Well, for me fear effects have always been the BBEGs low
Players aren't used anymore to losing. Either you make them get used to it again… or you change the encounters. Or play Hackmaster. Watch Gamers ("I hide behind the mount of dead bard bodies!").
If it's always one specific character who's done in because of a will save... change tactics now and then and allow him to shine too.
I second the gun chemist or the steel hound investigator. Ranged studied combat is only short distance though... but you can do a lot of other fun things and youll be a strong switch hitter.
One level dip Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) will get you ranged touch attacks with a heavy Xbow... you wont have a lot of grit though if you go for high INT. On the other hand, a Xbow has better crit Chance than firearms.
I've used some Bolt Ace alchemists with explosive missile.... my players hate them!
Not that strong but versatile and with all the feats you need: zen archer4 for many good feats and ki Pool plus good saves, AC and WIS to hit and AC. Then inquisitor. Many swift action self buffs, but since you only need a decent STR then put all raises into WIS, hitting is scarcely a problem (you shoot at Full BAB -2 for level 10).
Depending on books allowed starting at level 10 a pure inquisitor may be more tempting but has to put all feats into archery. Zen archer can spend some feats for fun (drow nobility feats for spell resistance anyone? Which other archer build can do that?)
I dont see big problems with simply allowing the bomber discovery plus studied strike. He needs that discovery, Ranged Study, has no INT to damage and can only use most stuff within 30ft. I'd give him an effective bomb damage of an alchemist who's a level or two higher.
Compared to firearms slightly more damage subject to elemental resistance.
Not unbalanced IMHO. I'd be careful with discoveries improving bombs though.
Enlightened bloodrager, the version that starts with spells. You get to have a few utility spells right from level 1, are still a full BAB, and you have a pretty big and good spell list (all bloodrager spells, plus all druid spells of 4th level and lower) so you can use a lot of scrolls and wands. Should mix well with any melee type class. Also you can qualify for arcane strike from level 1 which can be a good use for swift actions.
Why not blooded arcane strike? No Action needed.
If you don't design Encounters with many resistances and immunities, three CR15 Encounters would be more fun.
Aloha.... Did this.
Don't increase the CR of the monsters by picking stronger monsters. Take more monsters.
Otherwise you risk many PC deaths. A few big monsters are either a joke for big groups or absolutely deadly. More often absolutely deadly at these levels.
I played a whole campaign with 12 Players... sometimes more characters than 12. I simply took an encounter for their normal APL and tripled (not doubled) the monsters number. That made up for Team synergies in the group (Prayer and bard song rock or similar buffs, even Bless rock in such combinations).
Another vote for the twohanded weapon Investigator. Very strong, no problem at all to hit with studied combat, lotsa skills and many self buffs. Who needs bombs?
Your to hit will be better than a full BAB class with studied combat.
Go halfelf for curved blade proficiency and everything that's immune to precision Damage will be killed with two handed Power Attack.
Certainly campaign dependant, that WIS to hit is huge. IME high level inquisitors without a lot of buffing time need every constant to hit bonus they can get.
The problem with the build is that it still need high Dex for feat prerequies so it end up only being able slightly better in terms of point buy but being behind in divine favor/power, the judgements, bane, Heroism etc. Most of the power of the inquisitor archer, much like the warpriest, comes from stacking an insane number of bonuses. The zen archer delays that significantly. It does have the beifit of an insane will save.
Zen archer 4/Inquisitor works very fine. You gain many many feats for these 4 levels, flurry replaces Rapid Shot, Divine Favor (with Magic Knack) scales quickly to its Limit, WIS Mod to initiative, to hit and AC makes Dex very obsolete (if you don't want Snap Shot)... Ki pool extra attack stacks with haste (if there wasn't an errata lately that I missed like so many others).
Weapon Focus at level 2, Point Blank Master for free at level 3, Precise Shot without having to fullfill any prerequisites… which feats do you want with Dex?
Yeah, 4 Levels behind in spellcasting hurts but you still get Level 6 spells. Divine Power is great… getting boots of haste instead helps a lot together with Wrath and Divine Favor (if there is time to buff).
Right. Especially if the archer has blindsense like a Dragon disciple… without seeking, blindsense is very weak, with seeking it rocks.
Imp Eldritch Heritage for archers seems like a run of the mill feat choice. Though most archers here end up with +3 adaptive seeking bows.
Don't forget to fire two shots with double barreled pistols at once. Tri-barreled? Ouch.
Means your char might fire three shots with one Standard action?
Thats what most Gunslingers do.
So dex 20 handelt with a +1 double barreled pistol at point blank ranged hits touch AC with +9/+9/+4 for 6d8+33 points... average 60 points with 4000gp of bis 16k for level 6. Thats not optimized yet.
You need PBS, Rapid Shot, Rapid Reload and asap Precise Shot.
Even point blank shot helps here a lot, not speaking of pistoleros.
Your only problem: misfires. But that stops at higher levels.
EDIT: has the no misfires ability been errataed? Looks like, my books say pistolero has no misfires anymore at level 13... Hot changes.
Well. Simply collect many firrrearms like them ARRRH pirates. Looks cool and works. If one weapon jams, draw the next.
What about shifter? Just a few levels for swift wild shape while charging with some temp hitpoints and WIS to AC. Two levels.
Yeah, other options are stronger, but we had a level ten dire tiger shifter in play and he was a lot better than the unbuffed druid... buffing time depends in the campaign. If the group gets ambushed often, the shifter wildshaped with extra hitpoints during a Charge with possible Grab while using minor aspect for nice little buffs.
But ask your GM for the not errataed Shifters Edge!
4 levels of zen archer if you can wait for your level 6 spells a bit. You only need WIS afterwards for to hit, your saves and AC (Touch too) will be huge, good movement if you want to.
And most feats you take with slayer Talents are yours after three levels.
Edit: forgot Ki Pool goodness.
What about buffing spells? My level 8 group would get annihilated as well without some buffs like barkskin, shield of faith for the tank and other goodies... prayer sometimes ...
So yes, AC 18 for a barbarian is slightly low but not too unusual depending on the normal combat buffs the group employs.
River of Sticks wrote:
If you want to up the defence vs Intimidate, make all effects that give a bonus to saving throws vs fear effects also apply to Intimidate checks.
Theres a drow zen archer with snake style, nightmare fist and similar stuff in my group now.She intimidates everything in the whole darkness area. Including dragons. Thats why she hates my undead.