pummeling Style chain, especially with the pseudo-pounce of Pummeling Charge.
Now, from as far as I can tell, Pummeling Style doesn't actually require you to use unarmed attacks, meaning it could potentially open up some other weapon options. The focus on charging attacks brings to mind the feat Horn of the Criosphinx, which lets you add 2x your Strength bonus to damage at the end of a charge as long as you're two-handing a two-handed weapon.
I would really like to figure out the best way to combine these. Brawler's Flurry necessitates the use of unarmed strikes, close weapons, or monk weapons. Of those, the only ones I can think of that are specifically two-handed are the quarterstaff, bayonet, seven-branched sword, monk's spade, kusarigama, kyoketsu shoge, double-chained kama, and bo staff. Most of these the brawler doesn't get proficiency with, and I'd say the seven-branched sword is the only one that might be worth spending a feat on.
The quarterstaff is a sort of iconic monk weapon. While the damage is unimpressive, it does bring the advantages/disadvantages of a double weapon, and some of the fun flavor feats, like Quarterstaff Master and Tripping Twirl.
The bayonet is sort of an awkward one, but it's the only two-handed weapon in the close group, which means it eventually becomes a candidate for Close Weapon Mastery, allowing it to gain a higher weapon dice than the quarterstaff, since it can do unarmed damage at level-4.
The seven-branched sword deals a pretty decent 1d10, and with the number of attacks that go with a full flurry, the x3 crit could potentially be pretty juicy, since you only need one confirmed crit with Pummeling Style to make the whole attack crit. It does require a feat to gain proficiency, but it's overall a solid option.
I want to build a character around one of these weapons and these feats, but I'm not sure which is best, or if I've missed something. Any thoughts?
Slayer or Brawler are probably your best bets at the moment, though Rogue, Ranger, and Fighter are viable. The important thing to make TWF viable (especially on the sort of Dex based small weapon build a small race would have) is to have static bonuses you add to each hit. Sneak attack, favored enemy, weapon training, smite, etc.
If you're willing to use a single weapon, I've become a fan of the Mouser archetype for Swashbuckler. Or you could go with Inspired Blade, take Fencing Grace, and have +Dex to damage at first level.
Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, and Deadly Aim are core archery feats. Get those ASAP, then build from there. Note that Slayer has the same rules about ignoring feat prereqs, so you'll absolutely want to use your talent at 6 to get Improved Precise Shot, a full 5 levels early.
From there, Snap Shot and Combat Reflexes are good options.
An example build for a few levels would be
1. Point Blank
Lamashtu, Sobek, Reymenda, Uruskreil, Kro'akoth, and Rull all have favored weapon of falchion, which a half-orc warpriest could get without spending a feat on. The number of extra attacks being made with a two-handed weapon makes crits that much more likely, so going with a high crit range weapon would be a solid bet.
Out of the core ones, Shelyn, Sarenrae, and Gorum are also decent choices for similar reasons, but are a bit worse for the 'feat tax' of proficiency.
Deadly Aim works just fine with firearms. Firearms target touch AC, but are not in themselves touch attacks. This was clarified in an FAQ a while ago. It's also better for Gunslingers than standard archers, because the fact they hit touch AC means that they can use it more reliably, since their target hit number is lower.
Manyshot, however, doesn't work with firearms at all, so it's a dead feat.
Musket Master is the best gunslinger archetype in my opinion, since it allows you to get free action reloads with two-handed firearms.
Regarding your build, you're way too squishy. Drop your Wisdom and bump up your Con if you can. More grit is nice, but it doesn't matter if you're dead. Even musket masters will be close enough to combat for getting hit in the face to be a factor.
Depending on what level you start, waiting till level 4 to have picked up Point-Blank and Precise might be a bit painful, even targeting touch AC. Goblin Gunslinger is great, but ultimately those few levels of big hit penalties are going to suck more than taking the damage hit from using a smaller weapon.
Also, as nice as Goblin Gunslinger is, it doesn't actually say it lets you pick up a larger starting weapon, so it's mostly useless until you've reached a wealth level to buy your own new gun anyways.
So progression would look something like:
1. Point Blank Shot, Rapid Reload (Musket)
The last two feats can be whatever, if you ever get there.
Taking levels in anything other than summoner is going to do more harm than good, given the loss of caster level and evolution points/eidolon level progression. Combat-oriented summoners need to be built that way from the start, with high Strength and the right feat/evolution choices for his eidolon.
Have him take a look at this guide, as it's got a lot more information on how to build a summoner tag team than I could easily condense.
The absolute best (and silliest) animal companion focused build that I've played involves an Aasimar Oracle (either Nature or Lunar) who takes the revelation that gives them a companion. Aasimar have access to the Celestial Servant feat that bumps their companion to a magical beast (which has d10 hit dice and fighter BAB progression) and gives it the celestial template (which lets it smite and gives it resistances). The oracle favored class bonus lets you treat your effective level as higher for one revelation, so you can have a companion at a higher effective druid level than your actual class level.
If you really want, you can also take Scion of Humanity and the Huntmaster feat to bump up your effective druid level one more, as long as you've got a horse, dog, small cat, or bird companion.
That said, even without the Oracle shenanigans, Celestial Servant is a really strong feat choice for a companion focused character. Aasimar are particularly appropriate for WotR, and the Plumekith variant gives you the right stats for a ranged hunter. If you're nice to your GM, you could also potentially drop the SLA for a +2 to Strength, letting you go for a melee approach, too.
On the Mythic side of things, the Hierophant path has Beasts Fury, Mythic Companion, and Blessed Companion. Take Dual Path so you can snag stuff for yourself from Champion, and you should be able to make a pretty solid mythic hunter.
As I assume a spiked chain fighter is going to be heavy on AoO's, take a look at the new Fortuitous weapon enhancement from the APC. It's a +1 bonus ability that allows you to, once per round, make a second AoO against an opponent you've hit with an AoO at a -5 penalty. Smack, trip, smack, smack.
A bit outside your budget right now, but the Helm of the Valkyrie gives you a spectral wolf mount with decent defenses but can't attack.
That's actually a really solid choice. And the fact that Inspired Blade gets both Weapon Finesse and Weapon Focus (Rapier) at first level, you could have +Dex to damage at level 1, even for nonhuman races.
I kinda like the idea of an elf, half-elf, or halfling swashbuckler with a rapier.
A human could grab IUS and go for Crane Style, which would make for an amusing deflection-based duelist sort, parrying his opponents attacks and stabbing them for it. Hmm.
So I know the ACG hasn't been out long, but I'm curious if people have come up with ways to optimize the Inspired Blade swashbuckler archetype. I've got a player in an upcoming Skull and Shackles campaign that really likes the idea of playing a character who's specialized in the rapier (as he's an SCA fencer IRL), but I haven't familiarized myself with the new material enough yet to really make any recommendations.
I know a lot of people are annoyed at Slashing Grace, and if I'm reading it right it doesn't really accomplish anything for a rapier-wielder, so I'm unsure how to keep damage relatively competitive. Especially since the archetype would need Str, Dex, Int, AND Cha to really optimize the class features, which is a tough stretch.
Any general suggestions or rough builds to consider?
As far as I know, Besmara isn't normally an allowed deity for paladins, as she's too far off the Good/Law axis.
But a paladin would likely be focused on a sort of "Pirates code", shipboard combat, and helping sailors deal with sea monsters.
As for build, her favored weapon is a rapier, which you don't necessarily need to use. Feel free to pick up a greatsword or whatever any other paladin would do. However, if you want thematics, consider dipping into Swashbuckler, which is also conveniently Charisma based.
"While in rage, a barbarian gains a +4 morale bonus to her Strength and Constitution, as well as a +2 morale bonus on Will saves."
Rage is a morale effect, which means that it's affected by Courageous. So a +2 Furious Courageous weapon would become a +4 while raging, while also boosting the bonuses of rage by +2 Str, +2 Con, and +2 Will.
I personally dislike any energy-based weapon enhancements, as they're so easily mitigated by even paltry elemental resistance.
In case it isn't immediately obvious, Courageous is strong because of the fact it increases morale bonuses, which includes the Strength/Con bonuses from raging, as well as stuff like a lot of divine and bardic buffs.
Depending on the campaign, Holy can be a great boost to damage.
If third party is at all an option, I like the idea of mixing monk with a Soulknife (Deadly Fist). It'll let him enhance his unarmed attacks without the use of items, and snagging the Focused Offense bladeskill would allow him to focus on a Wis build, which would further augment a ki-based character.
Here's a different approach to effective weapon size that I don't see come up much, the Beaststrike Club.
The key part here is that it counts as both a natural and a manufactured weapon for the purposes of spells that enhance it. So you could make it large, then tack on things like the +1 step for burning a Wild Shape, casting both Lead Blades and Strong Jaw, taking Improved Natural Attack, etc.
It's not a greatsword, but you could potentially make a really big stick that hits like an even bigger stick.