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Rogue Eidolon's Guide to Fighters (Optimisation)


Advice

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People said Fighters don't get any love. To prove them wrong, here's my Fighter Guide link!. The scope of the guide is only the most basic Fighter builds (Archery, Two-Handed, Sword and Shield, Two-Weapon Fighting), but you can use some of the tips to help with a variety of different build types.


I planning a sword and board fighter and your guide has give me so good ideas, thanks.

shield bash ftw!

Liberty's Edge

Optimization. And, thanks for the guide!!


Jeremiziah wrote:
Optimization. And, thanks for the guide!!

No the proper spelling is Optimisation in the UK anyway


Thank you Rogue Eidolon! Will help me validate my planned build for my S&B Fighter (<-- this guy), and better protect my party members as we push trough RotR.


Great guide, thanks again!

Little correction tough, in the build exemple of the Defender of the Weak, you suggest taking Iron Will at level 2, but the feat granted at even levels are fighter bonus feats, and Iron Will is not a [Combat] feat. As such, you can only take Iron Will at an odd level. Same thing with Improved Initiative at level 16th.

Dark Archive

Great guide, a few things.

I've noted your "hard man love" for wisdom; but honestly stat points are too important for "just" a minor bonus to will saves. On your 20 point buy for instance (on defender) you're looking at the difference between a +1 to strength (get upgraded earlier) vs a +1 to will save. I don't think that swap out is worth it, ever.

Now for defender (and defender alone), I recommend the dwarf. I heart the +3 effective to all major saves, and Con can never be high enough. Also, traits get them Perception as a class skill, making that higher wisdom a better consideration. I certainly think theyshould be the "blue" option for the defender... Human just can't keep up with that, and Str isn't your full focus there. Plus they get much-loved darkvision as a throw in.

In general, I think you failed to mention the feat swap-out. I use this for one thing and one thing alone... At low levels, Cleave rules the world. At high levels it sucks. Only a fighter can take it early and not regret it later. This also let's you get the "major critical" lines online earlier, and lets you swap up to more powerful aspects of it.


Ainslan wrote:

Great guide, thanks again!

Little correction tough, in the build exemple of the Defender of the Weak, you suggest taking Iron Will at level 2, but the feat granted at even levels are fighter bonus feats, and Iron Will is not a [Combat] feat. As such, you can only take Iron Will at an odd level. Same thing with Improved Initiative at level 16th.

Good point--needs to be switched around to reflect that. Thanks.

Thalin wrote:
In general, I think you failed to mention the feat swap-out. I use this for one thing and one thing alone... At low levels, Cleave rules the world. At high levels it sucks. Only a fighter can take it early and not regret it later. This also let's you get the "major critical" lines online earlier, and lets you swap up to more powerful aspects of it.

Feat swap out is a good point. I did miss that--I'll add that in right now.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I love your enthusiasm and initiative in writing out guides for the boards, but FYI it's optimization, with a Z not an S ; )


Thalin wrote:

Great guide, a few things.

I've noted your "hard man love" for wisdom; but honestly stat points are too important for "just" a minor bonus to will saves. On your 20 point buy for instance (on defender) you're looking at the difference between a +1 to strength (get upgraded earlier) vs a +1 to will save. I don't think that swap out is worth it, ever.

It's hard to get a Fighter up to acceptable Will saves. If you find that you can get away with lower Wisdom than that and not be a constant butt-monkey to Enchantment magic and the like, I highly recommend it. My examples are definitely not the be-all end-all, just one example of how to build based on the general principles above--I put more stock in the advice than the example builds.

Quote:

Now for defender (and defender alone), I recommend the dwarf. I heart the +3 effective to all major saves, and Con can never be high enough. Also, traits get them Perception as a class skill, making that higher wisdom a better consideration. I certainly think theyshould be the "blue" option for the defender... Human just can't keep up with that, and Str isn't your full focus there. Plus they get much-loved darkvision as a throw in.

No doubt the Dwarf is more survivable. Dwarf would be "blue" for the Invincible Shield build that is hard to hit or kill, but I find that monsters just ignore you if you make that build. Dwarf is also even better if you don't need to have both Str and Dex high, such as with a Weapon Finessing Sword and Board build. If you do pick Dwarf, you then don't spend as many points in Wisdom, as above.


Double Slice is a prerequisite for Two-Weapon Rend. You put TW-Rend at 12 and Double Slice at 15, they need to be switched.


Ainslan wrote:
Double Slice is a prerequisite for Two-Weapon Rend. You put TW-Rend at 12 and Double Slice at 15, they need to be switched.

Good point once again. I knew I shouldn't have done those last-minute rearrangements without the books when I was on the plane. That actually suggests getting Critical Focus sooner like I did initially--reason being, Double Slice is worth it more later when you have higher Strength. I've put in that change.


JimmyNids wrote:
I love your enthusiasm and initiative in writing out guides for the boards, but FYI it's optimization, with a Z not an S ; )

Noting RogueEidolon's other conventions in writing, it is more apparent that RE is not American but using the British method of spelling. In that style, optimisation is perfectly valid.

Thank you for writing up a Fighter guide.


Love guides... and this one too.

Thanks mate!

Dark Archive

I disagree they are more ignorable... The build I'm talking about is: (20 point)

Str: 17 Int: 7 Wis: 16 Dex: 14 Con: 16 Chr: 5

And +8 to perception at 1st level.

I'd take the "lockdown" feat line so they can't get away, and you get a free bastard sword (dwarf axe) to make up the -1 damage. More survivable and more effective; and only down. -1 Str penalty hurts, but not sucking vs saves is huge, as it keeps it more likely people will be locked up. I expect you eventually do a +2 to all stats belt, so loss of 2 dex is nbd for AC.


i like the guide also. Being able to swap feats is pretty huge. Most use i've seen is taking cleave early and swapping out once you've got lunge+whirlwind = fireball can kiss my butt.

Dark Archive

Just when you think you know every build :).

The lunge + whirlwind is pretty brilliant; only annoyance is costing a dump stat (int). But it also qualifies you for Improved Trip (the better Standstill). I've seen enlarge whirlwind, which in the right situations is awesome; this would be the same without caster dependence. And can be online, what, level 7? Be a hell of a roomsweeper effect for a two-handed wielder.


Thalin wrote:

Just when you think you know every build :).

The lunge + whirlwind is pretty brilliant; only annoyance is costing a dump stat (int). But it also qualifies you for Improved Trip (the better Standstill). I've seen enlarge whirlwind, which in the right situations is awesome; this would be the same without caster dependence. And can be online, what, level 7? Be a hell of a roomsweeper effect for a two-handed wielder.

When I was writing the guide, I checked that combo out, and I think you should be able to get this at level 6, taking Whirlwind at 5 (4 if you switch into it at level 4) and Lunge at 6. And you can Enlarge+Lunge+Whirlwind for even more craziness; in fact, if you threaten on your unarmed attacks, you can take a reach weapon and then do that for an extremely good range of Whirlwind. I was debating putting that build in the guide, but since you can't move in and Whirlwind on the same turn and its very situational, I felt it would be a trap to sink those feats much of the time. It's surely a good contingency to have, especially if you don't have casters to AoE.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Maps Subscriber

I feel the need to defend the Dwarven slander under the Bruiser race section, where you note that the slow movement is a detraction for dwarves. However, since these types of fighters will usually be wearing heavier armor to shrug off melee, they will be moving around 20 ft anyway, correct?

Dark Archive

Not after level 6; level 7 armor mastery basically gives the dwarven power to all races. The movement IS a big deal, and boots of striding are a musthave for any dwarf.


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
People said Fighters don't get any love. To prove them wrong, here's my Fighter Guide link!. The scope of the guide is only the most basic Fighter builds (Archery, Two-Handed, Sword and Shield, Two-Weapon Fighting), but you can use some of the tips to help with a variety of different build types.

You might wish to also put in a place for the small mounted lancer. It is an interesting build, but I'm not sure how it compares in Pathfinder with archery increased in damage and power attack lessened in flexibility.

Your points on power attack are reasonable, but the fringe case where you could in 3.5 be attacking targets with pathetic ACs (at least compared to your hitroll) allowed for damage to be realized there in specialized builds beyond what Pathfinder's more controlled power attack does.

-James


Thalin wrote:
Not after level 6; level 7 armor mastery basically gives the dwarven power to all races. The movement IS a big deal, and boots of striding are a musthave for any dwarf.

It adds up well. Boots of Striding and Springing give the dwarf +10 and let them run at 30 ft., and haste gives the dwarf +30 and lets him run at 50 ft.

What people usually don't remember is that if you're slowed by your armor, you don't get the free +10 or +30 to your speed. If your base speed is 30 ft. and you're wearing medium or heavy armor, you run at 25 ft. with +10 and +30 you run at 40 ft. Dwarves don't have to worry about that. It's why they make cool paladins, barbarians and rangers in my opinion.


Thalin wrote:

Just when you think you know every build :).

The lunge + whirlwind is pretty brilliant; only annoyance is costing a dump stat (int). But it also qualifies you for Improved Trip (the better Standstill). I've seen enlarge whirlwind, which in the right situations is awesome; this would be the same without caster dependence. And can be online, what, level 7? Be a hell of a roomsweeper effect for a two-handed wielder.

We allow 3.5 so i built a fighter 2hand falchion went for spring attack, bounding assault, rapid blitz. Whirlwind,lunge made sense since i had the preq any way.

The move is called room broom. And it's awesome vs swarming bad guys. Once i started pulling it out the wiz stopped ever popping blasts. (Keeps 1 fireball, just in case.)


james maissen wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
People said Fighters don't get any love. To prove them wrong, here's my Fighter Guide link!. The scope of the guide is only the most basic Fighter builds (Archery, Two-Handed, Sword and Shield, Two-Weapon Fighting), but you can use some of the tips to help with a variety of different build types.
You might wish to also put in a place for the small mounted lancer. It is an interesting build, but I'm not sure how it compares in Pathfinder with archery increased in damage and power attack lessened in flexibility.

Mounted isn't a bad build, but IMO it needs to be in a guide for a class that can get a mount that won't die. Eventually you'll reach a point where the mount just dies by accident in AoE.

Quote:

Your points on power attack are reasonable, but the fringe case where you could in 3.5 be attacking targets with pathetic ACs (at least compared to your hitroll) allowed for damage to be realized there in specialized builds beyond what Pathfinder's more controlled power attack does.

-James

Even in generalised builds that had high to-hit, you're quite correct. And with really twinked non-core builds in 3.5 that multiplied it more, it was really really insane. However, now the basic Power Attack is a good idea against most opponents, which I think was a net gain overall, and an especially big gain for people who like their berserk rages to be more mindless and don't like to calculate expected value each time. Combat Expertise, on the other hand, is now much weaker than before.


Rogue Eidolon wrote:


Mounted isn't a bad build, but IMO it needs to be in a guide for a class that can get a mount that won't die. Eventually you'll reach a point where the mount just dies by accident in AoE.

Combat Expertise, on the other hand, is now much weaker than before.

Agreed on Mounted. Should only be in Ranger, Druid, Paladin and Cavalier Guides (when the rest are done)

Combat expertise hurts less with the threatening defender trait.

Also has there been an official answer on Double slice and power attack?

Currently we treat a TWF'er using Power attack as adding 10 damage for -5 to hit primary and +5 damage offhand.

Does Double slice make it 10/10?


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
People said Fighters don't get any love. To prove them wrong, here's my Fighter Guide link!. The scope of the guide is only the most basic Fighter builds (Archery, Two-Handed, Sword and Shield, Two-Weapon Fighting), but you can use some of the tips to help with a variety of different build types.

Great guide, I have one bone of contention here: You mention the Dazzling Display tree as especially useful if one has a Rogue in the party, but the text of the feats specifically mentions that the affected opponents are only flat-footed against you. Has that been errata'd out?


Thanks for your hard work putting this together. I'm just starting to play PF and this guide is huge... not just in making a Fighter character, but in understanding some of the many changes to the game.

Liberty's Edge

I'm building a trip-dedicated controller build for PFS. . .

The idea is to use the polearm archetype, a guisarme (reach + trip) and combat reflexes to get ~4 AOO's per turn, threatening 45 squares, keeping enemies on the floor. Add in combat patrol and other feats to taste. It's been fun on the 2 adventures I've used him.


Excellent guide Rogue Eidolon. I've got one question. Say I have a rogue partner of one of the typical two-weapon blender builds. What's my best build and strategy for keeping him from getting chewed up by the brutes I'm keeping at bay while still letting him use his sneak attack capabilities? Should I perhaps focus on isolating one foe for him at a time with a bull-rush shield slam or a trip while I slowly advance forward leaving a trail of prone or otherwise disoriented villians for him to flank? Or is there a better way. Controlling builds do a decent job protecting archers and casters---protecting the rogue or the raging barbarian is my quandary.

Dark Archive

Are you the only one who can flank for the Rogue? If so, you're probably going to just want to focus on making all of his attacks count. To wit, tripping makes it easier to hit an enemy and if you both take the Outflank teamwork feat from the APG, you'll get +4 when flanking instead of +2.

If your rogue already has another flanking buddy, I'd go with a reach weapon and improved trip/stand still and maybe combat patrol and do your best to keep the buggers away.


Excellent guide!


EWHM wrote:

Excellent guide Rogue Eidolon. I've got one question. Say I have a rogue partner of one of the typical two-weapon blender builds. What's my best build and strategy for keeping him from getting chewed up by the brutes I'm keeping at bay while still letting him use his sneak attack capabilities? Should I perhaps focus on isolating one foe for him at a time with a bull-rush shield slam or a trip while I slowly advance forward leaving a trail of prone or otherwise disoriented villians for him to flank? Or is there a better way. Controlling builds do a decent job protecting archers and casters---protecting the rogue or the raging barbarian is

my quandary.

Tell the rogue to take shatter defences, dazzling display, you take conrugan smash and intimidating prowess. Anyone you intimidate is flatfooted to the rogue. If human he can do this himself and never need a flank.


I always appreciate good food for thought in these areas. Thanks for the guide!

Scarab Sages

How do the alternate class features in the APG compare to the regular Fighter abilities? In particular, is the Two-Handed Weapon path better for a sword-and-board fighter? (The Shielded Fighter path looks pretty underwhelming IMHO.) Also, the Archer Path looks like it should supplant the regular path for archers, but I'm not sure whether the Weapon Master path might not be preferable due to the earlier onset of weapon training.

For an archer Ranger who dips into Fighter, Weapon Master would certainly be a better choice for precisely that reason.


EWHM wrote:
Excellent guide Rogue Eidolon. I've got one question. Say I have a rogue partner of one of the typical two-weapon blender builds. What's my best build and strategy for keeping him from getting chewed up by the brutes I'm keeping at bay while still letting him use his sneak attack capabilities? Should I perhaps focus on isolating one foe for him at a time with a bull-rush shield slam or a trip while I slowly advance forward leaving a trail of prone or otherwise disoriented villians for him to flank? Or is there a better way. Controlling builds do a decent job protecting archers and casters---protecting the rogue or the raging barbarian is my quandary.

The others who have posted so far have given good advice here. In general, it's hard to keep enemies off of fellow frontliners, but you can do a lot to help (tripping will not only help your Rogue friend hit, but it also makes your buddy harder to hit as well, even if it can't keep the enemy away).

It's also partially the responsibility of the other frontliners to make sure they can handle being up there too--it's all too easy for a Barbarian (or TWF Rogue) to sacrifice all defense for a killer offense, but if she tones down that offense to get more defense, that will doubly increase her survivability: first of all directly from the defense itself, but second of all, if she isn't vastly outdamaging you, enemies will be less likely to turn their attention to her immediately (they may still eventually switch to her if they have trouble hitting you, but by the time they figure out how hard you are to hit, they've already committed some of their precious actions to attacking you).

-----------------------

@Catharsis--I haven't had time to do a full analysis of all the APG variants because there's so much there (though I posted them for the Druid variants in Treantmonk's thread), but from what I've seen of the Fighter variants, they're mostly all better than regular Fighter presuming that you plan on focusing solely on the weapons appropriate for the variant you took (and of course, the system so vastly encourages specialisation already that you usually are planning to do that). So for instance, many of the Fighter variants gain interesting but not overpowering new abilities in exchange for losing Weapon Training 2, 3, and 4 and having Weapon Training 1 just scale up--if you were only using one type of weapon anyway, you lost nothing here. The Weapon and Shield path seems to make bashing with a shield pretty ridiculous though, if everything stacks the way it seems to stack, to the point that you'd be leaps and bounds better at damaging things if your GM let you dual wield shields.


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
EWHM wrote:
Excellent guide Rogue Eidolon. I've got one question. Say I have a rogue partner of one of the typical two-weapon blender builds. What's my best build and strategy for keeping him from getting chewed up by the brutes I'm keeping at bay while still letting him use his sneak attack capabilities? Should I perhaps focus on isolating one foe for him at a time with a bull-rush shield slam or a trip while I slowly advance forward leaving a trail of prone or otherwise disoriented villians for him to flank? Or is there a better way. Controlling builds do a decent job protecting archers and casters---protecting the rogue or the raging barbarian is my quandary.

The others who have posted so far have given good advice here. In general, it's hard to keep enemies off of fellow frontliners, but you can do a lot to help (tripping will not only help your Rogue friend hit, but it also makes your buddy harder to hit as well, even if it can't keep the enemy away).

It's also partially the responsibility of the other frontliners to make sure they can handle being up there too--it's all too easy for a Barbarian (or TWF Rogue) to sacrifice all defense for a killer offense, but if she tones down that offense to get more defense, that will doubly increase her survivability: first of all directly from the defense itself, but second of all, if she isn't vastly outdamaging you, enemies will be less likely to turn their attention to her immediately (they may still eventually switch to her if they have trouble hitting you, but by the time they figure out how hard you are to hit, they've already committed some of their precious actions to attacking you).

-----------------------

@Catharsis--I haven't had time to do a full analysis of all the APG variants because there's so much there (though I posted them for the Druid variants in Treantmonk's thread), but from what I've seen of the Fighter variants, they're mostly all better than regular Fighter presuming that you plan on focusing solely on the...

One feat I would recommend adding to your "Defender of the Weak" build is Bashing Finish from the APG. On a successful crit, this feat lets you make a free shield bash at the same attack bonus, it's perfect for the "Defender of the Weak" crit build.


Jon Kines wrote:
One feat I would recommend adding to your "Defender of the Weak" build is Bashing Finish from the APG. On a successful crit, this feat lets you make a free shield bash at the same attack bonus, it's perfect for the "Defender of the Weak" crit build.

It's a solid choice if you go crits. Overall, I'd say it's better to stagger them for a round, but it costs fewer feats to get Bashing Finish than Staggering Critical (plus no one's stopping you from getting both and becoming even more awesome on a crit). If/when I fully update for the APG, BF will definitely make it in there.

Thanks for reading!

~RE


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Jon Kines wrote:
One feat I would recommend adding to your "Defender of the Weak" build is Bashing Finish from the APG. On a successful crit, this feat lets you make a free shield bash at the same attack bonus, it's perfect for the "Defender of the Weak" crit build.

It's a solid choice if you go crits. Overall, I'd say it's better to stagger them for a round, but it costs fewer feats to get Bashing Finish than Staggering Critical (plus no one's stopping you from getting both and becoming even more awesome on a crit). If/when I fully update for the APG, BF will definitely make it in there.

Thanks for reading!

~RE

Yes the idea was to get Staggering Critical and Bashing Finish and stack them. I'll post a sample build when it's done for you to look over.


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Jon Kines wrote:
One feat I would recommend adding to your "Defender of the Weak" build is Bashing Finish from the APG. On a successful crit, this feat lets you make a free shield bash at the same attack bonus, it's perfect for the "Defender of the Weak" crit build.

It's a solid choice if you go crits. Overall, I'd say it's better to stagger them for a round, but it costs fewer feats to get Bashing Finish than Staggering Critical (plus no one's stopping you from getting both and becoming even more awesome on a crit). If/when I fully update for the APG, BF will definitely make it in there.

Thanks for reading!

~RE

One question on tiring critical, if you don't mind. Any fatigued mob hit by a fatigue affect becomes exhausted as per the combat rules, does this mean that tiring critical x2 = exhausting critical? If so then I'd say staggering and tiring would be a nice combo for critical mastery.


Jon Kines wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Jon Kines wrote:
One feat I would recommend adding to your "Defender of the Weak" build is Bashing Finish from the APG. On a successful crit, this feat lets you make a free shield bash at the same attack bonus, it's perfect for the "Defender of the Weak" crit build.

It's a solid choice if you go crits. Overall, I'd say it's better to stagger them for a round, but it costs fewer feats to get Bashing Finish than Staggering Critical (plus no one's stopping you from getting both and becoming even more awesome on a crit). If/when I fully update for the APG, BF will definitely make it in there.

Thanks for reading!

~RE

One question on tiring critical, if you don't mind. Any fatigued mob hit by a fatigue affect becomes exhausted as per the combat rules, does this mean that tiring critical x2 = exhausting critical? If so then I'd say staggering and tiring would be a nice combo for critical mastery.

Normally yes, but Tiring Critical has text to prevent this, and that's the reason why it isn't as good, despite its no-save fatigue effect

"Benefit: Whenever you score a critical hit, your opponent becomes fatigued. This feat has no additional effect on a fatigued or exhausted creature."

~RE


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Jon Kines wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Jon Kines wrote:
One feat I would recommend adding to your "Defender of the Weak" build is Bashing Finish from the APG. On a successful crit, this feat lets you make a free shield bash at the same attack bonus, it's perfect for the "Defender of the Weak" crit build.

It's a solid choice if you go crits. Overall, I'd say it's better to stagger them for a round, but it costs fewer feats to get Bashing Finish than Staggering Critical (plus no one's stopping you from getting both and becoming even more awesome on a crit). If/when I fully update for the APG, BF will definitely make it in there.

Thanks for reading!

~RE

One question on tiring critical, if you don't mind. Any fatigued mob hit by a fatigue affect becomes exhausted as per the combat rules, does this mean that tiring critical x2 = exhausting critical? If so then I'd say staggering and tiring would be a nice combo for critical mastery.

Normally yes, but Tiring Critical has text to prevent this, and that's the reason why it isn't as good, despite its no-save fatigue effect

"Benefit: Whenever you score a critical hit, your opponent becomes fatigued. This feat has no additional effect on a fatigued or exhausted creature."

~RE

Thanks, I should have read that more carefully. Given that mechanic it appears staggering critical, stunning critical, and bashing finish is the way to go. Bleeding critical would be nice, except for the fact that by the level it becomes available, a lot of what you are fighting could easily counter the bleed effect, if even feasibly effected by it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Why do you think Deadly Stroke is better than improved vital strike?

Granted Deadly stroke does a lot more but takes a lot to set up. First you have to spend a standard action demoralizing an opponent of Full round action using Dazzling display to hit everyone with in 30 feet instead of just one person. The the get the shaken status. Then you use Shatter defenses to make them flat foot with an attack that hits. So next round they will be open to using deadly stroke on.

So to make use of deadly stroke takes 3 round to accomplish or which 2 of those are standard action where you can't full attack. Personally I'd rather just move in and attack with Standard Action using improved Vital strike then Full attack for 2 round following.


Bleed sounds nice and stacks, best used for those times when surrounded by mooks who can bleed out. Anything worth killing will have some option to heal.

In a DPR race with a tough opponent it helps but I'd take sickening critical at that level instead. -2 to hit and damage and saves is a nice debuff the whole party can appreciate.

Staggering Crit is nice.
Stunning is a great effect but only if you have room.

Depends on your build though. High STR fighters (Duelist Gloves, Wpn Training), Barbarians (Reckless Abandon, Rage), Paladins (smite) would prefer Dazing Assault. They can get big to hit bonuses and soak the attack penalty without crippling dpr. Fighters can even retrain it at 16 for Stunning Assault.


voska66 wrote:

Why do you think Deadly Stroke is better than improved vital strike?

Granted Deadly stroke does a lot more but takes a lot to set up. First you have to spend a standard action demoralizing an opponent of Full round action using Dazzling display to hit everyone with in 30 feet instead of just one person. The the get the shaken status. Then you use Shatter defenses to make them flat foot with an attack that hits. So next round they will be open to using deadly stroke on.

So to make use of deadly stroke takes 3 round to accomplish or which 2 of those are standard action where you can't full attack. Personally I'd rather just move in and attack with Standard Action using improved Vital strike then Full attack for 2 round following.

Preferably, you aren't trying to set up either of them. You're trying to full attack every round you can (unless the Rogue needs a Dazzling Display). However, the main purpose of both feats are for when you are forced to move. Vital Strike and its friends give you extremely minor gains in damage for these circumstances, especially if you aren't a two-hander. Now, one of the main times you'll never get a full attack is in the first round of combat (unless the enemy surprised you and closed before round 1, in which case you can take a full attack anyway). If that's the case, you probably beat somebody in initiative, so go ahead and Deadly Stroke the person you beat.

Vital Strike is probably going to give you like 4.5 extra damage, or 7 if you are using a Greatsword. Each of its siblings gives you that much more. So at best, you get 21 for Greater Vital Strike on a Greatsword. Deadly Stroke will give you a an attack's worth of damage (plus Con bleed, which is nothing to sneeze at). Even if you made it to 11 with only 22 Strength, a +1 Sword, and weapon spec and training in that sword, that would be 21 damage right there (I'm sure most Fighters have a whole lot more than that at level 11) and of course the Con bleed.

It does depend on how much you are forced to move around mid-combat, after hostilities have broken out. There's a few fun tricks now with APG if I ever get around to an update, but Vital Strike just isn't worth it in general. It's probably the most overrated feat in PFRPG (its better than some, but it's rated quite highly). The main time Vital Strike is amazing is when your dice are great and you only get one attack anyway, like if you are a Druid in a one-hit form like Ankylosaurus.

EDIT: If for some reason I really wanted to set up Deadly Stroke a lot in a fight (maybe for the Con bleed), what I'd do is take Cornugon Smash. That will let you at worst alternate full attacks and Deadly Strokes if you can hit the enemy twice per round (first hit intimidates, second flat-foots them).


STR Ranger wrote:

Bleed sounds nice and stacks, best used for those times when surrounded by mooks who can bleed out. Anything worth killing will have some option to heal.

In a DPR race with a tough opponent it helps but I'd take sickening critical at that level instead. -2 to hit and damage and saves is a nice debuff the whole party can appreciate.

Staggering Crit is nice.
Stunning is a great effect but only if you have room.

Depends on your build though. High STR fighters (Duelist Gloves, Wpn Training), Barbarians (Reckless Abandon, Rage), Paladins (smite) would prefer Dazing Assault. They can get big to hit bonuses and soak the attack penalty without crippling dpr. Fighters can even retrain it at 16 for Stunning Assault.

The Assault feats are amazing. They will definitely be added when/if I do an update for APG.


voska66 wrote:

Why do you think Deadly Stroke is better than improved vital strike?

Granted Deadly stroke does a lot more but takes a lot to set up. First you have to spend a standard action demoralizing an opponent of Full round action using Dazzling display to hit everyone with in 30 feet instead of just one person. The the get the shaken status. Then you use Shatter defenses to make them flat foot with an attack that hits. So next round they will be open to using deadly stroke on.

So to make use of deadly stroke takes 3 round to accomplish or which 2 of those are standard action where you can't full attack. Personally I'd rather just move in and attack with Standard Action using improved Vital strike then Full attack for 2 round following.

Cornugon Smash. gg.


TarkXT wrote:
voska66 wrote:

Why do you think Deadly Stroke is better than improved vital strike?

Granted Deadly stroke does a lot more but takes a lot to set up. First you have to spend a standard action demoralizing an opponent of Full round action using Dazzling display to hit everyone with in 30 feet instead of just one person. The the get the shaken status. Then you use Shatter defenses to make them flat foot with an attack that hits. So next round they will be open to using deadly stroke on.

So to make use of deadly stroke takes 3 round to accomplish or which 2 of those are standard action where you can't full attack. Personally I'd rather just move in and attack with Standard Action using improved Vital strike then Full attack for 2 round following.

Cornugon Smash. gg.

Yup, I actually edited that one in seconds before your post! And with that, I go help new players make PFS chars. Peace for now, and thanks all for using my guides!

~RE


It shoudl also be noted that shatter defenses makes your target treated as flat footed to you if they are shaken. So you'd be Smashing Rnd1 then Stroking lovingly on rnd2.

The advantage over vital strike is that it doubles absolutely everything as opposed to just the base dice damage of the weapon.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TarkXT wrote:

It shoudl also be noted that shatter defenses makes your target treated as flat footed to you if they are shaken. So you'd be Smashing Rnd1 then Stroking lovingly on rnd2.

The advantage over vital strike is that it doubles absolutely everything as opposed to just the base dice damage of the weapon.

Shatter Defense make a shaken opponent flat foot when you hit them with an attack that round. Then they are flat footed till end of you next round. You could full attack here and follow up with deadly stroke and move on to the next opponent taking the AOO. Still 3 rounds to set up unless you have something that allow you to make an opponent shaken as move action. Like the Barbarian Intimidating Glare as move action attack action, good time for vital strike here. Then next round Deadly stroke.

I don't remember what Cornugun Smash does. I'll have to dig out my Cheliax book when I get home.


voska66 wrote:


I don't remember what Cornugun Smash does. I'll have to dig out my Cheliax book when I get home.

When you damage an opponent while power attacking you can intimidate as a free action.

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