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I'm going to play Rappan Athuk with a party of Alchemist, Diviner, Oracle of Life and Rogue, so they need a big frontline warrior.
I considered tripping builds, but I was not pleased with the damage output, defenses and the rapidly escalating trip DC, not mentioning monsters that are impossible to trip due to size or flying.
I then considered a pure damaging paladin, but I was not pleased with their weakness against non-evil foes and risks of losing their tools either by killing the mount, destroying the bonded weapon, or going against the code of conduct.
I lastly considered the barbarian... and after toying around a bit, he had everything I wanted. Here is my build until level 15, starting at 5th level with 25 point buy.
CN Human Barbarian (Invulnerable Rager, Urban Barbarian)
STR 17 (13 pt) +2 Racial bonus here
DEX 16 (10 pt)
CON 15 (7 pt)
INT 07 (-4 pt)
WIS 13 (3 pt)
CHA 07 (-4 pt)
Skills: Intimidate, Acrobatics, Perception. All maxed.
Traits: Breed for War, Armor Expert.
Favored class bonus: +1/3 Superstition at each level.
Feats and Rage Powers:
1) Intimidating Prowess, Power Attack
3) Improved Sunder
4) Witch Hunter, +1 STR
5) Extra Rage Power: Strength Surge
6) Spell Sunder
7) Cornugon Smash
8) Lesser Beast Totem, +1 CON
9) Extra Rage Power: Beast Totem
10) Greater Beast Totem
11) Combat Reflexes
12) Come and Get Me, +1 WIS
13) Dazing Assault
14) Ghost Rager
15) Extra Rage Power: Eater of Magic
Adamantine Greatsword => +1 => Furious => Cruel => Courageous => +5
Mithral Breastplate => +1 => Light Fort => Moderate Fort => Heavy Fort => +5
Belt of STR +2 => CON +2 => DEX +2 => +4 => +6
Ring of Protection +5
Ring of Evasion
Amulet of Natural Armor +5
Cloak of Resistance +5
Elven Boots / Boots of Speed
Goggles of the Eagle / Goggles of Night
Mask of Intimidation (custom magic item based off the orcish battle mask, it adds +5 to intimidate checks... if unavailable, circlet of persuasion is a nice substitute)
Headband of Havoc
LOTS of potions of enlarge person
LOTS of potions of lesser restoration
Spring Loaded Wrist Sheath + potion of enlarge person
Spring Loaded Wrist Sheath + potion of lesser restoration
I currently start with an Adamantine Greatsword, a +1 Mithral Breastplate, a Cloak of Resistance +1, a nonmagical battle mask, two SLWS and a few potions.
Whenever combat starts, my starting tactic will likely be: swift get enlarge potion, standard drink potion, free action rage, move to reach the enemies while drawing my weapon. If an enemy is adjacent already, I instead rage, draw weapon and smash his face!
Highlights of the build:
- AC that works, since controlled rage doesn't lower it, reckless abandon won't be used, crowd control adds +1 when adjacent to multiple foes, and I can debuff with every hit by level 7.
- Free action debuffs at every hit, via cornugon smash (I get it as soon as possible at level 7) and cruel weapon, total -4 to hit/saves and -2 to damage as soon as I hit twice.
- Spell sunder at level 6, as soon as it is available!
- Greater beast totem (aka pounce!) at level 10, as soon as it is available!
- Come and get me at level 12, as soon as it is available, with enough AoOs thanks to combat reflexes at 11.
- Dazing Assault at level 13 (a pity that I can't get it at 11) and I expect it to work fine, especially against a debuffed enemy.
- Saves through the roof, touch AC very high by level 14, great rerolls by level 15. At level 5, my saves are even higher than those of a paladin, against everything that matters.
After level 15, I'm not sure what to take, I guess unexpected strike, improved critical and increased damage reduction x3, but the build itself is complete at 15th level.
I personally think rage cycling before level 17 is cheesy and not worth the expense of a rage power to get immunity to sickened/nauseated and a certain ioun stone. I'd rather spend a standard action and drink a potion of lesser restoration between rages instead.
Cruel translates into +2 to AC, stacking DR 2/-, ability focus (dazing assault) and free 5 hp each time I down a foe. And greater spell focus (everything) for my caster friends.
I fully expect the party wizard to carry greater magic weapon, so +1 furious cruel courageous with greater magic weapon cast on it would just be plain better and cheaper, as it'd only cost 9k gp for a PoP III and 3k gp for a lesser rod of extension :)
Going +1 furious courageous to +2 would cost 14k gold pieces, 2k more than the PoP and the rod anyway.
Raging brutality would be good if I actually used normal rage, but controlled rage doesn't add to CON. I'll have 22 CON at the end, so +9 damage per hit at the cost of 3 rounds of rage and my swift action... I'll have to do the math and see if it's more than improved critical at that point.
|nate lange RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32|
it looks like a solid build. Greater Sunder would help keep your CMB up for spell sunder. i know you said that you think rage-cycling is cheesy but you might want to consider some version of it (spell sunder is good enough that it might be worth it just for that...); even if you wait so you don't have to delay greater beast totem- a 1 level dip at 11th into lame metal oracle would instantly make you immune to fatigue and get you +10' move to negate the lame penalty (you lose 1 BAB, but also get an extra +2 to will saves).
also, out of curiosity- what does "CAGM" stand for? Come and Get Me? i like that rage power, but is it significant enough to name the build after?
Dazing and power attack is going to seriously lower your chance to hit which isn't good. My 13th level Barby hits with +28, +23, +18 when raging but I usually have heroism running so they are actually +32, +27, +22. You can boost your to hit by 3 with bless earlier on if someone casts it for you. This is why I prefer +2 courageous furious. I don't use controlled rage and gain +15 from raging brutality. I only use it vs tough dudes as it does eat up your rage rounds.
AC, well it's never going to stop first attacks from CR equivalent monsters but will help with other attacks and that is good obviously but you could spend that gold on more offensive options. Can't say its wrong, just not what I would do
Power Attack, Beast Totem Line, CaGM - Those are enough to make an optimized Barbarian.
All your other choices are nice and quite awesome. I don't like Raging Brutality, since it costs so many Rage Rounds, therefore I won't recommend it. But yeah it's tons of damage. I like the Cruel Weapon+Cornugon Smash-Combo.
I would however consider taking "Improved Sunder" as late as lvl 13 and Combat Reflexes at lvl 3 instead. You could then take Dazing Assault at 11 as early as possible. You would then have to eat some AoOs while, Spell Sundering during your career however.
I would take Courageous over Cruel. Don't bother with Cornugon Smash, which also means don't bother with Intimidating Prowess. Take either improved critical or make your weapon keen. Buy a cracked Opalescent White Pyramid Ioun Stone for only 1500 gp, and gain weapon familiarity with the Falcata (which is essentially proficiency since you treat the weapon as a martial weapon). Your party members will be thanking you when you're doing massive damage to everything around you. There's no better de-buff than actually killing your opponents. If you don't want a silly stone floating around your head just buy a wayfinder. You probably don't need Improved Sunder, with Strength Surge you should be able to succeed at any combat maneuver. Just take the AoO, you should have enough HPs that it's never going to be an issue. Other cheap and very useful items are the Jingasa of the Fortunate Soldier, Cloak of the Hedge Wizard (Abjuration, for a 1/day +4 Shield Bonus to AC or Transmutation for 1/day enlarge) and a Quick Runner Shirt. These items are inexpensive enough that you can carry multiples of them in a backpack and change them between fights. So, I'm eliminating 3 feats - I would replace them with Improved Initiative, Reckless Abandon and Raging Brutality.
EDIT: I forgot to mention the Flawed Pale Green Prism Ioun Stone. For only 28,000 gp, it gives you a +1 morale bonus to attacks, saves, skill checks and ability checks. Once you add your bonus from Courageous, you are now at +4 to all these.
Thanks for the answers!
Greater sunder is not needed imho, since I'm also going to use strength surge on that one spell sunder maneuver per rage. At each level, my bonus increases by at least +2, my headband of havoc could raise strength surge by another +4, then there's enlarge person and anything that raises my to-hit. At level 6, I'll easily have a minimum of +19, while enemy spells only increase the DC by +1 each level and I fully expect to be able to sunder everything on a 2 soon enough. Even if the effect is only delayed 1 or 2 rounds at level 6, that's plenty of time to end the current threat.
Any of the rage cycling options that I know of either require a dedicated rage power or a level dip and I'm not sure I'm willing to pay that price, when a lesser restoration potion would allow me to rage-cycle at the expense of a standard action and would indeed be cheaper. The lame oracle of metal with dance of the blades is a nice suggestion though, it even enables me to use wands, but it doesn't increase any of the rage powers and is basically a dead level for all other purposes. It's a long journey till level 11, so I guess I'll take note of all the times when I really wished to rage-cycle and choose to multiclass accordingly.
CAGM is short for Come and Get Me! That rage power is one of the staples of the build.
Bless is a spell that the party oracle carries, actually, so that's covered. +1 courageous is going to become +2 courageous at level 8 with greater magic weapon on it anyway.
At level 13, I foresee: +13 BAB, +10 STR (20 base, +8 greater rage w/ courageous, +2 physical perfection belt), +5 weapon (+3 greater magic weapon, +2 furious) = +28 as yours. I'll add +2 from flanking with the rogue or summons, possibly the +1 from urban barbarian, +3 from bless, +1 from haste for +35, that is +26 with power attack and dazing assault. Monster Creation rules points out that a CR 13 monster should have an AC of about 28, so I hit on a 2 on the first attack, and on a 7 on the second one. Hitting on a 2 on the first attack is pretty much what I'm looking for and I can choose not to use dazing assault on a particular attack if the enemy sports a really high AC, at which point I'll probably sunder a defensive spell / armor / shield first.
Which offensive options are you refering to?
Once I spend my money on a +1 furious cruel courageous weapon I'm pretty much done offensively imho, the belt increases both offense and defense and is expensive to raise from +2 (16k) to +4 (64k). I guess I could look for some Ioun Stones but what would you take in lieu of an amulet of natural armor and a ring of protection? Armor enhancement will only cost 9k as I provide the oracle with a page of spell knowledge (magic vestment) to use on my armor with my lesser rod of extension carried by the wizard.
How good is combat reflexes without come and get me? I can't see the point of taking it any earlier than level 11, since I'm not using a reach weapon, and even a single attack of opportunity might be enough to deter opponents while enlarged. I definitely don't want to eat AoOs any time I wish to sunder anything. Waiting 8 levels for improved sunder seems worse than waiting 2 levels for dazing assault imho, and I feel I wouldn't benefit much from having combat reflexes till I get CAGM. However, I played no barbarian yet, so can you tell me if your experience is any different regarding combat reflexes?
Falcata + cracked opalescent white pyramid ioun stone is a nice combo, but what if the ioun stone gets sundered or stolen? I guess the wayfinder is good enough to store it for me until I wish for a second ioun stone.A falcata does 10% more damage than a greatsword if one takes into account the crit profile only (20% if keen), but the falcata is down 2.5 damage on the weapon dice. So, if the damage dealt is 25 or more, the falcata is better. At level 5 I have a +13 bonus on damage, so the falcata is worse for me until about level 11 when I'll have greater rage and a nice weapon, so it's a choice between more power now or later.
A wayfinder is a must to store the ioun stone safely. If I ever repair the ioun stone, I'll also get weapon focus, Awesome!
Any AoO that I take will increase the sunder DC by the damage it dealt, so I'm not positive on Improved Sunder not being needed, especially if I'm trying to sunder a buff on a brute. It's not for the +2 or my hp, but for the DC increase in case of damage.
The jingasa is awesome, I'll ask my GM if he lets me add item properties together with the 1.5x price increase... if I get my heavy fort armor, it'll be nigh impossible for me to take a crit.
Enlarge person has a 1 round casting time, but I like shield 1/day very much! Same as the jingasa, I'll add it to my cloak of resistance if possible.
Quick runner shirt has been swiftly noted for purchase, thanks for the suggestion!
Flawed pale green ioun stone costs very much, and the oracle might be casting (quickened) bless or heroes' feast by the time I can afford that stone, and since I don't like silly stones floating around my head, it's a choice between the falcata and this one on a wayfinder. The morale bonus to saves doesn't stack with superstitious, but the bonus to perception/imtimidate/acrobatics/ability checks is welcome. I think I'm leaning toward this stone rather than the other, if only to be ready after round 1 regardless of the oracle's choices.
Raging brutality I wouldn't take until later, since it costs 3 rounds of rage for +3 bonus to damage. Surely I can't afford it at level 5 with just 14 round of rage per day. By level 8ish it'd be +6 to damage I think, not sure it's worth the cost until nearly the end, when I'll get a maximum of +9 damage with a +6 belt of physical perfection.
Reckless Abandon + no Cornugon + no Cruel = -6 effective AC and -2 effective DR for +2 to hit. Even if I have DR, I won't have rage-enhanced hp's and I'm not comfortable with that kind of difference. I guess it's a nice power to have when power attack penalties become important after level 12, but early on I don't see myself killing monster that much faster if I didn't use RA, improved initiative and raging brutality: if the monster doesn't die instantly, then I'm open to counterattacks and I'd rather have more AC/DR and let the other party members cast their spells with more effectiveness.
About Improved Initiative, I don't know... I'm not a caster, so going late shouldn't be a problem, and I welcome the possibility of starting a fight with a 5 ft step and full attack since charges are not always possible.
Level 16 goes to Reckless Abandon, so I won't eat the -5 penalty to power attack if the enemy is difficult to hit, then Raging Brutality at 17.
I'll probably put keen on my weapon rather than increasing the pluses, after Furious, Cruel and Courageous. Greater Magic Weapon will take care of the enhancement bonus itself.
I'm playing a barbarian right now in a rather long running campaign. I was tempted to use a falcata (utlizing the ioun stone/wayfinder), but decided on a fauchard with the lunge feat instead. The GM house ruled that I could use the reach weapon as an improvised weapon vs. adjacent targets. Anyway, the beauty of this is that I can attack from 15ft away (20ft when enlarged), generally use any combat maneuver I want without worry of attacks of opportunity, and can still use the weapon against adjacent opponents. Best of all, AC is not too much of a factor since the opponents generally only get one attack against my barbarian since they must move more than 5ft to attack.
I do think you're underselling the damage you could inflict with a falcata. But if you don't think the 17-20/x3 crit is worth it, then look at an 15-20/x2 weapon instead. I don't think damage dice are as meaningful as the chance to land the crit and the multiplier. I'm reasonably certain that the falcata has been shown to be the best weapon in the game.
I don't think you need to worry too much about a wayfinder being sundered or stolen. Just keep it well hidden. You really can't sunder or steal something if you don't even know that it exists.
Also, an urban barbarian can always enter into a standard rage if you ever want both Str and Con bonuses. You just have the option to enter a controlled rage.
Anyway, it's rather difficult to build an ineffective barbarian, you have the Beast Totem line and CaGM - everything else is just gravy. I don't worry too much about de-buffs, since the "dead" condition takes care of that rather well.
I'm not underselling the damage of a falcata, 20% more damage is huge and I agree that it's the most damaging weapon in the game after a certain point, my math shows that as well. I'm also not worried about losing my wayfinder any more than I'm worried about losing my armor.
I'm just saying that I'd have to choose between the falcata and the other ioun stone bonuses, since I want to keep the ioun stone in its wayfinder for safety reasons. Falchion on the other hand needs to deal average 40 damage to be better than a greatsword, not happening any time soon and I'd rather have more guaranteed damage instead of unreliable crit spikes. Keen tilts this in favor of the falchion, but it would cost 18000 gp to add the property. I admit that I could choose falchion instead of greatsword, even if average damage would be lower until later. I won't spend a feat on falcata proficiency, though.
Falcata would be better than both falchion and greatsword once it's made keen at medium/high levels, but at that time I could also afford the pale green stone, so I'm choosing to have higher average damage at early levels with the greatsword and still a ioun stone "bump" later without changing weapons.
I won't be using reach weapons because it's hard to make them work in conjunction with CAGM and my GM wouldn't let me threaten adjacent squares with them. Claws/armor spikes don't count since I can't use them while both hands are wielding a weapon, per a recent faq.
Also, JJ wrote somewhere here that urban barbarians aren't meant to use normal rage, and their controlled rage effectively substitutes normal rage, which is not available for them.
If I was wasting my actions to debuff the enemy, then sure I wouldn't bother. However, since it's free for each hit, I don't think it's a wasted resource. Just in case the enemy survives, the debuffs will kick in and be useful. Rappan Athuk sports a wildly varying CR encounters, so it's no guarantee that I can kill everything in a round, that's why I build to also have a chance to survive any counterattack, even by higher CR foes. -4 to hit and -4 to saves vs dazing assault is there for that reason.
Against those higher CR foes, -4 to saves will be very welcomed by my spellcasting friends. :)
What about a +1 furious cruel courageous keen falchion and a friendly caster bringing it to +5 with greater magic weapon?
I think lowering dex might be worse than be able to rage-cycle once per day. Enlarged DEX will be 14, +6 from belt = 20 and that's just enough to fill my armor max dex bonus.
I guess I'll just use lesser restoration potions in times of need.
|nate lange RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32|
So if you have a +5 furious weapon what happens when you rage? Does it become a +7 ?
yes, it does- its one of the few ways to do that (along with bane)
as for rage cycling... i'm not gonna beat a dead horse (so this is the last time i'll mention it) but most of your rage powers are usable once/rage- with a 1 level lame-metal-oracle dip (any time after 8th level) you lose 1 level from BAB and your rage powers, but gain the option to use strength surge/spell sunder and eater of magic every single round if you want...
I bet you plan to Enlarge Person mainly as a way to get your CAGM AoOs vs foes both near and far. That's clever. Every foe who attacks you provokes an AoO, but you still need to threaten their square to get your AoO. A Large humanoid with a great sword threatens both 1 and 2 squares away, so you'll always have the correct reach to get the AoO. Enlarge Person gives you reach, but still lets you attack the adjacent square with your sword.
You might consider adding a reach weapon, like a fauchard or bardiche, to your arsenal. That way you will have the proper sort of weapon (e.g. versus a large foe) even if you don't have opportunity to swig an Enlarge Person potion. If you decide to carry a reach weapon you'll want to get Combat Reflexes at low level, so you can use all those juicy AoOs you'll get. With no other martial PCs to get in your way you ought to be able to land an AoO on most every incoming melee foe, roughly doubling your damage output.
If you are going to START the character at level 12+ you'll probably want to skip the reach weapon and just use a sword. If you'll be playing levels 5-12 you may find a reach weapon invaluable.
Yeah, that's the main reason I want to enlarge... that and the possible +4 size bonus (or no penalty) on intimidate checks for cornugon smash, and a way to threaten medium casters and archers even if they use a 5ft step, and the extra damage and CMB... Enlarge person is so useful that I am going to ask the alchemist to brew potions in bulk!
After the first couple fights, I'll have enough money to actually chug down a potion at the start of every combat, that's roughly 1000 gp per level and I think they're worth both the gp and the action cost.
I agree with the reach weapon being useful, and I know that I'd need combat reflexes to make the most use of it during the lower levels.
I guess I can add a masterwork bardiche to benefit from AoOs, but then which feat would you delay to get combat reflexes early? Extra Rage Power: Strength Surge? I fear the blanket is too short, starting at level 5...
About rage-cycle, the lame oracle option is noted, thanks, but I'll wait till levels 8-11 to see if I actually need it that much in game. Until then, I'll trust my potions and my allies to end the fight before I need to use my powers twice. Right now, I think 1 swift + standard action is a lower cost/gain ratio than 1 whole dead level (which will be even deader when I get tireless rage).
|Grizzly the Archer|
Yeah it is, but I take back 1d6 damage per hit!
I once played an oracle of life in a party where the fighter had a vicious axe, I cursed him every time because he had a knack on rolling higher on the backfiring d6 than the 2d6 bonus combined...
But then I feel the spellstoring enchantment might be more useful... Force Punch, Hold Person, Pain Strike, Vampiric Touch...
|Grizzly the Archer|
|Grizzly the Archer|
Oh, I found it!
It's a nice ability, but I think by the time I can afford it (after furious, cruel, courageous and keen) I should already have a bonus so high that I won't need it.
Let's say I can have a +6 weapon (72k gp) at level 13 (140k gp average), at that time I already have this bonus on sunder attempts: +13 BAB, +10 STR, +13 Strength Surge, +2 Improved Sunder, +3 Greater Magic Weapon, +2 Furious, +2 minimum on the d20 = 45 minimum check. That's enough to outright dispel a CL 20 spell effect, or any spell on a creature with CMD 30 or less (by comparison, a CR 19 master universalist (http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/npcCodex/core/wizard.html) has a CMD of 25.
However, I think that I could substitute the Strength Surge power with the dueling ability and still get a minimum 42 on the check (-13 Strength Surge, +10 Dueling since the weapon enhancement would be +5 with furious). Once I get that ability, I'll retrain Strength Surge for something else!
|Grizzly the Archer|
There are creatures with CMD into the high 50's or even 60's. The cr 19 with CMD 25'is EXTREMELY LOW. Also, cruel isn't that great since that damage you take from it can't be reduced by your DR from the barbarian class.
So even a CMD 55 monster, with a spell casted on it that's another +5 to its CMD. You en need another +10 to fully dispell. That makes it a CMD 70 you need to hit.
Strength surge is awesome. Get it whenever you can.
Yeah, with dueling and strength surge, I can hit a +78 bonus on sundering attempts at level 20. I thought it was overkill, but better safe than sorry!
I missed the cruel point.
I'll make an example.
Let's say an enemy normally hits you for 30 damage. Your 13/- damage reduction lowers that damage to 17. If that enemy is sickened, he'd only deal 28 damage instead of 30, and your DR would lower said damage further to 15.
That's what I mean when I say that the cruel property effectively adds a stacking 2/- to your damage reduction.
|Grizzly the Archer|
+20 Strength Surge
+16 Str mod (19 base, +4 levelup, +11 mighty rage + Courageous weapon, +6 belt, +2 enlarge person)
+1 weapon focus (Opalescent White Pyramid Ioun Stone + Wayfinder)
+7 weapon enhancement (+5 + Furious weapon)
+4 morale (Flawed Pale Green Prism Ioun Stone + Courageous weapon)
+2 Improved Sunder
+1 Bred for War
+1 large size
+86 total bonus
+1 crowd control (Urban Barbarian)
+6 reckless abandon (but I normally don't use it)
+1 luck (prayer?)
My +78 was with a simplified calculation taking into account limited equipment, but I made some errors, should have been +80 (no enlarge person and no pale green stone).
|Grizzly the Archer|
Greater sunder seems a wasted feat for just another +2... or is the added effect particularly nice in your experience?
I can't find the devastating blows trait. Care to post a link please?
I didn't know about the gauntlets of skilled maneuver, I'll add them to the build, thanks!
Mighty rage was already accounted for, actually.
I now remember that I forgot to add +4 on Strength Surge (headband of havoc).
So that +86 could easily become +92
|Grizzly the Archer|
Greater sunder has it's uses. In a full out battle, the +2 helps. But as for the effect for armor, shields, and such it's better to do straight damage to the enemy. The only reason to even consider using the greater rage ability of damaging the armor and such and then do damage after that is not good for helping out your party hit the enemies harder. My ou can help destroy some of the armor/shields giving them a better AC or CMD and that helps your party, and you hit more frequently. The thing is is that you have to make sure it makes logical sense to do that vs. straight damage. 99% of the time I've witnessed, pure damage is better, unless vs a heavily armored opponent where most of your party has trouble hitting them. Then destroying their defenses makes more sense.
Yeah, so it's not the ability to deal exceeding damage to the enemy, but just that +2. Thing is, by the time I can afford the feat in my build, my bonus is so high using Strength Surge (not earlier than level 15), that +2 is moot.
My reasoning behind Improved Sunder is similar. I don't take it for the +2, but to avoid drawing AoOs, since they would increase the sunder DC by the damage dealt. Sure, the +2 helps, but it's not the reason I take the feat.
In fact, I don't think I'll ever use sunder to destroy armors or shields. Scrolls, potions, wands, weapons, quivers, rings, spell component pouches and other "fragile" items, on the other hands, can be a tactical gain against a clever opponent.