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The Battlesnake redux (TWF unarmed Fighter)


Advice

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This build was designed to be a killer, a melee damage-dealing force of nature. It's important to understand that while it has above average saving throws and its share of defensive tricks, its most definitely not a tank. In fact, its best defense is the fact that foes will be reluctant to attack him in favor of less dangerous targets. It's particularly deadly to enemy spellcasters and once the Battlesnake gets within arm's reach, that's usually all she wrote. The build was inspired by fictitious characters like Bruce Lee and Lady Shiva, but I imagine in practice the fighting style is more akin to that of modern day commandos - quick controlled movements that keep the opponent off balance and target vital areas with lethal force. Potential liabilities of the character include the lack of any legitimate ranged threat and the inability to heal himself when injured.

For race we'll be going with the ever-popular Human, primarily to take advantage of Focused Study and the extra skill point gained each level - this character looks to be a more skilled Fighter than most, with high ranks in Perception, Sense Motive, Acrobatics and Stealth. For traits, Heavy Handed is a must, but the other can be a matter of personal taste - I chose Auspicious Tattoo for thematic purposes, but Reactionary and Carefully Hidden are other good options.

The Monk levels
The first two levels taken are that of the Monk archetype Master of Many Styles. Many character origins can be explained as having learned to fight in a secluded monastery or as the pupil of a revered Master before circumstances led him to a life of adventure rather than one of contemplative asceticism. Those two levels of Monk lay the foundation for what the character will become and offer a wide range of benefits:

* the Improved Unarmed Strike feat for free
* d6 damage die with unarmed attacks
* the option of dealing lethal or non-lethal damage with unarmed attacks without penalty
* the removal of 'off-hand' damage penalties, which is essentially the same as getting the Double Slice feat for free and improves the effectiveness of Piranha Strike
* a boost to saving throws over that of a traditional Fighter which equates to gaining the feats Lightning Reflexes and Iron Will for free
* the Stunning Fist feat for free
*two free style feats that are free from the normal pre-requisites
* the ability to add Wisdom to AC when not wearing armor
* a wider array of useful class skills, including Acrobatics, Perception and Sense Motive
* Evasion, which goes a long way in a Dexterity-based build

There are other benefits to making unarmed strikes one's weapon of choice. They count as light weapons for the purposes of TWF, all of your weapon-specific feats apply to both of them (Focus, Specialization, etc.), you'll always have your weapon drawn and, ah - on hand (heh) and you'll be immune for all practical purposes to Disarm and Sunder manuevers. Additionally, your high Sense Motive score will make you virtually immune to Feints and Bluffs.

Feat Selections:
1st - Weapon Finesse
1st - Skill Focus: Sense Motive
1st - Improved Unarmed Strike
1st - Stunning Fist
1st - Snake Style
2nd - Snake Fang

By second level missed melee attacks will provoke an AoO from you, and if you hit, you get another free of charge. You'll also be able to use a Sense Motive check against 1 attack per round in place of your AC (even vs. touch attacks). At low levels when foes are limited in action economy, this is huge.

The Fighter levels
Levels 3 through 17 will be taken as the Fighter archetype Brawler. He loses Weapon Training but gains Close Combatant which is superior (faster progression, +2 damage) and while that might keep him from being able to use Gloves of Dueling, he still qualifies for the benefits of Brawling armor which are roughly the same and cheaper as well. The Brawler class features of Menacing Stance, No Escape and the feat Standstill which they receive for free makes up a large part of why this character is so dangerous. With proper feat selection, casters will suffer a -8 on Concentration checks when you're threatening and 5-foot steps won't allow casters or archers to get beyond your reach. Even melee types will take a penalty to hit you just from being near.

Feat Selections:
3rd - Combat Reflexes
3rd - Two-Weapon Fighting
4th - Mantis Style or Boar Style
5th - Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
6th - Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
7th - Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
8th - Skill Focus: Perception
8th - Disruptive
9th - Piranha Strike
10th - Greater Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
11th - Stand Still
12th - Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
13th - Improved Critical: Unarmed Strike
14th - Greater Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
15th - Critical Focus
15th - Sickening Critical
16th - Skill Focus: Acrobatics or Stealth
16th - Staggering Critical
17th - Critical Mastery

By 3rd level it won't be uncommon for you to be getting anywhere from three to six attacks each round with regularity. Keep in mind that your Snake Fang counter-attacks will only work against targets in reach, so make sure to stay close to your foes. At 4th I chose a second Style feat in Mantis style. I feel that Stunning Fist is a very useful ability at lower levels and even sometimes later on, particularly against foes with low Fort saves like spellcasters. Of course it only works if it works, and Mantis Style gives you an additional use each day and a +2 DC to saves against it. A good alternative would be Boar Style which would round out your unarmed damage types (pierce, slash and bludgeon) and let you deal an additional 2d6 rend damage pretty much every round. Just remember whichever option you choose, you'll need to spend three ranks on the appropriate skill (Heal or Intimidate) to qualify.

Most of the remaining feats are pretty standard - Disruptive is taken to maximize Menacing Stance and Standstill is taken at the same level you gain No Escape. At later levels I ramp up the Critical feats; unarmed strikes may have a lower incidence of critical hits but with the number of attacks you'll be getting on average and the static bonuses your attacks will receive to damage it really seems like a no-brainer to maximize your chances of cashing in. Plus, I like the thematic fit of hitting those pressure points and vital areas.

The Wizard levels
So by 17th level you've become quite the dealer of death and you have to ask yourself, what do a handful of extra Monk or Fighter levels really get me in the late-game? The answer is very little. On the other hand consider the benefits of 3 levels of a Transmuter specialist Wizard:

* the Scribe Scroll feat and all those spell trigger options opening up a host of useful items (like wands)
*a Greensting Scorpion familiar gets you +4 initiative which is like the Improved Initiative feat for free. You also gain Alertness from having a familiar which gives you a substantial boost in the much-used Perception and Sense Motive skills
* a bump in Will saves which is comparable to getting the Iron Will feat for free (again)
* a selection of useful spells and cantrips which will make a much bigger difference in the late game than a couple of extra BAB points
* a +1 enhancement bonus to your Dexterity

Taken as a whole, that's a pretty good deal for a couple of levels. By the time you're in that rarified air it should be fairly easy to fill your spellbook with useful spells and wands of Cat's Grace and Enlarge Person should always be on hand. You'll likely be wearing light armor for your entire career (a Brawling chain shirt being my strongest recommendation), so make it mithril and feel free to cast spells with relative impunity.

Feat Selections:
18th - Scribe Scroll
19th - Stunning Critical or Improved Initiative

Equipment-wise, the real priorities for you will be an Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists and a Brawling suit of light armor, both of which you should be able to get fairly early on - almost everything else is lagniappe.

Below is the character in its entirety. Feel free to play around with it and make any adjustments that might better suit your tastes and play-style. If anyone has any questions or comments, by all means let fly.

Spoiler:
Human 2nd level Monk (Master of Many Styles) / 15th level Fighter (Brawler) / 3rd level Wizard (Transmutation)
Focused Study option, Fighter favored class (hit points)

Attributes: (20 point buy)
STR - 12
DEX - 16 (+2 racial modifier, +1 at 4th, 8th, 12th and 16th level)
CON - 14
INT - 12
WIS - 14
CHA - 7 (+1 at 20th level)

Traits:
Heavy Hitter (+1 damage with unarmed attacks)
Auspicious Tattoo (+1 Will saves)

Feats:
1st - Weapon Finesse
1st - Skill Focus: Sense Motive
1st - Improved Unarmed Strike
1st - Stunning Fist
1st - Snake Style
2nd - Snake Fang
3rd - Combat Reflexes
3rd - Two-Weapon Fighting
4th - Mantis Style or Boar Style
5th - Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
6th - Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
7th - Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
8th - Skill Focus: Perception
8th - Disruptive
9th - Piranha Strike
10th - Greater Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
11th - Stand Still
12th - Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
13th - Improved Critical: Unarmed Strike
14th - Greater Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
15th - Critical Focus
15th - Sickening Critical
16th - Skill Focus: Acrobatics or Stealth
16th - Staggering Critical
17th - Critical Mastery
18th - Scribe Scroll
19th - Stunning Critical or Improved Initiative

Skills:
Acrobatics (1 @ 4th - 20th level)
Climb (1@ 1st level)
Swim (1@ 2nd level)
Stealth (1/level)
Perception (1/level)
Sense Motive (1/level)
Heal or Intimidate (1 @ 1st - 3rd level)

Equipment:
Light Armor or Bracers of Armor (Brawler), Amulet of Mighty Fists (Agile)


What do you expect for your AC to be without armor at various levels?


I don't know if you can stack two weapon fighting and flurry of blows. If so, awesome. Also, is it sad that we play such low levels that the heavy-handed trait excited me?


I did not even know he was trying to stack them. They are both full attacks so he should not be able to.


With 20/x2, how effective would those critical feats be for you? I ask, since there is another set of style feats, the crane style, which synergize well with snake and you might as well use the ability to mix style, eh?

I suggest the crane feats because crane wing provides an excellent defensive power, negating a single melee attack per round. This means that the first hit that a full attacking opponent can use on you will be at their BAB-5. For a full bab opponent, that is like they are 5 levels weaker (or your have +5 AC...whichever). Combined with Snake style, you will very likely be able to get two AoO per round as the later iteratives miss. That ends up being 3 hits due to the trick in snake fang, no? That is almost all the attacks some classes get per round, all at full BAB, and all with those sweet static bonuses from brawler.

The fact that you have to fight defensively is also a boon for you since it adds a lot to your AC. There is the +2 for fighting defensively, +1 from crane style while doing so, and +1 from 3 ranks of acrobatics while doing so. Going with the idea that deflecting blows is like having +5 ac, you will have +9 AC for the cost of -1 to hit once you grab all three feats.

EDIT: toascend, he is basing this build around the Master of Many styles archetype for Monks. This trades in the flurry of blows for the ability to use multiple styles at once, as well as the ability to qualify for style feats without some of their normal prerequisites.


He is not stacking them. MoMS loses flurry of blows.

One thing I would add would be a shield. The ac bump and extra item to enchant take absolutely nothing away from your build, while adding something pretty great. Also the ability to say to captain America, "sit back in that chair right there and let me show you how it's done, son."


wraithstrike wrote:
What do you expect for your AC to be without armor at various levels?

Without armor? I'd have to sit down and preplan item acquisition to be able to tell you for sure and I kind of hate doing that. Why without armor?

wraithstrike wrote:
I did not even know he was trying to stack them. They are both full attacks so he should not be able to.

No, of course I'm not trying to stack them. Master of Many Styles doesn't even get Flurry of Blows. The additional attacks would theoretically come from missed attacks by opponents provoking AoO's via Snake Fang.


lemeres wrote:

With 20/x2, how effective would those critical feats be for you? I ask, since there is another set of style feats, the crane style, which synergize well with snake and you might as well use the ability to mix style, eh?

I suggest the crane feats because crane wing provides an excellent defensive power, negating a single melee attack per round. This means that the first hit that a full attacking opponent can use on you will be at their BAB-5. For a full bab opponent, that is like they are 5 levels weaker (or your have +5 AC...whichever). Combined with Snake style, you will very likely be able to get two AoO per round as the later iteratives miss. That ends up being 3 hits due to the trick in snake fang, no? That is almost all the attacks some classes get per round, all at full BAB, and all with those sweet static bonuses from brawler.

The fact that you have to fight defensively is also a boon for you since it adds a lot to your AC. There is the +2 for fighting defensively, +1 from crane style while doing so, and +1 from 3 ranks of acrobatics while doing so. Going with the idea that deflecting blows is like having +5 ac, you will have +9 AC for the cost of -1 to hit once you grab all three feats.

I've seriously considered the Crane Style option and I think I have room to pursue it... maybe. It'll be tight once you take into account pre-req's like Dodge. Might be worthwhile though, even if it means giving up a little damage on the front end. Keep in mind that Menacing Stance reduces your opponent's chance to hit you as well.

As far as the criticals go, 20/x2 doesn't do much for me... but 19-20/x2 with the ability to layer Sickened and Staggering conditions on it when I'm getting anywhere from 7-20 attacks per round and all of a sudden its doing a LOT.


Damocles Guile wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
What do you expect for your AC to be without armor at various levels?

Without armor? I'd have to sit down and preplan item acquisition to be able to tell you for sure and I kind of hate doing that. Why without armor?

wraithstrike wrote:
I did not even know he was trying to stack them. They are both full attacks so he should not be able to.
No, of course I'm not trying to stack them. Master of Many Styles doesn't even get Flurry of Blows. The additional attacks would theoretically come from missed attacks by opponents provoking AoO's via Snake Fang.

Armor makes monks lose some class abilities. I have not checked the MoMS so I dont know how that is affected, and if you cast a spell while wearing armor there is ASF to deal with. At level 20 if you want full use of a monk and the casting from a wizard you will be better off for those purposes without armor.


Byrdology wrote:
One thing I would add would be a shield. The ac bump and extra item to enchant take absolutely nothing away from your build, while adding something pretty great. Also the ability to say to captain America, "sit back in that chair right there and let me show you how it's done, son."

Hm.

Thats an idea I absolutely never considered - after all, I get the shield profeciency, and you don't need to have one hand free to make multiple unarmed strikes per round. Very interesting idea.

EDIT: Are we 100% sure that I could carry a shield, use the style feats and the TWF feats without any interference? I don't see anything in the rules that would prohibit it...


wraithstrike wrote:
Damocles Guile wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
What do you expect for your AC to be without armor at various levels?

Without armor? I'd have to sit down and preplan item acquisition to be able to tell you for sure and I kind of hate doing that. Why without armor?

wraithstrike wrote:
I did not even know he was trying to stack them. They are both full attacks so he should not be able to.
No, of course I'm not trying to stack them. Master of Many Styles doesn't even get Flurry of Blows. The additional attacks would theoretically come from missed attacks by opponents provoking AoO's via Snake Fang.
Armor makes monks lose some class abilities. I have not checked the MoMS so I dont know how that is affected, and if you cast a spell while wearing armor there is ASF to deal with. At level 20 if you want full use of a monk and the casting from a wizard you will be better off for those purposes without armor.

No, that really won't be a factor. The idea was to wear a mithril chain shirt, enchanted with the Brawling ability... shouldn't affect any significant Monk abilities (I'll lose the Wisdom bonus to AC) and casting shouldn't be a problem.


Since he would not have flurry, only the speed bonus and ac bonus would remain. If he did not make a high wisdom build and only a 2 level dip, he would not see any difference between being armorless and armored (other than the advantage of armor...of course...)

I tend to make 'unmonk' like monks when I use MoMS dips. He could easily just copy off the stats from any generic rogue or two weapon fighter for this. I tend to like to grab all of crane style by level 3 myself with unarmed fighter for first level. It allows me to go with a simple strength build without the need for dump stats or extraneous feats while being fairly hard to hit.


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So if I were to try and mix in the Crane style feats, I think it would look something like this:
.
.
.
.
Feats:
1st - Weapon Finesse
1st - Skill Focus: Sense Motive
1st - Improved Unarmed Strike
1st - Stunning Fist
1st - Snake Style
2nd - Snake Fang
3rd - Dodge
3rd - Two-Weapon Fighting
4th - Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
5th - Crane Style
6th - Crane Wing
7th - Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
8th - Skill Focus: Perception
8th - Combat Reflexes
9th - Crane Riposte
10th - Greater Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
11th - Stand Still
12th - Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
13th - Improved Critical: Unarmed Strike
14th - Critical Focus
15th - Sickening Critical
15th - Staggering Critical
16th - Skill Focus: Acrobatics or Stealth
16th - Critical Mastery
17th - Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
18th - Scribe Scroll
19th - Greater Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike

I'm taking a pretty substantial damage hit, pushing back Specializations til way late and dropping Piranha Strike completely... but the character becomes virtually unhittable.

Think about it - at 12th level he'll gain +3 AC from fighting defensively, +1 from Dodge, +1 from Acrobatics, opponents will suffer -2 to hit from Menacing Stance, he'll be able to completely negate one hit and riposte from Crane, use his Sense Motive instead of AC to negate another and riposte (twice) from Snake... and we haven't even factored in armor and shield, assuming the latter doesn't interfere. Snake Style doesn't have a limit (beyond your allotted number of AoO's) and it gives you two-for-one potential every time. Of course, that's on top of the 6 attacks you're getting at that point in an un-Hastened full attack action.

Seriously considering this.

EDIT: I think I'm going to switch around when I take Snake vs. when I take Crane if I decide to go this route.

EDIT: EDIT: Nevermind - I have to take Crane Wing to make Crane Riposte work, I don't need Snake Sidewind... better to keep it as it is.


Yes, I am sure that the shield adds to without taking away from your build. Enjoy!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

IF you use an adamantine shield, you can use it bash and ignore hardness and DR if you are fighting something you can't hurt with a punch. Since shields are close weapons, you'll even get you brawler close combatant bonuses with it.


Imbicatus wrote:
IF you use an adamantine shield, you can use it bash and ignore hardness and DR if you are fighting something you can't hurt with a punch. Since shields are close weapons, you'll even get you brawler close combatant bonuses with it.

Basically, my point. Add throwing and returning property to it, then paint a big star on it and make all the ranger and paladin "Cap" wannabes cry...


Thanks for the clarification: I want to use this build in a game. I don't know if I told you before, but aside from my question, I meant to say great work.


I've been enthralled by the different MoMS/unarmed builds I've been seeing lately! Thanks for sharing, build-gurus!


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Well, I made the build with a shield, splitting Crane Style & Snake Style. The results have been pretty spectacular. It must be kept in mind that this character has no ranged ability to speak of, but that seems to be his only real drawback. He even excells in the useful skills of Perception, Stealth, Sense Motive and Acrobatics.

This is the build as I currently have it:

Human 2nd level Monk (Master of Many Styles) / 15th level Fighter (Brawler) / 3rd level Wizard (Transmutation)
Focused Study option, Fighter favored class (hit points)

Attributes: (20 point buy)
STR - 12
DEX - 16 (+2 racial modifier, +1 at 4th, 8th, 12th and 16th level)
CON - 14
INT - 12
WIS - 14
CHA - 7 (+1 at 20th level)

Traits:
Heavy Hitter (+1 damage with unarmed attacks)
Auspicious Tattoo (+1 Will saves)

Feats:
1st - Weapon Finesse
1st - Skill Focus: Sense Motive
1st - Improved Unarmed Strike
1st - Stunning Fist
1st - Snake Style
2nd - Snake Fang
3rd - Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
3rd - Two-Weapon Fighting
4th - Dodge
5th - Crane Style
6th - Crane Wing
7th - Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
8th - Skill Focus: Perception
8th - Combat Reflexes
9th - Crane Riposte
10th - Greater Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
11th - Stand Still
12th - Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
13th - Improved Critical: Unarmed Strike
14th - Critical Focus
15th - Sickening Critical
15th - Staggering Critical
16th - Skill Focus: Acrobatics or Stealth
16th - Critical Mastery
17th - Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
18th - Scribe Scroll
19th - Greater Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike

A few stat blocks by level, using the standard WBL:

5th level

Spoiler:
Armor Class: 23, Sense Motive +15, Snake Fang
10 +4 [Dex] +5 [Chain Shirt] +1 [Ring] +1 [Dodge] +2 [Shield]
Attack: +10/+10
+4 [BAB] +4 [Dex] -2 [TWF] +1 [Focus] +2 [Brawling] +1 [Close]
Damage: 1d6+10
1d6 +4 [Dex] +1 [Hitter] +2 [Brawling] +3 [Close]
Equipment:
Brawling Chain Shirt +1 (4,000), Ring of Protection +1 (2,000), Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists (4,000), Heavy Steel Shield (20)

With Snake Fang the first miss of each round provokes an AoO and then a second attack if the first one hits.

9th level

Spoiler:
Armor Class: 30, Sense Motive +19, Snake Fang, Crane Riposte, Menacing Stance -1
10 +5 [Dex] +5 [Chain Shirt] +1 [Ring] +1 [Dodge] +4 [Shield] +4 [Defensive]
Attack: +16/+16/+11/+11
+8/+3 [BAB] +5 [Dex] -2 [TWF] +1 [Focus] +2 [Brawling] +2 [Close] -1 [Defensive] +1 [Amulet]
Damage: 1d6+13
1d6 +5 [Dex] +1 [Hitter] +2 [Brawling] +4 [Close] +1 [Amulet]
Equipment:
Mithril Brawling Chain Shirt +1 (5,000), Ring of Protection +1 (2,000), Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists +1 (16,000), Mithril Heavy Steel Shield +2 (5,000), Cloak of Resistance +4 (16,000), Handy Haversack (2,000)

Crane Style will negate the one attack each round and provide an AoO in response. After that Snake Style will allow every miss to provoke an AoO and a follow-up attack, up to four times a round.

13th level

Spoiler:
Armor Class: 38, Sense Motive +26, Snake Fang, Crane Riposte, Menacing Stance -2
10 +6 [Dex] +8 [Chain Shirt] +3 [Ring] +1 [Dodge] +6 [Shield] +4 [Defensive]
Attack: +25/+25/+20/+20/+15/+15
+12/+7/+2 [BAB] +7 [Dex] -2 [TWF] +2 [Greater Focus] +2 [Brawling] +3 [Close] -1 [Defensive] +2 [Amulet]
Damage: 1d6+17
1d6 +7 [Dex] +1 [Hitter] +2 [Brawling] +5 [Close] +2 [Amulet]
Equipment:
Mithril Brawling Chain Shirt +4 (25,000), Ring of Protection +3 (18,000), Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists +2 (36,000), Mithril Heavy Steel Shield +4 (17,000), Cloak of Resistance +5 (25,000), Belt of Dexterity +4 (16,000), Handy Haversack (2,000)

Menacing Stance incurs an additional -2 to attack. Crane Style will negate the one attack each round and provide an AoO in response. After that Snake Style will allow every miss to provoke an AoO and a follow-up attack, up to four times a round. With Haste that's a potential 16 attacks per round.

17th level

Spoiler:
Armor Class: 42, Sense Motive +33, Snake Fang, Crane Riposte, Menacing Stance -3
10 +6 [Dex] +9 [Chain Shirt] +4 [Ring] +1 [Dodge] +7 [Shield] +4 [Defensive]
Attack: +34/+34/+29/+29/+24/+24/+19
+16/+11/+6/+1 [BAB] +9 [Dex] -2 [TWF] +2 [Greater Focus] +2 [Brawling] +4 [Close] -1 [Defensive] +4 [Amulet]
Damage: 1d6+24
1d6 +9 [Dex] +1 [Hitter] +2 [Brawling] +6 [Close] +4 [Amulet] +2 [Specialization]
Equipment:
Mithril Brawling Chain Shirt +5 (36,000), Ring of Protection +5 (50,000), Ring of Freedom of Movement (40,000), Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists +4 (100,000), Mithril Heavy Steel Shield +5 (25,000), Cloak of Resistance +5 (25,000), Belt of Dexterity & Constitution +6 (90,000), Headband of Wisdom +6 (36,000), Winged Boots (16,000), Handy Haversack (2,000)

Menacing Stance incurs an additional -3 to attack. Crane Style will negate the one attack each round and provide an AoO in response. After that Snake Style will allow every miss to provoke an AoO and a follow-up attack, up to five times a round. With Haste that's a potential 19 attacks per round. By now you have Critical Mastery which allows you to layer Staggering and Sickening Critical against foes when your crits do go off which should happen at least once a round.


Keep a sling in your off hand... Not great, but it's a ranged option. I always flavor it as wrapped around my characters forearm.

Sczarni

Because you give up FoB's you don't get full STR damage on your offhand attacks.


Yes you do. The rules that state as such come from the monks imp unarmed strike entry.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Carry Wushu Darts. They count as close weapons so you get your close combatant bonuses with them.

Sczarni

Byrdology wrote:
Yes you do. The rules that state as such come from the monks imp unarmed strike entry.

Hoorah! You're right. It's also in the FoB section. Weird, but I'm glad to be wrong.


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Byrdology wrote:
Keep a sling in your off hand... Not great, but it's a ranged option. I always flavor it as wrapped around my characters forearm.

I'm not overly worried about the lack of a ranged attack - certainly not enough to shoe-horn in an ineffectual one.

I've been reconsidering the Focused Study though - with the addition of the shield and Crane Style, Snake Fang's Sense Motive for AC swap seems much less significant. I'm looking at dropping the various Skill Focus feats for Combat Reflexes, giving me multiple potential AoO's a lot sooner. Probably take Disruptive once more to maximize Menacing Stance. Something like this...

Feats:
1st - Weapon Finesse
1st - Combat Reflexes
1st - Improved Unarmed Strike
1st - Stunning Fist
1st - Snake Style
2nd - Snake Fang
3rd - Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
3rd - Two-Weapon Fighting
4th - Dodge
5th - Crane Style
6th - Crane Wing
7th - Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
8th - Disruptive
9th - Crane Riposte
10th - Greater Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
11th - Stand Still
12th - Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
13th - Improved Critical: Unarmed Strike
14th - Critical Focus
15th - Sickening Critical
15th - Staggering Critical
16th - Critical Mastery
17th - Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
18th - Scribe Scroll
19th - Greater Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike

From 11th level on, if you get adjacent to a spellcaster, he's pretty much dead.


What are your thoughts behind high dex instead of high strength? I guess you're mainly looking at maxing out Combat Reflexes and meeting TWF prerequisites. However considering the following Point buy and thinking in terms of PFS strength may be the better way to go.

Str 16 (10) (+2 racial)
Dex 15 (7)
Con 14 (5)
Int 12 (2)
Wis 10 (0)
Cha 7 (-4)

Strength opens up Dragon Ferocity which could really add tons of damage. Also you could consider the human alt racial trait to boost both strength and dex for the price of your first level feat if you wanted more wisdom. You'd miss out on GTWF but when only playing to level 12 that's not the end of the world. In any case this point buy would have far more to offer early on. For one you don't have to wait till you can afford AoMF to actually be good in melee and before you can afford a brawling chain shirt you could go for a breastplate if you feel AC is too low.


Alex Mack wrote:

What are your thoughts behind high dex instead of high strength? I guess you're mainly looking at maxing out Combat Reflexes and meeting TWF prerequisites. However considering the following Point buy and thinking in terms of PFS strength may be the better way to go.

Str 16 (10) (+2 racial)
Dex 15 (7)
Con 14 (5)
Int 12 (2)
Wis 10 (0)
Cha 7 (-4)

Strength opens up Dragon Ferocity which could really add tons of damage. Also you could consider the human alt racial trait to boost both strength and dex for the price of your first level feat if you wanted more wisdom. You'd miss out on GTWF but when only playing to level 12 that's not the end of the world. In any case this point buy would have far more to offer early on. For one you don't have to wait till you can afford AoMF to actually be good in melee and before you can afford a brawling chain shirt you could go for a breastplate if you feel AC is too low.

High Dexterity affects so many things. I get better Initiative. I get better Reflex saves (to go with Evasion via Monk levels). I get Greater TWF. I get better utility out of Combat Reflexes. I get better utility out of skills like Stealth and Acrobatics.

I also have never once played in PFS - there isn't even a decent option in my area as far as I've been able to ascertain - so its important that this build (for me at least) not start running out of juice at 12th level.

Strength may open up Dragon Ferocity, but at the cost of what? Which three feats do you dump to accomodate the handful of extra damage points you're hoping to gain?


Damocles Guile wrote:
Strength may open up Dragon Ferocity, but at the cost of what? Which three feats do you dump to accomodate the handful of extra damage points you're hoping to gain?

Dragon Feocity only requires 2 feats. The last feat in the chain is dragon's breath which is sort of useless... Dragon Style arguably is also fairly decent as it adds some more damage and let's you charge through difficult terrain. Also assuming a 22 Str we're talking +3 damage for every hit and +6 for the first that's nothing to sneeze at. Also the fact that you don't need an Agile AoMF is another +1 to hit and damage right there.

The first feat would obviously be Weapon Finesse. And obviously Crane Style would have to go. So the question is actually which other feats would I like to include?

Anyways I'm not sold on Crane style on a TWF build with all the penalties your raking up from fighting defensively, piranha strike and TWF your to hit bonuses from brawler and brawling get eaten up pretty quickly. Add on to that that additional AoMF bonuses become rather expensive...

Point taken on the skills however.


Alex Mack wrote:
Damocles Guile wrote:
Strength may open up Dragon Ferocity, but at the cost of what? Which three feats do you dump to accomodate the handful of extra damage points you're hoping to gain?

Dragon Feocity only requires 2 feats. The last feat in the chain is dragon's breath which is sort of useless... Dragon Style arguably is also fairly decent as it adds some more damage and let's you charge through difficult terrain. Also assuming a 22 Str we're talking +3 damage for every hit and +6 for the first that's nothing to sneeze at. Also the fact that you don't need an Agile AoMF is another +1 to hit and damage right there.

The first feat would obviously be Weapon Finesse. And obviously Crane Style would have to go. So the question is actually which other feats would I like to include?

Anyways I'm not sold on Crane style on a TWF build with all the penalties your raking up from fighting defensively, piranha strike and TWF your to hit bonuses from brawler and brawling get eaten up pretty quickly. Add on to that that additional AoMF bonuses become rather expensive...

Point taken on the skills however.

I've actually dropped Pirahna Strike from the build, both options would get the TWF penalty and my penalty for fighting defensively is only -1 (for a +4 bonus to AC). As it turns out, with standard WBL my last iterative tends to be above my base BAB which means the character hits a LOT. The boost to AC and ability to ignore one otherwise successful hit every round (even a critical) to me is too potent an option to be without.

Hit a lot and don't get hit in return - that's the gist of what I'm putting together. If it means I deal less damage with each hit but hit more often I'm fine with that.

And again, boosting Reflex saves when you have Evasion to fall back on, having a higher AC and acting first in a combat round more often all add in to both survivability and lethality.


With the character's ancillary role as a scout via high Perception and Stealth skills, I'm seriously considering a Goblin variant of this build. Extra Dex, the benefits of being small and darkvision are more than worth the lost feat in my opinion.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

If you go goblin, you may want to take the alternate racial trait that gives you a bite attack. It will give you a little be more damage and be useful for overcoming slashing DR.


I think your final build gets pretty awesome but until around level 5 you will be sucking pretty hard as you'll only deal 1d6+2 on an unarmed strike. Then once you get brawler's close weapon training and agile AoMF everything is golden. But before that you're really not pulling your weight in combat. I don't think I'd be wanting to play this char without the AoMF. While your AC is super nice opponents will have no real incentive to actually attack you as your not posing much of a threat.

Goblin would definitely rock. You can get either a primary bite attack via race trait or a +4 bonus to perception via oversized ears. Lamashtu's bite can give you the bite attack albeit only as a secondary attack. Also roll with it and crane style in combination make you sort of invincible.


You've been listening to Sho'nuff haven't you?

Damocles Guile wrote:
The build was inspired by fictitious characters like Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee =/= Fictitious

-TimD

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I like evil NPCs inspired by fictitious characters like Adolf Hitler.


Alex Mack wrote:

I think your final build gets pretty awesome but until around level 5 you will be sucking pretty hard as you'll only deal 1d6+2 on an unarmed strike. Then once you get brawler's close weapon training and agile AoMF everything is golden. But before that you're really not pulling your weight in combat. I don't think I'd be wanting to play this char without the AoMF. While your AC is super nice opponents will have no real incentive to actually attack you as your not posing much of a threat.

Goblin would definitely rock. You can get either a primary bite attack via race trait or a +4 bonus to perception via oversized ears. Lamashtu's bite can give you the bite attack albeit only as a secondary attack. Also roll with it and crane style in combination make you sort of invincible.

As I said in the original post, this character wasn't designed as a tank, but rather more as a melee type who was powerful enough to be a deadly threat and survivable enough to free-lance without the need for party protection... I kind of get a chuckle when people talk about there being no incentive to attack a strong melee character, as if RPG's were MMO's - I'm pretty sure no Wizard or King ever told his guards to protect his keep/tower 'unless they seem pretty tough - in that case just avoid them in combat while they beat you down and focus on the guy slinging fire'. To be honest, when it comes to mooks, I'd imagine a serious melee threat would be more likely to be swarmed than ignored.

At 5th level the character will have AoMF, Brawling Armor and his first iteration of Close Combatant which should have him making a couple of attacks every round at about 1d6+10 damage each. Moreover he'll have a huge number of AoO's available to him every time he is attacked and missed, and get up to two counter attacks each time. That's unbelievable for a character of that level - I get that he might seem sub-optimal during his first few levels, but lets be real: how many characters are optimized in levels 1st through 3rd?

I'm working on a Goblin Brawlwer right now and amazingly he's the best version of this character I've seen. The results are so encouraging that I'm working with our GM (who posts regularly on these boards) on a way to work him into a RotRL campaign. But I won't be using a bite attack nor Roll With It as part of the build.


.
.
Why are you adding +4 from dex to your damage output?

your damage should be:

@ 5th: 1d6 +1 str, +1 (hitter) +2 brawling +3 close (1d6+7)

Unless I missed something, I'd love to know how you're adding your DEX bonus to damage.


@Bloodwort: Agile amulet of mighty fists.

@Damocless guile: As I said earlier before you acquire AoMF you deal 1d6+2 on an unarmed strikes and thus suck in combat. Thus no one will have a real incentive to hit you which also negates the usefulness of Snake style. That will likely be the first 4 levels of your adventuring life. You'll still be a good scout especially as a Goblin. However I think a natural weapon Goblin Urban Barbarian is probably superior.


TimD wrote:

You've been listening to Sho'nuff haven't you?

Damocles Guile wrote:
The build was inspired by fictitious characters like Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee =/= Fictitious

-TimD

LOL - gotta love someone who quotes The Last Dragon ("Catchin' bullets in his teeth? N!+!+ pleaze...")

Yeah, I meant to say 'historical figures like Bruce Lee and ficticious characters like Lady Shiva.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Damocles Guile wrote:
TimD wrote:

You've been listening to Sho'nuff haven't you?

Damocles Guile wrote:
The build was inspired by fictitious characters like Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee =/= Fictitious

-TimD

LOL - gotta love someone who quotes The Last Dragon ("Catchin' bullets in his teeth? N$+#& pleaze...")

I once made a City of Heroes Martial Arts scrapper as a tribute to The Last Dragon named Bruce Leeroy Jenkins. :)


Imbicatus wrote:
Damocles Guile wrote:
TimD wrote:

You've been listening to Sho'nuff haven't you?

Damocles Guile wrote:
The build was inspired by fictitious characters like Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee =/= Fictitious

-TimD

LOL - gotta love someone who quotes The Last Dragon ("Catchin' bullets in his teeth? N$+#& pleaze...")

I once made a City of Heroes Martial Arts scrapper as a tribute to The Last Dragon named Bruce Leeroy Jenkins. :)

Man, do I miss City of Heroes...


Damocles Guile wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Damocles Guile wrote:
TimD wrote:

You've been listening to Sho'nuff haven't you?

Damocles Guile wrote:
The build was inspired by fictitious characters like Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee =/= Fictitious

-TimD

LOL - gotta love someone who quotes The Last Dragon ("Catchin' bullets in his teeth? N$+#& pleaze...")

I once made a City of Heroes Martial Arts scrapper as a tribute to The Last Dragon named Bruce Leeroy Jenkins. :)
Man, do I miss City of Heroes...

Word.

NCSoft hates gamers. I try not to wish ill on others, but make an exception for whoever was responsible for killing my favorite online community.

-TimD


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I looked up the Snake fang feat, and as it is, if you hit with the AoO, then you get one immediate attack. Hence only the first one will spawn a additional attack.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Kttank wrote:
I looked up the Snake fang feat, and as it is, if you hit with the AoO, then you get one immediate attack. Hence only the first one will spawn a additional attack.

True. It still lets you make an AoO on a missed attack for as many attacks as you have AoOs.


One other thing worth noting: You cannot get Snake Style until at least 3rd level because you need 3 ranks in Sense Motive.

EDIT: and how are you gaining the Shield AC bonus and getting the two attacks?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Valdast wrote:

One other thing worth noting: You cannot get Snake Style until at least 3rd level because you need 3 ranks in Sense Motive.

EDIT: and how are you gaining the Shield AC bonus and getting the two attacks?

Master of many styles lets you learn style feats without meeting prerequisites.

Unarmed strike doesn't need a hand to use. You can punch and headbutt, or make two kicks, or even make two jabs with the same fist and still use the shield.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

It is that "fist only" myth come forth.

This myth runs rampant, and has no proof, no standing, comes from nowhere, but still sticks around.

Seriously, it's nuts.

A: "I use an unarmed strike to attack the Orc"

B: "So, you punch him, with your fist? Aren't you holding a Longspear?"

A: "No, I just kick him."

B: "Well, you are using an unarmed strike, so you punch him, with your fist?"

A: "No, I kick him, with my foot."

B: "Okay, but what about your hands? You can't make a fist with that Longspear in your hands."

A: "I am not using my fists. I am making an unarmed strike, with my foot, in a process know as kicking."

B: "Okay, so how are going to make a fist?"

A: "AAAAAAAAGH!"

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

How about swapping 10 fighter levels for Duelist? You would have to drop crane style, but Duelist lets you parry anyway. All of the duelist abilities require a light or one handed piercing weapon, which your unarmed snake style qualifies for. You would loose 3 points of damage from close combatant, but gain 10 points of damage from precise strike. Thanks to Unarmed strike being handless, you are the only duelist that can still use TWF.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Imbicatus wrote:
How about swapping 10 fighter levels for Duelist? You would have to drop crane style, but Duelist lets you parry anyway. All of the duelist abilities require a light or one handed piercing weapon, which your unarmed snake style qualifies for. You would loose 3 points of damage from close combatant, but gain 10 points of damage from precise strike. Thanks to Unarmed strike being handless, you are the only duelist that can still use TWF.

This is an interesting thought and worth exploring - I wonder what the ruling would be on it...

Of course, it only works against 'living creatures with discernable anatomies' and doesn't affect creatures immune to critical hits. Altogether it seems like it wouldn't work against constructs, undead, elementals, oozes and a host of other targets. You'd also have to drop the shield, meaning a loss of as much as 7 points of AC.

Also, Parry/Riposte works once a round and you have to sacrifice an attack to get it. Snake Style gives you the opportunity to make as many 'counter-attacks' as your Dexterity allows and you get it much, much sooner with this build.


Valdast wrote:

One other thing worth noting: You cannot get Snake Style until at least 3rd level because you need 3 ranks in Sense Motive.

EDIT: and how are you gaining the Shield AC bonus and getting the two attacks?

The same way this guy does it...

Scarab Sages

What is the Heavy Handed trait and where can I find it?

Is it the same as Mizu Ki Hikari Rebel and Quain Martial Artist (+1 to unarmed damage)?

This thread title just reminded me of the Rainbow Warsnake build from 3.5 and I got nostalgic for being able to spontaneously cast all cleric spells.

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