Solo Level 20 martial-only character vs Cthulhu

Paizo General Discussion

Hi everyone,

This is my first post here on Paizo. My friends are playing a Pathfinder campaign but sadly won't have room for another player in their group for several months. After talking to them, however, I got really interested in the game and decided to build my own character. I have tried not to use any third party material at all, so unless I have made a mistake somewhere it should all be paizo-only material. I hope it makes for enjoyable reading.

I love fighters and I thought it would be interesting to see if a purely martial build would have any chance against the mighty demigod Cthulhu.There are some cool builds which can KO Cthulhu in one round, or trick him into a pocket dimension. This build, however, seeks to go head-to-head with him and to win in a straight fight - no ubercharging, etc. Because I wanted to see if a martial-only build would nonetheless have some hope of winning, the build is not allowed to use any spells (though it definitely uses magic items).


Cthulhu has crawled out of the sea and is making his way towards Hauptstadtsburg, the capital city of the state of Estrana. He hasn't teleported straight into heart of the city, perhaps because it is shielded by powerful magic, or simply because he savors the the feeling of slaughtering every village he comes across as he flies.

The character, Anna, is therefore aware of his presence and, as the great champion of the city, is flying across the countryside looking for him. She hopes to engage and defeat him as far away from the city as possible, because his mere presence would turn almost every inhabitant of Hauptstadtsburg immediately and irreversibly insane. I have assumed that her mutagen and rage abilities are not active before the fight starts (their durations are much too short to perma-run), but she does at least have her sword drawn.

Cthulhu’s perception score is a massive +52, ours is only 24. But he’s colossal and not hiding, while we are looking for him. So for the purpose of this battle I’ll assume we spot each other at 500ft, but he gets a round to cast whatever buffs he likes (perhaps summoning 2d4 Star Spawn) before initiative is rolled. I also assume that after initiative, we both close the distance asap and to try kill each other in the most efficient way possible.

What we are dealing with:

Cthulhu’s stats are insane. His AC of 49 means that iterative attacks (-5, -10, -15, etc) would have little chance of hitting him. The build therefore uses a single maximised vital strike each round to deal damage. This also enables us to take a move action each round and attack. If we had to full attack, he would only have to move away (while keeping us inside his colossal reach) in order to deny us our full attack. Cthulhu can also impose very tough DCs on us, in particular a constant Will 40 (save or lose) DC, and a nasty Reflex 51 DC trample attack which does 2d8 +30 damage. He also has grapple/sunder/etc CMBs of 60+, and a to-hit bonus of +42. Lastly, 10 times a day he can add a d12 to any of his rolls.

To survive these attacks, our saves, AC, and CMD vs Cthulhu are all high enough survive everything except natural 20s or natural 1s. Additionally, we can reroll two failed saving throws per day and have a 50% chance to ignore critical hits. Nonetheless, it’s a race to see if we can deal enough damage before he gets lucky, or we get unlucky.

How the build works:

The build relies heavily on Cha and Dex. by combining the Scaled fist archetype, Osyluth Guile feat, and paladin’s smite evil ability, we are able to add Cha to our AC three times vs Cthulhu (Cha untyped, Cha dodge, and Cha deflection). We can’t add Cha to our AC vs all opponents, but the stats of his Star-Spawn are not nearly so intimidating as his are. Two levels of paladin also adds Cha to all our saves. Focusing on Dex, meanwhile, lets us add a fourth large bonus to our AC, while also boosting our reflex save, initiative, and attack. Moreover, all of these bonuses increase our Touch AC and CMD, which we need to dodge spells and to not get squashed by a demigod. Our bloodrage and Greater mutagen abilities also let us boost our Dex by 10, once turned on, while the Urban bloodrager class let’s us ‘rage’ like a barbarian without interfering with our paladin’s Lawful neutral alignment.

After a lot of thought, I settled on maximised vital strike with an effectively gargantuan bastard sword. This is achieved by: Large size (potion) + impact enchantment + wielding a larger than normal BS in two hands. The fighter’s finesse ability gives us Dex to attack, and the Furious Focus feat lets us maximise our vital strike. Furious Focus also requires rage/bloodrage, and makes us fatigued. To solve this, we have taken Extra Rage three times, allowing us 21 rounds of rage per day, and we wear a cord of Stubborn Resolve to give us fatigue immunity (rage cycling at-will). Once we run out of rage we can’t maximise our vital strike anymore, but 21 rounds is the best i could do. Thanks to our many investments into defence, our PR damage is pretty low. I’d welcome ideas on how to improve it without compromising our defences.

In terms of abilities, it’s very important that we possess a reliable ability to fly, evasion to take no damage on ref saves, true seeing to defeat invisibility/blur/etc, and freedom of movement so we don’t get stuck in Solid Fog, etc. This is accomplished either with items (ring of freedom of movement, true seeing goggles), racial feats (Aasimar > Angelic wings), or class abilities (Scaled fist > evasion). Without these abilities we simply wouldn’t be able to function.

Cthulhu’s stats: s/great-old-one-cthulhu/
Star-Spawn of Cthulhu stats: f-cthulhu/

Mutation Warrior fighter 14, Paladin 2, Scaled Fist monk 2, Urban Bloodrager 1, Divine Tracker ranger 1

Cha: 18 +5 tome +6 item +2 race +5 levels = 36 (+13)
Dex: 16 +4 tome +6 item +2 race = 28 (+9), and 38 (+14) with buffs on
Con: 7 +2 fatigue item = 9 (-1), and 11 (+0) with buffs on
Wis: 11 +1 tome +2 ioun = 14 (+2)
Int: 10 = 10 (0)
Str: 7 = 7 (-1)

Normal AC, Cthulhu: 10 +13 Cha (smite) +13 Cha (scaled fist) +13 Cha (Osyluth Guile) +14 Dex +4 natural +5 bracers of armor +2 FF +1 dodge -1 size = 74
Touch AC, Cthulhu: 10 +13 Cha +13 Cha +13 Cha +14 Dex +2 FF +1 dodge -1 size = 65
CMD, Cthulhu: 10 +19 BAB +65 touch +1 luckstone +1 size = 96

Normal AC, regular: 10 +13 Cha +13 Cha +14 Dex +4 natural +5 bracers of armor +1 dodge -1 size = 59
Touch AC, regular: 10 +13 Cha +13 Cha +14 Dex +1 dodge -1 size = 50
CMD, regular: 10 +19 BAB +50 touch +1 luckstone +1 size = 81

Initiative: +9 Dex, +8 inexplicable luck, +5 trained initiative, +2 trait, +1 cracked Dusty Rose ioun stone, +1 Righteous Medal of Agility, +4 duelling enhancement = +30
Fort: +13 Cha +8 items +18 levels = +39
Ref: +13 Cha +13 Dex +8 items +9 levels +5 Fighter’s reflexes +2 lightning reflexes = +50
Will: +13 Cha +2 Wis +8 items +10 levels = +33, +38 vs fear effects (+5 bravery)

Attack vs Cthulhu: +19 BAB +13 (Smite, Cha) +14 Dex +5 Weapon training +5 enhancement +2 favored enemy +2 lace -2 Fight Def -2 weapon too large penalty = +56
Attack vs regular: same minus 13 (Smite only Cthulhu) = +43
Damage: 4d8 bastard sword x4 (128) +4 (paladin) +6 devastating strike +5 WT +5 enhancement +1d6 (3.5) Celestial bloodline +2 favored enemy = 153.5 PR without crit.

Feats: 10 Levels +7 fighter +1 Ranger (EWP bastard sword) = 18

Damage: Vital Strike feats x3, Furious Finish, Devastating Strike, Extra Rage x3, Weapon Finesse, EWP BS, Adv Weapon Training
Defence: Dodge, Osyluth Guile, Inexplicable Luck, Defiant Luck, Lightning reflexes,
Flight: Angelic blood, Angelic Wings

Reactionary (+2 initiative)
Second Chance (Reroll a failed save)

Special abilities Wings, Evasion, Freedom of Movement, Reroll failed save x2, Mutagen (Greater), Smite x2, Bloodrage, Fatigue immunity, preserve organs x2 (ignore 50% of crits)

Fighter weapon training: Trained initiative, Fighter´s reflexes, Fighter’s finesse

Items (body slots):
Armor: Nope!
Belts: Cord of stubborn resolve 15k
Chest: Vest of stable mutation 20k
Eyes: Truesight goggles 185k
Hands: +2 fighter gloves 15k
Headband: Cha 36k
Ring: ring of foe focus (+2 AC/saves) 60k, ring of freedom of movement 40k (total: 100k)
Shield: Nope!
Shoulders: +5 Cloak of resistances 25k
Wrist: Silver smite bracelet (extra smite) 16k

Additional items (slotless):
+5 Impact bastard sword (+8) 98k
Tomes (+5, +4, +1) 275k
Belt of Dex +6 (slotless) 72k
Sash of the war champion (slotless) 8k
cracked Dusty Rose ioun stone 0.5k
Bracers of armor +5 (slotless) 50k
Wis-enhancing ioun 8k
Pale Green ioun, cracked (saves) 4k
Righteous Medal of Agility 6k
Stone of good luck 20k
Effortless lace and Dueling enchant 2.5 + 14 = 16.5k

Total: 15 +20 +185 +15 +36 +100 +25 +16 +98 +275 +72 +8 +0.5 +50 +8 +4 +6 +20 +16.5 = 885k (we are 5k over-budget)

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