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I'm playing a desna-believing half-orc defender/bodyguard/protector/guardian/mmo-style-tank/whatever-you-call-it. His quest is to protect a (also desna-believing) female aasimar oracle of the heavens. At any cost. She being half-blind and stubborn as a varisian mountain mule probably isn't going to make his task easier. And I know, a guard with a purple butterfly on his chest might not look very intimidating, but he's hopefully going to make up for it with sheer effectivity. ;)
That's where all you folks come into play – I need some input to make him really good at what he's supposed to do. What is the best approach to... to... well, to saving the oracle's cute ass?
Here's what I got so far, but, by any means, feel free to change everything to improve him, apart from the race – yeah, I know, now that there's the helpful halfing trait, that seems to be another viable approach, but I'd like not having to explain why my character transformed into something half his size at last full moon.
Race: Half Orc
(Darkvision, Intimidating, Orc Blood, Weapon Familiarity – traded Orc Ferocity for Sacred Tattoo)
Class: Fighter (phalanx soldier) 4 (so far)
Attributes (20 pt buy incl. racial and lvl 4 bonus):
Str 18 +4
Dex 16 +3
Con 12 +1
Int 13 +1
Wis 10 +0
Cha 8 -1
Trait (only one in our group, GM's call): Reactionary (+2 Ini)
1. Combat Reflexes
F2: TWF (to reduce the penalty on shield bash, could be replaced later)
3: Improved Initiative
F4: Combat Expertise
Feats that should be included (sorted by relevance):
Imp Shield Bash -> Shield Slam -> Shield Master
Imp Trip -> Greater Trip
Shield Focus -> Greater Shield Focus and Missile Shield
Dodge -> Mobility -> Combat Patrol and Spring Attack -> Whirlwind Attack
Disruptive -> Spellbreaker -> Ray Shield
Feats that could be included, but don't have to be:
Antagonize (though I'd probably need a higher cha to do it, and normally our GM lets us do things like taunting through roleplaying, so it shouldn't be necessary)
Power Attack -> Felling Smash and Pushing Assault
horsechopper (reach, trip) + spiked heavy shield
alt: bill (reach, brace, disarm)
(Got to find somebody who can build a halbard with a longer shaft (read: reach) or fuse both my polearms into one.)
alt: throwing weapons like javelin, pilum, spear – could be substituted by a composite longbow for enhanced reach if necessary
light or medium armor (With spikes. For added spikyness. Got to make up for the purple buttlerfly somehow. >.<)
I think that it shouldn't be hard to guess where this leads us, but I'll explain my tactic anyway:
1. always stand right next to or better yet in front (soft cover for free) of the oracle
2. provide cover and ac with shield and bodyguard/aid another if necessary
3. control a large area of the battlefield by using polearms with reach (could be further enlarged by Combat Patrol)
4. use AoOs and readied actions to trip, shutdown or bull rush everything that wants to move closer
5. if something moves into adj, make shield bash bull rush to move him out again
6. as a last resort, use In Harm's Way to intercept
Build possibilities (I'll only mention the abilities that are benificial to my cause):
#1 Fighter (phalanx soldier) 20
-> Use polearms and spears one-handed with shield at level 3 – Three words: one handed reach. That's pretty much the main reason to go this route. (I know, there is a discussion still going on about wether you could as well use a small sized two handed reach polearm in one hand, but... I want to stay away from cheese-smelling territory as long as possible.)
-> Shield Ally – it's basically the reason to go further than just level 3. Use a heavy shield so that you can still shield bash, and grant up to +8 cover bonus to AC for an adj ally. Needs a move action, but still: neat. So together with Aid Another we're looking at +10 AC.
-> can grant allies evasion (and improved evasion)
But the other abilites are kind of... meh. I'd desperately want to mix this archetype with some of the standard fighter and/or polearm figher abilities, but my GM fears that it would lead right back into cheesyland so it's unfortunately no option.
#2a Fighter (phalanx soldier) 3+x / Cavalier (Order of the Dragon, Honorguard Archetype) 17-x
Simply put: if cavalier, then Honorguard. It's great – it replaces most of the abilties the cavalier has that would otherwise have no use in my build.
-> Perception as class skill might help to spot ambushes
-> Teamwork feat could be Escape Route or Shield Wall (my oracle could use a buckler to benefit)
-> -1 own AC, +1 adj ally's AC @ challenge
-> Intercept gives Bodyguard at Cav level 3, well... saves a feat, and +1 AC @ aid another. Should stack with improved aid another bonus of the Order ability (so we can be up to +6 at Cav lvl 14).
-> Strategy can give +2 dodge AC to allies within 30ft for 1 round at Cav level 8
-> Warding Charge and Defensive Challenge are also better for what I want to do, but I don't know if they're worth taking so many levels of Cavalier.
#2b Fighter (phalanx soldier) 3+x / Cavalier (Order of the Dragons, Honorguard and Emissary Archetypes) 17-x
Same as above, apart from:
-> lose Teamwork feat, gain full movement in medium armor
-> Mobility at Cav level 5, another feat saved
Other changes are uninteresting since I won't spend much time with mounted combat anyway, but this has no real disadvantage, so I'd probably take it.
#3 Fighter (phalanx soldier) 3 / Cavalier (Order of the Dragons, Honorguard (and probably Emissary) Archetypes) 3 or 5 / Bard 1 / Battle Herald 10 / Whatever +3 or +1
So this could bring us to an aid another bonus of 8 (can be reached at level 15, depending on the order I take the classes).
-> lose 1 point of BAB
-> can grant allies DR 4/-
-> improved versatility through different available commands
-> improved leadership score, which will never be used in my case (since our group is almost too huge even without everyone dragging a crapload of NPCs with him).
Would it be a far shot into cheesyland to ask if the Demanding Challenge of the Battle Herald could be replaced by Defensive Challenge of the Honorguard Archetype we took (which would normally replace the Demanding Challenge of the Cavalier)? *mumbling* Yeah, thought so... ;)
#4 Fighter (phalanx soldier) 3 / Cavalier (Order of the Dragons, Honorguard (and probably Emissary) Archetypes) 14 / Bard 1 / Battle Herald 1 / Whatever +1
Would I be better off with shuffling Build #3 around for this?
-> aid another +6 (+7 with Inspiring Command) and less usable rounds of IC
Are the Cav abilities better than the ones BH would give me?
Please tell me what you think of all this.
And as I said, feel free to change everything if you have a completely different build that would be better at protecting an oracle.