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Hand of the apprentice optimization


Advice


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Im making a build arround Hand of the apprentice (universalist school) just for fun and to see my friends face when i tell them im a wizard with lots of strenght and a big stupid greataxe.
The build so far is simple: Half orc (gives greataxe and falchion weapon prof) with tons of strenght and int. The damage must rely on the greataxe (at least the first levels, while i dont have much spells)
Point blank shot, toughness, weapon focus and arcane strike seems good feats to start.
Any advice to make this more viable? Any way to gain more uses of the hand of apprentice or improve it in any way?


First the Ability is a ranged attack. (not even a touch..ouch) So if you plan to use this then you will be throwing it into melee. So your going to have to have Precise Shot. Which is not bad since most rays and ranged touch attacks can benefit from the feat as well.

Next I believe the ability will need special weapon(s) to be good. Maybe craft Arms and Armor might be good for making Bane weapons of all types. Start throwing around Bane or holy weapons will help make an impact. But then again you may want to just make 1 big F- Axe. Adamantine is a good material to have around and to make a mega weapon out of. You can use it to chop open doors and to hit Golems with, which golems tend to be a wizard's bane.

You will want to put Greater Magic weapon on it to give it a better chance to hit and damage so pick some enchants that will give the Weapon some punch.

Cruel comes to mind if you use a spell before launch to activate the Property.

Later other spells can be of use like a Lesser Rime Rod and Icicle Dagger can Entangle a Foe when they hit.

Hope you find this helpful. You should use a Cantrip for the first few levels for damage as well.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As for gaining more uses:

Your attack bonus and number of uses for Hand of the Apprentice are both based on your intelligence, so anything that boosts you intelligence also boosts that ability.

There is also the 3rd party feat "Extra Use".

That said -- if all you want out of the wizard class is this ability, you may want to multiclass out of it into a full (or at least better) BAB class as soon as possible since wizard levels past 1st do not contribute to this ability at all. If you only go with 1-2 caster levels, you should select a couple of 1st level spells that are not adversely affected by armor (because they lack somatic components or they have such a long duration that you can cast them during downtime).


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oops -- I missed a major way you can gain more uses per day of Hand of the Apprentice.

As a Half-Orc, your character counts as human for all effects, so he qualifies for the Racial Heritage feat.

At 1st level, take that feat and select either Elf or Gnome as your race for that feat.

You can now take the favored class bonus for your selected race, which in this case is 1/2 extra use of a school ability that can be used 3 + Int mod times per day. Thus, at every even wizard level, you gain an extra use of that ability.

Then follow Louise Bishop's suggestions for making that ability more effective as you gain more wizard levels.

Dark Archive

To maintain the Wizard image, you could also look at the Sword Binder archetype from Arcane Anthology. It is an archetype that specializes in Hand of the Apprentice. You gain extra uses as you level, and eventually can use it to deliver spells. You also gain proficiency with 1 sword of choice, and it becomes your Arcane Bond. You do have to give up your Arcane School, which kinda stings.

If you want to drop the Wizard image, there is also a Paladin archetype which has the ability": the Mind Sword. The ability is keyed to Charisma instead of Intelligence and capable of full attacking with the thrown weapon.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I forgot about that archetype. Between that and the FCB I originally forgot about, you are effectively gaining an extra use of Hand of the Apprentice every level. I think my first post is now mostly negated except for the part about boosting intelligence.


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Bazaku Ambrosuis wrote:
Any advice to make this more viable?

Sadly, this is a joke novelty build. There are just way too many downsides with being a Universalist, and with equal optimization Hand of the Apprentice is comparable to a composite longbow attack... except that a longbow attack doesn't have limited uses per day and doesn't lock you into the worst specialization option.

Also, the Sword Binder is a terrible archetype. You lose our on all arcane school options, including the Metamagic Mastery ability that most universalists get, you're stuck with a sword as your bonded item, and the abilities it offers range from circumstantial to straight up bad. I also want to take a moment to emphasis just how catastrophic a downside it is to bond to a weapon. You basically cannot cast spells without your bonded item equipped, and to equip a weapon it must be drawn. This functionally prevents you from casting spells in a social situation, and leaves you very vulnerable to having this critical item disarmed. Even worse, this means you only have one free hand to cast spells with somatic components, meaning you cannot carry or equip another item while casting such spells. This functionally prevents you from making use of metamagic rods, while also making wands and other miscellaneous items impractical for you. The ability to deliver touch spells through Hand of the Apprentice sounds cool, but you're turning a touch attack into a ranged attack, which lowers its accuracy substantially in most cases. As a 1/2 BAB class trading accuracy for damage is generally not a good trade for you, and it's hit or miss (no pun intended) depending on the situation as to whether this is any benefit at all. Given that this is literally the only meaningful benefit you get from this archetype, it cannot possibly compensate for the massive disadvantages it incurs.

/rant -> I actually love the flavor of Hand of the Apprentice and was really disappointed that an opportunity to fix the ability was squandered this badly.


Delivering a spell at five is still a touch, unless after 8 you want to try for physical damage too

Pick an 18-20 crit range sword, could be interesting for some touch spells

Build is still a full wizard, so calling it a joke novelty is a bit much. You could take all class features but spells away from a wiz and still can't call it a joke


plaidwandering wrote:
Delivering a spell at five is still a touch, unless after 8 you want to try for physical damage too

It lets you add the enhancement bonus of your weapon and use your intelligence modifier instead of dexterity modifier to hit, so this should amount to somewhere between +4 to +6 to hit depending on your exact numbers. That's decent, but given that you're trading off pretty much all your class features and it eats into a limited usage per day ability it's a fairly tame effect.

Quote:
Build is still a full wizard, so calling it a joke novelty is a bit much.

Fair enough; you're still a Wizard and you're correct that wizard spellcasting on its own even without any class features whatsoever is still dangerous. To be more apt, I would say that even with optimization the Hand of the Apprentice ability is a novelty.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Occultist 1/wizard (sword binder) 8/eldritch knight X. Occultist for armor (Magical Knack (Wizard) trait and Arcane Armor Training at occultist 1/wizard 2; retrain Arcane Armor Training to Quicken Spell at occultist 1/wizard 8/eldritch knight 2 on gaining 5th-level spells) and martial weapon proficiency, plus the Transmutation implement school ("free" +2 to one ability score and Legacy Weapon); possibly with Abjuration and a buckler (shield, can still use hand for casting) for the Trappings of the Warrior panoply. Sword binder 8 for ranged sword attack (falchion or katana, perhaps) with a spell rider effect. Eldritch knight for increased BAB and continuing wizard spell progression.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Alternately, paladin (mind sword) 2/magus (myrmidarch) X could work as a more martial option; a bit MAD, though.


Quote:
The ability to deliver touch spells through Hand of the Apprentice sounds cool, but you're turning a touch attack into a ranged attack, which lowers its accuracy substantially in most cases.

You can use Hand of the Apprentice to deliver Touch attacks? I don't get that from reading the description.


Only in the archetype linked above


Jarrahkin wrote:
You can use Hand of the Apprentice to deliver Touch attacks? I don't get that from reading the description.

The Sword Binder archetype lets you do this, which is what we were talking about.


Sorry, realised that after I posted and went looking for it, but the site glitched becore I could edit/amend.

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