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Advice for a mobile fighter / striker build?


Advice


Hello, all.

As the subject states, I'm hoping for some advice on a mobile striker build for PFS use. I want a character that will be able to dance around the battlefield (more or less on her own), cutting a swath of death and destruction as she goes.

I've been mulling over a weapon master (fighter) with a dip in dawnflower dervish (bard) at second level to get the dervish dance feat. The dervish's battle dance and access to Expeditious Retreat would be icing on the cake with that build. I figure the Azata-blooded Aasimar is the best race for such a build. Here are the stats I'm figuring on working with:

Str: 10
Dex: 17+2
Con: 14
Int: 10
Wis: 10
Cha: 12+2

I was considering dropping her strength and intelligence for more dexterity and constitution, but I don't want to negative affect her CMD or skills too much.

For feats I was figuring on the Spring Attack and the Step up and Strike progressions. I'd probably throw Disorienting Maneuver and Desperate Battler in there at some point.

Here's where I need advice. Is there any way I could do what I want to do better? I was almost thinking monk for a little while, but i don't know. I'd appreciate any help you guys could give me. Thanks in advance.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
effinetzer wrote:

Hello, all.

As the subject states, I'm hoping for some advice on a mobile striker build for PFS use. I want a character that will be able to dance around the battlefield (more or less on her own), cutting a swath of death and destruction as she goes.

I've been mulling over a weapon master (fighter) with a dip in dawnflower dervish (bard) at second level to get the dervish dance feat. The dervish's battle dance and access to Expeditious Retreat would be icing on the cake with that build. I figure the Azata-blooded Aasimar is the best race for such a build. Here are the stats I'm figuring on working with:

Str: 10
Dex: 17+2
Con: 14
Int: 10
Wis: 10
Cha: 12+2

I was considering dropping her strength and intelligence for more dexterity and constitution, but I don't want to negative affect her CMD or skills too much.

For feats I was figuring on the Spring Attack and the Step up and Strike progressions. I'd probably throw Disorienting Maneuver and Desperate Battler in there at some point.

Here's where I need advice. Is there any way I could do what I want to do better? I was almost thinking monk for a little while, but i don't know. I'd appreciate any help you guys could give me. Thanks in advance.

I had a lot of luck with a build similar to this using Fighter 1/ Rogue 7/ Duelist the rest of the way. I have Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, Step Up, Following Step and Step Up and Strike as well as Rogue Finesse, Dervish Dance, Power Attack, and Improved Critical Scimitar.

I must admit, I've retired him and taken him a little further than standard PFS, but it is still legal. Using a combination of stats, magic items etc I have AC 37, it goes a lot higher if I'm moving. My stat array was high Dexterity and Intelligence with a little bump to Constitution while penalizing my Charisma.

With this build you have a couple options, go Ranger/Bard/Duelist or Fighter/Rogue/Duelist. The Ranger Bard is going to give you a couple nice little boosts, but you'd be more like Ranger 2 (Two Handed for Power Attack), Bard 4 (Dervish Dancer) to help your feat progression.

Just some suggestions, though I've taken you off the path you were looking at.


Czrenobog wrote:


With this build you have a couple options, go Ranger/Bard/Duelist or Fighter/Rogue/Duelist. The Ranger Bard is going to give you a couple nice little boosts, but you'd be more...

I really hate being a thread jacker but the Ranger/Bard/Duelist idea is very interesting to me. I've been looking to do something other than the standard Switch-Hitter or Archer Ranger, so utilizing the Ranger as a mobile melee skirmisher whirling throughout the battlefield sounds really cool.

What would your feat progression for a Human Ranger 2/Bard 4 be?


I like the idea of going duelist at higher levels. I probably wouldn't break into that until it wasn't worth playing for PFS, though. And the ranger/bard and fighter/rogue routes do sound interesting. Like you said, though, I don't think they were what i had in mind, though. This build is pretty heavy on the feats, which is why I mainly want to focus on fighter, I think. That plus the full bab.


Skirmishing doesn't work for noncasters in PF.

I suggest going dex-based Magus w/ Dervish Dance and a Scimitar and using Bladed Dash spell to full attack + extra attack + move w/o provoking every turn you have the 2nd level spell slot for it.

Dimensional Dervish feat also works, but PFS ends before obtaining that is practical or (for some builds) even possible.


I'd totally forgotten about that spell. I might have to look into that. If I remember right, PFS won't reach 5th level spells, but that one attack is all I'd really be able to do with spring attack anyway, if i remember that right. I might do a kensai magus and duelist. I'll have to figure out if canny dodge would stack.


Bladed Dash is only 2nd level, you get it as a 4th level Magus. Greater Bladed Dash is 5th level, but completely unnecessary.


Yeah. How often are targets lined up so perfectly that Greater Bladed Dash would be effective? Still, Bladed Dash simulates a feat progression that doesn't reach effectiveness until at least 6th level. I think I will go with a Magus of some kind. It does what I want. I don't know if I want to dip in Dawnflower Dervish to get Dervish Dance. I might just get that normally.


Magus+Bladed Dash is awesome. Pounce at level 4!

The only issue is not being able to do it every round.

A two weapon warrior can move+TWF as a standard action at level 9.

I think a straight Bard, either Dawnflower Dervish or another archetype get a version of pounce.


I've looked over everything again. Thoughts on a monk focusing on Panther style? It's a monk of many styles, going into crane and snake styles later on, then branching into Duelist. Still dex heavy, getting an Amulet of Mighty Fists eventually with the agile enhancement. Damage will just suck until then. Everything's more or less dependent on opponents taking attacks of opportunity against me, but it should still work like I imagine.


effinetzer wrote:
Everything's more or less dependent on opponents taking attacks of opportunity against me, but it should still work like I imagine.

Yeah....the bolded part is why I don't think it will actually work. Any moderately intelligent monster will fall for it at most like...once. And that once includes seeing his friend fall for it. God help you if the DM likes to have recurring villains who will thus remember your trick. While it is possible your DM might have all monsters stupidly continue to play into your little trap, I've also seen DMs annoyingly play Int 2 animals as the offspring of Sun Tzu, so I really wouldn't count on that, either.

I can't say I'm a fan of Panther. You need all 3 style feats for it to really be worth it (to get multiple attacks and pre-emptively... did you really take feats just to not full attack and give enemies pot shots on you? If so, maybe you're the ideal foe to use Panther Style against...just saying) and even then, it collapses like a house of cards the second enemies stop acting like dumbasses.


Needing all three feats is generally the case with all of the styles. And while I can't really disagree with the intelligent unintelligent argument, recurring villains is unlikely in PFS.

Also, I'll be using the concept in a home game where I'm the GM. I figure on him being a somewhat effective villain in a 20th level setting. I'm giving him spring attack, punishing kick, and vicious stomp in that. AC and reflex galore, good saves from other good stats and monk defenses. He'll give up flurry of blows, but he'll make up for it when he puts people on the ground and can make attacks of opportunity with that when he's not running around smacking people that try to hit him.

I can definitely see him not being so effective at lower levels, but that's the closest I've come to my concept. Especially if I take Step Up and harass spellcasters.


A lot of styles have one feat in the tree that isn't very good, and many others don't *need* all 3. Like, Crane Riposte is definitely a good ability, but you can have just style and Crane Wing and have the whole fighting defensively thing work well for you. I would not bother going on a provoke-run without first all 3 panther feats, it's simply not worth it.

If you're using the style against PC's, it will definitely be an "I can only do this once" deal. As soon as he uses his panther abilities, no one else is going to bother trying to AoO him. Maybe they'll fall for it twice instead of literally just once, but they will quickly catch on.


I can't really disagree with you there. Wish I'd thought through all this before I started applying GM credit to a new character. All my concepts are going out the window from less than ideal optimizations.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Crane Style works excellently with a mobile fighter. If you are limiting enemies to single attacks, you are practically invulnerable in melee.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

Crane Style works excellently with a mobile fighter. If you are limiting enemies to single attacks, you are practically invulnerable in melee.

==Aelryinth

can you fight defensively while on the move? keeping them on the approach so they cant full attack shuts one of them down, at least, but his buddies can still maul you as normal (er, with some difficulty, due to the fighting defensively bonus).

one of the reasons why it pairs with snake so well too.


I just hesitate to fight defensively or power attack or do anything that diminishes my attack rolls due to my horrible luck with the dice. That's why I would only want to run crane style if I got Riposte.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Certainly you can fight defensively while on the move. And there's combinations of traits that can reduce the fighting penalty to -1 or even 0.

Actually, his buddy CANNOT maul you, because he's also limited to one attack. A mobile fighter doesn't allow full attacks to his enemies, be they t-Rexes or other melee. The only thing you really have to worry about is an enemy with Pounce. it doesn't matter how much damage they can do, if all they get is one attack and you reduce the damage from it to 0.

==Aelryinth


you can only autodeflect one attack per round, not per target though, so all his friends still get their shot off, even if it's only one since they have to close in.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

As long as they don't get full attacks, they can't maul. That's all I'm saying. And you can choose which one to deflect for no damage, so if they keep missing, you're good to go.

==Aelryinth


Five levels of Armoured Hulk Barbarian give you +10' move in heavy armour and for the cost of three fighter feats you get 3 rage powers each of which could theoretically be spent on an extra +5' move whilst raging for a 45' move rate whilst raging.
Even if it isn't your favoured class you average the same hit points as if Fighter were your favoured class and end up with an extra skill point/level over a favoured class fighter. Your will saves will have a slightly slower progression however you do get a +2 whilst raging.


Oh and you also get +4 to Str and Con as well as to wear heavy armour.


I feel like I am peddling these same wares quite often of late, but I want to again bring up magus, and add to that a bit. Hexcrafter magus archetype delays spell recall but can gain flight (via Witch Hex) by level 5. Get FlyBy Attack, and you are about as mobile a fighter as you can be: 60 ft movement rate and flying. Yes, it's 1 min a day per level, but fights are typically over in less than 1 min (10 rounds) so you could effectively fly for every combat.

When you get Overland Flight (level 13) you can cast that and fly all day, using your Flight Hex to get better flight speed while in combat.

I believe the rules for flight in combat would still mean you would take an attack of opportunity as you swoop down to deliver a Shocking Grasp or other such spell. This could be overcome by using a reach weapon, Lunge feat, or just making sure you kill your target.


MeatForTheGrinder wrote:

I feel like I am peddling these same wares quite often of late, but I want to again bring up magus, and add to that a bit. Hexcrafter magus archetype delays spell recall but can gain flight (via Witch Hex) by level 5. Get FlyBy Attack, and you are about as mobile a fighter as you can be: 60 ft movement rate and flying. Yes, it's 1 min a day per level, but fights are typically over in less than 1 min (10 rounds) so you could effectively fly for every combat.

When you get Overland Flight (level 13) you can cast that and fly all day, using your Flight Hex to get better flight speed while in combat.

I believe the rules for flight in combat would still mean you would take an attack of opportunity as you swoop down to deliver a Shocking Grasp or other such spell. This could be overcome by using a reach weapon, Lunge feat, or just making sure you kill your target.

Flyby Attack is not legal for PFS.


redward wrote:
Flyby Attack is not legal for PFS.

Oh.

In that case, I need to ask: can you make the Free Action touch attack granted from a spell in the middle of a move (and keep moving)? You can make other Free Actions without a restriction on stopping movement, but I was unsure since this was an attack. If allowed, doesn't that mean that you could take the standard action to cast the spell, start moving, take the free action, and then finish moving?

Silver Crusade

It's ironic that there's no real mention in this 'mobile fighter' thread about the Mobile Fighter archetype.


MeatForTheGrinder wrote:
redward wrote:
Flyby Attack is not legal for PFS.

Oh.

In that case, I need to ask: can you make the Free Action touch attack granted from a spell in the middle of a move (and keep moving)? You can make other Free Actions without a restriction on stopping movement, but I was unsure since this was an attack. If allowed, doesn't that mean that you could take the standard action to cast the spell, start moving, take the free action, and then finish moving?

Not in the middle:

PRD wrote:
Touch Spells in Combat: Many spells have a range of touch. To use these spells, you cast the spell and then touch the subject. In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) as a free action. You may take your move before casting the spell, after touching the target, or between casting the spell and touching the target. You can automatically touch one friend or use the spell on yourself, but to touch an opponent, you must succeed on an attack roll.

You also can't use Spring Attack for this, since its a full-round action. You can cast the spell, hold the charge, and then use Spring Attack to deliver the spell as a touch attack, but it's not terribly efficient.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
AndIMustMask wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:
Crane Style works excellently with a mobile fighter. If you are limiting enemies to single attacks, you are practically invulnerable in melee.
can you fight defensively while on the move?

Fighting defensively is a standard action, so you CAN move and fight defensively. However, you cannot Spring Attack and fight defensively, so unless you get the enemy to come to you, it doesn't help you much.

@Volkspanzer:
The Mobile Fighter archetype doesn't get hot until 11th level, and PFS terminates at 12th level. Hence...not much point.

@ezrider23:
I'd consider barbarian: bonus movement, potential to pounce, etc. make it a good fast, hard-hitting warrior. Monk is fast, but doesn't hit worth a d*mn.

Really though, Dervish and Duelist aside there is little support for the fast, mobile kind of fighter.

Silver Crusade

Instead of Dawnflower Dervish, check out the Dervish Dancer bard archetype from Ultimate Combat. Despite not getting the Dervish Dance feat for free, it's more combat focused. It's definitely better if you want to go that route without multi-classing.


Volkspanzer wrote:
It's ironic that there's no real mention in this 'mobile fighter' thread about the Mobile Fighter archetype.

mostly because the mobile fighter doesnt actually get to be "mobile" until 11th level, which is, what? halfway through the final book of an AP?


Volkspanzer wrote:
It's ironic that there's no real mention in this 'mobile fighter' thread about the Mobile Fighter archetype.

Well, the OP was using that in a descriptive sense and never indicated wanting to actually play the literal archetype named that.

Also what AIMM said. I love Mobile Fighter's level 11 ability. He's not actually mobile before then, though. And a lot of games barely get that far, if they even do. If it's PFS, he'd get to enjoy that ability for just the last 2 character levels only. It's not practical for most people.


The Dervish Dancer Bard is definitely more combat oriented. I can't help but wonder if the Dawnflower Dervish has the overall advantage over it with its battle dance granting double bonuses and that you get Dervish Dance as a free first level feat. Dervish Dancer might be better at higher levels, but I think Dawnflower Dervish would be better for low levels and dipping.

I hesitate to go near Barbarians for mobile fighters in the manner that I want to use it. I imagined this build being very dex-based, which I think is wasted on Barbarians. I figure if I went with a Barbarian, I might as well go all strength-based so as to try to kill the target before it gets a chance to try to kill me. I want something that is going to be hard to hit as it goes around the battlefield harassing various enemies.

I do like the Magus, but it isn't really able to do what I want it to do with any sustainability. It's more like a one-trick pony at lower levels in that it can only do its trick once or twice per day at lower levels. Especially if I went with the Kensei and tried to go for somewhat balanced stats. I want to be able to utilize my tactics throughout not just one combat, but many (especially in the case of module play).


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Fact is, strength-based warriors always have the advantage. Dexterity based fighting classes often suck. I hate it, but there it is.

Andoran

The best mobile strikers are barbarians with huge friggin' weapons.


I'm also looking for something that's hard to hit, which is where the dex base comes in.

Silver Crusade

Well, I guess this is a good time to mention the character I played last night in PFS. One level of Dawnflower Dervish Bard, followed by 4 levels of rogue (favored class), followed by Halfling Opportunist prestige class. Then back to rogue at level 11, but I'm not really planning past level 10 for him yet. I went with rogue over ninja because he's not focused on the talents/tricks, so I think it's worth having the trap finding and early evasion, especially given my insane reflex save (+13 at level 4).

I took the halfling racial alternative that gives up the +2 acrobatics for a base speed of 30, and he's in a mithral chain shirt, so he's pretty mobile. Also, I took expeditious retreat as one of his bard spells known, though he can only cast it twice per day. His other level 1 spell is grease, to help make enemies flat footed for sneak attacks, even if they don't fall prone.

At level 4, with a dex belt, he's at 22 dex, so that's 1d4+7 damage without sneak attacking, just based on dex and a +1 scimitar. When he battle dances (Inspire Courage), add an additional +2 both to hit and damage, and that's only a move action to activate. I took extra performance, so I can do that 11 rounds per day with only 12 charisma and one level of bard. Bear in mind that's with an 18-20 crit range weapon. When he does happen to get a flank or win initiative to catch enemies flat footed (+12 with Improved Init and Reactionary), that's an extra 2d6 damage, which will keep improving even with the prestige class. No dex build will ever do the damage of a well built strength based fighter or barbarian, but he's pretty solid for what he does. And because he does solid base damage on his one weapon attack, he doesn't have the problem of two weapon fighting rogues of rarely getting to full attack and sneak attack at the same time.

As for avoiding getting hit, he's only at 22 AC so far at level 4, because I don't have a ring of protection or amulet of natural armor yet, so that will go up to 24 pretty quickly at level 5. The big boost will come at level 6, when I get into the prestige class. I'll have Agile Maneuvers to use dex instead of str on CMB, and Exploitive Maneuver, which is the defining ability of Halfling Opportunist. The first time someone attacks me per round, I can take an immediate action to roll a CMB check to use their attack against them. If it works, they get a -3 to hit, and I get a +3 to my AC, next hit roll, or next related skill check (if I'm using it to acrobatics past them or something related). And that penalty/bonus goes up to 4 and then 5, at levels 3 and 5 of Opportunist.

The other great bonus from Halfling Opportunist, which unfortunately doesn't kick in until level 5 of the prestige class, which is level 10 overall, is that every attack of opportunity will be a sneak attack. Put Combat Reflexes on a dex based build with that, walk into the middle of the bad guys, and see how many you can kill when they try to go anywhere. :)

Andoran

Haven't used this character in a bit, but see my profile for a Dex-based skirmisher that's worked well for PFS in both theory and practice so far.

Corsair fighter archetype gets Cleave/Great Cleave without prereqs, and without the AC penalty. It also can take weapon training for pirate weapons, which offers some additional versatility (which is good for PFS where you frequently don't know the party composition ahead of the gaming session).

For levels 1-10, I'd take corsair over mobile fighter any day.

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