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Is this good, or bad? Gunslinger build


Advice


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

lvl 1 halfling gunslinger (Mysterious stranger, pistolero)
str 5
dex 20
con 10
int 7
wis 7
cha 20

Studded leather armor, heavy shield, +1 size, underfoot racial all gives him 22 ac.
Fleet of foot racial for 30ft movement

Alchemical cartridges, reload free action.

Just shoot pistol.

Is this build optimized? Or is it just junk? Are the benefits ofset by the weakness?

I'm trying to prove to a fellow player that his character is crap and useless. Even knowing he kills everything in like, 1 hit.

His argument: "Guns are the best. It's against touch ac! And I add my cha to damage!!!!"

Also, any other points I can maybe use to argue to him about gunslingers? All they really all that? Or are they just being over-hyped.

Silver Crusade

I think you're taking too many penalties and I don't think you need a 20 charisma.


Aren't extra grit points powered by wisdom?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Mysterous stranger changes the grit to be based on cha


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just to point out: Light/Medium/Heavy loads for that PC are 12 lbs, 25 lbs, and 37.5 lbs; the base figures are 0.75 of Medium-size carrying capacities.
Studded leather armour will weigh 10 lbs (0.5 x20), a pistol 2 lbs (0.5 x4), so that's 12 lbs before considering anything else!
Encumbrance will be important!


Also, one touch from a shadow will render him unconscious. And don't let him get in the water or trust him to climb anything.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

To answer your thread title's question, it is bad to create a thread whose title has absolutely no information about the content of the post.

Examples:

Thread is About: a supposed imbalance between martial and full casters.
BAD TITLE: "MY LITTLE PONIES RULES!"
GOOD TITLE: "Are full casters stronger than non-magical martials?"

Thread is About: Magic Item Creation and spell levels.
BAD: "Why do monks suck?"
GOOD: "Questions about magic item creation regarding the differences in spell levels."

Thread is About: Asking for Rogue advice and build critique
BAD: "How is the weather?"
WORSE: "Help me make this rogue stronger than a monk."
GOOD: "Need rogue build advice."

Thread is about: Paladin's Alignment code
BAD: "Would this action cause a paladin to fall?"
GOOD: There is no such thing as a good thread about this topic.


His will saves will be atrocious. He's going to get mind-controlled sooner or later, assuming he doesn't get one-shotted by an orc with a greataxe and a critical hit first.


I don't know much about the gunslinger, but three sub-eight scores probably aren't optimized in the grand scheme of things. There are workarounds for abysmal carrying capacity, and I guess you don't really need skill points, but that will save is probably going to get your party killed by your own hand one day.

If you're attacking touch AC anyway, I wouldn't say you need 20 dex. A smart DM would try to keep him out of that touch AC range, as well as enforce carrying capacity and attack will saves.


At studded leather, heavy (wooden) shield and a pistol he is already at medium encumbrance, putting his speed back down to 20, and giving him a max of +3 dex to his AC - so his AC is at 20. He is also at -3 to armor check penalty for skills. Throw in some standard adventuring gear like a back pack, food, water, any treasure he wants to carry and he will be at heavy encumbrance taking another -2 AC and -3 to ACP.

Drop any kind of will save spell on him, sleep, charm, color spray, murderous command and he is at best useless for the fight, and at worst killing his allies with his cool high damage easy to hit touch AC attacks.

He will shine against generic mooks. He will be a liability against any caster, and is a walking dead man against things with ability drain - shadows would eat him alive.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Mysterious Stranger uses Charisma instead of Wisdom.

I suppose this character is fine at "I stand there and shoot my pistol for a lot of damage with high accuracy."

Can the character do anything else? Probably not much, between that 5 strength (he'll be at a medium load almost instantly, so he won't be moving above 20 ft. even with just armor, shield, and pistol). Terrible Will save (unless he has some way to apply Cha to it), fairly lousy hp & Fort save. 2 skills maxed out. Not really much going for the character aside from shooting that gun.

But here's another point: Mysterious Stranger takes away Gun Training, which could be argued to make it incompatible with Pistolero (which modifies Gun Training to Pistol-only). Furthermore, this character has Cha to damage only when spending Grit, and never gains Dex to damage.

That essentially means that damage will be better for a few levels, then drop down to the same. And with Deadeye lost to Pistolero, the accuracy is only particularly good in the low range increments; if it's not an advanced firearm, that means only within 20 ft.

And in this case, the player is building a one-trick combat pony. That's fine if he doesn't need to do anything else, and isn't concerned about being hit with Will save spells, which can pretty easily eliminate him as a threat (or turn him against the party). I'm very leery of that low Will save, and of how fast he's going to run out of Grit as he burns through it for both Focused Aim and Up Close & Deadly.
He's going to need to score crits and killing blows to recover that grit, or it's going to disappear fast and leave him doing just pistol damage (with no modifiers attached), at least until level 11, when he can take Signature Deed to effectively cut his costs in half.


bbangerter wrote:
... murderous command ...

Ooo, I forgot about murderous command. Let's see.

Assume a level 1 oracle with 18 CHA is casting Murderous Command on this character. That's a DC 15 Will save.

The character has a -2 Will save score thanks to the 7 WIS. In order to beat that DC 15 save, he needs to roll a 17 or better -- so there's an 85% chance that he's going to fail and wind up shooting a party member in the back.

If he DOES fail that save, then the spell specifies that you have to do it to the very best of your ability, which would mean spending a grit point on Focused Aim and another one on Up Close and Deadly to make an attack -- against touch AC -- on a party member for:

1d6 weapon damage + 1d6 precision damage + 5 CHA

Minimum: 7 damage.

Average: 13 damage.

Maximum: 17 damage.

A level 1 fighter with 14 CON would have 12 hit points. 15 if he took Toughness. Yeah, you could pretty easily put a party member in negatives with a single shot, especially if the closest person happens to be a squishy casting type.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

About how pistolero changes gun training,

it doesn't actually say that it does though.

So that would mean if you're just a pistolero, then you're getting gun training AND the pistol bit from pistolero at level 5.

Unless there's some errate/raw/whatever its called anywhere?


Murderous command is a melee attack or natural attack. So the guy would hit him for no damage if he does.


I'd be terrified of playing this character.

1st: That Str score will make it so you are at medium/heavy load simply by virtue of donning light armor and carrying a pistol.
2nd: The will save is abysmal. Even with the bonuses from Mysterious Stranger, you're one spell away from slaughtering your companions!
3rd: That low Con score will also bite you in the ass. Gunslingers don't get to be that far away from combat, so the fist time an enemy lands one or two hits, it'll hurt. bad.

I'm a big fan of the Mysterious Stranger/Pistolero combo. But these ability score most likely will make your life very hard and short.


Fah, strong play beats strong builds everytime. If you play smart you can do well with anything.


Finlanderboy wrote:
Fah, strong play beats strong builds everytime. If you play smart you can do well with anything.

Maybe in a perfect world. In a game with so many possible situations and lots of dice rolling, misfortune is bound to ruin his day once in a while.

With these stats, one bad roll is all that stands between him and having to roll a new character and/or making sure his friends have to do the same.

A chain shirt and a single pistol are enough to make him encumbered.

Even with a trait and a +2 cloak, he'll only have a +4 will save at 5th level, and about 30 HP.

What happens if the party is ambushed? What if the enemy has a casters with decent SoL spells? What if he rolls bad on initiative?

Some (or all) of these things will eventually happen.

This build is, IMHO, one very short-lived halfling.


On the plus side when hes dominated he'll be able to nail his party's caster real accurately. And apply a nice bit of extra damage to his attacks too.


I think I will bring this to PFS just because you guys taslk smack so much. Keep in mind the small gear would weight less too.

Grand Lodge

Gunslingers don't have shield proficiency, why is he using a heavy shield, non proficiency is giving him a -2 to everything?

Also at 5 strength 10bs for "small" studded leather armor + 5lbs for "small" heavy wooden shield + 2lbs for "small" pistol means that he's medium encumbered so AC is 19(20 versus larger opponents underfoot only works vs larger size categories) and speed is 20. 8 more pounds and he's heavily encumbered where things just get way worse.

Finally assuming level 1 the build is illegal for a 20 Point Buy.

5 STR (-2 from Race) is (-4)
20 Dex (+2 from Race) is (17)
10 Con is (0)
7 INT is (-4)
7 WIS is (-4)
20 CHA (+2 from Race) is (17)

34-12 is 22 Points which is two over the limit.

So yeah build is pretty significantly flawed to say the least.

Quote:
I think I will bring this to PFS just because you guys taslk smack so much. Keep in mind the small gear would weight less too.

I would encourage you not to cheat.

Edit: As an amusing aside both swim and climb are at a -9 with these statistics.


Ohh yes the math is off. I was too lazy to check it.


Finlanderboy wrote:
I think I will bring this to PFS just because you guys taslk smack so much. Keep in mind the small gear would weight less too.

"talk smack"... Heh... You say it like I'm rooting against the OP.

He come here and asked if this was a good build. IMO, it's far from that.

When people come in ehre and ask for advice, I try to give them good ones. Saying any build is fine because "playing smart is all that matters" is silly, to say the least.

Building a character is also part of the game. "Playing smart" starts by *building* smart.

Like a said, if he simply dons a chain shirt and carries a pistol, he's already encumbered, let alone if he decides to carry items or *gasp* gold coins!

Pointing out the flaws in the build will help the OP a lot more than "It's great, bro, go ahead! Nothing will go wrong. Ever."

I'm guessing he won't have much fun when he's dead or dominated.


ANything can go wrong. Building a character for every siutation is a weak character. Specializing has it's strengths and weaknesses. But last I checked you play in a group. There are ways around encumbrance. You can have a riding dog or a porter. You can have teammates keep you proected. This is a very specialized character and if played well would rock.

You can say whatever you want I would not trust your opinion.


Finlanderboy wrote:
ANything can go wrong.

My point exactly.

Finlanderboy wrote:
Building a character for every siutation is a weak character.

Maybe. That was never my suggestion. But failing "will saves" is not exactly something rare or negligible.

Finlanderboy wrote:
Specializing has it's strengths and weaknesses. But last I checked you play in a group.

The game actually rewards specialization. It doesn't mean, though, that it can't be overdone. You play in a group, but if you need lots of support just so you can do you job without being dominated/killed/petrified/whatever, you are more of a liability than a resource. Investing a bit in survivability is a nice thing to do. It doesn't mean he won't be focused on DPR, only that he live long enough to shoot his enemies.

Finlanderboy wrote:
There are ways around encumbrance. You can have a riding dog or a porter.

Are you suggesting that the dog carries his armor and weapons? Because as I said, a chain shirt and a pistol is enough to make him suffer medium encumbrance.

Finlanderboy wrote:
You can have teammates keep you proected. This is a very specialized character and if played well would rock.

Again, every spell cast to heal/remove nasty debuffs is one less spell to defeat the enemy. Investing a bit in saves and HP is a nice way to save party resources, therefore, making the team more powerful.

Finlanderboy wrote:
You can say whatever you want I would not trust your opinion.

My world's crumbled to dust.

Qadira

Lemmy wrote:
Again, every spell cast to heal/remove nasty debuffs is one less spell to defeat the enemy. Investing a bit in saves and HP is a nice way to save party resources, therefore, making the team more powerful.

Moot arguement because every resource he spends on increasing his ability to not suffer from the enemy will come at the cost of his ability to harm the enemy. Thus those same party members will have to spend additional resources to defeat the monsters because player didn't kill them as efficiently as he otherwise would.

I actually have a PFS Gnome Alchemist/5 with a 5 Strength and a 7 Wisdom and at times it can be challenging to play but it is also fun. Do I have to rely on other party members to cover my weaknesses? Well, isn't that the whole point of adventuring with a party?

So far my biggest problem has been encumbrance. I first bought a dog to carry my extra equipment. My first big investment was a Mithral Shirt. My second major investment was a Handy Haversack. I had hoped that would be enough but I soon discovered that with a 5 Strength, even the 1/2 pound weight of slotted magic items quickly takes its toll. So my next investment was Muleback Cords. I had hoped to invest in a Cloak of Resistance to help out with the low Will save, but that will have to wait now until I get a Strength bumping stat item.

Hit point-wise my Hit Points are about the same as the gunslinger from the OP. I have gone down only once, that to a crit when 2nd level playing in a level 4-5 tier adventure. I came close in another mod when I had to run into a burning building to complete the faction mission but otherwise staying in the back and having a descent AC has protected me.

I did almost go down against a Violet Fungi due to my low strength, but I got lucky with my saves. On a couple of occasions I have had problems with my inability to climb and swim but Touch of the Sea and Spider Climb extracts get me around those most of the time if I know what to prepare for. So far I haven't had to deal with a grappler but a good Dex and training in Escape Artist can help that.

I haven't had a problem with my low Will save yet, but I recognize it is only a matter of time. That is the price I expect to pay for such specialization.

Playing a specialized character can be a challenge, but challenges can be fun.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Try this:

Halfling Pistolero 1:
Str 10
Dex 18
Con 12
Int 10
Wis 16
Cha 9

Don't go Mysterious Stranger because you're missing out on Gun Training, and more importantly the Quick Clear deed.

Lose the shield. You're not proficient in it, and you can't reload the gun while carrying it.

If AC concerns you, take the halfling favored class bonus that raises the AC gained by the Nimble class feature.

Yes, it has less Dex and less grit, but it also has no major weaknesses. i find Pathfinder, and especially PFS tends to reward balanced cahracters over extreme ones.


trollbill wrote:
Lemmy wrote:
Again, every spell cast to heal/remove nasty debuffs is one less spell to defeat the enemy. Investing a bit in saves and HP is a nice way to save party resources, therefore, making the team more powerful.
Moot arguement because every resource he spends on increasing his ability to not suffer from the enemy will come at the cost of his ability to harm the enemy. Thus those same party members will have to spend additional resources to defeat the monsters because player didn't kill them as efficiently as he otherwise would.

There is such a thing as overspecialization. Dealing damage is his primary job, and should be his focus, but there no difference between killing an enemy instantly, and making sure it hits -300 HP. It's just as dead, in anycase.

IMO, he could live with a Dex of 18 (even 16, actually, since he targets touch AC most of the time) and Deadly Aym/Rapid Shot. He could also reduce his Cha to 16 to boost his Con and Wis just slightly.

The problem with being a glass canon is that no matter how high your DPR, it always drop to 0 once you are unconscious, dead, petrified, or whatever. And if you're dominated, the cannon is aimed against your allies.

So investing into AC, HP and most importantly, saves, is, IMO, more useful than having a damage so high your target could die twice.

Having 1~2 extra grit points and 1 extra damage per shot doesn't seem like it's worth the frailty of this build . A Con of 12, and a Wis of 10 would make a huge difference.

As it is, this Gunslinger is a extra-glassy glass cannon.

Again, I'm not trying to sabotage or mock the OP, but help him to make a more survivable and fun characer. He asked for advice, I gave it.


Finlanderboy wrote:
Murderous command is a melee attack or natural attack. So the guy would hit him for no damage if he does.

You're right. I stand corrected.

OP, in all seriousness, I don't think you're going to have much fun playing this character. It'll be awesome at shooting things, but the weaknesses noted above mean you're probably not going to get to keep the character very long.

Nothing is worse for your damage output than being dead due to a single critical hit, crippled by ability damage, or rendered unconscious by a sleep spell.

Both you and your party will be happier in the long term if you make a slightly more balanced character.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Should have mentioned it, the game we're in is a 22 point buy.

Thanks for all the input.

I"ll try to use all this to help my argument for why the character should be reworked.

Qadira

Lemmy wrote:


As it is, this Gunslinger is a extra-glassy glass cannon.

He gets a d10 HP which is the same as a d8 with a 12 Con or a d6 with a 14 Con, so he is no more a glass cannon along these lines than any other back rank archer or spell-caster.

AC-wise he is likely to have a better AC than most of the front rankers.

His only real weakness is his Will save, but he is hardly alone in that problem. Fighters and Barbarians commonly have to deal with this also.

Of course, how bad that is can depend a lot on the campaign. Having the Ogre King as the BBEG is a little different from it being the Illithid Hive Master.


trollbill wrote:
He gets a d10 HP which is the same as a d8 with a 12 Con or a d6 with a 14 Con, so he is no more a glass cannon along these lines than any other back rank archer or spell-caster.

True. Archers don't have to stay within 20ft from the monster. And d8~d6 classes have spells and/or super-natural abilites to make up for it. Being a front-liner with such low Con is taking an unnecessary risk, IMO.

trollbill wrote:
AC-wise he is likely to have a better AC than most of the front rankers.

Maybe at higher levels. But until then, the guy in medium armor is ahead. Especially considered this gunslinger is suffering medium encumbrance by simply donning light armor and carrying a gun.

trollbill wrote:
His only real weakness is his Will save, but he is hardly alone in that problem. Fighters and Barbarians commonly have to deal with this also.

Well, comparing your will save to a Fighter's is kinda of setting the bar pretty low. Barbarians get a bonus to will saves while raging. Superstition can make that bonus get very high, especially if they are human.

trollbill wrote:
Of course, how bad that is can depend a lot on the campaign. Having the Ogre King as the BBEG is a little different from it being the Illithid Hive Master.

That's true. But keep in mind that he's not fighting the BBEG all the time. And casters are not exactly something rare. Nor are creatures with supernatural abilities. He has a decent chance of facing ghosts as soon as 4th level. And by then, that +0 or +1 save won't cut it. The lowest spell DC he has to deal with is something like a 14.


Finlanderboy wrote:

ANything can go wrong. Building a character for every siutation is a weak character. Specializing has it's strengths and weaknesses. But last I checked you play in a group. There are ways around encumbrance. You can have a riding dog or a porter. You can have teammates keep you proected. This is a very specialized character and if played well would rock.

You can say whatever you want I would not trust your opinion.

Is the character playable? Yes

Could it be fun to play? Yes
Is it likely to survive long? No
Are there encounters where the character will be completely useless? Yes (that could be said of any character, but this character will most likely have more of them). This might come from a lack of skill points preventing the character from being able to contribute, or it might come from a disabling spell in a fight.
Will this character shine in some situations? Yes, but because of the narrow specialization those will be limited.

Qadira

Lemmy wrote:
True. Archers don't have to stay within 20ft from the monster. And d8~d6 classes have spells and/or super-natural abilites to make up for it. Being a front-liner with such low Con is taking an unnecessary risk, IMO.

Close range spell casters, sneak attack archers, alchemists and others all spend a lot of time within 30 feet and unless you are outside all the time, most combats are within 30 feet. So I REALLY don't think moderate HP (he has moderate HP, not low HP) is the problem you are making it out to be.

Quote:
Maybe at higher levels. But until then, the guy in medium armor is ahead. Especially considered this gunslinger is suffering medium encumbrance by simply donning light armor and carrying a gun.

The average front rank low level fighter has an AC of 16-20. His is a 22 out of the gate. I don't see the problem. Even if he just wore leather armor he would have an 18 AC, which at first level is good. As I stated when commenting on my Gnome with the 5 Strength, Encumbrance is an issue that does have to be dealt with, but it is not an insurmountable one.

Quote:
Well, comparing your will save to a Fighter's is kinda of setting the bar pretty low. Barbarians get a bonus to will saves while raging. Superstition can make that bonus get very high, especially if they are human.

My point was that he is far from the only character that is going to have to deal with this problem.

Quote:
That's true. But keep in mind that he's not fighting the BBEG all the time. And casters are not exactly something rare. Nor are creatures with supernatural abilities. He has a decent chance of facing ghosts as soon as 4th level. And by then, that +0 or +1 save won't cut it. The lowest spell DC he has to deal with is something like a 14.

I never said it wasn't going to be a problem, just not an insurmountable one. As has already been stated, you can't cover everything. Party dynamics means everyone should be specialized. He may be going overboard here, but how fatal that will be will depend greatly on the campaign and DM and just like every other character, if he finds a weakess keeps causing problems, he can invest his resources in fixing that problem.

The one problem that over-specialization can cause that hasn't been mentioned is a meta-game problem. Namely, boredom. Overly specialized characters tend to be one-trick ponies, so over time players can get bored doing the same trick all the time. But that depends a lot on the player.


Finlanderboy wrote:
Building a character for every siutation is a weak character.

Naw. Building a character for every situation is a wizard. :)

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