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Tactically interesting low-level melee builds?


Advice

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What are some example builds that use interesting melee tactics at low levels (preferably no later than level 3?)


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I'd recommend looking at the Brawler class. Their martial flexibility class feature lets you try out a variety of melee tactics.

Grand Lodge

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Swashbuckler might fit your description...they parry/ riposte option can always be a good tactic with the right support...just my thoights...brawler is likely best all around becsuse of flexibility...some fighter arhetypes are good


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....reach?

The ability to carve out a 25' wide circle of PAIN that turns your damaging hits into a method of deterrence.

Pretty much anyone can get a reach build running by level 3 (power attack at 1, combat reflexes at 3? Combat reflexes at 1 and power attack at 3? Both at level 1?). The longspear is love.

Of course, it only gets fully interesting at level 6/7/9, when you get lunge, allowing you to get a pseudo full attack (full attack anything up to 20' away?) and it lets you attack first yet still preserve your AoO.


Also what is low level?

I am looking forward to playing a Swashbuckler with a dip into brawler...interesting combo...


grimdog73 wrote:
Swashbuckler might fit your description...they parry/ riposte option can always be a good tactic with the right support...just my thoights...brawler is likely best all around becsuse of flexibility...some fighter arhetypes are good

I always worry about parry/riposte, since it faces the exact same crane wing problem- you discourage enemies from attacking you since you can invalidate their attack and damage them in turn. So they ignore you and go for the squishier party members.

Reach tends to be better, since you can act as a shield for the squishies, acting as a threat that prevents approach.

Actually, I would not use panache for parries, and use it for that blue scarf item that gives a swashbuckler an extra 5' reach with piercing weapons for 1 min. it lasts for all of most fights, and the extra hits means you are likely to get the point back.


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1st Party Paizo is notoriously bad at allowing martials to do much outside of full attacking. While some options exist, they generally require a ton of investment to even get started.

About the best I can suggest would probably be to try an Eldritch Guardian Fighter and take the Dirty Fighting feat.

This allows you to use basically any Combat Maneuver you want to, without provoking. However, this requires you to flank with your familiar, which puts it at risk. Offensively, Mauler Familiars are best for combat, however defensively, Figment Familiars are functionally immortal, so at early levels they're probably the best for this. I suggest having them take total defense or something every action though.

This build also requires you boost your STR to the highest, since Combat Maneuvers require a high STR. As such, it'll be a good idea to use Variant Multiclass (Barbarian) for the extra Strength provided by Rage.


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Dwarf fighter with dwarven dorn-dergar
L1 power attack, combat reflexes
L2 cleave
L3 goblin cleaver
L4 orc hewer

You have a reach weapon, so enemies without reach cannot close on you without provoking. With combat reflexes, you can take AoOs even if the enemies win initiative and you can take multiple AoOs. You can change your weapon to no longer be reach with a move action in case enemies close on you and you have no room to 5' step. Goblin cleaver and orc hewer allow you to cleave against enemies that are size small or medium when they are not adjacent. This combination allows you to control a good sized portion of the battle map, especially if someone casts longarm or enlarge on you. Being a dwarf, you will have a good Con for a nice amount of HP, and a decent Wis and dwarven save bonuses to help your Wil save not suck.


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Cleric/Monk1 using Domain Strike and Stunning Fist. Gentle Rest, Touch of Chaos, Touch of Madness, Command... there are lots of Domain Powers that are extremely useful in melee, especially when you get them as a swift action in combat. Ascetic Style allows them to be used with a weapon if one is so inclined, as does the Conductive property (though not at 3, of course). Stunning Fist can be used with a weapon through either Ascetic or Cornugon Stun, and Mantis Style makes it mean. A Cleric/Monk can also be wisdom-based with Guided Hand, which stacks the DCs of such abilities. Woe to those who face Mantis Style Stunning Fists and Command Domain Strikes from a high-WIS character.


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A magus can do some fun things with spell combat. Not just the shocking grasp thing either. Arcane mark to do a Zorro, true strike to pull off impossible moves (better with a true strike wand and the wand wielder arcana from level 3), vanish after the attack to avoid being attacked back, color spray then stab anyone still standing, etc.


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Kaouse wrote:

1st Party Paizo is notoriously bad at allowing martials to do much outside of full attacking. While some options exist, they generally require a ton of investment to even get started.

About the best I can suggest would probably be to try an Eldritch Guardian Fighter and take the Dirty Fighting feat.

This allows you to use basically any Combat Maneuver you want to, without provoking. However, this requires you to flank with your familiar, which puts it at risk. Offensively, Mauler Familiars are best for combat, however defensively, Figment Familiars are functionally immortal, so at early levels they're probably the best for this. I suggest having them take total defense or something every action though.

This build also requires you boost your STR to the highest, since Combat Maneuvers require a high STR. As such, it'll be a good idea to use Variant Multiclass (Barbarian) for the extra Strength provided by Rage.

It is a little under optimized now but mutation warrior, eldritch guardian, martial master makes for a very tacticial fighter. Positioning, shared feats, picking up feats on the fly, flying (fly fox and wing discovery) self healing. Make this build super fun.

Feats like rat catcher, ghostslayer mean you are better equipped then any other fighter for hard fights. Pin down, Soulwrecking Strike, and versatile weapon cover other situations. And mutagen and dedicated adversary in addition to the extra attacks from the familiar keep the damage high.


Human Fighter
Level 1: Paladin1: 2 Weapon, Weapon Focus Klar
2P1Ranger1: Freebooter
3P1R1Fighter1: Weapon Focus Earthbreaker, Thunder and Fang

The level in Paladin gives you the ability to use a Wand of Swift Girding, which lets you suit up in Medium or Heavy armor as a Swift Action.

Thunder and Fang lets you wield an Earthbreaker in 1 hand and a Klar in the other.

All 3 levels give you a +2 Fort Save each. The level in Ranger gives you a +2 Reflex, and the level in Paladin gives you a +2 Will Save. So at level 3, your base saves are +6 Fort, +2 Reflex and +2 Will. You can wear Heavy Armor and a Shield, donning it in a single round. Earthbreaker does 2d6, and Klar does 1d6: quite respectable. You could buff yourself with a Wand of Lead Blades, increasing the Earthbreaker Damage to 3d6.

High saves, high AC, and high Damage.


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Unchained Monk 1/ Separatist Cleric of The Lost Prince (or anyone with Repose) 2
Dual Talent Human: 16/18, 12, 12, 10, 16/18, 7
*Domains: Repose, Wolf

1UM. (+Improved Unarmed Strike) / +Combat Reflexes / Vicious Stomp
2SC. (+Improved Trip)
3SC. Domain Strike: Gentle Rest

Two-hand a temple sword for all normal strikes, while using unarmed strike for Domain Strike and Vicious Stomp. When advancing on a target, use Unarmed Strike to trip them and apply Domain Strike, and then 'apply' Vicious Stomp. They end up on the ground... staggered. In other words, kick 'em when they're down, both figuratively and very literally.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I had fun with a dwarf barbarian 1/magus X with Power Attack & Combat Reflexes and wielding a dwarven waraxe.

With Berserker of the Society trait, I had about 9 or 10 rounds of rage per day, enough for 1 or 2 fights per day.

2 levels of magus give you Spell Combat and Spell Strike. This lets you do fun stuff like cast enlarge person to buff and then rage and do some 2-handed Power Attacking for 2d8+ a bunch of damage with your dwarven waraxe. You can choose to not rage and wield the one-handed dwarven waraxe and nova with shocking grasp or debuff with color spray or do up close mass damage with burning hands.

The dorn-dergar would have added some extra spice to this build, but it's a two-handed weapon, so couldn't be used for Spell Combat.

* * *

I think the inquisitor is fun and tactical. Lots of choices in combat: judgments and teamwork feats and domain abilities and spells. Lots of swift action options, so you have to plan ahead and choreograph your fights.

* * *

I think a group of low level cavaliers, buffing each other with a bunch of different Teamwork feats, would be fun.

* * *

I think a basic fighter 3 with Combat Reflexes, Stand Still, Power Attack, and Pushing Assault is fun. Add an archetype for zest if you want. Wield a glaive and spiked gauntlet, and push them back 5 feet, step back 5 feet, and mete out those AoOs. I guess technically you're not supposed to use Stand Still and reach, but I heard somewhere the developer meant it to work that way, but didn't quite tweak the language that way. I like to use it with minions. You can add Furious Focus or Weapon Focus or something else if they're human, or drop them down to level 2. Or a human warrior 5 if you want a lower CR with lots of hit points and/or more Power Attack damage.


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A whip build?

Spoiler:
- half-orc for whip proficiency (city-raised)
- rogue (thug) 3
- enforcer, weapon focus (whip), whip mastery
=> you can deal lethal or nonlethal damages, trip, disarm, give the shaken/frightened/sickened conditions within 15ft (20ft if you consider 5-ft step).
=> you can go thug + scout for sneak attack on a charge at lvl.4 and add Befuddling Strike to your list of debuff.

You may prefer a stronger martial class
- fighter (mutation warrior) for the extra feats
- barbarian or bloodrager for rage
- use the rogue (thug) as a 1-lvl. dip for the [enforcer + frightening] combo
- ignore this combo and dip into cleric for the growth subdomain: swift enlarge person will grant you a reach of 30ft (+5-ft step +5ft occupied space = you can hit a target at 40ft from your original position)... or go abyssal bloodrager 4.

Other feats to consider: Improved Whip Mastery, Combat Reflexes,
Power Attack

Dark Archive

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I'm currently using a Makeshift Scrapper Unchained Rogue (human lvl 3), with which I have loads of fun. He came online at lvl 2 with the following feats: Weapon Finesse (Bonus from class), Caught Off-Guard (Bonus from class), Throw Anything (Bonus from class), Dirty Fighting, Improved Disarm (Bonus from being human), and at lvl 2 Rogue Talent: Combat Trick: Equipment Trick: Heavy Combat Scabbard. He has a Strength and Dex of 16, so the weapon finesse is a bit moot. Also makes use of the Surprise Weapon Trait, for extra to hit with whatever I find laying around.

The entire build is made to disarm a person of his or her weapon, and sheet that weapon in one of the many Heavy Scabbards that the character is carrying. For that purpose my character is carrying 6 empty Heavy Scabbards, and 1 empty Large Heavy Scabbard (in case someone is wielding something big). Also, after they have lost their weapon, they are considered flat-footed against your attacks with whatever improvised weapon you use (so long they do not draw another weapon / possess Natural Weapons / have Improved Unarmed Strike / have Armor Spikes).

Just taking the weapons of humanoids and immediately stowing them away is very satisfying. Against other opponents the build is just a regular smash build, but there are more than enough levels left for other feats/talents in order to deal with those threats.

Grand Lodge

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3 level Evangelist cleric (growth domain)
- Swift action Enlarge Person
- Inspire Courage
- Combat reflexes
- Toppling metamagic spiritual weapon (magical lineage to keep it level 2) or sacred summon metamagic build to keep enemies at reach.


I'm a big fan of the reach weapon/natural attack combo.

They have inherent synergy in feats and ability scores (i.e. all you need for either is a good STR and Power Attack, both benefit greatly from static to hit and damage modifiers) and supplement each other nicely on the battlefield.

Round 1: position yourself in front of allies and make a single two handed attack and wait for more attacks from AoO.

Round 2 or later: Once foes close with you toss the long stick and dig in deep with claw/claw/bite/gore...

Like any reach build such a build greatly benefits from Swift Action enlarge Person effects (growth domain, Abyssal? Bloodrager)

Sovereign Court

Suppose it depends on your definition of interesting tactics.

Sohei Monk can be "pouncing" at level 1, thanks to being able to grab Mounted Skirmisher without prereqs. This way any time your mount isn't double moving you can make your full attack with Flurry of Blows. Can even do so while wearing Light Armor, confirmed by FAQ.

Be a small race, and buy yourself a combat trained pony (45gp) to start, then multiclass into something that gets a companion for a better mount that can also attack with you.

I particularly like this mixed with Divine Commander Warpriest, which gets you a mount (that can be a wolf for a small character) and at level 4 qualifies you for Crusader's Flurry, so you can have better Flurry of Blows options.

Grand Lodge

Alex Mack wrote:

I'm a big fan of the reach weapon/natural attack combo.

They have inherent synergy in feats and ability scores (i.e. all you need for either is a good STR and Power Attack, both benefit greatly from static to hit and damage modifiers) and supplement each other nicely on the battlefield.

Round 1: position yourself in front of allies and make a single two handed attack and wait for more attacks from AoO.

Round 2 or later: Once foes close with you toss the long stick and dig in deep with claw/claw/bite/gore...

Like any reach build such a build greatly benefits from Swift Action enlarge Person effects (growth domain, Abyssal? Bloodrager)

Armor spikes and natural attack are good for a reach build, when you drop your reach weapon.

Use the spikes as primary weapon and claws/bite etc. as sekundary weapons
With only beast totem ragepower investment and armor spikes you can get 5 attacks (full attack) at level 6 when hasted. (spike/spike haste/spike -5/claw -5/claw -5)


A high strength and a reach weapon are great fun at low levels: You can perform weapon based combat maneuvers (trip, disarm, sunder) without provoking, and during the low levels you have a fair chance of succeeding against most opponents without needing to invest (feats, gear) into a specific maneuver. If you add high armor to the mix you will be able to make close range maneuvers (overrun, bull-rush) with a slim chance of them hitting you with the AoO.

Of course, this stops working as you get to higher levels.


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Wayne Bradbury wrote:

Suppose it depends on your definition of interesting tactics.

Sohei Monk can be "pouncing" at level 1, thanks to being able to grab Mounted Skirmisher without prereqs. This way any time your mount isn't double moving you can make your full attack with Flurry of Blows. Can even do so while wearing Light Armor, confirmed by FAQ.

Be a small race, and buy yourself a combat trained pony (45gp) to start, then multiclass into something that gets a companion for a better mount that can also attack with you.

I particularly like this mixed with Divine Commander Warpriest, which gets you a mount (that can be a wolf for a small character) and at level 4 qualifies you for Crusader's Flurry, so you can have better Flurry of Blows options.

Huh... this is really cool. I didn't realize that he could bypass prereqes for those since the archetype description does not mention that. That's really cool!.

Sovereign Court

Knight Magenta wrote:
Huh... this is really cool. I didn't realize that he could bypass prereqes for those since the archetype description does not mention that. That's really cool!.

Yeah, I've seen people miss it before.

It's specifically because the Monk bonus feat feature says, "A monk need not have any of the prerequisites normally required for these feats to select them."

And then Sohei adds to the list of what can be selected with the bonus feats feature.


*Khan* wrote:

Armor spikes and natural attack are good for a reach build, when you drop your reach weapon.

Use the spikes as primary weapon and claws/bite etc. as sekundary weapons
With only beast totem ragepower investment and armor spikes you can get 5 attacks (full attack) at level 6 when hasted. (spike/spike haste/spike -5/claw -5/claw -5)

So how is getting 2 extra attacks (the armor spikes) worth taking -5 to hit and half STR to damage on 3 or 4 natural attacks?

Sovereign Court

I wouldn't say Armor Spikes are worth mixing with natural attacks. If you want more natural attacks you can just buy them.

  • 50gp oni mask and the Spirit Oni Master feat gets you a gore (if you're the right alignment)
  • 2700gp for an Animal Mask gets you your choice of bite or gore (for 5 minutes per day as a swift, which is basically 5 combats at 1 minute each, with some other perks)
  • 8500gp for Helm of the Mammoth Lord gets you a gore and some other benefits
  • 5000gp for Ring of Rat Fangs gets you a bite attack


Combining weapons and natural attacks can work well on a build that has major static bonuses. Even just going weapon/ unarmed/ weapon -5/ unarmed -5/ claw -5/ bite -5/ is arguably better than going claw/ claw/ bite. There's also multiattack.


Awesome suggestions everyone! Feeling really inspired by this thread!

I made a new thread about a reach brawler who uses trip and other combat maneuvers for lots of tactical versatility. I'm curious what other cool (flex) feats, items, etc. would go well with that concept!

Grand Lodge

Alex Mack wrote:
*Khan* wrote:

Armor spikes and natural attack are good for a reach build, when you drop your reach weapon.

Use the spikes as primary weapon and claws/bite etc. as sekundary weapons
With only beast totem ragepower investment and armor spikes you can get 5 attacks (full attack) at level 6 when hasted. (spike/spike haste/spike -5/claw -5/claw -5)

So how is getting 2 extra attacks (the armor spikes) worth taking -5 to hit and half STR to damage on 3 or 4 natural attacks?

It is cheap compared to more natural attacks and I forgot about 1/2 str. bonus.


*Khan* wrote:
Alex Mack wrote:
*Khan* wrote:

Armor spikes and natural attack are good for a reach build, when you drop your reach weapon.

Use the spikes as primary weapon and claws/bite etc. as sekundary weapons
With only beast totem ragepower investment and armor spikes you can get 5 attacks (full attack) at level 6 when hasted. (spike/spike haste/spike -5/claw -5/claw -5)

So how is getting 2 extra attacks (the armor spikes) worth taking -5 to hit and half STR to damage on 3 or 4 natural attacks?

It is cheap compared to more natural attacks and I forgot about 1/2 str. bonus.

It is also just plain worse than taking only your natural attacks at full BAB.


Wayne Bradbury wrote:

Suppose it depends on your definition of interesting tactics.

Sohei Monk can be "pouncing" at level 1, thanks to being able to grab Mounted Skirmisher without prereqs. This way any time your mount isn't double moving you can make your full attack with Flurry of Blows. Can even do so while wearing Light Armor, confirmed by FAQ.

Be a small race, and buy yourself a combat trained pony (45gp) to start, then multiclass into something that gets a companion for a better mount that can also attack with you.

I particularly like this mixed with Divine Commander Warpriest, which gets you a mount (that can be a wolf for a small character) and at level 4 qualifies you for Crusader's Flurry, so you can have better Flurry of Blows options.

Six levels of Sohei already gets you weapon training and flurry with a wide range of weapons, including the nodachi.

Just spend a couple of feats for the animal companion via Nature Soul -> Animal Ally


RealAlchemy wrote:

Dwarf fighter with dwarven dorn-dergar

L1 power attack, combat reflexes
L2 cleave
L3 goblin cleaver
L4 orc hewer

You have a reach weapon, so enemies without reach cannot close on you without provoking. With combat reflexes, you can take AoOs even if the enemies win initiative and you can take multiple AoOs. You can change your weapon to no longer be reach with a move action in case enemies close on you and you have no room to 5' step. Goblin cleaver and orc hewer allow you to cleave against enemies that are size small or medium when they are not adjacent. This combination allows you to control a good sized portion of the battle map, especially if someone casts longarm or enlarge on you. Being a dwarf, you will have a good Con for a nice amount of HP, and a decent Wis and dwarven save bonuses to help your Wil save not suck.

I'd rather use a Dwarven Longaxe or Dwarven Longhammer, backed up with a Boulder Helmet for situations where you need to threaten adjacent enemies. Those two weapons have the same threat range, but a larger multiplier and larger base damage dice that will apply to the majority of your attacks. Also, the combination doesn't require sacrificing a Move Action (and therefore a Full Attack) in order to attack adjacent enemies.

After those four levels, take the next 4 in Aberrant Bloodrager. This gives you a solid amount of rage rounds, +5 feet of reach from the bloodline, and the ability to cast Long Arm and/or Enlarge Person on yourself (or use wands without UMD). This results in a pretty silly threat diameter, especially if combined with Lunge (taken at lvl 7). If you take Pushing Assault at 5th, then if something is inside your primary reach weapon, you can head butt the enemy back into the primary weapon's attack range for your second attack.

This kind of combination is why I say Dwarves in Pathfinder have the biggest/best Cleavage in the game.

Also, is there any reason that the Dwarven Cleave chain wouldn't satisfactorily combine with Pushing Assault? Would be convenient to be able to drive back every one of a large group of enemies targeted by the Cleave attacks.

Sovereign Court

Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Wayne Bradbury wrote:

Suppose it depends on your definition of interesting tactics.

Sohei Monk can be "pouncing" at level 1, thanks to being able to grab Mounted Skirmisher without prereqs. This way any time your mount isn't double moving you can make your full attack with Flurry of Blows. Can even do so while wearing Light Armor, confirmed by FAQ.

Be a small race, and buy yourself a combat trained pony (45gp) to start, then multiclass into something that gets a companion for a better mount that can also attack with you.

I particularly like this mixed with Divine Commander Warpriest, which gets you a mount (that can be a wolf for a small character) and at level 4 qualifies you for Crusader's Flurry, so you can have better Flurry of Blows options.

Six levels of Sohei already gets you weapon training and flurry with a wide range of weapons, including the nodachi.

Just spend a couple of feats for the animal companion via Nature Soul -> Animal Ally

True, but the huge benefit of using Warpriest's Fervor for Divine Favor can't be understated. It's fantastic, particularly when you've go the Fate's Favored trait. Not to mention other spell casting, free Weapon Focus, other bonus feats, etc.

Shadow Lodge

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race: half-orc, racial trait: Sacred Tattoo
traits: Fate's Favored(faith), Deadeye Bowman(religion:Erastil)
01 bloodrager [urban][bloodrider:mount][draconic:claws:Power Attack], Combat Reflexes
02 warpriest1 [Divine Commander:mount][Weapon Focus:longbow]
03 warpriest2 [Fervor], Quick Draw or Extra Rage

STR+16
DEX:14
CON:14
INT:10
WIS:14
CHA:10

* saves are +9/+4/+7 before buffs or raging
* +3 Luck bonus to att/dmg as a swift action 3/day
* +4 raging to the physical attribute of choice
* out-of-box mounts are still badass at 3rd-level
* full cleric spell list and partial arcane spell list
* Combat Reflex Enlarged(scroll) w/polearm
* decent archer (aside from lack of Rapid Shot)
* claws only appear when raging, so not a monster in polite-society
* Acrobatics, Diplomacy, and Perception are class skills

Equipment: bardiche, lance, composite longbow, javelins, scale barding, backpack full of cheap scrolls


Alex Mack wrote:
*Khan* wrote:
Alex Mack wrote:
*Khan* wrote:

Armor spikes and natural attack are good for a reach build, when you drop your reach weapon.

Use the spikes as primary weapon and claws/bite etc. as sekundary weapons
With only beast totem ragepower investment and armor spikes you can get 5 attacks (full attack) at level 6 when hasted. (spike/spike haste/spike -5/claw -5/claw -5)

So how is getting 2 extra attacks (the armor spikes) worth taking -5 to hit and half STR to damage on 3 or 4 natural attacks?

It is cheap compared to more natural attacks and I forgot about 1/2 str. bonus.
It is also just plain worse than taking only your natural attacks at full BAB.

It would be a reasonable configuration if he fought with his Pole Arm with Reach and Armor Spikes as a close back up, and in situations when he dropped his Horsechopper, just fought with his Natural Weapons.

Actually, I thought that's what he meant.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Alex Mack wrote:
*Khan* wrote:
Alex Mack wrote:
*Khan* wrote:

Armor spikes and natural attack are good for a reach build, when you drop your reach weapon.

Use the spikes as primary weapon and claws/bite etc. as sekundary weapons
With only beast totem ragepower investment and armor spikes you can get 5 attacks (full attack) at level 6 when hasted. (spike/spike haste/spike -5/claw -5/claw -5)

So how is getting 2 extra attacks (the armor spikes) worth taking -5 to hit and half STR to damage on 3 or 4 natural attacks?

It is cheap compared to more natural attacks and I forgot about 1/2 str. bonus.
It is also just plain worse than taking only your natural attacks at full BAB.

It would be a reasonable configuration if he fought with his Pole Arm with Reach and Armor Spikes as a close back up, and in situations when he dropped his Horsechopper, just fought with his Natural Weapons.

Actually, I thought that's what he meant.

I got turned off when he started saying 'when you drop your reach weapon'.

This is why I advocate against going reach+enlarge person. You end up with a huge doughnut that can't be solved with a 5' step. It means that an enemy can get in close to you, and you can't use your polearm to attack them without using a full move action and eating your own AoOs. You start to have to worry about seriously enhancing items other than your main, big shiny, 2 handed reach weapon. Instead, you have to worry about stuff with penalties to attack and only x1 or x1/2 damage.

This guy takes that logic to the extreme- he is basically paying for 4 magical weapons worth- the polearm, the spikes, and the amulet of natural armor (which costs x2).

For all that trouble...at best, you expand the area you can perform trips and such (...when trips stop being good as you get to higher levels). And in return, you place serious flaws in your ability 'to just hit the thing until it dies'. I'd prefer just having a tactically sound reach user that stays at medium, providing enough coverage to stand as an obstacle, but it can still just swing a 2 handed weapon like normal.


lemeres wrote:

I got turned off when he started saying 'when you drop your reach weapon'.

This is why I advocate against going reach+enlarge person. You end up with a huge doughnut that can't be solved with a 5' step. It means that an enemy can get in close to you, and you can't use your polearm to attack them without using a full move action and eating your own AoOs. You start to have to worry about seriously enhancing items other than your main, big shiny, 2 handed reach weapon. Instead, you have to worry about stuff with penalties to attack and only x1 or x1/2 damage.

This guy takes that logic to the extreme- he is basically paying for 4 magical weapons worth- the polearm, the spikes, and the amulet of natural armor (which costs x2).

For all that trouble...at best, you expand the area you can perform trips and such (...when trips stop being good as you get to higher levels). And in return, you place serious flaws in your ability 'to just hit the thing until it dies'. I'd prefer just having a tactically sound reach user that stays at medium, providing enough coverage to stand as an obstacle, but it can still just swing a 2 handed weapon like normal.

That's one reason my dude inspired by this thread uses a double-chained kama - you can use the same weapon at reach or for close combat.

Similarly you could fight with a dorn-dergar and take Darting Viper.


Hmm... Two-Weapon Fight with one Battle Poi? Use your first attack to throw oil on your target and then hit them with the battle poi to set them on fire.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Dwarf Fighter 3 (or another race with Exotic Weapon Proficiency)

1. Power Attack, Two-Weapon Fighting
2. Furious Focus
3. Point Blank Shot

Dual wield Dwarven Waraxe and throwing axe.

Throw the axe and then 2-hand the waraxe and power attack.

Grand Lodge

Rember this is a low level build (level 6), so armorspikes (not even masterwork) are easier to get than 3-4 natural attacks when your primary goal is a reach build.
"...when you drop your reach weapon." Could be when grappled.


*Khan* wrote:

Rember this is a low level build (level 6), so armorspikes (not even masterwork) are easier to get than 3-4 natural attacks when your primary goal is a reach build.

"...when you drop your reach weapon." Could be when grappled.

3 Natural Attacks aren't too, too hard to get, but you Shouldn't do it if you arent' committed. Play a Tengu with Claws. That's 3 natural Attacks there. Claws only do 1d4, so I was thinking Warpriest.

1Ranger1: Freebooter, Point Blank Shot, Tengu with Claws
2R2: Precise Shot
3R3: Endurance, Feat
4R3Wapriest1: Weapon Focus Claws, Sacred Weapon 1d6, Spells, Blessing

So this character walks around with a Bow, shooting stuff, maybe buffing her arrows with a Wand of Gravity Bow.

I was thinking the 3rd level in Ranger was necessary for Endurance so she can sleep in Medium Armor. I strongly prefer armor you can sleep in, and I have recently run into severe problems with a lightly armored melee character being shredded by 3rd level adventures. Eventually, this character will work in a level of White Haired Witch, adding a 4th Natural Attack, maybe Helm of the Mammoth Lord adding a 5th, maybe an Alchemal Tentacle adding a 6th (You heard me!). She can take Weapon Focus every time. Meanwhile, she also has Precise Shot and a Wand of Gravity Bow.


This is the start of a build idea I had for a Reach Fighter.

1Fighter 1: Phalanx Soldier Archetype, Quickdraw, Power Attack, 2 Weapon
2F2: Cleave
3F3: Pike and Shield, Improved Shield Bash

Here is a character who is a Reach Fighter who can switch weapons at any time. When this character can get Great Cleave, he can Hit anyone within 10 feet with either Armor Spikes, his Light, Spiked Shield, his Horsechopper, or his Lucerne Hammer. Or he can 2 weapon fight with Halberd and Shield or Halberd and Armor Spikes.

This character might dip into Ranger and/or Inquisitor and get Shield Slam, Greater Bull Rush--he already has Power Attack--and Paired Opportunist by level 7. He might get Hamatula Strike so he can grapple with every hit and inflict Armor Spike Damage with every hit. I suspect the combination of Halberd and Light, Spiked Shield with Armor Spikes backed by Shield Slam and Hamatula Strike will be a devastating combination of cascading strikes. But that wouldn't get fully realized until after level 6.

Grand Lodge

Scott Wilhelm wrote:

This is the start of a build idea I had for a Reach Fighter.

1Fighter 1: Phalanx Soldier Archetype, Quickdraw, Power Attack, 2 Weapon
2F2: Cleave
3F3: Pike and Shield, Improved Shield Bash

Here is a character who is a Reach Fighter who can switch weapons at any time. When this character can get Great Cleave, he can Hit anyone within 10 feet with either Armor Spikes, his Light, Spiked Shield, his Horsechopper, or his Lucerne Hammer. Or he can 2 weapon fight with Halberd and Shield or Halberd and Armor Spikes.

This character might dip into Ranger and/or Inquisitor and get Shield Slam, Greater Bull Rush--he already has Power Attack--and Paired Opportunist by level 7. He might get Hamatula Strike so he can grapple with every hit and inflict Armor Spike Damage with every hit. I suspect the combination of Halberd and Light, Spiked Shield with Armor Spikes backed by Shield Slam and Hamatula Strike will be a devastating combination of cascading strikes. But that wouldn't get fully realized until after level 6.

Inquisitor with Growth domain would be great. But what else do you get from Inquisitor? The feats you mention are easier aqquired with your fighter.


SmiloDan wrote:

I had fun with a dwarf barbarian 1/magus X with Power Attack & Combat Reflexes and wielding a dwarven waraxe.

With Berserker of the Society trait, I had about 9 or 10 rounds of rage per day, enough for 1 or 2 fights per day.

2 levels of magus give you Spell Combat and Spell Strike. This lets you do fun stuff like cast enlarge person to buff and then rage and do some 2-handed Power Attacking for 2d8+ a bunch of damage with your dwarven waraxe. You can choose to not rage and wield the one-handed dwarven waraxe and nova with shocking grasp or debuff with color spray or do up close mass damage with burning hands.

The dorn-dergar would have added some extra spice to this build, but it's a two-handed weapon, so couldn't be used for Spell Combat.

I think it is now possible to use a Dorn-dergar with Spell Combat. (Of course a 7th level Mindblade already could use it two-handed with Spell Combat.)


*Khan* wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:

This is the start of a build idea I had for a Reach Fighter.

1Fighter 1: Phalanx Soldier Archetype, Quickdraw, Power Attack, 2 Weapon
2F2: Cleave
3F3: Pike and Shield, Improved Shield Bash

Here is a character who is a Reach Fighter who can switch weapons at any time. When this character can get Great Cleave, he can Hit anyone within 10 feet with either Armor Spikes, his Light, Spiked Shield, his Horsechopper, or his Lucerne Hammer. Or he can 2 weapon fight with Halberd and Shield or Halberd and Armor Spikes.

This character might dip into Ranger and/or Inquisitor and get Shield Slam, Greater Bull Rush--he already has Power Attack--and Paired Opportunist by level 7. He might get Hamatula Strike so he can grapple with every hit and inflict Armor Spike Damage with every hit. I suspect the combination of Halberd and Light, Spiked Shield with Armor Spikes backed by Shield Slam and Hamatula Strike will be a devastating combination of cascading strikes. But that wouldn't get fully realized until after level 6.

Inquisitor with Growth domain would be great. But what else do you get from Inquisitor? The feats you mention are easier aqquired with your fighter.

Solo Tactics.

With Shield Slam, you get a free Bull Rush with every hit. With Greater Bull Rush, you give all your Allies Attacks of Opportunity by making your opponents Move out of Threatened Squares. With Paired Opportunist, everybody gets an Attack of Opportunity whenever anybody gets one, but they all have to have Paired Opportunist.

But the 3rd level Inquisitor Class Ability Solo Tactics lets the Inquisitor use his Teamwork Feats as if all his allies also had them, too.

And that means the PC gets an AoO, when he gives everyone else an AoO off of GBR.

You could achieve almost as nice an effect with only 1 level in Cavalier instead of 3 levels in Inquisitor, but Solo Tactics can be used with every Teamwork Feat you take. Also, There is a Size Limit on what you can Bull Rush, but with the Teamwork Feat Harder they Fall, that size limit is gone, and you're back in business.

So, I'm envisioning this evil loop of attacks of opportunity, each triggering extra maneuvers and extra attacks. I hit you with my Halberd, impaling you with Hamatula Strike, Grappling you and inflicting Armor Spike Damage. I release you as a Free Action and hit you again with my Light, Spiked Shield, using Hamatula Strike again, doing Armor Spike Damage Again, and now I also Bull Rush you, triggering Attacks of Opportunity from everyone in the Party, including you, because you have Paired Opportunist and Solo Tactics. Your Attack of Opportunity is another Shield Bash....

Then with 2 more levels in Inquisitor, you get Bane, so your Shield will do 2d6+1d4 instead of just 1d4.

Grand Lodge

Scott Wilhelm, that is an exciting but complicated build with a lot of feats. Do you have a build?
How do you keep the CMB on your bull rushes high enough when inquisitor is 3/4 BAB?


Grab a polearm.
Take, Combat Reflexes, Power Attack, Pushing Assault.
Enjoy forced movement shenanigans.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Aravis Elvarel wrote:

Grab a polearm.

Take, Combat Reflexes, Power Attack, Pushing Assault.
Enjoy forced movement shenanigans.

But what is a human fighter to do at levels 2 through 20? ;-)

Furious Focus, Stand Still, Exotic Weapon Proficiency fauchard, Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Lunge, Cleave???


Good suggestions!

Personally, I like the build with a dwarf specializing in the Bull Rush line. Grab a Boulder Helmet and Ancestral Weapon Mastery, maybe a dip in Brawler. Lots of fun stuff you can do.

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