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Oterisk's Guide to the Duelist


Advice


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Okay, got the bug and went after another one. To be honest, I have been working on this for months, and it got put on the back burner for quite a while when I was waiting for an answer to the whole "Can you flurry with just one weapon" debate. For the time being, I don't make a big deal out of it in the guide, although being able to flurry with one weapon gives the Monk another fine option for being a duelist, there are other ways that are good as well. Since there has been recent desires for people and the Duelist, I figured I could finish it out.

Please, leave comments and questions. I am but one man struggling to deal with every single class that can be used in the creation of a Duelist (technically all of them), and so there is something that I was sure to have missed, and I am willing to hear people out, provided they give me good reason to.

Anyway, here it is.

Oterisk's Guide to the Duelist- or How to be a Fighter with out being Big and Stupid.

Also, Make sure you check out Face_P0lluti0n’s guide to Weapon Finesse for extra advice on the more general points of finesse.


Oterisk something about bracers of armor you should know:

Quote:
If a creature receives a larger armor bonus from another source, the bracers of armor cease functioning and do not grant their armor bonus or their armor special abilities. If the bracers of armor grant a larger armor bonus, the other source of armor ceases functioning.

So your recommendation on the silken ceremonial armor is no good -- after all it ceases functioning altogether, meaning nothing is coming off of it for you.


Hmm, good catch Abe. Seems that in the Silken Ceremonial it also says "...occasionally worn (albeit with no additional benefit) over heavier armor...". So I missed it from both angles. I will fix it up quick.

I knew something was going to be off when I uploaded it after 3 in the morning. Ah, insomnia, how would I get anything done without you?

Dark Archive

Piranha Strike only works with light weapons, so no rapiers, tridents or morning stars.

You also don't need to use Weapon Finesse, so a strength based duelist might work.


You're right, I should put in a section on Strength based Duelists. I originally had tridents, morning stars, Klar, Scisore and some others that were one handed piercing weapons, but since they didn't finesse I took them out. What I should have done is kept them in and given them the option with Strength based Duelists. Some of those had some cool flavor. I should have erred on the side of more information than less.


Don't sweat it too hard, got to start somewhere and this isn't a bad start at all.


Great guide! I did have one comment, though:

In the magical weapons section you sort of discount enhancement bonuses in favor of others, which I think is a mistake. Agile should obviously be your first priority, and then perhaps Dueling for the boost, but after that there's not much stronger than a pure enhancement bonus. Every boost makes you hit a bit harder, hit more frequently, and most importantly overcome DR. A pure enhancement bonus is the most reliable way to overcome DR that isn't linked to a damage type. +3 bypasses cold iron/silver, +4 adamantine, and +5 any alignment based DRs. That's pretty spiffy, especially as you level and these things become more common.


Abe- Just the kind of encouraging statement I should expect from one of the team. If you have any ideas for expansion or some portion of things you think I missed, let me know. I might just dump in a couple more fun pictures.

Sean- Alas, and that's what is wrong with the four color system. The only things I made blue were Agile and Dueling, but after that it was either green or orange, because I left most of the red enchantments off of the list entirely. I might make a note about damage reduction, thanks for the tip.

Sovereign Court

Awesome guide. I look forward to seeing the finished version.


Oterisk wrote:
Sean- Alas, and that's what is wrong with the four color system. The only things I made blue were Agile and Dueling, but after that it was either green or orange, because I left most of the red enchantments off of the list entirely. I might make a note about damage reduction, thanks for the tip.

Yeah, I agree that it's probably a green (or somewhere between green and blue) so changing the wording would help- if only to include the DR bit. I ran into the same issues when writing the oracle guide.


Some wording changed, strength notes inserted, all weapons that qualify for precise strike added, mention of enhancement bonuses and DR. And a couple more pictures.


Looks like your guide was added to the Guide to the Guides.


harmor wrote:
Looks like your guide was added to the Guide to the Guides.

Hey Harmor, Thanks so much for adding the my newest Guide, but it isn't a full fighter guide, it is actually a guide for the prestige class "Duelist". For a minute I thought you were just pulling my leg, but then I noticed it was in the wrong spot. Next time I will try to be more clear when putting it up what it actually is.


Looks like it was fixed.


harmor wrote:
Looks like it was fixed.

Awesomely fast! Thank you very much!


just a quick question. In your guide you state that crane riposte, and the duelist riposte, don't stack. I can't figure out why not. Maybe I'm just missing something.


Bards: You should look at the Dawnflower Dervish before putting them as orange. You should REALLY look at the Dawnflower Dervish....


Sub_Zero wrote:
just a quick question. In your guide you state that crane riposte, and the duelist riposte, don't stack. I can't figure out why not. Maybe I'm just missing something.

I went and explained a bit more thoroughly in the guide about that. Basically when I had said that, i meant that you don't get two attacks of opportunity through the Crane Riposte and the Duelist Riposte. It is cool that the crane riposte does not specify you having to counterattack with an unarmed strike like Snake style does.

You would get a free unarmed attack from snake style if you were a master of many styles and had them both up at the same time from either, that's why that one is so good. Remember that technically unarmed strike is piercing and doesn't have to be your other hand, so you can get precise strike with it as well.


StreamOfTheSky wrote:
Bards: You should look at the Dawnflower Dervish before putting them as orange. You should REALLY look at the Dawnflower Dervish....

The Dawnflower Dervish gets better as it levels as one of it's signature abilities is to self heal while they fight. This only gets better as they level, Also, since their bonuses are doubled, progressing those bonuses is really good to do. The focus of the Dawnflower Dervish is offensive, the focus of Duelist is defensive. Also, the added necessity of Charisma makes for an even more MAD deal. If I had to make the choice between the Dawnflower Dervish and the Monk Style feats, I would go with the Monk.

Although your statement did make me reconsider the blue status for the magus. I downgraded them to orange as well. I felt I could be a bit more consistent with my partial casters moving toward the Duelist.


So the black mark against DD Bard is that he does better staying in his class than going into duelist?

And self-healing isn't his signature ability. Its the doubled inspire and complete and utter dex-focus right from level 1. There is nothing stopping a DD from getting style feats. Indeed, he is fairly set with feat needs. And you can always dip MoMS Monk if planning to go into Duelist anyway to get Crane Wing and Snake Fang.

I do think DD is a stronger class than Duelist. But if you really wanted to be a duelist, it feeds into it just fine. Probably the only annoying thing is having to take Weapon Finesse even though you don't need it. Though it'd help the unarmed attacks, I guess.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I can't see why the Aldori Dueling Sword is red. You need the Aldori Dueling Mastery feat to do it which is feat heavy in prereqs. It requires Weapon Finesses which is also the prereq for the Dualist. As well as Quick Draw, Weapon Focus, and Exotic Weapon Proficiency. That 4 feats so with a Human you can have this at 4th level. Then pick up Dodge and mobility for the next 2 levels and enter Dualist at 7th. You can only do this as a Human fighter though. Using the Aldori Swordlord Archetype this can work quite well as it's just more defense and going with the Disarm Manuvers you can deal damage as well.

Steelnet works great with fighting defensively and it stacks with Crane style. Though getting crane style is really hard to do because of feat cost at the start.

I built this Duelist starting as Aldori Swordlord fighter at 1st level followed by 2 levels of Master of Many Styles monk, then 6 more levels of fighter. Entered Duelist at 10th level for 2 levels for 11th level character. Had an AC of 44 and could deflect 2 attack. This was NPC bad guy I made up for King Maker in side adventure the players had in Mivon. He mopped the floor with the PCs till they decided dueling him melee was a bad Idea and had the ranger fill him with arrows. I think if I'd given him full PC wealth the AC could have been higher but he did have more wealth than average NPC.


StreamOfTheSky wrote:

So the black mark against DD Bard is that he does better staying in his class than going into duelist?

And self-healing isn't his signature ability. Its the doubled inspire and complete and utter dex-focus right from level 1. There is nothing stopping a DD from getting style feats. Indeed, he is fairly set with feat needs. And you can always dip MoMS Monk if planning to go into Duelist anyway to get Crane Wing and Snake Fang.

I do think DD is a stronger class than Duelist. But if you really wanted to be a duelist, it feeds into it just fine. Probably the only annoying thing is having to take Weapon Finesse even though you don't need it. Though it'd help the unarmed attacks, I guess.

I said one of the signature abilities. But the one you mentioned is also gimped by going Duelist. To be honest, the 8th level half elven Synthesist with 4 sting attacks at reach with enlarge person and black tentacles is a superior damage and battle control duelist than pretty much anything else. I don't recommend that either in my guide.

I will admit that some of my decisions have been colored by my view of what a duelist should be, and I will consider some changes in color regarding these things.


@Voska

I made it red because it is so feat intensive. You literally have all of your feats taken up by the time you want to enter into duelist, and you have to be a human or half elf for level 7 entry. It isn't to say that it couldn't be done, it's just really restrictive. Your build still looks like a lot fun, and if you went with a rapier you wouldn't have been that far behind in damage and you would have more feats available for things like Deflect Arrows. I could bump it up for orange for people who don't mind that though.

I'm sure your players found that battle to be pretty epic though. I would love to run into a guy like that. I've only come against one Duelist in a game, and our party rogue snatched his weapon away from him (with a roll of a 19) and then it was kinda sad after that.


Have we covered Unarmed Fighter?

At level 1 you get Improved Unarmed Strike and one style feat of your choice (So take Crane Style), along with Weapon Finesse and Two Weapon Fighting

Level 2 take Dervish Dance

Level 3 take Dodge

Level 4 take Mobility

Level 5 take Crane Wing

Level 6 take Improved Two Weapon Fighting

Level 7 take Piranha Strike

Level 8 take Crane Riposte

Go Duelist from here on

Level 9 take Snake Style

Level 11 take Greater Two Weapon Fighting

Level 12 Get combat reflexes for free

Level 13 Take Improved Initiative

Level 15 Take Critical Focus

Level 17 Get Deflect Arrows for free, take Disorienting Maneuver

You cap your Duelist levels at 18

Level 19

Level 20

+ two bonus feats at 19, 20 (Toughness and a crit feat? Stunning and Staggering Crit?)

The biggest loss is losing armor training, but you can use a Haramaki and enchant it to +5.

Weapon Training gives the unarmed strikes a +1, and unless I'm mistaken, Duelist Gloves give an additional +2 to unarmed strikes


That's not a bad build. Although you can't use crane and snake style unless you take one level of Master of Many Styles. At that point, I imagine you have to choose between them. Since they have nice synergy, I would think the loss of a point of BAB would be worth it. You can use Crane style and Hamatulatsu at the same time without being a MoMS, so I would probably go that route.

You are right about the gloves of dueling working for your unarmed strikes, but I think since you already have a scimitar as your primary weapon, you would want weapon training to apply to it. Also, Piranha Strike doesn't work for Scimitars, so you would probably be better off with power attack. Hope you have a 13 strength...


Oterisk wrote:

That's not a bad build. Although you can't use crane and snake style unless you take one level of Master of Many Styles. At that point, I imagine you have to choose between them. Since they have nice synergy, I would think the loss of a point of BAB would be worth it. You can use Crane style and Hamatulatsu at the same time without being a MoMS, so I would probably go that route.

You are right about the gloves of dueling working for your unarmed strikes, but I think since you already have a scimitar as your primary weapon, you would want weapon training to apply to it. Also, Piranha Strike doesn't work for Scimitars, so you would probably be better off with power attack. Hope you have a 13 strength...

My understanding was that style feats gave a "static effect" (In this case, allowing you to make Unarmed Strikes piercing) and a "Style effect" which is the added benefit you get when using that specific combat style. I guess I was wrong on that account

As for Pirahna Strike, Idk why I thought Dervish Dance treated scimitar as light. Oh well, Piranha strike doesn't come till later, so I guess start with 13 str. (I guess you can also start with 11 str, spend the two +1s from leveling on 13 str, then take PA at level 9, getting Snake Style at 11)

Or you know, A Str-boosting item :D

also, Unarmed Fighter can only apply Weapon Training Bonus to unarmed attacks and monk weapons


Yeah, a Str- boosting item is probably your best bet. They aren't too expensive by that level anyway.

And you are right when you say that Unarmed fighter only applies weapon training bonuses to Unarmed attacks and Monk weapons. What I meant to say that if your scimitar was your major weapon, a two level dip into Master of Many Styles so you could use both crane and snake styles at the same time, Go Weapon Master or some other fighter for 5 and get into Duelist a level earlier than you have in your build up there, and you get all of the flavor, better saves, more bonuses for your scimitar, and earlier access to your style feats. I just think it is better optimizing all around.

But you are entitled to your own opinions as well. And you might not like playing lawful characters, so that's in there too.


I'm not disagreeing with you.

I like the idea of a duelist running around evading attacks, then doing a full round attack with sword and punches/kicks

I wish there was a way to properly optimize 4 levels of monk into 4 levels of fighter when going into duelist. That way you can take Monastic Legacy to make unarmed strikes hit harder. Not to mention getting a small number of ki points to give himself a +4 Dodge to AC

I guess that you really only lose out on one bonus feat overall

Monk
Lv1: IUS, Crane Style, Weapon Finesse, TWF
Lv2: Crane Wing
Lv3: Dodge
Unarmed Fighter
LV5: Dervish Dance, Mobility
LV6: Crane Wing
LV7: ITWF
LV9: Snake Style, Crane Riposte
Duelist
Lv11: Monastic Legacy (When you hit lv12, Unarmed Strikes hit for 1d10)
Lv13: Greater TWF
Lv15: Power Attack

etc etc


I love the guide. Quick question though. You mention the Maneuver Master and Many Styles as optimum, but what about the Flowing Monk? That with Crane and Duelist seems beyond ugly. Or am I missing something?


Recently started looking into building a Duelist and to my surprise there was a guide on it!

After messing around for a bit I came up with a 1-10 build that I thought I'd share with you all. Let me know what you think and thanks goes to Oterisk for his awesome guide.

The Build

Spoiler:
The Defensive Duelist
Class Levels: Monk 2, Fighter 6, Duelist 2
--------------------------------------------------------------
Monk of Many Styles + Sacred Mountain: 2 Levels
Monk Feat: Improved Unarmed Strike(1st)
Monk Bonus Feat: Crane Style(1st)
Fuse Style(1st)
Monk Feat: Stunning Fist(1st)
AC Bonus(1st)
Monk Bonus Feat: Snake Style(2nd)
Monk Free Feat: Toughness, +1 Natural Armor(2nd)
-------------------------------------------------------------
Lore Warden(Fighter): 5 Levels
Scholastic(3rd)
Fighter Bonus Feat: Weapon Focus(3rd)
Combat Expertise(4th)
Fighter Bonus Feat: Dodge(4th)
Maneuver Mastery(5th)
Fighter Bonus Feat: Weapon Specialization(6th)
Weapon Training(7th)
-------------------------------------------------------------
Duelist: 1 Level
Canny Defense(8th)
Precise Strike(8th)
-------------------------------------------------------------
Lore Warden(Fighter): 1 Level
Fighter Bonus Feat: Improved Critical(9th)
-------------------------------------------------------------
Duelist: 1 Level
Improved Reaction(10th)
Parry(10th)

Feats
1st – Weapon Finesse
3rd – Dervish Dance
5th - Mobility
7th – Crane Wing
9th – Crane Riposte
12th – Improved Trip

Stats(Before Racial Modifiers)
10 point buy
STR: 8, DEX: 15, CON: 12, INT: 13, WIS: 12, CHA: 8

15 point buy
STR: 8, DEX: 15, CON: 13, INT: 14, WIS: 12, CHA: 10

20 point buy
STR: 8, DEX: 16, CON: 13, INT: 15, WIS: 12, CHA: 12

Description: With this build the duelist takes the age old philosophy "The best defense is a good offense" and throws it out the window, instead utilizing the crane style feat chain to add an extra level of defenses other fighters drool over. The great thing about this build is that, while doing less damage overall, once you gain crane riposte and the duelist riposte class feature(The AoO granted from these abilities do not stack unless you have combat reflexes) you're negating two attacks while gaining an attack of opportunity, putting you back up to your normal attacks a round when under attacked, making you deceptively hard to kill.


Some things to point out for this build. Our DM implemented a house rule that denies us the option of dropping a stat lower than 8 with the point buy system. Also, I picked the Lore Warden fighter archetype for fluff/flavor reasons. More skill points, yay!

Please let me know if I missed anything as I will be using this build in my game or If this was already posted elsewhere. Thank you!

Edit: Fixed some confusion with Crane Riposte and the Duelist class feature Riposte.


I don't understand why the 2 ripostes don't grant you 2 attacks of opportunity


Maybe it have been already treated elsewhere, but what about using the "Crusader's flurry" feat to power up the duelist?
The most obvious use would be a 4 level paladin of Sarenrae plus 3/4 levels of Monk then Duelist and Either Monk or Paladin at the end.
Flurry with scimitar, dervish dance, precision strike, 18-20 critical range, the occasional smite and stunning blow/cornugon stun to wrap everything... terribly MAD but in a point build would allow to optimize wis, int, cha buy, dump str, and focus on dex for optimal results.

Another possibility would be either 1 or 4 levels of Cayden crusader cleric, followed by 8 (sigh) or 4 levels of Martial Artist Monk (for alignment...).


Wouldn't using a scimitar or a dueling sword take away the bonus for using a piercing weapon?


Big fan of this guide.

Btu a PSA for everyone, the latest errata just changed the INT AC Bonus to a dodge bonus instead of adding it to your DEX. That means that you can wear armor and still get the full bonus of a high DEX and INT to your AC!!

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