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Whip build for Bard


Advice

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

With the Whip Mastery feats in UC, I'm looking at a whip-using bard as a controller. He'll never be dealing massive amounts of damage, but that's what the fighter is for. How can you build a whip user as a bard?

Here are the feats of immediate interest:
Weapon focus (whip)
Whip Mastery Chain
Combat Expertise
Improved/Greater Trip
Improved/Greater Disarm

Also, how do trip and disarm work at range? Do they still provoke AoO even when you're 15 feet away?


They provoke AoO but if no one can hit you you are fine. Though the Fighter right next to you can get one.

Don't you Also need EWP(Whip)?

As far as I see this seems like a solid build.

Liberty's Edge

Does attempting to trip someone from 15' away provoke an attack of opportunity from the target? Absolutely. Can the target take that attack of opportunity if he can't reach you? Not a chance. The AoO rules aren't so convoluted that they let people interrupt your action to charge you from thirty feet away or anything stupid like that. If your opponent has 15' reach, then he can take his AoO, but the majority of them won't (which is why whips are actually pretty playable despite their incredibly limited damage capabilities).

I suggest a two level dip into the Lore Warden fighter archetype. Two levels gets you +2 BAB (helps you qualify for Greater Trip and Improved Whip Mastery faster), as well as three bonus feats (one of which is Combat Expertise. I suggest Weapon Focus at level 1, then Combat Expertise/Improved Trip at level 2).

If you like, you can even extend this to a three level dip. The third level of Lore Warden is very potent, granting you an impressive +2 bonus to your CMB and CMD checks, in addition to the full BAB granted by the fighter, for a total of +5 to your CMB checks from three levels (+7 for the specific maneuver you spent your bonus feat on Improved X).


Azaelas Fayth wrote:

They provoke AoO but if no one can hit you you are fine. Though the Fighter right next to you can get one.

Don't you Also need EWP(Whip)?

As far as I see this seems like a solid build.

Standard bards are proficient with Whip, unless their archetype alters their proficiencies.


Jaatu Bronzescale wrote:
Azaelas Fayth wrote:

They provoke AoO but if no one can hit you you are fine. Though the Fighter right next to you can get one.

Don't you Also need EWP(Whip)?

As far as I see this seems like a solid build.

Standard bards are proficient with Whip, unless their archetype alters their proficiencies.

Well would you look at that... I never seen that before...

@PeterJ: mind telling us more on your character plan?


Well, you're never going to get all the feats, so you need to prioritize.

You're going to give up HUGE numbers of Bard options in order to do the whole whip mastery thing.

Bard 1 (BAB +0) - Combat Expertise (Improved Trip - Human)
Bard 3 (BAB +2) - Whip Mastery
Bard 5 (BAB +3) - Weapon Focus/Improved Trip
Bard 7 (BAB +5) - Improved Whip Mastery
Bard 9 (BAB +6) - Greater Trip
Bard11 (BAB +8) - Improved Disarm
Bard13 (BAB +9) - Greater Disarm

Using the feats you've listed. I think I would recommend Agile Maneuvers instead of Weapon Focus, actually, allowing you not to make your Bard more MAD than you must.

Trip and Disarm (without the feats) ALWAYS provoke. If the guy you provoke from doesn't have reach to attack you, however, he can't do anything about it. That's the biggest advantage to using the whip in this fashion.

You'll also WANT Combat Reflexes. I don't care what the weapon is, this kind of build is very, very feat heavy.

If you plan to take advantage of the range, and thus put off the improved/greater feats, then you could go something more like:

Bard 1 - Combat Reflexes
Bard 3 - Whip Mastery
Bard 5 - Agile Maneuvers
Bard 7 - Improved Whip Mastery
Bard 9 - Weapon Focus
Bard11 - Greater Whip Mastery

Levels 5 & 9 could move earlier with a human feat pick. This opens up a feat slot or two to improve Bardic abilities. You will fail the CMB/CMD check more often than a dedicated CE Fighter would, but whips are CHEAP! How many would you like to carry?


I suggest improve disarm dirty trick instead of improved disarm/trip.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Azaelas Fayth wrote:
Jaatu Bronzescale wrote:
Azaelas Fayth wrote:

They provoke AoO but if no one can hit you you are fine. Though the Fighter right next to you can get one.

Don't you Also need EWP(Whip)?

As far as I see this seems like a solid build.

Standard bards are proficient with Whip, unless their archetype alters their proficiencies.

Well would you look at that... I never seen that before...

@PeterJ: mind telling us more on your character plan?

My intent is to build a controller/supporter with a combination of spells and whip combat maneuvers. I went with the bard because I also want to be a Knowledge monkey as well. Which is why I'm against dipping into fighter.

The Whip Mastery chain also requires Weapon Focus (whip).


Peter J wrote:
The Whip Mastery chain also requires Weapon Focus (whip).

Obviously I missed that, then.

Well:

Bard 1 - Combat Reflexes
Human - Agile Maneuvers
Bard 3 - Weapon Focus (Whip)
Bard 5 - Whip Mastery
Bard 7 - Improved Whip Mastery
Bard 9 - <Bard Feat>
Bard11 - Greater Whip Mastery

Would still work.

Liberty's Edge

Agile Maneuvers is unnecessary for the build if you are focusing on trip and disarm. The FAQ has already clarified that the Weapon Finesse feat applies to combat maneuvers made with finessable weapons when making Disarm, Trip, and Sunder checks only. Therefore, it is better to get Weapon Finesse than Agile Maneuvers, as you can spend one feat to get Dex to both attack rolls and CMB checks, rather than only CMB checks (but with grapple/dirty trick/overrun/all the other maneuvers you won't be using).

Fury's Fall is a great feat for this build, by the way. With Weapon Finesse, you'll be getting Dex to CMB for trip...twice! Soooo broken.


That's quite feat intensive, but doable. The problem is that Weapon Focus (Whip) makes this feat chain extra expensive.

1st Level: Combat Expertise
Human: Improved Trip/Disarm/Dirty Trick
3rd Level: Weapon Focus (Whip)
5th Level: Whip Mastery
7th Level: Improved Whip Mastery
9th Level: Greater Trip/Disarm/Dirty Trick

You'll not be able to effectively use your against opponents bigger than Large, so I dunno how good is that. Note that thanks to the whip's 15ft reach, you won't be provoking many AoO even if you don't have Improved Trip/Disarm.

Also, check the traits Opportunistic, Prehensile Whip and Whip Specialist (couldn't find this one in the SRD, but it's from Pirates of the Inner Sea, and it gives you a +1 bonus to all damage rolls made with a whip). If you make a Tiefling (or human with the feat Racial Heritage: Tiefling) you could also pick Chain Master

EDIT: Also, note that you can make a similar character using a Bladebound/Kensai magus (including the Know-it-All part).

An Oracle of Battle can also be an effective whip wielder, but it won't be as good with Knowledge skills.


Well everyone seems to have given good advice...


Am I the only one who thinks whips (like chains) should have the "grapple" special qualitiy besides "disarm, reach and trip"?

Liberty's Edge

DracoDruid wrote:
Am I the only one who thinks whips (like chains) should have the "grapple" special qualitiy besides "disarm, reach and trip"?

The Greater Whip Mastery feat allows you to grapple with your whip.

There's a feat that lets you use a whip to inflict the entangle condition on your opponents, which I think is quite nicer than grappling with them. It's called Fury's Snare.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Thanks for the advice. As far as stats go, I may go with Agile Maneuvers so I don't have to worry about Strength. It's only a 15 point build, so I only have so much to go around.

Strength 10
Dexterity 14
Constitution 12
Intelligence 13
Wisdom 10
Charisma 14+2 human


As weapon description says, whip don´t have threaten area (until you select improved whip mastery) so Combat reflexes as level 1 feat is completely useless

You can stack Weapon Finesse and Fury´s Fall? The two give you the same bonus (DEX bonus) one instead of STR bonus and other adding it, but in both cases is the same.

Finally don´t forget of Serpent Lash and Greater Serpent Lash feat

Serpent Lash (Combat)

You are adept at vexing multiple foes with your whip.

Prerequisite: Weapon Finesse, proficient in whip.

Benefit: As a standard action, you can make a disarm or trip maneuver with your whip. If it succeeds, you can make an additional disarm or trip maneuver with the same bonus against a target adjacent to the first and also within your whip’s reach.

In addition, you can use your whip to perform reposition maneuvers, though you take a –4 penalty on your CMB and you may only move the target toward you from its original position.
Greater Serpent Lash (Combat)

Your ability to disarm and pull foes off balance with your whip is impressive.

Prerequisite: Serpent Lash, base attack bonus +4

Benefit: When you make a successful disarm or trip maneuver using the Serpent Lash feat, you can make your additional disarm or trip attempt against any target within your whip’s reach. With a reposition maneuver, you can move the target creature to any point within your whip’s reach.


If not a Tiefling, instead of Chain Master, you can take Heirloom Weapon trait to get +2 on one type of maneuver of your choice (I suggest trip).

15 point buy means you need to be stingy with your points. Consider either nerfing wisdom down a bit or playing a Fetchling instead of Human (+2 cha/dex, -2 wis). May even want to consider dropping str, which will of course hurt badly until you gan make the whip Agile.

Consider Archaeologist archetype, though doing so makes Lingering Performance a required feat to an already feat hungry build.


StreamOfTheSky wrote:

If not a Tiefling, instead of Chain Master, you can take Heirloom Weapon trait to get +2 on one type of maneuver of your choice (I suggest trip).

15 point buy means you need to be stingy with your points. Consider either nerfing wisdom down a bit or playing a Fetchling instead of Human (+2 cha/dex, -2 wis). May even want to consider dropping str, which will of course hurt badly until you gan make the whip Agile.

Consider Archaeologist archetype, though doing so makes Lingering Performance a required feat to an already feat hungry build.

A trick I had not seen mentioned: The Enforcer (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/enforcer-combat) feat. Since you _can_ do nonlethal damage, and your intimidate check is going to be great (bard), you can basically demoralize everybody you hit. Which for a controller/debuffer is pretty excellent.

-Cross


Forget the whole combat expertise thing. Just take a 2 level dip of maneuver master monk, grab imp. trip and disarm, get nice bennies like evasion, IUS, stunning fist, etc. and call it a day.


Don't bother with Whip Mastery unless you are really, really set on the benefits of Improved Whip Mastery. Instead, just use a Scorpion Whip. Also, for the role you described, don't forget the humble net. Entangle is a nice status effects.


I think he's better off with the Lore warden 3/bard whatever, the fighter dip doesnt hurt as you get all int based as class skills and extra points to spend on them, a better BAB/HP with a lil off the top end of bard, 3 feats one of which you will want anyways(expertise) that is a prereq for the rest of the chain.

As well, with such a limited point buy, taking LW for better hp lets you go
str 10 dex 14 con 10 Int 14 wis 10 Cha 16. dumping str to 8 and dex to 15 for the boost at level 4 might also be a good idea, 1d3 vs 1d3-1 is not really noticeable and you're not worried about damage anyways.

If youre going the whole whip mastery chain, you're obviously lookin at threatening the 10 feet or whatever, you'll wanna have combat reflexes too.
So, with what you listed, to not just be able to do it, but able to do it successfully, you need: Combat expertise, imp/gr trip, imp/gr disarm, weapon focus, weapon finesse, whip master, imp whip master, greater is so so, combat reflexes. 11 feats. A straight bard, at level 20, has 10, 11 if human. You need to splash fighter, or drop some of your maneuver. I second the Lore Warden setup, better BAB/Hp good skills and expertise +2 other feats free, plus a +2 on top of that to all cmb/cmd.

depending on your GM style, basically for HP at low levels, you start with LW/bard/LW, or bard/LW/LW

Take weapon finesse, weapon focus, lingering perform, if you start bard, or combat reflexes if you start fighter. then at 3 which will be LW, you get expertise free, whip master, and either trip or disarm. bard 4, fig 5 for the other trip or disarm.(your total to disarm and trip is now +11, 60-75% chance vs a fighter of your level) bard the rest, with imp whip master at 7, greater maneuver at 9, another gr manuever, gr whip master, or Discordant Voice(UC, allies +1d6 sonic damage) at 11, whatever is left as you see need for them.
Honestly, gr disarm is not necessary if you take LW 3, you get the +2 and items at their feet provoke when they pick them up, but gr trip is much better since they provoke for fallin.


Dipping out for BAB is going to hurt you on performance rounds without getting you more than +1 effective, and that at high level. And you lose spellcasting. Don't do it unless you're actually going into Battle Herald.

I would just do a plain boring strength based melee bard build. You can deliver a nontrivial amount of damage between inspire courage, arcane strike, your strength bonus, and your enhancement bonus. Use the deep threatened area (15' when enlarged) to keep casters with their usually dismal CMDs from getting clear and readied actions (30' when enlarged because the whip is a melee weapon and melee weapons double their reach when you go from medium to large) to interrupt their casting. If you take Lunge and can get enlarged (buy the wizard a few pearls of power, it's worth it) a typical medium opponent won't be able to get out of your readied attack range with a single move action, preventing any casting but a quickened spell after a withdraw action.

Against non-casters just dirge of doom their saving throws and enchant them. You'll be weak against dragons and non-casting undead, but a bard can be worth a party slot for buffing alone.


No love for Serpent Lash or Greater Serpent Lash?


I only built to level 11, after that I would take serpent/gr serpent lash.
Its a habit i have gotten into playing PFS, you only get 12 so you build at 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 to see if you are functional and effective at each new tier of scenarios.


Rasmus Wagner wrote:
No love for Serpent Lash or Greater Serpent Lash?

Miguel Madrid del Ama mentioned this about 7-8 posts before yours.

Sovereign Court

This is definitely a build for the "5th wheel" in the party, but:

  • Go half-orc, and use your Strength/Charisma for Intimidate; it'll give you a racial bonus to the skill.
  • masterwork tools for intimidate help for a cheap +2 circumstance bonus as well.
  • Pick up Intimidating Prowess and Dazzling Display.
  • Throw an EWP(net) in there somewhere, and pick up a ghost touch net at some point. Otherwise Masterwork Nets work fine.
  • You shouldn't need to worry about your Dexterity for much other than its contribution to your AC.
  • Greater Trip isn't really necessary until after level 11 or so.

Your actions include: entangling, tripping, performances, buff/debuff, and demoralizing everything within 30ft of you. Maybe spot heals, if you take cure spells/wands.

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