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Sword and Board TWF Dwarf Fighter


Advice

Dark Archive

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

I am going to be starting a Pathfinder campaign in a couple weeks. For this campaign, I want to play a dwarf fighter who used to be a Town Guard, but now is an adventurer. He wades into fights with a weapon and shield, using both to mete out asskicking.

My question is mostly based around how to make him as mechanically sound as possible. I found some wonderfully helpful information in Rogue Eidolon's Guide to Fighters (https://docs.google.com/document/edit?id=15x4he4WAFYNsoeYgNG8KaEjPH2OvzF2d Ujiy8BL1h14&hl=en&pli=1). However, I'm already going off the rails a bit by going Dwarf instead of Human. We're starting at level 1, 20 point buy, max starting gold, 2 traits

My character's stats are
16 Strength
15 Dexterity (going to drop my first stat boost into this at level 4)
14 Constitution
13 Intelligence
12 Wisdom
6 Charisma

At level 1 he's got Two Weapon Fighting and Improved Shield Bash. Traits are Reactionary and Indomitable Faith. For armor and weaponry, he has a Dwarven Waraxe, a Warhammer, a Sling, a Breastplate and a Light Spiked Steel Shield.

The plan, so far, is pretty much just to go straight Fighter and pick up feats as the guide suggests them, but I'd be appreciative for a second opinion from people who've given such a build a try!

Thanks for your time.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You can two hand a heavy shield for x1.5 strength and boost power attack. Combine with improved shield bash for AC and damage.

Dark Archive

blackbloodtroll wrote:
You can two hand a heavy shield for x1.5 strength and boost power attack. Combine with improved shield bash for AC and damage.

Oh really? That's cool, and probably something I will take advantage of in the future.

I can already see my character ending up like the Paizo art of characters who are carrying a zillion different weapons. He's carrying his Light Shield and Waraxe, the Sling and Warhammer are hanging from his belt, he'd end up with the Heavy Shield strung across his back!

Star Voter 2013

Instead of a sling I'd grab a number of " Dwarven bows". Also known as a light hammer or throwing axes.

Dark Archive

Ooo, having Light Hammers on his belt for tossing at people sounds fun, too. Feels a little more fighter-y to me than using a sling. Would I be able to use iterative attacks on tossing more than one a round?

Star Voter 2013

Not without quickdraw but then again you can't take iterative attacks with a sling without a feat anyway.

Dark Archive

Okay, cool.

Well, as a Fighter, I'm not as feat starved as other classes, so picking up Quickdraw at some point probably wouldn't kill me, and being able to switch between all those weapons I intend to carry would probably be helpful even ignoring the extra throwing attacks.


I played a similar character in 3.5. It took about 7 levels of being mediocre to get all my equipment and feats, but then I became quite the powerhouse and had a blast. The cleric and bard would buff me up and stand back.

Dark Archive

Oh, I've got another question.

Would Enlarge Person be a good buff for me? Losing some Dex for the duration wouldn't get rid of any versions of TWF that require higher than 13 Dex, right?

Also, I'm not terribly worried about being super crazy powerful to start off with as the game is going to be more roleplaying-heavy, but I want to be effective at what I do when I need to do it.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Be sure your shield is a quickdraw shield. There is also the non-magical throwing modification for shields. You could throw an axe/hammer then grab a quickdraw shield, and power attack shield bash anyone nearby.


Seranov wrote:

Oh, I've got another question.

Would Enlarge Person be a good buff for me? Losing some Dex for the duration wouldn't get rid of any versions of TWF that require higher than 13 Dex, right?

I believe you would lose access to the feats while your dex was debuffed, yes. You lose access to a feat you've taken when you no longer meet the prereqs, until you meet them again.

However, your Dwarven Waraxe is suddenly doing 2d8, and you've got a 10' reach. Not the worst thing ever, if your character can get past being eight feet tall. It's unnatural!


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I would avoid the two weapon fighting aspect. If you were going ranger, I would say yes, as you would not need to invest in dex so much.
The question is:
Do you want to focus on the shield, or dwarven waraxe?

Dark Archive

VillainHat wrote:
Seranov wrote:

Oh, I've got another question.

Would Enlarge Person be a good buff for me? Losing some Dex for the duration wouldn't get rid of any versions of TWF that require higher than 13 Dex, right?

I believe you would lose access to the feats while your dex was debuffed, yes. You lose access to a feat you've taken when you no longer meet the prereqs, until you meet them again.

However, your Dwarven Waraxe is suddenly doing 2d8, and you've got a 10' reach. Not the worst thing ever, if your character can get past being eight feet tall. It's unnatural!

Heh, I can definitely work this into the character. Also, if I get a belt that gives +2 Dexterity, that'd cancel out the Enlarge Person Dex penalty, correct?

"Eh? I cannae fit through th' door? What is this sorcery?!"

blackbloodtroll wrote:

I would avoid the two weapon fighting aspect. If you were going ranger, I would say yes, as you would not need to invest in dex so much.

The question is:
Do you want to focus on the shield, or dwarven waraxe?

Honestly, the concept of a fighter striding through combat, using his shield as both defense and offense, while still using his primary hand's weapon is really integral to the character. It's pretty much why I wanted to make the character in the first place. I understand it'll probably not be super efficient, mechanically.

The whole reason I made this thread is that I have the character idea, but I want it to be as mechanically sound as possible, without sacrificing the concept. To this end, you've all been splendidly helpful, and I am very appreciative!


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You can focus on one, and still use the other. All I am asking is, what weapon do you want to be better at using?

Dark Archive

I suppose the shield, then? The concept of being able to switch to any of the other weapons (warhammer/waraxe/light hammers/etc.) fits in really well.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So you choose the close weapon group first for weapon training, then hammer or axes.
You can walk around throwing hammers, and then pull your quickdraw shield out for some slamming. In fact, by focusing on your shield, when the enemy asks you to drop your weapon, you are still wielding your deadliest weapon. Throwing nets upon your opponent, then shield smashing them is a good tactic.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I really think you should consider ranger for this particular combination. You won't have as many feats, but you also won't need to worry about not having enough dexterity.

Dark Archive

Nets, huh? Another thing I can work with.

Actually, can you use TWF when throwing the light hammers? Because tossing a pair of them, then pulling out the axe + quickdraw shield would be pretty cool!

Mergy wrote:
I really think you should consider ranger for this particular combination. You won't have as many feats, but you also won't need to worry about not having enough dexterity.

Honestly, I would strongly consider it if there wasn't already going to be a melee ranger in my party.

As-is, it just gives me a better initiative, reflex save and a little more AC, so I'm totally cool with it.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You can always wield two shields.

Dark Archive

Haha, I don't think I'd go that far. Might be something silly to try as a joke, though. DOUBLE SHIELD BULLRUSH!


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You could try to go dex based, and pick up a agile light shield later. Nab throw anything, and you can walk around throwing any weapon you want. Piranha strike will replace power attack in this case.

Dark Archive

I actually have a plan for a throwing barbarian, the light hammers just felt like a more thematic ranged weapon for this character. I'm definitely going to do most of the focus on axe+shield TWF. I just like knowing how all the contingency plans he has available to him will work.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Throwing hammers still works with the dex build. Well, actually.

Dark Archive

Well, how would a dex build look, numbers wise? Just out of sheer curiosity.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Seranov wrote:

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

I am going to be starting a Pathfinder campaign in a couple weeks. For this campaign, I want to play a dwarf fighter who used to be a Town Guard, but now is an adventurer. He wades into fights with a weapon and shield, using both to mete out asskicking.

My question is mostly based around how to make him as mechanically sound as possible. I found some wonderfully helpful information in Rogue Eidolon's Guide to Fighters (https://docs.google.com/document/edit?id=15x4he4WAFYNsoeYgNG8KaEjPH2OvzF2d Ujiy8BL1h14&hl=en&pli=1). However, I'm already going off the rails a bit by going Dwarf instead of Human. We're starting at level 1, 20 point buy, max starting gold, 2 traits

My character's stats are
16 Strength
15 Dexterity (going to drop my first stat boost into this at level 4)
14 Constitution
13 Intelligence
12 Wisdom
6 Charisma

At level 1 he's got Two Weapon Fighting and Improved Shield Bash. Traits are Reactionary and Indomitable Faith. For armor and weaponry, he has a Dwarven Waraxe, a Warhammer, a Sling, a Breastplate and a Light Spiked Steel Shield.

The plan, so far, is pretty much just to go straight Fighter and pick up feats as the guide suggests them, but I'd be appreciative for a second opinion from people who've given such a build a try!

Thanks for your time.

First thing: Swap Str and Dex. You want to have a 17 Dex by 6th-8th level to qualify for Improved Two-Weapon Fighting. Bump the Str to 16 at 4th, Dex to 17th at 8th (and take Improved Two-Weapon Fighting with your bonus feat), and put all your other advances in Str.

Second: Look at taking the two-weapon warrior archetype. As a dwarf, you don't need Armor Training as much (since your movement is already unaffected by medium or heavy armor) and the Defensive Flurry ability stacks with the AC bonus from a shield (making you a very effective tank). Twin Blades makes you better at both weapon and shield attacks simultaneously. Shield Slam + Doublestrike = move, attack with both weapon and shield, and a free bull rush attempt. Improved Balance lets you use a waraxe and heavy shield while only taking the normal -2 penalty (instead of -4); note that Shield Master only negates the two-weapon fighting penalty with the shield attack (the weapon in the other hand still takes the normal penalty).

Third: Javelins are decent, inexpensive ranged weapons. Look at getting a spiked quickdraw light shield so that you can switch between weapon/shield and weapon in two hands easily. Also, spiked gauntlets make pretty good backup weapons.

Fourth: You will probably want to strongly consider the feats Bashing Finish, Bull Rush Strike, Cleave, Cleaving Finish, Double Slice, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Power Attack, Shield Slam, and Two-Weapon Rend.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dragonchess Player wrote:

First thing: Swap Str and Dex. You want to have a 17 Dex by 6th-8th level to qualify for Improved Two-Weapon Fighting. Bump the Str to 16 at 4th, Dex to 17th at 8th (and take Improved Two-Weapon Fighting with your bonus feat), and put all your other advances in Str.

Second: Look at taking the two-weapon warrior archetype. As a dwarf, you don't need Armor Training as much (since your movement is already unaffected by medium or heavy armor) and the Defensive Flurry ability stacks with the AC bonus from a shield (making you a very effective tank). Twin Blades makes you better at both weapon and shield attacks simultaneously. Shield Slam + Doublestrike = move,...

I disagree with your swapping of Str and Dex. First of all, if he was going to bump strength to 16 anyway, he had might as well start with a 16 in strength and bump dexterity twice instead.

However, he won't even need to do that, because a belt of dexterity +2 allows him to qualify for the prerequisites without issue. In fact, he could make use of a belt of physical might +2 (str, dex); 10,000 gp shouldn't be an issue to get by the time he wants Improved Two-Weapon Fighting.

Definitely stay with the 16 in strength at level 1. You'll need every boost to hit you can get.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I know you've said no but, the nice part about the Ranger (Weapon and shield archetype) build is you get to where you want to be sooner:

1 - Improved shield bash
2R - Shield Slam (2nd level, not 6th)
3 - Power Attack
5 - Improved Bull Rush
6R - Shield Master (6th level, not 11th and this is a huge feat - at this point there are no two-weapon penalties on the shield side)
7 - Greater bull rush
9 - Improved Critical: Main-hand weapon to go with...
10R - Bashing Finish - Moar shield bashes!

You could have scores like:
Str 16
Dex 12
Con 16
Int 12
Wis 14
Cha 5

You don't have to be a fruity hippy smell the flowers elf ranger - you're a shield slamming dwarf ranger who kicks ass with that shield. Heck, you could even be the kind of ranger who doesn't like animals and plants and seeks to use his abilities to subjugate nature.

The downside is until 6th level, you are bashing or attacking but you get 4 extra levels of shield slam and 5 extra of Shield Master (which as I mentioned is a monster feat).

Dark Archive

@Dragonchess Player: Wow! That's a really indepth bit of advice. I am going to start with the 16 Strength, though, for the reasons Mergy mentioned.

@Mergy: I don't know how magical items will work in this game, I'll need to ask the DM. I would totally love to grab one of those belts, though.

@Greycloak: Yeah, I just don't want to step on the toes of the other guy in my group who wants to play a melee ranger. I will definitely keep the concept in mind, though!


Unless the other ranger is also going weapon and shield style, I daresay you guys won't look or behave even remotely similar in combat. I'd agree make him a ranger, and just refluff as needed.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Or Ranger 6 then Fighter to 14. Maybe knock 3 off of Wis to make Dex 14 so you can bump at 4 and take TWF at 7th (and your first fighter level, and switch to Mithril Full Plate).

There is diminishing returns in making a middling-high dex fighter as you end up swapping heavier armours for more max dex bonus, thus missing out on the benefit of being a dwarf/fighter (no change in speed with encumbrance/heavy armour).

There might be a build with finesse that is dex-driven, using a light shield (which looks to be a light weapon and thus finesseable).

As for the roleplay and toe-stepping, you could write "Fighter" or "Warrior" in your class spot on your character sheet and only you and the DM need be the wiser. Spend your many skill points on dwarfier things like Knowledge:Engineering or weapon smithing. Look at the Skirmisher Ranger from the APG to trade spells for something less rangeresque.

I'm playing a switch-hitting javelins and blade Half-orc ranger in a PBP game and he self-identifies as a Warrior or as a Hunter in character, not as a Ranger.


If you go fighter, go mobile fighter since it will get you a poor mans pounce at level 11, this would negate the worst thing about a TWF type (having to move forces your DPR into the toilet compared to your 2h friend)

You'll also be able to actually dual wield any light/regular weapon combo and not lose that weapon training bonus as long as you move 5' each round (shouldn't be much of an issue).

You will need to overcome your slow move speed, I think dwarf is a poor choice for this build since you don't need the stats it grants and your armor training 1&2 can replace your dwarven armor ability. If you can change go with something else, human might be best since TWF can be feat starved and you get a 30' move there.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lastoth wrote:
If you go fighter, go mobile fighter since it will get you a poor mans pounce at level 11, this would negate the worst thing about a TWF type (having to move forces your DPR into the toilet compared to your 2h friend)

A quickdraw shield (with the Quick Draw feat to "don or put away the quickdraw shield as a free action") and a dwarven waraxe used two-handed (with Power Attack) can tide you over until 9th level as a two-weapon warrior (when you get Doublestrike); Power Attack is a feat that's worth taking early anyway.

Lastoth wrote:
You'll also be able to actually dual wield any light/regular weapon combo and not lose that weapon training bonus as long as you move 5' each round (shouldn't be much of an issue).

And the two-weapon warrior's Twin Blades ability gives you that without needing to move.

Lastoth wrote:
You will need to overcome your slow move speed, I think dwarf is a poor choice for this build since you don't need the stats it grants and your armor training 1&2 can replace your dwarven armor ability. If you can change go with something else, human might be best since TWF can be feat starved and you get a 30' move there.

Boots of striding and springing are pretty inexpensive, as is a wand of longstrider for the ranger in the party to use. Alternately (or in addition), taking a single level of barbarian for Fast Movement and/or a single level of cleric or inquisitor with the Travel domain as a dwarf gan increase your base movement to 30 or 40 ft (which is not reduced by medium armor as a dwarf barbarian or any armor as a dwarf cleric or inquisitor and can still benefit from enhancement bonuses like the mentioned boots or longstrider). A fighter gains plenty of feats; it's not as if the one bonus feat for being a human makes or breaks a fighter.

Dark Archive

Okay, so I decided to go Two Weapon Warrior. The whole running around every turn doesn't seem quite what I'd want for the character, as his movement will likely mostly be Bull Rushing and such.

Getting Longstrider cast on me will probably be reasonably easy if I ask the Ranger to help out.

Anyway, my concept and the mechanics for this character seem like they're all coming together, and I have to thank you guys again for all your help.

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