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Bodhizen's Guide to the Optimal Inquisitor


Advice

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(The Fan Content stamp should probably be replaced with a Paizo Accessory, Converted stamp)


Caedwyr wrote:
(The Fan Content stamp should probably be replaced with a Paizo Accessory, Converted stamp)

Probably does need to be updated. Some of these feats got missed when we retagged everything. [And back to actual thread]

The guide looks great. May have to adjust my inquisitor based on the role he seems to fill. Probably hurt that I didn't have a specific build in mind, just wanted to try out the class. Sometimes exploring is half the fun..


The first level spells have been added. On to level two!


With your regards to The Devastator Inquisitor portion of the build, you forgot to mention while wearing heavy armor gives you lots of AC, you sacrifice your Stalwart class feature. Great guide though! I'm working on an Inquisitor for Rappan Athuk and this will really help once the brick of a module lands on my doorstep.

Also, as an idea for one more portion of you guide, why not an Inquisitor wielding a gun? A level into Gunslinger provides you with the grit pool, deeds, and weapon proficiencies you need (the Pistolero archetype works best to my knowledge) and since they're both wisdom based it synergizes quite well. It definitely works better if you can get your hands on a revolver, as opposed to it's early firearm counterpart, but it still works well. (Orange text if you don't have advanced firearms, green text if you do) Even the black powder inquisition would provide you the bare minimum to use firearms. Just a thought.

Cheers!

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps Subscriber
Bodhizen wrote:
The first level spells have been added. On to level two!

One adjustment you may want to make is that the an Inquisitor gets to case the 4 "Detect Alignment" spells at will at 1st level; therefore, there's no reason to ever take those spells as 'spells known'.

John


Joanna Swiftblade wrote:

With your regards to The Devastator Inquisitor portion of the build, you forgot to mention while wearing heavy armor gives you lots of AC, you sacrifice your Stalwart class feature. Great guide though! I'm working on an Inquisitor for Rappan Athuk and this will really help once the brick of a module lands on my doorstep.

Also, as an idea for one more portion of you guide, why not an Inquisitor wielding a gun? A level into Gunslinger provides you with the grit pool, deeds, and weapon proficiencies you need (the Pistolero archetype works best to my knowledge) and since they're both wisdom based it synergizes quite well. It definitely works better if you can get your hands on a revolver, as opposed to it's early firearm counterpart, but it still works well. (Orange text if you don't have advanced firearms, green text if you do) Even the black powder inquisition would provide you the bare minimum to use firearms. Just a thought.

Cheers!

Thank you for your input on my guide. I made mention of the heavy armour issue. However, I will not be including a portion for multi-classing. I write single-class guides; If I were to develop multi-classing sections, it would either be overly simplistic (and therefore, not especially helpful), or it would be complete enough to bloat the guide beyond the point of usefulness. Multi-classing is done at the player's discretion.

Neat idea, but at the very least, you'd lose your True Judgment (or equivalent ability, depending on your Archetype) for the grit pool, deeds and weapon proficiencies. Is that an even exchange?

John Bellando: Duly noted, and thank you for your input.

Shadow Lodge

This is a great guide, thank you.

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

This guide is pretty great. The role-playing tidbits actually did a lot to help me get outside the narrow view of the class the APG paints, and I'm now playing an archer inquisitor that I'm having a blast with.

Also, Garuda-Blooded Aasimar are simply awesome--I hadn't seen them before this guide. :)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

dotted for future updates


Possible addition to the guide: Preacher archetype + Strong Comeback feat? Maybe?

Just a thought.


Joanna Swiftblade,

What would be optimal about a Preacher archetype using the Strong Comeback feat? You gain a +2 bonus on your uses of your Determination ability, but even if the reroll is worse, you have to take the end result. Perhaps I'm missing something, and you can enlighten me, please?


It's not an optimal idea, but it would not be a bad one. Say you know you missed the target when you roll lower than a 9 , and this turn you rolled a 6. This would give you another chance at hitting an attack that would otherwise miss, with a 10% increased chance of landing the attack (which may be what you need to land the killing blow and save a party member from demise) It's a bit of a selfish choice, and not a feat I would rush to choose, but at later levels when you have more uses of Determination, the viability of this feat would be increased as you have more chances to use it every in-game day.

Not worthy of green or blue text, though the benefits for a combat oriented Inquisitor should not be ignored. My thought is it is best on a Devastator Inquisitor, where the difference between a miss and a hit can mean the difference between a wasted turn or chunking off half the enemy's health. It's use would be significantly decreased with Bow or Crossbow Inquisitors who rely on multiple smaller attacks to dish out their full damage potential, instead of just one or two really big attacks.

Again, it was just a thought that occurred to me. If you don't think it's worth adding I can't exactly make you :P I do like the guide though, and I'm hoping it will keep me alive in the halls of Rappan Athuk as long as the dice gods favor me.

Cheers!


I was looking through the list of spells and you placed Ghostbane Dirge under level 1 spells, when it's a level 2 spell for Inquisitors. You might have made the mistake because it is a level 1 spell for paladins.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/g/ghostbane-dirge

Just for reference!


I don't remember if it was addressed in the guide (which is great, btw), but mithral Fullplate should be treated as medium armor in all but proficiency. That is one of the special qualities of mithral, it bumps the treated armor level down by one (min light). Normally the heavy to medium transition is inconsequential, but that means barbarian and ranger abilities that rely only having up to medium armor would still be eligible for use if they had mithral heavy armor. The same should be true of Stalwart.


While that is true, the real problem is getting your hands on Mithral Fullplate. It's not exactly cheap, and if you're starting at a low level (1-4) your funds are very limited.


Another chain of feats you MIGHT consider adding/discussing for some builds would be Improved Unarmed Strike, Snake Style, and/or -possibly- Deflect Arrows. Improved Unarmed Strike is pretty much completely worthless for an inquisitor (unless favoring a reach weapon or two-handed missile weapon, in which case it allows you to threaten adjacent spaces without resorting to armor spikes, etc). But with the Inquisitor being a wisdom-based caster and having the Stern Eyes class bonus to Sense Motive, Snake Style becomes a decent defensive feat. And if one has already invested in IUS and the Inquisitor has the ability to keep a hand free for spellcasting (such as the use of a buckler or a two handed weapon when not in melee), Deflect Arrows is.... occasionally worthwhile.

ETA: PFS players will note that worshiping Irori in PFS grants one IUS in lieu of a favored weapon. Making Snake Style quite easily available without otherwise wasting a feat.


Joanna Swiftblade wrote:
While that is true, the real problem is getting your hands on Mithral Fullplate. It's not exactly cheap, and if you're starting at a low level (1-4) your funds are very limited.

But you don't get Stalwart until level 11.


Venatio wrote:
Joanna Swiftblade wrote:
While that is true, the real problem is getting your hands on Mithral Fullplate. It's not exactly cheap, and if you're starting at a low level (1-4) your funds are very limited.
But you don't get Stalwart until level 11.

And getting the armor doesn't become practical until 7th level.


Low Dex inquisitors would benefit from just having heavy armor proficiency in general, even at level 1. Dwarves with the Travel domain would obviously get the most benefit. You wouldn't have to worry about upgrading to mithral until lv 11.


Venatio wrote:
Low Dex inquisitors would benefit from just having heavy armor proficiency in general, even at level 1. Dwarves with the Travel domain would obviously get the most benefit. You wouldn't have to worry about upgrading to mithral until lv 11.

If you have the feats to spare at level 1 it's not a bad idea. I tend to to prefer thigns like Toughness or Improved Initiative depending on the build and goals.


TarkXT wrote:
Venatio wrote:
Low Dex inquisitors would benefit from just having heavy armor proficiency in general, even at level 1. Dwarves with the Travel domain would obviously get the most benefit. You wouldn't have to worry about upgrading to mithral until lv 11.
If you have the feats to spare at level 1 it's not a bad idea. I tend to to prefer thigns like Toughness or Improved Initiative depending on the build and goals.

Ultimately I feel levels 3 or 5 would be a better fit, since by then getting Fullplate shouldn't be as big an investment. There is the issue of changing armor sets when making the transition to mithral. Depending on how much you invested in your prior armor, you could lose enough money in the exchange that it would minimize the mechanical benefits of the new set in the short run. You'd get the use of Stalwart and a higher Dex ceiling, but might lose a couple enhancement points or an armor special ability.

If, for some reason, you have a wizard with Craft Magic Arms and Armor, and some point in the Craft: Armor skill, then the whole affair would be an even break, not taking into account the additional cost of the mithral material for the new set.

Cheliax

I can't help but notice you left out the feat Double Bane from Ultimate Combat. While it really eats away at your rounds of Bane, it is an amazing nova feat for a TWF or sword and shield inquisitor.

For teamwork feats, you left out Pack Attack, which is an amazing mobility tool.


Mergy wrote:

I can't help but notice you left out the feat Double Bane from Ultimate Combat. While it really eats away at your rounds of Bane, it is an amazing nova feat for a TWF or sword and shield inquisitor.

For teamwork feats, you left out Pack Attack, which is an amazing mobility tool.

Thank you for your comments on my Guide. I mention Double Bane when I talk briefly about the Flurry Inquisitor (on p. 7). Because I did not stat out a two-weapon fighting Inquisitor, I did not go into detail on the feat - it's not well suited to other builds. As for Pack Attack, I've considered it, but it's not an amazing mobility tool, it's just okay, and I'm not sure that it's the equal of other feats for the Inquisitor; they're not Fighters with feats to spare and there are better teamwork feats out there.

Thank you for your input, though.

Cheliax

While certainly not as optimal as the archer, a TWF inquisitor is certainly something that can be built. Iomedae and other gods that give a one-handed weapon proficiency are especially good for this, because when doing a single attack you can use two hands, and then use the weapon and a cestus while stacking Bane once in position.


Mergy,

Thank you for your comments. Yes, a two-weapon-fighter Inquisitor is a viable build. However, it is not optimal when compared to other things an Inquisitor could be doing, and certainly sub-optimal when compared to what the martial classes can do as two-weapon fighters. In the same way that I wouldn't recommend a Bard as a primary healer, I wouldn't recommend an Inquisitor as a two-weapon fighter.

Silver Crusade

Bodhizen, you have done a great job with this guide.

I do have a couple of suggestions.

Heroism domain is INSANE, it is a swift action and a morale bonus which stacks with the bard inspire courage. It needs to be blue, I cannot stress this enough. In the later level, the bonus to charisma checks is great too.

All the other domains that you suggest are green and they take a standard action to activate and or a will save.


Ill_Made_Knight wrote:

Bodhizen, you have done a great job with this guide.

I do have a couple of suggestions.

Heroism domain is INSANE, it is a swift action and a morale bonus which stacks with the bard inspire courage. It needs to be blue, I cannot stress this enough. In the later level, the bonus to charisma checks is great too.

All the other domains that you suggest are green and they take a standard action to activate and or a will save.

Moreso than any other class, Inquisitors are short on swift actions. Bane, Judgement, and a lot of cool swift action spells. Of course that doesn't eliminate the usefulness of Heroism domain, but it's better for battle Cleric.


Thank you, MyTThor, for pointing that out to Ill_Made_Knight, and for your comments, Ill_Made_Knight. I am always working to improve my Guides with the ever-changing nature of the game.

Cheliax

@Bodhizen: If certain ways of building are NOT optimal or NOT viable, a passage about the reasons why this is might be helpful. Otherwise, you have people who want to build certain paths (ie. TWF inquisitor) and not only do not have information from this guide, but do not have information to dissuade them despite it being a suboptimal path.


Mergy,

Thank you for your input. I do have it rated orange for a reason, and I dedicated an entire paragraph to it. The paragraph is as follows:

Bodhizen's Guide to the Optimal Inquisitor, p. 7 wrote:
While the Flurry Inquisitor (a.k.a. the two-weapon fighter) does exist, you’re not able to use all of your special abilities and powers to make it truly worth your while, since you’ll only be able to use your Bane ability on a single weapon (unless you take the Double Bane feat). You’d need to use feats to get really good weapon choices and you’re not going to have great chances to hit or an armour class that warrants you taking a hit. You’re best leaving the two-weapon fighting to the fighter-classes.

So, the information is already there and has been for quite some time. Perhaps you skipped over that paragraph?

Cheliax

I suppose I did! Sorry. :)


Bodhizen wrote:
Thank you, MyTThor, for pointing that out to Ill_Made_Knight, and for your comments, Ill_Made_Knight. I am always working to improve my Guides with the ever-changing nature of the game.

My pleasure :)

I really like your guides both for Inquisitor and Paladin.

Happy Thanksgiving if you are in the US!

(or even if not, I suppose; it just doesn't really mean anything)


Any comments on Dhampir and Kinslayer Inquisitor builds?


What comments do you have to share, BerserkerRed? I don't know what you want to know.

Dhampir aren't well-suited to any of the builds that I have listed in the guide. The stat arrangements are all wrong and their racial traits don't lend anything spectacular to the Inquisitor builds. The Kinslayer archetype doesn't impress me either; it's nice if you want to create a Blade-like character, but the brands don't impress me (especially since you must give up teamwork feats to get the greater brands). If you have any comments to share on them, then please feel free to post them here. I do enjoy considering new materials.

Best wishes,
Bodhi


Im actually just starting so just wanted to get a general feel on the Class and Race combo and the Archetype in general.

I was a little let down by the brands as well. Was looking to make more a Vamp Hunter D type character. Mostly for flavor and kicks.

From your guide and general reading of this thread they do seem less than optimal. So probably play it just for fun.

Thanks for the reply though!


This guide is fantastically detailed. Great work, something to be proud of! Some thing I would point out, as I sought out your guide to look at some advice on the ranged Inquisitor:

- The Preacher archetype works very good with the ranged Inquisitor.
- The human favored class bonus probably should be a recommendation for every type of Inquisitor, as the number of spells you get to know still is quite limited and there are normally way more good options at each spell level than free slots.


magnuskn,

Thank you for your input. I'm still working on the guide; it's not yet complete. Perhaps you can enlighten me on what it is, specifically, about the Preacher archetype, that works so well for ranged Inquisitors. Also, increasing the number of spells known benefits the Acolyte Inquisitor most, but since most of the spells you cast are not going to be used in the middle of combat due to the efficacy of other actions, they are of lesser use to the Archer, Aegis or Devastator builds, and the Virtuoso build is predicated upon the utility of skill points. The number of great spell picks at each level isn't significantly higher than the number of spell slots for that level, unfortunately. When I'm finished with my spell review, that will likely be made more clear.


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One thing I've found while building my archer ( and vacillating between Inquisitor and Ranger for a few days ), is that the Inquisitor isn't so hot with his to-hit numbers, compared to most other archery classes, unless he can activate Judgement + Bane, and ideally Divine Favor or Wrath.
While getting those three abilities activated is not as difficult as it would appear to be, because of the Inquisitors excellent action economy, it still requires a complete round of set-up. And the main problem is, of course, that your number of judgements and rounds of bane and number of castable Divine Favors per day are limited ( more so for Divine Favor, since spontaneous casters still don't have a Pearl of Power equivalent, like they had in 3.5 ).

Hence, the Preachers ability to re-roll your own attack rolls is very, very helpful, since it bends probability more your way.
Moreover, most teamwork feats are extremely bad for an archer build. There are about two which are written for archers and you need a second archer in the team to even make them work, which is not that likely in a standard group. As such, replacing the teamwork feats with something more useful looks very good for me in regards to the archer build. The other two abilities you get as a Preacher ( re-rolls for enemy combatants when they hit your allies or the +4 AC bonus for yourself ) are still quite situationally useful in most groups and combats.

As for good spells, I think it depends where you see the Inquisitor as a spellcaster. I mostly see them as self-buffers, occasional party buff casters and long-term status effect removers. And having some general diversity on the available list of spells is always good. Let's see what we got for levels one to two:

1st: Must-haves: Divine Favor, Expeditious Retreat, Protection from Evil, Shield of Faith, Deadeye's Lore ; Optionals: Alarm, Comprehend Languages, Cure Light Wounds, Disguise Self, Magic Weapon, Remove Fear, Wrath, Bowstaff, Sanctify Corpse

2nd: Must-haves: Bloodhound, Invisibility, Knock, Lesser Restoration, See Invisibility, Tongues ; Optionals: Delay Poison, Detect Thoughts, Follow Aura, Honeyed Tongue, Perceive Cues, Remove Paralysis, Resist Energy, Shield Other, Undetectable Alignment, Acute Senses, Disguise Other

So, yeah, the number of must-have spells is limited, but the number of optional spells which give your character some diversity outside of combat ( or inside in some cases ) is very high. You can't count on the party casters having those spells prepared ( in my upcoming group we have an Oracle and an Sorcerer, so that limits the diversity of spell options already ).

What I am trying to say is that while skillpoints and hitpoints are very nice, having more options about what to do with your spells per day is also a nice perk to have, regardless of which type of Inquisitor you are. Also, using the human favored class bonus helps with getting more spells faster. As one does play the game at every level, not only the last ones, it helps to have those super-important spells now, instead of in three or four levels.

Andoran

Bodhizen wrote:

What comments do you have to share, BerserkerRed? I don't know what you want to know.

Dhampir aren't well-suited to any of the builds that I have listed in the guide. The stat arrangements are all wrong and their racial traits don't lend anything spectacular to the Inquisitor builds. The Kinslayer archetype doesn't impress me either; it's nice if you want to create a Blade-like character, but the brands don't impress me (especially since you must give up teamwork feats to get the greater brands). If you have any comments to share on them, then please feel free to post them here. I do enjoy considering new materials.

Best wishes,
Bodhi

I'm not sure if you've seen the alternate race traits from Blood of the Night, but the Ajibachana Dhampir are pretty good for an inquisitor, especially a ranged one. +2 Dex and Wis, with a -2 Int (which admittedly sucks, but isn't insurmountable), a useful spell-like ability (Comprehend Languages) for an interrogator, and the ability to take Half-Forgotten Secrets as a race trait (+1 to two knowledge traits and one is a class skill for you) which can come in quite handy. The other race abilities stay the same so I wouldn't expect it to be a huge change.

Also love the guide. Please keep up the good work and I hope to see more soon.


magnuskn,

Thanks, once again, for your input. I'll try to respond to your points as they come.

magnuskn wrote:

One thing I've found while building my archer ( and vacillating between Inquisitor and Ranger for a few days ), is that the Inquisitor isn't so hot with his to-hit numbers, compared to most other archery classes, unless he can activate Judgement + Bane, and ideally Divine Favor or Wrath.

While getting those three abilities activated is not as difficult as it would appear to be, because of the Inquisitors excellent action economy, it still requires a complete round of set-up. And the main problem is, of course, that your number of judgements and rounds of bane and number of castable Divine Favors per day are limited ( more so for Divine Favor, since spontaneous casters still don't have a Pearl of Power equivalent, like they had in 3.5 ).
Hence, the Preachers ability to re-roll your own attack rolls is very, very helpful, since it bends probability more your way.

Actually, the Preacher's ability to re-roll your own attack rolls doesn't significantly bend probability your way, since there's no dedicated "success threshold" like there are in some other games. You must take the second result, even if its worse; if you could pick the higher of the two, I would agree with you. Please allow me to show you an example. Let's say you're a level 7 Inquisitor (no external bonuses to the Inquisitor's attacks aside from their +5 Base Attack Bonus) making three separate attacks against a Rock Troll (CR 6) with AC 19 (only three, because that's how many times the Inquisitor could potentially use the Aggression Determination that day).

1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 81d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13 = Better result, but you still miss.
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 141d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11 = Worse result, and you still miss.
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 131d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18 = Better result, but you still miss.

While the Inquisitor would likely enjoy the benefits of other feats and perhaps a +1 weapon at this point, this example just demonstrates the overall effectiveness of the Aggression Determination by itself.

magnuskn wrote:
Moreover, most teamwork feats are extremely bad for an archer build. There are about two which are written for archers and you need a second archer in the team to even make them work, which is not that likely in a standard group. As such, replacing the teamwork feats with something more useful looks very good for me in regards to the archer build.

Actually, there are a few Teamwork feats that I recommend for Archer Inquisitors; they're listed in the guide. Knowing that one of the characters in a group is going to be an Inquisitor, a party that's looking for optimal play will make efforts to coordinate with the Inquisitor to take advantage of their teamwork feats. A switch-hitter Ranger might make for an excellent battle companion, for example.

magnuskn wrote:
The other two abilities you get as a Preacher ( re-rolls for enemy combatants when they hit your allies or the +4 AC bonus for yourself ) are still quite situationally useful in most groups and combats.

Agreed, though I would list the Aggression Determination in with the Defense and Warning Determinations as being situationally effective.

magnuskn wrote:

As for good spells, I think it depends where you see the Inquisitor as a spellcaster. I mostly see them as self-buffers, occasional party buff casters and long-term status effect removers. And having some general diversity on the available list of spells is always good. Let's see what we got for levels one to two:

1st: Must-haves: Divine Favor, Expeditious Retreat, Protection from Evil, Shield of Faith, Deadeye's Lore ; Optionals: Alarm, Comprehend Languages, Cure Light Wounds, Disguise Self, Magic Weapon, Remove Fear, Wrath, Bowstaff, Sanctify Corpse

I'll agree that Divine Favour, Expeditious Retreat, Protection from Evil and Shield of Faith are excellent low-level spells, but I don't care much for Deadeye's Lore; it's situationally useful at best. Also, Protection from Evil and Shield of Faith don't stack their deflection bonuses, so only one of the two is recommended at any given time; at low levels, I'd go with Protection from Evil. Our level 7 Inquisitor from the earlier example already has five spell slots, and while Cure Light Wounds, Disguise Self, Remove Fear, Wrath, Bowstaff (if you're an Archer) and occasionally Sanctify Corpse are all useful, as a spontaneous caster, you really don't need to have 8 first-level learned so that you can occasionally use a few of them. (I fail to mention spells that I don't recommend for optimal characters.)

magnuskn wrote:
2nd:2nd: Must-haves: Bloodhound, Invisibility, Knock, Lesser Restoration, See Invisibility, Tongues ; Optionals: Delay Poison, Detect Thoughts, Follow Aura, Honeyed Tongue, Perceive Cues, Remove Paralysis, Resist Energy, Shield Other, Undetectable Alignment, Acute Senses, Disguise Other

Invisibility is certainly a must have; the others that you consider "must haves", not so much. Don't get me wrong... They're wonderful spells, but all situationally useful, not spells you need to have prepared on your person at all times. Of the optionals you list, Resist Energy is great to have on hand, but none of the rest of them are so awesome that you need to have spell slots to keep them prepared at all times. They're good utility spells, to be sure, but I might only have Acute Senses prepared to have on hand. This doesn't present an extremely strong argument for increased spell slots for every build.

magnuskn wrote:

So, yeah, the number of must-have spells is limited, but the number of optional spells which give your character some diversity outside of combat ( or inside in some cases ) is very high. You can't count on the party casters having those spells prepared ( in my upcoming group we have an Oracle and an Sorcerer, so that limits the diversity of spell options already ).

What I am trying to say is that while skillpoints and hitpoints are very nice, having more options about what to do with your spells per day is also a nice perk to have, regardless of which type of Inquisitor you are. Also, using the human favored class bonus helps with getting more spells faster. As one does play the game at every level, not only the last ones, it helps to have those super-important spells now, instead of in three or four levels.

Having more options for spellcasting is a nice perk, don't get me wrong, but your Inquisitor is not meant to be the "everyman" to get every job done. Optimization relies more upon specialisation. The "Jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none" concept works out to be mediocre when you're running around with characters who do nothing other than break-smash-kill, but you're still at a disadvantage when trying to cover for everyone else in the party. If the rest of your party isn't working to fill in available group needs and is leaving everything up to you, it's impossible to optimise either on a personal level or on a group level.

In your upcoming party, I would strongly encourage you to work with the players of the Oracle and the Sorcerer to define key roles for both spellcasting and skills so that you're not all trying to cover for each other. I don't know how large your party is likely to be, but assuming a standard five (or four), I'd imagine that your party is likely to need more martial support than spellcasting support; are you likely to have any martial classes or rogues in your party? I'll make a default assumption (and forgive me for that), but I'm going to assume that your party will be made up of you (Inquisitor), an Oracle, a Sorcerer, a Fighter and a Rogue. Depending on your party makeup, you probably have a good variety of magical support already and could probably benefit a lot from working with the Fighter a bit and sharing some teamwork feats, and maybe concentrating some on being a party face (if the Rogue doesn't go for it) or perhaps a secondary healer (if the Oracle is going to be your primary). It's difficult to say, though, since I don't know what everyone else will be playing, but if your goal is to be the primary spellcaster in a group that already contains an Oracle and a Sorcerer, you're likely to be at a disadvantage compared to your fellows.

Best luck in your game, and thanks for the response!


Bodhizen wrote:


Actually, the Preacher's ability to re-roll your own attack rolls doesn't significantly bend probability your way, since there's no dedicated "success threshold" like there are in some other games. You must take the second result, even if its worse; if you could pick the higher of the two, I would agree with you. Please allow me to show you an example. Let's say you're a level 7 Inquisitor (no external bonuses to the Inquisitor's attacks aside from their +5 Base Attack Bonus) making three separate attacks against a Rock Troll (CR 6) with AC 19 (only three, because that's how many times the Inquisitor could potentially use the Aggression Determination that day).

While the Inquisitor would likely enjoy the benefits of other feats and perhaps a +1 weapon at this point, this example just demonstrates the overall effectiveness of the Aggression Determination by itself.

IMO, while of course knowing the result of the second roll would be preferable, just being able to re-roll a natural one or an obviously too low roll is still very good.

Bodhizen wrote:
Actually, there are a few Teamwork feats that I recommend for Archer Inquisitors; they're listed in the guide. Knowing that one of the characters in a group is going to be an Inquisitor, a party that's looking for optimal play will make efforts to coordinate with the Inquisitor to take advantage of their teamwork feats. A switch-hitter Ranger might make for an excellent battle companion, for example.

Since my group is not looking for optimal play, but rather an enjoyable experience where everybody plays what s/he wants, I think you are rather assuming too much optimization here. I am trying to play a well-rounded character myself, but for example I am very averse to dumping stats through the floor. I personally wouldn't write the guide in a way which assumes that not only the player reading it is trying to optimize, but also all of his groupmates as well.

Bodhizen wrote:
I'll agree that Divine Favour, Expeditious Retreat, Protection from Evil and Shield of Faith are excellent low-level spells, but I don't care much for Deadeye's Lore; it's situationally useful at best. Also, Protection from Evil and Shield of Faith don't stack their deflection bonuses, so only one of the two is recommended at any given time; at low levels, I'd go with Protection from Evil. Our level 7 Inquisitor from the earlier example already has five spell slots, and while Cure Light Wounds, Disguise Self, Remove Fear, Wrath, Bowstaff (if you're an Archer) and occasionally Sanctify Corpse are all useful, as a spontaneous caster, you really don't need to have 8 first-level learned so that you can occasionally use a few of them. (I fail to mention spells that I don't recommend for optimal characters.)

Protection from Evil stays relevant into the high levels due to its factor of making people immune to mind-affecting spells or granting them a second save. Shield of Faith is more debatable, but since it can be used to circumvent the need to buy an expensive Ring of Protection, it also has its place.

The joy of playing a spontaneous caster with many spells known is that you can bust out those "occasional" spells whenever they are needed.

Bodhizen wrote:
Invisibility is certainly a must have; the others that you consider "must haves", not so much. Don't get me wrong... They're wonderful spells, but all situationally useful, not spells you need to have prepared on your person at all times. Of the optionals you list, Resist Energy is great to have on hand, but none of the rest of them are so awesome that you need to have spell slots to keep them prepared at all times. They're good utility spells, to be sure, but I might only have Acute Senses prepared to have on hand. This doesn't present an extremely strong argument for increased spell slots for every build.

IMO, you need See Invisibility, occasional use or not. In the case of my upcoming group, having only spontaneous casters makes the other spells I've chosen a huge relief for the other casters, since they don't have to get them ( or at least not all have ). Now, I know that your guide is for optimization purposes, but I'll repeat once again that you cannot expect the whole group to do the same as the persons reading your guide. So, IMO, a section dealing with "useful spells if your group isn't perfectly balanced" wouldn't be amiss.

Bodhizen wrote:
Having more options for spellcasting is a nice perk, don't get me wrong, but your Inquisitor is not meant to be the "everyman" to get every job done. Optimization relies more upon specialisation. The "Jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none" concept works out to be mediocre when you're running around with characters who do nothing other than break-smash-kill, but you're still at a disadvantage when trying to cover for everyone else in the party. If the rest of your party isn't working to fill in available group needs and is leaving everything up to you, it's impossible to optimise either on a personal level or on a group level.

But that is the reality of gameplay. I've seldomly heard of a group where everybody is optimizing ( and what a "joy" that would be to GM... >.< ). At least acknowledging that reality in your guide would make it better, in my opinion.

Bodhizen wrote:
In your upcoming party, I would strongly encourage you to work with the players of the Oracle and the Sorcerer to define key roles for both spellcasting and skills so that you're not all trying to cover for each other. I don't know how large your party is likely to be, but assuming a standard five (or four), I'd imagine that your party is likely to need more martial support than spellcasting support; are you likely to have any martial classes or rogues in your party? I'll make a default assumption (and forgive me for that), but I'm going to assume that your party will be made up of you (Inquisitor), an Oracle, a Sorcerer, a Fighter and a Rogue. Depending on your party makeup, you probably have a good variety of magical support already and could probably benefit a lot from working with the Fighter a bit and sharing some teamwork feats, and maybe concentrating some on being a party face (if the Rogue doesn't go for it) or perhaps a secondary healer (if the Oracle is going to be your primary). It's difficult to say, though, since I don't know what everyone else will be playing, but if your goal is to be the primary spellcaster in a group that already contains an Oracle and a Sorcerer, you're likely to be at a disadvantage compared to your fellows.

We have four players total, so no Rogue slot to be filled. I'll be the skill monkey, as it is. Our melee will be a Barbarian with some sort of two-hander. The Oracle will have the Nature mystery, the Sorceress the Umbral bloodline.

And I am not trying to be the primary spellcaster, that would be plenty ridiculous with the set-up we have. ^^ But that doesn't mean that covering some angles spell-wise which otherwise would be left not covered is a bad idea.

In any case, while I understand your point that it is better if everybody optimizes, that is something which is difficult to achieve in real gameplay, as everybody has her/his own goals for their characters. As such, I think it wouldn't hurt for a comprehensive guide to at least assume that possibility and make some suggestions on which spells would only be occasionally useful, but which might round out a non-optimized party. And on the same note, mentioning that the human favored class bonus can be useful in such a case also falls under the same premise.

---

By the way, what do you personally think about the archer Inquisitor in comparison to the Ranger and Fighter? I am still harbouring some doubts how effective I'll be compared to them and getting a second opinion would probably help a lot. The majority of my doubts are about if the to-hit numbers are good enough when not using any Judgements/Banes and Divine Favors.

The Inquisitor looks really good when those are up, but also very "15 minute workday"-ish. Well, that is a problem with most new PF classes, of course. ^^


I enjoy the guide quite a bit, though I would argue that the growth subdomain should be- appropriately enough- green! It's great for eliminating 5-foot-step casting, and with a greataxe and vital strike it's decent, cheap damage.


magnuskn wrote:


Since my group is not looking for optimal play, but rather an enjoyable experience where everybody plays what s/he wants, I think you are rather assuming too much optimization here. I am trying to play a well-rounded character myself, but for example I am very averse to dumping stats through the floor. I personally wouldn't write the guide in a way which assumes that not only the player reading it is trying to optimize, but also all of his groupmates as well.

magnuskn, I think this might be where the disconnect lies. You're not looking for optimal play, but you're discussing well-rounded play in a thread related to an optimisation guide. This isn't a "well rounded" guide.

magnuskn wrote:

Protection from Evil stays relevant into the high levels due to its factor of making people immune to mind-affecting spells or granting them a second save. Shield of Faith is more debatable, but since it can be used to circumvent the need to buy an expensive Ring of Protection, it also has its place.

The joy of playing a spontaneous caster with many spells known is that you can bust out those "occasional" spells whenever they are needed.

There are other spells that do what Protection from Evil does (like Magic Circle against Evil, which lasts longer), so Protection from Evil does lose some of its utility at greater levels. As for "occasional" spells that can be bust out whenever needed, the general consensus seems to be that you can get wands, scrolls or potions for that rather than taking up spell slots on something you only need every once in a while.

magnuskn wrote:
IMO, you need See Invisibility, occasional use or not. In the case of my upcoming group, having only spontaneous casters makes the other spells I've chosen a huge relief for the other casters, since they don't have to get them ( or at least not all have ). Now, I know that your guide is for optimization purposes, but I'll repeat once again that you cannot expect the whole group to do the same as the persons reading your guide. So, IMO, a section dealing with "useful spells if your group isn't perfectly balanced" wouldn't be amiss.

I understand and respect your feeling of the necessity of See Invisibility, but I do not agree with it. There are magic items and scrolls that grant you the same power when you need it.

While I agree with you completely that a whole group cannot be expected to optimise, I generally only give advise toward optimization; it's in the title of the Guide. However, considering the fact that there are an infinite number of means of balancing your character toward others, it would be an exercise in futility to attempt to weigh every feat, spell, item, etc... against what any possible permutation of party necessity could be. If your party chooses not to optimise, that's just fine. You can do so or not as you wish, but choosing not to do so doesn't make sub-optimal choices more valid for optimisation than optimal ones.

magnuskn wrote:
But that is the reality of gameplay. I've seldomly heard of a group where everybody is optimizing ( and what a "joy" that would be to GM... >.< ). At least acknowledging that reality in your guide would make it better, in my opinion.

Of course there are other options available to players than optimising their characters. However, there's no point in addressing that in a guide dedicated to optimisation. It is left to the player to exercise good judgment when utilising the advise given in an optimisation guide or choosing to ignore it.

The impression that I'm getting is that you want a "So-and-so's Guide to the Well Rounded Inquisitor". This is not that guide, nor was it intended to be so. I was under the impression that not only the title of the Guide, but the preface to the Guide and the title of this thread made that clear.

magnuskn wrote:
In any case, while I understand your point that it is better if everybody optimizes, that is something which is difficult to achieve in real gameplay, as everybody has her/his own goals for their characters. As such, I think it wouldn't hurt for a comprehensive guide to at least assume that possibility and make some suggestions on which spells would only be occasionally useful, but which might round out a non-optimized party. And on the same note, mentioning that the human favored class bonus can be useful in such a case also falls under the same premise.

Please see my previous paragraph.

magnuskn wrote:

By the way, what do you personally think about the archer Inquisitor in comparison to the Ranger and Fighter? I am still harbouring some doubts how effective I'll be compared to them and getting a second opinion would probably help a lot. The majority of my doubts are about if the to-hit numbers are good enough when not using any Judgements/Banes and Divine Favors.

The Inquisitor looks really good when those are up, but also very "15 minute workday"-ish. Well, that is a problem with most new PF classes, of course. ^^

The Archer Inquisitor is going to suffer some when compared to the Archer Ranger and will probably suffer a lot when compared to the Archer Fighter, but that's mostly because the Fighter will have twice as many feats to help him along, and the Ranger gets some consistent perks as well that are not dependent upon active abilities. You can compensate for this to some degree with very selective feat choices and gear, but you'll likely end up playing second fiddle most of the time in an even comparison. This does not mean that the Archer Inquisitor does not serve a purpose or does not have a useful place within a group, but more that the Archer Inquisitor needs more precision; he needs to be more an arrow than a cannonball.


Bodhizen wrote:

Of course there are other options available to players than optimising their characters. However, there's no point in addressing that in a guide dedicated to optimisation. It is left to the player to exercise good judgment when utilising the advise given in an optimisation guide or choosing to ignore it.

The impression that I'm getting is that you want a "So-and-so's Guide to the Well Rounded Inquisitor". This is not that guide, nor was it intended to be so. I was under the impression that not only the title of the Guide, but the preface to the Guide and the title of this thread made that clear.

You are, of course, quite right. I was and still am approaching the general idea of building the Inquisitor from a direction which is looking to "fill in the gaps" so to say.

However, I'll continue to disagree on the favored class bonus for humans topic, since keeping wands and the like prepared would cut continuously into the gold budget of a character, which also lessens his overall effectiveness. I think giving up one hitpoint or skillpoint per level is acceptable to get a higher overall versatility and better gear, especially when it later comes to high level spells.

Bodhizen wrote:
The Archer Inquisitor is going to suffer some when compared to the Archer Ranger and will probably suffer a lot when compared to the Archer Fighter, but that's mostly because the Fighter will have twice as many feats to help him along, and the Ranger gets some consistent perks as well that are not dependent upon active abilities. You can compensate for this to some degree with very selective feat choices and gear, but you'll likely end up playing second fiddle most of the time in an even comparison. This does not mean that the Archer Inquisitor does not serve a purpose or does not have a useful place within a group, but more that the Archer Inquisitor needs more precision; he needs to be more an arrow than a cannonball.

Yeah, that is about the same as I had seen when making my own statistical analysis. ^^ When the Inquisitor can get his set-up activated, he is hell on wheels, when he gets caught with those abilities spent, he is second-rate.

Hell, thanks to one thing in your guide I may even be swayed back to playing a Ranger, which is mentioning the Garuda-born Aasimar ( the one with See Invisibility as a spell-like ability once per day ). With that and the possibility of getting an Instant Enemy wand later on, it may end up being the superior option in combat. And roleplaying wise, I was torn between the two classes anyway.


Hello Bodhizen:

At the point now where I am about to start taking more 2nd level spells with the favored class option and next level I get 3rd level spells.

You mentioned back in November that you were starting 2nd level spells. Is there any progress or a expected date when those will be posted?

Silver Crusade

I love the guide. I rolled up an archer inquisitor last night to use in PFS play.

Only problem I had was picking my spells. I also moved around stats a bit based off of Mysterious Stranger's advice.


sgtrocknroll wrote:

Hello Bodhizen:

At the point now where I am about to start taking more 2nd level spells with the favored class option and next level I get 3rd level spells.

You mentioned back in November that you were starting 2nd level spells. Is there any progress or a expected date when those will be posted?

Thank you for drawing my attention back to this. The 2nd level spells are posted. I will be working on the 3rd level spells soon.


Hello Bodhizen, et. al.

I am a brand new poster to the advice boards, and a new player to Pathfinder after years of 3.5 shenanigans on both sides of the DM blind.

I just wanted to make a suggestion or two that might be helpful, based on my very fresh experience as a brand-new Level 1 Inquisitor, inspired heavily by your guide! I think it might even be of some use in terms of the enlightening conversation you've been having with Magnuskn over archery-based Inquisitors.

In the interest of of usefulness to you and the other posters and readers in this thread, I'll state the heart of my comments first, and add perhaps useful context peculiar to my campaign afterward.

In particular, I would like to speak to the really delicious synergy I've felt even at level 1 between the Spellbreaker archetype and the ranged combat option.

I've decided to run a level 1 Human inquisitor with the spellbreaker archetype, conversion inquisition, and a focus on ranged combat with longbows. Though my skill selection is a bit askew from standard inquisitors (see below), I'm still focusing on intimidation, sensing motive, and other wis-based skills in and out of combat.

I haven't even made it to level 3, when I'll be able to use the Spellbreaker's replacement ability for solo tactics and teamwork feats: Foil Casting. In addition to increasing the DC for defensive casting against arcanists in your threat area, it allows an inquisitor to increase the general concentration DC by 2 for 1 round duration against any arcanist or enemy with an SLA with a successful ranged attack.

I've also already found that the Level 1 Strong-Willed ability of the spellbreaker has come in handy for my 'divine operative' style Inquisitor.

While I was conceiving of the character, I went back and forth between Preacher and Spellbreaker archetypes a number of times. While in the end I'm glad I opted for Spellbreaker, I could easily see a fun and workable build with Preacher as an archery-based inquisitor.

In short, I think that Spellbreaker might deserve mention under the archery build section, and I would humbly second Magnuskn's endorsement of Preacher as a viable/interesting option.

(I also spent a *lot* of time agonizing over the choice between longbows and repeating crossbows, more than I should have, really. The first time I read through the Inquisitor class description, I was tickled by their automatic proficiency with crossbows, which just sat there, taunting me. Ultimately, I went with longbow for reasons tied up with my DM's style and setting, but I could easily have stuck with repeating crossbow. I wonder if you had considered including discussion of the repeating crossbow option under the archery section?)

Okay, now some context in case you think I'm mad...It's a solo campaign. (over skype/google chat with my DM, who has sadly moved away recently)

The campaign is set in a fantasy version of ancient Greece, for which our sessions are experiments so that he can further develop the setting for use with other groups going forward. There are two significant house rules worth mention here.

First, I picked two traits from a list of setting-specific regional traits with which he supplied me (heirloom weapon [falcata: Proficiency], and 'child's play' granting +2 initiative, for enduring growing up in Spartan-controlled Peloponnesia).

Second, he is essentially allowing me to freely choose my class skills, with an arbitrary limit based on class that winds up being fewer than the class skills as written in the SRD (for inquisitor, it's 10 class skills). Finally, we're using core Paizo SRD material, and I'm limited to one archetype. Though this admittedly, potentially, definitely throws off the character options, everything else is otherwise RAW.

Let all of this context serve to qualify my impressions of the Inquisitor and your guide above. While I am attempting to optimize my character in a number of ways, my unique setting and campaign circumstances mean that my choices are a bit different than they would be if I were optimizing for a classic 4-character party.

Finally, I just wanted to add my accolades and esteem to the pile, Bodhizen! Your guide is a real treat from my stand-point as a newcomer to Pathfinder. I especially commend you for the roleplaying advice in terms of elaborating about party roles, which is what really sets your guide apart from other well-written and mechanically-convincing guides.

As I was trying to figure out the capabilities and flavor of the new classes, your guide stood out as unique in giving me some hooks and flavor that stimulated my creativity without steering me into a specific channel as far as player mechanics are concerned. The flow and re-readability of your guide are fantastic.

Silver Crusade

If you are building an inquisitor and need to be the party face, the Conversion inquisition is invaluable. It allows you to dump Cha and still have excellent bonuses to Diplomacy, Bluff, and Intimidate.


Bodhizen wrote:
sgtrocknroll wrote:

Hello Bodhizen:

At the point now where I am about to start taking more 2nd level spells with the favored class option and next level I get 3rd level spells.

You mentioned back in November that you were starting 2nd level spells. Is there any progress or a expected date when those will be posted?

Thank you for drawing my attention back to this. The 2nd level spells are posted. I will be working on the 3rd level spells soon.

I'm looking it over again, and it looks like the feats still aren't fixed based on the BAB requirements, and Ghostbane Dirge is still listed under 1st lvl spells as well as 2nd...

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