Phantom Blade as a tank


Advice


I'm currently playing a Phantom Blade in a campaign, and wish to optimize it to become the main frontliner of the team.

The Phantom Blade being a magus-like archetype but with a more defensive spell list than the said Magus, I wish to make it a kind of tank, playing the main frontline role and enduring the fire.

After a while however, I found out I'm a bit out of ideas on how to optimize it for such a role, besides saying he can go and use Spell Combat to throw on himself Cure Wound spells and defensive buffs while still hitting the surrounding foes... so I would like to take ideas and suggestions on the topic.

Dark Archive

Blur/Displacement give you the miss chance you need to really avoid attacks and have better staying power. You could build towards the moonlight stalker feat chain to feint/get a bump to your overall miss chance.

Heroism bumps attacks and saves.

Dex based Dip in UnMonk + mage armor can net you a good unarmed frontline build (there was a recent forum post where I put down 3 different options)

Add in various debuffs to pump AC (i.e., go for dazzling display or enforcer + the blade of mercy trait to put shaken down reliably)

Go for a reach build with shield focus + Shield Brace + Phalanx Formation + Combat reflexes to pick up AoOs and keep enemies at reach. Note your weapon doesn't have to be a one handed weapon, but if it isn't you won't be able to spell combat.


Alas, you can't use shield with Spell Combat, so going for the Shield Brace route doesn't work with the Phantom Blade.
Even using a 2h weapon requiers some feats to free your offhand (like with Bladed Brush)

I'd like to avoid the dip route, as I'm not fond of it personaly. The other advice are interesting.


A tank. For that you need at least two of damage, survivabilty and debuffs in melee, right?

The spiritualist gets debuffs, but past low levels the save DCs will be a problem. They get no save DC bonus in-class and aren't especially good at lowering their enemies save bonuses. Stricken heart and touch of idiocy have no saves and will stay good a little longer.

You've mentioned spell combat with cures, remember spells to remove conditions similarly.

You get a few feats with prereqs as if you were a fighter & full BAB. You also get IUS and unarmed damage as a monk 2 levels lower (with a so-so enhancement bonus but easily-added special abilities), and you can switch between armed/unarmed as a free action if you spend one of your pool points. It should be possible to do something there with style feats. Boar style for extra damage and intimidation (to help reduce enemy saves) perhaps, or panther style for mobility, or pummeling style to beat DR and for pounce later on. Or you could pick up snapping turtle if grappling appeals.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My wife is playing our party tank as a Phantom Blade spiritualist in Strange Aeons. We are just about to start book 6 and she is the only character that hasn't died at least once.

Her survivability is generally powered by massive amounts of temporary HP (Vampiric Touch[both via spell strike and in spell storing armor], Urgathoa's Hunger, Death knell, & Dhampir blood drinking), Buffs (Blur, Shield Spell, Greater Invisibility), Debuffs (Chill Touch for undead, Ghoul Touch for living), Self Heals, and having undead minions assist in tanking.

She also has the highest DPS in the party (now that the gunslinger died) wielding a 2 handed weapon, power attacking against touch AC, more vampiric touch, and a bunch of fighter feats.


How can she use her touch spells while wearing a two-handed weapon?

Sovereign Court

Using Spellstrike?


I'm more worried about using Spell Combat with that two-handed weapon, actually.

Using Spellstrike, you naturaly -can- use a standard action to cast a touch spell, then use the free action to deliever that spell through a 2-handed power attack.
Howver, what you cannot do, is combine it with Spell Combat to actualy deliver the spell through a full-attack, as Spell Combat's description says you need at least one free hand to use that ability.

That means, unless Saleem's wife found a way around this limitation, she lose something like 5 attacks per round (the 4 from the BAB and the one from a haste spell) to only perform the spellstrike itself.
I do not see how she can fare the highest damage output of the party this way...

--------

The concept sounds interesting however, so I have drafted a different version, using only a one-handed weapon:

Phantom Blade 10
Human (favored bonus: hp)
Dex 18 (+2 at level 8) Con 14 Wis 16 Others 10

Gear:
- Agile Mithral Breastplate
- Scimitar (phantom weapon)

Feats:
1- Fey Foundling
1- Weapon Finesse
3- Dervish Dance
3- Weapon Focus (Scimitar)
5- Power Attack
7- Great Fortitude
8- Weapon Specialization (Scimitar)
9- Divine Fightning Technique: Sarenrae's Mercy

----

Benefits:
- Can use Spell Combat
- Combine a high dex with a breastplate for 21 AC prior any enhancement
- Better reflex saves
- No movement penality from armor
- Heals 2d6 every round through Mercy + Fey Foundling
- Mindshock spell synergize with Mercy and the high critical range of a scimitar to stagger opponents


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

At 13th level you can reshape the blade as a swift action.

At low levels her go to spell strike was Chill touch, which she would generally cast in the surprise round or while moving into position (since as a psychic class she is bad at concentration checks and thus spell combat is a bad idea since you cant reliably cast while adjacent to opponents.)

Once 12th hits, she can perform concentration checks like a normal person, and combined with the 13th level swift action change of weapon type she can start the combat with a 2 handed weapon, move up, hit real hard and shift down to a smaller weapon. Next round with a 1 handed weapon she spell combats, and shifts back to a big weapon if its a multi touch charged spell.


Huh, that's not a valid technique rule-wise.

The attacks are currently part of the Spell Combat full-round action and the rules stats that if an action interrupt the flow of an another action, the second action resume after the interrupting one, but only if you still met all the requirements for it.

Let's take an exemple: you start shooting with a bow, and you're able to do 3 attacks.
After the first shoot, someone actualy throw a prepared action to use Telekinesis to disarm you... then your action doesn't resume, because you do not met the requirement for it anymore, which is to hold a ranged weapon in hands, even if you did at the start of your action.

Here, it's the same thing: your ability to cast and do a full-attack in the same round has "one hand free and wielding a light or one-handed weapon"
When your wife use a swift action to reshape the weapon, she lost that requirement... and thus, she cannot resume the Spell Combat action, and do the attacks that were normaly part of it.

.... naturaly however, your DM could have houseruled it for her if he wished so, but otherwise, it's an illegal move which largely explain why she look so powerful like that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

She doesnt reshape in the middle of spell combat, but between them.

Round 1: 2 Handed weapon, no spell combat.
Swift: Change weapon type
Round 2: 1 Handed weapon, spell combat.
Swift: change weapon type
Round 3: 2 Handed weapon, no spell combat, use charges remaining from previous rounds casting of chill touch

The swift action change of weapon type is either the first action taken during a round, or the last, depending on when she needs the swift for other things. It never actually happens in the middle of an attack routine.

It uses lots of Ecto points, but by our current level I think she is floating 20+ (not 100% sure on that)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Moonheart wrote:

The concept sounds interesting however, so I have drafted a different version, using only a one-handed weapon:

Phantom Blade 10
Human (favored bonus: hp)
Dex 18 (+2 at level 8) Con 14 Wis 16 Others 10

Gear:
- Agile Mithral Breastplate
- Scimitar (phantom weapon)

Feats:
1- Fey Foundling
1- Weapon Finesse
3- Dervish Dance
3- Weapon Focus (Scimitar)
5- Power Attack
7- Great Fortitude
8- Weapon Specialization (Scimitar)
9- Divine Fightning Technique: Sarenrae's Mercy

----

Benefits:
- Can use Spell Combat
- Combine a high dex with a breastplate for 21 AC prior any enhancement
- Better reflex saves
- No movement penality from armor
- Heals 2d6 every round through Mercy + Fey Foundling
- Mindshock spell synergize with Mercy and the high critical range of a scimitar to stagger opponents

you can't take or use power attack without a str 13+


Saleem Halabi wrote:

She doesnt reshape in the middle of spell combat, but between them.

Round 1: 2 Handed weapon, no spell combat.
Swift: Change weapon type
Round 2: 1 Handed weapon, spell combat.
Swift: change weapon type
Round 3: 2 Handed weapon, no spell combat, use charges remaining from previous rounds casting of chill touch

The swift action change of weapon type is either the first action taken during a round, or the last, depending on when she needs the swift for other things. It never actually happens in the middle of an attack routine.

It uses lots of Ecto points, but by our current level I think she is floating 20+ (not 100% sure on that)

I understand better, but that's limiting the power of spell combat.

Also, to have 20 ectoplamic points, you need to be level 20 with 30 wisdom.


Name Violation wrote:
you can't take or use power attack without a str 13+

Oh yes, thank you, will need to change that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Moonheart wrote:


Also, to have 20 ectoplamic points, you need to be level 20 with 30 wisdom.

Like I said, I wasn't 100% sure on her ecto points. We are level 16 now, and her Wisdom is fairly high, so I guess she has around 15ish?

That being said, even when I play a Magus very rarely do I end up using spell combat on every turn, but I don't think I've ever personally played one past 7th level. 2 Handed weapons are for the turns where you don't spell combat, which with multi touch spells, can be a substantial number of turns.


15 points seems possible however, the method you describe burn 4 points per round. 5 in fact, since you spoke of attacking against touch AC, which is an extra point per turn.

Your wife cannot sustain this more that 3 rounds...


Update of my draft:

Phantom Blade 11
Human (favored bonus: hp)
Dex 18 (+2 at level 8) Con 14 Wis 16 Others 10

Gear:
- Agile Mithral Breastplate
- Scimitar (phantom weapon)

Feats:
1- Fey Foundling
1- Weapon Finesse
3- Dervish Dance
3- Weapon Focus (Scimitar)
5- Improved Initiative
7- Great Fortitude
8- Blind-fight
9- Divine Fightning Technique: Sarenrae's Mercy
11- Eldritch Assault

-----

The build will use mainly 2 defense spells:
- Displacement: give total concealement for a 50% miss chances of all attacks, and allow Eldritch Assault to auto-confirm all the critical from the 15-20 critical range of the Scimitar
- Mindshock: triggers the Divine Technique, which restore 2d6+4 hp each round, plus deliver the Confused status on each critical strike

For the attack spells, I'll use mainly Chill Touch (against the undead), Vampiric Touch (against the living).
Later Etheric Shards can build a true painfield around the Phantom Blade

Dark Archive

DIP!


Dips tend to harm the spellcasters a lot, because it provokes a lost of spell per day, spell known and make all spell levels happend on level later.

A dip in uMonk make truly great things for a Phantom Blade, between the unhindered flurry, the Wis-to-AC and other bonus, but having played already the Phantom Blade a lot during my campaign, I would not trade all those spellcasting bonuses for those uMonk bonuses.
I would haver died at least twice if I did so.

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