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Secrets of the Swordlords: How to build an effective Aldori


Advice

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Derrick:

I put together the retributionist as an example of a Finesse build done right. It's once case where the benefits outweigh the drawbacks: your enemies will provoke every single time you get attacked, so you'll want as many AoOs as you can possibly get.

As to your build: I feel there is little advantage to taking the monk at 1st level, except to get crane wing out of the box. I skipped it, partly because I'm personally getting to introduce my character at 5th level, but mostly because I feel that at levels 1 and 2 the threats you face aren't enough to warrant a "get out of getting hit free" ability. I'd prefer the extra hit points and starting out with proficiency.

Crane Riposte I especially think you can wait on: It's gravy. Crane wing at first level, though. I can see the benefits. Expecially if your GM is known for killing low level characters off.

Other questions: why Dragon style? Is it so you can charge over difficult terrain? Also, until I see some Paizo errata (or your GM specifically says so at his table) I hold true that you don't need EWP to take Weapon focus in the Aldori sword. You are proficient with it as a martial weapon.

Guy Kilmore: The Technique fighter takes two weapon fighting because he's got improved unarmed strike and monk damage. He gets to apply his full strength to his off hand, and do 1d6 damage on top of that. It gives hims a decent reason to full round fight at low levels, and thus get some use out of Defensive Parry before BAB +6 happens at level 7. You could expand on as you go into the higher levels, but below 12th your feats are kinda spoken for. I had one open slot after getting everything I wanted, and picking up TWF seemed the most bang for my buck.

Everyone: Thank you. I'm glad this is receiving some positive attention. I look forward to a new breed of Aldori characters that can live up to the hype.


The early Crane wing was mostly to get the "duelist" vibe off immediately.

With Crane wing at First level, and Crane Riposte at second, my character can defeat nearly any martial character 1vs1 during the early levels(before iterative attacks come online).

Dragon Style was mostly because I had fuse style as ability, I wanted to use two styles, and Dragon Style had easy prereqs and nice effects for a duelist-flavored character:

It mimics the Duelist PrC's ability to charge over difficult terrain. It offers some defensive bonuses and if I am somehow disarmed or fighting unarmed for other reasons, I get a minor damage bonus too.

Your builds are likely more optimized, though. I especially wish I had thought of an half-elf retribution build before I created my character.

Andoran

For a slightly different Monk dip the Maneuver Master is worth a look. For one, you can take Improved Disarm without having to take Combat Expertise first. Secondly, Flurry of Maneuvers lets you add a free disarm attempt at the end of a full attack action - this would work beautifully with the Aldori's Disarming Strike. And, of course, there's still all the little sweeteners like class skills and Improved Unarmed Strike.

I don't know that it's better than the Master of Many Styles, but it's another route and you can still pick up Crane Style and Crane Wing along the way, albeit at later levels.

Taldor

For me this guide made me feel like why shouldnt use the Aldori ATA. It's not always about DPR. If I sub out fighter with another class it would be monk Weapon Adept or Flowing Monk perhaps.

Andoran

This is my Aldori Swordlord build I'm running through PFS at the moment. I've fallen into most of your "traps" (finesse, aldori dueling mastery, duelist) but I think I've managed to do so in a not-completely-horrible way.

Str 13, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 8, Cha 12
Human

Lvl 1 Aldori Swordlord - Exotic Weapon proficiency, Weapon finesse, weapon focus
Lvl 2 Aldori Swordlord - Quick draw, Bravery

Lvl 3 Maneuver Master - Improved Disarm, Equipment trick: Combat Scabbard, Flurry of maneuvers, Stunning fist, Improved unarmed strike

Lvl 4 Aldori Swordlord - Defensive Parry +1

Lvl 5 Aldori Swordlord - Dodge, Crane Style

Lvl 6 Aldori Swordlord - Disarming Strike, Weapon training +1

Lvl 7 Aldori Swordlord - Crane Wing, Aldori Dueling Mastery

Lvl 8 Aldori Swordlord - Steel Net, Defensive Parry +2

Lvl 9 Duelist - Mobility, Canny defence +1, Precise strike +1

Lvl 10 Duelist - Canny defence +2, Precise strike +2, Parry, Improved reaction

Lvl 11 Duelist - Crane riposte, Canny defence +3, Precise strike +3, Enhanced mobility

Lvl 12 Duelist - Combat reflexes, Grace, Canny defence +4, Precise strike +4

Going with maneuver master rather than master of many styles does delay crane wing by a few levels but I think the benefits of a free disarm at the end of a full attack and getting improved disarm without having to get combat expertise make it worth it. Not having combat expertise means I don't go down the path of spring attack and whirlwind attack, but I don't have the feats to do so anyway.

Getting Aldori Dueling Mastery is a necessity for the duelist build, but it'd be a half decent feat without all the pre-requisites and I'm getting them all anyway.

As for going into Duelist for the last few levels, even that I don't think is completely horrible. As this is for PFS and I'm only losing two feats. I think that's outweighed by what the Duelist gets, in particular +4 AC and +4 damage which, as I read precise strike, would apply on a disarming strike as well.

I can certainly see ways I could optimise this but it has so far been fun to play and I think it's going to have an awful lot of style to it.

Thoughts?


What about Step Up and Strike? This would really enhance your ability to maintain yourself with the enemy, gain extra attacks, always take full-round attacks, in addition to making you a formidable flanker since you can move 10 feet.


Flynn Walker wrote:

This is my Aldori Swordlord build I'm running through PFS at the moment. I've fallen into most of your "traps" (finesse, aldori dueling mastery, duelist) but I think I've managed to do so in a not-completely-horrible way.

Str 13, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 8, Cha 12
Human

Lvl 1 Aldori Swordlord - Exotic Weapon proficiency, Weapon finesse, weapon focus
Lvl 2 Aldori Swordlord - Quick draw, Bravery

Lvl 3 Maneuver Master - Improved Disarm, Equipment trick: Combat Scabbard, Flurry of maneuvers, Stunning fist, Improved unarmed strike

Lvl 4 Aldori Swordlord - Defensive Parry +1

Lvl 5 Aldori Swordlord - Dodge, Crane Style

Lvl 6 Aldori Swordlord - Disarming Strike, Weapon training +1

Lvl 7 Aldori Swordlord - Crane Wing, Aldori Dueling Mastery

Lvl 8 Aldori Swordlord - Steel Net, Defensive Parry +2

Lvl 9 Duelist - Mobility, Canny defence +1, Precise strike +1

Lvl 10 Duelist - Canny defence +2, Precise strike +2, Parry, Improved reaction

Lvl 11 Duelist - Crane riposte, Canny defence +3, Precise strike +3, Enhanced mobility

Lvl 12 Duelist - Combat reflexes, Grace, Canny defence +4, Precise strike +4

Going with maneuver master rather than master of many styles does delay crane wing by a few levels but I think the benefits of a free disarm at the end of a full attack and getting improved disarm without having to get combat expertise make it worth it. Not having combat expertise means I don't go down the path of spring attack and whirlwind attack, but I don't have the feats to do so anyway.

Getting Aldori Dueling Mastery is a necessity for the duelist build, but it'd be a half decent feat without all the pre-requisites and I'm getting them all anyway.

As for going into Duelist for the last few levels, even that I don't think is completely horrible. As this is for PFS and I'm only losing two feats. I think that's outweighed by what the Duelist gets, in particular +4 AC and +4 damage which, as I read precise strike, would apply on a disarming strike as well.

I can certainly see...

Instead of going into Duelist. You could pick up Power Attack with your Strength at 13. At Level 8, that would be +6 to damage with a -3 to hit. You could then go through The Aldori Sword Fighter tree and pick up the extra feats.

It looks fun.

Andoran

Guy Kilmore wrote:
Instead of going into Duelist. You could pick up Power Attack with your Strength at 13. At Level 8, that would be +6 to damage with a -3 to hit. You could then go through The Aldori Sword Fighter tree and pick up the extra feats.

The only problem with power attack is that using two hands means I lose most of the benefits of the Aldori Swordlord class. Power attack one handed would (at +8 BAB, as I'm not going to get to +12 due to my monk dip) be at -2 for +4. Decent, but precise strike is slightly better.

Nothing to say I can't take power attack with precise strike, though. I might get an odd look from my GM but RAW I don't think it's ruled out.

Guy Kilmore wrote:
It looks fun.

My thoughts exactly. The Aldori is just so damned stylish.


Flynn Walker wrote:
Guy Kilmore wrote:
Instead of going into Duelist. You could pick up Power Attack with your Strength at 13. At Level 8, that would be +6 to damage with a -3 to hit. You could then go through The Aldori Sword Fighter tree and pick up the extra feats.

The only problem with power attack is that using two hands means I lose most of the benefits of the Aldori Swordlord class. Power attack one handed would (at +8 BAB, as I'm not going to get to +12 due to my monk dip) be at -2 for +4. Decent, but precise strike is slightly better.

Nothing to say I can't take power attack with precise strike, though. I might get an odd look from my GM but RAW I don't think it's ruled out.

Guy Kilmore wrote:
It looks fun.
My thoughts exactly. The Aldori is just so damned stylish.

Exactly.

I pointed out the Power attack option if you felt the lack of feats. A BAB of 8 one handed would be -3/+6. (I think you meant 8th level, but I figured I'd ask.) It was more something to think about, as it would give you that bonus damage earlier than the Duelist.

I am really curious to see what they do with the Aldori Prestige class coming out at the end of Summer.

ETA: There could be those rare instances where you do two hand it, but I would imagine that would not be often. Of course nothing stops you from going duelist and snagging Power Attack, not sure where you would pick it up though.

I usually GM, but one of my players has the Kingmaker AP and I am hoping he steps up to run it as I would love the opportunity to play a Sword lord and that would be a great setting for it.

Andoran

Guy Kilmore wrote:
Flynn Walker wrote:

The only problem with power attack is that using two hands means I lose most of the benefits of the Aldori Swordlord class. Power attack one handed would (at +8 BAB, as I'm not going to get to +12 due to my monk dip) be at -2 for +4. Decent, but precise strike is slightly better.

Nothing to say I can't take power attack with precise strike, though. I might get an odd look from my GM but RAW I don't think it's ruled out.

Exactly.

I pointed out the Power attack option if you felt the lack of feats. A BAB of 8 one handed would be -3/+6. (I think you meant 8th level, but I figured I'd ask.) It was more something to think about, as it would give you that bonus damage earlier than the Duelist.

Yeah, my bad. My maths failed me there...

The only feat I could possibly drop is the Equipment trick, and I'm loathe to do that. There's just something incredibly cool about being able to flip an enemy's sword out of their hand and into my scabbard.

I guess this is one of the reasons finesse and duelist are considered a trap. They're very feat intensive.

Guy Kilmore wrote:
I usually GM, but one of my players has the Kingmaker AP and I am hoping he steps up to run it as I would love the opportunity to play a Sword lord and that would be a great setting for it.

That would fit quite nicely. Don't forget to post your build if you do!


Flynn Walker wrote:
Guy Kilmore wrote:
Flynn Walker wrote:

The only problem with power attack is that using two hands means I lose most of the benefits of the Aldori Swordlord class. Power attack one handed would (at +8 BAB, as I'm not going to get to +12 due to my monk dip) be at -2 for +4. Decent, but precise strike is slightly better.

Nothing to say I can't take power attack with precise strike, though. I might get an odd look from my GM but RAW I don't think it's ruled out.

Exactly.

I pointed out the Power attack option if you felt the lack of feats. A BAB of 8 one handed would be -3/+6. (I think you meant 8th level, but I figured I'd ask.) It was more something to think about, as it would give you that bonus damage earlier than the Duelist.

Yeah, my bad. My maths failed me there...

The only feat I could possibly drop is the Equipment trick, and I'm loathe to do that. There's just something incredibly cool about being able to flip an enemy's sword out of their hand and into my scabbard.

I guess this is one of the reasons finesse and duelist are considered a trap. They're very feat intensive.

Guy Kilmore wrote:
I usually GM, but one of my players has the Kingmaker AP and I am hoping he steps up to run it as I would love the opportunity to play a Sword lord and that would be a great setting for it.
That would fit quite nicely. Don't forget to post your build if you do!

Equipment Trick is a good time. I played a couple of sessions in someone elses campaign with a Sword Saint Samurai that made heavy use of equipment trick. (Basically I beat up people with a combat scabbard, and then when I met a worth opponent, I would draw the blade and do ijitsu strike. In the following rounds I would utilize the scabbard in my off-hand with the swift actions to do all sorts of fun stuff.)


I hadn't thought about the Maneuver Master Monk. It looks good and I'll play with it some. When I've got my head around it I'll include it in the guide.

I still recommend Power attack for damage. Firstly, it works 1-handed, though less effectively. The guide shows how you can switch between 1 and 2 handed strikes to gain benefits on your off-turn. Defensive parry won't really be useful until 6th level, and you aren't going to use power attack with the disarm maneuver. So you spend the early part of your career using 2-hands, and even after that you always have the option to use two hands for extra damage anytime you don't need to use one of your special abilities.

The AC-boosting abilities (steel net, defensive parry) are also a bit of a gray area. You need to have nothing in your off hand to get the bonus, but you really only need the AC when it's not your turn. Do you need one hand empty when you make the attack that triggers the abilities, or when you are attacked and need the bonus? That's shaky ground that's FAQ worthy, so ask your GM. I admit I'd rule you need to have an empty off hand at both times.

Anyway, in the long run a duelist build will do more damage, but only after around 12th level. That's a long time to wait to be effective. And to do it, you've spend pretty much every feat along the way. The strength build will only be slightly behind in damage, and will have a ton of extra feats lying around.


WOW I really like the maneuver master build. Put in Blue in the guide, and added a build that uses it to the list at the end. The real advantage here isn't the just the extra disarm attempt, though that alone would rate it blue. It's that with the ability to pick up improved disarm sans prereqs, you've eliminated a feat tax and made INT a dump stat again.

The build I added showcases a Gladiator-based swordlord: the points from dumping INT go into Charisma, and we pick up Osyluth's Guile for even higher AC when using steel net. This build is a beast at performance combat. I like the build so much I think I'll use it as my backup character for Kingmaker!

Flynn Walker, Thank you for sharing the build! I'm super happy.


First of all: nice guide.

For builds featuring defensive fighting Halfling has now become an option thanks to these nice feats:

Cautious Fighter (Combat)
You care more about survival than victory.
Prerequisite: Half ling.
Benefit: When fighting defensively or using total
defense, your dodge bonus to AC increases by 2.

Blundering Defense (Combat)
Your feverish and sometimes comical defensive techniques
offer enough distraction to aid allies.
Prerequisites: Cautious Fighter, half ling.
Benefit: Whenever you fight defensively or use the total
defense action, allies gain a luck bonus to AC and CMD
equal to 1/2 the dodge bonus you gain from the action
you are taking. Allies only gain this bonus while they are
adjacent to you.

Andoran

anarchitect wrote:

WOW I really like the maneuver master build. Put in Blue in the guide, and added a build that uses it to the list at the end. The real advantage here isn't the just the extra disarm attempt, though that alone would rate it blue. It's that with the ability to pick up improved disarm sans prereqs, you've eliminated a feat tax and made INT a dump stat again.

The build I added showcases a Gladiator-based swordlord: the points from dumping INT go into Charisma, and we pick up Osyluth's Guile for even higher AC when using steel net. This build is a beast at performance combat. I like the build so much I think I'll use it as my backup character for Kingmaker!

Flynn Walker, Thank you for sharing the build! I'm super happy.

You're welcome. I know that I'm not nearly making the most out of it with what I'm doing (finesse and duelist getting in the way) so I'm interested to see where people go with it.


Alex, those are nice feats, and I was tempted to add them to the guide, until I thought about it harder. They're nice, but simply not worth being a halfling for.

Firstly, halfling tanks strength and boosts dex, meaning you pretty much have to be a dex fighter as a halfling. Second, you are small. Between these two you aren't going to be enough of a threat, either on disarms or damage, for people to attack you in the first place. You may never get hit, but you also will never contribute. An effective dex fighter isn't going to have the free feats to pick those two up for quite a while, either.

Second, I'd need some serious reasons why you have a human fighting style. The adopted trait, at the least. And if we're going to bend over backwards to make this work, We could go the other directions and try to find a way to let a human learn halfling only feats.

Grand Lodge

Anarchitect - Dex build is not auto fail. Halflings are normally dex fighters rather than strength builds. Is that a 'Blue' build? no. Is it a workable build, Green or perhaps orange? yes.

D6 damage is not as effective as D8 to be sure but its not auto fail. Its a slightly small average damage than the normal sized aldori sword. By the time you get to 8th+ level its the bonuses that do the damage and an Agile sword is normally available.

While strength is king of the DPR, you don't seem to be factoring in the other benefits that high dex provides... including imitative, Reflex saves and yes, even used for CMB (though not CMD :) ) Dex provides a different side/dimension to the character.


I decidedly am not ignoring the side benefits of high dex, nor am I concerned primarily about DPR. Double check the guide: My major concern is feats to benefit ratio. It takes 2 feats to use an aldori sword with dexterity, not one. You could spend those 2 feats on improved initiative and the reflex save boost for a similar effect, without making your build MAD.

Again, it's not that dex fighting is a trap for the Aldori Deulist, it's that the Aldori Deulist is a trap for Dex fighters. You'd be much, much better off using a scimitar or Rapier for a Dex build.

And for halfling, that small size really hits you. It's not just about damage, it's about the penalty to CMB and CMD.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A dip into the Wander Monk (ARG) gives you an Exotic Weapon Proficiency instead the monk bonus feat.

It's too bad the Aldori Dueling sword isn't a monk weapon as well, it's not really any different that Temple Sword except you can finesse the Aldori sword where the Temple sword has the trip quality.

In my game I allowed the Aldori Dueling Sword to be a monk weapon as I had monastery of Weapon Master Monks who specialized in the Aldori Dueling sword in Mivon when I ran the King Maker game. I haven't had a player use this but since I used it against them it became a house rule.


I checked out wander monk. You're replacing a bonus feat with an EWP. That's not really a decent trade: you could have just spent a bonus feat on the EWP without multiclassing, or kept your standard monk archetype and taken a useful bonus feat. None of Wander Monk's other abilities really synch with the build.


Those feats will likely work better in a DD build where you still have decent damage output. But consider this a Halfling Aldori with Blundering Defense and Bodyguard combined with the helpful trait grants +8 AC to all adjacent allies while likely having an AC in the upper 30ies himself.

Of course his DPR sucks but the fact he's buffing everyone else so madly might make him a viable target after all.


Well, don't forget to add Osyluth's guile. As a halfling you've got a bonus to charisma, so you'll get good use out of it.

I'd like to point out, though, that your halfling would be almost as effective at this trick by picking up the feats and skipping being an Aldori. Consider this trick as a pure monk, or a rogue, or a magus. I think the most important thing about making an opimized Aldori is to focus on the things that ONLY an Aldori swordlord can do.

Grand Lodge

One level of Magus Kensai dip costs 1 BAB but gives EWP and Weapon focus + arcane pool and a good skill list. Forget the spells, you aren't going to cast outside of armor unless ambushed naked but you get access to a massive amount of wands now. Canny defensive for +1 AC may be a bonus depending on what armour you wear.

Level 1 bonus feat can give weapon finesse and human can give power attack or whatever else is needed before you move to fighter.


Helaman: True strike. No somatic component, can be spell-combated to go off the same round, adds +20 to an attack roll or combat maneuver check. Pretty much an instant disarm, unless the opponent has the fighter capstone or Crane wing. A locking Gauntlet levels the playing field slightly but it's still in your favor. No worries about armor check problems, and you still do damage thanks to your Aldoriness. This is your go-to spell for an Aldori Magus.

What it really costs you is you get your Aldori abilities a level later. They're already not coming online until 5th level: do you really want to wait that long to get your key class features? It already sucks waiting that long to get them.


First of all, I've gotta say that this is pretty sweet. The coolest optimization guide I've ever seen, hands-down.

I'm having a bit of an issue with the differences between full attack and full-round actions, especially as they pertain to the swordlord's abilities and fighting defensively. For clarification, I will be stating what I understand to be true, with bolded emphasis on statements that I would like confirmed or corrected.

As I understand it, a full attack action is a subtype of full-round action. Fighting defensively can be done as either a standard action or a full-round action. When used as a full-round action, it allows you to take a full attack action with the associated penalties.

Assuming that the above is correct, Combat Expertise may not be a total suckfest, at least at higher levels. At BAB 8 Combat Expertise will grant a -2/+2. Crane Riposte specifically says you only take a -1 penalty for fighting defensively. Combined with the wording of Steel Net, which says that your defensive fighting penalties are decreased by 2. So, fighting defensively (which grants a +2 AC bonus) with Crane Style/Crane Riposte + Combat Expertise would yield a -3/+5. Applying Steel Net yields a -1/+7. In the event that fighting defensively grants a full attack, the wording of Defensive Parry would turn this into a -1/+9. At BAB 12, this would become -2/+11 (due to the extra increase for both Combat Expertise and Defensive Parry, assuming that these come from fighter levels).

It's not much, but if you have to take Combat Expertise anyway, it might not be pure feat tax.

Grand Lodge

anarchitect wrote:

Helaman: True strike. No somatic component, can be spell-combated to go off the same round, adds +20 to an attack roll or combat maneuver check. Pretty much an instant disarm, unless the opponent has the fighter capstone or Crane wing. A locking Gauntlet levels the playing field slightly but it's still in your favor. No worries about armor check problems, and you still do damage thanks to your Aldoriness. This is your go-to spell for an Aldori Magus.

What it really costs you is you get your Aldori abilities a level later. They're already not coming online until 5th level: do you really want to wait that long to get your key class features? It already sucks waiting that long to get them.

I count 3rd level as a cool feature (albeit at the cost of armour training) but yep... you've got a point on the wait.

Its the same as those Monk dips, you slow down your progression to the meat of the archetype. Monk tend to give you slightly better (I feel) skills and class options, Kensai gives you EWP and Weapon focus but at the cost of a BAB.

I wasn't thinking spell combat as much as arcane pool as I was planning on wearing armour but spell failure in Mithril Kikko is 10% so its not insanely stacked against the magus aldori to flash off a spell.

Grand Lodge

One thing someone said that bears thinking about is how heavy armour and/or shield use should have been sacrificed for the EWP - couldn't agree more. Wish they'd man up and errata it. Won't happen though.


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I love this guide, but are you going to change it to reflect the new prestige class abilities? Like the new dex fighter love etc etc


Great guide. Thanks!


Not quite on topic, but the character images that you use for this guide, where would I be able to find larger versions of them?

I'd love to use them as character tokens in a future campaign.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

Good ol' deviantart...

I too would like to see an update.

Andoran

Having had a look through the PDF, the Aldori Swordlord prestige class is absolutely beautiful for a Dex swordlord. Dex to damage and the Aldori Dueling Mastery feat at first level - worth a dip for that alone.

I haven't thought enough about how it compares to further levels in the archetype though, or how it would stack up for a Str-focused build.

Thoughts?


Dekalinder wrote:
I'll just add that Crane style is nearly mandatory. You have a free hand, at least reap all the benefit that you can with it. Combined with steel net makes your defensive combat have no penality and granting you +6 AC and free deflect. Just skip the last one of the 3, it utterly usless for you.

My math is giving me "no penalty with +5 AC."

Normal Full-Action Defensive Fighting is -4 Atk/+2 AC
Crane style reduces the penalty to attack by 2 and gives you a +1 Dodge AC bonus, which makes a total of "-2 Atk/+3 AC"
Steel Net reduces penalties for Full-Round defensive fighting by 2 more and increases the dodge bonus by 2 more, for a total of "-0 Atk/ +5 AC."

Am I missing something?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Neo2151 wrote:
Dekalinder wrote:
I'll just add that Crane style is nearly mandatory. You have a free hand, at least reap all the benefit that you can with it. Combined with steel net makes your defensive combat have no penality and granting you +6 AC and free deflect. Just skip the last one of the 3, it utterly usless for you.

My math is giving me "no penalty with +5 AC."

Normal Full-Action Defensive Fighting is -4 Atk/+2 AC
Crane style reduces the penalty to attack by 2 and gives you a +1 Dodge AC bonus, which makes a total of "-2 Atk/+3 AC"
Steel Net reduces penalties for Full-Round defensive fighting by 2 more and increases the dodge bonus by 2 more, for a total of "-0 Atk/ +5 AC."

Am I missing something?

When you have 3 ranks in acrobatics you gain another +1 AC when fighting defensively.


Not sure if it has been mentioned before, but you can get Crane Riposte early. It requires two levels of Master of Many Styles.

Here's the advancement for a human:
1-Fighter1 (Power Attack, Dodge, Fighter Bonus: Improved Unarmed Strike)
2-Fighter2 (Crane Wing)
3-Fighter3 (Combat Expertise)
4-Monk1 (Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, Crane Wing)
5-Monk2 (Crane Riposte)
6

Here's the trick: By taking IUS as a fighter bonus feat, you can retrain it into another combat feat at level 6 (fighter level 4). You get to keep the Crane Style feats, since you still have the Monk's unarmed strike ability, which gives you the IUS feat. This way, you have Crane Riposte a lot earlier than normal and you get you investment back right next level.

As a side note, the earliest you can finish any style feat tree is 3rd level. You start with the Unarmed Fighter archetype, which gets a style feat at first level and two levels of Master of Many Styles, which gets you the other two feats in the style. By then, you'll usually be able to use your level three feat to get a second style feat for use with Master of Many Styles.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Flynn Walker wrote:

Having had a look through the PDF, the Aldori Swordlord prestige class is absolutely beautiful for a Dex swordlord. Dex to damage and the Aldori Dueling Mastery feat at first level - worth a dip for that alone.

I haven't thought enough about how it compares to further levels in the archetype though, or how it would stack up for a Str-focused build.

Thoughts?

My one problem with the prestige class is that it now takes away the opportunity to use unarmed strikes with it if you want to use the deft strike ability. Can you unequip unarmed strikes? Or does this mean as long as you don't use unarmed strike that round you can use deft strike (which I assume is how it's meant to be)? Also, how does that tie into the combat style feats (like crane wing) since flavour-wise you are using your unarmed strike to deflect? I definitely like the prestige class for its uniqueness, but you might as well not try for that 2 level dip into Master of Many styles if you plan on taking it. As for me, I've thoroughly enjoyed my strength build with snake fang and don't plan on touching the prestige class.


Silt wrote:
Flynn Walker wrote:

Having had a look through the PDF, the Aldori Swordlord prestige class is absolutely beautiful for a Dex swordlord. Dex to damage and the Aldori Dueling Mastery feat at first level - worth a dip for that alone.

I haven't thought enough about how it compares to further levels in the archetype though, or how it would stack up for a Str-focused build.

Thoughts?

My one problem with the prestige class is that it now takes away the opportunity to use unarmed strikes with it if you want to use the deft strike ability. Can you unequip unarmed strikes? Or does this mean as long as you don't use unarmed strike that round you can use deft strike (which I assume is how it's meant to be)? Also, how does that tie into the combat style feats (like crane wing) since flavour-wise you are using your unarmed strike to deflect? I definitely like the prestige class for its uniqueness, but you might as well not try for that 2 level dip into Master of Many styles if you plan on taking it. As for me, I've thoroughly enjoyed my strength build with snake fang and don't plan on touching the prestige class.

So

1.) Basically you can't TWF with an unarmed strike and an aldori dueling sword and still use the deft strike ability.

2.) There is nothing in the description of Crane wing that states you are using an unarmed strike at any point when deflecting an attack.

My (somewhat non-organized) thoughts on the prestige class in particular and aldori sword lords in general:

1.) Dex build looks mighty fine, right about now, but keep 13 str for power attack so you can attack two handed and get the full bonus, then later let go of one of your hands as a free action.

2.) Hmm, with crane style, the fighter archetype and the prestige class you can eliminate 6 points of penalty, and you only have to elminate 4 points to get no-penalty fighting defensively. Maybe take combat expertise and use 2 points to offset the eventual -4 penalty to hit (so its -2 for +4 AC, so eventually it's +10 ac for -2 penalty to hit, worth it?)

3.) Maneuver master doesn't stack with Master of many styles, so I'd probably take maneuver master and pick up the style feats with fighter bonus feats. (As you can't go the other way), I wonder what the best way to build this would be?

prototype00


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

1) I realise that crane wing doesn't specifically say you use your unarmed strike, hence the "flavour-wise" part of my sentence.

2) I don't think you would be able to offset combat expertise penalties with the bonuses from the feats and the class.


Silt wrote:

1) I realise that crane wing doesn't specifically say you use your unarmed strike, hence the "flavour-wise" part of my sentence.

2) I don't think you would be able to offset combat expertise penalties with the bonuses from the feats and the class.

1: Yes I know, I read what you wrote. I'm just pointing out that if it doesn't say, why put extra complexity onto it by assuming that something concerning flavor is going to affect how the rules work?

2: The prestige class has penalty reductions as well, and they apply to combat expertise and fighting defensively.

prototype00


Hmm, I don't think anyone has mentioned tiger style as a possible second style feat. Being able to put your penalty from power attack into your AC means a lot less when your AC is stratospheric to begin with.

prototype00


Hmm interesting feat here:

Draconic Defender: You know that massive dodge bonus to AC you're getting from both fighting defensively and combat expertise? You can also bestow that upon one ally within reach as a natural armor bonus.

Also the archon style line of feats look interesting (but insist on having the allies adjacent to you before you can help them)

Good for a more team oriented swordlord, I suppose.

prototype00

Osirion

DOT.


I know I'm spamming but the forum won't let me edit my old posts.

For the PrC there are a couple of nice breakpoints built in. Since you don't get Weapon training or extra feats while in it, it's not a bad idea to just reach the breakpoints and get back to figher.

Lvl1: Dex to damage and Aldori dueling master for free? Nice.
Lvl4: Adaptive tactics is the penalty lowerer for the Swordlord PrC,
Con-Only gives -1 penalty, second -1 comes at 8th level
Pro: Applies to Combat expertise as well, which the Swordlord archetype doesn't
(Also a chance to use your sense motive for even more AC/to hit as a swift action)
Lvl 8: See lvl4.

prototype00

Andoran

After taking another look through, I think I'm on the whole underwhelmed by the prestige class. As Prototype has said, the main breakproint is level 1 - I don't know if there's a real point to more than a one level dip (which, in fairness, I would want to take as soon as possible at level 6). None of the other abilities are equal to bonus feats and the (in my opinion) superior abilities of the fighter archetype.

Were it not for the dex to damage ability, the fairly hefty pre-requisites would make me avoid the prestige class altogether.

On the plus side, at least the non-dex aldoris aren't really missing out on anything.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ahh, totally didn't catch the combat expertise part. Silly me. I think I'm with you guys as well at the level 1 break point. I would much rather have the extra feats.


I need to pick up the guide with my next book buy.

I am also curious to see this guide get updated with the Aldori Prestige Class.

Silver Crusade

I've been playing this build in Kingmaker for a few months; just hit level 3 last night. : )

Half-Elf • +2 Dex, Ancestral Arms gives EWP (Aldori Dueling Sword), Multi-Talented gives two favoured classes (Ranger and Fighter)

Traits • Sword Scion (of course!), Rich Parents (to get Mwk sword & armour)

Str14 Dex20 Con11 Int15 Wis10 Cha15 (rolled stats, 15 could have gone on Con but I'm role-playing : D)

1st • Rgr1, Favoured Enemy (Human), Weapon Finesse, EWP as above
2nd • Rgr2, Combat Style-Two Handed Weapon for Power Attack bonus feat
3rd • Ftr1 (Weapon Master archetype), Quick Draw, Weapon Focus (ADS)
4th • Ftr2, Weapon Guard, Aldori Dueling Mastery, +1 Con
5th • Ftr3, Weapon Training 1 (ADS), Dodge
6th • Ftr4, Mobility
At this point I qualify for the Duelist PrC, and do +1 damage/level, and +1 AC/level up to +3 (my lvl8 stat bonus will be Int)

I will use my ADS in two hands and using Power Attack, giving these numbers (not counting any gear I pick up later, just the Mwk ADS and Mwk studded leather. I'll get a mithral shirt as soon as I can, and get my sword and armour enchanted ASAP)

Level • Att Bon • Damage • AC • Init
1st. +8. 1d8+3. 18. +5
2nd. +8. 1d8+6. 18. +5
3rd. +10. 1d8+6. 18. +5
4th. +10. 1d8+9. 19. +7
5th. +12. 1d8+10. 20. +7
6th. +13. 1d8+10. 20. +7

From level 7 till level 16 I'll take Duelist. My attack bonus will increase by level except for levels 8, 12 and 16, my damage will increase by one per level with an extra +3 at levels 8, 12 and 16, my AC will increase by +1 per level until I run out of Int bonus (min +3). Special abilities increase my initiative, and my AC when fighting defensively. My feats at 7th, 9th and 11th will be Weapon Specialisition, Improved Critical and Spring Attack, but I haven't decided the order yet.

When I designed this character I didn't know about the Aldori Swordlord archetype; I do now, but I'm content with Weapon Master. What is that feat you had alongside Sword Scion? (something) Defender? I can't find it. Also, where do I find the Aldori Swordlord PrC?

This build has NO freedom of choice for feats until level7! But I'm enjoying playing her immensely! : )

Any comments would be appreciated!

Silver Crusade

Where is the trait 'Threatening Defender' from, and what does it say?


Threatening Defender
You know how to avoid a blow while still maintaining your offensive posture.

Benefit: When you use Combat Expertise, reduce the number you subtract from your melee attack rolls by 1.

This is from Pathfinder Companion: Cheliax, Empire of Devils

Personally I think it is a solid trait but not a must have one.

Silver Crusade

Saint Bernard wrote:

Threatening Defender

You know how to avoid a blow while still maintaining your offensive posture.

Benefit: When you use Combat Expertise, reduce the number you subtract from your melee attack rolls by 1.

This is from Pathfinder Companion: Cheliax, Empire of Devils

Personally I think it is a solid trait but not a must have one.

Cheers!

Is that a campaign trait? If it is, you can't have that and Sword Scion on the same PC, and I know which one I'd choose!

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