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(Advice) How's this for a Kitsune Swashbuckler build?


Advice


Yet another thread on this class/race combo? You betcha!

Sometime in the future, my group will most likely begin the Skulls & Shackles AP. I have only played pathfinder for about a year. In this time I've gotten to roll dice for support, caster, debuff and sneaky themed characters. This time I wanted to go full melee. Seeing as how foxes are my favourite animal and how I usually end up filling the role of the party face (despite previous characters lacking in the charisma department) I was delighted to see that the Kitsune could play to both of my interests. The obvious choice was to go for the Swashbuckler.

The idea is to make your typical outcast turned romantic, eccentric adventurer & gentleman bandit. Made for social skills, but might also be able to skill monkey into a few handy professions.

We're playing with a preset stat distribution of 15, 14, 13, 12, 10 and 8. With racial modifiers applied, I was thinking of distributing them as this:

Str 10 (-0) Dex 17 (+3) Con 14 (+2) Wis 10 (+0) Int 8 (-1) Cha 15 (+2)

The reason Wis is so low, is because I'll be taking the feat "Steadfast Personality" by level 3 which will allow me to use Cha for the will saves instead of Wis. I'm also selecting the shifting mind racial ability which gives +2 to will saves. I'm also asking my GM for permission to use the Earthkin Kitsune which grants me one Hp and one sp for every level in exchange for agile (+2 to acrobatics)

I am open for redistributing these, of course.

Traits:
Strong Swimmer: Needed something to combat the horrible strength stat, in case I fall in the water
Childhood crush: Mostly for flavor, but it also lends me an incidental chance to get +1 to saves. Trait is tweaked to concern any person he develops a crush on, which is safe to say, quite a few.

I have selected a drawback which nets me one more trait. Open for suggestions.

I was planning on going for the common Inspired Blade archetype, in order to be set with weapon focus (rapier) from the start. As I'm not really a fan of the dandy swordsmen type, I've been permitted to tweak the archetype to revolve around a d6 slashing sword with slashing grace in stead to invoke the menacing swift blade-slasher. Been watching Samurai Jack, okay? Relax, no katanas, though =P

Progression I had in mind:
1 [Finnese, Focus: d6 slashing sword] Slashing Grace
2
3 Steadfast Personality
4 Bonus: Combat Reflexes, +1 dex
5 [Improved critical d6 slashing sword] Outflank (Teamwork feat which the fighter might also take.) If not, suggestions? Battle Cry?
6
7 Swift Kitsune Shapechanger
8 Bonus: Agile Maneuvers, +1 Cha
9 ???
10
11 Vulpine Pounce
12-20 ???

As you all can see, this is not a complete build. I'm open to suggestion, whether it's about any glaring mistakes I have made or obvious opportunities I have missed. I'm even open to multiclass suggestions.

Grand Lodge

With a 6 Str, you will only be able to carry 20 lbs before you are encumbered. Clothing, a weapon, and leather armor will put you at medium encumbrance causing you some pretty nasty negative effects (Max Dex bonus caps at +3 with medium encumbrance, -3 to most of your rolls, and reduced movement speed)

Unless you are playing in a game where encumbrance isn't used, in which case carry on.


Thank you for mentioning that! Encumbrance is fairly often ignored, though we tend to take restrained movement into consideration.

That being said, I have never had to work with -2 str penalty and haven't really gotten to the part where I've asked my GM what his thoughts are on it. I was actually not aware of how severe it could get.

Alternately I could switch the stats for Int (The only other stat I think I'm capable of dumping) and Str around, so I'll have a 10 in Str and 8 in int. It does hurt the whole SP pooling I was going for, but if Earthkin Kitsune is allowed then I won't suffer too much from it.

Grand Lodge

The only time I personally ever dump Str below 10 is on a small sized character (all the weights for their gear are halved), or on a pure caster who doesn't wear armor, and only has minimal gear.


Very True. I'll edit it. Thank you!

Now I'm only hoping I could reel in some feat suggestions/replacements (?)

Maybe I'll be best off just investing in extra panache.


Lunge could be a handy feat to have. Equipment Trick (boots) to be able to change direction during a charge could also be useful. If you want to dabble in combat maneuvers (not focus, you don't have enough feats free for that) Dirty Fighting is decent.

Extra Panache is good too of course.

Shadow Lodge

There's a trait that does 90% of what steadfast personality does for a feat.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If you haven't done so yet, check out this guide.

An In-Depth Guide To The Pathfinder Swashbuckler

Lots of good advice in there :)


As a kitsune, I recccomend you check out the realistic likeness feat, it is very helpful for being a face.


Also irrepressible is the trait that was spoken of, and it's cha to will against charm and compulsion only.

Shadow Lodge

BeastMasterFTW wrote:
Also irrepressible is the trait that was spoken of, and it's cha to will against charm and compulsion only.

as opposed to mind effecting spells

Mind effective spells that aren't charms and compulsions is.. what. Phantasmal killer?

Silver Crusade

Encumbrance can be easily solved with Heaviload Belt, Muleback Cords or an allied spellcaster casting Ant Haul. Ant Haul is the best option: it's a 1st level spell available to all casters, lasting 2h per level.

If you're going to be the only face in the group, in a campaign with lots of social interactions, consider taking the Magical Tail feat twice to get Charm Person as a spell like ability with scaling DC (eventually I'd take it until I get Invisibility).

Finally, Agile Maneuvers is useless for maneuvers you perform using your weapon, that is disarm, trip and sunder, since you already apply Dex to the roll through Weapon Finesse. Since I assume you won't go around grappling or overrunning, you can avoid taking it.


Bumping this thread, as I had a new idea for this build.

I've been thinking of multi-classing out of Swashbuckler as I'm not sure if the archetype (Inspired blade) will benefit me past 5 levels (netting me the improved critical feat for free). As I'd like to stick with light armored melee, I thought that the Urban Barbarian might be a more viable option in the longer run, perhaps dipping 1 level as early as level two.

The inspired blade archetype has been refluffed to revolve around shortswords instead of rapiers, which will make Piranha strike a possible option, as short swords counts as a light weapon if I'm not mistaken.

Progression I had in mind:

Kitsune Inspired "shortsword" 5/Urban Barbarian X

str: 10, dex: 17, con: 14, int: 8, wis: 10, cha: 15

1 Swash: [Finnese, Focus: d6 shortsword] Slashing Grace
2 UrBarb: Controlled rage (more dex and the calmness to use deeds)
3 Swash: Feat: Piranha Strike
4 Swash: +1 Dex
5 Swash: Bonus: Combat Reflexes, Feat: Outflank, possibly.
6 Swash: [Improved critical d6 short sword]
7 -> Urbarb.

I wanted to go into Urbarb early on to get the rage mechanic, but also to unlock perception as a class skill. I had previously invested in a trait to cover perception, but I'll replace it with the previously suggested "Irrepressible" trait to amp my poor will save.

I'll still be setting myself up for Vulpine Pounce feat-wise. I will need advice on rage powers though as I'm fairly new to the barbarian class. Could this work? And whatmore, would it improve on the previous build?


Yes, it can work, and it's probably stronger than a pure swashbuckler.

Personally I'd prefer urban bloodrager to urban barbarian - fast movement seems more useful than crowd control. If you want rage powers rather than the bloodrager bloodline powers, the primalist archetype can be used with urban bloodrager. Either works though.

For rage powers you might look at the intimidate-based powers, impelling disarm (appropriate for a swashbuckler), reckless abandon (a bonus to attack/penalty to AC works well with your opportune parry), perhaps lesser elemental totem (water) & its successors.

If you'd rather a bloodrager bloodline - arcane or destined are useful, elemental (water) might be more relevant than usual at sea.


Thank you, avr! In all humbleness, I'm really grateful for that you once again have provided me with insightful nods towards build options!

Bloodrager is definitely an interesting option considering how my race and class already has me locked into a nice charisma score and kitsunes are thematically adept with magic, anyways. The fast movement and bloodline feats are also a nice sales pitch. Though, I'm wondering if spells, which won't come in til lvl 8 at the current build will really have much going for it at that point? Haven't really looked much into the arcane spell list and I assume they don't have much on par with the self buffs you'll find with say, clerics.

Urban Barbarian has that high HD though, and I'm kind of in love with the idea that the tiny Kitsune will be the party member who'll be able to take the most hits for the foreseeable future. Though the trade off for less HP with spells and the possibility of keeping rage powers might be more profitable in the long run. This is really something I must consider :P


Like I said, either works. The bloodrager spellcasting is neligible with that delay, you're right. You'd take advantage of it to be able to use wands and scrolls (from level 2) rather than directly casting really.

Some such spells -
1: infernal healing, long arm, reduce person, touch of the sea, maybe mage armor
2: quick change, see invisibility, ablative barrier, mirror image
3: fly, haste, heroism, versatile weapon


I've noticed that Urban Barbarian stacks with the Invulnerable rager archetype. It also stacks with Superstitious, but seeing as the AC bonuses won't come in til lvl 8 and scale each 3d level, I don't think it's really that much profit to be gained at this point.

InvRage, on the other hand, would net me DR/- from lvl 7 unless I multiclass further into Barb before completing the five levels of Swash. Not too sure, though, as I'd like to get the improved critical as soon as possible. It seems like it would scale at every lvl I don't get a rage power as it replaces Uncanny Dodge, Trap Sense, Improved Uncanny Dodge and merges with the regular DR meaning I would have DR +4/- at lvl 11.

DR/- is always a good thing, but I'm wondering if versatility from Uncanny Dodge, Trap Sense, Improved Uncanny Dodge might be more worth it here, considering the type of campaign we're in?

My AC by level 7, not considering the possible rings of protection the party may come by (which would probably be snagged by the token party mage) wouldn't be more than 19-20 (21-22 when raging, possibly more with crowd control). That's your typical light armor + 4 dex + 1 nimble +1 buckler. While not necessarily bad, it's not really good considering how much time I'd be spending in melee. Here's hoping we find something to boost dex.

TLDR: Would I benefit more from DR/- coming in at 7 with a decently paced scaling from thereon to an average AC, or Uncanny Dodge/Improved Uncanny Dodge coming in at 7th and 10th respectively?

Writing it out, I think I already know the answer. Crowd Control should help me out at least a little bit where flanking is involved and my perception should be fairly high due to a trait bonus. Invulnerable Urban Barbarian seems like a safe bet to multiclass into.

As for rage powers; Impelling Disarm seems too fun not to take at 9th. Great suggestion! It would be either that or Guarded life for the auto-stabilize. I'm wondering if investing in rage powers that could help me out in areas where melee characters usually struggle might be a good idea. Supersitition -> Ghost rager to be able to hit incorporeal creatures for instance?


The combo Kitsune and Swashbuckler is something I've looked at also. I came to this conclusion:

favored class: Swashbuckler: Increase the total number of points in the swashbuckler’s panache pool by 1/4.
racial talent: Skilled: Some kitsune focus on diversifying their skill set in order to better blend in with their human peers. They gain an additional skill rank at 1st level and one additional skill rank whenever they gain a level. This racial trait replaces agile and kitsune magic.

trait 1: (combat) Slippery - +1 to stealth and it becomes a class skill.
trait 2: (magic) Dangerously Curious - +1 bonus to Use Magic Device, and it becomes a class skill.

1st Feat: Weapon Focus (Rapier)
2nd
3rd Feat: Fencing Grace
4th Bonus feat: Weapon Specialization (4, weapon focus)
5th Feat: Combat Reflexes
6th
7th Feat: Swift Kitsune Shapechanger (6)
8th Bonus feat: Greater Weapon Focus (8)
9th Feat: Critical Focus (9)
10th
11th Feat: Vulpine Pounce (10)
12th Bonus feat: Greater Weapon Specialization (12)
13th Feat: Staggering Critical (13)
14th
15th Feat: Signature Deed (Dizzying Defense)
16th Bonus feat: osyluth guile (8) (retrain greater weapon specialization to dodge)
17th Feat: Stunning Critical (17)
18th
19th Feat: signature deed (dodging panache)
20th Bonus feat: Steadfast Personality


Trying to look a bit further into my build suggestion.

Kitsune Inspired "shortsword" 5/Invulnerable Urban Barbarian X

My GM is okay with treating the rapier as a shortsword in name only, which would allow me to benefit from the rapiers crit range. I'm crossing my fingers that he'll be okay treating it as a light weapon also, which would allow for Piranha Strike.

str: 10, dex: 17, con: 14, int: 8, wis: 10, cha: 15

1 Swash: [Finesse, Focus: d6 shortsword], Feat: Slashing Grace
2 InvUrBarb: [Controlled rage (more dex and the calmness to use deeds), Crowd Control (+1 AB/+1 AC when flanked, +1/2 lvl to intimidate)]
3 Swash: [Cha to save 3/day] Feat: Combat Reflexes/Piranha Strike (If permitted to treat as light weapon),
4 Swash: +1 Dex, Nimble AC+1
5 Swash: Bonus: Combat Reflexes/Agile Maneuvers, Feat: Outflank/Extra Panache.
6 Swash: [Weapon Training: Improved critical 16-20, +1 AB/+2 dmg]
7 InvUrbarb: [DR +1/-,] Rage Power: Guarded Life, Feat: Swift Kitsune Shapechanger
8 InvUrBarb: [Extreme Endurance: Fire res +1]
9 InvUrBarb: [Swash Weapon training: AB +2/Dmg +3, DR+2/-] Rage Power: Impelling Disarm (Reason why I took agile maneuvers), Feat: Critical Focus (+4 to crit confirm)
10 InvUrbarb: -
11 InvUrBarb: [DR +3/-] Rage Power: Superstition, Feat: Vulpine Pounce

- I may not be completely sold on the rage powers. Since the Barbarian levels will be ticking in at a late point in the game, I'm not sure if I should invest in the scaling rage powers (lesser, greater etc.) or rather focus on the decent stand alone rage powers that gives immediate helpful bonuses. Impelling disarm seems fun, but provided I won't be allowed to take piranha strike, I'll need to burn a feat on agile maneuvers to make it work. Another rage power/feat might be worth it more.

- It might not be an optimized build, but it will sure be a fun build. Dmg won't be too bad either. At lvl 9, given that I'll be permitted Piranha Strike, a successful Attack might look like this:

D6 + 6 rage dex + 5 precise strike + 4 Piranha Strike +3 Weapon Training = d6 + 18 dmg as a single attack with a high chance of critting which would mean that every variable except for precise strike is doubled. I might want to invest in rage powers that further augment the dmg possibilities. Or possibly something that gives me more AC.

Potentially; a successful full round attack where both attacks crit would be: 4D6 + 24 rage dex + 10 Precise strike + 16 Piranha Strike + 12 Weapon training = 4 d6 + 62 dmg.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
BeastMasterFTW wrote:
Also irrepressible is the trait that was spoken of, and it's cha to will against charm and compulsion only.

as opposed to mind effecting spells

Mind effective spells that aren't charms and compulsions is.. what. Phantasmal killer?

There are actually a lot.

Color Spray, Hypnotic Pattern, Rainbow Pattern, Scintillating Pattern, Cause Fear, Fear, Doom, Psychic Crush, Scare, etc.

(There are several dozen, actually, but I just picked out a few good ones from the Illusion and Necromancy schools.)

Shadow Lodge

Saldiven wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
BeastMasterFTW wrote:
Also irrepressible is the trait that was spoken of, and it's cha to will against charm and compulsion only.

as opposed to mind effecting spells

Mind effective spells that aren't charms and compulsions is.. what. Phantasmal killer?

There are actually a lot.

Color Spray, Hypnotic Pattern, Rainbow Pattern, Scintillating Pattern, Cause Fear, Fear, Doom, Psychic Crush, Scare, etc.

(There are several dozen, actually, but I just picked out a few good ones from the Illusion and Necromancy schools.)

fear and.. causing your party to have to smack you upside the head. VERY much worth it to save a feat.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
BeastMasterFTW wrote:
Also irrepressible is the trait that was spoken of, and it's cha to will against charm and compulsion only.

as opposed to mind effecting spells

Mind effective spells that aren't charms and compulsions is.. what. Phantasmal killer?

There are actually a lot.

Color Spray, Hypnotic Pattern, Rainbow Pattern, Scintillating Pattern, Cause Fear, Fear, Doom, Psychic Crush, Scare, etc.

(There are several dozen, actually, but I just picked out a few good ones from the Illusion and Necromancy schools.)

fear and.. causing your party to have to smack you upside the head. VERY much worth it to save a feat.

Color Spray and Scintillating Pattern render the targets helpless, and vulnerable to coup de grace.

The third level spell Synesthesia is a 3rd level spell that is a ridiculous debuff (20% miss chance, move at half speed, -4 to AC/Reflex/Skills, and requires concentration check to cast spells).

Paranoia functions like a more consistently negative affecting Confusion, without being a Compulsion effect.

Wall of Nausea causes the nausea status.

You mention Phantasmal Killer, but there is also Weird that is a multi-target Phantasmal Killer.

These are just ones from Illusion that I found interesting. I don't feel like looking for more examples.

There are plenty of strong mind-affecting spells that are neither compulsion nor charm.

Shadow Lodge

Saldiven wrote:
There are plenty of strong mind-affecting spells that are neither compulsion nor charm.

they aren't nearly numerous or more importantly, common enough to justify burning a feat rather than a trait.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
There are plenty of strong mind-affecting spells that are neither compulsion nor charm.
they aren't nearly numerous or more importantly, common enough to justify burning a feat rather than a trait.

Monsters using fear effects are pretty common, aren't they? The charms are often more how the monster does its terrible deeds against the unsuspecting rather than something they use in combat.

Different games I guess.


Sorry, guys! I'm bumping this thread again, as I'm yet again looking for some advice. Especially from you who have played barbarians before.

I've currently began playing the above mentioned Kitsune Swashbuckler. For the time being, he's a Swashbuckler (Inspired Blade) 1/Barbarian (Serene Barbarian) 1.

Info: A Serene Barbarian's "rage boosts" dex and wis as opposed to str and con, and gives a +2 to all saves. It might sound a little too good, but our GM tends to mercilessly buff Adventure path encounters, and has already granted 3rd party features to the other characters, so it's all good. http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/barbarian/archetypes/4-winds-f antasy-gaming-barbarian-archetypes/serene-barbarian/

His first six levels have been planned, and are as follows:

1 Swash: [Weapon Finesse & Focus] Feat: Slashing Grace (dex to dmg)
2 Barb: [Serenity] (more dex to dmg + crazy good saves for lvl 2)
3 Swash: [Cha to save 3/day] Feat: Piranha Strike (even more dmg)
4 Swash: [More swash deeds] +1 Dex, Nimble AC+1
5 Swash: Bonus: Combat Reflexes Feat: Extra Panache
6 Swash: [Weapon Training: Improved critical 15-20, +1 AB/+2 dmg] (Even more dmg and crit potential!)

From hereon I will level in Barbarian exclusively, making this a Swash 5/Barb X build. My questions are as follows:

1) I've been thinking of stacking Serene Barbarian with Invulnerable Rager. Seeing as my second Barb level will come in at lvl 7, I still have some time to decide. Would I benefit more from Damage reduction at this point, or would the vanilla Uncanny dodge be a better route? We're playing Skulls and shackles which means there will be plenty of enemy rogues.

2) Rage powers. I have no clue. Never played a barbarian before, and the rage powers will come in late in the game. I've already concluded that the ones that stack (lesser, greater etc) probably isn't the best horse to bet on, seeing as level progression will have slowed considerably at this point. Which rage powers give nice stand alone bonuses?


At 7th level DR 1/- is a very small proportion of the damage per hit that you take. Similarly DR 2/- at 9th, DR 3/- at 11th etc. Uncanny dodge would be better IMO.

For the rage powers you might aim at the more swashbuckler-y ones like impelling disarm or good for what ails you. Alternately there's a few rage power chains without level limits, e.g. moment of clarity/perfect clarity/ultimate clarity.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Is the Serene archetype a third party? I can't find it on Nethys.
There is the "Urban Barbarian" that when raging, gets +4 to a physical stat.


avr wrote:

At 7th level DR 1/- is a very small proportion of the damage per hit that you take. Similarly DR 2/- at 9th, DR 3/- at 11th etc. Uncanny dodge would be better IMO.

For the rage powers you might aim at the more swashbuckler-y ones like impelling disarm or good for what ails you. Alternately there's a few rage power chains without level limits, e.g. moment of clarity/perfect clarity/ultimate clarity.

My initial thought was that DR/- seems to tick in at that point for vanilla barbarians, anyway. Though Vanilla barbs, already have uncanny dodge, so.. Yeah, it might not be such an investment, after all. Maybe I should look for an archetype that solely replaces trap sense. Though, I doubt there is such as thing.

I've noted impelling disarm from your previous suggestion. It really is a nice suggestion. My CMB will only benefit from my BAB, sadly. I wasn't able to make room for "Agile Maneuvers" in my feat progression, unless I skip Extra Panache. Though it might still be a worthwhile pick. I don't think the five levels of Swashbuckler will help me in the disarm department, though.

Seeing as the Serene Barbarian only disallows int-based skills, magic and the ability to communicate, while boosting Wis-based skills by two and raising my will saves by +4, I'm not sure if moment of clarity is that beneficial.

Going with the disarm route, I could look for something that boosts CMB, or maybe even Strength to help with the disarming.

Selvaxri wrote:

Is the Serene archetype a third party? I can't find it on Nethys.

There is the "Urban Barbarian" that when raging, gets +4 to a physical stat.

I believe it is. 4 Winds Fantasy gaming. I found it here: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/barbarian/archetypes/4-winds-f antasy-gaming-barbarian-archetypes/serene-barbarian/


Moment of clarity is no big deal, though the ability to communicate without crashing out of rage might be useful to you. The payoff is at ultimate clarity when you get (effectively) true seeing for a round.

Other such chains - raging leaper/(raging flyer, bestial leaper); reckless abandon/inspire ferocity; a whole mess surrounding renewed vigor.

If you chose quick reflexes you might find the combat reflexes feat unnecessary, so you could squeeze in agile maneuvers or something.

Considering how defensive the serene bonuses are you might like the savage intuition or flight response rage powers.

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