Martial dip for STR based investigator


Advice


First of all, i'm pretty new to PF, so sorry in advance if any of my questions will seem stupid or smth.

So, i'm building a str-based investigator (empiricist) and i want to take a 1-lvl dip to get some heavy armor proficiency. Delaying spell progression and studied combat might be painful, but I want heavy armor for some rp-reasons and burning 2 feats on it seems even worse.
I see 3 options currently, but can't decide which one is better. Or maybe there's smth more i don't see.
1. Basic Fighter. Pretty simple, +1 BAB and extra feat (and feats are great).
2. Battle Host Occultist (transmutation implement). +2 bonus to physical stat is great while i can't afford enough stat-bumping gear, legacy weapon is cool, 2 spells slots and a cantrip might be useful. But i loose 1 BAB for those goodies.
3. Steelblood Bloodrager. Bloodrage is cool (though 6 rounds a day is not to much), bloodline familiar is great and versatile (while it will not grow stronger, it still gives a nice bonus). And +1 BAB ofc.

So what do you think?

Grand Lodge

Bloodrager gets you, rage, wand heavy armor (stealblooded), which stacks with id rager which makes you a psychic and gives you other cool bonues.


Or grit your teeth and get the feat

Grand Lodge

Feats, you need two for heavy armor. That's a lot to ask on an investigator.

Sovereign Court

+1 Comfort(Pathfinder Society Field Guide) Mithral Fullplate, with 2 traits: Armor Expert(Combat, Ultimate Campaign/Advanced Players Guide) and Sargavan Guard(Region, Inner Sea Primer).

No level dip needed. You are not proficient in heavy armor, but the armor check penalty is a -0 so no drawbacks. However, it does cost 16,500 gp (9k mithral, 5k comfort, 1k +1, 1.5k base). 31 fame required, so part way through level 6 (assuming you save ... all ... of your gold). Though until you add the comfort enchant the fame requirement is 0, since +1 and mithral are always available.


Grandlounge wrote:
Bloodrager gets you, rage, wand heavy armor (stealblooded), which stacks with id rager which makes you a psychic and gives you other cool bonues.

Thanks for the option, some of the bonuses are really nice, but considering only 1 bloodrager lvl i wont be raging a lot, is it really worth to trade small but constant familiar bonus for cool stuff that works 5 rounds a day?

Firebug wrote:
+1 Comfort(Pathfinder Society Field Guide) Mithral Fullplate, with 2 traits: Armor Expert(Combat, Ultimate Campaign/Advanced Players Guide) and Sargavan Guard(Region, Inner Sea Primer).

Interesting, but seems it comes online pretty late. And as for traits, one is reserved for campaign trait, other is Student of Philosophy, which is important for party-facing as an investigator.


I took a monk dip and took crane style at first level. I had a 14DEX and 12WIS, dodge, aldori caution, to get a 19AC when fighting defensively with a sansetsukon. With mage armor up (I bought a wand early), my AC went to 23. Monk also gets an extra attack, making it pretty offensive.

Out of your 3 choices, I would do battlehost. Sudden speed is pretty useful and legacy weapon is really good.


I made a pretty similar thread about this recently: LINK

There should be some good advice on there. I ended up making a Blood-rager 1, Investigator 4 (Id Rager (Anger Focus). It worked really well on offense, but I didn't think about my AC enough (-2 Dex and -2 AC while raging adds up).
Looking back I think 1 level of BRAWLER would be better (Or since you're looking for heavy armour - FREE STYLE FIGHTER). Martial Versatility can be pretty amazing, even if you don't want to mess around with feat-trees you can just pump your knowledge skills and get DEDICATED ADVERSARY for 4 fights (40 rounds) per day.

Lastly I know you said Empiricist, but I changed my archetype to LAMPLIGHTER and never regretted it for a second.

(TLDR, take a level of FREE STYLE FIGHTER, use Martial Versatility to get DEDICATED ADVERSARY at the beginning of any big fights.)


Ah forgot they don't get medium armor. I second a dip in occultist. Legacy weapon will give you a couple times a day bane for a minute. Sudden speed in heavy armor can make a huge difference. The 0 bab sucks but honestly once you get heroism and your studied target going you will barely notice

Grand Lodge

Brawler is a good option because it fits the buffing action economy really well. Free rage, Swift study, move brawler, standard buff.

Extra rage is a feat well spent if diping bloodrager.

I dis-like style feats on investigators because they eat your first Swift action. Str investigators often use reach and combat ref so you lose out on a lot of damage not studying round 1.

Bane is a good buff. But it requires a standard action. Investigators have lots of standard action buffs so you diping loses a level to trade one buff for another. This is fine at low levels when your not getting shield up but sucks at high levels when your not turning in to a crazy monster.

Back to action economy for a moment. If you are going reach then your move action round 1 is really valuable. It's the action that will generate your aoos in that case I'm a bit more neutral in the brawler. Still a good viable options it just does not sit quite as nicely into a reach build.


I also switched from empiricist to lamplighter and love the initiative boost. With a D20+D8+6 on initiative at level 11, it's pretty common to be over 20.

Grand Lodge

I have made extensive use of consumables on my investigators.

First was dex based empiricist with a Dex of 4 or more, a UMD'd wand of heighten awareness (+4), dex mutagen (+2), Blood-boiling pill (+2). So lamplighter seemed like overkill.

My second is strength based a bonded investigator which could use the boost. With a Compsognathus (mauler) he could have solid initiative but I did not go that way.

For me it's pretty easy to get decent initiative in other ways on a lot of builds by taking a feat and buying an ioun, so that I would rather have the Int to more skills but neither it right or wrong. It's just a matter of priorities.


Thanks for your answers, appreciated!

Btw, another investigator-related question: considering that my dm is fine with using racial sla as a feat requirement, is arcane strike worth it for investigator? It seems perfect before lvl 5, but idk weather it will fit action economy after Quick Study.


Quick study is far superior.
Lamplighter is nice, but I agree with grand empericist skills are nice.
I went dex with a dip in swashbuckler


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<quick check>

...nope; Savage Technologist hasn't been nerfed.

Grand Lodge

I still like the id rager better. It stacks with steel blooded or urban.

Steelblood gets you +2hp per level, +2 fort and full plate (9ac) three better than a breastplate. You take a -2 to ac while raging so you net 1 ac and wand use. Then then Id rager gets you skill focus. A bonus feat like iron will or power attack. Finally you get a special power like weapons counting as one side larger and a +2 to attack, a move action study ability, or more strength with you rage.

Compared to this the savage technologist gets 1 more point to ac and +2 to a less important save. If you spend the money you can net 20 extra feat of movement it's the real reason to take the dip.

If you go urban your 2 ac and 2 ref behind the technologist but you still get wand use, skill focus, the free feat (iron will to equalize the will save), you can still use skills while raging (good for an investigator), the spirit power and Occult Skill Unlocks.

I will personally take offence over defence when it comes to optimization everytime.

Savage technologist is great if your using a bow and for grapple builds for the double boost to cmb (but rage is not necessary on most well optimized grapple builds).


Grandlounge wrote:

I still like the id rager better. It stacks with steel blooded or urban.

Steelblood gets you +2hp per level, +2 fort and full plate (9ac) three better than a breastplate. You take a -2 to ac while raging so you net 1 ac and wand use. Then then Id rager gets you skill focus. A bonus feat like iron will or power attack. Finally you get a special power like weapons counting as one side larger and a +2 to attack, a move action study ability, or more strength with you rage.

Compared to this the savage technologist gets 1 more point to ac and +2 to a less important save. If you spend the money you can net 20 extra feat of movement it's the real reason to take the dip.

If you go urban your 2 ac and 2 ref behind the technologist but you still get wand use, skill focus, the free feat (iron will to equalize the will save), you can still use skills while raging (good for an investigator), the spirit power and Occult Skill Unlocks.

SavTech grants +2 will save while raging as well as the +4 dex and +4 str. It lets you max out the dex bonus to mithral breastplate with a minimal stat (like a 14) as opposed to thinking you need the more expensive and cumbersome heavy armor, and not to mention almost never running out of AoOs. SavTech doesn't forfeit move+10 (although it does stack with Drunken Brute, which does). Investigators have UMD on their class list, and more skill points than they know what to do with, so low-level item use shouldn't be a problem.

It depends upon how much he wants to dip. SavTech is very strong if he wants only a one level dip, and takes it at 1st w/Extra Rage.

Grand Lodge

In my post I'm talking about the differences between the two rages. I have accounted for all that you get SavTech. Which is a rather short list when you compare the two. It's still a great dip but it about the same as a standard barbarian. AC being a poor form of damage mitigation and mid to hig levels without a lot of invesment.

I also fully covered movement speed. Umd is bad in combat until you hit +10 umd minimum +19 ideally. That is a long time to wait to use blade lash and any number to other wands.

If you hit max dex on a mithril breastplate that mean your putting more points into dex, which makes you more mad. That's less hp, fewer skill points, or worse saves.

If you have a way to generate four or five aoos around then the extra aoos matter. Outflank paired oppertunist with an animal companion generates 1 for the PC and 2 for the AC per round typically with a hig crit weapon. If you get a normal aoo that round your at 2. If you also have broken wing gambit and the AC gets attacked that's another 1 for 3. At this point you need 2 people to run past you dumbly. Builds that generate 5 aoo a round are rare and if they are against the same enemy are overkill and a waste of resources.


Grandlounge wrote:
In my post I'm talking about the differences between the two rages. I have accounted for all that you get SavTech. Which is a rather short list when you compare the two. It's still a great dip but it about the same as a standard barbarian. AC being a poor form of damage mitigation and mid to hig levels without a lot of invesment.
AC is a great form of damage mitigation (not having enough of it is certainly one of the more common ways that PCs die). So is having a better reflex save, because low-dex martials typically expect to eat full damage from AoE.
Quote:
I also fully covered movement speed. Umd is bad in combat until you hit +10 umd minimum +19 ideally. That is a long time to wait to use blade lash and any number to other wands.
I use UMD almost entirely out of combat. Longstrider lasts an hour, for example. Having a sack full of cheap trigger items solves tons of problems.
Quote:
If you hit max dex on a mithril breastplate that mean your putting more points into dex, which makes you more mad. That's less hp, fewer skill points, or worse saves.

20pt comparisons:

str+19 (min/max beatstick build utilizing 17,14,12,12,12,07 pre-racial 20pt array)
dex:12
con:14
int:12
wis:12
cha:07

str+17 (a little more rounded, w/15,14,14,14,12,07 pre-racial 20pt array)
dex:14
con:14
int:12 or 14
wis:14 or 12
cha:07

str:15 (rounded, if dwarf)
dex:14
con+16
int:12
wis+16
cha-05

(No consideration taken for Inquisitor here; obviously they'll need various stats for various things, and all builds would need stat shuffling accordingly.)

--The top build is obviously the strongest and will dish out the most damage in a single swat. But his defenses are weak. The dwarf at the bottom is by far the sturdiest, especially with a second dip into cleric before going fighter for the long haul.

Top build, if he's a 1st-level Bloodrager (Id Rager/Steelblood), has 12hp, 14 while raging, Middle build, if 1st-level Barbarian (SavTech), has 14hp, unchanged by raging. Top build as low-level Id/Steel has AC 10+1(dex)+7(banded armor)-2(raging) = 16, with raging saves of F:6/R:1/W:3. Armor check penalty -6. Middle build as SavTech is AC 10+2+4(chainshirt)+2(raging increase in dex)-0(no penalty while raging) = 18, with raging saves of F:4/R:4/W:3. Armor check penalty -2. Top build has one AoO/round, and is unlikely to take Combat Reflexes to double it to two. Middle build would have five AoOs/round with Combat Reflexes, and does take it if polearms are his melee speciality. He's also +3 in ranged combat and unlikely to die from failing a Swim check if he falls off a boat in his armor.

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If you have a way to generate four or five aoos around then the extra aoos matter.

Melee combat changed considerably in the game with the introduction of the Fortuitous weapon enhancement. --But even before then, just having Combat Reflexes with a polearm rocks when the party is Zerg-rushed. E.g., Tier2 PFS, the judge knows you're a polearm barbarian, and runs the mooks at you anyway (because you're the one in front) under the assumption that you don't have a raging Dexterity of 18...not that he should be metagaming zombies anyway. <whack!><whack!><whack!><whack!><whack!> My turn. Somebody's left? <whack!><5' to be at least 15' away from any remaining enemies> Potential NPCs (if intelligent, and still alive) will wise up, but that encounter is already mostly or fully over.

Quote:
Outflank paired oppertunist with an animal companion generates 1 for the PC and 2 for the AC per round typically with a hig crit weapon. If you get a normal aoo that round your at 2. If you also have broken wing gambit and the AC gets attacked that's another 1 for 3. At this point you need 2 people to run past you dumbly.

Or toward me, which is rather required for melee engagement. Assuming any defensible position, an Enlarged polearm guy controls 50' of choke-point real-estate. He trades a smidgeon of dex (and one potential AoO) to make it happen. They could chicken out and resort to artillery-dueling...which the SavTech doesn't mind because he's rather good at archery despite not having a single feat devoted to it.

Grand Lodge

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That is not a particularly scientific comparison.

AC
Accuracy scales at a more than a point per level BAB + stats + class abilities + items. Anyone that has played high level games knows optimized builds get to the point where they ‘hit on a one.’ AC does not scale that well on 90% of builds.

One extract/spell give a 50% miss chance, instantly outperforming AC the moment you get it. AC is not a strong a form of damage mitigation in mid to high-level play on most builds.

We are also only talking about a 5% change in AC which is a very small about of damage mitigation.

Let us further compare AC. What happens when the ID rager gets full plate (lvl 2) and the SAVTECH is wearing light or breastplate. Light leaves you with more speed but less AC (-2) and a breastplate (max dex 3) leaves you with less AC (19) and the same move verses full plate at 20 AC. So, you don’t get to use 18 dex until you get mithril around level 5 or 6. But, now you’re thousands of GP behind just to tie AC, so the AC on the SavTech build is still lacking if any of that gold went to AC. The ID Rager can accept the same AC and be better at offence by spending the money there.

SavTech PB: actually getting to max dex (necessary to have better AC)
15+2, 16, 14, 12, 10, 7

ID rager
16+2, 14, 14, 12, 12, 7

Better attack, damage, will, AC at most early levels. Before accounting for all the additional class features.

AC point buy optimization
Not to mention you said you wanted to hit max dex, I assume if you’re actually trying to optimize AC you went mithril (AC+Max dex =11). Without doing this you are chronically one AC behind. This means you need 16 starting dex or buy a dex belt. These options put your PB further behind or put you behind in gold (-4000 belt) or using and ioun (8000).

In reality, I was being generous in assuming a consistent +1 AC.

HP
You should try the HP comparison at literally any other level. Rage HP scales the barbarians hit die only helps at level one.

Ref
Because you take half damage on a save for most spells saving only saves you 5% on average. Spells that damage, on average, underperform most other damage sources without a ton of optimization. If you fail a fort save and are nauseated for a combat how good is that? How about the iron will I pointed out you get for free. How bad is it to be dominated 10% more often. Ref is the least important save. My build bumps two save that are more important. 10% to two save that both carry deadlier effects. Id rager wins on saves hands down

Wands
You have a few wands that you like to use, that have a 1/20 chance of not being able to be used for the day (until UMD +19). ID rager has the options of dozes. Wand use vs UMD, wand use is better. If you like wand use not umding is undeniably better.

AOOs
There are a few really easy low-level encounters in PFS that have more than 8 stupid minions. I have, and I have seen others basically solo these. They are rare. Being extra good in corner case combats does not make a good build.

Like I said if you are exceeding 3 aoo every round and regularly have the need for the extra move speed the dip is good.

Though if you need to move quickly for long distance and extract of expeditious retreat is the way to go.


Grandlounge wrote:

Let us further compare AC. What happens when the ID rager gets full plate (lvl 2) and the SAVTECH is wearing light or breastplate. Light leaves you with more speed but less AC (-2) and a breastplate (max dex 3) leaves you with less AC (19) and the same move verses full plate at 20 AC. So, you don’t get to use 18 dex until you get mithril around level 5 or 6. But, now you’re thousands of GP behind just to tie AC, so the AC on the SavTech build is still lacking if any of that gold went to AC. The ID Rager can accept the same AC and be better at offence by spending the money there.

SavTech PB: actually getting to max dex (necessary to have better AC)
15+2, 16, 14, 12, 10, 7

ID rager: 16+2, 14, 14, 12, 12, 7

Better attack, damage, will, AC at most early levels. Before accounting for all the additional class features.

Rather than accepting that 20pt array for the SavTech (since that's "my" character in the argument) , let's go with yours for the ID, and for the SavTech, we'll go with the "third example" in my previous post, the dwarf, who was 15, 14, 14(+2), 12, 14(+2), 7(-2). Seemingly, that should make it as bad as possible in both melee offense as well as AC.
Quote:
Better attack, damage, will, AC at most early levels. Before accounting for all the additional class features.

Assuming 1st-level characters, your likely human ID-rager has a raging strength of 22. My poor dwarf languishes at a 19. You're relatively +2 in melee, while I'm +2 ranged.

Quote:

AC point buy optimization

Not to mention you said you wanted to hit max dex, I assume if you’re actually trying to optimize AC you went mithril (AC+Max dex =11). Without doing this you are chronically one AC behind. This means you need 16 starting dex or buy a dex belt. These options put your PB further behind or put you behind in gold (-4000 belt) or using and ioun (8000).

The slight annoyance of Savage Technologist is that it is limited to light armor proficiency. Assuming that I do not waste my dwarf's solitary feat on MAP, this denies him kikko armor. A chainshirt, then, caps dexterity bonus for a raging AC of 18 at 1st level, not counting shieds.

Next level, we multiclass away from SavTech, gaining medium armor proficiency.

Quote:

HP

You should try the HP comparison at literally any other level. Rage HP scales the barbarians hit die only helps at level one.

It's a one-level dip comparison, so they remain even in HP provided either dip is taken at 1st. (Savage Technologist as a full-level archetype doesn't appeal to me; I'm simply raiding it for front-loaded goodies. I could say the same about Drunken Brute, with which it stacks, for fast potion-drinking.)

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Ref

Because you take half damage on a save for most spells saving only saves you 5% on average. Spells that damage, on average, underperform most other damage sources without a ton of optimization. If you fail a fort save and are nauseated for a combat how good is that? How about the iron will I pointed out you get for free. How bad is it to be dominated 10% more often. Ref is the least important save. My build bumps two save that are more important. 10% to two save that both carry deadlier effects. Id rager wins on saves hands down

My dwarf farts in the general direction of everyone else's miserable saves that they think are good but which are well behind his once he's rocking Steel Soul. (Most people don't like this, and that is reflected in his Cha score.)

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Wands

You have a few wands that you like to use, that have a 1/20 chance of not being able to be used for the day (until UMD +19). ID rager has the options of dozes. Wand use vs UMD, wand use is better. If you like wand use not umding is undeniably better.

My martials often dip a single level of cleric. Not having to mess with low-level UMD annoyances (that being of particular interest for those inclined to dump charisma) is part of the package-appeal alongside a pair of domain abilities used six times per day, and fixing those owies without paying.

Quote:

AOOs

There are a few really easy low-level encounters in PFS that have more than 8 stupid minions. I have, and I have seen others basically solo these. They are rare. Being extra good in corner case combats does not make a good build. Like I said if you are exceeding 3 aoo every round and regularly have the need for the extra move speed the dip is good.

Around 4th the dwarf will be set up thus if a b1/c1/f2, feats Extra Rage, Steel Soul, Combat Reflexes, Quick Draw. Our level bump at 4th went to Str. Our newly-purchased belt increases Dex. Armor is +1 Darkleaf Cloth lamellar (2750gp), whose +7/(Dex+5) capacity works perfectly for raging Dex20. (+1 Mithral Tatami-do, yielding +8/(Dex+5), would cost 14,000gp.) Out-of-combat gear includes a quickdraw shield, which is stowed for melee polearm work. (The shield is there for flat-footed AC during ambushes.)

At 4th, he won't have a +1/Fortuitous polearm yet, but he's working on it.


Grandlounge wrote:
...

BTW, since you're experienced with Id Ragers, I have a question for you:

...When the id rager enters a bloodrage, he gains additional powers as if he were a phantom with the emotional focus he selected as his atavistic focus. He is considered to be both a phantom and a spiritualist for the purposes of abilities whose effect references both a phantom and a spiritualist, such as a dedication phantom’s dutiful strike, and treats his bloodrager level as both his spiritualist level and his phantom Hit Dice when determining abilities and save DCs....

-- Does this actually do anything for you if you're not multiclassed into Spiritualist (or other phantom-granting class, if any)?

Grand Lodge

That is there becuase of multiclassing in and becuase phantom abilities do not level naturally they increase when the spiritualist increases so without that clause the phantom abilities would never level up.

Other stuff:

If you do one to one (controlled comparisons) and make my stat array a dwarf it has better saves, better attack bonus, equal ac and becuase of slow and steady the speed gap is less. Making it less favourable to the SavTech

Dark leaf lamallar still leaves you behind full plate for ac the quick draw trick is available to either build so its a moot point.

The total ac on mithril Tatami-do is 7AC+5Max Dex which is same as mithril full plate. So gain does not provide any advantage.

As far a front loaded ability rage hp is better the hd becuase it's a front loaded ability that scales.

In these comparisons is really only valuable to isolate the differences and see what set of differences are better. An clever building that can be used to sure up a build, if available to both builds is a net zero point.

The difference as I have laid out are 2 free feats, spirit abilities, wand use, full plate facilitating a less expensive PB, being able to use psychic skill, more hp and better fort.

Vs

Better ref, eventually 1 better ac if build in exactly the right way.

Question for you you seem like you might know this:

Has it been settled how fortuitous works yet?


I got excited by your post about dark cloth lamellar, but then realized that steel lamellar can't be made of dark cloth. So what exactly is giving you +7/+5DEX?

The only lamellar armor I can see made of dark cloth is lamellar leather; +1 of that would be +5/+5DEX

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