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Interesting but impractical builds


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Sczarni

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I was talking to my friend about a build I had put together that allowed a character attack very easily from very far distances. The distances involved in his attacks were from as far as 1000ft. away, and his Perception skill allowed to spot enemies from that distance with no trouble.

The pros of the build was that distance allowed for lower defenses, the enemy would almost never be able to return fire, and the build allowed for a good hit and run type tactic in combat.

The cons, and what made the build impractical, was that the GM needed to use the Perception skill rules as they are written, the build didn't allow the PC to support the party effectively, and encounters almost never happen beyond a hundred feet.

What are some other build that you have sumbled upon that look cool but end up being impractical as a PC?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

A (former) barbarian 1/monk X that used most of feats and cash to improve his speed. At 10th level, he had a speed of like 90 feet, but he didn't excel at anything else....except pushing over my bronze age Greek Hero paralyzed paladin (with his mouth open in mid-sentence) in a sewer. :-P


Extremely long ranged combat builds are pretty practical in simulationist games where you can pick your targets to a greater extent than in adventure paths and modules. Here's how they usually work (with a party that supports their MO):
Your extreme ranged characters set up in a position allowing for reasonable concealment and a good field of fire. On a hilltop with rocks is great, in a tree often suffices. Your stealth elements move to locate the enemy and draw them into your killing field---sometimes they'll pop a sentry or two and send a few arrows into the enemy's camp before they bug out. Once the enemy---preferably straggled out by terrain and movement is well inside the kill zone, the emplaced archers open up. Honestly I think all you really need for this is far shot and the long range bow enchantment (the name escapes me right now). Both rangers and fighters do pretty well with that build.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
EWHM wrote:

Extremely long ranged combat builds are pretty practical in simulationist games where you can pick your targets to a greater extent than in adventure paths and modules. Here's how they usually work (with a party that supports their MO):

Your extreme ranged characters set up in a position allowing for reasonable concealment and a good field of fire. On a hilltop with rocks is great, in a tree often suffices. Your stealth elements move to locate the enemy and draw them into your killing field---sometimes they'll pop a sentry or two and send a few arrows into the enemy's camp before they bug out. Once the enemy---preferably straggled out by terrain and movement is well inside the kill zone, the emplaced archers open up. Honestly I think all you really need for this is far shot and the long range bow enchantment (the name escapes me right now). Both rangers and fighters do pretty well with that build.

Yes, there are games where that build would be practical, but the encounters involved need to be set up by the PCs and the GM will have to been willing to work with them to allow and prepare for everything you described. Even then, it would be unusual if the majority of the encounters in any type of campaign were like the one you described.

But yes, you are right, there are exceptions to everything.

Another PC that ended up being impractical for a game I played was a PC I built to specialize in sneak attacks and knife fighting. About 75% of the enemies were constructs. The fights that allowed for sneak attacks were where the PC really shined, but most of the time I felt useless. If it had been any other campaign he would have done better.


Caleb,
In a classic simulationist game, the GM doesn't present you with adventures as such. You decide what and where you want to go and what kinds of foes you want to look for and you encounter them according to what the GM has decided lives in an area. So it's pretty common for a band of adventurers to set up a base camp with a little fortification and 'beat the bushes' looking for opposition. This lends itself to tactics like I've described. One of the most common uses of this tactic is against tribes of humanoids, especially the ones with fairly low discipline and intelligence like orcs.

Also, as a GM I don't use -1/10' for perception except in very dark and enclosed dungeons. Everywhere else I use a multiplier of 10' for each -1. Ordinary soldiers today, after all, regularly engage targets visually without aids at 300 meters or thereabouts, often as much as 500 meters, and we're not talking snipers here, just standard riflemen with iron sights.


For some reason I have always been fascinated with building a wizard that acts as a fighter. (Haven't we all.)

My first attempt was back in the "red box" days. I built a magic-user who carried a sword and would try to play himself off as a fighter in order to get the drop on opponents. The "red box" rules simply stated that magic users couldn't use swords, but that didn't stop him from simply carrying one.

My second attempt in 3.5 D&D involved a multiclass fighter, wizard Eldritch Knight who strode into battle bare-chested and wielding two short swords. (That's what is cool about these builds--you can't wear armor so you look cooler in battle.)

My latest attempt is with a Pathfinder Society build. This one is pure wizard and makes use of an APG alternate racial trait and the arcane bond feature to get a masterwork bastard sword at first level with the ability to use it. It seems strange, but I expect this build to match or outpace my low constitution fighter (which has survived to sixth level thus far) in overall attack bonus and hit points.


#1 that comes to mind is the Flame Oracle/Dragon Sorcerer Pyromaniac Gnome Mystic Theurge. You're a blaster, your blasts are going to be SUPER blasty, but you're using the easiest to resist element, and from level 4 to 8 you absolutely SUCK, and those are the meaty levels of most campaigns.


MyTThor wrote:
#1 that comes to mind is the Flame Oracle/Dragon Sorcerer Pyromaniac Gnome Mystic Theurge. You're a blaster, your blasts are going to be SUPER blasty, but you're using the easiest to resist element, and from level 4 to 8 you absolutely SUCK, and those are the meaty levels of most campaigns.

Actually someone brought up in another thread that electricity is the worst element for blasting. IIRC it had just as many monsters that were highly resistant/immune to it (if not more) than fire. Also there were not any monsters (if so it was a very small amount) that were vulnerable to it. Plus the fact that stable spells such as fireball are radius while lightning bolt is a line. This still does not make fire all that great, but there is a worse option.


CalebTGordan wrote:

I was talking to my friend about a build I had put together that allowed a character attack very easily from very far distances. The distances involved in his attacks were from as far as 1000ft. away, and his Perception skill allowed to spot enemies from that distance with no trouble.

The pros of the build was that distance allowed for lower defenses, the enemy would almost never be able to return fire, and the build allowed for a good hit and run type tactic in combat.

The cons, and what made the build impractical, was that the GM needed to use the Perception skill rules as they are written, the build didn't allow the PC to support the party effectively, and encounters almost never happen beyond a hundred feet.

What are some other build that you have sumbled upon that look cool but end up being impractical as a PC?

Can you show this build? It seems interesting.

Andoran

Still int the theory-crafting stages on this one but I was thinking about a Hexcrafter Magus using ice themed hexes and the sorcerous heritage feats to obtain the boreal bloodlines level one powers and all ice spells.

Andoran

I wanted to make some sort of monk/inquisitor (possibly zen archer) who was just wisdom, wisdom, wisdom, all the freaking time.


A Roman Legionary. Works in combination with two or three other players. Tower Shield specialists that make excessive use of teamwork feats and combined attacks to stay highly mobile, defensive, and strong.

Grand Lodge

Cathedralsquares wrote:
A Roman Legionary. Works in combination with two or three other players. Tower Shield specialists that make excessive use of teamwork feats and combined attacks to stay highly mobile, defensive, and strong.

Yep - I'll second this. Great on concept, the reality is less than perfect.


Staff magus/ cleric of nethys/ mystic theruge. This build will try to be awesome at knowledge and desctruction with a quarterstaff.


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I'm going to out and say it, I love the Mystic Theuerge class but it can be a bit impractical. Still I was lucky enough to have a Monk in my party for those awkward levels. Monks and Theurges team up pretty nicely, at one point we where cornered in an alleyway with like 10 thieves closing in on us and we where freaking out, so I turned to the monk and told him I had a few buffs I could give him, so I laid mage armor, enlarge and prot. evil on him. 4 rounds later the large half orc monk was standing over 8 thieves who where bleeding out and 2 who had dropped their weapons and where surrendering. Buffing the monk so he can end things even better was my job for almost 4 levels.

Shadow Lodge

CalebTGordan wrote:

I was talking to my friend about a build I had put together that allowed a character attack very easily from very far distances. The distances involved in his attacks were from as far as 1000ft. away, and his Perception skill allowed to spot enemies from that distance with no trouble.

The pros of the build was that distance allowed for lower defenses, the enemy would almost never be able to return fire, and the build allowed for a good hit and run type tactic in combat.

The cons, and what made the build impractical, was that the GM needed to use the Perception skill rules as they are written, the build didn't allow the PC to support the party effectively, and encounters almost never happen beyond a hundred feet.

What are some other build that you have sumbled upon that look cool but end up being impractical as a PC?

druid/monk named "the monkey sage".

it was a druid with the monkey domain, the ape archetype, and monk master of many forms with monkey style feats... an absolutely hilarious concept that i enjoyed playing, but was absolutely garbage outside of role playing.

basically summoned monkeys, turned into a monkey, and then acted like a fool while fighting people. only problem... they did more damage to me then i did to them by a wide margin.


Helaman wrote:
Cathedralsquares wrote:
A Roman Legionary. Works in combination with two or three other players. Tower Shield specialists that make excessive use of teamwork feats and combined attacks to stay highly mobile, defensive, and strong.
Yep - I'll second this. Great on concept, the reality is less than perfect.

I got away with this big time. I played a switch hitter ranger with a truck load of weapons. Anytime the paladin and I could get the enemy to chase us into a hallway or stair case, I'd get behind him and he would go into full defense. I'd use a spear and deal massive damage from over his shoulder and most of the time the two of us could handle melee monsters WAY over our CR, sometimes without taking any damage.

The trick is not to invest a whole bunch of feats into the thing but to have a tank and a striker travel around together. Both have quick draw and can switch to cleave / power attack when it goes south.


Half Elf Ninja 6/Alchemist 4(vivisectionist, internal)

Spoiler:

Str 14 Dex 13 Con 14 Int 13 Wis 12 Cha 14

Feats
Ancestral arms(battle Poi)
Blind fight
Combat Expertise
Shadow Strike
Moonlight Stalker
Moonlight Stalker Feint

Discoveries:
Poison Conversion
Iron Will

Ninja Tricks:
Offensive Defense
Smoke Bomb
Combat Trick

Uses smoke sticks with the battle poi or smoke bombs to set up concealment, poisons conversion to make an inhaled poison that goes in the smoke sticks and uses the battle poi for fire damage. Mutagen helps with hitting.


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Mafia member magus.
hamut strike
elephant stomp
corn smash
spell true strike
sword cane

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

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Synthesist Summoner.

Sounds really great. A player was making one up and was really excited about his gnome being embedded in a clockwork mech. Then we read the fine print.

What you give up:

  • All eidolon skills
  • All eidolon feats
  • You and your eidolon taking separate actions, such as the ability to let him fight while you cast.

What you get:

  • ... to be your eidolon?

There was some debate on the wording of the archetype, specifically:

Ultimate Magic wrote:
The synthesist uses the eidolon’s base attack bonus, and gains the eidolon’s armor and natural armor bonuses and modifiers to ability scores.

We considered whether that could be read as having the eidolon's ability modifers ADDED to the ability modifiers of the Summoner (so that the Summoner's 14 Dex and the Eidolon's 12 Dex would add up to a +3 Dex modifier), but that was discarded due to inference from the rest of the text, which strongly indicated that the eidolon's ability scores (and thereby, modifiers) would replace the Summoner's. The character had envisioned his eidolon suit as a mech in which he could be effective in melee, but the math pretty much ruled that out.

Oh, sure, you get to split into two beings at 16th level, which makes you probably pretty formidable, but in my opinion, that deafeats the purpose of the build, and also, that's a long time to wait to be competent.

Shadow Lodge

A musket master gunslinger 7 lvl / alchemist 2 lvl, with four arms (2 vestigial arm discoveries), two weapon fighting 2 muskets at the same time. I dont know...the concept is awesome but its so damn cheesy...
:(


I'm playing around with an synthesist 1, monk 1, oracle of lore 1, paladin 4 venerable changeling - tbh mostly to be cheezy but I think it also vil be too impractical for propper play.

Christopher Dudley wrote:
The character had envisioned his eidolon suit as a mech in which he could be effective in melee, but the math pretty much ruled that out.

Synthesist can quite easy start with 18 str and 2 natural attacks at lvl 1 which would put him at least at par with or ahead of the other meleers.

The you look at the 4 natural armor you can start with along with the ability to cast mage armor - so at lvl 1 you would stand at 19 ac.

This all seems okies to me.

At lvl 8 you can get large size for +8 str beside the +4 stats so you end up at 28 str. Still seems okies to me.


CalebTGordan wrote:
The distances involved in his attacks were from as far as 1000ft. away, and his Perception skill allowed to spot enemies from that distance with no trouble.

Curious about this part... what kind of perception skill allows you to spot enemies with no trouble when you have a +100 on the DC?

The +1 per 10' of distance part of perception checks seems like long distances would not be so easy to overcome.

Qadira

Nothing by the rules as written that prevent a character from using a spyglass (distance is 1/10), dropping it and then arching away.


CalebTGordan wrote:

I was talking to my friend about a build I had put together that allowed a character attack very easily from very far distances. The distances involved in his attacks were from as far as 1000ft. away, and his Perception skill allowed to spot enemies from that distance with no trouble.

The pros of the build was that distance allowed for lower defenses, the enemy would almost never be able to return fire, and the build allowed for a good hit and run type tactic in combat.

The cons, and what made the build impractical, was that the GM needed to use the Perception skill rules as they are written, the build didn't allow the PC to support the party effectively, and encounters almost never happen beyond a hundred feet.

What are some other build that you have sumbled upon that look cool but end up being impractical as a PC?

Anything with monk involved usually proves very impractical!

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
EvilMinion wrote:
CalebTGordan wrote:
The distances involved in his attacks were from as far as 1000ft. away, and his Perception skill allowed to spot enemies from that distance with no trouble.

Curious about this part... what kind of perception skill allows you to spot enemies with no trouble when you have a +100 on the DC?

The +1 per 10' of distance part of perception checks seems like long distances would not be so easy to overcome.

Combination of racial traits, class features, feats, spells, and gear really.

Alertness, Skill Focus, and Sharp Senses will provide a +14 bonus at level 10, which if wisdom modifier is at +2 and Perception is a maxed out class skill would put the perception skill bonus at +29 at level 10.

But there are magic items like the Eyes of the Eagle (+5 competence bonus) and the Third Eye (in Curse of the Crimson Throne, gives a +2 bonus to perception) and spells like Acute Senses (+10 enhancement bonus, +20 at caster level 8 and +30 at caster level 16.)

Used together, the Perception bonus could reach +56 at level 10.(+46 if you gain Acute Senses through a potion instead of a cast spell Acute Senses, though the spell Hunter's Eye gives you a +20 to locate one target.)

But that is just for increasing the Perception bonus. The feat Eagle Eyes allows you to ignore up to -5 penalties due to distance on visual Perception checks. The spyglass cuts the penalties down to -1 for every 20 feet.

If you are trying to spot someone standing in an open field the DC is 0. Add +100 due to 1000 feet of distance, cut that down to +50 because of the spyglass and down to +45 from the Eagle Eye feat. Using all the feats, items, and spells together, and considering that you can't auto fail a skill check, seeing someone 1000 feet away isn't that hard. In fact, if the target is engaged in combat the DC becomes 35.

Once the target is spotted, I can't find any rule saying that you can't continue to perceive them once you put down the spyglass. Therefore, all you have to do now is attack. With the Sniper archetype and the Far Shot feat the highest penalty due to distance is -5.

If you follow the rules as written, the people you are attack will still need to succeed in spotting you even if you have attacked them. The DC would be 90 (-10 to spot someone in combat, +100 from distance.) However the people you attack would not be flat-footed, so no automatic sneak attacks. You would still need to use the sniping action.

The rest of the build focuses on ranged attacks, but because of the feat investments you have already made you are really feat starved and behind in the ranged game for most of the PCs career.

I did forget the Sniper Goggles, which sort of inspired the build. They allow sneak attacks at any distance.


My friend decided he wanted to run an 'evil' campaign. Storyline wise, I was this extra-planar thing possessing/taking over some poor farmer's body.

The Build: Half-Orc, (for swapping out that racial trait for the bite). infernal sorcerer to get claws (or in this case razor tentacles). Chaotic Evil for the childlike cruelty.

Level 1 feat: arcane strike.

Had 20 strength.

We raided a caravan at level 2. Pretty horrifying when your 'sorcerer' is over 7 feet tall and color-from-outspace-sprays several guards, and can full round attack for a bite, d4+6, and 2 'claws' at d6+6. Then starts CdG'ing the unconscious folks by eating them.

We only played to level 2... so before the impractical part where my crummy hit die and near non existent AC was going to show up.


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Gunslinger (Mysterious Stranger/Pistolero)5/Ninja X

Sneak sneak sneak... Bang! Bang! Bang!... *smoke bomb* Sneak Sneak Sneak...

Shadow Lodge

Asterclement Swarthington wrote:

Gunslinger (Mysterious Stranger/Pistolero)5/Ninja X

Sneak sneak sneak... Bang! Bang! Bang!... *smoke bomb* Sneak Sneak Sneak...

Dude that is made of win sir. Made of win.


One of our most impractical builds was a summoner. Actually, I guess he'd have been a conjurer, a specialist from 3.5. Had all the feats to beef up his summoned creatures, they could kick a>>.

BUT - the party (of six) had a barbarian death machine, a fighter only a little ways behind him, and a ranger/archer all tricked out. By the time he summoned his creatures, the battle was usually nearly over. Therer were even several times when the melee guys chopped there way through his summonings to get to the bad guys. He was just filling a role that the party had no use for.

To this day, since we have a group of six, and nearly always two melee guys, sometimes even more, no one has even considered playing a summoner, it is frustrating to have your best thing be something the party has absolutely no use for.
.


Halfling Summoner who rides a Serpentine mount. Thanks to the Limbs (Arms) evolution and several uses of the Skilled evolution, the Serpent is the party's rogue.


Low-level Abjuration specialists <_<

Seriously, I love the concept of Abjurers as wizards who specialize in making things stop. Your magic, your attacks, your defenses; they just say "no, not happening". Too bad their spells really don't live up to that concept (at least until higher levels). Still waiting for a half-decent abjuration spell for 1st level characters.


Cathedralsquares wrote:
A Roman Legionary. Works in combination with two or three other players. Tower Shield specialists that make excessive use of teamwork feats and combined attacks to stay highly mobile, defensive, and strong.

That sounds like it would actually be pretty great assuming you have 6 or so players built specifically to take advantage of them.

At the very least you'd have a party that could never be surprised, gets stronger when flanked, and likely has the potential for ungodly reflex throws. Throw in a few archers and make them all learn Target of Opportunity and you could have a real shield wall with arrow support deal going on.

Bonus points if all the melee dudes are Half-Orc Barbarians with Amplified Rage.

Of course this could be a freaking terrible combination of Feats but it sounds like it'd work (...which I guess is the point but whatever).

Cheliax

A human fighter that focuses on intimidate.
I made one at level 1.

Feats: Weapon Focus, Dazzling Display and Skill Focus (intimidate)
+1 trait bonus on intimidate
20 charisma, 12 strength.
+3 on attack rolls, +13 on intimidate.

I call him the Anti-Bard.


Lance and shield halfling TWF fighter. Worked fine until level 4 when the wardog was hit by an AOE and it was realized that a non-companion mount is far too easy to kill.

Cheliax

That's the perfect moment to find a stronger mount.


Cathedralsquares wrote:
A Roman Legionary. Works in combination with two or three other players. Tower Shield specialists that make excessive use of teamwork feats and combined attacks to stay highly mobile, defensive, and strong.

Horrible as a PC in a small party. Wonderful as an NPC foot soldier.

@cnetarian: That is why most mounted fighters are Cavaliers or such.

My builds for this are:

A Cleric Archer built around the concept of a Japanese Miko (Shrine Maiden) who focuses on Water and Weather for magic. Usable, but highly difficult.

A Samurai who is built as an Archer who prefers catching and using his enemies arrows against them by catching them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dasrak wrote:

Low-level Abjuration specialists <_<

Seriously, I love the concept of Abjurers as wizards who specialize in making things stop. Your magic, your attacks, your defenses; they just say "no, not happening". Too bad their spells really don't live up to that concept (at least until higher levels). Still waiting for a half-decent abjuration spell for 1st level characters.

What's really weird about Abjuration is that most of the best, commonly used defensive spells are actually Conjuration.

Not only that, but the best low-level Abjuration spell, Shield, doesn't scale with level and there aren't any more powerful versions at higher levels.


Dragonamedrake wrote:
CalebTGordan wrote:

I was talking to my friend about a build I had put together that allowed a character attack very easily from very far distances. The distances involved in his attacks were from as far as 1000ft. away, and his Perception skill allowed to spot enemies from that distance with no trouble.

The pros of the build was that distance allowed for lower defenses, the enemy would almost never be able to return fire, and the build allowed for a good hit and run type tactic in combat.

The cons, and what made the build impractical, was that the GM needed to use the Perception skill rules as they are written, the build didn't allow the PC to support the party effectively, and encounters almost never happen beyond a hundred feet.

What are some other build that you have sumbled upon that look cool but end up being impractical as a PC?

Anything with monk involved usually proves very impractical!

True that. I know someone playing a monk/magus. He's courting death every adventure.


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Monks can shine when used right. The thing is using them right requires more System Mastery than a wizard.


Azaelas Fayth wrote:

@cnetarian: That is why most mounted fighters are Cavaliers or such.

not enough feats for a non-fighter to get mounted, twf & shield attacks before level 20 if I recall. not my character although I was interested in seeing it work.


cnetarian wrote:
Azaelas Fayth wrote:

@cnetarian: That is why most mounted fighters are Cavaliers or such.

not enough feats for a non-fighter to get mounted, twf & shield attacks before level 20 if I recall. not my character although I was interested in seeing it work.

It is it just requires you to plan out your build exactly.

It is around 6th level I believe...


MoMS Monk panther/snake/crane.

Only 2 attacks a round, but massive movement, wicked AC, and 12AoO as interrupts to any attacks that move provoked. Sadly, wicked MAD, and only works well if fighting several lower enemies, the BBEG you only get 3-4 attacks.


Also, White Haired Witch 8/Maneuver Master Monk x or Lore Warden Fighter x.

Full witch SoS spells, 15-20 foot hair maneuvers (grapple, trip, imp grab, constrict) using Int bonus as Str bonus, grapple a target and still cast all the spells you want while dealing damage to them.

No Hexes, and CMD scaling without the low base witch BAB makes it no bueno.


Bard that maximizes Perform: Oratory and uses Antagonize and Snake Style to debuff enemies and boost AC. Talk your enemies into ineffectiveness.


monk 20 with every feat being fleet (+5' movement). her name is Chetara.


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
monk 20 with every feat being fleet (+5' movement). her name is Chetara.

Barb 1, Cleric or Inquisitor 1 (travel domain), Monk (martial artist) 18


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
monk 20 with every feat being fleet (+5' movement). her name is Chetara.
Barb 1, Cleric or Inquisitor 1 (travel domain), Monk (martial artist) 18

That would do it.


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
monk 20 with every feat being fleet (+5' movement). her name is Chetara.
Barb 1, Cleric or Inquisitor 1 (travel domain), Monk (martial artist) 18
That would do it.

The sad part is one of my players was wanting me to ask the forums what classes would you guys say the Thundercats characters were...

Cheliax

I made a throwing focused Barbarian for a game with my friends. Thought it would be fun, was everything but.

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