Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

Starfinder


Pathfinder Society


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Secrets of the Swordlords: How to build an effective Aldori


Advice

1 to 50 of 144 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

20 people marked this as a favorite.

We've all tried it at some point, making an Aldori Duelist. Their setting fluff is just so cool. Sadly, the game mechanics attached to it fall short. How can they be the most skilled swordsmen on Golarion when any standard fighter will have more to hit, more damage, and more tricks up their sleeves?

Well wonder no more, because the Secrets of the swordlords have been revealed! This document, stolen by members of the poisoners guild from the lords of Brevoy themselves, reveal for the first time the exact nature of the Aldori Dueling style, the common lies they spread to hide it's true nature, and why the Aldori sit atop the heap of lesser swordmen

Basically, I've spent the last week working on an Aldori swordlord for a kingmaker game, and I wanted to share what I've learned about making an effective Aldori.


Have you given any thoughts to the Agile Weapon Enchant from the Pathfinder Field Society Guide? When you place it on a weapon, it allows you to use your dexterity in place of your strength for damage.


Except for that to be worth it, you'd have to fall into Trap #1. Finesse takes 2 feats to work on an Aldori sword. It's simply too high a feat tax for too low a payoff.


You spelled Duelist wrong twice, including in the title. Just thought you should know. Well, to be honest, it was Dueling in the title.


Also, if you are going for a monk dip, you might want to look at mixing in two other monk archetypes, which should work with Master of Many Styles

The Sacred Mountain Monk. You lose evasion, but get +1 to Natural AC and the Toughness Feat. That helps offset your lower Con

Hungry Ghost Monk. It replaces Punishing Kick with Stunning Fist. Punishing Kick lets you knock people 5 feet back, a little more defense, or, with a saving throw, knock people prone.

Basically you can have a Master of Many Styles/Sacred Mountain Monk/Hungry Ghost Monk 2 level dip.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

While I haven't read through your analysis in depth, the Aldori swordlord archetype is really primarily meant to be great at one-on-one fighting. I pit one of my Kingmaker PCs against a swordlord NPC (who was one level lower) on a one-on-one fencing match, and he got his behind handed to him, not in terms of damage dealt, but just in general fighting sense. The PC could barely hit the swordlord (although he dealt easily twice as much damage per hit), and the swordlord's disarm and maneuvers easily bested the PC's offensive.

So in my experience, the Swordlord archetype is much like the monk; more of a harrier and a trick fighter than a straight up DPS.


Fixed. Anything to say about the subject matter instead of the grammar?


anarchitect wrote:
Except for that to be worth it, you'd have to fall into Trap #1. Finesse takes 2 feats to work on an Aldori sword. It's simply too high a feat tax for too low a payoff.

So that was a yes you thought about it? I dunno, it was lower levels, but I tried it in play and while I wasn't mister Damage Monster, I was doing enough to kill things.


Oh yeah I thought about it. I went into this thinking I'd be making a dex fighter, but quickly realized that the Aldori sword is a sub-par option to an already sub-par fighting style. If you just took a rapier, you'd have 1 more feat to use and a higher crit range. Nothing the Aldori swordlord does well really benefits from high Dex more than high strength.

And Archmage, you are mostly correct. That's the swordlord's main focus, and I build on that. But there are a few tricks for dealing with lots of enemies at once as well. What they don't do well, and never will, is fight monsters or monks, because you can't disarm them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You mention heirloom weapon trait as a way to get EWP with the ADS. Not so; it allows proficiency with a simple or martial weapon only. Might be worth getting anyway for the +2 trait bonus to disarm.


The following text from the Aldori Swordlord archetype applies to every single one of his class features:

D20PFSRD.com wrote:
The following benefits only apply when a swordlord is using an Aldori dueling sword and carrying nothing in his other hand.

Source

You may wish to adjust your guide accordingly.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Aldori duelists, Finesse and all, make pretty good pure kensai magi (that is, ignoring the fighter class entirely). A human kensai magus can have Aldori Dueling Mastery by level 3; the 20 point buy version I've been playing around with would have AC 19 with nothing but his blade and +1 bracers of armor at that point, which ain't too shabby.

EDIT: Also, what do you want to bet that the upcoming Aldori Swordlord PrC will require both Weapon Finesse and Aldori Dueling Mastery to get in...?


A combat-optimized character is only 50% capable. Other PC's must take up their slack in every non-combat encounter.

Hardly "optimal", one could even say, "sub-par".

(slithers back under his heavily trapped rock)


I made a fighter with a similar, but different flavor. Instead of an Aldori sword, he uses a falcata for higher damage. It has convinced me that a 2 level dip in monk (master of many styles/sacred mountain) is worthwhile to add defensive capability to the figher - crane wing/riposte, +3 to all saves, toughness, +1 Natural AC, improved unarmed strike, more skills, all for mainly 1 less BAB.


Bardic Dave wrote:

The following text from the Aldori Swordlord archetype applies to every single one of his class features:

D20PFSRD.com wrote:
The following benefits only apply when a swordlord is using an Aldori dueling sword and carrying nothing in his other hand.

Source

You may wish to adjust your guide accordingly.

Oh bother.

I wonder if using it two handed counts as not carrying anything in the other hand, or if making an attack action two handed and switching to one hand is acceptable enough to get the AC bonuses.

That takes a lot of the wind out of my sails, honestly. Switching to two handed on your turn provided a huge damage benefit, which in turn gave a solid reason to use an Aldori sword instead of a Rapier or a two-handed weapon. It bugs me because they keep calling attention to the fact that it can be used two-handed, but there keeps being no good reason to do so. I'm gonna have to hit the books again and see if I can salvage that aspect of the style.


anarchitect wrote:


I wonder if using it two handed counts as not carrying anything in the other hand,

It does not unfortunately

anarchitect wrote:


or if making an attack action two handed and switching to one hand is acceptable enough to get the AC bonuses.

This is a grey area. Would likely depend on your GM. There's a RAW argument to be made here, for sure. Too messy and convoluted for my taste though, and plainly flies in the face of the RAI. Whether this works or not would vary from table to table.

anarchitect wrote:
That takes a lot of the wind out of my sails, honestly. Switching to two handed on your turn provided a huge damage benefit, which in turn gave a solid reason to use an Aldori sword instead of a Rapier or a two-handed weapon. It bugs me because they keep calling attention to the fact that it can be used two-handed, but there keeps being no good reason to do so. I'm gonna have to hit the books again and see if I can salvage that aspect of the style.

:( Sorry to have been the bearer of bad news. I too wish that PAIZO had written a more effective Aldori Swordlord. Maybe the upcoming PRC will fix things.


Personally, the Aldori Swordlord archetype needs rewritten. Not getting Weapon Training until 9th level is the worst feature. It would be nice if you can give up Heavy Armor and Shield proficiencies for Aldori Sword proficiency. The Aldori prestige class coming out may fix some problems in the near future.


All right, I fixed the guide.

It turns out there is still a good reason to adopt a two handed stance about 1/3rd of the time. Half the Aldori abilities only activate on a full attack action. So if circumstances force you to take a standard attack action, and it's not a disarm, you may as well put your second hand on the sword. So nifty Grip shift is preserved as a somewhat less prominent but still present portion of the style. Other than that, I removes all references to off-hand weapons, and added a small section on Aldori Magus builds.

I also added the suggestions and changes from Guy Kilmore and Paladin of Baha-who. Thanks for the suggestions.

I don't have high hopes for the prestige class, if only because Paizo generally makes their prestige classes a little less powerful than just sticking to your main class. Still, I look forward to anything more for the Aldori. And the Swordlord archetype, with everything good front-ended before 10th level, seems like a good setup to a prestige class. I can only say that if it requires getting the crap feat that is Aldori Dueling Mastery, and it's boatload of useless feat tax, then it better have "Diamonds and Blowjobs" as a 1st level ability.

And Weslocke, I specialize in taking interesting but sub-optimal role playing choices and tweaking them to be competitive. We're looking at a Int 13 human fighter, who dips into some classes with good skill choices and might have a high charisma to boot. He'll pull his own on outside of combat. All this tweaking is simply to make sure that an Aldori Duelist can do what fluff says they can do, which is kick anyone's ass in a duel.


An interesting guide and I like it, as I have been toying with an Aldori build/idea for a while. (I mainly GM a homebrew setting, but one of my players picked up the first three Kingmaker APs, I am hoping he decides to bust them out sometime.)

You guide is informative and I think it does a great job on focusing on the feats/builds/dips that someone should consider.

I, personally, don't see the finess route as a "trap," but just less optimal. (To me a Trap represents something that makes something unplayable, or basically unviable.) It appears viable in play. That is just a philsophical difference though and a more sophisticated reader should be able to move past it and still get a nice perspective on the Archetype. (Like me :P).


Bardic Dave wrote:
anarchitect wrote:


I wonder if using it two handed counts as not carrying anything in the other hand,

It does not unfortunately

I'm not sure I agree.

You're not carrying anything in your other hand. The only thing in your hands is your sword, as the rules specify.

If you compare the wording to similar abilities, Duelist and Dervish Dance specifically state you can't wield a weapon or a shield with your off-hand, Dervish dance states you must use your scimitar one handed, and Free-hand Fighter actually requires your hand be free.

The language here is certainly more lax than for other similar abilities, combined with the fact that the archetype references a two handed-fighting style, I think a very strong argument exists for RAI and a perfectly valid interpretation of RAW

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There's no way you're going to sell me on the idea that you're not carrying something in your other hand if you are carrying your sword in both hands.


That is a worthy goal, if simply to show that there are no sub-optimal character choices, which is precisely my experience.

All that class-jumping though? Totally unnecessary.


Totally. It's an option. It's not even the best option, necessarily.

For example: A 5th level human strait Aldori fighter has Disarming strike. He has enough feats to get combat expertise and power attack, dodge at first, and improved unarmed strike at second level. Crane style happens at third, Improved disarm at fourth, and crane wing at 5th. The only must have feat he's missing is Crane Riposte, which he can't get until 8th anyway. He's got a full base attack bonus, will get the fighter capstones, and is way easier to keep track of.

If you multiclass into monk at third, though, you can pick up both crane style and crane wing then. Another level of Monk gets you Crane Riposte at 4th. This gets you the superior defensive aspects of the build right away, but delays getting into the unique aspects of being an Aldori 2 levels.

Which is better depends on your campaign. If you've had problems surviving encounters, you might need those defensive feats much sooner. If not, then you might want to stick to pure fighter. I think the multiclasser has a small advantage before 5th level, the strait fighter has an advantage 5th-9th level, which the multiclass character closes then surpasses 10th-18th levels. Then the pure fighter hits the spotlight again 19th-20th because he gets the fighter capstones. I'm in fact extremely happy there are multiple effective Aldori builds: it means there is room for variety.

For my own campaign, I'm leaning strongly to pure fighter with the gladiator archetype, and picking up osyluth's guile ASAP. I just like the idea of a total show-off duelist. Now if I can only figure out a way to make performance feats actually useful...


I just did a side by side comparison of a Strength Built Aldori Duelist, and a Dex-based one that goes for the Duelist Prestige class. I built both up to 12, as Humans, and didn't take any magic items into consideration. I assumed a 20 point buy with an 18 (21) in your main stat (str or dex), a 14 in your secondary (Dex or Str), a 13 int and a 12 con.

I built the Dex-Duelist to take their first level of Duelist at 8th level, and stay in it from there. This gets us steel net, as well as Riposte. Practically all our feats go to either meeting the prerequisites for the Duelist class or the Aldori Dueling Mastery feat, but we have enough left over to get Crane style, combat expertise and improved disarm.

Compared to the Strength fighter, the Duelist has +7 to initiative, +6 to reflex saves, +5 to AC, +5 AoOs, and +2 damage (+4 on disarming strikes.) He has the Parry and Riposte abilities as well. Any extra bonuses to int will also boost AC, and there's the matter of Mobility. Boy, that sounds pretty Good!

Meanwhile, the Strength fighter builds towards the same tactics, taking Combat Expertise and Imp. Disarm, and Crane style + prereqs. He also grabs W.F. Aldori sword. He just stays in Aldori Swordlord all 12 levels.

Compared to the Dex fighter, The strength fighter gets Weapon Training, +1 Fort save, and the counterstrike ability. He can finish out the feat tree of crane wing and crane Riposte, which gives him a defense ability superior to the duelists parry/riposte and which doesn't use up an attack. Weapon training puts him up +1 to hit, he can wear medium armor to close teh AC gap some, and he's up 5 levels of favored class bonuses. But most importantly, he has 6 open feat slots that he can use to pick up more tricks. Weapon specialization or Power attack would close and surpase the damage gap, Imp. Init. would help close the initiative gap, and mobility + spring attack and Whirlwind attack give better combat options. +2 save feats can add extra protection, while combat reflexes gives a smaller but still significant boost to AoOs.6 feats is enough open slots to add a whole second fighting style.

I still hold the strength build is the better build, but I'm prepared to upgrade the Duelist Build from Red to Yellow based on some of those high-dex bonuses and that initiative score.


Quantum Steve wrote:

You're not carrying anything in your other hand. The only thing in your hands is your sword, as the rules specify.

If you compare the wording to similar abilities, Duelist and Dervish Dance specifically state you can't wield a weapon or a shield with your off-hand, Dervish dance states you must use your scimitar one handed, and Free-hand Fighter actually requires your hand be free.

The language here is certainly more lax than for other similar abilities,

I agree that the language is less specific than it is with other classes, but…

Quantum Steve wrote:
combined with the fact that the archetype references a two handed-fighting style,

As far as I can tell, the archetype does not reference a two hand fighting style at all, anywhere. I pored over the text several times; I searched for the words "two" "both" and "hand"; I didn't find a single passage that suggests any two-handed usage. What are you seeing that I'm missing?

Quantum Steve wrote:
I think a very strong argument exists for RAI and a perfectly valid interpretation of RAW

I agree that a (somewhat shaky) RAW argument can be made: the inherent ambiguity of the text could give rise to either interpretation. As such, why not interpret it in a way that allows two-handed fighting? However, the flipside is also valid: why not interpret it in a way that does not alllow two-handed fighting. Clearly, RAW alone can only get you so far.

I do not agree that there is any case to be made for RAI though. Swordlords are finesse duelists (I'm not referring to the PRC here). That's part of their fluff. Two-handed smashes are the antithesis of finesse dueling, at least as it is known in Pathfinder and D&D.

Like I said before: your mileage will vary from table to table with this one. Personally, I wouldn't hang my hat on this RAW interpretation.


anarchitect wrote:

I just did a side by side comparison of a Strength Built Aldori Duelist, and a Dex-based one that goes for the Duelist Prestige class. I built both up to 12, as Humans, and didn't take any magic items into consideration. I assumed a 20 point buy with an 18 (21) in your main stat (str or dex), a 14 in your secondary (Dex or Str), a 13 int and a 12 con.

I built the Dex-Duelist to take their first level of Duelist at 8th level, and stay in it from there. This gets us steel net, as well as Riposte. Practically all our feats go to either meeting the prerequisites for the Duelist class or the Aldori Dueling Mastery feat, but we have enough left over to get Crane style, combat expertise and improved disarm.

Compared to the Strength fighter, the Duelist has +7 to initiative, +6 to reflex saves, +5 to AC, +5 AoOs, and +2 damage (+4 on disarming strikes.) He has the Parry and Riposte abilities as well. Any extra bonuses to int will also boost AC, and there's the matter of Mobility. Boy, that sounds pretty Good!

Meanwhile, the Strength fighter builds towards the same tactics, taking Combat Expertise and Imp. Disarm, and Crane style + prereqs. He also grabs W.F. Aldori sword. He just stays in Aldori Swordlord all 12 levels.

Compared to the Dex fighter, The strength fighter gets Weapon Training, +1 Fort save, and the counterstrike ability. He can finish out the feat tree of crane wing and crane Riposte, which gives him a defense ability superior to the duelists parry/riposte and which doesn't use up an attack. Weapon training puts him up +1 to hit, he can wear medium armor to close teh AC gap some, and he's up 5 levels of favored class bonuses. But most importantly, he has 6 open feat slots that he can use to pick up more tricks. Weapon specialization or Power attack would close and surpase the damage gap, Imp. Init. would help close the initiative gap, and mobility + spring attack and Whirlwind attack give better combat options. +2 save feats can add extra protection, while combat reflexes gives a...

Great work! Thanks! I see the merits of both builds. I'm sure the strength build wins out in the end, if you're optimizing for damage. Strength builds almost always do.


Looks great! Thanks. Just in time for a Kingmaker game I've been invited to, as well. :)


Actually, the strength and the dex build even out for damage over the long term: getting precise strike makes a huge difference. Where the strength swordlord shines is flexibility, because he has more feat slots and fewer "Must take" feats to occupy them.

All the talk about 2-handing your Aldori sword comes from the Aldori sword itself: the description specifically calls out that you can use it in two hands for the extra damage, unlike the rapier. This is something any normal 1-handed weapon can do, but the Aldori sword can do it and finesse at the same time.

The older version of Aldori Dueling mastery, before the reprint, gave an additional damage die when you used the sword in 2 hands.

And the fluff that accompanied that feat makes mention of the Aldori style using both 1 and two handed grips.

So I don't think you'll find anything under the swordlord archetype, but you will find it in other references.


anarchitect wrote:

Actually, the strength and the dex build even out for damage over the long term: getting precise strike makes a huge difference. Where the strength swordlord shines is flexibility, because he has more feat slots and fewer "Must take" feats to occupy them.

All the talk about 2-handing your Aldori sword comes from the Aldori sword itself: the description specifically calls out that you can use it in two hands for the extra damage, unlike the rapier. This is something any normal 1-handed weapon can do, but the Aldori sword can do it and finesse at the same time.

The older version of Aldori Dueling mastery, before the reprint, gave an additional damage die when you used the sword in 2 hands.

And the fluff that accompanied that feat makes mention of the Aldori style using both 1 and two handed grips.

So I don't think you'll find anything under the swordlord archetype, but you will find it in other references.

Cool, thanks for the explanation!

Also, thanks again for the guide. I'm DMing Kingmaker right now; I'm sure I'll make use of your guide at some point!


I'm considering adding the original Aldori Dueling Mastery feat in a sidebar or something: I'm pretty sure it's been officially replaced, but if your GM allows the old version in play it's fricking awesome.


I miss the old version...

Grand Lodge

Aldori can SERIOUSLY rock. They need time to mature - like fine wine.

Lets start Level 1.

I am gonna assume a dex of 18 - this is manageable as a 15pt build. I am gonna assume (for now) Chain vest but the better armour is in fact the kikko armour from Ultimate Combat (more on that later).

Thats AC 18. Add a buckler or even a shield as you don't really have anything stopping you mechanically. AC 20.

Its comparable with another warrior in full plate with no dex bonus. Additionally, you move faster, and your dex allows you to branch into skills that are dex intensive (which is more than those that are str intensive). I typically use a trait to get access to stealth or disable device or similar so I can help the party in other ways.

Your hits? Yep they suck - likely you are looking at 12-13 str (don't try armour under 12 str!) and a MW pack.

By level 3, you've eaten exotic weapon, weapon finesse and quick draw as feat 'losses' That bites a bit but if I were a two weapon fighter there is also a 'feat tax'.

But.

You've a free hand now and the Aldori dueling feat - +2 initiative is sweet and +2 shield bonus.

You've got a +1 Melee AC when 'full' action attacking etc.

So thats AC 21 without having to lug a shield.

You're a bit stale here on in until you reach 7th but thats when they come into their own. It does ok but its not the combat monster you'd hope.

Lets go to Level 7.

By now you should be able to afford a Agile Weapon. I also recommend Mithral Kikko armour - it has ALL the stats of the Chain shirt but +1 more AC. It has NO armour check and allows for a max dex of +6. It also counts as light armour.

You can fight defensively as a FULL action move (so you still get multiple attacks) and I am gonna assume you have 3 ranks of Acrobatics (+1 more AC).

So this would be -4 to hit and +3 AC but wait, the Aldori Net of Steel, changes that to -2 to hit and +5 AC.

+5.

Its worth taking a side track here - do you want to be pure fighter or not because the name of the game here is Crane Style. If you want to stay straight fighter with no dips then by the time you hit 7th you also invest in the dodge, improved unarmed combat and Crane Wing. Its a lot of feats. Crane Style cancels your -2 to fighting defensively and gives you another +1 AC.

This means that fighting defensively you lose NO additional attacks, lose NO attack bonus and gain +6 AC.

If you want to hold off and not blow a lot of feats? At level 5, dip for one level of Monk, Master of Many Styles and you get Crane and Improved Unarmed Combat (and dodge) and then back to Fighter until 8th level.

+6 AC is insane. It stays insane for a few levels more. Oh and your level 3 class feature is worth +2 AC at this point when full actioning... so thats +8 AC if its Melee.

SO... At level 8, lets assume.

20 Dex (either slight enhancement via items or natural stats)
Mithral Kikko +1
Dodge
Defensive fighting (full round)
Aldori fighting (+2 shield AC)

+5+6+1+6+2 = 31 AC without any other buffs, rings amulets etc. 33 AC if its Melee AC (from class feature at 3rd)

You'll have weapon spec and an Agile property weapon giving you +7 damage.

Trust me, as a fighter option - its very solid by level 7-8.

Going into higher levels you have Crane Wing and Crane Riposte making you a bad ass in melee combat and at level 9 fighter you finally get weapons training 1, meaning Gloves of Dueling are great to add. By level 11, you get counter attack as an immediate action, which works great with Crane Riposte.

Is it the best of the best? Nope - RavingDork posted an insane fighter/duelist that also does a great job but its a fighter good enough that no one will kick sand in its face. Its feat intensive and other fighters will have a wider bag of tricks but for 1-1 dueling? This guy is a nightmare at level 11-12.

At higher levels they need Celestial armour etc to really rock it but they can fight aldori-crane style in full plate as well as naked.

Grand Lodge

Wow - just opened the link.

Sorry if I duplicated a lot of what you said. My bad for not reading it earlier - I disagree with you on the 'traps' however.

That said I had a light bulb moment - I do like the Aldori Dueling feat but there is really no big need to take it before I get access to crane style (ideally even getting them at the same time) - a shield will do just as well (if not better) until that point even with the hand free class feature clarification.

I don't see Finesse as a trap - having high dex gives you good Reflex saves, access to better skill check chances and a good AC bonus but thats been discussed over and over on other threads. I just can't belt out the damage like a str 20 monster is all until I get an agile weapon. Also? It makes you a pretty decent shot with a missile weapon so you aren't a one shot pony that can just do melee and thats it.

Fast draw? Seems sucky but its situationally useful, and depending on the DM you can do all sorts of fun things.

Exotic weapon? That is a bit of a trap but that goes for many of the exotic weapons out there.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My straight fighter build (pre your guide)

1. Exotic, Finesse, Focus
2. Quickdraw
3. Aldori Dueling
4. Weapon Spec (its needed to up the damage)
5. Dodge
6. Imp. Unarmed Combat
7. Crane Style
8. Choose: Imp. Crit OR Crane Wing.
9. As above.
10. Improved Disarm

(I've only built to 10)

Its not an optimum build but its generally what works for me. I think some basic changes can be made here - including sacrificing Aldori Dueling to later and using the QD and Aldori Slots for other things.

That said - its very feat intensive. While I disagree with some of your points, you are dead on the money about the value of flexibility of having more feat choices.


I suppose I should Edit the guide to make this clearer: Finesse isn't so much a trap for the Aldori blade as much as the Aldori Blade is a trap for Finesse.

Yes, going Finesse gives you higher saves, better initiative, better AC and some better skills. But you could get all that stuff for 1 less feat if you just used a Rapier. The Aldori sword isn't even a little better than a Rapier, until you hit 5th level. If I were Optimizing a Dex Aldori I wouldn't even use the Aldori blade until then: I'd stick rapier for 5 levels.

Helaman: Is that with or without the Aldori Swordlord Archetype? I'd prioritize getting improved disarm before 5th level, so that you can make full use of Disarming strike. But how did you take it without picking up combat expertise?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
anarchitect wrote:

I suppose I should Edit the guide to make this clearer: Finesse isn't so much a trap for the Aldori blade as much as the Aldori Blade is a trap for Finesse.

Yes, going Finesse gives you higher saves, better initiative, better AC and some better skills. But you could get all that stuff for 1 less feat if you just used a Rapier. The Aldori sword isn't even a little better than a Rapier, until you hit 5th level. If I were Optimizing a Dex Aldori I wouldn't even use the Aldori blade until then: I'd stick rapier for 5 levels.

I rather substantially disagree with this in any situation where you can get the EWP without it being a hefty cost (kensai magus, half-elf anything, or even most humans). You can't two-hand a rapier for the increased Power Attack bonuses, and that's a loss you're going to feel when it comes to damage output.


So you're paying an extra feat to use finesse with abilities that work much better if you have high strength. Unless your strength is 14 or better, and your Dex is at least 6 points higher than your strength, I just don't see it being worth it.

Ask yourself this: If a feat existed that let you use a rapier 2-handed, would it be worth it? Or is it the kind of thing you'd only take if you got it free?

Grand Lodge

The Disarm thing? It depends - on a 20 point build you can afford to get what you need and you can use Expertise at 2nd (in lieu of Quickdraw) and Disarm (in lieu of the aldori dueling) but again, I don't mind investing in the Aldori Dueling feat - its just a question of do you do it at 3rd or later.


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.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I suggest the following build:

Human, 20 PB
18/14/14/13/11/7
Traits: Sword Scion, Threatening Defender

L1: Monk(Master of Many Styles, Sohei, Monk of the Sacred Mountain Archetypes)
Take Dodge and Crane Style with your normal feats, take Crane Wing as Bonus feat from MoMS. Starting at Level 1, you are an unusual swordfighter who can Deflect 1 melee attack/turn and fight defensively for -2/+3.
The only bad thing about this build is the low starting gold of Monks.

L2: Sohei grants +1 init, Sacred Mountain gives Toughness and +1 NA for evasion, you pick up Crane Riposte with your Bonus feat.
Now you can fight defensively for -1/+3, deflect 1/turn, riposte 1/turn.

L3: Fighter(Aldori Sword Lord Archetype):
Pick up Mobility and Combat Expertise. You can now Fight defensively for -1/+4, and use Combat Expertise at no penalty(Threatening Defender) for another +1 AC.

L4: Fighter
Pick up EWP-Aldori dueling Sword(Two-handed grip for bonus damage, lets you take Weapon Focus and Specialization later)

L5: Fighter
Take Spring Attack. You gain Defensive Parry at this level, which is triggered by Spring Attack.
Combat Expertise+Fighting Defensively+Defensive Parry offers -2/+7 at this point.

L6+:
Continue taking levels of Fighter, tweaking the character as you see fit.


Good build, but I'd note that I don't think you need E.W.P. to take Weapon focus: You are proficient with it as a martial weapon.

But I suppose if that's true, you don't really NEED it for Aldori dueling mastery either. Only for using weapon finesse. It's still a crap choice, but it's potentially one less feat you have to take. Hmmm. Hmmm. This is a weird border case.

It hardly matters, though. Either your martial proficiency qualifies you for W.F. Aldori sword, or the rule that lets you use the Aldori sword as "as a longsword" means that you can use W.F. Longsword with an Aldori sword. You get weapon focus without the E.W.P. either way.

I suppose the most restrictive reading of the rules would say that unless you are using the Aldori sword with E.W.P., it only counts as a longsword and won't work with any of the swordlord's class features. But that would be specifically reading every rule in the worst possible light to make sure we can't have nice things. I think the fact that the Aldori swordlord doesn't automatically get Exotic Weapon Proficiency is a strong argument that they don't need it.

Opinions backed by rules quotes requested, folks. Does martial weapon proficiency with the longsword count as "proficient" with the aldori sword for meeting prerequisites?

Also, spring attack won't trigger defensive parry. It'a a full round action, but not a full attack action. Fiddly RAW argument you can feel free to house rule, but there it is.


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.

That is not true at all. Crane Riposte is great for three reasons. The AoO you get from it can be a disarm attack, which if successful will mess up iterative attacks against you. It also guarantees that you'll get to use your AoO each round. And Steel Net only applies to full round actions. If you're ever forced to take a standard action, you'll want Crane riposte's penalty reduction for fighting defensively. Such as during surprise rounds, or any turn where you had to move, or when you are slowed by magic....


Quite liked this discussion, as I was just working On a Paladin/Sorcerer/Aldori character. Thanks for the ideas! :)

Liberty's Edge

Awesome read, and some interesting ideas. I'd very much like to see sample builds in the guide.


Just for you, Flynn Walker, I have added 3 builds to the end of the guide. The straitforward Swordlord, who takes 20 levels of Aldori swordlord with no nonsense. The Technical Swordlord, who drops a level into monk to get a little ahead on the feat tree and to get actually useful offhand attacks. And finally the Retribution Swordlord, a finesse fighter who makes his enemies regret attacking him.


I've been thinking about how awesome it would be to see the return of the original Aldori Dueling Mastery feat.

Aldori dueling mastery wrote:

Aldori Dueling Mastery [Local]

Local Brevoy Feat

Your mastery of the Aldori dueling style sets you apart from even the other swordlords.

Prerequisites: Dex 17, Greater Weapon Focus (Aldori dueling sword), Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (Aldori dueling sword), Weapon Specialization (Aldori dueling sword), base attack bonus +12, proficient with Aldori dueling sword, member of Aldori school.

Benefit: You can make one additional attack each round with an Aldori dueling sword (whether wielded with one hand or two). The attack is at your highest base attack bonus, but each attack you make in the round (the extra one and the normal ones) takes a –2 penalty. You must use the full-attack action to use this aspect of the feat. In addition, when you wield an Aldori dueling sword with two hands, you deal +1d4 points of extra damage with each hit (even attacks of opportunity) and gain a +2 shield bonus to your AC. These latter bonuses stack with those gained from Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization. Creatures immune to critical hits and sneak attacks are also immune to the extra damage your Aldori dueling style deals

I get a feeling that we may see it with the new Aldori prestige class.


Yeah. That feat is almost worth the proficiency and finesse fighting, if only almost.

Combine it with two weapon fighting for awesome numbers of attacks per round.


Shisumo wrote:
There's no way you're going to sell me on the idea that you're not carrying something in your other hand if you are carrying your sword in both hands.

Wielding isn't the same as carrying, and unlike an off-hand weapon, you can just let go of the sword between attacks.

Bardic Dave wrote:

[

Quantum Steve wrote:
combined with the fact that the archetype references a two handed-fighting style,

As far as I can tell, the archetype does not reference a two hand fighting style at all, anywhere. I pored over the text several times; I searched for the words "two" "both" and "hand"; I didn't find a single passage that suggests any two-handed usage. What are you seeing that I'm missing?

hmm... you're right. I must have been thinking of the Aldori dueling master feat which does mention two-handed fighting style.

Quote:
I do not agree that there is any case to be made for RAI though. Swordlords are finesse duelists (I'm not referring to the PRC here). That's part of their fluff. Two-handed smashes are the antithesis of finesse dueling, at least as it is known in Pathfinder and D&D.

Two-handed is not the opposite of finesse. There are several finessable weapons that can be used two-handed. If sword lords were supposed to be rapier fighters, the archetype would have said so. They can already wear full plate just fine which doesn't exactly jive with "finesse duelists" anyway.


Thanks for posting the builds, It was nice to see your ideas laid out more.

Why does the technique swordsman have Two Weapon Fighting? You don't seem to build up on it at all after that.


Thanks for the builds. I especially like the half-elf Retribution swordlord, as it is very iconic and mechanically viable:

You start immediately with proficiency and weapon finesse in the aldori dueling sword, signifying training, (and gaining the maximum bonus from EWP(aldori dueling sword) if you finesse it two-handed).

The Multiclassing loses no favored class bonuses because of multitalented,
you get the counterstrike at 3rd level, which is still quite early, and delay the disarming strike -another iconic element of this fighting style- only by one level.

My current kingmaker character will be planned slightly different, though:

Human

Rolled stats:
Str 18(16+2) Dex 15 Con 14 Int 14 Wis 14 Cha 8

Traits: Sword Scion, Threatening Defender.

1st: Monk 1 Improved Unarmed Strike, Dodge, Crane Style, Crane Wing, Stunning Fist

(Master of Many Styles, Master of the Sacred Mountain)

2nd: Monk 2 Crane Riposte, Toughness, NA +1

3rd: Fighter 1 Combat Expertise, Dragon Style

(Aldori Swordlord)

4th: Fighter 2 EWP(Aldori Dueling Sword), Bravery, +1 Dex

5th: Fighter 3 WF(Aldori Dueling Sword), Defensive Parry

6th: Fighter 4 WS(Aldori Dueling Sword)

7th: Fighter 5 Improved Disarm, Disarming Strike

8th: Fighter 6 Power Attack, +1 Str

9th: Fighter 7 Deflect Arrows, Steel Net

10th: Fighter 8 Mobility

11th: Fighter 9 Spring Attack, Weapon Training

12th: Fighter 10 Whirlwind Attack, +1 Str

EDIT: I realized a critical flaw of this build: No proficiency in the aldori dueling sword(via longsword proficiency) until level 3!
This can be rectified via Heirloom Weapon(Longsword), gaining a second longsword...but this loses me the Threatening Defender trait. Oh well...

1 to 50 of 144 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Advice / Secrets of the Swordlords: How to build an effective Aldori All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002-2017 Paizo Inc.® | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours, Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time.

Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder, the Starfinder logo, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Legends, Pathfinder Online, Starfinder Adventure Path, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.