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New to Pathfinder-Stonelord Help


Advice


Hello all,
I am new to the Pathfinder system, and am joining a group that is going to be running through an adventure path named "carrion crown" (no spoilers, please), which apparently runs up through high levels, so we'll be going at it for a while. I haven't played a D20 game in ~3-4 years (last sessions were 4E Playtest sessions, which.... eh), so I'm a bit rusty at all this.

I am looking for advice on playing/constructing a Dwarven Stonelord Paladin (a new Archetype from the Advanced Race Guide). It seems to combine the old Dwarven Defender Prestige Class (Which I loved, but was generally non-viable) with enough tools to be useful in situations where you can't just plant your feet and blender your way through waves of Orcs (The lack of spellcasting, while a power detriment, is a plus for me, since I don't really want to fiddle with extensive divine spell-lists when I'm just returning. I'll save the caster for when I inevitably die and need to make a replacement character ;)).
Some basic questions before I go into set-up specifics:
1) Can Earth Elemental companions wear Magic Items? They are described as vaguely humanoid, but that is, well, vague.
2) Do the Earth Elemental Companions use the Animal Companion table like the Bonded Mounts they replace? Since the ability says “as” I assume so, but it doesn’t directly call out the progression. Without the progression the elemental seems kinda eh
3) Is there any feat or magic item that would allow me to ignore the Fatigued or Exhausted condition? This would go a very long way towards making the Defensive Stance a functional combat tool for the non-turret ideas.
4) What would you recommend for a Neck-Slot Wondrous item? Thanks to Stonelord’s baked-in Natural Armor, you don’t really need an amulet of NAC.
5) How hard would a GM punch me for trying to use Combat Patrol and Defensive Stance? Cmon, 4’ tall dwarf threatening a 35’ radius area while standing stock-still is funny!
Our Party (starting at 2nd Level, 25-point buy):
Barbarian 1/Ranger 1 (Animal Companion, Melee)
Cleric 2 (Finger-wiggler)
Druid 1/Oracle 1 (Animal Companion, Finger-wiggler)
Fighter 2 (Sword and Board)
Ranger 2 (Archer)
Me 2

(Yes, I realize I should probably be a wizard or sorcerer for arcane support, but I'm blah on that. Played enough wizards in 3.0/3.5)

The first question I have come to, is how best to use the class's Defensive Stance feature.

I have read the paladin guides in the Guide to the Guides thread, but Stonelord is in a bit of a unique position, since his Smite Evil variant doesn't work with ranged weapons (likely for a reason, turning yourself into a turret obviously works rather well with an ability that requires immobility).

With Archery being somewhat hampered (But more on that later), I turned to look at melee. This is the traditional failing of the Dwarven Defender's defensive stance: Once you root yourself, intelligent opponents tend to notice you not moving, and just walk around you. Thankfully, Pathfinder appears to have some help in *stopping* said activity (Stand Still). It seems like a Polearm-wielding, Lunge-ing caster-protector would be a decent implementation of the class, however we have a rather large number of melee bodies in between the casters and opponents, so I don't know if enemies will have the capacity to charge our casters/archer during most encounters.

~ARCHER BUILD~

STR 14 [5]
DEX 17 [13]
CON 14 [5] =16
INT 10 [0]
WIS 12 [2] =14
CHA 10 [0] =8

As a low-skill count class, I don't want to penalize myself further with a negative INT mod, and I don't really want to lose too many Lay on Hands/Earth Channels (to save my pet's bacon) to low CHA.

For feats, it would be standard Archer progression:

1: Point-Blank Shot
3: Precise Shot
5: Rapid Shot
7: Deadly Aim
9: Manyshot
11: Improved Precise Shot
13: Clustered Shot (Since you can't Smite with your ranged weapon)

My basic idea with the Stonelord Archer is to start combat by Rooting Myself and full-attacking the enemy. However, once an enemy manages to close to melee, I plan to drop my bow, drop a 2hander, and fight. With the +4STR from Defensive Stance, and with my Smite Evil-variant being available to shore up my melee weakness, I think this should be a viable decision, at least until I'm high enough level to have open feats for things like Snap Shot (possibly 13th level). If I can't go to my enemies, I’ll bring my enemies to me, as they try to stop the hail of arrows.

Additionally, the Earth Elemental companion can run interference for me while I pewpewlasers people, as he progressively gains higher amounts of reach. My Elemental’s feats would likely resemble that of a Polearm+Combat Maneuver fighter, as my own pocket defender (Main issue is low-dex for Combat Reflexes AoOs).

Defensive stance powers that seem useful for this build are: Clear Mind (Reroll Will 1/stance), Roused Defense (Enter stance while Fatigued), Immobile (+Class Level to CMD against Bull Rush/Overrun/Pull/Push/Grapple), Internal Fortitude(Immune to Sickened/Nauseated)

This option is the most straight-forward, and can borrow a lot of supporting literature from the Paladin handbooks online. What I’m more interested in seeing advice/help for are the following ideas:

~POLEARM BUILD~

The basic idea with the polearm build would be the same as any of the various ways it’s been built with Fighter: try to muck up the battlefield by tripping and stop-movementing people using your reach. This is complicated by the Defensive Stance’s complete lack of mobility (although I don’t think you’d notice it much if you spend your turns Whirlwind Attacking anyway), which means there’s a decent chance of the fight just… leaving you, if you don’t land your stop-movement effects.

This build tries to capitalize on the Defensive Stance bonuses and the class’s innate tankiness by *forcing* people to stay within the compass of your reach once they get there (or once you blindly charge into the middle of the enemy pack). The problem I see with this is that the effectiveness really drops off against bigger enemies. Against Large size and smaller foes, you can generally get multiple enemies within your Reach, and still have a good chance of beating their CMD to trip them or Stand Still them, but with anything larger than that their size, both in map hexes and in CMD bonuses, is confounding. Is there anything that helps this later on besides getting a cleric to make me grow to titanic heights myself?

In this build, the Earth Elemental would likely serve as a mobile flank buddy for other party members, and a random damage source much of the time.

For this build, I know that Power Attack, Lunge, Combat Reflexes, and Stand Still are very important, but I can’t really decide on what to do beyond that. Whirlwind attack is very nice with reach, but the feat chain leading up to it is just… meh? Maybe Cleave>Great Cleave>Dwarven Supreme Cleave for combats against weak foes where I don’t really need the defensive bonus? This is considerably less straight-forward than the archery stuff, and has less written about it online, so I’d love any thoughts/advice.

The Bulwark, Halting Blow, Intercept, and Unexpected Strike defensive powers seem tailored to this style of fighting (although I would likely get the Reroll a failed will save power instead of Unexpected Strike).

~SCREW IT, I’M A DRIZZIT BUILD~
This seems like a very bad idea, but it amuses me. With the ability to throw up a 1-round bonus to attack/damage against *anything*, that can also just happen to make your weapon ignore Metal and Stone armor, and having your own hard to kill flank buddy, it seems like there might be the makings of a silly 15-minute-adventuring-day Dual-Wielding Stonelord (Double Dwarven Waraxe rawr). You’d basically be throwing Defensive Stance out the window unless there’s a way to ignore Fatigued/Exhausted, since you’d likely need to reposition many times per fight. And with no pounce option in sight, the likelihood of you actually executing your full-damage potential seems low.

I could also just go Sword and Board, or 2hander, and just be a tanky medium damage melee dude, restricting my Defensive Stance use to the rare instances where someone needs to straddle a chokepoint, but that seems like a waste when you have CON MOD+42 rounds of Defensive Stance available each day. I was also interested in the condition-inflicting feats, but the Carrion Crown players’ handout warns against focusing on effects that don’t work on the mindless.

Anyhow, I’m looking for any thoughts, advice, or direction for playing a Stonelord as someone new to the campaign setting/system. I still haven’t decided which direction to go in, since they each have their own benefits/detriments, and I’m not super-familiar with the system and what’s available.

Also, any advice on Feats for the Servant would be awesome, I know Improved Natural Attack should be pretty zesty, as well as (potentially) Vital Strike/Imp Vital Strike, due to the good dice-base on his Slams. He's also intelligent enough to pick up Teamwork feats, so he can let you pick up the +2 to flanking feat, which is nice for 1 feat on your character proper.


Rather than use a Pole-arm, why not the Dwarven Dorn-Dergar? It can be either a reach or close-combat weapon, switching its range as a move action. There is a feat (prereq of BAB+4) that allows you to switch it as a swift action (feat: Darting Viper, Dwarves of Golarion). It's martial weapon for you since you're a dwarf. And it's still two-handed :)

Sadly, combat patrol still requires you to move to hit them.

AFAIK, the elemental can wear anything you give it.. Don't see an issue with you putting your WBL into a class feature. They don't progress using the Animal Companion chart. They gain size as you go up in level, thats it. But remember they also get bonuses from being Celstial. When you get the small elemental, it gets DR5/evil, Resist 10 cold, acid, elec, as well as Smite Evil 1/day, as well as SR 7. Not bad in all, but could be better. Don't think you get to choose feats for the little guy.

I really really like the Stonelord, almost made one myself. Try it out because they look incredibly fun.


Just as a note in case it's not obvious, gaining size is a progression of sorts. You don't just write down the bigger size and apply its effects, you upgrade its stats to those of the next bigger category of elemental, so at 8th level it gets the 4 HD of a medium elemental, at 11th level it has 8 HD, and so on. It's less of a smooth progression than an animal companion gets, and it'll have fewer HD even on the levels where it advances, but since they're outsider HD its BAB will be better (sometimes) and with Earth Glide it can be hard to counterattack. You'll still want to bolster it with magical items as you suggest, though.


As for overcoming the penalties of Defensive Stance, I saw a post about a Paladin/Stalwart Defender who used Lay on Hands with the Fatigue Mercy each round to simply ignore the drawback of ending his defensive stance.

If you read Stonelord carefully, you will see that although they trade away their 3rd, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 18th level mercies they still have their 6th level mercy.

At 6th level you can choose from: Fatigued, Shaken, Sickened, Dazed, Diseased, or Staggered. Do I really have to point out which one is the one you should pick? :)

Your turn #1: Start Stance, Attack.
Enemy's turn #1: Run around the Wall of Dwarfiness
Your turn #2: End stance as a free action (become fatigued), Lay on Hands on yourself as a Swift action (remove fatigue and heal yourself), follow bad guy as a move action, enter stance again as a free action, attack thoroughly stunned bad guy as a standard action.

"I thought you couldn't move!!!"

"You were dead wrong"

There is someone at Paizo who loves us Paladins. Thank you Sir.


That appears to work! Extraordinary!

Silver Crusade

Take a look at the first level Bard spell Invigorate. For 10 minutes per level, you ignore the effects of being fatigued or exhausted, then take 1d6 nonlethal damage when the spell expires. At 50gp for a potion, Invigorate is great to have on hand for any class that tends to wear itself out.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2015

Sober Caydenite wrote:
Take a look at the first level Bard spell Invigorate. For 10 minutes per level, you ignore the effects of being fatigued or exhausted, then take 1d6 nonlethal damage when the spell expires. At 50gp for a potion, Invigorate is great to have on hand for any class that tends to wear itself out.

That spell only removes the effects of fatigued, not the condition itself, and is thus useless for a Barbarian or Stonelord trying to work around these problems. Various people at Paizo have even said as much.

The Lay on Hands thing should work perfectly though. Which is awesome. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

@Deadmanwalking: Damn! Really? It sounded like it would remove the condition, but it is true that it does not say exactly that. Do you have a link?

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2015

Derwalt wrote:
@Deadmanwalking: Damn! Really? It sounded like it would remove the condition, but it is true that it does not say exactly that. Do you have a link?

Here's one place James Jacobs says it. He's not an absolute rules authority, but here's a discussion of why that might be true (featuring yours truly along with others, and why the other interpretation is...potentially problematic).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thank you :) Both links were a very informative read. And I quite agree with the reasoning. A shame though, but maybe for the best. And Potions of Invigorate will still have a new permanent spot in my inventory! :)

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2015

Derwalt wrote:
Thank you :) Both links were a very informative read. And I quite agree with the reasoning.

Glad you found them so. :)

Always happy to be of assistance.

Derwalt wrote:
A shame though, but maybe for the best. And Potions of Invigorate will still have a new permanent spot in my inventory! :)

It does still allow Stalwart Defenders and Barbarians to stop raging without suffering active penalties (as well as being useful in vatrious other situations).

Silver Crusade

Sober Caydenite wrote:
Take a look at the first level Bard spell Invigorate. For 10 minutes per level, you ignore the effects of being fatigued or exhausted, then take 1d6 nonlethal damage when the spell expires. At 50gp for a potion, Invigorate is great to have on hand for any class that tends to wear itself out.

I wasn't suggesting it for engaging in rage-on/rage-off shenanigans, but for dealing with the fact that stalwart defenders, in particular, will often find themselves fatigued because after they enter the stance they find it necessary to move.


dunebugg wrote:
When you get the small elemental, it gets DR5/evil, Resist 10 cold, acid, elec, as well as Smite Evil 1/day, as well as SR 7.

Is that so?

The small elemental has the following entry for hp and hd: hp 13 (2d10+2).
As the celestial template doesn't give DR till a creature gets 5 HD I don't think the elemental starts with DR. Or does it use your level as HD?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

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