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Help with Character Build for Skull & Shackles


Skull & Shackles

Liberty's Edge

I plan on playing an Eldritch Knight with the Spellslinger archetype as the caster base and in the fighter area I want to duel wield gun and sword together. Now I know this seems like a stretch (it probably is) but here's the idea.

Pros::
Although he will have magic the main focus will be on his duel wielding. All of his feats will be combat feats so he can be a formidable opponent up front and at a range. Although his spells will be his weakest point he won't be using a lot of saving throw spells. The spells he will use will be reserved for buffing himself and direct damage using his Arcane Gun ability.

Cons::
The biggest problem will be the slow progression of the character. Most of which will be feats, considering he'll need feats for his range attacks, swords, and eventually dual wielding and with only levels as a wizard for 6 straight levels he'll lack a lot of those until later. He'll initially start off doing good damage with his guns but not much else until he starts taking Eldritch Knight at about level 7, after that with the full BAB and d10 hp, melee combat will be more viable. Also, even though magic isn't going to be his strong suit he's giving up four schools for the school of the gun ability. He may not have a strong focus in magic but that's still a hefty price.

Question that need answering::

1. What should his ability scores be assuming the use of 15 point buy? Right now he's a human and his scores are 14,14,14,14,8,10 (I may take leadership so I don't want his charisma too low)
2. What feats should I take in the long run?
4. How many levels of what should he take? Right now the idea is level 1 fighter, level 5 Spellslinger, and 10 levels in Eldritch Knight.
5. Possibly the most important question; which spell schools should I give up?


How are you going to cast spells? All your spells are going to be Still Spell? Are you going to waste 2342423 move actions to seathe and draw weapons?

You need a free hand to cast spells.

Liberty's Edge

gustavo iglesias wrote:

How are you going to cast spells? All your spells are going to be Still Spell? Are you going to waste 2342423 move actions to seathe and draw weapons?

You need a free hand to cast spells.

Quick Draw man. Reduces drawing weapons to a free action. Start of combat use some buffs then quick draw weapons and prepare for battle. Plus, I don't plan on him duel wielding in every situation just when it's necessary.And a loop hole I've used before is attaching small chains to the but of my pistols. That way I can drop those as a free action as well and not worry about leaving them since they'll be attached to their holster.

And for those of you just joining us I've decided that the prohibited schools are going to be Necromancy, Illusion, Divination, and Enchantment.

Dark Archive Star Voter 2013

Did you think about switching your fighter level for a couple levels of magus?

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Dump strength. Use an Agile rapier or Aldori dueling sword. If you go for the latter, switch to Half-Elf for Ancestral Arms, although I wouldn't recommend it.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

All right, that's probably not helpful and I had enough time to do a better look at the problem.

1) Replace the Fighter level with a Gunslinger level. Quick Clear is pretty much your best defense against terrible luck. Heavy armor isn't a great idea in this AP anyway, and it's particularly terrible for you.

2) With that replacement, you'll want to swap your stats as follows: 10/16/12/14/13/10. Put your first bonus point into Wisdom, then the rest into Intelligence. If you don't mind sucking even more early on, you can drop Strength further, but you'll have problems doing damage with your sword until you can afford a +2 weapon.

3) To start, grab Weapon Finesse and Two-Weapon Fighting so you can actually make use of both weapons when appropriate. I wouldn't go further than that into Two-Weapon Fighting if you're going to stay in melee - otherwise, hey, two pistols when appropriate.


UnboltedAKTION wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:

How are you going to cast spells? All your spells are going to be Still Spell? Are you going to waste 2342423 move actions to seathe and draw weapons?

You need a free hand to cast spells.

Quick Draw man. Reduces drawing weapons to a free action. Start of combat use some buffs then quick draw weapons and prepare for battle. Plus, I don't plan on him duel wielding in every situation just when it's necessary.And a loop hole I've used before is attaching small chains to the but of my pistols. That way I can drop those as a free action as well and not worry about leaving them since they'll be attached to their holster.

And for those of you just joining us I've decided that the prohibited schools are going to be Necromancy, Illusion, Divination, and Enchantment.

If you don't plan to cast spells after the first rounds, that's ok. If you need to cast spells later, it's going to be a problem. Weapon cords might help, I guess.

Liberty's Edge

Gideon Black wrote:
Did you think about switching your fighter level for a couple levels of magus?

It crossed my mind but Fighter gives me the feats I need.

Liberty's Edge

Chris Kenney wrote:

All right, that's probably not helpful and I had enough time to do a better look at the problem.

1) Replace the Fighter level with a Gunslinger level. Quick Clear is pretty much your best defense against terrible luck. Heavy armor isn't a great idea in this AP anyway, and it's particularly terrible for you.

2) With that replacement, you'll want to swap your stats as follows: 10/16/12/14/13/10. Put your first bonus point into Wisdom, then the rest into Intelligence. If you don't mind sucking even more early on, you can drop Strength further, but you'll have problems doing damage with your sword until you can afford a +2 weapon.

3) To start, grab Weapon Finesse and Two-Weapon Fighting so you can actually make use of both weapons when appropriate. I wouldn't go further than that into Two-Weapon Fighting if you're going to stay in melee - otherwise, hey, two pistols when appropriate.

I thought of that too. But going spellslinger gives me the guns I need and the gunsmith ability plus there might be a feat in one of the third party material that might do what quick clear did. If not there's always the Jury Rig spell

The stats are nice but without going gunslinger I won't need the wisdom and I've decided to limit my charisma as well. The stats I have now are 14/15/14/14/8/9.
As for weapon finesse that's a great idea! I'll def have to ad that to the roster!.
Weapon Finesse isn't a bad idea. But I don't want to limit his strength too much.

Liberty's Edge

gustavo iglesias wrote:
If you don't plan to cast spells after the first rounds, that's ok. If you need to cast spells later, it's going to be a problem. Weapon cords might help, I guess.

Yeah, that's the idea. I don't plan on doing attacks that require saves. His int score isn't going to be the best so the spell DCs won;t be that high. And if I need to cast a touch spell through the gun I'll be at a range so just move action to sheath my blade and standard to cast spell. I mean I'm not saying it won't be a pain sometimes but I'm going to attempt to be as strategic as possible to limit unnecessary actions.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My biggest concern with this build is that you're in very real danger of spreading yourself too thin. Any time you need points in four stats to function you should probably take a step back and ask what they're really getting you. With a 25 point buy, a strength-emphasizing version of this build can definitely be effective. At 20, you would probably already be suffering.

You aren't going to be getting 1.5x strength damage anyway with one hand always on your guns or spellcasting. I'd bite the bullet and accept that you're going to be spending the first few levels of your career without a damage bonus. Once you do get an Agile weapon for your sword, you'll be wishing like hell you'd put the points into Dex to begin with.

Not coincidentally, in the case of this build your damage in these first few levels won't be from your melee weapon anyway, you'll be getting most of it from spellcasting and shooting.

Liberty's Edge

Chris Kenney wrote:
Not coincidentally, in the case of this build your damage in these first few levels won't be from your melee weapon anyway, you'll be getting most of it from spellcasting and shooting.

I'm fully aware of the dangers. Although since you brought up weapon finesse is means I can reduce my str a little more. I know he won't be doing a ton of dmg at first in fact his full potential (unfortunately) won't be reached until level 7 or 8. But that's where the buffs come to play. But I still have like two months before my group begins this so he is still very much in the experimental stages.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just to make sure, you do know what the Agile weapon enhancement does, right? Basically lets you add your dex modifier to damage with any weapon you use Weapon Finesse with.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Chris Kenney wrote:
Just to make sure, you do know what the Agile weapon enhancement does, right? Basically lets you add your dex modifier to damage with any weapon you use Weapon Finesse with.

Since it [agile] is from the PFS Field Guide it might not be in use, maybe?


UnboltedAKTION wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
If you don't plan to cast spells after the first rounds, that's ok. If you need to cast spells later, it's going to be a problem. Weapon cords might help, I guess.
Yeah, that's the idea. I don't plan on doing attacks that require saves. His int score isn't going to be the best so the spell DCs won;t be that high. And if I need to cast a touch spell through the gun I'll be at a range so just move action to sheath my blade and standard to cast spell. I mean I'm not saying it won't be a pain sometimes but I'm going to attempt to be as strategic as possible to limit unnecessary actions.

Solid enough. It's not the best of the best, you get limited to 5' steps, but as a sorcerer I have to full round to use metamagic too, and is not the end of the world. Sometimes is a pain, but it is not unplayable. Cool character theme.


short reality check : you are aware that you will be playing in a maritime, ship-based camapign, right ? An inherently challenging and physically demanding environment

Depending upon how reality-minded your GM is, you might want, or rather should at all costs to keep at least one hand free for anchoring yourself on the unstable ground of a ship's deck. Or for acrobatics tests.... or fighting in masttops, on yardarms or the gunwhales.

So, dual wielding might just not be an optimal choice.

Nevermind that reloading that pistol might just become awkward on a ship in any kind of sea, leaning and canting sideways from wind-pressure, nevermind really adverse weather/environmental effects with spray, high waves, rain or aquatic monstrosities (firearms and water, UC p136). And you need one free hand for relaoding, too (UC,p.136)

Never much of a problem in scripted movies, but it might just backfire (no pun intended) in a gaming environment.

That being said, you should check how the GM in question ticks on the gunplay and firearms issue, and what type of firearms (advanced or primitive) he does permit.

And, speaking with my GM's hat on : how precisely do you plan to pull that character off, backstory-wise ?


Cutlass and pistol is one of the basic pirate movies archetypes, and actually a real world based one. I doubt it is impossible to be on board a ship with a cutlass and a pistol. Real world pirates did, on a daily basis.

Dark Archive

vikingson wrote:

short reality check : you are aware that you will be playing in a maritime, ship-based camapign, right ? An inherently challenging and physically demanding environment

Depending upon how reality-minded your GM is, you might want, or rather should at all costs to keep at least one hand free for anchoring yourself on the unstable ground of a ship's deck. Or for acrobatics tests.... or fighting in masttops, on yardarms or the gunwhales.

So, dual wielding might just not be an optimal choice.

Nevermind that reloading that pistol might just become awkward on a ship in any kind of sea, leaning and canting sideways from wind-pressure, nevermind really adverse weather/environmental effects with spray, high waves, rain or aquatic monstrosities (firearms and water, UC p136). And you need one free hand for relaoding, too (UC,p.136)

Never much of a problem in scripted movies, but it might just backfire (no pun intended) in a gaming environment.

That being said, you should check how the GM in question ticks on the gunplay and firearms issue, and what type of firearms (advanced or primitive) he does permit.

And, speaking with my GM's hat on : how precisely do you plan to pull that character off, backstory-wise ?

Speaking as someone from Unbolted's group, I assure you our GM is not nearly that picky :p We tend to favor the cinematic over the brutally realistic. And we've all got our own perceptions of Golarion, so while some back stories may not make sense in one group's Golarion, they'll work just fine in another's.


xn0o0cl3 wrote:


Speaking as someone from Unbolted's group, I assure you our GM is not nearly that picky :p We tend to favor the cinematic over the brutally realistic. And we've all got our own perceptions of Golarion, so while some back stories may not make sense in one group's Golarion, they'll work just fine in another's.

ok, since I actively sail a lot, I may have slightly too much first-hand experience to go easy on matters maritime and cinematic shenannigans involving ships^^

Unbolted will still face the problem of reloading without a free hand, though.

Dark Archive

Weapon cords + Quick Draw :D


xn0o0cl3 wrote:
Weapon cords + Quick Draw :D

Which makes him.... well almost stationary ? Losing the move action to drop the blade, reload, free action to re-grab blade... avoiding AoOs for reloading while on it. Firing a missile weapon in close combat (more AoOs)... not sure that works all that well either, rulewise.

Plus, in a probably low-armour tropical pirate campaign, the advantage of "firearms = touch attacks" is also slightly moot. Wildlife may be fair game, the archetypal "naval undead", skeletons and zombies could care less.
I don't really see the tactical appeal of dual wielding with basically single one-shot weapons in the combo. YMMV

Neither did real world pirates - except for captains and senior crew (the only one confirmed for those was Blackbeard ) who used matchlock/flintlock pistols as much for vanity reasons - they are signs of affluent wealth - as for a slight tactical advantage. Also for the intimidating factor. Neither of which translates well into "Pathfinder" rules

Stylish concept, tactically and as for effcient use of the rules, maybe less successful. "Grenades and Blade" dual-wielding (Alchemist /Fighter) may be more "punchy" while recreating a classic wicked-pirate archetype.

Dark Archive

Oh yea, haha, no tactical advantage at all! That's the objective here - marry style & tactics in the least terrible way possible. Also, dropping an item is a free action & there's a feat in UC called Sword & Pistol that allows you to fire in melee without provoking (it's a big cornerstone to this build). Unfortunately, it's got some burdensome pre reqs, so he'll need to figure out a way to be effective without it until level seven or eight :l


xn0o0cl3 wrote:
Oh yea, haha, no tactical advantage at all! That's the objective here - marry style & tactics in the least terrible way possible. Also, dropping an item is a free action & there's a feat in UC called Sword & Pistol that allows you to fire in melee without provoking (it's a big cornerstone to this build). Unfortunately, it's got some burdensome pre reqs, so he'll need to figure out a way to be effective without it until level seven or eight :l

He wanted a critique. And yeah, level 7-8, which means the early 40% of the "Skulls and Shackles" AP ?

Weapon Focus : Pistol, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Snap Shot, Quick Draw, Sword and Pistol, two weapon fighting, BA +6, ..... hefty. besides him probably wanting Precise Shot and Weapon Finesse.. nevermind Rapid Reload... plus having to go at least 5th (with BA+2) level in wizard to qualify for Eldritch Knight.

Sounds like a very tough gig to play, before the concept even starts to work as intended.

And the weapon cords (as in the APG 2nd printing) do only allow one to recover a dropped weapon (item) as a swift action - which causes an AoO according to the core rules (it is explicitly not drawing a weapon, say from a scabbard, but a recovery/pick-up).... I assumed sheathing (no AoO ) then redraw with "Quick Draw" no AoO.
If your GM wants cinematics and waives those possible AoOs, things will be fine. Same goes for the caveat "may interfere with finer actions"...

to quote Dustin Hoffman : "Style is overrated kiddo, 'cause style will get you killed !"

And... purely cinematic, the weapon cords do slightly remind me (hopefully just me^^) of the strings used by parents to prevent toddlers from losing their mittens.

Secondary thought : the character will likely be a bit uncomfortable with regard to skill points but should consider a sizable investement into acrobatics (to leave threatened areas and for cinematics)

@unbolted : Good Luck with the concept, and may Besmara smile on you...


Boarding ships, real pirates go with real pistols

However, stylish archetypes just use the normal ones :P


gustavo iglesias wrote:

Boarding ships, real pirates go with real pistols

However, stylish archetypes just use the normal ones :P

Those "real" pistols might explain the plethora of hooks and armstumps among the brethren of the sea. The Royal Navy actually abandoned research into multi-barreled boarding guns, when it was found out the recoil regularly broke/smashed the user's arm and even shoulder (after having been fitted with stocks to compensate).

If one is strong and massive enough to actually use these, a melee weapon is the much better choice... and requires no reload.


vikingson wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:

Boarding ships, real pirates go with real pistols

However, stylish archetypes just use the normal ones :P

Those "real" pistols might explain the plethora of hooks and armstumps among the brethren of the sea. The Royal Navy actually abandoned research into multi-barreled boarding guns, when it was found out the recoil regularly broke/smashed the user's arm and even shoulder (after having been fitted with stocks to compensate).

If one is strong and massive enough to actually use these, a melee weapon is the much better choice... and requires no reload.

But 4 guys armed with those can sweep a board. And they have something that a melee weapon does not have. Fear. A captain with a rapier will have much more problems to stop a mutiny. A Captain with one of those (or a blunderbuss) on the other hand, has a much higher intimidation bonus.

As Darth Vader said "don't rule through force, but through fear of force".

The royal navy version wasn't a duck foot pistol, but a volleygun. this one, actually. And it was phiscally demanding, but went through use. D&D does not have recoil rules also. Lots of gunslingers in D&D dump STR. And lots of D&D PC have above 20 str, while Royal Navy Sailors did not. :)

About volleyguns, this one is kind of hilarious:
Multibarrelled Polish volleygun

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