The Horned Hunter

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Traditionally speaking, the purpose of marriage - particularly beneath divine or religious oversight - was for the purposes of procreation... so I would presume the Goddess of Marriage would be encouraging heterosexual marriage. For what it's worth, however, a person (or a deity) can run around encouraging heterosexuals to get married without automatically being a homophobe.

My mother, for instance.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Martial, Martial, Martial! wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
But the inclusion of LGBT characters in this AP in positive roles is completely and absolutely the point. I understand if that doesn't sit well with some folks, and in those cases they should absolutely change the characters to be more appropriate for their games. But I absolutely do not apologize for including these characters in the adventure path.

And the exclusion of them in villainous roles? Or are hetero's the only ones with the capacity for evil...?

We've had plenty of villainous ones already in previous APs, as early as Curse of the Crimson Throne, in fact.

The post was in jest - probably should have put a smiley face in there somewhere. Crimson Throne was, unfortunately, before my time.


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Halfway-Hagan wrote:

I know I am definitely in the minority here but this is an AP I am not looking forward to.

I cringe at the thought of Fantasy characters running around with laser beams and stuff. I didn't like Expedition to the Barrier Peaks and I know I was not alone in this.
But I also understand I have the recourse simply not to play in it or purchase it. :)

I can just see it now, the maximized Zen Archer with Proton Beams, or the maximized Gunslinger with the Plasma Cannon...may the Gods help us all.

Could not be more in agreement. We don't even allow gunslingers in our campaign and now spaceships? When I want a Sci-Fi RPG, I'll play a Sci-Fi RPG. I'm excited about Mummy's Mask but once that ends it might be time for me to spend my money catching up on Companions or World Books or something instead of continuing my AP subscription...

I'm worried that Paizo might be jumping the shark a little, being 'original' simply for the sake of being original and maybe getting caught up in the '1-up'ing death spiral we've seen various entertainment venues fall to before. More and more powerful is not necessarily better and when you start mixing genres you end up with something like Rifts.

Anyone know what a Mythic Laser Gun is going to look like?


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ShadowyFox wrote:
I definitely would like the updated build. lol As long as you don't mind me running with it. I've got a good bit of fluff rolling around in my head, so I can definitely see having fun with him. Especially with the group.

Here you go:

Human 2nd level Unbreakable Fighter / 18th level Invulnerable Rager & Urban Barbarian
Heart of the Fields alternate racial trait, Human favored class option for Barbarians

Attributes: (20 point buy)
STR - 15 (+2 racial bonus, +1 at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th level)
DEX - 14
CON - 14
INT - 14
WIS - 12
CHA - 7

Traits:
Threatening Defender (reduce Combat Expertise penalties by 1)
Auspicious Tattoo (+1 Will saves)

Feats & Rage Powers by level:
1st - Combat Expertise
1st - Power Attack
2nd - Superstition
3rd - Combat Reflexes
4th - Lesser Beast Totem
5th - Stalwart
5th - Diehard
5th - Endurance
7th - Deadly Aim
7th - Reckless Abandon
9th - Extra RP: Extra DR
9th - Beast Totem
11th - Improved Stalwart
11th - Greater Beast Totem
13th - Dazing Assault
13th - Come and Get Me
15th - Extra RP: Extra DR
15th - Extra DR
17th - Extra RP: Flesh Wound
17th - Witch Hunter
19th - Extra RP: Eater of Magic
19th - Strength Surge
20th - Improved Initiative

Skills: (6 ranks/level)
Climb* - 1/odd level
Swim* - 1/even level
Handle Animal* - 1
Ride* - 2
Knowledge: Nature* - 3-20
Survival* - 1-20
Stealth - 1-4, 6-19
Perception* - 1-4, 6-19
Profession: Sailor* - 1-20 (+1/2 character level)

Fighter levels taken at 4th and 20th. If you have any questions regarding figuring out DR by level or whatever, just drop me a line.


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Tangent101 wrote:

That would be cool. A Stylized "M" for Rated Mythic. Or maybe Monty Haul? ;)

(Hmm... I wonder if I'm alone in wanting some low-magic campaigns out there. Wouldn't work for Golarion though... but I suppose I could strip out 90% of the magic and 70% of the treasure for one of the APs and rescript it for my own world....)

I am ALL about low-magic campaigns... storylines over cash grabs, characters succeeding due to their play and character design rather than accumulated hoard of magical crutches they gain. Its always seemed ironic to me - the more magic gets into campaigns, the less magical they seem.

Game of Thrones... that's about my speed there. Drama, intrigue, combat with magic on the fringe, touching everything and integral to the realm's history - but not available from every street vendor with magic swords being bought and traded like baseball cards.


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Gnomezrule wrote:

About one hour before start.

Any 11th hour advice.

I will let you know how it goes.

Just a couple of quick suggestions:

Spoiler:

Do away with the Rum Rations and the Bloody Hour. Feel free to allow the penalties for too much rum to affect the players should they over-indulge and feel free to have the PC's or NPC's whipped bloody when the situation warrants it, but make it more organic.

Do what you can to keep the players alive til the end of book 1, its very difficult to replace characters 'in-story' until then.

Avoid using the botfly swarms on the island unless your party is specifically equipped to deal with them - they can really take down a low level group with no defenses.

My two biggest pieces of advice for moving along the storyline:

1) Encourage a mutiny before the Man's Promise gets shipwrecked, and use Sandara's kidnapping as an excuse to get them to the island - if she's romantically involved with one of the PC's by then so much the better.

2) Have Aron Ivey alive and well and fending for his life in the stockade. His presence allows the PC's to get learn all of the backstory surrounding the Infernus which is great and he can become a valuable NPC from there onward. Much of fishguts advice actually came from Ivey in our campaign and he was a non-combatant ship's carpenter who aided and oversaw repairs and eventually became a shipwright (once he lost his leg) who supervised the construction of our flagship int he later books. Great resource there - in our campaign he told us about the wreck of the Infernus and that there was likely a store of water-breathing potions still aboard which eventually made our assault on the underwater caverns much more survivable.

This was the best campaign/AP we've ever played. If I can offer up any advice, don't hesitate to ask here or message me privately, though it was Story Archer who actually ran it as our GM and her insights might be better.


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Ravingdork wrote:

If I were to make a character who couldn't be hit except for a natural 20 by any being published by Paizo, how high would my AC need to be?

Or put in another way, which published Paizo being has the highest attack modifier and how high is it?

I have a character with 64 AC, and I want to know if I need to tone it down and reinvest some resources elsewhere, or if I need to make it higher.

I can't help you with the highest attack modifier trivia question, but you've made enough characters to know that, while getting the AC up there as an intellectual exercise is all well and good, characters will be much better served by having higher saves, CMD, etc. When a character is THAT much of a 1-trick pony, there are just too many ways to neutralize him or - worse yet - turn him and that high AC on his companions.

I'd say that if your average +4 CR foe needs a 19 or higher to hit you then your AC is more than high enough.


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By the way, this is the build for the two as it stands now; I've been working on it for quite a while. The two levels of MoMS come at 2nd and 3rd, the two levels of Lore Warden come at 11th and 12th.
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Aasimar 16th level Dervish of Dawn / 2nd level Master of Many Styles / 2nd level Lore Warden
Azata-blooded, favored class bonus for Bards (Inspire Courage)

Attributes: (20 point buy)
STR - 13
DEX - 16 (+2 racial bonus, +1 @ 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th & 20th)
CON - 12
INT - 12
WIS - 8
CHA - 14 (+2 racial bonus)

Traits:
Maestro of the Society
Magical Knack

Feats:
1st - Dervish Dance
1st - Dodge
2nd - Improved Unarmed Strike
2nd - Stunning Fist
2nd - Crane Style
3rd - Crane Wing
3rd - Weapon Focus: Scimitar
5th - Broken Wing Gambit (teamwork)
7th - Paired Opportunists (teamwork)
9th - Combat Reflexes
10th - Arcane Strike
11th - Crane Riposte
11th - Improved Critical: Scimitar
12th - Seize the Moment (teamwork)
12th - Combat Expertise
13th - Power Attack
15th - Discordant Voice
17th - Critical Focus
19th - Staggering Critical


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Okay, here is the relevant text:

Broken Wing Gambit: Whenever you make a melee attack and hit your opponent, you can use a free action to grant that opponent a +2 bonus on attack and damage rolls against you until the end of your next turn or until your opponent attacks you, whichever happens first. If that opponent attacks you with this bonus, it provokes attacks of opportunity from your allies who have this feat.

Paired Opportunists: Whenever you are adjacent to an ally who also has this feat, you receive a +4 circumstance bonus on attacks of opportunity against creatures that you both threaten. Enemies that provoke attacks of opportunity from your ally also provoke attacks of opportunity from you so long as you threaten them (even if the situation or an ability would normally deny you the attack of opportunity). This does not allow you to take more than one attack of opportunity against a creature for a given action.

Okay, so you have two melee types standing side-by-side facing a large monster. Both have the above feats. PC #1 Attacks and hits, using Broken Wing Gambit. The Monster attacks that PC in return, provoking an AoO from PC #2.

Question 1: Does that trigger Paired Opportunists, allowing PC #1 an AoO as well?

Question #2: Since activating Broken Wing Gambit is a free action, can PC #2 use it when making his AoO?

Now it gets good. Let's say that both PC's also have Crane Riposte (we have twin builds in our upcoming WotR game). When the monster attacks PC#1 in the above example, the PC uses Crane Wing to deflect that attack, provoking an AoO in response. So now PC #1 is making an AoO with Crane Riposte, provoking an AoO from PC #2, then, PC #2 is making an AoO due to the BWG, provoking an AoO from PC #1 - and then of course making his normal attack(s) on his turn.

Sound right?

PC #1 attacks and hits, activating Broken Wing Gambit.
Monster attacks PC #1 in response, but PC #1 uses Crane Wing to deflect the first attack.
PC #1 makes an AoO due to Crane Riposte.
PC #2 makes an AoO due to Paired Opportunists.
PC #2 makes another AoO due to Broken Wing Gambit and chooses to activate BWG himself.
PC #1 makes another AoO due to Paired Opportunists.
Monster makes the remainder of his attacks against PC #1 (as attacking PC #2 at this point would only confuse things further)
PC #2 makes his attacks as normal.


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Experiment 626 wrote:
Our martial types love enlarge person but they got themselves x/day custom wondrous items or potions to get their fix. A wand works for this as well.

I wonder at times about the popularity of Enlarge Person, perceived as it seems to be as a 'must take'. Its casting time is a pain and the ultimate benefit is one step up in base weapon damage, +1 damage and reach, as well as a -2 to the character's AC and -1 to their Reflex saves. Always seemed a little underwhelming to me.


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FWIW, this is the build as it stands - Silent Spell was taken as a compliment to the Fleeting Glance ability gained at 9th level and I figure between Piercing Spell and the Fey Magic ability gained at 15th, I've got Spell resistent creatures covered.
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Human 20th level Sorcerer (Fey)
Human favored class option

Attributes: (20 point build)
STR - 10
DEX - 14
CON - 14
INT - 12
WIS - 8
CHA - 16 (+2 racial mod, +1 at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th level)

Traits:
Focused Mind
Reactionary

Feats:
1st - Eschew Materials
1st - Spell Focus: Enchantment
1st - Greater Spell Focus: Enchantment
3rd - Heighten Spell
5th - Silent Spell
7th - Skill Focus: Knowledge - Nature*
7th - Eldritch Heritage: Arcane Bloodline (Arcane Bond - Familiar)
9th - Improved Familiar (Faerie Dragon)
11th - Piercing Spell
13th - Quicken Spell*
13th - Improved Eldritch Heritage: Arcane Bloodline (Expanded Arcana)
15th - Spell Perfection: Dominate Person
17th - Greater Eldritch Heritage: Arcane Bloodline (School Power)
19th - Improved Initiative*
19th - Expanded Arcana (9th level spell) or Persistent Spell

* - bloodline feat

Skills: (all class skills)
Bluff - 1-20
Fly - 11-20
Knowledge: Nature - 1-10
Spellcraft - 1-20
Use Magic Device - 1-20


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I didn't mean to start any sort of row - I'm just building a generalist Sorcerer and was looking for some good spell advice to make sure I didn't overlook anything crucial. Obviously opinions will differ.

While I did swap some spells out at certain levels, I didn't do it very often, opting instead for spells I thought would retain their usefulness throughout the character's life. Were I to make it to 20th level, this is the known spell list I've come up with (obviously including bloodline spells):

20th level
Spells per day:
0 level - unlimited, 1st - 8, 2nd - 8, 3rd - 7, 4th - 7, 5th - 7, 6th - 7, 7th - 6, 8th - 6, 9th - 6

Spells Known
Cantrips:
Arcane Mark, Detect Magic, Ghost Sound, Light, Prestidigitation, Read Magic, Resistance, Spark, Touch of Fatigue

1st level:
Alarm, Charm Person, Entangle, Featherfall, Identify, Obscuring Mist, Silent Image, Unseen Servant

2nd level:
Alter Self, Detect Thoughts, Glitterdust, Hideous Laughter, Mirror Image, Protection vs. Evil (Communal), Scorching Ray, Whispering Wind

3rd level:
Deep Slumber, Dispel Magic, Displacement, Fireball, Fractions of Heal and Harm, Lightning Bolt, Resist Energy (Communal)

4th level:
Aura of the Unremarkable, Ball Lightning, [Darkvision (Communal)], Dimension Door, Greater False Life, Poison, Tongues (Communal)

5th level:
Dominate Person, Feeblemind, Fire Snake, Hold Monster, Overland Flight, Tree Stride, Teleport

6th level:
Chain Lightning, Contingency, Cloak of Dreams, Greater Dispel Magic, Mislead, [Permanency], True Seeing

7th level:
Greater Polymorph, Greater Scrying, Limited Wish, Mage's Mansion, Mass Planar Adaptation, Phase Door, Plane Shift

8th level:
Clone, Create Demiplane, Demand, Discern Location, Greater Prying Eyes, Irresistible Dance, Mind Blank, Protection From Spells

9th level:
Dominate Monster, Mage's Disjunction, Time Stop, Wish, (Shapechange if Expanded Arcana is taken @ 19th)

The spell selection is a tiny bit slanted towards some Enchantment spells due to the Bloodline, but for the most part I tried to include a good mix of spells for attack, defense, divination, utility, travel, control and abjuration.

Some notables I know I left out: Mage Armor (would perfer to avoid ever needing it), Grease (just never really liked it for some bizarre reason), Enlarge Person (screams 'wand' if party-appropriate), Haste (seems like everyone else always has it), the Pit Spells (a little burned out on them after playing a Master Summoner), and Invisibility spells (already get Greater Invisibility as a bloodline power).

Thoughts?


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I'm working on a generalist Human Sorcerer without any particular theme in mind other than versatility and potency. I'm planning on going Fey and taking Eldritch Heritage feats for the Arcane Bloodline as well as the Spell Focus feats for Enchantment - but the character is NOT being built as some sort of enchanter. Meta-magic feats will be Quicken Spell and possibly Heighten Spell and Reach Spell. Dazing Spell is banned from our game as is Spell Perfection.

I want a wide selection of the most useful spells available and that's what I'm looking for from you guys. Keep in mind that I won't be able to switch out spells very often, so choices made at earlier levels should probably continue to be useful later on as well.


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Seems like the better question is 'have you allowed your players PC's to grow too big for Skull and Shackles'?

Capturing the Dominator at the level they faced it should have been a nigh-impossible feat, and even if they did somehow manage it, allowing them to have it (as opposed to having it scuttled or set aflame rather than allow it to fall into the hands of scurvy pirates) is akin to giving them an artifact at the same level. Worse, possibly.

As pointed out by many, wealth by level is too high and the mini-army/fleet they've assembled too capable. It seems to me (with admittedly very limited information) that in the process of allowing your group to have so much fun 'winning' (relatively unopposed it would seem), you may have outpaced the module and ruined it for them long-term.

Best scenario I see is having them unwittingly run afoul of the Hurricane King and having him (through agents/other Free Captains) take them down through a combination of a small fleet and treachery - surely at least one Free Captains has a crewman on board to serve as a spy on these upstarts. Take everything away from them in dramatic fashion and give them the opportunity to escape/regroup and plot their revenge... then they get the fun of earning it all all over again - perhaps this time appropriately.

Also seems like a lot of playing fast and loose with the rules - where did all of those fire spells for the witch come from?


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I find Unsanctioned Knowledge completely unnecessary. Paladin spells provide you with everything you need to do your job and do it well.

These are my reccomendations (in order)
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1st level:
Hero's Defiance (Immediate action, WILL save your life - I suggest two)
Protection vs. Evil (utility extends far beyond +2 AC/Saves)
Divine Favor (useful benefit vs. non-evil foes)
Compel Hostility (classic Tank option)

2nd level:
Litany of Righteousness (Swift action, probably the most potent one-shot, one-kill spell in the game)
Protection vs. evil, Communal (see above)
Paladin's Sacrifice (Immediate action, allows you to use your various immunities to protect allies)

3rd level
Blessing of Fervor (I tend to play Oath of Vengeance Paladins and this is a hell of a group buff)
Deadly Juggernaut (definitely a pick-your-moment type spell, but lives up to its name under the right circumstances and compliments the usual BBEG limitations of the Paladin)

4th level:P
Bloodsword Retribution (so powerful its as 'broken' as a martial character can get, we've had to modify it slightly through house-rules to compensate)
Sacrifical Oath (great way to use your swift-action Lay on Hands to keep more vulnerable players protected)

As a 20th level Paladin with a 24 Charisma, this is more-or-less what my standard spell suite would be:

1st - Hero's Defiance x2, Compel Hostility x2, Divine Favor, Protection vs. Evil
2nd - Litany of Righteousness x4, Paladin's Sacrifice x2
3rd - Blessing of Fervor x2, Deadly Juggernaut x2, Dispel Magic or Resist Energy (Communal) if no other players have it available
4th - Bloodsworn Retribution, Sacrifical Oath x2, Restoration


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The Saltmarsh 6 wrote:

Hi everyone just something i'm curious about how do you view rage

As far as i can tell most people seem to view it as just another ability which can be turned on and off at will
Or do you see it as a true berserk rage where the character only want to smash there enemy with little regard for consequences or the use of tactics (which is how i view it )
Your thoughts please
Ps can we please not let this become a argument over how the rules are writen

When playing a Barbarian, I almost always opt for the Urban Barbarian archetype and play Rage as something akin to a combat trance or supernatural focus, something like 'Seeking the Void' as described in the Wheel of Time books...

...but that's just me.

I've also played an insane Dwarf, a Theologian (Madness Domain) who took a two level dip in Wild Rager, and in that case whenever he engaged in melee it was role-played more as if he simply lost it and was literally foaming at the mouth enraged.

In both cases, I played appropriate to the character, not the class feature.


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Ernest Mueller wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

The PCs had to start at 1st level because we wanted a brand-new 1st level adventure to sell at Gen Con, frankly.

And because relaunching the modules line with a classic adventure (kill the dragon) that starts PCs at 1st level makes a lot of sense.

OK, fair enough, I just ask you keep this feedback in mind going forward - the larger the level spread one single adventure covers, the more it ties the GM's hands as to how they run their game. I'm happy to give this one a mulligan but if all the longer adventures do this I'm not sure I can use them as much as I used to.

In many of our campaigns we've given up on XP entirely and level the group when it's appropriate - makes APs go smoother without all the micromanagement and also means we can do "as slow as we want" progression (as you point out, even medium is pretty darn fast as designed - rather than give up and go E6, we usually just slow it down to a rate where people actually get to experience a given level and not just blow past in every time they walk into a hole in the ground).

I think this is where things went off the rails a little bit. I love the new bigger modules incidentally, but it seems like this first one tried to do two things at once that weren't naturally congruous (wanting the module to start off at 1st level and wanting the BBEG to be a legitimate draconic threat), which made everything along the way feel forced - monty-hauling treasure inappropriate for level, offering 'crutch' NPC's, leveling characters faster than usual... For a one-shot evening or weekend campaign I could definitely see it as being a fun run, but across the board its inconsistent with everything else paizo has been doing module and AP-wise. We've come to expect that consistency from established product lines and again, this one felt much too forced.

Considering the very high standards Paizo has come to represent, disrupting the integrity of a product because you want to serve two masters (Dragon BBEG cuz its cool and 1st level cuz of GenCon) wasn't the best way to go.

Just my 2 cp.


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Rynjin wrote:

Out of combat utility refers to providing a useful role outside of combat, that is not obsoleted by another class in the party (overlap is okay, but if a Fighter tries to do a Bard's job and has no OTHER strengths he's likely not going to be providing much besides Aid Another on some checks).

When speaking of class specific balance, it should only refer to things specific to each class.

Things like Traits, Racial Abilities, and many Feats do not fit that criteria (if your Human Fighter with Focused Study and/or Skill Focus: Diplomacy and a Diplomacy trait is good at Diplomacy...well duh. But that is almost entirely reliant on things ANY class of that race can do just as easily and shouldn't be considered as a factor in class balance).

I'm a HUGE Martial guy (clearly) but just once I'd like to see someone defending the Fighter actually using the Fighter's class features and not abilities any class could get.

Compare:

Fighter's class features
- strong/weak/weak saves
- bonus feats
- heavy armor proficiency
- armor training
- weapon training

Ranger's class features
- strong/strong/weak saves
- bonus feats
- Hunter's Bond
- Evasion/Improved Evasion
- Quarry/Improved Quarry
- Spells (including spell triggers)
- Favored Enemy
- Favored Terrain
- Woodland Stride/Swift Tracker
- Camoflage/Hide in Plain Sight
- 4 skills/level

Barbarian's class features
- strong/weak/weak saves
- Rage/Greater Rage/Mighty Rage/Tireless Rage
- Rage Powers
- Trap Sense
- Damage Reduction
- Fast Movement
- Uncanny Dodge/Improved Uncanny Dodge
- Indomitable Will
- d12 Hit Die
- 4 skills/level

Paladin's class features
- strong/strong/weak saves
- Detect Evil
- Smite Evil
- Divine Grace
- Lay on Hands/Mercies
- Divine Health
- Divine Bond
- Auras of Good/Courage/Resolve/Justice/Faith/Righteousness
- Spells (including spell triggers)
- Heavy Armor proficiency

To me, personally, one of these things is most definitely not like the other. As I've stated before, I've got some great Fighter builds that I really enjoy (WWA by 4th level anyone?), but for the most part Fighters get relegated to a two level dip or get ignored altogether unless the campaign is specifically low level, before Will saves start getting targeted and while AC is still significant.


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Kairos Dawnfury wrote:

I'm some-what blind posting here, but at the end of the day, it's a team game, the goal is to work together to get through encounters. I'm playing a battle cleric and my friend is the party wizard and we do two different things. My GM spreads enemies out so he doesn't take them all out with one spell and sometimes even has enemies call me out for duels while the wizard and TWF Fighter take on other enemies.

At the end of the day, I'm excited when he does something impressive like trap half the enemies in a pit and he gets a kick out of me critting the face off a big Undead Minotaur that rose out of the ground right behind him.

I fully intend to play a Fighter next game just because everyone is so down on it.

I liken it to the Luke Skywalker/Han Solo thing... Luke is infinitely more powerful than Han, but the story has a place for both, a need for both, and I personally grew up wanting to be Solo. Nobody who walked out of the theater - and that's what RP is, interactive storytelling - nobody walked out complaining that Luke was too powerful or that Solo was gimped. Different people have different gifts and those gifts aren't always balanced. Its what you do with what you have that matters.


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Martials? Yeah, you could say that I'm a fan...


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Selgard wrote:

Allo folks.

I've been recently tinkering with 2 handed weapon builds and it seems that they all just need power attack and furious focus and.. well, that seems to be all they really need.

Is there something else I'm missing- aside from weapon focus and imp crit or something?

Seems the archers have a 2 billion feat chain to be effective and two-weapon fighting has an equally long 2 billion feat chain to be effective.. is there something two-handed folk need besides those two big ones?

Thanks.

-S

You can do a lot more with Two-Handed Fighters than just hit something hard. This is my favorite pure Fighter build (Weaponmaster, built either to use a Falchion or a Bardiche):

Human 20th level Weaponmaster

Attributes:
STR - 15 (+2 racial mod, +1 @ 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th & 20th)
DEX - 14
CON - 14
INT - 14
WIS - 12
CHA - 7

Traits:
Defender of the Society
Freed Slave

Feats:
1st - Dodge
1st - Power Attack
1st - Cleave
2nd - Mobility
3rd - Combat Expertise
4th - Spring Attack (swap Cleave for Whirlwind Attack)
5th - Combat Reflexes
6th - Lunge
7th - Weapon Focus: Bardiche
8th - Improved Critical: Bardiche
9th - Critical Focus
10th - Greater Weapon Focus: Bardiche
11th - Dazing Assault
12th - Sickening Critical
13th - Staggering Critical
14th - Critical Mastery
15th - Weapon Specialization: Bardiche
16th - Greater Weapon Specialization: Bardiche
17th - Stunning Critical
18th - Vital Strike
19th - Improved Vital Strike
20th - Greater Vital Strike

You get Whirlwind Attack (with a reach weapon) by 4th level, a Lunging WWA by 6th and a Dazing Lunging WWA by 11th. Weapon Training advances faster than for your typical Fighter and you can layer conditions on with critical hits more effectively than any character in the game.

Now, if you're building a non-Fighter who uses a two-handed weapon, then yeah, take Power Attack and Furious Focus and, if you have the Charisma and the skill ranks for Intimidate, work towards Dreadful Carnage.


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Morning all.

I've been toying around with a character concept, trying to see if I could come up with an effective Crossbreed Sorcerer that wasn't a dip for Evocation cheese, and its actually worked out to a really cool character concept. The idea is a sort of unseelie Fey who's natural appearance is a twisted combination of Fox and Serpent (though that's almost never seen) who is manipulative and controlling beyond anything you've ever seen. He could serve as a PC for either a good or evil campaign or as recurring villian, lots of options, really.

I started by going Kitsune for my race and selecting the Fey and Serpentine bloodlines. The goal was to maximize the foes I could use mind-affecting spells against and to take a number of metamagic feats to make use of those spell slots for which I would tecnically not know any spells - Heighten Spell in particular for that reason. The next goal was to (obviously) mximize the effectiveness of those spells which I think I've managed to do.

I have run into a few problems though - the first being Spell Resistance. Our group doesn't use it, instead applying an across the board +4 to saves vs. spells and spell-like effects for creatures that have SR... but I wanted to make a character that was transportable to other groups, so I'm trying to address it in the build but there doesn't seem to be enough room early on.

The next question is the value of an Animal Companion vs. the Kitsune ability Realistic Likeness (which has proven to be VERY effective in the past). My options would be:

Animal Companion
Take Sylvan Bloodline over Fey, losing a +2 bonus to Compulsion spell DC's.
Take and then forfeit Laughing Touch as a 1st level Bloodline power.
Take Boon Companion as my 3rd level feat
Take Snake Fang as a 3rd level Bloodline power.

Realistic Likeness
Keep the Fey bloodline and take Realistic Likeness as my 3rd level feat.
Take Snake Fang as a 1st level Bloodline power
Take Serpent Friend (viper familiar) as a 3rd level Bloodline power.

I suppose the difference is whether I'm building a character to be an infiltrator or a dungeon crawler, but without knowing what adventures may await me, I'm really torn. It may be that I'm better off just taking Heighten Spell earlier instead and pursuing the Arcane Bloodline via Eldritch Heritage feats (see below).

Apart from those issues, I'm really pleased with how the character has come together, but as always I'm looking for critique and advice from the board's many experts. The short version is that by 1st level I'm treating Animals, Magical Beasts and Monstrous Humanoids as Humanoids for the purposes of spells (like Charm/Hold/Dominate Person). By 7th level I'm affecting Undead with mind-affecting spells via Threnodic spell and by 13th level I'm affecting Oozes and Vermin as well via Coaxing Spell. With those expanded options in mind, I'm unsure as to whether my selection for Spell Perfection at 15th should be Dominate Person or Hold Monster.

Kitsune Cross-Blooded Sorcerer (Fey-Sylvan/Serpentine Bloodlines)

Feats:
1st - Eschew Materials
1st - Spell Focus: Enchantment
3rd - Realistic Likeness or Boon Companion
5th - Spell Focus: Necromancy
7th - Silent Spell *
7th - Threnodic Spell
9th - Heighten Spell
11th - Greater Spell Focus: Enchantment
13th - Quicken Spell *
13th - Coaxing Spell
15th - Spell Perfection: Dominate Person or Hold Monster
17th - Spell Penetration
19th - Improved Initative *
19th - Greater Spell Penetration

[* - Bloodline feat]

Bloodline Powers:
1st - Snake Fang or Animal Companion
3rd - Serpent Friend or Snake Fang
9th - Fleeting Glance
15th - Fey Magic or Den of Vipers
20th - Soul of the Fey

DC bonuses:
+2 DC to Compulsion Spells (unless Animal Companion is taken)
+1 DC to Enchantments racial bonus
+1 DC/4 levels to Enchantments from favored class option
+2 DC from Spell Focus & Greater Spell Focus
+X DC from Charisma modifier

A final option I've been considering is to drop Realistic Likeness/Boon Companion altogether, along with Coaxing Spell and the Spell Penetrations and instead taking the Arcane Bloodline via Eldritch Heritage feats. That would give me an Arcane Bond to go along with my Viper Familiar, Expanded Arcana to make up for some of those spells lost from cross-breeding and School Power for even more potent Enchantment spells at later levels. That version would look something like this:

Feats:
1st - Eschew Materials
1st - Spell Focus: Enchantment
3rd - Heighten Spell
5th - Spell Focus: Necromancy
7th - Silent Spell *
7th - Threnodic Spell
9th - Skill Focus: Knowldge (Any)
11th - Eldritch Heritage: Arcane Bond
13th - Quicken Spell *
13th - Improved Eldritch Heritage: Expanded Arcana
15th - Spell Perfection: Dominate Person or Hold Monster
17th - Greater Eldritch Heritage: School Power
19th - Improved Initative *
19th - Greater Spell Focus: Enchantment

Thoughts?


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Daethor wrote:

Ok, so the title is a bit of an overstatement, but here goes:

In going through these forums there seems to be a decent number of people (or a very vocal few) who don't like characters gaining power through magic items. They like to feel that their character's inherent abilities should be solely responsible for their power and that magic items somehow diminish their triumphs.

Obviously, this is an opinion, and a fine one to hold. However, in the interest of providing more perspective, consider this (in my opinion) excellent article that talks about how dependent humans are on tool use. You don't have to read the article, but it basically proposes that tool use has influenced our very evolution. More colloquially, one doesn't have to look far to see how dependent we are on tools in everyday life. From combat to transportation to medicine, we are extremely dependent on tools.

In short, I don't really have a problem with my character using tools to defeat monsters. My tools are a part of me and I don't think that using them diminishes my victories. Being able to create and use tools judiciously and creatively is one of humanity's great advantages over threats, and I for one like that this is part of the game. What do you guys think?

What this post did NOT argue: That magic items should necessarily be common/easily accessible, that people who don't like characters gaining power through magic items are wrong, etc.

I don't think anyone has argued that characters shouldn't be allowed to use tools/weapons to defeat their foes. I think the argument has simply been that the more dependent characters become on items rather than their skills and abilities, the less responsible for their victories they actually are. That and the more mundane we make magic the less wonderous and magical it is.

I've never seen any fantasy film nor read any fantasy book where every character in it had a veritable arsenal of magic items in it to choose from when dealing with a problem. in almost every case its been the hero's determination, skill and luck that has allowed him to succeed. And then there's the Monty Hall effect: Imagine if Aragorn was gifted with Anduril, the Flame of the West, and in response he decides to stick it in his bag of holding along with the other four magic swords he had - or perhaps he decided to go into the Mountain to sell it at the ghost magic store along with the elven cloak he has been gifted with and Arwen's magic pendant so that he could buy a really good sword.

Magic should be magical, and characters should be responsible for their successes and failures. That's my argument. No one's arguing against using swords.


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Metal Earth wrote:

Thanks for the response Booksy. Yeah I had to revise my character a bit. You are 100% correct in respect to getting CAGM a level later. At level 3 Barbarian I can take the feat extra rage power though. I do have serious doubts our game will exceed level 10.

The extra feats I would gain from level dipping in fighter would enable me to spend my feats as a barbarian on extra rage powers without being depleted on feats. My revised plan would look something like this:

Level 1 Barb feats: Power Attack and Combat Reflexes (human bonus)
level 2 Barb Rage Power: Lesser Beast Totem
Level 1 Unbreakable Fighter: Endurance, Die Hard and Improved Sunder
Level 3 Barb feat: Extra rage power: Superstition
Level 4 Barb Rage Power: Witch hunter
Level 5 Barb feat: Extra rage power Reckless Abandon
Level 6 Barb Rage Power: Beast Totem
Level 7 Barb feat: Extra Rage power Spell Sunder
Level 8 Barb Rage power: Increased Damage Reduction
Level 9 Barb feat: extra Rage power Good for what ails you
Level 10 Barb: Beast Totem Greater
Level 11 Barb feat: Extra rage power Ground Breaker
Level 12 Barb: CAGM

I am still considering to switch in Dodge + Mobility as feats as CalethosVB suggested.

The entire point of Unbreakable Fighter is to gain you the pre-requisites for Stalwart and eventually Improved Stalwart which would allow you to dramatically improve your DR. I've made an incredible Barbarian build based on this concept and posted it on the forums before - this is the basic build with the Fighter levels coming at 5th and 20th:

Human 2nd level Unbreakable Fighter / 18th level Invulnerable Rager & Urban Barbarian
Heart of the Fields alternate racial trait, Human favored class option for Barbarians

Attributes: (20 point buy)
STR - 15 (+2 racial bonus, +1 at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th level)
DEX - 14
CON - 14
INT - 14
WIS - 12
CHA - 7

Traits:
Threatening Defender (reduce Combat Expertise penalties by 1)
Auspicious Tattoo (+1 Will saves)

Feats & Rage Powers by level:
1st - Combat Expertise
1st - Power Attack
2nd - Superstition
3rd - Combat Reflexes
4th - Lesser Beast Totem
5th - Stalwart
5th - Diehard
5th - Endurance
7th - Deadly Aim
7th - Reckless Abandon
9th - Extra RP: Extra DR
9th - Beast Totem
11th - Improved Stalwart
11th - Greater Beast Totem
13th - Dazing Assault
13th - Come and Get Me
15th - Extra RP: Extra DR
15th - Extra DR
17th - Extra RP: Flesh Wound
17th - Witch Hunter
19th - Extra RP: Eater of Magic
19th - Strength Surge
20th - Improved Initiative

Skills: (6 ranks/level)
Climb* - 1/odd level
Swim* - 1/even level
Ride* - 1/level after 1st
Handle Animal* - 1/1st level
Knowledge: Nature* - 1/level after 1st
Survival* - 1/level
Stealth - 1/level after 1st
Perception* - 1/level after 1st
Craft: Stonemason* - 1/1st level (+1/2 character level)

Diehard and Endurance are the pre-requisites for Stalwart and eventually Greater Stalwart which gives you a substantial boost of DR at the cost of attack accuracy. Reckless Abandon trades that accuracy for AC and Beast Totem trades that AC for nothing, meaning that collectively you get a big boost in DR for nothing.

Deadly Aim, Reckless Abandon and the ability to boost your Dex make you a credible ranged threat when times call for it.

He carries both a Bardiche and a Greatsword so that he has the proper weapon on hand to be able to use Come and Get Me to maximum effectiveness. And speaking of which, when using Come and Get Me, Dazing Assault resolves before your opponents attack, meaning that when it goes off as a result of an AoO, he never gets to actually make the attack. At low levels he focuses on the Bardiche, using Combat Reflexes to get extra attacks and the claws he gains from Lesser Beast Totem for adjacent AoO's.

The human bonus to Superstition makes your saves ridiculous for those who try to magic you out of the fight.

Strength Surge, Eater of Magic and Flesh Wound all kick in right when you gain the ability to Rage cycle. Another option instead of Flesh Wound would be Auspicious Mark as it and Focused Rage together give you all kinds of useful boosts to skills, checks, saves, etc.

This character has DR 4/- at 5th level, DR 8/- at 9th level, DR 14/- at 12th level and DR 20/- at 16th level. Those numbers are sick.


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Afternoon, all :)

I'm getting involved in a Way of the Wicked campaign and I've been toying around with a new build - he's been a lot of fun thus far so I figured what the hell, I'll share. Feel free to comment, critique or ignore at your peril...

*ahem*

...at your discretion. Sorry.

At any rate, I give you The Mad Dwarf:

The concept has been posted before (we have a couple of our group members on these boards), a Dwarven Miner who devled too deeply and was captured by an Aboleth and his minions. Years of random and pointless torture followed as the Dearf was subjugated by the abomination and subjected to maddening visions of the stars he had never seen. He managed to escape, fleeing as fast and as far as he could, eventually emerging onto the surface for the first time... and finding himself staring up at an endless sea of stars. It broke his mind and ever since he's been a herald, a prophecy of doom for the Old Ones. The character can be played in a good or evil party as I consider him ultimately a neutral nihilist who clings to hope.

At low levels Martials obviously have the advantage in longevity and usefulness, so we start out with two levels of Wild Rager - suffice to say this guy isn't a tank, but two attacks per round at 2nd level with a two-handed weapon ain't nothing to sneeze at. While it might technically be suboptimal, I have him using a Dorn-Dergar for flavor purposes with the head of the weapon actually being a chunk of skymetal or meteorite, allowing it to serve as his holy symbol as well. After that its straight Theologian to maximize what I consider to be one of the strongest buffs/debuffs in the game - Visions of Madness, via the Madness Domain. The Dwarven favored class option allows him almost unlimited use of this ability as he progresses.

Another solid choice for Clerical archetype but one that would play a bit differently would be an Evangelist, also taking the Madness Archetype, his rants and mutterings serving as the 'Performance' as he drives his allies to almost reckless advantage. At any rate, its the Madness Domain that makes this class work. He can floor a foe's saves and attacks with a touch, then follow it up with a Quickened Blindness or Hold Person, he can radiate a miasma of confusion that disrupts a sea of foes or he can just go berserk with that big heavy ball n' chain.

Dwarven 2nd level Wild Rager / 18th level Theologian (Madness Domain)
Dwarven favored class option for Clerics, Craftsman, Deep Warrior, Minesight

Attributes: (20 point buy)
STR - 16
DEX - 12
CON - 16 (+2 racial modifier included)
INT - 12
WIS - 16 (+2 racial modifier included, +1 at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th & 20th)
CHA - 7 (-2 racial modifier included)

Traits:
Berserker of the Society (+3 rounds of Rage)
Glory of Old (+1 saves vs. spells, spell-like abilities & poison)

Feats:
1st - Power Attack
2nd - [Rage Power: Reckless Abandon]
3rd - Furious Focus
5th - Spell Focus: Necromancy
7th - Greater Spell Focus: Necromancy
9th - Spell Penetration
11th - Quicken Spell
13th - Greater Spell Penetration
15th - Extra Channel
17th - Extra Channel
19th - Extra Channel

Skills:
Profession: Miner* - 1/1st level
Knowledge: Dungeoneering* - 1/2nd level
Survival * - 1/level
Perception* - 1/level
Sense Motive* - 1/level

Most times the character will be best suited to casting first, letting someone else take the alpha, shaping the battlefield or locking down a key foe and then stepping in to mop up with some big hits. He'll have some very high ranks in some useful skills, will be a solid spell caster and should be a lot of fun to play. I'm not 100% sold on those Extra Channel feats taken in the later levels, but I wasn't sure exactly what to do with them...

I'm a big fan of 'not quite optimized' characters who have interesting backgrounds and a lot of versatility, so I'm really enjoying this guy and just thought I'd put him out there.


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Here's mine. He's as powerful and versatile and especially survivable a build as I've ever put together.
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Human 2nd level Unbreakable Fighter / 18th level Invulnerable Rager & Urban Barbarian
Heart of the Fields alternate racial trait, Human favored class option for Barbarians

Attributes: (20 point buy)
STR - 15 (+2 racial bonus, +1 at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th level)
DEX - 14
CON - 14
INT - 14
WIS - 12
CHA - 7

Traits:
Threatening Defender (reduce Combat Expertise penalties by 1)
Auspicious Tattoo (+1 Will saves)

Feats & Rage Powers by level:
1st - Combat Expertise
1st - Power Attack
2nd - Superstition
3rd - Combat Reflexes
4th - Lesser Beast Totem
5th - Stalwart
5th - Diehard
5th - Endurance
7th - Deadly Aim
7th - Reckless Abandon
9th - Extra RP: Extra DR
9th - Beast Totem
11th - Improved Stalwart
11th - Greater Beast Totem
13th - Dazing Assault
13th - Come and Get Me
15th - Extra RP: Extra DR
15th - Extra DR
17th - Extra RP: Flesh Wound
17th - Witch Hunter
19th - Extra RP: Eater of Magic
19th - Strength Surge
20th - Improved Initiative

Skills: (6 ranks/level)
Climb* - 1/odd level
Swim* - 1/even level
Ride* - 1/level after 1st
Handle Animal* - 1/1st level
Knowledge: Nature* - 1/level after 1st
Survival* - 1/level
Stealth - 1/level after 1st
Perception* - 1/level after 1st
Craft: Stonemason* - 1/1st level (+1/2 character level)

Damage Resistance 14 at 12th level, 20 at 16th. Pounce, Dazing Assault and Come and Get Me make him devastating in combat. Deadly Aim, Focused Rage and Reckless abandon makes him a solid ranged threat when the situation calls for it. All the 'once per rage' goodies when Rage cycling becomes an option. More skills than most melee types and ridiculous saves, particularly against magic.

The Fighter levels come at 5th and at 20th level.


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I was at the local gaming store discussing a practical way to engage in low-magic Pathfinder (among other things) and one of the patrons there told me the way his group had done it, an option I thought surprisingly elegant.

He said that when they leveled, they got the standard WBL in 'points' rather than gold that they could spend to gain buffs or upgrade buffs analagous to what they would recieve from standard magic items, but only if their character was eligible to recieve those buffs.

For instance, the following buffs could be purchased using WBL points:

Shield bonus to AC
+1 (1,000)
+2 (4,000)
+3 (9,000)
+4 (16,000)
+5 (25,000)

Armor bonus to AC
+1 (1,000)
+2 (4,000)
+3 (9,000)
+4 (16,000)
+5 (25,000)

Natural Armor bonus to AC
+1 (2,000)
+2 (8,000)
+3 (18,000)
+4 (32,000)
+5 (50,000)

Costs for special abilities stacked as usual, so if someone decided they wanted a +2 Armor bonus to AC and the Brawling property reflected in their character abilities, it would cost them 9,000 (or the appropriate amount to upgrade).

Some minor tweaks had to be made along the way on a case by case basis, and the characters still recieved wealth (though a good deal less) as well as actual magic items (though also much fewer - like 1 major and 1-2 minor items each on average and all of them more or less unique), and consumables like potions and wands still had to be purchased with that reduced wealth. All in all he said its been working really well for them.


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Samy wrote:
I'm going to be running this tomorrow, as the most likely PC to be Shay's target has been absent the last couple of sessions. I have two elf women (a ranger and a druid), one orc male (bbn), a Cha 4 human male (wiz/rog), and a female halfling (rog), so the remaining Cha 24 human male Sor seems to be somewhat of an obvious target. I think I'll pass on the idea of a f/f liaison because I think the threat of pregnancy will be a strong motivator to flip out the dad. I'll be interested in seeing how this goes tomorrow.

24 Charisma? Aren't the characters only 1st or 2nd level at this point?


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Byrdology wrote:
Keep a sling in your off hand... Not great, but it's a ranged option. I always flavor it as wrapped around my characters forearm.

I'm not overly worried about the lack of a ranged attack - certainly not enough to shoe-horn in an ineffectual one.

I've been reconsidering the Focused Study though - with the addition of the shield and Crane Style, Snake Fang's Sense Motive for AC swap seems much less significant. I'm looking at dropping the various Skill Focus feats for Combat Reflexes, giving me multiple potential AoO's a lot sooner. Probably take Disruptive once more to maximize Menacing Stance. Something like this...

Feats:
1st - Weapon Finesse
1st - Combat Reflexes
1st - Improved Unarmed Strike
1st - Stunning Fist
1st - Snake Style
2nd - Snake Fang
3rd - Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
3rd - Two-Weapon Fighting
4th - Dodge
5th - Crane Style
6th - Crane Wing
7th - Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
8th - Disruptive
9th - Crane Riposte
10th - Greater Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
11th - Stand Still
12th - Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
13th - Improved Critical: Unarmed Strike
14th - Critical Focus
15th - Sickening Critical
15th - Staggering Critical
16th - Critical Mastery
17th - Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
18th - Scribe Scroll
19th - Greater Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike

From 11th level on, if you get adjacent to a spellcaster, he's pretty much dead.


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Well, I made the build with a shield, splitting Crane Style & Snake Style. The results have been pretty spectacular. It must be kept in mind that this character has no ranged ability to speak of, but that seems to be his only real drawback. He even excells in the useful skills of Perception, Stealth, Sense Motive and Acrobatics.

This is the build as I currently have it:

Human 2nd level Monk (Master of Many Styles) / 15th level Fighter (Brawler) / 3rd level Wizard (Transmutation)
Focused Study option, Fighter favored class (hit points)

Attributes: (20 point buy)
STR - 12
DEX - 16 (+2 racial modifier, +1 at 4th, 8th, 12th and 16th level)
CON - 14
INT - 12
WIS - 14
CHA - 7 (+1 at 20th level)

Traits:
Heavy Hitter (+1 damage with unarmed attacks)
Auspicious Tattoo (+1 Will saves)

Feats:
1st - Weapon Finesse
1st - Skill Focus: Sense Motive
1st - Improved Unarmed Strike
1st - Stunning Fist
1st - Snake Style
2nd - Snake Fang
3rd - Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
3rd - Two-Weapon Fighting
4th - Dodge
5th - Crane Style
6th - Crane Wing
7th - Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
8th - Skill Focus: Perception
8th - Combat Reflexes
9th - Crane Riposte
10th - Greater Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
11th - Stand Still
12th - Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
13th - Improved Critical: Unarmed Strike
14th - Critical Focus
15th - Sickening Critical
15th - Staggering Critical
16th - Skill Focus: Acrobatics or Stealth
16th - Critical Mastery
17th - Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
18th - Scribe Scroll
19th - Greater Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike

A few stat blocks by level, using the standard WBL:

5th level

Spoiler:
Armor Class: 23, Sense Motive +15, Snake Fang
10 +4 [Dex] +5 [Chain Shirt] +1 [Ring] +1 [Dodge] +2 [Shield]
Attack: +10/+10
+4 [BAB] +4 [Dex] -2 [TWF] +1 [Focus] +2 [Brawling] +1 [Close]
Damage: 1d6+10
1d6 +4 [Dex] +1 [Hitter] +2 [Brawling] +3 [Close]
Equipment:
Brawling Chain Shirt +1 (4,000), Ring of Protection +1 (2,000), Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists (4,000), Heavy Steel Shield (20)

With Snake Fang the first miss of each round provokes an AoO and then a second attack if the first one hits.

9th level

Spoiler:
Armor Class: 30, Sense Motive +19, Snake Fang, Crane Riposte, Menacing Stance -1
10 +5 [Dex] +5 [Chain Shirt] +1 [Ring] +1 [Dodge] +4 [Shield] +4 [Defensive]
Attack: +16/+16/+11/+11
+8/+3 [BAB] +5 [Dex] -2 [TWF] +1 [Focus] +2 [Brawling] +2 [Close] -1 [Defensive] +1 [Amulet]
Damage: 1d6+13
1d6 +5 [Dex] +1 [Hitter] +2 [Brawling] +4 [Close] +1 [Amulet]
Equipment:
Mithril Brawling Chain Shirt +1 (5,000), Ring of Protection +1 (2,000), Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists +1 (16,000), Mithril Heavy Steel Shield +2 (5,000), Cloak of Resistance +4 (16,000), Handy Haversack (2,000)

Crane Style will negate the one attack each round and provide an AoO in response. After that Snake Style will allow every miss to provoke an AoO and a follow-up attack, up to four times a round.

13th level

Spoiler:
Armor Class: 38, Sense Motive +26, Snake Fang, Crane Riposte, Menacing Stance -2
10 +6 [Dex] +8 [Chain Shirt] +3 [Ring] +1 [Dodge] +6 [Shield] +4 [Defensive]
Attack: +25/+25/+20/+20/+15/+15
+12/+7/+2 [BAB] +7 [Dex] -2 [TWF] +2 [Greater Focus] +2 [Brawling] +3 [Close] -1 [Defensive] +2 [Amulet]
Damage: 1d6+17
1d6 +7 [Dex] +1 [Hitter] +2 [Brawling] +5 [Close] +2 [Amulet]
Equipment:
Mithril Brawling Chain Shirt +4 (25,000), Ring of Protection +3 (18,000), Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists +2 (36,000), Mithril Heavy Steel Shield +4 (17,000), Cloak of Resistance +5 (25,000), Belt of Dexterity +4 (16,000), Handy Haversack (2,000)

Menacing Stance incurs an additional -2 to attack. Crane Style will negate the one attack each round and provide an AoO in response. After that Snake Style will allow every miss to provoke an AoO and a follow-up attack, up to four times a round. With Haste that's a potential 16 attacks per round.

17th level

Spoiler:
Armor Class: 42, Sense Motive +33, Snake Fang, Crane Riposte, Menacing Stance -3
10 +6 [Dex] +9 [Chain Shirt] +4 [Ring] +1 [Dodge] +7 [Shield] +4 [Defensive]
Attack: +34/+34/+29/+29/+24/+24/+19
+16/+11/+6/+1 [BAB] +9 [Dex] -2 [TWF] +2 [Greater Focus] +2 [Brawling] +4 [Close] -1 [Defensive] +4 [Amulet]
Damage: 1d6+24
1d6 +9 [Dex] +1 [Hitter] +2 [Brawling] +6 [Close] +4 [Amulet] +2 [Specialization]
Equipment:
Mithril Brawling Chain Shirt +5 (36,000), Ring of Protection +5 (50,000), Ring of Freedom of Movement (40,000), Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists +4 (100,000), Mithril Heavy Steel Shield +5 (25,000), Cloak of Resistance +5 (25,000), Belt of Dexterity & Constitution +6 (90,000), Headband of Wisdom +6 (36,000), Winged Boots (16,000), Handy Haversack (2,000)

Menacing Stance incurs an additional -3 to attack. Crane Style will negate the one attack each round and provide an AoO in response. After that Snake Style will allow every miss to provoke an AoO and a follow-up attack, up to five times a round. With Haste that's a potential 19 attacks per round. By now you have Critical Mastery which allows you to layer Staggering and Sickening Critical against foes when your crits do go off which should happen at least once a round.


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So if I were to try and mix in the Crane style feats, I think it would look something like this:
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Feats:
1st - Weapon Finesse
1st - Skill Focus: Sense Motive
1st - Improved Unarmed Strike
1st - Stunning Fist
1st - Snake Style
2nd - Snake Fang
3rd - Dodge
3rd - Two-Weapon Fighting
4th - Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
5th - Crane Style
6th - Crane Wing
7th - Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
8th - Skill Focus: Perception
8th - Combat Reflexes
9th - Crane Riposte
10th - Greater Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
11th - Stand Still
12th - Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
13th - Improved Critical: Unarmed Strike
14th - Critical Focus
15th - Sickening Critical
15th - Staggering Critical
16th - Skill Focus: Acrobatics or Stealth
16th - Critical Mastery
17th - Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
18th - Scribe Scroll
19th - Greater Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike

I'm taking a pretty substantial damage hit, pushing back Specializations til way late and dropping Piranha Strike completely... but the character becomes virtually unhittable.

Think about it - at 12th level he'll gain +3 AC from fighting defensively, +1 from Dodge, +1 from Acrobatics, opponents will suffer -2 to hit from Menacing Stance, he'll be able to completely negate one hit and riposte from Crane, use his Sense Motive instead of AC to negate another and riposte (twice) from Snake... and we haven't even factored in armor and shield, assuming the latter doesn't interfere. Snake Style doesn't have a limit (beyond your allotted number of AoO's) and it gives you two-for-one potential every time. Of course, that's on top of the 6 attacks you're getting at that point in an un-Hastened full attack action.

Seriously considering this.

EDIT: I think I'm going to switch around when I take Snake vs. when I take Crane if I decide to go this route.

EDIT: EDIT: Nevermind - I have to take Crane Wing to make Crane Riposte work, I don't need Snake Sidewind... better to keep it as it is.


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This build was designed to be a killer, a melee damage-dealing force of nature. It's important to understand that while it has above average saving throws and its share of defensive tricks, its most definitely not a tank. In fact, its best defense is the fact that foes will be reluctant to attack him in favor of less dangerous targets. It's particularly deadly to enemy spellcasters and once the Battlesnake gets within arm's reach, that's usually all she wrote. The build was inspired by fictitious characters like Bruce Lee and Lady Shiva, but I imagine in practice the fighting style is more akin to that of modern day commandos - quick controlled movements that keep the opponent off balance and target vital areas with lethal force. Potential liabilities of the character include the lack of any legitimate ranged threat and the inability to heal himself when injured.

For race we'll be going with the ever-popular Human, primarily to take advantage of Focused Study and the extra skill point gained each level - this character looks to be a more skilled Fighter than most, with high ranks in Perception, Sense Motive, Acrobatics and Stealth. For traits, Heavy Handed is a must, but the other can be a matter of personal taste - I chose Auspicious Tattoo for thematic purposes, but Reactionary and Carefully Hidden are other good options.

The Monk levels
The first two levels taken are that of the Monk archetype Master of Many Styles. Many character origins can be explained as having learned to fight in a secluded monastery or as the pupil of a revered Master before circumstances led him to a life of adventure rather than one of contemplative asceticism. Those two levels of Monk lay the foundation for what the character will become and offer a wide range of benefits:

* the Improved Unarmed Strike feat for free
* d6 damage die with unarmed attacks
* the option of dealing lethal or non-lethal damage with unarmed attacks without penalty
* the removal of 'off-hand' damage penalties, which is essentially the same as getting the Double Slice feat for free and improves the effectiveness of Piranha Strike
* a boost to saving throws over that of a traditional Fighter which equates to gaining the feats Lightning Reflexes and Iron Will for free
* the Stunning Fist feat for free
*two free style feats that are free from the normal pre-requisites
* the ability to add Wisdom to AC when not wearing armor
* a wider array of useful class skills, including Acrobatics, Perception and Sense Motive
* Evasion, which goes a long way in a Dexterity-based build

There are other benefits to making unarmed strikes one's weapon of choice. They count as light weapons for the purposes of TWF, all of your weapon-specific feats apply to both of them (Focus, Specialization, etc.), you'll always have your weapon drawn and, ah - on hand (heh) and you'll be immune for all practical purposes to Disarm and Sunder manuevers. Additionally, your high Sense Motive score will make you virtually immune to Feints and Bluffs.

Feat Selections:
1st - Weapon Finesse
1st - Skill Focus: Sense Motive
1st - Improved Unarmed Strike
1st - Stunning Fist
1st - Snake Style
2nd - Snake Fang

By second level missed melee attacks will provoke an AoO from you, and if you hit, you get another free of charge. You'll also be able to use a Sense Motive check against 1 attack per round in place of your AC (even vs. touch attacks). At low levels when foes are limited in action economy, this is huge.

The Fighter levels
Levels 3 through 17 will be taken as the Fighter archetype Brawler. He loses Weapon Training but gains Close Combatant which is superior (faster progression, +2 damage) and while that might keep him from being able to use Gloves of Dueling, he still qualifies for the benefits of Brawling armor which are roughly the same and cheaper as well. The Brawler class features of Menacing Stance, No Escape and the feat Standstill which they receive for free makes up a large part of why this character is so dangerous. With proper feat selection, casters will suffer a -8 on Concentration checks when you're threatening and 5-foot steps won't allow casters or archers to get beyond your reach. Even melee types will take a penalty to hit you just from being near.

Feat Selections:
3rd - Combat Reflexes
3rd - Two-Weapon Fighting
4th - Mantis Style or Boar Style
5th - Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
6th - Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
7th - Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
8th - Skill Focus: Perception
8th - Disruptive
9th - Piranha Strike
10th - Greater Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
11th - Stand Still
12th - Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
13th - Improved Critical: Unarmed Strike
14th - Greater Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
15th - Critical Focus
15th - Sickening Critical
16th - Skill Focus: Acrobatics or Stealth
16th - Staggering Critical
17th - Critical Mastery

By 3rd level it won't be uncommon for you to be getting anywhere from three to six attacks each round with regularity. Keep in mind that your Snake Fang counter-attacks will only work against targets in reach, so make sure to stay close to your foes. At 4th I chose a second Style feat in Mantis style. I feel that Stunning Fist is a very useful ability at lower levels and even sometimes later on, particularly against foes with low Fort saves like spellcasters. Of course it only works if it works, and Mantis Style gives you an additional use each day and a +2 DC to saves against it. A good alternative would be Boar Style which would round out your unarmed damage types (pierce, slash and bludgeon) and let you deal an additional 2d6 rend damage pretty much every round. Just remember whichever option you choose, you'll need to spend three ranks on the appropriate skill (Heal or Intimidate) to qualify.

Most of the remaining feats are pretty standard - Disruptive is taken to maximize Menacing Stance and Standstill is taken at the same level you gain No Escape. At later levels I ramp up the Critical feats; unarmed strikes may have a lower incidence of critical hits but with the number of attacks you'll be getting on average and the static bonuses your attacks will receive to damage it really seems like a no-brainer to maximize your chances of cashing in. Plus, I like the thematic fit of hitting those pressure points and vital areas.

The Wizard levels
So by 17th level you've become quite the dealer of death and you have to ask yourself, what do a handful of extra Monk or Fighter levels really get me in the late-game? The answer is very little. On the other hand consider the benefits of 3 levels of a Transmuter specialist Wizard:

* the Scribe Scroll feat and all those spell trigger options opening up a host of useful items (like wands)
*a Greensting Scorpion familiar gets you +4 initiative which is like the Improved Initiative feat for free. You also gain Alertness from having a familiar which gives you a substantial boost in the much-used Perception and Sense Motive skills
* a bump in Will saves which is comparable to getting the Iron Will feat for free (again)
* a selection of useful spells and cantrips which will make a much bigger difference in the late game than a couple of extra BAB points
* a +1 enhancement bonus to your Dexterity

Taken as a whole, that's a pretty good deal for a couple of levels. By the time you're in that rarified air it should be fairly easy to fill your spellbook with useful spells and wands of Cat's Grace and Enlarge Person should always be on hand. You'll likely be wearing light armor for your entire career (a Brawling chain shirt being my strongest recommendation), so make it mithril and feel free to cast spells with relative impunity.

Feat Selections:
18th - Scribe Scroll
19th - Stunning Critical or Improved Initiative

Equipment-wise, the real priorities for you will be an Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists and a Brawling suit of light armor, both of which you should be able to get fairly early on - almost everything else is lagniappe.

Below is the character in its entirety. Feel free to play around with it and make any adjustments that might better suit your tastes and play-style. If anyone has any questions or comments, by all means let fly.

Spoiler:
Human 2nd level Monk (Master of Many Styles) / 15th level Fighter (Brawler) / 3rd level Wizard (Transmutation)
Focused Study option, Fighter favored class (hit points)

Attributes: (20 point buy)
STR - 12
DEX - 16 (+2 racial modifier, +1 at 4th, 8th, 12th and 16th level)
CON - 14
INT - 12
WIS - 14
CHA - 7 (+1 at 20th level)

Traits:
Heavy Hitter (+1 damage with unarmed attacks)
Auspicious Tattoo (+1 Will saves)

Feats:
1st - Weapon Finesse
1st - Skill Focus: Sense Motive
1st - Improved Unarmed Strike
1st - Stunning Fist
1st - Snake Style
2nd - Snake Fang
3rd - Combat Reflexes
3rd - Two-Weapon Fighting
4th - Mantis Style or Boar Style
5th - Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
6th - Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
7th - Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
8th - Skill Focus: Perception
8th - Disruptive
9th - Piranha Strike
10th - Greater Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
11th - Stand Still
12th - Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
13th - Improved Critical: Unarmed Strike
14th - Greater Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
15th - Critical Focus
15th - Sickening Critical
16th - Skill Focus: Acrobatics or Stealth
16th - Staggering Critical
17th - Critical Mastery
18th - Scribe Scroll
19th - Stunning Critical or Improved Initiative

Skills:
Acrobatics (1 @ 4th - 20th level)
Climb (1@ 1st level)
Swim (1@ 2nd level)
Stealth (1/level)
Perception (1/level)
Sense Motive (1/level)
Heal or Intimidate (1 @ 1st - 3rd level)

Equipment:
Light Armor or Bracers of Armor (Brawler), Amulet of Mighty Fists (Agile)


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Steve Geddes wrote:

It was a one off celebration of paizo's anniversary, the launch of pathfinder, etcetera.

Here is the post from vic on the topic, in which he asks us to squash the idea. He has lots of other really thorough posts if you search his history for compilations or reprints.

Vic:

"Seriously, guys, please stop asking for other compilations. It's not going to happen, and I don't want people who don't read carefully thinking it's likely to happen.

One of the main reasons for not doing this one is that just having the notion out there that we *might* do this for other APs is harmful. I'd really appreciate it if everybody would help squash that idea whenever and wherever it is raised.

This is a unique circumstance."

Lol - in other words:

"Seriously guys, as paying customers and the very lifeblood of everything we do here at Paizo, stop asking for things you'd like to buy. "

Wow.


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Update: Okay, After a bit of re-education, I've changed the build somewhat. My reduced Channel Energy will be used only for 'maintenance' healing at the end of the day and I won't be taking any feats to modify it. Instead, I'm going to focus more on my spellcasting, in particular increasing the DC's of Necromancy and Enchantment spells as those two schools seem the best suited for spell selection by a mentally unbalanced dwarf convinced of the end of the world. As an Evangelist I'll get enchantment spells that can be cast spontaneously and spells like Doom, Aura of Doom and Blindness/Deafness will all benefit from the boost to necromancy. Combined with Visions of Madness there should be some pretty nice save or suck options in the middle to higher levels.

I also made some choices to give his limited skills at least a niche of usefulness.

New build:

Dwarven 20th level Evangelist (Madness Domain)
Dwarven favored class option, Deep Warrior

Attributes: (20 point buy)
STR - 10
DEX - 14
CON - 14 (+2 racial modifier)
INT - 12
WIS - 16 (+2 racial modifier, +1 at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th & 20th)
CHA - 8 (-2 racial modifier)

Traits:
Glory of Old (+1 saves vs. Spells, Spell-like Abilities & Poison)
Militant Merchant (+1 Perception, Perception is class skill)

Feats:
1st - Lingering Performance
3rd - Spell Focus: Enchantment
5th - Spell Focus: Necromancy
7th - Spell Penetration
9th - Greater Spell Penetration
11th - Discordant Voice
13th - Greater Spell Focus: Enchantment
15th - Greater Spell Focus: Necromancy
17th - Quicken Spell
19th - Improved Initiative

Skills: (3 ranks/level)
Perception - 1/level
Sense Motive - 1/level
Profession: Miner - 1/1st level
Perform: Oratory - 1/2nd - 11th level
Knowledge: Planes - 1/12th - 20th level


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DM_Blake wrote:
Gallyck wrote:
I never understand this board obsession with summoning. It slows the game down so much. It also taxes the dm when you summon a bunch of creatures to do your bidding.

Yes, but used well, it can be one of the most powerful tools a spellcaster has. Sure, there are other options that are good too, but asking a caster to forego one of his best tools because it slows the game down is like asking him to deliberately be weaker than he has to be.

Swinging a weapon slows the game down too. After all, if those fighters just stand there they can really fly through their actions when it's their turn. Would you ask fighters not to do swing weapons so the game can go faster? Of course not.

Full attack actions = selfish.


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First off, no - your brain doesn't bother me in the slightest.

Next, I find it helpful if you look at an AP as a stArting off point. As what you could run if you wanted to, but with the pieces there for so much more. Remember when you were a kid and you bought a Legos pack that had a specific thing on the front that you had the pieces to build? It was cool and all and might present a challenge for all of an hour but what really mattered was 1) the ideas it inspired and 2) the fact that you had new peices to add to your collection - or new peices you could add your collection to. That's how I tend to view AP's. As structured inspiration and a wealth of tools.


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Alright, so given the advice I've recieved on the board thus far, I'm thinking about re-arranging things as shown below. I'm still really torn about giving up my healing early on - I had visions of roaming a village in ruins or a battlefield sorely won and healing person after person - but ah, well. Best laid plans and all that.

After tweaking my skills a little bit to better reflect my needs, this is what I'm thinking:

Feats:
1st - Accursed Hex
1st - Hex: Slumber
1st - Spell Focus: Necromancy
2nd - Hex: Misfortune
3rd - Greater Spell Focus: Necromancy
4th - Hex: Cackle
5th - Threnodic Spell
6th - Hex: Flight
7th - Heighten Spell
8th - Hex: Evil Eye
9th - Spell Penetration
10th - Hex: Major Healing
11th - Greater Spell Penetration
12th - Hex: Hag's Eye
13th - Quicken Spell
14th - Hex: Retribution
15th - Spell Perfection: Suffocation
16th - Hex: Fortune
17th - Split Hex
18th - Hex: Summon Spirit
19th - Split Major Hex
20th - Hex: Life-Giver


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Ooga wrote:
Saganen Hellheart wrote:

I would go cleric/bard

IT IS AMAZING AND A TOTALLY UNDERRATED MULTICLASS.

It is the ultimate support class.
Start with a level in bard and then go cleric. Take levels like this
B/C/B/C/B/C/B/C/B/C..... level 20th.

For stats:
Bard spells goes on charisma and cleric channeling
Cleric spells goes on wisdom

Your stats should be priorited like this:

cha
wis
con
dex
int
str

If you want to be debuffing with your cleric spells a higher wisdom is a very smart choise.
I played though whole Crimson Throne AP with this support guy in my party. He was the best friend an adventurer could have.
Trust me. I can describe it in more details with feats and such if anyone wants.

I'm interested in this. I want to play a pure support bard, and multiclassing into cleric could be pretty cool. I want all the details :D

I would highly, highly recommend against what's proposed in this post...


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DarkMidget wrote:

@Damocles: I couldn't find what he has that causes his Charisma AC bonus to double when he smites. I might just be missing something simple, however.

So, I forgot to mention, there is a bard in the party that could easily take over my role as a wand-healer. Looking at the Paladin spells, there are a few that are rather cool, but Paladins get a very small amount of spells per day, enough for me to kind of say "meh". A lot of their spells' abilities can be gained through their Divine Bond, or other abilities of the Warrior of the Holy Light. Not that their spells are bad, particularly. Their spellcasting is just so diminished that I'm not exactly enthralled. Their class abilities are what really make me look at this class seriously. There are some other feats that made me really like lay on hands, such as the one where if the person being healed by Lay On Hands doesn't need a mercy you can bestow, they just get extra healing. Rather nice.

I may have worded that poorly - the Oracle mystery allows the character to use Charisma to boost his AC rather than his Dexterity. When Smiting, a Paladin gets an AC bonus equal to his Charisma. Those two bonuses stack.

Paladins get a bum rap when it comes to spells - sure you don't want to rely heavily on being a caster, but the trick here is action economy... Paladins have some really great swift or immediaqte action spells. The few spells you do get you can REALLY maximize your effectiveness as a character. A few examples:

1st level - Heroic Defiance allows you to use Lay on Hands as an immediate action. This spell will absolutely save your life, allowing you to put yourself into harm's way more often. I always keep two on hand. Divine Favor is a very useful buff when facing non-evil foes.

2nd level - Litany of Righteousness is a swift action spell doubles all of your damage against a target (as well as that of any other character with a good aura) for 1 round. Your Smite deals double damage against certain foes its opening round - this in turn doubles that. Talk about taking the head off of a dragon or fiend for a single swift action 2nd level spell. Paladin's Sacrifice is an immediate action spell that lets you absorb damage or effects that you can heal or might even be immune to, potentially saving a TPK.

3rd level - Oath of Vengeance gives you access to one of the best group buffs in the game - Blessing of Fervor. Check it out. Deadly Juggernaut is another potentially fun spell and is one of those difference-makers when you're battling non-evil foes.

4th level - Sacrificial Oath allows you to keep an ally alive through almost anything. Bloodsworn Retribution is so potentially powerful its almost game-breaking.


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My Paladin of choice right now:

Background:

Spoiler:
Unknown to him, Ashur was the child of an Aasimar woman and a particularly cunning and powerful Incubus whom had seduced her in the hopes of producing a unique offspring. Upon realizing what he was and discovering his designs, she found herself unable to destroy the child and fled instead, coming to the remote sanctuary of a temple of Torag where she died giving birth to him. At her final request, the dwarves of the temple agreed to raise the child and to shelter him from the outside world lest his sire find him and set into motion whatever infernal plans he had in store. He was trained at the forge to curb his destructive impulses into that of creation, taught with a strict but patient discipline that allowed him to (somewhat) manage the quick temper that seemed ever beneath the surface. He was told nothing of his parentage, but as part of his religious instruction was taught the nature of various fiends and celestial beings in the hopes of preparing him should the day come that he discover it.

That day came when agents of the Incubus found the temple while Ashur and one of its priests were away. They returned to find every one of its members slaughtered and a pair of dretches lurking in ambush amongst the corpses. The fiends were slain, but the cleric suffered wounds too great to be healed, and as he died he shared with Ashur all that had been hidden from him. The youth remained behind to bury his former friends and teachers before devoting himself to Torag and to vengeance on his sire and all fiends that plagued this world, gathering what he could and setting out on his own.

Build:

Spoiler:

Demon-Spawn Tiefling 1st level Oracle (Lore, Legalistic) / 19th level Paladin of Torag (Oath of Vengeance)
Favored class option for Paladins, Fiendish Sprinter, Clawed, Prehensile Tail

Attributes: (20 point buy)
STR - 18
DEX - 10
CON - 12
INT - 10
WIS - 7 (+1 at 20th level)
CHA - 18 (+1 at 4th, 8th, 12th and 16th level)

Traits:
Suicidal (make yourself the target of an attack directed against an adjacent creature as an immediate action 1/day)
Purity of Faith (+1 Will saves, +1 saves vs. spells and effects originating from evil outsiders)

Feats:
1st - Fey Foundling (re-flavored as Mother's Sacrifice)
3rd - Power Attack
5th - Extra Lay on Hands
7th - Extra Lay on Hands
9th - Extra Lay on Hands
11th - Extra Lay on Hands
13th - Extra Lay on Hands
15th - Extra Lay on Hands
17th - Greater Mercy
19th - Radiant Charge or Ultimate Mercy

Mystery: Lore
Revelation: Sidestep Secret (replace Dexterity with Charisma for purposes of AC and Reflex saves)
Curse: Legalistic (become sickened for 24 hours if word is broken, gain +4 morale bonus to 1 roll/day when keeping word)

Skills: (2 ranks/level, 4 at 1st)
Craft: Blacksmith* - 1/1st level
Knowledge: Religion* - 1/1st level
Knowledge: Planes* - 1/1st level
Linguistics (Dwarven) - 1/1st level
Ride* - 1/even level 2nd - 20th
Handle Animal* - 1/odd level 2nd - 20th
Diplomacy* - 1/level 2nd - 20th

Languages:
Common, Dwarven, Abyssal

Racial Abilities:
Cold Resistance: 5, Electricity Resistance: 5, Fire Resistance: 5
+10 movement when running, charging or withdrawing
Darkvision 60'
Claws (Primary natural attacks 1d4/1d4)
Prehensile Tail (retrieve items as a swift action)

Basic Equipment:
Falchion, Bardiche, Light Armor (or Mithril Armor or Bracers of Armor), Cloak

The character has more Smites than he can use, can self-heal as a swift action for more damage in a day than most foes can dish out, and has incredibly high saves even for a Paladin. He adds his Charisma to his AC instead of his Dex, doubling it when he Smites. He's a mobile, nearly unkillable tank who hits very, very hard when faced with particularly dangerous evil foes.

I really like the flavor of the Tiefling for the character and the significant benefit of its favored class option for Paladins, but a lot of the core principles of the build could just as easily be used for a human instead... Oath of Vengeance is absolutely the way to go - while I added in Oath against Fiends for flavor purposes, its not really necessary for the build.


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Dustyboy wrote:
I decided to not be abusive by using guided weapons...

Probably my favorite part of this post.


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Alright, I just re-read the rules for Coups de Grace - I didn't realize that it required a Fort save on top of the critical damage, so I'm kind of re-working the concept now as all I really need seems to be Power Attack and a Scythe I don't even have profeciency in.

I'm thinking of going with a standard Tiefling now - Tieflings are legal now, aren't they? At any rate, this is the build I'm currently considering... it seems like Witches don't quite have the need for feats that so many other classes have, so I thought why not beef up the defense? The only question is whether or not Armor of the Pit/Improved Armor is a better use for those slots than Toughness and the saving throw boosters...

Tiefling 20th level Witch

Attributes:
STR - 14
DEX - 12 (+2)
CON - 14
INT - 16 (+2, +1 at 4th, 8th, 12th and 16th)
WIS - 12
CHA - 7 (-2, +1 at 20th)

Feats & Hexes:
1st - Hex - Slumber
1st - Power Attack
2nd - Hex - Healing
3rd - Armor of the Pit
4th - Hex - Fortune
5th - Accursed Hex
6th - Hex - Cackle
7th - Improved Natural Armor
8th - Hex - Misfortune
9th - Improved Natural Armor
10th - Major Hex - Retribution
11th - Split Hex
12th - Major Hex - Major Healing
13th - Improved Natural Armor or Toughness
14th - Major Hex -----
15th - Improved Natural Armor or Great Fortitude
16th - Major Hex -----
17th - Improved Natural Armor or Lightning Reflexes
18th - Major Hex -----
19th - Improved Natural Armor or Iron Will
20th - Major Hex - Vision

Thoughts?


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119kudou wrote:

Very interesting thread. Makes sense why more maps are impossible in the AP's.

Feedback was asked for and so here's my two cents.
I love the AP's, look forward to getting my new book every month, and I'm slowly filling in back issues.
But I don't read the fiction at all, and never have. To me, like others who've posted here, it's just dead space. Not trying to rag on the fiction you guys write, but I just don't find it relevant to my purchase.

To me the adventure paths are there to take the load off me when I need to run a campaign, so the most important parts are the adventure, bestiary, and any articles that expand on NPC's, locations, etc.

Now, it can be argued that the fiction does expand on those things, but it's a lot less concise than reading a character entry or article on one of the gods or a town. I only have so much time, and I don't feel the fiction section to be useful in that way for me.

Personally, what I would rather see in each AP is expanded articles on NPC's included in each AP, or notable NPC's around town or locations, even without maps.
I'm a big fan of the map products you publish, so having the exact maps is often less important if I can just bring out a flip mat or tiles and scribble in some minor changes.

For instance, I've run games in Korvosa extensively, starting with a homebrew with an evil party set just before Curse of the Crimson throne and then continuing that AP afterwards with heroic characters. At one point the evil party hid out with Gaedren Lamm, so NPC's and info from the guide to Korvosa and CotCT books were a huge help.

But there's a few things and people that it would have really helped to have fleshed out in Korvosa, more NPC's, or other churches in the area etc.

tl;dr: No fiction, more NPC's, beasts, and locations (maps not neccesary.)

I'll tell you one thing I really liked - I don't have all the AP's, but like you I'm trying to fill them in as I can afford them... I got Legacy of Fire in its entirety when it was on sale and they had small mini-adventures they called 'set pieces' which could be inserted into any number of places in the AP, between books or not at all depending on the need of the group. I really thought that was added value and would love to see a continuation of that over the fiction that's included.


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I'm going to be putting together a folio of sorts on my character builds, consolidating them in one place with some break-downs as to their strengths and weakness... but in the meantime, I'll be posting them individually to get feedback and invite discussion. My newest build has been dubbed 'The Battlesnake' by a member of our group whom has just started playing it, and if you ever wanted to see how dangerous an unarmed character could be, this is it.

This build was designed as a killer, a melee damage-dealing force of nature. It's important to understand that while it has above average saving throws and a couple of defensive tricks, it is absolutely not a tank and would benefit most from a party capable of combat healing. He (or she) is a particular danger to enemy spellcasters and once they get within arm's reach of them, that's usually all she wrote. The build was inspired by such historical and fictional characters a Bruce Lee and Lady Shiva though I envision the style of fighting more akin to what modern day commandos and secret operatives might use - quick, controlled movements disrupting attacks and striking vital areas with lethal force.

We begin by taking a single monk level in Master of Many Styles and then going with the Fighter's Brawler archetype the rest of the way. Levels 17-20 can optionally be used to pursue the Urban Barbarian class instead if one wishes (detailed below). The reasons why we choose Monk initially are both for mechanical benefit as well as for role-playing purposes - the character's history begins as a promising outlander student in a martial arts monastery who was either cast out or decided to strike out on his own once the aesthetic lifestyle failed to take root in him. That one level of Monk grants us:

* the Improved Unarmed Strike feat for free
* a d6 damage die with unarmed attacks
* the ability to deal lethal or non-lethal damage with unarmed attacks without penalty
* the removal of 'off-hand' damage penalties, which is the same as getting the feat Double Slice for free and increases the benefit of Power Attack or Piranha Strike
* a boost to saving throws that amount to receiving the Iron Will and Lighting Reflexes feats for free.
* a free style feat, in this case either Boar Style or Mantis Style
* the Stunning Fist feat for free
* the ability to add our Wisdom modifier to AC when not wearing armor
* a wider array of class skills than the Fighter offers, including Acrobatics, Perception and Sense Motive all of which are useful in the build

Some other benefits of focusing on using unarmed strikes as our weapon of choice is that we immediately become immune to Disarm and Sunder attempts, you'll always have the weapon you're most proficient with on hand (heh) and will always have a weapon drawn. Additionally your high Sense Motive score will make you virtually immune to Feints when in combat and Bluffs when not. Potential liabilities of the character are that he has little ranged ability to speak of and can't heal himself when injured. His reach will be limited to adjacent targets. For a front-line fighter his hit points and AC will be just average, though he will be able to take advantage of the defensive benefits of Snake Style.

The favored class will be Fighter obviously and will take the traditional 1 hit point/level route.

Attributes:
STR - 12
DEX - 16 (+2 racial bonus, +1 at 4th, 8th, 12th and 16th level)
CON - 14
WIS - 14
INT - 12
CHA - 7 (+1 at 20th level)

Attributes are based on a 20 point buy. The minor bumps to Strength and Intelligence are for skill purposes as much as anything else. Dexterity is the primary stat followed by Wisdom and then Constitution. The low Charisma can be played up as surly, aloof, withdrawn or prone to making incredibly insightful but equally inappropriate observations (remember, the character will have both high Perception and Sense Motive skills).

Traits:
Heavy Hitter
Auspicious Tattoo

Heavy Hitter adds +1 damage to unarmed attacks, making it a no-brainer, and Auspicious Tattoo boosts my lowest saving throw (Will). Other solid options might be Bullied (+1 attack rolls when making AoO's unarmed), Resilient (+1 Fortitude saves), Deft Dodger (+1 Reflex saves) and Reactionary (+2 Initiative).

Feats:
1st - Improved Unarmed Strike (Monk)
1st - Boar Style or Mantis Style (Monk)
1st - Weapon Finesse
1st - Skill Focus: Sense Motive (Human - Focused Study)
1st - Stunning Fist (Monk)
2nd - Two Weapon Fighting (Fighter)
3rd - Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike (Fighter)
3rd - Snake Style
5th - Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike (Fighter)
5th - Piranha Strike
7th - Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (Fighter)
7th - Combat Reflexes
8th - Skill Focus: Perception (Human - Focused Study)
9th - Snake Sidewind (Fighter)
9th - Snake Fang
11th - Agile Maneuvers (Fighter)
11th - Standstill
13th - Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (Fighter)
13th - Improved Critical: Unarmed Strike
14th - Disruptive (Brawler bonus feat in place of Standstill)
15th - Greater Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike (Fighter)
15th - Greater Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
16th - Skill Focus: Acrobatics (Human - Focused Study)

Some points about feats:

Master of Many Styles lets you take a Style feat for free and without pre-requisites at 1st level. Boar Style allows you to deal Slashing or Bludgeoning damage with unarmed strikes (Snake Style will add Piercing damage later at 3rd level) and will also add 2d6 of Bleed or Rend-type damage every round you hit with two or more unarmed strikes, depending on which interpretation of the style you prefer. Alternately, Mantis Style will give you an additional use of Stunning Fist each day and add +2 to the DC of the save against all of your stunning fist attempts. Both are excellent options in the early going with slightly diminishing returns as you level up.

With a high Sense Motive skill, Snake Style will effectively allow the character to avoid one attack each round at the cost of an immediate action - to include touch and ranged touch attacks. Starting at 9th level, every single miss by a foe within reach will provoke an attack of opportunity while using this style (and you'll have at least 6 a round to play with).

Combat Reflexes is a pre-requisite for both Standstill and the Snake Style feat line.

Focused Study works to increase several vital skills, particularly Sense Motive which powers Snake Style's defensive option, Perception which is one of the most-used skills in the game and a rare boon for Fighters and Acrobatics which uses your extremely high Dexterity score to help keep you safe on and off the battlefield.

As mentioned, Piranha Strike grants full damage benefits to all your attacks as Monks have no 'off-hand'. Accuracy is more important than damage though, and this build draws bonus damage from many different sources, so use the feat wisely.

At 11th level the character has the class features Menacing Stance and No Escape, along with the Standstill feat - as such, adjacent opponents will find it nearly impossible to move away from you even with a 5' step, will suffer penalties on their attack rolls and adjacent casters will have a very difficult time casting spells. Things get even worse for casters when you add Disruptive at 14th level.

Levels 17-20 can continue on along the Brawler Archetype advancement and take the critical feats outlined below - unarmed strikes are hardly the best critical option out there, but you should have many, many opportunities to land critical hits (7 attacks per round without Haste at 17th level plus just as many potential AoO's), and the ability to Sicken/Stagger foes is as much a defensive boon as it is an offensive one. There is no saving throw versus Sickening Critical (who's penalties stack with Menacing Stance) and its saving throw penalty may be immediately applied to that of Staggering Critical when inflicting both conditions via Critical Mastery.

Brawler (levels 16-19)
17th - Critical Focus
17th - Sickening Critical
19th - Staggering Critical
19th - Critical Mastery

Alternately, the character can take four levels of Urban Barbarian instead. This offers the option of Focused Rage which allows them to increase Strength, Dexterity or Constitution depending on circumstances without suffering a penalty to AC. The benefits extend beyond combat, aiding in skill checks, attribute checks and saving throws as well. They also gain Crowd Control which the Brawler should find useful. If this option is taken, I recommend the following feats & Rage Powers instead, being mindful of the prohibitions surrounding Superstition:

Urban Barbarian (levels 1-4):
17th - Extra Rage
18th - Superstition (Rage Power)
19th - Extra Rage
20th - Auspicious Mark (Rage Power)

Skills: 4 ranks/level

Acrobatics (1/level)
Climb (1 @ 1st level)
Swim (1 @ 1st level)
Stealth (1/even level)
Survival (1/odd level)
Sense Motive (1/level)
Perception (1/level)

The character will at most be wearing light armor, though Bracers of Armor would be ideal - as such Acrobatics should be very effective for getting around the battlefield and closing with foes quickly. Sense Motive is maxed out to use Snake Style to its full potential while Stealth and Perception are among the most used skills in the game. All skills are class skills by 2nd level. If you decide to go the Barbarian route, you'll get two extra skill points per level - consider using them to bolster your Swim, Climb, Survival or Stealth scores.

Equipment:
Light armor or Bracers of Armor with the Brawling enhancement, Amulet of Mighty Fists with the Agile enhancement

Normally I'm not a very big fan of including equipment as part of a build, but the Brawling enhancement is to this character what Gloves of Dueling are to most Fighters and its generally cheaper besides. Bracers of Armor allow you to gain the full benefit of both your Dexterity and your Wisdom bonuses to AC without any armor penalties to skill checks. The Agile enhancement allows you to use your Dexterity modifier for damage which makes it a must as well and an Amulet of Mighty Fists does not need to have an enhancement bonus to accept other weapon enhancements. Other suggested items would be a Cloak of Resistance as high as you can afford, Rings of Protection and Free Movement, Boots of Speed, a headband for Wisdom and a belt for Dexterity or Dexterity & Constitution.

Below is a basic breakdown of how the character would look statistically at levels 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th with what would be considered standard magical equipment. These numbers are meant to give an idea only as I haven't double-checked every single number yet. Its assumed that this particular example chooses Mantis Style at 1st level and continues on through Brawler to 20th rather than Urban Barbarian.

Character stats by level:

4th level w/full equipment

Spoiler:
AC 18, HP 34 (1d8+3d10+11), Fortitude +7, Reflex +7, Will +6
Stunning Fist 2/day (DC 16), Snake Style / Sense Motive +14
Attack: +9/+9
+3 [BAB] -2 [TWF] +4 [Dex] +1 [Focus] +1 [Close] +2 [Brawling]
Damage: 1d6+7
1d6 [Unarmed] +1 [STR] +1 [Trait] +3 [Close] +2 [Brawling]
Equipment: (6,000)
Brawling Bracers of Natural Armor +1 (4,000), Ring of Protection +1 (2,000)

8th level w/full equipment

Spoiler:
AC 21, HP 70 (1d8+7d10+23), Fortitude +9, Reflex +9, Will +7
Stunning Fist 3/day (DC 18), Snake Style / Sense Motive +18, Menacing Stance: -1 attack/-4 concentration
Attack: +16/+16/+11/+11
+7/+2 [BAB] -2 [TWF] +5 [Dex] +1 [Focus] +2 [Close] +2 [Brawling] +1 [Amulet]
Damage: 1d6+15
1d6 [Unarmed] +5 [Dex] +1 [Trait] +4 [Close] +2 [Brawling] +2 [Specialization] +1 [Amulet]
Equipment: (33,000)
Brawling Bracers of Natural Armor +2 (9,000), Ring of Protection +2 (8,000), Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists +1(16,000)

12th level w/full equipment

Spoiler:
AC 25, HP 106 (1d8+11d10+35), Fortitude +15, Reflex +16, Will +12
Stunning Fist 4/day (DC 20), Snake Style / Sense Motive +25, Menacing Stance: -2 attack/-5 concentration
Attack: +21/+21/+16/+16/+11
+11/+6/+1 [BAB] -2 [TWF] +5 [Dex] +1 [Focus] +3 [Close] +2 [Brawling] +2 [Amulet] +2 [Belt] -3 [Piranha]
Damage: 1d6+25
1d6 [Unarmed] +5 [Dex] +1 [Trait] +5 [Close] +2 [Brawling] +2 [Specialization] +2 [Amulet] +2 [Belt] +6 [Piranha]
Equipment: (108,000)
Brawling Bracers of Natural Armor +3 (16,000), Ring of Protection +3 (18,000), Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists +2(36,000), Cloak of Resistance +4 (16,000), Belt of Dexterity +4 (16,000), Sustaining Spoon (5,000)

16th level w/full equipment

Spoiler:
AC 34, HP 133 (1d8+15d10+47), Fortitude +20, Reflex +19, Will +17
Stunning Fist 5/day (DC 24), Snake Style / Sense Motive +31, Menacing Stance: -3 attack/-6 concentration
Attack: +27/+27/+22/+22/+17/+17
+15/+10/+5 [BAB] -2 [TWF] +6 [Dex] +2 [Greater Focus] +4 [Close] +2 [Brawling] +2 [Amulet] +2 [Belt] -4 [Piranha]
Damage: 2d6+31
1d6 [Unarmed] +1d6 [Shocking] +6 [Dex] +1 [Trait] +6 [Close] +2 [Brawling] +4 [Greater Specialization] +2 [Amulet] +2 [Belt] +8 [Piranha]
Equipment: (315,000)
Brawling Bracers of Natural Armor +7 (64,000), Ring of Protection +5 (50,000), Agile Shocking Amulet of Mighty Fists +2(64,000), Cloak of Resistance +5 (25,000), Belt of Might +4 (Dex/Con, 40,000), Headband of Mental Prowess +4 (Int - Fly, Swim/Wis, 40,000), Winged Boots (16,000), Handy Haversack (2,000), Sustaining Spoon (5,000)

20th level w/full equipment

Spoiler:
AC 37, HP 229 (1d8+19d10+119), Fortitude +25, Reflex +23, Will +21
Stunning Fist 6/day (DC 27), Snake Style / Sense Motive +42, Menacing Stance: -4 attack/-7 concentration checks
Attack: +34/+34/+29/+29/+24/+24/+19
+19/+14/+9/+4 [BAB] -2 [TWF] +6 [Dex] +3 [Belt] +3 [Amulet] +2 [Greater Focus] +5 [Close] +2 [Brawling] -5 [Piranha] +1 [Ioun Stone]
Damage: 1d8+1d6+36
1d8 [Unarmed] +1d6 [Shocking] +6 [Dex] +3 [Belt] +3 [Amulet] +1 [Trait] +7 [Close] +2 [Brawling] +4 [Greater Specialization] +10 [Piranha]
Equipment: (880,000)
Brawling Bracers of Armor +7 (64,000), Agile Shocking Amulet of Mighty Fists +3 (100,000), Belt of Physical Might +6 (Dex/Con - 90,000) , Ring of Protection +5 (50,000), Ring of Freedom of Movement (40,000), Headband of Mental Prowess +6 (Int - Fly, Swim, Knowledge: Nature/Wis - 90,000), Winged Boots (16,000), Cloak of Protection +5 (25,000), Monk's Robe (13,000), Handy Haversack (2,000), Ioun Stones (Pale Green Prism - 30,000 & Dark Blue Rhomboid - 10,000), Stone of Good Luck (20,000), Sustaining Spoon (5,500)

[There is room left in the 20th level equipment limit to purchase both a Manual of Quickness of Action +4 and a Manual of Calm Reflection +4 as well, though those enhancement bonuses have not been figured into the stats above)]


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If I wanted fiction I'd go buy the fiction - pull it out, make it its own subscription and see how many people are actually willing to pay for it. I'd guess almost none.

When I buy a cookbook, I don't want it filled with stories about a person's grandmother. When I buy a technical manual for a piece of software, I don't want it filled with anecdotes on how the software came into being. When I buy an AP path, I don't want it filled with something that is of no use to me whatsoever. I can think of a dozen better uses for those pages.


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Okay, the first and third tiers of the Boar Style feats read as follows:

Boar Style
Benefit:
You can deal bludgeoning damage or slashing damage with your unarmed strikes—changing damage type is a free action. While using this style, once per round when you hit a single foe with two or more unarmed strikes, you can tear flesh. When you do, you deal 2d6 bleed damage with the attack.

Boar Shred
Benefit:
You can make an Intimidate check to demoralize an opponent as a move action. While using Boar Style, whenever you tear an opponents flesh, once per round at the start of that opponents turn he takes 1d6 bleed damage. The bleed damage dealt while using Boar Style persist even if you later switch to a different style.

The confusion seems to be exactly what is bleed damage and what is actually intended to be 'rend' damage? Does the bleed damage (whether 1d6, 2d6 or 3d6) stack with itself each time it is applied? How exactly do these two style feats work together?


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Alright, I think I've finally nailed down this build - many thanks to those who offered insightful suggestions:
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Human 1st level Monk / 19th level Brawler

Attributes: (20 point buy)
STR - 12
DEX - 16 (+2 racial modifier, +1 at 4th, 8th, 12th and 16th level)
CON - 14
INT - 12
WIS - 14
CHA - 7 (+1 at 20th level)

Traits:
Resilient (+1 Fortitude saves)
Auspicious Tattoo (+1 Will saves)

Feats:
1st - Improved Unarmed Strike
1st - Combat Reflexes
1st - Weapon Finesse
1st - Two Weapon Fighting
1st - Stunning Fist
2nd - Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
3rd - Snake Style
3rd - Piranha Strike
5th - Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
5th - Double Slice
7th - Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
7th - Disruptive
9th - Agile Maneuvers
9th - Standstill
11th - Snake Sidewind
11th - Snake Fang
13th - Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
13th - Greater Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
14th - Spellbreaker
15th - Greater Weapon Specialization: Unarmed Strike
15th - Improved Critical: Unarmed Strike
17th - Critical Focus
17th - Sickening Critical
19th - Staggering Critical
19th - Stunning Critical

Skills:
Sense Motive - 1/level
Acrobatics - 1/level
Climb - 1@ 1st level
Swim - 1 @ 1st level
Perception - 1/odd level after 1st
Stealth - 1/even level after 1st
Survival - 1/level

Standard Equipment:
Amulet of Mighty Fists with Agile enhancement, Light armor or Bracers of Armor with the Brawling enhancement

Normally I'm not a big fan of denoting equipment as part of a build, but in this case the equipment isn't really needed to make the build go and the items mentioned are too ideal a fit to ignore.

I went with the Snake Style feat line due to all of the additional attacks it could garnish - the Step-Up line became a bit redundant once I realized the best way to optimize my 'No Escape' ability with the Standstill feat.

All in all, this is one of the better characters I've made - a bit of a one-trick pony asmost Fighter builds tend to be, but he's got some versatility within that framework as he can't be disarmed or sundered, can deal piercing or bludgeoning damage, can deal lethal or non-lethal damage and is almost as dangerous naked as most melee-types are fully armed and armored.

Thanks again for all the help.


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CycloBerrick wrote:
this may sound kinda tedious but I was wondering if someone could give me a level by level build guide for a fighter with the two handed fighter archetype. Whenever I look up builds they give all the information on what feats to get and various things to focus on but they never say what level to put in specific feats and things like that. so if someone could give me a level by level guide it would be much appreciated because I'm pretty sure my GM is going to attempt to try and kill my current character soon.

This is what you want:

Human Fighter (Weaponmaster)

Attributes: (20 point buy)
STR - 15 (+2 racial bonus, +1 at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th)
DEX - 14
CON - 14
INT - 13
WIS - 12
CHA - 8

Feats:
1st - Power Attack
1st - Cleave
1st - Dodge
2nd - Mobility
3rd - Combat Expertise
4th - Spring Attack, retrain Cleave to Whirlwind Attack

Now, at 4th level, you can attack everyone adjacent to you or everyone within 10' if you have a reach weapon at your full BAB while others are still levels away from their first iterative.

5th - Combat Reflexes
6th - Lunge

Now, you can pretty much attack everyone on the battlefield using Lunge and Whirlwind Attack. I'd reccomend using a reach weapon because - as many don't realize - you can take a 5' step during your full attack action. If you go with a non-reach weapon, then you should exchange Combat Reflexes for Toughness or Iron Will.

7th - Weapon Focus
8th - Greater Weapon Focus
9th - Improved Critical
10th - Critical Focus
11th - Dazing Assault

Now you're capable of a Lunging Dazing Whirlwind Attack for some serious crowd control, or you can really make life difficult on a single target.

12th - Sickening Critical
13th - Staggering Critical
14th - Critical Mastery
15th - Weapon Specialization
16th - Greater Weapon Specialization
17th - Stunning Critical

Keep in mind that there is no save against Sickening Critical, and once you get Critical Mastery you can apply its saving throw penalty against the save vs. Staggering or Stunning Critical (as well as against Dazing Assault) - also the Weapon Master applies penalties of its own to that saving throw as well.

Levels 18-20 are yours to do with as you please.


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This isn't exactly what you're looking for I know, but this is the build our Arcane Duelist has been using and to great effectiveness (an optimized melee fighter obviously wouldn't be a Bard):
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Human 20th level Arcane Duelist
Focused Study, Favored class option for Bards

Attributes: (20 point build)
STR - 15 (+2 racial bonus, +1 at 4th level)
DEX - 12
CON - 12
INT - 10
WIS - 12
CHA - 15 (+1 at 8th, 12th and 16th level)

Traits:
Reactionary
Focused Mind

Feats:
1st - Arcane Shield*
1st - Skill Focus: Knowledge (Arcana)
1st - Arcane Strike
1st - Arcane Armor (Light and Shields)
2nd - Combat Casting
3rd - Improved Initiative
5th - Eldritch Heritage - Arcane Bloodline (Arcane Bond - Shield)
6th - Disruptive
7th - Spell Focus: Enchantment
8th - Skill Focus: Diplomacy
9th - Greater Spell Focus: Enchantment
10th - Spellbreaker
10th - Arcane Armor (Medium)
11th - Discordant Voice
13th - Improved Eldritch Heritage - Arcane Bloodline (New Arcana: 13th level - Dimension Door, 15th level - Feeblemind, 17th level - Transformation)
14th - Penetrating Strike
15th - Spell Penetration
16th - Skill Focus: Perception
16th - Arcane Armor (Heavy)
17th - Greater Eldritch Heritage - Arcane Bloodline (School Power - Enchantment)
18th - Greater Penetrating Strike
19th - Greater Spell Penetration

A few things:

Bards normally get limited progression on spells and other abilities, I find when possible you're almost always better off not multi-classing, even to dip. Human was chosen due to its Focused Study option which both provided the Eldritch Heritage pre-requisite for free and gave some nice bumps to oft-used skills besdies and for its favored class option for Bards which greatly expands the spell-casting options it has.

At 5th level, you gain Arcane Bond from the Eldritch Heritage feat as well as Arcane Bond from the Arcane Duelist class feature, giving you 2 additional spells each day which is a huge boon for a limited caster. Combined with the Human favored class option and the other Eldritch Heritage feats, this Arcane Duelist is a not inconsequential spellcaster in his own right.

He wields a rapier and small steel shield, the shield allowing him to carry somethign like a wand or metamagic rod in his off-hand. At first level he gets Arcane Strike and takes Arcane Shield - not the official Pathfinder Arcane Shield but rather this is one of the very, very few instances we allowed a 3PP feat because it fit so nicely, the Arcane Shield found here. The rapier and shield are both Bonded items, it makes sense that the Arcane Duelist would be able to use his magical powers offensively or defensively.

This character has proven to be a very effective caster, a solid healer, a world-class buffer, an awesome face man and a damned strong secondary fighter - spells like Dance of a Hundred Cuts, Transformation, etc. can go a long way in melee, and his Enchantment spells are as potent as your typical Wizard's. I figured I'd offer the build up so that you could glean what you would from it.

One last comment - If you play primarily to the Bard's melee abilitities and neglect the other aspects of him, you're really selling yourself and the class short. He'll never be as effective a melee combatant as any of the full BAB classes, but he shouldn't be because he can do SO MANY other things and do them superbly well...

EDIT: I'm readoing over the Catfolk entry for the first time... seems like they'd make a damn fine Rogue. I might have to play with that a bit.


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Cloakofwinter wrote:
Have a class in mind to pair with it, but curious about suggestions/experiences from the community.

It took one level of Dragoon to make my mounted Summoner really work. 2 levels of anything is pushing it...

...except that I did once make this Halfling character for fun who was a 9th level Master Summoner / 11th level Divine Hunter. His concept was that he would summon hunting 'packs' of Lantern Archons or (very rarely) Hound Archons depending on the situation and support them as an Archer. It was predicated on the idea that Lantern Archons are pretty good pets no matter what level you are, and a pack of a dozen or so of them summoned and Hasted can be a real headache for anyone, while multiple uses of Aid and overlapping Auras of Menace went a long way too. The ability to grant the Target of Opportunity feat to a host of Lantern Archons was also neat trick. The character could probably be rebuilt better as an Aasimar - either way I would take the Celestial Bloodline via Eldritch Heritage feats or some other route to get wings.

I could also see a level of Bard along with Lingering Performance and Maestro of the Society being worthwhile for a Master Summoner, I suppose.

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