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Front liner Martial - Fighter Archetype


Advice


I'm looking to build a front liner for our group. We have a half-orc barbarian, a backliner Fighter with a bow (Archer) and a Wizard.

I am looking at mutation warrior right now, having played alchemist before and knowing how strong that mutagen is. I'm going to be a 2handed fighter with a greatsword to start. And I'm planning to switching over the falchion at level 8 when I can have that 15-20 crit range. Thoughts?

Can anyone recommend other powerful fighter archetypes?

Is there any other martial classes or multiclasses you can recommend I look into for the front liner? The barbarian is already going to be doing a lot of DPS so I thought maybe a combo of damage and grappling might be a good idea.

Thanks!


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Nodachi has the better damage dice scaling, as well as weapon damage types and other benefits, while still maintaining Falchion crit chance. Unless the GM bans Eastern Weapons, it's all-around superior to it.

Mutation Warrior is a solid choice. If you continue with this option, I suggest you take Variant Multiclassing for Barbarian if your GM permits it. Being a Fighter, you have plenty of feats, and getting stuff like Rage, DR, and Rage Powers (treating character level as Barbarian level) is pretty damn nice, and definitely worth the 5 feats you're giving up in exchange.

Bonus points if you can get Advanced Weapon Training options. Armed Bravery, Warrior Spirit, and several other crazy awesome options are available if you can spare it. Your AC is going to bite, but you'll be absolutely devastating (perhaps even moreso than the Barbarian).

However, looking at your group composition, you have a very major weakness, and that's lack of Divine Spellcasting. In any campaign, not having access to divine spells is a killer, literally.

To which point, I recommend either Inquisitor or Warpriest. Same proficiencies as a Fighter, but have divine spellcasting and other useful goodies. Inquisitor has Solo Tactics, Bane, and Judgements. Warpriests have Fervor, Sacred Weapon, and Blessings. Warpriests can take the Arsenal Chaplain archetype for Fighter Weapon Training (and can qualify for Advanced Weapon Training options, as well as Fighter-only Options as well).


Warpriest would be better for the group than inquisitor, because warpriest has the entire cleric list available - allowing all status removal available.

Also, I think warpriest is easier to make a powerful character than inquisitor. Inquisitors have a lot of options, not all of them optimal.


I may recommend to the fighter/archer to possibly go a character with divine spells, but I'm not planning on playing a divine caster, I'm already playing one in another campaign.


I highly suggest not switching weapons part way through, part of the good stuff the fighter has is weapon focus, weapon specialization and greater focus, and that's all for just one weapon.


Scott Wilhelm where are you? This gentleman is looking for a character who can deal damage and grapple. I think you have a few suggestions for him.


Yeah I was recommended to just take the falchion right from the beginning, and I believe I will take his advice. That being said I'm not sure if mutation warrior is my best bet or if there is a better alternative.


Crexis wrote:

I'm looking to build a front liner for our group. We have a half-orc barbarian, a backliner Fighter with a bow (Archer) and a Wizard.

I am looking at mutation warrior right now, having played alchemist before and knowing how strong that mutagen is. I'm going to be a 2handed fighter with a greatsword to start. And I'm planning to switching over the falchion at level 8 when I can have that 15-20 crit range. Thoughts?

Do a core paladin and dip some Bloodrager. Get the falchion earlier and upgrade through +1/Furious.

Or, look at this. -- You already have two strikers in the party; you don't have a blocker, or apparently anyone capable of healing.


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Atalius wrote:
Scott Wilhelm where are you? This gentleman is looking for a character who can deal damage and grapple. I think you have a few suggestions for him.

Oh, you sweet talker! I suppose you could find some of my grappling builds I've posted.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Atalius wrote:
Scott Wilhelm where are you? This gentleman is looking for a character who can deal damage and grapple. I think you have a few suggestions for him.
Oh, you sweet talker! I suppose you could find some of my grappling builds I've posted.

Its not the same as hearing it from the man himself. Builds aside, just your views on a good front liner along side the barbarian. I think the OP is looking for primarily damage dealing with the ability to grapple if need be but would prefer to use it minimally and just deal significant damage outside of the grapple.


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Crexis wrote:
I'm looking to build a front liner for our group. We have a half-orc barbarian, a backliner Fighter with a bow (Archer) and a Wizard.

I notice your party doesn't have a skill monkey. Maybe your melee character could be a Sneak Attack Damage character? We could make him strong in melee primarily, but SAD builds also tend to have a lot of Skill Points. We could throw in some cool tactical tricks to make him interesting, and would be very supporttive of your party Barbarian, be a good foil to the Barbairan, and have some really scary pain delivery of his own.

Crexis wrote:
I thought maybe a combo of damage and grappling might be a good idea.

To my experience, my Grappling characters don't come online as Grapplers until like level 6 or 7, and I think I tend to achieve this earlier than most other players do. The earliest level I've been able to cobble together for a formidable Grappler is level 5--in theory. I puzzle these things out on my laptop much more often than I actually get to play them.

The reason why Grapplers seem to be late bloomers is that you can't take Greater Grapple until your BAB is +6. So, I think it would makes a lot of sense to develop a character in some other way before working in a Grappling feature. I have started playing with a PFS character who develops first as an archer then develops grappling. I've had a PFS character with a successful Grappling build feature in the past, and I'm confident about it working this time, and I'm finding it fairly cheap to make a character into a competant archer. I don't suppose it should be too, too hard to come up with a build that efficiently creates a melee character that also becomes a good Grappler somewhere in the neighborhood of levels 6-9.

Crexis wrote:
having played alchemist before and knowing how strong that mutagen is.

Over a 4 level dip or so, I find Alchemist is also the fastest way to increase your Grapple Maneuver Bonus. The character that I started in PFS will start taking levels in Alchemist with the Grenadier Archetype at level 7 or so and will grow a Tentacle and a King Crab Tumor Familiar, between them increasing the GMB by +6 in addition to the +3 BAB the character will get over 4 levels. She will also take Explosive Missile, making her a good archer who will start shooting exploding arrows. But enough about archery.

I have some thoughts about efficient methods for building melee character who might become a Grappler later.

If you take 3 levels in Fighter with the Phalanx Soldier Archetype, you can fight with a Pole Arm in 1 hand and a Shield in the other, a formidable and versatile package giving you a high AC, good Damage, and some options. You might fight with a Horsechopper or Lucerne Hammer, doing lots of Damage with Reach, and maybe take Shield Slam, Bull Rushing away anyone who gets inside your Reach. Reach is an inexpensive Attack of Opportunity trigger. Or you might dig into your opponents and Great Cleave them 2 ranks deep. Or you could 2 weapon fight wit Halberd and Shield or Halberd and Armor Spikes, using a Heavy Shield for extra AC.

There is a Feat you could take instead of the Fighter Archetype. I forget the name--that will also allow you to fight with Pole Arm and Shield.

Also, there is good ole Thunder and Fang. But my instinct is to go with something that will offer synergy with Grappling.

For Grappling, there are 2 things I like to do: Tie Up opponents and inflict damage with a catch-and-release Full Attack. There is a way of Grappling multiple opponents I have thought up, and I wonder how it will work. Tying Up depends on 2 levels in Cavalier, Order of the Penitent and the Greater Grapple Feat, which will allow you to Tie Up an opponent in a single round. The catch-and-release Grappler will use the Grab Ability and Hamatula Strike with Piercing weapons, such as Halberd, Armor Spikes, Shield Spikes, and certain Natural Attacks. The idea is you make it so every attack gives you a free Grapple Check, and if you are wearing Armor Spikes, you also do Armor Spike Damage. If you have something else evil going on, such as Sneak Attack Damage, you would get to apply that to the Armor Spike Damage as well since the Grapple Check is a seperate Attack Roll.

My Sneak Attack melee character idea involves dipping in Snakebite Striker Brawler, Bounty Hunter Slayer, Arcanist and Ninja, using Feinting, Dimensional Slide, Ninja Vanishing Trick, and Dirty Tricks to lock in Sneak Attack Damage in various ways.

Crexis wrote:
And I'm planning to switching over the falchion at level 8 when I can have that 15-20 crit range. Thoughts?

I have to admit, I never liked crit-fishing. Something about the idea of critical hits has always bothered me. I have to say also, I don't like Falchion. My instincts tell me that you will get more damage with a Greatsword that reliably does lots of damage with every strike than with a Falchion that usually does less damage but is more likely to crit. But do have some thoughts on how to Crit-fish.

Play and Elf or Tengu and use an Elven Curved Blade. Elven Curved Blades also crit on an 18-20, but do 1d10 instead of the Falchion's 2d4. If you dip a level in Ranger, and if you can acquire low-level magic wands, you can use a Wand of Lead Blades making your base Damage 2d8. I also like the Eldritch Guardian Fighter Archetype. You will get a Familiar that knows all the Combat Feats you know, including Teamwork Feats such as Broken Wing Gambit which will give both of you Attacks of Opportunity whenever either of you is attacked, and Outflank or Seize the Moment, which will give each other Attacks of Opportunity whenever the other scores a Critical Hit. Maybe also Paired Opportunist for good measure so that if any of you get AoOs, all of you do. You might even get the Barbarian to spend a Feat slot to get Paired Opportunist so that you can give bonus attacks to each other.


Two-Handed Fighter Archetype is good if you will be going Vital Strike (double str to damage instead of 1.5. Also Viking Archetype to get rage is pretty good.


UnArcaneElection found the name of the Feat I couldn't remember.


Thanks Scott Wilhem for the in depth analysis, it gave me a lot to think about.

What are your suggestions for best 1 level dips? For mainly damage.


Surprised nobody mentioned Tetori Monk (for single-class progression, not a dip). That is THE Grappling champion. Unfortunately this pre-Unchained Monk archetype doesn't have an official conversion for Unchained Monk, so you might want to stack some other archetypes on it, as in Jam's Blended Archetype Guide for pre-Unchained Monks (and despite being for pre-Unchained Monks, this guide was last updated 13 days ago or less, depending upon Jam Renaissance's time zone).


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Dipping Bird Build
Tengu with Claws

I like the idea of Sneak Attacks combined with a Natural Attack build. Sneak Attack Damage gets high, and if you can work out methods to lock in your damage, well your Damage per Round is multiplied by the number of Attacks you have. All Tengu get a Bite Attack, and there is an alternative Racial Trait that also gives them 2 Claw Attacks. 3 attack/round is high in early levels. Later, you might acquire a Helm of the Mammoth Lord or Animal Mask to get a Gore Attack.

Level 1, Brawler1: Snakebite Striker, Sneak Attack +1d6, Unarmed 1d6, Martial Cunning, Dirty Fighting, BAB+1
2B1Slayer1: Bounty Hunter, Studied Target, Tracking, BAB+2
3B1S1Arcanist1: Dimensional Slide, Improved Dirty Trick

I've run into problem with melee builds in PFS having waaaaay too low AC by level 3 by relying on Light Armor. Slayers can wear Medium Armor. You might carry a Shield, but then your Tengu would lose one of the Claw Attacks. I think you might technically be able to take the Quickdraw Feat, carry a Quickdraw Shield, put it away as a Free Action when you make your Full Attack, then pull it out again when your attack is done, and get 3 attacks/round and keep a Shield Bonus to AC, but I am not 100% sure that is technically legal, and I have little doubt your table will resent the tactic even if your GM allows it.

The level in Slayer will let you upgrade to Medium Armor. The level in Arcanist will give you access to a level 1 Wizard Spell, Swift Girding, which will dress you in your armor in the 1 Standard Action Casting Time. Without the Endurance Feat, you can't sleep in Medium or Heavy Armor without waking up Fatigued, and few things are more creepy than the twinkle in your GM's eye when he asks, "Are you sleeping in your armor?" If the answer is "No," you WILL be fighting wandering monsters in your underwear. I was thinking of this for a Pathfinder Society character, where magic items are pretty much available at listed market prices, so I was thinking my Tengu Brawler Slayer would be carrying a Wand of Swift Girding.

The other thing the level in Arcanist will give you is Dimensional Slide, a 10' teleport which will not leave you disroriented. This should give you a really neat method for Flanking and locking in your Sneak Attack Damage.

4B1S2A1: Dirty Trick, BAB+3, Ability +1

The Dirty Trick Combat Maneuver can be used to Blind your oppoents, making them lose their Dex Mod to AC and locking in your Sneak Attack Damage. The Bounty Hunter ability Dirty Trick lets you make a Dirty Trick Combat Maneuver as an Attack Action. If you run into a creature that has Blindsight, your can use Dirty Trick to Deafen them, too. That is in addition to your Dimensional Slide Trick for Flanking. That should do it.

5B1S3A1: Sneak Attack +1d6, BAB +4, Improved Feint
6B2S3A1: Improved Grapple, BAB+5
7B2S3A1Cavalier1: Constable, Order of the Penitent, Tactician, Challenge, Coordinated Maneuvers, Greater Grapple, BAB+6
8B2S3A1C2: Expert Captor, Ability +1, BAB+7

Feinting is another way to lock in your Sneak Attack Damage. I explained Expert Captor and Greater Grapple in an earlier thread. Coordinated Maneuvers combined with Tactician will give you and all your allies +2 on all Combat Maneuver Checks.

9B2S3A1Alchemist1: Vivisectionist, Sneak Attack +1d6, Extracts, Bombs, Brew Potion, Mutagen, Greater Dirty Trick
10B2S3A1V2: Tentacle, Cruel Anatomist, Poison Use and Resist, BAB+8
11B2S3A1V3: Sneak Attack +1d6, Swift Alchemy, Greater Feint, BAB+9
12B2S3A1V4: King Crab Tumor Protector Familiar, BAB+10
13B2S3A1V4Witch1: White Hair, Hamatula Strike

White Hair is another Natural Attack. Now you have 5, 6 if you count the Tentacle, and you can: Bite, Gore, Hair, 2 Claws, and the Tentacle. The Tentacle Discovery does not grant an extra attack: you have to use your regular, iterative attacks other characters use for their weapons, but your character hasn't been using those anyway because combining Weapon Attacks with your Natural Attacks imposes severe penalties on your Natural Attacks. But since your Tentacle is just another Natural Weapon, no problem.

Both the Hair and the Tentacle get free Grapple Attacks on a successful hit, and if you are wearing Armor Spikes, you get Armor Spike Damage. Since those Grapple Attacks are separate Attack Rolls, if you got Sneak Attack Damage on your original attack, you'll get it for your Armor Spikes, too. Hamatula Strike will let all your Piercing Natural Attacks get free Grapple Checks: your Bite and Gore. There is a Feat you can take, Martial Versatility, I think, that will let you do Piercing Damage with your Claws. Otherwise, take Feral Combat Training for your Claws and Snake Style.

In melee, this character should either use HS and Grab to gain extra attacks with extra Sneak Attack Damage, releasing the Grapple each time as a Free Action until you get your White Hair. When you Grapple someone in your White Hair, they are Grappled: you are not!

Or you should Initiate a Grapple as a Standard Action then Tie them Up as a Move Action.

Later, you might take Great Cleave and Cleave with your White Hair and then your Hair's Grappling ability to Grapple every single adjacent opponent as a Standard Action, and Tie Up one of them as a Move Action, then Tie Up the rest with another GC. You might take the Broken Wing Gambit Feat scoring an Attack of Opportunity against anyone caught in your hair who makes a Grapple Check to Free themselves, and Tie them Up that way.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Surprised nobody mentioned Tetori Monk (for single-class progression, not a dip). That is THE Grappling champion. Unfortunately this pre-Unchained Monk archetype doesn't have an official conversion for Unchained Monk, so you might want to stack some other archetypes on it, as in Jam's Blended Archetype Guide for pre-Unchained Monks (and despite being for pre-Unchained Monks, this guide was last updated 13 days ago or less, depending upon Jam Renaissance's time zone).

I actually don't favor Tetori for Grapple builds. I think Inescapable Grasp is attractive, but so is Exptert Captor, which can be used to take out single opponents in a single round completely doing an end-run around DR and HP. And with Tentacle, Crab Familiar, Infusion, Touch Injection, and True Strike, Alchemists' GMB is actually growing (much) faster than Tetoris', at least for a few levels. Also, Tetori are still limited to taking out 1 opponent at a time where White Haired Witches aren't.

Above I offered a Grappling build that admittedly does not have Inescapable Grasp. What does this bird do when she runs into she runs into someone wearing a Ring of Free Action? She shreds them into pieces with Claws, Beak, and Gore and uses their blood to preen her White Plumes! My approach to Grappling is to treat it as a build feature and

I like to work in other tactical tricks to fall back on. Another build I have combines Grappling with Archery, taking the Grenadier Archetype to add exploding arrows to the Grappling Mods. By the time she's level 12, she'll be able to completely neutralize any monster that isn't protected by Freedom of Movement that has a GMD under 50 with a 90% chance of success. If that doesn't work, she'll shoot them with exploding arrows.


That's pretty cool. But given the title, now I've got this image stuck in my head of this Tengu with a tentacle, hair-tentacles . . . and a showbiz hat.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
That's pretty cool. But given the title, now I've got this image stuck in my head of this Tengu with a tentacle, hair-tentacles . . . and a showbiz hat.

With methanol gurgling in his guts :D

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