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Building a shield and sword character


The idea starts like this

This yet to be named character (looking for name suggestions ) and his cousin spent their childhood competing (The tests each increasing in cruelty )to see who would take over as head of the family.

Along the way they matched eachother step for step. Then came the final event, they had to prove their loyalty by killing their best friend.

They both did it, however This character changed. He regretted his actions and vowed off killing unless absolutely necessary.

I really only have a backstory and main weapons that being shield and sword.

The idea simplified is an atoner type character who has done horrible things that he regrets, Kind of like Himura Kenshin.

i'm looking build and class recommendations,

i'm leaning toward either bard or paladin, something that can work with diplomacy well as he tries to avoid violence.

but i'm not set on much and would like some ideas and suggestions if possible, thanks for the help.

Dark Archive

Paladin, cavalier, and warpriest all work decently for your concept. With a one-handed weapon, you're going to want to have bonuses to each strike, so smite, challenge and sacred weapon all help you there.

I would recommend taking on the worship of Sarenrae; through the Blade of Mercy trait you will be able to use a scimitar to deal non-lethal damage. At that point just beat humanoid enemies into submission, while also protecting the innocent from beastlier things.

A bard would work, but at that point you're really just killing by proxy, as your buffs will help others to deal lethal damage. I think you're better off being one of the main damage dealers and acting non-lethally.

Liberty's Edge

A paladin sounds really great for this concept, but depending on the GM or if you're playing PFS, a heavy shield might get in the way of using lay on hands, but you won't have any problems using a buckler or light shield.

I also really like cavaliers. There are a lot of great archetypes out there, including plenty that give up their mount if you feel like you won't get use out of that in your campaign. The Order of the Blue Rose seems like it would fit your character concept idea. The ability to do nonlethal damage also pairs well with Enforcer, for some free demoralizing.

Order of the Blue Rose:

Source Ultimate Combat pg. 34 (Amazon)
The cavaliers of the order of the blue rose dedicate themselves to promoting peace in the lands they roam. Skilled warriors and adept diplomats, these cavaliers counsel wisdom, patience, and understanding, but are ever mindful of the need to take up arms to strike down aggressors, tyrants, or evil usurpers. Although they believe wholeheartedly in peace as an aim and a final goal, cavaliers of the blue rose are warriors first, and embrace their role as guardians of those who cannot or will not take up arms to defend themselves.

Edicts: The cavalier must guard against needless violence, protecting both the land and its people from wars they neither started nor wish to fight. He must seek to stop conflict with a minimum of bloodshed, to encourage peaceful resolutions to disagreements between intelligent creatures, and to mend the wounds opened by battle. He must also honor quarter when he gives it, protecting captives who have surrendered from his own allies if need be.

Challenge: Whenever an order of the blue rose cavalier issues a challenge, he receives a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls made against the target of his challenge, if the target is an intelligent creature to whom the cavalier offered the chance to surrender (by taking a standard action to offer terms). This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels the cavalier possesses (to a maximum of +5 at 17th level).

Skills: An order of the blue rose cavalier adds Knowledge (history) (Int) and Knowledge (nobility) (Int) to his list of class skills. Whenever an order of the blue rose cavalier uses Diplomacy to try to mediate a dispute between two parties that do not include him, he receives a bonus on the check equal to 1/2 his cavalier level (minimum +1).

Order Abilities: A cavalier belonging to the order of the blue rose gains the following abilities as he increases in level.

Flat of the Blade (Ex): At 2nd level, the cavalier of the order of the blue rose gains the ability to moderate his attacks in order to take an enemy alive. He no longer takes a –4 penalty when attacking with a lethal weapon to deal nonlethal damage. When dealing nonlethal damage, the cavalier receives a +2 bonus on damage rolls. When the cavalier makes use of this ability, he must attempt to subdue his target without killing it; dealing lethal damage after using this ability, or allowing his allies to kill the target, is considered a violation of his edicts.

Inner Peace (Ex): At 8th level, the cavalier has learned that while not all things in the world will go as he wishes, he must remain calm and centered. Once per day as an immediate action, the cavalier may ignore an amount of damage from a single source (one attack, spell, or effect) equal to his cavalier level plus his Charisma modifier. He can only ignore hit point damage in this fashion. The cavalier can use this ability one additional time per day at 12th level and every four levels thereafter (to a maximum of four times per day at 20th level).

Shield of Blades (Ex): At 15th level, the cavalier gains an expert sense of impending violence around him. When taking the total defense action, the cavalier can extend his protection to those around him, granting a +2 circumstance bonus to AC to all adjacent allies. In addition, while taking the total defense action, as an immediate action, the cavalier can attempt to deflect an attack by making an attack roll opposed by the attacker's original attack roll. If successful, the attack is deflected and deals no damage.

Swashbuckler is fairly strong for basic sword and shield (admittedly, buckler, but still). It gives enough bonus damage that it overcomes the inability to get 2 handing bonuses. This means you can keep up damage without going TWF.

You could work basic swashbuckler flavor into the character. A classic showboat that had a lot of confidence... which was kind of soured by the 'murdering your friend' thing. It has good CHA typically and diplomacy as a class skill. Also, the parry/riposte might fit well into motivation ("I would not be stabbing you right now if you didn't try to stab me first.").

A higher level goal is to get the blue scarf version of the swashbuckler's flair item. This lets you get +5' reach as a swift action at the cost of one panache (not a terrible deal, especially since AoOs could crit and make that back). This could work into the 'motivation' thing before ("I would not be stabbing you if you were not trying to bum rush our wizard").

With his background, I'd suggest a Slayer for a couple of reasons -

1) His early childhood training of Killing to survive.

2) Sword & Board Feat chain is massive. With the Slayer, you can pick up some Ranger weapon training styles, of which, Sword and Shield is one of the styles.

3) Skill ranks. You get a decent number of class skills and skill ranks to drop into the skills you want.

I love paladins. Merciful weapons are great too.

Something that might be quite cool and can be easily modified to fit the backstory with some minor changes is the Sanguine Angel from Adventurer's guide.

As it stands the class is the elite guard of cheliax.

Some of the changes would need to be passed by your DM of course. So please let us know if he is alright with altering some stuff with classes flavour wise.

Also consider Inquisitor or Slayer for alternatives. Slayer accesses a lot of the feats required for building an effective sword and board character with their Ranger Talent to access combat style bonus feats. Inquisitor stacks a heap of stuff onto their attacks with Judgements and also have spells for further versatility, though they're weaker on the feat front.

Silver Crusade

Perhaps an Inquisitor of Iomedae?

Brawler is another alternative. The only thing is you don't get access to brawler swords - temple sword or nine ring broadsword, but you can get nine ring from any martial dip.

Then brawler lets you 2WF with one sword (brawler's flurry) while using a shield.

Consider Cavalier, inquisitor and slayer on the list, only reason i didnt before was i just didn't think of it.

So not to sound dumb but what is the sword and board feat chain? i know there are 1 or 2 feat but not sure of any beyond that

Sovereign Court

two weapon fighting feats (TWF, double slice etc...), shield bash feats (shield focus, shield slam etc...), it's very feat intensive, mostly why fighters are the ones doing it most of the time.

Other classes can do sword and shields relying more on their class features to compensate for their lack of feats.

I recommend Slayer as well. You get the best Sword and Shield feats earlier than any other (minus Ranger who gets same levels). It is really hard to get the style to work without the feats to back it up.

Skills are plentiful with this class.

Yeah, plus if you're not totally tied to the "Sword" part of your sword and board, you could go the Sap Adept and Sap Master feat route for focus on non-lethal combat. Add bonus to hit for every sneak attack die you gain from Slayer with a sap, plus double sneak attack damage with a sap too. These would come online at 3rd and 9th level, respectively.

If you actually want to fight with both weapons you cannot beat the slayer.

If you want to fight with just the sword and still do damage a paladin's smite it likely the biggest boost you can get.

If you want something between the two Warpriest. It has bonus feats to make the build work. And the best ability to self buff in the game.

Most other options work but these are my to three.

Slayer is looking for redemption, the Warpriest is looking to atone, the paladin is looking to redeem others.

JDLPF wrote:
Yeah, plus if you're not totally tied to the "Sword" part of your sword and board, you could go the Sap Adept and Sap Master feat route for focus on non-lethal combat. Add bonus to hit for every sneak attack die you gain from Slayer with a sap, plus double sneak attack damage with a sap too. These would come online at 3rd and 9th level, respectively.

Bludgeoner allows you to do that with your shield.

One thing the Sanguine Angel has going for it is that with a 1 level dip at lvl 6 it allows you to ignore the dex requirements for the twf feat chain and gives you twf for free so long as you are using a sword and shield.
A 2 level dip into the prc let's you use STR to hit with bows.

I think no matter what route you go a 2 lvl dip into sanguine angel is very seriously worth looking at as it allows you to focus entirely on str and allows you to be a rather efficient switch hitter as well.

Liberty's Edge

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you don't "need" to do TWF in order to pull off sword and board you can just use a shield for the defense. A shield is just about the cheapest AC in the game. Its better if you can get another way to add damage to your attacks because you'll be getting a little less damage from STR and power attack. Challenge, smite, sneak attack, the inquisitor's bane ability; all of those add good damage.

If you did want to TWF with a shield and sword; another option to consider is the Vigilante. One of their talents gives them Improved Shield Bash; TWF after level six, and lets them ignore the DEX requirements for other TWF feats. On top of this, Vigilantes are great with skills; they get 6 points per level and one of the better class skill lists in the game. There's a lot of ways you can roleplay the seperate could even say that the vigilante is the "primary" identity and that his social identity is the part of him that is trying to do good in peaceful, non-violent ways without attracting the attention of whoever trained him to be a ruthless killer.

I'd second Warpriest, but might suggest the Cult Leader given he was going to lead his family and the sneak attack works nicely for extra static damage.

Not sure if i'm twf with the sword and shield, i more planned on using it for defense

i like slayer, if i can figure out how to explain sneak attack for the character, i'd be all set.

Warpriest could be nice as well.

not sure about swashbuckler, vigilante, or switching to sap, i like the classic sword and shield look here. Swashbuckler seems to showboaty and vigilante i haven't looked at really but the separate identities thing doesn't really work for me for this character anyway

i'll give sanguine angel a look.

Sneak attack is just percission damage. A graceful swordsman hits vital spots.

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Non-lethal sneak attack? You strike them on their glass jaw. You lock their weapon arm and dislocate their shoulder. You smack them on the back of the neck with the flat of your blade.

If you're still locked on the concept of a blade, consider using the Equipment Trick feat and a Combat Scabbard. This lets you roleplay fighting with your blade, but refusing to draw it from its sheathe unless the enemy deserves to be slain. The Combat Scabbard lets you deal bludgeoning damage with your blade still inside, thus qualifying for Sap Adept and Sap Master, and the Equipment Trick feat removes the improvised weapon penalty.

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Ammon Knight of Ragathiel wrote:

Not sure if i'm twf with the sword and shield, i more planned on using it for defense

i like slayer, if i can figure out how to explain sneak attack for the character, i'd be all set.

The same way I would explain a non-evil assassin (as in the prestige class that needs you to be evil to join)... just because you had a change of heart doesn't mean you didn't use to be a terrible person.

You character was raised in a family that advocated cold blooded murder of friends in order to raise one's own position in the family (and he took to those lessons well enough that he could pass that test... even though he regretted it later). Since that was seen as at least somewhat acceptable in the family, I think the family might have a lesson or two on vital points.

This doesn't mean that the family was some kind of thieves' guild or assassin's guild thing... but it has rites of passage that are similar enough to that kind of thing. And there are slayer archetypes made for use in war (the vanguard archetype if I remember right; overall- flanking is nice on the battlefield too, and so is getting a really good attack while the enemy is distrated).

Actually, slayer seems like a fine class for a 'shrewd' political family- it is a martial class (you can more reliably train those than casters), and it gives bonuses on most social skills after level 7 (including bluff, intimidate, and sense motive). Combine that with 'self defense' lessons aimed at a more urban setting (so low armor), and slayer is an idea class.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

The Sword Scion campaign trait from Kingmaker gives you a +1 to attack rolls with longswords. Stacks with Weapon Focus, if that matters.

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Since the topic of non-lethal damage has come up multiple times, here are some options for dealing non-lethal damage without any penalty. Several would work with a longsword or a shield. Mock Gladiator is probably the one that requires the least investment, but Virtuous Creed (Mercy) would work with both Sword and Shield and would fit your concept well, I think.


Blade of Mercy (religion-Sarenrae): all slashing weapons
Merciful Scimitar (combat): scimitars
Mock Gladiator (social): any one weapon

Bludgeoner (combat): all bludgeoning weapons
Divine Fighting Technique - Sarenrae's Mercy (Combat): scimitar
Merciful Bane (general): any weapon currently affected by your Bane class ability
Stage Combatant (combat): any weapon for which you have Weapon Focus
Virtuous Creed - Mercy (general): all weapons

Class Abilities
Flat of the Blade (Cavalier Orders - Order of the Blue Rose): all weapons

Weapon Special Abilities
Merciful: any weapon

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