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looking for an effective polearm build


Advice


I really want to play a polearm user who is a strong melee combatant

any good builds for a polearm user that dose what it dose well.

magic classes are ok (but not warpriest that was my previous character)

I have 8 levels to work with and the gm says we should make it to level 14.

my stats will be based on a 20 point buy

i can use any non-third party

Also because this is a homebrew game. feats and things that require you to be from a certian area or the worship of a certian deity ingore those requirements .

any good builds for me?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Polearms are a superb weapon category in Pathfinder, and a lot of classes can use them well. Heck, now that the Elven Branched Spear is a thing (the first finessable polearm) even the Unchained Rogue is a superb candidate. If you're looking for simplicity, though, then go with the barbarian. Barbarians are always a solid choice for any build specializing in two-handed weapons, and polearms are no exception. Buff up that strength score, get Power Attack and Combat Reflexes, and go to town. It's a classic, and for good reason.

For a more complex suggestion, here's a build I've been musing about recently, making use of the Elven Branch Spear and the Elven Battle Focus feat to get Int-to-damage on a finessable reach weapon with a Wizard (20 PB at 8th level)

Race: Elf
Stats: Str 10, Dex 18, Con 10, Int 20, Wis 10, Cha 8
Traits: Magical Knack (Wizard), (your choice)
1 - Wizard (Transmuter) - Weapon Finesse
2 - Fighter - Elven Battle Training
3 - Wizard - Elven Battle Style
4 - Wizard
5 - Wizard - Combat Reflexes
6 - Wizard - Knowledge is Power
7 - Eldritch Knight - Elven Battle Focus, Favored Prestige Class (Eldritch Knight)
8 - Eldritch Knight

This gets you access to 3rd level spells as a Wizard, +5 BAB, you use Dex to hit and Int to damage, and add Int to CMB and CMD. Transmuter allows you to apply a +2 enhancement bonus to constitution (negating the elven racial penalty and taking you up to 12 con) so you can go for a belt to bolster that dexterity score, and since you'll be prepping a lot of transmutation buff spells it's really useful for that purpose as well.

When you next level up, take Prestigious Spellcaster to further enhance your spellcasting prowess. You could also choose to delay combat reflexes instead so you can have prestigious spellcaster immediately, but this will severely impact your ability to make full use of your reach weapon, especially when you enlarge yourself to get a massive threat range.


Full bab class, polearm, high str and some dex, effective pole arm guy.

Something cool is the Difficult Swings Weapon Mastery feat as this helps stops people from doing the 5ft step dance with you. If they want to reach you they need to move and provoke.


The secret to a good polearm build is simple:

power attack, combat reflexes, and lunge.

Power attack to make your hits strong (so people fear to mess with you), combat reflexes so you have extra hits (note- you will likely not get more than 1/round... but this is to make it so that the GM can't just use up your limit and then breeze by with the important monster; also, it lets you get AoOs in the surprise round).

Lunge is a bit more complicated in its use. It does NOT expand your reach for AoOs. But it helps you set things up more easily.

Normally with a polearm, you cannot attack first without losing your chance to get an AoO. When you attack, the enemy ends up 10' away- they only need a 5' step to get next to you (thus they full attack and avoid AoOs).

With lunge, you can attack first from 15' away. Many enemies have to move 10' to get next to you (they lose their full attack, and you get an AoO).

Also, lunge means that you can full attack anything within 20' (10' reach +5' lunge +5' step). That is practically a pseudo pounce- not as great for the initial charge, but it lets you easily full attack once the enemies close in.

With these three feats, you can be a good polearm user with almost any 3/4 or full BAB class. It doesn't really matter if they have martial or just simple weapons- even a long spear is good enough to enjoy reach. Full BAB tends to work better though- higher attack bonus, and more iteratives to take advantage of that pseudopounce.


lemeres wrote:
Also, lunge means that you can full attack anything within 20' (10' reach +5' lunge +5' step). That is practically a pseudo pounce- not as great for the initial charge, but it lets you easily full attack once the enemies close in.

It gets particularly insane if you're enlarged. Your natural reach is 10 ft when enlarged, meaning with a polearm it's 20 ft, and with lunge and 5 ft step you can effectively full attack out to 30 ft.


Dasrak wrote:
lemeres wrote:
Also, lunge means that you can full attack anything within 20' (10' reach +5' lunge +5' step). That is practically a pseudo pounce- not as great for the initial charge, but it lets you easily full attack once the enemies close in.
It gets particularly insane if you're enlarged. Your natural reach is 10 ft when enlarged, meaning with a polearm it's 20 ft, and with lunge and 5 ft step you can effectively full attack out to 30 ft.

I tend to not like enlarged- it leaves a large doughnut in the middle where you cannot easily attack with your big shiny polearm. When you are medium, the gap is small enough to cover with a 5' step back, but it needs 10' when large.

I tend towards the 'distance control' school of thought. Enarlge tends to be better for the 'area control' (where you usually want a denial ability, like a trip build).

But since we are on the topic of insane reach- aberrant bloodrager.

At level 4, they get +5' of reach. And at level 10, they can free action cast a self buff... and they have long arm on their list (another +5' of reach).

So they can easily make a build that lets them full attack at a distance where dwarves cannot reach with their whole move attack.


Quote:
I tend to not like enlarged- it leaves a large doughnut in the middle where you cannot easily attack with your big shiny polearm.

You can wear armor spikes or gauntlets to attack things that get too close to you. Alchemists can one-up this with a vestigial arm, holding a greatsword in the spare hand and swapping their active weapon as a free action to smack something that gets too close. The Wizard build I mentioned will be using flight to keep a safe cruising altitude over top of hapless melee foes. Or you can just pair up with allies who smack down anything that gets too close to you while you rip apart enemies who are further away. Lots of ways around this, and the sheer massive scale of your threatened area makes size increases really juicy.


lemeres wrote:

The secret to a good polearm build is simple:

power attack, combat reflexes, and lunge.

Power attack to make your hits strong (so people fear to mess with you), combat reflexes so you have extra hits (note- you will likely not get more than 1/round... but this is to make it so that the GM can't just use up your limit and then breeze by with the important monster; also, it lets you get AoOs in the surprise round).

Lunge is a bit more complicated in its use. It does NOT expand your reach for AoOs. But it helps you set things up more easily.

Normally with a polearm, you cannot attack first without losing your chance to get an AoO. When you attack, the enemy ends up 10' away- they only need a 5' step to get next to you (thus they full attack and avoid AoOs).

With lunge, you can attack first from 15' away. Many enemies have to move 10' to get next to you (they lose their full attack, and you get an AoO).

Also, lunge means that you can full attack anything within 20' (10' reach +5' lunge +5' step). That is practically a pseudo pounce- not as great for the initial charge, but it lets you easily full attack once the enemies close in.

With these three feats, you can be a good polearm user with almost any 3/4 or full BAB class. It doesn't really matter if they have martial or just simple weapons- even a long spear is good enough to enjoy reach. Full BAB tends to work better though- higher attack bonus, and more iteratives to take advantage of that pseudopounce.

Great summary! I recommend picking up Phalanx Formation as well.


actually ive been thinking it over?

i8s there a way to wield a polearm well being a kensai magus?


What do you want to accomplish while using a polearm other than just damage?

Do you want to crowd control, focus on high defense, intimidate, out-of-combat utility?

By polearm are you requesting a specific weapon, a reach weapon, or just something in the polearm fighter group?

Any racial preferences/restrictions, or whatever works best?


JuliusCromwell wrote:

actually ive been thinking it over?

i8s there a way to wield a polearm well being a kensai magus?

Spear Dancing Spiral, but it is feat intensive.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
JuliusCromwell wrote:

actually ive been thinking it over?

i8s there a way to wield a polearm well being a kensai magus?

Spear Dancing Spiral, but it is feat intensive.

wait could unchained rogue 4/ kensai 16 work

take bladed brush and use a glavie?


Posted in what turned out to be the wrong duplicate thread.

Here's an Unchained Rogue I put together. However I must mention that the following build is a damager & debuffer designed to support the "frontline" melee and stop anything that might try to get past them. It's not nearly as good at being the "primary" tank because of the reliance on Gang Up for Sneak Attack, and poorer defenses than a full martial or, say, a Reach Cleric.

Spoiler:
Feats:
Racial: Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Elven Branched Spear)
Rogue 1: Weapon Finesse
L1: Combat Reflexes
L3: Dirty Fighting
L5: Gang Up
Rogue 6: Improved Dirty Trick (via Underhanded Trick)
Rogue 6: Improved Trip (via Unbalancing Trick)
L7: Phalanx Formation
Rogue 8: Lunge (via Combat Trick)
(future) L9: Quick Dirty Trick

Rogue Talents:
L2: Minor Magic - Acid Splash (apply Sneak Attack at range using a Touch attack)
L4: Major Magic - Long Arm
L6: Unbalancing Trick
L6: Underhanded Trick
L8: Combat Trick: Quick Dirty Trick

Racial Favored Class Bonus (as a Half Elf you can gain the Human or Elf bonus)
Human Bonus: +1 2/6 Rogue Talents (above build assumes this one is used)
OR
Elf Bonus: (effectively) +4 uses/day of Major Magic

You have a lot of options in combat for debilitating the enemy and damaging them as well. The bonuses from Improved Maneuver feats, +2 to hit from the Elven Branched Spear (albeit only on attacks of opportunity) and the combination of Dirty Fighting and Gang Up gives your maneuvers a decent chance to stick.

With Long Arm you can have a 15' reach for AoO's without having to use Enlarge Person (which makes you a big, easier-to-hit target and gives you a penalty to hit with your Finesse weapon), which is important for being able to AoO enemies just for approaching you. You could then either hit them, or go for a trip if you would rather stop them in their tracks than damage them.

Gang Up allows you to make Sneak Attacks from behind the front line, and Phalanx Formation allows you to make Attacks of Opportunity through your allies (many people don't know that you can't do this normally). If you find yourself alone against an enemy you can hit it with a Dirty Trick as your first attack to try and blind it, then get Sneak Attacks in for at least one round afterwards.

If you want to double down on debuffs and don't mind giving up Trapfinding, you could take the Rake archetype and get the Cruel enhancement on your weapon - Though I would still get Fortuitous first.

JuliusCromwell wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
JuliusCromwell wrote:

actually ive been thinking it over?

i8s there a way to wield a polearm well being a kensai magus?

Spear Dancing Spiral, but it is feat intensive.

wait could unchained rogue 4/ kensai 16 work

take bladed brush and use a glavie?

Unfortunately by RAW, Bladed Brush doesn't work with the Magus. If you can houserule all of that away, then it's a pretty good option. And if housefixing Bladed Brush is on the table, I would take Slashing Grace with it rather than multiclass with a Magus.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:

What do you want to accomplish while using a polearm other than just damage?

Do you want to crowd control, focus on high defense, intimidate, out-of-combat utility?

By polearm are you requesting a specific weapon, a reach weapon, or just something in the polearm fighter group?

Any racial preferences/restrictions, or whatever works best?

Damage and control a good mix of both.

well races other than the core races except for half orc and half elf are treated as normal citizens in this world. well half elfs are treated like half breeds normally are and half orcs have it worst (some towns shops will not allow them in or do bussines with them.

and the other races are treated really bad like thee hebrew people in 1937-1945 germany

its actually really brutal.

the game is based on the Akame ga kill Manga


I’m using a dwarf Fighter in RotRL with a Dwarven Longhammer that tears it up. Dwarven Boulder Helmet for a backup weapon in case someone closes in and I can’t reposition. He’s the main tanky/front line character. Runs around in around in full plate with nice bonuses from advanced weapon and armor training.

Lunge + Combat reflexes + a fortuitous Weapon is insane (fortuitous basically gives you an iterative attack on an AOO.) I Enlarge against large enemies so he can still hit from far away and force more than a 5’ step to close. Anything trying to pass by him to get to the softer party members takes two very potent power attack hits and is in an easily flanked position for the rogue to take advantage.


Dasrak wrote:
Quote:
I tend to not like enlarged- it leaves a large doughnut in the middle where you cannot easily attack with your big shiny polearm.
You can wear armor spikes or gauntlets to attack things that get too close to you. Alchemists can one-up this with a vestigial arm, holding a greatsword in the spare hand and swapping their active weapon as a free action to smack something that gets too close. The Wizard build I mentioned will be using flight to keep a safe cruising altitude over top of hapless melee foes. Or you can just pair up with allies who smack down anything that gets too close to you while you rip apart enemies who are further away. Lots of ways around this, and the sheer massive scale of your threatened area makes size increases really juicy.

Which is why I mention 'your big shiny polearm'. You are not using that polearm that you spent all that money enhancing.

I know there are items and builds that let you attack in the gap. But I usually just view those as 'something to hit a cheeky caster'- not a real solution to a melee threat. Additionally, a lot of the suggestions you mention (at least the ones that don't need specific classes or multiclasses) often end up relying on light weapons (such as armor spikes). In the end, you are going to only have a much weaker attack than your main weapon, whether it is a light weapon o something that is less enhanced (or you split your wealth to enhance both).

It is nice as a way to shore up a weakness on an area controller (whose main job is to cover as much area as possible to do debuffs and such like tripping)... but I tend towards a simpler 'melee plus' principle when I go for distance control- I don't want to interfere with my ability to just be a straightfoward 2 hander.


can i get a good build using lore warden and advance weapon trai8ning?


JuliusCromwell wrote:
can i get a good build using lore warden and advance weapon trai8ning?

Now there is a class/archetype that is perfect if you want to do area control/tripping. That archetype gets a large bonus to maneuvers, which means that you are good, even against enemies with high strength.

You might still need to go large since there is a size limit to tripping. That would be the place for an enlarged character.


lemeres wrote:
JuliusCromwell wrote:
can i get a good build using lore warden and advance weapon trai8ning?

Now there is a class/archetype that is perfect if you want to do area control/tripping. That archetype gets a large bonus to maneuvers, which means that you are good, even against enemies with high strength.

You might still need to go large since there is a size limit to tripping. That would be the place for an enlarged character.

Ok that sounds good.

Race?

And feats?

I want aoO use as well


JuliusCromwell wrote:
lemeres wrote:
JuliusCromwell wrote:
can i get a good build using lore warden and advance weapon trai8ning?

Now there is a class/archetype that is perfect if you want to do area control/tripping. That archetype gets a large bonus to maneuvers, which means that you are good, even against enemies with high strength.

You might still need to go large since there is a size limit to tripping. That would be the place for an enlarged character.

Ok that sounds good.

Race?

And feats?

I want aoO use as well

Lets see- hmmm.... one of the flaws of lorewarden in the current system is that it lacks the bravery ability (which gets turned into a will save bonus with advanced weapon trianing).

There is a way to fix that will save though- half elf with dual minded. That is a +2 to will, and you still have the immunities that give a +2 vs. mind affecting (read-"murder your party") saves. Alternatively, you could go dwarf with steel soul to counter spells (but then, you would be open to various non-spell will saves- such as vampire mind control).

Feats? Here are a few (not doing full, just a few key ones)
1- power attack and combat reflexes (of course).
5- maybe the one to get advanced weapon training early (although your skill points are good with this archetype, and I already suggested the will save)
6- lunge.

Everything else would likely be trip stuff- dirty fighting, improved trip, greater trip. Maybe tripping strike if you use a high crit range (fauchards are 18-20/x2 weapons with the trip property, although they are exotic; if you don't spend a feat, you could get bardiche for 19-20 without trip property's bonus). There are also typical fighter feats such as weapon focus/specialization.


lemeres wrote:
JuliusCromwell wrote:
can i get a good build using lore warden and advance weapon trai8ning?
Now there is a class/archetype that is perfect if you want to do area control/tripping. That archetype gets a large bonus to maneuvers, which means that you are good, even against enemies with high strength.

From the anguish expressed on the boards, I've gotten the impression that the updated Lore Warden is pretty bad.

lemeres wrote:
You might still need to go large since there is a size limit to tripping. That would be the place for an enlarged character.

The size issue at higher levels can now be ameliorated with a couple of Armor Mastery feats. The Poised Bearing feat will let you count as one size larger than your actual size for determining the size of creatures against whom you can bull rush, drag, overrun, and trip. Imposing Bearing increases that to two sizes. Both feats are from the Armor Master's Handbook.

So a medium character using Enlarge Person and Imposing Bearing would count as gargantuan and could attempt trip even against colossal creatures. The Lore Warden loses Armor Training which makes them ineligible for these feats.


Athaleon wrote:
Unfortunately by RAW, Bladed Brush doesn't work with the Magus. If you can houserule all of that away, then it's a pretty good option. And if housefixing Bladed Brush is on the table, I would take Slashing Grace with it rather than multiclass with a Magus.

With Spear Dancing Spiral you can use a glaive one-handed if you also have Quarterstaff Master.

Spear Dancing Spiral + Bladed Brush + Quarterstaff Master = Dexterity to damage and to-hit with a glaive in same round you use spell combat.


Glaive Magus:
Pella
Female human (Garundi) magus (kensai) 14 (Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Combat 55, Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Magic 9)
NG Medium humanoid (human)
Init +11; Senses Perception +24
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 28, touch 22, flat-footed 17 (+4 armor, +1 deflection, +6 Dex, +5 dodge, +2 natural)
hp 115 (14d8+42)
Fort +16, Ref +15, Will +14
Defensive Abilities canny defense +5
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +3 adamantine glaive +19/+14 (1d10+18/×3)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with +3 adamantine glaive)
Special Attacks arcane pool (+4, 12 points), greater spell combat, magus arcana (arcane accuracy[UM], familiar[UM], spell blending [2 spells of lower level][UM]), spellstrike
Magus (Kensai) Spells Prepared (CL 14th; concentration +19)
. . 5th—elemental body II, teleport
. . 4th—dimension door, fire shield, greater invisibility, stoneskin
. . 3rd—fly, haste, heroism, vampiric touch
. . 2nd—bladed dash, blur, frigid touch[UM], glitterdust (DC 17), mirror image
. . 1st—frostbite[UM], keep watch, long arm[ACG], mage armor, shield, true strike
. . 0 (at will)—arcane mark, detect magic, mage hand, read magic
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 13, Dex 23, Con 14, Int 20, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +10; CMB +10; CMD 33
Feats Alertness, Arcane Strike, Bladed Brush, Power Attack, Quarterstaff Master[UM], Spear Dancing Spiral, Spear Dancing Style, Two-weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (glaive), Weapon Focus (quarterstaff), Weapon Specialization (glaive)
Traits ease of faith, seeker
Skills Acrobatics +14, Appraise +7, Bluff +19, Climb +7, Diplomacy +23, Disguise +5, Escape Artist +8, Fly +16, Heal +2, Intimidate +5, Knowledge (arcana) +18, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +18, Knowledge (local) +15, Knowledge (planes) +18, Knowledge (religion) +15, Perception +24, Perform (dance) +9, Ride +8, Sense Motive +4, Spellcraft +15, Stealth +8, Survival +2, Swim +7, Use Magic Device +16
Languages Ancient Osiriani, Common, First Speech, Osiriani, Thassilonian, Undercommon, Varisian
SQ chosen weapon, critical perfection +5, iaijutsu, iaijutsu focus +5, perfect strike, superior reflexes
Combat Gear pearl of power (1st level) (3); Other Gear +3 adamantine glaive, amulet of natural armor +1, belt of incredible dexterity +4, circlet of persuasion, cloak of resistance +3, headband of vast intelligence +4, pale blue rhomboid ioun stone, ring of protection +1, magus starting spellbook, 492 gp
--------------------
Special Abilities
--------------------
Arcane Accuracy +5 (Su) 1 Arcane Pool: +5 to attack rolls until the end of your turn.
Arcane Pool +4 (12/day) (Su) Infuse own power into a held weapon, granting enhancement bonus or selected item powers.
Arcane Strike As a swift action, add +1 damage, +1 per 5 caster levels and your weapons are treated as magic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Bladed Brush Glaives become finess and swashbuckler weapons. As a move action, can change from reach to non-reach.
Canny Defense +5 (Ex) +INT bonus to AC (max Kensai level).
Chosen Weapon (Glaive) Kensai abilities only function when wielding a weapon of this type.
Critical Perfection +5 (Ex) Bonus to confirm threats & qualify early for critical feats with chosen weapon.
Deliver Touch Spells Through Familiar (Su) Your familiar can deliver touch spells for you.
Empathic Link with Familiar (Su) You have an empathic link with your Arcane Familiar.
Familiar Bonus: +1 natural armor bonus to AC You gain the Alertness feat while your familiar is within arm's reach.
Greater Spell Combat (Ex) Use weapon in one hand at -2 & cast a spell with the other. Concentration check bonus equal to x2 penalty taken.
Iaijutsu (Ex) May draw chosen weapon and make attacks of opportunity when flat footed.
Iaijutsu Focus +5 (Ex) Always act in surprise round, gain bonus to dam vs. flat footed foes.
Perfect Strike (Ex) Use 1 arcane pool to maximize weapon dam, or 2 for +1 to crit multiplier.
Power Attack -3/+6 You can subtract from your attack roll to add to your damage.
Quarterstaff Master Use a quarterstaff one-handed
Scry on Familiar (1/day) (Sp) You can scry on your familiar, as the spell.
Share Spells with Familiar Can cast spells with a target of "You" on the familiar with a range of touch.
Speak with Animals (Ex) Your familiar can communicate with animals similar to itself.
Speak with Familiar (Ex) You can communicate verbally with your familiar.
Spear Dancing Spiral (Glaive) Spear Dancing Style: use weapon finesse with chosen weapon.
Spear Dancing Style (Glaive) Chosen weapon becomes double weapon as light mace on off handed side.
Spellstrike (Su) Deliver touch spells as part of a melee attack.
Superior Reflexes (Ex) Extra attacks of opportunity equal to Int mod (min 1). Combat reflexes stacks.

Takes forever to come fully online, but works if bringing in at higher level.

Dex-to-damage at 4th level, dex-to-hit at 5th level, one-handed at 9th level.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
** spoiler omitted **...

Good lord- dex to damage tree and TWF tree (with a style tree to meant to make a reach weapon work for TWF). All on a class with rather few bonus feats.

When you can't even get your melee stat added to your hit until level 5, that is going straight into theorycrafter territory- not something you can really play unless you start off at high level. Nice on paper, but a slog to actually play.

Heck, I feel like not being able to properly melee until level 5 means you lose a lot of the advantages of being a gish (where you can easily play early on while the casters have to pull out a crossbow after 1-2 rounds).


lemeres wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
** spoiler omitted **...

Good lord- dex to damage tree and TWF tree (with a style tree to meant to make a reach weapon work for TWF). All on a class with rather few bonus feats.

When you can't even get your melee stat added to your hit until level 5, that is going straight into theorycrafter territory- not something you can really play unless you start off at high level. Nice on paper, but a slog to actually play.

Heck, I feel like not being able to properly melee until level 5 means you lose a lot of the advantages of being a gish (where you can easily play early on while the casters have to pull out a crossbow after 1-2 rounds).

I included the caveat that it works when starting at higher level, which the OP is, but not from level 1.

I would not go this route unless starting at level 4-5.

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