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Two Hands are Better Than One: A Guide for Fighters using Two-Handed Weapons


Advice

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This is a guide that I made for Two-Handed Fighters. Many people call it a straight forward class, but there are many options and ways that a player can pull it off. I created this to try and evaluate all (appropriate) options that are available to a Fighter using Two-Handed weapons, and what options are good to pick, and what options may be not so good (or even bad) decisions.

Some important things to note:

1. This guide was constructed using the Core, APG, UM, UC, ARG, and UE books. All other sources were not used, and no house rules or deviations from the RAW are included. PFS gameplay should be compatible with this guide, but it is not guaranteed, nor explicitly expanded upon.

2. This guide is not the be-all end-all decision making for you. It is merely a reference and second opinion on certain concepts in regards to developing your character. Whether you agree with what is stated within the guide, or you feel one option is even greater than another that is recommended, that is for you to decide. Just remember that the guide is just that: A recommendation.

3. The guide will have changes due to personal edits, Errata/FAQ/Clarifications made from Devs on certain rules, or some other reasonable change. I will try my best to accommodate to these, and some of these changes may not even be reflected upon within the guide. If such a change occurs and is either incorrect or is not updated to the proper rulings, please let me know by private messages or e-mails on these forums, or my e-mail (which is listed in the Forward section).

With that said, I hope you all enjoy the guide, and get some tips and/or insight as to what some feats or items can truly do for you!


(Quick notification: The guide is not 'complete' yet. I still have sections that I need to work on, but it is still open for civil critique and reviewing. Guide recommendation, as well as positive [and constructive] feedback is appreciated!)


Do you have a link for it?


HaraldKlak wrote:

Do you have a link for it?

Updated with a link for you. (Silly that it's the first thing that I forget to do when I post it!)


The link to this thread from the sticky guide to the guide thread didn't work when I clicked on it. Just a heads up.

I was surprised to see love for the Vital Strike chain since it doesn't work with the charge action.


Eric Mason 37 wrote:
I was surprised to see love for the Vital Strike chain since it doesn't work with the charge action.

I think his argument is that it's good against creatures with significant DR and decent AC. In those situations, charging is usually kind of crappy anyway.

Silver Crusade

I really like the guide. I was just working on a two handed weapon fighter and found this.


In the field I've often found the bonus distance to be the difference between being in close combat (so that next turn I can full attack), and standing in no man's land. There is also the bonus of +2 to hit, which is handy against that high AC. Toss in Furious Focus (which works every turn), and your Power Attack doesn't have and attack penalty, so you're still doing the best you can against that high AC.

I've never had that much of an issue with DR with a power attacking great weapon wielder... A +3 weapon negates the common material based DR in Pathfinder, and at really low levels most people just try to have a weapon for each of slashing, blunt, and piercing.

The idea of Vital Strike is cool, but when I try in out in play test scenarios (or reviewing fights I've been in) it's just been too limited/situational to justify the feat expenditure IMO.


meabolex wrote:
Eric Mason 37 wrote:
I was surprised to see love for the Vital Strike chain since it doesn't work with the charge action.
I think his argument is that it's good against creatures with significant DR and decent AC. In those situations, charging is usually kind of crappy anyway.

Pretty much. There are going to be creatures where even if you use a Full Attack Option, you're going to miss with approximately a couple of those attacks (on average) due to a very high AC creature, netting only two hits worth of damage. That creature may also have DR from stuff like Adamantine, (or Epic in the later levels), and with a Full Attack Option, that DR is cumulative per attack that you make.

Vital Strike is great in that its a very powerful tool to bypass DR, and is good for damage consistency against high AC creatures. It also synergizes quite well with Sunder builds (as the RAW currently explains them), plus has correlatory feats like Devastating Strike (and its Improved version), which increases the total damage and greatly assists the critical confirmation when using Vital Strike.

Sczarni

Haven't finished reading yet. But like it so far. One thing that may require clarity is the Half-Elf racial trait "Multi-talented". You seem to infer that the benefit of selecting two favoured classes at 1st level works with Prestige Classes, which it doesn't unfortunately.

d20pfsrd wrote:
Favored Class: Each character begins play with a single favored class of his choosing—typically, this is the same class as the one he chooses at 1st level. Whenever a character gains a level in his favored class, he receives either + 1 hit point or + 1 skill rank. The choice of favored class cannot be changed once the character is created, and the choice of gaining a hit point or a skill rank each time a character gains a level (including his first level) cannot be changed once made for a particular level. Prestige classes (see Prestige Classes) can never be a favored class.

Emphasis is mine.

Learned this the hard way, which is why I remember it!


I disagree with your choice of humans as the ideal race. The bonus feat isn't very helpful as a fighter. Half elf can get a +2 to will saves and low light vision. Both very good for a fighter.

Dark Archive

johnlocke90 wrote:
I disagree with your choice of humans as the ideal race. The bonus feat isn't very helpful as a fighter. Half elf can get a +2 to will saves and low light vision. Both very good for a fighter.

He can swap out the free feat for something else, if he wishes. Thanks the the ARG, Humans have a ton of great new options.

Read through the guide last night, going to show it to the guy who wants to play a Dwarf Fighter in the RotRL game I'm planning. Good work.


The Hellknight Prestige class would work well with an intimidate Monkey or someone who wants domains.


wow, This was unexpected.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


Vital Strike is great in that its a very powerful tool to bypass DR, and is good for damage consistency against high AC creatures. It also synergizes quite well with Sunder builds (as the RAW currently explains them), plus has correlatory feats like Devastating Strike (and its Improved version), which increases the total damage and greatly assists the critical confirmation when using Vital Strike.

I disagree.

In general, you should be seeing more in bonus to damage than you will face in DR that you cannot bypass. Given the option to full attack, do so.

You are suggesting spending multiple feats to accomplish the sub-optimal. If it were one feat, then I might say it has fringe uses. If it would apply to AOOs, then it would be worth it. But as an ever increasing number of feats for a standard action, it doesn't seem to grand.

Moreover the fighter is going to hit as well on their first iterative attack as most other combatants will hit on their primaries. If the fighter has trouble hitting then the other melee characters are looking at 'aid other' as being a tactical option over swinging..

As to Sunder, you are better off making multiple sunder attacks during a full attack rather than a vital strike... silly attempts to read the rules otherwise notwithstanding. If it's an issue with your DM, you are likely better off going with the dwarven cleave feats and sundering via great cleave than vital strike.

Also I would suggest that you consider the 7INT for the typical fighter stat array rather than lower WIS or CON. On a 20pt buy you could look at:

STR 17
INT 07
WIS 14
DEX 14
CON 14
CHA 7

This is before racial adjustments, and of course assuming a fighter build that's not heading towards whirlwind attack.

Paying 4 stat build points for 1more skill point/level is exorbitant, unless you have something specific in mind that will justify a lower WILL save, etc.

-James


If you want whirlwind attack you play a dwarf with all the goblin cleaver cleave feats.

Shadow Lodge

You are greatly undervaluing toothy. It

1) lets you hold a reach weapon and still threaten
2) Gives you a secondary attack, albeit at a -5, for free.


You define 4 colors in the guide, but use something like 10. Clean it up. All of the in-between colors may be important to you, but they detract from an important aspect of a guide: simplicity.

You need to scrap most of the write-ups on traits. They are a very minor part of character creation (and optional I believe), but consume a great deal of your guide. I would stick to writing about the strongest ones. No one using your guide is going to pick a crappy trait unless it is important to them for other-than-optimizing reasons.


johnlocke90 wrote:
I disagree with your choice of humans as the ideal race. The bonus feat isn't very helpful as a fighter. Half elf can get a +2 to will saves and low light vision. Both very good for a fighter.

I agree that they are worthwhile, but that section only covers the races standard traits that they normally obtain. Some groups play Core only, and they don't have the luxury to switch out traits like some characters do. There is another section that covers the alternate racial traits to take for each race, and I can tell you that those traits that you listed are rated quite high in the guide.

@ Krodjin:
I remembered seeing that part, and I suppose I forgot to reflect on that in the guide. I adjusted it accordingly, so it should not include the Prestige Classes as an option for Favored Classes (,though some Prestige Classes would most likely include Multi-Classing in order to obtain the Prestige Classes, so there is that).

@ James Maissen:
If the character is not in any need of skill points, then dumping Intelligence would be an option. However, some characters need skill points for important things like Climb, Swim, Acrobatics (for Armor Training archetypes), etc. hence my recommendation to not dump Intelligence unless you need to. There are probably even more that I listed that may be important, but it all depends on the build, if they choose to go a Combat Expertise build and want Intelligence, or go an Intimidate build and want Charisma.

I wouldn't go as far to say that it's 'sub-optimal,' but for Sunder builds, as well as combats where the character has to constantly move and attack an enemy, or an enemy with a nasty amount of DR that will make your multiple attacks significantly weaker, Vital Strike is a great way to bypass and/or enhance your performance against such obstacles. It's situational, that may be true, but its dependant upon the build, and if a player does not like the Vital Strike chain for their own reasons, then that's their own reasoning.

@ BigNorseWolf:
Armor Spikes, as well as some awkward gear (which isn't expanded upon in the guide, but may be available to other characters) better accomplishes the task of threatening, and doesn't cost a trait that can either be exchanged for something better, or is just plain better in general.

Being able to be used as a secondary natural attack in conjunction with a full attack option is one of its redeeming qualities, but chances are you won't be using such an attack constantly (nor would it be all that effective in the later levels). For low level/E6 campaigns, this would probably be decent to have. Other than that, it's not that great.


Ciaran Barnes wrote:

You define 4 colors in the guide, but use something like 10. Clean it up. All of the in-between colors may be important to you, but they detract from an important aspect of a guide: simplicity.

You need to scrap most of the write-ups on traits. They are a very minor part of character creation (and optional I believe), but consume a great deal of your guide. I would stick to writing about the strongest ones. No one using your guide is going to pick a crappy trait unless it is important to them for other-than-optimizing reasons.

One of the more important things that I wanted to get out of making this guide is the fact that it encompasses a broad spectrum, and is open for players who may want to change it up. Traits (whether it be Character or Racial) are nice, unique bonuses to have, and they all add up to the grand scheme of things that is your character.

Though I did include multiple colors to reflect on how I felt they stacked up in terms of the colors, whether they were almost positive to get, or otherwise. You are right though, in that it made clutter (and confusion), which is something the guide is supposed to alleviate. I made adjustments to the odd colors, and they should now (for the most part, assuming I noticed all the color differences) properly reflect the color legend that was listed.


Vital Strike is simply over-rated in your guide.

For the price of 4 stat points to pick up one skill, you are over buying INT at the expense of Con and Wis. A human fighter can have 3 maxed skills (more likely two and lots of dips) with a 7 INT, paying 4 stat points to go to a 4th skill per level needs justification by the specific char

-James


I was sadly disappointed after reading this. It feels like it is trying to be a comprehensive shpiel when it should be focusing on its subject matter: Two Handed Fighters.

I'll give the same advice I gave to Kbrewer. Drop the crap. You don't need to tell us what all the bad options for for every race, trait, and archetype are. If you were being comprehensive than by all means point out the traps. But since you are focusing on one particular aspect of the class you want to narrow things down and make an argumnent for this style of fighter.

More you make an argument about how the two handed fighter can do so much more than hit tings. And then go on to write the rest of the guide for something that well...mostly hits things. More than that you describe a variety of two handed fighters. You might as well call it "The guide for fighters who don't want to use one handed weapons or shields" because rather than pointing out specific styles for a fighter using a two handed weapon you throw everything togetehr and give them ratings for it based upon an opinion rather than a function.

More than that it seems like you ignored large swathes of archetypes because they didn't poke right out and say "I use two handers".

Like, what about the Brawler? Heavy shields can be pretty mean to get slapped with. Even funnier is that with a spiked gauntlet he can switch between hitting people with the big iron board of his choice or go captain america style on someone with a full attack.

Or the unarmed fighter? You get a style feat for free (which can be dragon style if you fancy it) plus access to some exotic two handed reach weapons while still having unarmed strikes to threaten with.

We talk of rough riders, but what about dragoons? Otherwise known as the missile the Cavalier hurls from the top of his War Elephant?

Overall I think the guide could benefit from some serious tightening up and some consensus on what your guide is really about.


To add into the storm of feedback, I would say that I'm not at all convinced that Climb and Swim beat skills like Perception or Intimidate for general usefulness. Especially when those are not only your top-rated skills, but you also go on to do stuff like rate Sure Grasp as a blue feat.


Agreed. I personally love movement-based skills, but just about every other guide writer will side with Chengar.


@ About armor master

I do not think is the better archetye for a heavy damage dealer but there is a way to avoid using a one-handed weapon, to THW with the shield.

Spoiler:

Half elf

Armor Master

Str 22
Dex 14
Con 12
Int 10
Wis 14
Cha 8

===== Defense =====
Hp: 80
AC: 28
Touch AC: 16
FF AC: 26

CMD: 31

light fortification

DR 6/-

===== Saves =======
Fort: +12
Ref: +9
Wil: +13 (+15 agaist charm and compulsion)

==== Attack ======

Melee
+21/+13 (1d8+25 19-2/x2)

CMB: +18

===== Traits ======
Armor Expert, Birthmark

==== Feats ======

1. Power attack, Improved shield bash
2. Furious focus
3. Iron will
4. WF (heavy shield)
5. WS (heavy shield)
6. Step up
7. Shield focus
8. GWF (heavy shield)
9. Improved critical (Heay shield)
10. Missile Shield

==== Skills ====

Climb +10
Swim +12
Perception +14
Survival +7

==== SQ ========
Armor training 2, Deflective Shield (Ex), Armored Defense (Ex),Fortification (Ex), Dual Minded, Keen Senses

==== gear =======

+1 Adamantine Fullplate (17,5K)
Wayfinder+Clearspinde Ioun stone (4,5K)
Dusty rose prism Ioun stone (5K)
+3 Cloak of protection (9K)
+2 belt of giant Strengh (4K)
cracked Pale Green Prism Ioun stone [Attack] (4 K)
cracked Pale Green Prism Ioun stone [Saving throws] (4 K)
Ioun torch
+1 Ring of protection (2K)
+1 Amulet of natural armor (2K)
+1 bashing Darkwood Heavy shield (4,5K) - (as a shield)
+1 Darkwood Heavy shield (2K) - (as a Weapon)

TOTAL = 59,5 K


Does anyone OTHER than Barbarians and Stalwart Defenders get d12 HD?

For 20 PB, change it to 13 dex and 10 wisdom. 11 wisdom does nothing, 13 dex will let you meet the requirements for a handful of feats (most to entirely rubbish, but it's something for nothing)

Magic Resistant is actually a trap. You NEED buffs from your allies to function, and it stops that.


james maissen wrote:


Vital Strike is simply over-rated in your guide.

For the price of 4 stat points to pick up one skill, you are over buying INT at the expense of Con and Wis. A human fighter can have 3 maxed skills (more likely two and lots of dips) with a 7 INT, paying 4 stat points to go to a 4th skill per level needs justification by the specific char

-James

Then we can agree to disagree on Vital Strike. I say it has its uses, and for those situations (which can be quite plentiful) its convenient to have so that you're not trailing behind the party; if you don't have many of those situations, then obviously Vital Strike chain isn't the set of feats for you.

I seriously wonder how a Fighter can have up to 3 maxed skills at a 7 Int, unless I'm missing something with modifiers regarding skills. Does a negative modifier not decrease the amount of skills you would normally be allotted?

If that's really the case, then I can definitely see how Int would also be a good dump stat. But unless RAW is produced that says you don't suffer penalties to base skills due to a negative intelligence modifier, then there are plenty of skills, such as Acrobatics, Perception, Climb, Swim (the latter two for times where you would fall to your death or drown), and a few others that I didn't list, that would be important for some builds to put points in, if not max out.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
james maissen wrote:


Vital Strike is simply over-rated in your guide.

For the price of 4 stat points to pick up one skill, you are over buying INT at the expense of Con and Wis. A human fighter can have 3 maxed skills (more likely two and lots of dips) with a 7 INT, paying 4 stat points to go to a 4th skill per level needs justification by the specific char

-James

Then we can agree to disagree on Vital Strike. I say it has its uses, and for those situations (which can be quite plentiful) its convenient to have so that you're not trailing behind the party; if you don't have many of those situations, then obviously Vital Strike chain isn't the set of feats for you.

I seriously wonder how a Fighter can have up to 3 maxed skills at a 7 Int, unless I'm missing something with modifiers regarding skills. Does a negative modifier not decrease the amount of skills you would normally be allotted?

1 minimum skill point

1 favored class
1 human skill point

3 skill.

If you take Fast Learner as your first level human feat you can get the favored class HP as well.


TarkXT wrote:

I was sadly disappointed after reading this. It feels like it is trying to be a comprehensive shpiel when it should be focusing on its subject matter: Two Handed Fighters.

I'll give the same advice I gave to Kbrewer. Drop the crap. You don't need to tell us what all the bad options for for every race, trait, and archetype are. If you were being comprehensive than by all means point out the traps. But since you are focusing on one particular aspect of the class you want to narrow things down and make an argumnent for this style of fighter.

More you make an argument about how the two handed fighter can do so much more than hit tings. And then go on to write the rest of the guide for something that well...mostly hits things. More than that you describe a variety of two handed fighters. You might as well call it "The guide for fighters who don't want to use one handed weapons or shields" because rather than pointing out specific styles for a fighter using a two handed weapon you throw everything togetehr and give them ratings for it based upon an opinion rather than a function.

More than that it seems like you ignored large swathes of archetypes because they didn't poke right out and say "I use two handers".

Like, what about the Brawler? Heavy shields can be pretty mean to get slapped with. Even funnier is that with a spiked gauntlet he can switch between hitting people with the big iron board of his choice or go captain america style on someone with a full attack.

Or the unarmed fighter? You get a style feat for free (which can be dragon style if you fancy it) plus access to some exotic two handed reach weapons while still having unarmed strikes to threaten with.

We talk of rough riders, but what about dragoons? Otherwise known as the missile the Cavalier hurls from the top of his War Elephant?

Overall I think the guide could benefit from some serious tightening up and some consensus on what your guide is really about.

You would be right in saying that I can probably remove traits that say "Caster Crap" and such, since I don't really go on to explain what it does, etc. When I find some time, I will probably clean that sort of stuff up (which will be a couple hours later).

The point of the guide is that its open for builds regarding Two-Handing Fighters. Not every player wants to sit there and follow a single build; while its effective, they may want more to do than just swing a big bad chunk of metal, and the guide attempts to accommodate such notions. I list it for its function based on build types, saying that "Big Bad Melee Guy" isn't going to really want it, when their focus is going to be elsewhere, such as Combat Feats, major amounts of Strength, etc. However, builds that are "Mr. Party Leader Guy" (AKA, builds who also deal with trying to influence others for the purpose of progressing in campaigns) may want it since their focus encompasses what the feat/ability provides, and wouldn't end up sacrificing much.

Did I ignore the Tactician or the Mobile Fighter when they weren't an archetype that specifically lists "Two-Handed" or anything? No. If I did that, there'd only be one archetype listed; Because those archetypes can use Two-Handed weapons without conflicting their focus and benefits. Dragoon would work if their weapon of choice (in other words, the one with all of their special qualities) did not have to be only a lance (a one-handed weapon while mounted, which the guide does not cover). If it were able to be some other weapon; say, a Ranseur or something along those lines, then sure (and technically, it could), but it would invalidate nearly all of the archetype features, meaning that they would be better off being another archetype (i.e. the Roughrider).

The Unarmed Fighter's unarmed strikes do not function like the Monk's, in that they can use unarmed strikes even while their hands are full. Using a two-handed reach weapon would invalidate their usage of unarmed strikes, since RAW, only Monks can make unarmed strikes while their hands are occupied. (There are Armor Spikes available, but that's something everyone can use.) But since they can use two-handed Monk weapons, I will put them in.

The brawler's concept that you're advocating so far (as well as the archetype features) only supports using one-handed weapons. If the guide was supposed to include using one-handed weapons as two-handed weapons, then perhaps we could include a couple other archetypes not mentioned. But this guide does not include them, so there's no reason to implement them when that sort of thing isn't expanded upon.


TarkXT wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
james maissen wrote:


Vital Strike is simply over-rated in your guide.

For the price of 4 stat points to pick up one skill, you are over buying INT at the expense of Con and Wis. A human fighter can have 3 maxed skills (more likely two and lots of dips) with a 7 INT, paying 4 stat points to go to a 4th skill per level needs justification by the specific char

-James

Then we can agree to disagree on Vital Strike. I say it has its uses, and for those situations (which can be quite plentiful) its convenient to have so that you're not trailing behind the party; if you don't have many of those situations, then obviously Vital Strike chain isn't the set of feats for you.

I seriously wonder how a Fighter can have up to 3 maxed skills at a 7 Int, unless I'm missing something with modifiers regarding skills. Does a negative modifier not decrease the amount of skills you would normally be allotted?

1 minimum skill point

1 favored class
1 human skill point

3 skill.

If you take Fast Learner as your first level human feat you can get the favored class HP as well.

I wonder where it says you automatically gain a minimum of 1 skill point per level? (Not to be mean, but I am under the impression that it's possible to gain 0 skill points per level due to a severely lowered intelligence.)

Favored class is nice if you don't need the HP. Human Skill Point is also very convenient (and one of the reasons why I rate it so good for the core races).

IIRC, Fast Learner has an Intelligence 13 pre-requisite. Proposing having a 7 Intelligence to obtain both HP and Skill Point each level for this feat would not be possible (unless you have a +6 Int Headband).

Dark Archive

I've had two separate DMs (who don't even know each other!) rule that you could never get less than 1 Skill Point per level, but I don't know if that's a RAW ruling.


It says you get a minimum of 1 skill point per level in the Core Rule Book under Intelligence.

From the PRD:

You apply your character's Intelligence modifier to:

-The number of bonus languages your character knows at the start of the game. These are in addition to any starting racial languages and Common. If you have a penalty, you can still read and speak your racial languages unless your Intelligence is lower than 3.

-The number of skill points gained each level, though your character always gets at least 1 skill point per level.

-Appraise, Craft, Knowledge, Linguistics, and Spellcraft checks.


You always get 1 point even if you are 'stupid'.

Here is a thread about it where JJ posted.
http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2korw&sort=0?Dumb-Humans-and-skills


Reading this guide, in which you insist Acrobatic is a must have and that the Vital Strike and Spellbreaker chains are rated so highly, I just get the feeling that you and I (and I believe the majority of pathfinder players) are playing totally different games.

I don't get it, and I find your advice hard to apply.

What are your fighters doing moving around so much? Why are spellcasters not auto-succeeding on Concentration checks by mid level? Why are you cartwheeling about in the Heavy Armor you should be wearing? I'm just not sure what sort of game your guide works for.


Ciaran Barnes wrote:
Agreed. I personally love movement-based skills, but just about every other guide writer will side with Chengar.

I do think climb and swim are a bit under-credited by a lot of optimizers because they can be largely superseded by flight and/or fairly low-level spells like Spider Climb and Water Breathing. That said, even when they're useful they tend to be fairly situational. Swimming and climbing aren't necessarily skills that will be used all the time, and in some campaigns they might not get used more than once or twice the entire time.

I'm not saying the skills are useless, but rating it higher than Perception (A.K.A. The Most Rolled Skill) and strongly advising investing feats into improving those skills? I'm not convinced that it's a good idea, and most other people who know the system will be similarly skeptical.

If your guide is going to go against conventional wisdom, I'd suggest trying a bit harder to sell your position. Otherwise, it just looks like bad advice.


mplindustries wrote:

Reading this guide, in which you insist Acrobatic is a must have and that the Vital Strike and Spellbreaker chains are rated so highly, I just get the feeling that you and I (and I believe the majority of pathfinder players) are playing totally different games.

I don't get it, and I find your advice hard to apply.

What are your fighters doing moving around so much? Why are spellcasters not auto-succeeding on Concentration checks by mid level? Why are you cartwheeling about in the Heavy Armor you should be wearing? I'm just not sure what sort of game your guide works for.

Acrobatics is nice in the event that you can use it. I've had plenty of sessions where characters (and NPCs) used Acrobatics to move through and out of threatened squares. Are all fights just "Sit there and whack things"? Its a matter of having strategy and tactics, both of which are very important in being able to deal solid damage.

Fighters wearing Heavy Armor can't use such tactics unless they have armor training (and by mid level, armor bonuses are a very weak stat when monsters are getting +15 or so to hit your AC 24), which is quite important for having battlefield control, and its crucial for being able to deal optimum damage while at the same time keeping casualties and losses to a minimum. The question you ask yourself, is "Shall I sit here and beat the crap out of this guy I said I was supposed to beat the crap out of, and let my party member die because I'm too focused on damage and find optimum damage is my only strategy, or do I help out my fellow party member, sacrifice my optimum damage, and help out in areas that I should also be good at?" If I choose the former, then the build isn't going to be focused on helping others; it's going to be a very self-reliant build that only focuses on going first, making the most hits, dealing the most damage, and everyone else in my party can go screw themselves. If I choose the latter, then the build is going to include more than just stacking Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization, ignoring things like Vital Strike (which helps in multiple situations, but not the ones where a Full Attack is better for damage) and Spellbreaker (since it doesn't help me with damage) for other, more optimum feats. Its a matter of trying to stay open with some feats, and saying that "Oh, the feat won't go well with a build like this, but if you're going with this build, it might be worthwhile to take," etc.

Because all builds are the same, right? The same can be said with the "completely different game" I play: Not every session is the same. It's not like every session is "KILL KILL KILL" or "Let's see what Random Villager #253 has to say about this quest that should've been completed in 2 seconds, but isn't because we like roleplaying." My sessions are going to be different from yours (and quite frankly everyone elses) in some levels, and quite frankly, it all sums up to the whole YMMV statement. If you don't find Vital Strike to be your fancy and would rather do this or that for your build, that's your prerogative. As I told James, let's agree to disagree.


Thanks for clearing up the Skill points discrepancy.

@ Chengar: I adjusted the Sure Grasp color code; I have no clue why I listed it blue. I listed it green, though, since its still a decent feat that allows you to almost never fail a Climb check.

I also adjusted Perception to be Blue, and lowered Swim and Climb down to Green, since I forget that Swim and Climb checks aren't going to be much higher than a 25 (which you would have a +8 or so to begin with), and that's being generous. Perception scales on an opposed Stealth or some other number, which is much more often adjusted in the negative manner (that is, more options for higher DCs).


A CR 10 monster has a CMD in the low 30s. You would need to have maxed out Acrobatics, a really good dexterity, and preferably Skill Focus (Acrobatics) to reliably move through threatened squares with impunity.

Or you could spend the skill points elsewhere and accept that sometimes you are going to get hit on the way in and not throw your skill points away on something the is likely futile.

I don't think anyone is saying that all builds have to be cookie cutters of each other. Fighters can do multiple things, and each thing has some great feats that go toward it. The great weapon wielder pretty much only needs strength, and power attack to function, so multiple options can be picked up.

However, there is a balancing act of resources in making sure that you don't commit too many resources to something that doesn't come up much, and/or doesn't pay off well.

Something you might consider are little subsections for different tasks.

Anti-Caster

Back-up Archer

Sundering Specialist

Clearer of Mooks

Bodyguard

etc.

This might make it easier to more clearly/consistently colour various feats. A feat could be blue for someone trying to do that task, but orange for another task.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Krodjin wrote:

Haven't finished reading yet. But like it so far. One thing that may require clarity is the Half-Elf racial trait "Multi-talented". You seem to infer that the benefit of selecting two favoured classes at 1st level works with Prestige Classes, which it doesn't unfortunately.

d20pfsrd wrote:
Favored Class: Each character begins play with a single favored class of his choosing—typically, this is the same class as the one he chooses at 1st level. Whenever a character gains a level in his favored class, he receives either + 1 hit point or + 1 skill rank. The choice of favored class cannot be changed once the character is created, and the choice of gaining a hit point or a skill rank each time a character gains a level (including his first level) cannot be changed once made for a particular level. Prestige classes (see Prestige Classes) can never be a favored class.

Emphasis is mine.

Learned this the hard way, which is why I remember it!

Seem that rule is broken in the Faction guide for Glorian. There is the RMA faction that allows you to have the prestige class as favored class. This would be specific over rules generic.

Also there is feat that Half Elves get in the ARG that makes all your classes favored classes. Seeing as Half Elves already get 2 already it doesn't make much sense to get this feat unless you can apply to Prestige Classes because that is the pretty much the most common way to have 2 class. Battle and Rage Prophet for example which have 2 class prerequisites. So this is one feat I house ruled that does apply to prestige classes.


@ Eric: If you do have Armor Training, spending points in Acrobatics (before you can use it, if you don't suffer much from not spending it elsewhere) does make it possible to avoid attacks without having to provoke. I mean, Two-Handed Fighters aren't going to be all that hard to hit since they don't have a shield, which can comprise a large portion of AC, and is a good deciding factor between getting hit and avoiding hits. Acrobatics is also a useful skill for overcoming some obstacles, such as jumping from one ledge to another, avoid triggering a trap plate, etc.

If you feel that Climb or Swim or some other skill is going to be more important, then put the points into that instead. But obviously, the reason it's labeled green is that it becomes available with Heavy Armor due to Armor Training, and Acrobatics as a skill on its own is pretty important to avoid attacks due to having to adjust to combat situations such as absorbing Attacks of Opportunity from a monster for other party members, running over to help another party member from dying, etc.

The issue with splitting it up into sections like that is that it makes the guide have more 'filler material,' so to speak. It's simpler (and more to the point) to list in the section that the feat is "Good for Mr. Party Leader Guy, not so good for everyone else." instead of making a more complex and confusing system (like the others have pointed out with my attempt to 'blend' the color matches to further list the in-depth effectiveness of the feat/ability/trait).


It's down to the math.

CMD Fire Giant 31

10 (10 ranks, maxed out)
3 (dex 16, which is pretty good for a strength focused character)
1 ACP (mithral full plate and armour training 2)

Roll required = 19

Add in Skill Focus, which ups your investment and it becomes at least somewhat usable:

Roll required = 13

And that is per threatened square if you were thinking of using it to leave the giant and pop over to your team mate.

Or just suck it up princess, with the added bonus that everyone else can waltz through his surrounding squares without fear.

I am not saying acrobatics is useless for dealing with hazardous terrain (which typically have significantly lower DCs), just that the amazing tumbling fighter is a huge investment of a limited number of skill points since you need to keep it maxed out, a feat, and gear since you're still trying to keep the ACP low but the AC as high as you can.

I don't think I explained my idea properly since it would add structure by having a role, and suggested feats for it, so people could scan by roles, rather than the sort of murky soup it currently seems to be from my perspective.

Well, I'm out. You're happy with what you've done, I'll move on, and let the people who like it as it is chime in. :)


Eric Mason 37 wrote:

It's down to the math.

CMD Fire Giant 31

10 (10 ranks, maxed out)
3 (dex 16, which is pretty good for a strength focused character)
1 ACP (mithral full plate and armour training 2)

Roll required = 19

Add in Skill Focus, which ups your investment and it becomes at least somewhat usable:

Roll required = 13

You could add a masterwork tool and boots of rpinging and striding and make the check with a 6.


Darksol: To give a page number for the minimum skills per level it is also on CRB p17 in the section on intelligence.

- Gauss


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Acrobatics is nice in the event that you can use it. I've had plenty of sessions where characters (and NPCs) used Acrobatics to move through and out of threatened squares.

I think, as others have shown, it is nearly impossible to Acrobat out of threatend squares unless that is something you've focused on, including a masterwork item, a magic item, and skill focus. That sort of focus is really not just worth having more AC and HP or something, because taking a single hit on an AoO when you really need to isn't the end of the world.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Are all fights just "Sit there and whack things"? Its a matter of having strategy and tactics, both of which are very important in being able to deal solid damage.

And moving every turn is a poor tactical decision when you can move 5' or less and unload a full compliment of attacks.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Fighters wearing Heavy Armor can't use such tactics unless they have armor training (and by mid level, armor bonuses are a very weak stat when monsters are getting +15 or so to hit your AC 24), which is quite important for having battlefield control, and its crucial for being able to deal optimum damage while at the same time keeping casualties and losses to a minimum. The question you ask yourself, is "Shall I sit here and beat the crap out of this guy I said I was supposed to beat the crap out of, and let my party member die because I'm too focused on damage and find optimum damage is my only strategy, or do I help out my fellow party member, sacrifice my optimum damage, and help out in areas that I should also be good at?"

That is a ridiculous answer to my concerns. Are you seriously finding someone else in danger of death (that you can actually do something about) every single fight--hell, every round--such that you have to keep moving constantly all fight long every fight?

Why is that other party member not responsible for being capable of staying alive in the first place? What is your Fighter going to do without any spells or feats that let you take the hits for them?

On the same token, where's the teamwork in your direction? In games that I play, Haste is the first spell cast every fight, followed by Dimension Dooring the fighters into melee range so they can full attack without moving. I know I do everything possible to get the Fighters and other heavy hitters full attacks as often as they can. The Bard I am currently playing even spent a good chunk of her own wealth on getting our melee guys better weapons and armor.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
If I choose the former, then the build isn't going to be focused on helping others; it's going to be a very self-reliant build that only focuses on going first, making the most hits, dealing the most damage, and everyone else in my party can go screw themselves.

Killing the enemy faster helps everyone. A dead enemy can't kill them. And there should be a two-way street here--they should be helping you attack optimally, not screwing up constantly and requiring rescue.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
If I choose the latter, then the build is going to include more than just stacking Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization, ignoring things like Vital Strike (which helps in multiple situations, but not the ones where a Full Attack is better for damage)

A full attack is always better for damage, and unless you're focused totally on increased weapon damage sizes, which is a poor direction to optimize in since static bonuses are almost always better (come on, we went through this math before in other threads), Vital Strike will add negligible amounts of damage on a negligible number of attacks throughout your career. Weapon Focus and Weapon Spec, on the other hand, help every round of every fight in which you make an attack, including those rare rounds when you have to move, too.

As a Fighter, your job is to do damage and occupy bodies. That's all you can do. CMDs scale too fast for any but the most dedicated maneuever master to have any chance of success, so you're only in combat role is damage dealing and taking up space. If you're not doing everything you can to deal damage, you're not contributing optimally (and since we're talking about an optimization guide, optimal contributions are what matter here). Likewise, if your party is not doing what it can to help you deal damage and full attack (which is the sole benefit of having a high BAB) more often, they're letting you down.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
and Spellbreaker (since it doesn't help me with damage)

Spellbreaker is useless because spellcasters don't fail concentration checks by the time you can get it (level 10).

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
for other, more optimum feats. Its a matter of trying to stay open with some feats, and saying that "Oh, the feat won't go well with a build like this, but if you're going with this build, it might be worthwhile to take," etc.

Spellbreaker is not good for any build, unless you're always fighting spellcasters who are low level with bare minimum caster stats.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Because all builds are the same, right? The same can be said with the "completely different game" I play: Not every session is the same. It's not like every session is "KILL KILL KILL" or "Let's see what Random Villager #253 has to say about this quest that should've been completed in 2 seconds, but isn't because we like roleplaying."

See, this is kind of offensive. You're taking my disagreement to mean I'm some kind of hack and slash AM KILL STUFF kind of player who dislikes roleplaying. I also object to the idea that I am suggesting being a selfish character. My preferred characters are total support--Bards, Oracles of Life, Sensei Monks, Buff/Control Sorcerers, Cavalier Bodyguards, etc.

Not all builds are the same, but the stuff I complained about you recommending (all the +x to two skill feats; anything that enhances Climb, Swim, and other skills like that which are totally obviated by spells and magic items; the Vital Strike chain; the Spellbreaker chain; etc.) are bad all the time for every build.

I can comprehend other sorts of games. My point is that I can't comprehend the game in which Vital Strike is worth it--that game requires constant motion the majority of the rounds of the majority of the fights. That just doesn't make sense for so many reasons. First, your party members should be helping you get full attacks. Second, monsters want to stay still to take full attacks of their own. Third, if you only get a standard action every round, the GM is basically saying: "be a Spellcaster or Pouncing Barbarian, or suffer."

I can't comprehend the game in which Spellbreaker is helpful because math literally does not allow it to be. It's almost as bad as Prone Shooter.

I can see the kind of game Sure Grasp is good in--one with few to no casters and no magic items--but that should mean it gets the situation color like the cave traits and whatnot, not a general blue or even green rating.

I mean, seriously, Slippers of Spider Climbing cost 2400 gold and a Rope of Climbing is 1500--that's pocket change by the time Climb DCs would be high enough to worry about. The game is written with certain assumptions in mind and unless you state otherwise, Optimization Guides should be written with those assumptions in mind.


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The problem comes with a Fighter on his own V.S. a Fighter with a party. A Fighter on his own isn't going to be able to rely on Mr. Wizard to cast Dimension Door at will and at the Fighter's convenience (should it even be possible to do so at will like you make it out to be), or Mr. Cleric for a healing spell when the Big Bad thumps him with a critical, or Mr. Barbarian for front-line help against a nasty group of mooks or taking down a stronger Big Bad than the first Big Bad.

The same can even be said with a Fighter with a party: Mr. Wizard may be busy casting Fireballs or Mage Armor or some other spell that is more crucial (since he's not there just for Mr. Fighter's convenience), Mr. Cleric may have to heal Mr. Barbarian's wounds from one of the two Big Bads, and Mr. Cleric can't always be in 2 spots at once to heal with the strong heals, and Mr. Barbarian is taking hits for Mr. Cleric because the other Big Bad that Mr. Fighter isn't taking care of is Mr. Barbarian's responsibility since Mr. Cleric can't face the Big Bad on his own.

Party synergy is great when its available. However, we know full well that it won't always be; it's suggesting that everything is at the Fighter's convenience if I just label a feat or ability red (that is also available by uses/day Magic Items) because "Your Party Wizard/Gear will just cover this anyway, so don't worry about it," It's ignorant to assume that every group/session is going to have a Wizard, or that every Fighter build or player is going to use the item that I suggested, when they may want that feat because they receive a unique benefit from an item not suggested that fits into their build better (and not by the fact that its better, but that its more convenient for the build).

Honestly, a lot can happen in 6 seconds (AKA, 1 round). Many people say "Combat only really lasts 3-5 rounds," meaning a lot gets done in that 6 seconds for a group of mooks or a Big Bad getting downed in merely 30 seconds tops. Even so, the threat level (AKA CR) of the encounters and their threat types compared to the party's strengths and weaknesses is another big factor; if you're going to face an encounter that specializes in divide and conquer tactics, your party synergy is going to go out the window. That flying guy that Mr. Fighter could take care of fairly easily thanks to Mr. Wizard is now a major chore. That golem that Mr. Barbarian would help Mr. Fighter take care of is going to be a lot more threatening. The draining effects of a shadow or vampire is going to severely wear on Mr. Fighter's capabilities, but if Mr. Cleric isn't there, Mr. Fighter is going to be going back to square (or in this case, level) 1.

With examples like that, if a Fighter is purely left at the whims of the party just so he can optimize the one-trick pony he plans to be (which is strict Damage and consistent hits), he becomes a liability because the independance factor is almost negligible, something which you seemed to scoff at with my group.

Because of that, feats like Sure Grasp seem pretty good to take to maintain the character's independance, and not have to rely on magic from Mr. Wizard or Mr. Cleric all the time like you make the Fighter class out to be.

As I've said before (and listed before), Vital Strike has its benefits and its drawbacks. Its not going to equate or replace the Full Attack, but its still going to allow you to make big thumps even while you move, or make more consistent thumps without having the volatile rolling of a Full Attack. It also does a better job of reducing DR amounts than feats like Penetrating Strike, which is also very garbage. It's good to use while using Greater Grapple (and maintaining a Grapple Check with a Move Action) should you be built for it, works significantly better with Sunder builds as per RAW, synergizes with the Power Attack and Furious Focus combo quite effectively, and some others that I may have forgotten.


Vital Strike isn't even good for that. There are better feats for damage.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
If I choose the former, then the build isn't going to be focused on helping others; it's going to be a very self-reliant build that only focuses on going first, making the most hits, dealing the most damage, and everyone else in my party can go screw themselves.
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The problem comes with a Fighter on his own V.S. a Fighter with a party.

Ok, so which is it? You can't complain that my suggestions don't work because you want to help your group, and then also that they don't work because you have to be independent. You're the one blasting my initial comments because you were in a party and not independent. Pick one.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
A Fighter on his own isn't going to be able to rely on Mr. Wizard to cast Dimension Door at will and at the Fighter's convenience (should it even be possible to do so at will like you make it out to be), or Mr. Cleric for a healing spell when the Big Bad thumps him with a critical, or Mr. Barbarian for front-line help against a nasty group of mooks or taking down a stronger Big Bad than the first Big Bad.

So, now you do need selfish feats, so you still shouldn't take that crap you were suggesting--if they're not going to help you, then get to an enemy and smash away with full attacks. Why are you moving around so much?

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The same can even be said with a Fighter with a party: Mr. Wizard may be busy casting Fireballs or Mage Armor or some other spell that is more crucial (since he's not there just for Mr. Fighter's convenience)

If your Wizard is casting Fireball (because there's no way a fireball does more damage than you do) or Mage Armor (because it's an hour/level buff so he should have it on way before combat starts), he's wasting space in your party.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
, Mr. Cleric may have to heal Mr. Barbarian's wounds from one of the two Big Bads, and Mr. Cleric can't always be in 2 spots at once to heal with the strong heals, and Mr. Barbarian is taking hits for Mr. Cleric because the other Big Bad that Mr. Fighter isn't taking care of is Mr. Barbarian's responsibility since Mr. Cleric can't face the Big Bad on his own.

Clerics that use cure spells in combat on someone that isn't in the negatives are playing inefficiently. I get your point, but combat healing is a last resort thing unless you're talking an Oracle of Life, and they don't need to be near you to heal you.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Party synergy is great when its available. However, we know full well that it won't always be;

Just wanted to point out again that you initially railed against me because you assumed I was suggesting you take feats to make you awesome by yourself without regard for the party.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
it's suggesting that everything is at the Fighter's convenience if I just label a feat or ability red (that is also available by uses/day Magic Items) because "Your Party Wizard/Gear will just cover this anyway, so don't worry about it," It's ignorant to assume that every group/session is going to have a Wizard, or that every Fighter build or player is going to use the item that I suggested, when they may want that feat because they receive a unique benefit from an item not suggested that fits into their build better (and not by the fact that its better, but that its more convenient for the build).

Feats are always more valuable than items, and the default assumptions of the game assume first that you'll have an arcanist and second that you'll be able to get magic items that you want.

Also note that in the case of those feats like Sure Grip that are obviated by magic items and spells, I suggested not a red rating, but a situational one--the purple thing you used for the racial traits that only applied in specific terrains. Most games will have zero need for Sure Grip. The rare few will have situational usage for it--not necessarily red, but not green either.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
if you're going to face an encounter that specializes in divide and conquer tactics, your party synergy is going to go out the window.

I would argue that's not really true because control spells are designed at least partly to keep that in check, but ok--they use divide and conquer techniques. Why are you falling for them? Just don't divide. I'm not sure what they could do to force it, or even if they manage, how feats like Vital Strike, Spellbreaker, or Sure Grip is going to help in those cases.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
That flying guy that Mr. Fighter could take care of fairly easily thanks to Mr. Wizard is now a major chore.

Flying guy? Bet you wish you took ranged weapon feats instead of Vital Strike and Spellbreaker, huh?

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The draining effects of a shadow or vampire is going to severely wear on Mr. Fighter's capabilities, but if Mr. Cleric isn't there, Mr. Fighter is going to be going back to square (or in this case, level) 1.

Oh, wait, does Vital Strike heal your ability damage now?

Nothing you're saying here is relevant to the issue at hand: the terrible feats that you recommend.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
With examples like that, if a Fighter is purely left at the whims of the party just so he can optimize the one-trick pony he plans to be (which is strict Damage and consistent hits), he becomes a liability because the independance factor is almost negligible, something which you seemed to scoff at with my group.

If the Fighter is separated, none of the feats you suggested will help, whereas the damage feats you assumed I would suggest (in truth, I've suggested nothing that you should take, only things you shouldn't) would still help.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Because of that, feats like Sure Grasp seem pretty good to take to maintain the character's independance

How far away are you getting split up? And on cliffs and stuff no less? These situations are getting pretty far fetched, and such a thing surely can't occur so routinely that the feat is still worth it. I don't think any feat is worth it if you can't be relatively assured it will come up every session at least once.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
, and not have to rely on magic from Mr. Wizard or Mr. Cleric all the time like you make the Fighter class out to be.

I don't make it out to be that--that's the whole point of the class system. Fighters need them for magic buffs. Wizards need them to be meat shields and to do melee damage to the enemies they've crippled. It's the circle of life, here. I know the situation changes without an arcane caster in the party, but that makes the feat situational, not good. Except Vital Strike and Spellbreaker--they're just demonstrably awful in all cases.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Its not going to equate or replace the Full Attack, but its still going to allow you to make big thumps even while you move

Not that big unless you specially optimize for weapon size--and since you're apparently separated from your casters all the time, you can't have magical buffs like Enlarge Person and whatnot very often, making that unlikely. You need to be moving an awful lot to make this worth it--I ask once more: why are you moving so much?

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
or make more consistent thumps without having the volatile rolling of a Full Attack.

Why is a Vital Strike feat more consistent than a Full Attack? You are a Fighter--you are the king of attack bonuses. If you have trouble hitting the monster, the rest of the group is screwed. Your first attack should be nigh automatic, and your second ought to be pretty consistent. Your third should happen enough to be worthwhile. The fourth, well, yeah, that's unlikely.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
It also does a better job of reducing DR amounts than feats like Penetrating Strike, which is also very garbage.

I agree that Penetrating Strike is garbage. Not a whole lot has DR X/-, and you are a fighter so you should have a golfbag of different weapons until you get a high enough plus to bypass it anyway. Vital Strike is not worthwhile for this purpose, I promise you. It's just not even possible for their DR to be high enough that you'll deal more damage with a Vital Strike than you would on just a second attack.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
It's good to use while using Greater Grapple (and maintaining a Grapple Check with a Move Action) should you be built for it

Yeah, that's actually the first not terrible point here. But, isn't using it in this one niche little build kind of the definition of situational at best?

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
, works significantly better with Sunder builds as per RAW

Show me a Fighter sunder build in a typical Pathfinder game, and I will show you a Fighter that regrets their choices. The vast majority of enemies in a typical Pathfinder game use natural weapons. In a game when you are explicitly fighting mostly equipment using NPCs, then sure, it's nice, but if you need Vital Strike to break their stuff with your Sunders, you're in trouble already.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
, synergizes with the Power Attack and Furious Focus combo quite effectively

It's just not possible for it to be better to Vital Strike than just hit twice. The math is not there. Vital Strike is a consolation prize for when you need to move. As a high BAB character, your goal should be to minimize the amount you have to move because you want to win the jackpot, not the consolation prize.


Below is my feedback for this guide. I have attempted to be as positive as possible, however I disagree with this guide in several Key areas, so please understand this is not a personal attack just a critique of the work, which I am attempting to keep unbiased.

Stats:
I believe you place too much emphasis on intelligence here, as well as not enough attention to Wisdom and disagree with your stat arrays. I have listed my recommended arrays below below. As a general rule I only create fighters with a wisdom below 14 if I am playing 10 point buy and then I purchase a 12, I recommend this to shore up the fighters greatest weakness, the will save.

Low Fantasy (10 points):(Str 16, Dex 12, Con 12, Wis 12, Int 7, Cha 8)

Standard Fantasy (15 Points):(Str 16, Dex 14, Con 13, Wis 14, Int 7, Cha 7)

High Fantasy (20 Points): (Str 18, Dex 12, Con 12, Wis 14, Int 7, Cha 8)

Epic Fantasy (25 Points): (Str 18, Dex 12, Con 12, Wis 16, Int 7, Cha 8)

Races:
I have no major problems with the core race choices, however I believe the Orc should be a green choice simply for those players who want to hit an obliterate things with a two-hander. I do not know that much about some of the more obscure races so I will not comment on them.

Skills:

In my opinion you rate Acrobatics much too highly, as due to the scaling nature of CMD it will be very difficult to keep the skill useful for mobility, and using it will also deprive a fighter of his full attack. I would rate acrobatics as Orange.

I would rate climb and swim as also orange due to the fact that they are only useful at extremely low levels before magic makes the superfluous.

Intimidate should also be green due to the fact that dazzling display/intimidating prowess exists.

Archetypes:
With the exception of the two handed archetype, I do not believe any archetype is worth giving up Gloves of dueling. I am on the fence for the two handed archetype as well.

Alternate Racial Traits:
Magic resistant is terrible, granting 5 + level SR is a bad deal and does not help. SR generally hurts just as much as it helps and the minimum required to make it even 50% effective is 11 + level generally. This trait should be Red.

Spirit of the waters should be green at best and I would place it at orange, unless the campaign is very aquatic.

Bond to the land should be green as it is basically a favored terrain AC bonus, which should if chosen wisely be much more available than the feature it is switched for.

Ancestral arms should be green imo not blue, however I can see it rated at blue. I would add a caveat about trap exotic weapons and perhaps explain some of the better ones here. The problem here is it conflicts with dual minded.

Dual-Minded: I cannot say how much I agree with you that this trait should be blue. It is amazing.

Water Child: Terrible, should be orange on its own but the fact that it conflicts with dual minded makes it a red candidate imo.

Toothy should be green not red, as you can combine this attack with you full attack.

Dual talented should be green as there are many situations in which a +2 that stacks with everything else to Wisdom, Constitution, or Dexterity, is better than a feat.

All of the heart of the traits with the exception of heart of the wilderness should be orange.

I agree that heart of the wilderness is blue.

for the less common races I leave others to comment.

Feats:

I would make blind fight green not blue.

Cleave is great at low levels and terrible at higher levels it should be green, and you should explain that it is a very likely retraining candidate.

Combat reflexes should be green not blue.

All of the greater/improved maneuver feats should be either orange or green depending on the maneuver. As unless you are going for a maneuver build you will not generally want them, and then you should be a shield fighter or a crane/freehand fighter not a two hand fighter, yet again this is my opinion.

Greater penetrating strike should be green as their are plenty of types of DR such as DR/Weapon damage type, and DR/- that this helps with.

Vital Strike/Improved/greater: These are all trap feats unless you are forced to move all of the time, making them situational and at most Orange.

Improved Unarmed strike: This feat should be blue simply due to the fact that it is required for tiger style, which is the largest dpr boost a two-handed fighter can receive.

Penetrating strike: this feat is better than vital strike in all ways, and should be blue.

Spellbreaker should either be red or orange, I would make it red.

Sundering strike should be green not blue as it in no way is as vital as power attack and others.

Tiger Style: This style contains Tiger pounce, which allows you to take the power attack penalty to your AC rather than your Attack bonus. Ther is NO larger bonus than this to any two handed fighters dpr. You do not have to be fighting unarmed and you also do not have to be moving to use tiger pounce.


I mostly agree with you Covent (pretty much everything except the Penetrating Strike feats and Tiger Style since I don't think Power Attack's penalty is really that bad that it needs to be moved), but I wanted to point out that the Two-Handed Fighter can still use Gloves of Dueling as they still get the Weapon Training feature--it just only applies to two-handed weapons.


mplindustries wrote:
I mostly agree with you Covent (pretty much everything except the Penetrating Strike feats and Tiger Style since I don't think Power Attack's penalty is really that bad that it needs to be moved), but I wanted to point out that the Two-Handed Fighter can still use Gloves of Dueling as they still get the Weapon Training feature--it just only applies to two-handed weapons.

The penalty is fine for a fighter, however if you run the numbers it is a huge DPR boost to be able to take it to AC.

Penetrating strikes we will have to agree to disagree however I do thank you for your cordial reply.

As for the Two-Handed Archetype you are correct, I had assumed it was like the two weapon warrior and replaced weapon training with a more limited feature. In this case then the two handed archetype is great and fell free to rate it as a blue. I do hate losing armor training but it is still a blue choice IMO.

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