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Warlock: STR Ranger's Guide to the Hexcrafter.


Advice

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Hi, been a long time coming but here is my latest guide.

Warlock: STR Ranger's Guide to the Hexcrafter.

Btw. It's not finished.
Still needs sample Builds for the
Debuffer
Mega Blaster
and Transmorgifist Melee'r

and Spells

If anyone would like to collaborate please respond here.
As much as I love the class I don't really maintain my Handbooks once I hit the WALL. I am there now. I will help (with builds) for what is missing but am struggling for time to finish it myself.

Thanks.


Hmm for some reason I can't let everybody see it from my phone.

Please attempt to view and I get an email that let's me share.
Mean time I'll post a copy here but the colors won't come through.


Sorry for formatting. Copyied from my Phone:
Warlock- The complete guide for dealing with the devil

*Before we begin- I’d like to thank Treantmonk for his own guides that inspired me to write this one. Note I have copied his Guide style and borrowed some text to make this a style we are familiar with
Ultimate power: Why the Hexcrafter.is the BEST magus!
Look at a typical Magus and what does it do well. It combines casting and fighting. That's cool. That's why you wanna play it. But look at the spellist. Like 90% evocation right. There is a real lack of save or suck on that list. Plus Magai get a lot less spells than a Wizard or Sorcerer and Magai burn through spell slots like crazy to keep up with a fighter's damage. Using expendable resources to do it. ALSO at higher levels doing damage often isn't the best answer to beating a foe. Spell resistance becomes a real problem. You saves top out at level 6 while the wizard keeps chugging to level 9.
So WHY Hexcrafter over normal Magus? I'll tell you why.
1. Hexes are super frickin awesome. You now have unlimited use Supernatural Abilities (which DO NOT provoke AOO's) While save DC's that target fort or will and with DC's that scale higher than your spells! The Magus list is FULL of reflex blasts that can hit allies if you're not careful, where hexes don't hit buddies, target other saves and carry save or lose effects.
2. Expanded Spellist. By becoming a hexcrafter you just added every spell with the curse descriptor to your list. FREE SPELLS, this includes ones to be published in future books. Plus you can auto spell combat with them AND a lot of the curses are touch spells, so they work with spell strike.
3. Brand. Everyone knows spamming arcane mark is legal but a little cheesy. Brand on the other hand is a damaging spell that is supposed to be used on enemies. Never feel shameful again.
4. Endurance. Everytime you use a hex you saved a spell. This REALLY makes them last longer and let's you still have something powerful to do when your spells are finally exhausted.
5. Versatility. More than most classes I have seen so far Hexcrafters can excel at many things. 3 dominant roles stick out Debuffer, Transmogrified Meleer, Uber blaster. A standard Magus doesn't really do the Debuffer role very well. It's usually best to focus on one aspect but a Hexcrafter doesn't suffer much if he wants all 3. I'll elaborate in the builds section.
So now you know why you wanna be a Hexcrafter. Now let me show you how!
The Guide to the Guide: In this Guide we will be discussing a lot of options, because Hexcrafter's have many choices. Therefore, in order to provide my advice on these choices, I'll be Color-coating and rating them.
RED This is a choice I don't recommend – Because they suck.
ORANGE This option is good, but not great
GREEN I recommend this option
BLUE This is balls to the wall AWESOME!
Simple enough, like a movie review. So lets move into the Hexcrafter skills and abilities that will help you become a total Bad ass Warlock.
CLASS POWERS:
Spell combat: One of your signature abilities. Take a -2 to your full attack and cast any spell in your arsenal. This allows you to break action economy by casting a meaningful spell (eg haste, slow or some other game changer) while still doing ok 1 handed full attack damage. For when you don't need a buff/control spell you can cast a touch spell, getting a free touch attack and delivering via your blade thanks to your next power:
Spellstrike ***: The staple ability of Magai everywhere. Spellstrike let's you layer touch spells onto Standard actions, whacking the bad dude with your scimitar instead of touching him. It can be combined with spell combat to make up for your -2 to attack and piling on spell damage or conditions. So you can stab+Bestow Curse. Yay!
Arcane Pool****: One of your defining abilities. Let's you echant your weapon over and above it's enhancement bonus. This ability should be called 'You have Full BAB whenever you want' . In addition to eliminating the fighter/cav/barb attack advantage you can tailor a bunch of enchants on the fly. Fighting a White Dragon? Hello Flaming weapon.
Magus Arcana: Varies from good to awesome. Being able to pick from a list of pseudo magical powers is awesome but some are stinkers. I'll list my best hexcrafter arcanas later.
Hex Magus/Hex Arcana : Seeing a lot of blue aren't we? You give up spell recall for this. Spell recall is good. This is BETTER. Really, all spell recall does is let you burn your (limited) arcane pool to recall a spell. Pearls of power are affordable by the time you get spell recall. In place you get a HEX and the ability to pick hexes in place of Magus Arcana. (You can also use the Extra Arcana feat on the odd levels to pick another Hex Arcana). Hexes are awesome. The DC is 10+1/2 your HD +Int. Effectively giving you powers which eventually will be equivalent to 9th level spells (in terms of DC) and they can be used over and over. Once again a list will follow. *Also of note- Hexes are normally a standard action so won't work with spell combat. But you can Hex+Move in similar fashion to spellstrike. (*cough*CONDUCTIVE WPN*cough*)
Spells: Remember your limited, mostly blast spellist? Well because you are a Hexcrafter and you are awesome you get all Curse descriptor spells added to your list for free. With Brand, Ill omen, Bestow Curse and Major Curse being a few. All can be used with spell combat. The touch spells (BRAND, Bestow Curse) can be used with spellstrike. The is an arcana you can also take called Accusred Strike which let's you use ANY curse with spellstrike. Not bad but with so many great Arcanas and Hexes to pick you'll struggle to fit it in.
Spell Recall: You lost this at 4 now you get it back. Casting a spontaneous spell is nice but considering you should be using your arcane pool to either: Enchant your weapon or spam Arcane Accuracy, this is best used in an emergency.

##I won't rate the other class abilities since my ratings are the same as Walter's. See Walter's guide to the Magus.##
SKILLS:
Climb: 1 rank and a decent dex will do. You'll be flying for minutes per level before you have medium armor and feather fall at will.
Swim: Your flight hex grants +8 racial to swim. 1 rank and your Strength is plenty.
Knowledge (any) ***: Knowledge's are all handy for Bad Guy identification. Especially foes resistant to elemental damage. Pick up as many of these as you can. Start with Arcana, Planes, and then whatever takes your fancy.
Perception ****: Simply the most used skill in the game period. This skill helps when looking for loot and spot foes. Early warning is important for a Magus. Get that blast in before the
Ride: Flyer remember?
Fly: You should always be flying by level 5. Pulling off turns is important.
Stealth: A great skill but only a couple of ranks will do. Remember that being invisible adds +20 to your stealth check. Both Vanish and Invisibility are on your list. If you take the Moonlight Stalker feat this is blue. Since you use concealment all the time, you can stealth all the time.
Use Magic Device: Depends on whether or not you are taking a familiar/Improved Familiar. If you are, keep it maxed and select an improved familiar with Hands and a good Cha. They can use wands for you. ILL OMEN anyone?
Favored Class Bonus: Either add HP to yourself. You focused on Int so have plenty of Skills and you live in Melee. HP are at a premium.
Ability Scores:
I’d Prioritise INT>STR>CON>DEX>WIS>CHA
No matter your race, INT takes highest priority in a Hexcrafter (and IMHO) every Magus build. Why?
It affects Hex save DC's (which will outstrip your spells), It affects your spell DC's (which are lower than a wizards). It also affects how many arcana points you have AND how much of a Bonus the Arcane Accuracy Arcana adds to your full attacks. With Stat mods and a Headband an Int score of 30 should be your ultimate goal. Aim for a Starting INT of 17.
Next is STR for all the normal reasons.
Con for HP. You are a Melee char.
Dex. Not that important. You have access to Light armor and Obscuring Mist AND plenty of ranged spells right from level 1. The problem becomes less of an issue as you level and once you get Medium Armor and Blur/Mirror Image is gone completely.
Wis. Will saves suck. But you have a good will progression and a trait like Birthmark makes you better of than most Melee chars. Wands of Protection from evil are cheap.
Cha. No matter your race, dump it to a 7. Seltiyel is an emo for good reason. You are not the party face. Though skill points and a charm hex can fix it, better to let someone else do this. Unless you wanna focus solely on being an Uber Blaster, in which case it should be a 10.
RACE:
When choosing Race you want something that is going to boost your your Int or Str. A movement score of 30 is nice. But a Hexcrafter doesn't need to close to full attack every time. Simply getting within 30 feet and Hexing can be a great option when you can't close.
Half Elf ****: The ability bonus can be put in INT, and low light vision is good for Scouting. The skill focus feat is nice for stealth or perception (if you put it in perception that will stack with the racial +2 bonus). But I would swap that for Duel Minded to pump your will save. The elven immunities are decent as well. The multiclass bonus may be helpful too depending on your build. Alternatively the APG weapon Prof feature is nice to get either a Katana rather than the Scimitar all other Magai use. Blue because you can get Moonlight Stalker with this race.
Half Orc: The ability bonus can be put in STR or Int, and Darkvision is very helpful (better than low light in dungeons when scouting). Again this race can take Moonlight Stalker.
Elf: We just love the Dex and INT bonus and Con penalty sucks, since we like melee. +2 vs SR rocks (since most evocations allow SR), +2 vs Enchantment is awesome cause a dominated Magus can kill his party. Immune to sleep and Paralysis is sweet. Low light vision allows Moonlight Stalker and +2 to Perception is great for spotting bad guys and finding loot.
Human: I bet this is the first review you have read where humans weren't blue. Why? Because besides the extra feat which IS pretty great, the race offers less than the elf, half elf and half orc. No special vision means no moonlight stalker. The feat is a wash vs the elf's +2 vs SR and humans get no free bonus to saves. An extra skill point doesn't mean much either since any other race should get 4-6skills per level anyway.
Dwarf**: The Bonus to WIS and CON is great for saving on a Point Buy, we don’t care about CHA. +2 vs spell saves rocks, if you pump the Steel Soul feat and Glory of Old Trait, your dwarf has a +5 racial bonus to saves vs spells. That makes them a decent race for any class in my book but I HATE failing saves.
Gnome/Halfling*: Small Size, Small Weapons, low speed and no stat boost to anything we care about. NO.
Feats:
Well you'll see in the next section why you won't be taking many general feats.
Big Game Hunter****: This feat is Awesome for a level 9 feat. Check the Bestiary, the majority of foes CR9 or above are large or Bigger. This is basically Wpn Fcs and Wpn Spl for any weapon you wield reguardless of type.
Weapon Fcs/Spl/Gtr: If you have a weakness it's being a Melee combatant with 3/4 attack bonus and -2 for spell combat. People think 4feats for +2 to hit and +4 damage with one weapon is good. Well it's your best option for HUMANS. of you are a race with low light or dark vision the chain below is better.
Blindfight, Combat Expertise, Moonlight Stalker: This grants you way more bang for your buck. Dungeons are dark, fighting at night and spell combat with Obscuring Mist or Blur mean you can turn on a +2 to hit and damage with any weapon whenever you like. Plus you deal with Enemy miss chance a lot better. You can pump your AC when you want to AND this is 3 feats instead of 4.

Improved Critical ***: You should be wielding either a Scimitar or Katana. Get it keen and you are doubling spell damage very often.
Critical Focus/Other crit feats: You would think these were good BUT, you can replicate stuff like blinding crit with a regular old Spellstrike whenever you want (Blindness/Deafness, Bestow Curse etc)
Extra Arcana: By far your best use of a feat slot. Many arcanas and Hexes (gained via Hex Arcana) are heaps more powerful/versatile than feats. My favorite picks are listed below.
Intensify Spell: The magical lineage/Shocking Grasp trick is well known. Use it. Live it. Love it.
Heighten/Preffered Spell: Doesn't always make it into my builds can considering how much you spam shocking grasp, being able to spont cast and metamagic it is great.
Dervish Dance/Weapon Finesse : I can't stand dervish dance builds. You are blowing 2 feats to make dex a Primary Stat in a class that by mid levels can wear mithral full plate and has some of the best miss chance spells already on it's list. For the same 2 slots you could have taken Extra Arcana for something like Slumber and Flight thereby saving tons of slots for ages of flight time and a Scaling reusable sleep affect with no HD cap.
Empower Spell: Blue for any Magus and MEGA BLUE for the uber blaster. Spell damage is not subject to DR/- and keeps your DPR up there with those BSF's.
Maximize Spell:Sounds good but not worth the level adjustment on a class with only 6 spell levels. Goes green if you take it at 17, adding it for free with Spell Perfection.
Spell Perfection: Wonderful Feat that let's you spontaneously add 1 metamagic feat for free, up to 9th level. Think Quicken, Maximize and Dazing.
Dazing Spell: The cost is heavy. But adding rounds of Daze to a REFLEX spell is awesome battle control. Especially good if you took either Magical Lineage or Wayang Spell hunter to Fireball. Cast a Dazing Fireball in a 5th level slot.
Power Attack: Usually blue in a Melee based class. This is only good, rather than brilliant because Magai will spell combat 1 handed, but Spellstrike 2 handed. Gets even better if your focus on the Monstrous Physique spells to get more attacks. The CALIKANG with 6 arms is the pinnacle form.

ARCANA SELECTION: (I won't do them all since walterGM covered the lot in his guide and I agree for the most part.)
Arcane Accuracy: Add your Int mod to your attack rolls for a whole round. By far the best Arcana that adds to your hit. By prioritizing INT and with a Headband and various Into boosting items your looking at adding +3 when you select it and +9 or +10 by level 20. None of the other 'To Hit' arcanas add this much bonus for one measly arcana point. Only use it when you full attack.
Bane Weapon: Not available till 15, bane offers a big payoff for a +1 enchant and is often skipped over for adventurers because it only affects one type of creature. For the Magus or Hexcrafter it's brilliant because you pick the type on the fly when you swift action enchant your weapon.
Familiar: Magai in general and Hexcrafters are great because they can break action economy via spell combat. Familiars let you do it even more. At early levels the Raven is a keen eyed scout that can talk. You can effectively make 2 checks per round. One for you, one for your familiar (they use YOUR skill ranks remember?) so your 8 int little buddy actually knows quite a bit. Spring a feat on Improved Familiar later and get a Dust Mephit or Nosoi to use wands for you while you fight, either buffs for you or Debuffs on enemies (Did I mention Ill Omen yet?)
Wandwielder: Not bad. But not awesome. Having a wand gets you tons of spell combat rounds without burning spells. Buuut wands are expensive, have a poorer CL than your spells and you can't two hand Spellstrike with a wand in your offhand. Why isn't your familiar using the wand again?
Hex Arcana: This is your bread and butter. Hexes are what give the Hexcrafter their versatility and power.They make it the best Archetype because you get power in areas you normally suck at (Buff/Debuff) by giving up little (Improved Spell Recall and 1 arcana)

THE HEXES:
Check out Hubble Bubble: The Guide to witches. for the full list. I will merely highlight the best ones for a Magus. Also, note Hexes are usually a standard action so are not compatible with spell combat. Depending on the scenario though a Move+Hex can be better than a Move+Spellstrike.
Sometimes a Cackle+Spellstrike is better than spell combat. Imagine moving to close and evil eyeing a foe (-4 to saves). Next round cackle+Spellstrike with Bestow Curse. Like it?
Slumber: Probably the single most used Hex in the game. Completely take out nooks and BBEG's and Coupe de Grais to save HEAPS of spell slots and fights. It's a scaling DC save or lose with No HD limit.
Flight: Feather Fall at will. Levitate 1/day and Flight 1/min per level at level 5? Hell yes. Magai can't even cast 3rd level spells yet. Once you have it you should be airborne every combat.
Evil Eye: Impose a big negative to either AC/Saves for min 1round and can be prolonged with cackle. Your a 3/4BAB class and spell saves are crucial to you. Forget Spell Focus and Take this instead. It helps you allies too.
Cackle: If you have a heavy hitter or a Full Wizard in your party it can be worth keeping Evil Eye going with a Move+Spellstrike rather than full attacking to garuntee your Raging Brutality Barb buddy or Specialist Caster can get their thing on.
Ice Tomb: Like Slumber but vs Fort. Buff said. This is better than Feeblemind on a enemy caster.
Minor/Major Healing: Not neccecarily a power move but your allies will love the free healing and besides Infernal Healing this is the only access a Hexcrafter has.
Summon Spirit: You get 1 grand hex at 18 and this is hands down the best one. Summon a 18hd ghost Wiz or Sorc and have them cast 8th and 9th level spells for you.

THE 3 STIGEN WITCHES: (builds section)


To those trying to view,

Link works now.


*evil grin* Oh, my next campaign is going to be so much fun. Looking forward to the rest of the guide!


Thanks.
I will try to get to the builds.

But very basically:
The debuffer grabs nearly every good Debuff hex he can. He also chooses Accuresed Hex So he can spell strike with Major Curse.
That type of thing. Feat selections based around Bumpimg curses with metamagic.
Gets an Imp familiar and gives it wands of Ill omen, Evervation.

The Blaster takes a single dip in Crossblooded Tatooed Sorcerer (Orc/Draconic) and plops Wayang Spellhunter (Shocking Grasp) and Magical Lineage (Fireball) and metamagics the crap out of these spells for MASSIVE damage.

The Transmorgifist focuses on Montrous Physique Spells and using Blade Dash and others tomake a Pouncer with tons of Natural attacks.

I'll hopefully get some time tonight.


Added the Blaster Hexcrafter Build.
Feel free to post corrections on my math.

Working on the Debuffer Hexcrafter Now

Cheliax

After an admittedly quick read the first thing that jumps out at me is advising Hexcrafters to use conductive weapons.
That enchant only works on spell-like and supernatural abilities that require a touch attack. Since the only 2 hexes that require you to successfully attack are Blight (ick) and Scar this enchant is wasted.

Change that to use the spell storing AoMF and the Prehensile hair hex.
They can hex every round and use the AoMF to deliver those touch spells whenever someone provokes an AoO from the 10ft hair attack.


heh, am currently working on a Cabalist Hexcrafter myself, although I could also use Bladebound in addition, I plan to get the Giant bloodline so using a maul (earth breaker) fits better

but yes, a Magus Hexcrafter is in many ways more interesting and useful as the Witch itself, for flavor I use this for children of a Witch, usually having White hair (too bad you can't replace bloodline with the abilities of a White-haired Witch Archetype)


O_O

Why are Cackle and Evil Eye so highly rated?! You can't use your move actions and spell combat, they're very very incompatible! Not a good choice of hex. Needing 2 hexes just to get the one hex (evil eye) to reliably work isn't a good deal on a class that needs to spend feats to gain more hexes, either.

The healing ones are pretty poor, I think you're too generous. And Prehensile Hair should be on the list. To deliver your touch spells from safety and the general awesomeness of having reach on a class restricted to 1H weapons.

For feats... No mention of Hex Strike? Strict RAW, you can't, but I feel almost any DM would overlook the fact it's not exactly called "hex" and see that it's still the same class feature. Hex Strike (Slumber or Ice Tomb) is pretty nice. It's feat-heavy, but since Hex Strike needs IUS anyway, what about the Crane Style and Crane Wing feats as well? Also, what about Accursed Hex? Ability Focus?

For grand hexes...by RAW you can't get them, since you don't get a class bonus hex at level 20 and your last feat is at 19. If you do get one, I'd do Forced Reincarnate. Likely to severely debuff the creature you're fighting, give him 2 negative levels, and drop 50% of his unused spell slots for the day. And against dragons it reverts them to the Young Adult age category. ;)

Cheliax

Have to correct you there streamofthesky. They errata'd the Grand hexes, hexcrafters had that moved down from 20th to 18th so they can get a grand hex. Oh and Summon Spirit is the go to if you are only going to get 1 grand hex. 18 18th level sorcerors/wizards/druids/clerics/etc is easily better than a forced re-incarnate to a 2/3rds caster like a Magi.

Hex strike is universally bad unless you merge it into a natural attack via feral combat (waste of feats if you ask me).

Evil eye and cackle are actually pretty well rated for hexcrafters, just require proper priority to get the most out of them.
rnd 1: Hex + cackle (gives you 2 rounds of the effect)
rnd 2: Cackle + Spellstrike (extends it another round and drops a spell)
rnd 3: Spell combat (the hex will last one more round after this so your ok)

Evil eye is great since if you drop that on your targets AC it nicely resolves the -2 that spell combat costs you for a net 0 modifier to your attack bonus.

Prehensile hair is awesome-sauce, we both agree on that. And mention must be made of how Prehensile Hair allows a hexcrafter to use a Metamagic Rod in combat, something no other Magi can do.


Mathawei has it on the head with Evil Eye and cackle.
Thought I was clear enough. Maybe I need to change my wording.

I'll add Prehensile Hair Hex and dump conductive reccomendation.
Not sure about AOMF cause, damn they are pricey.

Cheliax

I'm having a problem on your stat prioritization and really think you are incorrect on Str over Dex.

Yes, the Hexcrafter is a melee combatant and yes the dervish dance builds are boring and not needed for this type. However Magi have reflex as their poor save and don't get real armor options until 7th level. Add to that they are always using light 1-hd weapons so power attack is off the table leaving Strength only useful for carrying capacity.

Personally I’d prioritize it INT>DEX=CON>STR>WIS>CHA, with Con or Dex being 2nd based on individual presence. This will shore up your beginning Low AC or HP's will patching up that horrible reflex save as well as giving you a boost to those so important dex based skills (Acrobatics, Fly, Escape Artist and Stealth).

Really the only reason to ever prioritize strength is if you are going the Scimitar 2hd route or don't intend to take Prehensile hair and/or fly hex.

I'm also working on a Debuffer hexcrafter build based on my rime focused witch/hexcrafter build. Once I get a bit further on it I'll post it up for critique as well.


Cheers.

I did mention a number of times that you SHOULD be 2 handed spellstriking with power attack whenever you move.
Generally as soon as combat begins I swift enchant my weapon (effectively taking you to full bab for one minute because your weapon is a higher enchant than everyone else) then close with a 2 handed PA Spellstrike.
Round 2 if I can full attack, I pop an Arcane Accuracy and One handed full power attack with spell combat.
Arcane Accuracy adds so much to hit I spam it on ANY full attack (especially when hasted/spell combat/spellstrike/montrous physique for extra natural attacks). If it's a low AC mook I don't waste.the pool point.
It's not hard as a Magus to get enough pluses to Have PA on pretty much all the time

may have to add a combat tactics section...

Cheliax

I know what you are saying there, I am just disagreeing with it. When it's time to start 2hd power attacking you don't use a weapon, you use your hair Hex instead.
As your only primary natural attack that uses your Int instead of your strength it functions as a 2-handed weapon (1.5 times your Int bonus & 1/3 power attack modifier).

Your actual sword is only there for storing spells and fighting mooks with so there is no real reason to invest so much into it. It's really just a backup weapon so you only want the absolute minimum strength for power attack and dump everything else into your Int to get that 1.5x int bonus on damage with the extra spell/hex DC's skill points and languages.
Put Dex as second highest stat for the extra AC's, Reflex saves, Skill bonuses and combat reflex attacks from the 10ft+ hair reach attacks.


Ahh, now I see why you want the AOMF. You meant EVERYTIME to PA with your hair.
Is that compatable with Spell Combat as well? At first glance I would only say it worked for Spellstrike.

Andoran

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

I know what you are saying there, I am just disagreeing with it. When it's time to start 2hd power attacking you don't use a weapon, you use your hair Hex instead.

As your only primary natural attack that uses your Int instead of your strength it functions as a 2-handed weapon (1.5 times your Int bonus & 1/3 power attack modifier).

I suppose you have proof where you get 1.5 times your int bonus?

P.S. Do single natural attacks trump the rule that secondary attacks only get .5 x strength?

Cheliax

Spellstrike and spell combat both work fine with natural weapons.

The only rule for for spell combat is

Spell combat wrote:
must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components), while wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand.

You have a hand free and a sword/rod in your other hand so you meet all criteria for spell combat.

Spellstrike states:

spellstrike wrote:
whenever a magus casts a spell with a range of “touch” from the magus spell list, he can deliver the spell through any weapon he is wielding as part of a melee attack.

A natural attack is considered a weapon for all purposes so you can spell strike through it whenever you choose to.

As for the 1.5 modifier and secondary attacks:

Natural attacks wrote:
If a creature has only one natural attack, it is always made using the creature’s full base attack bonus and adds 1-1/2 times the creature’s Strength bonus on damage rolls.

Every attack you make with the hair will be at 1.5 x str (and this hex uses your Int as your strength) and will let you spellstrike & spellcombat at will AND once you get a decent metamagic rod to wield in your main hand you can buff any or every spell you cast.

This is something no other Magus can get away with.


Cool.

Added Mathwei as a collaborator.

Cheliax

STR Ranger wrote:

Cool.

Added Mathwei as a collaborator.

Cool, many thanks I'll put a few things in this thread before adding anything to the Doc.

I've been giving a lot of thought to my debuffer build and it's really starting to shape up more as a Denial build instead. Mixes the best parts of a Tank build with the de-buffing of a Witch and the Combat maneuvers/AoO's of a Combat reflex build. Just need to get the feat progression down.

Cheliax

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Here's my first pass on the Defiler/Debuffer. It's still a bit rough but I think it's all legal and just needs a bit of Polish.

The Defiler: This debuff build is focused on piling on negative effects and rendering every target as harmless and easy to kill as possible. This is a Melee effective option that is fully developed by 6th level with everything after that making it more destructive.
The with a 20pt buy the best I can think of is Human
STR 13 DEX 14 CON 14 WIS 10 INT 18 CHA 7
Note: A 2 level dip in White Haired Witch is needed to REALLY up the Debuffs and action Economy on this build.
Traits: Magical Lineage (Frostbite), Wayang Spellhunter (Frigid Touch)

1 (Witch 1) (White Haired Witch archetype) Feats: Rime Spell, Scribe Scroll
? (King Crab familiar, Strength or Wisdom Patron)
2 (Magus 1) Spell Combat, Arcane Pool
3 (Magus 2) Spellstrike ? Combat Reflexes
4 (Magus 3) Arcana- Arcane Accuracy
5 (Magus 4) Hex Arcana- Prehensile Hair, Feat: Extra Arcana (Flight)
6 (Witch 2) - Grab
7 (Magus 5) Feat: Cornugan Smash, Bonus Feat: (Power Attack)
8 (Magus 6) Arcana: Sleep Hex
9 (Magus 7) Medium Armor, Knowledge Pool Feat: Lunge
10 (Magus8) Improved spell combat
11 (Magus9) Arcana: Hasted Assault Feat: Elemental Spell (Acid or Cold)
12 (Magus10) Fighter Training
13 (Magus11) Spell Recall Bonus Feat: Sickening Spell
14 (Magus12) Hex Arcana: Ice Tomb
15 (Magus 13) Heavy Armor
Why it's good: At 7th level a prepared Defiler can inflict Grappled, Staggered, Fatigued, Entangled, Prone and Shaken onto a target with a single standard action. If he decides to make a full action he can also add Blind to that target.
The bad: It?s a dedicated melee build with lower HP?s than any other and has delayed getting access to Heavy armor until 15th level.

How it works: This build hinges around using your Hair natural attack for ALL your attack actions. As your only natural attack it is always at Full Bab and does 1-1/2 times your Strength bonus on damage rolls. Since you use your Intelligence bonus in place of strength every time you boost your Int you boost your melee to-hit and damage. Taking two levels of Witch grants three important benefits:

1. An always on Natural attack that can never be sundered, disarmed or stolen.
2. A superior Grab ability that naturally doesn?t make you grappled when you initiate the grapple (everyone else has to take 20 on each grapple check to get this)
3. A constrict ability that is based off your Intelligence and works with Power Attack.

Now this is a debuff build so our go-to spells are FrostBite (Rimed) and Frigid Touch mixed with Power Attack and Cornugan Smash all channeled through 4 different combat maneuvers (Grab, Trip, Sunder & Disarm).
Note: All combat maneuvers are attack rolls, anything that is activated by a successful hit are activated by a successful combat maneuver as well.

Combat begins by activating your Prehensile Hair and using your arcane pool to get the +attack on it as high as you can and moving into position to respond to any AoO provoking action. At your first chance Spellstrike a Rimed Frostbite and attempt a combat maneuver (trip is best) on a target 10? away (try to always power attack this).
(This will be at full Bab + Int Bonus +Arcane pool Bonus-Power attack Penalty vs. targets CMD)
If successful this will trip the target, and inflict the Fatigued and Entangled condition as well as 1D6+level non lethal damage.

(Prone is -4 to attacks and CMD, Fatigue is -2 to dex and str for another -2 to attacks and CMD, Entangled is another -2 to attacks and -4 to dex for another -2 to attacks and a concentration check to cast spells. Total = -6 to Dex, -2 to Str for a -4 to attacks, -8 CMD, -3 to AC)

This also triggers your Grab ability so now make a Grapple check against their CMD -8. If you succeed then move them to any square adjacent to you (automatic action) and inflict Constrict Damage against the target. (1D4 + 1.5xInt modifier + Power attack Bonus). This will also activate your Cornugan Smash Feat so also make an Intimidate check now to demoralize them to inflict the Shaken Condition.

(Adding the Grapple condition reduces Dex by an additional -4, Attack rolls and Combat Maneuvers by 2, and adds another concentration check to cast, Shaken reduces attacks/saves/skill checks/ability checks by 2 more. Total = -10 to Dex, -2 to Str, -10 to attacks, -2 to saves, skill checks and ability checks and requires 2 Concentration checks to cast a spell)

All of this is done with a single standard action. If you decide to use Spell combat all of the above will happen with the addition at the end to cast an additional spell (which will end the charges from Frostbite), we usually use a Frigid touch spell to inflict 4D6 damage and the staggered condition (it is recommended to either use a Metamagic on this, either Rime, Sickened or Empower).
A Defiler should invest in an Amulet of Mighty Fist (not needed but truly worth it) and keep either a Blindness, Rimed Frigid Touch or Bestow Curse in it at all times with Blindness being the most effective.

With this build raising your Int as high as you can is paramount since it powers ALL of your combat ability (attacks, damage, CMB, etc) followed by either your Dex (for more AoO's, Dex and reflex saves) or Con (to absorb all the damage that will be thrown your way the first time you use this trick) Strength needs to be 13 for Power Attack and after that it's useless.
Keep your Intimidate as high as you can (class skill from your Witch dip), and get as many +hit bonuses as possible to make sure you can always succeed on your Combat Maneuvers.

If you would like to do more damage while doing this, always remember releasing a target from a grapple is a free action and the spell from spell combat can go after all your normal attacks. So after the steps above release the target and do a normal attack with the hair triggering everything again for more damage THEN do the spell combat for the Frigid touch spell for a third touch attack (this requires you to have pre-cast the Frostbite in a previous round).

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Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Here's my first pass on the Defiler/Debuffer. It's still a bit rough but I think it's all legal and just needs a bit of Polish.

The Defiler: This debuff build is focused on piling on negative effects and rendering every target as harmless and easy to kill as possible. This is a Melee effective option that is fully developed by 6th level with everything after that making it more destructive.
The with a 20pt buy the best I can think of is Human
STR 13 DEX 14 CON 14 WIS 10 INT 18 CHA 7
Note: A 2 level dip in White Haired Witch is needed to REALLY up the Debuffs and action Economy on this build.
Traits: Magical Lineage (Frostbite), Wayang Spellhunter (Frigid Touch)

1 (Witch 1) (White Haired Witch archetype) Feats: Rime Spell, Scribe Scroll
? (King Crab familiar, Strength or Wisdom Patron)
2 (Magus 1) Spell Combat, Arcane Pool
3 (Magus 2) Spellstrike ? Combat Reflexes
4 (Magus 3) Arcana- Arcane Accuracy
5 (Magus 4) Hex Arcana- Prehensile Hair, Feat: Extra Arcana (Flight)
6 (Witch 2) - Grab
7 (Magus 5) Feat: Cornugan Smash, Bonus Feat: (Power Attack)
8 (Magus 6) Arcana: Sleep Hex
9 (Magus 7) Medium Armor, Knowledge Pool Feat: Lunge
10 (Magus8) Improved spell combat
11 (Magus9) Arcana: Hasted Assault Feat: Elemental Spell (Acid or Cold)
12 (Magus10) Fighter Training
13 (Magus11) Spell Recall Bonus Feat: Sickening Spell
14 (Magus12) Hex Arcana: Ice Tomb
15 (Magus 13) Heavy Armor
Why it's good: At 7th level a prepared Defiler can inflict Grappled, Staggered, Fatigued, Entangled, Prone and Shaken onto a target with a single standard action. If he decides to make a full action he can also add Blind to that target.
The bad: It?s a dedicated melee build with lower HP?s than any other and has delayed getting access to Heavy armor until 15th level.

How it works: This build hinges around using your Hair natural attack for ALL your attack actions. As your only natural attack it is always at Full Bab and does 1-1/2 times your Strength bonus on damage rolls. Since you use your Intelligence...

I just wanted to point out here that the battle plan you listed won't really work if James Jacobs' clarification on the white-haired witch abilities is ever turned into a true FAQ. He said that Trip, Grab, and Constrict are all swift actions, and you only get one of those a round, sadly.

Edit: Also, I'm not sure why you have the second level of White-haired Witch, since you get the Grab ability at 1st level. Constrict is okay but not worth the loss of another Magus level, I would think.

Edit again: I'm also surprised to not see Improved Grapple or Improved Trip on here anywhere, to get the bonus +2 on either and qualify for Greater versions of them.


Mathwei your build only works if prehensile hair hex stacks with the White hair witch's ability.

I am not sure that they stack.

Cheliax

This build includes the update from JJacobs. if you'll notice we only use 1 swift action from the magus and that's at the beginning before combat.
The 2nd level of witch is so you can use power attack to trigger the Cornogon Smash off of the free damage from Constrict. The intimidate as a free action is needed to stack on the shaken debuff.
this build is all about getting as many debuffs on as fast as possible.

look again, 5 high end debuffs off of a single standard action.

edit: IF *IF* the hair doesn't stack the only change it makes is the grapple debuff isnt added until the second attack ina full attack action.


Rules clarification needed, but damn that's a great build.
Lock that in as the debuffer build for the guide.

Is it worth putting a level of monk instead of witch 2 and adding hex strike (evil eye).
With the AoMF, should land more debuffs.


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:


Yes, the Hexcrafter is a melee combatant and yes the dervish dance builds are boring and not needed for this type. However Magi have reflex as their poor save and don't get real armor options until 7th level. Add to that they are always using light 1-hd weapons so power attack is off the table leaving Strength only useful for carrying capacity.

There's nothing stopping somebody from using Power Attack with a light weapon. You can't two-hand it for the extra PA damage, but it works otherwise.

Cheliax

alientude wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:


Yes, the Hexcrafter is a melee combatant and yes the dervish dance builds are boring and not needed for this type. However Magi have reflex as their poor save and don't get real armor options until 7th level. Add to that they are always using light 1-hd weapons so power attack is off the table leaving Strength only useful for carrying capacity.
There's nothing stopping somebody from using Power Attack with a light weapon. You can't two-hand it for the extra PA damage, but it works otherwise.

The issue with using Power Attack with a light weapon on a 3/4 bab class is the return on investment tends not to be worth the loss of hit bonus.

STR Ranger wrote:

Rules clarification needed, but damn that's a great build.

Lock that in as the debuffer build for the guide.

Is it worth putting a level of monk instead of witch 2 and adding hex strike (evil eye).
With the AoMF, should land more debuffs.

Thought about it but decided against. Mixing any iterative attacks into this action would give us a -5 to hit and gut the damage bonus from our high Int. The real issue with it is Hex strike requires a swift action to rattle off and we just don't have any Swift actions to spare.


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

This build includes the update from JJacobs. if you'll notice we only use 1 swift action from the magus and that's at the beginning before combat.

The 2nd level of witch is so you can use power attack to trigger the Cornogon Smash off of the free damage from Constrict. The intimidate as a free action is needed to stack on the shaken debuff.
this build is all about getting as many debuffs on as fast as possible.

look again, 5 high end debuffs off of a single standard action.

edit: IF *IF* the hair doesn't stack the only change it makes is the grapple debuff isnt added until the second attack ina full attack action.

The build ideas that you and STR Ranger are coming up with for the Hexcrafter are intriguing. I look forward to seeing the finished version of the guide.

Mathwei, what changes (if any) would you make for your Defiler/Debuffer build to use in Pathfinder Society play since you have to cap out at 12th level?

Cheliax

About the only change you would need to make for PFS is to replace the Scribe scroll Feat you would normally take at 1st level (and it is REALLY an optional feat anyway).

Everything else can stay as it is since I actually designed the rest of this build for PFS (Scribe scroll is one of those feats I just like to have for any prepared caster).
With that said however I see this as the beginning of another All Caps build and may recommend against using it in PFS. PFS does tend to focus on single target BBEG and this build tends to eat them alive in under a round.

Edit: @cartmanbeck, there is no need for any of the improved or greater feats for any of the Combat Maneuvers. We are doing all of this at 10'-15' away so the target won't be able to AoO us (and the hair cannot be attacked directly or sundered). The +2 bonus would be nice but we have an arcane pool and/or True Strike to guarantee a success if we REALLY need it.


This looks great, now we just need the Master transmorgifist build.
I'm going some experimenting.
Uses the Force Hook Charge spell for Pounce and Montrous Physique spells for extra attacks.
The pinnacle form I have found is the 6 armed Calikang.

Mathwei, feel free to edit the title to include yourself as well.


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

About the only change you would need to make for PFS is to replace the Scribe scroll Feat you would normally take at 1st level (and it is REALLY an optional feat anyway).

Everything else can stay as it is since I actually designed the rest of this build for PFS (Scribe scroll is one of those feats I just like to have for any prepared caster).
With that said however I see this as the beginning of another All Caps build and may recommend against using it in PFS. PFS does tend to focus on single target BBEG and this build tends to eat them alive in under a round.

Would it be better to start with Magus at 1st level instead of the witch for the extra 2 hit points or is there a reason you should start with witch?


so how does one two handed spellstrike when it requires at least one free hand to cast?


You cast the spell with your free hand. Then you free action grasp your weapon 2 handed to deliver the spells attack

Spellstrike is NOT an action. It merely let's you deliver the FREE touch attack granted by the spell via your weapon hand.

Cheliax

Conundrum wrote:
so how does one two handed spellstrike when it requires at least one free hand to cast?

STR ranger is right but I think he missed the point of your question.

SPELL COMBAT requires a free hand for the full round while casting the spell, SPELLSTRIKE does not.

Don't worry about it, everyone confuses those two at first.

@c873788, There are three reasons we want the Witch at first level.
1. Witches get Touch of Fatigue on their spell list, Magi do not and we want this cantrip.

2. Taking Witch first gives you a free and potent melee weapon, saving you cash.

3. 1st level is safest for survival. Taking the witch level later could be quite a bit more risky.


I've started to read up on the Magus as a result of this thread including Walter's Guide. Everyone seems to rave about using arcane mark/brand cantrip. Walter mentions that it seems to allow you to spell combat and spell strike in one round to gain a free attack. I'm feeling particularly dense as I can't see how placing a magical rune on someone improves your action economy in a given round. Could someone please enlighten me on how this trick works (be explicit)?


Spell Combat lets you full attack AND cast a spell, by taking a -2 to hit and so forth.

Spellstrike lets you deliver a touch spell with a weapon attack as part of the casting, instead of as a melee touch.

When you combine the two, you end up with a "pseudo-flurry" kind of deal, where you're full attacking with an extra attack by taking a -2 to hit.

That's basically all there is to it...


StreamOfTheSky wrote:

Spell Combat lets you full attack AND cast a spell, by taking a -2 to hit and so forth.

Spellstrike lets you deliver a touch spell with a weapon attack as part of the casting, instead of as a melee touch.

When you combine the two, you end up with a "pseudo-flurry" kind of deal, where you're full attacking with an extra attack by taking a -2 to hit.

That's basically all there is to it...

Ok, I finally got it. Thanks StreamofTheSky.


The main reason I started this guide is Hexcrafter is now firmly my favorite class.
The hex feature is awesome since it allows you to conserve spells but giving you powerful Supernatural abilities to supplement your casting. I have made it through whole dungeons using only Slumber and Brand Spell combat, allowing you to totally NOVA on the bbeg.

Unlike witches, a hex's range is not a problem since you aren't particularly squishy and using them doesn't.provoke.

I am in a PBP with one right now and he's merely a versatile scimitar user. Only a little optimised. Uses a scimitar rather than Hair. Has power attack despite 1-handing when using spell combat (2 hands for spellstrike). I will likely post him at the end of the guide.


STR Ranger wrote:

The main reason I started this guide is Hexcrafter is now firmly my favorite class.

I can understand why. This archetype certainly seems to have plenty of potential and multiple builds that work well.

Looking specifically at your 3 STYGIAN WITCHES build, I think you mean Intensified Spell but you have Intensify Spell as the 3rd level feat which is a non Paizo published feat.

I'm just trying to remember if the sorcerer and magus levels stack for your casting level when casting your Shocking Grasp spells which I don't think they do. This certainly makes the choice of Varisian Tattoo optimal to give you +1 casting level for your Evocation School. Are there any traits or feats that boost your casting level to your class level as all those Sorcerer based Shocking Grasp spells you pick up could then go from 2d6 up to your class level?

One last point of interest regarding the 3 STYGIAN WITCHES build, how does using the scimitar compare to the Hair as your preferred weapon? Off the top of my head, you can eventually get keen on your scimitar for a much greater chance of criticals versus the reach for your hair and being able to stack your Intelligence and dump strength to some degree. I'm not sure which is better.

Cheliax

The difference between using the Scimitar and the hair is simple. The scimitar is the weapon of choice if you want to damage your opponent the hair is what you use if you want to disable them.

Hair builds don't care about any damage past the first point that allows you to power attack and Intimidate your target.

Scimitar builds are all about inflicting massive amounts of damage as fast as possible.

Both are great depending on your interests.


touch of fatigue can be gained through a lot of ways, as example through a trait, a hexcrafter qualifies for most witch feats, so unless it is an archetype power from the witch you want you can avoid a dip into it, a cabalist hexcrafter can increase its possibilities when getting the bloodline, especially with destined/draconic/sylvan/envenomed/giant choices

Eldritch Heritage feats let you gain further powers from other bloodlines, as Cabalist choosing Sylvan as actual bloodline and somewhere on the road getting the Skill Focus for Perception saves you one feat if you want to go after the Draconic and Giant bloodline powers. A 2 or 3 level dip into Titan mauler combined with the powers of Giant bloodline also make interesting options available as the Magus gets heavier armor, and the STR is most likely not that great but due to the Giant weight power it will be much less an issue.

a cabalist hexcrafter with powers of the giants and dragons would gain additional natural armor in addition to usual armor class use, better use of the increased size from that certain spell, could become a living storageroom due to increased weight capacity, and if it choose the Sylvan bloodline then it also has an animal companion and very late in the game gets some additional spells that are not usually on the magus list. If the magus also took 2-3 levels of Titan Mauler then it gives a bit of his spellcasting up for slightly better BAB, and the ability to wield one damn huge weapon in a hand while keeping the other free for his casting as magus.I would pick a bigger version of the falcata or rhoka as that weapon, maybe scimitar. If you want a giantish flavor than some hammer you can throw. Cloud Strife will envy you.

As a Magus if taking Hexcrafter Archetype, I would consider it a sin not to also take Cabalist.


joriandrake wrote:
As a Magus if taking Hexcrafter Archetype, I would consider it a sin not to also take Cabalist.

Cabalist does look like a good option but it is worth noting that it is 3rd Party Published material making it illegal for Pathfinder Society Play.


Exactly the reason it's not in the guide.

Agree with Mathwei on hair vs Scimitar.
Hair is for Defiler, Scimitar is for Blaster and transmorgifist.

I need to look at the Build example heading
3 Stygian Witches means 3 Hexcrafter builds.
Blaster
Defiler
Transmorgifist (not up yet)


if you are looking for pure-basic data from Paizo, I believe many witch feats were made by them, 1-2 extra hex feats for the hexcrafter on low level can help out a lot


This is Varrel.
13th level hexcrafter- Melee focused.

He is not quite finished but his basic combat routine is to 2 handed power attack spellstrike with 1st level intensified shocking grasps and buff with Blur for spell combat (Activates his moonlight Stalker feat.
If he wants to Save or suck he can Evil Eye+close (-4 to enemy saves)and next round spellcombat with Major Curse or Blindness.

I am contiplating swapping out Major Healing hex for a metamagic
and I need help with shopping. His skills are not done either.

I have 140, 000gp to spend.
I figure straight enhancement for his scimitar, since +5 will overcome all DR and I can add abilities on the fly with arcane pool.

Armor would probably be mithral agile breastplate (since I wanna be.stealty as)

Don't forget his Cassian familiar (who in Angelic Child form can use wands)

I'm pretty good at Min/Maxing Builds but not so hot on gear...

HELP!


Didn't realize this had it's own thread discussing it. Just repeating from the Walter guide thread the correction about Accursed Strike being selectable to HC's but not just free.

And as for the Summon Spirit discussion, I'm in agreement with your rating (It's solid Blue IMO, and at worst it would be Green bordering on Blue), people may personally dislike it or dislike summoning/binding/allies/etc, but it doesn't change when used right it's insanely powerful for it's level.


Sorry, missed the Accused strike Typo. I know you don't get it for free. I have corrected it.

Any suggestions for Varrel?


I'd definitely say lose the healing hexes, on a Witch sure but on the feat starved HC-Magi they're not enough value [and as has been discussed by the math nuts around here, healing is subpar to offense in Pathfinder] especially since Infernal Healing got added to the Magus list, but metamagic's are tricky. They're hugely based on what's your prime attack spell, if you're going high enough to Spell Perfection it, if it's saved based (Persistent Spell) vs if it's damage based (empower spell) vs if you've taken Spell Pen yet (if you're not an Elf and past level 5-7 you want to get it instead). Hard to say.

Plus with a Hexcrafter... well unless you've got a Spell Perfection plan or similiar way to red line a certain spell, you're almost better iwht more Hexes, fewer Metamagics, so while I'm not very pro healing hexes, I'd say replace them with another hex or an arcana, not a metamagic unless the metamagic is towards a specific purpose.


Yep. pretty sure a few wands of gtr healing would be a better pick.
Plus GTR INFERNAL HEALING is also on the magus list.

this is for an assault on the Acadamae. I'm pretty sure once we go in, we don't come out till we finish or die.

So either swap it for another hex? or a meta feat or combat feat.

Varrel is an Elf so he racially gets +2 Vs SR.

Reguarding Dumping Healing Hex- at first I thought Heighten for Blindness/Deafness but decided not to beacuse, well MY slumber or Ice Tomb hex is a better save or lose anyway and I can use it as instead of Spellstrike if I want a save or lose effect.

Pretty hard to pick a winner:
Enduring Blade- at this level buffs will last 13minutes.
Spell Blending- would get me access to 2, 4th level Wizard spells but they would both need to be freaking awesome. Blacklight is the only great one that screams PICK ME!

The only Hex that screams PICK ME is
Retribution- Will save and the target recives 1/2 damage it deals for rds/per my INT mod (+5 or 6)

I think I have it!!!:
Perhaps Quicken Spell at 13, Dazing Spell at 15 and Spell perfection twicex2 (class bonus feat- Chain Lightning) and (normal feat- Shocking Grasp).

this would let me Quicken an intensified Shocking Grasp (delivered via spellstrike- free weapon attack) and then Spell combat full attack with Intensified SG.

That's 3 attacks at full BAB and 2iteratives, carrying 20d6 worth of SG damage for 2 1st level slots. layered on TOP of my full attack is pretty sweet.

At rage I could Quicken a Chain Lightning and cast a Chain Lighting on top.
so 40d6 damage (that won't hit allies) plus 6rounds of DAZE.
I'll need a rod of Energy Substitituion.


You can only take spell perfection once, unless a feat explicitly say you can take it multiple times you can only pick a feat once.

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