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Samurai builds these days? (PFS)


Advice

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So, I'm not familiar with playing melee frontliners but I'm interested in making a Samurai themed frontliner/tank. Searching the forums for Samurai info I wasn't able to find much recent tank of the class. What's the best way to build a 2handed Katana wielder these days?

I'm guessing either:

1) Full Vanilla Samurai build
2) 8 Yojimbo Samurai / 3 Weapon Master Fighter
* I'm assuming the weapon training ability from Weapon Master works with Gloves of Dueling?

Guidance please?


I like the sword saint, with either warrior or ronin. One gives a lot of rerolls for important rolls the other some decent dr.

A valiant weapon and champion armour on a tunic of deadly might along with chaining challenge feat and that one feat that gives temp hp with resolve being spent (that can be taken many times) will make a hell of a wall. You'll have heavy damage and ways around debuffs on you.

Grand Lodge

I don't believe chain challenge is pfs legal, unfortunately.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I'm a huge fan of the yojimbo, but that's probably more personal style than anything else - I love Bodyguard and other tanking shenanigans. ^_^

(It also doesn't hurt that it feeds into one of my favorite combos: Shield Brace + nodachi and/or naginata. That's even more impressive on a fighter, though, I suppose.)


I second Kalindara on the Yojimbo. Imo it's a clear step up from the Standard Samurai.

Sovereign Court

So a Yojimbo 8 / Weapon Master 3 combo gives access to Weapon Training for Gloves of Dueling and the Fighter levels stack with Armor Training granted from Yojimbo we get the best of both world while maintaining the Samurai's specials?

TWF Wakazashi:

Class – Yojimbo Samurai 8 / Weapon Master Fighter 3
Race – Human
Alignment – CN
Deity - Lamashtu (Access to Destroy Identity feat)
Traits – Defender of the Society, Adopted: Helpful

Stats -
Str: 17 (15+2)
Dex: 17 (15+2)
Con: 14
Int: 10
Wis: 12
Cha: 9

1) Fighter 1: Bab +1 | TWF (lvl 1), Weapon Focus: Wakazashi (Fighter)
2) Samurai 1: Bab +2 |
3) Samurai 2: Bab +3 | Power Attack (lvl 3)
4) Samurai 3: Bab +4 | +1 Str
5) Samurai 4: Bab +5 | PBS (lvl 5), Bodyguard (Samurai)
6) Fighter 2: Bab +6/+1 | ITWF (Fighter)
7) Fighter 3: Bab +7/+2 | Rapid Shot (lvl 7)
8) Samurai 5: Bab +8 /+3 | +1 Str
9) Samurai 6: Bab +9/+4 | Imp Crit: Wakazashi (lvl 9), Critical Focus (Samurai)
10) Samurai 7: Bab +10/+5 |
11) Samurai 8: Bab +11/+6/+1 | Destroy Identity (lvl 11)

2Handed Katana:

Stats -
Str: 18 (15+2)
Dex: 17 (15+2)
Con: 14
Int: 10
Wis: 12
Cha: 9

Class – Yojimbo Samurai 8 / Weapon Master Fighter 3
Race – Human
Alignment – CN
Deity - Lamashtu (Access to Destroy Identity feat)
Traits – Defender of the Society, Adopted: Helpful

1) Fighter 1: Bab +1 | Combat Reflexes (lvl 1), PBS (human), Power Attack (Fighter)
2) Samurai 1: Bab +2 |
3) Samurai 2: Bab +3 | Rapid Shot (lvl 3)
4) Samurai 3: Bab +4 | +1 Str
5) Samurai 4: Bab +5 | Cut from the Air (lvl 5), Bodyguard (Samurai)
6) Fighter 2: Bab +6/+1 | Difficult Swings (Fighter)
7) Fighter 3: Bab +7/+2 | Weapon Focus: Katana (lvl 7)
8) Samurai 5: Bab +8 /+3 | +1 Str
9) Samurai 6: Bab +9/+4 | Imp Crit: Katana (lvl 9), Critical Focus (Samurai)
10) Samurai 7: Bab +10/+5 |
11) Samurai 8: Bab +11/+6/+1 | Destroy Identity (lvl 11)

Since I have Weapon Training via Weapon Master archetype I should qualify for Difficult Swings and Cut from the Air in the 2hand build right?

Which seems more put together? I figured both should have PBS, Rapid Shot so I kind-of double as a switch hitter vs flying or ranged. Is PBS + Rapid Shot enough?


I don't think weapon master will stack for counting fighter levels for Armor Training because it never gets Armor Training.

Overall I don't think the fighter dip is worth it at all. If you pick up an Order that grants an attack Bonus on challenge (Dragon/Green) you are getting more DPR out of staying straight Samuarai.

Also consider going Dwarf for the FCB. At mid Levels it's a huge boost to DPR and easily beats humans for DPR. Also as a front line martial with a slow WIL save Progression you really need boosts to saves. Resolve alone won't cut it.

The Two handed build is actually better served by using a no-dachi. Also growing to large is pretty big if you have combat Reflexes and a d10 weapon. I suggest the fast drinker trait and a handful of potions.

Sovereign Court

Alex Mack wrote:
I don't think weapon master will stack for counting fighter levels for Armor Training because it never gets Armor Training.

Armor Training:
Yeah, I'm not sure because Yojimbo's Armor Training says it counts their Samurai levels as Fighter levels. So you have 3 levels of Fighter, but no access to Armor Training, and then gain 8 levels of Fighter levels via Yojimbo and access to Armor Training. Armor Training bonus is determined by your Fighter level. I'd think it would count....but if not, I'll still have normal speed in Heavy Armor after 7 Samurai levels. :)

The 3 levels of Fighter dip gives Weapon Training, which allows Gloves of Dueling to benefit me. That's a constant +3hit/+3dmg. I also should have access to Advanced Weapon Training feats, which I'm curious on whether Difficult Swings, Targetted Blow, Devastating Attack, or Cut from the Air are worth getting. It's also 2 free feats.

Dwarves are not my thing, I'm willing to go Human or Half-Elf, +human allows the adopted trait to pickup Helpful to boost Bodyguard's usefulness. Helpful trait and Order of the Dragon don't stack...which allows me to pick another Order while Bodyguard gets a boost.

Yeah I think my Will save is roughly a 6 or so at 11th level. It's not good but I'm not sure what feats to throw out.

I forgot about the no-dachi, since Yojimbo doesn't give any benefit for Katana I may as well go no-dachi instead. Thanks. :)

Do I have enough invested in range to make it a valid option as a last resort or am I missing an important feat?


So a few things:

If you were a regular fighter from Level 3 onward your fighter and Samurai Levels would stack.

Order of the Dragon and Yojimbo stack with each other. Helpful stacks with neither.

More Levels of Cavalier are still better than fighter and gloves of duelling (a 15k item that in the PFS Level range will lead you from buying other DPR relvant things) because you get more challenges per day and +3 damage per challenge.

The main reason for picking order of the Dragon is that it provides you and all allies threatening the target of your challenge a scaling to hit Bonus. This Bonus is +3 at Level 8.

If you don't like Dwarves you can still take racial heritage Dwarf.

+5 at Level 11 means you will be failing 80% of your will saves even with resolve. Not much of a fearless warrior who falters in the face of danger :)

Sovereign Court

Alex Mack wrote:

So a few things:

If you were a regular fighter from Level 3 onward your fighter and Samurai Levels would stack.

Order of the Dragon and Yojimbo stack with each other. Helpful stacks with neither.

More Levels of Cavalier are still better than fighter and gloves of duelling (a 15k item that in the PFS Level range will lead you from buying other DPR relvant things) because you get more challenges per day and +3 damage per challenge.

The main reason for picking order of the Dragon is that it provides you and all allies threatening the target of your challenge a scaling to hit Bonus. This Bonus is +3 at Level 8.

If you don't like Dwarves you can still take racial heritage Dwarf.

+5 at Level 11 means you will be failing 80% of your will saves even with resolve. Not much of a fearless warrior who falters in the face of danger :)

I see what you mean with Helpful now. The 3 levels of Samurai equal to 1 extra Challenge and the extra +3 to damage. There's also the Resolve to negate a crit which is really nice.

But some Weapon Mastery feats seem pretty good, feats are a bit tight on Samurai (especially if I'm going to try to be decent at switch-hitting), Gloves do cost about 15k but they keep working when Challenge runs out for the day and Chain Challenge is not PFS legal. (The bigger benefit is Challenge doesn't naturally give +hit, Gloves give +3 which is equiv to being worth +9dmg.)

I like the thought of the Dwarf racial for Cavalier, but I'm not sure I want to trade a feat and fcb for it. I could spend the feat on Targetted Blow and auto prone or auto disarm someone, or Devastating Assault to possibly blind the enemy for 1d4 rounds. If I were going dwarf it probably wouldn't feel as rough since I wouldn't be spending a feat.

I could take Iron Will, but what would I remove?


See that's why I recommended warrior order. You could just be adding +4 to that roll. That's at level 2 and up. 4 to a will save at level 2?

You also have the option of rolling 3 times and taking the best at 8.

You wanted a tank build that's what a tank will do best. Ignore all threats and keep going. That beats a few damage points.

Sovereign Court

Appreciate the comments and suggestions guys. Any other suggestions to my other questions or any other ideas?


I actually am fond of order of the staff as well. All groups have casters and having a friend that gives you some debuffs to hand out amd free aoo to those cast upon.

But moving on from there, you'll be looking at shield brace if you go yojimbo nodachi.

Which means a few shield feats and maybe enchanting your armour to help boost aid another as well. Check out benevolent.

I still prefer warrior order myself, but thats because you can get bodyguard anyways. I admit armour training is great though. I just like the idea of adding huge bonuses to important saves.

Champion isn't that bad a choice either for a tank. Bit narrow though.

I mentioned getting unconquerable resolve. Temp hit points when resolve is done and you can take it many times over to stack? Great.

But let's look at the best part of that. Temp hit points on a very consistent basis (let's say you take it twice and gain ..14 hp at level 7. That's like a whole level up) maybe look at vicious enchant for the weapon. When combined with valiant that's 3d6 and 1d6 back to you. That may appeal to you.

Though with power attack weapon focus shield brace and unconquerable resolve.. Your feat choices are done.

Sovereign Court

Cavall wrote:

But moving on from there, you'll be looking at shield brace if you go yojimbo nodachi.

Which means a few shield feats and maybe enchanting your armour to help boost aid another as well. Check out benevolent.

Shield Brace for PFS looks like you only gain 1.0x STR bonus when using a 2handed weapon from spear/polearm weapon group instead of 1.5x. I guess it would allow me to use a Naginata with reach while still using a shield? Is it still worth the 2 feats even though it's not 1.5x STR?

Order of the Shield with Naginata? Otherwise, Order of the Warrior or Cockatrice seem good....but order of the Dragon is the one to take if I'm going to make the most out of Bodyguard. Oh, the choices!

Unconquerable Resolve looks good, what should I remove to take it?

Also, what are the bare minimums to be effective at switch hitting? I want to stay effective at range if needed.


Personally I wouldn't go reach. Males it hard to tank when people can walk through that 5 foot area. Better to depend on enlarge person from friends. Reach builds depend on combat reflexes, you don't have a lot of room for that.

Then again if you're going yojimbo you'll need reflexes. Practically a must with body guard builds.

Ranged is as simple as using a bow first dropping as free action and drawing your weapon.

Guess in order to make feats work you'll need to be human. That extra feat is usually vital.

Why don't you draw up a "this is my level 1 to 9 plan" for feats and order and weapon and we go from there on what to drop or keep.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Kysune wrote:
Shield Brace for PFS looks like you only gain 1.0x STR bonus when using a 2handed weapon from spear/polearm weapon group instead of 1.5x. I guess it would allow me to use a Naginata with reach while still using a shield? Is it still worth the 2 feats even though it's not 1.5x STR?

Correct on the Strength effect. In addition, you can use either naginata or nodachi with it, since they're both polearms.

Also, since Shield Brace is a shield mastery feat and yojimbo have armor training, they can skip the Shield Focus prerequisite. So it's only one feat. ^_^

Sovereign Court

Ok so I got a little different update/take on Samurai that could work well....What ya think?

TWF Samurai:

Class – Yojimbo Samurai 8 / Weapon Master Fighter 3
Race – Human
Alignment – CN
Deity - Lamashtu
Traits – Defender of the Society, FREE?

Stats -
Str: 17 (15+2)
Dex: 17 (15+2)
Con: 14
Int: 10
Wis: 12
Cha: 9

TWF WAKAZASHI
1) Fighter 1: Bab +1 | TWF (lvl 1), Weapon Focus: Wakazashi (Fighter)
2) Samurai 1: Bab +2 |
3) Samurai 2: Bab +3 | Power Attack (lvl 3)
4) Samurai 3: Bab +4 | +1 Str
5) Samurai 4: Bab +5 | Iron Will (lvl 5), Bodyguard (Samurai)
6) Fighter 2: Bab +6/+1 | ITWF (Fighter)
7) Fighter 3: Bab +7/+2 | Lunge (lvl 7)
8) Samurai 5: Bab +8 /+3 | +1 Dex
9) Samurai 6: Bab +9/+4 | Imp Crit: Wakazashi (lvl 9), Critical Focus (Samurai)
10) Samurai 7: Bab +10/+5 |
11) Samurai 8: Bab +11/+6/+1 | Destroy Identity (lvl 11)

Details:

Added Lunge to ensure more full-attacks.
Lvl 10 I regain normal speed with movement - Armor Training.
Weapon Training allows +3atk/+3dmg boost for TWF via Gloves of Dueling.
At the tail end, Destroy Identity auto staggers and deal 2charisma damage on every successful crit, which should happen a lot. If I don't outright kill them, I may end up reducing them to 0 charisma first.

I figure PBS and Rapid Shot isn't going to be a HUGE difference so it's probably better to spend them towards either staying alive or making twf more effective. I'll probably still be just as effective at range if I'm forced into it for some reason.

Just throwing this interesting TWF build out there first. I'll reply to your post next.

Sovereign Court

Cavall wrote:
Why don't you draw up a "this is my level 1 to 9 plan" for feats and order and weapon and we go from there on what to drop or keep.

Weapon(s): Wakazashi, Katana, Nodachi, or possibly Naginata. I want to keep that Samurai feel and outside those weapons I think it starts to get away from the concept.

----------------

Order:
TWF - Cockatrice (w/ Cornugon Smash) or Flame?
2Handed - Order of the Dragon.....or Shield (if going Naginata).

Order of Vengeance and Warrior both look great for either goal (twf or 2hand)....free feat with Vengeance and encountering a creature of same kind within 24 hours is more more often than someone would think.
----------------

I guess my concern is ensuring that I'm not paying for a Rez and 2 Restorations by the end of each scenario when I'm putting myself in the frontlines. I'm so used to floating in the middle or the back of combat....

SUMMARY: Wanting that "Samurai" feel but tanky enough to be reliable and shrug off most dangers. The only full martial I've played in PFS was a Paladin and I enjoyed how hard it was for enemies to drop him. He retired with 33AC at 12th level.


Ok so the issue is that with fighter you get no exotic. Wakisashi is exotic. So no weapon focus.

So you'll need samurai first level.

Sovereign Court

Cavall wrote:

Ok so the issue is that with fighter you get no exotic. Wakisashi is exotic. So no weapon focus.

So you'll need samurai first level.

Good catch, Power Attack and WF: Wakazashi will need swapped around.

--------------

Check my last post to see my objective. The TWF build looks "fun" but I'm probably wanting to lean more towards a "hard to kill Warrior" with a Samurai feel. I think I'd feel less anxious going into scenarios when I know I can hold my ground in the frontlines.

Sovereign Court

Kalindlara wrote:
Kysune wrote:
Shield Brace for PFS looks like you only gain 1.0x STR bonus when using a 2handed weapon from spear/polearm weapon group instead of 1.5x. I guess it would allow me to use a Naginata with reach while still using a shield? Is it still worth the 2 feats even though it's not 1.5x STR?

Correct on the Strength effect. In addition, you can use either naginata or nodachi with it, since they're both polearms.

Also, since Shield Brace is a shield mastery feat and yojimbo have armor training, they can skip the Shield Focus prerequisite. So it's only one feat. ^_^

Where does it say that Armor Training bypasses the Shield Focus prereq due to Armor Training ability? If it's true, then that's great.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

It's in the lead text of that section in the actual book. Armor Master's Handbook, page 18. I'm on my phone, otherwise I'd copy-paste it for you. ^_^

Sovereign Court

If you were to build a 2handed samurai (nodachi or naginata with shield brace) what feats would you take?

Sovereign Court

Any suggestions?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Kysune wrote:
Any suggestions?

My yojimbo is an oread, so my first feat was Dwarf-Blooded. Don't know how much that'll help you, though.

Sovereign Court

Kalindlara wrote:
Kysune wrote:
Any suggestions?
My yojimbo is an oread, so my first feat was Dwarf-Blooded. Don't know how much that'll help you, though.

Would Quickdraw and a Quickdraw shield be better than shield brace? I'd get the 1.5x str bonus that way.

Any other feats to keep me alive on the front lines?

Sovereign Court

Kysune wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
Kysune wrote:
Any suggestions?
My yojimbo is an oread, so my first feat was Dwarf-Blooded. Don't know how much that'll help you, though.

Would Quickdraw and a Quickdraw shield be better than shield brace? I'd get the 1.5x str bonus that way.

Any other feats to keep me alive on the front lines?

Bump

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