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Trying to build a "hireling" for PFS, or, "Wecome to Pathfinder meets Redshirts!"


Hi everyone,

As the title suggests, I am trying to figure out the details of how to make a “hireling” themed character for PFS using core classes and RAW. This will be my first Pathfinder Society character so I came to the boards in hopes to see if this idea A) works and is legal, B) figure out ways to strengthen the build C) if this character would be too annoying for organized play (for both/either the players or the GM).

My crazy (and extremely tongue in cheek) character background idea is thus:
--A Dwarf hireling who has been working for various Pathfinder Society adventurers for well over 100 years to haul heavy items, setting camp, and all other types of menial labor, etc. He has had no formal training as a warrior or the ways of battle. Yet, because he has been around the taverns and adventurers for so long, outliving nearly all of his former employers (who tend to die horrible deaths leaving him carrying the bag of loot outside of dungeons), most Pathfinder Society members assume that he is one of them and not an untrained grunt. While the dwarf doesn’t remember signing anything to formally enter the Pathfinder Society (should he have? He doesn’t even know), he goes along with the strange charade because being an adventurer pays far better than that of a typical hireling. Hopefully, he won’t be expected to do anything dangerous and get killed along the way…because, that would just be too dang ironic for a stubborn dwarf like him.

Like I said, it’s very tongue in cheek.

So, when I think of “hirelings in combat” I think of iconic scenes similar to Samwise from LotR fighting orcs with frying pans. That obviously means improvised weapons. I know there are various ways to go about specializing in improvised weapons (Cad Fighter, etc.) and I have chosen the Monk of the Empty Hand, but, tied with the Monk of the Sacred Mountain to boost his defenses and un-killable hireling “magical” powers. Plus, Sacred Mountain is very dwarf and I liked that flavor. I am hoping that the combo is effective (or even legal) but I have never played a Pathfinder monk before so I am not sure if it will turn out, but, I am willing to try it.

The “hireling” at lvl 1 will look something like:
Dwarf Monk (Empty Hand/Sacred Mountain); Lawful Neutral
Str 17, Con 15, Dex 14, Int 8, Wis 16, Cha 5
Feats: Catch-Off-Guard, Throw Anything, Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist
Traits: Undecided
Faction: Undecided

Later Levels/Feats:
From what I can gather on the boards, the only other feats I need to finish specializing in improvised weapons is: Power Attack and Improved Weapons Master. But, I still have plenty of feat slots to fill. What else?

And, as this is my first PFS game, other questions I have are:
1 – How annoying are improvised weapons to GMs in Pathfinder Society games? I wish to respect all at the table and want to know what to expect when it comes to what is and isn’t allowed. What monk-like wisdom can you share with me from your experiences with improvised weapons at a Pathfinder Society table?

2 – What other feats should I take!? I usually have the problem of a list of too many feats. Is Dirty Tricks still viable even with Monk bonus feats? Or, should I skip that rout all together? What are some good feats to boost the Sacred Mountain archetype abilities?

3 – Which traits would be best? And, which Faction would an ex-hireling most belong?

4 – The last monk I played was a “purity of stone”-flavored Monk/Druid in a C&C game several years ago. And yes, it was a TERRIBLE build. Anyways, in what so not-obvious ways has the monk changed from 3.5 with the advent of feats and the like from Ultimate Combat and Ultimate Magic? Is there anything I should know other than what is in Trentmonk's Guide to Monks?

5 - Quickdraw. Does it work with improvised weapons? And, what about Deadly Aim? Is that a good option for throwing improvised weapons?

Thanks for your advice!

I think your character concept is great and you should totally run with it. As long as those two Archetypes don’t replace the same abilities, and you own the APG, you should be fine.

1-Warn the GM ahead of time that this is what the character does so he is prepared. Carry with you some improvised weapons just incase.
2-For Dwarves, I like Steel Soul from the APG.
3-I always like Reactionary as a Triat. Given your character has been around a while and worked for various other Pathfinders, I would look at Grand Lodge.

If you have not read the PFS Player Guide, do that.

Anything more that a 16 is really expensive in a Point Buy system. Also, Skills come into play a lot in PFS, so you may regret tanking your Int. IMO, move your Str and Con each down 1 so you can raise your Int by 4.

Liberty's Edge

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Looks like the archetypes won't conflict.

I would let Quick Draw work with an improvised weapon. For if you are proficient with improvised weapons, and the name actually says weapon, then RAW there is no reason why a feat that works with a weapon shouldn't work with an improvised weapon as long as you are proficient with it.

But you might find some table variance in that. Some folks might have a hard time with you being able to quick draw a bar stool or chandelier.

Dark Archive

Quick draw wouldnt work with improvised weapons,

Proficiency isnt a requirement for quickdraw (my wizard with quickdraw could pull out a greatsword for instance even if he isnt proficient), hence either everyone can use quickdraw to use improvised weapons (which are obviously not weapons because they have improvised in the name) or no one can.

Grand Lodge

I would tend to think Shadow Lodge rather than Grand Lodge, as a support character. "Master, as your Union Steward, I think you should duck right instead of left. Oops, too late. That'll leave a mark."

Along with Reactionary, I might go for Dangerously Curious, and train UMD. "Master, I am trying to heal you, but this wand is broken. It just cannot work!"

Sorry, just ran a game where almost all the healing came from a Wizard using UMD on a Wand of CLW, other than the other Wizard casting his one copy of Infernal Healing on the unconscious Rogue. 2 Wizards, a Rogue and a Fighter. And the Fighter, literally, came within a UMD roll of death.

ThorGN wrote:
Anything more that a 16 is really expensive in a Point Buy system. Also, Skills come into play a lot in PFS, so you may regret tanking your Int. IMO, move your Str and Con each down 1 so you can raise your Int by 4.

PFS uses a lot of skills? I run a homebrew and keep trying to find ways to add skill use in adventures or encourage my players to use them. Do the adventures actually make use of them or is it just that the GMs who run them usually do a good job of incorporating them?

always wanted to make a cavalier (herald squire/standard bearer) 14 / fighter (weapon bearer squire/armor master) 6

Mark, Both.

There are usually several instances in every scenario where skills are needed from players, whether specifically laid out by the scenario or just implied within a provided situation. There are Faction Missions in every scenario and they are 95% skill focused. Also, the newer scenarios have introduced Chase Scenes, which are basically entire encounters of skill checks.

If you play the big dumb fighter in PFS, you will find yourself bored in many situations as you sit back and let the characters with skills handle things.

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