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Elf Sword Saint Samurai Advice / Tweaking


Let's get the basics out of the way.
(Note: My DM's said it was acceptable that I use a Elven Curved Blade in place of a Katana with regards to Samurai class features.)

Elf Level 10 [8 Samurai (Sword Saint) / 2 Fighter]
Favoured Class: Samurai

20 point buy in.

Stats (with items)

Feats: (Keep in mind I started playing at level 8)
1. Weapon Focus (Elven Curved Blade)
3. Power Attack
5. Weapon Specialization
6. Vital Strike [Samurai Bonus Feat]
7. Furious Focus
8. Improved Crit (Elven Curved Blade) [Fighter level 1 Bonus feat]
9. Devastating strike, Improved Weapon Focus (Elven Curved Blade) [Figter level 2 bonus feat + level 9 Feat]

Future feats will be, in order, Improved Vital Strike, Critical Focus, Staggering Critical, Greater Vital Strike, go from there...

+2 Elven Bane Elven Curved Blade
+2 Composite Bow (5 STR)
+2 Breast Plate
+2 Belt of Giant Strength
+1 Ring of Protection

I specialize on focussing down one target, doing massive damage on my first strike through huge bonus damage (from feats, challenge, and strength) and shear amount of dice rolled (Vital Strike, Iaijustu Strike, 15-20 Critical).

My idea is to get to level 10 Samurai, put one more point into Fighter for the armour training (20 ft move speed is a pain), then go back to doing my Samurai thing.

I don't really have anything specific I want looked at, I was just looking for thoughts or tweaks I could make to my build to optimize it. The one thing I don't have control over is items, so don't recommend them unless they're easy enough to get my hands on. My GM is reserved with giving us magic items, and when we get them they don't do a whole lot of good for me specifically.

No one willing to help? Really?

You definitely, DEFINITELY want more constitution, maybe reduce a little bit str. Also, iron will is always good.

Yes, my will saves pretty much blow at the moment. Realistically I would be looking for a headband of WIS since I do not have one right now. Iron Will isn't as viable for me though as I'm not a fighter and I need every feat I get.

Going elf made it so I had bad HP. I like my STR where it's at, so I guess I'll be looking into getting something to fix the HP problem. I'm somewhat new to pathfinder, so do you have any recommendations for what I could get other than a belt of CON, what items could I get (within reason) to shore up my supplies of HP.

Without feats, to rise the Hps is very expensive, maybe a ioun stone. Sorry but nothing comes to my mind.

Toughness is not so bad in PF.
And there are the favored class bonuses that could got to HP.

You really want to pimp it ? Then DON'T GO ELF. You dumped INT and your DEX is average.

Go human, spend the bonus feat on elven curveblade proficiency.

This would allow you to put your +2 in STR.

20 pt buy:

STR 22
CON 14
DEX 14
WIS 12
CHA 10

You lose 1 AC and 1 reflex.
You win 20 HP, +2 fort, +1 will.

If change why not half elf with ancestral arms to get the weapon prof?
They can add +2 Str, too and wouldn't be so far off from real Elf.

Because IIRC ancestral arms got nerfed and doesn't give Exotic Proficiency any more.

Liberty's Edge

No, Ancestral Arms allows for one Martial or Exotic Weapon proficiency, in place of Skill Focus.

No nerfing that I know of, and the SRD reflects no changes.

The Half Elf Multitalented ability would also allow you to take favored class in both Fighter and Samurai, so you'd get those bonus HP or skillpoints.

Seems like the best idea.

My bad, mixed it up with Heirloom weapon ;)

You can drop Weapon Specialization for Toughness, and put your Favored Class bonus into HP.

Improved Weapon Focus is nice, but Iron Will is probably better with regards to the overall survivability of you and the party.

I might go fighter 3 first for Armor training if you really want the move bonus; better earlier than later.

Items: if you can get Boots of Striding and Springing, that will help move speed. Otherwise, ask for any and all AC boosting items you can get.

Thanks for the help. It's a little late for me to go changing the character in the campaign I'm using it in right now, but I will remember this stuff for the next time I create her.

I will probably choose the Half-Elf, dropping the Skill Focus for Exotic Weapon ECB. That way I will get an extra 22 health because I can have 2 favored classes, using the same buy in the Grenouillebleue mentioned.

And I'll look into the Ioun Stone thing as well.

Any reason for going Vital Strike over just the standard fighty stuff? Because I assume you are aware that Iaijutsu Strike and Vital Strike doesn't stack. They are both attack actions.

The Exchange

elven bane weapon eh? Lookin for those nice seppuku bonuses?

Raje wrote:
Any reason for going Vital Strike over just the standard fighty stuff? Because I assume you are aware that Iaijutsu Strike and Vital Strike doesn't stack. They are both attack actions.

Was just gonna say that... unfortunately they dont stack, would be cool if they did though.

Also its a samurai, he doesnt really need any help with the saves. He can just use power to roll 2 dices for will saves, and/or gain +4 to the roll. Saves wise samurais kinda rock.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Raje wrote:
Any reason for going Vital Strike over just the standard fighty stuff? Because I assume you are aware that Iaijutsu Strike and Vital Strike doesn't stack. They are both attack actions.

Because you can't always Iaijutsu. But you can almost aways vital strike.

I was undercover spying on some Lolth Drow for my back story (We're using D&D gods in our campaign to make things easier for our GM). Since Lolth Drow were busy fighting each other, it makes sense that Elven Bane would be popular among them.

And I use vital strike because you can only use Iaijustu against the same opponent once per day.

If you take Keen as a magical property on your weapon you save another feat as you don't have to get Improved Critical. Seems like the build is pretty feat starved as it is (why you're taking fighter levels right?), and you could probably also skip Greater Weapon Focus (what you call Improved Weapon Focus).

Btw, something just occured to me. Elven Curved Blade is a two-handed weapon right? What's the attack penalty for using it with one hand? Is that even possible? To use Iaijutsu Strike you need to have one hand free, which means you need to draw (ie attack) with just one hand. ECB + Iaijutsu Strike therefore shouldn't work (unless you just get massive penalty for using it one-handed). Correct me if I'm wrong, but your whole character now seem a bit... untweaked.

I guess you could always carry around a smaller sized ECB (which would make it like a katana or bastard sword I guess) and do your Iaijutsu Strike with it, but you take -2 attack penalty because of different sizes. Stick that big sword in someone's chest, let go of it, draw your smaller sword (this being your Wakizashi if we're comparing the classic Katana/Wakizashi set pairing of samurai). Not really optimal, but gets around the issue, plus it's a little thematic/rule of cool.

Edit: alright, after checking the rules, it seems you can't wield your ECB one-handed. You need something else to Iaijutsu Strike with. Like a Katana. Which would be your obvious standard choice for a Sword Saint.

I am reading and re-reading the PFSRD right now for the Iaijutsu strike and the pre-reqs are that that I must have challenged the target, I can not have attacked them, and my blade has to be sheathed before I make the attack. It does not specify whether or not you need a free hand, or if you can make this attack with two hands. I can imagine a person walking up to a goblin (or whatever it may be), their sword sheathed, and then drawing it with two hands and cleaving their opponent in two.

I am debating getting rid of the Greater Weapon Focus (thank you for the correction) in favour of Iron Will, as my will saves are rather balls.

Top of the page:

"Sword saints hail from lands where samurai are prevalent, and are often ronin who wander the world seeking new challenges to perfect their intricate style of swordplay called iaijutsu. The following benefits apply only when a sword saint is using a sword and carrying nothing in his other hand.

The sword saint is an archetype of the samurai alternate class."

Iaijutsu is traditionally having one hand on your sheath and drawing your sword in one motion as an attack. That kind of thematics doesn't really mesh well with two-handed.

Concerning the saves: Samurai is deceptively good when it comes to saves (even more so Ronins), due to Resolve.

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